Film Review

Film Review: Car Wash

Car Wash movie
Photo by Adrian Dascal on Unsplash

Encyclopedia Entry

Note: I had written this film review for an encyclopedia and then the project itself got cancelled. So, I decided to upload it to my site.

Car Wash is a 1976 Universal Studios film produced by Art Linson and Gary Stromberg, directed by Michael Schultz and written by Joel Schumacher. This 97-minute musical comedy contains elements of drama and romance, with at least one reviewer calling it reminiscent of 1930s theater. This blaxploitation film, set in the Dee-Luxe Car Wash located in Los Angeles, California, covers just one day of interactions among two dozen-plus multi-racial characters, including car wash staff, their customers, people working at nearby businesses and more. Throughout the movie, employees listen to disco music from KGYS, dancing as they work, with news breaks synchronizing with car wash events in this episodic-style film.

Nonfiction Writing Advice

Nonfiction Writing Advice: Toss Out a Great Opener

boomerang book

Here is some nonfiction writing advice that I’d created years ago.

To unravel the twisting, turning history (of the boomerang), you’d have to travel back in time. You’d slip back to an age before there were airplanes, before there were cars, before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You’d travel to a place where America wasn’t yet known, to a time long before William the Conqueror subdued England in 1066. You wouldn’t even recognize the world you’d enter, the primitive, murky horizons of ancient man.”

Film Review

Guest Film Review: Hero and Villain – The Story of Martin Luther

Film Review by Ryan Sagert

film review: Martin Luther
Library of Congress: No Known Restrictions

The story of the Reformation was one of faith, politics and philosophical change, which took place in the mid-16th century in what was then and is today Germany. At its most basic, the Reformation was a movement, headed by Martin Luther to challenge the authority of the Catholic Church, then the political and religious head of Europe, for its right to sell indulgences, which was the forgiveness of sins for fiscal profit. On a historical level, the Reformation marked the end of blind faith and ushered in the age of reason. 

Nonfiction Writing Advice

Writing a Non-Fiction Book: Keeping It Real

writing a book
Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

I want to write a book” or “I have a book idea.”

When people find out that I’m an author, that’s often what they say to me – and, I reply, “That’s great! The world needs more wonderful books.” (And, it’s true. There can never be enough wonderful books!)

A follow up question that I sometimes get asked is, “Do you think I have the talent to write a book?”

Interviews

Author Interview: Peg Cochran

book from author interviewee

From the Archives

Note: This author interview was originally published in 2013 on another site that is no longer live.

The combination of talent and persistence can’t be beat. To witness the personification of these two personality traits, you need look no further than Peg Cochran, author of the Gourmet De-Lite mystery series, featuring Gigi Fitzgerald, as well as the author of other cozy mysteries (more about those throughout the interview!).

When Peg was seven, she discovered a series that has delighted young readers for generations, featuring the daring sleuth Nancy Drew. From that point on, Peg knew that, when she grew up, she would write mysteries.

Interviews

Author Interview: Joanna Campbell Slan

Author interview

From the Archives

Note: This author interview was originally published in 2013 on another site that is no longer live.

When you read a book by Joanna Campbell Slan, this award-winning, best-selling author sure makes it all look easy. The author of the Kiki Lowenstein mystery series and the Jane Eyre Chronicles, though, sure didn’t have it easy as a child, teenager or young adult.

“I grew up,” Joanna explains, “in a chaotic home with alcoholic parents. For a while, we were on welfare.” And, when her father drank, he didn’t become gregarious and friendly. Instead, according to Joanna, he turned mean and would wake her up at night just to tell her that she’d never amount to anything.

encyclopedia entry

Football Player: Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson (1947-)

football player
Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

Encyclopedia Entry

Note: I had written this for an encyclopedia and then the project itself got cancelled. So, I decided to upload it to my site.

Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson initially rose to fame because of his collegiate football performance at the University of Southern California (USC) where he set records for rushing yards gained, was named All-American (1967-68), won the 1968 Heisman Trophy, and played in two Rose Bowl games. He then gained more fame as an outstanding professional running back, known for his speed and dexterity, and then as a sportscaster and for his performances on television and in film. In 1995, he was charged with the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, with the television proceedings one of the most attention-garnering trials in United States history.

Film Review

Film Review: Glory

Civil War Film

Encyclopedia Entry

Note: I had written this film review for an encyclopedia and then the project itself got cancelled. So, I decided to upload it to my site.

Glory is a 1989 Civil War film that shares the story of the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry regiment, one of the first units comprised of African American soldiers. Directed by Edward Zwick, the screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, and the film merges historical people and events with fictional characters and subplots. Its ensemble cast shares the story of this unit from its formation to its most prominent place in history: the courageous yet futile attempt to take Fort Wagner in South Carolina from the Confederates. Although the 54th Massachusetts suffered enormous casualties in this historic event, it was the impetus to numerous other African American units forming in the Union army, with nearly 200,000 black soldiers ultimately fighting in the war. Plus, their mettle under fire convinced many people that black men could fight bravely and well.

Uncategorized

Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition

Book Review

Book Review

Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition is intriguing look by Richard J Tofel at the challenges faced by Lincoln at the beginning of his presidency — including what to do about the handful of US forts located in southern states that had not yet been taken over by the seceded states. The most important one, perhaps, was Fort Sumter, located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Options included abandoning the fort to the budding Confederacy or traveling into enemy territory to resupply the men under the command of Major Robert Anderson. To complicate matters, members of Lincoln’s new cabinet did not agree which solution was best and communications with the navy were rudimentary, at best.

Book Review

My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy

My Thoughts Be Bloody

Book Review

I’ve seen the words “magnificent” and “riveting” being used to describe My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone — and I wholeheartedly agree with both descriptions.

This book is far more than a recounting of the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Titone first captivates us with the love story between Junius Booth, a well loved Shakespearean actor, and the young and lovely Mary Ann, with whom he has eight children. (Lest this sounds like the stuff of fairy tales, know that when his wife finds out, she isn’t too happy.)