Along with 70 other authors who have romance in their novels, I’ll be participating in the Australian Romance Reader’s Association mass book signing on Saturday 9th August 2014 from 5-6pm at the Pullman Hotel in Olympic Park. If you’d like to attend, you can purchase tickets here. I’d love to see you there!
It’s no secret that fairytales inspire me. They have for all of my reading life, but it never ceases to amaze me how an old fairytale that I’ve adored as a child can come back to me in a different format and engulf me in magic all over again.
Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite fairytale, because of its darkness, its inherent romance, and the transformational quality of the character development. I was fortunate to have the latest Disney version come out when my children were young, and I can remember watching it again and again, not just because the animated character were cute and endearing, or because I couldn’t help putting myself in Belle’s shoes and wanting to tame the beast, but because the song, Beauty and the Beast made me cry, every time I heard it. Embedded within it is everything I love about that story – the prince trapped inside the body of a beast, confronted with the delicate beauty of Belle, imagining she’d never even want to look at him, let alone fall in love with him. It inspired me to imagine my own stories with tortured heroes and clever, resourceful heroines who must work with magic – dark and light – to find their happily ever after.
That one song inspired more fantasy plotlines and characterization out of me than probably any other I’ve heard.
So you can imagine how overwhelmed I felt when I was watching The Voice Australia and completely out of left field, two of my favorite competitors lined up in a battle to sing Beauty and the Beast together. It was an inspired move by their coach Ricky Martin (who I adore) and the result is stunning:
I’ve had the song in my mind ever since, playing on a loop, happily inspiring more story ideas, and who would have imagined I’d find inspiration to write fantasy novels while watching a singing competition!
If you’ve ever had inspiration delivered unexpectedly please do share in the comments below. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I see a lot of movies and I don’t often cry in them, even if they’re particularly soppy. This movie wasn’t soppy at all, and I cried. Twice. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer:
I have to begin by saying I love Colin Farrell as an actor. He brings such vulnerability to his roles and was fabulous in Saving Mr Banks and In Bruges. In this movie Russell Crowe was truly menacing as his adversary, Pearly, and while part of me wanted him to just leave the lovers alone because they had enough trouble already, the storyteller in me loved the complexity that Crowe’s character brought to the story. Jessica Brown Findlay as Farrell’s love interest Beverley was amazing. I wish I’d written her. She was pure and funny and so thoroughly engaging I fell in love with her as Farrell’s burglar character Peter did.
There was magic and destiny, everlasting love (which I adore), and when the movie ended I felt as if something had been left with me that I couldn’t put my finger on. As if an answer to a really big question – like why are we here – had been implanted into my brain subliminally. I just felt good. In fact, even days later, I just feel good, as if somehow I’d had it proven that life does have meaning and we are all here for a purpose.
It’s such a simple story, as fairytales often are, but it had a profound impact on me. Beverley’s father, played by William Hurt, was a particularly poignant character, and there’s a scene with a furnace late in the movie that ended with me in tears, quite unexpectedly. The movie was visually beautiful, and the story delightful in parts, frightening in others. I’m not sure I’d take children under ten to see it, but then again I can be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to censoring violence.
SPOILER: The only downside in the movie for me was Will Smith cast as the ‘big bad’. How producers imagined that one half of the comedic Men in Black duo could possibly look like he had authority over a terrifying Russell Crowe is anyone’s guess. But I didn’t buy it. I kept expecting Smith to crack a joke, and it threw me out of the story every time he was onscreen. Luckily it was a small part of the plot and didn’t mar my overall enjoyment.
So summing up I’d have to say Winter’s Tale filled me with hope, I loved the soundtrack and I can’t stop thinking about the characters. I don’t buy many movies on DVD, but this could be one that I’d like to add to my small collection of keepers. A romantic, thrilling supernatural love story that has all the fairytale elements I want to read and love to write myself. Definitely thumbs up from me.
I’m happy to admit I’m a sucker for romance, and in the same way that chocolate should be a part of every meal (it is one of the important food groups after all) I’d love to see romance having a place in every story.
Because whether I’m deep into reading sci fi, fantasy or a zombie apocalypse, I still want a hint of a sniff of a love story. Star Wars – where would it be without Han and Leia, not to mention Buttercup and Westley, John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Katniss and Peeta, hell, even Ron and Hermione. I love the fantastical elements of speculative fiction worlds, but unless there’s a romance in there, the story isn’t enough for me. I adore the attraction, the pursuit (no matter how clumsy or unlikely to succeed) the tender awkward moments, then there’s the surety and confidence that characters experience when they know their love is returned.
But why is romance such an important element for so many women? Not to mention the men who have a soft spot for love stories and who don’t mind a bit of schmaltz mixed in with their blood and guts. Terminator is full of hide-behind-the-hands violence, but when Kyle Reese says to Sarah Connor “I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you. I always have,” I just melt.
BTW, if you’re a sucker for the Kyle/Sarah love story, here’s a tissue-worthy recap:
So why do we love a good love story?
The easy answer would be that we’re love starved, but statistically that doesn’t hold up. In fact, romance writers as a group have one of the highest levels of happy relationships, which may have something to do with writing love scenes on a regular basis. Many’s the time I’ve heard of a romance writer phoning their partner for a little “romance” after having written a scene that’s gotten them all hot and bothered. And surely that makes for happier marriages. But does the same thing happen for readers? Do women call their husbands after devouring a bit of Fifty Shades and tell them to come home for lunch?
Sex aside (I know, you got a visual there, but I was saying aside not astride) what is it about romance that makes a story feel complete? Do we have any philosophers out there? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
I’m thrilled to launch my Hapless Heroes series of quirky romances AVAILABLE WHEREVER GOOD EBOOKS ARE SOLD. These gorgeous heroes are endearingly inept when it comes to women, yet they somehow still manage to ‘get the girl’.
Marriage & the Mermaid (novel): Balthazar Wilson wants nothing more than to be married with children, but he can’t seem to find Miss Right. A visit to his widower father at the Wilson family’s historical homestead in coastal Queensland, however, quickly proves to Baz that he has more things to worry about than his own happily ever after! His wealthy father’s eccentric behavior could be dementia, an innocent young blonde with no past washes up on their isolated beach looking for sex, the new cleaning lady is a kleptomaniac, an Internet scammer turns up with a gun to steal Baz’s inheritance, and the local cop thinks the blonde is a killer mermaid. When Baz’s ex-colleague Wynne Malone arrives to charm him, Baz isn’t sure if he wants to kiss her or have a mental breakdown.
Read Marriage & the Mermaid to find out if Baz does finally get his happily ever after, and who survives that fateful weekend at Saltwood Manor.
PURCHASE Marriage & the Mermaid AT:
Goddess & the Geek (novella): Computer whiz Julian Wilde has a month booked at an island hideaway to finish his PhD, but when he arrives, sexy oyster farmer Natasha Barri grabs him thinking he’s a burglar and suddenly asthma isn’t the only thing making Julian breathless. The house has been double booked so they’re forced to share and Julian readily agrees to cook, hoping to use the voodoo potions he’s discovered online to make Tasha fall in love with him. Disaster follows debacle as Julian tries to impress her, and she tries not to kill him.
Read Goddess & the Geek to see if Julian can crack open Tasha’s hermit-shell heart and prove he’s the geek for her.
PURCHASE Goddess & the Geek AT:
Sex & the Stand In (short story): Justin DuBois is in love with his co-worker, but not only does Marianne think he’s too young to be taken seriously, she’s convinced he’s gay. In desperation to win her, Justin recreates her teenage fantasy of a circus, a carnie, and a splash of Old Spice…
Read Sex & the Stand In to find out whether Justin’s crazy plan actually works.
PURCHASE Sex & the Stand In AT:
I’m at the Darkside DownUnder website today with a book review of one of my all-time favourites. I’ve just re-read A Princess of Mars prior to watching the Disney movie it inspired: John Carter. As a teenager I devoured the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series featuring the Earthman John Carter and his Martian princess Dejah Thoris, and you’ll be surprised at how romantic they are. Enjoy!
alice in wonderland, da vinci, destiny of the light, dune, eBooks, fantasy, influences, inspiration, john carter, Left Hand of Darkness, romance, romantic fantasy, Shadow through time, trilogy, writing
Patrick O’Duffy has interviewed me on his blog today, about ebooks, fantastic romance, my influences and inspirations, and John Carter of Mars. Pop over and say Hi!