Tag Archives: Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Why it worked. (A non-spoiler review)

Having lived through the insanity of the original three Star Wars movies,

and through the unfortunate disappointment of the recent, forgettable “prequel” movies that most Star Wars fans choose to pretend DON’T exist, my husband and I held our breath as our family braved the crowds and a packed theater at 9:00 AM Sunday morning during opening weekend.

After the huge disappointment of the 1999 Phantom Menace movie, we didn’t really expect much from The Force Awakens.

But wow, were we in for a delightful surprise!

The Force Awakens brings back everything that we all loved about Star Wars. Action, adventure, a touch of romance, and believable, not-forced comedy. The Force Awakens is also filled with characters that you can actually care about.

These are the things that were missing in the prequels. I didn’t care what happened to those people, and I didn’t believe that the romantic leads were in love (or ever would have fallen in love in those circumstances) The prequels were also jam packed with ridiculous tries at humor that instead of being funny, ended up annoying.

But let’s get one thing straight: the Force Awakens will leave you laughing just as hard as you will be clinging to your chairs during the action scenes. But the comedy here is not forced.

Things are funny, because life is funny.

Think about Han and Lea in the Millennium Falcon, and the hyper drive doesn’t work while they are trying to run for their lives.

Leia says, “Would it help if I got out and pushed?”

And Han responds, “It might.”

Very funny, and very believable. The Force Awakens is filled with stuff like this.

We are also treated to the same roller coaster ride plot that made the original Star Wars great: the underdogs fighting for what’s right, up against a more powerful enemy that they can’t possibly beat.

You will also see history repeating itself in many ways.

And we loved every minute of it.

I will admit that I was skeptical when I heard Disney now had their hands on the reigns of Star Wars. Now, I can’t help but think The Force Awakens might be the best thing to happen to Star Wars since the franchise exploded into the theaters in 1977.

Well done, Disney. May The Force be with you.

Have you seen The Force Awakens? What did you think?

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#Free #ebooks “18 Things” by Jamie Ayres #freestuff

Free_Fridays!

Yay!  It’s Freebee Fridays time!

First of all,

Congrats to everyone who got in on the action last week and downloaded a free version of “A Hint of Frost” by Hailey Edwards before Amazon caught up with the little blue lady.

If you’d like to find out more about Hailey, hop on over to http://haileyedwards.net/

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I had fun breaking into Amazon last week.

Well, thanks for not blowing them up, because I rather like Amazon.     This week Jamie Ayres is coming over.

Alien Huh CloseWait, wasn’t she a winner a few weeks ago?

.

Yes she was!  Jamie is a reader.  She hangs out here a lot, and her debut novel was just released.  Pretty cool, huh?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387It’s only cool is things explode in it.

Umm, I honestly don’t know, but let’s see what she has to say.  Put your smiley face on… here she comes.

Alien SmileWell, Hello There.  Welcome, Welcome.

Come on in and get comfy.

Well, you look rather sure of yourself, young lady.

Yeah, well, I did my research.  I know what I’m in for.  Let’s cut to the chase Little Blue Lady.  I’m Jamie Ayres (but you can call me Jaim-O)

PKO_Alien 3 0003387A Lady who doesn’t like to mess around!?

Okay, so what do you want?

I’d like a gallon of coffee and a credit card to buy an unlimited amount of Norman Love Chocolates. Oh, and I’d also like to give away a copy of 18 Things.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well, you have to earn the right to give something away here, Miss Smarty Pants!

.

Bring It!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well this is a feisty one!  Okay… Ms. Ayres… What makes you think your book is good enough to read?  I saw the cover.  It looks boring.

Don’t judge a book by… Oh, never mind… It’s a story about unconditional love, redeeming hope, and taking leaps of faith to achieve goals, with lots of laughs and Yoda-like wisdom sprinkled throughout.

Alien SmileYoda!  A fellow alien!  Maybe this isn’t as boring as it looks!

What would make me want to read it, other than Yoda?

For the same reason we read any story—we long to know we’re not alone, they remind us of ourselves, they give us a new perspective, they make us laugh and entertain us. Sometimes, they make us feel emotions we wish we had in our everyday lives.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I have no emotion

I doubt that’s true. 

You look very emotional. 

Actually, right now I think you’re blue.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Am not!

Have you looked in the mirror?

.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Stop that!

Jennifer, she’s picking on me!

That’s part of the interviewer gig… brush it off, don’t let her get the upper hand!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well, okay then.  So, mis Ayre-y Ayres.

Does anything explode in this novel?

Yes.

Think Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Oh!  I like marshmallows.  Wait a minute.

Ha!  I just got that.  I loved that movie!

Me, too.

That makes us movie sisters!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well, okay, then sister.

Other than exploding marshmallows, what’s the book about?

Can eighteen things save a life?

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Just as she’s finally embracing the joys of living life for the moment, her therapist reveals a terrifying secret and Olga’s world is shaken. In the past year, it took eighteen remarkable things to change a life, but nothing she believed about her mission is true.

Now she doesn’t just risk losing her true soul-mate forever, she risks losing her very soul.

Alien Huh CloseWhaaaat?  It doesn’t sound like things explode.  And you’re another one of those chicks who sounds like they are reading when I asked what their story is about. I hate that!

Ummmm, Sorry?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You best be!

Now you must redeem yourself! Have you ever actually exploded anything?

As a teacher, I’ve done the baking soda and vinegar volcano reaction many times. Also, probably everyone has done fireworks on the 4th of July, but have they blown up a watermelon with fireworks? Enough said.

Alien SmileHee Hee.  That sounds like fun!

Have you ever painted you hair blue?

No, but I let my students do it twice!

And guess what, it was to motivate them to READ!

.

Alien SmileYou sound like such a cool teacher!

Have you ever thought of maybe taking over the world?

Yes. I’m thinking of embedding a secret code in the text of my next book, 18 Truths, that will put everyone automatically under my hypnosis after they read it. I will then order them to build me a Death Star and take over galaxies one by one. Would you like to help?

PKO_Alien 1 0003414YES!  I am up to the challenge!  Finally, a kindred spirit! Have you ever actually been in space?

I’m originally from Dagobah. Do you think an evil-genius writer and master of words could actually be a mere human? Psh!

Alien SmileHa!  Finally an admission of the truth!  I knew someone with such  an extra-ordinary talent had to be from another world!  Welcome to Earth, Ms. Jamie of Dagobah!

It’s nice to be here. 

Does this mean I can give away a copy of my book?

Alien SmileYes!  Absolutely!  Let’s allow people to comment below, and then you, in your infinite alien wisdom, can pick a winner

Great! 

Let’s do it!

.

Alien SmileIf anyone would like to win a free copy of “18 things” leave a comment below.  We will choose a winner on Monday.

How about we give the winner a choice of an ebook or paperback?

.

Alien SmileYou got it!

So start commenting!

If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of 18 Things, please leave a comment below, and if you’d like to find out more about Jamie Ayres, hop on over to http://jamieayres.com/

Work in Progress Challenge Part two. And I Promise to be honest

Okay… here we go.  If you are wondering about the title, I don’t want to get into it again.  Check out my post from yesterday (or click here)

First, Thanks to Roger Colby at Writing is Hard Work for forcing me to do this giving me this opportunity.  Roger’s novel “This Broken Earth (The U.S. Of After)” is available now.  Please check it out.

Without further ado… Here is the Work In Progress Challenge.

1.        What is the Title of you Work In Progress?

Oh yay!  That’s an easy one.  Well, Maybe not.  The novel I am polishing up right now it is tentatively called Fire in the Woods.  But I am also considering “115 Degrees of Perfect”  I could explain either title, but if I did, I’d have to kill ya, ‘cause it’s top secret stuff at the moment.

2.       Where did the idea for the WIP come from?

Oddly enough, I got this idea over a weekend while considering another project.  Jenny Keller Ford cued me in on an anthology.  At the time, all she knew was it needed to be a HEA or HFN (Happily ever after, or Happy for Now) and under 10,000 words.  My brain stewed on this over the weekend, and what I came up with was the premise of Fire in the Woods.

However, I was unable to use it because when I actually saw the writing prompt (it was a picture of a woman in red standing in the snow) it just wasn’t a fit (Which is okay, because Last Winter Red, the story I did write to fit that picture – is being published)

Anyway… This original idea was squiggling and poking me for a few months until I had to write it or give up my sanity.  I’m glad I didn’t try to write this in 10,000 words, though.  The story is too complex.

3.       What Genre would your WIP fall under?

Hmmm.  This could be a tough question.  I want to say Sci-Fi, but when people think of Sci-Fi they drum up images of Star Trek and Star Wars.  That’s not what this really is.

I think it is really more like a Contemporary Urban Fantasy.  It takes place in present-day New Jersey (in the USA)  The main character is a seventeen year old girl, who gets taken on a roller coaster ride when she meets a mysterious boy in the woods.

4.       Which actors would you choose to play characters in a movie rendition?

This is a question that I usually try to avoid.  One reason is that I do watch movies, but I don’t pay attention to actors/actresses names as much as I used to.  In this case, though, I can answer it for at least one character.  The character of David could definitely be played by Taylor Lautner.  Jess and Maggie (two characters) actually mention how much he looks like Taylor.

Maggie is a bouncy haired-pretty blonde eighteen year old.  Anyone want to fill in the blanks?

Jess, the main character, is a little conservative, but I purposely gave her the “any girl” appeal.  The reason is, that Fire in the Woods is written in first person (that means she refers to herself as “I”)  Since I was using this POV, I wanted anyone reading to be able to fit themselves in her shoes.  So, in answer to this question… she would have to be a no-name actress so people could look at the screen and see “anonymous”.  This would help keep them in the story as the “I” character (Did that even remotely make sense?)

5.       What is a one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?

ERGHHH.  Admitting to skipping this and coming back to it later.

***

Okay, I’m back.  One sentence, huh? ERGH!  I hate things like this, but everyone really should do this.  You need to be able to spit out your plot in one sentence if anyone asks you in passing.  Especially for that random publisher you might meet in line at the grocery store – Don’t laugh… it does happen.  Why not be ready?

Okay, yes, I’m stalling.  **sigh** okay, here we go…

Fire in the Woods is about a teenage girl who meets a boy in the woods, and ends up on a roller coaster ride chase across New Jersey to save the boy, and ultimately, the world.

Hey!  That actually sounded pretty good.  Yay for me!

At this point, I am going to stop because I know that I frequently don’t have time to read really long posts.  So in honor of your time, I will finish this up tomorrow, when I’ll answer some really odd questions.  And maybe you can help me with a few.  ???

Until then …

Lesson Twenty-One from a Manuscript Red Line: Common, and Cliché Themes

This one made me laugh.  There is a point in the Gold Mine manuscript where a secondary lead character finds out that someone is his father.  His reaction is “You’re . . . my . . . father?” (minor action element for dramatic effect). “My father?”

What made me laugh is that the publisher said “This immediately bought to mind Star Wars”

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?  You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar.  Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.

Now, I actually did not think “Star Wars” when I read it, but there is another element in this story that has since been removed…  My son and I (he also read the manuscript) were talking about this other element, and my husband said:  “She stole that from Star Wars!”  I was thinking it in the back of my head, but he verbalized it very well.

The problem is, Star Wars is not just a story that was written over thirty years ago.  It is a piece of Americana.  There are too many people in the USA, and in the world, who have seen Star Wars… even memorized it.  You simply CANNOT mess with themes like that anymore, unless you are careful.

Now, is this to say that no person will ever find out about questionable parentage again in literature?  No, of course not.  However, you need to be VERY CAREFUL when you do it.  Like this publisher stated in an earlier post… Find the uniqueness in what is not unique.

You need to make this your own.  When they read your tear-jerking scene, they should see only your characters in their minds, not Luke laying on that platform and then falling down the shaft.  If an element has been used before, and notably so, work that scene harder than any other scene.  Make sure, without a doubt, that the element is now YOURS.  Make them forget all about Luke Skywalker.

 

 Jennifer Eaton