Archive for January, 2008

I was waiting for Mr. Owen to show the cover of book III “The Indigo King” before I put this review up… but something happened to make me want put it up NOW!…  It’s a video interview that you can find the link to at the bottom of this post!  I will post the cover to book III when it becomes available!


The Search for the Red Dragon by: James A Owen

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (January 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1416948503

From Amazon.com

It has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams and became the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica. Now they have been brought together again to solve a mystery: Someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. And their only clue is a mysterious message delivered by a strange girl with artificial wings: “The Crusade has begun.” Worse, they discover that all of the legendary Dragonships have disappeared as well.
The only chance they have to save the world from a centuries-old plot is to seek out the last of the Dragonships — the Red Dragon — in a spectacular journey that takes them from Sir James Barrie’s Kensington Gardens to the Underneath of the Greek Titans of myth. With friends both familiar and new, they will travel through an extraordinary landscape where history, myth, and fable blend together to tell the oldest story in the world. And along the way, the Caretakers of the Geographica will discover that great deeds alone do not make heroes, and that growing up may be unavoidable…but growing old doesn’t have to be.

This is probably the best review I’ve ever read on a book that I have read… and that’s probably because it appears to have been written by the author!   So, there’s no way I can improve on that!

As book one: Here There Be Dragons, ended we found out who our heroes are ( Charles: Charles Williams/  Jack: C.S. Lewis/  John: J R R Tolkien) book two picks up nine years later, and our heroes continue on to the next exciting adventure in true form.  Mr. Owen  brings Legends and Myths and Fantasy Figures galore, back to life or references from them to the point you just have to smile as you read along.  If you don’t have at least some memories pop up from reading this book, I will be greatly surprised!

Once again I have found Mr Owen’s writing to be thoroughly enjoyable, found it hard to put down,  and with each chapter you are gifted with a piece of his fantastic artwork!  You can’t ask for much more!

If I had to find something bad to say about this book I would be hard pressed indeed!  The only thing “wrong” had nothing to do with Mr. Owen’s writing at all..but rather the publishing of it.  For whatever reason the glue holding the back cover binding came loose from the pages and now my book sets crooked! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.. someday I will have to replace it, but unfortunately it will have to wait.  I am glad the pages didn’t loosen or fall out and that I was able to read it all. 

I truly enjoyed these books!  I know Mr Owen is writing as fast as he can for complete book 3, The Indigo King.  I was just at Mr Owen’s site and found a wonderful video of an interview of him!!!!  He really explains the books so well you really have to see it!!  So PLEASE, go to his site, scroll down and on the right hand side under CONNECTIONS, click “James A Owen’s Sketchbook and Journal” and it will take you to part one of the interview, with a link to part 2!  Hearing about his books from his own lips is worth a lot more than I can say here on my blog.. so please go and see this wonderful interview!


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First, let me tell you that I read The Search For the Red Dragon by James A Owen before I read the following book of Dragonhaven.  I put off writing my thoughts on it as I am awaiting Mr Owen’s permission to also show the cover to his next book The Indigo King…  so I will proceed with the last book on the list of books to be read for the Dragon Challenge..

Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (September 20, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0399246754

To me, this book is a mixed bag of nuts!

While the story itself was very good, and very original (which made it interesting to read), it also drove me crazy!

If I were a publisher, and was sent the first chapter, which I might add is 34 pages long, I think I would have stopped reading right there!  The book is written as if the teenage boy, Jake, was telling his story. (so far, not a problem)  The problem comes when, as a teenage boy, he rattles on and on and on….. and on… and then… and then… refers back to what he already said!  Now, I raised 2 sons, who of course were teenagers at one time, and never (NEVER) did I want to slap them across the face and yell, “Shut Up!” But that’s just how I felt with Jake. 

When I finished chapter one I set the book down and shook my head.  I actually went back to my computer and pulled up the book title to reread what it said about it that made me buy this book!  Hmmm.. yes, it says:
Viewing dragons as fire-breathing, non-sentient animals with gigantic appetites for livestock, humans have hunted them for centuries, and now they survive only in a few wilderness havens. Jake Mendoza has grown up at one such haven, the Smokehill National Park in the American West, and has inherited his scientist parents’ commitment to the park’s secret inhabitants. When he rescues an orphaned baby dragon, he sets in motion a cascade of events that may eventually save these top predators from extinction.
As an exhausted Jake explains, he is the first human in history to find out that a marsupial baby dragon out of its mother’s pouch still expects a round-the-clock source of food, warmth, and company for over a year. Also, their telepathic communication gives Jake and his fellow Smokehill residents debilitating head-aches, and no one on either side is ever entirely sure they’ve got the message right.

Yep, that would catch my eye alright.  But I let the book set several hours before going back to it.  The next chapter better be better than the first one or that’s it for this book!  Yes, it irritated me THAT much!

The boy continued to rattle, but the magic word was spoken, “dragon”.  I pushed on, but skimmed here and there because if I didn’t I’d smack Jake across the face!  I have to say I forced myself to endure the nonstop chatter because the base of the story was really good.  Very original, and that is always something you want to read.  Never before had I read a story about “raising a dragon” nor the concept of dragons being marsupial! 

There were a lot of great things going on here… but I can’t deny the wet rag was getting through the rattling on and on and on, to me it was taken to extreme and affected how I felt about the whole book.  If Robin McKinley based Jake on a certain someone, I truly feel sorry for the parent!

There really is a good story here, but you need to know ahead of time that you may have to fight your way through the book.

In the end, I’m glad I read it… though I don’t know if it will be on my re-read list anytime soon!

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Yesterday I received an email from a comment made in my Archives.. it was dated back in January of 2006.  Needless to say I was surprised!  I don’t think many people click on archives, in my case I did write more memories back then. 

The comment was left on “this post”  and it read like this: 

DesLily, Just to catch you up… Roy is in rehearsal (January 2008) for a revival of his one-man play “Brief Lives” in England. Here’s some info: http://www.cinemind.com/aubrey/ . He’s to be knighted OBE this year . On a much sadder note, his wife Kay died last summer. From another –FriendofRoy

Posted by Anonymous

On the post I talked about Roy Dotrice, who is an actor I met back in 1989.  His most popular role was from Televisions show of  Beauty and the Beast, he played the character called Father.

(of course it helped that I thought he was handsome.. and I love beards! lol)

(I was in love with his character of Father on Beauty and the Beast.)

(1989 I met Roy for the first time.  I also met his wife Kay and one of his 3 daughters, Karen)

Born in May of 1923, Roy is now 85 yrs young and still going strong!  Currently (or soon) he will be doing a one man show in England.   You can read about it by clicking the link in the comment by Anonymous.  On IMDb I found out Roy has a part in the upcoming Hellboy II as King Balor.  This, to me was WONDERFUL news, as it reunites him with Ron Perlman who plays Hellboy, and was the Beast of Beauty and the Beast!! 

Life is sometimes strange.. having met Roy so many years ago, we kept contact for a few years, then life interrupted and I lost contact with him.  Years later I did see him at a convention and low and behold, Roy remembered me and even asked why I hadn’t written in so long!   Life interrupted again.  And I lost contact. 

A number of years ago I, for whatever reasons, wrote a story.  I know you’ve heard me mention it, Kesterwood.  In my story there’s a man named Abbercorn.  If you’ve ever talked to someone who has written a story (even like me, when written for no reason)  you will hear them say that they can hear the voices of their characters in their head when they have them speaking.  In that respect, I was no different, I too heard their voices.. and the voice of Abbercorn I knew immediately was that of Roy Dotrice.  So for two years, as I wrote I heard Roy in my mind.

Two years ago I wrote to him, not knowing where he was, I mailed it to his Hollywood address, and don’t know if it ever reached him.  I do know that this man (actor) has lingered with me since I first saw him on Beauty and the Beast, and I doubt he will ever leave me for very long.

Hearing he was still working so much made me cheerful, but it was short lived when I read of him loosing Kay.   This year would have been their 60th wedding anniversary!  Now that’s something you don’t hear of often! 

He’s such a nice man, and a really super actor!  If you’ve never seen him you should click on any of the links below and watch any of the short videos of Roy!!!

For your viewing pleasure, click on any links below:

Brief Lives Madigan Men Just Shoot Me
Brief Lives intro Down Home The Cutting Edge
Amadeus Going to Extremes Corsican Brothers
Beauty & the Beast Are You Jim’s Wife? Touched By An Angel

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Nicholas Meyer

Carl, over at Stainless Steel Droppings posted about a book about time travel.  When I read it I remembered a movie I really like called “Time After Time”.  This movie was directed by the only director I’ve ever met, Nicholas Meyer.

Nick wrote/ directed (or both) a number of movies I really like, Including three Star Trek Movies.   While he was directing Undiscovered Country, DeForest took me, Sue Keenan and another gal on the set to see them filming a scene.  While there De brought Nick Meyer over and introduced us to him.

(you can read *and have a chuckle* about when DeForest introduced me to Nick Meyer: here!)

The above photo is a favorite of mine of Nick while directing, the photo’s below are from a magazine.  All from Undiscovered Country.

(the next one is my ALL TIME favorite..  can’t imagine why!)

Some of the other movies Nick either wrote or directed (or both)  are Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Time After Time, The Day After, Sommersby, and of course the Trek movies.

I think the writer/ directors of movies don’t get the publicity they deserve.  (ok, Peter Jackson did the unthinkable and got the publicity)  In my humble opinion, Nick is a fabulous writer and a fantastic director.

I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who see’s how talented this man is, this is what he has in the works right now! :

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (2009) (screenplay)
The Politician’s Wife (2008) (pre-production) Writer
The Hessen Affair (2008) (filming) Writer
Elegy (2008) (completed) (screenplay)

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Masterharper of Pern

The Masterharper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Del Rey; (November 28, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0345424603

Although this book is set just prior to Dragonflight, It is best read after the first Trilogy.

This book tells of Masterharper Robinton’s details the life, right from his birth. 

It traces his loves, and his heartbreaks. The book lets you follow him through a childhood filled with rejection and neglect by his Mastercomposer father, Peitron,  the overwhelming love of his Mastersinger mother, Merelan ,the loss of his wife, and the death of his best friend, while on his way to his becoming the Masterharper of Pern.

This book, as her other books is done extremely well.  It doesn’t take huge jumps through his life, but rather small ones, so you don’t miss anything about how and why he turns into the beloved Masterharper.  It begins with his birth and ends where Dragonflight begins!  You get to learn more about the holds and of course, HarperHall.

I don’t know how, Pern, the people of Pern, and the dragons of Pern all fit into one womans head in order for her to write these books.. but somehow it was all there. And I am more than grateful that she wrote it all down to share with me and the world!  If you read the first trilogy this book is a must to read along with it! (and the Harper Hall trilogy). And… well never mind …

The Pern series of books will forever be my all time favorite books!  There are a few other series I feel as strongly about, but… this group inches them out as the best!

Yes, there are yet more Pern books, but for now I think I will cease my rereads and move on to something new… before my second round of rereads, heh!

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Pat is Back

I had the tv guide channel on the television to see what’s on when I came across  Pat Neal is Back!”   Hello?  I didn’t know I had gone anywhere!  Ohhhhhhhhhh, THAT Pat Neal! (hehe) the Actress!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been asked if I am related to Patricia Neal, the actress.  Nope.  Sorry to say I’m not.  (Neal is the name I acquired when I married) But I have always enjoyed her movies, does that count?!

Born in Kentucky in 1926, Neal made her film debut opposite future President Ronald Reagan in “John Loves Mary” (1949). Among the dozens of memorable films in which she has starred are “The Fountainhead” with Gary Cooper (1949), “The Day the Earth Stood Still” with Michael Rennie (1951), “A Face in the Crowd” with Andy Griffith (1957), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn (1961) and “The Subject Was Roses” with Jack Albertson (1968).

Neal won an Oscar for best actress for her performance opposite Paul Newman in “Hud” (1963). Years earlier, she won a Tony Award for her stage performance in “Another Part of the Forest” (1947).

Married to Writer Roald Dahl (2 July 1953 – 17 November 1983) (divorced) 5 children

Probably my favorite of her movies are: 

In Harm’s Way (1965) …. Lt. Maggie Haynes
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) …. 2-E (Mrs. Failenson)
The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971) (TV) …. Olivia Walton

In Harms Way being my favorite.. It still blows me away that there was a time that studios could use so many stars all in one movie… something that couldn’t be done today with the salaries the actors get!

Just take a look at some of the stars that were in  In Harms Way:

 John Wayne 
 Kirk Douglas 
 Patricia Neal
 Tom Tryon .
 Paula Prentiss
 Brandon De Wilde 
 Jill Haworth
 Dana Andrews
 Stanley Holloway
 Burgess Meredith
 Franchot Tone
 Patrick O’Neal
 Carroll O’Connor
 Slim Pickens
 James Mitchum
 George Kennedy
 Bruce Cabot 
 Larry Hagman
 Henry Fonda

 Patricia Neal, now age 82 is still being sought after and getting parts in movies!  How fantastic is that!?!!  

I wonder if because I have the same name I could learn to act??? huh?  no?!  Gee, that’s a surprise! heh.

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Harper Hall book III: the last of the Harperhall trilogy..

Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (April 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0689860064

(old cover above:  new cover below)

The third and final installment of the Harper Hall Trilogy revolves mostly around Piemur, the young man who was Menolly‘s first friend at Harper Hall.

Piemur was brought to Harper Hall for his fine soprano voice.. in this book he “comes of age” where his voice breaks, and he wonders what will happen to him now.

Masterharper Robinton informs him that he will work for him rather than the voice master and that he wants him to learn the drums (for sending messages) but he has to learn to keep secrets and must not let the others know he is doing things for the Masterharper.

Not the easiest task for Piemur to be secretive.  He’s always been in places that maybe he shouldn’t be but has always known what’s going on with everyone. While trying to prove himself to Robinton, his new secretive life finds him in trouble for not being the blabbermouth that he was known to be.

Although mishaps happen to Piemur he becomes a big help to Robinton, and through being at the right place at the right time even gets himself his own fire lizard.  From that point on his “real adventure” begins, when while being hidden from a hold owner he is mistakenly taken to the southern continent.  There he finds he can survive even in threadfall, begins raising his fire lizard Farli, and inadvertently becomes a  big aid to both the MasterHarper and Benden Weyr.

I’ve read some reviews where people are disappointed that the third book of this trilogy was about Piemur and not all about Menolly, but not so with me.  These books did indeed pick up some minor characters from the original series, but it also was about Harper Hall, and how Robinton, through the aid of Menolly, Sebell and Piemur, helped Benden Weyr.  So.. for me.. not disappointment at all! 

These six books, (again.. to ME) are the best of the best of Anne McCaffrey.  One can read the first trilogy and end there and still enjoy Pern, and the dragons  and the people who impress them. 

There are yet other Pern books that will tell you how humans got to Pern and how things were many years before F’lar and Lessa had to face helping to save Pern from Threads.

I am going to read one more Pern related book which she wrote about the Masterharper of Pern, who (as if you couldn’t tell) is one of my favorite characters! *grin*

These books, although they are considered scifi/ fantasy, are not High Fantasy.. in that there are no big wars going on and there is not a bunch of sword and sorcery.  The books are very character oriented, with problems to solve and good and evil people.. and of course.. dragons!

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Harper Hall Book II

Book 2 of the Harper Hall Trilogy:  Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (April 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0689860072

(once again, no artist listed in the “old book”..

the newer book designed by: O’lanso Gabbidon)

In this book we continue finding out more and more about Menolly.  Now, she is safely ensconced in Harper Hall… or is she safe?

Life in Harper Hall is lessons and many young people learning skills like making instruments, writing songs.. and of course singing.  Through no fault of her own Menolly quickly finds out that the other females at Harper Hall are jealous of her, yet she cannot figure out why.  

She meets a young boy named Piemur, who is a bit of a scamp running all over, knowing just about everything about everyone.  He befriends Menolly, becoming her first (and only) friend.

Masterharper Robinton (I am soooo in love with this man! lol) takes Menolly under his teaching wing and is ecstatic to find out the little songs that were sent to him were written by “a girl”!  This suites him just fine!  But others aren’t prepared for females invading male territory.

This is such a great little book.  A number of times I found my eyes tearing up as Menolly realizes maybe she really does have talent, and maybe she really is good!  A hard lesson to learn when before coming to Harper Hall she felt she disgraced her family because she loved music so much and felt unloved by anyone. 

Menolly begins to learn many things.. not the least is which that Harpers do more than just sing and make instruments!!

Not one of the books I’ve been rereading has disappointed me.  I still get the same feelings I had when I read them over 25 yrs ago when I read them for the first time.  And I can say that this probably isn’t the last time I will visit them.

Next, On to Dragondrums.  (and then a separate book on MasterHarper Robinton!.. I didn’t think I’d reread that one just now but.. the Harper is just too good a character not to read the book wrote just about him!)

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A Hollywood Loss

I just heard today that Johnny Grant passed away.

Many may not know who he is.  Back in 1980, Johnny Grant was dubbed The Honorary Mayor of Hollywood by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

I was privileged to have met Johnny a number of times, mostly at one ceremony or another in Hollywood.  He presided over the Walk of Fame and introduced every celebrity that was receiving one.  So, of course, I got to meet him when DeForest received his star.  I also saw him during the Hand Prints at Graumen’s when the crew of Star Trek put their hands in cement.  And again I chatted with him when a wreath was laid at Gene Roddenberry’s star at his passing.

Johnny seemed to be a really sweet and jovial person.  He played host to red-carpet arrivals at the Oscars, appeared in bit parts in movies and produced the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

I don’t think there was anyone who met him that didn’t like him.  I was sorry to hear of his passing.  Johnny was 84 years old and died of natural causes.

Below are some photo’s of Johnny presiding over DeForests Star Ceremony.. doing the work he loved to do.

(along with DeForest, the man in the lower right corner is Director Edward Dmytryk, who directed DeForest in 3 movies:  Warlock/ Where Love Has Gone/  Raintree County)

Johnny loved introducing the friends of the Celebrity so that they could tell stories about them.

(De knew I’d have my camera going like mad!)

Johnny and De with some of the Star Trek people, along with Harve Bennett who helped write “The Search for Spock” movie.

Hollywood won’t be the only one who will miss Johnny Grant…..

1924-2008  Rest in Peace Johnny.

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Harper Hall Trilogy

This is my 4th book for Here be Dragons Challenge

Dragonsong (Harper Hall Trilogy bk. 1): by Anne McCaffrey

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (June 6, 2006)
ISBN-10: 141692499X

Strangely, the old book cover doesn’t tell me the artist…

The newer version is designed by:   O’lanso Gabbidon

So….  After Anne McCaffrey wrote her first Triogy consisting of Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon, she went on to write another small Triolgy about Harper Hall.  It begins shortly before Ruth is born at Benden Weyr.

You meet Menolly in the other trilogy but these other books specifically picks out a few of the minor characters from Harper Hall and tells you their stories.

Masterharper Robinton is, of course, the head of Harper Hall.  In this first book, Dragonsong, you meet Menolly before she became a Harper, when she still lived in Half-Circle Sea Hold. Her father Yanus is head of the hold and of the ships that go to sea, which is the livelihood of the hold.

Yanus ran the hold strictly and no one wasted precious time on anything but the sea and fishing, so when Menolly befriended old Petiron, the Harper assigned to the hold, she began to realize just how much she loved music, both singing and playing instruments that old Petiron taught.  When he died her father forbade her “playing tunes”.  She was allowed to teach the younger children until a new Harper would be assigned to the Hold, but it went against everything Yanus thought right and proper.

When he caught her playing a tune she had written he beat her badly, embarrassed that a girl would do such a thing.  Eventually Menolly ran away to hide in a cave by the sea. 

Thus begins the story of Menolly, a runaway living outside the hold, living outside when thread would fall, … her father would send no one to search for the girl to see if she was alive.  It would be just another embarrassment to the Hold.

I don’t want to tell too much more of the books as it is not a very long book (though it picks up where book one ends in book 2)  Her tale is really well told (duh, it’s McCaffrey!) and let’s you know more about Harper Hall and the goings on of the Masterharper.  If you read the first trilogy this second trilogy is a great follow up to things happening in other places at the same time you already know what’s going on at the Weyrs and with the dragonriders.  These books just make a great story … even better!

(animation of a painting of Menolly and the fire lizards)

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