Tis the Season! – or – Yule Be Sorry!

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

 

 

Thank You, Mr. Darcy! Don’t You Adore My New Serving Dishes?

(Pride and Prejudice -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 1995 BY British Broadcasting Corporation)

(Pride and Prejudice -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 1995 BY British Broadcasting Corporation)

I recently watched the 1995 BBC six-part miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It was my first exposure to any of the films and specials based upon Jane Austen’s books. And while I’d never read the actual novel in question, I absolutely loved the miniseries. The costume design and settings were wonderfully historical and the cast did a marvelous job immersing me in their characters and storyline. I particularly liked the nearly six-hour length miniseries format because it enabled a fuller introduction to each character and grounded me more fully in the central plot, subplots, and circumstances. Based upon a number of other viewer comments that I’ve read, I understand that this miniseries presented nearly every minute aspect from the original novel on-screen for the viewer. I really appreciate that level of detail, enabling a complete presentation of Austen’s material. I only wished that more films, especially those based upon full-length classic novels, did the same.

Do you know of any other extended-length period novel adaptations available in film out there? I’d really appreciate your recommendations, so please leave me a comment or email me at jaz@jazprimo.com . Thanks! Oh, and way to go, Mr. Darcy!

(Home Entertainment Dishes-- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO)

(Home Entertainment Dishes-- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO)

On the way home from my day-career the other day, I stopped by Kohl’s to take advantage of a 20% off coupon and use the $20.00 Kohl’s Cash that I had accumulated. (I simply love Kohl’s Cash, don’t you?) I eagerly browsed through the store looking for something that I either needed or wanted. While passing the coats and shoes area (not many good sales on shoes, I noticed), I remembered that I wanted some entertainment dishes for my next social gathering. As I passed a number of stocking stuffer displays – which I had to dodge like the Millennium Falcon in an asteroid field – I made it to the kitchen and appliances area. As holiday music played overhead, I came upon the Food Network collections. Oh, the Food Network puts out some of the most marvelous pieces and sets of kitchenware and home entertainment dishware! I selected a set of four white porcelain Ramekins and a four-dish serving tray with square white stoneware serving dishes. Between the two sets, I’ll easily be able to serve finger snacks such as olives, nuts, fruits, dips, crackers, and maybe even a crème brulee, if I get the nerve. Heck, I’m still trying to take the time to bake some banana bread and pumpkin spice muffins. Hmm…maybe I’ll try that later this afternoon.

At any rate, now my home will be better prepared for guests who stop over for a visit during the holidays.  Did I mention that I just love Kohl’s?

 

(Tabby Playing on Her Cat Tree -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO)

(Tabby Playing on Her Cat Tree -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO)

It’s the final stretch for the last week of NaNoWriMo. Did you take part? Regrettably, I wasn’t able to as I had too many day-career related obligations and special events. For those of you who did, my congratulations. For some, you’ll be able to create at least the primary written structure of a novel or novella. That being said, I realize that a number of you may only have written a portion of a project. However, there’s no need to feel discouraged. Take heart…you’ve made an impressive start. Before long, you’ll have a completed manuscript. As often as writing is a pleasure and an escape, many times it can also be a real grind. Take it in small efforts and reflect on how you’re doing so that you can make adjustments as you progress toward the finish line. Occasionally, you might even feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall with your creation. That’s when taking a brief break can open up new ideas and pathways. As only my kitty, Tabby, can convey from the photo above, there’s more than one way to accomplish your objective.

Rest assured, she finally snatched her toy, only to perch on her cat tree to cheerfully chew on it.

My thanks to Ms. Sara Heiss and her senior high school class for the marvelous video conference that I took part in last Wednesday afternoon. We talked about my novel, Gwen Reaper, which everyone read as part of their class reading assignment. Everyone made me feel very welcome and I especially appreciate Sara’s huge alligator, who represented the character Chewie from the novel. Way to go, Sara! I just love props. Oh, and Tabby made a period appearance throughout the conference. It was a LOT of fun and I hope that they invite me back again sometime!

Thanksgiving is almost here! I can’t wait for turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce. Oh, and let’s not forget those tasty pumpkin and pecan pies. Are you preparing for the upcoming holidays?

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!