Tag Archive for: Harry Potter

How to Succeed in Business

The truth is he can’t sing particularly well; he’s a so-so dancer; his comic timing is off; and as an aside, I had no idea he was that short.

So why did I leap to my feet at the end of the show to give Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a standing ovation? Because the finale was a show-stopper and most of all, because I was in awe of the risk this 21-year-old kid had taken.

Sure it’s easy to try something different and risk failure when you’re a gazillionaire, but this was putting himself “out there” in a very public way and nobody, not even gazillionaires, likes bad reviews.

After seven, going on eight, Harry Potter movies, the chance of being typecast is basically a sure thing. But in the last 18 months, Daniel Radcliffe has deliberately chosen to project a new image and expose himself literally in Equus, as well as figuratively. He made a conscious decision to reinvent the public persona that his role in the blockbuster movies has made.

All of which gave this author pause. It’s easy, as you age, to become risk averse. Stick to what you know and what you know will sell.

Write a successful cozy. Write another one.

Heck, even simpler. Serve a recipe that’s worked for the past 20 years – and never bother to change the menu. Jalapeno peppers? Never bought one. Have no clue what I would do if I did.

But there I was, in the darkened Al Hirschfeld Theater, just steps from the gleaming lights of Broadway, and I pondered, for a change, not How to Succeed in the mystery business, but how to shake things up and change on a bigger, pardon the pun, stage.

As Goethe told us: “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”

I’ve been in a comfort zone when it comes to writing. It’s time to take some risk. I made a start when Rhonda convinced me to write the Brianna Sullivan series. I didn’t like, to be honest was afraid of, the paranormal. But exploring the world of ghosts has made the world of the living all the more exciting and fun. Next up is a series of short stories about love and romance. Should be published in e-book formats in the next week. If they sell, wonderful. If they don’t, I have no regrets. I tried.

And that’s how it should be. The point is not whether Daniel Radcliffe or I succeed. What’s important is that we walked out there and risked failure. As T.S. Eliot wrote, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

Marian, in search of Jalapeno Pepper for dinner

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- KindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords

The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake- PaperbackKindle
Murder Off the Books- PaperbackKindle
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords

Saying Goodbye Gracefully

by Evelyn David

I’ve always been intrigued by the paranormal (see our Brianna Sullivan series), so when Medium, a television series about a psychic who assists the Phoenix, Arizona police department debuted in 2005, I was quickly hooked. I followed the series from NBC, who cancelled it after five years, to CBS, who cancelled it last month. I looked forward to the series finale with a combination of sadness and anticipation of how they would wrap it all up. Sigh. What I got last Friday night was an unholy mess. *Spoilers Ahead*

Multiple time jumps, fake dreams, an airplane crash, a Mexican drug cartel, cars exploding, eight years of amnesia, seriously there wasn’t a cliché they missed. There were moments when I expected Bobby Ewing to come out of the shower and tell Alison that all her dreams were just that – dreams and not psychic revelations. Even the last few seconds in the episode where Alison joined Joe in the hereafter after forty-some odd years apart didn’t work for me – instead of satisfaction that the couple would be together forever, it just felt like the writers were pouring salt on a wound. I didn’t want to learn Joe died and missed his kids growing up. I didn’t want to know Alison had to spend more years without him than she’d had with him. I didn’t particularly want to know about the kids’ grandchildren. I’d much rather have seen another episode that showed the characters doing the things they’ve done for the last seven years – Alison dreaming her dreams and waking up Joe in the middle of the night, Joe struggling to earn a living, and the kids fighting around the breakfast table. I wanted more of the same. Even if the series was cancelled, I wanted to be able to keep the family alive – well and happy – in my imagination.

Which got me to thinking about how authors treat the last book in a series. Lesson learned: You need to put the same amount of energy and creativity into ending a series that you put into that first book – the book where you were trying to engage readers into wanting to see more. Finales need to be respectful of both the characters and the audience. Do it well, and readers are anxious to read new books and new series you present. Do it poorly, and the bitter taste can wipe out all your earlier hard work.

J.K. Rowling understood the Herculean task she faced in ending the Harry Potter saga. While some readers might quibble with the length and events of the seventh book, most were extremely satisfied that she not only gave a powerful climactic battle between the forces of good and evil (the recurrent theme in all seven books), but she also provided an epilogue that gave a glimpse into the future of the main characters that her audience had grown to love. She didn’t ignore the harsh realities of the world she had created, and in fact, killed off several beloved characters. But to her credit, she was respectful in her treatment of their deaths and their demises made sense in the context of the storyline.

Ending a series is never easy for authors or fans. Fans will always expect more than the writers can give. They don’t want the series to end so any ending is often less than satisfactory. Most authors love the characters they’ve created and the line between fiction and a place at the kitchen table is mighty thin. Both halves of Evelyn David talk about Mac, Rachel, Brianna, and even Whiskey the Irish wolfhound, as if they were extended members of the Dossett and Borden families. So when we decide, if we ever decide, that it’s time to bring a series to a close, we know what we need to do and what we absolutely shouldn’t do. In the meantime, we’re still enjoying their adventures and plan to continue plotting murder and mayhem with them.

Stiletto Faithful: what finales, in books or television series, did you think were handled well? Which sucked?

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords

The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the CakePaperbackKindle
Murder Off the BooksPaperbackKindle
Riley Come Home (short story)KindleNookSmashwords

Sofa Comfort

I never considered myself as quirky, but now that I think about it, I guess I do have a few quirks. One of them is that I love a good kids movie. There’s something magical about them, and they fill me with warm fuzzies. Make it a dark and blustery day, throw in a cold front and/or storm, give me slippers and a cozy quilt, a mug of hot tea (or better yet a pumpkin spice latte) and I’m in:

H. E. A. V. E. N., heaven.

Harry Potter movies still top my list. They’re like comfort food for me. There’s something about the world JK Rowling created that truly is…well… magical. Literally. And figuratively. Getting lost in Hogwarts with Harry, Hermione, and Ron makes me happy.

Same with Pirates of the Caribbean. Love Johnny Depp in most everything, but really love him in this movie. Love Geoffrey Rush. Love the whole pirate code, er, guidelines. Again…happy.

Holiday movies? CAN’T WAIT!!! Ushering in the season with Peanuts is essential. Miracle on 34th Street (love the original and the remake–I’m not a purist and I’m not ashamed to admit it–except when it comes to the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Accept no substitute.) is a favorite. It’s a Wonderful Life? One of the most perfect movies ever made. Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol… so atmospheric, and he’s so adorable that I can’t wait to watch it.

Modern classics? The Santa Clause with Tim Allen… as good as warm cookies straight from the oven. My son played Santa Claus just like the boy in the movie. It spoke to him and so I will always love this movie. It’s magical.

And the stop motion shows from my childhood? Santa Claus is coming to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and The Little Drummer Boy are classics that we have to watch in our household. The season isn’t complete without them.

I get the same warm fuzzy feeling when I settle in with a good book. I’m currently reading The Help. LOVE IT. Can’t wait to get back to it. These are people I wish I knew. I feel like I DO know them. I want them to be real. I’m rooting for them, holding my breath as their lives unfold before my eyes, and I can’t wait to turn the page, start the next chapter, find out what happens next. I will be so sad when the book ends. That is a sign of a really great story.

My own books hold that magic for me, too. I can’t wait to dive into my writing each day because it’s like spending time with friends, getting close to them, living their lives with them, and there’s nothing better than spending a day like that.
So, what gives you warm fuzzies? Is there a book or a movie that holds that magic for you?
~ Misa

Guilty Pleasures

Bet you thought I was going to write about chocolate. Well, yes, I confess chocolate is one of my guilty pleasures, but I don’t indulge nearly as much as I used too.

Instead I’m going to confess my TV watching guilty pleasures. My husband and I both watch General Hospital. I’ve watched General Hospital for years, way back before Luke and Laura got married. Hubby didn’t watch with me back in those days because he was either off to war or working on base.

Because it comes on at 2 in the afternoon here, it’s a good time for both of us to take a break–and I must confess, sometimes we both snooze a bit. We are entertained by the fact that almost everyone has slept or been married to everyone else in the cast at one time or another. We know nothing will ever have a happy ending or the show would just stop. However there are some amazing actors on the show–at times I wonder how they can keep from laughing.

I also love reality TV. I watch Big Brother and have my favorites–hubby will only watch this one if he’s forced into it. Survivor and the Amazing Race are others that I enjoy. I have a granddaughter who is determined that she and her husband are going to try out for it one day–the only thing that’s holding them back is my daughter who won’t babysit until their three year old is less of a handful.

What I don’t like is the Japanese take-off shows where people actually get hurt. Why anyone would do those I have no idea.

Oh, and I also like to watch the disaster movies that have been coming out this summer too. The acting has been lousy, the stories just as lousy, but for some reason I’m fascinated by them. Maybe it’s because I don’t really have to think to follow along and if I go to sleep before it’s over it’s not really something I’ll worry about.

Last week we went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and took one of my good friends who is also a faithful fan of my books. We loved the movie–husband nodded off a few times–we went to the 10 a.m. showing so I think he was bored. My friend is also a General Hospital fan so at lunch we talked about all the wild goings-on.

Except for GH I don’t watch TV in the day time. By the time evening rolls around, I no longer have the ambition to write and I guess I’m ready for my guilty pleasures.

That’s my confession and I’m sticking to it.


Good News, Bad News

First, the good news.
The great flea infestation is over.

And the bad news.
Wildlife can still be heard in the walls.
There is now an encyclopedic understanding of wildlife traps including the pros and cons of glue traps versus slow-acting poison.
Two bikes have been stolen from the backyard.

On the other hand, my daughter hasn’t ridden a bike in 10 years.


She returned from her Glasgow adventure at the end of December. Spent the next three weeks in a frenzy of hometown reunions, shopping, and job hunting for both the semester and the summer. Finally, she headed back to campus, to ‘The Burrow,’ the nickname, borrowed from Harry Potter, of a decrepit townhouse that is now home to nine college students and an assortment of unwanted wildlife.

I think I’m getting old, old, old.

Is living in a hovel a rite of passage? Have I gotten soft in my old age?

She sees a well-lived in house. I see the Black Hole of Calcutta.

She sees an opportunity for 24/7 friends. I see a never-ending party with blaring music and no privacy.

She sees adventure. I see worry (mine, not hers).

But would I want it any other way?

Maybe a little less worry for me. But I would never want to dampen her enthusiasm, lessen her optimism, diminish her willingness to try something new or undertake a new challenge.

So I happily baked some cookies for ‘The Burrow’ residents (hopefully the two-legged ones only). Limited my lectures on safety. Reminded her to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and as always, have fun.

The house is a little too quiet now. But at least she’s only two hours away and in the same time zone. And in the meantime, the good news is that she’s healthy, happy, and growing. The bad news is that I miss her.

Evelyn David