Today marks the start of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. On July 16, 1969, the crew blasted off from Florida on an eight-day mission to the moon and back.
To celebrate, Genevieve and I have put the Fly Me to the Moon box set on sale. Until July 24, this collection of three complete retro romances (almost 170,000 words) can be yours for just 99 cents. It includes Star Dust, Earth Bound, and A Midnight Clear and is perfect for all your lunar landing nostalgia reading.
I’ll have a couple of commemorative guest posts on other blogs this week, and I’ll drop links here when they appear. But in the meantime, grab your copy of the boxed set now before this deal goes away. It’s available at Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Google Play.
If you’re not on the Fly Me to the Moon mailing list, you missed an important announcement: Genevieve and I will be serializing a summer-themed novella called A Midnight Spark there starting tomorrow! It features a silver fox rancher, a woman with a weakness for strays, an injured hummingbird, and enough fireworks to rival the US Capitol’s display.
While we’ll eventually package this story with A Midnight Feast and re-release it to retailers, for the moment the only way to get A Midnight Spark–and the only way to get it for free–is to subscribe to our mailing list. So get on that!
A few months ago, my friend Edwina Moore asked me to write a guest post for a series she was doing on time management and accountability for writers. What ended up spilling out of me was a lengthy confessional about how I almost stopped writing 2.5 years ago and how I’ve slowly, slowly been trying to rebuild my writing practice since then. It’s a story I didn’t think I’d ever tell anyone, to be honest, but for what it’s worth, this is where I’m at.
What follows is a long and rambling post about my reading history with War and Peace. It’s basically a book report. This probably doesn’t have value for anyone except me, so you have my apologies in advance and be aware there are spoilers ahead.
Continue reading “Dust and Ashes”
In retrospect, it’s not surprising that Georges Melies’ A Trip to the Moon (1902) is the first science fiction film. After all, the sky is the original cinematic experience: the lights go up and come down; the moon and constellations change; the colors shift, fade, and intensify; and the weather provides drama and tension. Staring at the sky in night or day is an emotional, humanizing experience. It emphasizes how small you are in the face of the universe. Thus it only makes sense that one of the first subjects for narrative cinema would be the desire to explore what’s up there.
(Digression: I, like most babies of the 80s and 90s, came to know Melies’ work because of the Smashing Pumpkin’s video for “Tonight, Tonight,” which remains most excellent.)
What I want to think about today, though, isn’t films such as A Trip to the Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Contact, or Armageddon, which concern themselves with space in an entirely imaginative or fictional way, but instead with those that attempt to tell the “true” story of human space exploration.
For the sake of conciseness, I’m going to limit myself to The Right Stuff (1983), Apollo 13 (1995), The Dish (2000)*, The Astronaut Wives Club (2015)**, Hidden Figures (2016), First Man (2018)*, and Apollo 11 (2019)**, arguing that while these films are about humans leaving earth, neither the films nor the history they represent successfully abandon earth’s baggage, specifically gender and race.
Continue reading “Space on Screen”
I was in the mood to read something set in Ireland this morning, and I assume I’m not the only one. Here’s a short list of my favorites.
Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Day Romance and Beyond Recs”
Elisabeth Lane (who has started a fantastic YouTube romance channel!) initiated a conversation on Twitter recently about the books that converted you to genre romance. Not necessarily the first romances you read, but the ones that convinced you that romance was awesome. I hazarded some guesses when she asked it, but as I pondered her question more, I wondered whether my Ur-romances were books at all.
I was in my late 20s when I started reading romance. Romance novels were so precisely what I needed at that moment, I inhaled them by the bushel. It felt as if I’d been reading around romance my entire life, and now I had finally discovered the good stuff, a genre that could deliver the purest version of what I’d been seeking. But maybe the sense of familiarity, of ah, at last, that I felt when I started reading romance came from the overlap between the tropes in romance and those in movie musicals.
As a child, I’d been as devoted to musicals as I am to genre romance today. Musicals taught me about introspection, harmony, and female friends with whom you can dance in your bloomers if you’re ever carried off by a family of mountain men (see below). They’re unabashedly sentimental, almost always have happy endings, and frequently contain a (or sometimes several) central romance(s).
This list isn’t a best of or even a set of recommendations. It’s skewed by what I watched and listened to as a kid in the early to mid 90s. It’s very white, almost entirely heteronormative, and more than a few of these films are seriously problematic. But putting it together convinced me that my origins as a reader and writer of romance are in Hollywood movie musicals.
Continue reading “Trope-tastic Musicals”