Category Archives: movies

The Outsiders Still Resonates

Stay gold, Ponyboy.

Please, please, please, stay gold.

I fell in love with The Outsiders when we had to read it for ELA in 7th grade.

The next year the movie released.

I know that gorgeous cast had something to do with my love for the movie, but it definitely wasn’t the only reason to love the story.

This weekend a small neighborhood theater in Lawton, OK showed the film. DH asked if I wanted to go see it. It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie but I was on board right away.

As we sat and watched I realized the film is cheesy and silly and downright ridiculous and still so, so good.

The conflict between those who have and those who do not is as old as time itself. The desire to hold on to innocence, the theme of brotherhood, the way a split second choice can change everything, the way alcohol can cause people to make stupid choices, that you might think you know what you will do but you just don’t until you’re in the situation, that people who feel like they belong can hold on when it seems like there’s nothing to hold onto, that family isn’t always blood, that beach movies were cheesy but awesome too, that old Mustangs are still cool cars even when they’re driven by villains, that sometimes the villain is a hero, that the name Cherry Valance is still one of the best in literature. All of that is there in this story of social inequality written by a 15-year-old SE Hinton.

There’s more, of course.

But what really struck me as we left the theater and I wiped away tears was how I have always loved the movie and book despite it’s sad ending.

I write romance to deliver happy endings, and I mostly read romance because I know I will get that Happily Ever After.

The Outsiders is an awful, awful ending. But it’s the only ending for the story.

The entire audience knows at the end that even though Ponyboy is smart and strong, chances are he’ll always be a Greaser and the rich kids will always run Tulsa. You can change that out with any city in the US, and it is always, always unfair.

So what is it that makes you leave the theater feeling hope?

I think maybe it’s the idea that we know we can do better.

And we can. I hope.

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

Make Me Cry, But Warn Me First

Media kit file.

Media kit file.

I don’t care how many times I watch Moulin Rouge, every time Satine dies, I cry. When Christian holds her close and screams “No!” I’m right there with him. Earlier when she’s still alive and it looks like Christian’s going to walk away and  Toulouse remembers his line and screams “The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” I cheer. Even though I know in a few minutes Satine’s going to die from TB and wreck Christian’s whole world. 

I love that movie. I always have. I could watch it every day and not get tired of it. The music, the characters, the story. Every bit of it makes me happy even though it shatters my heart every time.

If the movie didn’t start by telling me Satine died, I’d HATE it. But I know, and I appreciate the story of freedom, beauty, truth and love.

I love a handful of movies other than Moulin Rouge that make me cry: Steel Magnolias, Hope Floats, Beaches. None of them surprise me with deaths used only to trigger emotion. All tell amazing stories.

I write romance novels. I’m a fan of happily ever after. People who pick up my books know they’re in for that ride and not the kill off the main character or make the protagonist the villain book. If an author gives me a heads up in foreshadowing or flat out telling me the end before the beginning, I’ll follow them along that box of Kleenex path, no problem. But if they surprise me with a death just to make me cry or because they don’t want to be classified as romance novelists, I’m not going to be a happy camper.

What about you? Tears or happily ever after? Both or it doesn’t matter?#


I write romance novels and mysteries. Check them out here.



Fear Factor: We Can’t Let The Terrorists Win

I wasn’t planning on seeing Batman in theaters. I don’t go to that many movies. I watch them on Netflix or Amazon, make my own snacks and hit pause when needed, which when you’re 43 and drinking a ton of water, tends to be often.
I wasn’t planning on seeing Batman in theaters. The new Batman movies are darker than I usually like. I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a fan of the old TV show. Big fan. Kapow!
I wasn’t planning on seeing Batman in theaters. But then I woke up the news that a terrorist killed 12 people and injured 50 in an Aurora, Colorado, midnight showing of the film, and suddenly I found myself worried about going to any movie. Kind of like I feared getting on a plane after 9-11 and how I feared my school after Columbine because my doors didn’t lock from the inside.
This week, I’m going to see Batman at my local theater. Maybe more than once.
My prayers are with those affected by this horrible crime. I don’t understand what makes people do this kind of thing, but I understand fear, and I know we can’t let it control us or the terrorists win.


Research and Revision: Jail Escape 101 and Fast Draft

Fast draft of Sharlene book 2 complete (LOVED writing this way. Hope I can survive the revisions)

Part of the Fast Draft method is not stopping to do research. Just write the book, get it drafted, then do research during revisions. I made me first pass through the manuscript just to take notes on what I needed to do during revisions.

My main character Sharlene is a guardian angel. She’s got quite the adventure in book 2.

RESEARCH: Spa in Belize (that one you want to go to!)
RESEARCH: French discussion
RESEARCH Mexican beach city with ruins
RESEARCH security systems
RESEARCH EMT procedure for finding someone injured after accident blows up building
RESEARCH hospital stay after big accident
RESEARCH jail escape
RESEARCH criminal surrender
RESEARCH Valhalla, Olympus, Heaven compare/contrast

I love research. Hopefully this will be fun!


The first Sharlene book, Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee, is available on kindle and in print.

Check out my Amazon author’s page for more info.



TEA Meets Delores Umbridge

I remember watching the Delores Umbridge testing scene on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and thinking THANK GOD TAKS isn’t that bad. I think TEA must’ve used the scene as an influence when designing the STAAR and test administrator training. Now if we only had the Weasley’s.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

A little more than 24 hours ago I left Cinemark after watching Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
The movie was awesome.
I’ll never watch it again.
I cried, I felt sick, I thought about leaving the theater. But I couldn’t.
The movie brought 9/11 back. It also brought back how ridiculously guilty I felt for my intense grief. So many people I knew had connections to people who died that day. My only connection was the news, which I couldn’t turn away from.
The movie is fiction, and yet, all I could think was so many people lived this little boy’s horror and grief. So many people lived his mother’s heartbreak and anger.
The movie disturbed me, broke my heart, made me wonder where all that hate comes from.
I can’t recommend the movie, but I can say it’s well written and acted. Maybe it’s good that we’re reminded of the awful truth of that day. Maybe it’s good to be uncomfortable and to wish for a happy ending when the reality is happy endings aren’t possible sometimes.

What is it about Buffy?

1. She’s tough, and she’s unapologetic about that toughness.
2. She’s a girl, and she’s unapologetic about that, too.
3. She says the best stuff. Kudos to the writers for that one.
4. She’s saving the world. Good vs. Evil, and if the wrong team wins, humanity ceases to exist.
5. Angel and Spike. No explanation needed.
6. It’s impossible for it to be true, but I forget that the whole time I’m watching.
7. She has best friends, and they are awesome.
8. Vampires. Even though I’m kind of tired of vampires everywhere else, I still love them on Buffy. And Dark Shadows, but that’s a different post.
9. Romance. 🙂
10. Buffy wants to be a normal girl, but she understands that’s impossible. She embraces her slayer self even as she wars with it.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There are the ties to the goddess, mythology, strong character stories, dialogue, lack of cheerleading ability, crazy fellow slayers, dopplegangers, fake Buffy’s, secret sisters. It’s everything that is good about teen targeted TV, and I love it.
Glad I got to spend two hours with two of my favorite episodes last night: Becoming Part 1 and 2. So good!!!!

I Should’a Known Better

I’ve heard so much about how amazing and awesome Bridesmaids is.
So I went today with DD to see it. I enjoyed spending time with DD, so that was a five of five stars.

The movie:
If a group of guys got together and made a movie about what they thought women were, you’d have Bridesmaids.
Zero real emotion.
The characters weren’t really women. They were caricatures of women developed by men who have no idea about women. Like Monty Python in drag.
And don’t even get me started on the “fat girl” syndrome.
Awhile back I read a blog that said movies are targeted to teenage boys because that’s where the money’s made. Bridesmaids is no exception. I’m sure the men in the room liked the movie just fine. Which makes sense. The director and producers of the movie were all men. The writer was a woman, but I don’t suppose women can write movies I’d enjoy because they’d never have a chance of getting them made.

There are a couple cute scenes. And they let the actresses look like real people instead of botoxed human chameleons. Maybe that’s what Director Paul Feig meant by “I’m a pretty feminized geek.”

I’m sad humor has devolved to a mixture of South Park, Mad Magazine, Playboy and Dr. Sue Johanson. I miss the days of laughter without the uncomfortable after taste of being somewhere I didn’t belong. I’ve learned my lesson. If it’s Judd Apatow, I’ll skip it. AND before I go to see a movie with DD, I’ll check it out online first. I went into this one cold other than a couple cute trailers on TV. Big mistake.

The Aviator

Spent three hours watching The Aviator and loved every minute of it. WOW! Amazing movie about an amazing man. I knew a lot of it but I didn’t realize how brilliant Howard Hughes was.
I should’ve been cleaning house, but I couldn’t do it. 🙂
Several interesting ideas about the new WIP including this eight-yr-old little boy who keeps bothering the teenage daughter of my main character. Very interesting. It’s so cool when the characters are absolutely real. Wish all my characters would talk to me the way these are.


Next to reading movies are probably my favorite way to pass time.
I spent all day with my writing group so I watched The Terminal tonight. The movie had tons of great reviews and I’m a big Hanks fan, so I was looking forward to it.
It wasn’t that great. The acting was wonderful but the script just lacked, well, a lot. I wanted to believe it. I wanted to love it. But in the end it was just so-so. I think a big part of that was because it seemed like the writers wrote from scene to scene without any real continuity or flow. I guess if it were a book and I were the editor I’d call it episodic. Of course it was a hit in theaters and obviously WASN’T rejected, so what do I know? 🙂

One of my CP’s showed me a new book she bought. it was almost my exact plot from a book rejected a couple years ago for being unbelievable only hers had a high concept spin. This published book is about a town bought on e-Bay. My land developer just bought land in the small Texas town the normal way. 🙂
Hit home once again the reality that there’s no such thing as an original plot so the voice better be amazing. I hope I’m getting to that point in my writing. And actually after looking at the back cover flap of the book my CP bought I saw how the author worked to put a slightly unusual spin on several of the elements. Made me see the importance of digging a little deeper when I do plot.

I’m working on my next Women’s Fiction right now. It’s gritty. I’m experimenting some with the story telling. The opening is all back story, but it’s essential to the book, essential to all parts of the story. I tried writing it in traditional novel format but it was drawn out, slow. In the middle of a scene I saw my heroine sitting on a front porch looking out on a dusty road. She was older and somewhat content and totally different from what I writing and she was telling me her story. It was awesome. I could see her so clearly. So I deleted what I’d written and told the backstory in a three page first person prologue. When she was done talking it was time for the NOW story. I moved to third person.
I have no idea if this is going to work but I’m going to try it out.