The Oldies

6657921115_30b83fdd36_bRidley: 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 that rarely 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! 😀 )

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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.

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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.

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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!’)

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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!

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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)

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“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!

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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!! 😀

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Internet Hiking

Latimer and Ridley are off on a wintry adventure!! :)

Latimer and Ridley are off on a wintry adventure!! 🙂

Latimer and Ridley are wrapping up warm this December (got cool new winter fashion and everything!).We’re leaving our internet camp to go trekking across the webs to visit other blogs! HUZZAH!
We’ll have guest posts, promotions, interviews and reviews. It will to be interesting! We’ll make new friends, say hello to people and (terrifyingly) find out what people think of ‘The Book’.
If you won’t get a chance to wander with us, make sure to stay tuned here anyway, as we’ll have our own little give away! Yay, free things! 😀 They’ll be purdy things too, even we don’t own these yet, though we want to!
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Virtual Book Tour December 1 – December 15
December 1 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Meet and Greet
December 2 – Paulette’s Papers – Guest Post/PROMO
December 3 – My Cozie Corner Review
December 4 – Little Book Star – PROMO
December 5 – Read Review Smile – Review
December 6 – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Review/Interview
December 7 – Pure Textuality – Guest Post/PROMO
December 8 – Fuonlyknew – Review/PROMO (Thank you to Laura for having us and letting us do a giveaway! :))
December 10 – A Dream Within a Dream – Review
December 11 – Magical Manuscripts – Review
December 12 – Rolling With the Moments
December 15 – James T Kelly – Interview (Thank you to James for letting us gate-crash his blog for an interview!)
December 17- Magical Manuscript Interview – Interview (Return to Magical Manuscripts for a belated interview – thank you to Sandy for having us again! Hope we didn’t wreck the place :))
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If you’ve just tuned in and don’t know what the fudge we’re going on about; what is this ‘The Book’? Why must you warble on so?
Well here’s a quick introduction:
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Now go here to read the first few chapters! If you’re still interested! 😀

Bon Iver: Be Inspired

Bon Iver (this image is pretty blurry, we were far away and this is zoomed up as far as my sweet baby Mr. Sam Sung could go)

Latimer: I was at the Bon Iver concert in the O2 in Dublin this week. It was absolutely brilliant – they were electric.

As I sat and listened, I thought of what inspires me. There are times when some artists just catch me – absorb me into their songs. Music is an unending source of encouragement and motivation; songs can become the soundtrack for scenes I want to write, or characters Ridley and I have created. Songs can set the mood; just by listening to a certain tune I can get into the mind-set to write a particular moment.

I left Bon Iver feeling inspired, swept up in dreams of characters and moments.

As I walked out of the venue, I heard a girl say;

“That was amazingly deadly!”(deadly meaning ‘fantastic’ in Irish vernacular)

Couldn’t put it much better 🙂

Who, what or where, inspires you?   

Out Now!

HUZZAH!!

Latimer and Ridley: So we’re done, it’s out!

What’s out you asked? Our book, Legend Unleashed! We’ve pushed the button!

It’s available now, as an e-book, see the links below if you’re interested!

The paperback will follow on soon enough, we’re just waiting on the proof copy to arrive in the post so we can look over it and make sure there are no issues.

It’s been such a steep learning curve, but really worth it! It was fantastic that we had full control over every part of the process. It’s also been hard work though, with long hours put in and full ‘bookwork’ weekends, so don’t let anyone fool you into thinking self-publishing is an easy task! We finished writing the book many many many months ago. In the time since we’d typed ‘the end’, we’ve spent the rest of our days editing, agonising, formatting, fist shaking, commissioning our cover design, smiling, book trailers, grinning and that was just the start!

In the past, we’ve been asked how the two of go about writing a book together (we’re also fascinated by how other writing duos work together, so we love these explanations. Skip down through this part if you don’t care though!!) We always start with a single idea, whether it’s a scene, a ‘what if’ scenario, or a character. We seem to have plenty of these knocking around! More often than not, it’s a character. After this comes the fun part, world building! We love this, picking character names, places and plotting the story.

We let our imaginations run free scribbling it all down on an A4 pad as we sip on endless cups of tea; what would happen if we…? If he did this….? If she went there…? Wouldn’t it be great if…? If you read this part, what would you want him to do…? It’s the ultimate freedom, we just run wild! After this, we tease out any issues, then we divide them into chapter summaries. Each summary has bullet points, information taken from the plot and any extras we think of as we’re going along, with exactly what we need to have happen. Then these summaries get divided out, we get two chapters each at a time and usually one of us starts the book and the other ends it. This gives us the chance to experience at least part of the book as readers, rather than just the authors. We give each other constant feedback after each chapter stint. In this way, we’ve written six books together, Legend Unleashed is our fifth book and the most polished. So we decided to bite the bullet and self-publish it.

So far it’s been a great decision! Has it been the same for others who have followed the same path? We’d love to hear their tales!

We’re staring into the dark void, not knowing what’s to come, but either way we look forward to what the future might bring!

Sample chapters:

Legend Unleashed Prologue-Chapter 4

Author: M. Latimer-Ridley
Publisher: Cranmer Publishing
Available to buy:  
E-book: Amazon US
E-book: Amazon UK
Paperback: Amazon UK
Paperback: CreateSpace Page

Dracula and Bram Stoker

What’s Bram Stoker got to do with Dublin?

Latimer: I admit that up until a few years ago, I didn’t know that Bram Stoker was Irish (maybe you do and you are gasping at my ignorance right now). It was actually a bit of a shock to me when I found out.

He is, for some unknown reason, not a writer we often talk about. He passes unnoticed.

While we wax lyrical about Joyce and Wilde, we never mention Stoker.

Another famous son 🙂

While vampire’s and vampirism literature were around long before Stoker’s time, he is now remembered as the creator of vampire lore. It just goes to show the power of his story-telling. He never even visited Romania.

Bran’s Castle, Vlad the Impaler’s castle

Bram Stoker started life as a very sickly child, spending his early years bed-ridden (up until the age of 7yrs). People say this is probably what led to the development of his fantastical imagination. Bram himself remarked later; “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.”

When he grew up, he left the sick-bed behind. He attended Trinity College Dublin (TCD 🙂 ), played rugby and was a fantastic athlete like many other members of his family.

But, why am I talking about Stoker?

Recently I attended a talk about Bram Stoker’s medical family. And at this talk, I learned that this year is the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death and Dublin is readying itself to celebrate its, bizarrely overlooked son, with the first Festival of Bram Stoker, which will be held in October.

The Stoker’s shaped Dublin in many ways and were very influential at the time in Ireland.

They were a very well-to-do family. They lived in many grand houses dotted around Dublin. If you’ve ever been to the city, you’ll know there are lots of old Georgian style town houses around the streets. Bram Stoker’s family home is preserved on Kildare St (which is very near Trinity College). 

They were an intelligent family; there were 4 boys, including Bram, the 3 other brothers became doctors. And they had 9 cousins that also became doctors.

Sir William Thornley Stoker, President of RCSI

Bram Stoker’s brother, Sir William Thornley Stoker, was the former President of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI). Because his cousin William Stoker, was also a doctor, Sir William went by the name ‘Thornley’. I think that’s a cool name, Thornley Stoker… sounds, strangely enough, like a vampire hunter!  

Bram wasn’t interested in being a doctor. He studied mathematics in Trinity. He was also an active member of the University Philosophical Society. He petitioned for a young Oscar Wilde to join the society. He would eventually end up marrying Florence Balcombe, Wilde’s childhood sweetheart. When Wilde realised they were engaged, he left Ireland more or less for good, only returning twice more in his life. But, when Wilde was living in Europe (after his release from prison), Stoker would often visit him.

Lyceum Theatre, London

After a few years working in Dublin, Bram moved to England to become the manager of the Lyceum Theatre and of Henry Irving (the most famous and best actor of the day).

Bram also got to work on writing Dracula. He was a very methodical writer. He had a book that contained all of his notes, and timetables of events in the story. He would write down train timetables, to make sure that when trains appeared in his book, they ran according to the correct schedule. He also often wrote to his brother Sir William and would ask his medical opinion on any such events in the book. Sir William would write back and tell him, ‘yes, if he is hit here, this will happen’ and what pressure points should be detailed.

Brams notes

There was speculation that Bram got a lot of inspiration for the Dracula novel from stories his mother would tell him about the cholera epidemics in Sligo (where she was from). She would tell him stories about people being buried alive (which apparently they often were during the cholera epidemics).

Events and stories were noted in his notebook, along with newspaper clippings of strange events or interesting things that happened around him.

Dracula was published in 1897- and a first edition of the book, today is worth 250,000 euro!!

Original cover

The Bram Stoker society in Ireland is trying hard to get Stoker more recognised as an Irishman. They are collecting money to commission a statue of Bram Stoker to be put on display in Dublin.

The city is known for its statues… we have a lot!

Patrick Kavanagh, on the canal bench

Oscar Wilde in Merrion Park

Brendan Behan, Royal Canal just off Dorset Street

James Joyce, North Earl Street just off O’Connell Street

Children of Lir, Garden of Remembrance Parnell Square

Irish Famine statues, North Quays

Joyce and Wilde are happily on display… the poet Patrick Kavanagh sits (unhappily perhaps!) on a bench by the canal; but no Stoker!

Dublin is trying to reclaim Stoker- and why not? Hopefully it works; I think it would be nice to have a statue of Bram Stoker in Dublin. It was really interesting hearing about how his family shaped various parts of Dublin.

Myself and Ridley are primed and ready to go to the Stoker Festival! Stay tuned for that post 🙂

Bram Stoker Festival 2012 Post