Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kathleen Eagle GuestBlog: Crazy, But Sane



First off, a hot guy for the Bellas. I had to do a googling for the oogling. Discovered that if you google “hot guys,” they turn up naked. No, I mean totally. But I found this cutie (Duane Loken) under American Indian actors. I’ve always thought I’d cast Jimmy Smits as Jesse in THE NIGHT REMEMBERS, but Jimmy seems to be sporting facial hair these days, which doesn’t do for my heroes. Not that I wouldn’t be happy to give him a shave. I’d be careful.

Next, Michelle, I want to say that your column is the best thing to happen to Romance since male point of view. (Who knew they had one?) Seriously, it’s hip, entertaining, insightful, and hardly any blood is spilled. (Sucked from the neck on occasion, but rarely spattered all over the walls.) Pink is the new red. So, from my heart, thanks for persevering and making “Romance: Buy the Book” blossom and bloom.

But about this blogging. It seemed really scary to me at first, and I stayed away for a long time. But I like the idea of getting together with girlfriends, and that’s how “Riding With the Top Down” was conceived. I started writing and published my first book in prairie isolation, pre-PC. Back then my friends were teachers. Now most of them are writers. There’s no teachers’ lounge, no staff meetings, and I haven’t been to a Home Interior party in ages. Anyone remember those?

But women will make connections, trade stories, and dream out loud somewhere, some way. In my mother’s day it was the kitchen table. Telephone, telegraph, tell a woman, remember? Letters, diaries, and now it’s the blog. I couldn’t resist. We’re a group of writers, each trying to make her living, keep her home fires burning, and feed the need for dish. It’s a new medium for a story as old as time, and I’m there.

I’m finishing up the page proofs for RIDE A PAINTED PONY (11/28/Mira) and working on the sequel, which is Nick Red Shield’s partner’s book (wasn’t planned, but by the time the book was finished I knew I had to find out more about Dillon) but has a strong women’s relationship thread.

It’s a story with three important female characters and one guy. Reminiscent of THE LAST TRUE COWBOY, but with a very different dynamic. I love all my heroes and have no interest in writing a story without one, but I’m fascinated by women’s relationships and how they make us crazy but also keep us sane. I know you know what I mean.

I’ve begun to put teasers up on my website about RIDE A PAINTED PONY, and there’s more to come at
www.kathleeneagle.com. But I really hope people will joyride with us at www.ridingwiththetopdown.blogspot.com.

And what do the Bellas have to say about women’s relationships?

Is it a theme that brings something to the table in a Romance, or are we headed off into the realm of women’s fiction?

33 comments:

Stacy~ said...

Hi Kathleen! Great to have you here. I'm glad you snuck in early since I can't play at work...something about blocking blogs and all that nonsense. Geez, they really do expect us to work for our paychecks *g*

Very interesting topic. One that's been brought up a few times, and I do believe we will see it more and more. Women's relationships are so intregal in our lives, from our mothers, to sisters, friends, co-workers, bosses, all very dynamic relationships at times, and occasionally extremely, shall we say, challenging?

When pertaining to our romances, I picture how I am with my girlfriends when it comes to giggling (yeah, I did say giggling) over a hot guy or calling one the minute I get home from a great date. We spend a lot of time analyzing men and relatonships, and we do that with our girlfriends, our sisters, sometimes our mothers, so it just makes sense that we would see these relationships in our stories. I've always wondered about the stories that rely strictly on the h/h: who do they talk to when their love interest isn't around? I find it hard to believe that the hero isn't going out for beers with his buddies or that the heroine isn't calling her girlfriend to come over and "talk" about the date or maybe be a shoulder to cry on. I wouldn't mind seeing bits of that in the story.

Anyway, I'm off to work in a little bit and might be home late, so I hope y'all have fun, and Kathleen - thanx for stopping by. Yeah, we love Michelle, too :) Who needs spilled blood when you've got the hotties and the authors and your on-line girlfriends? Not me LOL

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Welcome, Kathleen! I can't tell you how pleased I am that you can hang here with my girlfriends. These women have added something to my life I feel very fortunate to have. We've spoken before about how disconcerting it is feeling that our e-friends are as "real" as the friends we see regularly.

For those of us who can't seem to break from the computer anymore -- ok, that'd be me -- these chicks are kind of a saving grace.

Blogs are the new kaffe klatsches. Passthe cyber-Krispy Kremes, Bellas. Oh, and the elephant ears, too. I want mine with powdered sugar. :)

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Kathleen. I, too, am happy that you posted early so I could chime in.

My opinion is that women's relationships are important to anyone's romance whether it's in a book or in real life. As Stacy pointed out, you contact a friend after a date, a fight, etc.
As long as the friendships are secondary to the relationship going on between the hero and heroine, I that it is still a Romance not Women's Fiction.

Now what is this I hear about Barbie?

rachd said...

Good Morning, Kathleen and welcome!

Relationships between/among women are crucial to any story.

My girlfriends and sister and I are continually bemoaning or men, or bragging of the wonderful things they have done. Who else would you turn to on those evenings when you are so irritated by hubby's actions? Who else would want to listen to you wax poetic about the perfection of his toes? (Okay, they might not be interested in listening, but they will at least *pretend* to. =) )

No one understands the complexities of relationships better than other women. I LOVE reading stories where the herione is busy discussing her relationship with another woman.

rachd said...

And, Michelle, I'm glad we could provide you with some entertainment. The Bellas here really have become friends and I'm blessed to have 'em. Who else would care whether or not Little Bit was sick I ask you?

I know I'm HOSED when school starts back--I have no idea how I'm going to get through the day without my "Bella-fix"! (Stupid stupid blog blocker...)

MaryKate said...

I'm fortunate to have all three, e-friends (the Bellas), really good girlfriends and a truly beloved sister. They are all important to me, although I'll admit to a bias toward my sister. She's one of my desert island things. If I were stranded, I couldn't be without my Sara.

But girlfriends are SO important! They're family, they're comfort, they're entertainment, they're psychiatrists, they're everything. And something important happens when women are together in friendship: connections. I think it's because women relate to each other in a unique way: whether it's comparing toe nail polish, talking about the weird things that happen in our sex lives (come on, we all have someone who we "compare" with), or something more important like the end or beginning of a relationship, women's relationships are important because we relate.

I think it happens with guys too, but I think most men aren't as open. I always joke that my business is your business. I'm not someone who holds back. It reminds me of a scene from FRIENDS. It's right after Ross and Rachel kiss for the first time. Rachel, Phoebe and Monica get together to sit on the couch and share a bottle of wine and relish every detail of what happened between R/R. Ross, Joey and Chandler gather around a pizza and the conversation goes something like this:

ROSS: I kissed Rachel last night.
JOEY: Tongue?
ROSS: Yeah.
JOEY & CHANDLER: Cool.

LOL. Isn't that just how it is?

So to get to your other question, Katheleen, I think that women's relationships are a big part of romance. I much prefer my heroines to have a close female "someone" who is the voice of reason and comfort. I think that one author who does this particularly well is Nora Roberts (well, really, what doesn't she do well?). But she seems to capture both the male/male relationships and female relationships so genuinely. I always find myself wanting to be girlfriends with her heroines, and of course jumping in the sack with the heroes.

Anyway, I've rambled and rambled, but it IS am important topic, but in real life and in our fiction.

rachd said...

LOL MK! I was just using the Ross/Rachel example last night with a girlfriend. You guessed it, we were discussing the finer points of our sex lives and debating on what men tell. Too funny!! =)

As for novelists who capture those relationships best, I would have to add Eloisa James. The DUCHESS IN LOVE series as well as newest one about the Essex sisters really focus on the importance of girlfriends and sisters. She does a nice job with the men's relationships as well.

And, completely off topic (but, Kathleen *did* mention it...), may I just say how happy I am they added the male POV to romance novels?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oops. I keep clicking on yesterday's post. Must be Francesco Totti.

Guess I didn't chime in on the women's relationships in romance questions.

I learned to make good friends with women late in life, around 30. I was brought up to compete with women, not to trust them. What a waste of time. Yet I get most of my needs for bonding with women met through my actual friends and, now, my e-friends.

I read romance for the yin and yang balance relationship. I want the hero and heroine to show and tell me how they feel and what they're going through -- their stories.

I surprise no one by saying that, off the clock, I adore a hero-heavy novel. I just love the depiction of men in romance novels, the arc from goofball to redeemed, potential-filled mate.

I miss the attention to mens' supposed feelings and pov in women's fiction. Often, they seem secondary, as if the "hero" could just walk through the plot w/out saying much.

I get it, just like in my life, men -- my husband included -- can't fulfill all a woman's needs, especially emotional intimacy. I don't mourn that, I just adjust and celebrate my relationships with women. But I like to read a yin/yang balanced romance to celebrate the best parts of the male/female love relationship.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oops again. When I wrote "actual" friends, I mean the ones I see in-person. Mi scusi. You know how important you are in my life.

rachd said...

Interesting about the female friends, Michelle. My mom instilled in me the need for strong women friends from all walks of life, no matter their age.

One of my best friends is a woman my mom's age. When I was younger I had friends who were my age, younger and older. I find that women older than me have more wisdom and knowledge to impart about relationships and life in general. Younger women give me a fresher view of what is happening around me.

rachd said...

Well, of course, Michelle. E-friends are so um, different. We share what we want others to know about us, but that is all. We are able (well some of us anyway--not me, unfortunately) to hold back the more intimate details of our lives, which is where "live" friends come in.

MaryKate said...

Rach & Michelle - Both of you have such interesting takes. I think that the need to compete with women grows out of junior high and high school. I'm ashamed to say that I was one of those horrible girls who sat at the lunch table and was really horrible about what other girls chose to wear, who they dated, etc. The funny thing is, when I went back to my reunion for high school, I found that everyone was so lovely. But it's deeply shaming to me that I was horrible to those girls. But I think it's horrible that women compete with each other rather than celebrating our differences and similarities.

I come from a family of strong women. We have very strong and close relationships. As I said, my sister and I are close, my mother and I are close and I'm very close with my nieces. I cherish all of those relationships. And I'm proud to say that we're instilling those priorities in my nieces. They are close with each other and with us. I hope that's always the case.

rachd said...

MK, I'm happy you were able to come to terms with what you did in high school. I was one of the ones ostracized by the "cool" girls. But, because I was confident in the friendships I had with my girlfriends I was able to pretty much brush them off. And, for the most part, at the high school reunion, the "cool" girls were quite lovely. Isn't adult-hood the great equalizer?

As for family--we are a strong bunch of women as well. My grandfather had all daughters who had all daughters, who so far have produced four more girls. I just love being a member of the "Girls Only" club we have in our family=).

Kathleen Eagle said...

This is all so not scary!

High school, now that was scary. Jr hi even worse. I was competitive, but by J-hi I think I had decided I'd compete mostly in the grades department. Probably because in 6th grade Becky Perkins moved in, and she was hands down prettiest and most popular. Plus, she could sing and play the piano. She could hang with the cool kids, too, but I was smarter, so I decided I'd be queen of the nerds. Becky and I were good friends, but not *best* friends. Over the years we've stayed in touch.

I've tried to stay in touch with girlfriends from all phases of my life, and I find that some connection is still there even after years of absence. Interesting when the element of competition is removed. One of my dearest friends was the other English teacher in my first career. She's been living half way across the country for, gosh, 20 years. Spent 3 hours on the phone with her the other night. There was a time when we were very competitive. I think we taught each other a lot. I was the better educated, but she was the better educator. I can say it now because it's all good. Take that one arena away and we can be totally up front about everything. Plus, the years have had their way with us, and we both know that the front is what it is.

But I do think that professional competitiveness works differently for women than for men. Writers are SO competitive. I'm skipping the national romance writer's conference later this month, but, man, personality-wise, that's a fascinating event. Dr. Phil would have a field day.

What fascinates me as a writer is looking at how relationships inform character. For me a Romance has to be character driven, and the challenge is to come up with different characters from book to book. And I'm always more interested in the hero than the heroine, especially at the outset. A hero can be pretty well fleshed out for me from the beginning, but I generally discover the heroine through her relationships with other characters.

Monica Burns said...

Hi Kathleen! Welcome to the blog. We're an eclectic group here with our biggest bond being a love of romance. ANY romance, right ladies?

MaryKate your dialogue was funny and reminded me of the DH relaying a conversation he had with his boss at work (I might have already shared, but the aging mind forgets where and when stories are told so scusi if its a repeat)

DH: Hey Doug take a look at this
Doug: What are you looking at?
DH: Remember I told you my wife was a romance writer? This is her website. Her new book is due out next month.
Doug: Is that the cover of her book?! (lustful tone here)
DH: Yeah, pretty sexy huh?
Doug: (slapping DH on the back) DH, you know you're one lucky SOB don't you!"
DH: Yeah I know. (puffed up like a peacock cuz boss now thinks DH is Stud Muffin extraordinaire)

Honest to goodness REAL conversation as relayed to me by DH. I can get ANYTHING out of the man! LOL

Michelle! I'm trying to lose more weight before National, will you PLEASE put those Krispy Kreme donuts away. I am drooling on the computer screen and the boss is trying to figure out why! LOL but koffee klatches are definitely now Blogs and IMs.

As for female friends, I've had good female friends, but only a couple I could consider my best friend. I never felt I was in competition with any other women, except for the woman who tried to steal my man. *grin* But other than that, competition has never been gender based. I'm just as competitive with the guys as the gals.

And exploring female relationships in a book is great! I love reading books or watching movies where the main focus is the female relationship almost as important if not more so than the romance. Although for me it becomes women's fiction if the romance is secondary. I think it makes for a well-rounded story and character development. I watched In Her Shoes a couple of months ago. I LOVED IT! Excellent sister relationship story with good romance added in. I wish I was closer to my sisters, but I'm far to different from them for that to happen. Black sheep rarely find it easy to mix with the by-the-book folks. *smile* But I love them, and we're all there for each other if needed. So I guess that counts for something.

Rach, sooooo totally understand the "outsider" experience. It's one of the reasons I got into romance reading and writing. I couldn't find my niche in the real world, so I lived vicariously through the characters of my books. Now as a writer, I still get to disappear into a world of my own making. I LOVE that part of my writing.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Monica, I have a theory that most writers are outsiders. We don't mind now that we're writers, but when we were kids it probably took its toll. We became observers, which is necessary for a writer.

In my case I think it came from being a military brat. I was always the new kid on the block, always different. People move around a lot more now than they did then. The crowd in Massachusetts, where I went to Jhi and high school, was the hardest to break into. My parents came from Virginia, so I did have roots. Then I married into a different culture, so outsider again. Good for the writing, I think.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, about those Barbies...I collect dolls, and I do have a few Barbies. Okay, a lot of Barbies. I like the early ones--nothing past about '72--especially the ponytails and bubble cuts. I played with dolls a lot, but don't have any of my own. Military brat, mother was not a saver of stuff. So I'm buying back my childhood. I have pix on my website--www.kathleeneagle.com. I play dolls with my granddaughters, whose imaginations will not be stolen by computer technology if I have anything to do with it!

rachd said...

Great googly moogly girlfriend! Them's some Barbies you've got! What an AWESOME collection! =)

So, are they for looking only? Or do you get to play with them? You said you play dolls with your graddaughters, but with them???

What a wonderful legacy for your family =).

My husband was in the AF for 7 years, somehow we got stationed at Langley AFB and never had to leave. Therefore I have WAY too much junk in my house!

However, I was a terrible military spouse (not at all understanding about the whole TDY thing) and he thought his life would be a little more pleasant if he got out. It has been =).

Manda said...

Golly! So much to discuss and it's not even 2PM yet!

Great question, Kathleen! Welcome to our cyber klatch! And hi Bellas. Been lurking for past couple of day b/c of work--sigh.

Anyway, I definitely agree with everyone that female relationships are the ones that sustain us through the day to day.

Rachd, you read my mind re: Eloisa James. Her books really do a wonderful job of portraying the interconnectedness of women's lives.

Michelle, you are so right about women's fiction. I almost think of women's fiction as a love story between a woman and her friends. The guy just isn't that important to the story.

Too right, Kathleen about writer as outsider. I think there is something about being removed from the thick of things that turns one into an observer.

I also think that readers tend to think of themselves as outsiders, in part because so many works of fiction hinge on the outsider protagonist. To an outsider who reads, it's not cool to be an insider...

Monica Burns said...

Virginia! Where in Virginia Kathleen? I live in Richmond, but went to jhi and hi in Roanoke. My dad was with the railroad.

I think you're deadon about writers and our "outsider" experiences. I think they give us more emotions to share with readers through our characters. I know that my bipolar disorder has certainly contributed a great deal in terms of my characters. Hopefully it translates to the reader.

Marrying into a different culture has to be tough in a number of respects. We talk about different cultures here all the time. I've got Italian/German backgrounds that made for a hairy mix. But there's a lot to be learned from sharing experiences of different cultures. Something that absolutely fascinates me.

rachd said...

Monica, your adolescent years were spent in Roanoke?? I grew up in Blacksburg! Small small world, ain't it? Now you're in Richmond and I'm in W'burg. Wow! =)

Kathleen, I have to confess I have not read any of your books, but when I found you were to be blogging with us for the day I immediately hit Amazon and your website. So, which of your books is your fave? Which would you reccommend I start with? They look good to me. =)

And, in what ways has your husband's culture/background affected your writing?




okay, too funny--word ver is "ostopgo" Oh, stop. Go! hee hee hee

MaryKate said...

It's Manda! Hi Manda, we missed you!

Well, I'll join the badnwagon, I live in Northern Virginia and went to college in Farmville (Longwood).

It really is a small world!

Rach, I'm waiting on Kathleen's answer as I've never read anything by her either.

rachd said...

Yes, we've missed your wit, Manda! MK, my sister is in NoVa as well, and I went to college in Fredericksburg. The world keeps getting smaller ;o).

Manda said...

Hi Marykate!

I too will jump in with a Virginia connection. The grandmother who raised me lived in Clifton Forge, VA in the mountains when she was a little girl (her father was in the railroad too). Clifton Forge now boasts the worst male to female ratio for singles in the nation--I think about four women to every man. Good for them, bad for us;)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Wow! There's a whole lotta Virginia among the Bellas. I was born in Fredericksburg. My mother's family goes way back in Westmoreland County. Both parents were from Colonial Beach, but my dad was an Army brat, born in Baton Rouge, moved to CB when he was a toddler. Just to show how nostalgiac I am of late, I have a huge collection of Colonial Beach post cards. I was there for a book signing 3 or 4 years ago--just before the hurricane damage--and saw so many changes. And so much that hadn't changed. Now I guess it's becoming a bedroom community for DC, which is amazing to me.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh--4 yr old granddaughter gets to play with my Barbies as long as I get to play too. The 2-yr-old is beginning to want in on it. Neither is satisfied with contemporary Barbies. Who would be? What I love about the old Barbies is that the clothes are well made and representative of 50's, 60's, early 70's styles. I wore those clothes!

Monica Burns said...

WOW! So many with VA connections! Totally cool that we found each other here on Michelle's BLOG!

Rach, Mary Kate we should have a get together sometime! Talk romance over coffee or hot chocolate at a central B&N location! LOL

Manda, Douthat State Park is our FAV camp ground in the state! It's sooo beautiful. Even the Governor enjoys camping there with his family. *grin* He has EXCELLENT taste! LOL

Kathleen Eagle said...

My books--glad you asked. THE NIGHT REMEMBERS and NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK if you like a wounded hero, a little mysicism, a touch of suspense. NFLS is the sequel, although it followed several years later. Sequels kind of grow with me; I don't usually plan them.

If you like historicals, FIRE AND RAIN is two stories 100 years apart that dovetail. SUNRISE SONG works the same way, and it's one of my favorites because I think I covered new ground in that book. THE LAST TRUE COWBOY is a contemporary western. Loved the hero in that one.

My husband is Lakota (Sioux). Many of my books have Lakota heroes. My greatest fear is repeating myself, but I think you'll find that my books are pretty different, one from the other. I'm fascinated by the past touches the present theme, and Indian Country lends itself in a big way.

There are excerpts from quite a few of the books at www.kathleeneagle.com. Asking an author for her fave is like asking a mom which child is her favorite. You're going to hear about every dang one of them.

rachd said...

Cool! Thanks, Kathleen! Look out Master Card and Amazon, here I come...


Monica, sounds like fun =).

Sunny Stefani said...

Dear Kathleen,

I just wanted to say hello and thank you for creating such utterly beautiful novels !!!

I love your writing and the stories are just gorgeous...beyond belief !!!

"Fire and Rain", "Sunrise Song" and "The Night Remembers"
are especially dear to my heart !!!

I love that your stories are extremely vivid, and heart-wrenching....

...so much so...that working in the entertainment field....

I cannot help but wonder why a working script has not been submitted for a film.

Has anyone ever written or submitted an adaptation of one of your novels for film ???

....it seems to me that it would translate beautifully to film...

....it's depth of story and orginality of American Indians is unlike anything I have ever read or seen....


Your writing just a total pleasure to read and savor !!!

My sister married a gentlemen who's heritage is Lakota Sioux...and together they have helped form a really beautiful organization called "Ride On" that enables children and adults with special needs to ride horses in Los Angeles, California.

I cannot wait till my niece is old enough...so that I may pass the novels you have written to her, so that she may cherish her Lakota heritage....

thank you for that alone...

and for your beautiful work....

All my best to you !!!

Sunny

Kathleen Eagle said...

Sunny, thanks so much for your kind words! Coincidentally, the book I just started (sequel to RIDE A PAINTED PONY, coming out at the end of Nov) is about an Indian rancher starting a horse camp for kids. Hi ex-wife nominates him for an Extreme Makeover-type show, and his quiet SD ranch is invaded by Hollywood!

Movie options are the dream of every writer, but few are chosen--especially romances. My agent tells me that I don't write in the right parts for the right actors. I'm not sure what that means. I walk out on so many poorly-written movies lately. One of my romance writer friends had a book made into a movie because an actress's mother loved the book, so I guess it happens.

Where is your brother-in-law from?

Sunny Stefani said...

Dear Kathleen !!!

I truly LOVE your novels and your writing...is so breathtaking !!!

I have been waiting for your newest book...

and now the sequel about a horse camp....

oh my gosh!!!

...my sisters will be so excited !!!

The "Ride On" program here in Los Angeles is so important for kids and adults...I will be sure to let the organization know about your novel in November !!!

What a cool holiday treat !!!!

and with all due respect to your Agent...

...I believe your novels could be very well adapted to film.

Clearly...when I started to read
"Fire and Rain"...

I could completely visualize Cecily touching, feeling the objects at the auction...

...and when she places the glass doorknob in her hand and then settles her sights and imagination upon the leather trunk....

and her mind begins all these different scenarios of what might have been....

My mind...reacted immediately and in the same way....

I felt as drawn by the objects as Cecily did...

The journey of your story(ies)
...pulled me in so completely...

...the lines and the pages just spread out before me....compelling me till the end.

I have never read a novel that made me feel as deeply as yours did.

I cried so much...my husband was a wreck !!!

It would be such a beautiful treat for so many that choose not to read books to finally have a film with such a different perspective on not only a love story with parallel, multi-level stories...but one that embraces the theme of American Indians with truth and care.


Maybe...someday...

But, if I were on a desert island...I would have your novels with me.

My Brother-in-law's family, have 2 ranches...one is in South Dakota...and the other is in Montana.

I don't know the exact cities....but I know that the ranches breed and care for horses.


If ever you're in the Los Angeles Area for a book signing, etc....I'll gather my family and friends together to come and say hello....

....and thank you for such lovely and loving stories...they are truly remarkable...so truly special !!!

Sunny

Kathleen Eagle said...

This has been so much fun, Michelle! I've been working on AAs all day--reading the page proofs of RIDE A PAINTED PONY for errors--the final look. Found lots. Hope they get corrected. (I hate knowing they're in the ARCs.) So it was great to have such good conversation going at the same time. I hope you'll invite me back. And do visit us at www.ridingwiththetopdown.blogpot.com and yours truly at www.kathleeneagle.com. I'm having one of those book trailers made--should be ready for my website by Sept--a first for me! Probably as close to a movie as I'll ever get.

Blog on, Bellas!