Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

Last Saturday I went to see My Sister's Keeper. I was nervous about it because I had read the book and loved it. It is usually a mistake to read the book first because a movie can seldom do justice to the intricacies and nuances of the written word. However, I was pleasantly surprised this time. Much of the powerful emotion was conveyed by the actors who did an excellent job. I had really only thought of Cameron Diaz as a lightweight comedic actor until now but she proved me wrong in this movie.
There is, however, one major difference between the book and the movie and that is the end. They are not just a little different but completely, radically different. The movie ending is all Hollywood, nice and simple, but Jodi Picoult puts a great, unexpected twist to the book which creates a very poignant circle back to the beginning and gives the whole story a tragic completeness . This point is lost in the movie. I will say no more so as not to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it and, if you haven't read the book, the ending will be fine. All in all, I'd say a job well done but take your tissues.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cute Little House

I picked up this tiny, wee, cute house while scouting around the internet. It is unidentified but must belong to some person with simple needs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Unusual Architecture

I love this idea of having 360 degree garden access. Not sure about the lack of curtains but it depends on the location and privacy aspect. This was designed by Tezuka Architects.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Unusual Interior

This a rendering of a communal space in 1 Hotel Washington DC designed by these architects. Talk about bringing the outside in. Lots of watering to do but what a serene environment in which to relax.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ocean Dome

I am fascinated by this manmade beach on Kyushu Island, Japan. It's actually not far from the Pacific Ocean but obviously everyone prefers a crowded inside beach. This is the world’s largest indoor water park with a retractable roof. The air temperature is always kept around 30º C and the water temperature is kept at around 28º C. How 's that for improving on Nature?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Houseboat Design

This undulating houseboat design byRobert Oshatz evokes the dynamic movement of the river water on which it floats.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Unusual Interiors

My son is studying to be an architect after having watched his parents renovate nine houses in his lifetime so I thought I would do a series of unusual interiors and houses for a while.

Above is a photo of the Blue Frog restaurant in Mumbai which has the seating inset yet tiered so that everyone has clear view of the centre stage. This was designed by Chris Lee and Kapil Gupta of Series Architects.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time for Miracles by Adam Lambert

This song, Time for Miracles sung by Adam Lambert for the new movie 2012 is amazing, especially the last section. He can certainly sing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quote - Junot Diaz

This quote is so perfect for writers that I had to post it here. Thank you to Kameron Hurley. I found it on her blog here.

"In my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign... of promise, you keep writing anyway."-Junot Diaz

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Movies I've seen recently

I have seen a whole bunch of movies recently. Too many to go into in depth so I will write a line or two about each, and you can decide which to watch.
1) Coco Avant Chanel - an intriguing story of her life before she was famous. We often take people for granted as being who they are as we know them and don't think of where they come from. This is a sharp reminder that dedication and passion mixed with a knob of talent win the day every time. What a great young actress Audrey Tautou is.
2) Cherie - A delightful look at the houses and fashions of the time. This is a surprisingly heart-wrenching love story between a young man and an older woman.

3) Young Victoria - Again, a great insight into the times with all the pomp and ceremony of being a part of the royal family. Victoria was a strong, wilful personality if the film is to be believed.

4) 500 Days of Summer - Great leads in a love story which isn't one, as it says at the beginning of the film. Seems light and fluffy on the surface but actually makes you think about the belief systems that we have and how they affect our relationships. There is some character growth by the end of the movie, which is always good to see.

5) Ugly Truth - Umm, not sure I would recommend this unless you want a romantic comedy without a lot of substance. It pretends there is, but I wasn't so sure.

6) The Taking of Pelham 123 - Fantastic actors - can't take away from that, and the story kept me glued to my seat but not loving some of the direction and out of focus, swooping filming that was supposed to indicate urgency and speed but just left me feeling nauseous.

7) Funny People - Yuck! Why do comedians think incessant talk about genitals and copulation is funny?

8) District 9 - Now we're talking. Very disorienting at the beginning but settles into a disturbing take on prejudice. It falters towards the end when Hollywood cinema takes over with the great heroic gesture, but overall great movie making. Not everyone will like this but I would recommend it so you can decide for yourselves.

9) Inglourious Basterds - I usually avoid World War I and II movies like the plague. They upset me too much, but I do make some exceptions and I always knew this would be one. As expected from Tarantino, there is graphic violence, but it is a great story of the revenge of a strong female character, which never wavers into melodrama. This is a must see.

10) Fame - I was so looking forward to this movie because I loved the first one way back in 1980. Well, if you're thinking of going to see it, don't bother. I have never been so disappointed by a movie. There were too many characters with no growth even though it spans several years. A couple of good dance and song scenes didn't make it worth the money. Stay away.

The last thing I want to say is that I have fallen in love with Rupert Friend. I have included his photo here. He has such great bone structure. He was in both Cherie and Young Victoria - that's how I "met" him. He has funny hair in both of them but ignore that and look at his face - perfection. Well, that's my opinion anyway.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm a R*by Award Winner!!

I have finally got around to blogging about my winning the R*by Award for Beneath the Surface in the Romantic Elements category at the Romance Writers of Australia conference last week. My other entry, Crash into Darkness, came second. As you probably know, both those books are e-pubbed and yet they won over all the other print published books so I am very proud of myself.

Not only did I not think I would win, I hadn't been told that the winner had to give a speech. I managed to splutter out something but I was in a daze for some time.

Here at the left is my award. It is very beautiful but was difficult to photograph.

The winners of the other three categories are:
Short and sexy: Trish Morey
Short and Sweet: Marion Lennox
Long Romance: Anne Gracie

I had a fantastic time at the conference over there last weekend and have just got home from the New Zealand Romance Writers conference here in Auckland this weekend. I am exhausted but happy at what I have learned and all the people I have met or caught up with.
Time to write, write, write to meet my commitments.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Peru - Machu Picchu

I'm sorry I haven't blogged before about Peru because I have been sick with the flu and I'm not going to write much today either for I have two writing conferences coming up on the next two weekends and I must prepare pitches for them etc.
However, I thought I would post one photo of my son, Dario, on top of a mountain he climbed with Machu Picchu in the background. Machu Picchu is even more amazing than expected. It was raining the day we were there - the only day it did rain on the trip - but it was still mind-blowing as it sat amongst the clouds with incredible steep mountains all about. This was taken the day before with brilliant sunshine. We woke the next morning to heavy rain. Can't win them all.
I will post more photos and tell you more when the conferences are over.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Movie Review - Transformers

I got deceived into watching this dreadful movie by the news that the box office sales had broken all records. I wish I had followed my instincts and stayed away.
This movie had no depth, no layers, no character arcs. The stakes were the destruction or not of the world. I didn't give a damn. I didn't give a damn if the hero lived or died. I didn't give a damn if the eye-candy heroine, who spent most of the movie running around trying to look scared, lived or died. I didn't care if the hero's freaky parents lived or died, and what they were doing being air-dropped into Egypt defies logic.
The machines were gigantic, and the humans were tiny with their tiny guns and tiny bullets yet they still won. I had to suspend belief so far it hurt.
The action scenes were ridiculous. It was impossible to know what was happening, and when machines fought machines, it was a junkyard tangle of monumental proportions. One was indistinguishable from the other. The relentlessness of the action scenes, and the confusion that reigned made me bored and sleepy while fire and brimstone reigned upon the Egyptian desert. Slow motion scenes of beautiful girl and heroic guy outrunning explosions were classics in their awfulness.
The only slight relief from the pain were a couple of comic situations and one or two good lines. But they could fill about three minutes in all. I considered leaving but I had paid my money and refused to conceded defeat. The best part might be in the last few minutes. It wasn't.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Travel Pages Live

Finally my travel pages on my website are up and running. We had some problems with getting all the images to show but my clever husband figured out the problem and now you can see photos from some of the many countries I have visited. You can click on any of them to make them bigger. They span many years so you will see me from 18 years old until now. A bit spooky to see so many decades all in a few clicks.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Good News - Ruby Awards

I have had some splendid news. Back in February I entered two of my published books, Crash into Darkness and Beneath the Surface, into the Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Awards for published books. Both books have finalled in the Romantic Elements category. The other two finalists, Maggie Alderson and Bronwyn Parry, are very stiff competition.
The winners will be announced at the RW of Australia conference in August so an extra trip this year is looming - across the Tasman Sea to Brisbane.
The photo above is an example of the award and I reckon that could look pretty fine on my study desk.
This is the link to information on the awards: Romance Writers of Australia

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Five Points to Share

1) Writing:
Since the beginning of the year, I have written 8 manuscripts all to page 50 and then my self-confidence dips and I give up to start another. I am now on manuscript 9 and I am at page 125. So three cheers for me. I seem to have broken my own particular kind of writer's block. Mind you, I never stopped writing - I just couldn't get past page 50. I think all the other manuscipts are valid stories and I will return to them but for now I must focus and finish this one. I am aiming at the Juno line which is right up my alley - strong female leads. I have discovered with "Crash into Darkness", my third published book, that I can write paranormal - also an essential element in Juno books. The reason I am blogging less is so I can actually find some time to write. With a family and a full time job, it is a constant struggle and something had to give. That was my web presence. Until I get print published, that will continue to be the case.
2) Inspiration:
We all need inspiration not just as writers but in order to put one foot in front of the other and I have found that in this season's American Idol. I have always watched it and enjoyed it, but this year is different. These kids are so damned talented and no one has picked them up before. How could someone like Adam Lambert, who has been on the music scene for some time, never have been noticed? He has the extreme talent of Elvis, or David Bowie or Sting or ... you get the idea. He is good looking, charismatic, humble and, man, can he sing! He is a true born artist and there are not that many in this world. So how could he be ignored despite the fact that he was putting himself out there?
You might ask how that inspires me. Well, it does. I now get my confidence from his story. I am the undiscovered talent that will one day be picked up if I try long enough. Don't laugh at me. This is what works for me, or, at least, is working at the moment. I can't wait for the final.

3) Work:
The inspiration from number two is also what gets me through the work day. I have reached a point in my job where there are no longer any challenges and I am so bored sometimes I want to evaporate. I hate being cooped up in a cubicle all day, where I can't see the sky. I have only done this kind of office work for two years now. Before, I was a teacher and I could return to it, but it doesn't pay as well as this job, and it is so hard to go backwards in financial terms. I am thinking of retraining, but that would mean time without an income stream, and my husband would take a dim view of that. I feel trapped, as I know many other people do. I have always found in life that there is a solution out there, but this time it is very slow in coming to me. I'll let you know if a bolt of brilliance hits me with the answer.
4) Travel:
Meanwhile I have something to look forward to. In July, my son and I are going to Peru. I will finally see Machu Pichu - a long time dream of mine, as you will know if you follow my blog. I am slightly worried about the altitude sickness that hits many at that height but since the mountain won't come to me, I must go to it. I'll blog about my experience when I get back.

5) Star Trek:
Another place I find inspiration for my writing and for life is movies. Yesterday, I saw Star Trek and loved it. I think almost everyone will enjoy this film, but for those of us brought up with the first TVseries, this is a must see. We know all the characters and learn how they all got together to be on the SS Enterprise. It is a wild ride from beginning to end. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me sigh and it made me sit on the edge of my seat all the way through. This has great growth of character for the leads. The one female lead perhaps a little less but she is tough and compassionate and not really the focus so I will let that pass. And all the actors they chose are so believable as the younger versions of themselves. I was right there with them all the way. Go see it, even if you are not a Trekkie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Bruges

I saw this on DVD last night and am sorry I didn't see it in the cinema because Bruges is so beautiful. A friend told me they didn't like it so I didn't go. Stupid me! It's one of the best films I've seen in a long time.
All the actors were amazing and who knew that Colin Farrell could show such a range of emotions with the flinch of a facial muscle. The one liners were sharp, witty, numerous and superb. In fact the whole movie was a one liner.
This is the darkest comedy I have ever seen but the screenplay, the directing, the acting lift it to the top ranks of moviemaking. Watch for the symbolism everywhere, especially in the art gallery and at the end.
Remember it is dark and every second word is a swear word but listen hard and you will be totally amazed at how ingenious the script is. Brilliant!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back Home

I'm back and can hardly believe that my holiday in Las Vegas is all over. Time passes so quickly.

The photo on the left is me in the Venetian Hotel. The hotels in Vegas are incredible. They are ornate, themed and immense. We spent most of our time lost trying to find the way out to the street.

The photo below is of my sister, Margot, (on the left) and my friend, Genevieve at Disneyland, where we stayed on our last day in the USA.

I came home to find out that I have been chosen as a ParaNormal Romance Reviewer "Top Pick" for February 2009 with my book, Crash into Darkness. This is the permalink to the feature. I am honored to be in the company of Christine Feehan and other great writers.
Anyway, it is time to get out of holiday mode and back into work mode. Life can be very sad.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Las Vegas

I have been very slack lately and though I have been writing, I have not been blogging. I am dropping in to tell you my latest news. I am off to Las Vegas on 6th March for the Epicon conference. I will only attend the Awards Banquet on Saturday night because I am a finalist in the EPPIE Awards. Las Vegas is too exciting to be cooped up in a room all day, so instead my sister, my friend and I will be enjoying the sights including a flight to the Grand Canyon and of course we will be taking in a show - Cher. Should be spectacular. We'll also spend a night and a day in LA so I can go to Disneyland for the third time. Can't wait - I am just like a kid at a fun fair. Will be away six days, then back home to work and reality.

Friday, January 9, 2009

5 Latest Reads

These are the last 5 books I have read, ending with the one I am currently reading.

1) Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin

If you like your detective stories raw, layered and enigmatic, this series about the detective Aurelio Zen is for you. He works with the Criminalpol in Rome but for this story is transferred temporarily to Venice at his own request. Michael Dibdin lived in Italy for 4 years and his descriptions of Venice ring authentic as he weaves his way through the streets and palazzi of the City. As most of you know, I lived in Italy for nine years and have been to Venice numerous times but I learned a lot from his descriptions of the politics and multi layers of this dying city. This book is gritty and dark just like the protagonist. You feel like you have been drawn into another world that you would never normally have a chance to experience.

2) The Secret Diaries of Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

A completely different story to the previous one. This is a light histrorical which takes you on a fast, easy ride. I don't read a lot of this genre but won this at a conference so decided to give it a go. I read it all the way to the end, which doesn't happen with a lot of similar books so that says a lot for Quinn's story telling skills. It's not a book that will stay with me long, unlike Dibdin's, but I imagine that's not its purpose.

3) Mercy by Jodi Picoult

On the whole I love Jodi Picoult - she is one of my favorite writers. However, this one, which was first published in 2002, didn't hold my attention like the others. Picoult usually chooses a topical subject and fictionalises it . In this case, it is mercy killing. A man kills his terminally ill wife. The moral standpoints taken by various people on such issues are central to her books, and that's one of the interesting facets of her writing. Her books are usually fast paced with twists and turns you don't see coming. However, this one had no twists and was a little pedestrain. So I was disappointed. My favorite of hers is still My Sister's keeper though Second Glance is a pretty close second.

4) Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Yes, it has taken me a while to get around to reading this, but I saw it in a bookshop last week and grabbed it. I was drawn in immediately from the first words, and it kept me all the way through with just a couple of slow patches of insight into minor characters that I felt was a little unnecessary and didn't further the story any. Also, there was only one attempt to give any of the villain's back story and I thought that was a little light for it didn't really give any explanation for his actions. However, each of the main character's are drawn well and their personal ways of dealing with the tragedy are diverse and thought-provoking.

5) Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is the book I am currently reading so I can't give a full account of my feelings about it, but so far, she has captured me with her lyricism, her pain and her candidness. I am still in the section on Rome and, despite a few bad translations from Italian into English, she has captured the atmosphere of Rome and the Romans well. She was only there for four months so it will always be a superficial view but she has an ability to get to the nitty gritty of what she observes and to describe it in a delightful way. Stereotypes do creep in, but it isn't worrying me too much. Her joy for life, despite her own personal darkness, shines through and carries you along with her through the good and the bad. I hope the rest is as good.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Website

I'm excited because my son has designed me a new website - completely new and I think it looks great. Please have a look and let me know what you think: Suzanne Perazzini Website
Try it on Firefox. It fits better than on Explorer.