Pandragon Dan http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog Pandragon Dan en Sat, 14 Jan 2012 14:32:19 GMT Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:15:50 GMT 60 Final Ragnarok Blog Tour Starting Tomorrow! http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/final-ragnarok-blog-tour-starting-tomorrow <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="922" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_f5bbde83cbbc4dc78063cab4f0cec602.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 424px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Sorry that this is so last minute, but I'm pleased to announce that starting tomorrow until 15th August, the <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em> blog tour begins! Join in the fun as I talk a little bit about Final Ragnarok, do a few interviews and even give you some interesting insight to the creation of this novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This blog tour is done in conjunction with <strong><u><a href="http://www.backcoverpromotions.co.uk/">Backcover Promotions</a></u></strong>, who I have done tours with in the past and had a lot of fun with them. Please check them out and contact them if you are organising your own blog tours!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> List of blogs and the lovely peoples blog I will be visiting are listed below, along with the post I will be doing.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 7/28/2014 - Guest Post - Kristal McKerrington<br /> 7/28/2014 - Author's Choice - Francine Alli<br /> 7/29/2014 – Interview – Mysti Parker<br /> 7/29/2014 – Review - victoria brinius<br /> 7/30/2014 – Spotlight - Lori Hayes<br /> 7/31/2014 – Interview - David Berger<br /> 7/31/2014 – Review - Sheenah Freitas<br /> 8/1/2014 – Guest Post - Lori Hayes<br /> 8/4/2014 - Author's Choice - Lynn Reynolds<br /> 8/5/2014 – Interview - M.M. Shelley<br /> 8/5/2014 – Review - Mysti Parker<br /> 8/6/2014 – Spotlight - Sarah Barnard<br /> 8/7/2014 - Interview - Brian Wilkerson<br /> 8/8/2014 - Guest Post - David Berger<br /> 8/11/2014 - Guest Post – Mysti Parker<br /> 8/12/2014 – Interview - Charles O'Keefe<br /> 8/12/2014 – Review – Francine Alli<br /> 8/13/2014 – Spotlight - SJ Dagg<br /> 8/13/2014 – Spotlight - J S Council<br /> 8/14/2014 – Interview - Francine Alli<br /> 8/15/2014 – Guest Post - Lori Hayes</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Don't forget that 7th August is ALSO the release day of <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em>, so in conjunction to this I will also be doing a special competition the week before the release date for some free ebooks! If you're a fan of the <em>Draconica</em> series you <span data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}" data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body"><span class="UFICommentBody" data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0"><span data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$0:0">definitely</span></span></span> want to be checking out this novel and learn the exciting next chapter in this story.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The blog tour and competition will be updated on the following social networking sights, so if you want to follow the action, you can do so at the following links.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FACEBOOK: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright?ref=hl&amp;ref_type=bookmark"><u>Pandragon Dan</u></a> - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TrappedonDraconica?ref=hl&amp;focus_composer=true&amp;ref_type=bookmark"><u>The Draconica Series</u></a> - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/308593229310210/?ref=2&amp;ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming"><u>Final Ragnarok Facebook Event</u></a></strong></p> <p> <strong>TWITTER:</strong> <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/PandragonDan"><u>@PandragonDan</u></a> - <a href="https://twitter.com/DraconicaSeries"><u>@DraconicaSeries</u></a></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A HUGE thanks to Backcover Promotions for organising this for me and for all the bloggers taking part in this tour. Looking forward to having a great time with it and hope you all will follow me!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Cheers guys. See you at the tour!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:59:32 GMT fa12420b-f1df-499d-8c99-9a6adc6ee952 Pandragon Reviews - Underneath the Draconian Sky http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-reviews-underneath-the-draconian-sky <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="466" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_ae133df47376ee959e4ecf94c6187b3b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 652px; height: 466px;" /></div> <p> When an author submits a book for review to me, the one thing that I ask is that they let me know if there is any strong sexual content. By that, I don’t mean a standard sex scene, or even an erotic sex scene, that I can handle. However, what I take issue with is the more, shall we say, extreme type of sexual content – such as torture, rape, bestiality and, um… scat. And no I’m not talking about the music genre – google it at your own risk.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I really just don’t enjoy this, it’s not for me. When I first started getting into Anime and Manga, a friend of mine showed me some hentai stories and personally I found a lot of disgusting (let’s just say I’ll never look at an octopus the same way). For me, rape and torture should be put across as a despicable act to horrify the readers, not be put across as a sexual fetish.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So when I was reading <em>Underneath the Draconian Sky</em>, I was a little dubious about it if I was being honest. But I did promise a review – and the author, Dale M. Chatwin was a reasonable enough guy when we talked via email, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. So today here is my review of Underneath the Draconian Sky, a Steampunk/Fantasy/Horror novel that delves into the depths of insanity and depravity. Those with a weak stomach may want to look away now!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>About The Author</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Dale M. Chatwin was born in Warwickshire in 1988 and grew up in a small town called Sedgley located in the Black Country.&nbsp; He part wrote his first novel at the age of 14 titled Destiny and Death, a vague pastiche of The Body and Dreamcatcher by Stephen King with elements of his own folded into the mix. But writing has been a passion and lifelong dream of his since before then. At 19 he moved to Southsea in Hampshire to gain some independent experience in life, and as a result of his time on that island (many short stories and poems later) he produced his first complete novel at the age of 24: Underneath the Draconian Sky which is available in paperback and eBook on Lulu and Amazon. Now after realising his dream of becoming a published author, Dale M. Chatwin is on a mission to expand and perfect his craft as a writer.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The link to his author central page: <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dale-M-Chatwin/e/B005Y4GT9S"><u><strong>http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dale-M-Chatwin/e/B005Y4GT9S</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="841" original-width="595" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_00cf90f66e3b4000aa1168a2fae22683.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 565px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Cover</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For a novel that is so brutal in its content, this cover is surprisingly gentle. It almost leads the reader into a false sense of security – which I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but that’s an interesting technique if so.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Synopsis</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>When 1107 is hired by saloon proprietor Sylvester Claproot to exterminate a group of escaped residents from the Bachman Gardens Institute for the Criminally Insane, it all seems like a run of the mill extermination: capture, torture and kill. He soon finds himself plunged into a brutal world of sexual lust, unhindered violence and where the fringes of sanity are lost to the winds of time. At the heart of this dark tale is the story of one man's acceptance of his own demise and his journey into a chaotic world where he is forced to chase his death across a brutal dystopian landscape. It is a novel that will keep you reading until the Sun scars the horizon.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I liked</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 1107, also known as The Guy is an interesting anti-hero – the kinda “shoot first, forget the questions” sort that Clint Eastwood made popular. He’s a brutal, no nonsense kind of mercenary that likes to get the job done however possible – and some of the stuff he does would make Jack Bauer cringe! Whilst I personally don’t enjoy these type of characters, the world he inhabits is a cruel and unforgiving one, so I could accept the brutal things that he did to an extent. That being said, he did show some signs of humanity every so often so he wasn’t completely a monster.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I also have to give particular praise to the world of <em>Underneath a Draconian Sky</em>. As previously mentioned, the world is a mix of Steampunk, Sci-fi and even Fantasy. Normally, if you mix in too many genres, it can sometimes make the world a little too over the top and unbelievable, a trap I myself have fallen into. But the elements mixed in here work well and create a nightmarish hell – with dusty deserts, rusted industrial areas, dirty streets and decedent, corrupted religious ideology. It is a place that has no place for kindness or meekness, ruled by alien creatures that are pretty much dictators. It builds a dark and creepy atmosphere that puts you at unease pretty much the entire novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The story is both straight forward, but also quite complex at the same time. We follow The Guy as he tries to track down the High Occultist, who is the “Big Bad” of the story. There is a lot of build up to this character prior to meeting him, which worked well. Along the way, we learn a little more about the history of the world and the characters. It was good that the book didn’t give too much away at once so that we only learned a bit at a time, this helped paint a gradual picture of the events and created an interesting story.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> All in all the plot works and sets up a nightmare of a trip where the fragility of the human mind is explored in horrific detail. However, there were some issues I had with this that I will explain in the next section.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I didn’t like</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now, I have no problems with stories being disturbing or having disturbing imagery – in fact I like it when a story leaves me in a disturbed state of mind. However, what I did find hard to take was the amount of strong sexual content involved. Practically every other chapter involved someone being raped, tortured or worse. As I’ve said in my intro, I am not a huge fan of stories that put across rape and torture as a sexual fetish. And whilst I’m not saying that <em>Underneath a Draconian Sky</em> is anything like that, I do felt there was too much of this.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The major problem I had was that a lot of it was unnecessary and just put in just for shock value. The plot had already set a disturbing element, but this extra content just seemed to detract from that in some way and make it feel more mean spirited then it needed to. Plus, most of it I found was out of context and didn’t really do anything to help the scene. A lot of it could have easily been cut out and it would have preserved the nightmarish themes and atmosphere. Not only this, but I think it could also put off a lot of potential readers. Which is a shame as there is a good story underneath, exploring the themes of insanity and the dark side of human nature – but it kinda gets lost in all the rape and torture. And that’s just the stuff I can tell you about!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As you probably guessed by now, this book is NOT suitable for young readers. Also, I don’t recommend reading this whilst you’re eating. I made that mistake when reading it at lunch and I couldn’t finish my sandwich!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>PROS (Sky’s the limit):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Main character is pretty badass!</strong></li> <li> <strong>Disturbing atmosphere.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Mythos of the world nicely thought out.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>CONS (Draconian tactics):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Overly sexual context undermines the otherwise good setting.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Relies too much on shock tactics.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Totally unsuitable for younger readers.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Summary</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It’s a good story with some nightmarish themes and disturbing imagery – but the extreme sexual content and unnecessary torture undermines it somewhat and takes away from the tension. Not one I’d recommend to someone with a weak constitution, but if you like your stories dark and atmosphere tense then you’ll most find this one an interesting read.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FINAL SCORE: 3/5</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:03:03 GMT 5ee9f383-583c-4afa-8648-45220aee9ffc New Release by Paper Crane Press: Recollection of Shared Days http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/new-release-by-paper-crane-press-recollection <p> Exciting news! I am pleased to announced that my publisher, Paper Crane Books, have published a new anthology set around the theme of holidays. It contains a series of really good short stories - including one by yours truly! It's a little different to the Fantasy style stories I normally write, but I think it turned out ok.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Quick synopsis for you:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The desire to celebrate is intrinsic to human nautre. Whether it be a victory or a new season, humans have found something to use as an excuse to get together and party. The authors at Paper Crane Books have written original stories to showcase the days we all love best: holidays. Seven stories. Four seasons. They span across time, countries, and even worlds. Come and celebrate with us!</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Best of all, it's free to download until 27th July! Click on the picture below to be taken to the Amazon page, where you can download your free copy!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Recollection-Shared-Days-Stories-Celebration-ebook/dp/B00M0DUG40/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406138296&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=recollection+of+shared"><img original-height="216" original-width="520" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_8d40727379854fc5ba191bc44868dca2.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 520px; height: 216px;" /></a></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:02:59 GMT 0e41df72-cf4f-41a8-90c5-bf1eef7bf0ca Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron Episode 3 http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/totalitarian-warlords-and-termination-squadron-episode-3 <p> Just an update - the latest video in my <em>Totalitarian Warlords And Termination Squadron</em> series is now up on Youtube to watch. For those that have been waiting for the next episode, apologies for the wait.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In this episode, the Man in Shadow introduces a new member to the team, they debut their new villain song and the Man in Shadow lets us know what he REALLY thinks of a certain Disney song - which could prove to be his undoing. There is also a little nod to a classic anime for all you otaku's out there ;)</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Check it out below and feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="345px" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sS7zabFDxqQ?wmode=opaque" width="420"></iframe></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:02:17 GMT 372adac7-ef30-44e9-9858-a7a086bbe929 Interview with Andrez Bergen http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/interview-with-andrez-bergen <p> Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Things have been a little tough at work recently and, what with the release of my new novel in a couple of weeks, I've been keeping myself busy.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Nevertheless, I intend to make up for that today, as I once again have the pleasure of my favourite author back with me. He took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his work and a little about his upcoming novel (which he briefly talked about on my blog a few weeks back). He was willing to impart his knowledge about writing to me and also a little about his forthcoming novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Whaddya say? Let's get down to it!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="1005" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_54f53e91f9ca48afa183f2eb05d25465.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 462px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>1. Thank you for taking the time to appear on my blog. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for having me, Dan. In a nutshell? I'm an Australian (born and reared in Melbourne) who's lived in Tokyo these past 13 years. I'm a journalist and I do electronic music under aliases like Little Nobody and Funk Gadget, but since 2011 have focused on writing fiction — with no particular genre holding precedence, though everyone knows I love my noir.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>2. Wow! Sounds like you keep a busy lifestyle! So what first inspired you to get into writing?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I've been pushing a pen since I could hold one — and before I could spell, apparently, if you look at some of the old stories my mum kept from primary school. I love doing the thing. It's a form of escapism and adventure in which I have no idea of what direction we'll take. Later reading people like Graham Greene, Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick inspired me to bird-dog the passion into novels.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>3. Thumbs up for the Philip K. Dick mention! Who are your favourite authors?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Definitely still Chandler, and I still pick up Greene and Dick occasionally. Dashiell Hammett, Nicholas Christopher and Angela Carter. More recent people like Michael Chabon and China Mi&eacute;ville.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>4. Do you have any other hobbies other than writing or is that your whole world?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> No, no, I have way too many of the things. I really enjoy making music, as I mentioned, along with catching up with experimental electronic sounds. I love movies and anime — I was a film reviewer for several years — and I'm a comic book buff. That's where I'm right into other writers like Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. I'm right into trying new, obscure foods. And I also make comics too.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>5. Is there no end to your talents? Ok, that's not my real question. Haha. Do you have a favourite genre to write in?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Anything goes — seriously. I've brushed up against fantasy, surreal, slipstream, magical realism, farce, sci-fi, dystopia, coming-of-age. They're all fun. But hardboiled noir often undercuts the lot.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>6. Without giving away too many spoilers, can you tell the nice people (us) a little bit about your new book?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yep, that's a toughie — a few reviewers have already commented that it's hard to talk about this story without giving away essential parts of the yarn. Basically, it's the story of a teenage high school girl growing up in Nede, pronounced 'Needy', which is a surrogate city for Melbourne in the 1980s. She comes from an abusive family, discovers herself through music and subculture, and then stumbles across a possible murder-mystery — or is it just plain madness?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>7. Ah, sounds interesting. I'm gonna add that to my to be read pile! Where did you get the inspirations for this?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Some of it is based on my own childhood with an abusive older brother, as well as the tales of friends who went through a similar experience, particularly in the goth/post-punk scene in the 1980s and '90s. The rest is pure fiction, directions that I didn't plan and came out of nowhere.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>8. Do you have any favourite characters in the story?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Um... definitely Mina. Without giving away much, I've worked with her before and will do so again. I love the hidden strength of her character. She reminds me of a female Sam Spade — if he were a teenage girl with a passion for post-punk tunes and bubbly. So I guess Spade mixed a little with another Hammett creation, Nora Charles from The Thin Man. I also loved working with Animeid, and felt regret for Mina's friend Sarah.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>9. If your book was turned into a film/TV series, who would you get to play the characters? Do you have a favourite director you would choose for this? Also, can I have a bit part in it?</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> XD&nbsp; Ha Ha Ha — yep, of course you can! We can work together as the toilet cleaners at Flinders Street Station during the crowded mardi gras scene! This one's always a tough, and constantly changes depending on what I'm exposed to at the time, cinematically speaking, and their age. Obviously I think Chlo&euml; Grace Moretz would be awesome, and she's the right age (17) — but she's American. I'd prefer an Australian, British or New Zealand actor to play Mina. Mia Wasikowska? Perfect if she were 7 years younger. I'm not really up on current Aussie actresses having lived in Japan all these years. But ideally? Brigitte Bardot when she was a brunette in the early '50s, or Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1980. Don't get me started on the other characters — you'll stop paying attention before I'm half-way finished. Director? Five years ago I would've said Peter Jackson. Now I won't — The Hobbit scarred me a bit. He's still great, but needs to go back to his roots. I love what Christopher Nolan does, and I'm a Terry Gillian fan from way back — in fact he'd excel with the middle part of the book. I'm tempted to say Spike Jonze. But if John Schlesinger were still alive, I'd opt for him — Billy Liar, The Falcon and the Snowman and Cold Comfort Farm are still brilliant films.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><u>10. Some good choices for directors there. And I did used to work as a cleaner as one of my old jobs. XD Which, in your opinion is more important – story or characters?</u></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Can I say both? For me, definitely both, with characters (and their dialogue) only slightly edging the plot.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>11. Of course you can say both. It's your interview after all. ;) What do you look for in a good story? </strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Something that keeps my attention from wandering. A good yarn that builds to something special, with characters I dig even if they're not the most likeable of people.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>12. So I understand that one of your other books, <em>Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat</em> is being turned into a graphic novel. Do you have plans to turn any of your other works into graphic novels? </strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yep, I just wrapped up that graphic novel in May, and it's being published in August. I did the artwork as well, and it was a mind-blowing experience. I realized partway into it that it was impossible to do the entire novel, and concentrated instead on the first 100 pages, plus added some new plot-twists that have occurred to me over the ensuing three years since TSMG was published. I'm also currently developing my novel from last year, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, as a continuing comic book series — which is appropriate since it's heavily influenced by golden and silver age comics. But another graphic novel? I haven't thought that far ahead... yet.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><u>13. What’s the best advice you can give to authors?</u></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Perseverence is the thing to hang onto. Don't give up just because you get knocked back a few times. And you need to have faith in what you do. I know that's hard. But if you don't believe in your work — who will?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>14. I agree with you wholeheartedly on that one. And indeed that's something that I myself have come to blows with sometimes. Ok, now for the REAL question of the interview – and this is real life or death here! The fate of the world rests on this question and could cause a time collapse that will wipe out all life in the Universe. So think carefully before you answer. What DOES the Fox say?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yikes — this question. Was praying you wouldn't ask. So I'm going to dip back into my favourite Dr Suess tome, since this is the wisest fox in the world: “When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.” Exactly.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thank to Andrez for an amazing interview! Be sure to check out his novels here:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Andrez-Bergen/e/B009I1QB2I"><u><strong>Amazon Page</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:30:09 GMT 2f6f1c1f-da01-48d4-8fc8-5cc78a2ba128 Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-reviews-blue-on-the-horizon-troll <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="466" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_ae133df47376ee959e4ecf94c6187b3b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 652px; height: 466px;" /></div> <p> Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review <em>Blue on the Horizon: Troll</em> by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>About The Author</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7110063.Rebecca_Ferrell_Porter"><u><strong>Goodreads</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="400" original-width="267" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_626ff744e7f742938e886690240a7395.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 449px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Cover</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Synopsis (from Goodreads)</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I liked</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In fact, <em>Blue</em> has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I didn’t like</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>PROS (I’m a troll man):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Strong moral message.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Short chapters makes the story quick to read.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Accessible to all ages.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>CONS (Trollololo):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Balance of action and story could have been better for me.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Ending a bit of a cop out.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Summary</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FINAL SCORE: 4/5</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:27:28 GMT 11b27397-decd-4163-ad81-29ce0918cd01 Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-reviews-blue-on-the-horizon-troll-1 <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="466" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_ae133df47376ee959e4ecf94c6187b3b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 652px; height: 466px;" /></div> <p> Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review <em>Blue on the Horizon: Troll</em> by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>About The Author</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7110063.Rebecca_Ferrell_Porter"><u><strong>Goodreads</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="400" original-width="267" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_626ff744e7f742938e886690240a7395.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 449px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Cover</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Synopsis (from Goodreads)</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I liked</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In fact, <em>Blue</em> has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I didn’t like</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>PROS (I’m a troll man):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Strong moral message.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Short chapters makes the story quick to read.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Accessible to all ages.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>CONS (Trollololo):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Balance of action and story could have been better for me.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Ending a bit of a cop out.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Summary</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FINAL SCORE: 4/5</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:27:28 GMT 717a1500-22a9-49f2-b6dc-89e0d959daae Final Ragnarok Release Date http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/final-ragnarok-release-date <p> Exciting news guys! <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns,</em> the third book in the <em>Draconica</em> series, has a scheduled release date.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The novel will be available on the 7th August 2014 - through ebook and paperback! Check out the front cover, done by the amazing talented AtelierEdge (Carlos Montenegro), who also did the interior art as well.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="922" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_f5bbde83cbbc4dc78063cab4f0cec602.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 424px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> And below is the official synopsis for <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em>.</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> <p> <em>She is Coming...</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>When Daniar Dragonkin heard those words, she had no idea of the full horror that would follow. Now, enemies converge to bring to life a monstrous plan that will spell the end of Draconica.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>With her family threatened, old enemies returning to torment her - and a civil war in Baalaria that prevents any help from her sister, Daniar faces the darkness moment of her entire life.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Heroes will die, evil will rise - and Daniar’s sanity will be pushed to breaking point.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>She Returns is the first book in the Final Ragnarok saga - and the darkest moment in the Draconica series so far. The countdown to Draconica’s ultimate fate has begun...</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As if that's not enough, I have recently created a Facebook group so that you can follow everything on the lead up to <em>Final Ragnarok's</em> release date. They'll be competitions and teaser art a plenty! For you on Facebook, the link is below.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/308593229310210/308594949310038/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity"><u><strong>FINAL RAGNAROK FACEBOOK EVENT</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Put 7th August in your diaries people - it's gonna be an exciting time for the <em>Draconica</em> series! :)</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 15:21:45 GMT c80044a2-bbea-4b9c-ac70-e2dc05ea2186 Reading VS Writing http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/reading-vs-writing <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="796" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_8a34698990974a09b9e590b4e65c3fe4.gif" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 366px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> One of the most given bits of advice I see from authors when they are asked “what does it take to be a writer”, more often than not it’s “Read a lot”. This seems like pretty good advice and in some ways a no brainer. After all, you need to read in order to learn your craft – because how can you be expected to write a book if you don’t know how to set out your story?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> However, my problem with this advice is that some authors put across the idea that you need to be a hardcore reader to be a writer, that you need to eat sleep and breathe reading and read about a hundred books before you can even pick up a pen (or keyboard).</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This I don’t agree with and I would actually contest this. In my opinion, you don’t NEED to be a reader to be a writer.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> At least to a point.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I am sure some of my author friends reading this will be raising their eyebrows here – just hear me out. And remember, this is just my opinion.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Firstly, I agree that you need to read books to learn to write them – in fact that needs to be the first thing you should do. But, contrary to what some authors believe, you do not need to read a LOT of books to get started. My belief has always been that, to be a writer, you just need to have a basic grasp of grammar, spelling and, most importantly, an imagination. Books can obviously teach you this, but reading too much can also be counterproductive. Reason? If you spend all your time reading, when are you supposed to find the time to actually write?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The only way you’re ever going to learn writing – is by writing! Now I know that there are authors out there that can read five books a day and still find time to write their own books – but that doesn’t work for everyone. I know that there are authors that have wall to wall bookshelves of all the books they’ve collected over the years, but I also know some authors that only have read a few books in their time. You have to find a balance between reading and writing or else you'll never get your book finished.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Speaking for myself, believe it or not, I actually am NOT a heavy reader. Obviously, I do read books, and even review them on this very blog – hell I even read manga and comics where I can. However, I work a full time job, play guitar in a band and also have my own projects on the go, so I don’t often find myself sitting still very long to read a novel except on my lunch break – or when nature calls. Ahem.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But truthfully, I also find it very hard to get into new authors. Aside from George R R Martin, I haven’t really got into any big name authors. In fact, if I’m being honest, some of the best books I’ve read (and most of my favourite authors) are by Indie authors. In fact, if you were to ask me who I think the top five best authors are at the moment, they would all be Indie ones! But another reason I find it hard to get into new authors is that you just can’t beat Douglas Adams or H.P. Lovecraft in my opinion! XD</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So... how many novels SHOULD you read before you become a writer? There’s no real “amount” as such, but I would definitely read a couple or more at least to get an idea for storytelling. In fact, pick an author that you admire and see how they write to get some ideas. Obviously don’t copy them, but give yourself an idea.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Reading is good and it will help you no end, but it can only teach you so much. The only way you’re ever going to be any good at writing is to write. It’s fair enough reading about a hundred novels to learn as much as you can, but if you spend TOO much time away from writing, then your will never get done. You need to find that perfect balance between reading and writing – of which I can’t advise you on that, you need to learn it for yourself. What? You don’t expect me to tell you EVERYTHING do you?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So in closing, if you ask any author for advice and they tell you that you need to read a lot, my view is to take it with a pinch of salt. It’s not necessarily a lie as such – just a half truth. I’d say read a few books to get an idea, learn to write and then start putting down some ideas. Reading is a great way to get started on your way to being a best selling author, but don’t be intimidated into thinking that you need to read a million books first hand. You only need to do one important thing to be an author. And that is WRITE!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But I’d also like to make one thing clear, as reading this back, it makes is look as though I’m saying you should rush things in your attempt to be a writer. That’s not true. Take your time. A story is finished when it’s finished. As I said earlier, you need to find a balance between writing and reading, but never rush your work. Great stories take a while to get through after all.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for reading – now go write that novel that you’ve been planning for ages!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Agree? Disagree? Please Facebook, tweet or message me or leave a comment with your thoughts.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span> </div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <em>Above image is copyright of its respective owner</em></p> </div> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:16:21 GMT d31e4529-bf2e-4a13-9969-f7716f6d97e2 Top Five Fantastic Father Characters http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/top-five-fantastic-father-characters <p> Today is Father’s Day, where we show love to all the father’s out there. I myself have a lot to thank my father for personally as it was because of him that I got into writing in the first place. Where it not for him reading me C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl to me when I was younger, I never would have picked up the imagination that I have now. So Dad, thanks for the inspiration and support over the years. Love you loads pops! :)</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So in honour of this day, I decided to show some respect to Fatherhood by doing a Top Five list of the Fantastic Father characters. In these examples, I look at five characters that for me, really capture the spirit of fatherhood – and what a great father should be. Some of these examples may not necessarily be father’s in their own right – but they do become fathers by proxy and therefore I believe they also can be honoured in this list.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As always, this list is in no particular order and purely based on my own opinion. Also, just a warning – there may be spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So here we go, this is my list for the Top Five Fantastic Fathers.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="509" original-width="600" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_790324b38e0145f48a11e554852268d7.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 339px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>1. Harry Mason from <em>Silent Hill</em></strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> You know what it’s like guys – one minute you’re just driving around with your daughter towards a mysterious, fog filled town. Next thing, your car crashes, your daughter is missing and you being attacked by all manner of horrific monsters – all the time shifting between the “real” world and the Otherworld. Then you discover your daughter (who actually isn’t your real daughter BTW) is actually part of a girl called Aleyssa, who some evil cult burned to bring back a demonic God. Aleyssa broke her spirit off in two and that created Cheryl, and now they have to come together to bring this monster back to Earth to bring about a new paradise.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Wow – being a father in a Japanese horror game really does suck!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This is the dilemma that Harry finds himself in the first <em>Silent Hill</em> game. Bet he never thought that when his girl asked him “Daddy, what will I be when I grow up”, he answered “Oh, you’ll be the one that brings the God back to Earth and destroys all humanity.”</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But in all seriousness, the fact that Harry is prepared to go through this hell, fighting all kinds of monsters (from giant moths to childlike monstrosities) and facing stuff that would drive a normal person insane to rescue his daughter really shows the strength of his character. Let’s face it, what parent wouldn’t go through hell to save their child? Harry could just turn and run, but no – he fights on, hoping he can rescue Cheryl and bring her home. Fair play to the guy!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Harry is such an important character that in <em>Silent Hill 3</em>, Heather (his daughter, now under a new name to protect her identity) has to go through this same hell – eventually having to avenge her dad when he dies. Harry is a strong, protective dad and the parent that Cheryl (or Aleyssa) deserved in the first place. Harry is one of those tough, action dads that is ready to kick ass and take names! You go Harry, my son!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="353" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_dda2776bae34433198737d1828051651.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 216px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>2. Gru from <em>Despicable Me</em></strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The supervillain turned doting father was a surprise for me. Prior to seeing <em>Despicable Me</em>, I had no idea of the story – other than it had the minions. So when the plot with Gru and the girls from the orphanage was introduced, I thought it added a lot of pathos and catharsis (get me with the big words!) to what could have been a fairly bland family movie.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Gru obviously isn’t a father himself, but becomes one through circumstance. When Vector, a rival villain steals a shrink ray that he needs to steal the moon, and failing to break into his base to get it back, Gru has to resort to subtle measures to get it back. He adopts three girls from an orphanage, with the idea that they sell cookies that are secretly robots to break into Vector’s base to steal the ray. What can go wrong, right?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Well, it doesn’t quite go that way for Gru. Though he finds the girls annoying and too needy at first, they do eventually grow on him. And through no fault of his own, he does actually become a great father – even blowing up a carnival stand to win a unicorn for Agnes (arguably the sweetest kid ever put on film). Even when they are sent back to the orphanage (by Gru’s assistant) so that he can concentrate on their villainous plot, he still tries to get back to their dance recital – only to find that they have been captured by Vector. And so Gru has to fight to save them!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Ok, so the last bit is kinda the typical “Damsel in Distress” trope that I often find myself moaning about, but the film more than makes up for it with the relationship between Gru and the girls. It adds a real human element to Gru’s character and turns him from a villain to a devoted father. And that last scene where he reads the kids a bedtime story is actually really touching and heartwarming – and although many won’t admit to it, I’m sure that scene brings a few tears out.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Despicable Me</em> is a great film not just for the minions – but for Gru’s character development. He shows that even the hardest of hearts can be great fathers. This follows onto <em>Despicable Me 2</em> where he has become fully devoted to his children and will do what he can to protect them. <em>Despicable Me</em> is a much stronger film because of this.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="225" original-width="176" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_b42008eafb714534b44af7579fb187c0.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 511px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> &nbsp;</div> <p> <u><strong>3. Lee Everett from <em>The Walking Dead Video Game Season 1</em></strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I debated whether to have Rick Grimes from the TV series on this list, but in the end I went for Lee Everett from <em>The Walking Dead</em> video game. Simply because of the strong emotions that he brings out from the player.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> At the start of <em>The Walking Dead</em>, Lee is on his way to prison, but then the Walkers start coming out and Lee is forced to fend for himself. That is until he finds Clementine, a young girl who has become separated from her parents (who were in Savannah when all this went down). Lee takes Clem under his wing to try and get her back to her parents safely, thus beginning one of the best partnerships in video game history in my opinion.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now how Lee treats Clem is entirely down to the player – and their relationship ultimately changes depending on how you act around her. However there is one constant that never changes no matter how much of a jerk you make Lee – he will do anything to protect Clem. In fact, being around her brings out powerful instincts and he becomes a heroic father and protector to her.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Much like Harry Mason, Lee has to also go through hell to rescue Clementine at one point. Remember how I said earlier that spoilers were ahead? This is a pretty BIG one so cut to the next candidate if you don’t wanna know what happens.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Near the end of Season 1, he is bitten by a Walker and his health deteriorates quickly. But Clem is captured by a madman and he has to fight through an army of Walkers to get to him, in one of the best scenes of the whole game. But even though he rescues Clem, his condition is too far gone and it’s up to Clem how he meets his fate. However it happens, very few video games have such a heart wrenching ending as The Walking Dead, because usually a video game is supposed to have a happy ending and reward you for all your efforts. This ending is a real downer and the fact that Lee and Clem are going to be torn apart makes the ending that much sadder, after all they have been through.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But even though he doesn’t make it, Lee’s advice lives on in Clementine, who becomes the protagonist of Season 2. Everything that Lee taught her is carried across to this game and Clem’s character changed slightly, depending on what she learned. This makes Lee a very important character in Lee’s life, as his life lessons carry onto her – much like the advice of our own father’s carry with us for the rest of our lives.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For me, Lee represents how the actions of the parents will affect their children and makes us wonder, how do we want our children to turn out? But with Lee guiding her, I think Clementine will be ok. Hopefully.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="240" original-width="320" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1bfa90b8b5a442edbc91930fcc86136b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 300px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>4. Ted Kramer from Kramer vs. Kramer</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I only saw this film for the first time last year – and boy was it amazing! I believe that, along with<em> Rain Man</em>, this is Dustin Hoffman’s best role, because the character arc that he goes through is just perfect.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Ted is a workaholic father that puts his career before his family. When Joanna, his wife leaves him, he is stuck with their son Billy and has now balance his working life with being a single father. At first he is utterly terrible at it, coming to arguments with his son more than once (especially during a scene where he tries, and fails, to make French toast), but gradually he settles into the role and, in many ways, becomes a better father than Joanna was a mother. For me the defining moment is when Billy is injured during an accident and he carries him as he runs to the hospital – even being with Billy when he has to have stitches. Ironically, though he becomes a fantastic father, his career suffers because of it. He doesn’t care though, he’s happy spending more time with his son and just earning enough to get by.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When Joanna returns, a legal battle begins where she tries to get Billy. Even though he loses, even Joanna is amazed at the change that Ted has gone through – Billy seems to have brought out the best in him. Ted has a chance to try to appeal against this decision, but decides not to do it as it would involve putting his son on the stand. He won’t do that, knowing the trauma that this trial is putting Billy through already. This is a really unselfish action on his part and one that shows what a great parent he has become, as he is putting his child before himself. For me, that is what a great parent is.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Kramer vs. Kramer</em> is a fantastic film with great performances all around – but Dustin Hoffman’s character development is one of the best that I have seen in a while. He goes from a totally unlikeable jerk to a devoted father and we follow him every step of the way. Joanna is by no means the villain, but Ted and Billy’s bonding is the true heart of the story. Ted shows that anyone can be a fantastic father as long as they follow this one simple rule – do what’s right for your children.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="385" original-width="311" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_117e9371c1a30a8de6fe51ac861cf247.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 371px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>5. Homer Simpson – that is all!</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I once used Marge Simpson on a Mother’s Day special to demonstrate empowering women, so why not use Homer Simpson to show a great father.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Well, ok, maybe great is not the word. Because, let’s be honest, Homer is in most cases a pretty terrible father. He’s reckless, selfish and even downright insensitive. He’s often lamenting about his life, cursing his family for holding him back and angry that he isn’t able to get the things he wants. Often, he will forget about important things like anniversaries, birthday parties and other stuff in favour of his own activities. For example, one time he brought Marge a bowling ball for an anniversary present (which almost threw her in the arms of another man), and that’s just ONE example of the downright selfish and horrible things he has done.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So why am I including him in this list of great fathers? Why not?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Actually, there is a good reason – because despite all the crap he puts his family through, despite all the nasty things he does to them, Homer does always come through for his family in the end. Homer knows that without his family, he is nothing. His family are what keep him together and show him that sometimes, the best things in life are right in front of you. And there have been a few times where he has come close to losing his family, but he will always do the right thing where needed.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> We love Homer for his antics, but what makes him truly special is the fact that we know that he loves Marge, Lisa, Maggie and (though he won’t admit it) Bart. Homer maybe a knob sometimes, but he’s not a monster. His family are what keep him grounded and that will always be the case.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Maybe one day the time will come when the Simpson family get so tired of his antics and tell him to sling his hook, but with 25 Seasons (and counting) in them, let’s hope there is still some forgiveness in them yet.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> What are you favourite father characters? Please let me know on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments below.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Happy Fathers Day to all the great fathers out there. Keep being as fantastic as you are!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span> </div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> </div> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 10:55:57 GMT 5cb54348-0294-4a31-a903-110aa936fb09