Thursday, April 30, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to LatinMissy-- she's won a signed copy of Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell's BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS! LatinMissy, shoot me an email at and I'll have the lovely ladies get your prize to you asap!

Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Tomorrow, we'll be giving away not one, but TWO copies of Jessica Brody's THE FIDELITY FILES. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My worlds have officially collided

Those of you who read my blog know that I'm completely obsessed with Gossip Girl. And, I've also been following the casting of the new movie remake of Footloose. I was thrilled when I found out that the super-hot Chase Crawford was screen testing for the lead role in Footloose, but now, it turns out that he may not be available to star in Footloose because of his commitments to the Gossip Girl shooting schedule.

Worlds colliding!

The universe is so unfair-- I don't know who to root for here. Do I hope that Chase gets the chance to play Ren (try saying that three times fast...). Or, do I stay true to my first love, Gossip Girl? Life can be so complex.

So, who are you rooting for here: Gossip Girl or the Footloose remake?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Jets and the Jews

There's been a lot of controversy about the Jets home game schedule this year, since the first two games of the season were scheduled for two of the holiest dates on the Jewish calendar. Basically, it means that any Jewish fans who are even the slightest bit religious won't be able to attend the first two home games of the season.

The Jets complained to the commission about the scheduling, and one game was changed. But it turns out that the players are just as outraged about this situation as the fans. Jimmy Kimmel's got the video:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Like, oh my god! Okay?

So, the fabulous Perez Hilton is posting about the leaked promo poster for the highly anticipated (that's not just me, right?) Gossip Girl spin off. For those of you living in a cave, the spin off focuses on Serena VanDerWoodsen's mother, Lily. (And for those of you living in a cave, why aren't you reading my blog?! I told you all about the spin off months ago.... I know, I know, a cave, but still!)

Perez wonders whether or not this poster is just too stereotypically 80s, and I sort of have to agree. That pic, coupled with the fact that they're calling the ep Valley Girls, just leaves me a bit cold. It just seems to lack the edge that Gossip Girl is really known for, doesn't it? I mean, where's the shot of Lily in a compromising position with some random hottie? How do the producers of this show expect it to get attacked by the Parents Television Council? I mean, really, people, we've gotta set some goals here!

And the title of the episode just makes me think of Nicholas Cage. So, yes, I'm dating myself here, but really: Valley Girl?!

Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The mother of all guest blogs and book giveaways: the ladies of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are here!

Well, yesterday I promised you a real treat, and oh man, how I am delivering today! We're lucky enough to have a guest blog from the lovely ladies over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (oh, and if you're looking for them on the web, please just click on that link. Definitely do NOT be lazy and merely type in "smart bitches" and hope that their site comes up. Let's just say you'll end up on a page that is not approved for viewing at work. Not like I did that or anything....)

First order of business, the hilarious geniuses behind Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Candy (on the right) and Sarah (top left), are generous enough to be giving away a copy of their latest release, BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS. Details on how to enter are at the bottom of the post.

But, it gets even better! Sarah and Candy have highly confidential intel for you on the International Consortium of Heroes. But since I don't want to get myself into any messy legal messes, I'll just leave it to the girls to explain....

Thanks to an Anonymous Source, we here at Smart Bitch Central have in our hot little hands the International Consortium of Heroes' Manly Handbook to Heroic Behavior, the official ICH Guidebook for all things manly and heroic. Previously kept secret and circulated only among member heroes, this guide details what it takes to be a romance hero; some of the recommendations are nothing less than shocking. In a series of articles, Smart Bitches are publishing several different portions of the ICH Handbook; our purpose is to shine a light on the monopolistic practices of the ICH and to bring transparency to the hero-making process. None of the text has been edited; omissions are indicated by [. . .].


Being a hero is a difficult task in the best of times, and with the increased fragmentation of the romance genre, especially the recent popularity of ménage scenarios, heroism can be more confusing than ever.

The International Consortium of Heroes' Manly Handbook to Heroic Behavior (ICH Handbook) will help provide structure and general behavior guidelines for all levels of heroes, from those embarking on their first romance to the seasoned veterans who could deflower a virgin widow or turn a reluctant heroine into a vampire/werewolf/vampire-werewolf with one arm tied behind their back.

Please note, however, that the ICH Handbook is meant to be a very general guide to behavior for primarily heterosexual hero tropes across all genres; homosexual heroes should still find much of this information applicable, but we strongly recommend consulting the ICH Manly Handbook to Man-on-Man Heroic Behavior. Archetype-specific guidance for both primarily heterosexual and homosexual heroes is available in the individual guides published by the different sections of the ICH.

The ICH also wishes to emphasize that desirable outcomes may be achieved using many different methods, and while our recommendations serve as best management practices, variations are certainly possible—even desirable, given the more idiosyncratic heroines or exotic plotlines.

[. . .]

Non-Sexual Conduct and Experiences

Parents and guardians

Because parental or guardian abuse is one of the main sources of sympathetic hero misbehavior, the majority of heroes suffer from dysfunctional family relations. Subsequent hero isolation perfects and hones this misbehavior, later to be softened, corrected and influenced by the heroine. Popular parent types include the shrewish, man-hating (or excessively man-loving) mother, psychotically abusive guardians of all stripes (ranging from parents to other relatives to legal guardians unrelated to the hero), and rigid, emotionally unavailable fathers who impose impossible standards.

If this is your first time as a hero and you are having difficulty coping with your difficult family relations, please remember that this process is necessary, akin to tempering a sword. Think of it as tempering your temper: sharp, hardened heroes are still by far more popular than the less incendiary type. Unpredictable explosions and moodiness are key to character conflicts in many romances, and while other sources are possible (see the Difficult Exes section below), this is one of the richest veins available.

Should you be interested in difficult parent interactions to enrich your backstory but are at a loss for where to find one, please consult Appendix D, which provides a list of ICH-certified agencies that safely and reliably source horrible parents and guardians. Seeking out freelancers is another option, but the quality of the interactions can be somewhat unreliable; in particular, many of the so-called freelance abusive mothers turn out to be nothing more than somewhat distant at best, instead of demonstrating the cutting, cold mistreatment necessary to instill an instinctive mistrust of other women—a staple of emotional conflict in certain hero archetypes. Caveat emptor, particularly when using sources like Craigslist. Some review websites exist, but the quality and reliability of the rankings can vary wildly. ICH-certified agencies are by far the most reliable sources.

While organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Archetypal Heroes (PETAH) are campaigning heavily to end these sorts of hero mistreatment, the fact remains that bad parenting in general and parental abuse in particular provide too rich a source of internal conflict and character backstory for us to rule out entirely; they are not mandatory by any means. Whether this species of mistreatment suits you is a choice you need to make prior to embarking on your personal journey of sexual, emotional and psychic discovery with the only woman who can make your numbed soul sing.

Please note that certain hero archetypes do not require family dysfunction. In this case, feel free to conduct normal, loving relationships with the parents. There are other vehicles to deliver the desired angst. Such instances include being orphaned under traumatic circumstances, catastrophic losses of other loved ones (including siblings, ex-wives and best friends, preferably under circumstances that implicate your involvement), harrowing previous experiences with love, possessing powers and characteristics that serve to alienate you from normal human society (this applies to the vast majority of heroes in paranormal romances) and taking on morally ambiguous—even morally repugnant—work to serve a greater good. These will all be covered in their own individual sections. Note also that these forces are not mutually exclusive; many heroes can and do undergo multiple species of trauma for greatest angsty effect.

[. . .]

Difficult Exes

Distrust towards love in general and romantic emotional attachments to women in particular is another rich source of conflict for romance novels; resistance to new emotional connections and overcoming your distrust with the right woman is one of the most powerful and reliable ways of generating conflict.

Furthermore, experiencing nothing but bad relationships in the past is another way of underscoring how truly special the heroine is; for the vast majority of heroes, falling in love with the heroine represents an emotional deflowering akin to a heroine's loss of virginity. We therefore recommend that you protect this tender bud of emotional vulnerability well-guarded with a series of emotionally unfulfilling—even psychically damaging, for the more adventurous of you who wish to peg the needle on the angst-meter—relationships. Just remember: physical whoring is not a problem; it is, in fact, recommended for certain hero archetypes. Emotional whoring, on the other hand, is deeply frowned upon; just as the heroine is a whore if she has enjoyed sexual relations with anybody other than you, you, as a hero, are an emotional whore if you fall in love with anybody else other than the heroine.

This distrust is most convincing if it stems from previous romantic ordeals. Therefore, prior to meeting heroines, it is preferable that you seek and entangle yourself with the following types of women:

1. Beautiful, sophisticated and frosty, with lots of (preferably kinky) sexual experience

This type is probably one of the most popular of the Difficult Exes, because not only is she with you solely for your money and/or title and/or prowess in bed, her cool distance, her penchant for schemes and manipulations, and her practiced bedroom tricks serve as a foil to the fresh, undespoiled, emotionally vulnerable heroine. Furthermore, these women are most likely to be unfaithful, and infidelity is one of the greatest and most convincing excuses for assuming other women (especially the heroine) are cheating whores. Combined with the right sort of family dysfunction, the conflict and resulting emotional fallout can be greatly enhanced when she cheats on you with your brother, your best friend or your father. For the greatest dramatic potential possible, selecting a woman with severe family dysfunctions increases the probability of incestuous infidelity, which not only creates a rich source of on-going angst, it provides a neat explanation for her sexually predatory behavior.

Another bonus: these Difficult Exes, while among the most emotionally destructive, are also the hottest in the sack. This is not, of course, an adequate substitute for the wrenching heights of ecstasy you will experience once you engage in the dance as old as time with your heroine, but while you're waiting for her to show up. . . . We're just sayin'.

2. Beautiful and completely unstable

These Difficult Exes present a different source of conflict than the cold, frosty mistress. While these women may, on occasion, manipulate or cheat on you, her greatest power lies in her ability to exhaust your psychic and emotional resources, as well as destroy all certainty in your ability to please a woman or be a good romantic partner. Most of these women show classic signs of severe bipolar or borderline personality disorder; suicide is much more likely in this particular Difficult Heroine than in any of the others. Should she choose this drastic path, crushing guilt and haunted, obsessive convictions that you could have saved her if only you had been good enough are mandatory reactions from you. If you are instead divorced, or if she is only a former mistress or ex-girlfriend, this Difficult Ex type is also the most likely to plot for your heroine's death, or yours—or even both. These murder attempts are rich opportunities for strengthening your bond with the heroine and throwing your love for the heroine into stark relief; any doubts you may have had about the Difficult Ex's emotional instability being your fault should be completely laid to rest at this point, as well as any hesitation or doubts about the depth of your love for the heroine.

3. Beautiful and physically frail

This last type is the quietest and most low-key of the Difficult Exes, but do not underestimate her impact, because this Ex is almost always a Dead Ex. Utilized most frequently in historical romances because the frailty is best exploited under circumstances with inadequate medical care, this Difficult Ex's delicate frame and timid nature most often results in lukewarm, unfulfilling sex. If she becomes pregnant, death by pregnancy or childbirth is typically mandatory, although the death of the child is optional. The only appropriate hero response for this is complete and utter crushing guilt, intensified by the mild relief you feel at the fact that you are no longer tied to somebody you were never truly in love with, anyway. When initially referring to this Difficult Ex, speak of her only in respectful—or even glowing—terms, because the heroine's false feelings of inadequacy will be one of the driving forces of conflict. As time goes on, however, this particular Ex will underscore how the milquetoast nature of the relationship was an unfulfilling shadow of the soaring emotional peaks you have experienced (and will continue to experience) with the heroine.

This Difficult Ex may occasionally prove to be unfaithful, which is perhaps one of the most emotionally devastating betrayals of all the Difficult Exes, because of her seeming virtue. Should this prove to be true, anger is key, but leavening this with a good dash of guilt for not being able to fulfill her needs provides further emotional trauma to fuel the conflict for the romance.

Big thanks to Candy and Sarah for stopping by today! I can't wait to read more from the ICH manual over on their site! Want to win a free signed copy of BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS? Just leave a comment below and you're entered! Want extra entries? That can be arranged.... Blog about it for another entry. Become of follower of this blog for another entry, too.

The winner will be announced on April 30th.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to MJ-- she's won a signed copy of Carleen Brice's ORANGE MINT AND HONEY!

Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Tomorrow, we'll be giving away a copy of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books's BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too good to be true!!!

There's a real life Gossip Girl in the works, coming to you from the fine folks at Bravo. I would say more about it, but NY Mag really says it all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

GCC Author Interview: April Henry

Well, the GCC is back after a short hiatus, and we've got a real thriller on our hands!  Today we've got April Henry here to chat and she's talking about her latest, FACE OF BETRAYAL.  Publisher's Weekly called it “[a] sizzling political thriller. … The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”  And who couldn't use some sizzle?!  So, without further ado, I offer you April Henry:

1. Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.
In Face of Betrayal, Katie, a 17 year old Senate page, disappears. The prime suspect: the Senator who may have been more than just a mentor.

2. When did you first begin writing?
Finished first book in 1992. Got first contract in 1997. And had first book published (fourth written) in 1999.

3. What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part is when the characters come to life and start doing stuff I didn’t tell them to do. That doesn’t happen often, but it’s a blast when it does. On the flip side, I have been known to hate editorial letters. Depending on the editor, they can be so daunting. When that happens, I just have to break them down page by page.

4. Do a quick character study on yourself: don't forget to add in the fun stuff, like favorite foods and things you love/hate!
April Henry has a cloud of black curly hair, brown eyes, and ten extra pounds she has been fighting for fifteen years. Barbecue chips or nacho flavored Doritos are her downfall. She exercises every day, cooks from scratch, and has piles of books she is going to read “soon.” She loves Scott Turow and Tom Perotta (a love they are unaware of), chocolate with nuts, and spending time with her teenage daughter and husband. She is thankful that she no longer has to report to a boss who lectures her about the need for neater handwriting.

5. Who inspired you to write?
When I was 12, I sent a short story to Roald Dahl about a 6-foot tall frog who loved peanut buter. He liked it so much he arranged for it to be published in an international children’s magazine. I still have the postcard he sent me about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, April!  And if thrills and chills aren't your cup of tea, don't worry your pretty little heads.  On Thursday, we're lucky enough to have the randy ladies from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books stopping by for a guest blog, so that is sure to be a real bodice-ripper.  And speaking of bodice-rippers, they'll be giving away a copy of their latest book, BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS, so we are all in for a huge treat!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lotsa matzoh

Happy Passover!

Those of you who read my blog know how much I love to celebrate the holidays.  And usually I love to talk about the meaning of the holiday and all that good stuff, but when it comes to Passover, all I can really think about is one thing....


You see, during Passover, it's forbidden to eat leavened bread.  Jews can only eat unleavened bread-- matzoh.  For those of you who haven't ever tried matzoh before, imagine a piece of cardboard.  Then imagine putting that piece of cardboard into your mouth.  Yep, that's pretty much what eating matzoh's all about.

Now, I know what you're thinking-- it can't be that bad.  Oh, but it is.  Every year, I say to myself, oh, it's not that bad, it's actually kind of tasty.  But I'm just fooling myself.  And those of you who are doubting me right now are totally fooling yourselves, too!!!

But, it's all about tradition, so we eat it year after year.  And what I really love most about the holidays is tradition.  Getting together with family and honoring those traditions that bind us to who we are and where we came from.  So while I may be dreaming about bread all week, I secretly enjoy the sacrifice and how it ties me to my family and other Jews.  Because that's what holidays are all about.

That and the food.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gotta cut loose....

I know, I know. You must all think that I'm completely obsessed with Kevin Bacon by now....

Well, last week we talked about how Zac Efron's sick of doing musicals, and has dropped out of the planned Footloose remake. I asked all of you whether or not it was ever a good idea to turn down work, and Kaye agreed with me that it's probably not.

Perez Hilton's now reporting that the delicious Chase Crawford screen tested for the star role in Footloose. Hmm, let's see-- good looks? Check! Dances? Um, okay, maybe we don't know whether or not he dances yet, but who cares?! (see, supra, good looks) If Dancing with the Stars has taught us nothing, it's that great dancers can be made! (If they don't get horribly injured first.) Chase would make a great Ren, and Perez reports that his screen test went really well. And yes, I believe everything I read on Perez.

What I find most interesting about all of this is that on Confessions of a Teen Idol (just one of the many fine reality offerings on VH1), Christopher Atkins talked about the casting of the original Footloose. Seems he was slated to star, but it all fell apart when his personal life just took over. And then the role went to Kevin Bacon. Who went on to have an unbelievable career, whereas Christopher Atkins' career just sort of stalled. (But yes, he's still totally hot.) At the time he began his VH1 show, he was actually building pools for a living instead of acting. (And yes, he gets the irony of being the dude from The Blue Lagoon building, um, lagoons.)

Zac, are you listening?!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oh. My. God.

I just have no words for this.  No words at all.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guest post and book giveaway: Carleen Brice

I am so, so thrilled today because we've got the wonderful Carleen Brice here for a guest blog. And if you think that's good, just wait-- because it only gets better! Carleen's also been generous enough to agree to do a giveaway of her fabulous debut novel, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY. Deets on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.

So, without further ado, I give you Carleen:

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." – Margaret Thatcher

The good news: My first novel, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, was optioned by Lifetime Movie Network (LMN)! Yay!

The bad news: Filmmaking takes a looooooooong time. TV moves faster than features (that’s what Lala Land types call movies on the big screen), and God knows, Lifetime is actually clipping right
along (there’s a producer and screenwriter on board; script is almost done). But still the process of adaptation requires patience on behalf of the novelist. Something that is so not my strong suit.

Most of my friends thought the option meant I was moving to Hollywood to audition tall, dark & handsome men (even though there are no tall, dark & handsome men in my story). Not exactly.

First of all, Lifetime movies are filmed in Canada.

Second of all, I have no say whatsoever about the film. They could decide that my poignant mother-daughter story would really be better as a buddy picture in outer space. But this is Lifetime so they won’t. Lifetime and poignant mother-daughter stories go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. I’m in good hands.

And third of all, “optioned” doesn’t mean the movie will be made. An option means the network pays a little money up front to hold the rights while they try to put the deal together. In my case, putting the deal together means trying to get some names attached since, ahem, I am not a name. I have a name, and all my life that has been good enough, but not good enough for Hollywood. Nope, for Hollywood you need to be a name.

So there’s a screenwriter and producer working on the film and (I hear) soon a director and maybe even a cast. That’s the point we’ll get the green light (Lala Land for “yep, we’re actually making it.”

And instead of sipping mojitos at the Chateau Marmont with Diablo and friends, having my first novel optioned means I’m still in Denver. In my pajamas. Waiting. Listening to this song over and over.

But like Mrs. Thatcher said, as long as I get my way in the end, I’ll be ok. (Come on Lifetime, give me the green light!)

And, I just remembered! There is one tall, dark & handsome guy in my story! It’s a small role, but maybe the director would like the author’s input….

While she waits for the green light
from LMN, Carleen writes to pass the time. Her second novel CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, comes out July 7. It too would make a perfect movie. Hint, hint Hollywood.

Big thanks to Carleen for stopping by today! Want to win a free signed copy of Carleen's book before it hits the screen? Just leave a comment below and you're entered! Want extra entries? That can be arranged.... Blog about it for another entry. Become of follower of this blog for another entry, too. Or you can leave a comment on another one of my blog posts for yet another entry!

The winner will be announced on April 15th.