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Sassenachs and Ruddadills

Yummy KiltFor all my MANhandlers, today’s picture is a .gif taken from Google images. Given my penchant for men in kilts, particularly with Doc Marten’s (or, in this case, work boots), I thought this was totally appropriate. I want under his man-skirt in a bad way. LOL

Today’s blog topic is about favorite literary classics, past or present. I have to admit that my mind immediately went to Diana Gabaldon. There is no other book that moves me quite like Outlander. That this is the novel’s 20th anniversary only makes this blog post sweeter from me. I love all of the books that follow Outlander, provided they have Jamie Fraser in them, though Outlander will always be the first thing to cross my mind when someone asks me to name my favorite book. It was like losing my literary virginity in so many ways — thrilling, poignant, slightly painful, something worth doing sober and definitely worth the wait.

Diana’s tale covers Claire Randall, a Sassenach (foreigner) and nurse who served in World War II, who has just reunited with her husband in Scotland after (essentially) a seven year separation. Through an innocent turn of events, she passes through Craigh na Dun, a small standing stone circle and ends up in 1743. She’s subjected to a series of events that result in her marrying Jamie Fraser out of necessity despite the fact she’s still married to Frank Randall in 1947. She struggles with the morality of it, but she and Jamie ultimately fall in love. Real love. That kind of love that transcends time, space, distance, separation and the worst mankind can do to one another. Their love is rich and bitter and sweet, so real that I still get swept up in the tale every time I read it.

What is it about Diana Gabaldon that makes her writing so off-the-chain crazy good? It’s her ability to deal in human emotions, wrapping the story with actual significant historical events (i.e. the Scottish Uprising with the Bonnie Prince Charlie). There’s intrigue, family dynamics, politics, murder and more. I’m getting pulled into the memory of the story just writing this. I can see a re-read coming on. They’re going to make a mini-series out of the novel. The cable channel, Starz, has purchased the rights. I hope like mad they don’t screw it up. I haven’t decided if I’ll watch it or not. I don’t want it to ruin the images I have in my head of what the characters look like, Jamie Fraser in particular. Sometimes the classics should just be left alone.

My other favorite story is Watership Down. I first read this story in 5th grade. Yes, 5th grade. I had an amazingly gifted English teacher. While I didn’t understand the political position of the novel for years, this novel cemented my desire to write, particularly in worlds that parallel our own. The story covers a warren of rabbits who are driven from their home and forced to relocate to a safer place. There are dangers at every turn. “Ruddadills” (sp?) were cars. I remember the terror of having to cross the highway with the rabbits. I remember the emotions evoked in this tale of resettlement and the struggle to survive. That such a novel would stick with me for thirty years, that it would be one I can re-read even now and pick up new nuances, still amazes me. Ironically, this novel was made into a movie. It can’t hold a candle to the book.

Both books are classics, though very different. It strikes me now, as I write, that both deal in love and loss and political unrest. Strange that they both appeal to me so much and for such disparate and similar reasons. I’m off to ponder this, take a deeper look at meanings and messages and such.

Drop me a line and let me know what your favorite novel(s) is/are. I’m always on the lookout to find “new” classics. And what better place to get a recommended read than from a reader?

The British Isles Bring the Smexy

MANHANDLERS! Yes, you! It’s a new year. This means chances to make resolutions grudgingly and break them with glee (or not), to take that trip you always promised yourself, accomplish a major goal, write a book and read thirty more! It’s also an opportunity for me to share more delicious men on my post days. So let’s start the year off right, yes? (You know I have a thing for abs, right?)

This was a hard post to write — pick one man out of a world of gorgeous men and say “He’s the one I’ll write about” is no easy task. My mind rebelled. My mouth was so dry I was puffing our powdered sugar. (And no, it had nothing to do with the donuts that leapt into my cart and then onto my desk. I swear…a lot.) I thought about the things I find ridonkulously sexy and they all seemed to come from, you guessed it, the British Isles. My love affair with green grass, sheep that look like they were hooked up to an air hose, royalty and handsome lads came together to help form this post.

First, allow me to introduce you to a familiar face for romance readers and writers. He’s graced a bazillion covers, each one hot, hot, hot, and he is gracious about all of it. Sam Bond is, by far and away, my serious want that borders on need. Born in Christchurch, England, he fulfills just about every single fantasy I could possibly have. Arms that could bench press me? Check. Pecs that cast small shadows? Check. A wicked set of abs? Check, check and check. Long hair? Cheeeeeeck.

But I’m not limiting myself to one aspect of that lush, lush landscape. (ahem) No, I’ve found that there are a wide variety of men who pique my curiosity. I have a wicked thing for a man in a kilt. Wicked. Thing. This picture seemed to sum up some of the finer points of Scotland.

Finally, I’m skipping across the Irish Sea and touching down with a wee bit of interest in a pint and a lovely lad. Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s accent is enough to make the seams of my clothing start unraveling. No joke. Hems come undone, thongs snap, laces untie, bra clasps go twang and fire off all willy-nilly. It’s embarrassing, really, since I have no real control over whether or not I find myself topless in any given situation. Just kidding. Barely. I find the accents of the Isles the most compelling of any accents out there. Australia naturally runs a close second, but England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales will always hold my heart. And the men of those lush lands? Well, they can hold any part of me they want.

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