Sunday, August 5, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #3: Dallas Museum of Art

Hello, and thank you for checking out the third "behind the scenes" of my contemporary lesbian romance CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART blog-post series. This one is about the Dallas Museum of Art, which is featured in the novel.


photo from dallasartsdistrict.org 


I've been to this museum twice, and both times I've gone, I've wished I had more time. I know the word "amazing" is overused, but this museum is amazing. So. Much. To See.

It's so much more than just an "art" museum to me because it not only features works from all around the world, but it features pieces from all across the timeline of humanity, from modern times to ancient history. It's like stepping into a time machine and connecting with each artist on an intimate level, giving you special insight into what it might have felt like, living in a specific time, in a specific country. That's something the history books will never be able to provide. It's something truly special.

You may be wondering, why put it in a romance novel? Well, I've always thought that museums were a romantic place to visit. Maybe it's because the art and history contained within museums are just such wonderful expressions of raw humanity, like love is. Human beings are unique in the animal kingdom in that we express ourselves with multiple types of art, and we are also unique in that we can fall in love and experience the thrill of romance. Also, it's fun to examine the pieces and to find those that we especially relate to, whether we can explain it or not, and it gives us something exciting and thought-provoking to talk about with a date.

In my novel, Macy and Sophia take a trip here on one of their first dates. Unlike Lamppost, TX, this museum actually does exist--it isn't just a product of my imagination--and you can visit it anytime in real life. I've actually been waiting for a chance to stick it in one of my stories. I took my memories from my most recent visit and used them to flesh out the details of certain pieces that spoke to me as I came across them and observed them. So when you're reading the novel, you're also getting a chance to focus on what I especially liked during my last trip over there!

Curious to see how this museum played a part in my novel? Check it out!




And as always, thanks for reading!


-Scarlett

P.S. If you missed the earlier CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART spotlights...

--> click here for #1 <--

and -->here for #2 <--


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Guest Post On Writing

Please join me over at Shelby Kent Stewart's blog to read my guest post on the transformative power of writing: On Being the Storytellers of Our Lives.

-SK

Sunday, July 22, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #2: The Magic of Horses

In my new contemporary lesbian romance, CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART, love interest and country girl Sophia takes main character and city girl Macy to visit her aunt's horses. I wanted to include horses in this book because of my limited but magical personal experience with these creatures when I lived in Bellevue, TX (For more on Bellevue's role in inspiring the fictional town of Lamppost, TX, --> click here <--).


Image from pexels.com


I was ten years old when I lived in Bellevue, and while there, I had the opportunity to take riding lessons from a young woman who lived in a trailer on some land across the highway. She taught me how to barrel race, which was fun, but I never had any interest in doing it at a rodeo or anything.

She also taught me the difference between a horse's walk, trot, lope, and run. A walk was nice and slow, and a trot felt like riding down a bumpy brick road. The lope was nice and smooth. But the first time the horse took off in a run through the pasture with me on her back, it felt like I was flying. It was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences of my existence.

Horses have intrigued me ever since. I've never owned one, but any chance I get to interact with them, I take. How we could have domesticated such majestic creatures is mind-blowing to me. Happy horses have such a powerful, peaceful aura. Just spending a few minutes in their presence can lift my mood. Feisty, frustrated horses are intimidating to be around; they have the potential to be deadly to humans. I was so happy I had the chance to put these animals in my latest book.


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART is available now at the following retailers:







Thanks for stopping by! 


-SK

Sunday, July 15, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #1: What Inspired Lamppost, Texas?

A large portion of my newest contemporary lesbian romance novel CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART takes place in the fictional town of Lamppost, Texas. If you were to look for this town on a map, you wouldn't find it. But there are two real-life towns that inspired Lamppost.

After my parents divorced when I was a kid, I found myself moving around a lot with my mother and two younger brothers. One town that we ended up living in for about a year was Bellevue, Texas. I recently had the chance to stop by Bellevue (population 343, as of 2016), and I took some pictures for this post.

One of the town's noticeable features is its powder blue water tower. I parked at the closed post office and snapped this shot:




As a kid, I always wanted to climb up to the top of it, but I never had the guts to do it.

Another memorable feature of Bellevue is the fact that none of its roads are paved. They're all gravel, including the roads that go right by the school:




I have fond memories of walking up and down these gravel roads with my little brothers to kill time during the heat of summer. There wasn't much to walk to; at the time, there was only one gas station in operation, and only one restaurant. We used to amble down to the gas station in the afternoon and buy candy with the coins we'd earned for doing our chores. The gas station is still there, but the original restaurant closed down and is replaced by a newer one. Other than that, there are still a few churches, a post office, and (much to the disgust of most of the town) the out-of-place porn shop just down the highway. Needless to say, my brothers and I were never allowed to visit the sex store!

The second town I based Lamppost on is Jacksboro, Texas, where we also lived for a short time. It's larger than Bellevue (population 4,347 in 2016), and it has an actual town square with a courthouse. There's more to do in Jacksboro, but it's still got that small town vibe going on. I haven't been back to Jacksboro in years, so I don't have any pictures, but if you want to check out the city's web page, --> here's the link <--. 


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART is available now at the following retailers:







Thursday, July 12, 2018

Now Available: CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART

It's live!





Oh, and by the way...

--> here's a link <-- to a little video I did on Instagram, talking about the release, and mostly thanking you all for your continued kind support. (My dog makes a surprise appearance at the end!)



Okay, now for the blurb!


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART

When Macy gets expelled from school for putting the class bully in his place, she believes she’s done with Lamppost, Texas forever. And good riddance! She prefers the thriving diverse city of Dallas to that boring town anyway. Years later, however, Macy finds herself returning to Lamppost to do a favor for a family member. When she becomes reacquainted with one beautiful woman in particular, her feelings begin to change. Macy soon starts to discover that the very place she hoped to leave behind might secretly hold the key to her heart.



And here are the buy links! (Also, those of you who use Amazon, as you know, you can sample the first few pages for free!)


Amazon

Painted Hearts Publishing

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble



Much love!

XoXo

Scarlett

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lesbian Film Review: Disobedience

**Warning! This review contains some spoilers!**

This weekend I was lucky enough to get to go see Disobedience, the new forbidden lesbian love movie starring Rachel McAdams and Rachel Wiesz. It was playing as part of the "Magnolia at the Modern" film series at The Modern Museum in Fort Worth.






If you're unfamiliar with the premise, here's what it's about in a nutshell (taken from the blurb on The Modern's website):


"A photographer (Rachel Weisz) returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for her childhood attraction to a female friend (Rachel McAdams). Their reunion soon reignites their passion as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality."






The first thing that struck me as noticeable about this film was its dark, bleak tone. Rachel Wiesz's character, Ronit, receives notice that her father, a prominent religious figure in her Jewish home community, has died. She returns home to a mostly cold reception by her estranged family and friends. It quickly becomes painfully obvious that she was cast out, and as the film progresses, we discover it was due to a scandal involving Rachel McAdam's character, Esti. 

Fitting with the bleak tone are the colors of the film, or rather lack of colors. The director used neutrals both in setting and in costumes. Except for a few select scenes, it sticks with this colorless palette, but the scenes that do have splashes of color are those in which the Ronit and esti connect in a fiery way. Even the simple act of sharing a cigarette brings a little burst of literal and symbolic flame to the scene, and the two actresses pull it off so that it's effectively erotic. There are nice little artistic touch here and there like this throughout the movie.

As one would expect, it doesn't take too long for Ronit and Esti's total re-connection to happen, and boy does it happen, and on a deep, soulful level. Their performances are exquisite. I didn't just witness it distantly on screen; I could actually feel the passion between them. It was the kind of desire that we can only hope to experience in our short lives - that reckless sort of love that transcends all logic. But along with feeling their love comes a foreboding tension. Esti is married now, and so the two women must hide this rekindling of their affair. I was terrified from the get-go that they would get caught, which made a lot of the film uncomfortable for me.

We do get to experience a hell of a love scene though... Oh, that love scene! What a gorgeous, erotic physical consummation of these two women, who clearly desire one another above any other thing in the universe, and you can absolutely feel it. This moment in the film is also an amusing foil to a previous love scene between Esti and her husband, which clearly was just rote, passionless duty for her.

I won't give away the details of the ending, but I will say that I have mixed feelings about it. I both liked and disliked how things wrapped up. There was one powerful moment in particular, involving Esti's husband, Dovid, played by Allesandro Nivola, that brought me to tears. He, like the two leading women, gave Oscar-worthy performances in this film. This movie will leave you thinking about its characters long after you leave the theater.

Finally, I want to mention the soundtrack. It's a haunting, beautiful piece of work. It fits the forbidden love theme very well. 

If you get a chance to go see Disobedience, do so. It is a highly emotional, sometimes uncomfortably tense, yet ultimately powerful love story that I think will definitely get some attention during awards season. 


Thanks for reading!

-Scarlett


***

Do you love F/F romance stories? Please visit my official website: www.scarlettknight.org.

  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Good Relationships Need Good Soil

I've heard it said that relationships are like flowers.

Flowers need the right amount of sun and water in order to grow. Relationships similarly need love and attention in order to grow. But they also don't need too much sun or water. Otherwise, they wither and die.

I've seen troubled relationships transform into beautiful bonds when people simply pay more attention to each other and give one another the perfect amount of both space and care.

But what about the flowers that get the right amount of sun and water, and they still die?

What about those relationships in which we feel we've done everything right, but things still feel so wrong?

Perhaps it's just bad soil...

I've been living in my current house for the past 5 or so years, and I have had the worst time getting anything I plant to grow in the flowerbeds out back. Weeds grow, but I don't want weeds! I've tried planting all kinds of things I desire: hostas, zinnias, herbs of all kinds, even succulents. Nothing stays alive! I've had to plant things in separate planters with store-bought soil in order to grow anything. And it took me about 5 years to realize that it wasn't me -- I wasn't the one messing up. I wasn't the terrible gardener; I'd been doing everything right.

It was just bad soil.

And this realization also hit me. Relationships also need good soil in order for growth to happen. Sometimes, no matter what we do, certain relationships are just not going to work. It doesn't matter how much we love them or how much attention or space we give them. The flowers will always die. And it's not due to any fault of our own. Sometimes the other person simply doesn't have the fertile ground, or the foundation, for a healthy relationship to even take place. So what do you do?

You take all the wonderful things you have to offer another person, and you find better soil!


-SK