Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Upcoming Books: The Madman of Elkriahl

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THE LIGHT OF THE MOON shines eerily through the mist, sending its silver beams down to reflect off of the rocky spires of the wasteland of Elkriahl. The seagulls cry as they circle overhead, riding the endless current of wind as they dance through the sky. Far below, a terrible, haunting moan echoes up from beneath the fog. Hidden deeply somewhere in those labyrinthine passages, a wraith-like figure wanders endlessly through the night, shrieking and cackling like a restless ghost... 

Gretta is a simple peasant girl, having never seen the world beyond her small village.  But when the prince goes missing and his uncle is crowned king, her world changes forever.  For months, her village has been haunted by a dangerous madman- but after a startling revelation, Gretta ignores the warnings of her family and neighbors and sets out with him on a quest that could change the fate of the entire nation.  But how can one girl and one lunatic face the many dangers that stand in their way?

Enter a world of magic, deception, and trickery in this exciting new tale from Emmarayn Redding.  You won't want to put it down!

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While this book is sill in it's editing stage, I thought I might share some concept art with you.  While I enjoyed doing this piece, we eventually decided to go with a different style of artwork.  Still, I am very fond of it.  Let me know what you think!

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-Emmarayn Redding

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekly What-If: Fantasy Game Show!

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dance, girl, woman, disco, lights, spotlight, light
Image taken from the public domain

What if there were a game-show called "Through the Dimensions", where six contestants are dropped everyday into a different fantasy/fiction setting.  They would have to see how long they could survive in that world.  Whoever 'died' last in that world would be the day's winner- and the two contestants with the most accumulated hours 'survived' would face off against each other in the season finale.  It would be filmed like a reality show, except everything but the contestant's reactions would be scripted.

Season 1 would go something like this...

Episode 1:  Contestants are dropped into a classic medieval fantasy setting, where magic rules the lands.

Episode 2:  Contestants are dropped into a post-apocalyptic setting

Episode 3:  Contestants are dropped into a space-age  science fiction setting

Episode 4:  Contestants are dropped into a Victorian steam-punk settting

Episode 5:  Contestants are dropped into a superhero world setting, each with their own set of 'super powers'.

Episode 6:  Contestants are dropped into a medieval fantasy setting, this time with no magic.

Episode 7:  Contestants are dropped into a world where the apocalypse is in full swing.

Episode 8:  Contestants are dropped into a western steam-punk setting

Episode 9-10:  Season Finale. All contestants except for the leading two are eliminated from the contest.  The two finalists are allowed to choose the world they will compete in.  There they wage war against one another with their own armies, putting all the skills they have learned over the season to the test.  The winner becomes the champion of the season, and will return next season to face off against Season 2's champion.


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-Emmarayn Redding

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Cinderella

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Image result for cinderella 2015The 2015 Cinderella is partly a remake of Disney's Cinderella, partly an adaption of some of the older versions of the tale, and also a new story in its own right.
 The story begins by introducing Ella and her parents.  For the first time that I've seen, we get a lovely glimpse of their family dynamic before Ella's mother passes away.  I was most pleased to see this, since I've always thought that the viewer (or reader) ought to have a chance to see the normal life of the heroine before that life is turned upside down.  
After the death of Ella's mother, she and her father overcome their grief together and carry on with their lives.  Eventually, after Ella is grown up, her father marries a beautiful widow with two daughters.  Unfortunately, shortly afterward, the father passes away suddenly, leaving Ella and her new stepfamily alone to fend for themselves.

Afterward, the story goes on in the usual way.  I'm sure you ALL know the story of Cinderella.  I was very pleased with they way they portrayed the characters.  Though they did not have enough time to delve deeply into each character's lives, they gave us a glimpse of their personalities natures.  No one was left out- even if some of them only got very little screen time.
I enjoyed getting to know Prince Kit and his family.  Those characters are so often neglected n most adaptions.
There were plenty of funny moments throughout, prompting myself and my younger siblings to much giggles.  There were sad moments as well.  I got misty eyed twice during the film- one when Ella's mother died, and the other I shall not tell.

I also enjoyed what they did with Lady Tremaine.  They did not portray her as a 'bad-girl-for-the-evulz' sort of character.  She had believable reasons for her wicked behavior. What I liked was that those reasons  didn't make her any less wicked, they simply provided motive, and an insight to her character.  And of course, Cate Blachette did a wonderful playing her.  :)

This is a good, clean film that is great for the whole family.  I would definitely watch it again, and I know that both my younger siblings and my parents enjoyed it, and that's a huge age range.

Kudos to Disney for getting a remake right!

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-Emmarayn Redding

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weekly What-If: Fandoms!

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As sort of a new tradition, I've decided to do a "What If?" post every week.  (Did I say weekly?  Oh dear.  We'll see how long that resolution holds strong!)
Basically, I'll just post one of the many "what if" questions I have, and we can discuss it.  Maybe I'll put up poles sometimes so we can vote on certain discussions.  Other times, it will be simple story concepts which I have no intention of ever using in a novel.  So, having explained the idea, I give you the very first... WHAT IF...

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What if all the fans from the current popular fandoms- that is, Doctor Who, Sherlock, LOTR, Star Wars, Star Trek, Merlin, and other such shows and books- were transported into a fantasy world, completely uninhabited by any other intelligent species.  The Fandoms would then form into groups according to their interests and begin to set up their own kingdoms- perhaps based on the fictional worlds they loved so much.
Maybe the people who were members of more than one fandom would join to form the Mixed-Fandom Nation, perhaps even causing a war between all the other fandoms...
Picture it:  The Sherlockians vs the Whovians, the LOTR Junkies allied with the Merlinians against the Trekkies and Star Warriors.

If you were caught up in such a war, what would you do?


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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Top 7 Books that Deserve to be Movies

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There are all sorts of great movies- and the best ones often seem to be based on books.  Not always, mind you, but quite often.  
But despite all the wonderful books that have been adapted to film, there are still many, many great books that have never made it to the big screen, and there are more every year.  Here are a few books that I think deserve to be made into movies and/or TV Series.

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Image result for hero lupica

Author  Mike Lupica

Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment's notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers - people who know much more about his father than Zach ever did. But there are the Bads, who appear out of nowhere and attack him and his best friend. One thing is clear: he can do things ordinary people cannot. Like fend off grown men as though he possesses the strength of a hundred. Like sense when evil is about to strike. And evil is about to strike in a very big way. Zach Harriman is his father's son. And he, too, is a hero.

This book is fast paced and mysterious.  It kept me guessing until the very end as to who the villain is.  It would translate very easily to screen, and would make for a refreshing look at the superhero world.  



Image result for glint anne coburn

Author: Anne Coburn

Ellie and her little brother Danny send their lonely days making up stories about a young girl in a world of dragons and shapeshifters, a girl as cunning and brave as they would like to be.  
Five years later, Danny is kidnapped, and the police have no leads.  They believe he is dead- but Ellie knows better.  She knows that she is the only one who can find him.
At the same time, in the world that Danny and Ellie imagined, a young girl named Argent sets out on a quest of her own to recover a stolen dragon hatchling.
As each girl makes her way closer to her goals, the boundaries between fantasy and reality begin to blur until it's unclear where one world ends and the other begins.  Gripping, compelling, and utterly absorbing, Glint is the story of two worlds, and two girls, that the reader will never forget.

This book had me on the edge of my seat, heart thumping.  It was that good!  I think it would make a fantastic movie.  The scenes could flip back and forth between the real world and the fantasy world much like in Once Upon A Time.

The Last Thing I Remember

Image result for the last thing i remember

Author:  Andrew Klavan
Series:  The Homelanders Series

(Actually, the whole series should be made into movies.  You really couldn't have just the first book.)

Charlie West goes to bed a normal, all-American teenager with a bright future.  He wakes up strapped to a chair, locked in a windowless room, covered in cuts and bruises.  He has no memory of how he got there- but he can hear a voice just outside ordering his death.  Charlie finds himself trapped in a nightmare that has become his reality- to the rest of the world, he's a wanted murderer and terrorist.  But all Charlie remembers is having a loving family, a group of loyal friends, and a wonderful girlfriend.  If he wants to get back to the life he knew, Charlie will have to discover what led him into the disaster he lives now before its too late.  But with both the bad guys and the good guys after him, how will he ever survive?

This was a fantastic series.  I think that they were under consideration to be made into movies, but it never went anywhere.  Such a pity- these would translate very well to screen.  It would be like a Christian Jason Bourne series.



Image result for InkspellImage result for Inkdeath

Author:  Cornelia Funke
Series:  The Inkheart Trilogy

Inkheart tells the story of Meggie and her father, Mo, who both have the magical ability to read stories and characters into reality.  Inkspell follows them as they travel with their friends into the Inkworld and discover that the enemies they've already defeated pales in comparison to the villains that await them now.  Inkdeath picks up where Inkspell left off, with our heroes reeling from a staggering loss and trapped in a fight they must win at all costs.

I know that they already made the first book into a movie- but it really strayed from the book, and the last two books have a very different feel than the first one.  I'm putting these two books together since you can't have one without the other- book two ends with an awful cliffhanger!


Moonraker's Bride

Image result for Moonraker's Bride

Author:  Madeleine Brent

Born in a Mission in China, Lucy Waring finds herself with fifteen small children to feed and care for. The way she tackles this task leads to her being thrown into the grim prison of Chengfu, where she meets Nicholas Sabine - a man about to die.
He asks her a cryptic riddle, the mystery of which echoes through all that befalls her in the months that follow...

She is brought to England and tries to make a new life with the Gresham family, but she is constantly in disgrace and is soon involved in the bitter feud between the Greshams and a neighbouring family.

There is danger, romance and heartache for Lucy as strange events build to a point where she begins to doubt her own senses.
How could she see a man, long dead, walking in the misty darkness of the valley? And who carried her, unconscious, into the labyrinth of Chiselhurst Caves and left her to die?
It is not until she returns to China that Lucy finds, amid high adventure, the answer to all that has baffled her.

This book deserved to be a classic, in my opinion.  I envisioned this as a BBC mineseries.  I even have a dreamcast for it.  


Howl's Moving Castle

Image result for howl's moving castle book

Author:  Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie Hatter is a timid young woman convinced that she is doomed to be a failure, since she is the eldest of three in a fairy tale world.  When she attracts the jealousy of a powerful witch, she is curse to become an old woman before her time.  The only one who may be able to help Sophie is a mysterious wizard who's reputation is as black as the witch who cursed her.  But with nothing else to lose, Sophie packs up and sets out to find the wizard Howl and his moving castle...

I know that this was already made into a movie, and as good as the anime is, I feel that it deserves a live action film as well, this time closer to the plot of the book.


The Silmarillion
(Or rather, tales from it)

Image result for the silmarillion

Author:  J.R.R. Tolkien

The Silmarillion tells the story of how Middle Earth began, and how it was plunged into war from the moment it was created.
The Silmarillion is incredibly complicated.  There are many story archs withiin the books, and most of them would make great movies.  I figure you could probably get ten whole movies out of this single book!  But if the movie industry is looking for something a little more do-able, I think that the stories of Feanor's Rebellion, Beren and Luthien, The Sons of Hurin, and how Morgoth was finally defeated would make great movies.  There's another arch toward the end of the book that follows the rise and fall of Numenor, the race Aragorn is descended from.  The latter story is rich with examples of how Satan creeps into the lives of men and destroys us in real life, all the while making  us think that we're the ones in charge.  It's a pretty interesting story.

I'm still holding out hope for this one- I know they say the movies are done, but since the Hobbit Trilogy did so well financially, I can't see them not taking advantage of The Silmarillion. Actually, I think that this book would make for a good TV series- since it's so complicated, it could be split up into smaller seasons- that way there would be time to explore each of the characters and give them the attention they deserve.  :)

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What do you think?  Did you enjoy my list?  What books would you add to it?  Let me know in the comments below!

-Emmarayn Redding