Monday, November 4, 2013

Elephant Walk and New Release: All For A Blast of Hot Air by R.Ann Siracusa

Elephants—The noblest of pachyderms. The largest land mammal on earth. We've all seen them in zoos and perhaps at the circus, but up close and personal, they are really big.
I draw inspiration for my novels from my world travels. Because I never know what information I'm going to need in the next book, I've learned to pay attention to the kinds of details that can't be researched. When I travel, I look for unique locations, attitudes, and customs that result in a story that couldn't happen anywhere else and be the same story.
And I take advantage of new experiences, which include eating strange foods and riding elephants.
In 2008, I traveled to Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia. There, we not only observed and photographed elephants in the wild...we rode them. Unfortunately, this adventure didn't have a place in my latest release, All For A Blast Of Hot Air, which is set in Africa.

That's me with my critique partner Shirley and Donald (the keeper), riding Tatu. In such close quarters Donald smelled like elephant.

Getting on the elephant this was hazardous. When the elephant stood, the passengers tipped back and nearly fell off. The rest of us made the smart choice and climbed steps to a wooden platform more or less level with the elephant's back. Still, the animals are so big that it wasn't easy getting into the saddle.

The elephants we rode are part of a program which rescues "homeless" elephants. Usually, these are babies that have lost their mothers or sick elephants left behind by the herd. After they are brought back to health and when old enough, they provide tourists with a half-hour to forty five minute thrill. These elephants are not released back into the wild.
According to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the African elephant is endangered due to poaching and loss of range through deforestation. In 1970 there were 1.3 million elephants in Africa. In 2007, the census was 470,000 to 690,000.
In Nairobi National Park (Kenya), the Orphan's Project rescues orphaned calves from all over Africa and nurtures them to adulthood. They have saved more than 150 calves which would otherwise have perished. When the rescued elephants are ready, they are released to live free in the Tsavo East National Park. Elephants reintegrate into the wild fairly easily, and it is up to the elephant itself when it is ready to make the break. Elephants live, under normal circumstances to about seventy to eighty years, and make the choice to go into the wild by ten years.
This is an super interesting project. Check it out at:
Follow me on my links. I'd love to hear from you.

Book 5 in the romantic suspense series, Tour Director Extraordinaire
By R. Ann Siracusa

A secret pre-nuptial honeymoon, a hot air balloon safari, and a plot to kill the US president all come together at a Vatican wedding.

I'm Harriet Ruby, tour director extraordinaire. Finally, I'm tying the knot with Will Talbot, my favorite spy and the love of my life, despite my nagging concerns about his dangerous profession. 
He could get killed! 
I don't want my children to grow up with an absentee father...or a dead one, but Will's work is his calling. I can't ask him to give it up. When he holds me in his arms, I have no doubt he'll find a way to make everything right. 
To avoid the huge Italian wedding my mother is planning in California, I jump at an offer to get married in the Vatican, only to learn my whole tribe is making the trip to Rome for the ceremony. Darn. Now, I'm stuck planning a big wedding in two months without help. I freak out totally when my boss cancels my vacation time scheduled for the honeymoon. 
At Will's suggestion, we get married at city hall, hire a wedding planner, and then take off on our honeymoon before the church ceremony. The first leg of our trip is a hot air balloon safari in Africa—well, it sounded like fun at the time—but afterward, we'll have two quiet, relaxing weeks totally alone. 
When a member of our tour is kidnapped, I learn Will accepted an assignment from the US government to keep the kidnap victim under surveillance—after he'd promised me his full attention. All my doubts about the marriage raise their ugly heads. 
Have I jumped the gun? Sure, we love each other, but is that enough to make this marriage work? 
It won't matter if we don't get out alive.

Later, sated and limp with contentment, we dozed. I awoke to him nibbling at my ear. 
"Hmm. Is it morning yet?" I eased away, stretched long and hard, then curled against him again. "Will..." 
I hesitated so long he pulled back and turned me so he could peer into my eyes, holding me in place so I couldn't escape. 
His voice conveyed concern. "What's the matter?" 
"Mmm, nothing. I was wondering if... Is this going to change when we get married?" 
Will stiffened and gazed into my eyes with an unreadable nuance of expression. "If you're asking if I'm going to whip out a roll of duct tape, run a line down the center of the bed, and put my Kevlar vest and a can of Mace between us, the answer is definitely not." 
I grimaced. "Mace would be risky." 
He laughed with amusement and some other undefined emotion that made me fidget in place. He wasn't done with me. "With your track record, we'd better forget the Mace. But if you mean this..."
Cupping my breast, he took the swollen nipple into his mouth, pinching lightly and pulling, sending bolts of sexual desire to my core, flushing my body with heat, then trailed hot kissed down my quivering abdomen and between my legs. My body arched, and, in a heartbeat, I flew from unprepared to orgasm to spinning in space among the stars. 
He gave me time to come back to earth and relax, utterly contented, and then said, "If you mean that—yes, it's going to change." 
My heart seized, then slammed against my rib cage. I pushed him away and sat up. "What do you mean, it's going to change?" Confused and alarmed, I grasped his shoulders and shook him. 
Gently clamping his strong hands around my wrists, he pulled me back down onto his chest, our faces inches apart. Our gazes locked in the dim early morning dawn seeping through the slats of the veneziani shutters. "As I understood it, you were asking me if our sexual relationship would change when we get married. I answered you." 
"But I don't want it to change!" 
"Get a grip, Tiger. You know everything changes." 
I sniffed and held back the tears burning behind my eyes. "M-maybe we... shouldn't g-get married." 
Sucking in a deep breath of frustration, he rolled me under him, nudging my legs apart and settling his weight in the V of my thighs, his gaze boring into me. 
"Jesus, Harriet. I didn't mean that. Think! Do you remember how our relationship was when we first met in Morocco, three years ago? Do you want us to go back to how we were then?" 
"Yes, I remember. It was good—really good—but I...I like things the way they are now." His erection pressed against me. Oh, yeah. I definitely like things the way things are now. 
"We've both changed, Tiger. Our relationship has changed...for the better, but it's not the same. We're at a different time and place in our lives. We'll never be back there, and we'll never be back here again, either." 
My lower lip trembled with trepidation and disappointment. "You're scaring me, Will. Promise me everything will stay the way it is now." Even as I pouted and sniffed like a child, I regretted my foolish statement. Of course, there was no way to stop life from evolving, no going back. I clamped my teeth on my lower lip to stop the quivering. 
His face softened into a tender expression, a faint smile tweaking the corners of his luscious lips. He shook his head. "Can't. But I can promise you this. As long as I live, I will never love you less than I love you now." 
Music to my ears, a silken caress to my fluttering heart. "You are so..." The word sweet came to mind, but he didn't like being called that. "Loveable." I arched my body and brushed my lips across his with feather lightness, then relaxed beneath him. 
With his weight on one elbow, he pushed strands of my undisciplined hair off my face and hooked one behind my ear. 
"I mean it." His pause made my heart constrict, as though his next words would be momentous. "But there are a few things I'd like to see change in the near future."
Meet The Author

R. Ann Siracusa is a California girl who earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley, then went immediately to Rome, Italy. On her first day there, she met an Italian policeman at the Fountain of Love, and the rest is history. Instead of a degree from the University of Rome, she got a husband, and they've been married going on fifty years. In Rome, she worked for as an architect and planner for a land development company for several years until she and her husband moved to the US.

No comments:

Post a Comment