Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

What To Watch? Rampage

Yesterday, we decided on a whim to go to the cinema again. The only option we had, with our daughter in tow, was Rampage, a science fiction monster movie. We were not disappointed.

Rampage

Rampage_2

Cast

The main character, and probably the main reason why people go and watch this movie as you know it’s going to be a good one, is Dwayne Johnson. He plays primatologist David Okoye, working at San Diego wildlife preserve. During his anti-poaching unit days, he rescued albino gorilla George and raised him, teaching him sign language. Okoye happens to have a special forces background (very handy).

Naomie Harris plays his side-kick, Dr. Kate Caldwell, the scientist who knows everything that is going on. Another major player is the cowboy OGA (Other Government Agency) agent Harvey Russell, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The bad guy in the movie is a woman, CEO of Energyne Claire Wyden, played by Malin Åkerman.

Plot

Energyne has done some experiments in space that are too terrible to perform on earth. Unfortunately, things go amiss, and the space station blows up. Amidst the debris that falls to the earth are three samples of the experiment which change the DNA of the three animals that come into contact with them: George the gorilla, a wild wolf, and a crocodile. They grow out of control and get very aggressive. Claire sends out a signal from the top of the company’s building, luring the genetically modified animals to the city. She hopes that the animals kill Dr. Caldwell and so prevent her from spilling the beans on the terrible things Energyne has done.

What I liked about Rampage

Rampage is a good old-fashioned humoristic action movie, up there with 2012, San Andreas, and Godzilla. Having Dwayne Johnson in there is a big attraction although I was a bit disappointed he didn’t show off his pecs bounce 😀 . The humor is funny, sometimes predictable, but well spaced.

Rampage_3.jpgThe CG is spectacular. George is almost human with very life-like facial expressions. The people who have put their minds together to come up with the changes of the wolf and crocodile have been extremely creative. There was one revelation that made my jaw drop. They missed out on some opportunity for George, though.

What I didn’t like about Rampage

There were an awful lot of ‘WTF?’ moments in this movie. At one point, a whole building wall falls over while Johnson jumps out of the window (several stories high), yet there is not a scratch on him. Bullets don’t seem to hurt him either. Those are the little moments that take you out of the otherwise spectacular action scenes. But, as I already stated, the movie needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Summary

Rampage is a fun movie that can be watched by teenaged children (there’s one graphic sexual innuendo at the end) and any lover of huge monsters. It is 107 minutes of fun, spectacular action, and awesome CG.

Rampage_1

Meeting Nancy Jardine, Author of Celtic Historical Novels

My family and I were in town for a cup of coffee when we saw a pamphlet informing us of a craft fair in the town hall of Inverurie. Of course, we had to visit, and who did I immediately see when I walked in? Nancy Jardine!

Nancy and Me.jpg

Nancy had a big table at the fair, full of all her books; her romantic mysteries Topaz Eyes (a mystery in a mystery), Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, her Young Adult novel The Taexali Game; an anthology Crooked Cat Tales; and of course her Celtic novels The Beltane Choice, After Whorl-Bran Reborn, and After Whorl-Donning Double Cloaks.

We chatted about all things writer-related, from how long it takes to write a novel, to being on fairs and selling books. I learned something new from Nancy too, to about making files especially for Amazon. It was great to talk to another author about the trials and tribulations we have to go through from putting pen to paper all the way to get people to read our books.

I bought the Taexali Game for my daughter and you can expect a review of it soon (but she has to finish reading the Harry Potter books first)!

What To Watch? Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

It’s the school holidays, so we’ve been going to the cinema a few times and watched a couple of movies on TV. With my daughter, I went to see Coco on Friday morning, a very entertaining and musical movie. I didn’t keep a dry eye watching that one, no matter how hard I tried. On Saturday evening, the whole family went to see Ready Player One. My daughter had read the book and told us the movie didn’t follow what happened in the book. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining movie. But, what was in the front of my memory queue was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a movie on Netflix. Here’s my review.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian1

Cast

This epic sci-fi movie is written, directed, and co-produced by Luc Besson and is based on the French comics series of Valérian et Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. Although there are some great names in the supporting roles list, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer making an appearance, the main characters were played by Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, actors I have never heard of or seen before.

Plot

The setting is a huge, ex-earth space station, called Alpha, floating in deep space where millions of creatures of a thousand planets reside.

The story is about two Alpha ‘space agents,’ Valerian and Laureline, who need to rescue a creature, the last of its species. It’s a special creature as it is able to replicate anything and is very valuable on the black market.  Of course, nothing goes as planned, and all sort of excitement and mishaps happen. A thread throughout the story is the relationship between Valerian and Laureline.

Valerian2

What I liked about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

This is an incredibly colorful movie, full of strange creatures, adventure, and action. Even though the movie lasts well over two hours, I only got bored one moment. Mostly there was so much to see and so much happening. I don’t know if it was my writer’s brain or not, but I want to watch it again just to see all the creatures in the background. The ideas are all wonderfully unconventional, a nice change from the usual.

The special effects are phenomenal and the choreography of the action was good to follow. The scene with Rhianna performing was perhaps a bit over the top, but very entertaining.

Valerian3

What I didn’t like about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

As you can see on the image with the comics illustration above, the actors don’t really look like the comics characters. I didn’t know the movie was based on the comics series before I watched it, so it didn’t bother me. What I did find annoying was that Cara Delevingne doesn’t have a lot of facial expressions and has extremely thick eyebrows and that Dane DeHaan comes over as a spoiled teenager rather than a handsome, dashing space agent. For such an expensive movie (apparently the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made), you’d think they could have gotten better actors for those roles.

As I mentioned before, toward the end there was one moment my thoughts drifted away as the story was getting a bit bland. According to my husband, I didn’t miss much.

Summary

If you like sci-fi, adventure, and strange creatures, this is the movie to watch! It’s a movie for all ages that will keep you in your seat for over two hours.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available on Amazon.

 

valerian4.jpg

Meet The Authors… Bonita Gutierrez & Camilla Ochlan

This week, I have a double whammy for you. I’ve had the pleasure to have co-hosted two Dark Fantasy Books Giveaway Events with the authors of The Werewolf Whisperer, Bonita Gutierrez and Camilla Ochlan (amongst many others hosting the events who’ll you meet soon!). Bonita and Camilla have fun writing super exciting stories. Here’s some more info about two kick-ass ladies and their books.

Bonita Gutierrez & Camilla Ochlan

Bonita & Camilla.jpg
Bonita Gutierrez & Camilla Ochlan

You’ve written The Werewolf Whisperer books together. Is it hard to write a book with another person?

BONITA: I’m a huge fan of collaboration. I love working with a partner(s), bouncing ideas off each other, creating new stories. Camilla and I come from theater backgrounds, which gave us a good foundation for writing together. The very nature of theater is working in partnership with others to create a show. The same goes for film and television (where we’ve spent a lot of our careers). Each person has a part to play, something to contribute. Of course, there will always be points of the story to work through, differences of opinions. That just comes with the territory. But for me, the process is very exciting.

CAMILLA: I write with two different writing partners on two different series — the other one is OF CATS AND DRAGONS, a Young Adult epic fantasy. I also write solo projects. From my experience, working with a partner is great as long as your sensibilities for the project match.

WEREWOLF WHISPERER came out of the love Bonita and I share for hard-hitting urban fantasy with biting humor and world-shaking consequences. As long as the collaborators focus on the core of the story and serve the book, everything can be worked out.

The two main characters in the book, Lucy Lowell and Xochitl Magana (I’m not sure how you pronounce that first name 🙂 ), are women who complement each other. Are you those two women, are the two characters a mix of the two of you, or are they completely random characters? 

BONITA: I think there’s a bit of both of us in each character. But we actually based Xochitl (pronounced Socheel or Sochee) on my experiences growing up as a person of mixed race (I’m half Mexican half Polish). Many of Xochi’s thoughts and feelings parallel my own and are deeply personal. That being said, she’s way more of a badass than I could ever hope to be.

CAMILLA: Aspects of both characters reside within me, as much as the characters sprang from my brain. But there is no everyday Lucy or Xochi walking in my shoes. I wish.

I understand Xochi’s temper, though I tend to keep that pushed far, far under the surface. I identify with Lucy’s pain most — her awkward social interactions and insecurity. But she’s evolving, becoming who she was meant to be, and I have to let her fly.

You both have backgrounds in martial arts. Does this feature heavily in the book? Would you have been able to write it without your martial arts knowledge?

CamillaOchlan_CloseUpCAMILLA: I have a black belt in Kosho Ryu and have dabbled in various martial arts over the years. I have a background in dance, and I studied stage movement and combat while getting my theater degree. I think having the background helps, but it is important to translate what you are seeing (in your head) to the page. That’s different even than crafting choreography, which is ultimately visual. You have to communicate the steps to your dancers or actors, and they’ll make it look good. On the page, you have to be clear enough so the reader can picture what’s going on, but not get bogged down with too much detail or technical jargon. I have used figurines to stage action sequences on checkerboards. I also focus on the consequence of the fight—if the character is hit or cut, how does that affect what’s going on?

BONITA: Like Camilla, I’ve been training off and on in martial arts for years (I have a background in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee’s art), Kenpo Karate MMA and Kali Escrima (stick and knife fighting). It’s an essential part of my life. So, when we started writing THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER, it just felt right for the story and characters. We needed Lucy and Xochi to be formidable women who are able to handle themselves in very dangerous situations.

Though I still think we would have been able to write the series without our martial arts backgrounds, I think our training helps us create exciting, action-packed scenes that are still grounded in reality. There is something to be said for firsthand knowledge.

The books have a lot of Latino words in it (explained in a ‘lobo lexicon’ on your website). Who’s idea was that and is that because of their background?

CAMILLA: Living in L.A., Spanish is so much a part of everyday life. It was an important aspect for the tone of the piece. The city is a character, especially in book one. But we wanted to get it right, so Bonita’s dad was our best and most important resource. He is so generous. We still did a lot of research, hoping to find interesting, current language that would distinguish characters.

And then, with Kai, we wanted to bring in the Mandarin. Again, we were fortunate. My husband speaks Mandarin and helped shape the language.

BONITA: I’m not sure whose idea it was initially to have a spattering of Spanish in the book. I think we both thought it made sense for Xochi’s character. Of course, it helps having grown up around the language and having a dad who can help me with certain words I don’t know or a new colorful turn of phrase (all of which are on our website). 

What is your favorite passage/dialogue in the book?

BonitaGutierrez_CloseUpBONITA: Xochi’s “¡Híjole!” exclamations are straight out of my mouth. It’s a word I’ve adopted from my dad and can be used to express all sorts of feelings (good and bad). It’s the word that gives Xochi her flavor. Kai’s English/Mandarin/Spanish mash-ups are also a hoot. But my favorite thing to write is the banter between Lucy and Xochi. Their back-and-forth repartee helps the reader to really know the women and understand their profound friendship. Plus, it’s hilarious.

CAMILLA: There’s been a lot in the book that has made us laugh. I love Xochi’s Spanglish rants, where she’s completely aware that she’s going off the rails. My personal favorites are Lucy’s dreams. They are first person, present tense and so very, very different in tone from anything else in the books. They are like little buried treasures—just below the surface, and Lucy is completely unaware of what’s going on with all of that.

Did you do any scientific research for The Werewolf Whisperer?

CAMILLA: Yes, quite a bit of research and extrapolation. The most profound, for me, was my initial archeological research, which led me to the grave of a Paleolithic dog in Siberia. This dog was buried in the same way a human would have been buried. Now why would that be? Was the dog so greatly loved that he was like a member of the tribe? Or was he a member of the tribe? The article sparked a lot of “what ifs” for me. Beyond that, we are digging into genetic research because we want to continue in that vein of werewolf by science and not by magic.

BONITA: Funny you should ask that. We’re currently swimming in research…lots and lots of research.

Who is the target audience for your books?

BONITA: Though THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER is urban fantasy, our readers run the gambit: men, women, twenty-somethings, fifty-somethings, teachers, forensic scientists, homemakers, and even mechanics. Anyone who likes an emotionally grounded, action-packed story laced with biting humor will dig our books.

CAMILLA: I don’t know anymore. I thought the books would be for female urban fantasy readers exclusively, but we’re getting feedback that shows that the book appeals to a wide age range and to both men and women alike. I’d been told that men wouldn’t be interested in a book with two female protagonists. Whoever said that was wrong, I am happy to report.

The series is not paranormal romance. Maybe that is the expectation, but that is not the book we wrote. That will be a different series 🙂

I love the music video on your website. Can you tell me some more about it? 

BONITA: The song “El Gallo Mas Feroz” was co-written especially for THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER by David Gregory Byrne and my dad, Charles Gutierrez. It’s the signature song of one of our “Big Bads” — Memo “El Gallo” Morales, gang leader of East LA’s Los Locos and Xochi’s soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.

CAMILLA: We put the video together for a Halloween takeover (shout out to the Dark Fantasy Books Facebook group), and we liked it so much, we kept it on our Soundcloud. Thank you, P.J. for putting the video together.

Do you think The Werewolf Whisperer will one day be on the big silver screen?

BONITA: Actually, I would love to see it on the small screen. We originally developed THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER as web series. We even wrote a 13-episode story arc for season one. Those scripts turned into the novel series. So, I think television would be a natural progression.

CAMILLA: I think the series would be great as a long format TV show — like SUPERNATURAL but on Netflix.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since Book 2 of the Werewolf whisperer came out. When can your fans expect Book 3 to come out? What are you working on?

CAMILLA: We are working on BLOOD & BONES (book 3) right now, but there have been a few entries into the Werewolf Whisperer canon since the release of THE ALPHA & OMEGA (book 2). We released the novellas BEAST OUT OF HELL (on Amazon) and NO BEAST SO FIERCE (exclusive to our BEASTY BITES newsletter subscribers). As we are working on book 3, we are simultaneously working on a serialized novella about the character Kai.

But you’re right; we’ve taken a little extra time with book 3. I did, however, release NIGHT’S GIFT, RADIATION, and WINTER TITHE in the OF CATS AND DRAGONS series in 2017 with Carol E. Leever. And we have three more books ready to be released this year. Plus, Bonita and I have been meaning to break another urban fantasy series, which we are very excited about too.

BONITA: So, stay tuned!

Thank you, ladies. It’s great to hear you are so busy. I recently purchased the first book of The Werewolf Whisperer and can’t wait to dive into it after hearing how much fun you put into it!

 

Bonita&Camilla_Books.JPG
Books Bonita & Camilla have written together

 

CamillaOchlan_Books
Other books Camilla wrote

All Bonita’s and Camilla’s books are available on Amazon. You can sign up on their website to get their Beasty Bites newsletter.

PS: Thanks, Bonita, for letting me know how to pronounce Xochitl 🙂

 

 

 

What To Watch? The 5th Wave

Last weekend we watched The 5th Wave as its post-apocalyptic premise sounded interesting, and it has Liev Schreiber in it. Here is my review of it.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

Plot

Life is good until aliens appear in big ships that hang above the earth. First the aliens, called ‘the others,’ send an electromagnetic pulse that incapacitates all electrical power. This alone already sends the world into chaos. For the second wave, they destroy the world as we know it and decimate the population with earthquakes and their resulting tsunamis. The third wave is a virus that kills most of the people that are left. Only a handful of immune persons are left now. These refugees gather in a camp until the army shows up and warns them of the imminent threat of a fourth attack. They take the children first in busses to bring them to a save location. But things are not as they seem…

Characters

The main character, teenager Cassie Sullivan (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), is trying to keep her family together and save. Unfortunately her mother, who is a doctor, dies as a result of the virus early on. Her little brother Sam (played by Zachary Arthur) is taken away by one of the army busses and her father doesn’t survive what happens next.

Cassie is hellbound to get back to Sam. On her journey, she gets shot and is patched up by a stranger called Evan Walker (played by Alex Roe). He is reluctant to let her go but eventually agrees to come with her to help her get her brother back.

Cassie’s high school crush, Ben Thomas Parish (played by Nick Robinson), has also been taken away by the army busses. The army is under command of Colonel Alexander Vosch (played by Liev Schreiber). Ben doesn’t know Sam is Cassie’s brother, but he takes Sam under his protection as he is so young still.

What I liked about The 5th Wave

Even though the setting is a typical ‘aliens-conquer-the-world’ apocalyptic setting, the story is heartfelt and entertaining. The cg isn’t top-notch, but as the human relationships are the focus of this movie, I wasn’t phased by it. I liked that there wasn’t any gore in it nor any jump-of-your-seat surprise moments.

Chloë Crace Moretz plays her part very well as did Nick Robinson. I always love watching Liev Schreiber on the big screen. He normally plays the bad guy, but his face can be so cute when he smiles.

The turn of events was a nice twist (sorry, no spoiler!). The ending was an open one, leaving the possibility for a sequel.

What I didn’t like about The 5th Wave

The storyline was a bit predictable (except for that one twist I mentioned earlier). It was a shame that Alex Roe took me out of the movie. His facial expressions were not enough for me to make me root for his character.

I found the ending a bit unbelievable, but hey, it wasn’t as bad as some other movies 🙂 . Otherwise, I was quite happy watching the movie. It kept me wanting to know what happened next.

Summary

All in all, it is an entertaining movie you can watch with the whole family and have a discussion afterward about how far a human will go when manipulated to think something is the truth.

The 5th Wave is available on Amazon.

The5thWave2.jpg

What To Watch? The Shape of Water

This weekend we had a double whammy and went to see The Shape of Water first and The Greatest Showman straight after. Both were great movies. I actually don’t like singing in movies, so I’m not going to discuss the latter here. I do love a good romance story, so The Shape of Water it is.

The Shape of Water

Shape_of_Water.jpg

Cast and Plot

This story plays in 1962 Baltimore when racism is the norm and homosexuality is still a taboo. Elisa Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) is a woman who lives above a movie theatre and works as a cleaning lady in a secret government laboratory. Her neighbor, Giles (played by Richard Jenkins), is a homosexual artist, trying to make a living with his drawings. Elisa is mute. She appears to have been found as a child with strange scars in her neck like someone scratched her.

When an aquatic creature (played by Doug Jones) is brought into the facility, Elisa forms a bond with it. She is delighted to have found someone like her, someone who can’t talk, and she spends her lunchtimes with the creature. The agent in charge of the creature, Colonel Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon), is a very cruel man and delights in torturing it. The Russian scientist studying the creature (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) notices the bond between the creature and Elisa and realizes it is an intelligent being. He tries everything in his power to make his superiors see this without spilling the beans on Elisa.

What I liked

This is a wonderfully romantic story about an outcast who becomes a hero and finds true love. Who doesn’t like a story where this happens? The fact that is was nominated so many times probably has something to do with the fact that the movie puts a spotlight on all sort of social taboos; masturbation, homosexuality, racial discrimination, and physical disabilities. The fact that it plays in 1962 only highlights that a lot still needs to change.

I like the casting of the actors. They weren’t perfect, yet beautiful. In other words, not a typical Holywood cast. Michael Shannon was a particular well-cast actor, and I think we’re going to see more of him on the big screen.

I liked that Doug Jones, who played the creature, also played Abe Sapien in Hellboy, one of my favorite movies. The creatures aren’t the same, yet their likeness was the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw the creature for the first time (before I knew Doug Jones played both roles). Loved, loved, loved the outfit!

Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water
Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water

What I didn’t like

Even though it is a very romantic story, I missed something. Maybe it was the short time dedicated to the build-up of the romance, I don’t know. Questioning logistics issues, explained too late, took me out of the story sometimes. And of course the WTF-moments that always seems to happen. I can accept fantasy logic, but I won’t accept things that they pretend can happen in this physical world. It just isn’t possible from a earthly-scientific point of view. You can take the girl out of science, but you can’t take the science out of the girl 🙂

Summary

All in all a bloody good movie for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Thriller lovers. Go and see it!

What to Watch? Altered Carbon

We did watch one Amazon movie this weekend; The Rite, with Anthony Hopkins. You’d expect something good with him in it, but alas, it wasn’t. So, I’m going to talk about another series we binge-watched on Netflix: Altered Carbon.

Altered Carbon

Altered_Carbon_W700

Altered Carbon plays about three-hundred-and-fifty years into the future. Cars fly and people can live forever. How do they live forever? Everybody has a disc implanted in their necks, called a ‘stack.’ These contain the ‘essence’ of the human being it belongs to. When you’re not happy with your body anymore or it gets damaged, you simply take the stack out and place it into another body, called ‘a sleeve.’ Needless to say that if your stack gets damaged, you die. Unless you made a backup, of course.

The Plot

Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman, see the eye candy below) wakes up 250 years after his sleeve is terminated, and he is given the choice by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) to either spend the rest of time in prison for his crimes (he was the sole surviving soldier, an envoy, of those defeated in an uprising against the new world order 250 years prior) or to help solve his murder. Everyone thinks he committed suicide, but Bancroft thinks otherwise. His backup was done almost forty-eight hours before the murder, and his memory during those last two days was lost. Takeshi reluctantly takes on the job.

The Cast

Now here is where it gets a bit tricky. See, when you have sleeves at your disposal and you add body copiers, stacks are placed in different bodies left, right, and center. Next to this, we flick from present to past to less past to present, etc. You really have to keep your wits about to follow what is going on. Joel Kinnaman is well chosen for his role as Takeshi Kovacs. I didn’t like him at first as he reminded me of Dolf Lundgren (yes, I’m that old), but I got over it. I loved Martha Higareda as Kirstin Ortega, the feisty detective who failed to solve Bancroft’s murder. Next in the picture is Dichen Lachman as Reileen Kawahara, Kovacs’s sister, who is not to be taken lightly. A sidekick is played by Ato Essandoh as Vernon Elliott, who also plays an important role, and Kovacs former lover is played by Renée Elise Goldsberry (would have loved to have seen more of her, perhaps she’ll return in a follow up season). A special mention for Chris Connor, who beautifully plays the funny AI Poe (after Edgar A. Poe), the hotel (yes, he is the hotel) where Kovacs chooses to stay during his investigation.

Likes

What I liked most about the show is that it has a bit of everything all in the one package. I love stories like these. The cast was well chosen, the dialogue funny, and the action moves believable. And cliffhangers. Plenty of cliffhangers!

Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs just after he is woken up from a 250-year sleep
Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs just after he is woken up from a 250-year sleep

Dislikes

There is a lot of nudity in it. And I mean a lot. And most of it is female nudity. There are some willies shown in the last few episodes, and Kinnaman also has a few scenes where his beautiful body is displayed, but most men are shown from the back, whereas the females are shown in a full-frontal pose. I have nothing against nudity, but it always irritates me that there is a discrepancy between showing off the male and female body. As if female bodies are worth less than male bodies and can be dropped in left, right, and center as if they don’t mean anything anyway. There still is that discrimination in the film industry. And of course, it irritates me that you can’t have a good show without any nudity in it anymore.

One other thing that didn’t like was that the dialogue was hard to follow sometimes, mumbled, but I don’t know if this was due to my hearing impediment. No one else of my family was complaining about it. If you have hearing aids, I suggest you wear them 🙂 (which I didn’t).

Summary

I liked the show. For me, it was the full package of mystery, intrigues, love, romance, sci-fi stuff, good old-fashioned fights, and humor. Do check it out (on Netflix).

 

Meet The Author… – Terry Marchion

Today, I’m introducing to you… Terry Marchion. I met Terry online through One Stop Fiction. He is a lovely man who doesn’t mind going out of his way to help a fellow writer (he’s one of my beta-readers and my writing would be terrible without him). He has written three sci-fi novels about Christopher and his uncle Tremain, who live on a space colony called New Earth. Terry gives us a peek into his WIP, The Misplaced Mentor. It’s the fourth book in the Adventures of Tremain & Christopher series, so be sure to read all the way till the end :). But first, let’s get to know Mr. Marchion a bit better.

Terry Marchion

Terry_Marchion_W300jpg.jpg

Interview with Terry Marchion

Are you a full-time writer?

Ok — I’m not a full-time writer — I do hold a day job, which sucks away a lot of my time – eventually, I’d love to write full-time, but I’m not there yet. I’ve always written – in one way or another, but I’ve never had the confidence to pursue it. When I was around 18 or so, I did submit a short story but was promptly rejected. That colored my dreams for quite a few years until 2016, when I submitted a pitch on a twitter event. I received a few replies of interest but was rejected then too – go figure. But, thinking that others could read AND like my work inspired me to go the indie route and do it all myself.

What do you like about writing?

I like the freedom writing gives me — it’s sometimes frustrating, but also very liberating. I’m satisfying my need to be creative and hopefully being entertaining at the same time.

What don’t you like about writing?

I don’t care for the politics around writing — I’ve come to like the process of writing and formatting and having others beta read — the rest is work. LOL — but I’m learning to embrace the work too.

Who should read your writing?

People should totally read my stuff if they like fun adventures with a sci-fi bent to them. Think the old serials of the 40’s — Buck Rogers, for instance, or the episodic tv shows we all watched like Lost in Space, Star Trek, Doctor Who — that’s the spirit this adventures series is written in.

What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing?

The best lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and never to give up.

What is the worst thing you’ve learned about writing?

The hardest lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and to never give up. I want it all NOW dammit!! LOL

Where do you write?

Where do I write? Everywhere! I don’t have a dedicated writing spot — I tend to feel constrained if I can only create in one place — I use a laptop or a tablet/keyboard combo or just a pen and paper to get my thoughts down. I eventually go solo on the laptop to put it all together. But at least I’m writing.

What is the most memorable sentence you’ve written?

I’ve yet to come up with a consistent writing schedule, but I’m working on that.I don’t have a memorable line yet, but I’m working on it. Hopefully, one of my characters will spout something I just can’t predict.

Thank you so much, Terry, for sharing this with us. I’m sure we all can do with that boost to never give up! They say great writers are the ones that don’t quit, so I clink my glass to you and will keep on writing!

Without further ado, here’s that special snipped I promised you from Terry’s fourth book, The Misplaced Mentor, which is to be released soon.

Preview of The Misplaced Mentor

Marjorie’s apartment sat in the middle of the city, just off from the bazaar. Tremain and Markus walked the short distance from the lab complex, past the flapping tents and awnings of the bazaar, down to the residential area, overlooking the coast. The austere building was built around a park, complete with park benches and walking paths. The pair walked up the stairs to Marjorie’s apartment in silence, the smell of stale air, cooked food and paint heavy in the corridor. Once outside the door, Tremain consulted his tablet.

“Well, you are right, it shows she’s inside. Well, at least her tablet is.”

“What if she’s injured . . . or worse?” Markus whispered.

Tremain turned to his friend.

“Have you regressed to a teenager again?” he scoffed, “you’re jumping to conclusions,” Tremain gestured to the door. “after you.”

Markus knocked on the door. There was no answer. He gripped the door handle. It buzzed in answer. Naturally, it was locked.

“Oh, it’s a biometric lock. Only Marjorie can unlock it.”

Tremain nudged Markus aside.

“Or someone with a key,” he said as he pulled a device from his lab coat. He fit it around the handle and pushed a few buttons. In seconds, the lock clicked open, pinging in acceptance. “There, we’re in.”

“Tell me we didn’t just break the law,” Markus asked.

“Of course not, who do you think helped Marjorie design that lock? Naturally, I had a back door for emergencies.”

Markus sighed in relief.

“Good. I didn’t want the authorities called down on us.”

Tremain shook his head.

“Need I remind you that YOU are one of the authorities?”

Markus chuckled.

“I suppose you’re right. Come on, let’s go in.” He pushed the door open, ready to enter, but Tremain held him back.

“Hold on, let me look first.” He said as he pushed past his friend.

“Why? What do you think you’ll see?”

Tremain stood just inside the doorway, scanning the areas he could see. No bodies visible, so that was a positive.

“I’m just seeing if there is anything out of place.”

“You’ve been here recently?”

“No, I’ve never been here, but there’s a lot you can deduce from what you see initially,” Tremain stepped into the apartment, beckoning Markus to follow, “for instance, she’s not much into decorating, is she?” He gestured to the walls, which were bare, save for a few small pictures. The furniture was functional, but not cozy. The apartment’s front door opened into the living area of the apartment. Directly in front of them was a short hallway which led to the bedrooms and bathroom and off to the right was the kitchen.

Tremain and Markus stood in the center of the living room. The coffee table was littered with some papers and pamphlets. Markus walked through the kitchen to the bedrooms while Tremain leafed through the papers. He picked one at random and frowned when he looked at it. A photo of a plot of land appeared at the top, with a description of the property below it. At the very bottom was the agent’s details. The next few papers were the same, a piece of property, some large, some small, but all were offered by the same agent. He checked the dates.

All were printed at least six or more months ago. He scratched his head as he pulled up one of the pamphlets. A brochure about a construction company. Another was regarding refrigeration processes and equipment. Tremain’s frown deepened. Markus came from the bedrooms, shaking his head.

“She’s not here. I did find her tablet, on her bed. She didn’t want to be tracked down.”

Tremain showed him the real estate listings.

“She was looking at land all over the place. And,” he pointed at the various brochures, “she was building something,” He scratched his head again, “something secret. She didn’t want anyone knowing about it or we’d have heard.”

“So what does this all mean?” Markus grumbled, “Where is she?”

Tremain crossed his arms as he thought.

“She’s definitely not on one of her sabbaticals, that’s for certain,” He paced the room, “she’s consulted with an agent for land, so I think that’s where we go next.” He stopped pacing and slapped Markus on the arm. “A perfect job for a Senator. You find out where she bought land, and I’ll investigate these disturbances.”

Markus nodded and left on his mission.

Tremain lingered just a bit, glancing around the apartment. To be honest, it reminded him of his own. He spent more time in the lab than at home, so it made sense to keep it sparce. Even in her retirement, Marjorie hadn’t made her apartment more cozy, which implied she spent more time elsewhere. Something caught his eye. In the corner of the doorway was a scattering of dirt. He knew he and Markus hadn’t tracked anything in, so where did this come from? He knelt down and felt the dirt. It had a fine grain feel to it, almost like sand. He gave it a sniff, but couldn’t detect anything. The beach wasn’t that far, definitely in walking distance. She must have brought some sand in with her when she went for a walk. Filing that away for later, he locked up the apartment and headed back to the lab.

Terry_Marchion_Books.jpg
Terry Marchion’s Books

You can find all of Terry Marchion’s book on Amazon.

Politics and Zombie-Sci-Fi Shit

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.

braindead2B.jpg

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.

Braindead3.jpeg

Writers’ Corner update 26/01/2017

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 26/01/2017!

Even though I haven’t been on Flipboard that often this past week, I managed to accumulate thirteen interesting articles for you. From how to Gain 104.000 Subscriber With Just One Article to testing your Emotional Intelligence (or ‘how not to look like a serial killer’) to Digging Deep for the Truth. The latter which seems important in the current political climate. I also read an interesting article on George Orwell’s 1984, but as I try to keep my posts from politics I haven’t included it in my magazine.

beschuit-met-muisjes.jpg

I am proud to share with you the birth of a new magazine of mine: Sci-Non-Fi. I kept reading all these interesting articles about scientific advances that we thought impossible not so long ago and I wanted to share these with you. But not every writer writes Sci-Fi, so I didn’t want to annoy those people with ‘my discoveries.’ Hence the birth of Sci-Non-Fi. In it there are four articles already. Check them out 🙂 .

Focus on Filming has an article on Reservoir Dogs, mainly on it being banned in the UK and its effect on the popularity of the movie. There’s an article saying there are Three Types of Creators. Which one are you? The third article has a nice short movie with Gorgeous Silhouette Shots made by cinematographer Roger Deakins. Well worth the view.

Health Herald mentions in an article that Spending Time Around Traffic Is Literally Destroying Your Brain. To stay healthier you’ll be surprised about the Coffee Anti-Ageing Benefit. There is also an article that heralds the end of neurodegenerative diseases with the Treatment coming from a Single Protein. Hallelujah!