Men like to watch random people having sex. 

They'll pull up pictures of the act, watch one internet video after another showing a different set of people doing similar things.  A whole genre of movies exists to cater to the male desire to watch generously endowed females wiggle, squirm, slither and squeal in high-pitched tones as the man gives it to her good.  A few scenes later, the same man - we'll call him Dick - gives it to three different women (at the same time) and they enjoy it every bit as much as the first piece he left behind. 

Women like to read about how Dick discovers Jane - the woman who makes everything in the bedroom so different that he'll change the way he lives after the orgasm's over. 

...continue reading "Dick Leapt Jane vs. Dick Kept Jane"

2

What theme does Shonda Sunshine want to explore on the sixth season of Grey's Anatomy?  I think it's her take on the old adage - You Are What You Think You Are.  Although the theme is rather conventional, I expect that Sunshine's take on it will be anything but standard.

Who set the theme?  Why, it was Lexie's question to Callie:  "How gay are you?"  Don't forget, Callie had been wandering around in states of half dress right in front of Lexie's beau Mark.  Callie even darted in to speak to Mark while he was wearing nothing but steam from his shower.  So Lexie put the question to Callie who could have answered it straight out, proclaiming herself a lesbian and any future romantic escapades with McSteamy impossible.  She didn't do that.  Instead, she said Mark didn't see her boobs anymore and that meant he was committed to Lexie. 

Ahmm,  yeah, right.  So now, Lexie must measure the status of her thing/fling with McSteamy by checking the degree of his boob blindness.  Can he see other boobs today?  Some boobs?  All boobs?  No boobs?    He's only as into her as he thinks he is.  So she should watch out for the cry - Boobs ahoy!

...continue reading "Grey's 6 – You Are What You Think You Are"

2

Okay, get your mind off of all the weirdness of MJ's latter years.  As for the criminal charges, don't go there.  Think about the music and the performances.  Get yourself in that mind space.  Maybe it'll help if you squeal "Ooh" and "I'm Bad" three or four times.  Okay, focused now? 

 His death was tragic. Having a creative force like his snuffed out so quickly, so needlessly has deprived the world of years of music and magic.  So while it's certainly his tragedy, his family's tragedy, it's also a loss for everyone who ever turned on a radio or downloaded music.  In the wake of the sudden loss there were many retrospectives and tributes.

As one of those tributes Fox re-broadcast the first American Idol finalist show of this season featuring the top 13 performing Michael Jackson songs.  I watch American Idol and enjoy seeing the group working and growing into music professionals.  It's always fun to see someone working to make their dream come true.  But I'd forgotten about that MJ show because, at the time, it was just another show.  Too bad it wasn't done later in the season with the gloved one giving the finalists performance critiques and suggestions. 

My favorite contestant of this past season was Adam Lambert.  We all recall that he finished second.  My only explanation for that is that Kris Allen was everyman -- the one more like the average American watching on the sofa at home.  Adam has too much creative force to be contained or labeled in any one genre or tradition.  Adam will never be anyone's everyman -- but neither is Elton John and, of course, neither was Michael Jackson. 

As one of the last performances of the show, Adam Lambert did MJ's "Black or White."  Adam nailed it, standing out from the others like Sir Elton at a High School talent contest.  His performance impressed the judges too, including Simon Cowell, the one we love to hate and hate to love.  Simon's comments made me think and inspired this post.  Simon said Adam nailed it because (and I'm paraphrasing here because I didn't watch the episode with pen in hand) - To make a MJ song work , a performer has to be totally comfortable on stage, and he has to perform the song like Michael - over the top.

Why did that resonate with me? When Adam and MJ perform, they do it over the top.  When I write romance, I write it over the top.  For a writer or performer to succeed, he or she has to do it the way it comes naturally.  If Kris Allen tried to perform MJ over the top, it wouldn't work for him at all.  It worked for Lambert because that's how his art speaks to him.  It's the same for a romance novelist.  You can only write romance over the top and have it carry the reader along if that's how the story and the characters speak to the writer.  I understand MJ's approach to music because I know it must have come as naturally to him as my stories come to me. 

...continue reading "If Michael Jackson Wrote Romance Novels…"

2

Grey's - The Finale.  Happy and sad and puzzling all rolled up into a two hour teaser to keep viewers wondering until next season.  I'll leave the pondering of Izzie and George's fates to others.  That's not what started me asking about the rest of the story. 'Twas the post-it vows and Shonda Sunshine's tease that did that. 

As you surely know, instead of making a trip to City Hall on a day when two friends' lives hung in the balance  - even if they didn't know about George yet - Mer/Der decided to get married by writing vows on a post-it note. Mer had suggested the quick trip to City Hall because she couldn't live another day without being married to Der.  He agreed, but later, it was Derek who came up with the idea that they'd write down the vows they wanted to make to each other on a post it note.  Then, he said, they'd be married.

They decided to vow:  (1) they would love each other even when they hated each other; (2) no one could leave or run away; and (3) they'd take care of each other when they were old and senile.  Kiss and tender moment and they left and proclaimed themselves married.  But of course, they aren't. I'm sitting in South Carolina where we have common law marriage where they could proclaim themselves publicly married and make it so.  Grey's is situated in the state of Washington where there is no such thing.  Mer and Der proclaiming themselves married does not make it so.

In an interesting interview with Ausiello of TV Guide, Shonda  Rhimes says that the post it wedding "will have big reverberations next season."  Now there, romance fans, is a REST OF THE STORY CHALLENGE. 

Anytime a man you want to marry suggests a post-it wedding, you should worry.  There are lots of shoes left to drop here. One is what they didn't vow - fidelity.  If Izzie and George do go off into the great beyond, likely more doctors will be brought into the mix.  They'd provide potential romantic threats for Mer/Der's unorthodox coupling.  There's the nurse Der slept with a couple of times - what if she was pregnant?  There's Der's ex off on another show that lots of folks think should return to this one.  On Private Practice, Addison has been flirting with a romance with a married man.  What if she returns to Seattle determined to get her man back and give marriage another try?  In real life, Ellen Pompeo is pregnant and if her character gets pregnant, there would be a lot of social pressure for a wedding and some issues for the couple to deal with like, whose last name would the baby have.  There will surely be pressure from staff and friends to make the marriage real which is likely to cause Mer to bow up, refuse and stir the pot some more.  Little issues, like last names on medical licenses loom as well.  What if there's another lawsuit or a trial with the one filed last season?  Mer couldn't claim marital privilege based on a post-it wedding. 

How would I write the rest of the story?  Der's Mom gave the couple her seal of approval and even passed along the engagement ring she'd never allowed Addison to wear.  But Mer (which I just do not find realistic) proclaims herself not a ring kind of gal. She's not wearing the precious heirloom.  Der's sisters don't like Mer anyway and once they find out she's not even wearing the ring - they may change Mom's mind too.  Implications?  Obvious and many.  The family may bring in some of Der's old girlfriends.  They may conspire to show Mer in a bad light.  They may push Der to demand a formal wedding which Mer's decided she doesn't want because they're already married.  I suspect the social pressure from the hospital will play a part along with some snide comments from Mark.  Insecurity on both sides will rear its ugly head because they don't really have papers on each other.  If Mer won't wear an engagement ring, will either she or Der wear a wedding ring?  That's bound to cause some internal friction between the couple.  I can see Der not telling his family about the "wedding" and Mer not understanding.  I can imagine his family's reaction when he does tell them.  Der's family is much more traditional.  A post it wedding?  Get real.  Clearly, they would say, he staged the farce because deep down, he didn't want to marry her at all.  Deep down, they'd say, he still considers himself wed to Addison, or wed not at all.     

Where's it all headed?  One possibility is that Mer will be pregnant on the show and it won't be a stable pregnancy - which would fit the character.  The medical challenges might bring Addison in for a consult and possibly even some of the temptation for Der I was discussing earlier.  Reunion sex is even a possibility given that a pregnant Mer would be moodier than a non-pregnant Mer and Der would likely spend most of his time reminding himself he promised to love her even if he hated her.  If Der's not the husband then Mer would call the shots with treatment.  And if it culminated in a life or death decision, then Der wouldn't have any legal right to tell the medical team to save Mer before the baby.  The one with the legal right to call the shots would be the next of kin, Mer's sister, or her designated "person" Christina or even Mer's Father.  Dramatic implications in that struggle are obvious.  It could end with a life or death scenario, with Derrick demanding one thing and the others demanding another.

The medical scenario works the same even if Derrick is in a life or death crisis.  His next of kin would be Mom, influenced by his sisters.  They'd have already had the tug of war - was there or wasn't there a wedding?  No priest or reverend, no license, no marriage Der's family would conclude.   In Der's case, he could be lingering in some unconscious state for which his family blamed Mer.  They might forbid her from even seeing him, calling for some in the staff to break the rules to get her into his room. 

With either scenario,  but especially with Derrick lying ill and near death, I can imagine a court battle between either Mer/Der and the family/friends over the wedding that wasn't. 

Shonda Sunshine says the post it wedding will cause big reverberations next season.  Now if that doesn't get your writer's imagination churning, I recommend a long vacation somewhere tropical with moonlight walks on the surf that end in some grown up games with waves lapping at your legs.  And other body parts. 

How would you write the rest of the story?  Game on, Grey's fans!!

First - To my Hubby:  I cite a loophole in our Grey's Anatomy deal. I get to leer at Patrick Dempsey for an hour a week.  Two hours on special occasions or when Shonda Sunshine so decrees.  There's no clause about blogging.  So there!

This is a post about Grey's Anatomy that's not about Grey's Anatomy.  It's an ode to Shonda Rimes and her writing team.  It's also an ode to every writer who gets the big one right.  Sometimes that includes me.

How to set the scene for the proposal?  Most of the time it's all led up to this.  It started with that first meeting when the dynamic duo eyed each other for tender spots where a knife or a high heel would do the most damage. By the second meeting they notice tender spots that would taste just right.  A few rounds later, they can't be in the same room without battling the urge to rip off clothes and find the most tender spot of all.  After all the angst and the obstacles, the hope and the despair, he finally plans to ask the M question because he has to.   You know what else he has to do?  He has to get it right.

True, he has to get it right for him, for her, for them.  But most of all, he has to nail it for the readers or viewers who laughed and cried with them, who suffered and soared with them.  They rooted for the romance, believed in it even when the dynamic duo had boogled on to other people.  Those readers and viewers watched each of the pair waste time on wrong people and got through the rocky times by imagining the duo reunited, picturing the pivotal moment when two agree to become one. So when the moment arrrives, the hero has to make it McDreamy.

What Grey's showed is that perfect may be perfectly wrong.  Had Derek proposed in Meredith's bedroom, surrounded by roses, he'd have gotten it right by storybook standards, but not by the standards of his story.  He might have even gotten the wrong answer.  Surely, Mer would have wondered why he didn't know she wasn't a rosy kind of gal.  In the end he figured it out - Mer's more elevator than rose petals, which is one of the reasons she's perfect for him.

Making it McDreamy means making it fit the characters and the arc of their romance. For Grey's, since it was a planned proposal, that meant location, location, location.  Only a few I can think of would have fit.  He could have popped the question on the barstool at Joe's.  He could have asked in a supply closet or on call room.  The second best place would have been THE exam room he chased Mer to at the dance. But yeah, given the overall history, that elevator was perfect.  And forget the roses, the scans were the best dark and twisty bouquet.

In thinking about this post, I realized that so far, I've written only one planned proposal.  The others have occurred rolling around in the mud, under a cloud of circling glass from all the bottles polished off the night before, in a hospital bed (not from being cut by the glass) and in a gazebo after a quick dash to change clothes.  The planned proposal wasn't even traditional.  It was under a willow tree with a fully set table - white cloth and all.  But it was outdoors with servants holding back an angry horde.  Now that's romance.  In the story, yeah, I hope so.

Guess what it all means is that romance is as different as lovers.  My McDreamy might be your McNightmare. Hopefully not in my books though.  There, I hope that like Shonda, I get it right.  Kudos to Ms. Rimes and her diabolical minions!!

"Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in."

Or at least, let's get on with it!

I've encountered a problem with several recent books by romance writers whose work I adore.  Too much back story.  Not only do I want to meet the hero and heroine early on, I want them to meet each other.  It's their interaction, chemistry and conflict that will drive me to read the book.  I think of it as the Grey's Anatomy requirement. 

On the pilot episode of Grey's some of the first scenes were Mer/Der.  The emotions of that first meeting have carried the show and kept me watching even when the couple was apart.  Because once they had the spark and sizzle, no matter who they're with or what they're doing, the S&S factor flavors every encounter.  I give Shonda Rhimes some props for kindling the fire and for being smart enough to keep the embers burning.

That's what I want from my books.  Even though Mer/Der got to the grinding and grubbing right away, a literary couple doesn't have to (and I really, really hope they won't) sleep together in the first 10 or even the first 50 pages.  By the time they have sex, I want to be emotionally invested.  On the other hand, I don't want to be so tired of details and history and minutia that I'm too bored to care much by the time they meet, greet and make it sweet. 

I'll take some history if I have to, but first, I need a spoonful of S&S to make it go down and keep me hanging around.