Monthly Archives: March 2010

Why is this night different from all other nights?

1. In for a Penny is now available as a B&N ebook and a Kindle book! I haven’t seen it on FictionWise or AllRomance yet, but I’m sure it will be up in the next few days.

2. My friend Sonia and I watched High Plains Invaders, the SciFi original movie set in a little Western town where James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) is a train robber who fights Uranium-eating aliens.

Overall, it was an extremely satisfying movie-watching experience. The visual western/alien stuff was cool, the actors were charming (I was especially fond of the overly-aggressive lady bounty hunter), and nobody acted like an idiot who wasn’t supposed to.

The film was shot in Romania so the movie didn’t have that bright sunlight that’s such an important convention of the Western, but I sort of liked the foggy atmosphere.

The historical stuff could have been better–everyone’s gun seemed to have way more shots and be more advanced than I was expecting, and a geeky Amazon review confirmed my instincts (“Several characters carry double-action Smith & Wesson revolvers that hadn’t even been invented by 1892. A number of revolvers used in the film (King Cobra, etc) aren’t in sync with the time period, most of townsmen and bounty hunters alike would have been carrying a single-action Colt Peacemaker”).

It was also inexplicable to me why one of the characters was mining uranium in such large quantities in 1892. According to Wikipedia, it was used for tinting in pottery and glass, and also in early photography, but that’s about it. The character even SAYS “there’s no established market for it,” but never explains what he wants it for. Maybe to add to his rare minerals collection? He also knew it was radioactive despite that not being discovered until 1896.

(Also, I’m pretty offended by the Amazon product description of James Marsters’s character as an “honorable Indian-fighter,” but don’t worry, it’s completely inaccurate. Yes, he has PTSD from the French and Indian Wars which led to him robbing trains “just to feel alive” (!), but it’s because of having to follow dishonorable orders from his superior officers, possibly involving torture? Nothing to do with evil Indians or anything.)

The ending was a little anti-climactic, probably because they didn’t have the budget for a really good effect. Still, I totally recommend it to anyone who likes costume drama monster movies, and I will definitely be giving away a DVD copy in a contest at some point.

3. Happy Passover, everyone! Tonight is the first night, and I have friends coming over for a seder (the Passover ceremony and meal). My flanken (beef short ribs) soup is on the stove, smelling delicious. This is my first year hosting a seder, and I’m pretty excited. Here’s my family’s version of the prayer that’s said over the matzoh at Passover.

This is the bread of affliction
which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
All who are hungry, let them come and eat.
All who are in want, let them come and celebrate Passover with us.
Once we were slaves; now we are free.
This year there are still slaves and oppressed people in the world.
Next year, may we all be free.

I have always wanted to see a mummy in a bowler hat

First: I want to congratulate all the Golden Heart and RITA finalists. I am so proud of all my fellow GSRWA (Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America) and Beau Monde (the Regency RWA chapter) members and Dorchester authors who finalled!

Second: I posted at The Season about my ideas for costume drama monster movies during my blog tour.  Since then, I’ve discovered two (2) such movies!  I can’t wait to see them.

1. “High Plains Invaders“!

A sci-fi western! How did I miss this when it came out? This is what I get for not keeping up with James Marsters’s (Spike from Buffy) career! Also, is that a robot, or an alien, or an alien robot or robot alien or what?

2. My friend Gwen Mitchell sent me this one:

It’s Les aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec, a new Luc Besson film. IMDb says it’s “an adventure set in the early party of the 20th century and focused on a popular novelist and her dealings with would-be suitors, the cops, monsters, and other distractions.”

Clearly the costume drama monster movie is An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

As a final note, Lori Lyn interviewed me (and a few other awesome Seattle romance writers!) for an article in the Emerald City Romantic Quarterly, which is the GSRWA newsletter. (I had some trouble with the online format, but if you can figure it out, my Q&A is on page 41. I talk about my workspace, my favorite comfort food, In for a Penny obviously, and also how I haven’t done my laundry or cleaned in a while because I haven’t really learned to manage having a full-time job AND being a published author AND having a social life yet. Gripping stuff, really.)

Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent

Eek!  This is my first ever blog post with WordPress.  I’m a little intimidated by all the options, to be honest.  But I love having the blog right on my site, and I LOVE threaded commenting.    Oh threaded commenting how I missed you!  Can someone with more WP experience than me tell me if it e-mails people when someone replies directly to their comment, the way livejournal does?

Those of you who’ve read In for a Penny may remember the Ambreys’ fondness for “The Ballad of Captain Kidd.”  Alert reader Barb (I read the complete works of Dave Barry at a formative age, I am giving in to the instinct to say “alert reader” right now) sent me this awesome video of “Great Big Sea” performing the song:

Isn’t the singer cute?  He kind of reminds me of Christian Kane.  Barb informs me he is going to play Alan-a-Dale in some new version of Robin Hood.  There can never be enough versions of Robin Hood, I believe this in my soul.  Especially if you cast Russell Crowe as Robin Hood.  There had better be tights, is all I’m saying.  And they’re giving Eleanor of Aquitaine a part!  One of my top issues with the Errol Flynn version (I have a number of issues with that movie even though I adore it) is this “Longchamps is regent” stuff.  No!  Richard and John’s MOTHER was regent when Richard was gone, and she was awesome.

I am saddened by the lack of Guy of Guisborne, but no one could ever measure up to Basil Rathbone’s performance anyway.  (I’m kidding…maybe?  Not sure.  I have liked other Sir Guys, but Basil Rathbone was one of my very first celebrity crushes, when I was in middle school.  I still love him.  Did you know Daphne du Maurier had a crush on him when he worked in her father’s theater troupe as a young man?  I wonder how she felt about his periwig in the movie of Frenchman’s Creek.  I felt pretty awful about it.)

And this may actually be my favorite part: Mathew Macfadyen is going to be the Sheriff of Nottingham. I hope they keep to the traditional bumbling characterization, because if they do that will be adorable.

Let’s talk Robin Hood!  Which is your favorite Robin Hood retelling (book or movie)?  Who’s your favorite character?  Do you like tights?  Why the heck does Peter Pan have the exact same outfit in the Disney movie, no, seriously, why?  What do you think of that whole “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” thing, anyway?

I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful Canadian wilderness at Pemberley.

1. A number of people have been asking me about e-books for In for a Penny. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to figure this one out; the deal is that Dorchester’s e-book program is still a little new and the releases aren’t quite simultaneous yet. But the e-book version is being uploaded to our distributor this week! After that it is up to the individual websites when it’s available for purchase. Some sites are slower than others, but it should be available most places (All Romance, Books on Board, B&N, Sony, Amazon, etc.) at least by the end of the month. Thanks for your patience!

2. I may have mentioned this once or twice, but I’m a huge Kate Beaton fangirl. She was at the Emerald City ComiCon this weekend so I headed over to meet her! There was a pretty long line at her table, which made me both sad (I had to wait in it) and happy (Kate Beaton is successful!). She did a little drawing for everyone, which was incredibly generous of her, and mine is fabulous! I know she likes both Paul Gross and Jane Austen, so I asked for something about Paul Gross making a Jane Austen adaptation.

Paul Gross, for those of you who don’t know, is a Canadian actor and filmmaker who starred in two of my favorite TV shows ever, due South, a buddy cop show about an ultra-polite Mountie and a wisecracking Chicago cop, and Slings and Arrows, about the crazy goings-on at a Shakespeare festival. (He was also recently on Eastwick.) He’s a breathtaking, incandescent actor and one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen. Here he is in due South:

Constable Fraser with his half-wolf

He’s also one of those artists who likes to write, produce, direct, compose the soundtrack, and star in his own movies, and…sometimes the results are not as great as the stuff where he just acts. (For example, in his curling movie Men With Brooms, the end credits roll over an original song called “Kiss You Till You Weep.” Who thinks that’s romantic? Show of hands?) So the idea of him, say, remaking Pride and Prejudice is hilarious to me. Anyway, here’s what she drew:

A Mountie bowing to a Regency lady.

The scan isn’t great (sorry!), but he’s saying “Excuse me, ma’am, I heard you were looking for a husband. Allow me to assist.” And underneath she wrote “Best movie of all time?” Answer: YES.

3. For Wodehouse fans: What if Bertie Wooster were secretly Batman?

4. I’ve been having great luck with romances recently. I just read Bound by Your Touch, Proof by Seduction, and Something About You, and loved them all. Which is actually partially a lead-in to me reminding you that if you want book recommendations from me, you can follow my reviews at Goodreads! (I say “book recommendations” because that’s what I’m using it for–I have no problem with readers openly critiquing or even mocking books they don’t enjoy, so long as they avoid ad hominem attacks on the author, but as a writer I think it would be kind of unprofessional of me to do it myself. If I don’t like something, I just won’t review it.) I won’t be talking about what I’m reading much on the blog, but I love talking about books, so feel free to friend me and I’ll friend you back!

There's blood in the shoe

Last blog tour event, guys! I’m over at the Book Binge talking about Le Morte d’Arthur and from there, judginess in English literature and my ambivalent feelings about stories where people are punished for being “jerks,” however the author happens to have defined “jerk.” Here’s an excerpt:

There’s a strong strain of what I’ll call “judginess” (it’s a technical term!) in British literature. Virginia Woolf described it best when she said about Dostoevsky, “There is none of that precise division between good and bad to which we are used.” The British reader is really, really used to a precise division between good and bad. You always know exactly which characters you’re supposed to approve of and exactly how much. And the rules are very strict, especially for female characters.

That kind of story makes me uncomfortable. I don’t mind a book having villains, obviously–In for a Penny has several. But I don’t like stories where I feel like the author is punishing characters for being the wrong kind of person, or rewarding them for being the right kind. I don’t like stories that feel punitive. I’ve never felt particularly good or triumphant about seeing mean people get their comeuppance. When I read the Grimm version of the Cinderella legend and discovered that the stepsisters had to cut off their toes and then have their eyes pecked out by birds, I was horrified.

It’s not because I’m just a generous, empathetic person or anything. It’s because I always had a sneaking suspicion I was the wrong kind of person, that I was a wicked stepsister and not a Cinderella.

Check it out!

By the way, I just looked up the Grimm fairytale again, and look at this:

“The two sisters were happy to hear this, for they had pretty feet. With her mother standing by, the older one took the shoe into her bedroom to try it on. She could not get her big toe into it, for the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, ‘Cut off your toe. When you are queen you will no longer have to go on foot.'”

Wow.

Her bosom swelled

Penultimate guest blog! I did a Q&A with Gerri Russell over at the Chatelaines blog today. I talk about my writing process, the embarrassing yet hilarious things I wrote in high school, and what I do in my free time. And I’m giving away another book in the comments. Here’s a sample:

GR: What influenced you to write about Regency England?

RL: I’ve always been a fan of romance in the comedy of manners tradition. Which mostly translates to “I love banter,” and Regency romance usually has plenty of that. I imprinted on the era early: my mother read me the complete works of Jane Austen in fifth grade, and a friend loaned me my first Georgette Heyer when I was thirteen. We made dozens of trips to the bookstore to buy Regency romances together over the next four years and even exchanged in-character letters between Regency debutante friends like the ones in Sorcery and Cecelia. (I’m sure they were mostly awful, but we thought they were brilliant and hilarious. I remember in one of our favorite scenes, her character’s hero opened his snuffbox with a delicate flick of his wrist–very common in old-skool Regencies–and accidentally spilled snuff all over her dress.) So it’s probably not surprising that it’s what I started writing. Plus, I think the clothes are sexy.

Check it out!

That “delicate flick of his wrist” thing was a running joke with us, actually. We had a whole series of them, but right now the only other one I can remember was we would say “Her bosom swelled” (another common sentence in old-skool Regency romances) and then make gestures like our breasts were exploding. And then laugh really hard. We were a sophisticated lot.

Tell me about an in-joke you and your friends had when you were a kid. Do you still think it’s funny?

Good Romance

We’re entering the home stretch! Today, in my pen-penultimate [Edit: I have been informed the word is “antepenultimate”! How cool is that?] blog tour event, I was interviewed by Vonnie Hughes over at her website. I get to talk about all kinds of things, like why I think having an agent is great (and specifically why my agent, Kevan Lyon, is great!), what eras of history I love besides the Regency, where I get my ideas, and Romantic Protagonists Who Are A Little Too Awesome. Plus I’m giving away another signed book. Check it out! (And look around Vonnie’s site while you’re over there, it’s filled with great stuff. I especially like the picture of a lady’s muff-pistol. Also, is it just me, or does “muff-pistol” sound a little dirty?)

In other news, I downloaded Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga’s albums from Amazon yesterday. I’ve been watching their music videos quite a lot recently, especially Bad Romance and For Your Entertainment (I feel a little weird about “Bad Romance” because I think she might be making fun of romance novels…but I love the video so much I’m willing to overlook it). I love music videos a LOT. Tell me your favorites! YouTube links a plus.

Did you know Captain Kirk has a medal for Conspicuous Gallantry?

Two new blog tour things up today:

1. I was part of my first podcast yesterday! I was a guest on Danielle Monsch’s Romantically Speaking. Here’s her description of our conversation:

So what was discussed? Georgette Heyer vs. Jane Austen, East Coast vs. West Coast, Gerard Butler vs. Christina Hendricks, and Kirk vs. Picard.

I’ll give you a hint as to how that last conversation went:

DANIELLE: Kirk.
ME: Kirk.
DANIELLE: Oh, definitely Kirk.
ME: I love Kirk a LOT. Plus he’s really cute.
DANIELLE: I don’t like William Shatner though.
ME: Oh, of course not! Ugh.

I haven’t actually listened to the final recording yet (I’m going to do that after I post this) but I had a lot of fun talking to Danielle. I’ll tell you a secret, though: after I got off the phone, I thought to myself, “Did I talk too much? Did I monopolize the conversation?” How sad is that when I was being interviewed? Also, if you enjoy rants, this is the podcast for you, because I was unable to resist sharing my issues with “geek chic” TV, 300, and many other things.

Leave a comment if you listen, okay? I’m guessing podcasts don’t get as many comments as blogs simply because a lot of people listen to them away from the computer, and Danielle puts a lot of work into this thing and it’s awesome.

Anyway, you can download that here. I’m going to have a guest post going up on her blog soon too!

2. I have a guest post up at MuseTracks. I don’t know how to talk about it exactly so I’ll just repost the first few paragraphs:

When Marie-Claude asked me to write a post that would help inspire unpublished authors, I knew immediately what I wanted to talk about. And then I put off writing the post for weeks. Because the three years between when I started writing In for a Penny and when I sold it were the three worst years of my writing life, hands down. Possibly the three worst years of my life, period, except I think junior year of high school still has that honor (and yes, I know that’s only one year, but it felt longer).

I started writing In for a Penny in mid-January 2006. By mid-March I’d written a hundred pages. Things were going great, the book was flowing, I felt confident that this would be the one that would sell. My goal was to finish the book by Rosh Hashanah of that year (the holiday falls in early to mid-September), and I thought I could do it.

At the end of March I found out my mom was dying.

It was a tough one to write, which may explain why I’ve already got an addendum (copied from the comments section):

“I want to qualify my initial statement that those were the three worst years of my writing life–that third year of taking a break from trying to write for publication was actually a great year for me, personally and in terms of writing, and I’m proud of a lot of things I wrote then. It was just an awful year for romance novel writing. This is what I get for going back and figuring out the chronology AFTER I wrote the intro, and also for writing emotional posts late at night!”

It’s important to me to clarify that, because I do care a lot about what I wrote that year, and about all the people who read it, and about my friends who are reading this post, and I don’t want them to think that I don’t value those stories or that I was secretly depressed and miserable that whole year. So.