Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Blogging”

2013: It Was A Very Good Year

New Year - Philadelphia2013 was my first full year of blogging, and it was a great one. I wrote 174 posts and exceeded 20,000 views, reaching people in 118 countries. I also had the honor and privilege of interviewing some of my favorite authors, actors and musicians, including:

  1. Lisa Scottoline
  2. Andrew Gross
  3. Melissa Manchester
  4. Michael Des Barres
  5. Douglas Preston
  6. Jon Land
  7. M.J. Rose
  8. Steven James
  9. Taylor Stevens
  10. Donald Bain
  11. Thomas B. Sawyer 
  12. Dick Hill

And 2014 is shaping up to be an even bigger year with interviews already scheduled with 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee John Oates and bestselling author Stuart Woods.

Thanks to all of you who regularly read my posts, as well as those who take the time to comment. Speaking of which, below are my top commenters’ great blogs. Make sure to check them out:

2013 was my best year yet, both personally and professionally, and I plan on making 2014 even more special.

Happy New Year!

One Year Later

One Year LaterOne year ago, this week, I launched my blog. I never thought I’d start one for a variety of reasons, but the past year has been quite a trip. During that time the following things happened:

The second year for my blog is shaping up to be an exciting one. This week, I’m heading to ThrillerFest and will be sharing with you all the wonderful content that will invariably come out of the event. And I’ve got a couple exciting author interviews lined up for later this year. Speaking of which, my first self-published book should be out before year’s end – so stayed tuned for more details.

Thank you for following my blog, as well as liking, sharing and commenting on my posts. Your voice and input is what matters most, and I hope to keep you entertained for many years to come.

I Hit 10,000!

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Great news! My blog has surpassed 10,000 views! Considering I started it less than a year ago, I’m very proud of this achievement. Thanks to all of you that visit on a regular basis. I’ll continue to do my best to provide you with compelling and entertaining content. Here’s to the next 10,000!

Vic De Leon’s Top 5 Wes Craven Movies

Top-5My friend, follower and fellow blogger, Vic De Leon, has returned for another guest blog post. This time, he’s going to share with us his Top 5 Wes Craven movies. I hope you enjoy the post, and make sure to check out his blog, Vic’s Movie Den, for more great content about movies – including my Top 5 Wes Craven movies.

Top 5 Wes Craven Movies

By Victor De Leon

Director and Writer Wes Craven is one of those few film-makers who has become a household name by establishing that he is capable of setting the bar, setting trends and re-inventing the horror genre more than once while remaining fresh and original. Craven for many years has challenged his audiences as well as frightening them and maintaining a high standard of craftsmanship. With an impeccable eye for composition and a keen knowledge of writing and structure, Craven has remained true to the genre and to his adored fans. Craven is a jack of all trades. He has written, shot, edited and even starred in his films. He has shown that he can never get stuck for too long and he embraces new innovations, new ideas and continues to be an exemplary artist of the moving image.

His movies and images have provoked fear, wonder and amazement and he has created some enduring characters and moments that will always be etched in the minds of horror genre junkies young and old. From Freddy Krueger to Horace Pinker, Craven leaves no stone un-turned when exploring the dynamics and complexities of the classic horror antagonist. With “Scream” he once again redefined himself and created the “Meta Horror” genre with a franchise that has spawned 3 sequels and has a TV show in development.

For my fellow blogger, Michael Cavacini I have compiled my Top 5 favorite Wes Craven films. I thank him very much for once again letting me grace his fine site with one of my Top 5 lists. I hope you all enjoy!

– Vic @Vic’s Movie Den

5) New Nightmare

A perfect example of Craven re-inventing himself by taking on his Nightmare franchise in an original, brutal and menacing way. Here, Craven relies on his “Meta” horror tactic and thinks outside the box with a story re-uniting the cast of the first Nightmare on Elm Street entry. New Nightmare is fresh and consistently scary which is something previous efforts lacked. Solid acting, directing, true mood and style makes this an obvious choice for my top 5.

4) The Hills Have Eyes

A outrageous and depraved story marks this early work of Craven’s. This film is perhaps the template for the slew of survivalist horror movies that came after it. Craven succeeds in weaving a true to life and gritty piece of  demented cinema. A strong effort that disturbs, excites and pushes the envelope. Along with Hooper’s “Chainsaw” this 70’s Craven film is timeless and endures in a stark and disturbing way.

3) The Serpent and the Rainbow

This film based on the novel by botanist and scientist Wade Davis is an underdog film entry from Wes Craven. The film stars Bill Pullman in a very difficult role as a Davis like character that has to investigate, for a Drug Company, claims of people returning back to life in Haiti. Actually believing that a powder like substance may be involved, Pullman’s character finds out that more menacing supernatural forces may be at work. Creepy, spooky and nightmarish, Craven revels in keeping his viewers on edge and second guessing what they are watching unfold. A solid performance from Pullman, strong direction and the beautiful locale serves up a very watchable and scary voodoo thriller which explores themes from taboos to political strife. Very recommended.

2) Scream

Hip, stylish and a game changer, Scream remains Craven’s most extraordinary “Meta” effort. A young and handsome cast help to propel the story. Kevin Williamson pens a terrific creep-fest that Craven respects and excels in translating to the screen in an exceptional manner that re-invents the slasher film. A tremendous horror film on many levels, “Scream” remains hip and relevant to this day. A horror film about kids obsessed with horror films. Just brilliant. The film also references many horror movies from John Carpenter’s Halloween to The Howling from Joe Dante.

1) A Nightmare on Elm Street

Original, very scary and beautifully scored and photographed, A Nightmare on Elm Street is Wes Craven’s magnum opus. Craven sets the bar extremely high and with his cast, which includes a young Johnny Deep to the seasoned John Saxon are all amazing  to watch here. Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is flawlessly horrific and menacing. He IS the bad guy. The film has an almost palpable atmosphere of dread and fear. It is a film that Craven utilizes to provoke a fear of the dark and our own dreams. A film where no one is safe, not even from their slumber. It is a movie which is a fable of the darkest elements and the unease is prevalent from the first to the last nightmarish frame. Craven has created an enduring and legendary picture with both a  great antagonist and protagonist in the character of Nancy played with eager professionalism by Heather Langenkamp. Beautifully unnerving and technically brilliant, A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite Wes Craven film. Highly recommended!

I’m Attending ThrillerFest!

ThrillerFestThis July I’m attending my first ThrillerFest, and I can’t wait! What is ThrillerFest, you ask? According to the website, it’s “a four-day celebration of thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them.” This year’s event features an endless list of bestselling authors, including Anne Rice, Michael Connelly, R.L. Stine, Lee Child, and, Andrew Gross, just to name a few.

The conference is broken into different parts. The first day-and-a-half is CraftFest, which is essentially a writing school featuring top authors, agents and editors. These individuals lead educational panels and workshops about almost any topic a writer could be interested in when it comes to writing fiction. Whether you’re looking to learn about blogging as a novelist or what point of view you should write from, CraftFest has you covered. Since I’m working on a novel of my own, I’m looking forward to soaking up all sorts of good information during CraftFest.

Starting Thursday afternoon (July 11), AgentFest begins, which is best described as speed dating for agents and authors looking for representation. While my novel is nowhere near being finished, I still look forward to observing these interactions and speaking with a few agents and authors about their experiences during this event.

Thursday night, once AgentFest has come to a close, the ThrillerFest opening reception takes place. Then the following two days (July 12 and 13) are filled with panels from bestselling authors about a variety of interesting subjects. Last year some of the topics covered included:

  • Writing Opposite Sex Characters
  • Is Indie Publishing For You?
  • How Do You Build A Thriller Brand?
  • What Makes Them Scream?
  • Is It Really That Hard To Be Funny?

I’ll also be attending the first-ever FanFest on Friday, July 12. It’s a two-hour portion of the conference where fans can drink and chat with a roomful of bestselling authors. I look forward to speaking with many authors whom I’ll be meeting for the first time, including Andrew Gross, who I recently interviewed for my blog.

ThrillerFest is bound to be a terrific experience that will yield fascinating stories, photos and advice. Stay tuned to my blog for extensive coverage of the event. It’s going to be something special.

Supermarket Stories: Super Bowl Syndrome

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I’m on my second break at the food store. Why two breaks you ask? Because three employees called out and I agreed to stay an extra two hours. Since I’m working eight hours, I get a second 15-minute break, which I’m spending eating strawberry yogurt, mixed with a crunched up Oreo, and blogging.

In case you’re unaware, tomorrow is the Super Bowl. Consequently, I’ve been hit with endless waves of customers, all of whom are spending between $200-$300 on an absurd amount of groceries for Super Bowl parties.

I just got called back to the front. To be continued…

And I’m back. Clearly 15 minutes isn’t enough time to eat a snack and blog. Anyway, where was I? That’s right, hordes of customers buying Doritos, soda and pigs in a blanket.

The rest of my shift was just as insane as the first half. The good news is I didn’t have any difficult or rude customers. But I shouldn’t speak too soon; I’m back at the supermarket for a six-hour shift right before the big game on Sunday. God help me.

I Am What I Am

Yesterday I decided to drop my pseudonym from my blog, and buy a domain in my real name. Why? Well, I originally wanted to write under the name M.C. James because I thought it would be more easily searchable than Michael Cavacini. However, I realized that David Baldacci and Lisa Scottoline became bestselling authors with their Italian last names, so why can’t I?

Of course, this reminded me of a song: “I Am What I Am,” from La Cage aux Folles. This song seems apropos because, beyond its original meaning, the lyrics can speak to anyone questioning his or her identity in an artistic medium. It’s not always easy figuring out who one should be or what works best. But sometimes simply saying, “I am what I am” and going with it makes the most sense. Many people have covered this song, but one of my personal favorites is by Dame Shirley Bassey. Below are the lyrics as well as a video of Bassey performing it live. Enjoy!

I Am What I Am

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world
That I want to have a little pride in
My world
And it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a damn
Till you can say
I am what I am

I am what I am
I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it’s noise, I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out
I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces
It’s one life and there’s no return and no deposit
One life so it’s time to open up your closet
Life’s not worth a damn till you can shout out
I am what I am

Samsung Google Chromebook Review

Google ChromebookAs promised, below is my Samsung Google Chromebook review. I still prefer my Kinde Fire HD for video and gaming, but the Chromebook is great for surfing the web, email and creating and editing documents. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve

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As 2012 comes to a close, WordPress is sending bloggers annual reports culling together interesting statistics about their blogs. Considering I started my blog less than six months ago, I’m thrilled that it has been viewed nearly 5,000 times by people in 85 countries. Thank you to all of my followers and regular readers, including Vic, Hollin and Daniela, among others; your support is greatly appreciated.

Below is a lovely song by Barry Manilow that’s perfect for this time of year. And with 2012 behind us, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013!

My First 1,000

My blog has been live for less than two months, and I just eclipsed 1,000 visits. While I’m sure this isn’t a big deal for some bloggers, to me, it’s exciting. I’ve come to learn that one of the addictive qualities of blogging is checking my stats page, so passing this threshold was a real treat. Thanks to everyone that’s visited, liked and/or followed my blog thus far. I’d also like to thank those that post comments; I’m always interested in what you have to say, so please keep it up. Here’s to the next 1,000!

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