Saturday, June 30, 2007

Movie Review: Evening

Thursday night after work I went to a free screening of the new movie Evening starring Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.

Just a quick word about screenings in New York, they are a mad house. The movie started at 7 p.m. but if you hadn't gotten on line by 6 p.m. you probably weren't going to get in to the movie. Plus they were doing a screening of Transformers the same night so the two lines kept getting confused.

I knew almost nothing about this movie, which is a good thing, just that it was probably going to be sad.

Evening is the story of a woman on her deathbed who amidst the delirium and images of her past full life relives a love affair she had forty years earlier, when at twenty-five she attended the wedding of her best friend on an island in Maine. As her children wait and tend to her, she remembers minutely the details of those three days when she met a man, a time which emerges from marriages and divorces and children as being the high point of her life.

The screenplay was written by Michael Cunningham who wrote The Hours. If you didn't like that movie, you are definitely not going to like Evening.

I actually liked it alot. It wasn't perfect but it managed to capture a time and a place in a very real way. The only thing I didn't like was why everyone was so obsessed with Harris. I just didn't get and I'm not sure if it's the character in the book or the performance of Patrick Wilson. We only hear about his relationships with Buddy and Lila, there's only a quick glimpse in the wedding scenes.

Also, it's never spoken why Ann and Harris don't get together. Is it because of what happened to Buddy? The guilt? You never know or why she ends up married to the best man at the wedding.

Casting Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie to play the younger version of her character was an inspired choice. What surprised me the most about this movie was the performance of Hugh Dancy as Buddy, Lila's brother. He's always seemed sort of a light weight actor to me, but his performance in this movie moved beyond the shallow. I even liked Claire Danes which is unusual for me. Like Natalie Portman, she's a little bit hit or miss in her performances. It was great to see Barry Bostwick and Glenn Close in small but pivotal parts in the movie and the great Eileen Atkins.

Of course, I know have to go out and buy the book, to see how different it is than the movie, and what they had to leave out. Still, I would give this movie a B+. I'm surprised actually that they released in the summer amidst all the summer sequels and fluff. It would be shame if Vanessa Redgrave's performance got lost in the shuffle at awards time. Watching her was like watching a master class in acting.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spice Girls Reunite - Who cares?

So the Spice Girls announced today that they were reunited for an 11 city concert tour. Why? According to Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice, the fans demanded it.
Really? Are these the same fans who didn't buy their final album? How much did they have to pay Mel C to do this considering she's the only one who remotely has had a solo career?
This reminds me of this VH-1 show called Bands Reunited, where Amer Haleem tried to reunite bands from Berlin to Kajagoogoo. Seriously. Was anyone out there waiting for that reunion?
No offense to the girls, I even admit to owning Spice Girl CD's back in the day, but the Police reuniting is a big deal. Not you five.
Frankly I would rather see Andrew Ridgely and George Michael reunite Wham for one night.
Anyone out there excited to see the original Fab Five reunite?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Getting Hot in Herre!

Oh MY GOD! It was 90 degrees today here in New York but it felt like 97. Walking through the streets was like wading through pea soup. I like it when it's hot but disgusting and muggy. It's so bad that the Upper East Side had a brief power outage. In fact the lights in my office building flickered on and off briefly this afternoon. That wacky Mercury in Retrograde is at it again.

Wow, I can't believe that I've had over 17,000 hits to this blog since I started it two years ago. Now that might not sound like alot (I'm sure Meg Cabot gets that many in a week) but for me, it's pretty darn good. When I started this blog, I was happy if I could get my friends to read it, so the fact that there are people out there who I don't even know reading the blog is pretty awesome.

To celebrate, I took myself off to Lord and Taylor to look for a bathing suit. Pretty strange way to celebrate right? Well, I won a scavenger hunt this past Sunday and the prize was a trip going tubing down the Delaware river. I can't wait, sunshine, water, and barbecue! The scavenger hunt was alot of fun. We had to scour the Metropolitan Museum of Art for clues relating to Leonardo Da Vinci and his contemporaries, plus we had a list of about 30 pictures that we had to take, everything from getting a team member to pose as the Vitruvian Man to taking a picture with a man or woman of the cloth (we solved that by having our picture taken by a statue of a monk).

No cute guys on the hunt, apart from the guy who was the point person from the company that runs them, and the bartender at the Mad River Bar and Grille. Ah well! But we came in first which was tres cool. This was actually the second scavenger hunt that I've won with a team, so I guess that I must be good luck.

Anyway back to the great bathing suit hunt. It was extremely hard to find a flattering one piece suit. Most of the bathing suits were two pieces, and at my age, it's just not happening. I'm not one of those women who will wear a bikini with their belly hanging over the bottom. I tried on the so-called 'Miracle Suit' and all I can say is it's a miracle I was able to get it off again. It was like wearing a vise around my middle. Not fun or comfortable. So I will be wearing a bathing suit that I already own.

In other news, can I just say that there are no words to describe how vile I think Ann Coulter is? I don't wish harm to anyone, but with her, I'm sorely tempted. It's hard to remember that karma will eventually come back and bite her on the but for all the hate that she spews. I sometimes wonder if she really believes all the stuff that comes out of her mouth? Her response to Elizabeth Edwards, who just wanted her to lay off the personal attacks, was so inappropriate I won't even repeat it in this blog.

On a lighter note, I so far have managed to write at least 12 pages on my novella for the Brava contest.

Yeah me!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Would You Buy This?

So I'm perusing daily when I saw this. Apparently it was created by a designer in London who was inspired by the way that pigeons create private spaces for themselves in public areas. She created as you can see a bookshelf/slash seat so that readers can now sit among their books like in a library.

What do people think of this? It's not cheap, it costs about $7,045. And the light bulb looks awfully small. Would you feel comfortable or a little claustrophobic?

I personally prefer a couch or a chaise longue surrounded by comfy pillows and a place to put a cup of tea.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Favorite Books from Childhood - The Diamond in the Window

Have you ever read a book that stayed with you years after you read it? The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton is one of those books for me. It was one of the first slightly paranormal books that I remember reading. In fact the book stayed with me long after I forgot the title. Il oved this book so much that I remember reading it over and over again. I never wanted it to end.
Recently I read an article in The New York Times about Concord, MA and the number of writers over the years that have made the town home. The article mentioned that Gregory McGuire (Wicked) read The Diamond in the Window as a child and was so entranced that he wrote Jane Langton, the author, a fan letter. She told him to write fantasty books for children when he grew up, which he did. So I'm not the only one who was entranced by this book.

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

"A very unusual house... Eddy and Eleanor Hall have always known that their family was a bit out of the ordinary. After all, they live in one of the most remarkable houses in all of Concord. But they never guessed just how extraordinary their house really is, or what tremendous secrets about their family's past it holds. That is, until they discover the magical attic room with its beautiful stained-glass window, abandoned toys, and two perfectly made-up, empty beds that seem to be waiting perhaps for two children just like themselves...."

Doesn't that just grab you? From this book, I learned all about Emerson and Thoreau, transcendentalism, and how houses can be magical. If you've read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you will love this book, although it's not quite as fantastical. Instead, it's more of a time travel novel or parallel worlds.

I'm surprised that no one has ever tried to make a movie about this book. Although that might be a good thing. Jane Langton has written several books in the series. I've only read one other in the series but I'm eager to read all of them now. She's also written a series of historical mystery novels that seem intriguing which will probably go into the pile of books that are teetering on the floor near my bed, and on the bench in my bedroom.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My iPod! (Hall of Shame edition)

Okay, I've only been downloading music onto my iPod for about two months now, and I'm totally obsessed with it. I'm beginning to wish that I had gotten the iPod that holds 2,000 songs instead of 1,000. Right now, I'm up to 239 and I have a list of about 150 songs that I still want to download. Now you know why I have two jobs; to support my iPod habit!

So in the realm of full disclosure, I'm going to reveal the top 5 most embarassing songs that I have on my iPod. I got the idea from the Entertainment Weekly Pop Blog. So here goes in no particular order:

1. Never Going to Give You Up; Rick Astley - My defence for this once is that it reminds me of the time I spend on a post-graduate acting course in London in 1987 when this song came out. My friends and I loved it. Go figure. If you haven't heard it, imagine if Archie Andrews sang like a black soul singer and you have Rick Astley.

2. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham! How can you not bounce around your apartment listening to this song? Yeah, George Michael in the powder blue and orange short-shorts is a bit much but it's a totally catchy pop song.

3. I Just Want to Be Your Everything - Andy Gibb: I had a crush on him when I was eleven. He died tragically too young. Enough said.

4. Power of Love - Celine Dion - This was my song with Ex-sweetie Pie. Cheesy but beautiful.

5. Open Arms - Journey - Against, cheesy and gooey like a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread.

So what shameful songs exist on your iPod?

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

What Tarot Card Are You?

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Why Actors Should Shut Up

So after weeks of giving contradictory interviews to the media, including one to Entertainment Weekly, Isaiah Washington has now told the Houston Chronicle that the wrong actor was fired. He contends that T.R. Knight who plays George has used the whole called him the "F-word" as a bargaining chip to get a bigger role on the show and a raise.

Now call me madcap but as far as I know, apart from coming out an and an interview with Ellen de Generes, T.R. Knight has been remarkably silent about the whole situation. And it doesn't excuse Isaiah Washington's use of the F-word not once but twice, the second time when he denied ever saying it. In the article, he denies using the word to refer to specifically to T.R. Knight as if that makes what he said to Patrick Dempsey and the fact that apparently he put his hands on him okay. In fact, T.R. Knight was one of the last people to resign with the show, and it wasn't even clear that he was coming back. And no mention has been made of how much more he's making on the show. Katherine Heigel is the one who has been very vocal about the fact that she feels that ABC should be paying her more. I'm surprised Isaiah didn't accuse her of using the incident to get a bigger role on the show and more money. She was quite vocal about how she felt about him after the whole Golden Globes incident.

He also claims that he tried to get out of his contract twice during this whole thing. So if he tried to get out of his contract, why is he so pissed off that ABC finally decided to take him up on it? He goes on and on about how he did everything that they asked of him to save his job. I'm confused, is he saying that he wasn't contrite about what he said? That he only did it to save his job? If so, then he's not going to be winning friends after that statement.

See this is why most actors need to listen to their publicists or just shut up unless they have a movie to promote and then stick to what it is they're promoting. Or get some media training. I remember working atAmerican Express when they signed Tiger Woods as a spokesperson and a memo went around recommending that they have someone work with him on dealing with the media.

The same goes for Paris Hilton. Apparently, she just realized that the media has been making fun of her for the past 5 or so years. Really? She had no clue? Does she know how to read? She's a celebutante with no discernable talent. The media created her!

If you're actor, just act. That's your job. Keep your head down and keep your mouth shut. Don't explain and don't complain, that's what my acting teacher used to always say when we were being critiqued in a scene. I think it's a lesson that certain actors and celebrities need to learn. There's a reason why the old studio system kept the actors on such a tight leash when it came to publicity. Sheesh.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Now I've seen everything Part Two!

So anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have a wicked crush on Josh Bernstein, the host of Digging for the Truth on the Discovery Channel. So imagine my surprise when I was surfing the available men on and found out that his twin brother Andrew had posted a profile online.

Cool, I thought, and clicked on more to read what the other Mr. Bernstein was looking for. Imagine my surprise when I read his snarky profile. The gist of it was that he'd moved back to New York from LA, and he was looking for some one. His friends had suggested he try Apparently he'd tried it a few years ago, and thought it was full of freaks. However, he'd been assured that things had changed.

What's he looking for in a woman? A non-drinker between the ages of 22 and 32, with either a graduate degree or who likes dogs. Oh, and if you're out of that age range, don't even bother him. What I'd like to know is which is more important; the graduate degree or the liking dogs? And why not go even further and ask for their IQ and cup size? The whole age range thing didn't bother me nearly as much as the requirement of a graduate degree. However, after that whole Mark Phillapousis show Age of Love where older woman are called cougars, and he practically freaks out when they show up and then has the nerve to be amazed that they look good, my hackles were raised.

So the cheeky cougar that I am; I emailed him to say that it's too bad that he's not interested in older women because we can be just as much fun as our younger counterparts. I also told him that I wished him well in his search, since he seemed like an interesting guy. I'm pretty sure he won't respond since after all I'm a full decade older than what he's looking for.

I did find it interesting that his brother also has quite clear requirements for the woman of his dreams. According to an article in the NY Times, he's looking for a six foot tall blonde who's not only Jewish but who likes to go hiking, and camping and all that other outdoorsy stuff.

Good luck with that!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Taste of Pinkberry

So after reading about Pinkberry in various magazines, how people are lining up in LA like crack whores waiting for a fix, I decided I had to try it for myself. Normally, I'm suspicious of anything that's too popular. When Jamba Juice came to New York, I was all like "I've already had that in LA." Who knew that those things would multiply like rabbits here in New York?

Last night, after dancing the samba for an hour in my dance class (I now know why Brazilians wear so few clothes when they do this dance. Seriously Gisele could put out a Samba workout tape and make even more millions than she did with Victoria's Secret), I decided to take myself around the corner on 32nd Street to Little Korea to the Pinkberry store.

If you don't know about Pinkberry for some reason, the company was founded by a young Korean woman named Shelly Hwang in LA about two years ago, and now they've expanded into New York, opening two stores so far and planning on opening even more in the next few years. They've even spawned imitators that's how successful Pinkberry has become. Get this, she initially had planned on opening an English Tea Room, but after crunching some numbers and having problems getting licenses for liquor and outdoor seating, she decided on frozen yogurt instead.

Unlike Tasti-Delite or Crema-Lite, Pinkberry only has two flavors, original and green tea. And the decor of the shop is very mod and the place is small. The walls are painted a pale green and the tables and chairs are white. I got there last night at about 7:40 at there was a huge line. Normally I hate waiting on line, but I decided to suck it up in order to do this review. Oh, and it was hotter than Hades inside. I guess they forgot a simple thing like air conditioning or it was on the fritz.

After about seven minutes, I placed my order for a 5 oz original with strawberries and bananas. Then I waited another couple of minutes for my order. FYI to the manager of the 32nd Street store, your people need to move a lot quicker when they serve. I'm telling you the way they were piling up the fruit on the yogurt, you would have thought they were creating art. Oh, and you can get other toppings besides fresh fruit. They also have toppings like Cocoa Pebbles and Capt'n Crunch.

So is it any good? Um yeah. At first I was like "I think this is sour" but then I realized oh it tastes like actual yogurt as opposed to the chemically induced version that you normally get when you buy frozen yogurt. Before I knew it, I had eaten the whole thing. Was it worth it? Um yeah. I don't think I'd go back to the 32nd Street store, I might try the one downtown on 8th Street.
Anyone else tried Pinkberry?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Changes Afoot at RWA

Last night I attended a preview of the Mythic Creatures exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History with my fellow board members. Talk quickly turned to the changes in RWA's PAN policy as well as the decision by the board to eliminate the mainstream fiction with romantic elements category in the RITA's but to keep the category in the Golden Heart's.

For anyone reading this blog who is not a member of RWA, PAN is the published authors network of RWA. Typically once you have signed a contract with an RWA approved publisher, you are eligible to join PAN. But now apparently they want to change the rules and make it that you have to have been paid a certain advance by your RWA approved publisher in order to join PAN.

What this means is that new authors who are being published by RWA approved ebook publishers may not be eligible to join PAN because their advances may not be big enough. What is the point of this? You finally get that book contract, your book is going to be in print (for those publishers who do both), and you can't join PAN? My understanding was that for a publisher to be approved by RWA they had to pay a certain amount in royalties and advances. Am I wrong about this? If so, how does excluding a portion of your membership strengthen PAN?

I'm even more confused about eliminating the mainstream fiction with romantic elements category from the RITA's but keeping it for the Golden Hearts. Why is is good enough for the Golden Heart but not the RITA's anymore? What about all those finalists who then go on to be published? They will no longer be able to enter that winning manuscript or finalist manuscript in their own organizations awards.

While I know that RWA is ROMANCE writers of America, the reality is that many of the members are being published in YA or mainstream fiction. Both Nora Roberts and Suzanne Brockmann are still strong supporters of RWA, but I wouldn't call Suzanne Brockmann's books romances, although they do have a strong romantic element in them.

I started out writing romance, and I still continue to plug away at writing romance. However, what most agents that I've queried seem to be interested in from me are my YA novels. I would love to be published in romance, but that's not all I write, and I find it disconcerting to know that if I move into women's fiction, there won't be a place for me in my own organization's awards.

Sure, there are always the RT Awards, but those are decided by the editorial staff of RT. It's not quite the same as the RITA's.

I personally would like to see the mainstream category continue, with an additional category for straight historical fiction, and also erotic romance. Whether that's ever going to happen, depends on who the next President and board are.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 18, 2007

The Pirate Queen

Yesterday was Father's Day. Since my dad is no longer living, I thought would spend the day doing something that we had loved to do together. My dad took me to see my first Broadway musical. It was Sweeney Todd starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. Not exactly the type of show that you would expect a father to take his daughter, the tale of a murdering barber intent on revenging the rape of his wife and the abduction of his daughter. But we loved it, and since I'm such a history geek it was the perfect show, combining history and musical theater.

So I headed downtown to the TKTS booth and bought a ticket for the final performance of The Pirate Queen. Wow, I wish I could tell you that the critics were wrong and the show undeservedly had a short run, but the truth is, this show blew chunks. Seriously, from the first song, I knew this show was going to be painful and it was. I have no idea what made 2 frenchmen think they could write a show about an Irish legend. Don't get me wrong, Les Miserables is one of my favorite musicals (I cry everytime I listen to Colm Wilkinson sing 'Bring Him Home') and Miss Saigon wasn't bad although the helicopter and the statue of Ho Chi Minh got bigger press, but the music for this was unmemorable and unremarkable. And not even particularly Irish for that matter. Plus every dance number was an Irish step dance. The first time, it was pretty cool when the men came out with the oars and danced. By the fifth time, I was bored out of my skull, and I hated Riverdance.

The other thing that got me was why was the lead actress the only one doing an Irish accent? My rule of thumb when I was acting was, everyone in the show had to do the acccent or none of us did. Having one person doing an Irish accent while everyone else who is supposed to be Irish was doing an American accent was like, WTF?

What made it even worse, I read the notes in the souvenir program in the gift shop about the real Grace O'Malley and the true story was so much more interesting than the musical. The writers created this character called Tiernan who was supposed to be her one true love, instead of using the real man that she ended up with. I totally understand why they cut her other two kids out of the show, but they could have used the legend that when her father refused to let her sail with him, she cut off her long hair. That would certainly have been a dramatic moment.

Clearly, I was being punished for accidentally cutting the TKTS line. Oops! My bad.

The real Grace O'Malley (Grannia) was born in 1530, three years before her nemesis, Queen Elizabeth. At the time, England had virtually ignored Ireland for years after their initial conquest during the reign of Henry II. The Irish chieftains and the Anglo-Irish pretty much co-existed somewhat uneasily. Like the Scottish clans, the Irish chieftains warred with each other constantly (which is how the English/Normas found it so easy to step in). Grace's father was the O'Malley and the family were seafarers which was actually unusual for a clan. They taxed anyone who fished in their waters including the English. Unlike the musical, when her father died, she did not become the clan chieftain because women were not allowed to hold that position. She engaged in constant revolutionary activity against the crown, which is barely hinted at in the musical. In fact, she becomes the Pirate Queen literally in one scene, when she helps her father defeat the British who are attempting to take over their ship. In the next scene, we see a young Queen Elizabeth telling Richard Bingham to take care of Grace and get rid of her. Huh?

Of course the musical has a happy ending with Grace and Tiernan reunited with her son Eoin, having come to terms with Queen Elizabeth, with lots of happy step dancing to end the evening. In reality, Grace went on warring against the English crown until she died at the age of 73, 3 years before Queen Elizabeth.

Bertrice Small used quite a huge chunk of Grace's story when she created Skye O'Malley, right down to her husband's first name, and the names of her children, to their overlords the Burkes. Like Skye's fourth husband Adam de Marisco of Lundy Island, Grace's second husband Richard Burke owned a castle on an island. In fact, Skye O'Malley would have made a better musical than The Pirate Queen.

The one good thing that came out of seeing this musical was my desire to read more about Grace O'Malley, so I'll be picking up a copy of Robin Maxwell's book as well as Morgan Llewellyn. However, I won't be listening to the cast album of The Pirate Queen anytime soon.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Historical Fiction vs. Historical Romance

There's been a lot of buzz lately about what the difference is between Historical Fiction and Historical Romance, so I thought I would add my two cents in since I read a great deal of both. In my opinion, Historical Romance is a genre wherein the romance is essential to the book. If you took it out, you'd have no book, whereas historical fiction, while it may have elements of romance to it, has a wider scope. Think of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, or the Hornblower series on A&E (by C.S. Forster who also wrote the African Queen).

I think the confusion is coming because historical fiction is once again on the rise. In the last five or six years there seems to be an explosion of historical fiction, everything from books like Sarah Waters books Tipping the Velvet and Fingerprints which are kind of lesbian historical fiction to huge bestsellers like Crimson Petal, Philippa Gregory's Tudor series, and books by Susan Vreeland, and Dava Sobel.

I remember reading a book by Virginia Henley about Henry III's sister Eleanor and her marriage to Simon de Montfort. Although the book was about real people, it was written as a romance, set against the turbulent backdrop of the period.

Whereas, Sharon Kay Penman who wrote a book set in the same time period with the same characters (Falls the Shadow) was concerned more with the history of the period, the conflict between Henry III and the barson, the relationship between Eleanor and Simon was just a small part of a bigger canvas.

A lot of historical romances use the history strictly as a backdrop. How many regency romances have you read that seemed to exist in a bubble? That don't even tell you what year they are set in? What's going on outside the four walls of the ballroom or the great country estates, doesn't seem to exist. Of course, most women of the time, unless they were married to politicians, probably weren't that aware either (and that goes for some contemporary women also).

In historical fiction, authors can take the reader from cradle to grave, where is historical romance, you're giving them a happy ending, letting the reader know that the hero and heroine will live happily ever after. Time is much more compressed in a historical romance. In historical fiction, the story can continue over several volumes. Think of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, which was initially marketed as a romance, but is really more historical fiction (confession, I stopped reading the series after Jaime and Claire reunited in Voyager. As far as I was concerned that was all I cared about). Or Bernard Cornwell's series about King Arthur.

But what about books that seem to be hybrid's like Diana Gabaldon's or even Anya Seton's? When I was growing up Anya Seton's books were shelved in romance at the Coliseum bookstore in New York, not fiction, the way they are today. As were all of Jean Plaidy's books on the Plantagents and Tudors. I certainly thought they were romances at the time, particularly Green Darkness and Dragonwyck.

But looking back on it now, That Winthrop Woman and My Theodosia were definitely not romances, although they both had romantic elements in them.

Now fictional biographies of historical figures are back. I was at Barnes & Noble and there was like a whole table of books from Margaret George's book on Helen of Troy, to Diane Haeger's book on Diane de Poitiers. These books while historical fiction, also tend to feature a lot of the romances these women were famous for.

I think they're coming back in vogue because they can bring the period alive for readers by involving them emotionally in the story, as to opposed to a dry biography full of footnotes (apart from Carolly Erickson who's books always read like fiction even though they weren't).

Personally, I'm awe of anyone writes both historical fiction or romance. Just to do the research alone is amazing.

I know that several members of RWA write historical fiction as well as romance, but where would their books fall in terms of the RITA? Eloisa James Desperate Duchesses competing with a historical fiction book like India Edgehill's books? Why not a historical fiction with romantic elements category?

Not likely to happen since the board wants to do away with the mainstream with romantic elements category.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Introducing the Delta Male

As romance writers, we've all heard of the Alpha Male (Russell Crowe), the Beta Male (think of Al Gore), and even the Gamma Male (a Beta who turns Alpha when his woman or family are threatened).

Well, I give you the Delta Male! You know who they are, think all the guys that you know who pledged a fraternity in college (or a secret society) and twenty years later still act as if they're in one. Still use words like "Dude," they wear their college ring with pride, and as far as they're concerned it was the best four or five years of their lives (what they can remember of it).

Their humor is sophomoric (think of all those National Lampoon movies), and they probably have a file cabinet in HR from all the inappropriate comments that they've made mainly to female colleagues over the years. They are frequently Republican, although there are a few that are Democrats (think Roger Clinton).

Most of them work as investment bankers, and live on the Upper East Side, where they frequent bars like Brother Jimmy's BBQ. They thrive on being 'politically incorrect'. In the summer you can find them out in the Hamptons, where they have not one but two summer shares. During the day at work, they like to throw a football at each other, despite the fact that the aisles on the trading floor are narrow. They talk sports constantly or how hot certain women like Jessica Alba are.

I once worked at an IB, where two of the salesman actually stood in front of one the assistants desk talking about how much they liked to have sex with their wives while they were pregnant.

In books and movies, they are usually the hero's best friend, the annoying guy that the girlfriend has to tolerate. But they can also be the hero, witness any movie starring Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, or Owen Wilson. The Wedding Crashers, total Delta Male movie.

A prime example of the Delta Male in real life is one George Walker Bush, our 44th President, or Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover.

Can the Delta Male be tamed? Well, Laura Bush supposedly told W that it was either Jim Beam or her. It takes a strong woman to put up with a Delta Male. A beta female could probably win him with her love and brownies, but I'm thinking that a Delta Male needs an Alpha female to truly whip into shape. Think of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.

Who do you know who is a Delta Male?


Now I've seen everything!

Okay, so I'm sitting at my night job last night just before Top Chef, winking at any guy on that doesn't look like a serial killer when I saw something I've never seen before on any dating site.

A guy wearing a blond wig and a dress.

Seriously, I know someone who once went out with a guy who then ended up on America's Most Wanted, and we've all had experiences of meeting people who look nothing like their pictures, but this was a first for me.

According to his profile, yes, he does like to dress like a woman, which is totally okay. I give him mad props for actually putting it out there in his profile right up front, instead of springing it on a woman after they'd been dating for awhile. And it must have taken a great deal of courage to do that.

But here's the problem, the only pictures in the profile were of him wearing a cheap wig and a dress. No pictures of him in guy mode. And frankly, the dude is one fugly female. I don't know how many women have responded to his profile, but I have a feeling if they're turned off it probably has less to do with the fact that he cross-dresses and more to do with his appearance. I mean seriously, unless he plans to show up on the first date in a dress, he should have two pictures in his profile, one as a man and one as a woman.

Of course, it could turn out that the whole thing is a huge joke. I have no idea. I could be worrying about this guy, sitting home alone, for nothing.

Anyone else had any strange experiences with on-line dating sites? Who am I kidding? Of course, you have!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top Chef Day!

Yeah, tonight is the first night for season 3 of Top Chef and I'm so excited. In fact I'm so excited that I hope that I get to write the show tonight at my night job even though it means I probably won't get home until 2 or 3 in the morning.

But more than that I am so jealous that my good friend KMJ got to meet Sam Talbot from Top Chef 2 in Union Square yesterday. Here she is snuggling up with my future boy toy. Thank god, she had a cell phone cam.
KMJ, get your hands off him, he's mine! God, he's hot. I'm getting all sweaty just thinking about it and it's freezing today.

Apparently, the rest of the Top Chef gang was there: Ted Allen, Padma, and my other man, Tom Colicchio, who I would totally do if he weren't married.

Here are Padma, Ilan and Sam getting ready for a Top Chef challenge, which apparently Ilan won. Once again my boy Sam was robbed!
So, after watching last week's one-off, between Season 1 and Season 2, I've come to the conclusion that Season 2 was a bunch of divas. Just watching Harold, the winner of the first season, skillfully make his dish with no drama, was a pleasure. I can't wait to get together with friends to eat in his new restaurant Perilla which is getting rave reviews.

I will however give kudos to Ilan who realized that he's not quite ready to have his own kitchen. I don't know what that means for the money that he won, if he's got it socked away some where for the day he does open his own place. Oh, and I found it amusing that Marcel accused Ilan of being a one trick pony with his Spanish food, when Marcel is incapable of making a dish without foam!

It'll be interesting to see where the third season lies: will they be the professionals of Season 1 or the drama queens of Season 2 or somewhere in between.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Guilty Pleasure: Grease 2

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the release of Grease 2. Yes, I can hardly believe it folks but it's true. I saw Grease 2 when it first came out in the movie theater. I went with a group of friends from my trip the previous summer to London. This being the 80's, one of the friends felt the need to light up a doobie in the movie theater. Yup, you could smoke at the movies back then. Plus, the theater was almost empty.

Which was a shame because Grease 2 is a an out and out hoot and a half. I can't tell you how much I love this movie and Michelle Pfeiffer as Stephanie in it. Forget all her dramatic roles, to me, this was one of her best performances, plus she got to sing in it too. Who can forget her singing 'Cool Rider'? where she describes her perfect guy.

And then there's Maxwell Caulfield, the brooding new kid, Michael Carrington, in school from England. The man who just wants to be Stephanie's cool rider. Sigh! I had a huge crush on Maxwell Caulfield. I even watched The Colby's, the horrible spin-off of Dynasty that was only notable for Stephanie Beacham as Sable.

The rest of the cast weren't slouches either, Adrien Zmed, Lorna Luft. How can you not love a movie that has a whole song and dance number in a bowling alley? Or in biology class? Plus, the final production number, during the Calendar Girls number when Stephanie thinks Michael Carrington is dead, but she sees him a dream, is awesome.

Personally I think that instead of another pointless rival of Grease on Broadway, which always ends up being a mish-mash of the movie and the original stage production, they should do Grease 2 instead. I mean why not? So far on Broadway, we have Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Legally Blonde, and now Xanadu, all movies. And Xanadu is another craptastic movie from the 80's. If they can turn that into a Broadway musical, they can certainly do Grease 2.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday Real Estate Porn

I've lived in New York all my life, and I know the city pretty well, but every now and then I see something that I've never seen before. Case in point, this chateau looking building on 106th and CPW.

The picture on the left doesn't do it justice. Apparently some developer has turned it into a condominium building, where the apartments start at like $4.5MM which is insane because 106th and CPW isn't exactly the creme de la creme of Central Park West. I mean Jerry Seinfeld and Madonna have their apartments approximately 20 blocks down. And 106th Street itself runs the gamut of nice block, bad block, nice block all the way to the park.

Still, if I won mega millions, I would totally buy an apartment in this building. One of the floor plans is for an apartment in one of the towers, so that the living room is completey round. How cool is that? And another apartment is so huge, that the master bedroom has not one, but two walk-in closets. That's no joke in New York, where closet space is at a premium. I would buy the apartment just for the closet space alone!

If you want to see more, check out the web-site at, and you'll see what I mean. Commence drooling!

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Embarassing Celebrity Crushes

Well, I've been tagged by Marley and I'm supposed to upload photos of my bookshelves, but it's going to have to wait because I don't have a digital camera so I took photos with a disposable one and I have to pick up the photos from Duane Reade.

So in the meantime, I thought I'd talk about celebrity crushes, which is kind of timely since one of my celebrity crushes just retired this week from television. Yes, Mr. Bob Barker was one of my celebrity crushes from when I was a child. I used to watch Truth or Consequences with my grandmother and for some reason, when I was five, I just thought Bob Barker was so good-looking. Looking back, I think it's because he kind of looked a little like my dad. Freud would have a field day with that one.

Before that apparently, I had a crush on this newscaster Jim Jensen. I don't remember this but my mother told me that whenever he was anchoring the news, I would stop whatever I was doing and go sit in front of the television set the minute I heard his voice.

Then of course, as I got older it was Donny Osmond all the way (I think I always sensed some thing was off with Michael Jackson) until I found out what it took to become a Mormon. There was no way I was going to be missing out on the drinking and the pre-marital sex, so he was out. Next was Parker Stevenson. While all the other girls my age were squealing for Shaun Cassidy, Parker won my heart. This was way because Kirstie Alley announced on national television that he gave her the 'Big O'.

Of course, everyone knows of my love for Timothy Dalton and James Purefoy but I have a confession to make. For a brief moment in time, I actually had a crush on Rick Astley, this English singer who looked like Archie. Embarassing, I know.

So, who are your most embarassing celebrity crushes?

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 08, 2007

The Lake House

So I got home from work last night and decided to watch a movie since it's summer, and there's nothing on TV I particularly want to watch (that means you Mark Burnett and anything that you could possibly produce). Now I wish I had read a book instead. Anything had to have been better than this very lame movie.
The basic premise is that Keanu Reeves, who plays Alex moves into a lake house that his father built. He receives a letter in the mail from a previous tenant, Kate, played by Sandra Bullock. To make a long story short, it's 2004 when Alex is living in the house, and 2006 where she is. So two people corresponding seperated by two years. Oh, and somehow they also managed to talk to each telepathically as well.
My biggest problem with this movie was two fold, one it turns out that Alex and Kate have not only met in 2004 but they also dance together at her surprise birthday party and share a kiss. 2) once she knows who he is, why doesn't she google him? Come on, we've all googled people that we've gone out with, or want to go out with. She seems pretty computer literate. She wasn't even curious. However, she does send him a book about his father that is published in the future after his father dies. WTF?
And lastly but not least, I totally knew how it was going to end about halfway through when she waited for him at dinner in 2006 and he didn't show up.
Apparently this movie is based on a South Korean film, but it reminded me of a movie with Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh called The Love Letter. If you haven't seen this movie you should, it's awesome. It's up there with Somewhere in Time. In this movie, Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh are seperated by over 100 years. She lives during the Civil War. They communicate by leaving letters in an old desk that he buys. In fact, if I remember correctly he actually researches who she is (unlike Sandra Bullock).
So Lake House C-
The Love Letter A
Thanks for reading,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Random Thoughts

So yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day. I just want to give a shout-out to all the veterans who are still around who were on Omaha Beach. My dad fought in WWII, along with my uncle, although he was in the navy while my dad was in the army. My dad landed in the invasion of southern France, was in the Battle of the Bulge, and then got sent to Okinawa before the war ended. He never wanted to talk to me about the war, although being a total history geek, I wanted to know everything.

Now that I've read alot, and see movies like A Solider's Story, I can see why he didn't want to tell me about what it was like back when the armed forces were still segregated. It must have been really tough on him having to spend time down south while he was in training. My dad grew up in New York, where while things weren't great, they were certainly better than they were down south. He went to one of the best public schools, and had just gotten a civil service job at the post office when he was drafted, and my grandparents had just bought a town house in Hamilton Heights.

So it must have been serious culture shock for him when he arrived in Louisiana, between segregation and having to understand Cajun French, France must have been a relief in a way. He was finally doing what he had spent 2 years training to do.

I've always been proud that my dad and my uncle were veterans. So even though it's past Memorial Day and past D-Day, I salute both of them and the men they served with.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Footballers Wives$

Ah, it's Wednesday, also known as hump day here at The Lady Novelist. Two days of work behind me, and two days of work still ahead of me. Oy!

Thankfully tonight one of my guiltiest pleasures is on BBC America. Yes, Footballers Wives$ are back in all their naughty glory, including the addition of Joan Collins to the cast for the final season.

I cannot tell you how much I love this show. I was a huge fan of Dynasty back in the day, but this show is better. Maybe because Dynasty was about really really rich people who did something in the oil business. Footballers Wives$ on the other hand, is about the Earl's Park Football Club (soccer to us).

If you've ever picked up a copy of Hello! Magazine or the British version of OK, than you've seen the actual Footballers Wives$. Think of Victoria Beckham, wife of David Beckham. Now the lastest girlfriend to become famous just because she's dating a footballer is Colleen, who dates Wayne Rooney. She's 21, and from what I can see has done basically absolutely nothing. But she's on the cover of magazines, she's written an autobiography and now she's getting TV work as a what they call a presenter over there (we call them hosts. See George Bernard Shaw was right when he said we were two nations divided by a common language!).

The main reason to watch this show is Zoe Lucker's performance as Tanya Turner. I can't even begin to describe all the things that Tanya has done in the 4 series of the show that I've seen, but she's literally screwed one husband to death and switched babies in the hospital, taking the child of her lover and his ex-wife for hers, and leaving her own baby with the other mother! Even Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington wasn't that bad. And she didn't snort cocaine on a regular basis on Dynasty. Or sleep with her first husband's female agent.

Tanya Turner is the bad girl that you love to hate. The viewer lives vicariously through her. We don't condone what she does, but you can't wait to find out what she's going to do next.

ABC attempted to do an American version of the show with Lucy Lawless as Tanya. I don't see it. I could have been wrong about her performance, but we'll never know since so far, ABC has declined to pick up the pilot. Rumor has it the NFL put the kibosh on the show, and ABC succumbed to the pressure so as not to lose the right to the games on ESPN.

I'm not sure how well the show would have transferred. The wives of sports stars for the most part are invisible in this country. Apart from Kobe Bryant's wife or Magic Johnson, how many people can name the wife of a leading sports figure? They just aren't the celebrities the way they are in the UK. The players yes, but the wives for the most part seem to be invisible. They're almost like Army wives in a way. It would have been a completely different show.

Plus, I couldn't see them including any of the unsavory stuff that was in the show, like Noah, the gay footballer who turns to Christianity and reversion therapy to live the life of a heterosexual, or the scenes in Spain where a young girl is raped by one of the players. Too close to what happened with Kobe Bryant. Of course, without the unsavory stuff, the show would be boring.

What's interesting is that the men in Footballers Wives$ for the most part are the least interesting, apart from Bruno Milligan who is an abusive husband (picking up from where Jason left off). So far, we've seen two players have to go to a psychiatric facility, but not one of them seems to need rehab.

Still, thanks to DVD, whenever I need a fix of Tanya, Amber, and Lucy, I can just pop one in and relive their antics.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. And the fourth issue of the Buffy comic came out today too!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, after days of temperatures hovering in the high 80's, we've finally had some rain here in New York. I left work last night after writing America's Funniest Home Videos (the Bob Saget edition, does anyone find him funny?) and it was pouring outside. Luckily I had budgeted for a cab which I duly took home.

I went to listen to some jazz on Friday night at the Rose Center which is part of the American Museum of Natural History. They were supposed to be playing jazzed up versions of the Beatles but I couldn't identify a single song. Good sangria though. I drank two glasses and shared a table with two very friendly people. I had a minor celebrity sighting, Donald Maass was there with I guess his wife, and two women from his office. I declined to say hello.

Saturday was our monthly board breakfast meeting before our regularly scheduled meeting. Lots of stuff got done including the possibility of hooking up with a charity, and a discussion of putting together some sort of self-published book to sell to benefit the chapter. Several chapters have done this with great success, in particular the Beau Monde which has a great research book. We were however thinking of using our most valuable asset which is the city itself. So we were thinking of doing a book of love stories, real or imagined that have to do with New York City landmarks, interspersed with romantic information, like most romantic hotels, restaurants, places to kiss, bars, and other possibly historical tidbits about great couples like Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell. Our secretary and I joked about doing a book called 'Great Sluts of New York'.

We had the lovely Lois Winston as our guest speaker. I had asked her to speak on contests, the pros and cons, just to give our members an idea of what to look for when entering a contest and what the advantages and disadvantages there are to them. It was very informative. And then it was work and more work over the weekend.

Goal this week is to finish the novella. I have 20 pages to go, including the love scene which should occupy at least 8 pages of that. I read a few pages at our meeting and it seemed to go over well. I'm kind of pleased with it. It's been a long time since I've written anything romance related.

I also have over 200 friends now at My Space. So come by and check it out:

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 01, 2007

Crazy Love

Everyone knows about Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuco. They had an affair while she was underage, he broke up with her, she shot his wife. Now allegedly they're back together.
Well, meet the 1950's equivalent. Instead of Amy Fisher, we have Burt Pugach, the man from whom 1-800-Shyster could have been invented. Burt, not very good-looking, but apparently smart and charismatic works as an ambulance chaser in the Bronx. He's also a film producer, and owns a night club. He spies Lnda Riss (the Mary Jo Buttafuco of our story, with tinges of Joey) on a park bench and decides than and there that he has to have her.
She's attractive in a Natalie Wood kind of way. She also comes from a broken home, with a mother who had to work to support them since her father apparently abandoned them with no support. So Linda like most girls of that era is looking for a husband who would be a good provider. So despite not finding Burt attractive, she goes out with him.
He puts on the full court press, taking her to work, picking her up at lunch, taking her out to dinner. You have to wonder when he found time to chase any ambulances. He's madly, passionately in love with her. She's impressed by the people he knows, his fancy car, airplane, and the night clubs that he takes her too.
Then she finds out he's married, and refuses to see him. He tells her he'll get a divorce but stalls. This goes on for two years while he is disbarred, and starts drinking heavily, imaging that she cheating on him. She refuses to give up the goods without a ring. He fakes a divorce. The upshot is, she finds out what a lying jerk he is, and dumps him, getting engaged to another man. Burt flips out and hires three guys to disfigure her by throwing lye in her face. She ends up virtually blind from the attack.
Now things get screwy. I won't go into too much detail, but you have to see this movie to believe it. Burt goes to jail, although he feels he doesn't deserve too, after all, he didn't actually cause the attack. While in prison, he writes her constantly. Meanwhile her world shrinks to the point of loneliness, and she faces a future of clipping coupons and cats. He gets out of prison, and manages to convince her to marry him.
Now when I first heard about this story, I couldn't believe it. Then I saw Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuco smooching for the cameras. So I thought, stop judging these people and see the film for yourself. So I went to a free screening last night, and I'm glad I did. Whatever draws Burt and Linda together, it seems to work for them.
The one moment that was telling for me was when Linda admitted that Burt sees her the way that she used to be, not as this disfigured woman. Of course, one can argue that the reason she's disfigured at all is because of him. But time seems to have stopped for both of them in 1959 when this all happened. Call it Crazy Love or what have you, but strangely it works for them. You could call it redemption or revenge on her part. I personally think that she married him because she felt that he owed her because of what he did to her, so taking care of her for the rest of her life was his punishment.
For him, I think it's the fact that she's elusive, she's there but she's not there. He seems to have her on some kind of pedestal. The ultimate dream girl for a not very good looking guy from the Bronx. A prize. The whole Madonna whore syndrome.
The movie is also a cautionary tale about what happens when mistake love and obsession, and you opt for economic and material in a relationship. It kind of made me afraid to date, to tell the truth.
Thanks for reading,