The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Monday, September 21, 2009

So What's so Quirky About Tara Truesdale?

Tara Truesdale started writing romance at the tender age of ten when her favorite soap opera heroine, one half of arguably the best couple daytime television ever created, was killed off the show - with no happily ever after. The nerve! What started as a way to keep a beloved soap opera couple alive and well sans television, eventually turned into Tara crafting tender love stories centered around characters brought to life from her own imagination.

When looking for heroic inspiration, Tara counts Han Solo/Indiana Jones, Magnum PI, Anthony DiNozzo (see above), and Alex P. Keaton among her personal favorites.

Here are some Quirky Facts about Tara
  • Is a serious tea drinker - hot, iced - doesn't matter. Would drink tea over coffee any day of the week.
  • Is terrified of scary movies, especially since her brother and his friends used to force her to watch them as kids. Summering at the beach and being tied to a chair while watching "Jaws" is not as much fun as you might think!
  • Her brother recently got hired as a coach for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Go Bucs!
  • Had several cats growing up, each with a curious moniker: Precious Purr, Bert and Ernie, Obi Wan Kenobi, Magnum PI, and Flipper.
  • Was hit in the head by a metal discus during track practice her sophomore year of high school and has the scars to prove it. Now you know what happened to her. Just kidding.
  • Was the managing editor of her college daily newspaper that had a circulation of 20,000.
  • Was a reporter covering the daily happenings in the towns of Coventry and Bolton, CT and the Route 6 Highway Project for a time.
  • Can quote Star Wars movies on demand. Major fan! May the Force be with you - always.
  • Has been a proud member of the Deidre Hall Fan Club since she was 11 years old. She's even met Deidre - great lady. :)
  • Favorite authors: Jane Austen, Susan Wiggs and Kristin Hannah
  • Favorite places: Bretton Point, Rhode Island and London, England

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's So Quirky About Victoria Morgan?

Ever wonder why we're called The Quirky Ladies? My son Cristian couldn't pronounce the word "critique," so one day he asked me if I was meeting with "those quirky ladies." Which I thought was totally hilarious, since we are, indeed, quirky in our own special way! To celebrate our inner quirkiness, I will be posting a list of our quirks each Monday for the next 6 weeks. To get us started, may I introduce, Victoria Morgan...

What's So Quirky About Victoria Morgan?
  • Amateur artist, specializing in watercolor
  • Was an emergency Medical Technician for 3 years
  • Has either owned or cared for 2 dogs, 3 cats, a squirrel, a raccoon, birds, countless gerbils and hamsters
  • Favorite author--Jodi Picoult
  • When in college, reviewed movies for the Vermont Cynic
  • Had an emergency appendectomy while on vacation in Cape Cod
  • Temped for five years to have the freedom to quit job and travel when funds permitted
  • Met Hugh Jackman
  • Is terrified of roller coasters
  • Favorite drink--Cosmopolitan of course!
  • Took a drawing course with live nudes for models
  • Hiked up Mt. Washington, twice
  • Favorite artist--Winslow Homer
Victoria has a photo of herself and Hugh framed and located in a highly visible spot in her living room. Show-off!!!! 

Do you have any fun quirks? Let us know!

Quaking With Quirkiness, 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Books to Movies

This summer, I was asked to be a guest reviewer on the blog Penelope's Romance Reviews, authored by a friend of mine.  Penelope gives her not so humble opinions on romance novels, and her sassy colloquial voice is always a fun read and a great site from which to choose your next romance read. 

In the wake of its recent movie release, I chose to review Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which is a favorite of mine.  I wanted to give a plug for the book just in case the movie took a wrong turn as so many books-to-movie scenarios do.  This got me thinking about how many books, when transformed to the screen, are unrecognizable from their print counterpart.  Rather than rant about this Hollywood idiocy, I chose to save it for another blog --- this blog.  A blog entitled "Why the hell does Hollywood buy the rights to a NYT bestseller only to chuck plot and character that clearly worked, hence its bestseller status, and transform it into a water-down, pathetic version of its former self, the title being the only connection to the original."  What is up with that?  To borrow an expression from Penelope, Jesus H. Cranola.

While I understand some scenarios in a book book can't translate to screen, it still does not explain many of the changes made when bringing a novel to life on screen.  Do character's professions really need to be altered? What about the essence of what makes a reader fall in love with a character? Does that have to be stripped?  Or a book's ending changed?

For a book to make the NYT bestseller list, usually over a million copies have been sold. For them to continue to make it, millions more have to fly off the shelves.  Isn't this testament to the story being good?  Solid?  Loved?  How about lucrative?  So why does Hollywood tamper with a product that's already proven to make money and has garnered millions of fans? Is it due to Hollywood's arrogance or literary ignorance?  I worry it's to make people like me crazy.  So crazy we have blog about it.

I'm an avid fan of Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic series, so needless to say, I was excited to see the movie.  Well, I'm still regretting it.  I don't understand why the hero, Luke Brandon, who owns a successful public relations firm in the book series, works for someone else and is in financial journalism in the movie version.  That was a necessary change? But more importantly, what did they do to our beloved Becky Bloomwood?  A plucky, irresistible heroine became a daft, embarrassing idiot.  In the movie, Becky is wearing an outfit that mirrors the waitress staff, so she is ordered to serve the guests -- and without protest, she does?  Don't remember this in the book, thank you very much.  I could understand her serving the guests if it's purpose was to provide an ingenious way to gain entrance to an event where otherwise she could not.  That shows brains and bravado. In the movie, I felt the scene was added to....  I don't know, I'm still working that one out.  Oh, right.  It was to make her look like more of an idiot than they already made her out to be.  

And why delete the scene where Becky confronts Luke on a t.v. morning show, accusing one of Luke's client's of cheating his patrons?  It was a pivotal scene in the book, showing Becky's brains and courage.  Oh, but I forget, Luke doesn't have clients in the movie because he's working in financial journalism so he could interview Becky for a job and make her look stupid....  Right.  And how does Becky being dumb and daft explain why millions of fans follow her character through a four book series?

I heard the stunning ending to Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper has been changed from the book's.  I haven't seen the movie, so I'll refrain from commenting too much, but this change alone makes me wary, for it alters the whole meaning of the original story.

Some movies do succeed in making the transition from book to film.  Both the Colin Firth and Kiera Knightley's versions of Pride and Prejudice come to mind.  I also recently enjoyed Julia & Julie, which combines two publications, My Life in France by Julia Child and Julie Powell's Julie & Julia.  These movies culled the best out of the books without altering plot or characters.  And of course, Pride and Prejudice had Colin Firth while Julie & Julia had Meryl Streep.

I guess we readers have to accept that once an author sells the film rights to their work, the story we know and love in print is not necessarily the story brought to screen.  If I keep reminding myself of that, perhaps one day I'll stop lamenting Becky Bloomwood's sad screen debut.  After all, she's still a plucky, irresistible literary heroine with a huge fan base of readers following her.  

I hear they're making a film version of Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.  Oh dear, I so loved that book and now I have to worry.....  

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Kimberly B.
Congratulations Kimberly on winning a copy of this fantastic book! Please email me at with your mailing contact information so you can receive your copy. Thanks to everyone for stopping by to hear Leanna's ghost stories.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Today, the Quirkies are pleased to welcome Leanna Renee Hieber on the blog. She is the fantastically talented author of THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER. She joins us from her Haunted London Blog Tour celebrating the book's release in late August. Read on, and one lucky commenter will win a copy of this wonderful book. Leanna, glad to have you here. Without further ado--


The Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour day 10!

From the back cover:
What fortune awaited sweet, timid, Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria's Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent--and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death...

Thanks, Quirky Ladies, for letting me haunt your blog today!

For those of you just joining us, the purpose of this Haunted tour is to celebrate the release of my Gothic Victorian Fantasy Romance debut, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. This Tour will introduce you to some of the real, documented London haunts who "ghost-star" in my book. When Professor Alexi Rychman and his Guard of spectral police make their rounds, it is to any number of London phantasms. Since these characters are familiar to The Guard, I don't get to tell their full story in the book, but here on the tour I can give them their due. Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a signed copy of the novel, first in the Strangely Beautiful series! (Mailing to U.S. only please)

Today we meet: The ghostly Percy(s) of London!!

My ghost-like but all-too-human heroine, Miss Percy Parker, isn't the only ghostly Percy in London. There are two well known Percy spirits, the first known as Percy the Poltergeist. Now Percy is generally thought to be a male name, and indeed, Percy is not my heroine's full name, it's used as her comfortable nickname. Her full name is something the hero discovers later in the book.

But it was reading about these spirits that solidified "Percy" as Miss Parker's nickname. Oddly enough, though these two spirits haunted different parts of the city, both Percys haunt buildings named Burlington...

The Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, W1

The Burlington Arcade, built in 1819 is a roofed, arched passage full of shops. It was supposedly built to deter an onslaught of detritus tossed from pedestrians over the wall of Lord George Cavendish's home, Burlington House. The arcade was plagued by a particular poltergeist. Items in a leather shop were lifted from shelves in the dead of night and arranged in neat patterns on the floor. Scotland Yard ruled out human activity and remained perplexed. The staff posted a sign, having affectionately named the spirit Percy: "Poltergeists Gladly Served without Fear or Favor." This actually seemed to quiet Percy's antics, the spirit hasn't been active since.

Powell's Walk, Chiswick, West London, W4

The second Percy haunts the Old Burlington, a beautiful Elizabethan era building that was once an inn of great renown where infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was said to have stayed. One of the harmless resident spectres is dressed is dark clothing and a swirling cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. Residents fondly call him Percy. He stares out from windows, watching, cutting an eerie figure. Funnily enough, this image cemented the picture of my hero Alexi as we meet him en route to leading an exorcism.

Here's how my Percy arrives to Athens Academy, looking quite the ghost. From The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker:

A young woman, the likes of which London had never seen, alighted from a carriage near Bloomsbury and gazed at the grand facade before her. Breathless at the sight of the Romanesque fortress of red sandstone that was to be her new home, she ascended the front steps beneath the portico with a carpetbag in tow. One slender, gloved hand heaved open the great arched door; Miss Percy Parker paused then stepped inside.

The foyer of Athens Academy held a few milling young men, papers and books in hand. Their jaws fell in turn. In the diffuse light cast by a single chandelier they saw a petite, unmistakable apparition. Dark blue glasses kept eerie, ice blue eyes from unsettling those stares that she nervously returned. Much of her snow-white skin was hidden from view by a scarf draped around her head and bosom, but only a mask could have hidden the ghostly pallor of her fine-featured face.

The sudden tinkling of a chandelier crystal broke the thick silence. Percy's gaze flickered up to behold a young man, equally pale as herself, floating amid the gas flames. The transparent spirit wafted down to meet her. It was clear from the stares of the young men of solid mass, rudely focused on Percy, that they were oblivious. She herself acknowledged the ghost only subtly, lest she be thought distracted as well as deformed.

The spectral schoolboy spoke in a soft Scots brogue. "You'd best give up your pretensions, miss. You'll never be one of them. And you're certainly not one of us. What the devil are you?"

Percy met the spirit's hollow gaze. Behind her glasses, her opalescent eyes flared with defiance as she asked the room, her voice sweet and timid, "Could someone be so kind as to direct me to the headmistress's office?" A gaping, living individual pointed to a hallway on her left, so she offered him a "Thank you, sir," and fled, eager to escape all curiosity. The only sounds that followed were the rustling layers of her sky blue taffeta skirts and the echo of her booted footfalls down the hall.

--(End of Excerpt)

I'm indebted to Richard Jones, founder of the fabulous Discovery Walks of London and author of the fantastic compendium "Haunted London" and "Walking Haunted London" published by Barnes&Noble Books, a main resource for my research. Visit him at

Come visit me at to find out more about The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and follow along the rest of the Haunted London Blog tour! While you're on my website, check out my contest! I hope you'll love the book as much as I loved writing it! Be sure to comment to be entered to win a signed copy!



Thanks, Leanna, for visiting with us today. To win a copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, leave Leanna a comment. A winner will be chosen from among the commenters after Friday, September 4th. Good luck!!!