Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Robocop (2014)

To use the words; terrible, boring, stale, uninspired, cold, poorly acted, and downright disappointing, in describing this cinematic reboot to the 80's Verhoeven camp classic would actually be compliments.  This film is a disaster from frame one until the final credits reluctantly roll across the screen.   Gone is all the cleverness, tongue in cheek humor, deliciously warped "over the top" villains, unique and colorful characters, and Weller's iconic performance of the original on screen "Iron Man."  Instead, we get two hours of poorly written, tragically performed re-visioning that is more focused on an anti-drone, anti-N.S.A, anti-corporate America message (enough anti's for you yet) than actually entertaining its audience.  Worse, the message fails with even more fervor than the entirety of the movie.   So my note to the new Hollywood elite, "Stop messing with our favorites and try to come up with some actual original ideas!"  0 out of 5 Kernels: even the sleek and excessive CGI special effects don't measure up to the 80's staples of  cheesy, gore filled, squib mania (Google it) mixed with a touch of  Harryhausen's magic (again Google it).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Last Vegas

Robert DeNiro has reached such a legendary status as the quintessential classic, hard nose, unbreakable, tough guy that it seems almost sacrilege to cast him in any other role.    So, when I see him in these "softer" roles, a large part of me wants to scream, at the top of my lungs in the direction of  flat screen, "Heresy!"   Most of those portrayals fail miserably, but in this comedic case, I have to say, rather than a detriment, it almost "humanizes" the megastar, in a way, few, if any films, have.   Although much of the story is very base and even somewhat predictable, those downsides are quickly eclipsed by the chemistry between these cinematic icons and their authentic and compelling performances and within a matter of mere seconds you are totally engaged.    Klein's dry wit is as sharp and biting as ever, Freeman illuminates every scene he is in, and Douglas is as supremely charming, with elements of his character very reminiscent of his Jack T Colton persona ala Romancing the Stone minus the machete, snakes, and gators.  Director, Turteltaub has a litany of mild successes under his belt; While You Were Sleeping, National Treasure, and Phenomenon to name a brisk few, but this is, by far, his best.  A few laugh out loud moments, but the strongest facet is a heartfelt and poignant editorial on how age is just a number and the way you go about the direct result of mindset.  Think Hangover lite for the senior set.   A thoroughly entertaining movie that reminds us all that when you are as amazing as this cast is there is no expiration date on talent.   3 out of 5 Kernels; lets hope this is not the last time we see this team up.

My 3rd Five Star Review

A heartfelt thanks to Linda Thomas for my latest five star review!!!!

By Linda Thomas on July 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great story of hope and how people support each other from one crisis to another to live. I recommended this book to anyone who enjoys reading of love, hope and the desire to live.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

August 23rd Book Signing

Come purchase your signed copy of my novel, The Lost Road to Hope at Summerfest in York, SC on August 23rd all day. 

Find out more about Summerfest at


Monday, July 14, 2014

My Paradise

I wanted to take a moment to thank the most important person in my life for all of her unending support and unconditional love. She loves me for who I am, and believe you me, that is no small undertaking. I adore you Paradise, everything in my life has value because of you.


The Question

So, I was asked today, by a very dear friend, how it felt to come this far?  To physically see my story in book form after the four years, it took for this labor of love to become something more than just a neat idea in my overcrowded imagination.  Four years of frantic, tedious storyboarding, day long battles with frustration when the pieces just didn't fit quite right, creative revelations that woke me from what little slumber I could manage, twelve hour long typing stints at my PC and the unending headaches that followed, adoring and then hating and then adoring again every character and plot point, and, finally, the countless rewrites and revisions that for an anal, O.C.D individual like myself is the same as passing multiple mental kidney stones through a bent coffee stirrer.
Someone once said, “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.”   That statement is as legitimate as Lindsey Lohan providing a clean urine test.  The individual who first uttered it must suffer from a myriad of psychological delusions or the lifelong effects of “medicinal” herbs or illegal pharmaceuticals.    I love to write, that never neutralized the work side of it.    It never makes it easier, it does, however, propel me to continue through the countless writer’s blocks, accidentally deleted chapters, and impossibly irreconcilable story lines.   It is the love that makes it worth doing, without it, one would give up before the very first keystroke.

No, to sum up my passion for this insane process I prefer Tom Hank’s verbal tirade to Geena Davis’ character in one of my favorite films, A League of Their Own.     If you haven’t seen the film, Netflix it as soon as you can, but for the sake of time and wear on your eyes, I will paraphrase and you can catch up later.  Davis character is about to quit the league, stating that the game has just become too hard.  To which, Hank answers, “It’s supposed to be hard.”  “If it weren't hard everyone would do it.”  “The hard makes it great!”  And from those utterances, I adopted those three simple statements, composed by a writer like myself, to express my love for the art form and the difficulties contained therein.

Now that I have rambled, as I often do,  let’s get back to my original thought, that being, the question what was it like?  What was it like to first open the box that contained the finished product, holding it in my hands for the first time, fanning through the freshly printed pages.  And yes, I took a whiff of the paper to truly savor the moment and quickly discovered it  was my new favorite aroma.  What was it like when I first saw my novel sitting on the end table next to my bed on top of my wife's other reading materials?  How did it feel when I sold my first copy, E-BOOK, printed version, or otherwise on

If this was one of those word association tests, the first word that always comes into my mind, time and time again, is surreal.   It trumps excitement, adulation, gratification, and even deep humility and gratitude.    It sometimes feels like I am on the outside looking in, as if my life is some dimly lit play and I am merely a part of the audience, trying to figure out where it is all going, how will it get there, and will I believe it when it does?    It is truly humbling to finish such an adorably daunting task.   It defies a word like gratification to describe the intense feeling of fulfillment that engulfs you as sit back in your office chair and flip through each page; quickly snagging an excerpt here and there to validate it is all real.    Excitement doesn't even begin to graze the emotion that wells up inside as you feast on that final revelation of accomplishment and try to digest it all.

After twenty-six years of procrastinating, held hostage by the fear of rejection and failure, it is as if I have grown wings and stretched them to their full length for the first time.   I am flying, not like a graceful gull, but with the force and fierceness of a condor slicing through the wind of a noonday storm.    Ascending to new heights of freedom and satisfaction that I barely noticed existed before.    And if that all sounds so very melodramatic, just call me Susan Lucci and be done with it.  Again, not familiar with the reference, Netflix it.  

So now, with my new found sense of flight, I have a duty to myself and my small, but ever-growing, stable of fans, to continue.    Well, that sounds a bit too selfless I think.  Maybe it’s this new high that I have now discovered that propels me more than even the love I originally described.   And though I would never consider comparing it to birthing a child, as that would make me the biggest sexist pig since Anthony Weiner, I still consider it a form of creation, bringing characters and stories to life that once only existed in the dreams and aspirations of a genuinely eccentric mind.  Each work is my offspring, part of me but more than a mere appendage.  

I can only hope that those who share in each story will be as engaged, thrilled, invested, and entertained as I am in weaving each tapestry.    If they can see the stories unfold in their own minds, as if they have an internal cinema,  gloriously playing in their heads, free of commercial interruptions.  If they experience each tragedy and triumph, pain and pleasure of every character, not only sharing the story with them, but as them.   If they can’t put the novel down until it’s finished because they haven’t the patience to wait one more minute to see where it leads, how it ends.  If I can truly affect  just one person in that way, I have already achieved the miraculous.    To accomplish the same emotion and investment, I experienced as I read every written word of the men and women who inspired me.

I hope that answers the question in the simplest way I know how.  And I am truly thankful for each and every one of my family and friends who gave me the strength and encouragement to be able to even field the question.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Debut Book Signing

Amazing day today, far more successful than I expected thanks to all of my family, friends, and supporters. Sold and signed 17 novels! Great exposure, but even more importantly, a wonderful time spent taking with some very special people in my life. A deep, heartfelt thanks to my boss and friend, Darrin Skinner, for every ounce of support throughout these last two years and in hosting this debut event. His generosity and kindness will never be forgotten! Look for more signings to come.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Interview in the Lake Wylie Pilot

Here is the link to my interview with the Lake Wylie Pilot in regards to my July 13th book signing

Unfortunately, my original interview was reduced quite dramatically, as it needed to be, but in the process there are several errors. The most noticeable is the title of the novel which is actually The Lost Road to Hope. There are three additional.  First, my mother's name is spelled Rosemarie. Second, the first book is part of an eight-part series of novels that stand alone, but are also connected. Only the first book deals with cancer survivors who face a world changing event or catastrophe. And, finally, the third sentence should actually read, "I took a fresh take on the done to death idea, meaning the concept of an apocalyptic tale, by making the heroes cancer survivors, people I deeply admire for their courage and determination while facing their own mortality like many in my family did." With that said, being the O.C.D perfectionist that I am, I sincerely appreciate the time and care Wendy Dimitri and the Pilot took with the story and the fact she considered interviewing an unknown author at all. I hope many will attend the event and, while there, ask a plethora of questions about the story and the amazing woman my mother was. 

Find out how you can further support my novel at 

It is incredibly difficult as a self published author to effectively promote and market your work, crowd funding resources like Kickstarter make it a possibility to truly take your project to the next level.

With the opportunity that has arrived thanks to the interview in the pilot, I wanted to take a brief moment to delve deeper into the two pictures of my mother that are featured in the article.  The first is when my son, William was born.  My Mom had always worried she wouldn't live long enough to see him.  Not only was she there for his birth but God gave her an extra 2 years to spend with him.  The second is our last trip together at Myrtle Beach in 07'  It was during her first remission.  I had walked up to her as she deeply stared out into the ocean.  Jessie, my daughter, was barely 2 years old and I placed her at my feet in the sand.    I said nothing for a long time then she turned to me and smiled.   I knew what she was thinking, what she was doing.   It was her moment to thank God for bringing her through so much and she did such in silence.  So we stared out together for a while.  It is a moment I will never forget and I thank God for it.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: 47 Ronin

It is an incredible, almost unbelievable feat for a director to take a legendary saga rich in heritage, drama, suspense, and tradition and reduce it to two hours of depressive, poorly acted dribble that leaves the audience asking why they wasted their DVD rental.   Rookie helmsmen, Carl Rinsch, proves why he is just that, by taking a massive budget, access to the finest in GCI effects, an authentically casted ensemble and creates one of the biggest cinematic disappointments of 2014, possible the entire decade.    Reeves makes his return, in what could've, should've, would've been the Matrix meets Shogun sprinkled with a little of the Lord of the Rings.  Instead, he participates in this bland, uninspired retelling of one of the quintessential legends in Japanese culture and history.   His performance is only slightly lucid, utterly stale, with zero emotion or passion invested in his fictional addition to the story.  His peers are just as disconnected, with every scene involving action, suspense, passion, or tragedy voided by their lackluster, scarcely conscious, portrayals.  This should have been a film that mercilessly and relentlessly tears at the senses, but Rinsch managed to successfully declaw every element that would have stirred any engagement, excitement, or interest.   Even the magnificent backdrops, majestic cinematography, and exquisite costuming are muted by an inferior story and characterizations.    The only lesson learned here is the cost of following traditions designed to oppress a culture masquerading as honor and nobility all the while existing to control freedoms.    If you don't walk away appreciating democracy over totalitarianism and unquestioned hierarchy, then I can't help you.   Honor comes from living and loving with integrity, willing to sacrifice to protect and serve the ones you love, not from an unreasonable and absolute obedience to men who are so easily corrupted by power and selfish agenda.  0 out of 5 Kernels:   If Reeve and Rinsch's take on this pivotal Samurai tale were to be compared to the iconic swords they would have been as sharp as plastic butter knives, the greater honor would have been to never made this picture at all.  

New Project

Started my second novel today with a completion goal of May of 2015.

Happy Fourth of July 2014

I want to wish all of you a very Happy Fourth of July! During your celebration, please remember the men and women who gave everything to ensure and protect our independence. Many of their families will not be able to share this holiday with them at home, or at all.
Freedom is never free, we must always keep that at the forefront of our minds and hearts, less we fall into apathy and forget the price of liberty. Apathy is the greatest threat to our rights and freedoms, for it numbs our gratitude and corrupts the lessons of history, compelling us to repeat the mistakes of the past and jeopardize the independence we may so quickly take for granted.
God bless you and those you love.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Will they find the Lost Road to Hope? Will you?

Will they find the Lost Road to Hope? Will you?

One Minute Movie Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Director's Cody Cameron, the original Shrek, and Kris Pearn bring us the standard formulaic CGI animated fare that is anything, but typical and formulaic.  The original was based on the beloved children's book, this go round, Cameron and Pearn create an completely fresh and original take that is surprisingly unique and inspired.  Most of the original cast is back to voice this food focused sequel that is a buffet of sharp quips, tasty puns, sappy slapstick, delicious Jurassic Park parody, and, at times, laugh at loud moments.   The plot is unique and engaging, even for the younger set  with stellar performances making this second outing as good or better as it predecessor.   It has a quick pace, but not so much that it loses a single step in the quality of its story or character development.    A heartwarming yarn about friendship and ambition that will both entertain and capture the imagination. The animation is wonderfully elaborate, some of the best in the industry.   A definitive win. 4 out of 5 Kernels; sweet, spicy, and salty, a marvelously satisfying feast for the senses.

One Minute Movie Review: I, Frankenstein

The writers of the Underworld series & the Pirates of The Caribbean sequels bring you their envisioning of Mary Shelley’s classic monster rebooted for a contemporary audience that never asked for it.   In fact, if Shelley knew, for even a mere moment, that this retelling would occur, she probably never would have told her legendary tale to begin with.  This is only Stuart Beatties' second time in the director's chair & that level of novice is painfully apparent.  His half-hearted attempt to recreate the sleek scope & dark, edgy feel of the first two Underworld films fails miserably as this rehash is missing all of the character depth, sophisticated & eerie cinematography, & energized performances of his muse.   Victor Frankenstein's ominously iconic monster trades his green skin, rusty bolts, & clunky boots for an uninspired reincarnation that, put simply, is Aaron Eckhart made up to look like, well,  Aaron Eckhart, with a few added, poorly made up scars.   If you are not wowed already, be prepared, as the rest of the movie's elements are as equally exciting.  The concept of the war between angels disguised as gargoyles & demons masquerading as Men's Warehouse employees was originally conceived in graphic novel form.   One would think that a theme like that would translate well on the silver screen, well, one would be wrong, as the story makes little sense, which doesn't really matter as half way through, you don't care anyway.    Then there is the typical CGI overdose, with the effects of the gargoyles transforming into warrior angels remarkably stunning, while their demonic counterparts merely transform into the same guys they already were, just in crudely created masks that must have been obtained on the Halloween clearance aisle at Party City.   The acting is barely noticeable.  Eckhart's range goes from solemn growl to solemn scowl, & then, surprisingly, solemn glare.  The rest of the cast, fare's worse, if you can believe it, as Beattie recycles many of the minions from Underworld cast to deliver some of the most barely lucid portrayals I have ever seen.  I couldn't tell who was more bored, those on screen, or me, at least they were paid to suffer through this monstrosity of boredom.  Beattie is set to help write the next Pirates movie, so based on this, that ship too will sink.  0 out of 5 Kernels: The only scary element of this cinematic catastrophe is that it actually made it to production.   

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Purchase my novel on Facebook

You can now purchase autographed copies of my novel and themed apparel on my Facebook site.

Check it out!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lake Wylie Pilot Article Update

The interview about my book signing on July 13th will be featured in the Lake Wylie Pilot on Tuesday, July 8th. #713BookSign #TheLostRoadtoHope#Dontsurvivelive