Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Anyone follow the BBC's Robin Hood series? If you do, you'll know that Guy of Gisbourne is one bad dude, and wicked sexy!!! He's played by the ultra yummy Richard Armitage! I'm a huge fan of RA...those eyes...that deep voice...oh, yeah, LOVE him!
What is it about Guy? He truly is bad, and not just one of those fake 'rake' type characters. I mean, he's mean, he's done bad things, we've seen this, not just been told, 'he's bad'. And yet, I'm still totally mooning over him. Maybe it's the subtle vulnerability of him? Maybe it's the way he looks longingly at Marian when she isn't looking? Maybe it's his complex nature? I don't know what it is, but Guy of Gisbourne totally does it for me. Who the heck would want Robin Hood when you've got Guy panting after you?
I'll admit, I got a thing for men like this. Would I want one in real life...probably not. I see a lot of horn locking, and grumbling. But in the fantasy realm? I'm totally on board with a guy like that. Wallingford, the hero in my Spice release Sinful, is one of those bad boys. He's got a waspish tongue that he uses to flay people--mostly women-- with. He's very callous and jaded, and his actions most definitely reinforce that. (No fake rakes for Wallingford!) Yet, on the inside, once you peel all those layers, you can see that he's got a sensitive side, and that all those mean things he's said is a protective casing he uses.I think Guy is a lot like that, too. And it does really weird things to my insides....just sayin'!
So, let's be wicked. What truly bad boy does it for you? And Lord Craven-Moore DOES NOT count!...ouch....he just swatted my bottom!!!! He is such a rake! lol!
Friday, November 21, 2008
My name is Kristina, and I am a Twilight Mom. Yes, it’s true. I admit it. I hang out on the Twilight Moms message board, went to a Breaking Dawn midnight party, and stayed up all night reading it, the last book in the series (and yes, I was horribly disappointed—I would say it was easily the biggest literary disappointment of my life). I pre-ordered movie tickets for the Twilight movie weeks ago, and saw the first showing this morning (in a totally full theater, I might add!), release day.
But before I review the movie, let me go back to the very beginning of my Twilight obsession. I discovered the book the month it was released, as I was walking through a bookstore headed toward the romance section. I passed a shelf that, in retrospect, must’ve been in the YA section, and the cover immediately caught my eye. So I picked it up, turned it over, and read the back blurb—only three or four sentences, but enough to hook me. So I bought it. I started reading it that night, and ended up staying up half the night finishing it.
I feel personally responsible for starting some of the word-of-mouth buzz, because I told everyone I knew that they had to read it, even if they didn’t read YA books, even if they didn’t normally like vampire books. I got my friends hooked, my family hooked, and this was all before it became the international sensation that it is now.
So…the movie. Suffice it to say that I’ve been eagerly awaiting it for a long, long time. There’s just nothing better than seeing a favorite book turned into an excellent film, the familiar characters brought to life in full Technicolor glory. But then again, there’s nothing worse than seeing a favorite book turned into a horrible film, one that makes you wince to watch it.
For me, the Twilight movie fell somewhere in between. First, the pros: the locations were gorgeous. Stephenie Meyer did well in choosing to set the book in the Pacific Northwest, because the scenery was simply stunning, and, for the most part, looked exactly as I envisioned it. I thought the casting was mostly great, too. Kristen Stewart simply was Bella, exactly as I imagined her in my mind. I thought she captured the character perfectly. I also thought Rob Pattinson did an amazing job. His Edward was the perfect mix of confidence and self-loathing, and frankly he’s just so stunning that I found it hard not to gape when he was onscreen. Billy Burke, playing Bella’s dad Charlie, was also perfectly cast.
For the most part, I enjoyed the Forks High teenagers, all well-cast and well-acted, and the same with the Cullen clan, but particularly Rosalie, Emmett, and Esme (Jasper was the weak link, in my opinion—he actually got some laughs from the audience when they probably weren’t supposed to be laughing). As to the bad vampires, I thought Victoria was perfect, Laurent was satisfactory, but James was too over-the-top and cheesy.
I also thought they did a really good job of staying mostly true to the book, although they took some liberties condensing some scenes and changing when and where some conversations took place. But mostly it did feel as if the book had come to life. And the kiss scene?! Yeah....very sexy.
Now the cons: the make up was horrible. I mean, c’mon, we know they’re vampires—just a little bit of pale face powder would have sufficed, rather than the shovelful of white pancake makeup it looked like the Cullens were wearing. Rob Pattinson is gorgeous enough on his own—the eyeliner and lipstick just looked overdone and silly. The makeup looked particularly bad on Peter Facinelli, playing Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Also, there were a couple of close-ups of the vampires’ eyes, particularly Edward’s, where I could clearly see the contact lens on his eye. Seems like a little editing work could have removed the tell-tale ring. And the wig on the actor playing Jacob Black looked ridiculous—I wish they’d spent a little more money on it.
Also bad were the special effects. I realize this was an independent film, fairly low-budget, and you can only do so much, effects-wise, without a big budget. After all, we as an audience are spoiled, effects-wise, in a post-WETA, post-“Lord of the Rings” world. But the effects were definitely hokey and cheesy. And the meadow scene….well, I won’t spoil it for you, but just let me say that I was disappointed. Really disappointed. I now wish that vampires didn’t sparkle.
Lastly, there was a little more angst than there was in the book. I remember some funny, light moments between Bella and Edward in the book, some playfulness. But in the movie, it was all angst, all the time. For someone who hasn’t read the books, you might come away wondering how the pair goes from first meet to “You are my life now,” because you don’t quite get to see the development of their relationship in the movie (of course, some critics of the book will say that there isn’t much of that in the book, either, but I respectfully disagree).
All in all, I enjoyed it. I’d probably give it a B, maybe a B+, though the plus mainly comes from my enjoyment of the original source material rather than the movie itself, and because it was pretty pleasant just to stare at Rob Pattinson on the big screen for two hours, bad makeup and all. I saw it with a friend, though—also a fan of the books (minus the train wreck that was Breaking Dawn, of course)—and she didn’t like it as much as I did. Her biggest criticism was wooden acting, and, and like me, she was really put off by the bad makeup and special effects.
So…anyone else see the movie already? If so, how would you grade it? And for the rest of you, do you plan on seeing it?
Posted by Kristi Cook at 5:21 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is me today (sans the red hair!)I find myself unable to focus, staring off into space, imaginging wonderfully visually rich scenes that I cannot seem to get down onto the computer screen. I'm sure they would be just as wonderful written down as they are in my head. Except...I lack motivation, or energy, or something...
We're having a blizzard here where I live. Everything is white, the wind is howling, the sky such a dark, dark grey and so omnious looking. I have the candles lit in my study and Lorenna McKennit's haunting voice playing on my computer. Everything is conducive to writing that moody wintery tale which was due to my editor weeks ago. So, why then, am I content to sit at my desk and drift off into space, mentally writing my novella, but unable to actually 'write it'?
Amanda mentioned something about the full moon in her last post. I believe it. I have no idea where the moon is its phase, but I do know that it had better soon come to the phase that gives energy and exuberance, or I'm going to be in serious trouble!
This is a rather boring post from the poster known for her 'wicked' pictures of yummy men. I beg of your indulgence for this one day!
So, tell me, what part of the world are you from, and what is your day like?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."~Elizabeth Lawrence
If you've sensed a pull to the lethargic side of life, if you've craved solitude, are prone to daydreaming--in short having a lack of motivation, blame it on tonight's full moon.
Given different names by various cultures,This full moon comes with its own following of a star cluster known as the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) that the naked eye can see in a dark night sky. They sparkle bright like hoarfrost at the lower edge of the full moon and of course, midnight is when the brilliance can be most readily seen on a cloudless night. But I digress...
In ancient times, there was no distinction between astrology and religion. They were considered one in the same. Celts worshipped the earth and sky, giving homage to the gods and goddesses who gave them the seasons, the harvest, and new life. November 1 is the beginning of the Celtic Year and with that came the belief the Dark moon or Oak moon was to be celebrated two-fold--for the end of life, the death of the earth--is the passage by which new life comes.
The physical power of the "frost" moon(English Medieval) is manifest by our desire to be still, take a break, cocoon in a blanket,have a few moments of solitude to let your mind wander, or reflect on what has happened in your life. Not such a bad thing in the fast paced life that we live in. It's important we take that space, to allow the spirit to prepare for new life (which begins with the new crescent moon)
This odd sense of dormancy is perfectly normal, compared to a seed beneath the snow in winter, awaiting the warmth of the sun to bring it to life.
Outside my window I see the last few bronze and russet leaves clinging to the giant oak in my backyard, the stripped branches of other trees beyond stretch their naked arms toward the cold, gray gunmetal sky. Another cold blast is forecast and I find that I crave comfort food and have need to stock in plenty of soup for the winter.
Whether you adhere to the power of the moon and earth, or simply find it interesting, I like to think that nothing is given to us by coincidence. All things have a purpose in the grand scheme of things. Give thought to that as you take a moment to "be still and watch the leaves turn."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yes, tis true, I am taking command of Wicked Wednesday. Tis also true that I have accepted this twenty-first century way of living, albeit grudgingly. I have finally, after numerous stares and pointing, relegated my fine linen shirts, cravat and buckskin breeches to the nether regions and have decided to 'break out the jeans' as my LIT ladies are so very fond of saying.
What do you think, friends? Do jeans work on me? I am not convinced. Oh, do pardon the lovely alabaster hand (who shall remain nameless) doing me up. That bloody zipper is a corrundrum for a man who has never before worn such a garment, let alone dressed himself. And the chest hair...I'm sorry if it offends in any way, but I cannot in all conscience shave it~it's taken a couple of centuries to grow, and I'm rather fond of it, I daresay.
I must say, I felt rather wicked donning these denims. I should probably feel rather wicked having a hand in my, what is the vernacular....fly? But, I confess, as a sultan of wickedness, these things pale in comparison to what I have done lately.
Shall I confess a few of my wicked deeds?
1. I drew a little goatee and devil horns on Charlotte's kidlet's life size poster of Zach Efron. (oh, such drama from a female so young! I once had a little opera dancer who couldn't hit as high a note as that squealing little nine year old did.)
2. I downloaded every Pussy Cat Dolls video onto Charlotte's new computer and cajoled her husband into watching them with me. (What? I am rather enamored of their singing. Very good voices, you know.... and the husband agreed, wholeheartedly. But do you know, we did not receive supper that night, and had to go to Taco Bell. What kind of meat do they serve there, do you think? But that is another post for another time.)
3. I maxed out Amanda's Visa at the local mall. (now her husband has to work the weekend in the ER to pay off my new clothing fetish. But I reminded him how damn good I will look in my jeans, lying on his couch, while admiring his wife while he tends to all those sickly people. I asked him to consider it an act of charity, and he made a strange motion with his hand. Darling Amanda said to ignore it, but in case it was some strange twenty-first century male bonding ritual, I returned the finger gesture. Naturally.)
4. I printed off pictures of myself in jeans with the unknown hand on Kristina's husband's printer and sent the image to his clients. (I thought I was doing a favor for the poor bloke, you know, drumming up business and all that, except how was I to know that he had already set something up and I ruined hours of work and used all his paper, and whatever else goes into running a printing company. Really...these men need to communicate things better, a sign simply stating 'don't send pictures of yourself in your new trousers' would have sufficed. Instead, I endured hours of grumbling and language that I did not know was in the English vocabulary. Fortunately Kristina, that angel, saved me by whisking me away to her study, whereby I gave her ideas for her naughty scene in the novella she is writing.)
5. I have booked an appointment for a tattoo. Just wondering now where I should place it, and what it should be. I'm thinking the LIT logo might be a nice addition to my chest. Or perhaps something to do with the Pussy Cat Dolls, I have not yet decided. What do you think?
So, what do you plan to do on this Wicked Wednesday? If you're into naughty writing, I took the liberty of posting a spicy excerpt of Charlotte's erotic historical Addicted on her newsletter site. I believe you have to sign up to her newsletter (http://www.charlottefeatherstone.net/) to read it, but my....it is rather wicked....
Happy Hump Day,
With much love and wickedness
Monday, November 10, 2008
All my previous books were set in Regency England, an era that I felt quite knowledgeable about. But now I've switched to the Edwardian era--a little daunting, but I really enjoy the research (though sometimes it seems endless!). Since it's an era we don't read much about in historical romance (most publishing houses used to consider anything post-1900 a no-no in the romantic fiction world), I thought I'd share some fun facts.
Edwardian England -- 1901 - 1910 (though the era generally includes the years up to the Great War in 1914)
10. The speed limit for motorcars in 1902 was 12 mph, though Miss Dorothy Levitt set a world record for women by driving 91 mph that same year. She was forever being fined for breaking the speed limit, so she recommended that ladies join the Automobile Assocation (annual subscription--two guineas), whose 'scouts' would warn drivers of nearby speed traps.
9. The Ladies' Automobile Association was founded in 1903, and the first president was the Baroness Campbell de Laurentz.
8. Shops catered to female motorists, providing flannel-lined leather motoring knickers, three-quarter length leather coats with storm fronts and sleeve wind guards, silk head-veils, tweed coats lined with fur or fleece, goggles, and special driving gloves.
8. Ladies also like to cycle, roller-skate (called 'rinking' then), play tennis and golf. Both Burberry and Harrod's offerred specialty clothing for these activities, such as golf suits, golf knickers, cycling knickers, and even a special cycling skirt that divided at the back to fall 'modestly' on either side of the seat.
7. Speaking of clothing, the Edwardian lady wore *many* layers. The first undergarment layer was the 'combinations' --a sort of vest and pants in one, reaching to the knees (either with short sleeves, or shoulder straps). Over that, a lady wore a corset, its busks fastened with metal clips down the front, and laced up the back. Sometimes they would attach silk pads to the hips and under the arms to heighten the 'hourglass' look, making the waist appear more slender. Then came the camisole (sometimes called a 'petticoat bodice'), sort of an under-blouse that buttoned up the front. Then came the knickers with lace frills at the knee--sometimes they buttoned at the waist, and sometimes they were tied with tapes (knickers and camisoles, by the way, were always white). Then came silk stockings--black, white, or grey--held up by garters. The last of the undergarments was the waist-petticoat made of silk or lawn. The waist-petticoat was tied around the waist. Finally, after all that, the lady would put on either a dress or skirt and blouse. If she wore a blouse and skirt, then she also wore a stiffened belt that fastened in the front and was pinned to the undergarments in the back so that there could never be a gap. Add to that hat, shoes, and gloves, and, well....just imagine how long it took to get dressed and undressed!
6. Electricity was widespread at this point, though some country houses were slower to convert than town houses and might, perhaps, still have gas lighting in the servants' quarters.
5. Edwardian ladies loved cosmetics--and the fashionable look was unnaturally pale. The cosmetics of the era were chemical-based, rather than the herbal ones of earlier centuries, and were often very damaging to the skin. The first layer a lady might apply was a white face paint, made of white lead in a cream base, called 'enamel.' After that came rice powder or pearl powder, followed by rouge and lip-rouge. Some women had their lips and cheeks tattooed to stay permanently colored. Eye makeup generally wasn't common except for eyebrow pencil, though the ladies sometimes brightened their eyes with the terribly dangerous drops of belladonna. Before 1909, women quietly shopped for cosmetics, heavily veiled, coming through back doors of salons. But in 1909, Gordon Selfridge opened a new store in Oxford Street where he placed cosmetics on open display and encouraged ladies to select and experiment. After that, other stores followed his lead and women began to purchase cosmetics out in the open.
4. As for scents, the most popular of the era was violet. Other popular scents included Jordan Water, Atkinson's lavender, or heliotrope, orris root, or roses. The faint smell of sweat was referred to elegantly as "bouquet de corsage" and was claimed to be attractive to gentlemen (good thing, with all those layers of clothing!).
3. Brown hair was considered the height of fashion--particularly 'nut brown' hair or chestnut. It was considered very unfortunate during the Edwardian era to be blond.
2. There was a short-lived trend in the opening of the Edwardian era of breast piercing. The nipples were pierced and fitted with tiny gold rings said to improve the bust line and make it curvier, and to produce a pleasant sensation as the rings moved against the clothing.
1. Edwardian women were still mostly educated at home, taking lessons with their governesses. Some young ladies were sent to finishing school abroad--mostly France, Germany, and Switzerland--where, for two years they might learn French or German and social poise.
There you have it....ten useless facts about the Edwardian era! Isn't it interesting that, with all the modern conveniences (cars, electricity, vacuum cleaners!) and newfound freedoms (motoring, cycling, etc.), upper-class ladies were *still* much more like their predecessors from two centuries before than like modern women? Despite all the advances, they were still vastly uneducated (far less so than their other European counterparts), with very little rights (voting, property rights, marriage rights, etc.), and very little to do or hope to do, except marry and have children. Pretty similar to the Georgian lady.
I must say, however, that I'm glad that publishers have finally opened the doors to eras outside the usual in historical romance. So many 'romantic classics' have been set during the Edwardian era (Somewhere in Time, Titanic, The Forsyte Saga, A Room With a View--all of the Merchant-Ivory films, really) that I'm amazed it's only now beginning to garner some interest in the world of romantic fiction.
And that leads me to my question of the day: What largely untapped historical period would you like to see gain ground in historical romance?
I think for me, besides Edwardian, I'd have to say World War II era, or perhaps the time between the two great wars.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
In honor of Wicked Wednesday, I give you Bond, James Bond. I was just invited to an advance screening of the new Bond flick (Quantum of Solace) next week, and that got me checking out the photos/trailers, and let me say....I can't wait!
I found two pictures that I really like, that really capture that 'wicked' essence of James Bond that has captivated women for so many decades, regardless of the actor portraying the character (though I will say, in my opinion, Daniel Craig is by far the best Bond since Sean Connery!).
First, there's Bond the adventurer (above photo),
and then Bond the ultimate well-heeled gentleman (photo below).
I think these two pictures together illustrate James Bond's allure--it's the combination of the two that make the character so fascinating, so sexy. On the one hand, he's this perfectly mannered, impeccably dressed man who oozes confidence and sex appeal, who drives the hottest Aston Martin on the planet, and knows everything about fine dining and expensive champagne. The ultimate 'wealthy man who will take care of you' fantasy.
Now add to that image Bond the adventurer--he's dirty, sweaty, and yeah, he can take out a target without batting an eye, get himself out of the scariest situations, outwit the enemy, and basically kick ass with style. You *know* this guy can keep you safe. He's the ultimate 'bad boy' fantasy.
So, my question to you is, which Bond do you prefer? Dirty, scratched-up adventurer Bond, or the cleaned-up, man-with-style-and-perfect-manners Bond?
Me, I'll take adventurer Bond any day, dirty, dusty, and all--especially if he looks like Daniel Craig! (*and I apologize in advance for the utter lack of historical content in this post*)
Posted by Kristi Cook at 3:51 PM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I was going to save this naughty little cherub for tomorrow's Wicked Wednesday, but the LIT ladies needed a little 'divine intervention' today. We're all a bundle of nerves. Revision letters are making the rounds, deadlines are looming, and inspiration is waning, and I'm STILL waiting to hear from acquistions about a project that I'm dying to write.
So, I decided I'd dive into my treasure trove of inspiring gems, and found this guy.
He's well suited to our cause, I think.
So, what do we think of him? I like his...err....wings....LOL! I would definitely not kick him out of my bedroom if he magically appeared during bedtime prayers!!!!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
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