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    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Confessions of a True Romantic

    I was destined to write romance. To prove it to you, I’d like to share a brief snippet of prose: “His kiss was tender, yet passionate. Passionate, yet tender. Neither dominant over the other.” No, that isn’t a passage from my October release THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME. I wrote those words in my diary when I was 11 years old, and I’m embarrassed to admit that the object of my somewhat chaste passions was none other than...Donny Osmond.
    I’ve been in love with being in love for as long as I can remember. When I was 5 years old, I would dress up in one of my mom’s discarded outfits, spread a blanket in the middle of the living room floor, and spend all night pretending I was at the movies with a date. It was the best sort of movie theater--the kind that showed endless runs of THAT GIRL, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, I DREAM OF JEANIE and THE MONKEES.

    Whenever me and my neighborhood friends played “let’s pretend”, almost every one of our games had a secret romantic thread that unwove only in my mind. What fun is playing “cowboys” and “Indians” if your tough-talking, six-shooting cowgirl can’t win the heart of that savage Indian? And why play “school” if you can’t be Laura Ingalls waiting for Almanzo Wilder to brave the blizzard-swept plains and rescue you from a frozen schoolhouse? (That’s the real Almanzo in the pic above. Not bad, eh?) And you can ask J Perry Stone about my fantasy where I was kidnapped by the Monkees (that would be THE MONKEES, not the MONKEYS!) and all four of them fell in love with me. (Well, except for Peter...Peter was always more of a brother figure, don’t you think?)

    I started writing my first historical romance when I was 12. It was called THE PIRATES OF ROCKLON HILL and featured an intrepid pirate captain named (of course!)...Sir Donald Osmond. In a scene eerily identical to the abduction scene in the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, he and his crew stormed my heroine’s mansion, her heart, and her unassailable virtue. (I wasn’t exactly sure what virtue was back then, but I knew it was supposed to be unassailable.)

    Of course I had my own romantic role models. My parents were never shy with their hugs and kisses--either with me or with each other. They both loved music and you never knew when they might break into a slow dance in the middle of the living room floor to Leo Sayer’s WHEN I NEED YOU. My dad served in Vietnam for two years and he and my mother wrote letters to each other EVERY SINGLE DAY of his deployment. Those letters were so full of unrequited longing and scorching passion that I’m still not allowed to read them. They’re kept in a locked suitcase that’s to be opened only in the event of their deaths.

    Despite my five-year Donny obsession, he wasn’t my first love. I remember quite distinctly falling in love for the first time when I was six years old. He had electric blue eyes, wavy brown hair and a pair of dimples that rivaled my own. The movie was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES and the star was a Disney staple and teen actor named...Kurt Russell. I still get a little warm and fuzzy when I see Kurt. It probably doesn’t hurt that he turned out pretty good. The eyes are still electric blue, the hair is still thick and wavy and there’s no denying the charm of those dimples and that smile. And hey--he’s even a great family man and director! (TOMBSTONE anyone?)