Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Men in Tights. And Heels. And Wigs.

My husband and I went to the Hasty Pudding show the other night (hey, I don't live near Broadway; this is the closest I can come to competing with Kristina's show reviews). For those who don't know, the Hasty Pudding is Harvard's answer to RuPaul: college boys in drag. Here are a couple of them kissing up to Ben Stiller, in a very skanky bra and headband. The show they put on is what you might expect from college boys: some slapstick, some bad jokes, some self-deprecating jokes, a lot of awful puns, and a woman with three breasts. If this doesn't sound funny to you, well, that's why I recommend a two martini minimum. Everything is a lot funnier after two martinis, but especially a group of guys trying to dance in high heels (bonus: one guy lost his wig during it!). Also, it really mellows you out while trying to find the lone unoccupied parking space in Cambridge, and then squeezing your car into it.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, copy Kristina's reviews. The show this year is called The Tent Commandments. A freak show and a circus are existing, testily, side-by-side, until they actually read the Tent Commandments (the tablets look just like the ones Charlton Heston had), and find out that they can't exist side-by-side. There's a subplot about a Frenchie who wants to assassinate an elephant, a witchdoctor who can't quite get her spells straight, and a lovelorn three-breasted woman who wonders why she can't find a man who loves her ("Because nobody's got three hands!" the other characters tell her). Even the names are jokes: the trapeze artist is named Will U. Bellomy. Say it quickly. Emphasize the O.

So we're watching this show, groaning at times, laughing at others (remember the martinis), and what should appear in this show, written by college guys, starring college guys, performed by college guys in dresses, but romance. Not one, not two, but three romantic relationships! Four, if you include the elephant's unrequited passion for the French guy. And it made me think (much later--those were good martinis) that romance pops up way, way, way more than people think. Star Wars. Terminator. Every sitcom and medical drama on TV. For all those condescending stories about 'bodice rippers' and 'chick porn,' there's an awful lot of romance woven into every genre of entertainment.

So where's the most unexpected place--TV show, book, movie, YouTube clip--you've seen a romance play out? And did the romance help or hurt the rest of the work?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Extrovert or Introvert?

Many, many years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test. It indicated, among other things, that I'm an introvert. I tell people this and they don't believe me. Even my husband doesn't believe it. (Well, he is probably more introverted than I am.)

It's true that I can pretend to be outgoing. With four sons, I haven't had the luxury of hiding in my cave. I've run the swim team and the cub scouts. I'm not afraid of a microphone, and I can stand up in front of a crowd and give a speech if I have to. I even enjoy it, sort of. But it's a stretch for me.

Take conferences, for example. I like meeting new people, but I can only take so much of it. I'm not good with names for one thing, and there always seems to be that moment when I insert my foot in my mouth and chew vigorously all the way up to my kneecap.

Actually, I think my life goes in cycles. There are times when I have to get out there. (This is one--my next book, The Naked Earl, comes out April 3, so I've been working on online interviews and other promotion.) But then I'm eager to retreat from the world--even from the Internet. I curl up on my living room loveseat, my laptop--purposely sans Internet card--on my lap, look out the picture window at the park and the people walking by, and leave reality, getting into my character's heads and hearts.

What about you? Extrovert or introvert? And what do you think marks the difference?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just About Sex

My first book for Harlequin/Kimani Press, Just About Sex, debuts March 1st. JAS is the story of Dr. Simone Beaupre, a sex therapist and columnist, who runs afoul of attorney Alex Greene when she prints a letter sent in by his disgruntled ex. Greene demands an apology, and when Simone refuses, he sets out to teach her a little lesson. Naturally they fall in love.

I had lots of fun writing JAS, and especially thinking about sex therapists and how they’d help couples improve their relationships. Which got me to thinking, and this is the topic for the day: what one question would you pose to a relationship expert if you had the chance? I’ll start, so here goes: is it true men only hear every third word their wives say? Or is it that they only hear the verbs and not the nouns?

What about you? What relationship question have you always wanted to ask an expert?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Music & Lyrics

I've been waiting for a week to see this movie, and I'm going with a couple of friends this afternoon to celebrate the fact that I just turned in my latest book to my editor (yay!) and can play hookey with a clear conscience!

I'm a big Drew Barrymore fan, and I think Hugh Grant is the cuteness. I really liked him and Liz Hurley together, but, ya know, if you can't figure out how to get sex without paying for it (being Hugh Grant, yet!), you deserve to lose a gal like Liz.

My favorite Hugh Grant movie is Sense & Sensibility. I just adore him in that movie.

What about you? Fave Hugh Grant flick?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Wonderful Tea Party

Yesterday I went to an "Old Fashioned Tea Party" at Fort Meade. Kim, the woman in the middle of this picture, organized a fabulous event for the Ft. Meade Officers' Wives' Club. Kathryn Falk from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine was there as well as a host of authors--Cathy Maxwell, Mary Jo Putney, Rebecca York, and others including me and Diane Perkins/Diane Gaston. (In the picture, I'm the tallest one on the left and Diane is on the right.) Everyone was invited to wear vintage clothing. There was quite a variety of hats, gloves, pearls, and pins.

Diane and I drove together--well, Diane drove and I navigated. We got there a little late--blame the Washington, D.C., area traffic--but there was still time to mingle before we had to report to our assigned tables. I truly lucked out--I was seated at the "Best Scones and Tea" table. This is not an exaggeration! Pam, our table hostess, baked all the goodies herself and they were to die for! (I'm afraid I had to give myself a dispensation from Ash Wednesday fasting--to do otherwise would have been rude, and surely rudeness is a sin....) She also brewed a very creative selection of teas.

I have a few friends who are part of military families, but my contact with the services is really very limited. What struck me yesterday was the strength of the women in the room. They knew how to manage their families on their own, how to move across the country or the world and make new friends--and how to have a good time while doing it all! (Perhaps I should own up to the fact here that I have basically lived my whole life in one little corner of Maryland.)

So here's a shout out to all our men and women in the military--especially those in combat--and to their spouses who keep the home fires burning!!

PS--Happy 90th anniversary to Ft. Meade!

PPS--Diane grew up in a military family and has a wonderful article about her mother here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Puppy love

This is my dog. I took this picture to show her as the spoiled little princess she is, right down to the tiara (provided by my daughter). She sat still for it because I had a large dog biscuit in my hand; otherwise the tiara would have been a bit of mangled plastic in approximately 2.4 seconds, and the dog would have been romping all over the room, because...well, because she's spoiled and we thought it was so cute when she was small we didn't train her out of it. Now we have a 65 lb beast running wild in the house, over, under, and around us all.

When I read about the climbers who slid down the mountain and survived thanks to the dog they brought with them, I was not surprised. The dog, a Labrador retriever mix, lay on top of the climbers to help them keep warm in the sub-zero temperatures until they could be rescued. What a great dog! What protective instincts! Yup, all true, but... My dog's numero uno, A-#1 favorite place to be is right on top of me. She'll settle for my feet, but in her perfect world, in her little doggy fantasies, she is allowed to get right up on the couch and drape herself across me as I try to work, with her head on my shoulder (so she can lick my ear from time to time). In fact, she's at her calmest and most docile the closer she is to me (or to my husband--she's also a daddy's girl). I think she's a smart girl and knows she'll be kicked off if she wriggles around, but I also think she's just about reached her nirvana and doesn't need anything else. Not even dog biscuits. And boy, does she put out warmth.

So now I know: if I am ever climbing a mountain*, in the winter**, without a team of rescue mountaineers right behind me***, I'll take my dog.

*Not likely
**REALLY not likely
***Oh, @%&?# NO

Monday, February 19, 2007

You Go, Girls!

Did anyone else notice the plethora of romance novelists—current and former—atop the NYT print lists for the week of February 25? I did, and I counted fourteen. That’s right. Fourteen. Janet Evanovich, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Gardner, Barbara Delinsky, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Sherrilyn Kenyon, just to name a few. Yeah, Nora’s on there, too.

I’m not sure why I’m so excited about this. I don’t know any of these women personally (although I DID meet Susan Elizabeth Phillips on an elevator once and she was perfectly lovely), and I’m certainly not getting paid to endorse them. Maybe it’s because of all the snarky comments we romance authors get—“when are you going to write a REAL book?” etc., etc.--that makes this feel like a wonderful validation. The New York Times reports that romances account for 55 % of all mass market popular fiction sold every year. This isn’t news to the millions of people that read and love romances, but it’s still cool to see the rest of the world recognizing what lots of us already know: there are a lot of damn good romance authors out there.

So I say: you go, girls! WTG!

Which of your favorite NYT bestsellers were on the list this week?

Puffickly Ha-YOOOGE Inspiration

Most writers have an inspiration in some form that they reflect on. Keeps them going, at times, or makes them strive for something higher in the long run. I have a few, but one of my biggest inspirations is the writings of Stephen King. He is, to me, a puffickly ha-yooge master of his craft. PUFFICKLY HA-YOOGE belongs to Mr. King, and it's one of my favorite phrases in the latest of his books that I'm reading, LISEY'S STORY. If you're a King fan and you haven't read it yet, go for it. It's fantastic-enough that, without REALLY being blunt with his horror, he can, hours later, even (IF you like this sort of stuff!), creep you out! You may not even know you're BEING creeped out until it's already happened. For me-NINE days away from my deadline, I probably shouldn't be reading the darn thing. I'll read a chapter, go to sleep, and then WHACK-it has me tossing and turning and FREAKING OUT! Lol!

Who's your inspiration? And if you're a reader, is there that one particular author who just really does it for you, in a Puffickly Ha-Yooge way?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mommy madness

I've been AWOL around here lately, but I do have an excuse note from the doctor. Actually, it's not from my doctor, it's from the surgeons who recently took care of one of my kids. The kid is doing great now--you know a kid is feeling like himself when he starts fighting with his sister again--and finally, I am, too.

Before this surgery, we tried to be pretty calm and matter-of-fact about it to our kid. By this, I mean my husband ordered me not to cry in front of him, because I was a nervous wreck. All the logical truths in the world did not erase the fact that it was my baby who was going into the OR. Every newspaper in the world seemed to be filled with stories of surgery gone wrong, complications and malpractice and death. Little kids, big kids, kids whose cute pictures were in the paper: "this child left a coma...brain damaged...DEAD... by incompetent doctors." Even though I knew, and fully believed, that my son had an excellent surgeon (one of the top specialists in his field), that the surgery would be done at an excellent children's hospital (one of the best in the country), that the odds of anything remotely bad happening were very, very small, and that this treatment was the right decision for our child...I was still a nervous wreck.

Before they operate, the hospital gave me the consent forms to sign, all those papers that are legally obligated to inform you of the risks, however small, of paralysis, brain damage, blindness, seizures, and DEATH from the anesthesia. For myself, I read the paper and sign it. For my child, I wanted to cross it all out and write instead, 'hurt him and I will kill you all.' Just so everyone knew where we really stood.

There's something fundamentally irrational about being a mother. I'm not even talking about the original supposition of bearing children, which is that the mother has to endure fifteen hours of labor while the father talks football with the obstetrician. I'm over that (really, honey, I am. No, really. It was VITALLY important that we handicap the Superbowl while I was screaming in agony). There's a sort of madness that overtakes a woman when she holds that tiny little creature next to her heart for the first time, and if the madness ever lifts...I haven't hit that point yet. It's not a question of biology; my father was adopted, and my grandmother had the same madness. It's definitely something else, more like the way hard drugs permanently change your brain. Once you get a hit of that maternal feeling, you can't go back. You're not quite sane anymore. Let something or someone threaten your child, and that person or thing is toast, no matter what. Not for nothing did Kipling write:

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Go, she-bear.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Theater Review--Journey's End with Hugh Dancy

Yesterday we had a blizzard here in NYC--our first big storm of the season. On Valentine's Day, no less. Oh, how I wanted to stay safely warm indoors all day, in my jammies. However....the day had come, at last!!!!!! About a month ago, when I first heard that actor Hugh Dancy (you might know him as Prince Char in Ella Enchanted, or as Galahad in King Arthur, or Essex in the Elizabeth I miniseries with Helen Mirren) was making his Broadway debut in the classic play, Journey's End, I knew I HAD to go. ASAP. While the play was still in previews (it opens Feb. 22nd). So, I called hubby at work and said we must go see *this* show, on Valentine's Day. That would be my present. He said, "Okay, but I'm not sitting in the second row." Grrrr. Okay, I got eighth row. We got a pre-theater dinner reservation at a restaurant we'd been dying to try, Chef Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne, and everything was rosy. Till 5 p.m. yesterday, when I had to trudge through the blowing, icy snow, down mostly unplowed streets, across huge drifts of snow to the subway station. As if that weren't enough, just walking from the 42nd Street station over to 44th and 5th was a nightmare--there were piles and piles of dirty slush everywhere, in every intersection. Blech! Finally made it to dinner (a half hour late--luckily hubby made it there on time so we didn't lose our precious reservation!). Dinner was fabulous, and then we moseyed over to the theater and settled into our seats (while I cursed that I *could* have had second row).

Okay, you're wondering....was it worth it?! Was it better than hunkering down at home in my PJ's?! Two words...OH YEAH! It was fabulous! The play, a WWI drama, was written by R.C. Sherriff and was first produced in 1929, with the then-unknown 21-year-old Laurence Olivier playing Capt. Stanhope, the role now played by Hugh Dancy. It was very powerful, very moving (and probably was more so just after WWI), and VERY well acted by the talented ensemble cast. The entire three-act play takes place in a dimly-lit bunker in France, near the British front lines (with the Germans just across 'no man's land'). It was probably one of the first portrayals of the harsh realities of war--where the men were scared half out of their wits, yet incredibly brave at the same time. It seemed very real, very human. And yet so civilized. ("Would you like a nice cup of tea, sir?" "Why yes, quite.") For me, the real indicator of the show's success was the fact that I absolutely believed that, just beyond the bunker, past the door and up the stairs, were lines and lines of British soldiers, standing in trenches dug into the French coutryside. The pounding guns in the distance seemed so real, and the danger felt palpable. I cared about these characters, about who would live and who would die.

Anyway, kudos to Hugh Dancy on a terrific Broadway debut--I imagine there will be many flattering comparisons made to the young Olivier in the same role, and any praise will be well-deserved. He had an incredible stage presence (and he's a big guy--much bigger than I expected him to be), and his performance was sympathetic and moving--an excellent 'tortured hero' as we in the romance world like to say. And, of course, there's the fact that he's just simply gorgeous.


OH, and I almost forgot!!!!! Check out the mini-teaser trailer for my upcoming book, TO LOVE A SCOUNDREL, on YouTube! Just click on the arrow below to play, and let me know what you think.

A contest! A contest!

We're going to be having a big contest here on Muse/News next week, but in the meantime, get your contest mojo going by stopping by my blog...where I'm giving away an Advance Review Copy of Rises the Night, the second installment in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles (due out in June).

You have until Saturday to enter!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

History states that the martyr, St. Valentine, died on February 14, 269 A.D. and left a goodbye note for his jailer's daughter, who he'd befriended. The note was signed "From Your Valentine". It's probably safe,though, to assume that most people don't think of martyred saints when they think of Valentine's Day.

Personally, I think first of chocolate.

Next I think of Zeus the son of Jupiter and Venus, usually known as Cupid.

I feel a little awkward about Valentine's Day as a holiday to profess love because, quite frankly, aren't we supposed to do that all year? My head tells me that it's a contrived money grab and society reinforces it with stores filled to the rafters with Valentine paraphernalia and television commercials for heart-shaped diamond pendants. Still, I admit I get sucked in. I want something on Valentine's Day. Not diamonds (though I wouldn't throw them away ha ha) but a romantic, sentimental card and, yes, chocolate.

How about you? Are you hoping for flowers, chocolate and romance today, or do you ignore all the hoopla?

Yeah. Right.

So apparently, this restaurant in London is offering free food to models. (Read complete story here.)

Um. Can I say I'm just not blown away by their generosity?

First of all, skinny models don't eat diddly. So it's not as if the restaurant is going to be giving away any great donation.

Secondly, if models wanted to eat, they'd eat. Hell-o!

And third, which is the part that grinds my butt the most, is: if they want to give away free food, why the heck don't they give it to people who can't afford it? Like, say, the homeless?

I'm sorry, but I'm ticked. This restaurant is using the whole skinny-model scandal to try and create a PR moment, which I generally have no problem with--but for crying out loud....why not do some good if you're going to donate things?

It's like offering ice to eskimos. Only tackier.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I think it's fun to find out the wide-spread interests of writers and readers. Some people chronically read the same type of books, same genre, same sub-genre. Others (like me!) have a severely wide arc of reading interests.
Note the photo: that's my nightstand. Not the greatest of pics, but I didn't want it to look staged! I've got everything from Peter Pan in Scarlett (GREAT book!), to This Is All I Ask (LOVE LYN KURLAND!), to Fire and Hemlock (great young adult!) to Lisey's Story (LOVE STEPHEN!) to my latest TBR addition, Hannibal Rising (SHUDDER!).
My husband shakes his head at my teetering reading pile, and can't understand why I have to have so MANY there. Well, because one night, I might want to fly in a pirate's ship over olde London, or pretend I'm the heroine whose hero is blind but the most absolute strongest, handsome knight in all of Medieval England, and the next night, pull the covers up to my eyes so the scary words of Stephen King blurs enough so not to freak me totally out. Lol!
What's on YOUR nightstand? Do you stack your TBR's right next to you, or do you chose them at random and read them all the way through?
Now, there are a few exceptions with me. When I've been waiting on my favorite author's newest release, I will set aside all other reads to start/finish that particular one. Otherwise, it's whatever grabs me.....

Friday, February 09, 2007

What's SEX got to do with it?

Remember that Tina Turner 1984 chart topper "What's love got to do with it?" Sex and love--certainly not synonyms, but so

I write romance, so the question of sex and love crops up frequently. What's a proper balance? The genre allows a wide range of variation, from inspirationals (love, but no sex) to erotica (which some people would say is sex, but no love--well, many people would say pure erotica is outside the romance genre entirely, but you get my drift). I would venture to guess, however, that the amount of sex in your middle-of-the-road, garden variety romance has increased markedly since I was a young teen in the, um, well, let's just say the latter half of the 20th century, ok? Certainly the amount of sex in the general media--radio, TV, cinema--has.

Is there too much sex in romance novels now? I've heard some readers say they just skip over the sex scenes. They'd be happier if the bedroom door stayed firmly closed, thank you very much. Hmm. Well, that's not me, though I do sometimes find myself scratching my head, thinking, "Is that physically possible??" And I'm not a huge fan of "insert tab A into slot B" scenes, either. I mean, I want to read a romance, not a sex manual.

As I writer, I don't mind writing sex scenes--just don't ask me to read them aloud! I like writing interactions between my characters, whether they are arguing, teasing, or making love. Action shows emotion--and the act of sex can reveal the nature of the characters' love for each other.

So, what about you readers and writers out there in the blogosphere? What's sex got to do with it? Is there too much in today's romances? Should we close--and lock--the bedroom door? Have things gone too far...or have they not gone far enough?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Top Ten Quirky Things I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know About RISK

  1. Angela, the heroine, has no maternal instincts when she sets out to adopt Maya, her 3.5 year old orphaned niece;
  2. Angela is a control freak who believes children should be seen and not heard, children should NOT watch TV, and children should not make messes (*snicker!*);
  3. Angela is a neat freak who frequently goes overboard with her orange cleaning spray;
  4. Justus, the hero, loves children and is a devoted uncle to Maya;
  5. Justus teaches Maya to play chess with a Wizard of Oz chess set;
  6. Justus falls in love with Angela at the wedding reception of his brother and her sister;
  7. Justus is seventeen at the time and Angela is twenty-four;
  8. Ten years later, Justus relentlessly pursues Angela;
  9. Justus believes that, “A woman’s body is a complicated instrument… You don’t blame the Stradivarius if the violinist can’t play”; and
  10. Justus is a virtuoso who wins Angela’s heart and sets her skin on fire.

So what about it? Have I convinced you to run right out and buy ten or twelve copies of Risk? What are some of the quirky things you love in your favorite romance novels? Commenters will have a chance to win a signed copy of Risk at the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's got to be a guy thing...

I love men. I really do. I mean, they make life frustrat--er, interesting. Not to mention spicy, if they're behaving. You know?

But recently, I've heard of two really dumb things that a couple of guys that I know did. Tell me, would a woman do this?
Yeah, I have to admit a genetic connection to the guy whose truck is pictured here. It's my uncle, who lives in the very cold, very snowy Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And, yeah, he's a mature guy--not a youngster who shouldn't know any better.

He was out checking the ice for a big ice-fishing thing, and saw tracks on the ice. So what does he do? Figures it's okay and drives his truck out onto the ice.

The minute he heard the crack, he was out of the truck--dog in tow--and slogging back to the shore (thank goodness it was near the shore of an inland lake). He had to walk 4.5 miles in 0-degree weather, wet from the waist down, to get to shelter. D'oh!

I'm sure he's not going to be able to get the truck out 'til spring thaw...which, in the UP, is May.

And here's the other D'oh! moment I witnessed a few weeks ago. (This guy, thankfully, isn't related to me.)

My Music Man and I went to see this band play at a bar. We're sitting near the front, and we know the guys in the band. Including the lead guitarist, Bo, and his wife, with whom we sit and chat for a few minutes. She leaves to go home and put their kids to bed.

So about a half hour later, she returns and sits down near the front of the stage. The band has been playing this whole time, and so they're winding down for a break. Bo yells into the mike, "Ya'll having fun tonight?"

Everyone responds, "Yeah!"

Except one gal, in the front row in a tight t-shirt and a generous rack, says, "No!"

Bo looks at her. "What?"

She says, "I just wondered what you'd say if someone said no!"

He just looks at her and says, still into the mike, "Well, I don't really care what you said, 'cause I've been distracted all night, looking at your chest! [although I think he used a different word]" Then he kind of looks up and says to the rest of the bar at large, "I can say that 'cause my wife went home!"

Ooops. Apparently, he hadn't noticed she'd returned. Poor Bo. I wouldn't want to be in the car with him on the way home that night!

Okay, so. Is this a guy thing? Doing stupid things like this? Or are women just as nuts?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ghosts, Specters...and Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

Ghosts. Specters. Apparitions.
Some claim to have seen them.
Some claim to interact with them.
Some claim to live with them.
Obviously, some claim to whole-heartedly believe in them.
Of course, there are those who don't believe in ghosts, in any form, lingering on Earth for whatever reason, at all. Which, is totally okay. The Professor on Gilligan's Island was an extremely intelligent man. He didn't believe in all that hocus-pocus, nonsensical rubbish, either. But the guy could make a two-way radio out of some scooped out coconut shells and palm grass.
Then, of course, aside from the whole-hearted Believers and the No-Wayers, are the OTHERS: Those peoples who see-saw on the edge of believing/disbelieving. Some won't admit they see-saw. Some probably don't think about it until they're asked, or perhaps when that tingling sensation hits them again--you know, the sensation that makes your skin break out into goosebumps, and you look over your shoulder for no apparent reason? A rush of adrenaline that soars through your veins, makes you look this way and that when you're completely alone? Yeah. That sensation.
The photo above is of The Myrtles Plantation in Lousianna. It's one of the most highly-recognized haunted places in America. I've never been to it, but I'd love to go with a load of girlfriends to stay overnight at their B&B, which is located in the main house. A newlywed couple stayed there their first night as husband and wife. Although they had reservations to stay the entire weekend, by that next morning they were packing up and hauling BUTT. (and no, it wasn't the hysterical woman leading the way--it was her new husband!)
Why? They didn't actually see anything. It was because weird things, unexplained things, had happened all night long and into the morning. Water wouldn't turn off. The door locked on its own. An open closet door slammed shut during the middle of the night. The hot water in the bathroom sink turned on by itself and fogged up the mirror. And both reported they felt someone watching them.
Yep! I'd like to go visit the Myrtles Plantation!
I've experienced a few weird things over time. Nothing seriously concrete, but enough to make me go hmmm. When I'm not writing full time, I'm working as a critical care nurse part-time. I work in an old hospital. In Neuro-ICU, there have been multiple reports over the years from patients who have awakened from sedation and claimed to have seen a little girl in an "old-timey" dress and stockings playing jax in the corner of their rooms, or running around giggling, or bothering the IV pumps. They always question the nurses, since ICU is a No-Kids unit, why we would allow this girl to run around. Willies! There are other times, just as recent as last weekend, when "someone" bothers the IV pump, changes the rate by pushing buttons, etc. And you have to wonder, how do all these patients, admitted over different time periods, all say the same thing?
Of course, I don't work that particular unit. I'm a cardiac nurse, 4 floors down, but lo, the little old-timey girl has sought me out (sort of!). She's "most active" during the winter months, and apparently "travels" from unit to unit. Recently, the nurse I was sharing a hall with came out of her patient's room, white as a sheet. The patient had frantically asked her "who is that little girl over there in the corner? Could you ask her to leave, please? I"m trying to get some rest."
There were, of course, no little girls on the floor. EEK!
According to some very old records, now on microfilm, a little girl, name unknown, had died in that particular area of the hospital at the turn of the century after a long illness.
Another experience was one of those unexplained sensations. Some fellow writers and I stayed in a supposed haunted B&B in Ashville, North Carolina. We rented the top floor, which had been turned into a massive suite. A hundred years earlier, it had been two separate rooms. One of those rooms had been occupied by a party guest who'd had a run-in with the home owner's daughter over a fella. The daughter, in a rage, pushed the guest--a young woman now engaged to the daughter's ex-fiance fella--over the balcony where she fell to her death. Now, I didn't see anything, but there was definitely something there that gave me the complete willies! In particular, an armoire, situated in the main bedroom, along with a tall dormer window. Something about that area kept me awake all night. I constantly felt as though someone was looking at me through the armoire (did I mention this armoire's front was a tall mirror?), or that at any minute I'd see something at the dormer window. I was completely freaked out! (Yes, I DO write ghost stories!). I was skeered!!!
The next night--nothing. Zilch. Funny sensation GONE. Skeeriness, bye-bye. Over-active imagination? Maybe. Or, maybe not.
What makes some people see apparitions, and others not? Is there a plane of existance between time and place as we know it, and an alternate plane where spirits reside, and only certain people are privy to it?

There are those of the Believers status who would consider it.
There are those of the No-Wayers who would laugh at the notion.
And there are those of the Others status who might just go hmmm.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Calling Central Casting

Justus Robinson, the college-basketball-player-turned-personal-trainer hero in my current novel, Risk, is tall, broad-shouldered, dark-eyed and mischievous. I have, as you can imagine, spent hours and hour with Justus, and although I can’t think of anyone in real life who looks exactly like him, actor Henry Simmons, formerly of NYPD Blue, comes pretty close. You might remember Henry. He’s the one with the gleaming skin and flashing white smile. Poor guy. He’s just not that attractive, is he? Ah, well. What can you do?

If I had to cast an actor to play Mike, the hero in my first novel, Trouble, it’d have to be Shemar Moore of The Young & the Restless. I guess he’ll do, huh? If you like those glittering eyes and heavy brows. Some women seem to go for that stuff. Go figure.

No one’s asking me, but if I had to cast an actor for the role of James Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I’d pick Ingo Rademacher from General Hospital. Of course he’d have to dye his hair red for the role, but something about his blue eyes and dimple seem to drive women wild.

And if I had to re-cast the ultimate romantic hero, Gone With the Wind’s Rhett Butler, I’d choose … George Clooney. Couldn’t you just see him telling Scarlett that she’s no lady?

I hesitate to put this much masculine perfection on one web page—I don’t want to hurt anybody—but these actors would be my choices. What about you? Which actors would you cast to play which heroes, and why?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kristina's Top Ten....New iPod Playlist songs

Top Ten songs most recently added to my iPod playlist...

1. Best of My Love by The Emotions

2. White Lines by Duran Duran (this is their cover of the classic Grandmaster Flash song)

3. Perfect Way by Scritti Politti

4. Africa by Toto

5. Owner of a Lonely Heart by YES

6. Groove is in the Heart by Dee-Lite

7. Obsession by Animotion

8. Cactus Tree by Joni Mitchell

9. SexyBack by Justin Timberlake

10. Back To Life by Soul II Soul

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Today I’m Dreaming

It’s been cold. Not the frozen tundra of my memories growing up in Winnipeg but cold just the same. There has been frost on my car in the morning and my teeth have been chattering as I drop the kids off at school. It’s February 1st and I know it won’t be long before my tulips are visible. Still, my soul can’t separate the date on the calendar with the dreary darkened days outside my window.

So I’ve been dreaming of a tropical paradise. Palm trees. The look of a fine young man serving me a drink with an umbrella in it. Sigh. The fantasy is almost complete until the timer sounds on my washing machine LOL!

I’ll tell you a secret, a little dab of coconut suntan oil under your nose can transport your mind to warmer days. It immediately relaxes me. A good book is also my oasis and I can't wait to get my hot little hands on Ann's new book, Risk. That cover makes me warm all over he he.

Are you tired of the drab days of winter? What’s your secret to getting away from it all in your mind? Are you reading anything that takes you to far away lands?