Friday, October 25, 2013

First Chapter Review of Tinsel Town Riff by Shelly Fromme

About Tinsel Town Riff
Tinseltown Riff centers on Ben Prine, a thirty-something Hollywood screenwriter who, on a Labor Day weekend, finds himself in desperate straits. Latching on to a dubious last-minute opportunity, he unwittingly embarks on a collision course with a Montana tracker connected with a Vegas mob; an odyssey which culminates in a showdown on an abandoned Western movie set. 

Buy Tinseltown Riff:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Sunbury Press

First Chapter Summary 

In the opening chapter we are introduced to Ben Prine, a screenwriter in his 30’s who is down and out on his luck of making it as a writer in Hollywood. Faced with the uncertainty of where his new writing gig and paycheck will be coming from and when his big break will happen, he also has to deal with the news that his Aunt June is selling her home. She shares this new with him as she’s running out the door to her next realty appointment. Actually, it’s his home also, where she raised him from the age of three when his mother walked away from him and never looked back. She’s telling him to clear his stuff out and make something of himself.  But, Ben doesn’t have time to think about losing the only home he’s ever know. He has a premonition or a feeling that his luck is about to turn. He can feel it as sure as the Santa Ana winds that are blowing across the valley, the desert winds that without fail arrive every year in September. 

My Thoughts 

This novel immediately intrigued me because it’s set in my hometown of Hollywood and Los Angeles, California. It was evident that the character of Ben Prine was just like all the other wanna be’s in Hollywood, waiting for their big break. I see them all the time on Hollywood Boulevard just hoping to be discovered and it’s even referenced in movies, “Welcome to Hollywood, what’s your dream.” Ben’s dream is to become a writer in Hollywood. Ben’s character is intriguing enough to keep you reading into Chapter Two and beyond. You will feel compelled to find out what Ben feels, where his luck or charm or talent might take him next and you want him to succeed in Hollywood. He’s a good guy who just need a break. 

The author states that there is a love story brewing. Seemingly impossible at first, I grant you. After all, how in the world can a down-and-out screenwriter and a girl driving a clunky Chevy pickup down from Salinas ever meet? Let alone become involved in any way?

I recommend picking up your own copy of Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome. I’m sure whatever the Santa Ana winds are blowing in will keep you on the edge of your seat.   

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kim and Kanye and the Story Behind the Baby Name

Kim and Kanye announce there's a story behind the baby name of North West, their baby daughter. Really, there's a story behind vacations and living in the house from hell, but a name like North West, how could there be a story behind that? People are always naming their children after Hollywood actors, and other names. Recently, a woman in another country named her twins boys, George Bush and Barack Obama. I guess naming your child after a direction is no different than naming them after a season, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn or months of the year, April, June, July, (Julio or Julia). 

 In Hollywood, I guess anything is possible. The last story I watched about a direction was the movie, North by NorthWest starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organization who want to stop his interference in their plans to smuggle out microfilm containing government secrets.

I wonder if baby North West has a case of mistaken identity?  Then again she'll have a great social media presence when she grows up, imagine facebook and twitter names, North by North West.

Only in Hollywood, only in Hollywood.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jennifer Lopez is Memorialized in Cement

Singer, actress and American Idol Judge, Jennifer Lopez receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, today, June 20th. It was the 2500th star added to the Walk of Fame.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame started in 1953 as pink stars embedded in the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. It was created as a way to maintain the glamour and excitement that is the movie capital of the world.

Kim and Kanye Pick a Name or a Direction

What's Your Baby Name
OMG! Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have finally revealed their baby's name to the general public. Wait for it; her name is North West. Is that a name or direction?  Maybe, that's one better than baby, Blue Ivy from the singer Beyonce.

Kanye and Kim have you never heard Johnny Cash's song, Sue? This is where the Man in Black sings about fighting his entire life because of the name that his father gave him. That name was Sue and it kept him alive, because he had to fight. He sings, when I have a son, I'm going to name him Bill or George, anything but Sue.

Will Kanye and Kim name their future children, South East, North East, South West? 

If you haven't heard the song, the lyrics are below.

"A Boy Named Sue"
Sung by Johnny Cash

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!
Now your gonna die!!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jackie Robinson Influences Character in Young Adult Novel Voices of the Locusts

Although Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball, he was so much more than the man who broke the MLB color barrier. He was a role model for millions of African-Americans, including 16-year-old DannyWashington, a character in Ron Hutchison’s period novel Voices of theLocusts.  

Danny idolizes the Brooklyn Dodger second baseman, and explains his passionate relationship with Robinson early in the story. Discussing his teacher’s seething racism—the bigoted teacher has openly mocked Danny in class—Danny tells two friends: “Dad says when people start calling me names to turn the other cheek,” Danny says. “To be non-violent like Jackie Robinson.”

Jack O’Brien, the story’s protagonist, reminds Danny of the pledge he has taken when the racist teacher ridicules Danny during a class discussion of major U.S. historical events:

            “Mr. Washington, can you tell the class what great historical events have been shaped by Negroes?” Mr. Azember walks to the window and looks out, his back to the class. “No hurry.
Take your time.”
            A painful silence falls over the classroom. No one breathes or clears their throat or squirms in their seat. Only the relentless ticking of the clock on the wall breaks the agonizing hush. As if to accentuate the torment of the moment, Mr. Azember begins to hum a little tune.
            Jack glances over at Danny. Grim lines of anger have frozen his friend’s face into ugliness. “Remember Jackie Robinson,” Jack whispers. “Turn the other cheek.”

Born to a family of sharecroppers, Jackie Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, ending the racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. In addition to his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career.
            Although Robinson was berated by both fans and teammates alike, he never lost his composure—he always managed to turn the other cheek, a lesson that served Danny Washington well. 

About Voices of the Locusts

Voices of the Locusts
Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II. 

Voices of the Locusts Book Excerpt

            A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
            Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
            I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.

About Ron Hutchison

Author Ron Hutchison
Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. Voices of the Locusts is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his Voices of the Locusts is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Princess April Morning Glory Book Review

“Princess April Morning Glory is a moral and inspirational story with a very special message, exquisitely and artistically illustrated in the spirit of the Fairbanks legacy.” - Vera Fairbanks

Princess April Morning Glory 
If I only had one word to describe this book, it would be Elegant, but thankfully, I am not limited in my words. Princess April Morning Glory is truly a fairy tale from the golden age of Hollywood. Imagine the possibilities in a children’s story when the characters must go three good deeds in order to make it home again. 

P – is for the adorable character of Princess April. It also features a plump fairy who is good and fair.  
R - -is for rich in storytelling details
I - is for the splendid imagination that goes into this very cute story
N - is for never wanting the story to end
C – is for the Crystal Castle, the place where the fairy baby grows up. It just sounds elegant.
E  is for the enchanted forest. Every children’s story should have an enchanted forest, but that’s what makes this story unique.
S  is for the sweetness in the story
S is for the shadowed forest and lonely fields where the wicked Fairy Misery lives 

A is for Princess April, the amazing character that goes through a lot of challenges to . . .
P the pussy-cat that might know the way back to Fairyland and the tiny black and white puppy who had lost its mother.
R is for the dark dungeon room where the wicked Fairy sent Princess April. Will the Princess find a way out?
I is for into the sky where the humming-bird flew because he was being chased by . . .
L is for the large book that the Wizard that opened to page 501 and . . . 

M for moral values taught in the story that children can understand and can act upon in their own life and for the Fairy Misery
O is for the Owl that opened one sleepy eye and said he didn’t know the way to. . .
R is for the rewarding time I had reading this delightful tale. I can hardly wait to read it my six-year old niece. She loves princess stories.
N is for ‘nchanted forest, where Princess April finds comfort and friendship in the company of .
I is for the inspirational story with a very special message and illustrations that are beautiful
N is for the main narrative that is focused around the brave and courageous Princess April who must first transcent darkness and evil before she can realize her full potential.
G is for the golden hair of the little Princess that is brushed with a golden comb and of course, this fairy tale emerges from the golden age of Hollywood 

G good deeds – the character must perform three good deeds in order to make it home again
L is for the lullabye that the birds sing
O is for the wise Old Owl

R rich in storytelling 
Y why not purchase your copy today of Princess April Morning Glory 

I received a free copy of Princess April Morning Glory and this did not influence my review in any way. This is a delightful story that children of all ages will enjoy reading and parents or grandparents will enjoy reading it to them. It is a timeless story from the golden age of Hollywood and from one of Hollywood’s first acting families. 

Letitia Fairbanks, the niece of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, lived a life guided by artistic passions. In 1939, wanting to commemorate her late uncle, Letitia began work on Princess April Morning-Glory, allowing a creative outlet for combining her lifelong loves: painting, writing, and illustration.
Holding firm to her artistic identify, Letitia gravitated toward portraiture, landscapes, and still-lifes. She was also a biographer, co-authoring Douglas Fairbanks: The Fourth Musketeer, with Ralph Hancock. Her marriage to Hal Smoot in 1966 marked the beginning of a particularly joyful and creative period. Needle points and annual Christmas cards, which featured a painting from the previous year, not to mention her role as a wife, mother, step-mother and grandmother brought her much fulfillment. After a life rich in artistic accomplishment, Letitia passed away in September of 1992.