Friday, December 28, 2012
Thank you so much to everyone who commented and joined our little blog. We have exciting things planned in the future - including a face lift, lots of contests, interviews with new and interesting authors and of course, lots and lots of talk about movies, television, books and food. We're thrilled to have you join us for the conversation!
Now, our winners!
Winner of the VISA card - crystaley73
Winner 1 of a whack of books - (digital or paper your choice) - traveler
Winner 2 of a whack of books digital or paper - CAROL L
Thanks again and here's to everyone's healthy and happy New Year!!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Gifting Books Christmas hop was organized by Reading Romances!
The best books I've ever given or received? That's a tough one, we're a big book giving family. My husband is awesome with the cookbooks, the big fancy ones with pictures of food no one in my family will actually eat. My brother is a genius in the bargain bin and picked up one of my favorite books of all time: Brady Udall's genius book of short stories - Letting Loose The Hounds. There was the year my mom gave me the Little House On the Prairie Box set - that's a treasured gift. And this year, I'm giving the new Springsteen Biography - to MYSELF! I look forward to hiding from my kids stealing time to read that gem.
What you can win here: A $50 Pre-paid Visa card to help with your holiday shopping and a whole whack of books
Number of winners:One grand prize winner (The Visa card) and two winners of the whack of books
Open to US and Canada and winners will be chosen Monday Dec 24 and notified through this blog:
How to enter: Leave a comment below about your favorite holiday gift and follow us -- it's just that easy
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I went to see Cloud Atlas after having read the book and liked it. So I'm starting to break some other rules. Instead of shunning Christmas, I attended SantaCon this past Saturday. This is what Union Square looked like at about noon:
This is what I looked like:
This is what I drank at our first stop (we were damn classy Santas):
The experience was, in a word, awesome. Totally awesome. I loved it. If I'd stuck to my usual rules of avoiding all things Christmas that I'm not forced to participate in, I wouldn't have gotten to experience that. It would have been a shame.
I'm also considering breaking some of my writing rules. I've been a pretty strict POV task mistress with myself. No head hopping. If I'm in 1st person at the beginning, I stay in that person's head for the whooollllleeee book. If I'm in third, only one head per scene. You know, the drill.
I'm not saying I'm throwing it all out the window, but I'm considering writing one character in first person and the rest in third. Crazy. I know.
So what rules are you considering breaking in 2013?
Friday, December 14, 2012
More and more I'm leaning towards the genre mash up. I love the combination of elements and it's been missing from my reading list for a while. I go back to some of my earliest adult reading experiences and the Sydney Sheldon books I read over and over which combined adventure and sex and exotic locations, or Judith Krantz which was so over the top and completely enjoyable because they were so over written.
I love YA books, but I want to read about adults again, in dangerous situations, with great romance and fascinating characters.
That's what I'm looking for in the year ahead. More genre mashups, because they have been some of my favourite reading experiences this past year. Maybe if I'm lucky Brook will release another steam punk this year, and I'd love to find another great urban fantasy series, so any recommendations would be gratefully received.
Anything on your reading wish lists? What was the highlight of your 2012 reading year?
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I was a Daniel Craig fan from way back, having seen him in some great indie films before he was ever cast as 007, and I think the darker, more realistic rendering of this character is exciting and more appealing, but tonight I went to see A View to a Kill on the big screen and I'd forgotten just how fun and entertaining the old school Bond films are.
In fact, maybe I didn't forget. Truth is, I don't think I actually saw a lot of them. In fact, I don't think I saw any in the theatres. Bond movies were, for me, something you watched late at night when there was nothing else on TV, not something you went to see in a movie theartre where you had to spend your babysitting or gymnastic coaching money on a ticket....
But A View to a Kill was so much fun.
Who couldn't love:
- A theme song by Duran, Duran (played both at the beginning--and the end)
- Tons of neon paint and ribbons, lit with black lights, in the opening credits. (seriously, one girl was only wearing neon ribbons)
- A snow boarding scene, before snow boarding was really a thing, with the Beach Boys' California Girls playing -- set in Russia. (I am not joking. The scene cuts from a fast paced skiing chase scene, with Bond being shot at and chased by about 15 KGB agents, with um, "this is exciting" chase music in the background, and then Bond straps part of a snowmobile to his ski boots, in some inexplicable way, and it becomes a snow board and the music changes to The Beach Boys...)
- Tons of eye rolling and/or groan inducing sexual innuendoes
- A total airhead of a Bond girl (seriously, I think she might have been the worst, ever) who's supposed to be a geologist, but who talks like a porn star and clearly had difficulty memorizing her lines, never mind injecting believable emotion into them, and wears high heels, not only to run around in a mine, but also to balance on the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Good strategy. ;)
- Grace Jones, being kind of awesome--and also wearing high heels in a mine
- A young Christopher Walken as one of the best Bond villains ever. Seriously, why had I never seen this movie?
- A construction site trailer that turns into a blimp
- A crazy, Bond-worthy plot
- Hilarious computers
- Constant lessons/info dumps about microchips and how they're made from sand and used in computers... and why it's called Silicon Valley...
- Patrick Bauchau as the villain's main side-kick, who I think is one of the coolest actors ever. (I always think of him as Canadian actor, because he played the patriarch in Canadian TV's answer to Dallas and Dynasty, called Mount Royal... but, LOL, he's Belgian and his time in Canadian TV isn't even listed in his imdb bio! I loved that show... (Cool thing I did learn in his imdb bio... he worked for a time with Salvador Dali making sculptures. And he's married to Brigitte Bardot's sister. Told you he's cool.)
- At least three blonde actresses in the first ten minutes, all with Farrah Fawcett haircuts, whom I couldn't tell apart. Seriously. I was positive the chick in the restaurant at the top of the Eifell Tower with the butterfly act was the same girl who picked Bond up, with her snowsuit unzipped to her navel, in the submarine that was disguised as an iceberg, in Russia in the previous scene. (I think that was an experiment in how many phrases I can fit into one sentence. Fewer than that, I think.)
- A reminder that in 1985 there was apparently a rule that you either had to have your hair cut like Farrah Fawcett or Dorothy Hammil--even though both hairstyles were nearly a decade out of date by that time.
Oh, I could go on... So. Much. Fun.
And then I came home and watched last night's Christmas episode of Parenthood.
Is anyone else watching this show? Oh the tears. Oh the tears. I had to watch a Parks & Recreaction rerun to recover.
"Seven Heads, the dramatic tale of an Israeli soldier who falls in love with conjoined Palestinian sextuplets. Out soon from Focus Features."
"Welcome to "Thought for your Thoughts." I'm Derry Merbles sitting in for Nina Joplin who's touring the country performing a spoken word opera about pear shaped women."
"A bat signal, for listeners who might not know, refers to the children's character The Bat Man, a strong gentleman who fights crime nocturnally."
"Coming up after the break, movie reviews with Ken Tucker, who's filling in for David Ballincouli, who's in New York filling in for Ken Tucker."All this before the opening credits.
Oh, that show cracks me up.
PS. In case you're wondering how I ended up seeing a Bond movie from 1985 last night: The TIFF Bell Lightbox has a Bond exhibition on right now to celebrate the 50th anniversary, and are showing all the old Bond films... And they are doing cheap martinis in the lounge, which is the real reason I went... And I actually got a scene and a half written. Martinis appear to be the secret ingredient for this manuscript.
Which Bond you like better -- old or new? Silly or dark? Shaken or who cares?
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The episode I watched was about a young woman who fell in love over FaceBook and texting with a young man who was a model who worked making cue cards for the Chelsea Lately show while studying to be an anesthesiologist online. Not suspicious at all, right?
SPOILER ALERT: The dude was not who he said he was, but what he was still surprised me, then horrified me, then touched me.
I know it's only been one episode and I might get sick of the whole deep psychological reasons that people might pretend to be something that they're not, but for the moment I can definitely see this as my new laundry folding companion. What better thing to match socks to then bizarre stories about online dating?
Anyone else watching this one? Seen the movie?
Monday, December 10, 2012
Now the seedy bad guy was initially a good guy and the guy in my head was Idris Alba...nice, right? But then he had to be bad and I didn't want to waste Idris on a bad guy. So, the best good-looking slightly slimy guy I can think of - Bradley Cooper. Because no matter what character he plays...I think he's kind of a scum bag. And that must suck for Cooper - because I imagine a lot of people think that about him. Was it the Hangover character? While hilarious, still awful. Not sure.
But then last night I saw Silver Linings Playbook - and my opinion has changed. that was a naked, raw, actually kind of ugly performance. He's a man with mental illness, undiagnosed bi-polar. He's awful and wonderful in turns and he knows it and he tries to be wonderful, but can't stop being awful. He's freaking GREAT in it.
There were problems with the movie - the first two/thirds made my quirky romance loving heart go pitter pat. But the last third fell apart. The transition from gritty to screwball, just didn't work for me. Oddly, enough it worked for Maureen.
Anyone else see it? Anyone else discover a new love for Bradley Cooper?
Friday, December 07, 2012
I'm not a huge musical theatre fan, but I'm a massive Les Mis fan, and when they released the trailer of Anne Hathaway singing Dream a little Dream, well, it became my favourite movie of the year, right then.
I'm going to adore Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, and Hathaway apparently is amazing and my favourite character has always been Eponine. Who doesn't love noble, unrequited love?
I'm in, and waiting impatiently for the release Christmas Day, and at the same time, also looking forward to Zero Dark Thirty, and I still have to see Argo. So many movies to see, and add Life of Pi to the list.
It's like summer all over again, except with darker, more serious movies.
What I'm missing are some books to get excited about. I would love to be anxiously awaiting the release of something great. I kind of wish book releases got the same treatment as movies. I know book trailers are important, but they're not the same medium and they don't go viral in the same way. There are some book review sites I check all the time, like Dear Author and All About Romance, but nothing that really creates a real excitement for a great book.
Anyone got any recommendations? Anything coming up you're really excited to read?
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Last night I saw Life of Pi.
Full disclosure. I LOVED this book. Loved it. Loved how it made me think about the power of faith and/or how the human mind uses storytelling to cope with not only the unknown (God) but also to cope with traumatic experiences...
And the movie did the same, if maybe in a more heavy handed way. This movie is an interesting one for this topic because, while I think a big part of the appeal of the movie was the images, I also think images were a big part of the appeal of the book. The writer was able to describe things in such a way that we saw them as a reader... I must go back and take another look. It's been nearly a decade since I read the book.
Good news is that I loved the movie, too. The story is framed differently than the book, (I'm pretty sure... **see I haven't read the book in a decade) but the framing worked and added some context and a sense of reality and was a more interesting framing than a boy in a hospital bed talking to Japanese businessmen. Which, if I recall, didn't actually frame the book, just ended it... (And the framing in the movie meant we got some nice shots of Montreal.)
The other two I want to mention are probably a little harder to find: Beasts of the Southern Wild and Samsara.
Beasts of the Southern Wild I actually saw months ago and meant to talk about it then. If you can find this one somewhere, I highly recommend it, and also highly recommend seeing it on a big screen if you can.
It's the story of a little girl named Hushpuppy living in a swamp called the Bathtub. I'm not 100% sure, but I got the impression it's an area that was purposefully left partially flooded and unprotected after Hurricane Katrina. The government tried to move everyone out of the area, but some people refused to move. And still refuse to even when another storm approaches and floods them again.
But it's not really about that. It's about this very little girl (5 or 6?) who's almost living on her own. Her dad is around, but he makes her live in her own dwelling and barely takes care of her and he's not doing too well and often she needs to take care of him. The girl has been learning about prehistoric animals and imagines danger in the form of these great mastodon-sized pigs. And that image/idea comes to a head near the end of the film in an inventive way and shows the great bravery of our young heroine.
Great movie. Try to find it.
And Samsara. This one is purely visual. I'm not sure if there is a word spoken during this movie. It's a series of spectacular images set to music and it's mesmerizing. Wow. Hard to describe. Try to find it in a good movie theatre. And Go. :)
This trailer intrigued me enough to want to go, but it doesn't do the film justice.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Yep! A great big box of the mass market re-release of Dead on Delivery. So if I got a box of 'em. You can get 'em, too!
I'm really pleased about this re-release. I feel like this is one of those instances where a publisher goes the extra mile for an author. We were never sure where my Messenger series belonged. Was it a paranormal romance? Was it an urban fantasy? Yes, to both. So now the first two books are available on both sets of shelves.
I'm not sure if you remember from the last re-release, but I wrote a short story that takes place in the Messenger world with a different protagonist to celebrate the whole re-release thing. Payback for a Post-Mortem is still available for just 99 cents or, if you feel like signing up for my newsletter over at my website, you can get it for free!
Happy Tuesday everyone!