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Sleepy Hollow Review: Love Triangles + Warlock Time Out

ichitrina-in-trouble

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Oh, so now we’re starting to see something intriguing with Katrina. My last post about the Ichabod + Katrina ship (or, Ichitrina, as I like to call it) hit the nail on the head about the shallow Courtly Love formula of their relationship, and now it looks like 99 problems are coming their way.

The Weeping Lady, once a creepy but harmless ghost haunting a bridge, is now abducting and drowning women–specifically those to whom Ichabod is emotionally attached. Turns out the Weeping Lady is the vengeful spirit of Ichie’s ex-betrothed (Mary), who apparently never sailed for London like she was supposed to because…

She “tripped and fell,” according to Katrina.

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Katrina went and faked a letter to make Ichabod believe Mary had left the country when in fact she was lying at the bottom of a river. Before the demise of Mary’s spirit, she pointed an accusing finger at Katrina. Ichabod confronts her, throws out a laundry list of deceptions and questionable actions Katrina committed, and then the Horseman shows up and takes Katrina home.

Wow. The Horseman is just softening her up because she’s supposed to be a “Hell Shard,” though it’s unclear if he is privy to this or is acting out of genuine affection.

And then there’s the Hawley-Jenny-Abbie(?) possible love triangle. This episode had some triangles and triangles-within-triangles going on! We’ll see if Ichitrina survives this storm, and woah Jenny + Hawley at the end.

In the mean time, I want to see Henry back in the game instead of getting thrown into warlock time out by Moloch.

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I’m looking forward to the show exploring Katrina’s powers more, especially in opposition to Henry, a powerful warlock in his own right. Until next time!

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Sleepy Hollow Review: Surprises, Scoundrels, and Free Will

ichie-drives

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Ha! I loved this part. This is one of the fun things about having a fellow imported from 200 years ago into the here and now :)

So, now that Ichabod knows how to drive, let’s move on to my thoughts on this episode of Sleepy Hollow.

I’ll admit, at first the episode felt a little (just a little) ho-hum to me, but that suddenly turned around when the Pied Piper turned out to be a dual-wielding badass assassin. I love dual-wielding.

pied-piper-sleepy-hollowAnd he sold his soul to Moloch to get super-speed. Hope it was worth it, dude.

Team Witness is on their next case: find a missing girl who appears to have been abducted by the Pied Piper. But what connection could a kid have to a mysterious assassin that hadn’t been seen in (literally) centuries? Well, there’s a curse on the child and her family, and not only must Ichabod and Abbie circumvent the curse, they must also defeat the Pied Piper, who is not easy prey.

They stumble upon Hawley, our friendly neighborhood purveyor of occult items, and of course he plays the “I’m concerned about the kid” act before revealing that he is indeed a self-serving man, loyal to the highest bidder. But I’m still holding out hope that he’s got a good heart deep inside.

hawley-sleepy-hollowWelp, they confront Pied Piper, spirit the girl away, and then there’s…surprise!…a twist: the mom WANTED the girl gone because it was the only way to spare her other children from the curse, so they have to go round two with Pied Piper and lay the smackdown on him for good. Yay! Not so ho-hum anymore.

However, my only complaint would be Captain Irving and his connection to Henry (the Horseman of War):

war-is-comingThis frightening vision Irving has of being War’s tool rightly scares him. I think this, in addition to Henry’s powerful speech about the ex-captain’s family being exposed and unprotected, should have been Irving’s tipping point to signing the deal. I didn’t like that Irving unwittingly signed his soul over. Selling your soul is a huge thing (not that I would know from personal experience, mind you). So I would imagine it’s something that should be done with full knowledge and consent.

Irving could have questioned whether or not Team Witness would truly protect his wife and daughter. He could’ve been driven to side with Henry out of abject fear of remaining in a mental hospital. But tricking him into signing away his soul was a wth moment for me (and, if you want to get into the nitty gritty of it, not theologically accurate).

Other than that, I enjoyed the episode, loved the twists and turns, and I’m looking forward to the next episode.

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TV Interviews for Authors: Ten Things To Know

photo 2I love being able to work from home as an author. With a few key strokes I can connect with wonderful people on social media, engage my fans, and even join in on podcasts or Google Hangouts. But what about the awesome day when I am called to talk about my books on television? This happened recently, and I learned a few things. I thought I’d share my experience in the hopes that when your day comes, dear friend, you’ll take this into account.

photo 1When Ms. Jaleen Wedlow asked me to come down to Los Angeles City College’s TV studio to talk about my Gray Tower Trilogy and my latest venture, Creative Alchemy, I was excited–and anxious.

If you dropped in on me during any given day, you’d probably find me with my 9-month-old’s food partially in my hair, my toddler’s graham cracker crumbs on my tank top, and wrinkles in my yoga pants (for some odd reason I own a LOT of these). Could a busy, stressed out mom running on 5 hours of sleep really clean up and look polished for TV? Damn, and why did I have all that pizza last night? Ugh.

Despite these thoughts, being able to appear on television and discuss my books, with an audience of half a million viewers–well, I’d be a dummy to pass this up, right?

I’m glad I didn’t, because the interview went fantastic. I met some very intelligent and friendly people, and I hope to continue forging connections with the LACC community. So, on to my list of things you may want to do (or consider) when you find yourself having to go on television.

1. Arrive Early

You don’t want to make a bad impression (or miss your time slot) by arriving late, so always plan to make it there early (about 30 minutes early). When I arrived, I first had to find a parking spot. Luckily it only took a couple of minutes, but those of us who live in high traffic areas know the pain of sometimes having to take 10 minutes or more just to find parking. Also, the TV studio was located on campus, which meant I had to find the building and room it was located in–so that took 5-10 minutes. I met with my interviewer, Jaleen Wedlow, and we were able to semi-rehearse the interview and go over the talking points we wanted to cover. This prep time really helped me feel more relaxed, and I didn’t feel off-guard at all. Arriving early can afford you these opportunities which in the long run will help your interview feel more casual and easy-going.

2. Makeup, Baby!

I will not bore you with the woes of being a combination-skin girl, but I do want to remind you to take along powder or blotting tissues so you can take care of any shine bouncing off your forehead! My appointment was after 1 p.m. on a very warm day–thems fighting words to my T-zone. There wasn’t a makeup artist on set, and I totally forgot the aforementioned items (yikes!), but one of the ladies at the studio helped me out (thank you!). I wore a little lip balm, had managed earlier to line my eyes and used some mascara. Simple, but it did the trick. If you’re a guy who doesn’t wear makeup or powder, you can go with oil-absorbing tissues.

3. Stay Hydrated

There’s going to be a lot of talking. A lot. You’ll be talking to your interviewer, to the producer, etc. You’re going to get thirsty, your lips may get dry, and your voice may even crack a little. Don’t be afraid to bring along (or ask for) a bottle of water so you can stay hydrated. In fact, this will even help with your skin (see #2).

4. Relax

Easy to say, hard to do. I know. But if you’re too nervous or self-conscious, it will show in the interview. Just try to think of the interview as a casual talk (hopefully if you’ve followed #1, this will be easier to do), and you’ll be looking at your interviewer anyway and not directly at the cameras, so try not to focus too much on that aspect.

5. Be Prepared to Switch It Up

We had two takes of the interview, and some of the questions (and even the direction of the interview) morphed and changed. Don’t be stuck on Road A when the interview is fun and everyone’s interested in going down Road B. Sometimes what you plan or imagine in your head may not be what plays out, and that’s okay. The purpose of the interview may be to “talk about” your books, but viewers will react more to how you present yourself and what you say. So don’t be afraid to go with the flow, or laugh, or make a U-turn.

6. Bring Books and Goodies

photo 3In your excitement, don’t forget to bring your books! I brought along the entire paperback collection of the Gray Tower Trilogy. We set it on display at the table so that the cameraman could zoom in on them (yay!), and when I wanted or needed to pick up one of the books, they were right there to show and describe for my audience.

I also brought along bookmarks that advertised the trilogy and had a QR code leading to my YouTube book trailer (which in turn also had links to my blog, Amazon, etc.). Now that I look back, I would have also liked to have been able to give out business cards to a couple of people I met.

Sometimes (especially for us introverts) we don’t want to seem too pushy or salesy, but remember that YOU are being asked about your books, so bring material along that will help people understand what your books are about and where they can find them :)

7. Don’t be a Diva

The environment was friendly, humorous, and very warm. I fed off this positive energy and gave it in return. Whether you’re a beginner at this, or a pro, nobody likes a diva with an attitude. I shook every hand offered, talked to every one who was open to it, and when I’m done with this post, I’ll be sending out “thank you” notes to a couple of people I’ve met at the studio.

8. Build Relationships (or Network)

This wasn’t a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am experience for me. I want to come back. I want to be invited again. Networking or building relationships is of great importance. During Women’s History Month (March), I always dedicate some time to speaking about the real life female spies of WWII who inspired the creation of my heroine, Isabella. This would be something awesome to share in a future interview or even a speaking engagement at the college’s campus. Right?

9. Do A Little Overtime

Make sure you leave at least an hour or two open post-interview. When we wrapped up the TV recording, I continued talking and having a great time with my interviewer, as well as the producer. In fact, we ended up doing a behind-the-scenes secondary interview, and even talked about getting back together in the near future. Now how cool is that? Much better than, “So sorry, gotta go! I want to be out of here before rush hour.”

10. Have Fun!

I’m looking forward to when my interview airs. Hopefully I sound like a coherent human being. Ultimately though, what I’d like the audience to get from my interview is the amount of enthusiasm and fun I had. I’m passionate about my books, I have fun writing them, and I want to have fun sharing them.

Hopefully these tips have helped, and let me know if I missed anything!

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Time Travel is In: Masters of Time by Creative Alchemy

masters-of-time-announceI’ll probably blog some more about this in December, but one of my predictions for the upcoming New Year is time travel scifi and fantasy. There’s going to be more of it. Why? Well, there are a few popular scifi/fantasy books and TV shows that involve time travel or crossing time:

Doctor Who

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credit: Logan Fulford – flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepy Hollow

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Books now a TV series)

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Captain America (1940s super soldier now navigating his way in today’s world. Yeah, I know he was frozen and preserved, but he’s so cute!)

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Sliders (the Geek in me just had to throw this in for the heck of it. Remember this show?)

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This is my humble opinion, but people are going to yawn at their plate of dystopian and poke at it. It doesn’t mean there won’t be awesome dystopian books and film being made, and it doesn’t mean dystopian won’t be popular anymore. It just means people will want to see new and unique twists on some of the things they love, and when you’re hanging out in dystopia with societies that are draconian and are remnants of a used-to-be-great society, where else to go than hop into a time machine and re-visit the times that were epic and great? Or, imagine how the power to manipulate time could have influenced or shaped history? Or, how about explore a hopeful future?

This inspired me to get the ball rolling on Masters of Time: A Scifi & Fantasy Time Travel Anthology.

This short story anthology will be published by Creative Alchemy, Inc. (headed by yours truly), and we’ve got magnificent writers who are going to share with you some wondrous, dangerous, and addictive scifi & fantasy, all with a strong time travel theme. I’ll be giving you an update here or there as we progress, but I just wanted to let you all know because this is exciting!

I also wanted to know if you feel the same way. Do you see time travel coming more to the forefront?

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Sleepy Hollow (The Kindred): Monsters and Courtly Love

kindred1Yes, I’m a bit late in sharing my thoughts on “The Kindred” episode of Sleepy Hollow, but better late then never, right? :)

Recap

Abbie’s out of purgatory and Team Witness is back together again.

The demon Moloch is up to his scheming ways, and he berates Henry the Sin Eater (aka Jeremy) for mucking up the purgatory job and warns him not to fail again. The headless horseman (Abraham) holds Katrina hostage and taunts her with the fact that Ichabod sprung Abbie from purgatory with a haste that should leave her questioning his devotion to her. There’s a new sheriff in town (Reyes), Irving gets transferred to the psych ward (why didn’t he do that to begin with?) and Jenny went and got herself arrested again. Totally not her fault though–can’t a girl lug around a cache of weapons? Sigh.

As Abbie and Ichabod hash out their rescue plan for Katrina, our hero expresses his concerns over saving his bride and adequately working as a Witness–he thinks he can do both, even though there seems to be some tension there. Abbie and Ichabod definitely got an eyebrow raise from me when they decided their best plan of attack was to raise a Frankenstein-like monster to fight the horseman of death (and Henry’s war armor) while they sneak into his compound and rescue Katrina.

They go through all that trouble just to have Katrina refuse to escape. She assures them she’ll remain a spy at the horseman’s house. The Kindred (Frankenstein monster) sort of rode off, and Team Witness agrees that next time let’s NOT raise a zombie to fight our enemies.

the-kindred-sleepy-hollowAnd then Henry shows up and totally jacks Irving.

My Thoughts

The Kindred monster was an interesting idea, though I agree with Abbie and Ichabod that raising a being like that, especially when its loyalties and ability to obey are in question, probably isn’t the best recourse. Sure, going toe-to-toe with the horseman is not easy. In fact, so far it’s been “shoot and run, wait for sunlight” for our characters. Now, if they had gotten back Katrina as they’d originally planned (and Ichabod noted this), they would’ve had a powerful witch (Katrina) helping them.

Now let’s talk about the obvious Ichabbie vs. Ichatrina issue…

I like Ichabod and Abbie as friends, and even at this level they have great chemistry. I enjoy their banter, their trust in each other, and their affection. Sure, in the back of my mind, I think they would be cute as a couple, but we all know how it goes when the hero and heroine get romantically involved. It kills suspense and tension, and then things tend to revolve around their relationship and not the plot. AND, Ichabod’s married…and I’m sooooo Team Marriage. With that said, I’d LIKE to see a passionate, “I’ll fight the Apocalypse for you” love between Ichabod and Katrina, but why don’t I FEEL that way when I watch them together?

Could it be because we didn’t see as much of Katrina except in flashbacks and a few tenuous apparitions (even when she escapes purgatory, she’s kidnapped and separated from Ichabod again)? Could it be that I’m put off by the fact that he sort of stole her from his BFF?

Or, maybe this is a failure of Courtly Love.

Courtly Love is all about falling in love with that unattainable woman who the lover sets on a pedestal and would do anything for. The courtly lover will fight dragons, write love poems, and bring gifts to his beloved just to receive her acknowledgement. Sometimes he loves from afar, and sometimes he’s blessed with her reciprocation.

But the courtly lover does not marry his beloved.

Because in the world of Courtly Love, marriage is boring and the unattainable woman has now been attained. In fact, many classic stories of this nature end in death (Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Iseult, etc.)

Ichabod and Katrina’s love started off in this manner:

  • she was engaged to his best friend, thus unavailable/unattainable
  • the pendant necklace was a gift to her (he chose it, remember?), a token of his affection
  • he had to love her from afar (in a sense) because he couldn’t publicly be with her since she was engaged to Abraham.

And one being in a suspended state and the other in purgatory for a couple of centuries don’t help the relationship.

So how can this be fixed? I’m not sure. I would’ve liked to have seen more fiery interaction in those Ichabod-Katrina flashbacks. And by fiery, I don’t mean physical, I mean emotional and personal. Let her challenge him, wow him, teach him something about himself or the world that makes him in awe of her. Show them enjoying a moment of delicious banter, or Katrina gazing in admiration of him as they crouch in the woods amidst an abolitionist mission together.

Am I right? Wrong? Over-analyzing?

I’ll be tuning in next week though. Dang, Irving, why did you have to sign that document???

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Book Review: Blue Dawn (Scavenger 2) by @timothycward

blue-dawn-scavengerTitle and Author

Blue Dawn (Scavenger, #2) by Timothy Ward

Genre

Sci-fi

Book Description

Hugh Howey’s novel, SAND, introduced us to a future America covered in sand and the terrorists who will stop at nothing to unearth the fabled city of Danvar.

**Now planned into a five part epic. Part two, Blue Dawn, to be released soon.**

“Scavenger” centers on the story of Divemaster Rush, a bereaved father and estranged husband who is offered a job he can’t refuse. Rush can either harden his heart and survive or risk his life for what already seems lost.

“Scavenger” can be read without having read SAND. Written and sold with permission from Hugh Howey.

My Thoughts

Today Tim Ward releases part two of his Scavenger novelette series. BLUE DAWN picks up where Red Sands left off (see my review of book #1), and the stakes are raised higher and the danger becomes even more palpable.

Rush has just recovered his identity. He’s no longer the estranged husband who spends his days cleaning up a brothel, but a now fighter willing to go any length to save his wife. Not only does he want to set things right, but he also wants to deal justice to the cold-hearted murderer who forced him into his circumstances.

I cringed when Carroll confronted Rush about the death of her loved ones, because it was so emotional and raw. Though you’re rooting for Rush,  you also want him to own up to what he did, and for him to fix it.

As we see tender moments between Rush and Star, and the friendships he cultivates, we feel his goal is just around the corner. But then it wouldn’t be interesting if Rush got what he wanted so easily, right? And there, I think Mr. Ward weaves in opposing forces that will test Rush and show us what he’s made of.

This book ends on a cliffhanger, which I know some people hate in general, but I LOVE.

Alesha’s Rating 5.0 out of 5.0

Find Blue Dawn @Amazon

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Visit Tim’s website

Follow Tim on Twitter

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#BreakTheCode fun fantasy giveaway + win $100

playthegameCreative Alchemy is sponsoring this adorable (and very fun) giveaway game in celebration of Dark Rift and Circadian Circle hitting Amazon’s Top 100 best sellers list in historical fantasy.

Wohoo! :)

I couldn’t have done this without YOU. I am grateful for all those who’ve read, reviewed, shared, and talked about the Gray Tower Trilogy. I’ve also been blessed by amazing author-friends and mentors, and each day I want to continue improving both as a person and a writer.

If you haven’t already, please visit the #BreakTheCode game at the link below. Whether you just want to browse, play, or skip to the entry, we’d love to see you over there!

 

Fantasy Giveaway: Break The Code

 

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season One

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D + Last Call For Swag

agentcarterYes! I finally got to settle down (it’s been a busy week) and watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on Hulu. I’m very excited that it’s back, especially after the huge upheaval from last season (and then there’s the movie tie-in).

The Season 2 premiere did not disappoint, and I’m looking forward to the day (you know it’s coming) when Ward gets out of that cage.

And of course, I loved seeing the Agent Carter flashback at the beginning; I wished there could’ve been more. I will definitely be there when Agent Carter’s TV series kicks off (next year?). It looks like the premise of her show will be about her going on covert missions for SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) while slipping out of the confines of her “day job” as an office administrator (she’s still in the 1940s).

It’s not too far off from what several female spies did during and after the war. They would use the cover of clerk or administrator while actually being a full-fledged spy for the government. When you have the chance, check out this super fun post I did about a couple of real life women who spied for the Allies–Don’t Call us Girls: The Badass Female Spies of WWII.

If Peggy Carter were real, I would certainly add her to the list!

Which brings me to…

My supernatural spy thriller, The Tower’s Alchemist, has a similar feel to Agent Carter (except with magic, Nazi warlocks, and vampires). It’s currently free to download at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. While you’re at it, pick up books 2 (Dark Rift) and 3 (Circadian Circle) for only 0.99¢ each before they go back to $3.99!

There are only a couple of days left to enter my huge giveaway. I’m talking sleek iPhone cases, jewelry, Amazon gift cards, and signed paperbacks. Here’s the rafflecopter. Make sure you enter the giveaway before the deadline!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sleepy Hollow is Back! Review by A #Sleepyhead

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Rejoice, sleepyheads!

*Warning, a few spoilers below*

 

 

 

I’m thrilled to see the return of Sleepy Hollow, and the start of its second season is heartfelt, entertaining, and leaves me wanting more. I can’t get enough of the interesting alternate take on historical figures and events (Ben Franklin! Ha!), and how this epic war between light and darkness is being waged and woven into the fabric of the birth of our nation.

Perfect mash-up, right?

Seeing Ichabbie together again reminded me of how strong their friendship is and how much they care for each other. Jenny is still just as awesome as ever, and Henry and the headless Horseman make formidable foes.

If I had to offer up a critique, it would be how Moloch’s underlings make for more interesting and dangerous characters than the demon-in-charge himself. Okay, yes he gave Henry that scary soul-control armor at the end, but other than that it seemed Moloch was content with riding around Purgatory and not noticing Abby was twenty feet away from him.

Was that the case? Or do I need to call it a night and go to bed?

Or perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions and need to be patient. It seems Moloch and his gotta-get-out-of-purgatory antics will be sticking around for a while. Oh, let it be good, because I do love so many other things about the show.

Like this:

tumblr_nccdiyw0AX1qb4op4o2_250This:

tumblr_ncdkj7GvZN1s5b5eso1_250And this…

tumblr_ncd4yruHId1rj9gfno4_250*Awwww!* Purgatory Cupcake.

 

Check out this hilarious TV.Com Season 1 Finale Recap

Follow Orlando Jones (Capt. Irving) on Twitter (You’re missing out if you don’t do this!)

Until next time!

AltorsCover-featured

Book Review: Altors by @naspeters

AltorsCoverBook Title & Genre

Altors (Zinc Chronicles, #1) by Nas Peters, Fantasy/YA Fantasy

Book Description

An underground war is taking place, kept hidden from the public eye by those called the Altors and Regius. Although unaware at first of what their involvement brings to the people of Zinc, Calycanthus close proximity to the Altors allows him to uncover parts of the truth, creating an important turning point that may just be the kick the Altors need to beat the Regius. But it is Solenum who will find the possible key that can lead to a peaceful future.

Is Galax an exception to the rule that says all Regius are cruel? Will Solenum be able to show him that he may just be the example everyone needs in order to end the hidden turmoil? Meanwhile, can Calycanthus figure out the intentions of the mysterious man named Datura?

New friendships are made and love is found as the two best friends work hard on finding their way back to one another throughout a world they’d always lived in, but was a mystery up until now

My Thoughts

Let me say that Nas Peters has the ability to draw you in with a unique world and endearing characters who forge strong bonds. One of the things I’ve always loved about fantasy is the wonder of a world filled with magic and what people chose to do with it. Will someone choose to help or to harm? And so we’re presented with an underground war that’s being waged between the Altors and the Regius.

Cal and Sol are two friends who play a role in this, especially after the death of their guardian. Their bonds will be tested by conflict and uncovering secrets. I also enjoyed Galax, and how there was more dimension to him (a Regius) that perhaps others thought was not possible.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this is definitely a book to pick up! And did I mention that Ms. Nas Peters is an illustrator as well? Amazing artwork.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Find Altors @Amazon

Visit Nas’s Blog

Follow Nas on Twitter