Of Musings and Wonderings

legends of windemereBeginning of a Hero tells the story of Luke Callindor, a young adventurer determined to prove his worth outside of his family name. His chance comes when he meets a royal messenger, and convinces him to hire Luke to protect the heir of Duke Solomon. Unfortunately, Luke has no information on what the heir looks like, no clues as to who they might be except that they are currently at the Hamilton Military Academy, a school run by former mercenary Selenia Hamilton. Luke has to avoid suspension, discovery and death at the hands of a demonic assassin, all while trying to work out who, exactly, the heir is, so he can protect them.

Admittedly, it took a while to really get into the book. Mainly because it’s a style that I (and I suspect most people) aren’t used to, the use of third person present tense. If not done well, it can be horrible. But luckily, Charles manages to pull it off, and after getting past the first few chapters it becomes much easier and enjoyable to read. I have read some third person present books that have been horrendous, and it’s great to see a writer who can actually do some good with it.

The characters themselves are nicely written, especially the characters that populate the academy around Luke. Some serious, like Selenia, others funny and comedic, adding a nice bit of humour into the plot. Luke forms his own group, made up of the people he trusts and likes, to help him in his quest. The characters balance each other out, and add something different to the action scenes later in the novel.

Possibly due to the use of present tense, some of the action scenes do get a little muddled. In places, it is a little dialogue heavy, and the dialogue is used for explanation purposes perhaps a little too much, detracting a bit from the story. But it’s definitely a novel where it feels like the author is getting better and better with each page, and it’s easy to enjoy reading it.

I’ve read a few self-published novels in the last few months. Some have been terrible. Others have been actually, pretty damn good. Maybe not as polished as traditionally published novels, but then again, these authors don’t have a whole team of editors behind them. And I’m very, very glad that Beginning of a Hero falls among them as one of the best self-published novels I’ve read, and it’s the strongest present tense one I’ve seen. If you like fantasy, and want to read something a little different, I strongly suggest picking this one up.

Oh! And what excellent timing! The novel’s free for the next three days, so go check it out and check out Charles’ blog while you’re at it, too.


{February 15, 2013}  

I don’t think I’ve read anything so utterly spot on before. Well worth a read, whether or not you spent yesterday on your own, hanging out with friends, or the love of your life.


Dear Future Husband,

Hey, fucker. Yeah, you. Asshole. Where the fuck have you been? I wait all goddamn year for you to show up, and yet every year you fail me. You’re supposed to waltz into my life with just the right combination of swagger, rugged sex appeal, and humility. You flash me a smile, drop a few smooth words, maybe do a couple pushups, and then date the hell out of me. Get your shit together, future husband! I am losing patience over here. How many more empty Valentine’s Days am I going to have to sit through before you sack up and sack me?

I mean, I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do. I stay healthy (you know, slim, but without sacrificing curves), I keep my face fresh (natural makeup, of course, enough for you to think I’m not wearing any), my clothes cute (but never too short or too…

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ITV’s Superstar, Saturdays & Sundays

Andrew Lloyd Webber is doing it again – he’s getting the British public to decide on the next star of one of his musicals. This time, it’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and rather than being on the good old BBC, it’s on ITV. Not that I have anything really against ITV, but due to the fact that BBC get more money (I think) and don’t have adverts, the quality on there does tend to be a tad better. Saying that, maybe being on ITV will make the whole thing a bit more lighthearted. It feels it, already. It started last weekend, but due to being away for my Graduation (did I mention I’ve graduated yet?), I missed it. So, Thursday night, I caught up on the two episodes so far.

Now, before I go further, I should mention that I am a huge fan of musicals. One of the biggest annoyances of this year has been that I haven’t been able to go see Rock of Ages in the cinema. But, anyway, yeah, I love the genre. And Jesus Christ Superstar is one I’ve always wanted to see on stage. Well, I have seen it on stage – they did a production of it at my school. My school which, I should point out, were really, really good at putting on musicals. My best friend and I still refer to the guy who stared in the school production as ‘Jesus’, so I’m going to be looking for someone who is, well, better than the guy I personally call ‘Jesus’. (Pushing aside the religious

JC, Rock Star

implications of that, anyway.)  What I mean by always wanting to see it on stage is that I’ve always wanted to see a full production of it – a tour or in the West End or something. And with Superstar,they’re doing a Rock Arena Tour. Exciting, right? Well…no. But I’ll come back to that later.

So, the show itself. The first episode focused on the auditions. Standard reality TV stuff. The main problem was that they didn’t really focus on any of them. They showed a few snippets, spoke a bit about some of the guys – and the women who went through the initial auditions – but as they were showing the first rounds and the call backs, it just felt like they were trying to cram too much in. As a result, I found myself only remembering one or two of the guys going through. If the next episode had been this week rather than last Sunday, I don’t think many people would have tuned in again. But at least there was a lack of the sort of sob stories they like to exploit on things like X Factor. The second episode was set on ‘Superstar Island’, a part of line accessible only when the tide went down. The guys were put through their paces, attending Vocal, Acting and Dance classes, before they were put into groups to do ‘What’s The Buzz’. Now, I can’t remember many of their names, so I’ll do what I can to mention a few of them. First, that guy from G4. I was pretty indifferent to G4, until this. That guy was a prick. For starters, he was willing to let down the audience for another show he was supposed to be in to get a better part. Secondly, during the classes, he had to counter every criticism he had, causing Jason Donovan and Mel C to pull him aside and mention how he should, maybe, tone it down a bit.

Thankfully, he was soon gone. As were a few of the others that clearly weren’t going to get that far. Next task was to produce a music video, and unlike the What’s The Buzz task, you actually got to see a fair bit of the groups working together and a decent amount of each of their videos. Most of them were quite good. As for the guys who I think are going to go further, well, I reckon it’ll be the ones that stick out the most. For me, that’s the-guy-who-played-Simba-in-the-West-End, Thor (he really does look like Thor) and another whose name I actually remembered, Niall. Personally, I’d put a bet on Niall – he’s got the looks, he’s got the seemingly nice personality and, judging by the music video his group put together, he’s got a sense of humour. Plus there’s his Irish accent. And he was the only one not to get criticised during the acting class. Then again, you have Ross. But I can’t imagine him getting too far. He’s really good-looking, seems like he has the talent for it but, as Mel C & Jason pointed out, he’s vain. Mind you, you could most likely tell that just by looking at him. Just have to wait and see I suppose.

Personally, I’m rooting for Niall. And the guy who was wearing a Welsh Rugby shirt and looks like he could be in the Welsh rugby team. Didn’t get to see much of him, but patriotic duty requires me to root for the Welsh guy.

Now, the tour…The Voice UKrecently cancelled their UK tour, set for October, due to a lack of ticket sales. £40 each. In all fairness, I would have loved to go. The talent on that was really good, and I would have liked to have seen all the finalists live. Value for money, maybe, but in this economy people just can’t afford it. So what makes Andrew Lloyd Webber thing people would pay £70 (minimum) to see a musical? The Rock Arena tour is a great idea, but not if you’re going to charge that much. And yeah, as a tour, I don’t think they’re going to sell the seats across the UK, especially as the tour is set for September. By the time people realise it’s on, they’re not going to be able to get the money together. In my humble opinion, anyway. Just have to wait and see, I suppose.

et cetera