Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Do You Binge Watch?




Yesterday, I didn’t get much done. Instead, I binge-watched Rick and Morty with my son. It’s an animated sitcom about the adventures of a granddad and his grandson; however, it just so happens that the grandfather is a brilliant scientist and a sociopath.

Rick and Morty isn’t the first series of binge watched. Over thanksgiving, my friend and I spent a day learning about the good people of Coal/Hope Valley in When Calls the Heart.

I’m a fan of this quick, extreme viewing practice. Watching an entire series in a short time allows the viewer to see the character arcs clearly and there’s no problem remembering the details from one episode to the next.  A couple of years ago, I got into Breaking Bad. I borrowed the DVD of the first season from the library over the weekend and loved it. I requested the next seasons and I still remember waiting on pins and needles over the next weeks for them to come in. I had so many questions. Would Skyler and Hank catch Heisenberg? Would Jesse find love? Would Gus finally get the better of Walter?  Yep, I truly was a binge-watcher. I still am, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. The Statistics Portal, a site that claims to report statistics and studies from more than 18,000 sources, states that, “according to a 2015 survey, some 86 percent of trailing Millennials and even 33 percent of those over 69 years old engage in binge-watching TV series.”



Are you, like me, one of these people? What have you watched? What do you want to watch? Here are thirteen shows I have watched.


1. Breaking Bad
2. Friends
3. Sherlock
4. Downton Abbey
5. When Calls the Heart
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
7. Doctor Who
8. Parks and Recreation
9. The Walking Dead
10. Game of Thrones
11. Orphan Black
12. Firefly
13. Rick and Morty

I guess marathon-viewing might be a bad thing if a person allows it to get in the way of his responsibilities or his interaction with loved ones., but it could also be a good thing. An article on the Readers Digest site says, “if you get into a show with your partner or pals, experts argue it could bring you closer.” The post goes on to say that talking about a show and the characters in it can help an individual start conversations and express her opinions about life.  Let’s do that currently. What shows have you watched? What series have I missed? Do you have any suggestions?



Sources
https://www.buzzfeed.com/tahliapritchard/brb-watching-tv-forever?utm_term=.xwyn7N58rM#.vk2m29z5LJ
http://www.ranker.com/list/best-tv-shows-to-binge-watch/ranker-tv
http://www.rd.com/culture/binge-watching-unhealthy/
https://www.statista.com/topics/2508/binge-watching-in-the-us/


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year Wishes and Thanks



Hi! I'm grateful to have enjoyed 2016 with you and I'm looking forward to sharing 2017 together. I've some good news to share at http://www.miaceleste.com/?p=694.

I invite you to visit and find out what it is.


I wish you all the best in 2017!

Echoes of the Past, in the Present and the Future



by Eilis Flynn

Recently—very, very recently, even though I should have read it months ago, but then I got very, very busy—I read Heather Hiestand’s If I Had You, her introduction to the Jazz Age, with vague threads to her Redcakes series. It’s a fun book (with the sequel coming up in February 2017), so I won’t spoil it for you, but I can tell you that the subplot deals with the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, when the disenfranchised Russians poured into Europe, running from the savage revolutionists and those who glommed on and began gleefully pillaging whatever they could. What happened to those fleeing Russians, trying to forget the horrific murders and executions, all too often having occurred because someone coveted a piece of jewelry or a plot of land and decided that informing on someone was the way to get it? That there was blood spilled of the innocent wasn’t their concern.

Because historical romances so often pay short shrift to anything other than the romance (don’t get me wrong; it’s the heart of the story, but there has to be something other than heart to keep the entire thing alive), this subplot with ousted Russians seeking revenge is both fascinating and insightful into the Britain of the 1920s. Of Europe in the 1920s, come to think of it. Our hero and heroine meet in London, both fish out of water—she’s from the countryside, and he’s from out of the country (yes, Russia! How did you guess?)—and they’re both running from their past. The Great War scrubbed both of their past (her parents perished on the sinking of the Lusitania; his parents were executed because they had property a cousin wanted, and his older sister executed because she was a conspirator) and now, they have to create their own future. When better than the Roaring Twenties? (Because of my many years working on Wall Street, I’ve long had an interest in the end of the 1920s, so what led up to 1929 always interested me too.)

Anyway, the themes that Hiestand used here are universal, so as I was reading away, hoping for more and more details about 1920s Britain (the details she used for her Redcakes series, about the well-to-do Victorians, really described the rise of the society), it occurred to me that the parallels to modern-day society were pretty clear, and it also occurred to me you could build another society in the far-flung future, using the same themes of loss and revenge and rebuilding.

Anyway. I have to add that I’ve known Heather for many years, but I always make a point of buying her books. Interested in relatively modern history? Interested in how the past always, always informs the present and the future? You’ll like If I Had You.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Need a Christmas Movie? Thirteen Suggestions

Merry Christmas! If you’re like me, you're planning to fill your home with company and after meals and bedding have been figured out, you're thinking about entertainment. For my family, a movie is essential.

 I like holiday movies, but I’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Story, so many times I can recite the lines with the actors. Don’t get me wrong. Both are classics and truly wonderful, but I want something different this year. You might, too.


Here are thirteen other holiday-themed choices.



1. Miracle on 34th Street 
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
3. Home Alone  
4. The Muppet Christmas Carol
5. Jingle All the Way 
6. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 
7. Mixed Nuts 
8. Love Actually 
9. The Bishop’s Wife
10. Elf
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas 
12. A Charlie Brown Christmas
13. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians 



This is only a partial list. There’s a lot of great and not-so great movies out there. I tried to pick a mixture of genres and moods, but I’m open. What have you seen and liked? What do you suggest?

Sources
http://www.nerve.com/entertainment/ranked/ranked-the-100-best-christmas-movies-of-all-time
https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-34th-St-Edmund-Gwenn/dp/B00000K3CK
http://movieguy247.com/iMovies/index.php/blog/holiday-movies/788-santa-claus-conquers-the-martians
http://zeusexcuse.blogspot.com/2006/12/thursday-thirteen-edition-18.html (Thursday Thirteen)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Celebrating Crossing the Fifty K Mark in National Novel Writing Month

Every November, writers all over the world put their fingers to keyboards in hopes of piling up 50,000 words in thirty days. I’m one of those authors and I’m pleased to announce I completed the challenge!



But I didn’t do it alone. I was a member of From the Hearts Romance Writers Nano squad dubbed The Racing Hearts. To thank my friends and fellow writers I’d like to post some of the daily quotes our leader Wendi Sotis shared.




1. Writing is the painting of the voice! ~ Voltaire

2. But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer?
I have to say no! I always was a writer. ~ Ursula Le Guin

3. Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read.
I know of no shortcut. ~ Larry L. King

4. The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Robert Cormier

5. And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath

6. 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

7. If a story is in you, it has got to come out. ~ William Faulkner

8. The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write. ~ April Young Fritz

9. Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller

10. A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. ~ William Faulkner

11. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

12. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~ Agatha Christie

13. In order to write you must have confidence in your own experience, that it is rich enough to write about. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Do any of these quotes ring true to you? Or do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

League of Regrettable Superheroes


BOOKLOG: LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES
by Eilis Flynn

Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
by Jon Morris

For a quick gift for the would-be comics fan with a sense of humor, I present to you this book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, by Jon Morris.

Everyone knows about Superman, the granddaddy of them all, and Wonder Woman, the grandmommy. But what about the super-heroes who didn’t make the headlines, the ones who slipped away from the game, the ones who were (in many cases) not well-conceived or well-executed or just plain terrible? Well, you’re going to get a taste of some of them here. In cartoonist/graphic designer Jon Morris’s book—the title might have suggested a rollicking novel. It is not; it is rollickingly funny, however—the reader is introduced and even charmed by these comic evolution leftovers, most of which were (logically) forgotten. A quick look at the heroes and heroines in question when I first picked up this book made me laugh and then protest (some of them were familiar from when I was a kid, and I remember liking them!), and then ask where certain others, some of whom always showed up in lists like these, were. (Matter-Eater Lad, I mean. But he’s a great character! Even evolutionarily. Because if your planet suddenly changed, the residents would h…well, never mind. Not the point today.)

The book is divided into comic ages—Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age (because Bronze Age sounded not precious metally enough? Or the concept of lessening metals alarmed someone?)—and familiar and nonfamiliar names abound. What’s amusing is that in the constant search for new twists on an old trick, some of the least likely names have been resurrected for the comics, here and now. But the ones not likely to be resurrected are the ones I found most memorable, with names like “Bozo the Iron Man.” That name alone made me laugh out loud. Or that might have been the baseball game in the background. All I know is that I had tears falling down my cheeks after I read a few of these entries.

The creators of all these Regrettables (hey, it should be the name of a bad boy band, too!) were themselves of note, including Fletcher Hanks, creator of Fantomah (a heroine who debuted the year before Wonder Woman), who disappeared from comics after three years of creating odd characters. Then there was Bob Fujitani, a Japanese/Irish-American creator who was a prolific comics artist during the 1940s, who can’t have had an easy time of things during that period (who nonetheless had an interesting and lengthy career). The names that caught my eye, both good and bad, however, had to have been those of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman himself. While they inspired the birth of an entire industry (and didn’t get much else but fame out of that), they continued to create, both together and separately, for a very long time after their teenaged enthusiasm gave us the Man from Krypton.

Interested in comic history? Read this. If nothing else, read it and think about the drive to create a piece of history. Happy holidays, and a wonderful new year!

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

BOOK LOG: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (THE MODERN VERSION)


by Eilis Flynn

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Early Years; When Evil Calls; The Choice; Consequences; Volume 1 (Hostile World); Volume 2 (The Dominators); Volume 3 (The Fatal Five); Legion Lost; Great Darkness Saga
Various authors and artists
DC Comics Entertainment

Let me tell you about the graphic novels I’ve been reading this year, from time to time, in between projects. There are other graphic novels I’ve been reading (manga, actually, but I’ll tell you about those another day), but since I have a lot of Legion books near me right now, I figured I should tell you why these are memorable.

First (of course there’s a first; how else would I set the scene, aside from a literal “As you know”?), I got interested in comics and the Legion in particular when I was a teenager. From then on I read them voraciously, got in contact with others of a similar comic persuasion (by mail; these were years long before the Internet, my children), wrote letters to the editors of the comic books, even sold a few stories, and worked at a comic company for a short while. Let me sum all this up by saying I was intrigued. Of particular interest to me were the stories about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Legion was first introduced in the late 1950s, about a group of three teenagers with amazing powers from the 30th century inviting Superboy to join their club. The stories about their adventures that ran in the 1960s had a particular cachet because a number of the most memorable were written by a teenaged boy named Jim Shooter, often inspired by whatever he was studying in junior high and later high school. Stories by a teenager about teenagers! These were stories about Superboy and his pals when he went into the 30th century, teenaged heroes with names like Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 and Matter-Eater Lad. (Yes, Matter-Eater Lad, often named as one of the most ludicrously titled. But logical. Again, a topic for another day.)

Later on, I found out that there were other readers who also found them of interest, one of whom I married (yes, dear reader). To this day, I count many as friends. I stopped reading comics after a few years because other matters took precedence (making a steady living, among others), but I kept the Legion close to my heart. (Considering by then I was married to someone who could cite issue number and other details of the early Legion stories, it was always going to stick around.) The Legion kept popping up in DC books in various forms, and even though Marvel was getting accolades for their group and teen books (do the Avengers and the X-Men strike a chord?), the Legion were generally mocked (Matter-Eater Lad often mentioned in the mockery).

Skip to the present day (finally! You say). The Legion has changed a lot since I first read them back in the 1960s. They’ve gotten older, they’ve lost members (the team even has a hall of fallen heroes), they’ve gone through turmoil, all reflecting not only their readership but the turmoil and complexity of the world and society. I liked a lot of the storylines (a lot of it could have used blunt editing, frankly, but there’s a reason I wouldn’t work there), a lot of the art worked while a lot didn’t (pretty pictures don’t tell a story), but there was enough that I kept reading.

Of particular interest was the storyline about a xenophobic character named Earth-Man who’s turned down for membership to the Legion, and in retaliation, he builds up another super-hero society and attempts to destroy the Legion. He calls himself as Earth-Man because he views the Legionnaires not from Earth to be an infection, a detriment to the world, and becomes a terrorist. (I told you it reflects modern society.) He’s foiled by the Legion, goes to jail—but in a twist, he’s forced to join the Legion, even as he keeps in touch with his xenophobic terrorist allies, plotting to kill the Legion and its offworlder components. He doesn’t want to be there; the feeling is mutual. How he changes made for interesting reading (along the way, he sleeps with a blue-skinned Legionnaire, so yes, he does have to change). In all, I found it worth reading.

(Matter-Eater Lad? His world and everything in it was poisoned, so to survive the people had to adapt to eat every- and anything. See? Very logical!)

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Great Beginnings and NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month started November 1st, just days ago. It’s thirty days of hard work where authors all around the world hammer out 1, 667 words a day, in hopes of finishing the month with a novel that’s 50,000 words.



I’m one of those hopeful writers. I love beginning a new story. It fills me with hope. There are so many things might happen and so many characters I’ve yet to meet.

Do you like beginnings? Do they intrigue you? Or are new starts hard? Here are thirteen illustrious thinkers’ thoughts. Which ones ring true to you?




1. And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. ~ Meister Eckhart
2. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu

3. Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ~ Martin Luther King
4. Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always. ~ Dante Alighieri
5. Catherine Land liked the beginnings of things. The pure white possibility of the empty room, the first kiss, the first swipe at larceny.  ~ Robert Goolrick
6. Beginnings are sudden, but also insidious. They creep up on you sideways, they keep to the shadows, they lurk unrecognized. Then, later, they spring. ~ Margaret Atwood
7. Beginnings are always messy. ~ John Galsworthy
8. I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March) ~ Louisa May Alcott
9. Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? ~L.M. Montgomery
10. Their eyes met. It had begun. They had begun. ~Alexandra Potter
11. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~ Seneca
12. All great ideas and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. ~ Albert Camus
13. The beginnings of all things are small. ~ Cicero


Do you have a favorite quote about beginnings? Please share.

Sources
http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2011/01/24/20-awesome-quotes-on-beginning/
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/beginnings

 
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