Saturday, June 23, 2007

Top Ten Favorite Movies

The other night my daughter and I watched the TV special, AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time. It was fun guessing the movies on the list. I did pretty good, impressing my daughter. I agreed with some of those selected and not with others. When my daughter asked me what my favorite movies of all time were, I made my own top ten list. After I finished, I realized my list said a lot about me as a person (and not just that I grew up watching old movies on TV).

1. Spencer's Mountain
2. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1964 version)
3. Beauty and the Beast (Disney animated version)
4. Star Wars (the original)
5. Planet of the Apes (the original)
6. Little Mermaid (Disney animated version)
7. Dirty Dancing
8. The Quiet Man
9. Black Beauty (1994 version)
10. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) version

All right. So, what does this list say about me? Certainly that I love movies — and books for that matter — with a happy ending or, at least, a hopeful ending. The AFI's number one movie was Citizen Kane, and I certainly didn't think that movie had a happy ending. Every movie on my list is either a romance or has a strong romantic element. Yes, even Black Beauty has his horse girlfriend (grin). The movies I like best aren't necessarily deep or thought provoking but rather they're entertaining, which is how I like my books, too. This isn't to say I'm not a deep person, rather that movies are an escape for me.

How did I choose these movies? Well, despite having seen them again and again (the top two 25 or more times), I'd sit down and watch them today if you asked me. Also, they each evoke a strong emotional response in me, either making me cry or giving me chills.

Now I'm curious. What are some of your all time favorite movies and why?

Friday, June 22, 2007


Something happened yesterday that my husband and I are still reeling from. Our son went to Udders and Putters without us.
Udders and Putters is a miniature golf course in southern Ohio in the middle of a dairy farm. Years ago, while on one of our summer car trips, we stopped and fell in love. Udders and Putters has two little putt-putt courses, a corn maze in the fall, lots of fake cows, a gift shop, and the best thing of all…a HUGE ice cream parlor with fresh-from-the dairy ice cream. Yeah. Miniature golf and ice cream and fake cows. You don’t need much else to make me happy.
Well, it’s been a family tradition ever since then to go at least once a year. We drive the ninety minutes together, always saying that it takes longer than we remembered. We play cutthroat putt-putt. (I’m the designated cheater) We tease my daughter about her fear of corn as we tromp through the maze and inevitably get hopelessly lost. Finally we celebrate another trip well done with bowls of ice cream.
To say I was in a bit of shock when my son called me from his friend’s car to say that he was going to Udders and Putter’s on his own (WITHOUT US!) is an understatement.
Part of me was really glad that such a place meant enough for him to take a friend. Another part was worried he would suddenly see the place through another teen’s eyes and discover that maybe it wasn’t quite as neat as the memories made them out to be.
Most of me was just plain jealous. My schedule yesterday involved swim team practice, volunteering at church, running to the grocery store and post office and finally writing seven pages. All were good things but…no dairy farm at all.
He got home about an hour before dinner with a full report. He told us all about Udder and Putter updates. He said he had a good time. No, he didn’t say anything sappy like “It would have been better with you, Mom.” But he didn’t say he wouldn’t go with us in August, either.
So maybe this is the first ‘turning point.’. Perhaps it’s one of our crazy, evolved traditions that he’ll carry on…Or maybe it will just be one of those things he’ll always remember about growing up in Ohio.
Please tell me that we’re not the only family who has a favorite quirky summer activity. Anyone else want to share?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fact & Fiction 2

Since the first post was so much fun, here’s another installment in Fact & Fiction. (For those of you who missed the first post, it was dated June 12.) I find it fun coincidence that I get to follow Ann Roth’s post on where she gets her ideas, for you’ll see that I’ve gotten a lot inspiration from events, and a lot of what happens in my life or the world around me makes it into my books in some form. It’s amazing how a writer can take reality, put a new spin on it, and come up with something totally fun and fictional.

From my book Legally Tender (January 06), the entire opening scene where the firefighters show up at an elementary Brownie troop Halloween party is completely real. Smoke machines set off fire alarms. It happened at my high school, my daughter’s school, and the YMCA during their Fright Fest. While airing out the gym at my daughter’s school, the firefighters showed them the truck. Add some what if, and Christina and Bruce’s story was born. In fact, my best friend was there and she told me, “you’ll use this in a book.” To which I said, “uh huh.” (PS—the end scene, where a beam comes down on his arm is also based in reality. That happened in my little town of Labadie when the Hawthorne Inn burned to the ground, a few months before I moved here.)

In Sweeping the Bride Away (2002), I’ve been through most of those home repairs poor Cassidy Clayton goes through. I actually spilt latex paint all over the ceramic tile in my very first house. My mother helped save the day. I also based both of Blade’s trucks on my contractor’s first Ford F150 and the new one he bought. One of my favorite things to do is research what cars my characters are going to drive.

From Emergency Engagement (Feb 05), where the younger daughter eats the cold medicine, the entire ER scene happened to my older daughter when she was about three and a half years old and ate two of my Drixoral pills thinking they were candy. My younger daughter fell and bit entirely through her lower lip once, and she’s the patient mentioned in the other room. However, Quinton and Beth, my heroine and hero are very made up, and although I’ve run across three Quintons in my life, none of them are a sexy ER doctor.

Nine Months’ Notice (April 2007) ended my three-book American Beauties mini-series. I set the story in Kansas City, but Jeff brought Tori Ted Drewes. This is a historic frozen custard stand on Chippewa, which is Old Route 66—the Mother Road. If you are ever in St. Louis, you have to go there. While other custard stands are just as delicious, you have to go to Ted Drewes and experience the original for yourself. Also, if you’re ever in St. Louis, the A.G. Edwards headquarters building is the place I set Jacobsen Enterprises (and Jacobsen is maiden name of one of my best friends) which is found in Catching the Corporate Playboy, About Last Night…, Capturing the Cop, and The Playboy’s Protégée. The park I took Darci and Cameron too really does exist, only further south than I set it. (I like to move things around.) By the way, Henrietta’s Restaurant pays homage to Tony’s, the fine dining establishment that is a landmark in St. Louis, and a place in which I have yet to eat. Maybe someday.

On June 30th, I’ll talk about my upcoming works and give you some teasers . (I am at 99.9 percent finished writing my April 2008 book—hooray!)


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I get ideas at the weirdest times

When I’m driving through congested Seattle traffic, I always get to thinking. Often about my current work-in-process, interspersed with whatever happens to be on NPR. Sometimes I think of a brand new story idea or figure out a new facet to a character or a clever twist in the plot.

It’s weird how this stuff fills my head when I’m stuck in traffic.(Probably somewhat dangerous, too, as stories can be so distracting.) The unleashed creative ideas pour forth at other unexpected times, too, like when I’m making the bed or doing any dreaded housework. (Except when I’m changing the kitty litter box. That requires my full attention. ☺)

The experts say that when we work at mindless or repetitive tasks that don’t actively engage the mind, our brain is free to work out issues or solve problems. I guess that’s what I’m doing. That’s not to say I don’t get ideas other times. I do—first thing in the morning, after I wake up. On occasion while reading a book, or watching TV. But the majority of my ideas come when I’m busy doing something.

I’m curious about both writers and readers. When you get your best ideas and do your best problem solving?

Ann Roth
Summer Lovin’ Anthology: A Reunion Story, June 2007
Mitch Takes A Wife, August, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007


Something we all need a little of sometimes, right?

A friend posted this to his blog this morning, and I thought it was worth sharing. Some made me chuckle, and others made me go hmmmmm. Which are your favorites?

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumblebee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't just happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about,
ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Don't interfere with sumpin’ that ain't bothering you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

My message today will be short and bittersweet.

Today's a wonderful day to celebrate the men in your life: your grandfathers, dad, stepdads, and the father of your children. Enjoy the holiday, and treat these men the way they deserve to be treated—at least this one day out of the year. (smile)

Today's a sad one for me, as I lost my dad less than two years ago. Things get easier with time; they always do. I'm learning that the hard way. Still, anniversaries and holidays bring back the memories, making those events "touch and go" for years.

Since it's been such a short for me, things are pretty much "go" around my house today: go do something to distract yourself so you don't have to think much about it.

I'm glad my turn to blog fell on Father's Day, though, so I can ask all of you who have dads to love them and appreciate them, today and all days.

And when you give them a hug, give them an extra big one for me.

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille