Words of Encouragement Never Get Old

I was reading a blog that has become one of my favorites on writing and wanted to share:

Never give up on your dreams by Cristian Mihai

unicorn_hippo_treadmill

One of my favorite quotes goes like this: ”Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Ambrose Redmon said that.

Fear is an impulse, or like the tattoo on my arm says, “Fear is the mind killer.” Frank Herbert said that. In Dune. So you can’t stop being afraid, but you can fight fear, you can control it.
I don’t think I ever told you how I became a writer. Or if I did, it was long ago.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really like to read or write. Of course, I made up stories. My father had brought me this Atlas of the World, and I found about this city in the US called Seattle. And I thought, “What a great name.” I didn’t know how it should be pronounced, so I pronounced it seetle or something like that.

Read the rest here

And thank you to all of you who responded to my question in the last post. I did not expect encouragement, but I thank you very much for it!

Something Sweet For Christmas

Now that my major control freak is satisfied for a while by telling Richard Armitage what I think he ought to do :D, I want to leave you with a little treat for Christmas. At the end of my last piece, I said I was emphatically not against Richard being cast as a romantic lead. But what kind of romance? A period drama? An epic? Yes, he could do those well, but what I’ve been thinking is a little more down to earth. It’s called the sweet romance which I’ve been rediscovering through Beverly Farr, a fellow blogger and RA fan who is also an author. She’s been schooling me about it through her contemporary books, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the education.

She says of herself and her writing:

I love stories. I love romance. I write sweet stories about how love should be.

more here

When I first read that, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I took a chance and read one of her books, and it was hard to deny the grin on my face when I finished. Then I read another one, and then I knew I wanted to talk to Beverly.

ME: Some truth. I didn’t expect to like your stories. I was biased about the “sweet romance” in a contemporary setting. It’s not that I like lurid writing for itself, but I just didn’t have great expectations of a good, modern story that didn’t have something explicit in it. How jaded am I?

BEVERLY: Unfortunately, a lot of people think sweet means stupid or boring. And maybe my stories aren’t sweet. I don’t know. I just don’t know what word to use. I think my stories are like Jean Arthur. Sweet because of content, but with the occasional sting or snarkiness.

ME: I love that mixture, and yep, you’re right. The word sweet has been perverted into something boring.

BEVERLY: Like in my fairy story where the heroine’s brother was eaten by a cat. That bothers people, but makes me laugh.

ME: I bought that book but haven’t read it yet. I’ve read Her Ex Next Door and The M Word. At the risk of sounding offensive, I was stunned at how much I liked these stories.

BEVERLY: Thanks for the comment. I like the “stunned” idea. It gives me hope. My stories are difficult to market because they’re not what some people think of as “sweet” but they’re not the basic contemporary novel, either.

ME: No, they’re not. They are in a class by themselves from what I can tell. I haven’t read romances in years, so I may not be the best one to make an analysis of that.

What got you started on the “sweet romance?”

BEVERLY: When I was younger, I read nearly every romance novel I could find, sweet and otherwise. Over the years, however, I realized that I really don’t want to know the details of what the characters are doing in the bedroom. I prefer to leave that to my imagination. I love the romantic movies — drama and comedy — of the 1930s through the 1950s. The good movies from that era are romantic and sometimes very sexy, without any details on screen. For example: Clark Gable was incredibly sexy and I don’t remember him being in any on screen love scenes. My other favorite actors are James Stewart, Cary Grant, William Powell, and Ronald Colman. All beautiful and brilliant.

So basically I write books that are like the movies I enjoy — sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, but with no detailed love scenes. I had a reviewer who said one of my books was technically “clean” but there was still a lot of talk about sex (it was necessary for the plot). My response to that is that grown-ups in a romantic relationship are going to talk about sex eventually. I want to write books that grown ups enjoy, but I hope that whatever I write will be honest and respectful enough that it will be appropriate for teenagers to read as well.

I’d like to be the Frank Capra of romance writing. But that sounds pretentious.

ME: No, it doesn’t. I think you’re making a good start. I need to think about The M Word characters and which Capra characters they remind me of. Did I mention that I loved The M Word? :D What gave you the idea of using La Traviata as a framework for the story?

BEVERLY: I adore Marriage of Convenience stories, so The M Word started as a twist on that familiar theme. My hero Marius loved opera, but I knew little about it other than liking Carmen, so I started researching. I skimmed books on opera, on Placido Domingo, and watched a film version of La Traviata. At that point, I saw my story had parallels to it, so I expanded on that theme, which made for a deeper, more interesting story. I often start a novel with an interesting premise or character and start asking, “What if?” questions. I know I ultimately want a happily-ever-after ending, but I can write half a book before I figure out how to get there.

ME: Maybe it’s just me, but I pictured Richard Armitage as Marius.

BEVERLY: Well, he looks a little like Thorin, but he’s more like John Standring, and there is one scene that reminds me of Lucas North. Marius is also a little like Monet, because he’s European and likes good food. The more I look for similarities, the more I find. :)

But to be honest, those are afterthoughts. As much as I love Richard Armitage, the character of Marius was created before I first watched North and South and became an addict, so he was his own person earlier. Of course, if Richard Armitage wanted to play him on film, I would be thrilled.

ME: I would pay to see that!

And I understand Richard Armitage has inspired you. How so?

BEVERLY: First of all, he’s beautiful and beauty has a way of inspiring people. But he’s intelligent and that’s even more inspiring. He is a detailed actor who gives the viewer a glimpse into his character’s thoughts and feelings. His performances are carefully crafted, but there is a sense of honesty, sincerity and depth in his portrayals. For me, he makes me think about the characters, then about human nature, and finally about what is important in life. That prompts me to write. And watching his creativity, taking the words of the script and putting it into action, inspires me. I want to have the same detail and dedication in my work. When I write, I imagine a movie in my mind. What do the characters look like and how do they move or sound? I try to add the descriptive details that I would notice in a film, but then I add the emotions that I’m guessing they feel. Watching Richard Armitage has helped me see the complexity of characters and has helped me find the good in my bad characters and the bad in my good ones.

ME: I can’t wait to see what you have coming.

Do you mind if my minor control freak throws an idea at you? Maybe a contemporary story based on Gary Cooper’s character in Good Sam?


Okay, I think my control freak is fully satisfied — at least until after Christmas. ;-)

I hope you will check out Beverly’s works and please be sure to check out her blog as well. She just published a great series on Christmas movies that begins here.

I haven’t said this to Beverly but what I most admire about the male leads in her books is their steadfast love for others and of course including their love interests. The stuff of only Jane Austen’s and Elizabeth Gaskell’s days? Maybe, but I can tell you without hesitation SO is one of those males, and as I sit here on the morning of Christmas Eve 2012, I’m remembering 30 years ago today right around midnight that he asked me to be his mate for life. Should I mention we were watching It’s a Wonderful Life at the time? Or would that sound too sweet? :D

When Life Gets Too Much, Take a Holiday

I’ve been busy which should be obvious; otherwise, I would have been here fangirling with the rest of you! Life does have a way of intruding. This week it came in with a vengeance, and in the wee hours of the night and the morning, I wrote about it. It would be a wonderful release to publish, but I’m not sure this is the place for it.

Nevertheless, I have plenty to publish for this blog, and those of you who have worked with me for the last few weeks know what I mean. I’m getting to it! But hang on while I throw a few other things at everyone today. I have SO’s review of The Hobbit, and I’ll intermingle mine with his. I have another post with thoughts on the New York premiere, which I wasn’t going to post, but I feel it needs to be said. Last (or maybe not :D), I have a post I’ve been sitting on since the day I started this blog. It may actually go up late tonight or very early tomorrow, which I realize is relative given many of you are not in the U.S. Whatever. It’s going up last and quite a few hours from now. And of course all of this is subject to change if I get a wild hair or we get a bombshell about Richard Armitage dropped on us. Just sayin’.

And I did not forget about SO’s Ode. He asked me not to publish it. The rat! He thinks it will offend, and although he’s not above being offensive on occasion, he doesn’t want to offend the Army. Don’t worry. I’m working on him. ;D

That’s all for now. I’ve got to head to church. Yes, I said church. Amazing that someone like me could darken the door of a church, but God has a sense of humor.

There Will Be Typos

November 21, 2012

Some of you are thinking about writing, perhaps blogging, and I look forward to what you will share. Doesn’t matter if it’s Richard Armitage related or not. Just bring it, and I think you will find a group amongst the readers and fellow bloggers here who will not only support your efforts but is thoughtful and dare I say educated enough to give you some helpful input. So what are you waiting for?

If it’s about your identity, start off anonymously. There is no law that says you can’t. And if it’s about making a mistake, then get over that. You ARE going to make a mistake. More than one. Digest that thought as a reality and you’re good to go.

This is getting the ‘Richard Armitage’ tag because Richard has been a great conduit for many of us coming together to discuss many more things than him. Thanks, Rich.

And a picture of our dear boy going for it:

Oh, and I made a comment on Twitter about being on a caffeine high this morning. You’ll believe me sometime today. :D

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

Drawing Conclusions

No, this post isn’t what you think it is. I’m taking a breather for a couple of hours because my brain is on overload. Again, this is not what you think. My brain is not having a meltdown due to the monsoon of Richard Armitage information yesterday. Oh, perhaps I could have a meltdown over that, but well, I’m not. I’ve been expecting that flood. I thought it would come more near the first of November, but what do I know?! LOL!

So here’s what this post is really about. I’ve been coming to the conclusion for a good while that there is entirely too much to write about. I can’t get to all of it. When I started this blog, I was wondering if I would be able to crank out enough writing. Now? I’ve branched into others things and can’t seem to stop! It’s stunning to me what I’ve been doing the last few years. Me, the person who swore up and down I would never write anything unless I was forced to do it, writing and writing and writing and getting high on that! One of these days, I may post a story I’ve written. That will be another major step for me. Phew! I want to laugh that I am actually writing ficiton and enjoying it. Who woulda thunk?

If you’re thinking about writing, but you think it’s too late for you or you’re not a writer because you have this lofty and dare I say ridiculous standard of what a writer is supposed to be, let it go and start writing! You’ve heard people say this, and I’m joining the chorus. Don’t wait. Don’t leave writing to those individuals who supposedly have some gift that’s been granted to a chosen few. That’s all bull. You’ve got something to say. So say it. It may not come out exactly how you want it when you begin. Keep at it!

Not sure how to start? Well, you could write a journal. Or maybe you did that, and now it’s gotten old ’cause you need input. Maybe you can start a blog and if you’re really concerned about looking like a fool, make yourself anonymous. There’s an idea. :D

Yeah, this is getting the Richard Armitage tag ’cause Richard has been a kind of impetus, and I don’t mean of the sexual kind but of something much greater. Thank you, Rich.

© Photograph by Martin Bangemann

It’s All Good

What a pleasure to speak with Todd Garner, Producer on Black Sky, about his new movie and about Richard Armitage, whom he says is “thoughtful and smart.” This should come as little surprise to fans since Richard has received praise from quite a few professionals during his career. Mostly due to his zeal to ensure the story is paramount and his character a perfect complement. His habit of writing character biographies has become almost legendary among fans and has prompted some to ask if he is a writer in the making. Garner thinks he is already there, “He’s an amazing actor but also a terrific writer even though he wouldn’t say that. He has come up with great moments not only for himself and others but for the movie. In fact we just finished shooting a moment he came up with that might be in the trailer.”

Black Sky is the story of a group of people in the midst of the worst tornado in recorded U.S. history. Richard plays a teacher caught up in finding his teenage son in the storm, and his preparation for the role could not be more perfect:

The moment when [the character biography] comes alive is when that research turns into the character, and that character goes out into the big wide world and collides with other characters (often the facets created in the biography are designed to cause chaos when this happens, like planting a few explosions inside the character).
Richard Armitage, Vulpes Libris interview.

Although Garner could not reveal much about the plot, it will be fascinating to see with which characters Richard collides whether people or the elements. And his reaction to Richard’s work on set seems to confirm that whatever the collisions, they are impressive, “He brings a great realism and weight to the movie that we wanted when we were casting. There is so much going on technically and with the story. It’s chaotic as it’s supposed to be since it’s a disaster movie. But it’s great to have an actor who in the midst of all of the chaos has complete control and still makes incredibly smart and surprising choices in his acting.” As for Richard’s speech, he will play an American from Oklahoma, and according to Todd, “He’s nailing the accent.”

Garner has also been impressed with Richard’s fans, “They seem very thoughtful, great and just cool. And it’s been fun. It’s a new experience for me since most of the people I’ve interacted with are comedians and fans of comedians.” He certainly didn’t seem to be the least bothered by fans coming to the set and explained, “Every movie with a star who’s beloved and with the internet making location shooting so well known, whether a Nicholas Cage movie, or a Tom Cruise movie, or a Kevin James movie, has fans who come to the set, and actors are for the most part grateful. Richard certainly feels that way and is happy to oblige. He’s a wonderful person who is very real and very giving and charming and hasn’t been put off by this at all. And everyone has been very respectful.” With the cast and crew working very hard on this movie, the only thing expected of the fans is to continue that respect, and I feel confident we will.

Regarding new pictures, Todd asks that we be patient with him and those working on the publicity for the movie who are trying to be thoughtful and intelligent about it. But it will probably be about two weeks when we get another photo. Considering how engaged he’s been so far, there should be no worries.

Todd Garner has served as producer on several well known movies such as Anger Management and Thirteen Going on 30. His next movie Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James is due for release early October.

Photos courtesy of Todd Garner

Barney Stubble

Perhaps I’ve threatened to quit blogging one too many times. Let me assure those who sent me notes. I’m not quitting. I’ve just been busy and had toons on my mind lately. Blame it on the notion of Comic-Con which has me boning up on all things that make fanboys lose sleep. Of course after yesterday, I may blog about Richard Armitage for another five years. No, even I couldn’t talk about him that much.

Then I see something like this:

and chuckle at the thoughts which fly through my head. There wasn’t an urge to number the stubble but rather name the ones under his chin who have lived with him and seen all manner of things. Oh my Barney has gotten an eyeful, and what oh what has Barney endured? There’s a story. :D

Some of you are thinking, “Barney is not an elegant enough name for Richard’s stubble,” and maybe you’re right, but such is the pitfall of having Comic-Con as a filter for the next few weeks and for which RA is responsible.

And with all this talk of defection in recent weeks, I have a confession. I have become a Tolkien fan, which was not in my plans. Quite awhile back I started reading The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings for the second time. My first reading was at the ages of 14 and 15 and read in part because my guy friends were all reading them, and I wanted to know what was so intriguing. Their discussions also made it obvious my education was not as well-rounded as it should have been. So mostly my curiosity and pride were at work as the impetus, and any satisfaction was clinical. This time around I was just reading for enjoyment, for the wonder of it. And obviously I did enjoy them, but in the middle of all that reading, I began partaking of Tolkien’s essays and letters and fell in love with him.

Yeah, there he is. Can you see my grin?

In particular the ability and encouragement to fantasize in a way that’s edifying makes him irresistible. And that is the point isn’t it? To be edified. That may sound odd coming from the author of a blog like this one (or maybe not), but there has been something edifying about the process here. Oh, sometimes it gets boring. Yes, there it is. Sometimes I get bored with all of this. How many times can you look at the same photo of someone?

But what I’ve been trying to say in my diary entries is how I’ve become utterly obsessed with what words can do and how I came to give myself permission to explore that. As a reader, I’ve always adored others’ abilities to handle words, but I never thought to articulate the wild thoughts in my head. I was a geek and a musician who loved to spend countless hours solving a problem or playing with notes. Playing with the phrasing in a musical piece. But to do something similar with words? No, I could never do that. It was left for the few who mysteriously had some sort of gift. My imagination would have to remain locked up and privy only to me. I was good in math and had better pursue it or something related to it since I didn’t have the “gift.”

If I get the courage worked up enough, I’ll continue the entries. Mostly, I have to forget that you’re all here. It’s only when I post as musing to myself that I can really proceed. Thankfully, I realized before I started this blog that it doesn’t matter if what I say here is perfectly lucid or smacks of great ability. It’s something and better than nothing, and most important that I’ve let myself go to a much freer place. Tolkien is a balm in this respect. I plan to take out his words and review them when I’m feeling the infection of performance mentality, and I love this quote no matter how incessantly it’s been used nor how hackneyed it’s become to some of you. It aptly sums up my presence here:

“…Not all those who wander are lost…” — PPS in a letter from Gandalf to Frodo, Fellowship of the Ring

Thank God for post scripts.

About now you might be thinking, “This blog is your wild thoughts?” No, but it has helped to keep me thinking what happens when you communicate with others in written form. My wandering here has helped me get through writing a book, and if someone had told me a few years ago that I would write a book other than a technical how-to, I would have laughed hysterically. And now I’m halfway through a novel.

But all of this is a preface to a question, really.

Can I have two infatuations? :D