Days of Inspiration
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Days of Inspiration

Yesterday started out as a really hard day for me. When I woke up, the things that are wrong with my life weighed heavily on my heart, mesmerizing me to the point of destabilizing me.

I’ve endured these debilitating days periodically throughout my life. My usual strength seems like a sham, my resilience is a distant, invisible shore, and my many blessings have no more substance than twisting shadows. Even when I try to enumerate the specific graces of my life–because gratitude is one of my go-to tactics for self repair–they vanish before I can grip and savor them.

Then I saw some excellent tweets. Yes, of all things, the mercurial Deva of Twitter stepped in to succor me.  A blogger had mentioned my name in her “Top ten authors of 2014” list.  A Spanish man had glowingly tweeted his enjoyment of my novel “En Inmortal.”

I called my friend Jan and she patiently and lovingly talked me through my conundrums. She herself has experienced similar challenges, so she had insight to offer. She’s one of those brilliant souls with deep wisdom gleaned from living with presence and authenticity. She also has, oh, a million talents. I pay attention when she talks. Jan understands about pain and love and life and longing.

Gently, at one point in our conversation, Jan said, “You see things so clearly, Traci. That’s your sin.” Then she explained her meaning, and I gained new clarity.

My lovely friend Lori emailed me “So much love” and invited me to email back. I poured my heart out to her, and she emailed back with such fierceness on my behalf. Her empathy is amazing. It moved me and humbled me. And I got another dose of it today on Skype, and today we could laugh together, too. Just seeing her bright face lightened everything.

Beautiful Michelle Skyped in today, uplifting my day with her piquant presence and all the glamorous goings on of her life. She’s a canny, perceptive soul and she listened closely when I explained what bothered me. She had practical advice that was specially tailored for Traci, and no, it wasn’t drinking red wine, though we giggled most rambunctiously about that.

Aren’t giggles just the best medicine?

So from an inauspicious morning flowed two days of kindness from people I love who love me. That’s been the biggest learning of these middle years: to fill my life with people who love me and support me, people I can trust. I wish I’d known long ago to do so. Maybe I felt I didn’t deserve them.

There was affirmation, too, in the form of the “Best of authors” Blog list and the Spanish gentleman’s tweet–and that always helps.

For anyone who reads this post, I wish that you may experience the same kindness and love and affirmation, when your heart trembles.

For a pix to accompany this blog: FiberOptic Fairy II, our tree topper.  Because she’s whimsical and unintentionally funny, and earnest and sweet, and full of holiday spirit. And I’m grateful to her, the way I’m grateful to my friends, that she holds her place so gracefully.

Days of Inspiration



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I give thanks for my children, my sweet husband, my lovely friends, my overly-gregarious dogs, my home, the books I’ve written and those I’ve read, good reviews that have thrilled me and not-so-good reviews that have taught me, the material resources of my life, the yoga practice that centers me, the spirituality that sustains me.

I am grateful that my beautiful, brilliant, hard-working, wonderful stepdaughter was accepted into medical school! Go Julia!

I am grateful for the extraordinarily generous donors who have given Parvati Press a start in the world, and I’m grateful for the authors who are coming on board with “the Millennium Falcon” of presses–and thanks to the ever inventive Chris for that image! Parvati Press really can outrun Imperial cruisers and make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

I am grateful for the times I get to travel, and especially I am grateful for the cities of Paris and Venice and Rome. And I love living in NYC so I am grateful for this ineluctable Big Apple.

I am grateful that I get to write books. Being an author is the coolest thing in the whole universe!

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for those I love and for those who love me, and yes, Gerda, Lori, Michelle, and Jan, I am talking about you. The other ones in the inner circle, you know who you are, and you know that I am thankful to have you in my life.

For the unmet friends, unexperienced love, and unknown blessings that are coming into my life, I give thanks, and I praise the Creator, the great sun at the center, for the fullness of it all.


Seattle PI Review of BROKEN: “Heat and Passion…and a Beauty that Shines Through”
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Seattle PI Review of BROKEN: “Heat and Passion…and a Beauty that Shines Through”

Author and prolific reviewer Leslie Wright wrote a thoughtful, intelligent review of BROKEN.

She posted her article on her personal review blog Tic Toc, and then on where it was picked up by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online. It’s cool that content on the internet works that way, spreading with resonance to reach many people.

At least, I hope it reaches many people. The review made me really happy, the way an author feels a keen, unique joy when a reader gets it, understands what the author is doing in a story, with characters and motifs.

In part, Wright said:

Slatton has created characters that seem to leap off the page, and the danger of the time is palpable. The cruelty displayed raises the hair on your neck, and creates a knot in the pit of your stomach….If you enjoy heat and passion with erotica and danger you will find this to your liking. It is riddled with bits of history and twisted into a paranormal tale, full of greed, romance and a beauty that shines through…

Find this beautiful review here on Tic Toc, here on Blogcritics, and here on the Seattle PI.


Seattle PI Review

Writing Eros in BROKEN
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Writing Eros in BROKEN

[This short article originally appeared on If These Books Could Talk Blog. ]

I’ve been married with children for my entire adult life, so, technically, I don’t know anything about sex. (Or, perhaps, birth control….) It’s true, I’ve had two different husbands, but I think it’s fair to say that I fall under the vanilla category.

As smooth, satisfying, and delicious as vanilla is, sometimes, as an author, I need something more tangerine, or more pungent. Luckily I have a good imagination, and a husband who’s willing to experiment with me. In the name of art, of course.

Broken, set in occupied Paris from 1939-1942, is the story of a fallen angel who struggles to save her friends and lovers as the Nazis exert ever more lethal control over the city. The angel Alia falls from heaven because of a personal loss which shocks her out of unity thinking. As soon as she falls, she is beset with sensual desire, with temptation, with the lust that is embedded in flesh. She throws herself into the cornucopia of carnal delights offered by Paris on the eve of the second world war. Paris in 1938-1939 was a feast of entertainment, parties, and revelry, with many intellectuals, writers, and artists openly living a licentious lifestyle.

But I imagined that Alia didn’t start out completely human. Broken is also the story of her journey into her own humanity. So the sex scenes in this novel document her incarnation. They aren’t just gratuitous titillation. Alia begins the novel with a free-wheeling, casual attitude about sex and lovers because she hasn’t yet fully identified with her body. It’s a plaything for her, it’s not herself. So I thought of these early sex scenes in the vein of sex-as-frivolous-fun.

Sex changes as she begins to care for the bullfighter Pedro and the musician-mathematician Josef. Her heart is part of her body, too—her heart goes along with what her body embraces.

Alia also has a horrifying experience of sex used against her. She is manipulated into gratifying a Gestapo agent, and it sickens her. But sex as a power play is part of the human condition, so as an author, I chose to include it.

Finally she comes to be a partner with one man, and she experiences deep intimacy with him. The eroticism they share ripens. It’s based on a heart-connection as well as sensual pleasure. It’s not just about ecstasy anymore, it’s also about love; Alia has become fully human, fully identified with her physical being. She has experienced the full range of sexuality as she has evolved into the woman who would make the ultimate sacrifice for her beloveds.

Eros in BROKEN

My New HuffPo Piece: Five Questions You Must Ask Your Protagonist
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My New HuffPo Piece: Five Questions You Must Ask Your Protagonist

…Before Writing Your Novel…

Here’s my latest piece on the Huffington Post, some advice for writers: questions you must ask your protagonist.

To pull off the herculean task of leading a reader through a few hundred pages of a book, that character has to be magnetic. Here are five questions to ask your protagonist, and the answers will lead to a fully fleshed out person who captivates your readers.

One. What do you do, and are you good at it? Americans always want to know what someone does for a living. Increasingly, because of the global economic situation, readers all over the globe are curious, how does this character support herself? The answers yield important information….

Two. What was your happiest childhood memory? This question helps create a backstory for the character….

Three. What is the biggest loss or regret of your life?  Real people are scored and sanded down and polished by failure and tragedy. Real people have regrets….

Four. What is your goal? That is, what do you want? This question goes right to the heart of your story, of course. The action itself revolves around the character trying to achieve something or avoid something, whether it’s to rescue a child, find a lost treasure, make a million dollars, arrive in the Emerald City, steal a fortune in gold bullion, or rescue a naughty billionaire with a penchant for kink. It’s the story itself. However, there are usually two levels, the concrete and the intangible.

These are questions that lead me into fuller character development, so I know my protagonist inside out, upside down, and backwards. The first person is my preferred person for writing a novel, and these questions help me feel as if I am slipping inside my character like falling down a chute. I think it helps storytellers to have tricks like these. Of course, it is most helpful to develop your own strategies….

Find the article here.

Questions You Must Ask Your Protagonist

BROKEN Blog Tour starts today!
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BROKEN Blog Tour starts today!

Whirlwind Book Tours put together a blog tour for BROKEN, and today is the launch. I’m excited!

Today an excerpt from BROKEN appeared on two blogs, The Pen and Muse and Cajun Book Lover.

Here’s the whole schedule:

BROKEN Blog Tour
BROKEN Blog Tourc
BROKEN Blog TourBROKEN Blog Tour