Monday, September 9, 2013

Blog blues

You may have noticed I haven't been around much lately, and I apologize to all my wonderful blogging buddies.

Unfortunately, other life events are getting in the way and I am just not making the time that I should for my blog. This isn't fair to those of you who read it and to the bloggers I normally visit, so I am taking a much needed break from the blogging life.

All the best to you, my friends. Keep geeking it up while I'm away.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 59-end

Here we are at the end!! It's been a lot of fun reading A Game of Thrones with blogger buddies Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between.

Heather: All the chapters have been told from the point of view of particular characters, and the story has gone back and forth along their journeys. Why do you think only these characters have been chosen? What does it say about them over the others? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/09/asoiaf-book-club-game-of-thrones.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mithrilwisdom+%28Mithril+Wisdom+fantasy+reviews+and+geek+culture%29#sthash.zV0yDSZc.dpuf
Heather: All the chapters have been told from the point of view of particular characters, and the story has gone back and forth along their journeys. Why do you think only these characters have been chosen? What does it say about them over the others?

Well for one thing, I think if he widened the spread of characters more it would just be too many. Martin tells mostly from the main players' perspectives for obvious reasons, but I loved how he told some of the story from the eyes of the children. He did such a good job of showing their naivete and at the same time bringing a new perspective to the plot through their eyes.

Ria: Mirri's about-face: expected and in -character, or did it feel to you like it came out of left field?

I was actually expecting it. Dany is far too trusting, and she was bound to fall at some point because of that. Despite her heart, not everyone is going to fall at her feet in adoration.

Jamie: Do you think there's any room for growth with Sansa? Will she ever find a backbone or do you think she'll remain a frightened, weak willed pup?

I agree with Jamie; she deserves a slap. She's just pathetic most of the time. I think she's got courage in her somewhere though, and she's young. Her Stark blood has time to show itself yet!

Allison: Do you think Jaime and Cersei have developed as characters at all throughout the story?

I am wondering if the Lannisters' roles will change in the next books. Will they remain the "villains," or will they join forces with the other houses? I feel like their characters didn't move much in this book but maybe they will later in the series.

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed this epic fantasy a lot. Watching my favourite characters progress was the best part, and I look forward to reading the rest.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 44-58

Extremely late, but here I am for post number 4 in the ASOIAF Book Club with Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between! We are reading Game of Thrones together in 10 weeks.

Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in?

I have a suspicion that Bran is going to become very important, perhaps gain the gift of prophecy or something, and I think these chapters are leading up to whatever it is.

Allison: Why do you think so much emphasis is put on Dany's dragon eggs in the story so far?

I think they are to remind us that she is the last dragon, but I also think they will have a significant role in the future. Yes, I am waiting for them to hatch.

Jamie: Why do you think Jon Snow goes to such great lengths to protect and help out Sam Tarly?

I think Jon wishes he had a friend like that to protect him when he was younger. His friendship with Sam is sweet!

Heather: Do you think Ser Jorah Mormont is helping Daenerys as part of a new life for himself, or rather he sees her as his ticket back to his homeland?

I wonder about Mormont's agenda; I am unsure what it is. I feel like he wants to get back at Ned at some point, and maybe sees Daenerys as his ticket to do that. I wonder if he is also falling in love with her. We'll see...

Final Thoughts:
Almost to the end of the book, and still so many unresolved things. It was satisfying seeing Viserys get his comeuppance, that's for sure.
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 29-43

This is post number 3 in the ASOIAF Book Club with Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between! We are reading Game of Thrones together in 10 weeks.

Here are our questions this week:

Heather: What do you think of Catelyn Stark's sudden capture of Tyrion Lannister and her trek to see her crazy sister? Was it a mother's reaction seeking revenge, or a strong woman trying to do her best for the Realm?

I actually felt at the time I was reading it that Catelyn was reacting out of fear. Tyrion Lannister, in her mind, tried to murder her son and initiated the traumatic attack on herself, and I think she is actually afraid of him. This in conjunction with her anger and grief at what was done to Bran, I believe, caused her rash reaction. She has shown that she is capable of hating someone irrationally before (Jon Snow), and this seems to be happening here with Tyrion as well.

Ria: It seems that the author uses a good deal of archetypes as a base for his characters. Do you feel that this weakens the story when characters are models bordering on stereotypes, or does the large cast with a diverse number of archetypes balance that out?

Martin does seem to use archetypes, but I also think that he likes to do surprising things with these characters that break them out of their molds. For example, dwarfs in fantasy are known to bring humour to the story; Tyrion Lannister does this, yes, but he also says some of the most thought-provoking things in the novel and brings so much more to the story.

Jamie: Danaerys has grown quite bold since she was sold off to Khal Drogo, to the point where she has much less of a problem swinging for Viserys 'douchebag of the year' Targaryen. Do you think her development is down to her becoming stronger, the fact that she has a child to protect or is she getting comfortable in the safety of the khalasar?

Dany's story has actually been one of my favourite character development arcs so far. I think she is getting stronger because she feels like she finally belongs with a people in combination with her growing up and realizing she doesn't have to do everything Viserys says anymore. I loved the parts where she finally stood up to Viserys!

Allison: So far, I am generally pro-Stark and anti-Lannister, but in the case of Catelyn vs. Tyrion I am torn. Who do you feel allied with in their situation?

I'm leaning towards Tyrion, but I really do feel for Catelyn and applaud her for outwitting him! I am impressed that she was able to outsmart him, I really am. Though I think her decision to take him captive was stupid and based on irrational feelings.

Final Thoughts:

There aren't really any boring parts to this book yet, and I appreciate that. The action, interesting story, and character development just keep coming. I actually started watching the TV show this week because my brother had it; I watched up to the parts I've read. They have done a good job of keeping to the book so far, and I love the actors chosen for the parts!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

IWSG: Killer Openings

Firstly, I would like to apologize, and apologize in advance, for my busyness, for not posting regularly or visiting my buddies' blogs. I've been moving to a new place, looking for a second job, and working through various other life issues. I may need to take a blog break soon (but hopefully not for too long and definitely not until after I'm done the Game of Thrones read-along!).

Now, down to business. I want to talk about killer openings in novels. And when I say killer openings, I don't mean awesome beginnings, I mean the kind that will kill your novel because readers will stop right there and move on to something better.

Here's a top 10 list I've compiled from some writers' and literary agents' opinions (combined with my own). Some of these are general and some specific to sci-fi or fantasy.

1. The dream
Starting with a dream is not shocking any more. It's been done and people expect it. If you're going to try to toy with my mind, do it in another way, I beg of you!!

2. The backstory
There's nothing that will make me shut a book faster than the info dump. I want to be thrown into the action, not have the world explained to me.

3. The looking in a mirror
There has to be a more creative way to explain what your main character looks like.

4. The dialogue
Too many people talking at the beginning just gets confusing, and it can be boring if I'm not invested in them (which I'm not, because I just met them).

5. The getting sucked into a portal
Narnia did it, and it was neat. Do it in a new way and I'll be impressed.

6. The gathering herbs in a forest
I remember a literary agent I'm familiar with complaining about how sick she was of reading fantasy stories that start this way. Don't. Just don't.

7. The educating
This a no-no particularly in YA and MG, but I'd argue for adult too. I don't want to be aware that I'm being taught something... I want to read a good story! Take me straight to the action.

8. The battle scene
This is a problem because, once again, I am not invested in the characters yet and I don't know what's at stake. Why should I be interested?

9. The distant, third person narrator
In fantasy, often the Boy or the Old Man. I also dislike the narrator we first meet disappearing after a chapter or two to be replaced by the main character. Just start me out with the main character!

10. The prologue
Vastly debated among amateurs and professionals alike, I am definitely on the con-prologue side. I've never read a book that had a prologue and couldn't be started at Chapter 1 without missing ANYTHING important.

And there you have my list. What do you think is important to avoid and important to get right in a first chapter?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The one you've all been waiting for

Here it is, folks. The end of my top TV theme countdown.

For the past Mondays, I've been sharing my top favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 1, my favourite, and it's the theme song from:

Game of Thrones


The fact that I am currently enjoying the novel held no sway on my choice; I made my top 10 list before I started reading Game of Thrones. I've never seen the show either, so I really love this song purely for its instrumental goodness. I love the rich sound of the cello.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 15-28

This is the second post for the A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club, where Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between, and I are reading Game of Thrones in ten weeks, and asking each other questions as we go.

Jamie: Littlefinger and Varys banter really well with one another; I love their back and forth as they try to outdo one another. Who do you prefer and why?
We don't know much about Varys yet, but from what we do know I prefer Littlefinger. Even though Littlefinger is creepy, I kind of like him. He is witty and clever, and has made his own path for himself. I like that he helped out the Starks, though I wonder how strong his allegiance is. I guess we'll find out!

Heather: Arya and Sansa are clearly very different personalities with very different views on the world, despite coming from the same origins. Which do you identify with the most? Do you think the chasm building between them is becoming too great to be bridged, despite their father’s efforts to keep them closer?
I don't identify with Sansa very well. She is a princess, in more ways than one. I absolutely love Arya; she is one of my favourites. I like that she is brave and smart, and loves adventure. I think the two can bridge the chasm that's come between, though. They are different, but I think they will come to see that they need each other.

Allison: Ned Stark seems to be a pretty honourable guy so far–he obviously cares about his family and duty is important to him. I liked the part where he gives Arya back Needle and arranges for her to have lessons. However, I can’t bring myself to like him, because I have this foreboding feeling that he is going to do something terrible and make me hate him. What do you think of Ned so far?
I sort of answered my own question in my question! I like him so far, but I am hesitant to become attached because I feel like winter is coming with him yet. I do love the idea of him being played by Sean Bean in the movie, and look forward to seeing that!

Ria: What do you think of the situation involving how Jon turned enemies into allies on the Wall? Effective strategy, or overused Saturday-morning-cartoon plot device?
Some might get tired of the turning-enemies-to-allies plot device, but I love it. Jon has constantly been thinking about his self and his own problems so far (and who can blame him), but now he's learning to think about others too. I think he's got the heart to be a big encouragement and inspiration to these other boys, and the ability to make some life-changing friendships.

Final Thoughts:
I am enjoying the multiple points of view in Game of Thrones. And despite my efforts to not get attached, I already have found favourites in Arya, Jon, and Tyrion.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #2: WAREHOUSE 13

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 2, which is the theme song from:

Warehouse 13


Short. Catchy. Orchestral. Everything a theme song should be. The composer, Edward Rogers, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Original Main Title Theme Music for this one!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Legend of Korra - Book 2: Spirits

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite shows of all time, so it was with trepidation that I watched season 1 of the second series, The Legend of Korra. Though of course it wasn't as good as Avatar, I really enjoyed it, and I appreciate that they did not try to do the same things as they did with Avatar. They did not try to duplicate the journeying adventure that Aang and his pals had, but gave Korra her own set of problems.

The trailer for the second season of The Legend of Korra, Book 2: Spirits, just came out. Check it out! Book 2 (not to be confused with an actual book--this means season 2) will be coming this September.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Antichamber gives Portal a run for its money

Platform: PC
Released: January 31, 2013
Genre: Puzzle-platform

I've been playing Antichamber lately, which is one of those puzzle solving games that make you feel super smart at times and want to kick in the screen at others. It pretty much makes every other puzzle solving game feel like child's play.

It is very weird. Things are not what they seem. Sometimes backwards is forwards, sometimes down is up.

If you like Portal, you will likely enjoy Antichamber. I don't love it as much as Portal because the sarcastic GLaDOS is not present, but I am having a lot of fun with it.

This game is puzzle solving at its finest. Check it out. It's even on sale on Steam right now!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #3: FUTURAMA

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 3, which is the theme song from:

Futurama


Ha! One of my choices that ISN'T eerie for once! It's just plain fun.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 1-14

Welcome to the Game of Thrones read-a-thon, otherwise known as the A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club, where Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between, and I are reading Game of Thrones in ten weeks.

First thoughts:
Can this George R.R. Martin guy write, or what? He had me at the first page, which is something I haven't experienced lately in the newer books I've been reading.

A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club Questions:

Jamie: In the few chapters that we've seen already, Tyrion is amazing. His snark and wit mark him out as one of my favourites. Do you think his role is more the comic relief or a juxtaposition for the cruelty of his sibling Lannisters (opposites in appearance as well as personality)?
I think Tyrion's role is definitely much more than the comic relief. He has already said a lot of thought-provoking things, even in just these first chapters. He is an odd combination of wise, sarcastic, witty, and dark, and I look forward to reading more about him.

Allison: What do you think the names chosen for the direwolves say about the children's personalities? (Bonus question: what would you name your direwolf?)
I found the naming of the wolves really interesting in these chapters, because they seemed to describe the children's characters. Jon Snow names his wolf Ghost, which seems appropriate for a bastard child whose step-mother wishes he was invisible. Rickon names his Shaggydog, which seems appropriate for a little boy that we don't know much about yet. Arya calls hers Nymeria after a warrior queen, which says a lot about her aspirations (confirmed when Jon gives her a sword later).

Sansa names hers Lady, which fits perfectly with the princess-y character she seems to be so far. Robb's wolf is Grey Wind, which seems fitting for a fighter and an older boy. Bran's wolf is unnamed yet, which is interesting because he is so young and most little boys would slap a name (like Shaggydog) on immediately, but he took time to think it through.

I would probably name my direwolf something shadowy, like Spectre, or something Old English, like Bardou.

Heather: Have you seen the television series before reading the books? If yes, has it influenced how you read them?
I haven't, but I'm inspired to after I read this first book. I'm curious to see the differences, and how the actors portray these characters.

Ria: "[...] a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." What do you think about the veracity of Tyrion's line there, especially in a world that seems to prize physical strength more highly than intelligence.
I think many characters have undervalued the importance of intelligence, and they will probably end up paying the price for it. Tyrion may be saying that because it's all he's got to hope for, but I think there's truth in it, and we will see some pretty awesome things from him to prove it yet.

Final Thoughts:
I know that lots of characters die in this series. I won't get attached to anyone. I won't.

Darn it, Jon Snow's already my favourite.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writing Pet Peeves

We've all got those things that bug us when we do them and when we see others doing them. Here are five of the nitpicky things that bother me!
  • double spacing at the beginning of sentences
This convention was used with the typewriter to make it easier to tell when one sentence ended and another began. With word processors that eliminate this issue, it is unnecessary anymore! It is habit for a lot of people still, though, and can be hard to kick.
  • misspelling names
This bothers me more in the business world than anywhere else. If I sent you an email with my name clearly printed at the bottom, can't you take a second to read it and check that you are spelling it correctly when you reply? I get a lot of "Alisons" and "Alysons" and even one "Dear sir" (yes, that was an actual person, not a bot.)
  • modifying absolutes
 Something can't be "very unique." It's either unique or it isn't.
  • saying "I" is always right
Sometimes "me" IS correct! "Mark and I went to the store" is right, but so is "Do you want to go to the store with Mark and me?"
  • which or that
This didn't used to bother me until I learned the difference and now I notice if it is wrong all the time! "Which" should be used for nonrestrictive (nonessential) clauses. For example: "The door, which had scratch marks, was red" as opposed to "The door that had scratch marks was red."

And there you have it. What are your writing pet peeves?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #4: FRINGE

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 4, which is the theme song from:

Fringe


It is eerie and orchestral (I AM sensing a theme to my favourite themes here) and another perfect fit for a fascinating show.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why I don't want to play Skyrim

You know when you go to the grocery store to pick up laundry soap, and there's an entire aisle full of it? You just want to quick grab something, but you have to take the time to choose between Tide or Cheer or Gain or Purex, unscented or scented, liquid or powder, fabric softening, refreshing, or bleach.

What the heck, grocery store! Just give me one choice (even two, three or four) so I can move on!

And then, of course, once you're done there, you move on to something else, be it dryer sheets, a can of beans or pizza, and the entire process begins again.

This is how I feel about Skyrim.

There are just too many choices. You can do pretty much whatever you want. I know you Skyrim lovers are yelling at me because that's what is so wonderful about Skyrim, and am I crazy.

I never said I wasn't crazy.

But my favourite games are linear for a reason. If you look at my top 10 favourite video games, you will notice they are mostly all linear, and the ones that aren't are a different type of game like strategy or tower defense. I like Portal. I like Mass Effect. I like Zelda and Final Fantasy. I like being told where to go and what to do and having a good story to go with it. I don't really enjoy wandering around with no main purpose.

How about you? Do you like nonlinear games, linear games, or both? Feel free to tell me why I'm crazy in the comments and why I absolutely have to play Skyrim :)

And please enjoy this episode of Conan O'Brien trying to play Skyrim because it's pretty hilarious.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This Twitter thing

I don't know if a piano clobbered me on my way to work the other day and I've forgotten about it or what, but for some reason I decided to give Twitter a go.

My friends tell me it's awesome. I'm not sure why.

But how much time can it eat out of my life, really, if I'm limited to 140 characters per post? ha. I bet I will eat those words.

But it might be fun, which is why I'm giving it a try.

Are you on Twitter? What do you use it for? Why do you think writers should be on Twitter, or why do you think I have made a horrible mistake? Feel free to share your Twitterly wisdom in the comments!

And if you want to follow me on my spiffy new page, my username is  @geekbanter (Kudos to Tyrean Martinson and Tara Tyler for already following me on my inactive page. Impressive, most impressive that you found it.)

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! 

BLOG UPDATES:
You may have noticed there's been some construction going on here. There is now a handy menu up top, some shiny new buttons on the sidebar, and as if you couldn't stalk me in enough ways already, you can now see not only what I'm reading, but the video game I'm playing and the TV show I'm watching. Did I miss anything?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Want to read A Game of Thrones?

Have you, like me, been wondering what all the hype is about with this series, but have been holding off because the books just look so long? Or perhaps you love the show and want to see how it came into being? Or maybe you just want a new epic fantasy series to dig into?

Well then, join me and my fellow adventurer Jamie Gibbs from Mithril Wisdom in the beginnings of A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club.

Starting today, July 1, we are going to read through A Game of Thrones in ten weeks (this figures to about 10 pages a day—a leisurely pace, I think). And we will be doing some conjunctive roundup posts every other Saturday as we read.

If you want to read along with us, please do! If you just want to keep up with our possibly wild, possibly meandering, possibly entertaining thoughts on Martin's masterpiece, stay tuned for the Saturday posts (and Twitter conversations using the hashtag #asoiafbookclub)!

Jamie is actually planning to read the first four novels—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows—in the upcoming months before season 4 of the TV show airs next March (read his post here).

I have only promised to read the first one, and will only continue on the adventure with him if I really like it (I know, I'm a fickle fellow adventurer, aren't I, Jamie?).

A Game of Thrones, here we come. I'm ready to be wowed.

(Haven't heard of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series? Check it out on Goodreads.)

(Like the cool House sigil above? I made it on www.jointherealm.com. Jamie's got one too. We're geeks like that.)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Last call for submissions to WRiTE CLUB!


I interrupt my regular scheduled blog posting to bring you this message from DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0.

Writers, sign up for WRiTE CLUB now, or you will regret it for the rest of your life. Every morning after June 30th, you will have to drag yourself out of bed, hitting yourself again as you remember you didn't sign up, go through your day in a morbid trance because you know you missed out on this wonderful opportunity.

Okay, those might not be DL's words.

But these ones are:

"Are you ready to RUMBLE?!?!?!?!"

If you don't know what WRiTE CLUB is, it is a good-natured writing competition, where pairs of writers bout off with 500 word samples, submitted under a pen name. See here for all the details and if you want to sign up!

It's a lot of fun, and a great place to get constructive criticism on your writing from a lot of readers.

Want to join in the excitement? This Sunday, June 30, is the cut-off date for submissions. You know you want to.

Let's rumble!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Attempt to Read Zombie Novels

The nice folks at Titan Books were kind enough to offer me a couple zombie novels to add to my to-read pile. I've never tried the genre, but decided I'd give it a go to see what all the fuss is about.

Plague Town and Plague Nation are about Ashley Parker, a "wild card" who is immune to the zombie virus. Because of this, she is recruited by the government to fight the rapidly expanding plague of zombies.

Ashley is sassy, witty, and bad-ass. She also uses an awesome sword, which gives her even more points in my books.

One of my favourite scenes is in Plague Nation when one of the "regular" soldiers makes some inappropriate comments about her, and she (giving him every chance to apologize and walk away) ends up breaking his nose without breaking a sweat.

I also appreciate many of the geek references that I didn't expect to find in a zombie novel. The author often mentions movies and shows like Star Wars and Big Bang Theory, and makes many other pop culture references.

Ashley's wit and quick tongue make for entertaining reading, but I wish she'd show some weakness at some point. She seems to deal with pain and stress by being angry, and I did find this tiresome after a while. That's partly what held these "okay" books from being "good" for me. I love characters that show me they are truly human.

I am also the first to admit that zombies aren't really my thing, and these books have confirmed that for me. There was lots of violence, lots of blood and gore, lots of swearing--all things to be expected in zombie novels, of course. I do like action, but violence for the sake of violence seems to be what zombie stories are all about.

My final thoughts: entertaining, but not my cup of tea.

My next foray into the zombie universe will be the Walking Dead, and if I don't like that, I give up on zombies!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #5: FIREFLY

Last week was crazy around here, so I apologize for my lack of presence here and at other blogs! But I'm back for Music Monday.

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 5, which is the theme song from:

Firefly

Probably wouldn't normally care for this song, but it is exactly right for the show. Perfect theme song for a perfect show. 'Nuff said.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #6: Battlestar Galactica

For the next Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 6, which is the theme song from:

Battlestar Galactica


This is from the 2004 series, not the original. Also very eerie (I seem to like that, don't I?) and dark--fitting for the serious show with its amazing acting and gritty story.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Video Game Review: SKYWARD SWORD

Platform: Wii
Series: Legend of Zelda
Released: 2011

Many of you already know that Ocarina of Time is one of my favourite games of all time, Majora's Mask not far behind, and that I love the Zelda series. So it was with excitement that I put the disc into my Wii and began playing many months ago.

When you begin the game, you are introduced to Link's new home of Skyloft, which was new and interesting--plus, Link gets to ride around on his big red bird, a Loftwing, which is pretty fun.

Skyward Sword stays true to the Zelda formula, introducing the villain who forces Zelda to go on the run and Link, the foretold hero who will save Hyrule. Link proceeds to undergo a series of dungeons and tasks while chasing after Zelda, who he never quite catches up to.

There are three regions of Hyrule to explore on the land below Skyloft, and instead of moving on to new places once he's finished their dungeons, Link keeps returning to those regions and as the story progresses, they expand.

Link is also accompanied by the spirit of his sword, Fi, who is sometimes almost as annoying as Navi. I know my Wii remote batteries are low, Fi, quit telling me! I know my hearts are low, Fi, that's what the annoying beeping is for! Oh well, she does have a useful dowsing ability that allows you to find certain objects.

The puzzle-solving element is why I love the Zelda games so much, and Skyward Sword does not disappoint. The dungeons were a lot of fun. The bosses all had their interesting tricks to beat them using the newest item you'd found. The story was nothing new, but I wasn't expecting to be blown away by it. The Wii remote controls were also super fun to use.

Warning: This game goes on forever. I kept thinking that I was near the end, and then I'd get thrown another task to do. Think you're on your way to see Zelda? Think again! You have to save this flying whale. Oh wait, you saved him? Well now you have to collect four pieces of a song. Done that? Time to collect the pieces of the triforce! This game will tease you with hints of victory and then dance away out of reach time and again.

That being said, it was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend for a very enjoyable playing experience. It's no Ocarina of Time, but it's a welcome addition to the Zelda franchise!

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Story: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Music: 7.5/10
Overall fun rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Best Magic Systems: Part 3


I've talked about Avatar: The Last Airbender before, and I have no trouble mentioning it again! It deserves a spot on my best magic systems list, that's for sure.

Avatar takes the clichéd system of four elements--air, water, earth, and fire--and turns it into an amazing world full of colour and back story.

In Avatar, magic users are called benders, and most can only bend one element (the exception, of course, is the Avatar). The world is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. Each nation has their own history and is part of a distinct society. The story is set during a time the Fire Nation is vying for control over all.

The Avatar developing his four powers is a major part of the story. He actually has to learn to use them all, the abilities don't just come naturally, and certain other powers and responsibilities come with being the Avatar (I won't spoil them here).

The magic system is part of what makes this show so awesome (the other parts being setting, characters, storyline, animation, tension, pacing, action, backstory, humour, I could go on...). So good.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #7: ANGEL

For the next Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 7, which is the theme song from:

Angel


I didn't care that much for the show, but who can resist the dark, eerie cello music?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG: Fantasy Cliches

As I am plotting a new fantasy novel, I keep worrying that I'm not telling anything new. Now, I know that there's nothing new under the sun, but even if the story is familiar, I still want to tell it differently than how it's been told before.

This got me thinking about cliches, and which ones I'd like to avoid. Some cliches are okay--beloved, even--but others I could do without. Here's a list of a few:

  • The orphaned hero -- Sometimes the parents should be alive, darn it! The orphaned hero does make the reader feel sorry for the character, I suppose. (examples: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Spiderman)
  • Talking animals -- I can live with this one, though I don't know if I'd use it myself. (examples: Smaug, Charlotte, Aslan)
  • The chosen one -- I get tired of prophecy telling people what to do. I want the character to choose to be awesome, not have it chosen for him/her! (examples: Harry Potter, Rand al'Thor, Shea Ohmsford)
  • The villain who's evil for evil's sake -- Give them some good back story, I say! (examples of great villains: Voldemort, Zuko, Saruman)
  • The wise, bearded wizard -- I like this one, but it is used a lot. (examples: Gandalf, Dumbledore, Merlin)
  • Enchanted swords -- Ah, the good old sword that can save the world... (examples: The Sword of Shannara, The Sword of Truth, The Blue Sword)
  • Good vs. Evil -- Sometimes it's not all black and white.
  • Alternate worlds -- There has to be a really interesting spin on it for me to read another story about a kid falling into another dimension. (examples: Narnia, Wrinkle in Time, The Sword Bearer)
  • Ugly evil faction -- Evil can be pretty, you know! (examples: orcs, trolls, Voldemort's minions...)
  • The large, often fuzzy, friend -- Okay, who doesn't like this one? (examples: Hagrid, Chewbacca, Fezzik)
Which cliches peeve you in fantasy fiction? Which ones are you okay with?

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!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #8: DOCTOR WHO

For the next Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 8, which is the theme song from:

Doctor Who


Do I like it just because I love the show? Probably. Though it is appropriately spacey, scifi-ish, and timey-wimey, if you will.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Best Magic Systems: Part 2

When reading sci-fi and fantasy, I am always attracted by unique magic systems. Sometimes authors come up with the most creative ideas that enthrall me and give the fantasy world life. I am going to share with you the few of the best I've come across.

Second on my list (and these are in no particular order) is the magic system from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It is such an intricate, well thought out system and is perfect for a sweeping fantasy saga like Wheel of Time.

In Wheel of Time, some people are able to channel the One Power, which has two sections: saidin and saidar. Men can channel saidin and women can channel saidar. The One Power can be woven into spells using the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and spirit.

At the heart of the story is the fact that saidin has been tainted by the Dark One, so any man who channels it will eventually go mad and die. Because of this, female channelers formed an organization called Aes Sedai and hunt down male channelers.

There are so many complex rules to the magic system that I don't even know where to start to tell you how amazing Robert Jordan's creative mind is. For example, the Aes Sedai use the One Power to bond Warders to them for protection, they can make inter-dimensional portals, they can heal, create illusions and wards, use mind control, and much more.

Not every channeler can do all these things; everyone has their own strengths and abilities. Men are generally stronger with earth and fire and women with water and air. Women can form a circle to do more powerful channeling and shield someone from the One Power.

Jordan's world has the most amazingly complex magic system that I have ever read about.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Doctor Who Season 7 Finale


Spoilers ahead, sweeties.

It is with a heavy heart that I say this, but here it goes: Doctor Who is not what it used to be.

I miss the feel of the old seasons. Clara just doesn't have the personality of any of the previous companions. She's got spunk, but she's got nothing on Amy. She talks back a bit, but she's no Donna. At times it seems she has a thing for the Doctor, but can you have a better unrequited love story than Martha's? The Doctor cares about her, but nothing like he did for Rose. What are we left with? A companion that is merely okay.

Her one redeeming quality was the question surrounding her. I actually loved how the mystery unraveled, when it turned out she had jumped into the Doctor's timeline. Magnificent. The scene was wonderfully moving. If Clara made this sacrifice, I could appreciate her character so much more. She would be the Doctor's hero, something other companions haven't been.

It should have ended there, with Clara's sacrifice, which could have been on par with moving scenes from the previous series, almost as good as Rose disappearing into the other universe or Donna losing her memory. But then what happens?

The Doctor jumps into his own timeline and saves her. What? What!? WHAT?

Did he not JUST explain that his grave was the most dangerous place he could be and he should never EVER do that because of timey-wimey ripping holes in the universe causing paradox type problems??

Nope, it's all good. He just jumps in there and brings her back. Cue appearance of new, mysterious Doctor (you didn't actually have to spell that out for us with the big shiny letters, by the way, Moffat), and end scene.

Blah.

I did like the appearances of past Doctors in this episode. I did like the conclusion of River Song's story (she was always one of my favourites). But still. This finale, and this whole season, was lacking the emotional impact of Tennant's days, and even the early Smith days.

So there you have my rant. I will keep watching new episodes of Doctor Who, but sadly, without the enthusiasm I used to have for this beloved show, and with the hope that it will redeem itself.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #9: DOLLHOUSE

For the next Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 9, which is the theme song from:

Dollhouse


Sometimes it's nice when theme songs are super short. This one has an eerie tune that matches the feel of the show, and I never felt the need to skip over it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI

Author: Helene Wecker
Publisher: Harper
Pub Date: April 23, 2013

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master-the husband who commissioned her-dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free-an unbreakable band of iron around his wrist binds him to the physical world.


Meeting by chance, Chava and Ahmad become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing nature-until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

 It's been a long time since I've opened a book and devoured huge chunks of it at a time. The Golem and the Jinni was captivating.

There wasn't a lot of action, which I normally demand in a book; The Golem and the Jinni is just plain good storytelling. Wecker delves into what it would be like to be a supernatural creature living among humans, trying to hide. She masterfully weaves magical fantasy and historical fiction in this tale, combining the stories of characters and showing how their lives intertwine.

The characters are fleshed out and believable. Chava, the golem, is passive and afraid of herself and others, yet she stubbornly holds on to her life. She is also gentle and aware of others' feelings. The Jinni is outgoing and selfish with a temper to boot, yet somehow the two end up becoming friends. Some of the best dialogue in the story is after they meet and commence to arguing with each other.

I love how Wecker portrays them as fugitives, not as superheroes. These are creatures that would be destroyed if they are found out, and they know it. They also have to deal with the loneliness of being one of a kind.

At over 500 pages, I thought this book might be a tedious read, but it didn't feel too long and the pages flew by. The Golem and the Jinni is stunningly written and will take you to an enthralling world of magic and 19th century New York. Highly recommended.

 
This post was part of a TLC Book Tour for The Golem and the Jinni. Go here for a list of the rest of the tour stops, and to read more reviews of the book. Also, check out the book trailer!
 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #10: CHUCK

Normally, I skip over the beginning credits of a show, because I want to get to the point: the show itself. But occasionally, shows have such awesome theme songs that I won't skip over them. Know the ones I'm talking about?

For the next ten Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're starting at number 10, which is the theme song from:

Chuck


It's not a musical masterpiece in the sense of huge scores and orchestras, but it is catchy and is a perfect fit for the show! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Doctor Who Season 7.5

Who's been keeping up with the new season of Doctor Who, and what are you thoughts? What do you think of Clara, the new companion?

I've been enjoying them, but not as much as the last seasons. For me, Clara lacks the interesting personalities of the previous companions. She's got spunk and she's pretty, but so far that's all there's been to her character. I am interested to see her mystery solved, though.

My favourite episode this second half of the season was "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," where we finally get to see more of the Doctor's beloved ship. It made me happy that we caught a glimpse of the pool and the library. I've always enjoyed the fact that she's somewhat of a living thing.

Looking forward to the finale that airs tonight! It is called "The Name of the Doctor," so that bodes interesting. Plus, you can catch a glimpse of River Song in the trailer; she's my favourite and has been conspicuously missing from this half of the season.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Best Magic Systems: Part 1

When reading sci-fi and fantasy, I am always attracted by unique magic systems. Sometimes authors come up with the most creative ideas that enthrall me and give the fantasy world life. I am going to share with you the few of the best I've come across.

First on my list is the magic system from The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix. I love how creative the world building is in this series, and the magic system is integral to it. The story is set in a world of darkness, where a veil covers the sky, hiding the sun completely.

The Chosen, the people who live in the castle below the veil, rely on light magic as a means of life. To use light magic, you have to possess a sunstone, and every Chosen is trained in its use.

Sunstones emit different colours of light when you concentrate on them, and each colour can do different things, or they be weaved together to make more complicated spells. Red, as the first colour in the spectrum, does the most basic spells. Violet, as the last colour, can be used to make the most complex and powerful magic.

Certain powerful artifacts were made out of sunstones, like the fingernail Milla finds that produces an awesome whip of light, and sunstones are used to bind shadows to their masters.

Cool, no? I have no idea how Garth Nix came up with this stuff, but it's brilliant, and it makes this series unique.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: THE FOREVER KNIGHT

Author: John Marco
Publisher: DAW Hardcover
Pub Date: April 2, 2013

Lukien is the Bronze Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption: to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies? (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Though it was the fourth book in a series, I didn't have trouble following Lukien's journey in this book. His back story was made clear without slowing down the narrative (in fact, I'd be interested to go back and read the first books), and the plot clipped along with the adventure and some heart-wrenching events.

The thing that drew me in from the beginning was Lukien's spirit protector, Malator, who resides in Lukien's sword. Lukien seems to be close to immortal because of Malator, and this is something that the knight struggles with. At points, he just wants to give up and die--or he thinks he does, until he is brought face to face with that option.

One thing I didn't buy was Lukien's choice to bring a little girl, Cricket, along with him to a dangerous land to act as his squire. Lukien is brave and honourable, and clearly struggles with things like right and wrong, and life and death. I feel like a knight like him would never, ever bring a young girl to certain danger like that, no matter how much she begged to come along.

However, Cricket's involvement in the story is key, so I have to overlook that fact. She is my favourite character in the book, bringing cheer to Lukien's darkened heart. And the fact that she can't remember her past keeps me curious throughout their journey.

The Forever Knight was an entertaining read, well written with a tragic twist. It could be read as a stand alone, but I'd suggest starting at the beginning of the series if you are interested in following Lukien's transformational journey.

This post was part of a TLC Book Tour for The Forever Knight. Go here for a list of the rest of the tour stops, and to read more reviews of the book.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: Motivation

Lately, I've been really frustrated with the books I've been reading. I find myself getting bored halfway through (often sooner), and starting to skim, sometimes giving up completely.

I've been trying to figure out what it is about the stories I didn't like. Bad writing? Boring plot? No and no.

I think I finally figured it out. It's character motivation--or, rather, a lack of it. The latest book I read had an interest plot, wonderful world building and a variety of unique characters, but it fell flat because the heroine didn't desire anything; she was just along for the ride. She had a stubborn personality, did some daring things, and was very likeable, but she didn't want anything. Nobody's that altruistic!

As an example of how to do it right, take Fullmetal Alchemist. Ed and Al are totally driven to get their bodies back. Plenty of other things happen to them, but that is the force behind the story, and you keep watching episode after episode because you want them to succeed too. (And, of course, this is combined with fantastic world building, loveable characters, and fascinating plot.)

I also think of the Hunger Games, where Katniss's driving force is her love for her sister and her desire to keep her safe. Or Lord of the Rings, where Frodo must destroy the ring to save the Shire.

This is the kind of motivation that I want my characters to have, and what I've been working on in my WIP; the kind that keeps people reading and that keeps my characters going.

What are your characters motivated by?
 

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!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Tali'Zorah

Garrus Vakarian: "Do you ever miss those talks we had on the elevators?"
Tali'Zorah: "No."
Garrus Vakarian: "Come on. Remember how we'd always ask you about life on the flotilla? It was an opportunity to share!"
Tali'Zorah: "This conversation is over."
Garrus Vakarian: "Tell me again about your immune system."
Tali'Zorah: "I have a shotgun."
Garrus Vakarian: "Mmmmaybe we'll talk later."


Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is a quarian from the Mass Effect games. You first meet her when she is on her pilgrimage, a journey outside the Flotilla where she is trying to bring back something of worth.

Tali's a mechanical genius, and I always have her in my party for her skills in electronics and hacking. Plus, the conversations you have with her in the elevator are the best. Her back story is fascinating too. If I was Commander Shepard, Tali would probably be my best friend because she's just plain awesome.

I also hear if you don't romance either of them in Mass Effect 1 or 2, Tali and Garrus (my other favourite) develop a relationship, which makes me happy.

Shout out to blogger buddy Z: To Jeremy at Retro-Zombie. He's a pretty awesome dude.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yoshi

I remember always waiting impatiently to get to the Yoshi levels when playing Super Mario Bros. as a kid. I remember always waiting impatiently to get to the Yoshi levels when playing Super Mario Bros. as an adult.

There aren't enough Yoshi levels, I say! I've had a lot of fun playing the more recent Wii version with friends, and swallowing your buddies and spitting them into a pit of lava is just the best. And everyone knows Yoshi is the character you race to select when choosing your characters in Mario Kart. (I've actually had to pick a new favourite because he's always so in demand.)

Shout out to blogger buddy Y: To Roland D. Yeomans, for writing such thought-provoking posts.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X if for Professor X

Professor X: "Listen to me carefully, my friend: Killing will not bring you peace."

Well, Professor X actually is not my favourite X-Man (I'd have to go with Nightcrawler or Mystique), but I couldn't think of anything else for X!

He is an admirable character, that's for sure; he has a strong moral code and his mind powers are pretty awesome. I've never read the comics so I can't speak to those, but I thought Patrick Stuart was a good pick to play him in the movies. His death was sad in the third one, but that whole movie was kinda sad in its awfulness.

Shout out to blogger buddy X: This one goes to ninja Ali Cross! (Because an X is like a cross, sillies). She rocks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wolf

Wolf: "No, no! 'Rare' implies dangerously cooked. When I say rare, I mean let it look at the oven in terror, and then bring it out to me!"

I was surprised at how many of you knew about the movie The 10th Kingdom when I mentioned it in my top ten countdown. It is in my top ten largely because of the character Wolf.

Wolf is a human, but he's got many wolf-ish tendencies (plus a tail). I feel like his role could have been ridiculously stupid and wrecked the whole movie if put in the hands of the wrong actor, but Scott Cohen was the perfect choice to play him, and pulls the character off spectacularly.

He is downright hilarious, and has the most quote-able lines in the movie. The serious moments where he tries to keep his wolfish nature in check are also some of the most interesting parts of the movie.

Shout out to blogger buddy W: To Annalisa Crawford at Wake up, Eat, Write, Sleep for being such a positive example of a hard-working writer!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vivi

Vivi: "But... But I have to... I have to find out who I am... I'm scared... What if I'm not even human...?"

How can I not mention my avatar Vivi? Final Fantasy IX is actually my favourite Final Fantasy game so far. I love the characters and the plotline. Vivi is a fascinating character--plus he's, you know, adorable.

He's a Black Mage, one of the more useful companions to have in your party, in my opinion. As the story progresses, it is revealed that the Black Mages are mindless tools created by Kuja, designed to die after one year. Vivi is different than the other mages, but he struggles throughout the game with questions about his existence and origins.

I'm disappointed that you don't actually find out what happens to him at the end of the game.

Shout out to blogger buddy V: To fellow nerd Joshua at Vive le Nerd!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Delores Umbridge

"Hem-hem."

Umbridge is one of my favourite bad characters. She is a complex lady, as she is fighting on the "good" side, but she's so delightfully dastardly. Her evil side plus her affinity for kittens and fluffy pink things makes her intriguing. The Order of the Phoenix is my least favourite book in the series because Harry's a whiny idiot for most of it, but I did enjoy the introduction of her character.

Forcing Harry to write lines with his own blood is just so awful a punishment. She's one of those characters you love to hate, and it's all the more satisfying when she gets carried off by centaurs at the end after insulting them; just what she deserves.

I also thought the actor who played her in the movies did a fantastic job.

Shout out to blogger buddy U: To fellow writer Mina Burrows! How did I get Mina Burrows from the letter U? Well there's a U in bUrrows, of course.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Taran

Taren: "Llonio said life was a net for luck; to Hevydd the Smith life was a forge; and to Dwyvach the Weaver-Woman a loom. They spoke truly, for it is all of these. But you,' Taran said, his eyes meeting the potter's, 'you have shown me life is one thing more. It is clay to be shaped, as raw clay on a potter's wheel.”

One of my favourite children's series is The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (The Black Cauldron movie is based off one of the books, but is really a terrible representation). Taren is the main character--an assistant pig keeper. That's correct, you read that right. Not even a pig keeper, but an assistant pig keeper.

The assistant pig keeper goes on a dangerous, life changing journey to help resist the forces of the terrible Arawn, along with many loveable companions, including the pig Hen Wen, the furry creature Gurgi, the bard Fllewddur Fllam, and the princess Eilonwy.

Read this series to your kids if you haven't. And to yourself too.

Shout out to blogger buddy T: Tyrean from Tyrean's Writing Spot is a sweetheart who always has a kind word to say.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Smeagol

Sam: "Even you couldn't say no to that."
Gollum: "Oh yes we could. Spoilin' nice fish. Give it to us raw and w-r-r-riggling; you keep nasty chips."
Sam: "You're hopeless."


Every time I read the books or watch the movies, I root for Gollum to choose to help Frodo instead of lead him into Shelob's lair, even though I know he won't! He's got good in him--I know it!

I love how conflicted a character he is, and watching his choices play out in the story. Gollum is a large part of why the ring is so fearful an object--you can see exactly what it could to do you by looking at him. His obsession with the power and how the desire for it consumed his life is a powerful story on its own.

Plus, his interactions with Sam and the funny things he says are great.

Shout out to blogger buddy S: That goes to my lovely CP Vik Lit from Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. She took my comments of her draft in stride and has patiently been awaiting my WIP.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Random

"So cocky little Random was in trouble! I had a feeling it shouldn't have bothered me especially. But now, he was one of the keys to my past, and quite possibly my future also... he was resourceful, shrewd, strangely sentimental over the damnedest things; and on the other hand, his word wasn't worth the spit behind it, and he'd probably sell my corpse to the medical school of his choice if he could get much for it."

From that snippet you might be wondering why Random is one of my favourite characters from Zelazny's The Nine Princes of Amber, and rightly so. He's a selfish brat who only helps out Corwin for his own gain at the beginning, but he is one of the most interesting characters in the series.

He is a sneaky gambler, the youngest of the nine princes with the ability to travel through Tarot cards who are fighting each other for the throne. His journey with Corwin and his decision to support his brother changes him, and that's what makes him fascinating. But I won't tell you more. Go read about him yourself.

Shout out to blogger buddy R: To Rachel Morgan, that lovely author of fairy stories!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Questor Thews

"Gray robes cloaked the scarecrow form, but they were decorated with an array of brilliant sashes, cloth pouches, and jewelry that left the wearer looking something like a fragmented rainbow pinned against a departing thunderstorm."

Questor Thews is the wizard from the book Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold! who introduces the main character, Ben Holiday, to his new role as king of Landover. He is not what you expect of a wizard, as you soon find out when he conjures up a dozen embroidered pillows instead of a feast and accidentally turns his friend into a dog.

He certainly makes things interesting! His bickering with Abernathy is a hoot, and the progression of his character throughout the series is a pleasure to read. A bumbling excuse for a wizard he might be at first, but his heart's in the right place.

Shout out to blogger buddy Q: I haven't visited him too much, but Matthew MacNish at the Quintessentially Query Experiment seems like a fine chap with lots of great querying advice.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pete Latimer

Pete: "Trust me, a whoosh and a twinkle is a lot better than a sizzle and a splat, or worse zzz-zap and ker-chow."

Pete is a brilliant secret service agent, with training from the marines. He likes to work from instinct, unlike Myka who likes to think things through, which is probably partly why they make such a good team.

Pete is my favourite character from Warehouse 13 because he cracks jokes to ease the tension and is a little boy at heart. His playfulness often drives Myka crazy, but I love it. I enjoy the brother-sister relationship that he has with Myka--watching them develop as a team is one of the best parts of the show.

Shout out to blogger buddy P: If you like paranormal fiction, stop by Suzanne Johnson's Preternatura. She's a wonderful lady and I took her course on plotting for pantsers that was fantastic.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Olivia Dunham

Olivia: "Why would they do that? I mean, what would they want with me? What were they doing? Who could they be?"
Walter: "You're like a question machine."


When I first started watching Fringe, I thought Olivia was the most boring character ever. When I finished, I realized she is a kick-ass, awesome hero who can hold her own against supernatural monsters and keep cool during earth shattering events.

Plus, there are two of her--one for each universe. And the Faux-livia is almost as cool as the regular Olivia. Surrounding herself with awesome people like Peter, Walter, Astrid, Charlie, and Lincoln Lee doesn't hurt either.

Shout out to blogger buddy O: To Mel Chesley from Writings, Musings, and Other Such Nonsense (yes, I'm taking liberties with the "O") for being a fantastic gal with geeky tendencies!