Sunday, May 28, 2006

What I'm reading

Isn't this a gorgeous cover? Since I'm computer addled and can't quite figure out yet how to do this on my sidebar I thought I'd put the picture up here. So far, I'm really loving this book!

Madame Mirabou's School of Love
by Barbara Samuel

Sometimes real passion means living the life you’ve always wanted.

Nicole Bridges still can’t believe she’s taken up residence in a Colorado apartment complex nicknamed “Splitsville.” She’s still reeling from her husband’s affair, a divorce she never saw coming, and having to leave the upscale, comfortable world she helped make for her ex and their teenage daughter. With little money, even less work experience, and no idea what to do next, she takes tentative steps–if only to keep her head above water.

Along the way, Nikki unexpectedly finds herself falling in with eccentric new neighbors–and being seduced out of her funk by a charming, elusive ex-Londoner. And through her delight in the sensual elements of perfume, she will discover the courage to form bonds she never imagined. When a discarded flyer printed with the name “Madame Mirabou” provides the spark of inspiration, Nikki dares to blend the fragments of her life into a fragrance that’s uniquely and passionately her own.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Writing Snappy Dialogue

My friend Gina blogged the other day about the film Casablanca. It was a great post. One of the things she talked about was the wonderful dialogue in the film.

So here I was, writing a crucial scene (aren't they all?) between the hero and heroine in my new historical wip, and I thought, what better timing is this? It really got me rethinking about how to write good dialogue.

I'm a firm believer that no matter what genre you're writing in, audiences of today want to read dialogue that they can identify with. So even though I'm writing about a man and a woman who are living in 1815, and I have to make their dialogue sound realistic for the time period, I also have to write dialogue that rings a cord in my reader's psyche.

I heard once that if you want to learn how to write good dialogue then you should read screenplays. Which has always made a lot of sense to me. But I think you can probably learn just as much (and have a lot more fun while you're at it) by watching those old movie classics from the forties.

If you want to learn about writing snappy dialogue, there's no better movie in my opinion than the 1940 screwball comedy, His Girl Friday. I watched the movie again the other night after reading Gina's post (it just so happened that I had it on my Netflix list and it was at the house--talk about timing!)

The plot is simple: Cary Grant plays a suave, but tough newspaper editor who finds out in the opening scene that his ex-wife and star reporter (Rosalind Russell) is going to get remarried and is quitting the paper. Well, with just one sophisticated cock of his eyebrow, we know Cary Grant isn't about to let this happen. What follows is 90 minutes of the most delicious romantic comedy you'll ever watch.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is the breakneck speed of the dialogue. My netflix cover says this: One archivist actually timed the hurricane delivery of the actors at 240 words per minute, about 100-140 wpm faster than the average speaking rate! But as a writer, what fascinates me the most isn't so much the fast delivery, but the fact that it's funny, smart and filled with sexual innuendo. So even though this movie came out a couple of decades before I was born, and the references are outdated, I can still find lots to identify with. And that's what I want to do with my own characters in my own stories. I want their dialogue to resonate with my readers. And what better way to do research, than sit in front of the tv with a bowl of popcorn and a great old flick?

Monday, May 22, 2006

American Title II Winner Announced!

Now that the Romantic Times Convention has come and gone, I can finally announce who won the American Title II contest. It was Gerri Russell with her wonderful Scottish medieval manuscript, The Warrior Trainer.

It's been a long six months and while a part of me is sad the contest is over, I'm thrilled that Gerri's dream of publication is going to come true in January of 2007!

Friday morning at the convention, the finalists had a breakfast that I had hoped to attend, but unfortunately, work and family obligations kept me away. But I plan to make up for it by partying in Atlanta this July when I meet up with the finalists who will be attending the RWA National convention.

Reading about Gerri's experience brought a big ole fat lump to my throat.

Oh, and check out the beautiful cover Dorchester designed for her book!

Felt like being sneaky

I haven't hijacked Maria's blog since she unveiled her new look, so I thought today would be a good day to pop that cherry.

Here's another picture of Clive, courtesy of our CP Louisa. (who still doesn't have a blog so I STILL can't link to her) Clive is currently Maria's inspiration for her latest Regency Set Hero. MMMMMM and what an inspiration he is...

And let me tell you, this is a story you won't want to miss.

Louisa (from here on known as "the blogless one" or TBO) is writing a story about a Big Demon who is also a hunka-hunka-burnin' love. Anyone familiar with All My Children will recognize this sexy actor :
and since I just finished reading her love scene, I can honestly say, I want myself a demon lover, too. TBO is a helluva writer.

My current hero is a combination of two men: Jude Law and Heath Ledger. Who wouldn't want some of that?

Friday, May 19, 2006

My new Look!

Thank you Gemmak Designs!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

MI 3

On Mel's recommendation, I went to see Mission Impossible 3 on Mother's Day with Mike and the little kids (ages 13 and 14-so I guess not so little)

It was great. Lots of action. And I mean, lots of action. My favorite part of these movies is when they do the mask bit. You know what I'm talking about. When they "create" a perfect image of someone with a rubber mask (but you actually know it's the actor playing himself)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a great bad guy. And Tom Cruise, well, he was Tom Cruise. I'm convinced the guy must have found the Fountain of Youth. He's like 42 and still looks 12. Although a very hot 12.

I give MI 3 a big thumbs up. But, I must warn you. There's lots of explosions. My friend Cindy from work is convinced that Tom has put subliminal messages promoting Scientology into the explosion scenes. If I start acting weird in the next few weeks, then we'll know she was right...

Monday, May 15, 2006


Mel has said she will never again watch American Idol after Chris got the boot last week. And we both said we wouldn't watch Survivor again if Danielle won the million. She didn't. Which means we'll still be watching the show, but it was close. Danielle and Aras in the final 2 was just wrong. It so should have been Terry and Cirie. They were by far, the best players out there. But as usual, those who fly under the radar get rewarded. At least both Terry and Cirie won cars, which is a bit of a consolation. And at least we got to hear Shane one last time. No matter what anyone else says about it, I still like him.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Internet Junkies Anonymous

You know you are hooked to the internet, when...

You get in the car with your laptop, drive to the nearest hotel, then hang out in the parking lot just to use their wireless internet connection. Yup. That's what I've had to resort to in the past couple of days just to get my fix (said hotel was the one we stayed at recently when we were remodeling our floors) Yes, I know, I could probably go to Starbucks and have a cup of java while legitimately using their wireless internet, but somehow, this hotel parking lot thing seems a lot more fun.

For someone who spent most of their life without the internet, you'd think a few days without it would be a piece of cake.


I'm dying out here. For some reason, Tuesday morning (My God... has it only been 3 days?) I woke up to no internet access. I think it has something to do with that pesky modem/router thing set up in the den. After figuring out that the cable wasn't out and playing with said modem/router for half a day, I finally gave up and let Mike Geraci take over. A new router and modem later, it's still not working. Hubby promises he'll have it all taken care of this weekend, or early next week at the latest. Let's hope he's right, because I'm beginning to scare myself.

That said, I'm expecting a new "look" for my blog. I wanted something fun, something that said a little bit about my personality and what I write, so I requested a blog makeover from Gemmak Designs. If you go down to the lower right hand corner, you'll see her In Process column. I'm currently in process! Marcia--that's me. Sigh. I'm not sure why Maria looks like Marcia to so many people, but I'm used to it. I gave her a few ideas, color schemes, etc and I'm anxious to see what she comes up with.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


God Lord. What the hell is that ???

That's just one of the reasons that I screamed NO! when Shane's flame was snuffed tonight. Love em, hate em, or think he's ready to be Baker Acted, it doesn't matter. He's one of the most entertaining Survivors ever and I'm going to miss him.

Tonight, in some sort of weird power play, Aras and Cirie turned against Shane. I'm still not sure why, except I guess they think that whiney, spoiled Danielle will be easier to beat in the final 2. But for Aras to say that he can back out of his alliance with Shane because Shane wanted to take Courtney to the final 2 is just bull. Aras really disappointed me tonight. He was a total ass.

I really hope the final 2 are Terry and Cirie. Both of them have beat the odds and deserve to be there.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lucky Break

My friend Jan Conwell's new book just came out today! I had the privilege of reading the first couple of chapters last year while she was working on it and it was fantastic! It's available through Triskelion Publishing.

Here's the blurb:

Fiona Wright has no money and no job, but plenty of unpaid bills. When she’s offered a lucrative job teaching aircraft maintenance, she takes it—qualified or not. Will McCrae, assigned to train her, is her perfect idea of Mr. Wrong.

TSgt Will McCrae's job is to turn a flighty, overdressed, neo-hippy into an Aircraft Maintenance instructor. Despite his misgivings, when duty calls, he answers, strictly by the regs. But how exactly are the regulations going to help him, when she walks through his classroom door—and into his heart?

Monday, May 01, 2006

A little Inspiration can't hurt

Especially not when it comes in the form of Clive Owen.

So I'm trying to write 2 things at once. My new historical, In Love and War, and keep up with my contemporary, The Chruch of Bunco. In order to get my mind going in the right direction I really need a strong visual picture to keep me on track. Since my hero in In Love and War is physically modeled after Clive, what better way to keep things straight than this picture over my computer?

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