Tag: contest

Tuesday Tournament – Christmas songs

It seems like I’m one of about five people who enjoy listening to Christmas music for two months straight every year. That said, there are some holiday songs that are better than others. So, in the spirit of the season, today’s tournament is a chance to determine which song is the best.

Which Christmas song is the best?

(Feel free to define best any way you want.)

We have five contenders this week:

“Last Christmas” by Atomic Tom

As someone who worked in retail throughout high school and college, I came to loathe this song as sung by WHAM! But then one of my favorite bands that no one has ever heard of, Atomic Tom, put out their version and it quickly became one of my favorites. Also, you should get Atomic Tom’s CDs because The Moment is one of the best albums ever.

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/We Three Kings” by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan

One could make a pretty strong case that Barenaked Ladies’ Christmas album is just a holiday cash grab (“Deck the Stills” – “Deck the Halls” with the lyrics changed to “Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young” over and over is a great illustration of this point), but that didn’t stop me from buying said album or from really enjoying this song.

“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey

This song is objectively one of the best Christmas songs ever, according to numerous charts. It’s been covered many times, including for that cute scene in Love, Actually where Sam plays the drums to impress his American classmate as well as by Atomic Tom, but I think this version will always be the best.

“Christmas Eve/Sarajevo (12/24)” by Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Okay, so fun fact – The guys in metal band Savatage went on to form the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is why sometimes you see this song attributed to Savatage and sometimes to TSO. Either way, I love this combination of “Carol of the Bells” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser

This song is fun, original, and very well done. Also, probably from a cash grab album but whatever. They were probably poor college kids at the time.

Honorable mention

“I Am Santa Claus” by Bob Rivers

As a metal fan, and as someone who sometimes gets sick of the same songs over and over and over, I wholly enjoy this parody of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”

So, readers, which song is the best?

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 18-12-2017 22:22:29
End date 25-12-2017 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Which Christmas song is the best?

In addition to voting in the poll, if you leave a comment below explaining your choice, I’ll randomly pick one reader to receive a free copy of my upcoming ebook, “Spice Pirates,” as well as a $5 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday Tournament – Folklore-ish kids movies

When I watch a movie with my kid, I try to find ones with themes and lessons and cultural exploration. I don’t have a lot of time to watch movies, so I want something that teaches a lesson while entertaining us. Life lessons are the best, especially when it’s about how to accept who you are while growing as a person, or changing society rather than letting society change you. I love all the films in this week’s competition, even more so as they draw from cultures I’m not that familiar with.

Which movie is the best?

(Feel free to define best any way you want.)

We have four contenders this week:

  • Song of the Sea
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • The Book of Life
  • Moana

Song of the Sea:

When an Irish father’s grief over his wife’s death begins to impact his parenting, his mother takes her two grandchildren to live with her in the city. The brother blames the move on his little sister, but when she turns out to be the only selkie that can save Ireland’s fairies from a witch, it’s up to him to help her get back to the sea. Along the way, he learns the importance of family.

Why I like this one: First off, there aren’t nearly enough stories about selkies, IMO. And second, the whole story can be viewed as either a literal battle between selkies and fey and witches, or it can be seen as a creative little boy’s imagination in overdrive as he too processes his unresolved grief over his mother’s death. Also, I’m a huge fan of Lisa Hannigan and love this song.

Kubo and the Two Strings:

A young boy in feudal Japan lives with his mother, earning a living telling songs with his lute and origami. But when he stays out too late, his sorcerer aunts find him and destroy his village. His mother sends him on a quest to find his father’s armor and stop her sisters and father, accompanied by a gruff talking monkey and a fun-loving samurai beetle. Along the way, he learns the importance of family and sacrifice.

Why I like this one: Monkey pushes the boy to reach his goals, managing to be supportive without sugarcoating anything. And Matthew McConaughey is a lot of fun as the beetle. The ending is good too, as the whole village comes together to help the boy and promote love over hate, with a nonviolent solution to their problem with the sorcerer. Also a great soundtrack.

The Book of Life:

Set in colonial Mexico, this is the story of a love triangle – a young woman must choose between a heroic bullfighter and a humble musician whose family push him into bullfighting as well. When he thinks the woman is dead from a snakebite, the musician follows her into death so they can be reunited. Turns out it’s all a ploy by La Muerte to win a bet against his rival. The musician must find a way to conquer his fears and meet his family’s expectations while staying true to himself. Along the way, he learns the importance of family.

Why I like this one: The animation is amazing. And the lesson is powerful – you don’t need to be the biggest and the strongest and the best to win, you just need to be the best YOU.

Moana:

A young woman in Polynesia thinks she has the key to ending the blight that threatens her people’s island, but no one believes her. So she embarks on a solo journey to save the people she’ll someday leave. Despite hardships and the “help” of a trickster god, she makes her way across the sea to restore balance to nature. Along the way, she finds a way to unite her people’s past, present, and future so that they can prosper.

Why I like this one: Although she’s a hereditary ruler, Moana isn’t a princess. She’s helped by her grandmother, who tells her it’s okay to give up if it becomes too hard – and although this may seem discouraging, it actually shows that Moana is human, and that as a human it’s okay to fail, regroup, and try again. (And yes, I know there’s a ton of cultural appropriation issues and inaccuracies with this film, but it still teaches a good lesson.)

So, readers, which movie is the best?

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 08-08-2017 22:22:29
End date 30-10-2017 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Which movie is the best?

In addition to voting in the poll, if you leave a comment below explaining your choice, I’ll randomly pick one reader to receive a free copy of my upcoming ebook, “Spice Pirates.”

Weekend Writing Warriors 2/8/15 #8sunday

horseSo far this year I’ve been posting from the first book in a series of retold fairy tales. The first story is Beauty and the Beast.

Brandulfr, the leader of an army, has just come into MC Nyah’s village. Last week he told the villagers nothing bad would happen if they cooperate.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“And if we refuse?” Wynne called out. I cringed; did he not know the threat these men posed?

Brandulfr’s smile no longer reached his eyes. “Perhaps then I should give you an incentive.” He scanned the crowd, then charged.

Villagers scattered amidst screams. I grabbed tightly at the hand of Payton, my younger sister. Not tightly enough, however, as the warrior swooped in, hauled her across his saddle, and galloped away.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And the winners are…

I just finished up a big contest to celebrate launch week, giving away two signed print copies and 3 ebook copies of my novel, The Lone Wolf. The results are in:

Print winners: Naomi and Sarah

Ebook winners: Heather, Heidi, and Becky

Congrats to the winners! And thanks so much to everyone who participated – now that you’re connected to my updates somehow, you’ll have a competitive edge the next time a contest roles around. 🙂

If you’d like to get even more insight and prizes, consider joining the Evolved Publishing Street Team. In return for spreading the word about EP, you get sneak peaks on upcoming novels, special giveaways, and the ear of your favorite writers. Win-win all around!

The Lone Wolf launch!

Yesterday was the official launch day of my women’s fiction novel, The Lone Wolf.

After her husband’s infidelities are revealed, Kasey Sanford just wants to rediscover who she is. After an abusive childhood and years as a career soldier, Andrew Adams just wants someone to tell him that he’s doing the right thing with his life. When their paths cross, Kasey and Andrew embark on a tumultuous journey that demonstrates just what they’re willing to do to save the ones they love.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who’s helped me along the way; I definitely couldn’t have gotten this far by myself.

The book is available, in print or as an ebook, through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Or win a copy by entering my giveaway! And thanks again for all your support!

Weekend Writing Warriors 12/1/13 & Giveaways! #WeWriWa

My women’s fiction novel, The Lone Wolf, launches tomorrow!

After her husband’s infidelities are revealed, Kasey Sanford just wants to rediscover who she is. After an abusive childhood and years as a career soldier, Andrew Adams just wants someone to tell him that he’s doing the right thing with his life. When their paths cross, Kasey and Andrew embark on a tumultuous journey that demonstrates just what they’re willing to do to save the ones they love.

Andrew tends to blame himself for all the bad stuff that’s happened to those around him – his stepdad abusing his mom, relationships with women gone wrong, fellow soldiers dying in combat, and now not able to help Kasey with her marital problems. In this scene, his PTSD is flaring up pretty badly, and Kasey is trying to console him.

“Let me help you.”

 

“You’re fighting your own battles,” he said, looking through me as if he’d had this conversation a hundred times already with a hundred other women. Maybe he had. “And you and I are so different, I don’t know how you could help me. You don’t know what this is like.”

 

“No, but I still want to help you if I can.”

 

“I don’t want to hurt you, but I’m going to, Kasey. I’m going to hurt you bad, and I don’t know how I’ll live with that.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And make sure to enter my giveaway for a free copy of The Lone Wolf!

 

Weekend Writing Warriors 11/24/13 & Giveaways! #WeWriWa

Just one week until my novel launches!

After her husband’s infidelities are revealed, Kasey Sanford just wants to rediscover who she is. After an abusive childhood and years as a career soldier, Andrew Adams just wants someone to tell him that he’s doing the right thing with his life. When their paths cross, Kasey and Andrew embark on a tumultuous journey that demonstrates just what they’re willing to do to save the ones they love.

Kasey and Andrew have been finding excuses to get to know each other at a local bookstore and coffeeshop. Last week, Andrew playfully put Kasey in time-out during a heated discussion. This picks up where we left off.

“Think you can behave yourself now?” His face revealed no hint he’d done anything out of the ordinary.

“I think so,” I said, equally earnest.

“Good, because next time you misbehave you’re getting a spanking.” Still the straight face as he went back to his magazine.

My eyebrows shot up, and a shiver of warmth permeated my body as I said, “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.

“Guess I’d better be good then.”

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And make sure to enter the two giveaways I’m currently running!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Lone Wolf by E.D. Martin

The Lone Wolf

by E.D. Martin

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Six Sentence Sunday 11/4 #sixsunday

This week’s six are from a story I started writing for an anthology about a machine that tells people how they’ll die.  I of course missed the deadline, because I’m horrible with deadlines, but maybe I’ll finish this in case they decide to make a third anthology.

Adam finds out that his girlfriend has had her death told.

Two weeks later, he came home to find her packing. A slip of paper lay on the table: “Boredom.”

“I love you, Adam, but the machine is right,” she told him.  “If I stay here, with you, I’ll die of boredom. I need to see the world, find someone who’ll let me have some fun. I’m sorry.”

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website

Stories based on songs

Ever since a Scribophile writing contest a year or two ago, which asked us to write a story based on the song “The Riddle” by Nik Kershaw, I’ve developed a bit of a crush on the guy and his music.  I’m not sure why, exactly – everything I’d heard by him was early 80’s pop, which isn’t the most remarkable music.  And let’s not even mention his hair.

As I listened to more of his songs – really listened, paying attention not just to the sound but the lyrics and themes – I decided it would be fun to write a story based on each one of them.  Maybe stick them in their own collection someday.

I mentioned it in my writing group, and the other day I received an email about the project:

I was wondering if you would be able to give me some answers re writing stories based on songs.

You said in a thread not too long that you’re currently attempting to write a story for every song Nik Kershaw has ever released. (That’s so cool, btw). That’s something I’ve been intrigued by (with?) for quite some time and I’ve also attempted something similar for NaNo 2010. So, the questions:

  1. What about those songs that don’t tell a story you can use or don’t inspire one? Do you just keep listening to the song until you think of something?
  2. Do you listen to the song while writing the story? 
  3. In your opinion, how much does the song has to affect the story? For example, a story having just the same theme/atmosphere as a song… would that qualify? 

Rather than just email him back, I thought I’d share my answers here.

  1. I planned to listen to each song multiple times, write a story, and then move onto the next song.  I started with his first album, The Riddle.  I listened to “Don Quixote,” and I wrote a story.  Then I moved onto the next song, “Know How.”  I had an idea for a story, and characters, but not enough of a plot.  So I stopped listening to that album.  Then the car adapter for my iPod died and all I had to listen to was the same songs on the radio, or the same songs on his 15 Minutes album.  A couple songs gave me ideas right away, and others after listening several times.  Some I’m still not sure about.
     
    As this is a project that’ll probably take forever to finish, and there are over 100 songs to listen to, I think it’s better to just write as inspiration hits, since forcing myself to write results in crap.
  2. I have a hard time writing when I don’t have complete silence, which is why I tend to do most of my writing late at night when no one’s awake.  I’ll listen to the song several times before I start writing, as well as look at the lyrics.  And it might take me several times of listening before I get a story idea.
  3. The first story I wrote, “Wise Men Fold,” was based on a song that Kershaw admits makes no sense.  So for that one, I just pulled out a few pieces.  For “Don Quixote,” the second one, I tried to stick with the theme of the song – a guy who considers himself a hero but is actually pathetic.  And I threw in details from the song.  For another I’m currently writing, “Billy,” about a guy who’s been emasculated by his wife, the story is what happens after his drinking buddies convince him he’s whipped.  Another, “God Bless,” pulls out just one line – “Praise be this coffee machine” – to become a satirical prayer to the almighty coffee god. 

    I think with over 100 songs, there’s a lot of room to change things up.  And, of course, the fact that no one I know has ever heard of Nik Kershaw, let alone his songs other than maybe “Wouldn’t It Be Good.”

Have you ever written stories based on songs?  Any tips you’d like to share?

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