Thursday, October 31, 2019

Femnista Article About "Laura" for Halloween

I know what you're thinking.  But, Hamlette, Laura is not a Halloween movie.  It's not even scary.  How did you get away with writing about it for Halloween???


Well, it so happens that our Femnista issue is themed around the idea of being "haunted," and Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is definitely haunted by Laura (Gene Tierney), the woman whose murder he's investigating.  You can read my article, "Obsession or Love," right here, and if you want a full review of the movie, I did one a few years ago here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

TWO New Interviews!

Amanda Tera at With a Joyful Noise is doing a whole series on retellings, and today she featured my book Dancing and Doughnuts, plus a little interview with me.  You can read it here.  It focuses more on my retellings as a whole, not any specific book/story I've written so far.


Meanwhile, Stanley Wheeler is also interviewing indie authors on his blog lately, and he recently interviewed me too!  Wow.  I feel weirdly interesting now, with all these people asking me questions.  Anyway, you can read that interview here.  I talk a lot about the Exoduster migration in that one, and the interview revolves mostly around One Bad Apple, the Snow White retelling I'm laboring over.

Friday, October 25, 2019

My FREE new short story, "Gruff"

I took a little break from working on my Snow White western, One Bad Apple, and wrote a quick short story to celebrate the beautiful autumn we're enjoying right now.

Like my last two short stories, this one continues the adventures of characters from my Once Upon a Western series of fairy tale retellings.  Only instead of following a main character, it focuses on one of the side characters from Cloaked.

Three Billy Goats Gruff... reimagined. 

Deputy Christopher Small is running out of time. He doesn't want to disappoint his little brothers by neglecting to play the annual autumn prank they're anticipating, but he needs to get himself all slicked up for dinner. Why? His parents have invited Miss Mary Rose O'Brien, the girl he's sweet on. Will he have time to do both?

Find out in this new short story that follows both the book Cloaked and the short story "Blizzard at Three Bears Lake," all part of Rachel Kovaciny's Once Upon a Western series of fairy tale retellings.

+Get a FREE Kindle copy from Amazon
+Get a FREE Nook copy from Barnes and Noble
+Get a FREE e-book copy from Kobo

Add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads here.

I hope you enjoy it! 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

New Femnista Article about Alan Ladd


I actually contributed two articles to this issue of Femnista, and the second one is up now.  It's all about This Gun for Hire (1942) and how the filmmakers use appearances in various ways to deceive or mislead characters within the story as well as the audience.  You can read it here :-)

Friday, October 18, 2019

"The Lego Batman Movie" (2017) -- Initial Thoughts x 4

My kids and I just finished watching The Lego Batman Movie together for the first time.  Here are thoughts from them, labeled by whether they're my 12-yr-old, 9-yr-old, or 7-yr-old speaking, or just me, so you know who's saying what.

12: Everything is awesome!  No.  Um.  Um.  Somebody else talk.

9: Unikitty wasn't in it :-(  Must stay positive!

12:  I think Lord Business should have been in the Phantom Zone.

7: It was less cool than the Lego Movie.  It was more boring.  It was all "I'm trying to do the same thing" over and over.  In the Lego Movie, they did more random stuff.

12: About half the movie was embarrassing dithering before anything exploded.

9: Wyldstyle should have been in it.

12: Also, the Talking Brick's boss (and voice) should have been Unikitty.

Me: What's something you liked about it?

9: It had lots of explosions.

7: I don't really have anything that I liked about it.  Except Robin was cute.

12: It was all Lego and not like the Lego Ninjago Movie. Also, Batman's riff on "Everything is Awesome" was funny.

So... they kind of weren't big fans of it.  I think that's probably because this was their first Batman movie ever, so a lot of the jokes about Batman history stuff weren't funny to them.  And come to think of it... the only other superhero movie they've ever seen is The Incredibles, which is ALSO a loving spoof of superhero movies... and if you don't know the genre, spoofing it isn't very funny.

Which is why I totally loved it, since I adore superhero movies, as you may have noticed.  All the little nods to Batman history and to the superhero genre in general were AWESOME.  Just, so funny.  Robin saying "Holy family photo, Batman," and all the little snippets of the previous Batman movies/shows ("that weird one in the sixties" cracked me up so much), plus that thing where they did the sound effects as words ("Bam!" POW!") and just... it was perfect.  I totally dug it.

And can we talk about the bad guys they gathered?  Voldemort, Sauron, Daleks, King Kong... that was brilliant.  (And I was just heartily amused that Ralph Fiennes was voicing Alfred, and then Voldemort showed up, and... that made me laugh.)

Plus... as my son said above, it looked like Lego bricks, just like The Lego Movie.  Not just animated cartoon characters who sorta looked like Lego people wandering around a generic animated world (not a Lego Ninjago Movie fan, gotta say).  Totally dug that.

The story line of "everyone needs a family" and stuff was a little touchy-feely, but that's what made it funny, cuz Batman was so "I'm allergic to touchy-feely things".  (And then he's addicted to rom-coms -- sooooo amusing).  Plus, even God says it's not good for people to be alone, so... not gonna argue with it.

That's about all I have to say about it, I guess.  Don't think it's one I'll watch over and over and over, but it's definitely something I'll pull off the shelf for a laugh from time to time.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

"The Quick and the Dead" (1987) -- Initial Thoughts

Okay, so I know this is an '80s HBO movie.  I'm cutting it a lot of slack on the strength of that fact.  And honestly, for being made-for-TV in the '80s, the production values are pretty solid.  Nice locations shooting, good cast, okay script.

But man, it really felt like a cheesy '80s take-off of Shane (1953).  Only they took all the things I love about that story and reversed them.  Whyyyyyyyyyyy?

At it's core, it's got the same basic story-line: quiet, inscrutable stranger wearing a fringed buckskin jacket meets a little family composed of husband, wife, and young son, and repeatedly helps them avoid death and destruction.  So far, so similar.

But in this, the stranger (Sam Elliott) is overtly attracted to the wife (Kate Capshaw), repeatedly tells her husband how pretty she is, and even kisses her.  SO much less interesting than the restrained, nuanced, never-acted-upon attraction that Shane and Marian Starrett have for each other.  In this, the stranger and the husband (Tom Conti) are antagonistic and wary, constantly rubbing each other the wrong way.  SO much less interesting than the deep, steady friendship that grows between Shane and Joe Starrett.  And in this, the stranger and the boy do develop a bit of camaraderie, but there's no hero-worship to be upheld or dashed, no one trying to live up to a little person's ideals about them... it's just in all ways so much less interesting to me than Shane.

I'm not saying this is a bad movie.  It's not.  It's got some fun twists, and Sam Elliott is always a good time.  If I didn't have both the book and movie of Shane so deeply ingrained in me, I might have a cheerier disposition toward it. I'm going to have to find the book this is based on, cuz it's by Louis L'Amour, and I'm wondering if it feels less like a Shane do-over than the movie does.  We shall see.

Is this movie family friendly?  Um, not exactly?  One of the bad guys says early on that he has first dibs on the woman, because it's been a long time since he's had a woman who smelled good, and he's pretty focused on finding and attacking her, though the word 'rape' never gets mentioned.  (Spoiler alert:  he never gets a chance to touch her.)  There's some kissing, and there's one scene where Kate Capshaw is taking a shower under a waterfall in a very see-through white cami and petticoat or bloomers, I forget which, and Sam Elliott walks in on her and is appreciative of the sight, though he doesn't approach her.  There's some bad language of the cable-tv-in-the-'80s variety, and some western violence.