Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter - The Order of the Phoenix

Today's the day that I go see the latest addition in the WB movies of Harry Potter. I'm not sure if it's because I've been walking around with a head cold, but I'm surprised at my lack of enthusiasm for a movie I've waited a long time to see. Perhaps only getting a few hours of sleep might be interferring with my normally sensitive excitement.

I've been playing the new video game for TOOTP, and I have to say that its much better than the other four versions. The graphics are better and I really love that they modeled the game after the movies and used the real characters for the voice overs. Right now, Hermoine is getting on my nerves because she won't quit harassing Harry about finding a talking Gargoyle so we can start on the training of Dumbledore's Army in the Room of Requirement. I've been all over the place and still can't find that fifth gargoyle. It's probably right in front of my eyes, but I can't see it, and Dean Thomas is determined not to come to the DA meeting without finishing his homework for Professor Binns.

Well, back to the hunt for talking gargoyles, and then it's time to go see the movie. I'm sure I'll love it.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back to Orientation

Well, I'm finally back to working on the edits for the first book of my Necromancer Series.
I'm really excited and am anxious to jump in and start editing.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:

I know I haven't written a review in a while. I actually told myself that I wasn't going to write anymore, but I guess I can't just stop what I've been doing for six years now.

I really, really, really LOVED the timeless episode. Seeing Chloe, Clark, Lois, Jimmy, Lex, Lana & Lionel all doing their roles in the black and white - was very, very, very well done. Clark being the bumbling, glasses wearing geek reporter by day and hero crime fighter by night was priceless. Chloe's accent, attitude and demeanor - excellent. Lois' dream girl role (well, didn't really need that one, but they had to put her somewhere. Chloe really had her role.) Lex's mob-like character was par to none, Lana's damsel-in-distress/black widow character - fit like a glove and Lionel's barkeep, informative, etc - as mysterious as his own role. Jimmy - Jimmy was the best.

I loved the square-shouldered outfits, the way the picture was shot, the sound effects, the writing, the script, the lighting, everything. It's by far the BEST episode I've seen on the show. I'm really, really impressed.

As for the rest of them - I'm still waiting on Chloe to reveal some sort of super power and for Clark to move on from Lana. But, every time he starts to move on - he gets pulled back in. Unless Lana dies - SHE (not Lois) will always be THE love of Clark's life - which is JUST WRONG. It's one of the things I HATE about this show. However, that's not to say I don't like Lana, because I actually do. I really love to see how vindictive, manipulative and evil she's become. She's truly been transformed into a Luthor. She just like Lex. Doing under-handed things - all the while - thinking she's doing them for a good reason. Lex thinks he's building an army to protect the earth from aliens, yet he doesn't think about "HOW" he's going about it or all the lies, manipulations, and evil he does to fulfill that NOBEL quest. Neither does Lana.

Chloe is wonderful as ever. She's tough and I loved seeing her get that moment with her mother. But, whatever happened to her father, Gabe? Does she not have a relationship with him? I like how she misses Jimmy. I'd like to see more on Moira. Could Chloe be Wonder Woman? Instead of her and her mother being meteor freaks, perhaps they're aliens from an all-woman ruled planet, and Chloe is truly a warrior princess named Diana?? That's a BIG stretch, but having Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) play her mother, and Chloe being a part of the Justice League (like Wonder Woman) no WONDER this WOMAN's mind wanders in such a direction.

What's wrong with Clark? He's not the brightest tool in the shed. He's got all these superpowers - that's he's had for years now - x-ray vision (5-6 years), heat vision (4-5 years) super hearing (5-6 years), speed (15-16 years), strength (his whole life) etc. Yet, he doesn't use them as if they're second nature when he gets into a conflict. He should be trained like a soldier, and his reflexes to use his powers should be second nature. Perhaps its a budget issue.

I do like seeing how he's saving the day, but then keeping himself hidden in the background and no one knows he's saving the day. It was really touching seeing him watching Lois as she grieved over her first love. Is this a foreshadow of him grieving over his??? Please say it's so!

On the whole, I'm still very pleased with the show. However, a new show has really got my blood pumping on Thursday nights, and that's Supernatural. I LOVE Dean Winchester. I hated Jensen Eckles on Smallville. Jason was a mama's boy - Lana whipped - puppy dog - but on Smallville, he's everything this girl would like to have in a man. I just LOVE that character and his rigid sense of humor.

Anyway - that was a quick review on Smallville of late. I look forward to the finale next week.

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Prison Break

I watched the Season Finale of Prison Break last night - and as usual they left off on a cliff hanger. I didn't expect anything different - they've left each episode on a cliff hanger, surely they'd do the same for the season.

Anyhow, this season ender has brought up a lot more questions, much like the last two. But, I'm intrigued about this one. It seems to change the whole dynamic of the show.

1. Who is Michael Scofield really? It seems he may not even be 'normal'. Well, we already knew he wasn't 'normal', because normal people don't plan the escape of their convicted brother from prison, nor do they try to take down the President. I've always suspected there was more to Michael than what meets the eye. He's super-genius - now I don't think that's an accident. Is he a government and science experiment? Did his dad know this?

2. Sarah Tencredy - Well, the doc's now taken a man's life and Scofield is in prison. Is she going to crack now? She's already been through a lot - and come out of it. The Secret Service agent who was sent to kill her, ended up rescuing her and planting the seeds of investigation into "The Company" and her boyfriend's broken out of prison before - why not hope he'll do it again. However, I don't think she'll trust Lincoln will be the one to help him out - he's just not as smart (but he's very sexy). Will she discover the secret to Michael's 'condition' and help find a cure? We'll just have to wait and see how she plays in all this.

3. Lincoln Burrows - What now for poor Linc? He's now changed spots with his brother, but that doesn't leave his brother in a good spot. He's the muscle of the group, not necessarily the brains. What about his son, L.J.? Will he come back into the picture? Does this 'gene pool' problem run in the family? Inquiring minds want to know.

4. Fernando Sucre - Will he live or die? Will he ever see his precious Marie-Cruz? Will he see his child be born? What part does he play in the next saga - or is his role done?

5. "Pedophile Phil" (That's my name for Teddy Bagwell) - seems like he's going back to Fox River or is he? Wasn't it people from "The Company" he made a deal with? How much does he really know - or does he know anything. I've always known that Scofield felt guilty most about this convicts escape and the damage he's caused since he's been out. I'm still very curious as to how this all turns out. No one has the money - and really - only Michael, Sarah and Lincoln knows that it's sitting at the bottom of the lake.

6. FBI Agent, Mahoney - I have to say he's one of my favorite characters. He brought a whole new level of intensity to the show, but he's seems to have lost a bit of his edge. What was so great about him in the beginning was that he seemed to be 'like Mike' - having this super-genius edge. It was meant to be a battle of the minds, but somehow Mahoney broke down. Now that he's in SORDA with Michael, will they overcome their differences and put their minds together to get out? Is Mahoney a product of "The Company" like Michael? Will he ever get back with his wife and son?

7. Franklin "C-Note" - What happened to him? Where is he? I know I missed an episode a couple of weeks ago - but is he a alive? Is he still part of the program? Did he save his wife and daughter? I don't think his story is finished. He was framed while in the army - will he ever get exonerated and bring to light what was 'really' behind the set up? How does it play into "The Company's" plan?

8. "Boss" the ex-Prison Guard - Seems the redneck jerk is getting what he deserves after all those years of setting up and manipulating prison inmates, he's the one set up - but set up for what? Will he ever tell Sucre what he did with Marie-Cruz? Did he do anything? Perhaps he just had Sucre 'think' he did something. Who's got him? The Company?

I suppose we'll have to 'stay tuned' until the fall season.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Monday, April 02, 2007

Temptation to Know the End - Harry Potter Series

I'm really anticipating the new release of the seventh book in the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. However, I'm also having a lot of reservations. I know that I'm going to be sad. I'll probably cry - that's just the "Sap" I am. But, that's not my biggest concern right now.

I'm wondering how I'm going to be able to read the whole story - all the while - fighting the temptation to turn to the last page to see if Harry lives or dies. That will probably be the hardest thing I'll have to do as I read through Deathly Hollows.

I just completed The Goblet of Fire, which took me a few weeks to read and will start The Order of the Phoenix tonight. Having read the complete series through twice already, I find no temptation to skip to the end. But - I'm biting my nails in anticipation for The Deathly Hallows, I'm not sure if I'll be strong enough to make it through the whole story without a peek. I don't even want to hear the 'buzz' or read any reviews until AFTER I've read it for myself. It's going to be hard.

I admire J.K. Rowling at this moment. What a wonderful feeling it is for me as a reader to have such anticipation for a story. As a writer - I know that has to make Rowling smile. This feeling determines if a writer is successful or not. That's what it's all about.

Let's hope I defeat the temptation to know the end.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, March 30, 2007

Forever Edits....Ah, the Life of a Writer

I've come to the conclusion that edits are a part of a writer's life. Probably the biggest part.
The idea of the story seems to be the easiest, the writing follows naturally, but the editing - that's where the dues are paid. The writing, re-writing, reading, re-reading, crossing out, cutting, pasting, adding, re-wording and the opening and closing of the trusty ole' Thesaurus is the everyday norm.

Today is no exception. I'm in the middle of editing chapter 11 of Orientation - and I love every grueling minute of it.

Gotta run - found an 'ly' adverb hidden within a passive sentence.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Orientation - Update

I'm just now completing my edit of Chapter 10. I have to tell you, this story is morphing into something wonderful. I'm really, really pleased with the way it's turning out. I'm almost embarrassed at the version that I've sent out before, because this is so much better. My only fear is, what will I think of this version a few years from now?

What I'm changing, for those who don't know what I'm doing, is the 'way' the story is written, not the story itself. That is still intact. I'm changing it from a passive/narrative story to an active/showing adventure. I want to be able to 'zoom' onto the scene and have the reader following me along on a wild, adventurous ride, much like a roller coaster. Other than the beginning climb, there are no slow spots on a roller coaster. It's one exciting dip and curve until the end. That's the way I want my story. I want the reader to jump on and cling tight - it's fast, fun and full of exciting thrills.

With my Necromancer Series being 8-9 books, it's like getting to ride 8-9 different rides - all just as exciting as the first.

Well, my coffee is about finished percolating. It's time to get to work.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, March 16, 2007

Professor Severus Snape - Hero or Villian?

Professor Severus Snape – Hero or Villain?

As I’ve posted before on this blog, I’m re-reading the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling and I’m really enjoying it. I’m taking my time and paying attention to all the little details, which brings me to the topic at hand, Professor Snape. Is he a hero or villain?

Regardless of which he turns out to be in the seventh book, Deathly Hollows - slated to be released July 21st, he’s clearly my favorite character. He’s the most complex and mysterious of them all.

Now, like millions of other fans across the globe, I too have a theory about our dear Potions, or should I say Defense Against the Dark Arts, Master.

To understand where Professor Severus Snape is now, we must go back to the beginning of his life and see how he got to the place he currently occupies.

Severus Snape was born to misfortune (wizard father and muggle mother) and as a child cried a lot, displaying behavior of someone whose been abused. I think this degrading emotional abuse caused a young Severus to have low-self esteem and issues with trusting others. I believe he then poured himself into his studies, because he couldn’t trust people to not hurt him.

Of course, when he finally came to Hogwarts at eleven, his worst fears were confirmed when he was treated as an outcast and teased by the most popular kids in school (Marauders/Gryffindors – Potter, Black and Lupin). He lashed out at them, not in malice, but as a way to protect himself. Most victims of abuse hurt others to keep from getting hurt themselves. So, animosity grew between Snape, Potter, Black and Lupin – but not true hatred. If anything, I think Snape longed to be like James, but despised him because he couldn’t.

However, being a member of Slytherin house, Snape found acceptance from people like Malfoy, Lestrange and the others who eventually became death eaters. In other words – he didn’t really fit in anywhere and by default hung out with the wrong crowd.

Snape was always in the background, learning, studying, being alone – never stepping out front and showing what he was truly capable of. He’s smart like Hermione, but lacked her confidence and didn’t have the fortune of befriending a Ron and Harry. I think, often times when Professor Snape snapped at Hermione for being ‘an insufferable know-it-all’, it was mostly out of jealousy. You know how the old saying goes: You’re usually guilty of what you find irritating in someone else.

I feel that perhaps Snape went with the flow, keeping all his true emotions inside, thus teaching himself to be an excellent Occlumens, able to hide his thoughts and emotions, so people couldn’t use them against him, including the powerful Lord Voldemort.

I think Snape joined the Death Eaters not out of a desire for power, but to have a place to fit in. He didn’t have the love of a family, he didn’t have the support of friends and he didn’t have the love of his life (Lily Evans – Lily Potter – Harry’s mother). All he had was his potions, his school, and his knowledge – which was great, but not that anyone knew.

How do I know they were great? Look what Harry learned just from the notes left in the potions book by the Half-Blood Prince. At a young age, Snape had an understanding of his craft that exceeded even the teachers. He not only figured out short cuts and better ways to perform written formulas, but created new spells. He also built a wall around himself so strong and so tall, he couldn’t see over it. He didn’t know his own greatness. So, he made a mistake and joined forces with Voldemort - Not because he ‘had’ to, but because he wanted to fit in somewhere… anywhere.

Snape discovered it was more than what he bargained for. Voldemort was no different than is evil parents, or the bullies at school. Everyone tried to present them selves as the best, all the while Snape just sits back in the shadows and watches. He witnesses Voldemort growing in power and influence, and the Potters, Black, Lupin and Dumbledore fighting on the other side, all the while Pettigrew (Wormtail) slithers back and forth between the two camps. None of it concerned him. He was neither for, nor against any of it. He disliked both sides and trusted neither – until he heard part of the prophecy given by Sibyl Trelawney.

I think Snape realized how important of a role he played when he recited the prophecy to Voldemort, but then it was too late to take it back. I think perhaps Snape was able to Occlumens Voldemort and saw what he planned to do – and Snape felt responsible. I think it scared him, and for the first time he actually ‘chose’ the side he wanted to be on, and it wasn’t with Voldemort.

I believe he then went to the one person that he felt accepted him and saw him for what he truly was, and told him everything. Dumbledore helped Snape see himself for what he truly was and gave him the confidence to break away from Voldemort, which he discovered wasn’t as hard to do as he previously believed. Snape realized Voldemort was no more powerful than he was, yet Voldemort was none-the-wiser, nor anyone else for that matter, except Dumbledore – who then began to train Snape to become a spy for the Order. For the first time in his life, Snape had a purpose and someone who believed in him, and that’s really all he ever needed.

I don’t think Potter, Lupin or Black fully accepted Snape as a member of the Order, knowing he was once a Deatheater, but to keep up the rouse, Snape played the part of bitter rival – which somehow resulted in James saving his life. Now, he owed a life debt, but that’s not why Snape has been looking out for Harry all these years. I think he feels responsible for Lily and James death, because he could have stopped it, but out of his anger he chose not to, or he couldn’t without exposing his loyalties. So, guilt and owing a life debt has had him watching over Harry ever since, but he doesn’t always like it – because Harry is a lot like his father, James. He’s popular, likable and headstrong. He also reminds Snape of his mother, Lily, whom Snape loved and perhaps feels guilty over her death.

That brings me to the present and how Snape fits in with what happened in The Half Blood Prince and what I think will happen in Deathly Hallows.

The one thing I know about Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, it’s his insatiable love and loyalty to students at Hogwarts. It was this love that caused Tom Riddle to fear Dumbledore. Not because Voldemort fears Dumbledore is more powerful, but because Dumbledore is the only person in the world who ever cared about Tom Riddle. Love scares Voldemort, because it’s a power he doesn’t understand.

For Snape, that love saved him, combined with perhaps the love of and for Lily Potter as well. But, it’s also in his understanding that the same love Dumbledore had for him, he also has for ALL students of Hogwarts, including Harry and Draco, which caused Snape to have to kill him. First, bound by the unbreakable vow made with Narcissa – to do ‘whatever Voldemort had commanded Draco’, and knowing that in order to save Draco’s life (which would have been Dumbledore’s ultimate desire) Snape had to do it. He had every opportunity to kill Harry afterward, but he didn’t. If he was so evil to kill Dumbledore, killing Draco or Harry would have been nothing to him. I believe Dumbledore communicated with Snape via Occlumency and then begged him to do it, that it was the only way – and gave him instructions on what to do to finish destroying all the horcrux that remained.

Which brings me to what I think will happen.

Harry will destroy all but the last Horcrux, which he will discover is in the very scar on his head. He will face Voldemort, but be unable to kill him and get severely hurt – but Snape will save him and cast the final blow that kills Voldemort. Then Snape will reveal to Harry the whole truth of everything, through Occlumency and through his words. He and Harry will finally have it out and Harry will finally see Snape for who he truly is and then realize what Snape will have to do. Severus Snape will have to kill Harry Potter, because Harry is the last Horcrux. As long as he still lives, Voldemort will always be able to return. Harry willingly chooses to sacrifice himself (much like Dumbledore and his father). He will make Snape enter into an unbreakable vow to always protect his friends. Snape will then kill Harry Potter – and then tell the world that it was Harry who finally destroyed Lord Voldemort, once and for all. Harry will always be known as the Greatest Wizard of All Time, and no longer The Boy Who Lived.

Severus Snape will be the next Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – and will spend the rest of his life protecting the students above all else, just as his predecessor before him. Harry Potter’s name will live in infamy as he is reunited with the people he’s always loved behind the veil – His mum, his dad, Sirius, Ginny and Dumbledore. Bottom line… I believe Professor Severus Snape is a hero, perhaps the true hero of the whole story.

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:16

Have you ever been to a restaurant and saw a picture of a big, juicy piece of steak as the special and ordered it, fidgeting all through the appetizer, waiting to sink your teeth into the scrumptious tender meat?

Well, that's what I wanted. Instead was served a dry, bland, burnt piece of jerky that choked me and seared my taste buds so that everything else tasted just as bad. I know I'll never order that item again, but at this point I'm not too sure if I want to go back to that restaurant. I know they have other great items on the menu, but they keep serving me the same old crap every time.

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Word - Prithee

New vocabulary word.

Prithee - Used to express a request or wish.

Now, how do I use this in a sentence?

It is my prithee to know to the truth.
I prithee to be let in!

Not too sure about this one. It's definately a new word for me. It seems almost alien. But, it is my prithee to know the truth of how to use it properly. So, if you know the correct use of this word, I prithee you tell me.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Re-Reading Harry Potter Series

I'm already on book three, The Prisoner of Azkeban, and I have to say that I love this series even better the third time around. I'm taking my time and really soaking up the small bits of description that escaped my attention the first two reads.

I remember the first time I read the series. It was after the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, had been released and I had already threw out my daughter's paperbacks (because I hadn't read them and was told by the religious community they were evil and taught children witchcraft). I couldn't believe I did such a thing. Here I was - a parent who tried to teach their children to think and make judgements for themselves - banning them because of heretical hearsay.

Well, it bothered me so much, I went out and bought the first book, The Sorcerer's Stone, read it - and loved it. Yes, Harry Potter's a wizard. Yes, he uses a magic wand and Yes, he casts spells like lumos and expelleramus. However, he uses no more real witchcraft than the fairy godmother who placed glass slippers on Cinderella's feet. It isn't true witchcraft - it's fantasy, and well-written one at that. If anything, I find Harry Potter and his friends, very moralistic and a good role model for children, and I completely understand why kids and adults alike have fallen in love with this character.

I learned the proverbial lesson - never to judge a book by it's cover, title and especially hearsay. I don't even read books listed on the NYTimes best seller list, because I find most of them are terrible. Some of the best stories I've ever read have never made the list. Some aren't even published, yet.

The second time I read through the series, I rushed through them trying to refresh the story in anticipation for the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince. I wanted to make sure I was up-to-date on the story when this book came out. Well, that's sort of what I'm doing now, only I'm taking my time and enjoying the story (besides, I'm saving money because while I'm reading the series I'm not out buying new books to add to my library).

After reading The Prisoner of Azekban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, I had the impression that The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets was not as exciting. But, having just re-read them - I find that not true. I really enjoyed them and found that were perhaps the most magical of them all. It's the fun adventure in these two books that set up all the excitement in the last four. It was here that we first heard about Quidditch, Dobby the House Elf, learned to despise the Dursley's, discovered Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, met Albus Dumbledore, rolled our eyes at Draco Malfoy and shook our heads at Neville Longbottom. It was in these two stories that introduced us to Tom Riddle and started filling in the past of Lord Voldemort. We befriended the half-giant Hagrid and longed to live at the Burrow with the Weasley's. Ron became our best friend and Hermoine showed her true genius.

Rowling put so much heart and humor into these first two stories that my opinion has changed - and I find these two the best of the series so far. However, just starting on The Prisoner of Azekeban - I may change my opinion next week. LOL!

J.K. Rowling may not be the best writer in the world (she uses a passive/telling voice), she's at least one of the most entertaining and creative. I've never wanted so much to be a kid again. To that, I take my hat off for her.

Well, I need to get back to my book.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Catching Up

Can one really catch up with what has already been lost?

Does everyone write in the month of February and March? Perhaps its the faint scent of spring that's bringing on the new wave of stories. I'm excited to see them all, but overwhelmed at the same time.

Every week I find myself scrambling to catch up on crits that I owe to other writers in my critique group, but I can't. I have a lot of critters, but I don't just write a simple critique - It usually takes me about an hour to an hour and a half to do a good critique on a chapter. Some stories I enjoy reading, others are little more painstaking - but I think has great potential.... so I plug away.

However, critting while editing while working isn't really working out. I think I'll just have to let my list of those I owe grow, until I'm through with the manuscript I'm currently working on - then spend a month or so just doing crits to pay them back. As much as I try to go forward - I fall even farther behind.

So, to those critters who I owe - I haven't forgotten about you. You're listed on my 'Tit-for-tat' , and I will get to you eventually. But, I need to focus on getting this manuscript done - and then take a little break.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Comprehending What You Read

I was reading a scripture last night that I don't think I comprehended anything that it truly said. I stopped and re-read it, and still don't have any idea what it truly means. I understand the basics of what it said, but it's just a head knowledge. I can probably quote it, but that's about it.

I know that I'm somewhat intelligent, so it isn't a matter of my brain not being able to rationalize what I'm reading. I think the problem that I'm having is, I don't have the foundational information to use in my understanding. It's like someone trying to explain to me how a carburetor works, when I don't know what parts make up one or for what function it holds.

This has me thinking - Isn't this the foundation of ignorance? Ignorance isn't that the brain's inability to process information - it's that it doesn't have enough initial programming to organize the information into a final conclusion. Without the foundational information - the rest is just illegible, incomprehensible, unrecognizable gibberish.

There's a lot of gibberish I struggle to understand. In my writing, in my relationships, in my spiritual walk, etc. When I come across it - I start to recognize that there's something missing in the foundation of what I think I already know. I'm led back to the beginning.

I've got to learn how to spell, type, write, learn the rules of punctuation, grammar and language, learn how to plot, outline and flesh out characters - before I can manipulate all that information and transform it into something new. I don't create anything - which is to make something from nothing. None of us has creative power. But, if I learn the basic elements of something, I can form it into something else. Just like an old joke indicates, I've got to get my own dirt. (If you don't know the joke (the foundational teaching), you won't get the pun.)

So, while I try to comprehend exactly what happened on the mountain of transfiguration, I'm beginning to see the difficulty in comprehending what I read. It's not about my ability (or lack thereof) to read - but to have the necessary information already stored to help me understand.

If I don't understand 'who' was on the mountain, 'why' they were there, 'what' actually happened and the cause and effect of the act, how will I comprehend what it's trying to tell me?
I'm a curious person by nature, a modern-day Nancy Drew. I want to understand the physical world around me - and the spiritual world within and beyond that. I won't be able to do that unless I can understand, divide or process the information I receive. Reading it - isn't good enough. I must comprehend it.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Passive Vs. Active

This past year has really brought a lot of new changes to my writing style. I've learned a lot from many of the new author friends I've made in my critique group.

One of the biggest changes I've made, thanks in part to editors Browne and King, authors of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers", is that I've changed from writing in passive to active voice.

There are many benefits from writing in this style. I use most of them in my arguments to other writers when I'm critiquing their work.
  • Passive voice separates the reader from the character, while active voice pulls you right into the action.
  • Passive voice 'tells' the reader what 'was', instead of actively 'showing' them what 'is'.
  • Active voice allows you to get right into the character's head, see their thoughts and feel their emotions.
  • Active voice makes the difference between reading a story and taking an adventure.

Here are some examples of passive vs. active paragraphs from the novel I'm currently working on, Orientation - the first book of my Necromancer Series:

Original Passive/Telling Version:

Staring at Azrael for a few moments, with a look of befuddlement on her face, Sibyl-Claire tried to contemplate the meaning behind his statement. Was he implying that games were for the immature, or was he truly sad that he had never experienced them? Sibyl-Claire turned her attention toward Magus and asked, “Well, then what about you? Are you up for a little competition?”

New Active/Showing Version:

Staring at Azrael, Sibyl-Claire narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. Is he implying that games are only for the immature, or sad he's never experienced them? She shrugged and turned toward Magus and asked, "Well, what about you? Are you up for a little competition?"

The first 'passive' version 'tells' you what Sibyl-Claire did and thought, keeping the reader on the outside of the story, looking in. While the second 'active' version, 'showed' you what she did and allowed the reader direct access to her thoughts, pulling them into the story.

All those points are true and I've seen how they work. Writing in active voice is hard, but it's something that I can spot a mile away now, which brings me to the next point I want to make.

After telling and showing you the benefits of writing in this style, which I agree with, I have to admit that I still love the passive/telling story. I've been reading Rowling's series again and though it's written mostly in passive/telling voice, I still find it very good, very entertaining and very adventurous.

So, while I'm changing and writing in a new style, one that I believe will only help to pull the readers into my stories and take them on some of the greatest adventures of their lives, there's also nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned story telling.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Editing - Orientation 02/27/07

I have a lot of edits to do today, which I'm enjoying more than I think I should.

I know you've heard the saying, "When it rains, it pours." Well, that's certainly true for my writing list right now. I have such a storehouse of things to do, I don't know when I'll ever get them done. It's not something you can just clear your schedule to do. It's something that you have to tackle one thing at time, one piece at a time, bit by small bit until it's complete.

Here's just a small portion on my list:
  • Complete my re-write/editing of Orientation.
  • Complete my re-write/editing of The Year of the Unicorn.
  • Write The Year of the Griffin.
  • Write Lost Love
  • Complete my re-write/editing of Bitter Tea.
  • Write The Year of the Triton.
  • Complete my re-write/editing of Mystery Meatball.
  • Write The Year of the Phoenix
  • Complete my re-write/editing of The Heir of Ashford.
  • Write The Year of the Dragon.
  • Complete my re-write/editing of Mena.
  • Write The Year of the Masters.
  • Write Little Girl Lost

None of this includes any 'new stories' that may come up - and I dream them all the time. Nor, does it include the processes for when I become published for books already in submission (Milledgeville Misfit and Magic Island).

As you can see, I plan on being busy for a long, long while - and I think I'm going to enjoy every pain-staking minute of it. Writing is a labor of love. Don't let anybody tell you different. Some think it's easy to tell a story - but telling the story isn't really part of the process. There's so much more that goes into writing, and the biggest part is your heart.

I can't, and won't, complain. It seems to be raining in my life - because my list keeps getting bigger and longer everyday. That's a good thing. This is my vision as I've laid it out for you.

Habakkuk 2:2 - And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by.(AMP)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:14 & 15

I didn't post a review last week, mostly because I was disheartened, so I thought I'd combine it with this weeks.

I'm not sure where TPTB are going to go with the Lana story. I actually like this new role she's playing, but I abhor the Clana they keep insisting on shoving down our throats. It really makes me twinge every time it comes on the screen. I've really become disheartened with the story. But, I don't want to get onto another Clana rant.

Just what is Clark Kent supposed to be doing? He didn't join up with the Justice League because he was on a mission to round up the remaining Phantom Freaks, yet I haven't seen mention of any since then. He's been too busy doing the Lana dance. It's like the show has shifted from Clark's mission to Lana's mission and her quest to discover the truth about Clark. She's resorting to manipulations, lying, snooping and being down-right underhanded, but for what purpose? She's pregnant with a child that she hasn't SHOWN any interest or concern with, she's engaged to a man she clearly doesn't trust and she claims to be best friends with someone who doesn't trust her or her fiance and is hiding the one secret she's after. Come on - do they really think we're going to buy that she's even remotely innocent. Lana doesn't act like someone in love and is about to have a baby. She's on a mission - and that mission (to find out Clark's truth) trumps EVERYTHING else in her life. She's no different than Lex, because she's become consumed in her obsession.

I think this story line started a couple of seasons back with the emergence of the crystals, her witnessing the spacecraft and the two Krytponians and then her dealings with Zod and now Lex. She believes Clark is meteor infected, but now KNOWS that he's not - how much longer will it take her to put together that he's an alien? As Chloe said - she's been orbiting this secret for so long - she can't help but soon make a landing. I also think Clark knows this, but his apparent 'fear' of her discovering the truth is starting to dissipate. Is it because he's moving on and it doesn't matter as much as it used to, because he doesn't have as much to lose - or because he believes that it truly wouldn't make a difference and she'd accept him anyway?

You have to wonder what Clark thinks of Lana now. He still loves her, but his perfect perception of her isn't the same. She's fallen off that pedestal and perhaps that is what makes all the difference. I'm hoping that he's letting down his guard, because he's becoming more confident and secure in who he is - and isn't ashamed of it. Either way, he has to realize that Lana isn't the same sweet girl-next-door. He doesn't believe she loves Lex, yet he knows she's with him.

BTW - don't you notice that every time Lex and Lana lie to each other, they always follow it up with a kiss on the cheek and delivered with a smile? I'm starting to pick up on the tell-tell signs.

Now, onto Clark and Chloe. I nearly choked up when Clark told Chloe that she should consider him her personal bomb protection. That's LOVE. That's the Superman I know. That's the kind of relationship I love to see. It was a touching moment. Probably one of the sweetest moments I've seen yet. It showed the true heart of Clark Kent.

Now, what is Chloe's ability??? I've always suspected that she was somehow infected, but always hoped it was just who she was - the way Bart is just fast, Oliver is just good, Aqua is just ... a fish? I hope she doesn't turn out to be meteor affected, because what I've noticed over the past six years (and she has too) is that meteor freaks are a mutated version of greatness. While it gives the wielder an ability, its one that they can't handle and instead is the very thing that destroys them. They change - transform into the extreme - and like Chloe said - most end up either dead, on level 33.1 or in Belle Reve. Not a good outcome for Chloe, especially since she already fears the asylum due to her mother's mental history. BTW - has Chloe been visiting her mother? After that one episode, we haven't heard anything else about it.

There is a lot that's happened over these past couple of episodes. My biggest problem isn't what's happened, but trying to determine which path TPTB are leading us down. I just hope it's the right one. If Smallville can't do right by Chloe, then the CW should create a spin-off series centered around her - The Chloe Chronicles. I'd watch it! But, I'm really hoping they get back to the story of Clark Kent and him embracing his destiny.

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Orientation - Chapter One - Snippet

He made his way to the back of the store to the small coffee shop, surrounded by big oversized couches and chairs and a long counter with several barstools in front. Magus plopped down at the first stool and smiled at the jovial man sitting a few spaces down. “Hey, Mr. Wilson, what’s up?”

The old man swiveled around, folded his newspaper and wiped his hands on a small apron tied around his robust waist. He smiled at Magus and then reached up to tip the plaid hat that matched his plaid sweater. “That’s Master Wilson to you, young Magus. How many times must I tell you that?” Master Wilson picked up the newspaper and opened it back and resumed reading.

Magus smiled. “Until you tell me why they call you Master instead of Mister.”

The old man didn’t look back at Magus. He reached up with one hand and scratched his salt-and-pepper head, just behind his right ear. “You know, they say that an egg can stand on its end by itself today…” Master Wilson said, not looking up from his paper. “…How do you suppose that works?”

Magus drummed his fingers on the countertop. “I think it has something to do with the equinox, but I’m not sure. What I am sure about…” Magus said as he wiped his hand across his forehead, “… is that I hate this horrible heat. It seems to be one of the hottest days so far.” He wiped his hand on his blue jeans. “I’ve been sweating all day. What does your newspaper say about that?”

Master Wilson slid a small plate containing a bagel and two peanut butter cookies toward him. “I don’t put too much stock into what the papers say about the weather, but I have a feeling that the heat is just beginning for you today. Have you read the new comic that just came in?” Master Wilson glanced up from his paper.

With a mouthful of peanut butter cookie, Magus replied, “Nope, but give me a few minutes and I will… the usual place?”

“Yes,” replied Master Wilson, as he slid a cup of mocha caramel latte across the counter.
Magus took a sip to wash down his cookie. “Thanks,” he mumbled as small crumbs fell from his lips.

“By the way,” Master Wilson said as he dropped his newspaper and peered directly into Magus’ eyes, “Happy Birthday.”

Magus nearly choked on his cookies and coffee. “How did you know it was my birthday?” Magus asked curiously, as he wiped the frothy foam of the latte from his upper lip on the sleeve of his tee shirt.

“The same way you sometimes know things about people. I also remembered what it felt like on my thirteenth birthday and thought you might like some help on yours.” Master Wilson rubbed his silver-bearded chin. “It’s an amazing day, but it can be a little scary too.”

“I don’t understand,” Magus said, as he stared at Master Wilson.

“Of course you don’t. Nobody would have told you, that’s my job. I know I haven’t been around as much. But now that I’m here, I’ll help you understand who and what you are. I’ve been waiting for this day all month.”

Magus leaned away from Master Wilson as if he had a contagious disease. “What do you mean?”

“I was sent to befriend you, so I can help you understand the mysterious world of the Necromancer,” Master Wilson said with a huge smile plastered on his face. He took a sip of his black coffee keeping eye contact.

“The world of what?” Magus asked with a furrowed brow.

“Necromancer, it’s the only name we’ve come up with. We’re really not sure of what we are, but we know what we’re not.” Master Wilson looked around the busy bookstore and then leaned a little closer to Magus. “We know we’re not wizards, aliens or mutants, but we are different, yet… we are very similar to one another.” Picking up his newspaper, he whispered. “You’ll learn all about the history of the Necromancers at Avesta, but for now you need to understand the change that’s taking place.”

“The change… what change?” Magus rubbed the back of his neck as the stinging grew in intensity.

“Every Necromancer goes through a change on their thirteenth birthday, and for you, that day is today.” Master Wilson tapped the top of his newspaper that displayed the date in big, bold type in the top right corner. “By the time the sun sets on this day, you will feel vastly different from how you felt yesterday, because you will have come into your power.” He looked around the store again and then turned the page on his newspaper. “It takes a lot of time for the transformation to be complete, and that’s why this day is the longest day of the year.”

“You’re starting to freak me out,” Magus squeaked. I wonder if that’s why I’ve been seeing weird stuff all day.

As he stared at the old man, the noise in the store faded, except for the soft voice of Master Wilson, which amplified. Magus watched as his friend’s eyes glowed with excitement.

“Well, to start off with, you will be hot all day, and that has nothing to do with the weather. A Necromancer could live on the North Pole, but on his thirteenth birthday he’ll be drenched in sweat.”

Magus reached up and wiped another drop of perspiration that slowly trickled down the side of his face. I have been awfully hot today, but so has everyone else.

“That’s part of the physical transformation. Your senses will become keener, sounds will become clearer and it will seem that gravity has lost its hold over you.” Master Wilson leaned in close to Magus. “But the scary part is the voices that will fill your head. If you’re not expecting it, you might think you’ve gone a little insane. But, you’ll soon learn how to turn those voices off until you need them. Understand?”

They both sat in utter silence, staring at one another for several seconds without blinking, which to Magus felt like several minutes. Just as Magus’ eyes started to water, he saw it. Master Wilson’s blue eyes flinched.

A big grin spread across Magus’ face and he busted out laughing. “I think you’re absolutely nuts, but it makes for a great story, and you know how I love a good story.” Magus patted Master Wilson on the back. “You had me going for a minute there, Mister Wilson.

Magus pushed his empty plate, containing only a few crumbs back toward his old friend and slid off his stool. Backing away, he bumped into the square bin of discounted books. “I still can’t figure out how you knew it was my birthday, I must have somehow let it slip. I think I’ll go read the comics now, but good luck with your Necro… whatever you called them,” Magus said as he rounded the corner toward the comic books.

“That’s Master Wilson to you, and it’s Necromancers!” Master Wilson swished his newspaper in the air. “Go, read your comic books, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon enough.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Orientation - Prologue - Snippet

Gabriel couldn’t stop staring at his mother. He wanted to memorize every little detail he could about her and lock those memories into the far reaches of his mind. He started to tear up again when his mother reached up and stroked his cheek. I’m afraid to close my eyes again, because when I open them, you might be gone.

“It’s alright, Gabriel. I’m not going anywhere just yet. I can’t promise you that I’ll be around for a long time, but I will make this solemn vow… I will finish this story before your thirteenth birthday, which is only eight days away.”

Gabriel narrowed his eyes. Did she just read my mind?

“This means more to me than anything in the world, and I’m not going anywhere until it’s complete. You can count on that.” Clutching a small silver unicorn choker that hung around her neck, Claire began her tale.

“Now… listen very carefully… because our story begins over forty years ago on one of the longest and hottest days of the year…."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Back to the One...

Well, it's that time again. I'm getting ready to jump back into this series. I've had a little break, completing two books - Milledgeville Misfit and Voyage to Magic Island - and now it's time to get back to the series that has stolen my heart, The Necromancers.

Over the next couple of months I will be going over Orientation and The Year of the Unicorn, doing some light editing, as well as refreshing my mind concerning story threads and plot lines. I know the overall plot, that's already sealed in my heart, but the sub-plots (which move the story from point A to point B) need to be remembered and readdressed. Then after that final run-through of yet another round of edits, I'll start with book three, The Year of the Griffin.

I really, really love this series. It's my heart. It's my baby. I love each of these characters as my own children. I love their personalities and their quirks. I love their sense of adventure and their fears. I'm proud to be their mother. I feel grateful that I was chosen to be the vessel to this wonderful tale. It's truly a labor of love. I've poured so much of myself into it, and I love every agonizing, hilarious and tandem moment. This is the ONE. I know it, with everything within me - this is the story that will define me. I'm honored to get to be a part of it. I can't wait to share it with the world.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, February 02, 2007

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:13 Crimson

I loved and I hated this episode at the same times. Which parts didn’t make me spit out my coffee or choke on my cookie, had me tearing my napkin in shreds. It was great and horrible at the same time.

I have to start with the Valentine’s theme. Its a few weeks early, but why not go ahead and remind everyone that it is coming up. Having Jimmy trying to set up Lois and Clark was priceless. It was perhaps the best scene in the whole episode. The way he maneuvered it, you saw what was coming a mile away, but I had a smile on my face the whole time. I even loved Chloe’s surprised look, but she handled it with style and grace. However, the look on Lois and Clark’s face - priceless. Then, of course, he had to go off and be a boob about it.

I’m thinking that the lady behind the love potion wasn’t your everyday herbalist, but more or less of the phantom kind. She knew a little too much about Clark for it to be so random. This person knew the Red-K effect, as well as the Green-K counter effect. While some will probably speculate that Lois was affected by Red-K, but I tend to think that our Phantom freak slipped her a little potion of another sort that caused her infatuation with Clark – knowing it would lead to Clark’s infection with Red-K. But, if that’s the case, what was the Phantom Freak after?

The Lois/Clark moments were hilarious. The tattoo, the leaping tall buildings in a single bound, the outing of Oliver, the almost couch romp, the stalking by Lois, the White-heart CD, the sleazy Lois outfits, the repeated ‘future’ implications… perfect!!! I enjoyed every little morsel they dropped. Kal-El seemed to act on those feelings that Clark tries to deny and keep suppressed.

I loved everything that Kal-El said to EVERYBODY. It was all stuff that has needed to be said for a long time. Will anyone listen to it? Who knows? You know it’s got to be eating Lex up, because I’m sure it’s what Lex thinks about more often than not. But, the part that I loved/hated was his remarks to Chloe. Does Clark resent her? He’s clearly attracted to her, he clearly trusts her and he clearly is her friend – however, when his inhibitions are lowered he is either ravishing her or putting her down. If I were Chloe, I’d be having one serious talk with Clark and I couldn’t give up. I’d treat it like a story I was working on – going after it like a rabid dog until I got the answers I was looking for.

Chloe/Jimmy – Poor Jimmy. It hard to watch the one you love, love someone else. However, he should be confident enough to know that Chloe also loves him. I HATE that Chloe once again got stomped on. She doesn’t get the guy… ever - even her own guy, because of Clark.

Also, why does she keep putting up with Lana’s abuse? Lana has never been a good friend of Chloe. She’s been judgmental and abusive to her since they first met. Yet, Chloe keeps putting up with her, why? I understood it at the beginning, because she knew how Clark felt about her. Why now? Lana is just using Chloe because she’s got nobody else and because she knows that Chloe knows Clark’s secret and she’s hoping she can get it out of Chloe.

I hated that Jimmy broke up with Chloe because of his insecurities. Once again, Chloe is the one left out in the rain. While Lois has a new flavor every month, Lana has them fighting over her, Chloe loses the only one she’s ever really had. I thought it was blondes that had more fun? Not in Smallville.

What was up with Mrs. Kent? Why was she at the engagement party? She’s not friends with Lex or Lana? She’s friends with Lionel, who wasn’t even there. Senator Kent wouldn’t want to be seen with Lex Luthor. Yet, there she sat knowing it would be something her son wouldn’t be comfortable with. If I were Clark, I’d of been questioning her motives too.

I loved the reference to Lana being the past, Lois being the future and Clark stating that he was in the present.

Now, for what I HATED in this episode.

I’m SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK of Clark’s obsession with Lana. It isn’t love, its outright obsession. Obsession is blinded to the consequences of affection. This story line is sooooo old and sooooo worn out. I’m tired of it. It really, really makes me want to quit watching this show. It degrades my hero and makes him Wimpman instead of Superman. It’s like he takes a few steps forward to become the hero he’s meant to be, but then when it comes to Lana he takes one of those super giant leaps backwards. Don’t’ TPTB know that it’s this sick obsession that’s killing the show??? Are they going to shove this CRAP down our throats every stinking year?

Also, what did Lex do to deserve Lana? She makes him go from being a Supervillian to Wimpy lap dog. Who needs Kryptonite when you’ve got Lana Lang? I know they needed to give her SOMETHING to do on the show, because she lost her usefulness by season 2, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

TPTB are making this whole show about Lana Lang, not Clark Kent. She’s becoming the catalyst in the rift between hero and villain – making everything about the woman between them. How can Clark save the world when he’s too busy obsessing over Lana? I thought she was the past? Why won’t they leave her in the past? Why can’t Clark move on? I’m sick to death of it. It ruined the whole night for me and left a really bad taste in my mouth. It hurts when your hero is made into the dumbest, weakest sucker in the world. It even hurt to see my villain as a boy toy, instead of the badass he’s supposed to be. Come on – would anyone really believe that Lex Luthor would just stand there and let some man walk out with his fiancĂ© and not say or do anything? This isn’t Whitney, who I think would have tried to stop Clark; this is LEX LUTHOR. He reminded me tonight of the Hackman-Luthor, which I hate, instead of the Rosenbaum-Luthor that I’ve fallen in love with.

So, as you can see – this episode had some really, really good points and some really, really bad ones. It seems that Clark wasn’t the only one affected by the Red and Green K, but we all were.

Till next time,
Crazy4Smallville

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Voyage to Magic Island - Completed!

I've done it. I've written the last word and typed the last period. Boy, does it feel good.

I started Magic Island in October and three months later, she's done. I have to admit it was an easy three months, with all the pressure rolled into the last two weeks. I'm happy with it. I think it's some of my best work. I had fun with this one. I took my time and let it unfold on it's own.

Magic Island was one of the first stories I wrote down. It started as a tale that I told my children (then 8,6 & 1), but never completed. After writing the first two books of my Necromancer series and Milledgeville Misfit, I thought it was time to revisit Magic Island. I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Sometimes I sit back in wonder, contemplating on where these stories come from. Sometimes they feel alien to me - like I am just the vessel, a mere scribe, chosen to write them down. Somehow this great adventure needed to be born and I was picked to bring it into this world, much the same way a child is born. Both are a labor of love.

So, now it's time to send this new child of mine into the world. Let's hope she can fly.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, January 26, 2007

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:12 Labyrinth

I don't think this episode is going to go down as one of the best episodes, but Tom Welling's performance should be noted as some of the best I've seen. He was great. He did an excellent job going through the yo-yo of emotions. I think he may have had to exude every one of them. Remind me that if I ever meet, to be suspicious. I won't know if he's sincere or just acting. LOL!

It was great to meet the Martian Manhuter, however I don't think I quite understood the purpose of this 'phantom' and his objective. I understand that the phantom had to get Clark to believe that he was crazy, accept that fact - in order for him to be able to take control of his super body. But, the method in which he chose left more questions than answers.

Though I loved Tom's acting ability in this episode, the storyline had far too many loop and potholes, or should I say, 'plotholes'.

First being - why was Clark so keen to accept that he was crazy so easily? If his reality supposedly became splintered when he went into high school after having grown up in a normal life (his parents, like Lana's, being killed in the meteor shower, meeting and falling in love with Lana since they were small kids, etc. ), how does that explain the super abilities he's had all his life. Clark may not have learned of his Kryptonian heritage until he was a freshman in high school, but he was always strong and always fast, and he always knew he was different. He just thought he was a meteor freak. So, for Clark to accept the Doc's assessment that he went crazy at 15 instead of 5, should have told Clark the truth. But, intelligence has never been one of Clark's super powers.

What were the source of the phantom's parallel reality? Was it Clark's hopes and fears? Does Clark truly wish that Lana has always loved him and will stand by him no matter what? Does he really believe his mom would marry Lionel Luthor? Does he really desire that he would have hurt Lex instead of help him on that bridge? Does he really fear that Chloe is crazy? Does he really believe that his destiny is to save the world?

This may not have been my favorite episode, but it's one that really has me thinking. It sort of reminds me of the whole Ezra Small prophecies. It's a bone thrown out there for a us to chew on for a while.

I'm still confused about the meeting with Lana and Lex at the Talon. What happened? Did Clark resolve in his heart that he loves Lana, but that he's moved on or that he's not giving up? I understand that he was glad to see that he wasn't responsible for another of Lex's handicaps, but what's with the smiles? I bet that Lex and Lana will scratch their heads on that one for a long time to come. It's easier to stand up to your enemies when they're barking at you. But, it's hard to strike when they're wagging their tails.

I loved the Chlark moment. It was one of the truest and greatest super feat that I've seen Clark achieve so far. He truly loves Chloe as she is. He trusts her and cares about her.

Well, this has been my weekly assessment of Smallville. Perhaps it's not as confusing as I found the episode. But, if it is - it's clearly a portrayal of the confusion I discovered.

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Deadlines - Love/Hate Relationship

I hate deadlines, but at the same time they give me defined parameters to work within. I have boundaries, but freedom within those boundaries. As much as I hate the pressure, I use the pressure to keep me moving in a forward motion.

I have a deadline - five chapters in five days.

I need all the prayers I can get.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, January 19, 2007

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:11 Justice

Oh man, was this awesome or what? I think I've waited six years for this episode. There's only two more that I have to wait for now: Clark to put on the glasses and show up at the Daily Planet with Lois Lane and Superman to don the red cape and fly. I can't wait!!! But, then again - I can. Because that would mean the end of Smallville - and I don't know if I can take that.

I LOVE, I LOVE, I LOVE how Clark involved Chloe in what what going on and Oliver called her 'side kick'. She totally deserves it. Man, what I wouldn't give to be in her shoes.

I loved seeing Bart again. He grew up on me in just two years, but he's still just as cute as ever. I love that little 'sly' attitude he has. I'm not too crazy about the name Impulse, but knowing they couldn't use Flash, I suppose it was okay. I think perhaps Lightning or Thunderbolt would have sufficed, but Impulse is original, I suppose. I love his zest for life and his big appetite. I love the way he flirts with Chloe.

I loved seeing A.C. again. Still just as charming and just as sexy as the last time I saw him. He should leave his shirt off more often, however, I wouldn't have like to get one really good shot of him in his orange shirt. I do have to say though, I don't really know what his part was in the rescue mission. Was it just to gain access from a different direction. I seemed to have missed his mission. I love the 'fish jokes' comment. Hilarious.

I loved seeing Victor return as Cyborg. Man, does he get hotter every time I see him. It was sad to hear about his relationship with his girlfriend fizzling out, but everyone knows that you can't keep a superhero tied down. But, I'm wondering when he's going to fall in love with Lois? I mean, AC's had his shot, Oliver just blew his, Clark's coming later - so there's still time for Victor and Bart (though I think Bart's got his eye on her cousin - another of Clark's loves.) It makes me think - what does it take to make a superhero fall in love with you? Lois, Lana and Chloe are three completely different women - yet they have an appeal on the superhero/villain kind. Poor Victor... glad he found his reason to live.

I think Oliver/Green Arrow - gets sexier every time I see him. But, this time - his dark, ominous eyes had me almost crying at the end. You really felt the love he had for Lois fight against the passion he has for Justice. I liked seeing him in this leadership role. I suited him, even better than that green leather outfit he sports.

Which reminds me... I loved ALL of their outfits. But, I have to admit I was scratching my head after the explosion. While I was tingling all over seeing the League, I paused for a moment, because it looked so out of place. You had everyone decked out in their new outfits - Impulse, Green Arrow, (CLARK KENT?), Aqua-Man and Cyborg. Clark just didn't 'look' super - he looked like your average farm boy who got caught in the wrong picture. He should have at least try to throw together some sort of disguise, especially after Lionel just warned him about being exposed and being careful - and got the feel of what it was like to hide behind a disguise pretending to be the Green Arrow. It just seem to deflate the moment a bit.

This mission wouldn't have been the same without Chloe. She was awesome. Man, I'm so jealous. If I could pick a character to be, that'd be it - even if she isn't in Clark's life later, she's so totally awesome now. Allison Mack is just awesome in that character, much like how Rosenbaum has changed my perception of Lex Luthor. I never thought much about Lex Luthor, writing him off as a idiot, but Rosenbaum has made him a formidable opponent for the Man of Steel. He's broken all the molds before him - and I doubt that could be filled again.

I really felt for Lois. She seems to be attracted to the hero type, which I can totally relate. I hated seeing her get her heart broken, but she's not alone.

I'm sure there is MUCH, MUCH more with this episode I'm leaving out, but I'm really quite speechless. It was that good. I really hope Smallville brings us more of these - or else the show creators need to start working on the new Justice and Metropolis series.

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 6:10 Hydro

I know... I'm a week late for this one. I actually didn't even think about writing my review after watching last week's episode. I don't know why. I really enjoyed the episode and thought it was quite funny, but until this morning - contemplating my review of Justice, I remember that I had skipped one for this episode.

So, this week - you get a two fer'.

I didn't particularly like Tori Spelling as Linda Lake. She reminded me of the spoiled brat, turned ghost freak, back in Smallville. I was waiting for her to shout out, 'Laterz' at any moment. Also, her character didn't really go out with a splash; more like a drizzle. I have a feeling that wasn't the last we're going to see of this water nymph.

Surprisingly, some the best parts of this episode were the Lexana scenes. Rosenbaum and Kruek really do have a lot of chemistry together on screen, making Lana's character tolerable. TPTB couldn't help spooning us one last bit of Clana down our throats, but hopefully that's it.

This episode had a lot of different elements. It was a comedy one minute and a deep emotional scene the next, but the chemistry of it worked. Not too much of either one, making it the right combination to send me away at the end with a smile on my face and going, 'Ahh - that was good.'

The Clark/Oliver/Lois triangle was well depicted, especially the look on Clark's face after that kiss, and after Lois' reaction to the kiss at the end of the episode. Those moments were priceless.

The Clark/Lex/Lana triangle was well played with Clark going through a roller coaster of emotions concerning Lana. First shocked, down, then up, hopeful, then more shock, then disappointment, then down, then finally leveling out. That's a lot of emotion to get through in just one episode, but I think Clark pulled it out. I also think Lana did a very tasteful job with her own. She readily admits she loves Clark, but knows that she can't go back and looks forward instead.

The only bit that really irritated me was Lana's self-righteous attitude. But, that's only because I knew Chloe didn't spill the beans on her, but she should have given Chloe the benefit of the doubt. I think this is yet another example of how their friendship is really still on the surface level - not having really any depth.

I was glad to see Chloe put Clark in his place when he started going off on his self-righteous rampage and about secrets and lies. His reaction toward her brought back my old Chlark desires. He really loves her and she really loves him - and it's a shame they don't have the opportunity to share that love.

Anyway - there's a lot more in this episode that I loved - especially the whole Oliver Queen/Green Arrow cover-up, Jimmy moonlighting with Lois, Lois' hilarious attempt at uncovering the truth, and so on. That whole storyline was awesome and well played out.

The previews of Justice left me with tingles.... I can't wait!

Till next time,
~Crazy4Smallville

Monday, January 08, 2007

In the Beginning... The First Day

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.(KJV)

Even those who believe in the 'Big Bang Theory' accept there was a beginning. They cannot say what it was, but they speculate on what happened in the split seconds that followed. According to this theory - all known matter (and even some unknown) was present within the space smaller than an atom. As we know it now, nothing is smaller than an atom - yet, by faith it is believed that all matter (all gases, elements & chemical breakdowns that make up our natural existence within time and space) existed in this small area. From that - it exploded into the expanding universe which mankind has only scratched the surface to understand.

Wow, that takes a LOT of faith, but I believe it's possible. I just also believe that perhaps the split second before this 'bang' a Word was spoken by something that existed in a realm that was long before our own. You see - the natural realm(space, time, earth, planets, solar systems & galaxies - even atoms) exists and is governed by natural law, the spiritual realm exists and is governed by spiritual law, for God is supernatural - spiritual - and the place he dwells is supernatural - spiritual. This place, I believe, is the 'heaven' referred to by Moses, as dictated by God, in this verse. Also, because the scripture doesn't say 'heavens' being plural, but 'heaven' being singular. The 'earth' , I believe, isn't necessarily the specific planet, but the natural existence altogether.

Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.(KJV)

If my theory is right that 'earth' including all natural existence, then this sentence makes more sense, because it couldn't have meant the planet. Planets have shapes and physical properties. However, this refers to something without a shape, without physical properties.

The word 'void' means - containing no matter; empty. Unoccupied. Devoid, lacking, useless. An empty space.

Formless means - lacking definate form or shape.

A cold planet, devoid of life, still has elemental properties and matter and a shape, so it cannot be classified as formless and void. Many of planets in our solar system have elements, but none have life - and they're not categorized as 'void'. So, in this passage, the 'earth' mentioned couldn't have been of a young planet. It spoke of something that existed, but didn't have any physical properties, including gases or atoms... yet.

As for the next two sentences, I'm not sure I've even began to grasp their meaning.

and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

What sort of 'darkness' is Moses speaking of? The natural or the supernatural? I don't think it's natural darkness, because he addresses that later on the fourth day in verses 14-19. Why would God create the same thing on the fourth day that he did on the first day? Also, what is the 'deep' and what are the 'waters'?

If our existence (at this time) was formless and void (hasn't formed any physical properties), how can there be physical water which is made up of oxygen and hydrogen? Perhaps this is spiritual water? Jesus speaks of living water - perhaps this is one and the same?

Genesis 1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.(KJV)

What kind of light is this? Natural light cannot exist without radiation and water. Without the sun we have no radiation. If our universe is devoid of physical properties, how can this light be natural light? Also, if God created 'natural' light here - what did he create on the fourth day?

Light has more than one meaning. Per Webster - not only is it a physical characteristic of electromagnetic radiation that can be perceived by the naked eye and has wavelengths, but it is also a way of looking at or considering something, enlightenment, understanding, not heavy, free from worries, etc. John 8:12 - Jesus says that he is light of the world. Perhaps this is the light referred to here.

However, if you keep reading... in verse five, God names the light "Day" and gives it a capital letter, making it a proper noun. He does the same for darkness, by naming it 'Night' - unlike on the fourth day when the natural light and darkness (caused by the sun and space) is simply called, 'day' and 'night' (no caps).

This gives me pause to consider that perhaps what God is speaking of isn't natural, but supernatural. Keeping that in mind, the next verse takes on a whole new meaning.

Genesis 1:4 - And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.(KJV)

Perhaps, God saw 'goodness' and separated it from its opposite, 'evil'.

We know that God separated the spiritual realm when Lucifer and a third his angels rebelled against him, and created 'Hell'. We understand later through scripture that Hell wasn't created for the spirits of humans, but for Satan and his fallen angels. We will learn later that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil existed in the garden when it was created, therefore good and evil existed long before the garden.

Genesis 1:5 - And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.(KJV)

Perhaps God's first day of creation wasn't about the natural realm at all. Being eternity-minded instead of earthy-minded, I'm apt to believe that the possibilty exists of that being the case. I'm also very aware that I could be wrong.

I know my finite mind has a hard time comprenhending the infinate things of God. I also find it laughable (because of the arrogance) at how some people fight so hard against what they don't even begin to understand, or how others easily accept what other finite minds tell them without trying to discover or reason for themselves.

My pastor often expressed the following statment and it truly changed my life and how I look at things.

Condemnation of new information, without consideration, is ignorance and arrogance of the highest order.

I don't know a lot of things, but I'm willing to learn. I'm willing to admit I was wrong and have an open enough mind to consider the possibility that what I've always thought I knew, I didn't know at all. But, I'm also confident in what I am convinced of, and stand with a clear conscience that it's what I've reasoned on my own to be. I'm fully convinced of what I believe, therefore I don't waiver, because it's my own conscience that has conceived the idea - not someone else' opinion. But, everything else is up for bebate.

In other words... there are some things I know - because I've learned them for myself and have worked them out in my own understanding or have experianced them personally. Everything else I'm unsure of - I'm still willing to learn.

I can't wait to find out what I discover about the second day.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Website Updates

I've updated my websites:

http://www.thenecromancers.com
http://www.tlgray.net

I think I did a pretty good job on them. I still need to do some work on both, to tweak out the little nuances, but overall, I think they're both much better than they used to be.

I'm hoping for some good news in the coming month. My agent should be back from the holidays next week and so should the publishers considering my work.

Magic Island is coming along well. I'm in the middle of writing chapter thirteen, while chapter twelve is currently in queue in my critique group. However, I'm behind on edits. I'm only on chapter 8. I was hoping to get caught up, but still haven't found the time. Perhaps this weekend I'll get it knocked out.

I've actually been thinking about Necromancers. I'd like to hurry up and complete Magic Island so I can get back to that series. I'm itchin' to start writin' on book three, The Year of the Griffin. Gandolf is in for a perilous adventure.

Well, it's back to work for me.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Audrey Hepburn

This is by far my favorite actress, with Ann Hathaway following close behind. They just don't make actresses like her anymore, or else they don't make good movies like they used to.

Over the holidays, my mother-in-law bought me the same DVD collection of three of Audrey's movies (Sabrina, Roman Holiday & Breakfast at Tiffany's) as my son. He also bought me the collector's edition of My Fair Lady. I've watched all four movies twice now.

They also bought me Ella Enchanted to help with my Ann Hathaway collection.

I love old musicals and classic movies. So, now that I've started a collection there are few movies I want to add to my wish list:

From Audrey Hepburn:

Always
Love Among Thieves
They All Laughed
Bloodline
Robin & Marian
Wait Until Dark **Must Have
Two For The Road
How to Steal a Million
Paris - When it Sizzles
Charade **Must Have
The Unforgiven
The Nun's Story
Green Mansions
Love in the Afternoon
Funny Face **Must Have
War & Peace **Must Have
The Secret People
Young Wives Tale
The Lavender Hill Mob
Laughter in Paradise
One Wild Oat
Monte Carlo Baby

Ann Hathaway:

The Devil Wears Prada **Already Have
Ella Enchanted **Already Have
Princess Diaries
Princess Diaries 2
Nicholas Nickleby
The Other Side of Heaven
Havoc
I'm going to forget she was in Brokeback Mountain
Becoming Jane


On another thought. I finally got my websites updated. They both still need a little work and more tweaking, but they're coming along really well.

I'm not going to post a new chapter of Magic Island this week, for next week's queue. I'm going to try and get caught up on edits of the last four chapters, then complete chapter fourteen. I just feel like a little break. My agent should be getting back to work after her long holiday break, so I'm hoping to hear something soon about Milledgeville Misfit or Orientation.

You should check out my new Necromancers website at: http://www.thenecromancers.com and let me know what you think.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray