Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The movie purports to be the story of Jane and her lost love, Tom Lefroy. If you know anything about Jane Austen and her life, you know that there is very little evidence beyond a few mentions of him in her letters. The Jane Austen Society of North America has a link where you can read about the actual facts about Tom Lefroy and Jane Austen here.
I have no problem with the idea that Jane may have had a lost love. After all her sister Cassandra lost her fiance to yellow fever. What bothered me about the film was the idea that Jane Austen could never have created Darcy or Willoughby without having been in love herself. Although the filmmakers make it clear that Jane had already been writing for years whenever she got a chance, there are too many scenes of her being 'inspired' after spending time with Tom Lefroy. Case in point (SPOILER ALERT), she starts writing Pride & Prejudice after spending time with Tom and his uncle in London. Writing feverishly all night long, it looked for a moment like she wrote the entire book! And then there's another scene, where he introduces her to Fielding's Tom Jones. As if she'd never thought to read the book before.
One of the most interesting scenes in the movie and the one they did the least with, is the scene where Jane gets to meet Mrs. Radcliffe, and they have a stilted conversation about being a wife and a novelist. I don't know alot about Mrs. Radcliffe but I couldn't tell if she was just shy or she'd been nipping into the laundanum.
I found the only way that I could reasonably enjoy this film is if I just forgot that the film was supposed to be about Jane Austen and just thought of it as a movie about some girl named Jane who meets a guy named Tom and falls in love with him but they can't get married because they have no money. And there are some enjoyable parts of the movie and some absolutely laugh out loud parts, and not in the good way.
Tom in this film is supposed to be a prolifegate who spends his time brawling (bare knuckle boxing) and whoring, and very little time studying to be a lawyer (shades of Willoughby). He then meets Jane, and turns into Darcy with his disdain of her reading her work, and distaste for country living.
Out of the two actors, I much preferred James McAvoy as Tom. He has a certain charm to him, and his eyes are so beautifully blue. Plus he's married to Ann-Marie Duff who's older than he is and we like that. Anne Hathaway seems to spend most of her time trying to hang onto her accident and widening her big brown eyes. Thank god the film is filled with wonderful actors like Julie Walters (playing Mrs. Austen like a less annoying version of Mrs. Bennett), James Cromwell as Mr. Austen, Maggie Smith playing a variation of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and the late Ian Richardson who plays Tom's uncle. Anna Maxwell Martin was lovely as Cassandra and there's a really wonderful scene when she receives the news of her fiance's death, and both Mrs. Austen and Jane are trying to comfort her, and another scene of the two sisters lying cuddled together in bed. You can easily see from this scene where Jane might have gotten the inspiration for Elinor and Marianne's relationship in S&S.
The other flaw in the film is that most of the dialogue sounds like the screenwriter opened a copy of The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen and copied it down in the screenplay, and it just sounds unnatural because it isn't dialogue. It's as if someone tried to turn this blog into a screenplay. The screenwriter also tried to make a parallel between Jane and Tom, and Jane's cousin Eliza and her brother Henry. Eliza has money and can buy Henry a commission in the army which he wants, so you get the impression that it's almost a marriage of convenience but with a lot of sex.
There are some scenes that are just out and out cliches. If they were in a regency romance novel you would have thrown the book across the room. Case in point (SPOILER ALERT), after Jane and Tom have made the huge, and I mean huge decision to elope with all that entails, they end up stranded for a bit when the wheel of the stagecoach gets stuck in mud. As Tom is helping to move the coach, Jane holds his coat and ends up reading a letter from his mother (yes, our Jane is a big ole snoop, reading other people's mail). She comes to the conclusion that since he uses part of his allowance to feed his huge family, she has to release him, to marry another.
I almost fell out of my seat I was laughing so hard at that moment. I suppose it was supposed to be poignant, but it was just so clear that the writers had to find some way to get Jane and Tom out of this situation, and Jane being the level-headed young miss makes the ultimate sacrifice. Then to make it worse the filmmakers add an epilogue where Tom and Jane meet years later when she's a famous authoress, and she's in London with Henry and Eliza (okay, I'm still rolling on the floor during this scene). Tom's daughter Jane is of course a huge Jane Austen fan, and wants to hear Jane read, which she obligingly does, as Tom and Jane exchange longing looks. Oy!
There was some humor of the 'don't make me cringe' variety. After yet another man proposes to Jane (apparently she was quite popular with the men), she yells in frustration "Are there no other women in Hampshire?" Funniest line in the whole film. There's some other plot stuff that I won't get into but its of the "You've got to be kidding me" variety.
Also, I'm not a huge costume expert, but I had to wonder why (the film is set in 1795) Jane and Cassandra are wearing empire waisted gowns but pretty much everyone else in the film is still wearing full skirts and square bodices? I wouldn't think two women who are living off the pittance Mr. Austen made could be so au courant with their wardrobe.
It's just a very silly, silly film. The only thing that would have improved this film would have been more scenes of James McAvoy shirtless and more snogging.
This isn't the first time that someone has written a speculative romanace about Jane Austen and a lost love. Howard Fast wrote a play called The Novelist that supposes that Jane in the twilight of her life, as she was dying met a sea captain (see where I'm going with this) and was thus inspired to write Persuasion.
Would I recommend this film? It depends, if you can check your brain at the door, and refrain from yelling at the screen, everytime that something false comes up, than yes. If not, you might not want to see this film unless you have a doctor's note, because you will have a stroke. Or just go home and rent Shakespeare in Love, the film that Becoming Jane Austen aspires to be but falls far short of.
Thanks for reading,
Update: Oh and I completely forgot the scene where Mr. Austen dives under the covers to give Mrs. Austen a little morning delight. Probably because I think I went blind for a second. And can anyone tell me if they were doing sign language in the 18th century. Because there's a scene with Jane and her brother, who I thought was mentally handicapped, but seems to be deaf in this movie. I'm pretty sure Jane is doing ASL with George, long before Annie Sullivan was teaching Helen Keller.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Back when I was 26, I met the Australian cowboy. This guy was seriously hot, a former member of the SAS, gymnast and personal trainer. He'd just played Iago in a production of 'Othello' that my BFF had had a small part in. She thought that we would be great together.
So we threw this awesome party at the art gallery that my BFF's boyfriend owned (that's another story). And he came and totally didn't notice me until the end when he was leaving and I said good-bye and he asked me my name. I was devastated, and determined that the next time he saw me, he would remember me.
Not only would he remember me, but he would want me so bad, he couldn't see straight. Not once did occur to me that I couldn't make this happen, or that he wouldn't want me, or even that it might not be a good idea, being that he had just gotten out of a bad marriage and all (that's another story). I'd made my mind up. I wanted the guy who'd pulled a bottle of Jack Daniel's out of his boot (I thought that was incredibly sexy).
Long story short, I went and rented a cute little Lady Buccaneer outfit to wear to this Halloween party that we threw (my BFF and I were big on throwing parties back in the day). Short red coat, lacy shirt, and thigh high black suede boots. You get the picture. Without even touching the Cowboy, I made him want me (Trust me this is a skill). By the end of the evening, he was dying for me. Not only that but I had somehow attracted the notice of a 21 year old artist friend of the BFF (he painted gargoyles and cars) who declared his lust for me at the end of the evening (Hey 2 for 1!).
What happened to that girl? Is it getting older? Becoming more cynical about relationships? One too many bad first dates? (oooh, great title for a book). Ever since ex-sweetie and I finally gave up the ghost on our relationship 4 years ago, I've found it harder and harder to be optimistic about finding someone else.
Case in point, I'm so afraid of being rejected, I've been holding back on the mojo. It's like I'd rather not even try to let someone know I like them, that way they can't give that 'I'm just not interested' or even worse, 'It's not you, it's me,' speech. Or I give off mixed signals that he's not even getting.
Just last week, I was wearing this incredibly sexy Banana Republic dress, and the only compliment I got was from the homeless guy in front of Barnes and Noble. Although, apparently this young guy who writes for the NYT was checking me out at the Grey Gardens screening, but I was so oblivious that I didn't notice. My friend had to tell me. Of course, he could just have been wondering why I was wearing a dress with a plunging neckline to a movie screening.
See what I mean? I can't even allow myself to get my hopes up anymore with a guy that I meet that I'm attracted to.
I think that's why I like on-line dating. I can send as many ice breakers as I want on Yahoo Personals, and if I don't hear anything, it's no loss. I haven't really risked anything. They don't know me, and I don't know them. But put me in a real situation, and I'm dead meat. But I have to keep trying, because Mr. Right isn't going to come knocking on my door while I'm sitting in my night gown watching 'Pride and Prejudice' with Colin Firth for the 15th time. I have to somehow keep hoping.
A psychic astrologer told me recently that she sees me ending up with a bitter and angry writer who's a semi-recluse, who doesn't live in the city and is flying under the radar right now.
I can hardly wait. Yeah me!
Friday, July 27, 2007
The first act which tries to explain how these two women ended up in their co-dependent dysfunctional relationship that was captured by the Mayles' in their landmark documentary (which I saw last night) is flat, and the music is uninspiring. The setting is ostensibly an engagement party for 'Little' Edie to Joe Kennedy jr. (Supposedly the were engaged and it was announced in the Times, but I had never heard of it before and I would think that Kennedy biographers over the years would have mentioned it). The act ends with Big Edie implying to Joe that 'Little Edie' was fast sending him running screaming into the night (his political career you know). 'Little' Edie then makes a break for it, taking off for New York City. The whole first act, at least for me, was big cliche. Overbearing mother ruins daughter's happiness, too self-absorbed in her own career to pay attention to daughter. Oh, and they have little Jackie and Lee Bouvier running around to make the point that Jackie grew up to have the life that was supposed to be 'Little' Edie's.
The second act is where the story starts with the two women living in squalor in their East Hampton mansion, bickering, signing with 'Little' Edie modeling her bizarre fashion sense which looks frighteningly fashion forward. Seriously the outfits are kind of weird but they work on her. The show and the documentary shine a microscope on the eccentricities of the upper classes. If the Beales had been poor or middle class, we would have just called them crazy.
Neither the film or the musical answer the questions that one wants answered. Like what were Big Edie's sons doing this whole time their mother and sister were living in basically one room with 57 cats and several raccoons? What were the Beale's living on? I can't imagine that Edith Bouvier Beale was collecting social security, and I know that her father apparently cut her out of the will because of her singing ambitions. Despite the squalor they still managed to find money for good and for a gardener.
I know that Jackie and her sister (or Ari Onassis) paid something like $25,000 to have the house cleaned and fixed up after the town of East Hampton called the Board of Health. So why didn't they pay for a housekeeper or to fix the place up even more? I mean they are holes in the attic where these raccoons are living. Exterminator? The most horrifying scene in the movie is where Little Edie is feeding the raccoons Wonder Bread and Purina cat chow.
Watching the film was horrifying yet poignant. You felt for these women yet at the same time you were impatient with them. You want to know what happened to them, what led them to pulling back from the outside world so much that they were both living in one room in a huge house with a hot plate and a fridgerator. You admire their sense of humor, but you can see that they both live some strange dysfunctional world. It's clear from watching the documentary that they love having the audience, someone else to listen to them apart from each other.
After the film last night, there was some speculation as to their psychological make-up, were they classic narcissitic personalities? Was little Edie crazy? And more importantly were they being exploited in the film or was it that other way around? It's clear from comments the women made after the film was made that they clearly knew what they were doing, and relished the attention, as women who have been admired all their lives for their beauty and charm, and would expect nothing less from a film.
I found a blog Grey Gardens News that gives a little bit more information about the two women, the various films, and the musical. The movie has become a cult classic with people throwing Grey Gardens parties where they dress up like Little Edie. And fashion designers have been taking their cute from her style. I think that Little Edie would have really gotten a kick out that.
Big Edie passed away shortly after the film was made but Little Edie lived on until 2002, finally moving to New York and then finally down south to Bal Harbour where she passed away.
If you haven't seen Grey Gardens I can't highly recomend it enough. It will haunt you.
Thanks for reading,
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
So of course, I decide that the best way to see Venice is during Carnivale, that festival which literally means End of Meat, since it ocurrs before Lent. My friends and I stayed in a lovely little flat on the Fondamente Nuove right near the canal. Literally. If any of us had been too drunk and walked too far, we would have fallen right in.
This is my friend Bella and I at the final night ball during Carnivale.
A lovely view of Piazza San Marco. On left is Cafe Florian where we spent many a day sipping frothy cappucino's, and Prosecco.
Okay, I'm not sure where I took this one.
Or this one. But aren't they pretty?
Anyway, go out and pick up a copy of Amanda's book today!
Thanks for reading,
Monday, July 23, 2007
So imagine my surprise when I bought a box of York Peppermint Patty cookies and discovered that they tasted just as good as Thin Mints. In fact they reminded me of my other favorite mint cookies from the 1970's, Mystic Mint which are extremely hard to find, sort of like Mallomars.
Damn you Hershey Chocolate!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Of course, I was a little disappointed that the books they chose to review were by pretty well-established authors like Joanna Lindsay and Sherrilyn Kenyon (clearly wearing that swan hat in Dallas didn't hurt her a bit), but it was nice to see Meljean Brooks get reviewed. My good buddy Megan Frampton loves her books, and after reading the review I'm tempted to go out and get a copy (or just borrow Megan's hint, hint).
Here's hoping that this will be regular feature in EW (does anyone know if this is the first time they've done this? I confess I can't remember). It can only help the industry, when a magazine that deals with pop culture reviews romances. I know that People has reviewed Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Maybe the New York Times won't be far behind? Nah, that's too much to even hope for.
That just goes along with the other good news that Megan, along with several other friends, Lani Diane Rich, Eileen Rendahl and Michelle Cunnah had books that were included in the Complete Idiot's Guide Ultimate Reading list which just came out recently.
Oh, and I got to see Patti Lupone play Mama Rose in Gypsy today which did a great deal to alleviate the pain at knowing that not only do I have to buy a new VCR/DVD player tomorrow, but also a new answering machine, since mine just died on me today.
Well, I'm off to get ready to watch Rachael Ray tonight for work.
Thanks for reading!
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Even though I wasn't there, that's never stopped me from putting my two cents in.
1) It seems that people are up in arms about the changes to the RWA policy for recognizing publishers, feeling that it means that RWA hates erotica. I don't think that the changes to the policy mean they hate erotica, I think they just want to protect writers from getting screwed since Triskelion went bankrupt and it's not the only e-publisher to go belly-up in recent years. Do I think the hate the idea of erotica and erotic romance? Well, I went to the board meeting in New York two years ago, and I had the feeling that the board at that time, had not only problems with erotica but with chick-lit as well. They felt that RWA was moving away from it's purpose which is romance writing. Remember the whole definition of romance debacle?
2) Barb Ferrer winning the RITA for Best Contemporary Romance. Poor Barb, you win a RITA and before you have time to enjoy it, the knives are out. It seems there are two issues here, should she have won the RITA for Best Contemporary Romance, and why the book was included in that category at all. My feeling is that, the preliminary judges, knowing that Barb had to enter two categories to be considered for best first book, let her slide into the Best Contemporary Romance category, since word count kept her out of Best Mainstream with Romantic Elements. They clearly liked the book and felt that she should be nominated. And she won because the final judges preferred her book over the others in the category. Instead of being mad at Barb, those naysayers should take it up with the preliminary judges.
Now I read Adios, was it a romance? No, not the way RWA or the category defines contemporary romance. And that has nothing to do with the age of the heroine. It has to do with the fact that the book is a coming of age story, with a romance. In a contemporary romance, the primary focus is supposed to be on the hero and heroine, not as a subplot.
RWA already has put measures in place so that next year the YA category is more open, which openfully will mean that there will be an RWA YA RITA awarded, and I hope that Barb's next book is one of the nominees.
3) Authors dressing up in costume during the conference. Apparently there are authors who were not happy that a few authors dressed up like their characters to promote their books during the public book signing for Literacy that RWA has each year. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't members of the Beau Monde dress up for their RWA party every year? And the book-signing was not just an RWA book signing, it was open to the public meaning readers were there, so what's the big deal? It would be one thing if they had walked around the conference the entire time like that, but they didn't. I seriously doubt that RWA is in danger of going the way of RT with Vampire Costume Balls or Faerie Balls, or Cover Model pageants.
Update: Okay, I just got done reading the rest of the comments over at Smart Bitches and I can see where Nora Roberts and Jenny Crusie are coming from, but I can also see why the two authors chose to promote their books dressed not so much as their characters but in a Manga style. The Shomi line is new, and their two books are part of the launch. The criticism stemmed partly from whether or not they turned people off from reading the other Shomi books, and whether or not it was appropriate at an RWA function.
Also, an another issue is how far should an author go to promote their books, and when does it cross a line. Frankly, I don't think the two authors crossed that line, but it is possible that they should confine their promotional efforts to other conferences that aren't RWA. They say on their web-site 'Rebels of Romance" that they want to get readers who don't read romance to try the books, and a younger audience. Great, I'm all for that, but perhaps RWA was not the appropriate forum after all.
Also, I'm not sure that publishers are going to be pressing authors to dress like their characters, but the reality is, most mid-list authors get little to no promotion from their publisher, so whatever you can do to promote your books, you need to consider. But you also have to consider what you are promoting, the book or yourself. It appears that several authors who were taken aback, felt that there was a fine line between promoting the books and the women themselves.
4) Readers/Bloggers/Reviewers attending the conference. Okay, a lot of authors who attended the conference are bloggers, as are booksellers and librarians. The only way to keep them out is if RWA requires only RWA members can attend the conference, which means that the cost will go up probably. Most conferences allow non-members to attend. I don't see what the big deal is. If they're willing to shell out about over $1,000 to attend the conference, I say more power to them. None of the bloggers have had anything bad to say about the conference. They all loved it and had a great time.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Just head over to the Austen blog if you don't believe me. Not only do they have a listing of every single Jane Austen sequel, biography, paraliterature known to man that's coming out in the next few months, but they also list stage adaptations as well. New York alone is going to see 2 musical versions of Austen novels, Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
Just recently we've had Austenland, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and Me and Mr. Darcy. Last year, we had By a Lady, where in an actress from the 20th century goes back in time to 1801 Bath, and meets Jane Austen. There's even a Jane Austen mystery series which I've tried to read but couldn't get through.
Don't get me wrong, I adore Jane Austen but I sometimes wish that all this creativity could be put to, oh I don't know writing about something else? Maybe it's just because I think Jane's books are perfect on their own. I don't need to know what Darcy or Mr. Knightly were thinking if Jane didn't tell me, or what happened to them after they married Elizabeth and Emma. I'm going to assume they lived happily.
Now, this weekend, I saw a preview for 2 new movies that have connections to our Jane. One the Jane Austen Book Club based on the best selling novel (which I read and enjoyed) and Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen.
Just from the previews, I can state unequivacably that I prefer the Jane Austen Book Club. If you're read the book, you know that Jane Austen is just the jumping off point. It's what they learn during their year of reading Jane, and how that reading impacts their lives. How reading Jane has made them a better person if you will.
Meanwhile, Becoming Jane Austen, looks like some weird romantic comedy. In fact from the preview, it kind of looks like Pride and Prejudice. Whoopsie, do you think that was the plan? Seriously, if this movie weren't about Jane Austen, I might even enjoy it. But the fact that they're taking Jane's meeting Tom Lefroy and turning into some sort of strange love story kind of bugs me. It's not like Shakespeare in Love, where since we know so little about Shakespeare's life in London away from his family, you could buy into the idea that he fell in love with a noblewoman who inspired him (i.e. Dark Lady of the Sonnets), who he couldn't be with due to differences in station, and oh the fact, that he was already married.
I just find it sad, that the only way that Jane could have written her beautiful books was if she had been disappointed in a love affair. Of course, I could be wrong, the movie could be wonderful. I'm just going by the preview. Of course, despite my misgivings, I totally plan to be there opening weekend.
I think the best comment on the recent spate of Austenmania comes from this piece entitled "Jane Austen Meets Jesus"
What do you think? Too much Jane or not enough?
Saturday, July 14, 2007
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
8 Random Things About Me:
1. I'm average height, and usually I think I'm pretty tall until I stand next to someone tall and then I realize just how short I am!
2. Eight years ago I went off meat, and giving up steak and chicken was much easier than I ever imagined it would be. Although occasionally, I miss eating liver.
3. When I was in 9th grade I received an award for Perfect Attendance.
4. I'm afraid of snakes so much, I won't even walk through the reptile house at the zoo.
5. I once Xeroxed my breasts at my temp job and faxed them to a guy I was hot for.
6. I can't stand being late. I'm almost anal about getting anywhere on time, and nothing gets me more upset than people who are habitually late. I'm talking 20-30 minutes late. I think it's rude and inconsiderate, particularly now that people have cellphones. Dude, call if you're going to be late!
7. When I was little I thought that people actually lived in the television set.
8. I hate, hate, hate going to the dentist!
So now I'm tagging, Marley, Kelly Parra, Megan , Gabrielle, Mary, Carolyn, Maureen, and Anton. You're it!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
1. Men are like ..Laxatives ..... They irritate the crap out of you.
2. Men are like. Bananas . The older they get, the less firm they are.
3. Men are like Weather . Nothing can be done to change them.
4. Men are like ...Blenders You need One, but you're not quite sure why.
5. Men are like ..Chocolate Bars .... Sweet, smooth, & they usually head right for your hips.
6. Men are like .... Commercials ....... You can't believe a word they say.
7. Men are like Department Stores ..... Their clothes are always 1/2 off.
8. Men are like ......Government Bonds ..... They take soooooooo long to mature.
9. Men are like .....Mascara . They usually run at the first sign of emotion.
10. Men are like .Popcorn ..... They satisfy you, but only for a little while.
11. Men are like Snowstorms .. You never know when they're coming, how many inches you'll get or how long it will last.
12. Men are like . Lava Lamps .... Fun to look at, but not very bright.
13. Men are like Parking Spots All the good ones are taken, the rest are handicapped.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Welcome to Media Predict a web-site which bills itself as an online game with very real consequences. They have something called Project Publish which is a book contest wtih Touchstone/Sime Schuster. Through Media Predict, Toughstone will select a book proposal from their site for future publication.
The whole idea is to get new ideas out there instead of the same old, same old. This includes not only publishing, but TV, movies and music as well. But it's the Project Publish that interests me. I must have been under a rock when this was first announced because I didn't know about it until I was reading SFA RWA's newsletter online and discovered that Josie Brown, an author who has published two books with Avon Trade, and has an agent was one of the authors being featured on the site.
The way Media Predict works is like the stock market. The projects have a share value and apparently when you sign up, you're given a certain amount of fake money to play with. You can buy stock in any project and that drives up the value of the book. The top 5 proposals will be finalists and from those 5, one grand prize winner will be chosen.
I was surprised that a published author like Josie Brown would need to use a site like this to get a book deal. From the except that is posted on the web-site it sounded interesting. A little different from the usual Mom battling demons books that have come out. This is Mom battling real spies, sort of if Sydney Bristow had married Michael Vaughn and they'd had kids and a car pool.
Sounds high concept to me, so I'm unsure as to why it hasn't been snapped up, and why her agent feels that this would be the way to go.
I have to confess that I'm thinking about submitting my YA proposal to the site, but then again, I have no agent nor have I been published, so the stakes would be higher for me.
I'll post if I decide to go ahead.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
Mercury in Retrograde means that the planet Mercury which governs communication, etc. is traveling backwards in the sky meaning that things have a tendency to get screwed up.
Little things, like losing documents on the computer, emails that never show up, phone calls that never get returned. In my case, its included a DVD that is now stuck in the player, losing my iPod, getting stuck in traffic for over an hour on the way back from New Jersey, I can't get into the web-site to schedule my next cycle for my night job, the list goes on.
I'm distraught at losing my iPod, but the biggest pain is having the DVD stuck. I can't get it out, it's from the library, so I may have to pay for it, if it stays stuck. Oy!
Not to mention the bitch of a time I've had at my day job trying to get computer applications approved for the new hire on the sales desk. My biggest pet peeve with this job is that the assistants have to do all this stuff ourselves, and it involves dealing with multiple groups, instead of one central group. Every other investment bank I've worked for as had office managers or floor administrators who dealt with all this stuff.
The Italian Stallion who I've been corresponding with on Match.com for the past several weeks blew me off when I tried to schedule a lunch date with him this Sunday. I even gave this guy my cell phone number to call. Nada. Which is funny since for weeks he's been emailing about how sexy I am, my stunning smile, my eyes etc. To the point where it was getting kind of creepy, but I thought hey, he's Italian. And still no word from the sweetie pie I have a crush on.
And I'm not the only one affected. Apparently Miss New Jersey is being blackmailed into giving up her crown. Wow, I had no idea that someone could want to be Miss New Jersey that badly.
Sad note, Kathleen Woodiwiss passed away on Friday. She was one of the first historical romance authors that I read after Rosemary Rogers from what we now call the Golden Age of historicals. Back in the days when authors could write 600 page epics that spanned years. The Flame and the Flower was one of my favorites that I read over and over, despite that whole rape thing between Heather and Brandon in the first chapters.
There was a time when I read everything she wrote from the Wolf and the Dove, through Shanna. I can still remember sitting in class in high school, book bag on my desk, as I devoured her books. Sadly, I felt the quality of her work suffered in the past several years, as the market changed, so I haven't read anything she's written since the late eighties. Still, I remember her fondly and my fumbling attempts to write like her when I first started writing romance in high school.
Thanks for reading!
Friday, July 06, 2007
13 year old Anne Frank and her family were forced to take refuge in a secret annex in the Amsterdam warehouse where Mr. Frank worked. The day before Anne's older sister Margot had received a call-up noticed to be deported to a Nazi "work camp." Anne had recently begun a dairy relating her everyday experiences, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world that she lived in.
Anne and her family had moved from Germany to Amsterdam after the Nazis gained power. They lived in the Annex for two years until they were betrayed and transported to the camps.
I read the Diary of Anne Frank for the first time when I was ten years old. Immediately I felt like I had found a friend in Anne, even though our lives were so different, our emotions weren't. I felt for her having to live in this small space, with strangers, having her first real crush on Peter, her difficult relationship with her mother, and her close relationship with her father. I loved the fact that she wanted to be a writer, and that she kept pictures of movie stars on her walls, the way I had pictures of Parker Stevenson, and pictures from Star Wars up on mine.
I kept hoping after I read it, that things had turned out differently, that she had managed to survive the camps, that her life hadn't ended at 15. I couldn't believe that someone who had effected me so deeply hadn't lived to grow up, have a family, to live her life in freedom. I could understand now why so many people wanted to believe that Anna Anderson was really Anastasia because it meant that what happened in that basement in Ekaterinburg hadn't wiped out an entire family.
I remember scouring the library at my school looking for any other books I could find on Anne Frank. I managed to find a book that not only had the diary but also her other writings that had been saved by Miep Gies. I read the play and I eagerly watched the movie when it was shown on the 4:30 movie on Channel 7 in New York.
She wrote in her diary that she still believed that people were good at heart. I try to remind myself of that when I read about some atrocity taking place in the world, or the latest policies of the Bush administration (by the way it's our fearless leader's birthday as well), or I read about how people in New Orleans are still suffering even two years after Katrina. I want to believe that those words are true.
If Anne could have that kind of faith, living in that tiny attic annex with seven other people, knowing what awaited her if they were caught, than I should be able to find it within myself to have faith too.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Here are his comments:
Sunday, July 01, 2007
I love historical mysteries. Just the idea of what it was like to solve a crime without our modern forensics intrigues me, makes me think. Of course, the greatest of all historical detectives is Sherlock Holmes (although at the time that Conan Doyle was writing, he was a contemporary detective).
Whenever I see a new historical mystery, I have to buy it. Nowadays, there are so many, I can't believe it. Everything from Ancient Rome to turn of the century New York has been featured in a mystery novel. Some have been great like Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, some have not been so great (I won't name names). For a long time, I've been toying with the idea of writing a historical mystery series of my own.
But who would be the detective? Well a good friend of mine once said, "If you want to know where the bodies are buried, ask a whore!" And who was the most famous courtesan of the Regency period? Harriette Wilson according to my friend. He was actually the one who suggested that Harriette would be perfect as the heroine of a series of Regency mystery novels.
There's only one problem, Harriette was a blackmailer, when she wasn't whoring. Not the most attractive quality to have in a detective. See, she would threaten to name names in her future memoirs unless the client paid up. Some like the Duke of Wellington told her to "publish and be damned." Others paid up several times.
Who was Harriette Wilson? Well, she was born the daughter of a Swiss clockmaker, and was working as a prostitute by the age of 12. By 15, she was courtesan. It was something of a family industry, both her sisters were also courtesans, her sister Sophia actually married into the aristocracy.
Harriette's usual modus operandi was to seduce a lover, and then write him an intriguing letter. Then after they were lovers, she would threaten him with exposure unless he paid up. This practice eventually led to her downfall.
I suppose I could get around the whole blackmailing thing by having it that Harriette was actually working for the government. Or the whole first mystery could be Harriette working to clear her name after one of her lovers is found murdered and she's a suspect. I suppose if Jane Austen can be a detective, then a courtesan like Harriette Wilson could as well.
The question is would anyone want to read a mystery series about a detective/whore?