Review – The Imitation Game

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Like I mentioned in previous weeks, I want to review something at the end of each month. Since, technically, this will be the last Sunday of the month, I decided to review something. And although I don’t have a “genre” of the month, like I will be having in the months to follow, I decided to write about a movie that I had previously seen that I feel as though falls under the Science-Fiction category. The movie I am talking about is The Imitation Game by director, Morten Tyldum.

To be honest, I am not usually a fan of historical movies. I don’t know what it is about them, or why, but I just don’t. Anyways, my friend wanted me to go, so I went. And, well, I was thoroughly impressed.

In short, this movie is about all that went on behind the scenes at a British facility called, Bletchley Park. It starts off with the recruitment of Alan Turing and others who need to break the Nazi Germany transition signal device called, Enigma. All of the people recruited are mathematicians and Turing, as discussed in an interview in the movie, is a “prodigy” at math, having published his greatest piece of work by the age of 24.

The device, stolen out of Germany, is much harder than it seems and has different combinations of ways to transmit an encrypted message—in fact, 159 million million possibilities. In the movie Turing builds a machine single-handedly that will try to outwit this Enigma machine because as he says, “Only a machine can beat another machine.” This quote was one of my favorite because it foreshadows this idea of the future of our society with the advancement of technology. But, I digress. One of his greater lines in the movie is “What if a machine can only beat a machine?”

Anyways, they eventually figure it out but cannot act on it all the time because, if they do, then the Germans will have figured out that they cracked Enigma. So, instead, they strategically plan what battles they are going to win so that they win the war. The idea behind that (and in the movie they use D-Day as an example) is very awesome. This idea, however, may be a little bit fictionalized as a great blog post by L.V. Anderson located here, describes the main differences between the movie and what actually happened in real life. These real life events, and what the screenplay was written off of, is based on a book by Andrew Hodges called, Alan Turing the Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film, “The Imitation Game.” You can locate that book with this link located here.

Anderson does a great job at explaining what is real and what is fictionalized. As she was going through it, sans a point about sandwiches being a major “plot point” in the story, it was really valuable. And although it’s valuable to understand these differences, I think it’s also valuable to understand why the director chose to shoot this movie the way he did. And that, my readers, is about conflict. If you ask any writer the three fundamental rules of writing are: (1) conflict, (2), conflict, (3) conflict. Without conflict there is no tension and thus we can’t really become involved in the characters’ lives and feel for them when they are going through tough times. Most of what is changed in this movie is done to create a more immediate sense of conflict (probably why I thought the movie was so great) or also to evoke a sense of poetic symbolism. An example of the latter is that the machine that Turing builds is called Christopher whereas Anderson mentions it was called Bombe. Is the name really going to change much in terms of the story-sequences? No. But it does change a lot in the story-telling and gives the readers a sense of “payoff” at the end after the “set-up” done in the earlier parts of the chronology in the movie where we learn that a boy Christopher was Alan Turing’s first true love. It is accurate that Turing is homosexual, although it seems as though he was more open about it in real life than how he appears in the movie says Anderson.

Anyways, with all that being said, this was a great movie. I highly recommend seeing it. It got nominated for 8 Oscars which is pretty impressive. The acting was great all around and Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Alan Turing did a great job in character (even though it’s not historically accurate). Kiera Knightly does another fabulous job as Joan Clarke in this movie. Who knows if the actors are going to get Oscars for their roles, but I definitely think they deserve the nominations.

The only thing that bugged me about this movie was the seemingly random ending. The movie itself is split into two different time periods—present day and past. The present day stuff seems all rather contrived and I was much more interested in the past events and working on Christopher to beat the enigma device.

What blows me away is that Alan Turing died at the age of 41 after being on estrogen pills for a year to try and curb his homosexuality. He committed suicide. Just imagine if none of that would have happened and we would have had his mind for another 20 or so years at least. The advancement we would have seen would have been phenomenal. I already believe that his Christopher is paramount in the establishment of the computer we have and use today.

In conclusion, this is 5 out of 5 stars for me. Go see it while you still can in theaters!!! If you’ve seen the movie, I would love to get your take on it. Comment below. Or, if you’ve read the book, it’d be awesome to see what you have to say on this man too!

Michael E. Thies

P.S. If you want to suggest what type of fantasy or science-fiction you want the next month (February) will focus around, please don’t be afraid to mention it in the comments.

Where Does Fantasy Stem From?

So, as I outlined in the previous blog post, this is going to be a blog mainly about science-fiction and fantasy novels and the genre that is science-fiction and fantasy. Although, I should warn you all, I have a tendency to formulate more ideas on the latter so expect more on fantasy than science-fiction.

When I think of the term Fantasy my mind immediately goes to Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin and even Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. All of these are huge fantasy novels, and all of them different. LotR is High Fantasy, GoT is Epic Fantasy and Harry Potter is a more modernized fantasy. You may disagree with these categories that I’ve placed them in and that’s fine. Much of these blend together to multiple types of fantasy in general. To add to the confusion, here is a definition of the fantasy genre I found from www.findmeanauthor.com

“Any book that contains unrealistic settings, or magic, often set in a medieval universe, or possibly involving mythical beings or supernatural forms as a primary element of the plot, theme, or setting. Something magical is almost always part of fantasy and magic may be seen in the setting or in the plot. It may even be practiced by the characters.”

Because of such a broad definition there are a bunch of subsections of the Fantasy umbrella. These include, but are certainly not limited to,

  • Romance Fantasy
  • Fairy Tales
  • Alternative History
  • Arthurian Fantasy
  • Comic Fantasy
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Epic Fantasy
  • Heroic Fantasy
  • High Fantasy
  • Mystery Fantasy
  • Magic Realism
  • Modern Fantasy
  • Sword and Sorcery

To provide the definitions for each here would be very tedious, not to mention probably boring for many people reading the blog. Also, probably redundant you can find much of this information on the internet. Here is a great blog that goes through not only the sub genres of fantasy listed above, but also many many more: http://bestfantasybooks.com/fantasy-genre.php

With so many genres of fantasy it is quite hard to really nail down the starting point of fantasy. Is the Old English tale, Beowulf, an epic poem or fantasy? Or both? If we define it as an epic poem, which it is most often referred to as, then what would the next possible choice be? Perhaps some of Shakespeare’s works like A Midsummer’s Night Dream, or Arthurian Fantasy (as listed above) with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

If not them, then maybe Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein novel (1818), George MacDonald and The Princess and the Goblin (1858) or Bram Stroker and Dracula in the late 1800s. All of these contain fantastical elements and fall into one of the genres listed above and pave the way for other, more modern authors today. Since Stoker there has been a plethora of vampire tales and even the whole paranormal fantasy section has come about since. MacDonald was a serious influence on the likes of Tolkein and C.S. Lewis in the 1900s and it is because of their works that I thoroughly believe that fantasy got the fuel it needed to become the epic (pun intended) genre it is today. In fact, it are the works of these two authors that propelled me to write my own fantasy novel. Growing up with the Harry Potter series my whole life has had an affected me as an individual and I thoroughly believe that that series helped to foster my love of writing and reading even more.

Still, despite these literary classics like Frankenstein and Dracula and Beowulf, I think, to some people, there is a certain stigma about fantasy. Many people claim they don’t read fantasy, but yet, have devoured up works such as Twilight and Harry Potter, that, although are definitely modernized versions of fantasy, are still fantasy. If it’s not the readers, I know I definitely experienced some bias in my creative writing courses at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire as teachers did not let us write and take part in the fantasy genre. I never really knew why this was, and to claim, as it were to them, that the fantasy genre is a “lesser” genre because of those very fantastical elements that make it unique is unfair.

Anyways, the treatment fantasy is dealt in terms of academia is a whole ‘nother topic entirely, and probably something I’ll address further into my teaching career. But, that isn’t what this blog post is about, it’s about showing everyone reading that it is nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact date that the fantasy genre began. Some may even argue the Bible for all of its fantastical elements.

What I wanted to do with this post is to show you that the fantasy genre can’t be pinned down. And, to avoid dragging on this post any more than I have already done so by means of periphrasis (okay that word was a word of the day on dictionary.com and I thought it fitting), I am going to end by telling how to tackle this problem of depth.

What I want to do is perhaps have a fantasy “genre” of the month, suggested by you, the readers. I would take a vote at the end of the month and then announce the winner the following month. So an example would go like this. If a majority of people wanted to learn more about let’s say, Magical Realism, and how it relates to fantasy then I would dedicated a month to Magical Realism. First, I would describe what form of fantasy we would be tackling for the month and I would take suggestions for works in that said category. In the following posts I would discuss more of the history of that particular genre and try to find some interesting info and I think a good way to conclude the month is by reviewing something of that particular genre and taking a poll for the following month. Given the depth of fantasy as I made apparent above, this would definitely be a way to keep this blog lively and new and fresh each month for all of you. And it would also shed more light on the specifics of a genre then merely glossing over it.

With that being said, I guess I would like for your feedback on that idea. J Since we are already halfway through January I am not going to tackle a specific genre now, rather, just merely priming for the rest of the year.

Michael E. Thies

P.S. I would like to thank Leila for commenting on my first post and giving me a good starting point for this idea. So, thanks!

2015 – New Year, New Blog

Hi Everyone,

I’m back. Again. Writing a blog post. I have decided that my New Year’s Resolution is connecting with all of you more–my audience. I have felt a certain disconnect recently and that is because I feel as though I have been letting you all down. And, I’m sorry for that. I didn’t mean to. So, with that being said, this blog post is mostly just going to let you, my readers and audience, know what you can expect from me for this year, as I have some plans for it.

Firstly, I will be posting once a week on Sundays. When I tried posting more than once a week last year, I quickly tired out and I wasn’t able to continue blogging for long, as you have probably noticed. I don’t want to do that. I think once a week will be a manageable task for me to do and it’ll help you all keep in touch with me and the topics I post about.

Which brings me to my next item of discussion, what topics will I be posting about. Well, I have been thinking a lot about this. I have, seriously. What I post about is what I want this blog to be branded as. A part of me wanted this to be a science-fiction/fantasy blog because that is what I write about myself in my novel, The Trials of the Core. Another part of me, wants it to be a “how to write” posts dealing with “Writer’s Block” because as the URL suggests this is Writers Block Press.net. Finally, another part of me kind of wanted to do this teacher thing because I am going into the field of education. Here’s what I’ve decided…

I have decided that at this moment in my life, I am not an educator. I haven’t even done my semester in student teaching, so I shouldn’t blog about education. Not yet. Also, yes I may be a novelist, but only a solo novelist and although my second title is coming out later this year, I am not sure that I have thus earned the credentials to teach people who to write and how to conquer writer’s block. But, what I love, more than anything is anything to do with science-fiction and fantasy. I love movies in that genre. I love books in that genre. And I have been devouring that genre since I was young. So, right now, I will be blogging about that stuff.

Now, how is this going to be different than other blogs? Well, I also really considered this question at good length and I’ve decided that, yes, I’m still going to do reviews, but I’m going to try and focus on more than just that, because you can go anywhere to get a review. I want to focus more on the world that is science-fiction/fantasy. Perhaps I’ll do character analyses. Or maybe some analyses on certain words coined in the genre–I actually saw just a dictionary.com post about 10 words coined in the science-fiction genre which will be a post of mine soon enough (maybe next weeks). But, I will be doing a review (either movie or book) once a month. I would love to have suggestions on what to post about to, or, if you are a fellow blogger out there, if you’d like to guest post, let me know what you’re thinking and we can arrange something.

Anyways, that is what I wanted to preface you all with. This is just a starting post. I will get more indepth with later posts, especially in the topic that i have chosen. And as I grow in my career both as a writer and educator this blog will evolve and I hope you are all there, as my followers, to witness that change as well. If you have ideas for things you’d like me to post about in the guidelines that I have specified, please let me know in the comments and I’ll consider it for a post later on in the month!

Thanks! And consider yourselves newly informed and this blog newly revived!

The Revision Process. . .What a rollercoaster ride!

I am sure I do not have to explicitly say this, but, “Wow, what a rollercoaster ride.” You never know the ups and downs that happen on the ride quite right, until you ride the ride multiple times. Sure you may know that it may drop at a certain point, or incline that you can see coming, but you don’t know the twists and the turns of a roller coaster intimately until you have ridden that ride multiple times. That is the same feeling I have when I go through my revision process. In fact, it’s happening right now.

So, I am currently working on a sequel to my first novel, The Trials of the Core, this one being (tentatively titled) The Curse of Pirini Lilapa. I wrote the first draft and looked at it in amazement. It was good. At least, I thought it was. Since writing the first book I knew the characters intimately so I didn’t have to spend much time in knowing how to develop them. I went back once more through for plot development and making sure things were more grammatically correct than my first version. With that being done, I sent it off to my Beta-Readers, my other riders on this rollercoaster. After they read it, these readers/riders of mine gave me the first feedback that told me this rollercoaster I was riding, was in trouble for derailment.

Okay, so I gathered all of this feedback and went through and made further changes to the book, thinking surely this has got to be it. I felt comfortable enough to, at this point, give it to my professional editor in New York. This guy has worked at the major four publishing companies and when I went to him last time for an edit, he gave me great advice. I really needed his opinion on this novel.

Well, as he read through my novel, he noticed multiple kinks in it that needed to be worked out. More than I had anticipated, truly. So, after a long conversation with him, I had a clear outline of what I needed to do with my novel to make it the best thing it could possibly be.

The first step into this was to make notecards that detailed my characters arch through the story part he was involved in. I did this with all three parts of the story (make notecards that is) and I focused on character development and growth throughout each of those points because, yes the characters are defined, but their characters archs weren’t and that was a major problem. Actually, I find plots of stories to be rather similar and it are the characters that readers often connect with, not the plot. I mean, let’s be serious folks, if Shakespeare was stealing things from other literary works in the 16th century, there is little to nothing in today’s 21st century that isn’t borrowed from something, but I digress.

So, these notecards were made and I bought a book called “Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness” by Kirt Hickman which I totally recommend to anyone who is serious about revisions. It is amazing. Enough said. Anyways, I read this book and then started to seriously revise my story looking for places where too much information was used, adverbs, dialogue tags, but most importantly I revised my book for character arch and making sure that each chapter the main character involved is growing in some way whether that is a positive growth or negative.

My fifteen chapter, part one of my story, is now seventeen chapters. I deleted one whole chapter because there were two back-to-back traveling chapters and it became boring for the reader. But, the largest thing I didn’t expect happened. . .my characters, who I thought they were, changed on me. The editing rollercoaster ride I was on took a sudden left. And, it hurt. There is a scene that I created, well, really, my character created because it was the end to his character arch. I had been building him up to this moment throughout his whole part and then when it got to the climax of his story, I realized that it couldn’t end the way I had originally planned it. It wouldn’t do my character justice. I needed him to make a hard decision and that decision changed a way that another character acted. What I’m trying to say is that, that one character’s incident changed the whole ride. What I thought was going to be a right turn, was suddenly a left.

The reason why I’m saying this and feel as though it’s even worth blogging is because revision is necessary for anything that we do—whether that be an author like me writing novels, or short stories, or even for projects for your marketing firm. We are constantly revising and refining what we have. The blueprint I laid out for my part, I laid out in pencil. Each part, each rollercoaster that I change now, I will need to adjust to the new twists and turns as I continue to build the amusement park that my story will surely be.

Do I think I made the right choice in letting this new development happen? Yes, I do. I think I needed to let it happen because as I added more chapters and more character stuff, I look at the climax and see it being the only way out of the situation that they are in. This is the only way that I can keep most of the plot the same, and I hope that the situation will really shock my readers. It definitely shocked me. What is this crazy twist? Well, you will have to look for my story, The Curse of Pirini Lilapa to find out 😉

Chapter Reveal – Prologue

Hey everyone!

Okay, so it’s the beginning of the month again which means that another reveal in the book comes. Well, I have a special surprise for you today. Firstly, I would like to say that I feel comfortable saying that the title of the second book in the Guardian of the Core series is: The Curse of Pirini Lilapa (although I am going to keep you waiting for the cover).

Anyways, what I decided to share with you today is the Prologue to the story told from Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska’s perspective. I hope you enjoy it. Comments and critiques are always appreciated as it is not set in stone yet.

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The strong breeze that had awoken the Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska, died to sporadic, light strokes that massaged his neck. It was the grave of night, though a gloaming roamed, not willing to give up an inch more of territory to darkness. So sands glistened in the light and Eska could still see the mountains off in the horizon from the perch of his veranda.

A slap of wind hit him.

This is how it always happened when she wanted to see him. Eska clutched the gray orb necklace at his throat, remembering her present. It had come at a time like this 150 years before, when the suns were overhead just as they were now, in an event known as Pirini Lilapa or the Great Inferno. It had marked the fourth anniversary of the Great War, a war that had been so violent and terrible the Ancients themselves disappeared.

Another gust. Almost a howl as if she were growing impatient.

Why this night? Eska did not know. Perhaps it was the closeness of the suns. Perhaps it seemed only right after a day such as Coronation. His apprentice lay exhausted in his room as were the others. Eska turned around and looked at Tundra’s naked body, covered by sheets, lying in his bed underneath the gloaming light. She wasn’t pretty, there was a scar on her face and wrinkles and age took her beauty from her, but she was loyal, and to Eska that was beautiful. He maneuvered past his bed dragging his gloved hand along the bottom portion, feeling the rise of her legs as he passed her to exit his chambers.

Outside his estate, he walked upon the vast empire of dirten terrain. Only the stars gazed down upon him, only they watched him skulk through the night, guided by the faintest breeze. In this midway between dark and day the stars looked more like jewels. Perhaps godstones. Out of the billions of stars, one was his. And from that star he could make a wish. Any wish. He knew which one was his for over fifty years now, but he had never called upon it. What could he wish for that he didn’t already have?

When he took his eyes from the sky, he realized he was at the face of the Gamrol Cliffs. This is where the wind led him. This is where she called to him.

Eska climbed the boulders before him that secluded the entrance to the cave. Even though the area was isolated, here at the base of the cliff, the breeze intensified. It wrapped around him, billowing his cape and ruffling his silk clothes. Inside the cave the wind pushed him and heeded him down a path lighted with yellow moss and slimy with wetness.

“He’s here. He’s here,” the wind seemed to whisper.

Eska knew it wasn’t the wind though, it were the windies that floated by him, giving the illusion of wind. Berol, their leader, found him after he had traveled a quarter mile in and now found himself in a gigantic, spacious dwelling with stalagmites dripping cool blue in splats on the floor.

“He who can hold wind, what do you want on this late of night or early of dawn?”

The windy was a size and a half of the others but Eska still had to squint to make visible the fairy-like creature. Translucent wings and the pale blue body made him blend in with so much of the cavern. “She called me here. She wishes to speak to me. Let me see her.”

“As you wish, Guardian. The one who can hold wind.”

Berol let his mouth form into a type of howl and soon the whole cavern echoed their leader. Windies flew all around him in a blue tornado of action. For anyone not used to it they would have been thrown back by their raw power, but not Eska. The man who could hold wind only stood and watched as out of the tornado stepped a translucent woman of a flowing white robe, and blue curls that hung past her shoulders, bouncing with every step she took. The cavern was almost a vacuum now. The sudden change left Eska breathless. Although not as breathless as the first time he saw her. All the air had been pulled into creating her—Zeph. She was wife to the Ancient Bane, sister to Anemie of the Twelve and mother to Naydeia, rumored to have started a bloodline with Galan that merged the blood of both Ancients Lyoen and Bane.

“Guardian Edwyrd Eska…It has been too long.”

Her lips were lush with light blue, and her skin pale as moonlight. She was there, not physically, but through the power of her windies. He did not have time to go to her floating isle on Mistral tonight, but he needed to see her.

Eska used the necklace he wore to control what little air remained. Once he found the cadence to his breaths, he talked. “Yes, much too long.”

“I believe the last time we met under these circumstances was during Pirini Lilapa.” Zeph shuffled around him, walking on air.

“I suppose that is the reason you called me here tonight?”

“Yes. The fifth anniversary of the Great War arrives.”

“Last time you called to me as I sat alone in my room. A new Guardian of only thirty-five years to tell me and warn me and give me…” Eska pinched the necklace between his index and thumb to show her.

“And this time is not much different. Except for your age and experience. Deimos came into the world during that month…I only gave you the tool to stop it.” She walked around him, her white robe dragging on the air as if it were earth.

“The other Guardians…did you see them as well?”

“No. My eyes have only laid sight upon you Edwyrd.” She stopped in front of him and looked at him with dark blue eyes. A hint of purple hid in them as well. “And you wonder why that is?”

“Yes,” Eska admitted. He stood hands behind his back, not removing his gaze from hers until she started around her circular path again.

“They did not need the help which I bestowed upon you.”

“Why was I chosen though?”

“The Third One himself birthed a demon and only Ancient Power can fight Ancient Power.”

The Third One that is what he had heard sparsely from her the last time. Never once was the real name mentioned. Not once was it written in the history of books. Never once was it allowed to be said if myths were true. It referred to one being—The Third Ancient. Guardian Eska stood in silence as he let her thoughts sink down into his core.

“Some names are sung for sorrow. Others given for greatness. And yet there are those who are merely fit for fate,” Zeph said.

“And which of those am I?” Guardian Eska did not like the question, and knew he would like the answer even less.

“Fate,” Zeph responded cold and isolated.

“Is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

Zeph laughed, and twirled. Her gowns caught on her body and before he knew it she immediately stopped in front of him. “You who says you must learn to accept death. You ask this?”

“Death is not fate. So I ask you again, is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

“Everyone must die eventually, Edwyrd.” Her smile fell to a grim line. There was tension. And pause. Just long enough for him to feel his own mortality in the rise of his skin and the lack of air. Then she continued, “Unlike death, however, every man can mold the clay of his fate. Nothing is ever set in stone. The question lies in, why would you want to?”

“My role began with Deimos then?”

“No, no it did not. Your role is just beginning, Edwyrd.”

“And this?” Eska cupped the necklace in his hand, laying it out for her to see again.

Zeph came closer and laid her transparent hand on top of his. Somehow Eska could feel her. Perhaps he was the only one that could. He saw through the white her ghostly hand offered. He saw straight through her eyes that stared at him.

“The necklace is how it will begin.”

***No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system—except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web—without permission in writing from the Publisher.***

Living Life and Loving It

Okay, so last blog post that I had definitely talked about how hectic my life was and, well, it still is, however, I’m feeling great! Let me tell you why!

So, about a week ago I decided to start this new organic superfood product and have been working out and sticking to a diet (although not as strict as like the Atkins Diet). Well, what do you know? A week later and I lost 2 inches on my waist and 6.6 pounds!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t have been happier with the results and continuing my goal for sub 200 and eventually sub 190. I feel as though a perfect weight would be like 185, but I’m not sure about that yet. As long as I can keep under 200, though, I will be fine and I am happy about that.

On top of that, my Eminem and Rihanna concert draws ever closer and I am super excited to be in Detroit for that. I decided to not travel by ferry anymore because it is WAAAYYY to expensive and honestly takes the same amount of time as if I just decided to roadtrip so that is what I am planning on doing. It is literally a month a way and I just want to go see it now so bad!!!

A third positive thing is that I met with my graphic designer and we discussed the cover for my second novel. I still don’t have a name for the book, yet, but I have a great cover planned out I feel. My graphic designer said it should be done by mid august so that means I’ll probably have a cover reveal come September sometime. I am excited that everything is going according to plan there, although, I may not have the finances to publish the second book. I think I have an idea of how I am going to make it work.

A fourth positive thing is that I am feeling an itch to get out there and start writing the third novel in the series. Everything is plotted, so that’s good. But, I am a firm believer in that I cannot force myself to write, it has to come naturally and when I am willing to write. So, now that I am in my writing mood again I am going to try to bust out my usual one chapter per day and, if I keep at it, I’ll be done in 3 1/2 months! (Yeah, it’s gonna be one big book, let me tell yah.) No, I probably won’t have the motivation to keep it up that long, but a goal for me is to finish a first draft by the end of the year! I have to take advantage of summer while I have it.

My job is going great and I just feel as though everything in life is going well. Maybe it’s this superfood that I’ve been ingesting but I just feel clearer and better which is good. I don’t get as tired and when I am active I am more active I feel. Overall, just living life and loving it. Expect more blog posts from me from now on!!! 🙂

My Life at the Moment…

It has been a LONG time since I’ve had a blog post. That is not good. It is something I am going to have to keep more on top of, but I want to explain why it’s been so long since I’ve had one, even though I’ve had a bunch of potential blogging ideas.

The busyness of life has gotten to me. I feel as though I am overwhelmed with all of the things that are occuring in my life right now. Let me tell you about them:

(1) Book 2 edits just got done and am patiently awaiting to see the reviews back from the editor. During this time I haven’t been getting done as much stuff on Book #3 as I would have hoped (in fact, nothing at all) So, I really need to start doing that. But, the things that eat up my time in this realm is reading other people’s works on Wattpad and being an active community member there and also writing short stories that will eventually be it’s own novel when I add them all together.

(2) School. Summer school has been really rough. I am taking 9 credits over summer and that is really really difficult. 6 of those credits have been all of June and so in July now I only have one course, so it should ease up a little but i constantly have homework in that course. I need to do well in those courses so that it can increase my ability to get a job at the end of college. That is my ultimate goal.

(3) A new career opportunity that allows me to get people in shape, keep me in shape, and get paid while doing it. It is a cleansing system that is so effective. I am only on day three but can already feel the positive benefits from it. The thing is, is that I don’t have time to recruit a lot of people because I’m so busy and I have so many other things going on, so I’m not exactly sure what to do about it.

(4) I’ve been out in the dating sphere in the last couple of months and that always takes up time and money.

(5) Finally I started a new job in June. This past month, since some people have either gotten fired or quit, they have increased my “part-time” status to “full-time” and that has been the main thing that has been killing me. It messes up my workout schedule (which, btw, is another thing that takes up time, but I have to stay in shape!) and it messes up all my other schedules including my sleep schedule because I am now napping at random times during the day.

(6) The rigors of every day life. I mean, is it fair that I am CONSTANTLY working on something? I don’t think so, and that is another large issue for me. I want to be social and hang out with people at the beach, or maybe just chill and watch netflix one day, but I feel as though I can’t because of all the other extra-curriculars I am involved in. It’s actually really stressful. I think I may need to cut out a few more in order to decrease my stress, but also I think buying a academic planner will be nice. I am going to get one of those today.

So, my decision for what I’m going to do now? Well, I definitely am cutting out drinking so that my 30-day cleanse product can be more effective. Also, it will give me much much more time to do things. I am hoping by cutting out that part of my life I will be able to stay more focused and motivated on the things I like doing. I hope that that is enough to keep me relieved and if not, well, then I’m just going to have to figure out how to do manage my life even more. I am not sure what is the next thing I would cut would be, but I definitely have a few of those things in mind. I will be cutting back my work availability to not do Sundays so that I have time to blog consistently. That should help for the moment! I am going to keep you all up to date on the posts that I would have mentioned and that were somewhat mentioned in here.

 

Roll The Bones – Review

I am not sure why I am not able to upload an image on here, but here is my review for Roll the Bones, by Rob May. I give it a 4-star (★★★★) rating. And, here is why:

Protagonist and Dragon Killer Extraordinaire, Kalina Moonheart, returns in Rob May’s novel, Roll the Bones. And along with Kalina, Rob May’s excellent pacing and prose style.

In this book Rob does an extraordinary job of mixing fantasy and adventure, along with mystery. I am not going to lie that when I read this book I thought of Dan Brown, but without the bogged down descriptions. The reason I make this comparison is that Rob keeps his chapters short, allowing us as readers to breeze through the novel all in one sitting—a style very much similar to Dan Brown. Also, the mystery and suspense in it remind me of Brown’s style as well, as well as the ending actually, but since it is not overused and recycled continually it had a strangely organic feel to it.

The greatest improvement that I noticed in this book, compared to the first book in the series, is Rob’s ability to interweave multiple story plots throughout the novel. There is Story A going on with the election, then Story B going on with trying to find a murderer who is killing off consuls in the elections, and finally we have Story C which involves a love interest to Kalina Moonheart, Will Straightarrow and his actions throughout the novel. Now, although this may sound complex, Rob does an excellent job at tackling each story line and interweaving all three of them together into one dynamic resolution.

What jarred me as a reader, though, is when, all the sudden, we get taken back in time (that’s not clearly defined) and Kalina is remembering something that happened with her friend Ben. We go from 3rd-person limited to all of the sudden, 1st person and I didn’t know exactly why the flashbacks always occurred. Usually something triggers a flashback, but sometimes I felt as though these came on arbitrarily. On top of that, some of the scenarios were a little over the top in my opinion. For example, there is a point late in the novel, where Kal is nearly killed by a dragon and the whole place is about to explode and she and her love interest Will are taken to a tower by someone who leaves, Will leaves and both of those individuals make it out okay, but Kal has to parachute her way from the tower. I guess, why couldn’t Kal just leave easily with the rest of them? Why did this person know a parachute was going to be needed? Maybe I missed something, but it was an over-the-top instance that I think could have been planned better.

Now, did these things detract from characterization of Kalina Moonheart, or Rob May’s prose and deftness at crafting a story? Absolutely not. Rob still shows that he has a deft hand in writing and a clear voice in telling, when he crafted this novel.

 

I encourage all of you to check out Rob May’s website: http://www.robertwilliammay.com/

Also, if you want to purchase this book: http://www.amazon.com/Roll-Bones-Dragon-Killer-Series-ebook/dp/B00HUSDVP6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401226328&sr=8-1&keywords=roll+the+bones+rob+may

Guardian of the Core #2 – Teachings

To all of the Guardian of the Core fans, here is a chapter from the upcoming book set to be released sometime in 2015. This chapter features a unique character perspective–Aiton Paen (Hydro Paen’s little brother). I hope you enjoy it. Comments are greatly appreciated.

Teachings

“Where is he?”

“You expect me to know?

“Coronation is tomorrow. He is expected to be there aside us and Aiton. How could he lose?”

“Something I wish to know as well. Mourse is no name of royalty.”

Aiton could hear his parent’s bicker in the hallway. He had left his door slightly ajar after a short break granted to him by Professor Haruko. The noise was better than the silence that usually roamed the halls. Aiton missed the clack of his brother’s sole and the tune of his voice.

“Perhaps he is waiting for us there?”

“And if he is not?” his mother asked.

“Let us pray he is…”

The bickers from his parents faded into nothingness and the brief reprieve was once again replaced by maps and nations and provinces. Aiton looked up to Professor Haruko who sat on the other side of the desk. His face was old and doggish, drooping around the faint white whiskers. Eyes as gray as granite stared at him intensely, giving no sign of acknowledging the dispute that just occurred. In his hand he held a meter-long ruler and used it to point to one of the four maps in front of Aiton.

“What nations make up Agrost, Aiton?”

“Cresica…Epoch…” Aiton paused. He knew the last nation, but learning this wasn’t what he wanted. “Where is Hydro?” Aiton dropped his pen and put his hands underneath his thighs. His feet still didn’t touch the ground when he sat in grownup chairs.

“Not here. Back to your studies,” Professor Haruko insisted.

“Why do my parents fight?”

“They are worried about their son’s education. Now, the last one?”

“I don’t want to learn. I want my brother. I want Mother and Father to stop fighting.”

Do not want to learn,” Haruko corrected.

Aiton looked away from his professor’s granite eyes. The maps he gazed into held nothing for him. No one ever understands me. An irritation underneath Aiton’s chin caused him to look up. The professor had used his meter-long ruler to gain his attention.

“Hydro is not here right now. But, your studies are. Let us continue, okay?”

“But I do not want to. I still hear them even now.”

The voices weren’t nearly as loud but Aiton could still hear his parents. His mother’s screech, his father’s booming yell. The fighting frightened him. Why can’t we just be whole again? Aiton crossed his arms and leaned back into his chair.

“You have remarkable hearing for one so young. I hear nothing. Perhaps it is my age…” Professor Haruko laid his ruler down and stood. He turned his back towards Aiton and stared out a window overlooking the hedged labyrinth.

Aiton looked at the maps blankly. For the past few days his parent’s bickering had caused too much distraction for his studies. If they were trying to keep Hydro’s absence hidden, they were doing an awful job. Aiton heard none of the servants say anything, or any of the guards, but he sure they heard, deciding to keep as silent as shadows.

“I know it is hard.” Professor Haruko turned around to stare at Aiton. “Should we conclude our session for the day?”

Aiton gazed from his maps to the teacher’s eyes. “Why do people fight?”

“People fight because they are confused.”

“Confused?”

“Of what they want.” Haruko took a breath and reclaimed his seat in front of Aiton. “Some fight for power. Some for love. And some for pride and honor.”

“Why are Mother and Father fighting?”

“For love…”

“Love should go away.”

“You do not mean that.” Aiton was forced to keep his professor’s gaze for his chin was held up by the ruler. “If love went away, only pain would take its place.”

“At least there wouldn’t be fighting.”

“No, there would not be fighting. There would be chaos…”

A silence settled in. Aiton pushed the ruler from underneath his chin and returned his gaze to the maps. He tried to decode his professor’s words like his father would. There was something in his voice, some sort of knowing that only was gained from age. Aiton wished he wasn’t so young. He wished to be old and powerful and clever like his brother and father.

“Aiton…”

“Yes?”

“Are you ill? You look pale.”

“No…” Aiton looked up to Professor Haruko again. “…Will everything be fine?”

“If we pray hard enough, I believe so.”

He had shortened his prayers of late. Aiton found himself too tired every night and would fall asleep while reciting them. Maybe that’s why things weren’t fine. Maybe if he prayed his parents would stop fighting. Maybe Hydro would come home.

“Are you certain?” Aiton asked.

“You ask too many questions. Let me ask some and continue with our studies. What is the last nation on Agrost?”

“Mistral,” Aiton said, dismal.

“Who are the current Marquises that your family rules over and their sigil?”

“Roy Tityle, Marquis of Katarh, his sigil is the frozen flower, Blue Kaffir.  Marqiss Puwl, Marquis of Rhemu, his sigil is a seahorse trotting over the sea. Hekter Sigurd, Marquis of Roil, his sigil depicts a ship sailing into a setting sun—”

“Or is it a rising sun?” Professor Haruko asked.

Aiton stared at his Professor dumbfounded. He had never really evaluated the picture. To him it was always a setting sun. As Aiton was contemplating an answer, the Professor said, “No one knows for certainty. But it shows that images, even names, have more than one meaning. Remember that Aiton, not everything is as it appears…Now continue.”

Aiton shook his head, trying to remember where he was. “Alyn Bloctor, Marquis of the Summer Isles, his sigil is a dolphin leaping over an island. Cadell Periwinkle, Marquis of the Hart Isles, his sigil is the coral reef of East Hart Isle. Lastly is Seth Axyl, Marquis of Talyn, his sigil shows the eyes of the leviathan, Thalassa.”

“Very good, Aiton. There was no hesitation.”

“Thank you, Professor Haruko.”

Aiton could speak the words well enough, and remember them better, but words were water. His brother taught him that. His brother also tried teaching him Power. But, Aiton still couldn’t cast.

As Aiton listened to Professor Haruko ramble on about their planet’s history, Aiton kept a steady gaze of his hand which he held underneath the steel table. He looked up every once and a while to nod his head and feign attention. In truth, he kept his true focus on his hand, muttering words of Power under his breath. Those were the only words that mattered. His brother taught him that as well.

Trials of the Core FREE through Story Cartel!

Okay, so in an effort to get more publicity and reviews out for my book, The Trials of the Core, I have decided to undertake a marketing effort that I haven’t heard about at all. It’s called Story Cartel! I found it through BookBaby (which is what I use to publish my ebooks). Anyways, this is a pretty sweet site that allows your book to get exposure for thirty days. 3 weeks people can download your book for free, the final week is for the people to put up their reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc. Another great thing about this is that the reviewers are given the incentive of giftcards to places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and also Kindles. I am really excited for this and from what their statistics look like it’ll be a great boost in the momentum of the novel.

Utilizing some of their marketing (a newsletter) I am getting my book out to a potential 18,000 people and their statistics say that an average number of reviews I can expect from it is 15 so that’s good! I am super excited about this and so I am launching my book today!

If you want a free book go to http://storycartel.com/books/the-trials-of-the-core and look for “The Trials of the Core”. Don’t forget to post a review on Amazon.com and Goodreads so that you can be entered into drawings to receive a free gift card! The more places you post your reviews, the more entries you get! 🙂

So, if you’ve ever wanted to own my book, but never have had the resources, here is your chance! Take advantage of this offer and of the incentives! Tell your friends about it too! Thanks for the support and look for a post in the coming month as I analyze how well this new marketing avenue is!