Friday, October 13, 2006
This Friday at The Pink Heart Society, make yourself nice and comfy as Trish Wylie brings you her favourite Romantic Comedy... of all time... ever...(so far)
While You Were Sleeping - A story about love at second sight.
There is no Blog on the planet long enough for me to tell you how much I LOVE this movie!!!! So, be warned, because I make no excuse whatsoever for taking lots of time and using lots of gorgeous pics to persuade you to feel the same way!!!
While You Were Sleeping is the story of Lucy Eleanor Moderantz, a single, hard working girl, all alone in the world. But played as she is by Sandra Bullock, you just know she's going to have that girl next door quality, a quirky sense of humour and a vulnerability that you can't help but take to from the moment her narration begins.
This gorgeous film begins with our Lucy telling us a little about her Father, the Mother she lost... and the man of her dreams, who she has never spoken to but has admired from afar (who hasn't been there I ask you?)...
Lucy: Well, the first time that I saw him he didn't exactly give me the world. It was a dollar fifty for a train token. I looked forward to it every single day. He started coming to my booth between 8:01 and 8:15 every morning, Monday through Friday. And he was perfect.....my Prince Charming. We've never actually spoken, but I know someday that we will. I know it. I know that someday I will find a way to introduce myself and that's going to be perfect, just like my prince.
But things just don't work like that, do they? And instead, by a quirk of fate, Lucy's 'Prince' is mugged on the empty platform and falls onto the tracks - where our heroine saves his life. Then the fun begins...
Because at the hospital there's a bit of a mix up and when her mystery man, Peter Callaghan's (played by Peter Gallagher - yes, I know, confusing..) large family appear, Lucy is introduced by a nurse as his fiancee!
Lucy: I'm not his fiancee.
Nurse: Why did you tell me that you were?
Lucy: I'm not engaged. I've never even spoken to the guy.
Nurse: What? Well, do-, downstairs, you said, you said you were gonna marry him.
Lucy: Oh, geez, I was talking to myself.
Nurse: Well, next time you talk to yourself, tell yourself you're single and end the conversation
Before she knows it she's whisked into the family circle smack bang in the middle of Christmas - which is normally a lonely time for Lucy... You can completely understand why she let's it happen, even reluctantly, because it's exactly the kind of family that Lucy would have wished for - no matter how crazy they are - or how overwhelming they can be en masse... But then she meets Peter's brother Jack (played by Bill Pullman)... and things get complicated! Because Jack is sceptical about her relationship with Peter, and now that Lucy knows that Peter's Grandmother has a heart condition - and the entire family have welcomed her in on what she knows to be a pretence... things are just getting way more difficult for Lucy than she could ever have foreseen when she was dreaming about her mystery Prince...
When she talks to Peter while he lies in his coma, we learn more about why Lucy might want to hold onto his family for as long as she can...
Lucy: Do you believe in love at first sight? Nah, I betcha don't, you're probably too sensible for that. Or have you ever, like, seen somebody? And you knew that, if only that person *really* knew you, they would, well, they would of course dump the perfect model that they were with, and realize that YOU were the one that they wanted to, just, grow old with. Have you ever fallen in love with someone you haven't even talked to? Have you ever been so alone you spend the night confusing a man in a coma?
While the family continues to welcome Lucy with open arms, Saul (a close friend of the family), who overheard Lucy talking to Peter in the hospital, tries to get her to hold back on telling them... And all the while, amidst the confusion, is Jack. Who is fascinated by his brothers new 'fiancee', and continues to try to get to the bottom of their relationship...
Jack: I guess I don't remember meeting you.
Lucy: Well, that's probably because we've never met.
Jack: That could have something to do with it.
He's never been jealous of his brother -before. But the more time he spends with Lucy, the more the 'relationship' she has with his vain brother doesn't make sense to him...
Jack: When did you start seeing Peter?
Lucy: September 17th.
Jack: Three months, that's fast.
Lucy: You have no idea.
The fact that she is his brother's fiancee doesn't make Jack's feelings for her go away, and then the film adds to the mix the hilarious Joe Jr. - who is Lucy's landlords son. He has a major crush on Lucy, and yet is protective of her in a very cute kinda way too. Which Jack doesn't much like. And he likes even less when Joe announces that Lucy is his girlfriend?!
Joe Jnr: O.K., Lucy, it's either me or him!
Joe Jnr: You don't have to answer right away.
So through all the confusion and crossed wires, Jack and Lucy grow closer. Which would be great, if Lucy wasn't confused by the mixed signals from Jack and Jack wasn't holding back because Lucy is out of bounds...
Lucy: What do you want from me, Jack?
Jack: I want you not to be unhappy.
Lucy: And what are you, the Happiness Guru, Jack? Are you happy?
There's just so much in this film to endear the characters to us! From Elsie, the Grandmother with the troublesome heart problem:
Elsie: I like Mass better in Latin. It's nicer when you don't know what they're saying.
To Lucy's boss Jerry, who is constantly on hand to offer her advice when she needs it:
Jerry: You're born into a family. You do not join them like you do the Marines.
And there's no doubt in my mind that there's a strong link to Category Romance in this film. It has well rounded characters, loads of great conflict, an underlying edge of deep emotion beneath the humour, a heroine we can all take to, a hero we can all understand her being attracted to... Can you tell I LOVE this film???
Most of all I love the fact that Lucy comes so close to making a huge mistake, to get to keep the family she has fallen in love with. Yet when it comes to the crunch she just can't do it. She takes a chance on all or nothing...
Lucy: The truth was that I fell in love with you. Yes, all of you. I went from being all alone to being a fiancee, a daughter, a grandaughter, a sister, and a friend. I may have saved your life that day, but you really saved mine. You let me be a part of your family. I haven't had that in a really long time.
Yes, from those opening scenes when we see a young Lucy with her Father, right through to the end when she gets her Happily Ever After, I'm hooked. So much so that I wore out the VHS copy I used to have and am well on my way to doing the same to my DVD... The only thing that makes me sad is that it may be quite some time before I find a modern day romantic comedy that I'll love as much. Come on Hollywood... prove me wrong!!!
Lucy: Peter once asked me when I fell in love with Jack. And I told him, "It was while you were sleeping."
Warm and Fuzzy Rating: A resounding 10/10!
Trish has a new release this month - O'Reilly's Bride is her one and only Silhouette Romance and received a 4 & 1/2 from Romantic Times and a 5 STAR review from Cataromance where it was a Reviewers Choice Award Nominee for Best Tender Romance!
You can also now sign up for Trish's brand new newsletter here for info on releases, competitions and fun things like Irish Recipes...
ROMANCE IS A KEEPER!
I'm an unashamed fan of category romance. Long before I sold my first Presents, books from my favorite Harlequin and Silhouette authors dominated my keeper shelves. They are not my guilty pleasure. They are my joy. I am not only proud to write category romance, but quite vocal about my joy in reading it.
Why, though? What about romance in general and the category books in particular engenders such fierce devotion from me and so many others?
I'm with Jayne Ann Krentz in believing that romance novels give life and breath to modern day heroic archetypes, heroes (both of the male and female variety) that our society *needs*. Yes, the books are written for entertainment - just like all other fiction, just like movies, just like live theater, the performance of classical music, the ballet - the list of art that entertains is almost endless. And like all forms of art, the romance novel has its place in our culture, feeding it...revealing it...impacting it.
Romance as a genre feeds hope into a world that can oftentimes feel hopeless. It educates, entertains, strips away the layers for revelation and inspires. It is quite incredible really. The power of romance and within romance, the category novel.
The length of a category book is not the only thing that sets it apart in the romance genre. The sheer volume of stories created on a monthly basis by uber talented authors to be read by a discerning public that won't tolerate the clichéd or trite is awesome. Category romance distills the challenges of life, the heroic victories we all long for into a short format, a crucible that grinds out the chaff and leaves only the best, most necessary part of a story behind.
Each category line has its own conventions, making it easier for the reader, whose entertainment budget is limited by both time and money, to find the types of stories they like best and be able to buy them consistently. That's one of the reasons I love them. I don't read all lines because not all literary conventions or story type conventions work for me. But the ones that do enhance my life immeasurably.
I grew up wanting to travel because of the places I read about in Harlequin Presents. I learned foreign phrases, about other cultures and outlooks reading those books. I know many readers who feel the same. Books are a wonderful gift to society, but I think romance novels are the cream of the crop!
So what are your three favourite category romance keepers of all time? We've been discussing keepers and the books we're all reading at The Pink Heart Society's Yahoo Loop too! So why not pop over and join us through the Yahoo link in the side-bar? We'd love to see you there!!!
Lucy's next Harlequin Presents release PREGNANCY OF PASSION will land on bookshelves in North America in December. Check out her fabulous blog for more or visit her website to see what's new with Lucy!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Thanks for inviting me to blog here at the Pink Heart Society. You guys are gorgeous! And gorgeous is pretty much how I would describe most of the wonderful people I've met during my romance writing journey.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to the sheer bliss of reading romance, and escaping into fantasy worlds where happy endings were guaranteed, by a grandmotherly neighbour when I was thirteen. While my friends at school derided the genre, nothing could take away from me the satisfaction in seeing embattled heroes and heroines find their happiness together. When I was fifteen, and bolstered by a huge infatuation with Harrison Ford, I started to write my first romance. I never did finish it, but starting to write that story built in me a desire to try my hand at writing romance again and again. Life's intrusions came along the way--as they do--and throughout those intrusions I read literally thousands of books.
It wasn't until after the birth of my second child that I attended a talk given by Susan Napier (Harlequin Presents author) who gave me the contact information for a local organisation that subsequently became known as Romance Writers of New Zealand. If I'd thought the bliss of reading romance was mighty fine I was totally unprepared for the absolute joy in finding a group of people who, like me, openly loved to read and to write romance. The encouragement you get from a group of romance writers is huge. There's nothing and no-one like a romance writer to understand how devastating rejection can be, and in the thirteen years it took me to reach publication I had quite a few of those, and more than my fair share of commiserations from my peers.
Being part of an organisation opened new horizons for me and I entered many competitions, finalling in several and winning two--the RWAustralia Emma Darcy Award, and the RWNZ Clendon Award. Throughout my thirteen years of aspiration I consistently targeted Harlequin's London office, however, equally consistently, I continued to fall between the two major lines edited there. While my writing style was sensuous, my stories were more family oriented. Pushing my writing one way, or the other, wasn't working and risked jeopardising my 'voice'. Totally devastated after my last rejection from London, in early February 2005 I actually reached the point where I gave up altogether. I felt as if something inside of me had died and left me bereft of hope. Had all those years been for nothing? Eventually, two weeks later, a tiny flicker of hope rekindled and with a new determination I queried Silhouette Desire in New York. I was stunned to received a request for my full manuscript only two weeks later. Three weeks after I sent away the full manuscript I received the call that changed my life forever. The offer to buy my story. Since that magical call, on 21 April 2005, I've sold three more manuscripts to Silhouette Desire and I'm happy to attest that with hard work, and perseverance, dreams really do come true.
All the best
Yvonne's first book The Boss's Christmas Seduction is out now and you can read an excerpt here. And we just found out that it hit #4 on the Waldenbooks bestseller list in this its first week!!!
Yvonne's first book The Boss's Christmas Seduction is out now and you can read an excerpt here. And we just found out that it hit #4 on the Waldenbooks bestseller list in this its first week!!!
Visit Yvonne's Website
Visit Yvonne's Website
Or join her Yahoo! Group here
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The Gold Coast is glitz, glamour and gorgeous beaches.
Situated on the east coast of Australia in southern Queensland, the Gold Coast is a beautiful stretch of beach incorporating towns like Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads and the well-known Surfers Paradise. As I've already said in a book I've written, Surfers Paradise conjures up sexy images of bronzed, buffed guys wearing next to nothing on a sandy beach, right? (Or is that just me?!)
The weather is gorgeous all year around, perfect for glamming up in summer clothes or going ultra-casual at the beach. If theme parks are your thing, there are several to choose from including Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Dreamworld. The fabulous Q1 building is also a must-see, with the amazing views (where I took some of these pics) and where I’ve set the start of a book.
THE WEDDING CONTRACT was set at a fictional theme park on the Gold Coast, where the feisty heroine Amber (who lived on site in a dolphin-muraled caravan) would do anything to save the park including marry uptight Sydney lawyer Steve Rockwell.
The setting was very much a part of this book, as I wanted Amber to incorporate the casual chic of the Gold Coast and thus accentuating the differences between her and a slick city lawyer
This year, the RWAustralia held their conference on the Gold Coast and once again, I was entranced by the laid-back feel of this place. Whether eating out at the fabulous array of restaurants or having a relaxation massage at a day spa, reading a book in the shade of a tree or taking a stroll along the stunning beach, the Gold Coast has it all.
As the TV commercials here say, Queensland is "beautiful one day, perfect the next" and I have to agree!FOUND: HIS FAMILY, is out now in North America as a Silhouette Romance.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Oh this is such hard work - but someone has to do it!
As promised on my own personal blog, my October 'Male on Monday', is Sean Bean. So chosen because he's my 'spare' hero. Tempting though the prospect was to have his picture looking down at me while I work, I decided to write Daniel and Willow's story as opposed to Hermoine and Matthew's and that meant returning Sean to the 'Pending File' ...
Inducting him into the Pink Heart Society Hall of Fame is my compromise. So ...
Born in Sheffield, England, on 17th April, 1959, Shaun Mark Bean was all set for a career as a welder when he caught the acting bug and won a scholarship to attend the 'Royal Academy of Dramatic Art' (RADA) in London.
I first noticed him in 1989, when I was at drama school myself, in an adaptation of the Catherine Cookson novel 'The Fifteen Streets'. As Dominic O'Brien he was charismatic, a charmer and a bit rough around the edges - and I was hooked.
And, after his portrayal of Mellors in 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', you can truthfully say I've seen quite a lot of him over the years!!!
Oh the research!
He's a 5' 11", green-eyed blond with the reputation of being a bit of a loner. Certainly he's been a little careless with wives. He's had three. First was Debra James, his school sweetheart. Then actress Melanie Hill, with whom he has two children. And finally, his Sharpe co-star Abigail Cruttenden. They share one child and divorced in 2000.
He describes himself as 'quiet' and says that he likes to relax either with a book or by listening to music. His second wife, however, accused him of watching too much football, spending too much time in the pub and leaving his clothes on the floor. A multi-faceted hero then!!
On his left shoulder he has a tattoo of '100% BLADE' in homage to the football club where he's a director - Sheffield United (nicknamed 'The Blades'). And he has a scar above his eye, given to him by Harrison Ford while shooting his death scene in 'Patriotic Games', which he emphasises with make-up when playing Sharpe.
He's perhaps most famous for his portrayal of Boromir in 'Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'. Less well known is that he doesn't like flying. While the rest of the cast were helicoptered in to film the Mount Caradhras scene, Sean used a ski lift to get into the mountains and then hiked the remaining miles in full costume.
Or, perhaps, you remember him more as Alec Trevelyn, the scarred ex-MI6 agent 006 in 'Golden Eye'?
He's also a fabulous theatre performer, if you ever get the chance to see him live. Incredibly sexy and very compelling - even when playing Macbeth. Incidentally you might get to see that since there's something called 'Come Like Shadows' in pre-production which has Sean as the Scottish king and Tilda Swinton as his wife. It should be shooting this autumn in Scotland.
Have I convinced you??
If you need something more to be certain he belongs in the Pink Heart Society Hall of Fame I don't think it's breaking a confidence if I also tell you that my editor, Jenny Hutton, is always seduced by a M&B hero who reminds her of Sean Bean ...
Natasha's latest release is: Accepting The Boss's Proposal a Harlequin Romance.
Check out more about this book at her website!
Or check out what Natasha is working on now at her Blog.
I grew up in
SPOTLIGHT ON JULIE:
Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?
Everywhere. I don’t actually base characters or events around real people or real things that happen to me, but I do take inspiration from real-life events.
For example, last autumn I took a trip by myself to the National Gallery in
On a more serious front, I had a miscarriage while I was writing the later chapters of Married In A Rush, and I found that the feelings I had about loss and bereavement came through when I wrote about the hero, Bruno, who has lost his entire family, and most recently, his twin. I didn’t write directly about my own experience, but I did explore my own emotions, and I really feel that writing helped me deal with them.
At other times--and more often--the ideas just come at random, with no connection to anything at all. Sometimes my brain frightens me.
People in BMWs who drive too close behind me at speed.
I could say it’s all sorts of extravagant gestures I’ve received or given, the trips to
I like heroes who genuinely try to do the right thing, and get it wrong. A man who has a sense of honour, but who isn’t perfect. Oh yeah and a really hot body never hurts.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A teacher, which I already am. I teach secondary school English and I love it. There is nothing better than sharing reading and writing with young people. This is something I also enjoy when I give my seminars and talks to other writers.
I also always wanted to be a cartoonist. I had a daily comic strip in my university newspaper and I really wish I were a more talented artist so I could do that professionally. Unfortunately, I’m not that great at it. And my jokes are usually pretty stupid.
What do you do to relax and wind down?
I like going for long walks in the countryside, or even just around my town, looking at houses and neighbourhoods. I find that the action of walking usually gets my brain working, on my own problems and on problems in my writing. Oftentimes I come back from a walk both relaxed and with problems solved.
How do you get out of a writing rut?
A change of scene--walking, taking a bath, moving to a café. Often I stop typing on the computer, get out a pad of paper, and draw my plot out as a flow chart or a series of questions and answers. This sort of freewriting helps me unblock and get new ideas.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Probably where I grew up, in
Right now I’m seven and a half months pregnant and I think I would most like to hug my mum. She’s coming over from the
Name a fabulous book you’ve read?
At the moment I’m mostly reading baby books, but the other day I watched Liz Fielding accept her RITA for The Marriage Miracle, and I think that was such a fantastic book. Liz has a way of blending true, convincing, moving emotion and a seemingly effortless, effervescent style. I want to write like her when I grow up, except with more sex. (Sorry Liz.)
I make soundtracks for all of my books, of songs that reflect the mood and characters of my story. I put them on my iPod and carry them everywhere. I have pretty eclectic tastes, which tend to range from the cheesiest 80s hits to more current alternative-y stuff. I’m hard at work on my sixth Modern Extra right now, and the soundtrack covers 10cc, Cece Peniston, the Police, and also James Morrison, Sufjan Stevens, Josh Rouse, and Fountains of Wayne.
Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?
When I was sixteen I wrote to Peter Tork of the Monkees asking him how he shaved inside the dimple in his chin and he sent me back an autographed postcard, which I subsequently gave to a guy I liked who worked behind a bar. I still want to know how Peter Tork shaves inside his dimple.
Objectively, probably the time I said “cunnilingus” on BBC television. Fortunately, only a few people saw the programme.
2006 has been the most amazing year of my life. My first book, Featured Attraction, came out in March, and I’ve had three other Modern Extras out (Being A Bad Girl, Delicious and Married In A Rush), along with another romance called Spirit Willing, Flesh Week, with Headline’s new romance line, Little Black Dress. And my husband and I are expecting our first baby in December. Five books and a baby in one year. Wow.
What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?
A photo of the inspiration for my latest hero.
Hugh Jackman? John Cusack? Guy Pearce? Cillian Murphy? Owen Wilson? Ewan McGregor? Do I really have to decide??
I’m finishing up my sixth Modern Extra, which is shaping up to be a funny, sexy story about mistaken identities, cyber sex, friendship turned into love, and a computer geek moonlighting as a male model. My next project is my second Little Black Dress title, One Night Stand, about an erotic comedy writer who gets pregnant by mistake.
Julie's latest Modern Extra is MARRIED IN A RUSH and is out now! Readers should note that it is the follow up to the fabulous DELICIOUS.
And Spirit Willing, Flesh Weak is also available to buy here.