Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Confessions of a Teen Crush – Celebrity Edition

Okay ladies (and a few gentlemen), I know most of you have a pretty big crush on Christian Grey right now, but who did you love before him? I’m talking about the pictures you cut out of Tiger Beat, the posters you hung on your bedroom wall, or the movie you saw at the theatre 12 times because none of us had VCRs yet. That’s right, it’s time for “Confessions of a First Crush – Celebrity Edition”.
So get out that crimping iron, put on those leg warmers, crank up “Jessie’s Girl”, and post a comment below telling me about your “Teen Crush”. 
As for me, I’m afraid I’ll have to sit this one out. For those of you who frequent my blog, you already know my first novel, Hollywood Ending - the story of a broken hearted co-ed who sends an impulsive letter to the 80s hottest heartthrob - was loosely based on my own true story. Obviously, I can’t reveal my teen crush without also giving away the identity of the actor who inspired the main character.
So instead I ask you, if you could have had an adventure with the teen idol of your choice, who would it have been?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Fifty Shades Fantasy Comes True (Fiction/An Interview with Christian Grey)

Ever since I finished reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I’ve had an overwhelming desire to re-enact one of my favorite scenes. Before your mind heads too far into the gutter - or perhaps a certain red room - the scene I’m referring to is the one where Ana interviews Christian Grey. (What can I say? I’m a writer.)

Unlike Miss Steele, however, I don’t have a tenacious best friend who can arrange an interview with Seattle’s hottest “mega-industrialist tycoon” only to fall ill and send me as a last minute replacement. (Which is a shame because, as you know *wink*, that is the only thing standing between me and my dream assignment.)

So I'm taking a cue from Ms. E.L. James herself and posting a little “fan fiction” of my own as I head to Grey House to interview none other than the CEO of Grey Enterprise Holdings himself, @ChristianTGrey. (Huge thanks to Mr. Grey!) But that’s not all. Just like Miss Steele, I'm interviewing Mr. Grey with questions provided by someone other than myself. For the past month blog readers have been posting questions in the comments section below and I have used them to compile my list for the interview. (FYI, I viewed the questions, but did not publish them for everyone else to see...more suspense that way! Also, over a hundred questions were "submitted", so I apologize in advance for not being able to ask them all.)

Update: Details on the "Fifty Shades" packages available at the Heathman Hotel, including the "Inner Goddess" and the "Charlie Tango", can now be found at the end of this post in the Epilogue.

“My Interview with Christian Grey”

June 25, 2012


I couldn’t rent an Audi at Sea-Tac.  
I shouldn’t have been surprised really. The odds that an airport car rental company would have luxury sports cars available had to be pretty slim. Instead I settled for a Prius and while it is a far cry from an R8, it handles well as I pull onto the rain soaked highway for the drive to Grey House, the global headquarters of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. The company’s CEO, a self-made billionaire at only 27 years of age, has granted me an interview and I have spent the past month soliciting questions from my blog readers. Normally I wouldn’t fly across the country to interview a subject, but to my knowledge Christian Grey has only given interviews on two other occasions: to the student newspaper at Washington State and to financial journalist BG Willis.  Besides, if he’s half as handsome as he looks in photos, the four hour flight will have been well worth it.
It’s still raining when I park the car, which seems only fitting given Seattle’s reputation, and I struggle to keep dry under the flimsy umbrella I purchased at the airport gift shop. As I wait to cross the street I notice an enormous puddle has formed at the intersection. I’m so busy contemplating how best to maneuver around it that I don’t see the approaching van until it’s too late to avoid being drenched. Squeezing my eyes closed, I brace myself for the inevitable tidal wave but it never arrives. When I open my eyes I am disoriented, but also dry...and standing a good five feet from the curb. What the?
“Are you lost?” someone asks as if reading my confused mind.
I don’t answer at first, still trying to reconcile what has happened. “Maybe,” I finally say, turning to face the man standing next to me. He is impossibly handsome with the most perfect, albeit ghostly pale, skin I’ve ever seen. His hair is the same dark copper as the man I’m about to interview, but his eyes are what truly stand out as they are the most unusual shade of gold. I catch myself staring and quickly shift my gaze to the spot near the curb where I could have sworn I’d been standing just a minute ago.
“Was I...I mean, did I...” I stop talking, unsure how to ask such a ridiculous question. You are losing it, Walker.
The stranger eyes me quizzically.
“Never mind,” I say, opting to ask for directions instead. I switch the umbrella to my other hand and fish a piece of paper from my jacket pocket. “Do you know where this building is by any chance?” I ask, showing him the street address for GEH’s corporate headquarters.
He glances at the paper and I see a flicker of recognition in his eyes. “Grey House? Yes, my sister works there.” He places a hand on my shoulder and turns me so I’m facing south. “Two more blocks and you’ll see it on the left. Big glass and steel building, you can’t miss it.”
I steal a peek at my watch and am relieved to see I still have twenty minutes until my meeting with Mr. Grey. “Great...” I begin, but when I turn around he’s gone. “Thanks,” I finish saying to no one in particular.
My mysterious tour guide was correct; there is certainly no missing Grey House. Twenty stories high, the modern office building looks as though it has been plucked from the pages of an architectural magazine. At the lobby reception desk, a lovely blonde woman dressed in black asks for my identification. She cross references it with the information on her computer screen before handing it back to me along with a clip-on badge marked “Visitor”.
“Take the elevators to the twentieth floor,” she instructs, pointing a well manicured hand to a bank of elevators flanked by two imposing security guards.
When I reach my destination, I am confronted by yet another perfectly coiffed blonde and I begin to wish I’d at least had time to get a few highlights in my brown hair. “Welcome, Ms. Walker,” she says the minute I step out of the elevator. Her personal greeting surprises me until I recall the first receptionist typing my information into the lobby computer. “Mr. Grey, will be with you momentarily.” She offers to take my coat and umbrella and instructs me to have a seat on one of the white leather couches.  
As I sink into the oversized sofa I instantly regret my choice of outfit. Originally I’d planned on wearing my standard black dress pants from Ann Taylor, but changed my mind at the last second in favor of a fitted skirt. The cut is barely above the knee, but rather ill designed for sitting on such a deep couch. When the receptionist is distracted, I struggle rather awkwardly to my feet and walk over to the wall of windows. For a moment I am lost in the breathtaking views of Seattle’s skyline until the sound of a door opening breaks the spell. Another blonde, this one worthy of a fashion show runway, emerges from Mr. Grey’s office. Her hair cascades in soft, wave-like curls down her back and she has the same pale skin and goldenrod eyes as the mystery man on the street. Ah, probably the sister, I think to myself.
The receptionist jumps to attention. “Would you like me to call for your car, Ms. Hale?”
“No, I’m going to stop by my office first,” she replies with a cool smile before heading off in the direction of the elevators. 
There is a soft buzzing sound and I watch as the receptionist raises her hand to the small earpiece hidden discreetly behind her blonde hair. “Mr. Grey will see you now,” she informs me, waving her hand in the direction of the oversized wood door.
I take a deep breath and push the door open, having no idea what to expect on the other side.
I open the door and am surprised to find Christian Grey, billionaire industrialist, gracefully crossing the expanse of his office to greet me. As he approaches I notice him expeditiously assess my hem line before extending his hand.
“Good afternoon, Ms. Walker,” he says, flashing a dazzling grin. “I’m Christian Grey.”
Holy Smokes, the pictures don’t even begin to do him justice. I expected him to be attractive, but the man standing before me is downright gorgeous. He’s taller than I imagined and when he smiles, looks even younger than his twenty seven years. He’s dressed sharply in a dark suit, white shirt, and silver gray tie that make him appear every bit the powerful CEO.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Grey.” I take his hand and feel a flutter of butterflies in the pit of my stomach. “Thank you for agreeing to speak with me.”
“My pleasure, Ms. Walker.” His tone seems sincere, but I suspect my persistence paid off only at the urging of his PR department to indulge the press with more than the occasional interview.
“Would you like to sit?” he asks, waving his hand in the direction of a chair functionally positioned in front of his desk. To my relief, it’s firmer than the couch in the reception area and I am able to perch on the edge without issue.  Mr. Grey waits for me to take my seat before strolling around his desk. It is modern, made of dark wood and bigger than my dining room table. He lowers himself into his leather chair, beyond which nearly all of Seattle is visible.
“That’s quite an impressive view,” I note, not merely referring to the one outside.
His lips twitch with a trace of amusement. “Yes, it is,” he replies without bothering to look out the floor to ceiling windows behind him.
As I take in the rest of my surroundings, it becomes quite clear that Christian Grey is a firm believer in monochromatic decor. With the exception of the desk and a small coffee table, nearly everything else in the room is white – ceilings, carpet, walls, couches. There are a series of small paintings arranged on the far wall, but everything else is as sterile as a hospital.  
“Not a fan of color?” I ask.
He cocks his head to one side. “On the contrary, I simply prefer an uncluttered and clean work environment. Functional.” He pauses, his bright gray eyes locking on mine, and I completely lose my train of thought. A brief moment of silence passes.  “Ready when you are, Ms. Walker.”  
 “Um...yes...” I stutter, snapping out of my trance. I dig through my purse and out of the corner of my eye notice him raise an eyebrow in anticipation. “Do you mind if I use this, Mr. Grey?” I ask, holding up my digital recorder. His expression seems to be a mixture of surprise and relief. What was he expecting, a mini-disc recorder?
Not at all,” he replies, resting his elbow on the arm of the chair and stroking his lip with his index finger. My eyes linger on his mouth before I catch myself and quickly scan my notes. I smile briefly when I realize how appropriate the first question is given the fact that I am suddenly acting like a star struck teen.

“Mr. Grey, you are quite an intimidating man to many people.” I pause and as our eyes meet I can’t help but wonder if he is aware of the effect he’s having on me. “What advice would you give to anyone who found themselves tied up in knots when in our presence?”
He smirks and for a moment I think he might even laugh out loud at my question. Poor choice of words perhaps? But his smile quickly disappears and in its place is the infamous “Grey stare” I read about so often in my research. “As they should find me intimidating,” he replies. Slowly, he lowers his hand and I watch as his expression changes yet again from intimidating to dare I say heated. Damn him, he knows exactly what he’s doing to me. He holds my gaze as he finishes his thought. “I suggest for individuals to be themselves.”
His intensity is palpable and after a moment I have to look away, glancing down at my notes before launching into the next question. “To the casual observer, you never seem to let anything bother you. To what do attribute your confidence?"
Crossing his leg at the ankle he leans back in his chair. If you forfeit your confidence, you can never regain the respect or esteem of your fellow citizens. The fact is I’m good at what I do, professionally and otherwise.” A nefarious grin plays on his lips before he presses them into a hard line. “But there are a great many things in the world that bother me, which is why I choose to focus professionally on such matters. Whether or not my hair is perfect,” he adds, reaching up and running a hand through his unruly hair, “is of little interest to me.”
I am suddenly overcome by the thought of my own fingers knotted in his tousled hair, but quickly shake the image from my head. Jeez, snap out of it! You’re a professional for god’s sake. Regaining my composure, I continue.
“Mr. Grey, in your speech at WSU’s graduation, you alluded to your rough beginnings. Given your background and upbringing, do you believe in kismet or that you have full control of your destiny?”
He lifts his brow and once again he seems to be trying hard to restrain his mirth. “I don't subscribe to the fantastical misconceptions of kismet. Everything I have I’ve achieved through hard work, determination and dedication. If you are unable to motivate yourself then you are content with mediocrity. That does not impress me.”
“How much of your past personal life influences your business decisions?”

The levity drains from his face and I know we’ve reached the heart of the matter. “My business decisions are based on logic and facts. That is not to say I'm not influenced by my past, because clearly I am.
“Yes, you've previously mentioned that it's important for people to have access to simple needs- food, water – and your humanitarian endeavors speak for themselves. Which of your many philanthropic interests would you say is closest to your heart?”
“It is well known that I went hungry as a child. I know what it's like go without.” An impassioned expression crosses his face. “My philanthropic interests are to eradicate hunger, to enable and empower those less fortunate through sustainable technology. This is where I see my time well spent. It’s an approach that is mutually beneficial for those in need and for my company.”
The unwelcome image of a hungry and neglected copper-haired boy flashes through my mind. Clearly this is the key to a better understanding of the seemingly unflappable man seated before me, but it is not a story I am willing to pursue. In the short time I’ve spent with him he has alternated between brazen flirt and arrogant tycoon, yet there’s still something about him that strikes an overwhelming chord of compassion in me.
In an attempt to lighten the mood, I switch gears. “One of my readers commented that in the movie ‘Bruce Almighty’ Jim Carey's character says ‘behind every great man, there's a woman rolling her eyes’. Do you have any thoughts on this?”
“I suppose that's true,” he chuckles as he uncrosses his legs, but I notice his eyes narrow imperceptibly as he runs his thumb across the tips of his fingers. “Rather rude habit to adopt. One recently pointed out that I too, have been guilty of the act.”
The next page has the word “Personal” typed across the top. I raise an eyebrow at an email sent by a reader that says, “Do NOT ask about sexual orientation” before continuing to scan the questions. Skipping the first one entirely, I decide to ease into the category with something a bit obvious. “Mr. Grey, you seem to place a great deal of trust in the people who work for you, particularly your security team and household staff. Do you require all of your employees to sign NDAs?”
The expression on his face conveys his annoyance as he dispatches a rudimentary answer.  “Yes, along with other paperwork pertaining to their employment.”
I frown at his clipped tone. Too easy? Okay Grey, brace yourself. Squaring my shoulders, I move down the page to a few of the more controversial questions.
His jaw is tense as he sits waiting for my next question. In an effort to improve his mood I begin by asking one I expect he’ll find amusing. “What are you a ‘natural’ at, Mr. Grey?”
He pauses for a beat and his mouth twists into a wry grin. When he finally answers I suspect he has omitted the first thought that came to mind. Why, running my company, Ms. Walker.”
It’s a cop-out answer but I let it go, opting instead to ask the logical follow-up. “Is there something you fail at?”  
His expression becomes more guarded. “Yes, there are a few things,” is all he says at first. I hold his gaze, waiting for him to elaborate, but when he does it’s not with the revelation I am hoping for. “I don't cook and I am a terrible joke teller,” he admits before flashing and enigmatic grin. “But I make up for it other ways.”

Yes, I think to myself, I’m sure you do. “Have you ever been caught doing something you shouldn’t have?” I ask impulsively.
He tilts his head to one side, regarding me somewhat smugly as he considers his answer. The talent is how you get out of the predicament.”
“If you weren't CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, is there another job you'd like?”
He fixes me with a pointed stare. “This is what I want to be doing. I do it well.”
“With all that responsibility must come a tremendous amount of stress. What’s your secret for letting off steam? Do you indulge in any games?”
Eyes flaring, he shifts in his seat as his hand reaches to smooth down his silver gray tie. His lips curl into a lascivious grin and I have the distinct feeling he thinks I’m referring to something else entirely. He’s about to respond when I add a quick clarification. “I mean are you a PlayStation 3 or XBox kind of guy?”
I do have an Xbox, though my interests are in other...more physical pursuits,” he adds, smirking.
Ignoring his obvious innuendo I continue with my line of questioning. “Yes, according to my research, you have a passion for some rather adventurous activities – sailing and flying to name a few. Do you consider yourself a thrill seeker, an adrenaline junkie if you will?”
“I wouldn't classify myself as an ‘adrenaline junkie’ as you put it.” He breaks out into a full grin and I’m not sure if he’s laughing at me or is merely amused by the label I’ve given him. “I do take risks, both professionally and in my personal life. Put myself on the line on a daily basis.” He lifts his brow, inclining his head to one side. “If that defines me as an ‘adrenaline junkie’, so be it. Taking risks is how you move forward.”
My ears perk up at the mention of the words “personal life”. Intentional or not, he has given me an opening and I take it. “It seems the local society pages have finally captured photos of you with a date.  Does this mean Seattle’s most eligible bachelor is officially off the market?”
There is an uncomfortable silence as he regards me intently, stroking his chin with his finger and thumb. When he finally speaks it is obvious he’s trying hard to reign in his irritation. “These are not questions I normally entertain, Ann Marie.”  
It’s the first time he’s called me by my name and something about the tone of his voice makes me feel like an errant teenager. Having read his previous interviews, I already know this is not the type of question he usually answers. But since he brought it up, I consider the subject fair game and push forward. “The pictures were in the newspaper, Mr. Grey, not exactly the place for a well-kept secret.”
“Yes, I am involved with someone at the present time,” he relents. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
“Miss Anastasia Steele, correct?” He doesn’t answer but since he hasn’t had his security team throw me out yet, I take my questioning one step further.
“What first attracted you to Miss Steele?” Inwardly I cringe at what I know is an intrusive question, but it was one asked repeatedly by my readers. I brace for his wrath but to my relief his expression softens.
“You’ve seen the pictures. Her beautiful eyes, her intelligence, the surprising things that come out of her smart mouth.” His lips curve into a private grin and his eyes darken as he holds my gaze. “Somewhat similar to you, Ms. Walker.”
Whoa, is he complimenting me or reprimanding me? Either way I’m grateful to have a desk separating us as I squirm ever so slightly under his penetrating stare.
“I apologize if I offended you, Mr. Grey. These questions were submitted by my blog readers.”
He cocks a lopsided grin. “Not at all, Ms. Walker. Merely paying you a compliment. I'm finding the questions...amusing. Some rather thought out, possessing originality.
“By the way, several of my readers inquired as to openings in your intern program. Are you currently hiring?”
“My company has an excellent internship program. I am always looking to recruit talent, inspire them, and perhaps fulfill their dreams.” He rises from his chair, never once taking his eyes off mine as he causally strolls around his desk. “Surely this is relatable,” he says, sitting down on the edge. His lips curl into an enigmatic grin as he gazes intently at me. “What are your dreams, Ms. Walker?”
I am completely thrown by the sudden change in direction. One minute I think he's annoyed with me and now, if I didn't know better, I'd say he’s flirting with me. My breathe hitches in my throat and when I speak the words are barely above a whisper. “My dreams, Mr. Grey?”   

He remains quiet, letting my words hang in the narrow space between us. I know I better wrap this up, but there’s one more line of questioning I’m sure my readers will want me to pursue. Clearing my throat, I change topics before he has a chance to turn the tables on me further.
“I assume you’re aware there are plans underway for a movie based on your life story?”
His eyes flare with humor. “I suppose my life will be much more of an open book, eh?”
“Do you have any opinions on who should be cast in the role of Christian Grey?” I ask, doubting if any actor in Hollywood can hold a candle to the man in front of me.
Honestly, I have not given it much thought.”
“Well, I can assure you there are many others who have,” I inform him with what may be the greatest understatement ever spoken. “In fact, teams have formed backing various actors such as Ian  Somerhalder, William Levy, Josh Kloss and Henry Cavill, just to name a few.”
All admirable gentlemen. The various “teams” all have a common thread - passion. ‘Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant’.” He flaunts his erudition by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson and it takes every ounce of self-control not to roll my eyes at him. “I believe a rather heated debate developed on your blog.” 

Now he has surprised me. “You’ve read my blog, Mr. Grey?”

“Of course, Ms. Walker.” He wears a smug smirk as he regards me with a calculating stare. “I always do my research.” 

I flip to the last page of my notes. “One final question, Mr. Grey. Where do you see yourself in 10 years, still tied to your company or pursuing some other passion?”
He blinks as he contemplates his answer. “We’ll see. I believe it was Harvey Firestone who said ‘If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life. Ideas are a man’s greatest asset.’” A discerning grin plays on his lips. “So, we’ll see.”

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Grey,” I say, standing to leave.
He rises from the edge of his desk. He’s close enough for me to smell the fresh scent of his body wash. Oh my, close enough for me to touch. He extends his hand and I take it. “The pleasure’s been all mine, Ms. Walker,” he says before gesturing in the direction of the door.  “Please, after you.”
 I give him a small smile before ducking past him. He not only follows me to the door but, to my surprise, all the way to the elevators. He pushes the call button and as we wait I can’t help but wonder why he’s so reluctant to give interviews. If anything he seemed to almost enjoy himself.
Ms. Walker, while you’re in Seattle, if you have the opportunity, I recommend the Space Needle,” he says, a salacious grin on his face. The view is spectacular.”
“Okay,” I reply, somewhat baffled by his sudden small talk. “Mr. Grey,” I nod to him as the elevator doors slide open. Once inside I turn to find his gray eyes watching me intently.
“Until we meet again, Ms. Walker,” he says, flashing a broad grin before heading back into his office.

As Mr.Grey would say...Still want "more"?

REMIND ME, book one of the Chasing Fire series is available to purchase. 
Click here for links to all major retailers. Thanks! 


First of all, a big “thank you” to @ChristianTGrey  for allowing me to interview him for this piece. His intelligent and witty answers not only made all of this possible, but provided me with the dialog and gestures needed to bring Christian Grey to life on the pages of my blog.

Second, thanks to all those who “submitted” questions over the past month. I apologize for not being able to ask all of them, but there were over 100 and keeping Christian trapped in his office for a week was about the best I could do. Also, while they were all very intriguing, some of the questions were a bit too “hot” for me to handle. *blushing*
Finally, a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been faithfully reading (and retweeting) each of the five installments. Your support and kind words have made this week a true joy! XO

EPILOGUE: A Quick Trip to Portland

Before leaving the Pacific Northwest I decided to drive down to Portland for a bit of “sightseeing”. While there I visited the historic Heathman Hotel. It seems the Heathman has become quite the tourist attraction of late, with dozens of “Fifty Shades of Grey” fans stopping by each day to photograph their now famous elevator.

In recognition of this newfound fame, the hotel is now offering two Fifty Shades add-on packages:

The first is called the “Charlie Tango”. After cocktails at the Heathman Bar, you and 5 friends are taken to a private heli-pad for a sunset helicopter tour of Portland. Once back on the ground, a limo takes you back to the Heathman for a private dinner before you retire to your elegant suite. All of this can be yours for the low price of $2,750.

If the “Charlie Tango” is a little hard on the budget, never fear. For a mere $40 you can add the “Inner Goddess” package to your stay and a bottle of Boedecker Cellars Pinot Gris will be placed in your room along with a silver grey tie that is yours to keep.

Rooms at the Heathman range from $259 for a Deluxe Queen to $839 for a Signature Suite, but before you max out those credit cards, be sure to read the fine print:

Christian Grey is not included.

Sorry Ladies.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Casting “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Last week followers cast their votes for the role of Anastasia Steele. The week before the battle was over the role of Christian Grey. This week? Everyone else!
Yes, that’s right, I opened up the floodgates and asked for suggestions on each and every character in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy. The responses were as passionate as they were varied and if voters have their way, Universal is going to need a HUGE budget!

Elena “Mrs. Robinson” Lincoln: This was by far the most hotly contested of the remaining characters, with Charlize Theron winning the role by only one vote! Second place was a three- way tie between Kim Cattrall, Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer, while nods also went to Susan Sarandon, Rebecca DeMornay, Madonna, Nicolette Sheridan, Zoe Lucker, Sharon Stone, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Bassinger, Amber Valetta, and Famke Jansen.

Dr. Grace Trevelyan-Grey: Diane Lane was the clear fan favorite in this category, capturing 55% of the vote. Other actresses mentioned were Meg Ryan, Sela Ward, Annette Benning, Diane Keaton, Merryl Streep, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Hurley, and Jennifer Aniston.
Carrick Grey: Rob Lowe received 46% of the votes while Dylan McDermott, George Clooney, Anderson Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Ed Harris, James Brolin, Richard Gere, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Patrick Dufffy, Dermot Mulroney, and Daniel Craig were also suggested.
Elliot Grey: The “Twilight” connection seemed to have been firmly in place when it came to the role of the fun-loving older brother as Kellan Lutz walked away with 30% of the votes. Other suggestions included Josh Duhamel, Jude Law, Bradley Cooper, Chris Hemsworth, Channing Tatum, Paul Walker, Chase Crawford, Eric Winter, Ryan Kwanten, and Justin Timberlake.
Mia Grey: Alexandra Daddario narrowly beat out Kristen Ritter, Eva Amurri Martino, Zoey Deschanel, Selena Gomaz, Jessica Alba, Lucy Hale, and Victoria Justice for the role of Christian Grey’s little sister.

Ray Steele: Kevin Costner was the overwhelming favorite, easily beating out Greg Kinnear with 87% of the votes!
Carla Adams: Voters showed a slight preference for Terri Hatcher for the role of Ana’s mom over Mary Louise Parker, Sarah Clarke, Terri Hatcher and Kim Bassinger
José Rodriguez: Jay Hernandez was the most popular choice for the Ana’s personal photographer, edging out Wilmer Vaderrama, William Levy, and Tyler Posey.
Katherine (Kate) Kavanagh: Blake Lively was the overwhelming choice for Ana’s best friend, Kate, capturing 65% of the votes. Candace Accola, Emily Van Camp, Emille de Ravin, Katie Cassidy, Emma Roberts, Brooklyn Decker, Diana Argon, Scarlett Johansen, Amber Heard, and Maggie Grace were also nominated.

Ethan Kavanagh: Chase Crawford was the stand-out with 75% of the votes. Zac Efron, Alex Pettyfer, Sterling Knight, and Taylor Kitsch also received nods.

Leila Williams: Amber Tamblyn barely nudged past Mila Kunis, Amanda Seyfried, Ann Hathaway, and Chyler Leigh as Christian’s troubled ex.
 Jason Taylor: Alex O’Loughlin scored 36% of the vote for the role of Taylor with Jeremy Renner coming in right on his heels. Tom Hardy, Adam Baldwin, Jason Stratham, Chris Meloni, Shane West, Liam Neeson, and Sam Worthington were also mentioned.
Jack Hyde: Colin Farrell was the fan favorite, edging out Bradley Cooper. Ryan Phillipe, Matthew McConaughey, Gabriel Mann, Timothy Olyphant,  and Danny Masterson were also mentioned, but perhaps the most creative suggestion was Eminem!
Mrs. Gail Jones: A narrow majority envisioned Laura Linney as the housekeeper while others saw Marguerite MacIntyre or Hellen Mirren.

Dr. John Flynn: If fans have their way, Colin Firth will go from stuttering King to Christian Grey’s therapist as he slid past Jude Law with 46% of the vote. Tom Ward, Hugh Grant, James MacAvoy, and Simon Baker will also noted.

Like What You See? Stay tuned. After all, @ChristianTGrey, @AnaRSteele, and @50ShadesSourceare following my blog, shouldn't you? :) Click "Join this Site" and then sign in with google or twitter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Casting Anastasia Steele

Not five minutes after posting the results of last week’s “Casting Christian Grey” poll, someone sent me a tweet suggesting I hold a similar vote for the role of Anastasia Steele. I did and as the votes rolled in, one fact became very clear: when it comes to the love interest of Christian Grey, most women would prefer to cast themselves!
While 7% of voters cast their twitter ballot solely in their own favor, dozens more listed themselves as a “back-up” to their official nominee, offering their services as an “understudy” or even a “body double”! All in all, 29 different actresses received votes although in one case they were votes against having the role. Despite the fact that “Fifty Shades of Grey” originated as “Twilight” fan fiction, 4% of voters tweeted a preference for “anyone but Kristen Stewart”.
“Honorable Mentions” are due the twenty-three young ladies who, while not rounding out the Top Five, still received votes for the coveted role. They are (in no particular order): Emma Stone, Ann Hathaway, Rachel McAdams, Alexis Bledel, Anna Kendrick, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Nina Dobrev, Alexandra Daddario, Felicity Jones, Evan Rachel Wood, Rooney Mara, Ksenia Solo, Bella Heathcote, Erica Dasher, Lucy Hale, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lindsey Fonseca, Leighten Meester, Shenae Grimes, Emily Blunt, Jennifer Lawrence, Indiana Evans and Shelley Henning.
The “Top Five” choices are as follows:
#5. Unknown – 7% of voters wanted someone who was “unknown” and “innocent”

#4. Emmy Rossum – 8%

#3. Emilia Clark – 9%

#2. Lily Collins – 15%

#1. Ashley Greene – 16%

With no overwhelming majority in sight, it’s clear everyone has their own distinct vision of Miss Anastasia Steele. Once again, I am left with the conclusion that Ms. E.L. James and Universal Pictures certainly have their work cut out for them.
Bonus:  A few eager voters were anxious to share their thoughts on the casting of Elena Lincoln as well. Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Bassinger, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Ellen Barkin, Sharon Stone, Angelina Jolie, Kim Cattrall and Gwyneth Paltrow were all suggested as the perfect choice to play the evil “Mrs. Robinson”.
Like What You See? Stay tuned. After all, @ChristianTGrey, @AnaRSteele, and @50ShadesSource are following my blog, shouldn't you? :) Click "Join this Site" and then sign in with google or twitter
Also by Ann Marie Walker : Inspired by a true story, “Hollywood Ending” is the tale of a young coed who sends an impulsive letter to Hollywood’s hottest, most notorious bad boy. Maybe it’s crazy, maybe it’s far-fetched, or maybe it’s the perfect way to mend her broken heart. (Read more by clicking here)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Coping With Bookstore Withdrawal

I drove thirty minutes to get to a bookstore today. Funny thing is I didn’t even need a book, per se; I just needed a bookstore.
It wasn’t always so hard to “get my fix”. I was lucky enough to live in a town with a Borders in walking distance from our home. It was a destination for my family for years until one day it was plastered with bright yellow “Going Out of Business” posters.

As a writer, time in a bookstore is like returning to the mother ship. Sometimes it’s for inspiration. (Look at all these books that have been published. Mine will sell!) Sometimes it’s for a quick pity party. (Look at all these books that have been published. Mine must really suck!) And sometimes it’s an excuse to daydream about possibilities. (Let’s see...T...U...V...W, yep, that’s where my book will be...someday.) And sometimes it’s just as simple as I need to walk the aisles, hold a book in my hand, read the back, and get recommendations from the store’s knowledgeable employees.

I’m not saying online retailers don’t serve a purpose (full disclosure, our household has a Kindle and a Nook) and who among us hasn’t grabbed a new release off the shelves at Target when you’re there loading up on laundry detergent? But will the internet host a Harry Potter Block Party the way my local Borders did? And what about in-store events, will Sam’s Club invite 500 teenagers into the store to meet Veronica Roth like Anderson’s did? And let’s not forget the E.L. James event. I don’t know many “big box” retailers who would host the type of cocktail party/book signing that Roberta Rubin from The Book Stall held two weeks ago.

So even though I will continue to download books or toss them in my cart on the way to picking up a five pound vat of peanut butter, I will also continue my “road trips” because there’s something about a bookstore that calls to me, even from twenty miles away.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Casting Christian Grey

If you think the presidential election has generated some heated debates, you should pop on Twitter and see the battle going on over the casting of Christian Grey!
Last month Universal Pictures purchased the dramatic rights to the “50 Shades of Grey” series for a reported 8 million dollars. (And in a move that was almost as surprising, agreed to let the author retain final say on casting – smart lady!) So while the decision belongs to Ms. E.L. James, the fans of her work have some very strong opinions on the matter.
At her Chicago appearance last week, Ms. James was quick to say it was “far too early” to talk about casting Christian Grey. Her fans obviously disagree. Not only are they talking about casting preferences, they’re setting up fan sites to support their cause.
This week I solicited the help of the both the US  (@50ShadesSource) and UK (@FiftyShadesUK) fan sites in asking their followers to tweet me their votes on the “Casting of Christian Grey”. (As a side note, I don’t recommend trying this as the influx from exuberant fans kept crashing my computer!)  The votes were as impassioned as they were diverse and often included photos.
All in all, 33 different actor’s names were mentioned along with two voters who begged for “someone unknown” and about a dozen who said they’d like to see @ChristianTGrey play the role. (Hmm...wonder if he has an agent?)

The five actors garnering the most support were:
#5. Alex Pettyfer – 6%

#4. Matt Bomer – 7%

#3. Henry Cavill – 10% @HenryCavill_Fb

#2. William Levy – 12% @WillyLevy4CGrey

#1. Ian Somerhalder – 32%  @IanForChristian

It looks like the debate over the perfect Mr. Grey will undoubtedly rage for months to come and judging by the strong opinions of her fans, Ms. James certainly has her work cut out for her.
Update: By popular demand I present the 28 other actors who received votes. Judging by the variety, it appears almost everyone envisions their “own” Christian Grey.
Josh Kloss (see him with Katy Perry here...he even has the right jeans on!), Bradley Cooper, Jensen Ackles, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson, Cillian Murphy, Chase Crawford, Jessie Pavelka, Alexander Skarsgaard, Wentworth Miller, Michael Fassbender, Adam Lambert, David Boreanaz, Gabriel Aubry, Chris Pine, Eric Winter, Daniel Gillies, Colin Egglesfield, Armie Hammer, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Noth, Simon Baker, Channing Tatum, Cam Gigandet, Joe Mangiello, Paul Walker, Adam Levine, Joseph Morgan, Josh Bowman and Tyler Hoechlin.

UPDATE 7/11/12 : It seems a new candidate has become the talk of Twitter: Marco Dapper.

Like What You See? Stay tuned. After all, Christian, Ana, and @50ShadesSource are following my blog, shouldn't you? :) Click "Join this Site" and then sign in with google or twitter.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Elevator Pitch

My agent surprised one of her followers today by offering him the opportunity to present his “elevator pitch”. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means to sum up your novel in a mere sentence or two. In other words, you're on an elevator with agent/editor and have a captive audience until the doors open. Must talk fast.
In this day and age, summing up your work in a sentence or two has never been so crucial. Not only for spontaneous requests from an agent to pitch in 140 characters or less, but also due to the fact that many folks read their emails on smart phones. Think about it, how far will someone be willing to “scroll”? You’ve got to grab their attention, and fast!

And what better way to try them out than on fellow writers. To get our little pitchfest started, I’ll lead off with mine as the first comment. Also, if you like what someone else has written, please let them know by clicking on the “reply” button under their pitch. After all, we writer’s need to stick together and need all the encouragement we can get!

***All comments are being approved but blogger seems to be having issues and they are not appearing below. Have contacted tech support. Sorry for the delay.

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