Shall We Dance?

I have always been fond of dance movies (or movies in which dance plays a huge part), though I have only had a one-hour dance lesson, one that happened before a swing dance session. Now that I think about it, I had a one-hour line dance lesson also. So, two hours is the extent of my dance lesson experience.

My love of dance movies started with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies shown on TV. Like An American in Paris (Gene), Funny Face (Fred), Singing in the Rain (Gene). I only saw bits and pieces of the movie for which this title derives: Shall We Dance (Fred).


Which brings me to two of my favorite dance movies: Strictly Ballroom  (Note: If you do not like spoilers, do not click on the trailer)

and Dance with Me. (Note: If you do not like spoilers, do not click on the trailer)

Now, you might wonder why movies like Step Up (and its sequels) didn’t make the cut. I never saw any of the Step Up movies. I know. ☹ What a Philistine.

Baz Luhrmann directed Strictly Ballroom, while Randa Haines helmed Dance with Me. The films couldn’t be more different. Yet they have ballroom dancing in common.


The thing that I love the most about these films is the dancing. You’re probably screaming, Oh my goodness, how profound! You have such a gift for stating the obvious! Seriouslly, I love the energy and beauty of the dances. When I’m feeling worked over by problems, I might watch either of the films entirely or dance sequences from either. There’s something about someone busting a move that feels freeing and also rebellious at the same time.

And now to segue to the winner of Through His Disciples’ Eyes by L. [Lori] Virelli! Jill Weatherholt, you can dance all the way to your mailbox because it is coming to your house!


Thank you to all who commented!

Do you have a favorite dance movie? Do tell below!

Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movie posters found online. Other photos by L. Marie with the exception of the book cover, which is courtesy of the author.

Check This Out: Through His Disciples’ Eyes

With me on the blog today is the fabulous L. Virelli {Lori}, who is here to talk about her recently released novel, Through His Disciples’ Eyes.

Here’s a blurb:

As the author, I found it difficult to choose a specific genre for this novel. It’s not fantasy, but there’s mysticism. It’s not romance, but there’s love. It’s not Christian, but there’s Christ. It’s not psychological, but it’s emotional. It’s not religious, but it’s spiritual. In addition to all of the above, it’s an impassioned, poignant, inspirational tale which takes three characters on soul searching journeys they don’t even really know they are on.
What if Jesus lived in modern times? Would history repeat itself?

In the year 2029, the world is broken, and so is Max Greenwood. In his attempt to find inner peace, he learns of a long-lost prophet—Joshua Cane—who lived in the 1950s. His life appears to mirror that of Jesus, complete with healing miracles, disciples, and being murdered in his thirties. Researching for more, Max uncovers information on two of the disciples. Tobias Jones is a tempestuous man who separates from Cane’s other followers to spread the prophet’s teachings on his own. His ideas to control the righteous message lead to trouble. Julia Flores is a teen whose mother kicked her out. Homeless and feeling unloved, she finds purpose in following Joshua Cane on his Mission to spread peace. As she travels with him, emotional issues from her past emerge, causing drama along the way. The stories of these troubled souls searching for meaning trigger life-altering revelations for Max Greenwood—revelations not only about Joshua and his disciples, but about himself and all of us.

L. Virelli interweaves concepts from self-help, spirituality, the Bible, and New Thought into an allegorical tale.

El Space: What inspired you to write Through His Disciples’ Eyes?
Lori: You’d think this would be a simple answer for an author, right? This one is not easy to explain. The inspiration to write this novel began around 2005. I’ve written blog posts about a time of seeking I went through due to unexpected circumstances in my life. I was doing inner work and spent lots of time in the spiritual and self-help sections of the bookstore. Sometimes I read entire books while sitting in a chair at Borders. Several of those books were helpful for my growth, and most of them were instructional. I was wishing for one in story form as well—one that gives hope—characters with difficult issues they overcome. I had enjoyed the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman, which was partially fiction. That was when my mind started churning with ideas for my own fully fictional story and characters.

El Space: How long did it take you to write this novel?
Lori: The format of the book was a difficult one to put together. It starts out eight years in the future and then goes back in time to the 1950s and 60s. The author of the earlier centuries is the character, Max Greenwood, telling the story of the two other characters, Julia Flores and Tobias Jones. In addition, I needed to integrate deep spiritual principles. Since I only had short stories published at the time, and hadn’t written a novel yet, I decided to start with something easier first. I began writing Through His Disciples’ Eyes after publication of my first novel, Whit’s End, a family saga.

After writing Through His Disciples’ Eyes, it went through my critique group for fixes, and then my editor for more fixes. It ended up being five years from the first words on the blank page to publication. But it’s been a long time coming since my first ideas around 2005.

El Space: How did you research it?
Lori: The research for the book was from all the spiritual seeking and reading I’d done years earlier. Many of the spiritual principles I derived from the Bible and my favorite author and sage, Paul Ferrini. I modernized some Bible stories for the twentieth-century characters. I watched old movies, TV shows, and a couple documentaries to research the 1950s and 60s for the trends and lifestyles.

El Space: What was the hardest part about writing this novel?
Lori: The hardest part was writing three separate stories and then tying them all together at the end.

El Space: What kept you going through the writing process?
Lori: Though the novel is not fully Christian in nature, reading the Bible and watching stories about Christ kept me going.

El Space: What do you hope a reader will take away from reading your novel?
Lori: Hope. There are three broken characters who go on soul-searching journeys they don’t really know they’re on. I want their processes of learning and overcoming to offer hope to others.

El Space: What will you work on next?
Lori: I have outlined a coming home story—about an empathic woman floundering and stumbling through life. She leaves home at eighteen, thinking moving away will improve her life, but matters only get worse. Will going home mean finding herself?

Thank you, Lori, for being my guest!

Looking for Lori? Check her out at her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Looking for Through His Disciples’ Eyes? Check Amazon!

One of you will be given a copy of Through His Disciples’ Eyes, just by commenting. Winner to be announced next week sometime. And check out this other book by Lori by clicking on the photo.

Book cover and author photo courtesy of L. Virelli. Other book covers from Goodreads.

Would You Rather . . . ?

This is not a post about the party game, Would You Rather. . . ?  which involves giving two horrible choices and having to choose between the two. I used the first part of the question in the title to save space. The question I was thinking about came as a result of watching on Amazon Prime episodes of Columbo, a show developed by William Link and Richard Levinson.

If you’re wondering what that is, it is a crime drama starring Peter Falk as a homicide detective in Los Angeles. It aired on NBC in 1971—1978 and then sporadically on ABC in 1989—2003. Many critics deem it to be one of the best shows ever produced, thanks to stellar acting (Peter Falk won four Emmy awards) and clever scripts by Richard Levinson, William Link, Peter S. Fischer, and soon-to-be showrunners Steven Bochco and Stephen J. Cannell (and others), and directed by soon-to-be Oscar-winning directors like Steven Spielberg.

If you’ve watched Columbo, you know the titular character is a bumbling, self-effacing police lieutenant faced with solving murders committed by erudite, bold, and usually arrogant people who treat Columbo as if he is a bothersome fly they can squash anytime. They’re condescending and rude, and generally wind up talking too much, because they feel secure and overconfident. Since they severely undestimate Columbo, they often offer to help him in his investigation. He dogs their steps, in all politeness of course, asking pointed questions that eventually make short work of their fake alibis and causes them to confess. Watching him take them down is very satisfying.

Which brings me to my question: Would you rather be underestimated or overestimated? I would rather be underestimated. People let down their guard more when they underestimate you. Of course, like Lieutenant. Columbo, you have to at times put up with condescension and unwanted explanations. Like when someone explains a term he or she assumes you don’t know, based on a snap judgment that person has made about you. This has happened to me several times.

“What I mean is . . .” the person begins, which is the vocal equivalent of patting me on the head, before launching into the definition.

I like to play dumb when it happens. “Really? Oh, okay. Thank you.” I try not to sound sarcastic.

On the other hand, being overestimated is an ego stroke at first. After all, expectations for what you can do are at a high. But when the letdown comes, as overestimation implies, are you any better off than being underestimated?

So, what is your preference? To be underestimated? Overestimated?

Peter Falk as Columbo photo found somewhere on Pinterest. Adele quote from quotefancy.

Happy 2023! It’s Up from Here!

So, this happened a couple days before the end of 2022.

Yeah. 😷

I’m feeling better. Finally stopped coughing. I’m grateful for the continued lack of a fever. And yes, I have had five vaccine shots.

Just one of those things, I guess. But while quarantining, I’m getting a lot of reading done (see below), including a manuscript where I’m fixing a chronology issue (not pictured 😄).


I’ve also watched some old murder mysteries like Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, and Appointment with Death (Hercule Poirot mysteries written by Agatha Christie and adapted for the screen by various writers) on YouTube and Amazon Prime (free with ads) and episodes of a really quirky show on Netflix (Wednesday).

So don’t cry for me, Argentina. (Click here if you’re wondering, “What does that mean?”) I’m getting some rest. Probably not as much as I should. But some.

Hope you’re doing well.

Photos by L. Marie.