Tag Archive | love

My 5 Fave Films for Seasonal Swooning

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To me, there’s just something about the holiday season that screams, “Romance!”

Granted, by February my penchant for flip flops and beach-combing has me cursing winter’s frost with a teeth-chattering “damn you!” vehemence.

But, in December…

There is magic to be had.

Specifically, yuletide movie magic. The heart-swelling, tummy-tumbling, butterfly-inducing variety.

Of course, this doesn’t in any way diminish my overwhelming love for all things bookish. Still, holiday-themed romantic movies always manage to hit me right in the ol’ ticker. Between the elaborate sets, twinkling lights, pirouetting snowflakes, hearthside snuggles, hot cocoa mustaches, trees trimmed to ooh-aah perfection, and the lip locking powers of mistletoe…

I am in holiday hog heaven.

And if spending the twelve days of Christmas perched in front my DVR is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.

So, with that in mind, here are my…

5 Fave Films for Seasonal Swooning

(warning: may cause intense warm fuzzies)

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary

Swoon-worthy quote: “I like you very much just as you are.”

One word… Colin Firth. No wait, that’s two words. One name? No, that’s not right either. Oh, never mind. My brain is mush.

See? This is what Colin does to me. As soon as he graces the silver screen (or any screen for that matter), I am a puddle of goo on the spot. He’s got the brooding, respectable, good-guy routine down to a tantalizing T.

Oh, right. There are other people in the movie too. Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant round out a well-crafted cast.

This film is a clever, hilarious, modern-day take on Pride and Prejudice. Does it resort to outrageous, cringe-worthy silliness at times? Yes. Is it terribly realistic? Not exactly. Yet, somehow, it all works with a certain je ne sais quoi, to the point where I’ve practically worn out my DVD from repeat viewings.

4. The Holiday

Swoon-worthy quote: “I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives.”

As far as movie roles go, Kate Winslet sure knows how to pick ’em. I honestly can’t think of a single film she’s appeared in that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.

(Hums the score to Titanic)

Anywho, The Holiday is so undeniably charming that even my husband likes it (and he usually rolls his eyes while simultaneously blowing raspberries during “chick flicks”). It stars (along with Winslet) Cameron Diaz, Jude Law (those eyes!), and Jack Black—who is, to my pleasant surprise, utterly sweet and appealing here.

In a nutshell, the story follows two women in the thick of guy-problem suffrage, who swap homes (and countries) in order to clear their heads and, with a little luck, embark on journeys to healing.

From the get-go, you pretty much know how the story is going to end. But, trust me, you wouldn’t want it any other way.

3. Serendipity

Swoon-worthy quote: “Maybe we’re lying here because you don’t wanna be standing somewhere else.”

Fate. Does it really have the power to guide us toward the people we’re meant to be with? I believe it does. As a matter of fact, I know it does.

John Cusack (whom I’ve fawned over since The Sure Thing) and Kate Beckinsale (how adorable is she?) play Jonathan and Sara, who, despite obstacles of time and space, are unable to quell a mutual longing forged from a single, magnetic, chance encounter.

These would-be lovebirds are so wholesome and endearing that you can’t help but teeter on the edge of your seat, rooting for them every step of the way.

Passion vs. predictability. Which would you choose?

If you’re keen on uplifting, enchanting, seasonal whimsy, then this movie is right up your alley.

2. Love Actually

Swoon-worthy quote: “To me, you are perfect.”

Though touted by many as being the most romantic movie in the history of lovey-dovey cinema, I was initially skeptical. Not typically a fan of ensemble-cast, multiple storyline theatricals, I almost skipped this production altogether. But, then I remembered…

Colin Firth is in it.

Need I say more?

So I gave it a go and, holy swoonmuffins, was I ever glad I did!

This is holiday escapism at its finest, not to mention a prime example of movie-casting gold. Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson (love her!), the-man-can-do-no-wrong Firth, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman (RIP), Keira Knightly (on whom I have a slight girl crush), Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nightly, Martine McCutcheon, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Billy Bob Thornton, Denise Richards, and Rodrigo Santoro all lend their acting chops, resulting in a cinematic experience for the ages.

If you are a hopeless romantic like me, you will love this movie with every fiber of your being. Prepare to run the full gamut of giggles, tears, full-bodied smiles, accelerated heartbeats, and dreamy sighs.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

Swoon-worthy quote: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”

Sigh. I love this movie so much.

When it comes to unforgettable, cinematic-romantic chemistry, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are in a class all their own.

Each time Jimmy appears on-screen as George Bailey, you feel his words and the breaths that propel them. You join him on his quest for the American dream, through all the highs and lows—joy, hope, despondence, and desperation.

I seriously cannot watch this movie enough, or without getting a lump in my throat. Maybe it’s because I’ve been where George has been. Maybe we all have.

But there is redemption.

And Mary.

She is his rock, his safe haven, his home … though he doesn’t always realize it.

Yet her love for him never wavers.

And when George finally alights upon an angel-guided epiphany…

Well, I don’t know a person alive who doesn’t feel compelled to reevaluate their own existence and count their blessings as a result.

***************

So there you have it. Do you agree with my list?

Honorable mentions go out to Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged, While You Were Sleeping, and Happy Christmas.

With so many wonderful romantic holiday flicks to choose from, I’m sure you have your own favorites.

So nuke up some popcorn, hunker down for a yuletide movie marathon, and enjoy. 🙂

Copyright © S. A. Healey
Image source: pixabay.com
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More (A Poem/Short Story)

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She kept the bouquets
Given in bloom
Before reverence was a ghost
Rancid lilies
On the bedside table
Patronizing her
With their shelf-life devotion

“Never again will I love,” she proclaimed
“Never again will I give,” she explained
“Never again will I chase the chaser”
“Stroke the ego”
“Be led by reins made from frays of detachment”

She told herself
Life was brilliant, easier
When she kept her heart guarded
Though at the point of sale
She didn’t buy
What she was pushing

Yet she existed without living
Thought without reasoning
Reached for tomorrow
Inside ancient history
Plagued by its confines
As the floor met the ceiling
And the walls closed in

She took to sand and sea
Cloud gazing in the dunes
Spongy beds beneath her spine
Bursts of freckles just a sun-kiss away
As she finally came to

Her fractured fairytale
Still pierced her mind
But its jabs were brief
And its frequency was fading

Oh, but she was slow
To usher in…him
A knight without the armor 
Bold and uninvited
Extracting her from that comfy corner
Of complacency

She took his attention
With a side of suspicion
Despite emotions upending
Without permission
Blending then curving
In all directions

Ah, but it felt too good

Too rare
Too risky
Too scary
Too much
Too fast
Too soon

She charted an escape
A path to resistance
Right there for the taking

She clung to it
Bathed in it
Slept in it
Woke to it
Gorged herself on it
And wore it
Like a second skin

But damn
If he wasn’t persistent
And beautiful
And so easy to adore

But surely
Her surrender
To that exquisite ache
Adhering to her frantic pulse
Was merely a prelude
To a greater pain to come?

No
Yes

Predictions were tangled
And often convoluted
So she took a leap of fate
For this joy was worth
Every maybe

When he showed her the stars
She was infinite
When he opened his arms
She fell home
When he pulled her close
Her body remembered
What she told it to forget
Its artful formation
Both courageous and kind

When he held out his heart
She slipped it on for size
Its perfect fit
Impossible to ignore

And when she let out her crazy
He took out his scars
And when she let down her hair
He caught all her fears
And when he kept coming back
She stopped asking why
And when he loved her
She loved him more

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: pixabay.com

 

 

Why Romance? Why not?

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There are dayslike todaywhen I find myself on the receiving end of…

The look.

It’s the one people lay on me after learning what I do for a livingmore specifically, the fact that I write…

Wait for it…

ROMANCE.

It’s a look that evolves from…

Are you serious?

To…

No, you can’t be serious.

To…

Holy @#%&, you ARE serious.

To…

Oh, how cute. You actually think you’re a REAL writer.

And, to further drive the spike into my already fragile ego, a saccharine-laced response usually piggybacks “the look,” something along the lines of…

“Those books are okay to read if you don’t want to think too much.”

Ouch.

Unfortunately, this perplexing (and rather unwarranted) romance-is-a-subpar-genre attitude is something I’ve been running into for as long as I can remember.

There’s an assumption shared by many that neither effort nor intelligence is required to write romance novels and that their pages contain nothing but embarrassingly sappy drivel. And if you actually read them, then God help you, because you’d better be armed with one mother of a justifiable reasonnamely, your brain needing a sabbatical.

Pffft.

Personally speaking, I can tell you that reading and writing romance has nothing to do with a lack of creative depth or an unhealthy penchant for heaving bosoms and quivering loins.

By the way, 99.999% of romance imprints did away with those terms eons ago.

Fact: Romance consistently wins out as the best-selling literary genre…by a landslide.

Yet, ironically, it comes up the rear in terms of respect and credibility…which, if I’m being frank, kind of steams my clams.

Whether or not people admit it, they’re reading romance and lots of it. So, you know what I say?

Be proud!

When you’re engaged in bookish chit-chat with someone who asks you, “Why romance?” you can fire back with a simple, but effective…

“Why not?”

Then point them in the direction of a book like Pride and Prejudice and I’ll bet they never ask you that question again.

The one thing I love most about voracious romance readers is that they…just…get it. If you’re reading this right now, then chances are, you do too.

And I am so grateful to have you along!

Of course, I’m not suggesting that everyone should go gaga over romance novels, because as we all know, art in its various forms is subjective. What one gets off on the other may yawn over. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Even as a self-proclaimed sucker for all things swoon-worthy, I still enjoy dipping my eyeballs into horror, mystery, suspense, and fantasy.

Stephen King, if you’re reading this, I love you!

(Who am I kidding? There’s no chance in hell he’s reading this.)

What I’m saying is that romance deserves equal inclusion as a legitimized, stigma-free genre among its industry counterparts.

Does that mean all romance novels are worth critical acclaim? Heck no. There are some sucky ones out there for sure. But do other genres have their own share of craptastic representation? You betcha.

Again, if you follow this blog, then I’m probably preaching to the choir. Maybe you’re actually a romance writer yourself. If so, then you’re also familiar with “the look.”

There will always be people who don’t understand, or even want to, and that’s okay. Because the rest of us know that with the romance genre, there is so much more than meets the eye upon that curious first glance. It’s the type of fiction that gets into your mind and stays there, the type that explores love and intimacy from within the intricate tapestry of the human condition. It inspires hopeand yes, even change. So…

Whether you read it…or create it…

I hope it inspires you too.

If you’re proud to be a romance fan, let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com – Tsahi Levent-Levi, artist

 

 

Throw The Book At Me

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Miracles really do happen. Case in point:

This is the second time I’ve blogged this month.

Shocking, right?

Wait. There’s more…

I have written more words in the first few weeks of 2017 than I had during the entire second half of 2016.

Unfathomable!

Seriously, no one is more surprised than I. Divine intervention must be to blame. Either that, or something’s “up” with these new Starbucks Cascara Lattes I’ve been sucking down like it’s my job.

Whatever the reason, I feel like raising the roof in grateful praise of this seemingly new lease on creativity.

Hallelujah!

Of course, it’s entirely possible that tomorrow could put me in a staring contest with a blank screen. Or have me fretting over a single sentence for ten hours straight. Or encourage me to repeatedly bang my head against the keyboard just for kicks.

But I’d rather not think about that right now.

What I have been giving substantial thought to, however, is the type of content I’d like to feature on this blog going forward. After plugging away on WordPress (albeit sporadically) for nearly four years, I’m eager to steer this site in more a definitive, yet expansive direction. Hence, its new name:

THROW THE BOOK AT ME

I’m not doing away with the stuff I usually post here—but rather, building upon it—resulting (hopefully) in a more interesting and varied pit stop for those who share my affinity for The Three Rs…

Reading, (w)Riting, and Romance.

Future posts will include anything and everything bookish and love inspired, such as one-shots (flash fiction), poems, editorials, book reviews, book release announcements, and author spotlights.

Reviews and spotlights will, in large part, showcase independently published authors and their literary offerings in the romance genre.

I also plan to share my own experiences as an indie author—the good, the bad, and the downright awkward. Not that I consider myself a self-publishing expert by any stretch of the imagination. But if I can spare any writer contemplating the indie route even a fraction of my rookie mistakes, I’ll be a happy camper.

Who knows? Maybe by the time my tenth book comes out (if I’m lucky enough to get that far), I’ll actually know what the heck I’m doing. 😉

Thanks for reading! Oh, and if there’s anything authorly/bookish/romantic you’d like to see covered on this blog, feel free to make a suggestion in the comments. x

~ Sue

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com – Nathan O’Nions, photographer

 

For Me

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Write me
In bold-stroked Sharpie fashion
Cradle me
Like you do your leather-bound literature
Feed me
Your compliments judiciously
Bring me
Faith in longevity
Give me
As good as you get
Play me
From lullaby to lyrical bite
Make me
A song that will save your life
Render me
Willingly defenseless
Feel me
With every fiber of your middle age
Watch me
Teeter with my heart on the line
Know me
Beyond the smoke and mirrors
Accept me
For my tongue-stammer authenticity
Tell me
Soulmates don’t switch like the weather
Show me
It’s not all lip service
Brand me
‘Til separation would be as painful as a burn
Love me
Because I am yours and yours alone

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com – Sam Hood, photographer