Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Still Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions?

If the answer to this question is “no,” then I have good news to share with you. A life coach recently reminded me that it takes super human strength to make a lifestyle change immediately following the holidays. After all, many of us have just come off several weeks of eating too much, not getting enough sleep and overspending. Trying to reverse all that on the first of January is exhausting. Instead, why not aim for the Chinese New Year?

This time around, the Chinese New Year falls on January 31st, so there's plenty of time to brush off the dust from the January First resolutions, or form some new ones. One of the ways the Chinese celebrate that I find especially interesting is by giving the house a thorough scrub down, sweeping away any ill-fortune to make way for better luck. After all the hustle of the holidays, most houses could use a good
scouring anyway, so it's kind of a win-win scenario.

Red is the color most often associated with the Chinese New Year. I like that because it's nice to put a splash of color back into the house to replace the decorations from Christmas. The Chinese often include lanterns in their d├ęcor, which I think is a great reminder to add light to what can be the darkest part of the year.

Among the many legends surrounding the Chinese New Year is one that says Buddha asked all the animals to meet him for the celebration. Twelve came and Buddha named a year after each one of them. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. I was happy to learn that those under this sign like to communicate with others in a humorous manner because I write satire for a living! For those about to bring little ones into the world, 2014 is the Year of the Horse.

January 31st, the Chinese New Year, is a chance for us all to make a fresh start. Here's wishing you and your family a great Year of the Horse!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adele Park's Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Writer Neil Gaiman seems to be everywhere these days. Or maybe it's just that I've started to tune into his signal. Gaiman is certainly coming in loud and clear with the folks at ACX/Audible.com http://www.acx.com/. Curious as to why Gaiman is so highly acclaimed, I Googled his name. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I was already a fan of Gaiman's work and just didn't know it. Among other things, Gaiman wrote the books which later turned into the movies Coraline and Stardust http://www.neilgaiman.com/.

I recently listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane on compact disc. To say I was enthralled would be an understatement. Not only is Gaiman a prolific writer, he's an awesome narrator! I'm not sure if Ocean is directed at adults or kids. Gaiman's work seems to speak to audiences of all ages http://www.amazon.com/The-Ocean-End-Lane-Novel/dp/0062255657.

Ocean is about a friendless, seven-year old bookworm who is never named in the story. The suicide of a boarder in his family's home sets in motion a set of mystical happenings which result in the boy befriending a young girl named Lettie Hempstock. Lettie is 11 years old, but seems wise beyond her years. Through Lettie, the boy is able to explore a strange world where even stranger things follow him back to everyday life. Lettie and the boy are left to battle forces which threaten to upend the whole world.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is beautifully written, and I'll be the first to admit I'm totally gaga over Gaiman's British accent. Although I didn't always understand the significance of what was happening in the plot, the story moved along and kept me interested. Find out why fans are singing the praises of Neil Gaiman http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_morecateg_tseft?advsearchKeywords=the+ocean+at+the+end+of+the+lane&filterby=field-keywords&sprefix=the+ocean+at+the.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Now Recording: Steve Campbell

There's something very special about Steve Campbell. Perhaps it's his stunningly handsome looks that seems to attract directors from all forms of media. Or maybe it's Steve's boyish smile that reels in the audiences. But I think it's the twinkle. Steve Campbell really does have one of those, not just in his blue eyes, but in his personality as well.

Steve has appeared in two videos to promote my projects at Straight to Audio Productions and is scheduled to work on a third. He also served as narrator in Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book http://www.yikesaudiobook.com. This week, Steve returns to the studio to record the voice of Old Doc Pinkerton in Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book.

Steve brings a wealth of experience to Straight to Audio Productions. In the 60's and 70's, Steve performed in numerous plays, radio and television shows and motion pictures. Check out what a stud Steve is playing the lead role in the movie Summer of Decision http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPB8LEJHVyk&list=FLWdcTp9t2m9FQ0Qu0t6IKYg&feature=em-share_video_in_list_user

Steve grew up in Michigan where he rubbed elbows with some very famous people. Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Presidential Candidate, was a childhood friend. When Steve's mother was ill, he lived with the Romney family. As an adult, Steve was worked as a Big Band singer in Detroit for six years. During that time, Steve performing with some fabulous talent including Jimmy Durante, Jim Neighbors and George Goble.

Steve married his sweetheart, Cindy, 48 years ago. Together they have six children who now visit them in their St. George, Utah home. Although Steve's “real job” is serving as a realtor at ERA, he still gets plenty of acting gigs. Steve is a big fan of sports cars and other things that go fast, so he no doubt had fun riding a Harley in this local TV ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMF-IEU7tH4&feature=em-share_video_user

As for live theatre, Steve's next show is Little Women-A Little Musical. This production is being staged in a new venue in Cottonwood Village called Brigham's Playhouse. The play opens February 14th and will run through the end of March.

On a personal note, I can't help but gush about what a delight it is to work with Steve. Who could resist a face like this?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Review of Dan Brown's Audio Book, Inferno, by Adele Park

Dan Brown's third novel, Inferno, will no doubt be made into a movie. I didn't want to wait to see Tom Hanks' interpretation of Robert Langdon's latest adventures in Europe. Going with the audiobook version rather than a physical copy of Inferno was a good choice for me http://www.danbrown.com/.
One of the most delicious things Author Dan Brown does is give his fans a vicarious tour of some of the most romantic places on earth. Much of this would have been lost on me if I had tried to tackle the pronunciations on my own as a reader.

Inferno is similar to some of Brown's previous novels, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code in that it features the highly educated protagonist, Robert Langdon, getting chased all over Europe while attempting to unravel a modern day mystery with symbolic ties to the past. But Inferno stands out among Brown's books for the nature of the conflict: a frank discussion on population control.

I thought Brown made a bold move in tackling the idea of man's current dilemma regarding the strain the burgeoning population is placing on the planet. I enjoyed the unexpected twists and turns Inferno offered in exploring this idea.

For those who don't want to wait for Hollywood to make the movie version of Inferno, I'd recommend giving it a read or listen. The work forces us all to examine our feelings regarding the future of our planet. Purchase your copy today on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385537859/ref=amb_link_369592122_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=top-1&pf_rd_r=F9044996663D4807B509&pf_rd_t=301&pf_rd_p=1469215362&pf_rd_i=dan%20brown