Friday, July 29, 2011

Go to the backspacewriters blog

I was a guest blogger at the BackSpace blog.
Here is the link:


But then, come back to this one. :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On turning 39

Today is the first day of the last year in which I can be referred to as “a man in his late-thirties.”

365 days from today, I’ll hit the big four-oh.

Is the middle-age crisis showing up yet?

I’m not overly worried about that.

Maybe because I think I suffered it prematurely when I turned 30. I remember nine years ago I signed up for Karate lessons, I let my hair grow a bit longer than usual, changed jobs, bought a piano and tried to teach myself how to play it, quoted a sports car. So, no, I don’t think 40 will have a greater impact. Hopefully.

I have no big plans for my 39th year except for keeping my day job—which thankfully I love—but also spending time with the family and working on a new novel that I finally plotted (yes, I’m a plotter, not a pantser).

One of my favorite movies from the 80’s is “When Harry Met Sally,” and not only because of the restaurant scene where the Director’s mother uttered the AFI listed quote: "I'll have what she's having.”

No, the other scene that stuck in my mind, because it was even in the trailer, is between Sally and Harry. Here’s the exchange, courtesy of IMDB:

Sally: No, no, no, I drove him away. AND, I'm gonna be forty.
Harry: When?
Sally: Someday.
Harry: In eight years.

So, it’s not eight years for me anymore, just a few months above eight. J

Monday, July 25, 2011

JET fueled Fiction

In case you missed my post in my Facebook and Twitter, today I'm a guest blogger at J.E. Taylor's blog. Just follow the link here:

Friday, July 22, 2011

1911-2011, 100 years of Marini

Yesterday I received a short text message from a friend alerting me of something: This year marks the first hundredth anniversary of the Martini.

Why did my friend think that little bit of trivia would interest me? Maybe it was because of the twenty-three DVDs containing as many James Bond movies that are on display in next to the player; or perhaps the fact that my wife presented me with a cocktail mixer on Father’s Day; maybe it was because he knew I was looking for a subject to blog about and that I would, in fact, drink one if I were to write about the cocktail. The truth is I do not know my friend’s motivations, but I do thank him. Cheers to you, Sergio!

Let’s get the facts out straight first.

Fact #1: Here is the American Bartender Association official recipe:

5.5 cl Gin
1.5 cl Dry Vermouth
Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive.
(Vodka Martini - replace gin with vodka)

Fact #2: Neither James Bond, nor Ian Fleming invented it; although, both author and character played an important part in making it popular during the 50’s and 60’s.

Fact #3: The most accepted theory, if there is such a thing among men precariously holding cocktail glasses, is that the Martini was concocted in the bar of the popular Knickerbocket Hotel in New York City back in 1911 (hence the 100 year reference, duh!).

Is it martinis the drink of choice for spies and authors? Well, I’m certainly not in speaking terms with any spy, but I do know some famous authors who drank Martinis. Every writer worth his salt has a copy of Strunk & White’s The Element of Style, and this is important because, you see, E.B. White is usually quoted for calling the drink "the elixir of quietude". Journalist H.L. Mencken went further and called it "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.” I may name other authors, but that’d be just name-dropping.

I am not trying to take Wikipedia’s place as a source for quotable undisputed information so I won’t dwell on the cocktail’s origins; or how it became popular during the Prohibition years due to easiness of finding cheap Gin; or why Elle Wood’s father is holding a glass on every one of his scenes in Legally Blond.

The whole point of this entry is to celebrate my favorite cocktail, not because I’m an author/spy wannabe, but because I’ve learn to appreciate its taste, master its preparation and can sit and enjoy one, or two.

Shoot! My glass is empty. I’ll wrap this up and go mix another one.

For a more detailed history of the cocktail, here are some further reading links:

PS: I typed 23 James Bond movies. It was not a mistake. I have the 22 EON plus the 1983 renegade Never Say Never Again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Readers Favorite reviewed Treasure Hunt

Now it's official, RF claims my novel Treasure Hunt is "a real page-turner!".

Of course, I couldn't be more thrilled with the comment.

And here's my favorite line:
The characters are believable; the author's astute attention to detail brings the reader into the story, captivated by each new chapter.

The review is now posted the Amazon and to their official site:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fantastic Horcruxes and where to find them

Necessary Note: I wrote this piece for a Harry Potter book club a couple of months prior to the release of the Deathly Hallows book. With the imminent release of the last movie tomorrow, I thought this post was worth to revisit this search as we are still short of some horcruxes.

After the released of the Half Blood Prince and the shattering—if not completely surprising—demise of Hogwarts’ Headmaster, many questions have come to the mind of the readers. Perhaps the more over-analyzed is the loyalty of Severus Snape. There are subtle tips spread all through the six books that could support either case on where his loyalty stands. I’ll side-step that topic for now since I think there are only two viable outcome: He’s good and will help Harry somehow; or Snape is a treacherous bastard he’ll pay dearly for it in the end.

The other such topic is whether Dumbledore is dead or alive. Thankfully, Mrs. Rowling already clarified this point claiming the Headmaster will not be doing a “Gandalf.”

Now on to a topic that offers a wider realm of possibilities.

Since the introduction of the concept of a Horcrux, I fell enchanted with the concept of intentionally ripping a soul and actually taking advantage of it. The death-cheating scheme seems to be a repetitive theme in the life of Harry Potter and his wizardly world (e.g. The philosopher’s stone, the resurrection stone, unicorn’s blood, just to name a few).

A recap first, shall we? A Horcrux is an object that holds a part of soul of a wizard seeking immortality. Lord Voldemort made a total of six:

1. The Tom Riddle Diary: Given to Lucious Malfoy, destroyed by Harry Potter during the events inside the Chamber of Secrets in Harry’s second year.

2. The Ring from Slithering: Found hidden in the remains of the house of Gaunt and destroyed by Albus Dumbledore at the cost of his right hand in the process.

3. Nagini, the snake: To be found at Voldemort’s side if not sent on special missions. (e.g. Attacking Mr. Wesley at the Ministry of Magic in Book 5).

4, 5 & 6: the objects remain a mystery: “the locket .., the cup ... something of Gryffindor's or Ravenclaw's”. (Before my inbox gets inundated, I’ll concede the locket was verified, found and destroyed by the end of the Part I)

I will not venture what the remaining object might turn out to be. I’m more interested in pointing out the possible locations of some of them.

Given the fact that the two already-found Horcruxes were hidden in places that presented some importance—or milestone—in the life of Tom Riddle/Voldemort, I’m following the other known places where the Dark Lord has been.

1. The Chamber of Secrets. Fitting as he discovered his true ancestry there. It is a place no one but him could reach. “But when?” you may ask. Either before he left school or more possibly on his brief return to a job interview with Dumbledore for the Defense Against the Dark Art teaching position. (The books show a scene where Voldemort had an interview with the Headmaster for the post; however, this was not shown in the movies I think.)

2. The Room of Requirement: as the rushing Harry Potter confirmed himself when trying to hide his Half-blood prince autographed poison book, the room is overcrowded with objects. Perhaps the five-legged skeleton is one of the keepers! As to when, I’d suggest the same timeframes as above.

3. Burgin and Burkes store: What better place to hide such a dark object than a place filled with similarly dark magic pieces? The spies have a term coined for this technique; it is called: hiding in plain site! The young Tom Riddle worked there for some time. He probably placed it somewhere. Ever since Chamber of Secrets, this store keeps popping up a lot.

4. Godric’s Hollow: Yep, right where all began for Harry. I see the place might appeal to Voldemort in the same way as the Helga’s cup and Slithering locket. If the Dark Lord could not find anything from Godric Gryffindor, perhaps hiding a portion of his soul in the place of a Hogwart’s founder home.

5. The Orphanage: A place he never liked, true. But, again, the idea was to hide them well and not many people seem to be aware of Tom Riddle humble origins.

6. The Riddle House: A possibility? Why yes, indeed! Although the one I seem less likely as he spent a lot of time there during the events of Goblet of Fire. Being too close to hidden Horcrux might endanger it.

I’ve listed six possible places for a total of three remaining Horcruxes, let’s wait to the release of Deadly Hallows and find out for sure!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kindle Author: Kindle Author Interview: J. H. Bográn

Kindle Author: Kindle Author Interview: J. H. Bográn: "J. H. Bográn, author of Treasure Hunt , discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle. DAVID WISEHART: What c..."