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Review : Arq

​First, the not spoiler review

Netflix original movie, Arq is a fast paced action adventure. I went in knowing nothing about the movie other than it was a Netflix original and sci-fi. When things started going I ended up glued to my seat trying to figure out what was going to happen next. I loved this movie! I hope it gets a sequel because I would love to see more of the world.

The entire movie takes place inside one house. You do get a feel for the world outside the house, but they manage to do a beautiful job of telling a story with this limited set, and only six characters. 

I honestly think I got more enjoyment of the story because I did not know what to expect. I came in blind and was able to take in the pieces as they were given to me, and got more interested the farther down the rabbit hole we went.

Now, for the spoilers

Arq isn’t a new idea. Time looping and sci-fi have gone hand in hand for as long as most of us can remember. I can think of several Star Trek episodes, plus movies like Primer, Looper, and Groundhog Day. All of which deal with people repeating a day, or week, or moment over and over again.

Arq is, however, creative in the way they do it. One person remembers. As they loop more people start to remember, and each new person who remembers causes new complications along the way. The fact that all of this is happening during a home invasion just makes it even better. 

The interaction between the two main characters is fantastic! And the fact that it keeps changing as they keep learning new things about each other through the loops is great. 

The ending was a bit of a OMG moment. I thought “fantastic, let’s go to the next episode, this is great.” That’s when I realized it was a movie, not a series. This would make such an interesting series!

Hoping they make a sequel to this. It really deserves one.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Review

 

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It’s all about the little things

For the last week I’ve been setting up all the print files for my trilogy. I had to redo the one book I already had out because I rewrote three chapters, and the other two I had been putting off till I had “time.” You never have time. It’s just not there, never is, and I should just stop kidding myself. Something needs done? Do it.

Anyway, I got everything put in, ordered copies so I could see them, and then today I did the virtual proof just to take a look…and there was an error. Not like an error with the words, or with the cover. No, I was missing a page. A BLANK page even. But that one page made a huge difference. Without that one page right after the table of contents the rest of the book shifted. The first page wasn’t on the right hand side. The margins were backwards because they were formatted for being on the opposite side. And everything just looked WRONG.

I had to open the file, add one blank page, and resubmit everything.

Little things can matter, even blank pages. Sometimes you’re staring at that blank page wondering what the heck you should write, and you get an idea. Other times you stare at it, type a few words, delete them all, and try again.

I’ve had a lot of new ideas lately, but few of them get completed. That’s just another thing that gets in the way of following your dreams. But I don’t want to be just a dreamer. I want to be a finisher. I want a stack of books sitting on my shelf, all of them with my name on the spine.

So I finished editing the book again, and republished it. Now I’ll wait for it to be proofed, and order another copy. And it will finally go up on Amazon in a few more days. No big.

Because of one page.

It really is the little things that make your dreams into reality. I’m going to go write a page in my novel now.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Writers Block

 

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Numbers

This is a data post. Some of you have found the numbers interesting. For me the numbers are more about accountability to myself. If I’m doing better than last year I am hopeful. If not then I think I need to get my butt in gear and work harder.

graphSo here is the graph of each month for the last four years.

So far, this year, I have written 131k. May and June were my best months so far. That’s because I started writing The Half Blood Sorceress novels in May. Every time I start a new story, especially a series like this, the words just flow so fast and so free that I end up with three thousand words in less then a couple hours. I love it! That is always my favorite part of writing, the first bloom of an idea.

June was the month I had in between jobs where all I did was write, so of course I wrote a lot that month. A little bit less than May, which I was surprised about. Still, I wrote more in May and June than any other month except NaNoWriMo.

Then July I started the new job and my writing tanked. Not entirely surprising. I was physically and emotionally exhausted for the first few weeks of training. Then I started easing into the new job and had to figure out scheduling. Now I’m back into the swing of things with writing and balancing everything else and….my schedule is changing this weekend.

I’ve got a month and a half to figure out how to balance my schedule and writing with the rest of my life before this years NaNoWriMo. I really don’t want this to be the first year I fail NaNo in five years. I haven’t even figured out which project to write for this years NaNo. Will I do book two and three of The Half Blood Sorceress, or will I do a few more books in The Eternal Tapestry?

On average, after all of this, I wrote about 5-600 words a day. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but enough to chip away at the next series and get them ready for publishing.
As for the Bradbury Challenge which I started at the beginning of the year…I’ve completed ten short stories this year. That’s a little more than one short story a month. The trouble with short stories I’ve found is I keep getting shiny new object syndrome. I start working on a short story, then loose interest and go onto the next one. I have quite a number of short stories started but never completed, and a couple that I completed but decided to completely rewrite because they were terrible. But that doesn’t stop Shiny Syndrome from happening.

I love all the stories I come up with, even though I can see that a lot of them are terrible ideas. The terrible ones usually sit in an unaccessed file waiting for a day when they might jump-start a new idea. But then there are all of the stories that are good, publishable stories that I want to put out there some day, but fail to complete for whatever reason. I think I need to find a way to conquer my Shiny Syndrome in order to do that.

Worse, I have a lot of novels also slowly being worked on. Several of them are over 10k words. I have over 740k words written, and only 360k published. That’s a huge gap of incomplete works that I need to finish.

So….the next month and a half will go to figuring out my schedule, and hopefully finishing some of these short stories. NoNoWriMo is going to completing a novel or two in either the Eternal Tapestry world, or the Half Blood Sorceress series. Either way it’s 50k words into a new series and that will help me get the novels finished, and published, in the coming year.

I’ve got a long way to go, and I want to get back to writing 2k a day so that I can eventually get all the stories out of my head and onto the page. Of course then I’ll just have to dream up some new stories, won’t I?

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Personal Notes

 

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Update all the things!

I’flightofgriffve been slowly working my way through old book covers, updating them and making them look nicer. A few months ago I updated Potion Shop and Prophecy by Barlight. Then I took a crack at Flight of the Griffins.

This week I tried updating all of the “Illicit Gains” series.

The original covers were okay in their simplicity, and in all honesty I haven’t changed them a lot. The biggest thing is that I’ve gotten better at typography. Still not perfect, but way better.

illiI wanted to stay with the theme since each story is about a specific object. A ring that teleports the wearer wherever he is thinking about. A camera that saves things in a denominational pocket. A necklace that changes the persons personality.

And you might have already noticed that there is a fourth book the second set. I’ll be publishing The Mirror by the end of the week.
illicitAll of the items had to come from somewhere, after all.

This also meant renumbering the stories, since The Mirror is now the first in the series, not the ring, but nothing else has really changed. I still have two more planned for this series, The Pocket Watch and Marco.

It’s been a fun series to write. Their short reads, all short stories, so I don’t mind doing them out of love rather than for my career. Each one of them is inspired by Stephen King, Friday the 13, and Warehouse 13. Shows about cursed items, and what they do to people. I loved that troupe, so of course I had to write it myself.

But, alas, I have novels to finish, so this series gets written as I have time. I’m just happy to give it better covers at the moment.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Pax Prime

I guess the are calling it Pax West now, instead of Prime. I had a ticket for yesterday, and managed to get a few hours to go to some of the booths. But this was mostly Gregg’s chance to go connect with all the other creators. He wore his armor, stood on a dragon, and road a t-rex for Arc. It was pretty amazing. Wish I could have enjoyed it with him. Maybe next year.

I did see a number of games I can’t wait to play.

West of Loathing has to be my favorite so far. they took Kingdom of Loathing, made it single player and gave it a graphics interface. Same stick figure style, same rediculouse skills and crafting system. Even more awesome!

Eco just looked beautiful! I didn’t get a chance to play, but from what I was watching on screen it was a complete little planet that you were able to manipulate and watch the eco system change.It was developed to help students learn about ecosystems, and has a $500 price tag for 100 keys per year for five years for a school. I’d like to know if/how this works in a class.

An absolutly beautiful co-op game called The Rabbit and the Owl. The lighting and art for this are just amazing.

A fun little builder game called Project Highrise.

I got some beautiful art from Super Sky Sisters and Wandersong. And an amazing poster from Basement, a game in which you’re building a drug lab in your moms basement. Ya, that’s a thing.

I know I missed out on a lot of stuff, but what little I did catch was pretty awesome.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Personal Notes

 

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If a content creator…..

In light of the new drama around youtube a friend replied to me:

And I say… A creator has to eat.

A couple years ago there was a big bunch of writers who talked about why they refuse to write for free. The overwhelming sentiment was “fuck you, pay me.” The reasons came down to a few simple things. An author needs to eat, and pay their bills. An author spends a lot of damn time writing. A good author also spends money on editing, cover design, and probably marketing to get their books read.

Does an author write even if they don’t get paid? I’ve been writing since I was seven, and I haven’t made much, but I keep writing. If I never make another cent I’d keep writing. But here’s the thing; if I wasn’t seeing progress in sales I would stop trying to publish. Or at the very least I’d quit spending money I don’t have on editors, cover designers, and everything else that helps to make the book GOOD. I’d probably stick my books up on a blog, forgotten, and rarely read.

I have also been seeing: “well, he just sits in front of a webcam and talks, he can still do that without funding.” People don’t realize what goes into the back end of a some of these channels. Equipment upgrades, and keeping equipment running. Paying electric bills, editing, hours (if not days) of research, and for Philly D he has a whole crew that he pays, as well as all the other things he does on top of it. The GOOD shows do way more than sit in front of a camera and talk. Even shows like Hank and John Green are well edited, and time consuming. How many people would be out of a job if these channels disappeared? Not just the main creator of the channel.

In order to write the books I have written I have to work a full time job. That job takes a lot of my time and energy, and sometimes when I get home I don’t have the ability to sit down and talk, let alone string two sentences together. Just imagine if some of your favorite youtube creators had to have a day job. How much time do you think they’d be spending making that content if they had to go to work at six am with a one hour commute? Do you honestly think they could produce hours of content every week for your consumption? For me I have a lot less time to write now that I have a day job again. I can’t keep up like authors I know who write full time. I wish I could.

Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you have the time and ability to make it. And you probably won’t be able to make the same quality of content you had before.

To every artist, every author, every musician who is doing their art full time… could you do it if you weren’t getting paid? Would it be as high quality? Would you be able to produce as much?

If I can’t do any of those things as an artist with a full time job why would I expect my favorite news show, or commentators, or sketch artists, etc, to go without pay? Artists deserve to get paid, damn it!

PS, I haven’t even commented on whether or not this is censorship, or any of the other issues going on with this subject. I just wanted to comment on why artists of any type shouldn’t be looked down on for earning money for what they do.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Copyright, News

 

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Review: Jason Bourne

imagesDon’t you love how they did away with everything except his name? Jason Bourne, because we all know his name and his story. It’s become a part of our culture, and our references. There are so many memes about Bourne that he needs nothing except the name and the face.

But I find the Bourne series interesting in other ways too.

Last week I did a review on Stranger Things. Set in the 80’s, it had a lot of references to things I knew back then. That included one moment in the show when the father tells his wife “Don’t worry, their the government, we can trust them.” (Or something like that.)

On the other hand there is Bourne, and other movies like it, that emphasize that we can’t trust our government. When I was growing up we had The Great American Hero and 007 who fought for the government to stop the bad guys. Now both of them are working against the government, taking a stand against what they think is wrong.

We don’t trust our government like we use to. We don’t expect them to be working for the “greater good”, whatever that is. We do expect many people in government to act in their own self interest. The sad part is, nothing has changed. The same people in government are doing the same things they’ve always done. We just took the blinders off. Things like Snowden and the NSA have made it harder to stick our heads in the sand. Not that we can do anything about it.

So we go to the movies and we watch shows like Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher where a lone man fights against the odds to bring corrupt people in the government to justice. Why? Because we survive off hope. Just like many turned to comics and stories back during WWII for a little hope that the war would someday end.

I will say, Bourne was a great movie. Lots of action, lots of conspiracy and twists and turns trying to figure out who was really at fault. And in the end Jason Bourne only has some of the answers, leaving room for yet another installment. But not enough to feel like it wasn’t a complete movie. It’s some of my favorite kind of escapism.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Review

 

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