Thursday, July 30, 2015

Movie Review: Southpaw

A tale of heart, of family, of struggle, or perseverance, and of course bad ass boxing. 
This is the movie SOUTHPAW.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

Southpaw really delighted me. Not since Rocky have I seen a boxing movie tell such a multi-layered story (Million Dollar Baby and The Fighter get honorable mentions of course.)
I went in expecting to see some cool fights and a ripped Jake Gyllenhaal. What I got was a rollercoaster of emotion from some of the most talented (albeit underrated) actors working today. 

* Note: If you haven't seen the trailer there are minor spoilers ahead.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal put in work for this movie. I like this actor because he delivers no matter what he's doing. Early on in his career I didn't get the hoopla but after Nightcrawler, Prisoners, and now Southpaw I'm a huge fan. Gyllenhaal's Billy Hope is a guy who has had to fight for everything in his life. But aside from the bright lights of the boxing ring he's a family man who adores his wife and daughter. When that's taken away from him Hope has to fight once more to get back what he has lost. It's a fight to survive and Jake Gyllenhaal portrays it with raw emotion, heart, and at times humor.
  • Rachel McAdams is one of my favorite actresses and one whose talents are underrated. She gets the Hell's Kitchen raised wife of a boxer to a tee but its the scene in which Maureen gets shot that McAdams delivers a memorable and heart wrenching performance. A brief role for this A-list actress but one that is the catalyst for the entire movie.
  • I have to admit I didn't even know Academy Award Winning acotr Forest Whitaker was even in Southpaw but when he shows up as boxing legend Tick Wills business picks up. The interaction between he and Gyllenhaal is classic with Wills not willing to take any shit from Hope, but Hope able to knock down the walls Wills may have unintentionally put up himself.
  • Oona Laurence is new to me but boy did she deliver! This young lady can act and I see a bright future for her. She is the other emotional compass point of this family drama ( that's right its not your ordinary boxing movie!) and you feel her pain, upset, and anger in every scene. She even slaps Jake Gyllenhaal!
  • The soundtrack featuring Eminem was a star of its own and it rounded out the training montages nicely. It was also one of composer James Horner's last pieces and he is remembered at the end credits of the movie. That's going on my play list for sure!

Overall a great movie with alot of ups and downs. This one will be going into my collection to keep. And oh yeah, I'll be boxing again really soon! 

Official Trailer for SOUTHPAW

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I am burnt out! The life of the writer has never been an easy one, and certainly not glamorized the way you see it depicted in some movies and TV shows. It is long hours in front of a computer, isolated, at war with your own thoughts. In the past few years as indie publishing has given rise that has become MORE long hours in front of the computer and those hours ingested have nothing to do with writing, this is the marketing beast and it is a necessary evil no matter how your work is published.

Day in and day out I have been putting in hours the equivalent of shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard. In other words, no matter how much effort I put in it feels as though I've been making no progress. But that's writers we persevere. Because in our world it isn't so much what we see that tells the tale of if our work is reaching others. That's why I like doing live events. This lets me meet people face-to-face and find out just how my work is touching readers.

The problem has been that there has been so many things to do that I've been scattered. As of this morning I think I have found a method of containment: a schedule. Yes, a primitive method of planning out your day but updated to a dry erase board that I can look at daily and see what method of marketing is on tap for the day. So far it is helpful. It puts all the madness into perspective.

This got me to thinking about starting out on a writing journey. Staring at the blank page for the first, or even the fiftieth time, can be daunting. In your mind the story is perfect and when you put pen to page you almost shatter that illusion because no matter how perfect in your mind it doesn't always turn out that way when writing...not in the first draft anyway.

So in that vein here are a few tips to get you started on your book. Because no matter how tough the road getting that book completed and read is a very rewarding experience.

  • Get an idea
  • Create your characters and the world they live in
  • Decide what the character(s) are trying to accomplish
  • Set up obstacles that prevent or make it difficult for the character(s) to get what they want
  • Introduce a flaw or some aspect of character that needs to be addressed before change can be made
  • Build tension
  • Allow your character to face said flaw and have them grow from it, thus aiding in their task to obtain their goal. 
Readers love to follow characters. Give them someone they'll fall in love with and can relate to and you're well on your way!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Got demons?

The long awaited follow up to the acclaimed Demon Hunter trilogy has arrived! Demon Huntress: Destiny Unleashed is now available. 

Even the daughter of the Demon Hunter has to learn the ropes.

Khalen Calabrese refused to accept the title of Demon Hunter or the duty that went along with it. Instead, she chose a life of adventure as a pirate on the high seas. Freedom, fortune, and glory were hers until the past came calling.

Infected with a family curse, and with minions from Hell at her back, time is running out. Now she must take up the title she never wanted before the darkness claims her next. 

Nothing is ever easy when you're the hunter of demons. 

Here are two ways to get your demon on!

And make sure you return to the website, or sign up for the newsletter, to stay informed on when the next exciting chapter will be available.

Now for your reading pleasure here is a special excerpt:

Soon I slept. My slumber brought dreams that held dark and disturbing visions. Rivers of blood and torn flesh ran past me. I tasted the heavy iron of warm blood in my mouth. It was a fitful night and I woke with a start. Captain Robinson remained still next to me.
Daylight crept in through the cracks of the walls cascading light over our room. The heat of it felt particularly harsh upon my skin causing me to pull back into the shadows. As the sun illuminated our bed I noticed Captain Robinson’s eyes were wide open. I went to nudge him hoping he had just fallen into a sound sleep.
Unfortunately, he did not sleep…he was dead.
Not until now did I notice his hand clutching his throat and reminisces of blood dried upon a gaping wound. I recoiled and fell from the bed my mind spinning with wonder.
I looked down at my hands and found dried blood upon them as well and I knew at once it would match Captain Robinson’s own. My stomach churned with nausea. The Captain was dead and all evidence pointed to me being his killer. But I had no recollection of doing it. My worst fears were coming true.
None could know about this. If they found out I’d murdered the Captain I’d be hanged for treason. There was no more time to waste. Chances were the crew would be up and ready to leave port. I looked out the portcullis and my heart leapt in my throat for the second time that day.
The waters rippled beneath the Iron Maiden as it pitched along with fervor towards our next city to pillage. We were already moving. I had nowhere to hide, nowhere to turn. They would find me with Robinson’s corpse and without him around to protect me they would tear me limb-from-limb, but not before having their way with me.
I hadn’t shed tears since I was a little girl, since before my parents died. I didn’t shed any now either but I did feel the sting of loss. I enjoyed Captain Robinson’s company, even as slovenly drunk as he usually was. He had been the one man who came close to scaling the walls and reaching my heart. I’d learned a lot from him. I grew into a woman in his care. Now, like my parents before, he was gone and everything pointed to myself being the responsible party.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


On the eve of the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con let's talk about superheroes. Alot of directors, actors, and so forth have been complaining lately that all we see now are superhero movies. I have a few responses to that. First and foremost if they would stop remaking classics and come up with original content there would be more diverse movies. At least the superhero movies are based on previously published content but original in their depiction. Also, what is so bad about having superheros so strongly in the public eye?
I'm not sure when it started, I think it dates back to the original X-Men movie as the turning point. Comics have been around for years but it has only been a recent resurgence of them in today's contemporary society that makes me smile.

Now more than ever we need heroes. We need something to look towards that makes us feel empowered. Superheroes do that. Watching their adventures unfold on the big or little screens allows us to live vicariously through them. And more than that we walk away feeling as though we can do the impossible ourselves, even if that impossible is just getting up in the morning.
It is especially rewarding to see the little kids get behind their favorite characters which is why I applaud the actors like Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, etc. who go out (costumes or not) to meet and greet with the youngsters who adore them. Imagine being a sick little kid and your hero comes to say hi. That magic moment gives you the power to fight on.
In a world ravaged by terrorism, sensationalist media, riots, and ridiculous stories that shouldn't even be broadcast as news, it is the superhero that stands above. They get people to rally and play and enjoy themselves. It's something that you can share whether you're 8 or 80, boy or girl, rich or poor. Superheroes transcend it all. I hope they stay around for a long while.
And as a writer I've been inspired to create something of my own superhero character...stay tuned for more!
So, who is your favorite superhero?