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    Monday, February 26, 2007

    Teresa Discovers the Secrets to Happiness

    So you’ve always wanted it all, eh? Fame, fortune, a night in Johnny Depp’s arms… But for most of us, true bliss may be only a hot Krispy Kreme away.

    Which is why I’ve decided that you can find the most surefire path to joy simply by lowering your expectations of life. (Or as the apostle Paul said--"I have learned to be content in all things.")

    So I decided to set some new parameters for pursuing happiness with these nine simple guidelines:

    1) I never want a strange man to walk out of my kitchen with a camera crew and say, “Hi! I’m Chris Hansen from NBC DATELINE’s “TO CATCH A PREDATOR!”

    2) I never want Simon Cowell to make me cry in public

    3) I never want to shave my head, nor do I want to be photographed while climbing out of a sports car without any underwear on

    4) I never want to eat at that Taco Bell in New York City--you know, the one with rats bigger than house cats scampering playfully around the floor with their gorditas

    5) I never want to eat any bugs on SURVIVOR or FEAR FACTOR

    6) I never want to have an illness so mysterious that only HOUSE can diagnose me

    7) I never want someone to lure me onto JERRY SPRINGER by pretending I’m getting a makeover

    8) I never want to jog...unless I’m being chased by a bear

    9) I never want to eat another rice cake (unless the only alternative is a bug)

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Teresa Celebrates the Return of Romance to DVD

    I think I just heard a chorus of celestial angels singing because at long last and after many heartwrenching delays, one of the most romantic television shows ever made was finally released on DVD this past Tuesday! BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a delicious blending of classic fairy tale and urban fantasy that was definitely ahead of its time, first ran on CBS from 1987-1990. From the first strains of its opening theme (the aptly titled The First Time I Loved Forever) to its lush production values to the remarkable acting from Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton, Edward Albert, Jr., and a host of others, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remains one of those rare viewing experiences where they actually got everything right. It’s no surprise that writer and executive producer George R.R. Martin has since gone on to stellar success as the author of one of the most popular fantasy series ever penned--A Song of Fire and Ice.

    BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the story of Catherine Chandler, a spirited assistant D.A. in New York City and Vincent, a mysterious half-man, half-beast who dwells in the long-forgotten tunnels beneath the city. When Catherine is disfigured in a brutal knife attack, it is Vincent who rescues her and carries her to his lair so she can recover. Catherine quickly discovers that Vincent may have the face and strength of a beast, but he also has the heart and soul of a poet. When she returns to her life, both she and Vincent find it impossible to forget the time they spent together or the psychic bond they forged. From that day forward, he is destined to be her champion and she both his joy and his torment as he fights to tame the beast within so he can be worthy of her love.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Ron Perlman at a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST conference in Orlando a few years ago. He’s spent most of his career as a character actor and he admitted to the adoring conference-goers that he now realizes that the role of Vincent was truly the role of a lifetime. The premature demise of the series was also a painful demonstration of how little the networks valued both romance and its core audience of women. Since the show was very expensive to produce, they publicly announced that they needed to attract more of a male audience in the third season so they decided to accomplish that by KILLING OFF THE HEROINE (!) and trying to turn Vincent into some sort of crusading vigilante. (In CBS’s slight defense, Linda Hamilton had decided to leave the show at that point but I still think they should have just ended the show or devised a better exit than having her character butchered by a maniac.) Needless to say, the show only lasted a few more episodes. (And no, I WON’T be buying the third season on DVD! Although it has its fans, I prefer to pretend it never happened.)

    If the show is a beloved favorite of yours or if you missed it entirely when it originally aired, I strongly recommend that every romance fan go out and buy or rent these DVD’s. We’ve seen so many bad attempts at capturing the magic of the romance genre on both the big screen and the small that I can’t help but rejoice when somebody finally gets it right!

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Teresa's Favorite Piece of Romantic Advice

    "Never forget that little actions can have big benefits.”

    When my husband works, I make his lunch for him the night before and always tuck a little “love note” inside the bag. He sends me one-line e-mails every day that simply say, “I love you the most,” to which I reply, “You can’t because I love YOU the most.” (Stop gagging, okay!) Neither one of us ever leaves the house without getting or giving a goodbye kiss. Nor would we ever dream of going to sleep without a goodnight kiss. On summer Sunday mornings when I’m in the bathroom getting ready for church, he makes me a strawberry smoothie and brings it to me. And yes, when he talks about sports, I pretend to be interested. When either one of us comes home, the other one always tries to stop what they’re doing to greet them at the door. It’s so easy to become lazy and apathetic in a long-term relationship but it really doesn’t take that much effort to remember why you chose each other in the first place. So when it comes to keeping romance alive, DO sweat the small stuff!

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Teresa Sings, "Pirates and Bodyguards and Vikings, Oh My!"

    When Bantam told me they were going to reprint THIEF OF HEARTS with a special price of $4.99, my first thought was “Oh goody!” To this day, THIEF remains one of my personal favorites out of all my books because I got to explore two of my favorite romance archetypes in one book--the pirate and the bodyguard. As far as I’m concerned, it’s double the pleasure, double the fun! The book begins when my heroine Lucinda Snow is abducted by the legendary pirate Captain Doom. After a brief but passionate encounter on his ship, her navy admiral father hires the mysterious Gerard Claremont to protect her. The book is sweepingly romantic and the image of Captain Doom melting out of the shadows can still make me swoon. (If you want to hear his “theme”, just listen to UNFORGIVEN by Metallica!)

    In the same way that a cliche becomes a cliche because it contains a strong dose of universal truth, I believe our classic romance archetypes like “pirate” or “bodyguard” have been such enduring successes because they push a primal button in most women. No matter how liberated she is, what woman doesn’t yearn to “stand and deliver” when her carriage is being robbed by a dashing highwayman? And doesn’t it shiver your timbers when a pirate fires his warning shot across your bow? And who can resist a Regency rake who emerges from a pond looking like Colin Firth in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?

    Even the words--highwayman, Regency rake, Viking, spy, etc.--evoke an emotional response when we read them. I’m not suggesting that our heroes are cardboard cut-outs because the most enduring heroes are always three-dimensional and may contain elements of several archetypes. But the archetype itself gives us a starting place for our attraction. We often talk about the qualities we love most in our heroes--intelligence, a sense of humor, a glossy mane of hair, a well-defined set of abs. But the one quality that all of these archetypes share is power. And I know that for me, power is the strongest aphrodisiac of all.

    I live in a world where I’m expected to be in control 24 hours a day. Yes, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let my husband forget that he’s a man (especially if I need the plumbing fixed). But in my darkest, most secret heart, I long to be mastered. I want to be swept away, both by my heroes and by my reading. The more reality I have to face, the more important and vital to my mental health my fantasies become.
    So send me a bodyguard to protect me, a rake to seduce me and a pirate to ravish my yearning heart!