Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday Talk-Time - Lynne Marshall

Here's Lynne Marshall with a fairy-tale take to our Thursday with TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS THE FROG!

It is said that first impressions last, yet I’m surprised by how often friends and relatives admit that the first time they met their spouse, or current boyfriend, they thought he was a jerk. How did they get past their negative opinion? Could it be the influence of a certain fairy tale we’ve known since we were little girls?

The Frog Prince is best known from the Brother’s Grimm. Though in their version, the reluctant princess befriends the repugnant frog, she throws him against a wall and only then does he turn into a prince. More modern and romanticized versions of the age-old fairy tale require a kiss.

Why must we kiss that frog?

And more importantly, why do there seem to be such an abundance of them? Optimists that we girls are, we give the guy a chance to prove he isn’t nearly as jerky as he seemed at first, and we are often disappointed. However, there are enough tales floating around out there about the Jerk-to-Gem phenomenon as I like to call it, to keep us kissing those overly-confident jocks, cocky-not-charming career guys, self-proclaimed funny men, and mucho-macho dudes.

Think of how long it took Harry and Sally to figure out they were the perfect match. And poor Joan in Romancing the Stone, think of what she had to put up with from Jack before he proved himself to be a real prince. Or Hans Solo from Star Wars, or any character Hugh Grant has ever played in any movie. Or Dean Robillard and Blue Bailey in Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Natural Born Charmer. Though in that wonderfully entertaining book, Blue and Dean were both frogs in the beginning!

When I met my husband, he was a rough-around-the-edges cop, and I didn’t hear a single bell or whistle. I wasn’t the least bit impressed with his swagger and street talk and let him know it right off. He had issues with me, too, but rather than throw each other against a wall, we went out on another date, and … we kissed. You’re probably expecting me to say a miracle occurred, but I’m going to be honest and say the only thing amazing was that we didn’t break up in the first four months.

Now twenty-seven years later I recently pondered what qualities I’d discovered once I’d kissed the frog, as it were. And though I’d never call my husband a total jerk when we met, he wasn’t what I thought I was looking for, but he did turn out to be a gem in many ways. So what are the qualities that mattered to me? He was accountable, trustworthy, responsible and dependable, ethical, honest, brave, and protective, even though at times he gets a bit overly protective. And yes he was sexy! And the best part about kissing my frog was he wasn’t afraid to commit, which automatically made him a prince!

So how do we modern day woman convince ourselves to give a guy who seems like a jerk a chance? For an opportunity to win my latest book, ASSIGNMENT: BABY, leave a comment and share either a success or horror story about your personal amphibian lip locking adventures. I can’t wait to hear them.

I’d like to thank the Pink Heart Society for inviting me to guest blog for Thursday Talk Time. As always, it has been a pleasure and great fun!

One baby … One meant-to-be marriage?

Assignment:Baby by Lynne Marshall HMB Medical Romance, is currently in stores in the UK and will be available in Australia in April and in North America in July.

Visit Lynne Marshall’s website:


  1. Hey, Lynne, I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I thought my frog was a prince from day one--it was convincing HIM that I wasn't a frog that was the hard part. :-) I saw him at work, in his element, doing what he does best (teaching) and that is what attracted me to him. He was confident and good at it, and I felt my heart strings twang. I only had to chase him for a few weeks before he caught me, and we were married five months later. We just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on Valentines Day!

    Great post!


  2. Hey Lynne:
    This is a fun article. I've taken an oath never to discuss the frogs and princes in my life. I believe in karma and if I say anything negative a prince might kiss me and turn me into a frog. Ha ha.

    Looking forward to getting my hands on Assignment:Baby. Congrats on it being available in the U.S. that sure makes it easier for your American fans. Like moi.

  3. I met my frog turned prince at a contra dance (similar to those dance scenes in Pride and Prejudice). No I did not see the prince in him immediately, although I did know I was going to end up with him as I saw him dancing towards me. Twenty six years later we don't dance as often, but he's still a prince.

  4. Hey Lynn,

    My guy was a prince at the beginning, then frog, then many kisses later back to prince! We went out on a blind date and drinks turned into dinner and four hours of fun, interesting, exciting conversation! After 15 years of marriage and two kids, that conversation is still going on!

  5. Yes, I had a frog too. I had met him once and tried to chat just to be friendly because I was new to the group and he ignored me. Then he tried to get my attention.

    Perhaps a lot of it is to do with 'trying too hard'. When we really like someone we often do that so we're not projecting our real selves. When we relax...viola!...or not! Who knows:-)

  6. I've never kissed a frog! I can't bear amphibians of any kind! Brrr! My husband of 22 years started off as a good friend and after a few months of friendship we discovered that kissing friends could be good fun too! And that as they say is how it all started!

    Great post!

  7. Hi TJ!
    I love the reverse frog psychology in your story. But knowing you, I'd never think of you as a frog! I know what you mean about seeing a man in his element, and how it always put him in a better light from the start.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hey Robena!
    I hear you about karma, though I've never heard you say anything that might get you turned into something small and green. = )

    And thanks for understanding how not all Medical Romances make it across the pond. The cool thing is that now they're available in e-books, for those who are okay with that kind of thing.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

  9. Hi Sheandeen! I'm glad you skipped the frog stage altogether and moved right on to prince. It's funny how sometimes we just know how things are going to turn out.
    Congrats on a long and loving marriage, and thanks for popping in.

  10. Hi Carol!
    I love blind date stories, and yours sounds wonderful. What I want to know is how your guy turned into a frog later and back to a prince again. Do tell ...

    Thanks for visiting one of the best romance blogs around!

  11. Hi Fiona,
    Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the only one with a frog at first. And it's so true about relaxing and being ourselves. It's never a good idea to try too hard.
    Hey, I'm looking forward to your blog here later this month, and this weekend at the MedRo blog!
    talk soon.

  12. Hi Amanda!
    I think yours is the most practical and smart way to discover a prince. Friends to lovers is a sure bet for a lasting relationship.

    OK folks, so far I haven't heard any juicy jerk stories. I know there are many floating around out there! But Fiona is definitely on to something. When guys try too hard to get our attention the tend to come off a class A frogs!

    I'm eager to hear more stories, but it's bedtime in California, so I'll check back in tomorrow morning. TTFN

  13. the reluctant princess befriends the repugnant frog, she throws him against a wall and only then does he turn into a prince. More modern and romanticized versions of the age-old fairy tale require a kiss.

    Why must we kiss that frog?

    The modern metaphor about kissing frogs and hoping one of them will turn into a prince puts a rather different spin on things from what I understood to be the moral of the story in the fairytale.

    There are lots of versions of this story but it always seemed to me that if the princess had made a promise to the frog in return for him finding her golden ball and bringing it back, then she should keep her promise and kiss him.

    What she does instead is try to break her promise, discriminating against the frog on the basis of his appearance, and if she throws him against a wall, that's cruel and abusive behaviour. The only good reason for him to stick around is that he needs her to kiss him in order to be turned back into a prince. But after that, why would he want to hang around with a shallow, cruel princess?

    Maybe it depends on the frog's backstory. Maybe he was once a cruel and shallow prince, which was why he got turned into a frog, so he can't really object to the princess being the same?

  14. Laura, I didn't know that was the original story. Put like that I hope the prince walked out on her after she'd turned him back into a prince because if she's shallow enough to only judge by appearances she doesn't deserve him. Or maybe - as you said - he was turned into a frog because he was as shallow as she was, in which case they *should* stay together, working on the principle that they can make each other unhappy instead of two other people!

  15. You know, you're giving me ideas here. *g* (Though I think our senior ed might say no if I suggested the Frog Prince Doctor...)

    I was lucky too, in that my prince was always a prince. I fell for his gorgeous blue eyes and his smile; and although everyone originally thought we were complete opposites and it would never last, we see the world in the same way so it worked right from the start. And here we are, 24 years later...

  16. in which case they *should* stay together, working on the principle that they can make each other unhappy instead of two other people!

    Somehow, whichever way we try to imagine it, the original versions really aren't very romantic. No wonder the golden ball, the promise, and the princess throwing the frog against a wall aren't there in the more modern version about having to kiss a lot of frogs before finding a prince.

    You know, you're giving me ideas here. *g* (Though I think our senior ed might say no if I suggested the Frog Prince Doctor...)

    That does sound fun. I really liked what you did with the fairytale elements in your Cinderella story.

    What about a Little Red Riding Hood story? I've thought for a while that the wolf might have potential as a hero. Not literally as a wolf, though, unless it was going to be published in the Silhouette Nocturne line!

  17. Hi Laura!
    I'm really glad you've stopped by and shared those enlightening comments. Fairy tales have been watered down so much because of their violent and scary nature, and we tend to only remember one thing - kissing a frog - instead of the bigger picture. Like with the old classic movies. All most people remember from Casablanca is the phrase "Play it again, Sam" and I don't think it was said in exactly those words in the movie. ha ha
    To be honest, we all judge people by their looks, and on many levels we are shallow - AT FIRST - but if we make a promise we should keep it, by golly!
    I think the throwing the frog against the wall was to see if he was a shape shifter. Honest! It had to do with magic and that was the test.

    I've missed seeing your wonderful posts at the PHS loop, Laura. and as I recall you have a wonderful blog.

  18. ha ha Maggie - as always you've put a funny slant on this situation. ah, but I see you've avoided sharing your frog kissing stories. hmm?

    Your take on the story made me think of the time Paris Hilton was engaged to a guy named Paris. LOL

    I think the term shallow is what triggered that.

    Thanks for popping in!

  19. Hi Kate!
    Funny how things always trigger ideas for new books, eh? And I'd like to be a fly in the room when you pitch your frog/prince story to our senior Ed, too!

    But on a more serious note, I'm glad you found your prince and had your HEA (with bumps as we all have)
    Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Laura said: "What about a Little Red Riding Hood story? I've thought for a while that the wolf might have potential as a hero. Not literally as a wolf, though, unless it was going to be published in the Silhouette Nocturne line!"

    Wolves are popular these days, but not a guy who dresses like a granny! ha ha Though the wolf would need to be redeemed, and the story might seem a bit similar to beauty and the beast?

    I've never had the nerve to write a fairy tale based story. Now that you've planted that thought in my head, I need to read Kate's Cinderella book!

  21. Hi Lynne - love the cover of your new book btw. The baby is sooooo cute! My friend set me up on a blind date once. (She very nearly became my ex friend!) Turned out my date was someone I had been out with on another blind date several years ago! (Truth is sometime stranger than fiction - but we do live in a small town!) She swore blind afterwards that she didn't know but I had my suspicions... Anyway after we both got over the embaressment of it all - we actually had a good time. Not great and nothing magical I'm afraid but we did have a laugh - if nothing else. Not a bad story/ trigger for a book perhaps? Regards - Caroline.

  22. Lynne;

    My husband started out as a fix up from a friend, not exactly blind, she talked him up a lot before hand! And to think I kept saying no to her at first. After 21 plus years we are still together, still he is my prince and my best friend.

    Lynne, your most recent book came the other day from M&B in England, now I need some time to read it. The cover baby is mega cute!! However when I think about where stethoscopes can go I not so sure he/she should be chewing on one!!


  23. Great post, Lynne!

    In the past I've thought I'd been kissing a prince, only for them to change into the frog (although, that's very unfair to the real frogs, which I hasten to add, I like).

    Thankfully, I've now found my true prince (or rather, he found me) and I can tell the difference. ;-)

  24. Hi Caroline!
    thanks for the funny story, that really is a coincidence, and definitely worth putting in a book - with a sexier ending of course! LOL.
    And thank you for the compliment about my book. I love the cover, too. But don't let that cute little cover fool you, there is some steam between those covers.

  25. Linda, that is so funny, I had the exact same thought when I saw that sweet little baby chewing on the stethoscope! ha ha. Nurses think alike, eh?
    But as you know, we authors don't get a say on our covers. I was just thrilled to get suck a cutie!

    So you order from the UK,not NA?
    Interesting. Aren't you in Canada?

  26. Hi Lynne,
    I totally enjoyed your blog today and I'll tell you, I'm a sucker for babies on the cover! You got a great one.

    I married my prince, but he wasn't a jerk, just a little less mature that me, not in age, but in mentality. I wasn't looking for love, coming out of a bad relationship and he just keep persisting and finally I fell for him. The best 35 years of my life!

    My first Harlequin was about a frail, young girl who is secretly in love with a rancher. He doesn't really see her beauty, until much later on... I called it Lily Blossoms, because that's exactly what she did, she blossomed into a woman before his eyes ... HH changed the title to Lily Gets Her Man, but it's still one of my very favorite premises.

  27. Hi Sue!
    I'm afraid yours is the story most of us ladies tell. We think we've met the greatest guy, and then somewhere down the line his true color comes out - GREEN!

    I'm glad you found the right one, though.

    thanks for stopping by.

  28. Hi Charlene,
    Your first HH sounds like a wonderful story. And I love the stories where the hero or heroine evolve before the reader's eyes into a full human being who is ready and deserving to be loved.

    Congrats on 35 years of marriage. I'm glad you guy was persistent int he beginning!

  29. Hi Lynne:

    My study of fairy tales seems to indicate that their primary purpose was to frighten children into obeying their parents and conforming to the norms of society. As such, fairy tales (perhaps better called ‘folk tales’) were often terrifying. These stories were not intended to be benevolent bedtime stories.

    As a ‘prince’ :), (I’ve been married thirty years), I am trying to learn from this 'distaff interpretation' of the frog story. The lesson seems to be that either a man is a prince or he’s a frog.

    I have a version of this fairy tale.

    The prince was turned into a frog by an evil witch because he was shallow and chauvinistic and would never put the toilet seat back down. He was to remain a frog until he was kissed by a maiden. Eventually a maiden did kiss him and he was turned back into a prince. In gratitude he married the maiden. On their wedding night his new wife said, “You may be a prince but you still have a lot of faults.” The prince sighed and said “Oh, how right you are, it was those very faults that prevented me from marrying a princess in the first place.”

    Somewhere between Playboy and the PTA, there has to be a place for just plain guys.

    BTW, I try to read every Harlequin Medical Romance that comes out as an eBook.(My time as a frog hurt my vision.) Please ask Harlequin to release all six as eBooks each month.



  30. Vince, how great to have you stop by! And I love your take on the folk tale. In reality we all know that things are never completely perfect or a disaster. Most of us happily married people (congrats on the thirty years of marital bliss - wink) know life exists somewhere between the two. I've never been close to being a princess, and for that I'm pretty sure my husband is grateful!

    Hey, from your lips to Harlequin's ears about making all six MedRos available in the US. Have you sent the powers that be an e-mail stating your wish?

    We're only supposed to keep our wishes secret at birthdays. How can they be granted if we don't let them know?

    Keep reading - and I'm sorry your eyes are giving you fits.

    Any man who reads romance has got to be a prince!!!!! Toilet seat up or down. =)

  31. To be honest, we all judge people by their looks, and on many levels we are shallow - AT FIRST - but if we make a promise we should keep it, by golly!

    I have a feeling that my opinion about this story is rather influenced by the fact that I think frogs are very handsome creatures. Which no doubt just proves how shallow I am. I'd have found the princess a bit more sympathetic if the enchanted prince had been a great big hairy spider of the kind that frightened Little Miss Muffet. But as you say, a promise is a promise, and heroines should try to keep them.

    I've missed seeing your wonderful posts at the PHS loop, Laura. and as I recall you have a wonderful blog.

    {blushes}Thanks, Lynne.{/blushes} The PHS loop does seem to have been a bit quiet recently.

    The blog should have quite a bit of interesting stuff on it this year, because there are plans for 4 conferences/parts of conferences focused on romance scholarship. I'm in the UK, and the conferences aren't, so I won't be able to go to them, but some of my co-bloggers will be at the Popular Culture Association conference in April, a conference on the romance genre to be held at Princeton University later the same month, a panel on romance scholarship at the RWA conference in July, and a conference in Brisbane in August. They've promised to write blog posts reporting back on them all, so I think we've got an interesting year ahead of us.

    the wolf would need to be redeemed, and the story might seem a bit similar to beauty and the beast?

    I think the beast's problem is that he thinks he's unattractive (physically and/or in terms of his personality), and he isolates himself because of that, but he still yearns to be loved. The heroine, who grows to see the beauty inside him, has to transform him through her love.

    The wolf has always seemed to me to be more of a rake or "bad boy", tempting the heroine off the straight and narrow path. Actually, Perrault, one of the authors of an early written version of Little Red Riding Hood makes that reading of the tale quite explicit:

    "Moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say "wolf," but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all."

    Please ask Harlequin to release all six as eBooks each month.

    Vince, would it be possible for you to buy some of them from the Mills & Boon website?

  32. Laura, as always, you are a wealth of information. I love it. And I'll look forward to the blogs.


    The hour is growing late in the UK, and I know they switch out the blogs at midnight, so I'm going to announce the winner of my book.

    If you will contact me via my website, I'll find where to send your copy of my book. Thank you!

    AND - I'd like to offer Vince a Large print version of my last book
    Pregnant Nurse, New-Found Family - if he'd like it - plese contact me via my website and we'll make the arrangements.

    Thanks everyone - I've had a ball, as usual, hanging out with my friends at The Pink Heart Society

    All the best wishes - Lynne Marshall

  34. Lynne,
    I think I liked frogs because they had that rough edge, but when I looked beyond my prince my not have seened as exciting but he fit me perfectly.
    "Nick's New Heart'

  35. Lynne;

    You are right, I am in Canada and usually get my Med Roms from Readers Service in North America but I try to figure the two UK books that are not going to be in NA and buy them from M&B in the UK, hence I bought your UK book this winter, but I am very happy to see Harlequin will have it out in July, I will try not to spoil the story for any one on this side of the Atlantic.


  36. Hi Susan!

    I'm so glad you visited the blog today. Yeah, we always look at the "rough" exciting types, but when it is time to settle down, we know the kind of guy we can depend on - and he is our true prince, right?

    And Linda Margaret - isn't is frustrating to figure out which Med. books are going to come to NA and which ones aren't? I honestly didn't know my book would make it across the pond until a month or two ago. Oh well.

    thanks again, everyone - I love visiting with my friends, readers, and associates via blogs.


  37. Hi Laura Vivanco:

    I tried to buy the eBook on the Mills & Boon English website and they took all my information and credit card but when it came time to process the order, a screen came up and said that I was from an area that was not allowed to download the books. I talked to Harlequin and I was told that there were copyright problems. They are working on it. Indeed, we went a year when we could not buy any Medical eBooks. Harlequin actually took them off their website. Luckily I had already downloaded all the available books by then but many others missed out. So getting four books is a big victory. The problem is that four books lasts about 10 days at the most. I am sure things will get better. Thanks,


  38. Hi Lynne:

    I have been talking to Harlequin for over a year. They just say there are copyright issues and they are working on the problem. North American has to be the biggest market in the world. The USA loves medical stories. Since the 1960’s there has always been a top rated medical TV show each season. The last medical I read (“The Wife He Has Been Waiting For” by Dianne Drake) had so much medical information in the story that it was like watching an episode of House – my favorite TV show. (How about running a TV ad for “Assignment: Baby” on House? You might sell a million books! :))

    BTW, does your new book, “Assignment: Baby”, take place in the USA? I read the blub on the Mills & Boon site but I could not tell.

    Thanks. This has been a very interesting set of posts. I enjoyed everyone’s comments.


  39. Hi Vince,

    Yes, all of my books take place in the US. The cover blurbs are written in England so they are spelled differently, but all of my books, as are all of the US MedRo authors, take place in various parts of the US. Mine are all in California.

    take care, I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts. I'll be sure to tell Dianne how much you enjoyed her book!


  40. What a great piece! Let's see...I did dislike Joe at first, but in the poor guy's defense, it was because he was too nice, too perfect, too good to be true. After a few dates I dropped him fast, only to remain fast friends. I was looking for someone sweet, but willing to take charge. Well...he did eventually take charge, and I felt it during our second first kiss (over a year later). So I guess, we both were frogs like you said.

    Now what are you doing up at 3:19 am!!??!!

  41. Hi Joanna!

    Ha ha - this blog goes by British time so it wasn't nearly as late as you thought.

    I'm glad you two frogs finally got your act together! Nice is nice, but taking charge is important, too. If I don't see a clear leader take charge I take over - drives my husband nuts!

    Lynne, who is quickly changing back to frog status.