30.12.10

The 80s Strike Again!

Lloyd Dobler - Say Anything
John Bender - The Breakfast Club
Recognize these iconic moments from classic 8os films?  Each and every one of them get a mention in the 2010 film Easy A, which itself is a funny, angsty teen film reminiscent of the John Hughes era. It shows that a film---even one centered on sex---doesn't need to resort to inane, raunchy humor to be hilarious.  
Jake Ryan - Sixteen Candles
Ronald Miller - Can't Buy Me Love
"Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80's movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie ... but no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life."

- Olive Penderghast in Easy A 

So what's your favorite iconic 80s movie moment?   Was it Ferris Bueller singing Danke Schoen on that float? A pantless Tom Cruise in Risky Business? Or perhaps a steel town girl on a Saturday night in Flashdance? How about the big factory scene in Officer and a Gentleman? Ah, so many to choose from... 

23.12.10

Have you SERIOUSLY Not Made Cookies Yet?

Yeah, me neither. So I've got a recipe that requires only three ingredients!  And the best thing is---these shortbread cookies are killer with eggnog. Santa will not be disappointed:

 Brown Sugar Shortbread
Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


Directions:

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Gradually stir in the flour.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Pat into a 1/3 inch-thick rectangle measuring 11" x 8".   Cut into 2" x 1" strips.  Place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Prick with a fork.  Bake at 300 degrees (Fahrenheit) for  25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Yield: 3 1/2 dozen.
Enjoy!  And merry, merry Christmas to all of you and yours. ;)

20.12.10

I Got Some Junk in a Box!

I can't believe it, but I've received the first submission to my Junk in a Box competition!  The rules are to design an 80s-themed diorama and e-mail a photo of it to elson.nicki@gmail.com by January 31, 2011. (Now that I've seen people might actually do this, I've extended the deadline to the end of January.) It's that simple. The prizes for the winning diorama are:
  • One Hit Wonders of the 80s CD
  • Signed Copy of Three Daves
  • Your blog & your book (or whatever you want) featured in a post 
Plus, all entries will be invited to be a guest blogger here at Not-So-Deep Thoughts and will get a link to wherever they want on my side bar!   Want to see the new entry?

It's a recreation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
released in 1980.  
I'm told this is the entrant's first diorama attempt ever.  Nice job! :)  He doesn't have a blog, so I'm linking his diorama image on the sidebar to his excellent Star Wars fanfiction: Such a Quiet Thing to Fall. If you're a Star Wars and/or Hellsing fan, you will love it.

Now...show me your 80s Junk in a Box!
(Could be a fun Christmas Break activity for the kiddos, eh?)   

Time for the Meet an author Monday Blog Hop, including at least one psycho author (who will admit to it) and another who is giddy as they get with her debut novel being released TOMORROW!!!

If you have a book out or impending, please hop on!

16.12.10

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

Hey, I feel like giving y'all something, and so I'm sharing what is quite possibly the most awesome Christmas playlist ever.  This Lyonaland must be one cool chicka.  The first video is a Christmas card from the characters of The Light Series by Jennifer DeLucy.  And yeah, there just might be some 80s Christmas tunes in the mix too. ;)

Enjoy!


13.12.10

Fifteenth Time's a Charm

Something extremely way cool happened---the alumni magazine from my Alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, did a truly fabulous feature article about my book! I've had a very good response---the biggest since launch---and I've gotten confirmation of something I suspected all along...


















My book was published in February of this year, and pretty much from the get-go I've been out there marketing-wise.  I've done signings and website interviews, gotten articles in local papers, finagled my book onto shelves of local businesses, delved into an e-life, etc. etc. Some efforts have been modestly successful, some not so much, and I've wondered many, many times whether any of it's even worth it.  But during my recent bubble in book sales, people have commented something to the effect of:

"I've been hearing about this book and keep meaning to check it out, but then I saw this article and I have to read it."

So that's it---it might feel like we're spinning our wheels, spending hour upon hour doing things that result in nada, but I'm no longer going to be discouraged by that.  Because maybe the first time you put something out there, crickets chirp, and maybe that even happens the second, third, and fourth time.  But the fifth...the tenth...the fifteenth...?

In other awesome Monday news...I placed in the Top Five of the In Time... blog's  Harry Potter Blogfest!  You can read my entry and find links to other entries below.

And it's Meet an Author Monday!  
Hop around and see what's going on with these fun and fabulous authors. If you have a book published or under contract, hop on!

Omnific Publishing is offering a great opportunity to check out the work of their authors...for FREE!  Throughout the month of December, when you buy a print copy of an Omnific book, you get to choose a FREE e-book!

11.12.10

Harry Potter Blogfest - Bite-Sized Harry Potter Holiday Fictions

Welcome to the Harry Potter Blogfest 
hosted by Michael at the In Time... blog.

My entry is a re-worked scene from my novel-length fanfiction Professor Burbage and the Potions Master.  For me, this blogfest ended up being more an experiment in editing rather than writing---the original scene is 900+ words, but Michael's a very strict professor, and his requirement was 500 words, so I've chopped this baby down to nearly half its original size (525 words).

It wasn't nearly as impossible a task as I at first thought it would be---merely a matter of removing unneccessary dialogue tags, paring back on overly detailed physical descriptions, cutting redundant phrasing, and searching out ways to say things more efficiently.  That's all.  What's amazing is that the scene lost absolutely nothing, but is now a smoother, sleeker version of its original self.  Editing rocks.  Thanks for making me challenge myself, Michael.


Professor Elson and the Potions Master

"What is it you need, Professor Elson?" Snape asked as the substitute Muggle Studies teacher clunked a heavy box onto his desk.

"I’m having trouble with a few simple potions," she explained, pulling small corked bottles from the box. Each contained a muddy brown liquid.

"Perhaps you should enroll in my class next term," he said flatly.

"Ha ha. These potions are fine—they do exactly what they're supposed to do, but I was hoping you'd show me how to make them more attractive."

"Attractive?"

"Yes. I was thinking of various shades of green and gold."

"Why on Earth would you want to do that?"

"I'm giving them as Christmas gifts, and as you know, presentation is everything."


Snape responded with a look that seemed to indicate he very much wanted to hurl her out one of his windows. Lucky for Nicki, he had none down in the dungeon.

Taking a more practical tone, she added, "I've tried changing the appearance myself, but every time I add a new element, the effect of the potion changes."

"Potions 101, Professor Elson. Are you sure you don't want to sign up for my class?"

"Well, aren't you the cheeky one? Honestly, Severus. You act as if I don't know the difference between wolfsbane and monkshood."

"There is no diff—" Snape started, but he stopped short when he saw Elson's playful smile.

"Oh please, Severus! You're the expert. Will you please, please just show me how?" Whether it was her batting eyelashes that did it or the fact that he wanted her far away from him as soon as possible, she didn't know, but Snape finally agreed to help her.

As he selected various jars and tubes from the shelves of his store cupboard, Nicki asked, "Would these potions have the same effect on Muggles as they do on wizards and witches?"

Snape poked his hooked nose out of the cupboard. "Professor Elson, you're not planning on giving these potions to Muggles, are you?"

She laughed lightly and said, "Oh, heavens no. These are for my students."

"Students?" Snape shot her an appalled glare before he returned to rifling through his shelves.

"I wonder though,” Nicki pressed on, “what would be so terrible if the potions did find themselves in Muggle hands? This one’s just a harmless mix to add sparkle to the girls' hair."

Snape returned to his desk with an armful of ingredients. "The harm would be that the magical world would be exposed if Muggles were suddenly sparkling all around town."

"Oh, I know. I'm thinking more philosophically. Think about it—if potions have the same effect on Muggles as they do on us, then this can be the great unifying factor! The one branch of magic that Muggles and wizards can share in equally."

Snape's forehead creased between his sheets of black hair. He didn't seem to like the idea, but he didn't argue her point either. Instead, he set immediately to work and huffed, "It's getting late, and I'm sure you'd like to get your beauty sleep before class tomorrow." After a brief pause, he added dryly, "Presentation is everything, you know."


Hope you enjoyed! 

Click on the Harry Potter Blogfest icon or here to indulge in more bite-sized Harry Potter holiday stories.

2.12.10

It's a Harry Potter Winter Wonderland

Michael at the In Time... blog is hosting a Harry Potter blogfest on December 11.  To join, write a 500 word scene with any of the HP characters from any of the seven books. It could be anything you want. Funny, magical, serious, etc. And for an added twist, it should be set during Christmas or Thanksgiving  

Sign up here: Harry Potter Blogfest

 And for more wintertime fun, Night Owl Reviews is hosting a Winter Wonderland Web Hunt until January 15.  Search author websites for clues and win tons of prizes, including signed books and gift certificates.