Archive for August, 2007

Mr. Vegas Dances?

Dancing with the Stars announced their dancers for this season…

One of them is the one and only Mr Vegas, Wayne Newton.  He is their token “older person”.

But I am going to have difficulty watching this..  and the reason is?  Because I’ve loved Wayne Newton since I was very young.  Back when it wasn’t “in” to like a clean cut  young man with an unusual voice singing (of all things) Danka Shoen.

But still, this slightly chubby young man won my heart back then…

I continued to love his singing and the wonderful things always said about him, and his performances as he took over Vegas.

During the years I lived in Florida (and worked at Sears), some of us got together and went south to see him in person!  I can admit his audience was NOT full of young people (well.. we were in Florida after all!).  But that did not stop him from giving his show his all !.. he was MORE than fabulous!  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him!  I knew then that there really was something magical about him.. something very magnetic, that you couldn’t not notice.

But I guess the fact he was in the public eye all his life.. or vanity.. or.. or who knows why, but Mr Newton’s face changed.  (wild guess it’s called plastic surgery). And it actually hurts me to look at him now.  Try as he may to smile, as he always does, and give his all.. which he never stops doing, I feel like I lost him somewhere along the line.

Do I still love his voice?  You betcha!  Do I still think he’s a performer to beat most all performers?  No doubt about it.  But I can’t help wishing he let himself grow older along with the rest of us.  I have no doubt he’d be handsome without the “plastic look” that seems to have happened to him.  If it’s possible, I miss what should have been.

Now.. as for Dancing With The Stars… oh boy.  It will be hard for me to watch.

As for his chances.. I think he will pull off some good dances, especially things like the Waltz.  There’s no denying rhythm is part of this man.  But he is the token “old person”.. and I don’t know that he’s ever tried to dance they way they make these folks dance. (which btw.. is NOT the normal dancing!)

So I sit here torn.  Just the name Wayne Newton conjures a smile on my face…  but at the same time.. I kinda wish he didn’t offer to do this sort of show.

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I have a few things to cover today..

First off I received an award from Asara! 

How cool is this?!! Thank you so much Asara!! I will do my best to pass it on..but boy I hate making choices like this because, of course I love all the blogs I read!  But I’ll give out a few to keep it moving on, as it should!

Stainless Steel Droppings: Carl’s blog has not just made me, but MANY others really get back to reading.  And the best part is, he doesn’t push and he doesn’t do anything that he already doesn’t love!  I am HOOKED on his blog!

Stuff as Dreams are Made on:  What can I say about Chris? I love his blog ! He’s honest, he’s open, he’s a joy to know.  ‘Nuff said.

Fantasy and Sci Fi LovinBlog:  SQT has it all.. not only does she cover books but movies and television as well.. I can’t NOT stop by her blog everyday.

Here in the Hills: I know Naomi doesn’t like to have to choose who gets awards, and that’s ok (I’m not fond of it either). This is such a wonderful and interesting lady.  She knows many in Hollywood and takes some of the most wonderful photo’s in her cactus and succulent garden area that you have to be amazed.

I could go on and on but I think I will stop here… if you all knew how long my list of journals and blogs was you’d just laugh!


Coming Soon..Sept 25:   Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want

I was surprised today when I visited my Wish List at Amazon (which I do far TOO MUCH) to see that the photo for the cover of Leven Thumps was finally released!

Ben  Sowards did the cover art (as he did for the other two Leven Thumps books) and once again it’s fabulous!  I totally enjoyed Obert Skye’s first two books and I’m looking forward to this release. 

An update on the autograph show in October.. I just found out my friend Scott Schwartz will be there!  He’s a great guy and fun to be around.. maybe you remember him from A Christmas Story… he was the kid that got his tongue stuck to the flag pole! (Flick)

So now I get to spend time with 2 artists, Ken Kelly & Roger Kastel..and Flick!  Cool!

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The Short Version

Book 2 of 4..

Wizards by multiple authors, Edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover (May 1, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0425215180
  • At 9:30 last night I completed book 2 of Carls RipII Challenge

    Once again I wondered if it really fit the Challenge.  But then.. I had 18 short stores to read to find out!

    Indeed a number of them fit the bill.. beginning with Neil Gaiman‘s The Witch’s Headstone, which all takes place in and around a graveyard.  The main character is a young man named Bod, who goes against what he’s told and treads on unholy ground. There he meets the ghost (?) of a witch. Learning that witches don’t deserve headstones Bod decides differently and goes about trying to get a headstone for the witches grave.

     I have to be up front here and tell you.. not only am I trying to read outside of my love of “fantasy”, but this book gave me a second challenge in that.. it was short stories.  I have difficulty with short stories.  Either I like them and get upset that they are so short and want to know more.. or.. I don’t like them, in which case… they can’t be short enough!

    I found that this book had both.. (but one must take personal taste into consideration) a number of stories which couldn’t be short enough.. and a number of them I would have wanted to read more of. 

    It’s filled with stories, some by well known authors such as Gaiman and Orson Scott Card and others by authors I had not known before, such as Mary Rosemblum, and Elizabeth Hand.

    Krage Baker wrote a story about someone who was pure evil marrying someone who was pure good.. and their offspring thereof!  The marriage itself a force to contend with.

    Elizabeth Hand wrote one that would certainly fall under the “creepy” category when she wrote “Winter’s Wife”.  The story is told by Justin, a young boy who was a neighbor and friend to Winter.   Winter was a man who “lived in a creep-looking old school bus in the middle of the woods, with smoke coming out of a chimney and huge piles of split logs around.  In the fall he’d had deer and dead coyotes hanging from this big pole that looked like a gallows.. and blood in the snow.”  (sound creepy enough?)  But actually Winter is a pretty nice guy who seems to have a special thing when it came to trees and wood, and  a love for 3 special trees called Kings Pines that were at least 300 yrs old.

    Since creepy begets creepy, eventually Winter meets a woman on line, from Iceland, and goes to marry her and bring her back to his “bus”.  Vala shares in her “weirdness” and adds much to this short story.  Not the least of which is the ending.. which I will not give away here because it is a story you most likely will enjoy.. even if it is creepy!

    One of the stories I enjoyed the most was one called “Color Vision” by Mary Rosenblum.  It was fast paced and a lot happened in the short 24 pages. She captures kids and their dialogues so well you feel these kids are real!  The story is about a young girl named Melanie and her friends Jeremy and Cris.

    It seems when anyone talks Melanie see’s color.  She’s told it’s a brain malfunction called synesthesia. Her friend Jeremy thinks this is cool.  While in school one day a new principal arrives and when he comes to her class Melanie see’s the color silver and feels a wrongness about him, especially when he says he knows her mother who is long gone.

    She runs from school with Jeremy following and takes him to meet her other friend Cris. When they first arrive where Cris lives Jeremy see’s an old rundown barn with a wall around it, but as he climbs an apple tree to see over the wall he see’s a castle!.. and the creepy stuff begins in earnest.  The strange new principal is after all the First Born.. for their power.

    This was so well written.. the story is great, the kids are so realistic it isn’t a challenge to see them in your mind… This is one of those short stories I wouldn’t have minded it being a bit longer..  you know.. like a full book!

    Wizards ends with a story by Orson Scott Card called Stonefather.  This was my first read of Mr Card’s and I will say it was a good one to end the book with.  It was the longest of the short stories being 74 pages long.. but read as fast as one only 20 pages long!  A definite good read.

    All in all, if you like short stories, I can say that I found more good ones here than I expected to, so it’s a book I’d recommend.  I can’t say it will make a short story reader of me, but it surely is a good way to read authors you’ve never read before so that you can get a feel for the writing they do.

    Read more RIP Book Reviews Here!

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    A Package in the Mail

    I received a package today from Book Closeouts!  It contained the other two books I need to read for the RIP II Challenge.. plus something else I ordered!

    These two books look Spooky enough for the challenge.. I just hope I can get through them since it’s not what I generally read.  The reviews indicate a lot of humor in them so I am hoping that it’s my kinda humor! 

    The other thing I had sent for cost me a whole TWO DOLLARS AND NINETY-EIGHT CENTS!  Hello?  Does anything cost 2.98 anymore?  Well this did!

    As some of you know I love the Space Program, and most especially the Astronauts that were in the Race for the moon.  When I saw this in Book Closeouts I was amazed!  I mean.. 7 cassettes and a 2 hr. dvd all for 2.98?!  What can I loose?  So I added it to the books I was ordering. 

    Now I may not get to watch or listen to the cassettes for a while, but just knowing they are there makes me feel good.  I love those Astronauts.. they are my true heroes!  And since I had the privilege of meeting a few of them.. it means all the more to me.  I hope I hear Alan Bean and Richard Gordon on the tapes!  I also met Buzz Aldren at that particular show.  I hope someday they come back to NJ.. I’d go again even if I can’t afford their autographs, … just to be in their presence is a major good feeling. 

    I remember sitting and just watching Alan Bean signing autographs for a while and couldn’t stop wondering…  was he afraid?  did it change him ?  would he do it again?  But when I went to get his autograph, he was such a sweet man, with a big smile that I didn’t want to feel stupid asking questions that he must have been asked a million times before.   

    They are just incredible human beings.. one and all.

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    I want to come back as a cat…

    I can play silly games as much as I want for as long as I want..

    I can suck up and beg for treats… knowing I will ALWAYS get them..

    I can sleep in as many boxes, in as many windows as I want.. for as long as I want.

    Ahhh, yes… it’s good to be king!

    … Yep… I know for sure….I want to come back as a cat!

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    The Wild Wood… by Charles de Lint

    Book #1 of 4 for the RIP II Challenge

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books (June 1, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0765302586
  • This is my first book in the RIP Perils Challenge…

    WARNING: Book Reports are not my strong point!  But you get what you get.. so you’ll have to accept me as I am!

    I picked up this book with no real expectations.  Though many just adore Charles de Lint I really had no idea if I would like his writing or not.

    Chapter one confused the heck out of me.. I didn’t know what was going on.  My first thoughts were: “gads.. I am not going to get through this!”

    Chapter two: turned it all around.  From that moment on I read like a madman!  I had to find out what the heck was going on with the main character, Eithnie.

    Was she weird?

    Was she dreaming?

    Was she going mad?

    Eithnie was an artist that began to see things in her paintings that she didn’t put there!  … or did she?

    Every time I put the book down.. within minutes I’d pick it up again!

    I am happy to say in the end you do find out just what it is going on with Eithnie.  And if wanting to know, keeps you reading, you will not put this book down until it’s conclusion.  de Lint, delivers.. and drives his message home.

    This book is a quick read and although the book did not have vampires or ghouls or things that go bump in the night.. (well maybe a little of that).. it did have the feeling of creepy!  If  you ever doubted yourself.. or your sanity.. you will in some way relate to this book.

    It was a good beginning for me to have for the RIP Challenge.  And I am already curious to read the reviews of the others that have this book on their list!

    Don’t forget to check the RIP Book Reviews that are already beginning to come in!

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    To love .. and be loved in return.. Chuff-f-f-f-f-f.

    A voice pierces the sky..It sings of love, of freedom, of total being.It is the roar of a lion.

    I have only been there once; inside myself. It happened at a place called Shambala. As I first passed a lion’s cage, he roared. My body shook as it absorbed the music. It was so loud I couldn’t think of anything or anyone.. for the moment, I just existed.

    At first, I didn’t realize what had just happened. I walked on. The lion, quite possibly Richard, roared again. Another moment passed without thoughts, without all the things, which were known to me as life. I couldn’t think of paying bills, of going to work, of what I would wear today. Then it came, roar after roar after roar.

    As it subsided, I found myself becoming aware of the sweet and unobtrusive oblivion I had been in. I knew then that this place was going to become a sanctuary for more than the animals.. it was mine.

    I wanted to lie in the grass and have the mighty kings sing to me, their voices vibrating through me until I can think of nothing but their songs. I feel at peace. Worries and tensionsare gone. Would life then pass me by? Hardly, rather it would be that their songs would bring me to life, not take me from it.

    Did I mention? A tiger chuffed at me. She made me smile. She made me laugh. I was lost with her beauty, but more with her greeting: Chuff-f-f-f, chuff-f-f-f, happy to see you. Scratch me, love me.. please? There is a fence between us, you could hurt me.Not today, chuff-f-f-f not today, chuff-f-f-f.If I love you today, will you love me in return?CHUFF-F-F-F-F !

    As I walk past their fences, chuff-f-f-f, chuff-f-f-f.. be careful, they will mark you for their own! Then let them mark me, for I am theirs.

    Nathaniel bounds forward as if on springs. Nathaniel, not lion, not tiger but the most beauteous of both worlds.

    Do you sing with the Lions? Do you Chuff-f-f-f with the Tigers? You must do both, for I find I want to lie in the grass outside your fence and watch you forever. May I stay? Will you sing to me? Will you love me?

    Their eyes they search for you. All of them are on the prowl for love and to love in return.

    A hidden piece of heaven, Shambala is. I will go there again someday…For the peace..For the music..For the love..

    Click to go to Shambala Preserve Web site.

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    Just a little catchup with my books..

    I did finish The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo..

    Paperback: 272 pages   Publisher: Candlewick (April 11, 2006)

  • ISBN-10: 0763625299
  • ….. the story was about a mouse, a princess, some soup and a spool of thread. (too cute!)  The book is a Newberry Medal winner… and winner it is!  But this isn’t even her first award.. she got one for  Because of Winn-Dixie,  Which you may or may not know was made into a movie.

    So, do I recommend this book?  Yes, I do! This book is said to be for kids .. and it is… but it’s also a joy for anyone, at any age.  If you have kids or grandkids this would be a really good book for them to read!  But I am glad to have it in my collection too!

    I also finished another young adult book that was small…

    The Wizard Test by Hilari Bell.

        Paperback: 176 pages           Publisher: Eos (May 23, 2006)

  • ISBN-10: 0060599421
  • This book was enjoyable.. however..  it seemed like parts may have been cut out of the story.  She jumped from one moment to  “later” and you wouldn’t know why something was being said until you read a bit more.  It threw me until I got accustomed to her style of writing.  I think I would have liked this little book even more if she had more descriptive parts in it.  It was a bit too direct.  Too only way what you must to get the story told.  But I am giving her another shot when I read her book The Goblin Wood later…

    But for now I will begin the RIP challenge and start to read Charles de Lint’s Wild Wood.

    On another note.. I spotted a painting that I admired on a website.. I printed it out and asked my brother if he could paint something close to it on a shirt for me…  keep in mind my love for sorcerers and dragons…

    The results:

    Not to shabby huh?!

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    Know this about me.. I.am.not.a.joiner. 

    I say this because, I have so little of my own life, that committing to anything just takes away from what  time I do have for myself. 

    But I have decided to join Carl’s RIP book Peril Challenge….  that being said, I will also say that I am doing this because I know its a friendly challenge... by that I mean.. , there’s no reason I have to finish it.  Knowing this makes all the difference to me. 

    I am a slow reader.  Partly because.. ummm because I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack?  And partly because, If I read fast, I tend not to really read every word, nor do I get to enjoy a book to it’s fullest.  So.. I read what I read, at what speed I read.. which is to say… I read to enjoy myself. 

    Ok.. so... let’s get this party going shall we?

    It is indeed time for the 2007 R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril) Autumn Reading Challenge, or R.I.P. II, for short. Though the ‘official’ start date for Readers Imbibing Peril is not until September 1st, I decided to accede to public demand and get the word out to you a few weeks early.

    As in last year’s inaugural R.I.P. Autumn Reading Challenge, R.I.P. II is a September 1st through October 31st celebration of all tales gothic, eerie, creepy, and dark. Tales that one reads in the dark of night, experiencing delicious shivers of terror and suspense at each creak of the floorboards or each gust of wind. As in previous challenges the definition for what type of books fit into this category will be very broad. I would venture to say that there is something for everyone that could count as a R.I.P. book.

    And so goes the opening statements for Carl’s second annual RIP book reading Challenge For much more information on the Challenge itself  click on the link and read.. read.. read!

    I have to say that this catagory is NOT what I generally read, and what little I have is too soon for rereading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. (both are still too fresh in my mind)

    So.. what to do?  what to do?  Well, I’ve given this much consideration and this is what I’ve come up with… so far... 

    I would like to do  his Read 4 books Peril but I’m having difficulty coming up with 4 good ones.. and ones that I think I will at least enjoy  reading.  So far this is what I have…

    Gil’s All Fright Diner:  Starred Review. Something Evil (that’s with a capital E) is stalking Gil’s All Night Diner in Martinez’s terrific debut, a comic horror-fantasy novel. Heading the delightfully eccentric cast are buddies Earl (aka the Earl of Vampires) and Duke (aka the Duke of Werewolves), who are looking for a place to eat as they drive through Rockwood, a small desert community besieged by cosmically weird stuff.

    When I read the review of this, I thought.. hey, now this I can handle!  It actually sounds funny!  Of course I am hoping like heck that it isn’t like some movie reviews that I’ve seen that look funny, but once there.. you find you’ve already seen all the funny parts!

    In The Company of Ogres: Never Dead Ned is an accountant whose only talent is self-resurrection. Chosen to lead the notorious Ogre Company, Ned ingratiates himself bydying before the senior officers can finish conspiring to killhim,and comes back to life just in time to be caught up in a battle with Rucka, the world’s most powerful demon.

    Seeing as Martinez was sticking with humor I figured I’d try  In The Company of Ogres too. To be honest here he had me at “Never Dead Ned” ..  loved the name, so I ordered both of these books.  Now I just hope they get here fast!!

    Dragons of the Highlord Skies:  Kitiara’s path takes an unexpected turn, leading her to Dargaard Keep to face the dread Lord Soth.

    Highlord Skies if “iffy” at best as a book for this challenge.  I do know the book will contain Lord Soth.. who is a very evil knight.. and very dead. I know.. it’s pushing the limits.  But it’s an “alternative”..

    Wild Wood: A young artist returns to her cabin in the deep woods of Canada to concentrate on her illustrations.But somehow, strange andbeautiful creatures are slipping into her drawings and sketches. The world of Faerie is reaching out to her for help-and she may be its last chance for survival.

    I don‘t know if this fits either! sheesh.  I’ve not read any de Lint books before but it seemed creepy that these things would be slipping into her drawings… taking in to consideration that occasionally I draw.. that would creep me out! Yeah, I think maybe this one fits after all!

    Wizards: Veteran fantasists weave a variety of imaginative spells in this fine anthology of 18 original wizardry-themed tales. Neil Gaiman’s charming opener, “The Witch’s Headstone,” introduces a boy raised by the dead and offers a sneak peek at a novel-in-progress. An Icelandic bride in modern Maine makes magic in Elizabeth Hand’s outstanding “Winter’s Wife.” Mary Rosenblum, Patricia A. McKillip, Nancy Kress, Terry Dowling and Gene Wolfe notably conjure up diverse and indelible, coming-of-age stories featuring contemporary teens discovering their true natures. Garth Nix successfully mixes English legends in “Holly and Iron.” The prophet Elijah appears as the “wizard” of Jane Yolen’s “Slipping Sideways ThroughEternity.” What goes around comes around, even for wizards and monsters in Jeffrey Ford’s “The Manticore Spell.” Tad Williams, Peter S. Beagle and Orson ScottCard contribute indifferent stories, but overall this magical brew will enchant young adult readers and their elders as well.

    Now Wizards fits the bill… and  it’s a number of creepy type stories.  I don’t suppose I could count each story individual huh? (I hadda try!)

    The Thirteen Tale: Settle down to enjoy a rousing good ghost story with Diane Setterfields debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale. Setterfield has rejuvenated the genre with this closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. She never cheats by pulling a rabbit out of a hat; this atmospheric story hangs together perfectly.

    now this sounded pretty good and it fit ..I’d really like to try this one but I’ve run out of money!.. I put it on the Wish List.. but I doubt I will have the money or order it in time to read…  I found the title on Carls blog and checked it out.. it actually sounds interesting!  Not my usual cup of tea, but interesting enough that I’d like to try it. 

    But I am getting strapped for money here.  I already bought more than my allotment and I have to “not spend” so that I can afford to go to the Chiller autograph show the beginning of October and enjoy the company of some terrific artists!

    Soooo, folks.. if you think you’d like to join the Challenge (and I really think you should! Just wait until you see all the wonderful reviews of books that comes out of one of Carl’s reading challenges!!)  .. well..

    you’d better get to it before you run into spiders and monsters and vampires, without reading about them!

    Thank you Carl for hosting such great reading challenges!

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    During my turbulent time waiting to hear about my missing photo album.. I tried to focus on anything.. one thing i chose to try was help keep focused was to copy a drawing out of one of my books.. it looked something like this:

     (pencil sketch)

    I did it freehand, but of course I take no credit for the drawing itself which was in the little Dragonology book I had gotten recently.  But it did keep me busy for a little while anyway..

    Some time back I did scan some of my sons baby photo’s.. not many.. a few from each age.. I thought I’d show you why I was panicked at loosing the album.. it would be photo’s like these that I would have lost forever…

    George is my first son (now 41 yrs old).. I also have another son, named Tom (39).  For a short while he tried a blog and so a few who knew me back when he did, got to see his blog.. he does about any type of work to keep afloat, but art is the one thing he keeps going back to. 

    So.. I just wanted you to see why I was beside myself for a bit..these are but a few photo’s but the book itself is rather large… hopefully other things will iron out  soon too…

    ….’till next time…

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