Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween 2013! 

It's been a rainy mess all day. It was also SassiePup vet day, which meant we were stuck driving in less than favorable conditions. I heard Halloween in the Park was cancelled due to the flash flood warning, but we didn't drive into town to find out if the rumors were true. The roads were just too nasty to go a second round. 

When Mini made it home from school, we dressed him in his ninja costume and took him trick or treating around the neighborhood. Almost no one had any candy, never mind we have a swarm of elementary school aged kids on our street. Baffling, but whatever. Back home, we were prepared in the candy department. We filled up Mini's bucket and doled out boxes of Nerds, and watermelon flavored candy blood bags that came with glow in the dark vampire fangs. The rest we gave to the neighbor kids. Then we had to monitor the kids so they didn't chomp each other with the plastic vampire fangs. Seriously! 

Now that the hubbub is over, we're chillaxing and watching scary movies. Mini's movie pick - Christine. What can I say? He loves anything with cars in it. Once he's off to bed, I'm going to watch the original Halloween staring Jamie Lee Curtis and PJ Soles (LOVE her!). 

That's all for now. I'm about to slip into the kitchen and put a kettle on for some tea. If you celebrate the season, I hope you have a Happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cora's Picks : Style That Sizzles & Pacing For Power

I recently ordered a "few" books from Amazon. Okay, a lot of books. I cleared out my Kindle and downloaded a ton of horror novels and erotic romances. Swoon, right? I also picked up a couple of new paperbacks. 

Jodie Renner's Style That Sizzles & Pacing For Power has been on my Amazon wishlist for several months. To balance out some of the fiction I've been reading, I finally gave in to temptation and ordered the paperback version. For reference, I greatly prefer print books because - yes - I write notes in the margins. I also figured if this book turned out to be helpful I'd want to add it to my keeper shelf.

Including the author information, the indexes, and the writing resources at the back of the book, Style That Sizzles is 158 pages long. That hits within my preferred reference book length - 120-250 pages. Reference books longer than that are difficult for me to absorb in just one reading. I always feel like I'm going to forget something, or that I'm trying to bite off more information than it's humanly possible to digest. I usually have to read longer reference guides twice to "get everything down". I'm not saying longer reference books aren't helpful - they are. But I like slim reference guides the best, especially when they tell me what I need to know in a no-fuss, concise manner.  

Let me start by saying what I hoped to get out of this book - pacing tips. Not necessarily ways to speed up or slow down the narrative in my own writing, but rather ways to effectively weave in backstory without taking a character off the beaten track within a scene. Or worse, turning the scene into a slog fest. 

Ms. Renner covers the backstory topic in Chapters 8 and 9. There is also an entire section that covers ways to Write Tight (pp. 53-85) and how to fix Flow and Pacing (pp.86-105). Both sections, at least in my opinion, are loosely related to the information I was looking for, and therefore they were helpful.

On the other hand, while the topic of backstory is covered, the material presented wasn't exactly what I was looking for. It was helpful, but it didn't answer my specific writing questions. Or maybe the topic just wasn't covered in the depth I needed to understand what's going on with my own writing. However, I feel like that's my failing, and not necessarily a problem with the book.

With that in mind, Ms. Renner does cover topics such as Expressing Thought-Reactions in Fiction (found in Chapter 26; p. 135-138). That's another section I feel is related to the pacing/backstory problems I'm having. I've highlighted that section so I can refer to it again. I like the way the author has this section divided by types of thought. She also provides examples, and a list of no-nos. This is all written in a very streamlined, nuts and bolts way, which I found to be extremely helpful. There was no wading through unnecessary tidbits to get to the good stuff.

A few of the elements presented in the book have appeared in other reference books, such as R.U.E. (resist the urge to explain) which I first encountered when I read Self Editing for Fiction Writers (by Browne and King). Writers that own a lot of reference guides may find some material in Style That Sizzles that they're already familiar with. 

On the flip side of that, the book features a lot of fresh advice I haven't found anywhere else, such as Ms. Renner's tips for decluttering sentences (p. 65), and what is probably the most simplistic, no-nonsense guide to varying sentences that I've found so far (p. 87-92)

Overall, Style That Sizzles & Pacing For Power is a worthwhile guide chock full of sound tips to help writers of any experience level brush up on basic and advanced writing techniques. It's a compact book, and the information presented is to the point and easy to reference via the table of contents. It's definitely a book for the keeper shelf. 

Afterthought: Christmas is on the way. If you're in the market for a gift to give the budding writer in your life, I recommend pairing Style That Sizzles (Jodie Renner) with a copy of Self-Editing For Fiction Writers (by Browne and King). Together, these books would create a wonderful reference gift set. They would also make a great centerpiece in a writerly-themed gift basket.☺

Monday, October 28, 2013

Featured Author: Nancy Henderson talks about Shadow's Promise

Hi Cora!  Thanks for inviting me to your blog!  I have a new release out.  It’s a historical romance with a Native American hero. 

Jessie McCrea flees to the colonial frontier for a new life free from servitude. When she uncovers a tomahawk buried on her property, she never expects to find a most insufferable Mohawk warrior attached to it. Shadow represents everything she's escaped from and she will stop at nothing to maintain her life of peace and solitude.

Haunted by his past, Shadow must keep his people from being destroyed in the upcoming war between the Colonists and the British. Jessie is everything Shadow left behind. He does not deserve her, yet he is uncontrollably attracted to her. He must make Jessie see that life with him will be anything but captivity. 

A captive heart is a dangerous prospect...

“Woman, you are trespassing.”
            Nearly jumping out of her skin, Jessie dropped the tomahawk.  She whirled to find a half-naked Indian standing within inches of her.
            She was too dumbstruck to do anything but stare.  With the exception of a string of beaver claws suspended from his neck, the man wore nothing but a leather breechcloth which exposed bold, well-defined muscles.  He had sleek, foxlike features, high cheekbones, and a prominent jaw.  His hair, black as night, fell nearly to his waist, and his left ear was pierced with copper rings.
            “You are trespassing.” His English was astonishingly good.  Never taking his gaze from her, he threw down the two large bundles of beaver pelts he carried, picked up the tomahawk and inspected it.  “Who are you?”
            Jessie froze, her gaze fixed on the huge knife at his belt.
            This man was as wild looking as if he had come from the fiery gates of hell.  She had heard too many horror tales.  Of innocent babies getting their heads bashed against tree trunks.  Of men burned alive or forced to run gauntlets of two or three hundred warriors.  And she didn’t even want to think about what they did to women.
            She stared at the musket he had thrown down with his pelts.  It was not a heavy barreled gun but a long, narrow fowling piece.  She wondered if it still worked. Any more rusted, it would be considered nothing more than blacksmith scrap.
            “Who are you, trespasser?”  His voice rose gruffly, as if he were trying to frighten her.
            “Jessica—uh, Jess,” she stammered still eyeing the musket. She had heard it was better to put a gun to your head than to be taken as an Indian’s prisoner. Well, she had not escaped six years of hell to commit suicide.  If anyone was coming out of this alive, it would be her.
            She held her chin up, refusing to let him see how scared she was.  “My name is Jessie McCrea, and I am not a trespasser.”
            His eyes, like two flecks of night, stared at her with intense curiosity.  “I am called Shadow.  Shadow of the Wolf Clan, of the People of the Flint, of the Hodenosaunee, Six Nations.  I say you are a trespasser.”

Shadow’s Promise is available in E-book format or in print.  Here’s the link:

Nancy loves to hear from readers.  Here are some of the places she can be found:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cozy Weekend :: 23 Years

Happy 23rd Anniversary to hubby and me!  We went to lunch on Friday and did some shopping. Basically, we picked up a handful of five dollar horror movies to watch over the weekend, and I picked up some Halloween stationery. This is my favorite time of year to buy office supplies. I love all the cute skulls, bats, and ghosts printed on everything.

Anyway, that's about the extent of the anniversary festivities for us this year, and I'm perfectly okay with that. I never brush off a chance to lounge around the house with the man. This is our secret to a happy marriage. It's not so much where you go or what you do, but who you're with that counts.  

We're still without hot water, and who knows when we'll have the gas lines reworked. Did I even blog about that before? Hmm. I can't remember. Anyway, the gas servicemen came out to our house and detected a gas leak. So, no propane to heat the house. We can't use the hot water heater or the stove. So, we've been using a hot plate to cook on and heat water for baths. It's not fun, but it's functional. Sort of like camping 24/7 at home.

Anyway, on our shopping expedition, which was mainly about buying groceries, I picked up a few bins for my office. I'll post a picture of my newly organized shelves very soon. I also picked up a copy of Bella Andre's I Only Have Eyes For You. I'd intended to purchase a copy of Janice Maynard's latest Wolff brothers story (Harlequin Desire), but my area Walmart can't seem to get their crap together and carry the books each month. They might have them August and September, for example, then they won't shelve Desires again until February. It's very frustrating, since that's the Harlequin line I prefer to read. If I want the books each month, I have to go on a scavenger hunt across northern Louisiana trying to find the latest books. I used to do that, but with the shelving inconsistency, I'm no longer willing to spend the gas money.

Last night I finished reading Richard Laymon's Beware, which arrived in the mail on Friday. His books aren't for everyone, but I love the way he puts his words together. Since there are a finite number of Laymon books out there, I've been looking for other authors with a similar writing style. Sadly, I haven't found anyone that compares. I'll have to keep searching.

On to writerly things, I'm a guest over at Nancy Henderson's blog today. Yay! Drop by and take a peek at my excerpt from my new release A Trick of Light. It's a snip from my story The Ghost Train. Perfect for Halloween!

Nancy will be a guest here on the blog tomorrow, October 28th. Her book, Shadow's Promise is being featured. I hope you'll drop by to say hello. :o)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cora's Picks: A Beauty Uncovered and Writing Telephone Conversations

I recently read Andrea Laurence's A Beauty Uncovered (Harlequin Desire #2259, October 2013). Other than the yummy hero, one of the interesting things that stood out in this book for me was the masterfully written telephone conversation between Brody and his brother Xander on pages 40-44.

In my opinion, telephone conversations can either make or break a scene. More often than not, telephone scenes have pacing issues (the conversation is broken, unnatural sounding, or hard to follow), there is too much awkward "phone handling" action, or the scenes are just plain clunky.

If you're going to include a telephone conversation in your book, I recommend they do one of three things - help establish something important about your characters, serve to relay important plot information to your characters (and to your readers), or fulfill a plot point.

Just for the sake of saying so, I've rarely seen a telephone conversation used specifically to fulfill a plot point in a romance. I'm not saying it can't happen. I've just noticed it usually happens in thrillers or horror novels. For example, a political thriller where a military officer calls in a set of missile launch codes. Or a character is trapped in a building and is using a walkie-talkie/cell phone to stay in contact with the police/terrorists. Or a potential (horror movie) survivor calls the police after being on the run from a homicidal maniac during the first half of a book or film.

The telephone conversation in A Beauty Uncovered is well written, and it offers the reader a ton of information about the involved characters - who they are, how they act, and what their relationship is like - all this while moving the story forward. I recommend reading the book to see a telephone conversation used effectively in a romance.

There are no hard and fast rules for writing a phone scene that I'm aware of. As far as that goes, you could write an entire book about nothing but two characters talking on the phone if you wanted to. That said, I'm compiling this list to make note of a few things I've noticed about my favorite romantic phone scenes.

  1. They are usually brief, often no more than five pages long.
  2. No head hopping. Choose a POV character and stick with that character for the duration of the scene.
  3. Good dialogue still applies. The dialogue should feel "natural". I've noticed the best phone conversations read as if the people speaking are in the same room together. If your character is speaking to an automated voice, keep the fleshy character's actions/reactions as real as possible. 
  4. Banter is a good thing. Flirty, funny, cruel, angry, whatever.  Just make sure it fits the tone of the scene. 
  5. Don't juggle the phone. Once the phone is in action, it's not necessary to interrupt your dialogue just to remind the reader your character is talking on the phone. It's not necessary to continually swap ears, twirl the cord, etc. The conversation is probably more important than how the phone is held, so try not to interrupt your dialogue with a series of unnecessary and distracting actions. 
  6. Don't let the conversation take place in a vacuum. Orient the reader briefly during the conversation. Is the character walking when he pulls out the phone and dials the heroine's number? Does he sit on the couch to prepare to call his mother? Does he step outside the hospital into the cool night air to make a difficult phone call? Give the reader just enough information to create a concrete sense of mood, time, and place, then let 'er rip.
  7. It's okay to mix exposition in with the dialogue, but keep description to a minimum. To keep the scene flowing, stay in character and keep the exposition relevant to the conversation. One thing to watch out for: the exposition shouldn't go on so long the reader forgets what the conversation itself is about. 

I recommend reading A Beauty Uncovered to see all the elements pulled together. The page numbers for the telephone scene are listed at the top of this blog post. If you do buy and read the book, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

If you'd like to read my review of A Beauty Uncovered, you can click the link to check it out at Goodreads. If you'd like to purchase a copy of the book, click here to go to Barnes and Noble online. (Important note: I do not receive anything - no affiliate points, money, or rewards, etc. - in return for you clicking on my links. They are there simply for your convenience.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Break, The Idea Faerie, and High Stakes Musical Chairs

I'm finally settled into the new office. All my equipment and work stuff is in here. I have a few things left in the closets in the back bedroom, but no where to put that stuff at the moment, so it has to stay back there for the time being. Next order of business is to move the portable air conditioner and repaint that back room. Everything's got to be done before I bring in a new bed.

I recently bought a new rug for the office. Nothing fancy, just a fifteen dollar area carpet. I put it down so my roller chair doesn't scuff up the floor too much. As soon as I'd unrolled one side of the carpet, SassiePup came in and sat on it. I had to shoo her out of the room twice just to get the rug unrolled all the way. Today's picture shows the Sass and Jake a mere ten minutes after the rug made its appearance. Poor beasts. A few minutes after this was taken, CharlieCat came in and tested the rug out too.

October and August are usually my busiest months of the year. I'm pretty sure this is why these months tend to put me in the worst fits of depression. Even though we're on better footing since hubby started the new job, it's hard to focus on anything. Work. Reading. Whatever. My brain (and heart) just isn't in it. Now that I think about it, I have no idea where my heart is, but my brain is outside somewhere, frolicking through piles of fallen leaves, browsing the pumpkin patch, and debating the best trick-or-treat candy to fill the bucket on the table. But I digress.

Today has been especially trying because it was parent/teacher conference day. You have to schedule an appointment, then go in and listen to the teachers talk about your child's faults. To reward you for doing this, you get to sign your kid's report card. Fun right?

I live really close to the school and got there about five minutes before my appointment time. Already, there was a line of parents outside the room. Of course, there are only two chairs to sit in, so I'm standing around waiting when the golden door of tragedy opens. Two bewildered looking parents stumble out of the classroom and make way for home, where they'll likely cry into their tumblers of scotch. Two down, so who's next? The purple shirt lady sitting in the first chair is called in.

Please keep in mind while I'm telling you this that we have appointments. You know, where you are scheduled time in advance then you show up to speak to the teachers? I mention this because there was a game of high stakes musical chairs going on outside that classroom. Never mind that's not going to get you into the room any faster. The appointments are in place for a reason. Some parents have to take off time from shift work at the local paper mill to drop by the school.

Never the less, when the purple shirt lady goes into the room and the door closes, lady in chair 2 moves to chair 1. I watched this, utterly fascinated. Can you imagine seeing that at a doctor's office. I'm like, what's going on out here?

This woman with two kids sees chair 2 become available. She gives me the evil eye and hops into the second chair. Her oldest kid, who is in the same grade as Mini, looks at me with a scowl on her face and shouts at me, "We're next!"

I was totally startled by her behavior, and yet, her mother did nothing to correct her. The woman doesn't speak to me, or ask me what time my appointment is to confirm if what her daughter just shouted at me is true or not. I'm like, whatever, people. I did twelve years of these meetings before Oldest graduated. I know how this crap goes down.

Fast forward fifteen minutes, the musical chairs rotate again. Woman with Brats hops up from chair 2 and sits quickly in chair 1. Not only that, but she puts her youngest brat in chair two. You know, to make double dang sure they are next in line. I guess Woman didn't get the memo. The. Visits. Are. Scheduled. By. Appointment. I didn't make the rules, people. It is what it is.

Fifteen endless minutes tick by, and finally the golden door opens and the purple shirt lady escapes the clutches of the teachers. The Woman with Brats gives me this squinty-eyed, dirty look as if to say, "Don't even think about it, sister! I'm next." And she begins picking up the kid's papers and crayons they've dumped on the floor of the hallway.

However, Mini's teacher comes to the door, looks directly at me and says, "Ms. Mini, we're ready for you."

Woman with Brats looked completely startled. She glared at me as if to say, "How dare you! No one bypasses the musical chairs!"

I headed to the golden door, and in passing, flashed the peace symbol at the Woman with Brats. I could tell it dawned on her then. Bros before hoes. No, I'm kidding. Appointments before chairs. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Miss Crabby Cow.

So onward to the meeting. Officially it should be called the stuff nightmares are made of. Even twenty minutes spent at my son's school is too many. Just pulling into their parking lot is enough to draw a cloud of depression over me. And I'm not just saying that because it's school. I'm saying it because I went through hell with Oldest, getting him through the gauntlet until graduation. And by the time Mini graduates, I will have spent twenty-six years stressing over crap at this school that truly doesn't weigh beans in the overall scheme of things. Grades suck? No problem. When you're older and ready to apply yourself where it matters, that's what community college is for. This stressful school crap really isn't worth it.

Needless to say, I left the school ready to drown myself in a bottle of wine. Mini's grades aren't terrible, but this is his lowest report card yet. The teachers, of course, have to grill us parents about getting the kids motivated because the Leap tests are coming up. Here's the thing. Kids aren't motivated because the fun in learning has shifted to learning in order to take tests that secure school funding. That's all it amounts to. The system isn't just broken, it sucks. And just for the sake of saying so, when I was Mini's age, I didn't give two farts about Lewis and Clark's expeditions either. No wonder he tossed his social studies folder out the bus window. But that's a story for another day.

On to happier writing.

I'm currently elbow deep in a writing project that I need to turn in by the end of the year. How simple and concise that sounds, right? I need to turn in a project by the end of the year. What you don't hear is the heart palpitations and subtle cursing as I write and rewrite and rewrite again huge chunks of this book. I'm a little tense writing this one, because I'd like it to stick. Or rather, I'd like to write for this company very, very much. So in order to keep me from pulling my hair out, now that I've got two of my self-publishing books off my desk and off my to-do list, I don't plan to start any new projects until this major one is finished and sent out into the wild. However, that doesn't stop the idea faerie from visiting me on a regular basis.

Speaking of the idea faerie, she dropped by a few nights ago and we had a little chat. She showered me with faerie dust, and I began pulling notes together for Austin's story. Who the heck is Austin, you ask? Any Werekind readers remember Austin from Bonding Experience? Quiet werewolf with a sexy scar and a cowboy hat? Yeah, that's the guy. I've been brainstorming ideas for him and putting together a file. Writing shall commence once the big, heart palpitations project is out of the way. I'll post more about it as things come together.

So there you have it. The latest news. Mini's out for Fall Break, which means I'm out for Fall Break. You won't hear me complaining. I'm going to try not to waste the entire holiday playing Smeet. It's kind of like Farmville but you don't have to annoy the crap out of anyone by sending game invites, or by begging them to send you items to complete a quest. The only thing that sucks about the Smeet is that everything is majorly expensive, and the system is very chintzy about doling out Dimes and Gold Coins so you can upgrade anything. The game would be so much better if dimes could be converted into gold coins, but I won't hold my breath. We'll see how long my fascination lasts.

I hope you all have a lovely Friday and a fabulous weekend. And if you have a few moment, please drop by my Smashwords page and give my latest book a like. I truly appreciate your support.

Monday, October 07, 2013

New Release: A Trick of Light

A Trick of Light: Four Supernatural Short Stories is available now on Smashwords!

About the book

A Trick of Light is a collection of four supernatural short stories. Find out how an old letter puts a woman face to face with a spectral train. Read the lost diary of a family man forced to make difficult choices in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Witness a rebel angel's final battle against one of his own kind. A Trick of Light...where nothing is quite as it seems. 

Book page and buy link:

Price: .99 cents
Publisher notes: This is supernatural fiction, not a romance. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Cora's Picks - Cool Online Stuff and Cloud Atlas

Synchronized snoozing under the
ceiling fan.
Fire up the trumpets of celebration. I have internets again.

I've only begun untangling things here at home, starting with emails. I swear no one emails me for six months, but the minute my net goes down, my inbox gets flooded with important emails that I can't respond to because I can't get to a file. *fainting couch*

So what's going on with me? I moved my office from one end of the house to the other. What a chore! I still have some organizing to do, but everything is pretty much in place. The dogs like it in here because there's a ceiling fan. They rush inside with their tongues hanging out, ready to drop from digging in the backyard, and instead of going to the water bowl, they come into my office and fall out under the fan. Lately it's been really pleasant temperatures outside, too. It's not like the pups are forced to bake in the sun. Living that domesticated life, they are completely spoiled to the air conditioning. Poor beasts.

I'm days away from uploading Trick of Light to Smashwords. This go around, I formatted the book as I went, so it's not quite the mess "Android" was. Android took lots of reformatting to make it ready, this one, it's looking pretty clean, thankfully. I'll definitely try to go this route again when I prep Twilight's Edge for release. That said, the cover for Trick of Light is ready to go. The stories are complete and edited. At this point, I'm going over it with a fine tooth comb before letting it go. I'd rather check and double check than fight with the Smashwords meat grinder.

Once Trick of Light is posted, that will take care of all my non-romance backlist save for one story, which is still in print. By the way, I will be releasing a print edition of Trick of Light through CreateSpace once I've reformatted it for print. I'll post release dates and all that information as it happens.

Some cool things I've discovered lately... 

Okay, this first one isn't exactly new. I love reading about writerly processes. How authors build their characters. How they plot. Their daily rituals. I find it completely fascinating. That's one of the reasons I'm addicted to reading Cheryl Corbin's Learn to Write Fiction newsletter (LtWF) - which is a free subscription available via email or rss feed. I've been subscribed via email for over a year, and I love the way she details the writing life of popular authors.

A few days ago, I was feeling really down about my writing. Yeah, yeah, one of those days. Anyway, while tinkering around with my phone, I found a newsletter in my inbox from LtWF. It was about the writing life of Judy Blume. If you're familiar with my Goodsreads page, you'll know I'm a Judy Blume fan. I particularly love her novel Summer Sisters and give it my highest recommendation. So, you can imagine how excited I was to read about Ms. Blume's process in the LtWF newsletter (Volume 78). The article even mentioned Summer Sisters. I'm calling it a gift from the writing fairies. I will totally accept inspiration where it happens. That article made me feel a little better about my very messy writing process. So kudos to LtWF, Cheryl Corbin, and Judy Blume.

Another thing I've discovered lately is Feedspot, a feed reader/news aggregator. There are free and premium editions of the service. The premium edition seems very reasonably priced. I received a free, one-year gold subscription from Feedspot, and I'm really impressed with the setup so far. I like how streamlined it is and how easy it is to manage subscriptions. I was using Blogger for tracking my favorite blogs, but with Google Reader/Friend Connect no longer in service, I can't edit my lists. For more about Feedspot, you can check out a review of their service at TechCrunch, and read about the company on their Wikipedia page.

SassiePup Toes
Need a free online image editor? I am totally in love with Pixlr, so much so I've added it to my sidebar. You can use this handy image editor for free online, or download it to your mobile device. I especially love the bandage tool. It even supports layers. I completely love this image editor. Five stars all the way.

Moving along, moving along...

A couple of days ago, I watched Cloud Atlas, which is based on the novel by David Mitchell. It basically shows multiple characters existing across several lifetimes. There were some parts of it I liked better than others, but oh man, what a great study in characterization. Ignore the bad reviews of this movie. It was an ambitious project to start with, and the film makers did a great job pulling all the elements together. If you haven't watched Cloud Atlas yet, check it out.

Minor spoiler warning: There is one part of Cloud Atlas that really sticks out to me as truly brilliant writing. In one of Tom Hanks's character incarnations, he plays a Celtic goat herder that is plagued by Old Georgie, a leprechaun/devil character. Of course, Old Georgie is a product of the goat herder's imagination, but it is so bothersome to him that he visits the village healer/seer (Susan Sarandon) for advice. The seer goes into a trance and tells him Old Georgie is after his soul.

In a different incarnation, Tom Hanks's character is a colonial doctor. A young man has come to him for help with a brain parasite. On board a sailing ship home, the man's condition seems to worsen. Tom Hanks' character has been poisoning him systematically, because the young man wears an iron key around his neck that goes to a chest of gold...and Hanks's character wants it! Once more, although Old Georgie has not been mentioned, something dark (greed) has come after his soul.

What a great display of character consistency, and across multiple timelines to boot. The same can be said of Hugo Weaving's character, who remains a powerful bad guy throughout all his interesting incarnations. He seems to be a direct expression of the movie's theme, which is spoken by Halle Berry: Why we keep making the same mistakes...over and over.

No matter what you think of the overall movie, Cloud Atlas is a brilliant look at the character arc and the possibilities available to us when writing. Very inspiring stuff. I highly recommend watching the film.

That's all for now. I have more catching up to do. Until next time, I wish you all a cozy weekend.