Characters I Never Want to Meet

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

Once again, I’m joining the weekly blog challenge at Long and Short Reviews. Check out some of the other authors too.

The Wicked Witch of the West: I know this sounds a little strange but this was the first character that really frightened me. Even though the movie was an old classic by the time I was a child, I have distinct memories of how much the witch’s laugh and her army of flying monkeys gave me nightmares. I can deal with it now-of course-but I can’t forget that childhood thrill /fear factor of the original Wicked Witch of the West.

Kai Winn: There are all kinds of villains and foes in the Star Trek universe, but Kai Winn is the worst. She pretends to be your friend, but undercuts you at every turn. She’s so convinced of her own self-righteous that nothing matters. She never kills anyone herself but doesn’t seem concerned about the result of her actions. Louise Fletcher did an outstanding job in that role and one of the many reasons it’s one of my favorite Treks.

Pennywise: From Stephen King’s It. Clowns have always frightened me, and this only made it worse.

Euron Greyjoy: GoT is full of people you’d never want to meet but I’ll only talk about one. I loathe Euron Greyjoy. He’s vile, disgusting, creepy, and he looks like he never bathes and smells like fish. The only person worst than him (still alive as of this season) is Cersei herself.

This was a tough topic for me, because even when villains are awful, if the writer writes it well, or the actor shines in the role, I want to meet them.

And a little note:
My novella RAW MATERIALS is featured in this weeks Author Shout Cover Wars. I’d really like some votes. Voting lasts for one week, and you can vote once a day.
Titles
Advertisements

Comfort Food

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

Once again, I’m  joining the weekly blog challenge at Long and Short Reviews. Check out some of the other authors too. This week’s topic: Favorite Comfort Foods and Why.

60a24dedad20692d4da0297fe38caf43

Comfort food is a dangerous one for me, because the truth is I should probably take less comfort in food, and more comfort in exercise. That being said, there are a few items on my comfort food list.

Macaroni and Cheese: The main reason this is a comfort food is because it’s not all that common in Japan. I have to make it myself and cheddar cheese can actually be rather expensive. It’s cheaper lately, thanks to Australian imports, but not as common. Whenever I  visit family in the US I eat macaroni and cheese almost every day. It’s filling and satisfying; plus even though it’s a side, it works for me as a main meal with a salad. Three cheers for macaroni and cheese.

Grits: I miss grits. I grew up in the Southern US, so I ate them fairly religiously. I never thought much about liking or not liking it because, well, in the south you get grits for breakfast or you go hungry. I wouldn’t mind some at the moment though.

Deep fried octopus: I never thought it would become a favorite, but there it is. Octopus, squid, and eel are common in Asian food dishes and in all honesty, I really like octopus. Oh well.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: The world’s best cookies. I struggle between regular chocolate chip and oatmeal chocolate, though I seem to have more cooking successes with oatmeal chocolate chip. I have yet to achieve the perfect cookie-I still fiddle around with the flour/baking soda ratio. If anyone has tips, please leave them in the comments.

White Castle Cheeseburgers: My dad used to take me to pick up an order of White Castle cheeseburgers with him when I was young. (Guess my age!)  My mother wasn’t a fan, but Dad let me ride beside him in the passenger seat. It was a daddy-daughter outing only as my mother didn’t much like them. If I was good, he’d sneak me a few Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies while we went to get White Castle cheeseburgers.  I haven’t had one in decades, likely, but I mainly think of them when I think of my dad.    ( Are Nutter Butters still around?)

Rice Krispie Treats: are awesome!!!!!!! So, I have a friend, a Japanese woman whom I work with. One day, we decided to take our kids out to the park and bring some snacks. I made Rice Krispie treats. She took one look at them and squealed with joy. I was so shocked. She later told me she’d live in America for two years when she was in elementary school and one of her favorite memories of American life was Rice Krispie Treats. Like I said, Rice Krispie Treats are awesome.

 

According to Melora Pazlar, “there’s nothing worse than half-dead racht”. (DS9: “Melora“)

 

Favorite Podcasts (& YouTube)

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

Once again, I’m joining the weekly blog challenge at Long and Short Reviews. Check out some of the other authors too.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I have a rather long list.  Admittedly, it’s heavy on the SF/Fantasy.

Blake’s 7 in Character: I’m a fan of the classic British SF Series Blake’s 7. There are a few podcasts that cover the show, but this is my current favorite. It includes lots of background information on guest actors and the reflections on the episodes. It’s best for people who have seen the full series.

https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/blakes-7-in/belkov-duYahrxleML/

 

Relic Radio: vintage radio shows available in public domain. My personal favorite is Science Fiction, but they also have mysteries, thrillers, comedies. A neat window into history too.

https://www.relicradio.com/otr/

 

Coverville: Cover versions of famous songs. It’s one of my favorites.

http://coverville.com

Mission Log: Covers Star Trek episode by episode including the movies. They’ve done Classic Trek, TNG, and are now on Deep Space Nine. And the have separate feed for Discovery discussions.

http://www.missionlogpodcast.com

 

TheTime Vault: This covers a lot of classic British SF. Most of the episodes cover Doctor Who, but they’ve also reviewed all the episodes of  Blake’s 7 and Star Cops. They’ve started covering Sapphire and Steel.

https://thetimevault.wordpress.com

Khaleesi’s Clues: I am a Game of Thrones fan, and there are a lot of GOT youtube channels. Khalessi’s Clues is hosted by a fan of both the books and the TV series; very knowledgeable and explains her theories. Whether you agree with her or not, I always enjoy her detailed updates.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCikKLq61_otVHRgfzAlRf5w

*I also write romance books. I don’t promo myself much, but feel free to check out my

website.

Titles

Characters I’d Want to Meet

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

Once again, I’d joining the weekly blog challenge at Long and Short Reviews. Check out some of the other authors too.

250px-Midsomer_murders_logo

I used to fantasize being on an episode of Midsomer Murders. I have a slight addiction to British crime dramas. I’ve spent far too many hours of my life watching and reading them. So if I were to meet fictional characters I’d want to meet some of the fictional detectives.

My journey would start in the fictional district of Midsomer where I would stumble across a murder whilst trekking in the country side. Because this is a Midsomer episode, it would be a clean murder-shooting, strangling, stabbing-but thankfully no serial killers. Those crimes happen on different shows. Then, several local people and local visitors would be questioned until the crime was all related to an argument over inheritance; a marital dispute that took place years ago; some obscure historical find; or a long lost relative. After that is solved, I’d go spent a few days in Oxford.

Inspector_Morse_logo

In Oxford I would help Inspector Morse solve a case using my knowledge of Latin, Greek, or obscure mythological references. Once again I wouldn’t have to witness any truly gruesome killings, because those would only be referred to offscreen. Plus, it was probably committed by an academic and involved poisoning. I’d get a bit weary of Morse’s drinking and opera, but at least Lewis would be there. I’d probably stick around for a week or so to help Lewis solve a case, and time travel a few years forward so I can help him and DS Hathaway solve a crime.

Since, I have a time machine I should probably make use of it. A cozy mystery case with Father Brown; an intense war time crime with Detective Foyle; or even a further back to consult Miss Marple to do lots of sitting and knitting until we find the killer.

Finally, I’d come back to the present and work on a case with Inspector Vera Stanhope. She has a prickly personality but so do I so I can hold my own.

250px-Vera_tv_series_titlecard

So, that’s my big adventure in fictional meetings. How about you?

A Day in My Life

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

I’m participating in the weekly blogging challenge at Long and Short Reviews.

I can’t say my days are terribly exciting. Go to work.  Laundry. Cooking. Laundry. Cleaning. Laundry. I hate laundry.  I don’t have a job where I can guarantee writing in the mornings or evenings. If freelance work is hectic, the only time I can dedicate to writing are stray thoughts in a notebook I keep with me constantly. But every now and then, I get to schedule writing days…particularly it I am working on the second draft-the edits and rewrites-which is the most difficult. (And my current struggle.)

Everyday is a reading day!!! I don’t know what I’d do without books.

But what I try to do everyday is make sure I get a chance to appreciate the outdoors.

It’s essential for me to get some physical exercise. I used to be really poor at this. I’d tell myself it was too much  trouble to go to the swimming pool; too much traffic to drive to the gym-any excuse. But I have learned that it is vital to move my body. I have to make sure my muscles are strong. I can sleep better and write better when my body is in shape.

I am a big fan of short hikes. I am fortunate to live in a place with lots of nature that has several parks and a small mountain right behind my house. There are several marked courses I can take-the shortest about 30 minutes, the longest about 2 hours- at a steady pace. So, I thought I’d share a few pictures. If I want to vary my excursions, I take a bicycle ride along the seaside.

IMG_2607IMG_2613IMG_2676

And when I’m done-I watch some SF; usually an episode of Star Trek. A Trek a day keeps the doctor away. 🙂 Currently, I am working through THE EXPANSE. 

So, how was your day? Did you see anything beautiful you’d like to share?

 

*I also write romance books. I don’t promo myself much, but feel free to check out my website.

Titles

 

Quick Review: Deadly Bargain Anthology

41PGQYiOdJL._SY346_

Deadly Bargain, edited by Brad Parker and  Mya Lairis was a good, solid weekend read with a variety of stories. The stories all feature the same dubious salesman, and the purchases/deals that the buyer makes. It covers a range of themes from shrunken heads, cursed jewelry, evil dolls, evil cars, and a wide variety of characters. The goal of Colors in Darkness is to present diversity in horror and it doesn’t disappoint. The characters were fresh, vibrant, and varied. My personal favorite stories (thought there weren’t any duds)…

Tsantsa/Judith Baron Stuart:  Stuart, fascinated by the macabre, decides to purchase a shrunken head at a small shop. Needless to say, this is not a wise choice. Stuart’s panic and desire to rid himself of the shrunken head make for a truly creepy story.

Cherry Condition/Dahlia DeWinters: My father used to have an Oldsmobile Cutlass, so I was sold on this story from the beginning. And there are few things creepier than used car salesmen and (possibly) demonic cars.

A Good Deal/ Karen Thrower: Mike purchases a gift for his girlfriend, and finds that he may have sold his soul. The strongest part of this story is the protagonist Mike-his voice and mannerisms ring true. I found myself rooting for Mike, even if he created his own problem.

 BFF’sKenya Moss Dyme: This is both a horror story; as well as a solid, character study. Maya, a special needs woman, and her best friend Bennie are the central characters. Maya’s isolation and loneliness give the story its force.

Amazon Link

Also, you may want to check out the Colors in Darkness Facebook Group

EDIT: Updated. The editors are Brad Parker and Mya Lairis.

SF Obscure: Requiem

250px-Requiem_titlecard

Requiem is a supernatural drama Netflix original released in 2018. It’s a six part serial, one season. I don’t know if there will be more seasons, although the ending is ambiguous. It stars Lydia Wilson as Matilda Gray and Joel Fry as Harlan Fry. It took me an episode or two to place him, but Joel Fry is one of the Mereen from GoT. It does contain some language and sex. And some really creepy scenes.

Summary: It starts off with a scene in an estate house in a country town where a man commits suicide. Then it cuts to Matilda Gray a soon to be famous cellist. She’s preparing for a major concert with her pianist and friend Harlan Fry. Her mother is scheduled to see it. Her mother is haunted by frightening images which she doesn’t tell Matilda about. Later, after meeting with Matilda, her mother walks out of the concert hall as if in a trance. Matilda follows her and witnesses her committing suicide. 

After her mother’s death, she discovers her mother’s obsession with young girl who went missing in the village of Penllynith, Carys Howell.  Believing there is a connection to her mother’s suicide and Carys disappearance, Matilda decides to visit the village. Hal reluctantly follows her…even though he thinks her grief is making her act in strange ways. They cause a scene and turn the village against them when Matilda confronts Rose, the mother of the missing girl. As the story goes on, we find out that Matilda may have some connection to the family of the missing girl. We also discover that other people have concerns about some disturbing experiences in the town. There is a colorful cast of characters: a psychiatric patient who has visions; an antiques dealer who informs them of occult connections to the town; an heir to the estate that hides secrets. Each episodes reveals some new secret, slowly building up to a climax.

It is an engaging story.  I watched all the episodes eager to find out what the real back story was to each character and that keeps it going. That’s also part of the problem as per the horror aspect-it gets a bit bogged down in everyone’s personal drama that you almost lose the thread of the story. The story, by the way, the occult paranormal visions and what they really mean. The lead actress does a decent job, but her character tends to have emotional extremes. She CRIES. She SCREAMS. It’s a bit over the top. Hal’s character spends a lot of time moping over her. Despite this, it doesn’t drag the show down. Most of the supporting cast is great-the woman who plays Matilda’s mother was really convincing (she’s in flashbacks too); Rose the mother of the missing girl gives a strong performance; and the psychiatric patient steals the scenes (often from Matilda).  When the final episodes get back on track to the paranormal aspect, it’s really good. 

On the whole, it’s worth putting on your Netflix cue and checking out.

Fictional Worlds I’d Rather Not Visit

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

This week blogging challenge: Fictional Worlds I’d rather not visit. Follow more bloggers at Long and Short Reviews.

This was a tough one, because generally speaking if I enjoy reading books in a fictional world, I imagine myself living in them to some degree. If I see a movie that I enjoy there is a part of me that wishes I was there. That’s part of the attraction. So if I think of fictional world I’d rather not visit was actually rather challenging.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Max Brooks.  The book was fantastic. I’m not a fan of the zombie genre, yet World War Z approached it as a pastiche of views. It showed how different people reacted to the situation of a zombie virus. And spanned the globe. It was terrifying yet fascinating. I loved reading it but wouldn’t want to live through it.

The Planet of the Apes. (the originals) Even though I have fond memories of watching the originals as a child, it’s definitely not an alternative world I’d want to live in. I used to imagine that I lived in that world-struggling for survival and hiding from bands of gorillas on horseback.

Westeros. We all know you won’t live long even if you belong to a great house.  I don’t want to live in King’s Landing. I’ll go back to Winterfell now that the Bolton’s have been defeated. Maybe Dragonstone? At least, it’s relatively safe at the moment.

Dune. Arrakis is a desert filled with giant worms. No. Just no.

Star Wars. I love Star Wars and want to be a Jedi, but all the planets have one climate per planet. Cold freezing winters, Barren deserts, or jungles. Or extremely overbuilt. Nothing that seems terribly scenic, to be honest.Kashyyyk might be alright, but I don’t speak Wookie. I need to invest in a protocol droid.

So, any suggestions of fictional worlds you’d never live in?

What to Read to learn about Science

wednesdaybloggingchallenge-copy

This week’s topic from Long and Short Reviews is: What to Read to Learn About X. I choose science. (Tanith Davenport has some on The War of the Roses. Great for history buffs.)

I was a humanities person. I enjoyed the few science classes that I took in college well enough, but I was never particularly outstanding. My love of history and literature won out. And mathematics…my last venture in the world of math was calculus and the only proof I have of that is a door stopper textbook gathering dust in my parent’s house for the last 25 years. I’ve never looked at it sense, and I couldn’t begin to do any of it, even though, apparently at some point in my life I did.

But I love reading about science. Occasionally, I would read Scientific American or Wired just because it was around and I kind of wanted to know what was going on in the world that didn’t involve celebrities, make-up tips, or man-finding quests. I read a lot on my work lunch breaks. I was bored with my data entry job and for various reasons, not keen to have lunch with my colleagues. I learned a lot.

There are a few books that I have about science and scientists, most of which I re-read from time to time:

51W9YkbWqlL._AC_US218_

The Code Book Simon Singh: a history of code-breaking and encryption. All the math you thought you’d never understand it explained in readable prose. It even makes solving equations sound fun.

51Sn8PEXwcL._AC_US218_

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind  Yuval Noah Hariri: a historical overview of biology and history-showing our split form the other sapiens to be the only Homo sapiens.Whether or not you agree with his conclusions about where humanity is headed or why civilizations arise as they do, it is interesting.

51kYtX4Is5L._AC_US218_

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Sklott: this is about Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells are now used for cancer research. It’s really a study about medical ethics-or lack thereof and how poverty and racism affects access to care and the uncomfortable history of racism in medical research.. It will make you angry, but it is a good book.

51w2dxc5h+L._AC_US218_

Hidden Figures Margot Lee Shetterly: one of my favorite books which was made into one of my favorite movies.I even have a Katherine Johnson limited edition Barbie. The book covers more of the early years of NASA; many of the Black engineers and woman in early science. Very interesting and well researched.

41OSy-W7dXL

Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin Piers Bizony and Jamie Doran: April 12, 1961 Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first to leave the earth’s atmosphere and venture into space. This covers the events leading up to the historic trip; Gagarin’s early life (trust, we have it easy nowadays) and the turn his life took after the trip and the politics that entered the space race.

 

SF Obscure: Flash Gordon (1980)

Flash_gordon_movie_poster

For my next venture into B -movies and cult favorites, I decided to sit and watch Flash Gordon. I recently saw Bohemian Rhapsody. Clearly they couldn’t cover everything and purists felt as it there was much left out to protect Freddie Mercury’s image. I didn’t mind that actually. To often, I feel like all celeb movies do is try to show us everything that was wrong rather than let us enjoy what we love about things.

But, I must say, they make no mention of Queen’s contribution to Flash Gordon.

First, The Flash Gordon theme song is an ear worm that won’t go away for days. Second, I feel a lot more forgiving towards Battle Beyond the Stars now.

Flash Gordon was a comic strip created in 1934 and had all manner of serials, early movies, etc. There was a 1996 TV series I vaguely remember and a 2006 TV series which I do remember. It wasn’t terribly remarkable-but to be fair- I’m not a Flash Gordon fan. It’s never  been a character I followed much, so there wasn’t much emotional investment. I realize it’s place in pop culture but that’s about it.

Let’s get to the movie summary (which is apparently close to the original serial):

Space Supervillian Ming the Merciless is going to destroy earth by causing natural disasters. A football player named “Flash” Gordon is traveling on a plane with a travel agent named Dale Arden. The plane is hit by a meteorite, falling into the lab of Dr. Hans Zarkov who is building a spacecraft because he believes in a coming alien invasion. Through convenient plot devices, Flash Gordon and Dale Arden end up traveling another galaxy  with him. They are taken prisoner by Ming the Merciless and paraded in front of a group of colorfully dressed aliens with bizarre headpieces. Ming’s daughter Princess Aura decides she likes Flash, but has a thing going with Timothy Dalton aka Prince Barin. There is a lot of glitter and orange. Flash fights off a bunch of aliens with football moves, but is captured and sentenced to death. Dr. Zarkov is captured for mind experiements. Dale is dressed up in a tacky dress to join Ming’s harem. Flash is executed, but it is faked and Aura frees him.

This is where I got a bit confused. Aura is taking Flash to Prince Barin. Flash communicates telepathically with a machine on Aura’s spaceship to let Dale know he’s alive and will rescue her. Another group of people steal Zarkov’ s memories. Aura and Dale are chased by the Hawkmen (another group of aliens). The arrive at Prince Barin’s land, but then Flash and Barin fight each other. The Hawkmen capture all of them, but they escape. And there’s a lightning shield that does something but they have to destroy it. Then Barin and Aura will work with the Hawkmen to overthrow Ming the Merciless.

And there are Lizard Men because there must be in any B-grade SF movie.

Battle Beyond the Stars did have a clear narrative. It may have been clumsy in its delivery but I could watch the movie in one sitting because I felt like it was going somewhere. Flash Gordon was filled with running and yelling and bright colors and weapons and no real direction. I got impatient and had to stop midway and pick it up later. I think they film makers were trying for a parody of SF or some comedy, but it never quite fit. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was watching. If I had to choose, I’d rather watch Battle again.

If you have any good cult or B-movie suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I think Krull might be up soon:)