Glistering: B's Blog - The Glister Journals, outsights, and infrequent flashes of brilliance

Media

December 7, 2014

Movies: Winter 2014

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I don’t get out to the movies that often for a variety of reasons, but there are quite a few I’m looking forward to this winter season. Top of the list is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

I have to admit I was disappointed when I learned Mockingjay was being made into two films. This seems to be the trend now. I thought the beginning of the book slow, spending too much time on Katniss’ state of mind after her rescue from the dome and after learning of Peeta’s capture. And that seems weird for me to say as I love the exploration of what makes people tick, but I wearied of it. So I’m a little worried they might have made Part 1 too drawn out and melodramatic. Still, I have to see it, of course. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you’ve seen it already (no spoilers for those who haven’t read the book!) I’ll probably see it within the next week or so.



And I guess the same could be said about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I had never read The Hobbit until last year and admit I am much more a fan of the movies than the book, iconic though it is. But that Jackson has padded the original story out (and added superfluous characters and romance) is undeniable. I’ve heard that he wanted to include some of the background material Tolkien included in the The Silmarillion (which I haven’t read), but it still seems like it’s being drawn out purely for commercial reasons. Oh well. I’ll be going to see it anyway. I have a crush on Kili.



I became somewhat familiar with Into The Woods, the broadway show and its soundtrack, while I was studying vocal music in college. I never got to see it live and, while I’m not a huge Broadway fan, it’s one of the shows I would love to see. So I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. The cast looks strong and the production good. Pluses: Johnny Depp and Chris Pine.



I’ve tried to see Big Hero 6 a couple of times but it didn’t work out, so I hope to see it while it’s still in theaters. If not I will definitely be buying it on DVD as soon as it comes out. Everyone I know who has seen it has loved it and it looks adorable.



And finally, I’d like to see Exodus: Gods and Kings. It appears that Scott has been more faithful and respectful to the epic story than Aronofsky was to Noah. Interestingly, according to Rotten Tomatoes, Noah had a critics rating of 77% with only a 43% rating from audiences. So far Exodus has only a 41% critics rating but 97% audience interest. From all I’ve seen, it looks like a bigger, more epic, and more CG and effects laden Ten Commandments. That’s neither a positive nor a negative. So we shall see. I’m not sure I can believe Christian Bale as Moses – that just seems weird for a lot of reasons to me – but he’s one of my favorites, so I’m willing to suspend belief just for him!



Have you seen any of these yet? If so, what did you think? Are there any others you recommend?



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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General Update

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving came early to my house this year. As both my daughters work in retail, getting the same day off is a miracle in itself. This year my older daughter, Elizabeth, was able to come and stay a couple of nights. She came on Sunday so we had our family dinner on Monday. Mary, my younger daughter who lives with me, had to work. Fortunately, she worked early so was able to be home for dinner. Unfortunately, she began feeling feverish Sunday night and by the time she got home from work on Monday, she didn’t feel up to eating much.

I’d been cooking all day. I usually try to get some things prepared the day before, but what with one thing and another (cleaning!), I didn’t. We stay pretty traditional with our holiday meals, but some of that tradition is very English. Dinner was roast turkey, stuffing with sausage (casserole), roast potatoes and parsnips (covered in butter/marmite), roast carrots and yams (in an herbed oil), cauliflower and broccoli, and home made apple sauce and gravy. Apple crumble and custard for dessert. Yum!

I was also supposed to skype with my son and his family (in Washington) but we didn’t get to it. We keep saying we will do this skype thing, but it never happens. Either things get too busy on this end or his internet’s down. So today, actual Thanksgiving Day, I hope the stars are aligned and I’m able to see and spend time with my son and his family.

Late on Monday we learned of the violence breaking out in Oakland, uncomfortably close to where Elizabeth lives and works. I have no opinion on the right or wrong of the actual incident – I am completely unqualified to judge the tragedy that incited the violence – but empathize with the feelings of outrage, oppression, helplessness. I don’t empathize with the violence, property damage, and fear the “protestors” are subjecting innocent local people and businesses to. That’s not the way to gather support for anything. You become the thing you hate and are despised and mistrusted in return. Where’s the sense in that? I was glad that Elizabeth was right here with me, but I had to take her home, a small minority member in her neighborhood, while violence was still happening just streets away. I’m always praying for her safety, but have never had so much cause.

The shame is that the genuine protestors are probably not the ones doing the damage. Just like the ridiculous mobs and vandalism after the Giants won the World Series. It’s doubtful the real fans were a big part of that. It’s opportunists taking advantage of any excuse to damage and steal the property of others. It’s nothing to brag about or be applauded for. It doesn’t matter how unjust the issue is. You’re just hurting more of the people you claim to be protesting for. The people in your own neighborhood. Your family.

Which leads me back to Thanksgiving.

I am most thankful for my family. My three children. Life isn’t always easy – can be downright brutal at times – and I have lots of other reasons to be thankful, but they are the most precious to me. I’m thankful everyday for them. Twenty-four-seven. We’ve been through a lot together. I want to be here for them; they are always there for me.

I’m thankful that after years and years of very hard times, things are going pretty well for everybody. My son spends most of his time being a full time dad and working on music and online business. My grandson, Odin, will be two years old early next year and is adorable and healthy. So is his lovely mom. Both my daughters just transferred to brand new stores (different stores, same company) and are guaranteed full time – no mean feat in this economy. The oldest is now a supervisor but both hope to work into management. I hope that, regardless of how they all earn a paycheck, they are able to exercise their creativity. They’re all extremely talented but also probably all affected, to one degree or another, by autism, like me.

It’s challenging, but I’m not complaining. I’m extremely thankful.

I’m also extremely thankful for the people who have taken interest in my writing and befriended me online. I don’t really know you, but your opinions and support are important to me. Thank you! And yes, Book Two really is coming. I promise.

So whether you have religious or cultural reasons to celebrate today, or don’t celebrate at all, I wish you a peaceful day and hope you can focus on the things you can be thankful for. And, as is my Thanksgiving blog tradition, here’s some Switchfoot. Happy Thanksgiving from California!




The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways

November 14, 2014

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

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Gratitude Giveaway 2014

This is a simple giveaway to say THANK YOU to you, readers and followers. All you have to do is leave a short comment on my Blogspot blog letting me know how you’re following – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Goodreads, blog, etc. My giveaway is for a $15.00 gift card to the book store of your choice. Thanks so much!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Reading,Recommendations

November 2, 2014

Review: Cinder

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It’s been a while since I read these books, but as I hope to read Cress (the third book in the series) when the paperback comes out, and Fairest (the fourth book) is out in about three months, I figured I should get to it! Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is set in a futuristic/alternative reality earth. Although the books are re-imaginings and intertwinings of very familiar fairy tales and characters (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty–at least the evil queen!) the settings and story lines are firmly in science fiction territory and YA accessible. Which is all kinds of awesome. I love Marissa’s writing (with one exception – see Scarlet), her characterizations, and stories.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I wasn’t initially drawn to this book. Much as I adore science fiction movies and shows, I’m not crazy about robots/androids/cyborgs/etc., so the cover actually put me off. I didn’t want to start a book I already had doubts about (as far as liking the main character). Silly me.

First of all, I need to talk about Marissa’s world. That’s what drew me in and changed my mind as soon as I began reading. Due to my uncertainty, I got it from the library first. I was immediately thrown into a busy futuristic marketplace with a fusion of high and low technology and predominantly Asian atmosphere a la Whedon’s Firefly (not as dark and brooding as Blade Runner). By the time I was halfway through the book I was sold on Marissa’s writing and the series and had to have my own copy.

Linh Cinder is a part human, part robotic teen girl who works in the marketplace of New Beijing. She is famous for her expertise in mechanics and does a good trade there, helping to augment her family’s meager income. That family is, of course, a step mother and two step sisters. They and all the residents of New Beijing are struggling to function and make a living through a deadly plague of unknown origin with no known cure.

As the story opens, she is tending the stall in the marketplace and brooding about her foot. She has outgrown it. The accident that left her in need of robotic parts happened when she was a small girl and she hasn’t been able to find – or afford – replacement parts to keep up with her physical growth.

Enter Prince Kai. He has come to the marketplace, undercover, seeking her renowned expertise to repair a family droid. His reasons for secrecy, beyond not wanting to get mobbed by his adoring subjects, remains obscure for a while but makes sense later on. Her reason for hiding her foot – and her cyborg physiology – is the crush she has on him, just like every other female subject including her adorable android sidekick.

Hanging over all is the threat of invasion by the mysterious Lunar queen and her forces if diplomacy fails. And diplomacy insists on marriage.

Although I found some of the plot and back story (not necessarily related to the original fairy tale) a little predictable, I enjoyed the read immensely and look forward to the rest of the series.

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 27.
Listening: All of the musics.
Reading (finishing): Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Watching: Downton Abbey



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways

October 14, 2014

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the 2014 Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer. This year 250+ bloggers are each giving away a prize valued at $10 or more. You have 17 full days to enter all the giveaways!

My giveaway is a $15 gift card to the online bookstore of your choice. Enter on my Blogspot blog



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,The Glister Journals

September 23, 2014

$229 Kindle Fire Giveaway

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Facebook and Twitter Blast Kindle Fire

This giveaway may be entered from my Glistering: B’s Blog over at Blogspot.

Twitter/Facebook Blast $229 Giveaway

A fabulous group of bloggers & authors have joined together to offer you 1 fabulous prize valued at $229.


The winner of this giveaway will receive their choice of a $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!

 



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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General Update,Reading,The Glister Journals,Writing

September 20, 2014

No Transmission

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Well, this is embarrassing. I had such high hopes of getting caught up on blog posts this weekend, but I’m currently sitting in my car just outside Target so I can use their guest internet account. Thursday afternoon my internet exploded. Well, more like just disappeared (doesn’t sound as dramatic). Of course, I contacted my provider. They worked through troubleshooting with me only to come to the conclusion that I needed a new modem. They said the one I had was outdated anyway. (“They” makes them sound like a collective, like Star Trek’s The Borg. I was already beginning to think they were.)

So, Friday after work I got a new modem and called to activate it. No luck. (Failure to be assimilated).

“It must be your ‘wall’,” they said. “A technician will need to come out to check it.”

“And you’ll charge me for that. Right?”

“Well, yes,” they said. (Resistance is futile.)

“But I do not own the wall,” I said. “The wall is not my responsibility. I haven’t been mistreating, abusing, or misusing the wall. In fact, I haven’t even touched the wall.”

Then I felt a little guilty. Perhaps I’ve been neglecting my wall.

Anyway, for the moment I have no internet unless I go to Starbucks or sit in my car outside Target using their guest accounts. I do get e-mail and Twitter on my phone, but that’s all. So if you try to contact me, I’m not ignoring you! I was supposed to have a giveaway up this weekend, too, but couldn’t get things up and running fast enough. There are others on the horizon.

I did want to tell you that I am thrilled to be done with extensive revisions to the first half of Bronze which will temporarily be known as Part One. For those who haven’t read it yet, Bronze is a very long read. Though no one has complained, and some even said they wished it was longer, I know it’s too big to carry around easily. But the first half of it is very suitable to being a book in itself. In fact, I had originally contemplated releasing it as two books but, as it is my first novel, I decided against it. For reasons of size (more portable) and cost (smaller will cost less to produce, cost less for readers), I’m now thinking it’s a really good idea since there will be a new edition. I’d really appreciate your opinion on this, whether you’ve read Bronze or not.

For those of you who have read the whole book already, Part One is through chapter eighteen – just after Allison’s dad finds out about Gold and goes to confront the Calderas. It’s almost exactly half way through the book. I figure, at that point you’re either hooked and want to know what happens next, or not. So those who aren’t don’t have to buy the second part (Dave’s reaction and everything that follows) and those who do, hopefully will! It’ll probably have it’s own subtitle, too, as “Part One” and “Part Two” are incredibly boring.

I’m not sure when the new edition will be released or the exact form it will take, but it is finished. That means I am getting back to the second Glister Journals book (almost finished) and will continue the new revisions on the second half of Bronze. The new edition will be released, one way or another, before the Bronze soundtrack countdown and release of the new Glister Journals book. I’ll keep you updated on that.

In the meantime and in spite of internet weirdness, I’ll try to get some music and book posts done. And there are several moregiveaways coming, so stay in touch! I haven’t been terribly impressed with anything new on the radio lately so I don’t have a new music video, but I sure am looking forward to cooler weather and, hopefully, lots of precipitation. So from crispy brown and extremely thirsty California, I leave you with wishful thinking:



Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 27.
Listening: All of the musics.
Reading (finishing): Lab Rat One by Andrea Host
Watching: Once Upon A Time (2) and Doctor Who (3)



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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General Update,The Glister Journals,Worthy Causes,Writing

August 24, 2014

Surfers Healing and an update.

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Hi everyone! I realize I haven’t posted for a while and figured I’d better post something to let you know I’m still here! The second Glister Journals book is still coming but has been temporarily derailed while I revise Bronze into a leaner, shorter edition. It may even be in two parts (at least the paperback version) which will allow it to be cheaper and more portable. At least, that’s the plan. The kindle version is no longer available, but the print editions will be available until the situation changes. More about that in the future. So if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest waiting until the new edition is published. The second full novel will follow as quickly as possible! If you’ve already read Bronze, don’t worry, the story and characters are exactly the same. I’ve mainly cut unnecessary words and description. The dialogue and heart of the story are still there!

If you are interested in autism spectrum disorder, especially from a female perspective, you may be interested in the more personal blog that I recently started, Lost and Found. I hope it will serve as one more positive, encouraging, and validating place for girls/women on the spectrum, who are often overlooked and left doubting everything. Still under construction, it welcomes guest posts, shared content, art, music, etc. of a positive or “this is the way it is” nature. Strictly “G” rated.

Some of you may follow The Glister Journals on Facebook, but for those who don’t, I’m going to repost today’s post here as it touches on a subject close to my heart. The Facebook page most often covers short, infrequent, and non-spammy posts of an equine or extreme sports nature and are usually completely separate from my blog posts.

More regular and book related posts are coming, I promise! For now, here’s the Facebook post:

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend! We were awoken about three in the morning by a lengthy earthquake. I hope everyone involved closer to the center are okay!

In case you’ve never heard of them, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of little-known charities I hope to be more involved with in the future. We’ll start with an awesome video from Surfers Healing. I’ll post about the other next weekend.

If you’ve read The Glister Journals: Bronze, you may (or may not) realize that the main character, Allison, is a little different from most other girls. That difference is autism spectrum disorder. For her, the traits are mild, easily overlooked unless you experience them yourself or know what to look for. For the bronc-riding, dirt-biking, skating, surfer brothers, Dave and Chris Caldera, the difference is much more profound in their littlest brother.

Surfers Healing is a non-profit founded by ex-pro surfer Izzy Paskowitz and his wife Danielle, that “seeks to enhance the lives of kids with special needs, specifically those with autism,” that teaches them to surf. The video says it all.”



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Reading,Recommendations

July 16, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

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Time to get caught up with some reviews!

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This is a little old now as I read The Raven Boys last summer, but as we’re only in the middle of the series (the third of four books comes out this year) I guess it’s not too late.

The Raven Boys is the first title in the Raven cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and is definitely one of my favorite books of the past few years. I like books that are both well-written and don’t explain too much at the beginning, just dropping information here and there to let you piece things together, and such a book is The Raven Boys.

In fact, the beginning is very vague: Blue Sargent and someone we understand to be her aunt are sitting in a graveyard in the middle of the night, waiting. Waiting for what, exactly, isn’t clear, but we’re told that every St. Mark’s Eve, Blue and her clairvoyant mother wait in the graveyard for the soon-to-be-dead spirits to walk by and whisper their names. Blue can’t see or hear them but functions as an amplifier. In fact she often acts as amplifier for her mother, aunt, and the other women living in her home. It’s this paranormal vagueness, the relationship of the female characters living at 300 Fox Way, and the way the paranormal is no big deal, just a part of everyday life–exciting at times and a headache at others, but rarely causing anxiety or stress–that reminded me of one of my all time favorite books, A Wrinkle In Time. It also reminded me of the movie Practical Magic (which I also love) in the way the characters interact. Win-win.

Apart from being extremely well-written – Maggie turns some wonderful phrases – it is otherwise unlike anything else I’ve ever read. And that’s always a good thing too.

Blue is initially extremely annoyed then befriended by four boys, ‘Raven Boys’ from the local prep school, and is roped into their adventures trying to find the final resting place of an ancient Welsh king. The reasons for this search are also very vague, but it seems like a worthy quest, at least from the boys’ point of view, and they are all invested in it. Magic is involved, of course, and the boys soon discover that Blue, with her amplifying power, is very handy to have along. Romance is obviously in the future with a foreboding black cloud already hanging over it in the form of Blue’s curse–that she will be the cause of her true love’s death. There’s a triangular shaped thing already in place too, but that’s to be expected I suppose and didn’t detract one bit from the pleasure I got from the story.

I absolutely loved this book. The characterizations were clear and not too clichéd, I loved the boys (especially Noah) and loved the quirky women of Blue’s household too. There were a few parts that were too vague, not well described enough, which made it hard to imagine, but the characters, plot, and strength of writing more than made up for it. I will definitely be reading this book again and am in for the whole series.

Highly recommended! With reservations about the sequel.

This song’s a little old now too, but the first time I heard it, it made me think of this book. (No the video has nothing to do with the story.)



Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 26 (Yes, still, but almost done). Revisions through chapter 15.

Listening: Foster the People (review coming)

Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 7



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,Reading,The Glister Journals

July 2, 2014

Freedom to Read Giveaway

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I am currently on vacation and working very hard to finish up my current novel. So far, so good! For those of you who have read and loved Bronze, I hope you will love the second book even more. I can’t wait to release it!

In the meantime, let’s have another giveaway! This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Bookhounds. Please enter and follow the linky on my blogger. I am giving away a $15 gift card to the book store of your choice, and a paperback copy of my novel Bronze (The Glister Journals #1).

I have tried to make this easy for people already following me or The Glister Journals series in various places. If you’re already a follower, you shouldn’t have to do much except enter on the rafflecopter. I will verify winning entries, so no need to add again on Goodreads, etc. If you have any insight on how I can make this even easier for current followers, please let me know! Follow the links (on my Blogger) to the other participating blogs.

Good luck!



The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

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