Thursday, February 2, 2017

TV Review - The Shannara Chronicles

Around the House
For those of you lucky enough to be enjoying warmth this time of year, I want to tell you that I am freezing in Chicago.  I am looking forward to the Spring getting here sooner rather than letter.  Since it is so cold outside, I have been writing non-stop and working on editing Hunted still.  I am excited for a fantastic second edition to come out by the Spring for everyone.  I am lucky enough to have my kitties and fiance to keep me warm on these cold Winter Nights.

My Thoughts


So this recommendation came up while I was looking for shows that were like the Magicians.  Which I have to say is an absolutely amazing show.  Mind you I was a bit concerned seeing that this was coming from MTV.  They are not know for quality programming, but I figured why not.  It couldn't be all bad could it.  I have to say I was wrong;  it was amazing.  The visuals were stunning, the story line was compelling, and the characters where definitely 3 dimensional.  I now have the original book series on my reading list, but I have to get caught up in the pile of books I have first.

The series premise is that about a 1000 years after the fall of mankind, Elves have returned to the world.  Magic lays around every corner hidden in secret and the world has fallen back to a time of mystery and nature.  A princess steps out of her bonds to fight against the death of the tree that protects all the people in the former US from the demon horde.  As the demons make their way back into our world, magic is reawakened and the quest to save all beings.  It really shows how a common focus can bring together all types of people whether they are Elf, Human, or Gnome.  I am greatly looking forward to seeing what season two has in store of us.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.  They just missed the 5th star because the while we get thrust into the world it takes an episode to truly understand everything that is going on.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Outlook is Bleak My Friends - Yet there is always Hope!

I sit at my desk reading the news and wondering where everyone has placed their minds.  I look at friends turning on each other over differing points of view that just yesterday would have been ignored.  I find myself scared by the unknown for the first time in history.  I look at social media, and I see the waves of decent flowing freely.  Families are tearing at the seems and friends are turning their backs on each other by just click a button.  People that normally are strong law abiding individuals are rallying together to cause destruction and conflict.

It makes me think back to a class I paid attention to because of the teacher who taught it.  A woman teaching me World History at Buffalo Grove High School in the 1990's, Ms. Wilson.  She was a love black woman who wanted to bring everyone together by teaching how being separated allow the darkness to get into our lives.  If she was to read this today she would probably not realize what she was saying.  She treated everyone like a star in the class room, and her lessons did not fall on deaf ears, at least we me.

I look at the radically changing world today.  I am scared that I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day.  Will violence I am reading about in Europe, the Southern US, or Middle East find its way to my door step because I am different from those around me.  What most people don't realize is that we are all different.  We all have different races, cultures, and beliefs.  These differences are not something we chose but were breed into us by genetics or the culture that we love.

Tonight, I got involved in an online dispute to support my cousin who is scared for her son.  He looks different that she is because his father was not born in the U.S.  I felt bad for her as she argued with her aunt about her beliefs in need to protect her family.  So I stood up and shared how I was scared of ending up in a concentration camp being forced to go through a therapy that someone thought I needed because I am gay.  Yes, I am gay, and I am proud.  I look across the table and see my fiance and wonder if we will still be allowed to get married.  If one of us gets sick will we be allowed to stand at each other's bed side and make the hard choices, or will they be left to someone else because we are thought of as less.  I wonder about this a lot since the election as been about more than the good of the government, it has been about the good of the people in the nation.

From reading this you may think I stand as a Hilary Supporter.  I want you to understand I felt that while standing in the voting booth I was choosing between two devils.  The question I had was who was going to hurt the ones I love more.   I chose to vote for the first time in my life to protect those around me.  My vote did not make a difference since I am just once person in a state I knew would go to Hillary.  As long as Electoral College votes stand that is how it will be in the U.S. while the old guard holds on to power.  Someday a change will come and sweep the nation.  I just wonder if I will be hear to see it.

A close friend of mine lost family in the Holocaust.  I wonder if the U.S. will be the next grounds of a World War where we lose so many good people.  No, I do not think Trump will cause this.  I think he is just the right figure head to move it to the front of the stage.  Hate has always been in this country.  From the destruction of the Native Americans, to the slavery and repression of the African American, the Asian Interment Camps, to now the the discrimination of the Homosexuals and Muslims that live within the boarders of our nation..  The sad part is not one of these groups has rebounded to being completely equal in every respect.  What will cause the sweeping change the breaks this cycle in this country.  What will be the reason that we lose millions of people only to be left broke and forced to rebuild?

The amazing thing is, we don't have to be in that situation.  We can unite and put a stop to it all.  We can stand arm in arm and tell those that believe they have the power that it is wrong.  How do we tell them?  Well we start at the very thing that puts all people in power, we stop listening.  Then we take away the method they use to fuel them, the money.  Finally, we band together and find those that will listen to us and make them stop.  If they will not listen we make them by sharing our thoughts and screaming into the void until someone hears us.

So I challenge all of you.  If you hear hate, discrimination, or violence you take the power away.  You stop watching that channel.  You stop buying that product, You stop giving them what they need to fuel what they want.  You take your power back and let them through your actions that it is not acceptable.  And most important of all you vote every chance you get.  Vote for what you believe in.  Do not vote for the party because you like its ideas, you vote for the person and how they will represent you.  If they are not voting the way you like, give you vote to someone else.  If they are getting sponsored by corporations, people, or groups that do not support your beliefs, give you vote to the person that will. About 45% (depending on the new source) of people that are able to vote choice to be silent.  If each of those people stood up and voted for the person they believe in - even if it was by write in - then we would have a different turn out in the world.  The power would shift to those who remained silent.  Never be silent.  Never let someone take your voice.  Even if you have to cross an ocean to be heard, to find your safe place, always be heard by checking the box you believe in the most.

Monday, November 7, 2016

TV Review: Marvels Luke Cage

Around the House
I hate when the time changes.  I messes with my internal clock and sends the cats into crazy town.  I could use another day off to adjust, but the office calls and I must submit myself to a day of turmoil.  I am kidding I really do love my job, but I could still use more sleep after Bella screaming her head off yesterday morning.  It was nice that I was created with Calli, Henny, and Ez all snuggled up this morning.  Calli was holding Ez's tail while he flomped for love.

Not much to say on the book front.  I am still writing and editing as always.  Cursed goes live next week so get your copy ordered from your favorite vendor.  Hunted is still being edited, my editor is tearing it apart.  We are about 1/2 way through.  So I am hoping that it will all be closed up by the holidays.

My Thoughts
Well I have to say that if you didn't watch Jessica Jones before jumping into Luke Cage you might feel better about the start of the series than I did.  I was rather confused at first because I had forgotten some of small details that happened in Jessica Jones, so I was very confused on what was happening until I went back and read more.

Image result for luke cage

Now by the third episode my reservations on the show were gone.  I was drowning in the story and did not want to go to sleep.  I keep turning it going until I was half way through in a day.  Which is a lot since I did sleep in, and I went out for an hour to get groceries.

Rating: 4 out of 5 - Only for the slow opening.

Friday, October 14, 2016

J.K. Rowling and Setting a New Table for Authors

Around the House
Now that my Ebook Dark Deals is out and the Cursed Ebook is up for Pre-Order things are really starting to kick into high gear in my home.  I am also excited to say that having Paperback and Hardcovers of Cursed available has really changed the way my series, The Chronicles or Illumination, can be reach and embraced by everyone out there.  I am sitting going through the first round of notes on the second draft of Hunted, and I have seen the final cover of Hunted too.  It is very close to what I posted on my Facebook, but you never know what fun changes will happen in the months to come.

My Thoughts
So today, I am working on a variety of things in my office when I ran across an article online.  I have to say that I have a very bad habit of reading all those upcoming movie notifications and articles that they post, or those views on characters in movies and books I love.  Well today I ended up reading about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  This made me think of how J.K. Rowling has set a new table for authors to sit at.  Her success with adapting her her works and notes into a play and now a movie has made authors wonder if there is room at the table for them as well.

Is it possible for every author to continue to control how their works are adapting by actually sitting down and writing Movies, TV, and Plays?  Why not get paid for the rights and get paid to do the work so that the final product is representative of the brand you have worked so hard to create.  The only thing I worry about, is the disconnection from the readers that J.K. Rowling is getting dangerously close too.  I look at that fact that the play and next movies are based on her notes and that the readers that brought her to fame to not have books to delve into.  We will have scripts, but the do not have the wonder and magic of a novel where the scene unfolds before our eyes in a wondrous way.  I have to wonder if her not writing novels first is a mistake, or at least after to show us what she saw in her head.  The directors and set designers views of her work have always been wonderful, but what does she see when she put that pen to paper and created these new stories.

I still wonder, would I have been disappointed with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child if I had read the novel and not the script?  Would the way she crafted the story and world sung to me in a way that made me absolutely ravenous for something new to read?  Or would I have been disappointed by the loss of magic the world of Harry Potter had always had for me.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

Around the House
Okay, so around the house right now is quiet.  We have welcomed a new kitten to the family which has meant for a lot of sleepless nights as we are focusing on getting her acclimated to the boys.  EZ seems to be warming up to Calli faster than Henry but overall it is good.  I can't wait for my vacation this weekend.  We are going to be hitting the Epcot Wine and Food Festival.  Lets hope I fit into my clothes after this weekend!

My Thoughts
So as most of the kids of the 80's we grew up knowing more about DC Coming than Marvel thanks to the Super Friends show.  Now that the DC Extended Universe is growing, I am one of the first in line to bash them since I love Marvel Comics so much (especially the movies).  Well I have to eat my words after seeing Suicide Squad this weekend.  The modernized portrayal of the characters was fantastic.  I especially found myself thinking of the scene where an Eminem song is playing and Harley Quinn is getting dressed in her slutty gear out in the open.  It wasn't dirty, it was kind of empowering to see the way the character behaved.


The movie did a fantastic job tying it back to Batman v. Superman (which I havent seen yet) as well as introducing characters that could be long time villains into the mix in a fun and festive way.  It makes me want to yell over at Marvel and ask them where the Thunderbolts are.  DC may actually have a fighting chance now.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

(UN) Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Around the House
I am currently on the road traveling.  I am missing the family a lot tonight, since this week long trip is the longest I have been on since the Jerry and the Boyos came to live with me.  I am thinking of them a lot especially as I curl up to sleep and look at the edits for Cursed sitting next to me on the desk of my hotel room.  It doesn't help that the temperature in Houston is so unbelievably hot right now.  I do  not recommend spending August in Houston when you are not out having fun.

My Thoughts
I had to think hard about how to right this review.  Would I right a review on the play I haven't seen, the script I just read, or a book that is the next installment in the Harry Potter franchise.  That is when I thought of something my Editor said to me when I first talked about getting this book, "Shakespeare should be seen and not read."  He of course is not the only person that has ever said this to me.  I have had teachers and professors say the same.  They always recommended after reading the work in class that we watch the movie or play version that they recommended so that we could full understand what we had read.  Now I find my self thinking about the same thing as I look at the book sitting on the night stand of my hotel room.

Image result for Harry Potter and the cursed child book

Like many of you, the first book I feel in love with and opened the door to literature for me was Harry Potter.  While unlike most it was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets since I had just seen the first movie.  I had not wanted to see the movie, but my best friend and fellow author Katrina Rue insisted that I see it.  So I finally gave in.  I remember asking her questions through out the movie until I had annoyed her so much that she looked at me and said "Just read the damn book I bought you."

Now here I am looking at that last installment and thinking about how to review it for everyone.  Like many of the world that have read the script without seeing the play, I felt a bit disappointed and lost.  I was also annoyed to see that people other than J.K. Rowling had touched my favorite character.  Then I realized that what I read is meant to be watched, so I need to look at it with new eyes.  As a reader I had to realize that we are missing what makes the world of Harry Potter so wonderful, Rowling's fantastic way of describing the world through the eyes of the character we have loved.  We truly got to see inside each of the characters.  As I realized this I remembers something I read about the play, "Based on an original story written by J.K. Rowling."  Now I want to see where that story is, what it says, and how it meets with the play, because the way she writes a world is what we need for the final tale of Harry's adventure.  We need to see how all the characters work to bring the story together that we don't get from watching the movie, reading the script, or watching the play.  We need to see it through the words as they flow from her.

So I find that I can not rate this book as I would any other.  I must rate it in the media that it is.  As a script, I can see how this is an amazing story that like the rest of the books touch parts of the story that we thought did not really matter.  We see a return to the Tri-Wizard Tournament, the weird relationship Voldemort had with his followers, and the use of a magical item that is unexpected since Granger was always such a good girl.  The part of the story that truly touched me the most was the theme that even a good character is flawed and a bad character isn't just evil they are real people.

As a reader I am going to reach out to J.K. Rowling and ask for the following, please give us the book or three that the Cursed Child is meant to be.  Bring us deeply into the world of Hogwarts and the Ministry again by having us meet the characters we love, see with in their heads, and feel what they feel through how you have them react to the most beautiful scenes you craft.  When adding to the Wizarding World in the future with the new movies on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, remember we want the story in the way you would have told it on paper and ink.  Give your devoted readers what they desire most.  A book to wrap out hands around and hold though out the day and night.

Rating: 3 out 5 (script)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

TV Show Review: Orange is the New Black Season 4

Around the House
I am nearing the end of processing the edits from my new editor on Cursed and Dark Deals.  I am looking forward to getting these complete.  I look forward to seeing what everyone things about the updates to the books as well as the new stories.  Additionally, Twisted is about half way done finally.  I have some great new characters coming out.  I can't wait to see what everyone things of them.

My Thoughts
I have watched Orange is the New Black since it first appeared on Netflix.  I was so fascinated by the story of Piper that I actually looked into the original Piper to see what the story was about.  I found the story of a woman who made youthful indiscretions ending up in prison for 15 months to be very interesting.  The first three seasons was captivating, but now that we have gotten to the fourth season it seems that the show has lost some of its sparkle.  

The story has moved away from the story of Piper and her family and is focusing more on the prison as a whole.  While that can be interesting it feels like something is missing from the joy of the show.  The show is also getting to be a bit unbelievable on the time line.  With a 15 month sentence that Piper only served 13 months, you have to wonder about the time line of the show.  Even if every episode is a week at prison to ensure the story telling that would only leave Piper with 4 more episodes in prison.  While I enjoy the the back stories and what happens next of the characters in lockup, I want to see what would happen next for Piper's story.  How she goes back to her normal life and tries to put her life back together after her stint in prison.

But that is not what the season is showing us.  It is showing us a lost group of women where we are not really getting deep inside of them.  We are just getting a glimpse at the life and crimes of each of these in woman in a way that is supposed to make us feel bad for them as opposed to showing a variety of crimes.  Additionally, learning more about the guards lives feels contrived, since we do not want to feel sorry for them as a watcher.  We want to despise them for the treatment of the inmates.  I am tired of the story of the guard staff.

On the death of loved characters, especially the loved Poussey, is hard for us to deal with since we are made to love her and her death seems unwarranted.  To kill a characters for an emotional pull is not what the show needs to keep us invested.  It needs us to want to be involved in the stories and only have death for a reason.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars