Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Expand Your Mind

Read a good book lately? I mean non-fiction. I found a great little book that's both educational and fun to read. It's:

Shamanism: What It's All About
by Norman W. Wilson PhD
ISBN: 978-1456329358

This wonderful book is a collection of essays and articles by Dr. Norman W. Wilson, who has been intrigued by shamanism and its practices since he was seven years old. He describes everything from a shaman's tools and their uses to the four stages of shamanic trances. His emphasis on mind-body-spirit was very enlightening.

The material is presented in a linear format indicative of Dr. Wilson's background as a top-notch educator, so while the tone is scholarly, the reading is compelling, and I could hardly wait to get to the next essay. This work doesn't speak to any particular religion, but shamanism in general, with emphasis on North American shamanism.

Shamanism: What It's All About is an intriguing work. Kudos to Dr. Wilson, and I look forward to his fiction series, The Shamanic Mysteries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Truth or Lies? You Decide.

I've been tagged by Cassidy Hunter for Lesa's Bald-Faced Liar, er "Creative Writer" Blogger Award.

So here's the deal: I tell either six truths and one lie, or six lies and one truth about myself, and you get to figure out which. And yes, there's a prize. :)

But first, I get to nominate seven other writers for this award!

If you'll check out Cassidy's site, you'll see that she makes it pretty hard to tell truth from fiction. Well, we're all fiction writers here so let's get started. Oh, did I mention that in our family, we don't even know truth from fiction half the time??? So of these seven things, are six of them lies or are six of them truths?
  1. I once mixed the sound at a Bellamy Brothers concert.
  2. I outgrew my mother's shoes when I was in the third grade.
  3. Zbigniew Brzezinski attended a dinner party and I sat next to him.
  4. I was Owyhee County Fair Queen, roses, parade, and all.
  5. My grandpa cause quite an uproar at the airport when they first got metal detectors. He told them, "It'll whistle. I got a pair of steel balls."
  6. I won a golf trophy--for World's Worst Amateur Golfer
  7. My daughter told Reba McEntire that she needed to change her lipstick color.
So what do you think? You decide!

One commenter will be chosen to receive a free copy of Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues. (If a USA mailing address, a trade paperback; otherwise, ebook.) Drawing will be at 10pm Pacific Time on May 21st.

Good luck!!!


Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
Jacquie's website * 1st Turning Point * Myspace * Twitter * Facebook Faery Special Romances * Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Read a  book by Jacquie Rogers

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bat Masterson--Sports Writer

“Bat Masterson said he didn't know anybody Wyatt couldn't whip without his guns. A lot of times Wyatt didn't carry guns...because if he carried guns he had to kill somebody - and he would kill somebody - but he didn't want to. He was a very religious man.”

When we think of Bat Masterson, most of us envision a lawman, a gunfighter--a man's man in the Old West. The television series definitely promoted that image. But did you know that he was also a New York sports writer?

Yep. Not only did he end up being a sports writer, but he wrote for years--as a newspaper reporter and editor as well as for other periodicals--and he'd been doing so since he was a young man. In fact, his ability to write and promote himself is how he pretty much created his own legend.

It all started in Quebec, Canada, on November 26, 1853, when a baby boy named Bartholomew Masterson was born Irish parents. In his teens, the family moved to Wichita, Kansas, and he along with his two of his brothers, Ed and James, went off to seek their fortunes as so many other boys did--buffalo hunting. At age 20, he fought in the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, and then worked for a while as a U.S. Army scout. From 1876 to 1882, he did his gunfight/lawman gig where he rose to notoriety, but our story starts in 1883.

It seems Bat rather enjoyed the sport of boxing. A lot. He was obsessed with fights and was more than fair at pre-fight analysis as well as calling the winners. So good, in fact, that he wrote a sports column for a Denver newspaper called George's Weekly. Newspapermen (and brothers) A.H. and W.E. Lewis had befriended Bat in Kansas City ten years before, and they would play a prominent role in Bat's fame and later success in the East. With their help, he'd honed his writing skills and while he couldn't be called a literary giant, he was pretty good at the craft.

During the years between his gunfighting days and his newspaper career, he mixed a little law enforcement here and there with gambling and writing. He was a professional gambler (called a thoroughbred) and organized boxing matches, acted as referee at times, as bookie, and guard. He never did actually box himself, though. His predictions were often right on, and he was excellent at assessing the fighters, their physical abilities, talent, and motivation.

Bat's life wasn't all roses. He ended up in more than a few altercations when his past reputation would catch up with him, and after a while, also succumbed to the lure of alcohol, although he threw off the demon when he moved to Manhattan. The buzz of New York City suited him just fine and he loved living there. Who would have thought a crusty old gunfighter would take so quickly to city life?

He hooked up with the Lewis brothers again, and he wrote for the New York Morning Telegraph, where he eventually because vice president and secretary. He was close friends with Teddy Roosevelt and other notables, and lived well for the rest of his days.

In 1821, he was writing his column when he had a heart attack and died hunched over his typewriter. The last thing he wrote was, "There are those who argue that everything breaks even in this old dump of a world of ours. I suppose these ginks who argue that way hold that because the rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets it in the winter things are breaking even for both. Maybe so, but I'll swear I can't see it that way."

His last words are evidence that our world really hasn't changed much.

Faery Merry Christmas (a Kindle novella)
Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
Jacquie's website * 1st Turning Point * Myspace * Twitter * Facebook
Faery Special Romances * Book Video * Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Read a book by Jacquie Rogers

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stephen Foster

I'll bet there's not a soul who reads this article who hasn't sung a Stephen Foster song. I grew up in a traditional farm community, so he figured in heavily when it came to Grange dances and activities. So who is this guy?

He wrote several hundred songs. He changed the face of music in America to give us our own style. He wrote songs that have endured for 150-plus years, and still going strong. You've heard of Oh, Susanna? He wrote it. How about My Old Kentucky Home? He wrote that. As well as Camptown Races, Old Folks at Home, and my favorite, Beautiful Dreamer. He gave America a new sound and a new respect in the music world.

He was trained as an engineer at Athens Academy in Pennsylvania where he wrote his first composition that was performed in public: Tioga Waltz, which was played at the 1839 graduation ceremony. Athens Academy was near a place familiar to Stephen Foster fans--Camptown Races.

He wrote a bunch of minstrel songs to get his career started. These songs were performed by singers and dancers in black-face, as was the popular comic style in the 1850s. But after ten years of that, he grew tired of the "Ethiopian" style and began to write songs that portrayed black people in a heartfelt, honest way. This is when he wrote Nelly Was a Lady, about a man's grief over his deceased woman. Heretofore, no one had written songs about black people (remember, slavery was still a way of life then) in a humanizing way.

While he was known for writing southern songs, Foster at no time lived in the south. He grew up in Pennsylvania, moved to Cincinnati for a while, and lived his later years in New York.

Very few musicians leave their fingerprints on a country the way Stephen Foster did, but he wasn't a performer so had to rely entirely on sheet music royalties for his income, and he died in poverty.

From "Foster's only real income was the royalty he earned on sheet-music sales. Altogether he made $15,091.08 in royalties during his lifetime and almost nothing in performing rights (yearly average was $1,371 for his 11 most productive years). His heirs, Jane and Marion equally, later earned $4,199 in royalties, so that the total known royalties on his songs amounted to $19,290. Today, it would be worth millions."

PBS: American Experience
PD Music

Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
Jacquie's Website * 1st Turning Point * Myspace * Twitter * Facebook
Faery Special Romances * Book Video Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Read a book by Jacquie Rogers

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zeus and Hera

The gods and goddesses on Mt. Olympus have provided us with entertainment for thousands of years. One of the more interesting couples was Hera and Zeus, the children of Rhea and Cronus.

Hera and Zeus may not have had the most loving romance of all time, but they certainly kept life exciting. Zeus drew the long straw so he had the honor of being the ruler of heaven and earth. Hera was the goddess of childbirth and marriage. She was the supreme goddess on Mt. Olympus.

Theirs was an arranged marriage, one which Hera managed to avoid for three centuries. She wanted nothing to do with a god who was a womanizer, even if he was her own brother. Worse, he swallowed his first wife, Metis, a Titaness. That's just never a positive foundation for a loving marriage.

Finally Hera relented--only after Zeus tricked her by shifting into a cute little bird. Once she had him nestled in her bosom, he shifted back to his man form and made mad, passionate love to her. Once again he proposed, and this time she agreed. A lavish wedding followed, and almost immediately Zeus went back to his philandering ways.

Her reservations about his character were well founded. Zeus fathered many offspring, three by Hera: Ares, Hepheseus, and Hebe. Affairs with other women produced the twins Artemis and Apollo, Dionysus, Hermes, Athena, and Persephone. Also of note are Perseus, Herakles, The Muses, Minos, and Helen, among many dozens of others. So Zeus was a busy guy, and Hera wasn't all that thrilled with the situation. A bit jealous, you might say.

She banished Leto, pregnant with Zeus' twins, Apollo and Artemis, to Delos and then prevented the Goddess of Childbirth from attending her, forestalling the birth. Other goddesses felt sorry for Leto and bribed Hera with a golden necklace. She finally relented and allowed Leto to give birth.

Io didn't fare very well, either. When Hera nearly caught Zeus in flagrante delicto with Io, Zeus turned his lover into a white heifer. Hera wasn't a bit fooled, and to make a long story short, sent gadflies to pester Io, who ran and ran until she reached Egypt, where she became Isis.

I've mentioned a cursory scan of the events but most stories, as bawdy or salacious as they may seem, all have a lesson to teach, or explain nature in some way. Very few are for entertainment value only, although a more fascinating cast of characters would be hard to find.

And whether Hera and Zeus every settled into a Happily Ever After, I don't know. But what a wild ride!

Marriages of the Gods, a Storybook by Erika Mitchell-DeLuca
The Loves of Zeus
Theoi Greek Mythology
Wikipedia: Hera
Wikipedia: Zeus


Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
Jacquie's Website * 1st Turning Point * Myspace * Twitter * Facebook
Faery Special Romances * Book Video Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Read a book by Jacquie Rogers