Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not-So-Guilty Pleasures: The Lisa Basso Edition

Hey folks!

We've got more Not-So-Guilty Pleasures! *Does a little sitting-at-the-computer dance.*

Today's victim, um, guest, is Young Adult author Lisa Basso (that's her! Right over there -->). Her debut novel, A Shimmer of Angels, was released just last month (Congrats Lisa!). In addition to typing her fingers to the bone, here is what's got her obsessed:

I try not to let anything that makes me as happy as these five items let me feel guilty at all. Life is all about balance and fun. Work hard play hard, you know? I'm a firm believer that trying new things and being open to new experiences is important in life, but that doesn't mean we have to get rid of our first loves. Here are a few of my dear loves. 

1.   Tea. I used to be a coffee drinker, not very long ago. It was my only vice. For those of you who aren't addicted to caffeine like it's crack (and I'd really love to meet someone that doesn't drink coffee/tea/caffeinated beverages), switching from coffee to tea doesn't sound like such a huge deal. Trust me, it was. There was no rabid twitching, blacking out, or homicidal rages (though how cool would that be if there was?), but there was an inherent sadness inside of me that only that sweet little coffee bean could cure. This lasted only for a week. Then it was like coffee never existed. Tea was my savior. Tea was soft, gentle, and gets me to work. It sounds more like a wife. Let me try this again. Tea was hot, steamy, and always ready for me. There, now that sounds better. Long story short, I like tea. :)

2.   DVR. For me, there has been no better invention in the last five (or so) years than the precious digital video recorder. It does for me what a VCR and blank tapes used to (yes, I took my TARDIS and went back there), it makes sure I never miss one of my favorite shows. Now I wouldn't say I watch a lot of TV, but there are certain shows that I would be crushed if I missed. The Walking Dead, Project Runway, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Arrow, Community, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, Modern Family, Two Broke Girls, How I Met Your Mother, Castle, and newer favorites The Following and The Carrie Diaries. Okay, so maybe I watch a little more TV than I should, but let me explain that my DVR is always full. I don't remember the last time it was less than fifty percent full. Constantly playing catch-up is fun though.

3.   Gaming. Sorry in advance, this one's going to be long, my friends. My PlayStation 3 is one of my favorite possessions. I don't have anywhere near enough time to play as much as I'd like, but every few days I manage to sneak in an hour or so of gaming awesomeness. 

One of my current obsessions is Lego Lord of the Rings. Really, anything Lego does it for me. From Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter. They are all good, clean fun (which is way different from most of my not so guilty pleasures). You feel like smashing something? In Lego games, you can. And they turn to coins. So fun and doubly rewarding. 

Borderlands 2 is classified--are you ready for this?--as a first action role-playing first-person shooter. Um, anyone else get the chills? No? Just me, huh? Borderlands 2 is different, immersive, and ass-kicking awesome. Need I say more?

Alice Madness Returns, a take on Alice in Wonderland where Alice is insane and tries to uncover what really happened during the fire she might have started that took her home and her family. Her hallucinations are the different levels of a gritty, crumbling, violent version of Wonderland. I've played this one through several times already. It's one of those games that doesn't get old.
Anything with the Call of Duty title. While it took me a while to get into the first person shooter, I am now a dedicated fan. Shooting people in the face to take out some aggression. No one can create anything better. 

Except for maybe Dead Island. You play as one of four interesting characters stranded on a resort island during a massive zombie outbreak. You're given blunt objects like bats, paddles, and hammers, guns, and sharp objects like knives, sickles, and katanas. All to kill zombies with. Plus you can stomp on their heads! The ultimate bonus. With a new Dead Island game due out in June, I'm brushing up on my zombie slaying skills now so I won't be out of practice. And P.S. I am zombie apocalypse prepared.

4.   Baking. A weird one after you've just found out my slightly maniacal side, but hear me out. Sugar, butter, and maybe a sprinkling of chocolate. It sounds like a Paula Dean cooking show, doesn't it? I first started baking as a little girl with my Mom in the kitchen. As a teenager I developed a love for chocolate chip cookies (and the dough that made them). The problem was the store-bought dough and cookies aren't even in the same league as homemade, and since my mom worked a lot, I realized if I wanted them I would have to make them. In the last few years, I've turned to baking during stressful times. It's become a release for me, plus it yields yummy goodness. I have a few tried and true recipes that I never deviate from like carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies, but I love trying something new and I have tons of baking cook books. As a matter of fact maybe I'll try a new recipe today!

5.   Books. Okay, I know I'm a writer this may seem like cheating, but I've always loved books. Everything about a book stirs something warm up in my stomach, from the stores that carry them, to the stunning front covers, and, of course, the beautiful words inside. I love reading almost as much as I love writing. I also love visiting bookstores, big chains, smaller yet amazing indie stores, and everything in between. Yes, I have even been known to browse the grocery store book isle (every time). I also order loads of them online and I buy ebooks. I have shelves of real books, too. Sometimes I even get lost just looking at each individual book spine on my shelves while deciding which one to pick up next, then I look up to find nearly an hour has passed. Addicted? I think so.

Thanks Kelly for having me today! 

Lisa M. Basso was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is a lover of books, video games, animals, and baking (not baking with animals though). As a child she would crawl into worlds of her own creation and get lost for hours. Her love for YA fiction started with a simple school reading assignment: S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. When not reading or writing she can usually be found at home with The Best Boyfriend that Ever Lived ™ and her two darling (and sometimes evil) cats, Kitties A and B.

Still hankering for more info on Lisa?
Lisa M. Basso Facebook:!/pages/Lisa-M-Basso/340213186037936?fref=ts
Lisa M. Basso Twitter:
Lisa M. Basso Website:  

And her book?
Goodreads Lisa M. Basso:  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Do You Read?

Do you like to look at the words or do you absorb more when someone else is reading and favor audio books? If so, are there consistent parts where you find your mind wandering? 

And if you like to look at the words yourself do you skim? Pore over every word? Or is it a mix?

I used to think I was a pore-r, but over the years I've realized that's not entirely accurate. I know this because as an avid re-reader, I almost always discover something new on the second go-around. Some little piece of magic that didn't quite register the first time.

Rarely though is it dialogue. Regardless of genre, conversations between multiple characters or between a character and his/her self is always something I focus on. Probably because conversations are something I find interesting in my off-the-page life. Or maybe because dialogue is something I like to read aloud when I have the chance and that just makes it harder to miss. Seriously, try it. With voices. It's awesome.

But regardless of the reason, I must declare myself a mixer. 

So, what are you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mental Reset

Do you have a default song in your head?

I tend to frequently get songs stuck in my head. Last night it was “I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers. A good, fun song, to be sure. But once it latches on to your brain stem, it’s nearly impossible to shake it off.

And because I’m a little bit mean, I’m going to try to put it in all of your heads as well:

You’re welcome.

But, back to the point – lots of songs get stuck in my head. Some more than others. For days, I will have the same melody playing in circles in the old brain pan. And when I finally manage to oust them, they almost inevitably turn up on the radio. The tunes of Cee Lo and Carly Rae Jepsen haunt me.  

There are some days however, where my brain is quiet. No music. Just peaceful silence. Which is wonderful, until I decide that I’m bored with it and would like a little music. And suddenly….nothing. For all my love of songs, I can not come up with a one.

This deafening quiet tends to last just under the longest minute ever and then the music comes through again. But in these situations, it is almost invariably the same song that pops into my mind first.

“Colors of the Wind.”

Yup, the song from Disney’s Pocahontas.

I have no idea why. Sure, I liked that movie as a kid, but it wasn’t my favorite Disney film. I’ve been in numerous musicals. I’ve listened to countless CDs. My inner musical library is not too shabby.

But every time: “Colors of the Wind.”

So, am I alone, or does this happen to other people? Do you have one random song that is always the first to pop into your head when you decide it’s time to do a little singing?

And, finally, in deference to my inner voice:

I’m all for walking in another’s footsteps, but I think grabbing bear cubs 
is an action that should be included in this song.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Devolution of Character

I saw the new Die Hard movie this weekend. And it was fun. Lots of action, some one-liners. What you generally expect from a Die Hard movie.

But the entire time I watched it, all I kept thinking was: I miss John McClane.

Back when we first met him in 1988, he was a real, fleshed-out character. He had fears (air travel, his family’s safety, loss of his own life) and desires (reuniting with his estranged wife, seeing his kids, still being alive come Christmas morning). He said the wrong thing, a lot. And every time he did, he knew it. He wasn’t thoughtless, he was just stuck in a rut and finding it difficult not to run at the mouth.

He was certainly brave and tough and so forth, but he didn’t always just run into situations guns blazing. He didn’t stop Gruber & friends from killing Mr. Takagi and he couldn’t stop Ellis from talking himself into a corner he couldn’t get out of. In both these situations, McClane showed himself to be truly torn by his decisions and inability.

He talked a big game, loading the talk with expletives. But his rampant cursing wasn’t a way to prove his toughness or a glib approach to death, it was his way of dealing with the fact that he was freaking the frick-frack out. As was shown a number of times, he was scared. And it was the fact that he kept going in spite of this fear, more than any of the high octane stunts or number of bad guys vanquished, that made McClane a hero.

He got hurt, repeatedly, and acknowledged that. Sure, it was less acknowledgment than a real-life person might show, but as he pulled the glass out of his feet and limped for the rest of the movie, you knew he was feeling it.

Despite not being great at verbalizing it, he cared about his interpersonal relationships. Most especially in the case of his wife, but also a couple of others he met along the way. He and Argyle, the limo driver, quickly bonded. And though they don’t actually meet each other until the last five minutes of the movie, McClane and LAPD sergeant Al Powell manage to form a more touching friendship than is often portrayed in such films.

As the franchise has grown, so has the size of the groups that McClane has been asked to protect – from an office of hostages to, in essence, the world – taking his story from improbable to impossible. And though with all these misadventures I could understand an individual becoming desensitized over time, I just don’t think the John McClane ’88 would ever stop caring to the point that John McClane ’13 has.

Gone is his conflicted reaction to the loss of live by innocent bystanders. Now he drives over them in their cars. He wanted so badly to reconnect with his wife in the first movie that despite it not being a romance, it can be seen as a love story in some ways. The stated desire to patch things up with his son here, is just that, stated. It’s a plot point and an excuse to get him to Russia, but no real weight is given to that storyline, making what could have been touching moments just seem like an obligatory nod to there having to be something in his life past blowing things up.

Not that he’s at any risk from these actions.

There is no fear of his mortality here, for him or the audience. The stunts have gotten bigger, but the threat of death hasn’t. There’s no need for us to root for him anymore because there’s no chance of anything actually happening to him.

When I watched the first movie, I knew he wasn’t going to die. He couldn’t. And I was fine with that, because I also knew it wasn’t going to be easy for him. Now, forget about broken glass in the feet, McClane throws himself through windows, falls down buildings, hangs off of helicopters and shrugs it off. The blood he is covered in seems more unrealistic that that which was shown in the first movie, because McClane shows absolutely no reaction to it past occasionally wincing as though his muscles were a little sore from a particularly strenuous day at the gym.

Now, I’m going to be completely honest here and say, if they make a sixth one of these, despite my frustrations here, I will go see it. Not simply because it’s a habit, but because I continue to hold out hope that at some point the indestructible John McClane will go into retirement and let the human McClane come out and play.

He was a character I could get behind.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sympathetically Awkward

Roomie sent me this link this morning. Because she gets into work before I do and like to leave me “Happy Friday” messages.

Because she’s awesome.

Anyway, it got me thinking about things in books that make me feel the same level of awkwardness as the situations mentioned in that article.

It’s amazing really.

I’m at home. Generally alone, behind the closed door of my room, completely the opposite of the center of attention. And yet, as I read certain scenes, I find myself burrowing under my pillows to get away from the sense of severe discomfort.

I’m nervous laughing. Trying to look away, but lacking the ability.

I’ve just showed up to take a test and realized I didn’t study. Asked to take center stage, while knowing I don’t know any of the lines. Stood up to give a presentation only to find that I am completely without clothing.

Except all I’m really doing is holding a book.

The biggest culprit for evoking these feelings of overpowering awkward-osity? The public declaration of love scene.

I’ve read a lot of romance novels and at least fifty percent of them have such a grand gesture. Some setting chock full of people (and sometimes a microphone) where the hero or heroine can lay themselves bare before all within earshot. And everyone acts like it’s just so romantic.

And, yes, in certain stories it really works. But you know how some people are sympathetic criers? I feel sympathetically awkward. So, rarely do I read such a scene, no matter how well written, where I don’t have a short Robert DuVall in Newsies moment.

“Go home! Go home to your mothers and your fathers! Go home!”

*Buries face in pillow. Peeks up, sees awkwardness still waiting. Laughs uncontrollably. Goes back to reading*

Also making my list of Things That Make Me Feel Like I’m the One Being Stared At?
-          Any time a character has to take part in a performance he or she has not prepared for.
-          Any time a character is trying to act “cool.”

So, what makes you sympathetically awkward?

*Note: If you’ve found yourself in real-life awkward situations lately, I would suggest using this survival guide.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not-So-Guilty Pleasures: The Shannon Duffy Edition

Today, I would like to welcome Young Adult and Middle-Grade author, Shannon Duffy. Her newest book, Gabriel Stone and the Divinity of Valta, was released earlier this month. You should a million percent go check it out.......but not before you read about what she had to say about her Not-So-Guilty Pleasures:

Okay so guilty pleasures here we go. Drumroll please. Okay, no drumroll necessary. 

*Clears throat.*

1.     I love reality TV. Like, I mean I love it a lot. As in I love them so hard I’m obsessed. You name the reality TV show and I probably love it. Whether it’s Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, X-Factor, Survivor, or the Bachelor/Bachelorette, I’m in. I love the real drama of it all and getting to hear the stories of people etc. Hubs and I even went to a live taping of Dancing with the Stars and X-factor last year in L.A. Loved it!

2.     MAC makeup. 

     I have far too much of this stuff than one person really needs, but I love all the colors and experimenting with all of their cool stuff. I even took a couple of makeup lessons at MAC. (Not that I’m so great at putting it on, but it was fun)! I recently got a new vanity installed in my bedroom, and it took me several hours to line up my MAC stuff in the drawers. Check out the top drawers. 

3.     Wearing my pajamas all day while I write. 

     How luxurious and…ahem…lazy? IDK, but with coffee in hand and especially when the words are flowing, I’m one happy girl.

4.     Diet Coke with lime. I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted to the stuff. Pour it in a tall glass chocked full of ice, and my eyes spring with glistening tears of satisfaction at the first sip. Yes. It’s that good. In fact, I think I’ll go and get one right now. 

5.     Voluspa candles. 

    This is a new guilty pleasure. Guilty because they’re a bit pricey, but I’d like to have them all over the house. They smell so good it’s divine! I recently bought four different scents. 


Shannon Duffy grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and son, Gabriel. She’s mom to one boy, and several pets. Shannon loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping. 

Want to know more about Shannon?

Shannon Duffy Twitter: 
Shannon Duffy Website:

And, of course, you want to read more about her books: 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finding Your Creative Space

Where are you your most creative?

For me, it's almost always a place where I'm supposed to be doing something else.

Back when I was in school I lost count of the number of exam questions that prompted the following internal monologue:

I remember this. I know I remember this. We talked about it that one class. I remember because that was the day I came up with that story about the space traveling sisters. Man, I love that story. Couldn't stop writing it the whole time the professor was -- Oh. Damn.

Now, the second I step into a meeting? The wheels start turning. A training of some sort? The creative juices start a-flowing.

But I wrestle back the flood - leaving myself little notes that look like the ramblings of a madwoman - and do my job, ignoring the annoyed voices of the characters I'm thwarting.

They're always there when I go back, even if they try to snub me for awhile.

If I'm looking for a less inconvenient surge of creativity, I do one of two things - Bring my notebook to a restaurant or take a long drive.

The restaurant is for when I'm trying to get plot down. Not bringing a computer ensures no Internet distraction. And the location provides enough background noise that my mind doesn't try to fill the silence with the most annoying song I can think of, but is spread out among enough conversations that I'm not interested enough to listen to anyone. I've tried the TV at home as my background. No dice. I find myself walking away from the table to the TV, mumbling, "Well, does she say yes to the dress? Does she??"

Plus, restaurants serve food. A million points for them.

The car is for dialogue. I like to hear all sides of the conversations out loud. And doing this alone in a car greatly lessens the chance of someone breaking out the butterfly net. Generally, it just looks like I'm on a hands free. Thank you modern technology!

Bluetooth - Masking my mania since 2009*.

So, those are my creative hotspots.

Now I want to hear about yours.

*When I first got a hands free phone and realized the life-changing implications regarding the normalcy of having full conversations alone in the car. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sandcastles in the Sand....and on the Page

I got some more writing done this weekend (Woo!) and I realized that my writing style has a lot of similarities to the building of sandcastles.

If you were like me as a kid, you spent considerable time constructing your sandcastle. All morning, sometimes. Painstaking attention would be paid to every detail. The height of the turrents. The number of windows. The placement of the drawbridge. And, of course, the depth of the moat. Not to mention the creatures who would be tapped to infest this particular watery defense. Alligators were always a favorite. But what about piranhas? Or sea serpents?

A lot of thought had to go into this.

The people of this kingdom were happy. They felt secure inside those walls, even if someone of them knew that dark dangers lurked just outside.

Life was good.

I would put the finishing touch on the last wall and feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

Followed almost immediately by an all encompassing need to destroy.

So, I would trade rolls, happily shifting from creator to destroyer. I was the evil giant, the sorcerer’s army, the witch’s cyclone. No matter what evil form I took, there was one thing that was for sure: that castle didn’t stand a chance.

But seeing as I’ve never been able to shake my belief that good wins out in the end, I would never completely destroy my creation. Maybe I would leave one crumbling tower, or a rickety drawbridge. Maybe the castle was taken down, but the moat was left untouched, allowing the truly courageous to brave the beasts it held in an attempt to get away from the falling bricks and mortar.

Let’s face it. I was no Dread Pirate Roberts. There were always some survivors.

And they always took me done in a stunning display of heroics. Needless to say, my ocean side death scenes were nothing short of inspired. More than once I think I threw in the Wicked Witch’s “What a world! What a world!”

The people were once again victorious, but rather than bask in that triumph, they immediately started to rebuild. Because that’s the way things worked. They got knocked down. You dealt with the knocker-downer. And then you worked to put them back up.

Just this weekend, I realized that I write the same way. The characters are never as safe and secure behind their walls as my castle people were, but they’re doing all right. And I work hard to build their world up, providing them with the breaks needed to make their lives better. But just when they think they’ve got it all figured out, I trample in there like the unruly giant of my youth. I start crushing everything I can find and those poor souls scramble to take me down.

Now, I haven’t gotten to the end of this story yet, so I can’t say anything about their success or failure for sure.

But, in keeping with tradition, my money’s on them.

And for all you folks not particularly interested in writing or the construction/destruction of sandcastles, I offer you this, in the hope that it will make today’s blog visit worthwhile:

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Many Faces of Love

The time surrounding Valentine’s Day lends itself to discussion of romantic couplings. But we’ve done enough of that here this week, so let’s end with a look at some different kinds of love.

Here are five of my favorite fictional non-romantic pairings found on TV*:

  1. Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani (Friends)
Best friends who lived together, enjoyed partaking in stupid activities together, fought, made up, mimicked each other and were always ready in hard times with a helping hand and a well-timed joke. 

  1. Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane (Daria)
A couple of outsiders who became fast friends due to their similar world views and love of deadpanning sarcastic quips. No matter what happened to them in that strange little town of Lawndale, there was never any doubt that they would remain freakin’ friends.

  1. Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Though in the earlier years there was occasionally some cause for question, it was pretty clear these two were never going to be walking down the aisle. But this certainly doesn’t mean they didn’t find true love in each other. It can’t be forgotten that it was their friendship alone that managed to bring Willow back from darkness and save the world. If that’s not a strong relationship, I don’t know what is.

  1. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
A mother and daughter who not only loved each other, but truly liked each other. They didn’t spend time together because they felt obligated to, but because it was what they wanted. There were periods of disagreement, and sometimes even estrangement, but, much like the audience, they always knew that they would find a way to work through things. They were the most important relationship in their lives.

  1. Michael and George Michael Bluth (Arrested Development)
In a family full of fairly quirky folks, these two kept each other grounded. There was no relationship that either valued more (even the FBI figured that out). Why? Because family is the most important thing. Or was that breakfast?

Have a great weekend, folks! See you back here on Tuesday.

*Because TV is one of the few mediums I haven’t discussed this week. So, it only seems fair.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweetly Conveying Your Love Since 1866

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like conversation hearts. What other candy can you hand to your significant other and, in the space of second, convey the romantic feelings that swell in your chest cavity?

“Be Mine”

“Sweet Talk”

“Fax Me”

Timeless messages to show your sweethearts that they are on your minds. It’s a lovely practice and one that’s been around for quite awhile, seeing as the first messages were printed on these wafers in 1866.

Gilbert even gave one to Anne in Anne of Green Gables. I mean, she crushed it under her foot, but the point is they’ve been the resource of lovers for almost 150 years. Not too shabby.

But what about all those poor couples who came before this historic creation? My heart simply breaks that they were forced to write each other long missives to get their point across. To that end I have created some hearts for those famous romantic couples of back in the day.

Buttercup and Westley (~1500-1800)

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! Hope it’s filled with all the conversation hearts your real heart could desire.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All You Need Is Love....and the Occasional Well Chosen Word

Music is an amazing thing. It can draw out all the same emotions a great book does, but it often doesn’t have more than a few minutes to do so. And what’s the topic that shows up with the most frequency in songs? Love.

Apparently the Beatles were right. That’s all you need. Of course, having the words to express your emotions doesn’t hurt either.

Here are my top ten songs discussing word choice, writing, reading, and possibly the most famous romantic couple in literature:

  1. “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” (1937)
The sole reason this couple is on the verge of calling it quits seems to be that they disagree on the pronunciation of certain words. Now, I’m happy that they ultimately decide to stay together, but I’m also glad they understand that an issue as important as this must be discussed when embarking on a serious relationship.

  1. “Love Letters” (1945)
This song holds a special place in my heart as it always reminds me of my grandparents. But it also speaks to the power of words. It doesn’t matter that the singer is alone in a desolate place, so long as she has the words given to her by the one she loves.

  1. “Adelaide’s Lament” (1950)
Sometimes love doesn’t work out exactly the way you want it to. The best way to deal with this? Break out some psychology books and self diagnose. Obviously.

  1. “Show Me” (1956)
Despite the power and beauty of words, occasionally a little action is necessary. If you’re looking to illustrate that point (and aren’t above a little theatricality), this is the song for you.

  1. “The Star-Crossed Lovers” (1957)
Maybe you’re not in the mood for words. You’re just looking for a nice slow dance. That doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your search for the literary. Just grab your dance partner and sway along to the melancholy sounds of Duke Ellington. Romeo and Juliet may not be verbal here, but the two saxophones representing them are still having a conversation.

  1. “The Book of Love” (1957)
I too wonder who wrote the Book of Love. Mostly because I’d like to ask them what happens in Chapter 5. I get the feeling the Monotones are giving us the Cliffs Notes version. At the very least I’m missing an important step between Chapters 3 and 4. How do you go straight from remembering the meaning of romance to breaking up? And why exactly are we assuming that she will always be the one to need the second chance? I’m starting to wonder if you even really read the book, Monotones, or if you just skimmed. Did no one tell you that there was going to be a quiz?

  1. “Fever” (1958)
Now, I personally don’t remember Shakespeare penning the dialogue, “Julie, baby, you’re my flame,” but after listening to this, who doesn’t want to use the line, “I burn forsooth?” (Also, technically this song was first performed in 1956, but Romeo & Juliet didn’t make their appearance in it until 1958.)

  1. “L-O-V-E” (1965)
There comes a time when subtly must be cast aside and you just need to spell it out. But how do you accomplish this without coming across as either too boring or too aggressive? Make it an acrostic! You know who loves acrostics? Everybody.

  1. “The Letter” (1967)
Once again, the love letter comes out swinging. Not sure if all the letter said was “I can’t live without you anymore” or if she went in to more detail. Regardless, whatever thoughts she put on the paper were enough to get her fella uprooting his life.

  1. “Your Song” (1970)
On the surface, this is a song about writing a song. But more than that, it’s about struggling to find the right words to express your love for someone. And knowing that even though the words might be simple and not able to encompass the entirety of your emotions, they’re the best tool you have. So, you tell the other person that life is better with them and trust that they can feel the rest.

Can you think of any songs you’d add to the list? Particularly from more recent years, as I’ve only now noticed how historically skewed my list is.

Hope you’re spending at least some of the day dancing! (I personally find it a good mid-week catharsis. Particularly if you can manage it without your coworkers walking by.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Literary Love

Hey folks! Time for some more stories of love and writing – today in a more literary form:

By Roger McLassus (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen - 1813)
“I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these.” And with those words Mr. Darcy solidified his place in my twelve-year-old heart and made me absolutely sure that he and Elizabeth were indeed perfect for each other. They both loved books! No wonder they’ve been making it work for the last two hundred years.

  1. Anne of the Island (Lucy Maud Montgomery – 1915)
My grandma and I used to read all of the Anne Shirley books together. It took three of them, but Anne and Gilbert finally figured out they were meant to be. Plus, book loving Anne is given letters from her birth parents, finally getting to know them through their words.

  1. The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde - 2001)
Who else can say that they reconciled with a former love whilst helping Mr. Rochester rescue Jane Eyre who has been kidnapped from Bronte’s original manuscript? I’m pretty sure just Thursday Next. And hopefully me someday. Particularly the part about going into books.

  1. Dance Upon the Air (Nora Roberts - 2001)
After faking her own death, Nell Channing settles down on the small Three Sisters Island, gets a job cooking in the local bookstore/cafĂ© and starts falling for the sheriff. Oh, and she finds out she’s a witch. No biggie. Except she’s pretty much living my dream life. Working in a bookstore AND having magical powers? It’s just too much to contemplate.

  1. She Went All the Way (Meg Cabot - 2002)
Despite having written a number of movies for actor Jack Townsend, Lou is not his biggest fan. Probably because he keeps taking such liberties with the lines she pens. Being on the run for their lives in the Alaskan wilderness should help though. Or…you know… at least be fun to read about.

  1. Out of Control (Suzanne Brockmann - 2005)
There are a number of couples coming together and being torn apart in this thriller. Something that ties them all together? A book written by one of the character’s grandmother about her time as a WWII spy and how she got the man she loved. Reading…bringing us all together. *Hums PBS theme song.*

  1. Get A Clue (Jill Shalvis – 2005)
Sure, they’re stuck in a lodge out in the middle of nowhere with a dead body, a quirky staff who may be responsible for the murder, and a possible ghost. But that doesn’t mean that Breanne and Cooper can’t fit in the occasional trip to the lodge library. Now, that’s how you order your priorities, folks.

  1. Fire and Ice (Julie Garwood - 2008)
Daughter of notorious thief turned reporter, Sophie Rose finds herself in mortal danger after writing a seemingly innocuous story about a runner and his red socks. On the plus side, this means she gets to hang out with FBI Agent Jack MacAlister.

  1. Beautiful Creatures (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – 2009)
Ethan and Lena fall for each other while dealing with magic, family secrets, and a battle between good and evil that stretches back to the Civil War. In addition to a number of literary references (most frequently To Kill A Mockingbird), the fate of these lovestruck teens relies on the ancient Book of the Moon.

  1. Love in the Afternoon (Lisa Kleypas - 2010)
This love story is about a different type of writing – that of letters. Beatrix and Christopher fall in love through their correspondence. Only problem? Christopher thinks someone else is on the other side of the pen. Plus, kleptomania and a terrier named Albert! I personally would have shown up just for the dog.

Check back in tomorrow for the musical list!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love & Writing on the Big Screen

I’m a sucker for a good love story. And also, of course, for books and writing. So, on this week of Valentine’s, I’ve decided to focus on love stories where books or writing play a significant role in some way.

Today, I present my top ten movies (in the order they were released):

  1. It Happened One Night (1934)
They would have just been strangers on the night bus. But, reporter Peter Warne needs a great story to get him back in the game and runaway heiress Ellie Andrews is the perfect subject. I go back and forth between whether my favorite scene is the Wall of Jericho or the one where Ellie illustrates the most effective way to hitchhike. Mostly though, I just smile the whole time I’m watching.

  1. The Desk Set (1957)
A reference librarian clashes with businessman looking to cut costs through automation. An early contender in the battle between paper and electronic formats. Plus Hepburn and Tracey! Always a solid bet.

  1. The Music Man (1962)
Marion (the Librarian) gets wooed by traveling salesman (read: con artist) Harold Hill. Cue dancing in the stacks.

  1. Romancing the Stone (1984)
A romance novelist finds herself in a little bit of trouble when she goes to rescue her kidnapped sister. She finds some help (not to mention inspiration for her next book) in a bird exporter/treasure hunter/aspiring sailor. Can’t watch this movie without thinking of my dad, who, without fail, starts laughing in anticipation about five seconds before Danny DeVito comes on screen.

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
He gave her a library. An enormous library. Now, I’m a big fan of flowers. But a library? Yeah, that kind of edges out the normal Valentine’s Day gifts.

  1. Little Women (1994)
While the story pulls in all the March sisters, it is truly the tale of Joe, the writer. Her love life is not the overriding theme of this, but it certainly plays its part. And it is ultimately through her written work that she is truly able to open up about her life and connect with the person she wants to be with. Cut to me and my sister sitting on the couch with a couple boxes of tissues.

  1. Just Write (1997)
Hollywood tour bus driver gets mistaken for screenplay writer by up-and-coming actress. In his smitten state, he fails to correct the mistake and ends up agreeing to rewrite a movie for her. Very sweet movie. And Sherilyn Fenn and Jeremy Piven are lovely.

  1. Moulin Rouge (2001)
Christian came to Paris to write “about truth, beauty, freedom, and that which I believed about all things, love.” About two minutes into the movie, we know that his story doesn’t have a happy ending. But that didn’t stop me from spending the majority of the movie quite happily. Who can resist the struggling writer wooing the courtesan? Particularly when Ewan McGregor starts singing. Swoon.

  1. The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
Not only does this movie deal with its fair amount of couples, but it is all about coming together over the love of books. Nothing more romantic than that.

  1. Definitely, Maybe (2008)
A man tells his daughter the story of the three loves of his life. Along the way, she helps him figure out who he should be with. One of the most important clues? A copy of Jane Eyre.

What love stories about writers and books do you like watching?