Friday, November 20, 2015

Three Pinterest Story Boards

BLAST IT!  I had this post all written up yesterday, and then I never actually hit "publish" for some unfathomable reason.  So here, one day late, is my post for Elisabeth Grace Foley's Pinterest Storyboard Party!  Today I'll be sharing three boards I've made, one for each novel or story I've got going right now.  Be sure to check out the party for Elisabeth's story boards, and links to other people's too.  (EDIT:  She's leaving the link-up open for a whole week now, so if you want to participate too, you still can!)

At first, when I saw people making inspiration boards for their WIPs on Pinterest, I was kind of amused in an eyebrow-cocked way.  Was this really helpful?  Was it a good way to procrastinate?  Did it really provide inspiration?  I admit I was skeptical. 

Then I decided to create this board for my short story "The Rose-Covered Cabin" when I shared the news that I'll be submitting it to the Five Magic Spindles contest.  I'd actually pinned a bunch of stuff to a secret board that was helpful for my story -- things about the so-called "walking wheel" or "great wheel" spinning wheels and so on.  So I tossed that all onto a new board, and added shots of the various actors I'd "cast" in the story.  And guess what?  It was fun!

But I still didn't start making any new boards for new writing projects, not until Elisabeth announced this party.  Then I was like, "Well, I shared the board for RCC already... I should make one for my new story!"  So I did.  I hereby unveil my board for Patchwork Autumn, a novel that grew in my head over the course of little more than a week and which I've only just started writing.  But I'm already loving how it mixes the Appalachian mountains with the Wild West -- it's sweet and tangy and salty and smooth all at once.

And then the other day, I was having so much fun adding to the PA album that I just went ahead and created a board for my last novel, Fickle Creek, because I could.  That's my first-ever YA novel, and my first western in a long while -- I started writing it way back in 2012, and am in the slow process of revising it now.

So now you've seen all three of my "inspiration boards."  I do add to/tweak them from time to time.  But I don't use them for inspiration so much as for gathering and storing links and information, and for looking back at fondly after I've finished a story and saying, "Oh, yes, wasn't that fun?"

I'm pretty bummed I forgot to post this yesterday.  I blame it on baking an apple pie.  Does things to one's brain, pie-baking does.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Anastasia" Soundtrack Guest Post

Good morning!  My review of the Anastasia (1997) soundtrack is now up over at J and J Productions.  Listening to this album always takes me back to my college years, especially winter in Minnesota with lots of wonderful snow outside and lots of friends inside.  Happy times!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Ten Favorite Maureen O'Hara Movies

To honor Maureen O'Hara after her recent passing, I'm sharing a list of my ten favorite films that she starred in.  Comedies, westerns, swashbucklers, dramas -- she could handle them all.

1.  The Parent Trap (1961)

Twin sisters (Hayley Mills as both) with divorced parents (Maureen O'Hara and Brian Kieth) scheme to bring their parents back together.  It's been one of my favorite movies since I was a teen.

2.  The Rare Breed (1966)

A British widow (Maureen O'Hara) and her daughter (Juliet Mills) accompany the prize bull they've sold on its way to its new owner (Brian Keith) with the help of a determined cowhand (James Stewart).  I've seen this so often, the characters all feel like dear old friends.

3.  The Black Swan (1942)

Captain Jamie Waring (Tyrone Power) renounces piracy, falls in love with a fiery noblewoman (Maureen O'Hara), and dashes about having swashbuckling adventures.  A perfectly delightful movie.

4.  Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)

Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) and his wife Peggy (Maureen O'Hara) vacation with their family in a decidedly eccentric house, encountering many gently comic adventures. This is one of those movies I quote all the time in my head.

5.  The Quiet Man (1952)

An American ex-prizefighter (John Wayne) moves to Ireland and marries a feisty native (Maureen O'Hara) who believes he is a coward and refuses to live with him as man and wife until he proves her wrong.  A dramatic and beautiful movie.

6.  Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

A skeptical little girl (Natalie Wood) and her busy single mother (Maureen O'Hara) meet a man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) who tries to convince them he's the real Santa Claus.  Heartwarming.

7.  McLintock! (1963)

A rich rancher (John Wayne) battles his estranged wife (Maureen O'Hara), daughter, land-grabbing bad guys, and various other adversaries.  Almost a western version of The Taming of the Shrew.

8.  The Wings of Eagles (1957)

The true story of a Navy pilot (John Wayne) who is paralyzed after an accident, and regains the ability to move with the help of his best friend (Dan Dailey) and wife (Maureen O'Hara).  Such an inspiring movie!

9.  Spencer's Mountain (1963)

A hardworking man (Henry Fonda) has to decide if he should build his wife (Maureen O'Hara) the home he's promised her for years or send his son (James MacArthur) to college.  Based on the novel by Earl Hamner, Jr. that also inspired the TV show The Waltons a few years later.

10.  Big Jake (1971)

A rich rancher (John Wayne) returns to his home after years of roaming when his estranged wife (Maureen O'Hara) telegraphs him that their grandson (Ethan Wayne) has been kidnapped.  The more modern setting (1909, with cars and motorcycles) saddens me in many ways, but it's a solid story and has lots of familiar faces.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'll Be Joining the Pinterest Storyboard Party -- Will You?

Elisabeth Grace Foley has announced on her blog, The Second Sentence, that she is going to hold a Pinterest Storyboard Party next Thursday, November 19.  One week from today!  I'll for sure be sharing my board for "The Rose-Covered Cottage," the story I'm submitting to the Five Magic Spindles contest.  It's changed a little since I previously shared it, which I'll talk about next week.

I might also share the board I'm making for a story/novella/novel that has landed in my brain and gelled over the last couple of weeks.  I know I've made a poor showing in NaNoWriMo this year -- I had great intentions of writing at least 25,000 words and doing a half-Nano with a novel I've had in my head for two years, Son of a Gunfighter.  But then I frittered away my evenings at my parents' house by watching episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with my mom, got ambushed by this new story idea, and have had to spend my writing time doing edits on "The Rose-Covered Cabin" since it has an actual deadline.  Sorry, Nano!  Next year.

Anyway, again, details on the Pinterest Story Party are here.  If you're a writer and make storyboards on Pinterest, I hope you join the fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"The Untouchables" Soundtrack Guest Post

I've got another post up here today on James the Movie Reviewer's blog.  This time, I'm spotlighting Ennio Morricone's unbeatable soundtrack for The Untouchables (1987).  I remember getting this soundtrack as a gift while in college and listening to it allllllll the time while studying.  And yet, I'm not tired of it like I am of many other albums I over-repeated back then.  Good, good stuff.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Sweater Weather Tag

Kara at Flowers of Quiet Happiness has tagged me with this charming, seasonal tag :-)  Thanks, Kara!  Because this is linked directly to the season which we happen to be in right now, I'm going to do it before all the other tags that are patiently awaiting my attention.

Favorite candle scent?

I got this candle once called "Dragon's Blood" that was kind of a blend of citrus and musk and something spicy -- oh, I loved that candle.

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

I like all three, actually.  I drink coffee every morning, and sometimes in the afternoon too.  I drink hot chocolate on snowy days or in the evening when I'm writing.  And I drink tea when I'm writing or when I have a sore throat.

What's the best fall memory you have?

When I was ten or eleven, we went to visit some friends who lived on top of a hill, and we spent ages rolling down the hill.  I got so many leaves stuck in my long, long hair that the matriarch of that family took a photo of it and then gave me a copy when she got them printed.  I was convinced I still had that photo, but I looked all through my photo albums just now, and it's not there, so my parents must have it.

The countryside near where my parents live in North Carolina, as it looked last week.

Best fragrance for fall?

Burning leaves.

Favorite Thanksgiving food? 

Pumpkin pie!  Happens to be my favorite pie flavor.

Most-worn sweater?

I don't like sweaters.  Blech, too hot.  Also, often itchy.  I can't stand to be hot, and I hate being itchy.  However, I do have one loose, cool, non-itchy sweater that I bought for Christmas last year that is very comfy -- it's cream-colored and very simple, and I like to wear it in the winter to church now and then.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles?

I have zero interest in football.  Leaf piles for the win!

The woods not far from here last autumn.

Skinny jeans or leggings?

I've never worn either, but my girls wear leggings a lot.

Combat boots or Uggs?

Combat boots, though I still don't have a pair.  What's wrong with me?

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

Few things in this world are worth the hype.  I do like pumpkin spice-flavored things now and then, though.

Favorite fall TV show?

The Granada Television version of Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett.  There's something deliciously autumnal about it.

(Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes)

What do you want to be for Halloween?

I went as the Armie Hammer version of Illya Kuryakin from The Man from Uncle, complete with cute hat, black turtleneck, and a bright blue sport coat.  I didn't get any good pictures, so here's one of me in the hat and my Illya t-shirt.

Me at my parents' house

Hats or scarves?

Hats!  I am exceedingly fond of hats.  I own lots of them.  But I like scarves too.

What's your #1 favorite thing about fall?

How creative I get as the weather cools off.  I write much more in fall than in summer, and craft more as well.

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, so if you feel like joining, go for it!  If you don't, that's fine too :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from the Femnista crew!

Our Halloween issue this year focuses on villainesses, and long before I knew I would be hosting the Hamlet read-along  on my other blog this October, I signed up to write about Gertrude and how she can be viewed or portrayed as a villainess.  No surprises there, huh?

My article is titled "Femme Fatale or Feminine Fatality:  Gertrude in Hamlet," and you can read the issue online here or download it as a pdf here.

Happy Halloween!  I'll be getting supper ready early for my little mice, and then into our costumes and off to trick-or-treating we go!  And yeah, I'm wearing a costume too this year.  I'm going as Illya Kuryakin!  Kind of melding that classic turtle-neck under a sport coat look from the TV show with the wonderful Armie Hammer version from the movie.  So imagine a combo of these two looks:

Um, yes.  I'll post pics if I get any good ones!