Sunday, February 28, 2010

Favorite Couples

Because I like to be different, I’m going to tweak this month’s question and tell you about some of my favorite couples that have graced the small screen over the years. Starting with Buffy and Angel. OR Buffy and Spike. Yes, I’m one of those rare Buffy, The Vampire Slayer fans that could have gone either way on her love life. There is nothing better than an “opposites attract” love story and you can’t get more opposite than a slayer in love with the vampires she’s supposed to slay. Their relationship(s) had heavenly highs and demonic lows and one of the best uses of a cookie as an analogy for being ready to fall in love that I've ever heard.
Opposites Attract Hall of Fame: Sam and Diane from Cheers, Maddie and David from Moonlighting, Vicky and Ryan from Another World, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

I was also a big Joey and Pacey shipper in Dawson’s Creek. What I loved most about this couple was that the writers let the characters (and the chemistry between the actors) dictate this relationship. Clearly, when the Creek began, we were supposed to want Joey and Dawson to get together. He was her first love. The boy she pined after for years. Too bad the audience didn’t buy it. Thankfully, the writers actually watched their show and said, “Hey, why don’t we try this instead?” And it worked. Because no matter how much we all love a good “first love” story, the reality is those couplings don’t always last.
First Love Hall of Fame: Kevin and Winnie from The Wonder Years, Pebbles and Bam-Bam from The Flintstones.

As for married couples, no characters currently on television come close to the bond shared between Eric and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. They are most realistic married couple ever on TV in my opinion. They have a genuine marriage with real problems and a true love for one another. I cannot wait for the new season to begin airing. It kills me that I don’t have direct TV and I’m behind. (Shhh. No spoilers!)
Married Couple Hall of Fame: Cliff and Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show, Steve and Elyse Keaton from Family Ties, B.J. and Peg Honeycutt from M*A*S*H (bonus points for B.J. and Peg since we never actually saw them together onscreen and yet their love was undeniable).

Obviously, I left a bunch of favorites off the list, so feel free to add your own.

While on the subject of TV, a few weeks back I very cruelly teased you all by saying absolutely nothing about the projects I’m working on for 2010. Well, I’m still not allowed to say anything, but I’ll give you a teeny, tiny little clue about one of them. It has me writing for another one of my favorite TV couples. A couple that does not appear on this list.

Okay, I know I’m horrible. And I’m sure when all is revealed it will be terribly anti-climactic. But I don’t want to take up this space anymore by being a tease stringing you along forever. For those of you who still care, you can follow me on Twitter @paulruditis where I hopefully will reveal the mystery project before we all die of old age.

Monday, February 22, 2010

In honor of Valentine's Day, who are some of your favorite book or movie couples?

Valentine's Day may be behind us, but love is definitely still in the air. Is there ever really a bad time to watch When Harry Met Sally or to gush about your fave romantic comedy leads? FYI, Mark Ruffalo is one of my favorites. I like that he’s not your typical leading man. He was so adorable opposite Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 and I loved him with Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven. Mark’s character didn’t even have a romantic storyline in You Can Count on Me and yet he still had me blushing.

On the romantic fantasy level, of course I was rooting for Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings. And yes, Katsa and Po in Kristin Cashore’s awesome book, Graceling had my heart racing.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, you have to check out the movie Love and Basketball (2000) starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as Monica and Quincy. Such a swoon-worthy couple! The film follows Monica and Quincy from their first meeting at age 11—when Quincy and his parents moved in next door to Monica—through high school and college. Both kids are wild about basketball with dreams of going pro. Their shared passion for the sport brings them closer, but also makes them deliciously competitive.

I’ll stop now so as not to give anything away. Happy viewing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Odds n' ends

Hello! A lot has happened since my last post and there are so many things that are making me happy.

1. Writing. I'm working on a new book idea and it's coming along swimmingly. It's still early days and I haven't even shown it to my agent, but as writers out there are sure to know, it feels great to have an exciting new project going.

2. Good health. I've been sick as have my kids and husband, so I'm just now getting back into working out. I love doing yoga and spin class and the combination does wonders for my body and mind.

3. School Visits. The latest two schools were elementary schools, a little younger than I'm used to, so I put together a new presentation called "Imagine the Possibilities!" where I show funny pictures of myself and how many times my dream has changed. It's fun for me to talk about this because it relates to everyone, young and old, and it reminds me just how far I've come as a writer and as a person.

4. Coaching boys' basketball. I've coached soccer and it was such a wonderful experience, and since I actually played basketball once upon a time, I was really looking forward to trying my hand at coaching it. The boys keep me on my toes and it's so amazing how far they've already come.

5. Skiing and snowboarding. Here in Utah, we've had lots of snow which means great days on the ski hill. My youngest is loving the sport so far!

6. Hot air balloons. This is really random, because while we have hot air balloons floating around quite often in the warmer months, it's not every winter day we get to see one.

What has you in a good mood today?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hard to Get and Favorite Movie Couples

First of all, Hard to Get will be out on Feb. 23rd! I have already seen a few advance copies and it looks marvelous. But I haven't had the nerve to actually read it. Something cringe-inducing about reading my own words in print. Like those actors you hear about who've never watched any of their own movies. Just ogling the cover is enough--and fielding my family's comments. ("Were you thinking about Aunt Mildred when you wrote that scene?")

Second question: favorite movie or book couples. I have so many, including Alvy and Annie from Annie Hall, which has already been written about, but probably my number one favorite couple is Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre. I know, I know, I'm a huge nerd. I can't help it. When I was in junior high, I used to dream about having a boyfriend just like Mr. Rochester. (I can't believe I'm writing this in a public forum.) Okay, yes, the language in the book is hopelessly old-fashioned, yes, the book takes forever to read, yes, Jane can come across as a pious little priss and Mr. Rochester as a weird creep, but it's so romantic! (Have I sold anyone yet?)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In honor of Valentine's Day, who are some of your favorite book or movie couples?

I'm thrilled that The Hurt Locker has been nominated for so many Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, because director Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 film Point Break is one of my favorite movies ever. It's a surfing bank robber movie.


But see, it stars Keanu Reeves.


A gorgeous Lori Petty rivals Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful as Best Tough Wounded Heroine. Plus there's the late great Patrick Swayze in fine form as the villain.


There's even Gary Bussey as Keanu Reeves' crusty sidekick, and the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers thrown in there for good measure as a surfing drug dealer. Add heart-pounding chase scenes, gorgeous cinematography, a screenplay with twists and turns that will actually fool you, and then put Lori Petty in grave danger and have Keanu Reeves JUMP OUT OF AN AIRPLANE WITHOUT A PARACHUTE TO SAVE HER I KNOW!!! Oh, just rent it.

My love for my favorite couple in a book is more subtle but just as strong. Start reading The Beginning Place by the master of soft science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin, and you will understand immediately that the writing is gorgeous, but you will ask me if I am sure this guy is one of my favorite heroes from a book. For heaven's sake do NOT look it up online--the Wikipedia description makes it sound like high-falutin' crap. Just keep reading. The fabulous thing about this couple is how they grow and fall in love with each other simultaneously over the course of the story.

Be warned if you are a youngling: The Beginning Place contains a sex scene. When I was a student teacher, I found the book in the high school library and was SO THRILLED that I immediately handed it to a ninth grader and told her she just had to read it because it was one of my favorite books ever. Belatedly I thought OMG THERE'S A SEX SCENE IN THAT BOOK and snatched it back from her, which probably did a lot more harm to her psychologically than reading the sex scene would have.

Monday, February 08, 2010

FAVE Movie Couples

I love this question, since I sometimes still see my own life as a collection of scenes from my favorite movies. I LOVE Watts and Keith from the fabu Some Kind of Wonderful. I still remember that dark night back in 1997 when I told a boyfriend I couldn't see him anymore if he was still conflicted about his ex and I dramatically walked away from him down the street while rain softly drizzled. I could hear the music swelling in the background as I embodied Watts and prayed for the similar happy ending. (I got one a few weeks later when he realized he wanted to be with me).

When I actually fell in love in NYC (and what a great city to fall in love in!), I often saw my boyfriend and me as Sally and Harry from When Harry Met Sally or Annie and Alvy from Annie Hall, although admittedly, we were slightly less neurotic. Like those movies, the city is as much a character in the relationship as anything else.

Perhaps my most favorite movie couple was never actually a couple couple, but they were great together as best friends: Jane and Aaron from Broadcast News. They knew each other's little quirks and eccentricities so well that they could practically read each other's minds. It is something Aaron says to Jane in this movie that has become one of my favorite all-time movie quotes: "I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time." And of course Jane knows exactly what he's talking about. I want to go re-watch that movie. And Annie Hall. And When Harry Met Sally. And Some Kind of Wonderful. Sounds like the perfect Valentine's Day movie marathon to me...I wonder if my husband will agree?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

In Which I Don't Really Tell You Anything...

I’m a little late to the party on last month’s question “What are you working on in 2010?” but I was waiting to see if I could let you all in on a few secret projects I’ve been tinkering on in the lab.

As it turns out … I can’t. Not yet, anyway.

It’s not that I don’t want to say what I’m working on, because I really, really do. And it’s not that I don’t trust all of you with the information, because, well … now that I think of it, some of you are kind of shifty looking. I’ve seen pictures. It’s just that there are certain things that can’t be said until someone says you can say them. Because if you say them too soon, they might go away. So, keeping in mind that some things are better left unsaid, I will say that I’m working on several fun projects right now that may or may not be published in the next year or so, once all is said and done.

First off, there’s the manuscript that I spent a lot of last year working on. That’s a personal project that is part comedy, part action/adventure and all kinds of wacky, zany fun. At least it was for me. No one has actually told me that I can’t tell you what it is, but since I haven’t started sending it out to editors yet, I don’t want to jinx it by saying anything too soon.

As some of you know, in addition to writing my own stuff, I write stuff for other people as well. Books based on TV shows and movies. And I’m especially not allowed to talk about those until they are official. But I can maybe give some incredibly vague hints.

On the media-tie-in side of my writing, there’s a project that I think you are all going to love. Well, maybe some of you will hate it. Who’s to say? This is the one project I’ve been excited about for going on two years now. The best part of it is that I will be teaming with one of my most favorite editors … an editor that some of the other Ro Com writers here may be familiar with.

And then there’s a project I really, REALLY can’t talk about.

Which brings me to the one I was hoping to announce right here, right now. I still haven’t gotten the word that I can say anything yet. So I have to put that news on hold. (I'm actually hoping that by posting this now, someone will tell me tomorrow it's okay to release the news.) It’s an exciting project that’s teaming me up with another awesome writer and letting me play in a format I’ve never written in before, while working with a world… you know what … I almost said too much. But maybe I’ll be able to say more soon.

Until then … Here’s to a hoppin’ 2010 for all of us!

Friday, February 05, 2010

In honor of Valentine's Day, who are some of your favorite book or movie couples?

My favorite couples in books in movies are characters from all my favorite love stories. In my opinion, the couples with the best love stories are as follows:
1. Some Kind of Wonderful. This movie was just on TV again the other day, and I never get sick of it. I'm always cheering for Watts the entire movie.
2. The Notebook. What girl wouldn't love Noah? It's such a simple story, but so good. It's also a great reminder of how important it is to follow our hearts.
3. The Princess and the Frog. I just saw this one with my three-year-old daughter, and was so pleased to see that it had great messages about true love. I don't want to give anything away about Tiana and Naveen so I'll just leave it at that.
4. Gone With the Wind. Scarlett and Rhett's story is filled with tragedy, mostly because Scarlett acts like an idiot. However, I've loved this movie and book since I was a kid.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We've got the scoop!

Look for these new Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies in 2010! ♥


Hard to Get
By Emma Carlson Berne

Val Rushford has it all: The boyfriend, the looks, the grades, the friends--she's perfect. But when she dumps her cheating boyfriend, Dave, she's bombarded with all types of advances from boys all over school! Totally overwhelmed, Val decides to swear off boys until the end of the year. She buries herself in her school work and spends all her time on a class project that has her paired up with the artsy and intellectual Adam--the unlikliest candidate to ever win Val's heart...or so she thinks.

Val soon finds a connection in Adam she has never experienced before, but she's so dedicated to her promise and so unsure of her feelings that she keeps him at an awkward distance. If Val can't figure out what she truly wants, she may just lose her one chance at real love!




At First Sight
By Catherine Hapka

Sometimes The One is right before your eyes. . .

Lauren and Riley first meet under the stars, and instantly know they are destined to be together. Okay, so maybe it was on a lame school trip to the planetarium, and maybe they didn't get each others' names, or even a good look at each other. But for the brief moment they are together, the sparks are undeniable.

So when Lauren finds a post on Facebook that a guy named Riley is searching for this amazing girl he met at the planetarium, she feels like the stars have finally aligned in her favor. That is, until Lauren sees that Riley is being pursued by hordes of Planetarium Girl imposters! Will Lauren and Riley be able to find each other again, or will these star crossed lovers remain in the dark?




***COMING MAY 25***

Endless Summer
By Jennifer Echols

Includes The Boys Next Door

Lori should have known better than to date a pirate.

After finally getting together and going out on their first real date, only Lori and Adam could manage to fall asleep—and wake up seven hours past Lori’s curfew. Their parents forbid them to see each other. So Lori takes it upon herself to date boys scarier than Adam until her dad gives in.

But Adam won’t play along. He’s afraid Lori might fall for these scary boys. And when she goes out with the scariest boy of all—Adam’s own brother and her ex-crush—even the threat of being sent away to military school can’t keep Adam from swashbuckling his way back into Lori’s heart.

Can this forbidden love stay afloat, or will it sink in the watery deep?