Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Disappointing Start with "Casino Royale"

I've never been a big fan of the James Bond films, particularly the Roger Moore era. The campiness that had become the norm in the film series (don't even get me started on Moonraker), along with the shallowness of the character had turned me off to the series. This opinion, for quite sometime had kept me from reading the books as well. A few years back, I decided to give the original series as written by Ian Fleming a try. As the old cliché goes, the book is better than the movie.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Memories that Arise from Death

Yesterday morning I attended the funeral for my uncle who passed away last week. The morning started out dreary and gloomy, and the drive to the church was solemn as the rain pelted the windshield of my car. It was a miserable day for a funeral, but then is any day good for a funeral?

It had been a while since I had seen my uncle, but seeing him peacefully laying in the casket brought back a rush of memories and stories. One, in particular, rose from my memory like a phoenix rises from the flames. 

My Uncle Jay was a veteran, spending his military days in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. I have a vague memory of being eleven or twelve years old sitting in a barbershop in Paulsboro, New Jersey. I was getting my hair cut (what else do you do in a barbershop when you're eleven or twelve). I remember the old men in the shop, their balding heads rimmed with white hair around the edges, discussing their time in the military. Most of them had seen action in the Korean War, and a couple even in World War II. Me, not wanting to be left out in the conversation, piped up that my Uncle Jay had fought in World War II. Let's face it, I was eleven or twelve, with no concept of historical events, or when they occurred. My Uncle Jay was in a war, and that made him a war hero to me. I touted him up as if he were Captain America himself. I have no idea if the old men believed me or not. I guess I should consider myself lucky that they weren't talking about the American Civil War, my Uncle might have fought in that too.

I've never told anyone this story, particularly my uncle. I'm not sure if he would have been happy to know how old I thought he was. But, I found it interesting how little pieces of the past can find their way to the forefront of one's mind when facing the death of a loved one. Such an insignificant moment in my life from more years ago than I wish to admit surfaces out of the darkness of a memory that can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Death seems to be the great stimulus that can pierce even the furthest reaches of the mind, bringing forth a treasure trove of rich memories that can be worth more than gold.

My uncle always downplayed his time in the military, but in the mind of an eleven or twelve year old kid, he was Sergeant Fury and G.I. Joe all wrapped up in one. But, he was far more than just a military man. He was a father, husband, grandfather, prankster (a serious prankster), and many other things. His short military stint was only the tip of the iceberg of who he was. He was so much more. And, the memories are far too great to record in a few words. Uncle Jay was a fun-loving, good-hearted man, who will be fondly missed by that young boy.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Jay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Guards, Guards" - A Fun Romp Through Discworld

With the recent announcement of the passing of author Terry Pratchett, I found my self mourning the loss of a prolific writer who's endless imagination created an entire world full of insanely funny characters, relentless amounts of satire, and all around great fun. Pratchett wrote his first Discworld novel in 1983, and has since expanded the series significantly over the years. Although there are recurring characters, locations, and themes that span across the Discworld novels, it is not necessary to read them in order to understand all that is happening.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Big Announcement!

I'm extremely excited to announce that I have just signed a book deal with Amberjack Publishing to release my new book Beware of Greeks. This is an exhilarating time for me, as you can probably imagine. Over the next few months, I will be working closely with the editors and graphics designer at Amberjack to get the new book ready for release, which is tentatively scheduled for November 1st. As the release draws closer, I will be posting updates on my blog and on Facebook. 

As the ink dries on my book deal, I want to thank my readers for their support. I greatly appreciate your patronage of my previous books, and I hope that you find Beware of Greeks a must read when it is released.

I'll be continuing to blog, not only about my experience with taking the new book to market, but also the usual posts that I have been posting over the past year. So, check back often for new posts here on my blog.

Dave Cullen's "Columbine"

On April 20, 1999, the names of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold became household names. With a stockpile of weapons, they forced the small Colorado city of Columbine onto the world stage as they reigned death and destruction down upon their fellow students at the city's high school. The media flocked to Columbine, and amidst the carnage, provided a unprecedented coverage, allowing the world to see the horror almost as it happened.