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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shutterbug Sunday: Paul Ward

Today's fabulous shutterbug is a little different from the others I've posted in that he shoots mostly women. I find his photos absolutely beautiful and true works of art. Here is the amazing Paul Ward.

How long have you been capturing the world around you, either professionally or from the first time you picked up a camera?

I have been taking pictures since I was very young, since I was the only person in my family who could take photos without cutting off people's heads!  I remember using the old kodak 126 camera with the flash bulbs you had to buy separately and stick onto the top of the camera.  I started doing nudes around 1998 or 1999.

What/who is your favorite subject? Do you find humans difficult or intriguing to shoot?

Art nudes is my favorite subject.  I photograph both men and women, but predominantly women, as it's getting difficult to find men (and increasingly women) who don't have some sort of body art on them.  The models I photograph are easy to shoot since most of them have some years of experience modeling for photographers, painters, sketch artists, and sketching/painting groups.  They don't have any problems being nude and are pretty confident individuals.

If you could choose any one person in history, alive or dead, to do a full photo shoot of, who would it be and why?

Bettie Paige and Marilyn Monroe would be a tossup for an artistic nude shoot.  It is very hard for me to find models over a size 10 to do figure work, and those two women would be my dream shoots !

Do you have a fantasy location you would love to shoot? If so, is there a specific subject to go along with it?

I've never done location shooting.  I look at a lot of the outdoor nudes and abandoned building nudes and I don't "get" most of it.  I find most of the images too busy with too many distracting elements in them.  I've never thought about shooting anywhere else than my place of residence, so I can't really say I have a fantasy location spot.

www.paulwardphoto.net










www.paulwardphoto.net













www.paulwardphoto.net

Saturday, July 28, 2012

SK Saturday: The Wind Through the Keyhole

And so I finished reading this one with time to spare, amazingly. It was...different. A story, within a story, within a book. I don't know that I really liked the format. I guess it was a little too much storytellin' for me. 

This book is listed as installment 4.5 in The Dark Tower Series. In it we find the ka-tet of Roland, Jake, Oy, Eddie and Susannah still traveling along the path of the beam, heading toward the Dark Tower. They come to a river and meet a friendly man to get them across. He reminds Roland of a horrible storm that appears out of nowhere and is easily predicted by the billy-bumblers. Oy has been acting strangely and Roland has a "duh" moment as he realizes it's for this reason.

That's my first problem with this book. It's one of those things (if there's a term I'm not certain) that's too contrived by the author to mesh well for the reader. Perhaps deus ex machina? Except there was no real reason for this book to happen in the first place. I don't think I learned anything new about the characters that I needed to know so long after Roland's journey ended. He does have a few tidbits about his mother, some introspection that makes him more human. However, I don't think this book did that justice. In the book Roland tells everyone a story. That story is mostly about a situation where Roland tells someone else a different story. That story takes up most of the book. It's not a bad story. I was actually quite enthralled. I just don't know that it was worth taking up the thread of The Dark Tower series again, and getting my hopes up that it would be another piece of the puzzle. 

So, taken at face value as a stand-alone book, this is a good read. Depending on my mood I might even say a great read. But as a part of this series, being placed where it was, I just don't know. Keep in mind that I began reading this series again solely because of this book. I received it for my birthday and wanted to remember every detail that came before this story took place. I'm in the thick of it now so will continue on with the series. But of course, I remember how it ended and know that's not going to change.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday WTF?: What the Real Problem Is...

By now if you're not living under a rock, you've heard about the controversy surrounding Chick-Fil-A. I'd like to state that I love their food...a lot. And to be honest, not eating there is pretty damn hard. I've always known of their Christian values because every time I crave a chicken sandwich on a Sunday I'm reminded. They're closed on Sundays, no problem. They happen to have the best damn customer service of any fast food chain I've ever been to, no matter the location. They seem like a genuinely good company and I had originally wanted my daughter to work there.

Then one day a few months ago an online friend made a comment about their intolerance of homosexuals. Now, I firmly believe everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. This private company is definitely well within their rights to believe what they want and enforce that belief through their system. However, the real problem I have with them is this:

Chick-Fil-A will not knowingly hire homosexuals.

Chick-Fil-A knowingly donates money to causes that are radical in their intolerance of homosexuals.

This isn't a new issue either. As I stated, I heard of this a few months ago, and further research turned up this article from March of 2011.

So while I applaud their refusal to back down from their beliefs, and agree they have every right to them, I don't agree with those beliefs or how they enforce them on others. To me, wanting to work for the company shouldn't give them the right to enforce their beliefs on me, especially when so many need jobs so badly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do You Know Marianne Evans? (contest)

Today I'm happy to welcome another Inspirational Romance author to my blog. Marianne Evans has a new release coming soon titled Devotion. I absolutely love the cover!


You’re Writing About…WHAT?
Yep. Those four seemingly innocuous words came at me more than a few times as I created the story DEVOTION, releasing on October 15th from Harbourlight Books (part of the amazing publisher, Pelican Book Group!). Why, you may ask? Oh, nothing too out of the ordinary…just another day of being an author of Christian fiction and romance writing about adultery.

You read the word correctly, no need to scan back over it a few times. Adultery.
Before I wander into the topic of the “A” word, let me give you a frame of reference. Some background. First of all, there’s a misconception out there that Christian fiction and romance is, thankfully, beginning to overcome. What would that be? It’s the idea that books with a Christian world view and faith-centered themes are somehow out of step with modern culture and the reality of our world. Unrelatable.

There’s another misconception we’re blasting out of the water as well. It’s the idea that Christian novels are…well…shall we say…a cleverly masked sermon. I like to hope, and pray that the stories we tell apply to the life all of us lead with an uplifting message of hope and inspiration.

Now, I’ll step toward the topic of DEVOTION.

I’ll grant you, the idea of a Christian novel centered on the issue of adultery is unusual, but Devotion and the characters who drive it, stirred my heart and refused to be silenced. Kellen and Juliet Rossiter had a story to tell with powerful importance and impact. The idea of working on committed relationship, fixing what’s wrong and finding your way back to the love you share with your spouse appealed to me as a writer and a woman who’s been married for thirty years.

Marriage, like life, has seasons both good and bad. People you love, the vows you make, aren’t disposable. When the seasons of turmoil transform into the seasons of joy, you look back on the trials and share a knowing sense of connectedness and rejoice in all you have established together as husband and wife—a covenant, not just a contract.

I pray you enjoy Devotion and that it blesses you as creating it has blessed me!


Blurb:
From This Day Forward

Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

For Better or Worse

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation?  How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

'Til Death Do Us Part

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion. 



Book Info:

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Harbourlight Books (October 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611161649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611161649


Author Bio:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God's love through the stories He prompts her to create.
Evans's novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: 'Riveting.' 'Realistic and true to heart.' 'Compelling.' Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of Aneruca chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She's also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Marianne is also giving away one ebook copy of Devotion to a lucky reader. Leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The winner will be chosen via random.org on 7/28. Good luck!



Monday, July 23, 2012

My Post on Why Piracy Sucks

When trying to decide on what photo to use for this post I decided on this one because it proves a point. Every single one of the books in this photo has been paid for, which means the author who wrote them was also paid. Now, I'll admit I bought many of them used. So the author may have only been paid once and then I bought it and paid someone else with NO proceeds going to the author. As an author I know this will eventually happen and I'm okay with it. The point is, it was originally paid for at least once.

I'd like to tackle the argument that pirated books aren't actually stealing from the author because that book wouldn't have sold to that person anyway. Let's look at that for a minute. Yes, it may be true that if you chose to illegally download my book for free you only did so because it was free. If you saw it somewhere else for even a penny, you would pass it up. Okay, I get that because I know how expensive books can be. But guess what, I DON'T STEAL BOOKS. Jut like I don't steal anything else, if I don't have the money for it I go without. In fact, I haven't bought a book in at least two months because I simply can't afford to. Here's a little gem for thought, I promised my husband I would only spend the money on books that I earn from writing. So, while you're stealing my books I'm not getting paid for them. That means I don't have the few bucks it takes to buy myself a book or anything else.

The next argument is that an author isn't going to become a millionaire from the few books that would sell if they were paid for instead of stolen. Really? No shit. I'd be happy to afford a burger. I'm a really low-maintenance gal. If I can use my royalties to buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for my kids then I consider it a good month. The fact of the matter that e-pirates are either ignoring or plainly refuse to admit is: PIRACY IS THEFT. No, seriously, it really is. Any way you slice it, if you take something that is for sale and don't pay for it, you have just stolen it. I don't believe I'll magically become a millionaire if pirates stop offering my books, but that's really not the damn point.

Last argument, books that are stolen actually help the author by giving them exposure. Well, that might actually be true. However, if given the choice of having a HUGE fan base of thieves that love my books but don't pay for them and having a few loyal readers who are willing to pay the money...I'll take the loyal, HONEST readers any day. That's just me. I prefer to surround myself with people I can trust and since PIRACY IS THEFT I would never trust a pirate. I wouldn't even want to get book reviews from someone stealing my work, and reviews are something I love to read.

So in short, keep this in mind: you wouldn't walk into an art gallery and take a painting off the wall and walk out without paying. Why not? That's art just like writing. You wouldn't get away with using a cell phone without paying the bill. Why not? It's just air you're using and not a tangible thing. Just because e-books are not made of paper doesn't make them worthless. it doesn't make them EVERYONE'S. Books are books whether they exist in your hands or on your screen. Be a responsible reader and pay for them

Final thought (for real), if your argument is that books are available at the library so they should be free game then go to the damn library. Mine aren't there so it doesn't apply. The library still gets permission for those books. That's all authors really want, to be asked permission. I wouldn't walk into your house and make a sandwich just because I found the door unlocked. Don't follow the pirates links and take the books just because they're there.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shutterbug Sunday: FOTOJADAMO

Sometimes I'm amazed by the connections I make while playing online. I meet very creative people who inspire me in new and interesting ways. One such connection is James Moreno. Who is this creative shutterbug? The genius behind FOTOJADAMO, a fellow Texan, and all around nice guy.


How long have you been capturing the world around you, either professionally or from the first time you picked up a camera?

My photographic curiosity started back during junior year in high school. After graduation, I started to become more adventurous with male models in the summer of ‘98.  My very first subjects were popular jocks, the epitome of every gay man’s fantasy.  I found it intriguing how open-minded they were about posing in underwear for me.  I was shooting exclusively in black and white film using lengthy chemical baths and expensive paper.  I later invested in a digital camera in 2002, and created the name JADAMO, which is done by simply adding the first two letters of my full name: JAmes DAniel MOreno together and the rest, as they say, is history.  
 Recently, in 2011, I suffered a horrible blow to my photography career when 13 years of my work was gone in a blink of an eye.  Someone broke into my van and stole my equipment, my camera, and 13 years of vital documents and releases. I knew I needed to work harder to start over again.  I made my comeback in January this year and decided I’d go far beyond my own expectations.  My goal is to reclaim as much of my “unusable photographs” as possible.  My comeback portfolio is an orgy of avant garde:  fashion, design, art, lighting, Photoshop, male models and sex.  It’s an attempt to extricate myself from the mass produced and so-called “shock-value” photographers that have been flooding the scene as of late.  My goal is to give life and recognition to my body of work that has its own trademark FOTOJADAMO appeal.  If you know a photo was taken by me, than that’s all the redemption I need to keep me going.



What/who is your favorite subject? Do you find humans difficult or intriguing to shoot?


By nature, I am a people watcher.  What else can be more lively and diverse than us?  Sure, animals and nature can be exciting, but from my perspective, humans are strange, fucked up creatures and I’d be a fool not to capture them.  I would never pose for me, because I’d look and feel silly wearing the things I’ve had my guys wear. And that’s why I have a higher level of respect for my models.  I can trust that they’ll deliver a killer photoshoot no matter what. What I find intriguing about photographing people is that it will always be difficult, especially for someone like me who must work with the bare minimum like budget lighting, and baby powder for make-up.  When anything can go wrong, it usually does.  But I prevail and accept the way things are, or I’ll keep working smarter until I succeed or die trying.

If you could choose any one person in history, alive or dead, to do a full photo shoot of, who would it be and why?


Ace of Base.  They are a HUGE influence on my vision, and also of character.  To have the opportunity to photograph all four original members would be a major highlight of my career.





Do you have a fantasy location you would love to shoot? If so, is there a specific subject to go along with it?


I would love to float amongst the clouds with my camera.  When I was prepping for the 2012 Austin Fashion Week Mash-Up Competition, I knew I needed photographs of clouds to supplement the background of my submission.  I spent weeks in June aiming my camera to the sky where plenty of cumulus clusters hovered above.  I would recall my first plane ride when my eyes witnessed clouds from miles overhead.  The setting sun created silhouettes from behind pure white cumulus clouds as it painted their bold, soft edges with splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows.  The occasional sun flare would peer between the gaps with its strong rays and blinding light, an epitomic scene associated with visions of The Heavens.  I sat there, next to my small window, tears flowing heavily until the sun disappeared.  It was the most beautiful moment of my life.


https://www.facebook.com/fotojadamo



Connect with FOTOJADAMO on Facebook, or scan the code.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SK Saturday Update IV

Just know that I'm not yet done with The Wind Through the Keyhole. It's more of a story within a story and now that I've finally gotten to the heart of it, I'm about halfway done. More next week...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do You Know J. C. Daniels?

Well, do you? If that name doesn't sound familiar I'll bet Shiloh Walker does. Both monikers belong to the same insanely talented author. I've been a fan of Shiloh's since around 2007. If you've never read her contemporary romance then you are missing out! As for J.C., I plan to snatch up her work a.s.a.p.. So, without further adieu, I give you J.C. Daniels:

Hello!
I’m on a mad dash around blog land, promoting the release of my upcoming urban fantasy… I write romance—romantic suspense and paranormal romance under the name Shiloh Walker. My urban fantasy books will be released under the pen name J.C. Daniels, and while yes, there’s a romantic thread running through them, they aren’t romance. I…uh…well, I really liked a couple of the guys I met while writing the first two books and there’s also a guy I really, really hated…

Colbana.

The message popped up on my phone sometime past eleven that night.Sprawled on my bed, going bleary eyed as I combed through yet another batch of runaways, I grabbed the phone with one hand and flipped the sheet over me with my other. I was just barely fast enough.The door to my room opened a micro-second later.I was dressed. Workout shorts, a tank top, decent enough, but still. Studiously ignoring him, I read the message and tapped back a reply.

The one and only.

That's a relief. Can't handle two of you, Linc texted back. So, exactly why did you make a point of giving me your cell number when I've had it for three years now? I mean, I called you to ask you out about once a week for a year.

I smiled a little as I deleted the message before replying. Linc had picked up on that, all right.The shadow fell across my bed, although I didn't hear him.Rolling around, I casually settled with my back against the headboard and glanced up. 

“Any reason you're in my room?”

Damon leaned a shoulder against the bedpost, stared at me. “Who is the message from?”

“A guy.”

Black brows ratcheted up. “You really think you got time to mess with that shit right now?”

“Hey, when you got an itch...” I shrugged and sent Linc back a reply

Just need a favor. When the results come back on the kid, can you email me them to my old email? Not the current—somebody reads them over my shoulder right now. He's also trying to read my texts, BTW.

I deleted that message as the asshole in residence pushed away from the bedpost and prowled closer.

Sure thing, gorgeous.

I rolled my eyes.Two seconds later, the phone was out of my hand.

“You asshole, give me my phone back.”

Damon read the message, then went to scroll back through the other messages. 

“Why are you deleting the messages?”

“None of your damned business!” I snapped. 

Rolling to my knees, I went to snatch the phone way.I stopped as he lifted a hand and rolled out of his reach in a backwards shoulder roll before he could so much as touch me. Coming off the bed, I kept it between us as I stared at him.He'd warned me there was a reckoning coming and while I figured it would happen sooner or later, I'd rather not have it happen just yet. My palm itched. Absently, I twisted it as the bones popped.Damon wasn't messing with my phone anymore. He threw it down on the bed and glared at me.

 “Would you quit acting like every time I move, I'm going to attack you?”

Call me...I'm here, I'm here—

The sword was on my bed and the silver of it burned unnaturally bright.

He glanced at it and said, “If you even move toward that thing, I'm going to bend it into knots.”I curled my lip at him. “Like you could.”

He leaned forward. “Is that a dare, little girl?”

“No. It's a plainly stated fact. Now...why don't you do us both a favor and get the fuck out of my bedroom?” 

I jutted my chin out, rotated my wrist again as the itching and heat flared. The sword flashed brighter. I usually wasn't this close to it without having it in my hand.I couldn't help it, though. Ever since he'd spouted off that little piece about a reckoning, I'd been on eggshells, just waiting for whatever the hell he had in mind. If he thought he could leave another mark on me, damn it, I'd bloody him.

He leaped over the bed. I backpedaled and faded into nothingness, going invisible as he came for me.This was one time where his sense of smell might not help.The entire room smelled of me.

“Damn it, considering how mouthy you are, you're a damned coward.” 

A smirk was on his lips as I brushed by him, just barely missing his outstretched hand. He moved back over by the bed and settled on the foot of it, that sly, Cheshire cat grin curling his lips as he reached behind him, closing his hand over the grip of my sword.My breath hitched in my chest.

Mine

His eyes flickered my way. No, he couldn’t see me and tracking me by scent was harder. But he heard that, damn it. I couldn't stop the way my heart reacted when he touched my blade. Couldn't stop it.

“Don't like seeing me play with your toy, huh?” He lifted her and caught the tip in his other hand. Muscles flexed. “How about if I twist it up a little?” 

Read more…Shiloh Walker/J.C. Daniels    

She's also holding a contest! Enter to win some blades and books—check out the J.C. Daniels Book Tour! For a full list of the prizes and disclaimer, please visit the blog.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do You Know Mary Manners? (contest)

Today's guest post is something very different from the norm. I've never posted Inspirational Romance here before, though I have read a few books in that genre. I've found them to be wonderful stories full of love and usually amazing characters. I hope you'll agree with me and welcome today's guest, Inspirational Romance author Mary Manners.


What Makes a ‘Good’ Bad Boy?

I’ve often wondered why women are so drawn to Bad Boys. I have a few of my own lurking in my past. My husband often jokes that he’s a Bad Boy, and I recently bought him a motorcycle just to keep the image intact.

When the idea for my debut contemporary inspirational romance, Mended Heart came to me, I knew I wanted to take a bad boy and turn him good (within the confines of 200 or so pages). What a daunting task! So, how does one ‘change’ a bad boy to good? First, one must understand the recipe for a bad boy:

Bad Boy Stew:
1 Overflowing Cup of Hidden Secrets
2 Heaping Tablespoons of Recklessness
1 Swollen Ego Mixed with a Rounded Teaspoon of Pride
A Dash of Insecurity
A sprinkle of Humor
Just a Pinch of Conscience
Garnish with Good Looks

Take the above ingredients and stir them well. Then add the girl he spurned in high school, who’s back in town with a vengeance. Blend them together and bake at high temperatures until he realizes she’s developed a backbone—and a sharp tongue. Throw their hidden secrets into the mix and let them churn for a while, then peek and see what’s cooking. Continue to let the contents mingle, watching for new developments. When the ingredients appear to be fully meshed and tender, remove from the heat and enjoy!


Now, it’s my firm opinion that every woman is drawn by a bad boy, but we also entertain the idea that deep down, somewhere in the depths of his reclusive heart, there’s a good boy just dying to get out. That’s what happened with Mended Heart. When the story opens, Shane Calkin is the proverbial rich kid in town. He runs with a wild, reckless crowd that shuns Jade McAllister…the poor girl from the trailer park whose father took off when she was a child.

But the passage of time—and a host of life-altering circumstances—set into motion subtle changes in both Shane and Jade. When they meet again, ten years later, on the steps of Pineyville Church, the ingredients they both bring to the recipe make them ripe for travel down a new path…into a fresh and exciting direction.

The most important ingredients in the Bad Boy recipe are the Hidden Secrets (what woman doesn’t like a few juicy secrets?) and the Pinch of Conscience…for this is what sets the desired change into motion. The sharing of secrets creates a strong bond between a man and a woman. And without at least the slightest Pinch of Conscience—which leads to a sense of loyalty when blended well with the other ingredients—there can be no real development or change.

Of course, it’s important to remember that a true Bad Boy always harbors just a hint of his wild nature along with the deep tenderness and loyalty that develops along the way. He’s willing—and ready—to fight to the death for the woman he’s grown to love. And, after all, a hint of Bad Boy, even when he’s good, is what keeps the excitement flowing!

-Mary Manners

http://www.marymannersromance.com/


Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Product Information:
  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: White Rose Publishing (October 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611161665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611161663

  • Mary is offering a Tour Wide Giveaway - Please enter by Rafflecopter - each commentator from each stop will be entered into a grand giveaway for a chance to win one of the two prizes up for grabs - a $50 Gift Card (Amazon/BN - winners choice) or  a print set of her (5) books (Wisdom Tree when it debuts in October). Winners will be chosen August 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Shutterbug Sunday: Jeremy Lucido



For my very first Shutterbug Sunday post I'd like to welcome photographer Jeremy Lucido. He is the very talented pair of eyes behind Starrfucker Magazine. From his site:

"Starrfucker Magazine is a self-printed quarterly homo/foto/art-zine with penis. Created by Los Angeles based Photographer, Jeremy Lucido as an evolution in his Starrfucker brand. The magazine is an photographic illustration of porn to art and art to porn."


How long have you been capturing the world around you, either professionally or from the first time you picked up a camera?

I was in Jr. High when I first discovered my love for Photography. It was just for fun at first. I took photos of my friends in the neighborhood after school daily. Soon I began to experiment with poses and locations. I would document everything, I shoplifted the film from Walgreens just to be able to afford it as a kid. In high school I was thrown onto the Yearbook staff and that is where I developed technical skills and first realized that hey this could be a career. 


What/who is your favorite subject? Do you find humans difficult or intriguing to shoot?

My favorite subject has always been people… I thrive on the one-on-one connection between model and photographer. 


If you could choose any one person in history, alive or dead, to do a full photo shoot of, who would it be and why?

It would have to Jesus Christ actually…. Not because I am a Christian or even religious. I would just love to see a true honest image of the man. Could you imagine what a true natural photogenic portrait would reveal.


Do you have a fantasy location you would love to shoot? If so, is there a specific subject to go along with it?

I don't know that I do have a fantasy location. I tend to put full concentration on the subject rather than the background. I love industrial locations so given full access to an old factory in Ostrzeszów, Poland would be amazing.


Jeremy Lucido
www.jeremylucido.comwww.starrfuckermagazine.com

Jeremy Lucido
Starrfucker Magazine/Blog
http://starrfucker.net



Saturday, July 14, 2012

SK Saturday: Wizard and Glass

And so it is done! Yes it took me three weeks instead of one, but I am finally finished with the fourth installment of The Dark Tower series, Wizard and Glass. Why did it take me so long? Well, it was a longer read than the three before it, and life has been a little busier. But the real reason, I finally confessed to myself as I wiped the tears away, is the story itself. In this book we learn what a true tragedy Roland's life has been and what he has sacrificed in the name of The Tower.

Most of this book is a flashback to Roland's youth, a time when he becomes a gunslinger and passes his test of manhood. He learns many harsh life lessons, kills for the first time and meets the love of his life. Just knowing what we do of his future self tells the reader this love is doomed. After all, there is no love present at his side in his quest. It is a tragic tale that must be lived through as he tells it again to his ka-tet in one endless night around the campfire. As Eddie tells Jake, it's a western just like all of Roland's stories. It's a love story and a tragedy. It's also a huge chunk of Roland's personality. It explains much about his motivation and to me is the best of the entire series in revealing just how he thinks. SK often accuses Roland of having a romantic spirit, but I hadn't really seen or understood what he meant by that until this book. 

The very end of the book, once everyone wakes from Roland's story telling of his past, is awkward and unnerving to me. They find the emerald city without following a yellow brick road and the Wizard isn't of Oz. It's such a strange twist that it felt tacked on as an afterthought to me. It's the only one of the series so far that has SK's bad habit of ending the story by whatever means necessary whether it makes any sense or not (see Needful Things, etc). I can't say I like it. I understand the part where Roland must face the final tragic act of what happened in his youth. I understand SK creating a dramatic exhibition for the telling of that part of the tale. I just don't understand what all the scenery was for. Did we really need that connection to Jake's, Susannah's and Eddie's worlds? I don't think so. It kind of sort of worked, but almost took away from the story itself. In short, I didn't like it.

Now I will finally pick up a fresh installment. Book 4.5 of the series, The Wind Through the Keyhole, is the only one I haven't read before. No promises on the time-frame at this point.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shutterbug Sunday: Intro

We can't all be models. Some of us have to actually know what's going on with the little gadget that captures the images. In my opinion the photographer is more important than the model. Of course, I'm highly biased since I've been a photographer for almost twenty-five years.

I hope you've enjoyed my Male Model Monday posts. Tomorrow may be the last one for a few weeks as I've run dry of subjects. But, fear not! My next series of posts will be on the magician on the other side of the lens. I'll be doing a few Shutterbug Sundays for your viewing pleasure. If you have suggestions of a male model or photographer, feel free to send them my info or send me theirs.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

SK Saturday Update III

My dear readers, once again I must cry your pardon (as Roland would say). It appears The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass has gotten the best of me again this week. Even with the holiday I haven't gotten much further than before. I'll muddle through it in the next few days and adjust the schedule accordingly next week.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Freedom Means To...


I asked my four daughters what the term freedom means to them. And this is what they said:

"It means to me the right to do anything."

"Freedom means to be free. (To have escaped.)"

"Freedom is the ability to walk down the street without being told how or when to do so."

"Freedom means to be free. I'm free to go to public school and go places without being harassed."

To me, freedom is the most basic right I'm afforded as an American, but it's also a privilege. It is what so many of my fellow Americans have fought and died for. It is what others would take away if given half the chance. It is the best part of being an American and probably the one thing we take for granted the most. Without freedom we wouldn't be the country we are. Some may argue that would be a good thing, but I disagree. Many Americans have done great things because they had the freedom to do so. I hope one day I can be counted among them.

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!


Monday, July 2, 2012

MMM: John Quinlan Revisited

The face may look familiar. (If you're bothering to look at his face.) That would be because John isn't a stranger to my MMM blog. He was originally featured on June 11th, but is such a sweetheart that he sent me more yummy photos! So my lovely readers, here they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. ;-)

You can connect with John here:

That's a body made for book covers!!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Summer Reading Trail

As a reader, I LOVE finding free stories on the web, especially when it's by an author I've never read before. Free stories are a way to discover new authors, meet new characters and fall in love with new worlds. 

As an author, I LOVE writing stories I can post for free on the web. It's a way for me to try out new things and experiment in new worlds or with new types of characters I've never tried before. It's a way for me to give voice to some fleeting thoughts I have that might not be substantial enough for a full book. And most importantly, it's a way for me to attract readers who might not have tried me out yet without asking for their hard earned money.

Last year I was happy to be a part of the Summer Reading Trail. What is it? Exactly what it sounds like. It's a series of free stories in various genres by various authors offered during the summer months. Every single month has it's own list of stories. June is already available. I'm sorry to say I didn't prepare a story quickly enough for it, but I promise I have one ready now.

Click on the link at the end of this post to see the full 2012 Summer Reading Trail. You'll find a freebie from me for July entitled Mating Instinct. It's a whole new world I've decided to play around in. I hope ya'll enjoy it.

http://summertreadingtrail.weebly.com/