Storyland Book Rec: To Seduce a Witch’s Heart: A Novel of Love and Magic by Nadine Mutas

Storyland Book Rec: To Seduce a Witch’s Heart: A Novel of Love and Magic by Nadine Mutas

I usually do art recs for more visual mediums, but this week I wanted to celebrate a fellow writer and share her incredible book here as a recommendation to read.

To Seduce a Witch’s Heart is funny, and smart and heartwarming, and there is no way you won’t fall in love with this leading man! I never wanted this book to end, and if you like funny, hot, leading men, you won’t either.

It’s free right now on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Seduce-Witchs-Heart-Novel-Magic-ebook/dp/B00WYKHE0S/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Get yours today! You will NOT be disappointed! 

My Frustrated Sometimes Angry  Review of Twin Peaks:  The Return

My Frustrated Sometimes Angry Review of Twin Peaks: The Return

*SPOILERS**

I was not a fan of the show when it originally aired.  I was too distracted by other things to give it the kind of attention it required to nest itself into my subconscious, and become a weekly need that had to be fulfilled.  Instead, I discovered it available online at CBS.com about nine years ago.  I was immediately hooked, and binge watched all the episodes within a week or so.

From the haunting theme song, to the deep passion for doughnuts, and the whimsical investigation style of Agent Cooper it was the best time I had had in a long time.  It still might be.  I recently re-watched all the episodes and Fire Walk with Me on Amazon Prime to prep for The Return, and crowed to  anyone who would listen that the show coming back on air so close to my birthday made me feel like it was being made just for me. (Yes, logically, I understand I am not the center of the universe, but really in today’s landscape, what is logic, and who actually uses it anymore?)

I was super jazzed that Amazon/Showtime on Demand slapped up FOUR WHOLE episodes for me to watch the night of the premiere.  Sometimes shows do that, of course the downside, in most cases, is that you have to wait FOUR WHOLE WEEKS to see another new episode.  Of course, I watched them all.

In the middle of the first episode, when the new weird is trying to mesh with the old weird and find its feet, I was disgusted and bored by watching one of the female characters disrobe, while the male counterpart in the scene remained fully clothed. I see these kinds of situations too much where women are naked or scantily clad while men remain fully clothed, often in power suits, reducing the women to a distraction from what is undoubtedly a failing plot line.  I’m over this.  I’m over it as a viewer, as a woman, as a writer, and as a human being.

If a storyline only requires the female lead in a scene to get naked you have no storyline, and you are wasting my fucking time trying to get me to look at her body instead of realizing that you have nothing to offer me as an artist who is telling the story.  Sex and intimate interaction is and can be an important part of a story, but no good sex or intimate interaction that I want to observe keeps one party in clothes while the other reveals themselves.  To call this gratuitous is to too pale a condemnation.  I would feel the same way if  I was forced to look at men who disrobed all the time in front of fully clad power suited women, because it’s not storytelling, it’s exploitation.

I’ve read other reviews of the series where people commented on the scene I am referring to, and said, “It’s David Lynch, so you knew there would be naked women.”  That is too dismissive of this kind of pandering for me to just let it go.  Lynch told his story, the first two seasons on network television, where the best he could away with was a teddy in the One Eyed Jack scenes.  Since it was a house of ill repute, there could be some reasonable expectation of scantily clad women, but there was a bar he had to meet if he wanted to be on the air.  Apparently, Showtime removed the bar, and we get pointless full female nudity that lacks the effort to be more than titillating.

Still, this isn’t new, and David Lynch didn’t invent this disgusting stereotype, and I persevered hoping that plot would find me if I just pressed on into the woods, like Hawk looking for the Black Lodge.

Every hour I watched my hope diminished.  The plot is exhaustingly slow, and watching Agent Cooper take three episodes to remember that he liked coffee, but still not how to drink it, made me want to scream and hit something. I found myself thinking several times that Lynch had lost his mind because Showtime gave him eighteen episodes and he had no idea what the fuck to do with them, and so we get Cooper drooling and repeating whatever someone says to him for THREE WHOLE FUCKING EPISODES.

Also, it was hard to see the actors/characters so physically aged (as twenty-five years will do, even to the best of us) and yet still so emotionally unchanged in all that time.  I’m not the same person I was when this show aired, so it’s foolish to think that those characters would not have been changed in that time as well.

And there you have the Catch-22 of this whole reboot/reunion theme that currently has Hollywood by the short and curlies. We want what we had before, as people this is true for all of us. We as a society want the same highs we got from our first experiences, and consistently fail to understand why the second time around is never, and can never be the same, because we are in a constant state of change.

We evolve, hopefully; learn to see things with more dimension and scope. We change our viewpoints on things that seemed so solid we once built the cornerstones of our persons upon them, and declared “EVERMORE”, only to find we were grossly un or misinformed, and modified our stands to accommodate our new perceptions. And, too, things are rarely as good as we remember them being. That is a flaw in our design, the way we deal with unpleasant things. We minimize pain and disappointment to make life manageable.   We make the bad, all right and the good fucking phenomenal. Nothing can measure up to how we remember it being, even though it probably never was, in the first place.

In four hours I found little mystery in The Return, little story line, and little hope that I would get more than another woman taking her clothes off to try and distract me in the upcoming slow moving episodes that have yet to air.

Am I going to watch? Well, probably at least a little more, because at the end of the day, under my hard crunchy realist exterior, I am at heart an optimist.  I want to see Agent Cooper throw stones at jars when he calls out names of potential suspects.  I want to hear him say, “That’s some damned fine coffee!” one more time, and I want to be as confounded and mystified by Twin Peaks today as I was yesteryear.  I think those are things any fan of Twin Peaks would want, and no matter how far The Return goes off the rails, I still have the first two seasons of freakishly fiendishly wonderful story to fall back on, and that’s not nothing.

For Twin Peaks: The Return 2 Stars and a boat load of hope that it gets better before the end.

Happy Viewing!

 

#B2BCyCon2017 & J.A. Brown

#B2BCyCon2017 & J.A. Brown

Hello all-

Today is the last day of B2BCyCon, and I hope you’ve had a chance to spin around and see all the fabulous authors! There is a lot happening, so I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out of anything!

This is the main link to B2BCyCon, dive in and find the genre you love the most, or heck, visit them all!

You’ll find me under ROMANCE, at #4 On the Blog Hop. There you can see more information about Dreams Series Book 1, the amazing video trailer for the story, and also sign up for some great prizes!! Don’t miss out!

I’m also over on Goodreads talking about the incredible artists that made the covers for my Dreams Series, Golden Designs, and the amazing video trailer you just watched on the Blog Hop link, Robin’s Motifs. If you’re looking for some unforgettable art to promote your work, this is who you want to talk to!  And if you have questions for me, hit me up! 🙂  I just added an excerpt from Dreams and a full series overview complete with fan reviews!

For even more information, you can check out my Author Spotlight Showcase! There I talk in depth about how my characters Eli and Sara redefine the concept of passion, and what makes the Dreams Series  stand out in the world of paranormal romance.

Like me on Facebook, follow me on Goodreads and Twitter to make sure you never miss an update!

Would you like to be the first to read my new releases?  Then be an Advanced Reader! In exchange for a fair review the day of the public launch I will send you a free advanced copy of my latest release! (Mosaic, Dreams book 4 is coming up soon. Just sayin. ;))

Want free short stories, special offers, and behind the scenes information about my stories?  Sign up for my newsletter today!

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to enter to WIN some great prizes! I hope you enjoy the convention and find some great new authors and stories to share with your friends!

Best Wishes and Happy Reading!

 

#FlashFiction- Exchange

#FlashFiction- Exchange

A lot of girls I knew wanted complicated things.  Guys who could read their minds, whilst decorating them in diamonds, as if they were Christmas trees as yet uncut, in the middle of an ice storm.

It always seemed to me that getting picked was an ending more than a beginning.  Chopped down and carried away home to clean and fetch and cook, until they forgot how to want or dream or even think of things they weren’t told to think.

They got to keep the diamonds, but they had to die a little bit in exchange.

(c) J. A. Brown, Storyteller February 14, 2017 –Exchange- Voices In My Head

Previous:  Velvet Darkness

The Power of the Almost Kiss

In my junior year of high school I fell madly in love with a senior.  He was incredibly smart, funny and handsome, and the impact he had on me still resonates even after all this time. It all started when I interviewed him for the school paper.  I took myself very seriously, and rolled in with three notebooks full of notes and questions about a life that had only existed for seventeen total years. I insisted on a professional decorum that he systematically chipped away with satiric one liners and majestically arched single eyebrows.  I don’t recall ever trying so hard not to smile for any other hour of my life.

It was a year long affair of dance in, and dance out, and I mean that figuratively and literally.  We were drawn to each other, that intangible sound of you/me, me/you that crackles when some people meet, roaring over and through you as if you were a character in Deep Impact, and the asteroid hit.  We drink to feel a shadow of that sensation of utter sublime joy and peace, fueled paradoxically by adrenaline, and a roaring sound in your ears that deafens you to all others.

Our romance unfolded like a Dramedy.  We’d see each other at least once a day, and at the school dances I photographed for the yearbook, he would find me, ask me to dance and sweep me away with the smell of Polo cologne and the possibility of possibility. He was funny, I was funny, and I couldn’t wait to do it all over again the next day or the day after, until our days ran out.

On his graduation night we had a few hours together.  I was late, he had to leave early, and even as it all slipped through my fingers, I could feel them flexing, trying to hold on to something of this time with him.  We’d been sitting around a fire talking with our friends when suddenly, someone started playing Dust In The Wind.  Pulling me to my feet and dragging me closer to the sound of the music, he pulled me into his arms, and told me this was his favorite song.

I was on the verge of tears, choking on all the things I wanted to say before he left me, and all I could do was hold on tight, and try not to let him step on my toes, which he did.  He did every time we danced, and we always laughed about it.  We laughed that night. We were laughing when his hands came up to my face, and he leaned down closer.  I had time to think, “Oh, he’s going to kiss me!” and to realize that I was more than fine with that.  It would be our first kiss, made even more special by the fact that we were about to be separated by time and circumstance beyond our control.

Just as his lips were about to touch mine, someone called my name, and startled, I turned to the sound.  It was less than a second, but the moment was gone, and when I turned back to face him the possibility of our kiss was gone.  Magic had been replaced by awkwardness, and all the time we had, had run out, leaving me with decades to ponder The Power of the Almost Kiss.

We’ve seen it in countless stories, shows and movies.  They meet, the tension builds, and you close the book, or turn the TV off, feeling a little bit of that high you got when love was yours, even if it was only an idea you held in your head, leaving the object of your affection clueless and unaffected.  You anticipate the eventual, perhaps inevitable, kiss with the kind of dizzy excitement that rivals a substance based high, spinning on the chemicals in your brain, maybe because you are emotionally invested in the characters, but more likely because you identify with them in some way.  That identification makes their first kiss, your first kiss, all over again.

There are varying schools of thought on how long you can let the tension build before you overshadow the event.  One thing most agree on, when the bubble of tension breaks, and the first kiss is kissed, the story is over.  There is nothing else to anticipate, and we move on to the next new thing, seeking that high in a new place with new characters.

I don’t agree that the story is over after the kiss.  I happen to think the firsts never have to run out, and that the deeper you go the more interesting people become.  It’s a different power than The Power of the Almost Kiss, but it’s still a good power.  We crash and bash each other with sharp edges, buffered by soft lips and softer sighs when The Kiss happens. We smooth each other out, buffing out the chips, and reinforcing the weak places with patience and love on the other side of The Kiss.  One is exciting, the other affirming.  Depending on where you are in life, there is a time and a need for both.

Still, decades later, I wonder if it is The Power of the Almost Kiss that makes him stand out so vividly in my mind, and pushes me to write about him, now, before, always. There have been other loves, and I remember them fondly, taking with me the marks they left on the person I am, and folding their memories into the mix of the person I will be.  He will forever remain the unattainable dream, the best kiss I never had, the possibility of possibility.

 

 

#amwriting Mosaic, Dreams Series Book 4

I showed her my first glimpse of her in Omaha, the warrior covered with weapons from head to toe, her sharp emerald gaze making my skin tingle when she looked at me.  I let her feel what it did to me, a stutter in a heart that never beat. — Malik, Mosaic

(c) J. A. Brown, Storyteller- Mosaic, Dreams Series Book 4

#Flashfiction- Time

She was wearing a little blue dress, skipping rope the first time I saw her.  Her hair was in braids, tied with little ribbons that matched her dress.  She was eight, I was nine, and time stopped for me.

She was wearing jeans and red t-shirt, sipping beer in my backseat, with her hair down, the next time I saw her.  It was a new game, filled with hormones and dare you’s, and when she let me slide my hand under her shirt, time stopped for me, again.

She was wearing a white dress, I think it belonged to her mother, maybe her grandmother, too, but it looked like it was made just for her.  When she saw me waiting there for her, I could feel the warmth of her smile on my cheek, like a touch, and time stopped for me, keeping that feeling next to my heart forever.

She was in a hospital gown, her hair matted with sweat, heaping curses on me, and the men of my family ten generations back, as she gave life to another of them.  Time stopped there, holding her safe and fast, my son in her arms, and my heart in her hands.

She was in a black dress, the last time I saw her. Her hair was short and silver, with a thousand laugh lines on her sacred skin, and I refused to let time stop.  She was gone now, leaving me with frozen snippets of love and life to huddle near for warmth, but this place wouldn’t do without her.  I pushed time on, faster, that I might follow her, and do it all again.

©2017 J. A. Brown, Storyteller

Storyland #art Rec Chalk Drawn Adventures by David Zinn

If you ask anyone, I bet they have an opinion about art.  What makes it art, why we should call something art, or not.  Whether art is important to us as individuals, groups, or as a culture, and should we invest in it, for the future of all those things?

Another thing that may or may not come up is whether you can call something art that is fleeting, there a moment and then gone forever.  Some would say no, if you can’t hang it in a museum or lock it away in airtight chambers for preservation, the it’s not art.  Gardeners would probably disagree.  I consider those guys to be artists.  What you didn’t?  Think about it.  They are painting only with the final image in mind, seeds have no color. They carve in living branches, making art from trees and  plants.  A flower blooms, and then is gone, but the beauty of that moment lives on in the hearts and minds of the witnesses.

Maybe after, you get together with some friends to talk about the beauty of that moment, and one of you makes a meal to mark the occasion.  Cooks are artists, too.  They paint memories on your tongue with spices and the perfect application of heat, or not to heat, depending on the meal.  Their art is fleeting as well, but also remembered, and recalled with the most vivid of descriptions.

I have a broad definition of art, that does not require the agreement or validation of another.  Nor does it have a time limit to qualify.  I see art in a sunrise over the ocean, and in the curve of a stranger’s face, whose name I will never know, but whose shape will inform my imagination when I make a new character, or create a new fictional world.

Today, I honor the street work of David Zinn.  So fleeting it is heartbreaking, and still too good to miss.  He shows us the magic we thought we lost as kids.  He reminds me what it can be like when every corner is the one around from adventure, and most of all, to keep our eyes open, so we don’t miss even one beautiful thing.

Chalk Drawn Adventures

David Zinn Website

 

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