Posted by Jo Robertson Nov 29 2013, 11:58 pm in fall clothes, fashion, Jo Robertson, new book release "The Hitman's Heart"
One of the reasons I love Fall is that the winter fashions are advertised everywhere. Boots, gloves, jaunty little hats, sweaters. And coats — coats of all kinds. Sleek long wool coats, leather jackets, puffy down jackets and raincoats, all accompanied by bright scarves. Don’t forget the boots — ankle boots, thigh high zippered boots, knee boots. And don’t get me started on the leggings!
Even in high school, I loved winter clothing. The standard high school issue was penny loafers and knee socks, wool skirts with stitched-down pleats from the waist to hip and sweaters — vee-necked, turtle necked, sweater vests. And layers, lots and lots of layers, although, of course, it was all about the combined look rather than the peeling off of layers.
I still enjoy perusing the fashion catalogues and magazines to discover what’s the latest “in” fashion, but I’ve come to a recent discovery about lovely, sleek pictures and the trendy, eye-catching fall and winter ensembles.
You can only wear them in New England! Well, that might be an exaggeration. Winter storms occur in Utah, where I went to college, and in Idaho, where I first taught school. Maine, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Wyoming. Yes, plenty of states where there’s zero or near-zero temperatures.
But those pictures I see in the catalogues? Those are New Yorkers. NY fashion designers dressing their models in layers and layers of gorgeous wools and silks, tweeds and fleece and knits.
And you’d better be five feet ten inches tall and weigh no more than 100 pounds if you’re going to successfully wear those heavy layers of fabrics.
For decades I resisted the reality. Here in northern California where I live, winter means — wait for it — RAIN. Not snow or sleet or even just a really chilly 25 degree weather. RAIN, relentless and a major PITA. I mourn those days in Idaho when I couldn’t start my car and walked to school, heavily draped in my beautiful black wool coat and knee boots, gloves and a scarf. I didn’t think about shoveling snow off the sidewalk. I didn’t care about slick roads and stalled cars. And although I wasn’t five feet ten inches tall, I was the young, slim and sexy teacher.
I have two coats in my closet now. A light-weight black jacket and a jean jacket. For dress-up I wear slacks and a sweater in the winter, slacks and a light blouse in cool months; jeans and a sweat shirt or jeans and a cotton shirt.
B – O – R – I – N – G!
Executing fashion at my age has become a chore rather than a pleasure.
But, damn, I still love flipping through the winter fashion magazines. Even if I do wonder who’s wearing them and where are they being worn!
What about you? What’s your favorite fashion season? Are you a sleeveless shirts and shorts girl? Or do you, like me, revel in the classy look of winter fashions? Are you an evening gal or a surf and turf kind of person? What are your go-to outfits?
A special announcement of the release of my second Hitman Series, novella “The Hitman’s Heart.” Available December 20.
Posted by Jo Robertson Nov 20 2013, 11:58 pm in flu season, guest Megan Banks, Jo Robertson, sick mommies
Hi, Romance Bandits and Buddies. This is Megan, writing her mom’s blog for her because she’s really sick with the flu. And she got her flu shot too! Life just isn’t fair. Luckily, she has two wonderful daughters who live close and can help her out. She has four wonderful sons who live near her, but they’re not so good with helping out. JK!!
The flu has wiped out my family this year. My sister Shannon’s kids have been sick several times (of course, they’re always sick ) but I got the flu really bad this year. Last year too. I admit it was my own fault and the doctor nagged me about it because I work with little, snotty-nosed kids every day. And you all know they’re a giant pool of germs.
Shannon and I own a pre-school (check it out at http://www.lmnopreschool.com) and I always forget to get my flu shot. The flu season just sneaks up on me! Since I’m the only blond in a family of seven kids, everyone tells me I’m the not so smart one. I don’t care. Sometimes being the dumbest person in the room is the smart thing to be. Anyway, I’m cute and funny and Daddy’s favorite.
So when I got the flu several weeks ago, everyone pitched in to help. Shannon ran the school all by herself, which isn’t easy because we have 12 three and four year old kids and put them in 3 different activity stations and rotate stations. My husband is a respiratory therapist who works 12 hour shifts, so he wasn’t around much.
The women in my church brought in casseroles (which none of the kids eat). Why do church people always bring food when someone is sick or dies? And if they do, why don’t they just bring McDonalds? Don’t they know that’s all kids eat?
from NJ Journal, Jan 2013
Back to the subject: I loved being sick when I was little. My mom always treated the sick kid extra nice, which wasn’t easy because there were 7 of us trying to get her attention. To be fair, she only allowed us 2 days of sickness, three at the most. After that we were on our own! I didn’t appreciate how lucky I was to get those days of pampering from my mom, though. When MY kids are sick and I’m sick too, I wonder how she managed.
We had chicken pox when I was about 5 and all 7 kids got it two weeks apart. Mom ran around like a crazy person, dabbing the spots on our faces and arms with calamine lotion and screaming, “Don’t scratch!”
I think I saw her packing a suitcase towards the end, planning her escape. Poor mommy. I only have two children and I can’t imagine how my mother got through illnesses like that.
I have a great husband who helps when I’m sick, but many mothers don’t. Their husbands act like the mom’s the only one who can handle illness or disease. What jerks!
But when I’m sick, I still want my mom to sit on the edge of my bed and put a cool washcloth to my head, check on me every few minutes, and give me popsicles to eat. So that’s what I’m doing for my mommy.
Have a good thought for my mom who’s still really sick. Plus her hair color now has 2 weeks outgrowth and she looks like the wicked witch. Five days without a shower or shampoo will do that to you.
And don’t forget your flu shot!
Here’s a question for you. Who takes care of you when you’re sick? Do you have any memories of your mother tending you when you were little? Do you want to get sick sometimes just so you can get a break from life?
Posted by Jo Robertson Nov 9 2013, 12:01 am in Donna Fasano, Giveaway, Guest Author, Jo Robertson
Please welcome our guest best-selling author Donna Fasano to the Lair today! Donna is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, whom you can learn more about here:
Hi, Donna. It’s good to have you visit us today!
Let’s start with a basic question most readers want to know about the writers they enjoy. What attracted you to writing in the first place?
I came to writing from my love of reading. While growing up, I lost myself in books in order to escape an unhappy childhood. I suffered a lot of tragedy while I was growing up, the worst of which was the death of my mother just as I was entering my teens.
I felt as though I went from 13 to 35 overnight, and when my friends were off having fun, I was cooking and cleaning and helping my little brother with his homework. Romance novels were an escape for me. The Wolf and the Dove, The Far Pavilions, Whitney My Love, Rebecca, The Thorne Birds… if the book featured one man and one woman falling in love, I read it!
Romance novels offered me hope for a happy future filled with love (hokey, maybe, but I was a naïve teen). As a young wife and mother, I discovered Silhouette Romance Novels. These books were short and sweet and uplifting. Each and every story put a smile on my face, and the happily-ever-after endings always boosted my spirits.
What sub-genre of romance are you most comfortable writing?
I wrote for Harlequin for 20 years, writing sweet romance (as Donna Clayton) and women’s fiction (under my own name). I have self-published some of my books. The Merry-Go-Round was my first indie-published book. Reclaim My Heart is my very first Montlake publication. I am proud and excited to have been picked up by such a prestigious publisher.
How has your life experience influenced your writing?
I think authors who face a lot of pain and anguish seem to write stories with great depth, with honesty and compassion. It could be that dealing with trauma brings out the best (or worst) in people. I believe that losing my mother at such a young age had a huge impact on me not just as a writer but as a human being. I became, I don’t know, more maternal towards my family, my friends, heck, towards everyone I meet… more giving of myself, I guess you could say.
My mother’s death could have made me bitter and angry. I’m just so grateful that the exact opposite seems to describe me.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
I have visited so many beautiful places. The South of France, the rolling mountains of Italy, the Mediterranean Sea, the cobbled streets of Brussels, the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, beautiful Morro Bay, California, and I spend lots of time in Ocean City, Maryland. I obviously can’t pick a favorite. Besides, there are so many places waiting to be seen!
Tell us a little bit about Reclaim My Heart.
Sixteen years ago, Tyne Whitlock cut all ties to her past and left town under the shameful shadow of a teenage pregnancy. Now her fifteen-year-old son is in trouble with the law, and she is desperate for help. But reaching out to high-powered attorney Lucas Silver Hawk will tear open the heart-wrenching past in ways Tyne never imagined.
Forced to return to the Delaware Indian community where Lucas was raised, Tyne and Lucas are tempted by the heated passion that consumed them as teens. Tyne rediscovers all the reasons she found this man irresistible, but there are scandalous secrets waiting to be revealed, disgraceful choices made in the past that cannot be denied. Love is a powerful force that could heal them both—if the truth doesn’t rip them apart.
What was your favorite part to write? Which part was the hardest?
I really enjoyed writing the love scenes. In my sweet romances, all the ‘spice’ takes place behind closed doors. So this was very fun. And which part was hardest? The “kitchen love scene” (naughty pun intended!).
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m thinking of writing a book that revolves around three friends in different stages of marriage, but I’m not sure yet. I’ve worked very hard on Reclaim My Heart and I’m going to take a few days off. Then I’ll get back to work!
I want to thank you for hosting me, and I want to thank your followers for taking the time to read about Reclaim My Heart.
Donna is giving away an electronic download of Reclaim My Heart to one lucky commenter, so be sure to respond to the post.
And Donna has a question for our readers: If YOU could live inside the world of a book, which book would you choose and what character would you want to be?
Posted by Jo Robertson Oct 29 2013, 11:58 pm in Appalachian, Grand Tetons, Jo Robertson, mountains, Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevadas
Anyone remember that old song, performed as a round?
I love the mountains,
I love the rolling hills,
I love the flowers,
I love the daffodils
Boom-de-ah-da, Boom-de-ah-da, Boom-de-ah-da, Boom
Rainy Blue Ridge Mountains
I realized when I was thinking of that camp song that I’ve lived near or around mountains forever. Now, I’m not a scenery/setting kind of person. When I travel to other places, I enjoy soaking in the historical and architectural elements of the area more than the wonders of nature.
But I think subconsciously I’ve been enjoying mountainous areas all my life. Although I lived in West Berlin when I was a child after World War II, and that area is mostly flat lowlands (the highest elevation is a mere 250 meters), I spent my elementary and high school years in Virginia among the rolling hills of the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range.
The Appalachian Range once rivaled the Rockies in height, but erosion over the centuries has made them more rounded than sharp and jagged. Their beauty is that of rolling hills and rich, forested valleys.
We visited my relatives in West Virginia and Kentucky (known locally as the Holler) several times a year when I was growing up. I remember driving around hairpin curves, steadily climbing higher and higher. There were no road guards in those days and my dad was known for taking those turns very fast. I always stayed awake during those trips, singing country and spiritual songs (“Little Brown Jug” and “Old Rugged Cross”) to keep my dad from falling asleep at the wheel. That’s when I also learned “Church in the Wildwood” and “Over There,” silly songs and war songs.
That my dad might fall asleep while driving was no child’s unfounded fear. One year my father drove his parents over these treacherous curves during a heavy rainstorm, they slid off the road, and the car rolled several times before landing in a ditch over the side of the mountain. My father ended up in a body cast for many months, but no one else was hurt. There is a dangerous beauty in those twisted unboundaried roads and their soft rolling hills.
When I went to college in the west the university was surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, which stretch from British Columbia to New Mexico in the southern United States. My roommate, a girl from Michigan hated the mountains, saying she felt like she was being smothered on every side by their jagged sharp peaks and shear surfaces. I loved them. They nestled me like a baby in a crib, and I never grew tired of their infinite snow-capped tops and their rugged slick faces. I believe I lost my virginity in one of their many aspen groves.
The Grand Tetons
When I first married, we made our home among the Grand Tetons of Idaho, part of the Rocky Mountain Range. I was fascinated by the different names given the various peaks. Early French explorers called one collection of mountains in the Teton Range les trois tetons (the three breasts) or Teewinot (Shoshone for “many pinnacles), and the Cathedral Group.
Now I make my home near the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range which lies in California and Nevada and reaches its height at Mt. Whitney, near Independence, California.
I may enjoy studying man-made edifices: churches and cathedrals, universities and tenements, but when I observe the mountains, I feel like I’m close to the face of God.
What about you? Hills or Valleys or Sea Levels? Mountains or Lowlands? Cities or Suburbs? Which kind of landscapes fascinate you the most? Are you happy where you live or do you long for new vistas?
Posted by Jo Robertson Oct 20 2013, 9:17 am in Favorite Book Day, Jo Robertson
Sorry for the delay this Sunday. I think many of the Banditas are on vacation or making the conference/workshop circuits, and we overlooked today’s date.
As many of you know, I recently released my first audible book, “The Watcher.” Robert Forge, my awesome narrator/producer recently visited the Lair to discuss audio book
So, in keeping track of sales on my audio book, as well as my book sales, I’ve been trying to find a pattern or trend:
When do people buy books most often?
Because of my own life style, I guessed it’d be on the weekend when folks aren’t working, but online book sales actually seem to dwindle on the weekend.
Okay, I thought, Saturday is the work day, right? The day we work in the yard, clean the house, do laundry, or buy groceries and run errands. Sundays are the days many people attend church, go to the movies, and generally just take “a day of rest.” When I taught school, I always graded papers on Sundays. No day of rest there!
Then I guessed it was on Tuesdays when NY generally releases its new books. I figured people wanted to take a peek at the most current book on the market.
I’ve tried releasing my own books and/or advertising them on every day of the week, but can’t notice a discernible pattern. Is book purchasing a random thing, I wondered? Do people just buy a book on a whim or when the mood suits them? Or is there a pattern? Do they visit the bookstore or go online on a specific day to search for a new book to read or whenever they have a few extra minutes in their busy schedules?
What about you? Do you have a Book Search Day? Do you go online to buy a book or make a production of browsing the brick and mortar bookstores on a certain day?
Posted by Jo Robertson Sep 29 2013, 11:58 pm in audio books, Guest Robert Forge, Jo Robertson
We just finished production of my very first audio book: The Watcher, a romantic thriller. Big sigh of relief! I had no idea how much work went into the creation of an audio book, not only for the author of the book, but for the narrator-producer.
I was fortunate enough to have professional narrator Robert Forge (http://www.RobertForge.com) agree to produce The Watcher and I’m extraordinarily pleased with the result. I chose Rob because I fell in love with the quality of his narrative voice; it’s very pleasant to listen to. And I especially liked how he portrayed the female protagonist in The Watcher. So often deep-voiced men make women sound weak, fluttery, or just plain silly!
Producing an audio book is definitely a team effort. Clearly the producer has the greater burden at the start of the project. There’s all that sound engineering involved along with the “acting” quality of the narrator.
I’d envisioned myself sitting back and listening to the chapters, approving or disapproving, but it was so much more than that! I had to wade through nearly ninety auditions, often twice or three times to choose the perfect narrator in Robert Forge.
I learned something about myself during the course of the project. I’m a picky old gal! I found that my ears detect the nuances of language much better than my eyes! Who would’ve thought?
I’ve invited narrator/producer Robert Forge to join us today to discuss his career and what he enjoys about the process of producing a quality project. He’s been a joy to work with.
Hi, Rob, welcome to the Romance Bandits! Tell us a little about yourself, your training and how you came to be involved in such a demanding career.
Hi Jo! Thanks for asking me to be a part of this. I been working on creative projects for as long as I can remember. Variety shows and piano recitals in elementary school led to shooting movies, writing plays, and making music in high school and beyond. I ended up studying Theatre/Television at Texas Christian University and I got my MFA in Acting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
After graduating, I moved to New York where I worked as an actor for a few years, often doing Shakespeare. I loved anything that was textually challenging. While I didn’t continue acting, I still found myself doing character voices and creating projects to use them. After a few years of that, I said, why don’t I do this for real? So I took some classes, learned some great techniques from some great people in the business, and now I get to put it all together.
Many writers have a DDJ (dreadful day job), something that pays the bills until they make enough money from their writing careers to pay the bills. What about you?
Yes, I have one of those as well. The real benefit is that, with my basic financial obligations covered, I am free to experiment with smaller, riskier, and often more exciting projects. I know my family will still be able to eat even if these projects don’t bring in a ton of money. The downside is that I have less time to be creative. It’s a trade-off, but hopefully one of these little projects will eventually hit big and I can make the leap to doing this full time.
I know you recently completed an in-home recording studio (see photos). Can you tell us what prompted you to move in this direction and how you feel about the result?
I am thrilled to have a sound studio in my house. It’s awesome to be able to produce professional-quality audio right from home. It was the final piece of the production puzzle. Before this, I had submitted auditions from my home office but that quality wouldn’t work for a finished product – especially one the length of an audio book. Having a studio elevates the whole operation. It’s a dream come true.
Is the audio recording business as competitive as the writing business?
It is extremely competitive. I’m up against professionals who have been doing this for years and beginners who just set up mics in their apartments. That’s a lot of people going after a limited number of jobs. So I need to bring something unique to the table to get the right attention. I consider myself lucky to have had such positive experiences on the audio books I’ve recorded. All I can do is focus on improving my technique and continue to step up to the plate. The rest is luck.
What’s been the hardest thing about your job? The easiest?
The editing on an audio book is tedious. I did not have an engineer on this, so all of the work involved after reading a chapter aloud — more than you might think — was my responsibility. And I’m meticulous, so that takes a while. But the most challenging part of recording is finding and maintaining the emotional connection to the story. It takes focus and a lot of stamina, and the goal is to get the listener to forget about me and invest 100% in the story.
The easiest and most fun part is bringing the characters to life. In this book, there are over two dozen characters, and although it takes work to come up with a distinct voice for each one, once I’m in the booth, I have a blast. Audio books offer the perfect blend of text and character work. It’s a great job to have.
For our readers who listen to audio books (I’m a big fan and usually listen to one in the car on longer drives and always when I go to bed at night.) I hope you enjoy the audio version of The Watcher, now available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/17JBR4h
Here are some questions for our readers: Are you a big audio book fan? What’s one of your favorite? J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series is great on audio.
If you could hear your favorite character in any book be given a real person’s voice, whose voice would you choose?
What qualities do you think make an audio book narrator great? What do you want to get from the person telling you the story? What makes you like one reader over another?
Today I’m giving away a free audible download of “The Watcher” to one lucky commenter. Come on; let’s dish audio books!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Sep 27 2013, 12:10 am in Anna Sugden, Fall, Grace Kelly, Halloween Weddings, Happy Anniversary, I Do, Jeanne Adams, Jo Robertson, Nancy Northcott, Starbucks, Susan Sey, weddings
After Bandita Susan’s post the other day about “I Do” – and receiving a very cool wedding invite just today! - I’m in the mood for a wedding! Also, I’m ever so fond of Bandita Anna S’s Quick Fives, so I thought I’d try my hand at it and make it a combo! Grins. By the way, Bandita Nancy was also a bit of the inspiration for this post, since she and her DH have been married 26 wonderful years, as of yesterday! (Congrats, Nancy!!)
This one, however, is about relationships. Whether you’re in one or not, you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. As Romance writers and readers we delve into the whole dynamic of relationships, and get to see both the best and worst of what happens. As writers, we often create terrible relationships in our characters’ past so that they are overcoming those wounds in the present, and with the help of their heroine or hero, they come to see the joy and grace that CAN be in relationship.
In short, we create characters who have either found the will to love again, or have opened up to it when they meet their match.
So….here we go….
1. What’s the longest running HAPPY relationship you know of?
For me, this is my Aunt, as she and my Uncle were married for 53 years prior to his passing and were always giggling and happy with one another as well as respectful and supportive! Oh, wait…there’s also Pat Cochran – Bandita Buddy Extraordinaire – she and her Honey have been married quite a while too! And Bandita Jo has put in some years as well….
(And NO, that picture on the right is NOT a picture of any of the aforementioned! Hahahah!)
2 A If you’re married, how long have you been married? (Or if widowed, how long were you married?)
I’m joyfully heading for the fifteen year mark! That’s me and the DH up there with the Dalmatians.
2B If you’re not married, but in a relationship, how long has it been going on? Or what’s the longest running relationship you’ve had?
This IS the longest relationship I’ve had (Almost 17 years together!), and although I’d been married before, I gotta say…this is GREAT!
3. What is the best thing, to you, about being in a relationship?
Love, obviously, but what’s next? Comfort? Sex? Security? Laughter? Fun? Shared experiences?
For me, its about laughter, connection, sex (sorry, honey, gotta brag!), and shared experiences…and of course love, love, love!
4. If you were/are single today, and were a heroine or hero in a book, what would be the most important positve trait you’l look for in a mate? (Isn’t that kilted groom pic on the left fun? Pic from Wikimedia commons, as is the Grace Kelly photo.)
For me, the positive trait I looked for and found (besides physical compatibility!) was laughter/sense of humor!
5. If you were planning a wedding for yourself today, or vow renewal, and money was no issue, would you go for a big party and a new wedding dress?
White or cream or a color?
Or would you go for a big party or BBQ, and just have fun with friends and family?
Or would you go to the beach/mountains/special place with just a few close friends and say those words all over again?
Describe!! (There’s a picture – above right - of the incredibly elegant Grace Kelly on her wedding day…do you think Nicole Kidman’s going to pull it off in the new movie?)
If I were doing it again – the wedding or vow renewal with the darling DH – I’d do it in October and have all the pumpkins and hay bales and corn stalk bundles and mums I could possibly find. Grins.
(Cake pic from Yahoo Images, pumpkins and other pics from my collection)
This should be fun! I can’t wait to hear what YOU would do!
And just because it’s FALL and FOOTBALL season and I’m LOVING it (and the delight of going to a wedding again!), I’m going to randomly give out some Starbucks Cards to today’s commenters!!
Posted by Jo Robertson Sep 20 2013, 11:58 pm in Jo Robertson, revenge stories, The Bridge
I must have a really dark soul because I love revenge stories.
One of the greatest revenge stories ever told is Shakespeare’s “Othello.” It’s always been one of my favorites, even though it’s about misunderstanding and manipulation, as well as revenge.
In case you’ve forgotten the story line, Iago hates his general Othello and tries to destroy him by sullying the good name of Desdemona, whom Othello married by running away without her father’s permission. Consequently, believing the truth of the evil rumors whispered in his ear by his “loyal” soldier Iago, Othello punishes his “wayward” wife by strangling her, only to find out in the end that she was faithful to him.
In “Othello” Iago wants revenge because he was passed over for a commission, but the reader/audience suspects that the true underlying motive is jealousy — jealousy of all that Iago is and has, a beautiful wife, an honorable reputation.
All of Shakespeare’s tragedies, of course, end with most of the characters dying. My students used to get very annoyed if I “gave away the ending.” Regardless of how many times, I prefaced my remarks with “It’s a tragedy! EVERYONE dies in the end!” they hated spoilers.
Young readers almost always enjoy the ending more than the journey.
Personally, I like the journey more than the ending; that’s probably why I enjoy revenge stories. Hugh Jackman plays a father avenging the kidnapping of his daughter and her friend in “The Prisoner,” soon to be released. Since I’d see Jackman in just about anything, I don’t want to miss this one.
Revenge stories often involve vigilantism.
Another favorite revenge story is “Death Wish,” starring Charles Bronson as a man avenging the death of his wife and catatonic state of his daughter. And naturally there’re the Dirty Harry stories. No one did payback better than Clint Eastwood.
I’m watching FX’s new drama “The Bridge.” If you haven’t seen this show, you ought to buy Season 1 when it ends or see if you can stream the episodes now. It’s a cleverly plotted story that brings together two police officers, one from Juárez, Mexico, and the other from El Paso, Texas, to solve a murder case. They’re an unlikely match, but that’s what makes the relationship interesting.
“The Bridge” refers to the Bridge of the Americas, one of the four bridges that connects Juárez with El Paso as ports of entry between the United States as Mexico. Its twisty and fast-paced plot revolves around the revenge motif and underscores the old saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
The antagonist is cold, cruel, and vengeful, and his identity is not revealed until way into the series.
Romance stories often have revenge as a major or minor theme. Often the hero tries to compromise or ruin the heroine for an offense done to him or his family in the past. Or vice versa.
Although romance revenges aren’t usually as dark and bloody as mainstream revenge stories, they’re always interesting as character studies because the protagonists have to change what initiated their desire for revenge in the first place in order for them to have their happy every after ending.
In fact, it could be argued that romances can’t really be revenge stories because of the transformation required of the hero or heroine. What do you think?
Do you like revenge stories as much as I do? What’s your favorite? Can you name any romance revenge stories for us to add to our TBR pile? Anyone watching “The Bridge”? What do you think of it?
Posted by Jo Robertson Aug 29 2013, 11:55 pm in Becoming Betty, family, family traits, Jo Robertson, mothers and fathers
When my oldest son was a teenager he commented that something “sucked.” As an adult parent, I was seriously offended.
However, recently I found myself talking to him on the phone and commented that some annoying protocol at work “totally sucked.”
Long silent pause.
“You grounded me for a week for saying that when I was a teenager,” he complained. ”Don’t you remember? My mom’s getting a potty mouth!”
No, I hadn’t remembered, and in retrospect, the punishment seemed overly harsh. After all, as a writer I believe that words are just words. Their power arises from how and when they’re used.
I used to say to my children, “Don’t make me stop this car” when they were quarreling in the backseat. I had heard the threat often enough from my own parents when I was a child, and it squirmed its way into my lexicon.
Recently I heard my daughter say this same phrase to her sweet, darling, very innocent children — my grandchildren — who, of course, can do no wrong.
I’m going to tell you a secret that seems to me as immutable a fact as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
We will become our parents.
You will become your mother. Or your father.
I used to be horrified at the thought: my mother was this old-fashioned, never had a job or went to college, somewhat dowdy woman. How could that be? Now I embrace the idea with a lovingness that I never expected.
Every day of my life I find myself more and more like my mother.
My hands are hers — large and work worn-looking. My hair is hers, though not as thick and luscious as hers was. My deep-set eyes are definitely inherited from her. My early-morning cheerfulness and optimistic pragmatism are hers. And I thank my lucky stars every day for this!
My body is hers; my high startle-reflex is hers. The inadvertent and unexpected shiver for no reason has passed from her (Betty) to me to my daughter Megan and her daughter Sydney as surely as if the same person occupied a single body’s nerves and reflexes.
I am becoming Betty — Mary Elizabeth, my mother — gone these fourteen years, but still missed.
Here’s a question for our readers: Do you have traits, physical or otherwise, passed on to you from relatives? Do you find yourself using the same phrases or tone of voice as a parent? Are you more like your mother or your father? Which celebrities families do you think bear a strong resemblance?
Posted by Jo Robertson Jul 29 2013, 11:58 pm in A Game of Thrones, epic fantasy, George R.R. Martin, Jo Robertson, series books
I am not much of a fantasy reader.
Nor sci-fi or anything connected to fairies, fae, or magik. I think my brain doesn’t make pictures out of those kinds of stories, so I’m much more friendly toward them when the movie versions are released.
But I seriously got hooked on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m nearing the end of reading book five, “A Dance of Dragons,” and am amazed at how the game board has changed throughout the series. Major players have died and interesting characters have arisen.
I’ve watched the stunning HBO series based on Martin’s novels three times, all three seasons and I’m now going into serious withdrawal from this series.
Why can’t Martin write faster? Some of his fan/critics suggest that he get off the television series track and back to writing book six. Others, like me, just pray he doesn’t die before he finishes the series.
George is 65 and looks more robust than unhealthy, I tell myself.
I don’t want to spend my twilight years making up different scenarios to end the series like I did during ninth grade when I discovered that Margaret Mitchell really didn’t tell us if Rhett and Scarlett get back together. Arrggghhh.
The thirteen-year-old daughter of a friend of mine pinned me down the other day to ask me if I thought the Harry Potter series was a “classic.” After we discussed what made a book a classic — we narrowed it down to one criterion: Will the book be read by significant numbers of people a hundred years from now? Then we talked about why certain young adult books (not named here) would not make the list, while others (Harry Potter included) would last long after our bones have crumbled to dust.
So let me tell you why I believe readers (and not only fantasy readers and not only because fantasy is popular right now) will read Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire several hundred years from now with the same awe and enjoyment that I read it today.
First, the world is stellar although it looks familiar, borrowing on medieval elements to anchor it. In fact, this is why I first started watching Season One. I thought it was a medieval novel.
This familiarity draws us into the story until the supernatural elements that are a strong part of the narration seem natural and expected — and not all that impossible. Martin must be a genius to keep the broad cast of characters straight. I gave up about halfway through book one.
The story is epic. The book is less about intrigue, political alliances, and power than it is about betrayal, ambition, and honor. I love these multi-thematic stories. They resonate with an understanding that gives me shivers because they’re tied to my real-life world.
In the setting of A Song of Ice and Fire, Westeros, there are seven kingdoms, with the seat of power in King’s Landing. The kingdoms pledge allegiance to the throne, held by Robert Baratheon, but they mostly keep out of each other’s way until rebellion arises. Then the lords of the kingdoms call their banner men and they go to war.
Rising above all of this is the danger beyond the Wall, a massive 700-foot high wall that separates Westeros from the unknown entities on the other side. The Nights Watch man the Wall and protect the kingdoms against the imminent coming of whatever bogeyman breaks through their forces and threatens Westeros.
Against this backdrop Martin has set his stories of love and death, fear and courage, honor and betrayal.
Finally, George R.R. Martin is a master of language. His diction and detail are plain, but lyrical. Even when I don’t understand the current plotline, I enjoy the rolling of the words off my mind’s tongue. Like the world he’s built, the language feels familiar and comforting, the meter gentle while the story is not.
I’ve never been one who reads to find out how the story ends. It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind spoiler alerts. A true classic story is about the journey rather than the destination.
But I’m going to be really pissed if Martin dies before he finishes this particular story.
Here are some questions for our readers: Have you given Martin’s series a try, either in book or television form? What’s your favorite all-time series? What book was best shown in film format? What do you think makes a book a classic?