When I was a little girl I was given a membership to a record collection by Unicef with music from all over the world. I loved the international collection, and loved reading about the Peace Corp and missionaries and everything by Pearl S. Buck. I spent my junior year of high school living in South Africa and read voraciously everything by Southern African writers like Nadine Gordimer, Andre Brink, and Wilbur Smith. Three years later at UCLA I took a course in African Lit and my fascination and passion for the African continent deepened.
As my readers know, there is nearly always a piece of me in my books, and that passion for Africa, particularly Zambia, found its way into two of my books: my July ’09 release, Easy on the Eyes, and my Harlequin Presents, Hollywood Husband, Contract Wife. Both stories use South Africa and Zambia settings, both books have sexy male protagonists, and both books have glamour, but Easy on the Eyes is also about finding yourself, and loving yourself, even as we age.
I’ll tell you a secret–I’m afraid of aging. Afraid of growing old. In this country, in our culture, we too often throw away seniors. We put senior citizens in homes and communities of older people, making older people invisible. Powerless. The idea of becoming invisible terrifies me. The idea of one day not being wanted or needed makes me want to give now–to reach out and share and love and connect. And maybe one day if I’m lucky, I’ll still be important and cherished and loved.
Two of the ways I give are through Operation Smile and World Vision. Through World Vision I’ve helped fund a school in Zambia. Through another church organization I fund books and clothes so children can attend school. Some years I can give a lot. Some years I can give only a little. But everything I do–even the smallest amount–still matters. I now sponsor 5 children through World Vision and here is a link to one of the children’s villages/communities: www.worldvision.org/mySponsorship.
Thank you to all who made donations, too. I appreciate your support and I know World Vision and Operation Smile do, too.
And to celebrate my love of Africa, I have a special contest with 1 grand prize winner receiving a 2011 Safari Calendar, a glass Safari suitcase Christmas ornament, Africa trivia cards, a signed copy of Easy on the Eyes, a signed copy of Hollywood Husband, Contract Wife, a Starbucks drink card and JP reader goodies. Four runner up winners will receive a signed copy of Easy plus reader goodies. Want a chance to win? Anybody doing holiday baking? If you were to only make one treat this December, what would it be? Tell me about your favorite holiday treat–or even better, share the recipe if you feel like it–and you’re entered. The contest runs through Thursday night and I’ll announce the 5 winners Friday morning.