Sunday, July 28, 2013

Touching Our Emotions...

The other night I watched the movie “Back Street,” the 1961 version with Susan Hayward and John Gavin. The premise of the movie is a wealthy – and married – man (John Gavin) has an affair with a single, career-minded woman (Hayward). The couple is truly in love, but the husband has two small children and an alcoholic, self-centered wife (Vera Miles) who tried to commit suicide when he mentioned divorce. The Hayward character is content to be “the other woman.”

In the end, the husband and wife are killed when the car the wife is driving crashes.

The scene that breaks my heart and has me running for the tissues is the very last one. When the two devastated children come to visit a grieving Susan Hayward and tearfully ask if they could visit her from time to time, she gathers them in her arms.

The movie is actually based on a novel written by Fannie Hurst (since I’ve never read the novel, I’m not sure how closely the 1961 version follows the book or earlier movie versions). As I cried my eyes out while Susan Hayward gazed at the grief-stricken children, I imagine an author at her computer typing out this scene and contemplated the power of the written word to touch our emotions.

What about you, readers? Has anyone seen an earlier version of "Back Street?" Are there any movies or books out there that have you crying long after the words, “The End”?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recalling Favorite Children's Books

Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook page the following --

If you live in Philly, near Philly, or better yet make a special trip to Philly and check outThe Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” July 19-October 20, 2013 at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Ezra Jack Keats is a beloved children’s author, and “The Snowy Day” is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. For more information,

Explaining the concept of The Snowy Day to a colleague got me thinking about the value of reading to children, children's books in general, and some of my favorite children's books. Here’s my countdown – five, four, three, two, one…

Angela’s Favorite Children's Books

5.  Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss, a story about kindness
4.  The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, a peace-loving bull teaches us about the tranquility in life
3.  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, the beauty and peace of the small things in life

2.  Corduroy by Don Freeman, the entire series – I can’t pick just one

1.  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – reminds me why I still have my stuffed dog, Little Girl, after all these years.

Please feel free to comment and share your favorites! I love hearing your thoughts!!
Have a good week!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reading Christmas...

I love Christmas. Without focusing on the religious aspect of the holiday, I'm talking about the joy, anticipation, and good cheer the season brings. I love wandering through the stores and seeing the children all excited, waiting to see Santa Claus. I enjoy strolling through my city streets and "oohing" and "aahing" over the lights and decorations. One memory, from my kindergarten days that remains with me is a tradition of every Friday night during Advent (the four weeks leading to Christmas) walking with my mother and grandmother through South Philly’s small streets (Friday night was my father’s bowling league night).  We’d scrutinize the houses along the way, all lit and decorated, and stop at the  “Five and Ten” (aka Woolworth’s). Refreshments were tea for my mom, coffee for my grandmother, and hot chocolate for me. After we warmed up, we’d start the trek home.
Time has altered the tradition. Woolworth’s is no more. Grandmom passed away several years ago. Mom isn’t as agile as she was when I was in Kindergarten. Dad walks with a cane and doesn’t bowl any longer. Now, it’s me walking the streets, admiring the decorations on my own. Not on a Friday, but a Thursday on my way home from the library after meeting with my book club.

Whether it’s nostalgia for those days, the season, or needing to look at the snow on a book cover to keep cool during a July heat wave (as my Mom insists), I can read Christmas books any time.
How about you?
Here are some Christmas releases for your TBR list. If you have a Christmas book to recommend, please comment and let us know.

Happy Holidays!

When the owner of a Christmas tree stand, which benefits the children's hospital, has a heart attack, a do-gooder and a reformed high school delinquent turned lawyer show their holiday spirit and staff the business. Over the course of the season, the twosome meet the challenges of running the establishment and begin to fall for each other; however, when the revenue goes missing, fingers are pointed.


Dedicated to her patients, the serious Dr. Madelyn Ramsay never had time for fun. An unexpected health problem jolts her into the realization that there's more to life than just work. She longs to surrender to the magic of Christmas. But can she handle the charming and secretive Dr. Nick Preston who carries his own package of disillusions? Can she allow two newborn twins to worm their way into her heart?

Tina has a tendency to go a little overboard when decorating for the holidays, but Brian decides her skills are just what he needs to get into the Christmas spirit. Can this budding relationship survive when they find themselves in a knock-down-drag-out competition to win the office’s “most outrageous holiday sweater?”

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Writing Contest Update

I’m a Big – no make that HUGE – fan of Writing Contests.  Aside from the wonderful feeling you get from accolades if you final (or win!), the feedback is often invaluable. Since contest finalists are judged by agents and editors, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to have your work seen.
Here’s an update on several contests currently open for submissions.

Deadline EXTENDED to July 31, 2013, “8th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest” sponsored by Southern Louisiana RWA. First five pages, one page synopsis (unjudged). Entrants do not need to be RWA members to enter. Check out success stories and get more information,

Florida Romance Writer's 2013 “Golden Palm Contest” is open for entries from unpublished writers. Maximum entry is 25 pages. Contest ends August 15, 2013. For more information,

The 2013 “Heart to Heart” sponsored by the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America. Deadline is August 31, 2013. Entry is the scene where your hero first meets your story’s heroine. Maximum is 15 pages with an optional one-page set-up (unjudged).  Open to all writes unpublished by an RWA-approved publisher. For more details,

One of my favorites, 2013 “Melody of Love Novel Contest,” sponsored by the Music City Romance Writers. Deadline is September 7, 2013. Entry is first chapter/ 25 pages. For contest rules and entry form,

Good luck! And, have a wonderful week!