Sitting at a birthday dinner, talking about movies, as you do, I admitted a liking for a rather awful King Arthur adaption. Despite the inclusion of both Sean Connery and Richard Gere, First Knight is not a winner, wena. Admittedly, there were some people who felt it was 'historically inaccurate'. Should I be the one to tell them that the legend of Arthur, is exactly that? But point taken, it's not the Arthurian story we know and love. Still, I LOVED it. Why? The Lancelot/Guinevere story, naturally. C'mon did you think I was going to mention the action scenes or something? There was a lot to be said in this film about romantic tension. Will they/won't they ramped up in a neat cloak of forbidden love. And then this happens:
Ohmywordybee, that scene is the culmination of so much tension building building building, that it imprinted in my mind like...forever. Then someone mildly ruined it by saying he looked like a gorilla charging (never read the comments on something you LOVE...read them on something you're entirely indifferent to).
Watching this kiss led me to considering which other movie kisses were note-worthy. Yes, I loved the Spiderman upside-down kiss, and The Notebook, I-wrote-you scene. But, I'm more of a delayed-gratification kind of gal. Case in point, The Painted Veil. There's a strong likelihood you haven't see this one. Cholera and romance don't go together too well (but more popular than you'd think, hello, Love in the Time of Cholera). Yet, Ed Norton and Naomi Watts simmer. I started watching this movie on a flight back from Zurich...and they SWITCHED OFF the movie RIGHT BEFORE THIS MOMENT BELOW. I then had to WAIT FOREVER for it to come on circuit so I could see what happened. In a tiny nutshell, Naomi marries Ed for convenience, has an affair with Liev Schreiber, and then slowly falls in love with her husband. It's that slow burn, tension building that has me swooning. [Just a quick note: The Painted Veil is sadly, not a romance].
Now I want to go and watch these movies again. Happy Monday!
lThe other day, something happened I never thought would – a rather manly man referenced Sex and the City. Yes, we’re about ten years (at least) too late on this one, but I was left poleaxed. He watched it, that’s one thing. He remembered it, that’s another. And he brought it out in conversation. Well. Who knew? I’m a huge fan of SATC (the series, the movies not so much). Rather than play the game: a Samantha, a Carrie, a Miranda or a Charlotte, I preferred this one: Big, Steve, Harry or Smith?
Can’t remember them (you may have to ask manly men in your vicinity)? To refresh your memory, Big was Carrie’s abso-effing-lutely on/off love of her life, Smith was the studly HOTTIE, Steve the bartender (wish they'd never had the episode about his skid marks, because that's ALL I think of when I see him), and Harry. Now another Harry is in the spotlight this week, what with royal wedding fever. But this Harry was no apparent prince. Balding, chubby, hairy, sweaty, what other less than choice comments did Charlotte make about him? But then there was this:
Those words! (Love Charlotte's comments in response).
Who was your favourite? And are you watching the big wedding on Saturday?
It’s super unlikely that you’ve never heard me not reference something from the eighties. I blame this entirely on my obsession with the video shop (millennials asking WTH are those?). Every weekend, we could choose a video, sometimes two, and armed with parents who had no issue whatsoever with things like age restrictions, I got to watch acres of that decade’s celluloid finest and not-so-finest too. Is it any wonder that upcoming novel The Romeo Prototype gives a nod to Romancing the Stone and Weird Science? None. As for Watched?
Let me break it down for you:
A Night in Heaven. A little context…male strippers were BIG back then, and other movies like Summer School exploited the male-student-by-day-stripper-by-night angle as a C or even D storyline. But A Night in Heaven had student Christopher Atkins (post Blue Lagoon, pre Dallas) seduce, sort of, his older, married teacher Lesley Ann Warren*. Warning: this movie is worse than terrible, and has exactly (in my non-expert opinion) one killer song (Heaven by Bryan Adams) and one redeeming scene. Said scene features Christopher Atkins - blonde, blue-eyed and kind of jail-baity - dressed up as a rocketman which firmly cemented my thing for men in racing gear complete with helmet (yes, Daft Punk are hot). He humps the bannister (hot, well, you can judge for yourself - have a look here), and spots his teacher, who just flunked him nogal, in the audience. Sparks fly and as someone yells, “Give him an A. Look at him!”
Not that my Cameron is a stripper. He’s not. But, teacher/student…
Which led me to the next bit of weird inspiration: Self-control by Laura Branigan, a single released a year after the epic fail of A Night in Heaven. Switch on any nostalgia radio station, and you’ll hear this little ditty to the creatures of the night. But it’s the video that had me looking twice. Sjoe. It’s hot. Like serious flames. That masked stranger guy (okay, he’s stalking her, I do get that but in this context, it’s sort of Phantom of the Opera way before its time and other voyeuristic overtones). I once read that women’s top fantasies often involve faceless or masked strangers. They also tend to involve exhibitionism. Well, the late Ms Branigan must have been up-to-date on her research, because this video nails it.
Somehow or other, these two bits of eighties collided in my coffee-addled brain, and Watched was born. So far, there haven’t been any flashes of inspiration combining Gremlins and Perfect in which little green monsters terrorise the local gym’s singles scene. Maybe that’s a good thing.
*On re-watching, as a woman with more mature taste, Lesley Ann Warren’s husband is way way hotter. And taller.
How delightful to spend an afternoon chatting to fellow author and ROSA member, Cindi Page, about my upcoming latest release Watched. You can have a squizz below. We enjoyed it so much we'll be doing it again to discuss Cindi's latest release. You can visit her page here :cindipage.com
I’ll fess up – I had no idea who Jane Porter was. I’d never read her romances, watched any movies based on her romances, or dipped into the advice she serves up in her ‘how to’s. I had heard of Tule, but was damned if I knew how to pronounce it (rhymes with Julie, who knew?). Yes, she’s an international bestselling author, and a publisher - that you can get from a quick Google trawl. But, stats tell you nothing about the person, Jane Porter. What I didn’t expect was to find someone who stripped me straight to my emotional bones in her frankness, her willingness to share her story, and her reassuring quiet strength; aye, she may be small but she is mighty.
Laying your guts out to the public is probably why writers are such ‘crazy cats’ (to use Jane’s expression). But it’s not often that a writer stands up and says it – no hiding under the covers - to a room full of strangers. Raw, unadulterated, 100% honesty. Is it easy to hear? No. But, for this writer here, it was a turning point. If I can’t be honest about who I am, where I’m from, and the experiences that have shaped me, my stories are probably going to lack authenticity. They won’t reflect ‘me’. For that alone, I’d pay over the odds a million times, to hear Jane speak again.
In both her talks, and in conversation with her, she offered priceless insights into romance writing as a career. A career option, that, let’s face it, is not offered by guidance counsellors. And why shouldn’t we be thinking of writing as a career? How many other careers let you research hot men on the Internet? Not accounting, that’s for sure. These were some of the biggies:
Every now and then, I’ll remember something else she said, and I’ll write it down; things like how to engage on Facebook and start conversations with fans, or how to recognise alpha men. And then I’ll think how lucky I was that of all the places Jane exchanged to as teen, it was here, South Africa. Sometimes these things aren’t accidents. Thank you, Jane.
Twas like thunder, as he drove his little red corvette in the purple rain. "My name is Prince. Let's go crazy," he said to the most beautiful girl in the world, her raspberry beret from around 1999. Did he want to get off? You bet your diamonds and pearls, he did. Or maybe one kiss. "If I was your girlfriend," she sighed. She got that look...it was a sign o' the times - no sexy motherfucker this time round. Maybe when doves cried. Welcome to this thing called life.
My inspiration for sexy stories? Has to be the genius that was Prince. Words to describe his fabulosity? Not enough. My coffee shop just cranked up some of his stuff, and all I could think was (to borrow the words of another music legend), thank you for the music.