The other night my husband, who I call Ultimate Sportsfan (USF), and I turned off baseball and turned on a new documentary about romance writers and readers. Have you seen Love Between the Covers? It’s on iTunes and Amazon, and I’d seen clips of it, but I hadn’t had a chance to watch the whole thing. I really enjoyed it. It’s always interesting to hear about other authors’ experiences and paths to publication.
Check out the trailer (at the end is my editor and the owner of my publisher, Sourcebooks).
USF found them movie interesting because it was an inside look into the romance genre. He sees a lot of the inside of the industry, but he only sees it from my perspective. This documentary widened his field of vision a bit.
My favorite part of the movie was the interviews with the romance readers. They’re the true stars of romance. In a sense, we’re all readers, and it’s amazing how books can change and affect our lives so completely.
My other favorite part was watching interviews with two of my friends here at the Jaunty Quills! Jesse and Kristan were both featured, and I think they both came off as very professional and insightful. I have a small cameo in the movie. I’m signing behind one of the authors the cameraman is filming meeting readers. I only saw it because I recognized the dress I was wearing.
So that’s the exciting story of my motion picture debut!
Have you ever been in a movie? If not, what’s the best film you’ve seen lately? One person who comments will win a tote bag filled with an assortment of romances! **Winner chosen randomly and notified on Sunday. Sorry, only open to readers with a U.S. address because those books are heavy.
You’ll have to watch the movie to see Kristan and Jesse and to spot my cameo, but here’s an extra I enjoyed.
Readers, as you know by now a bunch of us went to the RWA conference in San Diego last week. First stop was the multi-author signing, which benefits literacy programs. Here we are together.
I also got a shot of Theresa signing and my signing buddy Tina Gabrielle took one of me.
The signing had a few interesting characters too. This guy was promoting his wife’s book. What a great husband. It was hot in the ballroom.
Theresa, Kristan, and I met up again at the Rita awards reception. Theresa and I were celebrating, an Kristan took this shot of us in sunny San Diego.
We didn’t just drink and schmooze. We went to workshops and we discussed issues affecting our world. Julia Quinn was taking pictures of authors for the #whatireallyreallywant campaign.
And then it was time for the Rita awards. I can’t even explain how surreal it is to see your photo, name, and book on the big screen.
Neither Theresa or I won, but we sure had a fun night.
What do you really, really want? I have a bag of assorted books to send to one reader who comments. (Winner chosen randomly, announced Sunday, and contacted Sunday).
…and the Jaunty Quills are celebrating! Today we’ve compiled our favorite drink recipes for your pleasure. If you’re looking for a cocktail to mix up tomorrow night, try one of these.
* 2 chilled, 12 oz bottles of beer
* 12 oz frozen limeade concentrate (slightly thawed)
* 12 oz tequila
* lime wedges
* Salt to rim glasses
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Mix until the limeade concentrate is dissolved. Pour into glasses rimmed with salt. Enjoy immediately.
Cindy Kirk’s Crazy Coyote Margarita
½ tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 ½ ounces Coyote Gold margarita mix
1. Use a cocktail shaker to mix together 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar, 3 tbsp. of fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces of Coyote Gold margarita mix, and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.
2. Rub a slice of lime along the rim of a margarita glass. Turn the glass upside down and coat the rim with salt from a plate.
3. Pour the margarita mixture through a strainer into the salt-rimmed margarita glass. Add a lime wedge to the rim.
Vanessa Kelly’s Kir Royale
One of my favorite Christmas drinks is a Kir Royale, which is basically a champagne cocktail. The Kir Royale is a dash of creme de cassis topped off with champagne!
Nancy Robards Thompson’s Classic Manhattan
2 ounces bourbon (or if you want a slightly sweeter drink, use one ounce of traditional bourbon and one ounce of honey bourbon)
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Kristan Higgins’s St. Germaine Martini
1 parts vodka
1 part St-Germaine
1 part lemon juice
Combine, shake gently, add a splash of vanilla seltzer water. Supremely delicious!
Mia Marlowe’s Hot Wassail (for the kids too!)
This is a seriously easy recipe that makes the house smell like Christmas. Here’s what you need:
1 QT Apple Juice
1 QT Cranberry Juice
Pour the juice into a 5 quart pot and heat on low setting. Stick the orange with cloves. (This is a great project for kids. They love poking the cloves into the orange in fun patterns!) You can leave the orange whole or cut it into quarters. Float the cloved orange and the cinnamon sticks in the juice. Let it simmer till you’re ready to serve!
If you prefer the vino…
Jesse Hayworth with our wine selection.
I’m more of a wine girl, and love to celebrate with a Benefit Wine [http://www.benefitwines.com/beechbrook_s/480.htm].
They taste good—though I’ve been known to enjoy Cardboardeaux (aka boxed wine), so take that for what it’s worth—have cool labels, and ~30% of the sale price goes to the charity you select.
I usually celebrate by toasting with my daughter and a glass of sparkling grape juice.
However you choose to celebrate, we hope it’s a wonderful beginning to 2016!
This is Shana, posting for Kristan Higgins…
It’s release day for IF YOU ONLY KNEW, gang! I’ll be hopping and bopping around the country on book tour, and hopefully I’ll get to see you. Check my website for states and dates!
In the meantime, I thought Jaunty, our incredibly good-looking mascot, might want to interview Jenny, Leo and Rachel. Jaunty, take it away!
Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire: What? I’m sleeping, Higgins.
Kristan: Wake up. It’s interview time. They’re here.
JPQ: Let me comb my quills first.
Kristan: You’re perfect. Get out there.
JPQ: Fine. You’re right, I do roll out of bed looking magnificent. God, I love mirrors. Hello, Jenny, Leo and Rachel! Wait. Why are there three of you? Has Higgins started writing those ménage—
Rachel: No, no, Jaunty. Jenny and I are sisters, and Leo is just incredibly nice. I think he has a crush on my sister.
Leo: I don’t, but I wish she’s stop thinking dirty thoughts whenever she’s within fifty feet of me.
Jenny: Your dog is humping your leg, Leo. You may have the two of us confused, since you’re not the most observant man in the world.
Leo: I see all sorts of things, Jenny.
Jenny: I wish.
Jaunty: Okay, okay, back to me, you three. Rachel, you seem like the sweet one here. Tell me about your story.
Rachel: Thanks, Jaunty. Well, life was really wonderful a few days ago. I have three little girls, triplets, and I love being a stay-at-home mom.
Jaunty: How old are these triplet people?”
JPQ: Dear God. Anyway, you were saying?
Rachel: Well…I think…I mean, I’m probably wrong, but it seems like maybe…
Leo: Her husband’s cheating.
Rachel: I’m really hoping he’s not. He’s probably not. He said he wasn’t.
Jenny: I will go after him with a hammer if he is.
Leo: She’s good with tools.
Jenny: And you’re not. How did you ever become the super of my building?
Leo: Good looks and charm.
JPQ: Leo, I understand you teach piano.
Leo: It’s true.
Jenny: Yet I never hear him play. Not even Billy Joel or Lady Gaga.
Leo: This is why we’re not together, Jenny. Your taste in music.
JPQ: Jenny, you’re a wedding dress designer.
Leo: You are? I thought you were a caterer.
Jenny: Pay attention, man-child. Your looks aren’t everything.
JPQ: And both you and your sister have a somewhat idealized view on marriage, despite the fact that Jenny, your ex-husband left you for someone rather fabulous, and Rachel, your husband is probably, ah…
Leo: Screwing around?
JPQ: As a gentleman, I was looking for a more delicate way of saying it, but yes.
Rachel: Our parents had the best marriage, Jaunty. They were so happy together. No wonder Jenny and I are idealistic.
Jenny: (dark muttering)
Leo: Use your words, sweetheart.
Jenny: It’s just that nothing is what it seems. Including you, Piano Man.
Leo: I love when you look at me that way. Sorry, darling. I’m for recreation only.
JPQ: You are a very charming man.
Leo: Thanks, Jaunty. You ever think about trying the piano? Those little paws look quite dexterous to me.
JPQ: You know, I am rather musical. Shana Galen loves when I sing to her.
Kristan: Okay, you guys, I think we’re done for now. Folks, I hope you’ll pick up If You Only Knew this week, because a part of the sales benefits Fisher House Foundation, which provides gorgeous, state-of-the-art homes so our veterans and military members can have their families close by when they’re getting treatment. And I think it’s a book you’ll love, honest and true!
Thanks for the interview, Jaunty! You’re the best.
JPQ: You did mention me in the book, didn’t you, Higgins? You’re the only one, after all…
Kristan: Whoops! Look at the time! Gotta run!
In the season of miracles, Kristan chose this as her Best-of-Blogs. It originally appeared on October 18, 2010.
Those last fifteen minutes must’ve been the longest. Compressed in a chute, you are leaving the place that had been your refuge but was almost your grave. For the first time in more than two months, you are completely alone, away from the men who possibly saved your life, who kept you going, the only people on earth who can understand what you’ve endured. For sixty-nine days, you’ve been in an uncertain stand-off with death, and now…now, you only have fifteen minutes to go. Fifteen minutes until the rest of your life.
From the second the disaster occurred and for sixteen days thereafter, the families of the Chilean miners had nothing but hope. That’s a long time. Imagine the prayers, the bargaining, the rationalizations of just how it really was possible that your husband, your father, your brother, your son had survived. It could happen, sure. But the hours passed. The days crept by. The third day…the fifth…the tenth…the fifteenth…the sixteenth. The families must have been told to prepare for the worst. Imagine picturing your husband, your son, dead and alone, a half mile beneath your feet.
And then, on the seventeenth day, the miracle. The note said, “We are well and in the shelter…The 33.” Chile—heck, the entire world—was joyfully stunned. A mountain fell on those miners, they were trapped a half mile underground, and they were still alive. All of them.
The immediate question was how to get them out? Even one rescue would be miraculous…but thirty-three? The messages from the miners were heart-wrenching: “We ask that you rescue us as quickly as possible, and that you don’t abandon us,” the shift foreman said. “Don’t leave us alone.” The answer from Chile’s President Pinera: “You will not be left alone. You have not been alone. The entire country is with you all.”
Indeed, the entire world was with them. And in this day of war and suspicion, of bickering political parties and Internet bullying, how often does the world come together? Chilean flags were flown around the world, candles were put in windows, prayer vigils were held. The families of the miners moved to the work site, Camp Esperanza—Hope—to wait together. The oldest miner, married for 30 years, learned that his wife was camping half a mile above him. Concerned, he urged her to go home. Her response: “I’ll leave here when you do.”
For weeks and then months, the world waited. A tiny tunnel was drilled, supplies were lowered…food, water, air. A camera allowed us to see those ghostly images of the unexpectedly cheerful miners, singing Elvis Presley songs, asking the score on soccer matches, sending messages to their families. One watched, via fiberoptic cable, his wife giving birth to their daughter.
But how would they get out? The initial estimates for their rescue was Christmas Eve, but thanks to a Pennsylvania-based company, the drilling went better than expected. Still agonizingly slow, still difficult, drilling through virgin rock. Would the tunnel hold? What if the capsule twisted while en route? Would the winch operate, would the cables snap? It would be the deepest rescue ever attempted…and it would be attempted thirty-three times.
On October 13th, the world held its breath. And then, one by one, they were strapped into the capsule called Phoenix—the bird that rises from the ashes. The President of Chile was there, the First Lady, the rescue workers, doctors, EMTs, and of course, the families—wives, parents, children, grandchildren. As the first miner came into the sunlight, church bells rang throughout Chile. Children were sent home from school. The world wept with unadulterated joy. Each man was given a Chilean flag inscribed with their names, and they wore shirts that on the front said, “Thank you, God” and underneath, “Because nothing is impossible with God.” On the back, the shirts read “In whose hands are the depths of earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also.”
Over and over, the capsule descended into darkness and rose into light. “Welcome back to life,” was the greeting they received. One miner hugged his wife, then fell to his knees to offer thanks. Another kissed his wife and asked, “How’s the dog?” Some ran to the rescue workers and greeted them in elation; others held their children and cried. All were greeted by the President. All were taken to the hospital, where they watched and cheered as their fellow survivors ascended.
Every one of them was rescued flawlessly. Everyone was healthy. Every single one.
Before Oprah and Larry King, before the book deals and movie rights, before October 13th becomes a Chilean national holiday, those miners were alone in the dark. The families were told that this would likely be a recovery mission, not a rescue. After all, even if the miners had reached the shelter, there was only enough food for two days. And half a mile beneath the surface of the earth, the miners had to at least consider the thought that the world up there figured them for a lost cause. One day after the disaster without a sign from above. Three days. Seven. Ten. Fifteen.
But somehow, instead of despair, those above and those below chose hope, and theirs is a lesson in unity, in perseverance, in courage and faith. But it’s also a lesson in love.
There was a second note found on that seventeenth day, something more personal. It was from the oldest member of the group, the one whose wife waited with such steadfast and unswerving hope. This note said: “I haven’t stopped thinking about all of you for a single moment. I love you, and I will see you soon, and we will be happy ever after.”
Dios los bendiga a todos, Los 33! Viva Chile!