Inspiring People: Ang Lee & James Schamus

This is a beautiful post! Ang Lee & James Schamus’s visit to Wellesley was just what I needed to reinvigorate my desire to be a creative person/have a creative career.

Musings of an Oriental Wanderer

ImageThis morning, Ang Lee and James Schamus came to Wellesley College for a conversation with the students. This is an event that many students have been excited and hyped about and it definitely was worth it. First of all, for those unfamiliar with these two men, here is a short introduction of each.

Ang Lee made his directorial debut in 1992 and is a critically acclaimed and internationally renowned film director, producer, and screenwriter. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Director (for Brokeback Mountain, 2006, and The Life of Pi, 2013), and his Crouching Tiger, Hidde Dragon won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2000. He has also received numerous prestigious awards from major Asian and European film festivals. Lee and Schamus have had a long-standing professional relationship since Lee’s first film, Pushing Hands.

James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter and producer…

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Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America

This is ridiculous. Give educators…not the education system, grassroots educators, the money that goes toward keeping each child locked up and you could revolutionize everything. I can only imagine how much we could change the lives of those children then. And by change I mean for the better for them, not for the system. This is just horrifically crazy, these are the conversations we should be having.

HAPPY Book Birthday: THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM by Mary Gray!!


Paperback, 296 pages
Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN 1937053644 (ISBN13: 9781937053642)
Edition language: English

Book Blurb

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields–a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus–she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields, with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne’s heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now “Persephone,” and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they’ll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they’ll die

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound 
Add THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM to your Goodreads shelf.

Excerpt from Chapter One

Gruff fingers yank a blindfold off my face, light splashes into my eyes, and I blink. Gray walls swim about my head, and the ceiling soars much too high above me. I don’t know this place. I was walking to my bathroom when someone grabbed me from behind and forced a sour-smelling cloth over my face and—someone grapples with my hair, and I flinch. Who—who is touching me?

I try turning in the flimsy chair, but someone’s grabbing my shoulders, forcing me not to move. Spasms of fear shoot up and down my arms and legs. I try swinging my fists to make them loosen their grip, but my captor’s fingers only tighten.

Raising my arm to jab my captor in the gut, I pause. Someone’s laughing. How do I know that sound? It’s beautiful and low, a laugh I could recognize anywhere. Glancing around the sun-filled room, I find the source almost immediately. It’s Teo, my Teo, standing across from me on the hardwood floor, beaming at me. His ebony eyes shine forth like two onyx stones, and even his olive-toned skin makes me breathe a bit shallower. Choking back a strangled laugh—no one’s here to hurt me—I reach out for the love of my life, too tongue-tied to say anything.

His lips spread into a thin smile, reminding me of his mouth melting into my own. Fire raged beneath my skin with that kiss and it felt like I was lifted up into the air and floating. It’s been six days since our kiss and we still haven’t been able to talk about it. I tried repeatedly to go into his classroom, but it was like our school had purposely decided to schedule a more than average number of parent-teacher meetings.

Locking his eyes on mine, Teo asks, “Manicure?”

I glance down at my fingernails, trying to see why he would think I needed a manicure, when my shoulders are released and pale, icy fingers grip my hand. Chills run through me.

A flat, tenor voice says, “Yes.” And I’m startled to see my fingernails are actually painted. Clear and shiny.

The fingers drop my hand, and my captor walks around to face me. White uniform, white skin, white hair. He’s albino. Who is he?

About the Author

Mary GrayMary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That’s why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she’s not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM is her first novel.

Author Links:

Goodreads | Website | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook


To celebrate the release of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, author Mary Gray is giving away one signed copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM (U.S. only) and an unsigned copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM  (open to all). Ends 10/23/13 (midnight).

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!

Review: BROKEN by CJ Lyons (Blog Tour)

17520996Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 1402285450 (ISBN13: 9781402285455)
Edition Language: English

Book Blurb

New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now… or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of seventeen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at and everything she knows about being a bestseller at

Interview with CJ Lyons (Part One of my post for the BROKEN Blog Tour)

My Review

Owl rating:

BROKEN was a refreshing read. I love Dystopian books but I’m so thankful that I got the chance to read & review this book! In fact, after having just finished writing a MG Thriller manuscript and reading BROKEN, I’ve become so in love with thrillers and am looking forward to finding some more to read.

One of the biggest draws to BROKEN is that I immediately connected to the main character, Scarlet who just wants a chance at living like a “regular” teenager. I was drawn to her story, to her voice, to her will to keep going.  I  love strong female characters and Scarlet definitely hit the mark. I also loved the relationships within the book, they were well developed and real.  Scarlet’s relationship with the guys she meets, classmates, family…it was nice to see all the dynamics interrelating.

It was so hard to put this book down. On the first night, I stayed up until 3am (and I had a 9am class)…no regrets at all. Also, CJ Lyons knows what she’s talking about. The book with the knowledge that only comes from someone who not only did their research well but clearly had lots of medical experience.  The book blew me away.  Maybe for you it won’t be as unexpected but for me, BROKEN kept me guessing until the very end!

This is a 100% honest review, I received a copy from the publisher to read & review!


Whimsically Yours,


BROKEN Blog Tour: Interview with Author CJ Lyons

Hello All!

Today I’m bringing you my interview with NYT Bestselling author CJ Lyons who is making her YA debut with BROKEN a YA Thriller due to release on November 5th!  Please check back at 7pm EST for my review!

Meet CJ!

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I’m CJ Lyons, former Pediatric ER doc turned New York Times bestselling thriller author. BROKEN is my very first YA thriller and features a heroine who knows everything about dying but nothing about living. Scarlet has spent her entire life shuttled from doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital only to be diagnosed with a lethal cardiac disease, leaving her literally dying of a broken heart.

Because of her sheltered upbringing, Scarlet is very naïve and all she wants is to live like a normal teenager, so she convinces her parents to allow her to attend high school for a week…a week that gives Scarlet her first ever friends, first kiss (maybe the worst first kiss in recorded history, but she’ll take what she can get!), and a new outlook on her life, her disease, and her family as she unearths secrets she never suspected existed.

Scarlet’s character is loosely based on my own experiences as a pediatrician. I diagnosed my niece, Abby, with the same congenital heart condition, Long QT, when Abby was only twenty minutes old and BROKEN is dedicated to her.

Thanks for that introduction. What is the first story you remember writing?

CJ: The first story I wrote was in nursery school (I’ve been a storyteller all my life, leading to a lot of time spent in time out as a child!) and was a convoluted soap opera involving finger puppets made from empty toilet paper rolls. My first published story was when I was in third grade and featured a blind girl and her horse making their way through rural Pennsylvania during the Civil War

Now that sounds like an interesting read! When did you first consider yourself a writer?

CJ: I’ve always used stories to makes sense of the world around me—it’s my coping mechanism for dealing with chaos. But I never really thought of writing as a career until after I sold my second novel–that’s second novel sold. I’d written my first novel in high school followed by two SF/F novels in medical school. I think I had five or six full novels and several half-started ones finished by the time I sold my first book.

 What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?

CJ: Jeffery Deaver told me to always remember the reader is god. I’ve taken that to heart and built my entire business model and writing routine around this philosophy—if I expect people to spend their time and money on my books, then I’d better be providing value. I still write the first draft of any book selfishly for me, me, me—that’s where the fun and excitement of writing lies in discovering each story. But then once I decide to publish a story I go back and look at it with fresh eyes from the point of view of reader, slicing and dicing to re-vision the story until it becomes something I feel confident will delight and entertain my audience while also, hopefully, inspiring and empowering them.

That’s some really great advice, and your dedication to the reader really shows in BROKEN 🙂 Are you a full time writer?  

CJ: Seven years ago I took a huge leap of faith and left my medical practice to write full time.

Coffee or tea?

CJ: I’ve never acquired the taste for coffee, so it’s usually either hot cocoa (love Ghiradelli) or Good Earth Original tea drunk from my Dr. Who vanishing TARDIS mug.

Haha, great choices! What’s a fun fact about yourself most people don’t know?

CJ: I’ve had two hard landings in helicopters—they don’t call them crashes when you walk away…oh, and I’ve been face to face with a serial killer.

Yikes (that was scarier than I expected)! Do you have a favorite movie?

CJ: I love, love, love movies so it’s always tough to pick one. But just about anything Frank Capra did will leave me sobbing and laughing—I especially love his lesser-known works such as Meet John Doe, Mr. Lucky, and You Can’t Take it With You, but my favorite of his is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?

CJ: Ray Bradbury. I love the way he infused poetry into his settings and still delivered vicarious thrills and action while making his characters feel so very fallible and human. I’ve read Something Wicked This Way Comes over twenty times—usually on Halloween, just to make things extra-scary.

What is the next book you want to write?

CJ: I just turned in my second YA Thriller and this one was so hard to write! It deals with two kids, Jesse and Miranda, being black mailed by a cyber-predator using capping (screen capture images) and how they find the courage to stand up to him (with the help of their parents). They go through hell and some of the things that happen to them were so painful to write that I was weeping as I typed—but then I was crying again when I wrote the ending as they rose above it all and triumphed.

I thought it would be a stand alone, but after I finished it (the working title is DAMAGED, but I’m not sure if we’ll be keeping it) I realized there aren’t many books out there that tell you the rest of the story, the price to be paid for defeating the bad guys, so I’d love to tackle another book with Jesse and Miranda and show how their courage, strength, and relationship continue to evolve.

Wow, sounds right up my alley. I’ll definitely be snagging that one when it comes out. Thanks CJ so much for a wonderful interview.  The review will be up later today!


Trust me when I say you’re going to want this one!

Whimsically Yours,