Archives for category: Movie Night at the Manse

5.8.15.LisaMason

Husband Tom’s birthday was two weeks ago, now, so I’m just getting around to comment on the movies we viewed during his birthday week: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (GoG2), Wonder Woman (WW), and Beauty and the Beast (B&B). A wonderful time was had by all.

If you’re streaming movies for the holidays, all are recommended (with tiny quibbles).

What do these three very different movies have in common—besides all being SFF movies?

–Dancing. A man (or a man-creature) and a woman (or a green-skinned alien woman) dancing. Dancing is enjoyable to do, enjoyable to watch. Dancing is a physical and visual metaphor for love. Not a lot of dancing in GoG2 and WW, quite a lot in B&B.

–And nontraditional (or “broken”) families, with an absent parent in GoG2 and WW, or a dead parent in B&B. The broken family proves to be a significant plot point for all three movies. Hmm.

GoG2 is a tad too filled with sound and fury signifying nothing. And who knew a movie like this would climax with a tear-jerker ending? For a character we don’t give a rat’s ass about until his last line, “He may have been your father, but I was your daddy.” <cry> Character logic question: Why would god-the-father, who by his own declaration is immortal, appear as Kurt Russell at sixty-ish? Why wouldn’t he appear to his son as the Kurt Russell of a foxy twenty-five, as he’s digitally remastered in the early sequence? Just askin’.

WW is a joy to behold. Gal Gadot was born to be WW, and we can only hope she won’t be irretrievably typecast—she’s a fine actress who has done other very different parts—but so be it. Tom said you feel like you know her, even though she’s a woman superhero. I’m glad to see the story developed from her early training—I can just hear New York editors yelling, “It’s too slow! Start it when she gets to Paris!” I’m a great believer in allowing a storyteller to tell her story. I also don’t mind that the movie is a bit long. For people viewing in public theaters, that could be a problem. In our home theater, the length of a movie—if it’s enjoyable and not boring—is not a problem. If we need to take bathroom breaks, second helping breaks, more wine breaks—we just press Pause. Niggling plot point question: why does our hero/love interest/Chris Pine have to blow up the plane with the poison gas and himself? Can’t he just land the plane somewhere safe, have the Allies deal with the poison gas, and live to love Wonder Woman another day? Vaguely disappointed with the Unhappily Ending.

B&B is also a joy to behold. Who knew Emma Watson could sing? The story stays remarkably true to the original fairytale, which I recently reread. The classic fairytale hits hard on poverty versus wealth, ugliness versus beauty, faithlessness versus family loyalty. The fantasy dance sequences look dazzlingly like a classic Forties dance extravaganza. My only quibble? And this probably says more about me. The Beast is more exciting than the little blond-haired prince.

So there you have it, my friends.

An independent enterprise and a free-lance writer since 1991.
I intended to sell this story to a magazine.
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From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Love-Travel-Lisa-Mason/dp/1548106119/

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/Gilded-Age-Time-Travel/dp/1975853172/

One Day in the Life of Alexa. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT! Order at https://www.amazon.com/One-Life-Alexa-Lisa-Mason/dp/1546783091

The Garden of Abracadabra (So refreshing….Stephanie Plum in the world of Harry Potter.” “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy . . . I want to read more!) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978148291/.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. IN PRINT https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Ladies-Stories-Lisa-Mason/dp/1981104380/!

Arachne (a Locus Bestseller). On US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Brazil Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle. SOON BACK IN PRINT!

Cyberweb (sequel to Arachne). is on US Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Brazil Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, India Kindle, Italy Kindle, Japan Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, and Spain Kindle. SOON BACK IN PRINT!

Celestial Girl, A Lily Modjeska Mystery (Five stars) On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Shaken On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Hummers On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Daughter of the Tao On US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in AustraliaFrance, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Every Mystery Unexplained On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tomorrow’s Child On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

U F uh-O On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tesla, A Screenplay On US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India. SOON IN PRINT!

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story On Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

“Illyria, My Love” is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, Mexico Kindle, and India Kindle.

Please visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

 

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9-16-16-athena-in-sun-2

To celebrate the Autumnal Equinox—and Athena’s second birthday, we made a pasta dinner and watched some movies. Athena is the first cat whose birthday I know. All the other cats were adopted some time later in their lives and I never found out when they were actually born. Athena mostly slept through the movies in her kitty cup.

First up, was “Captain America: Civil War.” I like many of the Marvel movies, but not all. The first “Captain America,” the first “Avengers,” the first “Iron Man” were great. “Ant-Man” was terrific. But the parade of sequels often leaves much to be desired. “Civil War” is a good example. Chaotic plot, a retread of the world’s negative reaction to the Avengers from the previous two films, quiet “personal” moments that drag, then over-the-top action sequences that last too long. Reasonably entertaining, but if you’ve got something better to spend two hours on, skip this.

Next, “Coriolanus.” Ralph Fiennes produced this modern take on a Shakespeare play, with modern warfare and settings but characters speaking in Elizabethan English. A very acquired taste that won’t work for everyone.

Lastly, “Zootopia,” an animated film entirely populated by talking animals, was completely wonderful. We like animation, anyway, and this is right up our alley. Highly recommended!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Time Travels to San Francisco (boxed set of Summer of Love and The Gilded Age). On US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Japan.

Arachne (a Locus Bestseller). On US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle on  France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Brazil Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Garden of Abracadabra. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Book 1: Life’s Journey. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and Spain.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Book 2: In Dark Woods. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and Spain.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Book 3: The Right Road. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and Spain.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) and Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus are on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Shaken. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Hummers. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Daughter of the Tao. On US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Every Mystery Unexplained. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tomorrow’s Child. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

 

U F uh-O. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tesla, A Screenplay. On US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story. On Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

Please visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

We decided to kick back last night with some movies and a pasta dinner.

We saw “Deadpool,” which was an unexpected worldwide hit. This is a Marvel Comix movie that is something of a spoof of Marvel Comix movies. It wasn’t nearly as laden by profanity as the reviews said and not nearly as slapstick. We liked it. There was an unexpectedly serious, sentimental subplot.

Next up was “Stir of Echoes” with Kevin Bacon in the lead. This film was released the same summer as “The Sixth Sense” and also is a supernatural thriller involving the dead. Not quite as compelling as the bigger film, but enjoyable enough if you like that sort of thing.

Finally, since I’ve been writing about Peter Sellers, we saw “The Mouse That Roared.” Tom saw this as a child when it was first released, I’ve never seen it. This is a very gentle comedy with Sellers again playing three roles. The satiric premise is that the smallest country in the world, facing financial problems, declares war on the United States, intending to lose and then collect reparations.

So there you have it. Altogether, a pleasant time was had by all. Today, back to work!

On the last lap of the weekend movie marathon, Tom and I saw “The Congress” and “Predestination,” two films each based on an SF story.

The Congress” was recommended to us by our video rental staffer, who let me have this movie for free since it was my birthday. Plus, she approved of our other selections. She told us this is based on a Stanislaw Lem story. I’m not familiar with the story, which has little or nothing to do with politics. A Facebook Friend of mine kindly posted a Wikipedia link to the story, which you can find by visiting the Timeline on my Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/lisa.mason.7393264.

This turned out to be a very strange SFnal film, a large segment of which is animated. Essentially, an actress is offered a lucrative deal to turn her image and gestures into a digital character that the movie producer obtains the perpetual rights to use in any kind of film, in any way. The actress doesn’t approve, but she’s got a young son with a degenerative disease, so she agrees for the money. Some plot twists didn’t make sense, and I recall that the concept of media actors being replaced by digital constructs has been explored in written fiction some years ago (I think Connie Willis wrote a short novel based on this premise). But overall the film is interesting and different and the animation is wonderful.

And finally, “Predestination” is an adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s 1959 classic story “All You Zombies—“, one of my favorite SF stories—hilarious, profound, and mind-blowing all at the same time. I’m not going to give away the plot more than that. The filmmakers did a fabulous job of tackling the story and updating and amplifying it. Highly recommended.

So there you have it, my friends. Now, back to work!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

As part of our birthday weekend movie marathon, Tom and I saw “Big Eyes.” This is the story of Margaret Keane, the artist who obsessively painted children with overlarge eyes. Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses working today and she is pitch-perfect as a Doris Day-style early Sixties woman with a streak of rebellion and an artistic inclination.

We loved the scenes of North Beach in the early 1960s—talk about movie-making on your street, San Franciscans! Those classic cars, wow! Our old friend, the late Enrico Banducci, has a part in the story.

Through a series of misunderstandings leading to a campaign of lies, Walter Keane took credit for Margaret’s work, though in fact he never painted one stroke in his life. The film reveals Walter’s tragic delusion about being an artist and his real genius at marketing and promotion. I’m happy to say Margaret finally received her rightful recognition in the art world’s gentle equivalent of “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”. Cudos to director Tim Burton for telling her story while Margaret is still alive.

The film also addresses—as it must—the question of “What is art?” More specifically, “Is it bad art?” From the North Beach gallerist selling (or not selling) abstracts across the street from the Keane gallery to the outraged New York art critic, Margaret encountered some pretty harsh criticism. With his inimitable logic, Andy Warhol—no stranger to this question—issued this proclamation, “How can it be bad if so many people are buying it?”

Well, yes. Seventeen million dollars’ worth of how-can-it-be-bad in the early 1970s. One could also ask the same question of “Fifty Shades of Grey” or Damian Hirst.

So there you have it, my friends. Even the gatekeepers don’t know what will resonate with large numbers of consumers until something hits big.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

After two days’ respite from the Winter Solstice Movie MiniFestival, we kicked back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a traditional Christmas dinner and a homemade pumpkin pie and viewed four movies: Radio Free Albemuth, based on a novel by Philip K. Dick; Walking With Dinosaurs, an animated educational BBC production following the life story of Patchi, a young pachyrhinosaurus; A Promise, a historical romance based on the novel Journey Into The Past by Stefan Zweig; and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the new franchise helmed by J.J. Abrams.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

2014 has been the first landmark year I’ve had in a long time with two major story sales to a prestigious print magazine that will be published in 2015, the publication earlier this year of a memoir about writing, a trip to New York City, and several other major, beneficial personal and family developments. Wow!

So we kicked back on the Winter Solstice with a homemade pasta dinner and three movies: The Giver, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

In The Giver, teenagers grapple with a totalitarian government that controls every aspect of their lives—their family units, their clothes, their houses, their food, and their deaths, daily drugs them into submission, has eliminated all books, and suppresses their memories, even their perception of color.

In a graduation ceremony, the government assigns each teen a lifetime job and attendant duties, which makes a lot more sense than Divergent with the rather silly premise that each child is born into a faction, then in a graduation ceremony, each teen can choose to belong to a different faction (what totalitarian government would ever give teens such a choice?).

In TG’s graduation ceremony, a teen boy is appointed The Receiver, an apprentice to The Giver, in this case an elderly man who lives in a vast library (“They’re called books.”) and has access to society’s collective memories, which he imparts to the boy through a visionary telepathy.

When the teen-boy glimpses a vision-memory that offers hope of breaking the government’s control, he sets out on a quest to free the collective suppression.

Recommended. Yet if TG sounds derivative of Hunger Games, Divergent, and even Pleasantville, note that TG the book was published by Lois Lowry in the early 1990s, optioned at about that time, and has been in development hell for something like nineteen years. The book performed reasonably well a decade before Hunger Games was a gleam in Suzanne Collins’ eye and long before Young Adult became the hot new marketing ploy of the Big Five Publishers.

Now that my Omni story Tomorrow’s Child has been in development hell at Universal for fourteen years (with three scripts, including mine), I can well imagine Lowry’s elation that The Giver finally hit the Big Screen, as well as her frustration that the project took so damn long to get there. Probably because it was released in the wake of Hunger Games and Divergent, the film didn’t perform well at the box office. Such is the happenstance of timing in the culture. Who knew the U.S. Marines would liberate the coastal city of Casablanca and make worldwide headlines literally on the day of the premier of Casablanca, a film plagued with script changes, cast changes, and other production delays? Talk about luck!

That The Giver and similar films appear at all in the culture is welcome news that we ourselves are not There—yet. It would be a pity, though, if people have become bored with fictional critiques of totalitarian governments due to a surfeit of films.

My first reading and viewing experiences in life were of talking animals, fantasy and science fiction, and myths: Charlotte’s Web, the Mary Poppins four-book series, A Wrinkle in Time, Myths and Enchantment Tales, Kipling’s The Jungle Books, The Golden Book of Dog, Cat, and Horse Stories, and Alice in Wonderland, all of which remain on my bookshelf to this day. So my Inner Infant (“the I.I.”) enjoys SFF tropes, talking animals, and witty animation. The Garden of Abracadabra, my adult urban fantasy, introduces a magical talking cat who will continue in the Abracadabra Series and will get her own series in the future.

A movie reviewer for The New Yorker roundly trashed Guardians of the Galaxy as derivative of Star Wars and even more juvenile. But since we like juvenile entertainment, we were willing to take a chance. Good choice! We were highly entertained by the ensemble motley crew—a young adventurer Peter Quill, a green-skinned woman (played by Zoe Saldana), a machine gun wielding, talking genius raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a tattooed assassin, and a tree man (the I.I. has loved talking trees since The Wizard of Oz)—and their galactic quest.

The film didn’t remind this viewer at all of Star Wars, which the I.I. frankly hated. The magic orb Quill steals reminded us of The Maltese Falcon, a mysterious object people are willing to kill for. The use of early 1980s sappy pop music added just the right humorous touch and reminded us of the latest X-Men film, which we greatly enjoyed. X-Men spoofed early 1970s pop music and clichés, with the opening scene of a Clint Eastwoodesque, sideburned, nude Hugh Jackson lurching up from a tryst on a waterbed while Roberta Flack’s “The First Time” croons on the reel-to-reel tape deck, the same tune Clint Eastwood plays over his nude love scene in a forest pool in 1971’s Play Misty For Me. That the waterbed/forest pool is ripe for a sight gag (Jackman *is* the Wolfman) didn’t make it any less hilarious when the gag arrives a couple of minutes later.

But that’s the latest X-Men (I think the subtitle is Days of Future Past, but I didn’t have time to review it when we saw it earlier this year and don’t precisely recall the full title), which is highly recommended. As for GotG, the distinguished Glenn Close appears in a very minor role as the leader of a good realm. Zoe Saldana has apparently been typecast in SF films—she plays Uhuru in Star Trek: Into Darkness, which we saw on Christmas Eve (I’ll review that over the weekend, if I can). If so, she would make a terrific Ruby A. Maverick in Summer of Love.

In GotG the tree man, Groot, turns out to be one of the most memorable characters with a nicely rendered arc that slowly reveals his powers and personality. He starts out as an inarticulate strongman, introducing himself, “I am Groot.” He repeats this phrase with a different inflection and in different circumstances so that, when tragedy strikes, the viewer truly cares. And when redemption arrives at the end, with another silly 1980s song, the viewer leaves the theater with a smile on her face and a silly song in her heart. I like the use of purposeful repetition that takes on new meaning as the story progresses and use that device in Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day, which will be published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction some time in 2015.

Since the I.I. practically memorized Myths and Enchantment Tales, I admit I was envious of Rick Riordan’s wild success with his reinterpretation of Greek myths as a YA series. Apparently, though, retelling of Greek gods and goddesses is strictly the province of Young Adult. I’ve seen reviews over the years of authors attempting adult retelling of the myths. With their violence, seductions, betrayals, and infidelities, the myths are ripe for adult drama. But somehow none of those books has achieved much success.

Riordan’s Percy Jackson books and the movie adaptations, here Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, are squarely aimed at the teen market and therein lies their limitations for this reader/viewer. When I was fourteen, I was reading Brave New World and The Last Temptation of Christ. As a teen, I would have scorned books like Riordan’s as the shallow end of the pool.

But, as mentioned above, the I.I. enjoys witty juvenile entertainment and animation. One of the best films we saw in 2014 was the 2009 film of Charlotte’s Web, a moving, beautifully rendered animation and faithful adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books. Another excellent animation is the witty Rango, with its sly rapid-fire movie references and a genuinely scary villain.

The high point for this viewer of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters was seven minutes of animation of the ”hippocampus,” a water horse PJ summons to take him and his sidekicks across an expanse of sea to a ship they’re searching for. A team of animators took considerable care in creating this delightful character who has more charm and personality as a horse than any of the live actors.

The rest of SoM is a rather predictable quest story and a touch too teen-boy-centric for this viewer’s taste. That a teen-girl ship’s commander botches her mission and surrenders her command to the teen-boy is not, in this viewer’s opinion, a very good message.

Not that female characters always have to be successful or “good.” But in a culture in which only 15 percent of speaking roles in 2014 films were girls/women according to The Hollywood Reporter’s year-end report, a statistic that has proven true every year going back forty years, when they do appear, female characters need to matter.

It’s interesting that other distinguished Academy Award winning “older” actresses are showing up as dictators of oppressive governments—Kate Winslet in Divergent and, in The Giver, a witchy, silver-haired Meryl Streep. I suppose we should be glad these female roles are of leaders and not, say, of waitresses.

So there you have it, my friends. If you only have ninety minutes for juvenile entertainment, choose GofG and save SoM for another time. Sadly, The Giver is way behind the YA dystopian curve but, if you’re interested in the trope, choose this film and save Divergent for later.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

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