Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reality T.V.

But even savvy viewers who realize that their favorite reality shows are cast, contrived and edited to be dramatic may have no idea how brazen the fudging can be. Quotes are manufactured, crushes and feuds constructed out of whole cloth, episodes planned in multiact "storyboards" before taping, scenes stitched together out of footage shot days apart.
I'm not a big reality t.v. fan, but for those of you who are, I know you'll find this article shocking ;) It's about how Reality T.V. Fakes It.

Monday, January 30, 2006


It's a very gloomy day in my part of the world today, the kind where just walking out of the house seems like a mission. But the funny part is, I love these kinds of days when I don't have to go to work - they're perfect to curl up with a good book and some hot chocolate. So, what's your favorite indulgence?

(p.s. Book update - rough draft halfway done on Gabriel & Jess's story (Sil Desire).)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday, Karen, tagged me to commit a random act of kindness. I don't have anything to report yet but watch this space! In the meantime, go check out Karen's post on the topic - whan an absolutely lovely idea, no?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why Read Blogs?

I have a question for all of you who read this blog (yeah, all three of you *g*) - why do you read blogs? I mostly read blogs by other writers, published and unpublished, and those in the publishing industry, both because of the information that can be found in them and because it's a nice way of getting to know others in the same field. But I also read the odd blog for no other reason than that it's amusing and gives me a bit of a laugh. So, why do you do it?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mental Muscles

This is a photo from a trip I did to the Great Wall a while back. It seemed appropriate today given that I feel like I've come to part of my ms where lots of (mental) climbing is going to be necessary. This is not automatically a bad thing. I find that sometimes, standing back and thinking over an issue can take a story in completely new and exciting directions, which is what I'm hoping will happen here.

And talking about stretching mental muscles, have a look at this article about Norah Vincent, who spent 18 months living as a male and has now written a book about it. A must-read for every author who wants to get into the male point of view???

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dreams of a Romance Writer

Most people probably dream of a big house with a swimming pool, maybe a huge living room, or perhaps even a tennis court. Me, all I want is a study. A room with a desk that's actually set at the right height for me, one of those nifty ergonomic chairs and lots of shelves for research books and notes. Plus, I'd love to have lots of empty wall space where I can put up timelines and maps, and maybe even posters of my covers.

Right now, I do everything in large spiral bound notebooks. I have to keep things minimal because all this has to be shipped across the ocean (no, I can't leave my notebooks behind), but I'm reaching a point where I'm dying to get some binders and start alphabetizing my research material, especially for my paranormals. (Did I tell you that Slave to Sensation has a tentative release date of November this year?!) These books are connected, so I have to assure continuity and that means I need all the information easily acccessible. Oh, how I dream of color-coded files...maybe even color coded paper!

In other news, I've just been told that Craving Beauty has been nominated as the Best Silhouette Desire of 2005 by the readers at Cataromance, which was a really nice surprise to wake up to this morning. If you'd like to mosey on over there and vote for me, here's the link.

And over on Alison Kent's Blog, they're talking about viral marketing (ie. spreading the word about a certain thing just like a virus spreads), which interests me because I've been thinking about promotion strategies for Slave to Sensation. Would you blog about a book if an author gave away copies with the understanding that something would be written about it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Ultimate Short Synopsis

Here...is a text-message version of "Paradise Lost" disseminated by some scholars in England: "Devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus&strts war. pd'off wiv god so corupts man (md by god) wiv apel. devl stays serpnt 4hole life&man ruind. Woe un2mnkind."

From: The Pleasures of the Text, NY Times
Talk about concise! And I thought Desires were considered short books. I don't know if I could ever crunch a book into a text-synopsis of that size. Anybody else game to try with a book of your choice?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I'm guessing that the weekend has arrived pretty much all over the world by now, so hope y'all are having a good one! I'm working and have hit the 7k mark in terms of words written (revisions and something else) so I figure I'm allowed to goof off on the net for a bit. *g* What's everyone else up to?

Friday, January 20, 2006


I'm about to launch into some pretty big revisions for my next Desire so if I occasionally disappear from the blogfront, it's not because I'm off partying in some exotic place but because I'm hunched over the computer thinking like mad.

Unlike a lot of writers, I don't actually mind the technical process of revision, ie. restructuring a story, adding elements or taking them out. It seems to me that it uses a completely different part of my brain than the one that writes the original story, because doing revisions requires the use of logic. How to explain? When I write, I tend to write by instinct. Doing revisions means shifting to a far more conscious sort of writing, when I feel as if I'm performing very delicate surgery on my manuscript.

Does that make sense? Or maybe I should go get some caffeine in me before I start trying to analyse the magic that is story.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Not that my mind is on food or anything, but this is cute. What donut are you?

You Are a Jelly Donut

So you're a little rounder than most folks - but it's only in the right places!
You maintain a clean exterior, even if you're all messy on the inside.
You think you're the best, and that's mostly true...
But remember, you're just an empty shell without your jelly!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Spontaneous Human Combustion

Ever thought about spontaneous human combustion (SHC)? It's not the sort of thing most people think about (probably because it's a bit odd), but it's often used in paranormal type shows on t.v. - think X Files. I'm in the middle of reading a thriller right now and the authors have a lot of mentions of SHC in it, referencing Dickens' research among other things.

Now, being the curious sort, I wondered if it was all real or made up (this being a fictional novel after all), so I looked it up...and found that their references were from real events, which totally blew me away. Reality is indeed sometimes way stranger than fiction could ever be.

Am I the only person who does this - looks up things in novels that catch my attention - or do some of you share the same curious streak? Found anything interesting as a result of it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Book Recommendations?

I'm going to be placing some book orders this week, so I thought I'd ask you all - have you read anything lately that you loved enough to recommend? I do have a list of things I want to read but I'm always interested in finding new stuff, so hit me with it!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Life in Japan: Ancient Culture, Modern Times

This is a picture of Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto. As you can see, it’s a very loooooong building. There’s an interesting tradition that goes along with the length of this building. In ancient times, archers used to shoot arrows from one end of the temple hall to the other to prove their skill.

The amazing thing is, the tradition still exists, though it now takes place outside, alongside the hall. Yesterday on t.v. I saw young women archers trying to shoot accurately down the length of the hall, all of them dressed in beautiful kimono with dangling sleeves - because the event was part of Coming of Age day (when adults who’ve turned 20 in the past year celebrate the milestone through various events).

Sometimes, the culture of Japan confounds me with its formality and what some might call its hidebound nature. But then I see things like those beautiful archers and I realize that tradition is very much a real part of people’s lives, not simply something to read about in a museum or see in a temple. And that’s one aspect of Japan I truly love – the fact that its cultural history permeates everything in the social landscape.

Here, the slightest gesture or word can mean something very deep, and while that may be unsettling for visitors, it’s also an invitation to explore, to find out what lies beneath the quiet, formal mask. I’ve barely scratched the surface but I know I’ll miss those ancient echoes when I return home.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Love Actually

*Warning* This post contains spoilers about Love Actually, so if you haven't seen it, go watch it right away (great movie!) and then come back to read this.

And now the post...

Sometimes, I'm hit in the face with the reason why I became a romance novelist, rather than choosing to pursue any other genre. This happened yesterday when I watched Love Actually for the second time. The first time I watched it, there were no subtitles for the portugese so I had to guess what Jamie and Aurelia were saying - believing me, the subtitles were way funnier than what I came up with.

But that's not the couple in the movie that this post is about. Nor is it about the guy who goes off to Milwaukee and has his fantasies fulfilled, or about the two stand-in's who fall in love (though they were incredibly sweet).

The couple that most affected me were Sara and Karl (Laura Linney and Rodrigo Santaro), because not only were they such finely nuanced characters (Karl wasn't just a hunk but one with heart), they didn't get their happy ending. I kept hoping the ending would change, that they would get together, but of course that didn't happen.

I had the same reaction, to a lesser extent, to the story involving Andrew (the guy in love with his best friend's wife) and the one with Emma Thompson (whose husband has the beginnings of an affair). They were all so sad and I desperately wanted to make it alright, to give them their happy endings, too. Unless they make a sequel, that's not going to happen, so I'll just have to rewrite the script in my head.

What interested me when I listened to the director's commentary was that during testing of the film, a majority of the audience had the same reaction to Sara and Karl. They, too, wanted happiness for these two, to the point of begging the director/writer to add in another scene to make it better.

When it comes down to the human heart, it appears that us romance novelists and readers aren't the only hopeless romantics out there, which is a wonderful thing. Maybe love actually is all around us, and if we believe hard enough, we can imagine a future in which Sara and Karl get their happy ever after. After all, that's what imaginations are for.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Happy Friday the 13th!

And that's the extent of my genius right this moment. (Note to self: picking up a big fat book at 9pm promising to read only the first few chapters is a horrible lie you should've stopped telling yourself years ago.)

Back later with more. Ow, my eyeballs hurt...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Love and Happy Smiles

I'm off to join a "Love and Happy Smile" party at a small mountain school today (entire student body = 37), so I'm resorting to more photos for this blog post. This one's from outside the Fuji TV building in Tokyo. Cool, no?

So, while I'm away soaking up love and happy smiles, why don't you tell me what you've been up to this January, or if you prefer, what you'd like to get up to in 2006!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

7 Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

And the grand finale! I think I'm exhausted after answering all these questions.

1. Pride and Prejudice (BBC) - (yes, I know it's not technically a movie but...)

2. Mr & Mrs Smith (new entry!)

3. Movies with Shah Rukh Khan (Indian megastar).

4. Jerry Maquire.

5. Khushi (Bollywood movie).

6. Independence Day. (Big effects, humor, romance plus aliens!)

7. The Princess Bride.

7 Things To Do Before I Die

1. Write lots more books.
2. Visit Venice.
3. Visit the moon or at least get out in space.
4. Read all the great books I haven't read yet.
5. Learn to ski properly.
6. Refine my chocolate addiction.
7. See the Northern Lights.

7 People I Want to Tag

I have a feeling a lot of people have already done this but if you haven't, tag you're it! My method of selection is to grab the last 7 people who commented on this blog.

1. Olga
2. Kendra Clark
3. Karen
4. Laura
5. Shakoo
6. Bronwyn Jameson (double tag with Gail!)
7. Angelle Trieste

7 Things I Say Most Often

Hmm, this could turn out incomprehensible since I live in a non-English speaking country, so what I'll do is pick words I seem to use all the time on emails and blog entries.

1. Actually.
2. Hey!
3. Congratulations. (There's been a lot of good news all over the place lately.)
4. Happy New Year (yup, still saying that).
5. Like. (Where oh where did I pick that up?!)
6. Really.
7. And just for fun, here's a Japanese word: Sumimasen. Learn this word. It's a very good word. It can mean - excuse me, thanks, um..., I don't understand...the list is endless.

7 Things I Cannot Do

1. Sing like an angel.
2. Cook like Martha Stewart.
3. Exercise like a Hollywood starlet.
4. Fly like a bird. (I would love to have wings).
5. Eat raw fish like my Japanese counterparts.
6. Speak Russian...like all the people in Russia.
7. Build a rocket ship like the Space Ship One guy.

7 Things That Attract Me to Men

This is interesting question given that I just watched Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason on dvd. There was a quiz running through the movie which aims to tell you what man is right for you. I'm glad to say I scored Mark Darcy. Let me see if I can recollect some of my answers...

1. Non-Daniel Cleaver smarminess.

2. Loyalty ('Nuf said).

3. Honesty (ie. non Daniel Cleaver smarminess).

4. Humor (ok, Darcy is not the greatest in this but I'm not going to quibble).

5. Being Mr. Darcy. (That counts!)

6. Intelligence.

7. The ability to understand that I am an Artiste and that chocolate is necessary for my creative sustenance.

Seven Items for Seven Questions

The fabulous Gail Dayton tagged me with this while I was away, so here are my answers. Since I have a short attention span *g*, I'll do this in pieces as the answers come to me. Why don't y'all add your answers to the bits that inspire you?

7 Books or Series I love

1. Um, is it bad to say my own books? Seriously, I write what I love to read.
2. Rememberance by Jude Deveraux
3. Laurell K Hamilton's series (both Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry)
4. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters
5. All the Amanda Quick books but especially the early ones (Ravished, Mistress, Desire etc)
6. J D Robb's In Death series.
7. Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kyoto - Kinkakuji

This is Kinkakuji - The Golden Pavillion, in Kyoto. It's actually plated with gold, which is probably why they don't allow you to walk inside! I found this building truly beautiful. It doesn't show in this picture but it was snowing the day we were there, which only made Kinkakuji look even more brilliant.

Tokyo - Harlequin

This is the sign outside the Harlequin Japan offices in Tokyo. They let me inside, too ;) The Harlequin Japan people are so unbelievably nice. I had a great time touring the offices.

Tokyo - Odaiba

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. This isn't New York but Odaiba, a futuristic waterfront development in Tokyo. Getting to Odaiba was actually so fun, I wanted to do it over and over. You catch a monorail that goes up and over the city and across the harbour, passing by the Rainbow Bridge. The view is, in a word, amazing.

Tokyo Millenario

As promised, today is going to be photo bonanza day. I'm going to post each different picture as a separate entry so I can accompany it with my extremely insightful commentary. *g*

To begin with, here is a picture from the Tokyo Millenario, a "seasonal illumination" in central Tokyo, near Tokyo Station.

These archways were set all down the street - you can see the edges of five different arches on the right hand side in this picture. In a word, it was stunning. What wasn't stunning was the crowd. I've never been so crushed! In the end we decided to cut our losses and look from afar but even that didn't lessen the impact.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm Alive!

Just so you all know, I haven't dropped off the edge of the planet. I was hoping to be back online this week but it looks like I won't be posting regularly again until next Tuesday. Promise lots of photos and nice juicy posts then!

Hope everyone's having a great start to 2006. See you next week!