Wednesday, November 28, 2007


No, I'm not talking about saving the cheerleader (though I could. Is that a fascinating show or what?). I'm talking about coming up with and visualizing a hero for my books--especially now that I'm writing for young adults (see ).

I have to ask myself: Is what seems attractive to me as er, well, une femme d'un certain age the same as what might be attractive to the girls who will be reading my books next year? I guess it doesn't matter, because hey, it's my imagination, right? So, here for your reading pleasure are the contemporary stars who inspired my teenage heroes. Because here on this blog, we can cast whoever we want for our books.

So, for It's All About Us, I cast Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester in The CW's Supernatural, as Kaz Griffin, the boy next door:

Playing against him, as the heroine's rascally boyfriend Callum McCloud (who doesn't deserve her), I have Taylor Kitsch from Friday Night Lights:

And finally, even though he doesn't have a character to play, I still want him on the set. So Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester on Supernatural, gets to walk on as many times as he wants:

Sigh. I love my job. Truly.

Shelley B., now hanging out at

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's all about the food, baby.

Don't look now, but the holidays are upon us and so is the great food. Whoever put all these holidays one after the other owned a weight-loss clinic.

Anyway, I figured I'd share my favorite cookie recipe with you all. I'll see if I can get our other authors to share theirs too!

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine (not butter)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 325F.
Beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking powder and salt.
Stir in chocolate chunks and walnuts.
Shape dough into 2 (14x1 1/2 inch) slightly-flattened logs.
Place 2 inches apart on a greased and floured cookie sheet.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Place on a cutting board and cool 5 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut each log into diagonal slices about 3/4 inch thick.
Place slices upright on a cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart.
Bake 10 minutes or until slightly dry.
Cool on Wire racks.

Happy holidays!
Samantha Graves

Friday, November 23, 2007

Seen Any Good Movies Lately

Hey, I want to get a good discussion going about movies. I love the movies. I still adore going to the theatre, snuggling up next to my sweetie in the dark, sharing a bag of fattening, overpriced popcorn and being entertained while the story unfolds.

Unfortunately life has intervened lately. Family stuff. You know the bad family stuff. Emergency, take-precedent-over-normal-life-routine stuff. It's been one of the rolling snowball kind of years where things seem to pick up speed as they go from bad to worse.

I've missed my movies. I've put them on the back burner by necessity, but now I realize if I want to hang onto my sanity in the midst of these dark days I need some small measure of creature pleasures, stolen in bits and pieces when I can.

So has anyone seen any good movies? At the theatre? Or DVD? I did manage to see Ratouille and I loved it. That's what made me wish for more great escapes.

Help me out here, folks. I'm famished for my movie fixes.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Sexiest Men - Shari's Version!

Okay, now that you young ones are drooling over the People nominees, I'm presenting my own nominations. Yes, these men are a bit older. And I'd bet that a few of them have been nominated for the People honor in the past.

I narrowed my selections down from a dozen. It was tough, but somebody had to do it. Here they are, in no particular favorite's order.

Robert Redford -- Still very watchable and drool-worthy in my opinion.

Tom Brokaw - I still miss him.

Kevin Kostner - Those eyes. OMG, those eyes!

Rutger Hauer - I fell in love with him watching Ladyhawke.

Sean Connery - Nobody does it better.

Those are my Top Picks. Maybe I should suggest to the AARP magazine that those of us of a certain age would love to see a Sexiest Man Alive contest of our own! Wonder how far I'd get with that! LOL!!!

You are hereby invited to make your own nominations in the comment section. Bet we could come up with quite a list.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Matt Damon is People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Is He Yours? by Diana Holquist

Well, there it is. Matt Damon, People magazine 2007 Sexiest Man Alive.

When I saw it, my heart sank. And I HATE to write "my heart sank" for two reasons.

One, I'm a romance writer, so I HATE cliches like sinking hearts.

Two, I adore Matt Damon, but I was pulling so hard for my man Beckham and for all those CRAZY, fun, funny Gerard Butler fans who I've met these last few weeks as they voted (and voted and voted) in the Sexiest Man Alive poll.

Over 1200 votes in. Mr. Butler's the big winner with my poll, Gerry Army. (Watch out for these guys; they're serious.)

Anyway, on with the show, I suppose. But why do I feel so sad?

Was I won over by the Gerry fans who are SO passionate about their man? Was it deeper: a sadness for myself facing the reality that it's tough out there and our babies can't always win? I should be happy, in a way, because this proves that novels are infinitely better than magazines, as we can read a novel and imagine whomever we please as the hero. Matt. Brad. Gerry. David....

Ah, David....

Oh. Sorry. Got distracted.

Anyway, I have no answers. Don't know. I'll have to head out and get the issue.

Anyone read it yet? What do you all think? Damon? Hmmm...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yorkshire Blogging

“How do you research your stories?”

Writing medievals, that's a question I get a lot. Since I'm sequestered behind my desktop computer most of the time, my answer is invariably books and Google. True, sometimes I emerge from my cave to attend Scottish festivals and Renaissance fairs, where I chat with re-enactors, who provide me with great practical details for my historical writing.

But the best research of all is travel. Once in a while, I'm treated to a really wonderful hands-on experience and actually have the opportunity to visit the places I write about—okay, maybe not the 12th century, but a reasonable facsimile. This month, I've stowed away on the band's bus for my husband's two-week concert tour of Britain!

Today we're in the well-preserved medieval village of York, or Jorvik, as it was known by the Vikings who settled here in the Dark Ages. It's possible to circle almost the entire town by ambling along the stone wall-walk that surrounds it, gazing inward across the maze of cobbled streets and peering out the arrow slits for invading armies. The imposing cathedral of Yorkminster rises in the midst of the city, and the gleaming towers of York Castle sit atop a grassy mound nearby.

But the most charming and evocative area of York for me is the Shambles. The Shambles refers to a quaint district where two- and three-story medieval shops lean over the almost impassably narrow roads. Wandering down the rocky lanes with their hidden passageways and twisting alleys, it's easy to hear the cries of medieval craftsmen hawking their wares from the lath-and-plaster smell the heady scent of ale and peat-smoke wafting from the imagine the sly nudge of a wench with a dagger cutting one's purse and dashing down the lane through the crush of cloaked passersby, a handsome lawman striding past in determined pursuit.

See what I mean? Travel is the best research, not for the dry historical facts, but for the impressions and flavors and memories that seem to resonate from the very stones. It's true “inspiration,” which means literally “breathing in.” When I travel, I can inhale the atmosphere of times past and bring it home with me to breathe life into my stories. Interesting...“Inspiration” also happens to be the name of the tour bus!

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - May 2008

Friday, November 02, 2007

Do Romance Readers Like a Different Sort of Man? by Diana Holquist

When you write a book called Sexiest Man Alive you spend more time than most thinking about what makes a man sexy. But now, with the People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue just days away (November 16th!), I’m doing more than thinking. I’m polling.

So far, with almost 800 votes counted, who do romance readers think should be People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive 2007..?

Hint: “…eat hearty…for tonight…we dine…IN HELL!!!”

Or should that be in Hades, all you history buffs?

Yes, Gerard Butler, the shirtless Spartan from 300 is so far ahead in the poll, it’s, well, it’s as if he has an army behind him.

But here's the really interesting thing: The usual suspects—Clooney, Pitt, Depp, Damon—they hardly show at all.

Which is making me wonder, do romance fans like a different sort of man from most of the female population? What do you think sets romance fans apart in their appraisal of sexy men? Who do you think should be People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive?

There’s still time to vote in this unofficial, yet very scientific poll.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Elizabeth Answers Her Mail!

A suggestion has been made that I spend entirely too much time on this blog obsessed with beefcake and that I will use the thinnest excuse possible to post pics of sexy guys. To which I reply, "Pshaw! I merely study the male form the better to write Insightful, Deeply Sensitive books about Love."

Which brings me to today's mail:

Dear Ms. Hoyt,
I've noticed that you often describe your heroes as having deep, gravelly, or otherwise very sexy voices. I wonder if you might give me an example of actors that, in your opinion, have sexy voices.
An Insightful And Deeply Sensitive Reader

Glad you asked, AIADSR! I often take note of actors who have an especially beautiful voice. For example, recently I was watching the second season of ROME, which frankly is just a tad depressing, what with the murders, rape, and not much male nudity, and I noticed how lovely Kevin McKidd's voice is. Note: because sound is hard to post on blogs, I have been forced to post Kevin's pic. Those of you tired of male pulchritude will simply have to avert your eyes.

There. Wasn't that bracing?

Then there is Paul Blackthorne, who plays the title character in THE DRESDEN FILES which, apparently, has been cancelled. DRESDEN FILES Producers take note: had you simply found reason to take off Mr. Blackthorne's shirt, I feel sure you would still be employed today.

Sometimes a male actor's voice can be so appealing that it steals the show, so to speak. I found this to be the case with Liev Schreiber when he had a secondary part in LEOPOLD AND KATE, a movie that had a multitude of problems, not least among them, Meg Ryan's hair.

Finally, I come to perhaps the most perfect male voice of all, a voice so deep, so gravelly, so utterly sexy women have been known to be reduced to puddles of lust when he reads from the vacuum cleaner manual: