Sunday, August 26, 2018

My Ten Favorite Classic Hollywood Film Composers

As I mentioned earlier in August, the inimitable Cordy of Any Merry Little Thought is hosting a Month of Classics blog party this month!  A month-long blog party.  Devoted to classic movies.  How can I resist?

I can't resist.  I must join.  So I hereby present unto you the list of my Ten Favorite Classic Hollywood Film Composers.  It's been much too long since I did a Ten Favorites list, hasn't it?  Anyway, I thought composers would be a worthy thing to think about because movie soundtracks are one of my favorite things to listen to.  I collect them, in a way.  So here are ten composers whose name on a soundtrack will guarantee my interest in it.  They've all scored movies that I love, which helps too ;-)

I've concentrated on the Classic Hollywood era for this, since that's what Cordy's blog party is all about.  All of these composed scores for films made between 1935 and 1965, and many of them were active after that as well.

All of the movie titles I mention here are linked to a piece of music from that film on YouTube so you can get a taste of them!

1.  Elmer Bernstein.  He's actually my favorite film composer from any era.  From The Magnificent Seven (1960) to The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) (both of which I've been known to listen to on repeat until my family begs me to stop) to The Great Escape (1963) to The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), I love the music he wrote.

2.  Henry Mancini.  Nobody wrote cool, snazzy, finger-snapping music like Mancini.  His theme for The Pink Panther (1963) has been a favorite of mine since I could barely walk -- I used to "dance" to it when my parents played their Mancini 8-track on the Hi-Fi.  He wrote music for John Wayne in Hatari! (1962), for Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade (1963), and for Glenn Ford in Dear Heart (1964) -- each score as unique and iconic as the people starring in the films.

3.  Ennio Morricone.  He scored the entire Man with No Name Trilogy, and I think his music did just as much to make Clint Eastwood a star as Eastwood's own charisma.  You no doubt know the main theme for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), but I prefer this song from that soundtrack.  And I love his music for A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965).  He was still composing as recently as 2016, and his music for movies like The Untouchables (1987) and Hamlet (1990) shows how much he's grown over the years.

4.  Miklos Rozsa.  All you really need to know is that he scored Ben-Hur (1959).  That alone would grant him immortality.  But movies as diverse as Ivanhoe (1952) and Double Indemnity (1944) showcase his mastery as well.

5.  Victor Young.  I've just about got his score for Shane (1953) memorized.  I'd love him for that alone, but he scored oodles of John Wayne movies like The Quiet Man (1952), not to mention quite a few other Alan Ladd movies.  I hear a lot of his music these days.

6.  Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman.  I can't separate them.  And I love their music, especially for The Parent Trap (1961) and Mary Poppins (1964).

7.  Jerry Goldsmith.  Another one who continued scoring movies up until recently.  While I love his more modern things, like The 13th Warrior (1999) and The Mummy (1999), it's his classic scores for Hour of the Gun (1967) and Bandolero! (1968) that I listen to a LOT.  (And yes, I realize neither of those is from before 1965, but he DID score films before then, honest.)

8.  Dimitri Tiomkin.  He scored sooooo many westerns that I love, like Giant (1956) and Rio Bravo (1959).  But he did scads of non-westerns that I admire too, like It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Dial M for Murder (1954) and The Guns of Navarone (1961).  But many people know him best for High Noon (1952).

9.  Max Steiner.  Gone with the Wind (1939) is probably the one everyone knows, but did you know he scored Casablanca (1942) too?  And The Big Sleep (1946)?  And The Searchers (1956)?  Amazing guy.

10.  Alfred Newman.  How the West was Won (1962).  The Seven-Year Itch (1955). The Mark of Zorro (1940).  Wuthering Heights (1939).  This man scored every conceivable genre available!

I hope you enjoy some of this music -- maybe even all of it!  Don't forget to visit the rest of the blog party for more Classic Hollywood fun :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Dancing & Doughnuts Book Tour + Giveaway


In fact, the Facebook party I'm participating in tonight kicks off in less than two hours!  Will I see you there?  I hope so!  The party starts at 8pm EST, and I'll get the virtual microphone around 9:45pm to chat with all attendees.  The other authors and I will be hosting some giveaways, so you definitely don't want to miss that.

And here is the official schedule for my book tour.  I am overwhelmed by everyone's response to this.  Y'all, I thought maybe five people would sign up.  This blog tour is poised to surpass my wildest hopes.  THANK YOU!  This is going to be so fun :-D

Blog names are linked to each blog for right now, and as each post goes live, I'll change that to a link to the actual post.  I'm assuming this post here is going to get pushed down my blog as I post other things in coming days, though, so I've also got this schedule right here on this handy-dandy page.  I'll be updating that too as the various reviews and interviews get posted.

Saturday, Aug. 25 -- Summer Book Release Party on Facebook

Sunday, Aug. 26 -- review at Ink Castles

Monday, Aug. 27 -- interview at The Western Desk

Tuesday, Aug. 28 -- interview at Stretching the Metaphorical Cello and interview at Bookish Orchestrations

Wednesday, Aug. 29 -- interview at I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read)

Thursday, Aug. 30 -- interview at Unicorn Quester

Friday, Aug. 31 -- RELEASE DAY! review at Meanwhile, in Rivendell...

Saturday, Sept. 1 -- review at The Flowering Vales

Sunday, Sept. 2 -- interview at Meanwhile, in Rivendell...

Monday, Sept. 3 -- review and interview at Any Merry Little Thought

Tuesday, Sept. 4 -- review at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness

Wednesday, Sept. 5 -- interview at The Flowering Vales, review at What a Novel Idea, and review at I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read)

Thursday, Sept. 6 -- review at Seasons of Humility

Friday, Sept. 7 -- interview at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness

Saturday, Sept. 8 -- review at The Book Sprite, review at Flowers of Quiet Happiness

When you stop by a tour post, you'll have the opportunity to enter a giveaway I'm hosting.  And yes, you can enter it more than once!  The more posts you visit, the more entries you'll get.

What am I giving away?  This prize pack!

That's one 15"x18" tote bag, one autographed copy of Dancing and Doughnuts, and one copy of a nifty little cookbook called Log Cabin Cooking by Barbara Swell that is chock full of recipes and old cooking tips and random facts about food in the 1800s.

You can go ahead and start entering this giveaway right away, and then when you visit various interviews and reviews over the next two weeks, you'll get to enter it again and again!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will choose ONE WINNER on Sunday, September 9, and notify them via the email address they provided to the giveaway widget.  That winner will have one week to respond.  If they have not responded to my email by Sunday, September 16, I will disqualify them and choose a new winner.

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Facebook Book Release Party TOMORROW

Sigh.  I keep forgetting to post about this on my blogs.  It's been that kind of month, is all I can say.  Anyway... tomorrow, as in Saturday, August 25, seven other indie authors and I are banding together to throw a party on Facebook.

If you're on Facebook and want to join us, click here or on the image above.  The fun begins at 8pm EST, and my own particular time slot is at 9:45pm.  I'll be talking about Dancing and Doughnuts, obviously, answering people's questions and so on.  Oh, and giving away autographed copies of my books!

You can hang out for the whole party, or just pop by for a few minutes -- whatever works for you!  So sorry about the late notice :-(  I've talked about this on my FB author page a couple times, but didn't think to write about it here too.  

That party will be the kick-off for my Dancing and Doughnuts world tour!  I've set up a page on listing the different stops so you can follow with ease!  There'll be a giveaway involved with that too... more on that SOON.

Hope to see you on Facebook tomorrow night!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Announcing the Official "Dancing and Doughnuts" (Virtual) World Tour

I've never gone on a blog tour.  Or a book tour.  But there's a first time for everything!

I'm setting up a tour for my upcoming release, Dancing and Doughnuts, and this post right here is me calling for people to sign up to help host it!  Which does NOT mean saying you'll let me sleep on a couch in your basement between book signings.

Actually, since I've never hosted a blog tour, maybe it does involve that?  I'm not sure?

No, seriously, what it really means is you'll post a review of my book or an interview with me on your blog.  Or your YouTube channel.  Or your IGTV channel.  Or whatever way you want to participate.  I'm really open to all ideas because... I've never done this before.

(Did I mention I'm new at this?)

ALL hosts of "stops" on this book tour will be eligible to enter a giveaway!  The prize?  Either autographed copies of both Cloaked and Dancing and Doughnuts OR a $15 Amazon gift card, winner's choice.

EDIT:  That giveaway will be open world-wide.  If you don't live in the US and you win and choose the Amazon gift card, we can figure out together how for me to get you a card that will work in your country. 

Don't think of it as me bribing you, just think of it as me showing my appreciation ;-)

I do already have a couple gigs lined up -- one Facebook launch party for my book and a bunch of other indie books at the end of the month, for instance.  That promises to be nifty.

Anyway!  The dates I'm looking at would be August 26 through September 8.  If you've got an open slot in your blogging or Instagramming or YouTubing or Whatevering schedule and would like to be part of this tour, let me know by emailing me at rachelkovaciny a gmail dot com.  Put something like "Blog Tour" in the subject line, not "My Basement Has No Couch, So It's The Cold, Hard Concrete for You, Pal."  Just cuz I'm getting old and my knees and hips and shoulders and neck and back can't really deal with sleeping on concrete anymore.

And yes, if you're one of my ARC readers, your review of my book on your blog would TOTALLY be eligible for this.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Would You Rather: Classic Movie Edition

Boy howdy, now that the super-busy part of my summer is over, I'm just full of blog posts, aren't I?

Cordy over at Any Merry Little Thought is hosting a delightful classic movie blog party ALL MONTH LONG!  I'm hoping to contribute a post or two, but for right now, I'm going to fill out this charming little "would you rather" questionairre she posted here.

~Would you rather dance with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?~ 

Gene Kelly, no questions ask.  He's a dear favorite of mine!  I love his energy and vitality and cheerful smile.  He always looks like dancing is fun, even when he's serious.

~Would you rather star opposite Cary Grant or Gregory Peck?~ 

Gregory Peck, for sure.  I mean, I do enjoy a lot of Cary Grant movies, but... but... Gregory Peck.

~Would you rather be serenaded by Howard Keel or Bing Crosby?~ 

Der Bingle, please!  His voice makes me think of melted chocolate.

~Would you rather share an airplane ride with Danny Kaye or Donald O'Connor?~ 

Ummmm.  Neither of them would be flying the plane, right?  If you just mean sit next to one of them on an airplane, then I'll say Danny Kaye.  He's always struck me as sweet and intelligent and a bit melancholy beneath the silliness.

~What classic movie outfit would you steal?~ (No you cannot say all of them! ;)) 

I have ALWAYS wanted to wear this pink dress from White Christmas (1954).

~Would you rather be cast in a classic noir film or a classic western?~ 

A classic western.  Though, could it be a noir-esque western like 3:10 to Yuma (1957)?

~Would you rather go on a shopping spree with Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly?~ 

Ouch.  That is a REALLY hard choice.  I love their styles so much!  But I'll have to choose Audrey Hepburn because she has more functional perkiness to her look than Grace Kelly does, so I'd be more likely to wear things we shopped for together.

~Would you rather solve a mystery with William Powell or Myrna Loy?~ 

MYRNA LOY!!!!!!!  I absolutely adore her -- she's one of my favorite actresses.  She's always playing these sensible, sweet characters with a great sense of humor.  Also, hey, it was her birthday earlier this month!

~Would you rather imitate Jimmy Stewart's voice in front of Jimmy Stewart, or imitate Maureen O'Hara's "temper" in front of Maureen O'Hara?~

Haha!  I think both of those would be really fun.  I choose Maureen O'Hara cuz she's my absolute favorite actress and she'd probably think it was quite funny if I imitated her, since I'd likely do it badly.  Maybe I could do a rendition of her yelling at Jamie Boy in The Black Swan (1942) and threatening him with a pistol!

This was an excessively diverting game, Cordy!  I can't wait to see what else people post for the Month of Classics Blog Party :-)

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Summertime Liebster Award

Katherine and Grace of The Maidens of Green Gables have nominated me for a Liebster Award!  Thank you, ladies!  It's been a while since I've done one of these, and I always enjoy them.

The Rules:

Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award. (Check!)
Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you.  (See below.)
Give 11 random facts about yourself.  (See farther below.)
Nominate 11 blogs.  (Keep scrolling.)
Give them 11 questions to answer.  (At the bottom.)

Katherine and Grace's questions for me:

1. What is your favorite quote?  

I don't know that I have just one, single, solitary favorite quotation.  But I do love this one:

2. Share your most-used recipe?

Spread peanut butter on two slices of bread.  Spread jelly or jam or apple butter or raw honey on top of the peanut butter on one of the slices of bread.  Put them together, un-slathered sides out.  Devour.

Aside from that one, I use my recipe for Stir-Crazy Cake a lot, and I just shared it on my recipe blog the other day.

3. Are you a writer, and do you have any published works?

I am, and I do!  I have a Sleeping Beauty retelling called "The Man on the Buckskin Horse" included in the Five Magic Spindles anthology, and I released a Little Red Riding Hood retelling called Cloaked last year.  Click on their titles to see them on Amazon ;-)  And my Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, Dancing and Doughnuts, will be available on August 31!

4. What are some of your hobbies?

Reading, watching movies, baking, crocheting, sewing, procrastinating, gardening...

5. Are you a fan of musicals?

Absolutely love them!  My favorite is An American in Paris (1951)

6. What fond family traditions would you like to continue when you get married and start a family? Or if these joyous series of events have already arrived, what have you implemented already? 

Reading out loud to my kids like my mom read out loud to me is a big one.  Listening to Elvis's Christmas music while decorating the Christmas tree is another.  Telling my kids, "I love you, and so does Jesus" when I put them to bed, like my dad always did for us. 

7. What is one particular character trait that you would like to train your future/present children in?

Honesty.  Trust and honesty are sooooo important throughout all of life.

8. What is a boy's and girl's name that you like?

I like the names James and Anne particularly well.  Randomly, I have a nephew and a niece named each of those.

9. Tell us a favorite joke?

Two guys walked into a bar and the third guy ducked.

10. Recommend three books?

A Flame in the Dark by Sarah Baughman
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Snow White by Matt Phelan

Each one of those is unique and enjoyable.  And clean.  Titles are linked to my reviews of them on my book blog.

11. What is a period drama you love?

The Man from Snowy River (1982) is my absolute favorite movie of all time.

Now for 11 facts about me! 

  1. I love black nailpolish.
  2. I can bake bread from scratch.
  3. I joined Instagram in February and love it.
  4. I have ideas for 6 more Old West fairy tale retellings in my head.
  5. I don't like bright orange.
  6. I have achilles tendonitis.
  7. I like to play in the dirt.
  8. I write a column on wild west history for the Prairie Times.
  9. I love to whistle.
  10. My MBTI personality type is ISFJ.
  11. I've ridden a horse in the ocean.

Okay, I need to nominate 11 blogs I love for the Liebster now.  Here are my nominees:

Any Merry Little Thought
Holds Upon Happiness
I'm Charles Baker Harris (and I Can Read)
Ink Castles
Lady of the Manor
Lavender Spring
Liv K. Fisher
Modestly Styled
Musings of an Introvert
Ramblings of a Redhead Girl
You, Me, and a Cup of Tea

And here are my 11 questions for my nominees to answer!!!

1.  Why did you start blogging?

2.  How long have you been blogging?

3.  What are three of your favorite blog posts you've written?

4.  What are three blogs you love to read?

5.  How has blogging impacted your life?

6.  Do you have multiple blogs?  If so, how many?

7.  What's some blogging advice you've found to be really helpful?

8.  What's some blogging advice you've heard and ignored?

9.  What do you really enjoy about blogging?

10.  What do you not enjoy about blogging?

11.  How did you choose your blog's name?

That's all!  And that's enough.