Friday, June 21, 2013

THE SERPENT IN THE STONE Book Trailer is Live!

You can now view the trailer for my upcoming paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE! Check it out here:

Happy Summer!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy (Belated) Father's Day!

Taking a moment this morning to wish all you dads (and grandfathers, stepdads, etc.) a happy belated Father's Day! Yesterday, my husband, son, and I went to Bass Pro Shops and spent the day doing some fun activities. Hubby got to check out all their fishing gear, and was pretty much in his glory for the day. Hope you had fun, and here's to you, dads!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Movie Review: "Remember Me"

 ** Spoiler Alert ... Sort Of **
I was on the fence about watching this one for some time.  Mind you, I've only seen Robert Pattinson in a handful of films, and those were mostly in the "Twilight" franchise.  I loved him as Cedric Diggory in "Goblet of Fire," and pretty much adamantly did not love him as Edward in the "Twilight" movies.  He always looked so uncomfortable in his own skin that it was uncomfortable just to watch him.
So there you go.  I spent a few years not watching this movie.  Headslap.
It was not what I expected, and in the best possible way.  I think the less you know about this movie before watching it, the better.  Even the trailer shows only a snippet of the basic plot: a troubled  young man, the girl he falls for, and all the family snafus involved with a "you don't understand me and you don't even want to" kind of parent-child relationship.  My friend calls this sort of dynamic "Dysfunction Junction."  It's a study in emotional damage, and how its effects ripple through family and friends.  As much as I hated him as Edward in the "Twilight" franchise, and as wrong for that part as I felt he was, he was exactly right in this movie.  I don't know if that's because of directing, or Pattinson's own comfort level on this project, or what, but whatever it was, it worked.  I was also pleased to see Emilie de Ravin, who plays Belle on ABC's "Once Upon a Time."
The first half or so of the movie is, I'll admit it, not exciting.  The romance is forced, first by the prodding of main character Tyler's roommate, and then just plain overall, by the speed at which the script pushes Tyler and Ally together.  If I were either of these two characters, I would have told the other to get lost ... but I decided to keep watching.
Then, at some point, that first layer peels away, and emotionally, the film is right where it should be: a look into the lives of two young people weighted down by family tragedy, and trying to escape it.  Not only do Tyler and Ally struggle with the fallout from their own personal crises, they are caught in the mire of how their own families have dealt with the same issues.  What works about this is that the characters are so average.  Everyone has some kind of damage, and if these two can overcome it, there might be hope for the rest of us.  The film is less about romance than about finding ways to heal.
There is a scene two-thirds in where Tyler has finally had enough, and confronts his estranged father over the way he seems to have abandoned his kids.  It's a bit unrealistic in its extremity, but it is powerful, and Pattinson holds his own against Pierce Brosnan in an admirable way that had me nodding, thinking, "This is good."
From that point, the romance is only one flavor in the messy soup of family angst, and it works, and it's riveting.  The last third of the movie made me glad I'd spent the money on the rental.  Everything boils over, and suddenly, all the Band-Aids these people have slapped over their wounds are just so much bullshit.  It's wonderful to watch how they deal when all of that is stripped away.
I won't spoil the last twelve minutes for you, but I will tell you, it surprised me.  I was expecting something, but not that, and it was a masterful example of misdirection on the writer's part.  Bravo to Will Fetters, the screenwriter, for planting those hints that led me down the wrong path, not only in making this a romance that's not about the romance, but for that last several minutes of the film.  Totally worth watching if you're a writer, yourself.
SCORE: Four of five stars

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

YOU Started It! - The Evolution of a Novel

Every writer can usually find something (or someone) to blame when asked how she got writing.  As it happens, I can blame both.

Like many suburban kids, I watched "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights.  The show ran some of Disney's animated films, as well as live-action ones.  Back in the dinosaur age, before we had whole channels chock full of Disney (or whatever else you're into), this was a real treat, and we grabbed the popcorn and settled down in the living room to see what we were in for this week.  (I might be able to credit some of my love of nature to this weekly show, too, as many of the features were about wildlife.)

Among my favorite Disney shows were the live-action films "Escape to Witch Mountain" and "The Cat from Outer Space."  People with extraordinary mental powers!  A cat who can speak so that humans can understand him!  How cool was that?

Elements of these two films must have stuck in my brain, fermenting over the next decade.  By the time I reached my teens, I was scribbling madly in composition notebooks, making up stories about whatever came into my head: first animal stories, and then yarns with a more human element.  I seemed to gravitate over time toward action and romance, but I never lost that echo of magic or fantasy in my writings.  Whatever else happened in the story, it had to have that touch of the otherworld in it.

And then came GEMINI - the paranormal romance I scribbled out before paranormal romance got cool.  Before they even had a name for it, actually.  This was 1989, and even *I* didn't know what the heck to call it ... except that it grabbed me.  Apparently, it grabbed my friends, too, because that notebook got passed around so much that it was out of my hands more than it was in them.  That's when I figured out I like sharing stories with others as much as I like writing them.

GEMINI got finished, and stuck in a drawer for another fifteen years.  That's just about the time I discovered the Central New York Romance Writers.  There, I met a room full of writers and kindred spirits, and began to realize that it was possible not only to pick my writing back up, but sell it.  These writers are supportive, kind, funny, encouraging, and gutsy, and they pushed me to get gutsy, myself.  So, I dusted off that old manuscript, revised it, submitted it, revised it, submitted it, and revised it again ...

... and it became THE SERPENT IN THE STONE.  Though I published two novels prior to this one, SERPENT is the book that started it all, and for that, it'll always have a special place in my heart.  I'm glad to share it with you, more than twenty years later, and I hope you enjoy it.  THE SERPENT IN THE STONE is out now on Amazon (click here to purchase your E-book copy for Kindle), and releases in print and other E-book formats on June 28th.  Thanks for your support, and happy reading!