December 5, 2013

My Christmas Movie Playlist

Today as I was browsing Facebook I was admiring one of my (much younger) cousin's lucky find at a church rummage sale: a beautiful artificial Christmas tree she got for free.  While she put it together, she mentioned that she had been watching her favorite Christmas movie.  I'd have to agree with her: this seems like the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit to me.  Putting up your tree, whether it's artificial or dropping sap and pine needles, with a Christmas movie playing in the background helps create a little holiday ambiance.

I love Christmas movies.  As we will be putting up our tree this weekend after a visit to the tree farm, I thought about the movies I have quick and easy access to in my DVD cupboard.  There are quite a few, and not all of them are enjoyed by the entire family. 

 My kids recently added this one to our DVR and we've already watched it.  I'm thinking that automatically disqualifies if from consideration, but they could surprise me.


Okay, this is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I think I may be the only one who really appreciates it.  Ken is rather ambivalent.  He'll listen to it play out as he tinkers on his iPad, but I don't think he'd recommend it as a family viewing event.  The boys, on the other hand, tend to vacate the room.  Hmm.  I've never let that stop me before...


 This might not be the exact collection I own, but it's pretty close.  These are the classic cartoons that filled my childhood holidays with promises of Christmas cheer.  I am partial to the Grinch, but love Frosty, too.   The only question here is if my two teenagers are too cool to watch them with me?  Anime they adore, classic cartoons not so much.

Another classic cartoon.  It seems like we usually manage to catch this one on television, but we own the DVD just in case we miss it.  It's a tradition.  It will be viewed eventually. 

 The movie adaptation of Dr. Suess's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a favorite, too. In fact, in some ways I may even prefer it to the old cartoon version.  Maybe.  This one is a definite possibility for our Christmas tree decorating.  I think everyone in the house enjoys it. 

We have a few other titles hanging around, too, but these are the ones that I tend to gravitate toward when the holidays roll around. 

Kindle Freebie Book Review

New Jersey's Famous Turnpike WitchNew Jersey's Famous Turnpike Witch by Brad Abruzzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the premise of this book, but must admit there were times I felt my attention wandering. While I tend to attribute this inability to remain focused on the storytelling approach, I'm not sure that's entirely fair. There were some things to admire, things that other readers may find inspired, but I felt were slightly overdone.

First, this book is not afraid to skip around the timeline. Jumps forward, backward, and sideways occur with regularity.

The main character is majorly flawed. There's a reason she becomes known as the Turnpike Witch, which I refuse to put down here as I don't want to spoil anything for those who may chance to stumble across the review before reading the book for themselves. I hate spoilers, so I don't want to be guilty of springing them on anyone else.

In between all the anti-chronological viewpoint jumps, there was something very interesting going on with what I deem to be the author's message on mental health, politics, and even the perils of fandom.

If I have any real constructive criticism, it is this: the story could have been tightened by deleting a few extraneous scenes. Now, don't get me wrong, the author skillfully manipulated the English language. The story was well written; I don't remember any typos or gross grammatical errors.

And now I feel kind of bad about my 3-star rating.  I think another reader, one more patient than myself, would have given it a much higher score.


View all my reviews

December 3, 2013

NaNo 2013

I really thought I could do it this year.  I had the time and the desire.  I did a lot of pre-writing activities, like character building and plot development, months before the official start date.  I had notes on what had happened in book #1 and what I thought needed to happen in book #2.  I was prepared.

The beginning of NaNoWriMo 2013 went well enough.  I started out strong.  Unfortunately, my dedication waned after the first week.  I wrote fewer and fewer words, skipped a day here and there, and then would try to regroup and attack the blank page with a weekend writing marathon.   

It didn't work.  I came nowhere near 50,000 words. 

As of this moment, I have 20,460 words written. Given my double-spacing and fondness for Courier New's 12 point font, this brings me to page 97.  I've just started chapter eight, and I think what I have so far is a good, solid start for a first draft.  It's also 20,460 more words (or 97 pages, if you prefer) than I had on October 31st.  

There's even more good news.  The story is about to really take off.  The minor conflicts hinted at in the beginning are about to explode into action.  Jealousy, fear, hatred, confusion, and a multitude of other emotions are going to provide the impetus required to reach the climatic moment.  The denouement, as I currently envision it, will give me the space needed to indicate the current crisis has been resolved but there's more to come. 

I've got a plan.  Things are falling into place.  

I'm just writing it all out at a slower, more sedate pace than NaNoWriMo allows.  That's not a bad thing. Not at all.