Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Film Night - The Quiet Man


This Friday at The Pink Heart Society our very own Trish Wylie is back again to tell us about a film that will always, always hold a very special place in her heart ~ The Quiet Man

I LOVE THIS FILM.

And not just for all the reasons I'm about to tell you about - but because it will forevermore hold a special place in my heart as it was my Father's favourite film of all time. He would watch it over and over and over and never tire of it. I wish now as I write this I could ask him what it was he loved so much - but as he died when I was seventeen I can only tell you why I love it so much and say - Dad - this review is for you. And somewhat poignantly only a day after the date you died...

Apparently when director John Ford pitched the idea for this movie to Hollywood producers, he was told that it was a "silly Irish story that won't make a penny." And yet over 50 years after it was made it remains a favourite the world over!!! Why? Well quite simply - it's GORGEOUS and FUNNY and ENDEARING and has the kind of LOVE STORY that can stand the test of time - and that's before you even add John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara to the mix!

John Wayne talked of his fondness for this film in an interview shortly before he died, saying: "I enjoyed things like The Quiet Man, the relationship with Maureen O'Hara, because it was healthy and strong..and it was still sensual, but not degrading..." And if you know the movie you'll know the passion between the characters of Sean and Mary-Kate is so palpable throughout the story it practically seeps off the screen. So on to the story...

Father Peter - Narrator: Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod.

Sean Thornton is a gentle giant of an American who has returned to his native Ireland, leaving his career as a prize fighter with the memory of a blow he delivered which accidentally killed an opponent. Burdened with guilt, he seeks peace and comfort in the Irish village of his birth. As Sean steps from the train he finds himself greeted by a group of very Irish characters who he very politely tries to find directions from to the town of Innisfree... Luckily, available to drive him them is little Michaeleen Oge Flynn (Barry FitzGerald), with a horse and carriage at his service. Michaeleen is the local matchmaker and bookmaker - two jobs he does very well, especially when fortified with a wee bit of liquid strength.

The ride across the lush Irish countryside then introduces two new characters. Father Peter Lonergan, out for a walk, stops for an introduction to Sean "Come home from America" and remembering Sean as a child extends a welcome home and an invitation for mass the next day.

Father Peter: Ah, yes... I knew your people, Sean. Your grandfather; he died in Australia, in a penal colony. And your father, he was a good man too.

But it's the introduction of the next character that sticks in your mind most as, while Sean waits for Michaeleen to have a little private talk with Father Lonergan, he walks into a picturesque area of towering trees and lights a cigarette. And then, there in the distant meadow, in perhaps one of the most breathtakingly romantic of entrances - Mary Kate Danaher - walking through the green.... But this barefoot, innocent Irish lass then delivers a very uninhibited glance of obvious interest at the tall stranger - employing John Ford's belief that more can be said in a single glance than in pages of dialogue...

Sean: "Is she real? She couldn't be!"

Seeing her in Mass the next day confirms she's very real and Sean bids her a somewhat eager "good morning" before shocking all and sundry by offering her Holy Water from his hand...

Michaeleen: "And who taught you to be playing patty fingers in the Holy Water?"

Henceforth begins Michaeleen's tutorial of Irish culture and tradition to *help Sean out* - at times hilariously I should add! And naturally Sean's quite happy to learn the lovely red-headed lass is single and once he's settled he can pursue her in earnest. But a hiccup in this great plan (as there always is - eh category fans???) arrives when Sean learns that his purchase of the cottage where he was born "White O'Mornin" puts him at odds with none other than Red Will Danaher, Mary Kate's giant of a brother (Victor McLaglen). Apparently Will has wanted to buy the property for many years from the owner, the wealthy Widow Tillane, and having long been smitten with the widow, he fancied the property "adjacent to me own" would put him closer to marriage. Will is then, naturally, enraged when the widow sells it to Sean. Not a good start in his bid for Mary Kate really, is it??? 'Cos of course you gotta remember in those days the elder brother had a say in his sister's marriage when their parents were gone - and is he really likely to hand her over to the American who skipped in and ruined his own plans???

Red Will Danaher: He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long.

The conflict begins in earnest when Sean then has a confrontation with Will in the local pub, Will telling him: "Stay away from my sister Mary Kate...she's not for the likes of you." So, with sleeping bag in hand, Sean makes his way to the cottage (at that point a rather hollow victory you gotta say knowing he has his home but no chance of the girl!). It's stormy when he sees the cottage for the first time - but as he gets closer there's smoke curling from the chimney and a dim light from inside - so he enters cautiously, finding a fire in the hearth and a broom lying near a pile of leaves... An intruder? Yes indeedy - he has surprised his mysterious visitor - a visitor who's now hiding - Guess who ladies??? This is a GORGEOUS scene, as Sean attempts to flush out his intruder and Mary Kate barely gets to the door before Sean reaches for her, and hauls her back into the cottage. For a brief moment she struggles at arms length to break his hold and then, in perfect timing, as the wind from the open door whips her hair and clothing about her, Sean reels her in, slamming her against him, bending her backwards, and kissing her passionately! *Sigh* SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT HOW GORGEOUS THIS IS??? Pure escapism gals!

When she gathers her wits about her, Mary Kate then lets fly with a powerful swing which Sean blocks and:

Mary Kate: It's a bold one you are! Who gave you leave to be kissin' me?

Sean: So you can talk!

Mary Kate: Yes I can, I will and I do! And it's more than talk you'll be gettin' if you step a step closer to me!

Sean: Don't worry - you've got a wallop!

Mary Kate: You'll get over it, I'm thinkin'.

Sean: Well, some things a man doesn't get over so easy.

Mary Kate: Like what, supposin'?

Sean: Like the sight of a girl coming through the fields with the sun on her hair... kneeling in church with a face like a saint...

Mary Kate: Saint indeed!

Sean: ...and now coming to a man's house to clean it for him.

Mary Kate: But... that was just my way of bein' a good Christian act.

Sean: I know it was, Mary Kate Danaher. And it was nice of you.

Mary Kate: Not at all.

Do I need to write more? 'Cos it only gets better from here on in as Sean then tries to court Mary Kate the proper way - using matchmaker Michaeleen. Tries to negotiate for her hand - with bull headed brother Will. Gets married to her - only to discover he's married a real spit-fire who doesn't consider herself married to a *real man* when he refuses to fight her brother for the furniture that made up her dowry and therefore is rightfully hers... She even locks the door on their wedding night:

Sean: There'll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate... except those in your own mercenary little heart!

Of course she doesn't really WANT to turn him away - but she wants her dowry to make up her home - and she wants her husband to be the kind of man who can stand up to her brother. But she doesn't know about his past - and it takes her to attempt leaving before Sean eventually loses his temper enough to go to the station to drag her back - the ABSOLUTE bestest scene ever put on a screen in my humble opinion!!! He drags her back - on foot - from the train station to Inisfree - a crowd rapidly building behind them to witness the final confrontation between Sean and Red Will...

Fishwoman with basket following in the crowd from the station: Sir!... Sir!... Here's a good stick, to beat the lovely lady.

I tell you - this film is just MAGICAL. I doubt there will ever be another quite like it. And it's the kind of film the whole family can enjoy - trust me! John Wayne, rugged and all as he is, is FABULOUS as the romantic lead and the simmering passion between him and Maureen O'Hara's character could teach us writers many's a thing I feel... If you've seen it you'll know what I mean and if you haven't GET THEE TO FIND IT RIGHT NOW. It's a keeper. Truly.

Warm and Fuzzy Rating: another 10 out of 10!!!

And you can watch it again and again and again and again and... well... you just can...

Good choice Dad.

H's & K's

Trish

Trish's next release is a little bit of a hidden surprise...

As part of Sexy Sensation's first birthday next month her Modern Extra The Return Of The Rebel is a bonus read inside Susan Napier's book Accidental Mistress ~ but as it's not flagged you'll have to go hunting for it!

You can pre-order the book here if you want to make sure not to miss the follow up story to Trish's book Breathless!

For more info you can check out Trish's Website or Her Blog...


Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT???

The FINAL Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at India Grey's Blog...

HAPPY HUNTING!!!

Thursday Talk-Time with Sandra Marton

Today Harlequin Presents author and Pink Heart Society favourite Sandra Marton tells us all about her favourite ever category romance...author ;).

My favorite category romance novel? Okay. Here’s the truth. I can’t name one. Seriously, I really can’t… but I can tell you which category romance writer I most admire. Her name was Violet Winspear and, sadly, she’s no longer with us. But Violet’s books, and her influence on our genre, live on.

Violet was English and wrote for my very own imprint, Harlequin Presents. By the time a friend gave me a couple of Violet’s older books because, she said, she thought I might enjoy them, Violet had been writing for two decades. “Winspear’s kind of old-fashioned,” my friend said, “but, you know, there’s something to her writing…”

That ‘something’ is why Violet had a long and successful career.


I admit, she probably wouldn’t sell well today. Violet’s writing reflects an era when romance heroes were close to being bullies, and romance heroines were submissive. My heroines would laugh at her heroes and they stuff they pull; my heroes would yawn at the compliancy of her heroines. But Violet was a talented writer. Working within the constraints of the genre back then, she still managed to hint at the torment that often underlay the behavior of her heroes, the innate courage that was at the core of her apparently submissive heroines. Her work was both rich and subtle at the same time, especially when it came to sex. Maybe I should say when it came to no sex, because there is no graphic sex in Violet’s books. Instead, there’s a sexual tension so thick it’s like a London fog. It’s there, it’s real, it’s all around you. You just have to close your eyes and let it infuse your senses. Believe me, that kind of subtlety takes talent.

I love Violet’s titles, too. Devil in a Silver Room. Blue Jasmine. The Honey is Bitter. A Silken Barbarity. Romantic and sexy and irresistible, don’t you think? And they bring me to something I discovered while I was putting these thoughts together. I googled Violet’s bibliography and found she’d written a Presents called Rapture in the Desert, published in 1977, long before I’d ever heard of her or Presents. And yet, the very first manuscript I submitted to HMB, the very first they bought from me, was one I’d titled Rapture in the Sands. Fate? Coincidence? All I’m sure of is that it’s lovely to share a publisher with Violet, and even lovelier to know we shared ¾ of a title!

Sandra Marton has just completed her (gulp) 71st book for Harlequin Mills and Boon, and loves every minute she spends writing. Sandra’s newest trilogy, BILLIONAIRES’ BRIDES, is keeping readers and reviewers happy.

THE ITALIAN PRINCE’S PREGNANT BRIDE was an August release. THE GREEK PRINCE’S CHOSEN WIFE is on the stands right now, and THE SPANISH PRINCE’S VIRGIN BRIDE will be available in October.


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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: Beyond the Call


This Wednesday at The Pink Heart Society Harlequin Romance author Fiona Harper returns to tell us about the rollercoaster life of a newly-published author...

Phew! It still seems like only yesterday that I discovered I had sold my first book. In reality, almost two years have gone by. And it’s been a pretty exciting time too! I’m starting to feel less like I’m in at the deep end without a lifebelt and more like I’m learning to doggie-paddle.


Here are just a few highs and lows of the last 22 months:

High: Meeting my editor and getting a look round the HM&B offices in Richmond finally made me realise that it was all real and not just a dream!

High: The dreaded second book syndrome seemed to have bypassed me as I sold the next book with no revisions.

Low: Actually the dreaded second-book thingie thing was a just book late and I got horrendously stuck on the third. I still shudder just thinking about it.


High: Seeing my first book on the shelves!

Low: Then getting so excited/terrified about it being out that I couldn’t write a thing for month – not so good when you have a deadline looming.


High: Seeing someone take my book off the shelf and put it in their basket! I did a little happy dance right there in the shop!

Deep, dark low: I got RSI (repetitive strain injury) typing just a little too much a little too fast.

Warning! Mini-rant about to take place: Take care of your body when you are writing! Don’t assume, as I did, that you’ll notice the warning signs. I had none. One day I could type normally and the next I was in pain – and it takes months for those ligaments etc to heal. I’m still not back to normal, although things are getting slowly better. So, take breaks, make sure you have your workstation set up for minimum stress on your body and get a good chair! That’s an order.

High: Being nominated for various awards and even winning a couple!

Low: Copy edits. Bleach! Going through the whole book, word by word, punctuation mark by punctuation mark, to make sure it’s perfect. I’m not normally over the “I’ve read those words so many times I’ll vomit if I have to do it again” stage by the time they arrive. And I even had to take one set of proofs on holiday!

Low: Realising that writing doesn’t get any easier. Maybe, somewhere in the back of my head I thought I’d reach a point where words would effortlessly flow from my fingertips. Yeah, right!

High: Realising I get stuck at similar points in each book. This may not sound like a good thing, but it is. Now, I just tell myself to stop whining and keep writing. Without fail, the turning point where things will get easier is only a handful of pages away.

High: Meeting other authors and getting a chance to talk about our favourite subject: Hugh Jackman - in a towel…No! I meant writing, honestly I did. We talk about writing. Always.


Fiona's latest release "Break Up to Make Up" is available online at eHarlequin, Mills&Boon.co.uk and Amazon.

To find out more about her and the inspiration for her books visit her website and her blog.

Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT???

Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Jennie Adam's Blog...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Temptation Tuesday - The Digital Age For Category Romance Reading

This week at The Pink Heart Society our very own Trish Wylie follows up on her post about Hi-Tech Romance Writing to tempt readers with The Digital Age for Category Romance Reading...

So a couple of weeks ago I waxed lyrical in my own special way about all the technology available to the romance writer these days in my Hi-Tech Romance Writing Blog and now, here I am again, to see if I can get you all to come out of hiding to chat about the future of our Category Romance *reading* experiences...

Why is reading in '*'? Well... 'cos we might not even be reading at all... this picture could be a thing of the past one day. Give it enough time and we might be able to literally *walk in the heroine's shoes* in a 3-D virtual world!!! Hmmm... I have a book or two I've read recently I'd give that a shot with you know...

Harlequin and Harlequin Mills & Boon have always been keen to try new things and with Mills & Boon approaching their centenery year in 2008 it's safe to say they've proved they have the ability to roll with the changes from one decade to another! And this year has seen Harlequin take steps to make sure that trend continues into the digital age. Take this latest press announcement for example:

"Harlequin Enterprises Limited, one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, announced today that they will hold an author reading event in the online virtual world Second Life to promote THE REINCARNATIONIST, a new novel by critically acclaimed author M. J. Rose. On Tuesday, September 25, 2007, at 5:00 p.m. EST, M.J. Rose will host a reading through live audio-streaming, and will participate in a live real-time chat with attendees at a virtual location being custom-built for the occasion (in Second Life, search in groups for “MIRA Books”).

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its members, known as Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, Second Life has grown explosively and today is inhabited by more than nine million Residents from around the globe. Second Life abounds with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Businesses, including publishers, are increasingly looking for new ways to connect with tech-savvy individuals in relevant and effective ways. By hosting this event in Second Life, Harlequin continues to seek innovative means to reach out to readers. “Bringing an author and readers together in Second Life is a first for Harlequin, but connecting readers and authors is what Harlequin has done for decades,” said Jenny Bullough, Harlequin’s Manager of Digital Content and Interactivity. “Second Life offers an opportunity for M.J. Rose to connect in real time with readers who may not have the chance to meet her in real life. And because THE REINCARNATIONIST is a novel about a modern-day man experiencing a second life—as a priest in ancient Rome—through a series of intense and comprehensive visions, we felt that Second Life was the perfect venue to share M.J.’s story with readers.”

Harlequin has engaged Purple Stripe Productions to create a custom built location featuring elements from the novel. Purple Stripe will provide audio streaming for the 15-minute reading portion of the event before the 45-minute question-and-answer session with the author. A sample chapter from THE REINCARNATIONIST will also be available in-world at the location one week before and three weeks after the event. "

How cool is that??? So maybe one of the ways we'll be able to enjoy our books is with the author reading their own work aloud? Dunno that that'll work with MY accent... mind you, I did used to have friends who *critiqued* for me a coupla years ago and we would have reading nights where I read the stories aloud to them and they used to love that apparently my facial features changed as I read. After all we authors all know how our characters sound in our heads - we know how they're feeling when they say what they say - we know how to deliver a punchline... in theory... But I did tend to mumble through some of the hotter stuff ;)

So how about it authors? Would you read your own work aloud?

And is that something you guys might enjoy listening to? How about the chance to have somewhere you could actually hear your favourite authors answering questions about the book you enjoyed? I guess the former would be another version of audio books really, right? And certainly, although we're not flooded by audio books, they have been around for quite some time and I know plenty of people who use them. IPods are a part of daily life after all - how many times have you been on a train or the tube or the subway or at an airport and seen a couple of dozen people plugged into them? How many of them might be able to listen to some of those little books we love so much??? Maybe we'll end up with downloads for them online the same way you can download music these days??? Certainly some genres are already doing it...

Would you listen to them? And authors who would you have read yours if you could pick anyone on the planet??? Also kinda begs the question of whether we'd prefer a male or a female narrator mind you...hmmm...

Of course one of the biggest explosions we've seen this last few years is in e-books. A cornucopia of websites have appeared offering romance and erotica and even though some of those sites have fallen by the wayside there's no doubting that e-books are here to stay. Even Harlequin followed suit this year and in another press release this month told us:

"...they have become the first major publisher to make their complete front-list catalog available in the eBook format. Harlequin releases more 120 titles per month, and their complete list can be found at www.harlequinebooks.com.

Harlequin entered the eBook marketplace in October 2005 and has experienced unqualified success since that time. Romance novels have proven to be one of the most popular categories of digital publishing, and Harlequin titles regularly top eBook bestseller lists.

Harlequin has further embraced the digital revolution by expanding its catalog to include original editorial by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors offered exclusively in the eBook format—Harlequin Mini and Spice Briefs eBooks—as well as releasing digital eBook bundles not available in print.

“Women have embraced eBooks,” says Malle Vallik, Director Digital Content & Interactivity. “They demand portability, immediacy, availability, depth, breadth and convenience and, by making our entire front list and exclusive digital editorial available to them, we are meeting that challenge. We are meeting the needs of our current audience and reaching a new and diverse base of readers. Seeking innovative new ways to serve our audience continues to be a Harlequin tradition.”

And with a variety of packages available to download for free online to read these gorgeous e-books it makes everything mighty easy, doesn't it? Not only that, but I know for a fact it has proved a god-send to some readers because the size of the type face can be adjusted and the pages opened full screen on a computer for ease of reading. And think of all the storage space you can save!!! You don't even have to carry your home computer or laptop around with you anymore either - cos now we have hand held readers... (And can I just point out that both IPods and Ereaders BOTH pass the Trish Wylie *fits in a handbag* test?!)

So are you a fan of ebooks? Have you tried them off eharlequin yet? Do you prefer to turn the page the old fashioned way? Or are hand held readers still too expensive for some??? Would you add pictures or a soundtrack or author interviews or background info on the story??? Do you see the *old fashioned* book as something that one day won't exist anymore? Are we *greener* by buying them in e-book format??? And what about ratings for younger readers - should we have them, not have them?

Hmmm.... so many questions... so many choices!

What it does mean is that the first picture on this blog could one day be completely replaced with a picture more like this one though - doesn't it??? And how do we feel about that one gang??? You see - for me, who spends so much of her time in front of a screen already - there's a certain escapism in having that book actually in my hands. I like to bend the cover back, I like to turn the page, I like to curl up in bed with it and read until I can't keep my eyes open. And although I am an ebook reader as of this year, I'm not sure I would want to lose the option.

Mind you - a light, portable, (maybe fleecy for the curling up in bed option) headset of some kind where I could walk in those heroines shoes in a 3-D virtual world... hmmm... tempting....

So what's next gang? Have you been tempted by the Digital Age Of Romance Reading yet???
H's & K's

Trish

Trish's next release is a little bit of a hidden surprise...

As part of Sexy Sensation's first birthday next month her Modern Extra The Return Of The Rebel is a bonus read inside Susan Napier's book Accidental Mistress ~ but as it's not flagged you'll have to go hunting for it!

You can pre-order the book here if you want to make sure not to miss the follow up story to Trish's book Breathless!

For more info you can check out Trish's Website (where you can look for some of her e-books!) or Her Blog...


Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT???

Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Kate Walker's Blog...

HAPPY HUNTING!!!

Male on Monday - Gary Cooper

This Monday our columnist, Annie West, delves into the film archives to find an old favourite, a star from the days when Hollywood produced Stars with a capital S!

OK, so he’s been dead for decades, but that’s the magic of film, isn’t it? You can watch a movie made years ago and still appreciate a darned good hero. I grew up watching Gary Cooper movies as my dad is a big fan.

Gary Cooper had a laconic charm all his own, an easy-on-the-eye presence that makes watching him in action a delight, good looking if you like the long, rangy type (I DO, I DO!), and he was a natural actor – not overly dramatic, in fact he’s quoted as saying that ‘The general consensus seems to be that I don’t act at all’. Yet you can really believe in his characters. What more could you want?

Well, there’s more - Gary Cooper holds a special place for me. Several years ago, when my writing career was going nowhere fast, I complained to my friend, the long suffering Anna Campbell, that I couldn’t write an alpha hero. Then the lightning bolt hit – that there are all kinds of alpha heroes. (Duh! Call me slow - and she did!) I realised that the type of hero I’d imprinted on was the sort Gary Cooper played so often: the courageous, chivalrous man standing, often against the odds, to protect what he believes in.

Think of ‘High Noon’, a classic western where he played an older small town sheriff marrying a gorgeous younger woman (Grace Kelly). Some just-released prisoners with a grudge head back to town to kill him. It's a story about love, conscience, courage and loyalty. His wife, who is opposed to violence, urges him to leave but he knows there is no escape. He stays to fight and protect his wife, though the townsfolk won’t help him. That story resonated with a lot of people all around the globe. ‘Solidarity’, the Polish trade union group, even appropriated the iconic image of Cooper as the lone, outnumbered marshal to use during its struggles against the then Communist regime.

Cooper was equally at home in action/adventures, as a suave sophisticate, in comedy or in ‘triumph of the common man’ films. He had a reputation as a ladies man and the movie houses capitalised on his appeal to women. Some of his films included:

‘Morocco’ with Marlene Dietrich, where he played a foreign legionnaire,
‘Lives of a Bengal Lancer’, pretty self explanatory,
‘Beau Geste’, is there a theme here?
‘A Farewell to Arms’ as Hemingway’s hero,
‘The Plainsman’ as Wild Bill Hicock,
‘Sergeant York’, in which he won one of his Oscars,
‘Mr Deeds Goes to Town’, and ‘Meet John Doe’ - Frank Capra classics,

‘Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife’, a comedy with Claudette Colbert,
‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ with Ingrid Bergman, and
‘Friendly Persuasion,’ where he plays a pacifist Quaker caught up in the American Civil War (a lovely blend of humour and pathos).

Cooper was 6’3”, and worked as a guide at Yellowstone National Park, as a curtain salesman and considered a career as a political cartoonist. He began in movies as a stunt rider in low budget westerns but soon made his mark.

He was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men for around 30 years. He was a friend of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, James Stewart and Bing Crosby! He’s reputed to have turned down the leading role in ‘Gone with the Wind’. (Gee, the things you learn when you research a blog!). I have to say I like his style – for instance his comment "The only achievement I am really proud of is the friends I have made in this community."

Next time you’re wondering what movie to view, why not try something different - dip back in time and try one of Gary Cooper's. He’s definitely worth checking out.

Annie still has to work hard at managing her alpha heroes but she does enjoy a challenge!

Annie’s latest release is FOR THE SHEIKH’S PLEASURE. It’s available now in North America and Australia/ New Zealand. To read an excerpt, pop over to her website.

~ ~ ~

THE PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT

Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT?? Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Ally Blake's blog, so check it out for the chance to win a stack of prizes!

Go to allyblake.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Welcome to the Weekend...Author Spotlight

This weekend we take our Pink Heart Society columnist Samantha Hunter and place her firmly under the spotlight! So what don't we know about our Sam???

About Samantha:

Samantha Hunter writes romance full time in Syracuse New York where she lives with her husband, two dogs, two cats, in a lovely old house that always is being remodeled in one way or another. Her first book, Virtually Perfect (Blaze) was published in 2004, and Talking in Your Sleep (Dec 2007) will be her ninth Blaze, with number ten currently in edits for summer 2008.


Under the Spotlight:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?
Really just about everywhere – travel is especially inspiring. When I visit a new place I almost can’t help thinking about stories and characters to put in the new places I see. Settings are very inspiring to me in that way.

What makes you mad?

Disloyalty, lying, cruelty. And when my computer or the internet won’t do what I need it to do, easily. ;)

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

Meeting my husband. We met on the internet, and had wonderful online discussions and interactions for three months before meeting in person – and the in-person meet was wonderful. We knew immediately that it was right, and moved in together 8 weeks later. We’ve been together almost 14 years now.

What in a hero makes you drool?

Kindness. I like beta guys, but if there’s an alpha, he has to be about more than ego and having his own way. Too many alphas can be like big spoiled brats, “my way or the highway” but love isn’t about that – so he has to show he can soften up and put someone else’s needs above his own.

Describe yourself in three words?

Determined, hopeful, happy.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

A full time environmentalist or a tile artist – you know, going and laying down tile designs on people’s walls and floors. J It’s my favorite DIY job of all the ones I’ve done, though I don’t care for doing wall prep – someone else would have to do that.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

Read, watch TV, hang out with family and friends. Sometimes I quilt or take a walk with the dogs, but to really relax, I like to just hang around and laugh or talk about nothing in particular. Or take a nap. J

How do you get out of a writing rut?

Depends on the rut. If it’s a wip that’s not under contract, I might set it aside and think and come back to it, etc. If it’s a book under deadline, I force myself to write through it, to make something work, and hope that editorial feedback will help be smooth out the rough spots.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I love where I am now, but would enjoy being closer to larger bodies of water and a larger city. Probably Boston/Cape Cod or somewhere near (or in, if I could afford it) NYC would be great.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Barbara Kingsolver who write High Tide in Tucson and Prodigal Summer – both amazing books. She’s a beautiful, grounded writer.

What music do you listen to when writing?

None, I don’t like any distractions when I’m writing. Sometimes listening to music in the car might spark a thought for a book, but I don’t develop playlists or anything like that.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?

I talk so much that at least the people closest to me know just about everything. I’m an open book, LOL. But maybe something that the public at large doesn’t know about me is that I don’t like talking to people on the phone, especially people I don’t know. With people you know, family, it’s okay, but otherwise, I really dislike it.

My family’s favorite baby picture of me was when I was about four months old, holding a plastic phone, and I used to get in trouble in school for talking in class all the time. I love sitting down over coffee for a chat, I can walk up to a stranger and strike up a conversation, no problem, but I really don’t care for talking on the phone. In fact, I will avoid it if I can. There’s something about the phone that screws up conversations – you can’t read the other person’s signals, and you talk over each other or interrupt, and it drives me crazy. There are those dead silences where you don’t know if someone has hung up and sometimes you’re not sure how you’re coming across. I like talking in person. I have to call some contest winners this week for a contest I coordinated, and I hate that I have to do that – I would rather push it off on someone else if I could, LOL. I guess I’m a little phone-phobic.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I don’t embarrass too easily, but I’ve had several embarrassing moments when it comes to physical sports like kayaking, etc. because while I enjoy it, I’m not exactly a big athlete, and my middle name is not “grace.” I go, and I enjoy it, but for instance, I have a hell of a time getting myself in and out of my boat, and have often tipped it over completely, falling in the water with the boat rolling on top of me, usually with some kind of audience from shore – it’s a good thing I don’t embarrass too easily. ;)

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

Many things. Good health, family, a new kitchen, new books, new friends, a new agent -- many good things.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

Usually a cup of coffee or a beverage, and not much else.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

My husband, of course. In fantasy land, Anthony Steward Head who plays Giles on Buffy. J He looks like he’d be a good kisser.

What are you working on now?

I have just finished a story for a 2008 Summer Anthology for Blaze, and have been working on a new Blaze that’s part of a 4-author continuity. I have a Superromance and a new Paranormal ST in the works, but those are not sold yet, so we’ll see what happens. I have also submitted a new Extreme Blaze, so if that one sells, I’ll be at an even dozen.

You can find Sam at http://www.loveisanexplodingcigar.com/. Check out her new releases and contests at www.samanthahunter.com.

Samantha's next book TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP out in December this year through Harlequin Blaze.



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