- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
I was destined to write romance. To prove it to you, I’d like to share a brief snippet of prose: “His kiss was tender, yet passionate. Passionate, yet tender. Neither dominant over the other.” No, that isn’t a passage from my October release THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME. I wrote those words in my diary when I was 11 years old, and I’m embarrassed to admit that the object of my somewhat chaste passions was none other than...Donny Osmond.
I’ve been in love with being in love for as long as I can remember. When I was 5 years old, I would dress up in one of my mom’s discarded outfits, spread a blanket in the middle of the living room floor, and spend all night pretending I was at the movies with a date. It was the best sort of movie theater--the kind that showed endless runs of THAT GIRL, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, I DREAM OF JEANIE and THE MONKEES. Whenever me and my neighborhood friends played “let’s pretend”, almost every one of our games had a secret romantic thread that unwove only in my mind. What fun is playing “cowboys” and “Indians” if your tough-talking, six-shooting cowgirl can’t win the heart of that savage Indian? And why play “school” if you can’t be Laura Ingalls waiting for Almanzo Wilder to brave the blizzard-swept plains and rescue you from a frozen schoolhouse? (That’s the real Almanzo in the pic to the left. Not bad, eh?) And you can ask J Perry Stone about my fantasy where I was kidnapped by the Monkees (that would be THE MONKEES, not the MONKEYS!) and all four of them fell in love with me. (Well, except for Peter...Peter was always more of a brother figure, don’t you think?)
I started writing my first historical romance when I was 12. It was called THE PIRATES OF ROCKLON HILL and featured an intrepid pirate captain named (of course!)...Sir Donald Osmond. In a scene eerily identical to the abduction scene in the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, he and his crew stormed my heroine’s mansion, her heart, and her unassailable virtue. (I wasn’t exactly sure what virtue was back then, but I knew it was supposed to be unassailable.)
Of course I had my own romantic role models. My parents were never shy with their hugs and kisses--either with me or with each other. They both loved music and you never knew when they might break into a slow dance in the middle of the living room floor to Leo Sayer’s WHEN I NEED YOU. My dad served in Vietnam for two years and he and my mother wrote letters to each other EVERY SINGLE DAY of his deployment. Those letters were so full of unrequited longing and scorching passion that I’m still not allowed to read them. They’re kept in a locked suitcase that’s to be opened only in the event of their deaths.
Despite my five-year Donny obsession, he wasn’t my first love. I remember quite distinctly falling in love for the first time when I was six years old. He had electric blue eyes, wavy brown hair and a pair of dimples that rivaled my own. The movie was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES and the star was a Disney staple and teen actor named...Kurt Russell. I still get a little warm and fuzzy when I see Kurt. It probably doesn’t hurt that he turned out pretty good. The eyes are still electric blue, the hair is still thick and wavy and there’s no denying the charm of those dimples and that smile. And hey--he’s even a great family man and director! (TOMBSTONE anyone?)
So do you think people who read and write romance tend to be more romantic by nature? How old were YOU the first time you “fell in love”? And who was YOUR very first celebrity crush?
I know Russell Crowe is supposed to be a voracious reader but I’m not sure if the pic to the left is intended to promote reading or be a cautionary warning against smoking in bed.
I will say that it did get me thinking about where I like to read. Unlike some of you, I’m not coordinated enough to read in the bathtub. If I tried, I’m afraid the only result would be a very wrinkled me and a swollen, sodden mass of wood pulp that used to be a book.
In the summer I love to curl up on this divine divan in our sun room. I’ve coveted a divan ever since I was a little girl and I saw an illustration in LITTLE WOMEN of Jo March reclining on her attic divan on a rainy day, eating a juicy red apple and reading a novel. (Unfortunately I’m more likely to be stuffing my piehole with a bag of dark chocolate M&M’s.) It’s so relaxing to be reading with a gentle breeze drifting through the windows or the rain pattering down on the metal roof. Of course the real challenge is resisting the temptation to lay the book aside and snuggle down for an afternoon nap!
In the winter I nest in this oversized chair in the corner of our living room away from the TV. It was the wall-to-wall bookshelves that sold me on this house. There’s something terribly comforting about glancing up and seeing all of those other books glowing softly in the light--some already well-read and much-loved, others just waiting to be discovered. And the best thing about this chair-and-a-half is that there’s exactly enough room for me and at least half a cat! (Or one cat and half of me.)
When I was a child, my dad used to cook a big breakfast for us every Saturday morning. And my official job while he cooked was...to stay in bed and read! I still remember how cozy it felt to be tucked into bed reading HALF-MAGIC or THE PRINCESS BRIDE while the sound of my daddy’s whistling and the succulent aroma of bacon wafted up the stairs.
There are some books you always remember because of WHERE you read them. (Hospital waiting room, anyone?) I first read THE HOBBIT on a sunny Saturday afternoon while sitting cross-legged at the very top of a fire tower at Pennyrile State Park with the forest stretched out below me as far as the eye could see. (I could almost see the Eagles come swooping over the horizon to save the battle and the day!) I read ROOTS when I was 13 during a long car trip to Disney World. And I finished Stephen King and Peter Straub’s THE TALISMAN on the way home from a vacation in Massachusetts with Phil Collins singing, “Take Me Home” as the perfect accompaniment to the final moments of both the trip and the book.
So where do YOU like to read? Is there a special chair or couch that makes it easier for your imagination to make the leap into another world? Pop on over to my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TeresaMedeirosFanPage to share your favorite spot!
First of all, let me begin by saying that I have read some absolutely wonderful romance novels with heroes named Harry (Connie Brockway’s AS YOU DESIRE anyone?), Bill (Charlaine Harris’s ”Sookie Stackhouse“ series), and Jack (Lisa Kleypas’s hero of SUDDENLY YOU certainly gives me a craving for fresh raspberries!) But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for those nobleman blessed with such swoonworthy monikers as Gabriel, Sebastian and Tristan (with an occasional Damien thrown in for devilish effect).
Character names have always been very important to me because I usually come up with my hero and heroine’s names before I know anything else about their stories. I was fascinated to learn after the fact that the name “Gareth” (SHADOWS AND LACE) and the name “Gerard” (THIEF OF HEARTS) both mean “staff”. Hmmm...wonder if there was something Freudian going on in my subconscious when I wrote those books?
I also have a fondness for outlaws so it’s my personal opinion that all western heroes should be named “Billy” or “Jesse”. When I wrote Billy Darling in NOBODY’S DARLING, his name told me everything I needed to know about his character. And lest someone should suggest that my names aren’t realistic enough, I’ll have you know that right after I finished my most recent novels AFTER MIDNIGHT and THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME featuring brothers Adrian and Julian Kane, I received a note from my German translator telling me that her sons were named Adrian and Julian! She wanted me to give her third son his “own book” but alas, his name is “Fabian.” A gorgeous name but a shade too close to “Fabio” for my comfort.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to “Simon.” He’s a very naughty hero and he needs my guidance
So what about YOU? Does the hero’s name affect your perception of him? Do you prefer the more realistic names or the sweeping romance archetypes? And what is your favorite hero name of all-time?
(73) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
One of the greatest things about being a writer is that you get to write at home. In your home office. You know all those jokes explaining to your boss why you fell asleep at your desk? ("It was a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve stress!"). Well, writers can just gracefully fall into their own beds when it’s naptime. Which is a good thing because if you happen to be Eloisa, there isn’t enough room on that desk to take a nap…
I’m slightly horrified by exposure of my nest, but I’m figuring it might be inspirational for those of you whose desks approach mine. And did you know that there’s a new book out there proclaiming that over-organization leads to lack of good ideas and lost creativity? Think of me as the poster child for that book! So here’s my desk: In case you’re wondering, I am reading all those books. Today. The daffodils are from my back garden. The quilt on the wall has all the covers of my books and was a Christmas present from my amazing assistant, Kim.
(28) Comments • (1110) Trackbacks • Permalink
I promise if you’ll come back next month, I’ll have gleaming hardwood floors to show off in my office! When we found this house, I was deliberately looking for a newer house that was laid out like an older one so I could commandeer the formal living room AND dining room to be the “Teresa Medeiros complex.”
I was shooting for French provincial here with my white, slightly distressed, hand painted furniture, but with all of my BEWITCHED and FAIRY TALE BARBIES, it ended up looking more like the bedroom of a demented 16-year-old with a Barbie (and Russell Crowe) fetish.
And where else would I keep my extra Teresa Medeiros books and foreign editions besides my very own Russell Crowe/MASTER AND COMMANDER bookshelf? My devoted husband snagged this from Wal-Mart right before they were going to put it in the box crusher. Now that’s a real-life hero!
What romance writer’s office would be complete without its very own knight in shining armor? (Or tin.)
This is an example of one of the gorgeous Jamie Murray BEAUTY AND THE BEAST prints I have scattered throughout the office.
And here I am with my very favorite desk toy (as opposed to Xtina’s sex toys), a talking replica of Captain Jack Sparrow who mumbles sweet nothings in my ear while I’m working! ("Wot’s that yer saying? Ye want me to do wot?!!!")
Ya’ll come back now, ya here!
(41) Comments • (2335) Trackbacks • Permalink
My office unapologetically reeks of romance, complete with walls a color the paint chip called “Passion” and a proliferation of flowers. For all my rough language and sarcasm, I am a girly-girl at heart. (And also a slob, something I have masterfully disguised with these pics, not through the miracle of Photoshop, but housework. On account of it’s a miracle if housework gets done around here.) The bookcase nearest my desk houses copies of all the books I’ve written--thumbed copies on top, pristine and foreign copies inside (along with lots of cool, writerly knickknacks). That Victoria’s Secret bag beside it? That’s where I file my tax receipts. (I live to make accountants’ blood run cold.) Beneath it is the infamous stack of magazines I go through for story and cover art ideas.
My desk is the heart of everything, and I’ve tried to fill it with anything that might inspire me or make me feel good--treasured keepsakes, gifts from friends and readers, and Dean Martin. (Who was a gift to me from the wonderful women of Mid-Michigan RWA. When I need a lift, I push Dean’s button, and he sings “That’s Amore” or “Everybody Loves Somebody.” Dino rocks.)
The other bookcase is my TBR bookcase. Well, one of them, anyway. On top of it is a collection of framed photographs whose purpose is to remind me of all the things I was before I became a writer. (Sometimes I forget there’s more to life than deadline.) On the walls you can’t see here, I’ve hung awards and lots and lots of hearts in various media. I also have a futon in case writer friends need a place to crash (or if I don’t feel like filing stuff), but it’s mostly used by the cats.
Now then. Just imagine all these pictures filled with piles of crap, and you’ll have a good idea of my true working environment. It won’t stay this way for long. Tidiness makes me nervous.
(33) Comments • (1027) Trackbacks • Permalink
CONNIE BROCKWAY DISCOVERS THE REASON WOMEN PAST 30 DON’T WATER-SKI
I am an athletic woman. I play a mean game of tennis, swim like a fish, and lift weights on a regular basis—heavy weights. So last weekend when we were visiting friends’ at their lake cabin and their son said, “Who wants to go water skiing?” I chirped, “Hey! That sounds like fun! I’m in!” It didn’t matter that I hadn’t actually been on skis in oh, say,... oh, say… wow. Has it been that long? No matter. It’s like riding a bike.
I ignored the startled and/or amused glances of my peers. Just because they have let themselves go to hell doesn’t mean the rest of us have. And not being known for verbal restraint, I think I said something like, “Hey, just because you have let yourselves go to hell doesn’t mean that I have.”
A word here: My “friends” eat up hubris like Takeru Kobayashi gobbles hotdogs.
Forthwith, I found myself with my feet encased in the rubber footholds of some antique water skis, bobbing up and down in a lake, buoyed by a child’s life vest so small it had to be bungee-corded together in the front. How did I know it was a child’s life vest? Were you listening? IT HAD TO BE BUNGEE-CORDED TOGETHER IN THE FRONT TO MAKE IT FIT! Geesh. Somehow, twenty-five people had managed to cram together on the power boat that was going to take me for a spin around the lake. Okay, maybe there weren’t twenty-five but that boat was packed with spectators anddon’t even ask what the horsepower of that baby was because that sort of question is plain old rude.(It was big.) So, there I am.
Confident, even a little cocky, I grasp the tow bar, give a thumbs up and shout, “Let ‘er rip!” With a roar of power the boat leaps forward, the tow line plays out like a striking snake and, knees gently bent, arms straight ahead, leaning back at just the right angle, I surge slowly upright, like Venus arising from Zeus foaming brow. Or the Cracken from the watery depths. It depends on one’s perspective.
Anyway, I am up and it feels fine. Good, even. And I feel powerful, strong, ready for some S-P-E-E-D. I give the driver the sign. At once, the motor boat claws it’s way over the surface of the lake like a mad cat on a shag carpet and I’m in the wake, riding the silky smooth vee behind the boat and I am feeling hot. My legs are steady, my arms fine, all that core training has obviously worked because I am solid on that ride.
It is time to add a little sass to this act.
I decide to give the nay-saying, stodgy, snickering oldsters who’ve come along for the ride a little show. I bend my legs, and my ski’s edge slice through the water, shooting me toward the wake. I fly over it, transposed against the sky in a moment of aerial artistry, my arms over my head to take up the slack and bang! I hit the water. I don’t even miss a beat. My pals in the boat applaud. They laugh with pleasure! A few of the women actually shake their heads with the wonder of it!
I pull in and carve another route back toward the wake and jump it and then the other side, and then back again. I slalom, I carve, I slice, I curve, I arc. And I am getting a little tired by now. Hell, women half my age (which would make them mere children) would be tired by now. One more wake flight and then I’ll signal for the driver to return me to the cabin. Over I go and this time the land isn’t quite so flawless. I land hard and wobble on my skis yet still catch myself and that’s when it happened.
In the midst of almost losing my balance, I looked down. I saw my thighs.
Now the things my thighs were doing behind that boat as I skimmed over the corrugated chop of the lake surface is best left to the imagination. Cellulite at rest is as about appealing as a body suit made out of cottage cheese. Cellulite in motion is ghastly. But cellulite that is no longer bound by strong young collagen to the dimpled layer of the dermis is, in a word, horrifying.
I looked down and saw the flesh of my legs shimmying like a sixties go-go dancer, oscillating like a can of paint in a Sherwin Williams color-mixer, rippling like the flag in Bush campaign commercial, shaking like sinner at the gates of hell, quivering like… well, you get my point. Not pretty.
I let go of the tow bar and all too slowly glide off to the side and sink beneath the concealing water. I couldn’t possibly have sank slow enough.
Some things you give up because they are no longer worth the effort to do them, like folding tee shirts or theme-sex. Some things you give up because they are simply too physically demanding, like folding tee-shirts or theme-sex. But some things you give up for purely aesthetic reasons.
How about you? Have you ever flashed your past to your great regret? Boasted of a skill you somehow misplaced? Squeezed into a dress you just knew made you look like a triple –threat fox only to see photos later that challenged that belief? Tell me. Share my humiliation. It’s cathartic.
And remember, I’ll be picking the names of two winners to receive autographed copies of the hardcover, large-eye edition of HOT DISH from our membership list this evening!
(48) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink