Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday's Film Adaption: Glory for Me by MacKinlay Kantor

This is a narrative poem telling the story of three veterans returning home at the end of WWII and of their adjustment into society. The film, The Best Years of Our Lives was based on this book, with some changes.

Three returning servicemen fight to adjust to life after World War II.

Release Date: November 21, 1946
Release Time: 172 minutes

Myrna Loy as Milly Stephenson
Fredric March as Sergeant 1st Class Al Stephenson
Dana Andrews as Captain Fred Derry
Teresa Wright as Peggy Stephenson
Virginia Mayo as Marie Derry
Cathy O'Donnell as Wilma Cameron
Hoagy Carmichael as Uncle Butch Engle
Harold Russell as Petty Officer 2nd Class Homer Parrish
Gladys George as Hortense Derry
Roman Bohnen as Pat Derry
Ray Collins as Mr. Milton
Minna Gombell as Mrs. Parrish
Walter Baldwin as Mr. Parrish
Steve Cochran as Cliff
Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Cameron
Don Beddoe as Mr. Cameron
Marlene Aames as Luella Parrish
Charles Halton as Prew
Ray Teal as Mr. Mollett
Howland Chamberlain as Thorpe
Dean White as Novak
Erskine Sanford as Bullard
Michael Hall as Rob Stephenson
Victor Cutler as Woody Merrill
Robert Karnes as Technical Sergeant

1947 Academy Awards
Best Motion Picture - Samuel Goldwyn Productions (Samuel Goldwyn, Producer) - Won
Best Director - William Wyler - Won
Best Actor - Fredric March - Won
Best Writing (Screenplay) - Robert E. Sherwood - Won
Best Supporting Actor - Harold Russell - Won
Best Film Editing - Daniel Mandell - Won
Best Music (Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) - Hugo Friedhofer - Won
Best Sound Recording - Gordon E. Sawyer - Nominated
Honorary Award - To Harold Russell - Won
Memorial Award - Samuel Goldwyn - Won

1947 Golden Globe Awards
Best Dramatic Motion Picture - Won
Special Award for Best Non-Professional Acting - Harold Russell - Won

1948 BAFTA Awards
Best Film from any Source - Won

American Film Institute 
1998 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - #37
2006 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers - #11



Author Bio:
Benjamin McKinlay Kantor, was an American journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He wrote more than 30 novels, several set during the American Civil War, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956 for his 1955 novel Andersonville.

Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa, in 1904. His mother, a journalist, encouraged Kantor to develop his writing style. Kantor started writing seriously as a teen-ager when he worked as a reporter with his mother at the local newspaper in Webster City.

Kantor's first novel was published when he was 24.

During World War II, Kantor reported from London as a war correspondent for a Los Angeles newspaper. After flying on several bombing missions, he asked for and received training to operate the bomber's turret machine guns (this was illegal, as he was not in service). Nevertheless he was decorated with the Medal of Freedom by Gen. Carl Spaatz, then the U.S. Army Air Corp commander. He also saw combat during the Korean War as a correspondent.

In addition to journalism and novels, Kantor wrote the screenplay for Gun Crazy (aka Deadly Is the Female) (1950), a noted film noir. It was based on his short story by the same name, published February 3, 1940 in a "slick" magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. In 1992, it was revealed that he had allowed his name to be used on a screenplay written by Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, who had been blacklisted as a result of his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Committee (HUAC) hearings. Kantor passed his payment on to Trumbo to help him survive.

Several of his novels were adapted for films. He established his own publishing house, and published several of his works in the 1930s and 1940s.

Kantor died of a heart attack in 1977, at the age of 73, at his home in Sarasota, Florida.


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Release Day Blitz: On Unfaithful Wings by Bruce Blake

Title: On Unfaithful Wings
Author: Bruce Blake
Series: Icarus Fell #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: February 24, 2017
To some, death is the end; to others, a beginning. To Icarus Fell, it should have been a relief from a life gone seriously awry.

But death had other plans.

Icarus doesn't believe that the man awaiting him when he wakes up in a cheap motel room is really the archangel Michael, or that God's right hand wants him to help souls on their way to Heaven. Icarus doesn't believe there's a Heaven, so why should they want his help?

But the man claiming to be the archangel tempts him with an offer he can't ignore--harvest enough souls and get back the life he wished he'd had.

It seems Icarus has nothing to lose, until he botches a harvest and the soul that went to Hell instead of Heaven comes back to make him pay by threatening to take away the life he hoped to win back.

To save the wife and son he already lost once, Icarus will have to become the man he never was. Somehow, he will have to learn to believe.

I stood with my back to the church, much the way I’d lived my life.

Rain poured down the eaves, splashing my shoes. Each drop pattering against the leather felt as though it landed directly on my mood. I tugged my suit jacket tighter and glanced at my watch—almost eleven p.m. If the rain didn’t let up soon, Trevor would be in bed, his belated birthday present another day late. After letting him down again, Rae probably wouldn’t let me give him the gift, anyway. A heavy sigh drew the taste of rain on dry soil into my lungs as I suppressed the desire to call her names in my head, to blame her for everything. It wasn’t her fault.

There I stood, spirit as dampened by the April shower as my clothing, thinking I waited for the rain to stop, not knowing it was something else I waited for, something entirely different.

My death.

I shifted again and the plastic Best Buy bag hidden under my jacket to keep it dry slipped out and hit the stairs with a splash.

“Damn it.”

I stooped to retrieve the bag, feeling unremorseful for swearing outside a house of worship. There was no God to hear anyway and—with the Pope dry in the Vatican—who’d be offended? A plump drop of rain punished my Godly disdain with a direct hit to my left eye as I fetched my son’s gift from the top step.

I suspected the rain might not let up any time soon.

It probably couldn’t have happened any differently. Do we have any choice in what we do, or is it all pre-planned? I used to believe we did, but my beliefs—or lack of them—were about to be thrown into question, along with my opinion of what happens after we die.

I stepped back and shook moisture from the bag impatiently. It had been half an hour since the unexpected downpour began, its torrent catching me unprepared and forcing me from my planned path—to sneak Trevor his birthday present without Rae noticing me—to my current hiding spot at the church. This church of all churches.

See what I mean about choice?

If the rain wasn’t going to let up, I’d just have to get wet. I stepped from under the pathetic cover of the church’s eaves and my foot splashed in an unseen puddle, cold water soaking the Wal-Mart loafer on my left foot. Raindrops pelted my cheek and I bit back another curse as I jammed the Xbox game purchased for Trevor’s birthday into the pocket of my suit jacket and pulled the coat over my head. I felt like an idiot as my saturated footwear slurped with each step down the concrete path.

Halfway across the churchyard, I noticed two men blocking the path ahead. They wore jackets with hoods pulled up to hide their faces, keep the rain from their heads. At first glimpse, the sheets of rain gave them a ghostly quality, a glow, and made me doubt my eyes. My gaze flickered sideways to the graveyard beside the church, with its broken, moss-covered headstones canted at odd angles, but I quickly dismissed the thought. A trick of rain and poor light.

There’s no such thing as ghosts.

I slowed, wondering if the men could be avoided. Probably not. Living in the city my entire life taught me to be wary of men hanging out on the streets at night with their faces hidden. But this wasn’t the streets, it was a churchyard, and rain this heavy gave good reason to use a hood. Maybe they’d come for a little midnight prayer, eager for the best pew in the house.


“Good evening, gentlemen,” I ventured drawing closer to them. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?”

Apparently they didn’t think so. The man nearest me pulled a knife from under his forest-green rain slicker and jabbed it toward me, stabbing the rain between us. Hell of a reaction.

He could’ve just said ‘no’.

“Give me your money,” he growled.

I know you’re supposed to do what a mugger says: it’s your best shot at survival, but I didn’t. Maybe the rain made me hesitate, or the wetness in my shoes, or knowing the boy would be disappointed again; whichever, my brain wouldn’t let my body do what it knew it should. I stood taller than either of them, but they had the knife. All I had on them was fifteen years of poor eating and neglect.

“C’mon guys. It’s a crummy night and I’m two weeks late for my boy’s birthday. Let a guy be, will you? There must be some little old ladies running around practically begging to have their social security cheques stolen.”

“Shut up and give us your money, asshole.”

The man holding the knife remained in front of me as the other circled to my right, presumably to hinder any escape. I watched him out of the corner of my eye, saw rain bouncing off his gray raincoat, noticed that his runners didn’t match, but he quickly passed from view, blocked by the jacket held foolishly over my head, keeping my hair dry in case they killed me. Cool rain peppered my face as I dropped the coat back onto my shoulders and reached to pull my wallet from the inner pocket. The man with the knife lunged forward, brandishing the blade at my nose. My stomach jumped into my chest and I threw both hands up in the air like a good mugging victim.

“Whoa. You want my money, you need my wallet.”

The tip of the knife waggled in the air, gesturing for me to continue. I stared at the point of the blade, at the man’s fingerless glove and the way he’d chewed his fingers until they looked painful. Beyond his arm, I thought I saw a smile hidden in the darkness beneath the hood.

I sighed, a shuddering breath lamenting how little my wallet contained for them to steal as much as it did the fact they were stealing it. The man behind me snatched it away before it cleared my pocket, his nails raking my wrist, and rifled through the meager contents. He snatched the three bills it contained, made a face at the fifteen bucks, and then took the VISA card I’d fought so hard to get after ruining my credit a few years back. Joke’s on him if he uses it, they’ll probably ask for a payment first.

He showed the sparse loot to his partner.

“Fifteen bucks? That’s it?”

“Look at this.” He’d dug out my driver’s licence. I knew this would happen. “The guy’s name is Icarus Fell. Icarus, like in the Iron Maiden song”

“Yeah,” I said. “The guy who named me didn’t like me much. Call me Ric.”

“Sure, Icarus,” the guy holding the knife said in a schoolyard-bully lilt. With a name like Icarus Fell, I’d heard that tone enough to recognize it. He stepped toward me, blade extended to within an inch of my face. I wanted to take an equal step away, but knew his partner wouldn’t like that, so I stood my ground, hoping to look more brave than stupid. “What else you got?”

“Nothing. That’s it.”

“Check his pockets. He put something in his pocket.”

The man tossed my wallet onto the grass where it landed with a mucky-sounding splat. He advanced on me and this time I moved. He grabbed my arm, pulled me toward him.

“Don’t do nothing stupid.”

Why didn’t he tell me that twenty-five or thirty years ago?

He patted my pants pockets first—the most action I’d seen in a while—then moved to the pockets of my suit jacket; the right hand outer one produced a hollow, plasticky thud. I cringed.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing,” I said inching away. “A game for my kid.”

“Give it up.”

“Guys, really. What are you going to do with a video game?”

His fingers dug into my bicep. “Give it to me.”

“I already missed his birthday. Can’t you let me keep it?” I yanked against his grip knowing I shouldn’t—people got killed for less—but I couldn’t let Trevor down. Not again. “Take everything else. I won’t tell anyone.”

“There is nothing else. Give it to me,” the knife-wielder demanded.

I wondered what Rae would tell Trevor when he didn’t get a present from me again. Probably that, since someone else was his ‘real’ father, I didn’t care.

Adrenaline flooded my brain, but it didn’t heighten my senses the way they describe in books. Instead, it made me stupid. Before I realized what I was doing, I swung at the man holding my arm, my fist contacting his nose with a satisfying crunch. The move surprised both of us and he lifted his hands to his face.

It took a second to comprehend that he’d let me go. My heartbeat quickened, pulsed in my ears. I ran, or attempted to: dress shoes aren’t made for sprinting on wet grass. Both men jumped me before I got going, riding me to the ground like they were the cowboys and I was the calf. A knee pressed into my back, an elbow in my ear as my cheek sank into soggy lawn knocking breath from my lungs and hope from my heart. My clothes soaked instantly, plastering cloth to skin, the smell of wet earth filled my nose, literally.

“You stupid bastard,” one of them said, but the mud in one ear and elbow in the other precluded me from identifying which one. “Couldn’t give us the stupid game, could you?” He yanked it out of my pocket.

The pain of the knife’s tip pushing through the flesh of my lower back into my kidney hurt more than I could ever have imagined. The shock of it made me suck a mixture of cold air and dirty rain water through taut lips and expel it all in an agonized howl. The knife rose and fell again, then again, perforating my internal organs, each stab more painful than the last. Each time it pulled free, I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in that it would end, that I would get up and hurry on my way to see Trevor.

My body jerked and spasmed beneath the men straddling me, my bladder let go. After the fourth time the knife entered me, my flesh went numb. It may have pierced me a few more times, but I lost interest in counting. I gasped air in through my mouth and the breath tasted like the black crud scraped off bread left too long in the toaster. And blood.

“That’s enough. Let’s go,” one of them said, presumably the one not engaged in shredding my bowels.

Their weight lifted off my back and my mind told me to roll over and sit up, defend against further attack, but my muscles would have nothing of such a proposal, so I lay on the wet grass doing the only thing I could: bleed. Maybe I wept a little, too, but who can tell in the rain?

“I guess Icarus really did fall, didn’t he, Ric?”

Their laughter didn’t sting nearly as much as the knife, and it dissipated much more quickly as they ran off. I was used to being teased but couldn’t say the same of being knifed. After they left, my ragged breathing and the sound of rain pattering around and on me became my world. I never realized how much noise rain hitting grass made until my ear was pressed to the ground with no choice but to listen.

My stomach knotted as the gravity of my situation set in: after eleven on a Wednesday night, bleeding on the lawn outside an empty church in the kind of downpour that convinced people not to venture out for a chat with God.

Did I mention I was bleeding? A lot?

Water pooled in my ear canal until the unnaturally loud plop of rain drops splashing into the tiny pond drowned out even the sound of my breath. Not steady, metronomic drips like I imagined a water torture would be, but an uneven patter that, should I live long enough, would likely prove equally effective at driving me crazy.


In my head, the single word came out a scream, shaking trees and rattling windows, attracting the attention needed to save me so I could see my son again, even if it was for the last time. In reality, it was more of a peep. I closed my eyes and sucked dirty water through my nose then coughed it out my mouth. The pain it induced in my back and side hurt worse than the original stabbing, like someone stood over me with a hot poker pressed to my side, except I was cold and wet and bleeding to death, too. A hot poker didn’t sound so bad.

“Help,” I peeped.

All Who Wander Are Lost #2(Coming Soon)
If we're good, we go to Heaven; if we're bad we go to Hell. No one wants to go to Hell.

Except one man who wishes people would just remember to call him Ric.

In the aftermath of a serial killer's murderous spree, souls who didn't deserve damnation went to Hell. The archangel Michael doesn't seem concerned, but Icarus Fell can't bear the guilt of knowing it's his fault they ended up there.

But how can he save them when the archangel forbids him from going and his guardian angel refuses to help?

The answer comes in the form of another beautiful, bewitching guardian angel who offers to be his guide. They travel to Hell to rescue the unjustly damned one by one, but salvation comes at a cost and the economy of Hell demands souls.

Is it a price Icarus is willing to pay?

Author Bio:
Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.


On Unfaithful Wings #1

All Who Wander Are Lost #2

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State of Allegiance by Summer Lane

Title: State of Allegiance
Author: Summer Lane
Series: Collapse #9
Genre: Dystopia, New Adult
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Be brave. Be vigilant. But above all, be loyal.

In the wake of a dangerous but successful mission to Yukon City in Alaska, Cassidy Hart now finds herself back in California, at the naval air station in San Diego. Together, she and Chris now face their most terrifying threat yet: nuclear destruction.

Surviving in a world gone nuclear is easier said than done. Faced with the prospect of being wiped off the face of the earth by Omega’s nuclear arsenal, Cassidy, Chris and their fellow rebel friends stage an incredible, daring journey into the Pacific Rim with the hope that they will be able to seize a weapon that could turn the tide of the war in the militia’s favor.

The clock of the apocalypse is counting down.
Choices must be made. Relationships will be strained. True love will be put to the ultimate test.
It’s militias versus Omega. Hope versus destruction.

Where does your allegiance lie?

Choose carefully.

“Staying Alive” by Summer Lane
Cassidy Hart is still alive! After 9 installments in the Collapse Series, she still manages to evade death, and to outsmart her enemies. Some people might say that she is “too lucky,” but let’s face it: who wants to read about a character that’s going to die? In fact, the entire premise of the Collapse Series is a group of extraordinarily driven people who will do anything and everything to survive. That’s what makes their story worth telling.

The concept of living off the grid is one that utterly fascinates me. I have an inner “wild woman,” so to speak. I feed her by reading books about the wilderness, survival and military adventures. I think that the apocalypse is the perfect setting for my characters because it throws them into an environment that makes everything harder, crazier and more dangerous.

As a post-apocalyptic author, I definitely believe that it’s important to be prepared for any emergency or disaster! I have jugs and jugs of pure water stored away in my closet, along with cans of food, matches, blankets, boots and more. You never know when something is going to shift in your world and force you to take major evasive action. And to answer a question that is frequently asked of me: yes, I have become much more prepared for an emergency over the course of writing this series, and all of the stories contained within its universe (16 books so far!).

Staying alive, at least in Collapse, is entirely dependent on three elements, adaptation, skill and luck. Cassidy’s ability to adapt to the new world was the first thing that helped her to survive. Second, not only did she adapt, but she forged new, strong skills that put her at the top of the food chain. Lastly, she’s had a good amount of luck – all good heroes do! Yet her luck is primarily made herself, and by her friends. What’s the lesson here? When in doubt, make your own luck!

So what do I think are the main things that we can do, here in our everyday life, to stay alive? Here’s my advice:

  • Always be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. 
  • Never underestimate the power of scared people to do stupid things (and avoid those people!). 
  • Keep food, water, medicine, clothing and any weapons (your rubber-band gun counts, right? *wink*) easily accessible at all times. You never know when disaster may strike! 
  • Never assume that you are safe. Like Cassidy Hart, be aware that every moment is dangerous, and be on your guard! 
  • Consider acquiring an animal companion, like a dog. They are great guardians and faithful friends. 

Remember, the apocalypse will show you no mercy…be ready to fight back!


How does it feel to publish the 9th installment of the Collapse Series – and your 16th overall?
It feels unreal! When I was a kid, I always pictured myself as an author, sharing my stories with readers, but I admit I didn’t really think that would materialize until I was much older than I am right now. I’ve been really blessed – and I’ve worked really hard!

What’s a typical day in your life like? 
I do manage a business, so while I do a lot more than simply write manuscripts, writing certainly is the base of everything that I engage in. I just got a German Shepherd puppy named Kona, and she gets me up early in the morning (earlier than usual, haha!), and I’ll start work then. If I have a good day, I’ll be done with work around 2:30 or 3. If it’s a long day, I’ll be working until 6.

What is State of Hope going to be like – and is it the last book in the series? 
State of Hope is going to be long, intense and flushed with adrenaline. There are so many secrets to be revealed, so many character plots to be tied up neatly, and most importantly: Cassidy’s conclusion in this apocalyptic war. While Hope is indeed the final installment in the Collapse Series, it is not the last book in the Collapse universe. I certainly do have some plans for Cassidy in the future – they may not be as huge as Collapse, but trust me: I have plans.

How do you stay motivated and healthy in your career as a writer?
I stay motivated by keeping my eye on the prize: I remove negativity from my life, because nobody needs that. I try to surround myself with people who really care about me and support what I do. Staying healthy, for me, at least, is actually really difficult. My profession requires a lot of sitting, so I have to make an extra effort to get up, walk and move. It’s also tempting to snack on junk food working in an office (am I right?). I try hard to indulge only with healthy snacks: I have celery sticks and apples in the fridge, I like cheese, and any gluten-free cracker in combination. I also just discovered baked parmesan crisps. Oh, my heart!

Advice to aspiring authors?
Don’t let anybody bring you down. Never take no as a final answer. Work hard, and it will pay off, one way or another.

Author Bio:
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of the Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy, Bravo Saga, Collapse: The Illustrated Guide and the adventure thriller, Unbreakable SEAL.

Summer owns WB Publishing. She is an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher. She also owns an online magazine, Writing Belle, where she has interviewed and worked with countless authors from around the globe.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, where she enjoys reading, collecting tea, visiting the beach and the mountains, and counting down the days until she has her very own puppy (if you’ve read Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, you’ll understand).


State of Allegiance #9


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