Clint Eastwood

His performance at the Republican Convention notwithstanding – I refuse to hold a grudge in light of his talent and his immense body of work – Clint Eastwood is the best anti-hero in film.

The only other actor I can think of who routinely played the hero/anti-hero was Humphrey Bogart.  Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Treasure of the Sierra MadreThe Maltese Falcon… but Eastwood plays a far more hardened anti-hero than Bogart ever did.

John Wayne walked a thin line in The Searchers, and he played a sloppy drunk in True Grit, but John Wayne was the icon, John Wayne, and his iconic status as a hero was hard to escape.  I preferred Jeff Bridges in the remake.  What a perfect anti-hero, U.S. Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn.  Bridges played the character straight up, right out of the pages of the novella by Charles Portis.

True Grit

On Christmas Day I watched High Plains Drifter, a movie Mr. Eastwood both directed and starred in.  The unnamed protagonist is merciless, vicious.  And the film is brutal.  But it’s also unforgettable.

High Plains Drifter

Here’s some of the plot~

A stranger on horseback rides into the mining town of Lago. Three gun-toting men follow him into the saloon, taunting him. When they follow him to the barbershop, he kills all three of them. Impressed with this performance, a dwarf named Mordecai befriends the Stranger. An attractive woman named Callie Travers bumps into him in the street and insults and badgers him. When she slaps him, he drags her into the livery stable and rapes her. Next, he rents a room at the hotel. That night, he dreams about a man being brutally whipped. It is revealed later that Marshal Jim Duncan was whipped to death by gunfighters Stacey Bridges, Dan Carlin, and Cole Carlin while the people of Lago looked on. Only Sarah Belding, wife of hotelier Lewis Belding, made any attempt to rescue him.

You can read the rest here:

Not many actors would take the risks Eastwood has taken in his long career.

All hail the anti-hero.  He makes any story more interesting.



Before I get to the good stuff, the better stuff!

If you go to the Siren site, not only can you get my new release, Pushing Her Boundaries, at 10% off, you can get all my Siren books at 15% off for the next three days!  Hurry!

Also better stuff…remember True Grit?  How much I loved both the movie and the book?  Well, I’ve got another movie rec for you.  This film is brilliant, deeply disturbing, dark and uplifting all at the same time.  I actually feel like True Grit and this movie should share the award for Best Picture.  It won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  Blew.  Me.  Away.  Winter’s Bone.  Go rent it ASAP.  I could not take my eyes off Jennifer Lawrence – the young actress in the leading role.

On to my scheduled topic:  Why I like a blank canvas.  One word – potential.  It’s all there, space waiting to be filled by my dreams, my fantasies, the crazy workings of my fevered mind.

Years ago, I painted.  Everyone expected me to be an art major because I had some unusual successes as a teenager.  I did begin my freshman year in college as Fine Arts major, but I failed. As far as my teachers were concerned, I sucked at life-drawing.  Sucked eggs.  I’d always painted abstractly, using a variety of tools and body parts, rarely brushes, incorporating lots of color.  I remember one teacher, a well-known painter in his own right, standing behind me as I painted what was supposed to be a portrait, harrumphing in a nasty fashion.  He consistently gave every one of my paintings an ‘F’.  Rather than skew my GPA downward, I dropped out of the class.  I haven’t painted since I was nineteen years old.  Because of two people, author Katalina Leon and Stephanie – book blogger at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust, I’m thinking of picking up a brush again, except I’ll probably pick up forks, spoons, rakes, straws, sticks, dog bones…

But what does this have to do with writing?  Well, when I stopped painting, I devoted myself to writing, at least for a time, and of course, picked it up again full time a few years ago.  I begin every story like I would begin a painting – I view the blank canvas on my word processor and see the story’s potential, in living color.  This isn’t paint by the numbers…the final result inevitably surprises me.

Tomorrow – why I miss all the parties.

Hold the Presses! The Spirit of 2011 is upon me!

I’m feeling a might New Years-ish!  The approaching change looks interesting this morning!

Time to recognize!

For meritorious conduct in the face of wicked witches and heart attacks, Penelope, you have been inducted into the Legion of Courage, along with Amber Skyze, who put on a brave face after enormous tragedy and soldiered on.  Ladies, my hat is off to you.  I admire your strength and fortitude – and I envy your sites and readership!

These two authors have stuck by me from day one of my very first publishing contract – I owe them a big shout out – Anny Cook and Sandra Cox.  You are the best!  Anny writes paranormal romance and Sandra fosters cats and writes some great YA fantasy and nonfiction.

She who makes me laugh out loud – no matter how awful stuff is, author Mia Watts!  She also writes the only M/M stuff I read.  Her men are, uh, incendiary.   Fanning myself…Oh she of the golden prose…think Lord Dunsany.

These two authors go above and beyond, generously devoting their time and space to other authors – Rachel Firasek and Michele ZurloMichele hosts The Steam Room and Rachel, A Possessed WIP.  Great stuff!

The female bloggers who force the old neurons to fire:

TJ of Dreams and Speculation – OMG – she’s a bloody genius!  Talk about expanding your horizons!  Reading TJ’s site does it every time.

Jessica at Read, React, Review – If book blogging was an experiment, she would be the control.  She’s like…it’s too early in the morning to think of words…let me put it this way…Jessica sets the bar high.

Charlie at Smart Girls Love Science Fiction and Paranormal Romance – the name of her site pretty much says it all.  She is one of the most concise bloggers I know, always fills her blog with outstanding content and reviews, which leads me to my next smart woman -

Rebecca, of Dirty Sexy Books.   Rebecca, along with Stephanie at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust, are my go-to women.  Rebecca, believe it or not, answers her emails!  She’s interactive and like all the bloggers mentioned above and below, responds to comments.  Plus, like Stephanie, she subscribes to the concept of ‘economy of words’.  She doesn’t waste my time.  Speaking of Stephanie, she’s like scary smart, yet incredibly tender-hearted.  She has a real soft spot for animals and nothing gets to me like a person with compassion for our furry and feathered friends.  She, Penelope, TJ and Jessica are all academics who love romance, paranormal and speculative fiction.  When I read their posts, I feel like I’m back in college listening to the lectures of my favorite professors.

The best recs?  Julie, at Outlandish Dreaming.  I get good reading recs from many sites, but Julie and I have similar taste in romance.  I use her site like a shopping cart – What’s Julie reading now?  Whatever it is, I’m on it!  Most of the books currently sitting in my TBR pile are from Outlandish Dreaming.

The sweetest book blogger/reviewer on the planet?  Susi at The Geeky Bookworm.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a nicer person – and she’s one of those smart girls too!  She’s passionate about romance.  Her native tongue is German.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to read romance in another language, let alone review it?  She’s amazing!  And pretty funny too because she’s such a squeamish girl!  She reminds me of me.  Villains scare her!

Authors who always have something interesting to say?  Everyone on my side bar, but you have to check out Nina Pierce and Rosalie Lario.  Sometimes I’m guilty of skimming, but I read their posts from top to bottom.  They use their sites for teaching moments.  These two are great references for wanna-be authors.

Katalina Leon writes ephemeral erotica – my husband and I share a love of her books (and I worship at her feet) – we hold readathons to see who can finish them first, him on his Kindle, me on my computer.  Is your marriage/sex life stuck in the doldrums?  Read Kat’s stuff.  It’s like lightning in a bottle.  Go.  Read.  Enjoy.  Don’t hurt yourself.

The links I have on my sidebar are there because those authors and bloggers are special people.  Every single one brings a unique perspective to the romance genre.  If I had the space, I’d mention each of you.  I encourage readers to check them out when you have some free time.

Last but not least, many thanks to outstanding author Fran Lee, who is always available when I need a pat on the back or a kick in the ass.

Best read of 2010 – Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Best movie of 2010 – True Grit, with Jeff Bridges

Best star-struck moment – hearing from Laurence Gonzales, author of Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why – after my series of posts on surviving the canoe trip from hell.  His book saved our lives.

Other best star-struck moment – connecting with one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors, Tad Williams – His books are on the top of my recommended reading list.  He’s also pretty hilarious!

So, done.  Happy New Year.  And I love you all.  Oh Auntie Em, there’s no place like home

True Grit.

Go.  See.  It.  This may be my favorite Coen brothers movie since…oh, I don’t know…Raising Arizona.  Go see True Grit.  The original version with John Wayne and Kim Darby doesn’t even exist when you’re sitting in the theater watching Jeff Bridges in perhaps his finest roles, Matt Damon as you’ve never seen him, and the occasionally mumbling, but surprisingly affecting, Hailee Steinfeld.  Gripping.  True Entertainment.  I ordered the novel, True Grit, by Charles Portis.  I’m really excited to read it.

Other news – working on the sequel to Captured, a new romance-suspense that is driving me bonkers, and the post apocalyptic/dystopian blah blah blah…

A confession.  Hanging my head in shame because I am a failed environmentalist.  I know I should not drink bottled water.  I know it.  I swear.  But I hate the taste and smell of chlorine.  Our tap water, because it comes from a very muddy source, is loaded with chlorine, especially in the winter.  Gags me.  Hubby said that’s baloney.  He read an article claiming that there is no difference in taste between filtered tap water and bottled water.  So we did a taste test.  I left the room while he poured six glasses of water.  Three contained filtered tap water, three bottled water.  Only he possessed the master key because he is the keymaster!  We left the house for an hour and when we returned, I tasted all the water and wrote down my answers – for each glass, I wrote down either tap water or bottled water, and…I could tell the difference.  My answers were correct.  Failed environmentalist.  Me.  I do recycle the bottles religiously.

Contest! Finish this sentence:

From Stephanie’s priceless comment on my post, Charlie Said It First

“There is so much information available it has given most people the attention span of, of,…”

What?  What is your answer? Fill in the blank.  The attention span of a ___________________________

My answer is probably – the attention span of my puppy, Jake, who has an attention span of approximately 10 seconds.  Of course, my answer isn’t creative, but I know yours will be!

This is a contest open to readers in the U.S., but anyone can comment.  I’d love to hear how you finish Stephanie’s statement, because I’m stumped.  An independent panel of goofballs will choose one funny and creative answer.  The winner will receive a brand new tube of my very favorite body lotion for the holidays – it’s the only scent I wear daily…Sensual Amber.

In other news, you’ve probably noticed that I’m experimenting with a new theme.  I still haven’t figured out how to put my name at the top.  Ah well…I’m hoping my tech knows how to do it and that I haven’t screwed things up too badly for her.

Also…so long to The Walking Dead for what?  Like a year?  OMG the last episode was to die for!  Hello to A Game of Thrones, coming in April 2011 on HBO.  I cannot wait, but why oh why does Sean Bean always play such tragic figures?  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the Coen brothers’ (probably very violent) version of True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges.  It looks incredible.