Pausing for a Look–Over the Rainbow

So . . . which scene is it for you?

The tornado sequence, perhaps, filmed in atmospheric black-and-white, and no doubt the cause of countless nightmares for young children throughout the decades?



Or maybe it’s the magical moment when Dorothy first enters Oz, as the monochrome of black-and-white suddenly gives way to a vibrant palette of color.



Not quite, you say?  Then how about the legendary Wizard of Oz himself being exposed for the fraud he is, hiding behind the curtain?



But of course, who can forget the Silver Screen’s most iconic villain, The Wicked Witch of the West, melting away?  “I’m melting, I’m melting!” is such a famous line, it has been mimicked and re-created many times over on both stage and screen in the years since.





Indeed.  There are many unforgettable scenes in The Wizard of Oz–arguably the most beloved motion picture in Hollywood history.  There are so many such scenes in the 1939 classic, based on L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, that, at first blush, it may seem impossible to choose just one as a favorite.



But for me, there is one sequence from the movie that stands apart, not only as my favorite scene in The Wizard of Oz, but one of my favorite scenes of all time, anywhere, from any film or TV show–the “Over the Rainbow” scene, featuring the film’s heroine, Dorothy Gale, and her dog, Toto.  The irony is–the sequence was very nearly removed during the cutting process.



Perhaps that’s because it doesn’t depict houses flying in the wind, witches soaring through the night on broomsticks, or cowardly lions and tin men and talking, walking scarecrows.



The “Over the Rainbow” scene occurs just five minutes into the movie.  Studio executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy both thought it should be deleted because, they argued, it “slowed down the picture.”  If not for the sturdy resistance on the part of others associated with The Wizard of Oz, “Over the Rainbow,” the signature song of Judy Garland’s career, most likely would have withered and died.



After Dorothy is unable to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her about an unpleasant run-in she and Toto had (“Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble,” her aunt snaps), she wanders off into the barnyard, loyal Toto at her side.



“Some place where there isn’t any trouble,” Dorothy muses.  “Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?  There must be.  It’s not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train.  It’s far, far away.  Behind the moon, beyond the rain . . .”

And here she begins to sing of a place “over the rainbow way up high,” where all your “troubles melt like lemon drops.”



It must be pointed out that Mayer and LeRoy were right about one thing.  The “Over the Rainbow” sequence does in fact slow the picture down.  I would argue, however, that this effect makes The Wizard of Oz a better movie, and a far more memorable one.


When the adrenaline rush and creative maelstrom of a novel’s first draft gives way to the laborious and painstaking process of revision and rewriting, we often delete far more than we add.  And that’s the way it should be.  In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King suggests authors should be able to cut at least 10 percent of their total word count from a first draft.  First drafts are generally padded, bloated things, gorged and made fat with too much description, too much repetition, and chock-full of sentences, paragraphs, entire scenes just begging to be tossed into the pit of discarded excess.



It’s natural, when trimming the bulging waistline of a first draft, to look for scenes that slow down the action of the story, that seem to lack relevance  or that do not advance the plot.  And most of the time, such scenes should indeed go.  But sometimes . . . yes, sometimes, there are exceptions.

The Eye-Dancers, for example, is a novel told through the point of view of four main characters–Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski–and one of my primary goals when I wrote the story was to enable readers to get into the mind of each character, get to know him, and, hopefully, root for him.  There are several “slower” scenes where the boys talk among themselves or where one of them wanders off by himself to think, ponder over his problems, and try to figure out his place in the universe.



While it’s true action sequences and scenes that serve to advance the plot should and do reveal aspects of character, they cannot capture the thoughts, fears, aspirations, dreams a character might have in a quieter moment.  Nor can they portray an everyday scene, where we can witness the characters interacting over events that are mundane and normal as opposed to earth-shattering.  Without such scenes, little islands of stillness amid the roller-coaster ride of action, intrigue, and death-defying chase sequences, we cannot pause long enough to know and like (or dislike, as the case may be) each character over the course of the story.




When the forward momentum of The Wizard of Oz pauses, just long enough for Dorothy to sing “Over the Rainbow,” we as the viewers are introduced to one of the primary themes of the movie–magic, fantasy, the promise of a place far, far away bursting with color and life and sights to stir and astound the senses.  We get a foreshadowing of Oz itself, of the quest Dorothy and her friends-in-waiting will undertake.



And, perhaps most important of all, we get a glimpse of the girl herself.  We share in her dreams, her wishing upon a star if you will, her ability to see and imagine beyond the nondescript reality of her daily life.

This was not lost on history.  On June 22, 2004, sixty-five years after The Wizard of Oz debuted in theaters and exactly thirty-five years removed from Judy Garland’s death, the American Film Institute voted “Over the Rainbow” as the greatest movie song of all time.



So the next time you’re sweating over the edits of your second draft and are all too eager to cut a scene that does not push the action along, take a breath, read it again, and reconsider.

Maybe, just maybe, the scene in question will transport your readers to a land “heard of once in a lullaby,” where “happy little bluebirds fly.” where the “skies are blue,” and “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”



Thanks so much for reading!


Guest Post: Tammy Salyer, New Release Announcement– “Contract of War”

Since creating The Eye-Dancers website two summers ago, I have virtually met so many great people in the WordPress Community, and one person I met fairly early on is Tammy Salyer.  Tammy was gracious enough to interview me on her fantastic website back in the winter of 2013, and it was a privilege for me to post about the second entry in her Spectras Arise Trilogy shortly thereafter.

Tammy is very generous with her support of her fellow authors, always ready and willing to go the extra mile to help out in any way she can.  So it is my pleasure today to have her post about the release of Contract of War, the third and final book of her Spectras Arise Trilogy.

I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough!  If you enjoy taut sci-fi, first-rate prose, rich characters, and suspense that compels you to keep turning the page, then I encourage you to check out the Spectras Arise Trilogy.

But Tammy can speak of her trilogy better than I can, and so without further delay . . .


New Release Announcement

Contract of War, the final novel in a the Spectras Arise Trilogy by Tammy Salyer, a “riveting quest on the galactic fringe,” is out July 21st.



What it’s about:


Contract of Defiance, Contract of Betrayal, and Contract of War follow heroine Aly Erikson and her crew of anti-Admin smugglers through an ever-escalating glut of life-and-death adventures and trials of a living on the side of liberty and freedom—whether they agree with the law or not—in the far future of the Algol star system. As former Corps members, most are no strangers to fighting and dissent, but more than anything, they want to spend their lives flying under the radar without control or interference from the system’s central government, The Political and Capital Administration of the Advanced Worlds. But the Admin’s greed-drenched dualism of power and corruption has other plans, and throughout the series, Aly and her crew are reminded of one lesson time and again: when all other options run out, never let go of your gun.


Contract of War begins in the aftermath of the system-wide war between the Admin and Corp Loyalists and the non-citizen population of the Algols, where everything once resembling order has been leveled. Scattered enclaves of survivors dot the worlds, living, however they can, in snarled lawlessness. Aly and her crew have carved out a niche of relative peace, doing their best to go on with their lives through salvaging, scavenging, and stealing. But with no force left to keep the lid on the pot, the pressures of chaos and discord soon cause conflicts to boil over. As enemies close in from all directions, even, sometimes, from within, the crew once again must fight—not just for survival, not just for their way of life, but this time for a future that can finally lay to rest the system’s bloody and savage past.


To learn more about the series and her other projects, visit former 82nd Airborne paratrooper and author Tammy Salyer at


Grab all three novels in the trilogy while they’re on sale for 99 cents each through August at Amazon {}, Apple {}, Barnes and Noble {}, Kobo [}, Libiro {}, and PayHip {}.


About Tammy:


Tammy writes a bit, reads a bit, and frequently races cars across intersections from the saddle of her bike. Consequently, you could probably crack walnut shells on her thighs, but she hopes no one ever tries, because … awkward. Find her on her blog ( or Twitter (, or sign up for her newsletter ( to be the first to know of contests, new releases, and special events you might enjoy. She’s currently working on a prequel to the trilogy and another project that has something to do with space Vikings. She hopes you enjoy reading her works and welcomes your reviews.


Thanks so much, Tammy, for thinking of The Eye-Dancers blog on your release day!

And thanks so much to everyone for reading.



Guest Post: Juli D. Revezzo — “Changeling’s Crown”

This will be the first of two consecutive guest posts from fellow authors.  One of the (many) wonderful aspects of the WordPress community is the way we as bloggers can share our words, ideas, and inspirations on one another’s sites, a kind of creative cross-pollination that enriches the digital landscape.  I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to share guest posts and interviews on other blogs over the past eighteen months.  Likewise, it is always fun to feature other writers on The Eye-Dancers blog.

Last summer, just over a year ago to the day, Juli D. Revezzo authored a guest post on The Eye-Dancers blog about her Antique Magic series.  And now, here we are again in high summer, and I am once again privileged to have Juli return to talk a little bit about her new novel, Changeling’s Crown.

Without any further delay from me, please welcome Juli!


“What I learned writing a fun fantasy love story”


Juli D. Revezzo


Michael invited me here to talk about my newly released upper YA paranormal romance, Changeling’s Crown. For this novel, I decided to set the story on a horse ranch. Growing up my parents bought a house not far from a horse ranch—or at least the owner of that specific property owned horses. Still, I never paid much attention to the ins and outs of their property. I just oohed and ahhed over the lovely horses whenever we would pass.

Yes, I admit to doing that even still. I’m such a girl, I know. 😉

When the idea hit me to write what would become Changeling’s Crown, I decided to set it on an even bigger, truer horse ranch than the one I grew up near.

Now, truth to tell, I know next to nothing about horses or running a ranch so, yes, much research ensued. We have one nearby us and so I trotted down and observed for a while. One thing I learned is that sometimes, the owners put masks on the horses to keep flies out of their eyes. Another is that horses are much bigger than I realized they might be. This will tell you how short I am, but I could’ve walked under one of the stallions! I didn’t expect that. I’d never seen that of the horses down the way from me, (except for their size) so it surprised me. Yes, writing can teach you things, who knew? 😉

How about you, folks? Did you ever learn something from a book, or a school assignment that you never expected to?


Would you be interested to know a little more about the resulting book, Changeling’s Crown? Here’s the blurb:
When Ianthe began her career as a faery godmother, she stumbled so badly that Snow White will probably never speak to her again. After a long suspension, she’s finally been given a chance to redeem herself . . . but everything on this latest assignment is going wrong.

But why?

Worse, she definitely doesn’t need an attractive mortal man distracting her from her duties. Of course, needs and wants are two different things.

Briak has had his eye on Ianthe for a very, very long time, but he’s been waiting for just the right moment to make his move. Despite the fact all hell’s about to break loose on his watch, he can’t resist the opportunity to insert himself into her earthly assignment. Can he convince Ianthe of her true calling and thereby win her heart? Or will his subterfuge ultimately cost him her love?



Buy links:



In paperback from Createspace:


About Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl, with a love of fantasy, science fiction, and Arthurian legend, so much so she gained a B.A. in English and American Literature. She loves writing stories with fantastical elements whether it be a full-on fantasy, or a story set in this world–slightly askew. She has been published in short form in Eternal Haunted Summer; Dark Things II: Cat Crimes (a charity anthology for cat related charities); Luna Station Quarterly; By Blood, Bone, and Blade; Crossing the River, An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys; The Scribing Ibis; and Twisted Dreams Magazine. She’s the author of the Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Harshad Wars series. Changeling’s Crown is her first YA novel.

She is a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. Come learn more about her at



Good Reads:



Twitter: @julidrevezzo

Newsletter signup at:


Thank you for inviting me here, today, Michael!


Thanks so much for the great post, Juli!

And thanks so much to everyone for reading!


Going Forward . . . by Going Back

When I was growing up, there were a few nights each summer when I would host a sleepover–not all that different from the sleepover that occurs in chapter six of The Eye-Dancers.  Of course in my case, my friends and I were not haunted by a swirling-eyed “ghost girl” who whisked us off to a faraway and alien dimension.  But the adventures we shared, the things we talked about, the “what-ifs” we brought up were the inspiration behind the novel.



As were my friends themselves.  Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski, along with several supporting characters in The Eye-Dancers, were inspired by the friends I knew growing up, indeed the same friends who would sleep over on those warm July and August nights, when thoughts of school and homework, of college majors and impending adulthood, seemed galaxies away.



When I wrote The Eye-Dancers, it often felt as if I were returning back to those days.  And that, I suppose, is one of the many joys and wonders of creative writing.  You can be sitting at a desk in an office, in a studio apartment, anywhere, decades removed from the childhood you’re writing about, and yet, with a flourish of keystrokes and finger taps you can be transported back through the years, as if by some whimsical magician waving a white-tipped and wonder-filled wand.



It’s a cliche, I suppose, but in my case it’s the truth.  I write because I love to write, need to write.  And now I am in the midst of writing the sequel to The Eye-Dancers.  At first I was reluctant.  Did I really want to write a sequel?  But the idea, which arrived unasked for–not at all a preplanned project–demanded attention.  So I began writing, not convinced it would go anywhere, but scratching the itch, as it were, allowing the process to take me where it will.



I wrote the prologue, and chapter one, which grew into chapter two and three and four . . . and by that time, the scope of the novel began to take shape in my mind.  I don’t outline my novels, but I do formulate a general plan–or, perhaps more accurate–the plan forms on its own, a result of the characters’ decisions.  And now, nine chapters and 40,000 words into this still-untitled WIP, I have an overwhelming urge to continue, to keep the story going . . . to find out where Mitchell and Joe and Ryan and Marc and the “ghost girl” will take me.  I am along for the ride, and I can’t wait to round the next bend.



At this point, I would like to devote more time to the sequel than I have so far.  In fact, Joe Marma himself told me just the other day, “C’mon, bud, get with the program.  You gotta start working on this novel more, or else . . .”  And as readers of The Eye-Dancers know, you don’t want to frustrate Joe! As a result, I will be posting on The Eye-Dancers site every two weeks for the foreseeable future, down from the once-weekly schedule I have maintained for over a year now.  This is definitely not a blogging break or blogging sabbatical–just a slight scaling back.  I enjoy the WordPress community far too much to take any extended leaves.




On those summer sleepovers from yesteryear, sometimes I would read aloud stories I had written.  Back then, they were pencil-written plays, starring myself and my friends–no fictional names used!  Looking back, they were very poorly done–highly imaginative but sloppy and far too often over the top.  But one thing they were for sure was fun.  I used to laugh out loud when I read them, and my friends would join in.  Even today, if I need a pick-me-up, or a creative boost, I will pull out one of the old stories and remember . . .

It is with that spirit of adventure, fun, and love that I will turn to the sequel of The Eye-Dancers this summer.  And, with hope, that same spirit will manifest itself on every page.



So even though I’ll be posting less, I hope you’ll all continue to read and follow this blog.  You are the reason blogging is so much fun for me.



Thank you so much for reading!


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