Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oscar Predictions 2018

I've been on the road for much of the last month, so I'm posting this year's predictions close to the wire. However, if you're heading to an Academy Awards party tonight and filling out your ballot at the last minute, you could do worse that cribbing my picks, as I finish near or at the top of my pool each year. The trick is knowing the contenders in the so-called little categories such as Live Action Short or Documentary Feature. Get a few of these, or the sound categories, and you'll be leaps and bounds ahead of those who focused only on the acting categories when making their predictions.

My picks for tonight are in bold. Where I've gone against the consensus of those who do this professionally--say, the gurus at Variety or well-known film critics--I've made a note. Good luck, movie lovers! (And be sure to count the number of Moonlight vs. La La Land envelope jokes tonight. My prediction is four.)

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

- The heavy favorite here is Gary Oldman. I’m taking a serious flyer on Timothée Chalamet. If you want the safer pick, go Oldman.

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

- As close to a lock in an acting category as you’ll get tonight. 

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

- My heart says Laurie Metcalf, because she is AWESOME. My head says Allison Janney. Want victory in your pool? Janney's your more likely winner.

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

- Closest thing to a lock you'll see all night.

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

- While I adored the look of Victoria & Abdul, hello…PHANTOM THREAD? About a costume designer? It’ll win this category.

Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

- Take your pick between Faces Places and The Last Men in Aleppo. I’m going Faces Places.

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

- Dunkirk is probably the favorite here, but I’m going to pick Baby Driver.

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

- Darkest Hour, because everyone who knows makeup and hairstyling says so. Also, though Gary Oldman manages to transform into a different person with each new role, the physical transformation here is extraordinary.

Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

- Because I love Alexandre Desplat’s work and frequently listen to his soundtrack for Girl With a Pearl Earring while I write, I’m going Desplat and The Shape of Water.

“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Mystery Of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
“Remember Me,” Coco
“Stand Up For Something,” Marshall
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

- This category is a tough choice between Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water. I’m choosing the latter, but if Blade Runner 2049 has your heart, run with it.

Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O'Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

- A heads up: Baby Driver could win either or both of Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. It’s a tight race (so to speak) between Baby Driver and Dunkirk. I’m going Dunkirk.

Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

- Not feeling it for the apes? Then go Blade Runner 2049. These two are in a tight race.

Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly's Game

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

- I’d love to see either Get Out or The Big Sick, but I predict the award goes to Get Out.

Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

- The top contenders here are The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, Get Out, and Call Me By Your Name, probably in that order. Three Billboards has received a huge push throughout awards season, while The Shape of Water appears to be the favorite. However, I’m going out on a limb with Get Out.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Royal Scandals Family Tree

Calling for reader expertise! Many of you have asked for a Barrali/Cornaro family tree. I'd love to put one on my website, but am having trouble designing one that a) works for the web/is easy to read; and b) works for a complex family of fictional people. 

Many of the sites I see require birthdates, death dates, etc., which I don't want.

If you know of a good website or other resource where I can input names and design a family tree that would work for the Royal Scandals series, let me know. I'll get it onto ASAP.

Thanks in advance!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Royal Engagement & A Royal Giveaway

Who says I write fiction?

This week's big royalty news was the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. If you missed it, check out The Royal Family's Official Facebook Page for more details, or watch the video of their first joint interview here:

How much fun is this couple? I love to see a partnership between equals, and these two are both passionate about philanthropy, love travel, and have a knack for seeing opportunities to make the world a better place.

To celebrate the news, I'm giving away the last two uncorrected proof copies of my latest Royal Scandals novel, One Man's Princess, which tells the story of royal daughter Lina Cornaro and the man she loves, Ivo Cornaro. Ivo is biracial (Nigerian/Italian) and a Formula One driver...not exactly the image that pop culture portrays as marrying into a royal family. I loved telling their story and I hope you've enjoyed reading it.

I'll draw two names from random from subscribers to my email newsletter list. If you're on it, check your email to see if you've won. If not...I do these giveaways from time to time, so if you'd like your name in the hat, join the list! All subscribers receive a free copy of the novella A Royal Scandals Wedding (so really, everyone's a winner.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Man's Princess

A new Royal Scandals novel is officially on sale! I'm excited to know you'll finally read about Lina Cornaro, the illegitimate daughter of Sarcaccia's popular King Carlo. You'll get to know Lina, a lingerie designer who's on the cusp of great success when her connection to the royal family becomes public, and the man who once broke her heart, fiery Formula One driver Ivo Zanardi.

When she unwillingly finds herself the object of public scrutiny, Lina isn't sure where to turn. When Ivo appears to save her from the paparazzi, she has little choice but to escape on his arm. But can she trust the man who once treated her so coldly? Here's a quick excerpt to whet your appetite:

"I don't usually appreciate the risks you take, but I'm grateful for that one," Lina said.

She slipped her hand into the side pocket of her handbag and withdrew a set of keys. When she raised her head, a drop of rain landed below her right eye, clinging to her skin rather than rolling away.

Ivo brushed away the raindrop, Stilled as her lips parted and her breath warmed the damp hairs where his wrist extended from the cuff of his jacket.
In that instant, he knew he couldn't let her go. 
The book is set in New York City, Milan, Rome, and (of course!) in Sarcaccia. I can't wait for you to join Lina and Ivo on their adventure.

As always, a huge thanks to all of you who've written to tell me how much you've anticipated their book. And a huge thank you in advance to those of you who share the book with friends and family, and who leave reviews on your favorite retail sites and on Goodreads. Word of mouth has made this series successful and I truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Twitter: Royal Following

Read royal romance? You may enjoy following royal news via Twitter. A few of the accounts I watch (all research, of course.):

@MajestyMagazine - Twitter account for Joe Little of Majesty Magazine. Great place to start your royal-watching addiction. Royal wedding/birth/news anywhere in the world? This has you covered.

@RoyalCentral - Daily news on state visits, charity events, and other royal engagements. Focuses primarily on British and other European royalty. Lots of interesting posts if you're fascinated by the day-to-day activities of royal family members.

@RoyalCorrespond - Account of, which provides daily updates on European, Asian, and Middle Eastern royal families. Recent updates have included video tours of royal homes, wedding news, and official speeches from kings and queens around the world.

@byEmilyAndrews - Emily Andrews is the royal correspondent for The Sun newspaper in London. The focus is on British royalty, but covers others when notable events occur.

@VictoriaArbiter - Royal commentator for CNN, CTVNews, and other outlets.

@BBCPeterHunt - BBC royal correspondent.

@RoyalReporter - Account of Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Daily Express in London.

@QueenVicMirror - Victoria Murphy, Daily Mirror's royal correspondent.

@RoyalHistorian - Official Twitter account of Carolyn Harris, who writes about the history of royal families. Her most recent book is Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting.

@Luxarazzi - Focus on Luxembourg and Lichtenstein, but other news pops up here, as well.

@RoyalPortraits - Follows the Dutch royal family.

@RoyalEurope - Photography agency specializing in coverage of royal families.

@RoyalFocus1 - Twitter of Rex Shutterstock, who's photographed the British Royal family for over 25 years.

@ChrisJack_Getty - Great images of British royal engagements.

If you're interested in historic royal properties--or you anticipate touring a few--check out @HRP_Palaces (an independent charity that looks after many royal properties in the UK), @HeverCastle (childhood home of Anne Boleyn), @PaleisAmsterdam, @LeedsCastleUK, @CVersailles, @DaughtersofHI (Hawai'i) @PalaisMonaco, @MuseeMalmaison, and @ChatsworthHouse.

For royal fashion, there's @HeavenQRF (following European fashions), @LetiziasCloset (following Spain's queen), @CourtJeweller, @RoyalTiaras, @HRHDuchessKate, @KateMiddStyle, @TheDuchessStyle, and one of my favorites, @WhatKateWore.

Don't overlook the official accounts of the royal families themselves. Great ones to follow include @RoyalFamily (UK), @QueenRaina (Queen Raina of Jordan), @Kronprinsparet (Norway), @CourGrandDucale (Luxembourg), @ClarenceHouse (Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall), @KensingtonRoyal (Prince William, Prince Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge), @TheDukeofYork (Prince Andrew), @HHShkMohd (Sheik Mohammed of Dubai), and @CrownPrincessMM (HRH Mette-Marit of Norway).

Of course, I can't help adding my all-time favorite royal account:

@Queen_UK - 100% fake and 100% hilarious if you enjoy royal satire. An example of a recent tweet:

This list is by no means comprehensive--a click on any of these accounts will take you to Twitter feeds for royal fashion blogs, photographers who specialize in capturing royalty at work and play, and historians who research royal families--but if you're searching for royalty news in the English language, this list is the entry to a great rabbit hole. Enjoy!