Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween & The Making of Psycho

Psycho, both the book (by Robert Bloch) and the movie (directed by Alfred Hitchcock), once consumed are hard to forget.

Writers who want to write lasting dark, and macre stories are encouraged to read Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. Pay attention to chapter two, The Novel, Robert Bloch's account of how he came to fashion his Freudian inspired novel based on the real life crime(s) of Ed Gein. Psycho was published by Simon & Shuster in the summer of 1959.

"The movie released in June 1960, altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it.
Author Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood's most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock's groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film's stars, writers, and crewmembers, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.

Stephen Rebello is a screenwriter, journalist, and the author of such books as Reel Art: Great Posters from the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,which was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in1999. Based in Los Angeles, he has contributed feature stories to such magazines as Cosmopolitan, GQ, More, and The Advocate, and currently serves as a Playboy contributing editor. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psychohas been bought by Paramount Pictures and The Montecito Picture Companyfor production as a dramatic feature film. The producers are Alan Barnette and Tom Thayer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brenda Warner's "One Call Away" - A Book Review

The author is just twenty-two when she receives a telephone call from her then husband Neil – their son Zack ’s breathing doesn’t sound quite right and he is concerned. Rushing home she finds her four-month-old son in distress, the healthy, happy baby that she had kissed good-bye just hours before is in trouble. Serious trouble. This isn’t the first time in her young life however, that an unexpected telephone call contained bad news … nor would it be the last.

One Call Away is the inspiring life story by Brenda Warner. At times it seems impossible that one woman could face a seemingly endless supply of gut-wrenching tragedies. And there have been many, many losses. But this isn’t a story of despair and retreat nor one of self-pity. Instead, readers are given an opportunity to walk beside this courageous Christian mother as she finds the strength to face first one challenge and then another.

There are perhaps three types of people who suffer significant losses. The first group never seems quite able to move past the loss, instead choosing to define their lives by the loss. Then there are those who seem to recover, only to embrace their old ways as if nothing has happened. Those in the third groups however, are the survivors. Not only to they bounce back, but manage to come back as better people.

Brenda Warner is a survivor. Her story will resonate with those who have suffered disappointment, despair, and lost. Her secret? She knows that God is simply one call away. Her story is riveting, honest and easy to read, her words will make you look at your own life in a different way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Surprised by Oxford, A Memoir by Carolyn Weber

The author’s “Acknowledgement” page begins with the following thoughts: “It takes a village to write a book. And, it would seem, a city to publish it.”

Can this statement be any less true of the journey one travels to complete faith in God and the Trinity? Especially, if one comes from a place that has “… no polite need of a Savior.”

Dr Carolyn Weber has written the story of her spiritual journey that begins at the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world, Oxford University. It is her first year of graduate school and she uses the University’s three term calendar which coincides with the Christian liturgical calendar to frame her account.

As a young woman, Ms. Weber believed in reason, intellect, and education. God, if she thought about Him at all did not lurk “… among families like mine – loving enough to get by without Him, but broken enough not to deserve his attention.” It is during this year that her unbelief is challenged and her reason and intellect tested. Using an abundance of literary quotes, and poetry Dr Weber tells the story of her conversion.

In the end, she is able to acknowledge God’s real presence in her life because of the love and support of the community, including TDH* and her own unique village of faithful friends and colleagues.

*TDH is the very handsome, tall and dark American student.

A copy of this memoir was supplied by Thomas Nelson in exchange for a published review. This review is based solely on my own opinion.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Turn in the South

"My mantra is this: local first, sustainable second, organic third ..." Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson, (credited with putting Athens Georgia on the gastronomic map) offers his fresh take on 120 new and traditional Southern favorites. Named Best Chef by Food & Wine, his recipes are accompanied by beautiful large, page size photographs and his views of buying and selecting the best foods for the table.

His version of the classic Frogmore Stew, described as "brothy... much like a bouillabaise or cioppino" is wonderfully delicious. It was easily prepared and contains Old Bay seasoning - one of the few shortcuts he allows in his restaurants (describing it as tried and true). A definate plus for this Baltimore-bred cook. The mark of a great cookbook ... is the only reason to stop reading is to take it and thyself to the kitchen. Next up for Sunday dinner is Shrimp with Andouille and Grits and a helping of Lemon Chess Pie with Blackberry Compote. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner there is much to like in this book which debuts tomorrow.

Bertis Downs, manager of R.E.M. describes Chef Acheson and his food " ... as intense but laid back ... simple ... never stuffy ... or fussy...." Mario Batali is among his many fans.

Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of the Athens Georgia restaurant Five and Ten and The National, as well as Gosford Wine and the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South. He is a five-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast and was named Best Chef by Food & Wine.

A New Turn in the South, Southern Flavors Reinvented For Your Kitchen publishes tomorrow, October 18, 2011 and is available in hardcover. The photographs are stunning. Clarkson Potter is the publisher of my other recent favorite Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.

A copy of Hugh Acheson's book: A New Turn in the South, was provided by Clarkson Potter for review purposes. This gushing review is my own.