Dark Oceans and Jaw-Dropping Sunsets

Dark Oceans and Jaw-Dropping Sunsets

I’ve always appreciated the soothing value of both oceans and sunsets.

The sounds of the surf  washing against the sandy beach is relaxing while hinting at the raw power of nature. Meanwhile, a sunset conjures the reflection of your day while signaling the promise of evening enjoyment.

However, let’s discuss an entirely different context for oceans and sunsets.

Read More

Summer is Coming! Read All About It…

[LEGAL USE OF THIS PHOTO LICENSED AND SECURED VIA DREAMSTIME - June 2015 - Credit: Mike Brake ]

[LEGAL USE OF THIS PHOTO LICENSED AND SECURED VIA DREAMSTIME - June 2015 - Credit: Mike Brake ]

Step aside, wicked White Walkers…Summer is coming!

(No, I couldn’t resist a Game of Thrones reference…)

Okay, perhaps there’s still a few days left on the calendar before the official summer solstice begins. However, now is definitely the time for you to get busy.

Busy doing what, you ask?

Cleaning the grill to get ready for endless summer barbeques? Sure.

Putting away your sweaters and unpacking your shorts and swimwear? Of course.

Unboxing your collection of gaudy, plastic margarita glasses? Well, yeah.

But most importantly, it’s time to begin picking out your summer reads!

C’mon, it’s time again for more memorable hours spent taking some family vacation time and escaping into realms of enjoyment while your spouse swims, the kids play, and the dogs snooze.

It’s time for you to fall head over heels for the juiciest romances, kick back with the most charming chick-lit, patio chair lounging over plot-twisting mysteries, lying pool-side with paranormals, tree hammock haranguing with some horror, and umbrella sitting with sci-fi. Remember last year when you experienced some of the best reads that you could have ever set your eyes upon?

Well, it time once again to “read-rave-repeat,” my dearest bookworms!

Below are the two novels that are prominent on my summer reads list. In fact, they’re already purchased, downloaded onto my Kindle, and ready to delve into.

Old Mans War - Book 1

First on my list is Old Man's War, which is book #1 in John Scalzi’s epic space fantasy series of the same name. First debuting in 2007, Scalzi had made quite a name for himself with this unique spin on the space-faring hero, only this time in the body of a much older person than we’re used to rooting for. Since then, the series has continued a successful reign and Scalzi has become as a proven high-quality author. I’m excited about reading the first book!

Ocean at End of the Lane

Next, I selected a work from one of the most gifted and inspirational masters of fiction, the incomparable Neil Gaiman. His 2013 hit, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, captured my attention and practically insisted to be purchased. Coming from an amazing author like Gaiman, how could I possibly refuse? Suffice to say, I’m more than eager to read it.

But enough about me, let’s get back to YOU.

What’s on your summer read list? Drop me a line and let me know.

Now, get busy and go purchase some summer reads.

Oh, and while you’re at it, perhaps you could refill my iced tea glass and made sure my barbeque has a side order of extra sauce.

Ahh, thank you.

As always, enjoy life; be kind to those around you, and Happy Reading! Peace.

Excellent Tips for Improving Your Reading

[Photo by Dreamstime Studio. – Legal use licensed via Dreamstime - May 2015]

[Photo by Dreamstime Studio. – Legal use licensed via Dreamstime - May 2015]

If you’re like me, there never seems to be enough time to read. While life has a way to stripping away our free time, more often than not, each of us don’t necessarily do a great job of managing the spare time we have available. That’s why I was happy to run across some helpful advice in a blog posting in Publisher’s Weekly by author Gretchen Rubin where she recommended ten steps to improving a person’s reading abilities.

I found most of her tips very helpful and I’ve begun to incorporate them into my reading routine. Here’s some of her tips that I found particularly helpful.

 Tip #1: Quit reading.

At first, this sounded shocking. However, that simple statement is much more than it appears. In fact, it’s excellent advice! Instead of slogging through a book that you’re simply not able to appreciate, don’t feel guilty or obligated…just STOP READING and put it aside. Move on to something else that catches your eye that perhaps will be more satisfying. Reading shouldn’t be a chore, you should enjoy it. Don’t waste valuable free time reading something you don’t like. Of all of Gretchen’s tips, I appreciated this valuable nugget of wisdom the most.

 Tip #2: Skim.

It’s important to read the things that are most important or that interest you, so quickly glance through media such as newspapers, magazines, or Internet content to find the most relevant content. Only select key items to explore further or in more detail. Spend your reading time wisely and with the focus of maximizing both your reading pleasure and knowledge.

I recall that while completing a graduate course in financial institutions for my master’s degree, my professor mentored us on how to efficiently read the Wall Street journal, as well as most any daily newspaper. He advised us not to spend more than a minute per page scanning article titles and subtitles for content of interest or value to our industry or expertise, and he cautioned us to select only a handful of the most interesting or pertinent articles to read in total. Since then, I’ve regularly applied those principles to reading magazines, newspapers, and online content and it’s paid off handsomely in saving valuable time.

 Tip #3: Set aside time to read demanding books.

Learning and expanding my intellectual horizons is very satisfying to me. As such, it’s good to occasionally read material that challenges or expands your own intellectual horizons. That may include simply reading some classically-written literature or poetry that requires careful consideration to successfully comprehend. (House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, anybody?)

For style purposes, classical literature and poetry demonstrates how writing styles have changed. From a practical point of view, not only will you learn new and compelling things by broadening your horizons, you may also acquire helpful and essential knowledge that will aid in writing your next novel. Besides, one never knows when they will end up as a contestant on Jeopardy someday. (Hey, I personally know a fellow author, William Bernhardt, who was a successful, winning Jeopardy contestant.)

 Tip #4: Always have plenty of reading material on hand.

You never know when you’ll find yourself pausing at length, so always try to have something to read handy. Today, it’s so easy to install an app on a smartphone or tablet that enables you to download and read eBooks, so this should be relatively easy advice to embrace.

 Tip #5: Keep a reading list, and keep it handy.

For best results, keep that list on your smartphone or tablet so that it’s handy at a moment’s notice, both to reference and to add to when the moment strikes. I started this over four years ago and it’s been invaluable and convenient. It’s even helped me in conversations to recall a book title or author. In truth, I’ve expanded that advice to “books read” and “movies to see” as well.

*pausing* Okay, let’s hold the Type-A personality quips to a minimum, shall we?

At the very least, I’ve graduated to a Type-A-minus nowadays…

 Tip #6: Don’t fight reading inclinations.

Read what you feel in the mood to read and not only will you read more material, you’ll feel more satisfied about reading it. Seriously, this works! For authors, I take that to another level by adding: write what you want to write whenever the mood strikes you. You’ll write more passionately and be happier with the content that you’ve written.

 All in all, I’ve found those six tips invaluable, and they have already improved my reading satisfaction, as well as made better use of my available spare time.

There are a number of other tips that I didn’t list here, so if you’d like to read Gretchen Rubin’s full blog post regarding her reading advice, click HERE.

Happy reading!

[5-2-2015: The link has been corrected for the blog article by Gretchen Rubin. - Jaz]

Tis the Season! – or – Yule Be Sorry!

[LEGAL USE OF THIS PHOTO LICENSED AND SECURED VIA DREAMSTIME - October 2014]   
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 X-NONE 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin-top:0in;
	mso-para-margin-right:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
	mso-para-margin-left:0in;
	line-height:115%;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

[LEGAL USE OF THIS PHOTO LICENSED AND SECURED VIA DREAMSTIME - October 2014]

Wow, it feels like I just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, and yet, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have also come and gone. And let’s not forget the other litany of pithy slogans for other days that give merchandisers another reason to draw you to their shops and websites for holiday promotions and discounts. There was Shop Local Saturday, for one. Did I leave any out? How about Tip-Toe-to-Our-Sale Tuesday? Or perhaps Sin-if-You-Miss-It Sunday? Wassailing Wednesday? Tinsel Thursday? Frosty Festival Friday? *shaking my head*

As for me, I’m keeping the holidays simple. Yes, I’m giving gifts to a number of people, though most likely it will be of the plastic gift card variety. Honestly, what can we all really need? And besides, who really knows what each other needs? In the end, I’d like to think that, health and food notwithstanding, most of us really only need the compassion, support, and fellowship of each other to make the holidays fulfilling and special. I’m planning get-togethers with family and friends to celebrate the holidays; time spent with those I care about is always a gift worth savoring, don’t you agree?

For many people, between the holiday sales, baking schedules, and preparing for social gatherings for relatives and friends, there’s not a lot of discretionary time left to really sit and bask in the warmth and magic of the season. And isn’t that really such a shame?

Well, not me, I tell you. I’m already relishing mugs of hot cocoa and hot tea, thanks to the unseasonably cool and drizzly weather conditions that we’ve had in recent days. I’ve started watching my favorite holiday films and specials, including the classic Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Oh, and I plan to re-watch each and every Doctor Who holiday special to date, all leading up to the Christmas Day Doctor Who special starring Peter Capaldi. This will be Capaldi’s first Christmas special as the 12th Doctor. Frankly, given how stoic Capaldi’s Doctor has been portrayed, I’m not sure how many warm fuzzies Steven Moffatt can believable sell in the script. As such, I’m not expecting many moments for either heartwarming dialogue or sentimental tears. *Suddenly missing David Tennant and Matt Smith*

Image Property of Puffin Publishers, All Rights Reserved, 2013.

Image Property of Puffin Publishers, All Rights Reserved, 2013.

Are you doing any reading right now? I recently finished reading a short novella by Neil Gaiman, Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock: Eleventh Doctor. It involved Amy Pond and a mysterious entity called the Kin. It was highly satisfying and conveyed fantasy in a manner that is nearly magical for Mr. Gaiman. Suffice to say, I highly recommend it! You can read my review of it on Goodreads.com at <click here>

Well, best wishes on your holiday preparations and celebrations. I have some public events coming up later this month, so please check in on my website under EVENTS very soon. For now, I’m off to watch some college football while sipping some tasty hot cocoa. The weather outside is cool and overcast, as well as occasionally drizzly with rain. Ah, tis the season!

Oh, and Tabby my cat says, “Meow-lo!”

[Tabby Waving -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO]     
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 X-NONE 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin-top:0in;
	mso-para-margin-right:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
	mso-para-margin-left:0in;
	line-height:115%;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

[Tabby Waving -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO]

 

 

Jazzed About Rain

[Photo by Stuart Blyth - Legal use licensed via Dreamstime - July 2014]

[Photo by Stuart Blyth - Legal use licensed via Dreamstime - July 2014]

I’m a big fan of rainy days.
It’s raining today with temperatures unseasonably cool in the lower 70s. Outside, the rain is periodically cycling between drizzle and rhythmic showers. It feels truly marvelous for this time of year. Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed the rain, even thunderstorms. There’s a snuggly sense of comfort and relaxation associated with watching rain fall, as well as hearing the soothing sounds of raindrops hitting the window pane. It’s especially nice when clouds are thick enough to affect the outdoor light levels, giving that near-evening appearance. In my mind, it conjures thoughts of lazy days spent reading a good book while sipping tea. There are few things more satisfying than perching on a cushioned window seat while flipping pages in a book…or scrolling through a novel on my Kindle. Then perhaps a nap. *smiling*

It may surprise you to know that I also enjoy going shopping on rainy days. Though rather unusual for a guy, I like to browse shopping malls and stores on rainy days. Don’t ask me why, but in my mind there’s just something sedate about shopping when it’s raining. Of course, I especially enjoy browsing through bookstores on rainy or cold days. Granted, with my smartphone or iPad, I can go browsing through an online bookstore no matter where I happen to be, but I prefer casually perusing the aisles of an actual bookstore. Regardless of my environment, my mood is typically lighter and more carefree on rainy days. There’s something calming about the sights and sounds of rain falling; it invokes a quieter, introspective state of mind in me. And let’s not forget the soothing appearance of rainwater as it trickles down the outer surface of the glass.

I’m going to go watch the rain fall some more while I listen to the raindrops falling outside. Are you a fan of rainy days? Drop me a line and let me know. Enjoy your day!