Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hump Day Hottie: Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck is 65 people. Yes, I said 65.  Does he have a painting up in his attic because the man looks sinfully good for his age. If I were ever to write a romance or women's fiction where the hero was considerably older than the heroine (like Suzanne Brockmann's THE ADMIRAL'S BRIDE), he would totally be the hero.  He wouldn't be a Regency Rake but perhaps an older farmer like the hero of Lavryle Spencer's classic novel YEARS or perhaps an older politician in Washington DC or a tycoon during the Gilded Age, who has made his money in railroads or silver and come to New York to launch his daughter in society and falls in love with the social secretary he hires who has been widowed and has to take a job.  She can be guiding her daughter and his daughter and they fall in love.  That would be a different historical romance novel.  Or perhaps a rancher who orders a mail order bride, and ends up with a female doctor.

Even though he's a Republican, I love me some Tom Selleck.  I thought Monica was crazy to turn down Richard for Chandler on FRIENDS. And I adored him in THREE MEN AND A LITTLE LADY as well as the reporter in IN/OUT with Kevin Kline.  He's equally at home in comedy or in drama. He's so solidly masculine yet he has that voice that doesn't quite go with the body.  I also adore that he's been married to the same woman for like 25 years.

I will be seeing Mr. Selleck in the flesh tonight because I'm seeing a preview of BLUE BLOODS at the Paley Center in Midtown. I'll be posting a review of the show tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: Jilly Cooper

I discovered Jilly Cooper on a trip to the UK just after college.  In either W.H.Smith or Waterstones, I picked up a copy of her book RIDERS and was completely hooked. This was back in the late 1980's when glitz and glamour novels were in.  It was the heyday of DYNASY and DALLAS where everone had big hair and big shoulder pads. RIDERS was a big fat juicy book, something like 600 pages set in the competitive world of riding competitions which you wouldn't think was sexy but in Cooper's hands totally was.  Think about it, what does riding a horse mimic? Now I understand why Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Philips love the sport so much!

For an ardent Anglophile like me, this book was manna from heaven.  I was used to reading historical fiction about the UK and the occasional Harlequin Presents but Jilly Cooper opened up a whole new world for me.  It was glamorous, this world of the horsey set.  When she moved onto the sport of Kings, POLO, I was hooked. It's not that I ever wanted to ride a horse, but I did want to go to Ascot or to Windsor to watch the Polo matches with Princess Diana. Sipping champagne while watching the men ride.

The hero of RIDERS is Jake Lovell who is part gypsy, think of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights but not quite so brooding, who has to claw his way up to make to the British Olympic team. but the real star of the book was bad boy Rupert Campbell-Black.  Campbell-Black was such an appealing character that he's made appearances in every single Jilly Cooper book since then.  Rupert is the quintessential bad boy, rich and privileged, he shags pretty much anything that moves in RIDERS, ruining his relationship with his American wife Helen.  Despite being a bad boy, there was something appealing about Rupert, he was so charming about his vices that you couldn't help but adore him.  He was finally tamed as it were in Cooper's book RIVALS (also known as PLAYERS),  one of the few books of hers that was actually released in the States. 

RIVALS deals with the machinations in English TV which doesn't sound sexy but their system is so different from ours. Companies compete to get the TV license to broadcast.  They don't really have networks the way we do in the States. For a long time it was just the government controlled BBC.  I cherish my Bantam trade paperback of RIVALS, it's one of my comfort reads.  In RIVALS, Rupert falls deeply in love with Taggie, a dyslexic teenager.  He knows that she's too good for him besides being half his age, but he adores her and despite his good intentions of staying away from her, they eventually end up getting married. The bad boy has been tamed by the love of a good woman.

I've read all of Cooper's books, and what I love besides the continuing characters from one book to the next, is that the books are huge.  Not many authors can get away with writing the doorstops that she writes.  She's just so damn entertaining! Several of her books have been adapted for TV including RIDERS and THE MAN WHO MADE HUSBANDS JEALOUS.  Her new book JUMP returns to the world that she first showcased in RIDERS.  I'm going to wait until it comes out in mass market because if I drop it on my foot I might break it! Unless of course I somehow get an IPad than I can download and not worry about injuring myself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What I'm Reading Now - Patti Lupone: A Memoir

I was lucky enough to get to see Patti LuPone play Evita on Broadway when I was in high school, and to see her play Mrs. Lovitt in Sweeney Todd as well as Rose in Gypsy, and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, so of course when her autobiograpy came out this month from Random House I had to buy it (It didn't hurt that Barnes and Noble had it for 30% off. What? I'm unemployed!). But I knew who Patti LuPone was before I ever saw her onstage thanks to the Theatre World yearbooks that I pored over obsessively. What can I tell you I was a theatre geek!

So far, I'm loving this book.  LuPone pulls no punches, she admits that she's been known as a trouble-maker, sometimes justified, sometimes not.  She's incredibly kind to Kevin Kline, her ex, even though he cheated on her repeatedly during their 7 year relationship.  But the best parts of the book are the stories that she tells about creating Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, Evita on Broadway (apparently she didn't think much of the music or the character) and Fantine in Les Miserables.  She even got me liking David Mamet briefly (although I still don't think he either likes women or writes good roles for them).

Hearing about her adventures with the Acting Company in its infancy are thrilling.  Despite the fact that I no longer act, I will always be an actor deep in my soul, and reading this book made me nostalgic for the comraderie of the theater.  Not enough to actually go out an audition mind you! (Although if someone wants to offer me a role I'll think about it!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

If I Were the Head Writer: General Hospital

Last night I went out with some friends and we started riffing about what we would do if we were head writers on a daytime soap.  We all know that people are predicting the end of the daytime drama for various reasons, but we believe the genre can still be saved, that it has a lot of life still in the engine.  I'm aware that being a Head Writer is more than just coming up with a story arc for the coming months, they also have to work closely with the Executive Producer and also with the network to get their vision or as close to it as they possibly can on the screen.  Particularly nowadays when the money is just not there the way it used to be even ten years ago. Still we couldn't help playing armchair Head Writer.  These blog posts will be solely on the ABC soaps, since I've been an ABC daytime girl ever since I first discovered ALL MY CHILDREN when I was seven, while home from school with the chickenpox.  I have dabbled over the years with the other shows on both NBC and CBS, but I always come home to ABC, especially now that AS THE WORLD TURNS has been cancelled.  As a fan of the genre for over 35 years, I feel that I have a good handle on what makes classic daytime drama, and I would hope that the networks would listen to the fans.  Some shows do (Days of Our Lives) and some don't (they feel that the fans harsh their flow as creators).  Perhaps some head writers have just been doing the job too long and the shows need fresh blood to keep the genre going instead of recycling the same headwriters among the 6 shows that are left.  Seriously, my friends and I in an hour, came up with at least 15 storylines for GENERAL HOSPITAL alone.  Here are just a few of them.

The first thing I would do as the new head writers for GENERAL HOSPITAL would be to kill off Sonny Corinthos.  Since I'm pretty sure that Brian Frons would not let me do that, then I would create a special one off week of episodes based on Agatha Christies's classic mystery MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.  At the end of the week, it would turn out that everyone killed Sonny because he's ruined so many lives over the past 17 years on this show.

Have Sonny go to jail: Since I can't kill off Sonny Corinthos or recast him with Vincent Irizarry, then Sonny has to go to jail. Enough with everyone else being punished for his crimes.  It's just not enough to say that Sonny is tortured by his life of crime, let's see him pay for it.  No more "Sonny can't go to jail because he's claustrophobic" or "Sonny will never survive in jail because people will try to kill him."  Guess what, he's walking around free, and people are trying to kill him! Let's see Sonny try to deal being behind bars.  They can bring back crazy Anthony Zacchara, and Lanie can volunteer to be the prison psychiatrist.  (We joked about Blackie Parrish, last played by John Stamos as being one of the prisoners since the poor guy has been in prison for the past 26 years!).

Play family relationships.  That's the big problem with this show.  Why is Lulu the only Spencer that Carly ever talks to, unless Lucky is coming to arrest Sonny? Why not have Jax working with Tracy and the Quartemaines on a project, which would bring Luke into Carly's orbit? Perhaps Michael could get a job on the Haunted Star? This show is so lame that they don't even mention anymore that one of the reasons why Jason continues to protect Michael is because Michael is his nephew.  Michael treats Jason more like a family friend then a relative. And why hasn't Mike invited Dante over for dinner to get to know him.  Oh that's right, we don't even know where Mike lives! Is it at Kelly's? Or in Sonny's guest house. Come to think of it when was the last time Mike and Sonny has a scene together? What was the point of bringing on Maya or Brook Lynn if they are never played with the Quartermaines.  Don't even get me started on the fact that none of the Quartermaines ever visited Jason and Michael in Pentonville. And where is Bobbie? Her grandson goes to prison, her daughter gives birth to her new granddaughter and she's missing in action. Apart from Robin and Maxie remembering that they are cousins, family relationships suck on this show for the most part.

Let's see Elizabeth's parents.  It's hard to believe that Elizabeth Webber has been on General Hospital for the past 15 or so years, and we have yet to see Jeff Webber and his unnamed wife show up to visit their daughter or their three grandchildren.  Yet, they brought back Rick Springfield to play Noah Drake and gave him not one but two sons.  Jeff Webber is Steve Hardy's son, his son Steven Lars Webber is now chief of staff, let's see this guy.  If Richard Dean Anderson is not available, then recast. Oh, and remember that Monica is also Jeff's ex-wife while you are at it. Perhaps now Elizabeth can deal with her issues, how she's been trying to create the perfect family because she never had one. Which is why she held on to her relationship with Lucky for son long.

Get rid of the dead weight.  Sorry Jason Cook, but it's time for you to get your walking papers.  The character of Matt Hunter has been on this show for two years simply because Jason Cook and Kirsten Storms once played Shawn and Belle on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.  They have no chemistry anymore, and they never even play him with his brother Patrick.  While you are at it, take Spinelli with you. Spinelli was a fun quirky character like Max and Milo, but now he's annoying in the extreme.

Address whether or not Michael was sexually assaulted in prison.  I find it bizarre in the extreme that they are continuing to dance around this.  Sexual assault in prison is not an uncommon thing. Since Michael is having issues with intimacy, being touched, and sex, let's just put it out in the open.  Have Michael wonder if he somehow invited it, despite everyone's assertion that Carter only attacked him because of Franco. Let him articulate the fact that he might be worrying that he's no gay because of it. My preference would be to have Michael and Kristina find comfort in each other. I know it's a little FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC but Michael and Kristina are not related by blood and they didn't grow up together, so if their feelings became a little inappropriate, I say let's go there. They have both been hurt, physically and emotionally.  There could be lots of juicy fall out from the two of them falling for each other.  If ABC got a little skittish about that, then how about Brook Lynn getting back at Carly by seducing Michael? They are also related but they're something like second or third cousins, so it wouldn't be that gross.

Make the Balkan Caesar Faison:  They keep talking about this mysterious gangster called The Balkan.  Why not make it a blast from the past and have it be Caesar Faison.  They can even bring Robert Scorpio and Anna Devane back into town to help neutralize Faison, since they are both former WSB agents and would know how to deal with international criminals better than Dante or Lucky.  Faison also has history with Luke Spencer. While I'm at, I would rewrite history again and have Ethan turn out to be Robert and Holly's son and not Luke's, giving Robin a much needed sibling.

Mine characters backstory for plot: We know that Robin spent years in Paris but we have no idea what she was doing there.  Here's an idea, bring Bianca over from ALL MY CHILDREN on a business trip to get Jax to invest in Fusion and to get more advertising for the Fusion in Crimson.  While she's in town we learn that Robin and Bianca knew each other in Paris, and in fact once had a relationship.  Bianca can even joke about how she seems to have a fatal attraction to straight women.  Patrick can feel all threatened by the fact that his wife was once bi-curious, and wonders whether now that they are seperated, she might be tempted to hook up with Bianca again.

Play more characters together instead of isolating them. Remember the days when Sonny and Jax used to attend the Quartermaine board meetings since they owned stock? When we used to see Amanda Barrett? Why not have Jax and Sonny involved more with the hospital which would give them an excuse to go to board meetings with the Quartermaines. Why is that Port Charles seems to be the only soap that doesn't have a newspaper or a television station?

Make the women stronger:  Just recently Claire Walsh, the federal prosecutor, who was brought to town by Jax to take down Sonny, became yet another woman to succumb to Sonny Corinthos's charms. In fact pretty much everyone woman in town apart from Diane Miller thinks Sonny is a great guy.  This needs to stop, we need to see strong women on this show, not crazy.  Carly, Lulu, Laura, Elizabeth, and Alexis have all spent time at Shady Brook. What does Alexis do? Wasn't she working with Diane? Some of the best scenes on the show are when Carly is at work at the Metrocourt or when we see Maxie and Lulu working at Crimson.

Nikolas is a Cassadine:  For years, we've been hearing from Helena about how Nikolas is the Cassadine Prince and what great responsibility it is to be a Cassadine but what does that mean? Who are the Cassadines? Why are they so important? Are they related to the Russian and Greek royal families.  One thing the writers forget is that Mike Corbin (Corinthos) is also Greek. Could the Corinthos family and the Cassadine's come from the same island? Let's see what it means to be a Cassadine besides having a grandmother who keeps trying to kill the women he loves.  I would love to see Helena take on Brook Lynn (actually my dream triangle was Edward Quartermaine, Audrey Hardy and Helena Cassadine.  Why not now make it Edward, Leslie Webber, and Helena Cassadine? Then Tracy can freak out about her father dating again. We'll just forget that whole Heather Webber storyline where she married Jed Allen's Edward).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Real Estate Porn: A Mansion Grows in Riverdale

For the past several weeks now, New York magazine has featured this mansion in their Elegant Environs showcase.  This mansion is in Riverdale which sounds like the place that Archie, Betty and Veronica grew up. Actually it's the posh section of the Bronx,or the Uber Bronx, as I like to call it.  People who live in Riverdale like to pretend that they don't live in the Bronx, that they actually live in Westchester. It used to be easier to do when Riverdale had a 212 area code, but since the 90's they've had to make do with 718 like the rest of the Bronx.  There are 3 really good but expensive private schools in the area, Fieldston, Riverdale Country and Horace Mann, schools that actually have campuses unlike the private schools in Manhattan.

According to the Prudential Elliman site, this mansion which is a steal at $13.6M has 7 bedrooms which doesn't sound like a lot.  Here's the description from Elliman:

"European elegance & American craftsmanship abound in this circa 1928 mansion situated on approx. 2.5 acres on the highest point in Riverdale. This majestic mansion comprises approx. 14,000 sq. ft. contained in 3 stories + an above-ground basement & a 4th floor windowed attic. The main floor comprises a grand foyer, living room, dining room, library & billiards rooms, each with wood-burning fireplaces, music room, gourmet kitchen, guest bathroom, wet bar & conservatory. A sweeping staircase leads to the 2nd floor comprising 2 master bedrooms, each with wood-burning fireplaces & each with en-suite master bathrooms. There is a 3rd bedroom with en-suite bathroom & a gym/4th bedroom with en-suite bathroom & sauna. The 3rd floor comprises 2 bedrooms & 1 bathroom. There are 7 heating & AC zones. Taxes are $45,000 p.a. Offered for sale under a long-term land lease + options for another 99 years"

If say I won Powerball ($112 million this week), I might buy this place and turn it into a writer's colony like Yaddo near Saratoga.  Invite say 7 writers of historical and romance fiction to come and stay for a week or two.  Can you imagine the meals at that dining table?

Or hanging out in the conservatory afterwards, playing Trivial Pursuit, or hanging out in the in-house bar area?

The gorgeous front hall. Lookat that magnificent staircase! Can you imagine sliding down the banister? Seriously I would open this house for photo shoots and films. 

The house from the back seen at night.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hump Day Hotties: Fifty Isn't Fatal

Two of my favorite actors have turned 50 this month, a day apart. Hugh Grant turned 50 first on September 9th and Colin Firth the next day on the 10th. I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. Where has the time gone.  And Kenneth Branagh turns 50 in December! All my twenties heroes! Happy Birthday to them both and I must say that they are both looking very dishy.  Who says that 50 is fatal? Certainly not Colin Firth, who received his first Oscar nomination this year for his work in Tom Ford's depressing but lovely film A SINGLE MAN, and is expected to receive another nominatinon for his work as King George VI in THE KING'S SPEECH which received a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival I heard.  I will definitely be lining up to see this film.

I first became aware of Mr. Firth's work in 1984 when I was studying abroad in London in college.  The film was called ANOTHER COUNTRY, and Colin played a budding Marxist who roomed with Rupert Everett's character, Guy, who ends up defecting to Russia.  I can't tell you how many films both good and bad I have watched over the years to see Mr. Firth including VALMONT in which he was miscast and both BRIDGET JONE movies where he played Mark Darcy. However, his portrayal of Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is where the world first stood up and took notice, particularly that scene where he comes out of the lake dripping wet. Le Pant!

One of my favorite Colin Firth films is actually LOVE ACTUALLY where he stars with the other birthday boy of the month Hugh Grant.  It was the film MAURICE where he starred as the love interest of James Whilby that I first saw Hugh Grant in all his floppy haired glory. He really was very pretty back then.  I was in London, studying at The British American Drama Academy where I saw the film just before I came back to the States. Of course, I had a whopping crush on him, following his career through Barbara Cartland TV movies and the miniseries CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE where he played Charles Heidsick.  I cheered when FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL came out, and he became a big star.

And then came Divine Brown! Who knew that Hugh Grant had jungle fever? But Elizabeth Hurley stuck by her man until she finally realized that he was never going to marry her, and they broke up.  Since then he's sort of reinvented himself in films, playing a cad in the Bridget Jones films and gave a wonderful performance in ABOUT A BOY.  I still adore watching him in NOTTING HILL but my favorite has to be LOVE ACTUALLY which is my Christmas film.  I even watched the craptastic film he made with Sarah Jessica Parker on the plane to England, HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE MORGANS and the film he made with Drew Barrymore where he played an 80's pop star MUSIC AND LYRICS.  If you haven't seen this film, it is worth just to see the horrible 80's video.

So Happy Birthday Gentlemen!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bits & Pieces: A Book Festival Grows in Brooklyn and Beer Gardens

This past Sunday was the 5th Annual Brooklyn Book Festival, and despite the inclement weather (it was pissing down rain), I went out to support two of New York's finest romance authors Donna Hill and Sarah Maclean.  While the book festival has all sorts of panels on everything from manga to historical fiction, this is only the second year that I know of that they have included a romance panel.  Last year Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches (with an assist by Ron Hogan from and Lady Jane because she was stuck in traffic) hosted a lively panel consisting of authors Donna Hill, Silhouette Desire author Anna DePalo and Rochelle Alers.  This year's panel was hosted by someone who clearly didn't know a hoot about romance.  I'm surprised that RT Book Club (which has been located in Brooklyn since it's inception) didn't have a table at the festival. Or maybe it did, since it was pissing down rain, I scurried back to the train after the Romance panel.  RWA has a NYC chapter and certainly it would be nice for the chapter to have a presence as well. Sarah and Donna gave a great talk, but it would have been nice to have perhaps 1 or 2 more authors on the panel and a moderator who could actually keep the flow going a bit better. Although the festival supports mainly Brooklyn authors, I'm sure that Hope Tarr or Leanna Renee Hieber could have been squeezed in as well.

Speaking of the multi-talented Hope Tarr, congratulations on the successful launch of Beer Gardens NYC, an amazing App that she co-created that gives the rundown on all the Beer Gardens in the Big Apple. I'm so proud of her! I don't drink beer myself but if I did, this app would certainly come in handy! The app even got a mention on The Gothamist in the food section! New York Times here they come! For the latest news, you can fan them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter or both. This caps a very busy summer for Ms. Tarr, who saw the release of her Harlequin Blaze Historical THE TUTOR in July, as well as re-releases of MY LORD JACK and  A ROGUE'S PLEASURE from Carina Press.

And this Thursday, RWA NYC hosts the Golden Apple Awards, and I'm pleased as punch to say that my good friend Leanna Renee Hieber has won AUTHOR OF THE YEAR.  She will be celebrating with the likes of our LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT winner Mary Jo Putney, AGENT OF THE YEAR, Lori Perkins, and PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR, Sourcebooks. Like Hope, Leanna has had an amazing year, winning not one but two Prism Awards from the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal chapter of RWA.  This makes her third Prism Award. I"ve told her that she needs to make a necklace and earrings out of her awards so that she can wear them all the time!  The award ceremony is $35 for non-members, so if you are in the Big Apple stop on by!

Also went to a reception at Angus McIndoe for the new head of the Drama Department at my alma mater Syracuse University. In yet another example of how small the world is, Ralph Zito the new head, knows two people that I know very well.  Plus the head of the Visual and Performing Arts school, Ann Clarke was wearing extremely cool sandals.  The food was plentiful and the drinks were free, which was the perfect reason to come in out of rain on Sunday!  I'm hoping that VPA will have me to speak when my book comes out, about making the transition from actress to writer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Introducing Princess Prep

"All little girls dream of being a Princess"
- Princess Prep web-site

Thanks to About, I just learned that a new summer camp for girls 8-11 will be opening next year in London. It is called Princess Prep and it was founded by author Jerramy Fine who wrote SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME, a humorous look at her royalty fixation and her love of Princess Anne's son Peter Philips. Princess Prep has already been endorsed by author Meg Cabot whose books THE PRINCESS DIARIES was also an inspiration for the sleepover camp.  Miss Fine will be hosting a reception in 2011 at Soho House in New York for perspective parents who are interested in the concept.

Checking out the web-site, I was reminded of the WE Television series, AMERICAN PRINCESS, where 12 American girls are whisked off to London for etiquette lessons with Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell.  The girls compete in challenges, and the winner wins a real title as well as the title of AMERICAN PRINCESS.  The web-site provides an intinerary for the 'elite' week long 'camp' which is really not an actual camp since there is no sleeping out doors, or making 'smores by the campfire at this camp.  The girls are taught Philanthropy, Culture and History, Manners and Kindness, Charm and Compassion, and Presence and Poise. From the prospectus: "Filled with palaces and pageantry, London is the epicentre of royalty and the perfect fairytale setting to study the art of being a princess. The 7-day itinerary is packed with magical outings including:

  • Tea at Kensington Palace
  • Horseback riding in Hyde Park
  • Visit to Hampton Court Palace
  • Trip to see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
  • Volunteer Work at a Royal Charity
  • Night at the theatre and much more!

The girls will be housed in a luxury flat in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is a really lovely area. A butler named Jeeves (seriously?) will serve the meals and a different etiquette lesson will be featured at lunch and dinner.  Each evening the girls will be encouraged to write in the Princess scrapbooks before they watch a Princess-themed movie which will probably include : Roman Holiday, The Swan, Princess Diaries 1 and 2, Enchanted, and Sleeping Beauty. There is also no TV allowed, which is okay, since British TV doesn't have all that many shows suitable for their age at night, and they are encouraged to read books from the library which include princess themed books. I wouldn't be surprised if The Little Princess was one of them as well as The Princess Diaries!

I know that I should be all feminist and say that this type of thing is a throw-back to the 1950's of white gloves, and debutantes, but there is a part of me that's a little envious. This is exactly the type of thing that I would have wanted to go on when I was 11, but then I'm an unrepentant Anglophile.  My parents would never have let me go at that young an age. When I did eventually get to go to England, I was sixteen and I had to pay for the trip myself.  Since I'm an easy sell, I asked some of my friends that had daughters what they thought.  One friend thought that 8-11 was a little young to be traveling abroad without their parents, even with the presence of night-nannies, and she worried that her daughters might end up like the kinds in that kiddie pageant show on TLC. For me the word 'elite' bothers me, it smacks of over privileged rich kids. On the other hand, teaching kids about manners and etiquette is a great idea. They may never have dinner with a Prince but they may be invited to the White House someday, and it would be nice if they knew which fork to use! Also, it's never too early to teach kids to be compassionate, and to be charitable.  However these are things that one can easily learn in the Girl Scouts (not so much the etiquette part). I have a feeling that this program might benefit girls who are a little older say 12-14 more than really little girls. Personally, if I could afford it, I would fly over with my little darling, and spend a week in a hotel in London just to be on the safe side. But that's just me, clearly I would be the world's most over protective mother, but then I had the world's most over protective mother!

Princess Prep will be running three London sessions during summer 2011. Each session costs $3,995 per princess (excl flights). The web-site says that places are filling up, so clearly this is a concept that has legs.

I wish Miss Jerramy Fine well on her venture.  It does sound like it could be fun for those lucky 8 little girls. And I can already see the Princess Prep pre-teen books (are you listening Scholastic?). I'm sure that Meg Cabot is hard at work on the first one right now. Each book could feature a different etiquette lesson or moral that the girls have to learn.  Since 8 girls are going on the inaugural program, I see eight books. Have to include the tomboy and at least one multi-cultural girl (perhaps the daughter of a pop star?)