Monthly Archives: May 2011

An Expression of Gratitude.

I was struggling with what to write for my entry this week. Not only am I exhausted from fighting some icky sickness that’s creeping up on me, but work is getting busier, my writing is already starting to fall behind, and I’m not sleeping so well at night for some reason. I thought about skipping tonight and maybe blogging tomorrow but I didn’t want to fall even more behind.

I started thinking about everyone’s comments from last week’s entry and I thought it was high time I did a proper thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive, now and in the past.

I did rant on a bit about my dislike for editing and some of you had some really great suggestions. I may not reply all the time, but I do read each and every comment and I do pay attention. I still don’t like editing, I probably never will but that’s OK. I can make it easier on myself and having such a supportive on-line community makes it easier.

First of all, I didn’t mention her specifically, mostly because she already knows my foibles when it comes to writing and editing, but I do have a beta reader. Someone suggested that in a comment, or maybe a couple of you, and I thank you for the offer to beta read my work. I have a hard time dealing with input from too many people – hell, I have a hard time dealing with feedback from one person sometimes! – so I don’t want to get into sending it to too many people. I do thank you for the offer and I’m so glad you felt strongly enough about my work to offer. πŸ™‚

Back to the beta reader I have… She’s awesome. I don’t tell her often enough, I don’t think. I do thank her in my notes sometimes but I also whine and complain via email and AIM. Somehow, she remains patient and doesn’t tell me to suck it up and get over it. Well, not every time we chat. πŸ˜‰ She is familiar with my style and doesn’t try to impose too many ideas, unless I ask. She’s also aware that even though my initial reactions to her feedback and criticisms are not always…favourable, I’m taking her comments into consideration. In short, she’s a great reader, editor and friend. You all know her as PennLady or Eve McFadden. Also, she’s a fantastic writer. I’m absolutely in love with some of her characters. Check out All To Human or Light and the Darkness for two of my most favourite leading men. Can you say, yummy?!? πŸ˜€

Now, even though I have PL and all her wonderful feedback, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the feedback, comments and emails I receive from the fans, anonymous or otherwise. Why do you think I keep writing for Lit??? Once again, I don’t always respond but when someone makes a request or asks a question, I do my best to meet demands. I hope you know how much it means to have the support.

I am aware I’m repeating myself a bit here, and you’ll have to excuse me. I’m running on about 3 or 4 hours of sleep and a long day of writing and editing. Argh! I don’t even have hockey to blog in between my writerly ramblings.

Speaking of hockey though, how excited am I for the Canucks in the final!! GO Canucks! I’m sure you’ve all noticed my updated background here. I just wanted to show my support. I’ve already got plans to see the first game at a nearby pub on Wednesday night. It should be a fantastic series, that’s all I’ve got to say.

And now, I really ought to get back to editing the next chapter of “Breaking Through the Ice.” I’m doing my best to stay on schedule, but like I already said, I’m fighting some exhaustion here and this week’s chapter might be a day late. I’ll do what I can tonight.

Did I say thank you yet? For reading my stuff, for taking the time to visit my blog and comment when the desire moved you? Did I say thank you again and again for not giving up on me even when I confessed my writing flubs and insecurities?

Well then.

Thank you.

As always, take care and happy reading.

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The Bane of my Existence. AKA: Editing.

I’ve spent most of the day so far editing the next chapter of “Breaking Through the Ice” and I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned before how much I dislike editing. I shouldn’t so much but I can’t help it. I know it’s part of the writing process and it helps me be a better writer, blah, blah, blah. But I just get bored reading and rereading my own work so much. After going through the publication process for “Agent Alpha,” I started to dislike the whole story. It started to feel weak, insubstantial and so amateur. I probably shouldn’t say that since I do want you all to read it. Does that make that saying true, about being our own worst critics? Maybe.

I don’t mind reading and editing other people’s work. I love seeing new material from my friends – well, friend, really. πŸ˜‰ – and sometimes I can focus on the technicalities long enough to offer words of advice. It’s just my own work. It got me thinking, what is it about my own work, or the mechanics of editing that I dislike so much?

I don’t suppose it’s any one thing. There are certain things I do while writing something brand new that are considered bad writing habits. There’s the dreaded adverbs – words that end in ‘-ly’ for those who don’t know. They have their place, occasionally ( πŸ˜‰ ), but for the most part, they’re unnecessary. That’s an easy enough error to correct. A little find and replace – or as I like to call it, ‘search and destroy’ –  and I’m all good.

Up until I published “Agent Alpha,” I never thought there was anything wrong with speech tags – he said, she whimpered, he cried, she replied – and again, they do have their place. But have you ever read something and counted how many of those words you see on a single page? The average reader is smart enough to follow a conversation without those thrown in after every single line of dialogue. There are also other ways around them, using actions and the like instead of he said, she said.

What else is there…ah, yes. This one troubles me lately and maybe I just need to employ my thesaurus a bit more, but how many different ways can you describe someone? I don’t just mean the hair, eyes, height, weight things that we all have to figure out creative new ways of introducing. That’s a problem in itself, let me tell you, but I mean how do you describe someone’s personality without sounding like a textbook or overly sappy poem?

The latest I’ve been guilty of with BTTI is using the word ‘amazing’ to describe a person or their talents. Under that heading in my thesaurus, I find the following:

Astonishing, astounding, surprising, stunning, staggering, shocking, startling, stupefying, breathtaking, awesome, awe-inspiring, sensational, remarkable, spectacular,Β  stupendous, phenomenal, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable, mind-blowing and flabbergasting.

All good words, to be sure, but how can I pick an alternative to ‘amazing’ that fits the era, mood and level of formality in my story? Most of these words are very strong sounding. I’ve used them in other stories to describe something more than just someone’s ability to cook a good meal.

“Oh, wow, those fireworks were awesome!”

But you can’t call someone awesome. Well, you might in casual conversation but would that sound right in a hockey-romance where the dude is telling the dudette how much he cares for her?

“Oh, wow, you’re so awesome, Mina.”

Do you see what I mean? It’s difficult finding a balance. Maybe to someone who doesn’t do this every day, it seems petty and simple but honestly, when all you do is work with words, the challenge becomes using the same words and making them sound different. Every. Single. Time.

Which brings me to my next point: how do you make a sex scene original? Again, not something every writer deals with, and often something they avoid altogether. Being that I write in a specific genre, it’s something I deal with and something I try to improve upon all the time. Writing it, I mean. Get your minds out of the gutters, people. πŸ˜€

As a reader, I try not to dissect a story too much. It’s hard, especially depending on my mood or what stage of writing I’m currently working on. If I’m editing my own crap, I find myself picking and finding little things in anything I read. Do you know how much enjoyment I lose from reading a Jane Austen novel when I’ve just raked my own work over the coals? Not that I’m comparing myself to Jane Austen, believe me, but she never had to worry about getting sexual chemistry and…positions just right.

When I read a story I sometimes find myself wondering first if a sex scene is even plausible. Can he really get her into that position? Can they really climax while dangling like that? Can she really…ahem. Well, you know what I mean. If I’m lucky, I get into a book enough that the sex scenes just become part of the story. I don’t pause to analyze, I just sigh and move on. Stop being pervy, all of you! LOL

As a writer, I wonder sometimes, do my sex scenes – or love-making scenes, for you romantics out there – make you analyze or do they sweep you along?

I don’t let my characters get too adventurous so it’s not like I have to worry about the mechanics of positions. I often skip the messy stuff, like condoms – I know, I know, it’s a complaint I hear from time to time but I use the excuse of “my characters live in an alternate reality where they are already on perfect birth control that doesn’t involve pausing for wrapper crinkles and rolling rubbers.” Maybe one day I’ll write a story that addresses the issue of STDs or unplanned pregnancies. For now, I prefer not to use either of those as a crutch.

I know in my earlier works, I was repetitive. Not in a single story necessarily, though I’m sure I was guilty of that too, but between different ones. I’d use the same ‘moves’ on a guy or woman, and some of the same phrases would pop up. Some readers were kind enough to point it out and honestly, until they had, I never realized. That’s my dislike for rereadng my own work in play there. I started to keep a list of ‘techniques’ I overused and started to come up with new ways of expressing the mood or situation. It’s not easy and I sometimes look over a story I’m working on and cringe because I’ve used ‘moaned’ or ‘slid’ far too many times. How do I not see it when I first write it? I get caught up in the story, just like reading sometimes. And just when I think I’ve got a handle on this writing thing, some new error makes itself known and I have to start all over again.

Now that I’ve pointed out all my shortcomings, I wonder if you’ll continue to read my work… I hope so. I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. New challenges just force me to be better. Or at least, to continually improve. Do I improve? Go back and read my first stories and work your way forward, then send me a detailed essay on my growth.

Hahaha, I’m so kidding. Please don’t do that.

All right. Time to get back to ripping – I mean, editing my work. Look for the newest chapter of “Breaking Through the Ice” on the usual day. In spite of my second job and the crazy days at my regular one, I’ve managed to keep up so far. Fingers crossed I get through the remaining chapters on time as well. πŸ™‚

Take care and happy reading!

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Sunday Mish-Mash

So here it is, another Sunday evening. The sun is shining, I’ve got my laptop on my lap and there’s a hockey game on. Life doesn’t get much better than this. πŸ™‚

Who’s still following the playoffs? I believe I’m firmly in the Canucks camp now. I have to. It’s currently a mandate of being Canadian. I kid, I kid.

Oh, OH! Scramble in front of Niemi (Sharks’ goalie). And it’s already shaping up to be a pretty chippy game. God, I love hockey.

Did I tell you how happy I was to see Detroit lose? Not because I care so much about the Sharks but I just cannot stand the Red Wings. Just a personal opinion, that’s all. Don’t mean to offend any RW fans. Much. πŸ˜‰

What’s new with everyone out there? I just started my summer part-time job again this weekend. If any of you followed my writing last summer, you’ll know I had a second job then as well. I don’t think I ever mentioned details but I’m working at a golf course in the ‘turf care’ facility. I spent most of my time mowing the greens or doing random manual labour tasks. Last year I took the gig along with my full-time job and they both started at the same time. (I’d been out of work for about seven months prior to that. Damn economy!!) It’s a great job, lot’s of work outside in the sunshine – and cold, believe me! – and perks that include free golf and use of the driving range. It’s a private club, so that’s a pretty big deal. I’ve just recently got into golfing and I’ve really enjoyed playing so far. My dad and brother golf and it’s nice to go out, the three of us. One of my closest friends is a big golfer; she once told me her dream job would be playing in the LPGA. It’s a pretty good part-time job, as far as part-time jobs go, but the one – biggest – drawback is that it leaves me with less time and energy for writing.

I know, I know. I don’t mean to neglect you guys. You know I don’t. But I have to do what I can to earn some extra $$$ right now. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there in the same boat. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, more work, less time for writing and possibly more time in between submissions.

*ducks for cover*

I said I’m sorry! I really thought I could keep up with submitting “Breaking Through The Ice” once every week but it might be a couple extra days in between, depending on how my schedule at the golf course shakes out. I’ll do my best, believe me. I want your comments and feedback as much as you want to read my work. So just be patient with me for a little while until I get used to my new routine.

Oh man, Kesler just took a high stick in the face. Poor man’s already got like eight stitches in his chin from the last series. Still scoreless in the first. Just in case you wanted to know.

Let’s see. What else can I blather on about? Not much new happening here aside from work. I have another ‘top ten’ list in the works. It started as my top ten authors, which I think I can keep to ten. But choosing favorite books, even by those authors? Yeesh. I didn’t think I’d have such a hard time narrowing it down. Maybe sometime this week I’ll post one or the start of one.

Ah, and now they’re showing Ian White, a former Flame. Why couldn’t he make this kind of effort in my town??? Damn him. And they’re off again…Seems to me that the Canucks are controlling this game more often than not. Of course, I’d know better if I wasn’t blogging. Ha!

Oh, that’s what I’d been thinking about this weekend. I had a funny email/comment from a fan the other day saying that she’d (I’m assuming she’s a she, just from the tone of her e-mail) never ‘done this before’ and went on to request a story about a specific hockey player.

POWER PLAY for the Canucks! Wahoo!! Hmm, tough call actually. It’s goaltender interference but I don’t see it. Meh. One of the thousands of reasons why I don’t officiate hockey games. πŸ˜‰

OK, back to the request thing. It wasn’t the person she was requesting that was funny – though her choice did make me smile; PL, I don’t need to tell you who. I think you’d guess in one try. πŸ˜‰ – but it just got me thinking about all the people who have made requests in the past. Some I’ve accommodated and others ignored. Sorry, but I’m not going to write a dirty story about you, me and –

ACK! Almost a goal!!

Ahem. Oh yeah. Not going to write a dirty story about you, me and the neighbor’s wife. Or whatever. Ew. But a lot of people have requested different hockey player stories, either with specific players, teams, or scenarios.

I guess my point is, or rather my question is, do any of you feel shy about requesting something, like this anonymous emailer from the other day? Do you really care or get that excited if you see that I’ve answered your request with something? I’m just curious so I thought I’d ask.

And on that note, I’ll sign off. I have to give more attention to the game.

MOTHER F*… Uh, Sharks scored. *sigh*

And I have to give more attention to the story. Hope you’ve all had a nice weekend.

Take care and happy reading!

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Choosing what to write.

As a reader, I always pick a book based on my mood, the cover art and the potential for entertainment. My mood determines genre. Don’t tell me you can handle a bodice-ripper of a romance when you’ve just been dumped. The cover art grabs my attention, so I’ll at least take it off the shelf to check it out. So I’m a visual creature, sue me. πŸ™‚ And finally, if a book looks like it’s going to end without a firm conclusion, I probably won’t bother. Well, that’s not entirely true. I read just about everything. If it’s good, then I’ll read it more than once, that’s all.

As a writer, picking what to write about is different. There is no mood that will stop you from writing, no cover art to contemplate and the entertainment is in creating something. At least, it is for me.

Almost any writer will tell you that you don’t choose what to write. It chooses you. A writer is a conduit for the story. Sound fruity? Wishy-washy? Sounds like it excuses the writer from all fault? Not hardly. Writing something good and engaging is hard work and anyone who says different is lying.

Personally, my ideas or inspiration come from everything and everyone. I might see a movie and it makes me want to write something about ‘finding your potential’ or visiting foreign places. I could have a conversation with someone at work that sparks my imagination. Other times, I’ll just see something while I’m driving, or while I’m spending time with friends. Sometimes, it’s just a word or a visual in my mind. At some point, I will have to write it down. It might become a full-fledged story, it might not. More often than not, it doesn’t amount to anything. I have dozens of unfinished stories covering nearly every genre.

Another thing most writers will tell you is that they need to write about different things. I write romance at the moment but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas or urges to write in different genres. I’ve sometimes shared them – have you read “Body of Water?” Check out my Literotica page for that one. It received mixed reviews but I quite enjoyed writing it, mostly because it was far and away different from everything else I’d written or published. Hell, “Agent Alpha” was something I’d never tried before and never even considered trying until I started it. And look how that’s turned out!

I’m not trying to make a serious point or anything but I just wanted to explain that sometimes we may not have something in a regular series ready because we need a break to write something new and exciting. Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been doing the whole hockey-romance thing to death. Oh, I still have several ideas for stories in that ‘series’ but for now, I’m getting more and more restless. I need to start roaming or else they’ll become stale and boring.

Just for fun now, I thought I’d share some ‘false starts’ with you. As you’ll be able to tell, they’re not my usual fare and none have been edited at all, so forgive the adverbs and other assorted errors. I haven’t completed any one of these – yet – and maybe one day soon, some new inspiration will strike and I’ll finish one. I’ll let you know. πŸ˜‰

So this first one was the start of a Holiday contest submission. I’d almost forgotten about it and maybe I’ll try to get it done for this year. The working title is “Rudolph, The Grinch and an Angel Walk into a Bar.”

So Rudolph is the first to speak.

He looks up from his odd position on the filthy bar table and moves his bloodshot eyes between his two companions. He smacks his fuzzy brownish-grey lips together and winces as his one remaining antler knocks over a beer bottle. Finally he clears his throat and shares his thoughts.

“It’s such a joke, really,” he says.

“What the hell are you talking about?” His green friend asks with a scowl and proceeds to knock back another shot of tequila.

Rudolph turns his bleary gaze towards the Grinch and wishes he had the digits to properly flip him off. Alas, he is a reindeer and cloven hooves, while nicely black and polished, are not conducive to relaying information to jackasses at times.

“I wish I could backstep through evolution a few millennia for you, G-man,” Rudolph replies instead of explaining his initial comment. “That’s the only way I’ll find the proper sound effects to explain what I’m talking about.”

“Eat me,” Grinch snarls and downs another tequila shot. His eyes are equally as bloodshot though the green fringe of his hair is flopping in his face, hiding the worst of it. “You’re a freaking deer.”

“I’m a freaking reindeer, dumbass,” Rudolph is succinct with his response; or so he believes. “Or a caribou, if you choose to attempt that one.”

“I choose to put my size ten foot up your ass, you bag of flea-bitten fur,” Grinch snaps, spraying a fine, tequila-scented arc of spittle towards the reindeer.

Rudolph barks out a laugh, at last lifting his head from the table top. He glares at his green companion as he watches the Grinch down yet another shot; probably his fortieth of the night.

“You really need to get a bigger pair of shoes then, G-man,” Rudolph says. “The ones you’ve got on now are so tight they’re making you uglier.”

OK. So maybe not my best effort. πŸ™‚

The next one is something I recently started. I’m pretty sure I know how I want this one to go, but for now, I’m at a standstill. Can’t seem to connect the dots, as it were. Anyway, I’ve tentatively titled it “Fact or Fiction.”

I’ve always had a very active imagination. But even I knew something was wrong when I woke up in a dark shed on a dirt floor.

A shiver raced through me as I sat up. A glance down revealed that I was no longer wearing my comfortable flannel reindeer pajamas. No, I had on a dirty, scratchy wool dress with a ragged hem. I tried to reach down to lift the fabric but found my hands tied behind my back.

That was when I started to panic.

My fantasies had always been limited to the mundane; a white beach, a warm cottage on a snowy day, winning the lottery. I had never once imagined myself bound and filthy in a dark, dank, unfamiliar location. I also had never gone to sleep in my queen-size bed in my sunny yellow bedroom at home only to wake in a shed.

My heart pounded hard, my blood thrummed in my ears. Then I heard voices a scant few seconds before the door to the shed was wrenched open. I fell back with a gasp, blinded by the light that poured in through the doorway.

“Up with you,” a rough male voice growled before beefy hands clamped on my upper arms.

I was hauled unceremoniously to my feet and turned my head, squinting through the light. He was large, that much I could tell from his shadow. Features, possible age or race remained unknown for the same reason.

“Please…” I thought I’d managed to speak out loud but the voice that left my throat was not my own. It was high-pitched and accented as I’d never been able to fake before.

“Keep your please. His Lordship has asked for you.” He let go of my arms and I sank to the floor.

Strength had apparently left my body along with sanity.

Intriguing enough to read more? I thought so… πŸ˜€

This one here is my first real attempt at science fiction. I do still want to finish this one someday too but, like always, the need has to be there. I’ve called this “Star One.”

Tristan shook the memory free and tightened his grip on the steel railing before him. Outside the ship, space was dark in this direction. The odd star glittered from afar but Tristan already knew without reaching any of them that none of them were right.

Sighing, he lifted a hand and rubbed his face, telling himself yet again that he should shave. He always found himself reluctant to shave since Hannah used to tease him ceaselessly about his obsession with facial hair when he was a teenager. He brushed the thought of Hannah aside. As much as he could anyway; Hannah was never far away.

“Are we to continue forward, Captain?” Hannah’s voice spoke from his elbow and his vision swam before him for a moment. The great, broad window wavered and for a split second he felt himself falling forward, diving out of the ship.

He turned his head, looked into Hannah’s green eyes and clenched his teeth. “I’ve told you a hundred times, FIVE,” he growled in a low tone. “Do not take that form. Ever.”

Ever obliging, the alien shifted. Its body melted to the deck at Tristan’s feet before reorganizing and rising up before him as a faceless, featureless human shape. It was unfailingly creepy but for some reason, Tristan could handle the non-face better than Hannah’s.

“I’m…sorry?” FIVE phrased it as a question. He was a curious alien, always concerned with speaking Tristan’s language the correct way.

Tristan nodded even though he was quite certain FIVE didn’t understand what true remorse was. “That’s right.”

Star 1581 had been a very odd place.

“Are we to continue forward, Captain?” FIVE repeated his question in his own alien version of a human voice. It echoed as though they were in an empty grain silo.

Tristan glanced back outside and shook his head. There was Star 1217 and 1253 and beyond those he could just make out 1377. And a smattering of other lesser stars.

It was beginning to feel like none of them would ever be right.

Hmm. Definitely needs work.

Oh, here’s an interesting one, and a slightly longer tease than the others. Are any of you familar with my TAITS series? πŸ˜‰ I think I’ll call this one “Burnout.”

Forty-seven engines roared to life at once. Dust from the gravel pad rose in a cloud around the lines of cars. The spectators milling about in the pits weaved through the vehicles and moved out of the way. The cars at the front of the line started to roll forward.

She didn’t get too close to the cars and trucks lined up in the pits. Her jacket was tattered and worn almost all the way through on the elbows. As she watched the vehicles move, she lifted her arms and wrapped them around her midsection. The sun was still high in the sky, though the shadows were growing longer at this point in the summer. She kept herself hidden beneath the shadow of the big signs lining the north end of the main track.

Most people wouldn’t have noticed her. But he wasn’t most people. Even as he kept his car rolling with the line-up, Fly knew where she was. He’d known for weeks where she was, where she always stood after she got to Race City.

Who she talked to.

A whistle sounded in front of his car and Fly faced forward as the pit crewman gestured at him and the red Mustang on his left.

Fly glanced sideways at the driver in the red car but the other driver already had his helmet on. Reaching for his own helmet, Fly took one last look at the woman under the sign. Then he lowered the helmet and slid the visor down.

The crewman gestured again, waving him into the right lane. Fly felt his heart give a solid thump against his ribs and he swallowed around the sudden dryness in his throat. It was always the same. He’d been coming to the Secret Street races for the entire summer and he still felt the same rush as he had the first time.

Even working on the security systems and booby trap network at the compound in Priddis didn’t make him feel like this.

He grinned when he imagined what Rhodes would say if he found out what Fly had been doing for three months. The boss had a way of stringing together profanities that was almost poetic. Almost, if they weren’t accompanied with hand gestures and threats of physical harm.

Then he saw the other crewman waving him and Mustang forward and Fly pushed all thoughts of Rhodes out of his mind. The quarter-mile track stretching out in front of him demanded all his attention now.

He rolled his car up to the water box and took a deep breath. Then he pressed his foot down on the gas and counted the beats until the smoke started to pour from his rear wheels. When he took his foot off the brake, the car jerked forward and he eased up to the start line.

There he waited, his fingers tight on the steering wheel, his heart thrumming a steady rhythm under his ribcage. His vision narrowed from the end of the track to the light tree just ahead to his left. The yellow lights ticked off; one, two, three. Green.

He slammed his foot on the gas and let up the clutch. The engine roared to life and he shot down the track. Swift thoughts flitted through his mind – check the tach, keep an eye on the injection, watch the coolant – and all were replaced by something much more basic and instinctual: hold on tight.

And that’s all I got.

In other news, we’re scoreless in the first. DOWN with Detroit! Oh, hold the phone…GOAL for San Jose! Take that Red Wings! Hehehe. πŸ˜€

Take care and happy reading.

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Top 10 Lists.

Because you asked so nicely. πŸ˜‰ This isn’t my usual night to post but since someone requested this, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, here’sΒ my personal top ten cars and movies. Of course, these are my favorites for my own reasons. I can’t wait to read some of your responses and see how many agree or not.

Top 10 Vehicles:

10.) Aston Martin Vanquish – Bond. James Bond.

9.) Pontiac GTO – Couldn’t find a good picture but you know, it’s just one of those good muscle cars. Grrr…

8.) 1971 Barracuda – My dad used to have a ‘Cuda, complete with the chain link steering wheel too.

7.) Dodge Challenger – I actually love just about all of them, but I’m enjoying the newer models as well.

6.) 1970 Chevelle – Grrr…x2

5.) 1969 Camaro – Such a classic… Grrr…

4.) 1967 Mustang – Not the Shelby Cobra, but the more boxy looking one. All black, white racing stripes, soft, buttery leather bucket seats…oh yeah.

3.) Mazda3 – ‘cuz it’s mine. I just love my little Zoom, Zoom. And it does go zoom, zoom, probably more often than it should. πŸ™‚ I can’t help it. I like to go fast. Hahaha!

2.) 2010 Camaro SS – Bumblebee!!

1.) ’36 Chevy Half-Ton – My late uncle used to build old GMCs and Chevys from scratch. Well, he’d take the skeleton of a classic truck and start to find all the parts to go with it. The real parts, not modern knockoffs. He and my aunt frequented auto swap meets all across the country until he could find all that he needed to get one all back together. This ’36 Chevy was awesome. He taught me to drive it the last time I was out there. We cruised up and down his lanes – he owned farmland just on the outskirts of Winnipeg, MB – and we even tootled out onto the highway for a stretch. It’s one of my favorite, lasting memories of my uncle. He passed away in 2009 and every time I see a classic like this one, I think of him.

Top 10 Movies:

10.) Gosford Park – This is such a great movie, with all the different characters and the different storylines within the main storyline. Plus, I love costume dramas and Stephen Fry is awesome, as always, never mind the fact that he’s only in the movie for about fifteen minutes.

9.) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – I’m a closet nerd. Well. OK, maybe not so closeted. πŸ˜‰

8.) Batman Begins – I just love Christian Bale and when I heard he was going to be the new Batman, I was super excited. I remember seeing this movie in the theater. It’s the only movie I can ever remember people clapping at the end of. I loved the return to the darker, more earthy Batman and the new-old Alfred was just fantastic. πŸ˜€ (& The Dark Knight – Again, I love Christian Bale and this movie, the whole Joker character, just blew me away.)

7.) Constantine – I’m not a huge Keanu Reeves fan but I loved the story of this movie. I’m a big fan of religious movies, or rather, movies that challenge the belief structures of religions and not just Catholicism, though those do seem to be more prevalent. Anyway, I loved this movie for the story and the detail it contained without being too bogged down. (While on the topic of religious movies, I also loved “Dogma,” “Stigmata,” “Gabriel” and “The Da Vinci Code” – though the book was way better!)

6.) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – I’ve always loved the books and this movie was a stunning visual of the story. Loved it.

5.) Transformers – Oh, those sexy transforming cars and trucks. This movie literally took my breath away the first time I watched it. Unbelievable special effects, as if the robots were real.

4.) Labyrinth – I do not remember a point in my life when I did not have this movie. I remember the goblins scaring the bejeezus out of me the first few times I watched it and I couldn’t go to bed without my mom or dad checking under the bed for me. I still love the movie but different things make me smile, like those tights and that acting… *shudder* But it’s still one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen.

3.) Remember the Titans – I’m a big football fan, as well as a hockey fan, since I grew up watching games with my dad and brother, and I remember watching my brother play in high school. This movie is one of my favorite sports dramas and IMO, one of the better sports dramas out there. Plus, Denzel Washington is one of my all-time fav actors.

2.) Pride and Prejudice – The BBC miniseries, not the abrupt and annotated Keira Knightley version. Just…ick. Anyway, I know the miniseries isn’t a movie, but I’m including it anyway. πŸ˜‰

1.) Anna and the King – There’s no grand reason why I love this one so much. I loved “The King and I” growing up, as I had a thing for all musicals as a kid. More than that, I just loved the idea of two people from such different worlds finding enough common ground to fall in love. Or maybe it was that they were so different that they fell in love. Who knows? Either way, this movie is visually appealing (the scenery is amazing!) and I always, always get choked up at the end when Anna and the King dance on the balcony. *sigh*

So there you have it. Love? Hate? Agree? Disagree? Don’t give a damn? πŸ™‚ Lemme have it!

This was fun, either way. Next time, I might do top ten books. Although, that might have to be more like top 20, since I have so many…

As always, take care and happy reading!

P.S. Y’all should check out the latest chapter of “Breaking Through the Ice” on Lit now!

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Movie Review #1

I don’t know if any of you know this about me but in addition to my passion for reading, writing and hockey, I have a love of cars. I have an appreciation for a classic vehicle that’s been put together from scratch and modern cars and trucks polished and altered to something more than what they started as. So yes, I love cars but not just fancy ones or antique cars or the ones old men spend a boatload of money on to impress the twenty-five year olds wearing spaghetti-strap tops and mini skirts while they cruise past in all their mid-life crisis glory.

No. I love classic muscle. You know the ones. They’re all bright chrome and sleek paint jobs. They have engines that growl and rumble at you like they’re living beasts. They dominate the street and the bucket seats hug your curves with the same attention that they hug the curves of the road with.

I love it when I’m sitting in traffic and I hear the rumble of a big engine. I’ll turn my radio off and look around until I find the source. Then I’ll just smile and sit back, letting the sound wash over me. Last summer I spent a few Friday nights at the local racetrack watching the racing on the quarter mile, grinning like an idiot over the Shelbys and the Challengers and the Camaros. Oooh, those new Camaros make me feel things…

Ahem. Anyway, this all brings me to my topic for today: Movie Review #1 – “Fast Five”

Oh yeah. I remember being underwhelmed with the first movie in the franchise but as I matured and allowed myself to let my love for fast cars grow, I came to enjoy them. Oh, I know. They’re not exactly intellectual powerhouses and the acting is…well, I’m sure you can guess if you haven’t seen them. I don’t mind watching Vin Diesel and Paul Walker but neither of them would make my top ten for movie heartthrobs.

Still, when the first preview for this movie crossed my screen, I think I stopped breathing. Come on! What’s not to like?! Fast cars, explosions, AND…The Rock. Oh my, my. Now, HE would make my top ten.

OK, OK, I’ll get to the actual movie review now. πŸ˜‰

Going into the movie, I had low expectations. Sure, I knew it had the elements I love to see in an action-adventure. Hot cars, hot locale, big explosions, big muscles… But really. I didn’t except anything ground-breaking. I knew I wasn’t going to walk out at the end going, ‘Wow. I did NOT see that coming!’ Still, I wanted certain things out of the movie and I was hoping to be impressed.

I don’t know if anyone cares about that sort of thing, but I may throw in a spoiler or two in the following. Unintentionally, but you are warned.

It started off right where the previous movie ended. Vin Diesel’s character, Dom (there’s all manner of subtext you can glean from that name, let me tell you!) is being transported with a bunch of other prisoners on a bus to a prison. Three super-fine cars appear and ‘break’ him out. Let’s just say there’s a lot of senseless slaughter. I mean, those cars never did anything to anyone so why must they be the sacrificial lambs in this opening sequence? *sigh*

Moving on, the romantic leads of Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor and Jordana Brewster’s Mia Toretto find themselves in Rio De Janeiro looking for some help. And yet, they have a pretty fantastic car (classic Skyline!) in spite of the fact that they’ve been running for their lives for several weeks. They find a friend, Vince, who puts them up for the night and offers them a spot on his next ‘job.’ Left with no other choices – and apparently no knowledge of Dom’s whereabouts following the prison break – Brian and Mia take him up on the offer.

This is where the movie action starts and doesn’t let up. The bus breakout was childs play compared to the elaborate high-speed train chase that follows. Can I just say again how disappointing it is to see the nicest cars get demolished for no other reason than that they’re apparently expendable? Seriously…even muscle needs some TLC. πŸ™‚

There are a few explosions, some cheesy one-liners that you can’t help but smile at and then – I’ll admit it – some breathtaking special effects that made me want to cover my eyes until it was over. OK, you got me. It was right when the ’66 Corvette Grand Sport was *SPOILER* meeting it’s fateful end at the bottom of a ravine. *wipes tear away from eye*

Moving on…the storyline is simple enough to follow and a tried and true plot for numerous heist movies. One last big job that, if they pull it off, will see everyone set up for life. Naturally, the job is so big and so complex that they must bring in every electronics, mechanical, strategic and racing genius they know. Enter several familiar faces from the previous four movies.

Cue montage of preparation shots and some playtime car chasing with the whole crew together. Then the inevitable question of ‘can we really pull this off?’ is raised.

Have I mentioned yet that they are all still on the run from the law, even in the ghetto of Rio? In charge of the ‘recovery’ initiative is Agent Hobbs, bloodhound extraordinaire for the US government. He’s been hired to track Dom and O’Connor and bring them home. Naturally, they resist. With flair.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the first of two significant confrontations between the aptly matched Diesel and Johnson. (Did I mention that I lurrrv The Rock? :-P) They are near equal in size and the intensity of their meetings are just what I thought they’d would be when I found out they’d both be appearing in this movie, on opposite sides of the law, of course.

My favorite scene is a race, of course. Can’t have a Fast and Furious movie without the good old race scene! Personally, I could have done with more of the head-to-head racing but you can’t always get what you want. Oh, and for the men out there, there are some pretty women in this movie. πŸ™‚ There, I’m trying to see it from both sides of the chromosomes. HA!

All in all, it was a good, fun movie. I admitted to having low expectations but I also didn’t expect to be so impressed with the detail of the actual heist. It was a just what an action-adventure should be, delivering exactly what the trailers promised: Hot locale, numerous explosions and fast cars. Ooooh, the fast cars…

Hmm. Oh. You’re all still here? πŸ˜‰ Well, I’ll close today’s entry by saying that the next entry of “Breaking Through the Ice” should be up at Lit on Thursday this week, as usual. I’m this close to finishing it so depending on how my next week goes, I might finish editing quickly and start posting chapters faster. I make no promises. My part-time summer job might be starting up very soon as well and I know that will eat much of my spare time and energy. I’ll do my best for you all. πŸ˜‰

Take care and happy reading!

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