Thursday, June 15, 2017

AFI and Souvenirs at The National, Richmond VA, 02 June 2017

The concert-going continues but this may be our last for the summer. We'll see.  I hear Rise Against is coming to Baltimore in October, so I might still be tempted.

Dinner at Vagabond, Redux

The group had dinner again at the Vagabond, which is connected (literally) to The National.  This time we got their full menu rather than the Restaurant Week prix fixe. We were starving when we arrived, so appetizers were cheddar beer bread (so good with the honey butter) and Mr. Bay had his beef tartare. My main course was the mushroom risotto, which had a nice consistency and was a large portion, but the sweet potato crisps were basically oily potato shavings that weren't actually crisp, so after the second stuck to my teeth, they were plucked to the side. Mr. Bay went with the lamb pot pie and was pleasantly stuffed by the end. 

I liked the selection this time, unfortunately my food allergies reared their ugly heads and dinner did not sit well at all, so please recognize this review is after watching the show through a haze of Benedryl.


Souvenirs from California
www.facebook.com/SouvenirsCA

Souvenirs at The National
As an opening band, they were adorably shy, but surprisingly polished. I added from California above because there's also an established band from Denmark.  We couldn't decide what their sound was like - an odd combination of Soul Asylum, Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead​ maybe?  They were energetic and playing for a happy, friendly crowd, and while I didn't know any of their songs, I wanted to by the end of their set.


AFI (A Fire Inside)
afireinside.net



Let me tell you a thing about AFI - my Muse has been a fan for almost two decades and the fanbase these guys have inspired is, in my opinion, truly unique.  I say this as someone who has been on the fringes of the fanbase. Other rock fans may write them off as sad emo kids in a corner, but at least the Richmond crowd has been consistently friendly, considerate and courteous to each other over the years.  It's a completely different atmosphere of positive vibes when you go into a small venue AFI concert (I can't speak to larger venues) than you usually get at rock concerts from the Nu Metal crowd etc.


The set was a mix of their old and new songs -- which for a band that has had such a diverse sound / direction for their albums, putting together a cohesive and flowing set list from all over their career was impressive.  I was happy that I got to belt out "Miss Murder" and the Muse was squeeing over "A Fire Inside" from down in the pit, then "Aurelia" got stuck in my head for days. Even with dinner trying to kill me, I stayed until the end. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 Update -- Happy Pride!


Dapper Gentlemen

Genre: Contemporary, fluff, romantic
Rating: Non-Explicit
Words: 3,100 
Delaney Bixby owns and runs his own barber shop, The Dapper Gentleman, which prides itself on offering an upscale grooming experience to a very select clientele in New York City. When Delaney is closing up shop one night, a special customer drops in for an after-hours shave that leads to slow dancing and professions of love.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2017 releases!

I’m happy to announce that the This Home series has a new cover and is now available on Smashwords and their distributors!  The first story, This Home We Make, is FREE, while This Home We Defend is just $0.99.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, werewolves
Rating: Explicit
Words: 9,870
Zev has no memory of where he comes from, and he only knows that without Callie and Gareth taking him in, he'd still be running wild as a werewolf in Georgia. Relocating to Washington D.C., he's having difficulty adjusting to city life as he fights to relearn his humanity (and fend off the vacuum cleaner). Zev starts making friends with a local pack and learns just how unusual his situation is, with the rest of werewolf kind looking down on them. Callie and Gareth have some hard choices if they're going to make their small household a pack, but Zev's yearning to belong to both of them will either drive them together or tear them apart.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, werewolves
Rating: Explicit
Words: 10,310
Zev has no memory of where he comes from, but now he has a pack in Washington D.C. with Callie and Gareth. Following "This Home We Make", Zev's search for his past hasn't really been a priority until a new werewolf starts lurking around the city, waiting to get Zev alone. The newcomer challenges Callie's alpha status, and threatens to undo the ties between the three lovers, testing their dedication to each other.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rocci's Review: The Pretty Reckless at The National, Richmond VA on April 26, 2017

So one of Mr. Bay’s closest buddies is on a concert kick this year, and we emerged liked blinking, hissing little mole people from our dark caverns to join the group outing down to Richmond, VA to see The Pretty Reckless in concert.  I originally waffled because loud, crowded places are not my jam, but with my trusty earplugs that have gotten me through a season of Washington Capitals games, the urge to support one of my favorite female-fronted rock bands prevailed. My pictures are kind of crap because I was behind the sound crew so the ambient light threw off my camera settings, but you get the idea…

All the links below are to official pages, including The Pretty Reckless’ YouTube videos.  These are not affiliate links.

Dinner at The Vagabond

We started the evening with dinner at The Vagabond, the restaurant connected to The National, so we had early admission (which did us no good, because the show remained standing only, so no seats).  It was Richmond’s Restaurant Week, so a portion of the 3-course prix fixe menu went to local food programs.  I enjoyed their Bibb salad with a delicious green goddess dressing, a walnut watercress-basil pesto fettucine drowning in olive oil, and a rose-strawberry sorbet.  Mr. Bay had a smoked Scotch egg on spicy mustard (shudder), a smoked flatiron steak and a Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee with wine soaked sour cherries that I helped him finish (so eggy, custardy delicious but so rich).

Our early entry meant we were shown through an exit door in the basement bar up to another, closed bar in The National, where we were held until they herded us down to the stage pit.  Ideally, this is when we would have been allowed to get seats on the mezzanine, but apparently, they only open that section for sold out shows, so we ended up standing the entire show (my rheumatoid arthritis was not a happy camper but getting a chair seemed like more trouble than it was worth).  I’ve been promised that AFI next month will be sold out…

Opening Act: Them Evils

A trio hailing from California, Them Evils was technically proficient, but RockBand generic.  I couldn’t tell if they were trying to be a Jimi Hendrix cover band, but the drunken people around me thought they were great.  Since they had the misfortune of going first, the crowd obviously wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, but by the end of the set, their headbanging, cursing, overly enthusiastic skinny little limbs had won a good percentage of the pit over.  They were obviously having fun throwing themselves around the stage, and even memorably playing in the crowd, so I have to give them props for making it real and being true to themselves.


ThemEvils

The Pretty Reckless

So I have this playlist called “Fight Along” that I listen to in the car every morning as I drive into work guzzling coffee – TPR is on there twice, with “I’m Going to Hell” and “Follow Me Down”.  I love Taylor Momsen’s smoky, gritty vocals, and Jamie Perkins’ heavy thumping drums, and the live concert didn’t disappoint.  Interesting to note, a portion of their road crew used to work at The National…


The Pretty Reckless

TPR formed in 2009 in NYC, and gained recognition with their single “Make Me Wanna Die”.  The concert set covered most of their notable songs, like the three I’ve already mentioned and songs like “Take Me Down” (which sounds oddly reminiscent of Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” to me), “Heaven Knows”, and “My Medicine”.  They also included new songs off their 2016 album “Who You Selling For”, “Oh My God” and “Living in the Storm”.  The show wrapped up with “Messed Up World”, which seemed appropriate for our current times.

The light show was, at times, blinding in the best kinds of way, and well-timed with audience participation.  The National is an intimate performance hall that manages to feel larger once filled (think Sydney Harmon Hall in DC).  Overall, it was a highly energetic show with hard core fans in the audience, and the seating situation notwithstanding, worth the trip down to Richmond. 


The Pretty Reckless




Sunday, April 16, 2017

Rocci’s Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga

Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga
Length: About 50,000 words
Copy purchased from Dreamspinner Press (https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/)

So I’ve been reading BA’s works for over a decade now, and the latest offering of “Two Cowboys and a Baby” doesn’t disappoint.  If you’re looking for gruff cowboys acting like kinda dumb boys, with a cute baby and some existential angst tossed in, this story is for you.

I loved that the main and secondary characters are all unique and vibrant personalities that jump off the page at you.  The dialogue and character interactions reinforced that the setting was deep Texas, gender stereotypes and all.  The only thing that threw me was figuring out their ages – maybe it’s my Yankee showing, but the nickname “Hoss” doesn’t conjure up a hot guy in his late 20s, nor does the nickname “Pooter”.  It took me about 20 pages in to figure out they were between 27 and 30 years old (I think?  Still not completely sure on that, but I’m dying of allergies, so maybe it’s just me…)

The plot line was a little trope-y, but that’s part of what appealed to me, and I won’t go too far into that so I can avoid spoilers.  I will say that the plot twist was surprising, but handled well in a believable way for the characters.  There are some rodeo and plumbing injuries mentioned, so if you have a trigger on that, beware.  Nothing too graphic, though.

The characters’ speech and way of phrasing things was classic Tortuga, though, and Texan through-and-through.  The plot was well-paced and of course the grammar / structure / spelling etc were professional quality (do I even need to say that for BA?)

Highly recommended for fans of cowboys, westerns, and kid-fic stories.

Also a note to readers that BA Tortuga has joined up with Julia Talbot, Sean Michael, Kiernan Kelly, TC Blue and Kris Norris to form Evil Plot Bunny: http://www.evilplotbunny.com/  Go check it out!



Monday, April 3, 2017

April 2017 Update: Sage now available!


Sage is now available from Smashwords!

Yu Maguire lost everything when he turned himself in and went to intergalactic prison, but Amergin Sil, his arresting officer, offers him a second chance at life when Yu’s released. Despite cultural misunderstandings and both their pasts, they come to know each other better than either thought possible.
Word count: 17,750
Tags: M/M, Romance, Sci-fi, cop, mechanic, nonexplicit, redemption
Rating: No explicit sexual content; hate crime discussed

From April 3 to April 13, Sage is available as a FREE download from InstaFreebies! 

Subscribers to my newsletter, Rocci's Rumbles, will receive a Smashwords coupon good for a FREE copy of Sage during the entire month of April. Sign up today to get your coupon and all the extras in the months to come!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 2017

Big news this update!  The six short stories of the Courting Series are finally available for download!

The Courting Series: Cops and lawyers!




Joshua Dabbs and Garrison Williams met while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  In Commitment, they've made a life together in Vermont, with Josh as a local police officer and Garrison as a city lawyer, and Josh wants to take that next step in making things official. In Cornerstone, Josh is called back to his estranged family in Ohio and learns that he should never travel without his lawyer present.  In Concordant, the guys share an intimate holiday vacation in NYC.  In Concur, Josh starts to reflect on what could be missing from their lives as Garrison helps their friends plan their wedding. In Competition, Josh and Garrison return to the DC area for the Marine Corps marathon. And finally, in Connections, they find their family complete as they share a Christmas with new additions.

Covering ten years of Josh and Garrison's relationship, these short stories are available for free from Smashwords and other distributors.


Coming Soon:
Courting: 15 Years of Life

With four brand new short stories and additional material, as well as the original six short stories now available, you'll be able to follow Josh and Garrison's relationship from year one through year fifteen.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Crocodylus Acutus cover updated

In my continuing quest to self-publish my back catalog, I have fiddled with Photoshop and created a new cover for Crocodylus Acutus.  The fonts are FullSans from FontSpring and Gigi from PhotoShop, with stock images from Adobe Stock.



Let me tell you, researching all the right licenses and legalities of cover art took more time than creating this cover did, but I had fun playing around in Photoshop and trying out some of the techniques from the hours of tutorials I've been watching.  It's a pretty simplistic cover, and I'm definitely not entering it into any contests soon, but I intend to do more advanced ones for my non-free reads.  Consider this a warm-up that hopefully isn't as hideous as the previous cover.

Next on my list is Courting -- I'm going to make a series cover for each short story previously published and then release them individually as freebies. I plan to spend some time on the anthology version, which will have new stories added to an omnibus format for a modest price.

Until next time...
-J