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Don Williams sings some of the most romantic country songs.  Here’s a youtube of him singing “I Believe in You” from 2013.  He still sounds great.  Some people might say this is a cheesy song, but I love it.  I believe in babies, too.

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Source: Amazon.com

When I was a starving law student, I often read Betty Neels Harlequins — short, sweet romances that tended to have starving British nurses as heroines.  I ate my beans with tortillas (rather than toast), but I identified with those heroines — some were feisty, some were meek, many of them were plain, a few were beautiful, but they all found love.   Those stories were very comforting to me.  Later, after I was married (and no, I didn’t find a rich Dutch doctor — Betty’s favorite hero) and my babies left me sleep deprived, I read Betty Neels again.

There is a blog called The Uncrushable Jersey Dress that beautifully explains how wonderful those sweet romances are.  The reviews and photos are hilarious.

English: Color cover of the book ', written by...

English: Color cover of the book ‘, written by and published in 1914. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a roommate at one time who wondered why I read Tarzan and silly Robert W. Chambers romances instead of depressing Russian literature in my spare time.  (I adored Chambers’ THE COMMON LAW (1911))  I didn’t know how to justify my reading habits back then, but now I do.  Life can be stressful, difficult, even tragic, and we all need moments of  something lighter, something sweeter.  Betty Neels provided that for me, and I will always be grateful that she started her writing career later in life.

What fiction do you find therapeutic?

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Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happen...

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (Photo credit: Lea Ann Belter Bridal)

It Happened One Night

Bringing Up Baby

The Lady Eve

The More the Merrier

Ball of Fire

My favorite screwball comedies have a fairly normal person who finds him or herself in an outrageous situation — that gets worse.  

Cover of "The More the Merrier"

Source: Amazon.com

As I was thinking about my favorite black and white movies recently, I realized that my novels are a little like screwball comedies.  I can easily imagine Jean Arthur, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert or Barbara Stanwyck  as my heroines.  And my heroes — some of them could be James Stewart, Joel McCrea, Cary Grant or Henry Fonda.  None of the screwball stories are realistic, but they are fun to watch.  It’s the same with my fiction — it’s based on reality, but there is a quirkiness to it.

So the question is — If you have read my most popular book — Who would play the leads in BABY COMES FIRST if it were made into a film?  Any actor living or dead is fair game.  So yes, Richard Armitage could play ANY of my heroes.

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Cover of "French Women Don't Get Fat"

Cover of French Women Don’t Get Fat

French Women Don’t Get Fat was a fun book that made me stop eating snacks (most the time) and made me start making my family eat dinner in two courses — salad or soup first, and then the main course.   I lost a few pounds and regained my love of cooking good food.

And today I’m looking at a book called BRINGING UP BEBE about French parenting, which looks fascinating, although my kids are too old to be parented again.

So what does this have to do with sweet romance?  What movies have Paris or France in them?  What books?

I liked A Year in Provence — both the book and the series with John Thaw.  In Sabrina, the main character goes to France and discovers her true self.  In The Great Race, they end up in France.  

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 6th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History is Made at Night has a French hero and I believe it starts in France — however, I lent my VHS copy to someone who kept it (I don’t blame them), but it’s not available on dvd yet and I want to see it again.  RIGHT NOW.   Oh, and who can forget Cyrano?   I think I have a crush on Gerard Depardieu as well.  In Henry V, there is a sweet scene with Henry and the French princess that he marries.  (Ah, Kenneth Branagh was darling as he was courting his then wife Emma Thompson)  And speaking of Emma Thompson, I like her Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility more than I should…. and apparently she liked him, too. (which has nothing to do with France)

Back to France.  Funny Face with Audrey HepburnMidnight with Claudette Colbert.

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Cover of "Midnight (Universal Cinema Clas...

Source: Amazon.com

One of my favorite Cinderella stories is the 1939  movie Midnight with Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche.  You can get it for only about $12 from Amazon at http://amzn.com/B0012GVMIK

(NOTE:  Sometimes I think that 1939 was the absolutely best year for movies — Dark Victory, Destry Rides Again, Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, Wizard of Oz, The Women, Young Mr. Lincoln — I’m not a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz — I hate the monkeys — but all the other films I mentioned are so wonderful.  I am thrilled to be living in a modern age where I can watch these movies at will.)

Back to Midnight.   Claudette Colbert is a young woman in an evening dress in Paris with no money.  She chats with a cute cabbie (Ameche), but then crashes a party where she meets John Barrymore who plays fairy godfather.  He sets her up in a posh hotel with a beautiful wardrobe and she has the chance to marry a prince (of sorts).  But will she go for the money or the cute cab driver?

I love this movie for the witty dialogue and the absolutely beautiful clothes.  Don Ameche is charming and makes me want to see more films with him as the love interest.  I vaguely remember seeing him play Alexander Graham Bell and want to watch that again.  Midnight is one of my “go-to” movies when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired.  It portrays a beautiful, glittering world where virtue and wit triumph.

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Here’s the amnesia romance I’ve been working on:

 

“How can I be pregnant when I’ve never had sex?”

Kelly isn’t worried about the three weeks she can’t remember after a minor car accident — until two months later when she discovers that she is pregnant.

Obviously she had sex, although she can’t remember it now.  But the important question is:  who is the father?

Forgotten Honeymoon is a sweet, quirky, contemporary romance.

Now available on Amazon and Smashwords (click on picture) for $2.99.  Enjoy.

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I judge books by covers all the time.  If there is a zombie on the cover, I’m not going to read it.  If there’s a murder weapon dripping blood, I’m probably not going to read it.  If there’s a half dressed man or woman on the cover, I’m probably not going to read it, either.  Now, if there is a girl in a regency era dress on the cover, the odds of my reading it start to go up.

My favorite cover so far

I know what I like, and I like truth in advertising.  I like oreos and I like pecan sandies.  However, if I pick up a package of pecan sandies and bring it home and there are oreos inside, I’m going to be annoyed, because that’s not what I bought.

In the past, I’ve been burned a few times, when the cover and the text were at cross purposes, but usually they are reliable.  I remember the stylistic horse drawings on Dick Francis books and the fragile, doe-eyed heroines on Barbara Cartland books when I was in high school.  The visual branding worked.

But even though my first impression of a book is the cover, I don’t stop there.  I usually skim the back cover copy, the first page, and if my impression is still favorable, I flip through the book, reading a sentence here or there to see if this is something on which I want to spend my money and time.

I think this guy is cute

One of the great things about ebooks is that I can get even more information online.  I usually download a sample, which is the best way to find out if I am going to like a book.  I also read the reviews.  Sometimes the negative reviews are very helpful.

So all this is to say — feel free to judge my books by the covers (and hopefully by reading a sample, too).  They are what they look like — sweet, clean, quirky romances.

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