Romantic Life Lessons

Fifty Shades of Saturday

rs_634x1005-141114095132-10644711_665591963557478_6990185292071945908_nEver since the casting for Fifty Shades of Grey, I’ve been eager to see the movie. Jamie Dornan was brilliant in The Fall, one of the creepiest series I’ve ever seen and well worth a Netflix binge. No doubt, he could bring Christian Grey to life, though I’d been set on Charlie Hunnam for the role. Dakota Johnson, whose memorable short stint in The Social Network, seemed a perfect choice as Anastasia Steele. I’d Youtubbed her a little as research and found her charming and natural (double kudos if it’s all a performance). As for the story itself, I’m Switzerland and won’t even try to explore all the issues this book provokes in people (it makes me tired). I wasn’t offended by what I read, but it’s not my thing either. I like that a book–rather than a reality show–has created such a phenomenon and I support most women who laugh all the way to the bank.

But back to the movie. The sad fact is that I haven’t stepped out much since last June. Call it mild agoraphobia or just a Garbo phase, but I’ve kept my outings to essential only. I put off seeing Fifty Shades until the last minute (before we’d discuss it at work). I felt grateful that E.L. James wrote a story that would get me out of the apartment. Either because he was bored, curious, loving a free ticket, or just supporting me, Sam tagged along. We entered a mostly empty theater (it was early). Two creepy guys sat in the back. Two girls in the middle. Sam and I gave each other a look and found a place on the side. Because he liked Maid in Manhattan, I thought he could sit through this. Then again, he’d seen the J.Lo flick during our honeymoon phase*. Now, he won’t even consider watching anything with Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Grant, or Julia Roberts in it. Yes to Sandra Bullock and double-yes to Melissa McCarthy.

Sadly, we only lasted an hour in the theater. Dakota Johnson was adorable. She brought so much to the role. In my opinion as a celebriholic and movie junkie, Jamie Dornan was a better serial killer in The Fall and his talents were wasted in this movie. I still thought he was good, just not fall-down-in-a-faint good. It was beautiful to watch, and even though the pacing dragged for me, I could have lasted admiring the Seattle vistas, the helicopter, the glamorous decor, and Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice. Our movie drug of choice has been too many Channing Tatum movies where things go boom and each moment contains serious biceps flexing. Channing Tatum is Sam’s Julia Roberts so we’ve watched every Jump Street and sabotage of the White House flick.

As Ana saw Christian play the piano, I glanced over at Sam whose eyes were glazing over. This was his look when he saw a Kardashian, a Duran Duran concert or Sex and the City, the “please get me out of here” look or “at least give me a glass of bourbon.” No matter how provocative Christian was, no matter how many contracts he wanted Miss Steele to sign, my husband would rather be flogged to death than sit through another hour. I wasn’t so into it that I needed to stay. Given we spent 30$, I thought he’d want to get his money’s worth, at least see some blindfolding and whipping. When I suggested we leave, he brightened, as if I’d given him a pizza. We left.

I’ll wait a little longer to see Fifty Shades in full, or at least, the last hour.

*Though the honeymoon phase is over, we are still nauseating in our lovey-doveyness.

Romantic Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Snippets of My Reading Past…

photo (3)by Mary-Theresa Hussey

My parents aren’t readers. Multiple newspapers, sure, but I think I’ve seen my dad read about three books in the last thirty years, and all of them were about County Kerry (where he was born) or Kerry footballers (Up the Kingdom!)! My mom would go on vacation and read one-three pages a night and put the book down. It took her a year to get through most books. (On the other hand, she did finish the Fifty Shades trilogy in about three months!)

However, they read every night to us kids. Even now at family gatherings we reminiscence  about sleepovers and which family made you eat porridge, which ones had the best play areas, and which ones made sure they read stories to us each night. 🙂

For parents who never read, they raised four active readers. All of us generally have at least one book if not two or three on the go.  Me, I generally have three or four published titles I’m actively reading, and lots more unpublished at any one time!

My first library book was Mr. Popper’s Penguins, my first Nancy Drew was The Secret of the Wooden Lady and I read my first Harlequin title (technically M&B) when I was eleven. I never stopped wanting more of any of those genres!

One of the common questions you get after they learn you’re an editor (no, I don’t want to be a writer; yes, you have to read a lot; I’ve met Fabio once) is do you still read for pleasure. And I have to say I do. I can’t imagine not reading, and I will get jumpy if I go too long without escaping into a book. Sometimes I’ll read manuscripts on the subway if it’s particularly good or I’m pressed for time, but normally the subway is my fun reading.

I probably read about fifteen-twenty Harlequin titles a month (covering most lines, though I do love Presents!) and I buy books regularly—print more than digital, though I read a lot of digital (and print) from the library as well. And yes, I have accidentally bought the same title more than once (hence a recent resolution to read the books I buy before getting more!) There are a bunch of authors I’ll happily re-read, and I like most genre fiction, and dip into non-fiction a couple of times a year (not really biography or memoir though). My office and apartment are filled with the titles I want to read, though I sometimes have to be draconian and pass on those that have sat too long.

Currently? Well, things have no doubt changed since I wrote this, but I’ve got Living with Ghosts by Kari Sperring (recommended by Laura Anne Gilman and it is great!) in my bag; Chicks Kick Ass anthology (including the fantastic Rachel Vincent!) in the bedroom; iPad for Dummies checked out from the library; Rhyannon Byrd’s Dark Wolf Rising in my pocketbook; and Seraphina by Rachel Hartmann on the iPad. So I’m prepared for every eventuality, and surely will have a different set of titles on the go by “now.”

So if you want to recommend a YA, or romance, or fantasy, or paranormal, or thriller or mystery or SF or intriguing non-fiction or just about anything else, let me know in the comments, and I’ll move it to the top of the pile…

Romantic Life Lessons

I’m Ashamed at How Long It’s Been…

I’ve had posts running in my head but haven’t put words to screen until now. The truth is that so much is happening in publishing right now that I’m dizzy. I come home and flop on my couch (and read a little more).  By the time I carve out a free moment, all I want is escape. But can a romance editor really ever escape?

No. Because I am obsessed with the following shows. They help me with my job. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it:

The Bachelorette: Emily Maynard is as cute as a bug’s ear, a heroine I can buy into, especially as a romance reader. Yes, the whole franchise is cringe-worthy, probably offensive and not that conducive to finding true love, but it’s still so dishy for me. My money is on Arie.

Dallas: I worship at the altar of J.R. Ewing and his festive eyebrows.

Most true crime and romantic suspense-focused shows I love: Bones, Snapped, Criminal Minds, Breaking Bad, Deadly Women, Scandal, and Dateline. My husband is now obsessed with The Shield. No sooner do we finish a disc than he screams for another one. I had to up our Netflix subscription just to keep up. I’m biting my nails over how to cope when we finish the series…which will be this week. Any suggestions?

Mad Men: Can’t get enough of Joan! Wouldn’t it be cool to have a series set during this time?

The Killing: Last night’s finale. Whew. The bleak nature of this show fills my heart with joy. Plus the acting is so good.

The Real Housewives of Orange County and New York City: I loathe the petty confrontations over imagined slights and the bad acting. But I do love when women come together and have fun. The shopping is awesome as well.

Ally McBeal: I’m on the season where she and Robert Downey Jr. fall in love. I have goosebumps.

In books, I just finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which reveals the pattern of a habit and suggests how to break a bad one. I have no bad habits so this is all moot. In fact, I don’t know why I even read it. 🙂 After this, I devoured Fairytale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio, personal assistant to JFK, Jr. an engrossing read. In between these, I read Fifty Shades of Grey and felt fifty shades of red creeping up my neck. I do love when people get obsessed with a book. I chose the right profession.

More pet peeves to come. Wishing I had a dime for all the heroes who rake hands through their hair!