Monday, May 30, 2016

Firewall Saga Fan Cast

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Most cordial greetings to all my readers- old and new.  :D  I apologize for yet another of my long absences- but I assure you that it has not been in vain.  During my silence I have written a two-act musical, which I am hoping to have performed by the end of the summer, though time will tell if that's actually going to happen.
I got a new job in addition to working at that hotel I mentioned before;  I am proud to tell you that I am now officially a librarian!  Not the kind with a college degree of course, but one of those nice underlings who shelves books, puts them in their nifty little plastic jackets, and checks your books in an out.  I am now living my lifelong dream of being an author and librarian- all of which I owe to God, who has been so gracious as to grant my prayers.  I always said I would give Him the glory for the things He's done in my life- so I just had to tell you.  ^_^
I've also read several new books, both good and bad, which I will be reviewing soon.  I've been experimenting with some new genres I've never tried before, including graphic novels and verse novels.  :)  It's been pretty fun, and I owe a lot of it to that library job.  Being around so many books has rekindled my love of reading.  
One of the things I've been reading lately is a web serial called The Firewall Saga, by Braden Russell.  It's a really neat sci-fi dystopian cyberpunk story that's been going on for a while now.  The characters are fantastic, the world is intriguing, and each installment brings yet more questions and agony as we wait for the ever elusive answers.  You should really check it out- it's worth the read.
Though it is on-going and we haven't nearly reached the end yet (I think), the characters have been buzzing around in my head, becoming vivid enough for me to do one of my favorite pass-times;  a fan cast!  :D

So, though to my knowledge none of my readers read this story, I thought I'd share the fan cast with you and direct you over to an exciting saga at the same time.  Now,  let the show begin!

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Karl Urban as Decker

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Decker is a Downgrade, that is, a typical human like you and me- as opposed to most of humanity, who have technological implants in their brains that allow them to do super cool, computery stuff with their minds.  Unfortunately, this also leaves them open to attacks from a wretched virus that ravaged the world not too long ago, turning many humans into cybernetic zombie-like creatures called Infects.  Decker, as a downgradge, is very valuable as a mercenary.  He hires himself out to the Firewalls, safe havens for the Upgrades who hide from the virus.  Throughout most of the story so far, Decker has been on a mission to get to Firewall Zero to investigate the suspicious secrets they've been keeping.
Character-wise, Decker is rather complicated, and I'm not going to go into that for fear of spoiling the story for you.  However, after seeing Karl Urban's work in Red (among many other films, including the Lord of the Rings), he was my first choice for Decker.  

Gregg Sulkin as Lyan

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Lyan is a young man who's cerebral implants are particularly special.  He spends his days locked in a cell training in digital battles with others like himself, in hopes that they will someday defeat the Infects and destroy the deadly computer virus that threatens to kill all Uprgaded humans.  Most of the book is told through either Lyan's or Decker's perspective, and each of them has a very different way of looking at thing.  Lyan's perspective is very amusing, despite the difficult circumstances he faces.
Gregg Sulking has a bright, cheery face I felt fit with Lyan's character.  He is known for his work in Avalon High.

Anna Popplewell as Jazzy

Jazzy is a young woman whom Lyan meets on the Grid, the digital plane to which he often escapes in his mind.  She is fun, eccentric, beautiful, and full of many dark secrets.  We all know Lyan loves her, but can he save her from her mysterious prison?
Anna Popplewell, whom I first saw in Narnia, has a spark of life in her eyes that I think is perfect for Jazzy's character.  She has the perfect balance of innocence and mystery at the same time.  :)

Anthony Lemke as Rosin

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Rosin, a downgrade mercenary, is sent on a mission to Firewall Zero with Decker.  He is hostile an unlikeable, but seems to be able to hold is own in a fight.  He often challenges Decker's leadership- though (uncommonly for a jerk) not without good reason.  
I'm familiar with Anthony Lemke's work in Dark Matter, a Canadian sci-fi show.  His character there seems similar to Rosin, and since I started watching the show around the same time I started reading Firewall, I naturally pictured him as Rosin.

Kirsten Dunst as Shonda

Another downgrade Mercenary assigned to accompany Decker on his mission.  Though not openly hostile to him, she's not exactly friendly either.  But she comes across as an experienced, hardened fighter who's probably seen too much grief.  Although she sometimes seems selfish, I get the feeling she wasn't always that way.   Kirsten Dunst is known for her work in the Spider-Man Trilogy.  

Christopher Larkin as Tyler

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Tyler is a young downgrade mercenary who knew Decker in the past as well, but has significantly fonder memories of him.  He's a very endearing kid, but he's currently in some trouble and I'm particularly anxious to find out if he 's okay.  
I've not seen any of Christopher Larkin's work, but he's pretty much exactly how I pictured Tyler reading about him.  Christopher Larkin is known for his work in Canadian post-apocalyptic drama, The 100.

Lucy Griffiths as Alice

Alice is one of the most important characters in the story- but I can't tell you why without major spoilers.  I can tell you that she is very close to Decker, and is pretty much the reason he is who he is.  She is also very likeable, and thus needs a likeable actress.  I thought of Lucy Griffiths right away.  Her work in Robin Hood won me over years ago.    

Ryann Shane as Katy

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Katy is a character who so far has had only brief appearances, but she's already proved to be very useful.  I look forward to seeing more of her in the future, largely because I'm doing to find out what happens to her after- Oops!  Spoilers, sorry...
I've never seen Ryann Shane's work, but she has this sort of vulnerability and strength in her eyes all at once, which is fitting for the character.

Tom Hanks as Falconer

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Falconer is Lyan's commander, always seen with a pipe to smoke and a lie to cram down his throat.  We still don't know the half of what he's hiding, but the more I see, the more I cringe.  This guy is a snake, no joke.  And though I like it when Tom Hanks plays kind, good guys, I thought it might be interesting to see him in a villainous role.  :)

Rollo Weeks as Weedly

I can't really tell you much about Weedly without spoiling anything... that's the kind of character that he is.  But I will say that he was really, really hard to cast.  At first, I didn't think I'd be able to think of anything.  I thought about putting up a picture of Andy Serkis in a green screen suit and calling it good.  XD  But after some thought, I figured that Rollo Week's interesting face might prove adequate for Weedly's, well... Weedliness.  However, there are many other ways for Weedly to be portrayed, and this is just one of the options I find I rather like.  :)

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Well, that's that!  There are other characters, of course, but I haven't known them long enough to cast them yet.  Let me know what you think in the comments- and don't forget to stop by The Firewall Saga to check it out!  

-Emmarayn Redding

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(DISCLAIMER:  This is a fan cast only.  Actors are not aware of this post at all.. unless one of them is secretly reading my blog, which would be pretty cool.  XD  I did not create the image for the Firewall Saga.  Someone else did... so all credit goes to that person.  :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ready to Fly Part II

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Greetings, my dear readers!  
A while ago, I posted a story that was part of a flash fiction event called "Ready to Fly".  It was a very fun story unlike any I had written before, because it was basically had me as myself acting as the main character, though with a different name.  I used locations that I actually work in as the setting of the story, and just changed names of people and places for privacy's sake.  
Anyway, I left the story off on a cliffhanger and had some requests to continue it.  Now, after all these months, I've finally written a  Part II.   
Though this story is not one I would ever try to publish as a book, it is a fun distraction from my novels.  I foresee it being a five, maybe six part story by the end.  We'll see how it goes.  Since it isn't one of my main projects, this will not be updated regularly, but I'll probably write it spontaneously as the inspiration hits.  For now, I hope you enjoy....


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Ready to fly... ready to fly... the words echoed uselessly in my head. Troy didn't bother waiting for my answer. Seeing that I must have gone into some form of shock, he steered me to the passenger side of the vehicle and pulled me inside.
“There are no seats!” I exclaimed, my mouth finally working.
“No, you lie on it like on a sport bike,” Troy demonstrated on his own side.
“Oohh!” Understanding dawned and I straddled the peculiar seat. Lying on my stomach, the seat tilted upward slightly, and despite my initial expectation, was quite comfortable. As soon as I was down, the glass roof snapped shut over our heads, catching my hair as it sealed.
“Good grief!” I squeaked. “Keep your hands in our pockets kids, unless you wanna wind up like Darth Vad-”
My ill-timed joke was cut off as another gunshot cracked the glass beside me.
“Hang on!” Troy shouted. I could feel the car lifting off, tilting toward the sky. My stomach dropped and my heart thudded with adrenaline. Jesus, please protect us...  I prayed silently.  I gripped the armrests tightly and kept my eyes focused on the stars. I could hear more firing down below, and decided to risk one last glance at the ground. The wheat field had already sank so far that the men in black looked like toy army men, and we were still ascending.
“Engaging stealth mode,” Troy intoned as he tapped a button to his left. I dimly registered in the back of my brain that he might be showing off a tad bit, announcing his actions like that.
Suddenly, the firing stopped, and I felt my body tense as I waited for the next round. It never came. Blinking, I slowly released the breath I'd been holding and looked out the window to see that far below, the men were looking around and gesturing in confusion.
"Are we... invisible?” I asked. Troy shot me a glance, a proud smirk twisting his lips.
“Oh yes, it's that cool,” he said in a deep baritone hero's voice. I chuckled breathlessly, shaking my head. He hadn't changed much.
But as I caught a glimpse of the starry skies through the windshield, my smile faded. I looked down at the black leather interior of the car, and at the smooth touch-screen control panel. I felt the armrests beneath my fingers and took a long, shaky breath. This was real. It wasn't one of my crazy, exhausting dreams: it was real.
Troy had fallen silent, and out of the corner of my eye I could see him bow his head, like he was ashamed of something. I could feel the discomfort radiating from him like static electricity.
I swallowed. “'Kay, for real now. What is happening?” My chest ached with that familiar pain of anticipation and uncertainty, drat it all.
Troy scrunched up his face and rolled his eyes upward, thinking. He clicked his tongue. “Would you believe me if I said I was Batman?”
I looked around. “No. I don't see the bat symbol anywhere.”
“Darn it.”
“Besides,” I said, knowing his plan to distract me was working, “I know you'd sooner be Deadpool than Batman.”
“Meh,” Troy shook his head. “I'd rather be a soldier of Truth and Justice.”
“Like Captain America?”
“That's more like it!” He nodded in agreement.
“So what are you really?” I raised my eyebrows expectantly. “Like, honestly. You gotta give me something. What is this, and what are you doing? I want the truth.”
“You can't handle the truth.”
I sighed, exasperated. “You're too good! You'd fit right in with my family- a movie quote for everything. But I'm serious! Those guys down there tried to kill us- and I KNOW they were after you first, not me. I need to know what's going on. And not telling me wont protect me- it'll only make me a liabilty.”
Troy groaned and slumped in dejection. “I know you're right. It's just... I don't really know how to start.”
“The beginning is a good place. I'm patient,” I said.
He nodded and swallowed, taking a deep breath. “Okay, well, in that case- I think we'd better go back to highschool, senior year. You know I always joked about having a secret double life...”
“Well, I figured I might as well take my love of espionage and turn it into something useful. I was looking into becoming a private eye. That's what I was studying when the S.D. approached me.”
“Secret Defense. They said they'd been watching my progress in the courses I was taking and saw potential. They were looking to recruit me.”
I frowned. The Secret Defense? It sounded so fantastic, unreal. Of course, I was riding in a flying car... but still, this was Troy I was dealing with. The prince of fantastical stories and grand nonsense.
“I know what you're thinking,” Troy said, looking me in the eye. “I thought the same thing. But they kept insisting, so I finally decided to check it out. They gave me the basic run down all the new recruits get- just the surface tour, y'know. But what I saw there...” he shook his head, as if still in disbelief. “It was incredible. Like the kind of stuff I only dreamed existed. What they do, and what they wanted me to do, it was exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't say no.”
He shrugged then, looking dismissive. “The rest is history. I'm not at liberty to share much about the details of the S.D., but I've been with them ever since.”
I blinked, raising my brows. “Wow,” I chuckled. “I can't believe it.”
“I know it's a lot to wrap your head around, but don't worry about it.”
“How can I not? I'm in this car with you! What happened tonight?”
“Ah yes!” Troy smacked his forehead. “Doofus of me, sorry! I was getting to that. Are you familiar with Ronan Corp?”
I thought for a minute, trying to remember. “The name sounds familiar. Is it that research and invention company that's in the news from time to time?”
“Yeah, that's the one. They have a manufacturing center not too far from here-”
“Why here? We're in the middle of nowhere.”
“That's actually the reason why they chose this place. The isolation makes it easier to keep their efforts private.”
“Oh.” That made sense. My nearest neighbors lived about a third of a mile away, and I still had no idea what they did on a daily basis.
“Anyway,” Troy continued, “the S.D. has reason to suspect that certain operatives of Ronan Corp may have gone rogue, so they sent me to try and infiltrate their files and find evidence of illegal activity. It was supposed to be a simple mission, in and out. But things got complicated...”
I waited for him to elaborate. “How?”
Troy hesitated, his cheeks coloring slightly. “My mom called, and I forgot to turn my phone off.”
“You're kidding!”
“Don't tell anyone. My bosses'll kill me. But anyway, I had to make a quick exit, and Chitty-chitty Bang-bang here was the closest thing to me.”
“So what brought you to the hotel, of all places?”
Troy sighed. “I ran out of gas and I needed a place to hide the car while I got it. Then I got an alert that the Ronan Corp guys were coming and I needed a place to hide. I knew you worked at the hotel and figured you might be able to give me an alibi if they found me. I just didn't think...”
He stopped and ran a hand through is hair, leaving it a wild mess. “I never thought they'd try to kill you. I'm sorry Leah, it's my fault you're in this.”
I swallowed, looking down. The reality of what had just happened was starting to set in. Something still felt wrong... out of place, but I figured that just my nerves protesting the stress they'd been put through.
I glanced at Troy. He looked so unlike himself: guilty, nervous, and miserable. I couldn't bear it. “I forgive you,” I said, keeping my voice light. “I just hope I'll be able to wake up in time for church tomorrow.”
Troy snorted, but his laugh was tinged with regret. “Like, uh, not to be sacrilegious, but I don't think you should go to church after this. It won't be safe.”
“You mean I can't even claim sanctuary? I've got Sunday School to teach!”
We giggled- a nervous reaction, I'm sure- and then he dropped the bomb.
“Actually Leah, the truth is you're gonna have to stick with me until I get this straightened out. You can't go home now.”
I froze, struggling for words. “But-but- You can't do that! You can't pull that cliche card!”
Troy shook his head. “I'm sorry, but I can, and I am.”
I pressed my lips together. “I'm calling my dad.”
Troy's eyes widened. “No, wait- that's not a good idea!”
“I'm calling my dad,” I repeated firmly, using the same voice I used when I got after my siblings. I already had my phone out, and I could hear it ringing. Troy looked like he might try to stop me, but I shot him an ice glare and he backed down.  I turned my attention back to the phone.  Please let him answer, God, please let him answer...
The ringing stopped and I heard my dad's voice on the other end. “Hello?”
My heart skipped a beat. Sweat gathered on my brow as I tried to figure out where to start. Unreasonable laughter began to well up in my throat. How to begin? How about...
“Hi, Daddy.”

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To be Continued...