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Tag Archives: New Orleans

The art and heart of life, technology, and current events. |Welcome to a new friend: Matthew Alan Bennett

About me and my blog

IMAGE_74467E2C-9A52-4F0D-AF91-005In addition to being a musician, songwriter, teacher, writer, and a magician, I have also been an armored car driver, paranormal investigator, website designer, civilian defense contractor, investigative reporter, stand-up comedian, youth counselor, TV cameraman, small engine mechanic, voiceover artist, sound engineer, and about  30 other things. 

When I am not researching, writing, or performing magic, I like to hang out with my AMAZING wife, Janelle in our Erie, PA home or traveling to various places for various reasons.

As you can see from my list of career moves, I like to shake up my life and keep things interesting. I am doing the same thing with this website. This is my outlet for posting whatever I need to post.

Some more “about me” stuff:

I am not a republican or a democrat or a libertarian. I spend a lot of time thinking through every issue, and I try not to let the media or the current sentiment of the culture define how I feel about these issues. I also spend a lot of time trying to convince others to do the same.

I’ll never end up with a college degree, because I study what I want to study. One month I will take a class in quantum physics, next month it’ll be economics, closely followed by psychology. Education, for the purpose of education itself, is the best way for me to spend my money. When I see people with degrees who are clueless about how life works, it validates my personal educational philosophy. I’m not going to let a degree define me.

I am primarily a musician, at least as far as “getting a paycheck” goes. I am also a magician, performing stand-up shows and close-up magic. I have been on the stage in one capacity or another nearly every week for the last 20 years. It is my second home, no matter where that stage may be located.

I also write short stories, mostly in the horror genre, although sometimes I end up getting all sci-fi on paper – accidentally, of course. Like many, many other writers I am “working on a novel”. I was an investigative reporter at one point, for the Capital News in Corydon, Indiana. I thought this would be my career path, but the business closed, and my life took a different turn.

I designed my first website in 1998, and have been trying to keep up with that for last 15 years. I really like net/tech stuff.

So, there you go. Music, magic, writing, tech stuff, hopefully the mix will go at least a little way towards explaining the widespread nature of the blog. Enjoy!

via About me and my blog | Matthew Alan Bennett.
Like a wagon wheel in Luckenbach, TX

We had a pretty musical vacation this year. We started by

following the course of the Wagon Wheel (which is currently the only song in iTunes on my phone) – passing through Johnson City and Cumberland Gap. We stopped in Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans before we landed on a beach in Corpus Christie, TX. On the way from the Gulf to Dallas, I specifically wanted to visit Luckenbach, mostly because of the song that I have known since childhood.
We had a drink at the bar, and heard some live music outside – which turned out to be a “guitar circle”, so anyone could play. Since nobody was playing except for the guys running it, we decided it would be really cool to play there. We stayed a couple hours and had a lot of fun, but I’m mostly excited about having that experience under my belt. I just wish they had a piano!

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I’ve seen a year and a half long miracle | Catching Up with Part time Monster

11/22/2013 by Diana Gordon

I’ve seen a year and a half long miracle of New Orleans culture: Rolling with Kings

The Rolling Elvi at a St. Baldrick's Event

The Rolling Elvi at a St. Baldrick’s Event

About a year and a half ago, the fiancee, Sam, started working on a film about a group of guys, The Krewe of the Rolling Elvi. As a non-New Orleans-ian, who had visited often but never been to Mardi Gras (though I knew about it, of course), I was confused by everything about this project. I knew what a krewe was, but didn’t know what a sub-krewe was. I knew about Mardi Gras parades. But I didn’t know about the work that goes into organizing a krewe, a parade, or that the krewes aren’t just about Mardi Gras itself.

The Rolling Elvi at an event for the Louisiana SPCA

The Rolling Elvi at an event for the Louisiana SPCA

Watching this group of people over the last year, I’ve come to an entirely new understanding of what it means to be a part of a krewe, particularly one like the Rolling Elvi. It means family: I’ve watched the men of the Elvi and the women of the Priscillas support one another; I’ve watched wives help husbands with jumpsuits and hair, and I’ve seen fathers carry their children, mouths open with laughter, around on their Elvi scooters. It means friendship: I’ve watched the members of the group support one another through loss of jobs, sickness, getting new jobs, having children, and a host of other changes. It means silliness: I’ve watched the group wear jumpsuits and makeup and wigs and dance and laugh.

But most of all, being a part of the Rolling Elvi means being a part of a community. Not just any community, and not just their own, but the city of New Orleans. I’ve watched them work with and in the city, doing charity work for the Louisiana SPCA, Odyssey House, Children’s Hospital, and St. Baldrick’s. I’ve seen them bring smiles to faces, some of which look as though it’s been a fair few since they’ve smiled so hard.

And I’ve watched my fiancee and his partners film all of this despite their various day jobs and responsibilities and despite having almost no budget to work with. I’ve seen a year and a half long miracle of New Orleans culture.

In the final days of the IndieGoGo campaign, we are using Thunderclap* to promote the film and hopefully spark some more interest. I believe in this film, I believe in this krewe, and I believe in the group of people who are working to bring a slice of New Orleans to the forefront through the film.

*If this story interests you, intrigues you, or if you just want to find out more, please visit the Thunderclap and Indiegogo pages for more information on the krewe and the film as well as information on how you can help. Easy instructions are provided for using both.

Edit: These are simple instructions for Thunderclap if you want to support this:

5 easy steps to support the Thunderclap (takes about three minutes).

1. Go to https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/6687-rolling-with-kings.
2.Click the “Support with Facebook” button.
3. Once you click “Support with Facebook,” you will have the option of entering a message.
4. You may be asked to enter your username and password. Thunderclap does not save this information. You are only granting permission to post this message once.
5. Once you receive a confirmation message, you’re done.

via I’ve seen a year and a half long miracle of New Orleans culture: Rolling with Kings | Part Time Monster.

“She’s got true blue voodoo in her eyes”: Catching up with Letters To Dionysus

Sailor Jerry Rum Label Love Missives:

Animal Urges

Sailor 002

Animal Urges

She’s got true blue
voodoo in her
eyes, the
kind that can make
you squirm like a
worm or flop
like a fish or
even worse
fall in love.
If you let them
give you the once
over one too many
times then it will
be all over before
you even see the crime.

Composed 2010. Part of the Sailor Jerry Rum Label Love Missives Series.

Welcome to a new friend: Victoria Grefer– Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Creative Writing Tips and Authorial Support from Fantasy Writer Victoria Grefer

DSCN1236This site is Victoria’s blog. Don’t forget to check out her official website for all things Herezoth (related to her fantasy novels): maps, character lists, and more. That site is http://www.victoriagrefer.com

Victoria is a New Orleans girl, born and raised, with an appreciation for the charm of the Deep South. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English and a master’s degree in Spanish literature, all from the University of Alabama. She started college as a journalism major and worked a year as a staff reporter for the Alabama student newspaper, “The Crimson White.” That experience that helped her realize, once and for all, that her love for writing lay with fiction. She started enrolling in creative writing classes the following semester, completing the English department’s 3 course fiction writing series.

From the age of six, Victoria dreamed of becoming a novelist, and her writing career began in the third grade with a series of stories about herself and her friends solving mysteries. In high school she fell in love with the fantasy genre, and started writing fantasy as an undergraduate student. Now she has 5 novels under her belt. She currently resides in Chicago, IL, where she spends her free time promoting her Herezoth trilogy:

The Crimson League (Book I)

The Magic Council (Book II)

The King’s Sons (Book III)

Victoria loves cats, classic movies, cribbage, and random, useless trivia. Don’t forget to:

[terry: go to her blog page where all the links WORK]

via The Author | Creative Writing with the Crimson League.

Why authors and readers love their Happily Ever After: and why that’s a good thing

1402725_girl_dances_with_an_umbrellaHappily Ever After. It might be cliche, but sometimes, it’s what we crave to write and read about.

I’ve written about happy endings before. I’ve discussed the things Shrek and Fiona can teach us about Happily Ever After, and I’ve explored what to do, and why it’s okay, when you discover your story isn’t headed toward a fairy tale ending (Disney style).

Today, though, a comment by Jess Baverstock really got me thinking. I had mentioned in a recent post that it’s not a good idea to shelter your characters too much, and Jess wrote:

Today I wrote a harrowing scene where I put my little character through an emotional experience that will scar her for decades. I was on the verge of tears as I wrote it.

I’m a nice person who treats other people well, but when it comes to my characters I do put them through dreadful things in the name of plot and conflict. Thank goodness I believe in happy endings!

That got me thinking about happy endings: not the mechanics of how to write them, and the instances when they might be appropriate for a story, but about WHY we love them so much, both as writers and readers.

Happily ever after has its place

Happily ever after has its place

Excellent article-click to read the rest

Recommended Reads

WHAT TO READ?

Here’s a list of my most highly recommended reads. If I’ve written about the book explaining its influence on my fiction, the entry contains a hyperlink to the post. If you’re looking for a fantasy novel to entertain, a classic to make you think, or just something to make you laugh, you’ll find it here, for sure! Some selections are no brainers, but I hope some surprise as well. Each section is listen in alphabetical order, according to author.  I’ll also grace you with my blacklist: these authors I just can’t stand, for personal reasons. It’s just an opinion thing. Please, feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments!

FANTASY NOVELS

  1. Robin Hobb: The Farseer Trilogy (*some adult themes)
  2. Thomas Malory: Le Morte d’Arthur
  3. Karen Miller: The Innocent Mage, The Awakened Mage
  4. J.K. Rowling: the Harry Potter series
  5. Michael J. Sullivan, The Riyria Revelations (*some adult themes)
  6. Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Idylls of the King
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
  8. T.H.White: The Once and Future King

THE CLASSICS

  1. Jane Austen: Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice
  2. Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote
  3. Charles Dickens: Hard Times, Great Expectations
  4. Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
  5. George Eliot: Silas Marner
  6. Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
  7. Victor Hugo: Les Miserables
  8. Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind
  9. Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray

TO LAUGH

  1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  2. John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat
  3. John Kennedy Toole: A Confederacy of Dunces (*some adult themes)
  4. Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

TO AVOID: THE BLACKLIST

  1. anything by William Faulkner
  2. anything by James Joyce
  3. anything by D.H. Lawrence

sweetheart rewrite COMBINE 2

Amazon Search

[Terry:  Gee, I like Faulkner, Joyce, and Lawrence and

I have so many more authors I suggest you avoid: 

James Fennimore Cooper

Dan Brown

Christopher Paolini

Michael Moorcock

Stephen King

Terry Goodkind

Richard Adams (yes, those bloody rabbits!)

Brian Jacques (More bloody rabbits and now badgers!)

Ayn Rand and Carlos Casteneda (and anyone who says they were inspired by either)

Fraces Hodgson Burnett (Watch the Secret Garden but don’t ever READ it)

Tom Clancy (except for Red October–he ran out of ideas after that)

Oh, I could go on and on  (and I do on Goodreads)

I would have to add to the

Required Reading Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

Glen Cook (The Black Company)

Lewis Carroll (Alice & Through the Looking Glass)

Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows–but only the versions that haven’t been Bowdlerized)

Ray Bradbury (Every damn book he ever wrote)

Frank Herbert (ONLY the first book)

Andre Norton (her early work)

Alfred Bester (Stars My Destination is the best SF book EVER)

Lord Dunsany (The Book of Wonder is the original fantasy novel)

Roger Zelazny (The Chronicles of Amber)

Rudyard Kipling (Puck of Pook’s Hill)

China Mieville (he just keeps getting better)

And Finally…

Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Red Book of Fairy Stories, The Green Book of Fairy Stories, etc. etc. (This are the magic source from whence all later stories spring)

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