Favorite Family Film: The Scarlet Pimpernel


Favorite Family Films Header GraphicRolling the Favorite Family Film feature out of mothballs today to bring you a classic movie to start your summer out right. This movie is based on the book The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orzcy, and it is one of those rare instances where I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I enjoy the book or the movie more.

There have been a few versions of this movie done, but my favorite, and the one I’m recommending here today, is the 1982 version with Jane Seymour, Anthony Adams, and a VERY YOUNG Ian McKellan.

This movie takes place in France and England, circa 1793 during the French Revolution. (This is not to be confused with the later revolution portrayed in Les Miserables… that particular rebellion took place in 1832 and the battle lasted all of 24 hours).

This movie, like so many of my favorites, has it all. Witty banter, epic heroes, a truly sinister villain, intrigue, and through it all one of the most beautiful romances ever.

Meet Sir Percival Blakeney, an English lord and ridiculous buffoon. He often visits his noble friends in Paris and enjoys all the usual sort of amusements: dinner parties, shows at the theater, hunting, poetry… but when he sees Margeurite St. Just on stage, he falls head over heels in love. He sweeps her off her feet and she eventually agrees to marry him, leaving France for his holdings in England.

Through it all runs an undercurrent of tension in their world. In Paris, it is not safe to be part of a noble line, for the Revolution is in full swing, and all noblemen and women are considered to be the Enemy, whether or not they truly have done anything wrong.

But there is a man working behind the scenes, striving to make the world a better place by rescuing innocent people from the mercilessness of the Guillotine… nobody knows his true name or face… for he is a master of disguise and cunning, but he has saved countless lives and continues to work tirelessly. He is the one known as The Scarlet Pimpernel!

Working against the Scarlet Pimpernel is Citizen Chauvelin, head of state security. Chauvelin is only concerned with his own advancement, the purity of his cause, and he harbors a desire for Marguerite St. Just, a desire that is frustrated by her marriage to Sir Blakeney – which makes him angry and causes him to threaten her brother’s safety.

When the young Dauphin’s life is at stake, the Scarlet Pimpernel will set out on his most daring rescue yet. Can he outwit the forces working against him a final time?

If you enjoy movies like The Princess Bride, or period pieces like North and South or Pride and Prejudice, or you love movies featuring heroes like Batman (The Scarlet Pimpernel was the story that Batman draws his origins from), you will love this movie. It’s older, but it has held up against the test of time. The acting is fantastic, the script is well-written and entertaining, and the cinematography does not feel overly cheesy or low-budget. Trust me, this is a great one!

You can watch this one via Amazon with a free trial of something called Acorn. You can also rent it online at places like Youtube, Google Play, and iTunes.


Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it? Do you have any favorite family films you’d like to recommend like this one?

If you’d like some more recommendations from this feature, check out the Favorite Family Films category (under Reviews/Movie Reviews), or just CLICK HERE

~ jenelle

So You Have an Idea

Tuesday Tips (1)

Welcome to my new series of blog posts that I am calling “Tuesday Tips and Tricks,” where I will be trying to give you some instructional/informational ideas for using with your own writing to help you learn and grow your craft.

And, since we learned in “The Sound of Music” that the very beginning is a very good place to start… let’s begin there… with those first glimmerings of ideas that spring to life in an author’s brain.

This moment of idea is crucial, because it is the moment right before many great books never get written.

One of the common statements I have heard over and over again from aspiring writers is this idea of “original thought.” Many beginning writers seem to have this belief that they need a perfect and completely original, never-before-seen-or-tried IDEA before they can even start writing. A couple of years ago, I was a vendor at a comic-con and one young man approached my table and proceeded to tell me about the book he wanted to write. It was an interesting premise, and the story itself had a lot of potential. But then he ended his pitch with these words. “But… I can’t write that. Because it’s already been done.”

I had certainly never heard of this particular premise for a story before (but, admittedly, I haven’t read all the books there are) so I asked, “Oh? It has?”

He nodded and looked discouraged. “Yeah. The new Hobbit movie.”

This confused me, because what he had just described sounded nothing like The Hobbit. My confusion must have shown, because he continued to elaborate.

“The whole idea of an elf and a dwarf falling in love. Tauriel and Kili? It’s been done.”

Okay, yes, that was one part of his story. But this young man was ready to toss out his entire plot and give up on it because one aspect of it had “been done before.”

And he’s not the only one I’ve heard this type of mentality from.

Dear Author… your story does not have to be The Most Original Idea on the face of the earth. If that’s what you’re aiming for, you’re going to end up disappointed. Or you’re never going to begin writing. Plenty of stories borrow from other stories. (And there are quite a few out there that do quite a lot more than just borrow… some skirt plagiarism… not that I’m in any way recommending you do THAT). But the point is this: will there be aspects of your story that resemble other stories? Sure. Of course. But what is it about your story that is different? What new twist can you put on an old trope? What new characters can you bring to the table? How is YOUR story relatable in a different way than other stories that are similar? The fact remains that nobody can write YOUR story the way that YOU will write it, and that makes it original and unique. Even if your story doesn’t start out super unique… that’s what editing is for. Some of my best ideas don’t come until I’m in the last round of edits. (Which can be super annoying, especially when it necessitates some serious re-writing like it did in Minstrel’s Call in the eleventh hour… but it just goes to show that a story can be extremely fluid right up until the very final draft)

So you have an idea?

That’s fantastic.

Now… go write it down! That rough draft will be messy and need work, it may not be the most original idea ever… but that is what editing is for. You can polish it up and change it around multiple times before you even let anyone read it. But until you have that first draft down on paper (or screen) you have nothing to mold, nothing to rearrange. Until you write that idea down, you will only ever just have an idea.

How do you go about writing down that idea? That’s up to you. It’s going to look different for everyone. But I’ll give you a few pointers in the next installment of this series. Until then, dear Writer… dream away… and WRITE!

~ jenelle

Sweet Summertime

Hello there, dear Reader! Well, it’s June. And that means… summertime. Which also means that my schedule is simultaneously going to both slow down and explode. Slow down because school is finished, and explode because… that’s just what happens in the summer. There will be playdates and swim lessons and sports camps and picnics and house-building and traveling and vacations… oh, my!

Oh, and I’m hoping to finish up that rough draft thing I’m working on before we go to Realm Makers.

Which means that blogging is going to look a bit different this summer. I’ve got tons of ideas for blog posts, but I don’t have a lot of time to write them. So, for June, the plan right now is to blog once a week, I might manage more than that some weeks, but that’s the goal. (It’s more of a “guideline” than actual “rule”). And then I will most likely take a HIATUS of some kind in July. I’m not sure what August is going to look like, but it might also have a once a week schedule as I’ll be gearing up for the Silmarillion Awards in September… which will be super spectacular, as always.

I’m hoping to do some “Favorites” posts, and pick up my “Favorite Family Films” feature that was popular last summer and recommend even more awesome movies for you. Maybe Henry Fairchild will even poke his head back out from whatever rock he’s been hiding under… we shall see. Like I said, I have lots of ideas, I just don’t necessarily have time to write them all… AND finish this rough draft I’m working on!

I’ve also been hearing a lot of desire for informational/instructional posts on getting started in writing, self-publishing pros/cons, and the like. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always feel qualified to write those types of posts. Partially because I can’t compare/contrast indie vs traditional publishing, as I have no experience in traditional publishing, and partially because I just don’t feel like I have a whole lot to offer. I may have four books out there, but I’m not by any stretch of the imagination making any kind of “real” income from this authoring thing. I dabble in trying to market things, but I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m pretty certain I’m rubbish at it.

Here on the blog, I’d much rather jump up and down and cheer you on in your own writing or fangirl over whatever awesome movie I’ve just seen or book I’ve just read, or have super nerdy discussions about Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

Buuuuut… because so many of you have asked, I’m going to try. One thing I can promise: these info-posts will be pretty short, but I’ll try to offer you some of the tips and tricks I’ve accumulated along the way.

So, tune in next week for the first installment… So You Have an Idea!

~ jenelle

Silmarillion Awards 2018: Update


Hello, fellow wanderers!

It is now June, which is usually about the time we start looking forward to the Silmarillion Awards! However, this year we are making a slight adjustment.

We are still having them! Never fear!

But we are changing the dates. You see, usually we like to schedule them through July, ending near July 29, the original publication date of the Lord of the Rings. However, right in the middle of July, this little conference called REALM MAKERS occurs. And, well, over half of our Silmarillion Awards bloggers are going to be attending, including Yours Truly, which makes running the SilmAwards a bit difficult.

So, we have decided to adjust and tweak and move the Silmarillion Awards to September.

This has multiple benefits:

First, it will no longer play bumper cars with Realm Makers.

Second, the Silmarillion was originally published on September 15, and since we take our name from that great work in honor of Tolkien’s genius (many thanks to the Tolkien Estate for letting us use the name) it works thematically slightly better than July.

Third, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ birthday falls on September 22, which also makes it “Hobbit Day” in our realm.

Fourth, many significant events throughout the Lord of the Rings occur in September… including Frodo and Sam leaving Hobbiton, Gandalf meeting Shadowfax, and finally, Bilbo going to the Grey Havens (source)

Fifth, alliteration. Never underestimate the power of alliteration.

Sixth, and finally, summer is just busy. Hopefully September will be a better time for everyone to enjoy these awards and the hilarity and entertainment that they bring each year.

I will have exact dates and information for you when the event gets a bit closer, but for now I just wanted to update you with the general plan for this year’s 3rd annual Silmarillion Awards!

~ jenelle