Monday, October 11, 2021

Let's Discuss: Thoughts on the movie Black Widow and Modern Horror

 Hello everyone. I hope you are doing well. I have been keeping busy, as I tend to do. I am still actively working on the sequel to Trinity of the Broken, and I have submitted a query to ACX to see if I can get Trinity produced into an audio book. The process is much easier than I ever imagined it would be. With a little luck, I will be reviewing auditions soon and hopefully get the ball rolling on that project. On the personal entertainment side of my life, the little there is, I am looking forward to my weekly D&D session. We have been playing a single campaign for the last two years. I play a high elf fighter 6 / wizard 5. We recently completed the Doom Vault, and have now arrived at a mountain fortress overrun by Hill and Fire Giants that are working together. This campaign was one of the few times I did not DM and I am enjoying being on the player side of things, however, once we reach level 20 and our story comes to an end, I have been working on a new campaign that is set in the ancient history of Trinity of the Broken. It will be a story of the first Summoning War, the rise of humanity as the dominate race on the planet and the fall of the gods. I am hoping to use the sessions as a template for a new series, in the same fashion as the Dragonlance series. This is a very distant project idea, but the groundwork for it is being laid.

This week I had the joy to finally see the Black Widow movie. I was unable to catch it in the theater, but I was glad that it made it to Disney+ so quickly. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing this film, I highly recommend it. Black Widow is set just after the events of Civil War, but before Infinity War. The main story is that Natasha discovers that the Red Room program is still up and running, with an entire new group of Widows, with the Taskmaster being the apex villain. The highlight of the movie, besides Scarlett Johansson, was David Harbour as Red Guardian. I was already a big fan of Harbour from Stranger Things, but he was amazing in this role. The character itself was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek. A Soviet super soldier, thrown into prison and forgotten, only to remanence about his glory days. His interactions with Yelena (Florence Plugh) were fantastic, and brought a level of reality to the characters that, I feel, the MCU is so good at. Overall, it is an action packed story that was long overdue. I did appreciate that they tied in a few elements of phase 4 MCU throughout the movie, like Red Guardian's insistence that he fought Captain America, giving the implication that Rodgers was not idol after returning to Agent Carter in the past. I will certainly be watching it again.

With it being October, I wanted to take a few minutes to throw around my thoughts on the horror genera in the modern era. When I wrote Trinity, I did not believe I was writing a horror novel. It was my readers that had insisted that it was horror and that I should tag it as such. It has had me thinking about what "horror" actually means. For me, horror was something that caused fear in the person experiencing the media. It was a blending of suspense, shock, and most importantly, some sort of monster as the antagonist. Now, I will admit, under that extremely broad definition, Trinity does count as a horror novel, but to me it does not cause true fear. It is in the same sense that I do not consider the movie Alien as a horror film. 

To me, it is a scifi thriller, yet many people consider it a horror film, and it does meet the same criteria. I suppose, at the end of it all, I was never afraid that a Xenomorph was going to be hiding in a nearby duct, waiting to get me. It just did not cause that lasting fear that I associate with horror. Growing up, movies like Child's Play and Nightmare on Elm Street were horror films. Despite the resolution of the story at the end, there was that little extra part at the end to let you know the monster had lost the battle, but they were not done by any measure. Also, I could relate to the supernatural danger. Toys that come to life to attack you is something that keeps you on your toes. In the movie, most toys are harmless, almost all of them. All of them, but this one. What if I was the one to pick out that toy? Freddy attacks children in their sleep. I have to sleep, the movies make a point to emphasis that we have no choice but to sleep at some point, and then you are at his mercy. The fear is in the idea that the monster in question is able to cause harm to anyone at random. You did not have to be traveling through space, or walking through a grave yard at night, this could get you at home, where you feel the safest. 

Even when I consider some of the classic horror stories and novels I have read in the past, they all had that same idea that the terrible things that occurred in the story could happen to anyone if they were in the wrong place. Lovecraft, who I consider to be an top tier horror writer, created an amazing formula for horror. It always starts with the average and ordinary. Then there is some sort of mystery, something to look into. It is not necessary, but curiosity or emotion drives the protagonist forward to find answers. They are confronted with the monster, and what befalls them may vary, but once the monster became aware of them, it became a life or death struggle, with the threat never actually going away. For a more recent example, Rachel Harrison's The Return follows four college friends, when one of them goes missing for two years. When she comes back, she has no memory of what happened to her, but her friends know that something is wrong. While some horror stories have short arcs of mundane to mystery to encounter, Harrison has a constant build up to the reveal. It is not a slaughter fest, but it is still horror. Why? Because, it leaves you with that "what if" long after you have finished. What if an old friend disappeared and came back as a different person. That could happen, it happens all the time. What if they aren't really your friend, or if they are they are not in full control of their actions. These are things that, despite not actually believing in the Boogey Man, unnerve you just enough to allow your irrational mind to do what it does.

Personally, I like the newer trends of horror. The psychological and supernatural merged into something that is far more terrifying than Frankenstein or The Man-wolf. At one time horror was defined by its violence and gore, but I think today's society has been too desensitized to those aspects that they no longer hold the same weight. Sure they can be intense and gruesome, but they no longer bring on that feeling of dread and panic like they used to. When you can find people being beheaded on YouTube, it is hard to scare someone by describing a person being cut open. My story certainly takes elements from the horror playbook, but they are moments, not the story. I did not try to leave the reader with the idea that there is a Karen waiting for them in the dark alley way, Instead, I tried to make a word that was close to our own, but clearly not. Horror is something that might just be nearby if you are unlucky enough to stumble across it.

I want to thank you for giving me your time, it is invaluable and I am honored that you have shared it with me. I hope you feel it was time well spent. May your days be fulfilling and your path be clear of trouble. All the best, and speak to you soon. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Let's talk about Essencers of Aelathisa and Old Gods of Appalachia.

 Hello everyone. I hope you are doing well. Things have been as busy as ever for me, but I have been able to get in a little me time. If you live a busy lifestyle, you understand how important that can be, both physically and mentally. As I have mentioned before, I work two full time jobs, one as a teacher and the other working with mentally and physically disabled adults. Outside of that, I am a father of four and keep a very busy household. Despite my never ending schedule, I try to put a little time aside to do nothing of consequence. That may be playing a video game, (I am an avid Destiny 2 player), watching some tv, or just going to the beach and taking a walk. 


As of late, my “reading” has been through audiobook, one of the best media to go mainstream. I have a membership to Audible and it has allowed me to be a much more active reader than I would be if I had to physically read. Audiobooks and podcasts fill in the gaps while I am working, as such, I have been processing a steady amount of media. My most recent audiobook was the Essencers of Aelathia trilogy by Joshua Smith. EoA is a modern blending of world mythology, which explains that all of the worlds mythological creatures, people, and gods were actually a group of individuals that are all children of, or descendants of Peter, the Patar of the Firstborn, and spark for all life on the planet. I plan on giving a full review on my GoodReads page, but I do want to say a few things about the story here. 


Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was well written and I loved the world building Smith does to pull his story together. Essencers of Aelathia was released as a trilogy, but really it was one story in three parts. Being able to go through all three at once alleviate the potential issue of an odd story break. The first book, Immortals, is an introduction to the main characters and the reveal that the world is actually filled with monsters and immortals, most hiding in plain sight. There is a lot going on in the story, but little to no answers being provided. It is not until the very end of Immortals that things begin to come together, and then boom, it's over. Smith makes up for this in book 2 Coalition. This was where I became invested in the story, and the brilliance of Smith’s world building comes into play. I enjoyed the characters and the way each immortal was tied to multiple mythologies around the world. I did feel that, for a story that attempted to explain away mythology, Smith did put a little too much effort into affirming Judeo/Christian beliefs as matter of fact history. Not to the point that I thought it should have been cut out, or that it took away from the story, just in the sense that if all of the world's religions and major events can be attributed to Peter and his descendants, it felt out of place to acknowledge biblical details as facts. Outside of that, I really enjoyed the series. I highly recommend picking it up, particularly if you are a fan of mythology. 


In the world of podcasts, I want to take a moment to bring up Old Gods of Appalachia. This show is just amazing. I can not talk highly enough about every aspect of this production. The writing is excellent, the world building goes above and beyond, and then it is tied together with an amazing cast and music that feels like it is going to drag you into the shadows of Appalachia. The show is a horror anthology series of the highest caliber. The story itself is non-linear, but it covers a series of events, taken from multiple perspectives, between the years 1756 to 1935. (1992 if you are a patron and get the extra stories) Not only do the creators, Steve Shell and Cam Collins, manage to bring the listener into what it would be like to live in the Appalachian region, interact with its people, and get a sense of what community means to those people. Then they mix in the elements of eldritch horror that speaks to me on a level I did not know was being ignored. My only complaint about the show is that there is not more. Season two recently wrapped up, and I am anxiously awaiting season three. You can find them on several different services, so pick your favorite and check them out. You will not be disappointed.


I want to thank you for giving me your time, it is invaluable and I am honored that you have shared it with me. I hope your days are fulfilling and your path is clear of trouble. All the best, and speak to you soon.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Discussions

 I have been thinking a lot on how to move forward with my page here. I love writing little stories and delving deeper into the mythology and history of my created world, but it is time consuming and really only works if I am not currently working on something else. With being neck deep in the sequel to Trinity, it is difficult for me to sit down and shoot off a side story of any quality that I would want to share publicly. 

What I want to do instead is maintain a regular posting schedule where I talk about whatever is going on, or whatever strikes my fancy for that post. I want to keep things in the literary world, but I want to discuss other books I am reading, story elements from my Dungeons and Dragons group, movies or tv shows I am watching, updates and tidbits regarding my own writing, and perhaps the writing method itself. I am preparing to go back to school for the fifth time now, to gain my cross-endorsement as a Special Education teacher, something I have been thinking about for a couple of years now. I would likely share my thoughts with you on that topic as well, and compare it to my previous experiences with my History studies, both as a student and as a writer.

I do not have any specific length in mind, nor can I predict what my topics will be week to week, but I believe this will be the best way for me to stay public and do more than simply promote my book. While I want to promote my book, my writing was never meant to be about making money. I want to share the stories in my head, and if people would like to give me money for that, I am over joyed and appreciative, but it is about the community, the interactions that come with being an author. The discussions of style and perspective. The coming together of people who understand what it is like to have a separate world that exists only in your head, one with a rich history, and an infinite number of people that are just waiting to have their story told. Even the ways that other media and sources affect and change the way we view or write our own material.

As far as an update to what I have been doing, besides working two full time jobs and being a full-time father to my amazing four children, I have, as I mentioned, been working on the sequel to Trinity, and have begun chapter 13. It will need some major reworking, but I just want to get the first draft out before I go back and try to fix the story. I have spoken to authors that will not move forward until the section they are working on is exactly what they want, but for me, I have discovered that I may deviate greatly from my planned story points as I flesh out a scene. Often, this results in me having to rework multiple earlier chapters to align with the new story progression. It is better for me to push through to the end of the story, be confident in the path that is taken to reach that moment, and then go back and shape the earlier chapters to match the ending I have decided upon.

Other news, I had my interview on the A.R.T. podcast and it went really well. It was my first real interview as an author and I have not been that nervous about something in a long time. Obviously, it was a sign of how good of a host A.R. is that I was able to just keep going with our conversation as if we had known each other for years. I have another interview lined up in December, which I will promote as it gets closer, but I am also looking to be featured on additional podcasts. It really made me feel like an author for the first time, and while I enjoy listening to various podcasts and interviews, it really is something else to be engaging and being the one who is being interviewed. I am hoping to be invited onto more podcasts going forward, and I am currently working on contacting different hosts about being featured. 

I am going to save what I am reading on my own for next time, but I want to thank you for giving me your time, it is invaluable and I am honored that you have shared it with me. I hope your days are fulfilling and your path is clear of trouble. All the best, and speak to you soon. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Upcoming Interview

Hey there, everyone. 

I had a great interview with A.R. Mirabal on his podcast A.R. Tales. We talk about Trinity of the Broken, my writing process, world building, and more. It was a blast and you should check it out!

A.R. is on several different platforms, so find your favorite and check it put!

Access A.R.'s podcasts and more:

Friday, August 20, 2021

Trinity of the Broken

 "It's Sons of Anarchy meets Harry Potter!" - Amazon Review

The supernatural underworld is full of dangers on its own, but when Dante starts looking into an attack on his club, he comes face to face with a real monster. It will take every thing he has just to survive.

Find out what scares those that go bump in the night.

Trinity of the Broken is available now in paperback and ebook through Amazon, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited.

Get your copy here!



Thursday, July 22, 2021

Trinity of the Broken available in paperback from Amazon!

 You can pick up your copy of Trinity of the Broken on Amazon today! The ebook is still being processed, but it will be available soon.


Click for the Amazon page: Trinity of the Broken by Anthony Galouzis 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Discussion on Aether: Jarvey: Letter One

 Taliesin Montgomery Vanholt 

 

I am glad to know you have returned safely from Philadelphia, and I would also like to thank you for such a wonderful and lively debate at the dinner. My people have always had a deep connection to the Aether and I am known at times to get carried away when discussions manage to find themselves in that neck of the woods.  

I absolutely love the idea of an open discussion regarding Aether, and would be more than happy exchange thoughts with you. I only hope that I can live up to your expectations of me.  

On the Nature of Aether 

The nature of Aether is that it is nothing, and it is everything. It is the end of time, and its beginning. One of your ancients, Lao Tzu, spoke in depth on the nature of Aether, or Tao, as he referred to it. While I do not agree completely with his full perspective, a point I will get into shortly, I feel that Lao Tzu’s Philosophy is worth using as a foundation to work off of, being the closest in comparison to my own people’s understanding and beliefs of the Aether. Therefore, I will use Taoism as a comparison point to provide familiar terminology and concepts. 

Lao Tzu describes the Tao as indescribable. He says, “Tao that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao. The name that can be named is not a Constant Name.” What he is saying in this is, the very act of defining Tao lessons and restricts what the Tao actually is. My people hold a similar belief. The Aether is in all things, and all things are made from the Aether. Council teaching extends that principle to all living creatures, great and small, but that is a flawed perspective, as all things come from the same origin, and therefore, create a connection between all that exists. I will come back around to this point when I address the other portion of your question, but for now, let’s take the statement of all things being made of Aether as a statement of fact, and use it towards a better understanding of its nature. 

Imagine that the Aether were a great and mighty river. The material plains would be the river bed, and those items found floating about within it. If you were to state that the river was water, your statement would be correct, yet it would also be wrong. A river has water in it, but all water is not a river. Water does not describe the river; it merely draws attention to one aspect of it. If you pull a hand full of water from the river, you did not take the river, for the river is not something that can be captured. This is the nature of the Aether. It is among us, within us, it saturates the earth below our feet, and is imbued in the air we breathe. Yet, the very action of defining the Aether only serves to lesson what it fully is.  

This leads me into the second part of your question, what is the natural state of the Aether and how does that nature affect the greater world. It is often believed in Council teachings, that the Aether is a dormant force, or energy, that waits for an outside force to act upon it and give it purpose. This is not so. The Aether is in constant movement, it is ever changing and shifting. Referring to the river again, when one stands beside the river, it appears as if nothing is occurring. The perspective of the individual sees the river as a static part of the scenery, but we know this is not the case. The river is in constant motion. The river you see in that moment, will never be seen again, as it has completely changed in every aspect of its existence. The closer one looks, the less effect they will notice, yet, when you look broadly, you will notice the erosion of the earth, the mixing of the water with the air, the moving of creatures and objects, the separation and fusing of bodies found within. 

The Aether is in constant motion, and is constantly altering itself as it interacts with the world. When individuals use magic or innate abilities, they are using the natural connection the Aether has within all things in such a way that they are able to change the perception they are currently experiencing. Despite the observed change, they are actually doing nothing to change the Aether or the reality of what the Aether is. It is commonly believed by most advanced societies that all of existence came into being from a small ball of energy that then exploded to create matter. Now, the origin of this ball of energy is for a different discussion, but it is my belief that this energy was the birth of the Aether. As the Aether expanded to create the multi-verse, it transformed itself into protons and neutrons, which in turn spawned electrons.  

It was the Aether that began to merge into quarks, which organized into protons and neutrons, and electrons which came together into various combinations that would become the material world. It was the Aether that created light and darkness, as neither existed before. As the Aether found combinations that produced various elements, those aspects of the Aether became defined, and they shared a type of memory that wanted to exist. As the Aether grew in its complexity, the universe grew in its diversity, until we progress to our present moment. I should also mention, that there is only one Aether. It is the one constant in all of existence, regardless of realm, dimension, or timeline, the Aether is there. It is why matter from one dimension can travel to another, or someone can move through time. It is the Aether’s nature to create, maintain, and destroy. It does so in every possible means to such a degree that it escapes any type of scope one could attempt to apply to it.  

This brings me to the final part of your question, how does manipulation of the Aether affect it? On a cosmic scale, it doesn’t, in the same manner that removing a single gallon of water from a river will not diminish it, nor will the formation of ice, or the creation of a dam prevent the river from being what it is. The Aether is limitless and eternal, because it is of everything and more. When a boulder is shattered, it is no longer a boulder, but a collection of smaller rocks. This is not true of Aether. What it does do, is allow us to apply our limited imagination to the reorganization of matter to create, an often times very temporary, alteration to the natural order the Aether has created through its own trial and error.  

I could go on, but I feel doing so would be to answer some presumed questions you may have in regards to my statements. Therefore, I shall leave you with this as a starting point for you to make your response to. 

 

Looking forward to your reply, 


Jarvey Militanos Consileratello