Virtual Tourist – Yakuza 0 6/16/19

First off, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Happy Father's Day

Mini Movie Review

Men In Black International Men In Black: International – They are back! With more attitude, bigger weapons, and the usual chaos! 😛  The original theme music is back, so the film had a nostalgic vibe to it. There’s even a painting in High T’s office of J and K saving the world. 😛  There’s a recurring theme in the film they pound into you hard – the universe always puts you where you need to be when you need to be there. They stretch this out a bit much! And while some explanations on why things have happened are shown, there are others you have to infer from what’s been presented. (For example: Why H changed so much in 3 years. And no, it’s not the girlfriend. Though if you don’t put it together yourself, it’s gone :P) Cool effects, fast pace, overall a good ride! Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)

Yakuza 0

This is another Japanese console game that has been converted for PC. For the most part, they’ve done a good change over, though I have run into one issue on a keybinding that drove me nuts as it trapped me on a fighting style tutorial. Ugh.

It’s 1988 in Kamurocho, a fictional small town/district in Japan. You’re Kazuma Kiryu, one of two orphan boys who joined the local yakuza when they became of age. Kiryu is a straight shooter, who’s gets set up for murder so the shame can be used against his boss in a tangled political power play. 

In the middle of the serious storyline, there are substories to get involved in and mini-games (karaoke, pocket racers, baseball batting, etc.). Some of those are far from serious. Watching Kyriu pose with his pocket racer and doing his “I win!” bit are hilarious. Geek fun abounds!

Yakuza 0 - Kamurocho District

One of the streets in Kamurocho at night. Loads of clubs and adult entertainment. Following my friend Majima to do some drinking.

Yakuza 0 - club street

The opposite side of the same street. Video stores, pachinko, and more.

Yakuza 0 - Majima and Kyriu

Majima and Kiryu. Both orphans raised at the Sunflower Orphanage. It’s financed by their boss, Kazama, which is why they both decided to join the yakuza. (He did try to dissuade them, but these two are stubborn.) (I love Kyriu’s sideburns!!!!!!!!)

Yakuza 0 - upper floor in Dojima HQ

Look at the gorgeous woodwork! Upper floor on the Dojima HQ. (Dojima is the main Yakuza family in the zone.)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze

Kuze – one of the three top lieutenants in the Dojima family. He’s willing to do anything to get a shot at being captain. A position currently held by Kazama, Kyriu’s boss, who is currently in jail. (That ceiling is rad!)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze's tattoo

Kuze’s Yakuza tattoo – the King of Hell (Underworld). Heh heh.

Yakuza 0 - Kyriu's Yakuza tattoo

Kyriu’s yakuza tattoo – work in progress. He’s currently pretty low in the ranks.

Yakuza 0 - Tachibana Realty head

I really liked this image — the view from a top floor of one of the buildings in Kamurocho. Tachibana of Tachibana Realty is the man reflected in the window. A non-yakuza group who is also vying for control of the “Empty Lot.”

Of course, I forgot to take a shot of the login screen. Fighting skill tree pic is also probably in order. DOH!

Have a great week!

 

Mini Movie Reviews – 6/9/19

Life has been super crazy. I doubt it is going to slow down any time soon. Wheee!

Mini Movie Reviews

Godzilla: King of All Monsters

Godzilla: King of All Monster – Hubby and I had been looking forward to this one. We were not disappointed. If anything, I was thrilled! Now that Toho (the company who makes the Godzilla movies in Japan) is on board, we got a few extra excellent bits. First off, the full-fledged traditional Godzilla call (I believe we had it before, but it’s even better now because…) as well as both of the most popular Godzilla themes.  They also bring Mothra’s music in as well. Pictures of the original twins and loads of other nostalgic bits (like the oxygen bomb – which was the weapon used on the original black and white Godzilla film.) 

We get several familiar monsters back and a few new ones. The makeover on Rhodan was awesome! King Ghidorah also rocks! He’s got some nifty new powers, too! Godzilla still has a move or two up his sleeve as well. Make sure to sit ALL the way through the credits. There is more to come! Booyah! All the monster action you could want. Super acting by everyone involved, too! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

The Secret Like of Pets 2 The Secret Life of Pets 2: All our favorite pets are back, and we also meet several new ones. They took an unusual direction on this one, starting you off with a quick catch up to set up the new situations, then going off in three different seemingly unrelated storylines that will eventually come back to merge for the final piece of the tale. 

Gidget still kicks buns, so all is right with the world! Lol. I do love her. There are so many cute moments in this film. Baby Ian coming into Max’s life and how he ensnares the dog’s heart was so adorable! Loved how everything going great is the reason unexpected problems pop up for Max. Loads of fun stuff to be had here.  I liked this one better than the original. 🙂 Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admissions.)

Obligatory Marketing Stuff!

Sales channels are finally showing the 2nd editions! Yay! Here’s the list so far (though due to Smashwords, the ebook versions will be showing up in even more outlets! Double yay!)

I still need to update all my website pages for these though. 🙁 Too much to do and so little time!

Inner Demons

Barnes and Novel Trade Paperback

Nook

Amazon Trade Paperback

Kindle

Smashwords

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Barnes and Novel Trade Paperback

Nook

Amazon Trade Paperback

Kindle

Smashwords

 

 

Cover Reveals – Cross-eyed and Inner Demons

I am super excited to share the final covers for the second edition of “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” and “Inner Demons.”

Both are the impressive work of Charles Bernard

Check ’em out!

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

 

Inner Demons

The books are still working through the sales channels to become active.

Currently, the Kindle versions of both are live, and the trade paperback for Inner Demons is out there as well. (Some issues with the generated cover template keep holding Crossed back. But it should be available soon!)

Both the trade paperback with Amazon are also part of the Kindle Matchbook campaign where if you buy the trade paperback version you get the Kindle version free. As a reader, I have been thrilled by this feature as it means I can start reading the book before it’s made it to my door! Lol. 

Here are some links for the ones that have gone live: 

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles Kindle

Inner Demons Trade Paperback

Inner Demons Kindle

The books will also soon be available through Ingram and in a jillion formats at Smashwords. 

I still need to fix the web pages. So much to do! (And the day job is super full with the merger and system migration! Ugh!) 

No rest for the wicked! Lol. 

Mini Movie Reviews 5/26/19

Morning, all!

Pressed for time, so no Virtual Tourist this week. Instead, we have two Mini Movie Reviews and some news!

Aladdin

Aladdin 

This is a live-action remake of the animated 1992 Disney film with Robin Williams (uncredited at the time). They kept the flavor and fun found in the original animated version. Almost all the original songs were included (they left out Jafar’s twisted rendition of Prince Ali. One of my favorites! Wah!), and some had minor lyric changes. (At the time the original was released, there was a lot of push back, so I guess they decided to be politically correct?) There is one new song for Jasmine. There are minor changes in plot, but they wove them in nicely, mainly having to do with Jasmine. 

All the characters are represented, and they did a great job with the non-human ones.  Abu, Rajah, Iago (Since parrots can speak, he still does!), and carpet (carpet was awesome!). The special effects were great! Costumes were made to resemble those in the animated film. Will Smith did great as the genie. There were also bits of homage to the original thrown in as well.

Overall, they did an excellent job. Should be fun for the entire family. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (I think I messed up my rating scale a few months ago. Ugh.) Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

 

John Wick 3

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

While Chapter 2 was a disappointment, Chapter 3 makes up for a lot of it. This chapter starts minutes after the end of Chapter 2. The High Table is taking steps to erase John from the world as well as anyone who showed him any mercy or favors. The fact it was one of their own who warped their rules to get his seat, is never admitted to and they want to crush it all away.

The action hardly ever slows — lots of inventive fighting scenes and weird locations. The fight in the stables got extra kudos as Keanu showed horse knowledge – watch John closely in that section, he always lets the horses know he is there. This is a basic bit of horse knowledge that will keep you from startling them and getting kicked! 🙂 They even added a couple of western movie horse trick moments we’ve not seen in years! Nice. 

I was super thrilled to see Mark Dacascos – he does an excellent job as Zero. Half fanboy, half ninja assassin. He was a riot! (The song playing at the sushi place is “Ninja Re Bang Bang” a super adorable song. Hubby knew what it was on the first few notes! lol) Some higher graphic violence in a couple of places. Halle Berry as Sofia was fun as well. Her dogs are awesome! Also quite nasty! Guys, you will cringe at what they do. Lol.

Betrayals, alliances, rule-breaking, this film will fill up your action quotient quickly! Left open for Chapter 4! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

News! 

Re-edits on “Inner Demons” and “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” are complete! New covers by Charles Bernard are being converted to cover flats, and I will be sharing those with you soon – can’t wait! They are awesome! 

 

Virtual Tourist – Subnautica 5/12/19

Mini Movie Review

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pokemon Detective Pikachu – This movie was so cute! It was awesome seeing all the pokemon with actual fur, feathers, etc. The story is more complex than expected. There are lots of red herrings to keep the audience guessing. All the weird stuff, like Pikachu being understood by Tim, all have explanations. This was a fun little film. I just wish they’d given Jigglypuff more camera time! Lol.  Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Subnautica

subnautica - giant sea creaytures

This freaked me out. You could hear moaning through the water, but seeing it was such a surprise!

subnautica - giant creature closeup

There are six or more of them, all different ages. You can tell by looking at the top carapace. This specimen is an older one. He has all sorts of plant life, coral and even some minerals on his shell.

subnautica - the underbelly of the giant beast

A picture of the beast’s underbelly. They are truly fascinating.

subnautica - sunset on an alien world

Sunset on the alien world. There is a lot of beauty here.

subnautica - glowing life form

Glowing life form. Quite beautiful. The fauna and flora changes depending on what zone you find yourself in.

subnautica - glowing plant life

Drooping Stinger – gorgeous but don’t get too close. They pack a bit of a punch. So be careful. (I also got carried away and let my oxygen get too low. Time to panic! lol.)

subnautica - burning Aurora and the moon.

The still burning Aurora and the reddish moon. 

subnautica - dry land

There is more than just water everywhere! Here’s some dry land. Rescue is imminent. A passing spaceship picked up Aurora’s distress signal.

subnatica - signs of aliens

We are not alone! A building of alien origin. Might there be alien lifeforms here as well? 

I did want to wish all the Mom’s out there a fabulous and well deserved “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Happy Mother's Day!

 

Virtual Tourist – Subnautica 5/5/19

Morning!

No mini movie review this week. Still fighting with some unspecified health issues. I’d hoped they would have figured it out by now, but no such luck. Ugh

Subnautica

New game! (For me, anyway.) It’s a survival/exploration game. Most of it is underwater. You can tone down the number of issues for your survival. I skipped needing food and water. Air seemed hard enough to contend with. 😛

The game is also a mystery story as well. Exploring and trying to find other survivors lead you to clues explaining why you are there and the reasons somethings have happened.

Subnautica - Aurora

This is Aurora a ship belonging to the Altera Corporation. For reasons unknown at the beginning, the ship is about to crash on the planet below.

Subnautica - upper hatch of survival pod

This is a pic of the upper hatch of your escape/survival pod. Half the stuff is not working and your PDA has also suffered data damage. (The PDA houses your inventory, schematics, scan data, locations, and other info.)

Subnautica - Aurora's flaming wreckage

The wreck of the Aurora. Until you get some schematics and improve your diving suit, the area is too radioactive to approach.

Subnautica - first person view

This is the underwater area just beneath the escape capsule. Gorgeous graphics! You can see your health bar and oxygen on the left. Keeping track of your oxygen is SUPER important. 🙂

Subnautica - shallow area flora

Coral, fish, and underwater plants. You have a scanner that you use to gather data. It will also let you know if there’s stuff you can make with it or if it is edible, and more.

Subnautica - escape pod

The outside of the escape pod. You can see the moon peeking behind it.

Subnautica - underwater at night

The shallow area is gorgeous at night! A lot of the plants and fish glow in the dark. So beautiful!

Subnautica - red moon

Night view from the surface of the water. Fires from the Aurora are darkening the view of the moon/planet with smoke.

Subnautica - celestial companions

Celestial companions.

Subnautica - sunrise

Sunrise on the planet. Beautiful but it has its dangers as well.

Have a great week!

Virtual Tourist – Tales of Bersaria 4/28/19

Mini Movie Review

Avengers: End Game – First off, be aware this movie is 3 hours long! It won’t feel like it, but your bladder will know. So FYI! lol. There was a lot to like about the film. Tons of emotional fodder and we get to see characters that have been gone for a while. Tons of humorous and serious moments. Some fun mixed character interactions. It’s only in the last half hour or so that the plot becomes forced as there are certain things they want to happen, regardless of the fact there are better alternatives. They also don’t take certain facts into account during least one of the time travel moments.

(SPOILERS!!!!!) – Quill getting bushwhacked on the dead planet. They totally ignore the group of bad guys who show up on the planet when he’s there. An unconscious Quill would mean a Dead Quill (by alien rats or by bad guys!). Plus the two picking up this rock would have been ambushed just like Quill. (These guys were acting separately from Thanos’ other peeps.) Doctor Strange/Iron Man – Strange wields power, and like the Ancient One, uses the Eye of Agamotto. So would he not be better able to survive or shield himself when using the five Infinity Stones? Yet that avenue is never pursued in any way. Cap’s decision at the end – while for me it was a squee moment, on further thought there’s no way he could pull it off. Would someone of his moral fiber be able to not fight crime or injustice when he could make a difference? All for selfish gain? I think not. (Plus this also gives the finger to Bucky! He gets left behind!) Also, while the moment with Falcon was very moving, but if you’re not acquainted with the comics, it seems strange, especially since he’s not done any leadership before this or has been shown to have powers of his own.

I was disturbed by the fact they held a funeral/vigil for Tony, but they did nothing for Natasha! Why did they not do both together? They knew all the same people. Why would they shut her out like that? She doesn’t get her own movie and now no sendoff either? Come on!

I was able to ignore some of this stuff way better than hubby. Just be warned! Super build up and awesomeness for convenient letdowns. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: Better for Matinee. (Yeah, he was not happy! lol)

Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria - Inn

Some really nice details! I believe this is an Inn at Loegres.

Tales of Berseria - winter in town

A super cold winter. Not that Velvet feels it.

Tales of Berseria - crystal caves

Crystal caves. What are those exorcists up to?

Tales of Berseria - jungle type caves

Moss filled caves, almost jungle like. The goal is near.

Tales of Berseria - coast

Gorgeous coastal view! Look at that sky!

Tales of Berseria - locks

One of the many ways the Abbey is restricting the populace. Giant lock system restricting trading by ship.

Tales of Berseria - Airfried's Ship

The pirate ship Captained by Airfried. He’s currently missing, captured by the Abbey. Velvet and her companions have joined them as they have similar paths and goals.

Tales of Berseria - ships coming to port

Heading to port. Really love this ship!

Tales of Berseria - calm seas

View from port out to the open sea. Calming, isn’t it? 🙂

Tales of Berseria - church

I will say the Abbey does have some impressive churches.

Hope you have a great weekend! Till next time. 🙂

Virtual Tourist – Tales of Berseria 4/7/19

Morning!

Mini Movie Review

Shazam

Shazam – I will admit, though I love Zachary Levi, I wasn’t too sure how this film was going to turn out. Luckily, it more than met expectations. The kids were fantastic! Plus the film had other elements they did not touch in the previews, which made for some unexpected surprises. The movie has a lot of levity, but it also shows there’s darkness. Evil doesn’t just come from monsters. Rating: 3.75 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Tales of Berseria

This is a Japanese console game that has been converted for PC. You have the option of both English and Japanese for the voice-overs, which is nice. Unlike some games out there that have been brought to PC, they did an excellent revamp on this one.

I’ve not played this type of game before, where you have multiple characters that fight in a group, and you switch and maintain all of them. But the learning curve hasn’t been too bad. 😛

Tales of Berseria

This is Velvet. The start screen goes through a small sequence and she walks towards you as the game loads.

Tales of Berseria

There is a demon blight that has spread across the land. One that turns people into monsters. Monsters that attack everyone around them.

Tales of Berseria - Velvet's village

This is Velvet’s village. She lives here with her brother-in-law and her younger brother.

Tales of Berseria - forest

This is the forest just outside her village. The graphics are lovely. The little figure on the lower right means there’s a dialogue sequence you can start by pressing ‘T’.

Tales of Berseria - ruins

A set of ruins past the forest. They sit a top a cliff overlooking the ocean. It is here that bad things will happen and alter Velvet forever.

Tales of Berseria - night at village

Velvet’s home at the village. Places you can enter have the blue dotted ring at the entrance.

Tales of Berseria

Inside Velvet’s home. That’s her younger brother, Laphiset. He’s a little sickly, but very bright. Velvet is rather overprotective of him.

Tales of Berseria - ocean

Lovely view, no? Laphiset wants to see the world! Velvet just wants him safe.

Tales of Berseria - closeup of Velvet

A touching moment with her brother.

Tales of Berseria - ceremony

That night, however, is when everything changed…

Have an awesome week!

The Inevitability of Change 2019

2019 is proving to be a challenging year full of chaos and change. Change is not something we can always control. Sometimes it can lead to better things, and at others, not so much.

Two major items hit in the last month related to the author side of my life.

ConDFW

The first change, which was back in February (though I didn’t realize it until this week), was that one of my favorite conventions put on their last round this year. After 17 years ConDFW will be no more. I had no idea this was their last year, and I wasn’t able to attend this year and be part of the final event due to health reasons.

They went out with a bang! Which was wonderful. But I regret not having been there.

This convention meant a lot to me. Back in the day, it was the first literary fantasy/science fiction convention I ever attended. It was the year I realized I had no choice but to get out there and network if I wanted any chance at a writing career. (I tend to be something of a wallflower and quite shy.) It was at that first convention that I first met Selina Rosen, Melanie Fletcher, and Jeff Turner. Meetings that had significant impacts on my life as they led me to Yard Dog Press and Zumaya Publications and my first publishing contracts.

I wish Dan Robb and all the other wonderful people who’ve worked so hard to put such a fun convention together many thanks for all the years of hard work. Kudos guys!

Mundania Press

Mundania Press

The second change to hit this month was the closing of Mundania Press and their subsidiaries.

For the last couple of years or more, changes by Amazon to make the most of their self-publishing services , weird algorithms, the economy, and a ton of other factors have dried up revenue streams and forced many to go out of business.

Mundania having to close has orphaned two of my novels – “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” and “Inner Demons.” While all rights have reverted to me, it also means I need to find new homes for these two books.

I’m looking into several solutions to see which way (or ways) I want to use to bring them back in print. So do not despair! But it was definitely a shock to hear of the closing.

My fellow authors and the writing and publishing community are awesome, and several people have reached out to me with suggestions and even possible new homes for the two orphaned novels. It will mean a ton of work, research, and patience, but it’s time to look forward rather than back.

I will keep you all updated on what direction I end up taking. It could even end up being one of the best things that could have happened, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. Wish me luck!

Virtual Tourist – GRIS 3/10/19

Well, between the health stuff, company merger, and daylight’s savings time, my plans today were put in peril. But I will persevere!

Mini Movie Review

Captain Marvel – Depending on who you are and how deep you are in comic book fandom will make a HUGE difference on what you’ll think about this film. It’s a popcorn flick, entertaining with a lot of cute moments. As long as you don’t look below the surface, it’s enjoyable. Seeing a young Coulson totally did it for me. 😛 I thought Brie Larson did a great job. There’s been a lot of flack about her not being able to act, but I didn’t see that. If anything, I have to give her kudos for not just acting with words and expressions but her whole body. Carol Danvers’ confident and easy attitude screams from the character just by how she walks down a corridor after the first escape.

While the errors regarding canon are many and various, some of the other problems were just lazy. For example, the Skrull Talos spoke like some punk out of the ’80s and ’90s when, if you take into account the timeline as presented, he had not yet spent much if any time on Earth. (If he had, there would have been several critical bits of information he would have already known about and therefore made the movie moot!). Another big one was with regards to the Kree. All Kree have blue skin, and all the movies and TV shows have presented them that way. The only exception is sometimes some have patches of pure white skin (which makes them looked down on). Rather than try to come up with a plausible reason to tell Carol why her skin was different, they just turned half the Kree population Caucasian. Lazy.

If you can ignore stuff like that, you should enjoy the film. It had a nice pace, cool effects, excellent combat sequences, and Goose. I did love that they let the Skrulls have their super funky chins. Rating: 3.25 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)

Virtual Tourist – GRIS

GRIS - flower gardens

The gardens are a wonderful area. It is also where you pick up the ability to SING!

GRIS - the power to sing

Singing affects things and is also visual. The rings you see here are from her voice. It also makes flowers bloom!

GRIS - garden

Love the luscious colors.

GRIS - fog

The unknown. Look a the gorgeous pastels!

GRIS - garden hallway

An underwater hallway in the gardens. You can’t sing as a fish.

GRIS - flip zone

The bush is made of water, so I can swim in it. The yellow line flips the gravity. Gliding past the top drops you up to the floor/ceiling of the other side. Lol.

GRIS - moonlit garden

I love the colors, the implied textures, even the depths.

GRIS - final song

A half inverted area and major singing spot.

GRIS - meeting the self

The star path to the meeting the tortured self.

GRIS - a tomb

It is just darn pretty!

Hope you’ve been staying warm out there. Winter is still trying to hang on, but it is a losing battle. 😛