First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy

First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy
Dante Rossetti Award

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I love Gerard Butler (Actor), but this movie....

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Oh my.
 I love the actors who were cast in this film…Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman amongst others, however I spent much of it in irritation, or cringing, at the heavy-handed symbolisms and obvious tweaks of sensitive (particularly American) nerve ends.

The foreshadowing: a shot of the White House taken along the barrel of a static display cannon; the Washington Monument is grazed by the enemy aircraft, and then smoke billows and the structure collapses in a visual flash-back to the 9/11 tower. The inevitable symbolic image of a torn and battered American flag drifting to the ground.

I dislike being so obviously manipulated into “feeling” certain emotions.

And plausibility…I’m no military strategist and have no knowledge of how these things are organized, however, I was jolted by the apparent fact that an alien, unidentified bomber-type aircraft managed to get so close to Washington before the interceptors arrived to challenge it—and were promptly shot down by the invader, I may add.

The invasion force of 40 or so, had killed every FBI and marine guard at the white house in a matter of 13 minutes (strangely, only our hero thought to dive for cover behind a column—the other agents poured out the door and stood firing their hand guns at the enemy until they were all mowed down)…and long before any additional military support could arrive.

Then we have our hero…Gerard Butler in his character of FBI agent, Mike Banning, proceeding alone in the increasingly ruined White House, rescuing the president’s young son and killing off the baddies as he works his way to where the president is held captive. Almost I could hear him saying to chief bad guy, xxxxxx, “yippee-kai-yeah, Mother F----r”.

There is excitement, however, and with certain misgiving I’d rate it a 3/5—if you can just roll with it and overlook the things that almost drop it to the comic book “superhero vs. bad guys” genre.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


How is it that an upbeat, naturally optimistic person like myself, sometimes chooses to write Dark Fantasy or even Horror—where do these thoughts and images come from.

I believe we draw from our own fears. Fears we think we've hidden so well, because we're grown-ups after all, and we're pretty good at repressing/ignoring these terrors in the bright light of day until something makes us feel vulnerable—goes scrabbling across the floor in the dark...

When creating fiction, we tap into the shadowy depth of our psyche when writing on the Dark Side.

Stories can take us to scary places, be it physically or psychically. Since the times of myths and legends,  it’s been human nature to desire to shuffle forward and spit into the abyss, never knowing what we’ll arouse…all the better, though, if we can live the experience vicariously from our favourite reading chair. 

Anything I write has a speculative element in it—epic fantasy, magic realism or paranormal—I love to stretch boundaries that way—does that makes my darker pieces more “dark fantasy” than horror? That precise boundary is always blurred... My own stories tend toward female protagonists struggling against the constraints or conditions around them, who become empowered by either the revelation of an alternate side of their psyche or an actual channeling of some potent force/ entity. The victims in these stories are usually characters that I, and I expect my readers also, will little mourn. There’s something cathartic about doing them in…who hasn’t imagined themselves strangling that obnoxious petty bureaucrat, or arrogant and insufferable boss?

So what dark thoughts do scare me...Possession by Evil. The thought of being compelled/driven against one’s will (or possessed by evil) horrifies me. I’ve toyed with the theme of possession more than once. The antagonist in my novel is a Mage who uses mind control for his own ends; my protagonist has some defences against this and is horrified that one would so abuse their power, their gift. She sees the evil that can be done. There’s types of imprisonment beyond physical confinement. Perhaps that’s why I find circus’ disturbing too…bears in tutus, etc—the distortion of a creature’s natural behaviour.