Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Review: American Hustle

Rating: **

This movie got great reviews by both viewers and critics, but in my review I would give it a mediocre thumbs down. The primary problem with American Hustle is it's a story loaded with unlikeable characters. You couldn't root for any of them -- not the conman or women or the FBI agent. It's always okay to have villains or bad people, but someone in a film needs to have some redeeming traits to make you root for someone ... anyone.

The story is about a con-couple whose crimes get them roped into Abs-cam to get them off the hook. They are forced to con politicians in an elaborate scheme that eventually involves the mafia. The central couple's love for each other is muddied in the casting. The comb-over head conman is unattractive, and the girlfriend is very pretty. It becomes unimaginable why this beautiful woman would get involved with a married, unattractive guy with a kid. Maybe that mirrors real life in some respects, but really if he had been likable the viewer might have understood the attraction, but he was not likable either.

This movie gets a big "no-go" because frankly far better films are released right now. Go see Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Philips or Gravity. Forget this one.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Rating: ***1/2

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about one simple theme: don't day dream about living life, live life. The movie is about a "negative review" guy named Walter Mitty who works in the photo archives of Life. The magazine is about to close and go strictly online, and Walter is charged with the keepsake of the final cover image. Walter, who has forged a bond with the photographer, is upended when he realizes that negative 25 has gone AWOL. With the threat of losing his job, Walter finally comes to that all-important fork in the road: are you going to do it or day dream about doing it? Realizing that he hasn't truly lived his life and wanting to impress his love interest, Walter embarks on an adventure across the globe to retrieve the photo.

Since I never give away spoilers, all I will say is the movie takes a few interesting and unexpected twists. I saw the movie on Christmas Eve, and it was inspiring and a nice way to invite the new year. Walter's final decision to live a full life is very inspiring. And the scene in the film when Walter finally finds his photographer who is photographing a rare snow leopard and rather than snap the shot takes in the moment was very spiritual. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) "sometimes I just want to take in and enjoy the moment."

If you want to feel inspired to live a full, rich life, go see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Rating: *****

Another delightful film just in time for the holidays. Saving Mr. Banks was a wonderful distraction during the bustle of last-minute Christmas shopping. It is a must-go but mostly for adults. It's not really geared toward children so don't get that confused.

The movie chronicles the 20-year "courtship" of Walt Disney to get the author of Mary Poppins to give him the film rights to her books. The prim, proper and uptight Mrs Traverse is so married to her books and story she won't budge an inch. It is only after her financial needs necessitate she sell the rights that she reluctantly gives in and flies to the U.S. to help write the script. Mrs. Traverse isn't an easy sell, and the movie depicts through flashback the psychology and reason why she won't give up her stubborn need to have the story produced down to her every specification.

Sweet and endearing, it was fun to see the world of 1961 Disney and Disneyland back in its early era. I loved the attention to detail and the nostalgia. As a writer I understood Mrs. Traverse more than the average person might. None the less, the story was universal. If you want to see a truly inspiring film for the holidays, go see Saving Mr. Banks.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Three Important Lessons About Amazon

You want to hear the no. #1 complaint made by authors after working with my company 3L Publishing? Authors have a seamless experience working with my team, and then when the book comes off press and it gets posted to Amazon and starts selling, the upset starts. So I thought I would take a moment to blog about the perils and realities of Amazon.

Lesson no. #1: I don't own Amazon. Yes, tis true. If I owned Amazon I promise this blog post wouldn't be written. Amazon does what Amazon does. They are an enormous corporation. Think of me like an ant compared to a redwood tree. Ants have very little power or influence over the tree. They can walk along the bark and up the tree, but they can't make a dent in the wood.

Lesson no. #2: If it's "Out of Stock" it's not 3L's fault. Amazon orders in metrics based on demand so that they don't keep a large on-hand inventory. This means they order "as necessary" with a few extra copies. Books that begin to sell will almost automatically face the infamous "out of stock" label. No, it's not because 3L didn't fulfill the purchase orders. We always fill the orders right on time. Until Amazon receives the book and replaces inventory, the infamous "out of stock" pops up. Authors will panic at the sight and get upset with us. Again, it's Amazon ... no control.

Lesson no. #3: Amazon doesn't pick up the phone; they only offer online support. Try to call Amazon, I dare you. Can you even find a phone number? It's not likely. They force online support requests. They do not provide a phone number. You have to do it all in the email and they typically send cookie-cutter responses that do not directly resolve your problems.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Not Feeling Well Friday and More on Book Coaching

Getting a nasty head cold after being four years of cold-free, I am quickly reminded why coughing is painful. You know when you wake up and don't feel well, and the day beckons anyway. Yes, I feel this way. The day is crying to be lived, and I feel like (excuse the profanity) shit. I am missing all the holiday festivities. I haven't left the house all week. Tissues all over my desk. I'm a sick sad sack. I am apparently a productive one though because I finished the first draft of my new book Body in the Trunk.

I am working with my book coach novelist and screenwriter Scott D. Roberts to perfect it. He's been sending me notes, and per his instructions I am on revisions. I love the book coaching process -- it's collaborative on your own project. I used to enjoy working with a writing partner to bounce ideas around, but I also prefer to develop my own projects solo, too. A book coach gives you an opportunity to have someone dedicated to your project who can give you input and guidance to not just write any book, but a great book that will sell. Every book coach has his or her own methods. Scott sends notes and comments. Of course, it's my book so it's up to me to accept or reject those notes; but the point is to listen and take them under advisement. Scott is dead-on with his notes anyway so there hasn't been a single comment I didn't agree with or accept and use.

Many people are surprised a professional writer would need a coach -- especially one that is a publisher and coach, too. For me it's about getting that 180-degree overview. You know the saying, you can't see the forest from the trees. In writing it works the same way. You get too close to the work. You may not see how to make it better or even great. A fantastic coach is the person who can see the big and small picture, and the coach doesn't have the same emotional investment in the work. He or she will just call it. You don't need a coach to pat you on the back and tell you "great job" -- that friends is called your "mother".

Looking for your own coach? 3L Publishing offers book coaching services. Log onto our website and check it out: or call 916-300-8012 or send an email to

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Unblocking Writer's Block

A novelist friend of mind mentioned she had writer's block. So I thought it was time to once more explore how to overcome writer's block. Before I discuss the subject, I do want to say something about accepting the "blockage" versus battling the clog. I didn't write anything major for two years after suffering some major losses in my personal life. Writing is a creative, intellectual and mind-intensive process. If your emotional house has been emptied of the furniture, so to speak, maybe it's time for you to sit Zen-like in that house and accept it. I wanted to say this because writer's block due to a pure emotional depletion isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's your mind's way of saying, "Whoa! Wait sister or brother give me a vacation. I don't have anything left to give."

I just couldn't write anything major simply because I lacked heart and motivation. My distraction and life re-build took front and center. I was focused on getting acquainted with my new normal. I needed to keep 3L Publishing moving. I want to find out who I am now in my new life. The creative requirements to write seemed to be out of grasp. I would sit and think about ideas, and I had plenty of ideas; but I was just tired. Emotionally and physically exhausted. After 25 years of nonstop writing, I realized, "It's okay to stop." And it's okay to be blocked once in a while. Think of it like a sabbatical. You need to go away and recharge. If you really don't have the mental ease to put the thoughts on the page, accept it and allow the time to come back to writing on your own. Dear writers, I promise your heart, soul and body will return if you give it enough time, patience and healing.

But to jumpstart your battery when it's time to get back to the computer, here are some tips:

  • Sit down and just start writing something, anything. You will find that ideas may start to take shape. Maybe these ideas aren't the next project, but in the exercise of "doing" you will eventually get somewhere. 
  • If you still don't feel like you've got "the" idea then at least try "an" idea. Start work on it and see what happens. It might be a go-nowhere project, but then again, you've started something. The page isn't blank anymore.
  • Keep up this exercise for as long as you need to do it. Eventually something will flush out.
  • If nothing has materialized of value and marketability, then take another break for maybe a week or two and start over. 
  • If you at least commit to this type of "project" you will find your block has ended. It may not take a week or even a month, but somewhere in the middle of the writing exercise you will find you're back to normal.
Need a writing coach for accountability? Do you know what is a coach? Visit our website and look under book coaching for more information at or call 916-300-8012.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

3L Publishing Unveils Newly Remodeled Website

It's done! The 3L Publishing website got a major facelift. You can see the new website by clicking here. I also wanted to show off the site. Most people don't realize that 3L Publishing also provides marketing and Web development services. Yes, we focus mostly on our core business, which is publishing, but the marketing programs designed to promote books are also available for individuals and small businesses to utilize. We are experts in marketing and PR.

Our marketing programs include:

  • Websites
  • Media kits
  • Brochures
  • Branding and Logo Creation
  • Newsletter Templates and Content
  • Blog Design and Content Support
  • Business Card Design
  • Bookmark Design
  • Signage
We also write marketing strategic plans, which many companies should be considering creating their marketing plans for 2014. If you would like more information on these services, please contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to 

Monday, December 16, 2013

New 3L Publishing Book Addresses "No-Pill" Cure to High Cholesterol

Traditional thought on how to reduce high cholesterol is being challenged in the new book So You Want to Live to be 100? by John E. Bakos MD. In this exciting new book, medical doctor and author Bakos uses his years of experience studying and evaluating patients with high cholesterol to reveal this surprising information on how to reduce high cholesterol to ensure your heart and vascular system stays healthy and hopefully save you from very common causes of death and disability.

Half of all Americans are dying from cholesterol- clogged arteries! According to WebMD, thirty-seven percent of Americans (about one in three, equating to over 110 million people) have cholesterol readings over 200mg. As a result, millions of Americans are at risk from suffering the effects of high cholesterol, namely its association with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Millions of Americans are essentially at risk of premature death due to heart attack or stroke.

Bakos considers high cholesterol a deadly killer with long-lasting deleterious effects on the heart and cardio-vascular system. “I have been a medical doctor since graduation from Ohio State University in 1962,” said Dr. Bakos. “After 50-plus years of watching and participating in ‘the show,’ so to speak, I have witnessed and studied enough pieces of the puzzle of the cholesterol-artery connection to form a recognizable picture of what we are up against with this national disease. High cholesterol is associated with an elevated risk of cardio-vascular disease, which includes coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.”

If heart attacks and strokes as well as peripheral arterial “disease” could be eliminated as a cause of death, our life spans could be 20-40 years longer with a huge decrease in the associated debilities. Cholesterol levels of 200mg in our bloodstreams are 50 percent lethal. In his new book Dr. Bakos reveals an exciting new “no pill” cure that Americans can immediately apply to their diets over a period of weeks and months to reduce their cholesterol levels to the healthy level of 150mg or lower where heart attacks and strokes are rare.

“All the information you will ever need to get your cholesterol down to 150mg or less without pills is contained within the pages of my new book So You Want to Live to be a 100?” said Dr. Bakos. “The simplicity and effectiveness of my ‘cure’ will surprise and maybe even shock you. I also provide a recipe section to help Americans achieve this goal, too.”
The book is now available for $14.95 on the 3L Publishing website at, Amazon and in select bookstores. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact us at 916-300-8012. 

To purchase a copy, click here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Morning Musings: Notes for the Control Freak in all of Us

I have a confession: I periodically get depressed. My cycle influences that depression, too. I am normally an upbeat, positive person, but I definitely get struck by sadness and uncertainty. I'm one of those people who likes to know where the road is going in life and when things start to as I put it yesterday "drift" along, I find hard to let go and just see where life is going to take me. So for all of you "control freaks" out there, here is what I've learned and let's see if it helps.

Control is an illusion: you all know that don't you? As humans we think we're mighty and in control. Reality is control works like this: I can control my thoughts, actions and behavior. The rest ... strictly up to God or the other person. You can't make anybody do anything. The ideal is for that person to want to do things. You can set up conditions where the other person will want to do something, but that is all. Thinking that you can control everything is a one-way ticket to frustration and disappointment.

Go with the flow: that requires you literally have to be willing to get into the steam of life and let go. Letting go is another supremely difficult reality for Type A personalities. Flow is just see what happens and accept the results. Sometimes that means waiting for things to come to you. Think of it this way: put your hand out with something "sweet" and see what comes.

Make your life what you want it to be: keep building your life in a positive direction. Visualize what you want your life to look like. Then take action to make your life be the way you want it to be. Field of dreams, build it and they will come. Build the life you want and the rest will come along. Try it you'll be surprised.

If you feel sad like I do then sometimes give yourself a bone:

  • Go get a pedicure
  • If you like a treat (sugar or salt LOL), go get one and enjoy it
  • Go meet friends for lunch and dinner and don't talk serious
  • Laugh! Laughing cures everything
  • Go get a massage
  • Take a walk
  • Play with your pet or children
  • Take a quick vacation somewhere relaxing

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Common Mistakes I see with Self-Publishing

When writers go to self-publish and they don't have experience with actual publishing, I see so many common mistakes. I always encourage writers to use professional services vs. do-it-yourself attempts that visibly fail and make their products -- whether books or brochures -- look unprofessional. The following are some common mistakes I see with self-published books, brochures or anything that requires professional service to get it right.

Poorly Trimmed Children's Books or Graphics--while an author may not be overly bothered about his or her illustration being cut off because of misaligned template specifications, this mistake jumps out every time. I will casually thumb through one of these children's books or graphic-intensive flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. and notice the graphics are cutoff. I've seen many children's books with these problems. Illustrations cutoff right along the edges. Print alignment is math. You need a graphic artist who knows production and printing. Thinking you can do this on your own creates poor results and unprofessional products.

Editorial mistakes on the back-cover--another glaring problem that leaps off the page and nudges me to say, "Hey Michelle! I wasn't edited by a professional." Poor editing, especially on the back cover (which is the first line of book promotion) instantly shouts to the reader this is not a professionally published product. My reaction: if this has mistakes on the all-important back cover, what do the contents look like? I usually think, something poorly edited and embarrassing.

Poorly designed front covers--an image with a fancy font on the cover is a typical "screamer" that suggests this book was produced by an amateur. I'm sure that only a graphic designer could explain this one -- but well-designed book cover require a little more "design" then a title slapped on a stock image. First, realize that stock photography means anyone can buy and use that image. Do you want to see your book cover image on someone else's book? Great design work is hard to explain by a non-designer like myself, but I can tell homemade book covers from professionally done work in a blink.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scott D. Roberts is Named one of the 50 Great Writers You Should be Reading

Regional writer Scott D. Roberts, author of Vengeance is Now ( has been named a winner in the 2013 “50 Great Writers You Should be Reading” contest sponsored by the Authors Show ( Roberts won for his first novel Vengeance is Now and will be featured in the book 50 Writers You Should be Reading.

Roberts was selected as a finalist and winner after submitting his humorous essay “Russell Crowe is a Complete Jerk.” Vengeance is Now, an erotic-thriller, takes readers into the life of Tate Holloway, a disgraced former police detective and secret gigolo, who goes on the run after his arch nemesis and serial killer “The Eye” successfully frames him for murder.

Roberts comes from the Hollywood film community where he wrote, produced, and co- directed the award-winning documentary, “Gas Hole,” narrated by Peter Gallagher. He has written several screenplays and has had projects optioned or bought by Paramount, Columbia, MGM, EUE/Screen Gems, and New Line.

“Making a film is such a collaborative, creative process with many people’s hands in the cookie jar,” said Roberts. “Writing the book allowed me to escape into Tate’s world and enjoy the process of sharing the words on the paper with an audience. When you hand in a screenplay for a film or TV show, you have no clue how the final product will stray from your vision. 3L allowed me the freedom to do what I do, but also assist in the final product in a very ‘artist-friendly’ environment. This has truly been one of the great creative relationships I’ve ever encountered.”

Vengeance is Now is available on Amazon, select bookstores, and the 3L Publishing website ( The eBook version is available on Kindle, Nook and iBook.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Publishing is not like Tinker Toys

I don't watch much television, but every now and then I catch a show. Well, the other day I was mindlessly sitting on the sofa when a commercial came on. It was an "Author's Kit": everything you need to be an author. Wow! My mouth dropped, and I wondered since when did my chosen profession become a Tinker Toy set? We ALL can be authors, and here' the kit. I imagined an engineering set: here is your Build a High Rise kit complete with concrete and hammer. You too can build a downtown high rise just use our handy kit. Dear friends and prospective authors if publishing has now come down to a KIT we're all in for a lot of really bad books. Do-it-yourself publishing kits do not replace professionals. Each part of publishing is a profession. Editing is a skill. Writing is a talent. Graphic art another profession. People go to college and attain degrees to perfect these skills.

What I think happened is the eBook revolution has created a slippery slope. An area that once had gatekeepers around it called publishers has turned into a publishing free-for-all where even Joe up the street can acquire a "kit" and use a distribution service like Create Space and voile! He's an author. It doesn't mean the work is any good, but it's out there. The result: a glut of poorly written products that are loosely called books written by folks who don't know publishing from an 8th-grade essay.

As a professional publisher, I am offended that they are selling publishing kits like Tinker Toys, but I accept that it is what it is. Problem is that too many misinformed "authors" run around and falsely believe that their Tinker Toy published book is being "published" by Create Space. I'm going to remind you: Create Space and others like it are nothing more than distribution mechanisms for eBooks. They are not legitimate "publishers". So when someone calls it a publisher I wish they wouldn't because it continues to engender misunderstanding. When my company 3L Publishing gets compared to a distribution mechanism that costs all of $99 to use, it's frustrating. I have to continually dispel this "publishing myth" and explain why they don't really have a publisher -- they have a tool. The next problem is the $99 special gets compared to my service which costs much more money. My integrity gets questioned, which is completely ridiculous. It's not the same at all.

Why do you want to procure 3L Publishing professional publishing services?

  • To really publish a professional book that is correctly edited, designed and released into legitimate publishing sales channels for both print AND eBook.
  • To gain credibility as a bona-fide author with a bona-fide publisher.
  • To get your print book into bookstores like Barnes and Noble through our Baker and Taylor distributors.
  • To be able to get professional reviews because you are published by a professional.
  • To give your book a real shot at becoming a top seller.
Are you ready to make your book dream come true? Don't buy the Tinker Toy set. If you know your book is legitimately well written, contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to We'll get your book done right! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Books: Princess Josie

It's frozen outside -- the roofs and cars and grass all crystal white this morning. I felt inspired with Christmas upon us to review the 3L Publishing books I think would make marvelous Christmas gifts. Let's start with our latest children's book just released in time for Santa's sack: Princess Josie.

This stunning children's book is perfect for little boys and girls between the ages of 4-10. Younger children will enjoy a parent reading it to them and older children can read aloud to parents. I took my little girl to the book launch, and she absolutely loved the Princess Josie bundle that includes a puppy dog and aptly scripted "Princess Josie" dog dish. The little plush toy looks exactly like the dog in the book. As the publisher, I was thrilled with the final product. What makes Princess Josie stand out is the impressionistic art style of the dog and family. I would go so far as to call the book a true work of art. The story about a puppy who thinks she a princess and her family is the Royal Family is cute, sweet and simple. Sometimes a simple story is the best kind. Lisa didn't fuss with a complicated storyline, and that is what makes this book an ideal children's book.

You can buy the bundle with the plush toy by clicking here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

What is a Book Coach?

Ooops! I forgot to blog this morning. I am always bragging to people that I blog daily. But do you know how hard it is to keep the words going every single day? Sometimes like today I just have to start tapping away on the keyboard and come up with something meaningful to say about life, business or publishing.

Today I thought I would answer the question: What is a book coach?

I'll start by saying what a book coach is not ... a guy who stands on the sidelines and yells and screams, "Go get 'em boys!" Yes, not a book coach.

A book coach is ...

  • A knowledgable writing expert who guides your novel or even nonfiction book to be written in the correct storytelling or formatted structure.
  • An expert who can tell you and provide advice on:
    • Character development
    • Good vs. bad dialog
    • Story arc and development
    • Ideas and comments on plots and sub-plots
    • Someone simply to hold you accountable to meet your goals
I am working with my own book coach, who is Scott D. Roberts, author of the award-winner book Vengeance is Now ( Scott culls through my book and makes notes and provides comments on what I'm writing and how I am writing it. Now I'm a professional author, too, and my own book won awards too; but the truth is you can get stuck in your own narrow view on your work. If you want your book to be its very best, a fresh perspective helps.

Do you want a book coach? Roberts and myself are both coaches through my company 3L Publishing ( For more information, call 916-300-8012 or send email to 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advice for the Online Single Guys

I've officially been single now a whole year LOL. Having ventured into the single world and experienced all its "colors" I felt compelled to share some advice for the guys who are trying to meet me on Facebook (in particular). Now buckle up because the advice I'm going to doll out is super hard, you know, like rocket science ;). I am really messing with you. But pay attention guys because if you're doing any of these things ... well, you aren't going to get a date very fast.

Tip Numeral Uno -- Spelling! Punctuation! = Literacy
First, I am a writer and publisher, and that largely known fact is splattered everywhere on my Wall. So, boys perhaps (and this is a big insight) you might dare to think I value literacy. Yes, when you send me a barely readable message where every word is misspelled and you don't know punctuation from adulation, I'm giving you a thumbs-down. Simple attention to detail goes a long ways. Like you would with a resume, your message to the woman of your desire might require you put your best impression forward. If I can't read your message I'm pretty sure we don't have a lot in common. And general advice, most educated women probably feel the same way.

Tip #2 use attractive profile pictures not mug shots or worse, no picture
This tip applies across the board. Whether you are on social media to market your company or meet people, use an attractive profile picture. No, I don't expect you to look like you belong on the cover of GQ, but also I don't want to wonder "what" I'm looking at. No profile picture is just bad form. In that case, I don't want to wonder "who" I'm looking at. If you seriously want to meet a woman, go get a nice profile picture done even if it's from Picture People with all the screaming babies. Twenty dollars later and your money. Truth is we live in a highly visual culture. People like to see people -- it's a very simple, basic premise. People don't like to look at out-of-focus, blurry people at bad angles.

Tip #3 messages with no meaning
Thank you for telling me I'm "gorgeous" or "beautiful" -- that is very nice. A girl likes a compliment for sure, but that statement is not a conversation starter. A message that says, "You're beautiful" gets you no more than a "thank you" and then what? Am I suppose to agree with you? Yes, darling I AM gorgeous! LOL Just give your message some substance. I can't react or respond to statements about my looks.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Niche Books are Long-Term Sellers

Many people propose niche books and mistakenly believe it might not sell. Here is what I've discovered about niche books. Unless the niche is super narrow (think of niche like only girls with authentic pink hair will read it), a niche book has long-term viability and typically enjoys a long sales cycle. Why? Because niche books usually have little if any competition. I'll give an example. The book Beyond the Iron by Wayne Kurtz has consistently sold a handful of books each month over the three-year period since its release. The book is about ultra-distance triathlons (we're talking thousands of miles of biking, cycling and swimming). How many people do you know who participate in these events? Except for Wayne I can't say anyone else. Wayne, on the other hand, flies all over the world to participate in these events, and he is constantly promoting his company Race Twitch. He meets plenty of these extreme endurance athletes all of the time. So when people want to know more about this sport whose book do they buy? Now couple this with the fact that other books on the subject are virtually nonexistent. When your book dominates the niche it becomes the de-factor sale. Hence Beyond the Iron even though it has been released for a while continues to enjoy steady sales.

If you're considering writing a niche book to support your business, here are some tips to consider:

  • The niche market must be sizable enough that you'll enjoy sales. Sizable means that like Beyond the Iron, there are events that take place worldwide. So go narrow, but broad enough within that market to sell copies.
  • Try not to date the material. A niche book's overall goal is to sell over the long term. You'll want the book to have a decent shelf life. So don't make it on something trendy that will pass. 
  • Don't look for instant gratification. Sales are not meant to come in one big tidal wave. Instead go into the development of the book with an eye on overall sales in the big picture, and those sales will likely accumulate over several years to make the project worthwhile. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Critique about the Critics

Good or bad press is always good press. Attention is, after all, attention and a spotlight on anything calls attention to it. I was reading a book review of another author's book. Now I know this book very well (and I'm not going to say the book to avoid "insult to injury"). I got extremely annoyed when the book reviewer, who was slamming the book, started making specific statements about the content. What's worse, the statements and the examples were not from the actual book. I was aghast to read the reviewer say the writing was bad, and then show examples that didn't come from the book! How can you say a book is poorly written and then use examples of why that aren't even from the material? If you're going to criticize something try being accurate. You can't say something is poorly written and then write something poorly written as an example that doesn't come from the source. I wasn't sure whether to laugh, mock the reviewer with a "poorly written" comment, or just shake my head. In the world or art and literature if you're going to say a painting is poorly painted make sure it's not a sculpture you're critiquing. Otherwise you look like the idiot not the author whose book you're condemning.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Movie Review: Frozen

Rating: *****

I'm not a huge fan of animated film, but I take my nine-year-old daughter to the ones I think I can actually sit through and not get too bored. Frozen was one such film. My daughter begged for weeks in advance of its release, so I obliged. The misleading perception is that it's a film about a talking snowman named Olaf, but it's really about two princesses and their relationship. A friend of mine scoffed, "The snowman looked stupid so I didn't want to see it," and while the snowman is a part of the film he doesn't even show up until about halfway through it.

The film opens with the two sisters playing together and enjoying the older girl's magic powers to create snow and ice through her hands. Upon an unfortunate accident that nearly kills her little sister, the older girl is moved into isolation (her powers are predicted to grow) to protect the other sister. This results in the older sister "colding" herself off from the rest of the family. This sets the premise for the rest of the film. I don't like to give away spoilers in my reviews. I will say we have two princes vying for attention, and the twist in the film is unexpected. I like the intelligent and mature messages about love and family. The film had the requisite Disney signature animal supporters including a carrot-hungry reindeer named Sven, and of course, Olaf, the walking, talking snowman who loses his butt as often as he loses his carrot nose. Look for the adorable song about how an innocent snowman loves summer -- it's funny and entertaining.

It's a sweet, cute and good-hearted children's film. My daughter absolutely loved it. So, I am going to give it a must-see for the whole family.