Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 9 "Overnight, Overcome, and Overboard."
Saint Lucia is the tropical setting for the three overnight dates.
Let me take a moment to gag.

Juan Pablo says, “This week is pretty important because in a week I will be proposing to someone.”


He also says he's looking forward to getting to know the girls better without the cameras.


Claire is up first. She wastes no time telling us she's ready to be happy and to be in love.

And I'm ready for this show to be over.

Claire and Juan Pablo spend some quality cuddle time on a yacht. She says she's falling in love and tonight will be the perfect time to tell him. But at the same time it's scary because having all that happiness in front of her, blah, blah, blah...

She'd be saying the same thing about any other guy picked for the show. 

They have dinner which consists of drinks, candles, and pillows. Claire does a lot of lip puckering and hair flipping.
Juan Pablo offers the key to his fantasy suite. She mentions how he got upset about their 'midnight swimming' in Vietnam and how he wants to be a role model for his daughter. So how is this different than that moment?

“Well,” he begins, “This is different because there will be no cameras.”

She buys it hook line and sinker. Then she adds this little gem, “From the day he blindfolded me in the car and told me to trust him, I've been falling in love with Juan Pablo.”

And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is why freaks and weirdos try out for the show.

They go to the fantasy suite where there are more candles and more pillows and more drinks. He tells her she's cute and steals a few kisses. Then he runs his fingers through her hair and asks, “What are you thinking?”

Which we all know is his way of asking the girls if they love him. Because making out with multiple chicks all over the world isn't enough. 

The soft piano music begins and it takes Claire a nauseatingly long time to choke out the words, “I love you.” 

They go in the hot tub and now the background music is soft Latin guitar. 

Hey, I thought they promised no cameras in the fantasy suite. No more footage!!! 

The next morning Juan says, “My sleepover with Claire was great, but today I have my overnight date with Andi. I like her so much.”

Andi is excited because she got her firearms through customs without too much hassle. 

They visit a market place, play steal drums, and have a picnic with a bunch of kids who have no idea who these ridiculous white people are.

Andi says, “I really want a man who I can travel with and enter villages and know we'll always be okay.”

What does that mean?

Juan takes Andi to another waterfall.

Again? Didn't we do this a few episodes ago?

She asks him what her family said during the hometown date. He says, “Your mom was the easiest.”

...all night long. *snort*

Whatever, she thinks he's awesome. They make out under the waterfall...again. I hit fast forward...again.

They have dinner on a couch and Juan takes this time to ask her if she's fallen in love with him yet. He lets her know he's not into forcing things.

Exactly, Juan, because this show is nothing but natural circumstances.

Andi says she wants to over-think it instead of under-think it because there's a child involved.

Nothing she says makes sense. Is it just me? 

I miss Sharleen and Renee. I'm happy they're not on this show anymore, but I miss the conversations of normal people. 

Here's another quote from Andi, “You know Carmella, and I don't know Carmella, but you know parts of me and you know...sometimes I wonder what you think.”

He pulls out the key to the fantasy suite. “That's why it's good for us to have an overnight so we can talk about those things.”


Of course she agrees. 

In the fantasy suite they sit on the same couch and drink the same wine he and Claire shared the night before. I think Claire's lipstick is still on one of the glasses.  

Juan wakes up super happy from his sleepover with Andi. “We frickin' laughed and talked for hours. She could be the one.”

Andi tells the camera that she thought the night was a disaster. She couldn't wait to get out of the fantasy suite in the morning. 

“Every time I started to talk about my feelings or my past he started to talk about himself,” she tells us. “He doesn't care about me. I don't like the side I saw. Then he told me about his overnight with Claire. Why did he even tell me? He has no filter. It's wrong. I can't be with a guy who loves himself more than me. It sucks that it took this long to figure it out.”

She cries because she's wasted her time being jetted around the world to exotic locations making out with this stranger.

I don't want to be the one who told you so, but remember when you didn't want to pose nude, but he convinced you it was a good idea?

Who knew? The show is ALWAYS successful at finding true love.

Juan changes into another tank top and lets us know he's excited to see Nikki. He also told us he enjoyed seeing Claire in her bikini all day. 

Nikki arrives in an outfit that can only be described as a Pocahontas bikini top and Austen Power pants. She likes Juan because their relationship is based on honesty. 

He says Nikki is so sexy.

They ride horses and frolic by the ocean. She hopes to tell him she loves him tonight. 

The evening portion of the date consists of them hanging out on the couch with him running his fingers through her hair saying, “What are you thinking?” But she stays quiet because she is so overcome with emotion.

Then he hands her the key to the fantasy suite.

This is so ridiculous.

Nikki takes the key and starts kissing him.

They go to the couch and start to make out again. She pauses and he says, “What are you thinking?”

I'm thinking I'm an idiot for watching this show.

Nikki finally says she loves him. Juan replies with, “You like me. I like you.” And then they make out while romantic synthesizer music plays in the background. 

Juan tells us, “I love kissing Nikki and I can't wait to let her see the real me.”


The next morning Juan puts on a shirt with sleeves and buttons and meets up with the host to provide some footage for this pathetic episode. Juan says, “I feel good. I feel good about these women that I have.”

Juan has no idea what he's going to do at the rose ceremony so he looks at the videos the girls have made for him. 

Nikki's best quote from her video. “Our date last night was awesome.”

Claire's best quote. “You met my family and that was so important because that's my life. That's me.”

Andi arrives to speak with him in person. She lets him know she's not into him and will be leaving on the next plane.

Juan says, “It's okay.”

This was the wrong response. Andi says, “It's not okay. It bothers me to hear you say that.”

“I can't force you to feel something. You're here because I like you since the second week.”

“But it shouldn't be okay. The fact you say it's okay makes me think you never had strong feelings for me.”

“Andi, English is my second language. What do you want me to do? Will I die? No. Am I sad? Yes.”

But Andi wants to make Juan cry or bleed or something...and she keeps nattering him. Personally, I think she went a little overboard on the whole 'okay' thing.

Weird that a lawyer would encourage an argument.

If she doesn't want to be with him anymore, why is she still sitting in her lace shorts arguing with him? But apparently Andi doesn't have a flight booked because there's loads of time to squabble.

Juan tells her, “To me it was a perfect date. If you wanted to talk about serious things, you could have told me then. I want you to be honest.”

Juan gives her a few crooked smiles and brushes the hair off her face. 

Andi is so mad because she didn't win the argument, and he's not that upset to see her go. 

He tells the camera, “She's a lawyer. I'm not going to argue with a lawyer.”

Juan walks away and gazes at the mountains. Andi monologues in the limo and starts to cry. “Am I ever going to find love?”

Meanwhile, Claire and Nikki are forced to stand beside each other for the rose ceremony. The host arrives and tells the girls that Andi is no longer a contestant. Juan Pablo comes out and tells them Andi chose to go home because her feelings weren't strong enough.

Nikki and Claire are stunned but excited since they got a free pass to the Showcase Showdown or whatever the final found is called.

Next week is the reunion show where the women tell all. I'm dreading it already.
Juant more episode recaps?

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 "Girls Just Juanna Have Fun"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 2 "Boobs, Blindfolds, and Bathroom Breakdowns"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 3 "Splashing, Soccer, and Poolside Sobbing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 4 "K-pop, Karaoke, and Kissing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 5 "Making Out, Freaking Out, and Backing Out"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 6 "Geysers, Good-byes, and Gagging"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 7 "Reality Bites, Miami Nights, and Cat Fights"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 8 "Bull Riding, Bullseyes, and Bullying Big Sisters"


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 8 "Bull Riding, Bullseyes, and Bullying Big Sisters"

There are only four contestants left; Nikki, Andi, Renee, and Claire. And you know what that means? It's the home town date episode!

The first stop is a visit to Kansas City, Nikki's hometown. She takes him to the best BBQ restaurant in town. Yee Haw! And if that wasn't enough fun, she introduces him to mechanical bull riding.

“He made me dance in Korea, so this is pay back.”

Juan does great and she orders them a couple of beers. Nikki tells us she's ready to say the big 'L' word, but for some reason she doesn't feel it's the right time.

Maybe it's the mechanical bull giving you the stinky eye.

Nikki brings Juan Pablo to meet her family. She and her mom hug and cry while Juan Pablo shakes hands with everyone. They sit down and Nikki's dad welcomes Juan to the family.

That was easy.

Nikki's mom is totally on board. Her dad smiles and plays twenty questions with Juan. Nikki's parents trust her and if she wants Juan, they will welcome him into the family.

Duh, you already did.

There's a lot of talk about trust and love and support between Nikki and her parents. The piano plays softly in the background.

Nikki's family seem nice and well grounded. What the heck is she doing on the show?

She cuddles with Juan on the front porch. This would be a good time to say, “I love you, Juan.” Instead she says this, “Okay, good bye.”

She's not sure why she can't say it.

I do. It's because you're sending him to visit another girl he might propose to.

Next stop is Andi's home in Atlanta.

Juan says, “Andi is just...mmm.”

Before she takes him to meet her family, Andi and Juan hit the shooting range.

I won't lie. It was a bit disturbing seeing how accurate Andi was with that assault rifle. She tells us there is no way she can take him home to meet her family if he doesn't get a bulls eye.


Oh dear.

I'm pretty sure Sharleen wouldn't have taken him to a shooting range.

Juan thinks it was a good idea. “Andi was so relaxed after shooting those guns.”

Andi lets us know her family will hold no punches and she's worried.

I'd be worried how many guns were in the house.

On the door is a sign with “Welcome Home Pookie!”

Andi tells us she's almost in love and her family will tip her in the right direction. Andi's dad makes it clear he's not excited to hear about all the dates with all the other girls.

He tells the camera, “They're infatuated with each other, but he's got three other girls in the same position.”

Andi's dad is the staring role of the voice of reason.

Patty, Andi's mom, does the first interview with Juan. He's a little worried until she asks him for a dance lesson. They salsa and have a good time, until 'the voice of reason' shows up with a few questions.

Andi's dad asks the one million dollar question. “What made you go on this show?”

Juan tap dances around that...sort of.

He tells Juan he can't give his blessing until Juan says Andi is the only girl for him. Andi tells her sister she's really into Juan and is close to falling in love. Her sister says she doesn't think Andi is punch drunk love.

Andi is bummed because no one can tell her that she should fall in love with Juan Pablo.

Ding dong. This is common sense calling. If you can't convince yourself you're in love, other people can't do it for you.

Andi tells us, “I think I felt something different tonight. I think I could be falling in love.”

I think you're feeling the beginning stages of herpes.

Sarasota, Florida is Renee's home. She hasn't seen her son, Ben, for two months.

Hold on. She meets with Juan first BEFORE she sees her son. That's stupid.

She waits for Ben at the ball field. When he arrives in his little league uniform, Renee pulls him in to a hug and I get a little weepy. That is until I realize he has to do this reunion with his mom while Juan stands there watching beside a camera man. 

Juan does his best small talk. Then he and Renee take to the stands. I'm sure Ben is loving having his mom and her TV boyfriend hang out in front of his teammates.

On a side note, the coach looked pretty cute. So if things don't work out with Juan...

Juan gets excited about all the sporty stuff he could do with a son.

Um...hello. Your daughter could play baseball too. *grumbles*

All three arrive at Renee's parents. Renee spends time catching up with Ben while her family interviews Juan.

Renee lets her mom know she's in LOVE with him. Her mom is happy she's sure about this dude, and her father says he hasn't seen her glow like this for a long time.

While the car patiently waits, Juan asks Renee what she's thinking. She says, “I'm thinking about a lot of things.”

Poor Juan, no one can say, 'I love you.'

When he drives away, she regrets not telling him.

Sacramento is up next!

“I'm so excited to be here,” Juan says. “When I'm with Claire I always have a good time.”

They hang out in Claire's favourite park. He says he's looking forward to meeting her family so he can see why she is the way she is.

True, dat.

Claire shares how she and her late dad talked about her wedding. She said when he died the emotional part of her shut down so she wouldn't feel pain anymore.

Juan meets Claire's five older sisters and her mother. I think there was a brother-in-law in the mix somewhere.

Her wisest sister takes her aside. Claire starts to cry and says she hasn't been in love since her father died and if Juan Pablo asked her to marry him, she'd say yes in a heart beat.

Juan talks with the other sisters and they are worried about Claire's 'tender heart'.

Claire's other sister, who is probably the most jealous or at least the most fed up with having to deal with a spoiled sister who cries all the time, asks how hurt she will be if Juan doesn't choose her. Plus, she doesn't think the family can give their blessing when neither one of them have said I love you.

Claire's mother stays quiet while the two sisters squabble. Claire cries and says all she wants is for them to be happy for her. The sister says, “I don't think you're respecting Mama.”

There is more bickering and I can't figure out which sister is more crazy.

Can you imagine what the house was like with these girls growing up?

Juan finally gets to talk with 'Mama'. They have a nice chat and she tells him he'd be welcome into their family.

It's time for the rose ceremony.

The girls arrive in their stilettos and push up bras. Claire and Nikki have another five minutes of not talking.

The Host comes out and says words like; gravity, emotional, turmoil, decision...

Juan Pablo thanks the girls for sharing their amazing families with him. He gives Nikki the first rose. Claire gets the second.

Now it's down to Andi and Renee.

The stupid host comes out and reminds everyone there's only one rose left.

Andi gets the last rose.

Juan can't look at Renee without crying. He walks her to the limo and Claire licks her lips. Renee finally tells him she was falling in love with him. But she's happy because this ridiculous adventure has opened her eyes to what she could have.

Juan is weepy and says he has such great respect for her.

Renee leaves in the limo. She wipes away one tear and composes herself. “He obviously shared more meaningful moments with the other girls. I came here to see if I could find love, and I did. I'm very thankful.”

Dear Renee,

You handled that like a champ. I hope you date the little league coach.

Oh my nerves! Another episode tomorrow night! ABC is promising a 'shocking' development. I'm predicting disappointment in the lack of shock.

Juant more episode recaps?

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 "Girls Just Juanna Have Fun"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 2 "Boobs, Blindfolds, and Bathroom Breakdowns"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 3 "Splashing, Soccer, and Poolside Sobbing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 4 "K-pop, Karaoke, and Kissing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 5 "Making Out, Freaking Out, and Backing Out"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 6 "Geysers, Good-byes, and Gagging"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 7 "Reality Bites, Miami Nights, and Cat Fights"

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Dracian Legacy Blog Tour

 Available February 25th in ebook and March 11 paperback...

At seventeen, Ren Pernell knows the meaning of tragedy.

But then, a year after losing her parents, Axel Knight walks through the door and changes everything. Strange creatures start to appear, her best friend suddenly finds her irresistible, and an undeniable, unexplainable bond with Axel threatens to drive her insane. She knows he’s the key. There’s something he’s not sharing, and she’s determined to find out.

Demanding answers, she finally learns the truth: everything she ever believed is an illusion. Caught in a centuries-old blood feud between races she never knew existed, Ren discovers her true destiny. She’s the chosen one, the Echo, preordained to end the bloodshed.

There’s just one catch–in order to save those she loves and a homeland she’s never seen, she’ll have to die.

With the clock running out, she’ll have to navigate a new world of betrayal, lies and deceit. If she can forgive, finding love even in the darkest places, she just might be able to escape the prophecy. But how much is she willing to sacrifice for a cause she didn’t know she was a part of? And what will it take for her to be free?  
Thirsty for more? No problem, you can read prologue and first chapter for FREE here.

And once you've been hooked, you can order Dracian Legacy on line here.

The lovely and talented Priya Kanaparti was generous enough for a quick interview.

What inspired you to write The Dracian Legacy?

The books I read! It was the authors that wrote amazing stories that I thoroughly loved and felt immersed in and I wanted to create something just as beautiful... magical...

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not particularly for Dracian Legacy. But as a Dracian series, yes! That life always throws you curve ball and you might feel like you have NO control over it. But truthfully, it's the choices we make that ultimately gives us control over the future. No matter what anyone says.

What was the hardest scene to write (no spoilers!)?
The hardest scene for me to write was the ending of Dracian Legacy! Then the ending of Dracian Origins. It took everything in me and even not writing for several days after both of those scenes were completed!

Which character do you relate to the most? Why?
Oh gosh! I don't know. I feel like I've included a bit and piece of me into several characters. So I can't exactly say it's one or the other.

Outside of family, what was the greatest support while you wrote this novel?
My Critique partner and my Editor! They have been so supportive and encouraging that without those two, I probably wouldn't have made it through the editing process!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Find your support group that'll help you improve as a writer and don't be afraid to share your writing with them. It's better you being critiqued by your work by a group of people that are passionate about your work before your readers get their hands on your baby!


What did you have for supper last night?

Thai food :)
Is there an actor who you think looks like your MC?
Actor -- Younger version of Jensen Ackles for Axel :)

Vanilla or chocolate?


 As a little kid, what did you want to be be when you grew up?

A neurosurgeon! lol

Last book you read.

King Cave by Scarlett Dawn

Priya lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID as a full-time working mom and part-time YA Novel Author. For the past 7+ years she has worked in multiple fortune 500 companies and has recently found the passion to read and write. The Dracian Legacy is her first YA paranormal romance series. She strongly believes that true love conquers all and that’s a common theme you’ll find within her novels.
You can find her online at: Blog - Facebook - Pinterest - Twitter



Thursday, 20 February 2014

How to Write a Synopsis

Most writers would gladly write another novel instead of a synopsis. But like flossing and dinner with the in-laws, it is unavoidable and essential.

First of all, keep it simple. It's like a query, but with an ending.

Compare it to making soup; throw all the stuff in, let it simmer, reduce and keep reducing until it's done.

Step 1. Start by organizing your story in fifteen sentences. I like to use Blake Snyder's beat sheet.

Step 2. Trim it down. Be ruthless. Subplots can go. Focus on the main character's journey. They should learn something by the end of the novel. 

Step 3. Have someone who hasn't read your book go over the synopsis. It should make sense to them with a clear idea of the story. Surprisingly, a theme you never intended, will usually become obvious once you draw up your synopsis. 

As an example, here's a synopsis of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which I trimmed down from the Plot Like a Pro post.

Ten-year-old Harry Potter lives with his spiteful Aunt and Uncle, and abusive cousin. He is repeatedly reminded how lucky he is to have a roof over his head, despite the fact his parents had the audacity to get killed in a car accident when he was an infant.

But when mysterious letters keep arriving for Harry, his Uncle isn't upset, he's downright terrified. One night, a massive man with a woolly coat and beard arrives to announce that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy is waiting for Harry's reply.

Harry is stunned to learn the true nature of his parent's death at the hands of an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, and as a young wizard, he's due to start his magical education at Hogwarts.

Harry fears that he will not fit in, having never been exposed to magic. He is befriended by a stuttering, Professor Quirrell. During the sorting ceremony, Harry chooses to be in Gryffindor as opposed to Slytherin—the house which Lord Voldemort was placed as a student.

Harry learns a magical item that grants immortality, The Philosopher's Stone, has gone missing. After a Slytherin student tricks Harry into a midnight duel, he discovers a trap door guarded by a three headed dog and he speculates what's being protected.

Harry is pleased to discover he's a natural at Quidditch, a football style game played on broomsticks, and he enjoys the admiration from his classmates.

Having never been given presents, Harry has the best Christmas at Hogwarts with his new friends. He anonymously receives an invisibility cloak, which enables him to sneak around looking for clues about the trapdoor. Instead, he finds 'the mirror of erised'. In the reflection of the magical glass, Harry sees himself with his parents. He forgets about his real friends, choosing to spend all his time looking into the mirror.

While serving detention in the forbidden forest, Harry witnesses the murder of a unicorn and is saved by Firenze, one of the centaurs, who foretells that Lord Voldemort will once again rise to power. Harry realizes the man who murdered his parents will be coming for him next.

Fearing Snape, the head of Sytherin and the mean spirited potions master, is going to steal the Philosophers Stone to make the elixir of life for Lord Voldemort, Harry and his two best friends go down the trapdoor, hoping to grab it first.

After passing harrowing tests of skill through a series of chambers, Harry is the last one left to find the stone. With only a first year's knowledge of magic, he must face Snape alone. But Harry discovers Professor Quirrell is the real villain at Hogwarts who has been helping Lord Voldemort.

Knowing his parents died saving him, Harry feels overwhelming courage and finally believes in the power of their love. Harry defeats Quirrell (and Lord Voldemort) by using the mirror of erised.

Harry recuperates and accepts magic as his true destiny. The friends he's made at Hogwarts are his real family, and that he will never be alone again.

What are some of your tips to writing a synopsis?

Congratulations, you made it to the end of the post. Enjoy this link to a fabulous recipe for chicken stew with butternut squash.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 7 "Reality Bites, Miami Nights, and Cat Fights"

There are six contestants left. Juan Pablo and the girls return to the States. They take up residence in a swanky suite in downtown Miami.

Juan reunites with his family. He tells his cousin that he thinks Sharleen is the one.

Meanwhile, Sharleen tells the camera that she feels the enormity of how serious things are getting and she's still not sure.

Juan arrives at the suite and invites Sharleen for the first one on one date.

Claire is confused. “Why her?”

Dear Claire,

Juan Pablo thinks Sharleen is elegant. He said you were hot, though.

Juan Pablo takes her on a yacht.

Sharleen says he's not her usual type, but she's definitely attracted to him. “The chemistry is magnetic.”

They have drinks on a beach and they talk about her career as an Opera singer. She says, “I've put my singing before everything for so long, but now I'm ready to let other things take priority.”

Juan Pablo tells us, “From the very first day, I like her.”

They go back on the yacht for an evening cruise. She tells us her heart's all a flutter. HOWEVER, even though being with him feels right, there's a little voice in her head that says it's not right.

Dear Sharleen,

Sorry, that's me. You're too normal to be on this show.

When Sharleen returns to the suite, she seeks out Renee, the resident psychologist. Renee tells her that you can't determine how much you love someone by how much time you spend together, and that she should stick around and see what happens.

Dear Renee,

You're awesome.

Juan Pablo chooses Nikki for the next date. And he takes her to his daughter's dance recital.

Sure, that shouldn't give the kid mixed signals at all.


Nikki is so happy she's about to throw up. “It's not every day you meet your boyfriend's parents, or his daughter, or his daughter's mother.”


We get to see Carmella dance and sing, and we also see Carmella's very hot mother. Every one is all smiles and hugs.

I can't wait for Claire to hear about this!!!

For the evening portion of their date, he takes Nikki to the Marlin's stadium. She's wearing a halter top that looks two sizes too big. They play catch and I'm sure a boobie might pop out by mistake.

They do some kissing and talk about family.

Back at the suite Sharleen tells the other girls she can't take the guilt of staying if she's not sure.

They give her hugs, except for Claire who's busy calling the travel agent to book a flight for her.

Sharleen says, “It's taking all of my willpower to do this thing. I'm aware that I may be making a huge mistake.”

She goes to Juan Pablo's room. “I don't want to take the spot of someone else who is already at that place where they know for sure they want to marry you.”

He holds her while she cries and tells her not to feel sorry for her feelings. She leaves for the airport and Juan Pablo cries to the camera—she was going to get a home town rose.

Dear Juan,

Reality bites, doesn't it?

Sharleen leaves in a cab, weepy but somewhat relieved.

Let be a lesson, girls. If you're normal, do not sign up for the show.

The sun comes up the next morning. Claire is super bouncy on the group date. He's taking the girls to a private beach. Whoever gets the date rose, gets to I don't know, I wasn't listening to the rules that closely.

Chelsea reads him notes that her family sent with her so she wouldn't get so homesick.

Andi gets weepy because she's tapping into emotions that she usually keeps under lock and key. Juan tells her not to worry.

Dear Juan,

It was more fun when the girls were more interested in kissing rather than crying, right?

Claire tells him she's the youngest of six girls. And that her family is the most important thing to her. She talks about how her father made a video for her future husband—a video she's never seen. Juan Pablo nods his head and asks if they can kiss.

It starts to rain. Juan gives the rose to Andi.

This means Juan Pablo has chosen to meet her family and that the group date is over and he'll have the rest of the evening date with Andi.


Claire says to the camera, “What the f*#k am I doing here?”

Dear Claire,

Why did it take you this long?

He takes Andi downtown where they go to a Latin dance club. Juan Pablo can dance. Andi can't. He says, “She smart and sexy.”

Yeah, but not Sharleen.

Back at the suite, Claire and Nikki have the most awkward fight. Neither of them finish a sentence. They say 'like' and 'sh*t' a hundred times. It's stupid.

*Hits fast forward*

Now it's the rose ceremony.

Nikki says, “I just want to be done with this.”

Girl, you took the words right out of my mouth.

ABC wasted the next eight minutes showing Nikki and Claire NOT talking to each other.

The Host gives a speech I fast forward through, then Juan Pablo comes to address the contestants. I fast forward through that as well.

The first rose goes to Nikki, followed by Claire, and the last rose goes to...Renee.

Chelsea is going home.

Juan Pablo gets teary eyed.

I know. You wished Sharleen hadn't left.

Don't cry Chelsea. Don't cry. Don't cry.

Damn it.

She wipes her tears in the back of the limo and says, “It was great to see him so upset.”

And that my friends, is true love.

Juant more episode recaps?

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 "Girls Just Juanna Have Fun"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 2 "Boobs, Blindfolds, and Bathroom Breakdowns"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 3 "Splashing, Soccer, and Poolside Sobbing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 4 "K-pop, Karaoke, and Kissing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 5 "Making Out, Freaking Out, and Backing Out"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 6 "Geysers, Good-byes, and Gagging"

Monday, 17 February 2014

Top Five Things to do When Your Olympic Event is Postponed

Sochi! Land of mountains, fog, beaches, and postponed Olympic events. At least with the fog the down hill skiers can't see all the mud patches and swatches of green.

What's a bobsledder and down hill skier to do?

Don't despair, here are the top five activities for Olympians who have too much time on their hands.

#1. Go to the beach. Seriously. Sochi is a resort town. Wear sunscreen.

#2. Find a Canadian. Where there's a Canadian, there's a party.

#3. Go to the indoor venues where the grass is less noticeable and cheer on the skaters, curlers, and ice cone makers. I know ice cone making isn't an Olympic event, but it should be.

#4. Make out. You may be from different parts of the world and have a different alphabet, but never underestimate the importance of body language. And as far as physiques go, this is probably the best shape your body will ever be in, so go for it.


#5. Learn one phrase in Russian. The most helpful one would probably be, "Where are the Canadians?"


Make a quilt out of all the flags.

What would you do in Sochi?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Top Ten Romantic Novels to Celebrate on Valentine's Day

Ah, romance. I think Pepe Le Pew, that hopeless romantic stalker, said it best, "All is love in fair and war." Of course he also said, "Come back! Ze corned beef does not run away from ze cabbage."

Anyway, Valentine's Day isn't only about chocolates in a heart shaped box—a box that's been on the grocery store shelf since Boxing Day.

Did you know that February 14th is also International Give A Book Day?

Let's mix the two celebrations! Instead of a Hallmark card written by some stranger in their crusty housecoat, give your true love a romantic novel!

Or as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter Puppet Pals once said, "All I want for Christmas is...books! Just books!"

Here are the top heart melting picks to celebrate with your sweetheart.

#1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

#2. The Republic of Love by Carol Shields

 "To be a romantic is to believe anything can happen to us."

#3. Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 "You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices."  

#4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

"As you wish."


#5. Atonement by Ian McEwan

"...falling in love could be achieved in a single word—a glance."  

#6. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

"When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is."


#7. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

"Belief doesn't rest on proof or rests on faith...without faith there is nothing.

#8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

"One thing I truly knew - knew it in the pit of my stomach, in the center of my bones, knew it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, knew it deep in my empty chest - was how love gave someone the power to break you.

#9. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

"Thus with a kiss I die."

#10. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

"It's hard being left behind. It's hard to be the one who stays."

What book will you give this Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 6, "Geysers, Good-byes, and Gagging"

The eight remaining contestants go to New Zealand!

*Cue the sheep on the hills*

Juan Pablo says those words that are somehow part of the script of this show, “I'm ready to take this to the next level.”

Chelsie tells us, "To be in New Zealand and dating this one amazing man...?”

Yeah, who is dating seven other girls.

Kat says she wants to kick it up a notch.

I think she means the next level.

Cassandra says she feels guilty because she misses her son, but she's anxious to....yup you guessed it, take it to the next level.


Claire voices her concerns about her escapades from last week. “I thought we were good, then everything blew up in my face.”

I'm sure that wasn't a Freudian slip. *Rolls eyes*

Andi gets chosen for her first one on one date. And she's soooooo excited.

Dear Andi,

Most dates are only two people. That's how warped this show has turned your brain.

Claire says, "My emotions are bubbling. Things are building and might just erupt in New Zealand."

She likes the volcano metaphors.

Juan Pablo takes Andi power boating.

I hope she didn't spend any time on her hair.

They get into their bathing suits and jump out of the boat. Juan Pablo leads her through this narrow rock maze while treading freezing cold water.

Andi tells us, “It feel good to be taken care of.”

Dear Andi,

If you wanted to feel taken care of, he would have taken you to the spa.

They stumble and trip and eventually find the hot springs—where they make out like crazy under a waterfall.

Andi says, “The bond between us grows stronger the farther we go.”

Hmm...Freudian slip?


They have diner in front of a geyser. Juan says, “I think diner will blow her mind.”

Then the geyser goes off, soaking them both. They move to a spot that's dry. Andi asks Juan what he wants. He says he wants love and to have more children.

She says she can't wait to start a family. Juan zips open his jacket and gives her the date rose.

He tells us, “Andi is opening up her heart to me and it will be worth it in the end.”

*snort* Yeah, right, when he picks Claire.


They have a picnic on a hillside. It's also Cassandra's 22 birthday. But no one thought to bring a cake.

Then they don their bathing suits and get inside huge plastic hamster balls that roll downhill. There's lots of screaming and gratuitous bikini shots.

The cocktail party takes place in Hobbitville. Cassandra is determined to get some time with Juan. She's using her birthday wish for the date rose.

Juan tells Renee she's his special one. Renee says he sees her and her son as a package and not a burden. And that gives her hope.

Nikki uses her time with Juan to 'step outside her comfort zone'. She tells him she's scared because she's totally falling for him and she might get hurt.

Dear Nikki,

You signed up for this stupid show.

Juan runs his fingers through her hair, then eases her anxiety with his mouth.

Sharleen wants to feel more confident about their relationship so she's ready to ask Juan all kinds of questions. Juan tells her not to question things, but to make the most of out 'this'.

And by 'this' he means making out.

Cassandra tells Juan she's so excited to meet a single dad who is also a nice guy.

And by nice guy, she means, “good kisser.”

Sharleen gets the date rose.


Juan takes Cassandra aside. It's raining. He tells her its hard for him because she's one of his special ones. And she's beautiful, and she's funny, and they always have good times...but he wishes they were on the same page.

Dear Juan Pablo,

That's because she's ten years younger than you.

Anyway, he tells Cassandra he was pleased to meet her, but he doesn't see anything else happening with them. And he wants her to go back home to her son.

Happy Birthday, Cassanda!!!

Don't do it, Cassandra. Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.

Damn it.

“I just feel sick,” she weeps.

Juan walks back to Hobbitville under an umbrella while a sad piano song plays.

It's time for Claire's one on one date.


She lets us know she's ready for him to apologize to her for hurting her feelings last week. Juan starts the conversation by running his fingers through her hair. He says, “I'm sorry. It was my mistake.”

Claire replies with, “I just wanted to go in the ocean and swim. We just let things go." Then she adds, "Right now, what are our boundaries?”

Blah, blah, blah...they start making out three sentences later.

Juan takes her back to his suite. He asks if her heart is melting at all. She smiles and flips her hair and tells him about her fear of getting hurt. Then she tells him he owned it like a man and apologized. And those are the qualities she wants in the father of her children.

He tells us Claire is hot. He's even getting hot just thinking about her.


He gives her the date rose and they make out.

It's time for the rose ceremony. Which is exciting because that means this episode is almost over.

Nikki doesn't have a rose, but she's certain she has a connection with Juan that none of the other girls have.

Oh man! Seriously?

He runs his fingers through her hair, and they kiss. They do some flirty, silly talk and she lets him know she's looking for a happy ending.

Juan says, “She told me she really likes me and I'm like, wow.”

And I'm like, yawn.

Chelsie sits with Juan Pablo and lets him know she wants real, genuine love that will last forever. Juan tells her it will be okay. However, he doesn't run his fingers through her hair.
Kat tells Juan she was writing in her journal the other night about how she's reluctant to trust guys because her dad was a complete disaster in her life. Then she talks about reward and risk.

*Hits fast forward*

The first rose goes to Nikki, followed by Renee. Now it's just Kat and Chelsie that are left.

Oh my nerves, after a full minute of building music he gives the last rose to Chelsie.

Go science!

Don't cry, Kat. Don't cry. Don't cry.

Damn it.

Kat says, “I totally saw myself at the end with him.”

Dear Kat,

Don't worry. Have a good cry. The sun will come out again.

Sharleen blinks back the tears and says she feels guilty. She says the other girls would be better suited to Juan Pablo. But she'll give it another week and see if there's anything between them.

Dear Sharleen,

I feel the same way about this show. See you next week.

Juant more Bachelor recaps?

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 "Girls Just Juanna Have Fun"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 2 "Boobs, Blindfolds, and Bathroom Breakdowns"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 3 "Splashing, Soccer, and Poolside Sobbing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 4 "K-pop, Karaoke, and Kissing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 5 "Making Out, Freaking Out, and Backing Out"

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Dropping the F Bomb in YA

Recently, a reader sent me a message regarding my YA paranormal mystery, NIGHT SHIFT. She told me she was disappointed in the story because "your book promotes vulgar language, mature themes, etc."


I was floored by this comment. Had she even read NIGHT SHIFT?

I was intrigued though, so I did a little research. Out of 92, 000 words, the f bomb was down three times. Sh*t was a little bit higher with ten mentions. As for mature themes, my characters didn't even have their first kiss until chapter sixteen.

To be honest, I was a little hurt. I don't write stories to shock or upset people, but clearly this reader was offended I'd used the f bomb.

Did you notice I couldn't even spell out the curse words? That's because I'm someone who doesn't swear much in real life. It's just the way I am. But my character didn't hesitate to say it in the book.


Because it was a natural reaction for him in an extremely tense situation.

Let's look at the f bomb from a scientific point of view.

Medical journals have done studies and they conclude that if you hold in a swear word after you've experienced sudden pain, like say you've stubbed your toe, your heart rate rises and you actually feel pain longer than if you'd said, fiddle sticks—unless fiddle sticks is a bad word for you. Check out an article about cursing and pain here.

But this isn't about science, it's about sensitivity and perceived values.

As a writer you need to take yourself out of the equation and let your characters be themselves. And if that means Daniel says, "This is too fucking weird." Then he should be allowed to say it. If he'd said, "This is too flippin' weird." It would have felt fake and the reader would have been taken out of the story.

I suspect the swearing is an issue because NIGHT SHIFT is a YA novel and not adult fiction. And why should it matter? Teens can pick out a poorly placed curse or a misused slang a mile away.

I'm not into censorship. I am all about genuine story telling and realism. I feel badly the reader totally missed the whole point of the novel because of three f-bombs.

So, should there be swearing in YA?

It's up to your character, not you. If dropping an f bomb in a scene is authentic and an expected reaction, then yes. If it's something your character wouldn't normally say, but you think there should be swearing to make it edgier or more appealing to some YA readers, then no. It will come off as fake.

And we all know there's no faking it in YA.

What are your thoughts on swearing in literature?

By the way, let's all prove that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Click on this link to check out the first chapter of NIGHT SHIFT. Spoiler, the first f-bomb shows up in chapter eighteen.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the post. As a reward, enjoy this audio clip of what has recently been judged as the most beautiful nature sound in the world.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Bachelor Season 18, Episode 5 "Making Out, Freaking Out, and Backing Out."

Juan Pablo may be charming the ladies on the show, but he's no Tom Branson. Just sayin...

Another single father looking for love in Downton Abbey.

The remaining eleven contestants are whisked off from South Korea to Vietnam.

Juan tells us he's excited to take things to the next level.

Oh my nerves. When they start talking about 'the next level' you know someone will end up crying.

Kat says, “Korea was beautiful, but this is like...trees, flowers and nature.”

She should work for Hallmark.


The girls freak out at the super fantastic luxury apartment.

Nikki lets us know she wants a one on one so bad. Remember how much crying she did last episode?

Renee gets to go on the solo date. She said it would be perfect if they finally kiss.

This should be interesting. I feel like he's kept her around because she's so good at consoling the other girls.

They go to a market place and it's so humid they're both sweating through their shirts. He takes her to a shop where they custom tailor a dress for her.

Then they stroll along, sample food, shop, take selfies, and talk about their kids. It's casual...maybe too casual.

Let's fast forward to the evening portion of the date. Renee shows up in her custom designed dress.

Juan tells us, “She looks good in that dress.”

Good...not amazing. Interesting.


Renee loves the romantic setting of the restaurant. Juan keeps her talking about her son, Ben.

He says, “She's a good mom. Maybe there is something here.”

Renee keeps leaning in, but he only brushes the hair off her face.

However, he gives her a date rose and a kiss...on the cheek.

They put lighted lanterns in the water and make wishes. Renee wishes for a kiss. Juan explains to us that he's not going to kiss Renee because he respects the fact she has a son at home.

So does Cassandra, but he kissed her!

The group date begins with the girls partnering up to go rowing in circular bamboo rafts. Claire gets the boat with Juan Pablo. He gives her a kiss the first time they get stuck in the vines.


I guess he forgot Sean's rule about not making out in front of the other girls.

They come ashore spend time at a family garden.

Andi is totally bummed at being on a group date. She takes Juan Pablo aside to whine voice her concerns. He tells her, “I want you to be here. Trust me.”

She buys it.

During lunch, Claire spends a lot of time eating one piece of rice at a time. The waiter even asks if she was going to eat anything.

The sun goes down and that means only one thing—drinks and tears. He takes Claire first for some 'one on one' time and the other girls feel like they're on Claire and Juan's private date.

She tells us, “I'm not just here on a world tour. I'm here for him.”

Juan takes her to his suite because he wants to show her how special she is to him. They make out in the pool.

He takes Sharleen for a walk on the beach. She tells us, “It's hard to go from feeling special and singled out to a random face in the crowd. I need to understand that he sees me as a panda in a room full of brown bears.”

Hey, nothing wrong with brown bears.

She had a series of questions for him, but once they start kissing she forgets what she wants to ask him.

One by one Juan Pablo takes the girls away. Andi starts to feel doubtful again, but Juan takes her for a walk. They sit on the beach, watch the waves and make out.

Who will get the date rose?

Juan tells the girls he had great conversations with them all. Claire gets the date rose for “doing things out of her comfort zone.”

What? Eating?

Claire tells us she really wants to swim in the ocean. It's four in the morning so she calls on Juan Pablo. He's ready in two seconds. They make out in the waves.

Hello. Undertow.

Claire decides to really get out of her comfort zone and her bikini. She tells the camera, “Total bliss. You know when a baby giraffe is born with those wobbly legs? That's how it feels.”

Things that make you go, hmm.

Nikki gets ready for her date. She decides to wear a silver headband.

Juan says, “Last night I had a great night with Claire. She's sexy and she's got something that I like. But today I'm ready for Nikki. She's so smart and sexy too. I have feelings for both of them so its hard.”

Hard? *Giggles*

He takes her to a temple and they talk about how excited how excited they are to be with each other. Then he breaks the news they'll be repelling down a bottomless chasm.

What about swimming in the ocean? Maybe some pizza and a movie?


Nikki fights the tears and says she's willing to take risks for love. Then she starts to panic and can't stop shaking.

I'm having flashbacks to Chelsie's bungee jump.

It takes them a hundred years to reach the bottom. Juan lets her rest for a bit and gives her some kissing therapy.

What magic does this dude have in his spit?

Nikki reaches the bottom and gets more kissing as reward. They escape and have dinner in a much nicer cave with candles and huge wine glasses.

They talk about faults and she teaches him how to pronounce pediatrics. She says she likes the innocence of kids—plus she has a huge heart and is super compassionate.

In case you're wondering, I'm a fabulous dancer and I make a mean meatloaf.

Juan tells her, “I like Nikki.” And he gives her the date rose.

In case you're wondering, I like maple syrup.

Nikki tells us, “I feel electrified. Like I stuck my finger in a light socket.”

I feel nauseous. Like I ate too much pizza.

The pre-rose cocktail party is decorated with lanterns. The girls are decorated in tight dresses and stilettos. Claire says she's ready to get out of her comfort zone.


Juan arrives and lets the girls know three of them will be going home tonight. He plants himself beside Claire and she gives the toast. “Here's to finding love and making love.”

Juan tells us, “What am I going to do? I love these girls. It's so hard.”

Hard. *Giggles*

Renee finally gets her kiss. Yay! I think church bells rang in the distance.

Juan monologues to the camera that he regrets what happened with Claire the 'other night.'

He asks her if anyone else knows. She says no. Juan tells her it probably wasn't right but it already happened. So, yeah...


Claire gets weepy and tries to explain her motivation for 'the other night.'

He tells her he wants to be fair to the other girls.

Sounds like somebody has some regrets. Sounds like somebody is trying to back out of something.

But she says it's all about how your heart feels. He says he doesn't want his daughter to see what happened.

Well, then maybe you shouldn't have gone into the water, Dummy.

Claire does her best pout. “I feel stupid and embarrassed.”

He says, “I just want you to know what I'm thinking.”

Claire cries to the camera, “I really try to follow my heart. I only have the best intentions. I didn't want to disrespect his daughter.”

She leaves the party and threatens to 'crawl back in her shell'. Juan follows her.


I can't handle this anymore. *Hits fast forward*

The girls are wondering what all the drama is about. I predict this will be the main topic during the 'girls tell all' episode.

It's time for the rose ceremony.

The Host brings up the fact the mood got tense but that's good because it means they're emotionally's also good for ratings.

Sharleen gets the first rose, followed by Cassandra, Chelsie (go science), and Kat.

The last rose goes to...Andi.

Going home are Danielle, Kelly, and Alli. To be honest, I can't remember Alli. And Danielle seems to normal to be on the show anyway. I suspect she's was doing research as a psychiatric nurse.

Juan cries while he hugs them good-bye.

Danielle realizes there wasn't a strong connection and she said it was hard to see him cry.

Alli pulls it together and lets us know Juan is special and deserves good love.

Oh, don't worry, Alli, he has.

Still Juant more bachelor recaps?

The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 "Girls Just Juanna Have Fun"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 2 "Boobs, Blindfolds, and Bathroom Breakdowns"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 3 "Splashing, Soccer, and Poolside Sobbing"
The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 4 "K-pop, Karaoke, and Kissing"

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