Emma Champion given ‘Honourable Mention’ in the 46th New Millennium Writings Awards

Emma Champion’s first ever piece of short fiction has garnered the attention of the judging panel in the 46th New Millennium Writings Awards, 2018.

The 6000-word story, entitled YOUR HUMAN, was entered into the competition last year, with winners and finalists announced in January 2019.

New Millennium Writings is a prize-winning literary journal based in Tennessee, US. Editor and Publisher for the journal, Alexis Williams Carr, contacted Emma via email (see image above) to congratulate her, saying “…you should be proud of your accomplishment…as an Honourable Mention, you placed in approximately the top 10% of our entries…” and thanked her “…for being a vibrant voice in the writing community.”

The panel of judges for the competition is comprised of poets, novelists, essayists, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, professors, and journalists, including: Marilyn Kallet, Doris Ivie, Laura Still, and New Millennium Writings founder, Don Williams.

Set in contemporary America somewhere in the not-too-distant future, YOUR HUMAN examines our need as a species for connection, and the role that technology plays in filling the void.

This is the first fiction writing accolade Emma has received, and serves as an exciting precursor to the release of her debut novel, TAIDEN’S TRUTH, due out later this year.

Follow @TaidenTrilogyOfficial on Facebook for all the latest news about the release of the book!

Article by Emma Champion: Rose Blossoms: Kate Winslet’s Original Titanic Screen Test and the release of Titanic 3D on Blu-Ray

It is a very rare thing to discover something new about something you know so well.  Like when you discover your other half secretly collects stamps four years into your marriage; or that moment you figured out how to open those blasted milk cartons without mullering them to buggary.

Imagine my surprise then, when last week the publication of an extremely rare and never-before-seen piece of footage surfaced unexpectedly on the blessed tinterweb…

To mark the release of Titanic 3D (2012) on Blu-Ray, Twentieth Century Fox have unearthed yet more previously unreleased titbits for the extras package, including a nineteen-year-old Kate Winslet’s original screen test for Rose DuWitt Bukater – the character that would later earn her an Oscar® nomination.

I did not know that it was possible for me to learn anything new about James Cameron’s 15-year-old opus.  Titanic is as much a part of me as the blood in my veins.  Since the first time I saw it when I was 17, it strikes a chord with me every time, marrying a real-life nautical legend with which I had always been fascinated, with the romantic sensibilities of Romeo and Juliet – Baz Luhrmann’s 90’s version of which (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)) happens to be the other cinematic mistress in my life.

The incestuous relationship between Master Shakespeare’s doomed lovers and Cameron’s Jack and Rose does not end there.  There is the obvious link – the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio was fresh from his turn as Romeo in Luhrmann’s ground-breaking project when he began work as Jack Dawson on the purpose-built Mexico set.  But also that Claire Danes, Luhrmann’s Juliet, was originally offered the chance to play Rose, but turned it down.  Not to mention that when James Cameron first pitched Titanic to Fox executives, he said, “I want to make Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic.”  Needless to say, they were sold, although, at the time, they were unaware that this little gem of an idea would set them back $200,000,000.

When casting for the role of Rose, Cameron was looking for someone who would have the strength of presence to carry this leviathan of a project.  “A nineteen-year-old girl who is going to carry a film of that scale on her shoulders…it’s a huge responsibility,” says Cameron.  “If you don’t bring it off, it’s not going to work.  Anyone else would have imploded under that.  But she didn’t.”

You can see from the screen test (above) what Cameron saw in her; from the moment she enters the shot, she owns the screen.  So much so that Jeremy Sisto, testing for the role of Jack, is utterly (and rather embarrassingly) dwarfed by her talent.

Her aristocratic American accent is flawless, she carries herself in a manner that suggests that she is no stranger to the restraints of period dress (which, indeed, she was not – with roles in Sense and Sensibility (1995), Jude (1996) and Hamlet (1996) firmly under her belt).  She is clearly at home walking in Rose’s embellished and expensive shoes, and Cameron knew the audience would buy it – in terms of belief and ticket sales.

And so, a legend was born.  Winslet’s Rose has since become an iconic and celebrated character.  The only thing missing from this early version of Rose is her signature red hair.  Here, we see what Rose would have looked like as a blonde.  As someone who recently went blonde herself, I was pretty thrilled by this.

Any resemblance between this:

…and this?


Titanic is available now on Blu-Ray, both in 2D and 3D formats, as well as a Collector’s Edition, and a Super-Duper Frenzied Fanatic version (pictured below).  I know which version I’ll be going for…

Titanic Blu Ray

Super Duper Frenzied Fan Edition

Emma Champion


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Kate Winslet image sourced at:


Titanic Blu-Ray images sourced at:




EmmaChampion.com presents Emma Champion’s Graduate “Thank You” Address

“Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Marchant, Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honour to have been asked to speak on behalf of everyone graduating here tonight, to express our sincerest gratitude to all at the University of Hertfordshire for your part in our success.

I’m encouraged to see a writer receive tonight’s honorary award.  Writing is the career I hope to pursue, and I am inspired by Dr Marchant’s achievements.

Dr. Marchant has enjoyed a fantastic career so far, but I’m sure even he has experienced his share of ups and downs on the path to success.  In the six months since finishing a demanding three years, some of us may have already experienced the best and the worst of what graduates can expect on the road ahead.  Life beyond university is often described by students as “the outside world”.  The outside world may prove to be a fairly unforgiving place at first.  We’re all aware of the current financial climate, as are employers, who are being cautious – largely favouring candidates with experience, as apposed to graduates fresh out of uni.  But we mustn’t be disheartened – opportunities are out there, and we must be willing to rise to the challenge – a skill we have surely perfected in the course of our studies.

We may encounter any number of professional, and indeed, personal obstacles on our journeys, but we must remember what brought us to UH to begin with: our belief in ourselves.  Without that, we would not be here tonight. Over the past three years, the tutors and staff of UH have nurtured that belief and guided us to this moment – a moment that seemed so far in the future and almost unattainable to begin with.  And yet, we made it – we’re all here.

If there is one thing this university has taught me, it’s that nothing is impossible.  Some of the fondest memories I’ll be taking with me are from my Thursday morning New Media Publishing classes, for example.  When we were learning Web Design, digital code seemed like a language none of us would ever master; and yet, in a matter of weeks, we were each sat in the library building websites in our own time, without help or supervision. That’s the magic of UH – that transformation that occurs when you realise you had it in you all along.

I can personally say that I arrived at UH a lost and broken soul, and emerged a strong, confident and whole person.  I am very proud to be standing here today, as we all should be; because we are all transformed for the better; our degrees are our tickets to greatness, opening doors previously closed to us.

With patience and perseverance, we will all find our purpose and place in the outside world, and we will all have the University of Hertfordshire to thank.  So, put simply: thank you, to all of you, for what you have done for us, and what you have helped us to do for ourselves.  May we all enjoy every success and the very best of luck going forward.  Vice-Chancellor: thank you for receiving us tonight – the graduates of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities, Law and Education.

Thank you.”

To watch the graduation ceremony, which took place on the evening of the 16th of November 2011 at St Albans Abbey, go to http://clio.herts.ac.uk/ceremonies/20111116eve.cfm – you will require RealPlayer to view the video clip, available to download for free, online at http://uk.real.com/realplayer .

EmmaChampion.com Exclusive: *BREAKING NEWS* 2012 Norwich Film Festival announces Additional Judge

Norwich Film Festival Logo 

November 1997: 

My mother and I go to a preview screening of James Cameron’s Titanic the night before its official release date.  The film has a profound impact on me and my life.  After paying to see it a further seven times, I then get a job as an usher at my local cinema, and get paid to watch it countless times more.  It would go on to become the film I am most associated with amongst my friends and family in my entire career as a movie fanatic.

Ten Years Later: 

My wonderful parents buy me tickets to see the stage version of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in London’s West End as a Christmas gift (one year it was Coldplay tickets – they seriously are the most amazing parents EVER).  My Mum and I go together the following year, and, arriving in our nation’s capital characteristically early, we decide to have a casual mooch around the shops before the show begins.  On our way back to the theatre we take a detour which leads us down an obscure backstreet filled with quirky, independent shops and quaint little patisseries.  Outside one such bakery, sat at a table reading, trying his best to enjoy some local, jam-filled confection whilst remaining incognito, is none other than Bernard Hill – captain of the titular ship in the Movie of my Life.  Of course, I freak out, and my Mum says I can’t possibly walk past him without saying something.  So, I go back and interrupt the poor man’s respite, apologising profusely and insisting that I do not intend to badger him for a signature, but to thank him for his part in the amount of entertainment and pleasure Titanic has brought me up to that point.  He is uncommonly gracious (if not a little weirded out), and I walk away thrilled that I have met someone from the credits of that film.

Four and a half years after that:

I move to Norwich to live with my partner and embark on my writing career following completion of a BA (Honours) degree in Mass Communications (if you had told me this on the day I met Bernard Hill, I would have laughed in your face; but life can change a LOT in four years).  Amongst the first of my great achievements upon moving to this bright and vibrant city, is my selection as the official blogger for the 2012 Norwich Film Festival.  My first blog post reveals the identities of the judges for the event.


I receive word that another judge is to be added to that list.  And it is none other than:


Bernard Hill – Actor


British-born Hill has enjoyed a career which has spanned over thirty years, after rising to fame as Yosser Hughes in the acclaimed 80’s television drama,  Boys from the Blackstuff (1982).  Since then he has appeared in some rather influential films, including iconic roles as Captain E.J Smith in Titanic (1997)  and King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 – 2003).  Having recently turned his attention to voice-over work – as the Narrator of video game Fable III (2010) and short films The Wraith (2011) and Analogue Love (2011) – Bernard Hill makes for a well-versed and high-profile addition to the 2012 Norwich Film Festival panel.

I’m unsure as to whether Mr. Hill will remember the then-morbidly-obese fool, who disrupted his dessert in the back streets of London one overcast day in April of 2007.  However, I intend to apologise to him regardless for my cringe-worthy behaviour.  It’s incredible how I continue to be perpetually and inextricably linked to Titanic.  All I need now is to meet my idol – the magnificent Kate Winslet – and my life will be complete.  Perhaps I’ll ask my old mate Bernard if he’s still in touch with her…


For all the latest news and gossip on the 2012 Norwich Film Festival as it breaks, follow us on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival).

Image sourced at: http://www.hobsons-international.com/assets/image/voices/hillb.jpg

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Article by Emma Champion: Norwich Film Festival 2012 – Film Submission Deadline Looms

Norwich Film Festival Logo


Happy Bank Holiday, Festivalites!  I hope that you are all enjoying the long weekend.

Just a quick note to say that, with the 2012 Norwich Film Festival fast approaching, it is imperative that those of you with a dream to become the next Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron or Jackson do not miss the chance for your work to shimmer on the silver screen.

There are only TWO DAYS left until the deadline for film submissions.  So, if you have created an entry that you feel is deserving of a platform from which to appear on the horizon of the film industry’s vast ocean, and collect a cash prize to boot, make sure you enter your film post haste.

 There are four FOUR categories:

Short Film – any fiction film 30 minutes or under; any genre, any style (£250 prize)

Animated Film – any animated fiction film 30 minutes or under; any genre (£250 prize)

Documentary Film – any non-fiction film 60 minutes or under (£250 prize)

Student Film – any film, any genre, any style, made by students (£250 prize)

The festival will also be awarding honours to the following:

Best Local Film

Best British Film

Best International Film

And, finally:

Best Overall Film – the winner of which will be presented with the competition’s top prize:


Perhaps you have rustled up a romance; constructed a crime; erected an epic; assembled an adventure, whatever your generic forte, there is a place for you at the 2012 Norwich Film Festival to start you on the way to stardom.  Don’t miss out!

For details of entry fees and late entry deadlines for those of you who may need more time, visit: http://www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk/submit-your-film  and get familiar with the details…

Meanwhile, get all the news and gossip on the 2012 Norwich Film Festival, by following us on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival) now!

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Article by Emma Champion: Norwich Film Festival 2012 – Judges Announced

Norwich Film Festival Logo

Now, more than ever, it is incredibly important that the medium of film, a great source of escapism, exploration and fantasy, should be celebrated countrywide, not just in our nation’s capital.  Film should be accessible to people everywhere, extending its reach to all who share an interest in movies.  It is my wish to see the beautiful and historic city of Norwich become a hub for film and the arts, and with the upcoming 2012 Norwich Film Festival, things are certainly moving in the right direction.

I am exceedingly proud to be the official blogger for the 2012 Norwich Film Festival, and I will be bringing you regular news and updates as and when details emerge.  So far, the festival has several, eager volunteers poised and ready to view films submitted for the judging process.  However, in addition to this, organisers of the festival have invited some exciting veterans of the industry along to cast a knowing, critical eye over submissions.

Here are the judges confirmed so far:

Tim McInnerny – Actor

A recognisable face of British film, television and theatre, Tim McInnerny has enjoyed an incredibly successful career with roles in films such as Notting Hill (1999) and 101 Dalmatians (1996), and television shows Spooks (2004 – 2006) and Blackadder (1982 – 1989).  Tim’s extensive experience and range will make him a great asset to the selection process.  Look out for him later this year starring alongside his former Blackadder castmate, Rowan Atkinson, in the fourthcoming movie, Johnny English Reborn (2011).



Jim Field Smith – Writer/Director

Jim Field Smith is a London-based movie director, producer, writer and actor.  Co-Founder of Idiotlamp Productions, he recently wrapped his second feature film, Butter (2011), starring Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner.  His debut feature, She’s Out of My League (2010) has grossed over $50m worldwide to date.  Jim is currently has several exciting projects in development with major studios including Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures.  However, Jim began his career directing award-winning television advertisements, and went on to recieve critical acclaim for his film shorts Goodbye to the Normals and Missing Moscow.  With all this experience under his belt, Jim will make an excellent addition to the judges panel.



Steve Furst – Comedian/Actor

Probably most recognised for his recent stint in the long-running Orange spots which have parodied product placement in film and preceded screenings in cinemas for a number of years now, Steve Furst is an authority on British comedy and a welcome addition to the panel.  As well as roles on sketch shows such as Little Britain (BBC) and The Lenny Beige Television Show (BBC), his television credits range from My Dad’s The Prime Minister (BBC) and Armstrong & Miller (C4),  to The Bill (ITV) and Wuthering Heights (ITV).  Steve has also appeared in a number of films, such as How It’s Done (2009), film short The Piano Tuner (2001), St Trinian’s (2007)  and St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009).  In addition, his CV boasts an impressive array of radio and writing credits.


Excited yet?  We’re only just beginning.  With more judges and guest appearances yet to be confirmed, the 2012 Norwich Film Festival looks set to be a high-profile, star-studded, prestigious affair.  Stay tuned to http://www.emmachampion.com for all the latest news and developments.

If you’re a budding young film maker whose got what it takes to make a dynamic short, visit http://www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk for more information on how to submit your entry.

Hungry for more gossip?  Follow the Norwich Film Festival on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” the page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival).


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Article by Emma Champion: The Boy, the Script and the Social Networking Site: Jon Champion and the Creation of Chyler High

Jon Champion

Facebook is a marvellous communication tool.  You can catch up with friends, reunite with long-lost school pals, start groups that ally you with like-minded souls, set up pages for self or business promotion…the list is endless.  However, would it have ever have occurred to anyone, let alone a fifteen year-old schoolboy marred by disability, to use the world’s most famous social networking platform to accumulate creative material for a screenwriting project?

Jonathan Champion is a determined young man.  Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at aged six months, Jon’s parents were told that he may never speak, walk or do for himself.  Now, aged fifteen years, Jon not only does all that the doctors foretold he may not, but he also attends a mainstream school, play’s football, has won awards for physical education in school and, most significantly, writes.

Jon has an ear for sharp scripting.  An insatiable fan of hit TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory, Jon is continuously impressed and inspired by superior writing.  Young Master Champion has a plethora of words in his own vocabulary, and a million compelling stories to tell which sit neatly stored in his abundant imagination.  One such story has come to the forefront – and Jon is now the creator of a revolutionary new television show.

Chyler High, being written as we speak, has a group on Facebook which invites members of the public to contribute ideas, jokes, anecdotes and suggestions which Jon will then use as a source of inspiration in his writing.  Members of the group are kept regularly updated as to the latest stage of development in the scriptwriting process, as well as exclusive sneak previews of finished dialogue.  Contributors are asked to understand that they will not receive a named credit on the show should their post be used in any way – that is not the point.  Ultimately, Jon already has his story – what he is looking for from his Facebook group members are snappy one-liners and amusing, real-life stories to flesh out the piece.

This method could revolutionise the traditional relationship between the fan and the material in question, and is a truly inspirational approach to the creation of a piece of entertainment.  It produces a fan base who are invited to take part in the creative process.  Eventual fans of the show will experience feelings of a personal connection to it, and this sense of involvement will cause audiences to have a real kinship with the show.

Upon reading the script for Episode One of Chyler High, it is reminiscent of nineties teenage sensation, Dawson’s Creek, only with relevance in today’s world and without the implausible discourse.  These are American teens in high school, yes. However, unlike Dawson and the gang, whilst the characters of Chyler quip amongst themselves with rapier-sharp wit and canny awareness, they are real, relatable characters with spirit and heart.  Storylines for both the students and the teachers run adjacent to each other, and, with the focus on relationships, it highlights that both teens and adults experience love with all its trials and tribulations in very similar ways.  Jon understands that no matter how old we are, we are always learning about ourselves through the people we love and growing as individuals.  The script exhibits evidence of profound intelligence and insight from one so young, and is proof-positive that Champion is a bright young talent to watch for on the horizon.

Emma Champion caught up with Jon to talk life, love and screenwriting…

What was your main source of inspiration for the creation of Chyler High?

Main sources of inspiration for me would be the brilliant minds of ShondaRhimes and Chuck Lorre. Shonda is responsible for what I believe is the greatest, most underrated achievement in television, Grey’s Anatomy. The characters are beautifully crafted and the show itself is divinely written. Chuck Lorre is partly responsible for the funniest television show The Big Bang Theory, so much research and dedication is incorporated into this show and it makes me say “Yeah, I want to be responsible for an achievement that’s as ground breaking as that.”

Do you base your characters on people you have known or met in real life? 

The characters are people I wished to have met in real life, some of the people I am forced to share a classroom with everyday make me feel as if it’s just as good if not better to create people rather than settle for the ones who take life as a joke.

Why did you decide to utilise Facebook as a tool in the creative process, and how has it assisted you in your writing?

I believe that some people think that Facebook is a pathway to trouble and abuse so I thought I should change people’s opinions by create something revolutionary, original and productive. It has assisted me because as fate would have it, people have openly expressed their feelings towards the site using words that I feel are unsuitable for this interview and this gives me the urge to go and create something that will inevitably prove them wrong.

What has your own experience of High School been like?

My school experiences have been somewhat enlightening, I’ve met people who are worth meeting and people who are not and it’s the contrast that baffles me more than anything else.

What is it that fascinates you about relationships?

The things that are not expected; an individual can show instant change when they become involved in a relationship and reveal who they really are.

How do you feel your disability has been a positive influence on who you are?

It has made me realise that so many people in today’s society take their living situations for granted and I ultimately want to show people that everyone can accomplish something amazing despite the obstacles they face in their lives.

Once Season One is written and complete, what will be your plan of action for bringing Chyler High to our screens?

Well, after Sixth Form I want to travel to the wondrous city of Los Angeles and try to meet the right people and show them what I am capable of but no matter what happens, I will have a decent portfolio of work under my belt.

What advice would you give to anyone out there aspiring to follow in your footsteps? 

Be true to yourself as a writer and artist; create something that you believe in not something that you feel will please everyone else in the world. Also, giving up is the worst crime you can commit as a writer because you may have a poorly constructed screenplay with a diabolical plot but when you surrender, you declare yourself as the average Joe whereas if you’ve written a bad script, at least you’re getting closer to the person you want to be.  

Look for Chyler High on Facebook, and follow on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/Chyler_High




Article by Emma Champion: Welcome, UK Readers, to Partholon: An Interview with PC Cast

The Divine Series

Those who follow the teachings of the law of attraction will know that visualisation, gratitude and belief can will your dreams into reality.  Who could ever have imagined the extent to which these techniques can be successful?

Back in the sixties, somewhere in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a young girl named Phyllis looked up adoringly at her father; a father who instilled a confidence in young Phyllis that would never be shaken.  “I have a Dad who started telling me from the time I was a little girl that I am beautiful and smart and can do anything I set my mind to,” says the girl who has now grown into an extremely accomplished woman.  “It never occurred to me to question myself or settle for anything less than going after my dreams.”  I am referring, of course, to the magnificent PC Cast.

PC Cast (born Phyllis Christine Cast) was actually born in Watseka, Illinois in 1960, but spent a lot of her childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  There, she fell in love with quarter horses and riding.  It was around this time that Cast also developed an affinity for mythology, beginning with the reading of a book which is now very dear to her.  “When I was twelve I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight and realised that, not only can a woman write fantasy, but women could also star in fantasy novels,” Cast reflects in an earlier interview.

The seeds of destiny had been sown.   Armed with confidence and enlightenment, Cast ventured gracefully into adulthood.  Upon graduating from High School, Cast joined the United States Air Force where she enjoyed her first foray into public speaking, writing and teaching.  Following her tour with the USAF, Cast became a teacher of English – a career which spanned fifteen years – before choosing to retire and write full time.  Her first book, Goddess By Mistake (now called Divine By Mistake), originally published in 2001, was greeted by high critical acclaim and an almost instant horde of dedicated fans.  As an author, Cast went on to win many awards for her body of work, including the Oklahoma Book Award and the Holt Medallion.

2010 saw the arrival of the Goddess of Partholon Trilogy in the UK for the first time.  These books serve as an excellent introduction to Cast’s works, and will surely make an instant fan out of anyone who chooses to read them and enter the fantastical realm of Partholon.

Divine by Mistake tells the story of Shannon Parker, a thirty-five-year-old school teacher from our world who finds herself transported to a mystical alternate reality where she soon discovers she has taken the place of Goddess Incarnate, Rhiannon, who resides in a beautiful palace and is surrounded by handsome servants and beautiful handmaidens.  Allowing the strangers around her to continue to believe she is Rhiannon, knowing they would not understand if she tried to describe our world and what has happened to her, she is soon introduced to her betrothed – a burly, Centaur Shaman Warrior by the name of ClanFintan.  Shannon is reluctant to marry someone she knows so little, let alone someone who isn’t human.  However, upon learning how malevolent the real Rhiannon had been, Shannon sets out to set right the relationships the former Divine had left in tatters, as well as forming a strong attachment to her new equestrian husband.  However, all is not well in Partholon, as a group of dark and twisted creatures known as Formorians are about to descend upon the land; and their malicious intent is almost unthinkable…

The genius of this story lies in one fundamental device which PC Cast has utilised to perfection; and that is the use of a person from our world in a fantasy environment.  This allows Cast, as a writer, the freedom to reference pop culture, artwork, etc that is familiar and relatable to the reader in order to better describe the surroundings and situations which arise in her fictitious setting.  This is a rare privilege in the reading of science fiction, which is usually so embroiled in inventing new titles and terms of description which are alien to the reader.  Here we have references to Star Trek and Gaston Leroux – things which create a familiarity in an otherwise unfamiliar location.  This also makes the main protagonist extremely likeable in that she is extremely easy to relate to, with her use of modern-day slang and what Shannon refers to as “cuss” words – i.e. swearing.

Cast’s gift to her female readers is the incarnation of Centaur Stud (couldn’t resist a horse pun – it’s what PC would have wanted), ClanFintan.  For me personally, he was the reason I could not put this book down.  He is attentive, polite, passionate and sexy – everything a woman hopes to find in a man.  Much to Shannon’s delight, he also has the ability to “shape-shift” into human form whenever her sexual thirst for him needs quenching.

This brings me to another important point: this book is not suitable for young readers.  PC Cast’s novels have caused critics to draw comparisons to the work of Stephenie Meyer and the immensely-popular Twilight Saga.  But, whilst that series has a strong, teen following, the Divine trilogy, with its vivid descriptions of sex and violence, is most certainly more appropriate to an adult audience.  I found this enormously refreshing – in the light of all things Twilight, I was beginning to feel like the adults were not being catered for.  The Goddess of Partholon Trilogy is certainly a welcome antidote to all that teen angst and hype.

Cast writes with flare and charisma, with her talent for description a particularly shining attribute.  These books are highly accessible and incredibly engaging; her characterisations are believable in the face of all the mythology, and evoke empathy throughout.  The love story between Shannon and ClanFintan is deeply moving – the chemistry between the two leaps off the page and is a sheer delight to read.  Divine by Choice and Divine by Blood are a continuation of Shannon’s story, allowing the reader to go on an epic journey with their heroine.

So, how, I hear you cry, has PC Cast willed her dreams into reality?  In writing a very real, very beautiful man in her delicious ClanFintan, she has attracted a real-life clan leader into her life.  When she first began to write about Partholon, Cast had long-since given up hope of meeting her ideal match, as she believed no one could ever live up to the kind of partner she could create in fiction.  However, whilst researching the House of Night series – a project she has co-written with her daughter, Kristin – Cast spent time with the head of the Wallace Clan, Seoras Wallace; a direct descendant of William Wallace.  Seoras Wallace works as a Fight Director in the film industry, and actually directed fight scenes in the film Braveheart, which told the story of Seoras’s famous ancestor.  Cast has found in Seoras her very-own, real life ClanFintan, giving hope to millions of women all over the world who have seen the man of their dreams in their imaginations thousands of times – including me.

Thank you PC Cast – for a story to treasure, and for the hope you have instilled in us all.

Emma Champion


Emma Champion caught up with PC Cast earlier this year to discuss life, love and keeping it real…

Tell us about the Goddess of Partholon series.  What can UK readers, new to your work, expect from these books?    Oh boy!  My UK readers can expect fantasy and adventure and very hot romance – all with a large dollop of humour.  They can also expect to meet a very unusual, sexy, and compelling hero in my centaur ClanFintan.  Yes, ladies, I did write “centaur”!  Trust me – you’ll love him.  (I certainly do!)

Many comparisons have been made between you and Stephenie Meyer following the phenomenal success of her Twilight Saga.  How would you say your work differs from hers?    My work differs from Ms. Meyer’s and other vampire authors because I base the mythos in my books on matriarchy.  One of the things I love most about today’s romance novelists is that many of us have broken the mold of the old, staid, woman-has-to-be-saved-by-a-man mentality.  Instead we craft empowered women who better reflect ourselves and the sisters, daughters, and friends who surround us.  My romance heroines draw heroes who are more interesting than the clichéd knight in shining armour.  They attract men who are heroic enough to appreciate and respect strong, capable women.  More often than not, it’s my men who are “saved” by my women. I think that holds true in my young adult series as well as my other books.

2010 promises to be a very big year for you – with your successful Goddess of Partholon series making its way to the UK for the first time, as well as the release of the next in your ever-popular Goddess Summoning series, Goddess of Camelot.  How do you keep yourself grounded at such busy and exciting times as these?    That question makes me laugh.  If you knew my twenty three year old daughter, you’d know I’d never have too many delusions of grandeur!  Kristin keeps me real. (“No, Phyllis.  Just no.” is her favourite saying.)  And, really, I’m just me – the same me who wrote for three publishers and taught full time for fifteen years while I raised a daughter by myself.  It was my eighteenth book that hit the New York Times bestseller list – no overnight success here! 

What is it about science fiction and the paranormal that intrigues and inspires you?    I’ve always loved the paranormal.  When I was a little girl my hero was Mighty Mouse (an American cartoon character kinda like Superman).  My dad used to go down the street and call our house and pretend to be Might Mouse, and have conversations with me on the phone.  I’d even get gifts from “Mighty Mouse” on my birthday and at Christmas.  I think that early fantasy – the belief that the paranormal did exist – never left me.  When I started writing I decided to write what I most liked to read, which led me in a very natural way to sci-fi/fantasy and the paranormal.  The romance of limitless possibilities still intrigues me.

Divine by Mistake sees protagonist, Shannon Parker, transported unexpectedly to a mythical world.  How important do you feel escapism is in today’s political and economical climate?    Escape and cultivating our fantasies is important in any climate!  We don’t have to be broke and scared and annoyed with politicians to want adventure and romance and fantasy.  The worlds crafted by our favourite authors will always lure us between their pages.

How do you feel your time with the United States Air Force has helped to shape the life and career you now have?    I joined the USAF right out of high school, so it definitely shaped my self-discipline and my work ethic.  It also taught me an awful lot about men…

You were a high school teacher of English for fifteen years.  What was the most memorable assignment handed in to you by a student?    What a great question!  No one’s ever asked me that.  Hum…wow…I had so many cool things going on in my classroom that my students were constantly surprising and amazing me by their work.  Let’s see…I taught a unit on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, using the classic text by Gaston Leroux, as well as Susan Kay’s masterful retelling, and one semester I had a kid recreate the stage of the Paris opera house, complete with a chandelier that lit up and then smashed into the audience, all in a shoebox size.  One of my favourite books to teach is Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, and as a symbolism project a student created a billboard with life-sized silhouettes of people.  Within the people instead of faces and features she filled the space with words from banned books.  Super cool!  Now you’ve made me remember how much I miss my classroom…

All writers approach their work differently.  What are the things that you absolutely must have for a productive writing session?    I don’t romanticize the job of being an author, so I don’t have to set a mood or light a candle or have specific music, etc.  I prefer my office at home and my tred-desk, but I can write just about anywhere.  I learned to focus when writing was something I had to do during passing periods between classes, and while thirty teenagers were working on the latest essay I’d assigned.  I think too many people get stymied when attempting to write because they think the Muse needs to whisper delicately in their ear and the stars need to align just right for them to produce, when actually they simply need a good idea, tenacity, and a dash of talent.

You have won many awards for your work so far.  What does this level of recognition mean to you as a writer?  Well, many years ago it got me the attention of my fabulous agent, Meredith Bernstein, who has helped me shape a wonderfully satisfying career.  Today it means that my work is respected as well as enjoyed, which is wonderful as writing is really a very solitary job.

What next for PC Cast?  What will be the next chapter in your story?    Well, it’s a little embarrassing, but my story is reading like a romance novel right now.  I’ve fallen in love with a Scottish Clan Chieftain and am spending quite a bit of my time in the Highlands with a man who thinks rain and my super frizzy hair makes me look like “a proper Scottish lassie.”  Lassie?  Me?  (Insert ridiculously happy American giggles…)


The Goddess of Partholon novels, Divine by Mistake, Divine by Choice, and Divine by Blood, as well as the newly-released House of Night Series, co-written by PC and Kristin Cast, are available now from all good book retailers. 

To find out more about PC Cast, visit www.pccast.net .

For this author and many more, visit http://www.chicklit.co.uk


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Article by Emma Champion: Observations and Interpretations: The Final Episode of “Lost”


For centuries, one question plagued Man more than any other; that question was: “What is the meaning of life?”  Now, here in the 21st century – an age of progression and innovative entertainment – the question has changed; the question is now: “What is the meaning of Lost?”

JJ Abrams’ head-scratcher of a television show has had the globe baffled since 2004, when, in Episode One, Oceanic Flight 815 seemingly crashed on a tropical island, marooning several, previously disconnected and hopelessly flawed characters who are then forced to work together to survive.  Lost is an entity that has never fully explained itself; every episode, every twist and every turn leaves the viewer with a million unanswered questions, and yet, it has kept followers of the show gripped, and determined not to lose faith in case they miss something important.

It was this determination which drew my father, brothers and I out of bed at five a.m. this morning.  In a “simulcast” broadcasting the final ever episode of Lost at exactly the same time as in the U.S, Sky One delivered the end of the most epic story in television history.  For once, we, the UK audience, were not beaten to the punch by our American counterparts – we were all clued in at the same time.  Ask yourselves: what other show, or any form of entertainment for that matter, has deemed itself worthy of such prestige treatment?

The final episode takes place at the end of probably the most boggling season, in which the explosion at the end of Season Five created an alternative reality – one where Oceanic Flight 815 didn’t crash.  Gone are the flashbacks and flash-forwards – replaced with flashes to a parallel universe.  Desmond is able to move between these two dimensions, fully recalling his time on the island in a reality in which he should, technically, never have been there.  Little by little, he finds all the key protagonists in this new version of the world, and helps them to remember the island – and, ultimately, each other.

It is this that appears to be key in the scheme of things; Lost seems to carry the message that only when we experience the true nature of love can we better understand and find meaning in our lives and our world.  Characters could only recall their castaway paradise when, in the new reality, they came into physical contact with those whom they had fallen in love on the island.  So love then, is a running theme throughout the piece.  Religion appears to be another.  There is so much religious symbolism in the final episode; the drinking of water from the island to become like Jacob (we might think about the Cup of Christ and the connotation of baptism); the statue of Jesus outside the chapel where our characters finally congregate; the stained glass window in the room where Christian Shepherd’s (take note of that biblical name) body is being kept, which features the symbols of all the religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and so on.  It’s all there.  But, characteristically for this show, it gives you as much as you’re willing to look for.

The final scenes are the ones which will have people debating for years to come.  Jack speaks with his late father, and realises he too is dead, thus enabling him to speak with his Dad.  All the other islanders wait in the church beyond.  Jack asks Christian, “Are they all dead too?”  Christian replies, “We all gotta die sometime” which doesn’t fully answer the question.  Jack joins his friends in the church, Christian opens a door and a brilliant, white light pours in.  Back in the island reality, Jack lays down to die with Vincent the Labrador at his side, in the exact place and under the exact circumstances in which he awoke in the very first episode.  His eye closes, and the screen goes black.  That is the end.

Once again, Michael Giacchino’s brilliantly executed score helps transport us to the emotions we are supposed to be feeling in any given moment.  Reoccurring themes hit just the right nostalgic notes for loyal fans to recognise the music and remember episodes past.  The moments when all former lovers are reunited are particularly moving – especially between Charley, Claire and Baby Aaron.  There is a sense of fate surrounding the story; a little voice whispering that we are destined to meet the people in our lives no matter what reality we find ourselves in.  There is comfort to be found in that.

My interpretation is that when the plane crashed, everyone died – there were no survivors.  The island is that place where souls go to redeem themselves in order to be able to pass into heaven.  All the characters had flaws and unfinished business at the time of the crash, and, by the end, had righted themselves somehow.  Having all achieved some redemption and peace, and they were ready to “move on” as the aptly-named Christian put it.  All the mysteries of the island can then be explained as a manifestation of the confusion and paranoia that comes with a soul being separated from its body, and in trying to solve the little mysteries – the Others, the Polar Bear, the Monster, etc – the soul is trying to make sense of the fact that death has occurred so abruptly that those who perished simply aren’t aware.

A friend of mine believes that our protagonists were merely gathered at the church to attend Christian’s funeral; with the death of the island reality, Jack and Kate et al will be allowed to continue in the alternative reality; that no one is dead and that they will all exchange numbers and stay in touch with one another.  I would like to believe that.  Others will say it was all a dream.  That is the beauty of Lost – it is whatever you make it – not unlike life itself, which, one might argue, could be the coded message Lost endeavoured to deliver over six fascinating years.

See it for yourself and decide how you want it to end.  There aren’t many television shows that allow their audience that luxury.  But nothing is more powerful than the imagination – so allow yours to finish the story.


Emma Champion


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Emma Champion’s Oscar Predictions 2010


Well, it’s that time of year again, folks!  That time when crazy Emma Champion buys a bottle of wine, some microwave popcorn, and stays up all night to bring you all the news and gossip from the Academy Awards live as it happens!  Why does she do it, I hear you cry: dedication; dedication to her love of the cinema and all the people who bring the medium fourth to movie freaks like she.

This will be my twelfth Oscar Night – and I’m happy to do it.

Predictions are hard to make this year. The BAFTA’s and the Golden Globes are no longer an indicator of anything.  BAFTA always snub the obvious choice in favour of something artier; Golden Globes seem to echo the feelings of the audience; but the Academy?  The Academy strongly favours the biopic, or any film in which an actor undergoes a dramatic transformation in the make-up department (Jamie Foxx in Ray, Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Charlize Theron in Monster, anyone?), or any high-drama depress-fest which might fall under the category of “think piece”.

The box office smashes that audiences go wild for are usually relegated to the Effects, Sound and Editing categories (note the terrible Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’s one pity nomination for Sound Mixing).

This is what makes Avatar such an anomaly.  It is not Academy-friendly, as it is a bona-fide blockbuster riddled with special effects and plagued by a floored, and, some might think, overly simple plot.  But, therein lays its genius.  It changed the way films are distributed and exhibited, it features ground-breaking effects, and its director invented a new camera system in the process of its making, which all the best filmmakers in Hollywood are itching to get their hands on.   Therefore, if I stay up all night tonight just to bear witness to a four-hour Avatar snub-athon, I will not be best impressed.

I feel Colin Firth might repeat his BAFTA success tonight in the Lead Actor category, not just because it was an incredible performance in A Single Man, but because he died his hair gray to play the part (if my theory about the Academy’s love for a change of appearance by the actor is to be believed).  However, one cannot ignore the powerhouse performance George Clooney gave in the fantastic Up in the Air – this is my favoured winner.

For Supporting Actor, I predict that this is finally The Lovely Bones’ Stanley Tucci’s night to shine.  He has been long-overlooked in Hollyweird, and it’s about time the Academy patted him on the back.

In the Leading Actress category, I feel it is neck-and-neck between Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (arguably her Erin Brockovich) and Gabourey Sidibe for her performance in Precious.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Twilight star Anna Kendrick will walk away with the Supporting Actress gong for her work in Up in the Air, as many-a-time she out-shone Clooney on the big screen.

Best Animated Film belongs to Up.  Enough said.  The most striking element of this year’s nomination list is that Pixar’s highly-successful buddy film is also nominated for Best Picture, making it the only animated film to be acknowledged as a film in its own right as well as an animated feature, since Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1992 (nominated for Best Picture at a time when there was not a Best Animated Feature category).

All Effects, Sound, Editing, and Art Direction categories will be dominated by Avatar wins I expect.

Since Leona Lewis has been spectacularly snubbed for her performance of the song “I See You” from Avatar in the category of Best Song, I will be rooting for “I’m Almost There” from Walt Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, written by Randy Newman.  Best Score should go to James Horner for Avatar, but I feel it will go to Michael Giacchino for Up.

The rest I will leave to fate and my own sense of surprise.  But spare a thought for me when you are warm in your beds tonight; for I will be striving to bring you all the details from the most glittering star on Hollywood’s calendar.

Happy Oscar Night, Everyone!

Emma Champion.


Full list of Nominees:

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
  • George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
  • Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
  • Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
  • Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Matt Damon in “Invictus”
  • Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
  • Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
  • Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
  • Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
  • Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
  • Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
  • Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
  • Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
  • Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
  • Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
  • Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

  • Coraline” Henry Selick
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
  • The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
  • The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
  • Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

  • Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
  • Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
  • Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray


  • Avatar” Mauro Fiore
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
  • The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
  • Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
  • The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

  • Bright Star” Janet Patterson
  • Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
  • Nine” Colleen Atwood
  • The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell


  • Avatar” James Cameron
  • The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
  • Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
  • Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)

  • Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
  • The Cove” Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
  • Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
  • Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
  • Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
  • Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

  • Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
  • District 9” Julian Clarke
  • The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
  • Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

  • Ajami” Israel
  • The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)” Peru
  • A Prophet (Un Prophète)” France
  • The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina
  • The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band)” Germany


  • Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
  • Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
  • The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

  • Avatar” James Horner
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
  • The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
  • Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
  • Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

  • Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
  • Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture

  • Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
  • The Blind Side” Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Producers
  • District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
  • An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
  • The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers
  • Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
  • A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
  • Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
  • Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

  • French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
  • The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
  • Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
  • Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
  • Kavi” Gregg Helvey
  • Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
  • The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

  • Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  • The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
  • Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
  • Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
  • Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

  • Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
  • The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
  • Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
  • Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

  • Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
  • District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
  • Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
  • An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
  • In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
  • Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
  • Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
  • The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
  • A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  • Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy


Emma Champion


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