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 (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

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 and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at