2 Blondes, 1 Redhead & a Reviewer

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Ahh, welcome to my casting couch…

This is every writer’s fantasy. To be able to cast characters for a movie. I’d load up photos if I knew how to do it on this site.  I’m writing the last Dragon One, End Game

Killian Moore– Gerald Butler.   I had his image in my head from day one.

Logan Chambliss — Clive Owen, sans the English accent. Studious enough to be your doctor>

Sam Wyatt– Josh Brolin.  So perfect, rough and tough.  (huge fan of Brolin)

Riley Donovan– Bradley Cooper, the player.  Need I say more?

Sebastian Fontenot—Channing Tatum, add a little Cajun accent.  Tall, lean and handsome.

Max Renfield – Josh Duhamel I say this now, but in my head is a cross between Josh and Sam Worthington.  But let’s face it, either would do for the role.


What’s odd is Hugh Jackman didn’t make the cut, when he’s a favorite of mine.  Maybe the next book, huh?


Ready for my close up


Let’s cast a Finley Tanner movie.   Not a problem except that I don’t know all the actor’s names, so you’ll just have to settle for characters they play on TV/Stage/Screen – sorry.  BTW, this is easy for me; I use visuals when I do books so I actually have photos attached to my character bios.


Finley – easy as pie.  The actress who plays Callie on CSI Miami.  She has the looks, the accent and the whole visual package.  I have no idea if she’s funny but based on her stint on The West Wing; I think she’d carry it off.


Cassidy (Fin’s mom) – another easy one.  Stockard Channing.  She’d be so perfect.  Not just visually but she can handle playing the bad girl – a huge necessity for the role.


Lisa (Fin’s sister) – piece of cake – Ashley Judd.  Quiet, unassuming and can play serious well.  She’d need those things to carry off the role of and over-achieving pediatric oncologist.


Becky (Fin’s BFF) The redhead who used to play a lawyer on L&O SUV.


And Liam . . . Detective Flack from CSI New York.


Can you tell what kind of television shows I watch?  If there’s a dead body, I’m all over it!  Now, if only these talented people would grab a copy of Slightly Irregular . . .


I’d be on cloud nine.

The Tenth Song

by Naomi Ragen

The Tenth Song is an eye-opening, unpredictable novel that will have you rethinking the way you live your life.  Ragen generalizes about the materialistic nature of American Jews, pointing to the void of spiritual meaning in their day-to-day existence.  It can, however, be read as a commentary on American society in general, as the majority of us tend to be more bottom-line oriented than spiritual.  We want what we want, when we want it, and rarely stop to reflect on the quality of our lives and on whether or not we truly feel fulfilled by more than just the things we own and how much is in our bank accounts.

When the story opens, we see Abigail Samuels reflecting on how wonderful life is, how beautiful her garden is and how happy she is to be spending the day planning her youngest daughter’s engagement party.  Like a Danielle Steele novel, it’s not hard to figure out that such a perfect life is about to have a bomb dropped within its midst.  And sure enough, by the second chapter, all is no longer well with her perfect family and its perfect existence.  Her husband of forty years, Adam, a prominent and highly successful accountant, very well respected in the Jewish community, is arrested and charged with a horrible crime.  Abigail must be the strong one, even though she feels anything but.

As the story unfolds, we see how this tragedy affects Abigail, Adam and all three of their grown children; however, the story mostly focuses on Kayla, the youngest, who had just gotten engaged.  Kayla is a Harvard law student, as is her fiancé, and had a bright future she had been about to embark on.  All of that is placed in jeopardy, and Kayla impulsively flees to the Israeli Desert to try to find out who she really is and what she really wants.  Kayla, who had been spoiled her entire life, is forced to rethink her life and how she wants to live it.

I have to say that at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read about someone’s spiritual awakening (once I realized that’s what was happening); but I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.  As I stated upfront, this is an eye-opening novel and the questions confronting Kayla, Abigail and Adam are questions we should all be asking ourselves and pushing to find the answers that satisfy and complete us.

There is much to be learned from this novel, the most important of which is that we all have a number of songs in us.  Once one is finished, it is only natural that you move onto the next, until you reach your tenth and final song, the one that will define your life and make your existence worthwhile.  It is this tenth song we should all be striving to perfect.  It’s an interesting philosophy, especially for those of us trying to make sense of a world that is not always sensible and hardly ever fair.

Towards the end of the novel, Kayla’s father, Adam, shares this reflection:  “Sometimes one was never destined to reap the rewards of one’s efforts.  If you did, you should consider it a blessing, not a natural outcome.”  Ragen’s well-spun tale, beautifully written, backs this up and forces each and every reader to re-evaluate their lives, however fairly or unfairly they’ve been judged over the course of their lives.  As I said a couple times now, it’s eye-opening stuff, very worthwhile.

Bonnie Crisalli

Research, the writers excuse for road trips

 You can get caught up in research. I always do.  The useless facts I know about Ireland are many and this is where I learned to curtail it.  Plot first, and then the rest will come along with your need to know. Writers love interesting useless facts and we get lost in our favorite past time, finding new ideas for a story.

I say that for contemporary.  Yet if you are writing a historical, get ready to do some work. Having written about 20 of them, I suggest you pick an era and research the hell out of it.  From clothes to manners, to rank of lords, ladies, servants and their dress as well as location of your chosen era.  Historical romance readers are very well versed and the instant they find a flaw, you’ve lost credibility.  One key to making a historical feel real to the reader is not using any modern language.  Research it. I have 24 dictionaries about everything from household items to wicked words which is exactly what it sounds like (and the title of the book) 

The same goes for any genre; plot first, research second. If you think you need to take a research trip to Scotland or Ireland, you don’t. I’ve never set foot on Irish soil and yet have received several letters from Irish men and women about my books and accurate picture I’d painted of their country.  You don’t take a research trip without a strong plot in your hands or you wouldn’t know where to start.  Read Rhonda’s post. She researched a trip in nearby Savannah. 

Researching setting is essential and tossing in topical points. Food joints, taxi service, local amusement. It gives your story location flavor.

There are people on Wiki-travel who post video and photos of their vacations.  God love them for that, I needed it for my last Dragon One. I strongly advise you follow my rule when I was a journalist.  Document it three times and I don’t mean all on line.  Wikipedia is not always correct.  Neither are any of those viewer edited sites and if you trust them, you’re in for a surprise.  A writer gets the facts right.  I’m not willing to risk my reputation on it. However, its fiction. No limits and nothing is illegal. Make it up. We do it all the time. You think Dragon One exists?  Or the legend I used in Damage Control?  No, but their equipment and weapons do.  I’ve described the recoil of a 9mm long before I had the chance to fire one.  It’s loud and you’d better have strong shoulders to hold it out straight to aim. 

I don’t have to ride in a carriage to know it would rattle my teeth.


Rockin’ the research!

Research is a wonderful thing. My entire fascination with Eleanor of Aquitaine comes from research for Boadicea’s Legacy. One line about Eleanor dressed as an Amazon with her ladies, defying convention, sparked an entire series – The Queen’s Guard.  Who were the woman closest to the queen? Why were they trusted?

That is how her ‘guard’ was created, although at first I called them the ladies in her garden, and each one has a flower code name. I switched to Guard and kept the flower names…

Researching food gave me the idea for my non fiction book I’m planning for a Medieval Cookbook. I want to showcase a fabulously disgusting medieval dish, such as jellied boar’s head in clam sauce, and then actually make something similar that is edible <g>

Research can also be a gigantic time suck. I want to read all the tidbits and tangents but that means that I am spending hours/days/weeks browsing instead of writing. Some of this is necessary for the process, and I can justify it, lol, but the book will not write itself no matter how well I’ve researched it. In the series that I am doing now, I try to be as correct as possible but I am not writing it in French, as they would have spoken, and especially not MEDIEVAL French, lol. I take creative license and let the reader know in the author’s note. I love the author’s notes in other writer’s books too. It’s where they confess their secrets, or explain small details that are ‘extra’ 🙂

 As much time as I put into my historicals,  the same effort is needed to create a brand new world, or to fact check my contemporary YAs. I love the internet, but I also like an actual book to dog ear, highlight and tag. I have an Alison Weir book that looks like its been through the ringer! It’s important to double, sometimes triple, check information and to give credit to the place you pulled it from. Amazon will often have used books listed for next to nothing, and I’ve had good luck getting decent quality stuff from them.
Does anybody out there have an amazing tip for research?

Happy Hunting!



My favorite things

I could get lost in research.  I’m especially fond of obscure facts that really aren’t relative to what I actually need.  So I’ve had to develop a system.

After I’ve plotted my book, I figure out what I need to know – what gun will fire under water; clothing; maps; landmarks; historical information on my setting – whatever I need to bring the story to life.

I’m very fond of local tourism board websites.  They tend to be full of details and directions and often have pictures (I’m really fond of visuals).

I love real estate brochures.  I can take real estate listings and pick a home for my character based on price, location and amenities. is another favorite.  I can dress any character in high-end attire. is another one – I can dress a character in clothing available to the masses. is invaluable.  Spring in Seattle is very different from spring in Palm Beach.

If possible, I like to visit the location.  If this isn’t possible, I like to subscribe to a local newspaper so I can get the flare and flavor of a particular area.  When I wrote a seven-book series set in Montana, I subscribed to a dinky weekly but it was invaluable.

I do research as I need it during the writing process.  This keeps me focused on what I need.

I will often strike up a conversation with a local.  The internet makes that relatively easy and it lends credibility if you can have your characters speak the native tongue – Coke can be coke-a-cola, soda, pop, or coke; New Yorkers stand on line instead of in line.  The lingo changes depending on the location of your story.  Get it right or be prepared to get letters.

My words of wisdom . . . don’t get bogged down in the details.  Include just enough information to make the setting, clothing or language realistic.  And by all means, avoid the info dump.  Just because you discovered something in the course of your research doesn’t mean it has to show up on the page.

Happy writing . . . Rhonda

Self Incrimination

I actually lead a pretty boring life. Work at Starbucks, work at home, glass of wine or two before bed, and repeat five days a week with a bonus work from home day on Saturday. Sundays are for the movies and the beach and just chilling. People say that I am a prolific writer. This is true. Not through sheer talent but because I am chained to my desk, lol. I have stories to tell, deadlines to meet, and readers to entertain. 

The topic for the week was self incrimination for a crime – funny or not – that we’ve committed against ourselves.  Working too much would be my achilles heel, but it is also what makes me happy. I’ve actually done better this year for balance with work, work, travel and family than last year, so I will take that as a win.

I’m racking my brain thinking of something to share that would be exciting!  Titallating. I got nothing. No secret foot fetish, no dressing in men’s suits and a fake mustache.  I get my own regularly waxed, thank you, lol. What about you, readers? Any confessions you want to air?

Happy Wednesday!


Guest Blogger Shelley Noble aka Shelley Freydont

Guest Blogger Shelley Noble aka Shelley Freydont.

Guest Blogger Shelley Noble aka Shelley Freydont

Hi fellow babe followers – today we have guest babe Shelley Noble aka Freydont talking about edits and the beach, which ties in with her brand spanking new novel, Beach Colors – available 6 12!

Beach Colors: A Novel


It’s Beach Time


It’s getting to be beach time and as always I seem to be eyeball deep in edits, proofs, new works in progress and, this year, waiting for my first women’s fiction to hit the shelves.  This month.  Next week. Just in time for beach reading.  Which is a good thing because my novel is titled Beach Colors.


Obviously I have a thing about the shore.  There’s something so inviting, and yet so challenging about the ocean.  We can laze for hours, basking in those UV rays, while we lose ourselves in a good book or two.  Or relax, having drinks on the terrace as the sun disappears behind us and the sky grows dark. And if you look hard at those tiny blinking lights on the distant black horizon, you might imagine they are alien space ships just waiting for us to go to sleep.  Or it could be the martinis, and they’re really just cruise ships on their way south.


The beach in winter or fall or spring takes on whole different atmospheres, just like different beaches have different personalities. Or how one day it can be welcoming and the next a huge natural force to threaten or frighten.


I always seem to set my stories at the shore.  All my mystery series take place on a lake or along a river.  I think part of that is that water is always moving, changing.  It can be reflective of the characters that inhabit the environs, can be their shelter in a storm, or their ultimate challenge.


The waves can also cleanse, invigorate.  When I’ve finished a stint of work and before I start on the next one, I just like to hang out, sometimes sitting, eyes closed, sometimes walking the boardwalk, while I let the tide rush in and pull out the bits and fragments of unused ideas, refresh them and hand them back. Then I feel inspired, energetic, and sometimes a bit sunburned.   Definitely relaxed and it takes me a few days to gear up again. 



But when I do, I feel like I have a whole new vocabulary of thoughts. Vacation, work session, or both rolled into one.  What could be better than a day at the shore?


Beach Colors is a story of Margaux Sullivan, a New York fashion designer who after a serious loss realizes her life has become the same as her designs, stark, cutting-edge and dark.  What happened to the enthusiastic, colorful designer she was when she started in the fashion business.  The optimistic girl she’d been when she lived in Crescent Cove, Connecticut, a beach town where every day was more colorful than the day before. Whether it was light glistening on the Long Island Sound, or clouds reflecting off the waves during a storm, sunrise or sunset, every day was a promise of something wonderful ahead.


Now she’s come home to rediscover those things, that person, to reconnect with her mother and her two best friends, to reinvent her life and perhaps, just perhaps, get a second chance at love.

Thank you Shelley!! Good luck with your new book – for more info, I’ve included the link to her website, and the amazon page 🙂

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