March Music Review and Giveaway

I’ve been meaning to do a music review for ages now, so not only will I share may favorite listens of 2014, I’m doing a giveaway too! Four winners will be able to choose the album of their choice: Bad Blood by Bastille, Supermodel by Foster the People, Sonic Highways by Foo Fighters, or La Gargola by Chevelle. Even though I pre-ordered all these albums, it’s taken a while to listen to them adequately enough give an informed opinion of them. The rafflecopter for this giveaway is at the end. Sorry…US and Canada only due to shipping costs.

All This Bad Blood, a double album from Bastille, I pre-ordered after purchasing the Bad Blood EP. I (like just about everyone else) had fallen in love with Pompeii on first listen. Although the full album came out in late 2013, I really didn’t listen to it much until last year, and since it’s a double album and my mp3 player has a ton of music on it and is always on shuffle, well, it took a while to listen to the whole thing.

Bastille is, in many ways, perhaps a bit self-generic – not a bad thing, but many songs sound similar (I want to break out into Icarus in the middle of Silence) or have very similar elements, and lyrics are sometimes quite repetitive. And I don’t care. It may even be purposeful – they would make it easy to make mashups of them (which they kind of do on the second disc.) The production of the whole album is amazing, as is Dan Smith’s voice. I’ve been listening to it (in a roundabout sort of way) for over a year and, though the songs are certainly hook-laden, I’m far from tired of it! One of the things I love most is singing along in Smith’s distinctive accent. Though from London, his accent (at least while singing) isn’t typical. Perhaps influenced by his South African parents?

Choosing favorites from this album is difficult. Honestly, I love the whole thing. But a few from the first disc are Icarus, Oblivion – especially the cello ending – and the following videos: Flaws and Things We Lost In the Fire.

A few from the second disc are The Weight of Living Pt 1 (Albatross), Sleepsong, Laughter Lines, and Of The Night.

Foster the People have been a favorite band since I first heard Pumped Up Kicks when it was released in September of 2010 – one of those songs that immediately grabs me and, musically, is extremely exciting to me. The whole album was amazing, so I looked forward immensely to their second album release, Supermodel.

There’s always that trepidation when a new band you love are releasing a new album and you’re hoping that it’s not a dud, that they didn’t use up all their great ideas on the first album and now have songs that just kind of fall flat or go in a completely weird direction. Phew – that can’t be said of Supermodel. It’s absolutely the best album of 2014 as far as I’m concerned. Every single track is fresh and different and amazing, from the first to the last. I can’t even pick a favorite (or two or three) but the first track is really great. I love the Afro cross-rhythms and the whole feel and tone of the song. Lyrics are great too.

Pseudologia Fantastica (pathological lying) is just weird and the video hasn’t changed my opinion one bit. But I absolutely love it just the same. One of the things that makes this album stand out to me is that every track subtly reminds me of at least one other artist, so much so that I have wondered if each song is (musically) a deliberate nod to other artists. I won’t go into details here or I’ll never get this post done, but this particular track is very nostalgic to me. Foster the People often have a Beach Boys quality to their sound, but this one reminds me strongly of a nineties pop artist named Tony Vincent, better known now for his performances on Broadway. His songs had a definite “sound” and this reminds me of him strongly for some reason.

I heartily recommend this album to just about anyone. If you loved the first album you’ll adore this one.

I’ve loved Foo Fighters before I really paid much attention to them. You know, I heard their tracks on the radio and knew the words by heart, but somehow didn’t connect strongly until Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace, especially the track Let it Die. Since then I rectified the oversight by buying most of their previous albums.

Their last album, Wasting Light, is (I think) their best yet, so I was really looking forward to Sonic Highways. If you get HBO TV, you might have seen or at least been aware of the companion show. I was aware of it but unable to watch.

So, I like it. The new album I mean. If you like Foo Fighters, you’ll probably like it too. Does it cover new ground or hold surprises? Well, let’s put it this way – when I’ve put a lot of new music on my MP3 player, I play a little game guessing the artist whenever I hear a song I don’t recognize. Since I listen to a lot of the same genres and like quite a few bands that sound similar, that’s not always easy. But I can name this band in three measures or less. Usually less. Again, that’s not a bad thing. I’m not one of those people who think bands have to redefine themselves every album or even show huge evolution (I seriously don’t understand people who do), but this is very recognizably Foo Fighters. Considering this is a concept album – each song corresponding to a different city – I’d like to get the DVDs of the show as I’m sure it will help connect to the songs a little deeper.

Chevelle have been one of my favorite bands for quite some time now, probably only second to Mute Math. It’s also one of the few bands I’m willing to brave a live concert for. Not that I don’t love live music, but the combination of too loud music (I try to remember ear plugs to buffer the volume), toxic fumes, and crowded situations, usually deters me. When I heard Chevelle was playing at the Fillmore in San Francisco, I immediately bought tickets.

In case you’re not familiar with them, they seem to be most often classified as alternative metal, which is a good enough description I guess. Definitely harder than most alternative, but not quite what I think of as metal – something in between. Whatever the category, I love them. Their songs grab me musically and hold on lyrically, often teasingly psychological or spiritual in nature, dark but not completely morbid. I relate to so many of their songs from a perspective of difference, otherness. My youngest daughter introduced me to them via their fifth studio album, Sci-Fi Crimes, and I’ve loved them ever since. I’ve yet to get their early albums, but I will.

In concert they are amazing. A small group (only three: Pete – vocal and guitar leads, his brother Sam on drums, and Dean on bass and background vocals) they sound like a five piece at least, filling up the concert space with a huge, textured sound (not just loud) with nuanced instrumentals and clear vocals. I was amazed, especially at the songs I knew best, as they sound better than the album tracks. That’s saying a lot.

If you like your alternative very hard with sharp edges, superior musicianship, and haunting, thought provoking lyrics, like me, you’ll probably like them. I reviewed their previous release, Hats Off To The Bull here.

Here are a couple of my favorites off La Gargola

I haven’t done a giveaway like this before, so we’ll see how it goes. Have you heard these yet? Which album do you hope to win?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is being run concurrently on

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2015 B B Shepherd.

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March update…

Apologies for being late with this month’s soundtrack clue. I’m having severe computer issues and unable to access the internet at the moment through my own computer. This makes online life pretty difficult! It looks like I’ll have to buy a new one which I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do yet, but if it shuts down completely, I’m sunk! I haven’t been online much anyway as I really am writing, transcribing, and revising like crazy! (Plus working, of course.) I’ve already gone past my original (self-imposed) deadline so am working extra hard to get everything done as quickly as possible. With lots of help from my most severe critic, of course….

Buu offering literary advice

The good news is, I am moving into beta-reader stage and will be sending first chapters out soon. Book cover should be coming along soon too. Yay!

So, on to this month’s clue. Since the past couple have been a bit vague, I’ll give you something more concrete this month.

    CLUE #9 Some of the artists represented in the soundtrack can be found on my Pinterest “Music” board.
    Not all the artists are there, but the board represents some of my favorite artists and the kinds of music I listen to most.

I hope that helps! Updates will be a bit slow until my computer issues are solved, but I still have book and music reviews to do so I’ll try to post again soon!

*EDIT* Oops! I forgot to leave you with some music! I really like this from Lucius. 🙂

Listening to:

Writing: The Glister Journals, Book 2: Chapter 24
Reading: Mockingjay
Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 4

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

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

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Hello 2014!

This is just a quick post to look ahead to some of the things I hope to accomplish this year. But first things first – the January soundtrack clue! Let’s see . . . we’re on number seven:

    CLUE #7 Songs/bands/genres mentioned in chapters do not necessarily reflect that chapter’s song.
    For instance, in one chapter The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and The Beatles are all mentioned. The chapter title is not by any of these bands, though there are two clues right there – one having to do with the chapter title and one for something else.

I realize the clues so far are a little vague, but if you’ve read the book, they’ll make sense. I’ll give more specific clues as we get closer to the contest opening.

As far as what is coming up:

My main focus as always is to write, write, write. With limited time and living with frequent interruptions, this is a continuing challenge. However, I finally feel like I’m on the downward slope. With Bronze, the first two-thirds of the book took much longer to write than the last and I’m quite sure it will be true with Book #2 as well. This is the most fun part for me to actually write (you’ll have to wait to find out why) and I expect things to go relatively quickly. So, as much for myself as for anyone potentially interested, I’ll let you know what stage I’m in at the end of my posts. This will also serve as a progress report toward the new cover/title release and soundtrack countdown. 😀

I will be needing a couple of new beta-readers soon. I’m also seeking more reviews for Bronze. More about that in future posts. More excerpts of Bronze will be available at The Glister Journals website, and excerpts of Book 2 as soon as the cover’s released.

I’ll be posting as part of a giveaway hop (hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer) this month. I’ll be trying to participate on a somewhat regular basis in these.

There will be more music – of course! – and I will be getting some book features of the books I do manage to get read posted and organized, though I don’t plan on reviewing per se. My features will consist of book information and brief thoughts on the books, and will only be on books I can recommend. I also plan to do some indie features this year. I’m definitely going to have to get an e-reader of some sort though, as most of the indie books I have are digital and it’s almost impossible to find the time to read on my computer.

New and upcoming music I’m excited about:

Toad the Wet Sprocket (first album in sixteen years!), Foster the People, Switchfoot, Broken Bells, The Fray, Elbow, Tycho. There are many others I’m interested in and I’m sure there will be plenty more!

Books on deck . . .

Shadow and BoneThe Iron KingThe Moon Dwellers

. . . and not necessarily new but highly anticipated (as soon as I get my hands on a copy!)

MockingjayShadowsCressThe CrossingLingerFloating Worlds

The Glister Journals #2: halfway through Chapter 19. Word count: impressive. LOL.

Reading Shadow and Bone

Listening to Malmsteen.

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website 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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Retro Thursday: April 2005

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….



Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Love this movie.


Kung Fu Hustle

Also a favorite. 🙂


The average price of gas:

New York–$2.23
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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website 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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Cataclysmic Music Review: Bastille, Capital Cities, Matt Nathanson

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,


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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website 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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December Update and Soundtrack Clue

Congratulations to Sarah, the winner of my November “Thank You” giveaway. I have e-mailed you and contacted you via Twitter. I have other book giveaways planned soon and another cash giveaway later on for the second Glister Journals title and cover reveal. That is planned for the first part of 2014. It will probably mark the official opening of the soundtrack puzzle entries too, so stay in touch!

On to the new soundtrack clue for those who are reading or have already read the book. Remember, those of you working on the puzzle now have a head start. You’re more likely to get correct answers and have a better chance of winning!

    CLUE #6 Two bands/artists are repeated once.
    In other words, out of 31 songs, 27 are by different bands/artists, and 2 bands/artists have 2 each.

Hopefully that helps with any question of whether an artist is repeated and how many times!

If you’d like to see a certain type of clue or have any questions about the soundtrack at all, please feel free to ask. I’m sure there are plenty I haven’t thought of yet. I will answer anything reasonable that does not completely give away the answers!

Would you like some music? I thought you might! This is Hadouken!, a British band I first found on MySpace YEARS ago (you remember MySpace don’t you?) Anyway, this is great. I bought Hadouken’s first album (imported!) and now realize I have some catching up to do. Their sound has only improved (mellowed a little perhaps, but in a good way. Parental advisory on some songs). I love the video too. Enjoy!

AWESOME remix can be found here:

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website 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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Wonderful tour! So what’s next? (Hint: includes more giveaways!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for all her care and hard work in setting up and running the Bronze Blog Tour for me. I HIGHLY recommend her services if you are considering a book tour or blast. I have met some truly lovely people and am so excited that so many more people now know about Bronze and, especially, The Glister Journals series.

Also a huge thank you to all the people who have followed me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or one of my blogs, and to those who have tweeted and retweeted, shared posts on Facebook and Google, and added Bronze to their shelves on Goodreads and other book sites. Please know that I do appreciate you on an individual basis and, when possible, check out your blogs and pages. You’re awesome!

Congratulations to the winner of the $100 Bronze Book Blast giveaway! And continued good luck to those entered in the remaining giveaways: the Bronze Blog Tour Giveaway (scroll down for the giveaway) and the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. Both giveaways are open until October 31, 2013.

So what’s next?

A lot of things!

First of all, as a thank you and acknowledgment to all of you I am going to have monthly giveaways so more of you have an opportunity to win cash or giftcards (for books or music, of course!) and copies of Bronze. These will be Rafflecopter giveaways posted here on my blog and announced on my other pages. My blog is posted on Goodreads on my author page so it’s also a good place to check for updates. The first will begin on November 1st and end November 30th. The next will begin December 1st, etc.

Second, a MUCH bigger giveaway is in the works for the Bronze Soundtrack Contest. You can find details at The Glister Journals website. Prizes will be added as participation grows, so I hope you’ll consider reading the book, (only $2.99 on Kindle and print prices dropping as low as possible!) There will be at least five winners with prizes including book store (of your choice) gift cards plus swag, and including a grand prize winner of at least $50 (this prize starts at $50 and will increase–a percentage of book sales will be added!), personalized copies of both Bronze and the second Glister Journals book, and more!

There are clues listed on the website and clues and prizes will be updated regularly. Is it easy? Not too easy, but probably not too hard for anyone who has actually read the book and is willing to do a little searching! I’ll also notify everyone of updates by Twitter and Facebook. The songs will be revealed in a countdown starting thirty-one days before the second Glister Journals book is released. (And yes, there will be a new soundtrack for that book!) The contest will be open for submissions (your list of song titles) for a couple of months before the countdown. I hope you’ll enter–it’ll be fun and it’s really a GREAT soundtrack!

Also in a spirit of appreciation, the Kindle edition of Bronze will be FREE on November 1st and 2nd!

What’s next for me, personally? I will be concentrating on writing. I want to be able to release the second Glister Journals book in the first half of 2014, but it will mean concentrating on writing and nothing much else. So anything my readers and supporters can do to help get the word out is SO appreciated!

I will continue to update my blog when I can (music and book reviews, road trips, etc.), but to guarantee I have at least a weekly post, I’d like to start a regular feature: Retro Thursday. Every week I’ll do a media overview of a specific month and year that readers submit. What is your favorite memory? Wedding day? Special birthday? Vacation? An event with friends? Tell me the month and year it happened and I’ll do a blog post on what was going on–movies, TV, books, and of course especially MUSIC! Just leave a comment suggesting a date here on my blog, on The Glister Journals Facebook page, or in a tweet to me on Twitter. I’ll choose one a week to explore–just be aware it will be from my point of view!

Thank you again to everybody and I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me! Speaking of Journey…. (LOL. Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

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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The Glister Journals: Bronze Tour


I’m so happy and excited to announce the start of the Bronze Kindle tour today. It will be on until October 25th with a new $25.00 giveaway too. Thank you so much to everyone who has followed me on Twitter, Facebook, and added Bronze to your shelves on Goodreads. I really do appreciate it and hope you get a chance to read it.

Make sure to stop by the tour kick-off at Kathy’s site to learn about the Bronze soundtrack, a musical puzzle to solve. (And yes, there are prizes.) The following links will become active as the posts go live. I hope you’ll come along and appreciate my gracious hosts by following their blogs. And I’d love to hear from you!

October 14th

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – Tour Kick-Off: The Bronze Soundtrack

Kelly’s Lucky You – Bronze Spotlight

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Bronze Review

October 15th

Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Excerpt (Snow Day) and Character Interview: Allison

fuonlyknew – Bronze Spotlight and Excerpt: First Encounters Part One

Bookmarks, Spoilers and Happily Ever After – Bronze Spotlight and Excerpt (Snow Day)

Deal Sharing Aunt – Bronze Review

October 16th

Spellbindings – Guest Post: Assumptions, Titles, and Judging Books By Their Covers

My Devotional Thoughts – Guest Post: My Top Ten Re-watchable (PG-13 or under) Movies

From the Bootheel Cotton Patch – Bronze Spotlight

Sweeping Me – Bronze Spotlight

October 17th

The Write Game – Character Interview: Robin

Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Author Interview

Wondermom Wannabe – Bronze Review

A Blog Hop Place for Books – Bronze Spotlight

October 18th

Sarah’s Reviews – Guest Post: My Writing Journey

Pieces of Whimsy – Bronze Spotlight

Reviews by Karen – Bronze Spotlight

Gustosa Giveaways – Bronze Spotlight

October 19th

Victoria Simcox’s Blog – Bronze Spotlight

Mythical Books – Guest Post: The Difference

Cuzinlogic – Author Interview

October 21st

Books are Love – Bronze Review

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Bronze Spotlight

3 Partner’s in Shopping – Bronze Spotlight

October 23rd

Simply Infatuated – Tens List: Riding Adventures

Peace from Pieces – Author Interview

Beck Valley Books – Bronze Spotlight

October 25th

Taking Time for Mommy – Author Interview

Rose & Beps Blog – Bronze Spotlight

Cici’s Theories – Bronze Spotlight

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

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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End of Summer Update.

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.


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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

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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Allison, Wreck It Ralph and PDDs

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.

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

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

Continue Reading