Thursday, October 31, 2002

L.L. Lee reviews The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

Leona Lipari Lee, MA, RN, has posted a review of The Acorn Gathering at the Barnes & Noble website.

Ms. Lee is the author of one alternative health book for women, How to Survive Menopause without Going Crazy. She is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul and Conversations in Women’s Health (2003). Ms. Lee is also the author of three humorous novels, Taxing Tallula, The Sisters: Lost in Brooklyn, and The Sisters: Found in San Antonio. Contact her at or visit her website at

All royalties from The Acorn Gathering go to fighting cancer! Click here to read L.L. Lee’s review.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Book review: Cinátis by Ronald L. Donaghe

I'll forego the knee-jerk comparisons to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter that all high fantasy receives these days and tell you the simple truth: novelist Ronald L. Donaghe has created a world unlike any other, but with constant echoes of our own. The names, the places, the cultures, and the beliefs all seemed familiar enough that I could relate to and imagine them. Yet their differences from our world constantly surprised me.

When young Jeru breaks away from his family in the search for what caused a plague upon Omoham, he embarks on a series of adventures and soon becomes involved with one person who will become his mate and several other people who will become their allies in seeking the cause of the plague. However, their journey to Cinátis will involve them in much more, as Jeru finds himself entwined in a battle to rid Omoham of a violent group called the "Ch'turc."

The names become comfortable after a while, just like the dialects. If you set the book aside for a few days, you might need to check the handy glossary in the back of the book, but why would you set this book aside? Despite its length (much longer than what I usually prefer), Volume 1 breezes by, entangling readers in its mists (you'll have to read the book to know what I mean by that).

It also ends at a satisfactory place. It left me wanting more, without leaving me angry that I have to wait a while before Volume 2. I look forward to reading that book, as well as the two other books in this fantasy series, which Donaghe named "Twilight of the Gods." Silver Dragon Books has taken on several authors who look promising, and I'm glad to see Donaghe now added to that list.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Book Review: Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

I usually don't like mystery novels, but I liked the idea of one involving gay characters and an intriguing metafictional slant: the mystery involves Adrien English, a mystery writer who owns a mystery bookstore. Like the levels of mystery, the guilt in this book also manifests itself in a variety of ways, other than the obvious question of who is guilty. None of the characters just happen to be gay; homosexuality and homophobia add to the complexity of the mystery, and the barriers to solving it. Lanyon creates believable, conflicted, and, in many cases, disturbing characters. The narrative is fast-paced, sometimes humorous, and always unpredictable.

I’m currently reading the second book in Lanyon’s Adrien English series, and will review it soon.

Monday, October 21, 2002

U2: War

CD review: War, by U2.

I'll never forget the first time I heard U2. The song "New Year's Day" started playing on my radio, and I stood transfixed. I had never heard anything like it: the passionate vocals, the chilling lyrics, and the truly unique guitar style. As soon as I found a copy of WAR, I bought it, and found each song as satisfying as "New Year's Day." Now, I've heard countless U2 ripoffs, not to mention several other U2 albums. Still, I can't hear the songs from this album and just think of them as background music; they still demand my attention. While U2 continues to deliver great new music, WAR stands alone as one of rock's greatest albums ever.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Visit the book blog Too Loud a Solitude for book reviews and journals from three book lovers. I enjoy how they mix in their everyday life and honest observations with their reading experiences. I also like the art work, inspired by Arabian Nights.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Spunky girl and Sherwood Anderson

In a blog entry posted here earlier today, I mentioned the influence of Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg, Ohio on my writing. I’m glad to see another blog where someone suggested that classic to surfers.

In her house arrest/book club blog, Spunky girl (aka Liz Maryland) features reading lists by various avid readers, and invites discussion of the lists. Matthew Johnson’s Picks reveal his thoughts on Winesburg, Ohio and several other classics.

Spunky girl’s other blogs will interest many lovers of tattoos, knitting, or just clever observations about life.
I initially started writing the stories for my collection The Acorn Stories when I lived in Nashville, TN, giving them various settings. When I moved to Abilene, TX, I kept noticing how Texans had such a strong pride in and awareness of where they live. I changed the setting of my stories to a fictional West Texas town.

Two years later, I moved to Lubbock for Texas Tech University, and I kept thinking of more ideas for my West Texas town, even re-visiting some of the characters I had created in the initial stories. My studies at Tech greatly influenced the collection, especially after one of my professors introduced me to Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg, Ohio.

In many ways, what Anderson had done resembled what I was doing. That book became an obvious choice for my dissertation topic (New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio), and one of many influences on The Acorn Stories.

The Acorn Stories later led to a cancer cure fund-raiser, The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Suggested books, movie, and blog, for Clive Barker fans.

I love the novel Sacrament by Clive Barker, with its epic scope and its beautiful passages about life and death. It’s hard to believe such a book came from a man who creates horrific paintings, and the man who created such movies as Hellraiser (which never interested me), Candyman (which kept me jumping),
Lords of Illusions (an under-rated thriller that showcased the always likable Scott Bakula and might soon become a Showtime series), or
Nightbreed (a creepy and allegorical look at life for the rejected and the outcasts).

Of course, Barker was one of the producers of the critically acclaimed Gods and Monsters, and I’m looking forward to his SciFi Channel movie Saint Sinner. I also plan to read more of his novels.

If you like Clive Barker, you should check out terje’s comments about his recent novels, in an August 14, 2002 blog entry. In fact, you might enjoy many of the other entries in terje blog.

I’m not surprised about how Barker keeps people talking. I remember when I saw Candyman at the theater. A woman in front of me kept telling Virginia Madsen stuff like, “Don’t go back in there, girl. You don’t need the camera that bad! Get out of there!” Normally, I find theater talkers annoying, but she actually added to the suspense.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Book review: Notes on the "Radical" View of Aging by Curtis W. Irion, Ph.D.

While explaining and confronting the dangers of free radicals to our cells, Dr. Curtis W. Irion reveals how a better diet can make us more healthy and make us age more slowly. He also reveals surprising information about many plants-from garlic to tobacco-and their interactions with both the Earth and the human body. Most importantly, he accomplishes his study in simple language that almost any reader can understand and apply. My only complaint would be the extreme length of his paragraphs; especially for nonfiction and complex subjects, I think most readers prefer short paragraphs. Aside from that, this book should appeal to any people who want to improve and extend their lives.

Since many of his diet suggestions might not appeal to some people, Irion also offers alternatives. He makes sure that anyone can find ways to live longer and with less diseases, through simple changes in diet.

If you like this book, you might also like The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Book review: The Spell by Alan Hollinghurst

This author's almost obsessive attention to realism will enchant readers with beautiful language and fascinating characters. I loved The Spell, and I felt like I knew these people. In this novel, the acclaimed author of The Swimming Pool Library and The Folding Star looks into the overlapping lives of four men, closely examining the complexities of human relationships.

If you like this book, you might also like The Acorn Stories.

Monday, October 07, 2002

A scary movie for Halloween!

The Howling

Despite some hilarious high-camp scenes, The Howling is one of the few scary movies that actually scares me. Some of the most chilling moments result from the camera focusing on only shadows or only the eyes or feet of a werewolf. A frantic pace, a remote setting, and some incredible pre-CGI creature effects help make this a classic horror flick. I've tried (unsuccessfully) to endure each of the sequels, but have never made it more than a few minutes through any of those B-movie clunkers. Instead, I watch this favorite again and again. If you must watch a werewolf B-movie, stick with the horrible but amusing Bad Moon or Project Metalbeast. Better yet, watch the good werewolf flicks, like The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, An American Werewolf in Paris, Stephen King's Silver Bullet, and some of the earliest black and white ones. You might even try The Wolfen, which features a complex mythology of werewolves in the clever and scary book; though the movie just uses wolves with glowing eyes, it certainly isn't bad either.

Friday, October 04, 2002

My books listed at blog book sites, etc.

The Acorn Gathering recently reached number 1 at the blog-based book rating site All Consuming. Over the past several days, it has consistently appeared there and two similar sites: Weblog Bookwatch and News Is Free. Those sites look for books that receive coverage in blogs.

I edited and co-wrote The Acorn Gathering, with all royalties going to fund cancer research. I previously wrote four other books. In fact, one of them came out just a few months before The Acorn Gathering


That controversial science fiction novel has received mention at some of the same sites, as well as at various science fiction sites and in various newspapers. You can comment on Degranon at The Global Network of Dreams (GNOD), a rather unusual, interactive site.

As GNOD’s creator put it: “Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. Its a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnods intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all it's wisdom with you in an intuitive and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about.”

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Please make sure that the women in your life know about the breast cancer information in Yahoo! Health. It includes news, prevention tips, inspirational stories, and much more! If any of those women don’t have Internet access, please encourage them to visit a local hospital or clinic for brochures and a check-up.

Breast cancer is slowly becoming less of a crisis as more women take charge of their health by educating themselves, taking care of themselves, doing monthly self-exams, and getting check-ups! Meanwhile, countless heroic doctors are searching for treatments and a cure to breast cancer!

And remember that you can fight all types of cancer by ordering The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer right now!