Friday, February 27, 2015

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

I wonder if there's going to be an insurgence of aquatic shapeshifters in romance. Considering how good Jason Momoa makes this look, it wouldn't surprise me. Because, oh my god, YUM.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

TBT: Ruby Red Rebels

I'm currently working on editing a vampire hunter story that appeared in an anthology that's no longer available, which got me to thinking about other vampire stories I've written. You know what? The very first solo title I published with Amber Quill was a vamp story.

To a casual passerby, it’s just a small country bar in the middle of nowhere. To a vampire in the know, it’s the most popular hangout in the entire state of Texas. To Serena Darville, though, Ruby Red is the last hope for an answer to all her deadly troubles.

Walking into the bar to retrieve the bracelet she needs to save her father’s skin—and her own—is the most dangerous thing she’s ever done. She doesn’t need or want a vampire’s help. Not even if that vampire is peacemaker Max Markow, there at Ruby Red with his own grudge to settle.

When an unexpected bar fight gets them locked away in a cellar to die, Serena and Max are forced to work together in order to escape. In such cramped quarters, passions flare. All they have is each other, but only time will tell if that’s enough to survive.

I took a ton of elements I enjoyed and threw them together into the pot to see what would come out. Vampires. Cowboys. Snark. A locked room.

Here's how they meet:

*_*_*

“Here’s a little tip.” The murmured words in her ear came with a drawl and whiskey-soaked slide that would have raised goose bumps even if she wasn’t nervous about being in a vampire bar. “Always look ’em in the eye, darlin’. Don’t do that, and they’re going to think you’re dinner.”

Serena twisted around to find herself staring into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Laugh lines marked their corners, and the sensual mouth was curved into an amused grin. His shoulder-length dark hair was mostly hidden by a white cowboy hat, swept back to reveal the silver studs in both of his ears. He hadn’t shaved, either, his jaw rough with stubble, but that didn’t hide the slight pallor in his skin. It just masked it a little. It probably made it easier for him to pass when he was in human company. Because if Serena didn’t know to look for it, she would never have pegged him for a vampire.

It was never good when you couldn’t pick the enemy out of the crowd.

“I’ll take that under advisement,” she replied, keeping her tone cool.

The bartender placed her beer in front of her, giving her the perfect opportunity to turn away from the stranger’s attention. Her gaze flickered to the shot glass he then set down for her new neighbor. Apparently, she wasn’t going to be drinking alone.

“See, already you’re asking for trouble. If I wasn’t such a gentleman, I’d be looking at you like a tasty treat right about now.”

Behind the counter, the bartender snorted and shook his head before heading down to the opposite end of the bar.

“Someone thinks you’re lying,” Serena observed.

“Will thinks everybody who walks through those doors is a liar.”

“Most bartenders usually know their patrons better than anybody.”

“And most bartenders usually don’t finish their shift by draining the last patron standing.” The stranger was still grinning when she glanced over at him. “Take it as you will.”

He clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Serena had half a mind to pick up her beer and move to one of the few empty tables, but then that might encourage some of the less attractive vampires in the place into thinking she was fair game. This one seemed content to play the game, and if he was easy on the eyes, what was wrong with that?

He knocked back his shot with practiced ease and set the glass down on the inner half of the counter to indicate a refill from the bartender. “So if Will here knows his customers so well…” His mouth curved in amusement as he spoke, his gaze deliberately flicking over her form-fitting black tank top and the outline of her legs in her jeans. “I guess that means you’ve got a few backroom secrets of your own you’re toting around.”

Only years of practice with cousins who could read every single body rhythm kept Serena’s heart from skipping a beat. “You’ve got an awful lot of opinions for me, considering I don’t even know who you are,” she replied evenly. The cold beer soothed her throat, making it easier to focus on the here and now, and not on the later when everything might go all to hell.

“Max Markow.” He even tapped the front brim of his hat as he nodded at her, as if they were being introduced in polite Texas society. “Now you get to tell me your name.”

“I get to? Did I win some door prize I don’t know about?”

That easy smile returned. He kept his fangs well out of sight, this one did.

“I’ve been called worse in my day.”

In spite of her better judgment, Serena snorted. “You might even be called worse yet tonight.”

He toyed with his shot glass as Will carried over a bottle of Jack Daniels and refilled it. “If it means I get to stick around with your company, I’m goin’ to reckon it’ll be worth it.”

*_*_*

Ruby Red Rebels is available at Amber Heat. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thorn Birds rant

I'm going out on a limb here by admitting until this past weekend, I had never read nor seen The Thorn Birds. I knew it was one of those beloved mini-series/stories that romance readers hold fondly in their hearts, and that Richard Chamberlain played a priest who had a love affair. That was it. So when I was sick Friday and Saturday, I curled up on the couch to watch it, in hopes I'd see what everybody loved and fall in love with it myself.

Wow. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I hated it. Well, maybe hate is a strong word. For the overall production and story, it was okay. What I hated, what made my skin absolutely crawl, was the so-called love story between Father Ralph and Meggie. It's not the performers' fault. It's the story's. I can honestly say, I just don't get why more people aren't completely creeped out by this relationship.

I have zero problem with priests battling their sexual demons. I'm not religious, I've written more than a few of my own religious figures who give up their calling for love, and frankly, I find forced celibacy a ridiculous, antiquated notion.

My issues arise with the fact that theirs is not a healthy relationship. In the slightest. Ralph forms what is obviously an intense relationship with a ten-year-old girl, and while he doesn't encourage or acknowledge any physical interaction until she turns eighteen, he has still spent the last eight years making himself the center of her world in a lot of ways. The feelings she develops for him in return are based on a child's adoration. There's definitely the feel of an Electra complex going on there, because her fixation on him never goes away. And I'm sorry, I just can't find romance in any relationship where one of the parties is only ten years old and the other is a fully grown adult who is very well aware of his physical appeal (because everyone under the sun needs to tell Father Ralph how beautiful he is, including Vittorio, Ralph's superior and friend) when it launches, whether it's platonic or not. In the movie, there is never any doubt Father Ralph has supplanted her own parents' role in her life. How can that ever be healthy?

Mary Carson, who is presented as a bitter old woman, sees the truth, and yet she's completely dismissed as being vindictive and jealous of their youth. We're supposed to dislike her for being the only one to recognize how intense and inappropriate it turns into? Nope, don't buy it.

All of that is a shame, because without that element, it's actually a very moving idea about mothers, their children, and the struggles between them as mothers fight their own feelings versus those they should have toward their kids. It's just too bad it's locked within this so-called love story.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar reactions

Who watched the Oscars last night? I had a small get-together - way too much food - to watch everything. It was my best friend's first time watching it, believe it or not. She likes movies, but had never bothered with the Oscars before, and had done as poorly on watching the movies this year as I did.

This was not my best year picking the winners by a long shot.

Honestly, I'm boggled Richard Linklater didn't get best director. Boggled. He had such a difficult task, creating Boyhood over a dozen years when so many things could've gone wrong, that I just don't get how he could've been looked over. I didn't see Birdman winning, either, though in hindsight, it's the kind of movie the Academy loves. Redmayne was always a contender, but I'd gambled on them giving it to Michael Keaton for sentimentality and as a token nod to Birdman. Oops.

Also? I was a little bit down by Neil Patrick Harris. The opening was fantastic, but I found a lot of the punny bits in between not very funny. The magic prediction didn't work for me, either, because let's face it, it relied on the tidbits being terribly clever (which most of them weren't).

Things I did enjoy?  Meryl Streep fist-pumping at the end of Patricia Arquette's speech was fantastic. "Glory" wasn't my pick for best song, but I did enjoy the performance of it. And I liked the message of Graham Moore's speech about staying weird.

But I had more fun hanging with my friends this year than I did actually watching the ceremony. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Somehow, I even managed to still win our Oscar pool, but that's only because nobody else saw any of it coming, either.

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Contract - Unison

I just signed the contract for my upcoming time travel story, "Unison." It's part of the time travel pax at Amber Allure, though I'm not sure when it's coming out yet. Here's the blurb:

Freddie Valek is a dreamer. He dreams about the fantastic as a means to escape, about finding the perfect man, about anything his imagination can conjure. When he falls asleep after work one day and finds himself in pre-Civil War Louisiana, he can’t say that he’s surprised. The only part of the dream that shocks him is that it’s taken him ten years to have a dream about the history of his most prized possession—a water-logged portrait of a man named Ezekiel.

All he knows about Ezekiel is what the woman who gave it to him said. That Ezekiel was the son of a plantation owner and a slave. That nobody ever found out what happened to him. Freddie’s dream thrusts him into the parents’ lives and their demands that he’s been brought to them to bring back their runaway son, a mission he is more than happy to accept.

But the closer he gets to finding Ezekiel, the more convinced he is that none of it is actually a dream…

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Geek Romance

Last weekend, I took my teenagers to their very first convention, a gaming con near enough to us that we could come home at the end of each day. They had a blast, which isn't surprising. We love games in this family, and though I'm more of a tabletop gal, they got to learn some new RPGs.

We fly the geek flag high in this family.

I attended a couple seminars I thought would help in my writing, but what it really made me want to do was write a geek romance. There's not enough out there.

I'm also looking for geek romance recommendations. I don't care about orientation. It could be het, bi, gay, or lesbian. I read it all. Tell me about the stories you love!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Wild Fragile Vines

Right now, I'm working on finishing a short story for an Amber Pax blog about the second time around. It's been an experiment for me, because it's part epistolary with a non-linear format, with letters and other tidbits interspersed with flashbacks and moments in present day. On the surface, "Wild Fragile Vines" is about Tim, about to turn fifty, as he's getting ready to face guests in his home. He has a box of letters hidden away he dwells on, which introduces us to Devin, the musician younger son of the vineyard owner Tim worked for the last twenty years.

The following is a newspaper interview of Devin:

*_*_*

A TASTE OF CALIFORNIA

March 15, 1999—Austin got a taste of what Napa Valley is growing these days at The Ruins last night with the dulcet tones of California crooner, Devin Mayer. Mayer opened for local band, Cloud Demolition, and lit a low, but steady flame under the dubious audience, gradually winning them over with his smooth baritone and haunting lyrics. With just a stool, a single spotlight, and his guitar, he left the crowd stunned into silence before bursting into enthusiastic applause once he left the stage. They coaxed him back for one more song, and afterward, I got the chance to sit down with him for a drink and a few questions.

Q: You’re a little ways from home. How are you finding Texas? Are we as bad as Californians think we are?
A: Are you kidding? Austin’s great. I love it here.

Q: You’re just saying that because you have to.
A: I don’t say anything because I have to. That’s one reason why I’m here instead of there.

Q: Family problems?
A: Difference of opinion. I don’t come from a musical family. They love me, but they don’t get the music thing. Just like I love them, but I don’t get why I should go into the family business if it’s not what I’m passionate about. Nobody should be forced into a life they don’t want.

Q: And you want a life in Austin?
A: I want a life in music. It just so happened to drop me here for a few months.

It takes little effort to discover Mayer dropped out of Berkeley School of Music after two years, then moved onto a brief stint in Seattle before striking his way east in late ’97, but every time I try to get details, Mayer spins the conversation in other directions. I learn he’s single (“By choice.”), he’s addicted to peanut butter cups (“You will never convince me that isn’t the perfect flavor combination.”), and he knows more about classic Hollywood screwball comedies than anyone else I know under the age of sixty (“You can learn a lot from Cary Grant.”).

Everything changes when I shift focus to his music, though even here, he insists on clarity when I don’t give him the choices he’s looking for.

Q: Do you consider yourself a singer who happens to play guitar, or a guitarist who happens to sing?
A: I consider myself a storyteller who happens to be able to play and sing a little.

Q: So you’re a songwriter first.
A: Yeah.

Q: Then why play? Why not just write songs and hand them off to somebody else to perform?
A: (After he laughs) Is that an oblique way of telling me I suck?

Q: On the contrary, I’m a little surprised you’re undercutting how good you actually are.

His blushing at my compliment temporarily dissolves the calm veneer he’s been wearing until now. Though he’s twenty-three, most of the time he comes across as older, dark blue eyes intense and unwavering as he meets those of whomever he speaks to. This flash of innocence is fleeting, however, and he quickly returns to the eloquence that permeates his songs when I ask specific questions. For the next hour, I listen, admittedly enthralled by his creative process. Each song is personal, starting out as fable before morphing into the incarnations he presents to his audiences. All except for one. The encore that left more than one girl coming up to him during our interview asking if it was available on the EP he’s selling. (FYI: It’s not, which is a crying shame.)

Q: Listening to “Priceless,” someone might think you regret leaving Napa.
A: Really? Why do you think that?”

Q: Well, it’s a love poem to the valley, isn’t it?
A: That doesn’t mean I’m the narrator.

Q: If not you, then who?
A: The world is full of people who see beauty in details others find mundane. Ominous clouds the second before the skies open and drench everything in rain. The first grape to appear on a vine. The problem is, they often get dismissed as mundane themselves when that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Priceless” is about recognizing the value in the details, in those people, while you have the chance. Don’t forget them. The world deserves better than that. They deserve better.

Though I press, Mayer sticks to the vague, but I end the interview convinced he’s thinking about somebody specific when it comes to “Priceless”’s narrator. It could be a father, a mother, a friend. Only Devin Mayer knows for certain.

So to whoever it is, take it from this stranger in Austin, Texas. You’re not forgotten.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gimme Firth

Even before the movie/casting was announced, I was never, ever going to see Fifty Shades of Grey. I didn't like the book, I didn't like the message it conveyed, and the media coverage labeling it "mommy porn" like sexuality in any form is something to be mocked or didn't actually exist prior to the book's release infuriated me. So I had enough baggage about this to know I wouldn't be able to watch the movie with any sense of objectivity.

But this was Valentine's Day weekend. I wanted to see something at the movies with my husband. In the end, it wasn't a difficult choice. 

We went and saw Kingsman: The Secret Service

I like Jamie Dornan (I have ever since he showed up on season one of Once Upon a Time), but there is nobody like Colin Firth. I adore him. He's talented, he's sexy, he's charming. Plus, he's the kind of actor who appeals to both men and women. My husband loves him, too. It was really a no-brainer.

If you haven't heard anything about it, Kingsman looks like a spy movie on the surface. Colin Firth plays "Galahad," a member of a super secret organization headed by "Arthur" played by Michael Caine. It's a throwback to the over-the-top silliness and style of early Bond movies combined with modern fun ala Kickass (which the makers of this also did) and Hot Fuzz. Alongside Firth is newcomer Taron Egerton, playing Eggsy, the son of the man who sacrificed himself to save Firth. Eggsy is a lower-class London young man who lands himself in trouble and calls the number Firth left him as a boy to help get him out of it. Firth sponsors him to become the newest member of their team, and then we get to watch Eggsy slowly discover himself as he undergoes the testing. During all this, megalomaniac/technological entrepreneur Samuel L. Jackson is kidnapping important people around the world who don't want to fall in line with whatever nefarious plan he's concocting.

That doesn't do it justice.

It's over the top. It's violent. It's slick. It's FUN. Firth plays the role straight, and yet, it's that sincerity that grounds the comic-book roots and presentation (it's based on a comic of the same name) and makes it so entertaining. Watching Firth take out a group of bullies in a pub without wrinkling his suit or breaking a sweat was something I didn't even know I needed, and yet it gave it to me in spades. It has a great supporting cast, from Mark Strong as Merlin (and he's not playing a bad guy, yay!) to Mark Hamill as the scientist that triggers interest in what Jackson is doing. 

It won't be to everybody's taste, but it was everything I could've asked for in a Valentine's date movie.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Knowing the Basics

I hate to end the week on a rant, but I got one. I had a book that was a DNF yesterday, and the reasons frustrate me. I won't tell you which one it was because it doesn't really matter. It's a small book, with a tiny press, and I got it free on Kindle, so naming it doesn't do any good. It has its supporters with some positive reviews, but I'm not one of them.

See, I could barely get through the first three chapters. Not because the idea wasn't interesting (it was), or because the prose wasn't pretty (it wasn't, but then again, it wasn't that sort of book), but because of all the technical errors in it. More than just typos. More than stylistic choices we all might make for the sake of a voice. This was about glaring verb tense shifts, often more than one to a page, that made it impossible for me to get into the story. So I didn't waste my time. I gave up on it and deleted it from my Kindle.

What I honestly don't get is...why? Why do some authors think that it's okay not to know the basic tools of their trade? Don't tell me that's what an editor is for. I don't buy it. Editors are wonderful for a lot of different reasons, but their job description should never include, "Teach authors what verb-agreement is," or anything that includes basic grammar lessons like verb tense. Honestly, editors have enough to do already, and putting that burden on them as well is lazy, selfish, and unreasonable. Typos? Sure, we all make them, though I'd hope you'd send in a manuscript as clean as you possibly could. Occasional lapses in POV? It happens. But the fundamental tools of the written language should be the author's responsibility to know, and nobody is ever going to convince me otherwise.

This is your work. This is your craft. Every job has basic requirements, and writing is no different. Being able to come up with compelling characters and stories is only part of the package, and sure, there are people who don't care or can't tell when a story is riddled with easily fixable grammatical errors, but why is settling for that enough?

If you don't know basic grammar, learn. The resources are out there. If it's still too hard for you, find someone who does understand to go through your manuscript before it goes to your editor, and then--and here's the hard part for some people--listen to them and fix what's wrong before making your poor editor do half your job for you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TBT: A Simple Charm

Sometimes, I write a story that I absolutely adore that it seems like nobody reads. That doesn't bother me a lot of the time. I write for myself, and as long as I'm doing that, it would be hypocritical of me to whine about low sales. 

But on the flipside to that is the keen desire for other people to love a story that I love, too. A Simple Charm is one of those. But this one had a ton of factors going against it from the start when it comes to the masses.

First of all, it's a sweet m/m. There is one sex scene in the entire book, and it's really, really tame. Contrary to what you readers saying all the time about wanting more story and emotion, however, sales prove otherwise. Sweet m/m just doesn't sell well in general.

Secondly, it's a historical. And it's not just historical, but it's also American history. The 1930s. Twentieth century America is the hardest kind of historical to sell,  unless it's centered on soldiers in WWII (and even then, it's a hard sell).

Strike number three? One of the characters has magic, so technically it has to be filed under paranormal, but it's not really a paranormal at all. It's what I call genre magical realism which is an entirely different beast (magical realism in its purest form is only found in literary fiction, rather than genre, because of its intention to convey "serious meaning"). 

All that being said, I think A Simple Charm is one of the most romantic, lovely books I've ever done. It's the gentle story about a young man growing up in a small Indiana town who dreams about escaping its borders. He aches to be free of all its constraints, partially because he's spent his life hiding the fact that he can do things other people can't, partially because he knows he likes boys which just isn't done. Then a carnival shows up in town, and he falls head over heels for the charismatic barker, Seb. Seb has no problem with the initial idea of seducing a pretty local, but it only takes one conversation with Levi to realize he could do the right thing for once and let this innocent remain innocent. The path they take to eventually find each other isn't easy, but love never is.

This is definitely a story you can't judge by its cover. It's about innocence lost and gained, in an environment that's specifically chosen to be humble. 

Intrigued? You can read an excerpt over at Liquid Silver. Who knows? You might even be tempted enough to buy it.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To Get Over Hump Day

For whatever reason, I'm really dragging this week. If you are, too, here's two distractions to help you get through it.

First, go read about the first male/male couple chosen to share the first ceremonial kiss for the homecoming of USS San Francisco.

Then, watch this video someone made, putting all of Severus Snape's scenes in chronological order. He's a tragic figure already. This just nails that point home.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Keep going

I'm forcing myself to remember this today. Last night at the gym, I added more weight to half the machines I use because they were getting too easy. This morning, I am more sore than I have been in weeks, with a killer headache to top it all off. My first instinct is to skip going to the gym tonight, even though it's a cardio night, but rather than make that decision now, I'm going to plow through the day and evaluate how I feel after dinner.

Right now, however, I'm going to get coffee, ibuprofen, and put this on a sticky on the corner of my laptop so I don't forget it today.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The amazing Annie Lennox

All my Hozier love last week was validated last night at the Grammys. Of course, that's mostly due to his getting paired with the astounding Annie Lennox.

If you haven't seen the video, you must. I have loved her since the 80s when the Eurythmics pretty much defined my high school self. Her "Why" remains one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. She is still stunning, mesmerizing, and absolutely astounding on stage.

And the song that started my lifelong love affair, from a performance in Japan on tour in 1987...


Friday, February 6, 2015

No Limits

Friday is my day in my online wellness group, where I'm responsible for posting a topic for discussion. This is what I picked for today, for a lot of reasons. I'm not really reaching a plateau yet on my plan to get healthier in 2015, but this doesn't apply to just fitness. This applies to all areas of our lives. The notion of limits holds too many people back, whether it comes to what they think they can achieve professionally or personally.

So this is my reminder to all of you out there, when it feels like you're running in place and nothing is changing, that it's a struggle all of us face. The trick is to figure out what you need to get past them. Shake up your life. Make a change, even if it's a small one.

And have a terrific weekend. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Obsessed with Hozier

I am thoroughly, utterly obsessed with Hozier. Seriously. And it's not because of "Take Me to Church," which, while amazing, is not my favorite song from his album.

It's because of "Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene."


This is his performance from last October when he was on SNL. Forget the fact that the man is so gorgeous. Or has bedroom eyes. Or gives great interview. This song is just stunning to listen to.

The man is a poet. Just read the lyrics to his songs. You can't deny it. And this one is in iambic pentameter as well. And has smart references. Not one person I've talked to about this song realized what "small death" referred to. He's absolutely not afraid to couch his social criticisms in beautiful words and sex imagery.

I've even gone so far to start learning all the songs on my guitar. My guitar teacher is getting a little tired of me talking about Hozier all the time, though at least I got him to admit how talented he is.

So...yeah. A little obsessed. He cites James Joyce as an inspiration for his music. What's not great about that?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Amber Heat Sale

Today through Friday, all titles in the Amber Heat imprint at Amber Allure are 50% off! I have a couple titles there, including my vampire romance Ruby Red Rebels, but there are over 500 titles to choose from.

Check it out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No Life for Pi

I had another DNF over the weekend. Life of Pi. It's one of those books that I always knew I should read but was never intrigued enough by what I saw to bother. I never saw the movie, either. I just couldn't muster enough desire to do it. But last week, I pulled the book off my TBR shelf and decided to give it a go. I lasted about fifty pages, which tends to be my marker on where I decide to continue on or give up on a book if I'm on the fence about it.

It's not that it was bad. It was interesting for the first few chapters. But as soon as he started in on the religious chapters, analyzing and exploring the various types and absorbing them into his life, I got bored. Very bored. Having long discussions about spirituality and religion is a major turn-off for me. It's not that I can't read about religious things - I'm currently reading Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan which has a Catholic priest as its central character - but that I don't want to be lectured or have it shoved in my face.

It's the lectures and dictating of morality that throws my hackles up. It just so happens that it occurs a lot with religious issues.

Sometimes I can overlook that kind of thing if I'm really into a character or the plot or the writing style, but I wasn't in this case. So I set it down and moved onto the next book.

Life's too short to waste on books that I don't care about.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit

On Saturday, I got to see a legend. I took my daughter, her BFF, and BFF's mom into San Francisco to see Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" at the Golden Gate Theatre. The legend wasn't the play. It was Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati.

It. Was. Amazing.

It's not the first time I've seen the play. My college did it when I was a freshman, when I was still too chicken to try out for anything. It's one of those comedies that has survived its times. Too often, comedies are very topical and rely too heavily on contemporary references to have the same impact once those references are memories or forgotten. "Blithe Spirit" isn't like that. It's situational comedy that gets its laughs through witticism and cleverness, with just enough farcical elements thrown in to break it up.

This was a gorgeous production, from the sets to the sound to the performances. Charles Edwards played the lead. For those who watch "Downton Abbey," he was Edith's married lover, the one who fathered her daughter. Excellent casting. He's the pin that holds it all together, because although Angela Lansbury got top billing, the play is really about Edwards getting haunted by his dead wife, while he's living with his current wife.

But that doesn't stop Lansbury from stealing her scenes. She's the medium that puts the whole thing into motion, and it's a very physically demanding role. Lansbury didn't miss a beat, and what's even more astounding, is the fact that she's 89. Let me repeat that. She's 89. And we saw a matinee. She turned around and did another performance three hours after we saw her. Then again on Sunday.

She's 89, people. She puts a lot of us to shame.

Unsurprisingly, she wasn't doing signings at the stage door, but I did buy a T-shirt. Knowing me and my inability to throw any T-shirt away, I'll still be wearing it in twenty years. And every time I do, it'll be a reminder of this remarkable performance. Maybe I can use some of that inspiration to keep me going, too.