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

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Horses,Media

February 15, 2014

Rodeo Girls and Reality

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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.

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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Media,Music,Retro Thursday

December 12, 2013

Retro Thursday: April 2005

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By request: April 2005

(A week late due to gremlins!)

George W. Bush was president of the United States
Paul Martin was prime minister of Canada
John Howard was prime minister of Australia
Elizabeth was queen of England (in case you were wondering.)

 

Singles from a few of the album releases:

Rob Thomas: “This Is How A Heart Breaks” from …Something to Be

 

Better than Ezra: “Juicy” from Before the Robots

Hahaha…this video’s so goofy. :)

 

Mariah Carey: “We Belong Together” from The Emancipation of Mimi

I’m not a huge Mariah fan – though I acknowledge her incredible voice – and I’m not at all a fan of these kinds of videos but oh my goodness…Wentworth Miller!

 

The New York Times Best Seller List–Fiction

April 17, 2005

1. THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown.

2. REVENGE OF THE SITH, by Matthew Stover.

3. YA-YAS IN BLOOM, by Rebecca Wells.

4. HONEYMOON, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan.

5. SATURDAY, by Ian McEwan.

6. THE RISING, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

7. THE BROKER, by John Grisham.

8. WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS, by Elizabeth George.

9. IMPOSSIBLE, by Danielle Steel.

10. THE SERPENT ON THE CROWN, by Elizabeth Peters.

 

Video Games

Lego Star Wars

 

Jade Empire

I never did finish this game. I should do that….

 

Movies

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Love this movie.

 

Kung Fu Hustle



Also a favorite. :)

 

The average price of gas:

California–$2.47
New York–$2.23
Hawaii–$2.47
Texas–$2.07
Nebraska–$2.21
UK–£1.32-1.42 litre

 

On the Charts

Apparently Elvis Presley broke the record for the most UK number one singles in 2005. Elvis had 4 songs in the top ten in the UK in April alone. How did he do that exactly? More to the point, who got all the money?

 

#3 in the UK the week of April 17th, Ciara featuring Missy Elliot. This one’s for Jo.

 

#7 in the UK the week of April 24th, Nine Inch Nails (a family favorite). This one’s for Mae.


 

Backstreet Boys released the single Incomplete which debuted at #1 in Australia (their first #1 hit there.)

 

Would you like to suggest a date for Retro Thursday? Just leave me a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter



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 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Media,Music

December 8, 2013

Cataclysmic Music Review: Bastille, Capital Cities, Matt Nathanson

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I am long overdue for a music feature, so I’d like to share a few albums with you: Haunt (EP) by Bastille, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery by Capital Cities, and Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson. It’s a long time since I first heard these bands and many months since I bought the albums, but I originally heard them around the same time and the three radio-play songs have a similar theme. It must be a sign. Let’s start with one you probably all know by now from Bastille.

So . . . you know how some songs you have to listen to a few times (sometimes many times) before you realize how good they are and then you really like it? That didn’t happen with this song. I LOVED it the first time I heard it and had to find out who it was. Once I found out, I checked out my local record store but nobody there had heard of them (or Capitol Cities for that matter.) I finally found the EP (four songs) at Amoeba in San Francisco as well as the other two albums. Yay Amoeba! Boo Rasputin.

Now, if you are in England or Europe, you’re probably thinking, “Silly person in America. Bastille has been around for quite a while.” Yes it has, but whenever I mention them to people I know they say, “Who?” Even my daughter recognized the name of the group but couldn’t name any songs. So forgive me if I state the obvious here. Bastille are fantastic. Pompeii is one of those songs I catch myself singing all the time. While Dan Smith (lead singer, songwriter) has a distinctive sound and style of his own, the band most closely reminds me of Coldplay (in a good way) especially on the track Overjoyed.

The full double album, All This Bad Blood (25 tracks), is out now which I ordered but haven’t received yet, so I may do another feature on it.

The second band, Capital Cities from Los Angeles, released their debut album in June of this year. So it surprised me greatly to find out that the song Safe and Sound actually debuted in 2011. Considering I listen to alternative radio stations in the Bay Area, I’m amazed I hadn’t heard it before. What’s up with that? Anyway, I’ve already used this video once way back in April, but I’ll use it again gladly!

Their second single, Kangaroo Court, is much less impressive to me. The Casio VL Tone (yes, we had one) is slightly nostalgic but ultimately annoying and the song has little more substance than that. In fact, a lot of the patches are evocative of the seventies and early eighties and most of the tracks on the album sound neo-disco (plus heavy use of vocaloid, of which I’m not really a fan). The tracks are great for working out or dancing to, but I get tired of the relentless poppiness. That’s not to say I don’t like them, but . . . small doses. I prefer Tell Me How To Live, it sounds like a mixture of The Bee Gees and Barry White (which is funny because they did a cover of Stayin’ Alive). And I really love Chasing You (except for the unnecessary addition of the F word.) Unfortunately there are no official videos for those songs. Here’s a static video of Tell Me How To Live.

Last of the Great Pretenders is Matt Nathanson’s tenth album and is full of great songs, though with most including profanity or very provocative lyrics, they are definitely on the adult side. The track I heard first and, like Pompeii, loved it the first time I heard it, is Mission Bells. It’s a mix of melancholy lyrics, a smooth shuffly rhythm, and a killer hooky chorus. The video is brilliant too, playing on the lyric, “At the end of a Hitchcock movie, a little dark and a lot confusing.” It’s done like a black and white Alfred Hitchcock style movie, with great San Francisco locations and representations of some of Hitchcock’s best known movies. I counted four I’m sure about, but I’m also sure there are more. I’ll list the ones I found at the end of this post. If you found more I’d love to know. And no, I didn’t cheat!

So there you have it: a volcanic eruption, a vague, unnamed apocalyptic event, and a mysterious death. It’s a little creepy how happy these songs make me.

The Hitchcock movies I recognize in the Mission Bells video: Psycho,

Vertigo,

The Birds,

Rear Window. There are a couple of others I’m not sure of. Do you see any others?



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 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,Media,Music,Reading,Retro Thursday

November 6, 2013

Retro Thursday: February 1983

I usually concentrate on new music, but I thought it would be fun to look back to a specific time and see what was going on. So once a month I’m going to do a short retrospective: movies, books, odds and ends, just about anything I can find. And of course, music. I’m choosing the first one but would love to get requests.

February 1983 was an important time for me but I wasn’t very aware of what was going on in the world, so I thought it would be a good place to start….

In February 1983:

Toto – Africa #1 US February 1-5

Ronald Reagan was president of the United States
Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of the United Kingdom
Pierre Trudeau was prime minister of Canada
Malcom Fraser was prime minister of Australia
Elizabeth II was queen . . . of course

Men At Work – Down Under #1 US February 5-12

Gas per gallon cost an average of:

    .88 in California
    .95 in Texas
    .93 in Illinois
    .96 in Florida
    .99 in New York
    £1.76 England

Kajagoogoo – Too Shy #1 UK February 13

Musical Youth – Pass the Dutchie #1 Canada, January 22-February 5. (I’d never heard of this one…interesting.)

NEW YORK TIMES Sunday Book review (February 20)
(Look how much Sci-Fi there is!)

“Mistral’s Daughter,” by Judith Krantz.
“Master of the Game,” by Sidney Sheldon.
“Space,” by James A. Michener.
“2010: Odyssey Two,” by Arthur C. Clarke.
“The Valley of Horses,” by Jean M. Auel.
“Foundation’s Edge,” by Isaac Asimov.
“Floating Dragon,” by Peter Straub.
“Life, the Universe and Everything,” by Douglas Adams.
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Storybook,” by William Kotzwinkle.
“Ellis Island,” by Fred Mustard Stewart.

Laura Branigan – Gloria #1 Australia, February 7-March 21

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean US (seven weeks) & UK #1

February 26 – Michael Jackson’s Thriller album hits #1 on the US charts, the first of thirty-seven (non-consecutive) weeks it would spend there on its way to becoming the biggest-selling album of all time.

I couldn’t find any movies worth referencing except The Pirates of Penzance which my whole family absolutely loves. Yes, we’re very weird. It is a fairly faithful production of the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera (Premier in 1879). It stars Kevin Kline as the Pirate King and he’s just amazing. Linda Ronstadt is Mabel. Such a fun but completely goofy movie. “With Catlike Tread” is my favorite part of the movie.

Do you remember February 1983? What is one of your favorite months and years? Leave me a message somewhere. Let me retro it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

This is like the extra at the end of the credits: I just found this and it’s awesome. :)



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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

The Bronze Soundtrack and Contest

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 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,Media,Music,The Glister Journals,The Glister Journals Soundtracks

November 1, 2013

November Bronze Giveaway and Soundtrack Clue

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Congratulations to the winner of the Bronze Blog Tour giveaway and to Maureen, the winner of my Spooktacular giveaway.

There’s a new giveaway! My way of saying thank you to those of you interested in The Glister Journals series and who are following here, there, and everywhere. This month I’m including another $25 Amazon gift card to help with your holiday shopping! And a paperback copy of Bronze, of course!

Do you know about the Bronze Soundtrack? It’s a puzzle to solve with songs to uncover, and if the book were a movie, it would be the best soundtrack ever! (Well, I think so anyway.) The first clues can be found on the Bronze Soundtrack page of the series’ website. Clues will be added every month until the contest officially opens–just to help you get a head start. The contest will close a month before the second Glister Journals book comes out. Thirty-one days before the release will be a video countdown of the chapters’ songs. Sound like fun? I hope so!

I began planning and writing the series in November of 2008, so Bronze is actually set in the 2008/2009 school year. Clue #5: All Bronze soundtrack songs were released 2009 or before.

Of course there are prizes! The grand prize is starting off at $50 and will be increased–25% of book sales from now until the end of the contest will be added plus The Glister Journals #1 and #2, hardbound, signed, and personalized, and more. Other prizes will include signed copies of both Glister Journals books and fun Bronze swag. There might be ponies. Watch for updates!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Media,Music,Retro Thursday,The Glister Journals,Writing

October 31, 2013

Free Bronze on Kindle and Retro Thursday

Oh dear…so many things! I’m spreading everything over two blog posts (second for giveaways–coming soon) so hopefully nothing gets lost or overlooked. Bear with me!

Bronze print edition prices are lowered as far as we can go, at least through the holidays, so I hope you can pick up a copy. And Bronze will be FREE on Amazon Kindle on Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to read it. And if you like it, reviews are always greatly appreciated! And of course you can actually buy the book if you really want to. I wouldn’t mind. Honestly.

I’m looking forward to concentrating on finishing The Glister Journals #2 and getting back to ‘normal’–whatever that is. The blog tour and my regular job have kept me pretty busy. I will be catching up with some book and music reviews that I should have done months ago. I also want to post regularly here, but I don’t always have that much to say.

Which brings me to Retro Thursday. I love music, media, and research–both scholarly and just ‘looking stuff up.’ So I thought it would be fun to do little weekly retrospectives of particular months in specific years–and you get to choose! Just leave a comment (here, on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you find me) telling me what month and year a favorite memory took place–a special birthday, date, anniversary, event with friends, vacation, whatever!–and I’ll explore what was going on, at least from a music and media perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy it!



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 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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Contests/Giveaways,Interstate,Media,Music,Road Trip!,The Glister Journals,Writing

August 14, 2013

End of Summer Update.

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My goodness, I never meant to go this long without posting. I’ll try to get back on track! I’ve been writing, writing, writing, but I’ve also been reading much more than I have for quite some time. I will be adding occasional mini-reviews of books I can recommend as well as my occasional music reviews.

First off, Glister Journals news. My original plan was to release the Kindle version of Bronze this summer but, as it hasn’t been promoted or marketed much before, I want to really get it out there this time before the second book in The Glister Journals series is released. So the plan now is to do a book tour in October with the help of I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, one of my favorite book bloggers who also does tours (her button can be found in the sidebar). I’m feeling mighty blessed right now.(Edited–plans have changed slightly)

Details to follow!

Road Trip

Drayton Harbor

I was able to take a little trip north again this summer to visit my dear family. It was a mostly uneventful trip, I got some writing done, enjoyed my time there immensely, and came back with a major observation: next time, I need to figure in extra travel time to explore! Other observations:

    1. I’ve never seen Mt. Shasta so snow-less, even in the middle of summer. There are places I’d like to explore in the area, mines and caves and falls and such. :)

    Unsnowy Mt. Shasta

    2. On the way up on my second day of driving, I found myself quite a bit ahead of schedule and decided to drive through Olympia, Washington, just to see what was there. It’s the capital after all. What I saw was charming (if there’s a seedy side of town, don’t disillusion me!), the section of town I saw reminding me strongly of downtown Santa Cruz, and the capital building shining in the distance across water which must have been Capital Lake. Clever name. I though of parking to walk around and take pictures, but I was expected by a certain time by family. I determined to make a stop on the way home instead.

    Unfortunately, on the trip back, although I was watching for off ramps as I drew near I never actually saw one and was way beyond the city by the time I realized I had passed it. So, sorry, no pictures this time. :(

    3. I’d also love to explore the Peninsula, but I figure that will require at least a day of its own.

    4. There are a wealth of national and state parks begging to be explored. I was determined to at least visit the Peach Arch Park, (Canada and us being such great pals and all) but guess what. Still no passport.

    5. Did you know that Linn County was the grass seed capital of the world? Neither did I, but apparently they’re very proud of it.

    6. There is a town called Battle Ground in Washington. Surely this deserves some writerly investigation. Apparently “The city is ironically named for the absence of a battle.” The reasons behind this lead me to number

    7. There are a lot of tribes in Washington. It would be interesting to plan a trip around visiting reservations or at least the visitor centers and doing some first person research. Just because.

I was able to get some writing done while there, though not as much as I would have liked. I even had a substitute editor.
My substitute editor

After a nice restful week I started home, but soon ran into thick smoke. It began soon after I’d left Roseburg, Oregon and mile after mile it continued.

Smoke, not fog

I stopped for gas and asked the attendant about it. He said that he’d just heard over the radio that there were at least seven separate wild fires burning through Oregon and northern California. Sure enough the smoke continued well into California and I guess there have been many more since then. A bad fire year. :(

If you have any recommendations for western Washington trips or have a trip blog entry you can link to, I’d love to see it. It’s a region I’ll be passing through at least once a year.

Music

I have quite a few albums I plan to share with you soon, including the ones I listened to on this trip, but I’d like to cover one that I had on my trip last summer but never got around to highlighting. It’s too good to not mention.

El Camino by The Black Keys is my second favorite album of 2011 (the first being Chevelle’s Hats Off To The Bull). The first time I heard them was through the song “Tighten Up” in 2010 and I loved it, but didn’t hear anything more until “Howlin For You” which I included in last year’s road trip post.

Curious about their beginnings, I looked into their background a little to find that Dan Auerbach (vocals/guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) had known each other since they were eight or nine and became friends in high school “though they were part of different crowds—Auerbach was captain of the high school soccer team, while Carney was a social outcast.” (Wikipedia reference. A more interesteing and possibly more reliable biography is here) I couldn’t help LOVING that! If you’ve read Bronze, you know why.


I love this whole album, but my favorite is most definitely Little Black Submarines, the album version (NOT the radio version which is shorter and ruins the build-up).

I love blues based rock (though not so much straight up blues) and The Black Keys have a raw edgy sound that I adore. I listened again to the whole album trying to decide which other track to pull out for you, but seriously, I love this whole album. Great road trip music too! “Money Maker” is probably my other favorite but I couldn’t find a video, so I’ll leave you with the other hit off the album.



All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 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 first chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

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Media,Music,The Glister Journals,Writing

June 27, 2013

Rock On

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I seem to have a problem with timing. No, not musically speaking. My sense of rhythm and tempo are rock steady. And not performance timing. I pride myself (what a weird expression, but you know what I mean) on being able to start on time and remain within a reasonable timeframe, both for myself or anything I’ve organized.

No, just general life timing. Putting things together on a daily basis timing. And especially this book business and promotion thing timing. It’s a bit…confusing and frustrating. And the more time I spend trying to do the social networking thing, the more confused I get (not to mention the horrendous wasting of precious writing time!)

On a more encouraging note, I am thrilled to be able to say that Bronze won (tied) the Literary Fiction category of the IndieReader Discovery Awards. I’m glad of the exposure and extremely glad to know that my book was read by people actually in the publishing and media industries and was considered good enough to win an award. For someone like me who is still trying to figure out the best way of letting people know my book even exists, it’s a BIG deal. So . . . YAY!

Also, I’m waiting to release (rather impatiently, but I’m trying!) the Kindle version of Bronze to maximize exposure for it. I’ll tell you more about this as those efforts progress. There will be hidden information revealed concerning the book (yes, like a puzzle) and a real contest (yes, solving said puzzle) and there will definitely be giveaways and free Kindle days and special goodies. I’m extremely excited and anxious to get this going! Tick tock tick tock….

In the meantime, I’m trying to concentrate on actual writing and avoiding internet wandering. I’m saving a couple of blog posts I’ve already written for a future blog tour–as soon as I have that set up–so I won’t be terribly active here, but I’ll let you know where I can be found! I would love to respond to people and answer any specific questions you may have, but I’m going to avoid the internet otherwise. I’m too easily distracted! The best place to contact me personally (unless you have my e-mail) is here on this blog, on The Glister Journals Facebook page or @glisterjournals on Twitter.

I’d like to share a video with you though. This made my day and was a huge encouragement to me to block out self doubt and just stay true to my vision, my ideas, my voice, my characters, and the story I’m trying to tell with The Glister Journals. Adults can be so stifling and negative. Children often seem to be my greatest inspiration, and these boys are wonderful. Rock on!

[This video unfortunately deleted. :( ]

id="MB_Avgd_Videoplayer" width="773" height="434"
codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/swflash.cab">



All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 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 first chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

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Contests/Giveaways,Media,Music,The Glister Journals,Writing

June 1, 2013

Bronze e-book…soon!

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UPDATE (June 9, 2013):

I’m pleased to say the Kindle edition of my novel Bronze is ready and will be available soon pending some promotional efforts. Once those things are in place there will be more news and giveaways. Hang in there with me!

Well, I had hoped to have the Kindle edition of Bronze available today, but I confess I’m still working on the TOC. It will be available within the next few days though. When it is I’ll update this post and announce the first ‘free’ day.


There will also be news: Bronze has won an award that we’re quite excited about and I can’t wait to tell you about the Bronze soundtrack. “You mean ‘play list’?” I hear you ask. No, soundtrack. Stay tuned!

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Art,Media,Music,Outsights

May 12, 2013

Allison, Wreck It Ralph and PDDs

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First I’d like to share with you the second Glister Journals piece drawn by a friend, comic artist Jeff Stokely, before he became famous and notorious (okay he’s not exactly famous nor notorious beyond certain circles but he’s working on it!) I love this drawing. This is closest to how I picture Allison (from my novel Bronze) and I love the way he has portrayed Robin too, though I don’t see her quite this way. (The drawing of Dave and Chris is here.) What do you think?:

The Glister Journals: Allison and Robin

Jeff has been extremely busy and is working on two comics coming out this year, a reimagining of a classic pulp, Six Gun Gorilla, and his own (with co-writer/creator Chris Northrop) The Reason for Dragons which I am personally very excited about.

So, I finally saw Wreck It Ralph last night. It’s not a movie that I would normally choose to watch, but I had heard about it when it came out from many kids that loved it. My daughter and her boyfriend just watched it last night and left it for me to watch too so I figured I had better make an effort. I have to admit that I wasn’t at all interested in it and for the first half of the movie was wishing I was watching something else. But I persevered and I’m glad I did.

Now, I’m not going to list the reasons that I found the movie less than captivating. People have different tastes and this didn’t appeal to me to start with. It really bothers me when people write reviews on books, films, whatever, that they wouldn’t normally have read/watched and can’t really find fault with but give negative reviews because they assumed it was something else (don’t even get me started on assumptions) or just didn’t like it for reasons outside the scope of what it is. Why do people do that? So I’m not going to say what I didn’t like. If you like this kind of movie, you will probably love it.

This is a tongue-in-cheek ‘behind the screens’ promo that does not divulge much of the actual movie, but if you haven’t seen it, you’ll get the idea:

I will say that, though I felt ‘meh’ about all the characters from the beginning, Ralph himself, though completely predictable, did grow on me. But what I really sat up and took notice of was the character Vanellope. At first I couldn’t stand her and not because she was obnoxious, but because she was so obviously meant to be too obnoxious so that you would have to like her later. The anti-princess. Ugh. But as I continued to watch, it began to occur to me that this throw-away child was like the neuro-atypical people I see every day. How she was like my character Allison Anderson from Bronze. And, apparently, like me.

Now, Allison is quiet and introspective–not in-your-face obnoxious like Vanellope–nor is she homeless and lacking in personal hygiene. But that ‘glitch’ that keeps Vanellope from being accepted by the other kids–along with having very different ideas of what is attractive, valuable, and funny (not to mention questionable powers of self-assessment and style sense)–is what sets kids diagnosed with PDDs (pervasive developmental disorders) apart. It is also often what gives them heightened sensory perception and out-of-the-box creativity which Vanellope displays beautifully (her ability to see what others cannot, creative approach to problems, etc.) She is not just a quirky character that marches to the beat of a different drummer. I think a lot of ‘normal’ people like to think of themselves that way too.

No, there is something different about her; something in her code, her genetic make up and neural programming. This is PDD. This is what is at work with people with autism spectrum disorders. It is not something they control or choose and it does not necessarily affect their intelligence or ability to take care of themselves and others. It does often make it very hard to interact with other people, react in socially accepted ways, and cope with sensory overload. I don’t know if that’s what the writers had in mind but if you’ve seen the movie or watch it now, I’d be interested to know what you think.

*Small Spoiler Alert* I think the thing I loved most about the character in the movie was at the end, when she becomes accepted by the others (the reasons which I’m not going to analyze too deeply right now.) At first she appears to become a princess, as if she has completely changed and is ‘normal’ like all the others. PSYCH! Nope, she’s just the same as she was, glitch and all. I LOVE THAT! If you are a person with ASD/PDD, you cannot magically be changed. There’s no ‘cure’. Why should we want one? We aren’t ‘wrong’ or broken, just different.


I will leave you with a song and video I would otherwise never subject you to, but I love it. (Metaphors aside, whether this song is appropriate in a children’s movie is also beyond the scope of what I want to deal with here!):



All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

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