Sunday, May 26, 2013

Son of Saturday at the Movies #4 - Wuthering Heights (2009)

There are some movies that, within minutes, even seconds, of viewing, you know they're going to stick with you forever. For me, the 2009 BBC/PBS version is one of those. The story's not new. Emily Bronte wrote it back in the nineteenth century, and it's a classic for a reason. Not a genre romance, and no happy ending for the first generation, but it's always been one of those stories that sticks with me and resonates in that deep-down part of the story soul.

Even hours after watching, I'm left thinking lots of things about poor...well, pretty much everybody. Heathcliff and Cathy, tormented soulmates who never get to be together (or do, in the end, depending on your point of view) and the poison that trickles down from "thwartedness" a word? Then again, neither Heathcliff nor Cathy get a gold star for making good decisions, but that sense of passions repressed that explode in all the wrong places, sending out cracks that erode the foundation of basically everyone around them. :Happy sigh: It's a big story, a deep story, definitely not a feel-good one, but it resonates. Did I already say resonate? I did. :shrug: It's an appropriate word.

Tom Hardy's Heathcliff always seems about a milimieter away from cracking, and seeing as how he A) digs up his dead lover's body so he can hold her one more time - sure, creepy, but also shows how very broken inside he is, with no hope of anything outside of this broken bond- and B) systematically sets out to ruin the next generation because he can't see anything but ruin, one could say that he has cracked. Still, there's the sense that there's always something more, right out of reach.

Charlotte Riley's Cathy fits with the isolation of her character and surroundings, utterly changed by those five weeks spent in the luxury of the Lintons' care rather than the raw, rough existence she'd known with Heathcliff until then. I had no idea Andrew Lincoln was in this until I saw his name in the opening credits, and as both young and middle aged Edgar, he provides a beautifully balanced foil. Cultured where Heathcliff is primitive, and thus Cathy is torn between the two parts of her own nature, which will eventually tear her, and those around her, apart. There's a more hopeful turn for the next generation, and the film ends on that note of optimism, leaving the ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy in the place where they've always wanted to be.

The story is a classic for a reason, and it's one of those that I actually want to see interpreted throught the eyes of different directors, different actors. Still not sure how I managed to miss the latest theatrical version, but it sure does look intriguing. What's your favorite adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Dance Friday #117: Aaninka

Only on the interwebs could we get a viral Korean pop video reinterpreted by an African dance troupe from Cote Divoire, but one look at the dance troupe, Aaninka's, take on the infamous Gangnam Style (blame my DH, who finds Psy very entertaining) and I had to share. Love the attitude and originality here.

Need more happy? Call Aaninka, maybe...

Or check out their YouTube channel here for music, dance and a darned good show every time:

Aaninka's YouTube Channel

Hm, wonder what it would take for them to interpret some Monkees tunes...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Lynn Viehl Followup and Prize Winner

Happy Saturday, mes amis, and thanks to all who shared in our wonderful visit with Lynn Viehl.

For the readers who asked which of Lynn's free reads would be a good starting point,Lynn offers the following:

I had a wonderful time chatting with your readers; thanks for having me as a guest.

I also love new readers; it's the best part of getting out and about in the online writer community. For someone who is completely new to my work I usually recommend my novella Dark of Heart:

Dark of heart is YA and G-rated, so it's good for all ages, and I think it's a decent example of my writing style in general. It is 168 pages, however, so it's a bit of a hefty read for a freebie.

If the reader would prefer to try something shorter, then I recommend my short story Red Branch:

That one is high fantasy, PG-13 rated but only 25 pages long. It's been my readers' favorite ever since I wrote it.

Thanks again, Lynn. It was my pleasure having you; come back anytime.

Now, for the lucky winner of Lynne's gorgeous prize pack. Let's take a moment to look at the pretties one more time while we imagine a drumroll. The prize goes to...
Nightbound Keepsake Box giveaway photo NightboundKeepsakeBoxgiveaway_zps6cfdf7c9.jpg

Anderyn, contact me at so we can get your prize headed your way.

Everyone, what are we reading this weekend?

Friday, May 03, 2013

10 Questions With Lynn Viehl

I first discovered Lynn Viehl, not through her books, but through the world of art journaling, an art form that combines words and images to create an intensely personal form of expression. That led to her blog, Paperback Writer, which then led to discovering a versatile author who writes across several genres, and is generous with her expertise as well as loads of pretty things. Take a look at what Lynn is offering one lucky commenter today (click thumbnail to embiggen):

Nightbound Keepsake Box giveaway photo NightboundKeepsakeBoxgiveaway_zps6cfdf7c9.jpg

1) When did you know you were a writer?

I guess I first knew sometime around midnight on December 28th, 1974 (I was thirteen, and I'd just finished writing the last page of my first novel.)

2) What's the first thing you know for sure about a new story concept? Plot? Character? Something else?

Generally the characters come first to populate my knowledge base. Occasionally an idea shapes the story for me -- I once wrote a novel based solely on the words "carnival geek" -- but most of the time it's the characters.

3) What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you've ever heard?

The best was "Whatever you do, protect the work" from author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I have never once regretted following that advice.

I don't know exactly who is responsible for the worst, but it's that tiresome old adage of "Write what you know." Imagine how many fantastic books would never have been written if all writers followed that tiny-minded attitude. What rubbish.

4) How did the world of the Darkyn come to be?

I've always loved vampire fiction, and I began writing my own short stories back in 1998. The first one was a disaster because I tried following all the traditional vampire lore, which I find a little ridiculous. I trashed that story and decided to create my own mythology. It took another six years to fine-tune the Darkyn universe, but eventually I got there.

5) In one sentence, how would you define dark fantasy?

In fantasy the hero always defeats the monster; in dark fantasy sometimes the hero IS the monster.

6) The latest Lords of Darkyn novel, Nightbound (love that title, by the way,) features a supernatural stronghold disguised as a medieval theme park, a hero with secrets and a heroine with extraordinary theories. Can you give our readers a taste of why romance readers won't want to miss this one?

Glad you like the title, because it would be really hard to change now. I hope Nightbound will appeal to any reader who enjoys adventure, mystery and characters who cannot be classified as typical.

7) How does art journaling, or art in general, help or influence your writing?

Art is a great tool for a storyteller to use when you want to explore ideas beyond the boundaries of words. When I sketch a character or paint a setting, or even make a quilt in colors I've chosen as a story palette, I can better visualize those elements. The process of artwork also gives me time to think and make creative decisions that enrich the story when I do go back to the keyboard to write.

As for journaling -- something I've also been doing almost daily since 1974 -- it's a great way to work out ideas and chronicle the journey you take with every story.

8) What do you do when creatively blocked/empty/burned out?

I'm lucky in that I don't have to cope with writer's block or idea deficits, but I do frequently feel burned out, especially after I finish a novel. When that happens I try to recharge my batteries by getting some exercise and opening myself up to new sources of inspiration. That can be anything from taking a long walk and photographing nature to attending an art show and talking to the exhibitors while I admire their works. Sometimes just listening to a new CD while I clean the house from top to bottom helps, too.

9) If you could have an all expense paid trip to any time in history, where and when would you go? You may take one companion, real or fictional. How would you convince them to come with you?

If I could stay for a while, I'd go back to Galilee in 27 AD to see exactly what this carpenter from Bethlehem actually said and did during his ministry. I'd take Jorge Mario Bergoglio with me, and I don't think I'd need to say anything but "Let's go meet Jesus Christ in person" to get the new Pope to tag along.

If I couldn't stay, I'd like to visit an inn in Bavaria on April 20th, 1889, and take Simon Wiesenthal with me. I'd tell Simon that unless we do something the baby born there that day will grow up to murder 5.5 million Jews. I'm sure Simon would have some excellent ideas about how we might prevent that.

10) We've retrieved the parrot we hid in your office a while back, and now he won't stop saying "Toriana." Can you tell us more about that?

I thought I heard something chirping behind the filing cabinet. Toriana is the name of a Victorian-era America that exists in a universe parallel to our own, and in which I've set Disenchanted & Co., my new urban fantasy series. The first book, Her Ladyship's Curse, will debut in August, thanks to my publisher, Pocket Star, and my editor, Adam Wilson.

Thanks, Lynn, for stopping by. Readers, if you've been drooling over the gorgeous giveaway picture above, all you need to do is leave a comment below for a chance to win.