Tag Archives: Humor

SALE of the Suckers Trilogy!

B1-3_Display_Book+Tablet_Sale_99c_W700.jpgBecause I love the fall, because I love Halloween, and because I love you to read my books, all of my eBook novels in the Suckers Trilogy are on sale during the month of October!

NOW 99c/99p only!

Available on:

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and in my shop, of course 😀

(sorry, but the discount for my shop won’t apply when the books are on sale)

What To Watch? Killing Eve

We were still watching Orphan Black when my husband came home one day and mentioned ‘Killing Eve.’ He had heard it was a good show. It’s on BBC’s iTV and this means lots of breaks while we wait for the show to load. We usually have about five breaks of 20 seconds in a row and then we have ten minutes of a clear run. But we continued watching it. It really is a good show!

Killing Eve

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Cast

There are two main, female characters in this British drama series. American actress Sandra Oh plays the role of Eve Polastri. I know her from Grey’s Anatomy, and you probably do too. The other woman, Villanelle/Oksana Astankova, is played by English actress Jodie Comer. She’s more a TV-actress than a big screen one. The expressions on her face and intensity in her eyes are fabulous!

Next to these two, we have Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens (also known for her role as Aunt Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies), head of the Russia Section at MI6, David Haig as Bill Pargrave, Eve’s MI5 associate who comes with her to MI6, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Elena Felton, Eve’s assistant and who also comes with her to MI6, Darren Boyd as Frank Haleton, Eve’s supervisor at MI5, Owen McDonnell as Niko Polastri, Eve’s Polish husband, a teacher, Sean Delaney as Kenny Stowton, a genius computer expert who has been recruited by MI6, and Kim Bodnia as Konstantin Vasiliev, Villanelle’s handler. These people all play their roles marvellously.

Plot

Eve works for MI5 and is fired when a woman under her protection is assasinated. Eve has a haunch that there is a killer on the loose in Europe and that it is a woman. Carolyn Martens is impressed with her insight and hires her to find this killer. Eve recruits Bill and Elena from MI5 to work with her for MI6.

In the mean time, Villanelle gets one assignment after the other from her handler, Vasiliev, to kill seemingly random people in Europe. Vasiliev mentions Villanelle that Eve has been tasked to find her. During her next assignment, Villanelle mentions that her (undercover) name is Eve Polastri.

What I like about Killing Eve

The show has everything that I like (as does Orphan Black): it has humor, horror, drama, and really tense moments. I’m so glad that it is finally accepted to cross genres in one show!

As I mentioned earlier, Jody Comer’s expressions are hilarious at certain points. The relations that Eve has with her colleagues and her husband are also funny most of the time, dramatic at certain points, always believable. And the show doesn’t stop surprising.

It’s notable that people are attracted to psychopaths on TV. Dexter was a big hit, Hannibal too, and now Killing Eve. Although Hannibal wasn’t as funny, the way these people see the world is eye-opening, and hilarious.

Another thing I liked about the show is the setting. Because Villanelle has to murder all these people on different locations, you get to travel around Europe a bit with her.

What I didn’t like about Killing Eve

So far, nothing yet. Maybe I’m a bit upset that some of the characters gets killed too early, after getting to really like them. A bit of a GoT-effect. Sad, shocking, but oh so entertaining!

Summary

If you’ve had it with Orphan Black (and you can receive BBC iTV), this will be your next binge watch. I do hope your BBC iTV reception is better than mine, though. It is not for the young viewer, I’d say, as there are a lot of adult themes, innuendos, horror, and gore.

What to Watch? Incredibles 2

Excuses for posting this a day late. I’ve been working my ass off to get my second newsletter out (in online magazine form). It takes a lot of time to do the editing, but I love it. You can sign up for it on my home page, if you like :).

Last weekend we watched Incredibles 2. For those adults who say ‘I don’t watch animated movies,’ let me tell you that Incredibles 2 is the  ninth highest-grossing film of all-time domestically and the highest grossing animated film domestically. That’s got to say something, doesn’t it?

Incredibles 2

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Cast

Obviously, this movie only has voice-overs. The most known ones are done by Holly Hunter (Elastigirl), Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone)(surprisingly, he actually never says ‘motherfucker’ in this movie 😀 ), and Usher (as Lucius’ best valet). You can check out the full list of the cast on Wikipedia.

Plot

The new movie starts where the first movie stopped; chasing The Underminer. He escapes, but as the superhero family tries to stop his mining machine, there is a lot of damage done to the city. As a result, the relocation program is shut down and all superheroes find themselves not only illegal (they can’t use their superpowers) but also homeless.

Not to worry, a superhero fan called Winston Deavor, owner of DevTech, and his sister Evelyn, creator of the communications technology of DevTech, come to the rescue. They propose a publicity stunt to show the world that superheroes do good things. They choose Elastigirl to head the stunt to defeat Screenslaver, a supervillain who hypnotizes people through TV screens.

Bob is slightly disappointed that they have chosen his wife Helen as the superhero to battle Screenslaver, but he agrees to look after the kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. While Helen is away, Jack-Jack finally starts to show his superpowers.

What I liked about Incredibles 2

This movie is as entertaining as the first movie. Obviously, there is a bigger theme underlining the concept of good vs. evil. The interactions between the family members are so funny as they portray common teenager issues as well as seeing Bob’s resentment against having his wife doing all the hero stuff while he has to deal with the kids at home. It’s probably slightly over the top, but shows oh-so-well the problems most mothers have to deal with on a daily basis. Except for the superpower part, of course!

What I didn’t like about Incredibles 2

Honestly, I don’t think I can mention anything here. It was clear who was the supervillain early on, but it didn’t take away from the entertainment at all.

Summary

This movie is a great one to watch, by young and old. It contains lots of humor, surprises, and most of all recognizable situations. Go and see it with the whole family!

 

 

Meet the Author… Ian Campbell

I met Ian under the name of Devin Salesman on Twitter. His book, And the Salesman Came to Town, intrigued me. As my love for Terry Pratchett explains, I love it when stories contain a fair share of humor. Ian let me wait weeks for the image (blame was put on the Zon), but it was worth it! So, without further ado, let me introduce me to Ian Campbell, so you can also have a laugh.

Ian Campbell

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Biography

I am a 53-year-old man, who is married with two adult sons – both of whom still live with me!  Professionally, I am a high school English teacher. And now that I have put this on paper, I’ve realized just how boring I am. I was born in Toronto, Canada, but when I was still a baby my family moved to Winnipeg, where I learned the meaning of a what cold winter is!  When I was young, I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in primary school, and needless to say – I was not what could be considered a model student.  Let’s just say I was heavy on the hyper activity! Unfortunately, when I was 12 my mother passed away after a battle with cancer, and when I was 13 my father sent me to a military school in southern Ontario, near Niagara Falls. I spent the next 5 years at the school – consider it a reward for being a perfect child! My father during my time at school moved back to Toronto, so that I wasn’t too far away from family, and after I finished my education, I too stayed in Toronto. I worked for several years then went to York University, where I studied English Literature, and later I received my teaching qualifications from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY.  During this time, I started my novel And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, and available on Amazon! (subtle plug, right?) I also got married, and my lovely wife and I had our aforementioned sons.  As my life got busier I got away from writing, sending most of my free time with my sons.  We went swimming, biked, watched moves and went to amusement parks and so much more. We were thick as thieves. My sons are still very active, they just don’t take me along anymore! I never thought I would be the 3rd wheel! Honestly they would bring me along too, but now that I’m getting older I’ve developed a bad back and cannot do all the things I used to do.  Summers had become boring, and I had an idea – start my book from scratch!  The rest is history – exciting NO! No, no – it really isn’t, but I have started my second untitled novel! 

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be/if you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Be yourself and get over yourself! The first draft of my book And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, and again the – it’s available on Amazon thing, (yes, it’s plug number 2) was written about 20 years ago. I was trying to be all dark and sardonic, somewhere between Kurt Vonnegut and Evelyn Waugh, two of my favorite authors. Then, while I was editing the first half of the novel, a thought came to me. ‘What kind of self deluded idiot would write this kind of preachy and pretentious bull sh**!’ Let’s just say I knew it needed some revisions. The first draft was in truth complete crap, but I still thought it was overall a good idea, and never really gave up on it. And now you know why it took 20 years! Here is my advice, be yourself and get over yourself – to be an author, and you need to find you own voice!  Being self critical, and being able to take criticism from others, will also help enhance your prose.

Who is/are your favorite author(s)? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?

Obviously, Kurt Vonnegut, Evelyn Waugh, then J. R.R. Tolkien, Hemingway, Mark Twain, Johnathan Swift, of course Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Frank Herbert, Shirley Jackson, Eric Walters, Arthur Conan Doyle and J. K. Rowling. I know the last one is an author of kid’s books, but tell me – who doesn’t love Harry! Really, it’s a longer list than this, but in my defence, I’m an old guy so I’ve read a lot of books.

Ian_Campbell_And_the_Salesman_Came_to_TownWho is the most famous author you have ever met?

Austin Clark.  I don’t think he is that famous, but he has won some major literary awards. I don’t get out much!

What made you want to become a writer?

I love stories: books, movies, TV, plays – and of almost any genre. Although I like satire and fantasy/science fiction the best. At heart, I’m still a child!  And, according to my wife, every other part of my anatomy as well.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

Everything!  I wrote And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, I guess you’ve gotten the whole Amazon thing by now (plug number 3 – nice huh?) without having any idea of what I was doing.  Here’s the thing though, I’m pretty sure that I still have no idea of what I’m doing.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Everything, from the outline to the rough draft, and the revisions and editing. I have to admit that I’m not very good at editing myself as I see what should be there, and in many instances, not what is there.  Apparently, neither did the professional editor I hired, he left spelling and grammar mistakes for god…!  Anyway, after some complaints from readers, I have put And the Salesman Came to Town, by… (Well, you know the rest by now – plug number 4!) through an online editor – but I digress.  Even if I had no way of sharing my writing with others, I would still write.  I love every part of it!

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

For me, a gift – absolutely a gift! I can create my own little world, and get a short reprieve from the somewhat messed up real world we live in. I’m a humour/fantasy writer, and all I can hope for is that my audience is having half as much fun reading my writing, as I have had writing it. If that is the case, in my opinion, I’ve done my job as an author!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Ian_Campbell_Spirit_AnimalThis cat right here.  We share the same world view.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energize! As I already said I love writing, especially humour. Like my novel And the Salesman Came to Town – Ian Campbell – Amazon (Didn’t think I’d get one more in did you?  Last one, promise!)

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Oh, very part time. As they say “Don’t give up your day job!” I would be thrilled to be able to write full-time, but at this point, being a somewhat newly self publish author – who has no idea what he is doing as far as publishing goes, I think I’ll have to keep the day job for a while.  And the Salesman Came to Town – Ian Campbell – Amazon (Okay, I lied!).

Thanks so much for sharing your enthusiasm for writing, Ian. I’m glad to hear you’ve used an editor for your book. Yes, folks, the edited version is online now! I’ve started reading it and am enjoying it very much (although I’m terribly time deprived working on my own books, but I promise I’ll write a review when I’ve finished!).

If you wish you can follow Ian Campbell, aka Devin Salesman, on Twitter.

Just in case you didn’t get it, you can get And the Salesman came to Town on Amazon! Here’s the teaser:

The devil has come to town – but this time he is the CEO of a multinational corporation. This multinational advertises a soul back guarantee for all potential customers – for their purchase of their very own dream life. A semi-alcoholic priest is anointed as – The Chosen – the one who is destined to fight off the evil, and to stop this latest incarnation of the devil. He is sent unwillingly into the battle between good and evil, and what can only be considered to be an excellently executed marketing campaign. John Murdock, a self described crappy priest and aforementioned semi-alcoholic, wakes one morning to a radio commercial outlining the benefits of buying one’s own dream life for the low – low price of their soul. He sincerely hopes that the commercial is a bad joke made by the radio station, or at least a hangover induced hallucination. But finds out to his dismay that it is all real, and that it is his job to fight the devil incarnate, or more accurately stated – the devil incorporated.

What To Watch? Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Yesterday we watched Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011), a golden oldie, again. It wasn’t as ‘golden’ as I remembered, but it was good fun anyway. It’s a quirky look on the paranormal, and I’m all for quirky 🙂

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

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Cast

Taye Diggs as vampire Vargas
Taye Diggs as vampire Vargas

Dylan Dog is played by Brandon Routh, and it’s not surprising he played Superman in Superman Returns (2006). He has the chin, the body, and the overall looks for it. Dylan’s sidekick, Marcus, is played by Sam Huntington who, to my surprise, also features in Superman Returns (I’ve got to watch that one again, now). The love interest, Elizabeth Ryan, is played by Anita Briem who has featured in Journey to the Center of the EarthDr. Who, and The Tudors.

The main villain, Vargas, is played by Taye Diggs, an actor who has been nominated for and won many awards. Another character with an important role is Peter Stormare, who plays Gabriel the werewolf. I like him. He has an extensive list of filmography but usually doesn’t play the main character.

Plot

Dylan Dog used to be a detective for the paranormal creatures of this world (‘no pulse, no problem’ was on his business card), but since the death of his girlfriend, is now retired. This changes when his buddy Marcus is attacked by a super zombie and is turned into a zombie. Dylan now wants to know why Elizabeth Ryan’s father has been murdered, where this super zombie came from, and why they’re trying to keep him from taking the case. Together, the three go out to seek the truth, dealing with werewolves, vampires, and zombies on their quest.

Marcus is being told he's a zombie
Marcus is being told he’s a zombie

What I liked about Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Obviously, it’s great to see another movie about paranormal creatures that is not doom and gloom. This is a funny movie with the role of Marcus the funniest. He gets killed and turned into a zombie sort of in the first chapter. From that moment on and continuing for the whole movie, Marcus has to come to terms with the whole ‘being undead’ thing. His dialogue and acting are hilarious and worth the watch.

The creature Belial, who features at the end of the movie, is well done and not too fake (although he does look like he’s wearing huge boots).

What I didn’t like about Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan_Dog_Beliar.jpgI won’t lie. The acting is bad. I tried to figure out why as all these actors have an extensive list of experience. The only thing I could come up with is that the dialogue is often cliche and/or unnatural.

Summary

Dylan Dog is a fun watch if you haven’t got anything else lined up.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

What To Watch? Grimm

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

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The Cast

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.

The Plot

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.

Likes

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.

Dislikes

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.

Overall

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!

 

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Another Short Story

This week I had asked my daughter for some keywords. She didn’t make it easy. They were:

  • druid
  • frustration
  • Mount Everest
  • lampshade
  • mother

I postponed writing the story again and again until there was no time left. The story that appeared in my head is now titled ‘Contempt.’ You can find it in the Short Stories section of the menu. As always, it has a little twist at the end. Let me know what you think of it.

 

Header photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Movie Review: The Death of Stalin

Score: 7/10

*** Warning: Spoiler Alert ***

The Death of Stalin is described as a comedy-drama and that is exactly where the problem lies. It’s too funny to be a drama, but to serious to be a comedy. I didn’t know what to make of it. The fact that it is based on true events makes it a sad movie.

The cast is a great one and there are some brilliant performances. I liked Steve Buscemi in the role of Nikita Krushchev, Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria, and Jason Isaacs portraying Georgy Zhukov. There are many more great performances by Jeffrey Tambor, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, and Paddy Considine to name a few.

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The weird thing was that some of the actors talked with a severe Cockney dialect (correct me if I’m wrong. I’m a layman in this respect). I assume there are dialects in Russian too, but to hear the thick English accent in the very Russian surroundings made it a very weird experience.

There are a lot of funny scenes. For example, when Beria gives out orders, there are people being shot, shoved off stairs, or otherwise maimed in the background. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it makes it all rather slapstick-like. The whole experience of not speaking out against the regime is also funny and sad at the same time.

It is an entertaining movie that is mainly funny, but not Hollywood-style. You can follow the story-line without a problem even when you’re a person who knows nothing of post-world-war Russia, like me.

 

Movie Review: The Babysitter

Yesterday, we watched the movie The Babysitter on Netflix. My son had already seen it and my daughter wasn’t interested watching it with us as she doesn’t like scary films. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if she was swapped at birth. So my husband and I watched the movie with the two of us. We hadn’t had such a good laugh in ages.

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Storyline (from IMDb):

Cole (Judah Lewis) is madly in love with his babysitter (Samara Weaving) Bee. She’s hot, funny, and popular. One night, in a moment of defiance, Cole secretly stays up past his bedtime to discover she’s actually a cold-blooded killer who’s in league with the Devil. He now must spend his night evading Bee’s band of killers who will stop at nothing to prevent Cole from spilling their dark secret. It’s up to Cole to survive the night (and blow up a few people along the way).

The movie starts rather slow. Interesting, but slow nevertheless. Don’t worry though as soon, when Cole is discovered by Bee and her gang, all hell breaks loose. I didn’t expect much of this movie, so it surprised me when it kept me awake through the whole eighty-five minutes. Much action was expected, but there were some twists here and there I didn’t anticipate.

It had all I wanted in a film: action, humor, horror, romance, gore, and a good ending. When you’re going to watch it, do stay tuned until the very end 🙂 .

Book 1 of the Suckers Trilogy Now On SALE

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Header image by Aris Sfakianakis