Grace and Hellfire: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame


I have an interesting relationship with many Disney animated films, and varying degrees of love for all the animated classics, but one absolute fascinates me each time I watch it, resonates on much deeper levels than I can explain, and is my favorite because its messages are so daring and powerful: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I have blogged about it twice before, and even done a video review highlighting some of the things I enjoy most about it, yet each time I see it, as I grow, mature, learn, and evolve in my spiritual walk, new things emerge to fascinate me, which serves as a tribute to the intelligence and depth that went into producing this film and its many layers of symbolism, artistry, and beauty. It is a far more realistic and compelling look at beauty than Beauty & the Beast, encompassed in a single line uttered by Chopin: “Who is the monster, and who is the man?” Gaston has nothing on Frollo, just as the Beast has nothing on Quasimodo. Continue reading

Liebster Award


I was nominated for this award by Musings of an Introvert. Usual policy is that I nominate someone else, but… I’d rather not, since it infers a sense of obligation. Answer and post them if you wish to.

Where do you go to decompress from the world?

Home. I curl up on the couch with my cat and watch something that I love, to de-stress.

If given $10,000, what would you do with it?

Since I’m not currently in any debt, give some of it to my favorite charitable organizations (Wild Animal Sanctuary, Dumb Friends League), and either save the rest or use it on the following projects.

What is one major renovation you would love to make on your house?

There are several massive projects I would like to do.

The primary one is the guest room. I want to either modify or rip out the giant old closet with the heavy doors so that it’s a more workable space, then finish redecorating and figure out how to make it feel warmer. It’s so cramped, and cold in there.

I’d like to either have a new front door or an enclosed porch on the front of the house, with room for coat and boot storage.

I’d like to remodel the closet and create more space in my bedroom, by removing a niche that no longer serves any purpose.

What is one movie that you love and didn’t expect to love?

Arsenic & Old Lace. It sounds stupid, and it looks stupid, and it is stupid, but it’s HILARIOUS.

What is the oldest knick-knack you own and what is its sentimental value?

… uh, nothing? Everything inherited from my grandparents was made in the last decade or so.

Do you own any books you keep out of obligation, but actually hate?

No. If I don’t like a book, I usually get rid of it. I try and sell it if possible, but if that fails, I MIGHT keep it if it’s decorative. I’ll usually keep it until I get sick of looking at it, then chuck it in the Goodwill box.

How many countries have you visited outside of the one you live in now?

None. Part of me wants to go to England someday, though, just to tour all the Tudor palaces and spit on Henry VIII’s grave.

Have you ever read only part of a book, but claimed you’ve read the whole thing?

No. Though sometimes I’ll allow people to ASSUME I have read the book, though I’ve only seen the movie, which is just as bad. ;)

Dry climate or humidity?

I HATE humidity. It’s gross. Give me a dry climate over your sweat not ever drying, any day of the week.

Sherlock Holmes or John Watson and why?

Sherlock Holmes, because he’s the brains of the operation. Don’t get me wrong, I like John in his many incarnations, but I love Holmes’ insightful deductions more. Plus, John is forever falling in love with beautiful women and Holmes is asexual, which means he’s immune to charm. I like that.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I figured it was a good way to meet people with whom I have things in common, so that we can discuss things. Sadly, people don’t seem as interested in intense online discussion anymore in blog comments, so I don’t blog nearly as often.

My questions, should you take up the challenge:

What is one historical figure you would love to meet and why? What item within sight of where you are currently sitting do you value the most? What was the last book you read? Have you ever spent a lot of money on something? What was it? Do you have a bucket list? What is one item on it? If you could invent a real person, what would they be like? What is one thing you are excited about or looking forward to? If you could change your name, what would it be?

Through a Mirror Darkly


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was one of those books I started to read right after it came out, got distracted from, and then it went back to the library and I forgot about it. Once the miniseries started airing, I couldn’t stand not knowing how it would end, so I read it with great gusto in two afternoons and fell head over heels in love with it. One thing I really adored was near the end, when the prophet says something quite profound – the magicians Strange and Norrell think they are spinning spells around the Raven King, but in reality, they are his spell. They are doing his magic, for his purposes. Continue reading



I’m releasing my latest historical speculative fiction / magical realism book today!

Purchase from Amazon. Purchase from CreateSpace. Purchase from Smashwords. Add on Goodreads.

Back Cover:

What if you knew when someone was about to die… and could do nothing to stop it?

Each time, it starts as an itch in the back of her throat. It builds into a scream that shatters windows… and brings death.

Elspeth does not know what she is, until she arrives at Ravenswolde. Fresh from a nunnery, with only her faith as a comfort, she is thrust into a world full of murderous intentions and unseen adversaries. In the school’s cold corridors, above a haunted wood, students learn the art of murder… seduction… betrayal… to fear and prey upon one another, in training for a future as one of Napoleon’s assassins.

She has three chances to refuse and resist instruction. Three. The first earns her a warning. The second, a visit with the school’s mysterious Professor Hayes. The third… death.

Will she choose her faith, or her life?

Author’s Notes:

Many years ago, I imagined a world in which a woman was forced to marry a man she hated, confronting her own faith and prejudices along the way. Never content to leave my characters alone for very long, I took the same characters and their plight and placed them in France during the reign of Napoleon. Elspeth is caught between her intense devotion to her faith and her desire to survive, when she is torn from a nunnery and forced to attend an assassin’s school. Throughout her adventures, she must confront her own demons and those of her future husband, unlock the secrets contained within the dark and terrible walls, unravel the mystery surrounding a spirit that continues to appeal for her assistance, and even walk through the afterlife in an attempt to assist another in their search for redemption.

For me, this book was a labor of love, but also one full of doubt, because it is in many ways darker than my earlier books, and raw in its evil. Here, we have far greater forces of darkness than I have toyed with before – a ruthless murderer of ghosts and men in its anti-hero, a heroine threatened in every way possible by her new circumstances – her virtue, her faith, and her life is put on the line. It casts a different light on a character present in my other books, so much so that you may not recognize him at first. Mostly, it forced me to realize that I like setting myself impossible tasks, and asking such terribly powerful questions as – what would matter to a heroine more, her virtue … or preventing another from sinning?

Love is not love, if it does not care for another entirely unworthy of that love, more than it cares for itself.


I have a bad feeling.

It isn’t about the wayside inn, the lonely road, or my mother sitting on the other side of the coach. There is nothing amiss in the cheerful servant girl’s face that greets us as we step out onto the damp grass, nor in the thunderclouds looming overhead.

It has to do with the driver. Continue reading

Same Song, Second Verse: Hollywood Never Learns


Last week, A.D. was canceled due to low ratings by NBC. The show’s producers hope to revive it for their digital channel, whose launch is two years away, but I suspect most will have moved on by then, particularly if half the cast has also gone on to other projects. In short, for all intensive purposes, the series is dead.

I am not happy about this, but I would have been shocked by a renewal, because the series made all the same mistakes that former “Bible-based” productions made before it, and then some, which led to a lot of its core audience ceasing to tune in every week. Hollywood seems to make these mistakes again and again, because they have no idea what Christian audiences really want. Mostly, though, they keep shooting their cash chow in general. They don’t understand why we don’t support their efforts. Allow me to enlighten you:  when you adapt a book for the screen, your primary audience are fans of the book. So when you change the book, rewrite characters, leave out entire sections, or interpret the story as how you see it, rather than as it is written, this core base tends to get angry and not watch your stuff.

I am not just talking about Bible movies, either. So far you have managed to botch just about every major book franchise except Harry Potter and Twilight, because you knew those fans would rip you limb from limb if you butchered their beloved sacred cow. If you knew it then, why don’t you know it now? Why do you disrespect the source material? Why do you insist on altering it? Some condensing for the big screen is understandable, but not rewriting entire stories. You think that by changing it up, you will get wider audiences and appeal to those who have not read the book, but again, the book fans are your biggest base. Lose them and you have no core audience, just the few stragglers who happened to wander in one day. Continue reading