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A Free Book and a Review of Beauty and the Beast

Starting today and until March 29, the Kindle version of my novel Seal of Secrets will be free on Amazon. If it’s already in your library, consider gifting a copy to a friend. I thought it would be fun to offer it during spring break week, when people may be traveling and enjoying some well-earned vacation time. Just click on the title to go to the book’s page on Amazon.

That said, let’s talk about Beauty and the Beast. I confess it wasn’t really on my “must-see” list, but my eight-year-old granddaughter was home from school yesterday, and I thought she might enjoy it. As we left the theater, the first words out of her mouth were, “That was awesome!” And it truly was. I haven’t seen the animated version in many years, so I can’t contrast the two, but I was surprised by how BIG this movie is. It is truly a spectacle of epic proportions, well worth seeing in the theater before it’s available on disc. The music and choreography are exciting, and the CGI in the “Be Our Guest” sequence is breathtaking. Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame among other films) and Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey and, more recently, Legion on FX) lead the stellar cast, while Luke Evans (remember him killing Smaug in The Hobbit?) is a wonderfully over-the-top Gaston. Humor, action, heartbreak–the film has it all in spades. There are far worse ways to spend a rainy spring afternoon!

An Invitation

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Three Artists and an Author

Please come join us for a reception featuring artists Sharon Cook, Margaret Susanne Tsang, and Merren Garland, and author William Cook. The open house will be held from 2:00-5:00 PM on Sunday, March 12, at the Cook residence, 1848 Pepper Tree Court SE, in Salem. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. These local artists will display their exceptional paintings and offer them for sale. Bill will do readings from his most recent stories and his books will also be available. The painting above is Sharon’s “Catch of the Day.” Merren’s painting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” has been selected as the poster image for the 2017 Keizer Iris Festival. Susanne’s watercolor and ink “Yaquina Sunrise” is the cover of Bill’s latest novel. The afternoon promises to be a delight!

Movie Review: Arrival

Be assured, this review contains no spoilers. I went to see Arrival yesterday and I’m still thinking about it. It is a cinematic work of art masquerading as a cerebral, hard-core sci-fi film. What it’s not is an action-packed special effects extravaganza aimed at a teenage audience. (Although I confess that I love those movies, too!) You may not park your brain at the door with this one. Its slow, deliberate pace may at first be a little disappointing, but it is ultimately a very rewarding film. I was so moved by the end that I couldn’t talk about it when I returned home to my wife. It’s that kind of movie. It examines language and communication, the  nature of time, love and death, and the dynamics of interpersonal and international conflict. Yep, it’s a big mouthful. Although I love the comic book movies, it is refreshing to be challenged by what true science fiction can be. This is intelligent film-making at its best, demanding that we look at our own lives differently. It is both timely and timeless. And if there is justice in the world, Amy Adams will be nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress.