Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 Movies

When my husband and I have a free night (and child care), we usually head to the movies. There's just something about going to the theater that I love. For my husband, it's definitely the popcorn. For me, I think it's the big screen. When we watch movies at home, I'm usually doing something else so I probably don't focus in the same way that I do at the dark movie theater. There's also something about sitting in a full theater to see a new release. I love going to "big" openings. When I was younger it was Star Wars, and later the Lord of the Rings. The two last LOTR movies opening on my birthday and guess who was at midnight showings of both. :)

Somehow, even through the baby years, we manage to see quite a few movies in the theater every year. I wish I could remember them all. I think in 2008, I might start to keep track of them so I can see just how much money I'm giving AMC or Century Theaters--or maybe I don't want to know.

In the last couple of weeks we've seen Atonement (very good), Beowulf (pretty good) and Enchanted (very cute). We'll probably go see the Golden Compass this weekend and then be back at the theater of Christmas day to see The Water Horse.

My favorite of the year BY FAR is INTO THE WILD. I just loved that movie. I'm psyched to see it was nominated for a bunch of Actor's Guild awards after being unaccountably shut out by the Golden Globes. A close second is EASTERN PROMISES (and not just because it has Viggo.) I also loved 300 (and that probably was because of Gerry! :))

Do you like to go to the theater to see the new releases? What is your favorite movie of the year so far?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why Does Someone Have to Die?

With the dearth of new TV shows to watch courtesy of the writer's strike, my husband and I have been burning through the Netflix at a terrific pace. This week we watched a fabulous movie that had been in our "queue" for sometime, but for some reason I hadn't been excited about, called THE PAINTED VEIL (starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton). There are some very powerful scenes in this movie, they type of scenes I'd love to emulate in a romance, where your heart squeezes and your gut clenches with the emotion. IMO Edward Norton is an absolutely brilliant actor.

*SPOILER ALERT * Stop reading if you plan to watch this movie...

Basically, it's the story of a spoiled young English woman who marries a staid doctor/scientist who works in China. The bored young wife ends up having an affair. In anger, the husband forces her to accompany him deep into the Chinese countryside to help control an outbreak of cholera. The love story that follows is heart-wrenching. As I said above, brilliant stuff. But here's the thing: my husband was teasing my mercilessly through it because you can tell just from the type of movie that it is that someone is going to die, and he knows how angry I get when I watch a movie and I don't get my pay off.

I think that is one of the reasons I love reading romance (I'm talking genre romance here). I KNOW that at the end of the book I will have my reward for sticking through all the struggle and strife the characters go through. With literary fiction "love stories" it's just the opposite. I call them romances for men. My husband could care less whether there is a HEA.

Even with the unhappy ending the movie was excellent, but I couldn't help thinking I would have enjoyed it even more with a different ending. I know there are reasons why Somerset Maugham chose to end the story the way he did--the kind of reasons that I could write a paper about in college--but those reasons don't satisfy me as a reader or watcher of the film.

I found myself compulsively checking the "special features" of the DVD for alternative endings while my husband was laughing his head off. Then again, in my little world Romeo and Juliet don't die either.

There seems to be a strange phenomena in literary fiction that in order to qualify you can't have a happy ending. I wonder why this is? This is the one criticism against romance that I really don't understand. Why is it perceived that there is something inherently "weak" or not as intellectually stimulating about a happy ending? Maybe I'm wrong, but most criticism that I get about romances (usually by people who don't read them) is that they are "formulaic." To me, that goes right to the happy ending.

What do you think . . . when you are watching a movie, or reading a book, does it bother you if there isn't a happy ending? Do you think there is an intellectual backlash against the HEA?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday? What Holiday?

Someone stole Christmas for me a few years ago and I didn't even realize it. This used to be my favorite time of the year, now all I feel is pressure. I dread the holidays. When did it happen? How did it happen?

I have no idea.

It's not just putting up the Christmas tree and decorations, the parties and family get togethers, the big dinner, the 200 plus Christmas cards, the shopping, or the kids being HOME for two weeks while I'm trying to work--it's all of the above. I literally have not bought one gift. Yet each year--despite my efforts to trim--the list of gifts I have to buy gets longer. A preverse part of me wonders what would happen if I didn't buy any gifts at all?

You don't know how tempted I am to find out.

Every year I go through all this effort to be "thoughtful" to find "that perfect gift." It never happens. BTW, guess who does ALL the shopping in the family? Surprise, surprise: me. This year I've already warned my husband that is going to change.

The funny thing is that I always thought having kids would make Christmas more fun--and to some extent that is certainly true--but it also increases the pressure to "make those special memories." I wonder though if it's just my expectations--perhaps a little too much Martha Stewart--and that the kids would be just as happy without all the hoopla.

So what are you doing this year for the holidays? Have you started your shopping? Who does the shopping in your house?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm back!

As you can see from the picture, we made it to Stonehenge, but it was a cold, dark and rainy afternoon. Atmospheric, I suppose, is the best way to put it. The kids, however, were suitably impressed. Although they did wonder why they couldn't touch the stones. (In retrospect letting them watch "Eurpoean Vacation" probably wasn't the best preparation.)

Unfortunately, I caught a pretty persistent cold the day before we came home. Add jet lag to the mix and I've been really struggling. The same thing happened to me this summer when I came back from Ireland. What am I doing wrong? Any of you have any tricks for avoiding jet lag?

Monday, November 12, 2007

London's Calling...

I apologize to any of you who were frustrated by trying to log onto my website last week. My webdesigner changed servers and in the process there were a few wrinkles, but I think everything is under control now.

I'm getting ready to head off to London, so I thought this old Clash video was perfect to get into the mood (it was either that or European Vacation...Look kids! Big Ben . . . Parliament). I'll be back soon with lots of pictures, but until then make sure to pop on over to the Divas on Thanksgiving--I'll be blogging about "perfect" heroes.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Website Alert:

Sorry if you've tried to access my website or contact me via email this weekend. The server my webdesigner (who also has many other romance sites if you've enountered similar problems with other author sites) uses decided to move servers this weekend without letting anyone know! The site is supposed to be up later today. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you've written me this weekend and don't hear back, you might try again. I'm not sure whether messages will be there or will have bounced. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, October 29, 2007

How 'bout those Red Sox? Pretty exciting, wasn't it? Those of you in the New England area look for my hubby on CBS on Tuesday broadcasting from the parade. Why aren't I going? I'll be doing a book signing at Waldens in San Rafael from 6-8 pm so if you are in the area come on over and say "hi."

Also, speaking of the Red Sox...fellow author bud (and Red Sox fan) Caroline Linden interviewed me for her website and it will be going up in early November so check it out.

Finally, I received an email from Kelsey who enjoyed the MacLeod series so much that she started a community at live journal to talk about them. I thought it sounded like fun so I told her I'd pass it on.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All good things must come to an end...but what a finale!

The past few months have been literally a whirlwind of excitement for me with the back-to-back releases of all three books. It actually feels strange not to have a new book out next week. :) Honestly, I've been pretty overwhelmed by everything that has happened. Hitting "the lists" (The New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists) has been a huge part of that. All three books hit the USA Today; and Highlander Unmasked & Highlander Unchained both hit the NY Times. Up until yesterday (the lists are released on Wednesday), I'd actually been on the NY Times extended list for 5 weeks in a row (2 weeks with Unmasked and 3 with Unchained).

It seemed fitting then that the semi-surprise dinner some of my friends planned for me was last night. It was an amazing way to mark the end of a significant step in my writing career and I can't say a big enough thank you to Bella Andre (who, along with Jami Alden , is a CP partner extraordinaire) for spearheading it and everyone for coming and helping to make it such a special evening. We all met for dinner at a restaurant in the city (San Francisco) and talked until we basically almost shut the place down.

Starting from the lower left: Anne Mallory, moi, Penny Williamson, Carol Grace/Culver, Tracy Grant, Barbara Freethy, Veronica Wolff (website coming soon), Candice Hern, Jami & Bella.

I don't know what I would do without these guys. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a huge vault of knowledge and experience to tap into. One of the pieces of wisdom that has most resonated with me came from Tracy and Penny who told me to celebrate all accomplishments--no matter how big or small--because this is such a roller-coaster ride of a business you never know what is coming next. It's so true. I'm incredibly grateful for how things have gone so far, but I know there are bound to potholes in the road in the future. Last night was a night to put in the memory bank for those times. So thanks again guys!

What about you try to celebrate accomplishments?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Into the Wild/Personal Journey
A few weeks ago my husband and I went to see the movie, "Into the Wild." It was awesome. We both loved it. Emile Hersch should win an Oscar--he's got my vote right now.

It's an adaptation of a John Krakauer novel by the same name based on the true story of a twenty-two year old kid who gives away his trust fund to charity and begins a personal odyssey, a journey, that takes him into the wilds of Alaska.

Some people have called him a stupid kid, others have called him a hero. My opinion: an idealist. What really struck me about this kid (Christopher McCandless) was the impact he had on everyone around him. It wasn't just his journey. He meets a series of people along the way and every one of them is changed from knowing him. He had one of those magnetic personalities--people were drawn to him. The irony, of course, is that he was drawn to solitude. To living in the wild by himself. To seeing if he could survive on his own.

It was funny timing when we saw the movie, because earlier that day we'd watched an episode of Oprah with the author of "Eat, Pray, Love," the New York Times bestseller about a woman who goes to Italy, India, and Bali to find herself (hope I remembered those right).

Sometimes, when I'm frustrated with the demands and responsibilities of every day life, I can really understand the call to go on a quest. To get rid of all the "noise" and try to find what is truly important. Sometimes I think I'm so busy, so bogged down in life and being a mom, that I've forgotten who I am and what's important to me. I went straight from college into lawschool, then right into getting married. I never really had any down time. Sometimes I wish I'd taken a year off and backpacked around Europe or lived in Tahoe. Maybe that's why I like traveling so much now.

I highly recommend this movie and hope that some of you will get a chance to see it. If the story doesn't grab you the beautiful scenery will. I've already bought the soundtrack--it's fantastic--Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. The You Tube Video will give you sense of all three.

What about you . . . did you ever do anything to "find yourself?" Ever thought about it? Ever wished you could get away for a while and get back to nature?

Friday, October 12, 2007

I just finished reading the LONE SURVIVOR, by Marcus Luttrell, a current NY Times Bestseller, which as the title suggests is an accounting of what was at the time (still is?) the biggest loss of SEAL special forces in our history. It is a fascinating book on many levels.
I've always been a big fan of special forces books--whether nonfiction (as above) or romance(like Suzanne Brockmann or Linda Howard). To me, there is something inherently sexy about highly trained military men whose physical strength and code of honor seem quintessentially alpha. There is also something undeniably heroic about putting yourself--and your life--on the line for your country.
Recently, I was asked in an interview who was the most heroic person I knew. I struggled a little with the question, but eventually answered as follows: I think of heroes as people who are willing to do something most people won’t (courage) with an element of selflessness (sacrifice) or of courage in the face of adversity (such as illness). There are many people in my life that fit this description from friends dealing with illnesses to our neighborhood police officers and firefighters to the teachers in my kid’s school who show so much more patience than I ever could. But the one person who jumped to mind immediately when I read the questions was a man I recently met in an airport—I don’t even know his name. My husband, kids and I were waiting in the Shannon airport in Ireland to go through immigration with about 300 American soldiers in full camo. We struck up a conversation with a soldier sitting opposite us who was returning from a two week leave on his way back to Baghdad where he’d been for the past 18 months. He’d just said goodbye to his wife and kids for who knows how long. It was one of those very powerful moments when you are looking at this young, good looking guy on his way into a war zone and have no idea what to say. All we could think of was a very insufficient 'thank you.'
As I was reading the LONE SURVIVOR I couldn't help but think about that man at the airport and hope that he is well.
Are you fascinated with special forces books, too? Any good ones that you recommend?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

No this isn't a blog about Dickens's Tale of Two Cities, but about the mixed feelings I have as I embark on a very intense week of research for my next book. As you might have seen in the "Coming Soon" section of my website, I'll be doing another back-to-back trilogy for Ballantine--this time featuring Clan Campbell.

Yesterday, I turned book #1 in to my editor. So today I kicked back, watched a little TV, played tennis, did a little shopping . . . Not. I'm on a very tight deadline which means that while my editor is reading the first manuscript, I need to be fast at work getting started on book #2. The hope is that while she's reading book #1, I'm writing the synopsis for book #2. Hopefully, by time I get the revisions from her, I'll have the synopsis ready so that we can "switch." She can look at my synopsis while I'm doing the revisions for book #1, that way I can start book #2 immediately on finishing the revisions for book #1. Confused? Me, too. Which gets me to the best of times/worst of times conundrum.

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is doing exactly what I did all day today: research. I love pulling out all my books, reading all the passages I can find on a certain subject, googling until my eyes cross...basically immersing myself in the stories and history of the Highlands. It's that moment when the world is my oyster--when I can write about anything I want to.

But unfortunately that "oyster" part slips away much to fast and I actually have to DECIDE what I want to write about and put it on paper in the form of the dreaded synopsis (i.e. the "worst of times.")

Undoubtedly the biggest change I've had to face in my writing process since I sold is the need to write from a synopsis. Before I sold I had a general idea of where I was going to go (little scenes, black moment, major turning points), but most of the story would unfold as I was writing. The synopsis would come after the book was complete. But now, I have to turn in some kind of synopsis before I write the book. Of course I can change it, but I've realized that I kind of like getting more of the story down before I start writing. Not that it makes writing the darn thing any easier.

So wish me luck!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lots of Blogging Today

Today I'm blogging about HIGHLANDER UNCHAINED over at the Jaunty Quills (where I'm giving away a couple of books) and the Divas. Pop on over to check it out.

Also...good news update: I just found out that HIGHLANDER UNMASKED will be on the NY Times Bestseller list for a second week!!! I'm thrilled. The new list will be available online on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Book #3 is out!

I can't believe how fast the past couple of months have gone, but today HIGHLANDER UNCHAINED hits the stores. So it you are out and about let me know where you see it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Eastern Promises . . . and Viggo full monte!

Now if that isn't a movie recommendation, I don't know what is. :) Friday night was movie night for the McCarty household. While my kids went to see Ratatouille with their grandfather, my husband and I went to see Eastern Promises. We were both really looking forward to seeing this movie and were not disappointed.
Now, it's not for everyone--particularly those with weak stomachs. I actually had to look away a few times. It's the story of a woman--a midwife--who is trying to track down information about a young girl who died in her hospital after giving birth to a baby girl. If the midwife (played by Naomi Watts) doesn't find the girl's family, the child will end up in London's child welfare system. Her search leads her into the heart of the Russian mafia where she meets an enigmatic and perhaps brutal mobster (played by Viggo) who she become attracted to. It's a great movie and there is one very memorable scene that everyone is talking about where Viggo fights off a couple of bad guys wearing nothing more than his tattoos.
The other movie on our short list is 310 to Yuma. Any other recommendations?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today over at the Divas I'm blogging about the gritty, not so romantic side of history and the issue of accuracy and anachronisms. Hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yes, That's Nathan Kamp On My Covers!
I'll own up to knowing the names of a couple romance cover models over the years--aside from the iconic Fabio, Rob Ashton and John DeSalvo come to mind. I have no idea how this happens, but somehow I think if you read enough books you're bound to pick up one or two along the way. I'd never sought out the name of a cover model before, until Nathan Kamp--specifically Kinley MacGregor's SWORD OF DARKNESS.

And then I started to notice him . . . everywhere. And not just on romance covers. He also popped up in some catalogs I get at my house like Champion and Gorsuch.

Apparently, I'm not alone in my fascination. "Stacy" on Amazon has an entire list devoted to Nathan Kamp covers. Many readers have written and mentioned him by name on my covers. I've even heard a couple people say that they'll buy any book with him on the cover. I've probably been guilty of that once or twice without even realizing it.
My current favorite NK cover is Jo Goodman's IF HIS KISS IS WICKED, but I also love Jackie Ivie's TENDER IS THE KNIGHT.

What about you . . . do you know any cover models by name? Any that make you pick up a book? What is your favorite NK cover?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Romance B(u)y The Book on

Michelle Buonfiglio has tapped me as a guest on her gorgeous new site on Lifetime, featuring HIGHLANDER UNMASKED. I'll be blogging on Thursday, but some of the material is already up so make sure to check it out. You'll need to register to comment, but it's really easy (like blogger) and isn't used as a sales tool. Hint: don't put any spaces in the user name.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Book #2 HIGHLANDER UNMASKED Hits the Stores Today!

If it feels like it was just yesterday that HIGHLANDER UNTAMED hit the stores, you aren't alone. Hard to believe that a month has already gone by! HIGHLANDER UNTAMED is still hanging around on the USA Today Best Seller list for third consecutive week--thanks to all of you who have helped make my first book release such a thrill. I hope you'll enjoy Alex's story just as much!

Jami is interviewing me today over at FCD's so make sure to stop by and check it out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Next Best Day to Christmas

One of my favorite commercials of all time is the STAPLES ad where the dad is cruising down the aisles dancing to the tune of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Yes, Virginia, it's back to school time--and I'm dancing. My husband I refrained from cracking open the champagne yesterday, but boy were we tempted.

It's amazing how the presence of two kids can throw a schedule (and a deadline!) into complete disarray. I feel like for the entire summer I've been fighting to keep my head above water and now I can finally breathe.

When did summer "vacation" get so exhausting? It's not like I was home entertaining them all day. For the most part I had them enrolled in summer programs, but it seemed like every week it was something new--and that usually required driving them all over the place. It probably didn't help that we took two big vacations and I spent a week in Dallas at conference. No wonder I'm tired.

So now I get to look forward to at least a couple months of quiet mornings and uninterrupted work time--until Christmas rolls around. Pure bliss. I guess this probably makes me ineligible for the "Mommy of the Year" award?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

HIGHLANDER UNTAMED hit #92 it's first week!

It's been a very exciting week (understatement, anyone?) Thanks to everyone for your support and for heading to the bookstore and buying HU those all important first two weeks. I still can't believe it . . .

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Annoying Sound of Ripping Fabric

A couple of weeks ago I took my children out to dinner and ran into a friend. When I excitedly told her that my first book was going to be released in about a week, she asked what kind of book and I replied, historical romance. Well you can guess where this is going, right? She replied something along the lines of, "Oh, one of those bodice ripper books."


Now this wasn't the first time I've had this reaction and Lord knows it won't be the last, but it always jellies me, and I never know quite what to say. As was the case in this instance, the speaker said it with no animosity or snarkiness, and I think she genuinely thought she was being nice in sharing my excitement. Not wanting to make her feel bad, I think I smiled and said something neutral and polite, giving no indication that I viewed her "bodice ripper" comment as in any way derogatory or as an inadvertent slam against the hundreds of hours I'd spent researching and writing said book.

First, I want to make a distinction. I grew up reading the classic, early romances and I am by no means trying to say that a comparison to those early books is inherently negative--in fact, I love the emotional, sweeping "old school" stories and alpha (note: not asshole) heroes. What has changed though, and I believe for the better, is our understanding of women's characterization in romance. Today's heroines are strong, independent, take charge gals. Rape or "forced seduction" as was common in the early romances is the exception, rather than the rule. What I am reacting to is the grouping--or should I say dismissing--of an entire category of books as nothing more than stories of gratitous sex and men ripping women's clothing off.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

"The covers of these novels tended to feature scantily clad women being grabbed by the hero, and caused the novels to be referred to as "bodice-rippers." A Wall Street Journal article in 1980 referred to these bodice rippers as "publishing's answer to the Big Mac: They are juicy, cheap, predictable, and devoured in stupifying quantities by legions of loyal fans." The term bodice-ripper is now considered offensive to many in the romance industry."

So what are we to do, how should I react, when a perjorative description like "bodice ripper" has entered the vernacular and seems by the world at large a perfectly acceptable way of referring to a genre. Should I have deadpanned that I actually don't have any ripped clothing in my books? Should I have tried to "educate" my friend about the fact that romance novels today are very different today than they were in the 70's? But that somehow seems wrong--I love some of those early books and don't want to disparage them to try to give legitimacy to what I do.

Frankly, I don't need the legitimacy. Not that it wouldn't be nice. But I'm very proud of the five (and 2/3!) books that's I've written and IMO anyone who has completed a novel is way beyond the countless multitude who think that they can write a book. It's a hard business folks, no matter what you write, but I think romance writers have an even more difficult job. After all, everyone already knows the ending--so you better do something special to keep people turning those pages.

I'm not sure I know the answer. Do we romance authors take stuff like this too personally? Do we, as Willie said, "protest too much?" Do our covers (and "clinch" covers in particular) contribute to the problem? I try not to get defensive and let the comments go, but then I wonder if my silence speaks acceptance.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31st is finally here!

I'm thrilled to announce that HIGHLANDER UNTAMED is now available in stores. And if that isn't enough reason to hit Amazon (see link at right), today, the official release date of my very first book, is also the release date of "300" starring Gerard Butler. Coincidence? I think not. So if one sexy Scotsman isn't enough, now you can have two. Gerry, as I affectionately refer to him, actually inspired the hero in my third book HIGHLANDER UNCHAINED (available Sept. 25th).

Make sure to pop on over to the Divas blog today where I'm being interviewed by my CP Jami Alden. I'm giving away a special prize (hint: think kismet).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

RWA, Texas Style

Hard to believe I've been home from Dallas for over a week. The national RWA conference takes place once a year and is the biggest gathering of Romance Writers in the country. I have no idea what the final tally was this year, but there had to be at least 3,000 members there. I went to my first conference in NY in 2003 and since then I've traveled to Reno, Atlanta and now, Dallas. Next year will be extra special because RWA is coming to my hometown--the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco.

So what's the big deal? Why take a week off from family, spend over a thousand dollars, and visit Dallas IN JULY.

Take a peak at the wonderful pictures taken by fellow Diva, Candice Hern, in the series of posts from July 12th-July 18th on the diva blog and you'll understand why. There is simply no better opportunity to hang with fellow authors (old and new), meet industry professionals (book buyers, librarians, reviewers), get face-to-face time with your publisher and agents, and, as always, learn. Whether it's learning about the industry or sharpening your craft, conference is chock full of informative workshops. This year I didn't have time to attend all the workshops that I wanted to, but the ones I did hit were great. The bookseller's panel in particular was worth the price of admission. :)

This year I also had the special pleasure of signing my very first book. Ballantine brough in pre-release date copies of my first book, HIGHLANDER UNTAMED, for me to sign at the literacy event and the publisher giveaway. It was one of the high points of my career so far.

I'm already looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Well, I'm back. Ireland was gorgeous and Dallas was a blast, but exhausting. I'm blogging about setting and posted a few of my pictures from Ireland over on the Divas tomorrow, make sure to check it out. This one of the Cliffs of Moher is one of my favorites.

Check back soon for my recap of Dallas.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Favorite Things Scottish

This wouldn't be much of a Highlander blog without a regular Scottish feature, would it? So I've decided to start a new list on the side bar of "My Favorite Things Scottish." And who better than to top that list than Gerard Butler. I think I've seen almost all of his movies now and my two favorites are: Timeline (I don't care what the critics say) and 300.

For those of you who haven't seen the movie, here's a funny 300 video poking a little fun at the plethora of beefcake.

Also, I'll be taking a break for a few weeks for famiy vacations and the RWA conference, but I'll be back on July 15th with some fun conference and vactation updates.

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Summer of Love 40 Years later

Today I'm blogging over at the Divas about the enduring legacy of the Summer of Love--its music. Make sure to check it out. Here's a video to get you in the mood...


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why Highlanders?

I think this about sums it up, don't you? Strong, tough, gritty, undeniably alpha--these are the kind of heroes I write about.

My husband actually has this t-shirt. We bought it at the Highland Games in Pleasanton a few years back--great beer and great advertisement. Wish I'd thought of it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Great BBC Production

In my never ending love affair with the BBC (and its costume dramas in particular), I've added a new feature to my blog. In the right column below the book links you will see a list of "Recommended BBC productions" in rough order.

My favorite BBC miniseries of all time (and if you looked at the "my favorite" section of my website you'll see that its my favorite movie of all time) is the joint A&E production of Pride & Prejudice, followed closely by Elizaeth Gaskell's North &South and Almost Strangers. I'm fortunate enough to get BBCAmerica, but all of these are also available on DVD.

Which brings up another favorite topic: two of the greatest inventions in the "make my life easier" category: Netflix and Tivo. (You'll probably hear my wax poetic about both of these things from time to time). It is thanks to both of these products that I've been able to watch so many of these great shows.

Last night we watched the first episode of another great production (OK technically an HTV production): Robin of Sherwood. Once you can get past the 80's haircuts (my husband dubbed him Robin of Journeywood) it's fantastic--much grittier and more mystical than we are used to seeing. I'm looking forward to watching the rest.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Today I'm blogging about author websites over at the Divas, so come on over and check it out. I'd love to hear what you think are the most important things to have on a website.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My Favorite Anti-Hero

Only one more episode. Sigh. It's hard to believe after eight years there will be no more Tony Soprano.
Is the Sopranos the best tv show of all time? I don't know, but it certainly would be in my top five. Much has been written about what makes it so spectacular, and I won't try to summarize it here, but the one thing that has always fascinated me as a writer is the appeal of the anti-hero. How is it possible that I could relate--and at times sympathize--with someone as morally corrupt as Tony Soprano?

Therein lies the brilliance of the writing, particularly in characterization.
Tony is the quintessential "anti-hero." According to Wikipedia an antihero is defined as: An anti-hero in fictional works will typically take a leading role, performing acts which might be deemed "heroic" (at least in scale and daring), but using methods, manners, or intentions that may not be so - indeed they are often underhanded or deceitful.
As the head of his family, Tony is the heroic "alpha" male: the tough, take-charge leader with a strict sense of duty and responsibility. As Tony himself said: "All due respect, you got no fucking idea what it's like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fucking thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it."
But he is also a vicious, cold-blooded murderer who compulsively cheats on his wife. The "anti" part of the equation and qualities that I don't usually find compelling in a hero. :) This odd duality was brought succinctly to a point in a recent episode when a rival wiseguy threatened Tony's daughter at a restaurant. As viewers we could all sympathise with the fear of what Tony must have felt to have his daughter threatened. What did Tony do? What any hero would do and took care of it--in this case by beating the guy up. But he did it with such brutality and violence that there was no hiding from fact that Tony is not, and can never be, a hero.
But I'm going to miss him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Official launch day is finally here!

I'm thrilled to be able to welcome you to my gorgeous new website and personal blog. For the past year I've been blogging every other week with the Fog City Divas, but this will be my first solo foray into the blogosphere.
I hope to post at least once a week--or more, if the mood strikes. So make sure to check back often.

Until then, I'd love to hear what you think of the new site!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


We haven't technically launched yet, but if you are here I'm assuming its because you've stumbled across my new website. So what do you think? It's fabulous isn't it?

I'll be back in a few days when we are all ready to go. Until then, don't forget to join my mailing list to stay informed and check out the contest page. I'm giving away and ARC to one lucky winner.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm thrilled to be able to post my fabulous covers for the MacLeod trilogy!

Pre-order book #1 here; Pre-order book #2 here; Pre-order book #3 here

Aren't they yummy?

Check back soon, I'll be giving away an Advanced Readers Copy of Highlander Untamed to one lucky person from my mailing list at