Academia, Love Me Back

Academia, Love Me Back

I saw this piece and I had to share.

U.S. society (and I have to assume this is from a U.S. student and college based on the remarks and comments) cannot evolve forward until we remove these kinds of assumptions.

This professor is a symptom of the greater disease that is affecting future generations in more direct and horrid ways. We NEED to solve them. Urgently. Period.

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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Getting Ready for November…

Fione would have preferred it if she had never read anything about the Knights and Arthur. She would have liked it even better if her brother hadn’t managed to concuss himself at the last home game. Then maybe Cali would never have walked into her life. And that would have resulted in a lot less trouble for everyone involved.

 

Cali, the re-incarnation of the aetherblade Excalibur, only awakens when there is need of an Arthur. The mystical aetherealm is under siege from the advances of mankind who have enslaved many of those who live there to harness aether and corrupt it for their own use. She had originally intended to bond with Fione’s brother, Marcus, but has been forced to work with Fione until he wakes up. Which means training Fione AND investigating a powerful healthcare company. What is the reincarnated spirit of a legendary sword to do?

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire Book 1)

Image result for his majesty's dragon

Click HERE to buy it on Amazon.com

Click HERE to buy it as a part of a 3-book collection (again on Amazon).

So, this was something I purchased on a whim because A) it had dragons on the cover and B) it had dragons on the cover.

My shopping habits are not hard to predict.

There’s a reason my entire Amazon feed is made up of Bluetooth headsets and dragon related books. Occasionally there’s some items that work with my Galaxy S7…but only occasionally.

Do with that data what you will, Amazon.

Anyway…

The premise of the book is pretty simple – it is the Napoleonic Wars and there is now air support – in the form of dragons!

I know that sounds ridiculous, and to some extent it is, but the premise was enough for me to grab the first two of the seven book series (I’ll do a review of book two later). Will Laurence, an officer in the British Navy, manages to have a dragon hatch while at sea. Said dragon decides that he is going to keep Will and the pair move off into the British dragon corps. Will and the dragon, Temeraire,  must then pass their training, bond appropriately, and make it so that they will survive the wars despite the odds.

Not a great summary, but that’s pretty much the major points without spoilers.

I’m not normally a fan of historical fiction. I have read a few bits and pieces here and there, but on the whole I prefer created worlds. I know a lot of fictional worlds aren’t really that different from Earth, but with a created world the events are not limited by pre-conceived and air-tight timelines like historical fiction can be.

Fortunately Naomi Novik seems to have things under control and treats this much more as a ‘what-if’ than a hard and fast historical fiction. I don’t know much about the Napoleonic Wars, but what I looked up on Wikipedia (yeah, great research there) matched up with what occurred in the book – except for the dragons. Which is actually pretty neat. Personally, I feel that Novik’s efforts streamlined the integration of ‘cannon’ history quite well with the fictional elements of dragons.

The action scenes are what sell the book so well. Novik does a great job of integrating the action and turmoil of a military conflict – even one that is taking place from on dragon back. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of quick glances at events as Temeraire and Will soar through the skies and struggle against their opponents. The final battle is absolutely superb and a great climax to the novel.

Temeraire and Will are the clear selling points as far as characters. We learn a few things about the dragon corps structure that emphasize the fact that this is a story about Will and Temeraire. There isn’t a lot of space for other characters and those that are there are not nearly as developed as the lead pair. I wasn’t really all that attached to anyone else in the crew, nor to the few little trysts that get thrown into the narrative. I can see some potential in a few of the side characters for later, but on the whole His Majesty’s Dragon is story about Will and Temeraire and that’s what it sticks to.

This is a fun book and a lead into a series that has more depth and, remarkably, is prepared to finish if the author’s blog and website are to be believed.I recommend it as a fun, fast paced book that many fantasy fans will enjoy despite it being a Historical Fantasy novel.

Characters: 3.5/5
Plot: 4.5
Action 5.0
Value: 4.5
Writing: 5.0

Overall: 4.5 / 5

Reading Report

The goal, of course, is to get back into writing and move forward.

I have been. It’s been a chaotic time. A new school year combined with my Epilepsy and my 3.5 year old has made for very little time. Add into that learning how to play Magic: the Gathering and the most successful summer I’ve ever had with LARP camp and I have had very little time to sit in front of a keyboard.

Scratch that – I have had very little energy to sit in front of a keyboard. Most of the time I want to veg-out and rest at the end of the day. I have had a chance to do some reading and will be getting to some book reviews as well, so those will be coming soon.

Now that things are calming down a bit, however, I have had a chance to sit down and do some work and I’m pretty excited to share some details and items from my writing her on my blog and, hopefully, kick this into high gear.

So, like I said on my Twitter (@JolteonEX) expect some items coming forward.

Book Review: Fantasy Flight Games Force and Destiny

Buy the book HERE

Or, better yet, support your local game shop. I know it will be more expensive there, but those small businesses can really use it.

ANYWAY

I know this is a bit different from my usual reviews. However, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and do any major reading as of late (I’ll be getting back to that once the school year kicks in) with Camp and work all summer. However, I did have a chance to look at a new game system for playing with my friends and I really wanted to share it. So, I’ll be talking a bit about the new Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG system (and particularly the ‘Force and Destiny’ rulebook.

First and foremost, you should know that this is one of three Core Rulebooks.  The others are Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion. A LOT of the material in this book is repeated material from those two books (I only have the sample game from Age of the Empire but I do have the Core Book for Age of Rebellion). The combat system, the character creation (largely) and the narrative aspects are largely repeats with a few small bits and pieces of change that, if given the money, I would bet are simply corrections from Beta tests. The unique aspects of this book are related to the Force and the character classes available. Obviously this means one big thing: JEDI

(C) Peter Oritz http://peter-ortiz.deviantart.com/
(C) Peter Oritz http://peter-ortiz.deviantart.com/

Like Age of Rebellion and Edge of the Empire, it also adds a unique aspect to this books focused characters called the Morale system (Age of Rebellion has its Objective system as a counterpart; I don’t know Edge of the Empire’s) where a characters actions influence their location within the Force. A character can fall to the Dark Side depending on the actions they take and the desperation therein.

(C) Scott (Guardianoftheforce) http://guardianoftheforce.deviantart.com/
(C) Scott (Guardianoftheforce) http://guardianoftheforce.deviantart.com/

Like all Star Wars RPG’s, the Jedi are a key element to the mythos and the fiction. Creating a balance between the Jedi and others within such a setting is a difficult task. Go watch the movies – there is a reason that the Jedi are so powerful in most systems – they stand up to hundreds of droids and stormtroopers at a time and survive. Regularly. They ARE that powerful and creating a balance with those kinds of innate talents and abilities is difficult mechanically and realistically. The setting holds that they are that strong and few can stand up to them. It took Order 66 AND the clouding of the Force by Emperor Palpatine to kill them off – that wasn’t easy.

However, Fantasy Flight seems to have done a good job. You can create a Han Solo and still have them contribute just as much to the adventure as a Jedi Character with little, if any effort.  The balance comes from the way the trees are arranged and the way conflict and combat work in the system. My blaster can do just as much as your lightsaber AND your powers need to be fueled by the Force (or you risk corruption).

It’s a fun system that has a lot of positives and I strongly encourage folks to go and check it out. The custom dice are a bit of a pain at first, but once you get used to using the system it is incredibly easy to work with and VERY streamlined.

Summer Stress and Writing Success

70 pages.

70 pages for my camp this summer.

28746 words (according to the word count tool in Google docs.)

It doesn’t sound like a lot, given that it was over a summer, but in all reality it was over approximately 72 hours.

It was a lot of work, but it proved to my brain that I can still get through my meds and do some writing when I need to. Given the changes coming down the pipeline at work, I should have more ability to get to writing than I did in the past.

I’m looking forward to that aspect of it.

Anyway, I’ll be putting some of it up soon. If I was not tired right now, I would put some stuff out at the moment, but I wanted to point out that it is possible to get over 7000 words a day if you sit down and use some of the writing techniques that many of the strategy guides put out there. I’m going to share some of the scenarios over the next couple of weeks and share my thoughts and get back in to updating this blog when I have a chance.

Until then, thanks for your views and notions! 🙂

You’re Certain About That – Sporadic Updates Through August

Hey there ladies and  gents. I apologize for the trouble, but the summer is here. That means  that I am working  at my summer job  which uses approximatly 25 hours a day of my time. That means that updates will be infrequent. 

To those of you who have submitted books for my review – I will be getting  those as often as possible (two are in the cue) but it  might  take me time. Friday book reviews are the most likely posts to be seen until mid-august.

Sorry for the trouble.

A Practice Solicit for My Book

A century has passed since the War of the Three Kingdoms was fought. A century since the arcane and the divine crossed blade leaving the world in the hands of the Gods. Born at the end of the conflict, Alista Traakard has been lead to ancient, arcane secrets by her Goddess. Standing against the changes to her church, Alista flees with only her sword and a tome.

Hard work and smart business are the trademarks of the Carlyle family and separate them from the other noble houses of Darien. As eldest son, Deacon Carlyle stands to inherit his father’s business empire. Princess Serena, however, appears to have other plans for the kingdom – plans which don’t include the Carlyles.

Vicor Traven is more like his elven bodyguard than any half-orc should be. His desire to see the world conflicts with the rigid structure and discipline his father, and people, demand. Trusting to fate, he and his bodyguard have escaped Vicor’s rigid life to experience more of the world than Traven’s father would ever allow.

When the three come together in one of Darien’s seaports, it appears to be coincidence, but is it? Or is someone seeking to alter the balance of the world as it stands and cause the pendulum to swing freely once more? “