Friday, December 19, 2014

A Very Fond But Heartbroken Farewell ~ The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

bilbo the battle of five armies
  The journey is over. My heart is broken. Today I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies with the family finally, and it was well worth the wait. The movie was spectacular. The battle carries the whole story, the end leaving us sorrowful, with the feeling of having watched something that happened, not a just another typically structured movie that has its points. I was surprised at how little Smaug featured in it, that his fall would be so soon (or at least what felt so soon). It was somewhat anti-climatic, but I suspect that many scenes were cut from this movie and that more will be added to the attack of Smaug in the extended edition. However, I did love how there was a presence of Smaug throughout the movie, his words--his insights--that figured greatly in the thoughts and fears of the characters. It was as if he was still lurking in the shadows.

   I loved how in the moment and climatic the beginning was. It carried right over from Desolation of Smaug, the danger and fear palpable and immediate. It brought you in, to the level of those suffering the consequences of their actions, and those on the receiving end of the actions of others. The desolation and sadness is truly felt. That's what I loved about the last installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I'm just heartbroken that it's over, as I knew I would be. 

  What I've loved most in this story, (and in stories in general) was the story of the best sort of friendship. And the friendship of Thorin and Bilbo is the gold in this one. Throughout the trilogy, really--but it comes to a head here. It is what I'm most in love with, the thing I sorrow for most, and what my heart splits for. (Aside from the fact that the movies are done).

   I've never been much taken with the love story between Kili and Tauriel, but it turned out okay for me, in the end--in the end I felt for them. I was wrapped up enough in the story to forget that I'm not a fan of their love story. I liked them well enough. And at the end of that story arc, I love how well it served the characters involved. I cared for them, and what it meant when it came to it.

 I was also intrigued that you got more of glimpse into why Thranduil was such a strange, seemingly cold person. You get a look, however brief, into his history, his own loss. His own madness. It wasn't what I had expected, but something very similar. I loved that you got to know Bard and his strength better--his family is what makes him the man he is. Alfrid presents (in some ways he reminds one of Wormtongue) an interesting aspect to how Bard tries to do well by people, to try to see the possible change one might attain should they chose, and receive the chance. I thought him giving Alfrid a sort of second chance intriguing, though he does not trust him. Only enough to use him in moments of desperation--but even then, in the end, we see that Alfrid will always be a snake simply because he chooses to be--not because he wasn't given a second chance. That's what I appreciated of this aspect of the story. (Although I did expect him to give Alfrid a whack when yanking on the arm of his child, and he didn't--I found that really strange).

  I really enjoyed the storming of Dol Guldur--that was cool. The power of the White Council was stunning and beautiful. Although I didn't like the dark aspect they gave Galadriel, because that was used in Fellowship showing her temptation to the Ring, to something evil--here, in this instance, she is fighting the evil that is Sauron with Light. Yet they make her look like something dark and twisted. Powerful and fearsome, certainly. But her dark image really didn't make sense. But still, overall, very cool, loved it--but really of the opinion that they cut out a lot here as well.

  Over all, you see real people in this story. Pulling together, surviving--pulling away, turning mad, grasping at what pieces of themselves are left--trying to remember what you believe in. And trying to do the part of a friend. I found the movie incredibly real. In this one, it wasn't as much about spectacle and fun as the others were (in my opinion) it was about their relationships in the now. Their own stories, and the difference they can possibly make. The change that their choices will effect.

  You get to savor the sorrow and the joy, the gloried relief of the honorable choice in some instances, the fear of losing all that matters in life and possibly losing sight of yourself. The fear of the true enemy winning is real, even though we have a good idea of how the story ends, especially those of us who read the book. The core of the story is the power that we as individuals have in making our choices. It is simply will we or will we not fight to realize what is right, or possibly something in between. It is never so simple. Priorities are mixed, but in a way that still engages our love and respect.

  In the end, we have the bittersweet return home, remembering the good and the bad, left with the sorrow of loss, but with the blessing of friendships that have been forged. And the discovery of the type of person you yourself are. I love how the very end was, bleeding into the beginning of The Fellowship, leaving us with a taste of the joys that still come, that the story of our lives go on, and we carry our memories with us. The words of Billy Boyd in his Last Goodbye are very fitting.

 And, oh, where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell

Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But don't regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me




  I probably will be writing more on this, but I just needed to get this down. Can't keep it to myself right now. My heart is too broken! Would love to hear anything you have to share about what you think of the story.

And what a story. Thank you to Tolkien, Peter Jackson, and everyone involved with getting us to care enough to share in the sorrow and the joy. 

  Until next time and another tissue,

  Elora Carmen Shore

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Once Upon a Western Way, Interview with Markie Madden

author Markie Madden
Author Markie Madden
  We have a guest today! Recently Markie Madden invited several authors to exchange interviews with her, and I was one of those who accepted. My interview with her, which was a lot of fun, was featured just the other day, and you can read it here on her website! She started Metamorph Publishing in 2014 as a means of publishing her three books, and is dedicated to helping other independent or aspiring authors to reach their dreams!

 
  Here's the interview!


  Tell me a little bit about yourself! Where do you live, do you have a "real" job, do you ahve any children/pets, and so on?


  I was born August 19, 1975 in Midland, Texas, though I grew up in Flushing, Michigan. I went to high school there, and was on the staff for the school paper. I won a National Quill and Scroll Society award for best picture in a school newspaper. I've been married for 10 years, and have two teenage daughters, three rescue dogs, and a horse. We now live in the small country town of Fisk, Missouri.


  Tell me about your latest book! What inspired you to write it? Where did you get the ideas for your plot and characters?

Once Upon a Western Way Markie Madden
  All three came out at the same time, so I'll pick Once Upon a Western Way to talk abut. I started writing this story in high school, and it was the first I ever tried to publish. It was based on teh game my best friend and I used play as kids. The main characters of course were based on me and him, and a lot of the supporting characters were based on our pets at the time. 


  When did your book come out, adn where can readers find it?

  All my books came out in Sept 2014, except for Western Way which was originally published digitally only at Smashwords in 2012. They can all be found at CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes and Noble (print versions), as well as several other retailers, and for Kindle digitally, though their enrollement period is almost up so they'll be back at Smashwords for Nook and iPhone soon. 


  What distinguishes your book/plot/characters from others? Don't give away any spoilers, but what's the "hook" that you think will draw the readers to your book?

  Western Way is a romantic fantasy about epic love surviving all obstacles, and full of adventure, princes, ad preincesses in a world that's a far simpler time than our own. The main characters hae to fight an evil foe (and you'll never guess who that is, but NO spoilers!) and live to escape his clutches. 


  Waht would you like your readers to take away from your book? What emotions and thoughts do you hope to invoke?


  This book was intended to entertain, to let the reader escape their own world and lose themselves in a other for a time.



  Are you planning a sequel, or another book?

  I'm not planning a sequel for Western Way, but I am currently working on a series called The Undead Unit Series. Book One is called Fang and Claw, and we meet Lacey, who's a detective with the Dallas police department. She's also a vampire. Her partner, Colton, is a werewolf with anger management issues. They're a part of an elite new squad dedicated to solving crimes involving other members of the Undead. 


  What genre do you place your book in?

  Western Way is a romantic fantasy with a touch of paranormal. I also have two non-fiction books: a memoir and a self-help guide to horse care.


  how did you publish? Are you independent or do you have a publisher? How did you decide to publish?


  I'm independently published. I tried for years submitting Western Way to publishers, first on my own, then using my income tax refund to hire an agent for a year. And still, I was unsuccessful. So I went at it on my own.



  What's your marketing plan? Do you use social media to help you market, and if so, which ones? Do you have any new ideas for marketing that you'd like to share?

  I use all social media to help promote my books, as well as swapping blog interviews with other authors, and I'm planning book signings for next year.


  Are you a member of any writing/reading groups (i.e. Shelfari, Goodreads, Scribophile, etc.)?

  You can find me at Shelfari, Goodreads, and Scribophile, as well as several writing roups on Facebook and LinkedIn.


  Thanks for the time, Markie! Looking forward to more of your news.

  Marguerite Madden's books can be found here on Amazon and Amazon Kindle, Smashwords,  and Barnes and Noble.

  Other sites where you can follow Markie Madden are her blog, her Tumblr, her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.



  ~Elora Carmen Shore