Book Review- Tillie’s Tale

As a tutor at an elementary school I was delighted when I read George Knows, the first book in this series, and was able to recommend it for the kids. (As well as the teacher’s). I am even more happy that the new book, Tillie’s Tale is just as easy to recommend. Mymudes has kept the same charm and fun that came with the first book and expanded on it for her second in the series.

George the Basset Hound is just as fun this second time around as he was the first time. He makes the perfect familiar for the young witch of the story while they try and solve this new mystical mystery. George provides many a laugh and excitement for the kids and the adults too. It is not always an easy thing to do in young adult fiction, or children’s. Tillie’s Tale works all around as did the predecessor. We can only hope Mindy Mymudes will continue this series for our enjoyment. George and his peeps rock!cropped-basset-hound-cute_92935-480x360

Do what you love to do!

I have been picking up a few more clients for my writing business recently and having a blast doing it. The fun in writing for different blogs and companies is the sheer variety that comes with the job. Automotive, trending news, entertainment and even health and wellness. I learn something new everyday and still get to write at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than that does it? I originally went back to school at such a late age, (early forties), to build my skills for a profession I could enjoy and feel satisfied doing. Who knew it would work out that way?

So for those of you thinking of going back to school, or are in the process of schooling, or just thinking of getting a new career, find something you love to do. We all have those things we enjoy doing, hobbies and such. Most of which have marketable possibilities. Find what yours is and work towards that. It is hard and takes patience and perseverance, boy howdy does it! You will find that it was worth it. I still have a ways to go but I can see it coming and it brings a wonderful excited feeling of satisfaction. At forty eight years old I have never felt that from a job before. Pretty cool.

Some people say it is too much of a risk to just go off on a lark like that. My answer to that I would rather risk than regret not trying. We all gather regrets in our lives, it is unavoidable, being human and all. I was determined that not trying my best at what I love to do would not be a regret of mine.

Anyone else trying, or not trying?

Thoughts?

 

Playing hard and that means writing

Just a little update on what I have been up to. I have been continuing my advancement as a content writer for websites and my own blog. I also have been helping my lovely lady Kathy with her massage business and Kathy C. LMT is taking off like a rocket. I have begun a new phase in my career however that I am exited about. It was Kathy who pointed out that my ultimate dream is to be a full-time author and since that is the case, I should be working towards that too. I took her advice and I am.

I was reminded of a quote from Ray Bradbury that goes something like this, “write a short story a week for a year, it is almost statistically impossible to fail 52 times in a row.” Since I can fit it in to my day I will be writing a story a week and submitting each one at the end of the week to a different publication. My first one went out yesterday and it felt wonderful. It is a little horror story called Monster. It is my take on monsters under the bed.

You see, I love to write and for me it is not really work. It can be hard, and the research part is work, but the writing is playing with words and I can always have more of that. My main genre is fantasy, both horror and the mystical so I will be researching any and all online Journals and magazines that accept submissions. I also have some posted here under the tab writing with wolves writes, if you are curious. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

 

Thoughts?

 

Zombie Apocalypse Home Defense System problems.

In my first writing class in college we were asked to write a letter of complaint to a fictional company, and that companies response to said complaint. We were told to be imaginative and have fun. So I did.

Harry Cooper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3232 S.E. Forbidden Lane Evans City, WI 20345

August 31, 2009

George Romero Home Defense Systems                                                                                                                                                       666 Cemetery Lane Washington D.C. MD, 20001

Dear Mr. Romero:

I purchased your Home Defense System for the coming Zombie Apocalypse. I spent two days installing the system per directions that came with the equipment. I went over the safety instructions with my wife and children and they understood the directions completely. We felt we had prepared sufficiently for the coming apocalypse.

I am not at all satisfied with my purchase. The evening after installation my mother in law showed up for a visit. Completely by accident she set off the duel spring loaded axes at the front door, decapitating herself. The resulting panic and fright to my family was most distressing.

I am writing this letter to request a full refund for the faulty defense system. I would also like to receive compensation for the funeral cost, my divorce and child custody lawyer’s fees.

Respectfully yours,

Harry Cooper

George Romero Home Defense Systems                                                                                                                                                       666 Cemetery Road                                                                                                                                                                                                     Washington D.C. MD, 20001

 

 

Sept. 9, 2009

 

Harry Cooper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3232 S.E. Forbidden Lane                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Evans City, WI 20345

Dear Mr. Cooper:

It was with great dismay that we read of the unfortunate accident that ended with the death of your mother in law. We here at G.R. Home Defense Systems feel we are not responsible for either the funeral costs, nor those incurred during you court cases. According to your letter dated August 31, 2009, you did not inform your mother in law of the safety issues surrounding our defense systems. You stated you informed you wife and children, but did not make mention of your wife’s mother.

As to the refund on the system, I am afraid we must deny that claim as well. It is clearly stated in the contract you signed: section 8, paragraph 5, following the one on the fragmentation landmines, “Installation of the Home Defense System for the coming Zombie Apocalypse, prior to the beginning of the apocalypse, could cause accidental damage due to the sensitive nature of the system.” Again we are sorry for the unfortunate incident and wish you luck on your court cases.

Sincerely yours,

George Romero, President                                                                                                                                                                                       GR/am

 

 

Football fans are geeks too. Admit it.

I believe most sports fans are, but it is football season, as every other post on Facebook indicates, so I will use football for this comparison. I am not a sports fan. I was a sports watcher when I was little and actually went to Seahawks games as a kid. In fact the only team I may notice now a days is the Seahawks due, I think, to the childhood memories. Beyond that, I could not care less about sports.

I few days ago I remembered a conversation I had with a football geek years ago that made the geek behavior of football fans stand out as very similar to my own geek behavior around sci-fi/fantasy.  This gentleman was going on and on about what team needed to lose to what team for his team to get into the playoff. I had not known, or cared, that there was a point system and that some people break it down to half and quarter points. Really? I thought, you can’t be serious. He was quite serious and for a brief moment I considered telling him to get a life until I remembered the conversation I had had with him previous to the football one. I had felt obliged to explain that the Vulcans in Star Trek were distant cousins to the Romulans. (He had not known, and I was shocked by that). So I explained the cultural philosophy that led to the separation of the people on the show. Sports fans are always surprised that I never know when the Superbowl is, as surprised as I always am over people who have never read the Lord of the Rings. Seriously, what is wrong with you people.

So I became more aware of the easy comparisons between football geeks and sci-fi fantasy geeks.

On the walls around my desk I have a “I want to Believe” poster of the UFO from the fifties that was in the X-Files T.V show, as well as wizard pictures. Football fans have team pennants, Jerseys, autograph balls, and even stickers on their cars comparable to “beam me up Scotty” or “Frodo Lives” stickers. Football fans have the Superbowl and will spend weeks if not months planning it, buying new televisions, stocking up on the appropriate snacks and food/beverages for the big day. For me it is when a long awaited book comes out. I had the last three volumes of the Harry Potter series pre-ordered and delivered to my house on the day they came out. I too had stocked up on food, three days worth, and everyone who knew me knew to not bother to call because I was busy. Books that size have to be read at least twice right away, as everyone knows. Long awaited movies and marathon DVD days are similar experiences for me that game day is for football geeks.

Yet most football geeks I know have no understanding of how reading an eight hundred plus page book all at once can be entertaining anymore than I understand how watching a bunch of big guys pummel each other and then slap each other on the ass is entertaining. Most football fans do not understand investing time and energy into caring about people that don’t exist anymore than I understand calling people who play a game warriors? Really, I don’t get that.

There are many more comparisons that could be made but these make my point. If you are a hard core football fan, you are a geek too. Live with it.

Thoughts?

The re-discovery of Rush, the band.

I first heard the rock band Rush back in the late seventies at the end of junior high. They were different from everything else I was listening to. The music was aggressive hard rock, like other bands I loved but the lyrics were something else entirely. Sci-fi lyrics about dystopian societies with the 20+ minute song 2112 from the album of the same name, By-Tor and the Snow Dog from the Album Fly By Night, and many more thematic works. They also have shorter songs like Working Man, from the first album simply entitled Rush, Freewill and The Spirit of Radio from Permanent Waves. They have 20 studio albums and at least 4 live albums, Rush is still going after forty years. But somehow I lost track of them in the eighties. I have always been glad to hear them on the radio but didn’t get as immersed as I did with other bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Super tramp and so on. I am not sure why other than they were kind of known as a geeks band and I was so obviously a geek. Maybe I didn’t want to fly my geek flag that high. Whatever the reason, I have rediscovered why I loved them, and even more now that I can appreciate their accomplishments over time.

I came across a documentary called “Beyond the Lighted Stage”, which is the story of Rush. It jumped started my love of Rush and has had me fascinated with them as a successful band, musicians, and songwriters ever since. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in music in general, or rock bands specifically. You don’t even have to be a hard rock fan to enjoy a look behind the scenes. They don’t have the typical VH1 behind the music history. They have managed to avoid most of the pitfalls associated with the music industry and done things their own way. Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart managed to stay friends and keep doing what they love to do. Give it a watch and you will not be disappointed.

Since this is a blog for literature Geeks I will be sharing portions of their song lyrics, most of which were written by Neil Peart, the drummer. Hopefully you will be interested enough to look up the song. I suggest the live material on YouTube. I will start by a selection from the song Red Sector A, a song off of the album Grace Under Pressure. It is about life in a concentration camp. Several of the Bands family members went through that horrific experience and the lyrics are heart pulling and starkly dramatic. . Any lyrics posted are copywrited by Rush and no money is made in my use of them.

I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed
A wound that will not heal
A heart that cannot feel
Hoping that the horror will recede
Hoping that tomorrow we’ll all be freed

Sickness to insanity
Prayer to profanity
Days and weeks and months go by
Don’t feel the hunger
Too weak to cry

I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate
Are the liberators here?
Do I hope or do I fear?
For my father and my brother, it’s too late
But I must help my mother stand up straight

Are we the last ones left alive?
Are we the only human beings to survive?

 

Influences of a Writer: From where does inspiration spring?

To quote a character in a Rodger Zelazny novel “If I knew I would walk over and stand there”. I love that line, although I do have an idea where my inspiration comes from. It is a short walk to my bookshelves. The things I love to read and the genre’s I prefer to write in creatively are tied together. I was thinking about the stories and authors I love to read and how I got turned onto them at a young age.

I was interested in fantasy from an early age having read and enjoyed the Narnia series. Then I was given the Hobbit, followed by the Lord of the Rings and my love for fantasy was cemented. I have read those once a year since I was about 11 years old. By the time I was 15 I was reading the Silmarilion yearly as well. Then I was introduced to the aforementioned Rodger Zelazny. He wrote both sci-fi and fantasy and sometimes both, (which is difficult to do well.), in the same story. His Amber books are what hooked me. After the late great Zelazny I found Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, Frank Herbert’s Dune series and sci-fi became cemented in my favorite genres for reading pleasure. After sci-fi I was then introduced to classic horror or gothic romances with Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly, Frankenstein and Dracula in the original forms. I branched out to Stephen King and my love of the horror tale was cemented at that time.

Creatively that is where my obsession lies. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, they all are genres I have played with and enjoyed doing so. Some would say they are all in the same realm as the fantastic stories. Either way those are where I get my reading pleasure and inspiration to write. Interestingly enough I was introduced to all of those mentioned and more by my brother John. The first book I read in any of the genres I listed was given to me by John starting at an early age. He was the one who passed on the knowledge of these wonderful worlds that I could explore and have explored ever since. Thanks John, it is appreciated every time I sit at my computer to write, or pick up a book to read.

These are thoughts on some of my own inspiration and influences, what about yours?"Alas! Poor Yorick...I knew him well"

Thoughts?