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Niobe: She Is Life - A Review

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If you walked through the exhibitor hall at Phoenix Comic Fest this year, you really can’t have missed the Stranger Comics booth. There was an enormous banner with the cover of Niobe: She Is Death and the Untamed: Killing Floor. Both of these beautiful illustrations feature the a striking brown elf girl (one as a child, the other as a warrior) and an amazing young woman spent delivered a pitch she better have been paid well for because it was delightful, engaging, and concise.

Niobe: She Is Life is the first of the Stranger Comics line that I’ve read. It was the reason I went to the booth, after all. So I sat down and read through the epic fantasy on a bright Saturday, and was left… confused.

The art and illustration in this volume are delightful. Color and detail are not spared in the creation of a world that, while small within the story, feels as though there are realms left to discover and explore. The characters are uniquely depicted, and their surroundings are evocative of the …

7 Reasons I'd Never be Cryonically Frozen

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This post was previously posted, it has been revised for reissue.
I Hate The Cold. This one might be a little on the nose, but it’s true. On top of that, I am abnormally sensitive to the cold. As I write this, I’m sitting in an office where the building’s system is set to “Fan” and my fingernails have a lovely purple ombre.

Freezer Burn: The Science Isn’t Here Yet. Here’s the thing. I’m skeptical of anything touted as being remotely close to the cryonics of SciFi film and books. I don’t think we’ll get to a place I’d be comfortable with in my lifetime.

I Don’t Trust the Mechanics. Like the reason above, this is about the technology. Even if we know the “How”, that doesn’t mean we can execute it. On top of that… how will we know when it’s worked? How will we know if it has a minimum and maximum freezer date?

I Don’t Trust the Technicians. Say the science works. Say the technology is created. Humans are just big scarecrows of fallibility. Even with safety regulations and training, there are…

Terminal: A review

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I don’t remember when I saw the trailer for Terminal. I believe it was either a random instagram add or possibly something that popped up on Hulu. However it came about, I was interested… but did not expect it on a streaming service so quickly (maybe it was a Hulu production and I just wasn’t paying attention).
Overall, it is an provocative, if problematic, film. In the vein of most of my film-related reviews, here’s a list of what I liked, and didn’t like:

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I am a sucker for neon and saturated colors. So the noir feel coupled with the harsh lights and vast array of colors worked for me. It gave the whole film a graphic novel aesthetic that added to its general air of a city out of place, time, and government control.

The erratic nature of the narrative was fun. I’m always a fan of films that trust their audience to follow a broken trail and gather the breadcrumbs they pass along the way. The copious references to Alice in Wonderland (often simply verbatim readings from the book …

Release Day: The Impossible Girl

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Changing Hands | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon

Mark this one down on the “things I’m super excited about” list.
Visit her site for more info

New Release: Soulless (Illustrated Edition) by Gail Carriger

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Changing Hands | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon

Joining the many other versions of the first in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, is an illustrated hardback (previously in paperback, special edition hardcover, manga and more). It’s a casewrap featuring Alexia and Conall, the endsheets are a glorious hot pink, and the 400+ pages are interspersed with line-art style illustrations.

Visit her website for more information.

Being bad at things

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Being bad at things is so important. 

As adults, I think we forget that we can be--and often aren’t allowed to be--bad at things. It’s like we reach a point where we’re programmed to think that if we can’t do something well, we shouldn’t do it at all. Like we have reached the end of the game and there’s no point in going back to earn extra skill points. 

And I think that this is translated over to writing novels.

I don’t know about you, but my first drafts are a total mess. They’re ugly, full of holes, and often require a total frankenstein-ing to get into shape.

A while back, I’m not sure how long ago anymore, I decided that I was going to embrace that. And now, I write, messy, horrible, hole-filled first drafts without batting an eye. I sometimes refer to them as mad-lib drafts because often they are filled with (character 1) instead of names and more instances of (Figure this out later) than I should probably admit to.

And at first, i didn’t know if it was a good trade off, beca…

Stuck “In The Rogue One Elevator”

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I love romance novels, both contemporary and historical. I enjoy romantic arcs in films. And totally ship all manner of TV characters (even for some shows I’ve never seen: I’m talking about you Klaroline and Sterek).

That being said, there are times when I cannot stand the idea of two characters getting together. And I’ve decided the best way to indicate this is to refer to those times as being “in the Rogue One elevator.”

Because let’s face it… when Jyn and Cassian are in the elevator at the end, all I could think was: Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss. Don’t kiss.

And thank God, they didn’t, but too often movies pander to the idea that the guy had better get the girl. He’s the hero, after all, the babes should be falling. all. over. him. regardless of the fact he’s a total a-hole.

How many times have you watched a film and sat back in your theater seat waiting for the inevitability of two main characters deciding they just have to ge…

Let's Talk About The Problems I Had With Rogue One

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Disclaimers abound: This is an unordered list. I'm sure I spelled several things incorrectly. If you want to argue with me in the comments, go right ahead, but abusive stuff will be deleted.

And I suppose I should start this off with the biggest disclaimer....


I liked Rogue One.

But as much as I enjoyed it on the surface. I spent half the movie distracted by issues with both the writing and the direction and in the end, I walked away feeling unsettled.

Let’s talk about my problems with the movie:

Cassian had no backstory.
Here’s a guy who’s a wonderful character that you manage to like despite the fact that his introduction has him killing his contact, a guy who doesn't have an arm (I’m guessing there I couldn’t really tell what was wrong with it). This dude just killed a guy who was HELPING HIM because he shot some storm troopers and got them in a tight spot (that was in no way arm guy's fault). But it was easier to kill him than figure out a way for both of them to get out. Wi…

Release Day: State Tectonics

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Changing Hands | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon


The third, and final, book in The Centenal Cycle is out today!

The books that came before:


Infomocracy

Changing Hands | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon

Null States

Changing Hands | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon

Allana Taranto
For more information, visit Malka's site..

Anxiety, Epilepsy & Writing

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(This post was previously published in 2016, it has been revised.)

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I make lists for everything (because otherwise, I’ll forget).

My memory is shot, unless the thing isn’t actually important, and lists keep my anxiety from stabbing my brain a thousand times asking “did you forget anything?”

It only stabs me ten times, tops. (I almost started this post as a list, but realized I needed more space than a bullet point provides.)

I try really hard to keep myself organized because stress is a possible trigger for my seizures (I only know for sure that they’re not light or oxygen deprivation-triggered. Bring on the strobes and the yoga breathing) and nothing stresses me out quite like not knowing where something is when I need it.

There are really tough days. My brain felt scrambled before, but now I feel like it’s filled with little black holes waiting to gobble up random information, memories I should have a handle on, and all the motivation.

When it takes me an hour to get my brain b…