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Monday, February 28, 2011

Super 8 Debut Albums Blog Hop

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. So, I was looking for something to post for Monday. I had thought about posting another teaser of my novel. I have done two or three so far. I know some would say that if they wanted to read the novel, they'd buy it. Therefore, I wasn't exactly keen on that idea. I probably will do so at some point, but in the meantime, I found something much, much better. The Super 8 Debut Album Blog Hop, hosted by DiscConnected.

Super Debut Albums? Are you kidding me? I'm all over that.

Now, before we get all crazy, we have to slow down before beginning. Some "debuts" were not debuts at all, but "major label" debuts. By that I mean that the artist or record company hit the restart button on either their material or career. Metal Health by Quiet Riot was pretty darn good, if you discount those Japanese releases. That Jagged Little Pill that Alanis Morissette gave us was kick ass, as long as you forget those Canadian releases that preceded it. Then there is Room For Squares by John Mayer and The Sound of White by Missy Higgins, but each had one or more EPs before hitting it big.

In any event, let's get to the list, shall we?
My criteria: Is it a real debut? How many of the tracks did I skip? Finally, do I continue to play the hell out of it!

Van Halen: I love the Kinks, but after Eddie and the boys covered "You Really Got Me", injecting it with power, you'd almost never want to play your version again. From "Runnin' with the Devil" to "Eruption" to "Little Dreamer" and "Jamie's Cryin'", the album set the table for a monster career.

Shake Your Money Maker: The Black Crowes hit it big in 1990 with this powerhouse. It's got a bit of everything, including some huge hit songs: "She Talks to Angels" and "Hard to Handle" might be the most well-known; however, some of the other tracks are my favorites. "Sister Luck", "Could I have Been So Blind" and "Thick N' Thin" help round out this classic.

Songs About Jane: For me, the bloom has come off of the rose a little bit. Maroon 5 is a bit too safe these days, seemingly making the same music over again; however, "Jane" is a brilliant record. Had they wanted to, they could have released nearly 6 or 7 songs as singles. As it was, they toured for years on just that one album.

Dawn Patrol: I'm still playing Night Ranger to this day. This album came at the beginning of my adolescence, and at the beginning of the hair band explosion of the eighties. "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" and "Sing Me Away" were the big hits on this album, but there's also "Eddie's Comin' Out Tonight", "Young Girl in Love", "Night Ranger" and more.

The Blizzard of Oz: Ozzy has a fantastic catalogue of great songs, but there was definitely something special going on while he was recording and writing with the late Randy Rhoads. What they accomplished with this album as well as Diary of a Madman was magical, making it easier to take that he was no longer in Black Sabbath.

Asia: It almost shouldn't count when a band is formed like a high-priced mercenary squad, but that's what we got here with this supergroup. John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe all came from other successful groups of the 70's. "Heat of the Moment", with it's infectious drum and guitar work was a staple on a young MTV. "Only Time Will Tell", "Time Again", "Wildest Dreams" and more make this a classic debut.

The Doors: William Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is - infinite”. Aldous Huxley took the quote and wrote a book, and James Morrison and The Doors labeled their band and the rest is history. From "Break on Through" to "The End", this is a album that not only started something huge and groundbreaking, but blew The Doors off of the joint!

Boston: Just like the last music blogfest that I participated in, where I proclaimed that the list was only ever going to be about nine of the ten best songs because "Stairway to Heaven" was going to be number one, the same thing holds true here, There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest debut album ever is by Boston. Each of these songs can stand on its own. There's not one track that should be skipped. It is the second best-selling debut of all-time to Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses. I didn't list "Appetite" because I only ever listened to half of its songs. Listen to classic radio long enough and you will eventually hear all 8 of these Boston tracks. And isn't it fitting that this blogfest is entitled Super 8? That's what the debut from Boston should be nicknamed.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this has sparked some memories and inspired some to investigate these great albums for themselves.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Since it seems that I am working many holidays while others are blessed with the day off, I will refrain from doing any happy dances today. This is President's Day in America and I do have this day off. We used to only celebrate President Lincoln and Washington's birthdays in February; however, (I suppose) in an effort for every president from the great to the scoundrel to the inept to get some recognition, we now celebrate them all.

I thought I would use this day as an opportunity to touch base with all of you on a variety of issues, ranging from entertainment to my writing.


I continue to write for many, including myself. I have the every other Friday slot at Wicked Writers, which I share with the wonderful author, Carole Gill. I assist some other great Vamplit Publishing authors with the Something Wicked This Way Comes blog. There, I recently reviewed the wonderful horror film, Let Me In. If you have yet to see that film, you really ought to give it a chance. I do not really watch horror films anymore, but I'm so glad that I gave this little vampire story a chance. It really is something special. Lastly, I write once a month for a local on-line magazine in my neck of the woods: Kings River Life. I typically write articles or interviews about stories concerning my town.


I haven't been able to read very much. I work 11 hours a day during the week, and it's all that I can do to keep up with PR for my novel and all of the other writing. The last time that I got any reading done was during the holidays. This weekend is the first time since then that I have even considered reading something, but since I could, I started reading "Cut Short" by Leigh Russell. I do not know Leigh very well, although we have had the opportunity to say hello to one another on occasion along the world wide web. If the rest of this book is as good as what I have read so far, then the hype I have read about this wonderful writer is all true. We faithfully read Patricia Cornwell's Key Scarpetta series in our home. What Leigh is doing with this debut is just as good as that. I have book 2 on my shelf and I understand that book 3 is on the way. With any luck, I'll be reviewing the novel this week.


A few months ago I discussed what I had been currently listening to. I'd like to do the same now. Unfortunately, things have been rather quiet. I went nuts when The Beatles catalogue was finally available on iTunes, hunting through each and every album for tracks that I just had to have. Hell, I didn't even wait to get home, but was buying the music from trusty iPhone. I continue to listen to the newest releases from 30 Seconds to Mars and My Chemical Romance. Other than that, the only new music that I have discovered is by a newer artist, Lauren Pritchard. Her album is entitled, Wasted in Jackson. I stumbled upon it while surfing around iTunes one day last year and am so glad that I did. As fate would have it, her cd is physically coming out this week in the US. Lauren is being described as an American soul singer and they might be right.

Whatever you are doing today, I hope it is a good day. Take care of yourselves.

We'll talk soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Week Update

Happy Valentine's Week, Fire Enthusiasts. How did your day go? Were you able to spend time with the one who means the most to you? I hope so.

My wife and I spent a half day together Sunday afternoon without kids. We went to lunch in town and then headed to Fresno, which is our large neighbor to the north, in order to watch a movie. As much as I wanted to watch The King's Speech once again (It had better win the Oscar or I'm going to be ticked!!), we watched The Company Men. It was good. That's the film about lay-off's that affected both the ordinary worker as well as high-end executives. It starred Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson and Kevin Costner. It was very good, but made me feel self-conscious about spending money when we went to Costco later that afternoon. Lol! I suppose that was a good thing. So, I'm writing this post with a tall glass of water, rather than the Crown Royal Whiskey that I might have had had that damn movie not crawled inside my head. ;)

The evening concluded with a thrill. Recently I was featured in my town newspaper, The Kingsburg Recorder. Without any help from me, the much larger newspaper, The Fresno Bee, featured the snippet above. The reporter informed me Monday morning that they no longer reviewed books; however, it was still a treat to open up the Spotlight Section of the Sunday Paper last night to find that I was in there.

Before I go, I would like to point those of you who like scary movies to check out the review that I posted Monday morning over at Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is the blog that is shared among four Vamplit Writers. I say that it is shared, but really I have had very little to do with any of the reviewing there. Mostly it is Marissa Farrar and Nicole Hadaway who do all of the work. Saturday, I finally got around to watching the film, Let Me In. It is a vampire story that breaks the mold. If you like vampires...and I know you should really check it out. I really don't watch horror anymore, but this film is special. After you check that out, think about giving us a follow.

That's about all for now. Have a great week.

We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Newspaper Article Result Update

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Happy Mid-week to all of you. What’s everyone up to these days? Are you reading anything good? I wish I was reading something good right now, but I don’t have a lot of time for that at the moment. Are you doing any writing? The edits for my second novel, Dance on Fire: Flashpoint, should be arriving in my e-mail sometime soon. I’m excited to get that started. With any luck it will be a spring release.

I try and post something here each Monday; however, with Sunday’s blog fest, taking up most of my time, I didn't get a chance to do so. I hope you had a chance to participate in that, or at least had some fun following along with what some of the others posted with regard to the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction quotes of all time. I know I neglected Highlander and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. I love both of those films and am forcing myself to do 100 push-ups as a punishment. Okay, not really. But I assure you that with all of this sitting in front of a laptop, I desperately need it!

Some of you may have read last week that I was excited to be featured in my local newspaper. I was interviewed because of the paperback release of my first novel. Since my book has to do with vampires in my real-life city, I felt that I might have a built-in audience. If you are interested, you may read the article here.

Unfortunately, I find that I get myself too hyped up for these types of things. Picture the old-school business executive pouring over the ticker as the stock market numbers begin to come into his or her office and that would be me. Instead of a ticker, I closely watch my Official Authors Facebook Page, anxiously awaiting my “likes” to go through the roof. It happened last year when I was reviewed by the High School newspaper. I never heard a thing. Later in the year, I was reviewed and interviewed by the magazine that I write articles for, Kings River Life. With 500 hits a week (now 700) over the California Central Valley and beyond, I thought I would see a bump, but it never came. Well, I’m sorry to admit that it has happened once again. This paper is shared with a sister city with a potential audience of 30,000 people, but I gained only 4.

Naturally, the thought occurs to me that perhaps my Horror/Christian crossover vampire novel is a miss. Everyone who has read it has had nothing but positives to say about it. I rarely ask; I usually wait for someone to bring the subject up before inquiring. If it is a well-written and entertaining read, then what is the problem?

It would be very easy for me to throw my hands into the air and quit. Trust me. I’m nearly 42 and work 11 hours a day at my day job; I don’t need the aggravation, or the demand upon what little free time I have! The problem has simply been getting the word out. It is frustrating when you toss overboard a huge net only to pull up a couple of fish. Each reader or follower or fan is important. Never let it be said that I do not appreciate each and every one of you. It’s just hard sometimes.

Many of you may be going through much the same thing. How have you handled the disappointments? Have you thought to quit as well? What keeps you going? Is it the fact that you believe so strongly in the material? I know I do. I know it isn’t Pat Conroy, but I do believe that it is good, so I will press forward, hoping to endure less slings and arrows and more success. Perhaps this is still the tilling of the soil before the planting, or even the watering and awaiting of the season before the plants really begin to take off.

We’ll see. I just received a large box of my books in the mail. I am now plotting further media outlets and preparing to schedule book events.

I’ll be sure and keep you updated on my progress. And please tell me how your progress is going. It will help my morale…

We’ll talk soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Horror/Science Fiction Quote Blogfest

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts and distinguished guests. A couple of weeks ago I participated in a top ten song of all-time blogfest. It was so much fun, and I spent way-too much time building it. I laughed that I spent more time working on it then I ever have for any of the other blog posts or articles that I have written! Now, if you know anything about me at all, it's that I have a head full of useless trivia. I know a lot about music (even the stuff that I don't like), television, books and...movies. So, I was more than pleased to be participating today with a new blogfest: Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Quotes. It is being hosted by Ellie Garratt and Jeremy over at iZombielover.

I hope you enjoy this recollection of some of my favorite or memorable quotes. Some you will recognize right away, while others may be new to you. If you are not a Superbowl fan or are simply waiting for the actual game to start, rather than listen ad nauseum to all of the endless build-up, then take the time to check out all of the other participants. It may take a while, but should be well worth it, and a lot of fun.

1) “You’re gonna’ need a bigger boat!” This particular quote is great because it was ad-libbed. The late Roy Scheider just pulled it out of the thin air off of Martha's Vineyard, where the classic film Jaws was being shot. I could have used several other lines from the film, but this might be one of the great scenes in the history of filmmaking. After a long while, the shark finally pulls up out of the water. Chief Brody sees it and stiffly sits up in shock. He slowly walks backwards into the cab of the small boat and the rest is history.

2) “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some Fava beans and a nice Chianti.” The Silence of the Lambs is a masterpiece. It was evident when it stunned Hollywood by essentially sweeping the Academy Awards in 1991. This quote was made famous by yet another ad-lib. As the story goes, Anthony Hopkins turned to Director Jonathan Demme and told him that he wanted to say the line and try something. He did, adding his trademark noise at the end, creeping everyone out. I can well imagine the words "cut!" and "print!" soon followed.

3) “Just remember what old Jack Burton says when the earth quakes, the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right in the eye and says, 'Give me your best shot, I can take it!'". It's campy, it's John Carpenter and it's Kurt Russell in an unforgettable role as an over the top John Wayne. He's a quote machine in Big Trouble in Little China. One might question my taste in films at this point, but I can't help loving this movie. I just jump right into the Porkchop Express and ride along with old Jack Burton.

4) “You son of a bitch! You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You-only-moved-the-headstones!” Poltergeist is a fantastic film which I grew up with. I don't own the DVD yet because I've been hoping that they might put a large collector's set together. This film has a bit of everything: great actors, great effects, great writing and, if nothing else, Spielberg. 'Nuff said? Rumors persist that Steven had to step off of his producers chair at the last minute and see this film completed as an uncredited director. In any event, it is still good after all of these years.

5) “But,...then he's still out there.” Whether the producers knew it or not, they set up their franchise perfectly with the last lines in the original Friday The 13th back in 1980. The lone survivor (at least until the first minutes of part 2) awakens to find herself in the hospital. She asks the police officer what happened to the boy, Jason Voorhees, who pulled her into the water. They explain that they didn't find any boy...

6) “Listen to them, children of the night. What music they make.” Many have played Dracula or other vampires. Some have done well; however, for me, there is none better than Bela Lugosi. Don't believe me? Try looking up regular photos of the great actor and he still looks like the famous vampire.

7) It's perhaps one of the most memorable exchanges in film. In The Exorcist, Father Karras walks into the bedroom of Regan McNeil for the first time. She is fully possessed:
[Demon with Regan] “I'm not Regan."
[Father Karras] "Well, then let's introduce ourselves. I'm Damien Karras."
[Demon] "And I'm the Devil. Now kindly undo these straps."
[Father Karras] "If you're the Devil, why not make the straps disappear?"
[Demon] "That's much too vulgar a display of power, Karras."

8) I typically do not see a film multiple times until it is released onto DVD or video before that. With the classic film, Jurassic Park, I saw it three times in the theater. As often as I use the quote: "I hate this hacker crap!" whenever my pc is acting up or I am unable to access whatever it is I want on the 'net, the following is my all-time fav. When John Hammond attempts to explain away the trouble the park was having as totally explainable, Ian Malcom counters.
[Hammond} “All major theme parks have had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!"
[Malcolm] "But, John. If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."

9) "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" There have been many remakes and all-too many poor sequels, but nothing beats the classic original, The Planet of the Apes, and this signature line. After all, it is the late great Charleton Heston!

10) Lastly, as much as I really didn't want to use this quote, it was probably inevitable. My wife encouraged me to use it. It was brilliant at the time, and has been used and overused since George Lucas surprised the world with it back in 1980 in the The Empire Strikes Back. It was one of the great all-time cinematic twists. Therefore, whether I am tired of it or not, I shall leave you with the exchange:
[Luke Skywalker] "I'll never join you!"
[Darth Vader] "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."
[Luke] "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
[Darth Vader] "No. I am your father."

Once again, I hope you all find this blogfest as fun as I have. I look forward to reading what everyone else considers to be the greatest quotes in Horror/Science Fiction.

We'll talk soon.