Winter Movies 2015-16

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Last Witch Hunter

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

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

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

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII)

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

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

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

EDIT: I almost forgot about Unbranded. I’m seeing it on Thursday and will so a post on it later. ๐Ÿ™‚

What movies are you looking forward to?

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

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

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 and China Blue Publishing.

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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

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

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Movies: Winter 2014

I don’t get out to the movies that often for a variety of reasons, but there are quite a few I’m looking forward to this winter season. Top of the list is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

I have to admit I was disappointed when I learned Mockingjay was being made into two films. This seems to be the trend now. I thought the beginning of the book slow, spending too much time on Katniss’ state of mind after her rescue from the dome and after learning of Peeta’s capture. And that seems weird for me to say as I love the exploration of what makes people tick, but I wearied of it. So I’m a little worried they might have made Part 1 too drawn out and melodramatic. Still, I have to see it, of course. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you’ve seen it already (no spoilers for those who haven’t read the book!) I’ll probably see it within the next week or so.

And I guess the same could be said about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I had never read The Hobbit until last year and admit I am much more a fan of the movies than the book, iconic though it is. But that Jackson has padded the original story out (and added superfluous characters and romance) is undeniable. I’ve heard that he wanted to include some of the background material Tolkien included in the The Silmarillion (which I haven’t read), but it still seems like it’s being drawn out purely for commercial reasons. Oh well. I’ll be going to see it anyway. I have a crush on Kili.

I became somewhat familiar with Into The Woods, the broadway show and its soundtrack, while I was studying vocal music in college. I never got to see it live and, while I’m not a huge Broadway fan, it’s one of the shows I would love to see. So I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. The cast looks strong and the production good. Pluses: Johnny Depp and Chris Pine.

I’ve tried to see Big Hero 6 a couple of times but it didn’t work out, so I hope to see it while it’s still in theaters. If not I will definitely be buying it on DVD as soon as it comes out. Everyone I know who has seen it has loved it and it looks adorable.

And finally, I’d like to see Exodus: Gods and Kings. It appears that Scott has been more faithful and respectful to the epic story than Aronofsky was to Noah. Interestingly, according to Rotten Tomatoes, Noah had a critics rating of 77% with only a 43% rating from audiences. So far Exodus has only a 41% critics rating but 97% audience interest. From all I’ve seen, it looks like a bigger, more epic, and more CG and effects laden Ten Commandments. That’s neither a positive nor a negative. So we shall see. I’m not sure I can believe Christian Bale as Moses – that just seems weird for a lot of reasons to me – but he’s one of my favorites, so I’m willing to suspend belief just for him!

Have you seen any of these yet? If so, what did you think? Are there any others you recommend?

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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Rodeo Girls and Reality

Barrel Racer

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

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

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


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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    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. ๐Ÿ™

    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. ๐Ÿ™

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 crowdsโ€”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!)

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Happy Mother’s Day

A short post to wish all you mums out there a lovely Mother’s Day with a special Mother’s Day song from a very special lady. Flo Paris is the talented daughter of a musical friend of mine, originally from California and now residing in Nashville. I got to know her a little when she was still in high school–an extremely talented performer even then.

Every February Flo asks her friends and fans to send in their ideas for song titles. She picks fourteen and then writes songs to them! This song, Make your Own Way, was written last year but she made a little video to go along with it and just released it for Mother’s Day. It’s lovely and her daughters are adorable. Please share with your moms and sisters and friends!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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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Two Lovely Bronze Reviews . . .

. . . and a very flattering picture.

Ruth over at Reading…Dreaming, a book review blog in Uruguay (how cool is that?) did me the honor of requesting a book to review a few months ago. Unfortunately the first book went missing and I’ve imagined all kinds of interesting stories of where it might have gone and in whose hands it ended up! But she finally received the second book, liked it (yay!), and posted this lovely review.

One of the things I love most about being a writer is the connections I make to those people who like my work, write the reviews, and let me know who they are. I now have friends in Canada, Australia, and Uruguay, as well as several dotted around the United States. The thought of doing a real, physical book tour makes me shudder, except that I would love to get to meet these people. (I do plan on doing a virtual book tour when the e-book of Bronze is released and again when the second book is released, but this will not require airplanes, scratchy hotel sheets, or crowds!)

Then she posted this picture of the bookmark of another author’s novel:

Kiss Me @KimberlyKinrade on Twitpic

It took me a moment to recognize my own book right behind the bookmark (you can just see the “n” and “z” of Bronze). Totally made my day! Though I’m not sure what that author thinks of it–it looks like she’s kissing MY book! I will have to somehow return the favor!

Thursday (two days ago) I received e-mail notification that ForeWord Reviews had reviewed the copy of Bronze I had sent. This is huge for me. There are not many widely (editorially) accepted book review entities that review indie books. I have received a couple of other media reviews, but nothing on the scale of ForeWord. So I was, as the song says, noivous.

Yeah . . . Bo Diddly.

Now, I’ve lived long enough to know myself pretty well. I had a rehearsal that night so I didn’t want to have anything else on my mind. I also knew that one way or the other the results of the review might (and probably would) keep me awake, so I didn’t look at the review until I got home after work on Friday (yesterday). I figured if it was negative and snarky at least I didn’t have to get up early in the morning and act like a normal person.

Apart from a couple of comments about certain information the main character, Allison, didn’t give soon enough (which, if you understand the concept of the book, was for a reason) and subjective opinion about formatting (if we had formatted over more pages the book would have been HUGE and cost more too!), the reviewer seemed to really like it and basically “got” it, as much as anybody can at this point anyway (bearing in mind, again, the concept of assumptions and how much information is still to be revealed!) The full review can be read here: ForeWord Review–The Glister Journals: Bronze

More music? Of course!!! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I wake up with music playing in my head. Every. Single. Day. The really weird thing is that I don’t wake up and the song then starts; I wake up and the song is in the middle somewhere. That’s seems odd, but maybe everybody does that. It’s usually something different every day, but this past week this song has been there several mornings. I love the trumpet part most, but after watching the video (just now) I love it even more and realize how appropriate it is for this post. This is what these lovely, confirming things make me feel like. (The dancing, the dancing! Not blowing things up! LOL)

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

The End Has Come . . .

. . . and gone! The end of the year that is. Of course the anti-climactic non-apocalypse has absolutely ruined our plans for a post-apocalyptic tea, but all’s well that ends well I suppose.

As far as life on this end of the computer goes, it goes well, though I’m feeling very much like Wonderland’s White Rabbit, but instead of “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” it’s more, “I know, I know, you a proper blog post I owe!” (Sorry, had to horribly twist the gammar there.)

I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions–I have a dismally bad record of keeping them–but this year I feel it’s not only a good idea but positively necessary. That’s right, I need to Make A List.
And as I didn’t update my Thanksgiving list last year, I will list my intentions for this new year here, mostly for myself; an easy place to look them up when I start to forget. Here we go (and yes, there will be music later):

1. I will WRITE every day. I tried to do it this last year but it didn’t happen. This year, even if it is only a paragraph or two (though hopefully more–once I get started I can usually keep going for a few pages at least) I will put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, one way or the other, and WRITE! Book Two of The Glister Journals is back on track and I’m hoping for a later this year or early 2014 release.

2. I will practice MUSIC every day. Not just listen to it or sing along (that goes without saying), but actively practice SKILZ! At least one instrument a day and guitar at least four times a week. Hold me to it!

3. I will READ FICTION every day. Although I am constantly reading something, either nonfiction books, articles, or researching things, I have gone for long periods without picking up a novel and, gosh darn it, I LOVE reading. It has already become my habit to read before falling asleep (although I read somewhere that it’s not good for you for one reason or another–but I don’t remember) and often if I have time before work in the morning too. So I just plan on keeping that going.

I will even go out on a limb and challenge myself to read 25 books this year. I know that probably seems like a wimpy number to a lot of you, but I really need to WRITE more than I need to READ, so I’m trying to be realistic. I have a lot of older works to catch up on as well as new books that have come out that I’m interested in. For anyone interested, my personal library (and books I plan on reading in the future) is listed at LibraryThing and Goodreads, mostly at the latter because it’s easier to add them, and any reviews I write will be there also. If you’re a member, please stop by and say “Hi!”

4. I will DRAW at least three times a week: just sketching, not necessarily trying to make a finished product, but getting back into practice. It’s the one area of my life that has been the most neglected for years now. I will also work toward creating complete pieces, but for now it seems more important to just flex those muscles.

5. (And the MOST IMPORTANT if I am to accomplish numbers 1-4) I will spend less time surfing, rabbit-trailing, digressing, and checking updates on my COMPUTER. It’s such a jealous, selfish tyrant. It’s time I put it in its place!

6. (Which I will allow myself to include in #1) I will endeavor to post to my BLOG at least twice a month, even if it’s just a review Bronze has received, a giveaway that I’ve opened or interview I’ve done, or my opinion of music I’ve recently found or purchased. I hope to hit the road for some events (pictures!) and I have an idea for a regular “retro” category too that I think will be fun.

Exercise? Lose weight? Eat less chocolate? Pfft. As if resolutions have ever helped me with those!

So to start off the New Year, I’d like to share some music–not exactly mainstream or necessarily new, but great stuff–that has recently been brought to my attention and which I’d like to bring to yours!

The first band, Roll the Tanks are originally from Massachusetts (lately of L.A) and had their first release in 2008. I really like these guys and look forward to following them. Sound? Well, Elvis Costello was the first thing that jumped to mind (who I love), especially the lead singer’s voice, but also The Killers and someone else I’m having a hard time putting my finger on . . . if I figure it out I’ll come back and edit. This is off their 2012 release, Roll The Tanks. This is “Toeing The Line,” my favorite of theirs right now:

Then there’s Art of Dying. Wow. These guys are blowing me away. I wish I had more time in this post to really dig into their sound and substance, but I can’t do them justice here. I could easily compare them to quite a few other edgy alternative bands (one of which is one of my favorites) with metal/hard rock overtones (yes, OVERtones, not undertones) but that wouldn’t be doing them justice either. From Johnny Hetherington’s heartfelt acoustic piano rendition of Sorry to the harder edges of the next song, Die Trying, these guys from Canada have my attention! I look forward to trying to see them live somewhere this year. (Any chance of a Bay Area show guys?)

Finally, a relatively young band that is going to bear watching, Red Tide Rising (the link is to their Facebook page) has Extra Cool factor in having a girl bass player and real strings players. I’ll admit the song reminds me of Staind and I hear a little James Hetfield (and a lot of Brad Roberts–anyone else remember this? Love that song!) in the lead singer’s voice, but it’s a great start and I look forward to hearing more. Although they’ve apparently had a couple of previous releases, I couldn’t find links to other music (help me out guys?) and could only find an official video to one single at this time, but it’s quite powerful, Finding Home:

If you like what you’ve heard from these bands, let them know! Please go to their sites, their Facebook pages, and their Twitters, Like them, Follow them, tell your friends, buy their stuff!

Hope 2013 is a stellar year for you!

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

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

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

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

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

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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