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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is the weekend so far? Forgive me for rubbing it in, but I have been on vacation this past week...and I have one more week to go. The family and I just came back from Monterey, California. We spent three days just getting away from the 100-degree summer heat by escaping to the coast. It was nice. We didn't go to the famous aquarium, but that was only because we have been very frequently. It is a regular field trip for our kids to go to while in elementary school. We did, however, spend a ton of time along Cannery Row. I'm not a big Steinbeck guy, but those of you who are will remember.

We also snuck over to Santa Cruz to spend time on the boardwalk. For Lost Boys fans, you'll remember that the movie was filmed there. Don't tell Nicole Hadaway that I was there! She adores that film so much that she may grab me around the neck for not taking her. Quite by accident we were fortunate enough to catch Eddie Money in concert there on the beach. It was cool, hearing those hits again in person. For those of you asking who Eddie Money is, he's from the seventies! Okay, he was in the eighties, too.

Yet, I did not post this note just to brag about our little vacation. I had two pieces of writing published Saturday. One was my first article for the local on-line magazine that I am working for: Kings River Life Magazine. The article is about a local performing arts center that opened this past year in my home town. The second is my take on writer's block over at Wicked Writer's. We had quite the discussion this week. You'll have to surf over and see who thought that it was a load of manure, and who thought it was alive and well and worthy of great respect.

Thank you for your time as I stroked the PR machine. I am working on a rant that I plan on posting this coming week. My kids are rolling their eyes already. We'll have to see whether you folks will agree with my kids that it is much ado about nothing, or whether you might wish to join me in the rant!

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Year in far

So, can you tell that I'm on vacation? This is already too many posts in one week for me. Something's got to be up, right?

I was visiting over at Lola's place at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword and there was a great musical discussion going on there Monday. Pink Floyd was referenced, as was Depeche Mode. Even the mighty Zep was mentioned. It got me thinking why I had yet to spend a lot of time talking about music.

Music is number one in my life. As a writer, one might suggest that I would curl up and die were it not for books, or in the very least my ability to write books. Unfortunately, I must admit to you that the real answer would have to be music.

We've covered some of this before, so let's get to it, shall we?

I think there have been two huge songs out there this summer by two artists: Train and Katy Perry.

First of all, I am a huge Train fan. I have seen them in concert three times. It bugs me that other acts have skyrocketed while these guys seem to be languishing a bit. Perhaps "Hey, Soul Sister" will finally propel them. Hasn't that song been everywhere? Sporting events, commercials, television ads for shows. The "Save Me, San Francisco" album is very good, with only one song that I could do without. I highly recommend it.

The other song, and I must admit that I am late to the table with this one, is "California Gurls" by Katy Perry. Now, I have not been a fan of Katy's, but there is something about this tune that hooks me. That's why it's called a hook - I get it! Katy is a tough chick and can do whatever she wants. The video is a great example of how brave she is. I recently heard a bit of the second single off of that forthcoming cd. "Teenage Dream" is the song. It sounds much the same as the first single. We'll have to see what the masses think of it.

I'm a hair-metal guy from the eighties. For those of you who share some of the same afflictions, have you noticed who is releasing new stuff this year?

Krokus. That's right: Krokus. Many of you are thinking to yourself: Who? The folks who brought us "Screaming in the Night", "Headhunter", "Midnite Maniac" and "Our Love" have reunited and recorded a cd that's sounds as if they just got through building a time machine and have delivered that same metal attitude that served them well in the eighties. Hoodoo is one hell of an album! I've played it several times all the way though on my iPod while doing yard work. There's another cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" that appears there, but I've heard worse versions. I guarantee you it'll have you double-checking the release date, swearing that it was twenty years old. The members of the band might be, but I promise you the music is very good. Marc Storace's vocals sound like they haven't aged.

I just bought a couple of songs off of the new Ratt album, Infestation. I wasn't the biggest Ratt fan in the world, but I do love their hits. I played the samples while doing some blogging the other day and found myself working the foot pedals while doing so. I don't know that I am ready to recommend buying the entire cd just yet, but there are two to three definite keepers there.

Does anyone remember Y & T? I bought one of the songs while I was shopping iTunes. It is called "Shine On" and it sounded just as they did back in the day. It just cracks me up that some of these older bands are not ready to give it up, and I'm glad that they haven't because they show that they can still rock.

Enough of that! I can hear my wife pleading with me to come into the new...

What's the deal with Maroon 5? Anybody? I absolutely loved Songs About Jane and thought that it was a great album. They toured for three years on that one cd! I find that I do not listen to but a few songs off of that last one. It was just different. I got all excited when I found out that their third cd was being produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The ex-Shania Twain was behind the reins for classic albums by AC/DC, Def Leppard and The Cars. If "Misery" is any indication; however, than it is all for naught because what I'm hearing sounds exactly like that second one. We'll see. One of you ladies, please tell Adam Levine that he should concentrate on his vocals and writing; he's not all that and a bag of chips! He thinks that he is, though. Have you seen him perform, or those videos? He needs to study Rob Thomas' stage presence. Now, that's a cat who knows how to captivate an audience!

What do you folks think about Corinne Bailey Rae? I loved two of the songs off of her debut, but, in my opinion, her second release The Sea is fantastic. I was worried that the whole thing was going to be about her husband dying. I imagine that it is, but you cannot tell. Every song is a winner. My wife doesn't care for her singing style, but I love it! Just when everybody was going one direction, here comes Corinne. If any of you are on the fence with her, I suggest you drop down onto this side because it is worth it.

What else? Thirty Seconds to Mars had a great cd. I know it was last year, but I'm still listening to it. I fell in love with Sara Bareilles last year and cannot wait until her new cd comes out in a month or so. The first single: "King of Anything" has been making the rounds. I had heard "Love Song" off of the Little Voice cd, but it wasn't until I had seen her concert performance dvd, quite by accident, that I realized how much skill this girl had. She is very witty and extremely talented.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm sure that I am leaving someone out, and that's okay. Feel free to remind me. Chances are (my mother would appreciate the Johnny Mathis reference there) that I have whatever I left out on my iPod. Yeah, I've got 120 Gig! I'll never fill it, but I am sure enjoying trying. I'm at 6,135 songs right now!

See, I told you it was all about songs with me.

Now, in the spirit of my crossover horror/Christian novel, we're crossing over with today's post. Read the post and then fly over to my author's page on Facebook and have a listen to a few of the artists that we discussed. I hope you will.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

Saturday afternoon I took my boys (ages 12 and 16) to see Inception. It is the motion picture that has been blowing the roof off of the dump since it came out. We were not disappointed.

The Official Website's synopsis reads: "Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the best in the dangerous world of extraction: stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at it's most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in the treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything that he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse; their task is not to steal an idea, but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime.
But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming."

The film is very good, but you know all of that already. It is currently the number one film in America. It has been labeled mind-blowing, head-tripping, visually spectacular, etc., etc. I didn't blog on this film to add to the heap of high praise that Christopher Nolan and his crew have been rightfully receiving since it's release. Instead, I just wanted to give you my spin on just why I think that is.

First of all, it is a thinking-person's film. Many have warned that the film is difficult to follow, and it is that. Yet, it isn't that difficult. Some films you attend and you know that you can check your mind at the door. There is a time and place for that. Sometimes you go to a film to be challenged; to be taken to another place; another level. This one does exactly that. Three levels, in fact.

The film is well-written and well-crafted. It will help you stay with the story as the collection of both new and veteran actors take you though the action. It was good to see Lucas Haas, Michael Caine and Tom Berringer. On the other side of the coin, Ellen Page is something special on screen, as is Cillian Murphy. I must admit that I have never gotten all that excited simply because Leo was a member of a cast, but he was excellent. He carried this film well.

One of the other reasons why I appreciated this film so much was because it was different. Now, by that I do not mean that people wore odd costumes and sported weird hair. What I mean is in an age where everything is a sequel, a remake (I believe "reboot" is the new, sexier term), or just an excuse to film for 3D, along comes Christopher Nolan with a completely original thought.

I saw, Avatar, of course. However, I do not plan to see it again any time soon...or perhaps ever. We saw that one in Imax and it was an experience, too. Yet, it was only the spectacle. The story, plot, twists and turns were all expected. Inception amazes and surprises, and I already have a spot in my DVD library for where it should sit.

My congratulations to Mr. Nolan, Mr. DiCaprio, et al. Very well done, indeed.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wicked Writers

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts! I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I have been invited to become a regular member of the Wicked Writers staff. My second blog and first as official member will debut Friday, July 23rd, 2010. It is the proverbial introduction to all things "me", conceited as it may sound. I borrowed from the third song on the first side of "Chicago" Transit Authority's debut album and entitled the post, "Beginnings". Those of you who have been around for a while may recall that I warned that I was heavily influenced by music! ;)

I hope you will swing by and have a look...and leave a comment.

There are other writers on the team as well that I hope you will take a moment to "meet". I'm only beginning to get to know them myself. Won't you join me?


We'll talk soon

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

After a one week hiatus, I am back doing the book blogger hop this weekend. If you have followed recent posts, then you know how busy I have been with my kid's baseball; as well as my recent new ventures as staff member of a local on-line magazine, Kings River Life Magazine, and my acceptance as a member of C.J. Ellisson's Wicked Writers Blog. As for WW, look for my debut next Friday.
So, if you have come hopping by, please leave a comment to say hello. I would love to meet you.
The Hop is sponsored by Jennifer over at Crazy-for-Books, and this weekend's prompt is the following question: what book are you dying to get your hands on? My answer, and I would be lying if I said otherwise, would be Dance on Fire by yours' truly. I just received word for my wonderful publisher, Gaynor, that my e-book is slated to become a paperback version sometime very, very soon. At 41, after dreaming of holding my novel in my hands nearly my entire life, the thought is very near and dear to my heart. A close second is the newest Michael Slade novel, Red Snow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Good day! Yes, it isn't morning. Let's get that out of the way right now. I've been busy, which is the subject of today's post: just where have I been and what in the world have I been up to? Well, I feel like old Nosferatu looks.

Several things have been going on.

First of all, my youngest was selected for All-Stars. That meant that on top of my eleven hours a day schedule at work, I essentially lost six out of seven entire weekends. We had this joke: Yes! he made all-stars...oh, no! he made all-stars! Thankfully, we are all finished now. the 12 year old's won two of their tournaments and placed third in the State Tournament.

For those of you who recall my post on the positive review that Traffic Magazine gave Dance on Fire, that local magazine caught the attention of yet another. Kings River Life Magazine, an on-line mag., not only wanted to review the novel, but was interested in my doing articles for them, too. After some getting to know one another, I was eventually asked to join the staff. My first article is being delivered today to be published in a couple of weeks.

Next, you may recall the guest blog that I did for one of my newest pals, C.J. Ellisson. Well, that led to being asked to join her blog, Wicked Writers. I am now a member of her staff, and will be penning my next blog for her. I look forward to stretching myself a bit with both Wicked Writers as well as for Kings River Life Magazine.

Oh, and how about that novel? There have been all sorts of little things. Lots of great friends like Carole Gill who have been pointing out avenues for PR available to me. I thank her and everyone else who has offered encouragement, advice and options. And did I mention the iPhone that I had to purchase in order to be so close to e-mail, blogs, Twitter, etc.?

Of course I do have a family. I almost forgot that, too. Not really. However, I do want to be mindful of the little opportunity that there is now for spending quality time with them. My wife and I have discussed this. Bless her, she is giving me some time to see where all of this might go.

In any event, this is what I have been up to. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, and the ones that have yet to make themselves known to me. I may have to begin saying "no" soon, something that I have yet to do very much of, if at all. I definitely will have to prioritize and become more efficient than I have been.

We'll see.

We'll talk soon.


Hello Fire Enthusiasts! Now, if you are unsure as to just what exactly constitutes a "fire enthusiast", it's probably because you're new here! And that is part of the reason behind my posting today.

You see, I have been blogging since the spring, mostly in order to publicize my debut novel, Dance on Fire. It is currently an e-book, but plans are in the works to format it into a paperback very soon. It is a vampire story, as you no doubt already know. However, it is a crossover novel, bridging old fashioned horror with the Christian themes of good versus evil.

Now, I'm beginning to reach some impressive numbers. We just reached 130 fans on the author's Facebook page and we have now gone over the 50 followers mark here on the blog. I have just created a twitter account, too. What all of this means is we think it's time to do a contest. What do you think?

What to give away? Well, I'd love to give World Series tickets away for my beloved Chicago Cubs, but since that apparently is never going to happen-that's out! It is a bit premature for autographed copies of the physical book since it does not yet exist. That leaves me with copies of my e-book.

I'm hearing crickets. Hello? Anybody there? Hello?

Yeah, that's what our cat thinks, too (he reminded us of the cat in the film, Alien, so we named him Jones). Okay, but the book took me twenty years to complete (resorting to the sympathy vote)! Ah! you're back. Great. Now, as I was saying, we have a few copies of the e-book that we would like to give away.

In order to win a copy of this jewel...okay, okay. Come back! I'm just messin' around. In order to win a copy of my ebook, one must be entered into the drawing. To be entered, simply be a follower of this blog and leave a comment informing me of your wishes; or follow me on twitter; or friend me on Goodreads, if you have one of those accounts; or lastly, become a fan on The Official James Garcia Jr Authors Page on Facebook. Each location gives you one entry; all four would give you four chances to win. Okay? Wherever you leave your comment, please leave me an e-mail address so that I may contact you when you do win.

There are contest rules. Isn't that always the case? The contest will run for a week until Monday, July 12th. That's my eldest son's birthday, by the way. He'll be sixteen. Yes, I'm worried, too.

You cannot be related to me in any way. If you are: shame on you! Wanting a free copy, when you should be supporting me! LOL! Also, you cannot be a member of the Chicago Cubs MLB team. What the hell are you doing reading, when you are the highest payroll in the National League and sit so many games back in your division? Sigh! I have issues.

That's pretty much it, folks. If I have left anything important out of this post, please let me know. It's my first contest!?! Oh! Back to that whole "Fire Enthusiast" bit. Uncle Stevie (Mr. King) uses Constant Reader. I wanted something to use which to me would simply denote someone who had vested some level of interest in what I do. It encompasses everyone from those who encourage me to those who think that my writing is special in one way or another.

I hope you'll find yourself in that group...somewhere.

Thank you for your interest.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Blogger Hop Twist

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Once again I am participating in the Book Blogger Hop. It is sponsored by Crazy Jennifer over at Crazy-For-Books. This week, however, she is shaking things up a bit by having everyone answer a simple question. The idea is to get to know one another a little better.

In this first week of the blogger with a twist, our prompt is our names and the reason why we blogged in the first place.

Ok, here goes:

My name is James Garcia Jr. My friends call me Jim or Jimmy. I began blogging in the spring in order to publicize the release of my first novel: Dance on Fire. It is a vampire novel. I know, I know; do we need another vampire novel? My particular story is a PG-13 tale that bridges the horror/thriller genre with Christianity. Hopefully, the secular readers will find that there is enough Christianity just to give it an interesting flavor from much of what is out there at the moment; and that the Christian readers will be brought to the edge of their seats by the secular pull of a mainstream story. There's also a bit of romance involved because that's the way I roll. Ha!

I hope readers alike will give me a chance to win them over.

I thank everyone who takes the time to stop by. Please say hello or invite me over to your blog.

We'll talk soon.