Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Why I like virgin characters in my romances

I know that some readers are weary and disgusted with the innocent virgin heroine. I don't feel that way. In fact, I prefer virgin heroines, and even virgin heroes. I even seek them out. I think that a virgin character can serve as a blank canvas, if you will, for the romantic feelings of love that we read romances for. It's all new and fresh, and we get to walk on the journey along with them. Isn't that the true fantasy of romance? You meet the person you are supposed to spend your life with and fall in love, in bed and in bliss and live happily ever after? Well that's my vision of romantic love. Don't get my wrong, I have read lots of books with non-virginal characters that I liked. But if that character is a virgin, it's all the more special to me.
Let's discuss some arguments again virginal characters:
1)Nobody is a virgin anymore, so it's not realistic: This is blatantly false. I know quite a few virgins and in their thirties too. Believe me that there are some people who chose not to experiment sexually and to preserve their chastity for the right person. And there are other reasons for remaining a virgin like having commitments that kept a person from going out into the dating world. This would actually make for interesting conflict in a story. I will be honest with you now. I myself am a virgin for both reasons. I believe in waiting until marriage to have sex, but also the conflicts of my family life and career aspirations had gotten into the way of having a social life. And by the time I could have gone out and lost my virginity (in college), it was a precious thing that I wasn't about to give away it for a few minutes of pleasure or assuaged curiousity. I know of at least a handful of people like this. So why can't some characters be the same way? Isn't fiction a reflection of life in some small way?
2)It makes the sensuality less interesting and open to experimentation since the deflowering is out of the way: Not true. I think that it can make this even more interesting. You get to go along on the sensual journey with the character.
3)In the case of male virgins, who wants a man who doesn't know what he's doing under the covers: Well I personally would prefer to have a virginal man who learns along with me. Plus he probably had lots of untapped enthusiasm that merely needs channeling. I love those books with those male virgins. I seek them out in fact. I hate the thought of my man haven't slept with half of the world, even if this has made him the best lover ever. Ugh!!!
4)The virgin heroine is silly, insipid and someone you can't identify with: Just because a woman is a virgin doesn't mean that she's hopelessly naive, fluffy-headed, or boring. There are older womens who are intact but are mature and just as independent and intelligent as our experienced women are. That's why I like the bluestocking, spinster type historicals. I myself prefer the older heroine because I am older and it's hard to identify with a seventeen year old girl fresh out of the school room. But the important factor is her level of intelligence, resourcefulness, and maturity, which can be found in both the young heroine and the older one. Christina Dodd has a lot of these types of heroines, and Anne Stuart has a few that I really liked for this.
As to my affection for virtuous characters, perhaps I am in the minority. It's entirely possible. But let me tell you that I dislike rakes and promiscuous heroines as much as some readers dislike virginal ones. I cannot find them sympathetic in the least unless the author takes the time to delve into why they are that way. For me, just enjoying sex and lots of it doesn't cut the mustard as a reason to be promiscuous. Don't get me wrong. Sex is a wonderful thing that is made for enjoyment. But not with every Tom, Dick, and Harry or Thomasina, Rica, and Harriet in the vicinity. Gotta hate those scenes at Lady So and So's Ball where Lord Rakehell passes by at least fifteen women who he has shared himself with and pleasured sensually to the point that they sigh when he walks by. I wouldn't want to be with Lord Diseased Member, no matter how good he is in bed. But that's just me. I tire of the sexual stud, Lord of Ecstasy, Bad Boy heroes that can make a woman groan with ecstasy, if you don't mind that he's slept with everyone you know and then some.
This brings me to another point: Virtuous versus Virginal--I believe that a person can still have virtue despite not technically having their virginity. Virtue is an attitude, a mindset. It's about having respect for your body and not giving it away casually. There are many a book that I have read with characters who are not virgins for various reasons but they are far from being sleazy or promiscuous. I can respect this. I understand that some people have traveled the road of life in a direction in which they have experienced sex in some way or fashion. But they still have enough respect for themselves and self-control not to sleep around. Gotta love those celibate heroes like Sir Ross Cannon in Lady Sophia's Lover! I read a some books where the heroine may have been raped or seduced, or merely fell in love and gave themselves in love and I respected them as characters. I'm not crazy about the stories where the character just had sex out of curiosity. For me this seems like a great waste. But that's just my opinion.
The tide has recently turned away from virginal heroines so there are still a great many stories which feature them. Not as many contemporaries alas. But authors like Diana Palmer and Johanna Lindsey tend to prefer virginal beauties. Harlequin Presents author Lynne Graham almost always has them. If you are like me and tend to avoid books with very experienced heroines, you may want to steer away from authors like Susan Johnson, Miranda Lee, Vicky Lewis Thompson and forgive my generalization, the Blaze line. The following link should help you in your avoidance. A word of caution: I have read a lot of books with non-virginal heroines that I adored, so please try to put this tiny detail aside and enjoy the books anyway. If everything else was right with the book and this wasn't a big deal to me. This happens a lot with Suzanne Brockmann books. She's not big on the virginal heroines. But I still love her Troubleshooter books. Also there are women on here who despite not being virgins are quite virtuous and not at all sleazy.

Now, If you are interested in catching up on your virgin hero readings, I'll give you a link to the All About Romance Site which has a great list to give you a good start.

Perhaps you will join me on the darkside....

Rant over.

My Favorite Authors

I love to read, obviously. There are some writers that I flock to as often as possible because they particularly do a good job at making reading a pleasure. This authors are master artists at the written word, in my opinion. They create characters that are enduring and endearing at the same time. These characters may be and often are deeply flawed but more lovable for their character failings. But the writer uses them skillfully to tell a story and to entertain the reader. Most of these authors write in the romance genre. And the remainders are likely to be found in the horror or science fiction genre. A couple write thrillers or action adventures. But the thing they have in common most of all is that they have earned my respect and admiration as writers and the dubious honor to make it on my list of favorite authors.

1.Anne Stuart--the best of all time!!!
2.Christina Dodd
3.Diana Palmer
4.Lisa Kleypas
5.Laura Kinsale
6.Connie Brockway
7.Catherine Anderson
8.Cait Logan
9.Jodi Thomas
10.Christopher Golden
11.Edgar Allen Poe
12.Louisa Alcott
13.Brenda Jackson
14.Beverly Jenkins
15.Lynne Graham
16.Celeste Bradley
17.Jude Deveraux
18.C.S. Lewis
19.Deborah Simmons
20.Cherry Adair
21.Carolyn Davidson
22.Susan Fox
23.Kit Gardner
24.Emma Goldrick
25.Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor
26.Laurell K. Hamilton
27.Lorraine Heath
28.Loretta Chase
29.Linda Howard
30.Jillian Hunter
31.Joan Johnston
32.Katherine Sutcliffe
33.Penny Jordan
34.Stephen King
35.Lynn Kerstan
36.Kim Lawrence
37.Miranda Lee
38.Johanna Lindsey
39.Sandra Marton
40.Mary McBride
41.Lyn Stone
42.Meagan McKinney
43.Susan Napier
44.Laura Parker
45.Susan Elizabeth Phillips
46.Laura Renken/Melody Thomas
47.Karen Robards
48.Susan Sizemore
49.Deborah Smith
50.Theresa Weir
51.Susan Wiggs
52.Gayle Wilson
53.Jennifer Ashley
54.Deborah Simmons
55.Kathryn Smith
56.Dean Koontz
57.Jo Beverley
58.Pam Crooks

Those are the ones that stick out and populate, often to excess, my bookshelves.

I wanted to veer off subject and discuss my addiction...Books.
My room is overflowing with them. I have probably several hundreds in that entity that us bookworms know as a To Be Read Pile or TBR pile for short. A thousand I have read but I cannot bear to be parted with. I have no room to buy new ones, but I will. Why can't I stop? This is a double-edged sword. Because I am glad that there are always new stories to be told, but at the same time if I didn't get the urge to read more books because I like the story or plot, then I would have a lot more money and room. I suppose there are worse addictions, but I feel guilty when I take a pile of books to the counter at the bookstore. Even at the ubs where the owner own's 4000 of her own, I still feel like a person who lacks self-control, a spendthrift, a frivolous person. I pray about it, and I ask God to forgive my materialism, this terrible urge to buy and collect books, but I cannot help it. If I have a bad day at work, I get the itch to go to the bookstore. Heck, I can't hardly pass a bookstore without stopping in. My backpack that I take to work is overflowing with books. I have a rule that I must always have at least two books on my person, just in case... I often turn down invitations to eat lunch with coworkers because I want to use the time to read. I sound rather maudlin, perhaps a little tragic and it is actually quite humorous. I should look at it as a blessing that I can afford to buy books and also that I am a patron who helps word artists sell their books so they can make a living and get their ideas out on paper. There is a joy to reading books. I know that it stems from the unhappy years in my childhood where reading was the only sure escape. I crave that ability to be sucked into a great story between the pages of a book as I did as a child. I mean there was television, but it never held the same joy as a good book. I guess I like to draw the pictures myself instead of looking at the visuals that someone else had drawn based on their interpretation of a story. I must admit that I would rather give up the television then the ability to read a book. Now movies, that's another story for another blog entry....

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I was at one of my favorite places, Barnes and Noble and I saw this book that was called 1000 Movies You Should See Before You Die and it inspired this blog. It will probably take some time, but I want to list my 1000 (or close to that) that I recommend seeing before you die. Here goes nothing...
3.Van Helsing
4.Bram Stoker's Dracula
5.The Mummy
6.The Mummy Returns
7.Room With A View
8.Lady Jane
9.Kiss The Girls
10.Deep Blue Sea
12.Topper Returns
13.Arsenic and Old Lace
14.The Long Hot Summer
15.Cat on A Hot Tin Roof
16.The Time Machine (both versions)
17.The Shadow
18.Mystery Men
19.Better Off Dead
21.The Rundown
22.My Chauffeur
23.Valley Girl
24.Sixteen Candles
25.The Breakfast Club
26.Original Sin
27.The 13th Warrior
28.Sleepy Hollow
29.The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte De Loups)
30.Peace Hotel
31.The Killer
34.Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
35.So Close
36.The Transporter
38.Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
39.The Professional
40.Patriot Games
41.Mission Impossible 2
42.Far and Away
44.Dangerous Liaisons
45.Bridget Jones Diary
46.Die Hard
47.The Last Boy Scout
50.The Prince of Egypt
51.Finding Forrester
52.Good Will Hunting
53.Night of the Hunter
54.Tears of the Sun
55.White Oleander
56.The Ten Commandments
57.The Omega Man
58.The Italian Job
60.Lover Come Back
61.Pillow Talk
62.The Thrill of It All
63.The Truth About Charlie
66.The Magnificent Seven
67.The King and I
68.Dance With Me
70.Christmas Vacation
71.Vegas Vacation
72.The Goonies
73.Weird Science
74.Real Genius
75.The Mask of Zorro
76.Pitch Black
79.Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
80.Rough Magic
81.LA Confidential
83.The Matrix
84.The Matrix Reloaded
85.The Matrix Revolutions
87.Dracula 2000
89.Reign of Fire
90.The Birds
93.A Christmas Carol
94.It's A Wonderful Life
95.The Bride of Frankenstein
96.Heaven Knows, Mister Allison
97.My Fair Lady
98.Lady and The Tramp
99.Findings Nemo
100.Mary Poppins
101.The Sound of Music
102.The Hunted
105.Cat People
106.Flash Gordon
108.The Lost Boys
109.Lethal Weapon
110.Lethal Weapon 2
111.Lethal Weapon 3
114.Lethal Weapon 4
115.Kiss of the Dragon
116.Romeo Must Die
117.Queen of the Damned
118.The Rock
119.Pearl Harbor
120.Bad Boys
122.The Specialist
123.Demolition Man
124.True Lies
125.The Terminator
126.Terminator 2:Judgement Day
128.Black Hawk Down
129.The Bourne Identity
131.Blade II
133.Hope Floats
134.While You Were Sleeping
136.The Edge
138.The Sum of All Fears
141.X2: X-Men United
142.The Usual Suspects
144.The Best Man
145.Coming to America
146.Trading Places
148.Red Heat
150.West Side Story
151.The Punisher (2004)
152.Bulletproof Monk
153.Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
154.Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
155.Lord of the Rigns: The Return of the King
160.Raiders of the Lost Ark
161.Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
162.Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
163.Minority Report
164.Empire of the Sun
165.A Life Less Ordinary
166.Charlie's Angels
167.Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
169.Sleeping Beauty
170.Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
171.Toy Story
174.Fright Night
175.The Apartment
176.Some Like It Hot
180.Old School
181.School of Rock
182.Jersey Girl (2004)
183.The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney)
186.The Sum of Us
187.A Far Off Place
188.The Thing From Outer Space
189.The Thing
190.Romancing the Stone
191.The Princess Bride
192.The Wizard of Oz
194.Big Trouble in Little China
195.Daddy Day Care
197.The Count of Monte Cristo
199.Dante's Peak
201.Live and Let Die
202.License to Kill
203.Die Another Day
204.Tomorrow Never Dies
205.Return to Me
206.Playing God
207.The General's Daughter
208.The Devil's Advocate
209.The Gift
210.The Towering Inferno
211.A Time To Kill
214.Cold Mountain
216.Great Expectations (Ethan Hawke version)
217.The Frighteners
218.Back to the Future
219.Back to the Future 2
220.Back to the Future 3
224.Predator 2
226.Superman II
227.Superman III
229.Batman Forever
230.Batman Returns
231.Batman and Robin
232.The Peacemaker
233.Ocean's Eleven
234.The Dark Crystal
235.The Neverending Story
236.Enemy Mine
That's it for now....Will continue at a later date


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I saw Van Helsing on Sunday, May 9 and I loved it. It was a totally engrossing visual feast. I thought the acting was great, the story, and the special effects. It all combined to make great movie entertainment. I definitely want to see more of these movies. I would also like if they had some books based on the Van Helsing character. I think that Stephen Sommers never lost that magic that us movie buffs develop as a child and often lose along the way. I think movies that are dramas or character studies are great. But movies like Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Van Helsing are also important. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought Bram Stoker's Dracula to read. I had started it years ago but didn't finish it. But I definitely want to. I don't want to leave that universe behind.
Well, anyway, on the radio they were saying the critics hated Van Helsing, and I can't fathom why. Oh well. To each their own. In my opinion, there wasn't a thing wrong. But I can tell you some things I liked:
1. Great hero-Hugh Jackman did an excellent job
2. Great heroine-Kate Beckinsale is a kick-ass heroine and had a great accent.
3. Great Dracula-Richard Roxburgh definitely personalized Vlad and made him sexy.
4. The Brides were sexy and scary!!!
5. Loved Van Helsing's sidekick, inventor chap, wonderfully played by the adorable David Wenham.
6. Wonderful sets!!!! So beautiful it was like being in another world.
7. Stellar special effects
8. Action sequences to die for
9. A human element and a great story
10. A cool twist on the old story.
Movies like this only come along once in a lifetime. So I guess I'll have to watch it a lot. Going to see it tomorrow.
great acccent