Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Future Classics Antho is LIVE!

The members of the DFW Group Future Classics has just released a reprint and original short story anthology! Booyah!

Future Classics releases group anthology Tales From a Lone Star

Tales From a Lone Star: A Future Classics Anthology, Volume One is now available on Amazon for Kindle, and will be available at Smashwords and in print next week.

Featuring fourteen stories from members such as Nebula nominee Jake Kerr ("The Old Equations") and 2012 Writers of the Future winner William Ledbetter ("The Rings of Mars"), Tales From a Lone Star ranges from near future SF to a post-apocalyptic world run by zombies (or as Melanie likes to put it, "Aliens! Shapeshifters! Androids! Janitors with raptor DNA! We've got it all!").

Here's a list of the contents:

“Requiem in the Key of Prose” by Jake Kerr

“Teddy Bears and Tea Parties” by S. Boyd Taylor

“The Fowler’s Daughter” by Michelle Muenzler

“Last House, Lost House” by William Ledbetter

“The Ballad of Smokin’ Dad Harlan” by C.A. Rose

“Domalon-a-Ding-Dong” by Paul Lamarre

“Windows” by Gloria Oliver

“Le Gardien” by Melanie Fletcher

“A Distant Sound of Hammers” by S. Boyd Taylor

“The Tower” by Gloria Oliver

“They Gather in the Green” by Michelle Muenzler

“Worthy” by C.A. Rose

“A Touch of Ginger” by Melanie Fletcher

“Medic!” by William Ledbetter

So if you want to check out a handful of up and coming authors, this might be your chance! :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Movie Review - Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemina West, Robert Sheehan, Godfrey Gao, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner, Lena Headey, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Harry Van Gorkum, and more.

Directed by: Harald Zwart Screenplay by: Jessica Postigo Paquette Based on the Novel by: Cassandra Clare Cinematography by: Geir Hartly Andreassen Original Music by: Atli Örvarsson

Premise: While checking out at a club with her friend Simon, Clary sees a man murdered. But though it happened in plain sight, no one else there seems to have seen anything. She also keeps drawing a weird symbol that haunts her dreams. When she spots the man who murdered the youth at the bar again, she goes and confronts him. He tries to tell her she doesn't understand what she saw, but they get interrupted by Clary's mother's frantic phone calls telling her not to come back to the house. Unbeknownst to Clary, her whole world is about to be turned upside down. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Lily Collins did a wonderful job as Clary Fray. Jamie Campbell Bower made sparks fly between Clary and Jace. Robert Sheehan easily conveyed Simon's many facets and emotions as Clary's best friend. Jonathan Rhy Meyers made a commanding Valentine, with just the right glint of madness in his eyes.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The creature that gets blown up close to the beginning was disturbing enough when it morphed, but the group did even better work after it blew up. The juicy bits moving around on their own totally creeped me out (in a good way) and was made more intense by the wetness they imbued it with. Fantastic work!

The door to the institute as it went through its locking sequence looked great. The switch from seeing the old broken building to what was actually there was visually stunning. The portal was also spectacular.

I totally loved the snake whip. The scene where it was introduced worked beautifully.

3) Story/Plot - Thumbs Up: The start of the story is strong and pulls you in. Once things really get moving, however, a lot of stuff falls off to the side and is never pursued or questioned even though on some of these items the film forces the audience to notice them by bringing attention to them - for example Simon's vampire bite and his improved eyesight. Clary remarks on it, yet never asks the others about it, despite the fact it could be a very bad thing. Also a lot of backstory is skipped with things being stated without giving explanations. An extra fifteen minutes might have fixed this problem. This is a brand new world with new rules, but the audience is not given enough to understand it or even embrace it.

4) Stunts - Thumps Up: The fights in the kitchen at Clary's home were well done and filled with some nice combat surprises. While entertaining, the rest were pretty standard fare with some spark thrown around here and there. Solid work.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The Institute was fabulous. Wished we'd been able to see more of it. The library set up was everything one could hope for. I adored how they added a Kuksi statue to the film for the angel and the creation of the warriors. If you've never taken a close look at his work, I totally recommend it. It is fantastic!

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: For once, a heroine does a lot of fighting, running, etc, and it shows! It might not last long but at least they took the time to show it - she looked tired ad her hair limp -  well done. Wounds and bruises were consistent as well. The only bad choice I saw was in costuming by putting Clary in six inch heel boots and actually having her run in them when she'd never worn them before. She did take them off at one point, then they were back on in a second as they ran on. Not sure that making Valentine look like a Goth really suited the character, but that's just a personal preference.

Conclusion: The great chemistry between the actors does much to entertain. Lots of neat visuals to distract us from the fact they're skipping explanations or information. If you've read the books, there are some changes as they crunch up locations and incidents - so fans will find it satisfying in some ways and then not in others.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/28/13

One day closer to WORLDCON! Booyah!

New office area has a pretty cool outside area. Love the vines!

As the year progresses, it's getting closer to sky time again! Luckily I have a big open space (for now) where the office is. YES

Looking forward to the colors. Heh heh.

Surprise gift from the boss. It';s so cute. Love how the light reflected through it on the pic. 

New eatery at Stonebriar mall - Wasabi - conveyor belt sushi shop! 

A lot of the items are labeled too. So you know what it is.

Soba salad. They forgot to put any broth in it though. :( The plates are color coded to prices like in Japan. Can get pricy in a hurry though. Beware!) They also have 3 heated entrees for non-sushi peeps. Their inari and mochi were great~! The sushi itself, not so much. :( Neat experience if you've never done it though.

Does have the coolest stands.

Here's an overall view from upstairs. Neat little set up

New member of the family - kids named her Mystique. I told 'em she wasn't blue or scaly (Or super dark skinned as the original) but they stuck with it anyway. :P

Serenity barked to get her picture taken too. Not jealous or anything. Nuh uh. 

Hope to have pics from San Antonio and WorldCon for you next week. Eeeeee!
Will also get to share some news (and links) for an Anthology of reprints and new short stories by the peeps in my writing group - it's title is: TALES FROM A LONE STAR: A FUTURE CLASSICS ANTHOLOGY, VOLUME ONE
Should be fun!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mind Sieve 8/26/13

This week will most likely turn out to be INSANE! WorldCon is almost here. Eek!
I'm really, really hoping to at least catch a glimpse of Tanya Huff. Hee!

Most of you probably already know - Peter Capaldi will be he next Doctor. A quick article from iO9 by Charlie Jane Anders speculates on whether he will be the final reincarnation. Heh heh

The Book Thief Trailer 1 - bring the hankies! Looks adorable.

Pompeii Teaser Trailer - Look! It's John Snow! (From ice to fire! Heh)

+1 Trailer - super bizarre concept! 

The Bounty Killer Trailer - hah! Man I am finding some weird ones tonight. Hee!

How to Drive More to Your Blog Posts From Social Networks by Andy Crestodina at Social Media Examiner. Ooooo! Time for some testing. Heh heh.

Linked In Groups Get A Makeover: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner - all sorts of changes this week.

Google Fickleness: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Jami Gold. Some definitely useful info in here!

From Kristen Lamb - What is Writing "Voice"? Totally awesome post!

As always, a great lineup of writing resources from Gene Lempp for 8/24/13. Keep you busy for days! :)

Till Next Time!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Neverwinter 8/25/13

Morning all!

Cemetery section

Yes, the city has a HUGE cemetery and with sections. Why did they ever doubt a necromancer would want to play here? lol

Not sure how they got the creepy constant weather. Heh heh

All sorts of tombstones here

Green fire at a cemetery? Never good.

Did like the purple fire lamps though. :)

Necromancer thought it'd be fun to use the clerics here as converts - whether they liked it or not.

Ack, forgot the B button. Didn't want to miss the cool exit though

Giant green plume off in the distance - cannot be good

Stopped them in mid ritual. They pulled her soul out of her body while still alive. Nasty.

She has work for us to do.

Isn't that pretty? And it kind of glows too!

Till next time!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Movie Review - Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Brandon T Jackson, Jake Abel, Anthony Head, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, Connor Dunn, Paloma Kwiatkowski, and more.

Directed by: Thor Freudenthal Screenplay by: Marc Guggenheim Based on the Novel by: Rick Riordan Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson Original Music by: Andrew Lockington

Premise: An attack on the demigod haven brings Percy face to face with the Lightning Thief, Luke son of Hermes. Luke asks Percy to join him and rebel against the gods, the very ones who'd probably yet to tell him of  the prophecy. A prophecy which claims that Percy will be either the savior or destroyer of those around him. With these ominous words the race begins to see who will find the Golden Fleece and either use it to save the haven's keeper, Thalia, or release the elder god Cronos back into the world to have his revenge. (Rated PG)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Logan Lerman reprises his role as Poseidon's son, Percy Jackson. Logan did a great job conveying Percy's insecurities as the success of his first adventure starts feeling more like a fluke rather than an achievement. Leven Rambin was fun as the haughty and competitive Clarisse. Nathan Fillion was a riot as the god Hermes.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" is filled with some incredible visuals. The mechanical bull early in the film was fantastic. Hephaestus would have been proud. The giant mouth of the sea monster in the Bermuda Triangle was simple and at the same time incredibly impressive. The visuals from inside the monster were even better.

An unexpected treat was a Confederate ironclad steam warship and its crew of zombies. The ship looked great. We even got to see her in action. And wait until you see what they do with Cronos - great stuff!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Just like Jason and the Argonauts, Percy has many obstacles placed in his path in his attempts to reach the Golden Fleece. A lot of details in Percy's journey tie back to the original stories of Jason and his quests, which made for some nice parallels. Added to this are Percy's swinging emotions on his self worth, his seeming abandonment by his father, and more shockingly still, the discovery that he has a brother. So plenty there to keep the hero busy inside and out.

Several other themes also underscore the plot giving it more flavor - Annabeth's feelings with regards to cyclops, Tyson's outsider status with both humans and those of his race, and a couple of others.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: While the creatures were CGI, most of those being attacked by them weren't, which meant we got to see a lot of stunt action. The lines between reality and CGI become more blurred every year and well executed stunts just add that extra bit of realism to the illusion. Great job.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the gorgeous forests in British Columbia to Six Flags in New Orleans, the locations department picked wonderful and unusual spots for their scenes. The great choices were made even more powerful by the excellent sweeping cinematography.

Conclusion: "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" is a fun quest story with some added elements. Great CGI makes this world of demigods and ancient Greek lore come to life.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/21/13

It is WEDNESDAY!  Woot! (And less than 2 weeks to World Con - ACK!)

Polar Magic by Björn Billing at Marvellous color!

Aurora Revelation by Thomas Kast at - I'd thought green a rare color for auroras but no? 2 in the same week.

There's something strangely warming about this one. Mountaineer's Dream by Michael Kittell at - Make sure to check out his site. WOW!

Have fun!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mind Sieve 8/19/13

New week! New stuff! :)

300: Rise of an Empire Official International Trailer #1 - Ooo! Based on Frank Millers "Xerxes" so that gives me hope for the plot! Yeah!

C.O.G Official Trailer #1 - actually looks quite funny and cute!

Antboy Official Trailer #1 - this one should be adorable! 

The Monuments Men Official Trailer - I'm in! Looks like a fun one.

Philomena Official Trailer - Ooo has a lot of peeps I like. Looks like it will require hankies though.

Bad Milo! Official Red Band Trailer 1 - ROFL, it's such a bizarre premise, it might just work. lol.

16 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros by Cindy King at SocialMedia Examiner. Some decent ideas in this. Hmmm

Create a Personal Marketing and Promotional Plan by Louise Rose-Innes at Marketing For Romance Writers

Why Authors Need Other Authors by Suzanne van Rooyen at YATopia. It's definitely good to know we're not alone! :)

Gene Lempp lists a whole slew of resources again in his Writing Resources 17 August 2013 post. Go Gene!

A bit of fun at WHACK! Magazine - Interview with Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmore being asked questions normally only thrown at female authors. lol. Interview is by Lela Gwenn

Let's have some fun this week!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored 8/18/13

Morning! This one will be a quick this week. Have a time crunch. Wheee!

Flooded Zone

Wanted posters for the leader of the assassins. From what hubby tells me, he will be the character I play on some of the expansions.

The statue is of the empress. It's sad what's happened to this whole zone.

View back towards the palace.

Saw this then waited till it came by again to take a picture. Disturbing. If you look closely, you can see the wrapped corpses being tipped from the train down towards the water. *shiver*

Lots of the giant armored sentries here. The only way out of the zone is the electrified gateway down the train tracks. I've died several times here - been finding out things kind of like the hard way. lol.

Have an awesome Sunday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Movie Review - Elysium


Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, and more.

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp Written by: Neill Blomkamp Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch Original Music by: Ryan Amon

Premise: Living on a polluted and overpopulated Earth, Max always dreamed of going to Elysium. But when he takes a fatal dose of radiation during a work accident, finding a way to get to Elysium is the only way he might be able to save himself from an ugly, agonizing death. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Matt Damon did a great job as the disillusioned and dying anti-hero, Max. Jodie Foster's portrayal of Delacourt, the head of keeping Elysium secure, was chilling. Sharlto Copley was beautifully manic. It was a total treat to watch the cast interacting.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects team did some truly detailed work on the film. Elysium itself was definitely a work of art. There were also plenty of fun gadgets and robots to drool over. The healing beds were cool. And I totally fell in love with John Carlyle's personal transport.

The Cherry Blossom trees in the heart of Elysium with their petals blowing in the breeze were gorgeous. But aside from the symbolism they were meant to evoke, the placement seemed incredibly odd, since it was deep inside the station and not one of the 'people' areas.

Kruger's reconstruction scene was as awesome as it was unnerving.

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: On the story arc itself there was much to like. The fact Max was an anti-hero, and staunchly remained so for most of the film, was an usual direction and made the film more realistic and the ending more poignant as a result. There's also a silent moment where Delacourt truly realizes what is about to come to pass and her role in it all - how she was the one to bring her worst nightmare to life - and accepts responsibility in the only way left open to her.

Sadly, however, though the story itself worked very well, some of the science and world building around it, did not. While exoskeletons will give the wearer more strength and the ability to hold up more - Max's suit was missing a couple of vital pieces to allow him to do much of what he does. He uses his hand to bend a car's metal doorframe - but since he is using his bare hand, and not one in a hydraulic glove, his fingers would not have been able to exert the necessary pressure on the metal on their own. His feet have the same issue with regard to his kicks. While the exoskeleton would give him the power to exert that much force, his feet are not protected, so he would have broken one the first time he tried it.

The medical beds, while totally cool, could be found in every household in Elysium. This implied the technology was easy to mass produce. No reason was ever given as to why they could only be used in Elysium. (Like huge energy costs, or the need for super rare materials - though that would still be hard to believe as prevalent as the units seemed to be.) Since it was likely an Armadyne product, it made even less sense they wouldn't use it at their factories on Earth. Those in power might believe life was cheap, but educated/trained workers are hard to come by. Training a replacement would cost them more than just healing the injured party and putting them back to work. It would have also done wonders in cutting back the resentment from those stuck on Earth, able to only watch as Elysium drifted overhead with medical wonders that could have been used to heal their loved ones.

4) Stunts - Thumbs Up: Some good fights and stunts were sprinkled through the film. Most looked great as well, except when they descended to using the shaky cam. My husband took points off major points for that. Luckily, aside from one battle, they were sparing with the technique.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filmed at several locations, including Mexico City and Bear Creek Park in Surrey British Columbia, they found the perfect spots for conveying the subpar Earth living and the idyllic existence in Elysium. (This is also a sad thing, as people really do live in such impoverished places.) The spanning shots of the city, but more so the ones of Elysium, were stunning.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The makeup department did a spectacular job. Especially with Kruger's face and Max's head. For Kruger it was the ports and bits of tech he'd had embedded into his skin and seemed a part of him. Max's were obviously more of a 'hatchet job', which gave a nice subliminal contrast between the two men.

Conclusion: Great characters, good action scenes (except those spoiled by shaky cam), and cool visuals made "Elysium" quite entertaining. The bad science, bad world building, and shaky cam dragged it back from being a great film.

Rating: 3.75 out 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better for Matinee)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/14/13

We moved offices a week ago as stage 1 peeps. I overheard the office manage say something about possibly holding a photo contest once all stages of the move were complete. She specifically mentioned black and white photos. I thought, hey I can do that! And so I snapped a couple of color pics of the mostly empty space and fired up my old old copy of photo shop elements for some fun.

These are the results...

The original hallway color pic.

Here is the same pic with the Abstract mod. Almost like modern art.

This one is my boss' favorite. It's kind of creepy too. I used a Plastic mod. It's as if the office got shrink wrapped

This is the second color pic. The few windows in the space are covered by an ivy trellis. Really nice. But no windows for me. :P

Black and white version

With a Crystal mod. Had to increase the size as it was hard to see

This one is the Emboss mod. Had to tweak it to make it more prevalent.

This one doesn't look like it's been modified unless you enlarge it. It's the Mossaic mod. 

See you next time!
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