Category Archives: Movies

“It’s not brave if you’re not scared.”

 PJ here. I was watching an old movie the other day with a great premise, snappy dialogue, and excellent performances from Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie was BOUNCE, cir. 2000. It’s essentially a romance, but the premise is that a young mother of two becomes a widow when her husband dies in a plane crash after exchanging tickets with an ad exec. The playboy ad exec—played by Affleck—then goes off the deep end with guilt, and in an effort to redeem himself, sets out to help the widow, never imagining he’d fall in love with her.

The movie didn’t do well at the box office, and I won’t try to convince you there were Oscar worthy performances involved, but I appreciated the nuances. The evolution of the romance was sweet and entertaining, the individual character arcs were well executed, and the black moment was satisfying—if not predictable. But my favorite line of the movie was, “It’s not brave if you’re not scared.”

Again, this isn’t a new concept or an original line, per se, but it sums up so much of what we look for in our heroes and heroines. Heroism is in admitting your fear and acting anyway. Doing the right thing and not always the easy thing. Choosing to become the person you’re meant to be, rather than a shadow of your true potential. Growth is hard. Most days, it’s downright scary.

Sometimes fear paralyzes us, but it can also be a prime motivator. It pushes us to change, to step out of our comfort zone, or maybe even forces us to face a part of ourselves we’ve been hiding from for whatever reasons. The result–when we can manage to face our fears head on–is that we become stronger…better. It is in those moments of overcoming our fear through action that we become heroes. Examples of this can be seen in almost any romance novel or movie. We lovers of the genre live for that transformation and can’t wait to see our protagonist find the courage to change from scaredy-cat to hero by the end of the story.

Have you read any books lately or seen any movies that showcase this transformation particularly well?

Speaking of heroines facing their fears, if you haven’t read WANING MOON, book one in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael Trilogy, it’s now available for free download on all major e-retailers. Here is the blurb and links.

PJSharon_WaningMoon__200In the year 2057, in a post-apocalyptic world where a polar shift threatens the survivors of a widespread pandemic with extinction, sixteen-year-old genetically enhanced Lily Carmichael has more immediate problems. Her uncle is dying of cancer and her healing abilities are ineffective against the blood ties that bind them. In order to find a cure, Lily must leave the protection of her quiet town and journey to the trading city of Albany, all while avoiding the Industry, an agency that would like nothing better than to study and exploit her abilities.

Seventeen-year-old Will Callahan has been searching for his father since severe storms blasted through the Midwest, killing his mother and sister. When he learns that his father may be in the city, he catches a ride with Lily, a girl who has come to his rescue more than once. As the two embark on a dangerous journey, the tension between them grows. But the secrets Will’s keeping could put Lily in far more danger than traveling to the city with him, and if he was any kind of man, he would have told her to run the minute she found him.

Amazon     Amazon UK     BN     I-Book Store     Kobo      Smashwords 

Enjoy!

Peace and blessings,

PJ

The “Good Parts” Version

Hello, friends.  Casey here. I was all set to write a Halloween themed post, but instead, I’d rather recommend a book and a philosophy.

I recently read Cary Elwes book, As You Wish:Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.  When I heard this book was out, I did a very strange thing. I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the hardcover. And I paid full price! 

Normally, I buy digital. Largely because I am drowning in books. So obviously, to me, this was a special “must have” book.

After purchasing my copy, I dropped everything I was doing and read it. I laughed, I cried (especially the parts about Andre the Giant) and I remembered my own life back then with this strange nostalgia.

It’s hard to believe that when the movie was released in 1987 that it wasn’t a theatrical success. It’s popularity arrived after the video release of the movie. Then, I’m sure there were plenty of people who’d wished they’d seen it in the theater.

I’m one of the lucky people who did see it in a theater. And, while many years have passed, I remember that experience. My college housemates and I went to a matinee (probably to escape studying) in nearby Virginia. It was LOVE at first viewing. I remember thinking it was the most amazing movie I’d ever seen. In short, I knew I’d seen something special. Almost life changing.

It wasn’t any one thing either but a combination of the perfect actors, with the right director and, by golly, the dialogue. So many gems. These  are some of my favorite:

“Inconceivable!”

“Get used to disappointment.”

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

And, the most romantic way of saying, I love you – “As you wish.”

Now close to thirty years later, as a writer, I can’t help but think, “Damn. This is like the most perfect fairy tale. Ever.”

And not just the movie version, but the book too. Somehow, I managed to completely miss reading the book growing up. I rectified that when the 25th anniversary edition came out. One of the writer lessons I learned (and must have internalized) was the subtitle: The “Good Parts” Version.

And it means exactly what it says. No long, boring dissertations about landscapes, clothing, room decor, etc. In short, all the things I hate as a reader. All the parts that I gloss over or skip right past.

I’m in the process of editing my first contemporary romance- Over Easy. And I’ve been cutting like a fiend. I’ve been creating what I hope is, The “Good Parts” Version.

And really, that is what editing should be all about. Creating the best, grab the reader by the pants, version of a story.

Friday Favorites – 5 Fabulous Book/Film Adaptations

Happy 1st Friday of 2014. Casey here!

While I’m STILL finishing Lachlan’s Curse, I thought I’d share some of my favorite book/movie adaptations. In all cases, I’ve read the books and seen the movies. This is by no means my only favorites nor are they necessarily blockbusters (i.e. JK Rowling, Jane Austen or Tolkien).

I’ll be first in line for Dangerous Curves Ahead: The Movie!

If you’ve never read the books or seen the movies, give these a try.

1. The 13th Warrior – based on the book – Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton. Not for the faint of heart if you don’t like warrior violence but the payoff in the end is spectacular. This movie was highly rated at the time it came out and yet didn’t really spark at the box office. The director, John McTiernan has publicly stated the theatrical version was not what he wanted. I say – whatever!! It’s still a fun action flick loosely based on Crichton’s book (which is a take-off of Beowulf). The final battle sequence has the best “speech” I’ve ever seen. Obviously, I favor the movie version.

2. The Namesake – book by  Jhumpa Lahiri. Both the book and film offer an honest glimpse into family life and what it’s like to grow up in two different cultures (American vs. Indian). Don’t miss this one if you enjoy quiet stories about families and want to learn more about a different culture.

3. Stardust – book by Neil Gaiman. Set in the fantasy world, a love-struck hero embarks on a mission to locate a shooting star hoping to impress a girl. Instead, he tangles with witches, flying pirates, vengeful princes and a falling star with a mind of her own. I’d argue that the movie version is actually better than the book. The ending is a million times more logical and the cast knocks it out of the park. If you’ve read the book, then you know what I mean.

4. The Prestige – book by Christopher Priest. Wow. The movie’s story (about a grudge match between two magicians) is a head rush and really not much like the book at all. Again, another situation where I think the film ending was better (and more coherent). This is also a film where you should watch it more than once to get all the nuances. (Also starring the hunktastic Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale!).

5. Little Women (1994 version) – Okay, I know there are other theatrical versions, but this is my personal favorite. I love the cast, the setting, well, everything about this movie. While it is not an exact adaptation of the book, it still rocks the story of Jo March and her sisters (and a young, handsome Christian Bale doesn’t hurt).

So there you have it. Back to writing I go!

How about you? What are your favorite books turned into films?

Frosted #Loki Charms – They’re Maniacally Delicious!!

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

I took a break from writing this past weekend and caught Thor: The Dark World.

While I am a fan of the luscious Chris Hemsworth, I must admit (and I’ve said it before) that I love the bad guy – Loki! Largely due to Tom Hiddleston’s fun and charming performance, I only wish they’d give Loki his own movie.

In my opinion, nobody does it better!

Now, I hate to blog and run, but I have another book to finish before 2013 ends. So, I leave you with this burning question and a funny video clip- Who is better: Thor or Loki? 

Where do you stand? 

Irrational Fears

Hi, Scribelings. Suze here, talking about irrational fears.

We’ve all got them. Things we’re afraid of even though the chances of them happening are remote, maybe even impossible. Today, I will share with you some of mine.

th[7]Vampires. Yes, I am afraid of vampires. I’m pretty sure I know where this fear originated. I saw the movie Dracula starring Frank Langella about eight times at our little village movie theater l when I was a teenager. I blew a lot of babysitting money to see the first hot movie vampire over and over. He was no old, creepy, cartoony Bela Lugosi or weird, scary Christopher Lee. Langella was dark and sexy and irresistible to my young self. My bedroom had a tall window, and my bed was right next to it. Seriously, Dracula could have flapped up to that window and come in any old time he pleased.

Unless it’s insanely hot, I still sleep with the covers pulled up around my neck.

th[4]Rats, Mice and Other Vermin. This also stems from a traumatic childhood movie experience. I saw the movie Willard on television (not sure why my mother allowed this!). I still shudder every time I think about it. Rats swarming everywhere, gnawing and chewing, their obscene naked tails undulating as they kill Willard at the end. Oops, that was a spoiler. Well, if you haven’t seen it, don’t make plans to watch it, or the sequel, Ben. Save yourself.

Now, as an adult, I don’t like vermin for other reasons, such as sanitation issues and, oh yes, that little thing called the Bubonic Plague. I have never allowed my son to keep a pet mouse or hamster. (Don’t feel too bad for him–he’s got a cat and fish and kept a hermit crab alive for 6 years) I don’t care how cute and furry and soft those pet vermin are. If they got loose in the house, I might have to move out. Although the cat is a pretty good mouser…

Feral Pigs. But Suze, you say. Those things only live down south in Texas and Arkansas, far away from your New England home. Well that’s true now, but according to a documentary I saw, they’re moving north. Pigs are such prolific breeders that it’s almost impossible to keep their population under control in the wild, and they’re expanding their territory. Have you seen the tusks on those vicious things? Their nasty brown hair? Their evil, beady eyes? Watch this but only if you dare. Remember Jody the Pig in Amityville Horror? I rest my case.

150px-Communion_book_cover[1]Alien Abduction. I’ll admit I’m not as afraid of this as I once was, now that I’m physically incapable of gestating an alien baby. And I no longer think that every weird mark on my body is the site of either an implanted tracking device or the extraction of a tissue sample. As a kid I read a lot of UFO material, including the famous Betty and Barney Hill case and the Whitley Streiber accounts, and I still can’t resist the documentaries. Add to that the fact that my junior high social studies teacher claimed that he had been buzzed by a UFO while driving along a lonely stretch of road in his Gremlin and, well, you’ve got a recipe for a lifelong phobia. I still get a little freaked out driving alone at night. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced an episode of missing time–I think.

Confession time! What are your crazy fears? We’re all friends here.