Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

A Special Pandragon Halloween Treat (or Trick?)

Before we start, I'd like to extend my thoughts to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy recently. If you all have friends and family that have been caught up in this terrible event, then you'll be in my prayers.

 

Well it's that time of year again and I wanted to do something special for Halloween on my blog this year. Some of you may know that I planned to do a let's play of the video game Slender: The Eight Pages. Sadly, my plans for that fell through pretty quickly - mainly due to the fact that I could not get any good video capture for it, nor could I really do it the way that I think would do it justice. I may attempt to do it again later in the year, but I decided to scrap it for today.

 

But fear not! I have something very special planned for today! I managed to get His Excellency Emperor Gothon, villain of Trapped on Draconica, to do a cover of a classic pop meme that has been doing the rounds over the internet and the music charts. And let's face it - what could be scarier than that?

 

So I present to you, for a Halloween treat (or trick), Emperor Gothon explaining his motives for world domination. And he's gonna do it GOTHON STYLE!

 

 

EDIT: This was a joke that didn't exactly go according to plan - and in hindsight was a pretty lousy attempt at humour. So I removed the video from Youtube. Sorry guys, but you geniunely aren't missing much I promise you!

 

Please feel free to leave your comments below and share this video with all your friends!

 

I'd like to wish all my fans, followers, friends and family a very Happy Halloween. Stay safe peeps and have a good one!

 

 

Image above is something that I found on Google. But I kinda like it and think it goes well with the blog.

 

 

Pandragon

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The Trapped on Draconica Blog Tour!

 

It gives me great pleasure to announce the dates for the Trapped on Draconica Blog Tour. Whilst this is only a short tour, I intend to make it leave a lasting impression.

 

Seven fantastic authors and websites have agreed to help host this tour and I am very grateful for them taking part. This will be a lot of fun and I'm already looking forward to it - and I hope that you all will be a part of it also.

 

The dates of the tour (as well as links to the blogs involved) are as follows.

 

19/11/12 Unwritten – Come visit this day to feature a special guest interview with all your favourite characters from Trapped on Draconica!

20/11/12 Sasha Summers – A little post that talks about how Greek Mythology was a major inspirations and how I believe it inspired the Fantasy genre in general.

21/11/12 Sheenan Freitas – I talk with a fellow Manga fan about how Manga art inspired my writing and how it continues to this day.

22/11/12Michelle Horst – For those not familiar with the story of Trapped on Draconica, this is the chance for you to find out in this guest post.

23/11/12 Alana Woods – Alana Woods asks me some questions in a fun little interview where I reveal a little about myself and my life.

24/11/12 Trickster Eric - The creator of the Trapped on Draconica TV Tropes page has something special planned for us. Details to follow.

25/11/12 Read2Review - We end the tour with my friends at Read2Review, who have been extremely supportive of my writing over the months I've been reviewing for them. This will be a little guest post about two important factors that helped with the creation of the world of Draconica.

 

And that's not all. I am running not one but TWO great prizes! during this time! As it's coming up to Christmas around that time, I'm feeling uber-generous and have a number of great prizes available. Continue reading for more details.

 

For each blog, I am giving away ONE free limited edition Trapped on Draconica ebook per blog for one lucky reader of that blog. This is a special version of Trapped on Draconica that is not currently for sale and is only available exclusively through this blog tour. It contains a teaser chapter for the sequel, Legacy of the Dragonkin (out next year), so if you want a little look into the next chapter then this is for you!

 

The ULTIMATE prize pack contains the following - this is the biggest set of prizes that I have ever given away so if you want something special this year, this is for you!

 

1 X Signed paperback copy of Trapped on Draconica.

1X One page mini-comic extra.

1X Trapped on Draconica T-Shirt.

1X Signed piece of artwork by Alexis M Centeno herself.

1X Artwork book showing character sketches and an interview with the artist.

1X Scrapbook containing teaser artwork/character profiles for the sequel novel Legacy of the Dragonkin. (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

 

The link for this one will be included in each blog. The competition starts on 19th November and lasts until 26th November, by which time the winners will be announced after that date.

 

I hope you're all as excited about this as I am. So please join me on 19th November to get this thing going. And please share this post with your friends to let them know of this great prize opportunity! Keep watching this space for further details!

 

Next week, for Halloween, I take on the most frightening game of all time in my first ever Let's Play video! Come back here to watch me (maybe) scare myself stupid!

 

Until next time, take care and have a great weekend!

 

 

Pandragon

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First Impressions: Arrow

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS!
 

 

 

So I decided to bring back an idea that I used to do on an old blog of mine, whereby I give my impressions on a brand new series (or returning series) I've seen and see what I think about it. Last night I saw the opening episode of the superhero series Arrow, created by the makers of Smallvile and based on the character of Green Arrow.

 

I have to be honest, the Green Arrow is kind a superhero that passed me by over the years and so I know very little about him - other than he's a Robin Hood type hero that's also a part (or has been part) of the Justice League. So it's a refreshing change checking out a superhero that I have little knowledge about.

 

The opening episode details our hero Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow), having been shipwrecked on an island for five years. During that time he had been training himself and learning the art of archery. Why? Because his dad (who was on the boat with him when it was destroyed in the storm) admitted to being involved in some dodgy dealings and made his son promise to make up for his mistakes. So Queen has been training himself to peak physical condition and marksmanship so that when he is rescued (and he is by a passing fisher boat), he can return to Starling City to kick butt and save it from the baddies that are dragging it under!

 

If the familiar set up reminds you too much of Batman, you'll be forgiven for that. Indeed, the original character of Green Arrow was originally written as a counterpart to Batman, although these days with much more Left-Wing political beliefs. Indeed, they are both very similar - both are rich and both use technology and their own physical strength to fight the baddies. The one main difference I've noticed is that Batman tends not to kill his enemies, whereas Green Arrow seems to have little hesitation killing or maiming his enemies - which I'm not too fond of, but that's just me.

 

On returning to Starling City, Queen has to catch up with his life as much as possible, and learning that things have moved on. His mother has remarried, his sister, nicknamed Speedy (who was Green Arrow's apprentice) is now a party going drug addict (a reference to the comics when the original Speedy was addicted to Heroin), and his old girlfriend Dinah "Laurel" Lance (the alter ego of Black Canary in the comics, but it's not currently clear whether she has her powers in this TV show) has never forgiven Oliver for sleeping with her sister - who was on the ship with him when it died. So, it seems that Oliver Queen has a lot of catching up to do - but right now he's more concerned with making the criminal underworld pay.

 

Another great supporting character is Detective Quentin Lance (played by British actor Paul Blackthorne of 24 and The Dresden Files). He is the father of Dinah and blames Oliver Queen for the death of his daughter. He could be considered the antagonist of the series as he's determined to find out who this "hooded archer" is.

 

I was half expecting this episode to go through the usual "hero origin" story and go through all the slog of the hero learning to use his powe and go into great depth as to why he became a hero - but in actual fact the first episode pretty much went past all that and went straight into the action. It gave a brief introduction into the character of Queen, his backstory and his motivation - not to mention the shock of returning to his old life and seeing how much has moved on - and then left the last 30 minutes or so to have some pretty decent action. Overall, I thought the pace was spot on. The story was pretty tight and has plenty of room for expansion throughout the series - plus there was a twist at the end that did grab my attention. The characters were well done and I could believe that they were real. I'm interested to see how the Oliver/Speedy storyline pans out as I think that could make for some pretty cool stories - maybe how her drug additiction could effect her.

 

The action was pretty cool as well and the fight sequences were well correographed. My only real problems with this episode is that it suffered a little bit with what I called "Chris Nolan Batman Syndrome", in that it tried to be a little too dark and mature to keep it in line with those films. The problem with that is that sometimes, the dialogue was too cheesy and hammy in places so this kinda ruined the dark edge. Nevertheless, the action scenes more than make up for it.

 

On the whole, I think this has a lot of potential and hopefully can only get better. Not only that, but I've heard that other characters from the DC universe will be making appearences in this series. In fact, at the beginning, I noticed there was a referrence to the long standing enemy of the Teen Titans, Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke the Terminator. Could HE be making an appearence? That would be awesome if so!

 

WOULD I RECOMMEND? Definately! Arrow I think has come out at the right time, seeing as the superhero genre is gradually gaining strength and seems to be more popular now than ever before. Even if you don't know the comics, there is still plenty in here that would keep you interested. This is one series I will keep an eye on closely and hopefully, it will only get better as it goes on!

 

 

Pandragon

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Taking the Slenderman Challenge For Halloween

Ok, so it's Halloween coming up in about a couple of weeks time and I was wracking my brain to think of a Halloween themed blog to do. I came up with a few ideas - a review of a classic horror movie, a Top Five scariest monsters and a blog about a classic horror story came to mind. But they sounded a little too "safe" and obvious and really I probably should be doing something a little unexpected. But then another idea came to mind... something which I've never really done before on this blog.

 

See, I'm actually a big fan of let's plays on Youtube - which, as the name suggests, involves someone playing a game and just making comments about them. Not quite a review, just like a general chat. Let's plays have quite a huge following on Youtube, with Youtube users like Pewdiepie, Cry, Mangaminx (or RPGminx as I think she is known now), Zenix and Helloween (to name a few) being very popular and having loads of subscribers. But in particular, a very popular type of lets play are horror themed games. There is just something highly entertaining about seeing a player being scared to death and hearing (and sometimes seeing) their reactions.

 

In particular, there is a certain video game doing the let's play rounds that has gained a lot of attention and notority as being one of the scariest games known to human kind.

 

 

For those who have never heard of this game, Slender, or as I believe it is now known as Slender: The Eight Pages, is a first person indie game which puts you in a role of a person walking through a forest (and then in later editions a hospice, castle, street among others) with the intention of collecting notes about a monster called the Slenderman. The Slenderman is a myth that started on the internet and has become sort of a meme and has appeared in numerous artwork and "geninue" sightings of him. He generally appears as a "Man in Black" type characer with an expressionless face and long, spinally limbs (think The Silence from Doctor Who).

 

 

Throughout the game, Slenderman hunts you relentlessly as you try to find these pages. As he appears before you, you slowly lose your sanity and, if you look at him TOO long, you die. A simple format, but one that has proved to be highly effective in scaring players out of their wits.

 

Now, I have only seen a few bits of lets plays and, I gotta be honest, it did creep me out a little. Then again, I'm not really a huge fan of horror games in general. I liked Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Silent Hill, but I haven't really played a lot of survival horror games. Therefore, I have avoided downloading Slender: The Eight Pages for a long time, seeing as I can get scared kinda easily. But SO many people have been telling me via Twitter, Facebook and even face to face "you have GOT to play this game" that I've decided that maybe I should relent. But as it's Halloween coming up (and because I've never done something like this before on this blog) I decided to do something special and do my own let's play of it.

 

Thing is, Slender has LOADS of let's plays from other Youtube players and most of them could probably do it better than I can, being new to this let's play thing. So in order to make it work, I need to know if people would actually want to see me make a fool of myself on Halloween. I've already mentioned this on my Facebook and had a couple of likes, but now I'm making this official. And what better way to do this than Halloween?

 

Do you want to see me tackle the scariest game of all time (according to some)? Do you want to see me make a fool of myself? Please leave your comments below or tweet me (links below) to let me know you want to see it. If I get enough requests, I'll do it. If I only get a few requests, I'll think about it.

 

Anyway, that's the challenge, so please leave your comments below or email me, tweet, FB me and we'll make this happen.

 

Cheers guys, have a great weekend!

 

 

Pandragon

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Pandragon Reviews - One Small Victory by Maryann Miller

 

Being an avid reader of comics in my time (although less so these days), there has always been one aspect of the superhero genre that has interested me – the double life. It has always been a somewhat torturous aspect of many superheroes. Sure, they may get to save lives and fight the bad guys (and girls), but what about their civilian life? How does it affect the lives of those they care about? This is a theme that I think was brilliant explored in the Spider-Man comics, as Spider-Man often found himself missing an important date or other event because he had to fight a villain, and Peter Parker was often accused of being a coward when trouble started and he ran away, the public not knowing that Peter Parker was actually the one saving their lives.

 

This is why I was most intrigued by the storyline of One Small Victory by Maryann Miller, it may not be a superhero story in the “traditional” sense, but it does deal with the subject of a double life. But not only that, it also deals with one woman’s desire for closure and seeking justice for her son’s death.

 

So let’s get down to the story of realistic superheroine and discover the impact her choices make.

 

 

About The Author

 

Maryann Miller is an award-winning author of numerous books, screenplays and stage plays. In addition to One Small Victory , she has written several other books. The latest, Stalking Season ,  is the second book in The Seasons Series that debuted with Open Season . The mystery series features two women homicide detectives in Dallas. Miller has a suspense Play It Again, Sam , novel, One Small Victory , a young adult novel, Friends Forever, and a short story collection, The Wisdom of Ages , is also available as an e-book and paperback.

 

 

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Cover

 

 

 

This is a simple, but strong cover. We see the heroine, Jenny, standing at the front, whilst behind her some sort of shoot-out has taken place (for the sake of spoilers I won’t go into that). The subtitle “A Story of One Woman’s Courage” illustrates the fact that the scene behind her was an intense battle and one that she came out stronger because of. It’s eye catching as well as the contrast between the blurred background and person at the front really make it stand out in my eyes.

 

 

Overview

 

When her son, Michael is killed in a car accident, Jenny (and her family) is torn apart. Learning that the driver of the car was involved with drugs, and realising that these were the cause of her son’s death, Jenny just can’t sit back, knowing the dangers out there. She therefore joins with a special drug task force to help track down the criminals and bring them to justice – but she never imagines the effect it would have on her life, or her family.

 

Jenny has to be respected as a heroine. Rather than sit around letting the loss of her son drive her into a deep depression, she makes a stand, deciding that she will prevent this happening again (or do so to the best of her ability) and do what she can to protect her own children from this horror. It may seem like a rather hasty move, joining a drug force, but her motivations are completely justified. And I also liked the fact that Jenny didn’t just get a gun and go guns blazing, killing every drug dealer she comes across Punisher style (which has been done too many times in my eyes).

 

Despite her best intentions, Jenny quickly realises the stress of the situation. Throughout the book, we see her leading two lives and trying to hard to keep them apart. As well as working as an undercover agent in the drug trade, she has to still be a mother to her children and do all the things a single mother has to do to protect her children (Jenny is divorced by the way). But the fact that she has to lie to her children almost tears a hole in her family, as well as eats away at her inside. Throughout the novel, we hear Jenny’s thoughts and feelings, her guilt and even her self-doubt. Whilst she puts on a strong exterior, Jenny is screaming inside and it can be really painful for her at times. But she never forgets why she is doing what she does and we, as readers, support her every step of the way.

 

The effects of Michael’s death truly takes the toll on the family – particularly in the younger son Scott. He becomes much more aggressive towards Jenny and is constantly harassing her for the truth. Sometimes, the situation between Jenny and Scott becomes really heated – but I can understand Scott’s anger. The family need support after Michael’s death, and Scott feels that Jenny isn’t around that much to be the strong support the family needs. Everything that Jenny does seems to make it worse, and yet if she could only tell the truth, it may make things a little easier. That’s where the tragedy of the piece comes from. It’s brilliantly written and never once ceases with the drama, making you want to carry on reading to find out whether it has a happy ending or not.

 

I also thought it was a nice touch to see the life of some of the drug dealers that Jenny had to “work” with and there were a few chapters that showed them doing tasks on the orders of other drug barons. Even though they were only short ones, I liked them because they actually showed you that the drug dealers weren’t necessarily the villains, they were just doing what they had to because they were dealt a bad hand – ala, The Wire. There were a couple of characters that I wished could have stayed with the story a bit longer, but overall it was good that the author did this and didn’t just go with the “drug dealers are evil” storyline.

 

The only negative thing that I can say about this was that there were one or two formatting issues with the book. Sometimes, during the text, they would be integrated with thoughts from the main character – but these didn’t stand out (ie, not in italics as is the standard way for showing a characters thoughts) and it sometimes became confusing what was part of the text and what was a characters thoughts. Later on, we did get italics to show this, but this didn’t always happen.

 

Aside from that minor point, this is a powerful story and it’s not hard to see why Maryann Miller is an award winning author. It kept my interest the whole way through and I would gladly recommend this book to anyone.

 

 

PROS (superheroine):

  1. Story has a lot of drama and has great power.
  2. A strong heroine.
  3. Perfectly illustrates the complications that a double life can have.

 

CONS (villianess):

  1. A few minor formatting issues.

    

Summary

 

One Small Victory is stated (on the front cover) as “A Story of One Woman’s Courage” – and it is one that readers will enjoy every single step of the way. It has its heartaches and drama, but it is also a testament to the power of family and the steps that people will take to assure the safety of their loved ones. I give this book a 4.5/5 (because some minor formatting issues put me off a little), but it’s a very HIGH 4.5. This is definitely one book that I would recommend to those that want a true superhero story.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5

 

 

Pandragon

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