Arch rivals on the race track, Jake Walker and Missy Sheridan have found themselves tangled in a web of family lies that could get them both killed. In an attempt to form an alliance on the track, they must put aside their differences. However, when heat and attraction take over, keeping their minds on the race becomes harder than ever. As the stakes grow, can they race against each other allowing the best racer to win when they know that the cost to cross the finish line might be one of their lives?
VICTORY, book 6 in the Walker Family Series, is now available. Get your copy today!
New to the Walker Family? Want to start at the beginning? WALKER PRIDE, book 1 in the Walker Family Series is #Free!
I've invited Wilhelmina Stolen to join us today to wrap up my guests and their favorite Romantic Comedy Films. It looks like My Best Friend's Winner might be the winner of our little film week. But they all deserve a few binge watching!
When Bernadette asked me to talk about my favorite romantic comedy several came to mind. The Ugly Truth ─ “Yeah, it is scary. It's terrifying. Especially when I'm in love with a psycho like you.” Pretty Woman for a perfect tagline. She walked off the street, into his life and stole his heart. The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. These two are perfect together! And Sweet Home Alabama because I know what it’s like to need a passport to visit home. No, really I do!
But the subtle way the characters move through the story line, changing roles from good guy to bad guy makes My Best Friend’s Wedding my favorite romantic comedy. It spins a delightful twist on the traditional romantic comedy theme with a very flawed heroine and an unexpected ending. The movie also helps me validate the crazy actions of my own characters from time to time.
Julia Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a leading Chicago food critic who is in love with an ex-lover from her college years, Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney). I instantly fell in love with Michael just by hearing his voice on the phone. He is a funny and charming leading man who is humble and down to earth with just enough vulnerability to make him sweet.
The opening scene with a voice message from Michael prompts the premise as she explains their relationship to her editor, George Downs (Rupert Everett). “Sophomore year at Brown, we had this one hot month. But, of course, you know me, I got restless. So, I get up the nerve to break his heart and he gives me this look, and then he says, "the thing that makes me wanna cry is, I'm losing the best friend I ever had." And at that moment, I knew, I felt the same way. So, I cried, for maybe the third time in my life, kissed him and we've been best friends ever since. We've seen each other through everything, losing jobs, losing parents, losing lovers. We've traveled all over. The best times of my life, drinking and talking, even if it's just over the phone.”
Ah-ha! Julianne’s fear of commitment let Michael slip through her fingers, but wait…The plot is about to turn into gravy!
At the end of their passionate love affair ─before they became life-long buddies, Michael made her swear that if they weren’t married by the time they were twenty-eight, they would marry each other. And, yes, you guessed it. Julianne’s twenty-eight birthday is only three weeks away!
With that deadline approaching, Michael surprises Julianne, not with a proposal, but with his fiancé, Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz). The upbeat, energetic and overly vivacious Kimmy is “annoyingly perfect” and “vulnerable and endearing”, but that doesn’t stop Julianne from frantically planning the breakup. “I've got exactly four days to break up a wedding, steal the bride's fella and I haven't one clue how to do it!”
Although Julianne seems to be at the rim of insanity with jealousy throughout most of the movie, inconspicuous moments of her regret allowed me to sympathize with her. An important part of creating a character the audience can relate to. As a woman, I can relate to the fear accompanying commitment and the jealousy of knowing the one you’re in love with loves another.
She relies George for advice and quickly pulls him into her scheming plan to win back Michael by introducing him as her fiancé. George, who is by the way, gay, plays along while gently nudging her to tell Michael how she feels. (I love George.)
Julianne evolves from a woman in love to a narcissistic ex-lover, and by her own admission to Michael, constructs a variety of “underhanded, despicable and not even terribly imaginative” ways to undermine the wedding. The Jell-O scene between Julianne and Kimmy is a hilarious example of her impromptu plotting.
“Okay, you're Michael, you're in a fancy French restaurant, you order... crème brulee for dessert, it's beautiful, it's sweet, it's irritatingly perfect. Suddenly, Michael realizes he doesn't want crème brulee, he wants something else.
Kimmy scoots to the edge of her seat, eager to know. “What does he want?
“Jell-O,” Julianne answers, quickly. (Only a desperate woman would compare herself to Jell-O.)
“Jell-O?! Why does he want Jell-O?”
“Because he's comfortable with Jell-O, Jell-O makes him... comfortable. I realize, compared to crème brulee it's... Jell-O, but maybe that's what he needs.”
Poor Kimmy swallows her pride. “I could be Jell-O.”
“No! Crème brulee can never be Jell-O, YOU could never be Jell-O.”
With tears in her eyes and panic in her voice, Kimmy answers, “I HAVE to be Jell-O!”
Julianne is brutally honest. “You're never gonna be Jell-O!”
I doubted whether or not Kimmy loved Michael, but after this scene I knew they had to be together. I mean, seriously! Only a woman in love would be willing to go from crème brulee to Jell-O!
There is a certain charm to Kimmy, and a hint of shrewdness despite her childish laughter and excitement. Her willingness to accept Michael and all his imperfections, had me rooting for her midway of the film.
With only a few hours to go before the wedding, Julianne decides to lay it all on the line… “Michael, I love you. I've loved you for nine years. I've just been too arrogant and scared to realize it, and, well, now, I'm just scared...”
Yes! Finally! But is it too late?
Afraid so…. Michael’s flattered, but isn’t in love with her. Its then she realizes she has to let him go. The rivals avoid having a “cat fight”, Julianne confesses, “I lost. He doesn’t love me. He loves you.”, and all is forgiven between her and Kimmy.
The couple say their vows and George unexpectedly swoops in to dance with the lonely Julianne. The audience is given a happy ending and the writer in me wants to start writing Julianne’s story!
Thank you, Bernadette for letting me visit!
Today author M.J. Kane shares with us her favorite romantic comedy, My Best Friend's Wedding. I'm seeing that Julia Roberts is one of our romantic comedy favorites around here.
Romantic comedies, be it book or movies, make me smile and remember that love has its ups and downs, and sometimes they happen in the funniest ways. Love doesn’t always happen from Cupid’s Arrow. Sometimes both people don’t fall in love at the same time. We stumble, we trip, we fall into the emotions that catch us off guard and have us doing some of the stupidest things to get the attention of the one we love, changing us from the normal people into bungling idiots.
Thus the reason why My Best Friend’s Wedding is my all-time favorite romantic comedy! I’ve watched it countless times and each time it makes me laugh to the point of crying and loving the fact that the female lead goes from a professional, often feared food critic, to a woman who makes irrational decisions regardless of the end results in order to get her man.
The 1997 film stars Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney as childhood friends who made a pact to marry if they are still single by their 28th birthday. Over the years they have traveled together, reached out to each other with middle of the night phone calls, and built their careers. Then, four days for her birthday, Julianne (played by Julia Roberts) is stunned when Michael (Dermont Mulroney) announces he is engaged…and to a woman who is much younger than either of them, twenty-year-old Kimberly (played by Cameron Diaz). The news throws Julianne into a world wind of emotions as she realizes that she is about to lose her best friend to a woman she feels he doesn’t really know. To make matters worse, the bride-to-be asks her to be her Maid-of Honor. Michael is totally in love and it takes a minute before he realizes Julianne is trying her hardest to derail the wedding and get him to marry her. She pulls out all the stops, from faking a boyfriend by using her gay friend/co-worker, to forging documents to get him fired. By the end of the movie both characters are forced to re-examine their emotions and true feelings for one another in order to find their HEA. My favorite movie line:
“He was in love with me every day for nine years!” “She’s known him for what, five seconds??”
And that’s when the fun, crazy, ride on a journey to admitting she’s in love with her best friend begins! I’m not going to tell you how it ends, though, if you haven’t seen it, FIND IT!
(YouTube link to movie trailer) https://youtu.be/T2RzkwK3BtU
This movie inspires me when it comes to writing because it shows just how much we lose ourselves when it comes to finding true love. Though my novels are more Women’s Fiction with more drama than comedy, they do follow the same pattern in storytelling: man and woman fall in love; neither is initially on the same page in the beginning; someone does something out of their comfort zone in order to get the other’s attention and start a romance. Love comes and then the reality of the situation sets in and each must decide if the relationship they are in is what they need to find their own HEA.
If you are looking for a new series to fall in love with, check out The Butterfly Memoirs. The first novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, is free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Be sure to check out the rest of the series, too!
M.J. Kane is a mother of four, an author, librarian, and blogger about writing and life. You can follow her on social media or visit her website, MJKaneMedia.com for free stories, sneak peeks, and more.
I have asked Railyn Stone to join me on my Romantic Comedy Film Week. She has chosen one of my favorite movies. (I do believe this was my first date with my husband and is one of those movies I can't watch without quoting along.)
1. Favorite Romantic Comedy
My favorite romantic comedy of all time is Pretty Woman. I absolutely fell in love with this movie when it first came out and I watch it every time it comes on.
2. Why is this your go to movie?
Pretty Woman just automatically brings a smile to my face because the movie epitomizes a certain level of acceptance that I think transcends time. It’s hard to put into words but since the beginning of time any relationship that was worth fighting for had two people who just accepted each other for who they were. Good and bad. That happens in this movie. Even with the ‘profession’ Vivian had and the aloofness that Edward possessed, both of them looked passed those things and found out who each other truly were. Plus it was nice to see the ‘wrong’ kind of girl, get the ‘right’ kind of guy.
3. What memories does it bring up when you watch it?
I absolutely love fast cars. I fell in love with cars when I was younger and the Lotus Esprit was one I had a poster of on my wall as a teenage girl. It reminds me of how much of a dreamer I was then and reminds me to continue to pursue my dreams. Like the guy at the end of the movie asks, “What’s your dream?”
4. Are your characters in your books molded after these movie characters?
I think in a way my characters do have aspects of the characters from the movie. In my book A Secret to Keep, Gates McCall was every bit of a workaholic not unlike Edward. He pushed down his own feelings to keep from dealing with the pain of his lack of a relationship with his father and also losing the woman he loved.
5. Do you have a favorite quote from this movie?
It’s the scene where she was trying to floss her teeth and he thought she was doing drugs. I love it when he says, “It’s just that very few people surprise me.” And then she says, “You’re lucky. Most of them shock the hell out of me.” I tend to agree with her. Most shock the hell out of me too.
6. Can you list of your top 5 Romantic Comedy movies?
It’s really hard to narrow it down to 5 favorites, but I know these are the ones I watch every time they come on.
1) Pretty Woman
2) The Wedding Date
3) The Princess Bride
4) Coming to America
5) Love and Other Drugs
Rainy Stone is an author with 5 Prince Publishing. You can check out her books and find her contact info at 5 Prince Publishing.
Today my friend J.L. Petersen shares with us her favorite romantic comedy. J.L. Petersen is new to the author circuit. Her first book, Love in a Moment, was released in early 2016 as book 1 in the Rocky Mountain Romance Series. Visit her on Facebook.
1. Favorite Romantic Comedy.
I have so many but among my favorites is My Favorite Wife with Cary Grant and Irene Dunn
2. Why is this your go to movie?
Because of the humor mixed in with true love. I am a lighthearted romantic instead of the brooding Heathcliff type.
3. What memories does it bring up when you watch it?
There are no specific memories. Mostly it just makes me smile and feel good.
4. Are your characters in your books molded after these movie characters?
Not exactly or at least not yet. But both characters exuded class and a great sense of humor at the same time. I try to find a little of both with the characters I create.
5. Do you have a favorite quote from this movie?
Sorry no specific quote but my favorite scene is when Irene Dunn, whose character was shipwrecked for five years is rescued and comes home to find her husband declared her legally dead and remarried that same day. She chased him to the hotel he's taken his new wife. When she see's him enter the elevator with his new bride she runs over trying to catch his attention. Cary Grant, after entering the elevator turns and as the door starts to slide close he sees her. He gets the most astonished look on his face and slowly leans sideways following the movement of the door as it closes.
I love to include my friends in my adventures, and Romantic Comedy Film Week is no exception. Today S.J. Reiser is sharing her favorite romantic comedy with us. S.J. Reiser is an accomplished author writing under four pen names with four very distinctly different genres. Her latest book, Saving Sarah May, can be found in the 5 Prince Publishing catalog. I'll share the link at the end. Enjoy!
My all time favorite romantic comedy is As Good As It Gets with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson.
This is my go-to-movie just because the cast of characters is so diverse. You have the hard-working single mom who doesn't mind some clutter and mess. Then you have the super anal-retentive, OCD guy who is a jerk and socially awkward, but deeply sensitive. Finally, you have the uniting force, who happens to be a gay man looking to reconcile with his past and start over after a tragedy. There's just so many emotional ups and downs in this movie that you can't help but love it.
The memory this movie always conjures for me is that this is the first romantic comedy my husband and I watched together that we both enjoyed. (He's not a romantic comedy guy.)
The characters in Saving Sarah May that might actually be closest to Melvin and Carol are Emily and Sean. They are the most unlikely couple. The divorced mother of one who works in a bank putting together loans, and the single, never-been-married sheep farmer with a scientific degree. They're so opposite one another. However, I have never intentionally written characters modeled off of Mevin and Carol.
This movie has SO many quotable moments. But perhaps my favorite quote is when Melvin tells Carol: " I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, "Spence," and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me."
My top five romantic comedies:
1. As Good As It Gets
2. The Princess Bride
3. Bridgette Jone's Diary
4. The Holiday
5. 50 First Dates
Please visit S.J. Resigner at 5 Prince Publishing.
What a classic! Anyone can relate to this movie and you don't have to be Greek. I'm Italian, and this fits like a glove. Now, I wasn't around my whole Italian side a lot. I suppose that's because my father knew how crazy it could be. But even then, I feel for Tula (Nia Vardalos.)
My father doesn't walk around with Windex, which cures all, but he always thought if you rubbed it down with Vicks or Borofax it would cure anything! My mother, not Italian, is infamous for her Italian Gravy (sauce.) People I didn't even know would want dinner at my house because they knew of her Gravy. I can only imagine my husband's reaction when he met my aunts and my grandmother. Then there is the family business. Room for everyone there...just like in the movie. I escaped, but my husband, my father, mother, sister, uncle...you get the picture...they stayed. Oh, and yes, when I got married we lived 12 houses down the street from my parents, and my sister lived across the street. That hit home.
If you haven't seen this movie, it's a must. 30-something woman is sucked into family business and gets lost in herself and her family. Her father, who is a bit old fashioned, thinks she should be married to a Greek man, have lots of kids, and work at their restaurant. She thinks she should go to college, which she does. The transformation in her begins when she gains some confidence, wears some makeup, sticks in some contacts...and meets a guy.
Now, I'm a sucker for John Corbett. He could play anyone and I'd watch him. In fact, a little secret, most of my characters, in my head, are him. Why? I have no idea. None of them look like him. I'm not into long hair. But on him...oh it works! But the mannerism in which he carries his charming and caring characters, it speaks to me.
Anyway, back to the movie. Tula and Ian (which you have to hear it in her father's voice,) decide to get married. The more they plan, the more the family steps on their plans and plans their own festivities. You begin to think it's a lose, lose situation. In the end, it's perfect and they live happily ever after...and we get a sequel 14 years later. Bonus for us die hard fans. By the way, the sequel is equally as wonderful.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding wins in all areas with me. Family, love, growth, humor...you name it.
"You're everything I never knew I always wanted."
I can't help myself with this one. Clash of worlds come together with one night of lust...and sometimes that's all it takes to find true love.
Isabel is driving home, to Las Vegas, from Mexico when she meets our handsome Alex, a nightclub designer, in a restaurant waiting in line for the bathroom. Cute and charming Isabel flirts her way into the front of the line and well...the rest of the night is history. Or that's what she might have been hoping when she snuck out of his bedroom. However, three months later, there she is letting him know she's pregnant.
The whirlwind of fun then begins as we watch the sexy Selma Hayek grow into one of the cutest pregnant women in movies. This is one of those love comes after baby and marriage stories, and some of those are the best.
As with most of the movies I have chosen in my week, this one is full of the one liners that I crave, and use in my daily conversations. I'll admit, I use the line, "It was a sign," nearly everyday. (This is Isabel telling her mom, who believes in signs from God, that it was an actual neon sign that fell onto the car...get it?)
Fools Rush In is just a feel good movie, though perhaps even a little cheesy, but I think we need that in our lives just as much as we need the solid foundation to build our lives on.
Sandra Bullock is fun because she's relatable. Sure, Miss Congeniality is about beauty pageants, but Gracie Hart, FBI agent, doesn't start out as the princess looking for the crown. She is a mess--in all terms of the word. Her hair is a mess. Her shirt is a mess. Nothing goes quite right for this harsh talking badass.
When she has to go undercover to stop a killer, she finds herself emerged in a beauty pageant, and the transformation begins.
We fall in love with her down to earth style. She eats pizza while the contestants are eating carrots and sipping water. She can roll her eyes at herself when she has to wear makeup and pushup bras, because she sees the silliness of it all. At one point Gracie falls during the pageant, and she laughs at herself. That is something we all wish we could do, whether we're alone or in front of a million viewers on TV.
Yes, there is romance too in this finding yourself comedy. Gracie's partner, Eric (Benjamin Bratt), knows how to push her buttons and the chemistry is there when she's chewing like a cow and when she's all dolled up.
Again, this is a feel good movie full of one-liners that just makes you happy to relax for a few hours. Perhaps that's why it's one of my favorites. Strong woman looking bad and looking good. Sometimes its what's on the inside that really counts.
(Note the trailer has parts that aren't even in the movie...haha)
I can say that Sweet Home Alabama has probably influenced my writing more than I thought. Just looking at the tag line...yep...I wrote one of those books. Go back and find the man you loved right where you left him. It's a common love story theme. But what I loved about this story is you loved both the men and you wanted the best for both of them.
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry the son of New York City's mayor, Andrew (Patrick Dempsy.) But wouldn't you know it, the secret she's been hiding all these years is about to come full circle and bite her in the butt! She's a small town Alabama girl, who even changed her name when she became some big name designer in the city. She leaves behind a small town reputation, parents in a double-wide, and wouldn't you know it...a high-school sweetheart/ex-husband (or so she thought.) When it comes right down to it, she never did get that divorce.
The journey of this movie is one we all relate to in one way or another. The whom-you've-become vs. whom-you-once-were. In Melanie's case she was a little untamed, a little bit of a bully, and a whole lot in love with Jake (Josh Lucas.)
When she returns to Alabama to finalize the divorce she has a lot of demons to face and the hardest one is the loving Jake. On many occasions, as an author, I have drawn from Jake's calm demeanor when creating caring men that readers want to fall in love with. His ego is in check. His mouth is too. And he loves the heroine even as she tries her hardest to bury him in her deceit.
I suppose this story could have gone both ways. We would have been okay had she left Jake and continued on and married Andrew. He was in a good place and had lots of friends to catch him if he fell. Andrew, also a sweet man who adored Melanie, would have been a fine catch if she continued to pursue her New York life. The true story was about Melanie finding her true self, because there were times we wanted to shake it out of her. But that only makes it all that more appealing to me as a writer. The heroine people aren't in love with the whole time. It doesn't always make for good reviews, but I think women relate to that.
This movie has some great one liners that you can use everyday. But all in all, it's just a real good, feel good movie.
Bernadette Marie is an Internationally Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance as well as a mother of 5, and owner of 5 Prince Publishing and Illumination Author Events. Read her full bio here.