By Michelle Thorne
I love ROMANCE as a concept, although I haven’t really had much success in the real world. Don’t feel sorry for me. I have a store full of heroes who are romance personified. There’s Phillip from Tom and Sharon Curtis’ Lightning That Lingers. Was there ever a more caring, sweet or HOT guy than that? A stripper with a PhD. Sounds about right to me. How about Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe series. I have loved him since I was twelve years old. Stylish dresser, snappy patter and a really good dancer. What’s not to like? Then there’s Nick Lightfoot from Jayne Ann Krentz’s The Golden Chance. What a guy!
Janet Evanovich has created quite a conundrum with Joe and Ranger in her Stephanie Plum series. I’m like Steph, I just can’t make up my mind. Then there are ANY of Linda Howard’s heroes. They all need the help of a good woman to save them from a life that is cold and without any soft place to land. I could be that woman, really. Consider Linda Lael Miller’s Vampires. Wonderful, very human and great looking, forever. Just a thought. Susan Elizabeth Phillips has all those Chicago Star football players and who could resist the guys in shoulder pads and tight ends. Not me. Don’t get me started on Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole. Great boyfriend material. Love him! And the “Bob” ain’t to shabby in the good lookng and funny area either. Yes, I am stalking him but in “a public place and he knows all about it, literary ” sort of way. Sue me.
There are many more fictional heroes who are very real to me but this is a blog not a book. Alas, I have to mention, The Man, The Guy, He who makes my heart stop on a regular basis.
For the last 11 years there has been one man who never fails to meet my expectations of a romantic hero. He is the whole package. He is suave, but has an edge. He is gorgeous, but isn’t afraid to get a little mussed. He has more money than God, but he made it himself and does good works with it. He is a great friend and a feared enemy. He’s funny and smart and he loves his woman with every fiber of his being and she’s not always that easy to love. Eve Dallas is one very lucky woman. Nora Roberts has created the PERFECT romantic hero in Roarke for the In Death series. OH, MY GOD. I want him. I don’t really know that I would have a clue of what to do with him once I got him, but it’s probably like a bicycle, you never forget. Roarke is the gold standard for me. Twenty five days of romance, ALL ROARKE, ALL THE TIME.
I’d love to hear about your fictional guys, I could always use another man to keep.
Reality, it’s overrated. Fiction ROCKS.
Bearly Used Books…123
By Tina Ralph
Strolling down the aisle, all dressed in black, as gorgeous as ever, was the one person in the world, April didnâ€™t want to see. Still, the unexpected sight of him caused her to choke out his name. To her horror, he turned and looked at her.
Kirkâ€™s face showed he wasnâ€™t any happier to see her, but he quickly recovered.
She ignored the sudden butterflies in her stomach. â€œHello, Kirk, itâ€™s been awhile.â€
He pushed his cart closer. â€œNot since Janet moved out. Almost a year.â€
â€œJanet told me when your divorce was final. I wanted to call â€“ but â€“ well… I didnâ€™t know what to say.â€ To cover her awkwardness, she rushed on. â€œI always consider you, my friend too. We had fun together, but…â€
Embarrassed, she looked down. The divorce had been a hot item among friends. They wanted someone to blame. Sheâ€™d been mentioned as a contributing factor.
â€œDonâ€™t worry about it, April.â€ Kirk continued. â€œI havenâ€™t had much time to socialize anyway. I received the house in the divorce settlement. I spent my weekend on home improvement projects. You remember our fixer-upper. Donâ€™t you?â€
â€œYes,â€ Amber was glad heâ€™d changed the subject.
A lady with two small children broke up their conversation, as she tried to edge passed them.
â€œIt looks like we are holding up traffic.â€ April pushed her cart forward, letting the woman pass. â€œBesides, my ice cream is melting.â€
He hesitated a moment. â€œMaybe we can get together sometime…do something?â€
Thrilled with the idea of pursuing a relationship with him, April tempered her enthusiasm with a wave of her hand. â€œSure, give me a call.â€
At the checkout counter, her pulsed danced at the possibilities of him calling. Kirk, with his incredible teddy bear brown eyes, made everyone feel special. He a wonderful man, except for the fact, that he was her best friendâ€™s ex-husband.
Would Janet mind? She was dating other men.
Was it worth their friendship?
It could get complicated.
â€œIt really doesnâ€™t matter,â€ April said to herself. â€œHeâ€™s not going to call, anyway.â€
April stood in the middle of the video store with a movie in each hand, trying to make up her mind.
A rich baritone voice over her left shoulder caught her off guard. â€œIâ€™d pick the comedy. Heavy drama is too depressing.â€
Turning quickly, April brushed against Kirkâ€™s shoulder as she looked up into his face. â€œFancy meeting you here.â€
His quick grin and the spark of interest in his eyes lightened her heart.
â€œI like to get my videos on Thursday. That way I beat the crowds.â€ He reached for the case in her hand. â€œWhy donâ€™t I rent this one? And you can come over Saturday and watch it with me.â€
Letting him take it, she attempted to settle her racing heart. â€œIâ€™m not sure youâ€™ll like that one. Itâ€™s a chick flick.â€
â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter.â€ He slid a friendly arm around her shoulders.
Nervously, April took a deep breath and pushed the doorbell. Dressed in jeans and a tee shirt, she wanted to look friendly but not eager.
The door opened, Kirk stood before her holding a paint roller in his hand, paint splattered all over him.
Shock flashed across his face. â€œIt canâ€™t be six oâ€™clock?â€
Fascinated by the blue specks in his hair, April questioned. â€œIs it a bad time?â€
He stepped back, ushering her into the house. â€œNo, its just I–forgot the time.â€
â€œI…â€ Seeing the living room in total disarray with furniture piled in the middle of the room, a plastic tarps lying next to a half-painted wall, April paused. â€œMaybe I should come back later?â€
He blocked the door. â€œI can have it cleaned up in a minute. All I need to do is pour the paint back in the can, and clean out the roller. Then we can turn on the movie.â€ He hurried past her.
â€œBut Kirk, youâ€™re not finished. You donâ€™t want to have to drag all this stuff back out tomorrow.â€ April argued.
â€œItâ€™s no big deal. I can leave it like this.â€
Her eyes roamed the room. â€œThis type of chaos drove Janet wild. She likes things to be neat and tidy with no changes to upset her peaceful tranquility.â€
Considering all work he had accomplished, April continued. â€œI could never understand why? I think it might be nice to change things up ever so often. Itâ€™s what makes a house a home.â€
He studied her for a moment over the paint can before he replied. â€œIt makes a mess.â€
â€œFunny, I always enjoyed a little adventure in my life.â€
He looked up again, their eyes met. In that moment, something passed between them. April wasnâ€™t sure what it was, but she felt the spark of electricity.
With a wicked grin, Kirk asked. â€œWanna get messy?â€
OCC/RWA Membership Director
By Bobbie Cimo
I think every girl growing up wishes she was like someone she has seen in the movies. Well, I was no exception to the rule. The moment I saw the original Gidget, starring Sandra Dee, I fell in with the character and with of course, her leading man, Moondoggie. Moondoggies have come and gone, but to me, nothing compares to the original one, James Darren. Or as his friends call him, Jimmy. Me, I just call him Gorgeous.
So in love with the movie, I named my first car â€œGidgetâ€. Once, I had a puppyâ€¦well, you guessed itâ€¦I named her Gidget, too. But I think the most memorable thing I did, in honor of my idol, was when I asked my father to put my bicycle up on cement blocks, lifting the wheels off the ground, so I could balance my feet on the pedals and pretend I was on my very own surfboard, shooting the curls. By the way, did I mention I wasnâ€™t a well-balanced child? .
As I was growing up, it saddened me when I grew past 5â€™2â€â€” because we all know Gidget was pint-size. We wonâ€™t even discuss the weight issue. Once on vacation in Hawaii, I tossed myself across a surfboard and asked a total stranger to take my picture. I donâ€™t know what was more dangerous, taking a chance that the stranger could run off with my camera, or me falling in the ocean and unable to swim! Luckily, they both turned out okay.
Years later in Vegas, with camera in handâ€”they didnâ€™t call me the Kodak Kid, for nothingâ€”I happened into Caesarâ€™s Palace, which was a top hangout for celebrities in its day. That particular night was no different. Everyone appearing in town was out to celebrate Tom Jonesâ€™ birthday. For those of you too young to know, Tom Jones was a young sexy singer who sang on stage while women tossed their undies to him. And in case youâ€™re wonderingâ€” No, I was not one of them.
I was standing in the marble corridor, in front of a bank of elevators that led to the penthouse suites, when I looked up and saw Tom Jones and my very own Moondoggie coming towards me. James Darren AKA Moondoggie, looking more gorgeous in person that I could have imagined, and he couldnâ€™t have been nicer when I asked if I could have my picture taken with him. What I remembered most, was that he held me tightly against his chest, as we posed together. Oh, and that my father referred to him as Bobby Darin to his faceâ€”which didnâ€™t go over all that well, since Bobby Darin had just died a few months before. But Moondoggie was quick to forgive. I wish I could say I remember all of our conversation, but because I have a tendency to zone-out whenever I become overwhelmed, I canâ€™t tell you what we talked about. All I know for sure is that the picture turned out beautifully and itâ€™s proudly displayed in my office at home to this day.
James Darren went on to star in several TV shows, and even became a successful television director. In the last few years he has revived his singing careerâ€” recorded a new CD and began making personal appearances tours.
A few years back, when I heard heâ€™d be appearing in Orange County, I decided to venture out to one of his performances. Not only did I have an excellent seat, but I managed to hook up with an aspiring Kodak Kid named Kim. From a younger generation then mine, she was just as in love with Moondoggie as I had been at her age. Kim offered to take a picture of me and Moondoggie as he signed my CD. Posing for the photo with him, I told him of my pictures from that night in Vegas. He said he had just been talking to Tom the night before and then he asked me if wouldnâ€™t mind sending copies of the photos to him. Me refuse Moondoggie? Never!
I dug up my old pictures and found the negatives. But when I had them develop, I found they were as yellow as Bucky Beaverâ€™s teeth before he used Ipana toothpaste. (This might be too old for our younger readers) After I had new negatives made from the original photos, I ended up spending $50.00! But, after all, it was for my idol!
I happily mailed the photos, but not before writing and rewriting the perfect note to go inside the packet. Several months passed without a word or a thank-you note. I worried that perhaps they had never reached him. Not only was I out $50.00, but my Moondoggie would probably think I had flaked out on him.
The following year ofâ€”2003, I think it wasâ€”I learned James Darren would be appearing at an outdoor concert at the Santa Monica Park. I dragged my sister along, insisting she had to see him in concert. He had gotten older, but looked just a delicious as he did in his youth. Again, I got an excellent seat. And after the concert was over, I went over to where he was signing autographs. I waited until nearly everyone had left before asking if he had remembered the pictures I had promised, and if he had gotten them. My heart sank when I heard him say, in a matter fact tone, â€œYeah, I did get them.â€ Is that all he could say to me? But then he said, â€œDonâ€™t go away. Can you wait a moment?â€
After he finished signing his last autograph, I went around the table to stand next to where he was seated. He turned and looked up at me. Then, in a most sincere voice, he said, â€œThank you so much for sending those pictures to me.â€ I answered politely, â€œYouâ€™re welcome.â€ Just as I turned to walk away, Moondoggie got up from his chair and took hold of my hand and slowly pulled me near. In the fashion of a Gidget movie, he brushed his lips against mine…and sweetly kissed me on the mouth.
What could be more perfect but to be standing next to the Pacific Ocean, being kissed under the stars by Moondoggie? Iâ€™m almost certain if he had his fraternity pin, he would have asked me to wear it. Just like with Sandra Dee, I would have replied, â€œOh-boy, would I!â€
And thatâ€™s how this Gidget finally got her Moondoggie.
OCC/RWA Program’s Director
By Geralyn Ruane
My fiancÃ© Ron puts up with a lot from me, but I never expected him to put up with Viggo.
I am thirty-four years old; I pay taxes; I am engaged to be married. My life contains several outward signs that I am an adult. Yet I have this seriously girly celebrity crush on Viggo Mortensen – the guy who plays the emotionally scarred hero Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings movies. Sure, Viggoâ€™s also a poet, photographer, painter, and political activist (see? here I go!) – but itâ€™s still a celebrity crush. I buy magazines such as GQ, Vanity Fair and Cowboys and Indians when heâ€™s on the cover (and I havenâ€™t read magazines for fun since my subscription of Highlights ran out); I order books of his photography from Amazon; I have a â€œViggoâ€ wishlist on Tivo; I visit Viggo fan websites with alarming frequency. I havenâ€™t acted this cuckoo since I spent my middle school library time looking up magazine articles about Duran Duran! And that was over twenty years ago! Part of me is ashamed of this gash of immaturity blazing through my life . . . but the other part will talk to almost anyone about Viggo.
But Ron is cool with it.
I could never be that way if the situation were reversed. If he were to bring home magazines with . . . say . . . Salma Hayek on the cover and visit her fan websites on the net, Iâ€™d be like, â€œDude, what is up with you and Salma Hayek?â€
So why isnâ€™t Ron ticked off? I asked him that very question not so long ago. He simply said he wasnâ€™t jealous. He knows I love him.
And he also knows that I have this tendency to obsess. I went to see Bridget Jonesâ€™s Diary in the theatre 6 times, seeing how many new allusions to Pride and Prejudice I could spot each time. When I was a Lakers fan, I owned 9 T-shirts, 4 flags on my car, 3 game jerseys, 1 ball cap, and a winter jacket â€“ and I wanted to paint my house purple and gold. When I was crazy about the show The Crocodile Hunter, I ordered an extra pay channel so I could see one more episode a day.
Yup. I can obsess. Last year, I stood outside a Borders waiting for it to open because the first customers to buy the Return of the King DVD got a free, really HOT poster of a fierce and wild Aragorn, aka Viggo. I was the only idiot waiting, but I got my poster of Viggo! For my birthday, Ron framed that poster for me. A custom, hand-made frame that he did himself at some framing place that lets you do that. All because he knew I would love it.
Ron gets me. He knows how silly and compulsive and crazy I can be, but he doesnâ€™t try to change me or chide me or fix me. He loves me, Viggo crush and all.
By Geralyn Ruane
Author of “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants”
in Marlo Thomas’ book THE RIGHT WORDS AT THE RIGHT TIME, Vol. 2, April 2006
By Barbara DeLong
Oh yes, I can make all the proper noises at all the proper times â€“ the oohâ€™s and aahâ€™s, the gasps of delight, the sucked in breath when mere words wonâ€™t suffice. The â€œwow, thatâ€™s hot,â€ when I just have to say something. And being a mere man, whose love of cars is barely five mph behind his love for his wife, my husband doesnâ€™t catch on.
Okay, make that ten mph.
As he talks about his Mustang, my eyes glaze over; my mind wanders to thoughts of dinner. Will I make the halibut?
â€œâ€¦and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll get the hi-po spark plugsâ€¦â€
I shake my head. Naw, fish is not my favorite. Maybe the juicy porterhouse Iâ€™ve had marinating in those exotic herbs and spices.
â€œâ€¦the Flowmasters give the car a throaty roar, donâ€™t you think?â€
â€œOoh, yes, yes, YES!â€ I enthuse, agreeing to my choice of succulent steak.
He looks so satisfied, bless his heart.
I wasnâ€™t always this good. In that first romantic blush, during the courtship dance thatâ€™s as old as time, I blew it once in awhile.
â€œâ€¦then it dropped a valve into the piston.â€
â€œHmmm, great,â€ I purred, thinking about our cozy date the night before.
â€œNot great. Bad. Very bad,â€ heâ€™d said.
What can I tell you? There was a learning curve.
Now, after thirty-five years of marriage, Iâ€™ve taken faking an interest in cars to an art form. At least, I thought I had. I may have faltered these past couple of years, which could explain how I ended up being on the board of the Mustang Club as editor of their newsletter. I had a weak moment and got sucked into his world as surely as 92 Octane gets sucked into Bosch forty-two pound injectors. Ah well, could be worse. I could be writing a romance set in the world of cars â€“ wait a minute. I am writing a romance set in the world of cars. â€œJoy Rideâ€ is my road rally romance-in-progress.
Which reminds me . . .
â€œHoney, I need some advice.â€ I trail him out to the garage, notepad in hand. â€œTell me, should my heroâ€™s â€™65 Mustang have the original V8?â€
â€œIâ€™d give it a Cobra 5.0 engine with a Vortech supercharger and a Crane high lift cam,â€ he says.
Funny, as Iâ€™m listening to him, I know just what heâ€™s talking about.
And my eyes donâ€™t glaze over once.
All she wants for Christmas is to save the man she loves…More info →