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Monday, August 18, 2014

Artist Interview: Miguel Alvarez



Today I'm doing something a little different, because this guy is an awesome artist, and I really want to spread the word to anyone reading this. He pumps out these sketches (yes, SKETCHES) of such intricate and detailed stuff, and I've never seen anything like it. A while back, he held a contest on Twitter for one of his drawings, and to win it you had to guess the number that was written on the back. I figured I'd give it a shot and guessed the first number that came to mind, and to my surprise, ended up guessing  right! So he sent the drawing, and I still have it nearby to remind me to always trust my instincts (something I've struggled with many times in the past). So it's pretty important to me, and I'm so grateful to own such a gorgeous piece of art. Here is that drawing:




Anyway, I wanted to let you get to know the artist a bit, through an interview. I've interviewed authors before, but this is my first artist interview, so bear with me. ;) And enjoy!



1. I've always been fascinated with how much detail goes into even your simplest sketches. How DO you do it? And what is your preferred method?

 The simple answer is that’s just the way my brain is wired. Even when I set out with the intention to sketch something simple my mind will just start adding complexity and detail. The creative process for me is different for every drawing. Sometimes the idea/image pops into my mind fully formed and then I just have to draw it out. Other times I just grab a sketchbook & a pen and just let whatever creative idea come out of my stream of consciousness.



2. Who or what are your biggest artistic inspirations? (I'm sensing some Giger influence, but I could be wrong)

 A lot of people assume Giger is one of my influences and looking at his work I can understand why that comparison is made. Although I am flattered by the comparison and think he’s a great artist with a tremendous body of work, he was not one of my influences. The only time I remember seeing Giger’s artwork was in a book once at a Barns & Noble for a few minutes, and seeing the alien designs from the movie. Most of my influences came from comic books. The first comic book book artists that began to captivate me were the guys who broke off of Marvel and start Image Comics. Guys like Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Todd Mcfarlane, and Erik Larson. Over the years I’ve come to admire the art of Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Jae Lee, Joe Maduereira, J Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos, Leinil Yu and so many others. I’ve also been influenced by Salvador Dali and other surrealist artists.



3. Have you had any professional training? Or does it just come naturally?

 I've not had any formal training. I learned a lot of drawing techniques through how to books and magazines. There have also been tons of hours spent every day working on my craft. There’s just no getting around it, if you want to become great at anything you have to believe you can achieve it, and then prove it to the universe by investing the time.



4. Well said! Now I have to ask, Have you ever done commissions? And how would someone commission you to draw something for them? (Totally hypothetical question, I swear) ;)

I have done commissions before and actually made quite a bit of money doing so. I stopped taking commissions because I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that it was killing my creativity. The majority of the time the customer wants you to draw or paint them, their family or some subject matter your not interested in. With commission your usually drawing or painting from a photograph which takes a lot of skill, but allows for little creative expression. Art for me now is about expressing my creativity with freedom to go in any direction the universe takes me. I want to draw worlds and figures from my imagination and not from photographs. I want to sell art on my own terms and not have my creativity stifled because I want to make a quick buck. Let me add that I do think it’s important for new aspiring artists to draw from life and study the things around them to build a base on which to build a creative foundation.
  



5. Totally agreed! Do what makes you happy, not anyone else! And last but not least, can you tell us more about yourself? Who is the man behind the art?

I’m a man who loves God, loves his family and loves life. I wake up every morning grateful that I get to spend another day in a world filled with creativity and with people who love me. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity and freedom to explore my creative ideas. 



And I'm grateful that there are wonderful artists like Miguel in the world, who's work inspires me every day. You can find Miguel on Twitter, Instagram, and his website. I leave you with a collage I made of some more of his gorgeous art:






BOOM. 


Be the lightning, 


}i{


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Author Interview: Ray Davis


I'm so excited to bring you a new interview with one of my favorite online acquaintances, fellow writer and alien theorist, Ray Davis. If you haven't heard of him yet, don't worry, you will. His new novel series Anunnaki Awakening is going to be pretty epic. You'll want to check it out, believe me. I'm honored to host him and to have these questions answered so perfectly. Read on and you'll see what I mean: 

1. First things first! Can you introduce yourself for those who may not know you?
First of all, thank you, Kylie, for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. My name is Ray Davis and I'm a writer. I've done many things in my life to pay the bills. Writing has been the one constant from a very early age.
By day, I write sales training for a Fortune 500 company. At night, I write philosophical and motivational content encouraging people to take a second look at themselves and their world; on the premise there might be more there than their conditioning has led them to believe. Most recently, I have been engaged in writing Book 1 of my speculative fiction novel series - Anunnaki Awakening.

My wife, April, and I live in Kansas City area, but our hearts are always in Hawaii. We travel there each year and our big goal is to live there one day. We have two grown kids – a son and a daughter. We’ve got a wedding coming this November and another one likely in the near future. So, we're on the verge of being full-fledged empty-nesters.
I'm a “what you see is what you get” person. I love sports, music, and travel, but my life experiences have demanded that I look out into the cosmos and within to seek answers to life's big questions.




2. I'm loving the theme of your book, Anunnaki Awakening. I too have drawn on these beings (as well as others) for inspiration in future novels. Can you tell us more about why you decided to use the Anunnaki in your novels, and how that came about?
Thank you. The answer to this question alone might fill a book. I didn't set out to write this book. In 2007, I started a website called The Affirmation Spot. Until about eight months ago, most people in social media knew me for that endeavor. As I was encouraging people to follow their dreams, I realized I wasn't pursuing mine - to be a published author with something important to say.
I'm a life-long science fiction fan - especially Star Trek. I really enjoyed Gene Roddenberry's positive view of humanity and its future. I'd seen a string of dystopian science fiction movies - which I enjoy as much as the next person - but I began to feel as if the genre had gone rather negative on humanity's prospects. I wanted to write something brighter that pointed more to our potential than our doom.

I thought this book was going to be about building an interesting story around my mission of empowerment with The Affirmation Spot. I had already developed my heroine character - Maria Love - and began writing a book with a tentative title of The Future Possible.
I was home alone one Saturday in 2009 and turned on a new TV show I'd heard about. That show was Ancient Aliens. They asked, "What if it were all true?" I immediately followed with, "What if it were still true?" What if there was a common sense explanation for why humanity continues to be led against its best interest? What if there was a reason human beings have this negative default setting and go about their lives ignoring big questions and accepting our institution's simple answers?

As I watched, I realized this topic had been sitting in my life's waiting room for years. I'd always gravitated to shows like Coast to Coast A.M. I'd read the works of people like Von Daniken and Sitchin. The seed was planted at the age of six. My father took me to see Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods in its original theater run. I was hooked and it all made so much sense to me.
This topic - with its philosophical, religious, and scientific overtones - demanded my mind share. Within a few days the Inanna character showed up. She’s the co-heroine in Anunnaki Awakening. She's the member of the Anunnaki elite who is rebelling against the age-old control of humanity by her race.
The purpose, storyline, and tone of the book shifted. It still presents a hopeful vision for humanity and our future, but we have to clean some old wounds first.




3. Will you be taking the traditional publishing route, or the independent route? And which one would you recommend for 'noobs' like me?


This is actually my first novel too. I considered many options and have wavered back and forth on this topic. I see benefits to self-publishing and today it's a great way to break in, prove your audience, and get picked up by a major publisher. It's also the best way to maintain control of your work.
Traditional publishing offers the benefits of a backer that knows the ropes and can help you promote the work. However, you also lose your artistic control and there is a lot of subject matter - important subject matter - medium to larger publishers won't support.
I'm fortunate in that a friend in Hawaii started a publishing company a couple years ago. He's publishing both serious authors and those who have a story to tell and want to publish it. He has a mission to help hundreds of thousands of people tell their story and earn income from it. His name is Larry Czerwonka. He owns the LarryCzerwonka Publishing Company of Hilo, HI. He will be publishing my first book.


4. Could have fooled me! Already a pro. :) Changing the subject a bit, you've posted a lot about aliens and your belief that we aren't alone (with which I agree wholeheartedly). Can you summarize your theories on this topic?

I don't know if it was Star Trek from the age of three or something I was just predisposed to know. I've never doubted for a moment that our universe is bursting with life. To me that's a given.
It's a topic we, as species, must become more adult about. It’s treated in juvenile ways belying its critical importance. All of our institutions are so Earth-centric. We may have discovered the Sun doesn't go around the Earth, but our mindset still is that everything else does.

I've never understood why religious and scientific people seem so threatened by this concept. Aliens don't preclude God, but God doesn't preclude aliens either. Why must it be one or the other?

As for the scientific point of view, there seems to be this overwhelming disposition towards denial rather than acceptance on this topic. There’s more effort at ridicule than research. Large segments of mainstream science simply will not even follow the scientific method related to evidence on extraterrestrials and UFOs. I find that puzzling.
I've talked to numerous scientifically minded people online that LOVE science fiction and thinking about alien life in that context, but run screaming when you try to have a serious conversation about its reality. I can only chalk that kind of behavior by intelligent people up to fear and conditioning. They don't want someone to put the proverbial "tin foil hat" on their heads. So, the topic goes largely without discussion.

In Anunnaki Awakening, I play heavily on these themes. One must ask why this is the conditioning? Why are human beings - inquisitive as we are - not eager and ready to embrace other life in this universe? When you watch the pattern of media and other "official" comment on this topic, it's almost universally ridiculed. People in our culture are very conscious about being cool. It’s a very powerful societal control mechanism. If it's clearly delineated as uncool, people stay away.

I see extraterrestrial life to be a VERY sober and important subject for our planet and our species. My question is how can civilization that relies on internal combustion engine definitively conclude interstellar space travel impossible? They can't, but they are.
Then there's the separate - but possibly related - issue of UFOs. I've had several sightings in my life that defy explanation. Both the object's appearance and behavior were extraordinarily bizarre. Two of my sightings felt very personal and happened within a few weeks of each other in 1991. I've described these in various places online.

The third happened during a red-eye flight from New York to Chicago in December 2007. While over Lake Michigan, a bright, undefined light rose rapidly from below right in the middle of commercial flight pattern with at least three other planes besides ours waiting to land in Chicago. Two objects, easily identified as fighters, appeared to be in pursuit of the object. The first object was faster, more maneuverable, and eventually shot straight up leaving the two fighters in the dust. The big question for me, if this was just some kind of experimental aircraft, is why the military would be conducting such maneuvers late at night in the midst of several commercial jets?
  • Do I think we’ve been visited by extraterrestrial beings? Absolutely. 
  • Do I think it's been going on throughout our history? Yes.
  • Do I think all UFOS are aliens? No. I think there’s a mix of causes that may include life forms that inhabit this planet without our knowledge.
  • Do I think there are millions of civilizations out in that vast darkness? Yes. Many of them are probably wondering if they’re all alone too. They’re going about the daily life of their civilizations thinking they, too, are the center of everything.
  • Do I think our governments are aware of this phenomenon? Some governments, I believe, know more than others. It probably depends on what you mean by "the government.” I posit some possibilities in the novel.


5. Well said! And, last but not least, what can we expect from you in the future?

I’m so appreciative, Kylie, for your kind interview request. I’m honored to have a chance to share ideas with your readers.
I've already begun Book 2 in the Anunnaki Awakening series. I've set my personal goal to become a full-time author living and working in Hawaii in the next few years. Book 3 is outlined, but I enjoy letting the story come to me rather than mapping it all out ahead of time. It will probably change.
After this series, I may return to a novel I started in 2004 titled Weather Wars. I stopped writing it when Hurricane Katrina too closely mirrored an event I'd written just weeks before in that book.
I'm hoping Anunnaki Awakening will catch on with readers. My beta readers are giving me great feedback about how the story is pulling them in. I'd like to see it become a hit and be turned into a movie. I figure if vampires and child witches can hit it big, why not aliens?




I definitely see that being a good possibility! And I definitely know the feeling! I truly hope it happens. It's awesome to know there are other people out there on the same page as me about this stuff, and maybe even on the same mission ;)

If you're on the same page too, please follow Ray on Twitter and like his Facebook page. He posts great thought-provoking stuff, and is a really nice guy. And you'll want to be up to date with the latest on his books, which are coming soon! He's also founded a great site for writers (and everyone) with tons of positive affirmations and more, if you want to check it out too. I'm truly excited about everything he's doing, and I can't wait to see him take the world by storm. :)


Be the lightning,

}i{

Monday, July 28, 2014

Film Review: Lucy


Lucy is one of those movies that I did my excited chair dance for after seeing the first trailer in theaters. As usual, when I do that, I (and the people near me) know I will be trying my best to see it in theaters. When asked to choose just one movie to see between June and December, I picked Lucy. Then, on opening night, I started seeing a wave of negative reviews coming in online from some people who had seen it. I was shocked. And I was almost swayed by their opinions. But then I remembered that people also gave most of Shyamalan's films negative reviews, so I said TO HELL WITH THE PEOPLE, and the day after it hit theaters, we made the long and stressful trip to finally see Lucy.

It surprised me.
 In a good way.

Lucy is a feast for the eyes, ears, AND mind, and is also an in depth lesson on science, history, and biology. Not to mention, a lesson on human nature. And the way it cuts back and forth between time and space, and the way the transitions cut from one thing to something completely different and yet somehow connected, is genius on the part of cinematographer Thierry Arbogast as well as Luc Besson (who happens to be the film's writer, director, AND editor!)

Reviewers have said that Scarlett Johansson's acting was mediocre in this film, claiming she doesn't show enough emotion. But I mean, come on. She's playing someone who begins to essentially lose touch with what it is to be human, including emotion, so in that case I think she did a great job. And she shows plenty of emotion in the beginning of the film, before the drug is implanted, and even a couple times afterwards, as she exhibits genuine love and sorrow. I admit that even I was worried if she was the right choice to play Lucy, but After seeing it, I think she was perfect. Morgan Freeman also did a good job as the professor (as expected), and I was pleasantly surprised to see Amr Waked in this film, who previously stole the show for me in the movie Salmon Fishing In The Yemen. I'm excited that he's getting more work, and hope to see him in more films soon.


Reviewers have also said the special effects are bad, and while I agree that there is a little glitch in visual quality when she reaches 70%, I thought most of the other effects were pretty well done. That or I was too distracted by how the movie made me FEEL to notice any other bad special effects. 


This movie definitely had a strong impact on me, and it had me in tears twice. One thing is for certain, Lucy is an important one to see in theaters. If you're anything like me, you will leave this movie with a better perception of the world around you and the people inhabiting it, and with a sense of why we're all here. And if you're lucky, you might even unlock a bit more than 10% of your brain just by seeing it ;)

My husband Eric loved the movie too, while his mother, who saw it with us, didn't like it quite as much as she thought she would. I think this is because she was wanting and expecting a fun, entertaining movie, and while it did have some funny moments (I even heard her laughing), I think it ended up being a bit deeper than she expected. That's just speculation, of course. And I'm guessing that others who didn't like the movie might have also been expecting something a bit more light hearted. So if that's what you want in a movie, then I guess maybe Lucy isn't the movie for you. But if you like movies that are beautiful and entertaining while also making you think, Lucy is for you. Please see it.






Be the lightning,
Kylie Jude.



}i{



Monday, June 30, 2014

Lucky 7 Blog Hop


So there's another Blog Hop going around, and this one seems fun, so I decided to take Amanda Staley's advice and steal it. ;)


The Rules: 

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current WIP (work in progress).
Go to line 7 on the page.
Post on your blog the next 7 sentences or 7 lines.
You can choose between page 7 or 77. 


K so here's an excerpt from my first Scifi novel, beginning on page 7, line 7. I have the perfect illustration to go with it, but illustrations are still top secret, as well as the novel name and the names of the characters. I will tell you though, that the novel name begins with a U, and the main character's name begins with an A. Since they are top secret, I will use the first letter only when referring to them. Enjoy. ;)


'U' Chapter One, Page 7, lines 7-14: 

"Don't let them take you!" The frazzled woman pleaded as she smacked the bars of her cell with a trembling hand. Something in her bloodshot eyes told 'A' to run. The urgency in them was almost unbearable. That urgency quickly disappeared as her body jolted and fell to the floor. 

"I told you that one belonged in the asylum ward." The sign language using man put his taser back in the pocket of his unzipped coat, which barely fit his chubby body. 'A' wished she had hands so she could grab the taser from him and escape. But she didn't, and wishing wouldn't make it so. It was up to her eccentric mind and scrawny legs. 

There you have it! The longest excerpt I have shared to date. I hope you'll read the whole book when it gets published (hopefully soon).

Be the lightning, 
Kylie Jude. 

}i{ 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Interview: Eric Jude





That's right, for this post I'm interviewing my wonderful husband (who also happens to be an author) Eric Jude (also known as D.R. Acula). Eric has been so supportive and helpful over the years, and he is always the first person I run to with my crazy novel ideas, and he always gives me his honest opinion. He is the brain power behind a lot of the technical stuff in my coming Science Fiction novels, and I'm so grateful for his help. But I'll bet most of you didn't know that he is an author himself! He wrote his first Ebook "How To Successfully Cope With Life" a couple years back, and has recently started a series of short stories in the Horror genre, called #AlderdiceTales (which I had the pleasure of editing for him). And yes, I do use the hashtag every chance I get. And you should too. ;) 

Anyway, obviously I know most of these answers, but for the sake of readers who don't, I decided to ask Eric some questions. Enjoy! 


When did you start writing? 
 I've written for years. Started writing in elementary school, but I've never finished a writing project until now. 

What inspired the Alderdice Tales
I just wanted to write... I was sitting around and decided I wanted to write a story. And I played with a few ideas... Then the opening lyrics of a My Dying Bride Song called "My Hope, the Destroyer" gave me a burst of creativity and I went with it for the opening of 'Bennet'. The name 'Nettie' wasn't inspired by the Type O Negative song of the same name, but once I came up with the name, elements of the song started finding their way in the stories. After that, the story inspired itself...
How many more stories do you plan to release under Alderdice Tales
I have two written so far, 'Bennet' and 'Nettie' and I plan on finishing at least two more. I say at least, because these stories seem to have a life of their own now, so who knows what could happen. I sure don't...


Planning on writing anything else after this? 
Sure, I plan on writing and releasing another short story series. Don't want to give too much away yet though.

What advice do you have for writers or those who want to write? 
Just write... You may come up with tons of stuff you don't like, or stuff that isn't very good, but it's all in the name of practice and refining your skills... Eventually you will know yourself and your style... That's when you can really sit down and let the creativity pour out of you. 

What non-writing projects are you working on? 
Music, photography, gardening... Various little projects that I work on in my spare time. I spend a great deal of my time photographing wildlife and nature in general. Flora and Fauna, mostly... I also compose a little music here and there for the purpose of passing the time... I enjoy the rewarding bliss of the rural countryside over the hectic city. Been doing lots of farming and yard work, camping, fishing, pretty much all of the outdoor activities. I even sometimes write outside.


Well, there you have it. He gets straight to the point. 
And, like me, music inspires his stories.
If you want to check out his #AlderdiceTales, here are all of the links: 


Book One - Bennet:


 Book Two - Nettie:


Be the lightning,
Kylie Jude

(Previously Kylie Kerosene)


}i{


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: Revolution Z

Who better to lead a modern army than George Washington? Right? The thing is, in this day and age, that would take a bit of resurrecting. And in this book, that is exactly what happens. And the army is no normal army. It's an army of zombies. Pretty cool, right? Sure, authors are putting zombies in everything from "Pride and Prejudice" to "Romeo and Juliet" these days, but I'm pretty sure no one has tried presidents yet. So that's pretty unique. 

I haven't had time to finish this book yet, since my own novel has kept me busier than a bee lately, but I'm about half way through, and it's pretty good so far. I love how pronounced the characters are. You almost don't need to know the name of the person speaking, because the character is identifiable by his/her words and actions alone. This is especially true in the case of the resurrected characters, Patton and Washington. They are from different eras, but, through the events of this book, they are brought into the same era, both way ahead of their time. Patton is more in-your-face and outgoing, and Washington is more reserved and refined. This difference is really defined in the first scene of the two leaders talking together, and again in another scene where they react very differently to an event. The way both characters present themselves is how I feel the actual men would have presented themselves, so it's clear the authors did their research. It's also clear the authors know a lot about the military, which is sort of necessary for a book like this. Some of the explanations and terminology were way over my head, LOL. The action takes a bit to pick up, but once it does, it's everything a zombie lover could ask for. Plenty of blood and guts. 

The only problem I personally had with the book was the fact that in the midst of a heated fight scene, we are suddenly pulled out of the action to hear about the color of the walls, or some other lengthy description. Although, I would have loved more description and explanation on how these characters got to be where they are, and on how the zombies and resurrected became the way they are, but maybe I just overlooked something, or maybe I haven't reached that part yet. But, aside from all that, it's a great read if you love zombies and history. I can't wait to find out what happens next.



Find out more, buy the book, and join the revolution HERE.

 More on author Gregory Bernard Banks HERE.

More on author Blaine Hislop HERE.


Stay Frosty ;) 
-Kylie Kerosene (Jude)




Monday, June 9, 2014

Film Review: Edge Of Tomorrow


Edge Of Tomorrow is the newest Science Fiction hit that I think is destined to be a classic, as well as one of my favorites. It's based on a book called All You need Is Kill by  Hiroshi Sakurazaka and stars Tom Cruise as a futuristic soldier who dies in battle and is then forced into a Groundhog Day like scenario, which I was worried might be a little boring and repetitive, but they made it wonderfully entertaining, and even comedic at times. The editing was damn near perfect in those sequences, and when I found out later that it was edited by my favorite editor James Herbert, that was no surprise. Love all of his work, and this movie is no exception.

Yes, this film stars Tom Cruise, who is an outspoken Scientologist, but that is no reason not to see it. Sure there are some glimpses of Scientology in it, such as evil aliens and some messages about destiny and memory, all of which were also in my favorite Tom Cruise film Oblivion, but it's not too over the top. You won't be brainwashed if you see it, I promise. And Cruise gives a solid and believable performance in the leading role. While there are a few small similarities to Oblivion, as I said, Edge Of Tomorrow is still it's own movie, and the Cage character is completely different from Cruise's character in Oblivion.

When I found out Emily Blunt would be playing the "full metal bitch" in this movie, I was instantly excited to see her in a new light. Sure, she's done some action/scifi films before (such as Looper), but never anything this badass. I was almost worried she wouldn't be right for the role, but I think she did a wonderful job and we got to see a whole new version of her, which I think (and hope) will take her stardom even further.

I did my chair dance every time we saw the trailer for this movie, and when the time came to finally see it, I was beyond excited. But I was also nervous. Turns out I had good reason to be nervous. Here's why:





But, even though we were sort of tricked into seeing a tiny, blurry, 1950's version of Edge Of Tomorrow, we still loved the film. It had everything a Science Fiction nerd like me could ask for (time travel, aliens, cool gadgets/armor/weapons); everything the filmmaker in me appreciates (creative script, gorgeous effects, well knit editing); and everything any movie should have, really (action, drama, comedy, romance, ETC). I would love to see it again in a "real" theater to get the full effect. I'm sure I would have loved it even more that way. Trust me when I say this film is worth seeing in theaters. Seriously. See it.





I leave you with a short video I made of the hubby and myself playing a little game inspired by the movie. It's a little glitchy, but hopefully you get the idea. It can be hard, especially while performing tasks (like "grass-fishing" as seen here), but it can also be lots of fun. And you know what they say, couples that play together stay together. So, whether you're married or just bored, try it sometime. ;)




;)

Be the lightning,
Kylie Kerosene (Jude)

}i{