Monday, July 31, 2006
Here’s the photo of my wonderful friends who sat at my table at the luncheon and supported me so much through the whole conference while I sweated the speech. From left to right: Geralyn Dawson, Lisa Klepas, Connie Brockway, Susie Kay Law, Christina Dodd (the only person in the whole great photo who partially has her eyes closed), Eloisa James, Teresa Medeiros, Elizabeth Bevarly and Heather MacAllister. I love having glamorous, successful, exciting, interesting, witty friends who are also the nicest people in the world!
Here are the Chicks Who Lunch at the Pacific Rim Restaurant. That's Lisa sitting on the nest of carrots in front of Connie and Xtina.
Here's a close-up of Lisa. (Note the tiara.)
Here's Teresa schmoozing with the gorgeous Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jacquie D'Alessandro in her spectacular princess dress. (Please note alligator purse with magic wand.)
Here's Teresa with Squawkee regular and Dorchester author Sandy Schwab. Sandy brought Teresa delicious gummy's and a cat calendar all the way from Germany!
Here's Teresa and Eloisa resplendent in white at a signing at the Waldenbooks in the CNN Center.
Here's the glowing Jacquie D. with her adored and adorable husband. She always said she married him because he looked like Donny Osmond so she coaxed him into crooning a verse of PUPPY LOVE to Teresa! They were definitely the cutest couple at the prom that night!
Here's Teresa and Liz at the Librarian's Tea with Eileen Dreyer and Librarian Extraordinaire Joanne Hamilton-Selway. Festive tea cakes and witty librarian conversation were savored by all! (But don't ask Joanne about the cab ride, okay?)
Resident beauty and make-up expert Lisa prepares Xtina for her moment in the spotlight as luncheon speaker.
Teresa and Connie on RITA night. (Did I mention how fabulous Connie's hair was?)
Originally uploaded by Christina Dodd.
I’m posting one of Melissa’s photos of the whole group of our Squawkers at the luncheon! We were so happy and had so much fun! One question — who won the TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS t-shirts?
Here I am with Erin Fry from the RWA Main Office at the 2006 Literacy Signing!
Erin Fry from RWA and Christina at the 2006 Literacy Signing!
Originally uploaded by Christina Dodd.
I know I speak for everyone when I extend my thanks to them for putting on the best conference ever! Everything about the hotel, the workshops, the food, the registration -- everything! -- was wonderful. And the Literacy Signing raised $64,000 for Literacy, the largest amount ever, putting RWA over half a million dollars raised since 1993. Isn’t that great? A big round of applause to everyone who helped put that on!
KITTY REPORTS IN FROM ATLANTA
And the Squawkers came up with a big fat ZERO for the Ritas? Wow. Color me amazed (pffft)
And Xtina got a big fat standing O for her little speech? (double pfft)
So, you guys are gonna have to fill me in. The good news (again...pfft) is that the squawkers are never without cameras to take pictures of their glamorous selves (and yet again---pfft) so let's see 'em!
Liz, having forgotten to take her camera to every single function she attended, instead posts the Good News/Bad News from Atlanta:
Good News: Didn’t gain any weight while at conference.
Bad News: Didn’t gain any Ritas while at conference.
Good News: Got lots and lots of free books.
Bad News: Got lots and lots of free blisters.
Good News: Didn’t have too much to drink and wake up next to a Teamster.
Bad News: Had too much to drink and woke up SOUNDING like a Teamster.
Good News: Developed new addiction to these lovely, healthful yogurt/granola parfaits for breakfast everyday.
Bad News: Developed new addiction to this banana/puff pastry/whipped cream/drizzled chocolate dessert at Dailey’s which would be even better for breakfast everyday.
Good News: Got to hear Xtina’s wonderful, inspiring luncheon speech.
Bad News: Had to listen to Kitty complain about the dearth of sailors in a landlocked city.
Good News: Had MUCH better abs than the rest of the Squawkers and took pride in pointing that out.
Bad News: Got smacked around a lot by the rest of the Squawkers.
But the best news is that I got to meet a lot of the Squawk Radio visitors and found them delightful! And boy, was the conference fun.
TERESA'S TOP 5 FAVORITE MOMENTS IN ATLANTA
1) Dreaming that Keifer was my boyfriend and had invited me to attend the Emmys with him... (Oh, wait...were these supposed to be conscious moments?)
2) Watching Christina finally get the Big "O"! Um...that would be the standing
ovation she received from the 2100 listeners after her "Sidewalk of Success" luncheon speech. Being ever modest (in a Han Solo way), when I grabbed her for a hug as she descended from the lofty perch of the podium and whispered, "You nailed it", she just grinned and said, "I know."
3) Doing the can-can at a party with a chicken hat on my head
4) Meeting so many amazing Squawkees at the Squawkee luncheon arranged by Melissa. Biting the heads off of PJ's chocolate chickens while cuddling Sarah's crocheted chicken.
5) Dancing like a wild woman at the Harlequin Party and singing every single line of Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" at the top of my lungs with 300 other authors
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Just got home from the RWA conference after a 5 1/2 hour drive from Atlanta. It's rather lovely to drive alone, isn't it? Especially since you can listen to all of your favorite music on the Ipod plus stop and go to the loo whenever you please. (I counted 8 stops on this trip alone! Of course that's not counting the one to score a frosty Steak 'N Shake chocolate shake at 7 a.m.)
I want to thank our darling Eloisa for keeping the blog alive while we were gone. Of course what she MEANT to say about the RITAS was that it was an honor just to be nominated and that we all wanted to congratulate the wonderful and talented writers who...TOOK HOME ALL OUR FREAKING RITAS!!! Okay, just kidding. They really WERE wonderful and talented and we're not the least bit bitter. (Did I mention that this was my seventh nomination without a single win? Oh, I did? Well, I'm not bitter mind you. It's an honor just to be...oh, never mind!) I'm not sure about Connie but I snapped the candid photo of Eloisa on the left right after the winner in her category was announced.
We'll be sharing lots of Favorite Moments and beaucoups of pics in the coming days so I thought I'd kick it off with the pic at the top of us with hard working and beloved Squawkee Melissa, who orchestrated an official Squawkee lunch for us this year with incredible grace and panache! We also scored lots of amazing new Squawker memorabilia including crocheted chickens from Sarah, gummy chickens, and chocolate chickens from PJ. I had no idea chickens were so versatile! I'd like to show you a picture of the chocolate chickens but well...SOMEBODY ate them. (Probably the same greedy person who gnawed the head off of the chocolate RITA awards they handed out one year as souvenirs.) And here's a link to PJ's fabulous conference photos, many of which strangely enough include me and my fellow Squawkers: http://www.kodakgallery.com/pj/rwa
Welcome back to everyone returning home from the conference and a hearty thank you to all of those who kept the henhouse going while we were gone!!!
Eloisa on THE RITAS (and other tragedies)
I know we've been hopeless bloggers this week. Between us we gave two keynote speeches, nine workshops/panels, seven booksignings, one TV show (Christina), one radio show (Eloisa), attended too many parties, drank too many glasses of champagne to count, and danced wildly into the wee hours to Paradise by the Dashboard Light.
In short....we're a little tired, but I do believe that Kitty is coming by tomorrow and we'll start to post pictures!
Eloisa, signing off to fly back to Florence
Thursday, July 27, 2006
If you were at the Romance Writers of America Conference...
You would spend your evenings at a party. In fact, some people (like the Squawkers) like to go to three or four parties in one night. Parties thrown by friends, by publishers, by agencies... Things can get really exciting as the evening wears on.
So would you expect to see:
1) Liz eat an entire jar of poppycock and then threaten to throw up in a 38 story glass elevator?
2) Lisa developed such an unnatural passion for DOG: Bounty Hunter that she told all the New York editors about the show?
3) Terri take off her shoes and parade around the hotel, up and down the elevators, in her bare feet?
4) Christina drink eight champagne cocktails and became very very very...chatty?
5) Connie put a chicken hat on her head and do a surprisingly sexy can can?
6) Eloisa spray on fake tan, deliberately leaving an untanned spot -- where?
Yes, it's been an exciting conference so far! So who do you think really did the above? And, for the bonus round, who did this:
Boast, in the presence of three New York editors that she'd slept with a man who looked just like Clive Owen and in fact, it might have been him. In fact, it probably was.
Bonus Bonus Round:
What did the New York editors say?
ELOISA'S QUICK CONFERENCE UPDATE!
I'm sorry we dropped the ball yesterday - I was supposed to do something but...sob!...my computer broke somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. So that keynote speech I had to give...the one on Channeling Jane Austen?...well, I actually channeled Jane. Because if she had to give a keynote, she wouldn't have a typed speech to read aloud would she? No! She would have to give a forty-five minute speech from a hand-written list of six bullet points. And she would probably have gone ten minutes over too, just from the pure exuberant enthusiasm of speaking off the cuff and having no one go to sleep.
How am I writing to you now, you might ask? I took a cab to Comp USA where it was determined that my under-warranty Toshiba is dead as the proverbial doornail. No problem! The intrepid international businesswoman (because that's the role I was playing, what with the cab waiting outside and all) buys a new laptop -- anything but a Toshiba and heads back to the hotel.
Why is it that computers break ONLY when you really need them? Why would it break on an international flight when I had to give a keynote? Don't say I'm cursed...has this happened to any of you? Disasters at the last minute? Howls of unfairness echoing up to the heavens? Tears? Grinding of Teeth? Frantic calls to a husband a continent away?
Tell me I'm not alone!
Yours, The Tech Cursed Romance Writer
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Lisa shows you Gibson's "Wall Flower"
A framed copy of this wonderful Charles Dana Gibson print hangs over my desk. For three years I have contemplated this image, which Gibson titled “The Wall Flower” and it has become a personal touchstone and inspiration for my series.
What I love most about Gibson’s “Wall Flower” is that you can read so much into her expression and posture. She isn’t at all defeated or depressed. I see a hint of impatience in the way she sits, and a deliberate attempt to seem casual as she lounges in her solitary chair. I think she knows she’s pretty, and the mystery is why someone so delicious, with her upswept hair and slender neck and frothy dress, would have to wait at all.
This is what I know about the artist, Charles Dana Gibson : he was born in the mid 1800’s, and he was a magazine illustrator. Once he invented the “Gibson girl”, an ideal of womanhood for the 1890’s, he became insanely popular. He was the Elvis of illustration. Gibson girls were willowy, tall, athletic, dreamy, charming, vivacious, utterly romantic . . . they represented what young American women were, and what they aspired to be. And Gibson’s renderings were everywhere, on dishes, tea towels, advertisements, products of every kind. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a Gibson girl.
After the turn of the century, Gibson’s elegant young woman was replaced by an equally delightful creature--the flapper. But I still take pleasure in Gibson’s lovely illustrations, and I wonder why turn of the century romance novels have never caught on. I would love to read and research the fascinating period of the 1890s. Some people say it’s not appealing because of its proximity to the two World Wars. Others say a romance novel doesn’t work when it’s set in a time of exploding technology--in short, a hero is more dashing riding a horse than driving a Model T.
When I started writing early Victorian novels a few years ago, a lot of people warned the time period wasn't sexy enough, with all the corsets and voluminous skirts and starched manners. But that was precisely what fascinated me--the contrast between outward propriety and all the human urges that simmered beneath the surface.
What you you think about alternative time periods for romance novels? Do you like the comfort and familiarity of the Regency and Victorian periods to the exclusion of all other settings? Can American be an appealing backdrop for a historical romance too? If you could read a romance set in any place or time, what would you would wish for?
Monday, July 24, 2006
1) If you're suspected of murdering your first wife, by all means, don't spoil the suspense by telling your new bride that you're innocent. Why deprive her of the chance to wander around your town house/manor house/castle in her semi-transparent nightgown searching for clues? Women love a man of mystery!
2) If you have a lookalike twin/cousin/illegitimate brother, make sure and impersonate him at some point (preferably at a masquerade ball) so you can steal a kiss from your ladylove. Just don't pout and brood if she decides she prefers his kisses to yours.
3) If you fall off your horse, hit your head and develop amnesia, be very suspect of a pretty girl who tries to convince you that you're her long lost fiance or husband.
4) If you're ever afflicted with temporary blindness due to your own selfless, heroic actions in battle, insist that your butler hire the most sharp-tongued shrew he can find to be your new nurse. Her incessant nagging will surely inspire your rapid return to good health.
5) Never try to tame that stubborn forelock that tumbles over your brow. Women love any excuse to tenderly brush it back with their yearning fingertips.
6) If you're rendered unconscious for any reason, continue to feign unconsciousness until your ladylove is compelled to give you a bath. (This could take days depending on how fastidious she is). But do plan on waking up the moment she decides to steal a naughty peek beneath the covers.
7) Always make the time to practice your brooding, sardonic look in front of the mirror. Ladies love that.
8) Cultivate a friendship with a witty, smart-mouthed brother/cousin/friend/valet who can serve as both your confidante and your conscience when the light of your life isn't around.
9) If you find yourself strangely attracted to a slender lad with a particularly pretty face and long lashes, you might want to double check and make sure it's not really some buxom lass masquerading as a cabin boy/squire. (If not, perhaps you've been spending too much time at your gentleman's club.)
10) And most importantly, you may pine for a woman for months (or even years!) but you must never confess your love for her until you're standing on a windswept cliff with the villain thundering toward you and both of your lives in dire peril.
So what relationship advice would you like to give your favorite romance hero?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Liz Scores National
For the hopeful unpublished authors:
P!nk - “Get the Party Started”
Blondie - “Dreaming”
Plimsouls - “Magic Touch”
Teresa James/Rhythm Tramps - “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday”
Don Henley - “The End of the Innocence”
Mason Ruffner - “Courage”
Anna Nalick - “Breathe”
For the jaded--uh, I mean seasoned--published authors:
Good Charlotte - “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”
Smash Mouth - “All Star”
Alphaville - “Big in Japan”
Stephanie Bentley - “I Will Survive”
Tom Waits - “Straight to the Top”
The Lazy Cowgirls - “Frustration, Tragedy and Lies”
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies - “No Mercy for Swine”
For Rita Night, a trio of songs by Social Distortion:
“Winners and Losers”
“Let It Be Me”
“It Coulda Been Me”
For those editor/agent panels that can be a tad frustrating:
Green Day - “Walking Contradiction”
Fine Young Cannibals - “She Drives Me Crazy”
Sixpence None the Richer - “There She Goes”
Foo Fighters - "Hell"
For those editor/agent appointments that can be a tad terrifying:
Cheap Trick - "I Want You to Want Me"
The Cast of "Buffy" - "Walk Through the Fire"
General Public - "Are You Leading Me on?"
UB40 - "Please Don't Make Me Cry"
And finally, for the general, overall conference experience, start to finish:
Marshall Crenshaw - “The In Crowd”
Dave Edmunds - “Girls Talk”
Gin Blossoms - “Hey, Jealousy”
XTC - “Senses Working Overtime”
EELS - “I Need Some Sleep”
Green Day - “Give me Novocaine”
Bowling for Soup - “Last Call Casualty”
Squeeze - “When the Hangover Strikes”
Hoodoo Gurus - “Good Times”
No matter what the conference holds for you--good times or bad, highs or lows, hilarity or melancholy, desolation or jubilation--live by my favorite Green Day lyrics: “A free-for-all. F*** ‘em all.” And have fun in Atlanta, everyone!
Okay, I just KNOW there are a lot more conference-appropriate songs that could be on this playlist. So c’mon! Add to it! What else should we be putting on our iPods for National this year?
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Here I am on vacation...and I suddenly realize that the two good books I brought with me are both finished, another one turned out to be a silly mess and I wish the heroine would lose her job and go homeless instead of just whining about it; and if I have to read The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation aloud one more time, I'll go crazy. Time to go to town!
The problem with vacations, though, is that you don't know where the good bookstores are. The problem is doubled if you are vacationing on a tiny island in Italy. Bookstore? Sure. With English books? You must be joking! But I managed to find a newspaper stand yesterday with a very small rack of foreign books: German, French and a few English. Eragon. My 12-year-old promised it was good, but I couldn't go for it. Don Quixote. A real commitment. Can't do it. A murder mystery about a nun who went homicidal. I'm getting desperate and put it to the side as a possibility while I riffle through four more German books. Finally...
Terry Pratchett. Going Postal A Discworld Novel for $14.00, mass market paperback.
I think I've heard of this person. More: I think that my 12-year-old can read it after me, therefore perhaps silencing a few of his "You're not the boss of me" remarks that are punctuating our vacation.
I buy it...and it's a delight! I'm in love with Pratchett! I may have to buy all 900 discworld novels listed on the back cover, although hopefully not for $14.00.
Truthfully...I would never have bought or read this book but for desperation. It has a goofy cover. The first chapter is "weird," as my 12-year-old reports. It's about a mailman. ho-hum.
But it turns out to be a sarcastic, funny novel about redemption and getting from "I know myself" to "I can do better than myself" -- and there was a romance too. A really nice romance. Plus, you add a bunch of supernatural creatures and a world with magic, and delivering mail is looking a lot more interesting.
What about you? Have you ever been stuck on a less-than-desert island and bought a book you never would have read normally? A drug-store in a one-horse town in the midwest where you discovered a gem? A hospital gift shop with a single rack of paperbacks? Have you ever had a FIND, in other words?
Friday, July 21, 2006
What a world, what a world.
First before I get into the reporting of non-business, you may have noticed that I've never let Brockway chickenify me. Luanne, girl, demand your body back. I mean, I can understand why this is no great come-down for the likes of, say, Medeiros and James, but really, you --like me-- got nothing to hide beneath feathers.
Okay, on with the news. Once again the SQUAWKERS are demanding I update you all on the fabulous and glorious events that account for less than .000001 % of their collective lives. So here goes:
First the only news of real interest:
Melissa has somehow been talked into coordinating an official Squawkee Lunch at the RWA conference in Atlanta for posters to get to know each other. The Squawkers eho are all planning on recovering from...what, Kleypas? Oh. The Squawkers who were already over-committed before Melissa came up with this brilliant plan will try to drop by. Will I be there? Ha! It's before sunset, sweethearts. The Kitty don't prowl til after dusk!
When: Friday July 28th 12 PM
Where: Allie's Restaurant in the Marriott Marquis
If any of you would like to join the party, please e-mail Melissa at: firstname.lastname@example.org so she'll know how many to make reservations for. Thanks to Melissa for coordinating!
Now, SQUAWKER ROLL-CALL
Liz checking in late, and with not a lot to report. I have the artwork for my September Blaze, MY ONLY VICE, so here's that. It's very pretty, I think. In it, recently displaced big city cop Sam Maguire thinks small town florist Rosie Bliss might be selling more than flowers from her shop. And indeed her side line business offers some potent pleasures... (To give it that Eloisa spin.)
And I, too, will be in Atlanta next week. I'll be signing at the Literacy Signing Wednesday night, and again at a Harlequin signing on Saturday at 2:30. So be sure to stop by! I'll also be speaking on two PAN panels, one with the other Squawkers on group blogging, and one on changing publishers.
AND I just mailed off Lila's book to conclude the OPUS quartet, OVERNIGHT MALE. It will be out in May '07.
Eloisa here...that would be Eloisa of the perfectly feathered, perfectly aerodynamic, ready for the Conference Squawk body, thank you very much Kitty! Anyway, now that I've made that little point, I'm trying to remember what's going on the .00001% of my life that isn't trying to figure out What Jane Austen Knew so that I can give a speech on it next Wednesday. Next WEDNESDAY? Panic! Panic! Panic! OK....it turns out there's only .000000005% left after nerves are taken away, and I'm spending most of that imagining myself holding my RITA while Connie sobs (quietly, of course). I will pat her, I promise all of you that. I'm of a generous disposition. Meanwhile, I am busy torturing the Bon-Bon Girls on my BB. These sweet things want me to marry the Earl of Mayne to Josie...am about to post the back cover copy of Pleasure for Pleasure, and cause paraxysms of excitement. I can't tell the other totally exciting thing until Monday (after the Wall Street Journal breaks the story)...maybe Teresa will drop a hint or two because it involves both of us! Check out my site or hers early next week for details.
News? Kitty, honey, I have news!
Rod Steele has been working at my house again! And he’s gorgeous! (Christina Dodd hears the distant roar of Kitty’s Harley.)
I’ve posted a video for TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS on my all-new, redesigned website in the “Members Only” section. Join my mailing list and check it out!
TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS got a boxed, starred review from Booklist — “Dodd will dazzle readers with this fabulously fun tale of danger, desire and diamonds, which features yet another winning combination of the author's trademark smart and snappy writing, delightfully original characters, and deliciously sensual romance."
TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS is on the shelves August 1 — unless you’re going to the National Conference in Atlanta, where it will be sold on July 26 at the Autographing for Literacy, and given away at my luncheon speech. Be there!
Did I mention Rod Steele has been working at my house again?
Kitty, leave him alone!
Rod, you’d better put your shirt back on.
TERESA CELEBRATES WEBSITE RELAUNCH THIS MONTH!
You guys know that Kitty is just jealous because she ALREADY has chicken legs. I'm celebrating the redesign and relaunch of my website this month at www.teresamedeiros.com by giving away not one but TWO ARC's of my upcoming October release THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME. You can enter to win on my Contest Page.
I've cleaned up the website design and added excerpts for all of my books except the first four. (Must retype those since they were originally written on ancient Apple IIC!) I've also added a mini-media kit for my dear friends in the press.
The most exciting thing I have planned in the upcoming week is heading to Atlanta for the RWA conference. Hope to see many of you there at the literacy signing and hope to be-bop by the Squawkee Luncheon to say hello! And yes, Eloisa has a secret. And yes, it's my secret too. But if you lean REALLY close next week, we'll try to let you in on the scooop ;)
Mostly I've been working on some promotions for the upcoming HOTDISH including a video soon to be seen on my new, cross platformed website --- thanks, Molly! IN addition, I've turned in and had accepted the second of my contemporary books, another "Here I am and why is that?" book. It's already got a title, SKINNY DIPPING.
I've also been working, alongside Molly, okay somwhere to the side and about four steps below, to launch the new SQUAWK BLOG.
Along with these other ladies, I'll be at RWA in Atlanta and signing at the literacy book thingie on Wednesday. Unhappily, my plane isn't getting in until late in the afternoon so I won't be there at start time, but probably closer to 6:00 or so. Please look for my place, though, becasue Xtina has promised to set out some HOTDISH postcards.
On Friday, I must swing by Melissa's SQUAWK lunch. What fun! I hope to see you there!
And I've got Saturday night blocked for consoling Eloisa. Because that's the sort of hairpin I am.
Lisa's SCANDAL :
Kitty, dear, I'm going to the RWA conference in Atlanta too! I'll be at the Avon booksigning on Friday morning, autographing copies of my July 25 release : Scandal In Spring. It's the latest (but not final) book in the Wallflower series, which I've decided to extend for three more books. I've been busy writing the next Wallflower book, and I've just learned that my first hardcover contemporary novel, Sugar Daddy, will be released in March '07. St Martins Press, my new publisher, has some really exciting plans for the books promotion, including an author tour, so I'll let you know more about that as I find out! In the meantime, I hope my readers will enjoy Scandal In Spring. And please don't forget to check out the new Wallflower video on my website!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I’m so happy to be here on Squawk Radio—for so long I’ve lurked, getting to know these wonderful writers a little better (for as much as I’ve loved their books, there’s something about this blog that makes me feel I’ve dropped in for iced tea with them)—and now here I am, guest blogger for a day!
In my normal life, I’m more of a seagull than a chicken; that’s because I’m a beach girl at heart and by vocation. June arrives, and the shoes come off. I have salt water in my veins, and I’m happiest with my feet in the sand. SANDCASTLES isn’t just a title: it’s a way of life.
I’m writing this blog from a salty little beach cottage on the Connecticut shoreline. My grandparents built it, and I’ve spend every summer of my life and written most of my books here. It’s not a bad place to fall in love, either. Let’s see…there was the summer cop who used to patrol the boardwalk, the boy who surfed in from the fog, the lobsterman who needed a crew, and the pirate who was after my buried treasure. These are not plotlines—they’re the story of my life. (And Johnny Depp notwithstanding, if you’re going to fall in love with a pirate, I have only one word for you: prenup.)
We have movies on the beach. Have you ever dug a pit in the sand, put down a beach blanket, and snuggled in to watch “How the West Was Won” with your sweetheart while the waves crashed and the moon rose over the sea? It’s pretty great. When I was on Nova Scotia last summer, watching a Lifetime movie being filmed of my novel BEACH GIRLS, there was some talk about substituting another scene for the beach movies—seems that the fierce maritime wind was wreaking havoc with the screen. My heart clenched, and I hoped against hope for the wind to die. Luckily it did, the screen didn’t blow away, and Stevie and Jack got to make out on the beach.
Was it hard going to the set to see Rob Lowe, Chris Carmack, and Wes Brown every day? Yes, of course. But I learned long ago that it’s necessary to sacrifice for my art—I do it for my readers. Because I love you all so much…
SANDCASTLES came with another sacrifice. Last September, for my birthday, I went to Ireland to research the land of my ancestors. I didn’t want to drive myself and risk forgetting to stay on the left side of the road, so I hired a driver. James took me from Dublin through Wicklow, down to West Cork. He was the sweetest red-headed Irishman you can imagine; I interviewed him all through Ireland. His brogue and some of his stories made it into the novel—and he completely made it into my heart. As I said earlier, writing is a very tough life.
Listen, as Teresa, Eloisa, Christina, Elizabeth, Lisa, Connie, and Kitty will tell you—we’re in it for the bird suits. And for having great readers like yourselves…
Teresa and I have the same amazing literary agent, which in the book world is a lot like being related. We hit the high seas together aboard the Levy Cruise in April; you could frequently find us aboard the Lido Deck, planning our next shore excursion. I tagged along with her and Michael to—you guessed it—a beach. It was on a deserted little island off Mazatlan. The sky was azure, the sea endless and blue, the sand as fine as pale pink sugar. Teresa and I shared sunscreen—bonded for life! And now here I am, squawker-for-a-day. I might cry…
Tell me just one thing, before I sign off. What has bonded you for life with someone? A love of the beach? A deep, dark secret? Helpless yearning for Johnny Depp and/or other bad boys? Or something else? I’d love to know…
You can visit Luanne's website at: www.luannerice.com
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I first met Luanne Rice when I was attending the RWA conference in Washington, D.C. a few years ago. She was already one of the bestselling women's fiction authors in the world, but there wasn't a hint of the diva about her. We connected immediately and I can honestly say that she is one of the most kind, warm and gentle souls I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. The warmth you feel in your heart when you read one of her novels is simply an extension of the warmth she projects as a human being. (And we also share a healthy appreciation for pretty men ;))
She began her writing career in 1985 with her debut novel ANGELS ALL OVER TOWN (which was recently reprinted). Since then she has gone on to write over 20 novels, including such bestsellers as CLOUD NINE, DREAM COUNTRY, FIREFLY BEACH, SUMMER LIGHT, TRUE BLUE, DANCE WITH ME and THE PERFECT SUMMER. A number of her novels have been adapted for television including CRAZY IN LOVE for TNT, and BLUE MOON for CBS. Both FOLLOW THE STARS HOME and SILVER BELLS were Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations and BEACH GIRLS is a summer drama series for Lifetime Television.
This summer she has SUMMER OF ROSES out in paperback and her brand new hardcover SANDCASTLES is currently a New York Times bestseller. Luanne resides in New York City and on the Connecticut shorline, in the house where she spent her childhood summers.
Please join me in welcoming Luanne Rice to Squawk Radio!
I'm the youngest of three daughters. In fact, I was an “oops,” a change of life baby, the kid my parents did not plan. My two sisters are nine and eleven years older, and they’ve always delighted in telling horrible stories about me in my very young years, most of them probably true.
Some of them were cute — for instance, there was Christina and the hoppy-hoppy. Apparently when I was two, my mom checked on me in the backyard, and found me sitting very quietly by the dripping faucet, saying, “Hello, hoppy-hoppy. Nice, hoppy-hoppy.” Fortunately, the hoppy-hoppy was getting a drink and paying no attention to me. Unfortunately, it was a mouse.
Then there’s the disgusting stories — for instance, Christina and the empty snail shell. You don’t need me to fill in the details.
What about you? What really cute, really disgusting, really funny story does your family drag out to tell your boyfriend just about the time he's ready to get serious? And, heck, what stories do you tell for payback?
TERESA GIVES YOU AN RWA CONFERENCE ETIQUETTE QUIZ
1) You spot a Squawker's table at the Wednesday Night Literacy Signing. You immediately...
a) Scream and squeal as if you just saw Donny Osmond/Hugh Jackman
b) Run over and rearrange her books in a more attractive fashion before buying them all to give away as Christmas presents
c) Throw yourself over the table and ask her to sign your breast (or your baby)
2) You spot a television crew approaching a Squawker's table at the Literacy Signing. You...
a) Grab as many friends and strangers as you can find and form a long line to make the Squawker appear more popular
b) Stick your face in front of the camera and snarl, "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
c) Bend over and moon the camera
3) You spot Teresa and Lisa strolling down the hotel corridor arm in arm
a) Start humming "Puppy Love"
b) Start humming "There She Comes, Miss America"
c) Rush over and tell them how much you've always loved Ellen DeGeneres
4) After Christina gives her luncheon speech on Saturday, you...
a) Spring to your feet, tears streaming down your face, and give her a standing ovation
b) Spring to your feet, tears streaming down your face, and give her a standing ovation
c) Spring to your feet, tears streaming down your face, and give her a standing ovation
5) You run into Christina in the hotel lobby after her speech. You immediately rush up to her and tell her how she...
a) gave you the inspiration you so desperately needed to fulfill all of your dreams
b) cured your insomnia
c) interrupted your dessert
6) Liz inadvertantly drops her IPOD in one of the conference rooms. You...
a) retrieve it and hand it back to her, telling her how much you love her music blogs
b) retrieve it and slip it into your purse because you know it's got a lot of fabulous music on it
c) wire it into the hotel sound system and start blasting the Clash's "ROCK THE CASBAH" during the Annual General Meeting
7) Investigating a strange noise, you open your hotel room door at 3 a.m. to find Kitty Kuttlestone staggering down the corridor with a lit cigar in one hand and a half-empty bottle of Tanqueray in the other. You...
a) double bolt your hotel room door and call Security
b) invite her in to finish off the bottle
c) call Ed McMahon's room in Vegas and ask him if he lost something
8) At the RITA awards, whenever a Squawker's name is announced, you...
a) cluck like a chicken
b) scream and applaud wildly
c) lean over to the person next to you and say, "She's a close personal friend of mine."
9) When Christina comes sweeping across the stage in her elegant gown to present an award, you...
a) cluck like a chicken
b) yell, "Hey, Xtina, did you know the back of your gown is stuck in your panty hose?"
c) yell, "Oh my stars! It's Julia Roberts!"
10) Realizing that Connie and Eloisa are competing for the same RITA award for Best Anthology Story, you...
a) Scream for Connie
b) Scream for Eloisa
c) Run screaming for the nearest fire exit
11) When Teresa fails to win the RITA after the seventh try, you ...
a) track down Kitty to buy her a drink
b) drag her down off the hotel window ledge by the train of her glamorous gown as she brokenly mumbles, "It's an honor just to be nominated. It's an honor just to be nominated."
c) tackle the winning author, snatch away her RITA and present it to Teresa with a bill of sale
Well, let me know how you do on the etiquette quiz! Do YOU have any etiquette tips for first time conference goers? Things like "Don't wear too much perfume in the elevators", "Don't carry latex balloons because they could kill someone with an allergy to latex" and "Don't slide your unpublished manuscript under the bathroom stall if there's an editor (or Teresa) inside"???
Monday, July 17, 2006
ELOISA ON THE BITING REALITY OF FASHION
It started me thinking about trends in writing. I distinctly remember being at an event quite a few years ago with a whole panel of editors who emphatically agreed that parnormal wasn't selling. Ha! Hello, Buffy (and lord knows what other creative trends) and suddenly paranormal is the only way to go. And frankly, though vampires may wane, I don't see our interest in paranormal going away.
So here's my question. I don't think any of us know which way the trends in fiction might be going -- although I have to say that I would welcome Westerns back to the table! But we can see which way trends in popular culture are going. What do you see happening in pop culture these days? How might the obsession with reality shows influence fiction? I'm thinking that pirates are due for a come-back -- which suggests gorgeous, swashbuckling adventures on the high seas!
What do you think? What's hot right now in pop culture -- and how might that fascination translate into fiction?
One of our regular Squawkees Melissa has been kind enough to coordinate an official Squawkee Lunch at the RWA conference in Atlanta so our posters and lurkers can get to know each other. (Alas, all of us Squawkers had already overcommitted ourselves before Melissa came up with this brilliant plan...sniff...sniff...)
When: Friday July 28th 12 PM
Where: Allie's Restaurant in the Marriott Marquis
If any of you would like to join the party, please e-mail Melissa at: email@example.com so she'll know how many to make reservations for.
A huge THANK YOU to Melissa for coordinating such a cool event!
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Liz Offers Music for the Spirit
It was quite a revelation.
Not because I have anything against Christian rock, but I’m about as far removed from organized religion as a person can be. I am, in fact, a heathen. An infidel. To put it in high-falutin’ terms, I’m an Emersonian Transcendentalist. (Try explaining THAT to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to the front door.)
This music rocks, regardless of what your spiritual outlook happens to be. Not only that, it’s fun. And funny. And great for dancing. And driving. (It’s one of the CDs going into the car for my drive to Atlanta.) It’s not quite punk, or even alternative, but there’s some definite rough influence here. There’s also, though, a little pop. And extremely clever lyrics, which is something that always, not surprisingly, sucks me right in.
I bought “Mmhmm” after hearing and loving the song “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” but there are other songs on the album I’ve decided I like even more, especially “My Girl’s Ex-Boyfriend,” which talks about how grateful the singer is to this guy who dumped his girlfriend, otherwise, she never would have fallen in love with said singer. And “Be My Escape” and “I So Hate Consquences” and “This Week the Trend.” All are lively, danceable, fun rock tunes that just make you want to move. There are a couple of nice slow numbers, too, that showcase Thiessen's smooth, fluid voice nicely.
I think what I respond to most, though, is the message--which is universal and by no means relegated to one belief. And that is that even when we make mistakes, there are second chances to be had. That we can always find forgiveness, whether it comes from our god or our partner. That sometimes things don’t work the way we thought they would, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be happy. It’s just a nice, uplifting, fun album that reminds me that nobody’s perfect, and that that’s okay.
Be happy, everybody. :o)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Saturday Book Blog
One of the perils of being a professional writer is that you have a hard time losing yourself in a story. You find yourself examining the technical aspects of the writing, figuring out why it’s working or not working, and you often lose that emotional involvement that makes reading a novel so gratifying.
Only a masterful storyteller has the power to bring back that magic to someone in the business of writing.
Three days after finishing Ronlyn Domingue’s “The Mercy Of Thin Air,” I am still putting my heart back together after it was delicately disassembled into 271 pieces, which happens to be the page count of this astonishing first novel.
I have to confess, I’m not much on ghost stories. The plots often seem contrived and too complicated. And the author’s explanations of the world beyond the veil often ring false to me, since they are all a matter of guess-work. But this novel is powered by an amazing story of love and loss that made me cry on the plane, until I’m certain everyone was wondering what was the matter with the woman sitting in 7B.
The basic set-up is this : a beautiful young woman named Raziela, is deeply in love with Andrew in the 1920s, and she dies tragically before they get married. As another character in the book says, the rest of Andrew’s life revolves around the moment he loses Raziela, who drowned in the swimming pool.
For the next seventy years, Raziela exists in the world “between,” gently haunting the friends and loved ones who knew her. She tries to find out what became of Andrew, who seems to have disappeared. At the same time, Raziela meddles to reunite a pair of modern-day lovers, Amy and Scott, who turn out to have a surprising connection to her own past.
It is the relationship between Raziela and Andrew, however, that drives this story like a arrow into your heart. Razi is a strong, independent woman ahead of her time, and Andrew is the only man capable of understanding her. Their moments together are exquisite. And painful, because they capture the exquisite fragility of human life, and the terrible longing we feel for a loved one who is gone forever.
One love scene, in particular, nearly caused me to drop the book. I’ve never read anything like it--and I marveled at the skill and emotional honesty of an author who could elicit such a visceral reaction from me. I thought I had seen it all--but I hadn’t, and I was shocked and moved by Ronlyn Domingue’s vision.
It took four years for Domingue to write “The Mercy Of Thin Air,” and I can see why. It’s a work of art, and more importantly, a work of love.
Anyone else who has read “The Mercy Of Thin Air,” please don’t hesitate to comment. And if you’ve read any ghostly love stories that you’ve really enjoyed, whether their flavor is comic, suspenseful or emotionally moving, please tell us about them! Now I’m in the mood to read another one, and I would love some suggestions.
CAPTION THIS PHOTO!
I thought you might enjoy trying to figure out what this darling little kitty (NOT Kitty Kuttlestone) is thinking about this fluffy little chick. (Or vice versa.)
Friday, July 14, 2006
So I’ve told everybody about my win on The Weakest Link. (C’mon, if you won wouldn’t you tell everyone?) But sadly, no one has seen it. The first time it was supposed to air, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and NBC switched to 24-hour news, The second time it was supposed to air they cut it at the last minute in favor of “SuperCroc.” At that point, the entire show got cancelled. Finally, the Game Show Network bought the entire run, and TWL now runs in syndication, over and over, and over and over, and over and… well, you get the picture.
But it’s impossible to know exactly when it’s going to appear, so unless you’ve been to my house and been lashed to the sofa and forced to watch it, you probably haven’t seen me in all my glory. So I’m giving you the next best thing. Herewith, all the questions I was asked on the show. I’ll post the answers (and let you know which ones I got wrong) at the end of the day.
See how you measure up!
Which US President won a Pulitzer Prize for his essay, “Profiles in Courage?”
In transportation, what British automaker manufactures the Silver Seraph and Corniche?
What country singer recorded the album Trio with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris?
In geography, what British territory do Argentines call Islas Malvinas?
What US coin is currently being minted with 50 different designs, one for each state?
Which maker of “brisk tea” introduced the flow-through bag in 1953?
What former partner of Don Simpson produced the movie Pearl Harbor?
The green card allowing foreigners to work in the US is issued by which agency?
In the United States Army, what is the rank immediately below major?
In geology, sapphire and what red gemstone are derived from the mineral corundum?
What line of adoptable plush dog dolls did Tonka introduce in 1985?
What ancient Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption was rediscovered in 1748?
What renaissance artist painted The Virgin of the Rocks and also designed an early version of the helicopter?
What is the name of the relic at the cathedral of San Giovanni Baptista believed to be Christ’s burial cloth?
What bouncing device invented by George Nissen became a gymnastic event at the Sydney Olympics?
In geography, Addis Ababa is both the capital and largest city of what country?
In fashion, the name of which sheer transparent fabric is the French word for “rag?”
In the 1988 presidential debate, George Bush called Michael Dukakis a card carrying member of which organization?
What actor from the film The Empire Strikes Back is a spokesperson for Colt 45?
Which bird is depicted in the logo of the National Broadcasting Company?
Which ALW musical features roller skating actors singing the song Pumping Iron?
What country is the birthplace of the thick, brown, salty paste known as Vegemite?
Yokozuna is the top rank in what Japanese sport?
In television, which BBC cooking show is hosted by Jamie Oliver?
In geography, Lhasa is the capital of which region between Nepal and China?
In transportation, what car manufacturer recently unveiled its first convertible model, the SC430?
In December 1777, what Pennsylvania village became the main camp of George Washington and the Continental Army?
A poem that is written in iambic pentameter normally contains a total of how many syllables in each line?
What documentary filmmaker and author of Downsize This also had a prime time series called TV Nation?
In geography, what is the southernmost U.S. state capital?
Before becoming a U.S. president, George W. Bush was a co-owner of what major league baseball team?
What name for a type of single-story cottage surrounded by verandas is derived from the Hindi for “a house in the Bengali style?”
Cue the dramatic lights and music. I won!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
SQUAWK RADIO WELCOMES JULIA QUINN!
Julie will be joining us tomorrow for a special one-day guest appearance to celebrate her new release ON THE WAY TO THE WEDDING (which is currently residing comfortably on the New York Times bestseller list!)
Please pop in tomorrow and give Julie a hearty Squawk welcome!
Silhouette is reissuing my first book this week. DESTINATIONS SOUTH was originally published in the Special Editions line in October 1989--nearly seventeen years ago. Which means I began writing it more than eighteen years ago. January 1988, to be exact.
My life was a lot different then. I’d recently turned twenty-six, and had even more recently celebrated my first wedding anniversary. I was still six years away from becoming a mom. I was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Haddonfield, New Jersey (the one right next to the manually operated elevator, so we heard the elevator door slam shut every time someone used it). I was working full time for The Limited at Cherry Hill Mall, making, if I recall correctly, $5.80 an hour. (I’d later be promoted to associate manager for a whopping income of $17,500 a year, more money than I ever thought I’d make with a degree in English.) I knew no one who even read, let alone wrote romance, and I had no idea Romance Writers of America or Romantic Times Magazine existed. I didn’t own a computer, so the entire book was written in longhand, in about five spiral notebooks. I had to charge a typewriter on my Sears card when the time came for that.
I did a lot of stuff wrong with my first book. I sited it on a mythical Caribbean island at a time when (I later discovered) books sited in foreign locales didn’t sell well. I gave virtually every character their own point of view, even if that character only showed up for a page or two. I took a major side route in the middle of the book to tell a story that had nothing to do with the hero and heroine’s romantic journey. I wrote the longest prologue in the history of the romance novel, revealing all kinds of things about my heroine and her motivation that would have been much more effective had I saved the information for later. But here’s the best thing I messed up: I was certain I was writing DESTINATIONS SOUTH for the Desire line. Imagine my surprise when Silhouette told me my word length was off by about 15,000 words, and my manuscript would be published as a Special Edition, a line I’d never even read before.
But there were a lot of things I did right with my first book, too. I wrote about a geographic area I adored and missed very much, having lived there briefly (and having moved from there only months before I began writing the book). I was able to capture the flavor of Caribbean life really well because of my love for it. That gave the story a strong sense of place. I had two characters in my brain I cared very much about, who were as alive to me as my own family was, so I was able to bring them fully to life on the page. I was so in love with the written word that I was able to string a bunch of them together in ways that made for evocative prose and therefore entertaining reading. But most of all, I was just wildly in love with the whole act of creation, and I gave myself over completely to the writing. I lived that book as I wrote it. I was back in the Caribbean again, on the same island as my characters, and I knew them both like old friends.
My love affair with writing has been a rocky one over the last two decades. Sometimes my books and I flirt and laugh like teenagers, loving the potential of what might happen between us, even if we’re not quite sure what that involves. Sometimes we’re like newlyweds, discovering all kinds of surprising things about each other we never knew before--and we’re not sure we like. Sometimes we fight like lovers scorned and don’t speak to each other for days. Sometimes we’re as comfortable as an old married couple, and everything flows seamlessly and with utter knowledge and devotion.
Eighteen years after starting my first book, I still--usually--love my job. But as is the case with so many things in life, there is only one First Time. Had you asked me eighteen years ago how I thought my writing career would be going in 2006, I can assure you I would have answered a lot differently than what the reality is. There’s a lot to be said for blissful ignorance.
But then, I am as ignorant now of the next eighteen years of my career as I was then of the first eighteen. So what else can I say except, “Bring it on.”
So how about you? How has your life changed in the last two decades? Are you living the life you imagined you would? Ever finally done something you’d aspired to do for a long time, then discovered it wasn’t quite what you expected? And all you writers out there, how has your writing journey been?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
My great-uncle was born early in the twentieth century in the Canadian Rockies above Lake Louise in British Columbia. The area was primitive, with long, dark winters, and the proof of that is — my great-uncle is the twenty-third child born to his parents. Before you say about his mother, “That poor woman,” listen to this — my uncle’s best friend was his adopted younger brother.
That’s right, the family adopted another child to make the family an even two dozen.
Do you have any mind-blowing large family stories? Or, heck, any mind-blowing large families?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The National Romance Writers of America conference is in about two weeks. Hundreds of romance writers, publishers, editors, agents, and fans. A sparkling dress-up dinner thrown by my publisher in a swanky restaurant. The RITA award ceremony -- long dress required and this time I might even beat out Connie, who keeps stealing my awards from me! Only two weeks away...
Which means right about now I should probably start writing the speeches I have to give: I'm the keynote speaker for the Beau Monde (regency writers) mini-conference; I'm giving a workshop on writing books in a series; the Squawkers are giving a workshop on blogs. OK, no need to be as worried as CHRISTINA (since she's one of the big Keynote Speakers for the whole conference!), but still... it's time.
Well, it would be time except that I promised my family, word of honor, that I would take a proper vacation and not hunch over my computer trying to figure out What Jane Austen Knew (I have a dim feeling my Beau Monde keynote is on that subject -- what was I thinking!). Anyway... calming down...
Last night I happily curled up after a lovely day of ocean water, Italian sparkling wine and sun-kissed children and went to sleep. Pretty soon I'm in a fun dream in which a makeup artist appears and pastes false eyelashes on me. I look like Bambi! I mean...I look TERRIFIC! I was a little worried in my dream, because my first speech wasn't until the next day, but he assured me that they would last overnight.
Which I guess they did, because next thing I know, it's the morning of my keynote and I'm wandering around the conference hotel. Guess what I'm wearing? Go on, I bet you.
My pink cotton bra and the black striped undies that I looked at a few days ago and thought, these are the anthesis of sexy. I'm not sure where my jacket is, but I'm pretty sure I drove over to the hotel in one. It's gone now. I've only got my undies and my false eyelashes.
I think my friends might lend me some clothes, but no one is answering their phone. I'm up on level five or six, because I can't go down to the lobby--not when the biggest thing I'm wearing is a pair of eyelashes!
So...tell me I'm not the only one out there with the most boring, redundant imagination in the world. My father once told me that he still occasionally dreams that he's showing up for a university examination in his underwear (and my father has given speeches all over the world --you'd think he'd be past that!).
Do you find yourself wandering through your dreams naked? Do you get to wear eyelashes? A bra? Just your birthday suit? What does it to you -- a speech the next day, asking for a raise, your wedding?
Monday, July 10, 2006
Well, we didn't quite make the midnight showing but we were there front and center for the 7 PM showing on the opening night of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST. The theater was packed and all but vibrating with the sort of excitement usually reserved for INDIANA JONES and LORD OF THE RINGS movies. While not quite as good as the first movie, it was still great summer fun.
Without going into major spoilers, I will tell you that the new movie sports a number of delicious developments including a deepening of the romantic triangle between Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner and Captain Jack and an ending that makes you wish May 2007 was next month instead of a year away.
My most thrilling discovery during the movie came when I asked myself that eternal question: Captain Jack or Will Turner??? And discovered that my answer (surprisingly enough) was: Commodore Norrington! I must confess that I barely noticed Commodore Norrington (played by Jack Davenport) in the first movie (although judging by several fanlistings on the internet, some of the more astute female viewers did). I just remember him as the handsome, clean shaven, somewhat stuffy fiance of Elizabeth Swann who nobly gave Captain Jack a head start when he was escaping from the gallows and let Elizabeth go into Will Turner's arms at the end of that movie.
But in the new movie, the former commodore is unshaven, dirty, drunk, desperate, brawling and out for revenge. And of course (being a romance writer)--suddenly I find him utterly irresistible! He needs to be redeemed! He needs love! He needs the perfect woman! He needs MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
So did anyone else see the movie this weekend? And is anyone else as hopelessly enamored of "Bad Boys" as me? Which "Bad Boy" in either fiction or cinema would YOU most like to have a crack at redeeming?