Tag 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.

Dear Summer 2013 #MyWANA

Ross Castle, Killarney IrelandI loved you. You were a life-changing summer.

I started in Ireland, the most beautiful place on earth, ended at the computer writing and designing book covers and formatting books so everyone has access to the Mary Beth Lee and Liz Lee books, not just kindle owners.

I survived the summer cold from hell, discovered Zeal, spent July in yearbook camps, said goodbye to a fellow J-adviser who’s retiring after 31 years in the district.

I found a new favorite author: Sarah MacLean <3, finished Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and reread the SEP books I love so much.

I re-embraced Pilates since it helps with the pain caused by the purse and fall-inflicted shoulder injury AND I learned the chiropractor hurts like heck, but makes the pain better eventually.

I wrote and wrote and wrote some more and edited and edited and edited some more and had a blast with Mom and Dad and learned to play dominoes with an ancient set of the game that had been in the bottom of our game closet in the old house.

I rediscovered the anxiety of an empty nest and the joy, too. And learned that blue sticky tack is from hell.

I lost big at poker, but decided the stop at Fischer’s in Muenster was worth it.

I fell more in love with the dog and she fell more in love with me. There’s a chance this is a codependent relationship. We’ll see when school starts Monday.

I slept in late and stayed up late working on books and maintained the weight loss from last year and stuck with the low carb lifestyle.

I had a blast writing the third Sharlene Gallagher book and rewriting To Trust a Prince. I coveted Karen Kelley’s new RV and decided one day DH and I would have one, too.

Thanks to DD’s insistence I finally saw Pitch Perfect and learned to my surprise that no, it’s NOT a baseball movie. I saw I Love You Man and laughed and laughed and laughed some more. And I started Scandal. Wow. Just wow. Shonda Rhimes is a genius.

You were a great summer. I’ll miss you. But it’s time to restart the day job. I love it, even though it’s frustrating some times…especially these days when the powers that be, people who aren’t in classrooms or campus admin jobs, keep asking for more and more and more to the point that effectiveness suffers system wide, but as a former principal told me once: you do what you can do. That’s my non-summer goal for the day job this year. Do what I can do. And try to continue last year’s “keep in positive” goal by focusing on the good part of the job: the students.

Goodbye summer. I’ll miss you. xoxo


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.


Movies for inspiration

I’m spending the day watching movies to help inspire my new book. It’s set in a Texas/Mexican border town. I figured I’d rent El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. DH said I was crazy. He said I’d hate the movies.
He was wrong. But what surprises me is what I found.
El Mariachi, a low budget indie film has somewhat of a cult following, The other two, continuations of that early film are HUGE big budget films. Robert Rodriguez writes and directs them all. But that early film is a thousand times the movie the others are. There’s this amazing sense of irony from the very first frame, a stark cinematography that matches the films’s setting, a sense of foreboding that follows the main character,a hero that’s not quite a hero. I loved El Mariachi, I thought I’d love the other two also. Nope. They’re okay, but nothing in comparison to that early low budget film.


Yes Mom. We’re going to see Harry Potter.
No Mom. We’re not going to hell.
Yes Mom, I do believe it’s one of the best series ever written and no I don’t believe in Hogwarts, Dumbledore or Harry. But I do like to pretend, even though I’m quickly moving in on middle age.
Imagination. Is. Not. A. Bad. Thing.

And if I really want to go there:
Harry Potter is the ultimate story of good vs. evil. Think Star Wars meets King Arthur meets Narnia. Most biblical scholars say there are definite allegorical references throughout the books. Good vs. evil is a staple of fairy tales from the beginning of time. Remember how schools across the nation banned Cinderella for her anti-stepmother ideology and we laughed at the idiocy?
Same thing.
And while we’re at it. Rock and Roll will not damn your soul.

PS: the movie was awesome. Best so far. But still nowhere near as good as the book. I wanna write like Rowling!