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Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

1 Apr

Not long ago, I decided to sit down and finally watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I was ambivalent about watching it because (1) I was never really a hardcore Harry Poter fan (mainly because I just didn’t catch the wave of Potter Pandemonium when it first rippled through America), (2) the previews didn’t get me very excited and, (3) call me a Debbie Downer, but I thought the premise was a bit silly. I mean a foreign wizard irresponsibly loses his magical beasts, adding trouble to an already magically-troubled America? (Great! Let’s give that man a visa!)

Despite these things, I understand that Rowling is a very clever writer, which I both appreciate and admire. That being said, I had to give it a try. So today, I’m sharing some of my thoughts about Fantastic Beasts, though I don’t intend this to be a full-blown review or summarize the plot in any way.

(Want a video version of this post? Check this out!)

Continue reading

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10 Dieselpunk or Diesel-Era Action/Adventure Movies & TV Shows (Part I)

24 Dec

I’ll try to make this one quick, but in a nutshell…let’s talk movies and TV shows.

…Dieselpunk or diesel-era-inspired ones, that is!

 

Any kind of story that is set in or inspired by the early 1900s almost always catches my interest, so today I thought I’d share some of my favorite action and adventure movies and TV shows that fall under this category.

Hope you enjoy!

Have you seen any of these movies or TV shows before?

If so, what did you think about them?  Which of these is your favorite?  Which is you least favorite?

I’d probably have to say The Mummy (1999) is my favorite on this list. I’ve seriously watched it more times than I can keep track of. (My protagonist Voi from The Elementalist: Rise of Hara was somewhat inspired by Evelyn Carnahan, the loveable-but-klutzy Egyptologist and librarian heroine from this movie, after all.  So there you go.)

I don’t really celebrate holidays much anymore, but for those who do, I hope you have a Happy Holiday(s)!

Neo-Noir, Dark Themes & Fantasy

12 Nov

As I comb through my finished draft of The Elementalist: Rise of Hara (TEROH from here on out), reading it out loud for awkward sentence structures and flowing cadences, I’ve come to realize that my novel is surprisingly dark—surprising to me only because I never intentionally sat down and told myself, “Hey, I’m gonna write a dark fantasy novel!” All the same, it’s making me seriously consider whether my story is even a bit neo-noir.

It’s very much dieselpunk and fantasy, sure, but that doesn’t describe the tone. Not that a series of labels for a novel has to, per se, but if I want to give people a better idea of what they can expect from TEROH, then I wonder now if I should also be adding “neo-noir” to the mix somewhere. (Depending on what version of my blurb I use, I could see people interpreting the story as a light-hearted, swashbuckling type, which could be misleading. Especially if I use my shorter “under 200 words” version versus my slightly longer “under 300 words” one, the latter currently showing on my site.)

Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain why I suspect my novel may be neo-noir. Continue reading

What is Dieselpunk?

30 Oct

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ve probably heard me talk about something called dieselpunk before. (My WIP, after all, is a dieselpunk story.) I’ve even written an article about it, though that was a few years ago.

So what is dieselpunk, exactly?

Well, the other day I decided to make a video explaining what mean when I use the term dieselpunk.

What is Dieselpunk?

 

Though young, there is a growing community of enthusiasts who are positively gung-ho about this artistic phenomenon. (Just take a look at dieselpunks.org!) I think I may have a slightly broader outlook on the definition of this movement than others, but essentially, dieselpunk is both a sub-genre and aesthetic drawing inspiration from early 20th-century aesthetics, attitudes, ideas, technology, etc. that applies a more contemporary outlook using speculative and/or anachronistic elements. In the video, I explain some of the staples of dieselpunk and also share some examples of what it looks like in movies, books, video games and comics.

Novel Update

So. Technically, I finished the edits I was working on–that is, revisions to the plot, inconsistencies in details and characterization…that sort of thing. This is exciting, but I realized that while making these revisions, I also left the manuscript open to more obvious though minor errors like leaving out a word here or there or trying to cram too much into one sentence instead of splitting it into two.

In light of this, I decided I need to do a quick run-through of the manuscript and read it aloud to myself to help me find these kinds of blunders and correct them. It will make for less distractions during the beta reader process. I started this last week, and…well, it’s funny what you’ll catch using this method.

As much as I’d like to claim “I’m done!” with this novel, I think I owe this much to beta readers.

Also, since the holidays are coming up, now isn’t really a good time to be approaching people anyway saying, “Hey, can you read my 200,000-word novel in between parties and dinners with your friends and family sometime between Halloween and Christmas?” It’s better to make these quick fixes now and wait until after the New Year for beta reading, in my opinion.

Start the year off right!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ll check in again soon!

Dieselpunk, Fantasy & Fiction ‘Grammin’

24 May

Remember how I said I was thinking about starting an Instagram account related to my Element 7/WIP project?

Well, here it is! (I have my Instagram feed on the bottom of my sidebar here, as well.)

Basically, I’ll be posting about anything awesome that’s related to dieselpunk, fantasy novels and elemental magic as well as technology and fashion from the early 1900s.

Now, back to editing. (Hoping to get through another scene by the end of the night.)

Home Renos, Agent Carter & Editing Stuff

1 Feb

The last two weeks I was a slacker. Didn’t get any editing done, so yesterday I plopped myself into my desk chair and combed through a pretty fat chapter.

Cut it down by more than 1,600 words! It was a good day.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing renovations on a new townhome I bought back in November–nope, still haven’t moved in. It’s a matter of funds, which tend to trickle in over time. I hope to move in sometime during March, though. Until then, I work on what I can.

The past couple of weeks me and my dad have been working on switching out all the light fixtures in the townhome for new ones I picked out and purchased. Take a look:

Lights Mix 2-1

PART951421530676093952015011795143733

I really just wanted to update the whole place, and I think these light fixtures add a very modern-contemporary vibe.

As for the rest of the space, well, I’m very eclectic by nature. I like antiques and vintage and retro furniture and accessories, but I also like more contemporary things, as well. I think my home will be a true reflection of this. My Instagram kinda shows this, as well.

Here are some concept boards I put together, showing more or less how some of my rooms will look like:

My First Place - Bedroom (small) My First Place - Living Room (small)

I’ve changed my mind on a few of the pieces on these boards since I made them, but the overall concepts will still be pretty close to the original. Soon enough, I’m planning on buying these materials for my floors and countertops, as well:

Materials 2

It’s been fun, being my own client!

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching Marvel’s new TV show Agent Carter, which I’m actually enjoying quite a bit. It is a great example of dieselpunk, afterall. 😉 Hayley Atwell is as captivating as ever, and it’s been interesting exploring more of the Marvel universe. Maybe I’ll blog about it sometime. As for tonight, I’m going to work on editing another scene. Then it’s back to the weekly grind…

As for my WIP snippets, I’m not sure I’ll keep posting a bunch of those here, but if you’d still like to read some I’ll be participating in Dieselpunk.org’s8 Sentence Sunday” for the foreseeable future. 🙂

That’s all for now, folks!

8 Sentence Sunday #6: Business & Pirates

25 Jan

In this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” Voi and Paul, her business partner and one of her best friends, are contemplating the state of AeroTaxi, their air charter and touring venture. This is just after their only tour for the day falls through early on in the story. Business has been increasingly slow–and while Voi is inclined to remain optimistic, Paul sees things differently.

Paul has always been skeptical about government, big business and large organizations in general–to the point of becoming a mild conspiracy theorist. While he and Voi fly planes, Paul is suspicious that a recent airship heist scare, combined with the wild success of a particularly large airship company, is somehow negatively affecting their ability to conduct small business.

Here’s a look at how he sees their current situation as opposed to Voi’s viewpoint. (Aside: both Voi and Paul are from a country named Apexia, though Voi holds dual citizenship in Borellia.)


The Snippet

“One measly Borellian cargo ship—not Apexian, mind you—goes missing, and suddenly everyone thinks Haran pirates are back.”  He looked outside again.  “As for the rest of us with real problems, a hot-shot Borellian war hero practically shows up out of nowhere and opens his own airship company after the war; it does amazing.  A handful of naval mechanics who’ve been working the ship yards practically their entire lives do the same with Skyward Enterprise, and they don’t last more than a year against Neverri before he buys them out.

“A fucking monopoly is what that’s shaping up to be.”

Voi took off her leather gloves and stuffed them into one of her pockets, shrugging.  “So he’s successful.  That’s no crime, is it?”


What are your impressions of Paul?

Do you think there’s a chance his concerns are legitimate, or is Captain Neverri’s imminent “monopoly” over the airship industry (and aerial transportation in general, in Paul’s eyes) as innocent as it seems? Also, what can you make out about the role of pirates in recent history?

Granted, this is all based on a short series of snippets, so this is just for fun. 😉

8 Sentence Sunday #5: The Aethercraft

18 Jan

For this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” I wanted to share one of Voi’s big, exciting moments in my WIP. It’s probably the most “dieselpunk-y” of my snippets so far.

As a pilot, Voi gets to fly a very experimental plane known as the “aethercraft” that was designed by her newest employer, Captain Neverri. After the basic mechanics of this craft are explained to Voi while they stand in a hangar, the captain reveals it to her for the first time.

This is what she sees.

The Snippet

No one spoke as Voi drew near to examine the machine.  She found herself holding her breath in reverence; surely Colonel Snipes was correct in comparing it to one of Ramboit’s controversial abstract masterpieces.

Its polished metallic body was exceptionally streamlined and much flatter than that of an ordinary plane.  A gentle bulge ran along the length of its almost nonexistent fuselage, which was smoothly riveted to conjoin with its swept-back wings so as to seem comprised entirely of wings.  Here, within this bulge, was also a cockpit enclosed by a clear canopy—perhaps an acrylic construct, Voi guessed, knowing the captain’s penchant for innovation.

Propped up low on its landing gear, the aerocraft reminded Voi of a slick, thin manta ray—like the ones her mother used to take her to see at the Aquiriem du Habour Tuccila in Tryste as a girl.  So sinuously crafted were the wings that Voi was very much left with the striking impression of a work of art…if she dared venture that far in her opinion of a metal aerocraft.

Well, the captain certainly has an eye for aesthetics.

What do you think?

What kind of aerocraft does it look like Voi is getting ready to fly? Can you tell some things that might be different in Voi’s world as compared to our own? Also, is there anything new you can infer about Voi’s character–her attitudes, beliefs and such? (I feel like I’m writing a lesson plan or something, haha.)

8 Sentence Sunday #4: Introducing Captain Andre Neverri

11 Jan

Every writer has their favorite characters, and ideally you’d think it’d be the main protagonists in their stories. As much as I love Voi, I’m afraid I love one of her employers even more. (That’s gotta be some sort of writerly sin!)

Captain Andre Neverri

Ah, Captain Andre Neverri…where to begin…

Aeronautical engineer, airship navigator, former air guard captain, pirate hunter and war hero, entrepreneur, multi-millionaire, gentleman inventor, expert on aetheric mechanics, and knife-throwing enthusiast…

Well, what isn’t this man capable of, dammit!

Ronny hates him, Milia can’t stand him and even Voi has her doubts about the man. Though, at the end of the day, in the middle of a crisis, Captain Neverri is probably someone you want on your side. He does have a reputation, however, for being a queer lone bachelor who keeps a crazy wife locked up in the attic (or local institution, in his case)… Though, *ehem* I digress.

Prolific resume aside, he’s a bit of a headache, to be honest, though that’s just my opinion. I’ll let you be the judge.

Below is a snippet showing the first time both Voi and Milia meet Andre. They were walking into a room full of men who were supposed to be working. Everyone is somewhat oblivious to their surroundings, as they’re all engaged in various conversations and activities.

Enjoy!


The Snippet

Without warning, an object came soaring through the air.

Voi froze instinctively, though Milia dodged more quickly than Voi could process.  A blink of the eye later, she realized Milia was holding a combat knife in her hand, hilt clutched at eye level.

Male voices cried out at first in appraisal, apparently thinking the knife would hit the center of the target board pasted on the wall behind the ladies.  Their cheers, however, were cut short as Milia slowly directed her gaze towards them, seeking out the owner of the deadly projectile.

Every wide-eyed soul in the room turned to the lone man sitting at the drafting desk some distance away.

“Whoops!” he declared blithely, tossing his hands into the air.  “Looks like you walked right into our little game!”


What were your first impressions of Andre?

And was it just a little bit absurd that Milia caught a flying knife mid-air? (Hint: the answer should tell you that there’s a lot more to Milia beneath her diplomatic title of “special envoy.”)

8 Sentence Sunday #3: Introducing Ron Callahan

4 Jan

For this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday” over at Dieselpunks.org, I’d like to share a snippet with a different character: Ron Callahan.

Ron, usually referred to as “Ronny” throughout the story, first introduces himself to Voi as a social worker. Though, it isn’t long before Voi realizes he is an altogether different sort of government agent! (I’ve written about his character once before in my flash story, “Betrayal.”)

Ronny’s character is revealed a lot more slowly than Milia’s and Voi’s, I’ve realized, so I’m going to fast forward and share a snippet from further in, after Voi’s already had the chance to exchange some words with him. We don’t really get to see much of his personality here, more the nature of his relationship with Voi. It’s definitely one of the more complex relationships out of all my characters, I think. Very nebulous. Though, when I think about it, Ronny isn’t the most straightforward, easy-to-understand character to begin with.

Of course, there are reasons for this.

Anyway, at this point, Ronny has just visited Voi’s home and has caught her skipping doses of the medication she’s supposed to be taking to manage her condition, emelesia (summary here). In Voi’s world, it’s a serious thing when a social worker comes to check in on you. Emelesiacs live under fairly close government scrutiny and dread the day they’ll be sent to live in an insane asylum—as most are at a relatively young age.

Even though she’d never admit it, Voi is pretty darn scared that Ronny is here to take action on her noncompliance.

However, much to her surprise, Ronny instead starts asking Voi to describe what it’s like for her to go back on her meds after she’s been off of them for an extended period of time. Caught off-guard by his curiosity, she hesitantly begins to explain but then pauses. He asks her to elaborate.

He’s waiting patiently for her reply but is still sensing some hesitation from her. This is what happens next.

The Snippet

Suddenly, the warmth of his aura seemed to reach out to hers subtly—like a soothing brush of the hand.

Voi closed her eyes, embracing the foreign calmness of that moment.  Though, she soon sensed his energy pull away and reopened them.

He stood there with his arms folded.

After clearing her throat and licking her lips, she explained, “I meant…my pores, they close up.  I noticed my senses become duller, as well, as if…as if they’re being suppressed.”

Mr. Callahan drew his eyebrows together.  “Ever wonder what else it is they’re trying to suppress?”

What were your first impressions of Ronny’s character?

What do you suspect is the nature of the relationship he and Voi will share? Let me know in the comments!