Inspiration

My Favorite Hallmark Christmas Movies

a winter holiday 2017-001Anyone that’s been following my blog lately knows I had a codename for ROCKING CHRISTMAS WISHES while it was in progress.  (The codename thing standard practice for me, for various reasons.)  In this case, the codename was HALLMARK.  What did that mean?  Well it referenced not only my addiction, but also my inspiration while writing.  That would be those holiday movies Hallmark Channel airs (on both channels… or is it three now?  I don’t get Hallmark Drama, sadly so I don’t know).

#1- The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Can I start by admitting I love Henry Winkler?  That right there made this movie a must watch for me when I first ran across it.  But as I watched the story unfold, it was just so fun.  One problem after another presents itself.  And yes, they fall in love too fast.  Yes, they solve everything nicely, quickly, and neatly.  But, there’s no unnecessary drama and no characters that are the ones making themselves miserable.  There are so many warm fuzzies and funny moments.  It has so many plot elements we see in the holiday movies all rolled up into one, in a super enjoyable package.  This one is on my DVR for repeated viewing.

So what’s this one about?  A single mom is stressed out and wants Christmas over.  On the bright side, her favorite uncle is coming to spend it with her, her adorable son, and her super stuffy boyfriend.  On his way to her, the uncle meets a world traveler that ends up stranded as snow cancels his connecting flight.

#2- Debbie Macomber’s Call Me Mrs. Miracle
I love my holiday magic and stranger in town changes everything stories.  And I know people say that sequels are never as good as originals, but this one (and the second in the Brendan Fraser THE MUMMY series) beats the original!  How many are in this series?  Depends.  This is the second one with Doris Roberts as the star.  But there is a third movie with Robert Morrow, where he’s “Mr. Miracle.”

The low down on this movie is simple.  He’s trying to have a real Christmas while his father/boss/owner of the department store is trying to avoid it at all costs.  She’s looking after her enlisted brother’s son (because he’s off fighting in the war) and trying to have a career.  Mrs. Miracle shows up and mixes them all together for a happy ending, eventually.

#3- A Princess for Christmas
I wanted to put Christmas in Connecticut on the list here, but it seems Hallmark has stopped showing the Barbara Stanwick classic.  So I picked the movie that is terrible (scripting is stilted and sudden jumps in character development), but somehow it worms its sappy, sweet way into your heart.  Unless I watch this, it isn’t Hallmark Christmas movie season.  Plus, the actress of Lena Luthor of Supergirl is the main character!

The plot is simple.  The Jules takes her niece and nephew, who are under her care because her sister and brother-in-law died, to her brother-in-law’s family’s castle.  Her brother-in-law had been cut off for marrying a commoner and, now that he and his wife are dead, his father wants to connect with the grandkids.  Dreary castle gets new life and holiday spirit from the Americans!

Honorable Mention: Help for the Holidays
To be honest, this isn’t one of my favorites.  But I felt it bared mentioning because the plot is definitely the closest to my story ROCKING CHRISTMAS WISHES.  This movie stars Summer Glau (I know her from being in that too-soon-canceled, awesome sci-fi show FIREFLY).  She’s an elf sent to help a family find their Christmas spirit once more.

I do have other favorites from other channels and there are also my DVD standbys too.  However, if I started listing those, we’d be here all day!

So, please tell me.  What’s your favorite holiday movie?
What’s your favorite Hallmark holiday movie?
What’s your favorite holiday story?

Interested in WINTER ANTHOLOGY 2017?
Print $18.99 * Ebook $4.99
Please Note:
“Rocking Christmas Wishes” will be released as a stand-alone ebook at a later date, for less than the above.  If you want to buy a copy to just support my writing, that might be the one you should wait for.

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“Rocking Christmas Wishes” Soundtrack

  When I chose to write a story based on a rock band I decided there had to be some music involved!  Here are the real songs, in the order they appear in and why I picked them.

Track 1- Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train”

Ok, I know this isn’t very Christmas like.  But this is the first song officially played in the story.  I chose it after doing some research and finding out this is a hard song to play and something that would be impressive.

Track 2- Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo”

When I think of rock and roll Christmas music, this is the gold standard for me.  Man, to this day I remember holiday shopping at the mall and passing by the Warner Brothers Store and this playing on the multi-monitor display in the center of the store.  Heck, I have the DVD and the CD, so I kind of couldn’t avoid putting it in here.  

Track 3- Radiohead “Creep”

Okay, not so Christmasy once again.  This time, I wanted a song that could explain La’s and Kris’ relationship. While often categorized as a song about stalking, I felt it reflected his “specialness” (being Santa) in contrast to her generally feeling like an outsider.  

Track 4- “Silent Night”

She plays this song twice in the story.  The first time is by herself after everything has gone wrong.  The second time, isn’t as sad (not spoilering).  I just wanted a traditional holiday staple, which was slow to reflect these moments where things got quiet.

So there you have it!  The four songs of “Rocking Christmas Wishes,” one of the stories is A Winter Holiday 2017.

a winter holiday 2017-001

Print $18.99
Ebook $4.99

Which was your favorite song on my list?
What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
How about favorite rock song?

***Please Note: That “Rocking Christmas Wishes” will be released as a stand-alone ebook at a later date, for less than the above.  If you want to buy a copy to just support my writing, that might be the one you should wait for.***

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Why UNMASKING isn’t a comic…

lemonsthesis-cover

Let’s do this backwards!  A countdown.  But not the final countdown.

Reason #3 – Industry Truths
If I took the time to write this all out the chances of it actually getting drawn and made into a comic are super slim (publishing with Penguin would be more realistic of a chance).  As it is, lots of places expect the team (writer, artist, and letterer) assembled before hand.  Very few places take just scripts these days.  There are more comic writers than there are comic artists.  I’m not an artist.*

all_bets_are_off_by_gweberart-d4vjfllReason #2 – I don’t draw fast
*-I’m not an artist.  However, I do draw for fun.  Meaning, I’ve been too busy and I’m super rusty.**

Even at the height of my drawing times, like when I drew that raccoon lady, I was slow.  She took me five days!  So, imagine me trying to draw a page of comics.  A beautiful, what UNMASKING deserves page would probably be seven to ten days each.  I’d be done years from now!

HelenWakes.jpg

**-I’m rusty.  Even my chibi drawing has suffered.  Le sigh…

I could cut corners (the above).  Now, that took me two writing sessions.  I’d say  for the amount of text that picture covers we’re talking double the production time.  Even when you count edits, revisions, re-reads, and not just pounding on the keys, my story gets done faster being a book and not a comic.

So, why isn’t UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS a comic?
Short answer: Because I wanted to make sure it got in people’s hands, being the best it could be, as fast as can be.

UNMASKING #2 will be out Fall/Winter of 2016
Get #1 today!

Before I go, I want to share some good news and some bad news.  I know you’re supposed to end with the good news, but I’m starting with that.

Good News: On March 2nd I did a Guest Post over on the awesome blog of Caren Rich.   I break down some of my character choices when it came to creating Lemon “Em” Law.

Bad News: On February 28, 2016, my dwarf hamster, Gotham, passed away.  He live for almost two months, spoiled as I could manage.  I hope he was happy, because he made me very happy.

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Inspiration: ARROW’s Lance and ALICIA’s Dorndorf

In my short story, ALICIA, there’s a somewhat unlikable homicide detective named Dorndorf. I felt by making him such a jerk, it would make Leon that much more likeable.

To make Dorndorf unlikable, I decided to pull from my least favorite (television) cop. More specifically, Quentin Lance from ARROW. But, not season 2 of ARROW. He was cool during that season. I’m talking Seasons 1 (Detective) and 3 (Captain) Lance.

So, I had to dig down and figure out why Lance made me so annoyed. Then, I had to use these reason to make my Dorndorf just as irritating. In the end, I came up with two reasons.

Reason One: Pigeon Holing
No matter what Oliver Queen does, as far as Lance as concerned, Oliver is up to no good. Lance has a long list of reasons, mostly involving his daughters, for thinking this of Oliver, but even when doing good/the right thing he will say Oliver is up to no good.

Reason Two: Stubborn Beyond Reason
Once Lance decides something, like being mad at his daughter, Laurel, for keeping a secret, he sticks to it. Even when everyone else says he should give it up, he hangs on tooth and nail, until he really has no other option. I could see this leading to some very bad men being put away, but usually Lance uses it to terrorize our masked hero and alienate his family members.

However, Lance does have good qualities. His best quality tends to feed his faults, though. He loves his daughters a lot. This was not something I could show in a short story, so I went with his second good quality, which is he does his job to the best of his abilities.

But, for Dorndorf, I tried to take it further because I lacked the ability to show something else. I tried to show, that despite his narrow mind, he wasn’t some jaded detective. He cared about those affected by the crimes and criminals he investigates. Dorndorf hates seeing people, especially good people, hurt because crime.

If you’re curious as how stubborn beyond reason Detective Dorndorf pigeon holes Leon, pick up ALICIA. Share your thoughts on Lance or any other TV cop you love to hate in the comments!

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Inspiration For ALICIA: Leon’s Scar

From ALICIA

 Like a bad habit, I rubbed my left forearm and the scar there. A scar I’d put there when hopelessness had swallowed me whole.

When I wrote this short story, I wanted to connect with the narrator, Leon.  So, I decided to give him a piece of my past.

I don’t like to touch it, or even look at it most days, but on my left arm there’s a scar I had put there when fear and hopelessness had swallowed me whole.

For Leon, it was when he was still in high school, but for me I was days (if not a couple of weeks) from turning nineteen.  In the story, Leon never says why he did it.  In this post, I won’t get into the events that led up to my suicide attempt.

Even now it is hard to talk about.

The scar we share.

The scar we share.

For Leon, it has been only a few years.   It’s been fifteen years for me.  And we’re both still fighting the darkness.  But, my darkness is further away and its ugliest depth have a harder time reaching me.  The good news is I’m a lot better than I used to be.

And even though I changed details, it was scary to write this bit about him.  During draft two I almost cut it.  I panicked someone would claim it was too unrealistic.  I worried people would judge me.  I got scared that people would not talk to me anymore once they knew how dark my dark got.

But, I realized it was all fear.  I decided to see how I felt when I went onto draft three.  It survived draft three and all other edits.

More fear came when I went to submit it.  I hesitated.  I considered deleting those bits yet again.  Would I be rejected because I spoke of suicide?  How would I feel if they rejected this story with this sensitive part of me?  Were my previous fears going to come true?  It took half an hour to hit send.

I cried when I got the contract for ALICIA.  The scar is just a small part of the story, but it is the biggest part of me in it.  I hope you’ll buy it, read it, and enjoy it.

ALICIA
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Amazon (for Kindle)
Solstice Publishing website
For More Information Click Here!

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-8255

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