Not too long ago I did a blog post on the best romantic comedy movies. Recently I’ve been thinking about why these movies work so well and I think they, in addition to romance novels, work because they hit on tried and true elements that just work for us. These are called tropes or cliches or plot devices, whatever you call them, they’re used again and again because they work. I went through that list of of rom coms we put together and tried to identify the trope(s) that the movie uses, well, for some of them, this list was too long to do all of them. (If you want more info on tropes, then here’s a great blog about them).
- French Kiss – this is classic Bait & Switch, where she’s masquerading a relationship with him to get the attention of another man only to fall in love with the first man. Le sigh…
- Working Girl – this is kind of a spin on the boss/secretary trope paired with mistaken identity paired with the different classes. He’s rich and successful and powerful and she’s an overworked and under appreciated secretary who ends up masquerading as her boss’s partner.
- Six Days and Seven Nights – here we have forced proximity, I mean they’re literally deserted together on an island. There is also an age difference as well as well as opposites attract. And Harrison Ford, which always helps, but you know I don’t think there is a HF trope. There should be though!
- Notting Hill – simple boy from small London neighborhood meets uber famous American actress & they end up forced together.
- 27 Dresses – Here we have mistaken identity paired with enemies to lovers. A good example that the enemies don’t have to hate each other so much they want the other person dead, they just have chemistry and don’t understand it.
- The Cutting Edge - Who doesn’t love a good Taming of the Shrew story? We also have opposites attract and forced proximity, it all combines for a great movie.
So what do you think? Do you have certain types of stories (or tropes) that you will read/watch again and again? I know that I’m a total sucker for marriage of convenience/forced proximity as well as best friends to lovers.
I don’t know about y’all, but I love summer movies. I don’t get to go to them as often as I used to, or would like to, because of the kiddos, but I still like to keep track of what’s coming out. And so far this year isn’t really exciting, not only that, but I’ve already seen 2 on my list.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – now I’ve been a fan of the X-Men series from the beginning and so this one was pretty high on my list. One of the cool things about this particular installment is that you get to see a different side to Xavier. I thought James McAvoy was fantastic, just a super performance. And the movie had great bits of humor in it.
Maleficent – I’ve been looking forward to this movie for YEARS. Ever since I saw the first news story that they were making it. I think most girls who grew up watching Sleeping Beauty had a fascination for the villain – she’s by far the coolest and most interesting of the Disney villains. We went and saw this last weekend and it didn’t disappoint. I thought it was a creative retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale and Angelina Jolie was perfect for the role.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 – frankly I’d go see this one even if I didn’t have kids. The first one was fantastic and I just can’t wait for this installment. I’ve been a fan of Jay Baruchel for a while, I can’t really pinpoint why, but he voices the lead character in these movies and he’s fantastic. But I do have kids and my girls are super excited to see this one. I’m sure we’ll set aside some time before the movie comes out to re-watch the first one.
And that’s really it for me for summer movies. But I did see a preview for a movie coming out this fall and I’m SOOOO excited. It’s called Kingsman: The Secret Service and it’s about a secretive, elite group of spies and how they recruit new members. And Colin Firth is in it. Seriously, folks I could have written this. Okay, that’s probably not really true, but I’ve write 2 series with secret agencies and I’m about to start my 3rd. This is so right up my alley and did I mention Colin Firth is in it?
http://youtu.be/hasKmDr1yrA You’re welcome….
So what’s on your must see movie list?
When I first started reading romance, many years ago, the majority of what was available was the traditional historical romance. What many referred to as the bodice ripper because of the sexy clinch covers. I fell in love with these books from the likes of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey and Catherine Coulter. And then I found Amanda Quick and her historicals were a little different. I suspect that she is probably my strongest influence, as a writer, because none of my historicals are what you’d call ballroom romps or even the lush historical dramas that Woodiwiss for known for.
With Amanda Quick, there were suspense subplots and her heroes were often scholars – something I have always been drawn to – is it any wonder that I married a college professor? ☺ Her heroines were smart too and unique. I never set out to immolate her, but when RT Bookclub compared my books to hers in a review – well, that was just about the coolest thing ever. So without further ado, I give you the 5 hallmarks of a Robyn DeHart novel…
1. A Robyn DeHart heroine is unconventional, whether she be bucking society by going to medical school to become a physician, as with Anna from The Temptations of Anna Jacobs or whether she be a blind sculptress, as with Mia from The Secrets of Mia Danvers.
2. My heroes are smart and almost always the pursuer in the relationship. Once they meet the heroine, no other woman will do. They fall hard and they’re loyal to a fault. Not to mention smoking hot! They also usually have jobs, even if they’re aristocrats, as with Drew in The Temptations of Anna Jacobs, is working undercover for Scotland Yard, or an antiquity hunter for hire as with Fielding in Seduce Me.
3. Don’t be surprised if there’s a murder at some point. Quite obviously the Dangerous Liaisons books have killings in them, even scenes in the Rippers point of view. But even in my other books, I sometimes leave a trail of bodies, not always gruesome though (for those of you who have an issue with violence). The Raven, the villain in two of my Legend Hunters books (Seduce Me and Treasure Me) is rather wicked and does away with more than one person. Even in my novella that’s currently out, a Regency spy story, No Ordinary Mistress, chapter one opens up with a murder.
4. Amidst the carnage you’ll often find humor. Some books are funnier than others, but even if you don’t laugh out loud, there are plenty of happy, smiling moments. There’s one scene in A Study in Scandal where the heroine knocks a door into the hero’s head and every time I read it, it made me chuckle. That’s saying a lot because as an author we have to read our own books a lot and by the end, they get really old. ☺
5. My books are full of snappy dialogue. Almost every review and reader email I receive comments on both my characters and the witty dialogue. It’s where the books come alive to me when I’m writing, where the characters live, in the words that they speak. Dialogue is super important to me and an integral part of all of my work.
Well, I hope this has given you a little taste of what reading a Robyn DeHart book is like. If you’ve read me before, what are your favorite parts of my books If not, what do you usually look for when picking out a new author?
It’s funny how adoption works, you see families with kids that look just like their adoptive parents. For our family, I’ve certainly had people tell me that both of my daughters favor me – I don’t see it, but I know that the stuff underneath, there’s a whole lot in common. Yeah, we could say it’s all nurture, but I don’t think that explains all of it. Some of it is simply divine matching – the way The Professor and I found our girls – out of all the couples in the world and all the kids in the world, we somehow found each other. And they are OUR kids. Sometimes I even forget they aren’t of our blood.
For example, Busybee, well, she and I aren’t a lot alike. She’s an extrovert and full of energy and smiles and joy. I’m not saying I’m a grump, but I’m more quiet and reflective. But there’s this one way in which we are totally alike and it kinda cracks me up. I noticed it first a few years ago when I bought them the Thanksgiving Little People play set. The box they came in is a reusable one so we keep them in there and on the top is a picture of the playset all set up. Busybee would look at the box and set everything up just so and get kind of anxious if her sister came along and changed things. More recently this has manifested itself in play with her sister – Babybee is a free spirit in many ways and has an imagination a mile long – so she will try to correct and manage how her sister is playing to make sure she does it the “right” way. I can totally relate to this, I get it, I’m the same way, but Babybee, she’s not like that – she does her own thing. So I try to remind Busybee that her sister can play however she wants even if that means pretending her mermaid is actually a blue elephant.
So I don’t have the same outlandish imagination that Babybee has, but we have other similarities. She’s an introvert, doesn’t care for crowds. But she’s also really precise. Even when she was really little, she was very specific about the way she did things. Where her creative play is bold and colors outside the lines, if you will, her artistic techniques are linear and clear. I can give her and Busybee the same art project, leave the room and come back and know just which one Babybee has done, all of her stickers will be perfect aligned. She’s the only kiddo in her classroom at Mother’s Day Out who is allowed to do the glueing herself on her art projects because she does it just so. She even sits like me, with her legs crossed over one another just like I do, just like my grandmother sat. They have similarities with The Professor too.
It’s crazy to me how perfectly they match us, how perfectly the fit in our family, how they create our family. Family life is messy and hectic and amazing and exhausting and everything in between. But family, no matter how you create yours, is a miracle and I am one blessed mama.
The Secrets of Jaunty P. Quills (Porcupine Extraordinaire)
Jaunty P. Quills: Hello, readers! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills. I’m back with another of my award-winning interviews. This one is with…ah…I know it’s one of these Quills. There are so many of them…<digs through notes, but finds pine nuts instead>
Robyn: I hate to interrupt your snack over there, Jaunty, but um, I’m pretty sure you were going to interview me today about my new book.
Jaunty P. Quills: Oh, right <says with mouth full> Maybe you can entertain these folks while I clean myself up and have a drink.
Robyn: Uh, sure, I can try to do that. How about I share with y’all the back cover blurb of my book, The Temptations of Anna Jacobs…
Love and justice…
When Drew Foster is released from prison, he doesn’t much care about salvaging his soiled reputation. Though he’s working undercover, everyone in Victorian London believes him guilty of the Jack the Ripper murders and that his brother paid for his “innocence.”
Despite her genteel upbringing, Anna Jacobs is intent on finishing medical school and becoming a physician. Society’s ridicule has never bothered her, but when her brother, the Yard’s best detective, is scorned for letting Drew go, she confronts the one man who can set the record straight at a ball. She certainly doesn’t count on the rogue being dashing and handsome, nor on him stealing a passionate kiss.
Anna’s brazen contempt for his dangerous reputation captivates Drew, but he is harboring secrets that make him unfit to court any proper woman. As he finds himself an outsider among his colleagues at Scotland Yard, the feisty beauty offers up her medical knowledge to assist him on the case. But when the real killer returns to London to continue his reign of terror, can Anna find safety in Drew’s arms?
Jaunty P. Quills: This is another of those killer porcupine books, isn’t it? The last one you wrote had me up for nights. *shudder* I snuck into Kristan’s house for a week and curled up under her bed. Don’t tell her I told you that though.
Robyn: Your secret is safe with me. And I’m sorry if I frightened you. Jack the Ripper can, indeed be creepy. I spooked myself out by writing some of the scenes. But at the heart of this book and the first book in the series (The Secrets of Mia Danvers) is a lovely romance. No matter what the subplot, romance is always what I focus on.
Jaunty P. Quills: Romance. I do love a good romance. I just finished Shana’s Porcupines Love Sapphires. At least I think that was the title. Tell me about your couple. Is he a tall, handsome porcupine who saves the fair hedgehog?
Robyn: Not exactly. For those of you who read the first book, you’ll remember Drew (Alex’s younger brother). Well, he was a bit of a wastrel in the first book, he’s selfish and angry and an alcoholic.
Jaunty P. Quills: Wait, a minute, I thought you said this was a romance. Or is he the killer?
Robyn: Heh…no, he’s not the killer, though he is arrested on suspicion of being him. But Drew is simply in a dark place and he needs a little light in his life, a little joy that can pull him out of the darkness and back into a place where he wants to be a better man. That’s where our heroine, Anna, comes in. She’s a sweet sort, though she certainly has plenty of spunk. She’s going to school to become a doctor, something that was not looked upon as being a viable option for women, nonetheless, she’s bucking the system and studying to be a physician and she’s very good at it too.
Jaunty P. Quills: She’s sounds nice. I’m not so sure about that Drew fellow though, perhaps I need to meet this Anna, show her how strong the love of a good porcupine–
Robyn: Yeah, let’s not go there, Jaunty. In any case, Drew and Anna begin an unlikely friendship when he seeks her assistance hunting the killer.
Jaunty P. Quills: So he puts her in danger? Where is he? I’m going to show him a thing or two.
Robyn: (grabs Jaunty – carefully, of course – and holds him back) Calm it down, big boy. Drew keeps Anna perfectly safe. Well, mostly safe….but for that you’ll just have to read the book. Here’s have some more pine nuts.
Jaunty P. Quills: mmmmmmmm
Robyn: Well, I guess he’s done asking me questions. I’ll just leave y’all with a short excerpt and then if y’all have questions, I’ll gladly answer. Thanks, Jaunty. Jaunty? Wow, he’s is really chowing down on those pine nuts. Okay then, here’s your excerpt…
She was quiet for several moments. He watched her face as she considered all the possibilities. Even now, the taste of her lips stayed with him, and he wanted more. More of her kisses, more of her smiles. Simply more of Anna.
Perhaps she had other thoughts that could explain the differences in the injuries, or the use of an alternate weapon.
“Why did you kiss me? The other day?” she asked.
Drew felt his brows rise in surprise. “Is that what you were thinking about? I suspected your thoughts were more academic in nature.”
She shrugged. “Academic or not, I am still a woman.”
“It seemed the thing to do,” Drew said with a shrug of his own.
“‘It seemed the thing to do,’” she said, mocking his tone. She frowned. “That’s not a very good answer.”
He resisted the urge to smile. Hell, he didn’t know why he’d kissed her. Because the desire to do so had been so overwhelming he hadn’t been able to resist her lips. In fact, he longed to embrace her again, right now. “What would be a good answer?”
“How the devil should I know?” Her hand fluttered to her chest. “I don’t go around kissing unsuspecting people.”
“Fair enough. Well then, I kissed you because I wanted to.” Perhaps honesty would appease her curiosity. “Because your mouth is tempting, even though you talk far too much.”
“That doesn’t even make any sense. Well, the bit about my talking too much, I admit I can be verbose—”
“You’re doing it again,” he interrupted her. He leaned forward, toward her chair. “Only makes me want to kiss you again.”
She waved her hand. “That’s ridiculous.”
“The mere notion of kissing you? Hasn’t any man ever expressed a similar interest?”
A blush stained her exposed throat, marring her lovely creamy skin. Her hand followed the telltale sign of her embarrassment and she fiddled with the necklace around her throat. She swallowed visibly. “I don’t see how that is any of your business. I’m not even certain how we got on this discussion,” she said.
“You asked me why I kissed you.”
“Yes, and your answer is unsatisfactory. I shall merely have to conclude that you men are a peculiar lot.” She pointed at him.
“I’m going to kiss you again, Annabelle,” he said softly.
Her mouth opened, then slowly closed. “Right now?”
“Would you like me to kiss you right now?”
“I cannot answer that.” She shook her head fervently. “It would be utterly improper.”
“You, a lady going to medical school and assisting me with an undercover investigation of a murder? Last night we broke into a government building. Your behavior hasn’t exactly been the pinnacle of propriety.”
Her brow furrowed. “That is quite different.” Her tongue darted out and wet her lips.
He felt a stab of desire, hot and poignant in his gut. Oh yes. He wanted her. Whatever the reason, logical or not, he wanted her quite badly. Too badly, in fact, for him to kiss her now when his passions were so close to the surface. It was entirely too likely they would not be interrupted, that no one would come along and stop him from ruining her here in his parlor.
“You already answered my question,” he said.
She frowned. “I don’t believe I did.”
“Oh yes, Anna, you want me to kiss you very badly. Now that I know that, I’m going to make you wait. For a little longer.”
“You are an insufferable man!” she said as she came to her feet.
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