Nature’s Fury Blogathon: The Stand (1994)

This post is part of the Nature’s Fury Blogathon, hosted by Barry at Cinematic Catharsis. Read the rest of the posts in this furious event HERE!

Film and television have a long tradition of showing us how nature will one day turn against us, and most likely with help from human beings.

Stephen King’s epic apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novel The Stand is a tale of how government manipulation of the flu bug for militaristic purposes accidentally escapes from a lab and wipes out most of the population.

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Fairy Tale Blogathon: Fractured Fairy Tales (1959 – 1964)


This post is Part 2 of my contribution to the Fairy Tale Blogathon, hosted by  Movies Silently.

Fractured Fairy Tales was a regular animated segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. (Do a search on Youtube. Many are available to watch for free.) The tales were narrated by Edward Everett Horton and voiced by June Foray (who also voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale), Bill Scott, Paul Frees and Dawes Butler.

When I was a little kid, I would watch Rocky and Bullwinkle now and then but never liked it. I guess because it was animated, network executives thought it was for children, so they would program it with other children’s shows and cartoons. It took me a while to figure out it really was for adults. The Rocky and Bullwinkle segments were a dead-on satire of Cold War politics. I had to grow up to get the jokes.

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Fairy Tale Blogathon: Once Upon a Mattress (2005)


This post is Part 1 of my contribution to the Fairy Tale Blogathon, hosted by  Movies Silently.

For the past couple of years I’ve been writing fractured fairy tales, so when Fritzi at Movies Silently announced the Fairy Tale blogathon, of course I had to have fairy tales of the fractured variety as my subject!

(Shameless plug: you can read two of my fractured fairy tales in the anthology Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After.)

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My Project REUTSway Runner-up Story is Now Live on Their Blog!

projectreutswaylogoLast November I participated in REUTS Publications’ contest Project REUTSway. Each week, writers were given a prompt to use to retell a fairy tale. Each prompt was a supernatural creature (vampires, zombies, demons and werewolves).

Two out of the three stories I submitted were chosen for an anthology, which will be published at a later date.

My third story was a runner-up. Each week since February, REUTS has been featuring one of the runner-up stories on their blog.

Today was my turn! Continue reading “My Project REUTSway Runner-up Story is Now Live on Their Blog!”

The Great Villain Blogathon: Waldo Lydecker, Laura, 1944


This post is part of the Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy  — see all the movie baddies at any of these three blogs.

YES, there will be SPOILERS.

“I don’t use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.” – Waldo Lydecker

When it comes to film noir, the 1944 film Laura is a bit of an odd duck. Most detective noirs widen their scope to the lower echelons of society, including the underworld of organized crime. Rich characters may be revealed as slumming among the lower dregs of society, as drug addicts or other kinds of addicts (i.e. The Big Sleep). The crime may have international and/or political implications (i.e. The Maltese Falcon and Chinatown).

Laura never leaves the upper crust world of its handful of characters. It’s structured more like an English cozy mystery. Instead of a matronly busybody, a professional detective investigates the crime.

The film opens after Laura Hunt’s (Gene Tierney) murder has occurred and is narrated by Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb). He is a newspaper columnist and radio commentator who was her friend and mentor. Police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) questions him. He also interviews her fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) and aunt, Anne Treadwell (Judith Anderson). Continue reading “The Great Villain Blogathon: Waldo Lydecker, Laura, 1944”

Black Sails: Starz’s New Pirate Show Really Floats My Boat



(He-he, sorry, couldn’t resist that title.)

I did not subscribe to Starz a few weeks ago. Then I stumbled on a preview episode of their new pirate series Black Sails on the Audience Channel.

I thought, “What the heck, I’ll watch for a few minutes. Michael Bay is an executive producer, I’ll probably HATE it and turn it off right away.”

Within about 15 minutes I was totally hooked and within a few moments of the end credits rolling I was a subscriber to Starz.

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2014 Starts on a Writing High Note: I’m a Project REUTSway Winner x 2 (and a half)!


As mentioned in a previous post, I participated in Project REUTSway, a short story contest held by REUTS Publications. I found out a month ago that I was one of the finalists. Today the winners were announced and TWO out of my three stories were chosen for the anthology! My third story is a runner-up, which means it will be posted on their blog at some point in the coming year!


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Are Young Adult Movie Franchises Dead in the Water?

This past week Publisher’s Weekly linked to an article by Tara Aquino on the web site about the failure of three YA movie adaptations this year: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures and The Host. While she doesn’t exactly come to the conclusion that young adult franchises are a dead commodity, she does seem to be dismissing the YA movie franchise trend as a passing one. It’s true the movies she cites have all underperformed at the box office. Yes, it was recently announced that The Mortal Instruments sequel has been put on hold indefinitely—which may be … Continue reading Are Young Adult Movie Franchises Dead in the Water?

Are Soap Operas Poised To Make A Comeback?

It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when the revenue generated by daytime soap operas paid for nighttime programming on the major networks. This past decade and more, soap operas were not just on the wane, but an endangered species. With only four currently left on the air, the demise of this once popular genre seemed to be less a question of if and more a question of when. There have been a lot of theories proposed as to why soaps have declined so rapidly and so entirely. Of course, a big part of it was the … Continue reading Are Soap Operas Poised To Make A Comeback?

5 Things That Bug Me About Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Fiction

First, let’s define post-apocalyptic and dystopian: Post-apocalyptic refers to a work of fiction that deals with a global disaster so profound there are few survivors. It may include a period of time leading up to the disaster, or it can take place years afterwards, but mostly it’s about the immediate after-effects of a disaster–war, environmental disaster, plague. The disaster can have a fantastical element, like zombies or vampires, or a sci-fi one, like an alien invasion. Dystopian usually takes place far into the future. It may be post-apocalyptic or not. Society has in some way changed profoundly, most noticeably the … Continue reading 5 Things That Bug Me About Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Fiction

Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin is the second of his post-apocalyptic/vampire trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is The Passage. I wrote a spoilerific analysis of one of the major characters in The Passage a while back. This review will refrain from divulging any major spoilers. That makes it very difficult to write this review, because, boy, are there some huge surprises in this book. Most sequels pick up where the last book left off, but that doesn’t quite happen with The Twelve. Cronin finds a clever way to bring readers back up to speed in the beginning (I … Continue reading Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

No one was more surprised than I was when I ended up writing a zombie story, even though I never much liked zombie stories. The mantra is usually write what you know, or at least, write the kind of story you like to read. My lack of zombie love isn’t snobbery–I enjoy many horror sub-genres. Something about zombies, though, kind of turned me off. My main objection was that as antagonists go, zombies are kind of, well–boring. They don’t think or feel. Their only motivation is a desire to eat brains. It’s not even a conscious desire. I guess I … Continue reading Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

Is Drama Dead As A Hollywood Genre?

We’re just now heading into the fall season, when Hollywood traditionally serves up “adult movies” (translation: Oscar bait) movies. We’re supposedly done with the summer blockbusters and have moved on to the movies adult like. Supposedly. This past weekend a drama called The Words opened and did so poorly it helped to make the weekend one of the lowest grossing in the past decade. Luckily, it didn’t cost too much to make, but it’s still dispiriting to think that it sank so fast and so far. I have no idea if The Words is a good movie, but if it’s … Continue reading Is Drama Dead As A Hollywood Genre?

What The Coen Brothers Teach Us About Keeping Genre Fresh

A while back I was participating in a discussion about The Big Lebowski on a screenwriters message board. Someone claimed the movie was of no particular genre. In fact, that the Coen brothers never made genre movies. I disagreed with that, of course. I pointed out The Big Lebowski most certainly fits into a genre, and not just a general one like comedy. The Big Lebowski is a detective noir in the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. What’s that, you say? How can that be when the protagonist is a burned-out hippie whose only discernible activity is bowling? … Continue reading What The Coen Brothers Teach Us About Keeping Genre Fresh

5 Great Books Left Off NPR’s Top 100 Teen Novels List

Last week NPR published the results of their poll for the 100 best young adult novels of all time. Yes, moi participated and voted. To say I’m a little perplexed by some of the books that weren’t included is an understatement. (Even more perplexing is some of the books left out of the original list voters could choose from.) Yes, lists are always problematic and no one is ever completely happy with what is chosen. But here are five that strike me as glaring omissions from the list: 1. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume: I … Continue reading 5 Great Books Left Off NPR’s Top 100 Teen Novels List