Monthly Archives: June 2018

Three copies of our new book are headed to the local bookstore today

Greetings, readers. Yesterday afternoon a box arrived at my door containing three copies of Four’s a Crowd. As soon as we are done editing and posting this blog entry, Rebecca and I are going to mosey across the street to Webster’s Bookstore and Café. The owner has let me sell my books on consignment there before and one of her employees said that they would take three copies of Darren and my new book. I am hoping we will get a sale or two from that bookstore. That would be awesome. [Update, later this same day: We left two copies of the novel at Webster’s Bookstore and Café. If those sell out, more copies can be ordered. They were very nice to us.]

Next week, Rebecca and I are going to ponder ways to locally push the book. I know a couple of people in my building who belong to book clubs. If I can talk someone into choosing our book for the club, perhaps every member would purchase a copy. That would be awesome! There is also the local library, where we will ask them to put a copy in circulation. At this point I am trying anything I can to get the word out there. In my opinion, Four’s a Crowd is a winner and would be a good read for anyone. There is a little bit of mild violence, cuss words, and sexual innuendo, but nothing too outrageous. I wouldn’t recommend it for little kids, but I would for any adult.

Now briefly on to other news. I am mentally making plans for the rest of the summer and beyond. I am getting advice from all fronts of what I should do and it is only confusing me more. My feet and legs have responded to the summer off to rest but not as much as I hoped.

Next week one of things that Rebecca and I must do is make contact with the family overseas and other family friends. I tend to be lax in that area. Sometimes I think my cousin Wino (pronounced Wee-no) has given up on me.

Lastly, a welcome and thank you to any new readers who are checking out the blog for the first time. We love our readers and treasure you. I hope each and every one of you finds something that you like. Please chime in with comments if you have a topic you would like us to cover. Bear in mind, I don’t blog on politics much; for me that is a sticky wicket.

Well there you have it folks, today’s entry. Rebecca and I will be taking off work next Wednesday, the Fourth of July. Rebecca will put a blog entry up that day, and we will be back together working on Thursday. So until then, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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Belated RIP to one of my favorite New York Yankee voices

Greetings, readers. When I watched New York Yankee baseball in the 1970s and early 80s there were many great voices. There was the trio of Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, and Frank Messer. I loved all three and they worked well together, but they weren’t my favorite. My favorite voice of the New York Yankees was the pubic address announcer with that wonderfully distinct voice, Bob Sheppard. From 1951 through 2007, he announced generations of New York Yankees players to the fans in the stands, on the radio and on WPIX television.

With his rich deep voice, he would so eloquently announce each player. It was as though he was making each batter feel like he was the most important player on the team. It would go something like this, “Now batting … the shortstop number 2, Derek Jeter … number 2.”  Players from Jeter to Jorge Posada to Reggie Jackson all had their names called in that wonderfully unique way.

I watched many baseball games from other teams and no pubic address announcer has caught my attention nearly as much as Bob Sheppard. I rank him right up there with legendary sportscasters Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Dick Enberg.

I was surprised to learn through his 2010 obit on the MLB website that he had called Yankees baseball games since the 50s. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Thurman Munson, and Bunky Dent had their names called by Mr. Sheppard. My two favorite moments were these: When the old Yankee stadium closed – Sheppard might have already been retired by then – he came on the P.A. system to a roaring crowd to say he hoped to see everyone at the new Yankee stadium. My other favorite moment was when he announced the great shortstop Jeter’s final all-star game at bat.

Mr. Sheppard, you will always be a bright spot in my childhood growing up watching Yankees baseball and I thank you for all those years of legendary P.A. work. I’m sure I’m not the only Yankees fan who echoes my sentiments. So to you sir, may you continue to rest in peace.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My summer writing schedule so far

Greetings, readers. Although I have had a number of good ideas for writing projects, getting words on the page are like pulling teeth. I yank and yank and yank, and then say oh, look, there is one sentence. Back in my 30s, before all my petit mal seizures, my creativity was much better. Ideas just flowed. I’m not certain if I really do have brain damage because of the seizures, but I feel as though I do. My medications work fine for what they are meant for but they may dampen my creative process as well.

The other day I started the sequel to Four’s a Crowd and got about a page down on the computer. I don’t know if it was because I was using the speech recognition program, or the outside noise at the time, or if something else was in the way, but words would not come easily, even with these characters that I know so well. I must admit that depressed me for the rest of the day. Kimberly, Lyle, and the rest of the Four’s a Crowd clan should have inspired me, not dragged me into the mud. Thank goodness for therapy every three weeks.

Rebecca usually tells me to just keep plugging away at it, flex those writing muscles and eventually it will come. I hope she is correct. I have my entire day planned out already. We have work hours this morning, a brief stop for lunch and a couple of groceries, and then I am going to try to work with the speech recognition program again. One of the problems might be that it hasn’t quite learned my voice enough for me to dictate a novel effectively.

My friend Dave suggested I try writing a children’s book. He was most impressed with how I, a few years ago, told his young nephews and nieces stories around the camp fire at Bear Spring Camps. Not a bad idea. And I know someone who just might be willing to illustrate it if she has time. I have already started a story, The Secret House, and have posted the first two parts of it here. I hope to write more of it and share it with you in the near future.

I’m being a little mysterious here, because I don’t want to divulge my ideas. It seems like every time I do it is the kiss of death. One time I remember telling my Godmother a story idea and she stomped the flowers out of it until it was dead. I admit that it was after one of her strokes and some of her social filters might have been gone.

I have next to me what I call my inspiration pad. If I have a dream or a day-dream and it really hits me and I have a great idea I am prepared to jot it down long hand. For as I may have mentioned before, my short-term memory is crap.

There is today’s update. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will be back with another blog entry and I have already chosen the topic. Unless something comes up, I’m going to blog about the legendary former New York Yankee public address announcer, the late Bob Sheppard.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Four’s a Crowd is published!

Joe hit the button at CreateSpace.com at noon today and published Four’s a Crowd! The novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly will be on sale on Amazon in 3-5 business days. Joe was a little disappointed that Four’s a Crowd wasn’t available right away, but I guess Amazon needs a few days to get the product page set up.

If you are interested in what the book is about, here is the description we have on the back cover:

Lyle and Kimberly Detmore are a young married couple who have settled into a quiet life together. Henry and Alice Detmore are an older married couple who were having a good life before their health issues forced them to sell their home. They moved in with their son, Lyle, and the daughter-in-law that Alice has never liked.

It doesn’t take long after they move in for the two women to begin exchanging sharp words and the men to take cover. Battle lines are drawn. The house is filled with yelling, tears, slamming doors, misunderstandings, fears, secrets, and unexpected news.

Underlying it all is the love between husband and wife, child and parent. Can these four people figure out how to solve their problems and live in peace as a family before it is too late?

It took us all more than four years to get to this point, and here it is, even if there is another slight delay. Thanks for joining in our celebration. I am so proud of Darren and Joe for writings these characters and their stories. Hooray!

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe just left our place

Darren and Joe had a good proof-editing session for their novel Four’s a Crowd. They didn’t change much, just a few words here and there. Joe came to our place with his laptop, and Darren was on our laptop. They each had a copy of the working file open on the computer and called out page numbers for the other to go over; mostly just the parts that were changed the most since the last ordered proof. They worked well together and agreed on a final version to publish.

We went to CreateSpace.com and uploaded the file for review. The self-publishing site will get back to us in 24 hours with their approval of the format. We expect the book to be published tomorrow, and then immediately available to buy on Amazon. Booksellers and libraries should also be able to order it by tomorrow afternoon. Whoo-hoot! Joe worked so hard on the play, Darren worked so hard on adapting it to a novel, and we have all worked hard editing the book, so this a very sweet moment. One more step!

After that, we will look into getting the book on Kindle. We know from putting two of Joe’s previous books on that service that we will need it re-formatted for the e-book structure, and that will take time and/or money to arrange. We will keep you updated.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with an entry, and one of us may possibly write a brief announcement here over the weekend after Four’s a Crowd is published and on sale. Until then, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

My new kitten has developed a mind of her own

Greetings, readers. Over the past couple of weeks, her royal highness Princess Josie has been spending more time in her penalty box, AKA the dog crate, than usual. Just like a human child of two or three, she is pushing the envelope to see how much she can get away with before I get upset enough to put her in time out. Let me give you a few examples of how frustrating this last week has been.

The last several mornings as I do my morning routine on my computer, she hops up on the table, lies down, and her paws push my speaker further and further to the edge of the table. I have to stop what I am doing, put the speaker back where it belongs, only to see her gleefully push it again. She thinks it is her new ball or something. Then she spies my eyeglasses cord and begins to nibble on it. I again have to stop what I am doing and say no, no, no. Josie gets three strikes and she gets put in her penalty box. I want it understood that I do not abuse my animal by making her sit in there all day long, she is there for short periods of time. I am just trying to prove a point that when Daddy says no, there are consequences for not listening. So far not getting on the work table has not worked out too well.

Now I’ll give you an example of a success. Every day I must take my daily medication, and I don’t want her to accidentally eat one if I drop a pill on the floor. A few weeks ago I was joking around with her and said it was time for me to take my pills and powders and I started to point to the entrance of her crate with a treat in hand. Wouldn’t you know, the last two mornings, she has gone in before the treat. A major success. I obviously rewarded that behavior with a treat.

Her latest thing is to jump up on Daddy’s work chair and claw the crap out of it. It is a game to her. Her eyes get wide, her ears prick back and when I approach her I run the risk of getting playfully clawed. After patting her on the head, she quickly calms down and I can remove her from my chair, sometimes to have her jump right back up as I go to sit down. I am horrified at the thought that one of these days she will jump up at the wrong time and I will sit on her with full weight. That would be a bad thing. For her that would be a me-ouch. Lol.

Obviously, I had forgotten how difficult it was to train a kitten. I think Keekee was a little bit older when I got her. Maybe one or one and a half years old. Readers, I want this perfectly understood. I am not really complaining, I’m loving every minute of this. She’s not really a “bad girl” or a “naughty kitty,” she is just a kitten that needs to learn what is acceptable and what is not. Hopefully one day in the very near future she will do so.

Just for a moment on a different topic: I will be going on a working road trip tomorrow to Rebecca and Darren’s office (AKA their apartment) to go over the final changes for Four’s a Crowd. It could be ready to click live for sale by next Wednesday. Yay, team! Readers, keep your fingers crossed, please. I will keep you updated.

Well, there you have it, today’s happenings. Rebecca will put up the blog tomorrow afternoon, after I leave their place, then we will be back here next Wednesday. So as always, do take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a hit, despite the boycotts

Greetings, readers. Last night I went with friends to see the latest Star Wars flick. I had heard mixed reviews and quite frankly was expecting to be disappointed. I was not! As the first film in a possible trilogy, I liked Solo: A Star Wars Story as much as Rogue One, if not better. I do have a few light spoilers below.

Alden Ehrenreich did a wonderful job in my opinion of making the viewer believe that he was the younger version of the character Han Solo. He had all the mannerisms down correctly, and even looked like he could be Harrison Ford’s son. The only problem I had with him is he also looked like, in certain scenes, Chris Pine from the new Star Trek film series. But I easily gave that a hand wave.

Another major player was the younger version of Lando Calrissian played by Donald Glover. He also looked and sounded even more like his character than Alden Ehrenreich sounded like Han Solo. Of course for all Star Wars fans, we were introduced to Chewbacca who was not, unfortunately played by Peter Mayhew. His health would not allow all the walking around and physical things for the part. The growling voice, however, sounded identical. It could be that Peter did the voice acting for Chewbacca. When we were introduced to our furry friend, played by Joonas Suotamo, he was the bad guy’s pet, kept in a dungeon filled with mud on the floor. Han Solo was thrown into said pit to see how long he would survive against “the beast”.

Hon’s love interest, Qu’ra played by a marvelous British actress named Emilia Clarke was in the first part of the movie and then reappeared a while later to be happily reacquainted with her love, but she had secrets to hide.

The movie came out a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately in its third week the box office sales have fallen off the table. My good friend’s brother told me that this was because many people were very upset with the previous Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, and many people boycotted the Solo film; it is a shame. I give it a solid 8 out of 10, with good acting, a reasonable storyline, and plenty of action.

Well, after reading this you may or may not want to see the film. For those of you who are die-hard Star Wars fans, trust me, you will love it. Don’t boycott it. Go treat yourself.

I’m taking a personal day tomorrow, so Rebecca will have the blog entry up. Until next Wednesday, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.