Monday, October 17, 2016

Great Political Movies

November 8th is right around the corner so be sure to get out and vote! In honor of election day, I'm listing some of my favorite political movies:

Citizen Kane
The Manchurian Candidate
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Meet John Doe
The Ides of March
All the President's Men
His Girl Friday
Seven Days in May
All the King's Men

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of radio and television ads for all the candidates, but I never tire of a good movie!  What are some of your favorite political movies?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Scrumptious Beef

A few years ago I found the cookbook Fix It and Forget It at Half Price Books. I think I paid less than five dollars for it, and what a great investment! It's filled with lots of great recipes for crock pot, including this one, Scrumptious Beef. It sounds fabulous and EASY, which I love! I'm not a fan of cutting and chopping, so for the one chopped onion, I'd use 1 cup of pre-chopped frozen ones. They're a real time saver. Hope you enjoy this!

Scrumptious Beef

2 lbs beef, cubed
1/2 lb mushrooms sliced
10 1/2 oz. can beef broth
1 onion chopped
10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
3 T dry onion soup mix

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours. or LOW 7-8 hours. Serve over hot cooked rice.

If you're looking for comfort food, I think this would hit the spot. Speaking of which, do you have a favorite comfort food? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, October 3, 2016

20 Writing Tips From Fiction Authors

For all the writers out there--published, aspiring and everything in between--here's a great article from iUniverse that I thought would be worth sharing!

Writing success boils down to hard work, imagination and passion—and then some more hard work. iUniverse Publishing fires up your creative spirit with 20 writing tips from 12 bestselling fiction authors.

Use these tips as an inspirational guide—or better yet, print a copy to put on your desk, home office, refrigerator door, or somewhere else noticeable so you can be constantly reminded not to let your story ideas wither away by putting off your writing.

Tip1: "My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 2: "Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you." — Zadie Smith

Tip 3: "Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 4: "In the planning stage of a book, don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it." — Rose Tremain

Tip 5: "Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever." — Will Self

Tip 6: "It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." — Jonathan Franzen
"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet." — Zadie Smith

Tip 7: "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 8: "Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear)." — Diana Athill

Tip 9: "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

Tip 10: "Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted 'first readers.'" — Rose Tremain

Tip 11: "Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 12: "Don't panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends' embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there's prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too." — Sarah Waters

Tip 13: "The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can't deal with this you needn't apply." — Will Self

Tip 14: "Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!" — Joyce Carol Oates

Tip 15: "The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 16: "Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful." —Elmore Leonard

Tip 17: "Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 18: "You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished." — Will Self

Tip 19: "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 20: "The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’" — Helen Simpson

Even famous authors sometimes have a tough time with writing; they also go through periods of self-doubt. Despite this, they always manage to come up with the goods. So take a lesson from them and stop putting off your writing plans and get started on your publishing journey today.

There has never been a better time than now to realize your dream of becoming a published author. Let your voice be heard and let your story be told. Never let your passion for writing wane. 

I think all of these tips are wonderful, but 4, 5 and 9 are my favorites. Which of these do you like best? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Body Language: Louder Than Words

Last week I posted about Olivia de Havilland and her onscreen relationship with dashing Errol Flynn in the eight swashbuckling films they made together during the late 1930's and early '40's.
Flynn and wife Lili Damita
Although they portrayed romantic couples onscreen, a real-life love story never blossomed between them.
Flynn with wife Lili Damita
Flynn was married to French actress Lili Damita while he and Miss de Havilland were making pictures together. However, if he hadn't been, things probably would have turned out differently between them.
Flynn and wife Lily Damita
Both actors admit that they did have feelings for each other and that the chemistry was there. In doing a little research last week, I found pictures of Flynn with his wife, and others with him and Miss de Havilland in candid shots.
Flynn and de Havilland (not acting)

Take a look at the body language and tell me who he looks happier with.
Flynn and de Havilland (not acting)
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Flynn and de Havilland (not acting)

Monday, September 19, 2016

No Wicked Ways With Her

I just realized that Olivia de Havilland, the only surviving cast member of the 1939 classic movie Gone With the Wind (she played Melanie), recently turned 100. I looked her up on Wikipedia and learned an interesting tidbit. She made eight films with Australian heart-throb Errol Flynn, but despite their many pairings, fireworks between them never ignited. Here's why:

Although known as one of Hollywood's most exciting on-screen couples, de Havilland and Errol Flynn were never involved in a romantic relationship.Upon first meeting her at Warner Bros. in August 1935, Flynn was drawn to the 19-year-old actress with "warm brown eyes" and "extraordinary charm." In turn, de Havilland fell in love with him,but kept her feelings inside, later recalling, "He never guessed I had a crush on him ... it never occurred to me that he was smitten with me, too."

Flynn later wrote, "By the time we made The Charge of the Light Brigade, I was sure that I was in love with her." Flynn finally professed his love on March 12, 1937, at the Coronation Ball for King George VI at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where they slow danced together to "Sweet Leilani" at the hotel's Cocoanut Grove nightclub. "I was deeply affected by him," she later remembered, "It was impossible for me not to be." The evening ended on a sobering note, however, with de Havilland insisting that despite his separation from his wife Lili Damita, he needed to divorce her before their relationship could proceed. Flynn reunited with his wife later that year, and de Havilland never acted on her feelings for Flynn. 

I thought I'd read somewhere that she couldn't stand him. Guess I was wrong!

These are the films they appeared in together: 
Captain Blood (1935) 
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) 
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 
Four's a Crowd (1938) 
Dodge City (1939) 
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) 
Santa Fe Trail (1940) 
They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

I haven't viewed all of them, but of the ones I have, I think I enjoyed Robin Hood best! Have you seen any of them?  If so, which are your favorites?  

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!