Sunday, February 16, 2020

Virtual Tourist - Assassin's Creed - Black Flag 2/16/20

Morning, all!

I haven't done one of these in a while. Between YE chaos, added work chaos, and the coming release chaos, somethings I've had to let slide. (Though it's over a year since the gall bladder surgery, I'm still not back to normal.) :(\

Anyway! Here goes!

Assassin's Creed - Black Flag

This is the first time I've tried playing one of the games in the franchise since the first one. Back then, I had to stop because even though I could close my eyes during synchronization, the baud rate in the white room of the prisoner in modern times was so low that even though nothing was moving, it gave me horrible motion sickness.

I am happy to say that this addition to the franchise does not have the same problem. I can even enjoy the beauty of the synchronizations as they got slowed down a bit. (Just don't have Edward drink alcohol. Talk about side effects. I won't do that again!) Lol.

The vistas are gorgeous, and the longer you play, the more options of stuff to do or equipment you can use open up. But some of the mechanics are clunky or get in the way. A decent tutorial on combat would have been nice - I still have trouble. :P (The same goes for ship combat!) But overall, hubby and I are enjoying it.

Our time vessel is Edward Kenway - a man desperate to gain fame and fortune. He wants to prove to his estranged wife and her family that he did not make the wrong decision by striking out on his own. Now that being a privateer has been outlawed, he's going to become an outright pirate.

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

Eventual intro! Pictured here is the Port of Havana.

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

Edward and a mysterious man have survived the destruction of the ship they were on. Things turn a little weird here. The strange man is injured, and he asks Edward to help him get to Havana. The mysterious man has clothing fitting the Assassins Creed members, but seemingly he is a traitor and is working with the Templars. Somehow these two end up not coming to an understanding, and the wounded man speeds off like a gazelle, and Edward has to catch him. (I did say it got weird.)

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

From what I understand, the game has no way to remove the UI for pics. A pity, because as you can see, the visuals are lovely. :)

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

After catching up to the assassin, Edward takes his coat, message, and goods for himself. (No hidden blades yet, so cutlasses are for us arrh!) I loved the rainbow with the waterfall!

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

Edward does a lot of swimming. In a heavy coat to boot! :P Even his crew will make fun of him for it. Lol. There's also an achievement. :P

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag - Havana

Havana without the logo. So nice!

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

The ever-present hawk leads us to the synchronization spot. Havana has multiple of these as it is a large city. 

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

There are cats, dogs, and parrots you can pet in the game! There's even an achievement for petting dogs. Too cute!

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

While some items are repetitive in their look, there's plenty of excellent detail. Shafts of soft light from small fortress windows - how nice!

Assassins Creed - BlackFlag

Here is a lovely view of several ships leaving the harbor. Look at the gorgeous water! Isn't it amazing?

I hope you have a great week!

Obligatory Promo Section!

Yep, I gotta have this since a book is pending release. I am hoping to share the cover soon!

Don't forget the Kindle and Nook versions are currently on pre-order at a discounted price.

You can find sample chapters here.

Don't forget the free ebooks to help celebrate the release and to thank you for your help in getting the word out, doing reviews, whatever you feel like - Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles and Inner Demons.

Thanks again!!!!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Alien Redemption on Pre-Order for Kindle and Nook!

Greetings, all!

Turbic Station - Alien Redemption

I'm reaching out to let you know that Alien Redemption is up for pre-order on Kindle and Nook!

The release date is 2/28/20.

Not only that, but both are currently discounted to make the offer even more enticing!
Just click on the icons below to see the reduced pre-order price. :)

Kindle - Amazon

Sample chapters are available as well, so you can get a taste of what to expect. :) Click here.

The Holiday - Alien Redemption

Don't forget that Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles and Inner Demons are currently free at Smashwords to celebrate the release of Alien Redemption! Just click on the cover below to get there. :)

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Inner Demons

It would be awesome if you would leave reviews, inform others, or forward the blog post around. I would appreciate your help!


Thanks so much! :)

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Mini Movie Reviews 2/9/20

Morning!

Yep, I fell off the face off the earth for a while again. Being in the accounting field, the months of Dec to late Feb usually mean a ton more work than usual. Year-End catch up and clean up, a more-in-depth audit, more reports. Ugh. It hasn't helped that we lost a person in our department and that they had a small layoff last week. Chaos as usual! Whee!

Mini Movie Reviews!

Birds Of Prey and the Emancipation of Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey (and the Emancipation of Harley Quinn) - This was a BLAST! The ads were very misleading in several aspects. Since Margot Robbie was the best thing about the Suicide Squad film, I was both excited and reticent about a movie where the character Harley was the lead. I know there's a lot of stuff out there saying this is a man-bashing film, which isn't strictly wrong, but it's about so much more than that. It is about dependent women, becoming independent. My hubby thought this movie was as fun as I did -- tons of explosions, fights, comical moments. I'd gone to see it thinking it might be a dud, and came out knowing it was one of the most fun movies I'd seen in a while. They did so many fun things. They even did a super cute, animated origin recap for Harley, which is pretty close to canon. For purists, a lot of the characters portrayed will not be precisely what they should be, but there is enough there to get you through. Ewan McGregor was a blast as Black Mask. Harley's egg sandwich sequence was a riot.

It's a popcorn film. It's not meant to be taken too seriously or looked at too closely - though I felt they covered their bases very well.  Not for kids, though. Adult subject matter/violence. But such a ride! (I had not seen rollerskates combat in a long time. Good call!)

Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admissions)

Weathering With You

Weathering With You - Loved this film. Take some tissues with you! Both hubby and I needed them for this one. Lol. It is a neat mixture of paranormal, ancient legends, and modern times.  It has super cool visuals and is quite emotional. The film had a really neat premise. We enjoyed it a lot!

Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

1917

1917 - Unfortunately, though I had been desperately wanting to see this movie, I can give no review. We had to leave after twenty minutes. It wasn't the horror of trench warfare that made us go, but their choice of camera work. I hadn't realized it during the previews, but this movie got filmed with shakycam. :( So I got motion sick watching it. Once they were out of the trenches, it was more than I could take. Waaaahhh! Curse you, shakycam!


Dollittle

Dolittle - this was a cute film -- lots of lovely moments for the kids with the animals. Several of the animals had definite personalities, though not all of them were highlighted or had enough screen time to get to know them. The voice and accent they had Robert Downey Jr. use was grating. It did not sound like him at all. The special effects, especially the animals, were excellent. But for some reason, the movie just went along; it had no real fire to it. So while worth seeing, it is not something you should rush to do.

Rating: 3.25 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Matinee) 

Happy viewing!

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Q1 2020 Alien Redemption Release is Coming!

Alien Redemption - Alien World

Alien Redemption is almost here!

Yep, better late than never. :P End of February is the current target date. *fingerscrossed*

Sample chapters are up! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3. Give them a look!

Zumaya Publications has assigned the cover to Charles Bernard! YES! Love, love, love his work!
I am super looking forward to seeing what he does for the cover. Squee!

I've been fortunate enough to have him assigned to do several other covers of mine. Check out his fabulous talent!

Cross-eyed Dragon TroublesInner DemonsIn the Service of Samurai 

Awesome, right?

I hope to do a cover reveal soon! Also, to celebrate the impending release of my first science fiction novel, the reprints for Inner Demons and Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles ebook versions are FREE through the end of March 2020!

All I ask is for help spreading the word about Alien Redemption. If you can, I would love to see reviews/tweets/pics/FB posts on what you thought about the two free books or the upcoming release of the new novel. Whatever you can do would be fabulous!

Without your help, I am nothing. So thank you in advance!

The Free Books are at Smashwords - available in ePub, Mobi, lbr, PDB, and their online reader. (Let's celebrate!)

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles at Smashwords

Inner Demons at Smashwords

Thank you!!!

Alien Redemption - Rocket Punch bar

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Star Wars - My 42 Year Journey

Right before Christmas, we saw the end of a long journey, the nine movie spanning vision from George Lucas for his creation - Star Wars.

I jumped on this train at 13 years old back in 1977, and after 42 years, we've finally reached the end. (Of the main original concept, anyway!) :P

It's mind boggling, the way this universe and these characters have become so meaningful to so many of us over the years. Let's not forget the music, either, as I believe John Williams is a BIG part of Star Wars' success. Yes, not all of the films have been good, not all of it has been consistent, yet the plan (whether in its original form or not) has come to pass. It's a testament of how much it has affected so many, that it survived long enough to be completed. Science Fiction and Fantasy weren't considered as worthwhile in the movie biz back then. Star Wars opened the way for change.

Star Wars IV

1977 - Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope - The beginning! Super thrilling, exciting, a look at what Science Fiction could be. Thanks to John Williams, a deep love of background music began for me. It showed music could bring a new dimension to films that were as important as the special effects, the actors, the story.  Peter Cushing from the Hammer Films! (Awesome!)


Star Wars V The Empire Strikes Back

1980 - Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back - This one is my all time favorite. We learned more about the Force and the Jedi. Leia and Han Solo fight against the attraction they feel for each other despite their very different backgrounds. We discover Luke's relationship with Darth Vader. (They published the book before the movie release. I still remember sitting at the couch reading the novelization and the utter shock at the revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's father!) I waited in line for hours on opening day to get to see it! Squee! (Super Awesome!)

Star Wars VI Return of the Jedi

1983 -  Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi - The culmination of the trilogy (already the news of Lucas' vision for 9 films, 3 set before and 3 set after had everyone excited - even if the chances of them being made was slim.) Ewoks were introduced (So cute!), more awesome music by John Williams, Han and Leia reunited. The Emperor! Hardship and Victory!  (Awesome!)

Then we hit the long gap of waiting... Would we ever see the 6 films promised? (There were a lot of other Star Wars things in between - books, comic books, the never to be spoken of Ewok Christmas Special, games, and more. But the films...where were the films?!)

Star Wars I The Phantom Menace

1999 - Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace - They were back! Yes! More John Williams music, woot! Awesome special effects, but something was lost, the realistic, gritty part so successful in the first three films had disappeared, giving way to CGI. The reinvention of the Force and the introduction of Midiclorians. Trying to turn the mystic into science - even though this is a prequel! What? But who cared, Star Wars was BACK! YAY!  Young Obi-Wan - woot! (And the introduction of Jar Jar Binks - I like him in this film, but so many people did not. Oh, the hate. Don't give in to the Dark Side!) (Pretty Good! Starwars is BACK!!!!!)

Star Wars II Attack of the Clones

2002 - Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones - Build up, setting more things in place to bring us toward the future we learned of in Episodes IV to VI. Anakin and Padme, more Obi-Wan. Christopher Lee - squee! But hold on, who the heck thought putting Jar Jar into politics and have him help mold policy was a good idea? Nice guy, but 'hello?' are you all nuts? (Decently Good?)

Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith

2005 - Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith - WTF? You changed the fighting style after 5 previous films? WTF? Instead of the most glorious Anakin vs. Obi-wan battle we get "but I hold the higher ground?" WTF? You have the Force, higher ground means nothing! Yoda gets turned into Dragonball's Goku? (He even does the Kamehameha!) WTF? Unequivocally the WORST Star Wars film - EVER! I almost went to the Dark Side due to this one. I even rewatched it a few years later to make sure of the flaws - made me want to strike them down even harder! Ugh! I could rant on this one for hours, HOURS! (Though the lizard mount was super cool!) I waited 28 years for this? Bleah! (Horribly bad!)

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

2015 - Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens - Disney brought the franchise! They went back to having more physical objects, so the feel of the originals was back. Disney has money, Disney will pay someone to make a super awesome script and bring Star Wars back with a BANG! WRONG! :( Instead, someone mushed together pieces of the first three films somehow thinking that was the recipe needed for success. Think again! Luke was back, Leia was back, Han Solo was back - yay! But wait, Han reverted to a five year old. Kylo Ren is godlike in his abilities. He can bend light! Mess with time! What? (Plus, there's no way Darth Vader's helmet survived! Not the way that ship blew. Oh the humanity!) Plus the hints about Rey's parents? Totally ignored in the later films! Sigh. Oh, and a trash worker stormtrooper is part of an elite commando unit? Right... (Mostly garbage, but still better than Episode III!)

Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi

2017 - Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi - It was Star Wars so I went, but expectations were low. So in some aspects, I was pleasantly surprised, others not as much. Kylo Ren still way overpowered. Hints from Episode VII were totally discarded as if they'd never been. Disney is still not using their might to find a decent scriptwriter (that or there were too many hands in the pot). (Mostly Decent?)

Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker

2019 - Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker - Still no decent script, and loads of backpedaling, which made for a bigger mess. Tons of nostalgic moments. Several stupid ones. (If Rey can jump high enough to go over a super tie fighter, she should be able to leap around a shipwreck instead of tedious climbing it.) Rey is now showing godlike powers. Ugh. (How was there even a wreck? The whole facility exploded from the core!) (Oh and Force skills are NOT hereditary! Ugh.) A super secret Sith map - so make a dagger hilt in the shape of the wreck that is only about twenty years old but the map and knife are ancient? And the wreck has power? What? Oh and out of nowhere, let's make Leia a MASTER JEDI in her youth! Yeah, like she'd have the time to become a MASTER? Some training sure, but a MASTER? So glad I did not have high expectations. Still, I got teary eyed, nostalgic, pumped by the music. I have tried my best not to look at it too closely or who knows what will happen. Heh heh. I will not give in.  (Super nostalgic, but not good.)

The nine film journey is over. Huzzah!

Even with the crap, it is still an amazing achievement. I'm glad I survived in the world long enough to see it through. Though not all of those involved got to get to the finish.

I love the Star Wars universe, so, yeah, I'll keep watching. I am sure this cash cow will be milked for years to come. Who knows, eventually the Force might be with us, and some awesome films will come our way again. :P


There's always hope. May the Force be with you, always.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Mini Movie Reviews 12/15/19

Morning!

This time of year is always bonkers for me. The weather, too, especially as it swings from cold to warm and back again. Then there's squeezing in the holidays while trying to juggle all the year-end accounting projects before the close in January. Since the company is now public again, the amount of requirements for auditors and reporting goes way up!

I hope you guys are having a better time of it! :P

Mini Movie Reviews

Knives Out

Knives Out - This film was a lot more fun than I expected. It's a classic Agatha Christie setup, but then it takes a left turn in an unexpected direction. Secrets, machinations, lies, a ton of details pulling every which way. Even when you think you know what happened, it turns out it wasn't that way at all. Great performances, good twists and turns. There was something odd on the way close-ups were filmed, which made the actors and actresses look off, but this could have been intentional.

Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level - Hubby had been chomping at the bit to see this one. :P They did a great job showing some of the reasons Spencer chose to try to fix the game and going back inside. Some new people and characters get introduced as Jumanji gets thrown into a bigger crisis than before. The actors doing the avatars get to reinvent themselves as the people behind them have changed. They did such a great job! Awkwafina did a great Granpa Eddie. ROFL.

Some new skills and new weaknesses. The prehistoric ostriches were super cool and scary. Lol.  One extra bit ties the end of the film back to giving homage to the original Jumanji as well as a possible leading to another film! Favorite quote: "You are the worst Bravestone ever!" :P 

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)



Have a great week!

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Virtual Tourist - Yakuza 0 12/1/19

Mini Movie Reviews

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 - there was a lot to love about this sequel. I adored that we got to see how the family was before the scare, which made the parents separate the two girls. They also worked in the lesson from the first film into the second one, which made for a nice progression. The animation was great, and we have new songs to sing. Lol. I enjoyed it a lot! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Ford vs. Ferrari

Ford vs. Ferrari - Matt Damon and Christian Bale are fab in this film. The rapport between the two men and the difficulties they face came across as natural and with depth. From the quick research I did, this is mostly accurate, with the usual license taken by Hollywood to ramp up the excitement and drama. The one bit I do wish they'd pointed out better is how Ken Miles would have won the European trifecta of racing if he'd not been shafted at Le Mans. He would have been the first man to ever win all three. So sad. Good story, great cinematography, excellent acting, cool racing stunts. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 - New town

The game switches characters and cities. 1980's fictional Okinawa!

Yakuza 0 - Crab Sign

See that giant crab sign? They have those for real! The details are amazing.

Yakuza 0 - first view of The Grand

Side street view of the cabaret club called The Grand. This is where we will meet Majima.

Yakuza 0 - The Grand front entrance

The front entrance to The Grand. Super glitzy!

Yakuza 0 - Inside The Grand

They have a full-on band! Though it is the '80s, this does take you back to the big clubs from the '40s.

Yakuza 0 - clientele at The Grand

A shot of the clientele at The Grand.

Yakuza 0 - it's Christmas!

Spotted some nice decorations for Christmas! That's Majima. Did I not take a pic of him? Eek!

Yakuza 0 - Don Quixote

Your super general type store - Don Quixote! They have all sorts of stuff for sale. :P

Yakuza 0 - Shrine

This is shrine tucked away in some narrow streets close to Club Sunshine. The same weird priest with the clown face is here. A place to trade your CP points for goodies and advantages.

Yakuza 0 - ritzie club interior

This town is chuck full of ritzy clubs. Everyone has money to burn! :P


I keep trying to get myself back on to a regular schedule with posts, but life is all over the place. I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving!
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