Film Friday: Before Sunset

I’m happy to welcome Arlinda to Literary, etc! She’s guest blogging today and she’s here to review her favorite film, Before Sunset.

beforesunsetIt all started with a random conversation with a complete stranger on a train. Nine years later they are reunited by the book Jesse wrote about his night with Celine. Upon the success of his novel, Jesse embarks on a promotional tour in Europe with the last stop in Paris. It is at the infamous Shakespeare and Company bookstore where he at long last runs into Celine. She walks in. She’s listening to him ramble on about a book he wants to write and then he sees her. For a moment you can feel the tension and the connection and the realization that this is the person they’ve both been waiting for. This movie takes us on a physical and emotional journey seeking to understand and “capture what it means to really meet somebody [and] make that connection.” Throughout the film Celine and Jesse maintain a playful yet serious conversation. Their conversation is engaging and you experience a genuine sense of intimacy–breaking down their life contemplation to the smallest details. Their discussions range from life, politics, sex, love, romantic idealism, and relationships. Yet at the root of their issues they seek validation from one another. They want to know everything they experienced that one night meant as much to the other as it did to them. The highlight if the film for me is when each character breaks down in the car. There’s so much pent up frustration and hurt and an animosity for this life they could have had together. All the words they needed to vocalize are being said; there was more connecting between these two than a one night stand. I was a real connection and a powerful one.

This entire movie takes the viewer on a walk around Paris. Its highly intimate and personal.

Below are a couple of my favorite clips:

This clip is when Celine breaks down

This clip is when Jesse breaks down and Celine reaches out to touch him and pulls away

This final clip is at the end of the film and Celine sings a song at Jesse’s request

After she finishes she turns up Nina Simone’s Song Just In Time, she’s dancing around mimicking Nina Simone and says to Jesse “Baby, you’re going to miss that plane.” And he smiles and says “I know.”

Guest Post: The Destruction Of Innocence

I’m really excited about today’s very special guest! Today we have author Rebecca Reid and her psychological thriller, The Coop, is one of the best books I read in 2012. If you’re interested in knowing more about her, feel free to read her interview.

The Destruction Of Innocence

This may not come as a shock to you, but writing is so much more than hitting a few keys on your computer. It is so much more than creation. It is alive. To me at least, I can speak for no other authors when I say that. There is no plot line, no pre-planned chapters, just a cold cup of tea and burning fingers. I settle to write and it becomes me. The destination of my journey is unknown, as are the stops along the way where characters jump on and off. The story, and all that is in it, grows as the words hit the page. It would seem that my computer screen is not the razor thin aluminum I thought it was, but porous, absorbing every thought my subconscious chooses to drop onto the keyboard.

This is not a choice in writing style, I don’t believe one has that luxury; it is simply a fact. Each novel I write will start with a mere thought, or a fleeting vision and become whatever it chooses. That is why I was as shocked as any to discover the underlying themes within ‘The Coop’. There I was settling down to do a secondary edit when it jumped out at me that the pages were steeped in the destruction of innocence. Jodie Tiding becomes the embodiment of purity, both destroyed and encapsulated by it. She is unforgivably pursued by Mathew, whose own beliefs are an abuse of his naivety. Where there is innocence, a darkness lingers beneath. This realization shook me. Yes, I had written it, but I myself, had not foreseen it. Had my fear of disintegrating innocence within the world around us affected me this much? It would appear so.

Ask yourself this, innocence, do you fear for its existence? There was a time the word would tumble from our lips, continually associated with children, youths, the sublimely unaware. Is that still the case?

Rebecca Reid is the author of the psychological thriller The Coop. You can learn more about Rebecca by visiting her website.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Jessica Scott’s The Long Way Home

I’m thrilled to announce that after a long way, the cover for The Long Way Home is finally out. The fabulous Shawntelle Madison did an amazing job with this, didn’t she?

Want your own copy? Buy it at: Barnes & Noble| Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo

The Long Way Home cover

The Long Way Home cover

My name is Jessica Scott. I am a soldier. I am a mother. I am a wife.

In 2009, Army second lieutenant Jessica Scott deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. She thought deploying was the hardest thing she’d ever do.

She was wrong.

This is the story of a mother coming home from war and learning to be a mom again. This is the story of a lieutenant making the grade and becoming a company commander. This is the journey of a writer persevering through a hundred rejections. This is the story of a soldier learning to be a woman again. This is the story of a wife waiting for the end of a war.

This is the journey as it happened, without commentary.

This is her blog. There are many blogs from the Iraq war, but this one is hers.

Check out the official trailer:

Excerpt: Below is an exclusive look at The Long Way:

Available at: Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo

Jessica has offered a digital copy from her backlist (fiction or non-fiction). If you’re interested, just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll pick a winner or two depending on the number of entries. Good luck!

About JessicaJess9
Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and is currently a company commander stationed at Fort Hood.

Most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Connect with Jessica
Official Website
Facebook Page
Twitter: JessicaScott09
Goodreads: Author Page

Guest Post: Gillian Flynn Chicago Discussion of Gone Girl

I’m excited to welcome the lovely Rachelle B as today’s guest blogger! She was kind enough to attend Gillian Flynn’s discussion and book signing in Chicago. If you’re wondering, I’m the friend who sent the book.

Credit: Rachelle B

Photo Credit: Rachelle B

On 2/13/13 I had the opportunity to hear Gillian Flynn speak at the Harold Washington Library. I had never read anything by this author, but a friend of mine in New Mexico is a huge fan, so I figured I’d check her out. My friend ended up sending me a copy of Flynn’s newest book, Gone Girl, so I definitely had to go now.

I’m so glad I did. Flynn is an entertaining and inspirational person. When asked when her interest in writing ‘darker’ books began, she told us that her very first short story was about a girl who ultimately gets eaten by wolves—she was in the 3rd grade.

What I found particularly interesting is that she worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years before becoming a published novelist. As someone who used to churn creative fiction/short stories out without issue, the research writing that grad school demanded of me took that creativity. In her case, it seemed to be the opposite. She was able to transition from journalism to fiction with ease. She said that it takes her about two years to write a novel and that by the end of the book her office flutters with post-it notes (her main way of taking notes and staying organized).

She is very personable, friendly, and outgoing. I am definitely going to check out her books, and the movie adaptations when those come out (She talked very little about the movies, as they are very much in the planning stage. She did confirm that she will be writing the screenplays and that Hollywood doesn’t want her to make any major changes to the plot.). —Rachelle B

The Society of Midland Authors & the Chicago Public Library recorded the event and you can listen to Gillian Flynn’s discussion and Q&A:

Guest Post: Valentine’s Day – Myth, Mystery or Money Making Machine

I’m really excited about today’s very special guest post! It’s written by one of my favorite vampires, Derick Upton. Upton can be found in Melissa R. Smith’s Sanguine series and currently she’s offering Legacy for free at Smashwords using coupon code: WC87W.

Valentine’s Day – Myth, Mystery or Money Making Machine

Greetings, my friends.
Well, it seems I have been called upon to give insight into a topic which has confused and delighted humans for centuries, Valentine’s Day. The one day a year in which the idea of love is celebrated throughout the world. For humans, it can be a day of joy, to express to the one you love your unending devotion. Wedding vows are exchanged or renewed, proposals are made, cards sent, chocolates and roses delivered by the millions. For others, however, it is a day of morose bitterness, full of resentment, anger and loneliness. Bad memories of divorce, widowhood and unrequited love are revisited. Unwillingly, I might add. I dare one to name another holiday that is met with such a contrast of emotion.

The question was posed to me. Do Sanguines celebrate Valentine’s Day? I believe the answer lies solely with the individual. Some Sanguines are young enough to be familiar with many of the more modern traditions, while older Sanguines never participated while still human, therefore feel no need to start the practice as a Sanguine. In talking with many in my own territory in Scotland, the celebration of the day stands at around half, which does go well with the age grouping now registered in the territory.

How would a Sanguine go about celebrating the day (or evening, as it would be more comfortable at night)? American and some European Sanguines are much more traditional in the giving of flowers, candy (if their companion is still fully human) and cards of love. More than a few proposals of companionship and claiming are made during this time.

In other nations, this is not always the case. Scandinavian Sanguines for example, must fast for three weeks prior to the day. Believing that the celebration must be spiritual, not physical, it is forbidden to spill one drop of blood from their companion. Nor must they hunt at any time. (Scandinavian Sanguines do not import bagged blood and have no Sanguine clubs, feeding is 90% live donor/companion, 10% capture-consume)

Despite my interest in the whole concept of commercialism, I personally detest the thought of Valentine’s Day and if I could, I would stay inside, locked up for the full 24 hours of it. I, as many of my fellow Sanguines, have been one who has loved and lost, friends, and I certainly do not wish, nor appreciate a holiday that reminds me of that fact. However, it is not a good decision, business-wise, not to have my club open, as it generates a great amount of revenue. No matter what day of the week Valentine’s Day falls, the club is always open for feeding and claiming. Why, you may ask, would I be so opposed to a day in which love is celebrated?

Make no mistake; I am a fan of love. My dear friends, love is the greatest gift one creature – human or Sanguine – can give to another. For those who have felt true love, in its most basic and wonderful form, know the joy it brings. Should love be celebrated only on one day of the year? Certainly not. Love, in my opinion, isn’t just a one-day-a-year money pit, but something that must be given great reverence and respect. Yes, I take advantage, business-wise and if you wish to subscribe me a hypocrite, so be it. However one might feel, I see no end to the tradition. So, I advise, do what you wish with the holiday, humans and Sanguines alike. Be married, claimed, romanced, wined and dined. I celebrate for you and with you, as long as you spend money in my establishment.

But inside, alone, I will do what so many others do – drown myself in the indulgences of the flesh. And feast on fresh, virgin blood.

Ah yes, that’s much better.

Until we meet again,
Derick Upton
Reigning Elder – Southern Scottish Territory and
Human/Sanguine Relations Specialist for the Worldwide Coalition of Elders