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Academy Award® Nominated: Crazy Heart

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A worn-down country singer and a burgeoning journalist form an unusual bond in this drama adapted from the novel by Thomas Cobb. His spirit broken by multiple failed marriages, too much time on the road, and too many nights with the bottle, Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) had started to feel like he was headed down the path of no return. When probing young writer Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) digs deep enough to unearth the broken man behind the legend, however, Bad realizes that redemption may not be such a long shot after all. The film has been described by Leonard Maltin as “half Big Lebowski, half Urban Cowboy meets The Wrestler“.

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Credits

Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Cooper
Writer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Cooper
Based on Novel by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Cobb
Producers . Rob Carliner, Judy Cairo, Robert Duvall, Michael A. Simpson, and Scott Cooper
Executive Producers . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Bridges, T-Bone Burnett and Eric Brenner
Line Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alton Walpole
Original Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry Markowitz
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Axelrad

The voice cast includes: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal,James Keane, Anna Felix, Paul Herman, Tom bower, Ryan Bignham,
Beth Grant, and Rick Dial

Reviews

IMDB member
“Saw an early screening of “Crazy Heart”. “Crazy Heart” is a very good film for one reason. Many critics have praised it and will continue to do so. Many critics will write it off as “just another washed-up musician struggling to overcome their addictions and weaknesses and make sense of things”, etc. In a way, they are right. In a way, this is another one of those movies. But, because of Jeff Bridges’ absolutely amazing performance, this film is more than that. If you want to see an actor breathe real-life into their character, endow truthful subtlety in their part, and absolutely nail a role that they were born to play, then you need to see Jeff Bridges rendition of Bad Blake. I believed that Bridge’s portrayal of “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski” was the essential role of his career, but after seeing this performance, I’ve changed my tune. It’s true that we will not be witnessing cinematic history with the incredible plot or awe-inspiring film-making. However, if you are a fan of acting and want to see one of those performances that comes along every once in a rare while, please check out this film.”

Did You Know?

The movies character Bad Blake is based on a combination of Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard.

The novel on which the film was based was actually inspired by country singer Hank Thompson.

The concert scenes where Bad Blake opens for Tommy Sweet were filmed at a Toby Keith concert at the Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque. Keith is thanked in the credits.

Ryan Bingham, who plays Tony (the musician Bad talks to at the bowling alley) is a real-life rising country-rock star. Bingham co-wrote “The Weary Kind” with T-Bone Burnett and Bingham’s recording of “The Weary Kind” won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

Jeff Bridges has always been musically inclined, and actually released an album titled Be Here Soon in 2000.

Three Nominations

Best Actor~Jeff Bridges
Best Supporting Actress~Maggie Gyllenhaal
Best in Music (Original Song)

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Nominated for Best Actor ~ Jeff Bridges ~Crazy Heart

Posted by: Audiegrl

Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors and is a four-time Academy Award® nominee. Bridges can currently be seen in the war comedy MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, playing Bill Django a free spirited military intelligence officer who is the leader of a secret group of warriors in the army. He stars opposite George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey. Bridges last starred opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios blockbuster IRON MAN playing the character of Obadiah Stane.

He earned his first Oscar nod in 1971 for Best Supporting Actor in Peter Bogdanovich’s THE LAST PICTURE SHOW co-starring Cybill Shepard. Three years later he received his second Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Michael Cimino’s THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT. By 1984 he landed top kudos with a Best Actor nomination for STARMAN. That performance also earned him a Golden Globe® nomination. In 2001, he was honored with another Golden Globe nomination and his fourth Oscar nomination for his role in THE CONTENDER, Rod Lurie’s political thriller co-starring Gary Oldman and Joan Allen, in which Bridges played the President of the United States.

He just wrapped production on Disney’s sci-fi, action, thriller TRON LEGACY, a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world. He reprises the roll of Kevin Flynn and stars opposite Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde for director Joseph Kosinski. TRON LEGACY is currently slated for a fall 2010 release.

He can next be seen starring opposite Justin Timberlake in THE OPEN ROAD as Kyle Garrett a legendary ballplayer trying to reconnect with his son while coming to terms with who they are and what kind of men they should be. The film is written and directed by Michael Meredith. Additionally, he is starring in A DOG YEAR for HBO Films/Picturehouse based on the memoir by Jon Katz and directed by George LaVoo who also wrote the screenplay.

Last summer he starred opposite Shia LaBeouf, as Geek a cantankerous washed-up surfer penguin in the Academy Award nominated SURFS’ UP from Sony Pictures Animation. The same year he appeared in THE AMATEURS, a comedy written and directed by Michael Traeger, in which citizens of a small town, under the influence of a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis (Bridges), come together to make an adult film.

Prior to that he was in his second film for director Terry Gilliam titled TIDELAND where he played Noah, a drug addicted, has-been, rock guitarist as well as STICK IT for Touchstone Pictures playing the coach of a team of rule-abiding gymnasts.

The actor’s multi-faceted career has cut a wide swathe across all genres. He has starred in numerous box office hits including Gary Ross’ SEABISCUIT, Terry Gilliam’s offbeat comedic drama THE FISHER KING (co-starring Robin Williams), the multi-award nominated THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (co-starring his brother Beau Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer), THE JAGGED EDGE (opposite Glenn Close), Francis Ford Coppola’s TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM, BLOWN AWAY (co-starring his late father Lloyd Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones), Peter Weir’s FEARLESS (with Isabella Rosselini and Rosie Perez), and Martin Bell’s AMERICAN HEART (with Edward Furlong, produced by Bridges’ company AsIs Productions). That film earned Bridges an IFP/Spirit Award in 1993 for Best Actor.

In the summer of 2004, he appeared opposite Kim Bassinger in the critically acclaimed THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR for director Todd Williams and Focus Features that earned him another IFP/Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor.

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart

Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart

He played a major featured role in THE MUSE (an Albert Brooks comedy starring Brooks, Sharon Stone and Andie McDowell) he has also appeared in the suspense thriller ARLINGTON ROAD (co-starring Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack, directed by Mark Pellington) and starred in SIMPATICO, the screen version of Sam Shepard’s play (with Nick Nolte, Sharon Stone and Albert Finney). In 1998, he starred in the Coen brothers’ cult comedy THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Before that, he starred in Ridley Scott’s WHITE SQUALL, Walter Hill’s WILD BILL, John Huston’s FAT CITY, and Barbara Streisand’s romantic comedy THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES. Some of Bridges’ other acting credits include HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE, K-PAX, MASKED AND ANONYMOUS, STAY HUNGRY, FAT CITY, BAD COMPANY, AGAINST ALL ODDS, CUTTER’S WAY, THE VANISHING, TEXASVILLE, THE MORNING AFTER, NADINE, RANCHO DELUXE, SEE YOU IN THE MORNING, EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE, TRON, THE LAST AMERICAN HERO and HEART OF THE WEST.

In 1983 Jeff founded the End Hunger Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding children around the world. Jeff produced the End Hunger televent, a three-hour live television broadcast focusing on world hunger. The televent featured Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Burt Lancaster, Bob Newhart, Kenny Loggins and other leading film, television and music stars in an innovative production to educate and inspire action.

Through his company, AsIs Productions, he produced “Hidden in America” which starred his brother Beau. That television movie, produced for Showtime, received a Golden Globe nomination in 1996 for Best TV/Cable Film and garnered a Screen Actors Guild nod for Best Actor for Beau Bridges. The film was also nominated for two Emmy® Awards.

One of Jeff’s true passions is photography. While on the set of his movies, Jeff takes behind the scenes pictures of the actors, crew, and locations. After completion of each motion picture, he edits the images into a book and gives copies to everyone involved. Jeff’s photos have been featured in several magazines including Premiere and Aperture as well as in other publications worldwide. He has also had gallery exhibits of his work in New York at the George Eastman House, in Los Angeles, London and San Diego.

The books, which have become valued by collectors, were never intended for public sale but in the fall of 2003, powerHouse Books released Pictures: Photographs By Jeff Bridges, a hardcover book containing a compilation of photos taken on numerous film locations over the years, to much critical acclaim. Proceeds from the book are donated to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a non-profit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers.

Several years ago, Jeff fulfilled a life-long dream by releasing his first album, Be Here Soon on Ramp Records, the Santa Barbara, CA label he co-founded with Michael McDonald and producer/singer/ songwriter Chris Pelonis. The CD features guest appearances by vocalist/ keyboardist Michael McDonald, Grammy-nominated Amy Holland, and country-rock legend David Crosby. Ramp Records also released Michael McDonald’s album Blue Obsession. Jeff, his wife Susan and their three children divide their time between their home in Santa Barbara, California and their ranch in Montana.

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actress ~ Maggie Gyllenhaal ~Crazy Heart

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy

Maggie GyllenhaalMaggie Gyllenhaal is one of the great young actresses of today. After receiving rave reviews out of the 2002 Sundance competition for her starring role opposite James Spader in Lion’s Gate’s SECRETARY, she went on to receive a Golden Globe® nomination for “Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical,” an Independent Spirit Award nomination for “Best Actress,” a Chicago Film Critics’ Award for “Most Promising Performer,” a Boston Film Critics’ Award for “Best Actress,” a National Board of Review Award for “Breakthrough Performance” and an IFP/ Gotham “Breakthrough Performance” Award.

Years later, back at Sundance in 2007, Maggie starred in SHERRYBABY which opened in theaters September of last year. The film was well-received by critics and garnered her second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama. Gyllenhaal was also nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for her role in Don Roos’ HAPPY ENDINGS, opposite Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold.

Maggie was recently seen in the Warner Bros. box office hit DARK KNIGHT, directed by Chris Nolan and in Sam Mendes’ AWAY WE GO. Next up will be THE BIG BANG with Emma Thompson.

In August 2006, Maggie was seen in TRUST THE MAN with Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and David Duchovny and in Oliver Stone’s WORLD TRADE CENTER with Maria Bello and Nicholas Cage. She also starred in Marc Forster’s STRANGER THAN FICTION with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson. In the past few years, she appeared in John Sayles’ CASA DE LOS BABYS with Daryl Hannah and Lily Taylor and Mike Newell’s MONA LISA SMILE in which Maggie co-starred with Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst. She was also seen in CRIMINAL with Diego Luna and John C. Reilly as well as Spike Jonze’s ADAPTATION.

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock in Crazy Heart

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock in Crazy Heart

Also accomplished on stage, Gyllenhaal starred as Alice in Patrick Mauber’s award-winning Closer at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for director Robert Egan, and previously at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has also appeared in Anthony and Cleopatra at the Vanborough Theatre in London. In 2004, Maggie starred in Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul, which ran in both Los Angeles and at B.A.M. Next, Maggie will be seen alongside Peter Sarsgaard and Mamie Gummer in Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.

Maggie made her feature film debut in 1992, alongside Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke in WATERLAND. This was followed by a memorable performance as “Raven,” the Satan worshipping make-up artist in John Waters’ quirky Hollywood satire, CECIL B. DEMENTED, which led her to a co-starring role in DONNIE DARKO, a fantasy-thriller about disturbed adolescence.

Gyllenhaal is a 1999 graduate of Columbia University where she studied Literature

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The True and Heart-warming Story of Jasmine the Greyhound

Posted by: Betsm

Jasmine

Jasmine

In 2003, police in Warwickshire , England , opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had quite clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

Jasmine and foxJasmine, however, had other ideas. No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal. Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.

Geoff relates one of the early incidents. “We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”

Jasmine with another one of her 'babies'. She has cared for 15 rabbits in total

Jasmine with another one of her 'babies'. She has cared for 15 rabbits in total

“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”

Jasmine and Bramble the roe deer

Jasmine and Bramble the roe deer

Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits – and one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted.

“They are inseparable,” says Geoff. “Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It’s a real treat to see them.”

Jasmine and Bramble

Jasmine with Bramble, with a mother's heart doing best what a caring mother would do...

Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.

And, just in case you wondered, Snopes.com has verified the truth of this wonderful story and the reality of these photographs which accompany the story.

Snopes noted, that this a summary of an article “Meet Jasmine, the Rescue Dog Who Has Become A Surrogate Mother for the 50th Time” which appeared in the Daily Mail on 31 December 2008. They couldn’t really add much to the story that wasn’t related in the original news article, other than to note that they contacted the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and were assured by assistant manager/trustee Stacey Clark that “the story is 100% true, Jasmine is still with us and is still looking after the odd waif and stray.”

Snopes also said, as to the question of whether some of the photographs displayed above might have involved some use of digital manipulation, Stacey told them that all the pictures were real, and that “The only ‘work’ that has been done is that the Barn owl was sat on a towel so that he didn’t hurt Jasmine with his claws, but we took the towel away so you could see the full beauty of Jasmine, as after all the story is about her.”

Pictured from the left are: Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, orphaned roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine

Pictured from the left are: Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, orphaned roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine

Please pass this story on, and help make someone else’s day to be just a little brighter!

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Filed under Animals, Pets, Uncategorized, Wildlife

We Are The World 25 For Haiti

Join our community. Be part of the solution.

We Are the World

The recording of ‘We Are The World 25 For Haiti’ embodies the same enthusiasm, sense of purpose and generosity as the original recording 25 years ago. Through the contributions of the new voices to this rendition of ‘We Are The World,’ and with the help of our partners, the We Are The World Foundation will be committed to transparency and will help further the spirit of activism that was at the heart of the original song and movement.

We are developing mechanisms to permit our donors and members of the community to monitor the funds raised, the expenses paid, and the charitable grants funded by the We Are The World Foundation, a newly created not-for-profit organization founded by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie who have invited Wyclef Jean, Paul Haggis, Randy Phillips, Peter Tortorici and Ambassador Luis Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank to join them on the board. The Foundation is dedicated to raising money and to making grants to charitable organizations with meaningful and efficient relief and development programs that are responding to the continuing crisis in Haiti.

Please visit the website, to learn more…

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Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

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Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

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The Political Carnival: Video- Kurtz and Panel Mock Limbaugh Saying He Didn’t Get Special Treatment

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44-D Book Diaries with Audiegrl: Evie Rhodes’ The Forgotten Spirit

The Forgotten Spirit by Evie RhodesToday’s interview features award-winning gospel songwriter, script writer and nationally best-selling author Evie Rhodes, discussing her timeless classic holiday novel The Forgotten Spirit – A Christmas Tale. A remarkable story filled with the traditions and the spirit of Christmas, just in time for the holiday season.

In The Forgotten Spirit, Rhodes introduces a special girl who is wise beyond her years and blessed with a unique and magical gift. Jamie is no ordinary nine-year-old, but a girl who has been chosen to bring back the love and remembrances that have long been forgotten amid the harsh realities of the world in which she lives…

This heart warming novel is about love, new beginnings, and the amazing power of hope. After all, Christmas is a time for miracles…


blank

AG: I’ve read that you had a career as a Gospel Hip-Hop artist as Prophecy 1. You were also a songwriter and video scriptwriter. How did you move from music into the publishing field?

EV: It was a very natural path for me, because I considered making music and doing music videos a form of storytelling as well. So for me to move from there to being a novelist, just meant that I had a larger ground to tell stories.

AG: Were you always interested in writing fiction?

EV: I wasn’t, it’s not something I was conscious of for a very long time. Then when I did begin to do a lot of writing, many of the things I wrote just naturally seemed to gravitate to that arena.

AG: How would you describe The Forgotten Spirit? The story has been recently compared to a Christmas classic along the lines of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. How do you see the story?

EV: I see The Forgotten Spirit as a family story that can be embraced by everyone. A story that has warmth, that will have a very long life-span, because it has all the elements of humanity. It has all of the things that we all strive for and want in our lives everyday. The hope, the joy and the peace…those are elements that all people can relate to. Those are things we all, in one way or another, aspire to have in our lives.

AG: Who is the audience for The Forgotten Spirit? Is it more for young adults, or did you intend for it to be the same audience as your other novels?

EV: I didn’t write for a particular audience, it really is a family story than encompasses four generations. The young people, adults and elders are all together in this novel.

AG: What do you hope your readers get from The Forgotten Spirit?

EV: I really hope that my readers come away with something…whatever that something is…that they need to obtain. At the end of the day, only that reader knows what that something is. Something that is meant for them specifically. Overall I want them to enjoy the story and feel that they’ve been someplace different than their own lives.

AG: So far, what has been the reception from the public for the novel?

EV: Phenomenal. It’s truly a blessing. I’ve been getting letters from people in various parts of the country. People from all different backgrounds, tell me how inspired they are by the story. They tell me how the story brings back memories of Christmases past that they had forgotten.

AG: Now that the holiday season is upon us, what would you like people to take away from your novel?

EV: Giving. I consider The Forgotten Spirit the gift that keeps on giving. I hope that my readers will take a moment this season to just give one thing that they may not have given, or haven’t given in a long time. Just give one thing to someone else, or do something for someone else. Just because it’s a good thing to do. They will realize that sometimes, when we give to other people, it may enhance that person’s life, no matter how small it is.

Evie Rhodes began performing her combination of Gospel and Hip-Hop in churches in New York City. She wrote and performed as Prophecy 1 on the album Standing In Da Spirit, which received two awards from Real Blues Magazine for Best Gospel Album and Best Gospel Video for the song Changed. It was also awarded the Canadian Music Award for Best Gospel Album. Her other novels include ‘Street Vengeance‘, ‘Out “A” Order‘, ‘Expired‘ and ‘Criss Cross

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44-D Book Diaries with Audiegrl: Chelsea Cain’s Evil at Heart

NYT Best-selling author Chelsea CainToday’s interview features New York Times Best-selling author Chelsea Cain, discussing her profoundly addictive and disturbing new novel, Evil at Heart.

If you think Hannibal Lechter is scary? Check out serial killer Gretchen Lowell who is beautiful, brilliant, and cunning. This fall, Cain will carve out a place for herself on bookshelves everywhere with her new novel.

Evil at Heart is the third novel in Cain’s highly praised Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series, which heralded the birth of the new captivating face of evil and psychological suspense.

In my interview with Chelsea, I got to ask her some questions her fans dying to know.

AG: So serial killers and journalism: Are these two of your top interests?

CC: Right up there with infanticide and cannibalism. I’m kidding, of course. I wouldn’t include either serial killers or journalism in my top interests. Though if I did, serial killers would be way higher on the list. I just really like thrilling stories and these seem to lend themselves to that genre.

AG: Your inspiration for the book came from the Green River Killer case, but how did you come up with Gretchen Lowell? She’s pretty twisted.

CC: I actually remember reading stories as a kid about the Green River Killer in the Bellingham Herald. The idea of this unidentified killer being pursued by a task force of cops really captured my attention. I wanted my killer to be a woman because it made the obsessive nature of the cop-killer relationship instantly more complicated. But I wanted her to kill violently, like a man, because she enjoys it. Culturally we demand an explanation from our female killers. We want to blame their motives on a man – a bad father, a bad boyfriend. I didn’t want to provide an easy explanation for Gretchen’s homicidal tendencies. It’s way scarier to not understand her.

AG: How did you do the research for this book? Did you talk to any serial killers?

CC: No, and I hope I never do. I also didn’t actually torture anyone, though it probably would have lent some verisimilitude to the narrative. Maybe I’ll consider it for the sequels. I did read a lot of case studies about psychopaths. There is a great cannon of interviews with jailed psychopaths that is incredibly disturbing and illuminating. I also read a lot of forensic pathology texts, visited a billion web sites, talked to doctors, and read police handbooks. But the great thing about fiction is that if you find a few details that ring especially true, readers tend to go along with all the stuff you make up. (She says, fingers crossed.)

AG: It seems like you have a few things in common with the character of young reporter Susan Ward. How alike are you two?

CC: Susan and I share some of the same insecurities and preoccupation with fashion. She writes for The Oregon Herald. I write for The Oregonian. But she is way, way, way more damaged than I am. And my past is not nearly as complicated.

AG: The first thing I thought about when I read the first book Heartsick was Hannibal Lector. Are you hoping to turn Gretchen Lowell into a movie star any time soon? Who do you think could play I her?

CC: Heartsick has been optioned to be a movie, so there is a production company working very hard to get it made. They’ve got a script in development right now. Honestly, I’m pretty open-minded in terms of casting. Anthony Hopkins? Sure! The names that readers most often suggest are Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie. Any of those actresses would be terrific. I also really like Storm Large (the performer who portrays Gretchen on the website). She looks exactly like the Gretchen of my imagination. Which is sort of scary.

AG: I love the Gretchen Lowell fan site. Especially all the Gretchen sightings. What kind of response are you getting from fans?

CC: The people who find it really seem to like it. I’ve always thought of that site as a sort of DVD extra – readers who take the time to look up the url that’s mentioned as a plot point in Evil at Heart get rewarded with this funny and twisted ode to Gretchen. For the Gretchen sightings, our designer just went downtown and photographed blond women with their faces turned. In about an hour she had all the photos we needed.

AG: I’m a huge fan of HBO’s True Blood series. During one of the last episodes, Maryanne was sitting at the kitchen table reading a copy of Heartsick! I was so surprised…true story…I got up and did a victory dance. Please give me the scoop, were you as surprised as the rest of us, or was this something HBO contacted you about in advance? How has being featured on the show affected the book?

CC: That was pretty fucking awesome. I had no idea. We TIVO it so weren’t watching it live, but my husband’s mother called and left a message saying that she’d seen the book on True Blood, and my husband told me and I was like, no way, she’s wrong, she just thought she saw it. And then my husband’s father called (they’ve been divorced for thirty years, but apparently still watch the same TV shows), and he said the same thing. So we ran home and watched it, and sure enough there was Maryanne reading Heartsick! I peed my pants a little. As for sales, I have no idea. There was definitely increased web chatter about the book. And people continue to see it and bring it up to me. I love True Blood, so it was a huge thrill to be a tiny part of that show for a moment.

AG: Finally, what do you hope to do after this series is over?

CC: Over? I plan to write these suckers until someone makes me stop. But I am planning on starting another series to juggle along side it – more thrillers set in Portland. So stay tuned.

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Chelsea CainIf you would like to learn more about Chelsea Cain and her books please stop by ChelseaCain.com. For the hard-core Gretchen Lowell fans among you, since her escape, she’s been spotted in Oslo, Munich, Shanghai, and Ontario. Please stop by I Heart Gretchen Lowell if you need to send her a message or report a sighting.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Heartsick by Chelsea CainDet. Archie Sheridan led the Beauty Killer Task Force for ten years, before the Beauty Killer (Gretchen Lowell) caught him, tortured him for ten days and then mysteriously let him go and turned herself in. Now it’s two years later and Archie, addicted to pain pills and still obsessed with Gretchen, is called off medical leave to hunt a second serial killer. Pink-haired girl journalist Susan Ward is assigned to profile Archie. She knows he’s hiding something. But what? (It’s bigger than a breadbox.)

“In her dynamite first thriller, Cain introduces one of the most seductive and original psychopaths since Hannibal Lecter.”–Entertainment Weekly

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Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

Sweetheart by Chelsea CainWhen the body of a young woman is discovered in Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the first corpse he discovered there a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. Then, the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes from prison, and once the news breaks, all of Portland goes on high alert…but secretly, Archie is relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can capture Gretchen—and now he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all. Even if it means becoming her last victim…

“We’ve been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn’t work . . . but they do. Chalk it up to excellent writing and Cain’s ferocious sense of humor. The Portland (Ore.) setting is refreshing too.”—Stephen King

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Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart by Chelsea CainGretchen is still on the loose and Archie is still hospitalized after his ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong. They’ve entered a detente of sorts: Archie agrees not to kill himself if she agrees not to kill anyone else. But suddenly there’s something else to contend with that might be worse – a zealous fan of Gretchen’s, paying homage to the Beauty Killer by luring Archie and reporter Susan Ward to the scene of a grisly murder. At least they hope it’s the work of someone new, for the prospect of Gretchen breaking her promise is more than Archie can bear.

“Cain delivers her usual blend of organ-ripping, blood-soaked gore and compelling flawed heroes—and antiheroes.”–Publishers Weekly

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