Friday, August 14, 2015

The Force Is With Us

We still have a few months until that magical day that the new STAR WARS movie is released. I happened to see the trailer again this week. My skin got all goosed up. And yes, by the end of that 1:59 teaser, I had more than a few tears in my eyes. That might be an acceptable reaction if it was the first time I saw the trailer, but no...I'm guessing if I hit PLAY again, I'd react about the same each time. 

So why?  Why can a two-minute trailer of a movie have such an epic affect and reduce me to a pile of dribble? There have been many grand movies in our lifetimes, movies more critically acclaimed. What is it about STAR WARS?

It's the Force.

As Luke states in the trailer..."My father has it, I have it, my sister has it...and now you have it."

Well Luke, we have all watched you grow. We had our trading cards, our models, our sleeping bags, our dreams, and now I can honestly say, "My mother had it, I had it, my brother had it...and now my nieces have it." The Force is strong in us.

STAR WARS wasn't a movie. It was a world we all escaped to. A world with characters who truly became family. (And no, I'm not talking about those Jar-Jar Binks movies) There are quotes we utter without even know we're quoting a movie. It's instinctual. These aren't the droids you're looking for. And the music. That music! When the first strains came on in the trailer, the tears were already forming. Hearing that haunting tune in the beginning of the trailer immediately transports you back to a time when the Force was so strong. So much excitement. Bonds with friends. Bonds with family. This was STAR WARS! A time when you could say to your mother, "Mom, I can't possibly come to the dinner table, I'm battling the Imperial Storm Destroyer!" And she would say, "Oh!" and grab an X-wing fighter and join you. 

It was the frustration every time the Millennium Falcon didn't jump to light speed. I think my fingers went through my palms, my fists were so tight. It was the sheer impact of the last ten minutes of Empire Strikes Back. Right along with Luke we vaulted from our childhood into some grim reality where Darth Vader shocked the hell out of us and Han Solo was taken away. You can't take Han Solo away! He can't be frozen in carbonite forever! I think I walked around like a zombie when that movie ended.

And today, how long has passed since you saw STAR WARS? A week, a year, a decade, several decades? If someone put a blinder on you, could you not identify the sound of a light saber?

No matter what this new movie holds, good or bad, I'm cherishing the memories it evokes. I'm cherishing the feelings it stirs. The Force is strong in me.

Where were you when you first saw the original STAR WARS? In the movie theater? On VHS? On DVD?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gunalcheesh

No, I didn't sneeze.  Gunalcheesh is Tlingit for, "Thank you."  The Tlingit are from Southeast Alaska. Their name translates to People Of The Tides.

A nice young local man tried to explain how to pronounce Gunalcheesh. He said the closest he could think would be, "Good-ass cheese".

Southeast Alaska was beautiful...and blessedly cooler. People warn that it rains there a lot, but I had 8 out of 10 days of sunshine. 

Here are a few photos to share.


A jacket!!  Back home it was 97 degrees and here I'm wearing a jacket. Awesomeness!


 Juneau harbor is a parking lot for cruise ships.

I didn't take a cruise, but they sure are impressive.

 Downtown Juneau.

 Mendenhall Glacier.

 I tried my luck at panning. Managed to find a flake or two of gold.

 Took a whale-watching tour from this harbor.

This was one of those, 'pull off the side of the road and take a picture' moments.

Hiking through the wilderness. What you don't know is that at this very moment, bug spray was my best friend. 

 I want to live on that boat.

Humpback whales!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Release Day!

SHADOW is now available!

The Shadow was watching her again. Sophie Diem could not see him. She could not prove he was there. 

Sometimes he would approach. On those occasions she tried to run. Running was pointless, though. He would always return. And he would always ask the same question−over and over and over… 

Where is Nathan Bethard? 

Sophie's boss has skipped town, abandoning their counseling firm. Now a stranger is stalking her. Granted, the man is drop-dead gorgeous, but nonetheless, he is still a stalker. In an attempt to flee him, she seeks a new job...in London. 

Surely crossing the Atlantic will be enough to deter her shadow.

EXCERPT

Sophie Diem closed the trunk of her Corolla with her elbow. It popped back open, of course. There had to be a sensor that detected just how many shopping bags she could juggle at once. Throw in a cold October rain and she realized that the free pinky on her left hand did not possess enough power for the deed. With a sigh she dropped three bags down on the wet sidewalk and slammed the trunk shut. Stringing her fingers through the plastic bag handles, she cursed when the paper towels toppled out. 

Something made her pause. That keen sense of being watched. It crawled up the back of her neck as surely as if the perpetrator stood behind her with his fingers around her throat.

It was him. 

He was watching her again.

Her shadow. 

She could not see him. She could not prove he was there. She could never prove that he was there. But his eyes bore into her back. 

Would he approach her today? He had done so in the past−the tall man with eyes the color of the darkest storm. The man who moved with catlike agility, but looked as if he rarely slept. The man who evoked chills even when she could not see him. 

She had told others about him. Under their encouragement she had even approached the police. There was nothing they could or would do, though. She had no name for this man. No identity. Anytime she tried to trap him, he disappeared. 
Oh, she had tried. She had even attempted to record him once with the microphone on her cell phone. But what good did a voice do? In the eyes of the police there was no physical threat. There was no name or body for them to go after. And again, the man would slip back into the night.

“Hello Sophie.”

The deep voice rumbled in the rain. The drops concealed his tread as he crossed the street to stand at her side. Dark rain coat. Dark pants. Gleaming dark hair. A face cast in shadow. He was a manifestation of the street itself−as if the pavement had morphed into this daunting figure. 
She did not bolt, though. If she ran as she had done in the past, he would just let her go. 

But he would always return. 

He would always find her.

And he would always ask the same question−over and over and over…

Where is Nathan Bethard?

  

    




Friday, December 26, 2014

SHADOW Cover Reveal!

I am happy to share with you the cover reveal for my new Romantic Suspense, SHADOW

Now available for pre-order!

The Shadow was watching her again. Sophie Diem could not see him. She could not prove that he was there. She could never prove that he was there. But she constantly felt his eyes. 

Sometimes he would approach. On those occasions she tried to run. Running was pointless, though. He would always return. And he would always ask the same question−over and over and over…

Where is Nathan Bethard?


Sophie's boss has skipped town. Now a stranger is stalking her. In an attempt to flee the man, she seeks a new job...in London. Surely crossing the Atlantic will be enough to deter her shadow.



SHADOW is the first in a 3-book series featuring dealings with a fictional company called Blue-Link. This company offers global risk management assessment. If you are a business seeking to open a branch abroad there are factors to consider. Civil unrest, health epidemics−even the impact of nature. Blue-Link will be there to assess and advise.  Coming soon...MIST.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Spot

Today, I take a step away from writing to talk about fish. I would like to introduce you to Spot.  Spot is a Cory Catfish. Cory Catfish come in several different varieties. I have an Albino Cory and a Pepper Cory. I never like to name my fish because they often don't last. I simply referred to my two little catfish as 'the Roombas'. 

The Roombas are the happiest damn fish I've ever seen in my life.  Cories like to school, or have others of their own kind around them. These two Roombas are best friends. They sleep side-by-side. They play together. I always sing Me and my shadow to them.

I went to Petco for something for the tank. I had no intention of getting another fish. The Roombas were happy and I didn't want to tamper with their peaceful existence. Then I saw Spot. I named him Spot the second I laid my eyes on him, already disregarding my rule. He is a Leopard Cory, and he was the only catfish in a giant tank of other breeds. The poor fellow was all alone, with none of his kind to play with. Huge sap that I am, I knew I had to bring him home.
In this picture, see the long beautiful tail of the fish in back,
and then look at Spot's!
Well, when I got him there I realized that Spot had no fins! He'd lost his tail and he'd lost his top fin. Those bullies in that Petco tank must have been nipping at him all this time, and now he's just a chubby little body who wiggles like crazy in order to move.






I am proud to say that the Roombas welcomed him immediately! They have a habit of touching each other, or laying down next to each other. It's a big tank, and yet the trio all sleep together in a tight little row. (Yes, Catfish sleep). Nobody nips at Spot now, and in time he will heal and grow his fins back.







***UPDATE 8/28
I am happy to report that Spot is thriving and his tail is growing.  This leaf is a common resting place for the other two fish.  Without a tail, Spot hadn't been able to swim up there. Now he's sleeping on it too!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Memories

How far back can you remember?  I have snapshots in my head. Images that were seen through my eyes but that contain no cohesive memories to go with them.

My first full-blown memory is one born from sheer panic.  I was four, or possibly still in my late threes. Quite simply, I fell into the toilet. As I was later told by family, we were visiting someone else's house. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet and my little butt fell right in, and I was stuck.  

That was probably the last time that my rear-end was small enough to manage such a feat! :) 

Anyway, I don't remember what the bathroom looked like, or what color paint was on the walls. I just remember that sensation of my legs being stuck and trying to scoot myself out of my predicament.

I believe once you turn four or so, the memories start flooding in. Often they are there, but don't emerge unless triggered by something. Smell is a big factor. To this day I can remember the way my great-grandmother's house smelled. No other house anywhere will ever have that distinct scent...and with that scent comes the rush of memories.

Last night I heard the song, MORE THAN A FEELING by Boston. Immediately I was morphed to Panama City Beach. I was probably around seven at the time. My mother must have been distracted because I somehow got onto the Bobsled ride all by myself. To this day I remember every sense about those few moments of sheer independence. I remember the music. It was so loud. I remember the mountains painted on the wood, flashing by every few seconds. I remember the wind, and I remember the tug of the ride pulling me back into my seat.  That's all I remember. I don't remember if I got yelled out afterwards, but I remember the rush.

What are some of your earliest, most vivid recollections?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What's Your Favorite Movie?

Okay. Everyone always asks that question.  But can you answer it without hesitation, or do you have to toss a few around before you come up with a decision?

Mine is definitely JAWS. Without a doubt. It will never be surpassed. I don't even hesitate when I pick my favorite scene from the movie.

Chief Brody has had a bad day. A really bad day. Hooper shows up with a bottle of wine. Note in this picture that there is still some iced tea left in Roy Scheider's glass.  In the scene, he proceeds to pour that bottle of wine into the same glass, mixing it with the iced tea and nearly filling it to the top.  He then offers his wife and Hooper a mere shot-full each in their respective wine glasses. The man has had a bad day. :)


Famous movie lines also come to mind. "You're gonna need a bigger boat," is right up there. There are others that I'm sure I'm missing. "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?" "Luke, I am your father." (which actually was never said...) "Yo, Adrienne." "Frankly Scartlett, I don't give a damn." 


Any HOUSE fans out there?  When that show signed off, it always showed Bad Hat Harry Productions. This was actually a scene from JAWS with Chief Brody talking to one of Amity's fine citizens.

Okay, now the next popular movie question....which movie makes you cry the most?  Perhaps this one will surprise you. Again, without hesitation I will respond, A Walk To Remember.

Heck, I get dribbly-eyed just typing the name. Of course the whole movie is depressing, but the scene that gets me the most is when the son learns that his estranged father is paying for the health care facility for his dying girlfriend. At this point the boy is so despondent he is stripped of all pride. He shows up on his father's doorstep and just hugs him and starts crying.  And then father starts crying...and then I start crying. It's a mess.

Do you have any definitive movie favorites? Movies that you don't even have to think about when people ask you these questions?