A Little Late but Still Thankful

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

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

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

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

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

So what am I thankful for this year? Everything!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing: Copper.

Listening: Need new music!

Reading: Crooked Kindom by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Dr. Strange and Fantastic Beasts.



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

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

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2015 – A Look Ahead

Happy New Year everyone! This is just a quick update and look forward to 2015.

First of all, I’ve been having issues with formatting and posts (and parts of posts) disappearing from this blog, so the first thing I’ll be doing is completely reloading and reformatting here. I’m not sure how long that takes, but should have things in order before the first giveaway of the year.

Which is the second thing, yes! I will be continuing with giveaways throughout 2015. There will be regular gift card and book giveaways, of course. I’ll have a music one coming up soon. I’ll also be giving away copies of the new edition of Bronze when it’s ready and, of course, TGJ Book 2 as soon as it’s released.

The last chapters of The Glister Journals 2 are taking me some time, though I’m not sure why. It should be completely finished in the first part of this year. I am looking into different publishing options, so I’m not sure exactly how that’s happening yet. These choices could affect the cover and title, so I’m still keeping those to myself. The picture above, by the way, gives some clues to Book 2. Any ideas?

Bronze has been getting an overhaul, editing for length (shorter) and I’m considering a different cover. Any thoughts about that?

The soundtrack contest is still on and waiting to be launched. The grand prize is at $200.00 right now, though I expect to add to that soon. It will be open for entries when Book 2 is ready to get sent out for early reviews, so if you’ve read Bronze and are figuring out the songs, stay close. I’ll publicize the starting date as widely and loudly as I can! If you aren’t aware of the contest, you can read about it and find the clues here.

I expect to begin writing in earnest on Book 3 by mid to late spring.

Personally, apart from finishing writing projects, I want nothing more than to try to get fit and begin riding again. After a very long time not riding, I had a horse a few years ago, but it didn’t work out – physically or financially. My heart and brain retain my love and knowledge, but my body has lost the strength, balance, and even some of the muscle memory required to ride the way I want to. So if I can get my body back in good enough shape, especially core and leg strength and flexibility, I’ll find someone to start training with and go from there. I may never be able to actually own my own horse again, but I’ll never completely give up on wanting to ride!

What are your plans for 2015?

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2 Chapter 28.

Listening: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highway

Reading: Caszandra by Andrea Host and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Watching: Mockingjay Pt 1 and Harry Potter (all of them)



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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Review: Cinder

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

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

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

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Review: The Raven Boys

Time to get caught up with some reviews!

image_5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highly recommended! With reservations about the sequel.

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



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

Listening: Foster the People (review coming)

Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season 7



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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

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

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Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay

Death. Destruction. Mayhem. Just another day in Panem.

This is the first time in I can’t remember how long I felt that I HAD to read the end of a book, just to make sure somebody was okay. And not just “okay” but that the book ended satisfactorily. Now, cheating and reading the end of a book is close to sacrilege to me, like sneaking peeks at presents days before Christmas (no, I never have). I had become so invested in one particular character, however, that if they didn’t make it, and if there wasn’t closure, I was going to throw the book away. Seriously.

I found Mockingjay much harder to read than the first two books. I believed The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I had a much harder time suspending disbelief for Mockingjay, but I’m not sure why. It felt a little too slow at the beginning, but once Katniss and the others began their forays out into the other districts, it didn’t stop. One of the things I found most difficult to read were the continuous deaths.

There was plenty of death in the first two books, of course, but that was mostly individuals during the games. This is brutal war and torture. There is a LOT of violence in this book. It’s not that it’s too graphic–I didn’t find it any more graphic than the others–but it just seemed over the top to me, and at one point Ms. Collins was killing off so many characters that I had a suspicion that EVERYBODY was going to die. It seemed to be heading in that direction. Which is why I had to cheat.


If you loved the first two books (which I did), of course you must read this one. If you struggled through them because of the violence, this one’s worse. Was it worth reading? Absolutely, and I’ll read the trilogy again. But not for a while. And yes, I’m looking forward to the movie immensely!

I had been holding off writing this review hoping for a real movie trailer, but there is none yet. (I’ll come back and add it later.) In the meantime, Radioactive by Imagine Dragons always reminds me of The Hunger Games in general (the lyrics, not the video) so I will leave you with that for now.



And now there’s at least a teaser!



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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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 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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The Bronze Tour…continued

bronze

The Bronze Kindle tour is underway and 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. Check out the Spooktacular Blog Hop Giveaway too. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Bronze.

Make sure to stop by the tour kick-off at Kathy’s site or The Glister Journals Website to learn about the Bronze soundtrack, a musical puzzle to solve. (And yes, there will be great 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)

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 20th

Books Are Love – Bronze Excerpts:

    Excerpts and Sketches: The Boys (Dave and Chris)

    Excerpts and Sketches: The Girls (Robin and Melanie)

    Excerpt: First Encounters Part Two (Gold)

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 Amazon.com

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

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Spooktacular Blog Hop

Spooktacular Hop 2013

Yes I know my book tour has just started, but this seemed like so much fun and I never get to do anything for Halloween! Since I doubt I will dress up and go out, I’ll give something away instead! A $15.00 Amazon gift card and a signed (and Personalized if you like) paperback copy of Bronze. This blog hop giveaway is open until October 31st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Glister Journals: Bronze Tour

bronze

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 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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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.

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.

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