Living Write

Interview with AllAuthor

Posted on

Kim Black latest interview by AllAuthor Kim Black started working toward writing full-time about ten years ago. Kim Black knows how to create believable characters and develop a story that keeps you going until the very last page. Writing “Little Black Dress” was a long but joyous experience for her. She spends lots of time with my family and close friends, and her intrepid bodyguard, Archie. Read full interview…

Cinema Toast

When I Grow Up

Posted on

When I was five years old, I remember someone asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told them “Carol Burnett.” It was true then and it’s still true for me.

As I grew a little older, though, I learned to read, and it broadened my outlook a bit. In the third grade I read every Nancy Drew book I could find, along with Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Little Women.

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

Little Women was it, too. I think between the third and sixth grades, I probably read Little Women a dozen times. I was going to be Jo March. I was going to tell stories. I was going to be a writer. Period.

In Junior High I joined the school publication staff and worked on the newspaper and the yearbook. In High School I was the Entertainment Editor for the newspaper. I was a writer. Done.

Now in the “real world” I write. I tell stories. I write blogs about story-tellers. I teach children through stories. I have my first novel waiting for publication at the publisher. I have a few more “in development” as they say in the business.

Now do I consider myself Jo March? Well, I don’t have to wear corsets and hoop skirts—so maybe I have a little advantage over the fictional character. But I do consider myself blessed to take adventures in words through reading and story-telling, just as she did.

Whether I’m acting out a silly skit (like Carol Burnett) for a group of kids, or reading a story book, or writing an adventure set in far off lands, story-telling is an essential part of my life. My childhood dreams have come true, and for that I am truly grateful.

As far as the movie versions of my favorite books, I must say that I love them all. Liberties were taken, but in every case I found that the players all stayed true to the spirit of the characters.

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

Cinema Toast

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted on

It’s Christmas. No getting around it. No more putting off the decorating or shopping. Get out that reindeer sweater and your jingle-bell earrings. Find Grandma’s divinity recipe and build that gingerbread house. It’s time for merriment. Parties, plays, choir concerts and cookie swaps are everywhere you turn.

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

Listening to the radio these days can be tough, though. I enjoy Christmas music. I sing I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Santa Baby, and Jingle Bell Rock at the drop of a hat. I love the quiet and almost hallow notes of Silent Night and Away in a Manger. I like that Elvis, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Eartha Kitt, Chris Isaak, and Michael Jackson all have Christmas tunes that weave seamlessly with the Carpenters and Bing Crosby. My only problem is all those tear-jerker songs.

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

You know what songs I’m talking about. The Christmas Shoes, One Last Christmas, It Won’t Be the Same This Year, and The Little Boy Santa Claus Forgot all just bring tears to my eyes. I sure can’t drive while listening to them.

So all this music has got me thinking… Christmas is a time of emotions. We celebrate the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We get together with friends and family, near and far. We miss those who are no longer with us. We see great acts of sacrifice. We witness ridiculous acts of selfishness. We reminisce about past holidays and look forward to the coming year with hope.

Maybe this is why so many books and movies that really have nothing to do with the holidays have their stories nestled into the backdrop of Christmas. Consider all the “seasonal” films that really are about relationships or personal victories (or tragedies) and you’ll usually see that Christmas is just a setting. Most are not about Christmas at all.

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

The Bishop’s Wife is about a troubled marriage. Penny Serenade is about a couple struggling with grief. Little Women is about sisters coming of age. While You Were Sleeping is a romantic comedy about loneliness. Even A Christmas Carol is a story about regret. They all just have Christmas time as another character in the tale. It is the binding that links the emotions of the characters with the audience. It’s good story-telling.

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

Cinema Toast

Traditional Christmas Movies?

Posted on

It’s officially December. Christmas trees are up and decorated. Holiday tunes stream from every speaker. Tis the season for joy and family and festivities.

Growing up, Christmas time always meant special movie and television traditions. Of course It’s a Wonderful Life is a big part of Christmas. I recall several holidays at my grandmother’s house when all the cousins would gather around the TV to watch A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott. And I still have a tough time getting in the Christmas spirit without A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite book from childhood was Little Women, and I have grown to love most of the movie adaptations of this book as well.

My first date with my husband was to see A Christmas Story, which has become a contemporary classic, along with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Elf. I have my own traditions, too, like decorating our tree while watching While You Were Sleeping. This year it took longer than usual, so I enjoyed Penny Serenade, too. Neither of these films are specifically Christmas movies, but they feature a holiday setting.

But what about holiday traditions that have nothing to do with Christmas at all?

I have friends that love to watch Jurassic Park at Christmastime. For them it’s about getting their family together and enjoying a quiet (though dino-filled) evening. What’s more Christmas-y than that? Another friend makes a weekend date with her family to stay in and have a Lord of the Rings marathon. This year is especially exciting for her with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arriving next week in theatres.

Do you have a Christmas movie tradition to share? I’d love to hear what films you love best for the holidays!

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