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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Rodeo Girls and Reality

Barrel Racer

I took this picture at a high school rodeo several years ago. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the girl or the horse, but I love this photo; the giving on both sides of this partnership: the rider’s touch, the horse’s responsive attention and obvious effort yet calm expression.

I don’t watch television anymore. I watch movies and series that I’ve bought or borrowed, but only what I really want. When we moved to our present location I decided to not hook up the cable even though we do actually pay for it. It was (and still is) a question of time management. It was too easy to just flip the thing on and veg. Now I have to consciously do it and decide what to watch. No more flipping. It was cheaper to pay for both TV and internet than internet alone (which is annoying). Most of the time the TV stays off and I get a lot more done! Most of my knowledge about what is current on the boob-tube comes from sources on the internet, so I was surprised (and then revolted) to hear about a show called Rodeo Girls.

Now you’d think, considering the themes of my novel series and the interests of the main characters, that I would have been overjoyed. A show highlighting rodeo, equestrian sport, barrel racing in particular? But A&E apparently thought (for some demented reason) that a show with Real Housewives type ‘reality’ on a rodeo circuit would be a good idea.

Gag.

I found out about it through an online horse magazine, Horse Nation, and you can read their article here.

It’s so maddening. It bears no relation to the average horsewoman, barrel racer or otherwise, nor what the sport is really like and about. Barrel racing (like other equine sports) is about the connection and communication between horse and rider; it’s about the partnership. And yes, it’s also about competition. It’s about courage and hard work. And, usually, it’s about good horsemanship AND sportsmanship.

This is a show created by (and apparently specifically for) a woman with more money, hair, and botox than wit. I wouldn’t bother posting about it at all except it struck a chord too close to my heart. If you are not rodeo, equestrian sport, or even just horse savvy, please ignore this show. It is NOT representative of anything realistic. At least, nothing I’ve seen, and I’ve lived quite a long time.

Much better (with no big hair and botox and MUCH more actual horse) is this adorable video created in response. So in case you don’t know better, THIS is what it’s really all about.

http://youtu.be/0-xeNRwsnuc

He he . . . this was this fastest post I’ve ever written. 🙂

Writing: The Glister Journals, Book 2: Chapter 23
Reading: The Iron King
Listening to:

Watching: Buffy



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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Glister Journals Art

I’m VERY excited to be able to introduce you to artwork created in conjunction with my fiction series, The Glister Journals. If you’re like me, when you read a book, you imagine the characters very clearly. That’s the main reason I like to read a book before I see a movie made from it. I like to have my own mental picture of characters and places in my head before seeing someone elses. I have plans to get some of my own sketches out this summer too, but still haven’t had much time to concentrate on art. But I also love seeing what other people think characters look like, or think they might look like.

Which was my idea behind finding artists to help render my Glister Journals characters. I commissioned two amazing artists to do character sketches for me, a couple of which were actually finished a couple of years ago, but I have been waiting for the right time to share them. And that time is now!

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting one piece each weekend beginning with this lovely picture by Katelynn Chambers:

Allison and Gold from The Glister Journals
(c) 2012 Katelynn Chambers and China Blue Publishing

I love the sense of movement and the color palettes she uses in her pieces; they are all unique and wonderful. You can see more of her work at her portfolio site, Nettlebeast Studio.

I’d also like to show you the updated cover for the revised editions of Bronze. Both pictures make very nice wallpapers and you are very welcome to use them for personal use, but please respect the copyrights. 🙂


(c) 2012 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing

Click on the pictures to see them full size. All artwork can also be found at my new Tumbler account. And I’m going to throw a giveaway in here: the first person to comment on this post telling me the name of the horse on the cover of Bronze wins a free hardbound copy. I’ll even sign it if you like. More about giveaways and locations next week.

Now I think we need to finish with a little music, don’t you? I haven’t got back to finish my Cinco de Mayo post, so I’ll borrow some music I might otherwise have posted there (don’t worry, there’s plenty more for that post, and I will finish it!) This is “Fire Escape” from Civil Twilight, definitely one of my favorite bands right now, but I’ll get back to them on a previous post (Yes! Time travel!)



Have a great week!

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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Cinco de Mayo, Fiesta, and…wait a minute…

Where the heck did May go? And I had such great plans for it!

This is just a quick update to let you know what’s been going on and what’s going to be going on in the near future.I will probably be posting again tomorrow; a post that was started some while ago. On to today’s subjects.

On Cinco de Mayo I spent a lovely day with a friend at the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. It was not exactly what I had imagined, but it was a perfect day and so good to enjoy with a friend (thanks T!) I took some video which (yes, I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing this) I hope to get edited, converted, and uploaded at some point. I have some vacation time coming up . . . we’ll see. I should at least get some nice pictures from it which I’ll add to this post. Anyway, details, pics, etc. will be added here or in a separate post later.

I’ve had many projects to finish at work which have kept me very busy and preoccupied, and I have just finished tweaking the cover of Bronze. All of which has left me with little time to blog.

More importantly, next Friday, June 1, 2012 marks the official release day of the hardbound edition of Bronze. The larger print paperback edition will be rereleased some time this week too. My publisher and I plan to host multiple giveaways, so keep checking back for the locations and sites for those. I’m sure that we’ll be giving several away through Goodreads, so if you’re a member there you can watch out for it.

I was so excited to find that Bronze was reviewed by Booklist Online. I thought the review reserved but accurate and very fair, and I feel honored to have gotten it at all! You can read it here: Booklist Online–Bronze by B B Shepherd

Another thing I’m immensely excited about is the release of some very special artwork I had commissioned. It will be released in several online locations. So I hope you’re hanging in there with me!

To celebrate these upcoming activities let’s have some music! How about some Maná? An older one, but one of my absolute favorites. (It’s even my phone ringtone :D)





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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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It’s been an Extreme week

Happy weekend everyone. This will be a short post just to say “Hi” and give you something to watch. I will have a more extensive post after next weekend. I’ll be headed to Los Angeles (road trip!) to meet up with a friend at a special horse event, and hopefully will have pictures to share when I get back. That’s the plan anyway. I also plan on getting some new music to listen to on the way there, so more music videos next week!

In the meantime, let me share a little of another very special event that happened this week. This was the Extreme Mustang Makeover Finals in Madison, Wisconsin.

What? I hear you ask. A car makeover? Pimping out classic Ford coupes?

No silly. REAL mustangs. Horses! The kind that still roam more-or-less wild and free (where they’re protected at least) in North America, and particularly in the western United States. I know some people who are very critical of them as a breed, and I know all the arguments, but no-one will ever change my opinion of their heart, intelligence, adaptability, and athleticism.

Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenges occur across the nation and provide many horses, that might otherwise become BLM statistics, with hope of a future home and meaningful life with owners who will love and appreciate them.

Would they be better left alone to live free on the land? Well, that depends on who you ask. Many people would love to see them annihilated completely, claiming they are nothing more than feral castoffs with questionable lineage and poor conformation that are habitat invaders of “native” wild species such as deer, antelope, and bison.

Others will tell you that they are a beautiful symbol of the old west, many of which still carry the DNA and traits of the horses originally brought to this country, the Iberian PRE horses. Has the mustang breed been diluted over the centuries by other, less exalted breeds? No doubt. But many still retain the undeniable qualities and even appearance of those PRE ancestors.

And even other people will point out the fact that horses roamed this continent way before people did. No, not this particular breed of course, but horses belong here.

I’ve loved mustangs ever since I first read Marguerite Henry’s “Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West” when I was about eight years old. As a teenager, I was fortunate to know of two mustangs who lived wild on the ranchland near where I lived and saw them a few times when I was out riding. I even have pictures somewhere. They disappeared eventually and someone told me that they had died during a drought. A shame, but that’s what happens to wild horses.

If you have read my novel, “Bronze,” you will know that several of the horse characters are at least half mustang. I love mustangs.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover program is rather grueling, and potential trainers must meet strict criteria in order to participate, but the results can be utterly amazing. From completely wild, never-touched-by-human-hand horses, to trusting, well-trained and adoptable equine partners. IN 90 DAYS! Anyone who has ever trained an unstarted horse will know this is impressive. And these horses aren’t just unstarted, they’re WILD!

Anyway, here’s a video of the winning entrants from this year’s finals at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison. I’ll be back next week with news of my weekend and an update for my novel “Bronze.” Enjoy!



You can read more about the Extreme Mustang Makeover at their website Here: extrememustangmakeover.com

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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Rodeo and New Music

It was a wearying drive there (horrendous traffic for the first good half of the journey and taking a wrong highway costing me gas as well as time) and a not-so-good stay at a hotel causing a not-so-good next morning (a VERY noisy night causing me to wear earplugs and sleep through my alarm. I woke up five minutes before I was due to check out and missed opening ceremonies!) The rodeo, in spite of all this, was well worth the trouble as it always is.

As you may already know, I am a big fan of rodeo but a HUGE fan of high school rodeo. These kids really put it all on the line, give it all they’ve got, have incredible heart and bravery, mad athletic skills, and they love their animals and treat them well (in spite of what some people would like you to think.)

Rain had been forecast for this weekend and I was afraid the event would be rained out at worst and very messy at best, but there was no rain though it got very cold by the last event. I don’t even know if they would have cancelled it. I have a feeling it’s like soccer or football: the game must go on! I may or may not post pictures and/or video at some later time.

Wanting new tunes to listen to on the drive there, I was finally able to pick up some of the new albums I’ve been wanting to get.

I listened to Build A Rocket Boys by Elbow (scroll over the name on their site–very cool) on the road there. Elbow has done some amazing songs that I really love, such as ‘Mirrorball‘ and ‘Grounds for Divorce,’ but it’s not a group I can listen to all the time. I think I’m going to enjoy listening to this album while drawing or other non-verbal creative endeavor, something where I’m able to let it drift through me. It’s music I need to just feel and hear and not (necessarily) listen critically to the lyrics. There’s something about a lot of their music that reminds me of my favorite composer, Debussy; a ‘tone poem’ quality that’s lovely to dream and imagine to, but would not be my first choice for music to drive to. This is the title track:



Chevelle, on the other hand, is perfect for driving to. I had high expectations for their newest album, Hats Off to the Bull, having loved every track of their last, Sci-Fi Crimes (my favorite being Shameful Metaphors*) which were completely justified as track after track proved they’d done it again, at least for me. After each track I wanted to go back and listen to it again, but resisted, preferring to get to the end of the album and listen to the whole first. They’ve proven their consistency to me and I definitely count them now as one of my favorite bands. I haven’t had a chance to listen to this again yet, but it will be the first thing on the player when I get in my car in the morning.

Very often my favorite tracks are not the ones that grab me on a first listen. They’re the ones that I have to hear a few times before I start going, “Wow, I really like that.” Then that will be the one(s) that end up speaking to me the most, for whatever reason, whether it’s something in the music itself or something in the lyrics hits home. I try to get the gist of lyrics on a first listen, but honestly, I’m just listening to the music. If the music doesn’t grab me first, I may never discover what beautiful/clever/otheradjectivehere lyrics the song has. In fact I may need to listen several times before I decide whether I really like something, and then it’s worth investigating the lyrics, but that’s just the way I’m made. This album, however, has caught me completely already and I’m looking forward to listening over and over. It’s much too early to say which my favorite track off this album is, but the opener, ‘Face to the Floor’ will certainly suit my purpose here:



Another album I had been looking forward to greatly is Port of Morrow by The Shins. Although they’ve been around for a long time, I’ve really only become aware of them in the past year or so, and that was because of Caring Is Creepy which I first heard on the radio and loved on first hearing. I had to have the album and wasn’t quite sure what I’d found, but after listening many times I loved them more and more. I still get very tripped up by their lyrics which I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of and here, I’ve got the new album to decipher! Another favorite track off that last album Oh, Inverted World is New Slang.

I listened to Port of Morrow mostly on the way home and got through it a couple of times (some tracks even more). Fall of ’82 really caught my attention for a lot of reasons. It has a mid-era Beatles (Sgt. Pepper) feel to it, though the verse also reminds strongly of an old Thin Lizzy song. Elements I really loved on this track were the retro instrumental sounds (maybe even a little Chicago in there?), a very tasty muted trumpet solo, and lead singer James Mercer’s (I assume) lower vocal register.

The other stand out track to me is ’40 Mark Strasse.’ Very haunting music, very cutting lyrics. It reminds me of something . . . but I’m not sure what. Something also from the late 60s or early 70s. I’ll have to think about that.

Then there’s ‘Port of Morrow’ itself, which makes me laugh every time I hear it. I don’t really know what the lyrics are about (yet-yes I could run and read them right now, but I really want to finish this post TODAY!) but it sounds like the way James sings in Broken Bells, which I also love but had forgotten he’s in also. Anyway, it’s a great album, I loved every track and look forward to picking apart the lyrics later when I can concentrate on them. Here is the track being played on the radio most right now:



Sorry for the VEVO 🙁 I’ve avoided it where I could.

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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Thursday’s Child

Here it comes, ready or not! Another new year and I have to say, I’m ready for it! Not that 2011 was awful or anything, but I didn’t accomplish what I’d hoped to, and the new year always holds promise for a fresh start . . . or at least another chance!
 
And what do I hope to accomplish? Well I admit, I’d hoped to get my first novel, Bronze, on the radar at least, but due to a lack of marketing/promotional knowledge and skills, was not able to see that happen. So we’re releasing a new updated edition, hardbound, (very nice, by the way) which we’ll try to bring to media and trade attention. The book size itself is slightly larger, but there are fewer pages so it actually resembles a normal size book! (In case you didn’t know, the paperback is quite a large book, being 720 pages, but is an easy read.)
 
Reviews for Bronze can be read here.
 
I especially like the way the book jacket came out. Because it wraps around the cover, I had to redesign the artwork, and decided to “reveal” the horse’s face. (Yes, it is one of the characters in the book.) I may eventually have some posters made and will certainly get it on the website (maybe as a wallpaper or something).
 
The website desperately needs attention – I wish I had the resources to hire someone to do it for me, but I don’t. It is HIGH on the priority list though. I also still have artwork and illustrations connected to Bronze that I hope to share soon.
 
There is also information to be released about Bronze which I hope will prove interesting and fun for fans of the series, but I’m not letting that go until there are more people to play along . . . You can help by spreading the word!

 

Finally, I hope to at least have a publication date to share with you for the second Glister Journals book later in the year. There has been too much distraction for me to work much on it, but it is my ultimate goal for 2012.

 

So as we head into the new year, I’d like to leave you with two of my favorite things: dancing horses and singing children. This first video is of Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado (personal heroes and founding members of Cavalia)

 


 

And the amazing PS22 Chorus led by Gregg Breinberg singing Two Door Cinema Club’s (one of my favorite new bands) songs, and seeming extremely appropriate for entering the new year, “What You Know.”

 


 
Oh and Thursday’s child? That’s me 🙂

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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California Rodeo

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to pro rodeo. For the past few years I’ve attended high school rodeos, which I have to say, I really enjoy more. But this was fun – if expensive. It was a beautiful day; actually a little on the cool side which is just fine with me.

I got some good video too, which I hope I can capture some nice stills from. I’ll try to post some at a later date. I’m also hoping that some of the video might be useful in coming up with some animation for a book trailer I want to make. Yes, I know that trailers are supposed to come out before the event, but if you think about it, they really should come out after. Trailers go behind, right? Anyway, it’s just a project, and at this point I don’t have a clue how to do animation properly, so it’s certainly going to take a while.

Here’s a link for a story about a couple of brothers who competed there . . . reminded me a little of the Glister boys: Prorodeo article

Back to the rodeo . . .

One of the things I prefer about high school rodeos I’ve been to – apart from the amazing riding skills displayed – is being able to watch one event at a time. I like to really watch. I soak it all up. So if it’s bull riding, I want to just watch bull riding. I don’t mind waiting between bulls. At this rodeo they kept everything moving so that there was always something going on: reining at the same time as roping (NOT in the same space, obviously); barrels at the same time as broncs. That was very distracting. I have attention issues as it is. I want to be able to watch one thing and really see what’s going on. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m just not into the whole ‘three-ring circus’ thing.

Saw some things I hadn’t seen before. Mini wagon racing. That was kind of cool, except that there were only two wagons. And a relay race where riders drag a rug that individuals jump on and get pulled – ‘drag racing’? The bullfighters were pretty good, but I got a bigger kick out of watching the bulls after they were released into the big arena. Every time a bull was released it would saunter over to the rest of them, they’d turn and walk off together as if to ‘powwow’ about their experience and the oddities of the human race, then they’d come back to watch the next bull and wait for him to be released and join them. It was very interesting. Yeah, I’m weird like that.


It was over way too soon, but it was a good day. I love rodeo. 🙂

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

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 chapters at the book’s website here: theglisterjournals.com

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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