What a week!

MARRYING MARI was released in paperback, which is pretty exciting (e-version still available!).

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Going to the recognition ceremony to receive the mentoring award from my school (including check). Giving a small speech (very small).

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Going on a three-day weekend retreat with colleagues/friends where I hope to hammer out a new idea for a writing project… as well as enjoy some good girl-talk, some grilling, and a view of a lake…

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Meeting a new colleague to discuss a shared project for our creative writing students.

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From Talking with the Dead, my new tale

Evie had made me promise not only to visit Detective Munro but Henri Van Roekel as well. With a slightly different message. And I was pretty sure it would be received about as well as the first one.

After a few minutes, the door opened and Henri Van Roekel entered. I knew it was him because of the recent pictures in the media splashing the scandal of Evie’s murder around.

But for the second time in one day I got knocked off balance by a man.

Another  really, really good-looking sexy man.

This one had the good manners my gran’mère taught me: he offered me a seat and refreshment before sitting down himself. Obviously he was controlling his curiosity about this unexpected visit, although he gave me a thorough glance. I was glad I had worn the Calvin Klein.

“How is Edith?” he asked. He had a startling voice, smooth and rich. Seductive.

Wow. Thank God he wasn’t selling cars, I thought. I’d buy three.

“She’s fine,” I said.

“Good. I haven’t seen her in a long time. She’s always been one of my favorite people.”

“I’ll tell her you said so.” Really? My gran’mère Edith was one of his favorite people? Huh?

“So how can I help you, Lily?” His voice was tremendous. No wonder women threw themselves at him.

“Ahh.” How to begin? “I was sorry to read about your recent, uh, troubles.”

A shadow passed over his face. Suddenly, there was a subtle but definite distance between us. “Thank you.”

“Here’s the thing,” I began, dithering. Oh, to hell with it. “I have a message for you from Evie Rockfort.”

His head snapped up so fast it was a blur. “Really?” That’s when I got the hard scrutiny from behind the wire-rims. Eyes the color of a June sky studied me with clarity and precision. They shouldn’t have suited the pale copper skin and neither should the golden too-long waves combed straight back from his forehead.  A sort of Oxford don-slash-California surfer dude. Somehow together they created an incredibly stunning appearance.

Behind the cool blue eyes was a first-class brain currently dissecting me. Which made me completely and embarrassingly hot. I felt my nipples perk up. WTF?

He sat back, still staring at me. “Do tell me Evie’s message.”

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#6 Sentence Sunday: 11.4.12

Here’s the 6 Sentence Sunday snip for today:

I realized I had been staring at his mouth long enough that it had quirked up at one corner. It formed words.

“How did you know Evie Rockfort?” His voice was even, but the hint of amusement lay underneath.

Hey, I am reasonably presentable and I wasn’t handcuffed to a desk and I stared at him like he was a hot butterscotch sundae. Even the dimmest of men appreciate that kind of unsubtle reaction, and Detective Jonah Munro wasn’t dim.

I said baldly, “I didn’t–I mean know her… living—I’m a psychic.”

6 Sentence Sunday: 10.28.12

This week, my 6 Sentence Sunday clip is from the in-progress manuscript.

Here’s the thing.

            To understand how I got here, where I was at this exact moment, in a dank and smelly basement, two levels beneath Manhattan’s chaotic streets, face to face with a serial killer who was looking to bash my brains out and steal my soul, you’d have to know where I came from.

            You’d also have to know where Jonah and Henri came from, too, since it was in fact our, um, collaboration that got me into this damned situation.

            Now that I thought about it, it was all Jonah and Henri’s fault.

            And the next time I saw them, I’d be sure and tell them so.

            Whether I was alive or dead.

Let me know what you think.

 

Crazy, Fantastic Week… Oh, and a Giveaway

One week ago MARRYING MARI was published by Samhain in ebook form.

Since this is my very first published romance, I have been experiencing a crazy, wicked combination of excitement and apprehension. Since last Tuesday, I’ve essentially been riding a manic roller coaster — and I don’t much like roller coasters usually. But I’ve loved this week’s ride.

My goals for the book were simple. Create characters I liked and get them to fall in love. Give them a pretty big problems — or problems — to solve. Put them in a situation where they had to make choices, take risks, reveal vulnerabilities, and fight to earn a “happily ever after” end. Or start, depending on your point of view. Include a little humor and a lot of hot, sexy lovemaking.

Thank you to everyone who’s bought MARRYING MARI. Thanks to everyone who’s read it and reviewed it, whatever your opinion. I know I’ll learn from every comment, and the next story will be better, stronger, sharper. So keep ’em coming, and please continue to pass along your thoughts and questions.

That said, I’ve got three copies of my ebook to give away. Drop off a comment by 9 am Thursday 10.25 here (in response to this post) or on Goodreads telling me why you want, need, deserve a copy of MARRYING MARI. Three random commentors will get a free e-version.

Go for it!

 

 

Most romantic film #55: His Girl Friday (1940)

First of all, I have to say that Rosalind Russell is one of my all-time favorite actresses and, to be honest, role models. So Cary Grant and Rosie in a film? No brainer.

This is adapted from an all-male play by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, titled The Front Page (which was a Broadway comedy in 1928, a film in 1931 and 1974). MacArthur was married to Helen Hayes (considered at the time the greatest actress on Broadway) and father to James MacArthur, the original “Dano” of Hawaii 5-0.

For the 1940 hit, MacArthur and Hecht changed the character of reporter Hildy Johnson into a woman–enabling the casting of Russell.

Russell and Grant are a powerful comic team: their timing in the sharp, smart, witty dialog of the MacArthur/Hecht screenplay is phenomenal. Add in Ralph Bellamy as Hildy’s fiance and a jailbreak gone amuck… brilliant. A lethal, funny commentary on the Third Estate… and the crooked politicians that keep them in print.

Here, Grant plays a cad. Yep, a solid gold cad: fast-talking con-man kind of cad. Russell has divorced him (he was her editor AND her husband), but comes back to get her closure, to tell him about her upcoming marriage to Bellamy, an insurance salesman from Albany with a MOTHER (played by the redoubtable Alma Kruger).

The supporting cast is a brilliant assemply of character actors, from Bellamy and Kruger to Gene Lockhart and Helen Mack. This is a cynical, sophisticated, funny script and quick-paced performance. Simply delightful…

This week, my shout-out to Grant is for To Catch a Thief, #38 in my list — the Hitchcock thriller.

6 Sentence Sunday: 10.21.12

So, five days after publication… this week’s 6 Sentence Sunday :

He traced the deep neckline with the tip of one thick finger, and she trembled. Her nipples tightened. Her breasts ached. She drew a deep breath as his finger slipped across her skin.

His beautiful mouth was compressed into a tight, narrow line. “Turn around.”

This has been an exciting week. Publication on Tuesday, watching the reviews pop up, watching the numbers rise, and then doing the regular things I do every week.

Wanna buy it? Go here.

Most romantic film #54: An Affair to Remember (1957)

An Affair to Remember is the 1957 film starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr that is for many the epitome of the romantic film.

At the start of the movie, Grant and Kerr are just embarking on a sea voyage. Grant plays Nick Ferrante, a playboy, while Kerr is Terry McKay. Terry is having an affair with a wealthy married man, who pays her bills, although she has been a fairly successful nightclub singer. At the same time, Nick moves from wealthy woman to wealthy woman, ignoring his talent for painting. The two become friends, then lovers, but the arrival in New York points out that each–or both–would have to give up their “secure” situation to risk everything to continue the romance. Neither is ready to make that commitment.

They decide to meet in six months at the top of the Empire State Building if–and only if–they each choose to gamble on each other.

On the day, Terry gets hit by a taxi crossing the street going to meet Nick. Nick, unaware of Terry’s accident, thinks she has given him up, but goes back to painting instead of rich women. Later, they meet by chance. A few days later, Nick tracks Terry down to give her a piece of his mind, not realizing she is still unable to walk.

Remind you of Sleepless in Seattle? Of course it does, because SiS was directly influenced by AAtR. Delightfully so, in fact.

In this film, Grant is again at his suave, charming best. Kerr is, as usual, beautiful. Despite the fact that both stars are at the top of their game, the costumes are gorgeous, the script is often witty (thanks to the stars, in my opinion), this is far from my favorite Grant film. The end is pure melodrama, a three-hankie weak ending that fails to address the real talents of the stars or the real dilemas of the characters. But it is still gorgeous to watch.

This is Cary Grant month here, and two films I’ve already thrown out  that I do love are The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (#27) and The Philadelphia Story (#35). Both feature a suave, charming Grant but showcase his comic side as well. These three films make a nice group, in fact, basically showing two decades of Grant’s acting and appeal.

Don’t forget: today is publication day for MARRYING MARI (you can get it here), and I’m guest-blogging with Nine Naughty Novelists and Delilah Devlin today, as well.

Most romantic film #53: Mr. Lucky (1943)

This 1943 dram-edy is a great B-movie in Grant’s filmography.

Grant plays a shady gambler who has just received his draft notice for WWII but, of course, doesn’t want to go. He assumes the identity of one of his underlings, a Joe Bascopolous who was found 4-F. So far, so good.

But Grant’s even shadier partner wanted the identity, and Grant has no cash to float his gambling boat. Where to get funds?

Fortunately, he meets Dorothy Bryant (Laraine Day), a socialite heiress who is organizing a War Relief charity event. Hmmm. Grant insinuates himself into her life and “suggests” the women’s group turn the charity event into a casino night. Grant’s gambler has a change of heart, both about the war and about stealing the war relief funding, and tries to go straight at the casino night. His pals, however, say no and cause trouble. Joe rescues Dorothy and escapes, killing his former partner and getting wounded. He sends the stolen money back to Dorothy after borrowing a little bit for real war relief supplies.

Grant is in his charming scoundrel mode here, and the film is definitely thinly plotted and predictable, but thanks to Grant and Day it is still worth seeing. Both do a great job, and the film is a fun watch. One of the best moments is Grant teaching Day Cockney rhyming slang (referred to as Australian, here).

The Cary Grant reprise for this week is #29 The Awful Truth, starring Grant and Irene Dunne. This is one of the funniest, silliest, wittiest films about marriage and divorce ever.

The second male lead is Ralph Bellamy, and he is priceless!