Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Review of Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Title: Men At Arms
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5/5

I quite love a good mystery plot, so long as they’re not too thick. But I’ve a nasty habit of, when wanting to know something now, flicking further on into the book. This is true of anything I read. Sometimes I’ll find I’ve already read certain scenes two or three times before I’ve even gotten near that section of the book.
So I prefer to watch mysteries rather than read’em. Then again, on the odd occasion that I do, it’s only on TV. Anything I can skim forward and find the answer won’t keep my interest long.
Especially if the plot goes something like is: someone got killed (fair enough), investigators waffle on about this and that and who’s dating what. Either start hunting for the criminal or tell me who did it, already. *fast-forward*
Yet there’s something about Men at Arms that invites me to keep reading straight through. I’m not sure if it’s Vimes or Carrot that draw me most, it’s sure as anything not Nobby (though, he’s got a strange sort of charm), but I’ve a sneaky suspicion that it might be a combo of the two. And there’s the added bonus that I, just through reading the beginning, already know who did some of the crimes pretty early on (no, I won’t tell you who).
Then there’s Angua ...
I’m liking her, a lot. In particular, the way she’s portrayed with a paw, I mean foot, firmly planted on both sides of what she is and she uses it to the Watch’s advantage. I particularly like how the sense of smell is portrayed with colours. ^_^ And her relationship with Carrot was ... unexpected. Not the relationship itself, mind, the way it starts. Though how he found out she was a werewolf was quite amusing.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Review of Lords and Ladies by Terry Prachett

Title: Lords and Ladies
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5/5

So, this time around we have what happened on a Midsummer’s Night (now if only it had been a dream). And I must say that, next to Death, Granny is my favourite character. But of course, there’s also Magrat, Nanny and Greebo. All of ‘em muddled in their own escapades.
To be honest, I didn’t feel as if there was a central figure who rises over the others in this story. There is a fair bit going on, weddings and elves breaking into this world (not the splendid Tolkienesque ones, the more sinister type of older folktales).
Some bits where quite thought-inducing, while others (a fair bit of them, actually) had me giggling in some quiet corner. Especially when it came to Casanunda meeting the Elven King (who apparently looks a lot like his picture).
The best bit was, naturally, at the end with the bees and the unicorn. And, after everything that had happened, there was still a happy ending and a wedding. Granted, what with all the turmoil, it wasn’t exactly how it was meant to go, but still ... hurray!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Anne McCaffrey - A Great Woman Gone

I must be about the last person to have heard about this, but I'm still just as shocked that Anne McCaffrey is gone. Yet, at the same time, I'd consider myself fortunate to attain even a fraction of the fame she has gathered over her long life.
Dragonflight was the first proper novel I read, at the impressionable age of thirteen.  She opened my eyes in more ways than one and, though I'd already a love for writing and wanted to be an author, she made me want to better my writing. I'm pretty sure she also helped foster a deep love for dragons and the desire to have my own dragons flitting through the pages in whatever form I could find.
I cannot recall how many times I've read that one book. It appeared and disappeared throughout my younger life until I found the means to buy it. Let's say enough that I can open it to select parts as the mood sees fit. Though I haven't gone to Pern in a while.
There are still books I've yet to read (and buy), new dragons I've yet to meet and old dragons I've new stories to experience with. And I just know that, through those books, her memory shall reach out to me on those gossamer wings, as I hope it reaches to you all through whatever of her many books you choose to read.
Anne McCaffrey, it's a given that you shall be missed, but may you never be forgotten.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Introducing ...

Name: Eleanor Vale
Story: Aelfah
Status: Mother

I think every mother is a little paranoid that something will happen to their daughters. Especially to those who spend most nights being out late. Doubly so when you can’t get hold of them on their flat mobile phones. >_>
For ages, she was “Aly’s mother” or “Mrs. Vale”, but I wanted a first name for her, even if it never got into the story. I needed that name to help me understand her better.
So there I was, sitting at the computer, trolling through name databases. All the time thinking “What is her name? What sounds right?” That’s the crucial factor for me. It has to feel right to me, otherwise I cringe whenever I think of them.
Now I occasionally have a music channel going on the TV. I did on this day. I wasn’t paying much attention to what was being sung at all, but a certain song came on as I was asking those questions. Two words piercing into the murk of my thoughts. “Eleanor Rigby.” (Yep, that song by none other than The Beatles.)
Now, she doesn’t mirror the song, and I dismissed it at first. But the name stuck and she became Mrs. Eleanor Vale. ^_^

Seeing that she spends so much of the story angry at, or disappointed in, her children, I wanted a calmer, less stressed, picture of her. Personally, I think she could be a little more relaxed.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Introducing ...

Name: Ssskerf
Story: The Rogue King Saga - The Shadow Prince
Status: Royal Guard

Ssskerf started off a completely different species and with a slightly different name. Being a scene character, I decided I just couldn't do another generic lizard-man (they're so darn common in this world, ergo there are so many already that needed to be what they were), so Kerf got turned into a snake-man and became Ssskerf instead.
I like snakes. Really wish I could actually see a live one (there are none in New Zealand that I know of, dead or alive, not even in the zoos).

It's pouring when he arrives, it's pouring in the image (Enlarge and look at the cobbles, you can just spot it). I'm actually quite proud of the atmosphere, just wish I could've made the rain a little easier to see.
His armour really should be trimmed in gold, but ... well, let’s say I really admire all those who texture the 3D models. And no, his tail's not meant to be plated. How could he possibly slither with such a hindrance?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Helping Harry Help Others

Rachael Harrie's Blog Building Campaign may have ended for 2011, but the stories linger on ... thanks to Katharina Gerlach.
She has complied 176 donated entries from all three challenges, whether they be flash fiction, poems or essays from just 81 participants.
It's amazing how each one is different from the other.

Want another reason to grab this?
All the proceeds of this eBook, whether bought from Smashwords or Amazon, go to Harry Moseley's charity "Help Harry Help Others". His charity has raised half a million British Pounds for Cancer Research UK, to help them find a cure for brain tumours.

For $2.99 you can Help Harry Help Others too.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Introducing ...

Name: Viola
Story: The Unborn Trilogy - Golden Dawn
Status: Servant (of sorts)

Really not sure where Viola came from and there isn’t really much I can say about her.
Except for one thing: she creeps me out. I’ve a strong feeling that I need to bathe every time I think on her too long. At the very least, that girl needs to bathe.
Though her name’s not mentioned at the time, she’s the first one to meet Herald (the Main Character) when he arrives home. Now there’s a welcome for you.
Her name comes from the genus of the flower, not the instrument. ^_~

I’ve redone this image a bunch of times and still wish I’d got her hair to look lankier. It still seems a little ... foofy to me. And, now I look at it, I wish her teeth were a little more obvious. They need more attention than brushing could ever do.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Introducing ...

Name: Penny Tanner
Story: Dark One’s Mistress
Status: Cobbler’s Daughter

This is one of those few times where the image came before the name. Being one of the five taken to the citadel to stand before their Lord, I wasn’t sure exactly what to call the last of the group. All I knew she was the least impressed by her predicament.
I often think of the kind of person that character is while I work on their image. While I did, it came to me that she was probably a bit of a tomboy, certainly a firecracker that didn’t back down for any reason. A short, and generally quick to anger, young woman who’s likely to fight harder than the other and is not above punching any man trying to grab her.
Only her name escaped me. It hacked me off for days.
Then the image was done and I was staring at that blank space of a title under which to save it.
That’s when it hit me. It was so darn obvious.
Her name was Penny. Penny Tanner, to be precise. ^_^

I think I captured her quite well, though she doesn’t look all that short in a single shot.