domingo, 18 de junio de 2017

Gulraj the terrible

I personally like to write about multifaceted villains. I don't like the line where the good guys are fully good and the bad guys are fully evil.

Spaulding is stubborn, disobedient and has an ulterior agenda that causes him a lot of trouble during the course of the series. He is willing to spare the lives of some of his enemies, but he will not hesitate to execute criminals or those that he considers to be incorregible villains. It could even seem odd that he spares Lord Froylan's life in two occasions despite everything the guard did to him.

Many of the heros of the novels are indeed not goody good shoes. However, I like to keep my villains interesting and even to a point, I can sort of understand why Leilandy became a villain even though I think she had no need to treat Trevilin with so much cruelty after how nice he was with her in the second book.

One villain that rises above the rest in the realm of malice is Gulraj. Tioja's half brother and the current ruler of an exiled harlequin clan, he posesses a rather powerful demonic beast that gives a huge gift to a sacrifice and then takes something equally valuable away and transfers the gift to Gulraj.

He makes a brief appearance at the end of the 6th novel as an elderly harlequin but he really shines in the unfinished 7th novel.

There are a lot of secrets from his clan that abandoned Almjarhad several centuries ago and the 7th book begins to show some of them. He is indeed a terrifying villain but he's at the same time somewhat charismatic albeit in a very different way from Froylan and has his own agenda.

While the couple would seems beyond terrifying, I almost kind of like a Gulraj-Hama couple. Hama would never willingly marry him, but I do enjoy drawing them together. When I have the free time, I wish to start drawing the cover of the 7th novel Harlequins with the two of them together in full attire in Photoshop.

I hope to continue writing the unfinished novel and someday hopefully finally publish it.

Are you interested in starting to read this series?

Get a free copy of a preview of the first novel HERE.

Read the first novel of An Ominous Book on Amazon and Goodreads. My book is continuously getting 4 stars reviews!

viernes, 9 de junio de 2017

I just watched the new Wonder Woman film

This isn't officially a movie review blog, but given I sometimes post random posts, I'll just take the chance to place a few comments about this Hollywood flick.

Hollywood has wanted to release a Wonder Woman film for quite some time and it was around 2012 when they were very close to doing just that with an unknown actress. However, between the cinema failures of Elektra and Halle Berry's horrid Catwoman film, releasing a movie of a powerful female comic book character was too risky. It also didn't help that fans didn't like the costume all that much.

In all fairness, the actress wasn't a bad cast, but the costume looked more like something you'd see in Comic-Con. I guess this was going to be a dud.

Regarding the new film where we got to see tidbits of Gal's character in that boring Batman vs Superman movie, I think Gal was well cast for the character. Whatever political opinions you have of her, I think her acting was quite suiting for the character and her more buky frame really gave her the title of a real world Amazoness. Let's face it, Hollywood is full of actors and musicians with political ideas that I don't really agree with yet that doesn't mean I'll just want to ban everything. However there are limits. Madonna's little tirade regarding burning down the White House when as far as I know she isn't even a US citizen didn't seem to be all that funny to me.

I'm not so sure about Chris Pine's character. He isn't exactly the most versatile or talented of actors and his character just seemed to be there saying the lines and enjoying the $$$. I found his character to be rather forgettable and it weakened the amusement factor of the film. Putting aside his acting, I also question what is going on with the character.

Okay, so he wants to save Europe from a mustard gas attack (just isolate atropine and inject yourself with a milligram of it!). He's a spy and loves England (Chris is so miscast in this role that it was hard to believe he was supposed to be a British national. I saw this film dubbed to spanish so I have no idea if his accent is convincing, but I'm rather certain it wasn't). The guy also shows up in an island that is not only inhabited by lots of available women of reproductive age, none of the inhabitants know about War World I. While delivering a crypted chemical recipe book to his army might seem compelling, most normal guys that are weary of war would probably just say, screw the army, I'm going to live in this magical island that is inhabited by lots of lusty women. Yet he just doesn't seem to care about Wonder Woman's affection or anything. What a weird male lead.

The token sidekick characters try to be funny, but they don't beat Mr. Marcus from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Heck, Henry Jones that was played by Sean Connery only stains a soldier's face with ink and scares some pigeons and yet he killed more enemies than the sidekicks in this film did. They could have killed all of the supporting characters and the plot wouldn't have hurt.

I liked Gal's acting and the way her character is a mixture between confidence and naïvety of the nature of mankind, but this is one of those movies where the villains are far more interesting characters than the good guys. I was infinitely more curious to know why chemical woman with crappy mask and her love buddy, Mr. angry German soldier toss some mustard gas into a meeting room and run off like they were playing a childish prank. How did they meet? Do they love eachother or just chaos? I cared more about them than the good guys.

The movie has a sort of uneven pace. Lots of boring filler talking scenes alternated with some battle scenes that are either rather well done and others with so much CGI that they look cartoonish instead of awesome. The movie would have been more impressive if the battle CGI was toned down and the battles more realistic. They seemed too clean with a plastic covering. Nothing to do with the grittiness of Saving Private Ryan.

There are some nice scenes going on that make it a mildly enjoyable movie, but the boring scenes were so boring I ended up playing with my cellphone. Might be worth it for the eye candy as a rental. I'll give the inevitable sequel the value of the doubt.


sábado, 3 de junio de 2017

A new Lord Damantin drawing

Once again, I'll make a quick post. Lord Damantin is a popular character from my book series yet I have relatively few drawings of him (I have more drawings of the series protagonist Spaulding).

I love to paint a completely blank canvas with Photoshop but you have no idea the amount of hours it takes to make a drawing out of scratch with the program. The protrait of the third novel Exile featuring Lord Froylan was rather easy to do but other drawings took me ages and ages because the proportions of the body were just weird and it's a pain in the rear to fix things (please recall I am not a graphics designer and what little I know about Photoshop, I learned on my own with trial and error).

I'd love to have more drawings of my fantasy book series, but time constraints makes that impossible. I stumbled a few months ago into an awesome online program called paintschainer that allows you to colorize images, but the program chooses whatever colors it feels like and any attempt to recolorize the image seems to worsen things.

It's awesome that Paintschainer has aligned itself with another Japanese website and it not only colorizes your drawing, it adds basic yet critical elements of Photoshop. Layers, layer style, resizing, layer visibility in %, erase tool, select color tool and more colors to choose from.

While it's not even remotely as powerful as photoshop and it doesn't include a select tool meaning the edges of my image were erased in order to make the Japanese house background visible, I'm quite amazed with this program's simplicity and the fact that I can colorize an image with whatever background I feel like within less than 1 hour.

I am definitely going to continue using this program and will be uploading more artwork whenever I am inspired or have the free time. Given the insane pressure oven cooker that my current job is, I desperately need a healthy outlet and this is helping me a little to release the steam.

The original hand drawn image.

The awesome magic of an automatic digital colorization tool and a nifty Japanese house background to set the mood. Trevilin was always fond of the epic awesomeness that is Lord Damantin from the special moment the two elves meet eachother in the 5th novel A Calamity and after joining the Äimite guard, it's only natural they would spend a lot of time together in National Palace.

If you have read the books, you'll eventually realize Trevilin keeps his black hair shorter than before after the events in the 5th novel and leaves it medium length. I think the only screw up in the drawing is the fact that the neck scar isn't shown on the colorized drawing.

domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017

A hidden facet of Lord Damantin

Lord Damantin is indeed a really awesome character in An Ominous Book. Quite frankly I have no idea how he popped up. It's like, in which moment of my life could I have ever concieved such an awesome character? When I was writing the scene where he appears in Diaspora (he briefly appears in the 3rd novel Exile but I have already mentioned in an earlier post that I am a really weird person and the first book of this series that I wrote was Diaspora), I wanted to prove to Spaulding that not only was the exiled elf clan really bizarre and "different" from the rest, I wanted the clan to have a member that was beyond amazing. Strong, excellent in sorcery and fencing, handsome, brave, noble, a unique yet entrancing personality and pretty much all-around awesome.

I was in my bedroom one Saturday morning just typing in a hurried frenzy with a tad too many Red Bulls and the second it came to naming this unique character, I sort of recalled that villanous character in Sailor Moon R for a brief instant and the name Damantin simply appeared on the keyboard. I blinked for a moment and realized that the name was just so suitable for this new character that I kept it.

For weeks I was imagining the amazing scene where Damantin summons his demonic beast and it was a huge joy when I finally went around to writing it. The Arcana has the unique shape of a floating eyeball with elongated red and blue eyelashes that resemble tentacles. The beast can shoot energy beams with a potentially inifite amount of destructive power, the capacity of carrying passengers (albeit Damantin uses this ability as a last resort because he feels pain whenever something touches the ultra sensitive eyeball) and the huge military advantage of long distance espionage that doesn't require Damantin to be in full meditation.

Whereas normal beasts require the user to be in meditation to engage in long distance espionage, Damantin's unique ability allows him to verbally relay what the Arcana is seeing in real time. Yet another reason why Froylan was so desperate to invite him to join the guard.

Damantin has many facets that are hard to discern at first sight. However, one of them that intrigues me the most is his love life. He somewhat admitted to have slept with random women (given he has visited a pirate haven named Yurtoda Bay, it isn't out of the possibility that he's visited a brothel or two during his long lifetime), but has Damantin ever really loved a woman before?

One of the more peculiar scenes of A Calamity (book 5 of the series) is when he wakes up fully nude in a bed alongside a very attractive female guard named Kerfalmin. She drugged him and they slept together (albeit Damantin has no memories of what happened). While he was expectedly very upset, he later on bumps into her in Richard's castle in Ayrtain dressed in his clan's robes and she rudely slaps his face and insults him. At that moment, a spark appeared in his heart and he started to harbor feelings for the arrogant guard.

While we discover in the 6th novel Quandary that their relationship fizzled with few hopes of them getting back together, I thought this drawing would be fun to make because it's an aspect of Damantin that is seldom seen in the novels.

I hope you enjoyed it although Damantin never kisses Kerfalmin wearing his clan robes in the story!

sábado, 27 de mayo de 2017

A new Trevilin drawing

I feel a bit frustrated that I currently don't have enough free time to devote to drawing the characters of An Ominous Book using Photoshop. I did this quickie Trevilin drawing and I'm mostly pleased with the result.

Trevilin's neck becomes badly burned halfway into the first novel and he begins to cover the ugly scar with a velvet collar. I'd like to assume this is what he wears when he rests in Tindenfarel Palace when he's not working as a ranger.

I'll try to find a little chance whenever I can to draw characters from my novel series. I hope you enjoyed it.

miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

I hate Kaspersky Antivirus

In the era of archtypical 3 second attention span of a millennial and the upbringing where my generation grew up expecting every company to treat its customers like a king such as Amazon (whereas companies that treat customers like crap such as Blockbuster ran out of business), you'd think companies would learn from Amazon.

I mean, it's just the 6th most powerful and wealthy company in the world.

And yet once again because I suffer from something beyond agravvating to my limited patience every year, I wanted to vent my frustration somewhere. Kaspersky Antivirus is a really great antivirus program but the customer service of the company is worse than crap. If you have had a good experience with kaspersky, maybe it's because it's less gawdawful in the country of your residence. I'm specifically focusing on the Latin American website where the code of law is: we don't care about customer satisfaction, give us your money.

Last year I downloaded the total security program where it supposedly has more bells and whistles and included a discounted Android protection service for 2 years. The software worked fine and when the code expired, I did autorenewal from within the program.

Lo and behold! Kaspersky is such a "brilliant" company that they sold me an activation code for a much cheaper and less artsy fartsy  antivirus program from their repertoire. I didn't buy this code from the internet website, I did it from their total security software. You'd think as a company if you had a client that was willing to fork 49 USD for a fancier program, you'd sell them the 49 USD program.

Oh, but not Kaspersky! They sold me the cheaper 24 USD regular antivirus. I thought the cheaper price was a client loyalty coupon code.

So I purchase without knowing a new code for the "wrong" program without realizing Kaspersky has like 40 gazillion  "slightly" different antivirus programs that have almost the exact same software name. Obviously the fancy smancy program didn't accept the activation code and I was left without an antivirus for over 10 days without understanding WTF is going on.

I need my computer for my employment and I can't be without a computer just because a company like Kaspersky sucks so bad.

10 days passed and I was expectedly riled. I asked a coworker from my job what is a fast way to get my voice heard when it came to complaining about crappy customer service and she suggested me to open a twitter account. Before that day, I never even bothered to visit that website, I never cared about it but I followed her advice and created my current account and started spamming Kaspersky with hate messages.

After fighting online for hours, I finally grabbed a hold of someone from the company that realized they sold me the cheaper antivirus program and sent me a link to download it. I managed to get a functional antivirus on my computer but it left a really awful spoiled flavor in my mouth. I mean, I spent $ for almost 2 weeks of an antivirus service that the company didn't want to pay me back or anything from no fault of mine.

This is the kind of piss poor customer service that made many companies end up bankrupt. And now, I wanted to take advantage of a 30% discount for renewal and once again, the activation code the company gave to me seems to be utterly worthless. I just hate this!

I am going to have to bow my head to the crap Kaspersky overlords because 22 usd is 22 usd, but I swear! 2018 I'm changing antivirus company. One company that offers a good program that doesn't treat its customers like crap. I always had a good experience with ESET, I might go back with them.

Kaspersky SUCKS!

domingo, 21 de mayo de 2017

An update of the unfinished 7th novel

It has been ages, but I finally wrote a whopping 1000 new words of the unfinished 7th novel of An Ominous Book, Harlequins.

I had been in a writers block for months regarding this novel. 70% of the draft has been written including the surprising ending, but the prelude to the final battle evaded me. I am glad to say I wrote a connecting scene and brushed a little text of some other scenes.

The exciting final battle hasn't been written yet where we will get to see Gulraj cause some long awaited havoc but this written scene is sure a huge help.

I don't know when I'll have some free time to continue writing, but maybe I will get to finish this novel before 2017 ends afterall.

In the meanwhile, there's 6 published novels that are still more than sufficient time to keep you busy while I continue finding scant moments to write and finish the elusive 7th novel.

Cheers everyone!

You will someday get to read Hama's adventures!