Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good fun and entertainment

I did a blog yesterday on Drunk Writer Talk about how Will Farrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly's "comedy doesn't get respect" number during the Oscar ceremony reminded me of how genre fiction doesn't either... And how I'm learning to be "okay with that".

And on that same vein, I wanted to tell everyone about two really fun movies I saw the other night. I know I mostly talk about indie and/or foreign films -- but that's mostly because I've seen a lot of cool movies ahead of their release dates, because of the 45 or so films I see every September at the Toronto International Film Festival. And if I loved them... I want people to know about them.

Doesn't mean I don't go to see tons of commercial films, too. (That don't need my "help". LOL)
I went to the movies on the weekend with pretty low expectations for two films and loved them both.

Music & Lyrics and Ghost Rider. I guess Ghost Rider surprised me more than Music & Lyrics but both were better than I expected.

Music & Lyrics probably wouldn't have worked as well with different actors, but Hugh Grant, in particular, was perfectly cast. I loved how the entire movie pokes fun at 80's pop songs (not to mention current baby Pop Divas) and all those early videos which were so, so cheesy. But at the same time, it wasn't mean spirited about it and Hugh's character wasn't completely pathetic. Sure, he'd given up on trying to be great, but he was still earning a living at what he loved --performing music -- and seemed pretty content with his life. Of course, as in all great genre storytelling, he was a better man by the end of the film and had rediscovered his passion for music.
I actually liked the Drew Barrymore character too and think she was well cast as someone a little ditsy and vulnerable whose confidence has been seriously shaken. And at the same time, Drew has that seductress thing about her, so you could wonder whether the Campbell Scott character was right about her. (LOVE him by the way. Have never seen him do anything not interesting.)

After seeing that perfectly satisfying little dessert of a movie, I actually snuck into Ghost Rider (don't tell on me) not really expecting to like it and prepared to walk out early if my expectations proved true. But I really enjoyed it. I'm not normally into those comic book type movies but the religious element added a deeper layer to the premise and I thought the story was well told. And seriously. We do not see nearly enough Wes Bentley on the screen these days. He makes an AMAZINGLY sexy evil demon dude.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

If you don't have anything nice to say....

I'm probably misquoting, or misattributing, but I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt (and not Dorothy Parker, who it sounds more like) who said:

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't sit next to me.

Well, whichever wonderful woman of the past said it, this post is dedicated to that unattractive(?) trait in so many of us, certainly me--the pleasure we take in saying bad things about others.

While watching the Oscars and the red carpet show, I had some rather catty thoughts I'd like to share.

First, I used to think Nicole Kidman was beautiful. The sad thing is, I'd be willing to wager that sans Botox , she still is beautiful. Truly beautiful women don’t become "not beautiful" as they age. They simply become older. Their beauty matures, deepens. It makes me so sad to see a woman like Nicole Kidman all frozen and paralysed like that. She looks fine until she goes for a smile that reaches for something beyond demure. Nicole, take a look at Helen Mirren, or Jodi Foster who’s five years older than you and doesn’t look all chemically enhanced. (Maybe she just has a better plastic surgeon, but I don’t think so.) IMHO a few wrinkles look more attractive than frozen faces or over pumped lips. And don't these women earn their living by emoting? Why would they put a poison in their faces that inhibits their ability to show emotions?

I first noticed Nicole's "new look" during the Oprah Oscar special when Nicole was talking to Russell Crowe. She looked frozen. Scary. She's very naturally pretty. She's got great bone structure. I can't believe she wouldn't still be beautiful without all the chemical enhancements.

Leonardo DiCaprio... First, been a HUGE fan of this boy/man as an actor since What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but did he spend too much time in the sun or have a really bad spray tan or bronzing accident? Okay, he usually looks super-pasty, so maybe it's just the contrast from his usual. But having pasty skin myself, I'm going to vote for the spray tan or bronzing accident theory. Leo, we pasty white folks all wish we could tan. We can't. Don't pretend that you can. (Actually, he looks much less freaky in this photo than he did on the TV camera with his forehead six shades darker than the rest of his face and forty shades darker than his ears.

On a back-handed compliment note... (Kind of fits with this mean-spirited post) Glad to see Cameren Diaz with a more reasonable colour of brown hair. We all know she's not a blonde. She looks good blonde, but that ultra brown almost black hair did not suit her. This is so much more flattering IMHO.

How rude was Ryan Seacrest to ask Jennifer Hudson about her weight and her workout schedule. I wanted to kick him. He's a jerk. Did he ask the skinny girls about their barfing schedules?

Onto the musical numbers now... Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose proved once again that Beyonce is more about her looks and booty than her voice. Not that the girl can't sing, but compared to her co-stars, not so much. There's just something a little cold and flat about her tone where Jennifer's is rich and full.

Okay, enough bitchiness.

I am a bit ashamed to make this post about this year's broadcast in particular. While I get what people are saying about it being a bit quiet or dull... I really liked the overall good-naturedness of it, a reflection of Ellen DeGeneres' personality. Like showing all the nominees at the beginning in those clips and having them all stand up to take a bow before any of them suffered the disappointment of not winning. I really liked that.

Ode to Jodie Foster

Posted during the Oscar red carpet....

I don't know what it is about Jodie Foster. Maybe it's that we're almost exactly the same age, (okay, I'm 6 months and 15 days older) maybe it's because I saw her in so many Disney movies when I was a kid, maybe it was because we're both blonde (well, I was) and tomboyish and (she says humbly) smart (or at least we both did well at school, which isn't always the same thing as smart)....

I don't know exactly what it is. I just know if I could be anyone in the world other than myself. I would be Jodi Foster.

And it's not the fame (although I wouldn't hate that) it's the brains and the class and the confidence and the way her blue eyes matched her dress at the Oscars. I'd die for that. (But my dress would have to be green and my eyes would have to be a different colour of green to look that great in a dress...) How great was it that she told Ryan Seacrest that she had her eyes specially died to match her dress? Wit people. That's called wit. Okay, I want her wit, too.

I once dated a man who thought I looked likd Helen Hunt (okay, before you laugh, I was thinner then) But if I was going to pick an actress my age I identify with, it wouldn't be Helen (though I love her) it would be Jodi.

Speaking of actors I remember from childhood -- Jackie Earle Haley. God I hope he wins. That would be so cool. I've blogged about Little Children before. Amazing movie. Need to read the book.

Okay, just about to post and Celine Dion walzes down the carpet... Okay, I know she has the ESL issues, but "we've been to the Oscars before". Who is she? The Queen? What's with the royal we?

Friday, February 23, 2007

It is called "Grey's" Anatomy

Spoiler alert if you haven't seen this week's Grey's Anatomy, read no further.

I am a big fan of this show. Big fan of Shonda Rhimes. That woman can write. She's one of my new heros. I thought last night's episode (the past weeks' little trilogy of episodes) was great.

It's not that I thought they'd kill off Meredith. Like I said, the show's called Grey's Anatomy. It'd be hard to kill off Dr. Grey. But the show has killed off some very likable and sympathetic characters in the past, so the very slim chance she might actually die made me just a tiny bit scared.

But really, we didn't need to think she might die in order to be interested in that episode. The fact that she gave up fighting in the water and why. The horrible things her mother said to her. Derek's obvious commitment to her. (especially since we've been given reasons to doubt him in the past.) Addison's obvious sadness in realizing Derek's feelings for Meredith. The deepening of the Christina/Meredith friendship. "You're the one person I wanted to tell." And that little bit with Denny and Izzie at the end? Heartbreaking and not entirely predictable. Because of everything else going on, I thought she was about to say something nice to Callie. With hindsight, that little encounter with Denny was obvious, but there was enough misdirection (at least for me) that it was a tender, heartwrenching little surprise.

Yes, in that episode the "will Meredith live" question was almost the frame for the other subplots, not the main plot, so it didn't matter that we all knew she'd live.

And having her nearly die seems like smart writing to me. I mean, Meredith's character needs to change and evolve. But she's deeply scarred. You can't make a deeply scarred character simply do a 180 without motivation. This past sequence of events culminating in a near death experience may provide a believable catalyst for her to change. (Assuming that's where the writers take it.) Much more satisfying than her changing simply because she falls in love. (Not that her falling in love isn't satisfying... (That scene last week when Derek was carrying her out of the water just about killed me.) I guess I just like to see a character grow for reasons other than love. Especially when the character isn't capable of love unless they change. (Guess that's why I sucked at writing romances...)

I've heard some critics of this show say they find Meredith's character whiney. I don't agree. I love her character. I love all the characters on the show. They're flawed. They're 3 dimensional. And this latest group of shows where we saw more about her relationship with her mother and how that holds her back, explains much of her "malcontent" nature, if in fact she has one.

Can't wait to see where they take her character and this show.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Done done done done done

I finally did it. I finally finished my latest manuscript. Let's call it project #2. (We don't talk about the category romances I did before Project #1. I guess they're projects -1 and -2.) I have no idea what made project #2 take so freakin' long. Okay, I have some ideas, but still. I'm shocked when I realize it's been a year since I signed with my agent and I had yet to send her anything beyond that first project.

What really, really freaked me out recently was realizing that it's been TWO YEARS since I got my first request for the full on project #1. TWO YEARS. Okay, the book wasn't finished yet when I got my first request (I'm a bad girl) but I did have a first draft done and managed to do my revisions in about 6 weeks. So, although I did more revisions after that first request, (that agent had it for 10 months before I got offered representation from someone else), it's been a long time since I finished a book.

It's not like I haven't been writing... I just had a few false starts with projects I wasn't confident enough in. And the project I just finished got temporarily stalled when an editor who almost bought project #1 told me she didn't think project #2 would be a good second book for me -- that I needed to follow project #1 up with something more similar. (See why I thought I'd sold it?)

But I should realize by now, that questioning my projects is part of my process. I hate just about everything I write at some point, so I need to remember to just keep going instead of floundering, stopping, floundering again and starting work on a whole new idea.

If I want a career in mainstream fiction -- which I do. Then I need to be able to produce books more quickly. Funny thing is I feel like I do write fast -- all evidence to the contrary.

This time I promise not to get too caught up in the various and sundry things that made this one take so long.

Monday, February 19, 2007

American Title III

My friend KJ Howe has made it to the final round of the American Title III contest!

This contest, if you haven't heard of it, is an American Idol type contest run by Romantic Times magazine. The winner will be offered a publishing contract with Dorchester and all the entrants get huge exposure to their target readers via RT's huge subscription numbers. AND IT'S DOWN TO TWO!

The final round of voting starts now and continues through March 4, 2007.

To that end, I'm hoping everyone I know (and everyone they know) will vote for her.

It's super easy to vote. Since you're here, you can just click on the "VOTE FOR KIM" button to the right. Or, simply send an e-mail to with ONE SHOT, TWO KILLS (the title of Kim's book) in the subject line. Don't worry. You won't get on any mailing lists or anything. If you have more than one e-mail address... Send a vote from each of them. Ask all your friends and family to vote too!

HUGE congrats to Kim. I really, really hope she wins.

And think how exciting it'll be to help get a future bestselling author (I'm sure) her first contract!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Maybe it's because I spent chunks of my formative years in snowy cold places like Montreal and Winnipeg, but I love days like today.

Sure, it's cold out there. But it's sunny and there's fluffy powdery snow and everything's sparkling and fresh.

Wish I had time to go for a walk. (Must make time to go for a walk.)

Photo is of me with friends Scott and Joy during a very unexpected snowstorm in NYC a few years ago. We weren't exactly dressed for it. No boots. Pretty sure I bought that scarf from some guy on the street. Blue raincoat was borrowed from my friend Elaine, because the forecast called for rain...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Okay, as Kimber has pointed out I have been a very, very bad blogger. I'm trying to finish a ms right now and it's consuming me and I can't seem to make my brain do anything else.

Okay, I let my brain watch some of the Grammy's. (I have to take some breaks.) Did you see that song with Ludacris and Mary J. Blige? I know I'm pretty out of it when it comes to hip hop music, but I can't believe I'd never heard that song before. What an amazing song and moving performance. Made me cry.

Cool to see the Police perform again, too... Even if Sting can't hit the high notes anymore. Actually, I really enjoyed the Grammy's. For elderly people like me who don't listen to a huge amount of radio anymore, it's a great way to discover artists you shouldn't have missed. Connie Bailey Rae. How have I missed her? Must go shopping for music once this damn book is done!

(Hope that imbedded music clip is legal...)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ready for Valentine's?

Okay, being single at the moment, I'll admit Valentine's Day isn't my all time favourite holiday -- although this year I have a couple of reasons to be more excited about it than usual. First, my CP Molly O'Keefe is speaking at the Toronto Reference Library that day as part of Keep Toronto Reading.

As if that weren't enough Valentine's excitement, one of my TKA sistah's, Renee Luke, has a new book out, containing three novellas that sound great!

Just listen to this!
Romance has never been as temptingly sweet as it is in this trio of erotic treats from an author who knows how to seduce…and deliver.

In Gimme Some Sugar…Jackson never realized how much he loved his best friend Alexis—until her wedding day was on the horizon. Now all he has to do is convince her that their harmless kissing games over the years weren’t so harmless after all. In fact, they may end up breaking his heart.

In 4 U Sweetheart…Toni never imagined that a night of speed-dating could lead to something serious. But three minutes with the hunk of her dreams changed that. Especially after he slipped her a candy heart that said “Pick Me”…

In Dipped in Chocolate…Nathan wants a special delicacy for his sister’s bridal shower. He finds it in Jayla, the owner of a decadent chocolate shop. As hot as she is, Jayla’s not looking for a fling. As hot as he’s getting, Nathan may have to abandon his bachelor ways for a piece of chocolate that’s a little more solid.
Who needs a boyfriend on Valentine's Day? I'm going to date this book.
Here are the book's vitals:
Dipped in ChocolateNAL / SignetISBN: 0451220315 (trade paperback)
February 2007
You can find Renee on the web at She also writes young adult books as Nyomi Scott.
Congratulations Renee! Can't wait to read it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hot Danny?


So the latest cheesy reality show snagged me tonight. (Because I could care less about American football. Don't even know who was playing and wasn't that excited to see Prince in the half-time show.)

In this new show, six potential Danny's and six potential Sandy's are competing for the roles in a new Broadway production of Grease.

The producers have given "cute" names to each of the contestants to help we, the viewers, remember them, and my least favourite of the bunch has been dubbed "Hot Danny".

He's slick, I'll give him that, but he's arrogantly overconfident about his chances of winning. Hot? (Okay, in the shirtless shot they showed of him in his previous career as a model he does have great abs...) But his hair!!! Yuck. And his dance moves and the way he looks at the camera make me think Gay-Bar-Go-Go-Dancer Danny, not Hot Danny. (Actually, his hair doesn't look as bad in this photo as it does on stage. It totally overwhelms him. He's got this tiny face and Texas-Beauty-Queen hair.

Okay, this post is super mean. But am I wrong? Anyone else watch?

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