June 21, 2016

A Visit to Dumas’ Chateau de Monte Cristo, Deuxieme Partie

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A Visit to Dumas’ Chateau de Monte Cristo, Deuxieme Partie

“I confess that the sensation attaching to the name of an absent person bedazzled me. I became ambitious of this glory of making people talk about me places where I was not.” – Alexandre Dumas   Paris, 13 Mai, 2016. In France, a country that reveres its authors, Alexandre Dumas is considered a national treasure. He was a prolific writer, most notably for stage plays, novels, and travel nonfiction. He is said to have written 100,000 words, an estimate which, given that he penned some 400 works, must certainly be a low estimate. Dumas was also a man who lived large and loved every moment of his life, which speaks to his character and a subject of equal or greater interest: Le Chateau de Monte-Cristo. [You might enjoy watching this short video, although it’s in French.]…

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June 17, 2016

Podcast: Michael Connelly, Stephen King, John LeCarre, Frederick Forsyth and More!

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Podcast: Michael Connelly, Stephen King, John LeCarre, Frederick Forsyth and More!

If you’re an avid bookie, you probably read The New York Times Book Review, which comes tucked inside the Sunday paper. For some time now Pamela Paul, the NYTBR’s editor, has been creating podcast interviews and other book news in a podcast. This month, we’re highlighting not one but several we think you’ll enjoy listening to. The first is an interview with a popular crime thriller author, LA’s own Michael Connolly, author of the fabulous Harry Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer tales, discussing his most recent novel, The Crossing. It’s followed by Alexandra Alter’s in-depth exploration about how Stephen King came up with the ideas to write the short stories in his latest collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. A review of Adam Sisman’s biography of the king of spy novelists, John Le Carre, author of The Spy Who…

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June 13, 2016

Dumas’ Castle, Première Partie (Part 1)

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Dumas’ Castle, Première Partie (Part 1)

Paris, 2 Novembre, 2013. While on a writing retreat in rural France, I read an article about the famed author Alexandre Dumas’ magnificent Chateau de Monte-Cristo in France Today magazine. Located in the small village not far from Paris, the three-story home of the novelist who penned The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and hundreds of other works, gave me great cause to want to see his palatial estate. Most particularly, I wanted to visit his writing studio, the Chateau d’If, situated within the beautiful gardens. Dumas was born in 1802. He lived through – even participated in – the Second French Revolution of 1830. He was a prolific author who helped found Romanticism and is said to have written over a hundred thousand words [with a quill pen, mind you] for dramatic…

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May 27, 2016

Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Chapters 9-12, and a Bonus! by Patrick E. McLean

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Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Chapters 9-12, and a Bonus! by Patrick E. McLean

If you’re still hanging in there with our podcast, you’re probably thinking you’re getting close to the end. The happy news is, you are not. There are seventy – yes, 70 – chapters, plus the Prologue and Epilogue, so you have many hours of happy fun ahead of you. Would that we could drop a few clues about what’s going to happen, but we’re not spoilers, and even better, no spoiler alerts. We’re certain that’s the way Patrick would have it. Please click on the arrow below to listen to Chapters 9-12 of “How to Succeed in Evil.” Chapter 9: What Do You Want, Mr. Windsor? Chapter 10: Cassette Girl Chapter 11: Calling Home Chapter 12: Cindi with an “i” The further adventures of the Evil consultant and Excelsior, the Most Powerful Man in the…

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May 20, 2016

Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Chapters 5-8, by Patrick E. McLean

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Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Chapters 5-8, by Patrick E. McLean

Patrick, the seanachai, continues his engrossing tale in the following four episodes, deepening the story of Edwin Windsor, Evil Efficiency Consultant. You think this guy is fictional? Think again. Every corporation has one, and if they don’t they want one. But as you’ll see, even an Evil Efficiency Consultant has ethics. Just listen to his philosophy of playing golf. You’ll see. And, as you listen further, you’ll get to see Edwin at work. Please click on the arrows below to listen to the four next chapters of “How to Succeed in Evil.” Chapter 5: A Par Four Life Chapter 6: There’s Money, and Then There’s Money Chapter 7: Excelsior on the Beach Chapter 8: A Giant Laser in Space “McLean’s novel is a tongue in cheek investigation of the heroes and villains’ motivations. It’s laugh out loud funny…

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May 17, 2016

Book Review: The “Brilliance” Trilogy by Marcus Sakey

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Book Review: The “Brilliance” Trilogy by Marcus Sakey

I’ve spent the past few months reading Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance trilogy. It’s been a helluva trip. Set in the unspecified near future – maybe tomorrow? – it’s a story that could have come right off the front page of a major newspaper. Sakey has character development that makes a writer pine and a plotline that’s terribly engrossing. This is a trilogy, so it’s three full length novels: Brilliance, A Better World, and Written in Fire. You can get a plot briefing on Amazon, but the brilliant aspect, for me, is the brilliants. Sakey posits an event occurred some thirty years ago, that humans with extraordinary powers – in a word, brilliance – were unsuspectingly born. Over time, average mortals have grown largely resentful of the brilliants, and some have decided to assure they will never…

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May 13, 2016

Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Prologue and Chs. 1-4, by Patrick E. McLean

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Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Prologue and Chs. 1-4, by Patrick E. McLean

Do you remember the Malaysia Air Flight 370 that disappeared a few years ago? It seems Patrick McLean was prescient – he wrote about a similar disaster-in-the-making which occurred out over the Pacific…or maybe it’s something that happens all the time and we just don’t hear about it. But what we don’t hear about is a superhero named Excelsior [go ahead, Google that word, see what it means] who flies to the plane’s rescue. Or does he? Anyway, this is how this fabulous podcast, read most excellently by the author, kicks off. Over the next three Fridays we’ll post the first twelve episodes, just to make sure you’re hooked. But you probably will be by the time you finish the first one anyway. If you listen to these and just can’t wait to listen to more, please go…

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May 7, 2016

Only One Mother, and a Noted Artist, too

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Only One Mother, and a Noted Artist, too

I was named for my mother, Jacqueline Rochester (1924-2010). I suppose in some way she hoped I would continue her legacy as an artist and while I did not paint – that legacy was passed on to my brother Gregg – I did become a writer. There are a number of legacy gifts my mother gave to me and her family, too many to recount here. But it is Mother’s Day, the day each and every one of us can invoke the truth that we have only one mother and she is deserving of our acknowledgement today. There is a well worn phrase I think of often when it comes to artists, whatever their medium: Many are called, but few are chosen. My mother was called and she chose, big time: she painted with vision…

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April 29, 2016

Podcast: “Ancestor,” Episode 3, by Scott Sigler

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Podcast: “Ancestor,” Episode 3, by Scott Sigler

“Ancestor” is what you might term a serious or sophisticated story. By that I mean it has character development, a complex plot, and a lot of subtlety lying just below the surface of it being an action story. These are good things for a story to have. You may have read novels, or listened to other novel podcasts, where the plot is the thing, and the only thing. Like a Dan Brown novel. So get comfortable, pay attention to Scott Sigler’s more elaborately developed story, and feel yourself become immersed in it. Because you will. And you’ll be glad you did. From Scott: President Gutierrez wants Murray Longworth to take charge of a new government agency specially designed to handle “Special Threats.” However, Murray has some conditions that he needs to have met before he will accept the…

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April 22, 2016

Podcast: “Ancestor” Episode 2, by Scott Sigler

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Podcast: “Ancestor” Episode 2, by Scott Sigler

After that completely daft beginning, you’re probably getting real curious to see why this wacko Chinese genetic engineer is allowed to walk around without a strait jacket on. And you would be right to wonder. If we left you hanging last week, it’s because we didn’t mention something pretty important at the end of the blurb, so here’s the whole thing for you to, ahem, chew on: There’s just one problem: these ancestors turn out not to be the docile herd animals Colding’s team envisioned. Instead, Colding’s work has given birth to something big, something evil. ……AND IT’S VERY, VERY HUNGRY! Scott goes on: Galina Porischova has a clandestine meeting with Paul Fischer. She wants to blow the whistle on Genada’s research. We begin to see exactly how far Genada is willing to go to…

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