Bah Humbug! Who Scrooged It Better?

Christmas Performances © BillionPhotos.com – Stock.adobe.com

If you asked me to list my favorite stories, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens would be in my top two. We have a wonderful tradition at our house. On many a December night, I’ll curl up under a blanket and listen to the classic tale on audiobook performed by two of the world’s best actors – Patrick Stewart and Tim Curry.

A Christmas Carol narrated by Patrick Stewart (Simon and Schuster – 2006)– I love this performance. It’s Patrick Stewart, Shakespearean actor, Captain Picard, Charles Xavier…the list goes on. He actually played Scrooge in a film version (1999). Did I mention Captain Picard reading Dickens?

A Christmas Carol narrated by Tim Curry (Audible – 2010)– Tim Curry is one of my all-time favorite actors. Stage performer extraordinaire and star of two of my favorite quirky movies: Rocky Horror Picture Show and Clue. His unique voice is beyond cool. Listening to his spin on Scrooge is awesome.

So, who Scrooged it Better? Patrick Stewart or Tim Curry? Who do you think makes a better Ebenezer Scrooge? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

P.S. – Am I missing an outstanding narrator you believe gives these two performers a run for their money? Let me know!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

My Top Three Classic Movies to Get You into The Holiday Mood

Christmas Tree © Africa Studio – Stock.adobe.com

Pine and cinnamon fill the house. Sweet flavors of peppermint tingle your tongue. A wonderful sensation of excited anticipation warms the soul. It’s Christmas time. I typically look forward to Holiday Bliss the moment Jack Frost nips at my nose, but I wasn’t feeling it this year. My new book came out in October. I picked up another client for my business. Rush, rush, rush. That special Christmas feeling couldn’t penetrate my busy mind. I needed inspiration!

If reality is too real, I turn to a magical world where anything can happen. The inhabitants inspire excitement, fear, sadness, and joy. Don’t worry though. Most of the endings are happy. Am I hinting at BOOKS, you may ask. Well. Yes. BUT that’s the entrance next door. For a quick infusion of Holiday Cheer, I enter the cinematic universe.

My Top Three Classic Holiday Movies

Christmas Spirit – © gustavofrazao – Stock.adobe.com

The Polar Express (2004) – Tom Hanks at his best in this classic Christmas story about a boy who

journeys to the North Pole trying to find proof Santa is real.

A Christmas Carol – Any of them, but my favorite is the Disney version with Jim Carrey (2009) – Dickens’ wonderful tale of three spirits who visit a selfish old curmudgeon to save his soul. This story of transformation will inspire joy.

White Christmas (1954) – How can you beat the music and costumes in this Hollywood spectacular?! Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen at their best. Watch this and you’ll be tapping your toes in no time.

What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Top Five Reasons Indie Authors Have to Be Grateful

Thanksgiving, Give ThanksThe Publishing Industry is a harsh place to build your dreams – especially if you’re an Independent Author. Writing the book is a lonely business. Pouring over all those red marks of grammar death from the editor is painful. Marketing the book once published is a nerve-wracking affair. Ask any Indie Author, and they will tell you all the heartaches are worth it. Why? We are creating our art.

In this season of thanksgiving, I wanted to reflect and remind Creatives about the good things.

Top Five Things Indie Authors Are Grateful for This Season

  1. Technology: Thank you, Internet! Technology has revolutionized the way we read with ebook and audio formats
  2. Book Distributors: Amazon, Ingram, Smashwords, and others have made it possible for more authors to publish their own work to a global audience
  3. Independent Bookstores: No offense to big book chains like Barnes and Noble, but I want to give a special shout out to my local indie bookstores. They love supporting local authors. These wonderful folks host book signings and other author events to connect local authors with the community
  4. Goodreads and other book sites: These sites offer opportunities for authors to connect virtually with their readers. And for readers to connect with other readers
  5. READERS: We are grateful to all those readers who support Indie Authors by buying and reading our books, leaving reviews and spreading the word

May your celebrations be full of food, fun, and family. Happy Thanksgiving

 

My Top Three Favorite Halloween Traditions

Spooky Halloween Traditions – © JenkoAtaman – Stock.adobe.com

Halloween boasts fun traditions: scary costumes, yummy candy, spooky stories, and pumpkin spice. Based on the sacred celebration of Samhain, our modern parties have given this ancient custom a pop culture flavor. Simple masks to ward off evil have been replaced with “Sexy Nurse” costumes. Soul cakes will no longer do for 21stCentury kiddies. Now we buy $15.00 bags of assorted sugary candy to appease the little boys and ghouls.

I may sound nostalgic for the old days, but I’m not. Give me my scary movies, a pumpkin spice latte, and some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’m ready to be entertained.

Top Three Favorite Halloween Traditions

Jack O’ Lanterns

Glowing pumpkins line our streets every Halloween Night. These orange guardians against evil weren’t the original food medium. That honor belonged to the lowly turnip. Carving and illuminating the little root vegetable began in Ireland to shoo away Stingy Jack. This mythical man, known as the stingiest man in the land, is believed to have outsmarted the devil. Jack hated to spend his own money. He tricked the devil by convincing him to turn into a coin to pay for their drink. Jack then pocketed the coin next to a silver cross, preventing Satan from turning back into his original form.  He freed the devil sometime later, but the tricks didn’t stop. Jack convinced the devil to climb an apple tree, then he carved a cross into the bark and trapped Satan again. This time the devil agreed to leave Jack alone.

Stingy Jack, however, was too clever for his own good. He died and went to Heaven, but God wouldn’t give him entry. Jack had been too stingy and wicked during his life. Then he traveled to Hell, but the devil had made a promise not to take Jack’s soul. Satan sent him packing with a single burning coal to light his way throughout eternity. Folklore tells of a bobbing light moving aimlessly across the open land. It is Stingy Jack or Jack of the Lantern still wandering the Earth. People in Ireland and Scotland carved and illuminated turnips, potatoes, and beets to keep Stingy Jack and other evil spirits away.

Trick or Treat

Our tradition of Trick or Treat dates back to the Middle Ages. There is evidence this custom may have originated to the pre-Christian Celts. People dressed up as ghosts, spirits, and witches to scare away evil on Samhain. They’d dance around the bonfire and partake of treats to appease the spirits. The Celts and others celebrated their sacred Samhain to honor the dead.

America’s Influence – Halloween and Trick or Treat Traditions were Americanized into our Pop Culture in the 1950s. Peanuts and Disney firmly established Halloween as the Kid-oriented holiday it is today with their cartoons.

Ghost Hunts, Haunted Houses, and Graveyard Tours

Halloween season is a popular time to seek out the scary. We, against our wiser nature, join other thrill-seekers inside graveyards after dark in the hopes of spotting a prowling ghost. It is the Spooky Season, and we want to be scared. Why? Maybe we want to feel the thrill of terror in our otherwise mundane lives? Or perhaps like our Celtic ancestors, we want to connect with the dead? I go on ghost tours to catch a glimpse of the supernatural. One day, I might see a bit of real magic.

Bonus – Bobbing for Apples

I ran across this little tidbit while researching my blog post. Did you know bobbing for apples was part of an ancient Roman celebration of Pomona, goddess of agriculture, and abundance? The Romans brought the festival with them when they conquered the British Isles. Bobbing for apples stuck and is still played at Halloween Parties today.

Don’t Forget Your Jack O’ Lantern! © yellowj – stock.adobe.com

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Winners

Congratulations to the Grand Prize Winner of the Creed of the Guardian Halloween Giveaway and the Where The Readers Grow Instagram Winner!

Winners!

Creed of the Guardian, Book Three in the Heart of the Warrior series, is here! 

Dark Fantasy Books

Order Your Copy Today!

Protect the Innocent. Punish the Guilty.

Seth the Ice Lion, now an Apprentice in the Jalora Legion, reluctantly travels aboard ship with his new battalion. Western Beta’s mission seems a dull assignment. Guarding miles of bogs and old ruins should be a simple task, but Seth soon learns nothing is easy for the Bearer of the Lion Ring. The Jalora is the embodiment of Good and the source of Seth’s power. It commands he search North Marsh for a relic capable of saving his homeland from the ravenous appetite of the Jackal invaders. Surrounded by deadly bogs and savage beasts, he must find the relic before the Lion Spirit inside of him takes control of their shared body.

Invaders from across the sea hold a firm grip on Valdeon, but their thirst for blood remains unsated. They lust for the riches of Andara. Using fear and greed as weapons, the Jackal enlist aid from the continent’s unscrupulous mercenaries to prepare for a larger invasion. They build a stronghold – Stone Fang Fortress – in the Bloodtooth Mountains of the north. It is here they prepare to conquer the free world.

Will Seth find this powerful relic before the Jackal swarm invades Andara? Or will his people be enslaved under the iron fist of the Jackal Lord? Seth’s answers hide in the deadly bogs of North Marsh…

Excerpt

Chapter One

Seth D’Antoiné punched his fist into a helpless bundle of hay secured in the airship’s hold. Trapped like mindless livestock, he and his best friend—his squire, Riley Logan—had been herded inside a reinforced section of the hull. The suffocating enclosure was typically used to house mounts for the Jalora Legion’s traveling rangers. Fortunately for all concerned, the battalion wasn’t taking horses with them to North Marsh.

“Great gulls! Would you stop? I’m near death, and you want to punch things.” Riley gripped the porthole with one hand and covered his mouth with the other.

“You’re already airsick? We haven’t set sail yet. Our journey to North Marsh Outpost spans three days. The trip will be a rough one if you don’t settle your stomach. Can’t you make some concoction?”

Ignoring Riley’s glare, Seth leaned against the hold wall. The Lion Ring on his finger pulsed to the beat of his angry heart. It, too, resented being caged by their uneasy allies. The Jalora was the force for good on Erthe. Its Legion consisted of men, each of whom had been bonded in service by a Heart of the Warrior ring. Every such talisman clung to its bearer’s left middle finger, feeding off the host’s blood. Seth lifted his Lion Ring and regarded it. His blood surged and ebbed with the tide inside the yellow crystal.

“They’ve no right to cage me like a beast! I have things I must do.”

His thoughts returned to the hidden passageways boring through the granite body of the Obsidian Citadel, his former duty post. A few hours before the Legion caged him, Seth had chased his murderous half-brother, Julian, to the battlements. Mercenaries had been waiting for him there, ready to fight. His new Lion Friend, Lord Fausto De Quintaro, and the men of Valdeon had stood with Seth to drive the villains from the stronghold. Fausto had vowed to return to Valdeon with rebellion in mind. Seth desperately wanted to go with him, but the Jalora Legion had other plans in mind for the new bearer of the Lion Ring.

“Aye. But you’ve been grousing for the last half-hour. Please give me a little peace so I can calm my aching head.” Riley swayed forward with a groan. “Tell me what happened when you met with that foul-tempered uncle of yours. As quietly as possible, if you please.”

Seth’s uncle, Esteban D’Antoiné, was a prince of Valdeon and bearer of the Hawk Ring. His very name sent Seth’s temper surging. Esteban’s intrigues had ripped their family apart.

“Hawk was the ranger who bargained with the assassin Pavel Sandor on Marianna,” Seth reminded his friend. “My uncle found Mother when I was a baby and promised her he would protect us by keeping my existence secret. Hawk assumed he had Pavel under his control. We both know his madness was uncontainable.” Seth ran a hand across his face. “My uncle claims he sends us with the Phoenix for my protection.”

Riley sighed. “Who knows what waits for us at the end of this journey. I’m not sure I trust that uncle of yours. It seems to me he should have waited for Cardinal Dragon to return.”

Find out more about the series on my website: www.crrichards.com

Three Life Lessons I Learned from Buckaroo Banzai

The wisdom of Movies – © gorralit stock.adobe.com

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension introduces crime fighting brain surgeon, adventurer, rock star and all-around renaissance man, Buckaroo Banzai. He and his band of eccentric friends, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil aliens from the eighth dimension.

This completely unique Sci/Fi Adventure is a cult classic. I recently watched the featurette of the movie on it’s anniversary release. Though most of the actors had no idea what the plot was really about at the time, they were still excited to be part of the movie. Buckaroo Banzai can be considered a venue for the most talented comedians of the 80s (and today). For me, it was a revelation.

The Wisdom of Buckaroo Banzai

  1. Eight Dimensions of Opportunity – Buckaroo Banzai was released in 1984. I was a freshman just entering the big world of University life. This movie had a strong impact on my world view. I, like many of my contemporaries, were raised by “Depression Era Babies” who drilled the notion of “Get a job. Stay there until you retire. Then have fun.” I’d never been exposed to anyone like Buckaroo Banzai. He showed me I could be more than one “thing.” I didn’t have to live under a Label I’d chosen when I was still an inexperienced kid. I could pursue careers and hobbies I loved during my entire life, instead of waiting until I retired from a job I hated.

Seek out your own truth!

  1. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are – This is probably Buckaroo’s most quotable saying. He admonishes the crowd when they are unkind to a tearful Penny Pretty. I think his words have two meanings. First – Be Kind. We’re all humans going through our own difficulties. Second – Look into your own heart, before judging others. Who are you, really? Do you know for sure? Find out.

Be Kind!

  1. Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy! – Okay. I’ll admit I doubt John Lithgow meant anything by this, but the obvious warning. It’s still a good message. Life is a terminal illness, so fill it full of laughter and joy rather than negativity.

Fill your life with joy

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

It’s release month for Creed of the Guardian – Book Three in the Heart of the Warriorseries. I’m celebrating with a Halloween Giveaway! Click here to enter for a chance to win these Boo-tiful Prizes:

  • Signed Print copies of Books 1 – 3 of the Heart of the Warriorseries with 2 limited edition bookmarks
  • Mini-flex LED Reading Light
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • Plush Lion
  • 1000-piece Halloween jigsaw puzzle
  • Halloween mug filled with candy

Visit my EVENTspage for scheduling information and blog stops I’ll be visiting this Fall.