Monday, May 30, 2005

Romantic movies

Well, I was just reading that last post, and I blush to see all the typos! I DO know how to proofread (sort of), so I can only blame the late hour and my excitement over seeing one of my favorite movies again!

Speaking of movies, I finally got around to seeing Revenge of the Sith today. Definitely entertaining, and Hayden Christensen is really a hottie (though I read recently he lost the 20 pounds of muscle he put on for this film and is now back to Shattered Glass dimensions again. Sigh. But he was cute in that, too). Great romance, though, this movie ain't. I didn't believe for 2 seconds that it was Great Love that made him do crazy/evil things like mow little kids down with a light saber. It just didn't move me the way the best romantic movies do, so I decided to go through my DVD shelf and see what some favorites are. Here are a few:

1) Roman Holiday (natch!), Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, Charade, How to Steal a Million. (All Audrey, of course, so at the top of the list)
2) Last of the Mohicans ("I will find you!")
3) Romeo and Juliet (the Zeffirelli version, not the Leo Di Caprio shoot 'em up, though that one had its moments, too)
4) Shakespeare in Love (passion, nudity, and Shakespeare quotes, plus some witty references to Marlowe, John Webster, tourism, and ticket gouging! I am so there)
5) The English Patient (love those Fiennes boys, I guess)
6) Titanic (best costumes ever, unless in Shakespeare in Love)
7) Persuasion (my favorite of the Austen adaptations)
8) Lost in Translation (never would I have thought a Bill Murray movie could be so romantic, but it was)

Anyway, that's just a few. I'm sure I'll think of 12 more as soon as I get off-line. :) I'm always looking for new-to-me movies, and always curious to hear what other people think are "romantic" cinema moments, so let me know what some of your own faves are! In the meantime, I think I'll pop in Breakfast at Tiffany's and cry over that dang cat again. Tomorrow it's back to work.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Favorite movie!!!

Hey, I just realized Roman Holiday is on TV!!!! Just had to make a quick post sine I'm here anyway. :) This is one of my all-time fave movies. I'm a nut about Audrey Hepburn, always wanted to "be" her. Anyway, this movie always picks me, though I usually cry at the end (I also cry at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany's, every single freakin' time, even though I know she finds the dang cat). One of my own books was even based on RH, Lady in Disguise. A girl, niece of a count in the Russian delegation, sneaks away from her strict guardians during the 1815 peace celebrations in London in order to have some real fun. And, of course, she meets Gregory Peck, or someone very like him. I loved writing that book. That couple, Jack and Emma, was one of the most fun to spend time with of all my characters.

Oooh, now here's the scene where they fight with the royal goons at the dance, and jump into the lake, and kiss!!! Gotta go. :)

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

I'm a blog slacker! And only a few days after I started the dang thing, too. Sigh. I've just been smothered by relatives this weekend. My cousin's in town with her 2 kids (her 13 year old daughter says she loves my YA!!), my aunt had her 70th birthday party, and there's a cook-out/swimming thing tomorrow. I'm starting to feel like crawling into my introvert hole now. :)

I love my family, I really do. They're crazy, but they're MY crazy. But I get enough of their questions after a while. My aunt (who, BTW, married for the first time in her 60s) constantly pesters me about my love life or lack therof. I turn into a sullen teenager when she tries to talk to me about S-E-X; I start shrieking "Ew, ew, ew!" and clap my hands over my ears. My grandmother always reminds me that when she was my age she already had 4 kids. Uh-huh, but she married when she was 15!!! I shudder to think what my life would be like if I was married to the boyfriend I had at 15. Ew again. And then there are the relatives (like my deadbeat uncle) who think that because I have published books I am now filthy rich. Ha, I say!! And ha again!

All in all, I would prefer the comfy chair torture. But it will all be over soon, they will go home and I can crawl into my quiet hole and write again! Or read email and download pics from

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Armchair adventure

What I'm reading today (yeah, I'm supposed to be working, but I'm not!)--The Backbone of the World: A Portrait of the Vanishing West Along the Continental Divide, by Frank Clifford. I picked this 2002 book up at our giant Friends of the Library booksale last February and just got around to taking a look at it. It's fascinating, a sort of adventure travel narrative (a genre I love), interspersed with musings on America's romanticizing of the past while at the same time destroying any tangible trace of it, the vanishing agrarian life, the environment, the prospects for the future (scary), all kinds of things. He also sleeps outside a lot, meets all kinds of bizarre characters, and just generally wanders in the mountains being philosophical.

I sometimes wish I could be brave enough to do this sort of thing, just go walkabout somewhere and then write about it afterwards (but only if I could be as hilarious about it as Bill Bryson--In a Sunburned Country was one of the funniest books I ever read). But I felt brave and adventurous going to England without my family, and that was on a tour with friends! I'm a chicken, a chicken who needs a bathroom with a flush toilet, and clean sheets on the bed. Much as I want to be Adventure Girl, I'm just not a backpack through India, sleep on a Thai beach kind of girl. I'm a Paris Ritz, Maui Grand Wailea kind of girl (on a backpacker's budget!), and I guess there's no changing that at this late date. That's why I read so many travel books, I guess. And why I love to hear other people's vacation adventures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Amanda's Adventures Under the Arch

Warning--long post ahead!!!

So, RT. St. Louis was the third or fourth Romantic Times convention I have been to, so I was no RT virgin, but I hadn't been in several years and never as a bona-fide published author. Wasn't really sure what to expect, just that whatever happened it would be fun. RT is ALWAYS fun, just--unpredictable. Well, I had an absolute blast. It was non-stop movement, talk, laughing, drinking, dancing, selling my damn books, giggling with my roomies (the fabulous Diane Perkins, Sasha Lord, and Debra Holland)--all the time. Except for the moments when I collapsed in a heap in my hotel room, I think I crammed more into those five days than I do in the rest of the year!

What I loved:
1) Costumes! Confession--I was a drama queen in high school. Plays, musicals, drama competitions, whatever, I was there (told you I was a geek). Never got over it. So I love the chance to play grown-up dress-up. I start planning my costumes (and pestering my mother, who is my very own genius seamstress) months in advance. This year it was Helen of Troy (don't laugh!) for the EC Fantasy party, a pink satin dress modeled after the Masquerade gown in the Phantom of the Opera movie (gorgeous, but the bustle just got in the way for dancing!), and a black beaded flapper thing for the Roaring 20s gig.
2) The people! I've never seen more fun, interesting, friendly, crazy people in one place. I tend to be a quiet, introverted girl in real life, but at RT you just can't be. It doesn't work. So I became Miss Social Butterfly, running from one event to the next, parking my butt in the bar in the wee hours, afraid I might miss something.
3) The parties! I love to dance, I love sparkly clothes and high heels, I love margaritas (second only to chocolatinis, which the bartender couldn't make, and Cosmos. Oh, and Guiness--guess it's fourth). Put them all together and it equals fun, fun, fun! Yeah, the music kinda sucked (okay, REALLY sucked), but I was having such a good time I didn't really mind listening to YMCA 30 times. I just don't want to hear it again. Ever.
4) The books! I was a romance fan long before I was a romance author, and just being in the same room with all these people whose writing I adore makes me go all "hyperventilating fan grrrl". I salivate over all the free ARCs and myriads of giveaway goodies. That's why my suitcase weighs 100 pounds when I get home. And why the glow-in-the-dark condom fell out of my purse at lunch with my mother last week. Ooops.

What I don't love so much:
1) The tiny workshop rooms. I had to squeeze my pitiful self into the last few inches of available space several times to hear speakers. I am very easily distracted and must be comfortable to pay attention!! (Or to fall asleep over my notebook because of the 2 hours of sleep thing). Okay, whine over.
2) Rubber conference chicken (but that's true at every conference)
3) Slow songs at any party or any time whatsoever. Admittedly, there were not that many in the grand scheme of things, but what genius thought we needed any at all? This is a romance novel conference--there are 50,000 women and 10 men. Okay, maybe 20. And they are all either: A) cover models, some of whom are kinda cute, but some are suspiciously oily, B) bemused-looking husbands sitting in the corner wondering "Where the hell is my wife, and why did she drag me here?", or C) one editor, and while I am not Highly Professional at the best of times, even I know it would not be a prudent career move to grab HIS ass on the dance floor. Of course, there is no dancing whatsoever at RWA, so I shouldn't be complaining.

'Nuff said.

I had a terrific time, and I am already planning for next year in Daytona Beach. Think I'd like to be a pirate wench at the Fantasy shindig. Anyone know where I could get a good sword?

Me and my roomie Debra Holland at the Roaring 20s party (thanks for the pic, Deb!). Too bad you can't see the cool beaded fringe at the bottom of my dress Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Books--my fave!

So, I went to Barnes and Noble and got ALL the books I wanted (except for Gena's, which was not yet on the shelf--just an excuse to go back this weekend!), plus one more that just looked interesting. Emilie's Voice by Susanne Dunlap, not a romance but a historical novel set at the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, with the composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier as a character. (My day job is at a classical music radio station, so I'm kind of a sucker for things like that!). Also, since I felt bad about what I said about Gwyneth, I bought a new copy of Shakespeare in Love to replace the one I wore out from watching fifty gazillion times.

Right now, I'm reading A Date With the Other Side by Erin McCarthy. We always seem to be sitting next to each other at conference booksignings (the whole McC thing), and she's a lot of fun to talk to and hang out with. We ended up dancing until 1 in the morning at the Dorchester party at RT (looong after my roomies pooped out!). I hoped her books would be just as funny, and this one soooo is. The heroine leads "ghost tours" in a tiny town called Cuttersville, and the hero is a straight-laced (but very hunky!) big-city guy. The town is full of eccentric characters and mischevious ghosts. It's an absolute hoot, and very steamy, too. I highly recommend it. :)

Speaking of RT, I'll have to post about it tomorrow, because it was such a crazy, wild, margarita-fueled time. In the meantime, here is a pic of my pink, poufy dress from that sixth grade dance. Ignore the bad '80s perm, I beg you.

My first formal (plus perm!) Posted by Hello


Ever have one of "those days", where you just can't settle down to doing anything? I have writing to work on (up to page 23 of the Philip Sidney's ghost story, yay!!), yard work to do, ironing to complete if want non-rumpled clothes for work tomorrow, but I don't WANT to do anything. So, here I am, reading email, looking at other authors' blogs, and rambling away here. I have also listened to Coldplay's "Rush of Blood to the Head" about 3 times in a row, and all I can think is "Damn you, Gwyneth Paltrow! Damn your stupid long blonde hair and your stupid skinny ass! You take all the interesting men in the world and leave nothing for us short brunettes." Sigh. Not productive.

Maybe I'll just give up and go to the bookstore. There are several new books I want to get, including: 1) Gaelen Foley's One Night of Sin, 2) Meredith Bond's Love of My Life, 3) Marianne Mancusi's Connecticut Fashionista (saw this one all over the RT conference, it looks fab!), 4) Jennifer Ashley's Confessions of a Lingerie Addict (because I can so indentify), 5) Gena Showalter's Awaken Me Darkly (yeah, I know she's my critique partner, and I have techically already read it, but it's different when it's a real book, with pages and a kick-ass cover!). Maybe I'll get a mocha frappucino while I'm there, too. But not a chocolate-chip scone. It's bikini season, after all. Did I mention I hate Gwyneth Paltrow?

Later! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Once upon a time . . .

Oklay, I know I said I would talk about the book fest and be all, like, professional, but I'm feeling a bit nostalgic tonight. On the radio while I was driving home from dinner I heard the song You're the Meaning in My Life by Chicago. Probably the most drippy song ever written, but it was the soundtrack to my very first slow dance. Sixth grade, a humid gym strung with crape paper, the whole bit. I had a pink taffeta dress with big, pouffy sleeves. His name was Erik something, he was tall and very skinny with sort of fluffy blond hair. Jeez, now that I think about it we must have looked like the dance scene in Napoleon Dynamite! Dorks in luv.

See, I don't remember his last name, or really much about him, except the fact that his locker was near mine and I used to hang out there all the time hoping he would walk by and notice me (a dating staple of mine throughout high school). But I DO remember how I felt at that dance, all nervous and tingly and giggly and scared and foolish. Hey, I still feel that way on first dates--though hopefully my wardrobe choices have improved! Maybe that's why I love writing romances so much. I want to create that nervous, giddy, frightened, can't wait to see what happens next, he'd better kiss me or I'll just die feeling, over and over--but have it happen to people other than me.

So, to all my poor characters I put through the first date, first sex ringer, to all of you out there reading this, and to Erik whatever your name is, have a slow dance for me tonight. I think I'm just going to finish watching my DVD (Stage Beauty, because, despite the eye liner, Billy Crudup is kinda hot!) and forget about the fact that tomorrow is Monday and it is back to work for me.

My LM cover! Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

My "boyfriend" Orlando (the pic I currently have on my computer)!!! Posted by Hello


All right, I promised to talk about new career directions. I'm an eclectic reader, will read anything put in front of me (almost), and I also get a bit bored and fidgety as a writer. I have to try new stuff, new challenges, or I go crazy. So, this is what I have out there now. A sequel to LADY MIDNIGHT, titled (originally) LADY JADE, which tells the story of Julian, the hunky villain, and how he's redeemed by his love for Christina Lindley (the hero's scientist sister in LM). A weird, paranormal/fantasy, LORD OF THE RINGS-ish type thing called ACROSS A FIERY SEA, set in ancient Ireland, centered around four sisters with special powers (I love, love, love this story, and hope some brilliant editor out there takes a chance on it). A historical set in sixteenth century Venice, A KISS OF POISON, with an alchemist heroine, a pirate hero, and (you guessed it) a rash of poisonings in the city. These are all floating around out there now, my poor babies, to be judged harshly. I hope I raised them well.

Then there is the story I'm working on now. I was an English lit major (hard to believe, I know!). Just to be sure I was totally unfit for any job in the real world, I specialized in Elizabethan poetry. My parents were so happy their tuition dollars were being well-spent. Now I can tell them I'm actually using my degree, because the story stars the ghost of Sir Philip Sidney (courtier, poet, soldier, all-around studmuffin of the Elizabethan Court) as the hero. The heroine is an English lit professor (another woman using her degree wisely), who holds the key to releasing him from his ghostly curse. So--whaddya think???

Maybe my current obsession for sword-wielding hotties has not so much to do with my expensive and heretofore useless degree, but with the fact that I have now seen the film KINGDOM OF HEAVEN twice. I'll admit it right up front--I have a terrible teenybopper crush on Orlando Bloom. Pics of him taped to my computer, all that sort of stuff. I would happily sit and watch him read the phone book on screen for two hours. The fact that he usually appears in costume epics (my fave!) is just gravy. He is particularly hunkalicious in this movie, though he doesn't take his shirt off nearly often enough, IMO. I never was much of a "alpha male" girl, though I make an exception for Clive Owen. I much prefer lanky, soulful Brits like my darling Orlando, Jude Law, Jonathon Rhys-Myers, and that guy from Sliding Doors (the funny one who always quotes Monty Python, not the sleazebag--what can I say? I'm a sucker for a good Python quote). But a lanky, soulful Brit who can also go literally medieval on someone with a broadsword? Sign me up, baby!

Anyway, if you haven't see KOH yet, go go go! The line is bound to be shorter than for Revenge of the Sith, and the dialogue way better (though Hayden Christensen appears to have much to recommend him now). I have to go to the Oklahoma Festival of the Book tomorrow, or I would probably go for a third time myself. More about the Festival (and musings on cute movie stars) later . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Me, at Wailea, Hawaii! Posted by Hello

In the beginning . . .

Okay, I have given in! I've followed the herd and started a blog. I resisted at first--I am soooo vanilla, my life so boring, that I was sure I wouldn;t have something even mildly interesting to say every day. But, heck, I'm a writer. I can't resist the chance for a little neurotic navel-gazing--with witnesses! I am so there. And this is my first entry.

A little about me--I live in Oklahoma with two cats who scheme to take over the world, a Pug dog who just schemes to get her dinner early, and a Poodle puppy who is just insane. I'm single--so you'll probably be hearing a lot about my Dating Adventures, brace yourself. 30 years old, going on 12, at least it feels that way most days. 30 sounds like it should be so mature, so "together", doesn't it? You'd think, but no. Almost all the time I feel like I should still be passing notes in American History class, angsting over getting a prom date. Speaking of notes, at what age did the note saying "Do you like me? Check yes or no" pass out of favor as a dating strategy? It sounds like a good idea to me. Anyway, yeah, 30. I have often tried to get my 24-year-old brother to trade ages with me, through some dark witchcraft spell or something, but no go. I think he suspects he would have to give up his mountain-biking, snowboarding ways for the joys of a "real job" and a mortgage, were he to suddenly find himself at the Big 3-0. Little does he know how much you can get away with if you're a starving artiste like me (bwahaha!).

When I'm not chasing the crazy Poodle around the house trying to get her to stop eating toilet paper, I sometimes do sit down and write. I have 10 or 11 Regencies from Signet on my shelf (check out my website,, if you'd like to see them. Look for the extra from the road show of Grease as the "hero" on a couple of the covers). My first single title came out just this month--LADY MIDNIGHT, Signet Eclipse. Jeez, am I glad this book is finally on the shelves! I dragged it kicking and screaming into the world, and I'm so darned proud of it. It's a weird sort of historical, Gothic-y, slightly paranormal, up from tragedy into grand passion story, set in Yorkshire in 1820. It has a fab cover, too. And a hunkalicious villain. Am not sure where I go from here, career-wise. This is a time of huge transition for me (brace yourself for hearing a lot more about THAT, too). But I do know I want to try something different, something off-the-wall. More on that later . . .