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

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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

 

 

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?

 

The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg, is classic Science Fiction at its best

The one thing that occurs to me about the great, classic science fiction stories is how the writers could tell such complex, thoughtful, exciting stories, and do it in fewer than 200 pages. The Man in the Maze does that to perfection.

"Alas! Poor Yorick...I knew him well"It is a story of isolation and social alienation. I know that sounds strange; exciting and social alienation in the same description. The story is about a diplomat named Richard Muller. He is picked to go represent the human race to an Alien race, the first intelligent life humans had discovered. Something happens to him that opens a psychic ability and broadcasts his emotions, and feelings. Unfortunately humans can’t tolerate it and he becomes an outcast amongst his own people. He decides to put himself in isolation on an abandoned planet within a dangerous maze.

The maze is deadly to all who try to get through it, but Muller makes it through to the center where he can live in peace without any interaction with anyone. He sets up shop with supplies he brought as well as the local animals for sustenance. He believes he will live out the rest of his days there in his misery.

This is an extreme look at isolation and can hit a nerve with anyone. We all at one time or another feel isolated and want to be alone. It is strange how we hate the isolated feeling but contrive to be alone at the same time. This book highlights this part of the human condition beautifully.

After nine years Muller’s isolation is interrupted by earth coming a calling. Earth needs him for one more diplomatic mission. Another alien race has discovered them and is trying to enslave them, not knowing humans are thinking, feeling, people. Muller would be proof of that for these new aliens. The drama involved with the decision Muller has to make, coupled with the action of his fellow humans having to run the deadly maze to get to him, makes for a deep, yet action packed ride of a story.

Now I always have loved a good big book. I was excited when I got my last Harry Potter book and it was as monstrous as the previous one. Yet there is a stark beauty to a story with just a few named characters, a relatively simple premise, and galaxy spanning implications, told in a short amount of time. Silverberg manages to pack these weighty themes into an action packed tale with no feeling of rushing the pace. The Man in the Maze is a great piece of art to be enjoyed and cherished.

That’s not Silverberg to the right, just me.

 

Thoughts?

What is the allure of comic books and the movies they spawn?

The new Captain America is in theaters and kicking butt. After reading some reviews and seeing some interviews I began wondering what the attraction is. I love a good superhero adventure as much as the next person, but what is it that draws us to these stories? I can honestly say I do not know, but I suspect it is a combination of things.

Spiderman

image from inerestingspree.com

Some of it is from childhood. That is where I first got hooked; Spiderman was and still is my favorite! My brother is a Superman fan. Some people loved Batman or the Dark Knight as he is called now. Iron man, The Hulk, or The Avengers for that really big superhero fix. It was fun as a kid to read these stories of people who can do amazing things, and use those amazing things to help the rest of us. It is still fun as an adult and maybe that is why they are doing so well now.

It is no longer, like Trix, just for kids. Graphic novels have been doing well for years, and people no longer look sheepish when they say they are reading comic books. Going to see the latest superhero movie is talked about in water cooler moments the world over. Comic Con is a massive event now, and again there is less sheepishness in admitting the desire to go to one. I would love to, and fully intend to the first chance I get. I think as a culture we have finally given in to the need to let our inner child out from time to time. It is freeing, relaxing, and we can forget about the dismal day to day of work and bad news on the television.

It also could be that we, as a culture, like violent movies and images. Superhero movies make indulging a little less of a guilty pleasure because, A. it’s a comic hero, it is not serious, and B. they fighting for all the right reasons, to save the day. Most of the movies, in the end, have no ambiguity to the bad guys. They need to be stopped, period. Sure the faces behind the masks have their own problems but when they put on the suits it is all about mom, apple pie and baseball. At least that is what we tell ourselves. The fact that the heroes are in costumes and masks adds just a touch of silliness, that take away from how serious the crimes and people committing them are. No matter how nasty the criminals, most of the time they are in costumes too.

These are just two thoughts on why comics and the resulting movies are so popular. It could be a bit of both, one or another, or neither and I am full of it. It does make me wonder though. What about you?

Thoughts?