Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
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Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SNHU’s MFA graduate, Andrea Crossley Spencer wins … The Dogfella … Movies (great and really bad) … Nuremberg: The Reckoning … NHL vs. NBA … The Stanley Cup …


SNHU MFA graduate, Andrea Crossley Spencer wins a very short story contest.

Andrea Crossley Spencer writes to share a person’s perspective of the world in a way that feels both new and relevant. As a reader, she loves when an author creates a voice that comes off the page, feeling entirely fresh and yet as familiar as home. As a writer, her goal is to connect with readers by creating similar moments of satisfaction on the page.

Andrea lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from High Point University, where she graduated summa cum laude, and an MFA in fiction from Southern New Hampshire University. Her thesis manuscript, The Promise of Water, was named runner-up in the Whidbey Emerging Writers Contest by the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and is currently a finalist in the 2014 Great Novel Contest (Columbus Creative Cooperative.) Author Richard Adams Carey calls the novel, “as graceful as it is powerful — a bracing and heart-breaking plunge into the mystery of identity, the boundlessness of love.”

Andrea’s short fiction recently earned a nod from Ruminate Magazine, which named her short story, “Limb by Limb” a semifinalist for the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize. And NYC’s Gotham Writer’s Workshop named her the winner of their 2014 Very Short Story Contest.

In addition to her fiction writing, Andrea specializes in marketing and strategic communication. For the past eleven years, she has developed the voice of UNCG, a large public university in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she crafts authentic stories about inspiring students and the people who are the fabric of her community. Her work has been honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the International Academy of Visual Arts (Communicator Award of Distinction).

Andrea got her start as a copywriter and account manager for advertising and design agencies. From that experience, she developed a freelance writing business with an extensive client list that has spanned healthcare, retail, small business, fundraising, and more. One of her most memorable and exciting assignments was writing for actress Jane Seymour.

In addition to hosting writing workshops in her community, she is currently working on her second novel, tentatively titled Cloudspotting. Grounded by the dispiriting memory of a decade-old school shooting, the story captures a woman whose sense of humor keeps her afloat amid a string of chaotic life challenges, and her daughter, who wonders why her life was spared.

Twice Born … A really terrific movie that takes place mostly in Sarajevo. Penelope Cruz plays an Italian Mom who brings her son to Sarajevo when asked to return there by a friend she made during her Sarajevo stay during the war. Her former husband is dead, but that’s where the mystery begins. No spoilers … well worth the time. Very Highly Recommended.

Finding Faith … an incredibly bad movie is all I can say. It was put on by some Christian Church Production company (it’s on the Christian film database) and it stars Erik Estrada … it took me several hours to watch this one (mostly because I had to stop from falling asleep), but it actually is the fact that it was produced by a Christian company that interested me. Not worth the time it takes to download on Netflix. No way this one gets a trailer here. Forgetaboutit … a stinker.

Nuremberg: The Reckoning … I’ve read a few books by William F. Buckley, Jr., and even wrote to him many years ago about one I particularly liked, Elvis in the Morning, but this one didn’t measure up. Buckley’s sister, by the way, hand-wrote a thank you – she handled his correspondence back in the day. What I did like about the Nuremburg book was what I found in the Elvis book regarding politics. Buckley actually was very fair about not turning the book into a National Review essay (although he was very tough on communism whenever he had the chance in this one—yet he provided both sides of the issue surrounding genocide, even bringing up more than a few times the situation here regarding Native Americans). Still, Nuremburg was told in a very disjointed manner, flipping back and forth in time, something I don’t usually mind, but this was way too vanilla for me.

NHL vs. NBA … there isn’t much of a comparison for moi. Both sports require athleticism, but as for play and results, it’s a no brainer. The NBA is essentially a 3-5 team race … for the loser in the finals. It’s been a 1 team race since Miami pooled together James with Bosh and Wade … it hasn’t been much different in years past either. Outside of the Mavericks beating the Heat (and they had a superstar too) LeBron’s first year with the Heat, and prior to that Dwayne Wade’s wonderful performance when the Heat won with him and a declining Shaq, basketball has been and remains a one trick pony. Season play is as meaningless as it gets. Who didn’t know the Heat would be in the finals? The question was which team would be the sacrificial lamb. This year it’s a repeat of last year. Of course I want the Spurs to beat the Heat, but I doubt it’ll happen. And even if it does, who cares? Even the playoff games themselves, there’s hardly ever a reason to tune in until there’s 5 minutes or less left in the game. What’s exciting about the NBA?

Whereas hockey is always an unpredictable game and there’s never a predictable outcome. This year alone, when teams sported a 3-1 lead, some lost. When a team sported a 3 game lead in a 4 game series, it (the Sharks) lost. And because it’s a TEAM game, it just doesn’t make a difference which superstar any given team has on its roster. Crosby? A no show again this year. Ovechkin? Didn’t even make the playoffs. Even Jonathan Toews is gone. Lundqvist is there, but a great goalie can’t win it by himself (somebody has to score a goal or two). The two teams with the best records in the NHL this season were gone early. The next best were gone as well. The fifth best in the east, the Rangers are playing tonight against the sixth best from the west. And every single round, except the first between a mature Canadian team and a very young Tampa Bay team, were exciting.

It’s no mystery why the NHL is getting extra attention this year … it’s the New York market Rangers … but I’ll never understand how the NBA gets any attention at all during the season up until the last game of the finals. Contest? Not from where I sit.

Hockey Rules!

The Stanley Cup … wow, it’s here … the Rangers vs. the Kings … I’m glad the Kings made it for two reasons: 1) Dustin Brown … he’s a Callahan type players (in fact he played on the same line with Cally for USA in the Olympics) and 2) I still can’t stand the thought of the Ranger organization getting the cup after trading Callahan. I suspect they may pull it off, which is probably the worst thing Ranger fans want to read (me, the jinx, predicting they’ll win), but it should be a very exciting final. I just hope there aren’t the types of injuries to either side that can change the course of the series. Let the games begin …

I'm watching it right now and it's tied 2-2 after 2 periods ... very exciting.


It’s now featured during a national commercial … oy vey …