Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Do Bad Movies Happen to Good Books?

 Ah, the book/movie conundrum. I am always surprised to see how many movies were based on books. Maybe half. It’s generally not a big deal unless the adaptation comes from a beloved New York Times bestseller with a rabid fanbase. There has been, on occasion, a fantastic film adaption of a fantastic book. Movies like this make you love the book more. But I think that may be the exception to the rule. When it comes to super popular books being made intomovies, expectations are usually crushed on opening night. I’ve recently experienced two novel/film adaptions, one was terrible (Breaking Dawn 2) and one was amazing (The Princess Bride - the book made me love the movie more and the movie is what led me to the book, good stuff all around). So I wanted to make a list of my impressions. I think a good movie adaptation captures the essence of the book, the mood, the vision of it. A great adaptation adds something to the story - with the score, the actors, and beautiful cinematography, movies have that potential. 
Please know that I have read all the books and watched all the movies listed below. I didn't think it would be fair to say, "Hey THE HELP is a really great movie so I'll put that in the good list, even though I've never read the book."

Bad movie adaptations

Twilight Saga
The Count of Monte Cristo (My favorite book - the movie was just insulting)
The Lightning Thief
The Cat in the Hat
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Da Vinci Code
Dear John (the book’s ending is much more poignant)
The Scarlet Letter
Beowulf
Any movie based on a Roald Dahl book (okay, so they aren't the worst but none of them come close to capturing the charm of the original works)

 Good movie adaptations

Harry Potter
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Notebook (the movie’s ending is much more romantic, but kind of renders the book sequel moot)

The Hunger Games (this one upset me somewhat, but overall was decent so I'll put it in the good list)
Mean Girls
Where the Wild Things Are
The Outsiders

Do you have any to add? Do you disagree with me? 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Featured on Reading for Sanity

My novel Oceanswept is being featured on my favorite book review blog, Reading for Sanity. Check it out. (And there's a coupon!)



Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Adoption Day

It's National Adoption Day and I would be remiss if I didn't honor the people who made my family possible.





If you think that true, unconditional love, heart-breaking courage, and ultimate sacrifice is just the stuff of fairy tales, I'll tell you to talk to a birth parent. 

My heart bursts with love for these families. And for mine. Thank you. Thank you. A million times...thank you. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Birth Mom Excuses



Once upon a time, Joci didn't like when I told her it was too late to start a movie and informed me--hands on hips--that her birth mother said it was okay.

It was precocious and surprising and a little bit funny.

The "my birth mom says I can" hasn't stopped at all. That phrase comes out of Joci's mouth at least two times a night.

Once, she used God as an excuse. "God says I can."

I know she's just finding ways to control her chaotic little world and get whatever it is she wants at the moment. She isn't trying to be cruel. And it doesn't hurt my feelings that she is using the idea of her birth mom in this way. Mostly, I just struggle with how to deal with the sassing. I have protocol for other sassing...but I've been afraid to use it with her "birth mom" sassing because I don't want Joci to associate talking about her birth mom with unpleasant consequences and I don't want to disrespect Joci's birth mom.

I very much want Joci to feel free to talk about her birth parents. I want to encourage questions and discussions and thoughts and feelings, no matter what they are. The last thing I want is for her to feel ashamed about her questions and feelings. I do not want her to hide that from me because she is afraid of hurting me.

So I haven't done much about her "birth mom" comments. But they are getting more frequent--probably because I let her get away with them.

I asked my husband tonight what we should do. He is a counselor and has far better ideas about communication than I do. We decided to have a talk with her about it. She is three and understands more than we often give her credit for. So we did our best to explain how we love her birth parents very much and she can always talk about them but she can no longer use them for sassing me.



I *think* it went well.

I'll let you know how it goes.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

$25 Amazon Card Give-Away




Do you love Amazon?

Do you love Pinterest?

(And really...who doesn't?)

Want to win a $25 gift card to Amazon.com by pinning stuff onto Pinterest?

(yeah...I thought so. And right before Christmas. How convenient!)

Here's what you gotta do.

First - I recommend reading my book Oceanswept. It's pretty awesome. You'll have fun with it, I promise. And it's only $3.99 so investing that much into an awesome book and a chance to win $25 at Amazon.com is a sweet deal. Even a fast food burger costs more than that.

Second - create a pinboard on Pinterest called "Oceanswept" and pin some images that remind you of the book--pictures of the Caribbean, clothing, actors who remind you of the characters, WHATEVER. Click here to see my "Oceanswept" pinboard.

Third - this is important - you MUST pin the book's cover art. If the cover art isn't part of your pinboard, then it doesn't count. I recommend pinning it from my author website here or from Amazon.com here.

Fourth - leave a comment with the link to your pinboard and your email address.

THAT'S ALL. You'll be entered into the give-away.

The contest closes on December 7th at midnight. I will select my favorite pinboard on December 8th. Hopefully that will give everyone enough time to read Oceanswept and still give the winner enough time to use their gift card for holiday shopping if they so desire.

I am really excited for this give-away. It's going to be fun.

Happy pinning!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Biting Off a Bit Much

November...

National Adoption Month.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

The month in which I, a very sedentary person without a single athletic bone in my body, decided to begin a grueling Fitness Boot Camp Class.

And the month in which I finally purchased a video game I have been waiting for since I played its predecessor thirteen years ago (Diablo 3).

I haven't blogged about adoption once. (Remember that year I blogged about it every day? The thought exhausts me now.)

I haven't been able to keep up with the 1667 words a day of NaNoWriMo. I haven't met that goal even once. I have made progress though...but a week in I am so behind that I think it will be a big fast bust. Though I won't write it off yet. When I wrote Oceanswept, I wrote the entire first draft (about 80,000) in three weeks.

I have survived my first week of Boot Camp. I am seriously impressed with myself. This is so not me. And I truly signed up for it in ignorance. I had a friend who talked me into it. Social pressure? Personal professional attention? That's what I need, so sure. I've tried talking my gym rat friends into joining Boot Camp. They all (big, buff guys) get a look of fear on their face and say NO WAY! So obviously, it makes strong men tremble. If I knew that...I probably would have signed up for yoga.

But I have finished everything asked of me. I haven't ever downgraded weights until the instructor told me. I have occasionally modified (after 100+ push ups, I just had to do the girlie kind - so sue me). I have been so sore it is like a physical disability. My motion is so limited, I can't give the kids a bath or go downstairs to do laundry. Yesterday I even struggled to do my hair and dress myself. It has been PAINFUL. And I don't enjoy it. But studies show that in six weeks, most people will become "addicted" to their workout and begin to enjoy it, look forward to it, or find some kind of value in it. So I will press on. I am proud of myself for doing it. I am also proud that I can keep up with the boys. Heck, I have even beat them a couple times. I like to see that look on their face that says, "Hey...I'm impressed."

And D3 is just fun. Enough said. :)

I definitely have a lot on my plate...oh, one more thing to ad. My hubby is having reconstructive surgery after Thanksgiving on an eroded ear drum. We hope he'll be able to hear again.

Lots going on. So if you call and I don't answer...you know why! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

How Does Fear Influence You?


Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us? How dare we let it into our decision-making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships? It’s funny isn’t it, we take a day a year to dress up in costume and celebrate fear?—The Office US, 8x5

Halloween. A day of spooky, scary, bump-in-the-night, horror-driven jubilation. What are the origins of this festival? Most research will bring you back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain. But what prompted that?

Celebrating fear as the fearful Medusa

I think that Mr. Robert California probably hit the nail on the head. Halloween (or Samhain or All Hallow’s Eve) allows us to acknowledge, embrace, and even celebrate fear.

Fears become a little less scary when we can confront them in some way.

Fear used to cripple me. Direct my decisions. Limit my potential.

  • I was too afraid of looking stupid to ask questions in math class. I struggled with math and hated it. I picked a major with limited math requirements.
  • Fear factored into a lot of relationships. Sometimes I was too scared to let myself be vulnerable and go after a guy I really liked. Sometimes I wanted out of a relationship but I was too scared to have that confrontation and too scared of being alone and unloved.
  • My spirituality used to be based on fear. I was afraid of hell, damnation, and social judgment, and that’s what incentivized my religiosity.
  • I was afraid of being disliked, so I never rocked the boat. I rarely even stood up for myself.
  • I was afraid of how deep in debt I was, so I avoided looking at my bills and making a budget.
  • I was afraid of what it meant that I hadn’t gotten pregnant in seven years, so I avoided thinking about it or seeing doctors.
  • I was afraid of failing, so I rarely attempted anything that was beyond easy.


Fear was a constant advisor in my life.

I’m not sure how I got passed it. Maybe it came with age and maturity. Maybe it came with just pushing through it. But somehow, I managed to kick fear to the curb.
Over time, I have confronted things that used to terrify me and overcome them in my own ways.

I adopted. That was super scary! But I became a mom.
I wrote a book. I published it. Now people are reading it and liking it.
I tackled my budget and have paid off over $70,000 in debt. I’m so much closer to financial freedom.
I changed my attitude toward religion. I have never been happier or closer to God.
I asked for a promotion. I asked for a raise. I got it.
I stood up for myself when things weren’t right. Things got better.

Things still scare me, but I can face them with a little more poise and a lot less dramatics. Fear is important in life, but it shouldn’t motivate us, define us, or limit us.

So here’s to Halloween. Here’s to fear.  


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