Saturday Snapshot: Johnny Depp

I wish I could give you an actual snapshot of Johnny Depp…but I’ve never met him.  Still, seeing as it’s his birthday today, I thought I’d make him the theme of my Saturday Snapshot.  So I’m giving you a glimpse into my fandom.  🙂

This is my Pirates bookshelf, with all four movies, some books on historical pirates, and a couple biographies.  They’re all presided over by a Captain Jack Sparrow action figure, and a doll McDonald’s put out for the second movie–and I managed to buy the doll without actually buying any food from them.  It turns out they will sell the toys separately.

This is my most expensive item.  Somewhere I have a paper certifying that it’s an authentic signature.  I blame my friend for this purchase–we were in the store, she decided to buy an autograph first, and then of course I succumbed to temptation!

I’m not exclusively a Captain Jack fan.  Here’s my Johnny Depp movie collection.  Other favorite characters include Roux in Chocolat, J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, and while I don’t exactly love Sweeney Todd, I find his movie to be a remarkably cathartic experience.

I must say, this all looks fairly reasonable.  But then…I didn’t show you the two boxes of magazine clippings and movie reviews!  🙂

I know the rest of you must have favorite actors too.  Tell me about your fandoms!  And check out At Home with Books for more Saturday Snapshots.

Movie Night in the Cornfield

When I originally wrote my Pirates of the Caribbean novel (or two-hundred-page extended-joke, as I like to think of it), the second movie hadn’t even come out yet.  The characters ended up with very different lives compared to the later movies.  At the end of my story, Captain Jack Sparrow is still sailing the Black Pearl, Will and Elizabeth are married and living in Port Royal, and Commodore Norrington is still chasing Jack and his crew.

I’ve developed a tradition of going back and writing an extra chapter when each movie comes out.  I’m not trying to fit my story to the later developments–but I really enjoy having the characters, as I left them, watch the movie and comment on how things are going.  It’s that kind of story where you can do that sort of thing.

Since the fourth movie just came out a few weeks ago, I went back to the cornfield to write a new chapter in response.  If you haven’t seen Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, this is your warning that this has spoilers!  And probably won’t make any sense at all anyway.

But if you’ve seen the movie, I hope you’ll enjoy the POTC characters commenting on POTC.


It was movie night in the cornfield.  Movie nights were rare—although, considering this was a time hundreds of years before movies were invented, they were less rare than you might expect.  Every few years, the characters of the cornfield would gather to see what the latest developments were in their canon lives.  Tonight—On Stranger Tides.

“A brilliant piece of cinema,” Jack pronounced, after the movie—but not his Super-Extra-Large-Jumbo-Really-Big-size bucket of popcorn—had been finished.

Continue reading “Movie Night in the Cornfield”

To Talk Like a Pirate

Today is a very special day.  🙂  Today, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 premieres, so you can imagine where I’ll be tonight!

If someone had told me eight years ago that I’d one day be going to see the fourth adventure of Captain Jack Sparrow…I might have believed them!  Especially since Johnny Depp said, way back when, that he’d be in for Pirates 6 or 7.  And I’m right there with him.  In some ways, I’m an easy fan–put Johnny on the screen as Captain Jack, and I’m there.  Throw in mermaids and zombies and Blackbeard, and that just makes it better.

Considering the occasion, I naturally have to give you a POTC story for Fiction Friday.  I decided to go with a short story I wrote, almost eight years ago.  This is set midway through the first movie.  Jack and Will are on their way to Tortuga, to pick up a crew before going to rescue Will’s kidnapped ladylove, Elizabeth.  And along the way, they have a language lesson.


            Will realized, as he turned away from the railing of the ship, that Jack was staring at him.  He frowned.  “Something wrong, Jack?”

“Well…I’ve been thinkin’,” the pirate captain admitted.

Will felt a qualm of worry.  He hadn’t known Jack for long, but it had been long enough to know that when Jack started thinking, things started happening.  “What about?” he asked warily.

Continue reading “To Talk Like a Pirate”

Adventures with Hats and Squirrels

I’ve been bouncing around a bit today.  You may remember I reviewed A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman a few months ago.  After that review, I wrote him a letter.  Well, I just got a personal email back.  Which has prompted a lot of “Gordon Korman wrote to ME!”  And a bit of bouncing.  Context for this excitement: I’ve been reading (and rereading) his novels since I was, I don’t know, ten.  Maybe younger.  And I own eighteen of them.  And there are some which rank easily among the funniest books I have ever read.

So.  Bouncing.

And having just had an email from one of my favorite writers of hilarious fiction, I think it’s a good time to share some humor for Fiction Friday.  My most absurdly humorous writing, barring some very early Star Trek parodies, is definitely my Pirates of the Caribbean novel-length extended joke (I hesitate to really call it a novel, because there isn’t a plot!)  So here you are: a scene from Cornfield Madness.  The only context you need is a basic familiarity with the characters of Jack Sparrow (Captain) and Will Turner, who are currently wandering around in a cornfield in the middle of the night, trying to avoid Navy sailors who are chasing after Jack.  Oh, and earlier in the story Jack acquired a bonsai tree and named it Hector.


            Jack and Will walked through the cornfield, more or less aiming for the far end.  Will was in the lead, as that was how they had started and neither had yet taken the trouble to change that.  It was as they walked on that Jack’s hat suddenly fell off.  A small furry body had leapt out of the cornstalks and knocked into his hat.

            Jack’s hands went to his head.  “My hat!”

            Will hadn’t noticed the small furry body, and wasn’t comprehending Jack’s concern.  “So pick it up again.”

            “Oh.  Right.  Hold the tree.”  Jack handed Hector to Will and looked around.  His hat was lying quietly in the middle of the row a few feet away.  He took a step towards it.

            The hat skittered away.  Jack frowned.  He leaned forward.  The hat sidled back a few inches.  He took two quick steps towards it, the hat hastily backing up.

            Jack frowned at the hat.  “Now you stop that,” he said sternly.  The hat snuck back another inch.

Continue reading “Adventures with Hats and Squirrels”

Hanging Out with Some Favorite Characters

In keeping with this week’s focus on picture books, I thought I’d share a drawing for Fiction Friday.  I never claimed to be a great artist, but every so often–usually when I’m having writer’s block–I’ll turn my hand towards drawing instead of writing for a little while.  I still think in terms of stories, so most of the time my drawings will still end up being of characters or some kind of story in themselves.

One of my favorite and by far most complicated drawings is a scene I did of the main characters from each of my major stories hanging out together.  If you click, you can see it larger.


The setting is The Nightingale, an inn which features in The People the Fairies Forget.

Starting from the far left, we have Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, playing the piano.  With him is Meg Giry, who has a small role in Leroux’s Phantom, a larger role in Webber’s, and a lead role in my Phantom story.

Behind the counter are Catherine and Anthony, major characters in the later part of The People the Fairies Forget.  Catherine gets into trouble when Cinderella’s shoe fits her.  When not dealing with problems like that, they run The Nightingale

Floating in midair in front of the counter is my fairy, Tarragon.  Tarry is magically repairing the eggs which were broken by Sam Jones, who tripped and fell across the floor.  Jones could be from any of these stories; he has at least a cameo in all of them, and is apt to trip in all of them too.

Sitting at the back table are Dr. McCoy, Captain Kirk, and Mr. Spock, who beamed down from the Enterprise.

At the other table we have Captain Red Ballantyne with his feet up on an adjoining chair, deep in conversation with Captain Jack Sparrow.  Tamara, who comes from the same story as Red, is sitting by the table chatting with Rodney the squirrel, who Jack met in my Pirates of the Caribbean story.  Red’s Girl isn’t a fantasy, but if I’m going to stretch things to bring all of these people together, I decided Tam could talk to Rodney.

If you’re curious about the little details, the pictures on the back wall are, from left, a nightingale, a cornfield, a sailing ship, the Paris Opera House, and the Starship Enterprise.

I find that when I spend a lot of time writing about characters, they stay in my head in a way that no other characters do.  So in a way, it makes perfect sense to think about them spending time together.  And it’s fun to imagine how they would interact.

If you could bring characters from any fictional source together to hang out for the evening, who would you choose?