Tortilla Flats Anniversary

Eighty years ago today John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats was published.

778959Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a “Camelot” on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey,California and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur’s castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. These “knights” are paisanos, men of mixed heritage, whose ancestors settled California hundreds of years before. Free of ties to jobs and other complications of the American way of life, they fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil in the surrounding ocean of civil rectitude.

Sounds interesting. I’ve put it on my to read list. My husband doesn’t like Steinbeck because his writing is often depressing. I’d have to agree with that observation, but I can read most anything if it’s good writing. I’ll let you know once I read this one.

Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Leave a Comment  
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Photo Phriday – The Reader

Christine Keleny:

I really like the color and context of this photo. Nice job Pat!

Originally posted on Pat Callahan Photography:

This man hunches over his book as he walks our neighborhood in 11th Arrondissement of Paris.

Street Photography,Paris, France,11th Arrondissement of Paris

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Published in: on May 22, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Comments (6)  
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Old Tune Tuesday compliments of Aretha!

I needed a little Aretha advice today. How about you?!

Published in: on May 19, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Comments (3)  
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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

53496Since I am writing a middle-grade book, I like to read middle-grade books to keep me in the mood! Someone recommended this book to me. It won a Newberry Award.

Stats: print – 280 pages, audio (which is the route I went) 5.5 hours/5 CD’s. Published in 1996. I’m not sure what genre it is written for.

Blurb: As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold — the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.

What I liked: Overall, it was a good story. It started out very slow – which surprised me for an award-winning book and a book for middle-grade readers, but my guess is it’s used more by teachers than it is picked up by children – the main topics in the story are pretty heavy for young readers (mothers leaving families – I won’t give details and spoil the story for you) but the topics are handled well for this age group. I like how Creech weaves the main character’s (Sal’s) story within her friend’s (Phoebe’s) story and how Sal’s grandparents take Sal on a trip to help her learn some things about her missing mother. Hope Davis is the narrator of the version I listened to. She does a wonderful job with all of the character’s voices.

What I didn’t like: I am not familiar with Kentucky, and I’m not sure of the time that this story is supposed to have taken place, but I was put off by the way Creech gives Sal’s grandparents a foolish, backwoods Kentucky stereotype. One example of this is how they never get Phoebe’s name right. And for a thirteen year old, even one growing up in the country, Sal comes off as eight or nine, not thirteen. Phoebe is very paranoid, which is fine for a side-kick character – but Sal falls for her paranoia a bit to easily for my taste – again, that age thing. The main themes of the story are handled a bit heavy-handedly, in fact, someone (I won’t tell you who) leaves direct themed messages on Phoepe’s doorstep, such as the one the title is based off of: ‘Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasin.’ I also didn’t like the convoluted names of Sal: Salamanca Tree Hiddle, and her mother’s name is similarly odd but I can’t remember it at the moment. She is supposed to have some Indian in her family tree, but still – seems too forced.

Rating: 3.5/5

Author Interview with Joshua Robertson

I was introduced to a fellow writer on social media recently, Joshua Robertson, and wanted to introduce you to him and his writing. Joshua considers his book “dark fantasy.” Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it!

AuthorPic1Joshua – tell us about yourself:

I am a Midwestern boy from the country that is currently living in the rugged land of Alaska with my wife and children. Throughout the years, I have done a number of different jobs from projectionist to therapist. Though, no matter what I have done, I have always had a passion for storytelling.

What got you into writing?

I am not sure what exactly set me on the path of writing, but I do remember my older sister writing stories when I was younger. The first story that I remember writing was a horror story at the age of nine. After spending years reading fantastic novels by fantastic authors, I had decided to become a writer by the time I was in late adolescence.

What is your latest book about?

My larger works was published in January, called Melkorka.MelkorkaCover

Amazon Blurb of Melkorka: Kaelandur was forged by the Highborn to slay one of their own, Nedezhda Mager. As their slave, Branimir Baran never thought to question his cruel masters until he is forced to take part in the execution. His actions begin a chain of events that will lead him to confront demons, cannibals, and himself as he is forced to question his own morality and the true meaning of good and evil.

I am extremely excited about this novel and have received some great reviews. Though, my latest story was just released this week. It is a short story that was written in the spirit of Beowulf, called Grimsdalr.grimsdalrcover Amazon Blurb: …a renowned hero travels across the whale-road to defeat a monster that plagues the land of Croune

I have several WIPs (works in progress), including the sequel to Melkorka titled Dyndaer and a standalone novel called Anaerfell.AnaerfellCover In addition, I am working on the second story in the Hawkhurst Saga,(the first one is A Midwinter SellswordMidwinterCover   Gladiators and Thieves.GnTCover

What motivated you to write it?

I have been creating the world for Melkorka for over fifteen years, but it was not until December of 2013 that I completed this story. The story had gone through many revisions over the fourteen year lapse as I improved my writing skill and learned more about the craft of storytelling. The final straw was a dream that I had about a dagger that brought demons back from the dead, and it answered many of the questions I had about the plotline. It was such an engaging dream that I started writing immediately, and finished the book within a month.

Anything else you want to share?

Writing is something that many, many people want to do for a living. It is a very difficult to be recognized in this trade, especially as an independent or small press author. Though, writing is not about publicity, or fame, or becoming rich. Writing is about doing what you love. Even though I may never become insanely wealthy or famous from the tales that I tell, I know that telling stories is something that I will never retire from doing.

How can people find you and your books?

You can find me on all the regular social media outlets, my small press, or on Amazon. The links are listed below beneath my author bio. And please, feel free to message me in any venue to simply chat. I welcome the opportunity to connect and learn from each other. You never know when you might find a lasting friendship.
Joshua began crafting the world for the dark fantasy series, Thrice Nine Legends, in 1999. Melkorka, the first book of the series, was published in 2015. He spends his time enjoying the richness of coffee, family, and friendship. His heritage is primarily Scottish and Slavic and you will find these themes in the stories that he writes.

Amazon, Goodreads, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Bookstore, Crimson Edge, Tumblr

BUY: Melkorka   BUY: A Midwinter Sellsword   BUY: Grimdalr

Gladiators and Thieves: Coming June 2015
Anaerfell: Coming October 2015
Dyndaer: Coming January 2016

 

 

Nancy Drew Sleuths

Had a fun time in Iowa this month with a group of Nancy Drew lovers for one of the Nancy Drew Sleuth’s Mini-con’s. Read from my book: “Will the Real Carolyn Keene Please Stand Up,” (still for just .99!)  and got in on their book discussion.

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Great group of people lead by the Nancy officianato – Jennifer Fisher of Nancy Drew Sleuths!100_4637

Published in: on May 12, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Comments (6)  

Photo Phriday – In a Blue Mood?

My friend, Betty did this. I don’t know how, but I like it!

betty davidson 2

 

Published in: on May 9, 2015 at 11:26am05  Leave a Comment  
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As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

22693905This is the 7th in the Flavia de Luce Series

Genre: Murder mystery

Stats: Published January 2015, 392 pages, 9 discs – 11 hours, read by Jayne Entwistle

Book Blurb: (Goodreads) Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.

No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.

What I liked: Alan Bradley always makes a good mystery that you can’t figure out but this is not his best book. I really enjoy his names i.e., Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy – wonderful. Jayne Entwistle was as good as usual. Book spoiler: I’m surprised he is bring Flavia back to England so soon. I figured there would be a few books at this institution. Maybe he didn’t like it (someone at his publishing house maybe told him he has to change the scene) and that’s why the book isn’t the best.

What I didn’t like: The story seemed a bit disjointed. It wasn’t as tightly written with clues and characters as his 6 other books, but hey – 6 good books in row is a good record. I can’t complain too much.

Rating: 3.5/5

Old Tune Tuesday

Who doesn’t like the Beatles. I don’t know what year this is but don’t those boys look so clean cut!?

Happy chair dancing! :)

Published in: on May 5, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Leave a Comment  
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World Views “Glass-ified”

Originally posted on Mitch Teemley:

half-empty-glass

A Comprehensive Glass-ification of World Views

  • Optimist – The glass is ½ full
  • Pessimist – The glass is ½ empty
  • Darwin – The glass appeared at random and without cause. It belongs to whoever can kill the others and drink it first
  • Nietzche – The glass is dead!
  • Freud – Women suffer from glass envy. Men want to kill the glass and marry their mothers
  • Roman Catholic – You must be sprinkled from the glass as a baby
  • Baptist – No! You must be fully immersed in the glass as an adult!
  • Jewish – First you have your glass-mitzvah, then you marry a nice girl and become a doctor
  • New Ager – In a former life I was Cleopatra’s glass.  You are the glass, I am the glass, we’re all the glass (only maybe me a little more than you)
  • Jedi – Trust the glass, Luke
  • Democrat –We must siphon…

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Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Leave a Comment  
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