What’s So Wonderful about ‘It’s a Wonderful Life?’

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life

Every year Hollywood releases a slew of Christmas-themed movies, most of which barely make a ripple in our collective memory.  It’s a Wonderful Life is different. This 1946 movie is a perennial favorite even though it is darker, heavier, and more profound than we typically associate with fluffy Christmas movies.  After all, this is a story about a middle-aged man who believes his dreams have passed him by.  He fails to attain his grand childhood aspirations, he endures a business failure, scandal, and contemplates suicide.  Why does such a heavy theme resonate with us, especially at Christmas?

Christmas is a time when we are supposed to be riotously happy.  The media blasts us with images of happy families, glittering lights, lavish gifts, and the implication that the rest of the world is living in a warmly-lit, Norman Rockwell-like world.  Then comes the New Year’s holiday which prompts us to take stock of our lives and examine our accomplishments.  Is it any wonder that many of us fall a little short of this idealized world?

I think this is why Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey has made such a lasting impression.  He is an ordinary man who nurtured such huge dreams and worked hard to make them happen.  As he moves into middle age, he is forced to conclude most of his grand hopes will never come to pass. I think this message resonates with a lot of us.

The magic of It’s a Wonderful Life is that is celebrates the extraordinary beauty and dignity of an everyday, commonplace life.  George Bailey proves to us that our lives need not be lived on an epic scale or with material wealth to have profound value.  George Bailey is the salt of the earth and his tireless devotion to his family and community, even in the face of his own thwarted ambitions, deserve to be memorialized.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a soaring hymn to Christian values of honor, community, and compassion.  I love that it celebrates the quiet dignity of a good man, stressing that each life has value.  In a world that often overlooks such people, it elevates the life of a hardworking man into one of shining heroism.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Like George Bailey….. I am grateful for my house with the sometimes leaky roof.  I am grateful for the twelve-year old car that gets me to work every morning.  I’m grateful to wake up each day with a sound mind and two eyes that can see the glory of God’s world.  It truly is a wonderful life.

 

The Secret of a Successful Marriage

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life, My Novels

FTM quote

Do you agree with the quote above?

While it may not be the most romantic of sentiments, I think most happily married people will affirm it. As people go through life their needs deepen and change. A good marriage requires the strength and flexibility to adapt to these changes… and to keep falling in love anew as life unfolds over the years.

Romance novels typically celebrate the triumph of early-stage, idealistic love, but in From this Moment I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to explore the qualities of an enduring relationship, with all the exuberant hope and heart-rending choices that sometimes come into play. Is the joyous infatuation of first love enough to sustain a lifelong commitment?

From this Moment features two distinct love stories: Romulus White is a charming womanizer who is secretly terrified of marriage, and for good reason. Then there is Evelyn and Clyde, whose early courtship was shown in the free novella Summer of Dreams. The main novel picks up ten years later with these three lifelong friends at a turning point in their lives. Clyde and Evelyn’s marriage is unravelling, and Romulus is about to meet his match in Stella West.

The two romances couldn’t be more different. While Evelyn and Clyde got married very young on an impulsive rush of infatuation, Romulus believes such feelings are dangerous, and avoids any woman who might rock his carefully won equilibrium. He and Stella ignite in a combustible mix of shared intellect, high-flying flirtation, and overwhelming attraction….precisely the sort of dazzling chemistry that terrifies Romulus. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Clyde are confronted with changes neither saw heading their way. It will either draw them closer together, or split them apart for good.

I loved the chance to explore the meaning of love, marriage, and enduring friendship in this novel. Sometimes we have to fight hard to keep falling in love with our spouse, and sometimes it seems to come effortlessly. I hope you will see plenty of both in From this Moment.

This Lady Sure Gets Around!

Elizabeth Camden The Book World

This Lady Gets Around

The perils of using stock photographs for a book cover! My publisher almost always hires a model, rents costumes, and pays for a photo-shoot, but on Against the Tide they used stock photos. It costs a fortune to buy the exclusive rights to a stock photo image, so this is why you occasionally see the same model showing up in numerous pages. I expect I’ll see more of this lady over time, as there really is something oddly mysterious about her.  Should you ever spot her anywhere else, please beam me an image!

Ironically, it is my favorite cover of all my novels.

Cover Reveal!

Elizabeth Camden My Novels

FromThisMoment_mck.inddI’m warming up for another novel to hit the shelves in June. Here’s the cover, which I think really captures Stella’s dynamic personality. And here’s the blurb:

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.

But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.

Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?

Until the Dawn is Here!

Elizabeth Camden My Novels

until-the-dawnUntil the Dawn is now available at all your favorite online or brick & mortar stores. I’m one of those writers who can’t judge their own work, so I never know how people will respond until the reviews come in.

I’m thrilled to see Until the Dawn collecting great reviews from all the major magazines, including the highest possible rating and a Top Pick designation from Romantic Times. They described it as ‘a timeless tale of a wounded hero and a sweet, wholesome heroine. With its setting and vibrant characters, the story evokes shades of both Jane Eyre and Beauty & the Beast.”

This was the first review I read, and what a relief! Jane Eyre was always a favorite of mine, and who doesn’t love a beauty & the beast story? This book means a lot to me, as I worked hard to follow the journey of a terribly wounded man out of darkness and into a world of radiant faith. I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!

Alternate Covers for Until the Dawn

Elizabeth Camden The Book World

 

Alternate covers for Until the Dawn:

Aleternate coversI always hold my breath the first time I get to see the cover of my upcoming novels. I don’t have a lot of say in how they look, and the cover is a hugely important aspect in selling a book. For the most part I have been very lucky, although I have sometimes been frustrated when I think there is a mismatch between the tone of the book and the cover.

My publisher usually does mock-ups for several alternate versions of a cover, and I rarely get to see them, but this time I got to take a peek, so I’m sharing them with you. I confess to really liking the close-up of the gate…I think it sets a classy, mysterious tone and looks a little different from my standard cover. Still, I’m quite pleased with the picture on the right, which is the cover which was ultimately chosen. I love the image of the mansion at the bottom, which plays a huge role in the book.

Here are a couple of other covers that were also under consideration, but didn’t get much traction:

More Alternate

Until the Dawn will be released in early December…. I can’t wait!

 

Toward the Sunrise

JHCadmin My Novels, Uncategorized

TowardtheSunrise_novella-rd1.inddMy Next Release….

I’m excited to show off the cover of my October release!

Toward the Sunrise is an e-book only novella, and it will be permanently FREE. Here is what it is about:

Women doctors were rare in the 1890’s, and Julia Broeder is in her final year of medical school when she is expelled over an impulsive, split-second decision. Her only hope for reinstatement is to appeal to Ashton Carlyle, the man who went out on a limb to help get her admitted to college in the first place.

Ashton is a formal, straight-laced attorney who is furious when Julia arrives in his Manhattan office begging for help. Although every instinct tells him to refuse, he has always had a foolish, reluctant admiration for Julia Broeder. His quest to get her back into college quickly turns into a far greater adventure than either of them anticipated.

Look for it in early October.

 

Thought for the Day…..

Elizabeth Camden The Book World

Norstad

Summer still seems a long way off, but memories of being curled up with a good book under the trees is always a cozy thought, isn’t it?

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

 

Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance Leave a Comment

Couple at SunsetLove at First Sight, anyone?

We are closing in on Valentine’s Day, so this tends to bring out a lot of grandiose Hallmark gestures and romantic movies.  A wildly popular theme is love at first sight, which is easy to depict in a movie….but can it happen in real life?

Instant infatuation happens (been there, done that!) I also know of couples who claimed to have realized they met “The One,” within a few hours of meeting.  Some of those marriages are still going strong ten and twenty years down the road, but my hunch is they are the exception rather than the rule.

Fellow romance novelist Jody Hedlund recently wrote a great blog about the perils of believing in love at first sight. Her blog points to a handful of insightful problems stemming from believing in love at first sight. Here’s a summary:

  • We don’t have time to test character
  • We get caught up in the rush of feelings
  • We neglect to build a solid foundation of friendship
  • We indulge in a false sense of euphoria

Wow….what a downer for two romance novelist to give a hearty Thumbs-down on love at first sight so close to Valentine’s Day!  I’m actually not averse for single people to indulge these feelings….but what’s the rush? Wait a year to go sign the paperwork that makes it legal.

My latest novel, Beyond All Dreams, features a hero who believes he has fallen in love at first sight with the heroine. The ever-practical Anna knows loves at first sight is riddled with problems, and fortunately does not allow herself to get swept up into the whirlwind. I had a ball writing about the exhilaration and the perils of falling in love at first sight…. fun to contemplate, dangerous to indulge!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert