Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Boyfriend, The BBC

It probably started with my love of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Something about reading and/or watching either one always made me feel smarter and more cultured. Years of Pride & Prejudice parties on Super Bowl Sunday (same snacks, just fancier) and you have the makings of a girl who was bound to fall in love with British television.

So today, I'm sharing my love of the BBC and my vast appreciation for Netflix. Without them, I'd probably have more of a social life! Anyway, here are a few of my favorites:

Doctor Who
Doo-wee-doo! There's something about a man who's seen so much horror and continues to value human life and fight for what's right. And the fact that he's quirky, brilliant, and hilarious? Well, that just makes him more appealing. Matt Smith incarnation of the Doctor with his affinity for bow ties, fezzes, Stetsons, and dressing like a substitute science teacher will always be my Doctor. I will forever be listening for the TARDIS and hoping he's the one nabbing me for an adventure. 

Admittedly the first time I saw Sherlock, I thought, There's sure a lot of nudity... (It was Scandal In Belgravia, which was my favorite until the antics of Drunk Sherlock.) I was quick to learn that nudity and profanity weren't a staple for the show, because Sherlock is all about the brains.

I blame my Sherlock obsession on a dad who read mysteries to his children and introduced us to Columbo and Poirot during our formative years. Who dunnits still draw me in. And really, do I have to say it? I'm a little bit in love with Mr. Cumberbatch. I just want him to read me bedtime stories I his sexy, low voice. Or, you know, recipe cards.

Downton Abbey
My love for period dramas and romance attracted me to Downton, though not initially. I watched the first episode and thought, I don't get it. What's all the fuss about? Weeks later on a lazy Sunday afternoon I thought I'd give it another try. I still haven't turned it off. The unique upstairs/downstairs interactions, the stunning fashions, and the ooey gooey romance keep me coming back. As my friend explained to someone who's apparently been living under a rock and knows nothing about it, Downton is a period soap opera. 

Too true. And we eat it up.

Call the Midwife
A friend brought Call the Midwife to my attention. She was intrigued by the ins and outs of midwifery portrayed in the show and she's absolutely addicted to the 40s. However, the videos of childbirth from my Human Development courses were as close as I wanted to come to live birth, at least from that angle. But, when I had a moment free from Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton (yes, I did fly through them all in a matter of months) I pulled up Call the Midwife and watched a couple of episodes. Here's what I love about it: the cadence, the heart, and the class. It's as beautifully choreographed as a dance. Give it a try. Maybe you'll love it. And maybe you'll learn to do your hair in victory rolls too.
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I'm pretty sure I could go on. I haven't even mentioned The Paradise, Merlin, or Robin Hood, which are fantastic examples of what I love about British TV. Classic literature, myths, and legends revamped with the perfect blending of drama, comedy, and humor. As a writer and/or couch potato I can get behind that. 

And hey, who doesn't love a good accent? Tom Hiddleston is also more than welcome to read me bedtime stories. Or the ingredients on the back of the cereal box.
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Anything else I should check out? Leave me a comment and tell me what you're obsessed with! As always, for reading! If you'd like to learn more about my geeky tendencies, revisit Fan Fiction & Fairytales or Geek Chic

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Geek Chic

I've always been a geek.  In high school I felt at home with the drama/choir crowd, was scarily knowledgeable about musical theater, and burned through books like they were going out of style. Later, my wacky sense of humor, bizarre tastes, and growing lack of concern about what other people thought only made matters worse. It started with shows like Psych, Monk, Bones, and NCIS. Then, I discovered Glee, Harry Potter, and The Pirates of the Caribbean. I was just getting warmed up when I found the BBC and fell in love with Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Merlin, Robin Hood, and Sherlock. By that time I was completely enamored with the entire Marvel Universe and fully addicted to Netflix. It was too late to hide my fanaticism. My bookshelves, DVD collection, and crazy tee-shirts plainly declared my mania.
When I stumbled into the online fandoms and acquired a new vocabulary (fangirling, shippingcanon, etc.) I felt like I'd found the mother ship. And it turns out I can rock geek chic.

So, when I saw this title at Barnes and Noble, it was only a matter of time before I devoured it.  In Fangirl, Cath is embarking on the new and frightening world of college.  For a twin, it's a weird sensation to be delving into new experiences all on her own, so she pours all of her stresses, social anxieties, and pent up frustrations into her fanfiction. As well-followed fanfic writer Magicath, Cath's love for spinning new scenarios for her favorite characters and the magical world they inhabit opens the door for new friendships, life experiences, and, if she's lucky, romance.

Though this story may seem sweet and silly, Rainbow Rowell ties in plenty of reality to ground the tale. I enjoyed following Cath's journey from damaged girlhood to finding herself and learning what she is capable of.  A truly fun story, but word to the wise, Fangirl is a more mature read, featuring both adult themes and language.

However, for the clean read crew, let me introduce Geek Girl:
Jen Jones is a high school student who's been bounced from one foster home to another. Still suffering from the tragedies of her childhood, Jen has her eye on nothing more than the next party and the next high. Until Trevor catches her attention. A geek to the core, Trevor is the most attractive of his sci-fi obsessed posse. Jen bets her friends that she can turn him into a bad boy and is certain she'll succeed. But while coming to know him, like geek makeover flicks10 Things I Hate About You, She's All That, and Drive Me Crazy, she is more altered by the experience than he is.  Facing her past seems like the hardest thing Jen will ever have do until Trevor discovers her secret and she faces losing the geeky boy she's fallen in love with.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of self-discovery.  Like Jen, I am certainly a Geek Girl at heart. Enjoy, my friends!  Both of these books are full of wonderfully written characters, fun adventures, and geeky goodness.  Find them at Amazon:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett
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For more of my fangirl mania, check out Fanfiction & Fairtales, Embracing the Fangirl WithinThe Con, and Embrace the Geek by fellow Geek Girl Raylynn. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


About the time I hit middle school, my aunt and cousin gifted me with a thick volume. Beyond school assignments--most of which I can't remember--that was the first time someone handed me a book and told me I absolutely had to read it. Of course, the story I wanted to read most (Anne of the Island) wasn't included in the volume, but I've always been a stickler for doing things in the right way. So, I started at the beginning and made the acquaintance of Anne of Green Gables.
Something in this young girl--a short-tempered orphan who overuses big words and bumbles through life trying to find her place--resonated with me. While other girls were looking for grand romantic gestures, I daydreamed of a comradely friendship that would grow into love. Gilbert Blythe became my first book boyfriend. I've probably reread Anne of the Island twenty times and Anne's Book of Revelations twice that many times. No matter how I have changed over the years, L.M. Montgomery's series has always brought me comfort and hope.

Admittedly, it's probably Lucy Maud Montgomery's writing style that moves me as much as anything. She has a flare for blending humor and reality with dreamland. If there's ever a writer I'd like to meet, it would be her. 
Maud lost her mother to tuberculosis when she was still an infant and was left in the care of her grandparents. Her lonely childhood fueled her creative mind because, like Anne, she conjured up friends and imaginary worlds for company. After receiving her education, Maud worked as a teacher and wrote, wrote, wrote. Over the course of her career, she published 20 novels, 500 short stories, a book of poetry, and an autobiography.  Anne of Green Gables was the first book she published. In my opinion, she poured much of herself and her experiences in life and love into Anne.
Why do I love Anne and Maud so dearly? These women faced challenges, succeeded and failed, rallied and tried again, loved and lost, and kept going. We all need heroes (fictional and otherwise) to look up to and these two women are mine. If you have yet to be acquainted with either of them, take my recommendation and learn more now. And yes, do feel free to read Anne of the Island first.

My only question is where is my Gilbert? As my first book boyfriend, Gilbert holds the place of honor in my heart and has yet to be uprooted. He's wriggled his way into many of my stories (watch for his kindness, humor, and friendliness in a certain Becoming Beauty character) and even though his real-life counterpart has yet to make an appearance, my next hero-in-the-making, based on Rumpelstiltskin, is a mischievous tailor named Gil. A girl never forgets her first love.

To learn more about Ann, Gilbert, or Lucy Maud Montgomery, please head over to Goodreads or Wikipedia. The Anne books are available for free on Goodreads or for 99 cents for the entire series (and three bonus books) download it on Amazon Kindle.  You could start them today!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Con

We shall call it research!
I've always been a fangirl. Even when I didn't know what a fangirl was. After establishing an online presence this year, I settled happily into my place among the Whovians, Sherlockians, and whatever you call the people addicted to Downton Abbey. Like Dorothy with her ruby slippers, I realized there's no place like home.

With panels featuring amazing actors and a convention full of colorful characters, it's the perfect setting for a kindergarten teacher to unwind and a writer to gather new ideas. (But yes, a character based on John Barrowman would be larger than life.)

Some words of wisdom from my first Con:
Do good things just to make the world a better place. (Stephen Amell)
Smile when you feel down and choose a happy life. (John Barrowman)
If you haven't found the part that's made for you, keep looking. (Stephen Amell)
People don't love you? Why should you care? (John Barrowman)

The overall message of the Con is clear:
Whatever your passion, let your geek flag proudly and loudly! 

And just to prove I take my own advice...
And yes, I can use the Con experience, the wisdom of talented artists, and my own fangirl passions to inspire future projects. Don't be surprised if a future character is a hunky bow and arrow toting hero. 
Yes, that is Stephen Amell. And yes, appreciating his smoking hot abs does count as research.
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For more on my fangirl tendencies and/or using what you love to fuel your writing, try out Fan Fiction & Fairytales or Embracing the Fangirl Within.  I think you'll enjoy them!