Saturday, September 29, 2012

#MovieReview - Sparkle

For anyone who hasn't seen the original Sparkle, I don't want to spoil anything for them.  But...

Plot: Single mother who's been chewed up and spit out by the music business hides herself away from life behind religion and raising her children.  The youngest of her daughters loves to write and sing, but fights against her desire because of her mother.  But, a series of twists and turns leads the trio of sisters to the stage, and right into the dangers their mother warned.

The original movie had actors like Philip Michael Thomas and Irene Cara, and in my opinion it was a true 70's movie deep with drugs, death, and family angst.

The remake had Derek Luke, Whitney Houston, Mike Epps, and Jordin Sparks.  I can't say I thought the acting was anything great, but I did like a few of the loose ends that they cleaned up from the original.  I loved the sass of Tika Sumpter.  The emptiness of Carmen Ejogo was believable.  But, I thought some actors' talents were a little wasted, namely Derek Luke.  I've seen him much stronger in other pieces.

We've discussed Magic Mike before, at time while watching this movie, it felt like the female version.  Some of the shots nearly ran right up the female actresses' dresses while on stage, especially Sister's.  Some of the shots, I don't think were flattering.  But, some did add layers of understanding to the relationship between Sister and Mike Epps' character, Satin.

I think what I liked about this version vs. the original is that it showed the strength of family.  I loved the sisters standing together to fight.  I loved the sisters not giving up on each other.  I loved that the mother in the end took a look at herself and went...this is my daughter's life.

Jordin Sparks has a beautiful voice, but I think some scenes of her singing didn't have felt overacted and too exaggerated.  But, Carmen Ejogo matched her singing with her character's pain.  And the sassy sister played by Tika Sumpter held her own.

In the original movie, again typical 70's style, everybody good doesn't win at the end.  In this version, you're satisfied with where the characters are when the credits roll.

But, I wonder if the actors themselves were...I don't remember seeing anyone aside from Jordin Sparks promote the movie, which may speak a lot to the quality of the movie itself.  Even if you look at the covers posted as part of this blog.  The emphasis of the movie was Jordin Sparks, and I don't think she really had the acting talent to carry it.  But, I did like the script.  Overall, I would think this was a good Sunday afternoon movie to watch with your mother an your sister, if you have one.

Catch it in the matinee :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What exactly is a love story? How is #love defined?

A love story.  What does that mean?  Love? Romance?  What are they really?  Subjective at best.

My guest, Ken LaSalle, has visited me before, but this time, he's discussing what love and romance mean to him.  And why he chose to mix them together with a little environmental appreciation.

What can be said about a book that has a taxi driving polar bear ;-)

Drop by and join my guest Ken LaSalle at Romancing the Pen!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Who do you consider to be a classic author?

I'm not referring to the "classics."  Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, or Milton.  I'm talking about modern classic authors.  Authors that have something to teach all of us aspiring authors.

I'm reading Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift, and honestly, it's taking longer than I thought it would take to read.  Not because there's anything wrong with the book, but because it's not written to be read quickly.  Some may say this is a plot-driven story because there is a bit of an unknown element to the book, but I think it's more character-driven.  There is a ton of character development and it's driving the pace of this story.  We don't know anything the main character doesn't know.  We discover as he does.  I find myself pushing the character wanting him to explore another room, walk through the forest, look at one more artifact.  I want to know more.  I want him to be okay.  To be safe.

I feel so connected to this character that it's making me anxious.  I worry that with the flip of one more page something I don't like will happen to him.

I find myself reading this story as much for pleasure as I am for studying how she's tied me to this character so much that I think as he does about the people in his life.  And that I fear what will become of him and his power.

Have you read anything lately that's taken it's time to pull you in and clamped on tight?

(Of course I'll let you know how this one goes.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

#BookReview - Lover Unleashed

You guys know I love all things J.R. Ward, but it took me some time to decide to read this one...I don't know why.  I guess I really didn't have much interest.  I think mainly because the heroine--Payne, hadn't really captured my interest in the other books that lead up to her own story.  J.R. Ward does such a great job of building anticipation for the next book.  I'm about to explode waiting on Lover At Last!  But, this one has sat on my Kindle for awhile.

Our heroine, Payne, is injured.  That injury requires the medical expertise of Dr. Manuel Manello. The introduction of a human into the clandestine world of the Black Dagger Brother possesses problems for many reasons.  But, the constant use of this doctor's abilities is needed.  However, the BDB's use of Dr. Manello begins to cause problems for him in the human world.

Also, we see the introduction of the Band of Bastards lead by Xcor, and learn why they are who they are separate, but equal in skill and ability.  The question that must be answered is: who is Xcor to Payne and Vishous?

The more questions I post here, the more I will raise or answer questions for those who've not read these books, and I'd hate to spoil it for you.

But, I will say that J.R. Ward continues to intrigue me with her ability to create couples that compliment each other seamlessly, which is why my heart quietly broke in this one for Vishous and his mate Jane.  I guess we'll all see what happens.

This books only continued to fuel my excitement for Blay and Quinn!  Stop teasing me!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fear...what is it good for?

Fear.  I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers.  I love books and movies that pull me in and have me screaming at the pages or the screen like what...why...come on :-)

And as a writer, I think I incorporate a little bit of fear...not blood and gore, heads rolling around on the ground gore, but fear into every story.  And when my guest this week at Romancing the Pen sent me her post on fear--phobias, I thought, wait...I use fear, right.  I ran through the synopses and character profiles of my books, but nope...not one phobia anywhere.  Big opportunity for me in the future to incorporate some of the things my characters fear into the stories I'm working on.

Thanks Elise for an awesome idea!

Join me and my guest Elise VanCise at Romancing the Pen.

Chatting with Kissa Starling

Today, I'm a guest over at Kissa Starling's blog.  I've been in a dark corner writing :-) to be more specific, an outdoor patio surrounded by beautiful trees while sipping some great wines.  But, hey it's all the same, right?

So, now, I'm taking a little break to jump back in and say hi to a few friends.  Kissa has once again allowed me to pop by her blog to chat with her and her readers, and I hope that you'll join me.

Also, don't forget to drop by Romancing the Pen to visit with my latest guest, Elise VanCise.

And soon, I hope to share some more fantastic news with you all!  I just finished proofing the galley for my latest short story.  A sweet love story that focuses on what happens to a loved one who can't let go...even after death.

What would you do if you had the chance to see the love of your life again?--even if it were only temporary.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Character Inspiration

Loved him in Four Brothers!  I still cry every time I watch the movie, and "that" scene plays.

But, this man, and the words, "...give in to me..." dangerous!

Garrett Hedlund, actor

Country Strong isn't that fantastic, the ending felt to contrived, but who cares...he's in it, and he's gorgeous!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rules for writing fiction

As written for The Guardian by Will Self, novelist.

1 Don't look back until you've written an entire draft, just begin each day from the last sentence you wrote the preceeding day. This prevents those cringing feelings, and means that you have a substantial body of work before you get down to the real work which is all in . . .

2 The edit.

3 Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.

4 Stop reading fiction – it's all lies anyway, and it doesn't have anything to tell you that you don't know already (assuming, that is, you've read a great deal of fiction in the past; if you haven't you have no business whatsoever being a writer of fiction).

5 You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.

6 Live life and write about life. Of the making of many books there is ­indeed no end, but there are more than enough books about books.

7 By the same token remember how much time people spend watching TV. If you're writing a novel with a contemporary setting there need to be long passages where nothing happens save for TV watching: "Later, George watched Grand Designs while eating HobNobs. Later still he watched the shopping channel for a while . . ."

8 The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can't deal with this you needn't apply.

9 Oh, and not forgetting the occasional beating administered by the sadistic guards of the imagination.

10 Regard yourself as a small corporation of one. Take yourself off on team-building exercises (long walks). Hold a Christmas party every year at which you stand in the corner of your writing room, shouting very loudly to yourself while drinking a bottle of white wine. Then masturbate under the desk. The following day you will feel a deep and cohering sense of embarrassment.