This book was brought to my attention by Jason Pettus, owner of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography , for which I wo...more(eBook/freedownload)
This book was brought to my attention by Jason Pettus, owner of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography , for which I would like to thank him. And also a big thank you to it's author, Ben Tanzer, who has been a great sport - patiently waiting for me to read and review this collection of short stories.
Are you finding it strange that, being a self professed non-fan of short stories, I am reading short story collections back to back this week? I think it is time to re-evaluate my position on them, as Ben Tanzer stands up and demands to be noticed in Repetition Patterns.
I admit to being slightly underwhelmed as I read the first story, which happens to be the title story - just some guy unhappy with his therapist, whose unprofessional accusations cause him to start up with a new therapist. While reading Babysitter and What We Thought We Knew, as I was introduced to a town of neighboring kids and their promiscuous tendencies, and pedophile parents, I started to wonder what I had signed myself up for.
The third story, however, entitled Gift, demonstrates how wonderful sound can be, and how silence can remind us of what we are not hearing. It also forces you to realize how precious every moment is, and how we may tend to take them all for granted.
Among others, we meet a strange boy who becomes obsessed with a girl in his school, and rages against what he can't have; a teenager who spends months in a Pac Man daze only to be let down by the final level; and confused new parents who want nothing more than to get their infant son to just stop screaming.
Early on, I started to recognize patterns - the movies the characters watched, the names of places the characters saw or visited, the raw sexual undertones that ravaged their town and their lives. I also became aware of a natural evolution of maturity and security, and of accepting things for what they are, without resigning yourself to them. It's these patterns, these repetitive moments, that make Ben's book work.
I look forward to reading more from him. Check out this book, and also take a peek at his blog - This Blog Will Change Your Life.(less)
Sally Weigel's story "Too Young To Fall Alseep" is published as an eBook that can be downloaded for free by CCLaP, and exposes the inner workings of t...moreSally Weigel's story "Too Young To Fall Alseep" is published as an eBook that can be downloaded for free by CCLaP, and exposes the inner workings of the "Millenial" generation (the older end of my son's generation). Giving us a peek into the psyche of todays youth, of what it is like to grow up in this day and age, we meet a seemingly laid back and mellow generation who don't seem to know what direction they are headed in, protesting just to get out of class, passionate about partying and attending the Radiohead concert, but not much else.
Our protaganist Catherine - an eighteen year old girl, bored with smoking pot and spilling beer down her shirt at endless house parties - makes a half hearted decision that will change her life forever. She visits the high school recruiting office and signs up to partipicate in the war as a non combat soldier.
The author takes on the brave task of speaking on behalf of an entire generation. While I believe she did a great job setting the stage, I couldn't help but feel disconnected from Catherine and the situation she found herself in. I think my lack of empathy is largely due to the narration. Sally chose to write the story in 3rd person narrative, when I feel it may have been more impactful having Catherine telling us the story herself. Perhaps she was trying to counter-balance that effect by including Catherine's journal entries?
Overall, an impressive first publication by a woman who wrote this story while still in high school. (less)
Thanks go out to the author, David H Burton, for bringing his self-published novel to my attention.
Due to a not-ye...moreFree Download from author for review
Thanks go out to the author, David H Burton, for bringing his self-published novel to my attention.
Due to a not-yet-fully-explained catastrophe, the Earth is knocked off it's axis, unleashing things that were better kept hidden. Ghouls, demons, dark angels, Firstborns, Lastborns, Obeks, Imps... all crawled to the surface to fight for control under an immoral God.
Some of the surviving humans turned to witchery and the occult; learned how to summon spells; create blood oaths; Soul Run; and command the dead. Some turned to the Church of Ascension and the Confederation - which bred a new age Witch Hunt.
Burton's eBook is a face paced, dark, apocalyptic tale that's bursting at the seams. Packed with loads of action, it promises to never bore you, and always keep you guessing. A very ambitious first novel that, while fully functioning as a stand alone story, teases the reader as only a book destined for sequels can.
I admit to being slightly confused throughout most of the story. Burton may have bit off more than he could chew when it comes to maintaining such a heavily charactered plot-line. I lost count only a few chapters in, and found myself forgetting, and at times even confusing, the different people and their alliances and backgrounds. This would be easily remedied, though, with the aid of a notebook - I recommend outlining the characters and their storylines if you do not think you can finish this book in one sitting.
He does a great job of pacing the subplots as characters that began at different points of the novels move towards one another, and those that began together move apart. Though, once they all converged in the much awaited finale, I found the pacing was thrown off and a bit scattered when I needed it structured the most.
Some of the characters suffer from extreme cases of what I call "internal thinking". It's where the author italicizes what a character is thinking, so you know it is being processed internally. While I don't have issues with the technique itself, Burton overuses it to the point where different characters get different symbols placed before and after their internal thinking as a way for us to differentiate who is doing the thinking. In the end, I found it to be more of a crutch or gimmick than a useful technique.
One thing that surprised me was the amount of sexual innuendoes and practices that the author was able to cram within the plots. At times, it fit the need of the moment, and at others just seemed so random and out of place that it distracted me from what was actually taking place. I do have to give Burton credit though, his characters exhibit a wide variety of sexual preferences, which (as distracting as I found it) was really quite refreshing.
Certainly not to be missed by fans of dark fantasy, witches, demons, and all things good vs. evil. Suspension of belief and reality are a must.(less)
So ladies, if you are anything like me, you have been through hairstyle after hairstyle... trying to find the one that makes you look incred...more The Review
So ladies, if you are anything like me, you have been through hairstyle after hairstyle... trying to find the one that makes you look incredible.
From wearing it long and straight growing up, to permed and teased out in that ever popular early 90's "jersey girl" style in high school, to chin length with a flip entering the workforce, to my current style of long and layered - I find that I am never quite happy with the cut I currently have. Forever searching the internet for celebrity hairstyles that I would die to have, and just about fed up with going to the hairdressers because what I ask for is never what I end up with.
If things have been the same for you, I recommend you take a peek at Morgan Gantt's "How To Wear Your Hair", which made it's premier on June 22nd. Morgan, who has been styling hair since she was in elementary school, made the transition from cosmetology student to touring author in a short 4 years. While styling hair for her clients, she realized that most women don't understand how their face shape affects the styles they are requesting.
After doing some heavy duty research, Morgan put together this quick and easy guide to determining the perfect hair style for your face! Complete with steps on how to measure your face (oh yes! You will stand in front of the mirror, as I did, to find out if you have an oval, long, or pear shaped face), photos of the most flattering styles for your shape, and hair style dont's, Morgan helps you see why your past hair cuts should remain in the past, and gives you the power and confidence to pick the perfect style for that face of yours.
Between the book release and media tour, Morgan managed to find the time to answer some questions about her own hairstyle history, the way she works with her clients, and some hair styling suggestions for Yours Truly!
After attending 2 years of college under a Telecommunications degree, what prompted you to change majors and focus on Cosmetology?
Since as early as age four I loved to look at people’s faces and imagine different hairstyles on them. At Ball State I had my own radio show (in David Letterman’s studio), voted president of my Freshman dorm – took me a couple of years to realize that my passion/dream was to become a stylist – and for the past 4 years I couldn’t be happier!!
As little girls, we have all butchered up our doll’s hair in an attempt to make them more beautiful. Other than dolls, on what or who did you practice your first haircuts?
When I was in elementary school my Nanny, Miss Canary let me put pin curls and a relaxer in her hair – and it turned out perfect. Later she allowed me to put a perm in her hair – DISASTER – she looked like a cotton ball!!
My father was another “subject” during my Jr. High School years – bless him for not complaining – it was DRASTICALLY “choppy”!!!
We’ve all experienced haircut nightmares! What was the worst haircut/hairstyle you have ever had?
A toss between a heavy blunt “cookie cutter” bangs and the time I had a “80’s shag” that was close to a mullet cut!!! MAJOR influences on me to start a campaign for what I have defined as the “Stamp Out the Bad Hair Day!” forever!!
How do your clients react when you explain why they shouldn’t get the hairstyle they are requesting?
If you read the “About the Author” blurb on the inside flap of my book you’ll see that it didn’t take long after graduating from cosmetology school for me to learn that I realized I OWED an explanation/illustration of why pictures of hairstyles carried in by my clients would not always fit their face shape – thus the creation of a binder which eventually turned into my book How to Wear Your Hair!
Once clients understand the reasoning behind the consult – they are grateful!!
How did you research the information for your book? How long did it take to create “How To Wear Your Hair”, from start to finish?
Every stylist is taught face shapes and the relevance of shapes to symmetrical haircuts – so the basics were learned at cosmetology school. I reviewed more than 15,000 pictures to come up with the right visual mix for the book – FACE SHAPE is the primary consideration to choosing a style, but as stated in the Forward and the last chapter, texture, color, length of neck, etc., etc., etc. are other factors – so the choice of pictures was paramount to the visual effect of the book to the reader. I worked on the book nearly 24 months.
Do you cut and style hair for your family and friends? Do you find it difficult to work on hair for people you know personally?
I have cut my everyone’s hair in my immediate family – my mother is the most critical – which is a positive because she has taught me client/customer service skills with the questions she has asked!!
I have gone through multiple different hairstyles, in an effort to find one I like. My style tends to change with the trends of the time. Do you recommend that people stick to one type of cut, or experiment with the new trendy styles to keep things fresh?
It depends on your life style. I have clients who are EXTREMELY conservative and will always wear traditional styles- the majority however, go for the trends – How to Wear Your Hair is the commandments of choosing hairstyles – there are celebrities to watch and magazines to keep up with the trends!!
Just for fun, what hairstyles and hair colors are the trendiest right now? Which celebrity do you think has the best hairstyle to suit their face?
Just depends on the season; i.e. Fall, always warm. Summer, always cool and bright colors. Best Hairstyle to suit their face - Taylor Swift!(less)
I have to be careful. I know what you guys are thinking. You are thinking I have a thing for this guy, don't you? Yeah... Go ahead. Admit it. The seco...moreI have to be careful. I know what you guys are thinking. You are thinking I have a thing for this guy, don't you? Yeah... Go ahead. Admit it. The second you saw this review was for Ben Tanzer and his newest release, you rolled your eyes. Didn't you? Don't deny it! I saw you!
Well. You know what? I don't care. Think what you want. The man knows how to write. You would review everything he wrote too, if you downloaded some of his stuff. CCLaP, his e-publisher, makes it so easy to do. Why don't you take a look. Go ahead, it's ok. I'll wait. No, really... go ahead. I will just sit here, I don't mind.
Oh, did I mention that they offer different ways to download it? It's available in PDF for both US and EU laser printers, and there's an EPUB version for most eReaders. There is even an payment option (yes, free is an option. No strings, I swear).
Did you know Ben is a runner? Yup. He likes to run. Every day. No matter where he is or what he is doing. It helps him get his thoughts together. It's like a drug. He pushes himself. Hard. He times himself. He likes to feel the burn. And the ache. I wonder if he is a masochist. He gets itchy and cranky when he's all cooped up. He can't function. He panics. He throws temper tantrums.
Well, ok. Maybe not temper tantrums.
I was trying to build suspense. You know? Trying to get your attention. But I let it get out of hand. Here, let me try this again.
99 Problems is a collection of essays that Ben wrote about his own experiences with running and writing during the winter of 2009, and how intricately entwined the two processes are for him. As his feet hit the pavement all across the country, Ben's thoughts wander to the book he is currently writing. Or the passing of his father 9 years ago. Or the fact that he is no longer as young as he used to be, and needs to step up his game. Or the time when he watched his buddy chat up a chick he knew in high school.
His writing is lovely. The words run across the page, smooth and effortless. They flow together so naturally. His transitions almost hypnotize you... Look at my words. You are getting sleepy, You want to put on a pair of running shoes. You want to go for a run outside, You want to run like the wind.
I'm no runner. Not a big fan of the running. Pumping the legs. Wearing the sneakers. Making the sweat. I'm the girl who was left panting and gasping on the outer edge of the track in gym class, clutching her side, while all the other kids ran laps around me.
But Ben manages to make me wish I was a runner. His essays make me think I am missing something by not running. They make me think I should run out to Sneaker King and purchase a pair of running shoes.
This is Ben. A story teller. An influencer. A glutton for punishment.
This is Ben wearing his heart, like his Ipod, on his sleeve.
This is Ben cranking up the volume on Jay-Z, and running the words of his next story out of his head, down into his arm, and storing them in his fingers until he makes his way home to write them out.
So. Did you check 99 Problems out, like I asked? Well, hang on. Watch this. I am going to attach a link for you look at. Jason from CCLaP put together this really cool interactive google map that showcases one of Ben's essays by tracing the actual path he ran in "The Long Haul". It's complete with photos of the places he mentions in the essay as well.
Read 6/7/11 5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book Pgs:112
Ryan Bradley is one cool dude. A little strange and kinky, it would appear, but a c...moreRead 6/7/11 5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book Pgs:112
Ryan Bradley is one cool dude. A little strange and kinky, it would appear, but a cool dude all the same.
As founder, editor, and creative designer of Artistically Declined Press, Bradley works hard at redefining publishing, writing, and marketing. Prize Winners, a collection of 18 short stories - some of which have been previously published, some which are brand spanking new - is being released as the first in hopefully a series of many "Pop Up Releases". It's publishing with a twist: where information about the collection is leaked slowly, teasingly, in an attempt to whet your appetite and have you desperate for more.
One peek at the titles of the stories, and you can pretty much guess what you are getting yourself into. "Curtains and Carpet", "X Marks the Spot", "Going Down"... Are you starting to get the picture? Is it coming together for you?
But not to worry, folks. I wouldn't run around handing out 5 star reviews to straight up porn stories. Trust me, I might be a horse of a different color when it comes to reading, but I still have my standards!
Prize Winners contains well written, extremely personal little snippets of what goes on behind most closed doors. It feels like you're peeking into someone's most private moments. Scratch that. It feels like you're peeking into LOTS of someone's most private moments.
It starts off rather PG-13 with "Goodbye Ruby" - the story of a girl who is obsessed with Tom Selleck's mustache and suffers a rather strange breakdown when she witnesses him shave it off on a late night talk show. Bradley cranks it up a notch in "A Culture of Bacteria" when he discusses the switch our male protagonist makes from his girlfriend's dirty pictures to her dirty underwear when she begins to send him photos of microscopic lab cultures. Cool use of a dual title there, by the way! My personal favorite is "Spank". One guess what that one is about?!
His stories exploit humanities obsession, vanity, struggles, and curiosity at a sexual level. There's nothing extremely dark or sadistic here - The stories actually feel quite familiar. They could be written about you, your family members, your closest friends... They are not far fetched. They are not over-the-top or full of wild fantasies. They are real life.
Bradley has managed to capture the painfully embarrassing dysfunction that follows any intimate relationship - whether it is new, old, or over.
The collection is up for pre-order now. Go. Order. Trust me. Don't be that dude that misses out on the next best thing. Cause I'm telling you. We just found it.(less)
Listened 6/15/11 5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best (Audio)Book Time: 6 minutes Publisher: Akashic Books
Oh Fuck Yea!! This is what an audio boo...moreListened 6/15/11 5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best (Audio)Book Time: 6 minutes Publisher: Akashic Books
Oh Fuck Yea!! This is what an audio book should be!
After logging into Twitter this morning, I saw a tweet linking to audible.com stating that this audiobook could be downloaded for free for a limited time, and I hopped right over there to get my copy of it before it was too late.
Did you see who they got to narrate the book? Samuel L. Jackson, bitches! If you haven't downloaded this sucker yet, man are you missing out on a great time.
Go the F*CK to Sleep is the adult version of a bedtime story - it's the story of what bedtime is like when you want to have a little alone time with the "mister or missus" and you have a rambunctious little kiddie who does not want to go to sleep. It's the story of what takes place between parent and child in that darkened bedroom when we attempt to read them a story to lull them into la-la-land, and they just aren't havin' it. It's the story of the nasty things we say in frustration to get that little sucker to shut up and close their eyes and just go.. the.. f*ck.. to.. sleep!!!!
A free download offered by Artistically Declined Press, a growing small-press favorite of mine, Our Hearts Are Power Ballads is a short (12 pages tota...moreA free download offered by Artistically Declined Press, a growing small-press favorite of mine, Our Hearts Are Power Ballads is a short (12 pages total), poignant, sometimes indecipherable collection of poems. Absolutely worth the read.(less)