Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review of "Junie Moon Rising" by June Collins

One of the best lines I've ever read in a book is in this amazing story by June Collins. I previously read Goodbye Junie Moon, also by this author, and I loved it. I was excited to read this sequel and learn more about what happened to the colorful lady I'd gotten to know. I was not disappointed at all. The same wry sense of humor and love of life is evident in this book.

This book picks up soon after June's return from Vietnam and testimony to the Senate. We follow her through the next decade of her life as she struggles with memories of the war, rubs shoulders with the jet set, parties her way through several states, and finally finds love and her beloved children. Witnessing the growth of this incredible woman is something I recommend to anyone. It's a story that deserves to be read. June has truly led an amazing life. I won't share the line that inspired me because I don't want to rob the readers of experiencing it themselves.

It's a truly inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it with us, Junie Moon.

Junie Moon Rising

Monday, July 15, 2013

Been a while!

It's been a while since I did a blog post. Lost happening around here! We travelled to Nashville to see my friend, Becca, play. That was a blast. Then we spent a week in Hawaii. There were a lot of mishaps including a cancelled flight that gave us an unexpected night in Chicago, but it was still fun.

I always have fun travelling with my wife. She's fun.

Last weekend, I had a speaking engagement at a veteran's reunion. That was surreal. They treated my wife and me as special guests and were one of the nicest groups of people you could ever meet. We ended up spending a couple nights down there. I spoke on Saturday night and did a book signing. Several of them were excited to meet me. I was honored. I'm real happy the 202nd MPs found me and my book. They were tower rats in Giessen. It's a small club. I'm glad they found me.

I just finished a book trailer that'll be posted on Youtube as soon as I finish uploading it. I'm pretty proud of it. It's for "Recall! Return of the IRR". Hanging out and doing a book signing inspired me.

I hope everybody's having a great day. There should be more news soon, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review of Guitar Aerobics: A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique by Troy Nelson

I've been playing guitar since the early 1980s as a hobbiest and songwriter. I'm a decent rhythm guitarist, but I never quite understood how to improvise on lead, and my dexterity wasn't good enough. I could accompany myself singing but was never what I'd call "good" on guitar. I bought this book to improve my skills as a lead guitarist. I've only been using it for a few weeks, and it is tremendous!

I've worked through the first few weeks of lessons, and my skills already show a marked improvement. My wife has even commented that she can tell a difference. I started at lesson one although a better guitarist could probably skip ahead. I love how the lessons are structured and build on each other. So far, each one gets easier to master because it's a variation of the previous week. It's great, and I am actually seeing improvement in my skills. It's amazing to see the transformation from beginning to end each week. I'm working the program step-by-step and it works.

I can't say enough good things about this program. It has made me a better guitarist. By the end of the book, I think I'll be able to say I'm "good" on guitar. Thanks!

Guitar Aerobics: A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique

Review of Jesse James: The Man and The Myth by Marley Brant

I have a growing collection of books related to the guerilla war in Missouri and bushwhacker's. This book will become a permanent member of it. I enjoyed reading it.

This is a well written book that flows. The narrative stayed interesting to the very end. It examines a lot of things that were claimed about the James brother and Jesse in particular with a critical eye. Many possible myths are explored as well as some facts somewhat confirmed. It tells more about Jesse's family than I've seen in other books and follows his many moves admirably.

This book does not talk about the war and Jesse's participation as much as I would have liked nor does it include a whole lot of new information about his outlaw exploits. It's not the best book I've read on Jesse James, but it is worth reading. It has a new home on my bookshelf.

Jesse James: The Man and The Myth

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What a week!

Wow! What a week this has been. My friend, Becky's, music is coming along great. Her first single "Dangerous Game" is getting some airplay and finished at #9 this week on Vradio Nashville's countdown. You can visit them here:

Tune In To VRadio Nashville

...or here on Facebook:

VRadio Nashville on Facebook

Request "Dangerous Game" by Becca Lee Roberts. Also request her from your local station. Indie artists need all the support they can get. She's awesome!!!

In other news, we got our first granddaughter this weekend! At 1:37 am on Easter morning, Emrey Jade made her appearance. She weighed 7 lbs. 4 ounces and is 20 1/2 inches long. She's already got Grandpa wrapped around her finger. Holding her the first time was one of the most incredible experiences of my life to this point. That little girl will be the most spoiled girl in southwest Missouri if I have my way.

Love, love, love her.

I hope everybody's having a super week so far. It's a beautiful day in our corner of the world.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Becca Lee Roberts music!!

I don't think there have been any updates on my friend, Becky, in a while. Well, there is new Becca Lee Roberts music!! She spent a week in Nashville earlier in the month recording two new, original singles. The first one was mastered last night and is now available for a listen on Reverbnation!! The title of this song is "Dangerous Game", and she is very happy with it. I first heard this song on the phone just before she left for the studio. She'd just finished the first verse and chorus.

It came out great. You can hear it along with her entire Christmas Album (Christmas Lullaby) for free on Reverbnation.

Dangerous Game by Becca Lee Roberts

It will be available in the Amazon MP3 store and on Itunes within a few weeks. Once the entire record is finished, she'll release the CD!!

Everybody have a great day. It's snowing again here, but summer is just around the corner. Smile and be kind.


Been a while...

Well, it's been a while since I did an update. We have a lot of news in my part of the world. First, we have a baby granddaughter on the way! We almost got to meet her last night, but it was a false start. This will be the first granddaughter and the first from our son, so she'll always be special.

After twelve hours in labor (several in three minute labor), they sent mama home!! She wasn't dilating any more and was stuck at 2cm. The doctor decided she should go home and sleep. He sent her home at about 3:30 am. I felt soor sorry for poor Michaela. She was exhausted. We spent the rest of the night at their house and waited until she got up this afternoon.

There weren't any contractions after she got up, so it looks like the baby wasn't ready to come yet. The due date is next Sunday, so my wife is holding out hope that she'll wait. That's Easter Sunday, and she thinks it would be cool.

I think Michaela would just as soon get this thing over.

I'll do another update on big news from my friend, Becky.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review of "Why Whisper?" by Joanne V. Mazzotta

I bought this book months ago as a resource to deal with serious grief problems I was having. Since that time, I've gotten to know Joanne Mazzotta through social media and consider her a friend. She is a lovely woman with a delightful sense of humor and a deep wisdom. Joanne is an old soul.

I didn't have the courage to read this book until a week ago. It sat on my Kindle, and I'd pass it by each time I selected a new book. I always thought,"Not yet." I am thankful that I finally opened it. This book is a tremendous resource not just for survivors of suicide but for anyone dealing with grief. I felt many of the same emotions expressed by Joanne. I cried at points reading her story. Sometimes, I would wake my wife so I could read her a portion of it as I stayed up late at night unable to turn off my Kindle. I got to know her beloved Danny. I travelled through a large portion of her life and truly felt like all of Joanne's children and weebles were my friends. I was shocked at the utter honesty at points. Nothing is hidden from the reader which is the main point of whole thing. Why whisper? It is a gripping story.

Yet Joanne is just a regular woman. But for the grace of God, this could be any of us. Joanne just had the courage to tell her story.

This is such an honest look at suicide, death, family, religion, and what's important that I recommend it to anyone. It's worth reading. I've read many other books about grief but none quite like this one. Most are more like a "how to" manual. Joanne's is a journey through a real life. If you have yet to experience grief that rocks you to your soul, consider yourself lucky. We all will at some point. This story will show you that you're not alone.

Thank you, Joanne.

Why Whisper?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review of: Goodbye Junie Moon by June Collins

I've read a lot of Vietnam memoirs but none from the point of view in Goodbye Junie Moon. June Collins takes us on an incredible journey from rural Australia to the Senate floor via the clubs of southeast Asia. It's a very entertaining ride. This story includes adventure and danger but is also heartbreaking at times. Ms. Collins is a very good writer, and I found the book quite easy to follow. It flashes back and forth between Vietnam and earlier stops prior to the war. I liked the style. I also enjoyed the pictures scattered through the book.

Ms. Collins knows how to enjoy life. There's no doubt about that. However, I take issue with an earlier review that complained about sex in this book. There's very little of it, and it's integral to the plot. It not excessive nor overly graphic. This isn't fifty shades of OD green.

This book is well worth reading. It's an important story told by a fascinating woman who lived it. Ms. Collins spent three and a half years in Vietnam entertaining troops. I thank her for her service during the war and after the war during the Senate hearings. I look forward to more work by June Collins.

Goodbye Junie Moon

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Well, a really awesome thing just happened. A German lady just personal messaged me on Facebook to ask if she could order a signed copy of my book, SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat, with a personal inscription. She's a major character in the book.

I just finished chatting with her for probably an hour. I told her I'd just send her one as a gift. She insists on paying me. I told her she could order it off cheaper but it wouldn't be signed. She wants it signed. So, I gave her my address and she said she'll send the money with a letter. She still lives in Germany, so I'll send it to her at cost plus shipping. The book wouldn't be nearly as interesting without her and her friend.

I didn't bring it up that she's in the book. I'm sure she knows. I think she's known for quite a while but didn't say anything. We hung out a lot, and we're both in a secret Facebook group specifically for people who hung out in two bars in Heilbronn, Germany in the 1980s! I recognized her immediately even though it's been twenty-five years. We're friended on Facebook now and she's seen my older pictures. I also suspect some mutual (German) friends have probably told her. I used her real first name, and it's pretty distinctive.

I think some of the stories will bring a smile to her face. They were good memories, and it was a magical time for all of us. I won't say who she is, but she'll definitely know who she is.

That's just awesome to me. :-)