A Car With Personality and Power

A Car With Personality and Power

Many of us can identify with the idea that a car isn’t always just a car. It can have a personality. It can be evil. It can be a companion, an emotional support vehicle. When a car becomes more than just a ride, it achieves a life of its own because of the lives it enhances.

There lies the hook of Jennifer Lane’s novel, Of Metal and Earth. It’s the story of a Jeep.

Jennifer and husband Matt at the book fair

“It’s really about the way that these different lives are all tied together through this one object. It could have been a teacup. It could have been a coffee pot. It could have been a piece of furniture that they inherited. It just so happened that it was this Jeep. And in many ways the challenges they’re facing in their lives are kind of reflective in their relationship with this car, which is aging. And it’s all about the restoration and the rehabilitation that has to happen in the humans’ lives played out through their relationships with the car.”

Jenn and her husband Matt bought their Jeep, a used 1964 CJ5, but didn’t know how used it was until they got it home.

“When we got it home, every bolt was finger-tight. I think my eyes were bleeding because the carburetor was running too rich. It was the wrong carburetor. It needed a lot of work and It was fun. It was fun to take it apart. It’s kind of a symbiotic relationship that you have with the car. You’re getting a lot out of the process emotionally, intellectually, mechanically. You’re building skills. You’re forming a relationship with it and you really have to learn to listen to it.”

A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into rehabbing their Jeep. So while driving one day, Jennifer, who had written several books before, got the idea to write a book about a Jeep, its multiple owners and the journeys they took together.

“The plot of this book, the seven main characters, all came to me at one red light. And we came home, and I picked up an envelope that had come in the mail, a business-size envelope, and I wrote the outline, the bare bones outline for this book on that envelope.”

The Jeep carburetor, now a pen holder

There’s a surviving part of the old Jeep on her display table at book fairs–the carburetor, which she uses as a pen holder. It attracts a lot of attention.

“You meet people, you would never ordinarily meet because they want to walk up to you and grab a car part and play with it and tell you about this old car they had or a Jeep their father had.”

Of Metal and Earth has an obvious appeal to Jeep owners and sells well around Christmas and Father’s Day. But you don’t have to be a Jeep lover to love Of Metal and Earth. You just have to love stories of people whose lives crossed paths with a special car they’ll never forget. Have a listen to our interview on the Type. Tune. Tint. podcast.

New Jersey’s Biggest Comedian

New Jersey’s Biggest Comedian

From the moment she takes the stage, Big Momma is in charge. After 11 years of performing as a standup comic, Big Momma is now in demand. From comedy clubs to weddings, churches to cruise ships, this Jersey girl gets around and leaves them laughing each time.

“People said I’ve been funny all my life,” she says. “At my jobs, I’ve always been the one to keep their spirits up, keep the vibe going. “

Big Momma’s real name,Tia Williams (she says that’s just for the tax man) graces her social media and web pages. But her Big Momma persona is her money maker, even though she has a regular 9-to-5 job, the details of which she’d rather keep to herself (she assured me she’s not a stripper). She’s also a mom to her 27-year-old daughter and helps to take care of her grandson. All that and comedy, too.

“See, I don’t think I’m busy enough. If I could perform 3, 4 times a week, keep that mojo going, I would love it.”

I probed for the stories of past emotional trauma and pain that are often the grist of creativity. She wouldn’t have it.

“I enjoy comedy for what it is, for what it does, for the joy it brings to the person sitting there, for the way it makes my bank account go up, the trips that I get to go on, the people I meet. Who knows if there’s some deep-rooted secret? Maybe years from now I’ll write a book about it, but I probably won’t”

I learned that Big Momma is smart, hard-working and a positive life-force, all of which we can see in her new project, a movie coming out in August called Liquor Run.

“I’m in a starring role. I play a girl named Lala. She’s the girl from the hood with her home boys. They are trying to do them a party and everything yo can think of an not think of will go wrong in this liquor run.”

The movie will premiere on August 13th, details to come.

Spend a few minutes with Big Momma and me in the podcast episode and the video version, both now available below.

Audiobooks: The sequel

Audiobooks: The sequel

During the pandemic, a lot of people discovered audiobooks and that industry took off like never before. I made sure my novels became audiobooks and have enjoyed some positive reviews, especially of my sci-fi stories. Recently, Audible.com has reduced the prices of most of its audiobooks including mine, so I thought what better time to review why audiobooks are such a great option for those of us who like to listen.

The pandemic wasn’t the only reason audiobooks grew in popularity. There are a number of reasons including:

  1. Increased availability: Audiobooks are now available for purchase or rental from a variety of sources, including online retailers, libraries, and bookstores.
  2. Convenience: Audiobooks can be listened to on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players. This makes them easy to listen to while on the go or while doing other activities, such as driving or cleaning.
  3. Increased interest in reading: Audiobooks can help to make reading more accessible to people who may not have time to sit down and read a traditional book. They can also be a great way to enjoy books that would otherwise be too long or difficult to read.
  4. Improved quality of audiobooks: Audiobooks are now produced with high-quality audio and professional narrators. This makes them a more enjoyable listening experience than in the past.

Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy books, whether you’re a busy parent who doesn’t have time to read or someone who prefers to listen to books while they’re on the go. They’re also a great way to learn new things, as you can listen to audiobooks while you’re doing other activities, such as driving or cleaning. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy books, I encourage you to give audiobooks a try. You can find all TK Books audiobooks here.

Here’s the video version of this blog

kasey kaufman blog

Broadcast news to brushwork: Living a creative life

Kasey Kaufman covering news in 1985

In 1985, reporter Kasey Kaufman found herself crouching behind a parked car, avoiding bullets during a police action in West Philadelphia that ultimately left 11 people dead and an entire city block burned to the ground. Her reporting that day contributed to her station, WCAU-TV, winning the Columbia-duPont Award for television journalism. It was a signature moment in a 30-year career as a TV reporter and anchor. But she discovered, as have many of us who left that industry, there is life after TV news.

Kasey was a reporter and anchor

“I think my days as a journalist definitely informs my painting,” she says. “I’m looking for the moment and looking for the, you know, just that shot that is going sort of define the piece or in this case like that brush stroke or that color.”

As someone with a lifelong appreciation for art and music, it wasn’t a huge leap, after all, to pick up a paint brush and find passion in colors, brushes and canvas. And now, the sky’s the limit for this artist who is selling her work and being commissioned by collectors. Here’s my conversation with Kasey Kaufman on the Type. Tune. Tint podcast:

Three Kaufman paintings
Moved by Music: Don Berman & Dick Valentine

Moved by Music: Don Berman & Dick Valentine

Music has been a lifelong pursuit for Don Berman and Dick Valentine, the Yin and Yang of free improvisation in Seattle these days. Their brand of music, original, striking and moving, plays to connoisseurs of free expression whose musical tastes transcend traditional boundaries. Both cite as a major influence the legendary Al Hood, a Seattle pianist and composer who mentored the city’s experimental jazz scene in the 70s and 80s. Their composition Mendacity, featured in the 2022 Earshot music series Jazz: The 2nd Century, is an example of free improvisation built on motifs and a written script.

“We are trying to tell stories,” says Dick. “We’re musicians. We’re artists. We feel like we have something to say about the society we live in, the world around us, the experienes that we’re having.”

In 2016, Don created an homage to the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane on the occasion of his 90th birthday. He called it Ascension Northwest, a tribute to the Coltrane composition Ascension which signaled Coltrane’s entry into the free jazz realm.

“I used similar instrumentation but I had about 15 different motifs that were improvised on by the whole group,” recalls Don. “And the tutti sections where everybody played, sandwiched in between them were solo opportunities for each member of the band.”

The result is a compelling ensemble piece that would probably have made Coltrane proud.

Hear for yourself in the podcast episode below: