Double Feature at the Drive-In

Last night, one of my lifelong dreams came true.  I finally got to see a movie at the drive-in!  And wouldn’t you know it, it turned out to be a double feature!  Two movies for six bucks?  Why doesn’t everyone go to the drive-in all the time?

Well, bugs and rain and really disgusting food, but I’ll get to that later.

All in all, my first experience at the drive-in was super amazingly fun.  I went with a group of my best friends, we set out a blanket, watched the sunset, and laughed about the disgusting food that I ordered.

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As you all may know, sometimes when I go see movies, I like to write reviews.  Not like, actual reviews because I don’t have that kind of depth or patience.  But my own personal thoughts about the movie.  For example: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/double-movie-day/.

Before I talk about the movies, however, I want to tell you a little more about the drive-in itself.

It is so cool, y’all.  It’s like taking a step back through time.  It’s also set in a wide open field under the stars.  I love being outside, so this was was totally my ideal setting.

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After we parked and set up our blankets, we headed over to the refreshment stand.  I hadn’t eaten dinner, so I ordered a hot dog and some fries.

Big.  Mistake.

The fries were fine but that hot dog?  I’m fairly certain it was just cooked Play Dough.  I’m not kidding you.  It was a weird neon fuchsia color and it felt like plastic.  It also had these weird cooked plastic blisters on it (gross, I know), and when we broke it apart to see what it looked like inside, it was white.  I’m telling you, no part of that hot dog used to be alive.  I have no idea what kind of “mystery meat” nastiness it was, but it was not a real animal.  Needless to say, as someone with a near-crippling phobia of being sick to my stomach, I tossed that plastic piece of grossness into the grass.  I knew I’d made the right decision when even the ants left it alone.

Long story short, if I had eaten it, I’d probably be dead.

Unlike their fake animal byproducts, however, their popcorn was high quality.  Good thing, too, because I ended up not having dinner.

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The experience itself of watching a movie outside is, altogether, awesome.  True, our speakers didn’t work and we had to use the car’s radio, but that’s what you usually do at the drive-in anyway.  Aside from that minor hiccup, I loved sitting out under the sunset, enjoying the summer breeze, and watching movies with my friends. It was simply magical.

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Now.  For the good part.  The movies themselves.

The first movie featured was Disney’s Tomorrowland.  This was not a movie I had planned on seeing.  But since it was Disney and it was a double feature and I was with friends who wanted to see it, I was happy to give it a shot.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but to be totally honest with you, I’m still not entirely sure what it was about.

So, in the spirit of previous movie reviews, here are my thoughts on Tomorrowland in no particular order.

*WARNING*

THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS.  PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Thoughts on Tomorrowland

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* Yay Disney! I love Disney!

* For some reason, seeing George Clooney in a kids’ movie is really awkward.

* This is not the World’s Fair.  This is Disney World.  Do not even try to pretend.

* OMG IT’S HUGH LAURIE. HUGH I LOVE YOU. HOUSE!

* Creepy little girl. Is she a vampire? I bet she’s a vampire.

* The It’s a Small World ride. Come on, Disney. You know you’re not fooling anyone.

* I’d be SO mad if some chick I barely knew tricked me into going to a future filled with scary robots.  I don’t like robots.

* I love this flying sequence.  I wish I could fly.

* I’m still not entirely sure when this movie is supposed to be set.

* Casey, I don’t know why, but I really don’t care about what you’re trying to do.

* Okay, I recognize this whole cornfield sequence from the commercials. It’s pretty much the only scene I kind of understand.

* Is anyone’s little brother actually that smart?  Especially at that age?  What is this kid, five?

* Creepy vampire girl is back.

* The lady in this Disney-Is-Totally-Rubbing-The-Fact-That-They-Own-Star-Wars-Now-In-Our-Faces store is dressed like an odd combination of Princess Leia and Ms. Frizzle.  I’m confused.

* I bet she and her husband smoke a lot of pot.

* Oh no they don’t!  They’re robots!

* This movie is doing very bad things for my robot phobia.

* Are people out on the street not noticing all these explosions?

* OMG the creepy little girl is a robot too!  I knew she was something weird.

* Bathroom break. Also need popcorn since hot dog turned out to not be actual food.

* Casey has managed to break into George Clooney’s house and I’m very afraid there will be some weird I-Used-To-Have-A-Crush-On-You-When-We-Were-Kids-Even-Though-You’re-A-Robot tension between him and the creepy vampire robot girl.

* Eiffel Tower is actually a rocket.  Okay.

* I love how absolutely no one is freaking out about this.  They’re all just taking pictures of it on their iPhones.  If it were me, I’d probably be peeing my pants or something.

* Yay Hugh Laurie is back!  I love him and his sexy accent and Mr. Fine Wine good looks.  Although I’m fairly certain he’s the bad guy and I’m not supposed to like him.

* Actually no, I take that back.  I think the real antagonist here is the human condition.  See, I can be deep too.

* Spacey, sci-fi, robot stuff. Not really holding my attention.  Going to check social media.

* Hugh Laurie giving speech in his sexy accent about how we need to save butterflies and bees. I approve. Yet somehow, he’s still the bad guy. I can tell because his outfit is just too badass for a protagonist.

* More spacey sci-fi stuff.  Disney is really milking the Star Wars thing for all it’s worth.

* Beach?  I like beaches.  Let’s stay on the beach.  Also, why are there so few trees in the future?  See, this is why I’d never want to live there.  I like trees.

* HUGH LAURIE NO!  Why is it always your leg?!

* I KNEW IT!  George Clooney and that creepy robot girl are having a moment!  This is so awkward!

* Robot girl turned out to be a bomb.  This is kind of disturbing.

* Reunion Tower just crushed Hugh Laurie.  Very sad.  He was the only character I really connected with.

* I think I just watched a very long infomercial for innovation.  That’s not a bad thing.  I’m a big fan of creativity and thinking outside the box.  But still.

So yeah, that was Tomorrowland in a nutshell.  It was okay.  Probably not one I’ll watch again.  Robots just aren’t my thing.  I much prefer dinosaurs.  Which is why I was super stoked to see the next movie in the double feature…

JURASSIC WORLD!

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been itching to see the long-awaited fourth installment in the Jurassic Park saga.  I absolutely love the first movie.  I’ve seen it at least a thousand times and can quote it like nobody’s business.  The second and third?  Eh, they’re okay.  But I was expecting big things for this fourth movie.  For the most part, it did not disappoint.  I only say that because as good as it was, nothing can live up to the first one.  It puts forth a decent effort, however.

Again.  Spoilers.  You have been warmed.

Thoughts on Jurassic World

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* Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs.  Bring me dinosaurs!

* I didn’t know Judy Greer was in this movie.

* Ah, her kid is such a little NERD. Look at all his dinosaurs and space stuff. So cute.

* Older kid pouting because he has to leave his girlfriend for a WHOLE weekend to go see dinosaurs. Wow Zach, your life sucks.  Poor you.

* Though to be honest, if I were their mother, I would not let my kids go to an island full of dinosaurs alone.  I probably wouldn’t let them go period.

* Return to Jurassic Park sequence + Original Score = All the Chills

* BD WONG.  HENRY.  OMG.  YOU STILL WORK HERE.  BLESS YOUR LITTLE HEART.  THIS JUST MADE MY WHOLE DAY.

* Bryce Dallas Howard is their aunt?  That’s so cool.  I like her.  Especially because this isn’t the first movie where she and Judy Greer have played sisters.  M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village anyone?

* Her character in this movie, however, seems like kind of a flake.

* Oh yeah, there he is.  Chris Pratt.  Hello, handsome.  I’ve heard good things about you.

* OMG he’s training the velociraptors!  WHY is that cute?!  Are raptors supposed to be cute?  Or is just because he’s their trainer?!

* I want a trained velociraptor.

* Evil guy who wants to use the dinosaurs for warfare.  I bet you’re gonna die.

* That raptor trying to get at the dweeby guy through the bars. Is that Blue?  Or Delta?  Or maybe Charlie?

* Is it weird that the raptors remind me of my cat?

* NO I DON’T WANT A TRAINED VELOCIRAPTOR I WANT A BABY BRACHIOSAURUS THAT IS THE CUTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN OMG.

* Dumb kids ditching their babysitter.  You’re gonna get eaten.

* Dinosaur eats a shark.  Where’d they get the shark?

* Super genetically enhanced hybrid T-Rex.  There is no way this will end badly.

* Oh hello hunky Chris Pratt at your rugged, outdoorsman bungalow.  I like that rugged, outdoorsman shirt you’re wearing.

* Bryce Dallas Howard, no! Don’t make him change! Why would you do that?

* Oh look at that.  Your mutant escaped.  #Fail

* And now your dumb nephews are out there all alone with the escaped mutant. #DoubleFail

* Jimmy Fallon is in this movie? LOL

* I guess they’re still “sparing no expense.”

* Guys go out to try to control this escaped super dinoaur and of course, they all die.  Honestly, who would sign up for this job?!  Does it come with really awesome benefits that you never get to use because you don’t live long enough to actually take advantage of them?

* I hope BD Wong doesn’t die.  He’s the voice of Captain Shang in Mulan.  And Howard Weinstein.

* Children.  No.  Do not go off-road in a park full of dinosaurs.  Especially after you KNOW that something has gone wrong and all the rides are supposed to be shut down.  Are you stupid?  You must be stupid.

* I kind of hope the older one gets eaten.  He’s too stupid to survive on this island.  Survival of the fittest.

* He probably won’t though.  Hollywood and all that.

* Mutant dinosaur with lots of teeth.  There is no way they will survive this encounter.  And yet, they do.

* No!  No, don’t let that sweet brachiosaurus die!  No, this is too sad!  I don’t like this.  😥

* That mutant dinosaur is a douchebag.

* Kids find the old Jurassic Park.  The Dinosaurs of the World sign.  The piano music in the background.  I feel like this movie is designed to feed on our generation’s nostalgia.  And it’s working.

* Good thing this movie also has a genius little brother who somehow knows how to fix a car that stopped working at least ten years before he was born.

* Pterodactyls on the loose. Do they eat people?

* Somehow, I feel like this is all those kids’ faults.  I don’t know why.  I just blame them.

* It turns out yes, Pterodactyls do eat people.  At least the big ones anyway.

* Hold up.  Does that Pterodactyl have a Tyrannosaurus head?  What the heck is that?!  Is that another mutant? Are they cross-breeding now?

* Oops.  There goes the babysitter.

* Dumb kids finally reuniting with their hella lucky aunt who just got to make out with Chris Pratt. 

* Tech guy, you’d do better with the ladies if you shaved off that creepy mustache.

Note: Throughout all of this, it started raining so we retreated back to the cars.  I was alone with my friend and her boyfriend.  They were in the front seats so I sat in the back, but I’m too tall and couldn’t see the movie from the backseat.  So I sat down on the floor in between the back seat and front seat.  Oddly enough, it’s a lot more comfortable than you’d think it’d be.  I couldn’t help but wonder how weird it must have looked though.  At first glance, it looks like two cute people on a date.  Then, after a second glance, you see this third person’s head creeping down in the shadows, just peaking out in between them.  That’s how I felt. 

* Chris Pratt is the Velociraptor’s Alpha.  That’s hot.

* Thanks to this movie, I will settle for nothing less than a man who can ride a motorcycle and herd velociraptors.

* I might be single for a while.

* YOU KILLED CHRIS PRATT’S BABY RAPTOR IN FRONT OF HIM.  NO.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

* I don’t like this movie!  It’s sad!

* Bryce Dallas Howard lighting up a flair and getting the T-Rex to chase her, I can accept.  But Bryce Dallas Howard lighting up a flair and getting the T-Rex to chase her in those heels?  I’m sorry, this movie is far too unrealistic.

* YOU KILLED DELTA HOW COULD YOU.

* STOP LETTING CHRIS PRATT’S BABIES DIE. WHAT IS THIS.

* It’s the ultimate T-Rex showdown.  I also like how the T-Rex and Blue the Raptor seem to have a mutual respect and understanding that they have to work together to kill the mutant.

* HA!  The giant water dinosaur saved the day!  That was awesome!

* Okay, now that mutant is dead, there’s still the whole issue of having a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Velociraptor loose in the park.  I feel like you just solved one problem by creating another.

* Oh.  The T-Rex and Raptor have achieved a higher sense of understanding and go back home on their own.  That’s convenient.

* You know, I still don’t understand why any of these people think that dinosaurs are a good idea.  Except the baby brachiosaurus.  That is the best idea in the history of ever.

* And the movie ends, as usual, with T-Rex lording over her territory.

All in all, good movie.  I will definitely see it again.  Not as good as the first by any means, but you know, what is?  That movie is a classic, a cinematic masterpiece.  Nothing will ever live up to it.  But this movie comes awfully close.

Back to Business

After an extremely busy weekend of work and play (though admittedly, I felt it was more play), it is time to get back down to the daily grind.  Of course, for the self-employed author, the daily grind is actually quite enjoyable, so I’m not complaining.  Still, I’ve kind of been in Self-Congratulatory-Fun mode since Comic Con ended and I need to get back to my Okay-You-Are-Building-Your-Future-You-Need-To-Be-Serious-And-Stay-Focused mode.

And even as I’m writing this, I just took a break to go buy “Cups” on iTune.  Focus, Jackie, focus!

Okay, so what do I need to focus on, exactly?  That’s a good question. The two big ones are

1) My signing at Half-Price Books on June 24.

Originally, I had thought that my signing on June 24 would just be for Boy Band, but Half-Price has since contacted me and asked if I would bring all three books!  Of course, I am more than happy to do so.  I need to get to ordering those books, however.  I also need to restock on all my fun giveaway stuff, like postcards and bookmarks.  Comic Con kind of wiped me clean (which is a good thing!).  But I need to stay on top of all that.

2) Cemetery Tours 3.

As I told everyone at Comic Con, I plan on releasing the third Cemetery Tours late September-early October, just in time for Halloween!  That means I have a LOT of work to do between now and then.  I know where the book is going to go, but I am also going back and re-writing and thanks to events and a lot of weird life things, I’m afraid I’ve fallen a bit behind.  June is going to be my catch-up month. I do have a teaser board up and going on Pinterest, if you’d like to check it out and see what may or may not be in store for our haunted heroes (OMG that sounded so cheesy… I apologize): https://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/teaser-board-cemetery-tours-3/

I’m especially eager to get back to work on my Cemetery Tours series because of all the enthusiastic feedback I’ve gotten from readers, especially those I’ve met at recent book events and fellow authors. Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.21.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.21.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.20.53 PM

So much love!

I’ve also been playing around with the idea of redesigning the covers to the series.  I love the covers I have now, masterfully created by graphic designer Benjamin Durham, but the thing is, I used ShutterStock images.  After designing the cover to Boy Band, I’m realizing that I think I prefer using my own images.  I don’t have to pay for rights and there’s no limits on how I use that image.  So, that’s something else to think about.  If you have copies of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds now, congratulations! You might have limited first edition covers!

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Love to all!

The Talk

Okay, friends.  It’s time.  I’m ready to have The Talk with you.

This may or may not be a good idea.  I’ve heard that it’s something that authors need to stay away from, to not even acknowledge, but sometimes, I think it’s good to talk about the things that we’re told to not mention.

I’m talking about unflattering reviews.

I use the term “unflattering” rather than “negative” because, when you think about it, no review is really “negative.”  The person bought your book, they read it, they gave it a shot, and they expressed their opinion.  That’s not a negative thing at all.  I’m thankful to anyone who gives my books a chance, regardless of whether or not they like it.  I’ve read plenty of books that I didn’t like that other people simply loved.  I love lots of books that others can’t stand.  It happens.  No one is going to like every book and not every book is going to please every reader.

That being said, unflattering reviews can still hurt, as any artist, musician, author, or actor can probably tell you.  They hurt, perhaps worse than ordinary criticism, because the arts are a labor of love.  They’re the most personal example of self-expression that we have.  I got plenty of criticism in high school and college, but I didn’t really care, because I didn’t pour my heart and soul into my term papers.

The other night, I was exceptionally tired.  I’d been outside all day.  I was dehydrated and hungry.  And I received my first “unflattering” review.  I’m not going to lie to you.  It hurt.  I ended up talking to my sister for hours about it.  And she ended up giving me the best advice I think that anyone could possibly have given.

“Well, you can either keep writing, or you can quit.”

I swear, she is so much smarter than I am.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  There was no sugarcoating it.  No beating around the bush.  And you know, I realized there was never a question.  Of course I’m going to keep writing.  I can’t not write.  I think my world would stop if I ever gave up writing.

Unflattering reviews will happen.  Naysayers will always be there.  But I’ve found that for every one person who doesn’t enjoy your book, there will be at least three others who do.  And those are the ones for whom you keep going.

Thank you all for everything you do.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for your words of love and support.  I love you all.

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Stalking the Demon – Advance Review EBOOKS by Ciara Ballintyne

STALKING THE DEMON ~ Advance Review EBOOKS by @CiaraBallintyne #HighFantasy #FREEBIE

Available for a limited time

FREE Advance Review ebooks (Review Copies only)

STALKING THE DEMON

(Book 2 in the Seven Circles of Hell)

by Ciara Ballintyne

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Date of Publication – 22 September 2014

Genre:  High Fantasy (Adult)

About the Book

Alloran lost his hand to thwart his renegade friend–but the world is still going to hell.

Six months after Ladanyon’s defeat, Gisayne is fading away from a baffling illness. Alloran is desperate for a cure, but he has a secret–the seven circles of hell are unstable. His worst fear is that the terrible mirror spell cast upon Gisayne has wrought some connection between her and the demon dimensions.

As everything Alloran loves races toward destruction, he does the unthinkable and refuses to obey the council of wizards. The only people who can help him are the two research assistants assigned by the council–but he knows he can’t trust them.

All the answers are locked away in the last place anyone wants to go: hell.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23156116-stalking-the-demon?from_search=true).

eARCs may not be identical to the final published version and therefore may contain some minor editing and typographical errors prior to the final proofread. eARCs are expected to be available 2 weeks prior to the publication date. Interested? Sign-up now!

ALL REVIEWERS PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RZLV37Y

Sunflowers and Swimming

Hi, friends!

I’ll be honest with you. This past week, I have not been a very good blogger. I haven’t been a very good writer either. I’ve worked on my two books a little bit, but for the most part, I’ve just been swimming and taking a lot of pictures of my sunflowers. These next few days are supposed to be rainy though, so I should have plenty of time to get back to my normal routine of actually being a writer.

Next week, I won’t be updating at all. My sister and I are going to the BEACH and then, the day after we get back, I’m off to Oklahoma for a paranormal convention to hopefully sell a few books!

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As much fun as I’m having with Between Worlds, I can’t forget about my first book. After all, I don’t want people reading the second book if they haven’t read the first! Where’s the fun in that? It’s like reading The Goblet of Fire before reading The Prisoner of Azkaban, which, okay, I did, but that was only because I looked everywhere for that book and I could not find it. I needed more Harry Potter. Not my fault.

Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds have both been selling pretty well since the latter was released. I’m still hoping for a few more reviews, but so far, I’m thrilled with how well they’ve both been doing. I don’t remember if I’ve shared this review or not, but it’s one of my absolute favorites that I’ve gotten so far, so I thought, what the heck? If I have shared it, then I can share it again.

http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2014/06/cemetery-tours-jacqueline-e-smith.html

Oh, and also, I made a Pinterest board for my sunflowers.

30 Days!

Okay, people of the cyber world, it is June 1.  That means the one month countdown to BETWEEN WORLDS is officially on!

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In honor of the impending release, CEMETERY TOURS is on sale from now to July 1 for only $2.99 on Nook and Kindle.  Once July 1 hits, it will go back to $4.95, so get it while it’s on sale!

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cemetery-tours-jacqueline-e-smith/1117000854?ean=9780989673402

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tours-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00F7CHQ08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401672575&sr=8-1&keywords=cemetery+tours

Before Cemetery Tours release, I tried to do some kind of fun promotional thing at least once a week.  Today, I thought I’d give you a few Anti-Spoilers/Bits of Trivia about Between Worlds.

1) I have had the idea in my head for this book longer than Cemetery Tours.  I pretty much wrote Cemetery Tours so I could write this one.

2) It is set in a fictional mansion in Maine.  This mansion was inspired by too many childhood viewings of Casper.

3) Brink plays a bigger role in this book than in the first.  He actually wasn’t intended to be in the book that much.  In fact, he was just going to have a few scenes in the beginning of the book.  But as it turned out, he is everyone’s favorite character, so he ended up being promoted to one of the main characters.  The best thing about Brink being everyone’s favorite, I realize, is that no one ever has to worry about me killing him off.  He’s already dead.

4) I was afraid that this book wouldn’t be as spooky as Cemetery Tours, but there were a few scenes that, when I wrote them, I actually spooked myself.  I’m hoping that readers find them spooky too.

5) In this book, we meet the rest of the Cemetery Tours team: Gail Marsh, J.T. Sawyer, and Peter Jamison.

I can’t think of anything else that won’t reveal too many plot points, so that’s all you’re getting for now.  I will, in the weeks following, be releasing the first two chapters for download (if I remember how that is!), as well as a soundtrack list and ideal casting.  Stay tuned!  And please, check out Cemetery Tours and, if you enjoy it, leave me a review!

If you don’t like it, please don’t review it.  😉

Speaking of reviews, I found out today that you can review your own books on GoodReads.  I decided to leave Cemetery Tours a nice, modest little review.

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I Do, Augustus. I Do.

Yesterday, my sister and I attended a pre-screening of The Fault in Our Stars.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  Funny, quirky, romantic, and best of all, it stayed as true to the book as a film adaptation really can.

This was the kind of event where just because you made an email reservation, it didn’t guarantee you a spot in the theater, so my sister and I decided to get there three hours early.  This was a wise decision.

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There was already a line forming, but fortunately, we got there early enough to wait inside.  Before long, the line was out the door and curving around the building.  Needless to say, this was not our first pre-screening/early release.  We’ve been to several midnight releases, including most of the Harry Potter movies, Catching Fire, and The Hobbit.  It’s fun to be a nerd.

Thankfully, we both came prepared for a three-hour wait.

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About an hour before the movie was due to start, they began letting a few people in at a time to choose their seats.  My sister and I were fortunate enough to get seats right in the middle of the theater.

The movie, needless to say, was phenomenal.  Definitely worth the three hour wait.  I always get nervous with book-to-movie adaptations, especially when it’s a book I really love and that I’ve treasured, because they very rarely completely satisfying.  There are always little disappointments.  “Oh, they left out this character or this line or this scene.”

There were a few scenes that were noticeably left out that I would have loved to see, but for the most part, it was an excellent adaptation.  I loved Amsterdam.  I loved Willem Dafoe as Peter Van Houten.  I loved Shailene and Ansel.  Oh my gosh, I love Ansel.  He’s adorable!  And wow, can he act!  In the scene where he tells Hazel… well, I won’t spoil it if you haven’t read the book, but most fans will know which scene I’m talking about.  Oh my goodness, he broke my heart.  That’s when the tears began and they didn’t stop until the end of the movie.

The tears began to fall the way you fall asleep… slowly and then all at once.

I thought they would stop once the credits began rolling, but of course “All of the Stars” by Ed Sheeran is the first song you hear and oh my gosh, that just made me cry harder!  It’s such an amazing and beautiful song.  They lyrics give me chills every time.

“So can you see the stars over Amsterdam?”

So beautiful and it hurts so much.

One of the best parts of the night, however, was when the staff went around and gave everyone over 21 a glass of sparkling champagne, the same drink that Hazel and Gus drink on their date in Amsterdam.  Now, I do not like champagne, or anything bubbly or fizzy.  Carbonation stings my mouth and throat and I do not like that.  However, I was not about to pass up the opportunity to share that moment with two of my favorite fictional characters.

The book, the movie, the story… it’s just a beautiful work of art.  A beautiful work of human nature.  I really want to read the story of the girl who inspired it, This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl.

If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars, I highly recommend it, especially if you plan on seeing the movie.  Even if you don’t plan on seeing the movie, it’s just such an amazing book.  Nothing I say will ever do it justice.

Godzilla: A Very Girly Review

Okay, so I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I’m a girl.  I like girly things like Disney Princesses, kittens, and Nicholas Sparks novels. I’m not really into manicures or shopping, but as far as movies and books go, I am 100% girly girl.

That being said, my sister, who is home from college for the summer, really wanted to see Godzilla.  I’m not opposed to a summer blockbuster action flick, but I’d be lying if I said it would be something I’d be lining up to see if someone else hadn’t suggested it.  The Fault in Our Stars on the other hand… I already have reservations for a pre-screening and I will be camped out for hours to make sure I get those seats.  See the difference?

Anyway, my sister likes destruction and she likes summer blockbusters and she LOVES Bryan Cranston, so she really really wanted to see Godzilla.

I do not have much experience with the worlds most infamous giant lizard.  In fact, I’ve only seen one Godzilla movie in my life, the 1998 production with Matthew Broderick.  I thought it was a pretty decent movie.  Now, do I remember most of it?  No.  All I really remember is Godzilla was just looking for a place to lay her eggs.  Then her babies hatched, the humans blew them up, and Godzilla came back and was all sad and nuzzling her dead babies and it made me cry.  And Matthew Broderick was in it.

That’s just kind of how action movies work in my head.  Giant lizard destroys stuff.  Sad dead babies.  Guy who plays Simba.

I actually remember the plot of the new Godzilla, so while it’s fresh on my mind, I thought I’d do a little review/commentary.  Please keep in mind that I am not a very experienced reviewer and that I think I’m really funny.  Also, if you have not seen the new Godzilla and do not want spoilers, please do not continue reading, or if you do, proceed with caution.

*Note* These thoughts are not in any particular order.  Just thoughts I had throughout the movie.  Most of them had to do with comparing the new Godzilla with my scattered memories of the 1998 one.  Enjoy.

Thoughts on Godzilla

* The opening credits are really cool.  I don’t remember the other movie’s opening credits, so +1 to the new version.

* Juliette Binoche is in this?!  Yay!  I love her!

* Juliette Binoche is already dead?  Boo.  I like the other movie better.

* That guy (older Ford) looks way too young to have a five-year-old kid.

* And his wife really looks like an Olsen twin.

* Bryan Cranston, you are the best part of this movie so far.

* This looks like a zombie movie.

* I wish there were zombies in this movie.

* OMG the Godzilla egg is hatching!

* WTF that’s Godzilla?

* Why is Godzilla a giant flying bug thing?

* Oh, that’s not Godzilla.

* Bryan Cranston is DEAD?!  Why am I watching this movie?

* I don’t even know what’s happening with this bug thing.

* Holy cow, the wife is Elizabeth Olsen!  Mary-Kate and Ashely’s little sister!  What the heck!

* She’s too young to have a five-year-old.

* Oh okay, there’s the real Godzilla.

* That makes a lot more sense.

* Though this Godzilla is kind of fat.

* And he has a really tiny head.

* He’s kind of disproportional.

* I like the old Godzilla better.

* He looks like a dinosaur.

* I wish this was Jurassic Park.

* Ew, gross, now there are TWO of those giant bug things.

* EW THE NEW ONE HAS EGGS OMG.

* So now these giant mutant nuclear-radiation-eating bug monsters are traveling across the world to spawn.

* And Godzilla is rising up out the sea to eat them.  Because that’s what he eats.

* So really none of these creatures are evil.  They’re just all acting on their natural instincts.

* Still, they’re wreaking havoc, which is going to be a HUGE mess to clean up.

* I still can’t believe the wife is Elizabeth Olsen.

* I feel so old.

* The bug mutant monsters really seem to love each other.

* That’s kind of cute.

* Why do their eggs glow?

* WTF why does Godzilla breathe radioactive blue fire?!

* Can all the Godzillas do that?

* Is Godzilla secretly a dragon?

* I wish he was a dragon.  I love dragons.

* It’s kind of sweet that the Mom mutant bug monster is so sad that her eggs died, but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s the kind of creature that would care about her offspring.  Do most bugs care for their larvae?  Or whatever?

* I feel like they spawn just to continue on with the species, not out of any sort of affection for their kids.  That might just be my interpretation, however.

* I’m also really not convinced that Godzilla and Ford share a special moment.  Godzilla is just trying to eat the bug monsters.  That’s what he does to survive.  He’s not trying to act heroic and save the citizens of the world from the evil moths or whatever.  He doesn’t care.

Pictures and New Reviews

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to share the pictures from my session last week with outstanding DFW photographer, Kaylynn Krieg!

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This is one of my favorite pictures from the shoot, and the one I’m using for all my accounts.  There’s a different one I love that I’ll be using for my picture in the back of the new book, but I’ll share that one later.  For now, I just wanted to post the link to Kaylynn’s website, not only to show off my pictures (I do like them a lot though!), but to let you see her other work.

http://www.kaylynnkrieg.com

You can also like her page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/kaylynnkriegphotography

Her style is so beautiful, so soft and natural.  That’s what always drew me to her photographs and why I asked her to do my new head shots.

I’m also excited to announce that Cemetery Tours is up to 41 great reviews on Amazon!  I just need 9 more by July 1 to reach my goal!

Newest reviews include…

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I’ve also recently posted a review for my friend, James William Peercy’s book, The Wall Outside.  You can find the review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/739981165

That’s all for now, I guess!  Back to work on Between Worlds!

Talk to y’all soon!

Taking Pictures

I got to answer a lot of questions over my book reading and signing weekend in Denison.  Several questions were of course, about the book and about the publishing process, but the question I was asked most frequently is one I’ve been getting all my life.

How old are you?

I was an early bloomer.  I went from a tall and slightly gawky kid to a 5’6, curvy preteen practically overnight.  Starting at age ten, people tended to think I was much older than I actually was.  When I went in to take the test for my middle school, people thought I was testing for Sr. High School.

Then I got to college… then grad school… and something strange happened.

People still thought I was in high school.

I have to admit, I kind of loved it.  I love that people now look at me and think that I’m younger than I actually am.  It was no fun being the giant kid who looked six years older than her classmates.  I’m still flattered every time I get carded for buying alcohol (though that only happens now when I’m not wearing makeup).

However, as someone who is hoping to expand her business and get her name out there in the world of fiction, I figure I need to be a little more professional, a little more mature, and that means people need to know that no, I’m not a kid, I’m actually a lot smarter than I act, and I do know what I’m doing.  That’s why I contacted my photographer friend for a photoshoot.  The picture that I use on all my social media sites was taken back in 2010.  I wanted to look a little older and a little more professional, and I think she’ll do an amazing job with the pictures.  Her photography is AWESOME.

You can find her website here: http://www.kaylynnkrieg.com

And her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/kaylynnkriegphotography

We shot around one my favorite areas, White Rock Lake.  It’s perfect because that Lake happens to be one of the most notoriously haunted spots in Texas, and I even mention it in Cemetery Tours!

The Lady of White Rock Lake is a legend that every Dallasite knows.

To quote Kate Avery in Cemetery Tours“You’ve never heard the story?  The Lady of the Lake is the ghost of a woman who’s said to haunt this area.  According to the legend, she drowned in this lake sometime during the 1920’s.  Some say it was a car accident, some say she killed herself.  But over the years, several people driving around the lake late at night have reported seeing a young women, dressed in a wet gown, stopping drivers and asking them for a ride home.  Then, once she’s in the back of the car, she vanishes and leaves a puddle on the seat.”

A friend’s father absolutely insists that he’s seen this woman.  They used to live around the lake.  My friend and I used to drive around the lake late at night looking for her, but I have yet to actually see her.  Maybe one day…

The photoshoot was a lot of fun, and Kaylynn is just so fun to work with.  The only downside was I had my first allergic reaction to a plant!  Okay, scratch that.  I’m allergic to all plants, but usually, they only make me sniffle and sneeze.  I’ve never had a reaction just because I came into contact with one, but wow, it stung.  I know it wasn’t poison ivy, because I checked the area and besides, I’m not allergic to poison ivy (ironically).  At first, I thought I’d accidentally scratched myself or sat in an ant bed, but it just turns out that there is this one plant that really does not like my skin.  Or vice versa.  It still hurts a little, but the pharmacist just told me to use some hydrocortisone cream and take a Benadryl and I should be fine.

And that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about me.

On the bright side, Cemetery Tours got another great review.

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You can check out her FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/Billyewrites

Good night, everyone!