Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

Okay- I admit it. I've been watching Once Upon a Time. I think it's not the usual crime drama/sit com we usually see. It's unique.

Last night I gleaned a little gem from the dialogue between Emma and the Mad Hatter.

Mad Hatter: People in this world want magical solutions to their problems, but they won't believe in magic.

Profound, don't you think? I find myself falling into that category. I want instant answers and immediate remedies--the kind I don't have to put any effort into.

The fact is I do believe in miracles. Unexplainable things happen all the time. Problems always have a way of working themselves out for the best. I believe that we need to work like everything depends on us and have faith like everything depends on the Lord. We are capable of making our own magic with a little help.

I especially believe in the kind of magic I see when I look through the eyes of my grandkids when they see something for the first time. Their eyes are full of wonder and awe at little things we take for granted.

Where do you find magic?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Olivia by Julie Wright

Olivia by Julie Wright

Olivia is the first book of the series The Newport Ladies Book Club.
This is a unique series in that, each of the books are written by a different author, from a different character's point of view.

This book introduces the members of the book club from Olivia's point of view. It's almost like being a part of the club. Each member of the club has contrasting backgrounds and similar needs. They need to be needed and they need support from each other.

Olivia's story feels very real--almost too real. The first couple of chapters were difficult for me to get through for two reasons. First, the author nailed the passive-aggressive tendencies a lot of women share, me included.

Secondly, I related a little too much to Olivia. I think most wives and mothers let themselves get used. Instead of saying "no" when we're already overloaded, we find ourselves doing something we really didn't want to do, then resenting it down the road.

Olivia has some heart-wrenching events to deal with. I thought it was interesting that her burden became lighter when she turned outward to help other members of her book club.

Olivia is like going to lunch with a friend--someone you can really share your feelings with. I look forward to getting to know the other members of the club as well as I now know Olivia.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Author Julie Wright

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--An Unfinished Life

An Unfinished Life  Rated PG-13  2005 1 hr 48 m

The movie opens just after Jean Gilkyson (played by Jennifer Lopez) receives a beating at the hands of her boyfriend. When he leaves the house, Jean's daughter, Griff, convinces her that enough is enough. They pack up and leave right then.

They journey back to Jean's hometown in Wyoming, to the ranch of Jean's father-in-law, the grandfather Griff didn't know she had, Einar Gilkyson (played by Robert Redford).

Einar still blames Jean for the accidental death of his son, Griffin. You'll see how ironic this becomes when the rest of Einar's secrets are revealed.

When I first saw Griffin's grave marker, with the inscription, an unfinished life, I assumed the title referred to Griffin's life being cut short, but I soon learned it refers to everyone but Griffin. The one exception is Morgan Freeman's character. He has learned to forgive, but he has demons of his own to face.

This is an excellent family movie, very poignant. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

"Triumph is born out of struggle, faith is the alchemist." From Bruce Almighty

Considering the amount I continually struggle to learn how to write, my triumph will be spectacular!

This is, by far, the hardest thing I've ever attempted. I know that I won't progress unless I struggle, and I know that I have to put my characters through this as well. I'm always amazed by the things I learn about gospel principles because of my struggles in writing. I learn the same principles I've always known about through a whole different perspective.

Enjoy the struggle!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Book Review--How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell (book 2 of the How to Train your Dragon series)

How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell  Book 2 in the How to Train Your Dragon series.

How does this first page grab you?
Thor was seriously annoyed.
     He had sent a mighty summer storm to claw up the seas around the bleak little Isle of Berk. A black wind was shrieking across the wild and angry ocean. Furious thunder boomed overhead. Lightning speared into the water.
     Only a madman would think it was the kind of weather for a pleasant sail.
     But, amazingly, there was one ship being hurled violently from wave to wave, the hungry ocean chewing at her sides, hoping to tip her over and swallow the souls aboard and grind their bones into sand.

I'd love to be able to write like that. I love the quirky drawings and the inventive names. It's the stuff middle grade humor is made of.

The whole idea of this series of books is exciting and unique. Hiccup became the bravest and the strongest of Viking Kings, but he was not always the bravest nor the strongest. The author claims to have come upon Hiccup's journals that tell of his humble beginnings and has merely translated them for us.

Each book is its own story so you don't have to read them in order. They are:
1 How to Train your Dragon
2 How to be a Pirate
3) How to Speak Dragonese
4) How to cheat a Dragon's Curse
5) How to Twist a Dragon's Tale
6) A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons
7) How to Ride a Dragon's Storm
8) How to Break a Dragon's Heart
9) How to Steal a Dragon's Sword

Although I'm a big fan, my ten-year-old grandson was not that impressed. I asked him what he thought of the first book, How to Train Your Dragon and he said "it was okay but not as good as the movie." Now he's not addicted to video games and he is an avid reader with good reading skills--he just didn't seem interested in reading anymore books in the series. I thought he would at least appreciate the humor. But what do I know?

It'll be interesting to see what the new live-action film will be like.           

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--A+ Workshop--Harry Potter for Writers

I can't afford to go to very many fancy workshops, conferences and retreats, so I take advantage of every free or inexpensive workshop I can find. Sometimes I get what I pay for, but sometimes I find a rare jewel!

For the last three weeks I've been taking Susan Sipal's workshop from her Harry Potter 4 Writer's website. 13 lessons for $10. Talk about a bargain! That's less than $1 per lesson. For the amount of time and effort she put into this online workshop she could've charged $50 easily, maybe $100. Of course, then I wouldn't have been able to take it. Even if the price goes up a bit It'll still be way worth it.

I have dreamed of sitting at JK Rowling's feet, picking her brain, writing everything that comes out of her mouth, trying to absorb her writing skills. Knowing that I won't be going to Scotland anytime soon, I latched onto this workshop when I stumbled upon it.

Susan Sipal does a masterful job of dissecting and analyzing JKR's writing through the complete series of Harry Potter books with example after example. She conducted two chat sessions and kept up with class members comments and questions via constant emails. It's one of those workshops that teaches you what you didn't know that you didn't know (got that?) There are so many aspects of writing to keep track of along with your own idea that it's overwhelming. It helped me appreciate what a genius JKR really is and why.

I'm totally stoked about applying what I've learned to my next work in progress. I took copious notes so I hope to remember it all. In fact, I hope I will be able to resurrect some of my previous manuscripts.

So there's my Monday Morning Motivation for you--grab onto every workshop you can. You'll be surprised at how many affordable things you can do to further your education.

Check out Susan's website