Latest Entries »

On Alternate Universes

Don’t run off to quickly on this one, but I’ve been watching the Rizzoli and Isles TV show a lot recently and it’s left me thinking about the differences and similarities in the characters.  Same thing with the Injustice comic to the main DCU. Possible spoilers ahead kids, I’m gonna get to ifing.

 

I like alternate universes, especially when fan cannon comes into play, seeing how little changes effect the characters and their world.  Like, what would happen if the Surgeon, the first Rizzoli and Isles villain, had died in the first book instead of being paralysed at the end of the second.  That would have definitely effected the second book, there would have been no Surgeon to have an Apprentice, so there would have been no need for Agent Dean to be called in, so he and Rizzoli wouldn’t have met at that time or under those circumstances.  They probably wouldn’t have had sex or gotten married. This could have resulted in Rizzoli taking longer to cool down.  I’m not even sure how that would have effected her working with Isles.

 

Change it a little more, make Isles more similar to her TV persona, more open and friendly but socially uncomfortable.  How does it change things?  The characters in the books aren’t as friendly as their TV counterparts and Isles was introduced in the second book, when Rizzoli was still very abrasive and closed off.  While not a ton is done with Rizzoli and Isles’ non-work interactions in the books, by the end of the last book it is more than safe to say that they’re friends even if to a less touchy extent than on the show.  How would a different Isles  change that?

Heck, switch gears.  What happens if, instead of Batman, we have Detective Bruce Wayne of the GCPD?  He’s still richer than the Catholic church, his back story is still more or less the same, same intense training before returning to Gotham, he just decides to become a cop to clean up his city rather than Batman.  It could still have the Robins in various ways, Dick Greyson as a junior detective who gets partnered with Bruce would work easily, especially since he was a police officer in some of the older Nightwing comics. Jason Todd could show up as either another partner, if they wanted Dick to move to another precinct or division, or an informant of Bruce’s who later becomes suspect and gets killed by the Joker as a result.  Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake would make awesome CSI type characters.  There’s a ton that could be done with that, both as a Gotham Central esque book focusing on that and to see what would happen with the rest of the DCU’s heroes without Batman there.

They did something similar with The Nail, where Superman wasn’t found by the Kents and was instead raised by and Amish couple.  He didn’t become Superman until much later on than in the main world and his world reflects that.  I really like seeing stuff like that even if it doesn’t have a lasting effect on the main continuity.

That’s about it for now, I could go on about stuff like this for novels and novels and more.

After at least five months, closer to six, of losing interest in the middle and general ambivalence towards everything I’ve finished reading a book.  This probably doesn’t mean a ton to the rest of internetland, but holy shit does it feel good to me.

So how was the second half of Edge of Tomorrow?  I really enjoyed the part focusing on Rita becoming the Full Metal Bitch.  I liked seeing her and Keiji connect and work together, it was kind of nice to see them both having someone who understood what was going on.  What I’m not a big fan of was the ending.  It isn’t that it was poorly written or that it didn’t fit the rest of the book, in fact if I’m being honest I don’t know that anything else would have really worked properly, but it wasn’t my favorite ending to a novel either.  It also struck me that revealing what the Mimics were made them feel a bit less, not threatening, but just less as a thing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book though and would read more by this author.  Not sure that I’m gonna go see the movie though.

So, it’s been about a week and , as usual, work and life and not really being able to pull an idea for a post together has kept me from posting the things.  Aside from that, I’m about a third of the way through Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Edge of Tomorrow, originally published as All You Need is Kill here in the US.  I picked it up because the blurb reminded me of an older sci-fi work my dad used to tell me about where the soldiers it focused on were revived and forced to keep fighting every time they died in battle and it went on for decades or more.  After reading a little of it I got him a copy of it too as a Father’s Day gift.

So far our hero, Keiji Kiriya, has figured out that the time loop only seems to work for him and he’s decided to make the best of that to see if he can eventually survive the second day of the loop.  I admit, the first few chapters felt overly repetitive but that’s because they take place before he’s figured it out, when the battle is still just a nightmare.  Not sure if I like how solitary the narrative is, I get that he’s the only one to remember the loops (at least as it’s been revealed so far) and is just focusing on making himself better because that’s really all that can be done.  It just feels a little weird that all the minor characters are as static as they, purposefully, are and as seemingly unimportant.  It’s a book where everyone is a red shirt so far and the big reason that strikes me is because I’m used to the cast being more present in the story, so it’s strange to just get glimpses of side characters and then nothing.  It doesn’t hurt the story, I don’t think, it’s just taking some getting used to.

These Are Words

So, this blog has been pretty well dead for so long that I can’t even remember what my plans were for it last time I posted.  I’ve been dealing with problems in school and with work and with life in general, and I just kind of let this fall by the wayside.  I don’t have a review today, and I won’t tomorrow, but I’m going to start posting things, maybe live blog the book I’m reading or something to that effect.  But after all the stuff that’s happened I’m putting down words and staking my place on the net again.

Revisiting a Thing

So, this is me bringing up something that bugs me with a lot of romance novels and resulted in my burning out on them pretty hard.  The thing in question is of course, the alpha male lead, the guy whose chest thumping bravado and sheer force of will sweep the heroine off her feet and on and on.  He shows up a lot and, more often than not, could easily be another book’s pushy asshole who won’t leave the female lead alone, that’s a problem.

I focused on this a bit in my review of Alpha Instinct, with Connor disregarding Ana’s requests that he let the mundane police deal with a problem rather than going after it himself.  In this case it’s played as “oh he’s so protective of her, he just can’t stand for them to go unpunished” and to set up a later book, when honestly it would have been better for the pack in the long run if they had let the cops deal with it.  He seriously murdered two dudes in cold blood for having attempting to hurt “his” woman, that’s taking taking charge way too far.

On the other hand Blood and Bullets shows us what happens when the alpha male is moved from the romance novel to heading an urban fantasy novel.  The result isn’t bad so much as boring and repetitive.  Chalk isn’t a character who should be boring, but his being an alpha male was focused on more than his actually doing anything to his detriment.  As a concept, Chalk is kind of over played but also kind of awesome, he’s the Punisher but against the things that go bump in the night.

So, essentially, my problem isn’t so much with the character type as with how far writers take it any more and how prevalent it is.  Like, if I only saw one of these guys for every third or fourth romance novel, that would be great.  Seeing more romance novels with a variety of male leads would be amazing, if more than a little unlikely.  I want to see guys who’re sensitive, guys who’re there for the female lead when the standard romance novel jerk ex breaks her heart, and guys who’re assholes to everyone but the female lead and admit it.  Let’s get some more variety going here.

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it lovelies? Things have gotten crazier at work, so I’ve been away from things more often than not and, again, I’m making a “no promises” stab at coming back to the blog and my reviews. To kick that off, I’ve got a guest post for you from the author of Iron Shinto regarding her writing and her experiences with metaphysics and how the two connect.

How has your experience with the metaphysical affected your writing?
When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.

And then I forgot. I got busy, my work and the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.

When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?

Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.

And then I remembered.

Forgetfulness can feel like holding a beach ball underwater. The ongoing effort can be draining over time and when the memory surfaces it brings with it, a tremendous relief.

When I write from this “remembering” place, I find I am relaxed and open, which is always a great place from which to write.

Tell us about your writing process.
Every day is different. Sometimes words pour out faster than I can write or when I’m not near a computer so I have to grab a grocery receipt and quickly squeeze in all the juiciness that comes forth. Other times, I space out the writing and sit in a busy cafe listening to snippets of stranger’s conversations.

One thing is consistent. I do not judge myself, my writing or my process. If I do, I stop and give myself time to let that go. Then I begin again and pick up where I left off.
The stories come in, in waves of loveliness, or shards of anger, or slippery plots that I have to chase around and around to find my path. Whatever my course, I stick with it, I can edit later and I only edit after I let it all out–every last bit.

After I’ve done all of the above, I write a loose outline. It doesn’t include numbers and I’m the only one who knows what it means. Parts are in my head, parts are on receipts, tucked in the depths of my purse or in my computer, labeled with the story, date and version.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes both! My favorite part of writing is having a conversation with my characters. In fact, early in the process of writing “Iron Shinto,” I hit a wall with my main character, Mina. My incredibly wise editor, Rebecca Gummere, suggested I chat with her. That event broke open the story in a way I never could have created, had I done it any other way.

Here’s what I did:
I wrote out the questions ahead of time and made an appointment with my character, just as I would with anyone I know. Then, when it came time, I sat in a private place and had a visit with Mina.

I asked the questions and waited for the answers. Sometimes they came in right away, other times I had to relax and let the answer come. A few times, I had to stop and say, “How can I tell if I’m making this all up?” and my answer was simple, “I can’t.”
But, as I chronicled my conversation, made note of all the directions, nuances, twists or straight-always, I noticed that I felt “in the flow.” I kept these conversations up and would even have the occasional disagreement with Mina.

In the end, I knew I had to let the self-editing, judging and critic go and allow my character to tell me about her journey.

What advice would you give other writers?
Persistence is everything. When you feel low, do a search on how many times famous writers were rejected. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle was rejected 29 times before it was published. Or read inspirational books by authors who have weathered the storm, “Bird by Bird,” by Anne Lamott is a good one.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
With the Moa Series, I had no doubt that I wanted to publish these books. I needed to have complete control over the layout (to highlight the incredible illustrations by Sydney Shiu), the cover as well as the marketing and distribution. Best of all, I get all the royalties and no one owns the rights to my book, but me. Things have gone better than I could have possibly imagined!

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Books and book publishing are alive and well! However, the way they will be purchased, read and distributed is a whole different story.

Whatever changes occur in the publishing world and new technologies that pop up, I know I will continue to write and read and I am absolutely others will too.

 

 

About Tricia Stewart Shiu
Tricia Stewart Shiu is an award-winning screenwriter, author and playwright, but her passion lies in creating mystical stories. Her latest series, The Moa Books, which includes “Moa,” “The Statue of Ku” and “The Iron Shinto,” were, by far, her favorite to write.

Iron Shinto (ISBN: 978-0-9840020-8-5, 2013 Human Being Publishing, 208 Pages, Available on Amazon in Paperback, $12.95 and for $6.99 on Kindle 978-0-9840020-6-1 or on the author’s website http://humanbeingcompany.com/

Media Contact: For a review copy of Iron Shinto, or to schedule an interview with Tricia Stewart Shiu, please contact Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, 734-667-2090, Cell: 248-705-2214 or scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or http://www.book-marketing-expert.com

Alright guys, here’s the guest post I promised you all yesterday. Here’s Krista Holle on her latest book, The Wind Whisperer, enjoy!”

We can all relate to contemporary fiction and this can be either good or bad. We all know what it’s like to ride a roller coaster, struggle through an algebra exam, or eat a greasy hamburger from McDonalds. While reading contemporary fiction, we understand the modern lingo and the reasons behind people’s behavior. To some people a contemporary setting can be “comfort food”, but for others the day to day life can be a bit mundane. I personally have always been more attracted to reading a historical setting.
Life a person doesn’t usually experience is more of an adventure to me. I would love to safely experience life on the Titanic or break free from the tower of London. I’ve yet to receive training from a Renaissance painter or swing from a vine in Africa. What I wouldn’t give to swim with the selkies in the blue waters off Scotland or experience life as a 13 year-old Bali bride. Historical fiction writers sweep you away to expected places in time!
While living on land once owned by Pocahontas, I was inspired by the natives that once roamed the forests around my home. In The Wind Whisperer, fifteen-year-old Anaii is unlike the other girls from her village. She alone can hear the constant whisperings of the wind spirits and can “see” when the enemy tribe is getting ready to attack. Because of this, Anaii is scorned by the other women and is a protected commodity to her father the chief. But getting out from her father’s nose might not be easy, especially after Anaii falls in love with an enemy warrior.
In The Wind Whisperer, the reader will experience the crowded life of a bark longhouse, and taste the syrupy stew that’s been simmering over the fire for days. They will feel the damp moss between their toes and experience a good old-fashioned “striping”—a punishment they will not soon forget. The reader may even fall in love (more than once) and have to make the excruciating decision between their soul-mate and their best friend. It’s life in primitive Virginia and far away from most people’s comfort zone. We can all relate to contemporary fiction, but as for me, I say bring the history on.

I rise again from the ashes of obscurity and the internets to admit that I haven’t had much happening lately. I should have a ton of reviews ready to go in early February, but that doesn’t help us now.

The good news is that I’ve got a guest post for you that’s going to be up tomorrow after work from indie author Krista Holle. Her bio has this to say about her:

Krista Holle is an award winning author who stepped up her writing after reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. It occurred to Krista that there is an insatiable audience of women and girls who want to read books filled with stories about true love—not just vampires. When Krista is not writing, she loves to collect seashells, watch movies, and eat obscene amounts of pizza. Krista currently resides in Montpelier, Virginia with her husband, four daughters and an eccentric cat with a weird attachment to the family’s socks.

Look forward to it lovelies and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

December Status Update

So, I’ve gotten myself in a bit of a spot. Dealing with problems that I’ve dug myself into yet again is starting to get old, so I’m needing to take the time to fix it and make sure it stays fixed.

That said, I’m not giving up on all of this yet and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a co-blogger for the site. So that’s a thing I’m looking for, anyone have any ideas for content I can post between now and the summer? I want to be clear, I’m not asking for people to give me content but I am looking for ideas and asking you guys what you want to see when I don’t have a review for you. Random DC rants can only carry me so far.

Going to be doing family holiday stuff for the next week or so, so I won’t have any posts going up then but I may have something written to post after the holidays.

DC Rambling

I’ve been thinking since I posted the thing about DC nixing the Kate Kane/Maggie Sawyer wedding, but one of the things I really want to see more of is the two of them dealing with their relationship problems. Like, Maggie obviously had a thing about Kate having lied to her for their entire relationship by hiding that she is Batwoman. We’ve seen all of two scenes dealing with that and while both ended up with Kate sort of cowed, I don’t know that they’ve really dealt with stuff. I want to see an actual talk about this stuff rather than the “hey, as long as you don’t hurt my daughter or cheat on me” thing that we got before the second proposal. I want to see them deal with relationship stuff, be there for each other and react to not being able to be there for each other, both knowing that the other is doing seriously dangerous stuff.

Seeing them take a break from their relationship, not break up exactly but take a pause to sort things out apart, could be great especially with the “somehow Kate and Bruce fought and neither is dead or permanently injured” thing from Williams and Blackman’s arc going unfinished. I want to see the fall out if Toby or Renee show back up, or if Jamie doesn’t like Kate at all.

Plus, I honestly think that Kate Kane has serious amounts of growing up to do relationship wise. It’s like, they could work and they could work well, but Maggie seems like she’s the one making all the compromises for it to happen. Kate needs to meet her in the middle more. Less stunty “I did this to you, so I have to experience it myself so I understand just how bad it was” stuff, because another blogger was right, that could get taken to scary extremes really easily, and more “I know I did this and I can’t understand how it effected you, but what can I do to start making it better?” , more talking about problems.

I also want to see the inner personal fallout from the unfinished arc, because that really would have changed everything.

So, sign off if you’re out there and tell me what you think.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers