Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas with the One You Love

It should be no surprise my favorite Christmas song has romance (and loss and longing). Merry Christmas y'all, Happy Hanukkah, and have a crazy good Kwanzaa!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

NaNoWriMo Baby

Two weeks ago I took an oath with my writing buddy Shay to edit my book every week day until I had completed editing The Sheikh and the Shake. Fast forward to yesterday, and I had done that only once. Oops. To say that I am an oath breaker is an understatement. Meanwhile, I had learned that another writing friend had committed to writing everyday this year and for the most part, she has kept that promise to herself. I both admire and feel jealous of her discipline.

And that’s where NaNoWriMo comes in. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. In the old days, to participate in NaNoWriMo, you would commit to writing 50,000 words in one month. For the month of November you were supposed to give up cooking, cleaning, TV, anything that would prevent you from completing the rough draft of a novel. You weren’t supposed to edit your work or rewrite things; forward progression was the only way to tackle NaNoWriMo. And of course to write Every Single Day, something I’ve never done.

So when Shay floated the idea of NaNoWriMo yesterday I was a hard no. But then I got to thinking about Lauren’s commitment to her writing and I’ve decided, if she can do it, then I can do it too. Well, not every day for a year, but every day for the rest of November. I won’t be joining the official challenge online, and I’ll be editing, not writing, and I certainly won’t have 50,000 words at the end. My version of NaNoWriMo won’t be perfect and neither am I. But it will definitely help me tell Tariq and Katiya’s story. And that’s what really counts--pun intended :).

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Romancing the Movie

Every September my romance friends and I get together to write and brainstorm romances. We also discuss and analyze a romantic movie. This year I suggested The Age of Adeline, because well, Blake Lively and Michiel Huisman have great chemistry (to be fair, she probably has great chemistry with everyone). I also suggested it because lately there just aren’t a lot of Hollywood romances, and the ones they release are usually romcoms, which makes me sad. And it also makes me think about my top ten favorite romantic movies. So here they are, in no particular order. And yes, some are romantic comedies, and boy, are they all good!

Romeo + Juliet—As a kid West Side Story was my favorite and I officially fell in love with Romeo and Juliet with Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version. But in 1996, Leonardo DiCaprio + Claire Daines + that soundtrack blew me away and this became THE Romeo and Juliet.

Dirty Dancing—One phrase says it all “No one puts Baby in a corner”. If you didn’t quote it with me, go and watch this movie!

Somewhere in Time—How far will you go for love? Well if you’re Christopher Reeve in this movie, it would be several decades. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen SIT in a while; I might just have to watch it again soon.

The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love—There is nothing like teen love, and these two girls remind you what it’s like to find love for the first time. Le Sigh.

The Enchanted Cottage—Two lonely people plus one cottage equals all kinds of romance. Every time this is on, I have to watch it. Get your handkerchiefs out; this one will make you cry. If it doesn’t, you might be a sociopath.

Titanic—I saw this movie at least 7 times in the movie theater. I mean, Leonardo, Kate, that boat, Leonardo, Leonardo, Leonardo.

Gigi—This is the dream of every mistress everywhere. Go see it for the music, the pageantry, the forbidden chemistry between Gigi (Leslie Caron) and Gaston (Louis Jordan). Hell, go see if for that white and black gown Gigi wears at the end of the movie. If you think Julia Roberts kills in her red dress in Pretty Woman, do yourself a favor and get firsthand knowledge of how it’s really done in Gigi.

Pretty Woman—Speaking of Pretty Woman, this is like Gigi’s non-singing cousin. And so, so good. Richard Gere makes salt and pepper hair hot in this flick.

Imagine Me and You—What happens when you meet the love of your life at your wedding? Well, that’s the question Imagine Me and You poses. This one is so very very romantic. Shout out to Matthew Goode for almost stealing the show.

Chasing Amy—I said these aren’t in any order, and they aren’t, but this is my favorite movie (along with It’s a Wonderful Life), so technically it is my favorite on this list. But I digress. Is she a lesbian or isn’t she? This is Gen X’s dream come true. It’s got Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (don’t blink), comic book subculture, gays and more. Oh and Silent Bob and Jay, my personal faves in the whole damn film.

So that’s it, that’s my list. Do yourself a favor, don’t wait until February to catch one (or all) of these great movies.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Tiny Dancer

Every author has a favorite part of the writing process. Some people love discovering the story as they write the first draft. Other writers love being able to edit that draft into the (almost) perfect story. My favorite part of writing is brainstorming who my characters are and learning their story. What makes them happy and get out of bed in the morning? Who do they fall in love with and why? I’ve also realized I love writing about dancers. My first novella featured tango dancing, Eli and Mia’s story has burlesque. In my current work in progress, Katiya is a belly dancer, and I’ve been rolling around a stripper story in my head for years. Recently, I’ve also been thinking about a ballerina, a tiny ballerina. Literally. I don’t know what her story is quite yet, who her hero is or even her name. But one day, after I’ve polished Katiya’s tale and given my stripper a happy ever after, my tiny dancer is going to have her chance to shine. And I can’t wait! If you write, what’s your favorite part of the process? Have you discovered any themes in your writing?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Getting Naked

If there is one thing I like, it’s a movie about sex. Or the illusion of sex. Or about the expression of sexuality—particularly in art. Enter the documentary Getting Naked, a wonderful movie about various burlesque dancers making a living with their art in New York City. First, it was very educational since I didn’t realize you could make a living as a burlesque dancer (beyond Dita Von Teese). Secondly, it was fascinating to see how their lives and their dancing came together. Thirdly, it was wonderful seeing and hearing about women who don’t fit a certain image shake their groove thang on the stage. And lastly, I’m a sucker for beautiful naked women, dancing and fancy costumes—and you’ll get your fill from this documentary. So go check it out, you won’t regret it!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Katiya Wishes You a Happy Fourth of July!

In celebration of finishing the rough draft of Katiya and Sheikh Tariq's story and the Fourth of July, here's a pic of Katiya enjoying the holiday. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

At Last

The royal wedding was two weeks ago and I still get a big grin on my face whenever I think about it. At last we have a black American princess (not counting Princess Tiana of course). Well, technically Meghan is biracial, and she’s now British royalty. But you know what I mean. I didn’t think she stood a chance at getting Harry to the finish line and yet, here she is, beaming from all of the news outlets, a princess. Well, technically she’s a duchess. But in my mind if you marry a prince, you’re a princess, titles be damned. In the end love prevailed, despite all the obstacles. Now bring on the couple’s little curly red headed princes and princesses.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Wherefore Art Thou Fabio?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an academic conference titled Researching the Romance at Bowling Green State University. There were many interesting presentations, but one of my favorites was called Wherefore Art Thou Fabio: 50 Years of Romance Cover Design. It should surprise no one that I’m a sucker for a good clinch cover (aka man clutching woman, both usually half naked). I should also mention that Fabio was my absolute favorite romance cover model. Keep in mind that this was before Fabio had become a caricature of himself. This was back in the 80’s/early 90’s when he was a nameless godlike man (I’m not kidding). So to say I was super pumped for the presentation is an understatement. While Fabio did feature in some of the covers shown, the presenter, Andrea J. Briggs from McDaniel University, didn’t focus on him. Instead her talk discussed how romance covers evolved and changed throughout the years. It was very interesting, even though I didn’t get a lot of Fabio. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my absolute favorite romance cover. It’s from the book The Conqueror by Brenda Joyce, which is also one of my favorite romance novels. Do yourself a favor and pick up this incredibly non-feminist, non pc piece of work and revel in all of its glory. Extra points if you get the paperback with this cover. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Old Love

A few weeks ago I went to an Alan Jackson concert and near me was a couple that were probably in their 60's. From the moment the opening act hit the stage, they were standing up and dancing. Him behind her, his arms around her waist, her swaying to the music with her man. Every once in a while she'd turn around, throw her arms around him and they'd kiss. I could not keep my eyes off of them. In part because I was thinking they should get a room (they did leave for a moment and I'm thinking they found a dark corner :)) and in part because I was mesmerized by their love and passion. Old love, I hope to have it some day.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sing Your Song

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung." Rabindranath Tagore

I have a friend who always reminds the folks in our writers' group that we mustn't die with our music inside. I need to take what she says to heart. My writer friend A. has lost her battle with cancer and to be honest it shocked me. A. was revved up about getting back to writing and taking control of her career. I hadn't seen her in forever but she came to a meeting in January and was welcomed with open arms. I was so happy to see her. Three weeks later, she was dead. Surely with some music inside. I can't control how much time I have on the planet, but I can do my best to sing my song while I have the chance.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Don't Free Me From Fifty

No lie, I’m super pumped about seeing Fifty Shades Freed. The first time I saw the commercial, my heart sped up and I felt such elation. How could I forget that it was Christian Grey time? Last year I couldn’t wait for my honey to get in the mood to see pic number two, so I went by myself. This time I’ve already declared that Saturday was dedicated to Fifty. I’ve already prepped her by renting Fifty Shades Darker last week (which I loved seeing for the second time). I’ll be a little sad once there are no more movies to experience, but like any good masochist, I’ll enjoy the sweet pain .

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Spur of the Moment

You may or may not know, but every New Year’s Eve the SyFy channel has a Twilight Zone marathon. I make it a habit to watch at least one episode, my favorite episode, Spur of the Moment. For those who haven’t seen this 50 year old classic, I’m going to give you a spoiler alert right now. Spur of the Moment is about 18 year old Anne who is torn between marrying the man her wealthy father has chosen or instead defy dear daddy and marry her childhood sweetheart. Well like any good romance writer (and reader) I rooted for true love and hoped Anne married her blond sweetheart—at least the first time I saw the episode. And she did. But like any good Twilight Zone, things aren’t what they seem. Poor Anne, despite marrying for love, has actually made the wrong decision and in middle age has lived to regret not marrying her father’s choice. In fact, she’s literally haunted by her younger self and even though time after time she tries to right her wrong, there’s nothing she can do and must live with her decision. Moral of the story, watch what you ask for, you may get it. Or, don’t marry for love, it might not be a good idea. Or even, don’t marry at all, you’ll be miserable. None of these morals should seemingly appeal to someone who loves to write and read about happily ever afters. Perhaps it’s not a moral but simply the poignancy of not being able to keep one’s younger self from making mistakes, that I love. In the end, the moral or why it appeals to me doesn’t matter, next New Year’s Eve I’ll search out my favorite Twilight Zone and watch as Anne makes the wrong decision again and foolishly chooses love.