Monday, July 28, 2008

My friend and critique partner Danielle Younge-Ullman's debut novel, FALLING UNDER, has hit the streets!!

She's guest blogging on the Penguin website all this week. Today, her post is **hush** about the sex.

Check it out!

Monday, July 21, 2008

RITA trash talk

Okay, so I totally stole this from Kwana's blog, but it was too funny not to post. Hey, a few people read my blog but not Kwana's. Not saying they're smart people, just that they might exist. ;-) (How's that for trash talk...)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

Okay, I'm going to do another post on this film when I get time and gather my thoughts... but one cool little thing... Cillian Murphy has a cameo right at the beginning of The Dark Knight... If you haven't gone yet, see if you notice him. If you have seen it... Did you notice?

I was kind of expecting him to show up again and when he didn't I started to wonder if I'd made a mistake, but a brief google reveals that in fact I was right. It was him. In one 3-4 second scene.

I need to see Batman Begins again... because I don't remember what happened with the Scarecrow character at the end... So I'm not sure whether Cillian's presence in the scene in The Dark Knight was just a fun little thing for the actor/director or whether it was important to future films in the franchise. Cool, anyway. Oh, has him listed as playing The Scarecrow in The Dark Knight... so I guess it was supposed to be the character. But like I said... 3 or 4 seconds of screen time.

I thought of this right now, because I'm watching an Irish film on DVD called Disco Pigs, staring Cillian. Also, in the book I just finished, the hero has very distinctive eyes and while he looks absolutely nothing like Cillian Murphy... His eye color is similar, I think... This photo doesn't really capture their astounding color...

Reading list

So, I found this on Sara Hantz's blog. The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list. How do you do?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

I'm adding a #4) make blue ones you've started more than once, but never finished...

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (cheating here. Haven't read the last 2 yet)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (well, bits of it. Who hasn't?)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (I played the title character in my high school musical, does that count?)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (Have had this on my TBR pile for ages...)
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Guess I'm better read than I thought. When I've seen this kind of list before, I've barely read any, but this one included more modern books and more kids books, and more stuff I read in high school, so people who didn't take English Lit in University have a chance of actually reading a few of them... A few others I'm really not sure. I feel like I've read Emma and Sense and Sensibility, and Hamlet, for example... but I think I've actually just seen the movies/plays a bunch of times...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Win lots of Books

My local RWA chapter is running a pretty cool contest.

You can win 24 Free Books!

Some are e-books and some are print books and the print books will all be signed and are from authors such as: Kelley Armstrong, Molly O'Keefe, Kayla Perrin, Michelle Rowen, Margaret Moore, Kate Bridges, Michele Ann Young, Deborah Cooke/Clair Delacroix, Brenda Harlen, Eve Silver and many more. (I'm going to be in trouble for not mentioning everyone...)

It's a great contest. I'm going to enter :-) Good luck!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buffy Question

Okay, so I know a lot of you are big Buffy fans, so I figure posting this question here is as good a place as any.

I didn't see a whole lot of Buffy (or any Angel) when it was first out, but have been catching up over the past year on DVD. I've seen Angel Season One and I'm up to the end of Season 5 with Buffy...

But one thing I still don't get and I don't know if I missed the explanation, or if they ever explained it, but... there's only one slayer at a time right? -- the chosen one. And this was not only stated several times at the beginning of the series (not to mention the movie), but also demonstrated when Faith only becomes a slayer when Buffy dies (and comes back to life, making two of them, which causes a big conflict and all this sibling rivalry...). Then how come there's more than one watcher or a watcher council at all??? If there's only one slayer, how come so many watchers? Did I miss something? Or did Josh break/bend his rules. Only one slayer per continent or something? Or one per country? Or one per state? Per city? Per high school?

Did I miss something or am I being dumb here... (Okay, I know I was being dumb by the end of that.) But I really want to know.

(Maybe I just should have googled the question. Astonishing the answers you can get by googling a question like that... Hmmmm... Maybe I'll try and post my findings in the comments...) Or maybe I'll just watch more of my Angel DVD's... (and by my Angel DVD's I mean Sinead's)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Young People F**king

Okay, so I wimped out by not putting the title of this movie in the title of this blog post. Don't know why. I'll probably get a gazillion hits for blogging about the movie, Young People Fucking, but not necessarily hits from people curious to learn what I thought about the movie, if you know what I mean.

For those of you in the US, you've probably not heard of this film, and probably you never will. I'm being presumptuous here, but if this film got a US distributor, I'd be really surprised.

On the other hand, many people in Canada have heard of it, even if they don't go to films, because it caused a "big political controversy".

The current federal government (conservative, very) is using this film as the literal poster child of a new bill put forward to keep the government from giving grants to films "of an offensive nature". I'm sure I've got the wording wrong, (and I'm too lazy to look up the actual details), but it's something vague and subjective like that. But the new Bill is horrible and totally about censorship and big filmmakers both Canadian and American have spoken out against it. Not sure where it stands (I am a bad person. I should find out.) but I hope it never gets through Parliament. Sad if it does.

Funny thing is this film is not that daring, save the title, which is, I'm sure, why the filmmakers chose the provocative title. It screened at the TIFF last fall and I gave it a miss then, but went to see it last week. It was okay. Basically five short stories that all take place on one night, over the course of a few hours. Five couples. The titles were: The Exes, The First Date, The Couple, The Roommates, The Friends. I think I remembered them all.

Yes, there was sex in each of the stories -- that's what it's about. But very little nudity or graphic depictions of the act. I've seen way more steamy stuff in Hollywood films, not to mention other Canadian or foreign films. I guess the stories were okay, but nothing really great. I like The Friends best. Maybe because it had a happy (if predictable) ending and the characters were most likable. The filmmaker was smart to end the film with the ending of that storyline, too.

Not sure I can recommend the film though. Unless you just want to tell people you saw a film called Young People Fucking, which, I'm realizing as I write this post, may well have been my subconscious reason for going. :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

TIFF Pulls the rug out from under me

I've been going to the Toronto International Film Festival for about 5 straight years now... and I have a system worked out. Sort of. I know the theatres I like to go to and the types of films I like to see and where to sit in each theatre both to get an unobstructed view of the film (I'm short) and see the movie stars up close (I like to gawk).

And what do they do? They change the packages on me. I did get something in the mail from the TIFF last week or the week before, but I was so neck deep in my revisions that I didn't even open the envelope.

Tonight I went to the web site to try to decide whether or not to buy a pass again and... Pout.

At first I was pleasantly surprised, because the Festival Pass, which I usually buy and is good for up to 50 films seemed cheaper, or at least not much more expensive than last year... (at $509) But then I read the details and it's no longer valid for the screenings at the Elgin Theatre. My favourite place to see films and stars. Pout. This is where I saw the premieres of Crash (2003) and Lost in Translation (2003) Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Into the Wild (2007) and many more really great films. Pout. Pout. Pout. And where I saw some big stars in crappy films (Jennifer Lopez in El Cantante 2006, Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James... 2007) This is the theatre where big stars often show up to see films they're not even in... I swear the entire Oceans 13 cast was at the Jesse James screening last summer.

I often pick both of my evening films to be at the Elgin so I didn't need to go running around the city between a 6:30 and a 9:30 screening, too. And they have this nice lounge downstairs for Visa Gold card holders where you can get in ahead of the line... Pout. Plus the Elgin's freaking gorgeous. Just a nice place to be. Fabulous place to see films. This was the first photo of the theatre I found online. Doesn't do it justice. Gorgeous old theatre. Wonderful place to see films.

Then to make things worse, the packages you can get to *just* buy tickets for the Elgin are all sold out. They usually sell out fast, but I wasn't rushing because I knew I could buy a Festival Pass and I've never had much trouble getting my picks for there...

Perhaps this is a sign. Maybe it's time to break my film fest habit. It is expensive and more to the point, it's nearly 2 weeks of my life when I get nothing else done. And I usually end up with a cold from lack of sleep and eating bad food and not exercising and breathing inside air after seeing 4-5 films a day... Hmmm...

Better decide soon or the passes I usually go for will be sold out, too.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Congrats Louisa!!

All around cool person, agency sister and friend Louisa Edwards has just sold her first book. No. Her first FOUR books!!!

This was the recent announcement in Publishers' Weekly.

Rose Hilliard at St. Martin’s Press preempted world rights to four books by editor-turned-author Louisa Edwards via Deidre Knight. Set amid the New York restaurant scene, the first book in the series is called Can’t Stand the Heat and is slated to launch in fall 2009, with subsequent titles to appear every six months. Knight is a romance author as well as agent, and Edwards was her first editor at NAL. When Edwards left New York publishing, Knight briefly worked with Hilliard, who subsequently left for SMP.

On Drunk Writer Talk a couple of weeks ago, we were speculating about what contemporary romances were going to look like when they have a resurgence... which they will.

Maybe they'll look like what Louisa's writing!!! Cool concept. Connected books. Great, hot idea.

Congrats to Louisa.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What is it about "J" names for romantic heros?

I remember hearing at some writers' workshop I attended that Harlequin romances with heros named Jake sell better than any other books.

Don't quote me on that... but I remember hearing it.

And here I am, watching the Bachelorette and the three final guys are Jesse, Jeremy and Jason. All names that start with "J".

I have also attended workshops that claim names with strong consonants are better for heroic characters... but is "J" really a strong consonant? Sure K is.. But J? I guess so, but certainly not an obviously hard consonant. Especially paired with M's and S's as in Jeremy and Jesse, and Jason.

But J's aside, all I can say is I was chanting "send Jeremy home" over and over.... and then she did. Yay, DeAnna.

Mostly because Jesse is so darn hot in a strange kind of way, and Jason, well, he'd just too sweet. I have a feeling she'll pick Jason right now... but who knows. It would be too cool if she picked Jesse. He's the only guy left where she doesn't open her eyes while kissing him.
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