White Widow, Initial Impressions #WhiteWidow #Comics #Superheroes #Indie

So I’ve recently picked up a new book that I just stumbled on at a comic auction for $8… and it was money well spent, but I’ll get into that.

The book title is White Widow.

The plot from the kick starter:

Story

Gabrielle Garcia was a typical American girl going to college to follow in her father’s footsteps – or so she thought. One night, her father barged into her dorm room, suffering from a fatal gunshot, and injected her with… something.  That was the moment she became the White Widow. 

White Widow is a new ongoing comic set in the new “Absolute Comics” Universe.  It is created by Jamie Tyndall with Benny Powell.  This is the first issue featuring a hero unlike any other.

 

This is a book that, sadly, I missed the boat on in terms of the kickstarter. Now I’m playing catch up, and thankfully I don’t have far to go. Currently, there are only about three issues in print. I know that’s hard to believe since there seems to be like 30 different covers for each book on Ebay, but in terms of the internals, that’s all there is.

Capture

I admit that when I bought the book, I had no idea what it was about. As so often happens for me with comics (see my Lady Mechanika review), I was enticed by the artwork. On both the inside and outside, the books are absolutely dazzling and I can see why so much time and effort is being put into these, and why they’re so popular. Many comic collectors go for the art over any actual story, and IMHO there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I had about six Lady Mech books before I actually read them!

In this case, however, I did start reading sooner. So what are my initial impressions?

When I first looked at the books, my first thought was something of an indie Spider-man emulation and honestly, that’s not too far from the truth. I know that’ll piss some people off, and it’s not meant to. That’s just my initial impression and I welcome being proven wrong. However, the story surrounding the costume she wears that providers her with super-natural powers, strikes me as something similar to the black costume saga with Spider-man.

Spoiler Warning!

The story starts off with your every day college student going through the motions. Then one night, her father breaks into her room and injects her with an… unusual serum.  I won’t go too much into detail, but he is then killed by a group called… The Group. So basically she now has to figure out what her suit is, what it does, and how to go about using it to aid her in infiltrating The Group, in order to uncover what’s happened to her family.

And… that’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far. So, is a book I’m accusing of being somewhat of a ripoff (I don’t mean to, honestly!!!) any good? Honestly, yes! The characters are unique and relatable, the artwork is superb, and I found myself getting completely engrossed in the story! I’m only a few books in, but I highly recommend giving it a shot!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Mary Poppins Returns, My Late Review #Disney #MaryPoppins #EmilyBlunt

Hi All,

So my family finally got around to watching the new Mary Poppins movie and I want to give my thoughts on it. Anyone who’s read my blog long enough, knows that I have no love for the first Mary Poppins. It’s one of my two least favorite Disney classics for a plethora of reasons ranging from the history behind the film, the bastardization of books that were beloved to their writer, the horrible characters, and some of the more depressing scenes in the story. Yes, I am the 1% of people who hate the original Mary Poppins.

So when my wife puts on this movie for our weekly family movie night, my first reaction was to roll my eyes. One, this movie got what amounts to a C+ rating from critics and movie-goers, some loved it, some hated it. Two, this is yet another Disney sequel, likely a holdover from the Isner years that had little story and even less budget. Third, it’s a sequel to a story I have little tolerance for. So I resigned myself to 2+ hours of torture.

What I got… was not at all what I thought I was getting.

The story is set some 30+ years after the first movie. Mr. and Mrs. Banks have likely passed away, Bert is nowhere to be found (though it is mentioned that he’s travelling the globe), and Michael is now a widower with three children and is struggling to keep their home. Jane shows up regularly as well, living in a flat on the other side of town.  Michael is desperately trying to find a bank share that would pay off his house before the bank forecloses on it and… that’s where I’ll leave the plot. I really don’t want to spoil anything.

It is at this point Mary Poppins shows up and yes, in an unexpected twist, Jane and Michael actually remember her, though their memory on her magical abilities are somewhat questionable.

Because Mary Poppins is an ageless, magical, character, obviously Julie Andrews wouldn’t have worked here without extensive de-aging. Plus the fact that her vocal chords were damaged by nodule removal, made her a non-choice. Enter Emily Blunt. At first, I wasn’t sure about her, but if you’ve read any of the books… she actually fits the character better than Andrews IMHO. Andrews came off as a sweet person, but her character while kind, is supposed to be very firm. I never got that from Andrews, despite her best efforts. With Blunt, I get that. She has scenes where she comes off as stern, dignified, and not afraid to tell her ’employer’ how it is. She keeps her kindness guarded, but certainly let’s it show when needed. This, to me, is a more realistic representation of what a nanny would have been like at that time period… or at least one that children would not have run from. While she didn’t really resemble Andrews all that much, I found myself accepting her as Mary Poppins quite easily. Blunt’s performance really brought something to the performance that was quite welcome.

The musical numbers were done quite well. I honestly found myself afflicted by a tinge of nostalgia. Modern musicals, including Disney, haven’t really done so well. Despite the efforts of movies like La La Land, they just really fail to capture the whimsy of the musicals from the 50s-60s. Mary Poppins Returns somehow manages to revive the old Musical whimsy I thought long dead.

It was also great to see Disney give a nod to their old ways by going back to their old-school form of animation. They could have easily pulled a James and the Giant Peach and gone full CGI with ugly characters or tried to do something with Pixar, but they didn’t They took special care to make the animated scenes look like the ones we loved from movies like 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. It was a welcome nod to the past that could have easily just been ignored.

I was actually quite surprised to see David Warner now playing the Banks’s next door neighbors, still sailing around on his rooftop ship. He’s been noticeably absent from the movie scene for years. As a fan of his work in Hansel and Gretel, Star Trek 5 and 6, Ninja Turtles 2, and Wing Commander, I was happy to see him back in a supporting role.

Cast members from the original made appearances in the film in small places where they could. Dick Van Dyke appearing at the end and performing a dance number made me smile widely. I admittedly didn’t like him in the previous Mary Poppins, but I was a big fan of his in other movies, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Noticeably absent from the film was the original Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews. According to information I was able to find, the studio tried hard to get her into the film via cameo, but she declined out of respect to Emily Blunt. While I applaud the goodwill and can certainly respect that, I was honestly disappointed by the missed opportunity for Julie Andrews to give the film an endorsement and a kind of passing of the torch.

Instead, that job was given to another of Disney’s original darlings… Angela Lansbury. I won’t give away the part she played, but it’s actually quite appropriate and I loved hearing her sing for the first time in quite a while. I grew up with Lansbury playing Ms. Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which is still one of my favorite Disney live musical movies to this day!

One criticism I read on another blog was a criticism noting the absence of Mr. Banks. The argument was that he was such a major character, that his noticeable absence from the film was a big detraction. On some level, I would agree with that, however… Mark Tomlinson, another Disney staple and the original Mr. Banks, sadly passed away in 2000 at the age of 83 from a stroke and he had been retired for 18 years prior. While people accepted Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, I doubt they would have accepted someone else as Mr. Banks. Even Blunt was a bit of a risk for Disney.

So honestly, at the end of the day, Mary Poppins Returns is much better than it has a any right to be. Given my feelings about the first movie, Disney’s history of low budget cash-in sequels that all but ruined the original films, and some of Disney’s lack luster storytelling in their original movies as of late… my expectations could not have been lower. Needless to say, even if they hadn’t been, this film still would have gotten high marks. I actually loved this a lot more than the original movie and found myself smiling through it as my kids enjoyed it. Yes, mine and my parent’s generation’s Mary Poppins wasn’t great, but the one my kids will now call theirs more than makes up for it.

This is a great movie that should be viewed by everyone who loved Disney as a child, whether you liked the original or not.



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

My Thoughts on the Rise of Skywalker SPOILERS!!! #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian #RiseofSkywalker

 

/SPOILERS AHEAD, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!! 


 

I CALLED IT!!! I called it long ago! Rey is a Palpatine! I knew it! Total bragging rights now! I practically cheered in the theater when I heard this! I wanted it to be the case so badly! I am so thrilled they went with this!

Okay… calm down Jim, calm down. Seriously, it was hard to do. There was a lot riding on this movie. First they had to course correct from the disastrous Last Jedi, then they had to figure out how to bring Carrie Fisher into this respectfully, then they had to finish out the series in a way that not only made sense, but would satisfy the fans. Did the accomplish this?

The answer is… it depends on whom you ask…

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This is typically a sign that the movie is going to be good. After seeing how they rate movies like The Last Jedi, Ghostbusters 2016, and a few others… I’ve actually been more motivated to see movies that the critics didn’t like vs. the ones they did. I don’t even pay attention to them anymore. The audience scores are more apt to be correct.

Okay, back on topic. In my opinion, the Rise of Skywalker succeeded… but not without a few missteps. In some cases, I did feel it was rushed. The scene jumps were something that was tough to follow. I thought Wedge deserved more screen time than 1.5 seconds, but neither here no there.

So what did I like? I thought it wrapped up most of the story pretty well… though I still don’t know what Fin wanted to say to Rey. I loved seeing the old ships mix in with the new ones (Anyone else see the Ghost?).

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I also really loved how they gave Leia her sendoff and managed to fit in a Han Solo cameo (seriously, how’d they get him back again? He does not like the character!). I love the way they did the Emperor and showed more of what the Sith cult was. Finally, the way they brought Ben back to the light could not have been done any better!

Oh yeah, and yellow light sabers are now canon! YAY FOR ME!!

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So what didn’t I like? Well… nothing’s perfect, right? Here goes…

They sort of glossed over how Palpatine survived. Was he cloned? If so, was the Palpatine Vader killed the original or a simple clone? Not enough info there. Did I miss something? If so, please tell me in the comments.
No cameos by Yoda, Anakin, or Obi Wan! Okay, okay, this is on me, not them. We were never promised cameos, but it was hinted at! That’s kind of a tease, and allowing Darth Vader one last glorious moment would have been greatly appreciated.
Dark Rey get’s very little screen time. Okay, I knew this was going to be the case, but I had still hoped for a little more than we got.
The connection between Skywalker and Palpatine wasn’t fully explained. Okay, this is a criticism because yes, we do know that it is explained, but not on screen. In other words, this movie kind of expects you to know the extra-canonical material to understand this.
Though, based on the story, Palpatine was responsible for Anakin’s creation. So technically.. Ben and Rey are connected… like Cousins… I think? I dunno Palpatine is Ben’s great grandfather while he’s Rey’s grandfather… what does that make her? Grandcousin? Someone help me out there. Either way…

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Ewww… Good lord, what is it with Lucasfilm and incestuous plot lines!?

All right, so overall, what did I think of the film?

Well… I loved it! I was on the edge of my seat smiling the entire time! I was absolutely thrilled and was happy with the final product. This is now my list of the franchise as it stands, from most favorite to least…

1. Return of the Jedi (Non-special Edition)
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Revenge of the Sith
4. A New Hope
5. The Force Awakens
6. The Rise of Skywalker
7. Rogue 1
8. The Mandalorian
9. The Clone Wars
10. Rebels
11. Phantom Menace
12. Solo
13. Attack of the Clones
14. Ewoks: Battle for Endor
15. Droids Cartoon
16. Ewoks Caravan of Courage
17. Ewoks Cartoon
18. Original Clone Wars Mini series.
19. The Last Jedi.
20. Holiday Special.

I’m giving this movie an 8-8.5/10. I loved it. It had it’s problems, but for a movie that had everything going against it, it rose to the occasion. Between the untimely death of a key actor, to having to course correct from the Last Jedi, to finally wrapping up a 9-movie-franchise, this movie was set up to fail… and it didn’t. My only regret is that I wish I could see what this movie would have been had The Last Jedi not been made… or at least not been made the way it was. It’s a divisive movie and has the critics and fans split, though the division seems to be more on the critic’s side, but it seems the majority of the fans loved it and I’m one of them.

Is it up there with the original trilogy? Eh… no, but it’s close. A New Hope wasn’t the greatest movie of all time either and frankly, Empire Strikes Back was the Golden Age of Star Wars. So honestly, I’d put it just under A New Hope, which is tied with The Force Awakens. (Yeah, I said it!!)

Anyway, have you seen it yet? What did you think? Let me know down in the comments and let’s get a conversation going!



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

The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

As I’ve said before… if you thought TLJ was the worst Star Wars ever put out, watch this, learn why you’re wrong, then come back and let’s talk.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!! LMAO!!!



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

The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

Full disclaimer, I do not believe that all Star Wars fans are toxic, not by half. So please actually read my article before you get all hot under the collar one way or another. If you disagree with me, let’s talk about it in the comments. 

Okay, I know I’m treading on rather sensitive grounds here, but this is something I really think I need to go over. As of late, there has been a lot of mudslinging back and forth between Entertainment News Media, Hollywood, and the fan base of Star Wars. Though admittedly my blog has a limited readership, I wanted to do my part to try to tackle each of these and create a point of order… or some semblance of sanity. 

First thing I want to tackle, is Star Wars dead? I’ve actually heard some people out there, including independent journalist Tim Pool say that Star Wars was dead the moment The Last Jedi hit the theater. A lot of people stated that the more they saw it, the worse it got… and honestly, that’s fair criticism. Upon seeing the backlash to it, I wrote a post defending the Last Jedi. I stand by what I said at that point, though even I have to admit that each time I watch it, it really does get worse and worse. Perhaps another bad sign that it wasn’t good was when I left the theater, my wife asked me if I liked it, my response was ‘I don’t know’. That has NEVER happened. I loved Episode 1 so much that I went and bought all the action figures when I left the theater… and they’re pretty much worthless now. I still defend the prequel trilogy because I don’t think it was as bad as everyone said and has a lot of good elements that adds to the Star Wars mythos.

For The Last Jedi, okay… I’ll come out and say it. It was bad.

HOWEVER, if you think The Last Jedi was the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars, go watch The Holiday Special, Caravan of Courage, or the Battle for Endor, realize why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me.

A close acquaintance of mine once said that once Disney purchased Star Wars, we’d all be begging for Lucas to come back within a few years. I’m honestly not sure that’s true. Let’s take a look at what Disney has put out individually…

The Force Awakens: AWESOME! Yes, somewhat of a retread of ANH, but there was enough new stuff to keep us interested and IT FELT LIKE STAR WARS!!!

Rogue One: A gritty look at the Rebellion’s behind the scenes activities. It was gutsy and had the best space battle since Endor. It was action packed, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Rebels: I have to admit… I love this show. Like… I REALLY love this show. it had a few problems and… God help us, it brought continuity-killing time travel themes into Star Wars, but it handled them well (so far), brought back fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, introduced inquisitors, and brought Malachor from KOTOR 2 into the fold.

The Last Jedi: This… yeah, was a horrible HORRIBLE mess. However, one issue I take with the criticism was the concept of fuel… um… fuel has been around in the Star Wars universe for a while. In ANH we see them fueling the fighters, and in TPM, they literally say “There’s not enough fuel to reach Coruscant”! That’s the whole reaon they had to set down on Tatooine.

Solo: Had some problems and no one asked for it, and yes… I don’t like who they cast as Solo, but the movie itself was pretty good. It was a somewhat dark, but lighthearted heist movie. For what it was, it was pretty good.

The Mandalorian: SO FAR, it’s been awesome!

So, there you go. One truly bad movie. That’s it, that’s all we have to complain about here. The jury is still out on The Rise of Skywalker, and granted we’ve heard that there have been production trouble… but the movie isn’t even out yet. This movie could be a make or break for Star Wars as everything comes down to how it ends, but we still have to wait and see.

So let’s move onto the second topic, toxic fandom… Are Star Wars fans truly toxic as a whole? NO! Absolutely not! Star Wars fans are really the most loyal fanbase there is. These were the people who kept the hype going even during the dark ages of 1983-1991 when there was close to nothing coming out for the franchise and kids like me, who were born after the movies came out, had to rely on their older cousins and siblings to get their hands on the merch. It is a very diverse group of fans ranging all ages, cultures, ethnicity, and backgrounds.

I will admit that some fans consider Star Wars sacred and I can understand that. My intro to Star Wars comes before I was even born! My mother saw Return of the Jedi in theater while pregnant with me! Apparently I was very excited during the whole thing. So I can understand why Star Wars fans get so vocal about their disdain when something bad comes out.

Now, does that mean that some fans don’t take things too far or are not worthy of the label ‘toxic’? No…

The toxicity has been on full display with the treatment of people like Kelly Marie Tran and Jake Lloyd. It is sad commentary on what they’ve had to deal with. On top of that, we get people who are saying that the whole franchise is dead because of one movie, or are refusing to watch the good movies/shows because the franchise is dead, or just seem to be unable to please. This is part of the reason so many directors have refused to tackle Star Wars.

That being said, they are hardly the majority or even a vast percentage. These days, for some reason, Hollywood has gone head-first into the political realm… and not just politics, but deeply divisive, arguably radical one-sided politics. As a result, they seem to have become part of the twitteratti and entered into a bubble where everyone who doesn’t like the direction they go is… seemingly akin to Adolf Hitler himself. As such, when people criticize their movies, those people are labelled as haters and toxic. This is propaganda and nothing more. I think in many cases, this meme sums up the problem pretty well…

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So if you want to make the argument that Hollywood is complicit in creating this whole ‘toxic’ fanbase problem, I’m right there with you. This also lends credence to my argument that politics can ruin a story if that is the focus. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I try to keep things apolitical with the exception of two areas; children, because I love kids and have long advocated for their welfare… something that should be universal, and escapism, because I feel like it’s so important and politics has invaded almost every facet of our lives, making it near impossible to escape.

So in summation… Star Wars is not dead and Hollywood is as toxic as they claim the majority of the fan base is. People… it’s just a creative universe. I know we all love it, but it’s not worth getting this worked up over. If you loved the original movies and the clone wars series… they’re still there, you can go watch them and enjoy. The books from the original Expanded Universe are still being published, as are the comics! Star Wars is awesome, go enjoy the literal universe of material!



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

Book review: Drakin, the story of Raiya

Awesome review by a wonderful reader! Thank you!

Tomas, the wandering dreamer

After two Sci-Fi books (Jurrasic Park and Resist), I got to read a book that is some kind of a mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Another step into the unknown for me – and one that worked for me.

View original post 368 more words

Unpopular Opinion: Incredibles 2 wasn’t worth the wait. (Spoiler Free)

Yeah… this was a major let down.

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Oh, bring it on!

I went to see it with my family the other night at a drive-in. My kids loved the original and watch it ad nauseam.  I admit it’s a fun movie and definitely an entertaining take on Superheroes.

I actually got a laugh out of Samuel L. Jackson’s character when he’s arguing with his wife…

“It’s for the greater good!”
“I am your wife, I’m the greatest GOOD you’ll ever get!”

(No matter how many times I hear that, it still gets a laugh.)

So the movie takes place seemingly immediately after the first movie… despite 14 years passing. When the screen lit up and the cast appears on the screen to pathetically apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, I admit that was funny. It set the stage for what should have been a good movie.

What came after was… underwhelming. The story was a fairly run-of-the-mill paint by numbers superhero story. The “Surprise” bad guy that Disney seems to try to unleash on their audience lately has become so predictable… I had to resist the urge to point at the screen and be like, (okay, okay, ONE small spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph.) “Yeah, she’s the bad guy.”

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it just didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not helping matters though, was the voice acting…

Some of it was fine, as usual, Samuel L Jackson was his normal self and did a good job, but the rest of the cast sounded tired and out of it… except for one character, who arguably was even worse than that…

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This character is being portrayed by a 49-year-old woman… and it really shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against older actors playing younger roles… as long as they can pull it off. At no point did I believe that was the voice of a teenager. She actually sounded older than Elastagirl, which was kind of cringy, to say the least.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. It’s fun for little kids, I suppose, but it really doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Save your money and rent it when it comes out.

Readers, what did you think? Was Incredibles 2 good? Do you want to see it? What did you like about it if so? Let me know down 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