Breaking Dawn Part 1 – I should have waited for the DVD

There is a saying that for women, the wedding is all about the dress. Sadly, that’s about all Breaking Dawn Part 1 has going for it as well.

Let’s get to the important stuff first.  The gown was beautiful.  Simple, glamorous, elegant, sultry.  In fact, Designer Alfred Angelo has designed a replica, and it is for sale for around $800 (you’ll have to go to the website to view it).  You can be sure brides everywhere are going to grab this off the shelf.  The wedding scene (meaning the props) was very fairy tale-esque and Bella made a beautiful bride.

The reception, however, is where the movie began to fail, and we’re only into the first 20 minutes of the film.

It was some of the hokiest, most inane, stupid writing I’ve come across in a film in a long time. Edward’s relatives from Alaska failed to bring the tension to the table, and Bella appeared to be in pain most of the time instead of playing the happy, blushing bride.

That is until Jacob shows up. Then we see happy, OMG Bella, the Bella we want to see with Edward, the man she loves soooo much.  In fact, the only other item beside the dress carrying the film forward is Taylor Lautner’s performance.    He plays his scenes well, we feel his pain, his anger and his love for Bella.  Too bad Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson left their passion for their scenes back in their trailers.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but please.  The honeymoon scene? Epic fail.  I’ve seen steamier sex on soap operas.  This was supposed to be a night of passion.  Remember the broken bed that appeared in the movie trailers?  Yeah, that was a quick 4 second scene.  Seriously.  Blink and you miss it.  There was more passion in that very first kiss between Bella and Edward in Twilight than there was in this whole film.  Again, Bella appears to be in pain, like she doesn’t want to be there.  For heaven’s sake, she just married the vampire of her dreams.  She should be elated.  I do have to say, I would love to know where this was filmed because the house is flipping beautiful!

The scenes with Sam and the pack were good and their feelings toward Bella and the unborn child were conveyed very well.  I was also very pleased with the way they handled Jacob’s imprinting.

As for the technical aspects of the film, I felt the cinematography sucked.  There were several scenes that appeared to be put together by an amateur high school photography club. Come on.  This is supposed to be a multi-million dollar film.  Why did they cut corners?  I mean, I really wanted to gag.  And some of the fight scenes were so dark you couldn’t see what was going on. You just hear a lot of growling and snarling.  The make-up artists, however, did a very good job with Bella as she’s going through her change.

Over all, I was disappointed in the acting.  The actors appear tired…tired of playing the parts, tired of the films.  Kristen and Rob seem ‘off’ with each other, which is a shame because the movie is about them, about Edward and Bella.

I will have to watch the last installment just to see how the Director puts everything together, though I can tell you I already loathe the ending (I hated the ending of the series.  Such a letdown.  I expected so much more tension and then it fizzled).  I do look forward to the Volturi, especially if Dakota Fanning makes an appearance.  I loved her role.  The standoff between the wolves and the Volturi should be good, too, but I don’t see Bella growing out of her ‘pained’ self.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

In my opinion, Eclipse remains the best of the four films.  Am I glad I saw the film?  Yes, sort of.  I mean, I’ve come this far, why stop now.  Was Breaking Dawn Part 1 worth the cost of admission?  No.  I don’t think so.  If I’d known then what I know now, I would have probably waited for it to come out on DVD.  That’s pretty sad.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, those of us in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  It is a time of reflection, a time for families to gather and be thankful for everything we have, and to appreciate and pay homage to those we have lost throughout the year.  It is a time to share in the bounty of food and wine, laughter and friendship.

There is no doubt many of us have fallen on harder financial times over the past year.   There may not be as much food on the table.  Some of us may have to forego the wine.  But we have food.   Be thankful.

Some of us may have to spend the holidays with family members we’d rather never see again.  They’re loud, obnoxious, insensitive, selfish, insert your own word…but they are here.  Tomorrow they may not be.  Be thankful to hear their voice or see their smile.

There may be friends or family who are far away.  those we long to hug, kiss, touch.  Reach out and call them so you can hear their voice.  the distance will not seem so far.

While tomorrow is an American holiday, I am extending it out to all my friends world-wide…my Facebook and Twitter friends whom I’ve never met but have developed long-term ‘relationships’ with…my non-American friends who live overseas.  I am thankful that all of you are in my life.

Tomorrow I will raise a glass and toast you for being you.  I only ask for one thing in return:  love who you are and know that others are thankful for your smile,  your laughter, your hugs,  your compassion.  And while you may believe you are just a little speck in relationship to the universe, to someone, you are their universe.  Take care of yourself.  Live well.  Laugh a lot, love honestly and be thankful for each day given to you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Midlife Collage: Two-Time Winner, Whoo Hoo!

A little over a month ago while searching the internet for writing contests, I stumbled upon a new website called Midlife Collage.  They host weekly short story contests to writers, there are no entry fees and you can enter as many times as you want.  Winners are decided by the readers, so, in essence, the award is a Reader’s Choice award, and Midlife Collage sends the winner $50.00.  Not too shabby.

In order to submit, the writer must be between the ages of 40 and 65, the short stories must be non-fiction, and must have occurred to the writer during the same age time frame.  In other words, you can’t be 50 years old and write a story about something that happened when you were 10, unless it somehow ties into something that happened to you between the ages of 40 and 65.

Now, I normally write fiction – Young Adult fantasy to be exact, and have never really thought about writing anything non-fiction.  I mean, I’m just a normal person living an every day life.  What sort of life story could I possibly tell that would appeal to anyone?

Still, I pondered it for a few days, did some research on the company and the editor, and decided to go for it.  I mean, what the heck?  If I won, I could put it on my ‘author’ resume and in query letters.  It would also help to get my name out there, hopefully meet other writers and authors and grow my ‘following’.

I decided to write a story about my Dalmatian, Baby.  We only had her for a short time before she passed away, but she was very special to me and I thought it would be a great tribute to her and the love she brought to my life.  As it turned out, the readers at Midlife Collage were so touched by my story about Baby that they voted my short story into the number one position.  I was ecstatic to find out I’d won.  I sent virtual chocolates and champagne to all my followers on Twitter, Facebook and posted some on my blog, too.

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted another story to Midlife Collage titled Five More Minutes.  It’s about a chance meeting I had with a woman in the park and how that meeting changed my life.  The editor accepted it for the contest that ran this past week, and once again, I found out today I won the ‘readers’ choice award’ again.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement.  I’ve waited all these years to achieve some sort of recognition for my writing.  I’ve had poems, stories and editorials published in local newspapers, a college literary magazine,  and in an anthology once, but that was so long ago and I can’t put my hands on any of them.  Never have I won a contest for my writing, especially one driven by readers votes.  To say the least, I am humbled by the experience and thankful to all those who voted my stories into the number one position.

Will I continue to write stories for Midlife Collage contests?  Of course I will.  It is a great experience, I love reading the other entries and I’ve met a couple of wonderful writers through the site.

Do I expect to win every time?  No, absolutely not.  I know there are better writers, better stories.  I’ve been very lucky so far and the experience has been fantastic.

What would I like to say to other budding writers and authors?  Don’t give up.  Keep writing. Keep submitting.  Someone, somewhere, will hear your voice and you will be rewarded for your dedication and patience in honing your craft.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and write something you didn’t think you could do.  Believe in yourself.

To Donna Balon, editor at Midlife Collage, thank you for the opportunity and providing a venue for writers to meet and post their works.  I wish you well with this website and I hope more midlifers like me get involved.

To the readers and voters at Midlife Collage:  thank you from the bottom of my heart for voting my stories into the number 1 spot.  I hope my words have touched your hearts as much as you’ve touched mine.

To my readers:  thank you for sticking around and sharing in this fantastic news.

To everyone, have a very Happy  Thanksgiving.   May your hearts and homes be filled with love.

And don’t forget:  if you’re between the ages of 40 and 65 and have a non-fiction short story you want to tell, head on over to Midlife Collage and tell the world about it.  You may end up with a Readers’ Choice Award, too!

Row80 update for 11-20-2011

Wow, I’ve been really slacking here with my updates.  I’ve been so entrenched in the re-writes for my novel, I’ve completely missed the last 3 check ins.  Bad Jenny. Bad. Bad.  (why do I suddenly feel like Dobby, the house elf?)

The edits I had to do involved deleting irrelevant scenes and adding new scenes that would build my two worlds simultaneously.  It has proven to be more time-consuming than I first believed.  Now, with the the scenes re-written, I am over my word count, so now I have to go back and find where I can cut about 5,000 words.  not easy, but it can be done.

So, going forward, my goals for this coming week are:

1.  finish the edits and send to beta readers for final comments.

2.  visit my favorite blogs (I have about 5 I keep up with every day) and leave comments.

3.  Find 2 more blogs to read and comment on.

4.  start making some dishes ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, so I’m not cooking all day long.

5.  Try to write more on NaNo.  I’ve sort of fallen behind there.

6.  Prepare for another awesome visit from my 3 year old granddaughter.

7.  Finish reading North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (awesome series – The Wingfeather Saga).

I think that does it for me.  Hopefully, I can keep up.


Writing and editing, editing and writing – it’s a pleasurable, never-ending circle for this newbie author

My ultimate Christmas present this year would be to obtain a publishing contract for my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King.  It would make my day and people all the way from Florida to Maine and across to Washington state would hear my jubilation if that happens.  But it won’t happen unless I finish the re-write and edits I need to do.

It’s been slow going.  There have been ‘life’ issues that have gotten in the way, there have been moments of self-doubt.  I let NaNo really jump start the enthusiasm and dedication, and I have almost half of my second novel in the Fallhollow saga complete.  More importantly, I’ve completed the revisions to Dragon King.

Well, I thought I did, that is until my teenage son caught two huge holes in the re-write that I didn’t catch, so, it was back to the editing block.  Now I have disembodied voices, an army of fey that weren’t there before and more ‘age appropriate’ dialogue for my ‘was-15, now 17’ year old main character.  The edits have not been easy but I have to say, I love the way the novel has unfolded before me.  The characters are richer, the plot line more focused and intense.

I had hoped to send it to beta readers 2 weeks ago, but alas, it didn’t happen.  My granddaughter came to visit (love, love, love her so much) and she will be here next Friday for another 5 days before she moves to Seattle.  I won’t get much writing done during that time, but that’s okay.  I can’t get these moments back with her so the writing will have to wait.  I pray my MS will be with my treasured beta readers by then so I can sit back and enjoy the little tike.

Dragon King has been way long in the making and has undergone so many changes that it looks nothing like it did when I first started the novel years ago.  Yes, I said years.  I can’t wait to see it in its final glory and in print.  The idea of it makes me smile.  I can’t imagine how I’ll feel to hold the real deal in my hands the first time.

What about you?  What is  your wish come true for the holiday season?  Does the thought of getting published awaken butterflies in your belly?  If you’ve been published, what did it feel like to see your hard work finally in print?

Row80 check-in – My 3-year old grand-daughter kicked my muse’s butt

I’m a little bummed out this week that I didn’t come anywhere close to meeting my goals for writing.  I have just over 12500 words for NaNo.  I have done very few revisions on my MS to resubmit to publisher and have written maybe 120 words on my short to submit to a publisher.  I lovingly blame all of this on my 3 -year old grand-daughter who came to visit for several days.

The great thing is…I don’t regret a minute I spent with her and away from the computer and I will gladly put aside my writing to spend valuable time with her.  I have another 5 days to look forward to with her before she and her mom (my daughter) move to Seattle, WA, so I can foresee my muse running away again around Thanksgiving as well.  It’s all good, though, because I can always write and NaNo will be around next year if I don’t hit my goal this year.  I won’t always get a chance to be with my family and my sweet little baby girl  who is growing up too darn fast.

Since my grand-daughter left, I have done some amazing revisions on my  novel and am about ready to send out to my beta readers for their opinions.  I really want a publishing contract by Christmas.  I’m praying really hard that the publisher likes the changes and decides to take me on.

That’s really all that’s been going on with me.  Would love to hear what you guys have been up to.