Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Sizzling Summer Fun in The Glades

I know I mentioned last week (and the week before) that I would review Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons today, but I’m taking a break from the regularly scheduled program.  I know… I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  Let’s blame it on Spring Fever.  That, and trying to push out my Football Sweetheart paperbacks and book two in the series.

So, for the sake of today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post, I’m sharing an older post from 2012, featuring a show that returns to A&E later this month with its brand new season—The Glades.

The Glades follows Detective Jim Longworth (played by the ever-adorable Aussie, Matt Passmore) as he solves crime in South Florida.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim takes his settlement money and moves to the Miami area to play golf.  He takes a job with a small law enforcement agency (FDLE – Florida Department of Law Enforcement), thinking it will not take him away from the golf course all that often… he was wrong.

Partnered most of the time with the agency’s medical examiner (Carlos Sanchez, played by Carlos Gomez), Jim ruffles feathers as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  Carlos tries desperately to ground Jim and keep him from drawing attention to the FDLE, but no one can wrangle Jim—except maybe Callie.

While working a case, Jim meets Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), a single-mom and registered nurse who is also putting herself through medical school at the same time.  The two have an instant connection, but there’s only one problem—Callie is married (or at least she was at the time).

Callie & Jim

Her husband, Ray (Clayne Crawford, perhaps most recently recognized for his role on Leverage as Eliot’s nemesis), is serving time for armed robbery during season one.  In season two, Ray cuts a deal and is placed into Witness Protection, but not before putting a kink in Jim’s and Callie’s love affair as he gets to spend some time with his and Callie’s son, Jeff.

Jeff (Uriah Shelton) adores Jim, but obviously he loves his dad and yearns for the day his parents can be together once again—like any child would.  This poses a problem for Callie, who doesn’t want to upset her son, but knows her relationship with Ray is over.  Eventually, Callie decides Jim is worth the risk and announces she wants a divorce to pursue her future with him.

The Glades also stars Michelle Hurd as Colleen Manus, Jim’s FDLE boss, and Jordan Wall as Daniel, Carlos’ intern (a fun sidekick for Jim, even if his overzealousness drives Carlos crazy all of the time).

Oh, and before I forget, Callie also assists the FDLE on cases from time to time as a forensic nurse.

Jim & Callie in the field, literally. Okay, it’s more like The Glades…

One might wonder why yet another police procedural set in or around Miami is worthy of a watch.  I can answer in one word—Jim.  Not only is he adorable (as mentioned earlier in this post), but his character is seriously flawed and he walks to the beat of his own drum, ignoring everyone and everything he’s told.  But don’t worry; although the character is a bit of a rebel, he’s not at all annoying.

In case anyone wants another reason, how about the tumultuous relationship between Jim and Callie… everyone knows that once television characters “hook up” on screen, ratings seem to fizzle.  Regardless, I can’t help but root for these two to get together.

I’m not much of a romantic (in other words, it doesn’t bother me if a television program or motion picture doesn’t end with the ever-popular “happily ever after”), but it’s because of Jim’s character and his on again/off again relationship with Callie that I keep tuning in.  For this reason, I must award The Glades with a MacTV rating – the flames definitely have our water boiling and it’s ready for us to dump in our favorite cheesy shells to enjoy while we watch the summer sizzle down in South Florida.

How will Callie answer Jim’s question??

The Glades returns to A&E Monday, May 27th… and I can’t wait to see how Callie answers Jim’s question from last summer’s season finale!

Do you watch The Glades?  Will Jim and Callie stay together or will some new obstacle stand in their way?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when I return to the regularly scheduled program and review Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons.  Or at least try to review…

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Spend an Evening with Moonlight

Oh, December… perhaps one of the busiest months of the year.  Many of us are moving at warp speeds trying to wrap up our holiday preparations AND deal with the end-of-the-year nonsense we all face year after year.  The days are flying by and before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where the month has gone.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few weeks, Amber West and I have decided to revisit a few of our older Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews instead of tackling anything new.

Even though I’m usually running around with my head cut off in the evenings this time of year, I still have time for my TV.  However, most of the networks are about to start airing reruns, and many of the channels have a lineup of holiday movies playing hour after hour.  For some of us, we want and need something different.

Which is why this month is almost perfect for a mini-marathon-style watching party!  As we’re wrapping gifts or baking sweet treats, why not watch a TV show with some bite?

So, today, I’ve selected one of my original Queue It Up reviews to spotlight:

Moonlight

The series begins when private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin, Hawaii 5-0) meets reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles, Tristan & Isolde) at the scene of a crime.  Mick immediately feels a connection with Beth—one that he doesn’t place immediately.

But it doesn’t take him long to remember exactly where he met Beth for the first time.

Mick is a vampire, turned fifty years ago on his wedding night by his wife Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon).   Needless to say, the couple never lived happily ever after.

Mick is a good vampire; he doesn’t hunt or hurt people, unlike his best friend Josef (Jason Dohring) who relishes his life as a blood-sucker.  Instead, Mick satisfies his hunger by harvesting blood from the local morgue.

But now back to Mick and Beth…

Twenty-two years ago, Mick saved a kidnapped girl from a house fire—a fire that he started in order to kill Coraline.   As luck would have it, Beth was that little girl.

After meeting at the crime scene, Mick and Beth become instant friends, and it doesn’t take much time before Beth learns his secret.  She handles it quite well, considering, and even allows him to feed on her once to save his life.  Mick and Beth fall in love, but in addition to the fact that Mick is technically dead, Beth is dating the local assistant district attorney (Jordan Belfi), and neither she nor Mick succumb to their urges.

The love triangle becomes a square when Beth asks Mick to help her friend; a friend that looks exactly like Coraline.

Moonlight may have only lasted one season on CBS (it’s very possible the 2007-2008 writer’s strike is to blame), but it remains a favorite and is worthy of a queue up.  I don’t want to give too much away about the individual episodes, especially since there are only sixteen to watch, but it sounds like a perfect marathon, doesn’t it?

Moonlight earns a GTV rating; it has everything we want and more.  I can’t remember the last time I was so upset about a program’s cancellation.  It is highly recommended that you watch Moonlight at night—lights off, candles burning, and a glass of red wine in hand.  Be sure and keep a hand fan nearby—Mick St. John is one sexy vampire.

Oh, and don’t worry.  The show didn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger.  Even with the premature cancellation, and a great storyline for a second season, it wraps nicely considering.

What are you waiting for?  Queue it Up!

If by chance you do not subscribe to Netflix, watch for the Moonlight daytime marathons on SyFy.

My Favorite Episodes with Bite:

“Fever”
“The Ringer”
“12:04 AM”
“Fleur de Lis”
“What’s Left Behind”

Did you watch Moonlight?  Like me, are you waiting for Steve McGarrett to vamp out on Hawaii 5-0?  Have any cancellations absolutely infuriated you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what see recommends…

Come back next week when Amber and I choose another of our favorites to share….  Stay tuned!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Friday FabOoolousness – Football Sweetheart Now Available for the Nook!

My YA mystery, Football Sweetheart, is now also available for the Nook!

*****

Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year.  She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.

Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her.  As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella.  Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance?  Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup?  The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.

Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed.  Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting.  Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?

*****

Check out the most recent review!

High School football season in a small west Texas town serves as the backdrop for this gripping mystery. Senior Aimee Freeman, like the rest of her classmates at Lee High, is eagerly awaiting the start of another winning Rebel football season. But when Aimee’s best friend and fellow team trainer, Ella, is abducted from her home, Aimee and her friends are left with more to worry about than a Homecoming game against the cross-town rival team. Who would want to harm Ella, and why? And does Aimee really know her friend as well as she thinks? Ella’s diary may have the answers…if Aimee can break her friend’s secret code.

Football Sweetheart is a fun, engaging story, giving readers a realistic glimpse into both the highlights and the struggles of being a teenager in a small town–from the excitement of preparing for school dances to dangerous conflicts that arise between social groups. With likable characters and a solid storyline that keeps you guessing “whodunit,” this book would be an enjoyable read for anyone who likes a good mystery. ~ Jennifer A.

*****

Thanks to everyone for making my first two weeks as a published author absolutely fabOoolous!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Fairly Something Alright

This week Amber West and I return to somewhat of a normal Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday review as we take on two of our favorite summer channel’s programs: USA’s new series Common Law and the returning Fairly Legal.

Now in its second season, Fairly Legal follows former attorney turned mediator Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi, Life) as she tries to change San Francisco for the better.  On the exterior, Kate appears tough and callous, but anyone who actually knows her knows that she has a bleeding heart for those less fortunate – and by less fortunate, we only mean those that the rich can afford to beat down in a court of law.

Kate lets both sides tell their stories, and she typically sides with the underdog.  Actually, even though she works for a large and prestigious law firm (founded by her recently deceased father), Kate doesn’t like much about Corporate America.

But Kate is good at what she does, and most of her cases are assigned to her by the courts and usually by a judge that keeps a stern fist with Kate (Judge Nicastro, played by Gerald McRaney, Simon & Simon).   Trust us; Kate needs someone to keep her in line…

One of Kate’s only confidants is her assistant, Leo (Baron Vaughn), because for the most part, Kate alienates everyone around her: her step-mother/partner/roommate/boss, Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams); her ex-husband/ADA, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Galactica); and the firm’s most recent addition, her partner Ben Grogan (Ryan Johnson).

Lauren screaming into an ice bath… clearly she had a day FULL of Kate.

The first season of Fairly Legal was fresh — instead of the traditional TV police procedural or courtroom drama, we see a glimpse into the life of another legal aspect: mediation.  Season one follows Kate, a highly flawed character who can fix anyone’s life but her own.  We watched as she deals with the aftermath of her father’s death, working with Lauren without her dad around, and her separation from Justin.  She lives on her father’s boat, broken from his death and her impending divorce, and really tries to ground herself as best she can.

Kate’s hottie ex-Justin — I’d throw my arms up in the air if dealing with Kate too…

But season two has changed the story – changed Kate in our opinion.

The boat is gone (some sort of leak caused an explosion), forcing Kate to now live with Lauren.  Despite the obvious animosity shared between the two in season one, the Reeds really seem to be trying to work it out this season.  Why are the two working so hard?  To form a united front against the next big change – the new partner.

Reed & Reed (the law firm) is under water (not literally; it’s struggling), so Lauren brings in a cut-throat, no-nonsense attorney as partner along with this finances.  Ben represents just the type of person Kate can’t stand – he’s arrogant, he’s successful, and he’ll do anything to win regardless of who or what might stand in his way – he’s the male version of Kate.

The character of Ben also brings a new twist to the show – the love triangle.  In the first season, Kate struggles with her love for Justin but realizes she is better off without him.  Now, Kate has two successful men vying for her attention.  Honestly, this storyline is predictable and boring.  Fairly Legal took something that wasn’t broken and attempted to fix it.

Ben, the best part of season two…

But the love triangle isn’t the only facelift to Fairly Legal this season.  Something has changed with Kate – she’s borderline annoying.  She’s pushy and argumentative, but in a different way from last season – she’s almost bratty.  She’ll use anyone or anything to get her way, but then becomes overly argumentative when someone else uses her very same tactics to accomplish their goals.  Kate was lovable in season one, and somehow she’s lost this appeal with the show’s new direction.

I figure the creators made these changes to save the show.  The USA Network took a long time to announce when a second season would air, something that is very unlike one of my favorite networks (especially during the summer months).  But since this is my review, I’m downgrading my rating to a JFTV ratingFairly Legal is perfect TV viewing when you have what I like to call “boredom hunger” (when you grab that bag of chocolate that you’re only eating because there’s nothing else left to do).  Last year, if I had reviewed Fairly Legal, it would have earned the MacTV rating.  But the only thing worthy of my favorite cheesy shell this season is the character of Ben.

But keep this in mind, all of the said frustrations with season two don’t stop me from recording Fairly Legal and watching it when I’m caught up on everything else… so it’s still worthy of a watch.

What do you think? Do you watch Fairly Legal?  Do you like the changes to the storyline in season two or did you prefer the first season?  And since we brought up the love triangle, should Kate be with Justin or Ben?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when Amber and I revisit two of our previously simmering reviews: Amber determines if Smash really is a “smash” hit and I try to give Lifetime’s The Client List the benefit of the doubt.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Summer Sizzles in The Glades

I know Amber West and I promised to review two of USA’s summer programs this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, but we told a little white lie.  Amber’s taking a much needed week off, so I’ve decided to review a summer program over on A&E that hasn’t been mentioned on The Ooo Factor since April, 2011 that everyone should check out – The Glades.

The Glades follows Detective Jim Longworth (played by the ever-adorable Aussie, Matt Passmore) as he solves crime in South Florida.  Excommunicated from Chicago after allegedly sleeping with his boss’s wife, Jim takes his settlement money and moves to the Miami area to play golf.  He takes a job with a small law enforcement agency (FDLE – Florida Department of Law Enforcement) not thinking it will take him away from the golf course all that often.  He was wrong.

Carlos & Jim

Partnered most of the time with the agency’s medical examiner (Carlos Sanchez, played by Carlos Gomez from ER), Jim ruffles feathers as he solves homicide cases using his unique approach and disregard for the rules.  Carlos tries desperately to ground Jim and keep him from drawing attention to the FDLE, but no one can wrangle Jim — except maybe Callie.

Callie & Jim

While working a case, Jim meets Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), a single-mom and registered nurse who is also putting herself through medical school at the same time.  The two have an instant connection, but there’s only one problem – Callie is married.

Her husband, Ray (Clayne Crawford, perhaps most recently recognized for his role on Leverage as Eliot’s nemesis), is serving time for armed robbery during season one.  In season two, Ray cuts a deal and is placed into Witness Protection, but not before putting a kink in Jim and Callie’s love affair as he gets to spend some time with their son Jeff.

Jeff

Jeff (Uriah Shelton) adores Jim, but obviously he loves his dad and yearns for the day his parents can be together once again – like any child would.  This poses a problem for Callie, who doesn’t want to upset her son, but knows her relationship with Ray is over.  Eventually, Callie decides Jim is worth the risk and announces she wants a divorce to pursue her future with him.

The Glades also stars: Michelle Hurd (also from ER) as Colleen Manus, Jim’s FDLE boss; and Jordan Wall as Daniel, Carlos’ intern (a fun sidekick for Jim, even if his overzealousness drives Carlos crazy all of the time).  Oh, and before I forget, Callie also assists the FDLE on cases from time to time as a forensic nurse.

Jim & Callie in the field, literally. Okay, it’s more like the glades…

One might wonder why yet another police procedural set in or around Miami is worthy of a watch.  I can answer in one word – Jim.  Not only is he adorable (as mentioned earlier in this post), but his character is seriously flawed and he walks to the beat of his own drum, ignoring everyone and everything he’s told.  But don’t worry; although the character is a bit of a rebel, he’s not annoying.

In case anyone wants another reason, how about the tumultuous relationship between Jim and Callie.  Everyone knows that once television characters “hook up” on screen, ratings seem to fizzle.  Regardless, I can’t help but root for these two to get together.

I’m not much of a romantic (in other words, it doesn’t bother me if a television program or motion picture doesn’t end with the ever-popular “happily ever after”), but it’s because of Jim’s character and his on again/off again relationship with Callie that I keep tuning in.  For this reason, I must award The Glades with a MacTV rating – the flames definitely have our water boiling and it’s ready for us to dump in our favorite cheesy shells to enjoy while we watch the summer sizzle down in South Florida.

Oh, the romantic tension…

And don’t worry – if anyone missed the previous seasons of The Glades, A&E has clips from season one and two available online.  But even better yet, A&E.com also has all of the season two episodes currently available as well.  Check it out!

The Glades season three premieres Sunday, June 3rd on A&E.

What do you think? Do you watch The Glades?  Will Jim and Callie finally get together or will some new obstacle stand in their way?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of the USA Network’s dramas – the new series, Common Law, and the sophomore surprise, Fairly Legal.   Really, we will this time.  Promise.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Friday FabOoolousness – Roni Loren’s Crash Into You

Last year, I met Roni Loren on Twitter and immediately fell in love with her blog and her voice.  At the time, Roni published two different types of blogs – one for writers and one for her brand.  You see, Roni is a romance writer and to attract us to her style and words, she publishes a Boyfriend of the Week post every Tuesday containing drool-worthy and day-dreamy photos of hot, hot guys (mostly celebrities).

Author Roni Loren

Roni has been writing romance novels since the age of fifteen, when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them.  Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.  Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son — funny story: her husband used to live in my home town and was my brother’s boss — small world.

Since the inception of our cyberspace friendship, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Roni in person.  She is just as delightful in “real” life as she is online.  She isn’t afraid to help the rest of us struggling to get our first work out, and she has the pop culture knowledge for those days when we just need a break and want to talk TV and movies (and many of you know, for me, this is all the time).

Roni debuted her erotic romance novel, Crash Into You, earlier this year.  How about a tease (pun intended!)?

Crash Into You:

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.

Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once he is stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger.  Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I always loved to read, but in 5th grade my teacher started reading a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle to us every day. That was way too slow for me, so I went to the library and proceeded to read all the books in the series. I remember thinking then that it’d be really cool to be a writer.

But I didn’t think about it seriously again until I was in high school. I wrote a novel at 15 (that was basically really crappy New Kids on the Block fan fiction), but that gave me the bug. I went to college as a double major in English and Psychology, but ended up being overwhelmed with two majors. So I dropped the English to be more “practical.”

I wrote here and there while I was building my social work career, but didn’t get serious about it until I had a baby and became a stay at home mom. That’s when I finally decided–okay, let’s do this. A little over three years later, here I am. : ) Took a while to get here, but I kind of always knew it was where I wanted to be.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I honestly find inspiration everywhere. It can be something really small that sparks a book idea. For CRASH, I pulled from my former life as a social worker and research I did in college. For STILL INTO YOU (coming June 2012), I was inspired by, of all things, a Reba McEntire song. For MELT INTO YOU (coming July 2012), I actually got an idea when I saw a commercial for the Dr. Phil show. The story question that came to me: What would happen if America’s leading relationship expert was really gay? Would he fake a marriage to be accepted as an expert by the mainstream? My heroine in MELT ends up engaged to her gay best friend who is trying to get a TV deal for his relationship show.

So you never know when inspiration will hit. : )

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

In my genre, I love Maya Banks, Lauren Dane, Shayla Black, Lorelei James, Joey W. Hill, and Jaci Burton. The list can go on and on. : )

The cover art for your book is super sexy.  Did you design it yourself?

Lol, definitely not. I have zero talent when it comes to design. Berkley asked me to give them an idea of what I’d like and had me send character descriptions and inspiration pics. All I told them was that I’d love a couple in the rain because a pivotal scene happens in the rain. Then voila, the talented art department sends back this gorgeous cover. Berkley does some of the best covers. It’s actually one of the reasons why they were at the top of my list when my agent was submitting my manuscript to publishers.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Brynn and why?

I honestly didn’t have a clear picture of Brynn at the start. The hero is usually clearer because I often pick celebrities for inspiration early on for the hero. But when I sent in my pics for Brynn to the art department, I used a dressed-down, make-up free Scarlett Johanssen. It’s not *exactly* how I picture Brynn but that’s the closest I could find.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Country singer Blake Shelton is constantly in my brain these days because I’m wrapping up the draft of Book 3 and he’s the visual inspiration for my cowboy hero. : )

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to cook and have a bit of a cookbook addiction (like two full bookcases worth of them). I also love live music, so the hubs and I go to lots of concerts.

You’re an LSU grad (sorry about the National Championship; I was yelling for your team!) and the city of New Orleans holds a special place in your heart.  What is your favorite restaurant and attraction in The Big Easy? 

Let’s not speak of the National Championship. My household is still in mourning. And I do love New Orleans since it’s my hometown. Hard to pick a favorite restaurant because there are so many good ones. The food really is its own attraction. But anytime I go home I must have these things at least once: boiled seafood (preferably crabs), a fried shrimp poboy, a muffaletta, and beignets.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

Top Chef, True Blood, American Idol, and Vampire Diaries. Two Broke Girls and New Girl are also moving up the list.

I know you love the reality TV like me, particularly Big Brother.  Which season and houseguest is your favorite of all-time? 

I was a big fan of Evil Dick during his original season. Also liked Janelle. And who could hate Jordan, she was so darn sweet.

What is your favorite movie?

Dirty Dancing – I think that’s the movie that planted the seed that eventually grew into me becoming a romance writer.

We’ll always love Baby and Johnny…

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

We usually go to a theater that serves full meals and drinks, so I usually get pizza or chips and queso. Though the last movie I saw, I just had a martini, lol.

Lastly, I know I’m not alone when I say that I love your Boyfriend of the Week blog series.  Who has been the most and least popular “boyfriend” with the readers and were you surprised by the feedback? 

Surprisingly, the one that still gets the most hits is Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. I still get like 100 hits a week on that one and it’s an old post. As for least popular, it’s usually the lesser known people–guys that are models and not actors or new to the acting scene.

*****

Isn’t she the best?  She writes romance, she’s a fan of college football to the point of real fandom levels, she shares the love with hair-band members from the ‘80s in her Boyfriend of the Week posts, and she’s not afraid to admit she watches reality TV — Roni is an all-around great girl.

If you haven’t already, be sure to get to know Roni better by reading her blog, liking her Facebook Author Page, and following her on Twitter and Goodreads.

Do you have a question for Roni?  Have you read Crash Into You yet?  Are there any other New Kids on the Block fans out there who’d like to join Roni and me in celebrating one of the best bands of our childhood?  Which New Kid did you crush on?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Amazon (available in paperback and Kindle) or Barnes and Noble (available in paperback and Nook) to buy a copy of Crash Into You if you haven’t already!

For those of you lucky enough to be around the DFW, Chicago, and Anaheim areas, take a look at Roni’s upcoming appearances for your chance to meet her!

Texas Two-Step Conference (3/30-4/1) – Book signing and on a panel with agent Sara Megibow
DFW Con (5/19-5/20) – Presenting two workshops: one on love scenes and another on querying
**I’ve taken Roni’s querying workshop at a local writer’s group and it is FANTASTIC.  I highly recommend…
Romantic Times Convention (Chicago, IL) April – Book signing
RWA Nationals (Anaheim, CA) July – Book signing, on two workshop panels (tbd)

For more info on any of these, visit the events page on her website.

Friday FabOoolousness – Jillian Dodd and finding That Boy

Earlier this summer, I found myself reluctantly attending a Meet and Greet with a few other SheWrites.com members that I’d only talked to briefly online.  Having heard repeatedly that writers need to network, I hopped in my car and drove the ten minutes to BJ’s Brewery where I met Jillian Dodd.

Author Jillian Dodd

Jill and I hit it off immediately.  Not only do we share the same profession and love for the written word, we both have a minor obsession (okay, maybe it’s a tad major) with NCAA football.  For the past decade, our alma maters even played each other in the same conference: Jill’s a Nebraska Cornhusker, and we all know I’m a Texas Tech Red Raider.  One might think this would make Jill and I instant rivals, but it didn’t; instead, we were immediate friends.

Jill and I now belong to the same writing group and she’s a frequent lunch date of mine.  We also share a love of movies and luckily live close enough to one another that we can meet at the AMC Theater on occasion for an afternoon of playtime.

Jill published her first book, That Boy, earlier this year and will soon release the sequel, That Wedding.  I hope everyone enjoys getting to know Jill just as much as I have!

That Boy:

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There’s Danny, the golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or has been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy that every girl crushes on; he’s the hot quarterback that no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure; he’s the boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. He’s the boy who rescues me; the boy who can read my mind; the boy who is always there for me; the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble; and the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.

Only one of them is That Boy.

 *****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

When I was a little girl, I loved to read, but writing never really crossed my mind. I grew up on a farm and dreamed of adventure. I wanted to be a spy. My parents owned a clothing store when I was in college, so I majored in Textiles, Clothing, and Design. I wanted to be a buyer, own a chain of stores, and make a million or so. LOL.

I never dreamed of being a writer, but I did dream about the story I wrote, which is what made me start writing. I’ve always written stories in my head for my own entertainment. Like on long drives, I would dream up and act out stories in my mind. When I was forced to clean our family’s basement every Saturday morning, it always took me forever because I acted out a musical I wrote to all the Beach Boys songs on Endless Summer.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Honestly, I dream vividly. Many of my ideas come from dreams.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

All time favorite in Carolyn Keene, who wrote the Nancy Drew series.  For fun, I read a combination of YA and thrillers: James Rollins, David Baldacci, Lee Child, Alex Horowitz, and Sophie Kinsella.

Did you design the cover art for That Boy yourself?

I did. I illustrated the inside of the book with lots of silly little doodles. I envisioned something like what I would’ve drawn on my notebook as a teen. I also wanted something very simple that stood out amongst all the photos of people on most romances. I originally planned to do three books – That Boy has the heart; That Wedding will have a wedding cake; and That Baby would have a rattle. Simple, bold, and similar.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your characters and why?

I didn’t really for That Boy. I sorta combined some people I knew with other people’s personalities. The relationships between Danny and Lori and Phillip and Jadyn were inspired by my husband and our friendship with another couple (the guy in the couple is one of my best friends).

The new series that I’m working on is set in a boarding school and has a lot of characters, so I do have photos of each character in front of me when I write.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. Really, the entire cast of Magic Mike.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to paint, see movies, cook, shop, and spend time with my family. My son is a semi-pro kart racer, so I spend lots of time traveling with him as well. I’m also a bit addicted to Twitter.

You are an avid college football fan like me.  If you could play, which position would you choose and why?

Part of me wants to say the quarterback because I like to control things, but I was the pitcher for my fast pitch softball team for years, and that was a lot of pressure. When I didn’t pitch, I played first base. It was much less stress. So I’d say I’d want to be a wide receiver. Run down the field, catch the ball, and score.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I’m loving Revenge, and I LOVE Gossip Girl, even though it is NOTHING like the books. I have been doing research for That Wedding and have become addicted to David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding, as well as, Say Yes to the Dress.

 

You review a new movie every Friday on your blog, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Oh, wow. I don’t know if I could pick just one. I loved Independence Day. I can watch it over and over. I could also watch The Hangover a million times; it just keeps getting funnier. I would also include Harry Potter, Star Wars, Transformers, Talladega Nights, The Golden Child, Boomerang, and Titanic. I could go on for days. Avatar. I’ll stop now.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I get the same thing every time – large popcorn, to which I add way more butter than is good for me, and a large Diet Coke (the Diet Coke counteracts all the calories I consume. Like, in theory.)

*****

Isn’t Jill almost like that girl we’d all like to know?!

Want more Jill?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her Twitter and Goodreads, and like her Facebook author page.

And don’t forget to buy a copy of That Boy here – Jill has Kindle, Nook, iPad and PDF copies available!

Do you have a question for Jill?  Have you read That Boy, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite love story and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, here’s a special sneak peek of That Wedding

I know Phillip is that boy. The boy I want to marry, my prince, my happily ever after. I feel like I’m living in a dreamy fairytale.

But then Pastor starts asking questions I don’t know the answers to.
I have horrible wedding disaster dreams.
I can’t find a dress.
I have to manipulate Phillip to get my way.
And then, an old boyfriend asks me to run away and marry him.
My best friend tells me I’m going to ruin everything.
And forever is starting to sound like a really long time.

Which makes me start to wonder…

I wonder if best friends should get married.
I wonder if I’m settling.
I wonder if the fact that sex with Phillip is so amazing that it’s clouding my judgment.
I wonder if it’s just cold feet.
I wonder if marriage is all that fun.

And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or should I say, what the hell, and marry him?

*****

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

Friday FabOoolousness – A Writer’s Life….in Movies

Everyone loves movies, particularly writers.  Writers find it extremely helpful to use movies as tools to identify crucial elements to the story making process, and even better yet, as research.

So, why not reminisce about some of the recent decades’ most popular movies about writers? 

*****

Romancing the Stone (1984)

This widely successful film stars Kathleen Turner as fictional romance novelist, Joan Wilder. 

Joan is lonely, living with her cat in her New York City apartment, when she receives a phone call from her recently widowed sister who claims to have been kidnapped by antiquities smugglers. As ransom, the smugglers demand a treasure map that Joan received in the mail from her brother-in-law.

Ransom demand in hand, Joan sets off to Cartagena, Colombia.  After a bit of a wild and crazy detour, Joan learns that other criminals want this treasure map as well.  She meets Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and he promises to guide her through the jungle for a small monetary fee, not aware of what he’s gotten himself into. 

After sharing a romantic exchange, Joan and Jack decide to follow the map on their own.  They find a beautiful emerald, but not before one of the kidnappers (Danny DeVito) finds them.   One thing leads to another; Joan finally exchanges the stone for her sister, and shares her adventures in Cartagena by writing a novel when she returns to the city. 

Romancing the Stone has romance, action, suspense, and comedy.   In 1985, the movie was followed by a sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, also starring Turner, Douglas, and DeVito.   

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all writers encountered a love affair, mystery, or adventure of our own to help push us through our stories?

*****

Her Alibi (1989)

Tom Selleck stars as Phil Blackwood, a fictional mystery novelist who meets his muse while sitting in a courtroom.  Blackwood forges an alibi for Nina (supermodel Paulina Porizkova), the beautiful Romanian woman accused of murder, and she is released into his custody. 

Blackwood takes Nina back to his house and begins plotting his story as he fantasizes himself in the role of his protagonist living with a mysterious woman.  Suspicions set in, however, after a police detective pays him a visit and places doubts in Blackwood’s head about Nina’s innocence.  Blackwood further questions just how well he knows this woman after she throws a kitchen knife across the room, stabbing and killing a bug crawling up a cabinet just inches from his face.

Not knowing if he’s made the right decision to protect this woman, and definitely not able to stop his romantic feelings for her, Blackwood follows Nina to a clown festival where they encounter the Romanian operatives responsible for the crime in which she was accused. 

How far will writers go to find the ever-important muse?

*****

Misery (1990)

Based on Stephen King’s novel, Misery stars James Caan as fictional novelist, Paul Sheldon.

On his way to deliver a new novel to his publicist, a story not related to the successful series that his readership has grown to admire, Sheldon crashes his car deep in the desolate woods during a blizzard.  Badly bruised and with multiple broken bones, including both legs, Sheldon is rescued by Annie (Kathy Bates), a nurse who just so happens to be his number one fan. 

Grateful for her hospitality, Sheldon agrees to let Annie read his new novel.  Unfortunately for Sheldon, she doesn’t like the new story and is offended by his language.  This disappointment sends Annie into a crazed tailspin where she obsesses about other mistakes in his storytelling; she tortures him, drugs him, spills hot soup on him, forces him to burn his manuscript, and finally takes a sledgehammer to his ankles.

Eventually, Sheldon escapes, and the movie ends just as he meets another number one fan…

Writers, how painful would it be to be forced to burn one of our manuscripts?  Does this story make us re-evaluate the importance of a “number one” fan?    

*****

Secret Window (2004)

Based on another Steven King story, Secret Window, Secret Garden, this psychological thriller stars Johnny Depp as fictional author, Mort Rainey. 

Secret Window keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, watching as Rainey spends most of his days alone in his cabin, agonizing over his wife’s (Maria Bello) affair which has created an untimely case of writer’s block. 

What’s worse than a writer suffering from writer’s block?  Being accused of plagiarism, of course. 

Rainey doesn’t believe he, the successful writer, stole the work of his crazed accuser (played by the great John Turturro).  After his dog is murdered, Rainey hires a private investigator (Charles S. Dutton) to look after the man. 

The movie takes an interesting turn when it’s revealed that Rainey is actually suffering from an identify disorder and has assumed the role of his character.  He lives out his story first hand by imagining the man accusing him of plagiarism, and by seeking revenge against his unfaithful wife and her lover (Timothy Hutton), thus overcoming his writer’s block. 

Are writers really this crazy?

*****

Did you enjoy any of these movies? What other movies about writers do you enjoy?  Writers, do you use movies and television programs as research for your stories?  I’d love to hear from you!

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