The Orville, Con Man, and First Impressions in Comedy

photo by P.J. Schnyder

When it comes to comedy, I like to think I know what I’m doing. MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana, amidst its swashbuckling action and romance, indulged in some well-needed comedic scenes. The Case of the Singing Sword is my homage to mystery noir and epic fantasy, and takes great joy poking fun at both. The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences offers up intrigue, twisted tales, and cliffhanging moments. There are also moments of whimsy that steampunk allows.

And before my life in between a book cover, I was treading the boards bringing to life comedy from Christopher Durang and William Shakespeare and making laughs up as I went with the good people at ComedySportz.

So yeah, I know a thing or two about comedy.

This is why I was a little disappointed and somewhat troubled by the early reviews of The Orville, a new science fiction comedy from Seth McFarlane. When the trailer dropped, the hype was the The Orville looked more like Star Trek than Star Trek’s upcoming Discovery. Continue reading

4 Lessons from Wonder Woman for Writers

 

wonder-woman-2017-5Last weekend, I — as many of my fellow nerds, geeks, and moviegoers also did around the world — made Wonder Woman a record-breaking film. Single-handedly, the Amazonian Princess of Themyscira pulled off a true wonder: an incredible cinematic experience from DC Studios. Guess it really does take a woman to do the job of two men.

But I digress.

Let’s just address the 800-pound Doomsday in the room: Batman V. Superman (where Gal Gadot’s Diana was unveiled) was nothing short of a red hot mess. It made its money back, sure, but so did Star Wars: Episode One, Two, and Three, so please, don’t use that as a dog in this hunt. On account of BVS’ reception, a lot was riding on Wonder Woman. A lot. Perhaps the future of DC’s cinematic franchise.

I’ve had a week to process it and some things have cemented for me about this film: Continue reading

#WednesdayWisdom — A Second Opinion

So you hear me say it all the time in podcasts. “Enjoy the ride.” I picked up this catch phrase from frequent trips to King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens. I’m a roller coaster guy, you see. As life is a lot like a roller coaster, Enjoy the ride…” strikes me as a good mantra to practice.

But don’t take just my word for it…

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Wise words from Captain Jack Sparrow.

Make it a good day, everybody.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: A Spoiler-Free Review

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If you are living under a rock, you might have missed the big release at the box office this weekend. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 has now landed at your local movie theatre, and after its (come on, let’s be honest…you thought it was gonna suck…) stunning sleeper performance, the Marvel Studios’ Underdog of Misfits had one incredible bar to clear. The original took the hardest of comic book nerds by surprise while casual fans of Marvel, convinced this would be the first MCU dud, came out pleasantly surprised and downloading Awesome Mix, Volume One on their smartphones before getting home from the theatre.

Now, the Guardians are back.

So where do I begin? Or more to the point, where do I begin and not spoil the insane amount of fun that is happening in GotG, Vol. 2? There is a LOT to be had, but a good amount of this fun are in the twists, turns, and surprises GotG, Vol. 2 packs within its running time. I think I can give an opinion — a sincere, analytical opinion — without giving anything away, but if I do inadvertently spoil anything for you, I apologize.

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Okay, let’s do this… Continue reading

COVER REVEAL: Unleash by Lauren B. Harris

laurenHoly Hannah in a Helicopter, how did it become April already?

So after attempting to get myself back on track with blogging, quite a few things happened (and yeah, I’m planning to follow up on the blog about the news, news that you know about if you’re listening to The Shared Desk) and I’ve got a few ideas for blogposts bouncing around in my head, but here we are in April.

Back to it, right?

I’m getting back on the blogging horse with a shout out to the lovely lady off to the left — Lauren B. Harris.

“Hold up,” you may ask, “is that Lauren Harris as in she who wrote for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences?”

Or you might asking, “Hold up, is that Lauren Harris as in she who offers her vocal talents on Audible.com?”

Or maybe you ask “Hold up, is that Lauren Harris as in Scribe who appears on The Shared Desk?”

To which I say, “Yes, that Lauren Harris.Multi-talented, and even a cover model in her own right. Lauren is one of those super-creatives that I hope to keep pace with.

Well, here’s the thing… Continue reading

Six Characters in Search of an Author: A Review of Westworld

***
SPOILERS AHEAD!
THIS IS A DEEP DIVE INTO WESTWORLD,
BOTH SEASON ONE AND ITS FINALE.
SPOILERS AHEAD!
***

This weekend, HBO’s science fiction epic Westworld wrapped up their inaugural season.

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Since Sunday night, I have been working through my feelings about that finale, and about this season…but that final episode of Westworld feels best summed up like this…

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One more…

Continue reading

Five Things I Learned When Writing a Young Adult Book

curseofthesilverpharoah_smallRecently, The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh went live on Amazon, print editions premiering this week at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, provided we get no unforeseen whammies from CreateSpace. (Thanks, Hurricane Matthew!) Silver Pharaoh is not my first novel, nor is it my first foray into steampunk, as many of you know. The thing about this book that has me fidgeting nervously as reviews start to trickle in is that Silver Pharaoh is my first step into the realm of Young Adult fiction.

And that terrifies me. Greatly.

I’ve got a lot of feelings about Y.A. Fiction, one being that those reading Y.A. are not necessarily “young” adults. Think about it—while Harry Potter could be easily dismissed as a “kid’s book” and is found in the Children’s sections of bookstores and libraries everywhere, just as many adults devoured the adventures of the Boy Who Lived just as ravenously as its target audience.

So, yeah, working in the wild and woolly world of Y.A. for the first time, I picked up a few things… Continue reading

Reflections on a Rebellion:  Another Book Release That Is Something Entirely New

 

Woah! Three blogposts in a week?!

It’s been that kind of week, I guess.

Today, a new book comes out. You would think on the fifth book in a series, this would get boring. It doesn’t. On this go-round, honestly, I feel like there’s more riding on this title than the previous ones. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, and yet I feel like I have a lot at stake.

I knew that going into it. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel as anxious as I’ve been in the past. I’ve been on edge for well over a year.

The fear started with making the decision. Pip and I could have gone ahead and wrapped everything up with The Diamond Conspiracy, but we stopped and asked ourselves “Are we done?” The answer: We were having way too much fun with this series. We knew we could have wrapped up the story arc beginning at Phoenix Rising. Wellington’s and Eliza’s story? That was a different matter altogether. We knew two more books were in store for the two of them, and we knew if we wanted them to happen then we would have to fund them independently. I could still recall how hard my heart was going when we said “Let’s do this.” It would mean returning to Kickstarter, a whole new level of stress. Continue reading

Overwatch: A Heartbreaking Adventure of Heroes

A few weeks ago, Blizzard Entertainment released Overwatch, a new game that I’ve been seeing gamer friends repeatedly posting their anticipation over and over again in my social media feeds. The artwork online and preview videos on YouTube promised striking anime inspiration in its character design, a world of wild and wicket combat tactics, and a wide array of maps based on real-life locations. Pretty cool, I thought.

Then I watched this short film…

Now I wanted to play this game.

If you skipped by the animated short, what are you doing?! It’s only six minutes and so worth it! But if you can’t watch the short film, let me bring you up to speed… Continue reading