The Artist Who Launched A Thousand Romance Novels


…at least in my head. If it seems like I’m obsessed with the paintings of Jack Vattriano it’s because I am. Sensual, seductive and addictive, the players seem to move even while frozen in time. Sultry, cigarette smoking, fabulous femme fatales and brooding, smouldering, potent men. Yes, MEN. God, sometimes…no, often…I’d love to insert myself into his artfully decadent tableaux. Music by Mark Geary…close to country but not quite…

Fifty Shades of Wuss

“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man, then complain he’s not the man she married?” 
― Barbra Streisand

I love that quote and the unmistakable message is that modern women are largely responsible for the Metrosexual phenomenon.  The ideal of American manhood used to be this: 


Now it’s this: 


I recently read an interesting, borderline scandalous explanation for the wild popularity of “50 Shades of Grey.”  The theory is that despite emancipation, the female is genetically wired to be subservient, and we find our outlet through romance novels featuring alpha males.  Yet in real life we’re soccer moms and dodge ball deniers, sucking the masculinity out of our very own sons while secretly salivating over The Few, The Proud, The Marines.  

This rant is inspired by a blog with the subheading, “When Did Mowing the Lawn Become A Bridge Too Far?”  It’s a fascinating and sobering read, check out the first few lines:

I read the subject line for the latest message on my neighborhood listserv with interest: “Kids Cutting Grass?”

A few years ago I’d used a post with a similar headline to find someone to do some yard work. My husband and I hired a neighborhood kid whose Dad had died the year prior after a long illness. Maybe 13 years old, he’d taken to doing yard work to raise much-needed money and have something to do.

But this email was very different. It read:

“We just had a group of adorable and entrepreneurial kids (young, maybe 9-11 years old) offer to mow our grass. Not to be Scrooges in the neighborhood, but what is the general consensus on this around [the neighborhood] re: safety? They looked pretty young, and we didn’t see a parent with them supervising. I realize kids want to earn spending money, but I was interested in getting the pulse on this sort of thing. Teenagers, maybe. But these kids looked like they may be older elementary school aged (guess). We had a family member lose a couple of toes mowing while a young kid, so maybe I’m just overly sensitive.”

The next email read, “For anyone whose interested, the [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends that children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and 16 for a ride-on mower, along with a list of safety precautions. Just FYI.”

A link was provided to a page on the AAP web site headlined “Mowing the Lawn Can Be a Dangerous Chore.” Injury prevention tips there include: “Have anyone who uses a mower or is in the vicinity wear polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.”

I repeat. One tip was that everyone in the vicinity of a lawn mower should be wearing polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.

Read the whole article here:




“The Scariest Moment is Always Just Before You Start”

A fairly significant statement considering it comes from Stephen King…a guy who knows a thing or two about terror, terrified of the insidious blank page.  It seems writers throughout the ages have been confronted by the same demons and HuffPo has compiled some tips for overcoming the paralysing fear of putting one word after another.

To retread the famous Mark Twain advice, “The key to getting ahead is getting started.”  Let’s do it. 



My Image of Jacqueline Kirby

Just re-reading an old favorite,  “DIE FOR LOVE” by the lamentably late Elizabeth Peters.  Here’s a delicious excerpt, Peters describing her heroine, Jacqueline Kirby, through the eyes of a frustrated admirer:

“Her tall, upright figure was as slim as that of a woman half her age – not that James had ever been officially informed of that number, but since she had two adult children he knew she must be over forty.  Her thick auburn hair had not a touch of grey and James, who was well acquainted with Jacqueline’s hair and with the products women use to conceal that particular sign of aging, would have sworn she employed none of them.”

Well, when I saw this portrait in Glasgow, I figured Jack Vettriano must have been channeling “Jake” when he painted it:


My Goodness, she looks like she could light those candles just by staring at them.  This painting is owned by Jack Nicholson, by the way…Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to my guilty pleasure…

He Captured My Protagonists

Jack Vettriano must have envisioned Sean Berwick and Lydia Surreault when he painted this scene…outward innocence masks the wicked, shared memory of a sleepless night:


I’ll be visiting Jack’s retrospective in Glasgow next month.  Learn more about it Here: 

As for Sean and Lydia, their mysteries are revealed in my newly released Ebook, Reckless Harvest. You can find it here:


What Lydia Wore…

…on her first date with Sean… 

They met briefly the evening before in New York City and never got around to exchanging phone numbers or even last names. But by the time Lydia arrived home a message was waiting on her answering machine…a virile and fearless European aristocrat named Sean Berwick, inviting a citified cowgirl to lunch. She thought no but said yes. And spent the intervening hours crafting a casual seduction. This is what she wore…