Thursday, August 31, 2006
I've been busy trying to wrap a book, teach classes, coach baseball, get reviews done, and get new material in the hands of editors. As a result, I haven't gotten to blog as much as I'd like.
Remind me to rant about computers and law enforcement, and how citizens can't get informations about their driving records that everyone else seems to have (not me, my son who's been going through one of the worst weeks of his life). I got a tirade coming on that one that you'll enjoy.
In the meantime, there are new book reviews up at www.bookhound.wordpress.com. Take a look and see if there's anything you can't live without.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Since I've been told by some readers that they come to my blog to find out what I'm doing, not necessarily to find out what I'm reading or watching, I decided to start a book review page so people interested in what I'm reading can go there.
It's at www.bookhound.wordpress.com. Hope you find something there we can agree on.
I'm still posting abbreviated reviews at Amazon. Folks seem to like those there, and I do some for www.blogcritics.org. But for myself (and to keep track of everything I've read during a year!) I decided to start the BookHound blog.
For the rest of you, I'll try to continue to have an interesting life (which, by the way, is a Chinese curse, thank you very much). I only have two kids at home these days, so things are somewhat calmer.
However, I find I'm increasingly opinionated!
Friday, August 25, 2006
And swinging for the fences.
Of course as a proud father, I'm going to show you his pictures. (And as blogger, I'm only going to show you the good ones.)
Get out to a ballpark and find a team to support! There's fresh air, and you'll appreciate your airconditioner more when you return home.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Library Visit September 8th
I've been invited to speak at the Hardesty Regional Library in Tulsa on September 8th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
8316 E. 93rd St.Tulsa, OK 74133
Mon.-Thurs., 9-9; Fri. & Sat., 9-5Sun., 1-5
The event is called Chapter: A Casual Evening With Books, Bards and Bites.
Event Description: Enjoy entertaining authors, a silent auction and delectable nibbles from some of your favorite restaurants at this fund-raiser benefiting Tulsa City-County Library's Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Service. Featured authors are: Marian Clark, Tulsan and author of "The Route 66 Cookbook" and "The Main Street of America Cookbook," and co-author with Michael Wallis of "Hogs on 66"; Mel Odom, author of numerous books, including fantasy, science fiction, horror and young adult novels; and Nancy Pickard, a prolific writer well-known to mystery readers, whose works include the popular "Jenny Cain" series. Tickets are $35. Call 596-7897 for reservations.
This event is for adults. Sponsors: Sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust
Friday, August 18, 2006
Fall Baseball Opening Night!
People who really know me know that I spend a lot of time with my kids every chance I get. I've coached little league baseball for 15 years now, managing to coach each one of my boys. (I was moral support for my daughter's volleyball and softball games.)
I love coaching baseball, but that's mainly because I love watching kids play. When you watch pros, you expect big plays or an absence of mistakes. But in little league, sometimes you get to watch plenty of big plays and mistakes that make the game downright unpredictable and exciting.
In the picture above, that's my son Chander (age 8) coming into homeplate. He loves making a dirt cloud. He plays first base and ended up converting two ground-outs and four assists. He also contributed pterodactyl squawks and velociraptor screeches (he's just learned how to do those, oh joy!).
I love baseball. If you have a park nearby, go. Take the kids. You can enjoy several levels of play and (if it's not a tournament) spectators are usually allowed in free. Buy a couple of hot dogs and a drink and you escape gate fees and overpriced concession stand prices. It's entertainment for the whole family.
Who knows? You might just find a team to back for the whole season!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Buy At Amazon
I've Got A New Short Story Out
"The Affair of the Wooden Boy" is a short story I did for Denise Little's wonderful anthology. It features a Pinocchio twist in a Victorian London-like city filled with magic, vampires, and gargoyles, and begins:
Dark things are drawn to my husband. I know this to be true and I no longer question why. I love him, and I think it would be harder for me to imagine someone not feeling the way I do than in why it is so.
His physician, Dr. Theophilus Hyde-Whyte, thinks it was because my husband was born dead. His heart was not beating when he was taken from his mother’s womb. Thankfully, Dr. Hyde-Whyte had a hedgewitch on hand that knew about such things. She placed a palm over my beloved’s chest and shocked his heart back to beating.
My husband believes the hedgewitch saved his life. I choose to believe he is so strong that his first breath could not be denied to him, and that his life will have to be torn from him because he will never willingly give it up.
His mother insists that he was born with a caul over his face and therefore sees the dark things in a different light than most. When he was a child of twelve, a fortuneteller predicted that my beloved’s life will always be connected to the darkness.
I do hope so, for his interaction with the dark things that come calling bring him joy and challenge. But I fear for him as well, because everyone knows the darkness is unmerciful when it finds a weakness.
The gargoyles that perch on buildings and listen to secrets in the streets and in the structures they watch over come to life at night and whisper what they know to my husband. He has an arrangement with them, you see, based on favors he has done them in the past. Travelers searching for arcane objects and rumors of those objects consult with him and the vast library we keep in our large home. Hansom cab drivers across the city know to refer these people to my husband.
These visits from strangers seeking the mystical often prove diverting and titillating, making for long discussions in front of the roaring fire in my husband’s study, which I am fortunate enough to be invited to partake in. My beloved trusts my instincts and judgments in such matters because I have proven quick-witted and insightful. He has always known me to be so, but I fear that I wasn’t the case before I met him. My continued association with him, my love for him and his love for me, have all contributed to changing my views of the world and of dark things.
Occasionally, the Drummond Police Department detectives come calling. Usually Inspector Charles Kirklyn is sent round our way. Despite his hardened demeanor and quick temper – one the result of growing up in the Gutbucket, that section of Drummond where the poor and lawless live, and the other a mark of his heritage as Khellenan, though he didn’t grow up as his forebears did on the Isle of Khell where kelpies sometimes still lure ships to their deaths – Kirklyn is a good man. I would like him even if he didn’t treasure my husband’s friendship; but he does and so I welcome him into our home without reservation.
The police only send Kirklyn round when they have exhausted all other avenues involving a particularly offensive and strange crime or murder they wish to solve. With any other inspector, though, I fear those meetings are more the result of suspicion about my husband than of an attempt to gain his assistance.
My husband, a very intelligent man, always sees through their subterfuge and chooses not to feel threatened or slighted. I fear I am not so generous as he. But, should the puzzle prove challenging, he accepts the niggardly stipend they offer (though we are wealthy and do not need it) and applies his knowledge, wits, and – sometimes – sword and pistol to the solution of that mystery. He does love intrigues so.
I would prefer to live out the life we have together in our house in the city or – more my choice – at the manor house and lands that are ours in the countryside. But mysteries don’t often find their way to our doorstep out there. So I abide, loving him and enjoying what I wish of Drummond’s busy nightlife.
My beloved’s name is James Stark, but he holds title in the Court of Lords as Lord Gallatin. Others know him as a consulting investigator, the only one in Drummond who specializes in the occult. He has cards printed that find their way into the hands of those who need his services, and those worthy of my husband’s time and his precious blood are guided to our door by direction or by fate.
That night, when the case began – which I have taken the liberty of calling The Affair of the Wooden Boy for reasons which you’ll quickly come to understand – we were at home after just returning from a Siahnea play. Both of us had looked forward to the play, for it was the first of its culture to ever be imported to Drummond. ... As if the fates had joined together, there came a tentative knock at our door. Although we didn’t know it at the time, my husband’s claim to be ready for anything was about to be challenged.
He excused himself from my presence and went to answer the door. He had given Thom, our houseman, the evening off. Curious myself at who would come calling this late at night, knowing that it had to be connected to my husband’s predilection for mysteries, murder, and mayhem, I stood and walked to the hallway to watch him answer the knock. Every now and again, I’ve been able to prevent harm that might otherwise befall him. He has his strengths and I have mine. We complement each other.
James reached into his pocket for the pistol he habitually carries. He had learned even before meeting me that his fascinations often proved dangerous. His body is scarred from swords, knives, and bullets. When he opened the door, he didn’t immediately invite in whoever stood there. Dark things, as you may know, often require an invitation to step into a person’s home.
“Fascinating,” he whispered.
Drawn by his surprise, I joined him at the door. Outside, thick white snowflakes tumbled through the air and drifted into masses that promised at least another foot on top of the winter’s leavings thus far into the season. Cabs and coaches pulled by sure-footed horses, and sometimes exotic creatures less seen in day, crossed the street in a rumble of wheels, heading in both directions. Gaslight streetlamps carved holes in the night. Golden glows played against a few other windows, for most of Drummond is early to bed and early to rise because it is a city of merchants and warehouses.
When I saw our prospective visitor, even I – who had seen nearly everything my husband had seen – was almost bowled over. For there on our doorstep, illuminated by the stoop lamp, stood a little wooden boy.
How can you resist? You can't, of course. You simply have to get the book and see what I did. I loved the characters of Lord and Lady Gallatin and would like very much to write a full-length novel featuring them at some point.
If you like it, let me know. And post to www.amazon.com so others will know!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Gotta See It!
Samuel L. Jackson is going to push this movie over the top. This is the most publicized movie I think I've seen in years that came out of nowhere. Admittedly, the Star Wars franchise got a lot of ink and splash in the media, but SNAKES ON A PLANE has come out of nowhere and gone completely bonkers.
I saw the trailer and thought, how dumb.
I saw it a few other times and thought, I could have come up with that.
Now we have SNAKES ON A PLANE Sudoku and cell phone pranking by Samuel L. Jackson himself that is personalized to a surprising degree. The advertising and buzz for this movie has become a moonshot.
Samuel L. Jackson is laughing all the way to the bank. Monday night on Letterman, he won me over again. I've been a fan of his for a long time (loved him in JACKIE BROWN) and have seen everything he's made (including his bit part in GOODFELLAS).
Billed as a suspense story, filled with creepy slithering things, SNAKES ON A PLANE is going to become an instant cult classic like TREMORS and some of the other B movies that went supernova.
And you have to admit, there's a very thin line sometimes between things that are dumb and things that we love for reasons we can't even explain to ourselves.
Okay, Samuel L. Jackson, you snake-wrangling guy, you. Bring 'em on!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
And We Have Our Second Winner!
Julia Mozingo just became the second winner of the new NCIS #2 book, BLOOD EVIDENCE, coming out the first quarter of 2007!
Check out her site at: http://juliamozingo.blogspot.com/
I'm giving away 15 copies of the new novel when it's published to people who post a picture of themselves reading NCIS #1: PAID IN BLOOD on their webpage. I've still got copies left to give.
Thanks, Julia! Happy reading!
If you don't have a webpage and want a free one, sign up for one at www.blogspot.com and keep your peeps apprised of your life!
"THIS AIN'T NO BANK ROBBERY!"
I watched the movie with Sherry tonight and we both enjoyed it. The pacing is a little slow, though you don't really notice that because the scenes are short and the story weaves through the viewpoint of three main characters. There also wasn't as much explosive action as I'd thought there might be given the trailers I'd seen. (Lots of guns and smoke grenades had been flashed!)
However, INSIDE MAN satisfies the puzzle solver in me. Sherry and I enjoy watching movies and trying to see which one of us will come up with the answer first. She's clever, so I have to really be on my toes. However, my knowledge of history put me in the lead early on this one.
Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, and Christopher Plummer really do their roles justice in this one. What looks like a botched bank robbery actually turns out to be a very twisted caper that I found enjoyable and easy to sink into.
However, there were several plot holes that the writer in me screamed to have filled or dealt with. That's the beauty of film, though. Viewers in theaters can't just stop the film and point out the failings the way readers can with books.
The language earns the film its rating, not the violence, which is kept at a surprising minimum. This one's all about suspense and plot convolutions as the characters try to get the upper hand on the situation -- and each other.
Friday, August 11, 2006
It's Superhero Time, Baby!
Chandler and I watched the first Ultimate Avengers movie earlier this year and enjoyed it quite a lot. So we were definitely excited when we found out there was a second one in the works. Not only that, but the Black Panther was going to co-star in this one as well. Way cool!
The DVD came out in the stores on Tuesday. Fighting a book deadline, I didn't notice it was Tuesday till Wednesday. I picked up the movie on Wednesday. But by Wednesday, Chandler deserted me to spend the night with a friend.
I put the movie on a shelf and glowered at it. Watching it by myself just wasn't the same.
Thursday, after martial arts practice, Chandler wanted to watch the movie. Unfortunately, by that time I had to teach class. I told him he had to wait.
He glowered at the DVD.
But, after class, I went home and got greeted by one of those "Dad! You're home!" greetings they used to sell on 1950s television shows. It made me feel good.
We kicked Mom off the bigscreen and she finished watching the Yankees and White Sox battle it out on the HD TV monitor in the bedroom in total comfort.
Chandler and I sacked out in the living room, stayed up late, and rooted our heroes on one more time against alien baddies. We won. But it was close.
The movie is great for watching with your superhero-addicted kids. It's a little violent, so it may not be for the tykes. But for my 8-year-old (and his 8-year-old at heart dad), the movie really hit the spot.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
This new book by Kelly McCullough reminded me a lot of Roger Zelazny's AMBER series. Swift and fun first-person narrative, quirky characters and immortal god types with petty behavior (although they can kill you with a frown of disapproval).
The action starts out on page one, following Ravirn's attempts (with the help of his cyber-pal Melchior, a demon laptop he's programmed) to challenge his aunt's attempt to program free will out of the world. And things get exciting and violent from there.
Mixing in Greek mythology, the inexorable power of the Fates themselves, the Furies, and other creatures that are both for and against our hero (who seems to be equal parts sorcerer and computer hacker), the book is a great tour de force that will keep nailed to the pages.
A sequel is planned for '07, and I plan on picking it up.
Monday, August 07, 2006
A New Series To Watch!
Tonight Sherry and I watched the premiere of a brand new series on ABC Family Channel. We'd seen the trailers for it all week and got slightly interested.
At the moment, we're watching THE CLOSER and SAVED on Monday nights. I recommend both of those as well.
But THREE MOONS OVER MILFORD promises to be an absolute hoot!
What would you do if a comet struck the moon, broke it into three pieces, and one of those pieces might fall out of orbit at any moment and destroy the world? Would you rush out and do all the things you'd been promising yourself you'd do all your life?
Would you quit that boring job you've have for years? Tell the boss exactly what you think of him?
Would you take a chance on love? Gamble all your money on one throw of the dice?
The people of Milford do all that and more. The town has been turned upside down and inside out by the cosmic catastrophe.
At this point, the show is only going to run eight (8) episodes. Jump on now and stay up. This one definitely looks like fun. Can't wait till next week!