Tuesday, November 29, 2005

St. Anthony and Endorphins

I'm such a rush junkie. I live for endorphins. But mine aren't the good exercise endorphins, mine are the stress produced kind. You know, the kind you get when you wait till the very last minute to do something important?

I used to think it was just being lazy, or procrastinating that would get me in trouble. But the real trouble is that I usually don't get in trouble. Somehow, I always manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Now, being Catholic, I have to admit I have St. Anthony (the patron saint of lost causes, amongst other things) to thank for getting me out of my many scrapes. St. Anthony is one of the better all purpose saints for praying to in times of desperation. He was very good to me earlier this year when I was days away from a staging deadline at work. I think I even converted some of my fellow co-workers that day.

The point being, I just sent off my Golden Heart entry to Texas (For those of you who don't know, the Golden Heart is the big contest of unpublished romance writers) I paid my entry fee and registered well in advance. But the entry has to be in Houston by December 2. Even though my entry was completed months ago, I waited till today to fed-ex it out of Tallahassee. Why did I wait till the last minute? I can't say, except when I left the Kinko's building, I was smiling. I know, I'm sick...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The new James Bond

It's been recently announced that British Actor, Daniel Craig will replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Not sure how I feel about that. I liked Pierce. And I'm especially not sure how I feel about a blond 007. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against blond men. My husband is blond (or he was when I met him at 21--his hair has molted into a light brown over the years) and Miles Mountkeefe is blond (the hero in my historical, The War Bride) but for some reason, James Bond in my mind is dark haired, a la Sean Connery.

The new Bond film, "Casino Royale" one of Ian Fleming's early books promises to be "definitely darker, more character and less gadgets." I kind of like the gadgets, but I also like the promise of darker and more character, so I'll just have to wait and see. I'm just sad that Pierce is considered "too old" for the role. Sigh.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Will the real Mr. Darcy please stand up?

I just saw the new Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice. Now don't get me wrong. Mediocre Jane Austen (and we're talking really mediocre, here) is better than no Jane Austen. When you love a book as much as I love Pride and Prejudice, you're bound to be disappointed in a screen version. But does it have to be so off?

The 1995 BBC production featuring Colin Firth was great. That version rocked. Sure, it was 6 hours long, but it paid off. It was true to the spirit of the book. Maybe the lesson here is that if you can't do something well, it shouldn't be done at all. But the problem is I think this shorter 2 hour version could have been so much better than what it was. I had no problem with them cutting some of the secondary characters (although it's the secondary characters in P&P that make the book so rich). But the chopped up dialogue in this big screen version was just short of blasphamy.

There are many wonderful and beautiful images in this film. We see Kiera Knightly staring off into space or out the window more times than I could count. There are images of the English countryside that are absolutely breathtaking. All this gives us a wonderful picture of Regency England, that imo, could have been done much better through Austen's spectacular dialogue. The filmakers actually tried to "explain" the story through additional dialogue, cutting out some of the best lines in the book. I guess they thought audiences wouldn't get it.

Then there was Mr. Darcy's portrayal as a wimp. Maybe they thought he would be too unsympathetic, but the truth of the matter is that Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy IS prideful and arrogant. It's through his love for Elizabeth that he changes into a different man. This version waters down those undesirable qualities and makes Mr. Darcy a "shyer" version of what he really is. Ugh. Matthew McFadden walks around the film looking like he needs some Pepto Bismal.

That all said, I'm still glad I saw the movie. I know, I know. I just spent the last twenty minutes blogging about why it's an inferior version to the BBC one. But like I said, mediocre Austen is better than no Austen. And Kiera Knightly did a great job as Elizabeth.

I just wish the film makers hadn't thought they needed to do Jane Austen for Dummies.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

It's one of my favorite books. I love the BBC version featuring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. It will be hard to see someone else in the role. I mean, c'mon. Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy. But I'm willing to give this new guy a try. That is if I could ever see the friggin movie! It hasn't come to Tallahassee yet, but when it does, I'll be the first in line.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Voting begins today!

The first round of the American Title II contest begins today! I'm nervous, excited and mainly just plain happy to be included with such a great group of talented writers. To vote please go to:

Here's a sneak peek at what happens after my first line.

The War Bride
by Maria Geraci

January, 1815
On the Coast of Northern Spain

Miles Mountkeefe had seen men die before, but that was on the battlefield where it was expected.

This was not.

He clamped his hand over the bullet hole in his partner's chest. Blood seeped through his fingers, covering his knuckles with its sticky warmth. He had arrived too late. Paul Beauchamp was going to die.

The realization snapped him out of the odd lethargy humming through his veins. He tore the cravat off his neck and bunched the silk strip into a tight wad, pressing it over the gurgling wound. “Who did this?”

“Please,” Beauchamp sputtered. “Tess, give her…”

The cravat, which only seconds ago had glowed white under the full moon, was now a dark crimson.

A slap of cold salt water hit Miles in the face. The wave smashed over Beauchamp's listless body. It soaked the cravat, washing a stream of blood back into the ocean. He grabbed Beauchamp under his arms and dragged him away from the shoreline causing Beauchamp to moan in protest. Damn it! He knew better than this. Moving his partner would only hasten the inevitable.

Miles gulped in a lungful of the sharp sea air hoping it would clear his muddied brain. A dark haze lingered on the edge of his vision. His mouth felt as if it was stuffed with cotton. What was wrong with him?

“Give Tess…” Beauchamp's words faded beneath the roar of the crashing waves.

Miles fell to his knees. “Give her what?” he asked, struggling to keep his voice from shaking. Miles had been scheduled to meet Rodriquez tonight--not Beauchamp. He glanced at the Spaniard lying a few feet away. Rodriquez had been shot once through the head. Dead, even before Miles had arrived.

“Mess… age.” Beauchamp dragged his hand inside the lining of his jacket. “Please, give…” His limp fingers fell away empty.

Miles reached inside Beauchamp's jacket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper secured with a wax seal. “This letter is for your wife?”

Beauchamp's voice rallied with a harsh strength. “Yes… but only you must deliver it. Tell Tess, I’m sorry… so sorry.”

Miles stared at the note in his hand. Blood had tainted one edge of the paper.

“Promise me, Mountkeefe.” Beauchamp’s final words faded into the wind.

Miles pocketed the note and crawled to the edge of the water. His fingers dug into the wet sand as the overcooked veal he had eaten earlier came up to revisit.

He waited for the dizziness to pass, then shoved his hands in the water, scrubbing them until the salt stung his flesh raw. He stood and dragged the sleeve of his jacket over his damp mouth.

He would give this note to Beauchamp's wife.

But not until he discovered who had betrayed them tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's Actually Begun!

I'm the modern day version of doubting Thomas. Or maybe I'm just a really visual person. But for me, seeing is believing. And baby, today, I believe! The beginning of the American Title II Contest is here!

Meet the American Title II Contestants

Our pictures and bios are up and next week voting will begin on our first lines. I'm both excited and nervous but mainly pumped up!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

American Title II Countdown

This beautiful fountain is located in the region in Spain where my historical romance, THE WAR BRIDE takes place.

As much fun as I've had blogging about Survivor or movies or whatever, it's time to get down to business. In just 8 days the first American Title II voting round will begin. Yikes! Where has time gone? That was supposed to happen WAY in the future. And yet, a large part of me is anxious to get going, to have the whole thing over with as well. I love/hate surprises!

Here's the lowdown on the first round of voting (and the only one I'm guaranteed to be in!)

January issue of ROMANTIC TIME BOOKCLUB MAGAZINE: First line & bio
Posted online/voting: Nov. 14-27
We'll know who's cut (2): Nov. 28

The first round will feature all 11 finalist's first line, their very short bio (and I mean very short. Do you know how hard it is to condense your life into 100 words or less???) as well as feature a picture of each of us:))

As I've been trying to get the word out about this contest, I've been asked by so people what the first line of my book is that I apparently say it even in my sleep (at least that's what Mike Geraci says) so I figured I'd post it here, too.

The War Bride is a sensual romantic adventure set in the post Napoleonic era featuring a British spy and a Spanish war bride who must join forces to find her husband's killer. I had a lot of fun/angst writing this book and one day soon, hopefully you'll be able to read lots more of it!

by Maria Geraci

Miles Mountkeefe had seen men die before, but that was on the battlefield where it was expected-this was not.

You can all ooh and ah now. LOL!

Stay tuned for a longer excerpt as we get closer to the first voting period. Luckily, I'll be off to Atlanta next weekend for some fun and serious plotting with my good friend Mel so I'll be able to take my mind off this for awhile!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bye Bye Brandon

Sigh. Why do all the ones I like always go?

I don't know who I dislike more, Jamie for being a world class ass, Judd for being too stupid to live, Stephenie for being a cold hearted bitch or Rafe and Cindy for being the biggest wusses alive.

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