Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Secret Desires Exposed!

Check out this Reuters article:

NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters Life!) - Men might protest when they're dragged along to the latest "chick flick" but really they enjoy romantic movies almost as much as women, according to a new U.S. study.

In a survey, psychology professor Richard Harris from Kansas State University asked 250 men and women to watch a romantic movie together then rate their enjoyment level on a seven point scale, with seven being the top score.

Women rated the movie at about six but men rated the film at about 4.8 which is much higher than people would have guessed and went against the usual stereotypes, Harris said.

"Everyone thinks that women like romantic movies and that they drag guys along to them," Harris told Reuters.

"What was significant was that the guys also liked the movies, and that the choice to view a romantic movie was usually made together as a couple, not just by the girl."

The study also asked both men and women to guess which scene their date would choose to play in the film.

Most women selected a romantic scene for themselves and their date, but guessed their date would pick a sex scene.

Harris said while many men did select a sex scene, the number was not nearly as high as the women predicted, with the findings again running contrary to common stereotypes.
He said movie studio executives should put aside stereotypes about "chick flicks" and recognize the fact that there is a moderate interest among men in romantic movies.

"There are a lot of men who go to these romantic movies and enjoy them. I wouldn't write off the male audience just because it is a romantic film. I would suggest marketing to the men in the audience," he said.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why I Love Bad Movies

Sunday night Ryan and I popped in a copy of My Super Ex Girlfriend into the player and we just about died with joy.

It was so bad - the kind of bad where you feel embarassed for the actors - that we had to stop after fifteen minutes. Even though the movie was unwatchable, it was a gift.

My husband ran off to his computer and figured out his new screenplay. I whipped out my trusty AlphaSmart and wrote a scene that had me, literally, on the edge of my chair.

When I suffer through a horrible movie (the love scene from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones ... shudder), I think to myself: if those guys could get that junker off the ground than damn it, there's hope for me!

If a book doesn't grab me by page five, I read the last chapter and then never open the book again.

However, the movies and books that I really have trouble with are the good ones. Depending on my current level of vulnerability, I can either finish with a renewed spirit, or feel the weight of every tree that died to provide the paper on which my books are printed.

Do you think I'm weird?

Don't worry, I can handle it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Supporting the Ones You Love

This has been the week of Ay Yi Yi!

My husband's back went out on Friday afternoon and the Little Dude and I swept in to the rescue. (Ay!)

Thank God that my parents live just a couple of hours away because I don't know what I would've done with this lingering cold, a grumpy toddler, a pug who has suddenly decided to poop in the house and a husband who couldn't walk. (Ay yi!)

The day mom and dad went back home, the Little Dude began coughing and since Sunday, has been a supersized, runny-nosed grump. (Ay yi yi!)

But in the midst of all this ay yi yi-ing, I managed to finish two chapters, install a closet organizer and attend Alyson Noel's booksignining for her new release, Fly Me to The Moon.

Dana, that blog ho' over at that other blog, and her mom were there. At one point, we hit the floor and passed out bookmarks ... by the way, it really works when you're accompanied by a cute child or you're looking a little sass-eh like we were. ;-)

I'm not sure if we helped or hindered Alyson. But we had a blast supporting our fellow author and blog ho' and that my friends, is something that I take with me to the bookstore. I know, I know, books are pricey. (Hey, I buy used books and use my library too!) But I make a point to buy new books from new authors because let's face it, Nora Roberts has plenty of dough!

(But I'll be watching Nora's movies on Lifetime this weekend!)

Yes, I am the obnoxious customer who faces out books by (ahem) me, Emily, Erica, Alyson, Alisa Valdes Rodriguez, Lynda, Berta, Sofia, Cari, Michele ... if we want books, it boils down to supporting the ones you love, and ones who love you back.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Beauty and the Beat

When I was 9 years old, mom took me and my friend, Trista to see the Go-Go's at the SDSU ampitheatre.

It was awesome.

It was also my first (and only) vicarious experience with marijuana.

Am I dork or what?

Don't answer that!

So in the spirit of the Go-Go's upcoming concert at the Luxor (thanks for the link, Mom!), which one was/is your favorite Go-Go?

Mine is Charlotte.
If you can name the eighth track on their debut album, I'll send you a signed coverflat of In Between Men.

Dude, what's up with that?

My husband took the Little Dude to baby class yesterday because I've been sick with this cold thingy. This particular group, frankly, sucks. It's way over populated by Newport mommies - big hair, skinny bodies and big boobs that could tip them over if it wasn't for the big hair.

Ryan had to help clean up and asked two moms to watch the Little Dude. He turns around and my son is half way down the path towards the street! Ryan made it in time but none of those stupid bitches noticed!

Dude if I was there ... (picture steam hissing out of my ears!)

But seriously, what's up with that? I hear people saying that you just can't let kids run around like you could in the old days, and yet out of those ten mothers, none of them could tear themselves away from their gab fest to watch a toddler. If someone asked me to keep an eye on their child, I'd be on that kid like a shadow. (You thought I was going to say something else, huh?)

Can you imagine how you'd feel if something happened to someone else's kid on your watch?

Mom tells me that it is only a matter of time before I complete the transition from the don't-make-waves nice girl to a roaring mama bear.

In the meantime, I'm switching to another class where I hope there are more like-minded parents who actually give a shit.

There. I feel much better.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hold the Line

This morning I read another new story that monthly book sales have dropped. Last October, Torstar (the parent company of Harlequin Publishers) announced that the venerable romance house was eliminating 40 positions. It seems that 2006 was the year when imprints were cut or restyled because of slowing sales; when manuscripts that would've been eagerly snatched up two years ago were turned down, not because they were poorly written but because of (you guessed it) slowing sales and stagnant inventories; and independent bookstores as well as chains have suffered from waning booksales.

All of this reminds me of a scene from Braveheart when William Wallace stands with his men on the front line, facing the spectacularly armed British cavalry. As the horses thunder across the battle field, William calls to his men to hold. The horses come closer and behind them are legions of British soldiers. The men struggle to stay until finally William gives them the signal and they raise a line of spears to stave off the horses.

To me, the bad news is like the British cavalry thundering towards the writer who is holed up in an office, a car or a crowded coffeehouse, struggling to find the words that will give life to the story playing in her head. Our only defense is our stories and the hope that they will find their way to into the readers' hands. We can do our very best to hang in there by doing book signings, advertisements, press releases, etc. But ultimately it boils down to the reader finding the story and the author's persistence in holding the line until you either get mowed down, or you emerge victorious and make outlandish demands on our publisher.

Not that I ever plan to be demanding.

Tonight I think I'll watch Braveheart just to get the theme song out of my head.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Running Around in a Tank Top Without Shaving

Yes, I did that today. I thought I was okay but after my workout, I realized I'd been flashing armpit hair!

But you know what? I'm cool with it. Anyone who has read my books has looked into my heart and soul. Yes, I may disguise certain people, events and even myself, but publishing my fiction is a bit like running around in a tank top without having shaved. If I didn't bare it all, if I try to be dishonest, than the stories wouldn't be compelling and you'd get bored and never remember a word I had written after you finished the book.

However, rest assured that when I came home from the gym and showered, I made sure to take care of business.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quote of the day

Right now I don't have much to say other than I'm in that part of writing a book where it's like fishing. Bits of dialogue, character revelations and new plot twists bite and then I toss them into my little boat. My mom forwarded this quote to me yesterday and I wanted to share it with all of you who popped by to see what's new.
"It ain't bragging if you can do it."

-Dizzy Dean

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Top Romance Book of 2006!

This morning, Rosa of Catalina Magazine Book Club told me that In Between Men was chosen by readers as "Top Romance Book by a Latina Author" in 2006.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry because I remember the day I sat down to write this book and the day I finished it. I had no idea that it would be loved by so many readers. So I'll just say thank you.

This what they said:

In 2005, Mary Castillo warmed our hearts with her debut novel Hot Tamara. This year, she does it again, in true, fast-paced and fun Mary Castillo style with In Between Men (Harper Collins, 2006). According to book club member, Juanita Johnson, the romantic chick lit novel brings readers a truly loveable, but confused, protagonist, Isa, who appropriately finds love after a bump to the head. The believable and fun dialogue between the characters, clearly one of Mary’s best strengths as an author, makes this romantic tale of girl meets boy an enchanting read.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolve or Intend

I gave up resolutions about two years ago. I now have intentions because the word appeals to my Capricorn nature. Resolve is wishy washy. But intend ... ah, now that has weight and purpose.

You really have to think through an intention: where to start, how long will it take, what information do you need so you know it is something worth pursuing?

"Worth pursuing" was the key to planning my 2007 production schedule. It is so easy to get frustrated with a story. When I hit the dead middle of a story, I find myself peeking over the fence, so to speak, at a new, shinier, better story idea that would be so much easier (and faster!) to finish.

So this year I took the time to examine my projects for 2007 and narrowed them down to four: two books for 2008 and two proposals for 2009. I used to take great pride that I could whip out drafts in six weeks. But now I need to slow it down. Well, maybe not the first draft. First drafts have an urgency about them: just get it all out and then perfect it in the rewrite.

My big intention for 2007 is to slow down, to nurture and do my very best rather than do more.

P.S. The image is from