Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A very nice return to form by Robert Treskillard in the last book of the Merlin Spiral. Gone are the frequent, confusing visions and dreams, and while dreams and visions are still found they are well-placed, make absolute sense, and progress the plot.

Which is good, because extremely dire times are upon Britain: a withering drought has stricken the land. The Picti are raiding to the north, the Saxons are gobbling up chunks of Britain, and what little of the country that is still in British lands are held by the man who murdered the rightful king, Uther.

Of course Arthur has no idea of his royal legacy, and in fact believes that Merlin is his father. Oh how things are going to change, especially since Morgana’s plan is finally coming into effect.

Merlin’s Nightmare is a tense journey from beginning to end, and Merlin is constantly dealing with fear and the many forms it takes to attack him.

I loved the use of characters from old to new (especially one raven-feather wearing prophetess that I hope to see more of) and the use of the landscape.

If I had any critiques, the ending felt a little out of place with the rest of the book and I didn’t get a definitive ending, the ending just felt like set up for the next book. All in all however, a very fine book that I am glad I read and I can’t wait to read the first book in the Pendragon Spiral!

The last movie in the Night at the Museum trilogy was significant in that it was the last live-action film that Robin Williams was in. It was also the second-to-last film that Mickey Rooney performed in as well.

It was nice seeing these two legends one last time, and it was nice seeing Secret of the Tomb return to the more wonder-filled and smaller scale story style of the original movie.

It’s a fun family comedy that most can appreciate, but I realize that it’s not for everyone, and it is by no means an Oscar-worthy film…but it does what it is supposed to, which is to make you laugh and to make you marvel just a little bit at the wondrous world we live in.

If you want my full thoughts on Secret of the Tomb, and the Night at the Museum series as a whole, check out my video on Youtube: Review of Secret of the Tomb

Review of Raving Fans

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

Raving fans is a customer service book quite unlike any other. It’s fantastical take and humor on a usually boring subject makes the book an interesting read. We follow around a newly hired Area Manager as he learns the three secrets of customer service from friends of his Fairy Godmother, Charlie. I told you it was a fantastical take on customer service.

The book is written in a very easy to read and understand style. I would say, depending on how fast you read, you will finish this book in about 2-3 hours and you will be entertained all the way. I can honestly say that this is the only customer service book I have read that has made me laugh out loud.

The only thing keeping this book from getting five stars is that it is extremely overpriced at retail price, but the more important thing is that this book does show it’s age in a spot or two. The book is 25 years old, and despite it being continually in print during that time, the authors have not addressed the major changes in purchasing practices of the public in the present. I’ll agree, most of the things concerning customer service have stayed the same but this book could do with a fresh coat of paint to address new purchasing patterns…otherwise Raving Fans will truly cease to be revolutionary.

If you want my more in-depth thoughts on the book, please check out my video review at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIz7w…

Review of Star Wars: Aftermath

Posted: November 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

Aftermath is Disney’s attempt to bridge the gap between Episode 6 and 7, it even has the annoying “Journey to The Force Awakens” banner on it. Fortunately, this is about is bad at it gets, and we are given a fairly interesting story with decent enough tension.

Fan favorite Wedge Antilles gets the ball rolling, and we even see Rae Sloan, but the book is about the new characters. The new characters are pretty well developed and I was emotionally invested in them, and the premise is interesting enough: save Wedge, reconcile mother and son, and capture high level Imperials having a secret meeting.

Aftermath follows this simple formula and does it without any of the typical corniness of Star Wars books, which is something I had not experienced in a Star Wars novel before, so I tip my hat to you, Chuck Wendig. Where I do not tip my hat, is some of the ham-handed insertion of a sensitive subject that felt that Wendig was forcing it into the story. And while the author succeeded once with its implementaiton, the other two times fell absolutely flat.

Aftermath is a fairly solid book that has enough pitfalls to prevent it from being a really good book.
If you want my full thoughts on the book, check out my reveiw at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_B7S…

The Promise begins where season 3 of Avatar the Last Airbender left off. For those who don’t know, the shows creators wanted to make another season of Avatar, but Nickelodeon decided against making a final fourth season.

“The Promise” is the result of Nickelodeon’s failure to give fans closure to the iconic show that is loved by children and adults alike.

The artwork mirrors the show closely, it’s not a perfect copy but it does the job well enough that your mind transports easily enough to the world of the Four Nations.

The writing matches the tone of the TV series, although I would say there were a few times when one of the characters would say something that wouldn’t have felt in place with the TV versions of themselves.

All in all, “The Promise” does a very good job of keeping the spirit of Avatar alive. The humor is spot on and Gene Yang does his best to step out of the way and letting us hear the character’s voices; I can only imagine how hard he had to work to accomplish this.

“The Promise” continues in the line of touching upon hard subjects (like colonialism and different cultures clashing) that the original creators were so well known for doing in the TV Series. Familiar themes are still there, Aang still battles with his adherence to the Air Monk’s philosophy and his responsibilities as Avatar; and even though the Fire Nation has been defeated, conflict still looms.

I feel The Promise is not quite as accessible to the original demographic of the TV show, but as this graphic novel came out four years after the last season of Avatar, it should pose no problems for any original fans.

My only other criticism is the expense; it’s $40.00 retail, although you can find it online for about $24-$28 but even used copies will run for at least $15. Nevertheless, any Avatar fan owes it to themselves to buy this.

After attending the world’s best Christian speculative fiction conference (no, that is not an exaggeration) and reading the wonderful experiences my Realm Makers family had, I was left with an interesting dilemma: I had no idea what to write. Everything had been so perfectly touched upon by so many talented writers, I didn’t know what I could possibly add.

Except for one thing…

Hence the title name.

The “real life” as us spec fic writers call it, is a constant source of deterrence, a wall that always throws itself up to block us from goals. With me working a job that demands fifty to sixty hours of my time per week, “real life” makes it difficult to do anything other than catch up on housework or sleep (lots and lots of sleep).

As many of my RM family found out this past week, my job has been the primary reason I’ve written scarce more than ten pages over the past six months.

But that is not the entire problem…or perhaps I should say “STOP”.

Robert Liparulo’s bookending (no that was not an intentional pun, I promise) presentations of RM were exactly what I and, judging from all the online activity, others needed. Our needs were different, but through two simple words, we were all touched and inspired.

Robert Liparulo pointed out that every writer struggles with crippling bouts of self-doubt, even the best of the best go through it. The real question is, are you going to let that doubt crush you, or will you “GO” to accomplish the things God has set upon your heart to do?

I’ll admit, as opposed to the last two Realm Makers conferences, I wasn’t going with starry-eyed dreams of delivering the perfect pitch and landing the book contract I so greatly desire. Ever since partnering with Ben Wolf as my official editor (not that I have an unofficial one) over a year ago, I have realized how far I still have to go as a writer.

With my new job consuming vast globs of my time and energy, it has been extremely hard to keep pushing myself as a writer; and so I went to this year’s RM to reconnect, make new friends, and get inspired.

Boy, did God ever pave the way.

Over the course of four very brief days, I felt a strong urge propelling itself out into the forefront of my mind, an urge that didn’t involve me publishing a book anytime soon. It was an urge that finally saw fruition very late (or should I say very early) Saturday night.

Most of the attendees had already gone to bed when I had a fateful conversation with Suzanne Quhn at 3am in the morning (at least I think it was 3am). Some may have noticed I was tweeting rather regularly at the conference, trying to help out anyone who was unable to attend any of the classes I was in. Apparently my tweets had also caught the attention of SuzyQ, who was so mad at the prospect of not meeting me.

God had other plans, and we met and talked, where SuzyQ told me I had a real talent for social networking. I had no idea, I just liked getting back into the swing of having internet all the time. Our brief conversation had a huge impact upon me, as this monstrosity of a build-up is getting to (I guess all those theology papers I wrote still have an impact on me).

While I will be consistently working on my WIP, God has set a bigger goal upon my heart. God has always given me the desire to help others, and while “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 3:14) I have to bring the rest of you with me.

I am currently in the process of purchasing materials and trademarks to launch an all-aspects review site/video channel. I’ve always liked talking about media and I want to take it seriously. I want to connect and branch out to reach people who have never heard of what we are doing. I want this project to be a tool to help promote all the wonderful people I have met over the past three Realm Makers.

It is a way of thanks to all of you, every single person I have met has enriched my life immensely, and I want to be that same blessing to you.

There will be trials on the road ahead, but I will not grow discouraged, for I have good reasons not give up. As I told Becky Minor and Ben Wolf, I have to do this, I need this pressure, I want to do something that helps my fellow writers and brings glory to God.

While you may not see a book with my name on it at next year’s conference, it doesn’t mean that I will forever be an unpublished author…God has given me that dream as well; I just have something heavier laid upon my heart. I want to encourage you all to keep pursuing your dreams of being a professional author; don’t give up, sleep when you are dead, and keep that fire burning brightly.

But most importantly, fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. (2 Tim 4:7)

See you at Realm Makers 2016

It’s Halloween week, so that means TV shows bring out their creepy episodes. Gotham didn’t disappoint in this regard, although the creepiness was of a more subdued type rather than a blood and guts gross fest some TV shows like to do. I appreciated that, and it fits in well to the Hitchcock style of filming we have seen traces of throughout the episode.

They started out the right way, with [the creepy guy] chanting “I am the Spirit of the Goat” but escalated it when he puts on the mask and it’s as if something possess him, which the show clearly wants us to think.

While Gotham may have had its stumbling blocks in episodes past (and this one, just wait), the writers of the show have done a good job in laying down intrigue. This week’s example is Harvey. By now, you either hate or love Harvey, regardless of how you feel about him, humanizing him was the right way to go because so far he’s just been the corrupt, lazy, scummy, one-liner, cop guy; now it’s time to add some depth.

It was nice to see Harvey was more of idealist when he was younger, and observant, I suppose the alcohol hadn’t taken effect yet. But now Harvey has to face his demons again with a copycat murderer. For the first time, Harvey is shown as compassionate, profound, and intelligent; in his own Harvey way of course, but he’s finally shown to be more than a humorous cardboard character.

Gordon hints to Batman with his “the city needs something else,” and the scene between him and Barbara was nice, but it reminded me that I didn’t miss her one bit last episode; the writers really could have dealt with their relationship much better. Barbara’s former lover has the gall to tell her to not come to her again after she has been stalking Barbara for two or three episodes. Every facet of Barbara’s story has just become strange.

Also strange was Oswald’s interaction with his mother, what was the point of any of that? Except that Oswald reveals that he does genuinely trust Gordon, it was all very weird. And don’t even get me started on Nygma. Do they have fifteen year-old’s for writers, or do I just have no idea of what the Riddler’s character is supposed to be?

Any gains the show may have made in my eyes with his character was quickly lost with the stereotypical nerd rubbish of this episode. Sniffing the girl’s hair? Being so intentionally awkward? Come on! Really? Did you guys go to high school for your source material?

Having read very few Batman comics, and none of them having to do with the Riddler, I could be very wrong; this may be exactly how he is represented in the comics. I admit my lack of strength in Batman lore, but the writers’

portrayal of Edward Nygma has been very amateurish thus far.

The mix at the end of the show with the creepy and dilapidated building on Canary Row; the convenience of Harvey still being able to tackle the Goat after taking a tumble down the stairs; Gordon showing up to help Harvey in the nick of time; the great ending scene between Harvey and the psycho hypnotist; Oswald conveniently (but surprisingly) showing up at the precinct; all of these exemplified the good/bad teeter-totter nature of the episode.

I hope this doesn’t become the new norm, but as long as they continue to build with intrigue; like what did Selena take from Wayne Manor, and why is Oswald at the precinct; I will continue to watch despite its faults.