Cinema Toast

Body in the Bathtub

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Or, How My Favorite Stories Have Ruined My Life

I recently took a trip to Dallas for a team training event. One afternoon our team was meeting in our hotel room for a quick chat, when it was discovered that our bathroom ceiling was leaking—a lot. We called down to the front desk and reported the situation, and the manager assured us that they were moving us to the room next door right away.


As my roommates and I began to gather our things, I quietly mentioned to one of the other women that I hoped someone was going to check on the guests upstairs. I told her that as a suspense writer, my brain immediately jumped to the possibility of a body in the bathtub above us. My friend agreed—her husband is a police officer, and she knew exactly what I meant.

Unfortunately, the very young hotel steward that arrived to move us next door overheard our concerns, and started to panic about the suggestion. My roommate volunteered to accompany her on the upstairs visit, and it was discovered that the guest above had over-filled his tub and the pipe at the over-flow drain had a crack in it. Everyone was fine. No dead body. That was last month.

This week I was watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows, and as the story began to resolve, I kept my hands clutched together and held my breath. You see, they had solved the decades-cold crime, caught the bad guy they’d been chasing for several seasons, and all that was left was for the leads to kiss. So I waited for the sniper to strike, or the tables to turn, or the other shoe to drop, or whatever was about to happen to ruin everything.

My darling husband just looked at me and shook his head. “You can’t even enjoy this happy ending, because NCIS and all those other shows you watch have conditioned you to expect something bad at the end.”

He’s right. I never expect happy endings anymore.After all, how can the story go on if there is nobody in peril. My favorite books are Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Francine Rivers, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, and Terry Blackstock. My favorite TV shows are NCIS, Castle, Person of Interest, and the like. My favorite movie is Charade. I like cliff-hangers. I like twists and turns. I love the thing you don’t see coming.

I saw a quote the other day: The suspense is terrible; I hope it lasts.

Yes. This is my life’s motto now. It’s wonderful for a story, but terrible for day-to-day digestion.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Cinema Toast

This World is Not Enough

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What are your favorite kinds of stories? Do you enjoy science fiction, adventure, mystery and suspense, drama, westerns, romantic comedies, or history/ documentaries? While my moods may swing from one genre to another, one thing is constant. I like tales which take me out of my everyday life and thrust me into a new and exciting world.

Whether I’m reading a story about a feisty Texas lawyer dealing with a haunted house in the Caribbean, such as the Katie and Annalise series by Pamela Fagan Hutchins;

Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!Click to see and purchase!

watching Alias, which carries me to every corner of the globe;Click to see and purchase!

or blasting through Star Wars for the hundredth time, I want a story to take me somewhere new. I want to go someplace beyond my little plot in the country.

Click to see and purchase!I want to sail through space, drift on a sparkling blue sea, or jet from one clandestine meeting to another. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little piece of Texas. I love baking bread and taking care of my sweet family. I love singing at church and working on my projects. But sometimes I need a bit more adventure in my life. The safe kind—the type you find in books and film.

I don’t really want to come face-to-face with a ghost in my living room. I don’t want to be chased down dark alleys in Bangladesh by men with machine guns, and I certainly don’t want to be frozen in carbonite or chained to a Hutt. I prefer that my real-life adventures stay more on the level of a summer mission trip and planning a family reunion. I like daily adventures like painting my nails blue.

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My exciting blue nails.

Why do I yearn for more than that? Because my imagination is bigger than the limits of my daily routine. Because right and wrong lives in every realm, and good must conquer evil no matter where corruption resides. Because this world in which I live is not big and bright enough to hold all the hope I have for the future. Maybe it sounds a bit grandiose, but it’s true.

Storybooks, novels, movies and television series give us all the opportunity to stretch our imaginations. They give us windows to peek into the world of what-if. And by providing these glimpses – by allowing me to stretch my wings as well as my views – these stories help me to appreciate the world I have. They remind me that what I have is more than enough.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.