Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan – Can’t Resist Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

Some Awesome Romance

We don’t just #LoveRomance. We #Can’tResistRomance — especially when we stumble across our favorite royal wefilms on TV when we’re supposed to be writing. And by “stumble,” we mean, “pore ceaselessly through the program guide looking for a gentle distraction so that we don’t have to solve our own plot problems.”

But it’s more than just wanting to get away from our work. For one thing, a transportive emotional experience is an unparalleled way to lift your mood and focus you on life’s possibilities rather than hardships (and at least with a movie on, you can pretend you’re multi-tasking; no such luck with a book); for another, there is so much inspiration to be had when you are reminded, in the words of one addictive film, that love actually is all around us. The mere sight of Jim Broadbent’s face in Bridget Jones’ Diary once propelled us through a father/daughter moment in The Royal We, and the image of Colin Firth climbing out of the lake in Pride and Prejudice... well, that’s just flat-out life-affirming, and makes even the worst deadline seem doable. Mercifully, the world is a never-ending buffet of romantic comfort food, and we will never judge how you fill your plates — if Jennifer Lopez dating an increasingly confused-seeming Ralph Fiennes in Maid in Manhattan is your jam, who are we to argue? — but we thought we’d share our suggestions for the next time you’re procrastinating. Or battling that old villain, Writer’s Block. Or you just want to laugh and cry at once.

BROADCAST NEWS: Every single bit of this movie is perfect, except maybe for the terrible haircut that Holly messyHunter gets at the end (spoiler?). And while it’s true that it doesn’t have a traditional happily ever after ending, what it does have it is a sparkling script, a heroine who chooses herself and her brain and her professional ethics over sex — a fairly revolutionary act for an 80s flick, especially with William Hurt tempting her at the height of his hotness — a brilliant look at male/female friendships, and a really really brilliant scene about theme songs. Bonus: You can lose more hours trying to figure out how to make that clip your ringtone.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: This is painfully obvious, but it had to be said. If you have not seen it, please go watch it RIGHT NOW and then come find us; you’ll need us to soothe your upset at having lived so long without it.  

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: Mila Kunis got more attention for “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” but this follow-up is just as able a showcase of her easy charisma. It also boasts a surprisingly decent Justin Timberlake, Shaun White playing a hilariously random version of himself, and a way funnier movie-within-the-movie gag than the one in Trainwreck. It’s not perfect, but it’s so, so watchable.

THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT: He didn’t send the bill to the floor to get her back! And she didn’t come back because he sent that bill to the floor! SNIFFLE. It’s Aaron Sorkin before he got all unbearably Aaron Sorkin-y, and it’s a real grown-up romance between two gorgeous grown-up actors who are sexy and self-effacing and wonderful. Bonus: The return to film of Michael J. Fox, and a sighting of future president Jeb Bartlett of The West Wing.

STOMP THE YARD: It’s low on the comedy, but who cares. You come for the stomping of various yards, and stay for the classic dance-movie romance between the University president’s daughter and the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s impossible not to turn this one on when you come across it.

THE HOLIDAY: Do you want to know a secret? We don’t actually like this movie. And yet we CANNOT RESIST IT. Because, for as cringey and awful as the Kate Winslet storyline is, the parts with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are all cozy winter cottages and soft sweaters and boots and snuggles. Besides, yelling at the cringey awfulness of the Winslet storyline is weirdly satisfying. Warning: Do not watch without a steady flow of hot chocolate and/or hot toddies.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY: A FAR more satisfying Kate Winslet film (although if we’re being honest, we also sense and sensibilitynever pass up a chance to turn on Titanic). If you did not before understand Alan Rickman as a dashing romantic hero, you will. And knowing that Emma Thompson herself married Willoughby in real life just adds to its charms.

BRIDE AND PREJUDICE: If you can resist a Bollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Aishwarya Rai (possibly the world’s best-looking person), Rory Gilmore, hot hot hot Naveen Andrews, and Ashanti playing herself….you are far stronger than we are. Also, why are you trying to resist?

A ROOM WITH A VIEW: We named the jovial, charming younger brother in The Royal We after the jovial, charming younger brother in this film. It truly has everything, from swoony clinches in Italian fields to Maggie Smith to Daniel Day-Lewis being attacked by a bee to full-frontal male nudity. Never let it be said that an intellectual period piece can’t also be naughty.

WORKING GIRL: Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith locking horns over work AND Harrison Ford? While Joan Cusack wanders around in electric eye-makep and hair as tall as the Chrysler Building? Sign us up.

FEVER PITCH: What could possibly be more romantic than a man recommitting, year after year, to his unrequited love of the Boston Red Sox? This was the movie that taught us Jimmy Fallon had oodles of charm, and we love sports, so when the Red Sox win at the end we MIGHT cry. Always.

THE WEDDING SINGER: If Billy Idol bringing about true love on a plane does not slay you, then perhaps you are made of stone.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE: Speaking of wuv… twoo wuv… If you have not experienced it, please refer back to our When Harry Met Sally comments.

BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY: We will watch Colin Firth do anything — even wear reindeer jumpers and help Renee Zellweger cook blue soup. This particular Firth-a-thon is a tremendously delicious two hours to spend with him, given that he’s ably assisted in hotness and ridiculousness by Hugh Grant (who, with our Love, Actually mention up top, has a trifecta of flicks on this list), and that…well, you know. It’s Bridget Jones. We like it very much, just as it is. Indeed, Renee Zellweger may never have been more perfect.

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan recommend: 

Deanna Raybourn     www.deannaraybourn.com    (at Amazon)  

Her awesomeness will not be new to this site, we’re sure, but the world cannot say enough good things about Deanna. Her latest heroine, Veronica Speedwell, suffers no fools and waits for no man. Sometimes the best romance is when you love your life just as much as you love the flesh.

Rachel Hollis      thechicsite.com/start-here    (at Amazon)

Rachel, who also runs The Chic Site, wrote a trilogy — Party Girl, Sweet Girl, and Smart Girl — that not only has plenty of swoon-worthy guys, but also brims with the most important kind of true love: the one you find with your best friends.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

JESSICA: I firmly believe that there are moments of romance happening everywhere, if you’re just willing to keep an eye open for them. Obviously, we all love that big sweeping moment of a glorious gesture — the violins swelling in the background, your hair looking AMAZING (if just in your mind, even). For me, living in Los Angeles, sometimes even looking out the window at the sunset is romantic — what can I say? I am moved by the fantastic qualities of this city’s natural lighting. There IS a reason we call it Magic Hour; everyone looks like they’re in a movie while the sun is going down.

HEATHER: I agree that sometimes romance is in the little things — the light, the scenery, the mood. I remember just standing on the beach in North Carolina at twilight with my entire side of the family, watching us play with each other’s kids, watching them hug each other… It was a love so powerful it almost knocked me down. There’s romance in realizing your blessings, you know? Changes to all be together are so few and far between, and it was nice to chuck out all the bathwater so to speak and just revel in the big family that grew out of the immediate family we were given. Also… this is going to sound crazy, but two of my best examples involve The Sound of Music. While traveling alone about thirteen years ago, I went on the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg — in fact, I may have gone out of my way to stop in Salzburg to do this — and it was so wonderful because the bus was chock-a-block with other people who loved the movie. We sang along to the soundtrack. We visited Liesl’s gazebo and that canopy where they skip around singing “Do Re Mi,” and the church where Maria and the Captain got married. And the whole thing made my heart swell. We were all there thanks to a shared love of this movie, which was itself a movie about love (of family, of song, of country), and touching the things that were such a major part of it… for one short afternoon we were all each other’s best friends, and there is a certain romance in that. I got a similar feeling at the Sound of Music Singalong at the Hollywood Bowl, where they play a special print of the film that has the song lyrics at the bottom. When the sun sets — the Bowl is outdoors — the movie begins, and again, you’re united with every last person there by how much you love that movie and how loudly you suddenly want to sing and cry and boo and hiss and cheer. I swear, if we all could have joined hands, we would have.

 Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

JESSICA: Heather and I have a lot of friends with whom we talk about the books that we’re all reading — our friend Carrie, in particular, is a big reader of romance and is always telling us what she’s into at the moment. But the person with whom I share romance the most, I suspect, is Heather — because we’re writing it together and have to plot out what the absolute swooniest gesture might be at any given moment!

HEATHER: I honestly think a real, true friendship is its own kind of romance, so for sure Jessica and I have that. We’ve always put a lot of value in the women in our lives, because those relationships are lifelong love affairs all their own. Romance doesn’t have to be sexual. It can be emotional and mental and spiritual as well. We’re lucky to have even this one friendship that fulfills us each this much, not to mention the ones we have with our other ladies, our siblings, even our readers. Life is rich. We actually try to reflect that as much as possible in our books. Friendships play a huge role.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

JESSICA: I think all my personal romantic highlights have happened in very quotidian locations. But I will note that I think Paris really does live up to its reputation as a highly romantic city — regardless of whether or not you’re there with your sweetie.

HEATHER: Church bells. I cannot hear a lovely clanging bell without feeling a swell in my heart or a lump in my throat. My sister recently lived in Stuttgart, in a wonderful apartment that had a view of the city, and in the mornings on Sundays you could hear a gaggle of pealing church bells for ages, and it was so fabulous that I actually got choked up.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

JESSICA: There are a ton of couples I’ve gotten attached to over the years — from Dylan and Brenda to Mulder and Scully to Pacey and Joey — that it feels unfair to pick just one. I am a person who finds a couple to root for in basically everything I consume — for example, like all feeling people, I really wanted Chris Darden and Marcia Clark to get together in the recent American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen in the course of the show. Essentially, I just always want attractive people to make out.

HEATHER: My grandparents. She was a real beauty, and he was a real personality; they were unforgettable together and were married 60 years before we lost him. I will never forget when I was about 14 and my grandmother had cancer, and lost her lovely red curls. It made her terribly self-conscious, so she would wear those little head coverings around the house. One night at dinner she finally admitted that it was really itching her, and although it clearly made her uncomfortable to bare herself, she took it off. My grandfather looked at her with wonder in his eyes and said, “Evie, I never realized what a beautifully shaped head you have.” I am not sure who cried first. Fast forward to this week: My husband and I recently had a (totally shallow) conversation about whether I should grow my hair back our or keep it short, and he said he doesn’t mind because he just likes my hair, period. I joked that maybe I’d shave it off. He said, “Then you’ll probably turn out to have a beautifully shaped head.” I couldn’t believe he used that same phrase. I consider that a good omen. If we can mirror my grandparents’ life together then we have done it right.

Tell us about your dream date. 

JESSICA: I’ve had a lot of good dates in my life, but don’t we all hope that our dream date is still ahead of us — even if we’re happily coupled up? I’ve got my fingers crossed for a impromptu trip to Hawaii, personally.

HEATHER: One guy I was seeing surprised me with an impromptu trip to London for a weekend, which was awesome. But I’ve been married for ten years to my dream date, so pretty much anything we do together is my favorite — be it furniture shopping or groceries or a family trip to Vegas. We did finally get a couple nights away without the kids and we spent them in New York. We saw a show every night, one of which was “Hamilton,” and we ran in the park every morning and went to a bunch of museums, and ate well… that was a really fantastic trip. It’s always romantic when you can take the kids out of the equation and be like, “Yep, I still just really like talking to you, and you make even banal things fun.”

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan are generously giving away a signed copy of THE ROYAL WE. (US only, apologies to international friends.)  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 17, 2016. Good luck! 

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading


heatherjessicaheadshotHeather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are the creators of the popular celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself, and have written for New York magazine and Cosmopolitan, among others.

Their novel The Royal We is a national best-seller, and they are also the authors of two young adult novels, Spoiled and Messy.

Learn more:

www.gofugyourself.com      |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Buy Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

  • Linda Henderson

    I love The American President and so does my daughters. We used to watch it every time it came on. I’m not a fan of The Princess Bride but once again my daughters love it. And Working Girl is a classic. I even like the Romance of Die Hard. What he goes through to spend Christmas with his family.

    • What?! Not a fan of Princess Bride? How can that be?? ;o)

  • Sue G.

    The American President is my second favorite movie of all time! (Grease being the first!) I love the line, “Just stay away from Dupont Circle, I hear it’s murder this time of day.”

  • Sarah

    Not surprised that you two gave a great list – definitely a few I need to rematch now!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Great post! thanks for the movie and author recommendations too.

  • ANNETTE

    Y’all love the same movies I do, so that means I absolutely trust your judgment on everything. When Harry Met Sally has been a favorite since it first came out and no matter what, I can watch it and get all the feelings I got the first time I watched it. Thank you for your post….it is lovely.

  • cheryl c.

    What a great list of romantic movies!

  • Pamby50

    I kept going down your movie list and there were only a couple I never saw. Will have to check them out. The first time I saw The Princess Bride was with my daughter. Every time it came on, we watched it together. So this year she calls to tell me that she watched it with Michelle’s daughter Kira, who is autistic. She was having an episode till the movie came on. She snuggle up next to my daughter and watched the whole movie. When it was over she said, “Miss Angel, can we watch it again.” Another convert to the movie.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I have seen a bunch of those movies, but When Harry Met Sally is my all time favorite! My sister and I quote it all the time!

  • Molly

    I have seen a lot of the movies one your movie list and I loved them.

  • Meghan Stith

    Church bells! That’s so true. I was trying to think of a romantic sound and couldn’t think of one but bells or chimes are very romantic and ethereal!

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    Thank you for sharing your post. I really enjoyed reading about how you too might write together yet be two separate personalities. OH My Goodness!!! Colin Firth coming out of the lake!! I can’t imagine a better movie moment than that.

  • Toni

    I love The American President. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched it!

  • rebecca moe

    “Essentially, I just always want attractive people to make out.”

    Amen to that!

    Great movie list–and a reminder that I need to schedule some mother-daughter nights to introduce her to the ones on it she hasn’t seen yet–just last night I heard the theme song to Working Girl (at the supermarket where she works while I was waiting for her to finish) and told her when she got in that we HAD to see that movie soon 🙂

    Thank you for posting–The Royal We has been on my TBR; I’m going to have to bump it up!

  • Chanpreet

    I feel like romance lovers often share a similar taste in romantic movies. The American President, Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice (in all forms) are some of my favorites!

    I too would love a love story and relationship like the one my grandparents have. I’m still looking for mine, but Heather it really seems you’ve found yours!

  • Ann Mettert

    I’ve seen and enjoyed most of these movies.

  • Mary McCoy

    Romance is all around!

  • Julie Nieves

    I agree with your comments about The Holiday! Such a bad movie, yet strangely enthralling.