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Beating The Odds ~ Book Review

Life is rough for Brad Carter. Not only did he lose his job, he came home and found his girl in bed with another man. Now he sits less than a paycheck away from losing everything, but a chance meeting at a nightclub offers him a way out. This is the plot of Sherrod Tunstall’s Beating the Odds; it’s a sleek new entry in the urban fiction genre.

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In Beating the Odds, Tunstall adds flavor and a new twist on the genre, while keeping the familiar tropes we’ve come to love. There are big and bad drug dealers, in their mansions and clubs. There’s hot sex scenes and violent gun fights, and I couldn’t put the book down as the plot flowed seamlessly from page to page. What I loved most about this book, is the fact that it is told from a normal guy’s perspective.

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Beating the Odds is a solid entry by Sherrod, and I’d recommend this one to all urban fiction fans. I can’t wait to see what happens in part two.

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The Fourth Stall ~ Book Review

If you are a middle school kid, and find yourself in trouble, my man Mac can help you. That is the concept behind The Fourth Stall, by Chris Rylander. What can go wrong when dangerous and deadly mafia fiction meets treacherous and hazardous middle school life?
My favorite thing about this book is the concept. The target audience is 8-12-year-old boys, and I think they will love it, because Rhylander builds a dangerously fun world where mafia cliché walks through the doors of a suburban middle school. It was a fun and fast paced read. Although the characters seem flat at first, they develop depth and believability.
This book is violent, and in some ways, it feels too violent from 8 to 12-year old’s. But that could just be my grumpy old man self-talking. It wasn’t a gory book, but understand that these kids are deep into racketeering, extortion, and hit jobs. I almost must laugh at the sick genius of it. Reader/parents beware.
I was pleasantly surprised by this one and will pick up the sequel.

Another Country ~ Book Review

In Another Country, James Baldwin explores the racial, political, and sexual passions of men and women in 1950’s Greenwich Village This amazing tale is a deep, challenging, and well-crafted novel that I enjoyed reading.

What Another Country does well, is explore themes like race & nationalism, love, willful ignorance, and jealousy. The artists and actors, and writers and musicians, navigate a racist and homophobic 1950’s world. This book is emotionally intense and often disturbing. And that’s the charm and genius of this work. The subjects are taboo, especially for the time this was written. Keep that in mind when reading this book.

My favorite characteristic is Baldwin’s writing style; it is musical. Even the sex scenes, and there are plenty, were tasteful and void of the vulgar and graphic descriptions that plague a lot of today’s writing. What didn’t work for me, was the few times the exposition felt long-winded and seemed to draw on for pages.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a deep, meaningful, and challenging read. I haven’t read many of his works, but James Baldwin delivered with Another Country and I can’t wait to discover more of his work.

Feeding The Racers

 

“Here if you need us.” This is one of the cries of The Good News Riders. With servants hearts, we are involved in different aspects of serving the motorcycle community. This past weekend, after racing students completed a morning full of classes and hard laps around the track, The Good News Riders were there. It was a sight to see; masses of hungry racers lining up for fresh grilled burgers and hot dogs.

Please enjoy this video of our ride in to the track and a few highlights from the day.

 

~ Ride On

 

Should You Join a Motorcycle Club

So you’ve been riding for a bit now and you’re mostly lone wolfing it, but a couple of friends join the rides whenever you can drag them from the couch or their chores. The occasional poker run has been fun, but if you’re like most of us, 90% of your riding has been a solo affair. And then one day, you are out doing your thing and the roar of ten, twenty, or fifty v twin engines fills your helmet as a club rides past. They look awesome in their  jackets and black vest, patches on display as they maneuver through the twisties in unison. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be one of them? It could be, and here’s why you should join a motorcycle club (MC)

What is an MC? There are so many definitions floating around out there but I will define an MC as a group of people who form a club based around the motorcycling lifestyle Now, there are different levels. I’m not going to discuss the 1% and outlaw clubs sitting on the top of the food chain because I’m not qualified to do so. As for the other 99%, you have traditional clubs that require periods of prospecting and have by laws. You have ridding groups, were it’s all about the love of the road, a model of bike, or an area to ride. Then you have social clubs that are more about gatherings, charity and partying. There is something for everyone out there. If you’re craving the deep bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood, a traditional MC might be for you. Want to ride with other people on the same make and model of bike, and get discounts on gear? Join the Goldwing Club, Riders of Kawasaki, or something similar. Into spreading The Good News or protecting kids from child abuse? There are clubs for you too.

Joining an MC can be a fantastic or dangerous thing. Just do your homework. Research the clubs and associations you are interested in and find something that is a great fit for you. How much time can you commit? Does the club come first or does your family? You need to know these things before wasting their time, or yours. Joining the right club can enhance your life and motorcycle experience, it is the right fit.

If you’re a member of an MC or association, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Add your advice and tips, and please share your experiences.

~Ride On

Green River Road

After spending 40 hours a week driving forklifts, teaching classes, and bouncing from cubical wall to cubical wall, we of the two wheels dream of the moment the weekend hits, because it’s ride time. Sure, a lot of us commute to work but there’s nothing like having that free time to go wherever you want to go. The problem is, as our lives get busier, the weekends don’t always give us the opportunity to log hundreds of miles in the saddle. There are yards to mow, kid’s soccer games to coach, and garages to clean. But you still want to ride, right? The best thing you can do is find a local ride that is quick and satisfying. For me, that is South King County’s Green River Road.

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This ride is only 8 miles long but it offers twisting roads and fantastic scenery. The north end of the ride starts in a suburban industrial zone, full of strip malls, a justice center, and dozens of warehouses. But after riding less than a city block, the two lane road dips into a thick green belt that blocks the sun and the annoying hum of city life. The first turn sets the tone for the ride; cruisers will slow and counter steer hard and sport bike riders can drop a knee, but watch out for fallen leaves and the loose gravel that might be left behind by 4×4 driving fishermen who love the area too. Speaking of fishermen, you’ll see them wading the river, depending on the season, as they hunt for salmon.  Take your eyes off of the twisting road for a moment and watch the waters of the Green River as you ride, but beware of miss hit golf balls as you streak past the long par 5 that sits next to the road. And don’t forget to look up. If you’re lucky, you might see one of the bald eagles that nest in the tree tops over the river. Or at least, you’ll see the amazing 277th Street Bridge as it stretches across the river. This ride doesn’t take long at all, and when I have more time, I head further south and ride the twisting turns of the Auburn Black diamond road. Here’s a quick video of an early summer ride.

Do you have a favorite short ride? Tells us about it in the comments below.

 

Ride On ~

The Wrestler ~ Writing Process Part 1

Where do you get your inspiration? Where do you come up with ideas for characters and stories? What does your writing process look like? I get these questions from tine to time, and we writers face these dilemmas at various stages of the writing game, so it will be cool to take everyone on a tour of story creation in my world. In these upcoming posts, I will create a short story and outline the steps right here. This will give writers insights and tools to assist with their own works.

The Wrestler. I got the inspiration while sitting by the pool of my Las Vegas hotel over mother’s day weekend. A group of women lounged in the  chairs near me, and I overheard them talking about how they’d ditched one of their friends because she was too bossy and stuck up; not only was she having a horrible time, she was bringing everyone else down. I started asking who is this woman and why is she such a wet blanket, especially in Las Vegas. She knew she was going to party central, so what made her act this way? And, how would she react to getting ditched by her friends? What would the flight look like on the way home? Boom! There’s a story right there.

So let’s start with the character. I started brainstorming and came up with some stats for the main character.

I. Basics

Name: Stacy Yamato
Age: 53
Height: 5’8
Weight: 137 lbs
Hair: Brown

Eyes: brown
Race Human
Culture Japanese American

Location: Mercer WA, lives in a small house on the southwest side of the island. 3 bedroom waterfront house>

II. Friends

Tammy Yeoman

Alicia Barnes
Meghan Amari

III. Sexual orientation

Combine her recent divorce from a cheating husband and the effects of menopause, she doesn’t have strong desires to roll around in the bedroom. She typically is attracted to strong features on a man, especially tight jaw lines, clean cut hair, and she’s turned off by men with tats. Doesn’t like bad boys. She is turned on by intellect, ambition, and success.

Stacy has been with two men; high school sweetheart and then her husband. Her romantic and sexual experiences are pretty basic and standard. In fact, both men have called her boring.

IV. Skills

Orthodontist
Writer
PHD
Her favorite hobby is playing cards, mostly solitaire and poker.
She is a left brained person
Schooling: Mercer Island HS
University of WA for undergrad and MSD in Dentistry

V. Personality:
Stacy is a strong-willed woman with an independent spirit. Although she is opinionated, she doesn’t offer those opinions unless they are solicited. Her views are conservative, socially and politically. This is a contrast to many of her friends because they tend to live more toward the center, if not the left.

She’s considered the mother hen of her group, and sometimes a wet blanket. Despite these would be faults, Stacy is very generous with her time, her friendship, and her money; she’s easily the most giving of her group of friends.

This is only a small sketch; it took about 30 minutes to create. I usually create more stats and flesh characters out a lot more, but this will be enough for this short story. I also have sketches for the supporting characters, but no need to add them here, right now.

We have a good start here and next time will get into the structure and some plot points.

~Write On

 

The One Thing you need to be a good streamer

Game streaming is a fantastic hobby. I Love it because it gets us gamers together no matter where we are, and it’s easy to get into because you can start a stream with a YouTube or twitch account, game system or PC and a few other pieces of equipment. But once you get going, you may find yourself struggling to find your grove on camera. Well this post is for you. After reading these short article, you will know the only thing you need in order to become a better streamer.
Browse through the top streamer pages on twitch and you’ll find streamers of all  genders and ages gaming in front of hundreds of viewers. Some of these streams have production values that rival low-budget film productions. You’ve got colorful overlays, custom watermarks, green screens or dynamic backgrounds. There are bots that offer in chat games and song selection. And the streamers themselves are full of personality that jumps through the screen and grabs an audience by the throat. All of this can be intimidating to a new streamer; newbies think their channels will never succeed with their lack of technical knowledge or lack of special effects. But really, all you need is, YOU.

Seriously. Don’t worry about all those bells and whistles because they aren’t necessary for great streams. Really, you just need to be your best, authentic, and entertaining self. Take a look at one of my favorite gamers,  Dria Burrito. She averages around 40 viewers per stream and has been going hard almost every day for 6 months. No overlays, no sound effects. It’s just her, her mods, and great game play. She’s a chill gamer who works the chat while she plays. Here’s a video of one of my past streams; its got nothing fancy, just a few characters having a great time.
It’s as simple as that. If you’re new to streaming and feeling uncomfortable or insecure about your lack of technical ability, let it go! Just be your best self, roll the dice and see what happens. You will get better with practice. Just be you.

~press start