Latebreaking news –
Please join the SQUEE chorus for the following FanLit alums who are Golden Heart finalists!

Courtney Milan (Historical, Breath of Honor)
Pamela Bolton-Holifield (Regency Historical, Lost in Love)
Darcy Burke (Regency Historical, Glorious)
Liese Sherwood-Fabre (Strong Romantic Elements, Heads Up, St. Anthony)

And the following FanLit pubbed author participants who are RITA finalists:
Anna Campbell (a double final!! in Regency Historical for Untouched and Claiming the Courtesan)
Laura Lee Gurhke (Historical, And Then He Kissed Her)
Toni Blake (Single Title, Tempt Me Tonight)
Julia Quinn (Regency Historical, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever)
Shana Galen (Historical, Blackthorne’s Bride)

I hope those lists keep growing!
And congratulations to everyone who entered this year – being eligible to enter the GH is an accomplishment in and of itself.
San Francisco is going to be awesome!

So last weekend, I came down with a nasty migraine. Once some meds had started to kick in, and the pain dulled to the point where I could better tolerate the flickering light of the TV than I could cope with my own boredom, I flipped channels and found The Sound of Music playing on cable. Ah, what better to soothe an aching cranium than the sweet voices of the Von Trapp children?

But something strange happened as I watched the movie for the umpteenth time since my own childhood – for the very first time, I found myself sympathizing with the Baroness. I know, I know – the Baroness!

I mean, she is the underhanded, witchy Other Woman figure, who would make a horrid mother and send the Von Trapp children packing off to boarding school – and she probably can’t even carry a tune… but still. I felt sorry for her. There’s no denying she’s beautiful and worldly and intelligent, and she really had some crackling chemistry with the Captain. She’s a widow who’s been jaded by wealth and loss, like so many of our favorite romance characters, and I couldn’t help but feel that a little love from a handsome, worldly, intelligent man could make all the difference in her life. And yet – in swoops the irrepressible guitar-playing virgin half her age, fresh from the convent. How can she possibly compete?

What does this say about me, that I’m suddenly siding with the Baroness? That I’m jaded myself? Getting old, or ahem, maturing? Was my brain just addled with migraine meds?

Do you ever find yourself sympathizing with the Other Woman?

And…I hear it’s Golden Heart notification day today! If you get The Call, please come squee here posthaste!

24 comments to “The Other Woman – Does this mean I’m getting old, or what?”

  1. Kelly Krysten
    · March 25th, 2008 at 2:14 am · Link

    No, I don’t think you’re old or jaded. I often find myself empathizing with the ‘villain'(if you can call her that) in a story. No matter how bad they write a character I always wonder why they’re like that. Plus I think the Baroness speaks to me because I’m not always perfect and I don’t want to get shafted like

  2. Maggie Robinson
    · March 25th, 2008 at 3:26 am · Link

    I have never seen the Sound of Music, and I AM old and jaded, LOL. As far as sympathizing…I think human relationships are pretty complicated. I leave my judge hat at the door.

  3. Tiffany Kenzie
    · March 25th, 2008 at 3:31 am · Link

    You aren’t old and jaded. I side with her too… and I’d have sent my kids packing if I could afford boarding school… alas, I cannot, I’m stuck with ’em [which I say with mucho affection–but still, if I win the lottery…]

    And Maggie’s right, human relationships are damn complicated.

    And I want to hear everyone squee-ing, can’t wait to see who gets the GH call.

  4. CM
    · March 25th, 2008 at 4:20 am · Link

    You know, I have been sympathizing with inappropriate characters for a very, very long time in my life. It never even occurred to me that the Baroness was *not* a sympathetic character. She was actually pretty good; she stepped aside for Julie Andrews when she figured out it wasn’t going her way. Very practical woman.

    But I felt sorry for the wicked witches of the East and West long before Wicked ever came along. As a general rule, I prefer the villains and villainesses. The heroes are too good.

    It’s also a family trait. Apparently, my older brother burst into tears in Sunday School when he found out Goliath died. He even wrote a song about it, emphasizing Goliath’s point of view. (In case you are wondering, Goliath didn’t like fighting, but everyone made him do it because he was so tall. And then David came along and Goliath didn’t want to fight a little kid, and so David actually had a chance. Goliath died for David. I bet you didn’t know that.)

  5. Gillian Layne
    · March 25th, 2008 at 5:52 am · Link

    I’d rather we didn’t call it getting old, but yes, that’s maturity speaking. It takes a bit of experience to empathize with all characters involved.

    That was the best part of Enchanted, IMHO. They didn’t ruin the end by making me feel bad for his fiance, because she was obviously a nice person. She got her HEA as well, and with someone who gave her what she was really looking for.

  6. Marnee Jo
    · March 25th, 2008 at 5:58 am · Link

    I haven’t seen Sound of Music in years but I can completely see what you’re saying about the baroness.

    The Disney movies started getting on my nerves for this reason, especially the ones with the evil stepmoms and the female villains. I mean, some of the princesses are so perfect, I even hate them. 🙂

  7. Gina Black
    · March 25th, 2008 at 7:00 am · Link

    I never saw The Sound of Music either, which is odd because I grew up with musicals playing on the record player. I guess I should still see it, huh.

  8. Tessa Dare
    · March 25th, 2008 at 7:04 am · Link

    Wow, everyone is up early this morning! I wonder why…. LOL. Best of luck to everyone who entered the GH. If at least one of you doesn’t final, I will lose all faith in contests.

    And apologies to anyone I offended with the “getting old” part – the reason I said that was, all my life up to this point, I always put myself in Maria’s shoes whenever watching that film. I identified very strongly with her when I was younger. And now for the first time, I realized – uh, if I were in that movie, I’d wouldn’t be the fresh young thing anymore, I’d be the woman who’s been around the block. And I’d be tossed over for the fresh young thing. It was sort of a whole new spin on it. Like Kelly said, I felt kinda shafted.

    Tiffany – I agree, there’s no way I’d even attempt to raise seven children on my own. I can’t even handle two!

    Gillian and Marnee – great points about Enchanted and the Disney princesses. I like it when the heroines have some faults that make them seem real, and the villains have enough depth to make them sympathetic.

    Maggie – how is it possible you’ve NEVER seen TSOM? I can’t believe it!

    CM – yeah…the Baroness kinda steps aside, but only seconds before it’s obvious the Captain’s gonna dump her. It’s an “I’ll dump you before you can dump me” thing. The first thing she does when she realizes the Captain and Maria are in love is send Maria running back to the convent, but she knows she’s defeated the second time around. But…I love your brother’s Goliath story. Does he read Harry/Draco slash, too?

    Gillian and Marnie,

  9. Tessa Dare
    · March 25th, 2008 at 7:07 am · Link

    Wow, Gina – another TSOM virgin? I didn’t know such a thing was possible! It’s on TV so often, especially around this time of year. Yes, do give it a try one of these days, so you can see what all the fuss is about. It truly is a great movie. I’ve heard that they do an annual TSOM singalong at the Hollywood Bowl, where people come in costume and bring props a la Rocky Horror – now that would be fun!

  10. Gillian Layne
    · March 25th, 2008 at 7:39 am · Link

    Tessa, you’re so sweet–

    If you meant me, I wasn’t offended by the “old” comment, just irritated at myself, because I’m three weeks late to a hairdresser appointment and those gray hairs are popping up everywhere! If cosmetologists only made house calls….:)

    Marnee, those perfect princesses aggravate me too.

  11. Lindsey
    · March 25th, 2008 at 9:09 am · Link

    Hmm, Tessa, I may see a TSOM fanfic in your future. 😉

    Not that irrepressible virgins are ever going to go out of style, but there does seem to be a trend toward more worldly heroines lately – experienced widows, courtesans, etc.

    I have actually been on the TSOM tour in Salzburg. It’s pretty much the coolest thing I have ever done, and there was definitely a tour bus sing-a-long.

  12. terrio
    · March 25th, 2008 at 9:37 am · Link

    I’m with you, Tessa. I had no idea there was anyone who hadn’t seen TSOM. I’ve never thought of the Baroness as purely evil. Seems she had a right to defend her territory. But when she realized it wasn’t really hers, she conceded with dignity. If this view is due to my advanced age, then I’m happy I’m old enough to have this POV. LOL!

    Keeping my fingers crossed for everyone who entered the GH. Got my virtual noisemakers ready. *g*

  13. Gillian Layne
    · March 25th, 2008 at 12:26 pm · Link


    Pam Bolton-Holifield, Doglady to all you fanlitters, has a GH spot in the Historical Regency category.

    To say we are THRILLED is putting it mildly!!!!!

  14. Elyssa Papa
    · March 25th, 2008 at 1:55 pm · Link

    I never hated the Baroness either… she just wasn’t right for the Captain. But she probably, hopefully, got her HEA somewhere. Very practical woman, like CM wrote, to step aside. I like her worldliness ways and her “amusement” of the singing–she was a bit snarky in a way.

  15. Tessa Dare
    · March 25th, 2008 at 2:02 pm · Link

    YAY to Pamela! Gillian, thanks for letting us know. Other FanLitters representing in the finalists so far include Darcy Burke (also in Regency historical) and Liese Sherwood-Fabre (in Strong Romantic Elements).

    And I think there are more, who may not be “out” yet… 😉

    Well, and let’s not neglect Anna Campbell’s double RITA final! She’s part of the FanLit family, too!

    It’s all so exciting!!!!

  16. Alice Audrey
    · March 25th, 2008 at 2:36 pm · Link

    I’m with you. Though for the kid’s sake I don’t want him to end up with the Baroness, I do want her to end up with someone to lvoe.

  17. Janga
    · March 25th, 2008 at 4:40 pm · Link

    I haven’t seen TSOM in ages, although I have seen it countless times. I never thought about identifying with the Baroness. Since even the Baroness seems young to me now, if I watched TSOM at this point, I would probably identify with the nuns in the convent, fond of Maria but glad someone else has to listen to all that cheery singing.

    I still love Jane Eyre, but I admit that I have never been able to view Rochester the same way since I first read Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.

    Congrats to all the GH finalists!

  18. Jackie Barbosa
    · March 25th, 2008 at 5:22 pm · Link

    And I think there are more, who may not be “out” yet… 😉

    I sure hope so! It’s so great to see so many former FanLitters finaling this year. I tell ya, Avon ought to be patting themselves on the back. Whatever they may have expected out of that contest, I think they got far more for the romance and publishing industry than they bargained for.

    Congrats to Darcy, Courtney, Pam, and Liese. Isn’t it fun to be able to say we knew them “when”?

  19. doglady
    · March 25th, 2008 at 7:03 pm · Link

    Huge congrats to Darcy, Courtney and Liese! And of course I am jumping for joy for Anna C! She is just the best! I want to thank all of the Fanlitters for all of the support, suggestions, information and just plain sisterhood you have given me over the last year or so since the Avon Event. The best thing I got out of it was meeting all of you. I am still so thrilled I cannot even tell you. A Golden Heart finalist! Can you believe it!! Our own Tessa is leading the way!

    Hmm. As to the other woman. I think it is harder to write her as sympathetic. Making her the villain is easy. Making her human is hard, but most of the time tells a far better story!

  20. Santa
    · March 25th, 2008 at 8:20 pm · Link

    I’ve watched TSOM every year for as long as I can remember back when TV only had five channels, lol!

    I see stupid Rolf as a VIT (villian in training) and would love to see him see the errors of his ways shortly after the VonTrapps live.

    I generally vote for villians to reform. Villianesses are so rare in romance it’s hard to find one to cheer for. Therese from Jo Beverley’s Company of Rogues series still gives me the willies!

    BTW, Congrats to all the GH and RITA finalists. Can’t wait until 2010 when we can squeee for our own Tessa!

  21. CM
    · March 26th, 2008 at 5:59 am · Link

    Hey, we have another addition to authors! Shana Galen, with “Blackthorne’s Bride”! She was so sweet in FanLit–I’m so happy to see her on the list!

    And she wasn’t in FanLit, but good for Lisa Kleypas, with a double final!

  22. Keira Soleore
    · March 26th, 2008 at 7:33 am · Link

    I’ve whooped and squealed on various blogs — thought I’d come here and do some squeeing too for Pam, CM, and Darcy!!

  23. Lady Leigh
    · March 26th, 2008 at 8:18 am · Link

    Congrats everyone!!! I am so happy to see my peers find success!!

    I am a huuuge Sound of Music fan. I sing the songs to my son everyday. LOL. He’s going to grow up knowing what a ‘lonely goat herder’ is.

    I always secretly liked the baroness for what she was- beautiful, cultured, and a real baroness! You can’t blame her reaction to the Von Trapp children, as the Captain probably led her to believe that they were secondary in his life. She only knew the Captain as he was in Vienna.

    Also, I think it was kind, in a way, for the Baroness to help Maria recognize her feelings for the Captain.

    Did you know that the real Maria wrote a book that the play/movie is based on? The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Von Trapp. Some day I will come to the surface of my sea of romance novels and read this book.

  24. Lenora Bell
    · March 26th, 2008 at 11:57 am · Link

    I always thought the Baroness was lovely. But she had it all, beauty, wealthy, sophistication, why did she need Captain Von Trapp, too?

    It’s funny to go back and watch things when you’re much older, though. I just watched Gigi and I had NO idea that it was about a courtesan-in-training when I watched it as a child. I just thought champagne! sparkly dresses! whee! and all that stuff about being a kept woman went right over my head.

    HUGE HUGE SQUEE for all the FanLit Golden Heart and RITA finalists. Represent!!!!