Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book review-Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Image result for heartless amazon

Heartless by Marissa Meyer is a great work of fiction inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and more specifically, the Queen of Hearts. This tale highlights how Catherine became the Queen of Hearts, despite her dislike for the King and desire to open her own bakery.

I was initially attracted to this book because I had just read Meyer's Cinder books {which will be highlighted in another blog post} and I'm also a sucker for anything related to Alice in Wonderland. Because of these two pieces, I had high hopes for this book and I absolutely tore through it. Even though you know she becomes the Queen, you still hoped that she would somehow manage to avoid it and fulfill her dreams of both success and true love. The King's Jester was her actual love interest, which I thought was a really cool twist. I loved him. He was a very fun and intriguing character and I wanted their love to survive.

I loved the Mad Hatter even more. He was believable, cantankerous and the most complex character in the book. Other familiar Alice character make appearance as well, including the March Hare, the White Rabbit and even the terrifying Jabberwocky comes in to terrorize everyone.

Meyer's style is easy to read and the suspense made me read further at every single opportunity I had and I finished the book quickly. I wanted more at the end, but there really isn't anywhere to go and I understand why Meyer has it set as a stand-alone book. I thought this was a great Alice prequel and it's now easily one of my favorite books.

Thank you for reading! Please check out my other blogs, which will both have new posts up soon! This one is about classic movies and this one about PCOS/diet/exercise/being a mama.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Old movie blog!

Please check out my new blog at which will feature two movies per month from the Golden Age of film!

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

My wonderful writerly friend Nicole, see her blog here, invited me to participate in this tour. I’ve been writing for a long time, but my blog is still very young so please check out what I’m working on! Also, if anyone is interested in participating in this blog tour, please let me know and I’ll be sure to put a link to your blog here!

1) What am I working on?
I'm honestly finding it hard to find the time to write lately, but I do have many things in process. My historical fiction novel, The Constricting Corset, is complete and edited and waiting to be sent out to additional agents. It is based on the life of Judy Garland, but fictionalized as it isn't a biography and is written in first person. The next in this series, which is about 20 pages at this point, is another historical fiction novel based on Kim Novak. Less people know about her, but her face was a hot topic after the last Academy Awards. This has proven to be a different kind of challenge as there isn't nearly as much information swirling around in the world as there is about Judy. I'm finding it harder to transition into her head. Then I also have a partially completed short story collection that I'm going to call, Tales of the Cemetery, which includes ghosts and zombies and such. There's also a started Siren novel and a partial dragon novel. I’m kind of all over the place.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In terms of the historical fiction, my work is different as it focuses on the life of one celebrity. It is similar to Joyce Carol Oates' novel, Blonde, about Marilyn Monroe, but her novel is written in third person and admittedly some facts are changed. 

A lot of historical fiction seems to revolve around events instead of people. As I mentioned, mine just revolves around a single person. I also use as much research as I can get my hands on: movies, articles, websites,, interviews, etc. While it’s not a biography, I want it to be as true as possible.

3) Why do I write what I do?
 When I started with Judy, I decided to write about her because most people only know two things about her: that she was Dorothy and that she died from a drug overdose. I wanted something that would show more of her than those things and incorporate trivia from her movies as well. It’s also my hope that it will introduce new generations to her movies.

With Kim, I have a similar goal, but what first drew me to her specifically is when I found out about her relationship with Sammy Davis Jr., which was a huge deal at the time. There’s some mystery and possible mob involvement surrounding the breakup so that’s something that I’m excited to explore. But I also want people to watch her movies.

 In terms of the cemetery stuff, I grew up mowing one, which I’ve learned is kind of a weird and interesting thing...especially seeing as I have many relatives buried there. Ghost stories intrigue me so I thought that would be interesting for me and probably creep myself out in the process too.

In terms of the siren and the dragon stories. I grew up loving mermaids and it seemed like a fun idea for a fantasy series. And dragons are just cool. I saw a license plate once which inspired that one as it said “Ice Dragon” on it and I thought, what a cool idea.

4) How does my writing process work?
Whether it be a novel or a short story, I always start with one scene that comes to me. With Judy, it was a scene of her drinking and at a concert where she was to forget her song lyrics. Come to think of it, that's no longer even in the book and now I wonder if I should put it back. With Kim, it's a scene between her and Frank Sinatra where he tells her she can't keep seeing Sammy Davis Jr. With the siren, a sailor she was trying to kill saves her life and with the dragon, the main character goes into a blacksmith’s shop where he sells black market dragon eggs.

I write the one scene and then I start really researching and getting things together before I write other scenes. The wealth of information about Judy both helped and made things difficult as I would write something and then find out later that I had to change it.  I learned with Kim to try to do at least most of the research first, though it’s sometimes hard to stop just writing. 

I tend to write dialogue first and then go back and fill in the rest of the scene. The rest of it sometimes proves difficult. This is especially true when trying to describe the studio setting without having been in one.With Judy, my writing group read things as I went along so that helped with the editing process. Then I printed it and line-edited and then read through it twice more. I also didn't put in chapter breaks until the editing process.

Then I start the querying.. which I'm still working on. Sent it out to a couple agents who rejected it and now figuring what to do next.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review!-Divergent

I'll admit that I wanted to read Divergent after seeing the trailer for the movie coming out in March. The movie looked cool and it looked like a good story. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the book and now have only a mild curiosity to see the movie. While most of it was enjoyable and fun to read, it reminded me too much of The Hunger Games.

This world is divided into four factions {and the factionless} as opposed to 12. In Diverent, Tris must go through a rite of passage similar to your name being put into consideration in the games. She must chose a faction. The one she chooses, the Dauntless, has a similar structure to the games. The number that survives/gets accepted into the faction may be higher, but the competition is dangerous and similar to The Hunger Games.

Tris, like Katniss, must prove herself worthy. Though others fail at killing her {due to her abilities}, they still try because she proves a threat.

***********Spoilers Below*************

While I enjoyed most of Divergent, even given the parallels, it lost me when I only had 15% {Kindle!} left. I have a hard time not finishing a book. I even struggled through Wicked, which was brutal. I waited days to finish this one and only did finish because I was about to run out of time, having borrowed it through the digital library.

The point at which it lost me was when it got to the serum turning people into mindless soldiers thing. It wasn't fully explained and I didn't buy it. I also didn't buy Tobias being able to wake up from it by hearing the sound of Tris' voice {gag me with a spoon}.

I did enjoy most of the love story and it had some good points, but overall it was kind of a less well orchestrated parallel of The Hunger Games.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm a Distant Dreamer/Resolutions

While on the way into work last week, the song "Distant Dreamer" by Duffy came on Pandora. I'd never heard the song before, but it spoke deeply into my soul and goals for my life.


It brings up a contrast to the idea of New Year's Resolutions. While also about dreams, the song talks of them coming true in the distant future instead of the next year, as is the goal with resolutions. I love the beginning lines, "Although you think I cope/My head is filled with hope of some place other than here." This reflects how I feel in two different ways. Both how I feel when I'm not writing, hoping for a future where I could write full-time and of how the mind of a writer works.

We're constantly thinking of new ideas and people and places. Our heads are often elsewhere: in the worlds of our characters. There is a hope that they find and we try to find on those worlds.

While I don't officially make New Year's Resolutions, I do make goals and here are mine for this year:
1. Get Constricting Corset {my historical fiction novel based on Judy Garland} published.
2. Finish the next historical fiction book
3. The obligatory fitness goal of losing 30 lbs.

I would like to accomplish the majority of these in the first 6 months of the year, but I'll see how it goes.

Another section of the song that resonates with me is "I'm a dreamer, a distant dreamer/Dreaming far away from today." While this may mean thinking far ahead and into the future, it could also be letting your mind skip ahead. I know my mind does this sometimes. I skip ahead to book deals, movie deals, being more fit, and I forget that part of the rewards in these goals are the journeys it takes to get there. Completing large goals means hitting smaller ones along the way and trying to enjoy the process, which at many times can be painful. Goals made along the way can lead to your dreams coming true.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Listening to music when you write/music that awakens your soul

I'm going to deviate a bit today and talk about another creative outlet-music. Like many as I was growing up, I did play an instrument. It was the clarinet. I wanted to play the alto saxophone when we picked in 5th grade, but there were already too many of those. I played from 5th grade all the way through high school. When I got braces, they told me to give it up, that it was bad for my overbite, but I kept on playing. There was something about making your own music and playing as part of a band. I've always been a creative person, whether it was those years playing music or all the years that I've been writing. I recently tried to pick my clarinet back up again, but my embouchure had grown weak and it made my thumb ache. I was too far out of practice.

 While I no longer play a musical instrument, I still delight in listening to music. No music has solicited such an emotional response from me as Frank Sinatra's. I can only describe it as an inner calm that travels throughout my body. It can make me cry and smile at the same time. There are two songs in particular. "The Right Girl for Me" which I walked down the aisle to and Time After Time which my bridesmaids walked in to. They are absolutely beautiful songs. Frank also carries another place in my heart as he was in the first short story I had published this year, "Wishful Thinking."

 I have a hard time listening to music when I write, although I recently discovered that I can put on instrumental music. Anything with lyrics just makes me want to sing along or dance.

 While a lot of music created now has a good beat and there are definitely ones well written, not many have the lyrics that contain such beauty as they used to. The music written around Sinatra's type and style have something extra and are some of the best written. Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin...they all had something special. It was a very different time. The combination of the voices and writing in the 30's, 40's and 50's produced magic. Don't believe me? Really listen to the links above.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life/Work/Writing Balancing Act

Everything in life is a balancing act. We need to balance so many things as humans. Work, Writing {if you're lucky, it's the same, for me, it's not yet.}, pets, kids, spouses, exercise, personal hygiene, cleaning and relaxing are a lot to fit in. Sometimes I find myself more often thinking about writing than actually writing. Many times, I daydream at work. Such as today, my brain refused to focus on work and would only think about writing.

The mood just takes over me at the worst possible moments and it's a struggle to do what I'm supposed to be doing. It's as if I have a split personality and I guess, in many ways, I do. I wonder what I'm doing at work when at my core, I know I want to be writing, the saying needs new shoes.

I'm working on organizing my time better now between all of those things. I always used to think I was organized, but honestly I'm more like this:
Here are some things that seem to be working for me:
1. Set some time aside for writing; whether it be 10 min, an hour or 10 hours a day, do it. You'll feel better.
2. Make an outline. I've never been one for an outline, but as I get further into a novel, I sometimes get lost. Having things planned, at lease loosely, ahead of time would help.
3. Give yourself a break if you don't get things done, just not too many breaks. Set ambitious, but still realistic, guidelines.
4. Sit outside and write. Fall is here. It's beautiful. Write a bit and then play outside. Don't miss it.
5. Play with your kids, pets, family.
6. Workout, get enough sleep, take care of your body. Again, you'll feel better. You can't feel good writing if you don't take care of yourself.

Remember, if writing isn't your day job {even if it is, there are always other things you want to be writing}, you are still a writer. Don't let your day job determine who you are. You are more than that. You will always be a writer.