Book and Movie Review Tuesday – Ghostbusters (2016)! Spoilers Ahead

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Yes, I slid the year in the title because it’s imporant to note that there are two Ghostbusters movies, one from 1984/85, and this year.

The reading list hasn’t changed. I’m not even going to bother copying and pasting it. It’ll change.

Eventually.

Anyway, onwards and upwards!!

First of all, I’m going to start by expressing ONE disappointment with the new Ghostbusters movie. Just one.

I thought it was an extension of the original storyline. In fact, that’s what I really wanted overall, but, sadly, it is an actual reboot.

The fact it’s a reboot is actually not a bad thing. As someone pointed out to me on facebook, there are potential continuity issues in presenting something as an extension of a particular universe. Given what happened between the first two Star Wars trilogies, the reboot idea is not horrid in the least.

To start, I’m going to go with a comparison between the 1984 flick and the 2016. It’s very important to note all of these things. These are the very things nerds and geeks have always loved about the Ghostbusters franchise.

Continue reading

Moving Forward Monday – About Me, About What I Write

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Hello there! My name is Elise K. Ra’sha. I’m a 38 year-old-woman who writes science-fiction and fantasy. It’s a genre that I truly adore. Ask me anything about the books I’ve read, the shows and movies I’ve watched, and the video games I’ve played, we’ll have a very lively and lovely conversation. Ask me about my favorite characters, and I’m more than happy to oblige. Ask me about the places I want to see, and I’ll give you quite the list and dreams for that, too!

Ask me about what I’m writing, and I stumble. Ask me to write my About the Author blurb, and I’m totally clueless because I feel like I’m a totally boring person who hasn’t done much.

I’ve noted before that I grew up as a geek. Mom and Dad loved various science-fiction and fantasy themed shows and movies. Star Wars and Star Trek were the norm. So was Transformers and the Never-Ending Story.

They never actually read us fairy tales, but a few things did trickle to us.

I didn’t have very many friends in school. I was always the oddball out, never fitting in and never feeling like I truly belonged in the small town that served as my home for the majority of my 38 years. I graduated high school but never finished college. I love cats, and I want to become a mother.

Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned have come from my mother. More have come from within me and all that I’ve experienced.

I’ve been homeless but never without hope. I’ve continued to go forwards and backwards throughout my life, and it’s been in the last two years that I’ve really learned who I was, as a person and as an author.

I work five days a week as a server at a local Ihop. My best friend lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is someone I have not yet met. But there is no denying the impact she’s had on my life, and I’m forever grateful to her for it.

I currently emobdy the whole nerd thing by living in my mother’s basement. Cliche? Yes. Appealing? Not so much but more due to the state of the house than anything else.

I write science-fiction and fantasy. My first series, Arc of Fantasy, is featuring two heterosexual twin brothers, their gay best friend, a somewhat timid young woman and her heterosexual guy best friend, and a woman who dreams of commanding her own ship. I like challenging myself on how to deal with the not-so-traditional fantasy and science-fiction character.

I am absolutely enthralled with the Norse histories, even in light of their not-so-pretty history.

I am a Pagan.

I believe there are themes in writing that unite us, no matter what our gender, our skin color, our culture, and our social status are.

All of this, I tend to choke on when it comes to talking to other people about my work and when it comes to writing it up for sites like Amazon and NOOK Press. I don’t know why, either.

Everything else comes so naturally to me.

Up tomorrow, movie review of the Ghostbusters reboot. Yes, I went there.

Enjoying my Monday off!

Words of Wisdom/Writing Tip Wednesday – The Use of Sex and Rape in Fiction

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Writers have a wide arsenal of tools when it comes to writing. In addition to the usual things like adverbs and adjectives, commas, dialogue tags, tense (past, present, future), narrative point of view, setting, and the like, there are the various types of actions that characters have the choice to make. Get out of bed or lay about. Go to work or play hookie. Read a book and ignore the zombie apocalypse as it crashes down all around them or pick up a gun and fight.

The same goes for decisions like engaging in sex or in choosing to rape a person.

I bring this up as there are psychological ramifications for both that tend to be overlooked by both writers and readers alike, specifically in the fanfiction world. In fact, at one point, I recall the question of what’s the difference between dubious consent and rape coming up on facebook. I’m going to touch upon this right now. I’ve put an explicit warning up on this due to the potentially sensative subject matter and the fact it contains potential triggers

For starters, when a writer graphically describes a sexual act, the goal is to get the reader off. In some ways, it doesn’t really further a scene or anything else about the story. It’s a moment between, essentially, three people – the fictional couple and the writer/reader. (Note to fellow writers: don’t force sex scenes between your characters. Some are, in fact, very shy and not into voyeurism. Sometimes fading to black is more than acceptable.) In this case, it’s an instance of defining how a relationship dynamic is working. Is the couple in question reaching a deeper, more intimate connection with each other? Or are they just going through the motions? Each scene is obviously different, and I’m of the opinion not all sex scenes need be written out.

In the case of dubious consent, the person initiating the act isn’t necessarily seeking permission but isn’t out to harm the other. The pleasure is still mutual, and the scene still has some elements of erotica. Dubious consent is best written from the PoV of the person on the receiving end. It demonstrates the conflict in the person’s mind at finding the experience to not be bad. It sounds lame, but it’s how dubious consent works. There is no violence involved.

Rape is entirely different beast. Not only does the rapist not care about the pleasure and well-being of the intended victim but will also not hesitate to use violence in order to subdue the victim as well. Rape has severe psychological ramifications on the victim. It is not erotic. It is not meant to be erotic. The only time I would accept rape as erotic is it’s a role-play scene between the two characters and it’s obvious that it’s that it’s still mutual. Rape isn’t something to be romanticized, glorified, or trivialized in writing.

When employing actual rape (not role-play rape) in a story, the writer (and, by default, the reader) must remember the fallout for act. The victim is mentally shattered. Picking up the pieces isn’t easy. Behavious change. Do your research. Place yourself in that character’s position and ask how would it affect you. Even thouse who try to pretend it never happened give off signals that it happened.

And a good portion of people do care that a rapist’s life has been destroyed upon capture and prosecution. Some might, but the reader will be properly enraged.

All actions have consequences. It doesn’t matter if someone’s trying to conquer the world or seeking out a sexual partner. It isn’t always fun and games.

Book Review Tuesday – The Trials of Apollo/What I’m Currently Reading

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The Reading List hasn’t changed. I’ve been pooped out and busy for the last two weeks. ^_^

What I’m Currently Reading
The Rites of Odin by Ed Fitch
Icelandic Magic by Stephen Flowers
The Complete Book of Chakra Healing by Cyndi Dale
The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturloson

In the Waiting Wings
The Age of Aztec by James Lovegrove
Runelore by Edred Thorsson
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Sagas of the Icelanders

Itching to Get My Hands On
Hans Christiansen’s Fairy Tales
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Celtic Myths and Legends
Norse Myths

There are others I’m itching to get my hands on as well – I love to read! – but that will be as time and finances allow. One book I will definitely go after is Loki by Mike Vasich. As time and money allows. Again.

Anyway, onwards! I have writing to do and a fandom blog to breathe some life back into today.

The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle

I will be the first to admit. I loved this story. It’s a continuation of the Percy Jackson series, this time from the point of view of one the Gods, Apollo himself. I’m of the opinion that, if Percy Jackson is going to be the lure to read something, it might as well be Percy Jackson. Books similar to, that attempt to parrot what Percy Jackson has done, just can’t capture the same magic. It’s that simple for me. Either find a way to make it your own or don’t bother, and that’s what I expected from Rick when The Sword of Summer hit bookstores last October.

The Trials of Apollo is a different case. This is connected to the first two Percy Jackson series so it will not be a letdown. At least for most readers.

One thing to understand here about Apollo – he’s bisexual. In fact, so was Hercules, according to the stories. For those expecting a very Christianized story here, you’re going to be disappointed, and you’re going to possibly believe Rick is pushing a “gay” agenda here. The Greeks are very much a Pagan culture, and the rules of Christianity do not apply. I say this based on reviews I’ve read on Amazon from people who gave the story a low rating.

I know it isn’t something some people want to hear when it comes to what they’re deeming to be “popular” fiction, but there would actually be more people upset and raging that Rick hadn’t done his research into the myths surrounding the Greek Gods if Apollo had adopted an “anti-Gay” stance. There’s no real winning here, but I’m glad Rick chose to be more faithful to what the Greeks were like than trying to “Christianize” them in anyway.

So the story starts out with Apollo waking up in an alley and about to be mugged. He has none of his former strength, and, much to his horror, he’s not gorgeous like he used to be, either. In this case, Zeus is acting like Odin. He’s reduced one of his children to that of mortality in order to teach a lesson in humility (something Zeus needs to learn himself), and it does run deeper than that.

Apollo ends up rescued by a demi goddess, a young girl named Meg, who is a daughter of Demeter. In the usual course of events, the two make their way to Camp Half-Blood after connecting with Percy and have a trying time along the way. I won’t completely spoil the story, but Apollo has an Oracle he has long since forgotten about that he needs to find and to protect, an Oracle long thought to be destroyed. There were five, according to the story, and it’s up to him to remember them.

It doesn’t help his enemy is one of his descendants, a feared name in Greek and Roman history.

For those who want Percy Jackson, The Trials of Apollo will truly not disappoint. Written in first person from Apollo’s point of view, the story contains all the charm and humor the previous two series displayed. Of course, we’re only one book into it. We’ll see what the next book brings us.

And now for some more fandom.

Yesterday, I posted that, at conventions, all Loki cosplayers will receive a free copy of my books (of their choosing) should they find me at conventions or should I see them. These books will be signed. Thor and other Norse-inspired cosplayers will receive a discount.

I also have something going on for the Star Ocean cosplayers as well. Here’s the deal.

For all Loki and Star Ocean cosplayers, if you send me pictures of your most recent cosplays from the last nine months, you will receive a free copy of one of my books. For the Loki cosplayers, it will be Sigyn’s Flowers. For the Star Ocean cosplayers, it will be Portal to Gaming. The rules are as follows

1 – It has to be from within the last nine months.
2 – Limit one book per person
3 – Have fun
4 – Star Ocean cosplayers, it must be from one of the five games available

The pictures do not need to be from conventions. I’m going to make that clear right now. You can get dressed up in your costume today, tomorrow, or sometime in the next week, month, whenever, take the picture, and share it with me on facebook at the following links

https://www.facebook.com/Elise-K-Rasha-Author-144995235564573/
https://www.facebook.com/Dragonfly-Moonlight-976362889107568/
https://www.facebook.com/arcoffantasy/ (Star Ocean fans only)

There is no time limit on this, either.

Stay tuned for more giveaways and when I’ll be appearing at conventions. I’m getting my circuit for 2017 planned, AND I’m planning on doing some cosplaying myself. I’m a geeky, nerdy Pagan who loves the wonders of science-fiction and fantasy. Truly, this should be no surpise to anyone. ^_^ And, yes, I will eventually have something for the Hetalia and Final Fantasy cosplayers as well. ^_^

Have a good Tuesday!

Moving Forward Monday – An Idea! Convention Report and All That

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Well, this author is, quite honestly, all pooped out. For the last two weeks, I had two days off. Total. I had the fifth and the eleventh off. Everything else was due to holidays or in-company promotions.

In addition to working six days straight last week, I attended a local anime convention called Tokyo in Tulsa on Friday and Saturday. I didn’t figure I’d be out in time to go Sunday, and, from previous convention experience, figured the day to be a wash anyway. Fridays are the start up and have better selections in the dealer room, Saturdays have the most in terms of panels.

There was a panel that, upon learning about it later, I would have loved to attend on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was at work at the time of the panel and didn’t know about it until after I’d asked my sister for her convention itinerary. It was about adaptive writing for things like screenplays. One of my dreams is to eventually write a couple of screenplays so that would have been fun and informative for me.

I did get to attend two panels, hosted by a Jason Petty (a self-published author – his book is called The Vampire of Meadow Lake), and they were on airships and steam. These weren’t about their uses by authors for the fantasy and steampunk genres but actual information on the airships of the late 1800s and early 1900s and the power of actual steam and how everything about both has impacted our every day lives. Jason was not at all boring in his presentation and, if you see him hosting a panel at a convention near you, attend it! You will get something out of it.

I also scored some convention booty. Friday, I picked up a Loki bobblehead, something I’d been seeking for a while, and fye was a vendor there. I also traded four of my books for some Loki fan art and a Loki fan art laminate by one of the artists and another set of books for another book by a self-published author. What I basically did on Friday with the books was hand them out in sets of four. One was to the local library booth (which they can hopefully be put into circulation at one of the libraries), another set to a second artist (she had some lovely Generation One Transformers art but nothing that appealed to me for a trade), aaaaand to a Loki cosplayer. Didn’t sell anything, just gave them away. Saturday, I was writing down some of my information for people (name and the titles of my published works). I’ll be getting something else to hand out at future conventions. Saturday’s selections were a set of leather wrist cuffs (blue) for a cosplay I started working on in 2013 (need to redo the shirt; got the wig and now the wrist cuffs), a leather pouch for any fantasy-themed costume, a small polar bear plushie (he likes belly rubs – I think I’ll name him Loki), and a skeleton key necklace from a steampunk-themed vendor who had mainly jewelry and pocketwatches for sale.

The convention itself is not bad. It is a homegrown thing, had some musical artists from Japan there, had a variety for vendors, and an excellent array of panels and cosplayers. I was actually a bit shocked to see some younger people in cosplay for older animes and the like. My sister dressed as Cyrelle from Shining Force EXA.

Being tired was not working in my favor. I wasn’t really completely impressed with the convention itself. I did have some fun, enjoyed talking with people, but I didn’t get a sense of community, as it were. I know anime covers basically anything and everything related to anime and manga. For me, it just wasn’t really . . . cohesive, in a manner of speaking. And I was shocked to see Barnes and Noble with a table there with wares that they sell every day of the week. I understand the bookseller was a sponsor, and it is nice to see them support such a wonderful community. I just guess my feelings here go back to the BotCon days when a lot of the vendors were also fans and it was acceptable to have fan-created items in the dealer room. It also feels like they’re trying to take on the juggernaut, Otakon, in some ways.

Ah well. Like I said. I was tired. I worked every day of the convention but only attended two days. Next year will be a completely different story!

In the meantime, as far as conventions are concerned, I’m looking into a potential circuit for 2017. I definitely want to go to World Fantasy Con, Dragon*Con, San Diego Comic Con (not holding my breath for 2017, though), Otakon, and GenCon, possibly back to Tokyo in Tulsa and ShutoCon. For this year, I’m going to keep checking website for the Expo Center here in Tulsa and the Cox Business Center. The next one, for sure, that I want to attend in Tulsa is the local Comic Con, which will be in October. Again, I will have copies of my books available with me. I might even be in cosplay.

And this . . . this is for the cosplayers out there. Any Loki cosplayers, be it from Marvel, Fairy Tale, or even just from the Norse myths, if you find me (or I find you), I will give you a free copy of my stories. You’ll get to pick. Thor and other Norse cosplayers will receive a discount. I’m also willing to do trades for artwork and books.

I will have bookmarks and business cards, too, because, unless I get a dealer space, I will only have a limited number of books on me.

Now to get back to writing. Have a good Monday, everyone! (Don’t laugh! It’s my day off!!)

Moving Forward Monday – Feeling a Little Bit Stronger

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So last Tuesday, I wrote about how I wasn’t up to reviewing anything. My heart and my head just weren’t in the game. I had a lot on my mind.

I still have a lot on my mind, truth be told, but the feeling of being off-kilter, off-balance, and off-center have vanished in between that entry and today.

I had a lot of hopes upon heading to New Orleans when I did. A lot of hopes and dreams. I realized things about myself, about how in certain work situations, I’m not motivated to advance, to seek out opportunities and moving up the ladder, as it were. I’ve worked a variety of jobs – fast food, retail (includes convenient stores), health care, hospitality (a few brief stints as a housekeeper in two different hotels), and manufacturing. Even as a server, I’ve no interest in becoming anything more. I don’t want to move up to becoming a manager or even in having a corporate career for the company that employs me. I’m content to be where I’m at because what I want to do with my life doesn’t line up with what I’m actually doing in order to survive.

I realized then that dreams do not change just because a person’s location does. My dreams of being an author and becoming a mother will always be the same. It’s the opportunities that change based on location.

Understand, I was at a vulnerable point in my life even as I grew stronger in knowing who I was, what I wanted, and where I wanted to go. I was not receiving good news. I was learning a month in I didn’t really like the people I’d moved in with – they were too scattered in energy at first then too controlling and manipulative over what I could and could not do in the room I was paying for along with being too focused on money. I know money is required to pay for things like shelter, food, clothing, and other expenses, but I’ve long since shed the notion that my happiness needs to be tied in with how much I’m earning and how filled with stuff my space really is. I was totally prepared to live as spartan as possible due to where I was heading with my life.

Then the curveball came, and I had to leave. This was not a pleasant notion nor experience. While I’m not happy that I ended up leaving New Orleans before I could truly make a start there, I’m also not sorry that I had to leave. I learned, I grew as a person, and, while those opportunities there are no longer possible for me, new ones will still emerge.

Last week, I was unsure of where I wanted to go next. I’m in this frame of mind that, while I know I want to continue being an author and to become a mother, there is still something else out there that I need to be doing. I just had no idea of where to go. I’d had the thought of heading to Colorado (while living in New Orleans) and starting a homestead. The notion never appealed to me before until that one day in May, and I’m now excited by the idea.

And it’s all because I want to do something that’s healthy for me and for the environment. I want to live sustainably. I want to grow my own fruits and vegetables. I want to live in clean, fresh air, and wake up to it every morning.

I also want to explore Europe and Japan. I want to explore the U.S. Some might say I can’t do that upon having children, but everything that I want to do is something I can do with a child because these are learning experiences. These are things that children need to learn and understand, and they have such a unique view on the world as it is.

I can write anywhere. I can be a mother anywhere. And I can create my own opportunities. I am creating my own opportunities.

It’s going to take me a while. My current plans involve moving to Colorado and working to start up a homestead. I also have plans to have my passport ready. I want to be able to help people.

I don’t profess to know what’s going to happen one day to the next. I get glimpses of my own future. I decide the course based on what my intuition is telling me is right. I know society would tell me to give up becoming an author – the odds of becoming a success are far too great. I know society would tell me to not become a mother – I’m getting to be “too old” for it. I know society would tell me to be concerned about having a job that pays me X amount of money per month because I need to have the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect everything in order to be a success. I need to always strive for more.

Well, society has one thing right, and that’s to strive for more. I do want more. I want to write more stories. I want to have children, and I will go after my dreams.

I’m no longer off-balance, off-centered, and off-kilter.

And that makes me happy.

Up tomorrow, as time permits: Book Review Tuesday – The Trials of Apollo

Book reviews on hold

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My head just isn’t that game right this moment. I would love to write about The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle (seriously, Rick, you can’t come up with shorter titles? J/K!) and The Age of Shiva, but my mind is just not on the task.

The trouble is I have a lot in my mind. Not just on my writing projects but on myself, on what I need and want for my life. I’m not giving up on writing, I’m not giving up on making a career out of it, but I’ve learned some things about myself upon returning to Tulsa. I’m glad to be back amongst my friends (you know who you are), I’m glad to have my old job back, but I’m keenly feeling a lack right now. I feel like I’m at this crossroads (which, ironically, I am), and there are external factors weighing in that I know I can’t control yet I’m still trying. At least, I’m trying to compensate for things that haven’t happened yet, and it’s just like this huge burden on my shoulders that I’ve created for myself that I don’t need.

So I’m just plugging away, trying to go forward, and I do so with the hope and the knowledge that all will be all right in the end.