Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Title: The Darkest Frost, Vol 2 of 2 (TDF #2)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Romance with a Twist
Release Date: October 19, 2015


The job seems simple enough at first: go undercover and catch her best friend’s killer. But psychic detective Denieve Knight gets more than she bargained for when she enters Dr. Braeden Frost’s estate as a “housekeeper.” 

She's supposed to be sleuthing, not falling under the spell of the enigmatic doctor and his irrepressible, hellion of a brother, Xavier. 

Now after two months of working for the man known as “Dr. Death,” she's entangled in a web of secrets and lies. Each discovery only leads to more questions. Though faced with declining health and a storm of confusing feelings and simmering passion for both brothers, Denieve is determined to uncover the truth---consequences be damned. Yet the truth may prove deadly once she discovers just how deep the rabbit hole goes.    

PRE ORDER your copy of The Darkest Frost: Vol 2 Today!

 The Darkest Frost, Vol 1 of 2 (TDF #1) 
CLIFFHANGER: **YES** This is a two-part serial.

Amazon | NEWEST-TheDarkestFrost    

When the ghost of her best friend begs for her help, psychic detective Denieve Knight goes undercover as a live-in domestic to catch a killer. She sets her sights on the most likely suspect: her friend’s mysterious employer, Doctor Braeden Frost. 

Dubbed "Dr. Death" by the press, the notorious hematologist is linked to nineteen other suspicious fatalities—all are former patients. The brooding recluse is a man of many secrets, the darkest of which may be lurking beneath the leather gloves he never removes.    

About the Author

Amazon Bestselling Author Tanya Holmes is a Golden Leaf double-finalist, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She's happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee---but not necessarily in that order. She has two novels coming out in 2015: The Darkest Frost, a two-part Gothic paranormal serial romance with a twist, and in 2016, Temptation's Edge, a contemporary romance.  

Connect with Tanya Holmes


love p

Monday, June 08, 2015

Author Interview at My Mind Grind

Check out the interview HERE.   photo adriinterview.png

Sunday, June 07, 2015

THE DARKEST FROST: Chapters 1, 2, and 3 are on Wattpad!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

8 Chapter Excerpt Beginning June 3rd---Wattpad Exclusive

Thursday, April 02, 2015

COVER REVEAL: The Darkest Frost, a Gothic paranormal romance with a twist.

Title: The Darkest Frost, Vol 1 of a 2-part serial (TDF, #1)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Genre: A Gothic paranormal romance with a twist.
Release Date: June 22, 2015



When the ghost of her best friend begs for her help, psychic detective Denieve Knight goes undercover as a live-in domestic to catch a killer. She sets her sights on the most likely suspect: her friend’s mysterious employer, Doctor Braeden Frost. Dubbed "Dr. Death" by the press, the notorious hematologist is linked to nineteen other suspicious fatalities—all are former patients. The brooding recluse is a man of many secrets, the darkest of which may be lurking beneath the leather gloves he never removes.   


 Volume 1 of a 2-part serial,
 © Tanya Holmes  

Fear all but crippled me as I listened to the wind beating the treetops. Listened to the creaks and groans of the house. Took some effort, but I got up and inched my way to the door with legs as steady as rubber bands. I yanked it open only to find the hallway empty except for a fiery trail of footprints. Strangely, the carpet didn’t burn. 

 Were I not buck naked, I would’ve followed right then. Instead, I backed into my room, fully intending to throw something on. But twin headlights skipped along the wall through a crack in the drapes. I shut the door and edged over to the window to brush the heavy curtains back. High beams sliced into the darkness as a vehicle cruised up the hill, breaking free of the wispy fog.  

A gunmetal-gray Jaguar taxied into the courtyard and pulled in beside my late-model Chevy. My adrenaline spiked as soon as the headlights doused. Moments later, Dr. Braeden Frost climbed from the car and slung a gray satchel over his shoulder. It appeared to be a medical bag. He was dressed in dark clothes—leather coat, pants, boots, and gloves. Even his silky hair was black. He would’ve melted into the night if not for the security lights flooding the grounds and the white aura framing his body.   

I’d witnessed a similar illumination on others in his profession. Doctors. Nurses. Orderlies. Most everyone in health care. I’d seen the glow on cops and morticians too. In fact, all who came in direct contact with the dead and dying had it. Still, on Frost the neon radiance was chilling. 

 The wind rushed past him, sending the tail of his trench coat dancing on a breeze. Then as if he sensed my presence, his gaze shot to my window. Our eyes locked. His narrowed and I froze. Unable to move, unable to breathe, I stood rooted in place like a petrified tree. The man gave the word “presence” new meaning. He had a stillness about him, an eerie calm that chilled my blood. I was surprised yet intrigued. Intimidated yet inexplicably drawn to him.   

An eternity passed before I found the will to duck away. I plastered my back against the wall, my gaze doing a mad search around the ruined room for something to put on. A light breeze hissed outside, but still I didn’t hear him move. Finally, a trunk opened and slammed shut. Next came the slow but steady sound of footsteps crunching gravel as he trudged around the left side of the house.   

Downstairs a door wailed open. Floorboards creaked, then a stair, followed by another. I dashed around like a headless chicken, tearing through my clothes, desperate to find something—anything—to throw on. But then the footsteps stopped just outside my bedroom and a menacing shadow crept beneath the door.  

The lock. I’d forgotten to click it.   

I stood motionless in the center of the room, my gaze latched on the knob, my blood pulsing in a crazy rhythm. I was still frazzled from Caryn’s appearance, and all I kept thinking was, please, please, please don’t let him come in here with me naked as the day I was born, and the room a complete mess.   

Seconds passed, and still the shadow remained. Lurking, looming, waiting.   

Normally, I had to be in the same room with people to read their emotions, but only five feet separated us, and a strong odor of sulfur—anger—wafted in from the hallway. No mistaking the owner. The essence belonged to him. The smell ebbed, replaced by a hint of saltwater and allspice. The former scent was fear, the latter smacked of uncertainty. So Frost was angry, afraid, and confused by my presence. The realization made my heart go from thumping to pounding.  

Seemed like hours before his shadow finally retreated. The creaking staircase should have calmed me, but I was still unnerved. I slammed my lids shut and listened to his footsteps and the jingle of keys, followed by a door groaning open. When it shut soundly moments later, I collapsed on the bed, landing in a wet heap.   

What the heck had I gotten myself into?  

Pre Order The Darkest Frost on Amazon Today!

US | CA | UK | DE | AU | FR | ES | IT | NL | JP | BR | IN | MX


About the Author

Amazon Bestselling Author Tanya Holmes is a Golden Leaf double-finalist, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She's happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee---but not necessarily in that order. She has two novels coming out in 2015: The Darkest Frost, a two-part Gothic paranormal serial romance with a twist, and in 2016, Temptation's Edge, a contemporary romance. 
Connect with Tanya


love p

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Love Delayed

Description: What happens when Zoey Barrett, an ingenuous Princeton scholar, meets NBA All-star rocker-boy, Stenton Rogers? Zoey has her life all planned out. She’s working hard at her degree and to help her family stay afloat financially.

Stenton’s at the top of his game on the court, but off, his life is out of bounds. That is until he happens upon Zoey, who represents something that he’s never had—family. Her world is spun completely out of control when they intersect. Could the lengths he decides to go destroy the future Stenton desperately desires to have with Zoey?

Find out in Love Delayed.

Giveaway Details: Enter Love Belvin’s giveaway! Participants will enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card from #TeamLove! Winners will be selected on October 2nd.

Enter The Giveaway  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Piracy Day

Dear Readers,

As this is my first published book, it's also my first experience with Internet book pirates. Within hours of my novel's release, dozens of sites popped up offering the book for free. My initial reaction was stunned silence, followed by rage, and then stunned silence again. As a friend of mine so aptly put it, since when is $2.99 too much to ask to pay for a book?

 No, I'm not a special snowflake. I understand the vast majority of my peers are battling this same issue. It comes with the territory, I am told. And despite my lawyer's assurances that this is common practice, and that there are steps that can be taken to fight these pirates, I look at the entire process as a game of whack-a-mole. You know how productive that is, right?

 Whatever the case, appealing to pirates is a lost cause. They've no conscience, why else would they so blatantly steal someone's hard work and toss it out there for free? They care nothing about the weeks, months, and oftentimes years of blood, sweat, tears, and more blood that goes into creating every manuscript. There's no appealing to these people because they simply couldn't care less.

 This is why I'm just going to speak to those whom I know care. Readers. We are a special breed. We believe no room is complete without books. We believe no life is complete without reading. We cherish and treasure the experience. Treat our books like family members. Take care of them as if they were precious jewels, and the ones we really love? Those get special shelves.

 So this blog post is to book lovers like me. If you're a book lover, then you, by extension have to be an author lover to a degree. Now I freely admit, authors are a strange lot. We sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and scribble things down. We hear voices in our heads…constantly. And we like the voices. We like when our characters talk to us. Heck, we talk to ourselves. Stare off into space, and insist we are, in fact, writing.

 We also spend hours slaving over keyboards, sometimes in tears, sometimes in pain, sometimes in joy, but whatever it is, the creation always contains a good measure (sometimes more, sometimes less) of our minds, bodies and souls. And after slaving away for months or years on a creation, and then to actually see it published, is akin to giving birth to a jewel of great price, to us at least. And birth is a job, which is why they call it labor, but it's a labor of love (and hate at times). Even so, we wouldn't have it any other way.

 Speaking of labor, some of you paint houses for a living. Some program computers. Some drive cabs. Some work on Wall Street. Some crunch numbers. Well, writers write. This is our work. It's how many of us make our living. Which is why those who decide to take our hard work and either sell it or give it away for free do us great harm. Financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

 If you love books, and you love the people who write them, you will appreciate how much time and work goes into creating them. I say all this to say that pirates can only stay in business if there are readers who have the same mindset as them. Not caring who they are hurting. Not considering the harm that each illegal download is doing. I found my work on dozens of sites. One in particular, had over 100 downloads of my book. And that was just one site. Do the math. This is money that is not feeding my family. Helping to pay for doctor's visits. Emergencies…etc.

Just put yourself in our shoes. What if hundreds of people were ciphering money from your paycheck? In short, if you've ever downloaded a book that you didn't pay for, you are contributing to the problem. Remember your first love---books. Then remember the people who make it possible for you to read them. And if you haven't downloaded one of these books, bless you.

 Sincerely, Tanya Holmes

 PS: If you are currently reading a pirated version of my book or any author's book, please do the right thing and purchase a copy.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Within Temptation FB Banner_edited-1
Title: Within Temptation (Sons of Temptation #1)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Release Date: May 12, 2014
Category: Romantic Mystery/Romantic Suspense. This is not erotica or romantica. This is a romance centered around a murder mystery.
Heat Factor: 3 out of 5 -- The sexual tension is high, and the burn is slow. Sex is character-driven, rather than plot-driven.


Love, betrayal and murder in a small town….

Twelve years after her mother's murder, Shannon Bradford fears she may have helped convict an innocent man. Even worse, her prominent family may have had something to do with it. Desperate for answers, she seeks help from the one person least likely to give it. Her best friend and childhood crush, Trace Dawson. The man she sent to prison. Serving hard time for murder has left Trace angry and bitter. As far as he's concerned, digging into the past won't replace the years he's lost or erase the hell he's lived. Now that he's free, Shannon Bradford tops his list of bad memories. But he never counted on falling in love. Set in a sleepy little town during the dead of winter, this award-winning romance novel is a tale of one woman's quest for truth and a man's struggle to forgive.    

    No more than two minutes could have passed, two of the most terrifying minutes I’d ever had. The left side of my face was numb with cold. My lips and hands ached too. I couldn’t seem to make anything move. The details came in pieces. How I’d almost been run over. How a stranger shoved me to safety just before a Jeep playing target practice could send me flying. Then as if someone had flipped a switch, sensory explosions filled the void. Horns blared. Somebody screamed. A baby was crying. And the wind howled while sounds burst forth in a crush of voices.
   “I swear the brakes locked!” a teenage boy yelled. 
   “She ain’t dead, is she? Oh, jeez. Daddy’s gonna kill me!”
   “Don’t just stand there. Call 911!” a girl shrieked.
   A cell phone chimed and someone started pressing numbers.
   Next, an old man with a rough-and-ready voice said, “Pushed her out the way just in time. Another second and—”
   “Is she dead or not?” the teenager demanded again.
   While this was going on, I sat up, taking my time to ensure I was in one piece. Except for a sore hip, a bump on the head, and a scraped knee, I was fine. A woman standing nearby helped me, and as I got to my feet, realization dawned. Trace Dawson had tried to save me.
   I fought to see past the crowd into the parking lot, spotting him instantly. He’d just struggled to his feet and was staring right at me, his chin dripping blood. The people scurrying about and the cars streaming through the slush faded. 
   Nothing but the two of us existed.
   Memories flooded my mind, of the quiet riot he was, of the secret crush I’d had on him, and the extraordinary friendship we’d shared so many years ago. As fast as those images came, others replaced them. I was thrust back to the crime scene, back to Mother’s corpse and the shirtless eighteen-year-old roaring obscenities while Sheriff Gray and a deputy dragged him away in handcuffs.
   Trace Dawson the man glared at me now, and his eyes were hard and accusing, eyes brimming with fire and ice. A chill wind rumbled past him, but he stood as still as a statue. Only his eyes moved while he looked me up and down with agonizing thoroughness. The rage. The pain. It was all there.
   “Trace?” I whispered. In chilling silence, he walked away without so much as a glance over his shoulder. 

Buy the Book

WT-FrontCover copy
About the Author

Tanya Holmes is a former Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She's happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee---but not necessarily in that order. Her debut novel, Within Temptation is due out on May 12, 2014.  
Connect with the Tanya
love p

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Mini Movie Reviews

This week I've got reviews for Labor Day, The Summit, Big Bad Wolves, 12 Years A Slave, and Dallas Buyer's Club.   ====================
MY GRADE KEY: A+ (Outstanding); A (Perfect); A- (Almost Perfect); B+(Great); B (Very Good/Memorable); B- (Good w/some flaws); C+ (Above average); C (Average); C- (Okay, but disappointing); D+ (Bad); D (VERY bad); D- (Dreadful); F (Don't waste your time)


Date: 2013
Rated: PG-13
Time: 111 minutes
Language: English
Genre: Romantic Drama

Netflix Synopsis: What begins as a short ride turns into a life-changing event for divorced single mother Adele Wheeler and her 13-year-old son, Henry, when they give a lift to a bloodied man on a fateful Labor Day weekend.

My Grade: B-

My Take: This is the story of an escaped prisoner who forces his way into the home and lives of an emotionally damaged woman and her teenaged son. And with the star combination of Josh Brolin (yum) and Kate Winslet, you know it's a recipe for greatness right? Well, yes and no. I don't understand why the film was told from the child's POV (at least 95% of it was). To me, the meat of the story was how Kate Winslet's heroine blossomed in the span of 5 days with Brolin. The two of them were really good together. But the viewer didn't get to enjoy the subtle nuances of their budding romance because everything was seen through the child's eyes. Don't get me wrong, there were many good things about this film. What the viewer was able to see of the romance was wonderful, but I found myself wanting more. And unfortunately, there were many predictable and sometimes STOOOPID mistakes that led to the inevitable confrontation with the law. Overall, I did enjoy this movie, only again, I wish they would've given the romance room to breathe.

  ==================== ====================


Date: 2012
Rated: R
Time: 98 minutes
Language: English
Genre: Documentary

Netflix Synopsis: Combining interviews, archival footage and re-creations, filmmaker Nick Ryan sets out to uncover what went wrong when 11 people died on their way up the infamous K2 -- the deadliest day in modern mountaineering history.

My Grade: D+

My Take: What a mess. This documentary was so disjointed that I had no idea what was going on. It was supposed to chronicle the story of that tragic K2 climb, where 11 people lost their lives, but instead, we got a mishmash of that story told through several POVs without any time sequencing. IOW, the story moved to before they died, to after they died, to before they died, to after they died, then to waaaaay before they died, spotlighting an interview with a man who battled K2 something like a million years ago (1920s or 30s, I think) and the drama that unfolded during his climb. Like I said, it was mess. I gave up trying to follow it.

  ==================== ====================


Year: 2013
Rating: NR
Time: 110 minutes
Genre: Crime Thriller with a hint of black comedy

Netflix Synopsis: In this intense and unpredictable thriller, a vigilante cop joins forces with the father of a murder victim to interrogate the main suspect in a series of brutal child homicides -- and to mete out their own version of justice.

My Grade: B

My Take: I have been a rabid Lior Ashkenazi fan for YEARSSSSSS, starting with his film Late Marriage (that sex scene in the beginning is still playing in my head!!!) and continuing with Walk on Water and Wild Dogs. However, in this film, Lior showed a bit of his comedic side, which was refreshing given the disturbing subject matter. This was a black dramady. The story kept me at the edge of my seat as they raced against time to find out where the killer stashed one of the victim's heads (don't ask). Anyway, I was really into this movie up until the ending. I HATED IT. But this is probably because Hollywood has trained me to expect everything to be tied up in a neat little bow. Such was not the case with this movie.

  ==================== ====================


Date: 2013
Rating: R
Time: 134 minutes
Language: English
Genre: Drama

Netflix Synopsis: The autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was abducted from New York state and sold into slavery in the mid-1800s, serves as the basis for this historical drama. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Northup, and Brad Pitt plays an abolitionist.

My Grade: B-

My Take: I don't know what it is but this film didn't really do it for me. Maybe I went into it with the wrong expectations. Or maybe it was the direction and/or the script. I dunno. I mean, it had my two favorite movie boyfriends: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. It also had Brad freaking Pitt and Benedict Cuberbatch! So why couldn't I get into the story? I guess because I felt removed from the main character. I was supposed to feel sorry for him, and I did, but not in the way that I should have. Not in the way I ached when I watched as Kunta Kinte was yanked away from everything he ever knew in Roots. Not in the way I sat at the edge of my seat during the trials and tribulations in The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pitmann. Not in the way I ugly-cried during that last scene in Glory, or when Denzel Washington was getting whipped. For some strange reason, I just did not connect with the character of Solomon Northup. I tried. I really did. But it just didn't happen.


==================== ====================

Date: 2013
Rating: R
Time: 117 minutes
Language: English
Genre: Drama Netflix 

Synopsis: Loosely based on true events, this drama follows Ron Woodroof, who refuses to accept he'll die in 30 days when he's diagnosed with AIDS in 1986. He extends his life and eventually helps many other AIDS patients by smuggling medications from abroad.

My Grade: A

My Take: Everything in this movie had my complete attention, from the opening scene where McConaughey's character Ron Woodroof is having a three-some in a bull pen during a rodeo. To the scene where he tells the doctors to go F themselves after they inform him that he has AIDS and one month to live. The actor lost a lot of weight for this role. So much that I had to suspend disbelief that his character could possibly continue moving around. McConaughey looked so bad, I expected his character to keel over and die any minute. And as whorish and bigoted as Ron Woodroof was in the beginning, by the middle, I was seriously rooting for him as he went up against the FDA and their hypocritical laws. But the real standout was Jared Leto. I didn't even know it was him until I remembered he'd won an Oscar for this film, and after watching it, I can see why. His performance was remarkable, and yeah, he did make me cry. I wouldn't hesitate to watch this movie again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The 14.5k Likes Giveaway

The rules are simple. The more pages you like and follow, the more points you rack up. And the more points you rack up, the greater your chance of winning! Good luck!

***Prizes will be divided between 4 winners by the sponsors.*** 
 ***All prize designations are non-negotiable and final.***

Each author and/or blog listed in the sweepstakes is responsible for shipping/emailing their own giveaway donations to prize winners.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mini Movie Reviews

This week I've got reviews for Freezer, Gravity, Odd Thomas, and Contracted.  
MY GRADE KEY: A+ (Outstanding); A (Perfect); A- (Almost Perfect); B+(Great); B (Very Good/Memorable); B- (Good w/some flaws); C+ (Above average); C (Average); C- (Okay, but disappointing); D+ (Bad); D (VERY bad); D- (Dreadful); F (Don't waste your time)


Year: 2014
Rated: R
Time: 91 minutes

Netflix Synopsis: A mechanic is knocked unconscious at his birthday dinner and wakes up to find himself locked inside the restaurant's walk-in freezer. But why he's there will reveal a chilling nightmare of mistaken identity, the Russian mob and a missing $8 million.

My Grade: B-

My Take: I really enjoyed this. I went in thinking it would be another B movie stinker, but it was actually suspenseful *and* it had a twist at the end. Dylan McDermott keeps the tension up and holds the movie together, which is not easy considering 95% of it takes place inside a freezer.



Year: 2013
Rated: PG-13
Time: 91 minutes

Netflix Synopsis: As a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission embarks on a space walk with a seasoned astronaut, debris strikes their craft and destroys it -- leaving the two floating through space tethered together, with no connection to Earth.

My Grade: B+

My Take: The special effects were mind-blowing and I loved the concept. It kept me entertained, and on the edge of my seat wondering what the heck could go wrong next. The ending was a little anti-climactic for me, but overall this was a decent film.




Year: 2013
Rated: NR
Time: 96 minutes

Netflix Synopsis: In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces. Anton Yelchin stars as the titular character in this adaptation of Dean Koontz's best-selling thriller.

My Grade: B-

My Take: I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Sure, the special effects were a bit cheesy, but the acting was good and the story kept me engaged. This guy can predict when a disaster is about to happen. He can also see dead people. Not an original concept, but I'd still watch it again.




Year: 2013
Rated: NR
Time: 85 minutes

Netflix Synopsis: On the outs with her girlfriend and overwhelmed by daily stress, a young woman has a one-night-stand with a strange man at a party and soon becomes alarmingly ill. But what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease turns out to be far worse.

My Grade: C+

My Take: An STD that turns you into a zombie. Who'd a thunk it? The makeup was so good it was downright scary. A girl goes to a party, has sex with a guy in a car and the next day she wakes up and her body begins to deteriorate. Oh, and btw, the guy she caught the disease from works in a morgue and likes to have sex with corpses. Yeah, I know. ::sigh:: So the viewer is left to assume this is where he picked the disease up. He seems to just be a carrier though because he didn't have any outward symptoms. Anyway, the film failed big time with the shoddy medical treatment/advice the heroine got. With everything that was happening to her, the girl should have been hospitalized and quarantined. Instead she continued walking around, not demanding that she get better care. This was the case of a TSTL heroine and a clueless doctor. Even so, it's worth a watch. This movie is currently streaming on Netflix.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Within Temptation Cover Reveal!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mini Movie Reviews

This week I've got reviews and commentary about Austenland, Diana, Blackfish, Romeo + Juliet, Haunter, and Rush.  
MY GRADE KEY:A+ (Outstanding); A (Perfect); A- (Almost Perfect); B+(Great); B (Very Good/Memorable); B- (Good w/some flaws); C+ (Above average); C (Average); C- (Okay, but disappointing); D+ (Bad); D (VERY bad); D- (Dreadful); F (Don't waste your time)


Date: 2013, Rated: PG-13 Time: 97 minutes, Genre: Romantic Comedy

My Grade: C

Netflix Synopsis: Jane Hayes is so taken with Jane Austen's novels that she decides to splurge on a trip to an English resort that caters to Austen fans. But when the authentic period romance Jane was promised proves unacceptable, she acts to alter her fate.

My Take: This was sort of a mixed bag for me. While the costumes and setting were very well done, the cast was hit or miss, the acting was uneven, the script needed more work and the direction was all over the place. Things I liked: The clever way they loosely followed the plot of Pride and Prejudice; JJ Feild's suave and stoic portrayal of the Mr. Darcy "archetype," and Jane Seymour as Austenland's eccentric owner. This wasn't a bad movie. It just wasn't a great one. Whatever the case, if you like romance with a plash of the farcical, this one's for you.



Date: 2013; Rated: PG-13; Time: 113 minutes; Genre: Drama

My Grade: B

Netflix Synopsis: Princess Diana, the world's most-watched woman, struggles to find herself after her painful divorce. In the two years before her death, she embarks on a vital campaign to ban landmines and on a passionate love affair with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

My Take: Naomi Watts did a great job slipping into the late Lady Di's skin. She delivers a very heartfelt and nuanced performance as the troubled, and oftentimes misunderstood modern royal. I was very surprised at how Diana actively manipulated the media, which was quite clever of her. I guess she figured they would never leave her alone, so why not use them to her advantage? I was also surprised to learn that she wasn't in love with Dodi Fayed, and instead fell deeply in love with Dr. Khan, and was still very much in love with him at the time of her death.

Bonus: Here's her memorable interview with Martin Bashir in 1995.



Date: 2013; Rated: PG-13; Time: 80 minutes; Genre: Documentary

My Rating: B-

Netflix Synopsis: This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum -- who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity -- and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures.

My Take: This was a highly emotional piece that chronicles the tragic deaths of killer whale trainers and the extremely sad lives of whales held in captivity. There is a lot of controversy going on about this film, namely from animal rights activists who, for decades, have railed against places like SeaWorld, charging them with inhumane practices. To stave the Blackfish backlash, SeaWorld has responded with an aggressive PR campaign that, according to some reports, has done little to improve public perception. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. However, regardless of whether half the claims by the film's producers are true, I don't believe these magnificent animals should be held in captivity. Anyone viewing Blackfish should be able to see why.

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix.



Date: 2013; Rated: PG-13; Time: 118 minutes; Genre: Romantic Drama/Shakespearean Tragedy

My Grade: B+

Neflix Synopsis: Oscar-winning writer and "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes provides the screenplay for this version of Shakespeare's classic tale. The action unfolds in Renaissance Verona with Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld playing the star-crossed lovers.

My Take: I don't know why I do this to myself. How many freaking R&J movies do I have to watch before I stop hoping they'll go off script? This is a tragedy, so why do I keep praying that the writers will allow R&J an HEA? IT NEVER HAPPENS, but yet and still, I spend five to ten minutes crying and hoping Romeo will open his eyes during "the" death scene, when it's clear that he's NOT going to wake up. Einstein's definition of insanity truly applies here. Doing the same thing over and over again, and then expecting a different result. When will I ever learn?



Date: 2013; Rating: NR; Time: 1hr 37m; Genre: Horror

My Grade: B-

Netflix Synopsis: Putting a new spin on spooky, the haunted soul in this film -- 15-year-old Lisa -- is long dead, and the ghost she senses is a flesh-and-blood teen. Once Lisa figures out the score, she must help her real-life haunter unravel their house's secrets.

My Take: This was surprisingly original. It starts off very mysteriously, and the viewer is left trying to piece things together. Once you do, they pull the rug out from under you, and you're left to try to piece things together again. Haunter is far from predictable, and it's very entertaining. It's also currently streaming on Netflix.



Year: 2013; Rated: RTime: 123 minutes; Genre: Biographical Drama

My Rating: A-

Netflix Synopsis: This dramatic portrayal of the intense 1970s rivalry between race drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt captures the contrasts between the two champions. While Hunt was a charming and handsome ladies' man, Lauda was a loner with a single goal: victory.

My Take: This was a very exciting film based on the real life struggle between racing rivals Niki Lauda and James Hunt that led to tragedy, and triumph---for both of them. I'm not a race car fan at all, but Rush deftly pulls you into that wild thrill-seeking world, and doesn't let you go until the end. The characters are well drawn, the acting is top notch, the cinematography is stellar and the script is absolutely wonderful. Both actors brought their prospective characters to life. I would definitely watch this one again.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Five Mini Movie Reviews

Here are some short reviews for 5 movies I've viewed recently via Netflix. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Fruitvale Station, The Conjuring, Easy Money and Alien Uprising.  

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Year: 2013 Rated: PG-13 Length: 130 minutes My Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Language: English

Netflix Synopsis: After teen Clary Fray witnesses a murder at a New York nightclub, a sinister stranger named Valentine attacks and kidnaps her mother. Endowed with supernatural vision, Clary recruits a band of youthful human-angel hybrids to help rescue her mother.

My Take: It wasn't as bad as some reviewers claim. It kept me entertained and had nice special effects. However, the incest thing kinda put a damper on it for me. I mean, how can you not be a little creeped out by it? I haven't read the books, so I don't know whether it's true or not. Guess I'll have to wait for the sequel, if they do one.


Fruitvale Station

Year: 2013 Rated: R Length: 90 minutes My Rating: 4 out of 5 Language: English

Netflix Synopsis: This dramatic rendering of a real-life tragedy recounts the final hours of Oscar Grant, shot by San Francisco transit police on New Year's Day, 2009. In portraying the energy Oscar brought to life, the film mourns the tragic loss of a unique soul.

My Take: I've been a huge fan of Michael B. Jordan since his stint on Friday Night Lights. I also loved him in Chronicle, and he didn't disappoint in this movie. The film doesn't paint Oscar Grant in a negative or positive light. It basically shows him as a regular human being struggling with life, like we all do. I will admit that I cried at the end because of course, with this being a true story, I could not believe how it all went down. I was outraged and saddened by the tragic turn of events, and the fact that Oscar was trying to turn his life around made it even more heart-wrenching.

The Conjuring

Year: 2013 Rated: R Length: 112 minutes My Rating: 3 out of 4 Language: English

Netflix Synopsis: Based on true events, this spine-chiller tells the story of a New England family who begins having encounters with spirits in their farmhouse, and the paranormal experts who help them do battle with the supernatural forces.

My Take: Honestly? I'm a die hard fan of Vera Farmiga. I love this lady. However, this film got on my nerves. It started out okay, but then it became annoying. The screaming and loud noises got so bad that I actually turned it off. I couldn't deal with it.  The Conjuring is a highly rated film, so this is probably just me. Bottom line, it's watchable---that is, if you like a constant barrage of shrieking and the use of loud noises to jar the viewer.



Easy Money (aka Snabba Cash)

Year: 2010 Rated: R Length: 119 minutes My Rating: 5 out of 5 Language: Swedish

Netflix Synopsis: Three criminals' lives collide as they try to make it big, with a deadly chain of events initiated by an escaped crook battling the Serbian mob. His scheme to steal a fortune in cocaine is abetted by an impoverished con artist and an enforcer.

My Take: This is a solid foreign thriller filled with twists and turns that keep you at the edge of your seat. It's got a lot going for it. Martin Scorsese for one and The Killing hottie Joel Kinnaman.  The thing I liked about this movie is that it had several protagonists who were at odds with each other. This left the viewer with the task of trying to decide who to support. Each character is shown struggling with personal issues juxtaposed with the crime aspect, which humanizes them. They're all bad guys, but then, they're all relatively good guys too, so it's really hard to figure out who to root for. If I had to pick something to complain about, it was the ending. One character did something that left me tossing my hands up. Other than that, Easy Money easily rocks. I'm anxiously waiting for Neflix to get the sequel, Easy Money: Hard to Kill.


Alien Uprising

Year: 2012 Rated: R Length: 101 minutes My Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Language: English

Netflix Synopsis: One night five friends are out drinking, the next they're struggling to survive in a landscape controlled by alien invaders in this sci-fi chiller. Anarchy is in the air as an enormous spacecraft hovers overhead and order breaks down on the ground.

My Take: This UK flick was surprisingly good. Not predictable at all like most horror films these days, especially those of the alien invasion variety. It started off normally with a wild night at a club with a  group of friends. They drink, they dance, they fight, they screw, and then they wake up the next day, nursing hangovers, only to discover something strange is going on. Events happen gradually as realization slowly sinks in, until all hell breaks loose and chaos ensues. Added bonus, Jean-Claude Van Damme makes an appearance, and even performs a couple of his signature kicks.  Alien Uprising is currently streaming on Netflix.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

For Your Eyes Only :-)

Here are the latest promos for Within Temptation:


    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    JUICY Indie vs. Traditional Publishing Debate

    There is an EXCELLENT article posted over at JA Konrath’s website. It’s a debate between Steve Zacharius, CEO of Kensington and JA (Joe), a hybrid author. Here’s a snippet just to whet your appetite, but please go read the whole thing. It’s a humdinger!
    Steve: Now maybe you can answer this question without jumping down my throat….if indie publishing is as good as you’re all making it sound…..why do you think that the biggest and most successful authors in publishing don’t go this route? Why isn’t Nora Roberts, Patterson, Lee Child, etc….going this route? Do you think it’s just the large advances they get? And even if you go down a notch from the megastars….those that are getting above a $50,000 advance for example….why do they stay with publishing houses?

    Joe: Do people in happy marriages have affairs? Or do they stick with their spouse? If I had been making great money with my publishers, I would have stayed with them. What impetus would there have been to leave? And if I’d been given sweeteners like escalators, cover approval, expensive promotional campaigns, widespread print distribution, and large launches at BEA with massive media attention, I’d be defending legacy publishers right now instead of being on the other side of the fence. But very few authors get that kind of treatment. The vast majority don’t. In fact, a lot of them sign unconscionable contracts, are treated poorly, and make very little money (as referenced by the deleted blog post that started this line of inquiry.)
    HELLO! lol ...My brief take? Having read the whole article, the numbers Joe quotes from his own sales are wonderful, but they’re far from the norm for most self-published authors. As seen from this exchange:
    Steve: Did you see the recent posts from Writer’s Digest that 80% of self-published authors make less than $1000. That’s from a survey of 9500 writers.

    Joe: And that’s $1000 more than they would have made if they never were accepted by a legacy publisher. BTW, why wasn’t I surveyed? If I and a few choice friends were asked, we could have really bumped up that average.
    EVEN SO, he makes some great arguments for going Indie. The “unconscionable contracts” being one of them. 

    Cross-posted at Southern Fried Chicas.

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    This week was an extreme learning experience. I'm getting my book together for my September release and I just went through edits. Still doing some, but I'm in the final stages. Biggest lesson learned? You can never have too many beta/proofreaders. They are a window into your reader's eyes. They represent your audience, so listening to them is essential. So is knowing what to incorporate and what to ignore….

    The biggest surprise? While each beta found mostly the same typos, each one also found a typo or missing word that none of the others did! This is why I say you can never have enough proofreaders. I have read over this manuscript something like a billion times and I was amazed at how many things my eyes missed. 

    The human brain has a tendency to try and fill in the blanks. So if you keep looking at something over and over again, your mind is going hide stuff from you. This is also true for your betas. Their brains may fill in a word or miss a misspelled word that another beta will zero in on. I had six people reading at the same time and each one found different stuff. 

    As long as you know your voice (and what needs to stay or go in your WIP), there is no harm in having a cadre of people to proof/beta read for you. It can only help. One last thing. Know the difference between a CP, a Beta Reader, an Editor and a Proofreader.

    You need them all.

    Cross-posted at Southern Fried Chicas writer's blog.

    Saturday, January 04, 2014

    Within Temptation Teaser

    This is the latest book promo for Within Temptation. It's not the cover. Just a teaser.

    And here's another one.