A Dose of Alfred Hitchcock: Doctor Who’s Listen

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So far, I haven’t really liked this season of Doctor Who. The plots have been interesting, but I haven’t “felt” Capaldi in the part until now. Thank God, he finally convinced me in Listen that he can be a good Doctor if given room to breathe. After the second week’s interesting travel inside a dalek (frankly, I’m bored to death with daleks, but that was a unique take and I loved the concept), and the total stupidity of the Robin Hood episode (although funny, it was too high camp for my taste), I was teetering on the edge of “ehh… and I used to love this show,” but Listen redeemed it for me. This is the first episode in a long time that has delighted me from start to finish, most likely because it’s both a character-driven piece and it deals in non-absolutes.

Honestly, I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll plunge in and let it sort itself out. Continue reading

Ideas, Dreams & Possibilities: Understanding the NP Types

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NPs are imaginative, enthusiastic people who often take an interest in many different things, and have many hobbies over the course of their lifetime. They dislike routine and tedious tasks and let their creativity guide them through life. Others see them as spontaneous, imaginative, and enthusiastic about new ideas, for it is their yearning to learn and experience new thoughts that drives them onward.

These traits are the result of their extroverted intuition cognitive function (Ne). This function continually seeks new ideas, so that it can create a larger worldview, build connections between unrelated things, and come up with even more ideas. It is observant of its environment, and draws meaning from everything it sees, which gives NPs a unique ability to discern the true motives of the people around them. Ne craves greater knowledge and to experience many things; it is somewhat reluctant to make a firm decision on anything, out of the belief that it is important to stay open to new possibilities. Ne sees opportunities and likes to seize them. Continue reading

Movies I Love: Dracula (1979)

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Last night, as I watched this film for the first time in HD (but not for the first time!), I pondered what to say about it. I have interesting reminiscences about my discovery of it, funny anecdotes about introducing others to it, and an obscene amount of knowledge about the filming process, stage production that preceded it, and the novel on which it is “loosely” based (more so on the theatrical play Bela Lugosi performed on stage). I could poke fun at its dated qualities or humorously exploit its rational flaws, but in the end I decided to do what I do best: unravel the tapestry in an attempt to conceptualize what I love most about it, beyond the superficiality of an attractive man in the lead.

It’s not a film easily classified, because it has elements of many different genres in it; it is a romance, a tragedy, a drama, and a horror story, with moments of subtle humor offset by an eerie setting. It is both clichéd and ahead of its time, for its approach in using Dracula as a romantic figure predated most of the “tragic vampires” we’re now familiar with; yet underneath the elegance, Langella maintains a cold ruthlessness that is as exquisite as it is horrific. Continue reading

Imagination, Independence, and Foresight: The NJs

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NJs are interested in new ideas and content with a lifelong profession. NJs come up with detailed action plans and make choices dependent on the future consequences of their actions. They develop a vision of what they want out of life and set out to make it a reality. They’re not sentimental, have little interest in revisiting past experiences, and are fiercely independent. They tend toward romanticism (they usually have an incredible imagination) and idealism.

These traits are the result of their introverted intuition cognitive function (Ni). This function looks at an idea, individual, or situation from a wide variety of angles in order to understand and solve it. It is good at reading people and looks forward. Ni sees how actions in the present will alter future events. Ni is strategic, able to envision a goal and systematically work backward to determine how to accomplish it. This can be as simple as writing a short story or as complicated as re-structuring a business model. After considering all the data, it eliminates all useless information to focus on a single course of action. (This is what I want. What do I do first?) Continue reading

Doctor Who: Deep Breath (A Lesson in Good & Bad Writing)

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Writing this, I realized I did more complaining about what I didn’t like than expounding on what I did like about this first episode, which just goes to show how divided my opinion is when it comes to Moffat’s characterization in Doctor Who. I’m double-minded in my reaction to this story, both from an editorial perspective and as a fan. I think the plot is quite interesting (once it kicks in) and I enjoyed the throwback to “The Girl in the Fireplace.” It establishes an intriguing growing threat in its final moments that has me curious. But the prolonged “Doctor is crazy after regenerating” subplot detracted from it, and at times it felt less like a show about the Doctor and more about his (not really) companions. I felt they could have opened with the closing scene and skipped all the regeneration nonsense to focus on the real plot. Continue reading

The Twelfth / Fourteenth Doctor

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I fear I’ve let this blog fall by the wayside in the last month or so, but a brand new Doctor is reason enough to do some reminiscing!

The fandom was huge by the time I joined it. I was part of a British TV show group on livejournal at the time and was always annoyed that “Doctor Who” posts flooded the group every Saturday. I wasn’t much of a sci-fi fan, but decided to watch an episode just to find out what all the fuss was about. Martha was the companion at the time, so I picked her first episode and… well, I was intrigued. It was all manic, and totally absurd in a truly wonderful way, and Ten was a vivacious ball of exploding energy (and cute) so… one episode turned into more, and within a couple of weeks I’d caught up on all of Ten’s episodes. I visited Nine as well, but Ten was “my Doctor.” I got so attached to him that I cried for a good hour after his final episode ended, and he regenerated into Eleven. That was it, I thought. No more Doctor, because this gangly Matt person can’t possibly be better than Tennant. Even so, I thought, I’ll give him a shot and one episode to win me over. Continue reading

Femnista & Other Updates

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This issue centers around Early America, the American Revolution, and the Georgian period. It includes everything from Sir Percy to John Rolfe. As always, it’s yours free to download and read or to read online! Please, if you enjoy the magazine, direct your friends to it and promote it where you can!

Charity’s Place has been renovated, and I’ve put up a couple of new reviews: Call the Midwife Season 3 (I am now officially an addict) and the new adaptation of Jamaica Inn.

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My latest book is now for sale — The Giftsnatcher. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle form, as well as through Smashwords in different e-reader formats. All of my previous books are also now available through Smashwords. I’ve also updated my account there with an author interview.

The Giftsnatcher, Back of the Book:

The ad in the newspaper says Alana is a witch.

She isn’t. She is something far more important… a Giftsnatcher, able to discern, identify, and steal the spiritual gifts of others. For years, she and her older sister have made a living selling them to paying clients. But when Lord Tremain wants her to bestow a particularly powerful gift on his grandson, for the first time in her life, Alana can’t. It doesn’t work.

Her quest to find a stronger gift, one able to penetrate Edgar’s broken defenses, leads her into the social circle of Dr. Joseph Bell, a leading Edinburgh physician whose true profession comes to light as dark forces close in around them. Her stable, predictable life is turned upside-down when an unseen nemesis lures her into a series of macabre events that force her to confront her fundamental beliefs about the nature of good and evil.

Illusions, family curses, blood magic, and the Ripper killings unfold in a chilling tale of magic, murder, and mayhem as Alana unravels the truth not only about Edgar, but also herself.

I need reviewers for it, both on Goodreads and Amazon, so if you’re interested let me know; I’m happy to send a free e-copy in exchange for a review. If you simply enjoy supporting my creative endeavors and intend to buy the book regardless, I appreciate you leaving a review, too.


This book rather wrote itself. I knew the twist toward the end going in, and that it would tie in the Ripper murders, but the rest unfurled with each passing week. I intended to use Dr. Joseph Bell from the start. He’s fascinating man, and was a fun character to write – a no-nonsense but very compassionate figure, devout in his faith and as remarkable for his observational skills as for his hidden talents. I can’t seem to escape tackling controversial topics — here, the idea of family curses, although it’s changed from a more tangible and realistic curse (such as alcoholism) into a fantastical idea.

Alana was a throwaway character in “The Secret in Belfast,” important for only a few chapters, to establish the Conclave and Richard’s role as their Influencer. But as I wrote those few pages about a remarkable woman with the incredible ability to “punish” those who use their gifts for evil, I knew she needed a novel and an entire back story of her own. Here, she has it, from the darkness in herself to her first meeting with Richard… although only observant readers will pick up on it.

The decision to bring in Alistair and Henoria, from “Thornewicke,” was made for two reasons: I couldn’t find a place for them in “The Secret in Belfast,” however much I wanted to, and my readers asked me to delve further into their marriage. Here, we have them a genuine couple for the first time, and find out a few more surprising secrets and nuances of the relationship between Guardians and Defenders.

In my usual tongue in cheek way, I’ve slipped in literary nods to some of my favorite books and films, and made hints toward characters and places that will be important in future books… which may just be set in a time period much further back than 1888 England. But then, that’s part of the fun of being a writer. Hopefully, it’s fun for you, as my reader, too.