Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Goodbye to All of My Wisdom...

I have two horizontal that are fully impacted and two angular that are partially impacted.  No wonder it hurts!
The last few months I've been having a lot of intense headaches.   My jaw has been really sore, as if I kept clenching my teeth even though that is something that I rarely do.  Also it hurts when I eat anything.  Yup, you guessed it.  My wisdom teeth have decided to become a living nightmare.  Over this last week the pain has been intense enough that I can't concentrate enough to write, edit, or even focus on reading.  Writing anything close to a clever blog has been out of the question.  Tonight I finally had to go back to the dentist's office so that they could figure out what some of the pain was, a filling they put in last week was too large and had to be shaved down.  That seems to be helping with some of the sharper pains but my wisdom teeth are still sticking around until late March.

What does that mean for you guys?  A very spotty blogging from me.  I'll still try to log on here and get something written but if I go silent for awhile, you now know why.  On the plus side I have been able to sit on the couch and watch some great new movies that I'm excited to review.  I broke out of my craving for old classics (for now at least) and have been devouring as many little known British movies as I can get my hands on.

So what's your wisdom teeth horror story or do you still have some lodged in your skull?  Any home remedies that I should be trying as I count down the days?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fellow Bloggers-Desert Island Keepers

Finally, a blog post about Valentine's day that I (mostly) agree with!  I'm a helpless romantic and LOVE finding excuses to celebrate things but Valentine's day has always been at the bottom of my list.  I hate busy crowded places and it seems that is all you find on Valentine's day.  Most chocolate boxes only have one or two good ones, although you feel obliged to eat them all anyway.  Where I do differ with Kris is that sometimes after a long winter it is nice to have some spring flowers around the house.

If, like me, you are sick of ready the lovey dovey stuff about this holiday, pop on over to the Desert Island Keepers and read the wonderful rant that Kris has left us!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Inspiration from Ovid

Since first picking up his writings while in college, I have had an on going love affair with Ovid. He is considered a master of Latin Poetry and ranks with Virgil and Horace by many scholars. His works deal with myth, love, sex, and adultery. His mythological poems are from famous women, like Helen of Troy, written to their lovers who are absent.

The Amores makes up a set of famous love poems mostly about his love affair with an unknown woman named Corinna who was married to another man. They touch on so many issues of today that it is strange to think that they were written over 2,000 years ago. There is adultery, both as she cheats on her husband and later when Ovid cheats on her. He gives advice on women finding older men, he speaks against abortion, and complains that his lover wants material possessions instead of his poems. He mocks her when she dyes her hair another color and argues with her when she wants to leave on vacation. At the end he decides not to love her and regrets all of the poems that he has written about her.

'The Art of Love' is even better as Ovid teaches men how to seduce women only to turn around and instruct women on how to seduce men. He ends the book by hoping that women will follow his advice and spread his fame by saying that Ovid was their teacher.

To give you a taste of what steamy material you can find in a 2,000 year old text here is a few lines from Amores where he tells Corinna how they can flirt together in front of her husband.

Words that are spoken without voice, I shall speak with my eyebrows;
You will understand the words traced by my fingers, words written in wine.
When the wantonness of our love comes into your mind,
With tender thumb touch your blushing cheeks
If you shall complain about me in the silence of your mind,
Your soft hand should hang from the end of you ear;
My dear light, when I do or say things which please you,
Turn your ring round and round your fingers;

Like I said I LOVE OVID and would like to spread his fame by saying, he is my teacher.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Like They Used to...Anne Bronte

A drawing of Anne Bronte done by her sister Charlotte
 I can't imagine writing two classic literary novels before dying at the age of 29 and still being overshadowed by two elder sisters.  Such was the life of Anne Bronte, the youngest sister in a very talented family.

It was while working on a book of poems with her sisters that their pen names arose.  None of the sisters wanted to publish under their real names and so Anne become Acton, Charlotte became Currer and Emily became Ellis; all with the surname of Bell.  It was with these pen names that the girls first became published in various magazines.  After writing the book of poems together each progressed to writing their own novels.  The subject matter of their books, particularly Anne's, was somewhat scandalous for the Victorian era and the gender of the writers became a huge debate.  Many felt that women shouldn't be writing such shocking novels.

Shortly after receiving fame for her works, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Anne, her sister Emily, and their brother all died in less than a years time.  Anne never married or had children, although there is some belief that she once fell in love.

When Charlotte made the decision that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall should not be republished after her sister's death she ultimately lessened the effect that her sister's writing would have on future literature while her own books and Emily's continued to be published.

Oddly enough there were three other children born into the Bronte family.  Their brother was a painter and writer before he became an alcoholic who was addicted to laudanum and the two eldest daughters died before reaching adulthood.  What other classics might we have if Maria and Elizabeth had lived?

Next Week: The King of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Shahanshah of Persia, Lord of Asia and Pharaoh of Egypt.  Only one man could accomplish all of this in one lifetime.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review-Again the Magic

 Lisa Kleypas
Again the Magic
A Historical Romance Novel

This book was fantastic, especially the emotional twist at the end that I refuse to give away.  The story is about two childhood sweethearts whose lives have dramatically changed since being torn apart from each other.  It has wonderful raw emotions and does a great job of portraying the fears and insecurities of the two main characters.  The side story romance for the heroine's sister was also a lot of fun and I couldn't help wishing that there had been more.  Another plus about this book is that Lord Westcliff, one of my favorite Kleypas heroes, is included as the heroine's brother.

I love how real the people in this book felt and that Kleypas was able to create great characters without glossing over their flaws.  Neither main character is perfect but it is clear that both are battling with the notion of love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fellow Bloggers-The Moody Muses!

Today's fellow blog comes from The Moody Muses.  Barbara Wallace writes about how hard it can be for writers to find a process that works for them and how important it is for an author to understand that there is no magic formula that will succeed for everyone.  Pop on over here to read the blog!

I think that we all have problems finding our own pace and often think that those around us who write faster must have some secret that they aren't letting us in on.  Getting results is difficult but well worth it in the end!  Or so we all hope!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Review-Candle in the Window

Christina Dodd
Candle in the Window
A Historical Romance Novel

I love searching out famous author's first novels.  As I read them I wonder why this was the one that got them an agent, an editor, and finally published.  Sometimes there is a unique twist or they have a different way of writing.  I sought out this book because I wanted to know how Christina Dodd burst onto the writing scene.  Candle in the Window appears to have been her first novel and was put out almost twenty years ago.  I set a different standard for books this old.  Romance writing has really changed since then so I give it a pass on many of the things that usually irk me like voice changes and long internal monologues.

From what I can see from this book, it was an interesting hook that got her noticed.  The heroine is blind and for a little while in the book so is the hero.  Dodd pulls this aspect off rather well.  The plot line is propelled and twisted by this handicap, it isn't just a character quirk.  I was also pleased to see that she kept to it very well.  I didn't notice any time when a person could suddenly 'see' something even though they were blind.

Considering the age of this book, it was fun read.  My main complaint would be that it seemed to go on for too long.  There were places where I wanted it to end and tie up the story instead of throwing in another dramatic test for the new couple.  It could have been two tightly written books instead of one longwinded one.  Overall it was an interesting read.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Waiting for Spring

At least my dogs like the snow...

Last winter I moved from Idaho to Maine. Everyone warned me about winter so when I came to New England, I was prepared. Then last winter, nothing happened out here. There was a tiny snow storm, just enough to have wind, drop three inches, and lose power but everything was back to normal by the next afternoon.

I literally laughed at the idea of New England winters being harsh. Idaho is no stranger to -10 or -15 weather, before windchill which where I'm from it is very windy. Then there is the constant ice that starts in October and doesn't seem to fully melt until late March. Maine is much warmer and during most of November and December anything that fell or froze was thawed and gone by the next day. Then January came and what I hadn't planned on was all of this snow.

Now I understand that this is a bit of an abnormal year with more snow than they are used to. Well, that really doesn't make any of this snow easier to navigate. I can't wait for the spring!

How is the weather holding up in your area? Are you optimistic that the groundhog didn't screw up this year and that an early spring is on the way? What is your favorite method of enjoying or escaping the cold winter weather?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fellow Bloggers-Sexy Beard!

Penelope's beard of the day featured a Star Trek hero. Well as a Star Wars fan I HAD to retaliate, didn't I?
I give you the beard of Obi Wan! Sorry Trekkers...we win again!

Like They Used to...Elizabeth Taylor

She is considered one of the last classic movie stars, if not the last. Before there was Bennifer and Brangelina there was Elizabeth Taylor and her eight marriages.

Much of her life was controversial and headline worthy. She has been ridiculed for her support of Michael Jackson and is the Godmother of two of his children. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II. She loved expensive jewelry and her fourth husband joked that a $50,000 diamond could keep her happy for approximately four days. In recent years her health has held her back from furthering her career and she has become more of an activist especially for AIDS.

But what really made her famous was her beauty and her engaging acting. There is no denying her talent. She was the first actress to earn $1,000,000, for her part in Cleopatra, and it was certainly not her last time. Despite the ups and downs of her career she was nominated for five Oscars and won twice. Elizabeth Taylor once explained that "Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells."

I never understood why I often heard her as the butt of jokes, especially when I was younger. Her looks have changed with age, which is not surprising. Luckily I've also noticed that people seem to think better of others when they have left this world. Gerald Ford was considered a dud until the day that he died and people began to fondly remember an undervalued man. Perhaps that is the day the people will look back on the life of Elizabeth Taylor and stand in awe of what she was able to accomplish. Maybe then she will be added to the ranks of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

Next Week: The truth about Acton Bell.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review-Ravishing in Red

Madeline Hunter
Ravishing in Red
A Historical Romance Novel

This book was a surprise for me. I'd never read Madeline Hunter before and the back blurb just didn't seem to draw me in. I expected to find another spy novel with bumbling characters and a weak mystery woven inside. What I ended up loving about the book was that the heroine was not only stubborn and strong, she was also smart. She knows that men undervalue women and she is able to use that to her advantage.

Hunter's use of secondary characters is very enticing. The other women in the Rarest Blooms group were quite entertaining and she did a great job of teasing towards her other books in the series. I liked how she was drawn to the crippled brother and how that then impacted her relationship with her husband. It created some wonderful plot twists that propelled the story instead of feeling like filler. I am excited to continue the series as it unravels each woman's mysterious past. Also, I love her cover!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Movie Review-An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

I'll mostly try to review old movies that I haven't seen before so that they are fresh without sentimental memories of my past sneaking in to sway the rating. Still, I don't want to leave out all of my favorite movies just because I've seen them dozens of times.

My grandmother once sat with me at her table and told me all about the classic movies that she and her sister used to save up for and watch at the local theater. She got to see so many of the classics when they first came out. I remember going home and then watching some of her favorites and falling in love with them just like she had done exactly fifty years before me. I tried not to let all of that sway my review of this movie. By now, you can see that I failed.

Even without the personal value that I take from this film I think that it holds up as a genuine classic. Grant and Kerr are wonderful together and I never doubt that the characters are truly in love. While both of them were attached to other people they are able to break those ties without looking cruel or trying to turn them into villains. The film is able to set up more than a simple romance story, it is able to delve into the characters lives and you even feel bad for the guy who doesn't get the girl. One plot point that I feel really elevates the film is Grandmother Janou. But that might be my sentimentality getting in the way again.