Tag Archives: genres

Rockumentaries & Things

I love musical movies… Hair, Chicago, Walk the Line, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Across the Universe, Mamma Mia (1 & 2), The Lion King, Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. There are lots I haven’t seen and still want to ~ Meet Me in St. Louis, for heaven’s sake!

But that’s not what I came here to talk about today. Lately I’ve seen a bunch of rockumentaries, which is a class of movie I’ve avoided in the past because it seemed eh boring, like something from the History Channel. But first I watched one on Joan Jett and it was interesting! Last summer I saw The King in Long Beach and enjoyed that too. It was more an overview of the times than a laser-focus on Elvis, but even so. Good stuff, despite the history content.

Then I meant to see Bohemian Rhapsody on my Movie Pass, but it died so I didn’t. I watched it on Prime for $6 last month though, and it was great! I’ve always loved Queen’s music. RIP Freddie.

Next I went to see Rocketman. Wow. It was incredible. Taron Egerton did such a fab job portraying Elton John. The music. The costumes. All spectacular. And Elton as a little boy was just heartbreaking too.

Last weekend I saw Yesterday, which isn’t in the same category because it’s a romcom with a fantasy element, but regardless it’s entirely themed on The Beatles, so I say it goes in this post. I dare you to disagree! I loved it, btw. Super fun and adorable. Lots of Beatles’ songs throughout to keep a fan happy.

Yesterday I saw Echo in the Canyon, which is about the California music biz in the 1960s. Jakob Dylan interviews a bunch of old-timey musicians and plays clips of their songs, and he also recreates some of their tunes himself. He’s super talented… wonder where he gets that from? I’ve loved him since the first Wallflowers album, so I may be biased there. I highly recommend this movie to all music fans. Honestly, Jakob needs to do a sequel because there’s just so much more!

During the previews to Echo, we saw that there’s a new movie coming out in August sort of like Yesterday but without a fantasy element and themed on Bruce Springsteen. Guess who is gonna put Blinded by the Light on her must-see list?

๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽถ

We Donโ€™t Want Him

Nicholas Sparks is trending because he refused to accept an LGBTQ ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ club in the Christian school he founded and there’s some ongoing litigation yada. Apparently part of the case has been settled, and he has the legal right to be intolerant, so that’s cool. I more or less support keeping it legal for private clubs to arbitrarily let in and keep out whom they please, as opposed to landlords, employers, public schools, etc. (Whether they should get tax breaks is a different issue.)

Just because something is legal however doesn’t make it good or right. It’s also legal to cheat on your wife. But that’s not what I came here to discuss today. If you don’t already know, Nicholas Sparks is a writer, a hugely bestselling writer. His books have been made into movies. You’ve surely heard of The Notebook? Well, there you go.

In the frenzy to bash Sparks, people have been conflating his books with romance novels and dumping on the whole genre. Now, I don’t mind bashing Sparks ~ I made a yucky ๐Ÿคฎ face on Twitter myself. I can’t stand his sterile prose ~ and that was before I knew he was super religious. Now my review of Safe Haven from 2013 makes a lot more sense.

But let’s be clear: Nicholas Sparks is not a romance novelist. He says himself he isn’t one, and he is correct. He writes general fiction (“love stories”) with romantic elements. It’s an important distinction, peeps! To be a romance novel, a story must have a Happily Ever After ending. If you want to bash the genre, go ahead. If you want to rag on Sparks, for his politics or his writing or both, have at it.

But please don’t lump Nicholas Sparks in with romance novelists. Cuz that just pisses me right off. ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ He’s not welcome in our club. On the whole, you will find the protags in romance novels to be a tolerant lot, or they become tolerant as the story progresses.

I note that in The Daily Beast article I linked in my first sentence, Sparks bags on the whole romance novel genre because he’s a stupid ass who has read none of the books he’s criticizing. Romance novels are not about “the taming of a man” ~ if anything, they err on the side of misogyny, even though they are written largely by women and mostly from the POVs of the female protagonists. What they are, are fantasies of what it would be like if an alpha hero fell in love with you and wanted you more than anything on this earth, and indeed would do anything on this earth to make you his own. And he succeeds. That is what romance novels are and why those of us who love them, love them. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Sparks can stick with his yawningly vanilla pudding Ken-doll heroes because there is obviously a market for bland safe smooth love too.

^^^ The sexual excitement level in a Sparks’ novel goes from zero to pudding.

Listing

I listed
All the home chores
I had neglected to do:
The vacuuming,
The dusting,
The dishes,
Some ironing too.

I listed
All the reasons
I was better off
With you gone:
The lying,
The crying,
The cold silent
Depressed dawn.

I listed
All the fun things
I’d plan with new friends:
The game nights,
The art walks,
The movies and dinners,
To fill
My weekends.

I listed
My lists
In a master
List of all lists,
To stay organized
And methodical,
Which made me feel
Blissed.

But I ran out of paper
And my cat stole my pen,
So I texted you
At midnight:
Please come back again!

~*~

Genre Challenge: List Poem

Beyond

After days of rain
Morning sunshine glows again
Noisy birds approve

Grass soft as frosting
Leaves drizzling sugar dew
Restful world awaits

Curious cat roams
Beyond the manicured lawn
Into shadowed woods

Ancient wings unfold
As warm fresh blood approaches
Magic spell is cast

Cat comes home with eyes aflame
Different somehow still the same

~*~

Genre Challenge: Haiku Sonnet
Opposites Attract: April 18
Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt

Take Me With You [fiction 300]

For seven years, Kiara had toiled at Wolf Castle. She’d been grateful they took her in of course, that night she’d arrived, sick and bloody, with a broken hand. They had fixed her. Then they’d put her to work.

“Don’t think you’re here to learn secrets for petty revenge,” Lady Wolf had warned her repeatedly. “We have important tasks to fulfill. You’ll do as you’re told.”

But Kiara had learned the secrets and spells. She burned for revenge against the cruel man who had hurt her back at the pretty cottage by the sea, where she’d felt safe surrounded by flowers and lovely things, until that night. Here, all was dark and cold and ugly, but no one hurt her. Not in that way, not like her stepfather had.

Now, seven years later, Kiara was ready to return. Quietly, she packed a small bag with poisons she’d concocted from ancient books and a sharp knife she’d pilfered. She crept down the stairs and went around to the back door, the one they used to exit to the graveyard.

As she began walking past the crumbling stones, Kiara heard a noise, a breath. She stopped. Something brushed past her and she half-screamed.

“Quiet!” he hissed, moving his hood back so she could see his face. “They’ll find us.”

Kiara recognized Thorn, Lady Wolf’s strange son, who up until now seemed to communicate only with animals. His eyes glinted in the moonlight like a cat’s, and she shivered. “Why are you here?”

“I’ve been watching you,” he said. “I know you’re going back to the sea.”

Kiara couldn’t deny it. “I need to settle with someone.”

“I’ll help you.”

Kiara’s fury rose up. “He’s mine!”

“I want to watch.” Thorn smiled and white teeth glittered like jewels. “Take me with you.”

~*~

Genre Challenge: Dark Fantasy

Green [fiction 500]

Finally, all the pesky environmental protection laws had been defeated and steel drilling rigs covered the coastline. One by one, native species of flora and fauna died off, except for the Pacific greenworm. The greenworm flourished without its former predators and swiftly mutated into a new creature that could absorb nutrients from steel. There was a lot of steel around, and the worms were hungry.

*

At the university laboratory, the brilliant microbiology team studied the mutant worms in an attempt to understand how to kill them and protect the oil industry.

“Shouldn’t we be wearing full protective gear?” Ashley Adams asked, her voice wavering, since she was new on the team, yet worried they weren’t following proper procedure.

Team leader Brock Butler shook his head. “No need for that expense,” he said decisively. “These little worms are only harmful in water. Plus we aren’t made of steel!”

Chris Campbell sneezed and said, “Hey guys, I’m leaving early for break. I haven’t been feeling well today.”

*

Cantankerous old Grandpa Campbell knocked on the bedroom door. “Ain’t you up yet, Chrissy? I got sumthin to show you.”

Chris slipped her arms into her bathrobe, shivering and shaking. Her chest felt crushed, and she knew she was much sicker than a week ago when she went on Spring Break. She shuffled over to the front door where Grandpa was pointing. “Oh, my God.”

A bright green film covered everything: the porch, the walkway, the cars, the trees. It was as if the sky had dumped green snow as a belated St. Patrick’s joke. “What is that?”

“Worms,” Grandpa said. “They’s eating up the world. And they started in your school stuff. I threw your backpack on the porch when I first saw them, and the next day there were a million. Now a hundred million. A billion!”

“That can’t be,” Chris said. “They only live in the ocean and eat steel!”

Grandpa waved his hands. “You got eyes same as me. Look! That ain’t the ocean out there. And those worms are eating my trees.”

“I have to call my team.”

“School’s gone,” Grandpa said. “Was on the news. Worms ate everyone. From the inside out. They ate the buildings too. And the computers.”

Chris had a coughing fit. Worms. Ate people. From the inside out. “Grandpa,” she gasped. “I have them.”

“No doubt. And it’s too late for me.” He nodded. “I handled your bags.”

“What are we going to do?” Chris stared out at the bright green cars that used to be a white Corolla and a black Ford pickup.

“How about a martini?” Grandpa suggested. “We have time for maybe two each.”

Chris frowned. “Time? Before what?”

“Russia and China are about to nuke us, to stop the worms from spreading over there.” Grandpa walked into the kitchen and opened the liquor cabinet.

“But doesn’t our government have something to say about that? Can’t they protect us?”

“Naw, honey.” Grandpa took down two glasses. “They’ve all fled the country.”

~*~

Genre Writing Challenge: Eco-Thriller

Opposites Attract Challenge: April 9

Three Things Challenge: PL54

F is for Forbidden [A2Z]

Forbidden Planet by Rinelle Grey was a stretch for me, but I wanted to do some sub-genres reviews this month, not just Regencies and contemporaries. Those are the novels I choose when I don’t make a “mindful” pick. FP is a science fiction romance, with a setting on distant planets.

First, there are environmental issues of overpopulation on one planet, and the dying out of a society on another. One group of people is trying to control their fertility, while the other is trying to have babies desperately.

Second, we have our hero Tyris, who, on his home planet, is considered an outlaw because of an old minor arrest and forbidden from reproducing. When the official notice arrives, his wife dumps him. With nothing to lose, he goes exploring into space.

Third, on the planet where Tyris crashes, he meets Marlee, a young woman who has already failed to get pregnant with other men. She feels despondent over this, even though she is kind and helps him recover. Tyris tries to persuade the people on this planet to let him use their crashed ship’s parts to fix his, but some are reluctant. They seem resigned to their doom.

There is a “gift of the magi” type dilemma happening overall, where a substance named “anysogen” is the key to fueling ships and finding new food sources, which in turn will ease the overpopulation burden; however, exposure to anysogen is fatal at worst and leaves one infertile at best, such infertility extending to animals, livestock and otherwise. Marlee’s planet is (1) full of anysogen, and (2) mysteriously wiped off the starmaps. Hmm.

Be that as it may, FP is a romance novel, so the focus is mainly upon the development of the relationship between Tyris and Marlee, and how they overcome their fears and doubts in order to trust each other. It’s also the first book in a series, so despite the HEA, we are left with many unanswered questions.

Confab [SOCS]

Fab is a word I associate with the Beatles, but sometimes it’s used to describe the 4 British Royals: William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan. For a short time, I used faboo as an expression of glee, but I quickly grew bored with it. I’m pretty much back to my boring old great! and yay! ๐ŸŽ‰

Last week I stopped in Jo-Ann’s fabrics, but it wasn’t as much fun as I’d remembered. I think my crafting days are kaput ~ except for when my little granddaughter is old enough to make braided lanyard bracelets and paper flowers and beady things. That will be great! ๐Ÿ˜

Fabricate means lie, like prevaricate… though they are subtly different. Fabricate is more about constructing a false body of evidence, while prevaricating is evading the question. But ultimately lying is lying, in my book. I think I forgot to say that in some post or other recently when were gabbing about this topic ~ I was thinking about saying that lies of omission were also lies, but then I omitted it! Oopsy. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Finally, we have fables, which are a great form of storytelling. I’ve always loved fiction, but as an adult I’ve only enjoyed realistic fiction until fairly recently. But in the last couple years, something changed and I became more open minded toward fantasy in fiction. This led me into different genres, such as sci-fi, magical realism, magic in general, shapeshifter romance, time travel, steampunk, dragons… and of course culminating in Game of Thrones.

Have I mentioned that I really really love Game of Thrones??? ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ‰โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ”ฅ

D is for Dangerous [A2Z]

Dangerous Indenture by Kelli A. Wilkins is a very fast-paced romance novel. It takes place back in the American colonial period when indentured servitude was common, and Shauna comes over from Ireland to work for Ashton’s father. This is a different type of romance novel in several ways. First, there’s nothing glamorous about it whatsoever. There are no castles, dukes, princesses, balls, fancy dresses, etc. It’s basically drudgery and discomfort, much like life itself.

Second, both the hero and heroine are… annoying. Ashton is a drunk. Now, there are plenty of romance novels that begin with the hero waking up in a drunken stupor, but he quickly gets his act together and does heroic things. Not Ashton. He keeps getting drunk. What the hell? Shape up, man! You’ve got Shauna to save. What’s wrong with you? He’s also horribly sexist, which of course you expect in the 1700s, but even so, most romance novels have the hero bucking the ways of the day and showing how he can think for himself.

Shauna also gets on my nerves. She’s so damn clumsy. Every time someone startles her, which seems daily, she drops and breaks a thing. I keep waiting for the dad to fire her (sell her indenture) for destroying all his dishes, but he doesn’t. She’s also flawed according to the genre, since she had sex before she meets Ashton and she enjoyed it. WHAT? Now, if you haven’t read romance before, you need to understand that, in the genre, only the hero is supposed to have the magic penis that pleases the heroine.

Third, while many romances have subplots of murders or other drama, the main focus is always the romantic relationship, and the narrative slows to focus on that. We don’t get much slowing of the narrative to focus on Shauna and Ashton’s feelings for each other in this story. They’re too busy working and dealing with the household drama/murder to ponder much over relationship stuff, which in a weird way makes the story seem more realistic than most.

For the first third of the book, I wondered if I would finish it, but I kept getting more hooked into the actual story and forgetting about the little annoyances. Then, after the halfway point, I knew I had to find out who the murderer was. I have to say that I did enjoy it overall, though I gave it 4/5 stars, not 5/5, because of the things I mentioned. There are explicit sex scenes in this novel.

Special Delivery [fiction 400]

George Grumble hurried his horses away from the darkening drive. He’d delivered the peculiar item, straight from the docks, as promised, and received triple his usual fee. But that look on the butler’s face had given George the shivers. He did not wish to be anywhere near Ravenwood Manor when the sun set. He’d heard rumors of hauntings and evil, and now with the grand matriarch’s dead body, God rest her soul, shipped all the way from India to be interred in the family cemetery… well, the soonest George could put another mile or three between himself and that, the better.

*

After the last bit of the day’s light had disappeared, the butler lifted the lid of the coffin the delivery man had brought. He gazed down upon the exquisite creature within, not at all surprised to find an absolute beauty with pale, unlined skin, shiny black hair, and the lithe figure of a young woman.

She opened her golden eyes and gracefully rose from the coffin. Her black silk dress fell into place as she glanced around the salon. “Good evening, Wickham,” she said. “What a tedious journey.”

Wickham bowed. “It’s good to have you home where you belong, Lady Cyrilla. We have missed you. I have collected some items in the cellar for a homecoming feast.”

“Psssh.” Cyrilla waved a slender, black-gloved hand. “I’m home now. Call it an idiosyncrasy if you wish, dear Wickham, but I’ve no desire to be served captive morsels like an infant. I am going to hunt!”

Her servant bowed again, a gleam in his eye. “Yes, of course.”

With a deep breath and a swish of her gown, Cyrilla transformed herself and flew through the window Wickham opened for her. When she had disappeared, the butler walked slowly to the cellar stairs, gleefully anticipating how he would dispose of the things he had gathered.

*

George sighed in relief; he was at least four miles away from that dreadful Ravenwood place now. He patted his pocket where his bag of coin rested. Mm, he could stop at his favorite ale house and treat his friends to a round or two, plus have plenty left for a special time with Tess. Happily thinking of warm blonde curves, George didn’t hear the flutter of cold dark wings, though he did feel the bite of sharp little fangs.

But by then it was too late.

~*~

Genre Writing Challenge: Vampire

Opposites Attract Challenge: April 2