How was everyone’s holiday? Here it was good but very cold (and still getting colder! I am sooo ready for springtime). I had a great time burrowing in with new books and DVDs, working on the WIP (did I mention it’s due in February? Yep, 3 1/2 weeks away), dressing my Poodle in her Snuggie for Dogs, and eating candy. But I did manage to make it out to see a couple of movies, including the totally adorable Princess and the Frog.

This probably won’t surprise you, given my deep love for things like Hello Kitty and bright pink shoes, but I am a Disney movie fanatic. Beauty and the Beast remains my all-time favorite, not only for its sheer gorgeousness but because Belle has brown hair and likes to read books. Princess and the Frog isn’t quite Beauty and the Beast great (for one thing, the songs aren’t especially memorable, plus it’s hard to beat the Beast as a hero), but it is very charming. Roger Ebert called it “sprightly and high-spirited” which is a very good description.

The setting of 1920s New Orleans is stupendous, one of the best I’ve seen in a Disney movie. But what’s a Disney fairy-tale without great characters? Tiana and Prince Naveen fit the bill very well, and one thing I was struck by is how romance novel-esque they were (except for the being frogs part. That might be a bit hard to pull off, even for a paranormal author!). Tiana is the most self-sufficient and independent of all the Disney “princesses.” She works two waitress jobs to save for her dream of owning her own restaurant. She is focused and hard-working, and she takes no nonsense. But this is also her weakness, as she never slows down to enjoy life or the people around her. She doesn’t stop to consider love.

Prince Naveen is exactly the opposite. His character arc is not quite as well-developed as Tiana’s, but at least he has one, unlike, say, Cinderella’s prince. His whole character was being handsome and owning a castle. Naveen has been cut off by his royal parents for being a fluff-off party boy. He just wants to enjoy life, and has never worked at anything. Now he has to either marry a rich girl or (gasp!) get a job.

You see how this is fitting together? They each have strengths (and weaknesses) the other lacks, and their journey to discover this fact, from dislike to love, is wonderful. When Naveen decides he will get a job (or 2 or 3!) to get Tiana her restaurant, you know its true love–if they can defeat the evil, scary villain and turn back into humans again. Plus Tiana has some great clothes, always very important. I especially liked her streamlined, flapper-ish wedding gown at St. Louis Cathedral.

This is one of the things I enjoy most in writing romance fiction. Creating 2 characters and discovering what it is that makes them perfect for each other. What is it about them that will enable them to not only fall in love, but stay in love through all life’s trials? Though none of my characters have ever been turned into amphibians before!

Did you see The Princess and the Frog? What did you think? And who are some of your favorite romance novel (and Disney movie) pairings?