Can’t Beat the Classics

It’s Movie Month here at HSG, and thus far the blog has been conspicuously lacking in mention of classic movies. I have always been a fan of classic films–this is undoubtedly due to my mother, who watched Thin Man movies with me in my infancy. I still love The Thin Man, and just about anything with Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, or Fred Astaire.

Inspired by my son, with whom I have recently begun to watch every James Bond movie in chronological order, the other day I watched Charade on Netflix, with a 59-year-old Cary Grant and a much younger Audrey Hepburn. In addition to those two, the cast was a who’s who of talent–James Coburn, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau. It’s been a little while since I indulged myself in this way, and what struck me the most, besides the banter that you never see onscreen nowadays outside of Aaron Sorkin or Joss Whedon, were the funny little moments: Matthau doing squats while on the phone with Hepburn, for example. It was subtle, easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention, and very funny.

The movies were often beautiful, too. The opening scenes in To Catch a Thief are stunning, and I still remember watching Rear Window in college–Grace Kelly’s extraordinary face literally filled the screen, and every man in the auditorium gasped aloud. I do enjoy modern movies, but despite the technological advances in filmmaking, they seldom seem to capture beauty the way older films did.

Although I never really thought about this before, it occurs to me that I look for similar qualities in the books I read. I recently finished Julia Quinn’s The Sum of All Kisses, which has many of the same qualities as a classic romantic comedy. Her writing is quirky, lighthearted, sexy, and funny as hell. Eloisa James is poetic, with sometimes heartbreakingly lovely descriptions of places, people, and emotions. There is beauty and innocence, in their writing and that of many other talented authors, which makes a refreshing change from the fast-paced, non-subtle world we inhabit.

Perhaps by this post I am revealing that I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade–or century–but I also think there are definitely times when, no matter when you were born or what world you inhabit, it is good to sit back and enjoy a simpler life, even if only for the time it takes to watch a movie or read a novel.

So what about you? Classic movie fan? Favorites?


About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Movie Mom Magic

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. I swear I should be the rabbit in Alice but the plain fact is I wasn’t keeping track of the time. And that’s a problem…however…I do know that this month we’re talking about moms and movies. So let’s get right to it.

I love movies. I’m what many would call a movie fanatic. I’ve seen tons, love a few, hated a few and there were many that were just middle of the road. Movies with moms though are different because well, moms fight for their kids. They’re supposed to…there is a saying about a mama bear…anyway, here’s my top ten in no particular order.

Terminator 1 and 2 ~ In the first movie, the only thing we see of a child is Linda Hamilton clutching her belly and talking to her baby. In movie two, she’s a kick-ass mama willing to do anything to save her young. And she does.

Alien and Aliens ~ In the first movie, you really don’t know a thing about Ripley except she’s lucky. I’ll never forget her saying to herself as she’s slowly putting on the spacesuit…lucky, lucky, lucky…sends a chill down my spine every time. In Aliens, if you’ve seen the director’s cut, you find out that she had a child and Ripley’s first name is Ellen. No wonder Newt finds a special place in her heard.

Avatar ~ This whole movie is about family and right and wrong. It has a kick-ass plot and a mother who knows best. Mo’at knows that her daughter Neytiri won’t be happy with anyone but Jake Sully. It just takes the whole movie for her to see it.

While You Were Sleeping ~ This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it. And what’s not to love. It’s a case of mistaken identity to the max and has a mother and a grandmother to boot.

Serenity and Buffy ~ I know, I know…one’s in space…the other here on earth. But they are both by Joss Whedon and therefore awesome. While Serenity has no moms and Buffy’s is totally clueless, it again has some kick-butt women who seem to have it altogether – at least by the end. (Are we noticing a pattern here? LOL!)

Kill Bill 1 and 2 ~ Nothing says mama like someone who is looking for her child. Beatrix Kiddo, more commonly known as the bride, saves herself but barely by revealing the father of her child. When she wakes from her coma, she is determined to find said child and kill anyone who betrayed her or gets in her way. While this is an over the top movie, it still has a strong heroine and an over-the-top plot.

Forrest Gump ~ I will be the first to admit that this is not my favorite movie but you’ve got to love his mom. She did everything she could to make sure that Forrest had the same opportunities as everyone else. And whether by dumb luck or actually doing it all right, he ended up pretty good.

Juno ~ This is a pretty intense movie about a really intense thing but it is the best movie you will ever see on the subject of teen pregnancy. Juno’s stepmother gets right on top of things and never once condemns the girl about how she got where she was. She just did the right thing, took her to the doctor and asked her what she wanted to do. Pretty cool if you ask me.

The Incredibles ~ No list is complete without Helen Parr known as Elastigirl. While her life is incredibly complicated, she has what it takes to keep not one, not two but three special children on the straight and narrow while teaching them to do the right thing.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ~ Sorry, I know there’s no moms here but this is one of the best series ever. There are lots of women in the stories and they all play a big role, from Arwen saving Frodo to Galadriel giving him exactly what he needs to complete his quest.

Now I have one last mom to mention but it’s from a TV show. That ‘70s Show mom, Kitty Foreman, not only gives permission for her son and friends to hang out in the basement making it the best place ever, but she allows one friend to stay when he has nowhere to go. There are times when she’s saccharin sweet but the moment she called her husband by his own crazy one-liner, dumbass, I’d wished I’d had her in the ‘70s when we had the basement. She was awesome.

So, who are your favorite movie and television moms? Beside your own of course…I’d really love to hear what you have to say!

See you all next month.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at,, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at

Movies for Mom

So, this month we’ve been talking about movies and Mom. We’ve had the best movie mom and other movies with great motherly roles and we’ve even had Barbara Bates share her experience with watching movies. So keeping with the trend…and being the man-candy crazy author that I am, I decided to blog today…about movies mom’s love. And I’m not talking about the kind we like because they’re kid friendly or because they’re super deep and intellectual.

I’m talking about the kind we go see with our sisters or our girlfriends…or even alone. This isn’t necessarily because the men and the children in our lives wouldn’t enjoy them, but rather because we’re in major need of curbing–yep, you guessed it–the man-candy craving. Here are some of my favorites:

Magic Mike, of course!

Movie 1







Movie 3





G.I. Joe: Retaliation (we’ve all seen this image on Facebook, right? 😉 )

Movie 2






So, how about you? How you watched any movie with ulterior motives? Tell us all about them!!


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Indulge with Alexia Adams



Entangled’s very first imprint, Indulgence, brings us the romance we want. And the fantasy men we can’t get enough of!  Their new covers show off those rough and ready cowboys, CEOs, and alpha tycoons we crave.  Join us in celebrating the brand new look of Indulgence!

Today we have Alexia Adams with her gorgeous billionaire in Played by the Billionaire….

In Played by the Billionaire, Liam, an internet security guru, pretends to be a regular guy to so he can finish writing his dead brother’s mystery-romance novel. He falls back on his talents and hacks into a dating site and selects a woman to teach him about romance, regular guy style. Problem is, Liam has spent the last ten years enjoying only superficial relationships and isn’t prepared for the real emotions he experiences with Lorelei. Here’s an excerpt from their first meeting:


Played by the Billionaire Cover“I’m Liam Mackenzie.” He held out a hand.

“Lorelei Torres.” She put her hand out and shook his. He held it for a moment longer than absolutely necessary, but not so long as to be creepy. The waitress arrived with the drinks and a lingering smile for her companion. Lorelei took a sip; the wine was smooth and full-bodied, and probably not a cheap vintage. Still, if she only had the one glass she wouldn’t blow her whole entertainment budget.

“So, who are you waiting for? Your husband? Boyfriend?”

Lorelei glanced at her watch. Richard was forty minutes late and hadn’t let her know. He was done. “Doesn’t matter. What about you? Are you waiting for someone, or trolling?”

Liam laughed. “I was supposed to meet a client, but he canceled last-minute. I saw you sitting all alone and decided my night didn’t have to be a complete waste.”

“Well, I don’t sleep with men I’ve just met. So if you want to move on to easier pickings I’m sure you can have your choice of women here tonight.” She tamped down the rising disappointment. After the way Barry treated her, it was difficult to believe a man was interested in more than her body.

Liam laughed again. “I’m not here for a hookup, but thanks for the vote of confidence. I thought maybe you wouldn’t want to walk out of here alone, having sat at the table by yourself for the past thirty minutes.”

“You’ve been watching me?”

“No more than I’ve been watching everyone else. My brother is, was, a writer. He was fascinated by people. When we would hang out in public he used to make up stories about the people around us. I guess I’ve fallen into the habit of doing the same.”

“Tell me a story.” It seemed a good way to get him to stay at her table a little longer, if only to forget for a moment she’d been stood up. And nothing to do with the fact he was drool-worthy gorgeous.

He smiled before scanning the room. “See the couple standing over at the end of the bar?”

Lorelei wrenched her gaze from him and spotted a couple at the far end. The man was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that looked two sizes too small. Next to him a woman had on a red dress that barely covered her backside while she teetered on four-inch black stilettos. “Yeah, I see them.”

“His name is Jett, because his parents thought they were cool. And she’s Beatrice, because her parents weren’t. They met at a club last weekend. Under the influence, they each thought the other was amazing. And they’ve been telling their friends all week about finding the perfect guy/ girl. But now, in the light of day, they’re not too sure. They have nothing in common and she thinks he’s a douche for checking out all the other women here and he thinks she’s boring because she doesn’t like motorbikes.”

“That’s not very romantic,” she said. However, as she watched, the woman put her empty glass on the bar, whispered something in the man’s direction, then wobbled her way to the far end of the room, bumping into a woman and nearly spilling her drink. Lorelei glanced back to the bar and the man had already sidled up to a group of women who appeared to be celebrating a birthday.

“Your turn,” Liam said.

“My turn?” Lorelei turned back to her companion and a frisson of excitement shot through her when his dark eyes met hers.

“Choose a couple or group and tell me a story.” At least it would stop her from staring at him.

“Okay.” Lorelei gazed around the room. A woman in a black dress stood next to a man wearing a suit. He had his arm around her shoulder and they seemed engrossed in each other. “The couple over there.” She nodded her head toward the two happy drinkers.

“The woman in the dress that was too-great-a-bargain-to-pass-up-even-though-it’s-uncomfortable and the guy trying to compensate for his lack of height by wearing pinstripes?”

“Ah, yeah. They’re a married couple who work nearby. They’ve met up for a drink before going to dinner, then home,” Lorelei said. “They’re thinking about starting a family but worried over the cost and who will give up work to look after the baby.”

“I can already tell you’re a good person, because you want people happy,” he said.

“So, what’s my story?” Lorelei took a sip of her wine. With Liam’s full gaze on her she put her hand on her chest, fingering the silver necklace her mother had given her on her twenty-first birthday. She pressed the points of the star into her fingers to stay grounded. It would be so easy to lose herself in his eyes, forget what she wanted in life, and take whatever crumb he was offering so she wasn’t alone.

“I can’t figure you out—that’s why I came over. You’re far too beautiful to be sitting here alone.” He grimaced at the corny line but carried on. “And any guy who stands you up must be an idiot. What I can’t work out is why you would date an idiot.”

“It was a first date. I didn’t realize he was an idiot. I’m new to San Francisco.”

“Well, then on behalf of the men of San Francisco, let me welcome you to our city. I’d like to take your date’s place and have dinner with you.” He leaned across the table, cutting the distance between them. She caught a whiff of his cologne and it tingled her nostrils, making her want to inhale deeply.

“I don’t think—”

“Please, I hate eating alone. All that’s waiting for me at home is an empty apartment and a frozen meal. What do you say?”


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DE1_3471Alexia once traveled the world, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and tastes. She’s lived in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and France, as well as spent time in Panama and Russia. When life demanded that she stay rooted in one place, she took to vicarious voyages through the characters she created in her romance novels. Her stories reflect her love of travel and feature locations as diverse as the wind-swept prairies of Canada to hot and humid cities in Asia.

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Favorite Movie Moms

SONY DSCThanks to the retail industry, none of us were allowed to forget it was Mother’s Day earlier in the month. As a mom who got flowers for the first time ever, I’m okay with that. lol.

Since our theme this month is movies, it seemed like the perfect combination. These are some of my favorite movie moms in no particular order. Some made me laugh, some made me cry. And some were downright terrifying!

Totally Tough Mom – Linda Hamilton – Terminator 2

Totally Sweet Mom – Dianne Wiest – Edward Scissorhands

Most Fun Single Mom – Meryl Streep – Mamma Mia!

Heartwarming Mom – Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Psycho Mom – Faye Dunaway – Mommie Dearest

My Favorite Psycho Mom – Uma Thurman – Kill Bill

My All-Time Favorite Movie Mom – Holly Hunter – The Incredibles

These are just a few of the many mothers portrayed in the film industry. Some are good, some are evil, and some are just, well, Mom.

Do you have a favorite Movie Mom?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Guest Post — Barbara Bates

Thanks so much to Barbara Bates for coming and sharing her movie experience with us!! <3

In the mid-80s I received a head injury that left me totally blind. After a period of necessary rehab, I regained a semi-normal life. Last February I had my first novel published, AsterIce by Eternal Press. But, being blind has caused all sorts of problems, that you, the non-handicapped take for granted. One of these is the ability to watch movies and TV. Here’s some information you may find interesting.  – Barbara Bates


Movies and DVS

Or Now the blind can watch movies, too

b. L. Bates

                You’re sitting in a movie theater with a friend, and you notice two women come in using long, white canes. Checking each aisle with their canes, they choose a row and sit near the aisle.

How can they watch the movie? They’re blind. The thought lodges in your head and won’t go away.

Just before the movie starts, they put on headsets and face the screen.

Leaving the movie, you exit behind them. They talk about the movie and mention a couple of things you missed. How is this possible?

DVS (Descriptive Video Services) is the answer. Like “Closed caption” for the deaf, DVS describes to the person wearing the headset, some of the items on the screen. Basic descriptions are given of the characters and their gestures, the settings, and other information deemed necessary for those with visual challenges to enjoy the movie. In a murder mystery, the necessary clues will be given to solve the mystery, but they will not be differentiated from other pieces of information given.

This information is added either at the beginning of a scene, during breaks in conversation, or when only music or sound effects are present. While not a lot of detail is given, enough is spoken to form a “picture” in the viewer’s mind of the characters, the place the action is happening, and certain props.

Example: Movie scene

The heroine, Maggie, walks to the top of a grand staircase, then stands there looking for a particular person.

DVS (spoken while Maggie stands at the top of the staircase):

Maggie strides across the carpeted hall to stand at the top of the grand staircase. Dressed in a maroon, floor-length gown, form-fitting and slit to the knee on the right side. She searches for Brad, unaware she’s become the center of attention.

DVS is added to a movie after it’s made and ready to be shipped out. Professional narrators follow detailed scripts when adding these segments. WGBH in Boston MA pioneered this service and now there are other locations across the nation able to add DVS to movies and TV.

DVDs with DVS:

Those with visual challenges can buy DVDs from some providers with DVS included. Like the “normal” DVDs bought in stores, some movies have DVS added and are available for purchase. They do cost a bit more than regular DVDs.

To play these at home you need a TV set with a two channel audio system. The regular audio plays over one and the added DVS over the other.

In addition, some TV programs can be “seen” in DVS. Though PBS is the leader in the amount of programs available with DVS added, other stations do have some programs using DVS.

DVS in Libraries:

Many libraries loaning out audio books that are members of the NLS (National Library Service) have DVDs with DVS available for loan. The normal loan time is two weeks. You need to be a member of these libraries to borrow either the books or the DVDs.

Is it a perfect solution? Not by a long short, but it’s a start. In the future there may be the option (for home viewers, anyway) to stop the film and  move a cursor around to have it describe the scene. A connection to a keyboard might allow the viewer to ask questions at certain parts of the movie. Like: What are the people in the background wearing? Or, What kind of dog is barking  in the other room?

Far fetched? Not so long ago, the Internet was a “pie in the sky” idea of a small group of scientists and engineers. Look how far we’ve come.

Want to know more about DVS? Check out the following links:


or put “descriptive video services” into your favorite browser.


I’m not a consistent blogger, but I can be reached at:



My first novel, AsterIce can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Audible by searching for AsterIce.


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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