Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Meet My Character

I was recently tagged in the “Meet My Character” blog tour and I was only too happy to take part. The aim of the game is that once you’re tagged, you have to interview a character from your series. Sounds fun! Before we see who I’m tagging, let’s check out my challenger – the fabulous author/voice actor, Morgan Straughan Comnick

 

 

 

 

About Morgan Straughan Comnick

 

Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

 

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So anyway – the character I’ll be interviewing today will be from my forthcoming novel Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince – published through Paper Crane Books in 2015. Today I’ll be interviewing a character called The Author – and no, he’s NOT based on me! XD! I brought him here so he can tell us a little about his role in the story.

 

 

 
 

Me: Thanks for appearing to answer these questions, Author.

 

Author: I’d like to express my joy on being here. I’d like to... but Joy is an emotion. And emotions cannot be expressed by one that does not feel them.

 

Er... ok... Right, well let’s move on.

 

 

The Interview

 

What’s your real name?

 

My Name? A name is simply a false identity that we grant ourselves to give us a sense of belonging. I, on the other hand, have no such illusions. I have been named many things. The Thing That Should Not Be, The Last Firstborn, The Dark Eternal Night – even The Tragic Truth. These are just titles – they have no meaning.

 

 

Ok... Are you a fictional or historic person?

 

I am neither a character of fiction nor a part of your history. I am a part of my own history. I have been and always will be.

 

 

*sigh* This is going to be a long interview! Ok, when and where is the story set?

 

The story of Amanda Moonstone is set on the planet Draconica, a world I believe your “readers” are aware about. Amanda resides on the country Celtland, next to Brittana. For those who have read Trapped on Draconica, it is set just after those events, but before Legacy of the Dragonkin.

 

 

Ok, well at least I got something out of you. What’s your role in the story?

 

I seek to help Amanda realise her full potential.

 

 

And how do you do that?

 

(The Author looks down at his book and turns a few pages)

 

 

Um... all right... What do we need to know about you?

 

Only what I allow you to know.

 

 

Right... So, what is your main the main conflict?

 

Conflict? I have no conflict (looks up and stares at me with his one eye) I AM the conflict.

 

 

Ok, starting to get scared now! :o Can you tell us your personal goals?

 

What are goals but dreams we chase. I have no goals. Only endings.

 

 

Well, can you at least tell us what your desired “ending” is?

 

I could... but I DO hate spoilers...

 

 

Can you give us ANY straight answer?

 

Possibly. If you ask the right questions.

 

 

Well can you at least tell the readers when Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince is due out.

 

That is not in my hands. But of the Goddess – she who holds the power to unleash the tale upon the world. She who decides what words are to be said. What order they appear. She of whom you are at her mercy. She who holds your fate in her hands.

 

 

You mean – the publisher?

 

Publisher to you. Goddess to me. Even Authors have higher powers they must obey.

 

 

Well, I'm sure my publisher will be grateful that you think so highly of her :) Ok then. Is there anything else you can tell us about you?

 

(Closes his book and stands up) You are starting to bore me. I shall entertain this joke no longer.

 

 

Hey! Come on, don’t leave like that! You haven’t given the readers anything! Can’t you at least tell us... (suddenly I feel a choking sensation around my neck).

 

Words are only as powerful as those who speak them. And your words do not hold power over me. You will find out about me when the time is right. When the time is upon us.

 

The Author disappears in a puff of smoke. As I check my neck to make sure that there is no major damage, I notice that, scrawled on my wall is a cryptic message.

 

Who Is The Author?

 

 

The Challenge

 

Ok, whilst I try and recover from that shock, I am going to set the next interview. And keeping it with my Author friends at Paper Crane Books, I’m gonna tag the super talented Michelle Franklin, author of the Haanta Series. I'm giving her until Sunday to post her interview. Be sure to check back on her blog next week for her character interview. I’m looking forward to it! :)

 

 

 

About Michelle Franklin

 

Michelle Franklin is a small woman of moderate consequence who writes many, many books about giants, romance, and chocolate.

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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The Draconica Series on Sponsume

BREAKING NEWS!!!

 

Today I've started a crowdfunding campaign for the next story in the Draconica series - Final Ragnarok: He Returns. The final book in the Draconica series is almost ready to go - and we need YOUR help.

 

Please click on the link below to check out the page. There are plenty of rewards for those who sponsor it - including the chance to actually APPEAR in the book as a background character. Many neat rewards are available, so please sponsor what you can.

 

If you guys could share this with your friends I would be most appreciative.

 

THE DRACONICA SERIES ON SPONSUME LINK

 

Thanks in advance for all your support. :)

 

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Top Five Lame Plot Twists

WARNING: This probably goes without saying, but just to be clear, they following blog contains spoilers for various films. Read at your own risk.

 

I actually struggled for a name to call this blog. I was originally going to call it “Top Five Plot Twists That Don’t Entirely Work”, but that seemed too long winded. Anyhoo...

 

The plot twist is potentially one of the greatest strengths of any story. I mean who can forget the classic ending to The Usual Suspects when Keyser Soze was revealed, or the heartbreaking realisation behind the named “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane? If a twist is done correctly, it can have a huge impact on the story, change the narrative in a way that you never expected and make you go “oh my god!”

 

However, if a twist is done BADLY then it can have the opposite effect. It could have little to no impact, ruin the credibility of a story or – in some cases – create plot holes.

 

Today on my blog I look at what I consider to be some plot twists that I felt ruined a movie to some extent. These twists are necessary the worst plot twists ever – but these are five twists that bothered me and, in my opinion, didn’t have impact that the writers intended. Some of these twists have been mentioned before online (number 2 especially is a common one that many have panned), but I’m still mentioning it.

 

Now just to make it clear, just because I mention these films does not necessarily mean I think the FILM is bad (although there are some bad ones in this list), it just means that I don’t think the plot twist is as good as it could have been in my opinion. And, as always, these are mentioned in no particular order. So, without further ado, I present to you the Top Five Lame Plot Twists.

 

 

 

 

1. Planet of the Apes (2001) – The “ending”

 

The original Planet of the Apes had an ending that shocked everyone to the core. Learning that the main character was not on an alternative world, but rather a futuristic version of Earth – where the apes ruled the humans after a nuclear war – was an extremely horrific ending for many. It was shocking not just because people didn’t see it coming, but in that it was also acting as a commentary of the fears people had during the Cold War, and a possible outcome should humanity get wiped out in a nuclear war. The original ending had a major impact and it’s widely regarded as one of the best twists ever.

 

The Tim Burton remake, however, is widely considered one of the most confusing and pointless endings ever. Now, I love Tim Burton, he’s one of the few directors that (in my opinion) rarely does a bad film. This one, however – is a stinker.

 

So, how to sum up. Guy gets teleported to a world run by apes, he fights a bad guy called General Thade, Thade gets locked away, guy finds his way back to Earth and he lives happily ever after... or DOES HE?

 

Upon arriving, he walks towards the Lincoln memorial only to find – gasp – that it’s now in ape form. In fact, it’s now a monument to General Thade! At that point, the police arrive – all apes – and we realise that apes now rule the humans in this world. And... movie ends.

 

Ok, what the hell did I just watch? This ending makes no sense whatsoever! Did the guy arrive in an alternative history of Earth? Is this the same Earth, but something he did in the film affect it? Did General Thade escape and travel to Earth? If so how could he have done that? None of this is ever explained, even Tim Burton has never explained this ending as it was intended to be a cliff-hanger for a sequel – which was never made!

 

This ending was apparently supposed to outdo the ending to the original Planet of the Apes film, but it just ends up as more of a head-scratcher than a shock. Even if they did intend this as a cliff-hanger, it should have had SOME continuity with the rest of the film. As it stands, it just seems to be put in for shock value and, in turn, comes across as confusing and adds nothing to the film, which was pretty mediocre as it was anyway. I love Tim Burton, but this film (and this twist) wasn’t one of his best moments.

 

Damn this twist! Damn it to hell! (sorry couldn’t resist! XD)

 

 

 

 

2. Signs – Water is alien’s Kryptonite

 

Believe it or not, I actually missed this the first time I saw it! It wasn’t until a friend of mine mentioned it to me that I saw it again and thought “yeah... that is pretty stupid!”

 

Ok, everyone has commented on this “twist” ending and how stupid it is, but I have to give it a mention on my blog just because.

 

For the most part, Signs is actually a pretty decent horror movie, leaving much of it to the audiences’ imagination until the last act. Then the aliens appear and, if I’m being honest, they do look pretty scary. That is until they discover their weakness. Water.

 

Yes, that’s right. Water. Water is deadly to them.

 

I know this has been brought up before, but I’m just gonna say it again just because I can. Why would the aliens invade Earth – a planet that is MOSTLY WATER by the way – when water is their weakness? Would that be as silly as vampire’s invading a village made out of garlic? Even if they did invade Earth, all it would take to stop them would be for it to rain and they were pretty much buggered (especially if they invaded England). Did the aliens not do any recon beforehand? I dunno, maybe these aliens were the recon. But even so, they could EASILY see from space that Earth is mostly water. What made them want to invade this planet in the first place?

 

I dunno, maybe the aliens had a plan, but it was a stupid one! As such, this twist makes the threat of the aliens that little less – well, threatening. It ruins an otherwise decent horror movie. Between this and the ending of War of the Worlds, I dunno which is sillier. Well, if anything, at least this movie taught me to keep a few bottles of water spare in the event of an alien invasion.

 

 

 

 

3. Frozen – Hans’s heel turn

 

I just can’t seem to leave this film alone, can I? In fact, if you remember, when I did my review of Frozen, I actually did say that Hans revealing himself to be a villain was actually a good twist. Well – I kinda want to take that back. Because, the more I think about it, the more this twist doesn’t work in the way that it should.

 

I’m sure by now EVERYONE has seen Frozen and knows the story, so I won’t waste too much time explaining. Just for the benefit of those who don’t, in the film, Hans is introduced as the “Handsome Prince” that is popular in a lot of early Disney films. Anna immediately falls in love with him – and then later it’s discovered that Hans plan was to kill Elsa all along so that he could take her place as ruler of the land, with Anna as his consort.

 

Here are the reasons why I don’t think this twist works. For one thing, at NO point in the film does Hans EVER show any signs of being wicked. He’s kind, caring for Anna and even deliberately tells the Earl of Weaselton’s men that Elsa is NOT to be harmed. In fact, when he goes after Elsa, he tells her “don’t become the monster they think you are”, showing that he does care for her. He even speaks to her in a cell very kindly and tries to understand her. So when this twist is revealing, it completely contradicts what Hans is like earlier in the film.

 

Also, if his plan was to kill Elsa all along – WHY did he bring her back to palace? That was just pointless even for a villain plan. I guess you could argue that Hans had to convince the other nobles that Elsa was a monster and had to be destroyed – but seeing as they already thought she was a monster (and the Earl of Weasleton even hired two guys to kill her), then he could have just killed her and no one would have been any the wiser.

 

I know some of you may think “but surely if he didn’t show any villainous tendencies beforehand it makes this twist that more impactful, right?” Well, for me I say no. You can’t just have a character act one way and then have him act another without any rhyme or reason. Yes, I know Hans felt insecure about his brothers and wanted to do better than them – but to me, this twist just felt like the writers got so far and thought “oh s***! We forgot to add a villain! (though they kinda did in the Earl of Weaselton) I know! Let’s pick Hans!”

 

Ok, that’s not what Disney thought at all. In fact I can understand why they would pick Hans as the villain – they wanted to move away from the conventional Disney tropes in previous films. So having Hans as the bad guy wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but the way it’s done doesn’t entirely work in my eyes. I would accept this twist a lot more if they had hinted towards Hans being a baddy (I.E. being overly possessive about Anna, little evil grins or even treating Elsa with contempt), because there are ways to foreshadow a characters actions without outright revealing them.

 

As it stands, this twist feels more like an asspull than a shocker. In fact, I’m just gonna say it – Hans got screwed over!

 

 

 

 

4. American Psycho – It was all in his head

 

The breakout role for Christian Bale (and a role for Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars fame) sees him as a slick businessman named Patrick Bateman that appreciates the finer things in live. Expensive suits, lavish restaurants, diets and exercise and high class living. He lives a life that many would dream off and seems to have it perfectly. Oh, and I did mention he’s also a part time serial killer?

 

Juxtaposed with his modern day living, and his struggle with the banal mediocrity of his material life (and the company he keeps) with his violent side. Throughout American Psycho, Bateman narrates to the audience his inner, nihilistic thoughts, his lust for murder – and even one point he narrates at how jealous he is just because a co-worker has a better business card than him. It all makes for an interesting, yet disturbing character – acting as a parable for how someone can have everything, but still not be enough. I also like to think this film serves as a commentary for how modern life can sometimes drag people down and drive them insane. At least that’s what I think.

 

Bateman murders various people whilst keeping his personal life separate as much as possible. But all too soon, both lives converge as he murders strangers and co-workers alike. At the end, it becomes too much for him and he leaves a message revealing all the crimes he has committed. Here’s the catch – they never happened. Everything that happened in the film was in his head.

 

Now, maybe I’m alone in this, but I find this ending a cop out. Especially given the bloody scenes before this reveal, it doesn’t feel as satisfying to learn that none of it happened. Let’s face it, when has the whole “It was all a dream” ending really been a satisfying conclusion. It may have worked in It’s a Wonderful Life and Wizard of Oz, but in this film it just doesn’t work for me.

 

Some might argue that this is, in its own way, a reasonable ending for Bateman. Because part of him WANTS to be punished for the crimes he has committed and the fact that he continues to escape them (inside his mind) means he is stuck in his own personally hell. But I think I think a MUCH better ending would be that all these things did happen, but Bateman got away with it somehow. I dunno, I guess I was expecting something a little more with this.

 

American Psycho is a fantastic film, but the ending for me spoils it a little. I dunno, maybe I’m alone in this, but I think the way this film ended could have been a lot better.

 

 

 

 

5. The Number 23 – The reveal

 

This film got panned critically, but actually I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It’s an enjoyable thriller with a lot of tension and mystique and Jim Carey does actually give a good performance. But the pay off is really weak.

 

In The Number 23, Jim Carey plays Ned, an animal control officer. His wife gives him a book for a present called “The Number 23”, written by Topsy Kretts (Top Secrets – gettit?). The book is about a detective that murders his lover – but as he reads it he suddenly notices similarities between him and the character in the book. It’s then he starts noticing connections and links with the number 23 (which is considered an unlucky number in some cultures).

 

As he becomes more and more obsessed with the book and the number 23, he goes on a mission to discover the truth. He discovers that one chapter is missing (Chapter 23, of course) and he eventually finds a hotel room (yes you guessed it, room 23) where he finds the missing chapter written on the wall and hidden behind the wall paper (um... ok...). What it boils down to is that HE was the one that wrote the book, it was his confession. He murdered someone, tried to commit suicide by jumping out the window of this hotel room, got amnesia, then forgot all about it.

 

Yeah... not the best endings I must say. Not only that, it brings up a few plot holes. For instance, his wife (who knew all about his condition) was the one that brought him the book. Why would she do that when she was trying to keep him from finding out the secret? Also, if wanted to confess to the crimes, why not just go to the police instead of going through such a convoluted way of writing this book and put the last chapter on the walls of the hotel? Not only that, but the movie seems to hint that the number 23 would have a major impact on the story – but ultimately it just turns out to be one huge macguffin. They could have easily used ANY number and it would have been the same effect.

 

Like I said, this isn’t a bad film really – but the ending is really disappointing and could have been a lot better in my opinion.

 

 

Agree? Disagree? What plot twists left you unsatisfied? Please let me know in the comments below.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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First Look: Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince

Check out this trailer for my forthcoming novel through Paper Crane Books - Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince.

 

I've mentioned it on my blog a couple of times, but this is the first official look at the story. Check out the video on Youtube here.

 

 
 
 
 
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PANDRAGON

 

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Sequentializing the Text - A guest post by Andrez Bergen

 

 

 

Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is by far one of my favourite Sci-Fi novels and one of the most original stories I've ever read. I did a review about on the website Read 2 Review (which unfortunately I don't think exists anymore) and was amazed by the originality of the story. I will be reviewing the latest novel by Andrez Bergen Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth in a couple of months time - but for today I have some exciting news.

 

I recently heard that Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat was being released as graphic novel. And boy was I excited! So much so that I HAD to have Andrez come back to my blog to tell us a little about it. In actual fact, he's working on a couple of other comic books as well. So this post is for all you comic readers out there - you may want to check this out!

 

I'll say no more and hand it over to Andrez! Take it away my friend!

 

 

 

 

SEQUENTIALIZING THE TEXT

 

While I usually barge in here to hawk new novels — which Dan is always ready to support and encourage, bless him — today I'm going to deviate course a wee bit and talk up comic books.

 

I say "a wee bit" because I'm still doing the writing, and there're key moments in these comics that refer to the novels I've already written — all part of the subliminal (if not self-indulgent) world building I tend to potter away with beneath the fabric of what are, in essence, standalone yarns.

 

So, anyway, comics.

 

 

                            
 
 

I'm currently working on two different ongoing sequential projects named Bullet Gal and Tales to Admonish (this second one with an amazing fellow Aussie artist, Matt Kyme) while I just published a one-off graphic novel titled Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

 

The latter may be familiar to long-time readers of this blog as it's the same name as my first published novel, which came out through Another Sky Press in 2011.

 

In fact the graphic novel is a fairly faithful look at the first 90 pages of the original book, this time with images to bring the characters to life and visuals to set the scene of this hardboiled, acid rain inclined near future dystopia. But I also expand the story, giving better attention in particular to the supporting cast.

 

And I produced the artwork, with help from my daughter Cocoa.

 

 
 

For this exercise, covering 144 pages, I decided to lay aside paintbrushes, pencils and inks (though they remained within arm's reach) in order to better pursue a method of photomontage and digital iconoclasm. There are sights and faces you might recognize, and that's a deliberate step, a flashback to what the Dadaists were doing a century ago and Terry Gilliam chopped together for Monty Python, while paying homage to the classic noir detective stories of yesteryear.

 

The trick is making these essentially single images function as a sequential yarn, and doing the Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat graphic novel was a great exercise in how to achieve just that. The fact that the whole exercise was sponsored by a group of wonderful people via Kickstarter is the icing on this cake.

 

Straight after that I headed into production of a monthly comic book series: Bullet Gal. It debuted last month and I'm currently putting together #9 for February next year.

 

This is basically a retro-noir crime romp with token superheroes, very influenced by the 1940s and the words of people like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, tempered by exposure to contemporary comic writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, I guess. For the pictures I've also been inspired by Steve Epting, Jack Kirby, Sean Phillips, David Aja, Jim Steranko and Steve Ditko — though the Bullet Gal series is quite different again, and I do wish I had a single percentage point of these people's talent.

 

Bullet Gal herself is a character from my novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, so this series is a prequel to that, but it also relates to my latest novel Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth.

 

What I love about this series is the fact I'm scripting and plotting on the fly... usually page by page as I organize the visuals. There's no long-term game plan I'm abiding by, but it's developing as it emerges, page by page — and then issue by issue. This process has been as liberating as it has been startling to me as an author of novels that can take years.

 

So... The next trick is to get back into writing those long-players.

 

Now there's the challenge!

 

 

ANDREZ BERGEN
 

 

Thanks for stopping by Andrez. And for you guys who want to check out these stories and other excellent comics, check out the website at:

 

IF? COMMIX

 

Have a great week guys.

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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