Book Review: The Demon of Devilgate Drive, by Colin Garrow

Demon_Of_Devil_Gate_Drive

‘The Demon of Devilgate Drive’ is another great story by Colin Garrow. It’s my third book I’ve read by this wonderful author. This time, the protagonist is a boy, Jeff, who, together with his pal Suzi, goes looking for a school pal named Jimmy. Jimmy is often ‘missing’ from school, but this time it’s different. Jeff and Suzi seem to stay ahead of police investigations and stumble upon a dead body. But is he really dead? Did Jeff hear the dead man talk? More than one ‘mysterious’ occurrence happen to Jeff and Suzi, but together they face all kinds of danger.

I love the way Garrow describes his characters. They are so endearing. Like with ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall: Volume 1 (The Christie McKinnon Adventures)‘ and ‘Death on a Dirty Afternoon: Volume 1 (The Terry Bell Mysteries),’ you can immerse yourself into the story without a problem. This time, you’ll be transported back to the seventies, when children played outside until dark and nobody had a phone on them. As is Garrow’s calling card, the people in the story speak with accents which helps you with your travel to a different location. When you time travel, you may as well go some place nice 🙂 .

Even though the protagonists are children, this doesn’t by any means mean this is light reading. Your children will be biting their blankets while you read to them with a spooky voice about the things that are lurking in the dark!

Check out The Demon of Devilgate Drive

The Truth about Vampires

Rita Fitzpatrick, One of the authors from One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group on Facebook, wrote this funny blog on The Truth about Vampires. It’s very entertaining and I hope you have the time to read it. You can find it on her website.

Nosferatu.jpg

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Salazar’s Revenge, aka Dead Men Tell No Tales

Score: 6/10

Severe Spoiler Alert! –

PofC_Salazars_Revenge.jpeg

Please remind me never to go see a movie the first weekend it’s released. I always seem to have a kid behind me that finds it imperative to kick the chair in front. Looking around didn’t help, cursing in Dutch didn’t help. What is it with these parents nowadays? Do they not teach their kids social graces anymore? I agree I could’ve said something, but I had too much empathy for the kid and didn’t want to embarrass their parent in public. I hate confrontations. I should have though, for the sake of humanity.

I must admit I was tired when we went to see the movie. I tried to sleep in the car on the way, but it didn’t work. So, unfortunately, I’m sorry to say I fell asleep during the movie, my own snoring waking me up, as it usually does. My husband once told me I even scorned myself for snoring when it woke me up in the middle of the night 😀 . This time, I remember letting myself drift to sleep during a battle scene and I woke up near the end of it. I missed nothing. As there’s not much good to say about the movie, let’s analyze it, just for fun.

Movies are made to take you away from the here and now. The biggest taboo that could happen is to be taken out of that fantasy world abruptly during the movie. Unfortunately, this happened several times last night. The first thing that annoyed me was the senselessness of the first scene when we encounter Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Jack wakes up drunk in front of a firing squad. And nobody shoots him. Nobody. Then there’s the scene where the girl (Kaya Scodelario) meets the boy (Brenton Twaites) in shackles and, with a pin, she frees him from his bonds. She gets taken to prison, but lo and behold, with that same pin that was left at the scene of the crime, she draws on the walls. Did she have two identical pins? Surely they wouldn’t let her pick up her pin with which she opened locks before they took her away?

Then there’s Captain Salazar, a great performance from Javier Bardem. But why is his hair waving around as if he’s underwater? Why does he have black dribble running from his mouth as he speaks? What did Jack’s compass have to do with his predicament? Regarding his waving hair, his ship didn’t sink, it blew up. Salazar got thrown into the water by the blast, maybe that’s it. But why would it wave like that when he’s above water? It doesn’t make sense. My only reason for making it happen would be because it sort of imitates the ‘living’ beard of Captain Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean-Dead Man’s Chest), which looked cool. There also was no curse mentioned at all for him to roam the seas forever, dead or alive. Apart from him being blown up in ‘unchartered’ waters. Why is he now cursed to be a zombie? Is that why he has black goop escaping his mouth? As to the compass, I’m completely directionless.

Compass2.jpg

Talking about the other installments, even my son (he’s just turned fifteen) mentioned that the other movies at least had red herrings running through the main storyline. The relationships between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, her relationship with her father. The father’s relationship with the Navy, the Navy’s relationship with Jack Sparrow, etc. Salazar’s Revenge had none of this. It was a one-line story, at least that’s how it felt. There was a brief moment involving the Navy (impersonated by David Wenham, to me always the monk from Van Helsing) and a witch called Shansa (played by Golshifteh Farahani), which I thought could have potential. However, the witch didn’t have the same dread as Calypso had (played by Naomie Harris in Pirates of the Caribbean-At World’s End). Not sure if it’s a director or editor issue. The whole sequence also kind of felt wasted when she didn’t appear in the movie further along.

The storyline was very predictable, very American. The biggest surprise/WTF-moment was at the end when Will Turner walks up to his (now grown) son. His son rips off the necklace his father had given him as a child, offers it to Will and says “Father!” Upon which Will Turner says “Son!” Really? If he didn’t know that was his son, why did he, of all the people on the planet, chose to walk up to him? I’m not even going to discuss Elizabeth Swann turning up that very moment.

Bird700.jpg

Now, CG-wise, this movie was awesome. It must have taken a tremendous amount of work to make it all look like it did. The wavy hair, the water, loved it (even if it didn’t make sense)! I always wonder how they do the water. In my opinion, the green screen was pushed too far, with dead pirates consisting of only a hat and an arm ‘walking’ around. Come on. And the dead pirates ‘jesussing’? WTF? This is inconsistent with what the cursed pirates did in Pirates of the Caribbean-Curse of the Black Pearl, where they walked underwater.

I can’t stop myself from mentioning the Barbosa’s monkey. Did anybody else notice it wasn’t the same monkey? I’m not saying ‘know thy monkeys,’ but this monkey definitely had a bigger nose.

There was one scene in the end that didn’t feel right for no apparent reason; when the boy gets the girl. No, I don’t count this as a spoiler, it is, after all, an American movie and you know from the beginning this is going to happen. Anyway, they stand all alone on a green hill, sun setting in the background, clumsy words are exchanged, and they kiss. And… it all feels wrong. It wasn’t the music, music was great. The setting was great too. I’m still not sure if it was the angle of the camera, the directing, or the editing that screwed it up. But there was something not there, like the scene with the witch. Maybe it was the casting. I thought the boy a bit too young for the girl, but maybe that’s just me being conservative. I don’t know. I’m going to put my money on the editing. Let me know your thoughts after you’ve seen it.

Do stay until after the credits. There’s a nice surprise waiting for you there. Even though it makes absolutely no sense at all 😀 .

Salazars_Revenge700.jpg

Friday Fun Day!

I hope your Friday has been as lovely as mine has been so far. It is extremely sunny here in Scotland and I was asked for a coffee by two separate neighbors 🙂 . I first caught up with Suzie, whom I haven’t seen in a while, and then with Murdo, whom I haven’t seen in even a longer while. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. It was good to catch up and I particularly enjoyed Murdo’s garden as it is in full bloom at the moment.

I’m on a high now, but I haven’t been every day last week. As I had people around me on Saturday when we visited Granite City Comic Con and on Monday and Tuesday when I took my kids to a UK Mathematics Trust event, I crashed on Wednesday. I don’t do socializing very well. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! But I crash and burn afterward.

Meme_Crash_and_Burn

I couldn’t get myself out of bed and couldn’t think of one positive thought.  I did manage to get some editing done and that made me feel a bit better about myself. I went to the gym yesterday and the fact that the dumbells didn’t feel as heavy as the time before made me feel better again. Long live exercise 😀 . Some people say you should be able to write anything on a blog, but I disagree. Who would want to know what I grumpy cow I can be? So sorry for not blogging earlier this week.

Tomorrow we’re having a structural engineer visiting. Hopefully, he’ll be able to give us advice on how to get our drive and garage happening. At the moment it’s a weed area that becomes swampy when it rains. The beech hedge flanking it on the high side of the slope is protected, but the wall it was resting on has disintegrated. On the other side, the ground slopes away to a row of trees. We need enough space to be able to turn the cars around, so it’s going to be interesting how he’s going to solve it.

Garden_Hedge

Still working on my edit. Slowly but surely I will come to the end. I am learning a tremendous amount again. So many words are different in American English. I’m glad I’m getting the hang of tenses now.  I still need to write that next grammar article for OneStopFiction.com, but I’m not sure about what. Anybody got any ideas?

I’m afraid not all the memes this week are as positive as last week, but as they’re memes they’re still funny 😀 . I love the pink unicorn. It was to celebrate my friend finding out how to make memes!

Friday Fun Day!

Yay, another weekend ahead of us! What are you guys up to? I’ve got Comic Con planned for the whole Saturday. My daughter and I are going with some friends. I’ll be the only one not dressed up, for a change. I have plenty of costumes, but none are of a comics character. Oh well, I guess I’ll be the only one without going-to-the-loo problems 😀 .

Whisky-Galore-movie.jpg

We have a dilemma regarding our planning. There are three movies in the cinema this weekend we’d like to see. The first one is ‘Whiskey Galore,’ a movie with Eddie Izzard and filmed here on the north coast of Scotland. The guy who did the wallpapering in our living room told us his boat features in it. How cool is that? The other two are ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ and ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.’ For a change, they’re all movies my daughter wants to watch as well. I guess we’ll have to pick two and watch the other one next weekend, together with ‘Baywatch.’

I’m sorry for not blogging more this week. I have a good reason though: I have an editor! She’s a friend of a friend. As always, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. She has already finished editing my book and came back with very good questions and suggestions and corrections. Now I have to thoroughly go through my work and make it better. I’m hoping to do this within the next two weeks. I wished I could do it faster, but life has a habit of getting in the way.

AFP

Last Tuesday, we had the first AGM of our film club, Aberdeenshire Film Productions. We have accomplished quite a bit over the past year. With a sad heart, I have thrown in the towel regarding my producing/directing role in the group and we are now looking for someone to take my place. Even though I liked directing very much, I hated the producing part with a passion. Getting a producer without them directing is hard, so I have sacrificed my directing role in the hope to get someone who is willing to be a producer as well. Apart from the fact that I want to focus on my writing. It was just a bit too much to try and do it all.

Regarding getting more done, I have good news too! We had set our alarm for 6 am this morning. It was very much a case of going cold turkey and we managed to finally drag our bodies out of bed at 6:50 am. I don’t know how your marriage works, but we are almost joined at the hip. My husband is a lot stronger than I am though and normally gets out of bed before I do (and brings me my coffee). Getting up at 6 am, though, is very much like torture for the both of us (yet), and I’m dreading what will happen at 10 pm tonight, but we hope to get used to it soon and get more done. We went for a walk with the dogs this morning, which was very pleasant. We still have to figure out what to actually do so early 😀 .

Last, but not least; memes! Here are the ones I gathered this week:

Movie Review: Alien Covenant

– Score: 5/10 –

Alien_Covenant

My initial thought for the title of this article was ‘Not again!’ but that wouldn’t make sense SEO wise. The words were very much in my mind when I was watching the movie though. There was hardly anything new that hadn’t been done in all the other Alien installments.

As I said earlier, I watched ‘Prometheus’ on Thursday to be prepared for Covenant. We could have spared us the trouble and possibly would have enjoyed this movie more if we hadn’t. I like to stay positive, but there were so many WTF-moments in this movie, it wasn’t funny anymore. My apologies to the persons around us who had to put up with our exclamations of ‘Why?!’ all the time. Surely, with a budget that comes with this film, they could have been able to write a better story line? One that was believable and not so predictable?

I actually checked my watch during the movie too. It took a whole hour (that’s half of the movie) before there was any action to speak of. You’d expect to have developed some empathy for the main characters by then, but I’m sorry to say it still didn’t happen for me. Not then, not later.

The only thing I’m positive about is the CG. We get so see several alien forms and they’re all very well animated. My favorite one, even though not consistent with earlier movies, is the one that resembles baby Groot (sorry, couldn’t help making the comparison). This would be the only reason for me to want to see the movie again.

All in all a movie that is a waste of money, time, and effort. If this is the path they’re staying on with this franchise, it will die a horrible death.

Stupidity

That moment when you find out that you have uploaded your book as a .docx file instead of a .htm file on Amazon…

Missing-Brains

Friday Fun Day!

It’s nearly noon and I have been to the gym! Yes, I’m very excited about that, because I should have done that yesterday. Today was supposed to be my rest day. I don’t know what people mean when they say ‘I’ve just been to the gym for an hour.’ Were they active for a whole hour, or does that time include everything around it? I was in the gym for an hour, but with getting ready, driving up and down, eating something healthy beforehand and a protein-rich meal afterward, it’s taken me all morning. And I even haven’t had my shower yet. It doesn’t help when you get out of bed at 8:45 am of course. Yes, I know, on Monday I said I planned to get up earlier. This, of course, doesn’t work if you still go to sleep past midnight. I still need to work on that one 🙂 .

Alien_Covenant.jpg

My fun things for the weekend are mixed. We’re going to see Alien: Covenant at some point. We just watched Prometheus again, so we’re all ready and geared up for the new Alien installment. Not sure if you call it a prequel to the sequel or a sequel to the prequel.

I’m taking my daughter and her friend to Lochter, the local activities center, to celebrate her birthday. They’re going to do some rifle shooting, segway, and go-karts. Fingers crossed it won’t be raining. My son also has his birthday celebration (they’re twins), but he’s keeping it in-house, inviting a couple of friends for a sleepover, like last year. This means I will have another sleepless night, trying to listen if the boys are not breaking or burning down the house.

Mad_Max_Road_Warrior.jpg

In the past week, we’ve been watching the first two Mad Max movies, to see if our son could watch them. I think he’s old enough to do so, but I think he won’t enjoy them. Maybe the second one, certainly not the first one. The Road Warrior has great stunts at the final scene. I think they wouldn’t be approved today, but in those days they weren’t such pussies 😀 . We haven’t seen Beyond Thunderdome yet. I’m looking forward to seeing Tina Turner on screen. We’ve watched the Minions movie again, still funny.

Sausage_Party.jpg

I invited my kids to watch Sausage Party. I can wholeheartedly suggest you don’t watch this one with your teenaged kids. Even though it’s a cartoon, this is by no standard a kids’ movie! The trailer is cute and exciting, but within five minutes I lost count of the times the f-word was mentioned and that is not the only word they use. Not to mention the extremely suggestive movements and insinuations. Be aware of this one!

I’ve actually also done some writing. I finished chapter 7 and 8. Maybe, just maybe, I have even found myself an editor. She’s a friend of a friend who lives in Cairo. The world is such a small place nowadays. She’s reading my book now and I can’t wait for her verdict. Maybe she’ll say it’s such trash she never wants to hear from me again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed 😀 .

So, meme time! Here’s what I’ve been laughing about this week:

Have a Happy Weekend!

Finding an Editor

As I am in the process of editing my second novel for a relaunch, I thought it would be a good idea to hire an editor to make it the best it can be. I know I fall into repetitions when I say my English is not my first language, but it really sucks at times, particularly regarding tenses (pardon the pun 🙂 ). I also realize you need an editor because you can never edit your own work.

GreatFriendsCanada.jpg

So where to find one? For my first book, I used someone from Canada (my book is in US English). She wasn’t a professional editor but offered her services to me for a fair price. She did a fantastic job and we have become close friends, still chatting on a daily basis. I don’t know if I got spoiled, but that’s what I’m looking for in an editor. It needs to be a relationship that ‘clicks.’ They need to feel where you’re going to with your story and help you make it better and help you become a better writer as well. Unfortunately, my friend is no longer available for editing due to time restraints and I need to look for someone else.

Usually, recommendations are the best. So I went with such a recommendation. I contacted this editor and she agreed to work with me on my novel. She said she would get a quote to me within the next 24 hours. That was Sunday. After prodding her three days later, I finally received her quote. It was near twice the price quoted on the website where her services were advertised. Two things happened. First of all, there was a short communication on excuses and, of course, her pricing. As the prices on her own website weren’t current either, she agreed on an (above) mean price. The most important thing for me, though, was that the vibe between us was gone. How could I work with her when she didn’t think my work was important enough to keep her word? Even though her pricing was still fair, I had to decline her services.

Trust

So I am looking for another editor again. Someone who likes what I write and feels the same way about it as I do, someone I can ‘click’ with. Anybody?

(Trust image from memesuper.com, by mrs marcia hunter)

THANK YOU!!!

Yay! I have over 100 followers! I don’t like thumping my own chest, but I thought this was a bit of a milestone and would like to share it with you. Thank you all for reading my dribs and drabs.

Yours sincerely,

Jacky Dahlhaus