Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween's Top 10

Shut off the lights, curl up on the sofa under your Snuggie Blanket, have your bowl of popcorn close, keep the candy for yourself and lose yourself in my Halloween Movie Top 10 list.

1. Halloween series [Whether the 70 & 80s versions or Rob Zombie's remakes]
2. Scary Movie 1 & 2 [Only ones worth watching]
3. Scream 1 & 2 [Same as Scary Movie]
4. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
5. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
6. Nightmare on Elm Street [A young Johnny Depp being sucked into a bed]
7. Practical Magic
8. The Witches of Eastwick
9. Rebecca [Hitchcock has to be included]
10. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir [For the romantic that likes a little paranormal activity]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Romantic Lead

Creating an utterly delicious romantic lead is always a challenge for a romance writer. Either the hero is Alpha or Beta but each male type must possess heroic qualities. He must be handsome, humorous, honorable, adventurous, smart, loving, romantic, and must have the ladies conjuring up sinful thoughts.

He could be the rake who dances with the wallflower at Almack's, a cowboy who swoops up the heroine and rides into the sunset, the solider who defends his nation and looks dishy in his uniform.

He's the man that wouldn't let anything stand in the way of protecting his lady love. He'd profess those three little words, albeit after a struggle, but his love is never in doubt to the heroine.

Now people say that a man like that doesn't exist and never could outside the pages of a romance novel. I disagree. The retort would no doubt be, "Name one."

Patrick Swayze.

He was a hero--whether in Ghost, North vs. South, Dirty Dancing or The Outsiders, and in real life, loving one woman for 34 years, he was the perfect romantic lead.

I certainly fell for him when I first saw him in The Outsiders. I never finished reading the book because my pre-teen self knew that the book didn't have all the cute boys. I, much like other girls, wished I was Baby. I wept in Ghost and cheered when he protect his love. Though, those characters are memorable, the greatest thing about Patrick was his realness--his charms that outweigh his flaws. And when others speak of their love for Patrick Swayze, all I can say is Ditto.

Do you have a romantic hero in your life? And what do you look for in the perfect hero--flaws and all?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An Oldie maybe now a Goodie

In high school, I had to read Wuthering Heights. I hated it! I can't remember now the exact reasons for my hatred. If someone mentioned moors to me, I rolled my eyes and huffed my disdain. I couldn't even watch one production of the book. I love Jane Eyre but Catherine and Heathcliff made me cringe. Though, I love his name--there's something about the way it falls from the lips--for me it was a waste of paper.

During my weekly trip to the bookstore, I spotted the Penguin Classics editions with the illustrated covers by the artist Ruben Toledo. (The other titles are Pride & Prejudice, The Scarlett Letter) I wanted to purchase the book just for the cover. My frugal mind told me it was a waste of money since the book had me crinkling my nose in disgust. So, I stood there, studying the cover and trying to remember why I hated it. Was it youth? Maybe it was my not fully understanding the customs of 19th century England. Maybe age and understanding might change my mind. I duly purchased my copy.

As I read the beginning I felt nothing had changed.
Then as Mrs. Dean began to tell Cathy and Heathcliff's story, much like Mr. Lockwood, I was sucked in by the passion and pain that comes with love denied. A universal theme that a romantic at heart doesn't enjoy. And though, Emily Bronte might not have given Cathy and Heathcliff a happy ending, she showed us readers another side of love. With all the emotional ups and lows. As I read Emily's words, I feel them alive in me. Isn't that what every writers wants? To have the reader lost in the tale, feeling what the characters are experiencing and enduring.

Wuthering Heights will be added to my fav list. Maybe Emily's tale will make me a better writer. Is there a novel that you might give a second chance or have you all ready? Do you think your opinion will change or remain the same?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Go Western, Romance Reader

Westerns are dead - killed by the romance reader who doesn't buy them. That's the response I've received from agents and editors about my western, Loved by You.

The tale of Melissa and Calder came to me and became such an infatuation that I had to put fingertips to keyboard. For about three years, I've worked, tweaked, and polished my manuscript. When I mailed it out, either by snail mail or electronically, the replies were great story but the market for this genre isn't there. Then this past week, numerous blogs- Misadventures of Super Librarian, Petticoats & Pistols, Ramblings on Romance and The Good, the Bad and the Unread, banded together and started the Great Western Drive.

I cheered when I read their posts. I was ready to hitch up my wagon and join the drive. (Forgive the "hitching up" remark, I just had to make it.) I love Westerns. The rugged often emotionally scarred hero with an unwavering code of ethics, the strong heroine who can work the land as good as any man, the raw settings and the conflict and danger that can ride in with the stagecoach. That combination is the reason why I love the sub-genre and why I lay down my dollars for it.

I must not be the only person (my friend and fellow western writer Patt Mihailoff pens them still) since The Bridegroom by Linda Lael Miller is #26 on New York Times best seller's list. I sure didn't buy all those copies. I wonder if my fellow readers are waiting for more westerns. Are you? Have you ever read a western? Do you consider yourself a fan of the sub-genre? If so, which one is your fav? And if not, would you try one out?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I love romance novels. I would rather buy a romance (more like dozens) than shoes. And I have the closet crammed with paperbacks to prove it. That's why I laugh when I hear that some women hide their novels behind anything so long as the world doesn't see the bare-chested hero and the heroine with her unraveling corset. Not I, I proudly display the covers. Some are mass-marketed works of art. Eloisa James' covers are visual delights and Sourcebooks reissues of Georgette Heyer's novels are works of art from a time long ago.

Yesterday, I was in a bookstore, searching for a romance to purchase (I decided on The Bridegroom by Linda Lael Miller), an employee came over to help a female customer. She curled her lips and said, "oh this is the section with the Fabio covers." Not able to stop myself I told her that Fabio hadn't graced the covers in years. She gave me an embarrassed smile and hurried away.

I doubt the woman ever read a romance novel. And she's the one missing out on some great tales. In full disclosure, I have a 80s romance with Fabio and his long golden locks predominantly featured.

I'm never ashamed to hold my novel before all. One wouldn't hide a James Patterson novel or a Philippa Gregory book even one of those juicy biographies about some silly scandal.

So my fellow romance lovers, proudly display your novels, whether they're frothy hues of a Regency or the dark Gothic style of a paranormal.