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    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Teresa Picks Out Her Favorite Chick Flicks

    I'm a chick, right? I'm supposed to love nothing better than dragging my significant other to the movies on a Friday night to see the latest "women's weeper" with a box of Goobers and a packet of Kleenex stuffed in my purse. So why do some of these movies make me want to weep for the wrong reason?

    I only made two rules for this list—no Jane Austen adaptations and no animated Disney movies allowed because they could obviously hog up all the positive slots. Oh, and I attempted to alleviate all of that melodrama with a few comedies!


    BEACHES – Despite my fondness for both Bette Midler and "Wind Beneath My Wings", at one point I actually found myself yelling at Barbara Hershey and her collagen-inflated lips. "Die! Please, won't you just die already!" Trust me—her endless suffering was NOTHING compared to mine.

    THE NOTEBOOK – My parents have one of those eternal love stories just like the couple in this movie and my mom is in a nursing home. So maybe this one just stepped on the wrong toes for me. Although I thought Ryan Gosling was adorable, I just didn't feel any real sense of the two of them really falling in love. I felt like I was told they fell in love more than seeing the relationship building through action or witty banter.

    GHOST – I'm probably stepping on some toes by picking this Patrick Swayze classic but I've always found Demi Moore to be so utterly humorless that I can't take her seriously. But she does cry divinely! No woman has ever looked so beautiful with tears trickling gracefully down her cheeks.

    DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD – I liked Sandra Bullock just fine as always but I just didn't understand why her mother's character was supposed to be so high strung and annoying. They hinted at mental illness but never really followed through on it. She had a perfectly nice husband. Get over it, already!

    MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING – What a depressing comedy! Julia Roberts is a selfish, obnoxious twit who doesn't even get the guy in the end!


    TERMS OF ENDEARMENT – I've always found this movie just quirky and weird enough to feel like real life. It really captures the complicated mother/daughter dynamic and it also has the best death scene I've ever watched. The camera never flinches and you can actually see the life fade from Debra Winger's eyes.

    EVER AFTER – The prince is cute and Drew Barrymore rescues herself from the bad guy at the end. Enuf said!

    BRIDGET JONES' DIARY – Rene Zellwegger channels this hilarious heroine beautifully. And Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in the same movie? What's not to love?

    LOVE STORY – This is the original two hankie weeper. It has the most gorgeous music and the best looking dying person you'll ever find. I've never forgotten the scene where they frolic in the snow together or that dramatic moment when she simply announces, "It's time to go to the hospital." I spent months wishing I had a terminal disease after seeing this as a kid.

    TRULY MADLY DEEPLY – They call this British movie the "thinking person's GHOST" and I absolutely agree. Alan Rickman is divine as "Jamie" and he makes even the bittersweet ending go down easy.

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    Teresa Gets Shot Through the Heart by Bon Jovi

    If Jon Bon Jovi can please a woman half as well as he can please a crowd, we have another candidate for SEXIEST MAN ALIVE. I had the delicious pleasure of seeing Bon Jovi in concert on Valentine's Day and with all the surprises he and the band had in store for us, it felt more like Christmas morning.

    First the lights began to dim and the crowd began to applaud and scream as they gazed at the darkened stage, their anticipation palpable. Suddenly a roar went up from the back of the arena. I turn to discover that Jon has magically appeared on a platform right in front of me, giving the poor devils in the cheap seats the thrill of their lives. (And an incredible view of his adorable backside.) During another section of the concert, he vanished again only to materialize right AMONG the seats on the other side of the arena where he performed a melting rendition of MY FUNNY VALENTINE before walking all the way back to the stage, grasping hands and making women swoon along the way.

    And did I mention there was music, too? Music with infectious hooks, driving rock rhythms, and lyrics soulful and romantic enough to have been penned by a romance novelist. (You haven't lived until you've heard 20,000 people singing, "Shot through the heart and you're to blame, you give love a bad name!" in perfect unison.) The audience got another surprise thrill when Jennifer Nettles, the lead singer of Sugarland joined the band on stage to perform their rock/country crossover hit "Who Says You Can't Go Home." (One of the advantages to seeing a concert in Nashville is that you never know who will show up!) Oh yeah, and there were other band members too--Tico Torres, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora, recently estranged from Heather Locklear. When Richie and Jon shared the microphone to croon "I'll Be There For You" to each other, you just knew that Richie would survive losing Heather as long as he had Jon by his side.

    Jon remains eerily ageless, even looking younger than he did in the big hair era of the 80's. (Vampire anyone?) When he looked over his shoulder, his lips slowly curving into that sexy and boyishly disarming grin, a collective sigh went up from the crowd and you just knew that every woman in the arena from 19-90 was aching to throw her panties on the stage. It somehow only adds to his appeal that he's been married for 17 years and has 4 kids.

    Bon Jovi remains on the very short list of artists I'd pay $100 to see because they're master showmen who make sure you get every penny of your money's worth.

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    Teresa Flirts with Disaster

    He leaned across the table toward me, his dark blue eyes sparkling with a come-hither look. With his bad boy grin and lightly tousled hair, I couldn't help but want to take him into my arms. He reached across the table, closing the space between us.

    "You're SO pretty," he whispered, gently stroking my hair.

    Before I could respond, his mom snatched him up into her arms and snapped, "Don't mind him. He's a terrible flirt and he just loves blondes."

    I grinned as she carried the four-year-old across the crowded Pizza Hut. He hung over her shoulder, waving wistfully and still casting me longing glances. So it's true, I thought. Some men really are born flirts!

    I once worked with just such a guy. Based on his numerous and well-documented affairs of the heart, you would have expected him to be a combination of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, with a little Keanu thrown in to spice the mix. Instead he was a stocky, rather ordinary looking fellow with a receding hairline, a slight paunch, and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. I just couldn't figure out what it was about him that made perfectly rational women abandon both their morals and their marriages.

    Then during one slow night on the ward, he offered to teach me how to play Chinese checkers. Since he wasn't exactly inviting me up to his place to see his etchings, I decided I'd be safe.

    That's when I learned his secret. He treated me with perfect respect. (I was HIS supervisor, after all). There wasn't even a hint of inappropriate innuendo, no casual touches or suggestive winks. BUT his focus on me was absolute. During those magic moments, it was as if I was the only woman—perhaps the only human being—on the entire planet.

    Ah ha! That was it, I realized! That was how he convinced women to tug off both their panties and their wedding rings! (Not to worry. I was in no danger of doing either.) But I did feel as if I'd spent an hour in the company of a master flirt. He'd reminded me that women are absolute suckers for attention because let's face it—we deserve so much more of it than we ever get.

    So the next time that cute guy at the theater concession stand gives you an extra squirt of butter on your popcorn or a handsome businessman offers to help you heft your luggage into the overhead bin, it's okay to feel warm and tingly. Just keep your panties—and your wedding ring—on until you get home!

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Teresa's Shameful Little Secret

    There is no greater thrill for an author than finishing a book. Publishing a book doesn't compare. Winning an award doesn't compare. Not even cashing a nice fat royalty check can compare. (Although my husband might disagree!) When I type those magical words THE END, choirs of angels burst into the Hallelulah Chorus and for a few magical days, food tastes better, music sounds sweeter and all is right with the world.

    BUT that doesn't explain why only one day after I finished my latest book I found myself in a sobbing heap on the bed. Now I will confess that I was both physically and mentally exhausted. I hadn't had a day off in at least a month. I'd been waking up between 4 .m. and 5 a.m. every morning with my mind brimming over with fresh ideas for new scenes. Plus I knew I only had one day after finishing the book to pack and prepare for a writer's conference in Cocoa Beach. If I'd have been Lindsey Lohan or Mariah Carey, my "manager" would have probably carted me off to some nice hospital with a swimming pool and tennis courts and had me admitted for "exhaustion." Because after surviving an entire month of the most grueling sort of deadline and actually accomplishing what I set out to do, I finally cracked.

    My poor husband walks in and says, "What's wrong, honey?" Blinded by tears, I gazed up at him through swollen eyes and wailed, "MY BOOK IS O-O-O-OVER! I MISS PORTIA AND J-J-J-JULIAN SO-O-O-O-O MUCH!!!" Now if I were my husband (or any of the other Squawkers) and had been forced to listen to me whine and complain nearly every day for the past 8 months about how desperate I was to finish this book, I would have carted me off to some nice hospital with time-out rooms and a healthy stock of Thorazine. I have to tell you that I had NO idea that shocking thought was lurking in my subconscious until I blurted it out, but it definitely backs up a theory I have about writing.

    Books are hard to finish (nearly impossible!) because subconsciously writers don't want to finish them. Although consciously our most overwhelming desire is to be done with it, secretly we feel exactly like a reader feels when they say, "Oh, I didn't want that book to end! I wish it could have gone on forever!" With I finished the book, my life began anew, but the lives of my beloved characters ended.

    Readers often ask me if I re-read my books after they're finished. And this is the precise reason I usually don't. When I'm writing a book, it's as if I'm actually living the story right along with my hero and heroine. I feel their every emotion, fall madly and passionately in love, and their memories become my own. If I try to re-read one of my stories, it's as if I'm looking at a photo of a high school sweetheart I'll never see again and it makes my heart ache.

    But I've decided there's only one cure for the post-book blues--start another book! Then there will be other lives to live, more memories to make, and the chance to fall madly and passionately in love all over again.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Ten Signs Teresa Has Finished a Book

    1) She's wearing her "I FINISHED A BOOK TODAY, WHAT DID YOU DO?" t-shirt even though it's February and 20 degrees outside

    2) Her editor and agent burst into a spontaneous rendition of the "Hallelulah Chorus", accompanied by a choir of celestial angels

    3) There's no more microwavable ravioli in the pantry

    4) Her pants don't fit anymore and she can't figure out why although she has a fuzzy memory of eating cake directly out of the pan at 1 a.m. in the morning

    5) There's a cat she doesn't recognize sitting on her bed looking at her

    6) There's a man she doesn't recognize sitting on her bed looking at her (Oh, wait, that's her husband!)

    7) Her bangs are down to her chin

    8) She locks all of her keys in the trunk of her car and doesn't care, even though the trunk latch inside the car doesn't work either

    9) Bright sunlight makes her scream, "My eyes! My eyes!"

    10) She had time to write this blog