Thursday, September 30, 2010

October's "Ink and Fairydust" is released!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play Maria in "The Sound of Music"? Or what ten musicals you absolutely must watch before you die? Or how about discovering what the deeper message is in "The Phantom of the Opera"?

Find out in the latest issue of Ink and Fairydust!

Final bits of novel work

I am so blessed to have amazing friends to help me finish the final draft of my novel. About a half dozen of them read the manuscript and gave me feedback based on certain things I asked them to look for.

Typos
Confusion spots
Factual errors
Inconsistency

...plus of course what parts they loved.

Everyone sent me varying levels of feedback, but they all had something informative to add, many of them caught tons of errors, and all of them loved it. Some of the comments actually had me nearly in tears of humbleness and joy.

So this is a public thank you to Teresa, Carolyn, Janny, Ivy, Carmie, Ellen, Andy, Q, and Gabriella. Thank you all so much for your time and effort to help make this novel the best it could be!

It's almost time to start the submission process!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red and Black Party Frock

It's time to start another sewing project! I've had a beautiful length of deep crimson fake duponi that I've been hording since last Christmas. It's sort of an awkward size - not quit enough for a skirt or dress on it's own, so I knew I'd need to pair it with something. The question was, how?

The other night I got a brainstorm of an Indian-inspired design... and the project took off.

A close-up of the beads I'm going to use for embelishment.
Black satin, beads, crimson cording, black boning, crimson fabric.

Total cost of supplies? Around $20.00.

A rough sketch of the dress. The design at the top is the embellishmentI'm going to do along the edges of the red in cording and beads.
I have a longer torso than my dress form does, so I had to lengthen the curves with some spare fabric.


Draping the lining fabric.

Front.

Back. (Gap for lacing)


Time invested so far: 1 hr 17 mins

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time to Vote on a Name!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful ideas of names for my costume business! There were a lot of good ones and though I couldn't put them all on the poll, I want to thank you all for the time you invested in thinking them up!

You can pick three of the names in the poll - I thought this was the best way to get a fair sampling of what people would really look for in a name.

I did not include the names of the submitters in the poll or this post because I want the voting to be as unbiased as possible. Also, some of the names were submitted by more than one person!

Ultimately I will make the final choice, and the highest name on the poll may not be what I go with. However the poll will give me a really good understanding of what names appeal to customers and so I will definitely be taking the results into deep consideration. So please go ahead and vote!

The poll choices are:

Sword and Rose (Costume Rental and Design)

History's Wardrobe (Costume Rental and Design)

Wouldn't it be Lovely (Costume Rental and Design)

Fashions of Old (Costume Rental and Design)

Creative Stitches (Costume Rental and Design)

Whirl of Stitches (Costume Rental and Design)

The Faerie Seamstress (Costume Rental and Design)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Normally I go to reviews to decide whether or not to see a film. But if someone gives me a personal recommendation, I'll give that prior consideration. So though "Prince of Persia" got rather poor reviews, because one of my best friends said I'd like it, I decided to watch it when it hit Redbox.

Actually, to be fair, in trying to convince me, my friend said "You'll like it. He has long hair." Which was just funny enough to convince me. (It's true that in film I do tend to have a weakness for longer hair on heroes - ;) )

"Prince of Persia" is the story of a street boy who through an act of courage, attracted the eye of the King of Persia and became... you guessed it - a prince. However fifteen years later he finds a bit more than he bargained for in two scheming brothers, a haughty princess, a party of unscrupulous ostrich raiders, and a knife that can turn back time.

It's a fun film that had more character than I was expecting for a story based on a video game. However it had a little too much action. Although the sequences are definitely cool, I would have preferred to see our hero start off less skilled, and have to grow into his abilities.

That being said, the premise is interesting and the characters intriguing. We don't get to see nearly enough of the knife turning back time, but it's understandable, I suppose. You can't let it be used all the time, or it would lose its magic.

I did feel that there was an unfair use of "deus ex machina" that made the ending a little lame for me. Some people may like it better, but I felt it was cheating.

However they did leave a bit of a melancholy tone in, which I was glad for because every hero should have loss at the end of their journey. If they never lose anything, how can they grow?

Oh yeah. And I did like Jake Gyllenhaal's long hair, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doctor Who quick reviews - Seasons 1-4

So since I know several of my readers want to start watching Doctor Who, I thought I'd do an overall review/rating of the episodes from the new series. I won't give away spoilers or even many plot details - you can check Wikipedia if you want more specifics on an episode.


"Rose" 1.1
My Rating - ****
The Ninth Doctor meets 19-year-old Rose Tyler of London.
(A good starting episode!)

"The End of the World" 1.2
My Rating - ***
The Doctor and Rose visit the end of Earth.

"The Unquiet Dead" 1.3
My Rating - *
The Doctor and Rose visit Charles Dickens at Christmas - and Ghosts appear.
(I found this episode creepy and morbid)

"Aliens of London"
"World War Three" 1.4 and 1.5
My Rating - ***
The Doctor and Rose join forces with a local politician to fight an alien invasion of London.


"Dalek" 1.6
My Rating - ***
The Doctor and Rose meet one of the Doctor's oldest enemies.
(This is a good episode for character development)

"The Long Game" 1.7
My Rating - *
The Doctor and Rose travel to a space media station in the future, where all is not as it seems.

"Father's Day" 1.8
My Rating - ****
Rose asks to see her parent's past - and ends up running into her father on the day he died.
(Fantastic episode, with tons of character and time twists)

164 "The Empty Child"
"The Doctor Dances" 1.9, 1.10
My Rating - ****
Rose and the Doctor go to WWII where a child haunts the town and a Rogue Time Agent named Captain Jack woos Rose.
(This only thing that kept this two parter from being a five star is that it is rather creepy. But it has a great ending that makes it well worth watching!)

"Boom Town" 1.11
My Rating - ***
Rose, The Doctor and Jack visit Cardiff to refuel and run into an old nemesis.
(This episode has two shinning stars - the return of Mickey and a sympathetic look at a villain's wish to change)

"Bad Wolf"
"The Parting of the Ways" 1.12, 1.13
My Rating - ***
Rose, The Doctor and Jack must save the world from a deadly invasion... after defeating a game show.
(By far the weakest ending, although it has a great emotional end and send off for the Ninth Doctor)


"The Christmas Invasion" 2.X Christmas special (60 mins)
My Rating - *
The New Doctor is nearly unconscious and Rose is left on her own as robots and aliens ruin London's Christmas.
(This episode created my early loathing of Rose because of her weakness to act and suffers from Tennent's long immobility)


"New Earth" 2.1
My Rating - ***
Rose and the Doctor visit New (x17) Earth and must fight the last human, cat nuns, and zombies.
(Brilliant acting throughout, although the zombies are a bit disgusting to look at)

"Tooth and Claw" 2.2
My Rating - ***
A trip to Scotland introduces Queen Victoria, a werewolf, and Torchwood.
(Interesting premise, but scary)

"School Reunion" 2.3
My Rating - ****
Rose and the Doctor run into former companion Sarah Jane and with Mickey's help investigate a school full of mysterious happenings.
(Sarah Jane! You have not lived until you've met her!)

"The Girl in the Fireplace" 2.4
My Rating - *****
The Doctor, Rose and Mickey find a ship with time windows into the life of Madame de Pompadour
(One of the finest episodes ever created for the new series. Fantastic writing, a beautiful romance, and terrifying antagonists)

"Rise of the Cybermen"
"The Age of Steel"
My Rating ***
The crew visits a parallel universe where Rose's father is alive... but she was never born.

"The Idiot's Lantern" 2.7
My Rating *
There's an alien living in the TV in 1952 London that sucks off faces of its victims.

"The Impossible Planet"
"The Satan Pit" 2.8, 2.9
(Have not yet seen)

"Love & Monsters" 2.10
My Rating - ***
From the eyes of the Doctor's fans.
(A fun premise, but sadly lacks much of Tennent)

"Fear Her"
My Rating - ***
A child's drawings cause mysterious disappearances.
(An interesting episode that deals with the horrors of domestic abuse and escape through imagination and the importance of family and love)

"Army of Ghosts"
"Doomsday" 2.12, 2.13
My Rating - ****
Attacks everywhere! Parallel Universes! Not to be missed!

"The Runaway Bride" 3.X Christmas special (60 mins)
My Rating - **
The Doctor meets a Bride who thinks she's been kidnapped and a Spider attacks London.
(A horrible introduction to Donna)


"Smith and Jones" 3.1
My Rating - *****
A Hospital is teleported to the moon and Martha Jones becomes the Doctor's new companion.
(A brilliant episode and a great place to start if you decide not to begin with "Rose")

"The Shakespeare Code"
My Rating - ****
Martha and the Doctor visit Shakespeare - and learn what happened to "Love's Labour's Won"
(A brilliant, witty and somewhat scary episode)

"Gridlock" 3.3
It is back to New Earth and Martha and the Doctor find everyone living in a subway of the future sort of thing.

"Daleks in Manhattan"
"Evolution of the Daleks" 3.4, 3.5
My Rating - *
In New York, the Doctor and Martha run into a new breed of Daleks
(A poor and somewhat gross episode - worth skipping)

"The Lazarus Experiment" 3.6
My Rating - **
A scientist tries to invent eternal youth.
(Interesting ethics discussion, and Martha's family make a cool subplot)

"42" 3.7
My Rating - ***
Martha and the Doctor are trapped on a spaceship heading into a sun. They must work with the crew to escape before they are burned - or possessed by a strange entity...


"Human Nature"
"The Family of Blood" 3.8, 3.9
My Rating - ****
To escape Alien hunters, the Doctor turns human... and forgets his life as a Time Lord. It is up to Martha to make sure that they survive safely in a Victorian prep school!

"Blink" 3.10
My Rating - *****
The Doctor and Martha are trapped in the past and Sally Sparrow has to save them... but if she blinks, she'll share their fate.
(The weeping angels are absolutely terrifying, but this is one of the best episodes of the entire new series)

"Utopia"
"The Sound of Drums"
"Last of the Time Lords" 3.11, 3.12, 3.13
My Rating - *****
Captain Jack is back - and so is the Doctor's oldest nemesis!
(One of the most fantastic season finales ever! DO NOT MISS!)

"Time Crash" CIN2 Children in Need special (8 mins)
My Rating - *****
The Tenth Doctor and the Fifth Doctor cross paths... and nearly destroy the universe!

"Voyage of the Damned" 4.X Christmas special (72 mins)
My Rating - **
The Tardis crashes into... the Titanic? But it's actually a spaceship...
(Not a great special, it's a clear parody of "The Posidon Adventure")


"Partners in Crime" 4.1
My Rating - *****
Donna is back! And she's trying to find the Doctor! Turns out they make excellent partners in crime.
(An awesome, hilarious episode.)

"The Fires of Pompeii" 4.3
My Rating - ***
The Doctor takes Donna to Pompeii and find what really blew up the volcano.
(Could be creepy for young children)

["Planet of the Ood" 4.2
My Rating - **
The Ood are enslaved... but why are they going rabid?
(A thoughtful look at slavery - but is dark and not suitable for younger children)

"The Sontaran Stratagem"
"The Poison Sky" 4.4, 4.5
My Rating - *****
What if aliens took over our cars? That's just what happens, and Martha must bring the Doctor and Donna back to earth to save the planet!
(Love this two parter! 'nuff said)

"The Doctor's Daughter" 4.6
My Rating - *****
The Doctor gets cloned... and so gains a teenaged daughter.
(Rivals "the Girl in the Fireplace" for best episode ever!)

"The Unicorn and the Wasp" 4.7
My Rating - *****
The Doctor and Donna meet Agatha Christie... and solve a murder.
(Brilliant and chock full of Christie referances!)

"Silence in the Library"
"Forest of the Dead" 4.9, 4.10
My Rating - ***
The Doctor and Donna find a library that covers an entire planet. So why are there no other visitors?


"Midnight" 4.8
My Rating - *
Something is attacking the Doctor's tour bus...


"Turn Left" 4.11
My Rating - ***
Did you know the world would have ended if Donna had never met the Doctor? See why!

"The Stolen Earth"
"Journey's End" 4.12, 4.13
My Rating - *****
All of the Doctor's former companions must unite to save the universe - and all parallel dimensions!


"The Next Doctor" 4.14 Christmas special
My Rating - ***
The Doctor visits Victorian London and meets... his future incarnation?!?

"Planet of the Dead" 4.15
My Rating - ***
The Doctor must partner with a thief to save the world...

"The Waters of Mars" 4.16
(Haven't seen)

The End of Time
My Rating - *****
An enemy thought destroyed comes back... and the sound of the drums spell doom.
(Tennent's last episode and a really good one!)

I am not going to review season 5 yet because I haven't seen all of it, and those I have seen have been poor quality so I don't feel I'm a fair judge yet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Help finish a film and buy cool stuff in the bargain!

As most of my faithful readers know, I am a filmmaker. My latest project is "The Shadow of the Bear" which we just finished filming in August.

We're ready to edit now, but first we need to purchase an editing software. Our amazing fans have come to our rescue by creating an ARTFIRE STORE! full of cute and beautiful items that you can purchase! All proceeds will go towards funding the finishing of the film!


These are just a few of the inexpensive, beautiful and cool items we've got for sale! And more are being uploaded all the time, so if you don't see something now, check back next week for more options!

To learn more about how the fundraiser works, visit the SOTB website.

Costume Company Name Suggestions NEEDED!

I mentioned a few days ago that I'm going to be starting a costume rental company. However I'm having a really hard time coming up with a suitable name.

So I've decided to ask you for help. Post your suggestions in the comments below, and then I'll add the ones I like to the poll I'm going to run next week! If your name suggestion wins, I will give you a $10 gift certificate to the costume business! (which could go towards costume rental or custom design!)

So far my ideas consist of:

History's Wardrobe Costume Rental and Design

Sword and Rose Costume Rental and Design

Chronos Costume Rental and Design

As you can see, I'd like something that hints at historical costuming (although I'll also do some fantasy and possibly steampunk). Also, do check online to make sure your idea hasn't already been used for a costume company before sharing it!

Looking forwards to see what you come up with!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall and TV Shows. (Recommendations?)

It is unseasonably cold this year.

Now I'm not saying that Autumn doesn't have it's perks but - really? It's only September! I'm half expecting snow to come down in a week or too. It's depressing, that's what!

Having finished LOST and Doctor Who, I am now trying to find other TV shows to fill the gap.

So far I've investigated --

Merlin - pretty good!
Flashforwards - would have been an awesome substitute for LOST if it hadn't been canceled. Boo.
10 things I hate about you - um... purely for amusement. But I wouldn't recommend it.
Psych - SO FUNNY!
Chuck - BRILLIANT!
Parenthood - actually a sort of realistic portrayal of a three generational family all living in the same town. I like the premise and so far I've enjoyed the execution. Def. PG-13, however.

Any recommendations of what else I could try? I don't like things that are overly creepy or gory, and I've already enjoyed Firefly, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies. Also, you get bonus points if it is on HULU and CLOSE CAPTIONED. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pink Austen Dress - Part 5

It is finished!!!



So I'm a little annoyed with the zipper, but otherwise it turned out great!

Now what happens? Well, I'm going to be starting a costume rental business and this is going to be available to rent! So if you are a size 6 and need a Regency dress to wear, keep this one in mind! (If you have $100 and want to buy it, feel free to ask about that too).

Celebrating and explaining DOCTOR WHO

I can't believe I've never written a post about THE DOCTOR before.

Of course, that COULD be because my Doctor Who obsession is fairly recent. In fact it only dates back to the beginning of this year. And even then I entered the fandom warily. I mean, creepy aliens have never been my thing. However I was won over by the awesomeness that is David Tennent.

*points to picture below*

Look! David Tennent! Is he not awesome? Yes, I mean Christopher Eccleston had amazing chemistry with Rose and Matt Smith is doing a fair job but...

David Tennent! Really! How can you top that? It's no wonder that he has pushed Tom Baker out of the most-beloved-doctor-ever-slot!

Wait, are you telling me you don't actually know who DOCTOR WHO IS?!?!?!

(Well, no one does, because he's just "The Doctor" and we don't know any names beyond that but... that's besides the point.)

The Doctor is a Time Lord. He travels through time and space in his TARDIS (the blue police box in the pictures). Tardis stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. And guess what? It's bigger on the inside! Much bigger. There are rumors of a swimming pool...

Anyhow, The Doctor is over 900 years old. Like Yoda. Only he's not green and shriveled up like Yoda because Time Lords have this awesome regeneration power. If they get fatally wounded, they start glowing and shooting off energy and generate an entirely new body. Which is lovely because it keeps the show going, but is absolutely TERRIBLE because it meant the end of DAVID TENNENT'S DOCTOR!

*weeps*

(Sorry Matt Smith. You're doing a lovely job. Really. It's not your fault that you aren't Mr. Tennent)

Doctor Who is one of the oldest running Sci-Fy shows ever. It's being going on since the 60's, although it got dropped in the 90's. However they decided it reboot it back in 2005, which happened to be when I was in England. Guess who got to see gigantic posters for the show hanging up in London train stations?

Yeah, I did not realize how lucky I was (for an American). My Dad pointed it out to me and said "Your Uncle used to like that show back when in was out before."

I nodded. "Cool."

And promptly forgot all about it. Until all of my friends and their siblings and the kids I nannied fell under the Doctor's spell. They tried to introduce me to it. They really did. But the Tom Baker episode was weird, and I'm sorry, but even Tennent could not overcome the horror of "The Voyage of the Damned."

But he WAS Tennent, after all, and I had to see more of him. So a friend lent me season #3 and I popped it in to watch the amazingness of "Smith and Jones."

I tell you, that Martha is one awesome gal.


You see, the Doctor nearly always travels with a companion. Over the years there have been dozens of them, some more popular than others. Two of them, Sarah Jane and Captain Jack have actually gotten their own shows. Sarah Jane and Jack are both awesome, but Sarah Jane's show is for kids, and Captain Jack's is VERY ADULT. (Beware).

(L-R, Sarah Jane, Mickey, Jackie, Rose, The Doctor, Martha, Captain Jack, Donna)

When the series restarted in 2005, they introduced the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Rose was a nineteen-year-old girl working in a department store who got attacked by mannequins. Turns out the mannequins were controlled by aliens, whom the Doctor promptly dispatched. Rose thought "oh wow, fun cool guy who can kill aliens and has a spaceship. Sure, I'll travel with him!"

Great idea Rose. End of the world, cyberman attack, stuck in a parallel universe later, Rose finally had to leave. But not before she'd won the Doctor's heart.

(and yes, now we're talking about the TENTH DOCTOR played by... oh yeah, I don't need to say his name again, do I?)

After Rose got stuck in the parallel universe, the Doctor met up with Martha, a med student whose hospital got teleported to "the bloody moon!" Martha also fell in love with the Doctor, but the doctor did not fall in love with her, which made for some interesting episodes as they visited Shakespeare, forgot not to Blink when they met the Weeping Angels, and bumped into THE MASTER. (Who is nearly as awesome as the Doctor, even if he was never played by David Tennent.)

But Martha realized her love was going to remain forever unrequited so she decided to be a strong independent woman and left of her own free will. GO MARTHA! (I was rooting for you, girl!)

So the Doctor was on his own again until he reunited with an old friend - Donna Noble (see first picture). Donna did NOT fall in love with the Doctor and was horrified by the very idea. She's the best temp in Chiswick and can type 100 words per minute - skills which actually save the universe more than once. Donna got to meet the Doctor's Daughter, Agatha Christie, and the mysterious River Song.

(Side note. I don't like River Song.)

But then Executive Robert T. Davies left the show and all the actors decided to leave too. So the Doctor regenerated after one of the best specials ever and turned into Matt Smith.

Right now Matt Smith is traveling through Time and Space with his companion Amy Pond, who sadly has not gotten nearly the decent backstory that Rose, Martha and Donna got. Which might be why so far I really have not liked her as much. My apologies to Steven Moffat, but I think RTD was really better at the character creation, even if you do better with coming up with creepy premises (BLINK covers a lot of flaws).

Next season we get an episode written by Neil Gaiman. Can you say "excited beyond belief"?!?

There. You got to see me completely geek out over something. And go fangirl on you. Hope you enjoyed it because it's not going to happen often. ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Things I've learned this week

- Never drink caffeine after 6:00 in the evening.

- "Chuck" is an amazing TV show (and not just because it has Adam Baldwin in it)

- A six inch subway is too short and a footlong is too long.

- Amanda Seyfried apparently likes doing Mediterranean movies about reuniting long lost lovers while playing opposite a Brit. (Mamma Mia vs. Letters to Juliet)

- Even if you and your assistant only have to watch three kids, you are STILL going to be tired when you're done running the nursery.

- NEVER leave for a babysitting venture without eating.

- A mini speaker (HMDX Sproket) and an ipod REALLY make the medicine go down! Clip the speaker on your belt and tuck the ipod in your pocket and you can have your favorite music following you wherever you go!

- "Into the Woods" is a brilliant musical but the songs will get stuck in your head and you'll wake up at 3:00 in the morning with "Giants in the Sky" running through the background of your consciousness.

- Digital Fashion Shows Rock

- When showing a sister "Gilmore Girls" it is OKAY to skip the Dean episodes so that you can get on to the goodness that is JESS.

- The secret to shopping at Plato's closet is to not go in with any expectations. Set your budget, go through the racks and take off anything that looks like it may have possibility, and don't be afraid to try on sixteen different things. I got five great pieces of clothing for $30 using this method.

- Though there have been three versions written of it, there still isn't a definitive retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."

- "Ice" is my preferred retelling of the above fairy-tale.

- After following Shannon Hale's blog, I hope and pray I never have to carry twins! It sounds horrible!

- You'll always find something more to revise on a novel. Sometimes you just have to be ready to say "enough is enough!"

- Scary dreams about aliens can be defeated by waking up and remember that "The Doctor" is never far behind the arrival of an alien menace on earth.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pink Austen Dress - Part 4

Almost done! You wouldn't believe one costume could take so much work, could you?


With a sheer skirt one has to sew a lot of french seams!
The skirt in all it's glory.
Finding out what hem works best for the bottom of the skirt. This fabric is difficult to work with!
Putting on the hem. First a zig-zag, then a straight stitch.
I used a zig-zag to attach the over skirt and petticoat at the waist and center back seam (where the zipper will go). This keeps them from slipping when I stitch them to the bodice, and prevent fraying.
Sewing skirt to bodice!
Tacking on the waist trim...
Nearly done! (Just have to finish sewing on the waist trim and add a zipper!)

Summer of Light

Mick Brannigan is a tough ironworker in Georgia. He has a wife, three kids, and never fails to bring home the bacon. However when his youngest son Dylan starts showing development issues, his wife Lyane asks him to think about staying home with the kids. She can't, because her job is the one that provides the medical benefits Dylan needs.

Mick's first reaction is along the lines of "over my dead body!" But one horrible day full of everything that could go wrong (including loosing his job) convinces him that maybe he needs to give this a try. So he does... and learns that being a 'housewife' isn't nearly as easy as it looks. Along the way he bonds with his kids, suffers all sorts of hilarious mishaps (Goats, chainsaws, burglars - you name it!), and finds out that somehow he possesses the gift of photography.

This was a completely hysterical book. In fact, I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard over a novel - at least an adult novel! And yet it is also deep and well written - it's no fluff! The adventures of the ironworker turned housewife turned photographer kept me turning page after page, even at 3:00 in the morning or when I ought to have been writing on my own novel instead!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Ghostwriter



Would you accept a position to ghostwrite the memoirs of a former Prime Minister of Britain?

What if he had just been accused of horrendous war crimes?

What if they offered you $250,000 to do the memoir?

What if the last ghostwriter had just be found dead on a beach in Martha's Vineyard... supposedly a suicide?

Ewan McGregor (no character name ever given) finds himself wrapped up in mystery and intrigue, caught between the charismatic Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnen), his smart and tough-as-nails yet simply amazing wife (Olivia Williams) and a world rising up in furious protest.

"The Ghostwriter" is a subtle yet gripping conspiracy film. It's tone is more indie than Hollywood, and quiet rather than action packed. Yet the somber tone is compelling and makes this tale a must for any serious watcher of films.

I was attracted to the story by a trailer attached to "Remember Me", another recent release by Summit Entertainment which I also highly enjoyed. Of course, who could possibly resist the duo of Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnen? Olivia Williams is just the delicious icing on top. All of the actors are at their best, and it is simply wonderful to see McGregor take center stage - and as a human with proper emotions (sorry Obi-Wan!).

It is rated PG-13, but apart from some bits of brief strong language and one dimly lit glimpse of male-backside, and two brief (but non explicit) hints at affairs, it is strangely tame and appropriate for a film of this rating and subject matter.

It'll also keep you guessing. I watched this with a good friend of mine and we kept a running commentary going. Although we did guess part of one of the three main twists, two of them completely threw us.

I'd recommend this film for 16+. Mature younger teens who are interested in politics and writing and can handle the language and themes could possibly watch it with their parents, but for the most part it'll be better enjoyed by the older crowd.

Save the Words!

Are you a fan of long words that everyone else has forgotten? Do you despair of the shrinking vocabulary of the modern world? Do you ever ask yourself "What DO they teach them in these schools?"

Then you might enjoy adopting a word to save over at the "Save the Word" campaign.

All you have to do is solemnly swear to use your chosen word as much as you possibly can.

I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm actually going to do it, but I thought it seemed like a cool idea and figured some of you would be psyched by the idea!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Have you ever wanted to get Published?

Are you a young aspiring writer of short stories and poetry? Have you ever wanted to see yourself in print? Then I highly suggest that you check out the project "Pen in the Clouds." It is an anthology of poems and short stories written by and compiled by several of my friends on the FTN forum. They've been hard at work on it all summer and volume one is going to be released in the next month or so (with all profits designated for SOTB!). They are already looking for submissions for volume two so I highly suggest you investigate the site and consider submitting something!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Levi's Will

While the trend in the secular world is vampires, the trend among many Christian readers and authors has been anything Amish. For some reason the world of black dresses, beards and no electricity has been like a siren's call for the Christian publishing industry.

However, "Levi's Will" differs from most Amish lit for a few reasons. One is the superb writing quality. Another is that this is the story of a man, written by a man. Most historical novels on Christian bookshelves are either written by or about a woman - often both. Yet "Levi's Will" is from beginning to end about Will Mullet Mcgrader, an Amish man who fled his father and family in disgrace at nineteen and spent the rest of his life learning how to deal with that decision.

Running away from home is never simple. First one has to hide, because the family will come after one, and that means changing one's last name. Then if you join the army, you have to stick to that name and whatever backstory you've come up with because if the Army finds out you lied about your name, you're going to be in deep jail-worthy trouble.

Then, if you get married, you've got to choose: tell your wife the truth or not. And if you don't, it is going to leave a mark on your marriage and your children that you might never escape from.

Finally, if you ever decide to go back to your Amish family, there is the whole stigma of banning to live under. This involves such things as eating at a separate table and not being able to bring anything to share, because your righteous father can't eat any food you've paid for.

It's a tough life. But it was a tougher life Will fled from. Or so he thought.

I really enjoyed this novel and would heartily recommend it. There's a bit of language, and although the novel is pretty clean apart from that, this is still a story that is going to be enjoyed much more by the 16+ crowd than the younger ones.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Warts, Witches and Bugs

This month I got the first wart of my life. It was on my foot, and at first no one (even my nurse mother) could figure out what it was. It hurt a lot (especially in the morning) and finally I was able to get into the doctor this morning.

Turns out they don't necessarily have to freeze warts off anymore. My doctor said I had that option... or I could go the beetle juice option, which was painless. I'm a big fan of painless, so I opted for the beetle juice.

As I was leaving the clinic, I started thinking about warts and how we usually associate them with witches in fairy tales. Then I also realized that we also like to picture fairytale witches with lots of bugs and yes, beetles, in their magic potions.

Well now you know why! Those warty witches had to keep lots of beetles around to deal with the pain of their persistent warts!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End is in Sight??? Really?

When you've been working on a novel for four years, it can be disorienting, unbelievable and just plain scary to realize that you're at the end of the writing process. When it has already taken so long, how can it ever be finished? And yet if a book is going to get published, you have to reach the point eventually where you say "This is good enough. Maybe I could rewrite it better two years from now, but it's really good as it is and two years from now I'll write another more brilliant novel."

My particular story has gone through a lot of turmoil. I spent a year and a half writing my first plot, realized it was trash, threw it out, spent a summer mulling over the story and being frustrated that I couldn't write anything, found a beautiful new idea and spent the next year rewriting it, then realized that it still had some issues, so mulled over it some more and revised and edited for the next year...

And suddenly here I am. Going through the final-but-on revision (I hope!). I've got some last-chance readers lined up, and then after making sure that they can all read it and like it and are not confused... off it goes on the agent hunt.

Then, hopefully, I finally get to start something new.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Are you on Goodreads?

Are you an avid reader? Would you love to share your latest book finds, reviews, ratings, etc, with other friends - including me?

Then join goodreads! It's quick, it's easy, and I'm on there so you can see all the books I'm reading (not just the ones I review) and what I think of them! I'd love to friend you there, so join up, then head over to goodreads.com/_Elenatintil to find me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Perfect Party Game... for actors.

Our group of friends has played around with different acting games for the past couple of years. We've used both "Freeze" and "Stand, sit, lay" but our favorite is by far the one we've commandeered and adapted for our own special use. It doesn't have a name yet, although perhaps we should call it the "Trio Game."

What happens is three actors are chosen to go on the "stage." The audience then picks a scenario, and a character for each actor. Sometimes they also will take some or all of the actors aside and give them a secret. Then the word "action" is called out and the actors improv the scenario until the audience calls the end - usually when they're dying laughing.

Examples of some Scenarios from our last party:

- A Vogue reporter, a frat boy and a washed out rock star at a snowed in airport in New Finland. (The rock star is actually a terrorist)

- A director, an assistant, and an understudy who is supposed to replace the recently dead star of the play.

- A principal, a mother and a daughter in the Principal's office. The daughter is trying to get expelled and the Principal is secretly in love with the mother.

- A psychiatric ward at a hospital. Only one person (the suicidal guy) knows where they actually are. The girl thinks the suicidal guy is actually Edward Cullen, and the little boy thinks he's in a Halo game.

- Three washouts from the army at a train station. One has command issues (tried to order around the sargents), one is an idiot, and one is homesick.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The awesomness of 21

I've decided that I love 21st birthday parties.

Last night one of my best friends turned 21, so we had a night of celebration. We started out with bowling, and turns out there is a cheap bowling alley not to far from where we live. I actually surprised myself and won one game. I think I need to bowl more often.

(We also passed time in between knocking down pins by assigning everyone their place on the Enterprise. I got the only girl - Uhura. Sweetness.)

Then we went over to the local Irish pub. I'd never been, although I'd wanted to and boy, was it ever amazing! The decor was beautiful - it looked exactly like you'd expect an Irish pub to, but it was very nice and elegant at the same time. They gave us our own little side room/alcove thing so we had a private setting and beautiful stained glass windows surrounding us. Our waiter was fantastic and funny, and the food was absolutely amaaaaazing. I got this bacon and cheese tart thing and it was so delicious! Also, those of us who were over 21 got beer, and I found a brand that I love. It's called Strongbow and it's so sweet, it's almost like Hard Cider (which up until now has been my favorite alcoholic drink).

Finally we wound up the evening with an impromptu RPG session, which involved lots of crazyness and S.H.I.E.L.D. invasions. I told my gamers that any romantic relationships developed in the game would gain them XP (cuz I'm a hopeless romantic) and that generated some very interesting results. Cliffhanger this week? First appearance of a Sentinel. Du du dummmmm!

I'm now heartily bummed that we all only turn 21 once. My own 21st parties (I got two) were amazing as well.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pink Austen Dress - Part 3

Now that the SOTB filming is done, I can get back to serious costuming.

I realized that I needed to put some darts in the petticoat. Petticoats need to stay close to the body and not poof out on this style of dress. I put four in the front. I'm not 100% thrilled with the final shape, but it is definitely better.
More of a fitted and flattering waistline coming in here.
But the overall silhouette still leaves a stomach bulge. I need to see what the overskirt looks like before I decided if I need to modify the darts further.
Getting to work on the sleeves. Because the pink fabric is sheer and likely to fray, I had to use french seams on the side seams. French seams are a bit of a pain, because first you sew right sides together, than wrong sides together to create a casing for the raw edges.
Creating the casing for the elastic in the sleeves.
Turned the bias tape over, sewed it down again twice and inserted elastic with a safety pin.
Time to gather the sleeve into the armhole. I didn't bother to use gathering stitches. The fabric is so squishable that I just squished it into place and pinned it. Worked like a charm.
Finished bodice and sleeves... :)
Cutting out the skirt...er, overskirt, that is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ink and Fairydust - September 2010



Dear Friends,

I can hardly believe we're celebrating our first anniversary of the magazine's birth. Have we really put out twelve issues already?

We have, and here is Issue Thirteen! http://issuu.com/InkandFairydust/docs/september2010

This month we have some truly wonderful articles including:

Exclusive photos and interviews from the cast and crew of "The Shadow of the Bear" movie which just wrapped filming!

Two articles on how to make guy/girl friendships work - one from a girl, one from a guy!

An excellent story on the heartbreaking tragedy of the modern sex trade. It's tastefully and informatively written and I highly recommend reading it, although I do caution younger readers about the maturity of the issue.

An interview with Regina Doman and Ben Hatke, author and illustrator of the popular and beautiful book "Angel in the Waters."

And many, many articles on all things "Waking Rose."

Enjoy! And if you especially loved an article, feel free to pass it on to all of your friends!

Updated I&F September Cover



The risk of creating a cover early on in the month is that you'll feature an article that doesn't end up getting submitted. Or that a new article will come in that absolutely ought to be featured but you weren't sure of when making the original cover.

Then of course there are formatting issues, and my first edition of this cover was just a tad too busy and hard to read.

So I tweaked it and changed some featured articles and hey presto! New cover.

Drool and enjoy and the September issue should be uploaded in an hour or two, depending on how nice www.issuu.com decides to be to us today.

Novel Wordcounts

I find it really almost funny how little most people know about the standard wordcount of typical novels. Even fellow writers. And yet it's important to know so that you don't under or over estimate the size of your novel and turn off agents that would otherwise be very interested in your work.

A standard 300 page adult novel is 80,000 words. Most YA novels are less.

But don't just take my word for it! While doing research on the topic yesterday (to inform fellow NaNo writers over at the FTN forum) I came across this excellent blog post which gives common ranges for most genres.

Some other numbers...

The Fellowship of the Ring - 177,000 words
A Tale of Two Cities - 135,000
Pride and Prejudice - 122,000
Twilight - 118,000
Wuthering Heights - 107,000
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - 76,000
The Scarlet Letter - 63,000

And while I'm at it, I'll mention that as long as you are looking at proper word count, make sure you've got a properly formatted manuscript as well! Use a clear size 12 font (something like Times New Roman is best) with double spaced lines and at least a one inch margin around the entire page. Before you send your lovely work off to a publisher, do some further research into such things as where to include your name and title, line breaks, and other important details. A simple google search will bring up everything you need to know, but do read more than one article as different people will give you slightly different pieces of advice.