Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

Today is the day of Earth Hour, an annual event when homes and businesses across the world turn off their lights for one hour hour as a statement of their concern for, and support of, the environment. This year, at 8:30 PM local time, residences, businesses, and government offices all over our planet will power off all non-essential lights for one hour (and sometimes more!), and light our world with candles instead. It's an impressive sight to see. Check out the Earth Hour website for video on how far-reaching this event has become. Play games on their Fun Stuff page. Join the movement by turning off your lights tonight for one hour. Most of all, keep in mind that we're all together on this earth, and celebrate how beautiful it is!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Earth Day Giveaway!

To celebrate Earth Day this year, I will be giving away one print copy of your choice of one of my books (EARTH or WATER)! Beginning April 1st and ending April 30th, all you have to do is fill out this form telling me what you plan to do for your planet on Earth Day! Good luck, and enjoy! Earth Day Giveaway!

New Website Unveiled!

My new website is finally unveiled! Check out all the new stuff, and beginning April 1st, enter for chance to win your choice of one of my print books! I hope you enjoy the new layout, and coming soon, you'll see a blog right here, designed to match it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Interrupt This Program ...

I'm spending the next few days deep in re-designs for my website, and the current layout of my blog is something of a placeholder while I knock the rest of it together. I hope you'll enjoy the finished product!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wishing you all a safe, happy, and very Irish St. Patrick's Day today, whether or not you're Irish. Celebrate the wonderful art, food, music, and green beer that makes today so special. Top o' the mornin' to ye!

Monday, March 12, 2012

CNYRW Mini-Con 2012 Recap

The CNYRW 2012 Mini-Con featured nationally bestselling author Anne Stuart, in an informative two-day workshop covering a variety of writing topics. Anne presented a Q&A Friday night, going around the room and answering questions of each attendee. She was very knowledgeable and freely shared what she knew on everything from royalty issues to writer's block ... and she knows a good-looking man when she sees one! Anne is a big fan of movie and television heroes, and I was tickled to discover that she, too, has an affinity for Ian Somerhalder.

Saturday, Anne presented her strategies for writing a dark love story, delving into the inner workings of the hero and heroine, and sprinkling her presentation with exercises much like one-page workshops. Anne had brought with her several decks of tarot, and she had us each pull one card and write a page on the hero, and then the heroine, inspired by each picture. For the hero, I drew the Robin Wood tarot's Magician. For the heroine, I drew the Manga tarot's Chalices:

What I came up with was not romance, but fantasy, inspired by the first card, the Magician. I was surprised and pleased by the story that cropped up just by looking at a picture. I now have a story idea filed away for future use, and I find myself wanting to plot with tarot.

Anne shied away from no topic, big or small, and I came away from the workshop with lots of writing energy that I hope to use on my current book. I appreciated her candor on the ins and outs of the business, and she has a wicked sense of humor. Thank you, Anne, for a terrific weekend of learning, fun, and good-looking heroes!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Movie Review: "Robin Hood" - Why It DIDN'T Work

In critiquing a work, literary or otherwise, it's often more informative to dissect why something doesn't work than why it does.

I finally got around to seeing the 2010 Ridley Scott release of "Robin Hood," starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. I had heard all the hullabaloo about its not being accurate to the legend of Robin Hood, and I was prepared for that. But truthfully, that's not at all why I believe this movie was poorly received.

"Gladiator" was, let's face it: an epic win on all counts. Action, betrayal, sacrifice, courage, love, you name it, all wrapped in a pretty package with the amazingly gifted Russell Crowe to tie it up. And that one, directed by Ridley Scott too - which is why I was so disappointed to find "Robin Hood" didn't work.

The reason is editing. Scott already had the directing chops, the grand scale of the film, and the acting talent in place. The soundtrack was acceptable, too. But I get the sense that the best parts of the film were either snipped from the script or left on the cutting room floor.


Character, character, character. You've heard me say it. A film with the right scale, acting talent, music, director, and kitchen sink is still just a strip of celluloid without the right characterization. "Robin Hood" didn't make use of the acting talent it had to get inside these characters' heads - and there was opportunity to do so. The film was all action and no heart. By the time Robin tells Marion "I love you," I don't believe it, because he had no arc to speak of to lead him there. If there were scenes of character emotion, they must have been ruthlessly culled from the film before it reached theaters. Think Maximus praying for his family in "Gladiator," or the look on his face when he discusses them with Juba during a quiet moment. Think of the obvious love the soldiers of Rome had for Maximus, even in the heat of battle. Even the way Maximus's voice shook and hestitated when he talked of his dead wife. There is a reason for this character to love, and a stake for him to defeat Commodus.

We should have gotten inside Robin's head from the start of "Robin Hood." There were no stakes, other than the obvious risk of life and limb. There was no emotional Point A to get Robin to the Point B of loving Marion and needing to be a part of the struggle to save England from sinking to its knees. It might have been better if Scott started by making Robin reluctant to be involved, and then pulled in, first kicking and screaming, and then determined to be there, to the fight with France. The scenes that did show some of this only scratched the surface. Marion's father stole the spotlight from the hero and Marion, for the comparatively few scenes he had in this movie. The villain was convincing, but when Robin finally has the opportunity to confront him, there's no real threat to Robin or Marion. Prince John is too occupied with facing an impending battle and needing the immediate support of an army to be bothered menacing Robin. I wanted to see a direct threat to Robin and Marion, faced and then overcome.

In short, lots of action but not nearly enough emotion. Give me Kevin Costner vs. Alan Rickman any day of the week.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Great Time At Yesterday's CNYRW Workshop!

Yesterday was AWESOME. I gave a workshop on "Catching an Editor's Eye," and the CNY Romance Writers in attendance were a terrific bunch. We had a great discussion afterward on types of editors, and a few mentioned they had come away with inspiration for their works. What more could an editing fanatic ask?

Thank you to the CNY Romance Writers for hosting such a fun discussion.

Next weekend, don't forget: CNY Romance Writers hosts Anne Stuart at their annual Mini-Con!