Friday, November 22, 2013

Writing Satire to Understand the Humor with Bryan Taylor

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Three Sisters
by Bryan Taylor


About The Author


FBbryan  Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher’s kid of a preacher’s kid. With that legacy he faced two destinies, being an unhappy triple PK (Jubilees 17:23, “He that is born unto the son of a preacher and himself preaches shall be miserable until his dying day and suffer eternal damnation.”), or being sacrilegious and happy. He decided to forsake the Southern Baptists for Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet. Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries, more than any Pope except Saint John Paul II. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.

Author Links

Website: http://www.threesistersnovel.com/ Blog: http://www.threesistersnovel.com/blog/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BryanTaylorAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18246773-the-three-sisters
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/3sistersnovel/books/  


About The Book

Genre: Humor, Satire
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Buy: Amazon


Bryan Taylor The Three Sisters Cover    Book Description:   Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns, Coito Gott, Theodora Suoraand Regina Granthave too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run. Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever. Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest. Blessed are they who read The Three Sisters, for they shall inherit eternal laughter.” — Matthew 5:66 The most pestilential book ever vomited out of the jaws of Hell.” — Billy Sunday Les trois soeurs valent bien une messe.” – Henry IV Lasciate ogne speranza, voi che leggete Le Tre Sorelle.” – Dante Alighieri Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that reading The Three Sisters may lead to Eternal Damnation.  Side effects may include a renewed sense of humor and a better sex life.


GUEST BLOG

Writing Satire in hopes the reader will understand the humor 
and NOT crucify you after reading it


The Three Sisters is a novel about three former nuns who refuse to follow the rules and eventually get in trouble with the law for their transgressions. When they escape from jail, they become nuns on the run, and get themselves into even more trouble when they return to Washington D.C.  In the novel, they do end up in confession at one point, and as I point out in the novel, if you added up all the Absolution they would have to do for the sins they confessed to, it would take them about thirty years to say their seven million, four hundred fifty six thousand, two hundred and forty seven Hail Marys, the … it would take several pages just to list the Absolutions they would have to do.
You have to understand that the reason for writing a satire is so you can write things you normally couldn’t put in a novel. Though fiction is fiction, it has a verisimilitude that enables the reader to identify with the characters and the plot.  Satire makes fiction look realistic, so you might describe satire as fiction squared, or cubed or quadrupled depending upon how far the book departs from reality. The Three Sisters would have to be fiction zillionthed.
Voltaire wrote about Candide who thought he lived in the best of all possible worlds, and Jonathan Swift wrote about eating children and visiting distant lands filled with giants or thumb-sized people. So I decided to write about three nuns who do things most nuns would never even think about doing, in order that I could make fun of organized religion, the government, the media, and capitalistic greed.
Some of my best friends who have read the book are devout Catholics.  They’ve known me for some time, so they’ve grown used to my bizarre sense of humor and tolerate my sacrilegious inclinations.  One of them promises me that despite having written The Three Sisters, God will still allow me to be in Heaven after I die because I’m basically a good person. 
On the one hand, this is reassuring, because you always want to hedge your bets when the grim reaper comes, but on the other hand, I feel like I’m being treated like someone with a mental disease called sacrilegious behavior. I am not sure whether this spiritual disease is in the Catholic version of the DSM, but if it gets me into Heaven, I’ll take it. Who knows? Maybe there is an Americans with Spiritual Disabilities Act that qualifies you to go to Heaven, even if you are a sacrilegious Atheist, as long as you write funny books.
I know that in the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as being very serious, but what if Jesus was really the first stand-up comedian?  Maybe Jesus liked to play practical jokes on the Pharisees, making them pregnant so they could sympathize with the women they oppressed.  Let’s face it, anyone who could raise someone from the dead or turn water into wine should at least be able to tell a joke.
Since the novel is sacrilegious, and I knew that might make some of my readers want to crucify me, I figured my only salvation was to make the novel so funny that even the devoutly religious would be too busy laughing to have time to crucify me.
The fact that I have been able to write The Three Sisters without being crucified (so far) can only mean either God is really tolerant of those who make fun of Him (or Her), or God has a much better sense of humor than most of his followers, or probably both.  On the other hand, if I come home and see someone has planted a cross in my front yard, I’ll know someone didn’t find my novel funny, but until then, I’m saying a few Hail Marys just in case.

Excerpts

The college I was at had a small Newman Club for committed collegiate Catholics, who still spent most of their youthful years behaving more like St. Augustine than Cardinal Newman. Some of my friends and I set up a Joyce Club as a refuge for lapsed Catholics, and during our years there, we successfully filched several members of the Newman Club and got them to join our own. Whenever this occurred, I could share the great joy the father in the Bible must have experienced when the Prodigal Son returned home, or the shepherd had found his lost sheep. Working with this close-knit group of friends and learning from each other made college worthwhile. Moreover, there were hundreds of naïve young freshmen each year ripe for corrupting whom I could gird up my loins for, exchange jelly for juice, and turn them into cynics with amazing ease.
Academic life also gave me the opportunity to express my artistic talents in ways that impressed my coterie of college friends. When it snowed, a not infrequent event in Chicago, we created chionic masterpieces that lasted until the sun melted them away. Some were conventional, like Marie Antoinette Gets the Guillotine, but when the college was too cheap to build new sidewalks for its students we put together a column of legless snowmen and snowwomen sitting on their carts and pushing themselves along with paper signs on them saying, “Chicago’s disabled demand new sidewalks!” Thus we married the avant-garde to social activism.
We would also create living art, recreating and transmogrifying great works of the past. The one that got me and my fellow artists into real trouble was when we recreated Da Vinci’s Last Supper with me in puris naturalibus as The Naked Maja recumbent upon the table in front of Christ and his disciples. If the college officials had complained about the anachronistic juxtaposition of Da Vinci’s Cenacle and Goya’s Ode to Pubic Hair as the Christ and his disciples argued over who was going to pay thirty pieces of silver for me, I would have understood their objections, but instead they complained about my full frontal nudity, even though I was as faithful to Goya’s original as I could be. Sure, Billy Sunday wouldn’t have liked it, but he had died decades before. We referred to our masterpieces as Mama Art, the indirect descendent of Dada Art.



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Friday, November 1, 2013

Cooking with Astrology from Joan Porte



"The perfect gift with great recipes for the holidays!" 
~BK Walker, Author of Wolves of Shadow Falls Series

About the Author - Joan Porte

Joan started "playing" with Astrology when she was in grammar school. She always had a fixation with the planets - Pluto being her favorite (surprise she is Scorpio Sun!) Yes, Pluto is still a planet to her! She put her astrology "toys" away when she grew up and went into the "real world," sadly convinced that it was time to do more important things. The universe and her North Node in Sagittarius woke her up in her mid-thirties after which she began an intensive study of Western astrology.

According to Joan, "Modern Man takes for granted the Sun and how its energy propels and sustains life. Moon energy controls the tides yet we ignore the other more personal influences it has on our bodies and lives. We have lost the art of appreciating and reading the stars as messengers from the god and goddess. Humanity has disconnected from its source
and consequently suffers emotionally, spiritually and physically."

"Each person is born with a map - a soul map - that is his or her astrological chart. It is a map through the maze of life that shows the karma we need to balance our soul's desire for a life that leads to enhanced soul growth. I simply read the map - illustrating where you have been and where you are going to make your journey through life less bumpy." With this cook book Joan is combining her astrological knowledge with her lifelong love of cooking in her own inimitable way.


She is the author of the blog
Karmic Astrology.

Her other book is Fortyish: Lessons For the Ages From a Baby Boomer.




Website | Signs Of The Tines FB | Karmic Astrology by Joan Facebook | Blog

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“Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook” available at www.signsofthetines.com, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com.
When I decided to write an astrological cookbook, I had to come up with recipes that matched the signs.  Happily, it was easier than I thought. I started walking back through the years and to the recipes my mother had left us. Amazingly, these family specialties were a good starting point. For instance, her Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs (see below) would be perfect for the homey Cancers.
Then I tapped my friends. I needed some “international dishes” for Sagittarians so I went to my friend Marge whose husband served in Korea for the Peace Corps and got a wonderful biminbap recipe. My friend Linda offered her French Canadian tourtiere.
Suddenly I had too many recipes and had to cull them down! Therefore, if you are thinking of writing a cookbook – even one that seems too disconnected like marrying Astrology and cooking – don’t fear, the ideas are closer than you think.
Jean Garofalo Porte’s “Gravy’ Spaghetti Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs
Serves 6 -8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound of ground beef or pork*
1 medium white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, stemmed and chopped
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes (or 3 cups of my roasted tomatoes below)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 hardboiled eggs
½ cup fresh basil, gently chopped

In a large soup pan, over medium heat, warm the oil olive. Add the ground meat and onion and sauté until the meat browns and the onion is translucent about 8 -10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the herbs, tomatoes, salt, sugar, and pepper. Bring to a boil, while stirring often. As soon as it boils, add the eggs (and any other precooked meat- see below.) Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Just before serving add the basil and stir.

*Mom didn’t stand on ceremony when it came to the meat in her sauce. Sometimes there would be a left over pork chop in the refrigerator, a piece of steak of spare ribs and they would find their way into the Sunday gravy. It is a great way to clean out the refrigerator and “recycle.”  Put these in at the end of cooking with the eggs not when you are browning the chopped meat.



Roasted Tomatoes
I love to scour the farmers markets in June and July for tomato “seconds.” These are tomatoes are a bit bruised or damaged in some way that make them unappealing to the American consumer. I get several baskets and head to the kitchen!  These tomatoes are easy to freeze and it is great to taste the goodness of summer in the dead of winter.
This makes about 3 cups.
5 pounds fresh tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
5 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1-cup fresh basil leaves.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Pour the tomatoes into the sink or a large basin filled with cool water for a nice bath. When washed, core and remove any major blemishes. Don’t skin them –there is a lot of flavor and many vitamins lurking in that skin.
Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with a quarter or an inch of olive oil. Place a single layer of tomatoes in the roasting pan- don’t heap them in – even if you have to use several pans just make one layer per pan.
Sprinkle the tomatoes with the herbs and spices except for the basil.
Turn the tomatoes with a large spoon – or for more fun, with your hands – until coated with the oil and spices. If they seem dry, pour some more oil on top. You don’t want them swimming but you want them coated well.
Place the roasting pan into your oven and let them slow cook for 2 -3 hours. The tomatoes should be just starting to shrivel. Once they are cool, add the basil leaves to the pan, and stir well.
Place the tomatoes with the oil and herbs still in the pan in plastic containers and freeze!



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Genre: Astrological Cookbook
Publisher: Soulsign Publishing Company Ingraham Press
Release Date: April 2013
Amazon



Book Description:




A new breed of cookbook that combines personal astrology with a love for preparing and sharing delicious meals. Astrologer and gastronome Joan Porte brings a new, fun twist to cooking by showing anyone who loves to cook how to personalize a menu for your family and friends. Beautiful photographs complement the more than 120 featured recipes organized by zodiac sign. Choose a dish or plan a multi-course meal with selections from: Appetizers, Soups, Pasta, Veggies & Fruit, Meat & Fish, and Dessert for each of the twelve signs. SIGNS OF THE TINES is a heart-warming and mouth-watering invitation to eat in alignment with our stars!
Adam Gainsburg / Soulsign



The 295-page book with more than 120 recipes is written to celebrate a unique pairing of food and astrology.
Discover why:

Scorpios have a craving for pasta puttanesca
Librans feel grounded when they dig into a chocolate mousse parfait
Cancerians stand tall with their bowl of Brunswick stew
Virgoans set aside their healthy-conscious habits when faced with chocolate raspberry ramekins
Aquarians respond to the sustainable fish used in Pollock with berry prosecco sauce
Pisceans beat a common ailment when feasting on quinoa with roasted root veggies.

"These recipes are taken from a number of sources; some are family gems, others I've concocted and tweaked over the years," says author Joan Porte.

The home cook will discover how astrology as a source for new food ideas and new ways to entertain friends. And the astrology enthusiast will discover how cooking can be a new use for astrology as a way to add more meaning to the daily ritual of eating we perform to survive and thrive.




Tomatoes Stuffed With Artichokes & Feta

Taurus is a bit confusing when it comes to color. Bulls are drawn to the color red; however, the color associated with Taurus is emerald green, symbolizing the pastures in which they love to laze comfortably. Therefore, I offer here a very red veggie dish with a dash of green.
One of the first dishes I made when I was a kid were tomatoes stuffed with chicken and tuna salads. I thought they were just the neatest things. As I grew as a person and a cook, I encountered many recipes that stuffed tomatoes with some kind of creamy spinach messes or ones that were all breadcrumbs and cheese.

This recipe is my grown-up version of the stuffed tomato that embraces the artichoke as well and is easy enough for the sometimes lazy Taurus to make. (Did I say lazy? Oops. I hope they don’t stampede.)

6 large firm tomatoes*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 14-ounce cans un-marinated artichoke hearts, diced
3 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 big basil leaves

Serves 6

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the stems off of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp, leaving the shell. Set the pulp aside in a small dish. Drain the artichoke hearts in a colander.

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Rough chop the tomato pulp and add to the pan; cook down until most of the moisture of the tomato is gone. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until soft – about 2 minutes. (You may have to drizzle more olive oil into the pan to keep the veggies from sticking.)

Remove the cooked vegetables to a small dish to cool and add the artichoke hearts to the pan. Cook until they begin to turn golden brown. Squeeze the juice of the lemon in a small dish (watch the pits) and pour over the hearts. Let the lemon juice cook down and add the olives. Stir in the oregano and remove immediately from the heat. Add all of the vegetables together in one dish and let the mixture cool to the touch.

Fill the tomatoes ½ way with artichoke mixture, add a layer of feta, fill the tomato to the top with more artichoke mixture and top with more feta. Place a basil leaf on top of each tomato.

Place tomatoes on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and lightly brown.

Serve warm.


*Depending on the size of your tomatoes you may have some artichokes left over. The mixture is great reheated and used as a topping for steaks or salads.






Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Princess Artwork for Halloween

Along the same lines as yesterday's Princess Cosplay Gone Bad, today we are sharing the Disney girls with a different or Halloween look in time for this holiday. Enjoy and have a safe Halloween!







 














Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Princess Cosplay Gone Bad

In light of Halloween in two days, I have pulled some of the weirdest, zaniest or downright disturbing Princess Cosplay pictures. Here is how bad a princess can get. Enjoy.



My Favorite here is Bad-Ass Jasmine. You go girl!

















Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Defying Fate with Lola James


   

Defying Fate

by Lola James

About The Author

LolaJamesPhotoLola is a fool for a love story, a sucker for a cupcake, and let’s not talk about what she’d do for a Klondike bar. She enjoys long walks on the beach and movies that involve chainsaws. By day she's the HR Lady and by nightfall she puts on a cape to become a romance writer.

Author Links:





About The Book

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: LJ Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: August 9, 2013
Buy: Amazon | BN | Smashwords




Defying Fate_Final_ebook_smallBook Description:

Love… Death… Fate!

Megan opened her heart and defied her fate for love. Alex wanted nothing more than to be with Megan, no matter the cost. After a vision meticulously unravels her existence it leaves Megan wondering is their love worth death?

To escape her demise, Megan enlists the help of Emilian, her vampire protector. However, the world around her slips away as his presence melts her, a gaze ignites her, and when he touches her every sensual fantasy plays in her mind. The problem is she has a job to do and she can’t afford to lose focus but he’s the only one that can keep the looming threats away.

What’s a girl to do? Death is not an option but it may be the only one she has… Continue the fated journey in Defying Fate. 


Excerpt 2

Megan, something has changed, and I am not sure why. Panic laced every one of her hushed words. My heart broke. She had no clue what had happened, and I didn’t want to think about it—let alone repeat it out loud.

Changed how? I carefully looked around, wishing I were dreaming. I wanted to see her instead of just talking to the air. I could use one of her comforting hugs and just some reassurance that everything would be okay.

You have disappeared. I no longer see your future. What happened? Was it Giovanni? Her words startled me. Why would she ask if it was Giovanni? What could he possibly have done to make me disappear? 




 
   

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

John Garrett, Comic Book Author

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About the Author


john-garrett-author-pic  I'm John Garrett, an author and artist who loves Comics, Art, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Web and Tech stuff -also I prefer food in sandwich form.   My main site is Hypertransitory.com, where I write about all kinds of stuff and show the latest art I've created. Head on over if you're interested in learning more about me. See you there!    





Author Links
Website: http://thecoldelf.com/
Blog: http://hypertransitory.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hypertransitory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/johngarrettx


Purchase Link (Kindle, iBooks and Nook versions available): http://thecoldelf.com



The Cold ElfTITLE: The Cold Elf
AUTHOR: John Garrett
GENRE: Fantasy  

PRICE (Standard version): $0.99 - for one device (contains 5-piece art gallery)  

PRICE (Premium Package): $2.99 - includes epub and mobi versions, 15 pieces of hi-res art plus the Artist's Diary pdf.

SYNOPSIS: A young, bitter Elf undertakes a solitary journey, in search of a weapon that could be the last hope of his people.    




Excerpts:


Jorr had never seen snow before. It wasn't the kind of weather that Elves traditionally preferred, and so they had little to do with snow.
Stepping shakily out of his boat, Jorr's foot sank deep into a mass of the damp substance. If the wetness of the sea couldn't get through his oiled leather boots, he knew this snow would fare no better. Still, the cold was unpleasant.
He stood and stretched, satisfied that he could do so after three long days on the sea. He looked out over the vastness of icy, dark gray water he had just crossed and frowned. It had taken so long, it was hard to believe that he had sailed across the narrowest part. Crossing that water again was not something to look forward to.
Then another thought - depending on what he found here, maybe he wouldn't have to?
In any event, he was here now. He still had a good distance to travel if the maps were correct.
Jorr grasped the side of the small boat that had been his home for the past three days and pulled it completely onto the shore.
The snow had stopped falling, yet there was plenty of it already on the ground here. The day was overcast, but was beginning to get darker, and the wind wasn't helping with cold or visibility. Waves of snow dust were washing over him. He pulled the hood of his cloak over his bald head. He had waited too late. The hood had collected snow inside of it, and now it fell down past the side of his face and down his neck.
What a vile substance!
He resigned himself to the sensation, then looked around some more. The snow-covered beach was stark white, contrasted with a row of dark, dead trees a short distance away.
A very lonely place.
Jorr dragged the boat through the snow up towards the trees. He was so tired, but he had to get to those trees and start a fire, or he might fall asleep and freeze to death.
If that happened, the hope of the Elven people would die with him.
Grasping the small pouch he carried reminded him of how painfully little food he had been able to bring. The Elves had little enough at all in these dark times, and Jorr had hidden away as much as he could before his trip. It was not mucht. He had hoped for a bountiful forest where he could hunt, but as the island had grown into view bit by bit he had realized the forest was dead.
Just as the Elders had said it would be.
They were right about this, but that didn't mean they were right about everything. In Jorr's opinion, the Elders were wrong about most everything, and were not relevant any longer. Only a little time left, and they would see that he was right. Although he was but fifty years of age, and considered a child, he felt he was the one seeing reality, while the Elders were content to meekly accept their fate.
Shivering, Jorr realized that he was standing around freezing instead of building his fire.
Leaving his boat by the forest edge, he made his way through the trees and found what he considered to be an acceptable spot to make a fire. There was a row of trees grown tightly enough together to block much of the wind and the snow, so beside them the ground was only lightly covered.
Jorr opened his pack and withdrew the Fire Element.
The dull red rock glowed warm in his hands. Powerful guilt came over him. Although snow was new to him, the Elven people were no strangers to cold. They lived in a land that was nearly all desert, and the nights were as mercilessly cold as the days were hot. It seemed every night you would wish for the same burning sun that you cursed during the day.
Fire Elements were precious. They represented the last vestiges of magic the Elves still possessed. Supposedly they were used as children's fireworks back in the Before-Times, but now the few they had left were critical to surviving the cold nights of the ShirraLand Expanse where the Elves resided.
All Elves were now taught to make a fire as soon as they could hold a stick, so Jorr knew he could make one from the wood in these dead trees if necessary, but he couldn't take the chance that there would be no forest here. He had to be sure he could survive his journey, so he had stolen one of the Fire Elements the night he left.
It would all be worth it. He did this not for himself, but for all the Elven people.




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