ParaNorman – is it really for the 7 – 12 group?


I watched ParaNorman last night.  I’d heard it was a funny movie so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

For those of you who don’t know, the animated movie follows the story of Norman Babcock, a misunderstood boy who is able to speak with the dead.  Because of this strange gift, he is treated like a freak by his family and peers.  One day, he meets a boy at school, Neil, who is also bullied due to his weight. One day in a bathroom stall at school, Norman gets a message from a ghost that he must use his gift and read from a book in order to save the town from the ghost of a powerful witch.  The movie takes him on the journey of finding his true purpose, acceptance of others and forgiveness and learning his own self-worth. So why do I have reservations about younger kids seeing the film?

To start with, there is a lot of bullying.  I understand it is prevalent in our society today and it gives kids something to relate to, but I think it was overdone.

The next thing that bothered me was Norman’s dad.  His reaction to Norman’s abilities was very insensitive, and several of his words were sharp and cut deep.  I understand what the writers were going for, but for a movie aimed at the 7 – 12 year old crowd, I think the writers could have come up with another way to portray Dad’s fears without losing the integrity of the story.  The explanation Norman’s mom gives Norman is simply not enough.  On top of that, I didn’t feel Norman’s dad sufficiently apologized for being a jerk to his son.  I think it’s important to show 7 – 12 year olds that parents aren’t perfect, but they recognize their mistakes and apologize accordingly.  At least they should in the movies.

The last thing that really bothered me was Neil’s older brother.  When we are introduced to the character we see he’s a big dude, lots of muscles.  He’s also about as sharp as a bowling ball.  Of course, Norman’s teen sister gets all googley eyed over him and her antics have some laughable moments.  My problem came at the end of the film when Neil’s brother pretty much announced he was gay.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gay people. I have gay friends.  I do have an issue with this topic being thrown into a  children’s movie.  I felt it was completely inappropriate and tasteless.  Aside from the fact that I have an issue with media outlets exposing young people to alternative lifestyles instead of the kids learning about them from their parents and immediate surroundings, the writers made this gay kid muscle-bound and dumb as an ox.  I have problems with that.

Was I offended by the film?  No.  Would I say don’t let your kids watch the film?  No.  I’m not into telling parents what to do or not to do with their kids.  I do feel parents should be armed when they sit down with their children to watch a film.  Had I had a child 7, 8 or 9 years old and I knew the film had a lot of bullying, angry mobs shooting zombies and a big, dumb lug professing that his boyfriend likes chick flicks, I don’t think I would have let my kids watch the film.   It’s not because I have a phobia.  It’s because I don’t think it’s right for media to promote hidden agendas to unsuspecting parents disguised as animated films for young people.

There are lots of good films for kids and young adults.  Be informed.  Know what your kids are watching.  And don’t be afraid to be a parent and say “No.”  They’ll thank you someday for watching out for them.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


Have you ever read a book and you knew immediately it had to be a movie, too? I felt that way with The Hunger Games and I felt again with Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.

These books have everything you could possibly want in a fantastic YA urban fantasy novel:  vampires, werewolves, fairies, supernatural creatures, hot guys, sweet guys, kick-butt heroines.  And Cassandra Clare has a way to deliver all of it in a way that prohibits the reader from putting the books down for a moment.   I have to say she is one of my favorite authors and I have spent lots of time evaluating her writing style so I can learn what makes it work so darn well.

I got all giddy when I found out the first book in the series, City of Bones, would be made into a film.  Like many others, I waited patiently to hear who would star, and I was surprised to find a fairly unheard of cast (Lena Headey from The Brothers Grimm; Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins); Robert Sheehan; and Jamie Campbell Bower (not how I pictured Jace at all!)).  I began to have my doubts about the casting until I saw they signed on  Jonathan Rhys Meyers to play Valentine.  I was sold.

The film is set to release August 23, 2013 in the US.  I hope it’s as good as the book.  I really don’t want to be disappointed with this one.

Giveaway Alert!


I just received some fantastic news!  My publisher, J. Taylor Publishing, is hosting a giveaway for the MAKE BELIEVE anthology!  In case you don’t know, this e-anthology features my short story, THE AMULET OF ORMISEZ! :D

If you’re a book blogger reviewer and are interested in snagging a copy for your review stacks, please click HERE for the details on how you can enter to win a copy of the e-anthology. 8-)

You don’t want to miss this chance to read and review before everyone else.  It’s a GREAT antho. It is.  Really.   🙂

Wacky Wednesday


What would hump day be without a few fantasy jokes and funny one-liners to get us through the day?   Just remember to smile; it increases your face value.  🙂

***

“May the dragon of life only burn your hot dog and never your buns.”

***

“If you can’t take the heat, don’t tickle the dragon.”

***

Two high elves are sitting in a bar and in walks a dwarf woman.

The woman orders a martini and starts to eat the olives when she suddenly finds herself choked.

Trying to be the hero, one of the elves jumps up, grabs her trousers, yanks them down and runs his tongue across her buttocks.

The dwarf woman spits out the olive and screams “how disgusting”.

The elf says “whats wrong, haven’t you heard of the hiney-lick manuever.”

***

A dwarf was in his front yard mowing grass when his attractive elf neighbor came out of the house and went straight to the mailbox. She opened it then slammed it shut and stormed back into the house. A little later she came out of her house again, went to the mailbox and again opened it, and slammed it shut again. Angrily, back into the house she went.

As the dwarf was getting ready to edge the lawn, she came out again, marched to the mailbox, opened it and then slammed it closed harder than ever.

Puzzled by her actions the dwarf asked her, “Is something wrong?”

To which she replied, “There certainly is!”

My computer keeps saying, “You’ve got mail!”

***

A dwarf, an elf, and a half-orc were shipwrecked on a deserted island. There they find a forgotten temple. They make their way to the alterroom where they find a magical ring of wishes.

The dwarf grabs the ring and says “Great! Now I can get home! I wish I was back in the tavern at home surrounded by ale“!

*poof* he’s gone!

The elf grabs the ring and says “Finally, I can go home! I wish I was in the tree city, trading tales with the finest poets of our age!

*poof* he’s gone!

The half-orc picks up the ring and says “I’m lonely now. I wish the other two guys were back here.

***

Lord of the Fandoms 2

Write a Story With Me – second time around


A while back I signed up over at Jennifer M. Eaton’s blog to write a story with her.  It was all in good fun and done to celebrate her blogiversary.  It’s been fascinating to watch the story unfold through the eyes of so many different writer’s.  Many times the story would take off in a direction that left the reader scratching his/her head.  Other times, the reader sat back and said, “Man, I wish I’d written that!”  Anyway, contribution time to the story has rolled around to me again (which I wasn’t expecting), so I’m adding the next chapter to this very unique story.  I hope you enjoy Part 20.

***

Yoran left the cloaked air rider hovering as he retrieved Marci’s limp body from the house.  Janosc was waiting in the sleep cabin when Yoran returned.

“Did you get the medicines I asked for?”

Yoran nodded while covering Marci with a blanket.  “Yes.  It’s all there.  Every last drop of it.  And the weapons, too.  Now let’s go.”  Yoran made his way forward to the cockpit.

“Not so fast, Yoran Sumner,” Janosc said.  “There is but one more item we need before we depart.”

“I refuse to get you anything else” Yoran said, his temper bubbling beneath his skin.

“Then your daughter shall die.”

Yoran advanced.  “Why you—”

Janosc thrust his arms before him, his palms facing Yoran.  A bubble of green light pulsed forward, buffering the space between him and the commander.  “Do not threaten me, human, or our deal is off.  Understood?”

Marci moaned in her sleep, uttering nonsense.

“Delirium is setting in,” Janosc said.  “We have little time.  The choice is yours.”

Yoran clenched his fists, but his anger was pointless. He had to save Marci.  He placed his hands on the overhead compartment.  “What do you want me to do?”

The bubble of light vanished.  Janosc flitted forward.  “I want you to go inside and get Bethany.  She’s coming with us.”

Yoran’s eyes widened.  “What?” he shouted.  “Why?”

“Because she is responsible for Marci’s illness, therefore she is necessary for her cure.”

“Responsible how? What are you talking about?”

“Why don’t you ask her?”

***

You can read all the contributions by clicking the links below.

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen – Shannon Burton

It’s a sad, sad day


I just learned the final novel in the Lila Gray series is soon coming to an end.  I have followed this series written by the incomparable Jocelyn Adams since the first novel, The Glass Man.  Then came Shadowborn, which I just received from the author and am sinking my teeth into.  I can’t believe the series is coming to an end with Rise of the Magi.

But isn’t the cover pretty?

Rise of the Magi by Jocelyn Adams

 Rise of the Magi

by Jocelyn AdamsRelease Date: June 4, 2013
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: FantasyFairy

Back of the Book

In a battle of wills, who is strongest? The one who hates or the one who loves?

In a test of faith, who will fight the hardest? The one who has everything to lose or the one who believes only in herself?

For Lila Gray, the answer is both.For the Magi, the questions are pointless since they can’t lose, and they’ve been waiting since before Lila’s birth for this one moment. Lila only needs to find them to understand her entire purpose in life. This time, though, instead of protecting her people, Lila may be leading them all, including her unborn child and the man she loves, to their deaths — and not by accident.

In the ultimate trial of heart and soul, and the conclusion to the Lila Gray series, Lila will learn that the greatest weapon of war is herself, with one ultimate unknown. For which side will she fight?

So, what do you think?  I hope you check it out and love the series as much as I do.

LINKS:

URL: http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/books/28

Other Books in this series include:

The Glass Mann (#1)

Into the Unknown Anthology – Tempted (#1.5)

Shadowborn (#2)

Procrastination and friends


I have a confession to make, and it’s not one I’m proud of.  Over the past year, Procrastination and I have become very good friends.  I didn’t want it to happen.  It just sort of showed up in the form of Pity and Sympathy.  I think Depression let it in and before I knew it, they were all having a party, and I was the unwilling host.  I got drunk on their lies, believing I could put life on hold while I tried to figure out the meaning of my life. Where was I supposed to go? What was I supposed to do?

Everyone around me told me to keep swimming, but the words of my new friends were too convincing, their arms too strong.  Procrastination and Depression were the worst.  “Why keep swimming, little fish?  You’re in a tiny bowl with nowhere to go.  You’ll always be in a tiny bowl with nowhere to go.  Chill.  Take a break. We’re here to keep you company.”  Then Pity and Sympathy would chime in with their chorus, “We understand what it’s like to feel all alone, to feel like a failure to yourself, your family, your friends.  It’s okay to take a sabbatical from life.  After all, what good fortune has life bestowed upon you of late?”

Yes, Procrastination and friends found a weak little fish, and they made themselves right at home.  What none of us were counting on was Determination and Pride showing up.

November 1 they came, dressed in armor of defiance and wielding swords of truth.  “Get up!” they said to me.  “Stop wallowing!  Stand with us to rid these freeloaders from your soul!  You may be a battered little fish in a tiny bowl, but right next to you is a giant ocean waiting for you.  All you have to do is leap.”

For the first time in months, this little fish opened her eyes, swam through the sludge in the water, and saw the magnificence and grandeur waiting for me.  I grew angry at Procrastination, Depression, Pity and Sympathy who now cowered in a corner.  Arming myself with Determination and Pride, I grabbed them one by one and cast the from my soul.  Strength and power surged through me.  Faster and faster I swam until I made myself dizzy…and then I leapt.  A smile stretched across my face.  “I did it!  I did it!  I’m free!!!”

Now, I’m swimming in bigger waters and I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision, but when I look back at that tiny bowl with all its limitations, I have no doubts.  I may get chased by bigger fish.  My life in this new world may not be perfect, but I know one thing…I’ll never go back to that dark place anymore.  I’m armed now, and I’ve got some serious swimming to do.  Are you coming along with me? Race ya!

 

#FreebieFriday


I thought today I would pass on some Kindle freebies I found on Amazon.  I haven’t read any of them.  I don’t know if they are any good, but they are free for today.

Enjoy.

Progeny By R.T. Kaelin

This richly-imagined fantasy epic stars two siblings who survive the sudden destruction of their village only to discover that they must lead the forces of good into a terrible, oncoming war against deadly magical creatures.

Elly in Bloom, by Colleen Oakes

A 32-year-old flower-shop owner takes on a wedding contract that could secure her financial future — but also merge her painful past with her bright new beginning — in this charming and light-hearted contemporary romance.

Insight [A YA Paranormal Romance] by Jamie Magee

Willow Haywood has always been trapped between the worlds of the Light and the Dark. Her waking hours are plagued by her ability to feel the emotions of those around her. No matter how inward she draws, she cannot shut out the feelings of others. Sometimes she will see images – echoes of other people and places – that she can enter to influence the emotions of people she has never met.

By night, Willow experiences her only escape from this terrible insight – entering into the world of dreams. Most of these dreams are shared in blissful silence with a stunning blue-eyed boy. But every new moon she lives through something much darker: a horrific nightmare shared by another mysterious boy who is always shrouded by shadows.

One night, this shadowy figure invades her dreams outside of his appointed time. In this new nightmare, Willow is marked; a mark which follows her into the waking world and sets her on a momentous path through light and darkness, through fragmented myth and half-truths, through past lives and disturbing family secrets, all in the face of the ever-dominant Zodiac. What she finds will endanger the lives of those closest to her and will force her to make a decision that will change her world forever.

Inspiration


About a year ago I stumbled upon Midlife Collage, a writer’s site for middle-aged writers.  I have submitted three works to them, two of which won the award in their category.  The week of November 12, 2012 another one of my non-fiction short stories, INSPIRATION, will appear on their site along with four others.  I hope each of you will take the time to stop by that week, read  the stories and vote/comment on the one you would like to see win.  The trailer for the contest is below.  I hope to see you there.

It’s Over


“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Statesman, Philosopher, Orator; 58 BC speech before the Roman Senate.

I, along with millions of others, are disheartened today.  I debated writing anything today except to say “I’m glad it’s over”, but I can’t stop there.  I’m writing this on a more personal level as a daughter of a military man who died while serving this country, and more important, as a Christian.

I believe Cicero understood what faces us now.  The enemy within has won.  He has taken the highest seat of power once again and this country will never be the same.  No other president has forced such a wedge between its own people than the current one.  No other president has been less transparent, less truthful.  No other has connected himself with Socialist and Marxist ties as this one.  No other president has paid millions of dollars to conceal his own background.  No other president has moved within our borders with such stealth, spewing vitriol disguised as enlightenment as this one.  The enemy within…the devil himself, some might say…has positioned  himself and his minions to see to it our way of life and our Constitution is forfeited, and replaced not with pride in accomplishment, but in dependency and reward for indolence.  This once great nation will fall, as did Rome, and we will have no one to blame for it but ourselves.

I know from personal experience this wolf in sheep’s clothing has driven not just a wedge within the people of this country, but also in my family.  A Christian  pitted against her two atheist and socialist daughters.  They are proud to say they are atheists and socialists and they hold to their beliefs as firm as I hold to my Bible. The wedge pushed us further apart last night, the ravine widened, and I’m afraid there is no bridge to cross.  Anger and harsh words flew between my oldest and me on social media last night.  I deactivated my Facebook page.  She called me old, and told me I could leave this country if I didn’t like it.  Maybe I should…now that it’s over.

I’m sorry, Daddy.  I’m sorry Sean Smith, Chris Stevens, Ty Woods, Glen Doherty, and millions of other Americans who gave their lives for our freedom.  Most of all, I’m sorry God.  I tried to do what you asked and I failed once again.  Seems as if that’s been the pattern of late.  All I ask is that you please forgive them, for they know not what they’ve done.

Signing off.

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