Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Throwback Movie Tuesdays

So, a couple days ago I entered an AWESOME blog giveaway over at Megan Whitmer's spot on the interwebs (that I did not win...drat). To enter we had to discuss something that was interesting about our past; something from our history.

My entry involved two of my loves from way back: movies and 80s music.

The actual entry went as so:

The first time I rented Teen Witch (in VHS format, obvi) from our local Phar-Mor (now extinct, of course) I was nine. And I was OBSESSED with finding a special necklace that would give me a rich history full of witchy power. Also, I dreamt of how awesome it would be to break out in magical musical numbers when I finally got to high school. You know, as a normal high school student would do: in the hallways, lunchrooms, and locker rooms. 
Anyway, I chose Teen Witch as my weekly rental for a solid three months. Then sporadically after that until I was in high school and realized that a special necklace and magical musical numbers were FAR from what I needed to be concerned with.
Movies are still a big part of my life, though most of my 80s music library has been replaced with too much music of today to keep up with. But on special occasions, only Cindy Valentine's song Finest Hour will do!*

*I'm very aware that this entire post exposes that I was the geekiest child ever. I'm okay with that. ;-)

After entering the giveaway, I couldn't push Teen Witch from my mind (as one can NEVER do after thinking of it, watching it, singing its soundtrack, etc, etc). The amount of time during my childhood that was dedicated to watching this movie on a loop speaks volumes about me as a lover of story (which, by the way, was not easy with VHS, kids. I mean I had to invest in a VHS rewinder that was separate from my VHS player so that it wouldn't wear out the gears on the... NEVERMIND).

Anyhow, I kept coming back to the amount of time I spent engrossed in story during my formative years. It would not be a stretch for me to say that movies raised me: cheesy movies, great movies, bad movies - you name it and I watched it (probably).

So, I decided to start posting the movies that I grew up with, along with some reasons why I fancied them. Feel free to share thoughts or stories about your own viewing of particular titles, as I list them. Oh, and feel free to recommend movies for me to cover - I very well may have seen them, no matter how cheesy or bad or obscure.

First off, of course:

Teen Witch

I'm posting the Most Popular Girl clip instead of Finest Hour (even though it's a fav) because I don't want to ruin the end of the movie! Seriously, you need to get yourself to amazon or netflix or wherever and WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!

Now, why was I obsessed with this movie?

1. Cinderella mixed with a witchy vibe? Hells yes!
2. The big curly bangs, the jean EVERYTHING wardrobe mixed with lace, and the musical numbers.
3. Brad's mustang. Yep, the one in this video. I wanted one all the way up until I was old enough to drive, then I was over it. Go figure.
4. The cheesy, but lovable way Louise, the heroine, is okay with herself but still wants MORE.
5. Did I say the music? All of the magical musical numbers. All of them.
6. Did I mention the witchy-ness? Because, I LOVED the witchy-ness. Especially the fact it was used lightly, and kept accessible in Louise's already established life. Our worlds are often only as big as our surroundings when we're young (at least pre-digital age. There will be a post on that later this week), and the magical necklace opened Louise to all the possibilities surrounding her that had laid just beyond her comfort level. Which, of course, she soon realizes she never needed a necklace to open those doors to begin with; just courage to confidently be herself in front of others the way she was behind closed doors.
7. Going off of #6 a bit, I could relate to Louise's story even as a younger child because I was comfortable with myself in 'my world', but clammed up when thrown in large groups or activities outside my experience level. It took watching Louise's story, watching many other movie journeys unfold, as well as reading book characters wobble on the fence of Where Do I Fit In, to finally trust that I could bring my inside, confident-self out to the forefront and not get trampled into the swamp of dismal embarrassment. And eventually I learned that if someone didn't quite take a liking to my particular style of self, it would be OKAY.

Characters like Louise helped me get through those moments, and that's what it's all about!

Okay, lovelies, who out there has watched Teen Witch? Have a favorite part and want to share? I look forward to hearing from you all!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow Days and Giveaway Winner!

Hi peeps. Hope all of you are doing well and keeping warm. We've been, well... cold here in Southwest Virginia. But it is January and snowing and such. So winter weather is to be expected; I guess.

My problem is I'd rather be at the beach. Further South. Far, far away from 19 degree weather that feels like 9 degrees. Especially since we've had a relatively warm winter up until this point. Basically, I was spoiled with no-coat winter weather and then this happened out of nowhere:


So, anyway, enough of me pouting. I know you're really here to see who the WINNER is...



*Waits while Rafflecopter preforms its random generator*

P.S. If you didn't win, keep checking back as I have more giveaways planned for the year ahead!


For real this time. The WINNER is:




I've emailed Tabitha at the email address she left upon entry. If I haven't heard from her within 72 hours, I'll pick another winner. 

Thanks to everyone who entered! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

TV Show Plots and a GIVEAWAY

With my favorite new show back from winter break (can we just have a moment to seethe about all these new winter-break gaps in our favorite TV shows, interrupting our viewing pleasure. Ugh!... okay, I'm good now.), I've got TV plot lines on the writer-brain.

One of my favorite shows at the moment is:
Revenge airs Sundays on abc at 9PM EST

It has intrigue, tension, and of course all the REVENGE a girl needs. Be still my heart!

Seriously, I've followed this show religiously because of its plot twists and character developments and the lovely Miss Emily Thorne (a kick-ass female lead). And Emily shouldn't even be likable in the broad spectrum of favorite characters. Why, you ask? She creates a new identity to destroy the lives of others. What have we heard from birth (well, since we started attending school and every teacher in the history of time has preached to us): two wrongs do not make a right. So, for all intents and purposes we should not root for her. But I do. Every week. And I bet you know why savvy reader/writer/TV watcher/human being, you.

The reason: Emily is doing bad for the sake of her father's reputation and all the lost innocence of her childhood taken away by the hands of the people she's after.

That's a plot I can get behind.

My other favorite (for a different reason than just sheer entertainment) is:

I watched the entire first season in one setting. (Yes, I was that lazy one day after the holidays). The show had been recommended by a friend, so when I saw the whole season on Super Sale in Best Buy I grabbed it as a gift to myself. Totally made my weekend.

This show has been criticized immensely by the viewing public for its lack of instant gratification a la CSI/SVU/Law&Order. The Killing's entire premise is the murder of one girl in Seattle. Her death is linked to her family, her friends, the town, and even political powers in the area. (No spoilers, that is all in the first episode). And the whole SEASON is focused around solving her murder. Which is the biggest reason I LOVED it.

There's another kick-ass, flawed female lead, Miss Sarah Linden. She's a homicide detective set to leave Seattle, with her teenage son, and meet up with her fiancé (for their wedding!) in Sedona, AZ. Then Rosie is found. She does things (that I can't tell you because they're spoilery) that we should not like her for, BUT what do we know about loving flawed characters, Dear Readers, she does them for a heart-tugging reason and I can root for that!

(can you tell I love to see a flawed female lead. So rarely does the female actress get to really be the leading anti-hero in such evocative ways.)

Other reasons I love The Killing: the cinematography (so gorgeous), the endless plot twists, the time spent developing its characters (including Rosie, our case subject), the way it follows the family through their grieving process while dealing with the legal process of finding their daughter's killer, and seeing the day-to-day of a police search played out in a more realistic way (with SPOT ON dialog) instead of redundant recaps of who did it and why, like some other cop shows. (no offense if those tickle your fancy because everything is subjective to each and every one of us, and it's all good.)

And to wrap up this post with a point (I was getting there, I promise): The plots of Revenge and The Killing remind me why I write. Unlike with movies (which I LOVE with a different part of my writer-soul), a season of TV shows allows us the same experience a great book or book series does. Told in many episodes, often times over the span of years, it gives us time to breath a full life into characters, to watch their ever so slight developmental rises and dips, we explore the setting and emotions at a leisurely pace as we return to them each week, and we're often given an abundance of subplots that enrich the main story (which isn't always possible with the time-limits of cinema).

Amazing TV shows inspire me, and teach me just as much as a good book, a writer's blog, or even workshops on craft!

If you've stuck with me this long: THANK YOU! I know that was a winded post (and an abundance of parentheses were over-abused, I'm sure). So, for all of you out there that watch great TV shows as inspiration for your own writing, character and setting development, dialog builders, and sometimes just pure entertainment, here's a giveaway for bearing with me! ;-)

I would have loved if the prize were something involving Revenge or The Killing, but of course I couldn't find any of their merchandise at my local bookstore. However, there was this fancy piece of prize:


The Office airs Thursdays on NBC at 9PM EST

The Office has been hilarious and fun, so I thought this would be a good gesture to fans of the show as it is airing its 9th and final season. A fond farewell from me to you.

What you'll get in the office kit:

• Michael Scott's "World's Best Boss" coffee mug
• Pam's Drawing of Dunder Mifflin building
• Angela's Baby Jazz poster
• Dunder Mifflin notepad
• Dunder Mifflin mouse pad
• Dunder Mifflin mission statement
• Schrute Farms Beet Seed and Vance Refrigeration magnets
• Full-color game collection
• Schrute Buck

To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter below and GOOD LUCK! The contest will run until Midnight January 24th 2013. ONLY OPEN TO THE US (my apologies, international peeps).
I'll announce the winner here on the blog that evening.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reading Recommendations for the New Year

Happy New Year! 

Hope 2013 is off to a good start for all of you! It seems everyone is blogging about goals and resolutions for the new year, and I have some of those (somewhere, if I can remember where I put them...), but I also put together a list of some of my favorite reads and thought now would be a good time to share them. After all, I love when I discover a book off my radar, or a new author, so what better way to start the new year than to share the list with all of you. Book sharing = fun times! 

Here's a few of my favorites:
(minus the classic favorites)

Young Adult Fiction:

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Purity by Jackson Pearce 

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

The Summer Series by Jenny Han
(The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, We'll Always Have Summer)

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

New Adult Fiction:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Crushed by Dawn Rae Miller

Easy by Tammara Webber

Adult Fiction:

Disquiet by Julia Leigh

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Still She Haunts Me by Katie Roiphe

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

How about you? Have any recommendations you'd like to share? Leave a link (of a book, or a list on your blog) in the comments so we can all take advantage.