Archive for December, 2014

In 2011, I featured a young adult contemporary novel called Undiscovered Gyrl by author Allison Burnett on my blog’s Spotlight Week. I did a review of the book and even interviewed the author. Little did I know that the characters I’d read (and worried) about would come to life on the silver screen three years later.

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Author/screenwriter Allison Burnett remembered the review I wrote of UNDISCOVERED GYRL and offered me a chance to view the movie two weeks before it was set to air in theaters. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

To get the taste of what the movie is all about, watch the film trailer below:

 

ASK ME ANYTHING was adapted from the book UNDISCOVERED GYRL by Allison Burnett. When I heard there was going to be a movie version, I was a bit worried that the voice and language which I loved about the book would not translate to the big screen.

Thankfully, I was wrong. The movie stays true to the book—from the complex characters, right down to the spelling errors made by Katie while she was blogging drunk. It helped that the film’s screenwriter and director also happens to be the book’s author, Allison Burnett.

18 year-old Katie Kampenfelt blogs about her life just after graduating from high school. Using an online persona, she shares her personal experiences with anonymous readers. She describes encounters with her alcoholic father, oblivious mother, needy boyfriend, and the older men whom she just can’t seem to stay away from –in particular, a college film professor (Justin Long), and married father (Christian Slater), who happens to be her boss (she’s the nanny for his baby).

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In the novel, the main character’s voice—her unique way of viewing the world and responding to it—dominated every scene, and I was worried that this wouldn’t be portrayed accurately in the film. Katie Kampenfelt is a perceptive and intelligent  soul trapped inside a frustrating cycle of self-abuse and it would take an amazing actress to pull off the role. The film delivers on this end, thanks to the incredible performance of Britt Robertson.

Britt ‘s portrayal of Katie was at once captivating and heart-breaking. I found myself simultaneously loving and hating her, just as I did when I read the book. And it is this honest, realistic performance that made me hate the way the story ended (all over again—since I felt the same way when I read the book).

Just as with the book, the film ends with a complete twist–something most viewers won’t see coming. The reason I hated the ending was because I’d gotten so attached to, and invested in the main character, that a future without her felt heavy and bleak. Though I wish the film had ended with a more hopeful tone, I understand that the story is meant to be a cautionary tale. As a story, ASK ME ANYTHING is an excellent trauma narrative, offering viewers a glimpse into the life and psyche of a young, deeply troubled woman, who is lost, lonely and utterly alone in her struggles to find her place in the scheme of things.

Other outstanding cast members include Robert Patrick, who plays Katie’s alcoholic, washed-out sports-writer father, and Martin Sheen, a bookstore owner with a dark past, and Katie’s first employer.

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Another notable thing about the film is its stellar soundtrack. Running with the book’s theme, it features many “undiscovered” female singer-songwriters, who are all around the same age as main character Katie Kampenfelt. The soundtrack won “Best Music” at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival and you can hear some of the songs here.  By featuring these talented, undiscovered girls, the soundtrack offers a more hopeful alternative to the film’s rather sad ending.

The movie opens TOMORROW  (FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19th, 2014) in selected theaters. You may also stream it on Amazon Instant, ITunes, Xbox and other Video On Demand platforms.

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TWN WWW 300

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome G. Lloyd Helm, author of the fantasy novels Other Doors & World Without End.

Welcome, Lloyd!

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Author G. Lloyd Helm

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Depends what you mean by “living” I write and take care of the family, but I don’t make a living. I leave that to my wife and Patron for the last forty four years. She is a Retired Air Force Master Sgt. We traveled all over the world because of that. I raised two sons, took care of the regular family affairs and I wrote. Still works that way except that the family is considerably smaller now.

 

What genre do you love to write?

That’s another one that is hard to answer. I have written three books that fall into the SF&F genre, but I have also written two in the straight ahead literary genre. Writing Slap-dasher adventure in SF&F is more fun kind of, but straight ahead literature is more satisfying.

 

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

Of course Reading, but that goes without saying. Any writer worth the powder to blow him up is a voracious reader, but I like to travel, see new places. I like to suddenly find myself in places where I am the only one who speaks English. I bicycle, though not as much as I used to. I’ve had some health problems that has shortened my biking. Music and Theater. I’ve played clubs and done concerts. Did a huge choir concert at Lincoln Center a couple of years ago.

 

Do you have a hidden talent?

Not really. My talents are mostly right there on the surface, lol.  I’m a pretty good dish washer.

 

   

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing? 

I have and “Office” / library where I work.

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2. Where did you get your desk? 

Wish I could say it is some wonderfully exotic place, but it ain’t. I bought it at Staples

 

3. How did you go about arranging your work area?

It is arranged mostly by “dump” I am very organized but my office looks like an explosion most of the time. Still I can set my hand on anything I want within seconds because I know how deep down in the stack it is. LOL

 

4. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

The only really importat things on the desk are the computer and the calendar. I’ve got the usual office stuff—stapler and rolodex and phone, but that’s about it. The things I need around me are my calendar, my bulletin board and my pocket Buddha.

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 5. What do you love most about your workspace?

Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often? I like my office because it feels safe and cozy and enclosed. I have a window but it mostly stays covered with a shade. My prayer bell. It’s not on my desk but it is here handy in the office. Gets used most every day.

 

6. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I’m a coffee drinker, but it is easy to tell how my latest work is progressing by how much cold coffee is left in the cup. If it is empty, that’s bad, I’m having to bear down, but if it is full I’m rolling so well that I forget it is there.

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On Writing

 

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

My favorite author changes depending on what I am reading. Currently my favorite is Paulo Coelho. I just read “The Alchemist” and was very impressed. Who inspired me to write is hard to say I have been a reader for a long time, but ultimately I think John Steinbeck was who kicked me off. I loved his characters and I knew the people from “Grapes of wrath.” My family is from the hills of Arkansas.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

Get up, breakfast, coffee, a little TV news just to see that the world is still as screwed up as when I went to bed, then to the office. Rituals are simple. Ring my prayer bell three times with pleas to the universe to conspire with me between each toll.

 

3. Do you write every day?

I wish I could say I did but I don’t. If I am working on a particular project—finishing a book or a story—I usually am pretty faithful, but if I am between specific projects I mess around rather than write. I have kept a journal for a long time but it isn’t daily by any means.

 

4. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I usually don’t measure in hours. I measure in words. When I am working good I get a thousand words a day. If that takes ten minutes (Seldom) I work ten minutes and go on with other business, but if it take’s hours –and sometimes it does—I stay with it until I get my thousand. I may throw them out tomorrow if they were that hard to get. That usually means that they aren’t very good. I would guess I average maybe two hours a day when I am really working.

 

5. What are some of your worst writing distractions? 

I don’t really have anything specific, just everything. I am ADOS – That means “Attention Deficit OOO Shiny” When I focus nothing distracts me, but when I am not focused everything distracts me.

 

6. Why do you write?

Because I am compelled to. I tell people it is a sickness I’d like to get well from, but I can’t seem to stop though I have tried several times. It isn’t quite grapho–filia but not far from it.

 

7. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

Nothing really. Don’t talk about, just sit down and do it.  And my favorite quote is from Hemingway I believe. He said something like, “Writing is easy, just sit down and open a vein.”

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Lloyd!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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Chronos Files Giveaway Winners

Last October, the spotlight was on Author Rysa Walker and her awesome time travel novels  TIMEBOUND, TIME’S ECHO  &  TIME’S EDGE (BOOKS FROM THE CHRONOS FILES SERIES). Now it’s my pleasure to announce the winner of last October’s Spotlight Week Giveaway.

Congrats to the following folks!

 

Mandy P. , for winning One signed copy of Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1)

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Bri Wignal for winning one signed copy of Time’s Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2)

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Shelby for winning e-book copies of Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1)
& Time’s Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2)

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Preston Leigh for winning an ebook copy of the Time’s Echo: A CHRONOS Files Novella (The Chronos Files)
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Brian Curtis, for winning an ebook copy of the Time’s Echo: A CHRONOS Files Novella (The Chronos Files)
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I’ll email you in a few minutes to give you instructions on how to claim your prize.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish everyone a happy, fun weekend!

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