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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beam Me Up Scottie!

At last we went to the movies this weekend! Finally got to see "Star Trek" and I wasn't disappointed.:) Having seen all of the old Star Treks on TV from the beginning, I've been a Star Trek geek since the series began.:) I used to love how they simulated the spaceship being attacked and everyone being pushed all over the bridge on the show. The lights would go off and on and the people would move from one side to the other. Yet it worked on TV.:) I've seen all the other Star Trek movies and loved them all. But all this time I was wondering where was Spock! Where could he be? Last time we saw him he was floating in space and trying to regenerate the Earth. This film gives us the answer, but I won't tell you, because some of you may not have seen it yet and I don't want to give spoilers. Let's just say I was very surprised. Of course, as always, my whole family knew the surprise!

I always wonder why I'm the only one in this family who still enjoys surprises. My husband actually reads the end of a book before he is finished reading the rest of it. My younger daughter is so jaded that I don't think anything can surprise her. She always seems to know the part of something that will be just a little magical if you don't know it. Then you stumble upon it as you watch the movie or TV show and say, "Wow, that was great!" I guess I never got out of that childish stage of wonder.:) Maybe that's what makes me a writer and they are unable to see that part of life. I'm stuck in the world of childhood for my whole life and everything new gives me a great feeling. I love surprises and never want to know the ending of a book or a movie. I find there's a real excitement when you don't know the ending and it makes you a more accepting person. You don't make a judgement before things happen. So you can't have an opinion on something you haven't seen.

But really getting back to the movie, it was sensational. The special effects are outstanding even down to Spock's ears. They were so lifelike it looked like the actor who played him had grown them for the movie.:) The space parts were also so lifelike that I believed they could be expelled out of a small shuttle with retractable parachutes and fly through space into Earth's atmosphere. The spaceship, Enterprise looked so real. Even the letters seemed freshly painted. But the best was the relationship between the young Kirk and the rest of the crew with the exception of the girl who played Uhuru. She had a very small part and it was not at all in the spirit of the original person who played her. Unless they wanted to show a side of the character that has hitherto not been seen.:) The scenes inside the ship, especially the Romulun ship, were not the usual dull, dark, dreary things that have happened in the past. The director managed to keep my and my daughter's interest in those battle scenes with believable fights and heart-stopping moments that I'm sure they filmed with a green screen, but which looked very real.

The reason I think this movie has gotten the ratings it has is my younger daughter's reaction to it. She was not going to see it, though we practically begged her to see it. She told us she was going to see another movie, but when my husband handed her the ticket she came into the theater with us. She had her arms folded the whole first part of the movie, but when we asked her afterward if she liked it, she said yes, she had. Part of it was when the adorable guy who plays Checkov came on the screen she definitely perked up a bit. Then she started to pay attention.

This is a two post review, so more in my next post. Let me know if any of you have seen this and how you feel about it. Until the next time, hope you had a great weekend. It was gorgeous here both days and loved the sunshine. Hope to see some comments. Also should have a guest author here this week. Will tell you who next post.:) Welcome to my new readers and as always thankful for the readers who have been with me. I love the nice comments. If you're here from Blog Catalog, please leave a comment here too. I read and respond to all of them.:)

Photo credits:
Left photo: Left to right: Chekov (Anton Yelchin), James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Uhura (Zoë Saldana) in 'Star Trek.' Photo Credit: Industrial Light & Magic. Copyright © 2009 by PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Right photo: Chris Pine (left) stars as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto (right) stars as Spock in 'Star Trek.' Photo Credit: Industrial Light and Magic. Copyright (c) 2009 by PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Thoughts for Wednesday

I meant to write much earlier than this, but as usual my life kind of got in the way. We spent a very quiet Memorial Day Weekend and didn't go anywhere special.

Except even on an ordinary weekend something wonderful can happen.:)

This weekend my husband had to work for two days, so we were left alone and really it was so nice to not have to think about another person's needs. When he's home he takes up a great deal of my time. Yet if you spoke to him he would deny it. He thinks he's low maintenance, but since his heart attack he has been very high maintenance. He thinks he takes care of himself, but when he's home he's always asking me to do things for him. They range from simple things like getting out his insulin from the refrigerator or larger things like getting him his underwear or finding his lost shoe. Besides this he is constantly informing me of something he has either read, heard on the radio, or seen on TV. So I have to pay almost constant attention to him. Occasionally it will even be something to look up on the computer. So when he's away I take a deep breath and relax. I miss him, but it's good to have those moments alone to regroup.:)

So this weekend my daughters and I decided to go look for this diner we had seen advertised on a sign on Rte 84. We didn't really believe it existed, because the Eveready Diner was in Hyde Park. The sign pictured above is right before the diner showing you where it is on Rte 9. If you've ever been to Hyde Park the road there is pretty narrow and it is hard to miss this pa
rticular diner anyway.:) Back to the trip we took, we thought it might be the same diner only they were advertising the turn off for it. But being adventurous and starving we searched for the diner off the exit where they had advertised it would be. We were still skeptical, but as we were traveling back to look at the sign again we found the new diner. Imagine our excitement that they had brought our favorite diner forty-five minutes closer to us! We turned into a shopping center and there at the top of the hill was a new Eveready Diner! It looked a little different outside, but inside it was exactly the same!

Let me describe it for you. As you walk in you might think it was a diner out of the 1950's or even earlier. A huge statue of a young boy holding an enormous cup of coffee in his hand is the main attraction. Then you get the aromas of good diner food and the place was packed with people. Lucky for us we got seated right away.:) Sometimes you have to wait almost an hour at the old diner. But the service and the food is so outstanding you put up with almost anything. If you are anywhere near Brewster, NY you have to go there. They even have those old fashioned juke boxes at every table. You know the ones that you can turn on top.:) But they're filled with new songs and classics too. The best way to find out about all of the food is to go to the website link for Eveready Diner. I love it and when you visit there you will love it too. Every meal is great, but their breakfast is outstanding! Don't forget to order the sausage, because it is so incredibly good! Go with a very big appetite, because even the non-breakfast items are huge.:) Between the three of us we ordered two breakfasts and it was enough! It kept us full for over seven hours!! A few years ago this diner was on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. That's how we found it.

I am a member of a couple of blog networks. One of them is Blog Catalog and I have a lot of friends on there. A while back in March, Jose Sinclair wrote a very nice review of this blog:

nice blog.. I like what's being done for writers there, I will now read Simon Rose.
I'd like to read more, also about your creative process, how you go
about writing, etc.

Good stuff.. Jose

Posted: March 23rd, 2009 | More Reviews From JoseSinclair

He has several blogs on Blog Catalog that are very diverse and should appeal to almost everyone. You can access them all here: lawrence jose sinclair. From here you can access all of his blogs. The one I like best is the one about film, The World's Best Films.

Thank you Jose Sinclair for honoring my blog with one of your reviews. I am going to reciprocate with a review for at least one of your blogs. It's so hard to choose.:)
There are also a couple of other reviews from other people on Blog Catalog so go take a look if you are on there. Thank you to recent reviewers, Jack W and Chris for their great reviews!

One more thing before I go. I have followed these performers, The Kennedys for years. Now they are performing alone and since both of them are great musicians this is wonderful. Together they are amazing, but solo they each have something to offer that is unique and excellent. Their names are Pete and Maura Kennedy and if you ever get a chance to see them don't hesitate. Pete is an outstanding musician who can play rock, folk, blues and even classical guitar and ukelele. Maura is exciting and has a voice that adapts to all of those
genres. Together they both can play and sing so you feel that excitement. I think this is rare in many performers. But they can translate that exuberance to the crowd. Their songs are original and tell a story. Now that Maura is singing solo her songs are more bluesy, but you will love the sound of her voice. I am including a bit about the Kennedys for you here. Why I am doing this is that I just learned that Pete Kennedy has a studio in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn in Williamsburg where I lived between the ages of three and six. So I am linking you to their websites and I think you will enjoy this very much.:) If you have never heard their music you are in for a real treat!

I'm not sure about Thursday, but there may be an author interview here. I'll let you know tomorrow. Thank you to all my readers and my new readers and my new followers from Blog Catalog and Mexico. Ole! Hasta LaVista!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What Does It Mean to Be a Woman?

Okay, it's Postcard Friendship Friday and I am posting one of my own here. This is for Marie. I told you I had these postcards and finally got to scan one into the computer. I'm hoping to scan the whole collection. But Betty Boop represents to me a woman who is totally confident with herself and doesn't exclude anything from her life.
Yes, she 's a cartoon character and I know that!:) But I don't know, she just makes me smile.:)

It goes along with the theme of this post. Yesterday I told you I found a new blog because Out-Numbered referred me to the post there. I loved the discussion there so much that I decided to devote most of this post to it. I'm going to show what she said and then show Out-Numbered's comment. Then I'm going to show my comments and add to them. Here is what she said.
She is the author of My Bottle's Up who wrote this:

fact. and male readers out there, i don't write this because i'm a man-hating feminist (though i am a feminist). i write this because it's true.
my blog. my post. my truth. ya don't like it, don't read it. (I loved this approach, by the way!)
this truth is becoming more and more apparent to me by the minute. literally, the minute. if I see men unable to multi-task, make decisions, take care of their health, take care of their families...and then i see women carting babies,toddlers and groceries up three flights of stairs while on their cell phone, hosting a conference call. i see men who are unwilling toght for what they want... because they don't know what they want. and i see women fighting to the death for what matters to them because they see it, they know it, and they go after it. i see men sitting on couches. i see women running towards the goal line. i see men going through the motions. i see women creating motion.

">Here is what Out-Numbered said about this post:

"You see, the thing is that we like being lame. We embrace being lazy. Before our wives came along, we were able to cook our own food, clean our own apartments, follow directions, read a map, socialize like human beings, laugh, act silly, dress ourselves and do a whole slew of things. Back then, nobody told us we were wrong or called us idiots. We just got shit done and you know what? It worked! We survived! You know what else? You found us, picked us out fromthe crowd and married us because you liked how we acted. How quickly one forgets. But now, everything we do is completely and utterly fucked up. Not because it's wrong but because it's not how YOU do it. So like a dog that is kicked one too many times, we just stop doing it. It's much easier to get yelled at for not doing anything than it is to drag our fat asses off the couch and waste our time only to be told it's not good enough. That's my rant. Now... lets talk about how HOT chicks are when they ;Okay, so we are to believe that men don't do what they used to do because living with a woman makes them feel like they are doing things wrong? So they stop doing these things altogether because they can't stand the criticism? If this is true then all women are telling the men they marry or live with that everything they're doing isBTW, in case things get out of hand, the safe word is... Out-Numbered.

Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's that men just go ahead and do whatever they want to do without consulting with the woman with which they are living. I think it's important for couples to discuss big things together and when there is a chance that one or the other isn't sure of the decision he or she needs to clarify that.:)Also this applies to the little things. When a man is sent to the store he buys whatever he feels like buying. Unless you give him a list he will buy only what he wants without thinking about the needs of a woman. If you send a man to say, Costco, he will come home with huge amounts of things you would never buy as a woman and which if you were there with him he wouldn't even think to get them. Yet they manage to bring home stuff you wouldn't want to buy. In fact, most men with women don't care what a woman buys. But alone they'll buy the craziest things!!

It's the same thing when it comes to preparing their own meals. Men will eat the weirdest combinations of foods when they are alone. Yet when you ask them what they want for dinner they would never tell you that combination. In other words, I believe that men have a private life they don't want women to know about and it entails their exercising their freedom of choice. But if a woman is in charge of the kitchen and preparing meals, shouldn't she have the last word about what comes into her cupboards and refrigerator? What do the men out there think of this? Are men just trying to show how free they are?

I hope this question won't crash my blog as it has probably done for MyBottle'sUp.:)

Until the next time. Have a great, great Memorial Day Weekend and try to get to the beach.:) Any beach will do if you are landlocked, but people on the coast try to put your feet in the sand sometime this weekend..:)

How Can a Saying From Confucius Help Teachers?

I have so much to talk about that I will probably need to make another post.:)

First of all I missed Quotable Thursday on Pamposh Dhar's Teratali Reiki and Counseling. So here is my quote, which I found in a book called Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher. Being a former teacher you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher.:) I like to imagine being in a classroom and teaching my way. This author and I think alike. It's refreshing.:)

"Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is dangerous."

Mr. Gallagher starts his book with this quotation and I believe that this is exactly what is wrong with our country today. Many people were taught too much without having a chance to do any thinking about it. They went through school and learned some facts and connected them to where their teachers told them to, but teachers didn't have enough time to go into any of the areas in depth. So if these people didn't go to college where they might have dealt with these subjects in a deeper fashion, they have these unrelated facts in their heads. Add this to the fact that some people have certain beliefs that they just know are true. They have basically learned without thinking and later in life they have thought without learning. All thought needs to be combined with learning or you have basically dogma, which is a belief that you have on trust. People who have been taught to accept everything they learn without thinking about it will of course believe everything that anyone is thinking without asking for facts to back it up. Here we have in a nutshell the reason why even though Bush was basically the antithesis of what anyone would consider presidential, he still had thirty per cent who approved of him. This explains why people will accept the idea of Creationism.

Have you ever noticed that once you have learned about something you want to learn more about it? Humans learn by making connections with something we already know. The more you know about a subject the easier it is for you to learn more about it. We gain more connections by looking at things in different ways or thinking.:) Thinking is a necessary tool for learning. It helps us to examine what we are learning in various ways so we can find all the connections to ourselves that we can. The more you feel connected to what you learn the more you will want to learn it. If only some teachers understood this concept the educational system would be turning out fantastic students. Instead they are forced to push learning into kids like you would feed a reluctant toddler. Actually, when people are open to learning it is the easiest thing in the world to teach them.:) One example is any advanced class that you have taken to get a license or for an upgrade in pay. The people you are with are interested and interacting with the teacher for the most part. You wonder why this kind of interest is not seen in high school classes. The truth is that an affinity group that has a stake in their own learning is not an unconnected class of adolescents who would rather be texting their friends or on their IPods or playing Wii than be in that class. They don't see the carrot at the end. :) Maybe it would be a better idea to give them more motivation to learn than good grades. Just a thought I had and all from one quotation from Confucius.

What does everyone think about this? Sorry no interview or highlight this week. I will highlight someone's fantastic blog on Monday. Have a great Friday!! It's Memorial Day Weekend so enjoy the rest.:) More on my next post! Out-Numbered has led me to yet another great discussion. I can't wait to tell you about this new place that I've found and the discussion on this woman's blog. But that will be my next post tomorrow, which is really today now.:)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Comedy: Is It Worth Traveling for 3 Hours?

On Friday night instead of taking my own advice and taking two cars, we drove in one car to see Joel McHale from The Soup. My daughter had gotten the tickets and our seats were way up high in the upper rows. But this didn't even bother us as we blithely started out at quarter to four for an eight o'clock show at Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel, which is about two hours away from us if there isn't any traffic.
One thing you have to know about my husband is that he hates being late to anything! I mean he has to be at least an hour early to feel comfortable. That is why we started out so early. However, we ran into traffic on I-95 due to it being Friday and also construction. He had on the radio a folk station and it was driving my daughters in the back seat crazy. This trip was meant to be a family trip so they refrained from listening to their IPods and tried to placate him. As the traffic continued to slow us down and my husband refused to change the channel, tempers started to rise inside our car. My husband refused to budge and I worried that we'd have a horrible argument with the girls screaming and my husband getting red in the face. So after he'd shown that he was going to be stubborn, I'd had enough, and though he kept pushing my hand away from the button to change the channel I found an opening and changed the station! With a stop for refreshment at the rest stop, which on this stretch of road is almost always just a McDonald's and a coffee place, we spent the rest of the trip in relative comfort.

But this two hour trip had stretched into a three hour trip and we arrived with only about forty minutes to spare. Mohegan Sun is a huge casino and hotel owned by the Mohegan Indian nation and set on their reservation. You have no idea that it is there until you turn a corner and see these two massive metallic structures rising into the Connecticut sky.:) We opted for Valet parking and soon we were inside the place.

We'd been there before for my younger daughter's twenty-first birthday so we knew our way around a little. There is a central area where there is a huge waterfall against one of the walls. A restaurant, Todd English's Tuscany, sits right in front of the waterfall with seating on both sides. From this spot you can see the upper floor where most of the restaurants are. There is a promenade on the first floor where you can find anything from handbags to HD Individual TV's for the executive who has everything. Seriously they fit on a desktop with plenty of room to spare.:) We found this at Brookstone, which also has other amazing gadgets designed to make life easier. I wanted to grab the entire store and fit it into my pocket!:) We browsed around in here and then decided it was time to go.

This was to be a night to celebrate my husband's birthday. It's on May 19th, but that would be a weekday and he's usually so tired. So we made reservations at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse for after the performance. We figured if he didn't like it, there were other places to go, but at least we would have a reservation.

If you've never seen The Soup, I linked you in the first paragraph to information about it. You need to have a weird sense of humor and it makes fun of reality shows, celebrities, and any other crazy stuff that's happening on TV. "Soup" fans enjoy making fun of these crazy reality shows and don't take them seriously. So if you like these new reality shows, such as "The Hills" or "Rock of Love", you won't like the humor of Joel McHale. My older daughter is the one who turned us onto it. She loves satire and has loved it since she was a little girl. Kids aren't even supposed to know about satire, but she started watching TV with shows like: "Not Necessarily the News", which was one of the first shows to satirize the news. She was only about four. She graduated to "Fraggle Rock" and "The Muppet Show" and when she got older it was "Mystery Science Theater 3000", "X-Files" and finally "24". The last two shows probably don't need a weird sense of humor, but she liked them anyway:)

My own penchant for satire began when I saw "Monty Python" and it was honed by shows like "The Smothers Brothers", who we recently saw, and "Second City TV". All of these are the forerunners for the news segment on "Saturday Night Live" and the two blockbuster shows: "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report". We also watched the first "Talk Soup" with Greg Kenear. So we love satiric humor as a family. The night was great and we laughed so much. We were sitting so far up I worried that if we laughed too much we might fall onto the floor below and the comedians were small. They had two large screens on either side of the stage so we could see them and this was good. You really felt connected to the person on stage even though we were so far away. The sound was great too. All in all the evening was great, including the dinner afterward. Joel McHale was so funny. He's also way more physical in his comedy in person than on TV.

If you go to Michael Jordan's Steakhouse you have to get their macaroni and cheese. We were four people and this little skillet they served us was a perfect accompaniment to their delicious steak. But you also have to order the 23 layer chocolate cake. It's like a tower made of cake and icing. We four couldn't finish it and we had to bring some home. It was that huge.:) The prices are fairly good for such great food and service. All in all a great birthday celebration. We made it home in two hours with no traffic! We also were very disciplined and didn't gamble at all!

Until the next time. Happy Sunday! We'll probably go see the new "Star Trek" movie. Enjoy yourselves.:) Thank you to my readers and any new readers. Sorry about the lack of posts this week. It's been very, very busy.:)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Discover the Koto

Anthony Trollope

It's "Quotable Thursdays" over at Teratali Reiki and Counseling and here is my quote for today:

"Of the needs a book has, the chief need is that it be readable."

___Anthony Trollope (April 24, 1815 -December 6, 1882)

I have to say that many books that people have raved over have not been readable to me. That is my main criteria for reading a book. If I get through the first couple of paragraphs and I can't understand or don't like what I'm reading I don't usually get the book. In rare instances, when the reviews have been fantastic, I will slog through boring or over-detailed writing to get to the rest of the book. It has usually been worth it with my favorite authors. But it is rare. Of course, readable has two sides. Who is say that what is readable to me is readable for you? So readability is strictly someone's opinion. That's why there are so many different publishers.:)

I'm hoping that when I send out my novel again that one of those publishers or agents will find my book "readable".:)

So I'm hoping everyone had a great Mother's Day. My apologies for not putting up a blog sooner, but I was hoping for more comments and questions for the last one. After all I'm offering a book from my own collection as a prize to the winner of the drawing. So far it's only going to be three or four people. Come on guys, you still have a chance. Go over to to the last blog and leave your comment.:) I'll hold off until Friday for all of you late comers to do it.:)

A Koto - the national instrument of Japan

On Sunday I had the pleasure of celebrating Mother's Day by attending a recital/concert by on of my family members held at Steinway Hall, which is a domed area inside of the Steinway showroom on 57th Street in Manhattan. Paintings of John Steinway and other celebrities from that era adorn the walls and marble columns make you feel you are back in the era when piano concerts were the norm for our enjoyment.

When you walk in the first thing that you see is an enormous Steinway grand piano that dominates the room. This was so large that I couldn't see the smaller piano next to it, but since there was a duet perfomance at one point I knew there had to be a piano. All we could see, and we were in the first row, were her feet tapping on the pedals and her face and arms. But the music that came from these two pianos was magic.:)

Besides the pianos there was the usual accompaniments to piano, a violinist and a celloist. However added to this group was a young woman seated at an instrument I had never seen. It looked like a guitar set on its back with a wooden backing and legs. It was called a Koto. I couldn't believe the sound of the music that came from this instrument played by a woman who looked like a teenager and who had hands that flew across the strings pressing here and plucking there. She wore picks on the ends of the fingers of her right hand and used the left as you would play a guitar. The music sounded something like in between a harp and a guitar. Incredibly modern at the same time as harking back to much more ancient sounds. Combined with the piano it was one of the most unusual concerts I have ever heard. I am including a video so you can hear and see how this instrument is played.

Okay, that's all for today. I'd be interested in knowing what you think makes a book readable to you. Please let me know and I'll post the answers in my next post.:)

Until the next time, we have to wait one more week to find out about American Idol, but can I say that I let out my breath tonight after my daughter and I sat on the sofa clutching each other's hand and praying that Adam wouldn't be eliminated.:) I can live with Adam and Kris. Both are really good in their own way, but I hope Adam wins. He is awesome!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guest Author Pierre Dominique Rostan

We do have a guest author today, but unfortunately running late. So will continue until tomorrow for the commenting. Also, please continue to comment through the weekend. The drawing will be held on Monday, May 11th.

This is also Quotable Thursday for my friend Pamposh Dhar's blog, Teritali Reiki and here is mine:

"I am not only a pacifist, but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace."
- Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

Today we welcome our guest author Pierre Dominique Rostan, whose book, THE CAINE LETTERS will be published in December, 2009. This is Pierre's first published book, so for today I am going to give away something from me. If you leave a comment I am going to give away a book to be announced from my
own book
collection! I have doubles of some books and would love to give them away to someone who would appreciate them.

Welcome Pierre Dominique Rostan, author of THE CAINE LETTERS to my blog as my guest author for this week. Due to technical difficulties we are a bit late, but we are adding a day or two to this event for you. Computer problems are not foreign to many of us, so I'm sure we all understand!:)

Let's begin:

Barbara: Would you please tell us all the origin of your name?
Pierre: Allow me to introduce myself then! Pierre Dominique Roustan. Yes, you readers out there can say it: it’s a cool name. And that’s because I’m cool. I’m a 2nd generation Hispanic, born in Chicago, Illinois, son to a fiery Puerto Rican woman and a tough-as-nails Nicaraguan man. And, yet, you ask why I have such a French name…. Because my dad’s half-French. Yes. It’s true.

Barbara: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pierre: I’ve been writing ever since I remembered being able to walk. It was one of those things you just couldn’t get away from, you know? My parents had me tested for giftedness, and the results came back showing I was gifted. What gift(s) I had? Wasn’t sure. Didn’t care. So much so that I sometimes omit the pronouns when I write. However, my parents cared, teachers cared, others cared; and they saw something in me. It didn’t take me long to realize that I loved to write—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, anything. I just had this need to fill the white space on a piece of paper with some sort of manifestation of my imagination (that’s a mouthful there), so much so that I followed my heart and earned a B.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Barbara: It’s wonderful when you know what you want to do when you are so small.:)

Barbara: What have you written before this?
Pierre: I write urban fantasy and thrillers (and sometimes those two genres go together for me). My debut is a fast-paced thriller known as THE CAIN LETTERS. Look for it. However, it wasn’t my first finished manuscript, nor my first project. I actually wrote my first ‘story’ at the tender age of 10, I believe. It was about 20 pages long. The next ‘story’ I wrote landed me a 200-pager. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I think I was a freshman in high school. I then wrote another story that stretched to 300 pages long. Here’s the real kicker, though; the next project I took on actually pulled in about 540 pages…. 154,000 words, and the best part about that was I, initially, thought that was too short!

Barbara: How long did it take you to publish THE CAINE LETTERS?
Pierre: The writing of THE CAIN LETTERS at 74,000 words moved fast. I had learned a lot about storytelling, about pacing, about plot, about character. THE CAIN LETTERS is a culmination of all that I’ve learned.
For those aspiring writers out there, let me tell you: following a dream kills. The good thing, though, is your passion for writing makes you reborn every single time. Through every rejection, every bout with writer’s block, every setback, anything getting in your way, that desire to write brings you back up. Every single time. Let me tell you how dreaming kills: I received over 100 rejections for THE CAIN LETTERS, about 97% of them from literary agents. And those 100 rejections were spread over one year, almost to the day. The middle of March, 2008, was when I finished the manuscript. I just signed my contract with Eirelander Publishing about four days ago—without a literary agent. Funny how time flies.
You never know what’ll happen. I just learned to keep trying. It paid off.

Barbara: That is very good advice for aspiring writers. You are a very good example of never giving up no matter how many rejections you receive.

Barbara: Please tell us about your book THE CAINE LETTERS.
Pierre: Those who’ve followed my blog might know a bit here and there about the book and the characters, but let me paint a picture for you real quick:
Enter: Alexandra Glade who is an auburn-haired, gray-eyed beauty of a woman, black trench coat, turtleneck and tight pants, armed to the teeth with all kinds of weaponry. Think “The Matrix”, “Underworld”, “Blade” with a little bit of sex appeal, and there’s Alexandra for you.
Barbara: Okay, I’m hooked. Please tell us some more about the story. Pierre: With her team, an organization known as the Berith Lochem, Hebrew for ‘Divine Covenant’, Alexandra hunted rogue vampires and other abominations for the sake of God alongside her comrade Kyan Tanaka, a Japanese man bred into the world of a mercenary until he found God. With remarkable resources, the Berith Lochem served the Vatican and other clients looking for a cleansing of some kind. They were like bounty hunters.

It was easy, you know? Hunting vampires. The life was so linear. And simple. Until a strange book surfaced that seemed to be of some interest to many of the damned—most notably two master vampires of cunning strength and power, two of the strongest in the world, actually—a Russian known as Nikolas Stahl and a savage Los Angeles native named Mason Richter. The book had ancient knowledge regarding something that had been locked away, secret, since the beginning of time—The origin of the vampire. How it all began.

Barbara: Yikes! Can you tell us some more without giving away the whole book?
Pierre: No longer was Alexandra’s life so linear. Her journey suddenly came upon forks of all kinds. And obstacles. The book, dating way back to the times of the Exodus, revealed the origin. And it was a shocking one. One that would shake the pillars of the world, of faith—The world’s first vampire was the world’s first murderer. Fitting. And terrifying.

Barbara: Oh my goodness! Would you tell us who this is?
Pierre: Yes. It was Cain, brother of Abel, son to Adam and Eve, had struck a deal with Satan to cleanse himself of the guilt, the shame, the despair of a dying world and the mark of banishment on him. The cleansing took away his humanity, took away his soul even—and made him into what was commonly known as…vampire.

Barbara: Why would he do something like that?
Pierre: He was driven by blood, as a reminder of Abel’s blood on his hands, Cain walked the earth. Immortal.

Barbara: So what do Alexandra and her team, plan to do with this information?
Pierre: What Alexandra realized was that Nikolas and Mason planned on finding Cain. The secret book revealed his hidden location for so many centuries. What Alexandra feared was what they intended to do once they found him—It didn’t take her long to realize that they were planning on killing him. These two master vampires, countless ages apart from a man of the book of Genesis, were going to silence the father of the damned.

Now on any other day, Alexandra Glade, Berith Lochem vampire hunter of vengeance, wouldn’t have a problem with the idea of the father of the damned dying. But she knew Scripture. And what she knew terrified her even more than Cain….

Barbara: Wow! I’m always a sucker for someone who wants to save the world. Would you be able to tell us more?
Pierre: She couldn’t allow Nikolas and Mason to kill Cain.... For the sake of the world hung in the balance. Cain had to live. All her training, all her scars, anything that made her a hunter, she had to forsake so she could protect the very first vampire from death. All to save mankind.

Barbara: This is quite a decision. How could she make it?
Pierre: Could she make such a decision? With her duty,her need to hunt and kill vampires, her fierce vengeance…. Could she reject all of that…. And save a fierce killer like Cain?

Barbara: Are you going to tell us what decision she makes?
Pierre: I’ll let that simmer in you a little bit. I can’t give all of it away, people. Come on! You’ll have to read the book when it debuts.

Barbara: I wish it were being published earlier. Do you have any sample chapters we can read?
Pierre: I can't attach any sample chapters unfortunately.

Barbara: Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Pierre: I'm quite proud of how I came about the idea. It's very simple: I'm fascinated with vampirism, the whole mythology of it. I'm also a devoted Christian, and the idea of researching Christian theory and merging it with concepts of vampirism interested me. I read up on theory behind the recent bestseller THE HISTORIAN, also common mythological stories involving vampirism and also research in the Old Testament and found that I was onto something. I was definitely onto something for myself given that I'm a fan of "The Matrix", "Underworld" and "Blade" as well as Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE. In seconds, I knew I had a high concept I was instantly satisfied with.

Barbara: Do you have any plans to write more books?
Pierre: THE CAIN LETTERS is, indeed, a beginning of what is most definitely a series for me. Having landed a contract, you’ll see a few more continuations, following the adventures of Alexandra Glade and the Berith Lochem. But until then, face the fear that is THE CAIN LETTERS. And believe. Believe in evil.

Barbara: How do you feel about eBooks and the Kindle?
Pierre: I love that question: it pertains to the now. And the now is so important when it comes to the publishing industry. I have to say being a 'reader' for 'recreation' is a whole lot different than being a 'reader' as an 'author' (especially when I'm saddled with heavy edits for the manuscript--it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it). A few years ago, if I were to answer that question, it would be "don't care for eBooks or Kindle, don't want it, don't know what it is, don't care what it is, don't want to know what it is, may I have some macaroni and cheese?".

Now, though, the answer is very different; you see, as an author, I've found myself interested in other people's work--on a literary level, sometimes more than on a recreational level. I have many friends who aspire to be published, who have Microsoft Word files carrying their prized treasures of manuscripts galore for me to read. But you see? I have this problem. It's called my back. And my back doesn't like it when I sit at the chair at my desktop (I don't have a laptop, which sucks) for hours at a time reading a book via Microsoft Word.

Knowing that, the prospect of having a Kindle, reading an eBook, is so much more exciting for me. And for my back. It's that much more convenient, too. But listen.... I'll always be a good ol' fashioned print paperback hardcover reader who loves that fine paper smell and the sweet sound of turning pages. But let's face it--when I write as much as I do, I read a lot more. I mean A LOT more. And the idea of having a Kindle and being able to purchase eBooks for both fun AND work is a very good idea. Don't get me wrong, though--I have my favorite authors (Stephen King, Terry Goodkind, J.K. Rowling, Terry Brooks, John Grisham, Tim O'Brien, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe etc etc.), and those authors deserve a place on the real-life materialistic bookshelf gathering dust until I'm graced with the desire to pull them out and immerse myself in their lost souls of words. But every once in awhile, it's nice to pull out the Kindle, purchase a book and read while on a plane, or on a boat, or on a train. Or anywhere for that matter. Convenience--that's what it's all about.

Barbara: How are you planning on marketing this book?
Pierre: Watch the sweat pour down my face as I even think about such a question. That's like jumping into shark-infested waters with a Super Soaker and thinking I'll survive (little do I know that the Super Soaker's loaded with some kind of shark repellent, thank God). Marketing. Heh. Well, essentially, I'm marketing my book RIGHT NOW, Barb. Facebook has also become an incredible asset to the new breed of authors showing up in the publishing industry today. We're taking an initiative now, you know? MySpace is a great place to market a book as well. There are pages on there specifically for main characters, too. It's pretty awesome. That's something I'll be planning on in the near future, too. I have a video book trailer as well, although I'd like to legitimize it and use original material. Something I haven't seen yet from authors but would like to try someday soon is Second Life. I can't imagine the kind of marketing possibilities with Second Life, creating a virtual 'home' online dedicated to the world you've created for your book. The possibilities are endless in this digital age of publishing. It's looking pretty bright.

I'd still like an occasional book tour, though. Hotels are fun. And so is signing books.

Barbara: How do you feel about critique groups? Do you belong to one?
Pierre: Critique groups are incredibly invaluable. But I don't have one. Unfortunately. I find it not so much of a loss when you have a kick-ass editor. I, however, DO have beta-readers. While they don't provide as much of a 'structure' in constructive criticism and feedback as a critique group can, they do provide direction in how to think about your book. But my honest opinion? You have one super-cool, kick-ass (the term 'kick-ass' is almost a must when it comes to critique and editing) person (a.k.a. editor) to help you with your manuscript, you're golden.

Barbara: Would you please give us an idea of your writing process?
Pierre: Listen up, people: my writing process can only be known by very few cherished souls-- I sit down in front of the computer. I eat chips/cookies/ fig newtons/anything sweet. I drink pop/juice/anything with caffeine. I write until my fingers fall off or until I fall asleep on the keyboard. There you have it

Barbara: Thank you so much for being my guest. I have to tell you that vampire books are not my usual genre, but this one looks like it combines a couple of different themes in one story. Do you have anything more to add?
Pierre: That’s all I got for all of you, readers. Give it up for Barbara Ehrentreu as well! Put your hands together. It has been an honor being her guest. Feel free to make as many comments as you like! Barbara and I will be checking. Questions? Concerns? Coffee? Cupcakes? Oh, and stop by “Writing and Reading”, just to check out the scene, check out the pad, I’ll see you later. Taco Supreme.

Please don't forget to ask any questions you might have for Pierre or leave a comment. Remember the drawing will only be for people who have left a comment or question.:)

Until the next time, thank you to all my readers and especially to Shey author of Shey-Strides for the awards she gave me this month.

These are the Friends Award and the
Makes My Heart Smile Award. On my next
post I will announce the winners of these awards
from me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hurray it's May!!!

Pierre Dominique Rostan
My guest author for Thursday, May 7th

You know I'm going to put a picture of a Newfoundland on all my blogs, because it got such a great response!:) No, seriously, people just love pictures of dogs of all kinds. I'm finding that people will comment on Facebook about dogs more than anything else.:)

So it's May and April with it's poem a day is over. I haven't written any poetry since April 30th. In fact, I haven't written anything of consequence since then either. I didn't even write a blog until now. I guess when you're writing at that pace it's best to rest a little.:) I'm still relatively calm since I got out so many pent up emotions last month. I think everyone should try to do that once in a while. It's actually better than punching a pillow, which I 've done on occasion when someone has infuriated me and I can't do anything to them.:)

This is a short post to let everyone know about my guest author for Thursday, May 7th as part of the Red River Writers Blog Tour. He is Pierre Dominique Rostand. His picture is here and he has a new novel which is scheduled to debut in December. He has agreed to come on here and talk about his writing with us and I am very happy to host him. His novel THE CAIN LETTERS has a very colorful history and I will let you find out on Thursday when he is my guest author here. In the meantime, you can check out his blog Writing and Reading where he talks about his novel and his writing a great deal.

So come and join the discussion on Thursday with my guest host, Pierre Dominique Rostan and leave a comment. I know that I am looking forward to finding out how he got his name.:)

Until the next time. Thank you to all of my readers. Please notice that I have added a share button if you must show someone one of my posts.:) Also want to update you on the status of my story, When My Life Changed. I am on Chapter 24. I think it's almost done!!!
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