Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi…Williams: The Music of The Empire Strikes Back

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Film Spoilers Ahead!

I’m paying homage to The Empire Strikes Back this year in recognition of the film’s 40th anniversary. I mentioned in a post last May that it is my favorite of the Star Wars saga. This post is about the incredible music of the film composed by John Williams.

Few people would dispute John Williams’ contributions to motion picture scores. We all know his resume. It includes many of the biggest blockbuster films in history. When he wrote the music for The Empire Strikes Back he was already famous for having composed the scores of numerous films and television shows including Jaws, Star Wars (of course), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws 2, Superman, Dracula (1979 version with Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier, directed by John Badham), and 1941. But his success dates back much farther. His list of films can be found online. Chances are that you will find films and TV show scores composed by him that you never realized he did.

He was already a hot commodity in Hollywood, but Star Wars sent his popularity into the stratosphere. And, as we saw, his star just kept rising and rising with practically every film he scored for the next three plus decades.

His work and the efforts of the London Symphony Orchestra on T.E.S.B. is no different. It is my favorite musical score of the saga, and contributes greatly to the reason that it is my favorite S.W. film. His scores to Star Wars and Return of the Jedi are fantastic in their own right, but what he did for T.E.S.B. elaborates upon those concepts and introduces us to new and memorable themes that have been, and still are, heard throughout the S.W. timeline.

“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” is as iconic now as the theme from Jaws. Almost everyone who hears it knows what it is, or they at least recognize it as a S.W. theme. Its driving, pounding, militaristic sound is heard throughout the film and reminds us that the Empire is always one step behind our heroes. Sometimes, one step too close. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the most popular ringtones for smartphones the world over.

“Yoda’s Theme” is one of my personal favs in the entire series. I never get tired of it. Its quiet and melodic tempo relaxes me every time I hear it. It’s beautiful and meditative.

Updated Content of E-books on Amazon.co.jp

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I hope that everyone is doing well considering the situation. We have all been getting slammed pretty hard by the virus, severe weather, social instability, etc. It doesn’t really matter where you live in the world…we are all dealing with difficulties right now. Keep your chin up and hang in there.

On a different note, and a followup to my previous post, I have discovered the reason why purchasers of my e-books from Amazon.co.jp (Japan) have not been receiving the content updates to my book(s). It appears that Amazon Japan does not automatically make updates available to readers. The reason is because Amazon Japan (not the author) reserves the right to decide whether updates will be made available to readers. If they deem the changes worthy of alerting the readers and allow them to download the updates, then they will do so. Otherwise, too bad. They evaluate the updates on a case by case basis. I am in complete disagreement with this method as I feel that readers have a right to update and get the latest version of the e-book if they have legally purchased it in the past.

Amazon Japan claims that it may make exceptions to the rule if the reader requests the update directly. Authors may do the same, but there is no guarantee that Amazon Japan will honor the request. Final authority rests with Amazon Japan.

I wonder if Amazon.com (U.S.) is aware of this policy. I was told by Amazon.com that updates are made available across all of their marketplaces where e-books are sold. Yet, Amazon Japan operates differently. It would be nice for the two of them to get on the same page with this issue.

I do not want to discourage anyone from purchasing my e-books. All I can say is that if you choose to purchase my e-books from Amazon Japan be aware that you may not be able to update the book’s content after the initial purchase. I wish it were not the case, but there is nothing that I can do to rectify the issue. Different countries have different policies. I have lived in Japan long enough to know that it runs itself according to its own policies and perspectives. All nations do. You either deal with it, or you don’t. That same idea can be applied to current global events, I suppose.

I apologize for any inconvenience that Amazon Japan’s policy may cause those who purchase and read my books. As always, I thank you for your continued support and consideration.

Stay safe and healthy!

More Updates Available!

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I updated the content of my e-book To Sleep in the Ground in order to make it consistent with the recently released paperback version. Amazon.com has sent (or will send) e-mails to those who have purchased my e-book in the past notifying them of the updates. If you do not receive an e-mail, then just check the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page of your Amazon account. If you purchased my e-book and do not receive either of these notifications, then please let me know in the comments section of this post and I will inform Amazon.

Regretfully, as of the date of this post, updates are still not available for readers who purchased To Sleep in the Ground from Amazon.co.jp (Japan). I have brought this to Amazon’s attention, and I am in continuing communication with them about the issue. I have experienced that Amazon Japan sometimes operates differently (independently) from Amazon.com. However, Amazon.com has assured me that updates are made available for all Amazon marketplaces in all countries. Again, please let me know via this post if you have purchased the e-book version of T.S.I.T.G. from any Amazon marketplace and have not received an e-mail or notice about the updates. I will do my best to rectify the problem if it’s possible to do so.

The updates that I made to the novel are considered to be significant improvements to the quality of the e-book according to Amazon. I agree. The overall feel and appearance of the book is better, and I, again, took the time to correct grammatical issues, punctuation, and redundancies in the vocabulary. Ahh, the learning curve involved with first novels. I hope you enjoy the latest version of To Sleep in the Ground.

Thanks for reading, and stay healthy!

“To Sleep in the Ground” Now Available in Paperback!

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Paperback books have their fans as do e-books. To Sleep in the Ground can now satisfy both!

I’m very happy to announce that my novel is now in paperback form. I originally published T.S.I.T.G. last November in e-book format. A lot of my free time since then has been spent reformatting it, cleaning it up and getting it ready for paperback publication.

The difference in the two styles is greater than many may think. You don’t have to worry about pagination with an e-book, and the appearance of the book is more important in paperback. You have to worry about the front cover versus the back cover, the type of paper you want to use (and it’s color) and even the font for the text. This is important because the font text cannot be changed with a paperback as it can be for an e-book. The reader can choose from a variety of fonts with an e-book. They can even change the size of the text.

It was a tedious but great learning experience. I’m highly motivated now to publish my nonfiction e-book in paperback. But considering that it took me months (and many weekends and days off from work) to whip my e-book into paperback form, I don’t plan on jumping back into the same pond again any time soon. If you are a publisher and would like to take on that role for me, then by all means let me know! As mentioned before, I envy those folks who are fortunate enough to have major publishers behind them to promote their work. After this experience, that feeling has multiplied ten times.

I humbly encourage you to check out To Sleep in the Ground in any of the two formats available. The paperback would be an interesting addition to your bookshelf, and might make for nice conversation as a decorative item on your coffee table. The e-book is available through Amazon in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.A. The paperback is available through Amazon in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.A. The book is very reasonably priced in both formats. As always, if you would like more information about any of the books that I have published, please see the My Books page of this blog. Thank you very much for reading.

Hang in there! We will get through this COVID-19 crisis together as long as we remain united, vigilant, considerate and precautious.

Stay healthy!

Click this link to access the paperback version of To Sleep in the Ground: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DC63TGP

A Galaxy Forty Years Ago

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Spoiler Alert!

Even though I want as many people as possible to read this post, I must give fair warning. This post contains information that gives away important plot points from the Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back, commonly referred to these days as just Star Wars: Episode V. If you have never seen the film and intend to do so, then you may want to proceed with caution or skip this post altogether. On the other hand if you have seen it, then I hope that you will enjoy this little stroll down memory lane.

It was almost forty years ago to the day that I saw the greatest and most influential science fantasy film of my life…The Empire Strikes Back. As mentioned above, the more familiar title is now Star Wars: Episode V. I prefer the original title. I remember when first released, people laughed at the title. It didn’t sound dignified enough for the Star Wars series. Over time it grew on us. We got used to it. Decades later it seems to be the more appropriate title for the film. It is the original title after all.

There seems to be discrepancies in the exact date of the film’s release. I remember it being in late May of 1980. Supposedly, it had a limited release. I saw it about a week or so after it’s premiere at Bon Marche Twin Cinema behind the Bon Marche Mall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where I was living at the time. The movie got a much wider nationwide release a month later in June. Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, and as far as I remember only one theater in town was showing the film initially. I could be wrong about when it was released in Baton Rouge. I would be happy to hear from you in the comments below if you know something to the contrary. Also, chime in and let me know when the film premiered in your town.

Spring was blooming in May of 1980, and my family had relocated to Baton Rouge a couple of months before from our hometown an hour east. It was a clear, sunny and mild Saturday afternoon. I had just been released from…sorry…gotten out of…school for the year. My older brother and sister (I was the youngest) had seen the movie during its opening week. I had not seen it yet, even though I was the biggest S.W. fan in my family.

Updates Available…

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First things first…

I hope that everyone is coping with the pandemic and that lives are being saved by compliance to the worldwide lockdowns.

No offense or disrespect is intended, but I thought that since things seem to be settling down a bit in some areas of the world, and some countries are over their peaks of mass infection, that maybe it was acceptable to post some new info about my books.

Amazon.com has informed me that free updates are available for all three of my e-books.  In order to access the updates, readers who purchased my books in the past can go to their “Manage Your Content and Devices” page in their Amazon account to download the updated and most recent version.  I assume (you know what happens when we do that) that the updates will translate to all Amazon versions of my books no matter what country they were purchased from.  If you have information to the contrary, or would like to chime in with any comments about the updates, then I would be more than grateful and open to them.  Unfortunately, as of the date of this post, the updates are not available for anyone who purchased my books from Amazon.jp here in Japan where I live.  Sorry about that.  I hope it changes.  Perhaps it just takes time for word to spread throughout the entire Amazon kingdom.  That is completely understandable considering the current situation.

As mentioned in previous posts, after I published my first novel, I revisited both my nonfiction book and my short story.  Basic technical changes were made, but I made no changes to the stories.  I just updated and improved the appearance, format and user-friendliness of the books.  I changed some of the front matter to back matter, and made the layout and flow more consistent across all three books.  I also reformatted the photos in my March 11, 2011 nonfiction book among other changes.  I feel that the changes make for a much better reading experience overall.

The free updates are my gift to the readers of my books.  Thank you all very much.  I hope that you will enjoy the improvements.  For those of you who have not yet read my books, then be assured that you will be getting the most current editions and the best possible reading experience that I can offer at this time.  Thank you for your future patronage.

Again, please forgive my selfish post at such a difficult time as this.

I ask your continued prayers for the world.  We are all in this together regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, political ideology, socioeconomic status or income.  Hang in there, everybody.

 

 

 

 

Good Friday

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On this sacred day, amid all of the chaos, uncertainty, suffering and fear…I ask that you remember HIS sacrifice for us all.

May we all have a blessed Easter.

“A Day of Horror: The March 11, 2011, Japan Earthquake – A Foreigner’s Perspective” (4th Edition) Now Available!

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Lessons learned from writing and editing my first novel To Sleep in the Ground motivated me to revisit my older stories.  A Day of Horror:  The March 11, 2011, Japan Earthquake is my only nonfiction book and the very first book that I self-published.

And was I ever green!  The old cliché that ‘the more you write, the more you learn’ (or something like that) is true.  I cleaned up the grammar and punctuation, and eliminated many redundancies in the story.  The fourth and latest edition is by far the best version of the book.  It’s a better reading experience overall.

The book contains personal e-mails that I wrote to family and friends in America, keeping them updated on the situation in Japan in the days, weeks and months following the initial quake. Photos of the damage to the city in Japan where I live are included, as are photos of one of the port cities devastated by the ensuing tsunami.

If you are interested in how the events of that day unfolded and what it was like to experience the fourth largest earthquake in recorded human history, as well as one of the worst nuclear disasters the modern age has seen, then I encourage you to check it out.  I hope that you find it informative and educational.  All of my books are available through Amazon.

In these volatile times of natural and man-made threats to our existence, parallels can be drawn between current events and the disasters and crisis of the past.  Lessons can be learned.

Thanks for reading,

Brad

The DiVacci Curse…Now Revised and Republished!

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I’m happy to announce that my story The DiVacci Curse has been revised.  The latest edition is available on Amazon.  As mentioned in last week’s post, I had some spare time after publishing my first novel and decided to revisit my short story (the first bit of fiction that I published).

The plot remains intact, but I cleaned up aspects of the narrative and got rid of many unnecessary adverbs and repetitive words.  The story is polished and the pacing flows more smoothly.  I think that the overall readability is better, too.  I hope that readers find it scarier, darker and more enjoyable.

Thanks for reading and please check out the link below!

To Revise or Not to Revise?

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Now that my first novel is self-published, I’ve had a little free time to contemplate other things.  While editing it, I realized that I had made errors with the short story that I published in 2016.  The DiVacci Curse was the first work of fiction that I self-published.  The errors ranged from spelling issues to overused words and unnecessary adverbs; common mistakes that many first-time writers make.  I’m now in the process of revisiting my short story and making appropriate revisions that I think will improve its pace and overall readability.

Some authors do not like the idea of editing and republishing their work.  Once it’s done and published, then they wish it be left alone and judged as is.  After all, would you change the Mona Lisa or rewrite the Bible?  Of course not.  As we’ve seen, Hollywood has a penchant for changing the classics, and not always with positive results.  But I’m not talking about writing screenplays (although I have dabbled in that area).  I am talking about crafting novels and stories, a different beast altogether.

I suppose if you are fortunate enough to be published with a major publishing house that has taken the time and money to promote your work successfully, then it may seem unnecessary to revise your story.  But the wonderful world of self-publishing is changing the dynamics of the publishing system, bucking the ingrained trends and creating its own rules and standards.

I am not tinkering with the plot of The DiVacci Curse.  That will remain as is, so no worries there.  My intention is to revise and republish…and to not revisit the story again unless I make further catastrophic errors with spelling and grammar, etc.  I don’t expect that to happen the second time around though.  I wouldn’t want to edit and revise any story indefinitely.  That’s counterproductive and not logical.

I like the idea that I can go back and change aspects of the story to make it more entertaining (or not).  Of course, whether those changes will indeed improve the story is not ultimately up to me but in the minds of the readers.  I’ll let them be the judge.

I learned a great deal from writing my first novel.  I hope that it has made me a better writer.  I hope that I continue learning and improving and finding my voice as they say.

I will post an update when my short story is revised and republished, so be sure to check back.  Thanks for reading.