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Jamdin's Journal
20 July 2014 @ 11:54 pm
American actor James has died according to James Garner, Witty, Handsome Leading Man, Dies at 86. I always liked him in tv shows like Maverick and The Rockford Files.
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
19 January 2014 @ 04:47 pm
I haven't been doing much actual writing lately. However, this poem came to me earlier and here's the rough draft:



Silence

There is finally silence
After years of hearing voices
        whispering...
        shouting...
        crying...
        moaning...
No longer do I hear them
As the darkness claims me

by James F. Dinsmore
January 19, 2014 @ 3:44 pm
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
16 December 2013 @ 01:48 pm
I just learned that Tom Laughlin, Star of ‘Billy Jack,’ Dead at 82. He will be missed.
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
14 July 2013 @ 01:58 pm
Sad news at 'Glee' star Cory Monteith found dead in hotel in Canada.
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
03 July 2013 @ 02:23 pm
I will admit that I have not been updating Jamdin's Journal as much as I should. There is no excuse so I thought I would post about the last seven books that I have read.

The Brothers O'Brien #4: A Time To Slaughter by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone is an entertaining adult western even if the ending was a bit of a disappointment. A school teacher is kidnapped on the Dromore ranch and Sean O'Brien is determined to bring her back. He meets up with an old bear hunter and a hangman. Together they chase a wagon full of women that will be sold to an Arabian sheik awaiting in Mexico. Overall, I gave it an A- mostly because I like the characters and some pretty grizzly scenes. I hope to read more in the series.

I finally read Robin Hood: The Story Behind The Legend by David B. Coe even though I have yet to see the movie with Russell Crowe. We all know the story but this puts a spin with Robin Longstride taking the place of Robert Loxely, a knight that planned on taking King Richard's crown back to England after he is killed in battle. Loxely's father suggests that he continues the charade so Marion can keep the land. Godfrey starts raving the villages in the name of King John but he is secretly working for the French king. The story has a good pace that spins a grim a gritty twist on Robin Hood. I also gave it an A- mostly because I enjoyed the ending.

The Unseen by Heather Graham is the fifth book in the Krewe of Hunters series. Jackson Crow is putting together a second unit in San Antonio. He enlists a local Texas Ranger named Logan Raintree and U.S. Marshal Kelsey O'Brien from Florida. There are others including her cousin, Sean. Their first mission is find out who has been killing women with a connection to the Alamo. The find out that one of the murders has ties to the Longhorn Saloon that Kelsey's childhood friend, Sandy Holly runs. Add to the mix the ghost of Rose, a whore that was murdered shortly before the Battle of the Alamo at the same inn. This is a fast paced paranormal romance that has more action that actual romance between Logan and Kelsey. The book earned an A from me.

Another Heather Graham book that I read was When Darkness Falls, which was originally published under the pen name of Shannon Drake. Jade McGregor witnesses a mass slaughter by vampires in Scotland. She and a few others survive thanks to a mysterious stranger that haunts her dreams. A series of murders a year later tell her that the vampires are after her in New Orleans. She meets the stranger again and finds out that he is a "good" vampire named Lucian. Her family and friends are in danger only he can help her with his own friends. This is the second book in the Alliance Vampires series and I have yet to read the first one, which is Beneath A Blood Red Moon. This is also a fast paced paranormal romance with plenty of horror. I gave it a B+ since the ending was over way too fast for me.

Realm of Shadows by Heather Graham is the fourth book in the Alliance Vampires series. This one finds American artist Tara Mason arriving in a small village on the outskirts of Paris to visit her cousin, Ann, and their grandfather, Jacques DeVant. He has been ill and insists that she investigates the dig going on at a local church. She meets Brent Malone, who is a werewolf. His co-worker at the dig opens the sealed tomb of an old vampire, Louisa. In order to stop her terror, Brent calls upon the vampire, Lucian, his now wife, Jade, and the new vampire, Rick. They also find out that Louisa is not working alone. This paranormal romance is slow paced until the final few chapters. There are too many flashbacks that really drags down the story. I did like the characters and the overall story but would have liked more scenes with Brent as the werewolf. Overall, I gave this book a B-.

The Night Is Watching by Heather Graham is the ninth Krewe of Hunters series. This one finds Sheriff Sloan Trent asking forensics artist Jane Everette to Lily, Arizonia after an old skull is found in the basement of the Gilded Lily. They find a bigger mystery as older bodies and fresh corpses start piling up. Jane and Sloan finds themselves falling for each other. Logan Raintree and Kelsey O'Brien are called in later to help. This is a fast paced action romance with plenty of ghosts from the Wild West. The ending did seem a little rushed to me and there were several misnaming of characters that made me wonder if this was actually proofread beforehand. I still ended up giving the book a B+ mostly because of the characters and their interactions.

Finally, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks is a collection of "true" stories from the men and women, civilians and military, that survived the zombie apocalypse as told to a journalist. A fast paced book that sets itself apart from other zombie and horror books. I would have liked a little bit more description of the people telling the stories. Overall, I gave the book a B+ since my favorite parts were the dog and cat stories.
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
20 May 2013 @ 10:18 pm
Keyboardist and co-founder of The Doors, Ray Manzarek died Monday, May 20, 2013 in Germany at the age of seventy-four.

Ray Manzarek February 12, 1939 to May 20, 2013
Ray Manzarek

(February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013)
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
02 May 2013 @ 11:29 pm
Heather Ale

by James F. Dinsmore

The lightly tanned man knelt in the small field and used his golden sickle to cut a handful of heather. His mid-back dark-brown hair blew out from behind him as he stood up. He brought the freshly cut bundle to his nose and breathed in the freshness.

A wind is coming up the northwest, he thought to himself. Maybe we'll finally get some rain tonight.

The man placed the heather in a wicker basket that was overflowing. He walked down the little dirt path leading to a small hut. His brown robe was dirty at the knees and he wiped off most of it before entering.

"About time you showed up," he said after closing the door.

At a small table, sat a short heavy-set man with a long gray beard that matched his braided hair. In front of him sat a half-empty mug of ale beside a large pitcher.

"It's nice to see you too, Pyne," the dwarf replied as he wiped his lips. "It's been, what.. twenty years?"

"Eighteen years, sixty-two days and four hours to be exact, Nayha," Pyne replied as he began stinging the heather on the wall. "But who's keeping track? So what brings you to my humble hut?"

"Well, it's not drink your heather ale, that's for sure," the dwarf answered with a bitter face. "It does, however have to do with Lady Donlanie."

At the mentioning of the woman's name, Pyne stopped his work. He sat down on the other side of the table and poured himself a mug of ale. He took two large swallows before shaking his head.

"I thought she made it perfectly clear that she didn't need my help," Pyne said before taking another swallow.

"She's beyond help," Nayha whispered. "But her son is not. Seems he wants to become a soldier."

"Nothing wrong with that. If he's anything like Lady Donlanie and Lord Shalor, he should be a great fighter."

Nayha refilled his mug with the last of the pitcher's ale. He took a swallow and belched.

"So you don't know," the dwarf said. "He's not Lord Shalar's true son. The lad has a green thumb much like his real father."

Pyne sat in silence for several moments. During that time, he remembered when he parted ways with Lady Donlanie. The gold-furred Felurr woman was lean, lithe and quick-tempered. She had thrown a pot at him when he told her that he was returning home. Lady Donlanie had hired him to teach her own druids the fine art of brewing. Pyne had done that all the while falling in love with her. However, she was married to Lord Shalar and he soon found out that she was just using him to make her husband jealous. After three years of being Lady Donlanie's playmate, Pyne had returned home back to his precious heather farm.

"If the boy has his heart on becoming a soldier," Pyne finally said. "Then let him. I take it Lord Shalar still claims him as his own?"

"Aye," Neyha replied. "He knows the lad is not his own due to his half-human, half-Felurr heritage but he claims the lad as his own blood."

"Good. The boy is better off without me. I'm but a humble druid brewing my heather ale for the local taverns. Let him serve in his father's army. If he survives then his green thumb will serve him well when he ties of the bloodshed."

"Don't you have any desire to see him?"

Pyne shook his head before finishing off his ale.

"Lady Donlanie didn't seem to want me to know that I had a son. Just because you told me today does not change much. I'm sure you'll be there to keep an eye on him like you've done in the past. If he truly needs help then you can send for me. I will help him face any danger but I will not be a father when he already has one in Lord Shalar."

"As you wish, Pyne," Nayha nodded as he stood up. "I hope your next batch of heather ale turns out better than the last."

The dwarf strode to the door and left without another word. Pyne watched his old friend go before refilling the pitcher with more heather ale from a large keg in the corner. He finished off another mug of the drink

I'm happy here, the druid thought. I don't need to play nursemaid to some runt that I hardly know. On the other hand, I'm getting tired of having no one else to talk to. Bah, what's the use...

Pyne stood up and stretched before opening the door. Much to his surprise, the dwarf was standing on the opposite side with his hands firmly on his hips.

"What took you so long?" Nayha said with a grin.

"Let me pack a few items and then we'll leave," Pyne replied. "Unless you have any more surprises for me today?"

The dwarf shook his head and waited for the druid.

© James F. Dinsmore @ 2013
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
01 May 2013 @ 11:30 pm
A Mad Queen

by James F. Dinsmore

There is a place on Shadorm like no other place. Many of the Elders speak of this place only in whispers. This place is now in ruins and many have nothing more to fear from the magic that once inhabited it. I know for I have visited the ruins of Valhear, village of a mad queen.

Valhear was once a thriving village north of the Bronze Mountains. Like most villages of that area, the residents were giants among men. However, whereas a male chieftain ruled the other villages, a woman strong of will and wit ruled Valhear.

Thysorn was her name when she was born and she bested many men to gain the right to become the chieftain. The previous chieftain died in a raid by the dreaded Torcs. She stood over six feet and six inches with the thirst of battle that came easy to the men. Thysorn's reddish-brown hair was kept long but braided and her eyes were like emeralds. She bore only one child during her life and that was a son, Rydclef, who lived only thirteen summers before being killed by a Torc himself.

Like most giants, Thysorn hated Torcs but the death of Rydclef made her hatred burn stronger than others. She knew that magic was best left to the shamans but she hungered for the power to kill all the Torces that she could. Her mate, Yracson, had left Valhear shortly after Rydclef's death to search for some magical item rumored to return the dead to the living.

Some say that Thysorn told Yracson to seach for the Standing Stone. Others say that he wanted nothing more to do with his mate. Whatever the reason, Yracson was absent for several years.

During those years, Thysorn found a necromancer and studied the Dark Arts under him. She had heard stories of how those Dark Mages could work wonders beyond the realm of the living. Thysorn wanted that power to bring utter destruction upon the Torcs. She was selfish in her reasoning for her clan soon became to fear her new powers.

During a raid upon a Torcish cave, Thysorn demonstrated her newfound powers. She raised her hand and spheres black as coal came forth. Many of the warriors who returned that day swore never to raid again with Thysorn.

The warriors who feared their chieftain the most left that day. Thysorn did not care for she had more power than ever before. The raids continued as her power grew and she soon thought to take over the king's throne. Thysorn believed if that she ruled the land then no Torcs would be left alive.

Rumors about Thysorn's thirst for power spread throughout the land like wildfire. The Torcs began gathering their forces and planning for an open war. They began their blood sacrifices to gain help from their foul deities. King Lymm of the giants sent a messenger to Thysorn requesting a meeting about her recent behavior. She sent him back the lad's head as an open challenge. This outraged the king and gathered his own loyal warriors and went to Valhear himself. King Lymm told Thysorn that the people did not want open war with the Torcs. She replied with a black sphere directed at his heart.

In a bloody battle that followed, the Bronze Mountains is said to have screamed in anger. King Lymm and his men were all but destroyed. One warrior barely escaped with his life and hid in the Bronze Mountains. Thysorn claimed the throne of Kenrob for herself.

The warrior who escaped the fate of King Lymm was named Gyse and he hanged on the edge of death for several days. He was found and nourished back to health by Yracson, who revealed that he had found the Standing Stone but could not bring himself to let Thysorn use it. He lived in the Bronze Mountains instead of returning to Valhear.

Gyse told Yracson what had happened and the pair knew that they could not stop Thysorn themselves. Gyse left for Merlac in search of a mage who could counteract Thysorn's spells. He found Daylock and his group outside of Zimmer. Daylock was an old wizard born with great magic.

Halfear and Longear Paragon, two Shydhe brothers, accompanied Daylock. The mage himself was rumored to be half-Shydhe. Halfear was a fighter and Longear was a mage-in-training. Gyse had to put up the siblings constant bickering that soon got on his nerves.

While Gyse made his journey, Thysorn began her war campaign. She began making speeches that the Torcs were responsible for the death of King Lymm. The warriors flocked to her side since it had been ages since they tasted an actual war. Battles soon broke out in Kenrob with Thysorn enjoying several victories.

Gyse returned to Kenrob with Daylock and the brothers. Yracson was skeptical that the wizard could stop Thysorn now. The five went to her and demanded that she stop the war before both races were wiped out. Thysorn rallied her warrior and a battle broke out.

Yracson, Gyse and Halfear held Thysorn's warriors at bay while Daylock battled the mad queen with spells. Longear was trying to help his brother but too weak in spells and swordplay to be of much use. When Thysorn held up her hand to throw a black sphere at Daylock, Gyse screamed a warning. Yracson was the closest to Daylock and threw himself in front of the wizard. The black sphere hit him in the chest.

Noticing what she had done, Thysorn cried out for all to stop. She went to her mate, who was slowly dying and asked for forgiveness. Yracson whispered that he would always love the woman who was once Thysorn the chief but never the one who called herself queen. He died in her arms and she wept like the day she did when she heard about her son's death.

Knowing that she had done her people great wrong by thinking only of herself, Thysorn gave the word to stop the war against the Torcs. She then resigned as queen and asked that Yracson be given the warrior's funeral. Most of Valhear was unoccupied and those who still lived there agreed to the funeral. With Yracson in the middle of the village, his body was hoisted onto several large three trunks. Thysorn threw a torch onto the dry logs and then Gyse set the buildings on fire. Out of Thysorn's home came the necromancer with hands filled with gold. He shouted his dismay and was killed by Gyse after a short chase. His body was tied to two spears by the road leading into Valhear.

As the village burned, Daylock and the brothers left Thysorn crying on Gyse's shoulder. They did not look back when they heard her scream a final time. A few days later, her head was found on a spear near the necromancer's body.

Gyse claimed the throne of Kenrob and the people were happy once again.

© James F. Dinsmore @ 2013
 
 
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Jamdin's Journal
30 April 2013 @ 11:37 pm
A Study In Madness

by James F. Dinsmore

He sat in a square room fitted with white-padding on the walls and floor. There were no windows and only an outline of a door. The whiteness matched the straight jacket that he wore. The only presence of any other colors was his curly flowing red hair, steel gray eyes and powder blue pajama bottoms. Light was provided by a single caged bulb in the high ceiling.

The man was lean and slightly taller than an average man. He wore neither a smile nor a frown. His eyes stared at an unseen point on the floor. His attention did not leave that spot when the door opened outward.

A woman stood in the doorway with two men behind her. She wore a suit and had her dark brown hair in a bun on her head. Her green eyes fixed on the man in the room and she smiled faintly.

"You have a visitor, Dean," she finally said.

"There is no one here with that name," the man whispered.

"Who is here today?" she asked with a frown.

"You know who I am..."

"I know that you think that you are Wilmes the Wanderer. However, your real name is Dean Halfpenny."

"I know of no Dean Halfpenny," the man said loudly. "I am Wilmes the Wanderer and I demand to be free of this dungeon."

The woman clicked her tongue and shook her head.

He is the same, she thought. He is too far gone to help.

"Would you like to see your visitor?" she asked.

"I wish only to see my jailor, woman. In other words, send me your master or mistress."

"Your friend, Brian...er, Morgoon is here to see you."

There was a moment of silence as the man resumed to the invisible point on the floor. Without warning, he turned his head to the woman and smiled.

"You tried to trick me,:" he said. "Morgoon is in the woods of Avalon with his wife, Nitha."

The woman shook her head in despair. She signaled the two men behind her to stay before she walked into the room. The door went shut behind her.

"Do you know how long you have been in this room?" she asked while standing near the \ outline of the door.

"Aye," the man replied with a slight nod. "I have been in this cell for three years. I have yet to see your superior."

"You have only been here for three months. Do you know why you are here?"

"I am here on some whim of your master or mistress. Perhaps he or she would like me to tell them about the secret of the minstrels."

"Which is?"

"None of your damn business!"

"I don't like your language, young man."

The man looked quickly at her. There was a look of pure hatred in his eyes.

"And I do not like to be held here against my will," he replied.

"You would not be here if you would separate reality and fantasy."

"Separate reality and fantasy, ha. A great minstrel once said 'one cannot have reality without fantasy and one cannot have fantasy without reality.' I tend to agree with him."

"You agree with a thought of your own mind. You make excuses so you can escape reality."

"You talk nonsense. A minstrel need no excuses to sing what in in his heart. If I ever leave this cell of your's, I would sing of freedom that I so much crave for."

The woman only nodded.

I need to get him to see Brian, she thought. Maybe he can help him.

"Tell me something about Morgoon."

"Why should I tell you anything if he is here?" he asked with a grin. "You could use my knowlege against him."

"You have a very paranoid personality. Have you any friends other than Margoon?"

"I have many friends."

"Such as?"

"Freeheart, Halfpint, Lianna, Dwarde, Tribar. Shall I continue?"

The man returned his attention to the floor. He wore no expression. Slowly, he turned his head toward the woman and looked into her eyes for the first time.

"Freeheart was a lover of warfare. When the Desert War awoke the sand dragon, he went to fight. He lost a finger but got a hero's welcome. Tribar, on the other hand, fought long and hard years earlier in the Jungle War. He lost both legs and came home only to be called a baby killer. Poor, poor fool..."

The man shook his head and sighed.

"What about Halfpint?"

"Halfpint was a rogue in the truest sense of the word. He is now in the South Lands after stealing a wagon and a courtisan. It has been a long time since I have seen him. When I take my leave of this cell, I shall like to visit him."

The man suddenly laughed loudly and long.

"What's so funny?" the woman asked.

"I know why you have me here in this cell," the man replied after he calmed down. "You think that Wilmes the Wanderer knows the whereabouts of the Seven Songs of Samade. How foolish do you think I am?"

The woman was taken aback.

He's mad, she thought while looking at him. Mad as a hatter.

"I don't care about the Seven Songs," she said. "I want to know if you want see your friend, Brian Hornsby?"

"I know of no Brian Hornsby."

The woman rolled up her eyes and sighed.

"Then do you want to speak with Margoon?" she asked.

"Bring him if he is indeed here."

The woman pounded her fist on the door. It quickly opened and she stepped out. The door quickly closed and the man went back to staring at the floor.



The door opened again several minutes later. The man did not acknowledged the opening and was unaware of the stocky young man that entered the room. His hair was white as snow and he wore sunglasses.

"Greetings, Wilmes," the newcomer said.

"Greetings, Margoon," the man said as he turned to face his friend. "They have captured me and I do not know why."

"I do, my friend. I remember the day you broke down into insanity."

"Insanity is a way of life for a minstrel. We do not acknowledge Order. You should know that by now."

"I have bad news. Freeheart died yesterday in a weapon accident. I've come to ask you if you would like to attend the funeral."

The man known as Wilmes laughed before struggling to stand. With help of the padded wall, he succeeded in getting to his feet.

"Help me leave this place, Brian," he whispered in his friend's ear. "Mother had no reason to take the advice of that psychologist. I have money stashed away and we could start someplace else. We could start our own community. I need to be free. Free to be myself."

The man laughed again before starting to cry.

"I miss being able to write my poems," he said after a moan. "They won't give me paper and pencil. They say that being a poet is unrealistic. It is my nature to write what I feel. Only you know what I mean. Help me, Brian."

"I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can talk to Mrs. Mills. If not, then you'll be free at the funeral.

A smile rose on Dean Halfpenny's face.

"May the Lord and Lady smile upon you, my friend," he said. "I am not totally mad. Just because I rather walk on my own two feet than drive a car, mother sticks me in this hellhole. Does that make me insane?"

Brain shook his head.

But suicide does, he thought. If only you didn't swallow that bottle of pills. Why couldn't I have been the one to find you?

"Cooperate with them, Dean," Brian said. "Act normal or at least stop acting like Wilmes. You'll be out much faster that way."

"Perhaps."

Brian placed his hands upon Dean's shoulders. He looked in his friend's eyes.

"I wish you would take off those sunglasses if you want to make eye contact with me," Dean said.

Brian grinned. That was his old friend talking.

"I better go," he said. "I need to get our suits pressed. Do you want to give anybody a message?"

Dean nodded.

"Can you remember a poem for me?"

Brian withdrew his hands and reached into his back pocket. He withdrew a pen and a notepad. Brian clicked the pen and placed the ballpoint on the top sheet of paper.

"I'm always prepared," Brian smiled.

"Good. Here's what I want you to write," Dean said before he began reciting his poem.



Dean Halfpenny's poem was found on the desk of Mrs. Mills two days after his sudden disappearance. She read it to his mother over the phone:

"I sit here looking at the whiteness
And I see nothing but the lightness
Of those poor souls who are pure.
Why do I not feel safe and secure?
I hear the voices that call from the darkness
And I wonder why life is such a bliss.
When I see hunger, pain, sorrow and abuse,
It gives my madness such a short fuse."

© James F. Dinsmore @ 2013
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