Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: Manchester By The Sea

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Capers
  • Jalapeños
  • Chicken

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I tried a new salad: “The V-8.” It was great!

Movie:

Manchester By The Sea

What can I say about this film, other than that it was sad? My husband said it reminded him of Ordinary People (which I liked better than this). Once I got used to the Boston/northern accents – which took a few minutes – I was involved with the characters. But overall, I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I had hoped to. I knew it was a drama, and would probably be a tragic story, but I was looking for something else, something that just never happened.

And it left me feeling unhappy.

Let me know if you see it and you have a different reaction. I’d love to know what you thought.

 

 

List Post, décembre 2016 + HOLIDAY POEM!

  1. Write my next novel
  2. Get ready for Christmas (at home, this year)
  3. Celebrate the holidays with family and friends
  4. And on Tuesday, December 13 – the Killer Nashville Facebook Page will host my guest blog.

I met KN blog coordinator Tom Wood back in September at the Decatur Book Festival, and he asked me to submit a post for later on…which I did, and Voilà!

I’d love for you to read it and Like it.

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Now, for this year’s verse:

My holiday poem, I’ll try to make short.

The year’s highlights, to you, I’ll describe and report.

Two thousand sixteen will be history soon,

and I’ve time to consider that, this afternoon.

I began the year busy with two new endeavors:

got on Facebook, and found it both easy and clever.

I started my newsletter also, and found

it a way to update you all – all the year ’round.

In the spring, my last book, Daddy’s Girl, was released

and my number of novels out, by one, increased.

In the summer, just after it won an award

My nonfiction book, All the Above, struck a chord

With the public, when I penned an article in

the Atlanta newspaper (called the AJC). Then,

in the fall, I attended three festivals where

I met readers and authors and others who share

in the interest of stories, both made-up and true.

I had fun, and ’twas hard, to them all, bid adieu.

I will close with my wishes of love and good cheer.

Joyeuses fêtes de Noel and a Happy New Year!

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Two women walk into a café…

…and stay for three hours (12:30 – 3:30) on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, to chat with customers and sign copies of their latest books!

Come to Crema Espresso Gourmet, 2458 Mt. Vernon Rd., Dunwoody, Georgia (across from All Saints Catholic Church) for lunch or coffee, and pick up Gelia Dolcimascolo’s fantasy novel, AURELIA AND THE LIBRARY OF THE SOUL, my suspense novel, DADDY’S GIRL, and my creative nonfiction, ALL THE ABOVE: MY SON’S BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCER.

Books make great holiday gifts!

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Aurelia and the Library of the Soul is a must-have for kids and adults, and is destined to become a classic. A prize-winning poet, Gelia has been The Writers Circle facilitator and LTC writing tutor on the GSU-Dunwoody campus for 25 years. Learn more about Gelia and her work at geliawrites.com

Daddy’s Girl is just the thing for readers on your holiday shopping list (and you)! All the Above: My Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer, a Georgia Author of the Year Finalist, is perfect for moms, dads, and anyone whose world has changed in a day.

We hope to see you at Crema!

Love, Julia and Gelia

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Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: The Girl on the Train

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Arugula
  • Jalapeños
  • Banana Peppers

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Movie:

The Girl on the Train

You’ve read the book, but have you seen the film?

My husband and I finally read it over the last few days. I had wanted to for awhile, and had the perfect chance while we were on a beach vacation earlier this month. He read it after me, and we both really liked it (and, comparing it to other suspense novels we’ve read, understood why it’s sold so well). Perhaps because I’m a writer (or, just because we like to talk about books), we talked about the characters, the plot twists, and the unreliable narrator, Rachel.

Though the movie has had mixed reviews, I wanted to see it as soon as possible after reading the book, so we could see it for ourselves and discuss the film adaptation. Since it’s been out for awhile, we had to go far from our neck of the woods for a showing at the right time (after our early dinner). I’m glad we did, but I agree with those who think the film wasn’t nearly as good as the book.

But I think it could have been.

It wasn’t just that they moved the story from England to Connecticut (or somewhere up north), and that the houses weren’t as I pictured them; they seemed too far from the train tracks, and too far apart. They also cut a lot of important scenes (and some key dialogue), and added some things that weren’t in the book, and weren’t needed.

Even so, if you see the movie, I strongly suggest you read the book first. Or – just read the book.

Oh, and I had a wedge salad, and (oops), one very small piece of pizza. But now I’m back “on track” on my diet, so to speak.

Reliably.

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro douze (12)

Last week, for our October lunch, Wendy and I broke with tradition.

Instead of going to a French restaurant (of which, we’ve just about run out – that is, of any close enough to where we live), we went to a Mexican one. And instead of Wednesday, we went on Thursday, because it worked better for both of us, and gave us a bit more time.

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Which was nice, because we were celebrating our birthdays: mine was the week before, and hers is coming up this weekend.

We caught up with each other’s lives – work and family – and then talked about her art, my writing, and books we’ve read. I loved hearing about her current project, and I described my work-in-progress and asked for her thoughts. Sometimes, when I talk to others about the books I’ve written or about what I’m writing, they can lose interest, and their eyes start to glaze.

Not Wendy, though. She listened intently and offered great ideas for characters and missing plot elements –so many, in fact, that I later wished I’d taken notes.

When we parted, I felt re-energized about this new novel (whose working title I ran by her and explained what it meant). I’m writing the next scene today, and I hope to finish it before trick-or-treaters show up at the door.

And then, I’ll have (another) glass of wine!

 

 

 

Je vous présente The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

A few days after the Personal Journeys article I wrote for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, titled Fear and Gratitude, was published on Sunday 7/10/16, the Executive Director of the Georgia Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Mary Moore, reached out to me.

I’m sad to say that until then, I didn’t know the PBTF existed. We met at a Starbucks near her office, just a few miles from my home. Mary greeted me with a hug and we sat down with our coffee to get acquainted. She told me she was touched by the article, and she wanted to know all about Jack and the book I wrote about his journey, All the Above: My Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer. Then she shared with me the story of the PBTF and how she came to be involved.

Not long after our meeting, Mary invited Jack and me to visit her office. We came in together one afternoon, and Mary introduced us to Tammy Bates, who is taking over Mary’s role this summer when Mary moves out to the lake (Mary will stay involved in the chapter, working from home). We also met employees Katie Sheridan and Heather Heid. All were delighted to meet Jack and to hear his story, and they told us much more about the PBTF. We shared ideas about how to publicize the PBTF and what they do, and how to raise awareness (and funds) in creative ways, à la the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Before Jack and I left that day, Mary bought a signed copy of my book. 😀

Did you know that brain cancer is the deadliest childhood cancer? That means more children die from it, than from any other cancer. Jack was exactly 19 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Once we absorbed the shock of his diagnosis, we faced the strong possibility that he could die. Nothing else mattered but getting him to live.

Even though, at over 18, Jack was considered an adult (and had to sign all necessary consent forms for MRIs, surgeries, and treatment), he was considered pediatric by hospitals, because he was under 21. For a lot of reasons, that helped Jack and me as he battled the disease. As one of the reviewers of my book put it, “Cancer, like a cruel master, forces you to stand up and keep walking when all you want to do is to stay down and hide.” Because Jack was pediatric, he got some much appreciated help when he was suddenly forced to stand up and keep walking. Many times, that help made all the difference.

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Jack, in the summer of 2010

Jack is 5 and a half years cancer free now and is doing well. As he said when we met with the staff at the PBTF, he was one of the “lucky” ones who is diagnosed with brain cancer: he survived. Our family was also lucky, because we have good healthcare insurance, and could afford to travel for his medical treatment. Some other kids aren’t so lucky. The PBTF raises money not just for brain tumor research, but to help some families of pediatric brain tumor patients with emergency financial assistance.

Jack and I are passionate about finding a cure for cancer, and he strives to inspire others with hope and courage. I never worried that he or any of my other three kids would get cancer, but on Jack’s 19th birthday, instead of going out to celebrate, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was admitted to Northside Hospital in Atlanta for emergency surgery to save his vision.

And that was just the beginning of his journey.

Read the rest in my book, a Finalist for the 2016 Georgia Author of the Year,  All the Above: My Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer. Support the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. And if you want to help us publicize the organization in any way (especially one that will catch the attention of many), please let us know.

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Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: Jason Bourne

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Anchovies
  • Jalapeños
  • That’s it – he asked for Arugula but they forgot it. Oh, well.

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Wedge salad for me.

Movie:

Jason Bourne

I loved the first 3 Bourne films: The Bourne Identity, Ultimatum, and Supremacy. Did not like The Bourne Legacy. If you feel the same, you’ll like Jason Bourne. It’s what you would expect, and then some. All I will say is that, like Jack Bauer’s backup in 24, it’s not good to be Jason Bourne’s girlfriend/love interest: Things don’t really go well for you.

One other thing, speaking of love interests. I like both Julia Stiles and Alicia Vikander, but I did NOT like Alicia’s American (?) accent in this film. It just sounded weird. Let me know if you agree.

On the missing Arugula (see above), he didn’t mind too much. I confess I had a bite of this pizza (only because I couldn’t resist the anchovies), but luckily, the jalapenos kept me from eating much. Yay.

After that, things went very well.

 

Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: The Secret Life of Pets

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Capers
  • Jalapeños
  • Green Olives

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I had the spinach salad.

Movie:

The Secret Life of Pets

This film was laugh-out-loud, very entertaining, sweet and lovable – kind of like Toy Story but with pets (and not just dogs). I really liked the cat (and I don’t really like real cats), and I loved all the dogs, especially the poodle. It was very funny and very cute. Next time, we’re going for an action/thriller (probably Jason Bourne), but I’m glad we saw Pets.

The pizza: Yes, we are still on a salad-for-me and jalapeños-for-him on the pizza (taking lots of it home) while I’m boycotting pizza. I suggested the other two toppings (I was thinking, why not do all green?) and he liked the idea.

He said it was tasty. So was my dinner, which was pretty green, too.

Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: Ghostbusters

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Chicken
  • Jalapeños
  • Sliced Tomatoes

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Me? I had a wedge salad again.

Movie:

Ghostbusters

The film: A solid remake, funny, entertaining, well cast, and if you liked the original, you’ll probably like this one, too.

The pizza: He’s on a jalapeños kick (with my blessing) because I’m not eating pizza for the foreseeable future. My salad was great, though.

Movies we want to see very soon: The Secret Life of Pets, Jason Bourne (we’re binge watching the previous ones, all of which I LOVE), Captain Fantastic, Bad Moms (note: I almost titled my last novel, DADDY’S GIRL, as BAD CINDERELLA – and maybe I should have), and later on, Ben-Hur.

 

 

 

 

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