"We're always in the
midst of a chase.

Going after a dream...

Chasing a fantasy...

And making it a
reality.

This is what I write
about.

Life is about the chase."

~ Rachelle

The Best of…

One minute, I was getting ready to meet a friend for lunch — and 45-minutes later, I was at Dog Eared Books being interviewed by Mike Sugerman on CBS! Check out the interview.

I was expecting to be a quick “sound bite” in the story, so imagine my shock. I LOVED seeing (and hearing!) Mr. Sugerman reading my book – did you catch his “It’s well-written” at the end? I’m so thrilled!

But, enough about me. :-) What do YOU think – do romance covers embarrass you and prevent you from reading them in public?

Oh, if you didn’t see the New York Times article, “Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive,” you might want to check it out, too.

Rachelle Chase and Benjamin BrattIn 2008, I unexpectedly ran into actor Benjamin Bratt (see “Unknowingly Starstruck by Benjamin Bratt” ) at L’s Caffe.

Well, it happened again last Friday night.

This time, I accidentally ran into him at 1:00 a.m. on Howard Street, where he was chatting with a producer after the opening of the movie, La Mission, in which he starred and his brother, Peter Bratt, directed. And, this time, I had an opportunity to chat and get a photo with him. :-)

 

Want to win FREE tickets to see La Mission?

Leave a comment and you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing for two free tickets!

In, La Mission, Benjamin Bratt plays Che Rivera, a man whose violent temper and alcoholism resurfaces and nearly destroys him when he finds out that the son he’s proudly and single-handedly raised after his wife’s death, is gay.

I loved this movie, for several reasons (not necessarily in the following order).

(1) To me, La Mission, is a “male journey” film. And what better way to send Che on his journey than by forcing him to deal with homosexuality – the antithesis of masculinity to a man who seems to value masculinity above all else – in someone he loves. But the harder he clings to his beliefs about masculinity, the more he loses: his son, the budding romance between him and his neighbor, Lena, his grip on his alcohol recovery, and himself. Which means he’s forced to look at himself and his actions – and make some changes if he hopes to recapture his son, his self, and his life.

(2) Che’s character. What makes Che’s character work for me is his complexity. At face value, he’s machismo personified. But underneath every outward display of machismo, his actions, body language, voice, etc. express his true feelings and the fact that he cares, oftentimes deeply, even if he can’t express what he feels or if he expresses his feelings in ways that give the impression that he could care less.

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(3) The romance. The romance between Che and Lena is great. The sexual awareness, the nervousness, and the sexual tension between them is at times sweet (remember your first date with someone you liked a lot?), at other times erotic (remember when you were super attracted to someone but tried to act normal?), and at other times sensual (remember when you made love to someone slowly, taking time to explore every inch of their body?). My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of the romance. Encore, encore!

(4) The ways of the alpha male. As a romance author who loves alpha male heroes and finds the way men interact with others intriguing, I loved the male bonding scenes because they seemed so … well … male.

For example, there’s a scene where, shortly after Che finds out his son is gay, his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, Dee, shows up at Che’s job. He asks Che if Che’s had a drink.

“Nah, I didn’t,” says Che.

“Cool.”

“That it?” Che sounds irritated and impatient.

Dee pauses, then he says. “Yeah, mother f**ker. Sh*t. I gotta work.”

Dee cares. Che cares. And they show it in that indirect and mysterious male way.

Then, there’s a scene where Che’s friends are playing basketball and he joins them for the first time since they’d pulled him off of his son, whom he was beating.

La Mission Poster

Che walks up to the friend he’d threatened to hurt if he didn’t get away from him and says, “Yo man, are we cool?”

“You know it’s all good,” says his friend.

And they do the guy-handshake-one-armed-hug-and-slap-on-the-back thing, then play ball. Apology made and accepted, in that oh-so-male way.

But it’s not just with the guys. One time, that male communication style is obvious in Che’s interaction with Lena, when she prepares to tell him how much his son needs him.

“Can I say something to you?” Lena asks.

“It’s a free country,” Che says with shrug before he looks away as if he has no interest whatsoever in what she has to say. And yet he remains on the stairs, waiting for her to speak.

Haven’t we seen similar examples of this behavior in romance novels?

(5) Latino culture. I love the fact that this movie was shot in The Mission District of San Francisco, where I live, and that Latinos from the neighborhood appeared in the film. And the fact that it was an independent film produced by those familiar with the culture, insured it did not exploit the culture. For example, gang activity was woven into the story as a facet of life, not as THE way of life of most residents. And Che’s reaction to Jes’s homosexuality seemed realistic, as opposed to the instant acceptance of a Hollywood movie.

(6) Benjamin Bratt is H.O.T. In every scene. Need I say more?

So, highly recommend this movie and have already seen it twice – and I plan to show my support by seeing it again. For, the better the movie does, the more theaters it will appear in.

Want to see it for FREE? If so, leave a comment here, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for two FREE tickets to see it at a theatre near you!

And, for more information, don’t forget to check out www.lamissionthemovie.com.

Five years ago, I was rushing out the door at my dad’s house when he stopped me.

“Rachelle, there’s something I need to tell you. Do you have a minute?” His somber look and serious tone sent my heart racing – and my mind scrambling to identify the latest family crisis.

“Sure,” I said with a tremor in my voice.

He shook his head sadly. “It’s a shame the way you look when you leave the house.”

I struggled to wipe the images of cancer-ridden loved-ones from my mind. “Huh?”

“You’re an attractive woman. You should be a clothes-horse, but instead…”

As he went on, I looked down at myself, as if for the first time. Some sort of wrinkled pea green waterproof hikingEnsemble at Dad’s pants, covered with pockets and zippers, hung from my hips like jeans worn by boys and rappers. The resemblance was unintentional, as they were men’s pants – about three sizes too big. Equally big and shapeless, was a long-sleeve, royal blue t-shirt that reached my thighs.

I put a hand to my head, readjusting the black Nike baseball cap that I’d removed from my dad’s Goodwill stack. Excluding my bangs, it completely covered my hair. Throw in the three year old glasses, the total lack of make-up, and …

He was right. I looked awful. My parents had taught my siblings and me to always leave the house looking our best, but I’d been the only one to consistently fail this lesson.

“Here, Rachelle.”

His voice, now laden with sympathy, jerked my attention to him – and the money in his outstretched hand. Heat burned my face. Humiliation flickered through my body.

Though I didn’t accept my dad’s gift, I did follow his advice. I consulted an image consultant, who showed me the basics of make-up, the colors that looked good on me, and the clothing cuts appropriate for my body. While I’d never been a fashion disaster (when I made the effort to look good, that is), I was delighted with the improvement in my appearance.

Gray JacketUntil yesterday.

As I stood in the center of Chronicle Books, flipping through Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style!, my attention once again turned to what I was wearing: Sketchers tennis shoes; big-legged black “dressy” sweat pants; tan zippered sweater from four seasons ago; a man’s XL charcoal jacket (a castoff of my bother’s); two year old glasses…

I picked up Ms. Kinsel’s book and rushed to the register. This time, I’m going to address the problem before my dad notices my relapse. And who knows? I might just share my results with you, too.

One of my dating-related New Year’s Resolutions is to work on being more “approachable” to men. Like, smiling at a guy I’m attracted to. Or initiating polite conversation with a man I think is hot.

I’m a whiz at doing these things if I’m not attracted to a guy.

Well, today, I resolved to change that.

The sun was shining. People filled the sidewalks. Conversation and laughter wafted through the air. Spring had sprung and I was feeling happy and confident, bordering on cocky. Until I saw H.I.M, standing outside one of my favorite coffee shops.

Photo of Actor Benjamin Bratt His dark brown hair, a tad too long, was combed back from his face. A neat mustache and goatee, sprinkled with a strand or two of gray, framed his sexy lips. The tip of a triangular tattoo traveled up his neck, ending near his jaw. His tall, toned body, encased in drab brown, transformed his Muni bus driver uniform into designer clothing.

He looked like no San Francisco transportation worker I’d ever seen. His bad boy image was totally at odds with his profession. And, for the first time I can remember, I experienced that “raw energy” emanating from a man that I thought only existed between the pages of the books I write.

Feeling shell shocked, I totally forgot to invoke I Am Approachable Rule #1: Smile.

As his friend held the door open for me, I thanked him, and went inside. I dropped my backpack at an available table and then joined them in line. All the while, my heart raced and my mind scrambled to come up with a witty I Am Approachable line.

Mr. Sexy ordered his coffee drink, his deep voice sending heat to my stomach.

I remained silent, dumbstruck.

When the owner handed him a paper cup overflowing with foam, he politely asked her to scoop it all off. “I’ll get it in my moustache,” he added.

My tongue became unstuck. Remembering I Am Approachable Rule #2: Say Something, I said with a chuckle, “Then you can do one of those milk commercials.” (Okay, so it was a weak opening line. But you gotta give me points for hormonal distress!)

He returned my chuckle without turning around, giving me a side glimpse of dazzling white teeth.

And then he was gone.

The conversation behind the counter invaded my hormone-induced coma.

“I would do anything to be on his bus,” said one.

“He can take me anywhere,” said another.

Feigning nonchalance, I asked, “Do you know him?”

“He’s filming Mission Street Rhapsody nearby. That’s Benjamin Bratt.”

I frowned. “Who’s Benjamin Bratt?”

At their incredulous looks, I took my latte and slunk to my table. Booting up my laptop, I Googled ‘Benjamin Bratt’ and then clicked on the link: http://www.askmen.com/men/apr00/20_benjamin_bratt.html.

My mouth dropped open.

That was Benjamin Bratt? Sandra Bullock’s love interest in Miss Congeniality? Julia Roberts (ex?)boyfriend? But, most importantly, he was the guy I had lusted after in Love in the Time of Cholera last November?

A sense of pride buzzed through me. Okay, so maybe he hadn’t noticed me. And I probably wouldn’t have said a thing, had I known who he was. But I’d inadvertently practiced my New Year’s Resolution on the Benjamin Bratt.

Confidence and cockiness returned to my chest. Mr. Bratt today. Who would be tomorrow? :-)

Until yesterday, I thought I knew what men like to see on a woman: Pretty much anything that makes us miserable. Like a wedgie-inducing thong. Or a micro-miniskirt that reveals an ass cheek with each micro-step, despite repeated attempts to pull it down. Or 3-inch stilettos with neck-breaking potential.

True, these accessories are sexy to men. But want to know what the #1 accessory is?

A book.

Yeah, I hear your skepticism. And, until yesterday, I would have been skeptical, too.

But, in yet another procrastination maneuver designed to avoid writing, I decided I needed to take a l-o-n-g walk. In the rain. So, bundled up in a shapeless sweater my grandmother probably wouldn’t wear and a scarf looped around my neck so many times that I could barely turn my head, I grabbed my eye glasses, a book, and my umbrella.

And off I went, umbrella up, FOREVER ODD in my hands, reading as I walked the streets of San Francisco.

“That must be a good book,” came a deep voice in front of me.

I looked up into the smiling face of a man walking his Pomeranian or some such faux dog. I smiled. “Yes, Dean Koontz is always a good read.”

He smiled, we made arcane small talk, and I went back to reading as I entered the crosswalk.

“Hi,” came another male voice.

I looked up. “Hi,” I said to the good-looking Latino man in front of me.

He smiled. I smiled. And, after spotting the wedding ring on his left hand, I went back to reading and walking.

“Hey,” said another guy.

I looked up and my heart did that stutter thing that I write about in books as I looked at the bad boy with the dazzling smile, wearing the hard hat. Dammnnn.

“Hi. Looks good,” I said motioning to the wall he was building, proud of the confidence in my voice, as if I knew a good wall from a bad wall.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. And you look good, too.” I said, smiling.

Surprise flitted across his face and his smile widened.

Surprise flitted through my body – I was surprised because I can rarely flirt without the help of a Long Island Ice Tea. Or two. Sometimes, it takes three.

Despite the lack of a wedding ring on his finger and the tingly thing his smile was doing to my insides, I walked away. Twenty-three years old was too young, even in this Decade of the Cougar.

But, this time, as I walked along, that tingly feeling was preventing total concentration on Koontz’s tale of a man who saw the dead.

“Wow. How do you do that?”

I looked up at the guy leaning against a wall, taking a cigarette break. “Do what?” Lust after twenty-something year olds?

He motioned to the book. “Walk and read. Don’t you stumble?”

Oh. That. “Well, occasionally I stumble. Once I walked into a street sign.”

I described the lump on my head from the metal pole, then the conversation went deep, as my stumbling became metaphoric for stumbles in life.

I won’t bore you with the remaining encounters. The point to all this is: When I’ve walked the streets in this same attire, book-less, rarely has anyone said a word to me or spared me much of a second glance. But, book in hand, suddenly half the guys I pass want to chat.

So. I’m convinced that men find books on a woman sexy. And I’m convinced that books are the new guy magnet. Imagine the possibilities of combining a book with that little black dress I wrote about months ago. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

Anyone want to borrow FOREVER ODD ?


 

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