Don’t worry, I’m not Finnished With my Star Wars reviews

Yeah, sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Sorry also, I got super busy at work with a new position, super busy at home with a teething baby and also working on book with Aiden James(no Vampires in this one, but ghosts, maybe, or ninjas. You’ll have to read it to find out!) and tinkering on my Faerie Punk book. Oh and writing a script. I need to make time for the blog, I just haven’t been able to conjure it up yet, honestly, mostly it has been the new work position, I have been trying to learn the new position and do well there.

Anyway, don’t worry, I am gonna get to Finn (spoiler, he’s my one of my favorite of the new characters, so part of the procrastination is fear of messing it up). Here, I’ll leave you with a picture of him to whet your whistle.

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Free Iron Kingdoms Fiction from Aeryn Rudel

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Privateer Press has released the eversion of the novelette (long short story/short novella) “On A Black Tide” by the very talented Aeryn Rudel for free as a teaser for their Iron Kingdoms Anthology Rites of Passage. I am not sure how long it will be free, but I’d recommend picking up!

They say the waters of Cryx run black with ancient evil . . .

In the port city of Blackwater, deep in the heart of the Nightmare Empire, life is short and brutal. Murderous gangs rule the streets and surviving to adulthood means being more vicious and uncompromising than those around you. The only hope of escaping the gang-infested streets is to join one of the many pirate vessels that launch raids from Cryx against the mainland.

For Aiakos, a strong yet undisciplined street thug, the opportunity to join the pirate ship Scythe in a trial by combat is the chance of a lifetime. But as he soon discovers, fighting his way onto a Cryxian pirate vessel is only the beginning of the bloodshed.

When the Scythe is drawn into the schemes of the powerful Satyxis Admiral Axiara Wraithbane, Aiakos once again has a chance to improve his station . . . or die trying.

The short story “On a Black Tide” is a free preview of Rites of Passage, a novel-length collection featuring five additional tales about the grueling trials of novice warcasters in the Iron Kingdoms.

Read more about it on Aeryn’s site here: http://rejectomancy.com/2016/01/15/iron-kingdoms-freebie-on-a-black-tide/  or just go straight over to Drive Thru RPG and check it out.

My Thoughts on Rey

Yet another spoilery fresh review. This time featuring Rey. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, blah blah blah. Poe Dameron said it’s cool just to go ahead with the spoilers but I’ll still do the caveat because I have friends and family that live in the middle of nowhere and don’t want the teaser paragraph to show up in their feed.

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So… How do you solve a problem like Rey? My regular readers get that reference because they are cultured and erudite. Sigh. First off, I need to say that the “Forced” mystery around her before release was annoying and as ineffective as the Khan debacle with Star Trek into Darkness. This kind of misguided marketing to try and be tricky for no good reason is both annoying and lame. It made finding Rey toys for my three daughters unnecessarily difficult and for Christmas and this annoyance may carry unfairly into this review. It was clear she was going to be the Luke in this movie since she was basically wearing a mashup of his Tatooine Water Farmer and Taun Taun Rider outfits. Her staff even looks like the top of a moisture vaporator, just to complete the look.

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Was it a big deal that she used the Force anyway? We knew at least one of the main protagonists were going to be a good guy force user and maybe more. The movie was called the Force Awakens. You’re giving Finn the lightsaber on the posters to be tricky (again, wtf cares?) I don’t mind you showing her staff, because that is a cool weapon, and I liked that used a native weapon she would have grown up with and been comfortable with. I hope she makes a lightsaber staff like Darth Maul had but it’s blue.

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Okay, I’m just going  to start off with elephant in the room and address the biggest complaint leveled against her just to get it out of the way. I don’t think she is a Mary Sue. Calling a character not actually named a Mary Sue is just really lazy criticism, and more or less makes me think that someone read an article that referenced it and Googled the meaning and now apply it to pretty much every character that does stuff that is cool. Unless of course they are reading my very old fiction where I hung out with Nightcrawler and we were besties because no one else understood me and I was an outcast, and so was he and we got along great, and Kurt could teleport me away from my crappy life QUIT JUDGING ME!

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Also, I am convinced that Jar Jar Binks was the Mary Sue stand in wish fulfillment for George Lucas but we won’t go there either. Short digression. Let the Jar Jar Binks healing begin. If you aren’t ready for that, at least watch him doing the speech from Taken as Jar Jar at 8:50, it’s awesome.

Back to Rey and why if you are calling her a Mary Sue you are a bandwagonning unoriginal lazy hack (from which, incidentally I feel like much of the writing of her character suffered). This kid was dumped by her guardian in the middle of nowhere when she was five, six, seven, whatever, pretty young. I have a five year old and a seven year old and let me tell you while they are cute, they aren’t much for doing laundry or changing the oil. Granted ours have two parents and the privilege that comes with that lifestyle which brings me to the next point.

Rey’s next few years SUCKED. Even assuming whoever she was dropped off with took decent of her (doubtful), its not like she was dropped off in Bel Air. It’s kind of the opposite of the Fresh Prince’s story. In a harsh environment with obviously limited resources she would have had to have learned to fight. When we met her, she wasn’t getting handouts, she was earning them, and we can easily assume this wasn’t day one of that lifestyle, so she had been scavenging for a while.

She is so used to living alone and surviving on her own, that when someone does try to help her, and goes out of his way to give her a hand (Finn repeatedly) she pushes him away until he finally reveals something plot driven to get her to help rather than a character connection. She doesn’t care about him, she cares about the macguffin (and then not being shot by some pretty sweet TIE fighters). And then we suffer one of the first heartbreaking tragedies of the movie. It appears offscreen, but we feel the loss poignantly so let’s go ahead and take a moment to reflect and talk for a second about her suped-up awesome speeder bike:

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Getting back to the “obviously Luke Skywalker” thing, this is pretty much his land speeder turned on the side and some stuff shifted around. Definitely inspired by. Scroll up again and take another look if you don’t believe me, the color palette’s too close. Anyway, it was probably not a sweet sixteen gift. Again, we can assume that she either scavenged and fixed it up, or traded for it. It’s possible it was a gift, but from what we can gather about this world, and the fact that she lives alone and not with guardians, that’s doubtful. That ride is almost all engine, by the way. The design of that isn’t an accident, and it’s only partly to look cool. It shows us that she can handle a powerful and fast vehicle, so later when she needs to fly a powerful fast vehicle, she has already done it. When she tinkers with things later its been implied that she has been doing it for a while. That scene at the end where she is climbing around like a Reinhold Messner in Starkiller base? Oh hey, you remember that scene in the beginning where she’s rappelling around during her scavenging?!? People complain that movies treat them like their idiots but then when screenwriters and directors use subtext and insinuation and subtlety viewers bitch that things are unrealistic. It goes to show that you can’t please everyone.

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Okay, so now I just spent all of that time defending Rey so I must have loved her right? Well… no I didn’t. Like I said above, I thought a lot of the writing around her was a bit lazy. Or maybe Daisy as a younger actress doesn’t have the acting chops to bring out that level of nuance yet and can grow into the role.

I mean for that is that there is a bit of lip service about her leaving Jakku and then staying away but other than the lines I never really felt it from her. From what I understand Han was supposed to be like a mentor/father figure to her which makes the job offer and her turning it down so much more difficult and heart rending. I just never felt any of that from her. I’m not sure whose fault it is. Maybe those scenes ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor and we will see them later. Maybe she lacks the life experiences to really feel that kind of inner turmoil of wanting to follow her dreams but also have the fear of not being there when the absent parent returns. There were cute scenes like her in the pilots helmet and of her with the teddy bear that were supposed to make me feel for the lost child but just failed to connect emotionally. And as I mentioned, I am a father to daughters. I am sucker for this kind of character, and she should easily resonate with me but just didn’t. And if the biggest “draw” to the character is supposed to be for me to wonder who her parents are, I need to stop wondering why I care first.

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Yeah, she’s powerful with the Force, but the title of the movie is The Force Awakens. The only other Force user we really also saw is also super powerful. Maybe its just like a tap that hasn’t been turned on for a while so the pressure has been building. Maybe thirty years ago, neither of them would have been anything special. Who knows? Plus everything these days is bigger better more powerful, so that doesn’t really mean anything. How let down would you as an audience be if Kylo Ren’s big Force reveal was bending a spoon Uri Geller style and Rey guessed what card was in an envelope?

I get that Star Wars is a fantasy film, but the series has always been grounded in its relationships (even before we were aware of any familiar relationships). Even though the reasons are understandable, Rey as a character worked so hard to push away all relationships to other characters Finn (as mentioned above), Han, everyone really but BB8 and Chewbacca (whom we can’t actually understand so don’t get to build rapport with as we go along), that Rey ended up pushing me as a viewer away. I’m hoping that the final scene, reaching out to Luke was also symbolically the creators allowing the character to reach out to me as a viewer to share her journey rather than just watch her with the same dispassionate interest I’d watch someone skilled play a cool video game. I know this turned into a defense on her not being a Mary Sue as much of a review, but I think I still hit the salient points I wanted to cover.

Okay, let the hate mail flow. Feel free to let me know all of the reasons I am so terribly wrong. Check out my thoughts on Kylo Ren here, and the first part of my Force Awakens review here.

Thoughts On Kylo Ren

There will obviously be spoilers in this review. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this probably won’t make much sense to you anyway since it is going to focus on my thoughts about the character in relation to things that happened in the movie so it probably won’t make a ton of sense to you, but anyway, consider yourself warned.

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Okay, with that out of the way, here we go.

In my general review, along with a lot of blather, I talked about feelings, so I am going to start there and get into some more specific character choice thoughts. Starting with the feelings at the end of the movie, I remember feeling a bit let down at first. At least that is how I initially identified what I was feeling. The drive back from the movie much of the conversation between my wife and I turned out to be about Kylo Ren. He’s been the character that I’ve thought about the most in the time since seeing the movie, as well. I’ve also revised that initial feeling. It wasn’t a feeling of disappointment; it was a feeling of discomfort. I’ve come to feel that he is the most frightening and the most real villain that Star Wars has ever given us.

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I know, I know, the kneejerk reaction, my own included, is to say he is the apotheosis of the Millennial generation (which is unfair to the Millennials and to the character, but life is pretty unfair). The very poster child of “privilege” for his universe. His parents are two of the greatest heroes of their age. It’s not explicitly stated, but I think we can safely say he never wanted for anything. He’s obviously intelligent, and no doubt had the best teachers and mentors in the Republic. That he is gifted in the Force is without question (more on that later). I imagine growing up, the seeds of bitterness initially were planted when he began to notice that he was seldom “Ben” but more often “Han’s son” or “Leia’s son” and the expectations accompanying those appellations. Speaking of Han, let’s think about why we all love him, and what a shitty dad he would be. Dad’s are the ones who set the rules and make boundaries. This guy is a scoundrel and a rogue. He’s going to be the one making excuses for Ben every time he fucks up. A part of Han is going to be proud that he is a chip off the old block. Shooting first is cool when you’re at Mos Eisley, but not so much at the playground. The darkness likely began with the shadow of parents he could never escape. Add to that, the dialogue between Leia and Han about their arguing and a child’s assumption that all problems between their parents are the child’s fault and you can see the fractures forming.

Now imagine around this time, those arguing parents who have told this special child all along how special he is, decide to send him away to live with his crazy uncle who is going to teach you how to use these super powers and tell you that your grandpa was a seriously angry dude, and don’t be like that, despite the fact that he was widely acknowledged as the baddest dude in the universe until he decided not to kill his son (something that obviously stuck with young Ben). At some point along the way this guy got his hooks into him-

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Oh wait, sorry I mean this guy-

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And recruited him to the First Order, or the Knights of Ren. Or both. That’s a bit mysterious. Because the J.J. in J.J. Abrams actually stands for “JMysteJrious” (the Js are silent). He succeeds where M. Night Shyamalan fails, because he learned never to reveal the secret. Anyway, as long as I am digressing, I am kind of hoping that the Knights of Ren are basically the kids that Kylo Ben hung out with at Jedi Hogwarts and are his Slytherin House and went all Night of Long Knives with him.

Snoke (no doubt we will meet Nirrors in Episode VIII), is seemingly an expert in the uses of propaganda and psychology and either designs, or helps design a pretty sweet looking outfit for Kylo Ren. Although if he were truly masterful, he would have realized the coup of announcing the defection of Ben Solo to his side, but we’ll let that slide. Kylo Ren in outfit is WAY more impressive and menacing than Ben is, and part of war is a morale – both inspiring your side, and demoralizing your enemy, and his suit is impressive. I understand and respect that choice. When he takes the mask off, he just isn’t scary. Despite his power and skill and rage, he is young and largely unimpressive. He would kill you either way, no doubt, but as shown by General Hux conditioning and brainwashing is something that they are well aware of as a science, plus the pomp and circumstance surrounding the initial firing of Starkiller base, shows that they understand the value of morale, reveals this to be a conscious choice that sets him apart, not just an aesthetic filmmaker choice, and it is one that I it is fantastic.

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Getting back to his power, we know that he received some amount of training under Luke Skywalker, presumably a fair amount based on his offer to train Rey, and his ability to kill some/all of the other students (I find it hard to believe that after Anakin slaughtered all the “younglings” (and ugh at that name) that Luke wouldn’t have had a contingency escape plan, or not gather them all together – I think Rey and possibly others will be proof of that). Anyway, he has some serious power. While stopping a blaster shot could just have been a cool effect, I think it was a way of showing his power. Then walking around with it just hovering there, and finally releasing it was pretty impressive. Getting shot by Chewie’s bowcaster that had been shown to throw other people feet in the air and not getting knocked off the bridge (much less not dying, though he was seriously wounded). He seems like a sledgehammer of Force. Nothing he does is subtle, even when pulling things from people’s minds. So now we have an unstable, angry kid who probably didn’t have many boundaries growing up – and what boundaries he did have, his dad either subconsciously or overtly encouraged him to subvert. Even in the end he enables him, thinking he is helping.

This is why he is so uncomfortable and why we like to laugh at him. He reminds of us people we see in the news, or in our schools, or on our streets. He’s that guy that has everything but brings a gun to school and shoots it up for no reason that we can understand. He’s the name that we choose not to share on social media because we don’t want to make famous, and because we don’t want our kids to be like them. He is terrifying to me because like I said above, he is the most real monster that Star Wars has ever given us, and its easier to laugh and scoff than it is to look around for the Kylos in our midst.

 

The Man Who Flew From Earth

I was going to post my thoughts on Kylo Ren today, but they can wait a day or two. I woke up to the news that David Bowie passed on from this world.

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I have a confession. I used to not be into David Bowie. At all. In fact, I kind of loathed him and his music. My mom was always super into him and I grew up exposed to him in all his magnificent incarnations. Call it the folly of youth. Call it misguided rebellion. Fortunately I grew out of it. I’m not sure whether it was Labyrinth or Cat People or the video to Little China Girl, or Major Tom, or when I finally saw the Man Who Fell To Earth but at some point it clicked with me what an amazing courageous creative force this man was.

He refused to be one thing, instead wildly living and pursuing. I still don’t like all of his music, nor all of his movies, nor all of his fashion statements, nor all of his lifestyle choices. Nor should I. That is awesome, and as it should be. He is an inspiration for creative courage in an age when the zeitgeist is as strong to conform as it has ever been. So take strength from the weird and the unlikably brave and create things that make people talk, because that is a kind of immortality.

Thanks mom, for being weird and wonderful and under appreciated, and exposing me to strange people like this all my life.

This is clearly an autobiographical obituary, so I can think of nothing better to leave you with, other than a final admonishment to be weird, be brave, and be creative.

The Force Awakens Review Part 1

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Okay, I’ve been dying to post this but didn’t want to post a no-spoiler “oh it’s great” or “oh it sucks” review because, quite frankly, those belong on twitter. (Follow me on twitter, btw-@somnicidal for a wide variety of topics from nerd gaming to writing to whatever else strikes my fancy, or if you want to see just writerly specific stuff @authorpb- this one is much more focused has much less traffic, but is less likely to annoy you.) I figure it has been long enough for the moratorium on spoilers to be lifted-if it is that big of a deal to you, you’ve seen the movie and if it isn’t then you probably don’t care. If you do care, but haven’t seen the movie then I’m sorry, you probably live in my hometown of Portales, NM where there isn’t even a movie theater any more (for those of you who have seen the movie, imagine Jakku, only flatter and with more scrub bushes and you have a pretty accurate picture.)

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This is also going to be a multi-part review because I don’t want it to be super long, and I have a lot to say about this movie, both in terms of the film itself, and more importantly to me, the characters. Each of the new characters will likely get a post entirely to themselves whereas the old timers will have to share one. It sucks, but I am sure they will deal.

This first post, I am going to be talking about my feelings and general impressions and lots of other vague largely indefinable things that make movies magic when they work and tragic when they don’t.

Let me start off by saying I wasn’t as excited as a lot of people to see this movie. I wasn’t down on it, but I wasn’t chomping at the bit. It looked like it was going to be a decent tent pole science fiction movie with lots of action and some decent character interactions but I as someone who isn’t into identity politics I wasn’t blown away by the leads all being “minorities” (though with women being basically half the population I think that’s a laughable term but whatever); I wasn’t offended either, I just didn’t really care, as long as the characters were cool and the actors portraying them did a good job. That being said, I do recognize that this is a big deal for some people who feel underrepresented and seeing the leads in such a major film is huge win for them and I think that is awesome.

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Anyway back to the story at hand, no wait, let’s go back in time to a young boy named Patrick who was blown away by Star Wars and loved it so much that he walked all over his tiny town of Portales checking the change return in virtually every the phone booth, video game, and pinball machine in that tiny town to scrape up enough change to watch Star Wars (it was just Star Wars to me, not a New Hope yet) again and again and again back when Portales DID have a theater. That was a magical summer, and I scraped enough change out of those machines to watch it by myself twelve or thirteen times that summer (movies used to be cheaper in those days-and free range kids weren’t an oddity). I loved those movies. I wanted to be Han Solo. For a while, I was convinced I would grow up to BE Han Solo, all of my roleplaying characters for years after were some variation on Han Solo (now you guys know why I usually played Rangers and Rogues!) Empire blew my freaking mind (‘nuff said), and Return of the Jedi… well, let’s just say that we should have seen the prequels coming.

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Okay, now back to the story at hand (really this time). This time around I had cash in pocket to pay for the tickets and such luxuries as popcorn and drinks and my lovely wife along for the experience. Our children were with their grandparents and it was the early afternoon showing on a Monday morning a couple of weeks after the initial mad rush so I was pretty much as carefree as is possible to get these days. In other words, perfect movie-watching conditions. We arrived early (whenever possible, I am an early arriver (two hours for a flight, 20 minutes minimum for a movie) and we had good seats, right in the middle.

Trailers commenced, and then the John Williams score and the crawl. It was perfect and then… four periods? Seriously, an ellipsis with four periods? I’m sure the originals must have had that too and they are just keeping the theme (I looked it up, they do, all save episode VI which apparently should have been called Return of the Grammar) but still, ugh and how did I not notice that? Or more importantly, how was I able to ignore it and why I can’t I now? Oh but hey, planet, cool.

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This isn’t going to be a scene-by-scene review, as I mentioned above, really, just more of an impression and I am going to get to the meat of it. This post is really just to set the stage for the following posts and I have already rambled on much longer than I expected to.

The rest of the movie was well paced. For a movie of its length it never felt like it dragged. The special effects were flawless, both the practical and the digital. The dogfights were amazing and made me want to be a starfighter pilot like nothing since the Hoth battle. And yes, I know that the Snowspeeders aren’t starfighters but the sentiment stands. The new main characters that were introduced will be covered in greater detail as mentioned above, and the lesser characters were interesting enough. I didn’t really care for Maz, she felt a bit like more of a plot point than a character, but from what I understand a lot of her parts ended up on the cutting room floor, so perhaps the inevitable extended cut will help redeem her.

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Overall the dialogue was solid, there were some truly funny lines and some great interactions between some of the characters. There was a lot of humor, and I feel that is where all of the truly great lines were. In fact, thinking of the lines that stand out to me, I can’t remember and awesome lines, only funny ones. There were so many great lines in the original couple of movies that entered pop culture that they seem tired now, but at the time, they were mind blowing. I was really hoping for something like that. I really wanted Kylo Ren to have something impressive. A catch phrase, a tic, something. His tantrums were… that is a post for another day. And that day is here.

There were some scenes that didn’t really seem necessary in the film, the giant tentacle monsters (rathtars) in Han’s ship, for example. I get that it was necessary to get them off of his larger salvage boat and onto the Falcon but the two parties that came to collect off of Han could easily have served the same purpose. I see reference to the idea that Han was supposed to be Rey’s “mentor” but it didn’t really play out in the movie. Again, looking forward to an extended cut.

I liked the Starkiller base, I know a lot of people have given it grief, but honestly, a weapon like that you only plan to use once or twice anyway and I think it definitely had its desired effect. Think about a weapon taking out Washington DC, New York, LA, Seattle, Dallas, and Denver simultaneously (though more analogous would be the entire states surrounding them, since the natural resource loss would also be significant, not to mention the morale hit). That would be a pretty solid blow to the US. The base seemed to be on a pretty remote planet, that didn’t seem to have a ton of resources or population so I think that is definitely a win for the First Order.

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Overall, aside from minor nitpicks (which all movies have, and all books, and all tv shows – my own works included), it was a good, fun, popcorn movie. We left the theater and talked about it after the drive. What we liked about it, what we didn’t. My general feeling when I left was, it was pretty decent. It wasn’t great, and I wasn’t blown away, but I didn’t feel like I wasted my time or my “movie pass”. People who are calling it a remake are just being lazy, it definitely isn’t that, but I do feel that it is something of a reboot (and not necessarily in a good way). The filmmakers spent a lot of time looking back and honoring the previous movies (and winking at the audience), and that’s great, but I would have liked some more time looking forward and being less self-serving. So, the today me probably wouldn’t walk all over town looking for change to see it again because to me it was just a decent action movie. The 13 year old me (due to the rating)? Maybe. Maybe my issues with it in terms of structure. In seeing the things they were trying to do and failed because of constraints in the allotted time which frustrated me wouldn’t frustrate that kid because he wouldn’t know better. I feel like perhaps Eve must have felt in having tasted the apple of knowledge. I find myself wondering if I were able to overlook those flaws, and be that kid again (FOUR FREAKING DOTS?!?!) perhaps it wouldn’t have been just a movie, it would have been magic for me and I would have been immersed in the universe that meant so much to a younger me. Maybe it is just the nostalgia of an older man wishing his knees didn’t hurt and he could run and hold that X-Wing toy out in front of him and see the lasers shooting out of it rather than knowing he’s just pretending. That, ultimately, my problem with the movie, it made me long for the older movies rather than the next one.

Anyway, that was my impression of the movie. It was a fine movie, but it wasn’t magic. I’m hopeful that Episode 8, will begin to look forward, having paid homage to those who came before will stand up and create its own magic and have ME look forward.

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Come back next week as we begin our journey into the characters to find out my thoughts. Let me know which character you want me to cover first.

Friday Fantasy Escape – Welcome to Arkham!

One of my favorite things about being a reader (and a writer, of course) is seeing how imagination is contagious. How the best books are really just starting points and they end up inspiring people in different ways. A new irregular feature I am going to around here is my Friday Fantasy Escape where I showcase something cool that is someone taking an idea and running with it in their own specific way.

This first one I am going to lead off this series with is this fantastic tour of a model railroad HP Lovecraft’s Arkham! Lovecraft has been such an inspiration to me personally as well as to pretty much every genre writer of the last 60 years. A really cool thing to do is looking around for all of the little touches that make it Arkham-and all of the little Easter eggs that are hidden for other Lovecraft stories. It’s easy to get lost on this page (and the entire site!) so make sure to poke around at the other Lovecraft inspired model rail road pages off the main one. They are all amazing and make me wish I had time and space for a hobby like this. As opposed to the creatures from out of time and space that would pursue me if I did.

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Some of my old school favorite writing resources

I’ve had a few people ask me recently what I like to keep close at hand while I write and edit and since a picture is worth a thousand words (and also a lot quicker) I thought I would just show you.

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Sure, the internet is a great tool and all, but it is also a great distraction and I find when I really dive in I usually turn off any internet connectivity so lo-fi beats wi-fi for me when it comes to productivity. What about you, any tools and tips you find you can’t live without when you get to work? Let me know! I’m always looking to grow my toolbox!

Read a good book, do a good deed

With the holidays upon us it is natural to think about giving to others but it’s hard with everything else going on this time of year. Or maybe you really want to do something good but are kind of lazy and would rather just kick back with a good read. Maybe you just need a break from the negativity of the election season and want to read a good fantasy book. Or maybe you are super lazy (and poor) but want to feel good about yourself for making a real difference in the lives of some underprivileged here in the United States the price of a Starbucks coffee. The very talented author (and friend of mine) Kenton Kilgore has you covered no matter which of the above categories fit you.

For the entire month of December he will be donating 100% of the profits from the sale of both the e-books and the print copies of his book, the Dragontamer’s Daughters to a non-profit organization that helps provide running water to homes on a Navajo reservation in the American Southwest.

To buy the book, go here – ebook Version on Amazon | print version on Amazon

To read more about this go here – Author to donate profits to Navajo Water Project

To learn more about Kenton go here – Kenton’s webpage

What does editing really look like?

So, I got back the first round of edits (thanks Matt!) and am knee deep in them now, and was talking with a friend about the editing process. She was a bit curious about it, thinking that once the writing was done that most of the work was done and about how much actually changes and I thought it would be a pretty good – although short – post because, well, you will see.

This is a picture that I took of the page I am editing. It is actually pretty typical of most pages, there are some notes and comments off to the side that the pic didn’t get, and this page just randomly didn’t include many of them, but there are typically a number of them that call out important points that the writer might have missed or overlooked or just plain got wrong, In addition to this, there is also often an overall letter that discusses the structure, characters, etc of the entire book that doesn’t necessarily address one specific part of the book, but more the work as a whole. Anyway, I thought it might be interesting for you to see, so enjoy!

Edit

So, yeah, editors are a big deal, and really important to the process. Absolute monsters and lifesavers all in one, and I guarantee that your favorite writer wouldn’t be your favorite writer without their favorite editor(s). When they thank them in the acknowledgements it isn’t because they caught that double “the” or the mispelled word (though undoubtedly they did that – also, yes I misspelled mispelled on purpose so congrats if you caught it), but it is for making the story and the characters so much closer to what they are in our head, and what we failed to put on the paper – and often they make them even better than they were in our head. So, with that, another big thanks to the editors I have worked with and those I will work with in the future, as well as a big I’m sorry for the condition of the story you have to read – thanks for believing in me!

Now, back to the word mines with me!

P.S. Even as posted this shot, I saw a few things to change, so remember this is just a draft…