Reveiw: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary UnderbellyKitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Anthony Bourdain. He’s not your typical celebrity chef, and lately has somewhat gone off the radar of the television star chefs. His show, “No Reservations”, was a favorite, and I particularly enjoyed the journal-like musings at the end of each show. He doesn’t pull punches, he tells it like it is (for him, anyway), and if he doesn’t like you, you will be sucker punched over and over with his biting wit. He’s also a CIA trained chef, who ran the kitchen at a restaurant that was a hallmark in New York City for many years.

“Kitchen Confidential” is his first memoir that traces his life in (as he calls it) the culinary underbelly. It begins with him as a young child, on vacation with his family in France, and his first exposure to an oyster. It was, as he tells it, the moment when he first fell in love with food. He began his culinary adventures in Provincetown, MA, at seafood and pizza joints. He went to school at Vassar, where he mainly did drugs and goofed off. All the while, he kept his summer jobs in the restaurants. Eventually, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America to get his formal culinary training. He worked in many restaurant kitchens, small and large, most notably Les Halles in New York City where he was executive chef for many years.

Bourdain, in typical fashion, doesn’t sugar coat his experiences growing up the world of restaurant work. He talks freely about the drugs, the sex, and the often horrid working conditions. The kitchen help that would come and go on a regular basis. The ones you knew you could trust, and the ones you just stayed away from. Good owners, who wanted to run a restaurant that was both profitable and good. Bad ones, who just wanted to bleed as much profit from the business as possible and move on. He also doesn’t back off on his own part in that world: the drug addiction, the alcohol, the all-night binges.

In many ways, this is not a pleasant book. Some of it may leave a reader completely unwilling to eat in even the best-rated restaurant ever again. But it is also honest and compelling. It’s a world that those of us on the restaurant floor side of the kitchen door never see. And maybe, don’t want to. It is also eye-opening and a fascinating read. And, all throughout, it is all Anthony Bourdain.

View all my reviews

=======================================================
Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Wednesday Wanderings: Some Archaeological Links

maya-mural-king

A few archaeology related links today.

The discovery of Roman coins under a Japanese castle has led historians to believe Japan had trade relations with the Western world earlier than once thought:

Roman Coins in Japan

A new Dead Sea scrolls cave has been unearthed:

Dead Sea Scrolls

These Israeli scientists are using archaeology to study the Earth’s magnetic field:

Magnetic Field

Photobombs are a new thing, right? Not according to this Mayan mural discovered in Guatemala:

Photobomb mural

===========================================================
Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Monday Musings: Winter is Back. Oh, Boy, Is It Ever! and Writing Updates

snowflakes

I have heard a lot of people remarking on the lack of snow so far this winter. Glad that we have really not had a lot, and that it has been a fairly easy winter so far.

I blame you. Every single one of you.

Because Old Man Winter? He heard you, loud and clear. And decided to do something about that. A good foot or so on Thursday, more tomorrow and Monday (and they keep upping the accumulation for this one. We’ve hit 12 to 18″ the last time I looked), and perhaps even more later in the week. So, really, let’s keep all that “easy winter”and “at least there hasn’t been much snow” talk to ourselves in the future, huh? Because this getting a full winter’s worth of snow in two weeks is not all that much fun.

On the other hand, I don’t have to do much shoveling or removing any more. I sometimes need to clear the front porch from the door to the walk so I can take the dog out, and we do have to clear the deck. The development people take care of the rest. They plow the streets, clear the walks and driveways, even shovel the porch and spread ice melt. It’s rather nice.

And, I have to admit that it is pretty. At least until the plows and sand spreaders make it all dirty and yucky. But that coat of pure white does make a nice picture, looking out the window and sliders. I have also always liked the way snow falling muffles sound, so you get a really special sort of quiet during a snowstorm. It is New England, after all. We are supposed to get those postcard picture snow days, right?

I also realized I haven’t done a writing update in a while, so here goes:

“Five and Daemon” has been getting downloads. Many of them. And it has a very nice 5 star rating at Barnes and Noble. So, thank you to everyone who has read it. I’ll just toss in a tiny reminder that a rating and review if you liked it is always appreciated. It’s free, and available at Smashwords and most other e-book retailers. Not Amazon, sorry. Details are at the end of this post, as well as a link to the book’s page.

The second in that series (I’m thinking of calling it The Yo-Yo Files) is finished in first draft form. I’ve set it aside for a week, and will get into a first revision pass this week. After that, I will be looking for a few readers to give it a look and let me know what needs fixing up. This one is called “The Devil Made Me Do It” and it has Johnny and Cerise helping Lucifer with a bit of a problem. A problem of cataclysmic proportion that could spell the end for everything. It also blends in some Norse mythology, although I’m playing a little loose with that. It’s another novelette, a bit longer than the first one, and will be out later this year.

The other project in the works right now is the second short story collection. Finally! If you’ve looked at my books, you will see the first, “Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy”. It came out a few years ago. I have always had plans to do “Half A Dozen of the Other: A Collection of Short Science Fiction” but never got that going. I am starting to pull the stories together for it. Some are sort of written, and by that I mean I have a couple really short (one is actually flash) stories that I am expanding and rewriting to make them into actual short stories. I have at least one other that started life as something else entirely, and I plan to rewrite that to work in here. And I will have to write one or two new stories for it. That will probably not see publication until near the end of the year or even next year. I also have some ideas for combining both collections.

That just about puts you up-to-date on what’s happening around here. If you are in the path of these next storms, please stay safe. Stay home if you can, and if you can’t remember-  your four-wheel drive helps you go. It doesn’t help you stop. Drive carefully. Walk carefully, as well. The snow can cover ice and we don’t want any nasty falls! Curl up with a soft blanket, a cup of tea or cocoa or hot toddy, a good book, a bad movie, some catch-up TV, and let the snow fall. There’s time to do all the little stuff later.

(Image from funguerilla.com)

=============================================

Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscrupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Beni’s of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Wednesday Wanderings: Singing Fish, Bad Lip Reading, Sustainable Travel Luxury, and Sand Ripples on Mars

mars-sand-ripples-3

Did you know that fish sing? They do, and here’s a recording of them doing it:

Singing Fish

Oh, oh, oh! Another  NFL Bad Lip Reading video! Happy, happy, joy, joy:

Bad Lip Reading

Now you can have luxury travel accommodations and stay environmentally friendly thanks to these high-end hotels that practice sustainability:

Sustainable Luxury 

Curiosity Rover has recorded ripples in the sand of Mars that looks like waves on a lake:

Mars Sand Ripples

======================================================

Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Monday Musings: Organizing and Some Clean-Up, and Super Bowl Sunday (With Rant).

organizing

I spent the last two days of last week organizing. First, I did some cleaning up and gathering of files on my computer. And got all the files off the thumb drive that I’d put there when something happened and we thought I might lose them, but I have no recollection right now what that was. Anyway, I had been just finding each file individually when I needed it, but now they are all back where they belong. I still have some coordinating to do between my computer and Google drive, but that will be the next project for an off day.

And Friday, I organized and updated my Calibre e-book library. I had a bunch of books I’d downloaded and never added to Calibre, and some in there that were not well identified. File names that weren’t the actual title, no author information, stuff like that. Nice thing with Calibre, though, is that if you give it the title and author and the book is available on Amazon or in a Google search, it will get all the metadata and the cover art and just plug it in. So, for most of the books, that’s all I had to do. There were a few that were special- gotten directly from the author and not available publicly, and things of that nature. Those had to be done individually, but it wasn’t an impossible task. I also added all the e-books from my Kindle that I’ve read. I still need to get the unread ones in there, so I have a backup of those books in case my Kindle (which is old) decides to give up the ghost. Stuff I’ve purchased from Amazon is okay, since I can always get it from my Amazon account, but not all of the e-books on there are on Amazon. It was a productive two days.

This was also Super Bowl weekend. I didn’t really have a horse in this race, since neither of my teams made it, but we do usually watch the game. A few general comments and then a bit of personal commentary.

The much-hyped Super Bowl ads? Pretty much meh across the board. There were a couple that were good, a few that we laughed at, but nothing that stood out as spectacular. C’mon, people- you pay a ton of money for those ads, let’s see some that rival the good ones of the past.

The halftime show? I thought it was pretty darn good this year. I didn’t know much about Lady Gaga before the show, I will admit. I mean, yeah, I saw the news stories when she did or said or wore something wild, and I knew she had a pretty decent voice, but really, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to her. Her performance was entertaining and kind of fun. One of the better ones in recent memory.

The game itself? Well, the final score was a disappointment, but, holy heck, it turned into a game. Early on, the Falcons were really dominant, and it looked like it was going to be another ho-hum Super Bowl, with one team dominating and going on to win. But the Patriots rallied big time in the fourth quarter, didn’t they? I did not want them to win, but at least the last part of the game got the ol’ sports blood pumping.

Okay, the Patriots. Let me try to explain. Yes, I live in New England. No, I did not grow up here, so I have no from-childhood loyalty to any New England team. Nor do I think that just because I live here, I have to like them. On the other hand, I don’t hate the Patriots, either. Seems that, to many of their fans, if you aren’t cheering them on, you must hate them. It’s some sort of conspiracy or something.

Here’s the thing- I will admit they have a good team. Brady is arguably one of the best playing the game today. Belichick is obviously doing something right as a coach. The thing is, I don’t like either of them. Brady is a bit too full of himself, and Belichick is just an ass. And the fans? Apologies to those of you who are fans, and especially to those who do not act like what I see in the majority (I’m sure you are out there somewhere), but holy crap, you all do think you have one special snowflake of a team, don’t you? They can do no wrong, it’s never their fault, and the whole entire world is out to get them, isn’t it? Newsflash- they can, it is, and they ain’t.

Case in point: The news article being passed around gleefully by Pats fans that reports how the Patriot fans in the stands Sunday booed Roger Goodell when he passed the Lombardi trophy to the Patriots. Oh, very classy, folks. Both those who were there, and those gloating about it today. Heard the word sportsmanship much?

That’s why I don’t like the Patriots, and never will. They’re good. They have proven that more than once. Good for them. Congratulations on Super Bowl win number five. Display the trophy proudly, enjoy the parades and spotlight, post pictures of the rings when you get them. And, fans, be happy for your team. Go to the parade if you can. Watch the interviews and read the stories. And while you are doing all that, can y’all try to grow up a little before next season?

And just an addition to make it perfectly clear: I did not want the Falcons to win because I hate the Patriots sooooooooooooooo much. I wanted the Falcons to win because I thought they deserved it more. Ryan and the Falcons had a really great season. The Patriots did what the Patriots always do. They didn’t have a particularly amazing season, and they already had four Super Bowl wins. IMO, Atlanta just deserved that win more.

(Image from Body Health Magazine)

======================================================
Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here
 

 

Friday Review: The Sandman Volume 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and ReflectionsThe Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is there a distinction between comic books and graphic novels? Some say yes, some say no. Some say that graphic novels are more complete, that the stories are finished in one or two issues, where comic books can stretch a storyline for months. Others will say they are the same thing, with different focus. I don’t know. I used to read what we called comic books many years ago. You know- those small, thin paper books that came out every month, and were mostly superhero stories. The Sandman books are nothing like those. These are developed, intricately plotted short stories, told with illustrations. The series has overall arcs, but the individual stories, for the most part, are separate. They are like comic books in that the illustrations, coloring, even the lettering choice all add to the story as much as the plot lines. And they are very, very good.

Yes, I am a fan of Neil Gaiman. I love his stories, his style, and his imagination. And the Sandman stories are no exception. For those who may not be familiar, the Sandman is Morpheus, or Dream as he is known in the stories. He is one of the Seven Endless (the others are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction). Morpheus rules over the Dreaming, and the stories are usually set there.

Volume 6 is a collection of short pieces, instead of one longer story. The stories are:
Fear of Falling
Three Septembers and a January
Thermidor
The Hunt
August
Soft Places
Orpheus
The Parliament of Rooks
Ramadan

They are all different, and incorporate Gaiman’s usual blend of horror, fantasy, and mythology. There are retellings of classic myths (Orpheus), historical references (Thermidor and The Hunt), and lessons to learn (Three Septembers and a January, and Ramadan). Dream himself often takes a back seat to the other characters in the stories, which is a departure from other volumes. The exception is Orpheus, which is played out here as sort of a family history, with all the Endless appearing.

This is a wonderful addition to the Sandman series. The individual stories are good, though some are better than others. Some may not like there not being a strong story line for Dream here, but the sidenotes and backgrounds we get are fascinating. I liked the anthology format, since each story can be read separately and wraps up its story line in short bites. Fans of Gaiman and the Sandman will enjoy it.

View all my reviews

=======================================================
Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Wednesday Wanderings: Photos of Pluto, Dinosaur Tracks, Moose in Basement, and Extinct Sea Creature May Be Our Ancestor

seacreature

This is a video compilation of over 100 photos of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft:

Pluto

This limestone wall in Bolivia is covered in dinosaur tracks, including those of a baby T-Rex:

Dinosaur Tracks

This would be a shock to wake up to:

Moose in Basement

Is this odd-looking ancient sea creature our earliest ancestor? Well, not directly, but it looks like it may be:

Ancient Sea Creature

(Photo from latimes.com)

=================================================

Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Monday Musings: Into the New Year as Time Goes By

time-passes-hourglass

January is almost over, isn’t it? We are just about one full month into 2017. Time seems to fly by so fast these days. Not sure whether it’s because I am older or what, but I feel like I blinked somewhere along the way and time just speeded up. Maybe I just need to stop and take a few metaphorical deep breaths and reset my timekeeper.

I do like that it is staying light noticeably longer outside now. When I walk the dog in the evening, I don’t have to put his LED light collar on him now. And that means we are heading straight into Spring, doesn’t it? Of course, we do have to get through February first. I don’t know about you, but for me, February is the worst month of the year. It seems to be mostly gray and gloomy, with intermittent teases of warm weather that jump right back to cold. And if it isn’t snowing or sleeting, it’s raining. Or maybe I just want Spring to get here so badly by this time of year, I am making February the bad guy. Well, we will see what ol’ Punxsutawney Phil has to say in a few day, right?

We started watching “The Man in the High Castle” on Amazon Prime recently. We’ve only gotten through two episodes so far (we pick it up when there is nothing recorded in our regular list of TV shows). It’s pretty good. I had heard good things about it, but tend to be reluctant to add new stuff to a list of watched shows that sometimes seems to long to keep up with already. I do like alternate history stories, when they are done well. So far, this one seems to be doing just that.

And that is about all the news that’s fit to print, as the old saying goes. Enjoy your week! Be nice to each other, smile a lot, and don’t forget to take a moment or two to just have fun!

(Image from dreamstime.com)

====================================================

Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here

Friday Review: American Fairy Tales: From Rip Van Winkle to The Rootabaga Stories (Compiled) by Neil Philip

American Fairy Tales: From Rip Van Winkle to the Rootabaga StoriesAmerican Fairy Tales: From Rip Van Winkle to the Rootabaga Stories by Neil Philip
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twelve stories penned by American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Washington Irving, Carl Sandburg, and others. The stories are all uniquely American in some way, and many depart from the familiar European style fairy tale of the likes of the Brothers Grimm. There is a preface that gives a summation of the growth of American fairy tales (written by Alison Lurie), and each tale is prefaced by a short biographical piece on the author. Illustrations by Michael McCurdy are black-and-white ink drawings. An afterword by Philip puts the stories into a historical framework.

It might surprise some people to learn that there are American fairy tales. Most people equate fairy tales with the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and other European storytellers. But there is a tradition of American tales that, while not necessarily involving fairies or monsters in the usual sense, do fall into the general category of fairy tales, or, perhaps more precisely, folk tales. This book gathers twelve of those stories into one volume, and is a nice collection for anyone interested in folk tales and lore of any background. Some of these stories and authors are familiar: Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”, for example. Some are less familiar: Frank Stockton’s “The Bee-man of Orn” or Howard Pyle’s “The Apple of Contentment”. And some may be surprised that the likes of Louisa May Alcott and Carl Sandburg wrote fairy tales.

As for the stories themselves, they run the gamut from those that hold close to the European traditional fairy tale format with American settings and characters, to those that are more unique to their country of origin. Some of the truly American tales utilize the language and colloquial American dialect, or draw on very American superstitions and beliefs, or silly and nonsensical words and phrases. Some may be a bit difficult to read, especially the older ones where the language is more old-fashioned and Colonial. They are all valuable to anyone interested in folk tales and especially to we Americans. The more scholarly parts, in the introductions to each story and the afterword, help to put the whole collection in its historical place.

This book is both a study of American storytelling which will be valued by anyone interested in the development of American literature, and an entertaining set of tales that can easily fit in the fairy tale class.

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A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

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In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
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Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
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Wednesday Wanderings: Cassini Photographs Saturn, 3500 Year Old Greek Tomb, Concert Hall Designed by Algorithm, and One Writer’s Journey on Amtrak

amtrak-train1

The Cassini spacecraft has been sending back some pretty awesome photos of Saturn:

Saturn Photos

This 3,500 year-old Greek tomb is giving archaeologist’s new clues to the roots of Western civilization”:

Ancient Greek Tomb

Stunning concert hall in Hamburg, Germany was designed by algorithms:

Elbphilharmonie

One writer’s take on her time on the Amtrak writer’s residency. Writing, sleeping, and clearing the mind:

Amtrak Writer’s Residency

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 Available now:

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

 

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

five-and-daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. It is free to download.
Learn more here