From My Writing Playlist

Yeah, no Heavy Metal playlist is complete without at least 5 songs by Dragonforce. This song is pure adrenaline. It makes you feel good, it’s upbeat, and I love it.

When to Listen: Well, it’s on my general playlist and I like to listen to it whenever, but if you’re looking for a specific time to listen to it… burnout. I’m not kidding. Are you tired of writing? Take some time off and before going back to it, listen to this song.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.  I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Yes, I met Stan Lee, No It Was Not A Positive Experience #Comics #Marvel #DC #Indie #Fantasy

I actually meant to publish this a month ago on the anniversary of Stan’s death… unfortunately I missed scheduling the publishing date. So… yeah, here it is. Sorry for the delay!

On this anniversary of Stan’s death, I wanted to reflect on the time I met him. I always caution people about meeting celebrities. Too often, they are not everything you think they’re going to be. Often we see them as larger than life individuals and sometimes they are… other times… not so much.

I met Andrew WK when he was at the height of his musical career and despite being completely high off his ass, he was larger than life. This was a man who loved his fans, loved talking to them, engaging with them and literally stayed until everyone got to talk to him.

I met Marc Hudson of Dragonforce at one of their concerts. Nice guy, soft spoken, but was nice enough to wait until my buddy fixed his camera! He was otherwise soft spoken, but the fact that they come into the crowd to meet their fans, I have to give credit there!

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Same with the guys from Kamelot. Awesome folks!

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Philo Barnhart was literally everything you’d expect from a man who loves kids! That’s just how he is.

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But that doesn’t mean that every experience will be positive. Not every celeb is in the right frame of mind when you approach them, others may just not be in a good place. Keep in mind, they are human.

So that brings me to my Stan Lee experience. For starters, I have no pictures. We were banned from taking them.  So what happened? Well… I paid for an autograph, so I was hoping to get a chance to say hi and maybe ask him a question. Then I saw the lines…. Holy… they were long. It was pretty clear I was going to be there a while. Okay, worth it.

So I got in line and waited… and waited… finally, Stan came into view. What I saw… was not what I expected. Even in his old age, Stan had always come off as larger than life. A giant among men. However on this day in 2016… That’s not what I saw.

You get up to the front of the line, Stan is behind a dividers with three people standing on one side of him, two people on the other side and God only knows how many people behind. I go up to the table, they ask me what I’d like to have autographed. I pull out my copy of Uncanny X-Men #16. I place it on the table. They take it and pass it on to the next person. I’m told to wait a moment. The guy in front of my get’s his book autographed before being shooed away. I was told not to ask any questions or anything because Stan couldn’t be distracted.

This was… odd to me, but whatever. I get it. The poor man probably had to do thousands of these autographs. Fine.

Then I get my book to Stan’s pen. As I’m walking up to him, I could not believe what I saw. He was a small man, huddled over to the table, shoulders in, head down, sunglasses on, hands shaking… It pulled at my heart.

As I got up to him, he complained that his hands hurt. I pulled my book back, wanting to give him a moment, but the people with him beckoned me on. So I placed my book on the table for him to autograph. When he finished, the book was handed to me and I was shooed away. I said ‘Thank you!’ and I think he said “yup” or grunted, but… I’m not sure.

I looked back at him one more time before going to one of the nearby Comic Con officials and told them what happened. The woman was polite, but didn’t seem to take me seriously. She kind of waved it off saying, “Oh don’t worry, he can take a break if he needs to.”

I’m not sure I believed her. That didn’t look like a man in charged. It looked like a man with a metaphorical gun to his back and vultures overhead. I shook my head and walked away.

Since then, the book has been mounted and rests on my book case… and each time I look at it, I think about donating it. I’m not proud of the manner in which I got the autograph and I’m not sure I should profit from it either. So maybe I’ll donate, who knows? I haven’t decided.

This was not a good experience. It was sad, and given the allegations of elder abuse that later came out, it placed an even darker mark on the experience. Stan deserved better. A man who brought smiles to so many… who gave people an escape, taught, and entertained… He deserved better than that at the end.

Well that’s my two cents. Just be careful with celeb meets. In MOST cases IMHO, they love meeting their fans and they’ll engage with you, especially lower level celebs, but that’s not always the case. Some are just doing it for more money while others may have other outstanding issues.

Readers, do you have a celeb experience? Let us know about it in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Another Abandoned Work… Taryn, The Legacy

So this is another one… sort of a sequel to Magnifica. I’m currently working on a whole new series and am sort of cleaning house with old ideas that frankly, I haven’t been able to go anywhere with. This is the most recent one, which actually came close to being a complete story before I just ran out of steam with it. These chapters are in extremely raw form due to the incomplete nature of the story. They are not edited. Enjoy, but remember, it’s incomplete, so don’t get your hopes too high…

I

Darkness surrounded Taryn as her breathing became more rapid. Her head darted back and forth as she looked for any sign of life, “Hello? Is anyone there?”

No response.

“Hello, hello?”

An odd sound appeared in the distance, it was little more than a whisper, but nothing that she could make out.

“Is someone there?”

The voice grew louder and the darkness began to fade. At that moment, a pair of red eyes appeared in front of her. The darkness was fading fast now as a man with pointed ears and long black hair appeared in front of her. Goose bumps appeared on her skin as she took a fearful step back. Her heart raced as though she had run a great distance, “Who are you?”

The creature’s mouth open as it continued its menacing gaze. Its eyes burned as bright as the campfires she’d sat around in the woods of New Hampshire when her high school friends had gone camping. The creatures dark hair made them appear even brighter.

A high pitched scream was the only response she received as the creature suddenly moved forward and passed right through her. She covered her ears, trying to block it out, “Who are you, what do you want?”

As the creature passed through her, the pain of the scream became intolerable. She squeezed her eyes closed and cried out, hoping she’d be heard over the screaming, “Stop it!”

“Whoa, Taryn, are you okay?”

Taryn gasped as she opened her eyes, “Bobby…”

“Easy, sounds like you had a rough ride.” Bobby replied as Taryn slowly sat up. “What happened?”

She rubbed her eyes before turning to him, “It was the same as before.”

“The dreams again, huh?”

Taryn nodded, “Now I’m glad I left my door unlocked. I keep seeing this man with pointed ears. I don’t know who he is, but I feel like he’s important somehow. It’s strange.”

Bobby’s lips twisted thoughtfully, “Pointed ears?”

“Yeah, like the pictures we saw in biology…” She replied. “I think he might have been some kind of elf.”

“You mean a half elf?”

“No, his ears were very pronounced.”

Bobby frowned, “Taryn, the last elf died a few years ago. Other than half-breed and such, they’re completely extinct now. You of all people should know that.”

Taryn nodded and ran her hand over the point of her own ear, “Yeah… don’t remind me. Even so, that’s what I saw. I can’t explain how, but I’m certain he’s an elf, and not a half-breed, a full elf.”

“Maybe your own Elven senses are playing tricks on you?”

“Maybe.”

Bobby smirked as he got to his feet, “You should probably get up. Your hair’s a mess!”

Taryn ran a hand through her dirty blond hair and brushed it back behind her ears, “All right, all right… I’m up, now leave me alone!”

She looked over at her clock as her feet touched the floor, “7am… well at least I have time for a shower.”

Bobby nodded, “I leave you to it then.”

“Thanks.”

The moment Bobby was gone from the room, Taryn stripped out of the sweat-soaked pjs she was wearing, grabbed the towel hanging off of her bedpost, and headed for the bathroom. Gross…

The hot water pouring over her skin helped wake her up. Her hazel eyes widened as her newfound energy flowed through her. A cloud of steam surrounded her as she washed herself down. She took a few minutes to savor the serenity. College had always been something of a rollercoaster ride for her so she appreciated any moment of peace she received.

Thankfully, classes were wrapping up for the summer. At which point, she would need to go find a job if she wanted any spending money for the summer. It wasn’t something she enjoyed, but she knew that she needed to. Her parents had provided everything for her up until this point and had even taken out a mortgage on the family home to make sure that she would make it through college debt-free.

Knowing that did not make life any easier for Taryn and she refused to take another penny from her parents as a result. Her goal was to graduate, get a good job, and eventually pay the mortgage to make sure that the house would always remain theirs.

She grabbed the towel and dried herself off before moving to the bedroom to get dressed. She pulled open her top drawer to the usual assortment of underwear and grabbed a pair of hip huggers. Normally on a Friday, she’d go for the bikini briefs, but she didn’t have a date or any plans for the evening, so she wasn’t looking to impress anyone. She quickly slid the underwear over her legs before reaching for a bra.

Once she was dressed in her normal black capris and white blouse, she went about fixing her hair. The shower had worked wonders. Her hair was very thin, so combing out the knots wasn’t difficult. Her ears were slightly longer and more pointed than that of a full human. It was something she relished as keeping her hair tucked behind them was much easier.

Finally, she turned to her small make up case. I don’t think so. She thought to herself, not today. Taryn wasn’t a huge fan of makeup and often just went without it. Lipstick and maybe some cheek blush were about all she’d tolerate if she was going on a date, but even then, she’d often just wipe it off later.

At that moment her eye caught the digital clock on her desk. 7:45

“Fuck!” She blurted out. “I’m going to be late!”

Without a thought to her book back, she dashed out the door, down the steps, and out the front entry way. With a clear path, she dashed across campus to the main building. She was determined to minimize her tardiness.

The warm breeze that passed over Taryn’s skin was no comfort to her as she ran. The grass around her was slowly returning to green as spring was quickly giving away to summer. Typical Boston, she thought to herself. The seasons here change so quickly.

Taryn arrived at the main classroom hall with barely a few minutes to spare. The building was a large brick structure with gold lettering on the side that read ‘Arcanus University.’ She immediately proceeded inside.

She quickly made her way down the hall to room 103 and took her seat. The room was a large auditorium that seated about a hundred people, but only thirty seats were occupied. Either the class wasn’t very popular or they were just using a large room due to lack of space.

Taryn favored the back of the room for reasons she could never quick figure out. She sat down and pulled out her books as a portly dwarf sat down next to her, “Hey Taryn.”

“How are you, Merrin?”

The dwarf shrugged, “Can’t complain… much.”

“Did you break into that rock salt vodka again?”

“No…”

“Merrin?”

“Maybe…”

Taryn shook her head, “You know you can’t handle that stuff. It blows right through you!”

“Hey dat shit be dwarven-made!” Merrin replied. “I can handle anythin’ my people make. Rememba that!”

Taryn chuckled, “Okay Merrin…”


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Review: Star Wars: LOST STARS Manga Vol 3 #StarWars #Review #Writing #Fantasy

The conclusion of the thrilling manga adaptation of Claudia Gray’s Star Wars Lost Stars novel! What does destiny have in store for Thane and Ciena?

  • Series: Star Wars Lost Stars (manga) (3) (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (November 12, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1975358678
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975358679
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches

 

Okay, you all know my love of Star Wars and how rarely I do book reviews. Let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of the Lost Stars story. I did a review of it previously which can be read here, and the second volume of the Manga, which you can read here…

Though I did not do a review of the first Lost Stars Manga Volume, I will admit that I loved it. The story stayed true to the original novel, the art was well done, and for a fairly cheap price, it was a good buy and a good read… for the most part. The second volume wasn’t quite as good as the first. It was shorter and skipped quite a bit of the book. So how does the third measure up? Well… Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

Setting:
As with the novel, this part of the story picks up right as everything is geared up for the Battle of Endor. Key places include various Star Destroyers, the Endor, Naboo, and the Battle of Jakku.
Cienna is a low-born farmer from a fairly backwards area on the planet, while Thane is considered more of a noble birth from the same world. They’re not meant to get along, like each other, or even speak. Yet crossing their classes isn’t the only obstacle these two have to overcome. In the third volume, we delve into Thane leaving the Empire and joining the Rebellion while Cienna feels compelled by loyalty and her duty to keep her family safe, to stay with the Empire.
As the Empire continues to lose ground, their losses show in Cienna’s injuries and her lifelessness. She grows skinny, her eyes are shaded and her lips chapped. This whole time, Thane believes her to be dead.

What I liked:
Honestly, this story really goes a lot more into Cienna’s feelings toward the Empire, it covers her descent into nothingness and we get to visually see the toll her duty takes on her. By the end of the book, she’s emotionally drained, thin, badly scarred, on life support, exhausted, and no longer wanting to live. This is incredibly powerful.
The anime style is very well done, just as well as the previous books.

What I didn’t like:
My complaint here is not much different from the ones in the other books. This is pretty much an abbreviated version of the novel. The idea that a picture is worth a thousand words just doesn’t hold true here. The Battles of Endor and Jakku, two events that were major plot points in the book are barely glossed over here. We really don’t even SEE the Battle of Jakku in this volume as the story is focused on the bridge of the Inflictor.
Another powerful scene where Thane get’s sick and is counselled by an officer that later turns out to be Mon Mothma, one of my favorite scenes, is cut out completely.
Whoever edited this book’s story boards to turn it into a graphic novel didn’t do a very good job. You immediately jump from Cienna getting promoted to right when the Star Destroyer get’s boarded and Thane shows up to take Cienna off the ship. Literally there is no transition to tell you that you’re now seeing the Battle of Jakku… which I suppose makes sense as you really don’t even see it.

Story:
I went over the story in the last review, so I’ll spare you. I included the links above if you’re interested.


2.5/5 Stars
It really kind of hurts me to give it such a low review. Don’t get me wrong, the illustrations are incredibly well done, the story is gripping and getting some more detail into the characters was a nice treat…
Sadly, the book is shorter than the other two volumes and noticeably shorter than the first one. It cuts out key points, character developments, and the transitions from scene to scene are almost non-existent to the point where you’re confused as to what’s going on. The manga seems to assume that everyone’s already read the book and that should not the case. These should be standalone for new readers to be drawn in.
Is this worth reading? Hell yes, but before touching this series, I’d recommend reading the book first for full context, otherwise you’ll be introduced to Lost Stars via a muddled mess.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Spoils of Comic Con… #Comics #Marvel #DC #Indie #Fantasy

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought I’d share the adventure with my readers.

To be honest, since having kids, we’ve done less and less of the major area cons (Boston Fan Expo, Connecticon, RI Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Pax East, etc.). We’re considering taking our oldest to one of the larger ones because he’s old enough now to handle it.

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So to feed the comic buzz, we’ve been attending some of the smaller cons. I actually have grown quite fond of some of these. Though not as grand or attention-drawing as some of the bigger cons, they’re ones you can go through in a few hours to a few days, depending on what you want to see and how much you want to take in.

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If you’re looking for an artist or celeb who’s really big and well-known right now, this may not be the place to look. Also, if you’re looking for specific comics that are really rare… you may or may not find them. A lot of dealers only bring limited stock as they don’t typically get a lot of space.  However, if you’re looking to browse or perhaps see an artist you liked as a child, this is the place for you.

Northeast Comic Con had the pleasure of hosting everyone from Marvel/DC veterans, to Jim Henson Productions artists, to actual Disney animators! Ergo, there was plenty to see and do.

My first stop when I got there was to see Mark Mckenna. Known for his work across the comic board, he did quite a few of the Old Republic Star Wars books back in the day, so I knew I wanted a piece done by him.

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I found him to be a very friendly, talkative individual who knew the material and really seemed to appreciate his fans. I’ve met a lot of artists and they don’t always appreciate talking shop, but he certainly did. I had him do one of my favorites; Ahsoka Tano. I was not disappointed by the results.

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(I still maintain to this day that whomever came up with the idea for sketch covers was a genius!!!)

For years, I’ve had a list of characters that I wanted to get done. I could now cross Ahsoka Tano off that list.

However, one of the other characters I’d wanted to get done was a tough one… Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE fan of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the James Cameron movie!). While there are some graphic novels, the Avatar library is comparatively limited and the artists don’t seem to do conventions around here. So it seemed like one of the commissions I wanted; Katara, would likely never get done.

Then I spot one particularly jolly individual sitting in the corner…

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You all know the man. Yes, you do. No I’m serious. Even if you don’t recognize him, you know his work. Look up his IMDB page. He’s worked on several major Disney and Don Bluth works, as well as several other animated productions. He was one of the people who created Gaston’s character in Beauty and the Beast, he worked on the Little Mermaid, and a little known Disney film that happens to be one of my favorites; The Black Cauldron.

Let me just say that this man is a larger than life character with a LOT of heart. He really has an aura about him, an affinity for kids, and really seems to love what he does. I spent a lot of time at his booth chatting about his work and looking through his offerings.

At that point, there was no way I could walk away without having him do a commission for me. I was tempted to have him do a Disney piece, but that’s not really my thing, and while I liked Don Bluth’s work, I wasn’t really huge on any of them. Still I wanted to get a sketch done by him… but what? What could I have him do?

He’d done Disney and Bluth films, but I didn’t see any Nickelodeon productions… would he really be willing to do it? Well… not only was he willing, he was happy to. He asked me if I wanted a specific pose or anything in particular. I told him no. Typically, I let the artists figure that one out. The less direction, the better the piece.

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The end result speaks for itself! He went with her Fire Nation disguise and the whole thing came out really amazing! This actually might be my most valuable piece. I’m currently looking to get it preserved and framed.

Because our kids tired easily, we only spent one day there instead of the three it was open for. However, we got a lot done, got to check out a lot of the puppet work and peruse the comic/collectibles areas. We spent way more money than we should have, but can’t complain! It was a fun time and I’m definitely going back next year.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Review: Star Wars: LOST STARS Manga Vol 2 #StarWars #Review #Writing #Fantasy

 

The conclusion of the thrilling manga adaptation of Claudia Gray’s Star Wars Lost Stars novel! What does destiny have in store for Thane and Ciena?

  • Series: Star Wars Lost Stars (manga) (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (September 3, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1975327543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975327545
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches

 

Okay, you all know my love of Star Wars and how rarely I do book reviews. Let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of the Lost Stars story. I did a review of it previously which can be read here.

Though I did not do a review of the first Lost Stars Manga Volume, I will admit that I loved it. The story stayed true to the original novel, the art was well done, and for a fairly cheap price, it was a good buy and a good read… for the most part. Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

Setting:
As with the novel, the story takes place before, during, and after the events of the Trilogy. Key places include Jelucan, the Death Star, the Executor, Hoth, and the cruiser Liberty.
Cienna is a farmer from a fairly backwards area on the planet, while Thane is considered more of a noble birth from the same world.

What I liked:
It follow the story very closely, though I felt the characters’ affection for each other a lot more in this as you could actually see the emotion on their faces. Artist Yusaku Komiyama does an amazing job capturing facial features and emotions. One striking thing I did notice about the characters is that, while the images on StarWars.com and Wookiepiedia paint Ciena as closer to African American, the Manga… at least around her eyes and hair to an extent, make her look more like she originated in the Indian area on Earth. That’s my opinion anyway, but the shape of her eyes kind of match those that I’ve seen in both Indian/Arabian Cartoon characters.

What I didn’t like:
We don’t really spend a whole lot of time in various locations. I wish we got to explore some of them a little more, though to Lost Stars’ credit, in the first Volume, we did actually get to see the destruction of Alderaan from the perspective of people on the surface, which was an interesting touch.

Story:
Again, as with the Novel, the story revolves around two new Characters; Thane and Cienna. It surrounds their friendship and surrounds their thoughts on events from the original trilogy and how it affects them. They’re both assigned to posts either on or near the Death Star and when it’s destroyed, they both fear for each other’s safety. The story appears to be a round about   Romeo and Juliet style story where one character (Thane) becomes disillusioned with the Empire and joins the Rebellion, where Cienna is honor-bound by her oath to remain with the Empire. Eventually, they do have to come head to head, on more than one occasion, which makes the story even more interesting.

What I liked:
Here we see how Cienna has to decide what is more important to her; the Empire or Thane. We see her struggle with the conundrum and eventually chooses him. Though she says this will be the only time, we see her do it again in another instance where she could have killed him or turned him in.

What I didn’t like:
The Manga, especially Volume 2 suffers from the same problems as the main novel. Arguably worse so. The story jumps pretty quickly from the Death Star to Hoth with little breathing room or character development. What’s worse, it’s all over the place. The first volume deals with the Battle of Hoth while the second volume cuts it out. The editing and placement of these scenes seem somewhat sloppy and hard to follow. Again, places and events that should not be passed over, are either barely mentioned or not acknowledged at all.

Characters:

(See the book review, not much to add here)

My Overall Assessment:
3/5 Stars
I’ve waited months for this volume to come out and honestly… was somewhat disappointed. It was painfully short compared to the first one, and what’s worse, I find out that it’s a three-part story, which means I have to wait another month (hopefully no longer) for the next segment. I enjoyed it, I loved the artwork, and of course the story is great, but I can’t overlook the shortfalls of this book. Even so, I still recommend it to everyone. It is a great read for those who love anime and/or Star Wars.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 4

IV

 

San Sebastián appeared on the horizon as the Sun reached its height. Baltazar watched as the port grew larger in the distance. He turned the wheel a few more degrees to port and headed straight in, “My lads, we’ve come home.”

The wind was at their backs as the Specter glided into the harbor. The ship was a recognizable sight in this port and was always celebrated when she docked. Melisande came up on deck and watched as a few small sailboats and fishing vessels lined up alongside the Specter to guide her into the harbor.

Papi was also on deck and smiled as she appeared, “Sleep well, Messy?”

She nodded, “Baltazar does pretty nicely for himself. His cabin is more comfortable than my cell in the abbey!”

“He does,” Papi agreed, “well he’s a rather… extraordinary man.”

Melisande noticed a huge commotion on the docks as the Specter made its way to the pier, “What’s going on?”

“There’s a big celebration every time the Specter comes home.” He replied. “This ship is rather well known here and Baltazar is considered a local hero.”

“Because of his charity?” She asked.

“Aye,” Papi nodded, “but also because of his… reputation with the womenfolk.”

Melisande rolled her eyes, “Wonderful…”

Baltazar looked at Melisande suspiciously. Her reaction wasn’t what he expected. Did she like him? Papi began to worry, but decided to address it later as he had other duties to perform.

As the ship closed on the dock, Baltazar turned to his men, “Tie up the sails, let the current bring us in nice and slow.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir, secure the rigging, bring up the sails.”

The Specter’s sails rolled up as the ship neared the dock. Baltazar turned his ship half a degree to port and brought her up to the dock as gently as he could. He then called out to the men on deck, “Mooring lines.”

There were men waiting on the dock to tie up the Specter as she neared. His crew threw a few ropes over the side and secured their ends. The men on the dock tied up the ship and then accepted the walk ways that the crew put over the side. Two of the men took the desk from the back of the ship and brought it down the ramp to the crowd. There was a large group of merchants awaiting the goods that the Specter brought in.

Baltazar smiled at them, “Welcome to each and every one of you, we’ve got a lot of things to offload today for the right price.”

The crew waited as Baltazar marched proudly down the ramp and sat on a post behind the desk. His men brought down everything that they had taken from the Cristobal. One by one, each item was auctioned off to the merchants. It was quite a sight as every merchant almost seemed to be fighting over the goods.

Once everything had been sold, the money was transferred to Baltazar. He smiled at the merchants as they collected their new found items, “Thank you all very much. Remember, there will be more to come!”

Melisande watched Baltazar work. She couldn’t explain it, but she found something appealing about this childish rogue. He was fit, charming, and a fair man, but then she snapped out of it, and there are probably an uncountable number of other women who thought the same thing… and many foolish ones that still do!

Baltazar walked back aboard followed by crewmen carrying large chests full of coins that had paid for the goods. Melchior sat down at his desk and began to count the money. He was meticulous as he went through every jewel and every coin that they had received. Gilles went wide eyed at the size of the treasure.

After it had been gone over entirely, Gilles could wait no longer, “Well?”

Melchior looked up, “50 pieces a share.”

The men cheered as they lined up to receive the money. Each share was placed in a small leather pouch and handed to every member of the crew. Once they had their money, Baltazar smiled, “All shares have been well-earned and I am very proud of each of you. For those of you who have either signed on for one voyage or joined from other ships, good luck to you and I hope to see you back aboard at some point. Those of you who choose to stay with me, you have five days to enjoy your earnings as you see fit, then I want you back here to help get the Specter seaworthy again.”

Shouts went up from the deck and hats flew into the air as the crew cheered. Melisande stood against the railing away from the crew. She had a saddened look on her face as she watched the rest of the men celebrate.

Papi walked up next to her, “I will speak to the captain and see if we can get some supplies so that we can start our journey.”

She shook her head, “I’m going to miss this ship… This was an incredible ride. I wish I could stay onboard… more than anything…”

“You don’t mean that,” he replied sternly, “and you stand a better chance of living if we leave now.”

“I do mean it, Papi.” Melisande replied. “It just feels right…”

“What do you mean?” Papi asked.

She shook her head, “I… I don’t know, but for the first time, I feel like this is where I belong.”

Papi shook his head, “Well, unfortunately, it’s not up to us…”

Once Baltazar received his captain’s share, he made his way off of the aft castle and walked down to the main deck. Papi stopped him before he could disembark, “We’re ready to depart, Captain. I’m taking Messy out of here. I was hoping that you could provide us with some supplies before we go?”

Baltazar shrugged, “Yes, I could do that… yes… but, I’m afraid there’s a problem, old friend.”

“Captain?” Papi asked in a nervous tone.

Baltazar smiled, “I can’t let her leave.”

Papi glared at him, “Captain, with all due respect, this is not one of your mindless tavern wenches! She is important to me! I’ll not let any harm come to her, even if it means going against someone I respect as a friend.”

“You wound me, Mr. Clement.” Baltazar replied as a hurt look appeared on his face. “That you think I would be so blind as to not see that this woman is very special, far too much so to treat as a port of call.”

“Then what is the problem?” Papi asked. “Why won’t you let us leave?”

Melisande looked quizzically at Baltazar as she waited for his response. He returned her gaze, “If I just let you go, my crew might mutiny.”

“What?” Papi asked in a confused tone.

Baltazar sighed, “They spoke to me in open council, which as you know Papi, is every man’s legal right aboard this ship. They requested that I offer Melisande a position aboard ship as a full-share member of the crew.”

Melisande’s eyes lit up as she looked at Baltazar. Papi stepped in front of her and shook his head, “No, it’s far too dangerous, I can’t allow that!”

Baltazar smiled, “I know that, my old friend, but would you have me face a mutiny if I didn’t at least make the offer?”

“The crew really asked?” Papi asked.

“As I said, the crew has spoken in open council about her.”  Baltazar replied as he turned to Melisande. “It seems your ability to treat injuries, and your work ethic, trumps your gender. They have voted unanimously to invite you to remain on if you want to.”

Tears formed in Melisande’s eyes as a bright smile formed on her lips. Her eyes lit up even more than usual and shined brightly. She could not believe what she was hearing.

Baltazar reached into his sack, “Which reminds me…”

He pulled out one last leather pouch and handed it to her, “I believe this belongs to you.”

Melisande opened the bag to see 50 coins inside, a full share. Papi shook his head, “Her, a member of the crew? You can’t be serious! Before she came onboard, she’s never lived a day outside of the abbey!”

“But I am,” Baltazar replied, “She’ll serve as cabin… boy and healer. She’s already proven to be competent at both.”

He looked into her eyes as he continued, “That is of course… if you wish to sign on properly this time?”

The entire crew overheard their conversation, stopped, and looked to see what Melisande’s answer would be. They all looked on anxiously as Baltazar asked. Overwhelmed with joy, she grabbed Baltazar, hugged him tightly, and kissed him on the cheek.

Then, realizing what just happened, she pushed away from him with a nervous grin, “Um… it would be my honor to serve aboard the Specter. It’s all I ever wanted!”

Cheers went up from the men onboard. Baltazar smiled, “Excellent, that’s settled then.”

Morgan came up next to them and bowed his bandaged head to Melisande, “Milady, I be wanting to apologize for the way I been treating ye when ye first came aboard. Ye saved me life.”

She smiled, “All is forgiven. I got what I wanted. Perhaps we can be friends now?”

“Aye,” Morgan replied, “I’d like nothing better.”

He gave her a small salute as he turned to some fouled rigging. Gilles was tending to the helm, with a huge smile on his face from her reaction. Everything appeared to be coming together for all parties involved.

The celebration quickly ended when three lavishly dressed men accompanied by a battalion of soldiers approached the Specter, “Captain, we’ve got company, looks like they’ve got the king’s crest on their banner!”

Papi narrowed his eyes, “The king of Spain, what is he doing in San Sebastián?”

Baltazar turned his attention to the three men as they approached. He walked down ramp and on to the dock to meet them. The first man bowed to Baltazar, “Captain Baltazar de la Fuente, I presume?”

Baltazar returned the gesture, “You are correct good sir.”

The man smiled as he looked Baltazar over, “Your brother requests an audience with you, as soon as possible.”

The crew glanced at each other and whispered back and forth. Baltazar frowned, “You must be mistaken sir. I have no brother. I was orphaned at birth.”

“I see.” the man said with a smug frown. “Well then I shall have to tell King Philip, that he is mistaken about who he believes his brother to be.”

Louder gasps came from the crew. Melisande joined him on the dock, “Baltazar, King Philip?”

The man nodded, “Yes milady, your captain is the half brother of King Philip III of Spain.”

Melisande went wide eyed and she slowly backed away from Baltazar. Gilles walked down to the rail, unable to believe what he was hearing, “I don’t believe it, our captain is royalty?”

“Silence!” Baltazar shouted before turning back to the messenger. “Sir, I do not hold anyone from the House of Habsburg as blood and you would do well to remember that.”

Baltazar paused as he looked over the guards,” If however, the King would like an audience with me… I’d be happy to oblige.”

The man nodded, “Excellent, please accompany us.”

Baltazar bowed again, “Lead the way, milord.”

He turned back to his men, “Secure the ship.”

His men tended to the ship as he was lead away. Melisande watched until he was out of sight, “What does this mean, our captain is a prince?”

“If it’s true,” Papi replied, “then he is a member of the House of Habsburg… which makes him royalty…”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

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http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim