domingo, 27 de agosto de 2017

Lots of writing competitions open for September

I'm glad that An Ominous Book got a mostly positive review by a highly respected blogger for the SPFBO 2017 competition. Many novels are only getting 2 star reviews so to get a 3 1/2 despitemy grammar flaws with a huge enjoyment of the speed of the story and enjoyable characters is a huge ego boost.

There seems to be a huge array of other writing competitions for next month that I was unaware of. I am really short of cash right now for various reasons (among other things, I had to pay tuition for my Masters Program... yes, in a way I am technically a college student. I also had to spend cash for an advanced difficult airway course which totally rocked and bought some bougies now that I finally know how to use them).

Medical rambling aside, if you are an author, maybe you will enjoy the upcoming competitions.

Do you want to participate in an event? Check them HERE.

Want a free ebook?

An Ominous Book is constantly being heralded as a fun adventure with a huge cross genre appeal with elves and magic  that young adults and even younger crowds have enjoyed.
Grab a free copy via instafreebie in either pdf, epub or mobi HERE.


domingo, 20 de agosto de 2017

Another weird dream

Like a cliché, but a lot of the initial rough ideas I get for my novels come from the odd dreams I have. The surprising ending of An Ominous Book originated from a dream.

This morning I dreamt I was invited to Saudi Arabia for some nonsensical reason and my fancy hosts were having a BBQ of horrors. They hogtied several live animals to a stick and ignited a bonfire. I was in some sort of compound where you could wear normal clothes and became enraged that they wanted to burn alive the cutest fluffy ginger kitten you could ever imagine. Without caring about the consequences, I rudely saved the kitten and ran off. Apparently I iggered a prince or something and now had the entire cops looking for me.

Someone gave an abaya to me and I was rushing around and eventually caught after hiding the kitten somewhere. Imaginary dreamland Saudi prison was no joyride BTW. The dream however ended and I didn't know what became of me...

Everytime I dream something related to Saudi Arabia, weird stuff happens or I get into trouble...

But I feel glad I saved a cute kitten.

I give credit to Warren Photographic for the pic.

sábado, 19 de agosto de 2017

Google's boy's club and minority inclusion issues are widespread

I have had an amusing time reading some of the articles regarding the witch hunt current and former female Google employees have engaged against the company. It's like the company has been so busy trying to be so PC to maintain an image that it tried to brush any sexual and racial hostilities against their scant minority employees under the sand instead of addressing the problem beforehand.

I'm hispanic, female and I studied a STEM degree ever since I was a child because I wanted to. I ended up studying medicine although I had a huge interest in getting a computer programming degree in college. Do I regret the degree I got? I never did and enjoy medicine very much despite the bad aspects of the profession.

However, while I would feel insulted that I was hired by a top notch company to be the token employee to fill out a checklist of minority new hire goals, maybe companies should look further to locate potential employees that might not have the 100% qualifications but might instead offer something else.

I really like my tablet for example. Android for the most part is a cool operating system and I have no complaints with the hardware of the Samsung products I own. However! Let's face it, these machines have a tiny amount of memory and Google's uber super brilliant PhD dudes believe that chugging a tablet or smartphone with 50 crap apps that nobody ever uses that take off lots of space and you seemingly can't delete was somehow a good idea.


Decisions like that don't need an employee that belongs to a specific token gender or ethnic group, they need common sense from the common mortal.

If Google or other Silicon Valley corporations have a hard time finding token employees, maybe they should find more creative ways to locate them in the first place. I hold US citizenship but given I studied something that isn't engineering, I would never get hired by the company.

Quite frankly, I've never taken a look at the kind of positions they want. However, I have taken a look at the kinds of things the WHO asks to hire someone in a medical field. To work for a 50,000 USD salary in an exotic faraway location, a physician must be a specialist with a Master's Degree in Public Health, 10 years minimum experience in a very specific subfield and a dozen other arsinine requirements. It reminded me of the Neurologists in rural Brazil that started to associate Zika infection in utero and certain birth defects in children. These are the most highly qualified people in these specific diseases and yet they would never land a job at the CDC because of arcane minimum qualifications. And then the CDC complains they can't fill 70% of their job positions.

Back in the 1990's, companies used to hire people that had the right temperament, values that aligned with the motto of a company and other random traits and they paid the employee cash to get a Masters Degree or any other training needed for the job. Graduate School was still reasonably affordable and companies seemed to want to retain talent. After 2009 when fresh & unemployed college grads were a dime a dozen, companies went to the opposite end and became so picky that they can't locate ridiculously over qualified employees.

Associating a lot of these issues as a fantasy author, I have noticed that there is a current of people complaining that there aren't a lot of minority authors or whatever the hell that means. As a reader, I don't care about the skin color or sex of the author, I care about the book. But that's just my personal biased opinion.

As a hispanic, part of the reason why there are so few hispanic fantasy authors is either because most of them write in Spanish therefore limiting themselves to a smaller audience that can read the language or live in countries where people don't read books at all. I have already written a post a year ago regarding a library that was opened in Toluca which features some amusing photos of Mexico's desperate plea to convince parents to read a book to their children. They make it seem like reading books was a chore.

I still can't recover from the shock that Chileans read so many books and that Santiago's subway has a book sharing service in a lot of stations.

Should I open a support group for hispanic fantasy authors to band together and prove to readers we are here too and love to write as a hobby and a living?

It would be fun indeed. Sadly I work more than 100 hours a week for the time being and can't put the time & effort for now.

Would Google hire someone like me? I seriously doubt it. Instead of offering on the job training they want people fresh out of school with their pricey Master's Degree literally cutting themselves out of hiring a potentially amazing employee that could offer suggestions to improve their products.

Does Google even know how to make minorities feel welcome? I doubt it as well. If they want to attract more people like me, just watch Saint Seiya. We love that anime. One of the funniest experiences I had in Bolivia was chatting with locals which unanimously loved that anime along with Dragon Ball Z. The continent is huge and we're all a bit different, but it's cool to know we have some things that unite us.

viernes, 4 de agosto de 2017

Anime review - Earth Girl Arjuna

My blog isn't focused on reviews per se, but if you have bothered to look at some of my posts you'll notice I have written a few rants here and there to curb my boredom.

Today I felt like reviewing an anime that is over 10 years old known as Earth Girl Arjuna. Why would I bother to review a somewhat unknown anime that is this old?

Because I hated it.

At first sight this anime seemed really awesome. An anime that fully learned how to combine digital animation without a plastic feel that plagued a lot of tv series of that time, even for today's standards (that have been crudely dumbed down for crappy third rate animation), the animation is great.

This is one of the huge draws of this show and in that sense Arjuna showed a lot of promise.

The problem arises with everything else.

Juna is some ordinary school girl that is chosen to become a warrior that fights for Mother Earth that is being plagued by the contamination brought by humans. When she fully transformed into her Earth warrior self, she even reminds me a bit of a mixture between an elf and Captain Planet!

Yes, I grew up during the 80's and saw that idiotic tv show on Saturday mornings.

I totally dig the ordinary girl becomes a heroine for the preservation of Earth. The Princess Mononoke is my favorite Hayao Miyazaki film which shows how to tactfully deal with the struggle between humans damaging their planet to survive and the mythical godly beasts that are affected by them.

The problem is that instead of making Arjuna a really cool show with a coherent plot or any purpose, it goes in a direction that is both a mixture between ridiculiusly preachy and with no real solution. Ever since Juna has been touched by this mythical power against her will, she can feel the agony of animals dying and pesticides everytime she eats something. You'd think she'd die of starvation because she never eats anything. I always found that to be super annoying with the show.

I like her relationship with Chris, a crippled psychic boy that wants to help her fulfill her mission. The relationship is rather interesting and dynamic, mostly because Juna is a lot older than him.

One thing that strikes me about Chriss is that he bloats that he is so awesome because his mom decided it would be a cool idea to give birth to him in the ocean. Now, I'm a physician and know that a lot of women crave water births because they feel it's more natural. The debate as to whether children born in a tub do better is still open, but many Ob/Gyns believe the risk of infection and drowning overcome the benefits. Still, the few private hospitals in Mexico that offer this special kind of birth sure like to charge a ridiculously huge pricetag for it.

At the end, Juna never really accomplishes anything in the short series and Earth remains the way it is without her. Quite frankly, if you want to watch a far better series about people with supernatural powers fighting to kill humanity in order to save Earth, you should be watching CLAMP's X instead.

miércoles, 2 de agosto de 2017

Is Froylan friend or foe?

Just a short post. A super fan of my book series has commented to me recently that he has decided that the series's main antagonist Lord Froylan is now his 3rd favorite character which he oddly enough tied with Spaulding.

He used to hate him with a passion because of his nastiness, cruelty and sadism and yet his opinion of Froylan changed dramatically as he read the third novel Exile. While there hasn't been a considerable amount of people that have read up to the third novel, several people have commented that after reading the first novel, they absolutely despise Froylan and probably have no idea why I love writing him so much.

Forced to become a guard almost 2000 years ago against his will after being captured for multiple heinious crimes, Froylan initially detested his new life as an Äimite guard and that he had to obey his superiors and king. He wished to burn Salman into pieces with all of his soul, but over time, something changed in him.

Perhaps he started to find a common goal when he discovered that Salman is as cruel as himself or perhaps he enjoyed his newlyfound social position as a newly minted nobleelf that was both feared and respected by the populace. A talented fire mage and swordsman from the start, it probably didn't take him very long to move up the ranks and become promoted as a captain.

Not much is known about his initial life as a guard because it happened such a long time ago or the reason why he likes to wear his characteristic short black cape, but we do know that he asked the previous commander of the guard Lord Ferhyr about the veracity of some rumors regarding how Salman's father King Faisah died. Salman eventually promoted him to a highly coveted Senior guard position several centuries before the beginning of the series and he was one of the two guards that permanently maimed Lord Jamarnid 800 years ago.

While he will always be vicious, cruel, sadistic and a pathological liar, we start to see a change of heart in him in the third novel. As he ponders with himself about conflicting feelings of being forced to serve Spaulding who he always detested, he starts to show a softer side in the initial hopes that he could start to gain Spaulding's favor. Perhaps his initial kindness was a ruse, but it starts to seem like he has genuine feelings of appreciation for Spaulding over the following novels.

The finale of the 6th novel Quandary has a pivotal scene where he seems to have shown what his true side is much to Spaulding's astonishment. He continues to play a huge role in the unfinished Harlequins novel and I'm certain that if you give the sequel novels a chance, you'll find him to be a most versatile and fascinating character to read.