Monday, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher, Novelist

Carrie Fisher will always be remembered for her iconic role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, but I will always remember her as a witty, honest and downright hilarious novelist.

If you haven’t read any of her books, I urge you to pick up at least one of these “unputdownable” novels:

Postcards from the Edge (1987)
Fisher’s first novel is an autobiographical story of an actress in rehabilitation for drug addiction by sending postcards to her loved ones.  Its droll humor came to define Fisher’s writing style.  She later adapted the book into a screenplay, which became a film starring Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid.

Surrender the Pink (1990)
About a soap opera screenwriter who falls in and out of love with a flawed man, and finds it difficult to separate Hollywood fantasy from truth.

Delusions of Grandma (1993)
A second autobiographical novel (let’s face it, they were all autobiographical) about a screenwriter who develops an unreasonable fear of dying in childbirth. The novel is made up letters to her unborn child.
The Best Awful (2004)
As the sequel of Postcards from the Edge, the story continues into territory occupied by Sylvia Plath and Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted) in a darkly funny portrait of a woman who survives a psychotic breakdown, a stay in 'the bin', and survives to tell all.
Wishful Drinking (2008)
This book deals with Fisher’s “Hollywood Royalty” family: her mother, Debbie Reynolds; her father, Eddie Fisher, and their divorce after Eddie left Debbie to pursue a high profile affair and short-lived marriage with Elizabeth Taylor (think Jen/Brad/Angelina). It also details Fisher’s bi-polar illness, addiction, and the irrationalities of Hollywood.

Shockaholic (2011)
Fisher describes with honest, humble humor how electroshock therapy helped her with depression, but also how it severely affected her memory.  It focuses on the Star Wars years and dishes about the Hollywood relationships she’d formed since being chosen to play Princess Leia.  Fisher admits, “It isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

The Princess Diarist (2016)
Fisher’s final novel about the diaries she kept while working on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  In the book, she now famously admitted she had an on-set affair with her co-star, Harrison Ford (she later told Ellen DeGeneres she regretted admitting so).  She was touring to promote this book when she died.

Last week, I texted my son, Matthew (a huge film buff), when I heard Carrie had been rushed to the hospital with a massive heart attack on a flight back from London.  I wrote to him, “If she dies, it will kill Debbie Reynolds.” 

RIP, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Symon Francis - Godspeed!

My wonderful, "chocolate sable" Cocker Spaniel, Symon Francis, was lovingly helped to the Rainbow Bridge on Friday, April 17, 2015. He was 15 years old (that's 105 in human years, folks!)

I first met Symon at a party at his previous family's home.  When circumstances changed, they asked if I would be interested in adopting him.  I told them I would take Symon for a weekend, to see how he got along with my five rescue cats:  Daphne, Sparkles, Buddy, Angel and Evie.  All creatures, great and small, got along amazing well; my kids and I fell in love with Symon, and he seemed to love us too! 

Symon figures prominently in WIND.  He is the Flood family pet, and particularly loves Dante, the DDG (drop dead gorgeous) stranger who mysteriously enters eighteen-year-old Flynn Flood's life, and changes it forever. Symon will return along with Flynn, and Flynn's sixteen-year-old sister, Kevan, in the second installment, SAND.

Symie didn't suffer at all, and my wonderful son, Matthew, and I hugged him and told him we loved him until the end (he even raised his head and, incredibly, took a bite of a treat, right before he passed!!).

Godspeed, Symie, until you see me again, break from the pack, and side-by-side, we cross over together!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

My e-friend and author, Talli Roland, has just released her new novel, The No-Kids Club (June 3, 2014; Lake Union Publishing).

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.  Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.  Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle.

I loved this book! A great cast of characters, a hilarious and witty writing style and a modern plot, The No-Kids Club is reminiscent of the wildly popular Shopaholic series.

Told from viewpoints of three different women, the story is fresh, captivating, and funny as hell! Don't forget to pack this one in the diaper bag as you're headed for the beach!

To pick up your copy of The No-Kids Club, visit: Amazon UK or
Drop by Talli's website to learn more about her and her books!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My New Year Resolutions

After very little thought, the following are my 2014 New Year resolutions:
  1. Eat less red meat!
  2. Smoke less (I'm down to ten from twenty a day, but I'd like to make it five).
  3. Go to Mass more often.
  4. Get back to exercising!
  5. Drink less coffee and more water (yah, like that's gonna happen!)
  6. Grow my hair a little longer (I always give in and get it chopped off when it hits that "awkward stage").
  7. Write more!
Will you make any New Year resolutions?  Can you share them with us?

I wish you a Happy and Blessed 2014!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish all of my readers a joyful Christmas and a wonderful 2014!



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to wish all my American friends and followers a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

50% Off WIND Until Nov. 25!

Kobo is featuring WIND this weekend:

Promo code: unlimited50
Discount: 50% off any book on the list. The code can be used multiple times.
Sale Ends: Nov 25th
Grab a copy as a holiday gift!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Carolyn Kaufman, Rest In Peace

I was stunned and saddened to learn that Dr. Carolyn Kaufman died on Saturday from a brain aneurysm. She was only 40 years of age.

Carolyn was an author, blogger and all around nice person.  I never actually met Carolyn, but corresponded with her when I was a contributor to the "Query Tracker Blog," an information blog assisting writers and authors.  Carolyn was one of the original contributors, but she was more than willing to help out a "newbie" by editing my work and giving me some great writing tips that have stood me in good stead ever since.

Carolyn obtained her PsyD. in Clinical Psychology at Wright State University in 2002. She was an Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbus State Community College.  Carolyn wrote "The Writer's Guide to Psychology."

Rest in Peace, Carolyn.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th!

I wish all of my American friends a safe and happy Independence Day!
(I'm proud to be your neighbour to the North.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Canada Day holiday!  Happy 146th birthday Canada!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nelson DeMille - A Big-Time Writer!

About a month ago, I was visiting my cousin, Hazel, at her pied-à-terre in Toronto when her room-mate suggested I read one of her novels from her extensive collection of books.  It was entitled, "Up Country" written by one Nelson DeMille.  Although I hadn't heard of him, I was fairly sure Mr. DeMille was a "big-time writer" because his name on the cover was about three times larger than the actual title of the book!  (I now know Mr. DeMille is a #1 New York Times best selling writer!)

Anyway, I began reading "Up Country" on the train home and couldn't seem to put it down.  It's a story told in the first person by the main character, Paul Brenner, a retired investigator for the United States Army's CID (Criminal Investigation Division).  Brenner decides to take one last mission for his ex-boss - to travel to Vietnam and investigate a thirty-year-old unprosecuted murder by interrogating a witness who may or may not still be alive. 

I soon discovered that protagonist Paul Brenner is an engaging character; a wise-cracking, cynical fellow with a liberal dash of sarcasm and dry humor who served two stints in Vietnam during the war (DeMille himself not only saw action in Nam, but returned in 1997 for an extended visit.)  What I so loved about "Up Country" is that not only is it a fast-paced thriller, but it's a wonderful travelogue, describing (with much fondness, I suspect) a resilient people and their country, about which I knew very little.

What was curious was that as I read along, I realized that "Up Country" was the sequel to another book by Nelson DeMille, "The General's Daughter."  I was familiar with movie version of "The General's Daughter" starring John Travolta, but had not yet read the novel.

Nelson DeMille
I love discovering a fabulously talented new writer (new to me, that is), and I now look forward to reading "The General's Daughter."  Stay tuned . . .

Have you read any of Nelson DeMille's novels?  What do you think of his books?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis

Yesterday I was glued to CNN, watching the election of Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  It was an exciting day, if you care about such things, with speculation on everything from the Preferiti (Cardinals rumoured to possibly be the next Pope - the front runners, if you like), to the Pope's red shoes, to the seagull sitting atop the Sistine Chapel's famous chimney.

Consummate CNN Reporter, Anderson Cooper and his team, (CNN Reporter, Chris Cuomo, John L. Allen Jr., Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN, and Rev. Edward Beck, Faith and Religion Contributor at CNN, and others) had a long day commenting on every angle, while waiting for the white smoke to arise from the chimmney of the Cistine Chapel.

CNN's Anderson Cooper

CNN Reporter, Chris Cuomo (with N.Y. Cardinal Timothy Dolan)
I have to hand it this group; they were incredibly entertaining, as well as informative, with hours of air time to fill while waiting for the big moment.  They even discussed the Pope's famous red shoes (and no, they aren't made by Prada - only the Devil wears those!).
Shoes of the Fisherman:  Nada made by Prada
It was a pleasure to listen to John Allen, who seems to know everything there is to know about The Vatican, conclaves, Catholic doctrine, papal elections, and all the main players. He is obviously brilliant, without being arrogant or obnoxious about that brilliance; he is charm itself! Allen is the author of many books including, The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know, A People of Hope: Archbishop Timothy Dolan in Conversation with John L. Allen Jr, Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church and two books about Pope Benedict XVI. 
A Beautiful Mind:  John L. Allen Jr., CNN Senior Vatican Analyst
Rev. Edward Beck is the accomplished media contributor to CNN on matters of faith, ethics, morality and religion.  He is stunning looking - almost angelic - with the bluest eyes I've ever seen!  I had to laugh when I saw a comment on Anderson Cooper's 360 blog from a woman enquiring who "the hunk" was on CNN's Papal Conclave coverage -  I don't think she realized Father Beck is a Priest!

Father Beck, a Passionist, is also the esteemed author of three books, God Underneath, Unlikely Ways Home, and Soul Provider.
Angel Eyes:  Rev. Edward Beck, CNN Faith & Religion Contributor
And what of the seagull?  Actually, they were two different gulls (as Anderson Cooper pointed out) perched atop the Cistine Chapel's chimmney for about a half hour.   Captured by live cameras, it was the cause of much levity in the midst of the all the solemnity and tension.  Dubbed the "Sistine Seagull," the bird instantly became a Twitter superstar, with more than 3,000 followers in just a few minutes (I have less than 500 followers, after several years on Twitter!).
Sistine Seagull(s)
At the end of the night, we had a new Pope.  The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the papal name "Francis" after St. Francis of Assisi, the humble friar who dedicated his life to helping the poor.  St. Francis is also the Patron Saint of animals (my children presented me with a statue of St. Francis for Mother's Day several years ago.  During the summer he holds court in my garden).
My St. Francis of Assisi Statue Waiting by the Front Door for Spring!
Pope Francis is the first Pope to choose the name, "Francis," the first from the Americas, the first Jesuit Pope, and the first from outside Europe since Gregory III in the 8th century (who was Syrian).
Habemus Papam:  Pope Francis

Monday, January 7, 2013

WIND now available on Kobo!

I'm thrilled to announce that my Young Adult Paranormal Romance, WIND, is now available as an ebook on Kobo!

With Kobo, eReading couldn't be easier - their goal is to bring you the eBooks you are looking for, help you purchase them quickly and get you reading right away - anytime, anyplace, on any device.
For instance, with Kobo, you can browse, search, buy and read your favorite eBooks on just about any device you choose - from select Smartphones, tablets, computers, eReaders and more.

Founded in 2009, Kobo is owned by the Tokyo-based Rakuten, Japan's largest eCommerce operator. Headquartered in Toronto (the city in which I work!), Kobo has top-ranked eReading applications for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows and their own line of eReaders, including the award winning Kobo Touch and Kobo Vox.

You can now upload WIND on your Kobo eReader here.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish you good health, much happiness and every success in 2013!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Holidays! WIND only $9.97 in Paperback & $0.99 on Kindle!

Just in time for the holidays, and to celebrate my awesome new cover, WIND is only $9.97 in paperback and $0.99 on Kindle until January 7, 2013!!

WIND is available on Amazon.

And, just in case you missed it, here's my fabulous new cover:

I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday.  See you next year when Flynn's adventure continues in SAND, Book 2 of The Eternal Symmety Saga!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gorgeous New Cover for WIND!!

Check out the gorgeous new cover of WIND!!

The cover was designed by the super-talented Graphic Artist, Katelynn McCracken.  I think she did a fantastic job of capturing the shock and awe of Flynn's exciting journey.
Be the first to grab a copy on Amazon!
What do you think of the new cover of WIND?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday: Enjoy WIND for only $0.99!

For Cyber Monday only, YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, is only $0.99 to enjoy on your Kindle!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween: WIND for KINDLE only $0.99!

Just in time for Halloween, I'm happy to announce that from now until Wednesday, November 7th, WIND will be available for $.99 on KINDLE!

On Thursday, November 8th, WIND goes back to it's regular price, so make sure you get yours this week!

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love Blossoms by Julie Anne Lindsey

On this cozy autumn Sunday, I'm thrilled to welcome cozy guest blogger, Julie Anne Lindsey, once again.  All-American girl, and Buffy look-alike, Julie Anne is a wife, mother of three young children, social media guru, and extremely gifted writer.  Her second romance novella, LOVE BLOSSOMS, was released last week by Turquoise Morning Press’Honey Creek imprint.
Writing, Romance & Escape
Author, Julie Anne Lindsey
Hi Cynthia!  First of all, I want to thank you for letting me visit your blog today! I’m so blessed to be a writer today when the Internet connects us. Our community of authors and aspiring writers is a phenomenal blessing. I’m honored and blushing and totally happy to be a part of it! My second sweet romance novella, Love Blossoms, released last week and it’s got me feeling all inspired again - LOL!  Such a delightful cycle.

I love to write about women in need of a smile. Sometimes they know they need to smile. Sometimes they have no clue. I think we all need to be swept off our pretty pink feet at least once in our lives, so I set out to create a lady who’d never see it coming. My newest story started this way.

Jillian Parker, my heroine, spoke to my heart and said, “I’ve been burned in love, and I want what’s coming to me. I want something real. Someone who means it when he kisses me. Someone worthy of my trust.” Jillian stayed so busy taking care of everybody else, she was lost in the dream of “someday.” Instantly, I wanted to give her what she asked for. So, I gave “someday” a cupid style bump into “right now.” (I love my job). My heart broke for hers, and Jillian Parker was born. I also knew she belonged in Honey Creek. I have a strong connect with the women of that town (a fictitious town in rural Ohio, the location for all stories in the Turquoise Morning Press’ Honey Creek imprint). I live in a similar place, complete with well-meaning neighbors and good old fashioned ideas. I get the culture, and I understand how hard it can be to wrangle feelings and reality. We want one thing but do another. Real life can be bumpy, but I guarantee all my heroines one thing reality doesn’t - they all get a toe curling, cheek pinking, happy ending!

True love conquers all in Honey Creek. I get swept away into every scene I write. I put myself in their town, see the fireflies over the lake, smell the tangy ash of a bonfire at my side, and I feel the warm wind whipping hair into my eyes. Every new story takes me away on location. The experience is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. I get completely carried away like that when I write. I’ve been a broken cowboy, angry and defeated, a teenage assassin waging intergalactic war, a woman solving a mystery so her high school sweetheart can go free – and then she can punch him in the nose for breaking her heart. One time I was in witness protection and didn’t even know it!  

No matter what story I’m writing or where my imagination takes me, I always find love. I think the most mesmerizing power in our world is attraction. The compulsion to walk through fire in the name of protecting someone we love is something I can’t ignore. So, I promise you, anything I write this side of death will always end in love. I’m hopeful like that.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet romantic read with a very happy ending, I hope you’ll visit Honey Creek. The sun is setting, bullfrogs are croaking and the crickets are singing, “Come on.” Sweet tea or hot cider.  Fresh summer strawberries or crisp fall apples. You’ll find it there. And taking a trip to Honey Creek is as easy as  Amazon : ) I hope to see you there! 


Jillian thought she had everything she needed until Jackson walked through her door . . .

There’s a wedding coming to Honey Creek and the whole town’s preparing for the party. When Jillian Parker agreed to host a few groomsmen at her inn, she had no idea what she was getting into. One of those groomsmen is Jackson Tate, and he’s making her concentration completely impossible. He’s funny, fascinating, frustrating, and leaving in a week. Jillian does not have time for that level of distraction. With Jackson nearby, events to coordinate, a bride to please, and an ex-fiancé to dodge, her peaceful life’s getting crazy fast. With any luck, she’ll survive the week and put the whole thing behind her as soon as possible.
. . . But, not if Jackson has anything to say about it.


“You used to cause quite a stir,” Jackson said into Jillian’s ear. “I bet you haven’t danced since you came home.”

Jillian smiled the demure smile she’d perfected long ago and slipped out into the night beside Danielle. A laugh split her friend’s face, and Danielle hollered into the night sky. Watermelon Crawl boomed from the truck speakers. An outrageous smile spread across Jillian’s face until her cheeks ached. Memories flooded over her, and she was instantly 10 years younger. Her muscles tingled, and the steps came back like a reflex to the sound of her friends’ laughter and the sight of embers floating in the night sky.

Her skirt swung left and right along with her toe. Material caught her thighs and infused her with energy. Beth’s squeal blasted out of the kitchen door, and she nearly took Jillian down dashing onto the dirt beside her.


Nothing mattered. How could anything matter?

The small troop of dancers stomped and turned in the firelight. Fireflies and golden embers floated and blinked against the deep navy blue sky. No walls contained them; no neighbors complained about the noise; no traffic sounds interrupted the cricket and bullfrog chorus. There was no more freedom on earth than she had right there. A round of clapping went up as the bodies slowed and ambled in place, laughing and congratulating one another. They still had it.

Giggles seasoned the air, and the music changed smoothly to another lifelong favorite. Fishin’ in the Dark . She thought of all the groomsmen planning to night fish before Mrs. Prattle’s punch kicked in the night before. In a flash, men and women sided up ready to twirl and swing in pairs. For a moment, Jillian stepped back to watch the couples, but a massive shadow blocked the light from the fire. Jackson hitched an eyebrow and nodded her way.

In the space of a heartbeat, the group was in motion, and so was she.

“You haven’t lost it, I suppose,” he said as their bodies came together.

She made the most of the time they were apart, enjoying his audience, strutting her stuff. When they met again she said, “You’ve noticed.”

“Honey, every man in town’s noticed.”

The couples began to swing, but Jillian found her body airborne. Like a feather in the wind, her feet swung left then right of Jackson’s hips. Clapping and hooting ensued. No sooner was she grounded again than she began to twirl. The rush of endorphins and joy shot up from her feet to her hair, and her heart threatened to fly her to the moon.

About Julie Anne Lindsey: Mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you'll find me online, amped up on caffeine, and wielding a book. 

ou can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile
Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey
Reading to soothe my obsession on GoodReads
And other books by me on Amazon

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Creating Your Main Character

The main character in your novel is arguably the most important part of your story. If the plot is the brains, the main character is the heart. Of course, a page-turning plot is essential, but, even with a gripping story, your readers will only be interested in what happens next if they care about your hero or heroine at the heart of the story. That is what creating your main character is all about: MAKING THE READER CARE. Create a main character that the reader has no strong feelings about, and the page turning will stop. Write a protagonist that readers know and love, and they won't be able to put your book down, and that’s your goal.

In Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic mystery, Rebecca, “The Girl,” the unnamed narrator, is one of the most beloved main characters in fiction. Why? Her feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, helplessness, awkwardness, and timidity are feelings everyone has experienced at some time. But it is also her ultimate bravery, unconditional love, and loyalty to her husband that makes her memorable. We care about her, because we can relate to her.

Readers don't necessarily have to like all of your characters, but they have to care about what happens to your main character. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

Have I created a clear visual image of my main character? Just remember, you don’t want a police report; delicately weave physical details into the story where they legitimately belong. Too many details are as fatal as too few.

Did I give my main character senses to help the reader see the world from his point of view?

Does my main character smell, hear, feel, taste, and see the environment around him?

Does my main character have universal, human qualities? Does she laugh or cry? Does my main character experience frustration, disappointment, joy, anger, shame, guilt, ambivalence? Will readers be able to relate to these reactions?

Conversely, is my main character an individual? Does he have quirks, idiosyncrasies; funny, little habits that we all possess?

Is my heroine admirable, spirited? Does she have strong convictions, ethics and beliefs? Will she take a stand in conflict?

Does my main character behave logically, i.e., does he have common sense, worthy goals readers can relate to?

Is my protagonist a stereotype? Avoid clichés. Not all heroines have perfect hair, alabaster complexions, perky breasts, and happy dispositions. Not all heroes have perfect pecs, dazzling eyes, and Robert Pattinson’s hair!

Is my main character dynamic? Does she change in some way from who she was at the beginning of the novel? A main character should not be static, and watching her change is part of the fun!

Is my main character flawed? Remember, nobody’s perfect. A perfect main character is boring, not to mention unrealistic; in other words, a turn-off. Readers can quickly grow uninterested, not to mention resentful, toward a flawless main character.

In The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen is a complex main character. She is brave, loyal and likeable, but at the same time, displays a fierce competiveness, and can be cold, and calculating. Physically, Katniss is described as having straight black hair, olive skin and grey eyes, but Ms. Collins does this cleverly, by having Katniss, the narrator, describe her friend, Gale, with these characteristics, but adding that he could be her brother, thereby describing herself as well.

Writing a strong main character is challenging, but rewarding and fun! Keep him focused, dynamic, and realistic.

If you care about your main character, others will too!

What is your main character like?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

I'd like to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day!

This country rocks!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Great Gatsby Movie Remake

After much anticipation, the first trailer for The Great Gatsby movie remake has been released.  

This version of F. Scott Fizgerald's classic 1925 novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, who previously directed  Australia, Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet, among others, filming began on September 5, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. The film is set to be released in Real D 3D and 2D cinemas on December 25, 2012 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

While watching the trailer, I was immediately impressed by the lavish sets and gorgeous, lush, and period-specific costumes.  It embodies the 1920s, and appears to do justice to this most glamourous of novels.

As for the 1920's fashion depicted in this version - the flapper dresses, fur wraps, cloche hats, blinged-out hair jewelry - all looked authentic to my untrained eyes, but then I read an interview with Jacqueline WayneGuite, a fashion historian, who thinks the costumes are too stylized and modern, as she writes in a post on her excellent blog The Hourglass Files:

"To be clear, I can tell from the trailer that these costumes are not period accurate. They all look like contemporary fashion interpreting 1920s Halloween costumes. The hair and makeup look like they’re from the present day. The architecture and interior design look much too contemporary to even pretend to be from the 20s. The colors are a bit too bright and the sparkle is a bit too computer generated."

I think the casting of this film is right on.  Leonardo DiCaprio is a smart choice for Jay Gatsby.  From what I can see in the trailer, DiCaprio brings that gut-wrenching conviction that he displayed when he worked with Luhrmann previously in Romeo + Juliet, and indeed all of his roles.   Having said that, I'm a little biased when it comes to this character - I LOVE Robert Redford (who played Gatsby in the 1974 version).  I could put him in a room and stare at him for hours!  I think he's the most gorgeous man ever created!  But Leo's a fine choice, and has the acting chops to fill "Bob's" shoes (wish we were on a first-name basis!)

The same goes for Daisy - I loved Mia Farrow in the 1974 movie (again, I LOVE Mia Farrow; I follow her humanitarian efforts on Twitter), but I think Carey Mulligan is the perfect choice for the effervescent, however shallow, Daisy in the remake.  As for the part of Nick, "everyman" Toby Maguire seems a good choice as well.

Luhrmann expressed his wishes to honour the classic novel at all costs. "Fitzgerald's story defies time and geography," he said. "The vision and the goal of our remarkable cast and creatives is to do justice to the deftness of Fitzgerald's telling, and illuminate its big ideas and humanity. This is our challenge and our adventure."

(Incidentally, the American alternative comedian, Andy Kaufman, liked to torment his audiences with the promise of reading out The Great Gatsby, word for word, when they were expecting a stand-up routine – one such occasion is recreated in the excellent Kaufman biopic, Man in the Moon.)

What do you think about a remake of The Great Gatsby?  

Who do you feel about it, after watching the trailer?

Will you go to the theatre to see it?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Let The Game Begin - A Game of Thrones

I just finished reading, "A Game of Thrones," and I LOVED it!

A high fantasy series written by George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones is the first book in the "A Song of Fire and Ice" series.  It was first published in 1996 and reached the New York Times Best Seller List in 2011.

The basic plot is a hand full of fantastic characters scrambling to land at the top of the heap, which, in this case, is the "Iron Throne," and rule the Seven Kingdoms in a fictional dark ages-type land called, Westeros.

There are three basic settings:
  1. Winterfell, in the far North, ruled by the House Stark.
  2. The Wall, an ancient 700 foot high, 300 mile long wall of ice and stone, shielding the Seven Kingdoms from the North.  The Wall is manned by the order of the Night's Watch.
  3. King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, ruled by King Robert Baratheon.  
However, it's the characters that have so impressed me (and of course, Mr. Martin's engaging writing style):
Here's a list of main characters:
  1. Eddard "Ned" Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.
  2. Catelyn Stark, Lady of Winterfell, wife of Lord Eddard Stark.
  3. Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
  4. Cersei Baratheon, beautiful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, wife of King Robert Baratheon.
  5. Ser Jaime Lannister, charming member of the Kingsguard, and twin brother of Queen Cerseil.
  6. Tyrion Lannister (The Imp) - Younger brother of Queen Cersei and Jaime Lannister, and a dwarf.
  7. Viserys Targaryen, exiled Prince and heir of the Targaryen dynasty.
  8. Daenerys Targaryen, exiled Princess of the Targaryen dynasty (sister of Viserys).
  9. Khal Drogo, warlord of the Dothraki people.
  10. Jon Snow, hunky bastard son of Ned Stark, and member of the Night's Watch.
  11. Robb Stark, eldest son of Ned and Catelyn Stark, and heir to Winterfell.
  12. Sansa Stark, lady-like first daughter and second child of Ned and Catelyn Stark, and future bride of Prince Joffrey.
  13. Joffrey Baratheon, eldest son of King Robert and Queen Cersei, and heir to the Iron Throne.
  14. Arya Stark - younger tom-boy daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark.
These are but a few of the amazing characters in A Game of Thrones.  The truly original part is how the plot unfolds; each chapter is revealed from a different character's eyes, thus telling the story from from several viewpoints.  As a result, we get to know these complex and multifaceted characters much more intimately than usual.

I highly recommend A Game of Thrones.  If you loved Lord of the Rings, you will love the user-friendly Tolkienqesque prose.

If you have already read, A Game of Thrones, which character resonated with you? (My fav character is Tyrion!)

If you haven't read, A Game of Thrones, do you plan to do so?

Are you watching the series on HBO?  What do you think of the interpretation?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Julie Anne Lindsey Blooms!

In January, 2012, Julie Anne Lindsey's debut novella, Bloom, launched the Honey Creek Line for Turquoise Morning Press.  In honour of the "Bloom Blog Tour," I had the privilege of interviewing my blooming friend, author, and one-woman tour de force, Julie Anne Lindsey.

Julie Anne Lindsey, Author

Julie, without giving anything away, would you give us a brief synopsis of BLOOM?
Bloom is the story of a small town woman with a broken heart.  Cynthia left town after high school and tried not to look back, but pain has a way of haunting us.  When she has to make a trip home, things get complicated.  The head-in-a-hole method of avoidance is my personal favorite, but let’s face it, eventually the one you’re avoiding will tap you on the shoulder.

Tell us about your publishing journey with BLOOM?
With Bloom, I happened into an amazing situation. I needed to get readers, but my potential readers had nothing from me to read. Hmm. So, I started asking around to see who was writing what and for where. A few of my romance writing friends write for Turquoise Morning Press, so I stopped to check them out and saw their call for submissions. When they accepted Bloom as a novella for their new Honey Creek line, I had no idea what I was in for. In the past year I’ve contracted a series of sweets with them for 2012 and written a full length sweet for 2013. I’ve had the opportunity to work with editors and be in two anthologies in 2011. I’ve met great writers with lots of experience and kindness and advice. I’ve been lucky beyond reason by finding this press and this line to write for.

Julie, what was your inspiration for BLOOM?
Bloom was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. I adore that movie and I couldn’t help but write a similar tale of my own. In Bloom, my heroine, Cynthia returns home after many years away, not for a divorce, but to check on her grandmother. The problem is that she’s been avoiding home because of a heart break she incurred there. Coming home creates a lot of inner turmoil for my feisty heroine and the town’s new golden boy doesn’t help matters any. LOL She runs into problem after problem, while dealing with her grief and guilt and feelings for a man who seems to hate her for no particular reason at all. I can thank Reese Witherspoon for inciting this character.

Julie, please tell us about "Death By Chocolate - Book 1 of The Killer Confection Series."
Death by Chocolate is a novel of silliness and instability. The Killer Confections stories follow two nutty girlfriends working to get away with murder. They were spawned from the sweetest lady I know, who bakes for our church and looks like June Cleaver. She got me thinking about how much damage she could do with her sweet treats and never be suspected. Everyone loves here, but what if she wasn’t what she seems? This series is devoid of romance and filled with crazy. Oh, but what we won’t do to help our girlfriends!

Writers often describe themselves as "character driven," or "plot driven" writers - which are you?
I am plot driven all the way. I think up a great “what if” scenario and then I run with it! When I get a hold of an interesting story line, I build my characters around that. I try to create the best (or truthfully the worst) possible characters to be put in those situations and then I have something great to work on. Torturing my pretties makes for a great story!  

Julie, I know you are a busy wife and mother, how do you find time to write?  What's your writing schedule, and where do you write?
Our little princess (aka child number three) came along three years ago and my office effectively became her castle. So, these days I write on my couch, laptop on lap, and kids everywhere. It’s a crazy situation, but what can I say, I love writing almost as much as I love my little ones, so I write with them all around, and often stand up to find myself covered in My Little Ponies or Army Men action figures. It’s the insane little experiences that fuel my stories and inspire my characters. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It will be past too soon.

I should also add that I don’t sleep much - LOL!  I write before they get up (I get up at 6:00 a.m.) and after they go to bed (I write from 11:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.-ish, after Hubsy goes to sleep).  I plan to sleep when I’m dead, or when the government starts rationing coffee!

You have such a strong, high-profile web presence, with planks such Twitter, Facebook, Musings From The Slush Pile.  Can you please speak to this?  How would you advise aspiring writers to build their platform?
Just like writing, building a platform takes tenacity. You work at it day by day and after a week you’ve been seen 7 times, a month = 30 times, etc. You just keep showing up and people start to recognize your name, your personality and even begin to feel like they know you. Make an account everywhere and drop in once a day to say something. You don’t have to stay all day to make a place for yourself.

Social media is free and those not taking advantage of it are missing out.  The online writing community is so witty and charming, and encouraging and knowledgeable. Make some writer friends!  Also, set up a free blog and keep it active so the search engines don’t mark it inactive and drop it 50 pages down in the search results. Use Twitter!  Readers, writers, agents, editors, publishing houses, all use Twitter.  Get in there!  And don’t forget Goodreads; it’s a great place to keep up with what’s selling, who’s reading it and where you can fit your work into the fold.  Just keep moving forward.  It all counts!

Julie, what are you currently reading, and what books are on your nightstand?
I just finished the newest Stephanie Plum novel, Explosive Eighteen.  It was fabulous, as they all are. I am beginning Hallowed the second in Cynthia Hand’s series that started last year with Unearthly.  Normally, I have at least three books going, but my hard drive crashed recently, and I lost everything I have ever written (gasp, bawls, dies), so I’m busy making up all those lost pages and piecing things together from email.  I have limited time for reading comparatively *wipes tears*.

Which authors (living or dead) would you consider as your personal writing influences?
There are so many amazing writers out there today that I admire.  I love Janet Evanovich for her quick wit and outstanding humor. I love Maggie Steifvater for her beautiful words. I love Becca Fitzpatrick for her vivid storytelling. That doesn’t begin to touch on all the debut authors I read and loved in 2011.  To go all 100 years ago on you, I’d also love to talk with Emily Dickenson. I cannot imagine being a writer before the Internet, when it was a solitary affair. Who would you talk to? No one, I’m guessing, because women were barely treated as people let alone given any respect as writers. She had a lonely life pursuing her dream. I think of her when I’m wallowing in rejections or self-pity.  I have a whole world (literally) of writers at my fingertips to pick me up when I’m down.

What is your "all time favorite" book, and why?
Well, I have to say my favorite book is Twilight. Ugh, I know, collective groan, but let me explain!  Until I saw Twilight on Pay Per View, I hadn’t read a book in ages that wasn’t about parenting or homeschool.  Twilight caught my attention and pulled me back into my love of all things literary.  I am eternally grateful I saw that movie, or I might never have picked up the book. *shudder*  What would I be doing today if not writing? I never would’ve met my awesome author friends like YOU!

Can you name a book you wished you'd written, and why?
Nope.  Let me tell you why - LOL!  I think that, as writers, we are specially gifted with experience and perspective to tell our stories in ways that only we can.  If I had written my favorite book, it wouldn’t have been the same at all.  I’m thankful every day for the flooded literary market because it allows me to see unlimited stories through the eyes of the world. My small rural Ohio perspective couldn’t begin to do so many stories justice.

Julie, if you were to write an autobiography about your life thus far, what would the title be?
Oh, my autobiography is already written. It’s the Cinderella story. My life was crazy and not in the fun way for 25 years. Then I met my husband and everything slowed down. He has been my knight in shining armor and my prince from day one. I am blessed and lucky that he saw something in a bar-dancing grad student and asked her out. I had a bare midriff, a belly button piercing, a bad attitude and a 3.97 GPA. I guess it intrigued him -  LOL - and, the rest is history.  Today my life is my own personal fairytale.

What are your future writing goals; what's next?
Wow!  I think everything is yet to come. I have three romance novellas coming this year to Honey Creek and another novel-length sweet coming next year for this line as well.  My debut novel, Death by Chocolate releases late in March, and I have lots of fun events scheduled around Ohio and the web for that.  I have a YA with my agent and am writing a cozy mystery.  The Death by Chocolate sequel will come early next year.  There’re just so many wonderful possibilities around every corner. I excited to see what will happen next!  If you have a moment to get away, I hope you’ll visit Honey Creek.  It’s a beautiful place where anything can happen. Kick off your shoes, relax into that porch swing and cuddle up to a steamy mug of cider. Taking a trip to Honey Creek is as easy as Amazon : ) See you there!

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey
In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future…
Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one.  Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.  If they’ll let it, love will find a way to Bloom.

Bloom is Book One in my new Seeds of Love Series.  I'll be planting those seeds all year!

Be sure to get your copy of BLOOM!

About Julie Anne Lindsay:
I am a mother of three, wife of a sane person, and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you'll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile
Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey
Reading to soothe my obsession on Goodreads
And other books by me on Amazon

Thank you, Julie, and here's wishing you all the success in the world for 2012!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Family Day" in Ontario, Canada

"Family Day" is a provincial holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, Canada on the third Monday in February. In the province of Manitoba, it's a general holiday, known as "Louis Riel Day." Whatever you call it, Family Day is a welcome respite between the Christmas/New Year holiday and Good Friday/Easter, in a month where it seems the winter will never end (although this has been a relatively mild winter!).

The idea of Family Day is to celebrate the importance of your family; to take part in activities that promote family life and togetherness. Some families go skating, tobogganing, skiing, or other outdoor pursuits, while many visit the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Science Centre, or the awesome Metro Toronto Zoo.

However, in my family, it's usually a day of sleeping late, enjoying a long, leisurely brunch, and then everyone scattering to the four winds to do our own things such as walking the dogs, watching movies, baking, reading (of course!), and catching up on some much needed sleep.

Whatever you like to do, have a great Family Day!

What are you doing on Family Day 2012?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Voice - Whitney Houston

I'm so saddened by the untimely death of "The Voice - Whitney Houston."

Although I didn't know Ms. Houston personally, we were only three years apart in age, and I remember her explosion onto the music scene as a young adult, and I watched (and listened to) her meteoric rise to the top.

During the 80's, you couldn't listen to the radio for long without hearing one of Whitney Houston's many hits.  Some of my favs: "Saving All My Love for You," "I Look to You," "Exhale (Shoop)," "I Have Nothing," and my absolute fav, "Run To You."

Although there were other singers with Ms. Houston's level of talent (Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, k.d. Lang, Kate Bush, Gloria Estefan, Agnetha Faltskog & Anni-Frid Lyngstad (the ABBA ladies), and more recently, Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, and Christina Aguilera, but to name a few) I felt there was something about Whitney's voice that contained the most emotion and soul, as well as the most amazing control and range - the "gold standard," if you will.  And, I loved that she always looked so stunning and regal.  In short, she made it look and sound easy.

Beautiful and mega-talented, to me, Whitney Houston has always been "The Voice."  My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

What's your favorite Whitney song?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Read The Love: Happy Valentine's Day 2012!

In honor of Valentine's Day, my young adult paranormal romance, WIND (Kindle Edition), is now available for only $0.99 until Valentine's Day (February 14th).

Happy St. Valentine's Day, from me to you.  Read the love!

He brushed my cheek with his finger, then turned, and walked down the steps.  I stood, and watched, with my head resting against the cold door, and in a little while Dante had disappeared down the street.  I took a deep breath.  I was fairly sure I was finally standing on the edge of love.
~ Excerpt from WIND by Cynthia Watson 

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

WIND in my Sales!

I'm absolutely gobsmacked about the fantastic sales of WIND over the holidays. It speaks to the fact that readers are still looking for a haunting YA Paranormal Romance to curl up with (I also wonder if I'm not the only one eternally fascinated with the notion that we all have a guardian angel!).

Thank you for taking a chance on the debut novel of a self-published author, and since everyone has been asking me, yes, SAND, Book Two of the Eternal Symmetry Saga, will be released in 2012.

And, to answer the question I've been asked by so many readers, "Will DANTE and FLYNN meet again?"  You'll just have to wait and see, and that's all I'm saying - LOL!


Monday, January 23, 2012

A Stephen King Christmas

Over the holidays, I devoured two yummy  Stephen King novels (along with a lot of high calorie Christmas food!).  There's something folksy, and comforting about Mr. King's writing style that I love, and his books are perfect to curl up with on a cold, snowy evening.

The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition   
I found this dark tale about a small group of survivors of a post-pandemic society almost impossible to put down.  It has everything a great novel should have - a cast of believable characters; an exciting and detailed plot; a hauntingly rugged setting; sumptuous world-building, and a good versus evil theme.  At 1,152 pages, it's Mr. King's longest book, and arguably his best!

Bag of Bones
After watching the miniseries on TV (filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada, by the way), I had to read the novel. What particularly fascinated me about this book was that the narrator (a fictional Stephen King, I suspect) is a writer suffering from a severe case of 'writer's block' and cannot seem to get moving on his next book (sound familiar?).  I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the plot (don't want to give anything away), but what I really loved was the setting, a beautifully rustic lake house, complete with a genial cleaning lady (gotta get one of those!).  Bag of Bones is perhaps Mr. King's most sentimental book, and I loved the references to Daphne Du Maurier's, Rebecca, my favorite book!

Which is your favorite Stephen King novel?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

What a fantastic year it's been!  My debut novel, YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, was finally published on, and Kindle, WIND made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (so exciting!), and as an added bonus, I've made many great new writer/reader/blogger/Twitter/Facebook friends.

I look forward to more fun, and new challenges and goals, as well as the publication of book two in The Eternal Symmetry Saga, SAND, in 2012.

I'd like to wish everyone a fun, but safe New Year's Eve, a great New Year's Day, and a wonderfully rewarding 2012.

See ya next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I would like to thank all my loyal followers for a very exciting year.  I truly appreciate everyone's support (readers and bloggers alike) for my debut novel, YA Paranormal Romance, WIND.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I'm excited to announce that WIND (Kindle edition) is now free on Amazon Prime, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that US Amazon Prime members can borrow for free, once a month, with no due dates!

If you own a Kindle, check out Amazon Prime!

Friday, December 2, 2011


I'm excited to announce that WIND (Kindle edition) is now available in the new Amazon Kindle store on and

Readers in Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Spain and Andorra can now purchase WIND for Kindle.

Friday, November 25, 2011

WIND - Kindle Edition: $0.99 Black Friday - Cyber Monday Only!

I'm pleased to share the savings of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by announcing that the Kindle edition of WIND is only $0.99 on from Friday, November 25 - Monday, November 28, 2011.

I hope you enjoy WIND, and don't forget to let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

4 Star Review on for WIND!

I'm so happy and proud that fellow YA writer, Medeia Sharif, (Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.) gave WIND a 4 star review on

"I felt sympathetic towards the main character, Flynn.  Her alcoholic father passes away, her mother suffers from the depression that goes along with grief, and her sister transforms into a dark, moody Goth.  When Flynn meets Dante, a delicious romance ensues amid angel warfare.  Dante is not an ordinary young man and Flynn's sister, Kevan, enters the dark side in more ways than her outer appearance suggests.  This was a suspenseful read and my favorite part was the dark, haunting atmosphere."

Thank you so much, Medeia!

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 Star Review for WIND!

I'm so thrilled that someone left a wonderful review of my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, on

"I loved this book.  The characters are very well developed.  I did not want it to end.......especially the way it did (don't want to give anything away).  I am looking forward to the next in the series.  The angel theme is refreshing and a new slant on the "paranormal".  There was a lot of detail and the book appeared well researched, especially in the biblical and art references."

Thank you, kind reader!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Well, Halloween is already here, and I'm still wondering when the summer ended.  And, what happened to "Indian Summer" (is it politically correct to still call it that?).  Anyway, as we are expecting snow this week in Ontario, Canada, I guess I can't fight it, and I'll just have to accept the fact that November is peeking around the corner.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween, and don't forget to check those apples!