Friday, June 29, 2012

A short date with dinosaurs


I like to argue that dinosaurs are one of the few mythical creatures we have proof of actually existing. (I haven't done a mythical madness post in a while - my creature-feature side reared up and demanded fulfillment this morning).

I was an odd child. From age five to seven, I went through a ballerina phase. I took lessons, I drew ballerinas endlessly, I acted out Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

When I turned eight, I forgot all about ballerinas. My next phase was Dinosaurs. Who know what prompted the jump from ballerinas from dinosaurs! - but they became my new obsession. This was well before Jurassic Park or Dinotopia or the Land Before Time.

I think its because they come in so many cool varieties with bizarre heads, tails, horns, shields and TEETH. And they had so many complicated, mysterious names.

And we don't know why they disappeared... we only have theories. A mysterious disappearance always piques our interest, doesn't it?

A book or movie simply can't go wrong adding a dinosaur, even if it's completely in the wrong time period.

Do you have a favorite dinosaur book/movie or personal experience? (he he he)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top ten characters that remind me of...

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish blog with a different top ten list theme (all related to books) every Tuesday (see the full list here). 

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me...

Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

My husband: daring, competitive, determined, occasionally foolhardy, but with the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met

10. Puck, the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

Puck is known as a faery trickster, prankster or jester. But what I loved about him in this series is he's all that, plus he's also a determined hero, brave and fearless. 

9.  Boromir, the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Just tell me you haven't imagined this series at least once where Boromir doesn't die a tragic and heroic death in the beginning of the second book,  but continues on to the end...

Friend M: beautiful, bold, sassy, ultra-organized, top-notch marketer:  

8. Alexia Tarabotti, Soulless by Gail Carriger

7. Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Friend K: giving, loyal, half-tomboy gear-head and half Victorian lace and tea. 

6. Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

5. Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Friend N: creative, intelligent,  picky, opinionated,  tenderhearted

4. Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. Hermione, Harry Potter seires by J.K. Rowling

Myself: day-dreamer, introvert, insecure, bookworm, romantic

2. Mattie, A Northern Light, Jennifer Donnelly 

This last one doesn't really remind me of myself, but I just love her so much that I wish I reminded other people of her! 

1. Lucy, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

What character from books or movies reminds you of yourself or someone you know?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alternative Avengers


Not gonna lie, the Avengers was a lot of fun... throw a bunch of super heros together and see how their personalities clash! Just as much fun is imagining what would happen if you threw a few other heros together:

IMAGE REMOVED of "Disney Pixar Avengers" where Sully from Monsters Inc is green in reference to the Hulk and Plastigirl from the Incredibles plays the part of the Black Widow from Avengers.

Talk about a dream team (Miss Jack Lewis Baillot, you're gonna love this one):

IMAGE REMOVED of "Avengers United Kingdom" with Harry Potter, James Bond, the Doctor and Sherlock.

And just for fun: Minion Avengers!  IMAGE REMOVED

 While I'm on the topic of movies, there are three remakes of classic stories in the works and I just checked out their trailers:

 the Great Gatsby with  Leonardo DiCaprio: see trailer

Anna Karenina with Keira Knightly, Jude Law and Emma Watson: see trailer

(but I just can't imagine they can do a better job than the version with Sean Bean and Sophie Marceau)

  finally, I just might have watched this trailer ALMOST as much as the Hobbit trailer:

Les Miserables with Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, and Anne Hathaway: see trailer 

 Have you ever watched a trailer multiple times in anticipation??

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


What are your 10 best feelings? For April's A-Z Challenge I did a top-ten list everyday, everything from Actors/Actresses to Non-Conformists to a Zen art of life.  I'm feeling a little nostalgic so time for another Top Ten list!

A day without laughter is a day wasted  - Charlie Chaplin (image removed)

On Twitter's  trends this morning I noticed #10WorstFeelings, and boy was that a depressing tag to follow. So just for the heck of it, I typed in #10BestFeelings, and that was much more my style. Here's some great ones I found: 

Turf on my bare feet

Lying on the beach with a margarita

Having someone draw on your back

Talking to someone special all night and then falling asleep on the phone

The person you want to talk to texts you first

When you have to work for what you want and you get it

When prayer is answered

Waking up, looking at your phone/clock and realising you have more time to sleep

Wrapped in a blanket on a rainy day, reading a great book

Knowing that you've made someone else smile

This is one of my top ten best feelings: 

When you start writing and 2000 words later you come up for air, giddy with ideas

Just realized most of these I could use for characters in at least one of my books, Raining Toward Heaven, or maybe more.

What would you add to #10BestFeelings?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender

Today is the Never Surrender blogfest to help Elana Johnson spread the word about the release of her second book, Surrender...

....a dystopian  struggle for freedom of thought (and love story, of course).

Is there a time when you refused to surrender?

My parents took me on a road-trip to visit some colleges when I was a junior, and I absolutely fell in love with one of the campuses in the Finger Lakes region of New York. So, I'm a typical romantic, and it wasn't this school's great reputation that won my heart: it was that Cornell was perched on top of a hill overlooking a lake. The campus was split by two gorges with breathtaking bridges and waterfalls, the buildings were old and ivy-covered, and the student union looked like a miniature of Hogwarts (though of course Hogwarts hadn't been written into a building yet, but that sort of building is always magical).

I  set my heart set on Cornell. My guidance counselor said, okay, you're going to need to beef up your application. And did I ever. Extra-curricular activities, sports, volunteer work, SAT prep-classes, AP classes, perfect grades. I agonized over my college essay.

And, I was rejected.

Worst day of my life when I got that too-small envelope in the mail.

I didn't give up. I called the admissions office and asked for an appointment. I didn't know what my plan would be. I collected several of my best papers and dragged my best friend along for moral support. We drove 3 hours and she posted herself outside the office door when I went in for my meeting.

I don't remember what I said; all I know is they were kind but in the end they did not have any openings but I was welcome to apply again next year.


A year, a whole year! When you are 18, that might as well be a decade!

The following day I got a call from the admissions office. They offered me a guaranteed transfer the following year without re-applying, if I got good grades at another college.

A guaranteed transfer - okay that sounded better. So I bucked up and did a last minute application to a state college, and pursued good grades with a vengeance. In hindsight, it was a brilliant plan, because I was able to take the "weeder" freshman classes with hundreds of students at a less competitive school and my GPA carried over to Cornell, which gave me a huge boost. Several other seniors from my high school who did get into Cornell as freshman nearly failed out their first year because of those classes.

The biggest I lesson I learned - besides NEVER GIVE UP - is that sometimes there are really positive benefits to delays and set-backs. I've learned not to fear rejection, that it can lead to better things further on that you couldn't see at first.

I think it also taught me to never give up on people, too. When you are 18, it's all about YOU, but age teaches us that the most important things in life aren't colleges and careers, fortunes or fame. The most wonderful recognition isn't from the masses when you achieve something big - it's recognition you get from giving and receiving love.

I'm really intrigued to read Elana's new book Surrender  - not to mention the other "never surrender" stories in this blogfest. I LOVE stories where everything is against the hero, and he/she doesn't give up.

When did you refuse to give up?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make your scenes stand out

The Singing Butler by Jack Vettriano

I believe we learn more about our "art" of choice by looking at other forms of art. As a storyteller, I am drawn to art that tells a story. Would this painting be so famous if it was just a man and a woman dancing?

What makes it stand out:

~ They are dancing in an unusual place - full ballroom dress on a beach
~ It's raining and blustery
~ They've enlisted help to provide a little shelter - and a song to dance to. It's kind of outrageous (as if a couple umbrellas could really help!), and a little touching, too, the guy going to such an extreme to try to generate a romantic moment. If I were the woman being romanced, I'd probably want the help to go away - I'd want the moment to be private, even at the expense of wetness. Maybe this guy thinks he's being really romantic, but she's only putting on game face. Or vice versa, maybe it was her plan gone awry. Either way, there's a story here.

This painting makes me want to revisit my written scenes to see if I can put them in an unusual or striking place. (I've also learned that movie directors seldom use the same scene location twice, and only for dramatic contrast).  Changing the weather can add interesting drama to a scene. Adding a character or two, esp. ones doing something unusual, is the real kicker to this painting and might be the defining difference between a so-so written scene and one that really pops.

What kind of art inspires/teaches you?
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