Monday, April 12, 2010

The Winning Poems!

I know it's been awhile, but Tasya (my West Coast publicist and a poet herself) and I have finally chosen winners for the "O, JULIET Love Poetry Competition." The two Grand Prize Winners will receive a signed copy of O, JULIET, and an absolutely gorgeous leather journal from La Vida Bella & Company. I didn't realize how spectacular they were until I held one in my hands. Just looking at these journals would inspire you to write poetry or your memoirs. I suggest you visit their website ( and check out their lovingly handcrafted works of art.

In the adult category was Boof's entry "How Did You Know?" She wrote saying, "I'm not poet..." but we heartily disagree. Boof is a literary blogger. Her blog is called The Book Whisperer and can be found at

How did you know?

The rain became prisms upon petals
The wind became the breath of the mountains
The frost became the cobwebs of silver spiders
I knew you were on your way

Flowers laughed their shy, silky giggles
Leaves danced in the mountains breath
My new reflection shone in the silvery panes
I knew you were on your way

When did I learn to breathe again?
When did I remember how to see?
When did I know how to feel alive?
You were here

In the young adult category Anne Sophie's entry "Psyche's Spring" takes the prize. She writes that this was her first poem. We're sure it won't be her last.

Psyche's Spring

I have a secret
It wakes me up at dawn
Quite weak with longing
I lie awake hearing the birdsong

I laugh without cause
I twirl and tumble down the garden
Feeling my lips moist
My heart thudding with desire

But only he knows the secret
At night I dream of him
All day I wait to see him
Oh, I am in such a fever for his touch

Our eyes meet
Our gazes lock
I dare not stare too long
For the temptation of his smile is so strong

There were two runners-up, both of them bloggers who kindly hosted me on my O, JULIET blog tour. Here is Cherie Burbach's "For True Love I Said a Prayer." Cherie's blog is


As the morning sun kissed the sleepy earth,
I smiled and touched his face.
Gone from our midst was mere fondness,
and love somehow took it's place.

Those eyes,
that had watched me grow with him,
now begged me to come near.

Those lips,
that had spoke of kind advice,
now whispered in my ear.

Never more than just a friend,
I thought,
but now, he somehow is.

For true love, I then said a prayer,
and pressed my lips to his.

And this is Gautami Tripathy's "washed by words." Her blog is:

washed by words

one-legged, tilted to one side-
rusted garden bench
now sprouted with weeds
witness of my past deeds

the way I used to sit there
waiting. waiting for you.
the glances, the kisses
we shared, curled to its corner

we talked of our future
you did. I only listened
totally washed by your words
love radiating from me

which could be felt from
a radii of a kilometre.
it went on and on
basking in your words forever

one similar day, same place
same me, but not you. never again.
no words. sound of breath,
one's own, is so hard to listen to.

this present, which in a way
is well into the future of what
not to be, is as colourful
as the drab earth you joined.

twenty odd years, I still can't let you
out of me. whole of me. in the
bigger picture of my dead life
farewell holds no meaning

Thanks to everyone for entering. There were lots of other wonderful entries. If you want to read them all, please visit the earlier post announcing the competition.

Congratulations to the winners!

Lots of love,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Love Poetry Competition Update

Hi All,

Hope you had a great holiday weekend. All the entries are in for the O, JULIET Poetry Competition, and the judging has begun! In the next week or so I'll be preparing a new newsletter so that the winners can be announced to a larger audience. Again, the prizes for the adult and young adult categories are a signed copy of O, JULIET and a Renaissance style "Torbat" journal from the wonderful La Vida Bella Company in New Hampshire.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

O, JULIET is Published!

I'm thrilled to announce that my eighth baby has finally and officially come into the world. Many times, just after I've finished writing a book, I experience a sense of loss and a bit of free-floating anxiety. I've lived in the world I've re-created and been intimate with my characters for so long that I feel at loose ends and hardly know what to do with myself.

With O, JULIET, I extended my "pregnancy" for a full six months while I created and pursued this "extravaganza of shameless self-promotion" (a big virtual book tour, this new blog, the "Love Games," an updated website, and a newsletter), all of it focused on the web. You can read about this experience in my latest blog for The Huffington Post, "Publishing Revolution: Historical Fiction Evolves in Digital Age," right here:

But now that the bun is truly out of the over, it's reckoning time. O, JULIET will hit the front tables at Barnes and Noble and Borders next week (the Barnes and Noble chain has agreed to feature it for a full 4 weeks!). A blog ad campaign sponsored by my publishers, Penguin/NAL, will begin soon, and O, JULIET will be getting its very own "iPhone app" - a sneak peek at the first chapter - starting February 15th.

It's all in the hands of the Publishing Gods now.

Love Poetry Contest Deadline Extended

It's been exciting to read the heartfelt poems you've been posting here on my blog, but they've been trickling in veeeeery slowly. I've been thinking that once people have a chance to read O, JULIET, they might get inspired by the brilliant verse of the great Dante (whom I so liberally quote in the book), or they might become brave and take a chance like I did, (sharing my amateur poems in Romeo's and Juliet's voices with the public for the first time). So to give my readers some more wiggle room, I'm extending the deadline for the O, JULIET Poetry Competition for another two whole months -- till April 1st. Please take a chance and share your love!

Love Made Her Crazy!

I'm happy to announce the randomly selected winner of the third and final "O, JULIET Love Games Giveaway." Laura Robinson's wonderful story about the craziest thing she ever did for love -- separating from her beloved for a time to study abroad -- turned out to be the best thing the couple could have done for their relationship. The time apart gave them a sense of strength and independence and when they came together again, they realized just what a great team they were. They've been married now for ten years.

Laura has won a signed copy of O, JULIET and the beautiful hand-crafted, solid silver heart necklace...just in time for Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Winner for the "Words of Love Challenge!"

Hello everybody! I'm so excited about the response to this giveaway -- almost sixty of you wrote in with your favorite quotes about love. There was poetry, song and prose, and the entries were as diverse as they were moving. Though there's only one winner (chosen randomly) I hope you'll take some time and read these beautiful sentiments. And the winner is...Elizabeth! Here is the winning entry, which I find particularly wonderful, as it reminds me a lot of Max and me.

Elizabeth said...

This is kind of long. It's from St. Augustine, and I think it should be read by every couple who fancy themselves "in love."

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
-St. Augustine

So Elizabeth, a geography teacher from New England, will receive a signed copy of O, JULIET (my copies arrived just a few moments ago) and the beautiful blown glass heart necklace. Congratulations!

There's still another week left to enter your own love poetry to win a Renaissance style leather-bound journal.

And don't forget the "Love Makes You Crazy" Giveaway (that gorgeous solid silver heart necklace is the prize). There's still another week to go for that one as well. It seems a lot fewer folks are sharing their crazy-love experiences, but I've really enjoyed all the stories that have come in so far.

Lots of love,

Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is a whopper of a blog post. It's got three parts. I hope you'll persevere, scroll down, read them all and play the Love Games. I'm announcing the commencement of "The O, JULIET Love Poetry Competition," the last of the "O, JULIET Love Games" Giveaways, and the winner of the first. Finally, on the right are my first two Youtube author videos. They'll give you a peek into my own personal love story and a real-life adventure I wish I'd never had. Here goes!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The O, JULIET Love Poetry Competition

Your shoulders are broad beneath your shirt
I see them, hard and strong, with arms that have held me,
hands that have found me, fingers that have touched me.
These shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, built the Temple of Love,
lit my heart's fire, plumbed my soul's well,
plucked the sweet Fig of Desire, and placed it on my tongue.

-- Juliet Capelletti

When I initially made the decision that "my" Romeo and Juliet would not only be 15th century Dante freaks but amateur poets themselves, it didn't quite compute that they would both have to write love poetry...meaning I would have to write verse in both their voices. I must say, it gave me pause -- in all the years I've been writing I'd only dabbled with poetry for fun (I didn't let anybody read it except my husband). But I decided to take the plunge and while of course it's not Shakespeare, it was a lot of fun. It didn't hurt that neither Romeo nor Juliet were themselves anything more than amateurs. But the experience got me thinking that readers might like to take a crack at writing poetry about everybody's favorite emotion. Thus, the O, JULIET Love Poetry Competition was born.

There'll be two separate contests (and winners), one for adults, and one for young poets age 13-18. If you fall into the latter category, you'll need to let me know that in your entry. The winner in each category will receive a signed copy of O, JULIET, a Renaissance style leather-bound journal in which you can continue writing your award-winning poetry and prose, and a leisurely phone conversation with me.

To Enter, simply send in your poem (of any length) here to this blog by February 2nd. Please clearly include your name, email address and whether your poem should be judged in the adult or 13-19 year old category. The two winners will be announced on Valentines Day, 2010.

Lots of love,

Winner of the First "Love Games" Giveaway

I'm pleased to announce the randomly chosen winner of the "QUALITIES OF A LOVER" Giveaway. "The True Book Addict" with her entry: "I would have to say kindness, a sense of humor, a little confidence, but not too much..." has won a signed copy of O, JULIET and a beautiful Thai silver heart necklace (and bonus prize -- a matching pair of Thai silver heart earrings!). So Book Addict, as soon as I receive copies of my book I'll send out your prizes!

There's still another whole week for you to enter the "WORDS OF LOVE CHALLENGE" to win a hand-blown glass heart necklace. And I'm sure you'll enjoy reading, like I have, all the heartfelt entries.

Lots of love,

Friday, January 15, 2010

The "Love Makes You Crazy" Giveaway

Sometimes love drives us to distraction. It can make us do and say things we would not ordinarily think of doing and saying. We become obsessive, depressive, aggravated and infuriated. Historically and literarily, love has started wars (Paris and Helen of Troy), brought down governments (Lola Montez and Ludwig II of Bavaria) and churches (Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the Protestant Reformation), and has even lead to suicide (Romeo and Juliet). And let us not forget the effect that Thomas Seymour had on Queen Dowager Catherine Parr (Henry VIII’s 6th wife) and on the Princess Elizabeth at age thirteen. Young Bess and her trusted servants almost lost her heads over that obsession (read my novel, VIRGIN, for the full story).

Dante Alighieri’s little volume Vita Nuova (musings and poetry about his affair of the heart with the lovely Beatrice published in 1293) declared: “Love's power is insane!” I couldn’t agree with him more. Here’s my story of going crazy for love.

When I was in my twenties, living in the upper Westside of New York, I ran off to Jamaica with a handsome, charismatic neighbor – a man I had known for exactly three days. After several blissful days in that tropical paradise, drinking, dancing, sunning, swimming and falling in gooey-eyed love, the guy pushed me to arms length, looked me in face and said, “You could turn out to be another Donna.” This was apparently his ex-wife, who had up-and-left-him one day, and whom he now hated. For the next week this man refused to speak to me! It occurred to me that he might be crazy, but I was stuck in Jamaica with him (“Ja, Mon!”) and despite his lunacy (or maybe because it was catching, I still thought I was in love with him.

When he dumped me off at my apartment I had somehow convinced myself that our affair was still happening. In the next week, unable to eat or sleep or work, and COMPLETELY obsessed, I called his office a dozen times a day (today we’d call that stalking!). I stayed glued to my front window to catch glimpses of him walking his dog past my door. But he never stopped by, and he never ever called.

Slowly I came to my senses and went on with my life. Three years later, by a ridiculous coincidence, I met up with “Donna” and we became friends. She confirmed what I’d suspected. The man was certifiable. In fact, she told me that he’d recently been arrested as a sniper!

So this week’s forum asks you to share the craziest or most life-changing thing you’ve ever done for love. It doesn’t have to be a radical obsession like mine was. It might be a big move to be with someone you just couldn’t live without. Or hiring a skywriting plane to tell your sweetheart how you felt. Or getting married underwater. And give me your email address. You can play the Love Games from anywhere in the world.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Words of Love Challenge

I was so delighted by the response to the first “O, JULIET Love Games Giveaway,” not just because so many readers entered, but because everyone who did enter put some real feeling – real heart – into their comments. The question I posed was “What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to you?” The answers ranged from poetic to practical. One woman was hoping for a lover who could sing. The hands-down winners in the qualities department (mentioned the most) were honesty, fidelity and a good sense of humor. There's still one more week for you to enter for the Thai silver necklace.

This week, in order to win the lovely hand-blown glass heart necklace pictured above, I’m going to ask that instead of searching your own heart for gems of wisdom about love and what it means to you, you find your favorite love quotation from literature, poetry or song and share it with me.

No other subject has been written about so frequently in all of our history as love. From biblical times:

“This is my beloved and this is my friend.” Song of Solomon

From ancient times:

“He is not a lover who does not love forever.” Euripides

I open O, JULIET with Shakespeare’s famous quote from “Romeo and Juliet.”

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite

There are well-known homilies:

“‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Tennyson

Lines from songs:

“All you need is love.”John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Ones that impart wisdom:

“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”Roger de Bussy-Rabutin

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”Sir Arthur Pinero

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich

Ones that are clever:

Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”Franklin P. Jones

“Do you love me because I'm beautiful, 
or am I am beautiful because you love me?Oscar Hammerstein, II

Ones that are humorous and even cynical:

“Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage.”Ambrose Bierce

Love is a thing that can never go wrong; And I am Marie of Romania.” – Dorothy Parker,

“Sex without love is an empty experience, but, as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.”Woody Allen

To enter for the blown glass heart, share a favorite quotation about love. The challenge is that there can be no duplicates! What I’m hoping is that during this process you can experience one of my favorite parts of writing – research. There are countless sites to be googled under “love quotations,” and they’re filled with fabulous wisdom. I had so much fun reading them and choosing my favorites, and I was endlessly surprised. So enjoy this challenge and get a literary education about love.

I’ll also need your email address to complete the entry.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Lots of love,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome to the first “O, JULIET Love Games” giveaway event! Not only is the theme HEARTS, but the prizes (besides signed copies of O, JULIET) are also HEARTS. How did this iconic symbol become the universal shorthand for love?
The most ancient reference dates back to the 7th century B.C. Cyrene, a city-state in North Africa, grew and traded a highly valued plant call silphium. In fact, the Cyrenese harvested this species of giant fennel to extinction. Why? Besides being used as an aphrodisiac, an ingredient in perfumes, and as a hair restorer, the plant was a highly effective birth control potion. So revered was silphium in the culture that its seed pod was memorialized on Cyrenese coinage. The shape of that pod? A perfect “heart.”

No wonder the shape came to be associated with love and eroticism – it allowed a man and a woman to make love without making a baby!

A bit later the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and the Roman physician, Galen, asserted that the human heart was the seat of all emotion. Perhaps because the organ beats faster when excited or stirred by love, these two ancient trend-setters believed it natural to associate the heart with passion. But the human heart doesn’t look much like the stylized version (the two humps above a pointy bottom) which is recognized by all major human cultures. Some believe it resembles the female pubic mound or a spread-open vulva. Turning it upside down draws comparisons to a pair of rounded, swinging breasts, or even the female buttocks. Perhaps more farfetched is the suggestion of the heart’s similarity to the tip of the penis.

By the 15th century, Europeans were celebrating Valentine’s Day (a fascinating subject which I’ll discuss in a post in February). And by the 16th century an Irishman had created the first “Claddagh ring” which, with its heart, hands and crown, was (and still is today) the Irish symbol of eternal love, friendship and loyalty.

In the 19th century the Victorians co-opted the arrow-pierced heart and accompanying cupid as the symbol of love, especially for Valentine’s Day.

Milton Glaser’s iconic I ♥NY logo has effectively turned the age-old symbol into a universally recognizable verb, now ubiquitous and used on bumper stickers and t-shirts to advertise everything from Japanese Pro Wrestling to a feature film called “I ♥ Huckabees.”

Whatever it’s history and however it is used, the heart remains a potent symbol of love, and since love is the one and only theme of O, JULIET, I couldn’t have chosen more perfect prizes for the first “Love Games” GIVEAWAY than hearts.


Over the next few weeks, I will be holding THREE SEPARATE GIVEAWAYS for a heart necklace and a signed copy of my new book O, JULIET. Be sure to check back here for many chances to win! Each giveaway will also function as a fun, open-forum discussion about love, as each giveaway will require participants to briefly answer a different question about love through the ages.

O, JULIET Love Game #1: What are the qualities in a lover that are most important to you?

This giveaway is for a carved Thai silver heart necklace and a copy of O, JULIET. It is open to all participants, worldwide. A winner will be chosen and announced on January 18th. In order to qualify for entry, please provide your e-mail address along with your answer to the Love Game question listed above.

I just made it possible for ANYONE to comment and enter this giveaway. You do NOT have to open a Google account. It was just a simple change in setting. Sorry for the earlier confusion.

Lots of love,