Fun, games, and prizes! Why not join us at Dark Fantasy on Facebook this Wednesday, 21 March from 12:30 to6:30 PM (EDT)? We had a ball at the last event, doing quizzes, sharing jokes, and winning books! Everyone can join, so come and have some fun with us 🙂 !
For Mothers’ Day, I wanted to see Black Panther. There was such a hype about it and it was a Marvel movie, so I had to see it on the big screen.
To be honest, the first time I heard about Black Panther was in the Forrest Gump movie and since then thought it was a movement, not a superhero (yes, I dropped history from my high school package as soon as it hit the twentieth century. My bad, but I had a reason). As I’m a fan of any superhero, I was eager to see this Black Panther movie.
Plot and Characters
The movie starts with a flashback, when Wakanda king T’Chaka (played by John Kani) visits his brother N’Jobu (played by Sterling K. Brown) in the US, finds out he is planning to help the African-American people by using Wakanda’s secret resource of vibranium, a meteorite metal that affects a plant which gives superpowers to those that ingest it, and kills him, leaving his son behind.
Fast forward to the here and now. King T’Chaka is killed (which is seen in Captain America: Civil War) and his son T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) takes the throne. The arms dealer N’Jobu was dealing with, the South-African Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), finally steals a piece of vibranium from a museum, and shit hits the fan. (I’m not going into further detail as I don’t want to spoil the plot). What I must say is that the plot was very predictable.
All characters, except for CIA agent Everett K. Ross (played by Martin Freeman) and arms dealer (played by Andy Serkis), are African-Americans. Well, I don’t actually know if they are all American, but they’re of African descent for sure. I loved watching Michael B. Jordan, who played N’Jadaka, T’Challa’s cousin, even with all the scars from his killings. That man is beautiful. I liked his acting as well, very convincing. To be honest, more so than Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. I liked Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. Boseman and Wright played their roles well, although I found it hard to believe they were related, but this always happens in movies.
What I liked
I liked the colorfulness of the movie, the well-choreographed action, the use of cg-rhinoceroses, and the technology suggested. If only it could be true (the technology, of course).
Some parts of the dialogue were funny, but, to be honest, I had hoped for more one-liners.
The music was notable. When the first African sounds blasted through the speakers, I experienced a ‘Circle of Life’ moment, but it was short-lived. I liked how they adjusted the music to the change of location.
I was very impressed with the graphics. Especially the technology looked believable.
I liked there was a female ‘Q,’ and liked the session where the new Panther suit was shown, albeit a bit cliché.
I liked the way they added political hints that living in America is not good for all Americans and that things still need to change in a big way. Not sure it had a place in a Marvel movie, but it was a great way to convey the message to a large audience.
What I didn’t like
Now, I’m having some issues with this movie.
Yes, it is good to see more African(-American)s on the big screen. In the current US political climate, we can’t see enough of them to show the world is a multiracial place. But is it necessary to put them all in one movie? I mean, I’m opposed to segregation, and yet, this is how I see this movie. No integration whatsoever. Oh wait, there is a white fellow featuring the full length of the movie and, lo and behold, he saves the day. Honestly, wasn’t there one Wakandan pilot available who could have piloted the aircraft? I’m having a ‘The Great Wall‘ moment here. Last week, I watched ‘Last Knights‘ and that movie was so much more multi-racially appeasing. If they wanted the movie to be a complete African-American feature, they should’ve left Martin Freeman out. Sorry, Martin.
Another issue, something that I can’t leave out, is that I don’t understand that a country like Wakanda, surrounded by multiple third-world countries, focusses on helping African-Americans. Why don’t they help their African neighbors around them first? Those that don’t have running water in their homes, those that don’t have an infrastructure to rely on as a basis for thriving enterprise, and those that are suffering genocide. Basically, their fellow Africans need more help than African-Americans. Why don’t they show Wakanda helping those people? Why does it always revolve around America? Maybe it was implied, but I must have missed it.
Yet another issue is the fact that the ‘rebels,’ those that want to use the vibranium to help African-Americans, immediately revert to violence. They want to make weapons and ‘overthrow’ the white Americans. Why conquer? Isn’t that an eye for an eye, i.e. rather barbaric? Why lower yourself to the level you abhor? The ending of the movie suggests T’Challa is finally willing to share Wakandan technology, but the majority of the movie shows that change is only achieved after resorting to violence first.
Maybe I’m taking this too far. Maybe I shouldn’t think this movie exists to help multiracialism forward and just watch it as a Marvel superhero movie.
An excellent addition to the Marvel movies, with colorful images, spectacular action, great acting, and a moral-of-the-story that is debatable.
Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!
Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?
Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂
I’m sorry, I know I should’ve posted this yesterday, but I’m extremely busy at the moment with my WIP which needs to be handed in on Amazon this Friday. Apart from that, I haven’t watched any movies this weekend… again! Why? Because we went to Holland to celebrate my father-in-law’s eightiest birthday. It was a big family reunion. So, what do I recommend to watch? The Family, of course!
The Family, a 2013 movie, is about a mob family who, after they almost get blown up during a bbq after which the father decides to talk to the police about his rival, get put into a witness protection program. They move to France, but staying undercover is easier said than done for this ‘typical’ American family. Not only do the locals have a problem with the new arrivals, their trail of destruction also notifies their enemies of their location.
It has a great cast with Robert de Niro as the father, Michelle Pfeiffer as the mother, and Tommy Lee Jones as the FBI agent. Dianna Agron plays the freaky daughter and John D’Leo plays the son who has learned a thing or two from his dad.
Here’s a trailer that gives you a good idea of what to expect:
I love this movie and not only because the father tries to be a writer (he wants to write his memoirs as a mob figure). There are so many crazy things happening. It’s all over the top, of course, and no family issue remains untouched. So don’t watch this if you’re sensitive about certain issues. It’s all tongue-in-cheek but can hit a nerve here and there.
I honestly can’t remember if there was something I didn’t like about this movie.
If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. If you have, go watch it again 🙂
Guess what? I haven’t watched any movies this weekend! Not. One. Movie. That’s a very rare occasion. Why? Because I have been working my butt off on my WIP. This didn’t mean we didn’t watch any TV at all. We did watch Grimm, and The Bing Bang Theory. We only discovered the latter recently. But never mind TBBT, here is my take on Grimm.
Grimm is the story of a homicide detective, Nick Burkhardt (played by David Giuntoli), who suddenly can see people change their image into fairytale creatures, called Wesen, when they lose their composure. They can be anything from werewolves to snakes to birds. Nick’s auntie Marie informs him, just before she dies, he’s a Grimm, a person with this special seeing abillity who must keep the balance between humans and the Wesen. Other people can’t see the Wesen unless they are a Wesen too or when the Wesen want humans to see their true self.
Nick is not alone in his new duty. In the first episode, he befriends Monroe (played by Silas Weir Mitchell) who is a Blutbad, a Wesen like a werewolf. He is the comic relief in the series but plays a major role. Nick has a work partner, Hank Griffin (played by Russell Hornsby) and a girlfriend, Juliette Silverton (played by Bitsie Tulloch). Hank and Juliette don’t know Nick is a Grimm (at least, not at the start). Nick’s Captain, Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz) also plays a major role. I have to mention sergeant Drew Wu (played by Reggie Lee) as he, too, is very funny. His humor is more subtle than that of Monroe, though.
Every episode, Nick needs to solve a murder mystery. Very coincidentally, most murders have a Wesen involved (surprise, surprise!). All sorts of creatures pass the screen and it’s fun to see their faces change when the Wesen are upset or die (and they revert back to their human form).
The second storyline mainly depicts Nick’s relationship with the others; Monroe (who is unwilling to help at first as Grimms usually are out to kill Wesen), and Hank and Juliette (who have no idea why their partner is acting so strange lately). In season two, Juliette plays a bigger role than in season one as she gets involved in the mysteries against her will.
In the background, there’s always the ‘bigger picture’ story involving Nick’s boss Renard and his involvement with a Hexenbiest, or witch, called Adalind Shade (played by Claire Coffee). Things are happening on a more international level with them.
I like the fact that this series is about a more mature cast, not teenagers for a change. Nick is in a steady relationship with Juliette, yet the series manages to incorporate some love issues here and there.
It always amazes me how they come up with yet another type of Wesen. The creators must have a very good imagination or a damn good book on mythology.
The secrecy and love plots make you want to watch the next episode and when you’ve done that, you want to see the next one. There are some really good cliffhangers.
There’s always some dislikes, of course. The graphics are not the greatest. Yes, I like the facial changes of the Wesen, but they can look really fake. The fact that only the head changes (well, most of the time) also seems like a rather cheap option.
Sometimes the plot is a bit predictable, but only sometimes.
We have binge-watching nights of Grimm, going through three or four episodes per night, depending on how much time we have. We’re only in season 2 yet, and there are six seasons in total, so we still have a fair amount to feast on. Bring on the Wesen!
Yesterday, Halloween 2017, I took part in the Dark Fantasy Books takeover and had a ball. ‘What’s a takeover?’ you may ask. That’s exactly the problem; most people don’t know what it is, let alone that they can participate. I’ll try and remedy this situation and hopefully help authors and readers alike. A win-win situation!
What is a Takeover?
According to the Collins English Dictionary, a takeover is the act of taking control of a country, political party, or movement by force. The takeover I’m talking about is less aggressive as it is a virtual party where various people take the reins and host the party for a limited time, usually half an hour. I have only done Facebook takeovers (two in total; I’m still a noob), but you can have them on any type of social media.
There should be guidelines to a takeover and the person organizing it usually lets all participants know what is expected. See it as a real party. First, you introduce yourself in a post. You talk a bit about where you’re from and what you do. Then you promote whatever you’re promoting in a couple of posts, including samples and links to your product. You usually end with a post on how people can contact you for more information.
Sounds like a boring sales talk? Wrong! Laced through this information are quizzes, games, funny anecdotes, unknown insights, and samples! People have to post funny GIFs, answer questions about topics of the takeover, and there are usually jokes. The crazier the questions, the crazier the answers, the more fun to be had!
Gain for Readers
Takeovers are so lucrative for readers! I was, again, amazed that all participants in the takeover were only authors. Apart from being lots of fun with quizzes and games, there are lots of free books up for grabs. Most authors give away prequels for free and the prizes are usually their books. Next to this, you get to know the author. You get a connection with them and this makes reading their books so much more interesting.
So you get a fab time and free books. What more could you ask for?
Gain for Authors
When you do a book takeover, you usually do it with a group of authors that write in your genre. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded spirits, read samples of their work, and make new friends. It is amazing how small the world becomes in this virtual reality. Best of all, your work gets seen by more people who hopefully will share your work, spread the word about your book, and possibly write a review.
I guess the key to a successful takeover is promotion. If you don’t promote the takeover well in advance, nobody will know about it and nobody will show up. You can use all social media available to spread the word. Do it clear and do it loud! The more attendees, the merrier 🙂
If you are a reader and you know an author, participate in a takeovers when they advertise one. Like I said, it’s a win-win situation!
Yesterday, I had to play the Wicked Witch of the West, a mother’s prerogative. We booked tickets to see the second Kingsmen movie. As they’re working on the freeway to go around Aberdeen, we were guided along a detour that almost got us to Aberdeen via Inverness, but we managed to get there just in time. I got my phone out and showed the lady the Q-code. “Okay,” she says after scanning it, “Can I see some IDs please.”
Now you must know that we are regular visitors at the cinema. Not that I’ve seen this particular lady before, but we are visiting this place about twice a month. Never before have we been asked for IDs. I have, however, since my kids turned fifteen, told them to bring IDs to the cinema. We buy them student tickets and to see a 15-rated movie they need proof of studentship and being older than fifteen.
I turned to my children and they are both shaking their heads. They didn’t bring their IDs. The woman said we couldn’t go in without proof they were students and older than fifteen. I browsed my whole photo gallery on my phone, but she wouldn’t accept any photo of my kids in school uniform. Of course, I didn’t have any proof of their age either. My son looks like he could be eighteen and my daughter could pass for twelve (they are twins nevertheless).
I ‘lost the plot’ and reacted very badly, cursing at anybody who tried to get my attention. We got a refund and drove back again. I didn’t speak a word the whole trip. I even refused a chocolate as a peace offer and the kids know it’s bad when their mother refuses to eat chocolate. My husband didn’t get it. He even tried to soothe me. I was laughing on the inside but put up a wicked face until the end. When we got home I gave everybody a hug and told them to never to forget their IDs again. We then watched the first Kingsmen movie from the comfort of our home instead.
Sometimes, you just have to let your kids know they screwed up big time for them to remember not to make that mistake twice 🙂 .
It’s almost Halloween and you may have been invited to a Halloween party. Not sure what to bring the host as a gift? Why not a creepy one?
Twisted50 is a compilation of 50 contemporary horror stories.
‘A great mix of truly twisted stories to suit all horror tastes, from the psychological frighteners to the stomach-churning gore fests. Each tale brings a modern spin on horror, each author leaves their own unique imprint in your mind. It’s hard to pick a favorite as there are so many great ones to choose from.’
Or, if you’re invited to your sister’s party, why not give Twisted’s Evil Little Sister?
‘This second anthology from Twisted50 again showcases more wonderful writing from different writers. The range of stories – style, subject matter, and tone – is excellent; there are ‘tales of the unexpected’ moments; moments which pack an emotional punch; horror presented as something personal; there are stomach-churning moments and moments of dread. And so it goes on… In a busy world, these stories provide a quick ‘reading fix’. You’ll find, with the range of stories, there is something exhilarating, dreadful, unexpected and absorbing to tickle your horror fancy.’
I know I should be working hard on editing Book 2 as today is the deadline for handing it in to Amazon, but I came across this funny pin on Pinterest and it inspired me to make a new board called ‘Vampire Stuff.’ I had plenty a chuckle adding a number of pins. Check it out if you love vampire stuff and/or want to have a chuckle too.
Can the combination of politics and zombies be fun?
Oh yes, it can!
School started yesterday which means the kids go to bed at a reasonable time and my husband and I have the TV to ourselves again. We decided to watch Braindead on Amazon (sorry, I thought it was Netflix), not having a clue what it was about. It started as a pretty standard politics flic-type series. Now, everyone who knows me a little knows I don’t do politics. West Wing and those type of series are wasted on me.
Braindead was different.
Interspersed through the story of Laurel Healy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a documentary filmmaker who gets persuaded by her father to help her senator brother in the office, is the story of a comet that lands on earth and releases an alien ant colony that crawls into people’s ears and pushes their brain out. You read that right. They push people’s brains out. Through their ear. And you see it happen.
Tell me you don’t think this is funny!
Another occurrence is that, instead of their brains being pushed out, in some people, their heads explode. They call it the E.H.S.; Exploding Head Syndrome. There’s an explanation for this, but I’m not going to spoil it for you. ‘How can people live without a brain?’ I hear you thinking. Well, it’s all impossible, of course, but they do in this series. And the people start to act differently. One of their new quirks is that they listen to ‘You might think’ by The Cars.
(musical notes) You might think I’m crazy… (musical notes)
Anyway, I’ve got to get back to my writing. I only have one more day before the Amazon deadline of handing in my final manuscript of Book 2. Lots of work to do still.
Don’t forget to check out Braindead if you’re in for a laugh.