Ain’t love ‘Grand’?

As it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about the grand gestures that have been performed by lovers over the years from fictional characters like Romeo and Juliet, to the dominant forces in today’s celebrity culture, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.  Okay, so most of us aren’t prepared to die for our beloved or shell out on hiring a baseball park and buying a 1.5 million dollar engagement ring… but every day there are people out there trying to impress the person who they love (or who they want to love them) with grand gestures. 

So, my Wednesday Wondering for this week is to ask what is the best, or most ill-fated, thing you have done to try to impress a loved one or that someone has done to try to impress you?  Or maybe you’ve read something in a book or seen it in a film and it’s made you swoon or cringe?  Maybe you’ve written about something in your own novel that you think is the ultimate grand gesture or something that went horribly wrong for one of your characters?  Either way, we’d love to hear about it and here’s what the Write Romantics had to say:


As it’s another of my Wednesday Wonderings again, I’ll start this off.  I think I chose this question because I do love a Rom Com and, more often than not, they are filled with grand gestures and I sometimes come away from watching them and think ‘why isn’t my life like that?’  Although, reflecting on it, having a husband who puts his own dreams and ambitions to one side to make sure that he can provide for and be there for his family, is a pretty grand gesture – even though it won’t make the news or even the plot of the next movie I go to see!   I still love the more dramatic grand gestures though and what Colin Firth’s character does in Love Actually is probably my favourite of all.  I have read Julie’s second novel, Getting Over Gary, recently and Alex’s debut novel, Beltane.  Both books have wonderful, but very different, grand gestures in them and I hope you are all lucky enough to read them soon.


I’ve talked on the blog before about the guy who chased me down the street and asked me out and also the boyfriend who ran down 3 flights of stairs at university at one minute past midnight on Valentines Day morning wearing nothing but heart-covered boxing shorts and clutching a bottle of wine so I won’t repeat myself. They’re the only grand gestures that I can think of that someone has done for me. I don’t think I’ve done any for anyone else which is a bit rubbish of me.

So I’m going to turn to fiction and pick from my favourite romcoms. I absolutely adore Sweet Home Alabama starring Reece Witherspoon. Not seen it? You really must! It’s full of big romantic gestures from both Reece’s and Josh Lucas’s characters (even if they don’t quite realise it at the time) but I don’t want to give spoilers in case anyone hasn’t seen it. I also adore more recent film The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Again, I don’t want to give a spoiler but I absolutely adore the gesture at the end from her and then him. Such a feel-good film. Oh, and another Reece Witherspoon film I love is Just Like Heaven which also stars Mark Ruffalo. Wonderful romantic ending with a big gesture on his part with the departure and the roof garden. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. Again, I don’t want to give away spoilers. Aw, feeling all romantic now. Think I need a romcom fest!


This is my own grand gesture. For my husband’s fortieth birthday I bought him a cow. Well, so what you may think, you are married to a farmer after all. So to rewind to the time I first met my husband. As a townie I was in for a shock, suddenly getting up close and personal with cows. At the time he had a pet cow called Madonna. She was a red and white Holstein Friesian and pretty soon she and I had a good friendship going. I would always carry some cow nuts in my pocket for her and she always made a beeline for me! Sadly she passed away and that lovely red and white colour was missing from the herd. As the time came to decide on a special birthday present I thought what about a new red and white cow. As if it was meant to be there was a market sale the day before his birthday and in it quite a few red and white cows.

Now remember I am a townie, I had never bid for anything in my life, much less a living breathing animal. On the day of the sale I watched the first cow go for so much money I thought I’d never get one, but in came the one I’d decided to bid for. Nerves kicked in at this point, especially when someone started a bidding war, but amazingly I got her. Not only that I also got a three month old red and white calf whose makings were almost the same as the old Madonna and she too became known as Madonna.

This summer my husband will have another big birthday, but I am not going shopping for cows this time!



Once I had what I thought was the ultimate romantic gesture happen to me, the boyfriend of my early twenties got in contact with me after 25 years to ask how I was and if I was single, and if so would I like to meet up?

Well, I was sooooo flattered! As it happened I was single, but he had major problems (see last week’s post!) He gambled a bit too much (this could be the winning ticket – he’d argue), he’d insist on going everywhere with me – insecurity I know but a bit too claustrophobic. And since I could still hear that bossy tone when speaking to him after 25 years my answer was no, I didn’t want to meet up.

But there was a sequel to this story that rather bought me down a peg or two. Not long after that phone call I met Andy, just the Beta chap I wanted, and we’ve been married 5 happy years. I told him about that phone call when we were talking about romantic gestures fully expecting him to agree that this was the ultimate and could never be bettered. But he didn’t.

‘Don’t you think that trumps all romantic notions?’ I asked.
‘Not necessarily,’ he answered ‘going through your old address book is one of those things you do when you separate isn’t it?’

I had to agree. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all!


One of the saddest grand gestures I ever witnessed was when I worked for a small airline. We did a special promotion for Valentine’s day where you could fly your true love out to Jersey for the day, have a trip on a boat with a five course meal, champagne and chocolates, and fly back after a perfect day. Jersey was fogbound on the day and we flew around and around, hoping it would clear but in the end diverted to Southampton, where the passengers sat in the Southampton lounge for four hours. By the time the fog cleared it was too late for the boat trip as the tide had turned and we ended up flying back to where we started. I could have cried, and I was just cabin staff, so heaven knows how the passengers felt.


One Valentine’s Day my ex was short of money so instead of buying me a present he wrote me a poem.  He’d never written a poem before and is quite badly dyslexic so, for him, that was quite a grand gesture.  As for my writing, there’s a pretty grand gesture in Beltane but telling you about it would definitely be a spoiler so I’m going to say no more…

Helen R

I was watching the film, Tangled, a few weeks ago with my girls. When it got towards the ending I thought about how perfect the moment was to illustrate a relationship between a hero and a heroine where each would do absolutely anything for the other.

The heroine, Rapunzel, has magic hair and when the hero,  Ryder, is injured and dying, the only way to save him is to use her hair to heal him but if she does this she must promise to stay with Gothel forever in the high tower rather than living happily ever after with her man. At the last minute, before she can use her magic powers to save him, he chops off her hair causing it to turn dark and the magic is lost.

Both Ryder and Rapunzel were willing to give up their life in some way for the other – I swoon when I think of this moment. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the film…it all works out in the end!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our experiences with Grand Gestures and we can’t wait to hear yours.



The Wednesday Wondering – Walking in Whose Shoes?

Another great Wednesday Wondering from our lovely Write Romantic in Australia, Helen R:

 If you could walk in the shoes of one author for the day, who would it be and why?

Ooh, how exciting! Would our Write Romantics go for someone with a wad of earnings, living a celebrity lifestyle? Would they select the person who first inspired them to read? Perhaps someone who develops brilliant characters or is the master of the twist in the tail to explore how they do this (and hope some of the magic rubs off!) Let’s see, shall we …


I would want to turn back time a bit and step into the shoes of someone I’ve not mentioned on this blog before but who was a prolific writer whose books I have loved … the wonderful Catherine Cookson. My mum used to read her novels and was a great fan and I borrowed most of them. I would love to understand how she wrote so many, how she kept them all different and how many ideas she still had ready to be formed into books. I’d also be fascinated to see her research. I’m no historian but I believe her books are historically accurate and she didn’t just write from within her own lifetime so she must have been quite a research demon … in the days before you could Google it! RIP Catherine J



I would love to walk in the shoes of Judy Blume. Looking back I realise just how much her books helped me in my teenage years. They helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone in the everyday challenges that I faced, from adolescence and discovering boys to friendships and family relationships. 

I would love to witness Judy Blume’s research journey from developing a strong idea and themes for a book, to the development of characters, and how she got the dialogue of those characters just right. She is an amazing, strong writer and I am also curious about how she coped and how she defended her writing when she faced hate mail and arguments that her books should be banned from school and library shelves.

Judy Blume is an incredible, strong writer who has stood up for what she believed was right. I will always admire her honesty in her books and her willingness to discuss real issues faced by so many of us growing up.

Secretly I hope that if I was walking in Judy Blume’s shoes, then it was during the time she rented an office above a bakery…



Good question…  I would turn back the clock, bring Barbara Cartland down from the great blue yonder and be her for a day. Why? Because she gets to lounge about wearing a lot of pink whilst dictating her books to some other poor soul who then has to hit the keys on her behalf and make it all into something presentable. AND – a big ‘and’ – it looks very much to me as if she also gets to eat a lot of cake 😉



When I first read this week’s Wondering I couldn’t think of any authors that I admired who had the kind of interesting lifestyle that I’d like to experience for a day. Then I thought there is someone and he’s a screenwriter so does he qualify? So I did some Googling and discovered that he’s written comic books so he is actually an author as well. 

The person whose shoes I’d like to walk in for a day is Joss Whedon. I think he’s a genius. I loved Buffy and more recently Firefly. I don’t know anyone who can write dialogue that’s as fresh and quirky and yet realistic. He’s also good at the big concepts too. Some of them don’t work too well and he admits that and moves on and I admire that about him. I’d love the chance to experience his working life and I’m sure I’d learn a huge amount about character development and how to tell stories.



Another great question. I think it would be Stephen King, I would love to walk in his writing shoes for a day and if he didn’t want to share then I’d love to have spent the day as Jane Austen to see where her inspiration came from and to meet the original Mr Darcy although he’d have a tough time beating Colin Firth.


So, that’s what some of the Write Romantics have to say? What do you think? Is there anyone who you’d like to stalk be around for a day or swap lives with for a day? We’d love to hear about it. Please post a comment. If you’re new to the blog and don’t know how to do this, click on the heart to the right of the title and that will bring up a comments section at the end of the posting. Thanks in advance for joining in.



The Wednesday Wondering – Our Characters on the Big Screen

Another week, another Wondering! This week we return to another passion of ours – films with a fabulous (but very tough) question set by Write Romantic Jo:

Who would you like to play the main character(s) in your book if it were made into a film? OR Who would you love to see the main characters in a book you love that hasn’t yet been made into a film (or perhaps a remake if you hated the film version that has been made)?

I think this Wondering has really captured the imagination of the group as most of the Write Romantics have responded to this one and have all chosen their own books. I think it’s such a dream scenario for us all that, not only will our books be published, but they’ll be made into Hollywood blockbusters too. Well, it has to happen to someone. Why not us?!

Although the only book I’ve read is Jo’s, I loved reading everyone’s responses because I instantly got a feel for the type of characters in their books. Mind you, I had to Google a few of them because I’d never heard of them … mainly because I’m far too busy writing and my sacrifice is very little TV! I have, however, now discovered a few new hotties I didn’t know existed!!! 😉



If my book ever made it to film I would love to see Jessica Lucas play Jenna. When I saw Jessica Lucas’s photograph she felt right for the part. Her mother is white and her father is black, just like my character in the book. For Jake, I would envisage an actor such as Paul Walker with the lighter hair, the blue eyes. I could see him playing the part of a vet too, and looking ruggedly handsome as he works. I could see these characters together in a film … who knows, maybe one day. After all, we can all dream!



The main characters in Beltane are Finn, Zoe and Maeve. Zoe is new to the world of magic and has a lot to deal with in terms of coming to terms with her own gift and what’s happening around her. I think Karen Gillian (Amy Pond in Doctor Who) would be a fantastic Zoe. 

Maeve pretends to be a spiritual healer but is actually very cold and calculating. I think an actress like Lindsay Duncan would be wonderful.

Finn is a lot trickier. My friends who have read Beltane have very strong opinions on this and so far we’ve not found anyone we agree on. The person that Finn most looks like is Dan Snow. Now I’ll admit that a while ago I had a bit of thing about Dan (and watched one or two history programmes for no other reason) but I didn’t intend him to be the model for Finn. It just kind of happened. So far I’ve not been able to think of an actor who looks like Dan Snow. If anyone knows of one then let me know. I’ll be happy to check out any possible candidates! [Alex – closest I can think of is the absolutely gorgeous Paul Rudd who played Mike, Phoebe’s partner, in Friends but has been in a stack of films – Julie]



I’m not very good with names of famous people but I do know of Aiden Turner- the Irish one from Being Human, not the English one from – something else! I always imagined his face when I was writing about my gypsy boy as he looks dark and swarthy (and a little bit like he needs a good wash but I could soon have him in the shower!)



I would love to see Sigourney Weaver sporting a very British Accent to play my main character Police Officer Annie Graham in The Ghost House and of course Detective Sergeant Will Ashworth would have to be Brad Pitt or actually I have a bit of a thing going on for Kevin Bacon at the moment so either of them would be fantastic.



I massively struggled with this one because I tend to have a good idea of the basics of appearance but don’t fill in the blanks fully. I once tried to find some images to inspire me and I didn’t feel anyone quite cut it but I’ll have a go for here because, as the host of the Wednesday Wondering, I’m determined not to back out of responding to one! I will not be defeated!

I have 5 main characters in my novel, Searching for Steven. Sarah is the protagonist and is a strong woman, a hopeless romantic and slightly ditzy at times. She’d need to eat a few pies for the role but Anne Hathaway would be my first choice. Sarah has two best friends, Clare and Elise. Clare is Irish, blonde, stunning, a massive flirt, a commitment-phobe, a career woman and very straight-talking. No idea if she can do an Irish accident but the closest I can think of in looks is Charlize Theron although she is a bit old for the character (sorry, Charlize – you’re still beautiful!) Elise is a very gentle soul and loyal friend. She has auburn hair so that limited me slightly (unless we get the dye out). Not perfect but we’ll go for Amy Adams or Isla Fisher.

For the boys, I turned to Glamour Magazine’s Top 100 Sexiest Males to try and get some inspiration but it didn’t actually help! There are some very odd choices on there! Sarah has two men battling to steal her heart. First love Andy would probably be played by Matthew Goode (who I adore in Leap Year) and new friend Nick would be Patrick Dempsey (although he’s also a bit too old so may need to be tweaked in the editing suite!)  Spookily enough, they’ve both been in favourite films of mine with Amy Adams (Leap Year and Enchanted respectively) so maybe she needs to be Elise as she’s worked with them before. Or maybe not because she was their love interest in those films and if the men start fighting over Elise instead of Sarah … well, we have a completely different book!



In the book I’m writing now I definitely had in mind Laila Rouass and Edward MacLiam when I came up with my main characters. She’s just beautiful, and I do love an Irish actor…  They played Sahira and Greg in Holby City, a storyline I got tremendously involved in as it was so emotional, and sad since they didn’t end up together.  Unfortunately, when my book comes out and is made into a film  *much laughter* they won’t be able to play the actual parts unless they can play quite a bit younger. But who knows, maybe they can!



My answer would be that I would have liked Colin Firth ten years ago, around the Bridget Jones diary era, to play the hero in my book, but he has gone just a tiny bit too crinkly around the edges now – haven’t we all? Or maybe it is just me and Colin! Got a thing for Ewan McGregor at the moment after watching him in tight armour in Jack and the Giant Slayer, so I think I’ll cast him.  I’d like my heroine to be played by Holly Willoughby. Okay, I know she’s not an actress, but she’s got just the right look and sense of humour and I am sure she’d be able to turn her hand to it – after all, she’s apparently a published children’s author now too, but I have decided not to hate her too much for that!


What do you think of our choices? Would you go to see a film with this cast of characters? If you’re a writer, who would you like to have playing the main parts in your book? Whether you’re a reader or a writer (or both), are there any books not yet made into films for which you visualise certain actors? Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t think the actors for 50 Shades have been confirmed yet. If you’re read that, perhaps you have a visual of who would play Ana and Christian (have I got the names right?!)

Please join in. We’d love to hear from you.