Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Special -- Dee Davis

Romance author Dee Davis has sold over twenty books and two novellas since her debut release, Everything In Its Time. Dee's most latest work is the A-Tac series. This series follows the members of the A-Tac team, an elite team of covert operators who are tenured professors with expertise in both academia and espionage. Dark Deceptions (Book 1) was released April 1, 2010. Dangerous Desires (Book 2) and Desperate Deeds (Book 3) will be released July 1 and August 2, respectively.

Please give Dee a warm welcome as she discusses how to . . .

Slay Your Demons

You know how a song can instantly transport you to a certain time or a certain place? Just three notes and you’re back in college on the ratty old sofa in your boyfriend’s apartment. (Well, okay so we won’t go there.) But you know what I mean. It’s sort of an instant time travel device?

Well for me, my things are like that. Knowing where my things belong, where they fit, is important. See, I’ve moved all off my life. Every two years. My dad turned down a commission in the army because my mom didn’t want to move so much. So we think he went out immediately and found a job that meant moving more than the army. I definitely get my passive aggressive tendencies from my father. (But like the sofa, that’s another story.)

What I’m talking about here is demons. Or more specifically slaying them. And my demon is and always will be starting over. In any capacity. Thanks to all those years on the go, I’m a sucker for permanence. And so when I found out recently that we had to move apartments, yet again, suffice it to say that I went ballistic. My poor husband can attest to the fact, and it wasn’t even his fault we had to move. No, this one landed squarely at the foot of our now ex-landlord -- the company who called and wanted to raise our already choke- on-your-dinner-when-you-say-it rent even higher into the realm of heart-stopping-you’ve-got –to-be-kidding rent.

But I digress.

It wasn’t the sudden nature of the move that got to me, it wasn’t even the fact that I’d moved just seven years earlier, half way across the country and the Mason/Dixon line, from a four bedroom house on land with a pool, to a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen the size of a closet and closets the size of a shoebox. (I’m told real New Yorkers store shoes in their ovens and other things in their shoe boxes.) What scared me was the idea that I was going to have to go out there and find another apartment. And not just any apartment – I had to find the apartment – again. Talk about demons.

To be honest we still hadn’t recovered from our last move. I’d just located the Christmas stockings (six months and one Christmas after they were needed, but hey, I’d found them). I couldn’t move. I absolutely under no circumstances could move. And I announced that in the overly dramatic, I’ll-slit-my-wrists-if-you-don’t-agree-to-my-demands way that I’ve perfected over the last fifty years and which no one – including sainted husband – ever listens to. Which meant we now had less than a month to find an apartment and move.

On some level this is probably not a frightening thing. I mean there are most likely people out there who would have thrown up their hands, shrugged philosophically and laughed about how they really needed to clean house anyway.

I am not one of those people.

I make lists. And then I make lists of my lists. I plan. And so I prepared for my apartment hunt as if it were the latest campaign in a lifelong war. I take the idea of slaying demons quite literally. It’s them or me, I figure. And I didn’t watch all those John Wayne movies growing up, for nothing.

But nothing is easy in New York City. Nothing. You’d think that in a city with literally hundreds of apartments on every block it wouldn’t be that hard to find one. Unfortunately you’d be wrong. You see there are always mitigating factors.

In our case, he weighs 45 pounds, resembles a sausage with big ears and barks. His name is Max. At least half of the buildings in New York don’t accept tenants with dogs. Cats, yes. Dogs, no. And then another third, I’d say, of the remaining buildings don’t take dogs that weigh over thirty pounds. I should put Max on a diet – really I should – but no way is he going to lose fifteen pounds. Not going to happen.

Then once you whittle those apartments away, we narrow it further by requiring an elevator and a doorman. I mean a girl has to have standards, right? Now add in a high-school aged child – who needs to be close to her friends (her mother already moved her twice) and her school, and we’ve narrowed the field yet again.

Enter the broker, who shows you things that are too small, too expensive, too -- shudder – dirty, too ornate (you should have seen the French Rocco one), things you don’t want, things you can’t have (because someone rents it five minutes before you’ve seen it), things that are missing major parts – like kitchens or closets… well you get the idea.

And then, after three weeks of looking, you finally find it. An admittedly low floor unit, that despite its height impairment is huge, with – wait for it – a terrace. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed an apartment in New York City should be. A great building. A dining room (hey I downsized, remember – and I’m southern. I need a dining room). And closets, EIGHT OF THEM.

Okay, I’m hyperventilating trying to get my hand to hold still long enough to sign the lease, and thinking to myself that maybe this moving thing was for the best after all. Only then, because after all this is a cruel city, our broker (yes, you have to have a broker just to rent an apartment – and more credit checks than I ever had buying a house) -- anyway, our broker walks in with a disappointed shake of his head and informs us that the building is going condo.


Okay it’s definitely a plot. I’m not a happy camper. After my husband peels me off the floor, gets me home and sedated, we decide to be really brave and hit the pavement on our own. There are maybe six buildings that meet our criteria in our part of the city that are no fee buildings (read you can do it the old fashioned way – yourself).

Well, I’m incapable of doing much of anything at this point except lift my arm to drain the martini glass. But my husband, bless his little heart, manages to find not one but three options for us. All of which are really great. And so after a couple of days of mulling over the choices (and sobering up from the martinis) I finally make my decision and we go to the building to sign the papers.

Except that, oops, in my sobering up time, the apartment has been rented. Much cursing and unprintable stuff goes on next. Said demon is winning – big time. So I go home and pull out my floor plans and furniture cut-outs (I told you I was anal) and start trying to cram our furniture into one of the other two apartments.

And after much teeth gnashing and a couple of broken pencil tips, I manage to get all the little pieces of paper furniture on the graph paper sized version of the apartment. We call the apartment people again – and set the appointment. This time when I arrive, it’s to the news that the original apartment (the bigger one) is available again. Seems the guy backed out at the last moment (probably buying my condo).

So the moral to the story – and I’m not even going to go into what happened with the actual move – is that perseverance wins the day and vanquishes the demons. I think inertia is the worst thing we can do in times of crisis. Just getting out there and doing something – anything -- seems to be the best offense.

And in my case that’s the only way I managed to be sitting here on my new terrace looking at the most beautiful sunset in Manhattan, surrounded by all my things, each of which reminds me of some moment or time in my life when I was happy, and of course the most important lesson of all – as long as my family is with me – anywhere is home. And based on life so far in New York – there’s no telling where exactly that will be next. But for the time being, we’re here. Living in the moment. Demons vanquished – at least for the time being!

What about you? What are your demons and how do you vanquish them?

---when not collapsed on her terrace bemoaning her latest move, award winning author Dee Davis is at the computer writing. Check out her newest romantic suspense, Desperate Deeds, book three in the A-Tac series. Available now. www.deedavis.com


  1. HI Dee! I've just picked myself off the floor after laughing out loud for the last 10 mins.

    I'm originally from NYC and I know your pain. Looking for an apartment in NY is like looking for the lost treasure at the end of the rainbow. I'm so glad you finally found some place you can call home. (BTW have you considered writing comedies?)

    Vanquishing demons is not always easy - sometimes you just want to pull the covers over your head. For me when ever I have a demon to slay I usually roll up my sleeves and face it head on. That's not to say that occasionally I don't find myself flat on the floor from the blow back - but I find a full frontal attack to be the best.

    I'm in love with your A-Tac series - Dangerous Desires was amazing and I'm just about to start Desperate Deeds. Looks as if I have a new series to fall in love with.

  2. Hey, Marisa! Thanks for your lovely comments. I have actually taken a stab at romantic comedy, in both A Match Made on Madison and Set-Up in SoHo. It was a lot of fun writing books where nobody dies!

  3. Great blog! Today the demon I'm fighting is inertia. I have a ton of things to do, and I just want to be lazy. Tomorrow the demon that requires slaying will probably be a different one, but I suspect a day without some demon to slay will happen only in the afterlife.

    I have to check out the A-Tac books. I spent 20+ years in academia. I love the idea of tenured professors as covert operators. Now that's a group that's bound to be experienced in slaying all kinds of demons. :-)

    How appropriate that my word veri is "bursla." Sounds like an intoxicated bursar.

  4. Dee - I forgot that you wrote Match Made on Madison - I really enjoyed it. Your voice is so different in your romantic suspense novels. However you've always got one or two good quips in there that make me laugh out loud.

  5. Hello and welcome to the Dish, Dee! Congrats on your newest release! I've heard great things about this series. :)

    I love this blog! You are hilarious and I needed a good laugh. I'm with you on starting over. I don't like to do it either...in anything. Or change. I'm one who loves routine and don't like to move out of my comfort zone very often. ;-)

  6. Hey Dee!!! It is so good to have you with us today!!

    First, I really enjoyed Dark Deceptions and am really looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Like everyone else, I was laughing right along while reading your blog. I work in the real estate industry so I know what kind of crazy industry it is. I don't think there is another industry that makes you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for something and then says . . . you may close this month, next month, next year . . . Crazy I tell you!!!!

  7. I have to check out the A-Tac books. I spent 20+ years in academia. I love the idea of tenured professors as covert operators. Now that's a group that's bound to be experienced in slaying all kinds of demons. :-)

    Janga, you really should check this series out. It is very good!!! I did a review of Dark Deceptions here.

  8. Hi, Dee! Oh, how I can relate to the chaos of moving! My husband retired after 21 years in the Navy--three years ago--so we did our fair share of moving. Don't really miss it, but it is a great excuse to purge all the excess junk we accumulate over the years!

    My personal demon is procrastination, and it's never far away. LOL

    I look forward to reading your A-Tac series. It's on my list of TBB!

  9. Oh my goodness, procrastination is right up there with inertia for me too! And Janga, I'm jealous. Always wanted to be a prof. Teachers are the lifeline for our youth. Thanks for the welcome guys! And hopefully you'll enjoy the new series. It was great fun to write. Now if I can just quit procrastinating and get back to writing the next one ...

  10. My current demons are being fired and trying to get my house straightened up.

    I was a children's librarian and LOVED my job. Our tiny library had a reputation for doing a lot with very little. We had a great group and we all did extra, because we loved what we did. The director retired and warned me things would change. The new director had NO experience or training. She was hired because a couple of Board members knew they could control her and run the library the way they wanted. All my outreach programs were canceled (13 a week), I ended up doing most of the directors job, and picked up the 20 hr a week senior delivery job when that person retired, in addition to my regular in library children's job. The Board member wanted me gone and fired me, even though she had no authority to make programming or personnel decisions. My leaving dumped even more on the 2 original employees left and made me feel guilty for failing them. I was made to take all the children's materials out. No stuffed animals, decorations, plants. There is no life there anymore. The whole library has been sterilized. Really very sad.

    At any rate, I didn't realize how much my job was a part of my identity. At first I was hurt, then angry. I am more angry now seeing what they have done to a really great library.

    Now I have all my program stuff here at home and am trying to find a place for it, which leads to my other demon, trying to get my house straightened up. We bought an old Victorian farmhouse that needed to be gutted and completely renovated. That was in 1992 and we are still working on it. We love the house, but would really like to be done. Some of our stuff is still in boxes, plus we have the complete households of two relatives who passed away. I was making a bit of headway sorting it out, then my boss moved and left half of her stuff for me to move and sort through. Was making progress with that when a friend closed her antique & gift shop and brought her stuff to our house. Then I lost my job and brought several truck loads of stuff home - my stuff plus what they demanded I get out of "a place of business".

    So now I have a path through the boxes and am trying to sort through everything. It is slow going. I need to get rooms set up so I can put things away and I can't because other stuff is in the way. We have donated truck loads of stuff to 4 local charities and are taking more each week. It is just overwhelming to look at how much there is. And no, I can't just throw it out. If it can be used, I have to find a place for it. I have worked with too many programs where people have very little to just destroy something that is useable. I'll make sure it is recycled in some way.

    Anyway, that is much more than you wanted to know. I am slaying my demons a little at a time, but it is like using a pin when a sword is needed.