Friday, June 29, 2012

Replay That Movie Into Redundancy: Take Two

please click here for part one

After a three week hiatus or so, we continue with my top 12 list of my favorite replayable movies.

7} Crank: Jason Statham plays a hitman who becomes fatally poisoned, and the only way he can survice long enough to find the person who did it is become an andrenilane junkie. The action is non-stop with gun play, fights and car chases. Also features a very funny and very public sex scene in Chinatown, a b.j. during a car chase and a riveting helicopter fight. Forget the sequal, watch the original.

8} Layer Cake: Daniel Craig plays a mid-sized drug dealer who decided to get out of the business, but is foced to do one last job before he can leave. Lots of good solid twists and different plot threads, it definitely has its W.T.F moments, but they add more than they subtract to the movie. It remains the only Daniel Craig movie that I like.

9} Snatch: Another Jason Statham movie, this one also features Brad Pitt in a strong supporting role. The British underground fight scent is skillfully woven through a sub-plot featuring a stolen diamond, a dog and a robbery gone sour. Lots of action and the move never drags.

10} Kill Bill, Vol. 1: Of all the Quentin Tarrentino movies that I've seen in which he had directed, this one remains my favorite. Action and suspense, it also comes with enough pop culture kitsch to make a lasting impression in your head long after the movie has gone away. Uma Thurman is more than solid as an actress and as a former assassin bent on revenge, she became a one woman wrecking crew.

11} A History Of Violence: Viggo Mortensen plays a mobster who decided to undercover and live a normal life. Unfortunately, when he prevents a robbery of his restaurant, his cover is blown and people from his former life come gunning for him. Even though there's a distinct level of violence in the movie (the movie itself opens up with a rather disturbing implied murder at a motel), it pretty much makes you think all the way through to the end.

12} No Country For Old Men: I simply cannot get enough of this movie. A sheriff who finally realizes he's too old and too tired to deal with the violence and crime anymore, an amoral hitman looking to retrieve a suitcase of drug mony and the hunter who tries to getaway with a suitcase of drug money with tragic consequences. It took me until I actually borrowed the DVD from the library to see how this movie actually started. And the ending to this day still drives me bananas. An incredibly dark movie, it's the best thinking movie on the market today.

A bonus 12a} Coldblooded: A black comedy featuring Jason Priestly who plays a bookie who gets promoted to hitman. Click on the link for further details, but I compare this movie to John Cusack's movie "Grosse Pointe Blank". A great quirky movie that almost no one really knew about when it came out.

There are others that I do enjoy seeing over and over, but those are of the B&W variety. Someday I'll get a post up on those. In the meantime, feel free not only to offer an opinion on these, but suggest a few of your faves as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Is Still Writer

In keeping with the writing theme of this week, I want to share with you a few updates on the writing front.

First up is this:

 Unbeknownst to me, sometime last year, that wonderful self-publishing conglomo ASI, aka Author Solutions Inc., aka Author House, introduced a package for those who wanted to self-pub an e-book. I'll spare everyone the gory details about it if you promise not to point out that there are better and cheaper ways to self-pub an e-book. Anyways, what they did (at least it seems to me) with the current print titles that they have, like mine, was to offer them as an e-book.

Thus, my self-pubbed chapbook "Betrayed!" is available in both the Kindle and Nook (as well as others) formats. If you were always curious about what I write but didn't really want to get the paperback version of my chapbook (which is still available through my book blog), you can now purchase it for the medium range price of $3.99. Just click on the caption and it will take you directly to the Author House website.

"Betrayed!" is not only a excellent introduction to what I write, but it will also give you a basic idea of what my upcoming novel "Line 21" is like as well. So if you feel overly generous with your money today, take a shot at buying my book, either the paperback or the e-book. You won't be disappointed.

Next up is this:

I have some good news on the commercial debut novel front. I found out on Monday (6/25) that I'm a few steps closer in being assigned an editor, and I tell, it's the best news that I've gotten so far this week. In addition to that piece of good news, I now have to do what I've only done previously once before and I've given myself a very tight deadline to get it done. And that is this:

1} A dedication, if any.
2} Acknowledgements, if any.
3} About the author piece, roughly 300 words.
4} Book blurb for the back cover.

Now, I've done a dedication before, so that one is a no-brainer. The acknowledgements, will also be a no brainer, since everyone who has done me good, either in the real word or here in the blog world (and you know who you are) with my writing, will get some kind of acknowledgement of their contribution, however large or small, in shaping me as a writer.

The author bio will be a tad more difficult, in that I have to write about 300 words about myself. Not gonna be easy, especially since I've only been writing since 2006 and seriously since 2010. But I will persevere and will probably show everyone the first draft of what I've come up with.

The book blurb will be somewhere in between. I got a basic outline of it already, which is the query letter synopsis that is posted on the book blog. So on this, I will be very open for suggestions, like for example, what kind of word count should I be shooting for? How detailed/vague should I make it?

If you got suggestions/ideas, please feel free to either leave then in the comment section or drop me an e-mail.

And as always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, which is not in my hand because I wasn't doing this, for you just being you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Blogging Milestone!

Hey gang!

Just managed to accomplish another blogging milestone!

A guest post at another blog!

Please follow me over to Andrea Buginsky's wonderful blog Andi's Realm to check out my latest post!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

And Thus....

This is for a friend who has decided that a change of scenery is just the thing that her spirit and her soul needs in order to take flight and be free of stress and worry.

It is a rare person indeed that can enter another person's life and touch them in a way that when they finally ride off into the sunset, they leave just a sliver of their spirit and a tome of happy memories permanently behind. To my very good friend R, I deeply appreciate the friendship that we had while you were here, and even though you'll be someplace else enjoying the life you richly deserve, I'll always cherish the time that we and our families spent getting to know one another. You'll always be the big sister that managed to give excellent advice when I needed it, and saved me from doing the stupider things that I always seemed to do whenever I would shoot from the lip.

My life has been made richer because of you and it is my sincere hope that even though you'll now be a few thousand miles away, you'll still be that influence that I've come to respect and appreciate.

May you always experience peace, love and tranquility on whatever road you may travel during your long and fruitful journey that is life.


Friday, June 22, 2012

I Don't Drive Angry, But I Certainly Don't Drive 55

Sammy Hagar or Eddie this question really stupid?

Back in my younger days, when my body was undamaged and unravaged by genetics, I loved to drive. Short trips or long, it didn't matter, so long as I was behind the steering wheel, I was a happy camper.

When I was in my late 20's, I used to take these monster driving vacations, and I used to drag my wife along on these fiascos. Of course, being the dorky dumbass who really didn't take in account how upset his wife would progressively get throughout the years, I would plan these things that took in account zero for sightseeing.

Think I'm kidding?

On my honeymoon, we did a driving tour of New England. Kind of. Sort of. I mean, we drove straight up through Connecticut and Massachusetts into Vermont and New Hampshire, before wandering back down to Connecticut. With no sightseeing. Being that my wife was completely besotted with me, it really didn't matter that no sightseeing was involved.

The next driving vacation I took, which was the first of two, was driving US 6. Now for those of you who may not know this, US 6 starts in Cape Cod Massachusetts and ends in Bishop, California (and vice versa for those of you who live on the left coast). It meanders through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and finally California.

Being that I was really too lazy to start in Massachusetts and back track, we simply took off for our one and only intended destination on the trip: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Five days out, and five days back. And the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in my humble opinion, was overpriced and only semi-impressive.

Anyways, a few years later, I decided to do the US 6 thang again, this time starting off in Iowa (which is where we turned around at the first time), then trying to travel to California. So we (meaning me, I did all of the driving, Joanne was the navigator), took I-80 to Iowa, and continued down US 6. Problem was that back then (late 90's) there was a lot of construction going on, so we wound up taking tons of detours in Iowa and Nebraska.

Eventually got as far as Sterling, Colorado before calling it quits and heading home. We did managed to see a movie, "Gone In 60 Seconds", but other than that, no sightseeing.

At this point, Joanne was more than a little miffed that our last few vacations contained absolutely no sightseeing, so she told me in no uncertain terms, that next time, we better do some sightseeing. I said fine, so on the very last normal vacation I would take for about six years, we took my daughter Jenelle to the Topeka, Kansas Zoo.

Naturally, being the very bad trip planner that I was turning out to be, we arrived at the zoo on a Sunday afternoon. Suffice to say, there wasn't much to see since most of the zoo was closed for the day. So the trip to the zoo was a major league bust. But hey, at least spending two days in Pennsylvania because I stupidly decided to take the Pennsylvania Turnpike (a lesson not learned and was doomed to repeat six years later) wasn't a total loss.

In 2008, I made plans to visit a former chat room bud out in Indiana. However, due to unforeseen complications, we had to kill about three days before we could actually visit. Remembering the threat that Joanne made back in '02, I decided to some sightseeing prior to the visit.

Prior to our visit in Indiana, we stopped at:

1} The Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
2} The Zane Gray Museum, Norwich, Ohio.
3} The Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio.

I highly recommend the first two. If you love American history and the Civil War, that museum is the be all to end all. When we were there, we got see a little of this:


Also, for the longest time, the header to my blog featured this wonderful statue/sculpture:

If you like all things about Zane Gray and US 40/The National Highway, you have to check out the museum sponsored by the Ohio Historical society.

When we were Indiana, we didn't do much sightseeing beyond going to the The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. I took loads of pictures, but they didn't come out very well, so I really can't show anything from there, except maybe, this:

Since that vacation in '08, I don't do much in the way of long road trips anymore. But, just the same, I still think about hopping into my new car with just the wife, and doing another ten day road trip. Someday, I may do that, and possibly visit some of my blogger friends. Until then, I'll have to be satisfied in simply reading about everyone else's driving adventures.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Reading Across Genres" by Andrea Buginsky

Today's special guest blogger is freelance writer and Solstice author Andrea Buginsky, and her topic of choice today is:

 "Reading Across Genres"

Books come in all shapes, sizes, and genres. I write YA (young adult) and enjoy reading YA books by authors such as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. But I also enjoy reading adult romance novels by such authors as Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel along with YA authors. When it comes to reading, there is no set “genre” that you have to follow.
In fact, there can be some wonderful benefits to reading across different genres:
·         More exposure to books
·         Prevention from boredom
·         Sparks for new writing ideas
If you currently only read one genre and are looking to expose yourself to others, you may want to try similar genres first. For example, if you like romance, try historical romance. If you like YA, try books aimed at twenty-something-year-olds. If you like SciFi, try fantasy.
There are several different means in which you can find new genres to read. The most basic is to talk to your librarian or local bookstore employees. Let them know what you’re interested in, and they’ll be happy to recommend titles and authors to you.
You can also join online book groups, such as Goodreads and Shelfari, to get book recommendations from other readers. These websites allow you to friend other readers, and even authors, and receive help in selecting more books to read. Members will often place reviews on the sites so you can get an idea of how others felt about the book.
So start your search, and see if you can’t expand your reading pleasure across more genres. You never know what you might discover!

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer/author with a BA in Mass Communications-Journalism from the University of S. Florida. She has two published books:
The Chosen:

Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling. When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to detroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she's a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma. Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures? Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction? Only time will tell.

My Open Heart:

Growing up with heart disease can be difficult, but it does not always have to alter your life course. MY OPEN HEART is written for young adults growing up with heart disease. It's meant to inspire them to chase their dreams, to show that they are not alone, and, perhaps, to help guide them through the maze of life with heart disease. Parents of children with heart disease and other chronic illnesses will find support and inspiration within this true story. We are not alone.

And she can also be found at the following social media websites:

Her personal blog and website: Andi's Realm

Her two facebook pages: Personal and Author

Twitter handle: @andreabuginksy

And she can be found at Google+ as well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Please Judge Our Books By The Covers" by Melissa Foster

Today, my blog is honored to be the latest stop on Melissa Foster's 2012 Summer Blog Tour. Her post today is about book covers and how they can influence you.

Melissa's Summer Blog Tour

As an author, we spend weeks, months, and sometimes years on writing and perfecting our novels. We hone our craft and trust the ability of fine editors to bring our books to their very finest pitch. We’re artists, of the written kind. Sometimes, our hard work even pays off, and we reach bestseller status—what a joy! But to gain attention, to get our books noticed, we have to dress it in the right outfit. A killer cover can make a book, just as a cover that is missing panache can stop it in its tracks.

The truth about books, as far as I can tell, is that readers are first attracted to the covers, then they take a look inside. I know I’m a cover girl. I am guilty of scanning covers until I find one that has that certain something that draws me in, then I flip it over and read the summary. If that’s a winner, I open the cover and read the first three pages. If you haven’t hooked me, I’m done. If that initial interest is not there, I never make it any further.

Chasing Amanda

Does that make me shallow, or is that a common occurrence? I have no idea.  I have to admit, a poorly done cover is a turn off to me—it makes me feel as though the writer didn’t care enough about their work to think it was worthy of their time and attention.

Nice covers don’t have to be elaborate or costly, they simply have to be neatly done, appealing to the eye, and for me, they have to emote feelings—which may be different feels for every person who sees them, and that’s okay.

Megan's Way

The funny thing is, it doesn’t seem to matter which way one publishes; indie, traditional, self, assisted—bad covers are everywhere. Sometimes the author has no say in the final cover—you hear this about traditional publishing very often. But for those of us who do have final say, or even artistic control, I have one thing to say—Authors, please take your time and think like a reader. Reel them in with imagery and wow them with great writing.

Speaking of covers—I’m giving away books all summer long during my blog tour. Click on the blog tour jpeg to see how you can win!

What are your thoughts on book covers? 

Come Back To Me

Award-winning, bestselling author Melissa Foster is a touchstone for the indie publishing community and a tireless advocate for women. She is the founder of the World Literary Café, Fostering Success, and The Women’s Nest. Melissa writes emotionally-driven contemporary fiction and suspense with passionate characters that remain with the reader long after they’ve read the last words. Melissa is a friend, mentor, brownie connoisseur, and book fiend. 

Melissa’s site links:

Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
My social network for women:
World Literary Café:
Facebook Melissa Foster: (Fanpage)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Promo, Write-O, Blog-O, This Week-O

Not much in the way of a thick-juicy-charbroiled-artery-clogging-heart-attack post today, but what I have to say will explain the odd post title.

Promotional blog tours.

This upcoming week, all the posts on Cedar's Mountain will be written by the following Solstice authors:

1} June 18th's post will be written by Melissa Foster (she of "Chasing Amanda" fame) and it's called, "Please Judge Our Books By The Covers".

2} June 20th's post will be written by Andrea Buginsky and it's called "Reading Across Genres".

3} June 22nd's post will be written by romance author Olivia Ventura and the title is TBD.

Hope you'll stop by this week to check out not only these guest posts, but some of their books as well.

And also, I want to wish all you fathers, be you male or female, single or married, a very happy Father's Day.

And also also, I want to leave you with a little whimsical something that was inspired by a downer of a casual conversation at work. I say downer only because the topic of choice was memorial editorial cartoons done by local newspaper cartoonist Bob Engelhart.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Is Writer

At least, I'm pretty sure that I'm a writer. I mean, I'm doing all the things associated with being a writer. Let me double-check my check list.

1} Submissions: Well, to be honest with everyone, after my experiences with the defunct vanity project Magic Cat Press that was created by the supremely vain British writer/playwright Natasha Scrivener, I've been extremely gun shy about submitting my short stories. Not that being rejected doesn't bother me, since I've reached my personal quota for the year, but it's more to finding the time to properly research the market for my work so that I don't come across this particular problem again.

2} Current novel: Not much action on that front, beyond getting the cover completed. I'm still in the queue to be assigned an editor, and as most you probably know, certain industries want to make sure that they put out the best product possible, which means taking their time to do it right, which means finding other ways to keep busy while waiting for my turn. Like...

3} Networking: Since I'm waiting for my turn at bat, I've deiced to concentrate some of that free time on networking within the publisher's community and beyond. If you click through, you'll see that I tweaked the front page. I condensed a few links and gadgets to free up additional space, I added the Solstice banner to my blog, and most importantly, added a Picasa slideshow that showcases new releases from various Solstice authors. At the moment, the slideshow is small (less than one dozen) but as more people know about it, the more pics I can get.

I've also joined another writer's forum, this time the one sponsored by former agent Nathan Bransford. I was in the one sponsored by Query Tracker, but because that one is more skewered towards all things YA, I felt really out of place and uncomfortable there. I'm hoping that this one has a better balance between those who write YA and those who write adult fiction.

4} Current projects: One actually. Once I had finished "Blackness In The White Sand" this past May, I immediately jumped into rewriting an old story called "A Troubled Conscience". I really like the premise of this story (the blackmail victim turning the table on the blackmailer), but the flow was incredibly chunky. I renamed it "A Shadow Warrior's Redemption" and got right to work on it. At the moment, I'm two-thirds of the way through the first draft and I should be done by the end of the month. Why so long? Well, it has to do with point #5.

5} Contractual obligations: Out of the many contractual obligations that I have to fulfill, the easiest one that I can partake in is the one that requires me to review at least one book a quarter. I say easy, because hey, how hard can it be to read a book and write a review? With the only requirement being that you have to choose from your fellow Solstice authors, it's the simplest way for me to expand my horizons.

However, being that it's a heck of lot cheaper to buy/swap e-books that it is to buy paperbacks, I have come to the decision, albeit reluctantly, to buy a Nook. This will serve a dual purpose: 1) I'll be able to read/review books w/o denting my wallet, and 2) I'll be able to get those free books that a few of my fellow writers were gracious enough to give to me off my computer.

6} Book reviews: Speaking of book reviews, I did a couple of reviews for the following books (which are available for your Nook or Kindle), which I hope that you'll find the time to check out.

Ten-A-Week Steale by Stephen Jared, a noir/pulp style crime story. See review here.
Upon A Crazy Horse by Frank Rogers, a modern western. See review here.

And that my friends, is all the writing news that is fit to be printed and shared with all of you. 'Cause without you, I probably wouldn't be where I am today and thus, when the time comes, an acknowledgement stating that very fact will make its way into my debut novel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


For the one or two of you out there who aren't familiar with the aforementioned term, a staycation is basically a vacation spent away from work at home. Now, I've had a lot of experience with those kind of vacations over the years, simply because I can't co-ordinate the time and money at the same time. So for the past five years (or is it nine? no wait, it's four, 'cause I actually took a honest-to-good real vacation in '08. don't believe me? check out the year 2008 on this blog, circa late August), all of my vacations have been spent at home, and up until this year, none have been longer than three days.

This year though, things have been radically different. Because I work in the public sector, I don't have to use my vacation time within the calendar year, just like you have to do in your job. I can roll over the days that I earn (currently stands at 1 1/4 days per month, or 15 days per year) into the next year. The only drawback that I have, is that I have a cap of 60 days. In other words, I can carry up to 60 days of vacation time. Problem with that is, if I don't use any of that time and stay at that cap, I can't earn any more time until I get under the cap.

Yes, you can now hurl any insult that you wish to hurl, if only to make yourself feel better. They won't bother me 'cause I've heard them all from my co-workers. So there, nyah.

So what I did for this year, was to plan out mini-staycations for April and May, and one very long one for June. That way, I can earn my accruals and not have to worry about taking time off until, say, October.

And because I'm such a conscientious worker, I actually made sure that all of my vacations were scheduled for an off pay week. That way, no one would have to spend time covering all four of my payrolls plus tuition reimbursement.

So I'm sure you're asking yourself, or rather, asking this blog, "What does all of this big backstory drop have to do with today's post?"


For instance, I'm smack dab in the middle of a very nice and very well deserved staycation from work. For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I've gone through very public phases of burnout over the years, and yet, I haven't really done anything of note to rescue my sanity from that burnout. So I decided way early in the year, to take one actual vacation this year.

June 8th thru the 13th. Four glorious days off with pay, six days off overall. And what have I done so far during my staycation?

First off, I did a lot of exercise, using this infernal contraption:

Yes, I did a boatload of bicycling, mostly around the southern end of town, and as hard as it is to believe, no accidents or wipeouts. However, I did acknowledge the fact that being fat (170lbs) and riding a bike uphill, was not good. In fact, the exact phrase that I used to any passerby I happened to see was this:

It sucks to be fat.

But, and this is a key but, I can outlast my lazy son when it comes to doing anything of consequence, broken body and all. Walking or riding, I'm better than him. End of discussion.

Secondly, I made a serious attempt at cleaning out my den. My den is actually a converted junk room. I'm actually at a lost for words to describe my actual work area, if you can believe that. Anyways, there was soooooooooooooooo much junk in the den that it took me and my wife an hour just to clear out a one and a half foot wide by twenty feet long space for me to use. The eventually goal is to clear out enough of the crap so that I can make it into a proper office for myself. Some day I'll tell everyone how much crap is actually in here, but for now, just take my word this space is very unorganized.

Thirdly, besides finding time to write and schedule a week's worth of blog posts for the first time in months (got it made 'cause I got three upcoming guest blog posts next week for everyone), I was able to make a very serious dent in re-writing an old short story of mine. Funny how when you finally find a ungodly chunk of time to write, it actually becomes fun to do. Imagine that, something that you like doing becomes fun again. I also dug out an old partial short story that I had stashed away on my clipboard and stuck it on my computer, because I got to thinking about writing another quirky horror story, and this one just might do the trick.

Finally, I got to enjoy the luxury of just goofing off for the week. No responsibilities to deal with, no time constraints to work with or work around, not even worrying about having to do any kind of heavy grocery shopping for the week, 'cause I ain't at work. I sat outside, got some serious sun, watched the birds, and basically just emptied my brain and acted like any other brainless twit that one comes across during their daily wanderings. You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones who act stupid 24/7/365. I decided to be one of those. And more importantly, I haven't watched any television this week. How cool is that?

Anyways, I though I would spend a little time rubbing in the fact that I'm on vacation from work this week and I'm enjoying every blessed minute of being off work with pay. In spite of the hard concrete reality that I'm actually paying myself to take time off from work with pay. You know, taxpayer's tax dollars pays the salaries of public employees. I'm a taxpayer, ergo, my tax dollars are paying my salary.

I live you with this witty little ditty from Mungo Jerry:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Very Special Short Music List

A young man about the age of twenty-four grabs the hand of his twenty-seven year old lady love and escorts her out to the dance floor. He gestures to the man behind the turntable and within a few seconds, the melody of their special song comes wafting through the speakers.

After the final notes fade away, the young lady has tears in her eyes. The young man kisses her tears away, then gestures to the man behind the turntable, and again within a few seconds, the melody of one of his favorite songs comes wafting through the speakers.

Afte the final notes fades away, the young man and the young lady walk back to their seats, all the while engulfed in an incredibly loud round of applause.

My good friends, on this particular day back in 1989, smack dab in the middle of a downtown festival, I tied the knot with the only girlfriend I've ever had.

Twenty three years later, she still remains the only true love of my life.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Replay That Movie Into Redundacy: Take One

I Don't watch much television anymore. Most of the programming that is offered to the masses, is vapidly redundant and tired to the point of rigor mortis. And the programming that I do watch is slowly being overkilled to the point of being made part of Fangoria.

So what little time I do spend of my day glued to the boob tube, is spent watching movies, domestic & foreign, English & sub-titled. About 95% of the movies I do watch, I watch at the most, one and a half times. The first time I watch a movie, I'll watch the last twenty minutes. If it piques my curiosity, then I'll watch it from the beginning before being done with it.

But the remaining 5% are the movies that I'll be focusing on today. Why? Because those movies are the ones that I gt out of my way to watch over and over again. I'll even go to the point of borrowing the DVD from the library to watch it again.

In no particular order of importance, these twelve movies, of which the first six will be posted today, from the modern color era (in my world it's the 1970's forward) that I will always watch repeatedly, be it through the boob tube movie channels or on DVD, because they resonate just that much.

1} Brick: Brick is a movie done in a noir style that focuses on the Southern California high school drug scene. The movie tells the story of a young man in search of the person who had murdered his ex-girlfriend. The movie itself is told both in flashback and present day, and expertly jumps between the two with no loss of continuity. If you like noir style films, this one is for you.

2} Dinner Rush: Dinner Rush tells the story about a night in the life of a hot trendy Tribeca restaurant. Among the sub-plots are two low-level wiseguys trying to muscle in, a son who's a degenerate gambler and an owner who is trying to make things right while trying to get out of the bookmaking business with his life intact.

 3} Drive Angry: This Nicholas Cage movie tells the story of a man who escapes from the bowels of Hell to rescue his baby granddaughter from the clutches of a murderous Satanic cult. Featuring lots of action, lots of violence and a bit of dark humor. One of Cage's better fantasy movies (I put this just about Ghost Rider), it's about two hours of pure fun.

4} Tender Mercies: Robert Duvall plays an alcoholic country singer who has hit rock bottom and slowly extricates himself from it. Redemption you might say. The story itself unfolds in a way that isn't preachy yet hammers home a powerful message. One thing that makes this movie unique is that Robert Duvall sings and play his own music.

5} Zombieland: With a premise almost as thin as the hair follicles on my head, Zombieland features almost two solid hours of pure joyful mayhem. Features a wicked cameo by Bill Murray, and also showing how versatile Woody Harrelson is as an actor. No matter how many times I've seen this movie, it still cracks me up.

6} Places In The Heart: Another good drama that pushes all the right buttons, it stars Sally Fields, John Malkovich and Danny Glover. Set in 1930's Texas during the depression, it shows how a widow with two children try to survive by growing cotton. Exceptionally real for its time, it remains one of two mid-80's movies that are permanently on my list.

To be continued

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Presenting Solstice Author Erika Lindsen

I would like to thank G. B. for having me and my work on his blog today.
One question that seems to be ever popular among authors and their blogs is the process of writing. But what about after the book is finished? There isn’t a list where you sign your name and publishers come knocking on your door, begging for your manuscript. Dare to dream…
The first step to possible publication is still in the work. You have to make sure it’s so polished that it resembles a cop’s sunglasses from the 80s. Then, just when it seems the work is perfect, polish again. Some people swear by critique groups and beta readers. Their help is immensely helpful. I usually use one. Even if I only run my MS by my best friend to check for typos. Every writer is too close to their work. An extra set of eyes will only improve the work as a whole.
After it has been perfected, next comes research. Do you want to try for the big houses? If so, most New York/Publishers that get your books on shelves require the gatekeeper aka agents to do the submitting. Like anything in life, some agents truly want what’s best for your novel. But then there are the scammers. Some charge you for everything, even to read your novel-no guarantee if they’ll even work with you. I’ve seen one agency charge just to send them your query. One rule in publishing always stands-MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR.  Do the research and back history on any given agent/agency and make sure they don’t charge and have sale records to back them up. Find agents who represent authors you like or have heard of. Always and only submit to those that rep your genre.
Now for your second option you could choose to submit to e-publishers, which is what I did for my novella Soul. How I got hooked up with Solstice Publishing is in November 2010 they accepted my first children’s book. A friend had a good experience with them and I took a shot. They agreed to publish it. So when it came time for my young adult novella, I hoped they would take it on. Many people set up e-publishing houses overnight. It really isn’t a hard thing to do. So much like agents, do your research. Is the e-publisher selling well? How are their covers? I contacted a few of their authors for personal experiences. Never settle. A wise man once said “If it’s good enough for one person, it’s good enough for all.”
The third option is self-publishing. There is a ton of work involved in this. For one, a beta or editor is almost a must. Like I said earlier, mistakes always happen. Since there is no gatekeeper, putting out the best work can be challenging. All of the promotion is up to the author. So is the cover art. Self-publishing can be very rewarding as you get more money, but putting out an attractive product to get the money from the sales is where the work comes in. I self-pubbed my adult novella Tyran’s Thirst to see what that experience would be like. So far, I am happy with the results.
No matter what path you undergo in the publishing process, every avenue is work. Joining groups of fellow authors is a great way to learn more about the business and make friends. One word of advice that I know authors and readers all agree on-NEVER SPAM J   

Monday, June 4, 2012

Promo, Promo, Promo

Today's post will be excruciatingly short, as I don't have much on tap to bloviate about.

Being the month of June, we are getting our toes wet as we step into the world of blog tours. I have at least three lined up for this month, with possibly more on the way, as I put out a cattle call in the Solstice forum offering my blog for people to use and abuse.

The first taker of my offer will be Erika Lindsen, author of the paranormal fantasy entitled "Soul", and she will be stopping by Cedar's Mountain on June 6th.

In other news, I have another post up at Shooting Sububia, which is part 3 of "Birds Of A Feather Flock To The Fauna."

And in other other news, since I'm still a man of my word, here is the lastest from Jessica Tornese:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An Utterly Epic Failure Of A Bad No Hair Day

In reality, a bad no hair day is when I get a severe sunburn on the top of my head. Yesterday I had the equivalent of that kind of day. You know the kind I'm talking about. The kind where you plan to do one good deed for some friends/co-workers/complete strangers and yet you suffer a major blowback in the form of the entire day becoming a major WTF because you can't seem to complete that good deed.

Yesterday (6/2 for those who are paying attention) I came up with the novel idea of promoting my fellow writers at Solstice, by showcasing their work in the form of a slideshow. I had it all planned out, in that I would be the slideshow on the top of my blog, along with links to either their website or to Solstice in order to purchase it. I figured that since I got some vacant space to use, why not put it to good use by doing a little genuine networking.

So I created a new photo album explicitly just for that purpose and set about setting up and installing the gadget on my blog.


I spent about an hour and a half in a futile attempt in trying to get the gadget installed and in a futile attempt at finding a viable workaround to replace the failure of the gadget.

Now because I spent this hour and a half getting seriously annoyed, the rest of my night became utterly compromised.


For one thing, this post was not written until minutes before hitting the publish button. For another, I wanted to get some writing done, and I didn't. Finally, I wound up semi-snapping at my daughter, who had the misfortune of innocently interrupting my computer-oriented meltdown.

However, all isn't really lost, at least not yet. I posted my problem in the Blogger help forum and I've been having a productive converation about it, so I hope to have a solid answer within a day or so. I've also spent more time trying to come up with a good workaround to this issue, so if you see some things missing from this blog, you'll know that I managed to come up with temporary fix.

And because I'm a man of my word, here is the latest from Solstice author J. L. Petty:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Can I Ride A Bicycle?

Over the very long b'day/Memorial Day weekend, I decided to get a little bike riding in. I sort of did a baptism by fire a couple of weekends ago, but this was the first time that I really wanted to get serious about it. However, as people are want to say, the best laid plans often go kablooie, and such was the case this particular weekend.

For starters, my bicycling got off to a very rocky start. How rocky? Well, for one thing, it didn't start on the day of my vacation, it started on the day before.

I had left work earlier than originally planned, which was due to a particular troublesome issue raising its ugly head at home. Once things managed to calm down, I decided to take my bike out for an early afternoon spin. About twenty minutes later, I found myself downtown near the park. So after taking a nice spin around the park, with only a brief stoppage supplied by Mr. & Mrs. Goose and their goslings, I decided to check out the new senior citizen's housing complex that the town had recently built.

So as I'm cycling through the complex and checking out the new housing, I'm also making my way to the far end of the parking lot, with the reason being that since one of the side streets dead ends into the complex, I can simply cut through and scoot on home without any problems.

"No problems," he says.

Unbeknownst to me, not all of the curbs were made handicap accessible/rounded. I only realized this particular fact when I was less than two feet away from smashing into a solid square curb at a moderate rate of speed. I buried my brakes mere inches from the curb.

While yes, I did come to a stop, it was the kind of stop that would thrill a youngster and his/her friends and scare the shit out of an adult.

With the curb acting as a mini-fulcrum, the back of my bicycle went a couple feet in the air, I slid forward and sang soprano, and my bicycle chain popped of the main gear.

After spending a few minutes fixing my bike, I hopped back on and bicycled home, none the worse for wear. However, in so much that I am a glutton for punishment, we decided to repeat the incident, which had a far more gruesome outcome.

About an hour and a half later, further household strife necessitated that I take a leave of absence to retain my sanity.

So once again, I hopped on this:

and took off for the center of town. About twenty minutes later, I was on my way back home, only this time, I decided to approach home from the other side. So I'm blitzing my way down Main Street for the other end of town, and about a half mile from the intersection that I needed to take a right on to go home, I came up with the idea of taking a shortcut through a restaurant parking lot.

The reason as to why I wanted to take the shortcut was primarily due to safety, specifically, mine.

The last time that I rode a bike with any degree of consistency was the summer of '07, which was about six months prior to being diagnosed with C.M.T. Since that time, my balance, coordination and dexterity had noticeably decreased to the point where I have modified the way I do things. Like, making turns on a bicycle.

Instead of making the moderately fast turns of my youth and pre C.M.T. days, I make what I like to call, lollipop turns. A lollipop turn is simply a turn that has a more elongated circumference, about the size of a decent size backyard above ground swimming pool. It's also easier to control and it makes you less prone to have major wipe outs.

So I made my lollipop turn in what I thought was the restaurant parking lot. Epic fail, as the driveway I had hit was for the apartment complex next door. I immediately went off the driveway and into some heavy mulch. Unable to get out of the mulch, I immediately came up with the brilliant idea of simply pedaling my way out. Epic fail again, as I hit the perfect corner where heavy mulch, sidewalk and driveway come together, much like The Four Corners.

Yes my friends, I went airborne. I flipped over the bike and the bike flipped over me. Having been in enough of this kind of brainless stupidity during my life, I quickly covered my head with my arms as well as tucking my head in so that I wouldn't smack concrete. I also executed a barrel roll of sorts too.

When I stood up, I brushed off the dirt, picked up my bike, and noticed a car some twenty-five feet away, waiting for me to move. I moved my bike down the sidewalk, inspected the damage to it, then happened to notice a small trail of blood running down my leg.

Upon closer examination, I discovered that I had shredded my knee in two places and shredded my elbow as well. After repairing my bike, which consisted of taking the chain completely off so that I could untangle a gear cable from the sprocket then putting it back on, I hopped on my bike and slowly pedaled my way home.

Suffice to say, riding this:

isn't quite my forte yet, but I should be back to my semi-abnormal loudmouth self in about a month. Which is good for me and bad for everyone else who happens to motor around on four wheels, because while being on foot patrol can be dangerous, being on two wheels is downright hazardous to your health. And acting like a doofus around me will get you yelled at quicker than mouthing off to a state trooper.

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