Monday, March 30

And the Winner is...

OMG, my dearies, thank you oh-so-very muchly for the good show re: my birthday contest. I loved reading all of your memoirs. I laughed, I cried, it was better than "The Hills." 

(Speaking of which, who's watching the special "Season 5 launch event" ridiculousness tonight?
...Yeah, I probably will, too. ::cringe::)

I have to say that it was VAIR VAIR close, in the end, but my fave memoir ultimately was: 

"Don't need a boy for fun," via LittleMissAngel. 

Woo hoo! Sing it, sister! 

Email your deets to me ( asap, darling, and we'll get your loverly copy of THE SEASON out to you! Congrats on the big win!

I also wanted to throw in an honorable mention for Sarcastic Heart, with: "I will stop procrastinating soon. Tomorrow."
There is a pressie for Ms. Sarky Heart, too! 
If you send along your contact info, I will promptly mail out a signed copy of BREAKFAST AT BLOOMINGDALE'S by Kristen Kemp just for you, you, you! Another of my fave reads; you're going to lurve it, I swears.

How's that for a consolation prize?

Until next year, pretties!



Thursday, March 26

Birthday Book Club

OMG, girlies, as promised, I've got the inside scoop from the veriest of authors, Sarah MacLean! Isn't that just the bestest birthday present ever?
Not only that, but Sarah has given me a signed copy of her FABULICIOUS book, "The Season," which I will be passing along to the winner of my 6 word memoir contest.
Whoever it was that said that it's better to give than to receive CLEARLY never had access to the best of both worlds, right?
Sarah won me over with her writing skills, but she sealed the deal with her love of lip balm and sunglasses. Girl knows about looking sharp! So without further ado, here's Sarah:

Hello Sarah! Thanks and smooches for agreeing to stop by in honor of my birthday! You're the bestest!
I've just started reading "The Season" and *love, love, love* the idea that teen girls deal with the same drama (I mean...srsly!) no matter when and where in time we find ourselves. It's obvs that you agree, so I have to ask--what was it that first attracted you to historical fiction?

Hey Spence, I'm so excited to hang out! And...thanks for the love for "The Season!" You're totally doesn't matter when or where...teen girls are always going to have drama, whether from boys, or parents, or besties.

That's probably part of the reason why I love historical fiction--the sense that I'm not alone...and that I haven't been alone for centuries. Romeo & Juliet had unrequited love, Elizabeth & Darcy struggled to find each other, and don't even get me started on the Cupid & Psyche family drama. Great historical fiction takes you out of your everyday and plops you down in a new time and a new place...with characters who fast become great friends because you understand them so well.

Oh, and, sure, all great books do this...but historical fiction has the added bonus of hot boys in cravats and riding boots. or armor. or togas. yum.

Yum indeed! So, in what ways is writing a historical romance different than writing a contemporary romance, in your opinion? How much research did you have to do in order to stay true to period details? Did anything you learned while researching surprise you?

I'm of the school that, at its core, romance is romance...whether Regency or Medieval or Modern Day, it's about capturing that tension between two characters who are destined to be together and showing the growth and the evolution of one of the most amazing things in the world--love. It doesn't matter if the hero is Mr. Knightley or the boy next door. Although, for the record, Knightley was the boy next door. I meant the boy next door to you. Now.

But, the biggest difference (more than the lack of texting, IMing and cellphones) is the clandestine nature of historical romance. In contemporary romance the hero and heroine can go on a date, or smooch in public, or dance more than three dances in an evening without making the cover of US Weekly and being forced to marry. Immediately. In historical, smooching has to happen under the radar...which can make it way more fun.

I spent most of my life reading books either from or about the Regency, so the history came pretty easily for me, but whenever I had a question, thanks to the magic of the Internet and some remarkable nonfiction authors who came long before me, answers were never too far away. I did spend some incredible time in the New York Public Library reading the Times of London from the Spring and Summer of 1815, which turned up WAY more fascinating story ideas than I could ever use!

Ooh, scandalicious, no doubt! What's the most romantical thing a guy has ever done for you?

My husband and I met at a wedding, but he lived in Cali and I lived here in NYC, and despite my having a serious crush on him, we struck up a long-distance friendship over IM. For years. Three of them. We never talked by phone or saw each other...we just IMed. Every day. Like losers.

And then, September 11th happened. And Eric wasn't sure where I worked in New York, and the phone lines were down, and I wasn't online and he couldn't find me. And on September 13th he called me to tell me that he was through not knowing where I was. And that he was moving to New York. To be with me.

I think that was pretty romantical.

Squee! I'll say! I cannot EVEN! Well, you've got the perfect guy, obvs, so what's your idea of the perfect date?

I'm easy. A yummy dinner out and a long walk home filled with conversation and laughter and smooching.

That sounds like a winning combo, def! What are some of your fave romance novels--the ones you could read over and over again? hard! I could make a seriously obnoxiously long list...but I will stick to my fave five. Warning...some of these are naughtier than others.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Owen is adorable. I want to cuddle him.
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Sebastian is wicked. Yes, Please.
The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux. Oh, my, Medieval Knight.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Mr. Darcy can ardently admire and love me any time he wants.
5. T
he Duke and I by Julia Quinn. The first in Julia's Bridgerton Series, which is charming and funny and exactly what Regency romance should be.

Thanks for the recommendations! We Bradford girlies like things naughty, you know! And as you may also know, I'm the distant relative of the ORIGINAL Golden Girl, Grace Kelly. Since you're CLEARLY a romance buff, do you have a favorite Grace Kelly love scene? If so, which one is it, and why?

Oh, the scene in the dark in TO CATCH A THIEF when she kisses the tips of Cary Grant's fingers. Hands down. Oh. My.

Le sigh. Le swoon. Good choice! And finally, who would you choose as the "Most Iconic Couple" of all time? (Mine would be Princess Grace and Prince Albert, for obvious reasons. ;) )

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. My favorite quote of all time is his response to a question about infidelity: "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?" Why, indeed?

Well, I while I'm not particularly advocating comparing your girl to a piece of meat, it's true that that's definitely the sentiment a gal wants from her dude. Thanks again to Sarah, for stopping by and weighing in on books, boys, and romance--three of my favorite things in honor of my special day!



Tuesday, March 24

Birthday Contest Update!!

Dearest friendlies, apparently my blog comments have been on the fritz for quite a few days. No wonder it's been so quiet hereabouts. I got my techie to fix, and it's all better now.

But next time, SPEAK UP, dearies! If one of you had tweeted me or left a note on my FB wall, I'd have had this fixed PRONTO.

Anyhoo, I've decided to give you a little extra time to send me your 6-word memoirs, because Mads, Paige, Reegs, and I are just having So. Much. Fun.

The NEW deadline for my birthday contest is this FRIDAY, March 27.


Monday, March 23

Birthday contest update!

Well, hello, my prettiest:

I wanted to thank you all so muchly for your hilarious and creative six word memoir entries for my birthday contest. TRES with the veriness. 

My only concern at this point is how in the world I will ever be able to pick one BEST entry for my loverly prize. 

And a what loverly prize it is! For realsies! Wanna get the scoop? Read on...

As you know, I love me some fairy-tale style romance. So it's only NATURAL that I'd be all about the new book "The Season" by Sarah MacLean.

(Side note: I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but COME ON. That cover is divine-itude to the power of X.)

"The Season" is all about three gor-JUS besties who love fashion and parties and all things high-life related ( why does that sound so familiar? LOL). They are big-time debs coming out for the first time in fancified England--and you KNOW it's extra posh-tastic since it's all historical and like. 
(Ball-gowns, horse-drawn carriages, and gentleman callers. Swoon.)
Those old-tyme debs liked their dramz, let me tell you. Sounds like they would have fit in PERFECTLY at Bradford Prep...
provided they learned how to use iChat, of course. 

Anyhoo, darlings, in honor of my VERY SPECIAL day, the delightful and ah-MAH-zing Sarah MacLean has donated a signed copy of "The Season" for me to give away at my most discretionary discretion. AND she'll be doing a little Q&A for us this Wednesday in honor of the contest wrap up. 


Well. My goodness. All of this excitement has left me rather flushed. Which I'm sure the friendlies of "The Season"would tell me is not very dignified at all. 

Please to excuse me while I pull myself together. And get with the posting so that YOU will be entered to win this fabbity book!

(Hugs and) Besos,


Wednesday, March 18

Many Happy Returns--for YOU!

Well, hello there, my veriest of friendlies! Depending on your friendship veriosity scale, you MAY be aware that today is my birthday!

Whee! Happy happy to me!

Which, in all honesty, would certainly be exciting enough on its own. BUT WAIT—there's more!

In honor of my most special-est of days, I am running a contest for all of YOU! Have you heard of "six word memoirs?" They are hi-larious (brevity, wit, etc., etc.). If I were to write my own, it might go a little something like this:

"Dating Mr. Big Man on Campus."


"It Girl loves life and love."

or even:

"Spencer plus besties rule the school!"


Six words. Your life. Get creative, people!

If you post a six word memoir of your own here in the comments of this very blog post, sometime between now and next Wednesday, 3/25, midnight EDT, you could win! My BFFs and I will choose our fav and send the winner something loverly, fantastic, and fun.


In the meantime, I believe there's a red velvet layer cake with my name on it (literally)...



Monday, March 9

Pretty Things

Hi friendlies:

I spent some of the weekend catching up on my reading, and just had to post about this amazing contest being run by teen author Justina Chen Headley. Her new book, "North of Beautiful," just came out in February and is so, so good. Here's the description from Amazon:

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

I know--so good, right? Read it now, people! 

But as if the book weren't fantabulous enough on its own, author Justina is running a way-cool contest for readers. Upload your own "true beauty" video to YouTube, and she'll donate $10 (up to $1000 total) to fund reconstructive surgery for children in third-world countries born with cleft palates. Justina has uploaded her own video, which you can check out here. 

As someone who spends plenty of time on the primping and pampering, I can tell you that this book--and Justina--deliver the goods about staying pretty on the inside. 

Hope you enjoy the book--and the vids--as much as I did.