Ridley: So it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas (well actually never too early in my book!), but I have to say it’s my absolute favourite time of the year. I mean, when do we have such an absolutely fantastic combination of being able to eat loads of chocolate and at the same time give presents? Like, you have Easter, which is great for the chocolate side of things, and then there’s birthdays for the presents, but Christmas is like Easter and a Birthday smushed together! (and obviously I know the whole point of Christmas isn’t just presents and food, but work with me on this!) Anyway, I love getting presents for people that suits them, it’s fun to see their faces when they open up something they’ve always wanted or least expected and never knew they wanted. So, while it’s still early, I have begun to look for the unusual presents you can only get online and that can take awhile to get here once ordered. In the interest of helping others with their present searching (cause I’m nice like that), here are some of the best things I’ve found for sale on my favourite craft site, Etsy.com (and yes, it is a case that I’ve been just sharing all my internet procrastinating haunts, but they’re good!!)
Paper sculpture, so brilliant, there’s real craft gone into these. Usually the actually sculptures are a little expensive for my wallet, which no doubt reflects the skill and amount of time that’s put into them, but they currently have a sale on, and you can pick prints of the sculptures too.
Some really cute artwork and designs. Mind, there’s loads of fantastic artists on both etsy and on deviantart, maybe if you wanted something unusual for that special someone, why not think about supporting some of these unknown but absolutely fantastic artists?
And everyone, just to get you into the Christmas spirit, here’s the new John Lewis Christmas ad. It really almost brought a tear to my eye. Absolutely stunning!!
Latimer: Ah Halloween, it came and went and I am about half a stone heavier as a result (damn Trick r’ Treat leftovers!).
As it was Halloween season I had to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.
I love it, but it honestly scares me. Like, if I ended up in Halloween Town, with Dr Finkelstein, I’d start shrieking, smack him over the head with a gravestone and run, like my life depended on it (which it probably does at this point) to the forest and the Christmas Town door.
I like Jack and Sally, even the Mayor (just about), but not the Doctor… no…
The thing is, as I watched (mumbling to myself, ‘oh the horror!’), I started to think, as I always do, that the Doctor isn’t actually a bad person. He just looks creepy… So yeah, it’s a moral (don’t judge people) – ah the moral, it’s a Disney thing isn’t it?
I don’t think there are many people in the world who haven’t been shaped by Disney movies in some way. Every generation has their Disney’s.
I come from the Disney Renaissance, animation wise – to me, that’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (my fave), The Lion King (such a big deal at the time my God!) and Toy Story (the first full-length CGI movie!), Aladdin and Mulan (LOVE Mulan, I entered a competition for a giant Mushu teddy – I lost but I’ve always wondered about that lucky sod who won it).
Way back when, I used to get these magazines every week, called Disney and Me.
Yup. And I never read them, nope, just looked at the cartoons and tried to draw them. Funny thing, I wasn’t a big reader in my childhood… The extent of my reading?
“I’m going on adventure today!” I’d say, packing up the essentials – bread for the eating, dock-leaves for potential nettle stings and an illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland.
I’d precede to the climb the trees around my estate and think to myself, “Today, I will read this book”.
It was a big book at the time. And… 5 minutes later, “Yup bored now.” How many pages did I read? None, ha.
Then I’d head to my friend’s house and watch, watch, and re-watch, her VHS copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. She hated me for that.
My mother’s friend had a copy of Beauty and the Beast that I used to borrow and watch… I spent a whole weekend watching it once and I cried when I had to give it back (seriously).
But, even when I was young, I felt there was one MAJOR flaw in this movie… The Prince… He just isn’t a good-looking man! My heart always dropped a little in disappointment! (It still does…!)
This is a good looking ‘prince’….
Anyways, when The Lion King came out, in 1994, I didn’t get to go to the cinema to see it. Back then no one was taking child-me to the cinema. I’d only been once in my life at that point – to see Jurassic Park.
Luckily, a girl in my class in school, her father worked overseas and he got a pirated copy of The Lion King (ohh… hehe). And the teacher said we could watch it! We were astounded (now that I think of it, the teacher probably just wanted to see it too – I know now that’s what I’d do!).
With the blinds pulled down in our classroom, we all got to watch the wonder of The Lion King. I was also madly in love with Jonathon-Taylor Thomas (voice of Simba) at this point, so it was the best movie I ever saw in my life at the time.
There was a girl in my class (we’ll call her Sara) – she was one of my art rivals (Everyone had one. But she never viewed me as her rival – ah ha, oh that’s cold!). Sara was the best at drawing Disney-style animals. And after The Lion King she was like a celebrity; “Draw a Simba on my desk!” everyone would squeal.
A years later, I did manage go to the cinema to see Toy Story. I have very vivid memories of standing in line, being so excited to see this movie. I think that’s why I cried so badly at the end of Toy Story 3 – I was finally saying goodbye to them after 18 years! It was pretty heart-breaking…. The scene where Andy plays with the toys for the last time! Argh, I… I just can’t….
Disney’s stamped all over my memories.
There came a point during growing up that I threw away the Disney cloak. That’s for kids, I thought, and I am a child no more! (ha, yup, that did NOT last)
The Disney Renaissance had ended anyways. But, then, it entered a revival era! The age of the CGI animated movies (Pixar) came into being and I was pulled back in!
By about Finding Nemo I was back on the Disney bandwagon. My counterparts on the wagon, who had stayed the course, eyed me with disdain; “We stayed true!”
The Incredibles is a brilliant movie.Tangled? Oh god, love it. WALL-E – how gorgeous is that movie?
Brave, Brave… yup… Disney’s back in my heart.
And now I’m waiting hopefully for Frozen.
Really looking forward to this! I’ve even starting doing some fan-art – take that Sara it only took… err a few (a lot) years! Ah, ha…
All those memories… Disney really is King of Childhood Dreams…
Everyone has a Disney favourite! Right :)?
(When we were in Tokyo a while back, we stumbled across the Disney store! It also brought back a lot of childhood memories!)
Ridley: I love inspirational quotes, especially from people whose work I admire or who I really look up to for what they’ve achieved through hard work and determination. I always feel really motivated after I’ve read them. So I said I’d share some of the really good ones with you!
This quote often has me nodding rapidly in agreement…
‘We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.’ Jesse Owens
Latimer found this one from Kevin Smith. Never were there truer words.
Technically not a quote, but it inspires me, so I’m adding it it! This is my favourite poem, do other people have favourite poems? I have this painted on my bedroom wall, depending on the type of day I’ve had, it can mean different things to me.
The prolific Stephen King, who is definitely the King of hard work! (see what I did there? :D)
This is taken from the move, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, one of the best films I’ve ever seen and one that always has me sniffing at the end. What a fantastic story.
Grant Morrison, Glaswegian comic-book author extraordinaire.. an amazing personality, who has this great quote that makes me feel like ‘yes! yes, let’s do that!’
Walt Disney, if ever there was a man who inspired dreams in generations of young children, it was him. He never let failure stand in his way, no matter how many knockbacks he received.
Neil Gaiman, a rock star author, I just love his quotes!!
This picture happens to be the background image on my phone! This is what I look at every day, it reminds me to always keep going forward, to strive for what I want to be.
So true Kevin Smith!! If ever you worry that someone’s better than you (there’s always someone better than you), if someone is more successful (without a doubt there is) or if you aren’t good enough (if that’s what you believe, then it will be true), read this quote, duck your head down and work harder. Keep focused.
‘The main goal in life careerwise should always be try to get paid to simply be yourself.’ Kevin Smith
Make Good Art. More Neil Gaiman. I’ll just repeat his lines like a parrot, as I’ve nothing that could add to this quote. This is a snippet taken from his commencement speech at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, it’s absolutely epic!
You can watch it here:
Other quotes from him:
‘The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.’ Neil Gaiman
‘As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.’ Neil Gaiman
‘It’s not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home. Writers – we’re much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.’ Neil Gaiman
Insert the word books for movies and you got that right Walt!! 😀
Thankfully, Latimer and I both love to read and write. To be sucked into another world without leaving your armchair is the most magical experience there is! Is it still called work when you enjoy yourself? 😀
Will Smith, the master of thought provoking quotes, I could have a whole post dedicated to him you know, or even a website! He’s a fan of inspirational quotes himself, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is one of his favourite books. I quite enjoyed it too, makes you think.
‘Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.’ Will Smith
Sometimes we all have to do this!
This is one of my absolute favourite quotes, it just sums up the lives of so many people!
And always remember, the most important piece of advice, from the funniest man ever:
Ridley: Old movies. I love them. I have done since I was quite young. In particular, the old black and white, or barely just colour, love stories. To me, they’re infused with barely restrained passion. They adhere to the notion of, less is more. There was no bed hopping or clothes ripping in these films, just fiery declarations of love and desperate kisses, which made your heart swell as you looked on with a box of tissues, clutching a cushion to your chest and hoping everything would all work out for them.
I don’t quite know why this fascination with old films originally started, but I do know where it all began, with one my very favourite black and white films; The Ghost and Mrs Muir. Now Latimer has heard me mention this maybe a time or two…dozen…down through the years, I’ve seen it around four times. Not that many times for a favourite something of mine,( usually it gets worn out) but for some reason I’ve refused to buy a copy, I’ll only watch it when they show it on television, which is something thatrarely happens now.
It is one of the most unconventional love stories- well when it first came out anyway, possibly not now, in a world where vampires and werewolves and fairies and what not are potential love interests. Though I would argue it’s still pretty unique!
It’s a 1947 film, (based on a novel, all the good ones are-teehee…) where a young widow, Lucy Muir, played by Gene Tierney, moves to an English seaside town and rents Gull Cottage, a house haunted by the ghost of it’s former owner, a roguish, irascible, surly (and down right smexy) sea captain, Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison, who I again love in another movie, My Fair Lady, as the Professor!).
They have a rocky, tit-for-tat relationship, she’s the first woman who hasn’t run out of the house screaming at the sight of an apparition appearing in the darkness beside her and who is able to give as good as she gets. (Booyaa for strong female characters everywhere! 😀 )
After her refusal to leave the cottage, they settle into an uneasy living arrangement, slowly beginning to enjoy each other’s company. However, it soon becomes clear to Captain Gregg that Lucy’s finances are drying up and she may have to leave the house anyway, so he decides that he will dictate his memoirs to her, entitled Blood and Swash, and then sell them.
As they write the book together, their friendship deepens into something neither of them ever name as they both begin to realise just how hopeless their situation is.
Lucy Muir: It’s no crime to be alive! Captain Gregg: No, my dear, sometimes it’s a great inconvenience. The living can be hurt.
It is the Captain who begins to insist that Lucy should find a man who can be with her, in all senses of the word, so she doesn’t spend her life alone. (I am at this point shouting at the TV going, ‘Nooo, Captain Gregg, she wants you!! Don’t be a fool! Who cares if you’re a ghost, it could still work….somehow!’)
When they finish writing the book, after some trials and tribulations, it is published and with Captain Gregg’s racy recollections, the novel becomes a bestseller.
Captain Gregg: I’ve lived the life of a man and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
This of course, gives Lucy the money to allow her to stay in the house, with him. (Ridley: *cheesy grin*)
It is on a visit to her publisher in London, though, that Lucy meets and becomes attracted to suave Miles Fairley (George Sanders). (Ridley: ‘Run away from nasty hobbities man, Lucy! Me no trust him!’)
Captain Gregg is jealous of their relationship (swoon!).
Lucy Muir: You, yourself, said I should mix with people, that I should see… men. Captain Gregg: I said men, not perfumed parlour snakes!
Captain Gregg: And the way he was smirking at you, like a cat in the fishmonger’s! You should have slapped his face! Lucy Muir: Why? I found him… rather charming! Captain Gregg: “Rather charming!” Now you’re starting to talk like him! Lucy Muir: How in blazes do you want me to talk? Captain Gregg: That’s better!
Captain Gregg soon begins to realise, though, that he is the main obstacle to her happiness. While he’s around, she won’t truly allow herself to find someone else, and so, while Lucy is asleep, the Captain convinces her that he was nothing but a dream…(cue Ridley’s heart shattering into millions of tiny pieces)
“Oh, Lucia, you are so little and so lovely. How I would have liked to have taken you to Norway and shown you the fiords in the midnight sun, and to China- what you’ve missed, Lucia, by being born too late to travel the Seven Seas with me! And what I’ve missed, too.”
(Ridley: *clasping hands together with a giant sigh*)
Of course, i’m not going to continue to spoil the whole film for you. GO and watch it. Get a nice cup of tea, a good squishy cushion and soft tissues. Sometimes the oldies really are the best!
Of course, it’s not hard to see how my younger self ended up devouring other old films in search of more epic romances such as that one, and down through the years I’ve found many, such as Sabrina (with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart), The Philadelphia Story (Cary Grant), Casablanca (Humphrey again), My Fair Lady (Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison), Gone with the Wind (Clark Gable), Gigi (Latimer put me wise to this about nine years ago!), and quite a few Fred Astaire films, but to name a few!
If you’ve any similar old movie suggestions for me, let me have them, I can set myself up for a long overdue film marathon!! 😀
One of our favourite artists on deviantart, mseregon, is current creating a new series of drawings which we’ve been following! We pop over often to see what new image has been uploaded. What is this series I hear you ask? It’s a brilliant idea, she’s drawing women who are main characters in various fantastic novels that she’s read. Fan art is such a fantastic way to express and share your feelings with others about a particular book and to extend your time in the world of the characters. So this series is fan art at it’s finest.
Ridley: I just love the way mseregon picks one colour per character and implements it in various parts of the picture, simplistic but very beautiful and effective! It’s also given me more of an appreciate for how many brilliant, strong female main characters there are now in literature. I don’t know why, but when I was much younger, I seemed to find it hard to find books without male leads. Not so now!!
Latimer: I’ve really been enjoying this series so much! mseregon has such a wealth of book knowledge behind her; she’s always picking such great characters to draw! Every time she uploads a new image I’m over in her gallery 🙂 The one colour per character really works so well, very graphic (I can’t wait for the next images!!).
Here we’ve been given permission to share her pictures with you. Each image has a link to it’s place on her gallery so if you’d like to you can pop over to see more, leave a comment or just tell her how great she is! 🙂
First up we’ve Katniss from the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If you haven’t read these books, definitely check them out! A great series and the reason behind the new popularity in dystopian novels at the moment!
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Our favourite novel with one of the best independent, smart female main characters ever, and not to mention the ultimate fictional crush that can be found in the swoon-worthy Mr Darcy! Elizabeth’s dress is adorable in this and the colour is so pretty.
Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre 🙂 by Charlotte Bronte. There is something very beautiful about Jane’s plainness. The grey-blue really suits the character of Jane. This picture conjures up a great image of such a strong character. Makes us want to delve back into Charlotte’s world!
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. With her dramatic blue hair in the book, it is the absolutely perfect colour to have picked for her picture. Her laid back pose in this is just brilliant. The book by Laini is a real page turner, some really magical world building to be found in it too.
Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth. Now we are both ashamed to say we haven’t read these books yet! They are on our list!! This picture definitely peeks our interest, if we hadn’t already bought the books, we would be a-buying after this. Tris looks like one kick-ass character!
Sookie from The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Everyone knows Sookie by now, even if you haven’t read the books you’ve surely seen True Blood, with the handsome Eric Northman?
Tessa from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. If you are currently clueless as to who this is and have never heard of Cassandra Clare, for shame! Get thee to a bookshop, or Amazon! I would recommend City of Bones as your first venture into the Shadowhunter Chronicles.
The purple is really spectacular in this and it’s very similar to how I’ve pictured Tessa too!
Alina from Shadow and Bone of The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo. Honestly can’t say too much about this yet, it’s one of the next books on the reading list… really can’t wait, it looks like a fantastic story!! Alina looks brilliant in her regal gown 🙂
Claire Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The frills of her dress and her hair are brilliant. Again….Outlander is a series that we need to check out, mseregon is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to book ideas!
And finally, Temperance from Legend Unleashed by M. Latimer-Ridley…. yes, us! Wow. We were surprised and so happy when one of the next images in the series was our Temperance Levinthal! Look at her, the pose really captures her nonchalant personality!
This isn’t the end of the series, not yet! mseregon has a few more images up her sleeve, we’ll be certain to follow along until the end!
Look up at them all, they’re so pretty!
If you want to keep up-to-date on mseregon’s works or get some really brilliant book suggestions: you can follow her on twitter, tumblror deviantart!
We are so unbelievably happy to share some Legend Unleashed artwork with you! We have been in contact with some fabulous artists. They read our book and we commissioned them to do some artwork for us! The resulting images left us walking on air for days!
Legend Unleashed is part of the Young Adult and Urban fantasy genres, so plenty of romance, adventure and magic (and werewolves :))… these images capture this perfectly and we couldn’t be happier with them!
This piece was done by the wonderfully talented meseregon (please check out her artwork she is just amazing and she was an absolute pleasure to work with! http://mseregon.deviantart.com/). The soft colouring really captures the wintry atmosphere and Temperance’s expression is priceless! It really catches the moment perfectly!
These two pieces were done by the amazingly talented palnk (please check out her artwork, her pieces are lovely http://palnk.deviantart.com/). She was a lovely person to work with also. The first image shows various events in the first few chapters as well as some initial character designs. The main picture shows Temperance and Alastair against the backdrop of Carwick, magic and werewolves! What more could you want? Both of the characters look amazing.
Ridley: I was in Kyteler’s Inn in Kilkenny at the weekend, it’s one of my favourite places in the city to visit, I always get the breaded chicken with garlic butter for lunch. Yummers! I also always spend my meal chewing and staring around at all the different bits and bobs lining the walls and shelves; rusted trombones, old jars, flags, plates and impressive wrought iron chandeliers. Not to mention the fake witch huddling over a cauldron in the hearth of a massive fire place, over to the side. (She gave me a fright the very first time I saw her!)
The best thing about Kyteler’s Inn, other than the food, is the story behind it. It’s a really old stone house, in the style of an old merchant’s building or a tavern, and its final owner was accused of witchcraft. This accusation was one of the very first in Europe. Lady Alice Kyteler managed to get away, though her servant was caught. She was forced into a fake confession, implicating Alice and then she was burned at the stake.
Another really interesting point, Lady Kyteler is mentioned in the poem, Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen by William Butler Yeats, which makes reference to these accusations.
There were various reasons for these charges. Alice Kyteler was married four times; each of her husbands died, there were rumours all through these marriages that she was poisoning them.
Spreading and listening to these stories, the children and relatives of her husbands accused her of murder. It was also said she was a very good looking woman, who could ensnare men with her charms and manipulated them into lavishing her with gifts. Unnatural looks and unnatural charms, possibly due to magic spells, everyone whispered.
There was also major resentment within the community from her involvement as a money-lender; she was supposedly quite ruthless.
So we are left wondering whether she had any allies, though she must have done as she managed to escape to England and never stand trial.
When you visit the inn now, her story is on the menu, so if you go there, not only can you order the garlic butter covered breaded chicken but you read all about Alice for yourself!
Latimer: We went to an event in the Science Gallery on Friday night (the Science Gallery is located in Trinity college). It was held by the PEGBAR Irish animators network. I was late… and word to the wise, DO NOT try and run on wet cobblestones (of which there are many in Trinity) – it doesn’t end well!
Ridley: While she was slipping and sliding her way to the event, I was already there waiting for her, with a name badge on and surrounded by very friendly strangers. Picture, crowds milling around with glasses of wine at the reception, everyone grinning, laughing and waving towards people who they hadn’t seen in ages, it was like one big reunion. I think the animation world, in Ireland anyway, is a small one. And then there was me, not even a proper hobbyist animator never mind a professional, trying to look like I belonged. I was doing the ‘I‘m texting lots of people and looking up important things on my phone, not desperate for anyone to talk to me, nope nope‘…in the corner! I was going for busy but still approachable look! It worked in the end, I randomly made a new friend who was also waiting around near me. It turned out he was a freelance animator, so I got to pepper him with questions and see some of his cool artwork. It was really great to get an insight into the job by someone ‘in the biz’ and to hear what he thought of it.
Latimer: I arrived for the talk, which started with a colourist from Marvel comics, Jordie Bellaire (she worked for DC and others, very lucky :)).
She was talking about the importance of colours and mood, and this can also be seen in movies. She was so enthusiastic and animated about her work; even when she wasn’t ‘working’, her mind was fixed on colours. She would watch movies and list out the colours in the scenes. It’s always really cool to see someone so inspired by what they do 🙂
Ridley: Really inspiring! She seemed like a really cool person too. Her talk opened my eyes to seeing films and images in a different way! Who knew the use of colour could have so much impact on a scene and on the feelings of the audience, really interesting!
Latimer: Then there was a talk from Nora Twomey, she is a director from the Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon. (Ridley: One of my favourite Irish studios! I love their work! I was dying to hear what she had to say!) She was showing some of the short films she had worked on and talking about getting them funded and the compromises you have to make with scenes and moments you have to leave out.
It made me think of when you’re writing and there are times you want to say more and show another scene, but in the end, the story is better off without it (no matter how in love with the moment you were!). It’s hard to cut them out, but it makes a tighter story in the end. (Ridley: Very true!)
There was this one film she showed; it really stuck with me, it was really atmospheric and drew me in. (Ridley: Creepy too…in a delightful way…is that possible, to be delightfully creepy? haha)
The studio also did some work for TG4 (that’s TG Ceathair, an all-Irish-speaking TV channel we have here in Ireland). The cartoon studio were asked to do some short animations to Irish songs, the series called Anam an Amhráin (Soul of the Song).
This song is about a young 9 year old girl who is in love with a shoemaker, wants to marry him and runs away from home to be with him! In the actual animation, they felt this was a bit too much, so instead they made her dream of the shoe maker when she slips on the hill! (Ridley: It’s an absolutely gorgeous song. This is Irish at it’s best and most beautiful.)
I got caught up with these and wanted to know what other songs had been animated… this is what I found…
This one is about a woman to wants to be Paddy’s wife and wishes his actual wife ill… her struggles are desperate but pretty funny! (Ridley: Haha, this is good, she even wishes a broken foot and hand on the wife!!)
This next one is about the Irish pirate queen Gráinne Mhaol, or Grace O’Malley… ‘Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ is an interesting song, it started out originally about Bonnie Prince Charlie and was a Jacobite rebel song.. then later in the 1900s it became a rebel song about Grace O’Malley coming to Ireland with her warriors to free the land from English rule. In the video it seems mostly about Grace’s life.
All and all, pretty interesting, particularly because the event made me look for these videos :)!
Ridley: It was a great night, I loved seeing all the Irish language work that’s being done! Not to mention, we went for yummy Korean food afterwards, it was so tasty *happy sigh*.