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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chat with Kristen Callihan & Samantha Grace

SAMANTHA: I’m very happy to have one of my fellow Febutantes at Lady Scribes chatting with us today. It was great collaborating with her on the Febutante Ball, and she’s a fun twitter buddy. Oh, and did I forget to mention an amazing author? (I bet she’s blushing now, but it’s true!)

Please welcome Kristen Callihan, author of Firelight, the historical paranormal novel that has been getting outstanding reviews, including a coveted starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.

All right, Kristen. Let’s get started. You proudly claim to be an 80’s child, so let’s explore this a little further, shall we?

KRISTEN: Oh, boy.

SAMANTHA: If we hopped into a hot tub time machine and traveled back to that decade, what fashion crime would we most likely find you committing?
A. Neon men’s tie
B. Fingerless lace gloves
C. Spandex and leg warmers
D. A tutu and combat boots
E. A gallon of Aquanet hairspray from an aerosol can (gasp)

KRISTEN: Hehe. It’s a tie between B and D. I definitely had a Madonna worship thing going on, so we’d probably have to throw in some rubber bracelets and a crucifix to complete the picture. But my mom drew the line at the bustier (and I really didn’t have the boobs for them yet so…)

SAMANTHA: Perhaps you’ll have a chance to wear one at the RT Booklover’s Convention. Maybe even a mask. *snort*

KRISTEN: Okay, I’ve spilled my fashion secrets, so how about you? Where you an 80s child? Did you match your socks to your gigantic sweater? Set the house on fire with the Aquanet? Have a thing for teal eye shadow? Or did you haunt another decade? Inquiring minds what to know!

SAMANTHA: I’m proud to be an 80s child. I never did the Aquanet, but I used a lot of mousse in my day. OMG! And I had a mullet! I totally forgot about that. I remember doing the bright colors in twos—two pairs of socks, two t-shirts with the sleeves rolled up. Plus, I loved my paisley Swatch Watch.

Name your three favorite 80s movies.

KRISTEN: Only three?!? But, but, there are so many! Geesh, the pressure…. Okay, Sixteen Candles, The Princess Bride, and When Harry Met Sally.

So what were your favorite three? See how hard it is to pick? Impossible! But tell us anyway!

SAMANTHA: Ooh, those are good! Hmm… I see what you mean about it being hard to pick. Definitely Sixteen Candles. I had the biggest crush on Jake!!! Then I’m going to have to go with The Breakfast Club. I still love that movie. It’s dated in some ways, but the issues are relevant even today. My teen thinks it’s tubular—uh, I mean awesome. And lastly, Raiders of the Lost Ark, baby.

My turn again. I’ve found that every job I’ve worked has helped to prepare me in some way for the publishing world. How did your work at National Geographic, Discovery Communications, and Voice of America prepare you for publishing?

KRISTEN: You know, those places sound a lot more glamorous on paper! Lol. The job at Nat Geo was for a prima donna who used to have me make reservations for his dinner dates. So that was really more of a character study opportunity than anything else! :)

SAMANTHA: LOL! (I hope she requested a table close to the kitchen at least once.)

KRISTEN: One of the things I did for Discovery was to write the short program descriptions that went to all the newspaper outlets, which really means that I’ve been published world-wide for years! (g)

As for VOA, the work there was so utterly monotonous that I finally vowed to myself to do something that I loved. So I suppose I should thank that job most of all.

Now you know I need to hear how your jobs helped you.

SAMANTHA: Well, I can tell you right now my jobs have not been glamorous at all. I’ve worked in psychiatry, which really makes people mutter things about having some relatives that could use your help anytime the topic comes up, and health care. Probably most helpful from my psych days was developing a thick skin. I mean, when you have a person at the height of a manic episode get in your face and scream nasty words, what’s a little rejection? Pffft.

Working as part of a health care team has helped me to play nicely with others. Everyone has their expertise. You do your job well, I’ll do mine well, and we’re all happy!

Do you like masked men?

KRISTEN: Who told? (g) There is something intriguing about a masked man. What’s he hiding under it? Will I like it? It’s sexy yet slightly dangerous.

SAMANTHA: If I can see his eyes, then fine. You can tell a lot about a person by looking in their eyes, imo. So, who do you like better, Batman or Zorro?

KRISTEN: If George Clooney is hiding under that Batman costume, then Batman. :-D Otherwise, I love Zorro. I loved that he had to play the goof in the public eye, then sneak off to kick some ass. And, really, the whole sword fighting thing…swoon.

SAMANTHA: Saawooon! :D

KRISTEN: As you write Regencies, I have to ask the most important question: who is your favorite Jane Austen hero?

SAMANTHA: I love Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. I know she made a lot of mistakes and ended up broken hearted, but she lived with passion. I guess I’d rather take a chance on looking like a fool and lose than to live a dull life, which is probably a good thing I’m okay with that since I often feel like a fool. LOL

Let’s talk more about Firelight. I’m loving this book, and I’m almost at the end. Archer and Miranda strike me as two lonely souls in the beginning. They both carry a lot of shame associated with their pasts. What character do you sympathize with the most and why?

KRISTEN: I really sympathized with them both for those very reasons. But I think I’d have to say that I relate more to Archer’s predicament. Not that I’ve had to wear a mask or anything, but I was bullied as a kid, and I know that deep pain of being marginalized by your peers.

SAMANTHA: Some of the best material for authors, but I hate that you experienced bullying as a kid.

KRISTEN: One of the things I really liked about Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel was your use of humor. It’s done very well, both in the way of banter and lighter moments, such as a certain miss fleeing from a certain window. Ahem. :-) Who are your favorite funny men?

SAMANTHA: My husband is really funny. He has a very quirky sense of humor that surprises me, and I love that about him. He catches me off guard. But as far as comedians go, Jim Gaffigan can have me in tears.

KRISTEN: And what drew you to writing witty Regencies, as opposed to say… dark and disturbed paranormals? :)

SAMANTHA: Here’s a true confession, I almost always write the first draft with hefty doses of darkness. There’s something therapeutic about it. After the second time I heard from my editor that my books were too dark in spots, I just began to lighten them up before I submitted them.

I had a real struggle with doing that at first, at least from the standpoint of feeling like I should lighten up those spots, but I got what she was saying about tone. I was very happy when I didn’t hear anything about my third book being dark, even though it probably has the darkest material in it. Go figure. But I do like to make people laugh, and hopefully going with my strengths will set my books apart.

In August your second book, Moonglow, is being released. I’m very happy the hero is wolfishly handsome Ian Ranulf, who is introduced in Firelight, and Daisy should make an interesting heroine, but what exactly is her power, or is that a secret?

KRISTEN: I cannot divulge that information, madam. J I will however say this, Daisy is in for a shock, and she will not like it one bit!

SAMANTHA: Oh, sure! Leave us in suspense. (grumble, grumble)

KRISTEN: As for Ian, I really like him. He is completely different from Archer, but damaged in his own way.

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half comes out in June, and sounds VERY intriguing. I’ve always been a sucker for reunited lovers. How is this book different from Miss Hillary’s?

SAMANTHA: Jake and Amelia have a connection before their story begins, so I think one thing that’s different is the acceleration of the relationship. There’s more passion and emotional connection between Jake and Amelia.

KRISTEN: And what was your favorite part in writing this book?

SAMANTHA: Can I say favorite parts? There’s more physical humor, and even if no one else gets a kick out of it, I laughed a lot! Jake has a tendency to get into scrapes and can be a bit clumsy, so it was fun to write those scenes. :)

Also, two characters emerged in the first draft and they are a hoot! I had so much fun writing their scenes together. Bibi, Amelia’s dearest friend, and Jasper Hainsworth, Earl of Norwick, are the most unlikely of couples. I hadn’t intended to include a parallel love story, and I was so afraid my editor would make me cut it, but everyone loved the characters and their interactions. Plus, their love story really weaves in with Jake and Amelia’s relationship, so it’s not just tossed in.

I see you have another work out. What can you tell us about Ember?

KRISTEN: Ember is a short story that my publisher approached me about doing last fall. The idea was to give readers a further glimpse into Archer and Miranda’s world. It tells the story about the lost time between when Archer and Miranda first meet in the prologue for Firelight until they meet again when Firelight starts. In Ember, we get to see more of why Miranda steals and what shapes her into the woman we know in Firelight. As for Archer, we get to see what prompts him to give up his search for a cure and return to claim Miranda.

Finally, can you tell us a little bit about your fall release, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie?

SAMANTHA: Okay. Here’s the nutshell, clumsy version. Daniel, Jake’s older brother, has chosen to live the life of a shipmaster (captain) who never allows women on his ship. Yet, he makes an exception for the heroine, Lisette, when he discovers being in her presence keeps his guilty thoughts over his wife’s death at bay.

Lisette is running away from her dangerous fiancé to save her young brother from being placed in an insane asylum, but she lies about why she is desperate to leave on Daniel’s ship, the only one bound for England the next day. Of course they begin to fall in love on the journey, but that darned fiancé has found out where she’s going and he’s giving chase. There’s a little mystery and suspense, because that’s what I love, but it still has lots of humor. And it has heart, I think. :-)

I forgot to ask Kristen if she's giving away a copy of Firelight today!!! I bet she'll let us know. But for sure I have two copies of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel for commenters brave enough to tell what fashion crime they committed as a teen. Every decade had them.

70 comments:

  1. I think I still have permanent marks on my ankles from rolling my jeans up. If it didn't leave marks then you didn't have them rolled tight enough! LOL I see pictures from back then and think, How Stupid looking it is, especially with those white Keds!

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    1. LOL! Rhi, I totally forgot about the rolled up jeans and Keds. Why did we think that looked good? :D

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    2. Ah, ye old rolled jeans. There was a method to that, if I remember. You had to fold THEN roll. lol.

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  2. Another 80's child. Tons of Mousse, blue and green eyeshadows, Peppermint Pink(?) Lipstick, Legwarmers, Shoulder pads.....the list just goes on and on. LOL!

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    1. Pink lipstick and shoulder pads were rad! Whatcha talkin' 'bout? ;D

      I had forgotten about shoulder pads. Along with the rolled jeans, we were a pretty sight, weren't we???

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    2. My mom was the queen of shoulder pads. She used to double them up! Ack! :)

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  3. Since I was a teen in the 90s there were so many trends that happen in that decade. Yes I did try to do the grunge look in high school. I wasn't good at that. Got ta live Nirvana for inspiring that look.
    Then there was preppy look of clueless. Granted I still love sweater vest and colar shirts. I just don't sport them anymore.
    Granted it could have been worst.

    countessofmar@yahoo.com

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    1. Melody,

      I loved grunge music, but the look didn't work for me either. I like pretty clothes too much, despite evidence to the contrary given my 80s fashion choices. LOL.

      The preppy look was much better. :)

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    2. I think the grunge look only really worked for the fellas. Hello, Eddie Vedder? (Who I had a total crush on, btw) :)

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  4. Oooh, yes, Beebs--shoulder pads! I was guilty of that one too! And Jams--do you guys remember them? Brightly colored floral short shorts? And remember the Western wear craze after Urban Cowboy came out? I had a long denim prairie skirt that I thought was the bomb!

    Still miss my big 80s hair, though!

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    1. Also--meant to say--Welcome back, Kristen! Congrats on the debut! My TBR pile is growing enormous!

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    2. Ooh, Deb! Great memory. I had Jams, too. I remember wearing them in Panama City Beach. Do y'all remember air brushed license plates? :D

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    3. Jams! lol. I had a crush on a boy who wore Jams. I thought they were so cool. And do you remember the Out of Africa craze? The safari look ran rampant for a while. :P

      And thanks for the welcome, Deb! :)

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  5. Thanks for joining us again, Kristen! Such a fun chat between you two. Hmmm...let's see. I did the shoulder pads thing. I did the rolled jeans. I wore the hugely oversized t-shirts and tied a knot at my waist with the excess. I did the neon colored everything (and if you've seen me with my coloring, you would know neon is not a good look for me). Later on, I did the flannel thing when grunge hit (yes, in TEXAS--what was I thinking???). I had my hair shaved along the sides and in the back, and then super long on the top, which I pulled back into a ponytail. Lots of fashion mistakes...

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    1. Cat,

      OMG. The knotted t-shirt was hilarious!!! In all fairness, neon didn't look good on anyone. ;)

      I would love to see pix of the hair cut. You were pretty edgy!

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    2. Thanks for the welcome, Catherine. :)

      Heh. At one point, I had an A-line bob with one side of my head shaved for the full effect. VERY stylish. :P

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    3. Sam, I'll try to remember to bring some of my HS pics when I come to Chicago for RT and Spring Fling.

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  6. Samantha and Kristen, that was a great blog and so much fun to read. I know firsthand that Sam's book is great, but Kristen I am looking forward to reading yours. It sounds very interesting. 80's looks? I did the neon sox! I think I may have also tried to do Madonna's hair, without much luck.

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    1. Jules,

      Isn't it funny that people tried to immitate Madonna's hair? It was just bed head!!!

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    2. Thanks, Julie! I hope you like it.

      My pair of neon socks were yellow. It hurts my brain just thinking about it. I then graduated to the goth look. Everything went black. lol.

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  7. Congrats Kristen on the book release. This is a rather funny conversation to me as we are in the midst of planning our 20th High School reunion and this very same topic has come up. I am a proud 80's child who is very guilty of Big over sprayed mullet hair, blue eyeshadow/liner, rolled pant legs tucked into socks topped with leg warmers. I also wore a lot of parachute pants(loved all the pockets) Hawaiian shirts with bermuda shorts. I can remember wanting to be like Madonna with the lace and denim. I wore gummy bracelets all the way up to my elbows.By the end of the 80's I have shaved off the back and sides of my hair wore a tail, and bleached it to death with sun in. As someone that has big shoulders I never quite took to shoulder pads lol (I guess there's some blessings in that) but oh I had my fashion faux pas lol

    Temptnfate13@yahoo.com

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    1. Misty,

      You were the height of fashion!!! My mom and dad would have killed me if I had shaved and bleached my hair. I was grounded for getting one ear pierced twice! I figured if I did one they would let me do the other. LOL

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    2. Uh well I didn't mention my ear piercings lol. My parents took me to have my first two sets done. Then in the late 80's the nose piercing fad took off and I wanted one, so bad that one of my older cousins took me to get it done. I chickened out while sitting in the chair and ended up having my cartlidge at the top of the ear pierced. To this day I still have 9 holes in total after I went a little wild.

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    3. Egads! Not the nose! I can see why you would chicken out. But the tongue is worse. OUCH!

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    4. Argh! Parachute pants! lolol. How could I have forgotten those?

      I never went in for the multiple piercings, only because I am a total wuss!

      Thanks for the congrats, Misty! :)

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  8. Lol well I'm still a teen, but if I had lived in the '80s, I probably would hav worn my hair with a LOT of hairspray. Now, the only "fashion crime" I'm committing is not really wearing jeans. Woops! ;)

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    1. Arely,

      I think not wearing jeans is just a misdemeanor. We'll let you off with a fine. ;D

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. What a fun interview, ladies. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Kristen!
    I was a major fashion victim- I did it all. Big, off the shoulder sweater, puffy bangs, jelly shoes, jelly bracelets, rolled jeans, scrunched socks, Geo prints, Laura Ashley dresses...yikes.
    But in high school, I wavered between punk and 70s. One day I would wear a short plaid skirt, ripped tights, combat boots and a torn t-shirt, held together with safety pins. Then next day, it was a bell-bottom jeans and a softened jean shirt, with turquoise and silver jewelry, and sandals. The best I can say is...I was never boring? Lol!

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    1. I've never heard the words Olivia and boring used in the same sentence. LOL

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    2. Wow, Olivia I would kept silent on some the stuff you wore. I remember having a pair of jelly shoes. Those things keep making a come back.

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    3. Hey Olivia!

      Your wardrobe choices sound like mine. I never could stick to one style either. And you totally reminded me that I had these Roman style sandals that I loved SO much. Man, I wish I still had them...

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  10. Welcome back to Lady Scribes , Kristen. And great interview Samantha. Have I told you how much I drool over your cover for Lady Amerlia's Mess and a Half? Dear Lord that man is fine! ;)

    Anyway, I was a child of the 80s but my teenage years were also in the 90s. So I did the Madonna thing and Grunge thing. Thank God I never mixed the two together...or did I? I remember the movie Dazed and Confused being really big during my Junior (i think) year in HS. Flared jeans came back in style. I still like those. ;)

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    1. Whoops! It's Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half, not Amerlia. *facepalm*

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    2. Marquita ~ Your typos always crack me up. I think we could do a blog post on those alone. ;)

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    3. LOL!!! That's totes an amazing idea! I might have autocorrect beat. hee! :)

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    4. Thanks for the welcome, Marquita. :)

      I agree with the drool factor for Samantha's cover. I was going to remark on it, then forgot. Am I wrong or is that the popular Paul Marron on the cover?

      My teen years straddled the decades too. Sadly, now it's kind of a blur. :D

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    5. Nope, you are right, Kristen. It's Paul Marron aka Lothaire, hee! He even has a facebook page. Or that's what I heard... ;)

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  11. The thing I remember about the 80s and early 90s was perming those mullets. Samantha - I believe your hair was already naturally curly but mine was just wavy so I had to get that perm. All my pictures are of this super curly mullet. We thought we were gorgeous though!

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    1. I remember those days well, my friend. I'm so glad I never had to have a perm.

      I wonder where our trend-setting friend, Nancy Fancy Pants is today.

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    2. When I first met my husband, he had a tail. As his hair is naturally curly, it did NOT work -looked like a bundle of fuzz at the nape of his neck. Shudder. lol. I still tease him about it sometimes. :D

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  12. Samantha ~ I am *not* a fashionista. I never have been, probably never will be. I know several of the other LadyScribes ladies rolled their eyes at me. My style always seems to be very basic, and I'm sure it was that way when I was growing up. I am equally sure I blocked out any memories that contradict that statement. ;)

    Growing up in Texas, however, I did have "big hair*. Everyone had *big hair*. Some people in Texas still have *big hair*.

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    1. Yeah, big hair is still in depending on where you go. You could call your style classic. :)

      All this talk of clothes makes me want to go shopping!

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    2. Ava that's funny and what are you talking about I seen big hair in Louisiana and oklahoma.

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    3. In D.C., we gravitated more toward helmet head than anything (this is still the case for some: read politicians' wives). But we did sport big bangs back in the 80s. Gak.

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    4. Wait...you mean big hair is a no-no?

      Just kidding. I *am* a Texas girl. And yes, there are plenty of women in Texas who still have big hair. Scary big.

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  13. Amerlia. I get it, Marquita. It's hard to pronounce words with your tongue hanging out of your mouth. ;D

    Ooh, so you got to experience the best of both worlds! I still love Madonna, but her new song not so much.

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    1. Exactly, Samantha!!!

      Really--my daughter and I L-U-V it. *snort* ;)

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    2. My daughter is totally embarrassed that the guys on my covers forgot to button their shirts. You just don't do that in 3rd grade. :D

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  14. Welcome back, Kristen and great interview, Samantha!

    Omgosh the horrors of the eighties. I've spent the last decade trying to forget it LOL. I was an eighties child and I had the Madonna hair, the jelly bracelets, big sweaters, jelly shoes, leg warmers, rolled jeans, keds, and leggings...*grimaces* Anyone remember the movie "Girls just wanna have fun?" Ugh, that was me and I hate to admit it but I still love that movie. It's the dancer in me, truthfully. Those were my dancing days so Flash Dance was another favorite movie of mine but I also loved Romancing the Stone. One of my all time favs.

    Now it's time to get off this path down memory lane before I run screaming through the house in horror.

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    1. Oh geez I can't believe I forgot the most AWESOME movie ever made. The Goonies! That still rocks, even to this day. "Hey, you guys!" LOL now my 4yr old will be screaming this all day! I just had to yell it. Just once! =D

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    2. Hi Suzie,

      I loved all of those movies! I remember taking my sister with me to see The Goonies, and she was terrified of Sloth. Poor thing. And Romancing the Stone was on the other day. Still love it. Though I'm worried... my life as a romance writer does not seem to mirror Joan Wilder's. Hmm... :)

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    3. LOL mine doesn't seem to mimic Joan Wilder's either but it certainly is nice to dream sometimes lol.

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  15. Samantha -- It was so fun getting to chat with you! :) And YES! I'll match your book giveaway. So two copies of Firelight up for grabs! :)

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    1. And I totally forgot to tell you that I'm sooo excited to read Firelight!!! It's on my TBR pile, which is slowly titling to one side like the leaning Tower of Pisa.

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  16. I was a dancer and I wore my dance costumes as everyday clothing. That and pajamas (to school!).

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  17. Hi Samantha and Kristen hmmm my fashion crime is I used my grandma ballroom dress for my ball party. Oh my God the dress is so beautiful. It's pink and glittered with silver. I love thge dress so much but the biggest problem is all of my friends stunned and asked me did you used your grandma dress. THey told me it looks exactly like the one they saw in the movie , and they mocked me of it. WeLL MY Ball became a total disaster because i used an old ball gown ;). Cheers arethazhen(at)rocketmail(dot)com

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    1. Aretha,

      It sounds like those people had no sense. It sounds like a beautiful dress!!! This may be a silly question, but was your grandma in a movie?

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    2. Hi Samantha, no but she loves to attend balls when she was young and was quite a catch and a dancer though me as her granddaughter couldn't dance:). That's why she has many lovely gowns:)

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  18. I grew up in the sixties, so there were lots of fashion crimes, especially stirrup pants and mini skirts. The one fashion crime I refused to commit was wearing the old lady coat my mom gave me. I'd rather be cold than wear that fur collared corduroy monstrosity. Luckily I lived in Southern California, so I didn't get too cold. :D
    I'm so looking forward to reading both Firelight and Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. I have both of them on my wish list.

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    1. Barbara,

      Was the 60s when women ironed their hair to make it straight, too? Seems dangerous!

      I recall my mom buying a few items for me I wouldn't wear. Thank goodness for a warm climate, huh? ;)

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  19. I remember big hair and wearing neon.

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  20. Going to private school in the 70's and wearing the matching skirt and sweater. I would have to add the blue eyeshadow out of school.
    ldwrncpn@comcast.net

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  21. LOL on the blue eyeshadow. I had a co-worker who still wore it in the 90s. Of course, everything comes back again. ;)

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  22. Congratulations to Melody May and Misty Helm, winners of Kristen's book Firelight.

    And congratulations to Aretha and Lori Weller, winners of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel.

    We'll be contacting you by email soon to get your mailing addresses.

    Thanks to Kristen for joining us at Lady Scribes, and thanks to all of you who participated. You made it a fun day. :)

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  23. Thank you thank you for the contest! Oh and to throw out another comment about the "Blue eye shadow" I think someone forgot to tell my mom that it went out of fashion, because she wears it every day lol.

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  24. Thank you so much for the winning so happy :D, Aretha zhen

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