Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Tangled

Went to see the new Disney movie, Tangled, this weekend.  I have to say, it was a pretty good flick.  I love the story of Rapunzel.  I have read it from many different adaptations and this one, was a great way to do it.  The characters were enjoyable and funny.  The charming chameleon, the dog like horse, as well as band of sensitive bandits and bad guys. 

Our “prince” is not a prince at all, but an orphan turned thief, with a heart.  What’s that called?  A diamond in the rough?  Yeah, that’s what he was.  Plus he was funny in his own way as well as not being overly charming, which I hate.  To me, it sets a bad example for children.  Sets impossible expectations for the future, you know?  Another plus was that he did not charge in and save the day.  Yes, really!  Oh he helped, but it was not simply a damsel in distress saved by a prince kind of story…

Which brings us to Rapunzel.  She was a naïve, yet strong, yet frightened, yet determined young woman.  Yes, she is beautiful, but that is not really the story.  Its just more visionaryily (is that a word?) appealing I would say.  A loving mother, who has taught her that the outside world is dangerous, has raised her.  Telling her that the people outside are bad and dangerous and will hurt her if she should ever leave her safe home/tower.  On her birthday though she has but one wish.  She sets off on a journey to see the fire lanterns that are released every year on her birthday.  She wants to see them for real, not just from her window.  She does not set out to discover herself or whatever, she just wants to be a part of the lanterns, just once. It is along the way to see the lights that her life journey begins.  It’s a good one too. 

That’s all I’m going to say about the story as there is so much more to it.  Magic and wonder.  Why is her hair so long?  You will have to watch the movie to see.  I did enjoy the movie, all the laughter and tears and wonderment.  I will be buying the DVD, which says something. 

Friday, November 26, 2010


My latest guest blog post is up.  I like this one.  It has pictures and everything.  You can find it here: When I'm not Writing

It’s the beginning of the holiday rush.  Thanksgiving was a nice break from work and the usual rush.  I lay in bed last night thinking how different the world has become since the first Thanksgiving.  Although the turkey maybe the same, what about the fish?  Yes there was corn, but where was the squash?  Pumpkin pie I don’t think counts.  When I think of the pilgrims I wonder what they were thankful for.  I would say maybe just to be alive, to have survived.  What are we thankful for now?  Truthfully?  From what I hear around me, I would say it all comes down to “stuff”.  As I sat last night watching tv, every commercial was about sales, and black Friday and buying.  It’s a bit disgusting actually.
Not that I am against presents, but the commercialization is overwhelming.  I refused to get up at three in the morning to save five bucks.  My sleeping is worth the money.  Besides lack of sleep and me just don't get along.  Really, we don't.  This year is just seems to be a bit worse than usual.  Some stores opened back up on Thanksgiving for pre-black Friday sales.  What the?  The poor employee’s of these stores didn’t even get to spend the whole holiday.  That’s horrible.  Yes we are in a tight economy and job market, so let’s take advantage of all the people that desperately need jobs and money right now.  It’s shameful. 
Yes, I will be going to stores as I can, and I will be buying what I intend to buy, all on the budget I set last January.  I will be sleeping in on my days off from work.  That’s what a holiday is to me:  A day off from work and getting to sleeping in.  I will also be spending time with my family, not in big crowds and long lines.  After all they are the gifts in this life that I cherish, nothing else is as important.

On a separate note:  The new Taylor swift album?  Wow.  I don’t think there is one song that I don’t like on it.  Just sharing. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heavy Words

Just a quick reminder to check out the Author Letter Contest.  You can find it below or here:  Shooting Stars Mag
So, I was talking to a friend recently and it was discussed how particularly rude the word “should” happens to be.  Have you ever thought about that word?  I hadn’t, not really anyway.  You should buy this.  You should try that.  How demanding.  I never thought about that word, in that way.  Not until it was brought to my attention.  As I try to be as non-demanding as I can be, this took me by surprise.  I am a big sayer of “Oh, you should try this!  Or:   Oh my gosh, you should buy these!  Talk about telling someone what to do!  Yikes, never realized.... 

This brings to mind that there are loads of things we say to people and we don’t really pay attention to the strength behind them or the emotions they invoke.  One that I have found to bring out the most defensive emotions in people when used is:  Why?  Such a small little word, and yet the tone behind it tends to bring out the worst in people.  I use this word all the time, much to the displeasure of some.  I want to understand, I want to be educated, I want to know why? The aggravation this little word brings, I find comical.  I am not in any way shape or form questioning someone’s intelligent, or facts, or character.  I have learned that there are just some people that can’t take this word.  I still want to know why?

Another strong word?  How about So?  So what, or so as in “and?”.  Hoo buddy, this is a mean use of a word and yet…it is not used with that intention, at least not by me.  This follows right behind the word why.  It is more of a fact search than an insult and yet people tend to jump into thinking, that I am being insulting.  I can't win.

I think what this means is that I should work on finding lighter words.  But why?  So what?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letters to Your Favorite Authors: Contest and Prize Pack Giveaway

Letters to Your Favorite Authors: Contest and Prize Pack Giveaway

Contest hosted by:  Shooting Stars Mag.

Whether you've read the book, David Inside Out or not, this is still one week that you want to pay attention to.

In Lee's novel, the main character David and his best friend Eddie write letters to their favorite authors. This sparked the idea of this contest. 

At this point, four bloggers (one is an author herself - me) will be writing a letter to our favorite or one of our favorites as I have so many, author and then it will be posted on our blog. You must check out their respective blogs, on their particular date, to find the letter though. By doing so, leaving your thoughts, and even following the various blogs...you get entered into a prize pack (more prizes will be added as this goes along so keep an eye on the list).


Okay, Here is my letter to one of my favorite authors, Julie Garwood.
Dear Ms. Garwood:

Hello!  I finally, after all these years broke down and decided to write you a letter.  Am I your biggest fan?  I don’t know, but I am definitely a huge one.  I am certain that most people would think that Stephen King would be my favorite author, but they would be wrong.  Although I am big fan of Mr. King, his stories always leave me feeling creeped out and icky, which is the whole point of his stories and I love him for it.  However, at the end of your stories, I feel happy and complete and wish there was more to come.  That is definitely a preferred feeling, in my mind. 

I must say your historical books are my favorite (The Bride, Ransom, Secret), but your thrillers are just as exciting and entertaining (FBI Series).  Most books I will read and then off they go to used bookstores or Goodwill, but not yours.  They are stored nicely in their very own plastic bin, so that I can pull them out whenever I need a good read with a happy ending. 

As a writer myself, although a new one, I have to say that I have learned so much from you.  Yes, you write for the adult genre and I the teen, but regardless, your story telling abilities have really helped me and taught me many, many great things.  You have made me a better writer and storyteller.  Thank you for that. 

Very Truly Yours

Courtney Rene
Author and Fan

Here is the schedule so far in case you missed any:

Tuesday, Nov. 16- Eleni from http://www.lafemmereaders.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, Nov. 17- Courtney from http://www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com/
Thursday, Nov. 18-Cass from http://bonjourcass.blogspot.com/
Friday, Nov. 19-Brent from http://naughtybookkitties.blogspot.com/

Rules to Enter the Giveaway:

+1 you will get a point for each letter you comment on. That is a chance to earn four points. (leave a new comment on this blog each time you do though!)

+2 for every single blog you follow, including Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. That is a chance to earn ten points (leave two new comments for each blog you follow)

If you have any questions, please let me know.

The giveaway will end November 30th and it's open to U.S. only, I'm afraid.
Prize List

A signed copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle donated by the author
$5 Amazon Gift Code donated by Lauren
$10 Starbucks Gift Certficate donated by Courtney
ARC of I’ll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan donated by Cass
Fat Chance by Leslea Newman donated by Cass
--more may be added!

Eleni will have her own, separate giveaway on La Femme Readers that goes along with the author she wrote. Be sure to follow those rules there!

Note to Bloggers: a lot of bloggers were, unfortunately, unable to write a letter for this, so I'm hoping to do something similar with more bloggers posting letters and a bigger prize pack in the new year. If you want to help, let me know.

Amazon Associates: buy the book from the above link, and we get a small percentage to support the site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What’s Holding you Back?

As I had previously mentioned, I did not sign up for Nano this month.  I didn’t figure I would have the time to devote to it, and well, all the other etc. etc. etc.  And yet, here I am at day 12 of the month and not only have I stayed right on target with the 50,000 words (I’m at 19,300 as of this morning) I am really enjoying the write. 

I wonder now, if I had signed up for Nano and committed to the contest and the words, would I be anywhere near the amount of words that I am now?  I would say…Nope.  Not hardly.  Why?  Well, to be blunt, I don’t work well under pressure.  Oh, time frames are fine.  I am great with that, just not the constant pressure to perform.  It squelches all my creativity as well as my desire.  Plus, I have to admit, that when I am forcing myself to do something, it kinda ends up on the stinky side.

I know Nano is supposed to be fun and it’s all part of the drive to have a first draft of a novel completed in one month’s time, but that’s a lot of pressure for someone like me.  I never REALLY know when I am going to have quality time to just sit down, focus, and write.  Too much stress for me, at least for this year.  Maybe next year I will give it a whirl. 

Am I the only one like this?  I hope not. 

As to my WIP (that’s “Work In Progress” for all you lay people) My book, Shadow Warrior (the sequel to Shadow Dancer) is going very nicely.  Sunny is having a grand time in Acadia. Yes, of course I jest. If it were all sunshine and roses for her, why would you want to read about it?  I hope that I can continue throughout this month to have Sunny’s story flow as easily.  I would love to have the first draft completed by months end.  I guess, Nano or no Nano, we will see. 

Have a great weekend everyone.  See ya Monday

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Songs for Books

For those of you that have read Shadow Dancer, would you like to know what Sunny and Lief's song is?  Well I will tell ya, it's:  Love Remains the Same, by Gavin Rossdale.  How did this song get picked?  It is one that I heard on the radio at the time I was writing.  I liked it so much, I put it on my ipod.  Whenever I was writing a good romantic part for the book I would inevitably go to that song.  It stuck.  Now whenever I think of this book I think of that song.  I hear it on the radio and I see Sunny dancing in the dark of a bar. 

I am not one of those people that needs complete silence to write.  Which is a very good thing as my life is anything but silent.  I like the noise of people and life and I love the noise of music in the background.  If it is too quiet, I can't concentrate and will end up more often then not, plugging in my ipod and cranking it up.

Depending on the scenes I am writing or the characters, the music choices change.  War and battle scenes I want harsh classical (I know, I'm a bit weird now and then), love...well I want songs of feeling.  It doesn't matter if its country or rap, rock or pop, if it is a song with emotion all in it, I'll use it.

Some of my favorites?  Well just to name a few off the top of my mind....

Graffiti Eyes - by Stellastar
Let's Get Lost - by Beck and Bat Lashers
Just Breathe - by Pearl Jam
Yellow - by Cold Play
Sweet Disposition - by the Temper Trap

Tomorrow this list will be different.  Its every changing as with my day to day life.  Do you use music for inspiration?  What are some of your favorites?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good vs. Evil

Just in case you haven’t check out my very first guest blog, here is the site one more time:  http://www.annastan.com/2010/11/letter-to-myself-courtney-rene/

I was reading this week that in non-adult books, all the “bad” people in stories need/should have a redeeming quality in them.  It is suppose to make them more personable and more likeable even though they are in fact, the bad guy.  My question….Why?

In the real world, some people are just evil.  There is not one single thing that is redeeming about them.  I know, as I have met a couple in my lifetime.  Here’s another shocker, it’s not always a guy either.  Women are just as capable of being evil as men.  We all say, “Well of course.  We know that.”  But do you.  Do you really?  Most people have both good and bad qualities in them.  However, I am not talking about good and bad here.  I’m talking about the truly evil.  Would you know the difference if you saw it?  Something to think about, eh?

My real concern and question is, why do ‘we’ insist on teaching our children that even though there is evil out there, there is still good in them, you just have to find it.  They just need love and compassion.  Oh vomit!  I don’t want my children, or any children for that matter, to be come face to face with evil and instead of running for their lives, instead they stop to see if they can find the good inside the evil.  Are we that stupid that we believe that our children or we ourselves will never really be faced with any type of real evil?  I would hope not.  What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention?

I write sometimes about the darkness that I see in the world all around me.  I may wrap it all up in fantasy, but in the end, it’s as close to non-fiction as I can make it.  Maybe it’s my way of teaching about it, and maybe it’s just my way of bringing attention to it.  I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I teach my children that evil is not to be greeting with friendship.  Evil is to be feared, but also overcome.  After all, good must conquer all, right?  Otherwise where will we be? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blogs for November

Here we are, Monday again and the start of November. This month I will be doing several guest blogs.  The first one is up and ready for you to visit.  You can find it here:  http://www.annastan.com/2010/11/letter-to-myself-courtney-rene/  It looks really good.  This is a great site to check out and browse around in. 

November is also Nano Month.  I thought long and hard about joining in on the competition and such, but decided that in reality, I just really don’t have the time this year.  I am still tweaking and prodding and finishing up “A Howl in the Night” (we all know how much I just love revisions and editing).  I am also now working on “Shadow Warrior”, which it is really taking a big chuck of my time right now.  So to all the writers who are participating in Nano this year, good luck!  Maybe I will join in with you next year.