Monday, July 6, 2009

DeAnna Cameron's (Not so Secret) Love of Belly Dancing


posted by Christine Wells

It's my pleasure to introduce you to a wonderful debut author and fellow Berkley Babe, DeAnna Cameron. Her historical novel, THE BELLY DANCER, is released tomorrow. Please give DeAnna a rowdy Bandita welcome.

I knew if I wrote a novel about belly dancing, my secret would be out: I like to belly dance. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not ashamed. It’s just that some people still have the wrong idea about belly dancers. They think they dress up in skimpy outfits to gyrate and jiggle solely for the attention of men, and that belly dancing is nothing more than a form of foreplay.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. Women who like to belly dance have faced that stereotype since the Middle Eastern dance form made its first big splash in America at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which is the setting for my debut novel, THE BELLY DANCER, set to be released tomorrow (July 7).


It’s also not fair. Although there are dancers who exploit the stereotype, there is a far greater number attracted to belly dance for the same reasons I am: it’s a great source for friendship, fitness and fun.

I know – it’s not nearly as compelling as the seductive stereotype, but it’s the truth. Although I signed up for my first belly dance lesson to get college credit (that story is on my Web site so I won’t repeat it here), a big reason I’ve been hooked for nearly twenty years is because of the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. You’ll meet all kinds of women in a belly dance class, from college-age students to corporate executives, and everything in between. And what you quickly find is that those outside roles mean little. Everyone comes to the class or workshop for the same reason – to dance. Having that in common has a tremendous equalizing effect, and it’s truly surprising how quickly bonds form between fellow dancers.

Belly dance is also great exercise. Anyone who has attempted a shimmy, serpent arms or a camel walk knows how much muscle control, flexibility, endurance and core strength they require to do well. And unlike gyms, where many of us feel self-conscious if we aren’t already in great shape, belly dance welcomes all ages and body types. It’s usually just a room full of women, so you needn’t worry about your makeup, hair or what you wear – as long as you’re comfortable and you can move. (Sounds good, doesn’t it? Just imagine how it would feel if you wore a corset and floor-length skirt every day like THE BELLY DANCER’s heroine. Is it any wonder she fell in love with the dance? But I digress...)

The biggest reason I’ve stuck with belly dancing all these years is it’s simply a lot of fun. Of course I love the music and movement – I even like the chance to feel a little sexy now and then – but mostly I love being in an environment with so many women helping, supporting and entertaining each other. After all, belly dance didn’t start out as a performance art, or even an art of seduction. It evolved in the home as a social dance by women for women. Friends and family members gathered and danced for each other as an expression of joy and camaraderie.

Unfortunately, that’s not what comes to mind these days when you tell people you belly dance. So for the longest time I didn’t tell co-workers or casual acquaintances about my pastime – at least not until the news about my novel got out and they asked. I’m a terrible liar, so I tell them the truth. I smile and say, “Yes, I belly dance.” Sometimes that’s met with an awkward smile or a stifled giggle, and I wonder if they’re envisioning something like a Salome, an “I Dream of Jeannie” genie or worse. Other times, though, they want to know more and I have the opportunity to tell them about its great qualities. Then, on a few rare and happy occasions, something I never would’ve expected happens: they tell me later they became more curious about belly dancing and signed up for a class themselves. And it never fails, I can see that familiar gleam in their eye and I know they’re hooked, too.

Here’s a question for you: Is there something about you that would surprise people who know you?

(DeAnna is generously giving away a signed copy of THE BELLY DANCER to one lucky reader!)

DeAnna Cameron is the author of THE BELLY DANCER, available from Berkley Books/Penguin as a trade paperback. Four stars from RT Book Reviews magazine.

At the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the modern, the exotic, and the ground-breaking collide. When Dora Chambers, an aspiring socialite, is charged with the task of enforcing proper conduct at the Egyptian belly dancing exhibition, she finds herself captivated by these marvelous women. And as her eyes are opened to the world beyond a life of social expectations, she finds the courage to break free and discover the truth about her own heart.

Invite THE BELLY DANCER to your next book club meeting. Visit www.DeAnnaCameron.com for recipes, music recommendations, and tips on decorating and activities to complement your reading experience.

81 comments:

Anna Campbell said...

Ha ha! He stays in Oz!

jo robertson said...

What a wonderfully refreshing topic, DeAnna! Welcome to the Lair and congratulations on your debut book. I've always been intrigued by the art of belly dancing, but had never thought of it as a form of exercise LOL.

I'm really happy to see that another historical in a "different" time period is hitting the shelves and can't wait to read the story. Can you tell us a little more about it?

Poor chook is getting airsick from all the back and forth trips between Oz and the U.S., Anna! Congratulations.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Jo! I've got him cleaning the house in preparation for my departure on Friday. I think the words 'roast chook' from yesterday really got him worried! He keeps looking at the oven with tears welling up in his beady little eyes. I wonder if I ate his cousin!

DeAnna, what a fascinating subject for a book. Congratulations on the release of your debut.

I had a couple of friends who did belly dancing - it was absolutely fascinating to hear them talk about it and even more fascinating to check out their moves. And I had to laugh - it's the only time I've heard a skinny girl envy a plump girl. Apparently a bit of belly really does help the belly part of the dancing!

I'd love to know about your writing journey if you get a chance to tell us. How long did it take you to achieve publication?

Christine Wells said...

Hi DeAnna, a hearty welcome to the Lair! Wasn't that a fantastic post? Belly dancing sounds like great fun and a challenge, too. I'm really looking forward to reading this book.

Hi Jo and Anna! Yes, one of the reasons I asked DeAnna on as a guest was that the setting and subject matter are a bit of a departure from the usual. We'd all love to hear more about the story, DeAnna. And of course, call stories always go down a treat here:)

Congrats on snaffling the rooster, Foanna!

chekru said...

there are many things about me that would surprise people that new me, I keep a lot hidden.. the belly dancer sounds like a very good book.

Virginia said...

Congrats Anna on nabbing that rooster!

DeAnna congrats on your new release! That has got to be an awesome feeling to see your first book on a shelf. I love the sound of this book. I think we all could use some Belly Dancing. I know I could for sure. I have heard that it is very good exercise.

This book sound like something different then anything I have read. I would be very interested in reading it, because I love something that is differernt.

RachieG said...

Fun blog post today DeAnna! Great idea on the book and an interesting time period to write it in.

I don't know if there is anything too scandalous about me that not too many people know...I LUV taking photos of clouds and animals though. I bought a really nice digital camera a few years ago and now have hundreds of pictures of weather and random turtles and things. Kind of silly but I love it!

Maybe I need to try belly dancing?? :)

Helen said...

Congrats Anna keep him cleaning so you can have a wonderful time just packing for your trip

Christine thank you so much for inviting DeAnna along today.

DeAnna what a wonderful post and boy does this book sound wonderful I really love historical romance and something that is a little different I am impressed this book will be added to the must get list.

I must be pretty sad I don't think that there is anything about me that would surprise anyone else LOL if I think of something I will let you know.

Have Fun
Helen

Emmanuelle said...

Most people who no me don't know I'm addicted to romance novels... Seriuously !!

Christine Wells said...

Hmm, chekru, you are being very cagey there! So you're not going to share?

Virginia, it is a very intriguing premise, isn't it? RachieG, I don't think taking photos of animals and clouds is silly at all! Two very worthy subjects. Thanks for sharing!

Hmm, something not many people know about me is I had a real thing for '80s hair bands when I was in high school, especially those sappy ballads they used to do. TMI??

Christine Wells said...

Helen, you are probably a very open person! Nothing wrong with that:)

Emmanuelle, time to come out of the closet, I think! Thanks for visiting today!

Barbara Monajem said...

I tried belly dancing once... for about two weeks. Then morning sickness got in the way. Sigh. I never did go back, but those two weeks were a lot of fun.

Congrats on the release of your book!

DeAnna Cameron said...

Good morning! It's 3 a.m. here in California. Just got my 7-week-old back to sleep and thought I'd check in.

Jo, thank you! Belly dancing really is great exercise. I highly recommend it -- as if you couldn't already guess that :-)

And I'm happy to tell you more about the story! At the center of the story is Dora Chambers, a young bride trying to fit into her husband's world of wealth and privilege who meets the Egyptian belly dancers who performed at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, as well as their handsome manager. The more Dora learns about the dancers, the more she begins to question some of the choices she made in her life. So ultimately it's a story of Dora's self-discovery, as well as a romance with a twist of history.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Anna --
And yes, it's true! It is one of the only times you're likely to see skinny girls envy plumper girls. But shimmies only look good when you can see something jiggle! :-)

You asked about my writing journey -- Let's see... I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote, got an agent and then a book contract, all in a span of about 7 years. Seriously. THE BELLY DANCER is honestly the first novel I've ever written, so much of the time I was just learning the craft of writing a novel. I'd started a couple of others, but this is the only one I've ever finished. People say it usually takes an author three or four novels to get to the one that sells. I rewrote this novel so significantly three times while getting it into publishable shape that it did feel like I wrote three separate novels, though.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Christine -- thank you so much for inviting me! I've been a big fan and lurker for ages! It's such a thrill to be here today.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Chekru -- I'm intrigued! I hope you'll elaborate...

Virginia -- I honestly didn't realize when I started writing THE BELLY DANCER that this time period is rarely written about. I think that was one of the reasons my editor at Berkley liked it so much...

DeAnna Cameron said...

RachieG -- Your photographs sound wonderful! There's something so whimsical and universal about images in clouds, isn't there? Always reminds me of lazy summer afternoons for some reason...

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Helen -- Thank you for the kind words :-)

And Emmanuelle -- Thanks for sharing! You definitely aren't alone. I know I'm a little addicted myself!

DeAnna Cameron said...

Barbara --
I know what you mean. I was heartbroken that I had to take a break from dancing when I was pregnant, even though one of the purposes of belly dance in the old times was to ease labor and pregnancy related pains. I was too queasy in the first trimester, and then I had some other issues that kept me from being able to exercise... I'm just starting to get back into it now -- finally!

DeAnna Cameron said...

Gonna try to catch a nap before the baby wakes up again -- see you in a bit :-)

Christine Wells said...

DeAnna, congratulations on your new baby! I had no idea you were expecting. 7 weeks. Wow, I think you're amazing to be coherent! Hope baby sleeps and lets you have your nap.

Margay said...

This sounds like an interesting book and I like the time period!

I don't think there's anything too surprising about me in my background, although my older daughter was a little surprised when she found out that one of my former jobs (back when I was young and reeeeeeeally flexible) was as an aerobics instructor.

Good luck with the book, DeAnna!

Margay

Joan said...

DeAnna {whispering so as not to wake the baby} Welcome to The Lair!

Your book sounds fabulous and hooray to you on a setting in a unique time period! Go variety!!

I wish I could belly dance. Alas, a back fusion prevents that but I think it would be fun and as you say, good exercise.

Something that would surprise people about me? Two actually,

One that I used to be a groupie for the country group The Oakridge Boys. (Not hard core....but was headed that way. Drew the line when the one of the other girls with me wanted to peek in one of their houses windows. Groupie vs stalker...not for me, thanks)

The other? That I have an erotica book roughly outlined in my head
:-)

Valerie H. said...

Congratulations on The Belly Dancer, DeAnna. I absolutely have to get a copy!! What most people don't know about me is that I'm a huge fan of the history of burlesque -- and how the beautiful artform of belly dancing became the American rage of hootchy cootch. All thanks to the Chicago World's Fair. Can't wait to read The Belly Dancer!!

Blodeuedd said...

I always wanted to try belly dancing, but honestly, I don't think I would be any good.

As for anything surprising about me...not really. People do know that I am obsessed with books, fantasy, and things like that. Ok maybe at once people wouldn't guess that I am a total nerd

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooooh, Anna, the chook stealer! hehehe.

Welcome DeAnna! Glad to have you with us and congrats on what sounds like a great book.

Christine, this sounds fab, great interview.

As to surprises, for some reason, I surprise people all the time. They're surprised I write suspense. They're surprised I know about guns-n-tanks-n-planes. They're surprised I like the martial arts. They're surprised I can come in out of the rain...

Grins. Must be a blonde thing.

Snork

Karen H in NC said...

Hi DeAnna,

Just read about your book on the Author Buzz site this weekend and I must say, it sounds like excellent reading. Love that cover too. This book is definately going on my BTB list!

The 1893 Chicago World's Fair was a really eventful fair and not all of it in a good way. Did anyone else read 'The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America' by Erik Larson? It is a well-written story about the planning and construction of the fair events, buildings and grounds. He intertwines this with the story of one of American's first serial killers lurking in the streets of Chicago.

sherrinda said...

Oooo...I have lots to jiggle, so belly dancing would be the perfect form of exercise for me! lol

I started sharing my secret about 1/2 a year ago and let it slip that I was writing a book. It is so funny to see the surprise on people's faces! Of course, I haven't shared that I want to take a hip hop class and show up my daughter on the dance floor! lol..oh my, I'm cracking myself up.

Congrats on your debut! It sounds fantastic! I'm definitely putting it at the top on my wish list!

sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com

catslady said...

I'm with checkru - lol. I was a child bride in 1969 (18) and we waited 15 years to have kids - the stories I COULD tell but won't roflmao.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, DeAnna! What a fun blog and The Belly Dancer sounds fantastic *g*

I really don't think there's anything about me that would surprise those who know me well. Those who aren't as close to me may be surprised to find that, while I'm very easy-going, I'm also quite stubborn :-)

I also rewrote my first book several times before selling. What do you think was the most important thing you learned during your rewrites?

Congrats on your newborn!

flchen1 said...

Welcome, DeAnna! Congrats on your debut! What a great topic!

I'm not sure quite as many people are surprised now (there was a mini performance recently that somewhat "outed" me), but a few may have missed that I'm still dancing--not belly dancing, though that seems a gorgeously sensual way of moving!

Congrats on the chook, Anna! He must be happy to stay in Oz for another day!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi DeAnna - What a great story concept! Congratulations on the release and a fabo cover.

I've taken belly dancing lessons. It's an incredible workout. Unfortunately, that's one of the things I had to drop when my life became overscheduled - but it was fun! Some of that belly dancing experience popped up in the epilogue of THE TROUBLE WITH MOONLIGHT.

Not sure that this is much of a secret, but those that know me as a CPA are stunned to learn that I write romance. And those that meet me in my writer persona complete with a funky victorian riding hat are surprised that I know my way around a financial statement. *g* Love the surprised expressions.

Good Luck with your release and enjoy the ride! What's next for you?

housemouse88 said...

Congrats on the release. I've always wanted to get into belly dancing. However, where I live it is not offered. Are there any cd's I could pick up on belly dancing? Thanks. Have a great day.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi again -- back after a nap and some chores. Baby is still sleeping so I'm typing very, very quietly...

Margay -- what a great job that must've been. Get a workout and paid, too!

And Joan -- How fun that must've been following the Oakridge Boys! I love their music. And I agree with you: it's better to stay on this side of the stalking line... The erotical novel? Well, I hope you get it from your head to the page very soon. That genre is so hot right now (no pun intended, but on second thought...)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Valerie --
Burlesque is fascinating. Quite a few belly dancers in my area have started crossing over into burlesque performances, and I've started reading up on it. (Can you tell what a nerd I am?) There's so much more to it than I originally gave it credit for (which many people do with belly dancing, too, so I should know better!).

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Blodeuedd --
I've often thought there should be a designation for our affliction, like OCD or PTSD. Maybe OCBLS: Obsessive-compulsive book lovers syndrome? Which is less dangerous to the pocketbook than OCBBS: Obsessive-compulsive book buyers syndrome. If it weren't for our few remaining used book stores, I'd be in poorhouse...

Anna Sugden said...

Hi DeAnna! Welcome to the Lair and congratulations on your debut book! Awesome. What a fascinating subject. And Thanks to Christine for hosting you.

Having a Persian mother and a step-aughter who used to belly-dance for fitness, I was nodding my head at your post. I'd much rather being doing something different like that to keep fit (I used to do fitness boxing and loved it - shame I couldn't have brought my boxing trainer home with me to the UK when we moved from the US!) - I'e always loved dance too.

I love historicals set in different times and places, so adding your book to my TBR list!

I don't think there is much about me that would surprise people, but with Wimbledon this week, I remembered that years ago I was a ball-girl for a tennis tournament here in the UK. It was called the BMW Challenge and was held in Brighton. The stars of the day were Betty Stove, Virginia Wade, Betsy Nagelson and Sue Barker (in her Cliff Richard phase).

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Jeanne -- I'll bet that does surprise people! All that knowledge must come in very handy in your writing!

Anna Sugden said...

Joanie - The Oakridge Boys - as in Elvira? Used to love line dancing to that one!

Jeanne - I would have though the body disposal thing would have been more surprising - surprised me!

Valerie - burlesque - how cool.

Karen - that book sounds like it's right up my hubby's street - will recommend it to him.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Karen --
Thanks for the tip about AuthorBuzz. I didn't realize that was going up today -- I'll have to pop over and check it out. And I love the cover, too! I can't take any credit for it -- it was all the work of the spectacularly talented artists at Berkley.

The "Devil in White City" *was* an amazing book. I'm in awe of the way Larson can make non-fiction read like fiction. Of course, I wish he would've spent more time talking about the belly dancers :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Good for you, Sherrinda. I had to work up a bunch of courage to tell people I was writing a novel. I was so afraid that I would wimp out and not finish and then have to admit to everyone that I'd wimped out. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the fear of that was one of the things that kept me motivated! :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Catslady -- you've definitely made me curious about those 15 years... What a tease you are :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Thanks for the kind words, Beth! The most important thing I learned during the rewrites? I'd say it would have to be that you can't include everything, nor should you. Readers don't want to be spoon fed too much information. I know that instinctively as a reader, but when I wrote the early drafts, I didn't trust that a few details could go a long way toward setting a scene. I wanted to dump in everything because I thought that would help the reader to really grasp what I was trying to do. All it really did was bog down the story...

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, flchen1 -- Yay, another dancer :-) What kind of dancing do you do? I'm guessing ballroom -- Am I close?

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Donna -- You seem to be one of those lucky few who have mastered both sides of your brain! Does that help you in your writing, or does mean you have an even more assertive inner editor to deal with?

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Housemouse88 --
There are many, many great instructional dvds out there. One of my favorites for beginners is "Instructional Bellydance with Jillina" Level 1, 2 & 3 series. You can find it on any Internet retailer of dvd. Happy dancing!

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Anna! I tried boxing once and, boy, is it a workout. I was really surprised. My hat's off to you :-)
And ball girl at the BMW Challenge? I think that sounds like loads of fun -- to be so close to all those great stars. What a thrill it must've been!

flchen1 said...

Good guess, DeAnna! We're definitely hooked on Dancing With the Stars at our house. But actually, it's ballet. I'd desperately wanted lessons as a child (got piano lessons instead, which in retrospect, I'm thankful for!)--I took my first ballet class in college and have been hooked ever since :)

And did I see that you've got a newborn?! Huge congratulations! I'm sure you'll be back dancing in no time ;) I hope you're enjoying this special time though--babies are definitely darling! (Especially when they're fed and sleeping ;))

p226 said...

Here’s a question for you: Is there something about you that would surprise people who know you? ..

Yep.

Lots of things. I don't think any of my peers at work realize I have no degree, for example. My work is highly technical. Nearly everyone in it has a degree in computer science or electrical engineering. Most have multiple degrees and/or graduate degrees.

Most people would be surprised how I grew up, too. In fact, most people I know would be surprised at most of my background.

Yeah, I'm a fountain of surprises. I can't tell if that's because my background/interests/hobbies/personality is truly that unusual, or if it's simply because of how close I tend to play my cards.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Emmanuelle, keep that addiction going - NEVER go into rehab, no, no, no. Hmm, seem to be channelling Amy Winehouse!

DeAnna, your journey reminds me of my friend Susan Parisi who sold her first novel - but after about five years and on about the sixth complete rewrite. I think there's many ways we get there, aren't there? Congratulations again! This story sounds so interesting and unusual.

Treethyme said...

This isn't scandalous, but I am seriously a late starter -- I got married young but did everything else late: Had my kids at 31 and 35, got published at 45 (non-fiction) AND got my first drivers' license the same year. (I still hate to drive, but it was a lot easier not to when I lived in London and worked in Chicago.)

Treethyme said...

By the way, love the book cover, DeAnna -- I can hardly wait to read it!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, this is great! I'm learning a lot about our Banditas and buddies!

How have you found writing with pregnancy and a newborn, DeAnna? I had a similar situation, giving birth in the middle of my second book after I'd sold and it was no picnic, what with the sleepless nights and all! Do you have any tips on how to cope?

Christine Wells said...

Becke, I don't like to drive, either. I wonder if it's something to do with the creative brain?

I often go on auto-pilot when I'm thinking of a story and end up somewhere I'm not supposed to be. Shh, don't tell my family or they'll fall about laughing! My lack of directional sense is legendary.

terrio said...

I started reading this blog this morning and before I got a third of the way through, I went and looked up belly dancing classes in my area. I've wanted to take them for a few years now and realized now I have the time!

I've found an instructor and a beginners class so right after Nationals, I'll begin my training. :)

My guess is the things that would surprise people about me is a)I was a DJ on the radio for years and b) I write steamy romances. But then I love to surprise people so that's a good thing. LOL!

Thank you for the inspiration!

Joan said...

He must be happy to stay in Oz for another day!

Actually, the chook was in KY yesterday....standing outside the fitting rooms making squawking noises that sounded suspiciously like laughter...

Joan said...

Darn p226!

I thought you were going to tell us YOU belly dance...

:0

Estella said...

Belly dancing sounds like a lot of fun and great exercise.

chey said...

DeAnna, congrats on your new release! Sounds like a great book!
There are things about me that would surprise others

DeAnna Cameron said...

Oh, flchen1 -- I wish I had taken ballet. I'd probably be a lot more graceful than I am :-)
And yes I do have a newborn. We just nursed and she's asleep in her bouncy chair beside me as I type. It's amazing how much you can love something so small!

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, p226 -- How lucky you are to be able to understand all that technical stuff without having to sit through all those classes! Maybe it's good that your coworkers don't know because they'd be jealous :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Better late than never, right, Treethyme? I'll bet you were able to really enjoy your young adult years before you settled down into family life.

And thanks for the kind words about the cover. I love it, too! Actually the bookmarks that Berkley made for me are going like crazy because it's so eye-catching.

Which reminds me, if anyone would like one of the bookmarks, I'm happy to mail out to continental American addresses. Just e-mail me at deanna AT deannacameron DOT com.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Christine -- I have to admit that the writing has taken a back seat since Chloe was born in May. I'm working on a new manuscript at the moment but it's going pretty slow as I figure out how to reschedule my life around feedings and diaper changes. Now that THE BELLY DANCER is out, (or at least will be tomorrow), I'm hoping I'll have more writing time. Am I being naive or overly optimistic? Maybe :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Terrio -- You made my day!!! Another convert. Hurray :-)

danie88 said...

Hi DeAnna! I LOVE the cover of your book, and it sounds like a great book, can't wait to get my hands on it! :)

Is there something about you that would surprise people who know you?

Well honestly I have to say if someone really really knows me then anything about me shouldn't surprise them right? lol but to answer the question some people that know me are surprised that I'm such a big kid at heart. I love anything dealing with Disney and Scooby-Doo and I tend to collect things dealing with them too.

Louisa Cornell said...

Roast chook? No wonder he's cleaning the house. Keep moving, Golden Boy, or else!

What an intriguing premise for a book. I am really looking forward to reading this one! One of the girls in my local writing group has been taking belly dancing lessons for a while and she looks and feels great. Our local celebrity belly dancer, Coco, comes to all of the readers luncheons and she is one classy lady.

Well during my opera singing years none of my colleagues knew that I also sang Patsy Cline songs in country and western bars. They would have been horrified!

I was an exercise boy for a racing stable from ages 9 to 12 in England.

I owned large reptiles for years.

And I have studied the practice of voodoo in America for the last 25 years or so.

Nancy said...

Anna C., congratulations. I hope the chook will behave.

DeAnna, welcome and congratulations on your launch. Your book sounds fascinating. I share Jo's enthusiasm for something that's a bit different.

A friend of mine took belly dancing for several years. She said it did wonders for her abs.

Something about me that would surprise people, eh? Well, everyone here knows it, but I look like such a book geek that most people who know me only casually have no idea I earned a blue belt in karate. Or that I was active in comic book fandom for 18 years--the book geek stereotype tends to belie that.

Nancy said...

Louisa, you were an exercise boy? How cool! One of the neatest things we saw in our travels was in Middleham, Yorkshire. We were having breakfast as the horses came back to the stables from the morning gallop, right past ruined Middleham Castle. That night, as we walked back to the B&B after dinner, we saw them coming back in again.

Nancy said...

Anna C., a little anxiety will do that bird good. I found feathers in the lair bookshelf, and I'm convinced they're left from whatever those chickens did here last month.

JT, if he was laughing, I think he's paid for it today. :-)

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, DeAnna! I love the premise of your book, and the cover is beautiful. Years ago, we lived in the Middle East--my husband was stationed in Bahrain--and a friend of mine had a belly dancing instructor come to her house and give us all a lesson. It was great fun spending the evening with the girls just having fun. Hmmm, I may just have to join a class, as there are a few in my area.

I'm not sure I have anything terrible surprising about me. Although, I don't do it in front of everyone, I have a bit of a potty mouth.

Way to go nabbing the chook, Foanna.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, danie88 --
Thank you for the nice words about my book :0)
As far as something about me that would surprise people I know, I have to say a lot of people were pretty surprised to find out I belly danced. Especially when I worked on staff at a newspaper or the magazines, I tended to keep the belly dancing part of my life very separate. A lot of people thought I was much too, hmmm, shall we say uptight? to ever do something like belly dance. :-)

DeAnna Cameron said...

Wow, Louisa -- you are renaissance woman :-) What a wonderful and varied collection of interests! And what you said about singing reminds me that I just recently learned that one of my favorite comic actresses, Kristin Chenowith, is not only a great singer (her yodeling in "RV" with Robin Williams is hilarious) -- she's also a trained opera singer. Who knew!?

DeAnna Cameron said...

How great, Nancy -- a book nerd who can really kick some you-know-what! I'll bet you really surprise some people with that...

DeAnna Cameron said...

Hi, Gannon -- How wonderful that you got to see belly dancing in its native environment. Did you find it to be much different from what you see here?

Joan said...

And I have studied the practice of voodoo in America for the last 25 years or so.

Ok, Louisa THAT surprised me more than the info that Alabama has a LOCAL celebrity belly dancer!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, DeAnna, THE BELLY DANCER is definitely going to the top of my list.

Louisa Cornell said...

LOL Joan! Did you think we were only famous for the Rattlesnake Rodeo and the High-heeled Thanksgiving Turkey Toss??

Actually Coco got her start at a fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant in Montgomery called Sahara. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was very Casablanca. Coco danced there as a young woman. The restaurant has since closed and she now teaches belly dancing classes at the fine arts center.

As to the voodoo, it all started when my German and Russian professor began work on a research project on the practice of voodoo in New Orleans - not the tourist stuff, but the real practice. I went along to take notes and help with the interviews. It was absolutely fascinating. You'd be surprised the places where strong voodoo communities still exist in this country. More important, the pure practice of it bears little resemblance to what you see in the movies.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Thank you, everyone, for making me feel so welcome today. I've had a blast hanging out with you. And an extra big thank you to you, Christine, for inviting me! Banditas are the best :-)

Pat Cochran said...

What a fun blog! Thanks so much,
DeAnna, I really enjoyed reading it!
I look forward to reading The Belly
Dancer!

Pat Cochran

Christine Wells said...

DeAnna, thank you so much for being on Romance Bandits today and best of luck with your debut and your other little baby, too!

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