Friday, May 30, 2014

No, Talli, It's Really NOT Just You!

Those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time know that I haven't been posting on any kind of regular basis for a while now. I'd reached the point at which I was struggling to come up with things to write about, and rather than pull something together just to be posting, I opted to post less. I had cut back on the number of blogs I follow as well, sticking with only the ones I really enjoy, and even skipping those when the bloggers were participating in blog hops. (I hate blog hops--they've always seemed to me more like a high school activity than something professional writers would do, though I'm sure some of my fellow bloggers will disagree with me.)


Also, writing and marketing have been consuming most of my time, as I prepare to publish Sam's Story. (You'll see why when the launch begins!)

I discovered I'm not the only one feeling blog burnout when I read a recent post by fellow blogger/author Talli Roland, who's also cut back on posting. I agree with everything Talli says in her post, and it seems I'm not the only one. What a relief!

On the other hand, there are bloggers who never run out of things to say--William, for one, never fails to come up with fresh (and usually hilarious!) posts. Ivy's posts are usually short but always fun (I love her titles!). Anybody who's self-publishing should be following Joe Konrath's blog. And then there are my favorite photobloggers, like Grace--Australia is a place I've always wanted to see, and through her blog, I've come to feel like I know it intimately. Snow photos aside, William's photoblog gives me a chance to get to know my neighbor to the north. London Lulu (where the heck has she been, anyway?) does beautiful photography of the Princeton area. And Bob Crowe, whose wife is one of my all-time favorite people, has shown me things in my own hometown that I never knew were there!

So...I'll still be blogging, probably once a week. Twice at the most. A great deal of what I have to say can best be done via Facebook, now that I think about it.... 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where's the Beef (or Cheesecake, Apple Pie or Whatever)?

A few days ago, Collin posted a link on my Facebook page--it was a link to a piece at Shiftgig in which, just for fun, the writer compared superheroes to food. Thor was compared to bacon. I totally get that. Like bacon, Thor is sizzling hot and delicious, and I've never NOT wanted bacon. However, I didn't agree with all of the writer's choices. Iron Man, for example--sushi? Nope. I see Iron Man (and especially his alter ego, Tony Stark) as the most expensive caviar. Or ham. Definitely ham. Captain America was compared to a bacon double cheeseburger and fries. Okay, I get that. But the wholesome, all-American hero, as the saying goes, is as American as...you guessed it! Apple pie. A la mode, of course, with classic vanilla ice cream. Black Widow was compared to chocolate-dipped strawberries. Good choice...but I see her as something with a bit more kick to it. Tex-Mex!








And what about Hawkeye? I'd give him something hot and spicy. Firehouse chili. Then there's Bruce Banner/the Hulk. For Hulk, Collin suggested a buffet. A very large buffet--the kind of buffet where if you eat too much of it, you're going to go home in pain! 











Then there are the villains. I see Loki as turkey...or maybe a big ol' bowl of Froot Loops. Garrett (Agents of SHIELD) would have to be blackened fish. But you had to have seen the season finale to get that one....




But let's not limit this to superheroes. Who are some of your favorite characters from books, TV and movies? For those of you who are writers, apply this to your own characters. What foods would you associate with them?

PS Be sure you check out the best of the blogs for the past few days: William's written about a dog who ran afoul of a porcupine, while Eve has a haiku I took very personally! Also, William, Grace and Bob have some great stuff on their photoblogs!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Uncle Jesse vs. The Huffington Post???

Recently, a Huffington Post blogger criticized the distorted reality of '90s TV situation comedies, such as Friends and Full House. This provoked a rebuttal from actor John Stamos, who played Uncle Jesse on Full House.

 
I can't disagree with Annelia Alex's observations...but I don't think it's limited to the 1990s, or to sitcoms. I remember watching The Waltons with my parents back in the '70s. Dad would often make this statement at the end of the episodes: "Dirt poor, but they had that big house and owned the whole mountain!"



Personally, I've found it surprising that some characters have such nice homes, given the circumstances they're supposedly in....

My mother's gripe was against a popular nighttime soap, Dynasty. When Joan Collins joined the cast as Blake Carrington's scheming ex-wife, Alexis, and moved into a house on the Carrington estate, she made a habit of entering the main house without invitation and doing whatever she pleased. Mom always found this annoying. Perhaps because, like Blake's then-wife, Krystle, Mom was a second wife. "I'd send her ass flying back out if she barged into my house!" Mom declared on more than one occasion.

 
Soaps are guiltier of stretching reality than most shows. The Bold and the Beautiful is an example. The show's current resident scheming shrew, Quinn Fuller, has gone to some pretty ridiculous lengths to make sure her son Wyatt wins the hand of clueless blonde heiress Hope Logan, even coming close to killing Wyatt's half brother/romantic rival, Liam Spencer...and Liam's the only one who sees through her lies.

I guess Mommy doesn't think her son is wonderful enough to win the girl on his own charms.

 
But getting back to sitcoms...my favorite, The Big Bang Theory, is chock full of "that would never happen in real life" moments. Most of them involve resident genius/pain in the butt Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon may be a genius in physics, but he's hopeless in the everyday world. Sarcasm eludes him. He believes the world revolves around him and drives everyone around him nuts--yet they allow him to rule their lives, always choosing where they eat, what movie they see, etc. He has a schedule for everything--including bowel movements! His roommate, Leonard, also a physicist, had to sign a detailed (and absurd) roommate agreement to move into the apartment. He's not only a roommate, he's Sheldon's personal chauffeur.

Sheldon and Leonard have been roommates for seven years. In the real world, Leonard would have either moved out or murdered Sheldon within the first month!

 
Last week, in the show's season finale, Sheldon was upset at the news that Leonard is going to marry Penny, the aspiring actress/waitress who lives across the hall."You're putting [her] happiness above mine?" Sheldon demanded incredulously.

"Well...yes," Leonard admitted.

Sheldon couldn't believe it. Seriously, he was baffled that Leonard wouldn't put him first.

I'm not quite sure I believe it, either. Beyond her looks, Penny's not much of a prize. She drinks too much and has been a bit of a tramp. On occasion, she's made comments that would indicate she thinks she's too good for Leonard. But the good-natured, neurotic physicist with painfully low esteem happily overlooks that...okay, I guess some guys would put up with anything to get the girl....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Snippet Sunday: A Bird, a Pig and a Dog Walked Into a Bar....

Today's snippet is from my upcoming book, Sam's Story: The Life and Times of a Tiny Bird with a Huge Personality. It's told from the point of view of my grey-cheeked parakeet, Sam. In this scene, our German shepherd, Schatzi, is having a disagreement of sorts with our potbellied pig, Iggy, after a calamity involving a building inspector....




"The guy told him he'd been attacked by a two-hundred-pound hog in the bedroom!"
Iggy was insulted. "Two hundred pounds? He needs his eyes examined--and his head, too, while he's at it!"

"You could stand to lose a little around the ham hocks," Schatzi laughed.

"Bite me, Bubblebutt!" Iggy snapped.

Schatzi almost did. "Just remember, I bite back," Iggy warned.

"You have no sense of humor," Schatzi grumbled.

"Not true. I happen to be a very funny pig," Iggy insisted. 

*****

BLOG ALERT: Be sure you check out William's Godzilla review, as well as the beautiful tulips in his photoblog; and Grace's photos showcasing the work of another talented artist....


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Now Let's See...Where Did They Leave Off?

Looks like there's going to be a sequel to The Unicorn's Daughter!

I'd been playing around with the possibility for a while now. I'd even come up with a plot and wrote a few chapters. I teamed her with Darcy from Chasing the Wind. The only thing I didn't have was a title. But I really wasn't sure I'd go ahead with it until, after months of not checking in on my product pages at Amazon, I decided to see if there was anything new. These are the latest of twenty-one reviews there.... 





4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, May 13, 2014
By
Denise A Guttendorf - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: The Unicorn's Daughter (Kindle Edition)
The story was captivating, but I was a little disappointed in the ending. I wish the book was just a little longer. I want to know what happened next.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer, May 8, 2014
By
Annette Irizarry "Aries" (Cherokee, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: The Unicorn's Daughter (Kindle Edition)
Have and own every one if her books, Every lover if good writing and interesting tales will love her books.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery, April 29, 2014
By
CJ Hackett - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: The Unicorn's Daughter
(Kindle Edition)
Just when I thought I knew how the storyline was progressing, there was a new twist. The author is a great mystery writer. I found the book hard to put down.

5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on the edge, January 19, 2014
By
Jamie Laing - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Unicorn's Daughter (Kindle Edition)
Very interesting to read. Never the type of book I would have normally picked up. Kept me guessing til the very end.




Now, I'm about to publish a memoir, as well as the "memoir" of my parakeet, Sam, which were to be followed by some romantic comedies. The Chasing the Wind sequel, An Army of Angels, along with this sequel, were on indefinite hold. But now that I see these reviews....

And speaking of reviews, be sure you check out William's review of The Untouchables over at his blog, as well as the latest from his photoblog, Eve's poem about talent  and Grace's photos of Baba Yaga houses....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cover Reveal: INDUCTION DAY by PK Hrezo

Great news! My fellow author/blogger, PK Hrezo, is about to publish the second novel in her Butterman Time Travel, Inc. series, and she has yet another smashing cover, so I've joined the ranks of bloggers giving their readers an advance peek at it, along with a short synopsis....






The year 2069 is coming to a close, and eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman's pilot license is finally official. She's ready for the Induction Day she’s waited for since she was a kid—the one that will secure her name on the Butterman family tree of time travelers. But ever since the media discovered Bianca is pop superstar Tristan Helms’ latest new honey, everything Bianca does or says becomes a target of criticism. Having her professional credibility topping the gossip sites across social media is an open invitation for the government to step in and regulate Bianca’s Induction. Now she will have to ask herself if saving 1500 people from drowning is worth losing everything she’s ever worked for, including the Butterman family biz.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Be sure you don't miss this one!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Snippet Sunday: The World's Ugliest Pen Pal

This week's snippet is from another of my Toni Collins romances, Letters from Home (soon to be an ebook). In this scene, Joe Parrish, a soldier stationed in Iraq, has been corresponding with Christina Holland, a woman he's never met. He asked for a photo, and what she sent him comes as a bit of a surprise....



You asked for a photo. I was reluctant to send one at first--I'm not terribly photogenic--but here goes. Hope you're not too disappointed.

He laughed aloud when he took the photo from the envelope. It was the Bride of Frankenstein--one of those pictures that came in the photo section of a new wallet.

So...the lady has a sense of humor, he thought, amused. My kind of woman. Definitely my kind of woman.

He read on....

Well, now that you've seen that, anything else is bound to be an improvement, right?

*****

Be sure you check out William's blogs (a conversation between two geese at his photoblog, and A Day in the Life of a Dog), Grace's beautiful nighttime shot outside her home in Perth, Ivy's thoughts on the lack of a Wonder Woman movie in the current sea of superhero blockbusters, Cheryl's issues with a nosy squirrel, and Gayle's always-delightful Square Dog Fridays....


Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Reboot Or Not To Reboot....

Recently, my partner in crime, William, went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2--and reviewed it on his blog. I have yet to see it. I didn't see the first reboot until it was available through Netflix. It's not that I don't like the reboots--they're okay, but I liked the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man.


Later this month, a Godzilla reboot will be released. Godzilla's my main monster, so of course I'm going to see it. And yes, I did see the 1998 reboot. Oddly enough, I didn't hate it, but I can't say I loved it. However, I was happy to see the Big G turn Madison Square Garden into a nest from which a lot of little Godzillas would emerge. That Godzilla looked a little too buff. Maybe he was there looking for Vince McMahon, hoping to land a WWE contract!



Word has it there have been comments on message boards about Godzilla's, uh, chubbiness in the 2014 version. Japanese commenters have suggested Godzilla is too fat, insinuating this came from a diet of eating only Americans.  Personally, I think the big guy looks just fine. 



I'm good with a Godzilla reboot. In fact, there are a number of movies I'd like to see remade. Fantastic Voyage (1966) is one film I think could benefit greatly from today's film technology, CGI, etc. The film, about a team of doctors reduced to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a dying scientist to save his life, could be even more fantastic in the hands of modern filmmakers. When World Collide is another one that could be a better film remade today. Though the 1951 original won an Oscar for special effects, the visual image of the new world was pretty cheesy. The seats in the spaceship looked suspiciously like lawn chairs. The image of the Earth being destroyed was sufficiently terrifying to give me nightmares, but even that has been done better in episodes of The Universe. (A remake has supposedly been in the works for years, but has yet to materialize.)



Of course, better special effects is no guarantee the remake will be an improvement over the original. As Exhibit A, I give you the reboot of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Better special effects, definitely, but too many changes to the story--and too much screen time for that bratty kid!


There's been talk of a Casablanca remake--are they serious? Does anyone really believe anything could be done to improve Casablanca? Come on! (Of course, I'm sure I'll get a lot of ridicule by admitting I like the Sabrina remake better than the original....)

 
So...what movies do you think should be remade? Which remakes do you consider a colossal mistake?

*****

Don't-Miss Blogs: William's image post with the misleading title, Grace's photoblog on the new taxicabs in Perth,Ivy's things she loves, and Eve's Mother's Day poem!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Snippet Sunday: Heaven Can't Wait!

Today's Snippet is from yet another of my Toni Collins romances, also soon to be an ebook. I originally titled it Miracles Still Happen, but my editor changed it to Miracle Dad. (When she asked me what I thought of it, I told her it sounded like salad dressing!) This is the story of a deceased father who gets permission to return to this world to help his two young children adjust to life without him...only to fall in love with their new adoptive mother....


He was really in Heaven. This came as quite a surprise to him, since he hadn't exactly been a believer while he was still among the living. "We've had to lower our standards in the past century," Michael, one of the senior angels, had admitted to Derek shortly after his arrival. "Otherwise, we'd end up with embarrassingly few new admissions. It would be humiliating to have the other team end up with everybody."

"So I got in by default," Derek concluded.

Michael nodded. If angels could blush, he probably would have. But then, Michael didn't look much like an angel--at least he didn't look like the angels in books, statues and paintings. He was small--short and quite thin--with shaggy brown hair and a beard, granny glasses faded jeans, and a white T-shirt bearing the Nike slogan Just Do It.

*****

Be sure to check out the best of the week's blogs: William's two, Grace's, Gayle's, Ivy's, and Mark's!