Saturday, March 31, 2012


by Roger Zelazny, published in 1970

Amber, the one real world, wherein all others, including our own Earth, are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin's blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne. From Arden to the blood-slippery Stairway into the Sea, the air is electrified with the powers of Eric, Random, Bleys, Caine, and all the princes of Amber whom Corwin must overcome. Yet, his savage path is blocked and guarded by eerie structures beyond imaging—impossible realities forged by demonic assassins and staggering horrors to challenge the might of Corwin's superhuman fury. (Summary from Goodreads)

This book begins with a man waking up in hospital with no memory of how he got there. His legs are in casts and he's covered in bandages, but he is able to get up, break the casts and walk out. He doesn't remember who he is, but he intuitively understands that it was no accident that injured him and brought him to that hospital, that something important is going on, and he must figure out what.

Thus begins the Amber Chronicles, a series about the magical land of Amber and the nine princes competing for the throne. Amber is the real world, and all other worlds are shadows of it. Princes of Amber can manipulate these shadows and travel through different worlds, but it is Amber that lies in their hearts and souls, and it is Amber they wish to inhabit.

Unfortunately, after their father's strange disappearance, Corwin's brother Eric has declared himself king and has taken over Amber. This book details Corwin's struggle to return to Amber from shadow Earth, to regain his memory, to gain the loyalty of his other brothers, and to take the throne from his arrogant brother.

Zelazny creates a complex and vivid fantasy world--yet at the same time his prose is simple and not layered with thousands of detailed descriptions like a lot of epic fantasies are. He gets to the point and leaves room for your imagination to do its thing. I love the unique ideas in this book--the vast number of worlds, the trumps that allow the royal siblings to communicate with each other, the ability to manipulate shadows. I recommend this book to readers who like Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin and Orson Scott Card (though none of these comparisons are quite right because Zelazny's writing is unique). Corwin's journey is fascinating, and I will be re-reading this series for years to come.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Doctor Who's New Companion

The companion for the next series has finally been revealed! Jenna-Louise Coleman, actress from Waterloo Road, Emmerdale Farm, and Captain America, is stepping up to the plate. Of these productions she's been involved in I've only seen Captain America, and I don't really remember her in it, so I don't know her very well. It sounds like she will be a good match for Matt Smith though, as producer Moffat commented: "when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She's funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the Tardis." You can read a longer article here.

Jenna will be replacing companions Karen Gillan in her role as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. I've never been much of a fan of Amy, so I won't miss her very much, but Rory REALLY grew on me, and now he is one of my favourite characters. He started out as a character I thought would just show up for a few episodes and then disappear, but he ended up becoming an integral part of the show and I will miss him.

So will Jenna be able to fill the holes of the past awesome companions? I don't think so, but I think she will carve out a space of her own, and am looking forward to watching the chemistry between her and the Doctor. What do you think? Are you going to miss Amy and Rory? Looking forward to the new series?

Here is the BBC interview with Jenna about her new role as the Doctor's companion:

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Lucky Meme Award

So my blog is experiencing a lot of love these days! This is my third award this month. Thank you so much, awesome people. Thanks for tagging me, Tyrean! If this keeps up, I may have to stop accepting them for the sake of keeping my regular blog posts up, but this one is a lot of fun, so I'm going to participate. I'm not going to tag anyone else though, cause I know these things are spreading like wildfire.

For this award, I am to go to page 77 of my current MS, go to line 7, copy down the next 7 sentences or paragraphs and post them as they're written. No cheating. Here goes:

From page 77 of Black Star:

            Taren went over to the console to check. It was dead. He pulled the power cells out of the panel below, to find them shattered from the impact. He pulled his helmet back on and accessed the comm channel. “Black Star, do you read? Black Star, come in.” There was nothing but static on the other end.
            “Maybe they’ll send a rescue,” Marcus suggested, hope glinting in his eyes.
            “Maybe,” Taren said, pulling off his helmet. “But maybe whoever sabotaged the ship thought of that, and took measures to prevent it.”
            Marcus shoved him against the hull, and Taren was too surprised at the move to avoid being slammed against the metal with Marcus’s hand pressed against his windpipe. His leg hit the bench, sending the message of pain to his brain.
            “I don’t want to die here, Dreav,” Marcus breathed.
            “You’re not… gonna die,” Taren gasped out. “But you might… wanna let up if… you want… my help getting back.”
            Marcus released his grip and Taren slumped down to the bench.

I haven't done any revisions on this first draft yet, so I am cringing at leaving some of these lines as they are. Oh well, "no cheating" it is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Computers Not Covered for Space Invasions

News has been spreading across the web about an interesting clause in Asus's warranty for their computers: the warranty does not apply when "There is damage caused by natural disaster, intentional or unintentional misuse, acts of war, space invasions, abuse, neglect, improper maintenance, or use under abnormal conditions." You can see a longer article here.

So, Asus owners, if those aliens come tomorrow and zap your computer, you're on your own. Just thought I'd warn you.

Apparently Asus caught wind of the ridicule spreading across the web, and took the clause out, which in my opinion is a shame; it certainly made my day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Gaylene over at Unwritten has thoughtfully bestowed this award on me. Thanks, Gaylene! Gaylene has a great sense of humour and no qualms about attributing herself as a geek like me. Do stop by her blog!

So, I guess upon accepting this award I am supposed to tell you seven things about myself. Here you go:

1. Some of my favourite non-genre TV shows include Castle, The Big Bang Theory (though that one's still incredibly geeky), How I Met Your Mother, and oldies Dick Van Dyke and Hogan's Heroes.

2. I like to tease, and I like to be teased. Games (video or other) with friends must include banter and some friendly competition.

3. Some people say I look like I could be an elf if I had pointy ears, and sometimes I wish I was an elf, because 1) pointy ears are cool, and 2) being able to walk on top of snow would be awesome!

4. I am a Christian, meaning I love Jesus, consider my life devoted to Him, and try to show His love to others.

5. On top of writing and gaming, some of my other hobbies include painting, piano, and snowboarding.

6. I think sarcasm might be my favourite type of humour, when it is done right. See Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield for points of reference.

7. I named my dog after a Firefly character.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why I'm Still Watching Once Upon a Time

In Once Upon a Time, fairy tale characters are ripped from their magical lands by the evil queen and forced to reside together in the town of Storybrooke, Maine, where they live out normal human lives without realizing who they are. The main character is cynical, world-savvy Emma Swan (the long lost daughter of Snow White) whose son Henry is the adopted son of Storybrooke's mayor (also the wicked queen). The show alternates between the present goings-on in Storybrooke and the past scenes in fairy land.

I've read conflicting reviews about this show, and I do agree it has its problems. For one thing, if time has stopped in Storybrooke (Snow White is around the same age as her daughter Emma), why hasn't anyone noticed that they are not aging? The plot relies heavily on the fairy tale flashbacks, which are cheesy at some points; the fairy tale stories are very Disney-esque, and not reminiscent of the original Grimm's tales, which I would have liked. Also, another thing that really annoys me is Snow White's complete personality change in Storybrooke. She is this awesome, outspoken, sassy character in the fairy tale, and a meek, quiet woman in Storybrooke.

However, I am still enjoying this show a lot. Here's why:

1. I love fairy tales. I enjoy the original Grimm's stories, but I can have a good time with the lighter, fluffier tales in this show too.

2. Once Upon a Time puts spins on its fairy tales, which I enjoy. I really liked the episode where Rumpelstiltskin turned out to be the same character as the beast from the Beauty and the Beast story.

3. And perhaps this should have been number 1, because this is probably the most important reason: the acting in this show is fabulous. Jennifer Morrison is great in her skeptical, street-smart role. Ginnifer Goodwin is a compelling and loveable Snow White. Lana Parrilla has convinced me to hate her, which is what a villain should do. Robert Carlyle is awesome as the conniving, manipulative Rumpelstiltskin.

I AM hoping the show doesn't drag on and on forever with the town oblivious to their true identities. I think things could get really interesting when people find out, or at least when Emma finds out, the truth.

Anyone else watching and enjoying (or not) Once Upon a Time?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Writer's Block

What does one do when wanting an excuse for not writing today? One goes to Calvin for advice.

I've been having a bit of a dry spell with my writing, what with being busy, sick, and just not feeling like it. But I've started plotting a new novel, and am excited to get back into it. Hopefully won't be needing Calvin's invention for much longer. So that is my advice to you and myself, short and sweet--take the writer's block off your desk and get to it, even if it is only a few hundred words a week!

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Check the link for some of the other blogs participating in this event! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Blogger Award

Woohoo! My first award!  The Leibster award is the "best kept secret" award given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is given in order for more people to find your blog. Thank you Jeremy for giving me this award! Be sure to stop by Jeremy's blog, as it is a great place to geek out.

The rules for accepting the award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Nominate up to five others for the award.
3. Let them know via comment on their blog.
 4. Post the award on your blog. 

An added rule:
5. Follow this link and at least consider signing up for the A-Z Challenge. It is a great way to find new and interesting blogs, have people find your blog, and meet new people.

The A-Z Challenge sounds like tons of fun and a great way to generate blog traffic and get to know new people. I am sorry that I won't be able to participate as I will be gone for two weeks in April.

The people I will choose to receive the award are:
Clint @ Geeky Daddy - I enjoy stopping by his blog for geeky book news. I see he has already been nominated for this award, but I'm including him here again anyway!
Scott & Chris @ Iceberg Ink - Fun blog on reviews, books, TV, you name it.

Brenda @ Reading Fairy Tales - Haven't been many updates here of late, but I greatly enjoy her book reviews.