Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review - Blinding Light by Paul Theroux


Let me just say for the record - I do not like Slade Steadman.

As I have stated in previous blog posts, I love the author Paul Theroux. His words have always entertained me and they leave me wanting more. And, although I did enjoy reading Blinding Light, I found myself truly disliking the main character, the author Slade Steadman. The book begins with Slade and his ex-girlfriend and physician Ava traveling to Ecuador as part of a trip to search for a drug. The small group that Slade and Ava travel with are all "followers" of Slade's book entitled Trespassing. Trespassing is seen as the bible for those who seek the ultimate adventure in their lives; thanks to Slade's massive hit of a book, there are now clothes, Jeeps, luggage and everything under the sun fashioned in the style of the "Trespasser", the one who is not limited by rules and borders.

The drug that the group seeks is a hallucinogenic and yet when they do take it, it leaves them feeling less than euphoric. However, thanks to one of the members of the group, the German reporter Manfred, Slade is introduced to a powerful mixture created by the herb datura that causes temporary blindness yet allows the person to become hyper sensitive to their surroundings and even obtain a sense of prophetic visions. Slade, in taking the drug, becomes a visionary for the world around him and the lies that people use as "masks" in their everyday lives. He then begins on a new book entitled The Book of Revelations, filled with drug fueled visions of the erotic and his own sexually charged past. At the same time, we the readers learn of a certain President who becomes caught up in a sex scandal with a certain intern. Slade, a friend of the President, becomes caught up in his own web of lies and deceit as his daily datura concoction becomes more than he ever hoped for.

While I did enjoy reading Theroux's words, especially his descriptions of Boston and Martha's Vineyard (reminding me of my recent trip to New England in July), I found that I had no love or even remote like of Slade. I found him to be at first a sulking author who refused his fame and glory for his one novel, only to become a beyond arrogant man "blinded" by the datura who thought himself to be on a higher plain than the rest of the world and therefore untouchable. Yet, and I'm going to give a spoiler, when he does eventually become truly blind, he turns into a crumbling heap of pity and self loathing that made me cringe every time he stumbled through his darkness. Ava, in her own "unique" way, tries to help him through regular sessions of sex with a third unidentified woman. All is in vain until the answer comes in such a rushed end of the book that I found myself wondering if perhaps Slade should have just remained blind and left to his own devices at his home in the Vineyard.

If you are a fan of Theroux, I do recommend reading Blinding Light at least once; his descriptions of Massachusetts and Ecuador flow like a persuasive travel guide, yet Slade Steadman and his actions left me with a sour taste in my mouth. However, I remain a fan of Theroux and I do look forward to reading more of his works.


EX LIBRIS!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Hands of Art - Alexander S. Brown

It's a lovely Sunday afternoon and I have just put in the mini series I, Claudius. Go Decadent Rome!

It's also time for another Hands of Art "subject"! This time, I would like to focus on one of the strangest and darkest authors I have ever known in my life. He is also one of my dearest friends and an amazing author of the macabre and the grotesque. I am talking about author Alexander S. Brown.

I met Alex several years ago at a comic book expo in Jackson, Mississippi and decided to purchase his book Traumatized. The book, composed of short stories, scared me so badly that when I saw him next, I had to inform him that his book scared the Goth Librarian - it is not easy to scare me, considering the stuff I write, unless if you write a story about my one big phobia. Alex was more than delighted about what I had told him and years later, he remains a dear friend and fellow author.

May I present to you The Hands of Art - Alexander S. Brown.

 Alex is author of the werewolf novel Syrenthia Falls - available through Dark Oak Press. Although I have not read it yet, I know it will give me nightmares and I will love it!





Alex is one of the best author guests at conventions; if you see his name listed at a con, go to one of his panels and then talk with him afterwards; you will not regret it!





Alex is always writing, scheming and plotting: his mind works like mine - always on the move!




 Support your local authors and READ their books!





 The book that started it all - spooky.
 The new edition is available through ProSe Press. Order your copy today!




 Amen to that. 





Thank you, Alex! See you soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Multicoloured Blood of the Arts



I'm home, listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and still glowing from being a part of the opening reception of Anyway Anyhow, the latest exhibit at Crosstown ArtsAs I walked through the gallery admiring the pieces by Tim Kerr, Bruce Webb, John Henry Toney, Butch Anthony and Timmy Lampinen, I wanted to scream with laughter; the place was flooded with people all mingling, talking and admiring the pieces that hung on the walls while music played in the background as an accompaniment to the flowing beer and wine. One could also purchase tickets for Gonerfest, one of the many music festivals in Memphis that is well supported by locals and others from around the world.



My thoughts and body ran high with energy that flowed between everyone tonight; it was impossible to be in a bad mood and walk around the gallery. It is always a good thing to see Memphians, or anyone living in their cities for that matter, support the local arts. It still amazes me whenever someone tells me that there is nothing to do in Memphis; I can only nod and smile while on the inside I wonder if they are talking about the same Memphis that I live in. Thanks to people who give a damn about this city, Memphis is getting that awesome mojo back and it shows. The arts are alive and well in Memphis; anything you want is here.

(artist Tim Kerr signing my book!)

Memphis is home to several art museums - Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens - plus many galleries and even a full museum dedicated to metalworking!

Of course, we are known for our music - the list is too long to name!

Anyway, you get the idea.

As I walked through the gallery a second time, a thought crossed my mind - it still makes me do a double take when people think that a person who makes a living in the arts is not really "working". In my years of being an author and editor, I have met some very talented people in all realms of the arts: photographers, artists, writers, film makers, dancers, musicians and so on. They believe in what they do and it shows. Their multicoloured blood flows strong and thick.

Support your local artists - they are one of the reasons why there is beauty in the world.



By the way, Tim Kerr told me why all of his pieces have "your name here" located on the bottom. According to him, that is where your name should be - get out there and make your own art, no matter what form it takes.

Truer words ne'er spoken.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - Queen of Cups

Autumn is now officially here and it's time for another Living Tarot "card" ! This time, let's pay a visit to the Queen of Cups, as portrayed by my friend, Jada.

According to the Tarot, the Queen of Cups represents emotional security; calm; intuitive; compassionate. I think Jada handled those meanings quite well in her photos. She literally glowed as I took her photos for this "card".

So, without further ado, may I present to you The Living Tarot - Queen of Cups!

 Jada Brisentine as the Queen of Cups



 All hail the Queen of Cups!



Thank you, Jada, for your third "card"!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baudelaire and Mabon

As I sit at my desk working on my eBay store, I can feel the cooling breezes come through my screened windows. Today is the last day of Summer and not a day too soon. Tomorrow we celebrate Mabon, or Autumn Equinox, and I know a lot of people who are more than excited about it. Now we watch the leaves turn various shades of golds and reds, drink warm apple cider and eat anything that tastes like pumpkin. We now change our wardrobes from shorts and sandals to sweaters and pants. For me, Autumn is always a time of mystery and solitude, giving me more than wonder as to the Otherworld and those who (and what) inhabit it. In fact, I even wrote a book about a little town named Mabon and how it changes a woman's life forever - click HERE for more details.

Okay, shameless promotion now over (grin).

I thought that I would post a poem by one of my favourite poets and decadents that expresses his thoughts regarding Autumn.

So, without further ado - I present to you Autumn Song by Charles Baudelaire.

I

Shortly we will plunge within the frigid gloom,
Farewell swift summer brightness; all too short--
I hear already sounding with a death-like boom
The wood that falls upon the pavement of the court.

The whole of winter enters in my Being--pain,
Hate, honor, labour hard and forced--and dread,
And like the northern sun upon its polar plane
My heart will soon be but a stone, iced and red.

I listen trembling unto every log that falls,
The scaffold, which they build, has not a duller sound,
My spirits waver, like the trembling tower walls
That shake--with every echoing blow the builders pound.

Meeseemeth--as to these monotonous blows I sway,
They nail for one a coffin lid, or sound a knell--
For whom? Autumn now--and summer yesterday!
This strange mysterious noise betokens a farewell.
II
I love within your oblong eyes the verdant rays,
My sweet! but bitter everything to-day meseems:
And nought--your love, the boudoir, nor the flickering blaze,
Can replace the sun that o'er the screen streams.

And yet bemother and caress me, tender heart!
Even me the thankless and the worthless one;
Beloved or sister--unto me the sweets impart
Of a glorious autumn or a sinking sun.

Ephemeral task! the beckoning the beckoning empty tomb is set!
Oh grant me--as upon your knees my head I lay,
(Because the white and torrid summer I regret),
To taste the parted season's mild and amber ray.




 photo copyright 2014 Kimberly B. Richardson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Hands of Art Photo Project - Tommy Hancock

In my years of being a published author and editor, I have met some rather interesting and unique people who exude creativity like a person squeezing toothpaste.

Okay, that was not a great analogy, but you get the point.

In any case, one of those unique individuals is not only a talented author but also one of the heads of Pro Se Press, my main source for all things Pulp and a very good friend. I am also honoured to call him my publisher as well - Pro Se is the home of my magickal heroine Agnes Viridian in BLACK PULP and also my story, The Master of Tea, in the upcoming ASIAN PULP!

So, without further ado, may I present to you The Hands of Art - Tommy Hancock!



 Pro Se Press is home to such awesome characters like The Rook, Lazarus Gray (LOVE), The Family Grace and many, many others! If you are looking for a great book to read, you should check them out! Pro Se also has a blog - click HERE for more!



 Tommy is best known for his fedora; if you ever see the fedora at a convention, walk up to the person wearing it and say, "Hi, Tommy!" 



Thank you, Tommy! See you in Louisville at Imaginarium!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Beauty - Photo Project

This city girl loves Nature.

Although I live in an apartment building in Memphis, I still enjoy a nice and quiet drive out to somewhere where there is silence and places where I can think and be alone. Such was the case yesterday when, while enjoying the Japanese Festival at the Memphis Botanic Garden, I slipped off and enjoyed solitude if only for a little while.

I am drawn to trees in all shapes and sizes and I especially love trees that are gnarled and twisted. They whisper their stories to me and I can't help but listen.

So, sit back and enjoy my photos; perhaps you will hear their whispers as well.

This is for my friend, Katalina. I hope you enjoy them.






































Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Review - The Children Act by Ian McEwan

As I am sure you are probably tired of hearing me say this, I have to say it one more time:

I LOVE Ian McEwan.

Funny thing is that years ago, I was not able to read his books. It took me three times to read Atonement but by then, I began reading one of his other novels, Amsterdam. Strangely enough, it was Amsterdam that helped me "understand" how McEwan wrote; by the time I tried Atonement again, not only did I understand it all too well but I was able to fly through it with little problems. Since then, I tend to devour every book he has written (except Solar, but I am willing to give it another try!), so when the news came out that he had a new book coming out, I was beyond happy.



The Children Act, McEwan's latest, presents the readers with a very serious question: are Life and Death so easily manipulated by the law? Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, is presented a case in which a young man, Adam, is refusing treatment for his leukemia because of his religious beliefs. She goes to visit the highly intelligent and emotionally sensitive boy in the hospital and from there, develops a sort of friendship with the young man that quickly turns into a obsession. A side story, but still just as important, is that her husband, Jack, informs her that he wants to have an affair with a younger woman due to the lack of passion in their marriage. As the story progresses, she stands her ground in both matters and the end comes not with a bang or an explosion but rather a moment of being enlightened with a sense of weariness.

As much as I wanted to savour this book, I found that I could not and instead devoured the entire book within two days. Ian McEwan has done it again, complete with believable characters that are not necessarily likable, prose that flourishes and delves ever so deep within the psyche, and a sense of the macabre that is horrific only in that we actually know people like these characters and wonder if perhaps McEwan somehow knows them as well. I actually argued with myself for thirty minutes when I finished the book - a sign that I loved the book.

If you are a fan of McEwan like I am, or just looking for a slim and powerful novel to read on the weekend, The Children Act is for you.

Thank you again, Ian. I hope I can meet you one day and give you a copy of The Decembrists.

EX LIBRIS!

PS - Here is the official trailer for Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Awesome film yet the book is so much better.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Three of Wands

It's a lovely Saturday afternoon and I am at home enjoying Roland Kirk Quartet while preparing the latest Living Tarot "card"! This time, we will make a visit to the Three of Wands, as presented by my friend and Beta Reader, James Weakley!

According to the Tarot, the Three of Wands represents preparation; foresight; enterprise; expansion.

I think James did an amazing job in portraying such a card, as you will soon see.

May I present to you The Living Tarot - The Three of Wands!

 James Weakley as the Three of Wands



 Preparation for anything that comes his way.


A change in his life is within reach. 
Thank you, James!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review - The Shrine at Altamira by John L'Heureux

Today, after getting my permanent crown for one of my wisdom teeth, I went straight home and continued to read John L'Heureux's darkly fascinating novel The Shrine at Altamira, after beginning it earlier today. An hour and 40 minutes later, I finished the book with a stunned look on my face and a grand desire to read everything L'Heureux has ever written.



The Shrine at Altamira is the story of Russell Whitaker and his young and naive girlfriend, later wife, Maria Corazon Alvarez and how their relationship blossoms and changes over time with both great and disastrous results. They have a son named John and it is through John that they exude their wide variety of emotions for each other through him. When Russell, in a moment of cracked mentality, decides to set his only son on fire, the book then spirals downward into a Hell in which the inhabitants never escape, no matter how hard their efforts. And yet, as readers witness the continued torture of the effects after John's near death to the people who love and fear him equally, they are also witnesses to how Love, in its myriad of forms, still gives Russell and Maria hope, no matter how much of a farce it truly appears to be.

John L'Heureux's style of writing seems to be in the same vein as John Irving or Claire Messud: none of the characters are perfect, the flaws are worn proudly like medals in such a distinctly misaligned society, yet we can't help but still hope that somehow, all will turn out to be "okay". His words flow, literally, from the pages and I found myself not wanting to get up and do my chores for the night. I could not put the book down. Literally.

If you are looking for a well written literary novel that, I will admit, is not at all happy and full of sunshine, then The Shrine at Altamira is for you.

Read. This. Book.


EX LIBRIS!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

~COFFEEHOUSE~

Still enjoying the lovely night in my apartment - now listening to my 80s mix and rocking out!

However, I decided to post another photo shoot just because! Thanks to my non paid yet still lovely friend and fellow Aquarian Jean Marie, we decided to do some black and whites in Otherlands Coffee Bar in Midtown Memphis (38104 FOREVER!) on Labour Day.

I hope you enjoy them just as much as we had fun doing them!

 Coffee fuels the artistic soul . . . . 



 You too will make that same face if you read The Decembrists!


 She is lost in her own world - leave her there and let her create. 



 Mmmm . . . coffee . . . . 



 Pondering in the shadows of her mind . . . 




The day is done - all we have are remnants . . . 



The Hands of Art Photo Project - Robert J. Krog

It's a lovely night in Memphis and I am listening to some awesome Turkish music while I contemplate if I want iced tea mixed with blueberry juice. I'm also working on the next Hands of Art "subject" - Robert J. Krog!

I've known Robert since high school and I will say that he has always been a very nice and kind soul. Lately however, I will add another description - awesome writer! Although I have only read his stories for Dark Oak Press' Dreams of Steam anthologies, those stories are more than enough to cement him as a very talented writer, one whose words will make you feel as though you are right there with him. Not only does he write Steampunk well, but he also works quite nicely with werewolves  - Luna's Children: Full Moon Mayhem!

So, without further ado, may I present to you The Hands of Art - Robert J. Krog!


 Robert is the author of the work A Bag Full of Eyes.



 He is also the Editor of the pirate anthology A Tall Ship, A Star, And Plunder - Dark Oak Press



 The Stone Maiden and Other Tales will be re-released as a Dark Oak Press title in the very near future - you can still, however, grab a copy at a convention in which Robert is a guest! He'll even sign it for you!


Thank you, Robert! Keep writing those awesome stories!