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Archive for September, 2013

JohnDeBellis Thanks to author and comedian, John Debellis, for stopping by and sharing one of his funny Standup Guys stories.

A Standup Guys Tale by John Debellis

“It was around three-fifty on a Friday afternoon when I got the call from Larry David, his voice weak and on the edge of desperation, ‘Uh…John…it’s Larry…I have a problem….”

‘What kind of problem, LD?’ I shot back while muting my TV.

‘Uh…I’m stuck upside down.’

Back in the early eighties someone proliferated the idea that hanging upside down for 15 minutes or more a day would reverse the effects of gravity, straighten your spine, flatten your wrinkles, deliver blood to organs that were normally left to scrape by on leftovers, and add years to your upright life. Somehow, some way, the abnormally skeptical, negatively enriched, perennial angry, Larry David fell prey to this philosophy. LD bought a doorway bar and gravity boots, convinced that hanging upside down would give him the gift of health, or the least it would temporarily contain his hypochondria.

On that day, LD could not pull himself up and was stuck hanging upside down like a balding bat. Luckily, he kept the phone on the floor where he could reach it.

‘I can’t pull myself up! You have to come over now. The blood is rushing to my head. I’m going to die!’

For most people those words are said under extreme duress, to Larry it’s almost a mantra, but I could tell by the fear saturating his plea that the threat was more real than imagined.

I lived only a few miles from Larry, so normally to travel that short distance would take no more than ten minutes. Except it was Friday near rush hour in L.A. and LD lived in the hills above Laurel Canyon, where the ever-twisting roads doubled back on themselves like an octopus’s legs in a whirlpool. I raced up and down streets while drivers pounded their horns when I stopped to look at street signs or make sudden U-turns. The thoughts of Larry hanging upside down alive weren’t pretty, but just the notion of a dead LD was horrifying. How could I possibly explain this to the police without bursting out laughing–never mind trying to hold a straight face to Larry’s brother, Ken, or not join in when other comics do Larry David death jokes.

Somehow, I ended up on Larry’s road and screeched to a stop in front of his house. I slipped on something on the sidewalk shooting up his front stairs and falling into his front door, almost knocking myself unconscious. For a few seconds, I was disoriented and had forgotten where I was and why I had come. Then, I saw LD, swaying gently, blood drained into his face, his body seemingly lifeless. I shook loose from my trance when he started breathing, a quick stunted breath, measuring the air, then almost rejecting it entirely. Something was wrong.

I thought he was about to die for good, when the power of his voice shook me loose from my dread and he yelled from the bottom of his lungs, ‘Get out and wipe your damn feet. You stepped in dog shit!’

It was then that I realized Larry would survive, his temper intact, and I wouldn’t receive a thank you for saving his life. In other words, he was himself again.”

StandupGuysCover About the Author: John Debellis originally started his descent into helplessness as a stand-up comic before turning to writing because he needed another way to express his depression. He wrote jokes for the likes of Rodney Dangerfield, Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Gabe Kaplan, Elayne Boozler, Billy Crystal, and Joe Piscopo before joining the writing staffs of Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and Politically Incorrect. He was the head writer for critically acclaimed D.C. Follies, and has written for sitcoms so bad, to this day, he’s too embarrassed to cash the checks. He was, however, the supervising producer of the ACE Award-winning Joe Piscopo Special on HBO, and also produced what the competing networks said was the best special ever done about stand-up comedy, Comedy Club Super Stars, on ABC.

For more about John Debellis:  www.920Spot.com     Twitter.com/misterpitiful

facebook.com/920spot      linkedin.com/in/johndebellis

pinterest.com/johndebellis/     goodreads.com/johndebellis

facebook.com/StandUpGuysBook

And to purchase Standup Guyshttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B009L64WZS

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stand-up-guys-john-debellis/1112746672?ean=9781621417637

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Standup-Guys/John-Debellis/9781621417637?id=5483273388055

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/standup-guys/id567821848?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.booklocker.com/books/6395.html

Thanks again to John Debellis for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a smile-filled day! – Vonnie

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Jet-lag still persists, but I’m trying to catch up on all my writing and art responsibilities.

dogs of war dtf On the writing front, Defending the Future – Dogs of War, an anthology of military science fiction stories from editor Mike McPhail and Dark Quest Books is now available. The book includes my story, “Tower Farm,” and I can’t wait to read all the other stories in the collection.

Also, my dark fantasy story, “Black Bear,” was accepted for an upcoming issue of Morpheus Tales. Again, I can’t wait to read everyone else’s contribution. (I already know what mine says!) And my poem, “The wolf is kept fed by his feet,” was just published by Elektrik Milkbath Press’s Paper Crow (Summer/Spring 2013 issue). As usual, a nice editing job by Angela Craig.

In addition, I’m one of the authors participating in “Just Write Writers Conference” on Sunday, Sept. 29th at the Bel Air Library in Bel Air, MD. It looks to be a great day filled with writing information and visits with readers and fellow writers.

calendar2014crist1 On the art front, a 2014 calendar featuring my speculative paintings was just released by Alban Lake Publishing . And I’ve had fantastical cover art accepted by FrostFire magazine (2), Illumen, and Spaceports and Spidersilk magazine (2).

Plus, 24 of my speculative paintings are currently displayed in “Enchanted – Fantasy Paintings by Vonnie Winslow Crist” at the Lenrow Gallery, Athenaeum Building, Goucher College, Towson, MD. The exhibit will be open to the public until late October 2013.

And as soon as I upload some of my pictures, I’ll share some of the fabulous castles, abbeys, etc. I visited while in Scotland.

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I write this to you as I prepare to board a plane back to the USA after spending 2 weeks in Scotland. Truly, this lovely country feels like it’s the home of hobbits, wizards, goblins, and more.

But even as I leave the island that gave us J.R.R. Tolkien, I cannot help but wish all I see a Happy Hobbit Day – celebrated on September 22, birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

For all you Tolkien fans, take a look at my Hobbits Day post from 2011, and enjoy breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper in honor of hobbits on this most wonderful day!

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Arr! Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day to all you fans of scoundrels and scallywags of the seas and grungy ports. And of course, to all you fans of Johnny Depp, portrayer of the most famous pirate currently sailing the screens of televisions everywhere: Captain Jack Sparrow.

For more on Pirates Day, check out my Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day blog post from 2011.

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mj moore photo Thanks to author M.J. Moore for stopping by and sharing her view of the moral code in horror. Enjoy!

The Grizzly Moral Code by M.J. Moore

“Fairy tales were different when I was a kid. I was, admittedly, a weird kid, (I used to cry when the woodsman cut the big bad wolf open to let Grandma and Red Riding Hood out), but those original stories had a punch that today’s Disney-fied fare just can’t beat and there’s a reason for that – the authors gave their audience credit. Get yourself a copy of the Grimm Brothers version of Little Red Riding Hood and compare it to the watered-down version we know today, and you’ll see what I mean. Personally, I think the images of people being violently oppressed, often by the grown-ups in charge, that we see on the nightly news are a lot more disturbing than the idea of an evil fictional wolf meeting his deservedly bloody end; (I used to put on my favourite red cardigan and walk with my Gran along the nature trail near her house every Saturday, not once fearing that a charming, bio-ped wolf would cross our path).

BookCoverPreview (6) Teen fiction gets it right, (Twilight not withstanding). The divide between the good and the bad characters isn’t always clear cut, as is sometimes the case in real life, but the bad guys (or girls) still do evil things, and the penalties they are dealt are no less swift. Readers around the world enjoy these stories and unlike a lot of the fiction their younger sisters and brothers are presented with, the ‘scary parts’ aren’t glossed over, and that’s as it should be – how can we root for the good guys if the bad guys don’t, well, do anything bad? And how can we feel justice is done if the evil-doer who so casually ends the existences of innocents is let off with a (metaphorical) slap on the wrist? Teen fiction authors get it right because they know that their readers are smart; The Hunger Games series is enormously popular, but I don’t think any of Katniss Everdeen’s millions of fans are going to go all out and stage their very own real life battle to the death anytime soon.

I write horror stories for adults, and although the situations I place my characters in are a lot gorier and much more confronting, I still follow the example set by those two German brothers whose creepy translated tales held me in their thrall all those years ago; even my grizzliest stories have a moral at their core, and my bad guys always get their just deserts.”

You can find Trails by M.J. Moore here: http://amzn.com/149102223X

Thanks again to M.J. Moore for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a creative day! – Vonnie 

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I had an open house for a couple of dozen people while my daughter was visiting from California. I’ve decided to share 3 of the recipes I fixed. Tomato Mozzarella Salad is the second. Like my last recipe Strawberry Salad, Tomato Mozzarella Salad works well for a church or organization pitch-in, book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering. (I’ll add pictures next time I fix it. I was so busy put food out, I forgot to photograph the salads!)

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes

1 pound of mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 Tablespoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

1- Slice tomatoes in 1/2 and place in a medium-sized bowl.

2- Cut mozzarella into cubes (or pieces) about 1/2 to 3/4 inch square. Add to bowl.

3- Sprinkle basil over tomatoes and cheese. Add vinaigrette dressing.

4- Stir and serve. (Keeps well in refrigerator for a couple of days).

Notes:

1- Two 8-ounce containers of 1/3-ounce mozzarella can be cut into quarters and used for the cheese in this recipe. Likewise, 1-pound of mozzarella cheese sticks can be sliced into chunks and used. 2- Fresh basil can be used in place of dried, but you need 1/4-cup or more. This is a pretty salad.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: guest horror author, M.J. Moore.

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Skean copy As I promote my Young Adult fantasy/adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean, I’ve given talks for several writers’ groups. The latest program was sponsored by the Annapolis Chapter, Maryland Writers Association on the Young Adult/ Cross-Over Market — and it also included The Enchanted Skean‘s strange journey from a scribbled first chapter to a published novel.

As you’ll see and hear, my presentation is animated and enthusiastic. A couple of the points I made: Be ready when opportunity knocks (I wasn’t). Be persistent (I am). Writers don’t always agree with their editor’s comments, but an editor is editing for the reader and (sigh) they’re usually correct in their suggestions. And, yes, it’s hard to admit my editors are usually right about their suggestions – I really don’t like to revise work, but I know it’s part of the publishing process.

I had fun doing the program, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. (Please ignore my rather disheveled appearance. I drove over 2 hours in rush hour traffic on a hot day to do the presentation). So here are the 2 links. Thanks to Annapolis Chapter MWA for inviting me, and thank you David Joyner for recording the talk and sharing. Enjoy!
Part 1:  https://vimeo.com/73053339
Part 2:  https://vimeo.com/73054182

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