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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Bonus Material

To say that I was more than a little excited to receive my Star Wars TFA Blu-Ray / DVD copy the other day might be an understatement. As a long-time Star Wars fan, I am beyond excited for this revival and am delighted with the new wave of fans that are becoming excited for this franchise. I genuinely believe it provides a common language that allows us all to relate in some way. Just like American Football gives many a people something to talk about, Star Wars is on that level for us nerds – it’s our bond.

Anyhow, I digress!

This piece is all about spreading the word on the bonus material you can look forward to – that is, if you’re a slacker who hasn’t gotten their copy yet, or are on the fence if it is worth it, or if you’re just going to hold out for the complete set.

Either way, if you didn’t pre-order… you may be in trouble.

So… uh, bonus material and movie spoilers ahead? You have been warned!

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Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey (Chapters 1 – 4)

In this four chapter documentary of sorts, the story of making The Force Awakens is told start to finish. From the abject terror/excitement of being a part of the new production, to the mind-blowing sensation of old and new cast coming together for the first table read, to the hard work and detail put into every prop and every second of CG – this four part series covers it all. I will admit to being one of those greedy fans who wants more – more about how the story came to be, more about how the creators felt about the motivations for the characters and where they envisioned the story going – even though I have a strict rule against spoilers.

Some interesting take-aways for me was how the concept art very much propelled different parts of the story, rocketing the characters from one sticky situation into another. Discussions surrounding Han and Leia’s relationship, and how it affected Ben was great to gain more insight on. Carrie Fisher’s return to the screen was something I had never really thought about – which, in my opinion, reflects on how well she revived the character. She reported having the worst first day on set, but stuck with it and came back on the second day, ready to be faithful to the character and all her fans.

It was great to see and hear about Daisy and John’s reaction to the casting news. Daisy claims, while every part of her wanted to hear the words that were eventually delivered, she was completely dumbfounded and unable to form coherent words. John Boyega was convinced he was still auditioning during the Table Read, remembering how the script was upside down in his binder and frantically wondering if it was the final test before he actually landed the role.

Many times the characters and crew reflected on how Star Wars is now a family experience – passed down from one generation to the next. This resonated with me especially, since it was my Uncle who introduced me to Star Wars when I was 13. It DID give us a common language, among he and I and among the rest of the fan base.

Fun Fact: Poe Dameron’s character was originally slated to die early in the movie. While Oscar Issac obviously jumped at the chance to play Poe, he did complain to JJ that all the movies he’d been in to date, he had died early in the film. After some consideration, JJ found a way to avoid that fate for Poe. Good thing, too, since Poe is surely a fan favorite and we’ll look forward to seeing him in future movies!

The Story Awakens: The Table Read

The Table Read is briefly touched on in the Cinematic Journey, but this bonus feature really drives home how emotional this event was for the veteran actors as well as the new additions. It was stunning to hear Mark Hamill read the opening credits and I felt chills all over again.

Amusingly, Daisy Ridley reported she thought her table read was rubbish, and felt confirmed in the belief when JJ insisted she and John Boyega begin day-long rehearsals immediately.

Crafting Creatures

While I would have LOVED for this bonus feature to go more into the making of all of the amazing costumes, I can understand why they couldn’t – there were just so damn many! It was fascinating to see how the crew worked to make such authentic props, enhancing them with CG only when necessary yo further enhance their authenticity.

One great takeaway from this segment for me was JJ’s approach to design – instead of giving a vision and having the artists fulfill it, he challenged the artists to make what inspired them. The artists had no guarantee that anything they made would make it into the movie – their work had to be good enough, and inspirational enough, for JJ to choose them for the film. I love this approach because it is obvious in the quality and uniqueness of the end result that the artists were really motivated to create memorable creatures and costumes.

When it came to the iconic costumes like Chewie, there were absolutely no corners cut, or even an attempt to improve on the original design. Crafters called on the methods and techniques used in the original films to ensure Chewie would translate well to us very detail-oriented fans.

Building BB8

Similar to how the Creature Crafters were challenged, the creators of BB8 were given quite the challenge by JJ when he delivered a rough sketch of the droid on a post-it note. The solution? ALL THE VERSIONS of BB8.

The builders found ways to construct BB8 in ways that best suited how he would need to be seen on screen. From a hand-driven version that had puppet qualities, to a drive-powered version that was awkward to maneuver but worked best in tight spaces, to a free-standing version with controls for body and head movement.

By far the best clip in this segment is one of the controllers dressed in a green skin-suit, pushing BB8 as quickly as possible around the desert in the Jakku escape scenes with Rey and Finn. Cardio is evidently a huge requirement in making this film.

Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight

As someone with a martial arts and fencing background, I was beyond excited when I got to this feature in the bonus material. And I have to admit, up front, I was a little disappointed. The segment seemed too short and mostly covered the construction of the set – WHICH IS AMAZING. Don’t get me wrong – they built a forest on an indoor set with real trees, and a 360 drop off. You basically felt like you were in the woods on the Starkiller Base.

But, I was really looking forward to learning more about the choreography of the fight. I suppose I’ll have to wait for more documentaries. Star Wars: The Gift That Just Keeps Giving.

ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force

These people are genuinely magic. Their work on the Falcon alone is breathtaking, and the time they took to study the physical models from the original production is just one of the indicators of their above-and-beyond approach. With all their magic, the folks at ILM were thrilled to have as many real-world props and settings as JJ delivered – open and honest about the fact that ‘real is real’. But they truly took it to the next level and their graphics are so well integrated into this film, it is genuinely difficult to pick them out.

John Williams: The Seventh Symphony

John Williams is a god among men – on this I think we can all agree. This segment was great to see Williams reflecting on how absolutely on board he was for Star Wars 7 – unable to fathom not contributing to the franchise, or breaking his streak. There is a huge emphasis on how much of the music in Star Wars is a part of the film, seamless but if removed, would be a terrible detriment to the film – and it’s true. I popped in the Blu-ray after watching the Bonus Material and really tried to focus in on the music. I found myself drifting into the story, and I think it’s because the score is so masterfully interwoven with the film, you cannot pay attention to just one or the other.

Deleted Scenes

Finn and the Villager

I can see why this scene was deleted – it breaks up the action of the initial invasion of Jakku in search of Poe and his star map. In this scene, Finn takes cover from the battle and stumbles onto a villager. There is a pause where neither Finn nor the villager knows what to do. After some clear conflict in Finn, he lets the villager run away, presumably saving her life.

Jakku Message

I am bummed this didn’t make the final cut. Essentially, a message is received by the Resistance that details the fate of Poe. This would have been the first scene with Leia in it – so I guess it would have ruined the big reveal later in the movie when Leia and Han are reunited. But still! It would have meant more Leia screen time, and it would have filled in the blank about how the Resistance was so quick to retrieve Poe from Jakku.

X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed

This scene appears to be constructed to give Greg Grunberg a line or two. Of course there’s a little extra time for Poe

Kylo Searches The Falcon

This is once scene I would have loved to see in the film. The moment Kylo walks onto the Falcon, you can feel the tension and conflict within the character. I immediately find myself wondering how much time Ben spent on the Falcon as a kid, what memories it holds for him, what he’s feeling in that moment. He walks to the Cockpit – not unlike what Han does after his confrontation with Rey and Finn when he first regains his ship. In the cockpit, Kylo takes a long moment to reflect, until his head bows and he senses his father is nearby.

Snow Speeder Chase

I want to take a moment to thank JJ for not including this scene in the final cut. Finn and Rey are in a snow speeder, headed to the oscillator in an attempt to blow it up. My first question is – where the hell is Han and Chewie? My second question is, why is Finn driving? Rey is the pilot of the group. Third, when they get shot at, Rey screams. She screams! This is so out of character for her, I was immediately put off. Then she tries to shoot at their pursuers and misses. This is also out of line with what we know about Rey. It become clear very quickly the whole scene is set up so Finn can give Rey they steering and use his rare-Stormtrooper-sharp-shooting skills to take out the other Stormtroopers.

Again, thanks JJ!

Finn Will Be Fine

This scene is beyond awkward without music. Finn is being treated by Resistance doctors when the doctor seen treating Chewie earlier approaches Rey to tell her “Your friend is going to be just fine,” and then pauses to stare at Rey with a creepy smile for like… way too long. Again, I’m sure with music this scene would be more impactful, but I think it was smart to leave it out.

Force For Change

This was a neat addition to the Bonus Materials where some of the production’s charity activities were highlighted. It was a genuinely sweet and moving piece, and it reminded me how powerful and prevalent Star Wars is all over the world. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

NOT seen in the Bonus Materials…

All the dancing that seemed to happen on set. What the hell?? I was fully expecting these adorable moments, with some more context. Where’s my context, JJ??


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

The (Literal) Pain of Being an Introvert

Obligatory disclaimer: I enjoy being an introvert. I am not lonely, I am not a victim of circumstance, nor malcontent with my social life.

When I am not spending my time nerding out, writing, surfing the internet or binging NetFlix, I work as an analyst. It’s one of those things popularly referred to as a ‘day job.’

Overall working as an analyst is a good fit for me. I get to dig into details, solution, improve and innovate on a regular basis – checking a lot of boxes on the things-I-need-to-enjoy-my-job list. There are times, however, where collaboration is an all day activity. These sessions are immensely productive and results driven, which means my satisfaction level with them is high.

However.

Of course there is an however.

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The more I experience day-long collaborative events, the more I realize how painful it can be to be an introvert. For no other reason other than being totally and completely drained by constant discussion and proximity to other people. Keep in mind; I am engaged in these sessions, talk frequently, problem solve, plan, etc. etc. – these are all things I enjoy doing. And yet, as the hours drag on, I am in physical pain.

We’re talking neck/shoulder strain, headaches, body stiffness, fatigue and even the occasional nausea.

How do I know this is the product of being an introvert?

I spent 10 minutes afterwards in a room all by myself and felt almost entirely better, or more ‘myself’. There is a lot of conventional wisdom that acknowledges the need for introverts to recharge, but I’m not sure extroverts fully understand what that means. It means recovering from some level of discomfort, and if we don’t get it… well, ‘cranky’ might be an understated descriptor of what may occur.

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AAAAHHHH PEOPLE!

As an introvert, all this physical discomfort seems like a signal from my brain telling me to GTFO of wherever I am and sit quietly alone with my own thoughts. And I can tell you from my hangry episodes alone, my brain can be VERY insistent. It turns out that there is some science behind this – and it makes sense. The way our brains react to the chemicals produced during times of high interaction with others is absolutely bound to have a physical effect on us introverts.

But like many things happening in our brains, it can be nearly impossible to communicate these concepts in ways others – who don’t experience the same – will understand. It’d be like someone trying to explain their bipolar disorder to me. Or even a need to be around people all the time. It genuinely baffles me and while I understand on an intellectual level, I’m not sure I’ll ever ‘get it’.

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Click image for source

So I don’t blame people for not understanding the introversion that is a huge part of my life. I have a very supportive group of friends and coworkers who don’t make concessions, but accept me for who I am, and that’s pretty cool.

I do appreciate the effort others go to in order to understand weirdos like me – which is the whole reason I’m crafting this article. I’m fortunate in that I don’t often have day-long collaborative obligations where I work, but I used to work front-line customer service. And oh boy, was that not the job for me.

It started at a small bar and sandwich shop. That was okay and manageable. I knew most people, they knew me, and I got what they needed quickly and efficiently.

Then I moved onto a national chain sandwich shop, which will not be named. This job involved high-volume interactions with different people every day. Different, demanding and unforgiving people. It was genuinely terrible for me, and I spent every day working there depressed and hopeless.

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(I took a lot of naps during my time working at the sandwich chain that shall not be named)

From there, I ‘upgraded’ to a call center job where I only had to talk to strangers over the phone instead of face-to-face. This was helpful at first, but as the volume picked up and spending a solid 8 hours of doing nothing but talking to other people turned into a painful and stress-filled experience. Seriously; just the memory of it can make me break into a cold sweat.

And it’s not because I hated my job, or the company, or the customers. It was simply an over-exposure to interaction with others and very little time to myself during my work day. And ‘to myself’ doesn’t mean goofing off with non-work related activities. It just meant my entire job was to interact with other people and let me tell you… this is not the best fit for any introvert. I was good at my job, like I’m good at my job now… but it was slowly killing me inside. 🙂

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Aah, not another soul in sight. Perfect!

Shout-out to all my introvert hommies: if you’re in a depressed, discontent place in your life and you work at a job that requires constant interaction with other people, that’s probably the reason. Figure out how you can work without all the… you know… people stuff. Again, this advice does not come from a place of disliking others on an arbitrary level. Introverts just have needs that, when not met, genuinely impact the quality of our lives. Admitting it is the first step to recovery!

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Introverts – or at least this one – can be in physical pain if we don’t get our alone time. Please keep this in mind when interacting with your friendly neighborhood introvert. Spend time with us, just not TOO much time. We will love you forever for it!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

Hannibal, Where Have You Been My Whole Life?

Let me begin by saying this; I have a bad habit of holding out on books and shows that I have some arbitrary sense that I wouldn’t enjoy. I didn’t get into Harry Potter until I randomly read the 5th book, then went back and devoured them from beginning to end. I avoided watching Battlestar Galactica when it was on the air because ‘I was already a Star Wars fan’ – as if you can’t enjoy more than one space opera in your life. I thought LOST was silly and nonsensical until I caught an episode during my second shift job in college and was left with my mouth gaping open in ‘WTF?!’ – you know, in a good way. So you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now.

But, in usual fashion, I held out on the show Hannibal. I had a lot of reasons. For instance, who wants to watch a show about cannibals?

Well, you do, if you enjoy amazing visuals, unending plot twists and genuinely decadent dialog with an interweaving story that is always referencing itself.

Recently, for whatever reason, I randomly agreed to watch this show with a friend. It is one of her favorite shows and I thought I was doing her a favor by agreeing to survive the 3 season run. As of last night, I have already begun re-watch #1. Allow me to explain why.

Hannibal

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You have to start with this guy, even though the show does not. Hannibal is introduced as a psychiatrist who is asked to help the FBI. Played by Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal is proper, polite, cultured and extremely intelligent. I have now watched all of the Hannibal movies, excluding Red Dragon (you’re on the list, don’t worry), and I have to say, Mads is my favorite. Unlike Hopkins, Mikkelsen is a quieter, less boasting Hannibal. He is still living his life, unburdened by imprisonment and constantly curious about what will happen next as he’s pulled into the trusting arms of the FBI, and Will Graham – an FBI special agent that immediately snatches the attention of our favorite cannibal.

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The Hannibal character is introduced in such a way that while you know – by pop culture references alone – that he is bad news, yet he is still somehow charming, witty and intelligent. I often found myself second guessing where the show was going, or where it intended to go because they did not set up Hannibal to be a villain from the onset. Well, they did, but they didn’t.

That is why this show is so amazing.

The Premise

The TV show is, from what I understand, a kind of reboot of Thomas Harris novels – where producer Bryan Fuller took the concept and themes and re-imagines them with stunning artfulness. Many of the mostly male cast from the book are transformed into female characters in the show – something I rather enjoyed from the Battlestar reboot, as well. New character dynamics form based on the change, and the intricate relationships, motivations, intentions and plans that evolve from those dynamics are, and I realize I may be using this word a bit much, stunning.

The initial premise is this: Will Graham is pulled back into the field by Jack Crawford – despite the protests of therapist Alana Bloom, who is intrigued by Will, but can see how his empathy makes him susceptible to outside influences. Putting him in touch with serial killers is, she believes, a bad idea.

So Jack ignores her but assuages his guilt by hiring Hannibal Lecter, a referral of Bloom to evaluate Will.

Session

Hannibal is immediately enraptured by the man who seems to understand serial killers, but isn’t one himself.

Forget about the serial killer aspect – which there is much of. I have openly admitted that I am not a fan of gore, and that remains true. That said, however, this show makes killing an art – something I never really thought I’d say. This show has the highest stakes of any show I’ve ever watched in my entire life. At any moment – any, it could all be over for the characters we have learned to love.

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You don’t ever want to see this. This… this is bad.

The premise uses the relationships so carefully cultivated in the narrative to weave a tale about a constant game of cat and mouse. It is so subtle, but so deeply wound into the pit of your stomach as you watch. Never has a show held me in a level of suspense for as long as this one, and never have I enjoyed it so much.

In my post-Hannibal depression haze (you know the one, after you binge watch a show that has now become a big part of your life), I was reading up on Hannibal discussion boards that those who watched the show while it aired had a hard time maintaining that sense of suspense. I implore you to go back and binge watch. You will not regret it.

The Imagery and Score

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The cinematography is top notch when you consider this show aired on Basic Cable. The colors, the transitions, the artistic balance of life and death. It is genuinely hypnotizing at times, and is constantly paying homage to the genuinely good horror in the world, like the Shining. I can’t tell you how many times I was watching this show and was completely blown away by the artistic shots, perfectly timed to allow you to reflect on the mind-blowing revelations or suspicions that coalesced from the scene before. The score was so immersive that it blended perfectly with every scene and helped to transport you into this high-stakes universe of cat and mouse.

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The Cast

I could go on at length about how amazing this cast is – from Jack (Morpheus from The Matrix), the FBI Behavioral Science Director at the FBI and his wife Bella (Zoe from Firefly), to Will Graham the Special Agent with a unique empathy disorder, Alana Bloom – Hannibal’s mentee, Abigail Hobbs – the surrogate daughter of Will and Hannibal, and Bedelia – Hannibal’s enraptured but fearful therapist. Freddie Lounds the tabloid journalist, Frederick Chilton the menacing psychiatric director, Margo Verger… even Mason Verger, the at-odds siblings that lead to Hannibal’s first genuine brush with danger.

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The character development is phenomenal and no one, and I mean no one, is the same at the end of this story as they were at the beginning. They’re all changed, and it doesn’t happen all at once. It’s gradual, and steeping like a slow kettle to boil.

As you can tell… I might have ventured into the realm of “Fannibal” – and I guess I have to be okay with that. I get it, I get how this show has captured so many people’s interest. And despite being 1000+ words into this article, I still find it hard to explain, exactly, why this show is so damn good.

I guess you’re going to have to watch it yourself and let me know.

The first two seasons of Hannibal are eligible for Prime streaming on Amazon, and you can purchase the third digitally, which I did. Because I had to know what happened. #noregrets


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

8 Nerdy Jokes Everyone Needs In Their Lives

1. How do you organize a space party?

You planet

2. At atom walks into a bar. Says to the bartender, “I think I’ve lost an electron.” Bartender asks, “Are you sure?”

The atom replies, “Yes, I’m positive.”

3. How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

FISH!

4. There are 10 types of people in the world.

Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

5. Helium walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve noble gases here.”

Helium doesn’t react.

6. I would tell another Chemistry joke but…

The good ones argon.

7. Did you hear about the guy who got cooled to Absolute Zero?

He’s 0K now.

And my personal favorite…

8. There are two kinds of people in this world.

Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.


Jokes provided by…

SandySandy is a writer and maker from Perth, Western Australia. She keeps busy with homesteading, horticulture, football, martial arts, games, code, tinkering, DIY, fussing the cats, and drinking tea. She blogs long things at sanlive.com and tweets short things at @sandysandy.

 


Barb2Barbie O’Havoc has been considered a nerd since the first time she pissed someone off for having a weird opinion. Since then, she’s been spending her time indulging in the surprisingly expensive habits of reading trashy vampire novels and hitting people while playing roller derby. Both of her main hobbies have led to a love of terrible puns, much to everyone’s dismay.

Barbie O’ also loves coffee and local restaurants, and occasionally rambles about both on the Johnstown Food Blog.


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

Art That Brings Your Novel To Life

As an author, it is always amazing to see your book and characters come to life through art. As a self-publish author, you’re always looking for ways to garner interest about your books. It is for both of these reasons that I recently commissioned artwork for my latest novel, Unforgettable, from the lovely an talented Leda Chung.

Reading is often the best exercise for your imagination, and I like to think putting visuals to novels takes it to the next level. I often dream of the day my novels become so loved that fans take on the task of creating their own art based on the characters and settings that I was passionate enough to write about. I would genuinely love to see what imaginative creations would come out of my work.

But before that can happen, it’s my job to get you interested and excited about my novels. I fancy myself a very character-driven writer, so what better way to do that than to let you get to know three of the main characters of my book?

Cas-Color
Cassidy “Cas” Dubois

First, there’s Cas – our leading, if not reluctantly so, lady. Cas was born special – though she might consider it a curse. Her abilities allow her to steal the memories of others, though at the cost of being forgotten by most who meet her. Raised by the local authority – a vampire named Edmund – she tacitly agrees to do the clean up work of making mortals forget about the weird, supernatural things that go on in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. We first find her waiting anxiously at the Greyhound station, ready to skip town in an attempt to reclaim her life away from the burden of her servitude.

She’s pulled right back into the fray before she can make her escape, however, by her handler Jasper. A crime scene is waiting – and she’s got work to do.

Jasper-Color

In the beginning, Jasper’s relationship with Cas seems purely transactional – when an  incident occurs, it’s his job to round up the cleanup crew and get to work. As a Shifter, he also takes on a Tracker role, which is why he’s the perfect candidate to keep his eyes on Cas. While he may seem like her number one nemesis, preventing her from leaving a life she doesn’t want, it gradually becomes clear that he is fiercely protective of her. Though he struggles to remember her every day, he maintains a journal to keep the memory of her sharp in his mind.

Jasper’s intervention at the Greyhound station prevents Cas from skipping town – and in doing so, they both meet Carmen – Edmund’s newest Inspector.

Carmen-Color

Carmen’s appearance is a surprise for both Jasper and Cas – what she is and where she came from is a mystery. One thing is clear, however – the moment she lays eyes on Cas, there is a spark. We later find out that Carmen appears to be the one person who seems to have no trouble at all remembering Cas. So much so, the woman insists on having Cas help in the investigation of missing mortals.

Intrigued by the new player, and secretly thrilled that someone seems to be able to remember her for more than 24 hours, Cas agrees – despite knowing nothing about the nature of the case or the nature of her new admirer.

It doesn’t take long for things to go sideways, and Cas to become one of the missing. Jasper and Carmen form a tenuous alliance to try and get her back – Jasper racing the clock before he forgets the girl altogether and Carmen wrestling with what part she may have had in the disappearance.

And that is as much as I can say without going to spoiler-town. If you like supernatural characters and settings, along with the whole struggling-to-know-who-and-what-you-are and courage-under-pressure stories, you’re the ideal reader for this book, and my other – Children of the Fallen, which sets the stage for the larger story arc of the Children of the Fallen series. These two books can be read in any order, and my plans are to have a handful of other novels that introduce more characters like Cas that will be united in the story line that takes place in the novel following Children of the Fallen.

Also, if you enjoy “Easter eggs,” the photo backdrop in the feature image is the bar in Knoxville that inspired one of the settings in both Unforgettable and CotF.

So what do you think? Is art a good way to get readers interested? You tell me and leave your thoughts in the comments!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

The Great T-Shirt Injustice

A couple months ago, I discovered this pretty swell website TeeFury.com – someone on Reddit linked out to the roughly gazillion Star Wars shirts they offer. The shirts were affordable, and so was the shipping – so I was pretty excited.

You see, I LOVE nerdy shirts. It’s kind of a weakness. Well, it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could find nerdy shirts that are flattering on my body type.That is to say… a female body type.

I ordered some Men’s Large Star Wars shirts, knowing I was in for something that wasn’t entirely flattering but still served as a nice conversation piece if I should find other nerds in the wild.

Then I saw TeeFury was running a $5 grab-bag special. Pick your gender, size, and take a chance on getting something random. So naturally, I was on board. I put in $10 and eagerly awaited what random goodness would come my way. Again, to be safe, I stuck with Men’s Large, and got the following:

L - TeeFury 2
Sweet, Jessica Jones! Sure, it’s a little boxy, but workable.
L - TeeFury 1
I actually have no idea what this is from. Gears of… man with dog? If you know, please comment and let me know!

Now I knew what I was getting into with ordering Large. Mostly, I’m glad they fit. I can roll up the sleeves or these can be my nerdy-around-the-house shirts.

I got another promotional email from TeeFury telling me to ACT NOW on the last of the $5 Grab Bag offer. And then it occurred to me…

NOW IS MY CHANCE!

Now is my chance to order a women’s size and maybe, just MAYBE, TeeFury will be the place I can get my well-fitting nerdy shirt fix. After all, what’s $10? I could take the chance. So I check out their size chart to make sure I get the most correct-ish size and was kind of surprised at what I found. In most women’s sizes, I’m a solid XL. At 5’10” I’m above average in both height and weight – so this is not really a shocker.

I was a bit surprised to see that my measurements, according to TeeFury… more closely align with a XXL. There’s even a XXXL option that I considered, but then… and this has happened to me before – what if it’s TOO big? I have one comically too-big-for-me women’s cut from the NaNoWriMo store and it doesn’t even look right as a nerdy-around-the-house shirt.

Anyhow… before I show you the result, I wanted to share what a normal XL size shirt looks like on me:

XL - Ann Taylor Loft
Note the flattering cut, lower neckline, and how it’s not skin-freaking-tight.

This is how I expect most women’s XL to fit on me. So surely, a XXL from TeeFury will be delightfully nerdy AND flattering, right?

….Right?

No. Observe:

XXL - TeeFury W 1
In what universe is this a XXL??
XXL - TeeFury W 2
I was so confused at first that I double-checked the shipping label to make sure I hadn’t ordered a Jr size. Nope. Women’s XXL.

So at this point you might be thinking, what’s the problem? It looks fine. No, my friends, it’s not fine. It’s tight and uncomfortable and not at all what I look for in my t-shirts. And more than that… it’s an absurd size designation.

Having to buy something at XXL is already sucky, but then to have it not fit, and the quality be far less than a men’s shirt (they are thinner and shorter than the men’s shirts) is pretty unacceptable in my opinion. And add to the fact that when you get into the XXL + sizes, you’re usually paying more.

TeeFuryBB8.png

So you might be thinking – well, that’s not a LOT. Yes, true, but my point here is that these shirt sizes are not accurate to reality.

And, TeeFury, I know I’m beating up on you here, but this is not just a TeeFury problem. This is almost a universal problem with women’s clothing sizes – the quality is consistently less than men’s clothing, often runs comically small and sometimes even costs more.

It’s an injustice we all deal with, for all our lives, and I’m getting just a little bit sick of it. So much so, that I’ve put together this lovely compilation. Please feel free to share this with the internet. This is hokum!

T-shirt Injustice.gif

I am heavily investing in the first t-shirt company that has sensible sizes, quality, prices and awesome nerdy designs in women’s cuts.


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

I Made (Another) Thing!

Back in October, I proudly announced that I had Made a Thing called Colony One. I was pretty excited about this, as it was the second novel I had put out there for the world to read.  Sometime around November, I announced that I would be posting my next creation live as I wrote it.

Well, to make a long story short; I am thrilled to announce that creation – Urban Fantasy novel Unforgettable – has been released into the wild and is available for purchase as of today!

3D Mock Five
Digital Format

3D Mock Two
Paperback

 

Unforgettable tells the story of Cassidy “Cas” Dubois – a girl whose natural born talent of stealing memories has secured her a place within the local supernatural community – whether she likes it or not. Which she usually does not. She struggles with her isolation daily but as we follow her here, all that is about to change. This story has it all – vampires, Weres, witches, demons and Death.

There are so many things about this novel for me to be excited about. Such as:

  • It’s the second book that belongs to the Children of the Fallen series – and sets the tone for the novels to come as I introduce more Nephilim that are forced to come to terms with their nature and unavoidable crisis.
  • I was able to share this work before publishing it. This allowed me to gauge the interest, success of the story line itself and get the feedback I needed to make the novel even better. A great MANY thanks to those who read and gave me their thoughts!
  • I managed to score yet another phenomenal cover from my favorite designer.
  • With each novel release, I am growing my brand and (hopefully!) expanding my reader base.

As many of you know, self-publishing has its pros and cons – but I have to admit that this experience has been one of the better ones. I had a great support system, a really fun story to write and the benefits of learning from my previous adventures with Children of the Fallen and Colony One.

I cannot underline enough how much the support of my readers, friends and family has helped in allowing me to continue this journey. This announcement would be incomplete without a very large and very sincere THANK YOU to all of you. All I ever wanted to do was put out entertaining stories that inspire the imagination – and I look forward to doing this for years to come!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

I Zombie, You Zombie, We All Zombie

When I was in college, I signed up for a popular lit and culture class. Not because I wanted to or I thought it sounded interesting. Because I needed more English credits and I’d already taken Comp 1 and 2. In reality, I thought it was going to be a big waste of my time.

I was strongly opinioned back then.

I thought it was going to be a ‘cake’ class where we read whatever was popular at the time and talked about it. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The professor posed a different approach to how we look at pop culture – which was that it tended to reflect our biggest fears and misgivings about the progress of any one generation.

BladeRunner
AI that indulges in a human vice. Weird!

We watched Blade Runner, for instance, and talked about the fear of AI. We watched and read sci-fi movies and stories from the 50s that seemed to clearly reflect fears about radiation and nuclear technology. We read Vampire stories from the 70s that paralleled drug culture and how it seemed to be all-consuming. We read short stories from African authors that explored magic that was supposed to represent the darkness or purity in all of us.

Ants
Ooh no..! Radioactive ants!

I ended up thoroughly enjoying the class and it’s helped me look at popular culture and media in a different way. Fast forward to the end of last year when I was having a casual conversation with a colleague of mine – I was telling him about my book, Colony One, and how it explores overpopulation’s impact on our future.

And my colleague, who has roots and family in the South, informs me that his uncle always used to say when a squirrel population became too large, they would all go insane. This intrigued me, and when I inquired into what, exactly, he meant by ‘insane’ he explained that they’d kill and eat each other. I found this fascinating, if not a little traumatizing. It was the first I’d heard of it, and being the kind of person I am, I went home and Googled – trying to understand if there was any known science around this, or if it was just an observation of rural living.

I couldn’t find anything substantial about squirrels, but I did find this concept of Behavioral Sink, which describes the collapse in behavior in overcrowding situations as observed in rats through experiments. When a population of rats was purposefully overcrowded, maternal behaviors plummeted – mothers were not taking care of their young (if their young survived birth), while males displayed sexual deviancy and cannibalism.

CalhounJ - Rat Experiment
A photo from the experiment that brought about the concept of Behavioral Sink.

Now, my Popular Lit and Culture class predated the zombie craze that was most recently popularized by The Walking Dead. So this discovery of Behavioral Sink got me thinking about the implications of speculative writing where overpopulation is a huge factor. And while many zombie stories do not always speak to the element of overpopulation, the ‘zombie craze’ feels like a direct ripple of the innate fears of overpopulation. We use mice and rats in experiments because we can parallel many of the behaviors between theirs and ours. If we take the overcrowding experiments on rats as reflective of what could happen in the same situation with humans, zombies make a lot more sense.

This is the part where I admit that I am not all about the zombie craze. Zombies have always been 100% terrifying and unappealing to me. It’s one of those story tropes that really get under my skin – I always used to assume it was because having a bunch of mindless, brain-obsessed people-shaped things that had no hope for redemption running around was terrifying enough. But now I’m beginning to think it speaks to a deeper psychological fear that reflects the natural inclination to go insane in overcrowding situations.

TheWalkingDead
Seriously, this is terrifying.

And while I can promise that the subsequent sequels to Colony One will not feature zombies, there will be plenty of evidence of insanity – when populations are pushed to the brink, terrible things can happen. Group think, combined with discontented desperation and competition for resources will always be a recipe for disaster. As I write this, and as I’ve had these revelations, I find it increasingly ironic that a class I so resisted at first, I am now possibly contributing to future iterations of. My books could easily be toted as cautionary tales, a clear indication of present-day speculative fears and underlying unease.

Most zombie lore involves some kind of virus and a ‘Patient Zero’. I pose a more horrifying supposition; which is there will be no virus. Nothing that strips us of our agency – rather a tipping point of psychology and circumstance.

Those zombie books, TV shows and movies may never be the same again…


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

Alan Rickman, you magnificent bastard. You left us too soon!

I’m going to be real with you all, when I heard that Alan Rickman had died, I was mad. I skipped right over sadness and landed squarely in anger. This was absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.

Alan_Table_Flip.gif

Why?

Because I’m not ready to live in a world without Alan Rickman. I’m mad because, despite fame and fortune, cancer still managed to steal yet another person from this planet. I’m furious that we spend our time and resources on so many things that don’t matter when we could be trying to find a way to preserve life – especially a life that has brought so much greatness to the world.

People may feel I’m overstating that. I mean, he was just an actor, right?

First of all, let me say it’s sad when anyone dies of cancer. I lost one of my most impactful mentors to cancer. I am good friends with cancer survivors who are constantly looking over their shoulders, forced to worry about having to do battle once again with the despicable affliction.

But make no mistake, Alan Rickman was a genuine treasure and he will always be a treasure to me.

Happy_Alan

 

In honor of Rickman, I wanted to take some time to write about the roles I enjoyed the most, and what they meant to me.

Dogma as THE METATRON

Kevin Smith’s Dogma came out in 1999. I was thirteen years old, and it was one of the first movies that made me question… so many things. Alan Rickman as the Metatron was a huge contributing factor to my inevitable understanding that the world operates in a gray area. As the Metatron, Rickman plays a discontented angel who wants nothing more than to get drunk and forget his worries. Because as an angel in a world where God’s gone MIA, things are stressful and there are plenty of worries to forget about.

Metatron_Finger

I was instantly taken by his straight-faced humor and absolutely in love with his otherworldly, yet still somehow down-to-earth perspective on the shenanigans that unfold. I may have seen Rickman in other movies (Sense and Sensibility), but this was the movie that made me fall in FOREVER LOVE with Rickman. His point of view made me question MY point of view. And what if things COULD be different than how we’ve always been told they are?

What if, what if, what if…

Galaxy Quest as Alexander Dane aka “Dr. Lazarus”

Just when you thought Rickman couldn’t nail a more perfect comedy role than THE METATRON, along comes Galaxy Quest, released the same year as Dogma. 1999 was a damn good year. Rickman’s role in Galaxy Quest makes me wonder if, one day, someone walked up to him and asked, “Would you like to play yourself in a sci-fi movie?”

Alan_Makeup_brush

In GQ, Rickman plays a classical actor who took one role in a science fiction show in the 80s and got pigeon holed into that role for, seemingly, forever. At first glance, it would appear that he resents this kind of notoriety, but it quickly becomes apparent how jealous he is of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, played by Tim Allen.

Eventually Rickman’s character embraces his pseudo personality and, as a result, finds belonging, purpose and passion. On the surface, it seems pretty simple – and it is. The message is… embrace who you are!

GQ_Alan_Acceptance

This was HUGE for me. I waivered in my early adulthood sometime later where I felt like I shouldn’t be as nerdy as I wanted to be. That is made me undesirable and unmarketable to things like relationships or a career.

You might have noticed that I have, as of late, re-embraced by nerdy tendencies. And it feels great. Just like Alexander Dane recognizing how much of a part Dr. Lazarus was of him. I have all the things he did at the end of that movie – belonging, purpose, and passion!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Marvin the paranoid robot

We didn’t get to see you at all in this movie, Alan, but you were there in spirit in the form of Marvin. All we needed was your voice to know it was you – and more than that, to feel that Marvin was a person, with feelings and fears and a creeping, almost undetectable sense of humor. Marvin represented the voice in all of our heads saying we can’t do things, and the universe is a big, bad place that no sane person should want to live in.

Marvin

But Marvin marches forward. He doesn’t stop. In stark contrast to his depressive mood, he is a reminder of what we’re all capable of – we all have the capacity for greatness, and for perseverance. It’s a dichotomy that Rickman pulls off perfectly, and Adam Douglas, I’m sure, would have been proud.

Harry Potter as Severus Snape

Oh, Severus. Of course, we cannot overlook the contributions of J. K. Rowling in the creation of Severus Snape, but we have to give full marks to Alan Rickman for making the character come to life in the most glorious, ominous and heartbreaking way. I had seen the first three Harry Potter movies before I started reading the books (I know, it was wrong and I take full blame for slacking on getting into this series) – so when I started reading, the image of Snape was one and the same with a black-haired Alan Rickman.

SnapeIntro

I hated Snape, I despised him, I wondered about him, I started to feel bad for him… and then I mourned for him. It was an elegant and emotional journey that both Rowling and Rickman took me on.

I will share this one, painful regret – that Snape did not get enough character exposition and progression in The Halfblood Prince and Deathly Hallows movies. We know from the books how Harry sees firsthand how difficult Severus’ childhood was, and how deeply he felt for Lilly, and the anguish in his decision to join Voldemort. Given half a chance, Rickman would have tore our hearts out countless times over if more screen time had been dedicated to his journey.

She

Is

everything

to me

For me, Dogma and Harry Potter are bookends in my love for Alan Rickman’s work – and in both, he portrayed the perfect mixture of what it means to be human and fallible – though in both he plays larger-than-life roles. Angel and Wizzard. Still human. Still one of us. Still showing us what it means to walk this earth and navigate the trenches.

You were taken from us too soon, Mr. Rickman. You will be missed. You will be mourned. But more than anything, you will be remembered.

WandsUp.gif


Always
Alan Rickman, 1946 – 2016

 

Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

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