Friday, November 28, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Shoot - The Death Card (male)

I'm watching the sun set outside of my living room windows while preparing for another Living Tarot "card"! This time, we return to Death yet we have the male version, as presented by my friend, Kevin L. Williams!

Since I have already talked about the meanings of the Death card in the female form, let's just get right to the photos! A BIG thanks to Kevin for making the male Death card funny and with style!

 Kevin L. Williams as the Male Death.

 Death watches over The Fool (Richard Plemons).

 Death is a hopeless romantic . . . . or something. 

 Preparing the body for the Next Journey.

 Death loves His job!

Thank you, Kevin!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving, or as I like to call it - 

Happy Tryptophan Day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Hanged Man

After a nice round of playing my level 78 Human Warrior in World of Warcraft (For the Alliance!), it's time to return to the Living Tarot! This time, we are going to visit The Hanged Man, one of the cooler cards in the "deck".

According to the Tarot, The Hanged Man represents ~ suspension; restriction; letting go; sacrifice. As you will see in the photo below, this was quite a fun shot to do. Even The Fool joined in the fun!

So, without further ado, may I present to you The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Hanged Man!

Rather than have several photos, I chose the one best one because honestly, one is all you need with this "card".

Thank you James, Thomas and Richard! This was an awesome shot!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review - The Boxcar Baby: Book One of the Steel Roots Series by JL Mulvihill

As I have stated in an earlier post, I am beginning to discover really good books thanks to me making the time in my busy schedule to actually read. It's nice to sit down with a cup of tea and read a book, even if I only have ten minutes. It's also a good time to finally begin to read my "To Be Read" pile of books written by my friends. Such was the case with The Boxcar Baby: Book One of the Steel Roots Series by my friend Jen (JL) Mulvihill.

The Boxcar Baby is quite a nice mixture of dystopian literature, Steampunk, mystery and alternate history, fused together by the words as created by an engaging storyteller as Mulvihill. AB'Gale Steel lives with her Papa, Bishop Steel, and her Granny at a small farm in complete bliss. However, when Bishop fails to return after his latest venture to the city of New Joplan, it's up to his feisty teenage daughter to find him, no matter the cost. Although the story sounds quite simple, Mulvihill has added defined workinhouse cruelty, trolls that eat children, hobo jungles, steam powered carriages and a spyglass with a rolled up map, making for one heck of a series that I know will only get better and better with each book.

I do want to say that the character of AB'Gale is one that I want to watch grow and adapt to her surroundings under the watchful eye of the System; she is not a simpering and whiny teenager but rather a young woman who has a good head on her shoulders and is not afraid to say (and do) what is on her mind. Although she does show fear at times, she does not show cowardice. She uses her head and does not allow anything to detract her from locating her Papa. Even in her dystopian Steampunk world, AB'Gale is a heroine to be respected.

I could definitely tell that Mulvihill had done her research when it came to the workinhouse; the details regarding the crummy food, the sleeping and bathing quarters and even the treatment of the young girls by the matrons was realistic and well written. Child labour is a part of the System and Mulvihill makes sure that the readers understand that their life is not idealistic. The workinhouses lend to the overall bleakness of this alternate America that is ruled with a steam powered fist. The Boxcar Baby makes for an excellent introduction into dystopian and Steampunk reading for the novice, as well as an overall amazing read for someone who wants to lose themselves in a different world, no matter the grittiness of it.

Click on the Seventh Star Press link for ordering information - you will not be disappointed!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Living Tarot Photo Project - The Knight of Cups a la Louisiane!

So, I'm currently cleaning out my CD collection, listening to music and eating popcorn from a pot.

Yes, this is how I roll (wink).

In any case, it's time for another "card" from the Living Tarot Photo Project! This time, we're going to Louisiana to visit the Knight of Cups, as portrayed by one of my dearest friends, Brian Held Jr!

According to the Tarot, the Knight of Cups represents romance; charm; imagination; "knight in shining armour". Well, to liven things up, Brian decided to take the "card" to a whole new level.

So, without further ado, may I present to you the Living Tarot Photo Project ~ The Knight of Cups!

 Brian Held Jr. as the Knight of Cups. In a New Orleans hotel.

 The Knight of Cups kicks back one after a long day of . . . well, I'm not sure what he did, but I know it took a long time!

 A cold one, ready and waiting for the Knight of Cups!

 The Knight of Cups is grateful for his beer. . . . 

 Yes . . . yes he is . . . 

Allan Gilbreath from Dark Oak Press interviews the Knight of Cups in a special edition interview! Thank you, Brian!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review - Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz

I think I am on a kick. The kick known as "actually make time to read and discover really cool books".

Since making the time both in the morning and evening to read, I have had some very pleasant surprises and have added more authors to my list for when I make the trip to the library or bookstore. Such was the case with Amos Oz and his book Rhyming Life and Death.

The story is simple: an unnamed author spends eight hours after a literary event wandering the streets of Tel Aviv while creating stories of everyone he meets. From a waitress in whom he fancies a crush on, to the shy professional reader who reads his work at the event, to even various members of the audience who attended the event: no one is safe from the mind of an author who has nothing better to do. He catches a glimpse of a face or a piece of clothing and from there weaves a story so believable that at times I wondered if even the unnamed author knew the difference.

This book marked my initial dive into the world of author Amos Oz and what an introduction. Although the book was short, it was a rather fanciful story that kept my attention from the beginning to the end when the unnamed author finally succumbs to sleep the next day. We walk with him, smoke his cigarettes, admire the women he admires and swelters in the heat of the Tel Aviv night. Oz's writing is carefully paced yet does not laden the readers down. He entices and keeps the pace well; even the single clumsy sex scene in the book was written in such a way to expose and reveal the innermost secrets of the two involved, yet still entice the reader to want to turn the page. All in all, a great slim novel to read in an afternoon with a cup of tea.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review - Beast of Burden by Alexandra Christian

Author Alexandra Christian and I have been Facebook friends for quite some time, yet I finally met her in person at Imaginarium, the literary convention held in Louisville, Kentucky. Of course, I purchased one of her books and, thanks to me always being busy, put off reading it until last night. If I did not have a corporate job, I would have stayed up to finish it. Thankfully, I was able to complete reading Beast of Burden this morning and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. 

Beast of Burden, published through Purple Sword Publications, is a variation of the classic story Beauty and the Beast, except this Beast is quite charming, seductive and . . . well, other things (wink). Lord Cianan Marek has a reputation for being a cold hearted and cruel man, yet he burns to be reunited with his lost love, Isabella, who died under mysterious circumstances. Thanks to a kind and somewhat doddering innkeeper stealing a rose from Lord Marek's garden one night, a young woman named Sascha becomes caught up in a world filled with regrets, monsters and eternal love as only Lord Marek can give. 

Let me just get right to the point and say that the adult scenes in the book were written amazingly well; at times, I had to put the book down and fan myself, only to pick it up and continue reading. And yet, as much as I enjoyed those scenes, the story itself was written just as well. Christian has a knack for creating realistic characters within a familiar tale through her original voice. I found myself flying through the book last night, wondering what would happen next while getting a distinct feeling that I had met these characters before. Sascha, as I had told Christian this morning on my way to the corporate job, was NOT the typical simpering and heaving-in-the-corset woman in the romance novel. Rather, she had a mind of her own and a mouth to boot and she was not afraid to use either. Cianan Marek, although being the typical Byronic Hero that I enjoy reading, was also quite a delight to read. He makes no qualms for who and what he is and he does not allow anything to weaken him, even love. 

In getting back to the adult scenes, I found them to be necessary to the story and not just added in to make the book "steamy". When Sascha and Cianan come together for the first time (ouch, sorry for the pun!), it felt real and not campy. The sex scenes were believable in that they could be performed by ordinary people, yet as I said before, there was also love and even that felt real. That was enough for me to determine that I am now a loyal fan of Christian's.

Click HERE for more information regarding Purple Sword Publications and other works by Christian!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review - Ghost Dance by Carole Maso

Carole Maso is the kind of author that makes you feel lost. Lost in a dream world of words and phrases, emotions and erotic tendencies. She makes you want to re-read chapters again and again, knowing that with each reading that there will be another meaning behind it. It is both satisfying and frustrating to read an author like her and yet, I did so and will continue to do with enjoyment.

In Ghost Dance, Maso's first book, the dream is very much a reality in her characters' worlds; I found it hard to return to the "real" world after reading sections of the book. Vanessa, the main character of the book, tells of her eccentric and creative family: her mother, Christine, who is a major poet; her father, Michael, who enjoys mathematics and classical music; and her brother, Fletcher, who becomes a symbol for the environmental movement. They all are, in their own way, gently insane and have seen or at least witnessed the Topaz Bird, of which is a symbol of their coming to grips with their very colourful and fragile mental state. Vanessa, as the story unfolds, tells of how her mother simply disappears one day, followed by her father and then her brother and she is left in the care of a man named Jack who loves her. She also becomes the lover of Marta, a fellow student at Vassar College, and is exposed to drugs, Sapphic desires, suicides and her mother's poetic presence. As Vanessa begins to process her family's disappearance followed by their eventual return, she reflects upon the past and how her family was never meant to be in the real world, no matter how much they may have wanted to reside there. When the family returns to the "real" world, an unfortunate yet inevitable tragedy strikes them, giving both Vanessa and Fletcher the chance to face the secrets of their family.

As I stated before, Maso writes as though she is lost in her self inflicted dream and perhaps she is; her writing is both linear and fragmented and we the readers are left to decipher what she has displayed on the pages. There is no black and white when it comes to Maso and I honestly like her more for it. In fact, it dawned on me yesterday that Carole Maso is the author version of Tori Amos.

I have checked out more of her works from the library and I can't wait to return to her words.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Hands of Art Photo Project - Jen (J.L.) Mulvihill

It's the first day of November and I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my apartment.

It's also time for another Hands of Art Photo Project "subject"!

This time, I'd like to focus on one of my dearest friends who is quite a Renaissance Woman - singer, author, fashion designer, squirrel handler (okay, I made that last one up, but you'll see what I mean!), editor, jeweler and just an all around wonderful person. I'm taking about Jen (J.L.) Mulvihill.

I met Jen several years ago at a book event in Jackson, Mississippi and we have been friends ever since. She is such a creative soul and she is great fun at conventions. She is also a blast to watch on panels, no matter how strange the panel topic- just ask her about the subjects she's had to discuss!

She is an author with Dark Oak Press and Seventh Star Press - I'll have her book links listed below.

Without further ado, may I present to you The Hands of Art Photo Project - Jen Mulvihill!

 Jen is the only person I know of who has her own line of designer Steampunk squirrels; if you ever see her at a con, please take a look at them. Each one is quite unique and no two are alike. 

 The Lost Daughter of Easa is a delightfully dark yet greatly entertaining book for all ages - available through Dark Oak Press. 

 Southern Haunts and Southern Haunts Two: Devils in the Darkness - two awesome Horror anthologies available through Seventh Star Press.

Another of her one of a kind Steampunk squirrels - they are too cute!

A delightful example of Jen's jewelry ~

And still more jewelry!

Thank you, Jen! If you ever see her at a convention, stop by her table or see her on a panel; she truly is a treasure and quite an AWESOME celebrity!