Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April IWSG and 80's Movies A is for Alien and The Abyss


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Today is also the first day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. You know, the one where you blog every day in April (except for Sunday) starting with the letter A and working your way to Z? Well, my insecurities this month are huge, but I'm only going to talk about the ones that go along with the challenge for this month. The rest can wait until May.

I set a few "rules" for myself and this month's theme way back in January. Here they are:
  • Science Fiction and/or Fantasy movies from the 1980's
  • Must be a movie I've watched--preferably when it came out and I was a kid
When I made those rules I thought, "no problem! I can re-watch all these old movies on Netflix and get some great conversations started."

Netflix let me down! Out of the 52ish movies in my list, only 5 of them were available for streaming. Really Netflix? My husband just gained ground in his argument for canceling. Sadly that means this month's posts won't be as in depth as I had hoped. It will mostly be a "do you remember?" And some of them are barely that. So, I'm going to need your help to remember some of the movies that will be brought up this month.

The insecurities come in because my theme last year was awesome. I mean straight up tons of fun with great questions and discussion. I'm afraid this year is going to fall flat compared to my Doctor Who year. :(

There are a few exceptions to the 80s rule this month because I simply couldn't think of a movie for a letter from that decade. In those cases I went with the 70's or as early 90's as possible. This means many of my favorite movies are not in this month's list. Let's see if some of yours are.


Hope you enjoy anyway!

Aliens (1986)--


This is the only one of the Alien movies I actually watched growing up. All I remember is a lot of running around, crawling through halls and vents (which you can see in the trailer), shooting, death, I think there was an android that ends up as just a head? I can't remember if Ripley saved the little girl or not, but I vaguely remember a scene where she gets inside some kind of robotic suit and kicks some alien butt. (Or is that a different movie?)

LOL, I need to find someone who owns it and watch it again. In the meantime, anyone want to set me straight? I was only 12 when the movie came out. 


The Abyss (1989)--

I remember seeing this more than once, but once again it's been a long time. A team of oil riggers are hired to help the Navy recover a downed submarine, but nothing is ever as easy as down and back is it? One of the Navy guys gets sick from the air/pressure and goes crazy trying to kill everyone. There's also a really bad storm threatening to send them over the edge of the abyss the crew is sitting next to. In spite of some freaky stuff like liquid silver swimming around, our two main characters have time to discover they're still in love with each other. 

I remember feeling like this movie was really long with an anti-climatic ending, but it made me want to explore the sea floor.

Bonus from FADE INTO ME


Abhithian--Sentient humanoids descended from settlers who came from the planet Abhail. They can see and control the threads of magic on earth. Their goal is to achieve and keep the balance between creation and destruction. They look just like you and me, but they can live up to 800 years. They can also travel between the "human side" and Ireas by an inter-dimensional portal. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Release--Michael: Path of Angels by Patricia Josephine


Blurb:
There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

About the Author:
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Links:
Twitter: @plynne_writes
Website
Google+
Wattpad
Goodreads


FUN FACTS:

Sometimes the devil is in the details. When writing a story, little things can creep in or there are conscious choices that have meaning behind them. Here are a few fun facts about Michael that you would never know.


  1. Lake's school bullies were named after my ex-boyfriends. Not at first though. One day I was editing and I thought it'd give me a giggle given how Lake gets back at them. Although, I shouldn't really laugh at that.
  2. The dog Lake meets in the park is named after my friend Erin's dog. She was one of my critique partners for Being Human and helped make it awesome.
  3. In the story, Jophiel is considered an archangel, but when I was looking for names I found conflicting evidence. Some sites he’s just listed as an angel, while others say in Jewish lore he is an archangel. I opted to keep the name because it was one that I had yet to see used.
  4. Michael's hometown I named after Monroe, Louisiana. It's where a friend lives, but that's not where Michael is from.
  5. At the beginning of chapter two, Gabe asks about cigarettes being banned in public buildings. Michigan banned smoking in bars and restaurants.
  6. This last one will make all my writing friends gasp in horror. Joe doesn't like to read. But he does enjoy writing. He mostly writes jokes. His plans before finding out he's an archangel was to be a comedian.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review First World by Jaymin Eve

From Goodreads:
A paranormal romance series.

Abigail Swish might not love her life, living in gang-ridden New York in 2035 and training to fight and survive with Compound 23. But she is grateful for a few things, especially her no-filter-between-brain-and-mouth best friend Lucy and her escape each night into a dream world far different from her own.

In fact, sometimes she lives for the fleeting moments she spends at night with the man who fuels every romantic fantasy she’s ever had. But each morning reality returns. She could just cry. But she won’t of course; tears don’t change a damn thing.

Then without any warning, a month before her eighteenth birthday, everything does change. A guardian finds her. He explains, in a strangely familiar accent, that she was stashed on Earth for safekeeping and has been lost to her family ever since. And it is time to return home. To the First World; a land of unimagined beauty.

Abigail and Lucy find themselves escaping New York, ending up on another planet and traversing through an unforgiving wilderness. Yeah, because that sort of thing just happens every day. Luckily an unexpected saviour arrives; the man from her dream-world. Brace is six-and-a-half feet of gorgeous perfectness, wrapped in an arrogance like no other. Unable to trust his assistance, and unsure which of her instincts to follow - kiss him or punch him in the mouth - Abigail eventually accepts his help to find her family.

And what a family. Enter Josian, her father; larger than life and apparently not even human. He is Walker, a planet-less race revered as gods, causing mischief and mayhem through-out this star-system. Unfortunately, there is no time for a cosy reunion, since no one explained that by returning to First World her half-Walker genetics would act as a catalyst setting forth a chain of events which could spell disaster for not only her existence but that of all worlds.


My Take:

I picked this one up for free on Amazon because I was looking for more scifi and I liked the cover.

It started okay. A bit of a dystopian feel that had me worried, but this is definitely NOT a dystopian. Well, you could make an argument that it partly is, but moving on! It's so many more things. It is science fiction mixed with fantasy and an element of paranormal.

Back to the beginning, I wasn't sure if it was going to grab my interest. A rebellious girl has snuck out of the compound to roam the gang ridden streets of New York. She hits a spot of trouble, shows off some fighting skills and meets a mysterious man who says he's her guardian or protector or something.

While some of the next pages felt predictable, there were enough surprises and twists of genres that I got pulled in. There were some weird sentences that made me laugh and almost stop reading. In the end I'm glad I kept going though. Here's an example:
"She dropped her bottom lip."

What? How do you do that?

However, once Abby and Lucy get to First World things really pick up. There were probably still issues with the writing, but the story sucked me in enough I didn't care much. I might have rolled my eyes a time or two at the conversations about the 'hotness' of Brace.

I loved the idea of Walkers and their ability to travel between worlds by opening a passageway. The relationship and banter between Abby and Lucy was also fun and entertaining. The chemistry between Abby and Brace good. I'm predicting they are soulmates.

There came a point when I was reading to find answers to my growing questions. And then the story ended. *sigh* Now I remember why I hate series. In the end this book was really just the inciting incident to a larger story and it ends with loads of question.

So, if you're looking for a new series this could be a good one. If you're looking for a quick read, good again. If you're looking for a book you can read and walk away completely satisfied all your questions have been answered, then no. I wasn't looking for a series, but I'm going to have to read the rest of it now. :)

I enjoyed it! I give it a solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Monday, March 23, 2015

Writing Influences--Louise Lawrence

I'm always reflecting on my writing and asking myself who it reminds me of, where did the influences come from. It's a combination of the thousand books or so I've read over my lifetime. Every author from my past helped shape my view of the universe and what's possible.

I wish I could tell each of them THANK YOU! Thanks for a childhood full of wonder.

Today I want to highlight one of those authors. I recently went on an Amazon search for some of my favorites by Louise Lawrence.

Louise Lawrence

1943-2013


She wrote science fiction for teens when not many others did. And she was a woman! She published her first book a few years before I was born, but her stories still resonate deep in my soul. As I've reread her stories I can see ideas in her writing that are a part of who I am. In many ways she planted the idea that I could write my own style of science fiction and share those stories with the world.

The first book I ever read by her was CHILDREN OF THE DUST.

From Goodreads:
After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations.

Everyone thought, when the alarm bell rang, that it was just another fire practice. But the first bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad, the headmaster said, and a full-scale nuclear attack was imminent.

It's a real-life nightmare. Sarah and her family have to stay cooped up in the tightly-sealed kitchen for days on end, dreading the inevitable radioactive fall-out and the subsequent slow, torturous death, which seems almost preferable to surviving in a grey, dead world, choked by dust.

But then, from out of the dust and the ruins and the destruction, comes new life, a new future, and a whole brave new world.

My Take:
I reread this last week. It only took half a day, and I was surprised at how deeply it touched me. Maybe it's my age, maybe the fact that I'm a mother of teenagers now. I don't know, but I was crying in part one and the emotion never left me.

The choices these people have to make are impossible, and yet Lawrence highlights the best of humanity right beside the ugliness. The juxtaposition of those aspects of our personalities keeps everything very real. The book is divided into three sections: Sarah (the fallout), Ophelia (20 years after fallout) and Simon (55 years after fallout). I'll try and highlight what I love about each section without spoilers.

Sarah--
There is vicious anger at the hopeless situation, followed by the depression. Then Sarah steps up. She accepts the fact she has no future, but is determined to do everything she can to give her younger half-sister something for a new life. The struggle doesn't end, but once she has a purpose she can't quit. The real question is how to accomplish this.

Ophelia--
She was born in an underground military shelter. Life for her is school and genetics and Dwight Allison. When Dwight has had it with all that he sees wrong with the system, he heads outside to warn the few outsiders that survived the nuclear winter. Ophelia goes with him and gets a glimpse of a world to scary for her to deal with. She leaves Dwight to return to the shelter but his words will haunt her the rest of her life--Dinosaurs in bunker.

Simon--
Dwight's prediction is coming true. The few left in the bomb shelter have waited for a technological miracle that never came. Simon leaves with a small group to ask the outworlders for assistance. He still carries the arrogant thought that he's better than the mutated humans living outside. He's educated after all. Does it matter that his people don't know how to do anything practical to help them survive in a new world? He's about to find out just how insignificant and important he really is.

As far as I know, all of Lawrence's books have been removed from libraries. I know! You can find them fairly cheap on Amazon. I bought four of her novels and after shipping they averaged about $5 a piece for hardback books.

Here's a list of the other three I bought--
Moonwind
Calling B for Butterfly
Andra--This is her first novel, published in 1971

What author do you think influenced your writing the most?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Review Xavier: St. Griswold's College for Abandoned Boys by E. M. Cooper

From Goodreads:
In the first book of the Xavier series, Xavier Jones, an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy is abandoned at St Griswold College deep within the mysterious Mourn Forest. As the world changes outside the school walls, evil brews at St Griswold. Xavier discovers the school and its inhabitants have strange customs and dark secrets. Everything he knows and believes about the world shifts.

He befriends Ethan and Gabe, an eccentric new arrival. Through them he discovers humour, hope and courage-and the first stirrings of his abilities. In a magical world teeming with angels, demons, shape shifters and the Darklaw, the boys meet Beth, a young seer from Ambrosia. Using their abilities and devices, the teenagers must discover who they can trust among those they meet including the ethereal Boundary Keeper, a vain messenger angel and a magical watchmaker. Together the young friends journey across a country infiltrated by sinister forces in the hope of saving the children of Griswold. They witness the terrifying First Strike, a celestial battle between angelic and demonic armies, and Xavier learns of his destiny and a frightening prediction.


My Take:
A pleasant surprise! I'm not quite finished, but I'm enjoying this so far. E. M. Cooper does a great job setting the mood in the first chapter. There is mystery and a sense of foreboding because you know something bad is happening, but you don't know what it is.

This book and Griswold College feels a little like Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children, but not nearly as nice a place to be. There's no sense of family or real protection there, but it has the same "otherworldly" feel.

Xavier is sort of a lost puppy type boy in the beginning. He wanders the hall and does what he's supposed to while hoping his parents will come back to get him. He's not super social, but he's a good kid. Things start to get interesting when Gabe appears out of nowhere claiming to be an angel sent to help Xavier. But is he really an angel? He doesn't remember things very well before he appeared and he's having to learn everything as he goes. Even more interesting is the fact he thinks Xavier might be something more than human as well.

There are voices and other spooky things happening around St. Griswold College. I'm excited to keep reading to find out what happened to Xavier's parents and what he really is.

The writing is clean and easy to enjoy.

I'm giving this book a 4 and will update if needed when I reach the end.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure
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