Romance and the winter bouquet

Lately, I’ve had a hell of a time focusing.

Between a major project at work and selling my home, my writing seems to be getting the short end of the stick.  My current WIP? Pfft.  Seems like I’ve been on the same scene for the last 20 years and my characters have all aged (gracefully, I might add!).  Nothing about the scene flowed. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to delete it and forget about it. But with each revision, each click of my keyboard, I knew that it was a valid, if not pivotal, scene to keep.

A bestseller author, one who I consider a mentor, told me whenever she was stuck she’d cook spaghetti. She said you have to get up and walk away from your work.  I’ve also heard about people doing laundry to get through a rough patch. Taking your mind off the scene or chapter that is giving you trouble and focusing on something else, helps breakthrough any issues you’re having.

So, I got up, grabbed my new toy  and walked away.IMG_4804








This festive winter bouquet started it all.

I believe inspiration comes at the most unexpected times, the most unexpected places. And it was definitely this bouquet IMG_4833that jump started my breakthrough. I loved the way the colors popped and the red of course, screamed romance.

Who would have thunk it? 🙂

Soon my thoughts were running rampant and I started to pick apart was wasn’t working, feeling confident about the direction of my scene.









Sometimes it takes the smallest thing to get us back on track. My muses, Poe and Fitz tell me that all the time. I should listen to them more!

Poe (l) and Fitz (r)




An Affair to Remember: I Met Joe Black in Australia and he became my Bodyguard

If you haven’t guessed from the blog’s title, I’m a movie nut.

Okay, let me start over. (Remember, confession is good for the soul.) I’m a movie fanatic. I’m a movie fanatic. I’m a movie fanatic.

Ahh …just breathe. But hold on, there’s more.

This condition has been perfected over the years. When I was a pre-teen, I kept a notebook (five one-subject brown notebooks to be exact) of all the movies I’d ever watched, rated them and noted (with stars, in ink) whether or not I would watch them again.  My records were so meticulous that Siskel and Ebert, now Roeper, would be jealous. Yeah, I know no life. (Hmmm …I wish I knew where my old notebooks were.) 

But later on, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. For most of us, movies—like books—are a means of escape. Movies often deliver messages, influence behavior, spark reflection and literally change lives.  

Now, that’s a powerful medium.

I also find that movies serve as a vital and (wonderful) source of information and research. I recently blogged about my favorite fictional heroes and heroines of the silver screen who influence my writing. However, there are a few movies that also get me in the mood to write romance. They have a way of continuing to make me believe in happily ever after. (I also have to keep a box of tissues nearby.)

I tried to limit my list to the top 27 movies for writing romance and I can’t tell you how difficult that was.  Why 27 movies?  Because everyone always does the top 25, and I wanted to stay below 30. 🙂

So, here’s my list of favorite romantic movies. Each are special and have had an influence on my writing, and in some respects, my life. Perhaps there’s a few here on your list of favorites. If so, tell me about a favorite scene or line or why you could watch it over and over again.

  1. The Way We Were, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand
  2. Somewhere in Time, Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour,
  3. Australia, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
  4. An Affair to Remember, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr
  5. Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep
  6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton
  7. The Mask of Zorro, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta Jones
  8. Sabrina (remake) Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear
  9. Someone Like You, Hugh Jackman, Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear
  10. Legends of the Fall, Brad Pitt, Julia Ormond, Aiden Quinn
  11. Meet Joe Black, Brad Pitt, Claire Forlani
  12. Love Jones, Larenz Tate, Nia Long
  13. The Notebook, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
  14. The Bodyguard, Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston
  15. The Wedding Date, Dermot Mulroney, Debra Messing
  16. Romancing the Stone, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
  17. A Walk in the Clouds, Keanu Reeves,Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
  18. The American President, Michael Douglas, Anette Bening
  19. Message in a Bottle, Kevin Costner, Robin Wright
  20. The Wedding Planner, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez
  21. Pretty Woman, Richard Gere, Julia Roberts
  22. Sweet Home Alabama, Josh Lucas, Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey
  23. You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan
  24. City of Angels, Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan
  25. Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Dougray Scott, Drew Barrymore
  26. Hitch, Will Smith, Eva Mendes
  27. Out of Africa, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep

Uh oh it’s only the beginning of the week and I feel a movie weekend coming on. Better go stock up on popcorn. 😉

Perils of a Romance Writer (Okay, a writer. Period)

One of the downsides of writing is the evitable “writer’s block.” Some don’t believe in it. Others will swear it’s a common malady among people with a creative pen. (Or computer)

I tend to sway on the side that it exists and is generally connected to that other known malady-lack of motivation.

For the past few days, I haven’t been motivated to write anything, but my blog. And I guess that’s okay because I’m STILL writing. Lately, this blog has been my saving grace.

Experts say when you can’t get a scene, or a word, or a chapter to flow, (which has been my problem) you should do something else. Take a walk, clean the house. I have a friend (she’s a best-selling author) who makes spaghetti when she gets stuck. (Maybe I should start cooking. On second thought …)

One article in Writer’s Digest, (I love this site) said at the first sign of trouble, retreat. So, I did.

Because of my lack of motivation to write, I’ve started doing other things. And instead of going for a walk, or cleaning the house, I made another video. (Oh, yes I did!)

In one of my post last week, I shared a video that I’d done on my book, “The Heat between Us.” It’s an animated view of a scene made possible by Xtranormal.

Again, I can’t stop singing their praises.

This video is an introduction of the characters in “The Heat Between Us.” Besides reading about their trials and tribulations, I thought it would be a nice idea to hear from them, personally. I hope you like it.

I find that this form of creativity has, in fact, helped me with my writing. I’m back at work on the second book, which is the second of a three-book series. And I’m already thinking about a video or two or three. 🙂

Mr. Romance 2005 Speaks …

wood6randy02As most of you know I have a page dedicated to fine-looking men or as I call them, “yummy pops.”

Some months ago, I blogged about a few gentlemen who I thought fit the description of a yummy pop—men who are pleasing to the eye, and who hold a little something extra in their walk, talk and being.

It’s my pleasure to welcome and introduce one of the these homegrown yummy pops from, New Jersey, the Garden State: Mr. Romance 2005, Randy “Wood” Ritchwood.

Wood is no stranger to romance or making a woman’s heart flutter. As the first African-American to wear the title “Mr. Romance,” he has graced the covers of many romance novels including those from bestselling authors Brenda Jackson and Rochelle Alers, and appeared on the first episode of the reality show, “I Love New York.”

A few weeks ago, he completed a tour in Tyler Perry’s new stage play “Laugh to keep from Crying,” and in 2010, Wood takes romance prime time when he hosts blog talk show, “What Women Want Prime Time TV.” A hardworking entrepreneur, Wood’s New Jersey entertainment company offers something for everyone, especially the ladies. Visit his Web site at Kija Entertainment.

Wood has graciously agreed to pop in and share thoughts on love, life, relationships, and more important, “What makes it sizzle and how to keep it hot.”

N: Wood, According to Romance Writers of America, romantic fiction earned 1.375 billion dollars in sales in 2008, which is a great thing for romance writers. The current economic climate has been said to be one factor. However, women wanting that happy-ever-after have a lot to do with it as well. Any insights on why more people are reading romance novels?

Wood: The economy has a lot do with many things—unfortunately. From a male perspective, we’re losing jobs at high rates; some of us are working two and three jobs to make ends meet. People are giving and receiving less attention at home. And it can put a strain on the relationship. Sometimes you’re just too stressed or tired.

But I’m happy that romance fiction is earning money, because it keeps the writers working and the readers happy. It’s a good thing because whatever our women experience reading they can bring home to us and share.
N: What’s your advice to women and men who want to keep their relationships spicy and sizzling?

Wood: Change the bedroom scene. Don’t get too comfortable doing the same thing. Change up your routine. Ladies, for example if you go to bed nude, switch it up and put on pajamas, a gown or wear your man’s shirt one night. Even though we know already what’s underneath, men still like to wonder.

Same goes for the men. If you normally wear cologne, go without it one day and see if your woman notices. Or if you wear pajama bottoms to bed, switch it up and wear boxers. Don’t settle for status quo. Gentlemen, treat your woman to a foot wash and massage, give her the full treatment. Ladies, you can do the same. It’s all about appreciating the spontaneous things that keep relationships hot.

We look forward to more chats with Wood, and advice from a male point of view. Questions for Wood can be submitted using the Contact Me form on this blog.

All questions that are not considered relevant to this blog will be deleted.

Your Take: Can a Virgin Write a “Hot” Love Scene?

I recently had a discussion with a group of friends on an age-old question. While the majority of us agreed that a virgin (male or female) could appreciate a hot love scene, we differed on the question, if could they write one …

What’s your take?

Music: A catalyst for creativity


Driving home from work today, I had a moment. I had the CD volume up, Maroon 5’s “Sweetest Goodbye” playing and I realized, just like the R&B group, “The OJays”—I love music.

And? You might say.

Everyday something inspires us to create. Writers, decorators, painters, graphic designers, sculptors—all artsy types have something or someone that allows our creative juices to run wild. It could be a fine man (or woman), an idea, a place or yes, a song.

Like many of us, I enjoy doing things with music—making love, cleaning the house, driving, painting and writing. Music seems to be a great catalyst for creativity.

I rely on music to help me set the tone for a scene, particularly a love scene. (I’m quite sure many of us do.) One of my favorite songs to write a love scene by is Boney James’s “Lights Down Low.”

Since the saxophone is my favorite instrument, it was smooth and sensual when I wrote a sexy love scene for Octavia and Marcus (my heroine and hero). The scene begins with the couple at the bottom of the stairs, and after several pages, they work their way up to the bedroom. I’m going to keep how they make their way to the bedroom, close to the vest—for now. Perhaps I’ll give you a taste in a spicy excerpt later. 😉

Another song, I wrote to was Ginuwine’s “Pony.” If you know the song, you can imagine the scene (The air-conditioner was on, I might add).

And yes …, I do use music to write other scenes. 🙂

For instance, in one scene, the lovers (Octavia and Marcus) danced the sexy salsa together. Blasting in my headset was Kenny G’s remix of “Havana.” The remix adds the talents of tap dancer extraordinaire Savion Glover, and the rhythm is powerful. It’s one of the best songs to dance the salsa, (IMHO).

It was also one of the best scenes to write. My fingers dipped, swerved and glided across the keyboard. By the time I finished I was breathing heavily, exhausted and needed a nap.

This was my blog /tribute to the power of music. What type of music gets your creative juices running wild?

X-tra Sizzling Muse


I usually don’t go to the movies opening day unless I have a damn good reason.

However, on May 1, I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and believe me, I had a damn good reason. Hugh Jackman.

Like many of us who have seen the movie trailer, I waited for the scene when he leaped out of the water tank, metal claws bared and looking sexy as hell. I swear, I think every woman in the theatre, moaned.

The man is too much, and he definitely gives my creativity a jump-start. I never thought about it before, but I think Hugh is one of my muses. The characters he plays are strong, sexy, opinionated and know what needs to be done.

Although, I’ve heard the reviews weren’t that great, it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the movie. Afterwards, I went home and got another dose of Hugh. I watched, Australia. ::::sigh::::

But that’s not all folks … Would you believe I went back on Sunday, and saw X-Men again?
(Hey, my daughter didn’t want to go by herself, and I couldn’t let her do that. After all, it wouldn’t be the motherly thing to do.)
Oh, and since Friday, I’ve been writing my X off. 🙂

Do you have a muse that makes you write like crazy?