Friday, December 30, 2022

Book Spotlight: Rocked in Time by Charles Degelman

Rocked in Time
(Volume Three in the Resistance Trilogy) slips behind the scenes of a blasphemous theater company hell-bent on toppling America’s Vietnam-era establishment with punch lines, pratfalls, and comic rebellion. Along the way, our protagonist pursues a love for the stage, a passion for resistance, and the intimate politics of sexual revolution amid the tear-gassed campuses and burning cities of a nation at war with itself. Amazon:

About the Author

Charles Degelman is an award-winning author, performer, and producer living in Los Angeles. After graduating Harvard, Degelman left academia to become an antiwar activist, political theater artist, musician, communard, carpenter, hard-rock miner, and itinerant gypsy trucker. When the dust settled, he returned to his first love, writing. A Bowl Full of Nails, set in the rural counterculture of the 1970s, collected a Bronze Medal from the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Awards and Gates of Eden, set during the anti-war movement of the 1960s, won an Independent Publishers book award. Degelman’s screenplay Fifty-Second Street garnered an award from the Diane Thomas Competition, sponsored by UCLA/Dreamworks. A second screenplay, The Red Car, reached finalist status in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest.

In addition, Degelman has written and produced documentary and educational films for TNT, Churchill Films, Pyramid Films, and Philips Interactive Media. He co-founded Indecent Exposure, a Los Angeles-based theater company dedicated to creating original, high-quality, socially relevant work for the stage. Degelman is on the faculty of California State University where he teaches writing in the Communication Studies Department. His latest book is the historical fiction novel, Rocked in Time.





Wednesday, December 28, 2022

TV series review: Wednesday

is a dark comedy series based on the character of Wednesday Addams created by Charles Addams. Wednesday Addams is expelled from her school because she put piranhas in the school pool to punish the boys who had bullied her younger brother Pugsley. (A very fitting punishment and relax, no one died.) Her parents, Morticia and Gomez, seize this opportunity to send Wednesday to their old alma mater, Nevermore Academy, a school for ‘outcasts' (those not like normal humans, known as ‘normies’). Wednesday is determined to escape at the first opportunity she gets. Alas, the headmistress, who went to the same school (class of Morticia), is always a step ahead. However, the start of a string of gory and suspicious deaths makes Wednesday press the pause button on her escape plans. In solving the mystery, catching the killer, and surviving almost certain death, she learns a lot about who she is and what friends are for, and possibly what love means although her parents’ overt PDAs make her cringe.

If you are a fan of the original Addams Family movie starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, and Christina Ricci, you might not be keen to dive into this series. However, give it a go. I can’t say that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman are better than the original pair, but they did a fairly good job. Headmistress Larissa Weems is played by Gwendoline Christie who is an imposing figure at 6’3”! I have never seen her before, but I enjoyed her rendition. Christina Ricci makes an appearance as the somewhat shy/introverted normie botany teacher, Marilyn Thornhill. However, appearances can be deceiving so keep an eye on her. The town is steeped in a dark and gruesome history regarding witchcraft, the supernatural, and the fervent and foreboding historical figure of Joseph Crackstone. I think William Houston had an absolute ball playing this dementedly fire and brimstone preacher, both alive and dead!

The setting for the school is a real castle, Cantacuzino Castle in Romania, and what an incredible place it is. It looks like Hogwarts on steroids and ends up being like a character all of its own. Given the strange and supernatural setting, with characters ranging from sirens to vampires to geeky kids who can talk to bees, the photography has to be just right and it is. Eerie, haunting, scary, chilling, the photography and the colour palette work brilliantly.

The story isn’t that complex but with such a large cast and the school setting, there is a lot of action, twists and turns, with plenty of red herrings. It mostly revolves around Wednesday, brilliantly played by Jenna Ortega. She is a loner, hostile to the world and her adoring parents who take every slight from her in their stride. She does not want to be friends with anyone, even when almost suffocated by the fluffy pink candyfloss (with rainbow unicorns as a side dish) character of yet-to-become werewolf Enid Sinclair, also brilliantly played by the OTT Emma Myers. (One can only play Enid OTT) Enid is hilarious and undaunted in her efforts to become Wednesday’s ‘bestie’ despite her numerous cold and cutting rebuffs. Enid is a total scene stealer, especially when she and Thing (a disembodied hand) get together to do girly stuff.

The whole series is fantastic with never a dull moment, and although the ‘inclusive’ message was hammered a bit too much (normies vs outcasts), the action, the drama, the killings (gasp! double gasp!), and the special effects will keep you glued to your seat and shovelling that popcorn down in handfuls. The series ends with a good wrap-up but of course a great cliff-hanger in the last few moments. So you have to come back to find out what happens to the … oops, I mustn’t say. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait for Season Two. Don't miss Wednesday!


Monday, December 26, 2022

Book Spotlight: The Timber Stone by Dave Abare


Joshua Traxon, a former L.A.-based rock star, and B-list reality show fixture left L.A. for small-town Vermont hoping to write his memoir. Escaping a past filled with lies, reckless drunken behavior, salacious backstage tales, and death will push him to his limits, especially as he recounts it on paper for the world to read. Josh and his frenetic pug Pickle have a routine: Josh drinks away his pain while struggling to write, and Pickle reminds him that he's still alive, with his infectious personality and boundless love. When Josh meets Laurel, his new neighbor, along with her precocious young boy, he'll struggle with that routine as he falls in love, attempting to evolve and reconcile with his boorish former persona. A tragic death that's haunted him for years will fight to pull him back to the edge of despair, but not before Laurel's own life-changing secret knocks Josh off his feet-and deeper into a bottle. Only a journey home, where he'll unearth a forgotten childhood relic, may save him from himself. If it's not too late. Amazon: 


About the Author

Dave Abare was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and has spent most of his life in and around the Connecticut area. He became enamored with writing at a very young age, writing his first book, "Troll Island" at eleven years old. This work was never published, thankfully, but it was the beginning of a passion that has only intensified over his adult years.

 His love of music led him to begin a part-time gig as a music writer, interviewing bands for his own "Fanzine" in the mid-eighties, including such Metal icons as Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax, as well as bands such as Van Halen, Blues Traveler, Motorhead and Big Head Todd and the Monsters for other publications. In the last several years, Dave has spent his time working on short stories, poems, and his debut novel, "The Swing Over the Ocean," which was, in his words, “a bit of a mess” in terms of editing, etc., but an invaluable self-publishing learning experience. Most recently, he's completed work on his second novel, “The Timber Stone,” which is available for pre-order now.

 In addition to writing and music, Dave enjoys reading, travel, cars, and Pugs (and all critters), as well as frequenting local New England wineries and breweries, with Tree House Brewing Co in Charlton, MA being his favorite. You can follow him @AbareDavey on Twitter or look for his Facebook Author Page.


 Twitter: @abaredavey


 Instagram: @authodavect