Thursday, October 30, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
At the lunch table in school, your smart friend makes fun of you for getting a lower score on a test.
Your dad calls you a loser because you didn't make that score at the game.
Returning a paper with a failing grade, your teacher says you're the worst student she's ever had.
They are all bullies: that FB person, that friend, that father, that teacher. There was nothing constructive in their comments. The comments were meant to hurt, not to help.
October is Anti-Bullying Month. Almost all of us can share stories about being bullied. The more we talk and think about this issue, the sooner we can help end it.
Let's all be a hero- starting with ourselves.
Monday, October 20, 2014
It's time for Halloween!
Some of us love it, hate it or are obsessed with it. In the spirit of a happy medium. I'm taking a simple poll: What are your fave scary/Halloween movies? The categories, and my humble opinion, are:
Vampires: My absolute is Dracula, with Frank Langella (1979). Why? Because he made evil attractive, and death a nuisance- a trait I think humans maybe too gladly embrace. (But I was torn with Underworld Evolution (2006- loved Kate Beckinsale!)
Werewolves: Without a doubt, The Howling (1981). Dee Wallace is blithely ignoring danger signals--we know what's lurking in the woods. The best scene is when someone is in the psychiatrist's office, spying, and a werewolf hand reaches over to take the file. OMG.
Zombies: This is a toss up: I adored Warm Bodies (2013) because no matter how evil a person is perceived to be (aka R in the movie) we all think (and hope) that there is a spark of humanity in the worst of us. The other choice is Zombieland (2009). It shows that it's not always might--but basic common sense--that determines who lives. And, I like how the gals are not screaming, helpless twits who constantly need to be saved or are the victims.
Mummies: Without a doubt I don't think there is any competition--it has to be The Mummy (1999) with Brandon Fraser. Although, I would love to see a movie of Anne Rice's Rameses The Damned. I think it has potential to be the best mummy movie ever.
Witches/witchcraft: This is a hard one because you have funny movies like Hocus Pocus (1993, and the sequel coming!) or dramatic ones like Practical Magic (1998), but I'd have to choose The Witches of Eastwick (1987) because again, it all starts out so innocently...
Ghost: I could go the romantic route with Patrick Swayze in Ghost (1997), because we'd all love to believe our loved ones could touch our lives once more before moving on to a paradise. But for pure scare I nominate The Woman In Black (2012) with Daniel Radcliffe because of the ending. Others, like the Paranormal series, made me squeal, but I think this movie portrayed the essential elements of a ghost story- fright, uncertainty, doubt in one's mental state- and the important twist at the end.
Haunted place: The Legend of Hell House (1973) ties with The Shining (1980). Both creeped me out because you never knew if the person next to you was caught up in the weird occurrences--until it's too late.
Now there are lots of movies that were more frightening, but I chose these for the overall feel of believability (although I don't think there ever will be zombies, vamps, werewolves, etc.), because sometimes we're not sure if it's real or just our imagination...
Have a Happy Halloween!
(All pics courtesy of Microsoft)
Monday, October 6, 2014
Take a deep breath:
Close your eyes:
And just be in the moment:
Enjoy life. It's not all work. It's not all writing. It's not all doing everything that needs to be done immediately. It's about living.
Monday, September 29, 2014
I've occasionally featured writers, but I'm very happy to have as my first in this new endeavor:
by my friend, Darlene Beck Jacobsen, fellow Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators member, and a hardworking writer.
I asked Darlene a few questions so that you could get to know her book better:
What was the most surprising thing you learned in your research?
The biggest surprise was discovering how Washington DC looked at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Even though it was the nation’s capital and center of government, it was very rural. With the exception of Pennsylvania Avenue and a few streets bordering 7th Street – the main street of commerce - there was only gas lighting and no electricity. Indoor plumbing was still a novelty. Many roads were unpaved or had cobblestones. There were farms and wooded areas surrounding the government buildings. Most people still rode in horse-drawn wagons, carriages, or buggies. Many goods were still made by hand. Those facts were instrumental in helping me set the scene and render an accurate time and place.
I don’t envision a sequel to Emily’s story. Her tale has been told. It might be fun to find out what happens to Emily’s nemesis, Beatrice Peabody and her family. How does Mrs. P survive the changes coming to her family as Beatrice discovers a different life at boarding school – a life away from her domineering mother.
Life was very difficult for girls and women 100 years ago. So much time and energy was spent in completing everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and childcare. Women kept households running, but had little or no say in how they spent their own lives. It took two world wars for women to test their own courage and break away from the strict confines of home and out into the working world. Thanks to our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, our choices are unlimited.
What sources did you use in your research?
Kirkus Reviews says: "The strength of the text lies in
Jacobson’s ability to evoke a different era and to endear readers to the
protagonist. The prose is straightforward and well-researched, heavily peppered
with historical references and containing enough action to keep readers’
Monday, September 22, 2014
Yeah, I use the F word occasionally. Like when you fall on your butt while hiking and break your tailbone. It's almost expected and anticipated that you're going to let loose the F bomb.
But in book reviews?
I'm not a fan.
I understand some people are very free with the word, that's their style. But if you're judging me on my writing and style, you need to show some. I mean, how can anyone take you seriously if your vocabulary is constrained by constant F bomb usage?
And if it's in your novel dialogue, I understand if that's part of the character, but constantly wading through a stream of them does not add substance to the writing, it detracts from it. I think of prison criminals or street thugs yakking it up when there are more than a few.
When my sons let loose the flying Fs, I always tell them that it shows lack of imagination, especially when they are using it in context with someone being, well, an asshole. It's so mundane. Boring. Trite. Unimpressive. All good insults are those which the person being insulted isn't aware they were until they think about it. Think of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: "I don't know half of you as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." I still giggle over that one, and wish I had an opportunity to use it. Maybe at my own eleventy first birthday.
Then there are the tee shirts with that word or other obscenities printed on them. Okay, you made your point, "Look at me. Gasp. Be offended." Because sometimes, we are offended. Especially when my kids were younger, I didn't want to go to a theme park and see that or worse. I still don't like to see it. Wear it at home and annoy your family.
In the end, repetitious use is like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Foolish consistency is the hob-goblin of little minds..." which means if you can only do the same thing over and over (i.e. dropping the F bomb) you're not too bright.
Monday, September 15, 2014
- put pool stuff away
- paint shed window
- caulk kitchen counter
- clean all curtains/drapes