Monthly Archives: October 2015

This Is My Costume

This time of year always makes me chuckle because I.Don’t.Do.Halloween. I hear some of you huffing and others clapping. I’m here to inform you I am not your champion for either cause. No orange and black cape for me.



During the week, my email and Facebook pages have been pinged with “Christians Should Celebrate Halloween” alongside of “Halloween is the Devil’s Day” articles. Honestly, I click on a few and kinda skim them because neither sway my personal opinion of October 31st. This should evoke gasps of horror from the crowd who reads the latter articles.


I grew up dressing up for Halloween. Some years, I scrounged desperately for something while other years I remembered a week ahead of time to try and be more elaborate in my décor. Don’t worry, I won’t post any of those pictures here. It’s much better for my reputation if no one sees my hippie outfits. Even as an adult, I partake in dressing up AND taking free candy.


My favorite adventure, as an adult, for Halloween was when the church the Hubs and I attended had “Trunk or Treat.” The first year was pitiful, but the following years?! We upgraded every year and the parents/adults had more fun trying to outdo each other with their cars and trucks. The last time Hubs and I had an elaborate fishing deal set up. Kids ran around in the parking lot on their sugar highs and didn’t have to worry about being crushed by passing cars. And no one, kids or adults alike, had to worry about a shortage in candy.


So with these fond memories, you may be wondering why I don’t do Halloween. Honestly? It scares me. I frighten easily. Case in point: I worked at a movie theatre while in high school (BEST high school job, ever!) and when The Addams Family came out, it was near Halloween. My boss had the employees participate in a haunted house. I couldn’t do it…cried the first night even having to walk in, knowing people were going to jump out at me. The second night, the boss allowed me to arrive an hour early (still light outside!) and run the lighting behind the curtain. While it was funny at times to see people jump and scream, more than once I was sad for the truly terrified kids.


How many haunted houses/mazes/fill-in-the-blank-here have I been through? ZERO


Mock me incessantly, but I’m a dyed-in-the-wool scaredy cat. At least I own it. Plus, the gore factor of the costumes has increased a hundred fold since I was a kid. Don’t even start me on the “Sexy Nurse” or “Sexy Policewoman” costumes…


Meh. I have other things to obsess about rather than the pitfalls or glorification of Halloween.

Jumping in

I did something crazy a couple of weeks ago. Those who know me personally will not be surprised because I like to jump in with both feet. So, I was surfing the net during lunch one day and found a writing contest that ended in three days. Right up my alley! It was in conjunction with a book series – and I’ve never read any of the books. What did I do? Finished the short story and submitted it after reading the first chapter of the first book online. Boom!


After I had finished my story, I went to the library and checked out the first book to read over the weekend. Thing 1 had already read the entire series and was perplexed as to why I had the book. I explained the contest and let her read my entry.


I’m not going to name the books because the contest is still being judged and I’ll probably get another “I’m sorry…” email. No worries. I’ll chalk it up to experience and the thrill of pushing a deadline.


Polishing off the book in a night (I read fast), I was happy I didn’t read the book first before I tried my little story. The perimeters of the contest are pretty loose; a word count and the new character(s) must interact with the established book characters. When I wrote my new character, my heart wasn’t invested in the books yet, so I was free to explore my new guy.


There is something thrilling about a vocabulary freefall. Stepping out from behind the safety ropes and just going for it…living in the moment…chasing my dream. You ever had that feeling? It’s perfectly lovely.


Those Perfect Blue Words…

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”


I’m so excited about the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, which releases on December 18th. YES, I’m going to the midnight showing with my geek husband and chitlins. Really, it’s quite romantic of J.J. Abrams and George Lucas to celebrate our anniversary in such a grand fashion.


We can think of no better place to be than taking a day off to wait in line and haul our Things to their first Star Wars premiere. Our spawn will see us cry after those words show up on the screen, in all of their blue lettered glory, just before a brand spanking new crawl. They didn’t even tease us on Sunday during the trailer – even when I gasped as Han Solo popped onto the screen. Oh, Sunday afternoon was a fantastically nerdarific day at our house! Don’t bother to ask me how many times I’ve watched the trailer.


While I can’t remember the first time I saw A New Hope (or STAR WARS, because that’s the “correct” way to refer to the film), but I married a dude that can, quite literally, quote the movie line for line. I’ve never, ever stumped him in dialog trivia. Ever. His parents would take him and his brother to the drive-in theatre and every week they’d see some B movie and then those beautiful blue words would flash and the orchestra would start the theme we all know and love. Week after week, C3PO would open up with the first words. Bonus: who can post them without looking them up?


I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the movie theatre, mostly because of the Ewoks (Yub, yub!) and the speed racers. By then, my younger brother had a small collection of Star Wars figures in a Darth Vader carrying case. He even had Bobba Fett’s ship. Sadly, we have no idea where they disappeared to.


My dad was the sci-fi fan of the house and it never bothered me when he turned on any of the Star Wars movies. In fact, I usually put aside whatever I was doing, be it chores or homework or reading, to plunk on the couch and watch the movies again. Thanks Dad! Not only did you get me out of chores, you planted my deep seeded love of stories among the stars.


Anyone else taking a vacation day to wait in line? At least I’ll build fodder for stories while I people watch.

I’m Batman

I have an alter ego. I have a Clark Kent to my Superman. A Phoenix to my Jean Grey. A Peter Parker to my Spiderman. Before I even stroked the first keys for my books, I was already invested in writing. It was a bumpy start, but there were some shining moments on the fanfiction board I am still actively involved with. What?! I still write fanfic? Yes…yes, I do.


I’m imagining some of you are squinting at the words “fanfiction” and “fanfic.” What are those magical terms? Here to untangle your confusion is Wikipedia:


“Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. It is a popular form of fan labor, particularly since the advent of the internet.”


So, in other words, people like me create stories about other stories. I’ve written stories about movies, television shows and books. I’ve concocted “canon” (a story based exactly on the characters from the work of fiction) and I’ve produced alternate universe pieces. I can’t even remember what brought me to a fanfic site, but I felt at home among the anonymous writers, fiddling with established characters and expanding their universes.


In a way, I’m grateful to have cut my fictional teeth anonymously. I bumbled my way through my baby steps there, abusing POV’s and overusing the word “that” to the point an editor would probably shudder. Even to this day, there are some terrible stories on fanfic websites, but there are also successful authors who started in the very same way I did, like Marissa Meyer.



There is one solitary person on the website I use who knows my real name. Actually, we met through her story; I commented on an amazing piece she was writing and the rest is history. Will I reveal my secret identity here? No. Simply because here, I am just an author trying to make her way through the waters of publishing. And in fanfic:



Wash the “Pan”

So, this is the “other” movie Thing 1 and I went to last weekend. I was giddy to go; I’d grown up with both Disney’s Peter Pan, the 1991 movie Hook and the 2003 Peter Pan. Plus, I like a good Hugh Jackman film (I’m not sure they could’ve cast anyone else as Wolverine).


The premise is simple: how did a boy named Peter become Peter Pan? I could tell you the answer, but that would be spoilerific.

*hint* It’s not as earth shattering as it could’ve been.

*side note* I’ve previously stated that while I enjoy CGI, I don’t enjoy a movie that is CGI driven as opposed to plot driven.


And away we go!!!!


Just typing that quote from the original movie made me sad because there was an extraordinary potential for greatness in this “prequel.” Newcomer Levi Miller, playing the main role, was the highlight of the cast. A boy with imagination and a taste for making his own adventure in the drab orphanage he was left at as a baby, Peter notices other boys go missing…as in the lost boys. I see what you did there!


Anyhoo, Peter gets whisked away by pesky pirates in a flying pirate ship (flying as in among the WWII aircraft and zeppelins). Of course he almost falls off and is dramatically pulled back over the side. *cue eyeroll*


Then the viewer gets to Neverland and meets both Blackbeard the Pirate (Jackman) and the mine-worker-who-has-an-odd-interest-in-Peter, James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). Hedlund’s poorly written role as Han Solo…I mean James Hook…was cringe worthy and predictable. Rooney Mara was Tiger Lily and I thought she was trying to achieve selfie worthy pictures in each shot. Here’s an example:


The lowdown: rated PG and has lots of sword fighting. Ooooh!!! The one really great part that both Thing 1 and I loved was the deaths of people (that would spoil it for you) and they poof into colored chalk. NOT that their deaths are good, but the imagination of the transformation. No gore. Then, thinking about pretty chalk deaths, it kinda just makes that part of the movie feel like a color run. No bueno.


Peter’s destiny is revealed and the movie is left open-ended for a sequel – one I hope will never happen with the same writer/director combo.


I Intern-rupt you…

Tuesday! You sneaky McSneakster. Creeping up on me like there’s only 11 Fridays until Christmas. Yes…I just went there.

Just like I went to the movies this weekend! TWICE!

hiya karate chop

I’ll leave the “other” movie for next time. But for now, my personal dark horse. I went to see The Intern with Thing 1. I was completely ambivalent about even going. Don’t get me wrong – I love both Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro. However, the entire premise of the plot made me think it would be entirely predictable and meh. Happy to say, I was way wrong.


Shortest.Synopsis.EVER: A retired widower lands an internship at an online fashion site run by a young, career-driven woman. Gritty details: rated PG-13 for one F-bomb and middle finger (caveat: both Thing 1 and I belly-laughed at both instances) and the B-word via text, twice. No naked bits, although there are a couple of sexual innuendos inferring senior citizens are, in fact, not dead in that way. I choose to believe the movie because I’m neither asking about nor researching it.


How refreshing to have a film not littered with unnecessary swearing! On top of that highlight, it was a movie which didn’t portray a 70 year old as either dirty-minded or succumbing to dementia. Robert DeNiro was perfect in his role as Ben, a guy who still has lots of life left and wants to enjoy it. When he explains to the younger guys at work why he carries a handkerchief, I got tears in my eyes; my dad has always carried one too.


Anne Hathaway nails her savvy, on-the-go entrepreneur Jules, who has put her life on hold to pursue her business towards  uber-success. She’s quick to act and even more quick to judge. She has little to no use for the senior intern who has been assigned to her…until she realizes how much she needs him.


Oh, and I have to congratulate writer/director Nancy Meyers for a velociraptor-intelligent, wee daughter who catches onto the adults in her life. A realistic child? How novel. Kids do see the little things.


Throw in some stellar minor characters, superb subplots and some scenes that hit you in the feels, and The Intern is a movie I whole-heartedly recommend to anyone high school and up (If you don’t think a high school has heard/seen sexual innuendos at school, you’re wrong). The story was like a gorgeous rose to begin with and as the plot progressed, it became multi-layered, but stunning nonetheless.

And then it happens…

That magical moment I opened up my email and saw “Congratulations!” No, I hadn’t won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes – although that may have been nice to pay for my next conference. Instead, I found this lovely message:

First congratulations

And then I did this:


And then I thought of this:

bing bong

Because, it may be a small victory, but this first “Congratulations” lets me rest in God’s plan that it’s a marathon race I’m running, not a sprint. I have to train, have patience, to finish this particular race He’s set before me.

Thank goodness it’s not a sprint. My asthma would kick in and I’d look like a guppy fish on the ground.

Shout out to Deirdre Lockhart at Brilliant Cut Editing for hosting the contest! Thank you for my first “Congratulations!”

Lack of Sleep and Shiny Eyes

I apologize. These past couple of weeks snuck up on me. Honestly, I haven’t been sleeping well. I know there are all sorts of suggestions, but it segues into the post for this week. And it all started when Thing 1’s dog barked in the middle of the night. As I roamed the house, those little doggie eyes caught a glint of light and reflected back at me in the dark. A bit freaky, but I thought of a movie where the light reflects “just right” and make you wonder: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

At this point, some of you are wondering if my lack of sleep is messing with my head. It is. But the title above was made into a cult classic, sci-fi movie: Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott in 1982. It’s rated “R,” but it has very little foul language and lot of non-gory violence (hey, it’s basically sci-fi cops vs. robbers). Regrettably, it does have a dash of nudity. A dash, people, nothing remotely close to the current PG-13 movies in regards to nudity OR swearing.

blade_runner_posterSynopsis: The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019, in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other “mega-corporations” around the world. The use of replicants on Earth is banned and they are exclusively utilized for dangerous or menial work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and killed (“retired”) by special police operatives known as “Blade Runners”. The plot focuses on a group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick “Deckard” (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down. (thanks Wikipedia!)

2019?! That’s less than four years away! Feeling old aside, hello Harrison Ford and Sean Young! Add in Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, E. Emmet Walsh and Edward James Olmos and my geeky self settles into a sigh of sci-fi bliss.

I’m a big one for cinematography…not CGI. The art of how a director captures scenes, pulls the viewer into the moment, sells me on a film. Ridley Scott is a master at his art; how many of us jerked in terror/surprise during Aliens or felt the dust settle in Gladiator? Blade Runner is simultaneously beautiful and dark. Everything about “his” L.A. is dirty, busy and shadowed, punched with harsh fluorescent lighting.

A haggard looking Deckard is D.O.N.E. with replicant work, when he takes on his last assignment. His clothes are dirty and his self is as unkept as his apartment. The only bright spot in his life comes in the form of Rachael, a stunning replicant assistant to Mr. Tyrell himself. It is in Rachael that Deckard questions his hard and fast lines about replicants as he falls in love with the thing he hates and hunts to destroy.

Blade-Runner-2(See those shiny eyes?)

Although Blade Runner is gritty and dark, literally and figuratively, however, ends allegorically about the meaning of life. In the end, a dove is released, a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit, but I’m not willing to stretch the symbol to suggest that meaning.

There have always been rumors of a sequel, but recently, Ridley Scott himself has been adding fuel to the fire. And Harrison Ford will come back?! Just give me a moment to catch my breath, I’m verklempt.


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