Wednesday, August 24, 2016



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Time Travelers Giveaway!

Enter to win the 
Time Travelers Giveaway! 
As a novelist, I adore road trips to do research for my latest books, especially when I can visit historical sites & heritage museums to see how my characters (who experience time travel in the Enchanted Outlaws Series) might actually live. For me, it's a chance to investigate the secrets that time keeps close to its chest, only revealing to those who are tenacious enough to walk off-the-beaten paths created long ago with a heart ready to listen to the echoes of ancient memory.  Recently, I went to New Mexico with my family to do further in-depth study on the colonial era in the northernmost region of the Spanish empire for my upcoming time travel sequel to Twixt, the novel Mission Archangel. As part of this journey, I visited 3 pueblos, 3 national monuments/parks & 3 museums in 6 days. Rather than be exhausted, I was utterly exhilarated! To talk with Native Amercian descendents of those who'd endured Spanish colonization and yet triumphed by holding on to their ancestral lands and cultures was a true honor I'll never forget. Along the way, I purchased turquoise and pottery directly from Native American artisans (a passion of mine), and this month I'll be sharing the bounty by giving away the following:

(1) a pair of green turquoise earrings 
(pictured below)
(2) a $25 Amazon gift card 
(3) a past-life reading (a $50 value)

All you have to do to enter is sign up 
for my newsletter mailing list by June 25th! 

If you've already signed up for my newsletter mailing list, you'll automatically be entered to win these prizes. And if you haven't signed up yet (which you can do on the left hand column of this website as well as on my facebook author page at, 
do so right away and you'll be entered! 

PLUS all those who've signed up for my newsletter
AND "liked" my author facebook page at
will receive 2 ENTRIES in the Time Travelers Giveaway!

It's that easy!

Have a beautiful summer!
And stay tuned for my newest novella release in the 
Robbin' Hearts Series:  Secret Heart of Lacie Blade.
I'll be offering a special opportunity for the first 30 newsletter readers 
who respond to receive an advanced review copy in return for an honest review. 
More details to come in my next newsletter! :D

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Fool's Giveaway & Ebook Sale!

Sometimes April Fool's Day 
brings the sweetest luck of all! 

To show my gratitude for being a loyal reader, I'd like to let you know about a Mega Sale & Giveaway that a host of authors (including me) have created where you can go to one website & find ALL of our fantastic ebook deals in one place, PLUS we're giving away (1) a Kindle Ereader & (2) two $25 Amazon Gift Cards! All you have to do is click on the link below:

Once you arrive at this website, you'll see scores of ebooks for FREE or on SALE (including mine, under the category of Time Travel Romance). Then you can scroll halfway down the page to the 2 red boxes & click one to enter to win the prizes!

Giveaway Ends April 15th!

And if you would like to WIN a FREE PSYCHIC READING 
by midnight April 15th, simply email me at
 & tell me about your favorite APRIL FOOL'S DAY joke, prank, 
silly experience, or even funny date! (For example, mine is when my kids taped my faucet so water sprayed in my face. We all laughed so hard ; ). 
I will choose what I think is the BEST April Fool's Day experience & email that person with their reading. For more information about
 my magical readings, please go here.

Have a wonderful April & be sure to let yourself be foolish once in a while! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Yes, it's that time of year for my 
Valentine's Day Giveaway!

To enter, simply do the two following things
before midnight, 2/14/2016:
1. Sign up for my newsletter either here on my blog or at (OR if you've already signed up for my newsletter, just do #2)
2. Shoot me a quick email at stating your name & that you'd like to enter!
That's it! What might you win?

GRAND PRIZE is a $25 Amazon Card, 
a psychic love reading & chocolate!
SECOND PRIZE is a psychic reading
(For more information about my magical readings, go here

Winners will be chosen at midnight, February 14th, 2016 among those who
emailed their entry by a random number generator app
(each email will be assigned a number, and you'll be notified by email if you win!)

Wishing all of you a wonderful Valentine's Day 
full of love for yourself and for your passions 
in whatever forms they manifest! 
~Diane J. Reed

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Miracles Abound

The new year began with a shock for me

I had just been to my children's school to discuss their progress with an administrator (and was delighted to discover they're doing well), when I pulled out of the parking lot and headed down the long, winding road towards home. Our house is a little over ten miles from the school, and it was an icy morning in the mountains of Colorado, so I was on high alert for motorists who might underestimate the slick roads. Fortunately, most people who live out here in the country are well aware of the tricky winter conditions, and to my naked eye, everyone appeared to be handling the trek well.

But my eyes deceived me.

It wasn't that anyone was speeding or attempting to text while driving. In fact, the other motorists were maneuvering quite cautiously. On top of that, I was driving ten miles per hour below the speed limit.  

Yet just ahead and to the right of the main highway, I noticed a woman in a large SUV on a side road pulling up slowly to a stop sign. She couldn't have been moving more than ten miles an hour, obviously making adjustments for the weather conditions. Nevertheless, in the blink of an eye, her vehicle slid directly into my lane. Still sliding, the SUV was so large that within seconds it occupied nearly the entire width of the road, and the poor woman stared in horror from her driver side window at my oncoming car that was only a few feet from her door.

I know enough about winter driving in the mountains to realize that brakes are nearly useless in moments like this. All I could do was brace myself and swerve.

And pray.

To my astonishment, I somehow made it around her car. 

Even more surprising was the fact that, though my left-side wheels were forced to travel over an icy berm with an incline, my vehicle didn't slide. 

My relief at managing not to plow into the woman's SUV, without flipping my own car over the slick berm, was short lived, however.

What I couldn't see beyond the woman's tall vehicle, was the other car in the oncoming lane that had just descended a hill and was now only a few feet away, about to crash into me head-on.

There were no more chances to pray. 

The driver, another woman, had eyes as big and wide as the crisp, blue morning sky. The terrified look on her face, at the sight of my car about to meet hers, will be emblazoned on my mind forever. 

Our situation appeared hopeless.

There simply weren't enough feet to spareunder the ordinary laws of physicsfor me to avoid her onrushing vehicle that was moving even faster than mine. 

What could I do, except try my best to swerve?

I have to confess, I've only experienced a few rare moments in life that seem to defy all of our notions of time and space—and this was one of them. Honest to God, I'll never know how, but I was all of a sudden on the other side of the road. Wa-a-a-y over on the other side. It was as though some unseen set of arms had lifted my car and transported it from the two vehicles that appeared destined to crush me.

The highway photograph I've displayed at the very top of this post should have been the scene of my death. Of their deaths. What we three drivers were looking at was the certainty of a 3-car collision, involving two cars which were traveling at higway speeds, with no space to maneuver by anyone without crashing or flipping a couple of the vehicles. 

But instead, I found myself pulling to the far right-side berm of the road, where I took several deep breaths. I wish I could say I screamed or hyperventilated, because that would have made me seem more normal under such circumstances. But the truth was, I was filled with the most extraordinary peace. My heart was not racing, nor was adrenaline popping and fizzing through my veins. For a moment, I pinched myself, wondering if perhaps I'd died and not realized it, and therefore felt no fear or pain. After all, many people who've reported near-death experiences describe how they suffered brutal accidents and hovered over their bodies for several minutes, unaware that their souls had slipped from the flesh. By the third time I pinched myself, however, I understood that I was, in fact, still here. What's more, I spied in my rear view mirror that the first woman in the SUV had pulled to the side of the road, too, and had gotten out of her car. Immediately, I jumped out and ran down the pavement to meet her.

HOW did she escape not being hit by me or the other woman's car? How did I? From my new vantage point, I spotted the other's woman's vehicle parked alongside the road as well. Her car hadn't crashed or flipped over the icy berm, either. This situation defied all logic: There simply wasn't enough room on the edge of that mountain road to have accommodated all three of us.

When I reached the young SUV driver, who looked to be college-age, her eyes were filled with shock and her mouth was gaping, lips twitching nervously, yet unable to speak. "Are you all right?" I asked her. All she could do was nod in reply, and I instantly wrapped my arms around her. "It's okay." I assured her, "I'm not hurt." At this point I pulled back a bit and saw that her eyes were welling with tears. "I-I'm so sorry!" she blurted, shaking. "M-My brakes locked on the ice and I couldn't stop!"

I hugged her again and told her I understood—these things happen sometimes. Then I swept the hair from her forehead and gazed into her eyes. "Honey," I said, "you must have the best Angels on planet earth. Because I can see no reason why both of us are still standing here." The way she nodded and glanced at me with a spooked expression confirmed everything I'd already suspected: that she thought she there was something unnatural—no, supernatural—about this whole experience, too. 

To our relief, the other woman driver waved at us and called out that she was fine, before starting up her car and continuing back down the mountain road. But the young woman in front of me remained frozen, still attempting (and not really succeeding) to cope with what had just happened. Although I gave her another squeeze for reassurance, finally I just came out and said it: "Sweetheart," I shook my head a little in lingering bewilderment, "it's a miracle. There's no other way to describe this or put it in your brain. Like I said," I glanced at the sky for a second, "you have incredible Angels."

With that, I began to feel her tension release. Though I don't even know the young woman's name, we both understood on that cold, remote highway in Colorado that we had been, well . . . spared. That was the only explanation that made any sense.

I linked my arm through hers and walked her back to her car, where I gave her one last grip around the shoulders and told her she'd be fine. "Live your life well," I urged, "because we both still get to have one." I could see the tears pool in her eyes again as she nodded and got into her SUV, then started it up and waved while she pulled back onto the pavement and disappeared down the mountain road.

Such was our date with destiny. Obviously, as I made my way home in my car that morning, I realized I'd been shown a fleeting portal to leave this plane of existence, and yet despite all the odds, I remained here. Given that it was the start of a new year, I naturally wondered why, what purpose I'd been spared to serve. Of course, like anyone else, I have my "to-do" ideas of plans and goals for 2016, which could have easily been ripped from me in a heartbeat, along with the cherished love of my husband and children. I don't claim to know all the ramifications of why anyone is given a hall pass from an untimely death. But one thing I do know, as I drove slowly, mulling over what had just happened on the road home: My spirit somehow felt bigger than it did before. Not bigger as I think of my temporal self with all my transient ambitions, but more like boundaryless, as though something in me had expanded that day to more fully take in the morning sky. The glistening trees. The shadowy mountainsides. That cool feeling of winter breath against your lungs that slowly warms as it stirs within you before you exhale. The gentle throb of a relentless heart. And maybe that's what "miracles" are all about, those rare intersections in time and space that defy our comprehension of physical laws: they allow us to "know" something larger than before.  The confines of words may never quite articulate what that is, but the heart feels it, deep inside. And no matter where we are or what we're doing, we realize in that moment that we're supposed to be here. Something made sure of that for me on that icy morning in early 2016. 

And for me, I will continue to let it widen me inside until I fully appreciate the breadth and gift of this life.

Have you ever experienced a miracle?
 I'd love to hear about it. 
Please feel free to describe your story 
in the comments section below. <3

Thursday, November 12, 2015

SPIRITS OF THE SEASON: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances & Facebook Hop Giveaway!

Christmas is coming! And it just so happens that there is a perfect romantic box set for only .99 cents on Kindle to put you in the mood for all the warmth & love of the holiday season. It's called Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances, written by USA Today bestselling & award-ainning authors. I am so honored to be a part of this beautiful box set with my holiday novella Bandits Hollow, a tale about two lovers who travel through time to find one another & reunite under a magical moon on Christmas Eve. And to celebrate this box set, all the authors (including me) have arranged a Facebook Hop from November 12th-19th where you can enter to win $700 in prizes, including a Kindle Fire Tablet! All you have to do to enter our giveaway is go to our Spirits of the Season Facebook Page Hop at and follow the instructions to win prizes! In addition to the grand prize of a Kindle Fire, each author is giving away jewelry, books, swag, and lots more from their individual facebook author pages.

So what am I giving away from my Facebook Author Page? A gorgeous bracelet (see photo below) that sparkles as brightly as the Cold Moon of December in my novella Bandits Hollow, which brings 2 eternal lovers together to be connected for all time, just like the lovely rows of faceted crystals on this bracelet:

In addition to the bracelet, I'm also giving away a free psychic reading in honor of my main character, Evangeline Tinker, a renowned fortune teller who finds her own magical way toward true love in Bandits Hollow. To see more information about my psychic readings, please click on this link:

And to give you a taste of the magic in the Spirits of the Season box set, the following is a link to our stunning book trailer video that will make your heart flutter at the beauty, mystery, and promise of winter romance:

So grab a cup of hot cocoa & visit our Spirits of the Season Facebook Page Hop at to enter today! You never know, your gifts just might arrive early this holiday season <3

Friday, October 9, 2015

HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY for Bandits Hollow, My Spooky Time Travel Romance!

Bandits Hollow is here for only .99 cents!
Just in time for Halloweenmy spooky, time travel romance Bandits Hollow! This magical novella can be read in any order in the Robbin' Hearts Series and details the secrets behind Evangeline Tinker's love life (many of you know her as Granny Tinker from my bestselling novel Robin in the Hood). In this novella, renowned fortune teller Evangeline learns that the love her life, Virgil Hollow, has traversed through time to find her, and she's petrified of the consequences due to his epic hold upon her heart. But add a touch of magic, and the sparks between them are bound to ignite.... (to read an excerpt from this novella, go to my "Sneak Peek" page or click here). 
So what am I giving away for Halloween?

For all those who sign up for my newsletter in October,
you will be entered to WIN one of 3 PSYCHIC READINGS 
for HALLOWEEN and a GRAND PRIZE of an 
AMAZON GIFT CARD card for $30!

Directions to Enter:
If you haven't already done so, please sign up for my newsletter by entering your email address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side column of my website (don't worry I never spam!). That's all there is to itI'll notify the 3 winners of psychic readings by random drawing on October 31st along with the winner of the Amazon gift card for $30!

Can true love rekindle despite the weight of centuries? 
Find out in the timeless love story Bandits Hollow,
which will make you believe once again in eternal love...

To purchase Bandits Hollow on Kindle in the US, click here

To purchase Bandits Hollow on Kindle in the UK, click here

To purchase Bandits Hollow on Kindle in Canada, click here

Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Late Bloomers

My favorite moments in life are those of serendipity. You know the ones--where you've carefully made plans & life surprises you with what seems like a miracle that you weren't expecting (& didn't even quite know you needed!). Such was my experience recently when I traveled to Canon City, Colorado with my family for a bike ride along the "Riverwalk", a groomed trail beside the Arkansas River. What's not to love? After an exceptionally rainy year, this warm day in mid-July was the first time in ages we'd seen the sun come out (talk about cabin fever!). We were all itching to be outdoors, and a bike ride along the swollen river seemed like the perfect day trip. Indeed, the nearby Centennial Park was filled with families picnicking, playing games & making ice cream, and a gentle mood of relief that summer had finally arrived seemed to linger over everyone like the sweet melody of an old favorite song. Yet to my surprise, after we biked a few miles beside the river, the trail abruptly ended at the railroad tracks with a large yellow barricade & a warning sign against trespassing. To my right, however, was a steep path ascending up a craggy mountain & another sign that read "Tunnel Trail." It appeared rocky & forebidding, but in the back of my mind I recalled hearing about this trail that had 3 tunnels blasted out of granite, which I thought my boys might be thrilled to see. So even though we were quite hot & pestered by flies near the river bank, something in me just HAD to go up that trail, despite the initial whining of my children...

What I discovered was the most gorgeous bike path I've ever seen. Soon, we were awestruck by the spectacular vista of the Arkansas River & surrounding wilderness that followed the Royal Gorge Railroad tracks, as well as delighted to pedal through old tunnels that had been dynamited a century ago for mining. Naturally, my children made wolf howls & choo-choo train sounds each time we entered a tunnel's depths, gleefully listening to their echoes. (I was secretly glad there were no bats. ; )

Now, bear in mind that I'm a middle-aged chick who's terrible at bike riding. Terrible at most sports, really--but of course, I fake it for my children so they'll grow up "adventurous" & enjoy the outdoors. Nevertheless, when the exceptional beauty of nature whispers to me, there's just something that takes over my spirit, despite my meager athletic gifts. I have to keep going, even though my lungs strain & muscles groan. So for the first time in my life, I found myself pedaling with such wonder & exhilaration that I surprised myself, eager to see the next bend, the next vista, each one a revelation for the eyes. For all intents & purposes, I became a pretty good biker! Not about to win any races, but thoroughly enjoying myself, and I marveled that I'd somehow managed to negotiate this sport rather late in life.

And that's when I saw them...

Cactus roses & blossoms of extraordinary color, rooted in the most prickly of desert plants.

Vivid Indian Paintbrush, whose scarlet petals covered several high meadows in a sea of red.

Wild roses displaying delicate, paper white blossoms, with lush green leaves regardless of the desert ecozone & Rocky Mountain altitude.

Geraniums that littered hillsides & every rocky crevice, waving their bright petals like flags.

Even the rare Coyote Melon below, found only in western, arid areas like the Mojave Desert, Baja & Joshua Tree, happen to grow in the wilderness near Canon City as well. They've been enjoyed as far back in evolution by such creatures as the Mastadon (scientists have discovered remnants of their DNA in animals' intestines). But their fruit is incredibly bitter, so Native Americans tribes simply roasted & ate the melon seeds. 

But the one that really took my breath away is the Indian Blanket Sunflower below (which I featured at the top of this post). This wildflower bursts with rich hues, yet always grows out of the worst dusty soil imaginable. 

Everywhere I looked on this trek were blossoms of staggering color & design, overwhelmingly lovely, and each one a late bloomer. You would have thought it was April for all of the flora that surrounded us, yet it was JULY! And how these sumptuous wildflowers persist in spite of wind, heat, altitude & soil that looks more like gravel boggles the mind. It's as though Nature was holding her own quiet celebration that day for those who persist, strive, and dare to thrive. If you've ever read any of my posts, then you know how excited I always get about wildflowers, but here in the high Southwestern desert, these exquisite blossoms whispered something unique:

Sometimes late bloomers can be the best of all.

These are the ones for whom life hasn't been easy. Every force of nature & trick of environment has conspired against them. Yet these factors have only caused their colors to become that much more rich. And naturally, I couldn't help taking a little solace for my own journey in the stories of endurance that these wildflowers tell. Like many of you, I was never the shiny young thing in high school or college--I'm the kind of person who took years to unlock her passions & find her way through the maze of life, coming into her own only after hard work & her fair share of setbacks. In a culture that worships glittering youth & overnight internet millionaires, people like me often feel lost in the electronic shuffle of social media & relentless, surround-sound boasts of success junkies.

Yet how could I not look upon this unsought moment of serendipity as surely a pinnacle of life? I'm healthy, my family's happy, and Nature was putting on a show for us that rivaled Fourth of July fireworks, if we were only willing to stop long enough to truly look. So as you continue on your own journey, I'd like to encourage you to pause for the quiet stories you see all around you of endurance & tenacity, along with the rich rewards of those that are the sometimes the slowest to bloom. The road is worth worth matter how long it takes. Though our paths are full of unpredictable twists & turns, and few have a smooth trail to the kind of fame or success we see peddled in media, these late bloomers can remind us that the unexpected does exist... 

And often, their hard-won beauty is the brightest miracle of all. 

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." 
~George Eliot 
(Pen name of nineteenth-century English novelist Mary Anne Evans,
one of the greatest writers of the Victoria era. Her first novel was published 
at age 40, and she had to use a male author name to be taken seriously.)

Allow the journey carry you to who you've always wanted to be...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

REAL Hollywood at Etheria Film Night

If you happened to read my previous post, then you know I traveled to Hollywood, California last month to attend Etheria Film Night at the Egyptian Theatre, a festival that showcases the best emerging female directors in film. 

I was invited to cover the event and help interview the recipient of the 2015 Etheria Film Night Inspiration Award, Jane Espenson, the iconic TV writer of such hits as Once Upon a Time, Game of Thrones, Torchwood, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica Husbands. (To see my interviews, click here.) 

Jane Espenson (left), Diane J. Reed (right)

Naturally, I was beyond honored to attend, not only because it's a common fantasy in our culture to "walk the red carpet" for a bonafide film premiere, but because it allowed me the opportunity to peek behind the magic curtain of the Hollywood film industry and meet the kind of people who actually create powerful works of cinema and television.  

What I discovered took me by surprise...

By attending this event, I stumbled across the REAL Hollywood. Not the glossy version we buy tickets to see in giant-screen movie theaters, but the hardworking, rubber-meets-the-road Los Angeles populated by people who labor day and night to make the best visual media they can--and who encourage others to do the same. 

During the interview with Jane Espenson, for example, I did not encounter a hatchet-wielding network diva but rather a very humble and gracious woman who is brilliant beyond ordinary human parameters. I honestly wonder if she's a fairy godmother sent to earth to remind us of the depth and complexity of the human spirit through her magical wand of creativity (she's particularly known for writing damaged, multi-faceted characters). Jane Espenson even wore a shimmering blue gown, reminiscent of the Blue Fairy from the TV show she writes, Once Upon a Time. 

Why was this such a twist? Because somewhere in the back of my mind (in spite of my fangirling giddiness) I was expecting Jane Espenson to bear a heavy weight of soul armor. It's hard for me to imagine competing with the "big boys" of Hollywood to write television scripts for so many years without becoming gruff, defensive, or downright aloof (is it any secret how tough this glittery world can be?). Yet the exact opposite was true: Jane Espenson came across as kind and even vulnerable, an individual who carefully examines the intricacies of the human heart before she writes. And this is where her inspiration and true artistic power lies: She's never lost touch with the deepest and often most difficult emotions, no matter how arduous the road might be, which is why the iconic characters she's molded (such as Buffy Summers, the female Starbuck, Mr. Gold/Rumple, Nathan Fillion, and Cheeks) resonate so strongly with American audiences. When asked if she's drawn to writing these "renegade outsiders", she replied in a thoughtful way that pointed more to their wounds, saying,  "Absolutely. Strong characters that overcome obstacles and triumph, despite internal damage. I mean, these characters aren't just beleaguered, they're internally damaged. Starbuck has a lot of damage in her, even Buffy has a lot of damage in her. I think one of the reasons Amber [Benson] was asking me about why Buffy has resonated so much more than other projects is because people see themselves as a character like that. People don't see themselves as a perfect hero or heroine. But every little boy or girl can see themselves as Buffy." 

The imperfect hearts we all have in common.

What I find the most beautiful about Jane Espenson's writing is that she embraces the conflicted, hidden place inside all of us that feels hope, pain, courage, alienation, bitterness--and yet still dares to dream. It's no wonder we clamor to see her TV episodes, because she writes about US, our frailties and strengths, in a way that makes us feel more validated than reviled (even if her characters do sometimes wear futuristic clothing or possess otherworldly powers). To me, this cuts to the heart of her particular brand of magic. 

Similarly, I was bowled over by the kindness, creativity and artistic integrity of the female directors I met. Prior to Etheria Film Night, I was invited to go to lunch and dinner with several directors, and they were incredibly down to earth, yet highly passionate about their art. These women are graduates of top film schools who work in studios by day as experts in editing, sound, special effects, lighting, 3D technology, and of course, as film-project directors. But by night and weekend, many of them crawl over glass to make their own independent films, hustling for funding, hiring fabulous cinematographers and actors, and directing projects that artistically match the highest bar of cinematic vision. 

Stacy Hammon & Kayley Viteo

And I must confess that this blurry picture above (blame my bumbling photography skills) is one of my very favorites from Etheria Film Night, even though they rolled out the classic red carpet for stars to stroll upon while flashing sparkly smiles. Why? Because it features Stacy Hammon and Kaley Viteo in an intriguing hazy darkness, two women in film who are also organizers of the event. Stacy informed me that she likes to think of herself as the Wizard of Oz, one who prefers to remain behind the curtain (or camera) where no one can see her, rather than absorbing all the limelight. And damned if it wasn't nearly impossible to snap her picture! All night I felt like I was attempting to catch a butterfly, for Stacy was constantly on the move and reluctant to draw attention, preferring to generously showcase the talents of others. Below is a better photo of her in her natural element behind the camera (from Katie Wallack's terrific article "I Don't Like To Be Scared, But Maybe I Should Be" for the online magazine Ms. In The Biz). 

Stacy Pippi Hammon, 15 Till MidnightDisciples, Model Hunger
(Photo credit: Wolfgang Meyer, used by permission of Stacy Pippi Hammon)

Likewise, it was difficult to capture Heidi Honeycutt as well, another organizer of Etheria Film Night, who was so elusive I felt like I was trying to photograph a snow leopard for National Geographic. Heidi, Stacy and Kayley darted to and fro with almost supernatural speed throughout the event, making sure everyone was happy and ready to view some of the finest films directed by women all over the globe. I finally caught Heidi and strong armed her into this selfie below, where she graciously talked to me for a few minutes about her excitement over the films. 

Heidi Honeycutt, editor of MovieMaker Magazine (left)

Once again, these are women who prefer to be in the background creating and promoting fantastic cinema, to the point that they even fashioned Kayley Viteo buttons with her picture on it for people to wear, since she managed to be as stealthy in her monumental support of Etheria Film Night as a shadow-seeking phantom.

Anyone who manages to spot Kayley Viteo at 
Etheria Film Night gets a special prize... ; )

So what did I think of the films that debuted at Etheria Film Night

Pardon me for gushing, but they were stunning!! 

One of my favorites was Shevenge, directed by Amber Benson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. It hilariously chronicles the slumber party of embittered wives Sam, Taylor and Charley as they empower themselves by plotting outrageous revenge upon their inadequate and/or malicious husbands. It had me snort-laughing so loudly I began to worry about being carted away from the Egyptian Theatre for disturbing the peace.   

Another film I adored was Sheila Scorned, written and directed by Mara Tasker and featuring fantastic actress Laine Rettmer, whose gritty portrayal of a psychopathic stripper bent on survival rivals the best films of Quentin Tarantino. Honestly, this movie left me screaming "SEQUEL! FRANCHISE PLEASE!" because I could watch Sheila navigate and dominate her grim underworld with enormous guilty pleasure for at least 4 more installments. You go, girl...

And talk about gritty, I was completely unprepared for the gore and mayhem of Gigi Saul Guerrero's El Gigante, which to me made Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like a Sunday picnic. Yet I couldn't help loving this film! Okay, so maybe it made me dead bolt my door, lock all windows, and check under the bed when I got back to my hotel room that evening. But this over-the-top, ghastly film left audiences nearly wretching in fear, and it was directed by a genre-bending woman! Who says chicks can't make horror films? There are no nuances here--just an all-out, carnage-filled bloodfest, but the director magically made the audience sympathize with her main-character Armando and his tragic, bloody plight to protect his family.

Don't let the pretty face and pink heels fool you--
Gigi Saul Guerrero of Luchagore Productions
can direct horror movies that will scare you witless

But by far my favorite film of the night was Godel Incomplete, an exquisite time-travel movie directed by Australian filmmaker Martha Goddard and featuring luminous actress Elizabeth Debicki in a delicate, highly-nuanced performance. This cinematically lush film, about a brilliant contemporary particle physicist who, through her scientific experiments, meets with physicist Kurt Godel at various points in time, nearly brought me to tears.  The core of the story here is Godel's Metric which was left unfinished in his lifetime (1906-1978), but which points to a theory of "timeline curves" that might allow for the possibility of time travel. As the characters slip in and out of time, yet deeply connect, I found myself utterly transported by this ethereal and wonderfully-crafted film, wishing it could go on all night.  How filmmaker Martha Goddard created this kind of alchemy in only a 15-minute movie proves to me, beyond a shadow of doubt, that magic is real . . .

During the film festival, I was able to snap pictures of a few of the multi-talented individuals who attended Etheria Film Night below. If you have a minute, do yourself a favor and click on the links at the bottom of each photo to see some of their gorgeous filmwork or to learn more about their contributions to the world of cinema.

Director Celine Tricart, 3D specialist, author, 
& creator of opulent & magical award-winning films (left) 

Rebekah McKendry, college professor of film, 
podcaster for Killer POV, staffwriter & marketer for Fangoria

Morgan Faust of BroSis PicturesFaust Films
award-winning director of the enchanting fantasy Tick Tock Time Emporium 
(showing off her pregnant glory--gotta love the motorcycle boots ; )

Actress Kelly Stadum (lead role in Breaking & Entering), 
& Benjamin Friedberg, producer of the award-winning film Speak Now 
& co-founder/president of InkCrayon Pictures (right)

And what was my final impression after Etheria Film Night? Does Hollywood indeed represent the boulevard of broken dreams, as has often been claimed, or can it really be a place to create art that stirs the soul? What the women filmmakers at Etheria Film Night taught me is that when you put yourself in the driver's seat to tell stories that truly move others, the road inevitably leads to the shadowy chambers of the human heart, where great beauty--and often great terror--lies. Whether or not these directors become world-famous will never change the fact that they make films that linger in their audience's minds (and quite possibly their dreams) long after the last credits roll. And when you least expect it, they might even make you see the "real" Hollywood (along with other fascinating "realities") in a whole new way...

And that's pure magic.

Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )