Interesting take from author J. Ajlouny!
Entertainment Adds Drive to Casino Innovation*
Consider for a moment the many ways casinos entice customers to patronize their establishments. Advertising and promotions lead the way, followed by special events and comps. Resort amenities were added to the mix in the past decade. These include unique themes and attractions, pools, fine and adventure dining and exhibits of all kinds.
This week let’s take a look at the ways with which casinos use entertainment to generate customer traffic. The original “Mr. Showman,” circus promoter P.T. Barnum was fond of saying, “The thing I like about my job is I can sell the same ticket over and over again.” Just as our own Don Usherson, Gaming Today’s venerable casino entertainment round-up columnist. It’s worked for Las Vegas for decades. Now it’s working for heartland casinos too.
Peddlers of American popular culture know that both domestic and international audiences are receptive to their…
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Greetings, readers! Today I am excited to introduce to you author Flossie Benton Rogers. Flossie is the March 2018 RRBC Spotlight Author, and a master of dark fantasy romance. Take it away, Flossie…
Mystical Beings in the Wytchfae Series
The mystical beings in the Wytchfae series are usually loosely based on mythology, although they tend to develop their own interesting traits and sometimes morph into very different creatures.
Cat Sith – A dangerous fairy cat with mesmerizing eyes, can transform into a woman.
Elemental Horses – steeds composed of water, air, earth, or fire. Epona of Mind Your Goddess has a water horse.
Epona – Goddess of fruitfulness and horses and the only Celtic goddess worshiped by Roman soldiers.
Familiar – A witch’s guardian fairy spirit that often takes animal form.
Fates or Norns – Three sisters who control destiny. One spins the thread of life, one measures, and one cuts.
Firefae – tiny supernatural beings that light the way in the night for the goddess Epona.
Grims – Souls of the unfortunate dead that have regressed to demon level.
Helle – Goddess of the Underworld.
Lamia – Creature with the upper body of a woman and lower body of a snake.
Shadow People – Beings from another dimension that appear as shades, sometimes sinister duplicates of ourselves or someone we know.
Skadi – Norse giantess and goddess of winter and the hunt, and in the Wytchfae world, a sorceress.
Succubus – Beings devoted to the goddess Lilith who invade and manipulate the dreams of men.
Wytchfae – A term I coined for a human with witchy skills and a drop of ancient fae blood.
Get your copy of Mind Your Goddess HERE
Greetings, readers. Author S. M. Hope stopped by The Indie Spot to share her thoughts on writing and the creative process involved in getting a book to market.
What inspired you to start writing?
Writing started as a hobby, I never expected a published book at the end. However, the more I wrote, the more passionate I became about what I was creating. I didn’t want to be the only one in the world to know what Kate was going through. I asked a few friends and my mum for their views on my book, and it was from their encouragement that I looked into possibly publishing it.
What did you like to read when you were a youngster?
The one that sticks out the most to me was, when I was very young the teacher used to sit us down on the mat and read to us. The book was the very famous James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I can still feel the excitement I felt when she would read it to us. She would stop at a place where you really wanted to find out more and I couldn’t wait for the next day so I could find out.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in writing Tainted Jewel?
The sex scenes. I don’t know why they bother me so much. I think it’s a worry knowing your friends and family will be reading your book and you’ve written a scene which does make you feel a little embarrassed. Beem and I have recently shared tweets on this subject. I was writing one particular scene about a sixteen year old boy losing his virginity. The word vagina came up, and I feel it sounds out of place. But I’m struggling with choice of word with which to replace it, as I don’t want the scene to sound too vulgar.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I didn’t really need to do too much research at the time of writing. It was only little things like, at what stage does a baby hit a certain milestone. When is it illegal to have an abortion? Also, can you open the mouth of a dead body? Things like that. I’d hate the police to come knocking at my door asking for a look at my internet history and them seeing those kinds of things. I think I’d be in a lot of trouble.
What motivated you to write the book Tainted Jewel?
Nothing motivated me more than seeing the pages come together and a complete work of fiction materialised in front of me. Blank pages turned into a story that other people can read and be lost in.
Once written, there are many, many rewards. Not least when a stranger took the time out of her day to email and thank me for writing the book as she hasn’t been able to put it down. It gave her days of enjoyment.
I’ve been completely overwhelmed at the support and kind words I’ve had from readers and also other authors.
Tell us more about Tainted Jewel.
I had an idea that I thought would make a fantastic book, so I put pen to paper – or rather finger to laptop – and that’s how it all started.
Originally, the book was called Diamond In The Rough. However, as the story became complete and I started on the book cover design, I changed the title to the shorter, more catchy Tainted Jewel.
Tainted Jewel is told through the eyes of Katie Reilly, who, at the start of the book, is ten years old. Kate suffers from OCD, and the book shows how this affects her outlook on life and situations in general as we read about her growing up.
The story begins when she is introduced to two brothers, Lawrence and Mike Taylor, and from that day, Kate is obsessed with Mike. At first, she sees him as a father figure. However, as she gets older, her feelings progress into love.
She doesn’t realise until it’s too late exactly who Mike Taylor is. He’s the sidekick of Mr Simpson, the most feared man in Bridgeborough.
How did you choose to write in this particular genre?
Because of the ideas I had in my mind about how the book would play out and eventually end, I knew it was never going to be a fairy tale. So, Crime Drama was the only genre it could fit into. I really love the genre and everyone has such wonderful stories to tell.
Who are some of the authors that inspired you? Favorites?
I was told a couple of times that I write very similar to Kimberley Chambers. I hadn’t read any of her books, so I decided to buy a couple. I read Billie Jo in a couple of days, and whilst I was reading it, I could see exactly where people were coming from. I’ve since done research on Kimberley, and she still writes with pen and paper, never using a laptop (that amazes me, it must take her forever). I love the story she tells on her website. At the age of 36, she was asked by a friend if she wanted to start working in her salon, which meant going back to basics, sweeping the floor. Her answer was, ‘No, I’m thinking of writing a book’, and hey presto look at her now. If that doesn’t inspire writers to prove that if you have a good enough story it can be done, then I don’t know what will inspire you.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis? Do you assign daily word counts for yourself?
I don’t dedicate a certain amount of time each day, it’s just when I get time. I could be at work and an idea would pop into my head. I type it out as quickly as I can and email it to myself. Then, when I get home, I work on it making it a much better drawn out scene. I do have a chart which I keep track on my word count, as I won’t stop a draft until I have over 90,000 words. As soon as I put the word count in it tells what percentage I have left to write. Then, when I hit 0% left to write, I take out some scenes and put new ones in.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Please, don’t stop. Keep going. You will get there in the end if you want it bad enough. Write for yourself and fall in love with your characters (even the evil ones). Let them become part of your family, and your ideas will soon come flooding to you. This should hopefully stamp out any writers blocks. But most of all enjoy the ride and what will be will be.
It was love that dragged Kate Reilly into the criminal underworld. Once in, it was somewhere she couldn’t easily leave; even if she had wanted to….
Growing up, Kate liked the attention she received from Mike Taylor, the worst of the Taylor brothers, in her mother’s humble opinion.
As a young girl, Kate was always happy to use her ‘magic skills’ at unpicking locks to help Mike and his friends out when they had carelessly locked themselves out of their homes – or even their safes.
As she matured, it finally dawned on Kate that maybe Mike wasn’t the gentleman she had first thought. However by this point, she was hopelessly, obsessively in love with him. What’s more, she was so involved in the criminal lifestyles of Mike and his cohorts that she felt there was no escaping…. And she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to try.
That is, until the night of her eighteenth birthday. Then her whole world was turned on its head, everything changed that night……. Forever.
Get it at AMAZON
S. M. Hope on TWITTER
Widetrack is an alterna-prog band based in my home state of Michigan. One description tags them as: “Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling holds a group therapy session with members of Pink Floyd and Soundgarden.” The band has recently completed their third album, entitled Widetrack III. This latest offering is filled with great hooks, catchy jams, and some incredible musical moods and addictive vibes.
Widetrack’s lineup consists of Ron Tippin on drums, vocals, and guitar, Ron’s son Zach Tippin handling bass duties, and Brian Burleson on lead guitar.
Long-time band producer Andy Patalan twisted the knobs once again on this latest effort. Patalan, known for his stellar work with 90’s Detroit alt rockers Sponge, offers a great ear in helping the band capture its incredible sound in the studio.
The album kicks off with an infectious rhythm weaving its way through a track called “Burning the Sun.” Solid all the way around, this tune calls to mind a time when music was fresh and exciting. The lyrics draw the listener into soul-searching mode:
The last run
Before the darkness descends
Through one constant frame
Only vices left
To relieve your wait
Demons on your back
Feeding off your faith
Knowing not for certain
If its real or feigned
Feeling all the while
Nothing’s bound to change
Knowing something more
There’s no let-up as the band segues into a mesmerizing number entitled “Zero Hour.” The vocals on this one modulate between pleading and demanding, pulling the listener along for a trippy ride.
“Gift” is the third track on the album. The bassline drives an incredible vibe through the center of the song, painting a mood that feels both new and yet still familiar.
“Unknown” kicks into high gear with a frantic chase going on between drums and guitar. The vocals conjure a dreamy state of mind floating above the fray, watching it all unfold.
A nice Queens of the Stone Age-influenced jam called “The Other” follows. The guitar work on this number is stellar, verging on shredder-mode. There are even elements of classic Pink Floyd sprinkled into moments.
“Loveless” is a haunting melody drenched in flourishes of darkness. The vocals are incredible in their delivery of emotion, anguish, and, in brief moments, they even carry a hint of menace.
Bouncing along on a pulsing rhythm, “Desolate” recalls a time when bands had the talent and the skill to flex their musical muscles without even needing to add words. This instrumental tethers Widetrack to some of the great bands of the past while teaching those coming up today that musicianship should always take precedence over image or attitude.
Tracks like “Ghosts” and “Hindsight” and “Life Force” add their own flavor to the stew that makes up this incredible album. But it’s the song called “Transcend” that is the true standout here. The elements that make up this song mesh so well. It transports the listener to another plateau in some far away universe—the way really good music will do. This is currently my favorite track on Widetrack III.
“Still Here” closes out the set. There’s something subtle going on here, underneath the tone of this track. It’s a tension and a volatility that threatens to snap and take over. But it never loses control. The vocals of Ron Tippin keep the mood on an even keel—even as the music itself works up to an almost manic pace toward the end. This is another excellent track on an album loaded with great music.
Widetrack is a band fueled by many contributing influences. These all coalesce into a sound that is both familiar and uniquely their own. The best songwriters in the world are those who, when crafting their music, are able to interlace differing moods within each song. This is what the Beatles and Rush and Pink Floyd did so well. It is refreshing to know that this skill is very much still in use. You won’t find any computer-generated beats on this album. Neither will you find filler material. For those who appreciate the talents of real musicians playing real instruments, Widetrack has an album just for you.
Free music from WIDETRACK
Check out WIDETRACK’S cover of the Pink Floyd classic “Welcome to the Machine”
I am thrilled to welcome #RRBC Spotlight Author Gracie Bradford’s June the Prune to The Indie Spot. June is the main character from Gracie’s book June the Prune & Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks. So, without further delay, take it away, June…
SMART STRATEGIES FOR SMART CHARACTERS
Interviewer: You have an interesting name. Do you know why you were named June?
June: My mother and her sisters were born in June. I was born in June. My mother probably could not think of another name.
Interviewer: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
June: Yes, I have one brother, Alex. I must take care of him because our Mom isn’t always available. I am younger than Alex. He should be taking care of me as my big brother. But, he is a little slow. I do what needs to be done around the house to keep the peace.
Interviewer: What is the story behind calling yourself “The Prune?”
June: When we returned from Europe, I lost so much weight until I looked like a dried-up prune with sagging skin. It helps me to be able to laugh at myself. G-Mom taught me to look at the bright side of life. So, when I write my friends, I sign my name – June the Prune to create humor. I don’t want my friends having pity on me.
Interviewer: Who is G-Mom?
June: She is my grandmother. She thinks she is still young, so she won’t allow us to call her granny or grandma. She said saying grandma makes her feel old. She is young in spirit.
Interviewer: What went through your mind when the doctor first told you that you had brain cancer?
June: “That I would lose my hair and be bald.”
Interviewer: Were you afraid?
June: Not at first because I knew my grandmother would protect me if she could. But, when they put me in isolation for long periods of time, I was scared and lonely. They would make G-Mom dress in these funny outfits to pierce her head inside the room to say hello to me. They would not allow anyone inside the room except the folks who took care of me.
Interviewer Who is Lady Bird?
June: She is my dog. I have had her since she was a puppy. We do and go everywhere together. When I am with her, I am not afraid.
Interviewer: How do you feel about not being able to see Lady Bird for such a long time?
June: I do see her in my mind. She is always present with me.
Interviewer: You talk about “power codes” in the book. How do you use these codes? Other than you, who else knows the codes? How are they working for you?
June: Smiling. You must read the book to find out.
Expect to see the 3rd book of the Lady Bird series late 2018 addressing Autism.
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Here’s a pleasant surprise from the FANderWaal News YouTube channel. They were kind enough to share a live video recording of Grace VanderWaal’s Cambridge, MA, show from February 5, 2018. So, I’m sharing the video here, simply because the more I see and hear from this gentle old soul, the more in awe I become! Have a look and a listen.