A Little Late but Still Thankful

This year Thanksgiving somehow snuck up on me. (Yes, snuck is a real word) I mean, I knew it was coming and everything, but one minute I had time to do things and then all of a sudden, I didn’t. And I forgot all about my Thanksgiving post!

To be honest, I’ve just had too many things on my mind. The biggest, most important of those things is that my oldest daughter is having surgery on Monday. It’s scary. Because of the physical limitations (pain, kidney damage, other things) the cause of the surgery placed on her, she was fired from her job. Now her employer isn’t cooperating with EDD and is likely to contest my daughter’s unemployment claim. She has no income right now, has not been able to look for a new job because of her physical condition and upcoming surgery, and will probably have at least two weeks of recovery before being able to look for work again. The whole situation is worrying, to say the least.

On a more positive note, the new paperback edition of Bronze in in final formatting mode and should be available soon with the e-book following right after. I’m excited to say that the e-book will have a brand new cover, possibly the paperback too. I’m keeping my hardback cover and will continue that theme through the series with the hardback releases, but will have alternate covers for at least the e-books. I can’t wait to see what my designer comes up with!

Copper is in good shape and I’m working on it every day, but I still can’t give a finish date. I refuse to rush it. All I can say is, it’s almost finished. Really. Please hang in there with me. And I promise the third book won’t take anywhere near as long to release.

I’m also going to be working on some Glister related short stories that I plan to offer as free downloads. If you’ve read Bronze, who would you like a story about?

So what am I thankful for this year? Everything!

I’m most thankful for my wonderful family: my son and daughters, my daughter-in-law and grandson and new granddaughter on the way (so exciting!), my oldest daughter’s boyfriend and his family, who have embraced her and by extension us as a part of their family.

I’m thankful for my eighty-year-young aunt, my only other relative in this country, healthy and still working in Hollywood.

I’m thankful for my incredible friends, a couple of whom I’ve known almost all my life. Thank you for ALWAYS being there!

I’m thankful for my job and my wonderful students. There are aspects of my work that have been extremely difficult this year, but for the most part I still get up on work days looking forward to seeing and working with my students and excited for what we can accomplish.

I’m thankful for my new apartment. I’ve been here almost a year now and it’s been the best place I’ve lived in a really long time. It’s small but reasonably priced (for the Bay Area), in a nice community (with security) and relatively quiet (which is a HUGE issue for me.)

I’m thankful to have lost some significant weight this past year, which I’ll probably write about in a post in the New Year. I’m feeling better and healthier than I have in many years.

I’m also thankful for this writing journey I’m on, and for all of you who are coming along with me. I get discouraged sometimes, doubtful of the value in what I’m doing, and wondering what the heck was I thinking when I started this. But all I have to do is think of some of you who have been so kind to me and my book, read over some of the reviews, and it pumps me up again.

So thank you! I hope to get to know more of you in the coming year.

It’s my Thanksgiving post tradition to include a Switchfoot video, so here you go. Have a great weekend!

Writing: Copper.

Listening: Need new music!

Reading: Crooked Kindom by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Dr. Strange and Fantastic Beasts.



Visit theglisterjournals.com for news, excerpts, and more about The Glister Journals series.
Reviews for Bronze (The Glister Journals, Book 1)
Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller or purchase now at Amazon.com

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2016 to B B Shepherd.

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Smoothies and Book Club – A Summer Update

{Photo of one of my first smoothies on a bookshelf with some of the books I’ve bought recently}

Well I started this post before summer vacation started and look – it’s almost the middle of July!

In Glister news, I’ve been waiting on getting my laptop fixed, the one with all my heavy-duty programs on. I wasn’t able to use my USBs and for various reasons don’t have internet on it, so transferring work to upload on this computer was impossible. It’s apparently working okay now, so first up will be the new edition of Bronze in paperback and then I’ll be looking into releasing it as e-book again. I have mixed feelings about this as book theft is such a problem, but with Copper coming out as soon as I can manage it, I really want that e-book out there. I’ll also be doing Goodreads giveaways and might post chapters of both books at Wattpad and Smashwords. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m staying close to home for most of the summer, doing curriculum planning for graduate credit as well as doing my best to finish the second Glister Journals novel, Copper. So I’m very busy. I admit that I’ve been stuck for a while on the last chapters, not because I don’t know what happens at the end, but I’m not sure in what order those things happen, which affects what ties them together, which has made it difficult to focus on just writing. Earlier this year, there was a lot happening at work that adversely affected me and possible changes to my job on the horizon, both of which had me very stressed out for the last six months or so. Nothing of my doing, but I was deeply affected none the less. So that also made writing difficult to focus on. I’m not making excuses, just saying the way it is. I am making good progress now though, and all chapters are going out for final critiques.

I have no road trips planned this summer, which I’m a little sad about, but my poor little car has seen better days. I think I’m going to play it safe until I can buy a newer one. I plan on doing that next spring, if my car lasts that long without needing major repair. Poor thing’s over ten years old and has over 200,000 miles – almost all mine! It’s been a little trooper to be sure.

The one trip I made this summer was to see my son and his family in Iowa. I had mixed feelings about the trip, but I couldn’t wait to see my son – I hadn’t seen him in two years! I hugged him tightly twice a day to make up for lost time and try to stock up a bit for the future. And I hadn’t seen my little grandson since last summer. I’m not sure whether he actually remembered me, but he seemed happy enough to have me around. But I’m not a fan of flying and Iowa and I have a little history together. They’re not the best memories. The trip was nice though – just relaxing most of the time. They live in a very nice small north Iowa town where there’s not much to do, but the time seemed to fly anyway.

I was interested in exploring SE Minnesota and loved the area around Rochester and especially Chatfield, but didn’t have an opportunity to really investigate. Chatfield seems like exactly the kind of small town I’d like to eventually live near. Is anyone from around those areas? I’d love to hear your thoughts or experience concerning them. I’m thinking about retirement within the next ten years and certainly can’t afford to retire here in the Bay Area. So I’m looking for alternatives. Somewhere I can buy a decent home in a quiet neighborhood with a low mortgage, maybe even a small farm – for horses, of course. It’ll be the first (and probably last) home I’ve ever owned, so I’m rather looking forward to it!

{a picture of Chatfield, Minnesota, an old fashioned-looking small town. Not my photo.}

The other things I’m working on (in the sense of actually employing them in daily life) are life hacks. It seems like most things should be easier now at my age, but I still struggle with a lot of things, many because I’m autistic, but also just because I’m me! My two favorite discoveries so far this summer are making my own smoothies, which I’ll mention again in a future post, and joining a book club, which I’ve never done before. I have a slow processing speed for some things, including reading, and know I can’t keep up with most other people, but thought I’d give it a go for the summer weeks.

Is anyone else in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Club? I’ve been following her book posts for a few years. This is her first club (I think), and I’ve really been enjoying it. She chose five books for the summer weeks that I’d never heard of and probably never would have read otherwise. Since I have a very eclectic taste in books, it’s been a real treat. Each book’s reading time is culminated with a webinar and live feed, but conversation is ongoing on a Facebook group. The first webinar was really interesting. So far we’ve read One In A Million Boy and The Nest, both of which I enjoyed for different reasons. We’re reading Everyone Brave Is Forgiven right now, which I’m not sold on yet. It’s hanging in the balance. I may ditch it and sneak in a book of my own choice until we’re on to the next one.

One In A Million Boy – From the acclaimed author of When We Were the Kennedys and Any Bitter Thing, the incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house—a friendship with unexpected reverberations for the boy’s unmoored family.

I LOVE this book. It’s difficult to describe and not like anything I’ve read before, but it’s beautifully written with many quote-worthy passages and very memorable characters. I admit I got behind in reading this one and still need to finish it, but it’s definitely one to enjoy the journey, not race to the end, so I know I’ll be able to pick it back up and finish at my leisure.

The Nest – A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

This one really surprised me. From the description (which I didn’t read before starting) and the conversation of others in the club, I didn’t think I would like this at all. Indeed, the characters are not very likable, but they are certainly very human and it’s a fascinating study. It was an extremely easy read and I finished way before the deadline. Woot!

I’ll have a giveaway for these books later. What are your favorite reads so far this summer?



Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze
New website coming!
The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller or purchase now at Amazon.com
Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2016 to B B Shepherd.

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Shiny New Format

If you’ve visited here before, you may notice some changes. I thought it was time for a fresh format. I’ll be tweaking things over the next few weeks. Let me know if something is out of place or doesn’t work! The Glister Journals website is getting a totally new look, so I hope to unveil that very soon.

I’ve been working through a very busy and stressful period at my job (teaching) and life in general and haven’t had much spare time or energy (and no spoons left over) to post here, but things are calming down (I think) and I hope to get back to at least one post per month, as well as book updates.

The new edition of Bronze is finished and being prepared for printing. It has a release date of April 13 so, if you haven’t already read Bronze but you plan on it, don’t buy the edition currently available. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I do think the new edition is a great improvement. I’m still considering making the paperback edition two books for several reasons, mostly to reach a wider audience and be more attractive for brick and mortar to stock (I can give them a bigger %) but that will require new covers which will take even longer. So I’m not completely decided about that. There will be an e-book edition soon, but I’m not sure exactly when that will be available. It might take the format of the paperback in two parts.

In the meantime, I’m slogging away at Book Two. I say slogging because these last few chapters are proving very difficult for me to write. They’re very personal in some ways, and not personal enough in others. There are things that need to happen and need to be said, but not a lot of time to do and say them. I’m trying to be concise without the ending feeling completely rushed. And I need to do some fact-checking, but finding the right people to do it with is very difficult.

Anyway, things are moving forward. Thank you for your patience!

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Sights and Sounds – A Holiday Post

It’s the day before Christmas and I’ve been cleaning and cooking all day (getting stuffing ready for tomorrow and pot roast for tonight), but I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday, however you celebrate. My daughter Mary will spend the night – we’ll eat pot roast and watch Star Wars VI. We’ve been watching all the movies in preparation for Star Wars VII. The plan is to see it next week for her birthday. My older daughter Beth will be here in the morning – one of the few times in the year that the stars align and we can all spend time together. We’ll try to Skype with Josh and family in Iowa – my idea of a perfect day. Christmas is precious to me for many reasons.

I don’t keep a lot of traditions during the year, but this season is my favorite and I have a few traditions I like to keep, both old and new. One of the more recent is a trip to San Francisco. I live fairly close, so the trip itself is no big deal. I go many times a year but I especially like to go near Christmas.

I especially like to go with both my daughters – get something to eat, do a little shopping. Mary was working and unable to get away so she didn’t come. Beth was escaping to a cabin in the snow the following day and I had some music I wanted to give her (some of which will be in a review next month). I figured I could go up to the city, do a little shopping, then pick her up from work (downtown) and take her home.

This may sound like no big deal to most people, but it’s sometimes a real crap shoot for me – whether it’s “fun” or just completely overwhelming, which I usually avoid like the plague. And I almost didn’t go, but I’m glad I did. I always am.

Union Square is always a pretty cool place, but at Christmas it’s extra sparkly and noisy and crowded. The Christmas tree is huge,

and there are lights in the palm trees, of course. This is California, after all. There is seasonal ice skating,

which I haven’t been brave enough to try, but want to – one of these years. I haven’t ice skated since I was about ten. I’m sure I’d spend most of the time on my butt on the ice. But it’s fun watching others and certainly adds to the holiday atmosphere.

Then there’s Macy’s.

We usually spend some time there, but it wasn’t my goal this day. There are, however, kittens.

Many, many kittens, all available for adoption.

Unexpected was the free entertainment further down the street. There was this guy,

and a host of other strange performers looking like they had escaped from a Cirque du Soleil troupe; actors in Victorian garb reading, I assume, from appropriate Dickensian texts (I didn’t stop long enough to listen carefully); and a neat animated mural.

I always enjoy street performers (if they’re any good) and I appreciated this guy,

before reaching my goal, the Market Street shopping center, where I got Mary a cute jacket and Beth a nice shirt. Shhh….don’t tell them. We’re having a “small” Christmas this year. Not that we ever have really “big” Christmases, but this year none of us has much extra to spend and that’s not the point anyway. There are a few gifts under the tree, we’ll have a nice meal, and we’ll spend time together. That’s all that really matters.

I hope your holiday, whatever you celebrate and however you spend it, is peaceful and happy and perfect. I’ll see you in the New Year!



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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A Thanksgiving Post

This Thanksgiving finds me in an unusual situation. In fact, this whole year has been more unusual than most. I normally cook a big dinner with at least my daughters here, sometimes their boyfriends too. It’s one of my few real social times – at least in my own home – and also one of the few times I really cook anymore.

This holiday season, for the very first time in my life, I’m living completely alone, not counting the cat (Buu). I don’t dislike it, but it’s strange and I miss having someone I’m completely comfortable with (besides Buu) to interact with on a daily basis. I’m also in the middle of moving. When I say “middle,” I mean that I had started moving, but it’s been put on hold. So half my stuff, including my kitchen table, chest of drawers, bookcases and almost all my books, are in storage waiting for the final move. That was originally supposed to be in November, then mid-December, and now…I don’t know. Most of the rest of my things, including way more clothes than I thought I had, is boxed or bagged already and stored in my daughter’s old room. I kind of like all the extra space I have in my apartment now, but I was really hoping to be in the new place before Christmas. I’m going to at least put up my Christmas tree this weekend. That’ll make it feel more like it’s still home.

Anyway, I’m not in good shape to entertain at all, though the daughters, individually, do come down to spend time with me, which I love. The youngest, Mary, will spent the night with me last night and is hanging out today. This afternoon/evening we’ll go up to San Francisco to have dinner with my other daughter, Elizabeth’s, boyfriend’s family. It’s so sweet of them to have us. We spent last Christmas Eve with them too – a lovely Italian family. I mostly feel like a fish out of water there, my neurology and culture at odds with the loud, somewhat crowded situation, but I’m really looking forward to it. They’re awesome people and I’m honored to be included.

My son, Joshua, is doing well in his new job in Iowa, and his wife and my grandson seem to have settled in very well too. He was recently able to buy a house with the help of his grandfather (his dad’s father) and will be spending his first Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family in their very own home. That’s so wonderful.

And it feels like winter! We appear to have had some frost on the roofs last night and it certainly felt cold. We love that. And the recent rain has bee such a blessing. Our hillsides are already showing a sold greenness. We’re praying for a lot more rain . . . we need those reservoirs and watersheds filled up here in California!

So . . . Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful for so many things. My children. My job. My relative health. My home, even though it’s a little weird right now. I’m thankful for friends, online or otherwise, especially those who have been so supportive of my writing and so patient, too! I do promise things are moving ahead and being completed!

I don’t get caught up in all the drama (seems to be more and more every year) about the historical validity or cultural appropriateness of the national holiday. I am thankful every day. At least I try to be. But I will continue to “celebrate” Thanksgiving as a day to formally and intentionally set one day apart for specific and targeted gratitude. For reflection on the past year – all its trials and blessings – and give thanks for making it through. I’m not always happy, but I want to always be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I hope your day is peaceful and joyful and that you eat too much and sleep soundly.



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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Unbranded

Soon after I turned thirteen, my dad and I moved to England. We had originally come from there but, apart from a visit when I was six years old, I’d grown up in California. My mother stayed in California to continue working until my dad found employment. In the meantime, we lived with my dad’s mom. But that’s another story. From the time I was thirteen until our return to California when I was eighteen, I was terribly homesick, in spite of the many cool things about living in England. As an undiagnosed autistic teen, it was probably even harder for me than it would have been for someone else, but I won’t go into that here. My point is that there were many things I did to alleviate my distress, one of them being to write (among other things, beginning the first incarnation of a certain story) and another was to plot a trip.

By the time I was fifteen I was planning all kinds of ways to get back to California, all of them completely impractical to impossible. But one idea kept me happy and busy – planning a horseback trip from New York to California. This was in the days Before The Internet (yes, such a time really existed) and all I had was a huge National Geographic United States state by state atlas (which I think I still have in storage somewhere) and a ton of imagination. I plotted a course, as much as I could, from somewhere in New York to just east of Los Angeles (where we had previously been living), avoiding all the big cities, and traveling between water sources.

Thursday night I got to go see the indie film Unbranded. I was very excited about this movie from the moment I heard about it for a lot of reasons.

Mustangs. I’ve always had an interest in Mustangs and follow the problems, events, and legislation that affect them.

Though I prefer fantasy/sci-fi now, growing up, my favorite movie/TV genre was Westerns, and I still have a very soft spot for them.

But the the idea of four guys, modern cowboys (recent Texas A&M grads), taking this journey from Mexico to Canada was thrilling. I had to see it.



This is a fabulous film. The photography is stunningly beautiful and is accompanied by a wonderful score. It’s worth the ticket just to go on this journey through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana – some of the most gorgeous landscape in the world. Just watching it brought a lump to my throat and made me feel proud (even though I’m not technically American). There were also plenty of laughs, many gasps, some sadness, and a few hearty cheers.

But I really appreciated how they wove into the narrative facts from both sides of the Mustang story – both from the BLM’s and activists’ perspectives – and I hope more people will gain an understanding of the actual issues surrounding them. Should we protect them? Undoubtedly. Do they need management? Unquestionably. It’s finding the best way of doing it that poses problems for both sides. I sincerely hope this film and the interest it engenders spurs positive results, or at least a new perspective to work from.

Who would like this film? Anyone who loves adventure, gorgeous landscape, and/or anything to do with the American West. And, of course, horses. I’ve already ordered a DVD for myself. It’s definitely something I will watch many times.

Go see it!



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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Winter Movies 2015-16

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

I was disappointed, at first, that they strung the last book out into two movies and had feared they would dwell too much on Katniss’ mental state, making it too melodramatic (and possibly boring). But I actually thought they did a good job on Mockingjay Part 1. There was an awful lot that happened in the second half of the book, so I’m confident the second movie will move along at a brisk pace and everything important will be included.



With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) confronts President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the final showdown.

Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale, Finnick, and Peeta – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to stage an assassination attempt on President Snow, who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her.

The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she has faced in The Hunger Games.

Release Date: November 20, 2015
Starring: Jennifer LawrenceNatalie DormerJulianne MooreSam ClaflinElizabeth BanksJosh HutchersonJena MaloneLiam HemsworthPhilip Seymour HoffmanStanley TucciWoody HarrelsonRobert KnepperDonald SutherlandToby JonesJeffrey Wright
Genres: AdventureSci-Fi
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Studio: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating PG-13

Pan

I have no idea why, but I’ve been a sucker for Peter Pan all my life. It’s only recently that I actually read the book and was disappointed. It wasn’t what I expected at all. That’s not to say it isn’t a wonderful book, and from a historical perspective it’s interesting, but the style is difficult to read as a twenty-first century adult. The story was quite different than I imagined too. I haven’t seen the original Disney movie since I was a child, but Robin William’s Hook was a favorite when my kids were growing up, and I adored (and still do) the Universal/Columbia version and count it as one of my all-time favorite movies. Another “origin” movie, Neverland, I found very enjoyable too, though highly improbable as a prequel. I’m not really expecting that much from this movie (Rotten Tomatoes critics give it 45%), but I think it will at least be entertaining.



An origin story of Peter Pan, Pan tells the story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan. (Just to set the record straight, Peter Pan, the original character, is not a hero.)

Hugh Jackman stars as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund stars as Hook, and newcomer Levi Miller stars as Peter Pan. Joe Wright, the British director of Hanna, the 2005 Pride & Prejudice (starring Keira Knightley) and Atonement, directed the movie Pan.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund, Levi Miller
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Directed By: Joe Wright
Studio: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating PG-13

The Last Witch Hunter

I’ve only just found out about this one. I have to see it because, well, Vin Diesel. That’s all.



The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.

Release Date: Oct 23, 2015
Rated: [Rated pg-13]
Runtime: 1 hr. 46 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure
Director:Breck Eisner
Cast:Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, Michael Caine, Olafur Darri Olafsson.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII)

This is certainly my most anticipated movie. I was standing in line on opening night of the original movie (Episode IV), it was the first movie I felt compelled to see multiple times in the theater, and the first movie I ever insisted my dad had to see. Yes, I took him. I am and always will be a die-hard Star Wars movie fan.

A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). Enough said.



In case you’ve been in a galaxy far, far away for the past thirty years, or perhaps just want a refresher course, here’s the story so far:



EDIT: I almost forgot about Unbranded. I’m seeing it on Thursday and will so a post on it later. 🙂

What movies are you looking forward to?

Writing: TGJ Book 2, Chapter 30.
Listening: TGL Book 2 soundtrack.
Reading: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Watching: Movie trailers.



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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My Winter Reads

With revision of Bronze complete, I had originally hoped that these would be my Fall reads, but Gaiman’s American Gods took me far too long to read and I’m reading Percy Jackson now in an attempt to catch up a little – I’m woefully behind on my Reading Challenge! In between, I’m writing daily and as much as I can now that school is back.

I’m currently finishing two books: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which I have mixed feelings about, and then I’ll finish The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.

Next will be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I’ve had this on my To Be Read list for quite a while. When my oldest daughter mentioned she was reading it on Kindle (and loving it) and my son asked if I’d ever heard of it on the same day (he was raving about the miniseries he’d just seen), it got bumped to the top of the list. The book is huge so it’s going to take a while!

Two magicians shall appear in England.
The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me…

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is a hardback I’ve had for quite a while but didn’t want to read until I’d read American Gods. Now that I’ve finished it, I’ll read this follow-up novel.

Bursting with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman, this story blends fantasy with humour and drama. Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared – right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad’s fault. If his rotter of an estranged father hadn’t dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the spider god. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancée, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo – and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. But as darkness descends and badness begins is Fat Charlie Nancy going to get his life back in one piece or is he about to enter a whole netherworld of pain?

And finally,

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


I enjoyed the first book of this series and look forward to getting back to it.

Have you read these? What did you think? What are you looking forward to reading this winter?

Writing: TGJ Book 2, Chapter 29.
Listening: Civil Twilight – Story of an Immigrant
Reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Watching: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Grantchester



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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A Treasure From Dad

I don’t often post about personal things, but every once in a while something special happens that affects you deeply and you just have to tell someone. So I’m telling you.

I received a treasure in the mail today. My cousin (in England) sent me a small bible. It was found after his dear mother passed away recently. My dad’s younger brother (her husband) must have held on to it for some reason.

Dad's Bible

The bible is small (about the size of my hand) and I practically need a magnifying glass to read it. As an adult, my dad had beautiful copperplate handwriting, but in several places, in pencil, is “S Bridge” in a childish hand – obviously practicing. There is no date in the book, but I’m going to assume he could have been no more than ten or so. That makes the book from the very early part of the 1900s. The cover is black, engraved, and a very soft leather. I can’t begin to say what it means to me.

The timing, as such things often are, is exquisite to me. I was thinking of my dad this morning. I was also thinking of my spiritual history – a rather odd one as neither of my parents were religious at all.

There is a bookmark. A simple slip of aged blank paper. On the same page is another attempt at signature. The book it’s in? Joshua.

Joshua is my son’s name, and they were extremely close until my dad’s death almost 20 years ago. So close that my son named his son’s middle name for my dad – Stanley.



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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Northwest Roadtrip 2015

{On the road, hills covered with pines, firs, and oaks}
{On the road, hills covered with pines, firs, and oaks}


First the bad news: I got absolutely no writing done during these two weeks. I had hoped to pick up writing my last chapters of the upcoming book, but between being busy from the time I got up in the morning to the time we quit, and being completely exhausted (brain dead) after that, it didn’t happen.

The good news is that my daughter-in-law (who I will call Susan) and grandson (I’ll call Stanley, which is actually his middle name after my dad) are safely in Iowa and reunited with my son. His new job seems to be going well and hopefully they’ll be able to make a good life for themselves there. I’m already brainstorming the best way to visit them and wondering if I can book tour along the way.

The first week started off with my youngest daughter’s official move to her new digs. Not that she would let me do very much to help her, but I was completely distracted anyway. She didn’t physically move into her new place, however, as she had agreed to stay with Buu while I was gone.

I hit the road a couple of days later, glad it was overcast and rainy almost the whole way there.

{Dark clouds over parched California hillsides}
{Dark clouds over parched California hillsides}


Mount Shasta is one of my favorite landmarks on this trip – the last one before passing into Oregon. Seeing snow on the slopes in summer is always a welcome sight. It has been so dry for so long, I was afraid there would be no snow left.

{A glimpse of snow on the flanks of Mt. Shasta}
{A glimpse of snow on the flanks of Mt. Shasta}


The mountain was difficult to see because of low cloud, but I needed to stop for gas so pulled off the highway to Mt. Shasta City, a nice little mountain town (elevation approx. 3,600 ft) nestled into the southwest flank of the mountain. Close up, it was easier to just make out the stripes of white. I’d stopped there for gas before but never driven around the town, so I took a few minutes to explore. That’s all it took – it’s a very small town. It’s the kind of place I could imagine retiring to – very relaxed, small town vibe, somewhat touristy but quaintly so, a definite hippy element reminding me vaguely of Northern Exposure for some reason, and not too crowded. I have a feeling it’s more of a happening place in winter when the ski slopes are open.

Then on into Oregon. Grants Pass is a favorite stopping place and that’s where I spent the night.

Oregon is pretty but, just like California, almost completely dry right now (notice the grass in the first photograph). One of my problems with Oregon is its dearth of Starbucks. After several years of doing this trip, I’ve figured out where some are by now, but I’m always glad to get through Portland and into Washington. Then on toward the Canadian border to my destination.

Susan had already done a lot but there was still an enormous amount to do. Over the next three and half days we sorted, boxed, packed, threw away, and cleaned. Pretty much non-stop (and she did most of the cleaning). I rented a 15 foot U-Haul truck and took loads to the dump and recycle center, the thrift store, and the storage unit. I was sure we wouldn’t be able to get everything into the unit, but we almost did – using logic, spatial analysis (non-mathmatical, of course), and a little bit of physics. It also helped that I’m very good at puzzles.

Throughout this, two-year-old Stanley was amazing. Not perfect, but amazing. In spite of not seeing his dad in two weeks, watching his world dismantle around him, and enduring long days without much fun or close interaction, he remained (for the most part) sweet and happy. I guess he takes after his parents!

My original plan for this trip was to help my daughter-in-law get things done and then see her safely off on the road. Then I’d take a leisurely drive back home. I especially hoped to spend a day or two exploring the Olympic Peninsula. However by the time we were done with everything, I was exhausted and aching and all I really wanted to do was go home. She had heard of a town in the eastern Washington mountains, Leavenworth, that she very much wanted to visit. What with one thing and another, and sharing her curiosity, I decided to go with her.

{Blue sky, whilte fluffy clouds, mountainsides covered in evergreens, craggy mountain tops}
{Blue sky, whilte fluffy clouds, mountainsides covered in evergreens, craggy mountain tops}


{Evergreen covered mountainsides with craggy peaks beyond}
{Evergreen covered mountainsides with craggy peaks beyond}


We convoyed (all two of us) up the mountain road, her with a car completely loaded with the things she thought she’d need for the next two months or so – including Stanley and Ellie, the cat, of course – and me with my own things including a few things that didn’t fit into the storage unit (my son’s cello, a comforter, etc.) and bottles of my son’s delicious homemade wine.

{A tabby cat with white markings enjoying a rest stop}
{A tabby cat with white markings enjoying a rest stop}


I’m glad I went. The drive was very pleasant and the landscape beautiful. I was able to help her a little, keeping an eye on Ellie (another award-worthy trooper) while we took a break in a park and Stanley played. Then we drove on into Leavenworth, a cute “German” town in the mountains. It was already getting late and many of the shops were closed, including this book store, A Book For All Seasons, that I would love to go back and explore one day.

{"A Book For All Seasons" book store in Leavenworth}
{“A Book For All Seasons” book store in Leavenworth}


{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in the Black Forest of Germany}
{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in the Black Forest of Germany}


{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in Germany's Black Forest}
{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in Germany’s Black Forest}


Susan (of partly German heritage) had her heart set on German food, but time was an issue. We couldn’t afford to spend too long looking for a restaurant or waiting for food. We found a pub, which probably wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, but we were able to order sauerkraut and bratwurst and get on the road soon after. We had parked in different ends of town (parking was an issue) and I ducked into a gift shop on the way back to my car, not wanting to leave empty handed. I bought a pretty ornament for my son’s family (for their first Christmas in their new home) and pretty copper earrings for my daughters.

Copper and black earrings with butterfly and flower design
Copper and black earrings with butterfly and flower design


We spent the night just off the I-90 near Moses Lake. In the morning we filled our cars up with gas together before hitting the road. That’s when I saw the smoke. It was obviously back in the direction we’d come from, so Susan’s journey wouldn’t be affected, but mine might.

{Billowing black smoke from the fire off the I-90}
{Billowing black smoke from the fire off the I-90}


And so it was; a huge fire closed the highway in both directions and caused me to detour back to Moses Lake and many miles around (after dithering, stopping for snacks, and getting Starbucks!) In effect it cost me a day’s travel, but all’s well that ends well. After three days driving, I arrived home safe and the next day Susan, Stanley, and Ellie arrived safely in Iowa.

Two days later my youngest daughter moved to her new home. Leaving me the cat. Yay! Now to finish that book. . . .

Currently writing: Finishing TGJ Book 2.

Listening: Speak – Pedals

Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

Watching: Sherlock Holmes and Midsomer Murders



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

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 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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