Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Characters You Love To Hate, Law and Order, Badass Women and Love-ish Triangles: Printer’s Row Lit Fest 2015


This past weekend, for the fourth year in a row, I attended Printer’s Row Lit Fest, the largest outdoor literary festival in the Midwest and my official start to summer.

It’s interesting to think about not only my first Lit Fest back in 2012 (read about it here) but also how it parallels with the journey of my indie writing career. Back then, I was unpublished and reading everything I could get my hands on about indie publishing. I was also about to head to Toronto for a weeklong writing class with my “author crush,” Joy Fielding (read about that here). Four Lit Fests later, I’ve released three books, am about to release two more and still doing what I can every day to learn as much as I can about this business.

So, in the interest of hanging out with my tribe, finding new books to read and furthering my education on the business and the craft, I once again headed to Printer’s Row and Lit Fest. And here’s what I did:

Panel Discussion: The Characters You Love to Hate Featuring Mystery Writers, J. Michael Major, Kristi Belcamino, Lynne Ramondo and Shane Gericke. Moderated by Lori Rader-Day
It was a packed house Saturday morning as attendees crowded into what might have been a science classroom at Jones College Prep. I attend at least one Mystery Writers of America panel each year (that whole tribe thing) and always enjoy the nuggets I pick up. The discussion centered around why unlikable characters really are likable, i.e. Hannibal Lecter and Walter White. Bad guys provide more opportunity for conflict, because goody two-shoes characters are “boring” (true) and as J. Michael Major put it, “our real world is filled with so much mundaneness,” why would you want to write about it, much less read about it (also true)?

I just had to stop here and say Shane Gericke had my line of the day: “We all have evil inside is . . . we all have mean streaks.”

Each author shared some of their favorite anti-heroes including House, Lincoln Rhyme from Jefferey Deaver’s series, Tom Ripley, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Blacklist”), Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes, “Homeland”) and Ken Brunen’s creation, Jack Taylor.



In today’s climate, unlikable characters can’t be “cartoon characters,” and unlike in the “Mickey Spillane era, you have to explain it.”  In other words, you can’t just have evil for evil sakes. There has to be a motivation for why – which is what makes character development even more essential. Lynne Ramondo commented “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” while shocking in its day, it wouldn’t make much of a ripple today (true again.)

Big takeaway: “To understand any character (bad guys included) you have to understand their background.”

It was fun to hear the perspective of each author on this intriguing topic and Lori Rader-Day was a charming moderator.

Mystery Writers of America Impromptu Sessions
The Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America hosted a number of mini-sessions in their tent. I stopped by for one and wound up staying for three. There was an impromptu session by Susanna Calkins and another author whose name I didn’t catch, on social media and marketing. The session that followed featured Patricia Skalka (who writes mysteries set in Door County, Wisconsin) and another author whose name I also missed (I’m really batting a thousand here – he was from Detroit and during the discussion, invoked some of that city’s greats including Elmore Leonard and Loren D. Estleman) on their writing process, where they get their ideas and the role setting plays in their work.


The third session (the one I came for) was “Law and Order,” meant to feature a police detective (aspiring mystery writer, Adam Henkels, a Chicago-area police officer) and a lawyer. The lawyer couldn’t join the fun, but Matthew Clemens, who has penned TV tie-in novels for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Dark Angel, Bones, and Criminal Minds, stepped in to pinch hit. It was a great riff about “story showing,” not “storytelling,” the importance of editing, why writing about police work is so boring(!) and why it’s so different from what we see on TV (budgets, for starters). That was probably my favorite mini-session. Unfortunately, the session started late, which meant I had to bolt to get to my next event. Still, I had a blast.  


Panel Discussion: Breaking the Deadly Glass Ceiling: Libby Fischer Hellmann, Jessie Chandler, Susanna Calkins, Raymond Benson moderated by Jeffrey Marks
My last session of the day was about kick-ass female characters. Libby Fischer Hellmann, who pens two popular thriller series with female protagonists, wondered why women have to have this characterization (fair point). The discussion centered around the depiction of strong women characters in fiction and even in non-fiction and how women can “go the wall” when it comes to facing challenges and conflict. Raymond Benson, who wrote several James Bond books, admitted he, “burned out all of his testosterone,” on that series, which lead him to create a female superhero, “The Black Stiletto.” Jessie Chandler, whose mysteries feature a lesbian protagonist, is a former Borders manager and she populated her books with her former cohorts (being a former Barnes & Noble bookseller, I can appreciate that – also, Jessie mentioned she got her start with NaNoWriMo.)

One of my personal favorite bad-ass women (picture courtesy of TNT)

A few interesting tidbits that came out of the session:

-        Women make 80 percent of the book buying choices

-        Non-fiction is easier to sell and get reviewed

-        Women read more male authors than female authors

-        Susanna Calkins had a male author tell her point-blank, “I don’t read books about women.” (Alrighty then.)

Favorite authors of the panelists include Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell and Val McDermid.

Fiction: Love Triangles: Mary Kubica (“The Good Girl”) and Rebecca Dinerstein (“The Sunlit Night.”)
Admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this event, as based on what I’d read about each book, love triangles didn’t seem to figure all that prominently into either story. However, I was really excited to see/hear Mary Kubica, as “The Good Girl,” has been on my radar as a “to be read,” for quite a while. I was pleasantly surprised to learn she was a Chicago girl, so even more reason to brave the rain on Sunday.

Turns out, love triangles really don’t play a part in either novel and the moderator cheerfully informed us they’d be “going rogue” for the presentation (love it.). Each author did a short reading: Mary Kubica from her forthcoming book, “Pretty Baby,” (her descriptions of Chicago give me something to aspire to), while Rebecca Dinerstein read from her book, which traverses Brooklyn and Norway. Rebecca Dinerstein indentifies herself as a poet and it definitely shows in her work – gorgeous writing.

(MaryKubica.com)
Since we were “going rogue,” the conversation centered around the importance of place and setting (see a theme here?) in their work and with genre being so critical in today’s digital age, how they would classify their work (Kubica – psychological suspense, Dinerstein – women’s fiction, though she admitted she’d take, “any genre anyone wants to give me.”). Each confessed that genre can be tricky for women authors, but stressed that each of their works touch on the emotional things women go through – work, family, relationships, love, so women’s fiction would be apt for both.

I ventured a question, asking each who some of their favorite authors are: Kubica – S.J. Watson (ironically, I’m currently reading “Before I Go To Sleep.” She gave it a huge thumbs up.) Heather Gudenkauf, Gillian Flynn, another Chicago girl. Interestingly enough, “The Good Girl” has drawn numerous comparisons to “Gone Girl.” In doing a little research for this post, I found an interview where she also chose Liane Moriarty Ann Hood and Anita Shreve as favorites (could MK be my spirit animal??). Dinerstein praised Michael Chabon and considers herself a Bronte girl, “Jane Eyre” in particular being a favorite.

I purchased, “The Good Girl,” and had it signed. I have also moved it to the top of my “to be read” pile.

I usually leave Lit Fest feeling awed and inspired and this year was no exception. I came home and worked up three blurbs for my WIP, tinkered with said WIP (now in the in hands of my First Reader) and wrote a page and a half of an idea for a new book that’s been tickling my brain for a few weeks. So many great events and authors and information and books. So many books. It’s better than a candy store.

Already dreaming of Lit Fest 2016.

Monday, June 1, 2015

How I Created my Book Trailer for $12.99

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of doing a book trailer, but had decided it was something for “the future.”  They either required thousands of dollars to hire a professional to produce it or a graphics/technological dexterity I didn’t posses in order to do it myself.

However, a last year, as part of a family book club, we read “The One and Only,” by Emily Giffin and as is my way, after finishing, went in search of more information about the book and author, which is when I stumbled across the very simple trailer for the book:

 
This was a revelation: No actors! No location shoots! No storyline!  It was short!
After watching the above, I was emboldened enough to believe that maybe I COULD come up with something cost-effective and not too terribly complicated.  After poking around on the Internet (seriously . . . what DID we do before the Web??) I saw a few tutorials on how to use PowerPoint to create book trailers and gave it a whirl (there are lots of other video programs out there that are far superior to PowerPoint, but frankly, I’m not that ambitious or artistic, so PowerPoint it would be). 

My PowerPoint skills have always been rudimentary at best, but I was able to cobble together something halfway decent before going in search of royalty-free music, which proved to the biggest challenge.  Some sites charged upwards of $50 for two minutes of music (about only 30 seconds of which I’d even be using.  Definitely couldn’t justify that expense.)
And then I stumbled upon Animoto (cue the singing choir), a program that lets you turn photos, text and video clips into rich videos.

This was yet another revelation: It was easy! It was fun!
I’m almost embarrassed to say just how much of a blast I had exploring the different styles and concepts Animoto offered as I developed my book trailer – not to mention how fast and painless it was.  

However, I still had the music conundrum, as what Animoto offered at my price point (Read: FREE) wasn’t quite right.
And yet another stumble, this time into JewelBeat, which offers a vast library of royalty-free music to choose from for $2.99.  Two dollars.  Ninety-nine cents.

I fell in love.
In no time, I found the perfect music for my trailer.  I was so enthralled by the process, I quickly created another one for my next book (stay tuned!). And another one!

For now, here are the fruits of my labor:


A few tips:

-        Animoto offers a few different pricing plans.  I used the free option, which allows you to create a 30-second video.  Anything over 30 seconds and the meter starts running.  While the free option limits you to certain styles and music choices, there was still quite a lot to choose from.
 
-        Google “Royalty-free images” and you’ll find a treasure trove of sites with pictures you can use for your video.  Animoto also offers a small selection of images and video that you can incorporate into your trailer. 

-        While I used JewelBeat for music, iTunes also offers a wide variety of royalty free songs and sound effects.  You can buy individual songs or whole albums (some compilations have up 100 songs and effects.  It’s like a candy store!).  By the way, JewelBeat’s $2.99 price point includes the purchase of a standard use license, which allows for up to 1 million views.  There is also an extended use license for $9.99, which offers unlimited views.  I chose the standard license, but you can upgrade to an extended license at any time.

-         Animoto offers the option of upgrading your final video to HD for a one-time $10 cost (hence the $12.99 price tag for the whole trailer).  Do it.  It will make your video crisp, clear and professional looking. 

-        Have fun!  Playing around with Animoto was more than a little addictive and believe me, if I can do it, ANYONE can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Writer’s Voice

“The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time. It pays off slowly, your agent will sneer at it, your publisher will misunderstand it, and it will take people you have never heard of to convince them by slow degrees that the writer who puts his individual mark on the way he writes will always pay off.”
-Raymond Chandler

For me, one of the joys of reading fiction is the variety of voice and style you come across. I just finished “Everything I Never Told You,” by Celeste Ng, about the death of a teenage girl and about a month ago, I read, “Mud Vein,” by Tarryn Fisher, about a woman held captive in a remote cabin. Each of these stories were beautifully written, absorbing page-turners, yet the style or “voice,” of their authors couldn’t have been more different.

Voice. So personal. So highly subjective. Writers struggle for years to find their “voice,” that unique combination of syntax, dialogue, character development—even punctuation—that is their own personal stamp, a warbling like no other. Elmore Leonard’s masterful dialogue, ee cummings’ lack of punctuation and capitalization, the silky elegance of Anita Shreve and the dark, prickly precision of Gillian Flynn are just a few examples of just how personal and singular a writer’s “voice” can be.

Finding and honing your writer’s voice is a long, arduous and ever-changing process. It can start with trying to emulate a writer whose stories you enjoy reading. It can evolve from a movie or TV show that knocks you so flat, you become determined to try to recapture the quick, breezy dialogue or long, poetic soliloquies.

I’ve found my own somewhat conversational, to-the-point writing style is the direct result of (“rebellion against” might be a better term) high school reading experiences. I struggled mightily to get through “The Old Man and The Sea.” It droned on and on and I can’t remember if he ever even caught that dang marlin (despite the bad taste the sea left in my mouth, I would like to read “The Sun Also Rises,” one of these days.). I had the same negative reaction to “Jane Eyre.” The simple act of walking into a room took pages and pages and by the end, I was ready to bury the whole book in the backyard (I had a much better experience with the “prequel,” Wide Sargasso Sea,” which tells the story of the madwoman in the attic before she got all tangled up with Rochester). I much preferred the loose style of “Catcher in the Rye,” or “The Bell Jar,” or the deceptively simple, “Ethan Frome.”

As a reader, I like to “get on with it,” as it were, and this is my inclination as a writer as well. Some readers (and writers) like a lot of flowery language and an excess of detail, while others prefer a shorter, punchier style (and some of us like a little bit of both). Charles Dickens’ may be one of Jackie Collins’ favorite authors, (no, really), but it doesn’t mean she wants her voice to sound anything like his. My No. 1 goal with all my books is to entertain with a (very) small side of provocative thought thrown in for good measure. I’ll leave the penning of the Great American Novel to someone else.

I have a family member taking their first foray into fiction writing and they mentioned wanting to emulate the style of two writers with a highly literary, highly poetic quality to their work. After reading a sample of their work, it was clear to me their style was a little more downtown than uptown. After probing them some more (and suggesting they read works by authors whose style was probably closer to their own), I asked why they chose two writers with a style so different from their own and their response was, “Well, I thought that’s how I was supposed to write.”

globalgrind.com

Can you imagine Madonna singing “Vision of Love” or Mimi belting out “Vogue?”

Part of “finding your voice,” is not only reading and writing A LOT, it’s learning the rules before you break them in the name of artistic expression. It’s observing the world around you and applying it to your writing accordingly. It’s tapping into your own individual experiences and truths and using it in your writing. It’s finding the best version of your own unique voice and honing it until it feels like YOU, not a cheap, grasping imitation of someone you THINK you’re supposed to sound like. The more you work at it, the more comfortable you become in your own voice and the more confidence you gain to be able to say, “no, thank you,” to the well-meaning, but often bad advice of others who may try to strip your writing of everything that makes it unique.

I went through this recently with a family friend who offered me a lot of unsolicited advice on a manuscript.  If this person had their way, my story would have sounded like some Elizabethan wrote it instead of a Sloaneian (ha ha!). Kind of like Mariah Carey and Madonna trading set lists for the night. Honestly, can you imagine Madge belting out “Vision of Love,” or Mimi crooning, “Vogue?”

Like I said, voice.

For now, it’s time to go and do some work on my voice.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Paperback, a Novella and a Cover Reveal

Greetings from beneath my monumental to-do list.

The past few months have been hectic and a frenzied schedule typically means something has to give. In my case, it has been my blog posts. I have promised myself I will get back on the horse and resume regular posts. That is until the next frenzied schedule intrudes.

 So, what have I been up to in no particular order?:

“Every Breath You Take”

-        The paperback version is about to hit the presses, hopefully later this month. Stay tuned.

-        A funny thing happened after I wrote “The End” on this book – I couldn’t let go of the characters (I’ve blogged about this before – read more here). For one, there were some things that happened “off the page,” with some of the characters that I was curious about. So much so, I was compelled to write a companion novella tentatively titled, “Missing You.”).

I’ve never written a novella before, so “writing shorter,” was interesting. I’ve also never written a series or sequel of any kind, so it was a challenge (in a good way) to make sure certain details matched. I’m sure I probably missed a few – hopefully I can catch them on the flip side. Overall, it was a fun experience and I feel inspired to try it again in the future.

“Live To Tell”

-        After some internal revisions based on beta reader feedback and my own obsessively compulsive tweaking, “Live To Tell,” which will be my 4th release, has been officially sent out for content editing. Check out the book cover below. It’s unlike my other books in that it’s a first person POV, and the protagonist is male. Next stop will be more obsessive revision on my part, followed by copyediting, obsessive revision, proofreading, obsessive revision and finally unleashed on the world. Right now, I’m shooting for a September release, so more to come.

-        I’ve also begun veeerrrry preliminary work on a draft for a companion/sequel titled, “Tell Me A Lie.” Similar to “Missing You,” I found myself wondering, “Well, what happened next?” It will be another first person POV.

Misc.

-        Because I get bored easily, I’m revamping my website for the 2nd time in six months. I’m updating it to include video among other fun features. I hope to have it ready for debut by early to mid-June.

-        As always, I’m coming up with story ideas way faster than I can write them. Maybe someday my brain will catch up with my fingers and I’ll get around to churning out the manuscripts.

But for now, back to writing.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Every Breath You Take Giveaway - March 23 - March 30

To celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Every Breath You Take,” I’m hosting a giveaway (Woo Hoo!)

From March 23 – March 30  enter below for the chance to win the following prizes:

PRIZE #1
FIVE Kindle Copies of “Every Breath You Take” (Limit 1 per winner)


PRIZE #2
ONE $25 Amazon Gift Card

PRIZE # 3
ONE DVD Copy of one of the Five Movies featured in “Every Breath You Take.” Watch this blog for an upcoming post on why I included these specific movies in the book.

Winner’s Choice of:


 
OR

OR

(1955 version)

OR
 
 
OR


 

About “Every Breath You Take:

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Natalie Scott goes jogging along Chicago’s lakefront. She likes foreign films, cinnamon gum and strawberry yogurt. She smells like sunflowers in the summer and roses in the winter.
 
These are just a few of the things Natalie’s stalker knows about her.

In fact, he knows everything about her.

In one brutal act of violence, Natalie’s stalker will reveal himself to her, imprisoning her in the process, determined to own her body and soul. Now trapped in a madman’s web, Natalie will find herself in a terrifying battle of wills where the only way to survive is to beat the monster at his own game.
. .

Praise for “Every Breath You Take”

“This is one of those books that occupied my mind twenty-four hours a day . . .”

“This book is a must read for anyone who likes a good psychological thriller.

“The story kept me on the edge of my seat . . .”

Fun Extras
For a look “Behind the Book,” click here.
For a recap of the eleven tracks on the “Every Breath You Take” playlist, click here
For my thoughts on who I’d cast in the “Every Breath You Take” movie, click here.

Entering the contest is easy – just use the Rafflecopter below and choose how you want to submit your entry!

Winners will be chosen at random and announced on April 1, 2015 (I promise – no April Fools! Only winners. J)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sex and Another City – or One Writer’s Love Letter to Chicago

I am an unabashed “Sex and the City” devotee. I’m that annoying person who can recite whole episodes verbatim, owns all the seasons on DVD and the gorgeous “Kiss and Tell” coffee table book. I even own a First Edition hardcover of Candace Bushnell’s compilation of newspaper columns that inspired the show (which, if you’re expecting any resemblance to the TV show . . . don’t.).




I Love "Sex and City," but...
 As deep as my affection for the show runs, one thing always irritated me: the hero worship of New York City. If you went by the show, you’d think Manhattan was the center of universe. You’d think crappy dates only happen in New York. You’d think you couldn’t get a decent drink anywhere but New York. You’d think everything outside New York was Podunk U.S.A.  

Don’t get me wrong:

(as an aside, my best friend got married at the Boathouse in Central Park. “Sex and the City” junkies know the Boathouse was featured in the Season Three finale, “Cock a Doodle Do!” when Big and Carrie fall into the pond after he tries to kiss her.). I love the myth, the legend, the culture, the history, the architecture, the fashion—everything. But I also know there is life outside of New York. There are a multitude of amazing cites across this great land known as America.

And my “City” is Chicago.

I wasn’t born in Chicago, which always surprises people, but I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere, so, it’s home. My parents divorced when I was a kid and shortly after, my mother moved to Chicago while my brother and I relocated to Texas with my father. However, we spent every summer and every other Christmas in Chicago. The first time we came to visit was a major culture shock. I’d been to Dallas and Houston, sizable cities in their own right, but nothing prepared my ten-year old self for life in the Windy City.


For starters, my mother lived in a high-rise building with a doorman—there was no bounding in and out of the house all day. If you wanted to go out, you had to really want to go out. We didn’t play in the street (unless you had a death wish) and our backyard was the parks dotting the lakefront a few steps from our building. For ten weeks out of the year, “L” trains, city buses, towering skyscrapers, museums for every conceivable art and science were our norm. We walked EVEYWHERE. Glittering vertical malls housing Marshall Field’s, Lord and Taylor and Carson Pirie Scott were where we shopped for clothes and “The Jewel” was where we shopped for food. We didn’t go to Baskin Robbins, but gorged on Rainbow Cones. Bags of Hershey’s Kisses paled next to boxes of Frango Mints. Pizza was Chicago-style deep dish.



Christmas was a trip downtown for a performance of the Nutcracker and to marvel over the window displays at Field’s on State (Christmas was also snow, a novelty whose charms are totally lost on me today). Chicago was where Oprah Winfrey was a local morning talk show host, light years away from world domination. We hummed the jingle for Empire Carpet and memorized the number for Victory Auto Wreckers without even trying.

I'm old enough to remember when there was no "800" in front of the Empire Carpet phone number

I eventually wound up living in the North Shore suburbs and like so many antsy high school seniors, I fled “Chicagoland” in search of warmer climes and a home far from home as soon as I could. But Chicago is like a magnet and after graduating from college, I moved back.  As a young, twenty-something with a few dollars in her pocket (and I mean, very few), I began to explore Chicago through new eyes, including the multitude of neighborhoods (okay, neighborhood bars), street festivals and homegrown boutiques. I went to Cubs games in the summer and suffered through Bears games in the winter.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is a marvel in the middle of the city. I liked the creaky charm of the old Esquire movie theater and the beer-splattered floors of the Brew and View. You have to hit the Green Mill at least once in your Chicago life and the Indian food on Devon Avenue will change your life. My favorite view of the city is the Signature Lounge at the 96th with a frothy cocktail in my hand. The only place to go dancing is the Hangge Uppe (though I did love the Riviera back in the day). You should try all the deep-dish pizza places so you can argue with your fellow Chicagoans about which one is the best (Lou Malnati’s gets my vote.) And yeah, it’s cheesy, but ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier at least once.

And yes, this city has supplied me with more than my fair share of crappy dates, but that’s a blog post (or two or ten) for another day.

My affection for Chicago has only expanded and deepened over the years and it was that love and appreciation that spurred me to make Chicago the setting for all of my books. I went through a period where it seemed every book, movie and TV show I stumbled across was set in New York. It had almost become a cliché. John Hughes called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off his love letter to Chicago and indeed, my books are meant to be their own little missives on what makes this city so spectacular. Whether it’s the lights along Lake Shore Drive winking at you at night ("Killing Me Softly") or shutting yourself within the confines of the Harold Washington Library Center ("Sweet Little Lies") or contemplating whether or not to recreate Rocky’s triumphant run on the steps of the Art Institute ("Every Breath You Take"), each one of my books is Chicago born and bred.

To celebrate my third love letter to the city, my newest eBook, Every Breath You Take, is FREE on Amazon March 18-19 (click HERE to download), so grab a copy and see what kisses I’m blowing Chicago’s way this time around.




   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

“Every Breath You Take” Playlist – Track No. 11

Track No. 11 from the “Every Breath You Take” playlist is “La Vie En Rose” by Édith Piaf.

This version of “La Vie En Rose,” brings the playlist full circle. While the song has been covered endlessly (including by Louis Armstrong – Track No. 2 on the playlist), Édith Piaf’s rendition was the first and arguably, the most famous.

Without giving anything away, this version evokes bittersweet memories for Natalie, the protagonist of the book. However, it’s a fitting milestone for her journey.

Check out the playlist in full below, or visit my website, www.biancasloane.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Every Breath You Take Playlist:

Track No. 2 - “La Vie En Rose,” by Louis Armstrong
Track No. 3 - “Father Figure,” by George Michael
Track No. 4 - “Rise” by Herb Alpert
Track No. 5 - “The Power of Love,” by Celine Dion
Track No. 6 - "Sunrise," by Simply Red
Track No. 7 - “I Can’t Wait,” by NuShooz
Track No. 8 – “I Like It,” by DeBarge
Track No. 9 – “With or Without You,” by U2
Track No. 10 – “Danke Schoen,” by Wayne Newton

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“Every Breath You Take” Playlist – Track No. 10

Track No. 10 from the “Every Breath You Take” playlist is Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton.

I can remember like yesterday the first time I saw “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” My mom took me, my brother and cousin to see it when it opened in the summer of 1986 and I fell in love. From Matthew Broderick’s sweet, impish charm, to the hilariously neurotic Alan Ruck (Cameron) to the stylish cool of Mia Sara (Sloane – great name BTW, no? ;) (and seriously, who DIDN’T want to rock a white leather fringe jacket and tall leather boots with their shorts after seeing this movie?), everything about this movie just wowed me. The music, the locales, the high quotable quotient, the sheer fun – this movie is just perfection. Its recent inclusion in the National Film Registry only sealed its status as one of the best movies ever made.

“Danke Shoen,” (German for “thank you very much) is prominently featured throughout “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” most memorably in the parade scene where Ferris, quite literally, steals the show. I included the song on the “Every Breath You Take” playlist because Natalie’s (the main character in the book) boyfriend loves the movie, dubbing it as his favorite Chicago movie (mine, too.). I knew I would include a song from the movie and in almost the same breath, picked “Danke Shoen.”    

Director John Hughes called “Ferris Buller’s Day Off,” his love letter to Chicago; it’s a letter I never get tired of reading.  

 
Every Breath You Take Playlist:
Track No. 1 - “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police
Track No. 2 - “La Vie En Rose,” by Louis Armstrong
Track No. 3 - “Father Figure,” by George Michael
Track No. 4 - “Rise” by Herb Alpert
Track No. 5 - “The Power of Love,” by Celine Dion
Track No. 6 - "Sunrise," by Simply Red
Track No. 7 - “I Can’t Wait,” by NuShooz
Track No. 8 – “I Like It,” by DeBarge
Track No. 9 – “With or Without You,” by U2