Dec 01

How “The Silver Saddle” Won The West! Discover The Western You Will Want To Read!

Western writers are some of the most undervalued writers in the world. Their books sell to millions of readers, their styles are honed, their stories are filled with nourishing history, dramatic climaxes and all the action of the Old West– and then there’s Mike Hundley– a writer in his own class, with a Western that stands above all competition. A writer who feels the Old West and makes his stories as refreshing as a drop of sweet Texan rain. “The Silver Saddle” is his first book, a book that is sure to win awards, and sure to win a place on your bookshelf. Readers across America right now are enjoying the writing of Hundley. They are riding along with him. Have you joined their happy throng? Are you ready to sign up for the read of your life?

stevyyWhich Westerns have most influenced your life? 

I would say it’s bits and pieces of many mostly old TV shows and movies. In my childhood, it was black and white TV at the country store a mile away. We had no electricity in our farmhouse for a few years. I think The Lone Ranger and Silver got in every young boy’s head in those days. He was my first superhero, a symbol of good in the West. I loved Marilyn Monroe in River of No Return. Her beauty stunned us. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode of Lonesome Dove and the strong parts played by Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones. The one liners like when Captain Woodrow Call beat the hell out of the rude man with a branding iron and then proclaimed, “I can’t tolerate rudeness in a man.” I like most Westerns if they have a real story. Not all shoot ’em ups are good watching or reading. I think Westerns ought to honor our history and present a meaningful story about very real people. They ought to have that bigger than life epic feel, like the West is bigger than life. I hope my books will be seen as an epic story about real people who just happen to live in those hard times in the Old West, with some romance bound to happen.

How did you research your Western? 

I asked my brother, Ran Hundley, who wrote “Blind Legacy,” questions about the War Between the States, timeframes and weaponry, etc. My buddy, Jim Haynes, answered my questions of horses and riding. I used the heck out of Google and Wikipedia. I have hunted in the mountains and canyons of the West many times. And I know some stuff! Like the movie “The Revenant,” I tried to capture the feel of the Rockies. I hope you will call me promptly Alejandro. We can work on this together.

Tell us about the series. What is the overall story of the series? 

The Confederate Garrison family moved from Virginia after Lee surrendered; it was too painful to stay after their loss of the war. They headed to California, hoping to claim land under the Homestead Act, but the beauty of the Rockies stopped them in southwest Colorado. Over the next two decades, despite family death and many challenges, the Garrisons built a big cattle ranch with constant fights against warring Indian tribes, encroaching railroads, injustices and bullies. The Garrison sons become warriors, and Gabe, the eldest, found the truest love while running for his life. It goes on from there—timeframe 1865-1885. And then on into the sequel– maybe.

Do you prefer writing about the heroes or the villains?

I get a feeling of anger and disgust writing the villain’s part. It’s why they turn out to be so bad. And writing about good people takes me back to how I was raised on a tobacco farm in Southside, Virginia. My mama and daddy brought us up to be humble, kind and respectful. I think it’s how I have always lived. I get a swollen heart writing with passion about goodness, love or grief. I am unafraid to feel or show it, and I think the reader will also feel it.

A good villain is hard to write. How did you approach writing your villains?

Like the whole book, they just came out of my heart and then my fingers. The bad things they did just seemed naturally to happen in the heat of the moment. Once maybe good men, they worked themselves into becoming evil. And I had to give the Garrisons someone worth shooting at.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from your book?

Are any of your character’s people you know? I think to do good in the face of evil is the inspiration, to be patriotic and fearless when bad-thinking people try to do you or your family or your country any harm, fight back, make them pay.

Ransom Garrison is a lot like my little brother, Ransom—tough and hot blooded. I’m a good shot and think boldly like Gabe but can only wish I was as tough and courageous. Lee Garrett is a bit like I was—a volunteer soldier in the Confederacy or Vietnam; our country needed us and we stepped forth, but thankfully I never lived his war experiences. May is like my mother, May—brave and beautiful. Without her many sacrifices, neither I nor Ran would have had much of a life.

Where do you think the Western is heading? Is it dying or growing? 

I sometimes feel like a dinosaur in America now. Many people live like nothing I know, heads stuck in the sand politically, faces buried in social media. I love the Old America I once knew. Schools don’t teach history like when I was a youngster. There is so much competition in entertainment today and not as many readers out there. I hope Westerns find their way into more homes, a new age of enlightenment—wouldn’t that be something?  Western history is the true story of America growing. Fiction embracing history enhances it. I think people will always embrace and love the adventure of that Western migration, the unforgiving journey of our forefathers, I hope so, anyway. We need more really good Western books to be written to keep that alive. And epic Western movies and high quality TV shows would really help. The audience is there. It would explode in size. That’s my 2 cents.

What was the hardest part of writing the first book? 

I think finding the courage to start was the hardest, and that came from a good friend, Galen Pederson, who after reading my lengthy emails and messages to friends over the years, said on a visit last year, “Mike, you need to write something. You have a way with words.” So I came home and began, and couldn’t stop my fingers. You’ve got to start, then find excitement in the writing to finish, I think. That’s how it happened for me, chapter after chapter. I will always be thankful to Galen. He saw the writer in me and called me out.

Can you see your series turned into a TV series or movie? 

It would be the fulfilment and validation of my life to see this on a screen. I think it’s written to fit a TV series over several weeks. Parts of it might make a grand movie, epic, a saga like the old Westerns. I guess it would have been easier and more realistic years ago to dream this big. But I have always dreamed big; no reason to stop now that I can see. Dream it, believe it, do it. Big dreams are free.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? 

I found it to be a wonderfully amazing adventure just like I was living it real time—sad when the characters were sad. I felt all their moods. I think feelings were the driver, and the book is written from an array of feelings I had as I was writing, like watching a movie out of body. I seemed to have little control of the characters. I set them out into a scene, and they acted and I just took notes. A romance bloomed as I watched. I never expected it in all that blood, but it would not be denied. In my years, I never felt anything like it before. I like the feelings of living in that era of American history and hope to do it again soon. It was crazy wonderful. I hope it will grab onto the readers and have them feeling the same way. They will smell the sweat of the horses. I don’t feel this is your typical Western in some ways. Readers can decide. The ending is surprising to many readers, and I never saw it coming. I am not to blame.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp? 

First, I hope all the readers will feel the thrill of adventure, wild and unabated, as they read it. I think the message is to understand in the world there is good and evil. Understand the difference, fight the evil and defend the good. Love the good people you know while they are alive, and avoid the bad ones. And hold on tight. Life moves on. Learn to shoot straight like Gabe. Be a good Arch Angel—it’s inside you. Embrace goodness! Repay the good in the world. Help others.

What comes next?

I’m working on a sequel, hoping to build a series. Maybe it’s called “The Silver Saddle Western series” or whatever title works. It’s a way off but working toward that. Time is compressed. Inspiration fleeting.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? 

NASCAR driver, pro bass fisherman, pro golfer—I mean, if I could break 80! Or a superhero who could save America from itself. That would be the best job in the world, and I would have plenty of work to do. Lots of job security, too!

Where can readers reach you to send ideas for your books?

I have a Facebook page, and they can contact me there. It is the title of the book: “The Silver Saddle.” And to close, let me say many thanks to all who read my book and support me. It’s the thrill of my life when someone really enjoys the words I put on paper. Contact me, and by all means, if you loved The Silver Saddle, please leave a nice review on Amazon and on Goodreads.com. Thank you, Nick Wale, for promoting me, and thanks to all my friends old and new.

The Silver Saddle

After the Civil War ends, Will Garrison’s family goes West and builds a ranch on lands hunted by powerful Indian tribes. Garrison found himself engaged in another bloody conflict– fighting Indians to ensure survival of his family. After a dramatic final battle, Garrison found himself walking a road of peace. Peace was shattered by invasions of a railroad. Gabe Garrison unleashed his vengeance on the railroad and shot a hired gunman. In a darkened street, he encountered the beautiful and mysterious May Horn, standing with her bloodied knife. As they fled together on an ancient trail, trackers followed. As romance buds, Gabe discovers May’s secret, destructive past. He becomes determined to kill the dangerous murderer who has lusted after May for years; that trail becomes bloody and treacherous. May’s family is drawn into the war and her family suffers tragedy. Gabe and May hunger for revenge, and fights with the railroad reveal an ugly plot of greed and planned murder of all Garrisons and Horns. Can Gabe save May from a lust-crazed bully, or will they be forced to run from the past forever? The Silver Saddle is a Western saga written in a poetic and descriptive style. Virginian author Mike Hundley promises readers they will not want the story to end and——no emotion will be left untouched!

Download your copy by clicking on the cover below. Don’t wait– ride today with Mike Hundley and “The Silver Saddle.”

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Nov 30

HOLIDAY PRODUCT INTERVIEW #2: CROSS STITCH PATTERNS, POSTCARDS, WALL MURALS & ORIGINAL PAINTINGS

judy-mailer-imageAre you looking for something special this Christmas? Why don’t you check out some of the great products currently for sale by artist and author Judy Mastrangelo. You can check out her FANTASTIC new holiday product interview by clicking right here. Act quickly though… These products may sell out quickly… If you like what you see… grab it!

If you want to learn more about Judy Mastrangelo you can check out her latest fantastic interview about her love of movies right here.

Nov 28

Take Four of Seven: A Night At The Movies With Artist Judy Mastrangelo


judy-mailer-imageThis wonderful new interview series with Judy Mastrangelo is all about the movies. This is a seven part series… Let’s delve in!

Films have always inspired my life and my art, ever since I was young.  They fulfill needs for fantasy, excitement, etc., which can be experienced vicariously by everyone who loves to partake in the adventure of this delightful art form.

I don’t watch movies all day long, only when I have some time to spare for them.  But many great movies stay with me forever in my memory. Several of the films I mention here, I’ve seen several years ago.  But they were so enjoyable that sometimes they will come to mind, and I’ll enjoy thinking about them and the actors who were in them.  I find the realm of film a magical place of enrichment for my soul, since when I visit it, I can become other characters, visit fascinating lands, and partake in exciting adventures.

Personally, I enjoy both the old and the new films.  They each have something to offer.

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As a graphic artist, I always enjoy painting beautiful people to “star” in my  artwork in various “roles.” If I were able to choose some actors to portray for my paintings, here is who I would choose:

Males:

Females:

  • Phoebe Tonkin – A stunning beauty.  I first saw her in the TV series THE MAGIC CIRCLE. (Hollywood Trivia: From what I understand, Paul Wesley is now in a relationship with Phoebe Tonkin. What a good looking couple!)
  • Keira Knightley – A stunning elegant beauty.
  • Liv Tyler – She played Arwen in Lord of the Rings. She is a lovely, dreamy looking sweet beauty.
  • Michelle Dockery She played Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey. A very elegant woman.
  • Emilia Clarke

Now that Christmas is soon upon us, here are some Christmas-themed movies I enjoy:

SANTA CLAUS, The Movie ~ 1985   This is an endearing, fanciful story of the origins and development of Santa Claus.  The adorable Dudley Moore steals the show as a very likable and well meaning, yet bumbling elf.

There are many versions of the famous Dickens tale of “A CHRISTMAS CAROL.”  Here are some of my favorites:

THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL ~ 1992, with the wonderful Michael Cain as Scrooge.   Many of the Muppets are included in this retelling of the tale, including Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.  (I’m sure you can guess who played Mrs. Cratchit.)

MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL ~ 1983, starring Scrooge McDuck, Mickey and the Gang, plus Goofy as Marley.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL ~ 1984 with George C. Scott

CHRISTMAS CAROL with Patrick Stewart

A CHRISTMAS CAROL ~1938, with Reginald Owen as Scrooge, the lovable Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit, and adorable Terry Kilburn as Tiny Tim.

SCROOGE ~ 1951, with Alastair Sim as Scrooge and Sir Michael Hordern as Marley. There are some additional scenes that they added that were not in the original Dickens story, such as the memorable one with young Scrooge and Marley, as they take over the business from poor unfortunate Fezziwig.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL ~ 2009  This is a wonderful Disney animated adaptation of this classic, with the voice of Jim Carrey as Scrooge.  The animation and backgrounds are fantastic, and they use a great deal of the original text by Dickens.  (Sometimes they use more of the original novel than many of the other live action movies.)  It’s wonderful.

Of course, it would be very remiss of me to omit mention of these two favorite Christmas films:

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (original version with Natalie Wood) A very heartwarming story indeed!

ANIMATIONS:

It would be difficult to mention animations without talking about my favorites by Walt Disney. It’s very hard for me to choose which ones to talk about, but I list below some of my favorites.  In truth, I really love them all.

The Disney studio started out with a series of beautiful animations called “SILLY SYMPHONIES,” which were a prelude, and served as practice for their future feature full length animations.  They were like beautiful old fashioned storybooks come to life on the screen.  I would call them “Mini Masterpieces of Animation.”

My other favorite Disney animations are part of the GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN ANIMATION:

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS  This was Disney’s first and greatest full length animation.  It has beautiful and masterful animation, lovely attention to detail, and memorable songs.

Gustaf Tenggren was a talented illustrator who was on the Disney staff.  He played an important part in the creation of Snow White, and other Disney films.

PINOCCHIO  This was such a stellar piece of animation also.  In my opinion, the BLUE FAIRY herself was one of the most beautiful creations of an animated fairy ever done.  The amazing toy shop with its beautiful details, the wonderful characters, plus the beautiful music, are fantastic.  The song “WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR” became a classic.

BAMBI    This 1942 film was lovely in its sensitive and poignant portrayal of forest animals.  It was adapted from the original story by Felix Salten.  Live animals were even brought into the Disney studio, so that the artists could draw from them, in order to learn how to portray realism correctly.  The sweet animal friends of Bambi the fawn, such as Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk, are tenderly portrayed.

FANTASIA ~ 1940   This was an admirable Disney endeavor.  It wasn’t an immediate success but is now considered a great movie.  In it, great classical music is performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, originally by Leopold Stokowski. (The Maestro even got to shake Micky Mouse’s hand!) In the movie, eight great musical compositions are illustrated with amazingly beautiful animations.  Some notable ones are:

Tchaikovsky’s THE NUTCRACKER SUITE with lots of fairies, dancing mushrooms, etc.

Igor Stravinsky’s THE RITE OF SPRING showing fantastic imagery of the creation of the Earth, and amazing dinosaurs.

Beethoven’s THE PASTORAL SYMPHONY ~ my personal favorite, with adorable flying horses, male and female Centaurs, and other Greek deities.

Paul Dukas: THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (starring Mickey Mouse wearing a Sorcerer’s hat.)

THE JUNGLE BOOK   I feel this was the funniest of the Disney animations.  Some of the animal characters, such as haughty Shere Khan, the Tiger, with the voice of George Sanders, was outright hilarious.

COMEDIES:

I do love comedy film, and very often it is needed to “cheer you up.”  The following comedies are some of my favorites, and I feel they can be viewed often without tiring of them.

GHOSTBUSTERS #1  I think this was one of the funniest fantasy movies ever made.  And the terrific cast of Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis were so comical!  It is very imaginative, adventurous romp by our stalwart heroes to rid the town of ghosts.

THE PINK PANTHER movies, starring Peter Sellers is one of my favorite comedy series.  I think Peter made the best Clouseau.  There were several imitators who tried to fill his shoes as the bumbling detective after his untimely passing.  I feel that Steve Martin was one of the best.  I also think Roberto Benigni who portrayed his illegitimate son in “THE SON OF THE PINK PANTHER” was wonderful.  Herbert Lom, who stars as Commissioner Dreyfus, is quite a riot and a very outstanding actor.

PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES  The comedy team of John Candy and Steve Martin were so funny.  They were the “Odd  Couple” of “The Regular Guy” and “The Snob.” It’s such a shame they didn’t make more movies together.  This one, about two chance travelers trying to make it home for Thanksgiving, who are caught in a snow storm, became such a favorite that it is often shown every Thanksgiving Eve.

SUMMER RENTAL  This is yet another favorite comedy with lovable John Candy made before his untimely passing.  What a delightful summer vacation family romp.

EASY MONEY is one of my favorite  Rodney Dangerfield comedies. Rodney became a star rather late in his life, but aren’t you glad he finally made it?  We might never have seen his funny “I get no respect” antics.  He was a talented script writer, also.

BEAN  Rowan Atkinson is a wonderful comedian known for his portrayal of Mr. Bean.  In this movie, he is a bumbling security guard at a London art museum.  He makes a mess of things when he’s put in charge of protecting the famous portrait of Whistler’s Mother, which is sent on loan to be exhibited in a California art museum.  What a catastrophe for the world of art!  Rowan is also great in the BLACK ADDER TV series.

Some of my favorite “old time” comedy stars are:

LAUREL AND HARDY

BUD ABBOT AND LOU COSTELLO   They actually made a delightful fantasy of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, with Lou playing the part of Jack.

THE MARX BROTHERS

HISTORICAL DRAMAS:

THE WHITE QUEEN (TV series)  Set in the time of the Wars of the Roses in 1464 along with Edward IV of England.  This is a feast for the eyes, with sumptuous period costumes and authentic settings.  Wonderful acting, also.

REIGN (TV Series)  Historic Fantasy Romance about Mary Queen of Scots.  This is a very enjoyable series.  I’m not sure how many more seasons they can extend it for, though.

THE FIRST CHURCHILLS  The life of John Churchill and his wife, Sara, is depicted here.  It is wonderfully acted in beautiful period costumes, taking place in a fascinating period of history.

KOREAN HISTORICAL DRAMAS are literally very addicting.  If you are able to see any that have subtitles, I’m sure you will enjoy them.  The actors are superb, as are the stories, costumes and scenery. They depict great Korean heroes, and their trials and tribulations.  I know it sounds incredible that they each have so many chapters.  You can actually watch them, once a week, over a period of more than a year.  But they are so fascinating to see.  Here are some that I have seen:

BALLET MOVIES:

When I was young, my mother took me to see several live ballets on stage.  It was such a magical experience for me that I’ll always remember, and my love for ballet has remained with me all my life.  These first two ballets that I list here are the first ballets I saw live as a child, which left such a lasting impression on me:

COPPELIA is a beautiful ballet about a mysterious life-size doll, created by Dr. Coppelius.  It takes place in a quaint little village, where the townsfolk join in trying to discover the doll’s mystery. One of my favorite versions that I found on DVD is done by the Australian Ballet company in 1990.   The music by Leo Delibes is delightful, and the dancing, sets and costumes are magnificent.  I personally prefer sets and costumes done in a traditional way like this, rather than done in modern contemporary style.

THE NUTCRACKER is many people’s ballet of choice for the Christmas season.   The well known music is by Tchaikovsky, and features the famous DANCE OF THE SUGARPLUM FAIRY, etc.   One of my favorite versions of this is the 1985 one done by the ROYAL BALLET.

This link lists some of the other Nutcracker productions.

ROMEO AND JULIET is a wonderful ballet set to the music of Prokofiev. The most amazing film version I ever saw of this starred the great dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn as the leads.  They first performed it in 1965.  Margot was much older than Rudolf at the time, but she was revitalized by dancing with him, and they both seemed like young lovers.

CINDERELLA, with music by Prokofiev, is a wonderful fairytale ballet.  My favorite movie version stars Sir Frederick Ashton as the comical stepmother.  He is also the choreographer.  The sets and costumes are very fairytale-like set in a lavish tradition, and the dancing is fantastic.

THE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER ~ 1992: In this beautiful film, the Royal Ballet presents several tales of Beatrix Potter, with lavish costumes and sets. It must have been extremely difficult for these talented dancers to perform with the elaborate costumes and animal masks they had to wear, which limited their vision. They danced the charming stories about mice, ducks, squirrels, pigs, rabbits, etc.  To me, this production is an unforgettable sheer delight!!  (Jeremy Kingfisher, a frog, does an amazing dance in his watery pond, with fantastic leaps, reminiscent of Gene Kelly’s dance in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.)

NIJINSKY~ 1980  This is a wonderful film about the rise and fall of one of the greatest dancers of all time ~ Vaslav Nijinsky.  It is based on his personal diaries. It also shows all the difficulty that went into his choreography for Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, which caused a riot on opening night in 1913.  This film has fantastic dancing and fascinating portrayals of, among others, composer Stravinsky, costume designer Leon Bakst, and Sergei Diaghilev, his patron and the impresario of the Ballets Russes.  This film is a fascinating glimpse into an important turning point in music and dance that would greatly influence modern art to come.

Nov 23

HOLIDAY ART PRINTS AND PERSONALIZED GREETING CARDS by Judy Mastrangelo

judyAre you looking for something special this Christmas? Why don’t you check out some of the great products currently for sale by artist and author Judy Mastrangelo. You can check out her FANTASTIC new holiday product interview by clicking right here. Act quickly though… These products may sell out quickly… If you like what you see… grab it!

If you want to learn more about Judy Mastrangelo you can check out her latest fantastic interview about her love of movies right here.

 

Nov 21

Take Three of Seven: A Night At The Movies With Artist Judy Mastrangelo

judyThis wonderful new interview series with Judy Mastrangelo is all about the movies. This is a seven part series… Let’s delve in!

Films have always inspired my life and my art, ever since I was young.  They fulfill needs for fantasy, excitement, etc., which can be experienced vicariously by everyone who loves to partake in the adventure of this delightful art form.

I don’t watch movies all day long, only when I have some time to spare for them.  But many great movies stay with me forever in my memory. Several of the films I mention here, I’ve seen several years ago.  But they were so enjoyable that sometimes they will come to mind, and I’ll enjoy thinking about them and the actors who were in them.  I find the realm of film a magical place of enrichment for my soul, since when I visit it, I can become other characters, visit fascinating lands, and partake in exciting adventures.

Personally, I enjoy both the old and the new films.  They each have something to offer.

 

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FANTASY:

Here are two Fantasy films involving children, which I feel are so wonderful that they can be enjoyed by all ages:

THE NEVER-ENDING STORY  1984

What an imaginative and beautifully done film this is, starring Barret Oliver as a shy Bastian, who goes into a fantasy world with a dragon, gnomes, and many other delightful characters.  It is one of my favorite fantasy movies.  Two more sequel films came after this first one, but this still remains my favorite of the three.

THE BLUE BIRD 1940 ~ starring Shirley Temple

MGM wanted Shirley to star in THE WIZARD OF OZ film as Dorothy, but they couldn’t use her since she was not permitted to break her contract with the film studio she was working with at the time.  So, as an alternative, she was cast in a fairy tale written by Maurice Maeterlinck with co-stars Nigel Bruce and Gale Sondergaard, etc.  It was a beautiful fantasy movie but not very successful.  A memorable scene to me was where she meets children waiting to be born.  The beautiful backgrounds are reminiscent of a gorgeous Maxfield Parrish painting.

ARTHURIAN-THEMED MOVIES:

EXCALIBUR ~ 1981 This is one of my favorite movies depicting the Arthurian legend.  My favorite actor in it was Nicol Williamson as Merlin.  He’s so magical.  In this film, director John Boorman made excellent use of music by Richard Wagner.

CAMELOT This 1967 musical movie had beautiful sets and costumes, and a wonderful performance by Richard Harris as King Arthur.  (Trivia ~ On the set, Guinevere, (played by Vanessa Redgrave), and Sir Lancelot (Franco Nero), fell in love and got married in real life.)

MERLIN mini tv series ~ 1998  This was a marvelous retelling of the Merlin story, with excellent actors, including Helena Bonham Carter, Sir John Gielgud and Rutger Hauer.  SAM NEIL gives a very sensitive and magical portrayal as Merlin, as he tries to “preserve the old, magical pagan ways.”

DRAGONS:

I must admit that I do really enjoy watching films with great dragons and other creatures. Here are some dragons I have known and loved. (It’s amazing to me how often in film dragons are given the wonderful voices of great actors.)

THE HOBBIT: SMAUG (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch)

DRAGONHEART  1996 –  DRACO THE DRAGON (voice of Sean Connery)

MERLIN TV SERIES (JOHN HURT is the voice of the GREAT DRAGON)

ERAGON  2006 – with ROBERT CARLYLE AND JEREMY IRONS

NEVER-ENDING STORY 1984 – FALKOR THE DRAGON

HORROR FROM CLASSIC LITERATURE:

I am not much for horror movies, but I find these two classics wonderful:

FRANKENSTEIN:  The classic Universal Pictures films were wonderful.  This early Frankenstein movie starred Colin Clive as the doctor and Boris Karloff as the creature.  It was Boris’s “coming out” movie.  He was unknown at the time of its release. It’s amazing to think that this wonderful story was actually written by a 19-year-old young woman named Mary Shelly.  She was the wife of the great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. It has been recreated in many film versions.

DRACULA from the original story by Bram Stoker.

This was the classic film starring Bela Lugosi as the Count.  Bela really was Hungarian, and he fits the part perfectly with his mesmerizing eyes and thick accent. (Trivia: Bela was buried in his full Dracula costume when he passed away.)

I know that comedy spoofs of great movies can be really silly.  But to tell you the truth, I really enjoy the following two very much:

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN 1974 – Peter Boyle as the Creature, and Marty Feldman as Igor really steal the show.  They are a riot!

and ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (with Bela Lugosi): A classic Bud and Lou great comedy with a wonderful cast.  When Boris Karloff found out how successful Bela Lugosi’s movie was with Abbot and Costello, he agreed to make some comedies with them

MUSICALS:

Some of my favorite Musicals made into film:

BABES IN TOYLAND  (aka “THE MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS”) ~ 1934

This was probably the first colorized film.  It is a delightful Laurel and Hardy movie, which has beautiful music from the operetta by Victor Herbert. This includes the famous song “TOYLAND.” It incorporates many of the nursery rhyme characters, including Bo Peep and Tom Tom, the piper’s son, plus a mean villain named Barnaby.  It’s sheer delight, just like an old fashioned story book come alive.  The two beloved adorable innocent comedians contribute to making it a great classic.

GIGI:  This was a delightful romantic musical comedy, with beautiful Paris scenery, wonderful music, and lovable characters, portrayed by Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, and Maurice Chevalier.

These following two movies starring Julie Andrews are among my very favorite musicals:

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: The movie treat, although not quite historically accurate story of the von Trapp Family singers, is understandably extremely popular.  With beautiful music by Rogers and Hammerstein, great acting, and magnificent scenes of Salzburg, Austria, I always enjoy seeing it again.

MARY POPPINS ~  1964

The great Walt Disney movie is another universal favorite, based on the P.L. Travers book series.  It contains great music, animation, dance sequences, etc.  It is always a delightful fantasy to see, no matter what your age.

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON ~ 1952

This movie is not a very historical account of the life of the great author, but it is one of Danny Kaye’s most memorable films.  It has some delightful songs in it and a fantastic ballet sequence portraying his story of “THE LITTLE MERMAID” danced by Zizi Jeanmaire to the music of Franz Liszt.  Trivia: The song “Wonderful Copenhagen” was so popular that it really bolstered tourism for this city during that time.

BRIGADOON  This delightful film has music by Lerner and Loewe.  It is a magical tale of a little town in Scotland, which awakes for one day every hundred years.  Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse do some beautiful dance duets and are united in the end.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN  In this famous 1952 film, Gene Kelly sings and dances in the rain in that memorable scene. Donald O’Conner is also a great dancer in this, who I feel deserves more praise than he usually gets.  Lots of fun.

Some of my favorite musical stars:

There are many wonderful singers in musicals, of course.  But to me, there are a few who really stand out.  Certain singers in films have voices that are unmistakably beautiful. They have “IT.” I feel that two of the greatest are Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews.

Frank Sinatra sings a very tender “Brahms Lullabye” to a child in “ANCHORS AWEIGH

Julie Andrews has such a magnificent sweet and clear voice, which is outstanding in SOUND OF MUSIC  and MARY POPPINS.

Nelson Eddy: He had much experience in the opera and operetta field before becoming famous in Hollywood.  One of my favorites of his movies was THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER – 1941

MUSICAL FILM DANCERS:

I am also a dance buff and really enjoy seeing dance numbers in musicals.  You will notice that these great musical dancers have studied ballet as part of their training.

Gene Kelly excels for his dancing in “SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.”  He also did at least two films where he dances along with animated characters. They are:

JACK IN THE BEANSTALK 1967:  He plays the peddler in this adorable fantasy, along with a talented little boy who is also a great dancer: Bobby Riha

and ANCHORS AWEIGH, where he does a wonderful dance with the animated Jerry Mouse, teaching him how to dance in “The King Who Couldn’t Sing and Dance”:

Donald O’Connor is terrific in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, where he actually “danced up a wall.”  I don’t know how!

Dick Van Dyke was amazing in “MARY POPPINS,” where he played Bert the chimney sweep.  The “Dance of the Chimney Sweeps on the London rooftops” is considered one of the greatest dances in all of musical theater.

Ray Bolger was well known as The Scarecrow in THE WIZARD OF OZ.  He was an amazing hoofer and danced the scarecrow in such a limber, loose and energetic way! He was so lovable in this part.  I think he was Dorothy’s favorite, don’t you?  I once saw some outtakes which were not included this movie, in which he does some additional dancing.  If  you ever get to see this, you will certainly enjoy it, too.

Fred Astaire was also one of the great musical dancers of all time.  He was very light on his feet and had perfect rhythm.  One of my favorite movies of his was EASTER PARADE ~ 1948 with Judy Garland.

Antonio Banderas does an amazing dance of passion with Catherine Zeta-Jones in THE MASK OF ZORRO  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mask_of_Zorro What a great dance couple!

Nov 21

Novel Ideas Client G.P. Hutchinson Scores Gold With “Strong Suspicions”

hutch2Not only did G.P. Hutchinson score one of the biggest #Western hits of the year… He also just picked up the The Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards 2016 GOLD MEDAL for Fiction – Western! Congratulations G.P. Hutchinson! This is a fantastic achievement and I’m very proud of you! Enjoy Miami!

Readers’ Favorite has become the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

In addition to reviewing for some of the biggest names in the literary industry, as well as the first time independent author, they host a respected award contest which features entries from new authors to NYT best-sellers, as well as celebrities like Jim Carrey and Henry Winkler.

“Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that “Strong Suspicions” by GP Hutchinson is a Gold Medal Winner in the Fiction – Western category in our 2016 International Book Award Contest.”

hutch3In “Strong Suspicions,” the second installment in GP Hutchinson’s Emmett Strong Western Series, there’s a ruckus in El Paso’s Wild Hog Saloon, and by noon the next day, folks are convinced that it was Emmett and his compadres who robbed the saloon owner and beat him unconscious. Before he knows it, Emmett is hotly pursued by enemies old and new. But when the only way out of trouble is to head smack-dab back into the middle of it—beautiful young woman in tow—a cool-headed pistolero like Emmett Strong becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Writing for Readers’ Favorite, reviewer Geoff Baggett said, “My recommendation: grab both volumes in the Emmett Strong Western Series now. You’ll have many hours of entertainment and escape to the wild streets of 1880s El Paso.”

Learn more at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/strong-suspicions. You can pick up your copy of “Strong Suspicions” from Amazon today.

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Nov 14

Take Two of Seven: A Night At The Movies With Artist Judy Mastrangelo

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This wonderful new interview series with Judy Mastrangelo is all about the movies. This is a seven part series… Let’s delve in!

Films have always inspired my life and my art, ever since I was young.  They fulfill needs for fantasy, excitement, etc., which can be experienced vicariously by everyone who loves to partake in the adventure of this delightful art form.

I don’t watch movies all day long, only when I have some time to spare for them.  But many great movies stay with me forever in my memory. Several of the films I mention here, I’ve seen several years ago.  But they were so enjoyable that sometimes they will come to mind, and I’ll enjoy thinking about them and the actors who were in them.  I find the realm of film a magical place of enrichment for my soul, since when I visit it, I can become other characters, visit fascinating lands, and partake in exciting adventures.

Personally, I enjoy both the old and the new films.  They each have something to offer.

 

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Of course, I enjoy a great love story.  Some of my favorites include:

CLEOPATRA – 1963

This great “cast of thousands” is a sumptuous version showing the torrid, stormy and steamy great romance between Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) and Anthony (Richard Burton).  In the making of this movie, these two great actors fell in love in real life, which led to a real life torrid, stormy and steamy marriage between them.

STAR WARS: EPISODE II – Attack of the Clones – 2002

This is the magnificent ill-fated romance between Padmé (Natalie Portman) and the young Anakin Skywalker, who later becomes Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen).  I feel this is a beautifully done film, with wonderful acting, sets, and story.  I love the music by John Williams also.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: At World’s End – 2007

This stars Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Swan and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner.  Will is killed in a battle and then returns once every few years to see his love Elizabeth with whom he had a child.  The scene that shows this is often not viewed. That is because it occurs in a post-credits scene, which shows Elizabeth and her son watching from a cliff as Will returns aboard the Dutchman ship. This is reminiscent of the story “THE FLYING DUTCHMAN.”

THE RETURN OF THE KING ~ from “The Lord of the Rings”  – 2003

The lovely Elven Princess Arwen (Liv Tyler) gives up her immortality to marry the mortal hero Aragorn  (Viggo Mortensen).

THE RAINMAKER

This beautiful movie invites you to “Follow your Dreams” and “Believe in Yourself.”  A memorable scene of Love for One Night is when, for the first time in her life, Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) shows love for Lizzy Curry (Katharine Hepburn) and tells her that she is beautiful.

THE FORSYTE SAGA

This addicting BBC TV drama portrays the novels of John Galsworthy in which he chronicles the saga of the upper middle class Forsyte family.  It is a series of bittersweet romances from the year 1879 to 1926.  There was a more recent adaptation of this series, but I love the earlier one the most, even though it was in black and white. Some great actors are in it.

LILI – 1953

This delightful film shows the development of love between a young innocent girl and a very sad man.  Lili, played by Leslie Caron, befriends little puppets in a carnival, who seem very real and alive to her.  The love for she has for them evolves into affection for their puppeteer (Mel Ferrer).  It is a very tender and touching film, highlighted by the sweet song “Hi~Lili, Hi~Lo.”

THE QUIET MAN 

This well known movie portrays an intense love affair between the handsome couple of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, set in the beautiful countryside of Ireland.  I feel that Barry Fitzgerald was a memorable and lovable “matchmaker.”  He would have been a perfect choice as the Leprechaun in the 1948 movie “THE LUCK OF THE IRISH.”

DRAMA FROM LITERATURE:

The two Tolkien trilogies directed by Peter Jackson (THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS) are extremely imaginative and enthralling. They bring to life these wonderful stories that will always fascinate audiences. They have wonderful acting, drama, scenery, costumes, great creatures, and special effects. What more can we ask for? They are a sheer delight to all lovers of this fantasy movie genre.

HARRY POTTER MOVIES

I loved all of the magical Harry Potter movies.  I wish there were more of them!  What a fantastic escape into fantasy world for all ages!  And they have beautiful music, scenery, stories, and very fine actors.  What more can I say?  No wonder they are so popular.

MARY POPPINS  – 1964

This became a great Disney movie, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.  It includes beautiful music, dance, and fantasy, based on the books by P.L. Travers.  It is one of my favorite fantasy movies of all time.

THE WIZARD OF OZ – 1939

This is deservedly one of the most popular fantasy musicals ever made.  Based on stories by L. Frank Baum, it depicts lovable characters, played by famous and great actors that we know and love.  It also has fantastic costumes, sets, and great music.  It was the movie that really put Judy Garland on the map, and it truly flew us “Over the Rainbow” to a fantastic world!

SHAKESPEARE’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – 1935

Although this is an old black and white movie, it is a wonderful adaptation of the Shakespeare play.  It stars a delightful cast which might surprise you, such as: James Cagney as Bottom.  Mickey Rooney excels as the most wonderful Puck I ever saw!  He’s such a bouncy, energetic, bubbling and mischievous sprite!  In it is also an amazing modern Fairy Ballet set to the music of the same name by Felix Mendelssohn.  The sets are stunning and fanciful. It’s pure magic!

POLDARK is based on the novels by Winston Graham. They depict the adventures of Ross Poldark when he returns home from the American War of Independence. To his dismay, he finds his life in rack and ruin. There are two versions of this TV series.  I enjoy them both, since each bring to life different details of these wonderful novels:

1975 TV series: Starring Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark, Angharad Rees, and Paul Curren.

2015 TV series Starring Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. (He played the Dwarf “Kili” in Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT, and the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti in “DESPERATE ROMANTICS.”)

CINDERELLA ~ 2015:

This is a very imaginatively done adaptation of the Cinderella story, done in the classic Walt Disney tradition.  It was as if the original Disney animation came to life.  Very enjoyable, with luscious sets and costumes.

ONCE UPON A TIME TV series

The sets, costumes and scenery of this series are fantastic and imaginative.  It was created by the writers who also created the TV series “Lost,” and it brings together many Fairy Tale characters into a real world, as well as their world of fantasy.  This series is where I first discovered Robert Carlyle who I feel steals the show in his portrayal of Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold. (Trivia ~ The actors who portrayed Snow White and Prince Charming fell in love on the set and got married in real life.)

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN ~ 2012 and its sequel: THE HUNTSMAN WINTER’S WAR ~ 2016 are quite imaginative and well done adaptations with amazing digital special effects. The storylines take a big departure from the original Snow White tale.

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER ~ 2013

This imaginative film has fantastic depictions of strange giants and amazing fairy tale scenery.  It creates quite an exciting fairy tale adventure, as the young farm boy, Jack, goes off to slay the giants and save the kingdom and the beautiful princess.

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

This movie is developed from the delightful TV series produced by Cosgrove Hall productions, based on the beloved story by Kenneth Grahame.  The animals in this are stop motion animated figures done in beautiful detail.  The entire film is like an old fashioned storybook come alive, with lovely watercolor backgrounds.  The voices are provided by excellent actors.  One of my favorites is Badger, played by Sir Michael Hordern, who is a Shakespearean actor.  It is sheer delight for both the young and young at heart.

These next two versions of the “Alice” stories by Lewis Carroll are very well done by the Disney Studio.  The sets are extremely colorful and imaginative, and many of the actors have been digitally altered to enhance the strange fairytale quality of the atmosphere. They have a strange, dark, surreal side under the influence of director Tim Burton. The storylines have been altered to create very different plots, using the familiar Lewis Carroll characters:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND ~ 2010  Directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen; and ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ~ 2016, stars many of the same cast.

MALEFICENT ~ 2014 also achieves a similar effect with beautiful imagery, and digital enhancement telling the “origins” or Maleficent.  It is a Disney production too.

LEGEND ~ 1985   A very young Tom Cruise stars in this movie which has some magnificently beautiful scenery.  It is a “dark fantasy,” showing the battle between Light and Dark, and Good and Evil.  I’ve found it very well done with memorable imagery.

You can learn more about Judy Mastrangelo by visiting her website here. We will be featuring “TAKE THREE” next week! Keep an eye out, and don’t miss it!

Nov 11

Reading, Writing and Storytelling Made Easy With Bestselling Author M.L. Newman!

far-far-awayWhat makes a book exciting? Is it the story? The way it’s written? It could be a mixture of everything. That’s the way I feel about M.L. Newman and her writing. She writes great stories, she has a great writing style and she really turns out books worth reading.

Her previous books have been bestsellers– her new one “Far, Far Away” is looking likely to match that high level of success. If you missed her previous books– you won’t want to miss this one! Why don’t you check out her latest interview!

What is your new book about, and where did you get the idea?

The story is continuing Lauren’s journey as a Sanguis Bellator. We watched her struggle with who she had become in the first book and even reject it entirely. Her choices will have consequences for all involved.

As soon as the first book ended, I knew where the sequel would lead. We watched Lauren interact with humans before and after the change. There was a need for her to not only “come home,” but to be able to see what was really going on inside the Bellator nest.

It’s always nice as a reader to watch a character learn and grow. Lauren will be doing exactly that, however, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

What makes this story one that you want to tell? Is there something about the story that grabbed you?

A great deal of the paranormal romances that I’ve read are of female humans falling in love with a nonhuman counterpart. I wanted to tell a different story, something off the beaten path with struggles not foreseen in other stories. Not just about what is lost, but what is gained from the experience.

Lauren has lost more than even she has realized. This is a turning point for her to see that even though some doors have been closed, there is another way. And it doesn’t have to be someone else’s way. She can make her own.

Why do you think readers will enjoy it?

The enjoyment of this story is the uniqueness of it. Readers look for excitement, a thrill of circumstances where a character does the unexpected.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Absolutely. Emotions are basic, primal. Everyone has felt emotion at some point in their life, and even if the writer hasn’t, readers who have can feel it.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

The Fade Away Series is a body of work with connections between each. Sure, readers can pick up one out of order and be engaged with what is happening, but the overall message and arc of the characters will surprise the reader. The reader could be filled in quickly about the night of Lauren’s assault, but watching her grow from book to book would be lost without reading the full series. The changes that happen wouldn’t touch them as deeply.

If you could tell anything to your younger writing self, what would it be?

I would tell myself to write. Don’t think or worry about where the story goes. Just write. Details, edits, etc. can be added afterward. Tell the story that is in your heart, and don’t cheat yourself the opportunity by taking the easy path out.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

After publishing Glimmer of Hope, I felt the fire in my veins to continue. It wasn’t just typing on a laptop and having a friend or two read it. I felt the passion to write the stories that were in the back of my mind. I let all my worries go and took to outlining, drafting, sketching (horrifically), daydreaming and writing it all out.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have upwards of 30-plus stories in all different states in the writing process. I have a few at the cusp of being complete and ready for publishing. They should be getting released between now and next year.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, I leave a few breadcrumbs for my friends and family in my books. Certain memories that fit so perfectly into the story, that express my love and gratitude in regards to our experiences together.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene to write for Far, Far Away was Lauren’s first training experience. The scene offers the readers a small glimpse at the past while watching Lauren do what she does best.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Writing a book could range anywhere from three months to three years. The reason is that the story itself is mostly set and outlined for writing. All I have to do is make the story happen fluently. It takes longer to detail, perfect, bring to life my creation after getting the storyline down on paper.

How long did this new one take to write?

Far, Far Away took about ten months to write after plotting, outlining and detailing what the focus was going to be on.

How do you feel about editing? Is it important?

Editing is very important. Not just for grammatical errors, but for the entire storyline to flow consistently. Having an editor to advise of any content that will be shared publicly is a benefit to the writer as much as it is for the reader.

Where can we find the new book?

Far, Far Away can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.

Can we have a sample of it for our readers?

I would love to!

Chapter One

The tinted sunlight only barely lit the room. The walls were textured in coarse material that resembled dull marble, while the floor was a dark wood that creaked from time to time. Noises echoed easily through the walls from heavy footsteps to loud whispers. Even the door that kept her locked within couldn’t hinder the noises from slipping through the cracks like it was part of their master plan all along.

Lauren lay on the makeshift bed, the mattress filled with too little cotton and too much hay that she felt stab her when she moved too much. Her leg, propped up above the blankets, felt extra dry and itchy from Bellator remedies to help it to heal.

She couldn’t stop thinking about the night that they’d kidnapped her. Her mind had been clouded with preparing for finals, ignoring the pain she felt in her heart from being rejected by her best friend—and one-time lover—Taylor. Needless to say, she had been distracted when Quinn, her ex-boyfriend and current Bellator ‘doctor,’ had called her cell phone a few times in the middle of the night. When she called him back and he hadn’t answered, she’d gone to check on him only to find their dilapidated Science Building, and occasional experiment headquarters, engulfed in flames.

Timing had been on her side. She had managed to get Quinn free from debris that had collapsed on him with the help of his current girlfriend, Fallon. They had been able to get out with his Bellator research data safely intact. Unfortunately, “Mousey,’’ a lab mouse on which Quinn experimented with Lauren’s Bellator blood, had been caught inside the building, and with her heart in her mouth, she went back into the building to find her furry friend. She had only managed to get him safely out just in the nick of time, wounding her leg in the process, as the integrity of the building buckled.

That was when Elijah had snatched her.

The only hint of company was a soft shuffle she could just barely hear before the locks released and the door opened, wafting in cooler air from the hallway.

“It is only me. Barbara,” the female said, coming to Lauren’s side only to gently push her back down onto the bed. “There’s no need to excite yourself.”

Lauren grit her teeth. Speaking was a waste of breath; no one had listened to her anyway. She could feel the cool gelatinous substance against her skin. All she could do was sigh and wait for Barbara to leave.

“Hmmm… Are you hungry, dear?”

Lauren shook her head.

“It would be best if you fed anyway. You’re not healing very well,” Barbara advised, gently pulling off the blindfold. “Just a snack if you’re not ready for a whole meal then.”

The room was blurry as Lauren’s eyes adjusted again. She had to cherish what little amount of time she had with the blindfold removed; she only got this chance twice a day. Her eyes swept the room, noting a strange new addition against the wall. She squinted until it came into focus.

Light green eyes stared back hidden behind bushy dark brown eyebrows. His arms were thick with muscles protruding within his dutiful stance. He refused to speak, like a natural statue to be discovered by tourists. His stare took in her every breath like he’d be tested on it later. Maybe he would.

Barbara came back in dressed as usual in her business casual slacks and blazer; only today it was with a leash in her hand. When she tugged on it, a young man on was the other end. He could have been a peer, but she didn’t recognize him. His hands were bound in front of him with the leash hooked into it. His frantic brown eyes searched the room as Barbara grabbed a handful of his dark hair, shoving him to the ground. His clothing wasn’t expensive, but he appeared to be well taken care of, or at least as much as a human drinking fountain could be.

“Take as much as you need,” Barbara encouraged, standing behind him.

“I’m not hungry,” Lauren rasped.

“You haven’t had anything since you’ve been here. Of course you are,” Barbara stated, grabbing the man’s arm as an offering. “No need to be modest.”

“No.”

“Don’t be stubborn,” Elijah stated, grabbing the young man’s arm roughly, almost ripping it from his arm socket. The young man cried out in pain and fear. Lauren shrieked in reaction, trying to scramble from the bed, only to fall to the floor with her injured leg. Her hands, too, were bound before her as she used her good leg to push away from them.

Elijah easily grabbed her up as her shrieks hit another pitch higher. “Stop it. Calm down.”

“No!” she hollered, thrashing within his arms until she began to choke.

He held her right side up, almost cradling her like a small child as she continued to cough until dark life force smeared her lips.

“Calm yourself. Lauren, relax,” he said, trying to settle her back on the bed.

Lauren managed to get her coughing under control only to dry sob. “Please leave me alone to fade away on my own.”

Barbara stopped, completely horrified by Lauren’s words. Elijah frowned severely, grabbing the young man by the back of the shirt on his way out. Lauren could hear the soft shuffle of Barbara’s feet before she heard the door shut and the lock engage.

*****

“She is unmanageable,” a raspy voice declared. “Her instincts are non-existent.”

Lauren checked the door but no one had come in. No one was talking to her directly, but clearly someone was talking about her. As far as she could tell, she and Barbara were the only ones there. She couldn’t be sure who was speaking in the hall but had a guess.

“No, she is dishonorable. Has no—” The silence lengthened for a short time. “I understand. When will you arrive?”

 

Panic bubbled up as she sensed a change coming. Whatever happened, she certainly wasn’t in a good place. She looked around the room, thankful that Barbara had forgotten to put the blindfold back on, trying to think of a way out of the binding on her hands. The room itself was scarce of furniture other than the bed she lay on. There were no mirrors or dresser, not even a closet. She pulled herself up from the bed, careful not to send any jolts of pain through the injured leg as she went over to the window.

She couldn’t see much through the warped tint and could imagine it would only get worse throughout the winter season. The latches to lock and unlock the window were missing, leaving her to believe that it was never meant to open at all. She banged her bound wrists to the glass as if it would easily give way. No such luck. How could she possibly leave a room with only one way in and one way out?

“You’re supposed to be in bed,” Elijah stated.

Lauren hung her head, allowing it to press against the cool of the glass. “No, I’m supposed to be in class.”

His heavy boots sounded behind her. “Are you going to get back in bed, or do I have to put you there?”

“I’m not a rag doll. I can take care of myself,” she groused.

Silence echoed behind her. His presence alone was loud enough to eclipse her vocal complaints. With her lips smashed together, keeping in her protests, she took her time getting back on the bed. Taking care to prop her leg back up as per usual, she was well aware of being watched closely. He kept his distance of at least a few feet as his eyes scanned her thoroughly. Maybe he had a mental checklist he was going through.

“Do you understand what you’re doing here? Why you’re here at all?”

“You kidnapped me.” She glared at him.

Elijah scoffed at the accusation. “Your place is here with the rest of the Bellator family.”

“Family?! If this is how you treat each other then I want no part of it. In fact, consider me gone,” she said, looking towards the door.

“Your place is here,” he repeated firmly. “You’re not going anywhere.”

“My place is with kidnappers and stalkers?”

“Raeffe would have no qualms about grabbing someone you cared about to make a point. He is ruthless and determined. Remember that the next time you even think to spout off at him,” he warned. “You’re in enough trouble as it is.”

Lauren eyed the door longingly until he blocked it from view. “The king is coming—”

“King?” Lauren interrupted.

Elijah nodded. “Yes, King Erebus, and he is here to see you.”

Her eyes refused to blink as she stared into his green eyes, fear filling her again. “To see me?”

“The last time he came was to execute a traitor. Trust me when I say this is highly unusual.”

Elijah went to the door, throwing her one last look as she frantically tried to gain her thoughts. “He can be your savior or your enemy.”

You can download your copy of “Far, Far Away” by clicking here!

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Nov 10

Can You Follow A Recipe? You’ll Have The Next Number One Bestseller

booksqI recently sat through one of the worst book selling seminars I have ever attended. The two-hour lecture rambled on along the lines of “promise to be good, try to be nice and readers will buy your books.” That’s it. Everything is going to be just fine. Don’t make loud statements, don’t tell anyone about your book. Just be nice, promise to be good, and everything will go wonderfully. There’s your high-price seminar. If you’re looking to attend, you might as well save your hard-earned money.

As a book publicist, I have sat through hundreds of hours of this crud. I’ve heard all about the pocketful of miracles, counting your blessings and how you can call toll free numbers for book promotion advice any time of the day. I’ve also sat through some interesting Bible-based book promotion sessions—something along the lines of “I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life—and he’s been telling me that your book is a hit.”

Now, I’m a great believer in being nice, believing in your product and promising to be good. I attend church every Sunday, and I think it’s important to help your neighbor. But is that all there is to educating readers about your book? I do believe there are some people out there who believe they can make their book successful this way. But for most writers, it’s hard work, and it’s a continual process. You must keep working at it. Just like building a house, putting together a car, baking a cake—there are steps and those steps cannot be missed. Can you imagine making an omelette without using eggs? It would be a pitiful meal. Sometimes, the sales I see from books are pitiful too. Is this because the author has been forgetting to add the eggs?

Now don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for book evangelists, because every single person who has written a book has done an amazing thing. It’s not easy to find the time, the energy and passion to write a book. It’s also not easy to put yourself out there for people to scrutinize—but I would love to see people thinking about the steps to promoting a book. I’d love to see people talking about keywords, categories, titles, covers and blurbs. I’d love to see people taking the tried and tested techniques of book promotion and using them to advance their sales. I would love to see—as I see with my clients—lists of possible keywords, ways to advance cover design and to create new and exciting covers for readers to pick up. I’d like to know what lies inside every author’s head. Everyone has an opinion and those opinions are valid. What do YOU think makes a book sell? How can we add it to what is being done already? What hasn’t worked, hasn’t worked. But what does work that we don’t know about?

The truth of the matter is that every single person on this planet has the talent to make their book sell. I’ve proven it time and time again with authors who haven’t had any success previously—and now have a lot of success. Robert Hanlon, who was first published seven years ago, just had a number one bestseller with the book he released all those years ago. Bruce G. Bennett, who has had a string of Western hits this year—but didn’t have a nibble for four years before that. How about Jeff Breland who is having his first strong year? If these people had followed the be nice, be good and be quiet route, would they be looking at a 2017 filled with bestselling books? I doubt it.

So, here’s the deal… I would like to hear from you if you are interested in making a success of your book. But there’s a few little requirements we must discuss here. You have to be able to tell me why you wrote your book. You have to be able to tell me how an omelette is made, and you have to send me one recipe you like to use.

You can contact me through the form below. I don’t want to hear about your book straight away. I want to hear about your experiences with omelettes. Because we have to understand that book promotion is a recipe, and together we are going to put together another recipe to make a book sell. Ask Bobby Hanlon and Cliff Roberts—I had them cooking omelettes for weeks before they hit number one. But they did hit number one…. And that’s the end result of following a recipe.

 

Nov 10

The World Through McLendon’s Glasses: An Interview with Author Rebecca McLendon

becky1What is a writer? An entertainer? A genius? A vessel through which ideas are expressed? I’ve often pondered on that question. I’m sure you have too. This interview is with Rebecca McLendon, who has written a new book. This book is not a clod. It’s a fantastic look at the way our modern world looks through a special set of glasses. Wait… I won’t tell you about it. Let’s ask the author…

What made you want to become a writer in the first place?

I have always expressed myself even as a small child with chalk and a chalkboard, drawing and telling my stories as I drew.

Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you have ideas lying around that you may work on one day? 

I have notes stashed in files both in boxes and on the computer that “could” evolve into books.  But as of now, all books that I have written are published and available.

What do you think about the e-Book revolution?

For readers, especially those who travel a great deal, e-Books have been quite a boon.  It is a highly efficient way to carry things you wish to read or need to read while travelling.  Besides that, they are more economical, cost wise.  As a reader, I love carrying my entire “library” about with me wherever I go.  As a writer, submitting copy for e-Publication is a breeze.  I have done several short stories via digital upload and marvel at the speed of getting your work “out there.”  As a published author of books, I find royalties received are not as great, simply because the cost to the customer is less.  E-Books are the cutting edge now, so we make it work for everyone.

How would you describe your writing style?

I conceive an idea or ideas in my head and jot them down. In my first two books, I had an active blog from which I formulated my books.  I also keep physical and digital files of notes, research (yes, research even for fiction) and as soon as the ideas begin to form inside my heart, I begin to write down my plan… a bare bones plan upon which I will build the story.  As for characters, as one is formed in my mind I jot down notes on situations, physical and emotional traits and give that character a name.

Pen, typewriter or computer?

My writing is a mixture of pen and paper as well as computer, which is my main medium for writing.

Do you write alone or in public?

Both!  Never leave home without pen and paper or iPad.  I have written some powerful scenes in public places.  Most probably walk by thinking I am attending to my shopping list.  LOL  I try to not draw attention to myself.  I am never quite ready to answer “Whatcha writing?”  and those things interrupt the train of thought for the most part.

Music or silence?

I mostly prefer to write in silence.  I want my words to talk to me.

When you are in full writing mode, do you have goals of a certain number of words a week or do you just as write when inspiration strikes?

The blast of inspiration IS “full writing mode” for me.  Now, that is entirely different from SERIOUS writing mode when trying to finish up and get it in a format my publicist will welcome.  Both scream to other people around, “Please do not disturb me.  I am writing.”  When I am in that pr­e-publicist phase, I set a goal of at least two hours a day until the product is ready to go.

What tactics do you have when writing? Do you jump right in, or do you have to outline?

Again, I must answer, “both.”  Although “outline” takes the back seat to jumping right in.

What has your experience been like as an author? 

At first I agonized over whether I even WAS an author.  Now I agonize when I am not writing.  It is very addictive to write, and I am sure I will die with pen in hand or computer screen flickering with prose of a work in progress.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Unblogging material to put into book format for non-fiction was quite an undertaking for me, however, writing fiction was my greatest challenge.  I had to remove myself from the story as my main characters took form.  Once I got “into” my characters, I found them rather likeable friends.

What is your new book about?

I would say my new novel, It Is Time, encompasses several vibrant facets woven into one gemstone.  It breathes “Apocalypse,” “conspiracy theory,” deep mysteries of the unexplained, yet real, and genuine human and spiritual struggle set in an acutely contemporary setting.

Do your books have a lesson to be learned or a moral?

Yes, and those lessons/morals are woven throughout, waiting to be discovered.  When they are discovered and the reader gives an “Aha!” the reader will walk around with a huge lightbulb burning over his head!

What is your favorite part of your new book?

Other than the onset of the action at the beginning, the ending with its element of surprise still amazes me.  To write it was a total surprise and a delight.

Download your copy of this great book today from Amazon. You can find it here.

it-is-time-cover

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