Sunday, January 8, 2017

Movie Review: Assassin's Creed (2016)

So I somehow ended up in a screening of Assassin's Creed. Such was not the plan, but I figured I might as well go ahead and make some lemonade here. If you enjoy the review, there's a tip jar to the right (follow the girl with the flowers and the white dress.)

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To begin with I should mention that I am aware the movie is based on a video game, but I haven't played it, so whether the movie is doing the game justice will not figure in here. There are also a few minimal spoilers in here, most of which you already know from the trailer. None of them should lessen your enjoyment of the movie.

Plot: I'm sure there was supposed to be one. However, when something is so full of massive holes that it just falls apart in the softest breeze, I'm not quite sure you can call it a plot. The premise is that an individual's unique memories somehow survive in their genetic code. This simply does not get me anywhere near suspending my disbelief as it is just not how the brain works because that is where memories are actually stored. Even is I were to ignore that though, the fact that throughout the rest of the movie everyone wants this manzana de dios thingy which contains somehow free will (???) was just a little bit too much. Just made no sense. And there was something that I think was intended as a big reveal, except it wasn't. But it can be somewhat entertaining taking the pseudo plot apart after seeing the movie.

Pace: The pacing was actually not too bad. As is often the case in movies that rely on a lot of combat scenes, I felt that some of the fighting was superfluous and stilted, but that was something I could live with. At the end there was a major pacing issue where things should have been moving to a nice and tight conclusion, but they didn't. Lot of scenes with people running on roofs, standing on roofs, and jumping from roof to roof though if that's your thing.

Acting: The acting was ok, but there just wasn't a lot for the actors to work with I guess. The characters are not very well defined ones, even the main character was barely 2.5 dimensional, and he was supposed to be two people.

Writing: Dialogues didn't feel tight or even very natural for the characters. There was no proper conclusion at the end of the movie, which was annoying.

All in all, not a must watch kind of movie. As it's winter right now, the only good reason for watching this movie that I can think of is if you lock yourself out of your apartment and you need a warm place to wait for a locksmith and Assassin's Creed is the only movie you can get in because everything else is sold out, that's when I recommend you go watch it. If you can get your hands on some wine to go with that experience, that would be helpful too!

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Best Vegan Eggnog

This eggnog, or vegnog, is not just easily prepared, it is also super delicious, creamy, and quite versatile; add a shot or two of espresso or coffee to it, and you have a delicious vegnog latte. It's good cold, or warm. And compared to most recipes, it's comparatively healthy due to the fiber content.

For this vegnog you'll need:

666 g (23 oz) almond milk
400 ml (14 oz) coconut cream
3 to 4 dried figs
2 ripe bananas
0.5 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 to 1 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg
3 tbsp rum or spiced rum
additional rum to taste

Put the figs in a bowl, jar, or in your blender, then add the almond milk. Ideally, let this soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Now, add in all the other ingredients and blend well until creamy. If you need to make a non-alcoholic version, simply leave the rum out. Otherwise, add the 3 tablespoons now and add additional rum (we used 73 vol% for this) when you serve it, stir, and sprinkle some more nutmeg and/or cinnamon on top.

If you like your seasonal coffee based beverage, you can add one shot of espresso to about 200 ml of the vegnog, or you can adjust the ratio to you taste of course.

If you serve this warm, you will get a stronger banana flavor, serve it cold and you'll taste more of the coconut.

If you don't like your nog as creamy as this, just use coconut milk (or almond milk) in lieu of the coconut cream.

Enjoy this vegan Xmas drink!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

D is for Dinosaur Cover Reveal





There it is! Let's have a look at the official release:


For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur theme and span the spectrum from literal to metaphoric.

Within these pages stories set in alternate histories, far-flung futures and times just around the corner, dinosaurs whimper and waste away, or roar and rage. People can be dinosaurs, as can ideas, fictions and flesh. Knitted dinosaurs share space with ghostly, genetically engineered and even narcotic ones.

Teenagers must embrace their inner dinosaurs in order to find peace and belonging, a dying woman duels a God in a far future city that echoes aspects of our past, an abused wife accompanies her husband on a hunt for an ancient power and finds more than she could ever have imagined and a girl with wonderful magical powers stumbles across the bones of a giant long-dead lizard. And so much more!

My story in this anthology is L, meaning I'm still working my way through the first half of the alphabet (I'm not complaining.) My L story happens to be a sci fi story, but of course it's also a dinosaur story which for some reason just happened. Hopefully readers will enjoy the result!

For now though, keep looking at that gorgeous dino cover with me!

~

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In case you didn't see...





...Ms. Piper's Luminous Dreams has a new and sexy cover. But that's not all, there is also a new story in there, to celebrate the new cover she tells me.

And it's cool, as far as I know the story has a character from another one of her stories in there, although I couldn't quite find out yet who.

I will though. And while you wait, keep looking at this hot stuff or head over to World Weaver Press to read an excerpt. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Intimacy of Writing--Beta Readers

Do you know the feeling of making something all by yourself, finishing it, being very proud of it? At that point, have you ever wondered whether the thing you made is really actually any good or as good as you first thought it was?



File:Alphonse Mucha - Poetry.jpgMost of the time when you write something, this es exactly how you feel. And worst of all, you know you're not being objective, you can't be, because the story you just told is your baby after all. At this point, the beta reader is invaluable. First of all, a trusted beta reader will actually agree to spend some of their time reading through what you wrote. This is not a small sacrifice for most people, and I very much respect and appreciate that. Secondly, they will tell you the truth about what they think of what you put on the page. They will take it apart. They will show you what and why things don't work. They'll be straight with you.

It is this honesty that always makes me think how much you expose yourself when you ask someone to beta read something for you. Sure, submit your writing anywhere and get rejected, keep doing it over and over, that is a certain kind of exposure as well, but the thing with a beta reader--in many cases a first reader--is that your story just came into being and is probably full of faults and rough edges that still need to bee smoothed out or sharpened to a point, so it is much more personal than submitting finished work anywhere.

The tough thing thing is that only honest criticism can show you how to move forward. The beautiful thing is that being open to such criticism will get you moving forward, for sure.

So if you're a writer, pick your beta readers well. My experience is that the people who do find what's not working and tell me make the best beta readers. Someone who goes easy on you may make you feel good, but it doesn't help you improve your writing much.

And when your writer friend asks you to read something of theirs, don't take it lightly: know that it shows a lot of trust on their part, and know that in most cases, it took them some time to actually decide to ask you! Because showing someone your words for the first time is not an easy thing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reliable People

I realized today (by the fall of a tree, long story) that having reliable people in your life--and the knowledge that they are there--is a cornerstone of happiness. Which sounds as if I were speaking hippie, but that doesn't make it any less true. We all crave stability, sometimes more, sometimes less. Having reliable people near us can help us find that stability--or maybe make us go looking for it.



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Visconti-Sforza_tarot_deck_BBV-05.jpgSo why do I put a personal insight on the internet? Because I want to use it to make a point about character development.

Stability and the MC: Two scenarios: the MC either has or doesn't have stability. When they do, though the story that stability is just torn apart. After, the MC will find a new stability, and in doing so will realize that what they previously had wasn't really stability, just the status quo.

If they do not have stability, they will be made, throughout the story, to actively pursue it. This can be done by

A reliable person in the MC's life: this need not be a character close to the MC, not even a friendly character, many antagonists I would argue are fundamentally reliable people. But this person in the MC's life gets them moving, particularly if the MC lacks motivation to change in the set up.

Happy writing, she told herself.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Chimaera: A Monstrous Creature of Many Parts


 Chimera Apulia Louvre K362.jpg

In Greek tradition, the chimaera (or chimera) is a monster with the head and body of a lion with a second head growing from its back and a snake’s body and head as its tail. As if that were not illustrious enough, the chimaera also breathes fire.

A chimaera outside of mythology is still understood as one thing (or creature) cobbled together from parts of other things (or creatures) not unlike Victor Frankenstein’s monster.

It’s not surprising that an anthology that brings together 24 tales of 24 different writers all writing about chim(a)erae is an excellent idea, and I am very grateful to Rhonda Parrish for thinking it up. Her “C is forChimera” (part of the Alphabet Series) made me write the story for the letter A, and A is for Alchemy.

A is for Alchemy blends mythology and alchemy in a second world setting, which doesn’t sound very interesting, so I’ll quote someone else:

The story is an eloquent descent into madness, and the world-building is subtle and deft. “A” plunges the reader into the anthology full speed ahead. (Stephanie A. Cain)

For readers who enjoy Alchemy and it’s world, The Marriage of Ocean and Dust, which also deals with alchemy, is set in the same world. And if you haven't yet read the anthology but plan to, enjoy!