Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fab Five ~ Movie/TV Heroines

And I'm back!  Let's see which heroines made it onto today's list.

Also, don't forget to check out Rebekah's post.

General Leia Organa ~ Star Wars

Okay, who doesn't love this woman!  I mean, wow, she's a total badass and I love every single thing about her.  And it breaks my heart that she is gone now, not just the character, but the actress as well.
But how fitting was it that Luke's last words to her onscreen were:
"No one's ever really gone."

Rose Tyler ~ Doctor Who

Now so far, Rose is the only companion I really know, but I just love her!  She's smart, spunky, sassy and sweet as can be.  And that little thing she does with her tongue is totally adorable!!

Katie Meaghaid ~ The Decoy Bride

Katie lives on a little Scottish island taking care of her terminally ill mum and writing travel guides for the island.  Then this fancy celebrity couple (played by David Tennant and Alice Eve) come to the island to be married, and when the paparazzi catches on, Katie is hired to act as a decoy.  Of course, things don't go right ans shenanigans and high-jinks ensue.  It's one of the most hilarious movies I've ever seen and I love it!!  Kelly MacDonald is a very good actress and I love this role of hers!

Chae Young Shin ~ Healer (Korean Drama)

Now, I originally told myself that I wasn't going to do any heroines from the the same movies/shows I did heroes from, but I just had to put Young Shin on here.
Like Healer, this girl has been through a lot of rough stuff, but it only shaped and hardened the diamond she is.  A reporter for an online gossip magazine, she's the funniest, bubbliest little thing and runs smack dab into trouble without looking either way.  Her father is a lawyer who takes cases for those with little funds, and he often defended criminals.  When they were released from jail, he would find them jobs and help them start down a new road.  Therefore, they often hung out at his coffee shop a lot, and taught Young Shin their various skills at a young age.  She can pick locks and pockets like the veriest street rat and her skills cause a rather funny scene once.
Jung Soo takes her to a private place of his and he always gets there by picking a lock.  He starts to pick it, but then remembers she is with him (she doesn't know who he really is at this point, she thinks he just the new intern at the office) and says that he forgot the key.  She waves him aside and nonchalantly picks the lock with a hairpin...and then realizes what she just did.  It's absolutely hilarious. 

Cinderella ~ Disney's Cinderella (2015)

 Cinderella was never my favorite fairytale, and I found the animated Disney movie to be completely boring, but the live-action, was fantastic!
Cinderella has actual character and emotions and Lily James was absolutely the perfect person to play her!  So yes, this is a version of Cinderella that I love.

Well, I hope you all have fun reading about these women and I can't wait to share the book heroines with you!
See you all later!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Fab Five ~ Book Heroes

And I'm back!!

Today I have five books heroes I enjoy, not my favorites!

Dr. Robin McRae ~ Dear Enemy - Jean Webster

Dr. McRae - or Sandy - is the taciturn, curmudgeonly Scotch doctor on call for the John Grier Home, an Orphanage in New England that is the setting for this epistolary style novel.  Sandy is the best because - while he is grumpy, grouchy and often fights with and then ignores the heroine - he is an absolute sweetheart and the glimpses of his behavior with the children are so beautiful.  He really loves them and his dedication to his work is amazing. 

Chip Bennett ~ Chip, of the Flying U - B.M. Bower

Ah, Chip Bennett, the best rider on the Flying U and such a sweetheart.  A man of few words, he has a heart of gold and is very talented not only at making the Little Doctor's heart beat fast, but also with a brush and paint and the wildest horses on the place.

Daniel Pickett ~ Kiss of the Spindle - Nancy Campbell Allen

I didn't want to go with the books cover here, but I couldn't find another picture that satisfied me.
What I love the most about the hero from this Steampunk Sleeping Beauty retelling, is that he's not all swoony the first time he meets the girl, on the contrary, she blackmails her way onto his ship, and he is mad as can be!  But as you get to know him, you find a kind, caring young man suffering greatly from PTSD and doing his best to help those persecuted unjustly make new lives elsewhere.  And his jealous moments are an absolute hoot!

Devin the Pooka ~ MBRC series - K.M. Shea

*shakes head*
I imagine Devin looking something like this, he is tall, dark and handsome and a total rouge!  A shapeshifter and a flirt he annoys the heroine to no end...and he's not technically the hero of the series, but then again, it doesn't really have a hero.
But underneath his charming, womanizing exterior, is a man who would do anything to help those he cares about.

Dawsey Adams ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer

Though this is a picture of Dawsey from the movie, I would like you all to know from the very start that....I  DO  NOT  LIKE  THIS  MOVIE.
Now don't get me wrong, the actors and actresses were fantastic and Lily James and Matthew Goode were just the best not to mention Kit was adorable, (oh, and the totally got Mark's "American Arrogance" down pat!), but it just wasn't as good as the book!  They cut out way too many things and changed other things merely for the sake of drama and I hate it when they do that!

Anyway, rant over and back to Dawsey!!
Dawsey Adams was a farmer on Guernsey Island during it's occupation by the Germans in WWII and the horrors he endured are more then just heart-wrenching, they are out right sickening!  But he didn't let the atrocities committed by some (Germans) blind him to the good in others.  And when her parents were arrested, he took the child of his good friends an raised the little darling with the help of other friends.  He is just one of the best fictional heroes I have ever read the story of!

Well, that's all for tonight, be sure to check out Rebekah's post and tell us what you think!
So long!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Fab Five ~ Movie/TV Heroes

The lovely Rebekah and I have begun a new blog series, that - as you can see above - is called Fab Five.  On Tuesdays and Fridays we will be talking about five characters, scenes, settings, etc. that we enjoy from different books, movies and TV shows.  Movies/TV will be Tuesday and Books will be Friday.

I hope you enjoy these posts and feel free to join in if you want!  If you want to use the graphics I created, just shoot me an email at (fromtheashes2931[at]gmail[dot]com) and I'll send them over!

Soo Jung Hoo - Healer (South Korean TV drama)

Jung Hoo/Healer, is my favorite kdrama hero.  He is smart, funny, incredibly good looking, but also has this depth that is just amazing.  He's been through a lot of hard times, but it has turned him into an amazing young man.

Zorro/Don Diego de la Vega - Zorro (1957/59 TV Show)

Now I don't watch a whole lot of old TV shows, nor many old westerns, but who doesn't love Zorro?  It is possible that I might have just the teeniest bit of a thing for masked heroes.  Just a smidge of a thing! ;)  But seriously, he's just the coolest ever and I adore watching this show.  But I must confess, I like the men's costumes more that the ladies in this show.  Those old Spanish style suits are just so gorgeous!!

Porthos, Athos, D'Artangan and Aramis - The Three Musketeers (2011 film)

Okay, okay, okay, I know this is four guys rolled into one, but they are just so cool!!  I mean, really, just look at them!!  Now I've never read TTM book, and this is actually the only screen version I've seen, but it's a total hoot!  And the snark and sass these four men manage to just pour out of themselves without being dumb is totally the best!

Jim Craig - The Man From Snowy River (1982 film)

Jim Craig is just totally and absolutely amazingly awesome!!  And look at that grin!!

Merlin - Merlin (British TV Show 2008/12)

So first of all, I think I've mentioned before that I am extremely partial to Irish actors?  Well I am, but that is only a small part of why I like this Merlin. ;)  There is something very compelling about the tale of this young man full of magic who comes to a place where it is absolutely forbidden and watching him struggle to not only survive there, but to save those around him from the darkness.  And Colin Morgan is just plain awesome!  I just wish they had ended the show differently.

Well, that is all for today, folks!  Be sure to check out Rebekah's post (linked in her name at the top of this post) and tell us what you think!


Long time no see, folks!

Since last I posted I have (in no particular order):

Cut my hair.  It used to be waist length and I got a layered, just below the shoulder, cut.  Taking off all that length really brought out the curl and having such short hair took some getting used to!

Put up a Christmas tree for the first time in many, many long years.

Set up a bookstagram.  You can follow me @frosty.dragonfly.reads

Completed all 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo in less than 30 days!  I'm still really surprised that I actually did it.  My novel is a steampunk fantasy Beauty and the Beast with bits of The Snow Queen and East of the Sun, West of the Moon thrown in.  Never before have I had a story flow as smoothly as that one did!

I have met many new people, lost touch with others and had a few angry discussions with life.  But on the whole I am doing very well and am looking forward to posting on here more regularly.

So, I will see you all later!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dancing & Doughnuts ~ Interview

I am absolutely delighted to bring you all an interview with the lovely Rachel Kovaciny today.  But first I would like to apologize for the lateness of this post and if anything shows up weird or doesn't come through.  I've been having internet issues.

My questions will be in boring old black.
Rachel answers in purple.

Hello, Rachel!  Very glad to have you here today!

I'm very glad to be here! 

I greatly enjoyed Dancing & Doughnuts and I'm glad I have the chance to ask you a few questions about it. 

Yay!  I'm glad you enjoyed it 😀 🙂  I had a ton of fun writing it.
First question.  What "got you started" with writing fairytale re-tellings?
I actually had the idea for a western retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" six or seven years ago.  But I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in fairy tales retold to feature cowboys.
But then Elisabeth Grace Foley wrote "Corral Nocturne," her version of Cinderella, and it was such fun to read.  And when a writer I know, Hayden Wand, won the "Five Enchanted Roses" contest from Rooglewood Press, I thought, "Hey, I could enter the next contest of theirs."
But when they announced the next fairy tale contest would be for retellings of "Sleeping Beauty," I was like, "Oh.  Never mind."  Because I've just got a lot of issues with that fairy tale.
But... I got an idea for a western version of it, and I realized I could FIX a lot of the things that bug me about that fairy tale, so I wrote my own version, which eventually became "The Man on the Buckskin Horse," which won the contest and got included in their "Five Magic Spindles" anthology.
(There, I'm done.  Sorry, that got long!)
As a lover of Westerns and fairytales, I'm glad you decided to give it a whirl!
You're welcome.
I was wondering though, why westerns?
Ahhhhh, why westerns specifically.
Because I love them.  I grew up watching old cowboy movies and TV shows with my dad, and I used to dream of owning my own ranch in Texas.  Westerns are absolutely my favorite genre to watch, and I love learning about the history of that era.  So in 2012, I started writing a YA western, my first western story in probably a decade.  And it felt like HOME.  Everything about writing that book just felt RIGHT.  By the time I was finished with the first draft, I realized I didn't want to write anything but westerns.  And I basically haven't.
I feel that westerns are America's mythology, and they really fit with fairy tales in a neat way.
Both westerns and fairy tales tend to teach the audience lessons about life, morality, and human nature. 
I couldn't agree more!  I've actually wanted to write western fairytale re-tellings myself.
I had the idea of a town where there both fairytale re-tellings and Jane Austen re-tellings.
Thank you! 
I think Jane Austen retellings in the old west would work superbly.  Actually, Cloaked has a bit of a Northanger Abbey vibe to it.  😉
You just make all the large land owners into large ranchers!
I have yet to read that story.  Is that your Red Ridinghood re-telling?
The eras aren't that different -- only about 70 years apart -- so a lot of the mores and conventions would be so similar.
Yup!  That's the Little Red Riding Hood one.
Very true.
Is there a specific event or story that you can point to as the inspiration for D&D?
Well, like I said, I got the idea for it probably in 2012 or 2013.  It's been a while.  I do know that just the idea of the main character being a soldier home from the war is what first made me think, "Hey, this could be a Civil War veteran!  This could be a western!"
But more recently, sometime in the spring or summer of 2017, I read something about dance halls that taught me that dance halls were NOT brothels, but were places where respectable people could meet and dance, and that really made me go, "Oh!  Twelve dancing sisters could work at a dance hall!"
And the story kind of snowballed from there.  Unfortunately, I no longer remember how I decided to add doughnuts to the mix, other than that "Dancing and Doughnuts" sounded like a fun title.
It is a cool title and I love the premise.  And yes, it is a bit annoying how few people know the difference between dance halls and brothels.
While we are on the subject of the girls, will they appear in later re-tellings?
Ahhhhhhhhhhh.  Um, well, probably not.  Not in another book, anyway.  However!  Just like I wrote a short-story tag to "The Man on the Buckskin Horse," I am open to ideas for short stories that add on to the books.
In fact, I have an idea for a prequel to this book, though it hasn't totally gelled.  But it would be a short story, something I'd offer for free somehow.
But the Once Upon a Western series is an anthology series of stand-alone books, so the next book will have all-new characters again.
Interesting.  I was hoping that some of the younger girls would be featured in their own story. 
But I can understand why you would do it that way.
I will not say it can't happen, because it could.  But I'd need an idea to hit me. 
It lets me explore different regions and eras -- like, Cloaked took place in the 1880s, but Dancing and Doughnuts takes place in the 1860s.
I was very tempted to stick Mr. Palmer from "The Man on the Buckskin Horse" in this somehow, but he never quite fit.
But I could see kind of having cross-overs in some short stories somewhere.
*nods* That makes a lot of sense.
Which character was your favorite to write?
Shhhhh, don't tell any of my other characters this,
but Jedediah Jones was more fun to write than any other original character I have ever written.  I LOVED writing him.  He basically wrote himself.  I just took dictation.
I noticed that one was quite talkative!
My favorite characters to read were the Sheriff, Mr. Kitteridge, Clara and Felicity.
Awww!  I absolutely love Sheriff Walbridge and Mr. Kittredge.  I would happily marry either of them.
You know, if they weren't fictional and I wasn't already married.
Um, and if they weren't married/engaged.
You know what I mean.
Funny, I was thinking that myself!
Clara and Felicity were superbly fun too.  Clara in particular just tickles me.  She's so snappy! 
Aye, that she is! 
If you do wind up writing any short sequels, I hope we see more of Trouble and More Trouble!
They were an absolute hoot!
Awwwww, those two.  I love those two!
I honestly meant to give them actual names, originally, and just stuck Trouble and More Trouble in there as placeholders.
And then I realized that nope, those were exactly what they needed to be called.
That's amusing.  If I were to learn their real names, I would never call them that!
I had to stop them from running away with the whole story a couple of times because they really do have a great energy to them.
Yes, they do!
They never did confess their real names to me.  And I'm okay with that.
I think most of your readers will be too! 
They'll have to be! 
This next question is one of my favorites to ask in author interviews.  Were any of the characters based on real life people?
Actually, yes!
I don't normally base characters on people I know in real life, but I made an exception this time.  My mom belongs to a book club at the church I grew up in, and last year, they invited me to come talk to them about my book Cloaked.
During our discussions, they announced that I needed to put them all in my next book.  I've known most of these ladies since I was 12, and they're like aunts and cousins to me at this point.
Ah!  The Quilting Ladies!  The ones who don't gossip!  
I kind of laughed about it, but as I was writing this, I got to the part with the sewing circle, and I realized that I could TOTALLY name all those lovely ladies after the Salem Book Bunch.
That's sweet! 
So that's why they all get first names.  Those are all people I know for real.  And I can't WAIT for them to read this! 
I'm sure they'll love it!
I hope so!
Well, this has been a delightful chat, but I'm afraid I must go now.  Supper calls.
And my kids just returned from the pool, so I'd better pop them all into the showers!  
But thank you for allowing me to ARC for you and for doing this little interview.
Thanks so much for the fun conversation!  You're welcome! 
I look forward to reading the rest of this series!  Happy Writing!
Thanks!  Have a good night!
You too! 
Be sure to look up this story on Amazon and Goodreads and you should check out Rachel's blog, too! 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Waiting For Isaac ~ Cover Reveal

Today I am privileged to bring to you the cover for Jessica Greyson's new book.  Waiting For Isaac, a non-fiction work, is a collection of essays on singlehood and waiting for a husband.  It sounds intriguing and I look forward to reading it.

And a snippet from the book.

Anne Shirley, in Anne of Avonlea, talks about Jonah Days—those days where nothing goes right, you are pestered with bad moods and unwanted ills or aches…and you feel just as if your life was swallowed by a whale. And yes, we have them, but we also have something else: Jonah Boats.
The more people I talk to, the more I realize that Jonah wasn’t the only one with this idea. Life starts getting hard, and you begin to build a backup plan, a place to go, something to do, a fallback, plan B…that thing you’re going to do if God doesn’t come through in exactly the way you think He should.
Jonah Boats often come with red ribbons, golden wrapping paper, and the jingle of all your dreams about to come to fruition.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dancing & Doughnuts: Book Release ~ Book Revew

  Today, I bring you my review of Rachel Kovaciny's Twelve Dancing Princesses re-telling, Dancing & Doughnuts!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I very much enjoyed this story.  It was a light and easy read, amusing, and even a bit thought provoking.  I love westerns and fairytales so I am always delighted when someone mixes them together.  

I liked how Ms. Kovaciny wove in the themes from the original Twelve Dancing Princesses tale.  Mixing fairytale aspects into a non-magical world isn't always an easy thing to achieve, but she did a very good job.  My favorite element was the silver and gold forest.

I felt the characters could have been more well rounded. 

Sheriff Walbridge, Mr. Kitteridge, Clara and Felicity were my favorite characters and I wish we would have gotten more of Trouble and More Trouble.  

Though not my favorite character, the mental processes of the hero (the book is portrayed through his first person POV) brought me the most laughter.  Especially when he is facing down twelve pretty girls. 

I also wish we could have gotten to know the girls a little more.  But maybe they will appear in later books.

It is a clean read and a good book that I will definitely recommend and will gladly turn over to my younger siblings when it is released.

I give it 3 of 5 stars (according to the Goodreads rating system) because there were a few times when it seemed needlessly wordy and a bit rambling.