The State of the Writer: 10/30/22

<–The State of the Writer: 10/16/22         The State of the Writer: 11/13/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1

Project: Story/Series
Working Title:
The High Archon (The Truth Seeker Chronicles)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 11,282
Status: Reorganizing & Worldbuilding
Working on language details

One of the many pictures I have saved on Pinterest for potential settings.  I love this as a view from train tracks, though of course you’d have to be walking along them in order to see something like this, not riding in one as my characters would ostensibly be doing.  My initial method of transportation was going to be horse and carriage, but then I started thinking about what technology they might have and I realized a train might absolutely be possible.

Continue reading

The State of the Gamer: 10/20/22

<–The State of the Gamer: 10/6/22           The State of the Gamer: 11/3/22–>

A weekly post updated every other Thursday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a site you can use to keep track of your backlog, so please feel free to friend me there!

Games Demoed: 0

Games Purchased: 1

  • Dinogotchi – $1.99 @ Nintendo eShop
Total: $1.99

Games Finished: 2

Title: The Journey Down: Chapter One
Series: The Journey Down
Developer: Skygoblin

Cover of The Journey Down: Chapter OneDate Started: October 18, 2022
Date Finished: October 20, 2022

I finished this so quickly it didn’t even make it to a Currently Playing.  The world of this game is really interesting, and I like how it weaves in the lore without beating you over the head with it.  You get enough information to make you really curious.  Like what is the Edge?  Is it some sort of Discworld situation?  What is Underland?  What’s there that’s so dangerous and why is the Armando Power Company so interested in it?  They’re giving me Shinra Electric Company vibes tbh especially since they’re controlling everything and looking for something in this weird, off-limits place.  All the characters’ faces are more like masks, and there’s a section in the game where you can see that’s exactly what they are.  Bwana and Kito, the main characters, have faces inspired by real African masks.  More than inspired by actually.  Their faces were based off the masks.  I was afraid the game was going to end once I finished up with the airplane lol.  I’m definitely getting the next chapter.  Oh, and the music slaps.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 10/19/22

<–The State of the Reader: 10/5/22         The State of the Reader: 11/2/22–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 3

Total: $19.12

Books Finished: 2

Title: The Girl from the Well
Series: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Date Added: February 28, 2022
Date Started: September 22, 2022
Date Finished: October 17, 2022

Cover of The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (The Girl from the Well)Media: eBook/Kindle

It’s time for a new library book.  I finished this a few days prior to its due date.  Read some of the comments/critiques and apparently people found it boring and not scary?  I guess they were expecting it to be scary like The Ring, but even though I noticed the similarities (and with a little digging found out it’s a very common trope in Japanese horror), I wasn’t expecting the story to be like that.  Idk.  There’s no accounting for taste, but I think people judged the book based on their expectations not on what it was (the same thing happened with Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement).  I’m interested in reading the sequel The Suffering.

Continue reading

The Broken Rose: Chapter 11 – Dear Aeris II

Update: I was hoping to update this before my last SOTW post, but things have been hectic lately, and I feel awful because Bethany is doing such an amazing job on these and I feel like an ass for not getting them up as soon as I can.  Here are the links to the image on Deviant Art and Artstation.

The Broken Rose Page

<–Chapter 10                                                                                                                                 Chapter 12–>

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII, its characters, and settings are all property of Square Enix so I can take no credit nor claim any ownership of that. I do take some credit for the story’s plot.
Banner Artwork Disclaimer:  The featured artwork for the banner is entitled White rose I and was created by the very talented Deviant Artist RemusSirion who was gracious enough to grant me permission to use it here.  The picture has been slightly altered from the original. All rights belong to the artist, and links are included for both the artist page and the work.


Consistent and sustained graphic descriptions and mentions of rape/ sexual assault, sexual slavery/bondage, slavery, human trafficking, physical abuse, graphic descriptions of violence, mental abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, body shaming, starvation, torture, forced pregnancy, forced childbirth, miscarriage, forced miscarriage, abortion, and other potential disturbing and triggering topics.

Aeris’s second letter of self-reclamation.

Chapter 11 cover

A white and pink rose sitting by what looks like a glass necklace. In the top right corner Chapter 11 Dear Aeris II is in dusky pink.

Dearest Aeris,

It’s been fifty-five days since last I was used, and I never will be again.  My general promises that every day and every day proves it more true. I’m his Aeris and his alone.  Brutal men can never have me.  I cry and cry when I think about that…how I’ll never again be abused.  I’m his.  I’m his.  I’m forever hisHe guards me.  He shields me.  I’m safe.  He tells me the best and most wonderful things like just how cherished I am.  He could hurt me so badly, but he hasn’t. He won’t.  He’s gentle.  He’s careful with me.  I live in a palace by the sea under his endless protection.

Continue reading

The State of the Writer: 10/16/22

<–The State of the Writer: 10/2/22         The State of the Writer: 10/30/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2

Project: Story/Series
Working Title:
The High Archon (The Truth Seeker Chronicles)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 11,282
Status: Reorganizing & Worldbuilding
Working on language details

The last few weeks have been spent figuring out surname naming conventions for different groups with regards to marriage.  Since I work better when I have examples to use, I had to make up last names for said groups, and those last names had to make sense in terms of the groups’ cultures/background.  I do like that in working on one worldbuilding aspect, I can solidify others.

Continue reading

Eating Robots: And Other Stories by Stephen Oram (Nudge the Future #1)

Title: Eating Robots: And Other Stories
Series: Nudge the Future
Author: Stephen Oram
Date Added: April 10, 2017
Date Started: October 23, 2018
Date Finished: November 6, 2018
Reading Duration: 14 days
Genre: Science Fiction (Sci-Fi), Speculative Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Short Stories

Cover of Eating Robots: And Other Stories by Stephen Oram (Nudging the Future)Pages: 141
Publication Date: May 31, 2017
Publisher: SilverWood Book
Media: eBook/Kindle

The future is bright…or is it?

Step into a high-tech vision of the future with author of ‘Quantum Confessions’ and ‘Fluence’ Stephen Oram. Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, tele-empathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, ‘Eating Robots’ explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Stephan Oram, the author of this volume, intrinsically understands the function of a short story and does an excellent job with the ideas he presents.  The collection uses a variety of genres/subgenres like the subtle horror of “Disjointed” to the satisfying, poetic justice found in “Little Miracles.”  Most importantly, these stories reveal a glimpse of a much closer future than expected where the disenfranchised become even more so due to public opinion turned policy, and there’s a sinister similarity between the mien of many of them and the show Black Mirror.  Some of these stories touch on the same topics as Jonathan Luna’s Alex + Ada (a review I’ve put on hold as I think I need to read the graphic novel again before I can adequately discuss it) with respect to AI rights.

We are reaching the point where speculative fiction is not so speculative anymore, nor is cyberpunk dystopian.  Spend any time on Disabled Twitter and you will see stories of people priced out of life improving if not saving technology.  Substances or activities the abled bodied can do without assistance (produce insulin or even breathe) are behind a paywall for diabetics and asthmatics respectively.  What was once merely metaphor has become reality.

5 stars.

You can find more of my book reviews and analyses here!
Book Reviews by Title
Book Reviews by Author

Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy VI – Part 4 Music and Conclusion

Start Here

<–Part 3


Final Fantasy VI has one of the best soundtracks of not only any Final Fantasy, but it  also easily tops the video game music charts.  It’s what got me into VG music and had me making separate save files before certain scenes so I could listen to Nobuo-san’s masterpieces over and over again.  This was decades before game music was readily available (I’m dating myself…and why wouldn’t I?  I’m awesome!), and even when they started publishing it on CDs, they were still hard to come by as imports and also very expensive.

FFVI was my introduction to the concept of the leitmotif, which is a  short, recurring musical phrase associated with a particular person, place, or idea.  It’s usually credited to Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, but he’s not its originator nor did he himself use those terms (also Wagner was a proto-Nazi i.e. would’ve been a Nazi if Nazis had existed, so I kind of put him in the same wheelhouse as H. P. Lovecraft in terms of shitty but sadly relevant, but I digress), and Nobuo-san (who is delightful) used such a concept masterfully to not only give each character in the game a theme, but also tied certain themes, like Locke’s and Celes’, together.

Let’s start with the beginning “Omen,” though, which is the piece that plays as the game loads.  It serves as a nice bookend to “Dancing Mad,” the final boss music, and both songs are reminiscent of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” (and I’m talking about more than just the famous opening) with that Gothic church music motif.

Lots of YouTube links incoming:

Continue reading

Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy VI – Part 3 Story Analysis

Start Here

<–Part 2                                                                                                                                                         Part 4–>

Story Analysis

Final Fantasy VI is a tale of two sides, a common theme in the series, those sides being Celes and Terra; ice and fire; general and slave.  But deconstructing the dichotomy shows how even the former was in bondage long before she was imprisoned in South Figaro.

Final Fantasy VI has long been lauded for numerous things, but a major facet of this praise centered around it being one of the few games of that era to have a female MC, and VI boasted two.  While it can be argued there is no main character, since VI allows the player to pick and choose who to include (within reason), rewarding them with extra scenes if certain people are brought along, the World of Balance and World of Ruin beginning with Terra and Celes respectively is not mere happenstance.

Both parts of the game begin with protagonists whose names mean “earth” and “heaven” with the first focusing on the mundane realm of war and political machinations until it culminates in the heroes literally miles above the ground on a floating continent.  The second half then features with a character whose moniker refers to the celestial realm gathering everyone together in order to cast down a false god and restore the balance of earth and heaven.

As above, so below.

Continue reading

Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy VI – Part 2 Story Synopsis

Start Here

Part 3–>

Author’s Note: I was going to include the Story Analysis here, too, but that would’ve made this section way too long, defeating the purpose of breaking up the review anyway.

Story Synopsis

World of Balance
After the War of the Magi reduced the world to a scorched wasteland, magic (the equivalent of WMDs in our world) ceased to be.  People forgot it ever existed ,eventually rebuilding with technology, which is why Terra, born with the gift of magic, is a major catalyst for the narrative and the reason her existence is such a game changer for the resistance.

Terra Brandford by Amano on black background

Terra Branford by Amano

The story opens with the fore-named without one (it’s literally ???????) and two imperial soldiers, Biggs and Wedge (eternal Star Wars reference) looking down on the mining city of Narshe.  Narshe is significant not only for narrative purposes, but also for being the one town found in a mountain crevice.  The only other such places are caves or dungeons.  The soldiers and the unnamed girl are riding what’s revealed to be Magitek Armor, granting them untold military prowess, which quickly explains how the Empire conquered so much of the world.

Continue reading

Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy VI – Part 1 Introduction and Gameplay

Final Fantasy Reviews

<–Final Fantasy V                                                                                                           Final Fantasy VII–>

This is the part of a long-term project to play and review/analyze all the Final Fantasy games.  Whenever possible, I will play the original version, but in cases where it’s not available and/or there are time constraints, I’ll use a port and/or watch a Let’s Play, both of which contingencies will be indicated in the review.  Ideally, I will attempt to play a portion so that I can remark more accurately on the gameplay experience.  These will be long-form reviews with detailed plot analyses, so please be wary if you do not want spoilers.

Author’s Note: This took me over two years to write and edit, and it’s over 25k words, which I think is way too long for one post.  I love longform reviews, but I find them difficult to read in one sitting, so I’ve broken this up into parts with links to each.

Final Fantasy VI was my first Final Fantasy, and like the game narratives themselves, one could say I began them in media res.  When I first saw the ending at age fourteen, it was so joyful and full of promise the excess (at least for a time) rubbed off on me.  While I hold up Final Fantasy VII as my pinnacle narrative, that’s (partially) because I revel in grief.  Before that and other tragedies, FFVI represents what could have been.  Trauma muddles your memory, especially when what comes to pass happens around the time your age changes, and Final Fantasy VI makes a sharp, almost mocking, delineation dividing childhood and forced maturity, a line between hope and despair.

Final Fantasy VI Banner

Continue reading