Writers’ Corner update 22/02/2017

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 22/02/2017!

I have another snag again, with my new articles not showing up in my Flipboard magazines. So p!$$#$ me off. I hope they fix it soon. Maybe it works for you, who knows.

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In the mean time, I want to share the birth of another magazine of mine in Flipboard. It’s called Pretty Pictures and I put my photographs in there. I used to take a lot more photos in the time I was working on a business of scrapbook paper (2008-2009). That’s when I learned to work with Photoshop. I don’t take photos as often as I want anymore, I just don’t have the time. But now and again I see something that catches my eye. I created the magazine yesterday, so there’s only two images in there. Have a look. I hope you like them.

I have been very busy editing my first book recently and I’m glad to say it’s finally finished. Check it out on Amazon!

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Movie Review: Hidden Figures

– Spoiler Alert! –

Score: 9/10

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Before watching The Great Wall last Saturday, I watched Hidden Figures. It was a great movie. I didn’t give it a 10/10 though, because it didn’t make me cry 🙂 .

Hidden Figures is the story about three African-American mathematician females, Katherine G. Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monae),  in the early 1960’s, working for NASA. It is about their struggle to be accepted into the mainly white male society there. I was surprised they actually had coloured women working there at all in those days, but apparently NASA wasn’t interested in the race war, just the space race. The story is based on true events and the end of the movie shows you the original characters the story is based upon. However, according to Wikipedia, the individual accounts of the three ladies did not happen in the same time frame. This doesn’t matter for the movie though, which drives home what happened, not when.

Especially with what is happening in the US at the moment, I think the timing is just right. Although there is never a ‘good’ time to show people that discrimination is wrong and that the community doesn’t benefit from it; the best time for that is perpetual. I don’t know if it’s the ‘Hollywood-isation’ that turned this movie into a semi-funny and romantic one. I think it should have been a lot harder, more realistic, depicting the real feel of discrimination of being coloured and female.

I wasn’t born at that time yet, I don’t live in America, and I’m not an African-American, so I can’t compare the movie to what it was like to be an African-American female in an all white male society in those days. I also haven’t read the book (by Margot Lee Shetterly), so I even don’t know if the story in the book is harsher than the movie. My guess is that reality was a lot harder than the film portrays. I had a girlfriend at university who became a nuclear physicist. She quit her job as she was not tolerated as a woman in an all male world and the continuous struggle was just too much for her. She wasn’t coloured, it wasn’t 1960, and it wasn’t in a southern state of the US. This happened to a white girl in 1989 in Australia.

Cinematography wise I liked the movie. It drew me in, the flow was good, and the music was matching to the scenes. But like I said, I would have liked to have seen more ‘intimate’ moments, more emphasis on the feeling that comes with constant rejection. The fact that these women persisted and didn’t take no for an answer is awe inspiring.

I had brought my daughter with me to see the movie. She has a physics level of 140 (compared to the 100 average level). She was sitting at the edge of her seat for most of the movie and was very inspired by it. The movie did what it had to do 🙂 .

So yes, I liked the movie and what it stands for (hence the high score), but no, I didn’t like it being all lovey-dovey and they all lived happily ever after, because that’s not the truth. Even in this day and age, a lot still needs to change. Hopefully, with more movies like these, there will be equality for all one day.

Movie Review: The Great Wall

– Spoiler Alert! –

Score: 8/10

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Last night I watched The Great Wall, with Matt Damon. I had avoided seeing any of the trailers, so all I knew was that it was about the great wall of China and that Matt Damon was in it. Of course I had read about the controversy about white-washing an Asian story and about Matt Damon having 700 hair extensions to be able to sport a man bun, but that was it.

We were going to watch Hidden Figures as well, so I had to find out how long the movie was going to take. I was surprised when I found out it was only one hour and forty-three minutes. Most movies nowadays are two hours or over, especially epic ones like I thought this one to be. Strange.

The first few minutes of the movie was a great scene setter. It was suspenseful, it had action, and it had humour. That was exactly what the whole movie was. I was surprised about the humour in it. I had expected it to be all drama, but it wasn’t. It didn’t run over of one liners, one funny was actually used twice, but it was sprinkled enough to give the whole story an airy atmosphere.

If you don’t want to read about any spoilers, you can still click away now.

I was totally taken aback by the monsters in the movie. I didn’t expect these at all and they upped my liking of the movie. Awesome CG of course, but I couldn’t help comparing the monsters to the ones from Avatar, with gill like organs and eyes in weird places. The feminist in me found it great to see a Queen in charge of them all, but, again, reminded my of the Alien enterprise. Nothing new. As was the art (ink in water flow) used in the end credits, very reminiscent of the series Marco Polo, as was the outfits for the female warriors. For a moment I thought we had crossed movies and were watching elves from Lord of the Rings.

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What annoyed me during the movie was the flow. In my opinion, scenes were cut short and I wasn’t given enough time to root for any of the characters. The (surprisingly non-existent romantic) relationship between William Garin (Matt Damon) and Commander Lin Mae (Jing Tian) could have been so much more. The fact that Commander Lin Mae was chosen to become General was a nice feministic touch, but highly unlikely in ancient China. Made it seem fantastical instead of worthy of belief. The to and fro alliance of Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal) to William also seemed whimsical. I think the movie would have been so much better if these relationships had more to it.

Story wise there is a lot more to question of course. I’ll not go into that as ever action story on the big screen nowadays seems to hang together by coincidental occasions and faulty time lines.

As for the white-washing of the movie, I concur with Director Zhang Yimou that the character of William is a let down compared to the honour code the Chinese warriors live by. However, I find it a bit over the top that it is William, together with Commander Lin Mae, who defeats the Queen. Was there really not a Chinese warrior by the Commander’s side who could have done the same? But than again, we wouldn’t have been able to se Matt Damon in close up as much as we can now 🙂 .

A Book Review: Graveyard Rose, by Ginny Clyde

4/5 stars

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I was part of Ms Clyde’s launch team, but unfortunately I am such a slow reader that I’m sorry to say I’m a bit late for the launch now. But as I finally finished the book I am happy to give my review.

Lenara is a young woman without a mother who has to find out about love and life on her own. Her father provides her a comfortable life, but this doesn’t take away any of the perils that Lenara must face, particularly those she has to face when getting the medication that her ill sister so desperately needs from the dark forest. It gives for an exciting story.

I found that Ms Clyde has a nice way of storytelling. It draws you in and you feel like you are there. Graveyard Rose is a pleasant read with vivid descriptions and likeable (and not so likable) characters. It is great to see another book with a female character who stands up for what she believes and wants in life and it’s a good read for any teenaged girl.

Graveyard Rose is the first in the series of The Rose Chronicles and the end of the book leaves you wanting to find out what happens next as this is definitely not the end of the story. The second and third book in the series are already out on Amazon.

You can find The Rose Chronicles here.

 

Writers’ Corner update 15/02/2017

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 15/02/2017!

It’s working again! My articles are showing up in my magazines. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with the problem, but Flipboard has fixed it now. Unfortunately I have been very busy editing my first book, so haven’t been overly active reading articles (Flipboard not working didn’t help either), but I’ve managed to get three new interesting articles for you.

As it was Valentine’s Day yesterday, I couldn’t resist adding the 15 Science-backed tips to get someone to fall in love with you to Writers’ Corner. Always handy when writing romance. There’s an article on Comma Conundrums (but of course you already know how to use them 😛 ). Another article introduces you to Two Useful Apps To Turn Your Writing From Good To Great. They are Hemingway Editor and Grammarly. I, myself, use Grammarly and ProWritingAid. I’d never heard of Hemingway. Let me know which one you prefer.

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Unfortunately I haven’t got any new articles in Focus on Filming yet. Sorry. I did come across an article on YouTube on a new drone with 4K filming though (the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K Quadcopter Drone), which I liked. It is quiet(er) and has a lovely hand-held gimbal. The pricing is a bit too steep for me at the moment though and the fact that it doesn’t have a better camera than the one priced 50% cheaper doesn’t make me want to buy it any time soon. If anybody knows of a better option, let me know as we could do with one for the film group.

Same for Health Herald and Sci-Non-Fi; nothing new 🙁 .

I promise to have more to read for you next week as I finished the editing of my book yesterday (only need to update the digital file, format it again, and send off to the printer).

Courses for Writing Courses

Is it me, or are there more courses for writers available now than ever before? Anybody who wants to be somebody all of a sudden needs to be producing a course. Apparently it’s THE way to make money nowadays. And hence everybody is making courses, to rake in that money.

There are courses on how to become a writer, courses on writing novels, courses on writing good novels, courses on writing a plot, courses on creativity, courses on blogging, courses on making money with blogging, courses on how to make podcasts, courses on editing, courses on publishing, courses on how to market your book, and, to my surprise, courses on making courses.

Of course, people have begun complaining about how useless a lot of these courses are, how bad they are designed, and how much money they have thrown away to do these courses.

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Being a teacher myself (albeit a blue Monday), I can tell you that teaching is no easy thing. It takes skill and knowledge to be able to actually make somebody else understand, retain, and able to use new information properly. There is a reason that there are university courses for making people able to do this and only people who have graduated in these courses are able to teach our children. So why would you pay huge amounts of money for a course that Willy Nilly is offering you?

I’d say, stick with the tried and tested establishments or teach yourself, using all the information that is available for free on the world wide web.

Writers’ Corner update 09/02/2017

Writers’ Corner update 09/02/2017.

Flipboard has changed its layout, so it took me a few minutes to figure it out how to share them with you. When I finally figured it out, it appeared that all the articles that I had picked out for you this week weren’t in my magazines!

I’m so sorry. Believe me when I tell you that I am as disappointed as you are. I will need to contact Flipboard to find out what went wrong and hope they can correct it.

In the mean time, see it on the positive side and possibly try to catch up on all those articles that you didn’t have a chance to read yet 🙂 .

I’ll keep you up to date.

 

 

Book Review: The Keresa Headdress, by Larry D. Shackelford

5/5 Stars

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I was given this book by Mr Shackelford and I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m a sucker for appealing visual covers and having my roots in Australia I just loved the blue and red colours of this book. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but everybody does. I don’t’ know what it is, but so far I’ve never been disappointed. If the author takes time to pick a good cover, they are usually quite picky about the content as well. So much so for this book.

The story is about agent Karen Adams, an FBI agent in Salt Lake City. She investigates a young man who goes missing. As Karen begins a routine investigation, more and more dark things are uncovered, involving the Royal Mounted Canadian Police and international trafficking of all sorts.

The story has a good suspense arc, upping the stakes all the time. Shackelford has cleverly woven in some sidelines and the whole time you don’t know where the story is going to go. It is clear that Shackelford has experience in the field (he’s now retired though after twenty-five years of law enforcement) and his accurate description of situations, actions, and weaponry sucks you into the story without effort.

The ending was not like I thought it would be, but I’m not going to spoil it for you. You’ve got to read it and find out for yourself!

You can find The Keresa Headdress here.

To debit or to debite…

Do you have to be a vampire novel writer to read

‘We’re de-biting the payment for your purchase’

instead of

‘We’re debit-ing the payment for your purchase’?