Friday, October 31, 2014

Carry Me Away has been downloaded 340 times

What an excellent result! I'm very happy that it has been received so well. It has been downloaded more times in the past two weeks than my other two stories have been in the last 5 months. Can You See Me Now and When I Look Into Your Eyes have both been downloaded over 200 times each since May which I was very happy about. In the past I would have been lucky to get 11 sales a month back when I wasn't publishing on Smashwords. It's amazing to think that so many people have downloaded my stories. I have started working on a new story that is similar to Carry Me Away but it has a bit more plot and will be a bit longer. I'm still working on a title at the moment I am calling it "The Midnight Visitor" for a working title. It is the first new story I have worked on since 2012. I've suffered a lot with writers block for the past two years. But thankfully that is behind me. I've had to do a lot of creative writing for university this year and it really kicked me back into gear again. I've learnt that it does help to write a plot summary and to have a basic idea of the bones of the book. I took a break from doing that because I felt like I was spending too much time world building and that my creativity suffered. I wanted to dive in and WRITE not spend weeks doing research. I admire writers who are good at world building and do put in that effort. There is a down side to not world building though and that is staring at a blank page and wondering what the hell you're going to write about. I wrote Can You See Me Now and When I Look Into Your Eyes without any clue what I was doing and they both turned out all right. It was fun watching the story develop naturally. I was the writer and also the observer. It was exciting to see twists develop on their own. But that sort of writing can also be really hard and more often than not leads to brick walls. I've found that I do need to know what I am going to write but it needs to be a tiny summary not pages and pages long. All I need is an idea. Then you plant that idea and watch is grow. It's much easier then having nothing to start with.

Princess Zelda deserves her own game

I'm playing Hyrule Warriors at the moment and I finally got to a level which gave me the option of fighting as Zelda and she was awesome. She was light, graceful, and wicked with a sword. She really does need her own game. As I said in my previous post Zelda is not a weak damsel like Peach is. Zelda knows how to ride a horse and how to fight and is hard to capture and once she is free she will kick your butt with Link by her side. In more than one Legend of Zelda game she avoids capture for most of the game and is either off on her own adventure or trails Link in disguise.

A spin off just about her would be a great game. What does Zelda do on her own adventures? What is it like for her to walk around in disguise and avoid capture? How much does she know about Hyrule and its hidden wonders? Where does she go on her adventures? Tell us more about her background, her history, her powers. While we're at it lets expand on the character of Impa as well. She is another awesome strong character. What about her past? I want her to have a game as well.

A Legend of Zelda game that allows the player to play as someone other than Link probably will not happen because playing just as Link is tradition and I'm fine with that but Zelda is a great character and would work wonders as a main character. It would be great to have a game that stars a female character that isn't running in terror from monsters or winking at the camera as she waggles her butt at the enemies.

Swing that sword Zelda! Girls can be heroes too! We're not just decoration or damsels!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Princess Zelda is the anti-Peach

Princess Zelda is the exact opposite of Princess Peach. Princess Peach is defined by her status as a Damsel in Distress. We don't know to know anything more about her except that she is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. She isn't a fleshed out character. She is a plot device. Princess Zelda often fills the roles of Damsel in Distress as well but unlike Peach is a fleshed out character that has her own strengths and weaknesses, a unique personality and style, and a rich and detailed background and history.

Zelda is more than just a Princess. She is the leader of the Sages and she possesses a piece of the triforce. She possesses her own unique abilities such as the ability to fire light arrows. She often fills the role of side kick to Link and in several games it is impossible to beat the final level without her assistance. Zelda knows how to ride a horse, fight with a sword, shoot an arrow, fight hand to hand, and has her own magic abilities. She is wise and elegant and graceful. She will help Link in battle either with advice or with a sword in her hand. She will cross unfamiliar landscapes and battle monsters to aide Link. She has traveled through time and in Wind Waker was even a pirate!

Zelda is an example of a well written strong willed female character. The difference between her and Peach is that Zelda often goes to great lengths to avoid capture from the enemy, can survive on her own, and will attempt to escape from the enemy herself. After she is freed she will join Link in battle and combine her powers with him to seal the enemy away and win the game. Zelda is not a weak character because like Peach she is often captured and fills the role of Damsel in Distress. Zelda is a good character because unlike Peach she does not always need a male to rescue her. Zelda is fine 90% of the time. In Skyward Sword it is only in the last half of the game that she needs rescuing. For 90% of the game she is running around having her own adventure and avoiding Link.

It isn't necessarily bad for a female character to fill the role of Damsel in Distress. I don't think it reflects badly on Zelda's character that there is a point in every game when she needs Link's assistance. It's okay to ask for help. What's annoying about Peach is that she never tries to escape herself or to avoid being kidnapped again. She just screams "Marrrrioooo!" and waves a tissue. At least Zelda makes it difficult for the baddie to capture her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peach is a bad role model for little girls

I said in my post about Dixie Kong that there is nothing wrong with having a female character that likes pink, make up or dresses. Sometimes people can be so anti-princess we reject the idea of little girls embracing anything feminine at all. And that's dumb. The thing about Dixie that makes her a good character is she is not just a cookie cut out of a female character. Yes she wears pink and has long blonde hair but she can also fly, attack enemies, and has a unique personality. She is not just a token female. You want to play as Dixie because she has abilities that no other player has and Dixie is rarely a damsel in distress.

Peach is a bad role model for little girls not because she is plays the role of the damsel in distress but because she is a bad and unoriginal and lazy stereotype of what it is to be female.

Peach exists to be kidnapped and for Mario to rescue. We know that she is the ruler of the mushroom kingdom and that she joins Mario and his friends in the Mario Kart and sporting games. And that's it for her character development. We know nothing about her personality, what she is like as a ruler, or even what her relationship with Mario is really like. Her character is a lazy creation. She is more of a plot device than a fleshed out character. The fact is all we need to know about her is that she is a princess, that she's been kidnapped, and that Mario has been tasked again to rescue her. Her likes, dislikes, personality...none of that is relevant to the game. She is the ball that starts the game. She is the prize. And that wouldn't bug me so much if she wasn't a cookie cut out of a princess. The pink puffy dress, the umbrella, the's all a cliche. She is an example of the passive weak female that needs a man to rescue her.

I like Peach the best in the Mario Kart games when she rides a motorbike because she wears an awesome pink body suit instead of her usual big dress. She looks awesome and bad ass. Look at her!

She's almost a completely different person! The look of determination on her face, the focus... why can't she be like this in the Mario games? Peach's worst appearance in a game was in Super Princess Peach which might be the most sexist game of all time. In that bloody terrible game Peach's "powers" is her female emotions. Behold the ugly...

When she cries her tears become a river and wash enemies away. Cause female mood swings are powerful...amiirite? In Super Mario 3D World Nintendo makes up for that terrible game by giving Peach the same powers as Mario and the others and she is actually my favorite character in the game because of her floating ability.

Peach could be a good character if she was expanded upon to be something other than a victim. We got a glimpse of her potential in Super Mario 3D world. Hopefully she will be included in future games in a similar fashion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I said I would do it before the end of the year and I have!

Carry Me Away is finally available on Smashwords. I finished editing it last night. I wrote it two years ago. It needed a lot of trimming but most of it was pretty good. Carry Me Away is my version of the myth about Leda and the Swan. It seems to be doing pretty well so far. It's had over 73 downloads just overnight. I might go back and re-write all of my old unpublished stories and put them up on Smashwords next. It will be nice to see them published. Now that university is wrapping up for this year I will need something to keep me occupied between now and when I go back to work.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What is a gender stereotype?

How should a woman be shown to the audience as a woman? Should they have a bow in their hair? Wear a dress? Dress in pink? Why is it that in books, films, TV and video games it is automatically thought that most characters will be male that when a female is introduced that the character has to be given something to identity them as female?

Sometimes it's stupid and pointless and not necessary. Look at Mrs Pac Man. She's Pac Man with a bow and lipstick. Mrs Pac Man doesn't need to exist. Pac Man is a circle with a mouth that eats fruit and ghosts. Mrs Pac Man was invented so the game would appeal the women. Why did the developers think that the game wouldn't appeal to women without a character that wears lippy? Growing up I loved Nintendo games. Yeah, sure, I would've loved more female characters, but that didn't stop me from playing as Link or as Mario. I had no problem playing as them. What's annoying about Mrs Pac Man is how sexualised she is compared to Pac Man. She wears a feather boa, has long legs, and puckers her lips. She is a big yellow circle. If you want to have a female version of a male character - fine - but why does she have to be so over the top and over sexualised compared to her male counterpart who remains a circle with just a mouth?

And then look at Candy Kong from the Donkey Kong series.

I adore Donkey Kong but Candy has always bugged me. Why the big boobs, the blonde hair, and the red lips? I'm re-playing Donkey Kong county at the moment and when you go and visit Candy she blows kisses at Donkey and sticks her butt out.

It is lazy writing to show female characters like the above two examples. Why is it that we put so much importance on a female character's attractiveness? Why do female characters have to have long legs, big boobs, make up and pose seductively?

I am not anti-pink or anti-sex appeal. Look at Dixie Kong.

Dixie is my favourite character in the Donkey Kong games because her pig tails allow her to fly. Dixie is an example of a good female version of a male character. You know she is female because of her long blonde hair and pink clothes and eyelashes. And that's where her female-ness ends. She isn't over sexual like Candy or Mrs Pac Man. She doesn't bat her eyelashes, make kissy faces, or wear a tight outfit.

She is playable and she is often required to complete a level. She has unique abilities that no one else has. She is not just Diddy Kong in a pink top with blonde hair. Diddy cannot fly. Dixie can. She is not his clone. She is completely different. She also has a personality that makes her different from Diddy and Donkey. She is not a bad stereotype like Candy or a male clone of a character like Mrs Pac Man is. She even stars in Donkey Kong Country 3.

How do you define a character as female? Dressing a character in pink and giving them traditional "female" looks like long eyelashes, a piggy tail, or make up is not bad. It's okay to like pink and pig tails and make up. It's when characters are over sexualised or just a male clone of another character that I get annoyed. It's unoriginal and lazy.

This is how you write a strong female character

The new version of Sailor Moon in the updated version of the show Sailor Moon crystal continues to impress me. I will always love the old anime but it had a lot of flaws. It was so repetitive. Sailor Moon always had to be told when to transform, when to attack, and after a couple of seasons it got a bit old because you would think she would have matured and gotten a little braver. But at the same time it was her cry-baby-ness that made her so loveable and realistic because if I was in her shoes I might burst into tears if someone attacked me with magic powers too.

A couple of years back when they announced the new anime they said it would follow the manga and be more for adults and they were not kidding. Sailor Moon feels and acts more mature and it's great. Instead of wailing and waiting to be rescued she acts like a real leader and charges into battle and tells Tuxedo Mask who has no powers to stay out of the way so he does not get hurt. She doesn't always make all the right decisions and still needs recusing every now and then but that's okay. It wouldn't be Sailor Moon if Tuxedo Mask did not make an entrance at least once an episode.

Just because Sailor Moon does need to be rescued sometimes doesn't make her a strong female character. It would be unrealistic if she never got into trouble. But for the most part she is a thousand times more capable than she was in the old anime. Tuxedo Mask gives her emotional (and sometimes physical) support. He is happy to stand on the sidelines and let her take charge most of the time. When he does jump in it is a big moment because he has no powers. He is troubled by that. He feels like he should be able to do more but knows that the girls are more powerful than him so it would be better to let them lead. This is what makes Sailor Moon such a good show for little girls and Sailor Moon such a good role model. She charges into battle (but) will also accept help when she needs it. Tuxedo Mask is a good role model too. He doesn't try to take charge because he is a man. He lets the girls lead and only steps in when the situation gets desperate. It's brave of him to do that as a man without any powers.

The thing I liked the most about the last episode was when Sailor Moon kissed Tuxedo Mask. Yes she kissed him. The old Usagi wouldn't have done that. She would have been too shy and too nervous. When Sailor Moon kissed Tuxedo Mask it was an amazing moment to see her be so bold, she went in and took that kiss, and then ran off to fight and told him to stay out of harm. Gender stereotypes were reversed. In that moment she was acting like the traditional male and Tuxedo was the female.

It was an awesome moment that was ruined by her immediately needing help. LOL. Poor Sailor Moon. Points for effort. I'm not sure if your old self would've been that ballsy in season one. Maybe season five.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Ahhh Amazon. You can find so many weird and wonderful things on that website. From hilarious joke reviews of products to things that make me want to shriek in horror .

I stumbled across a book recently that made me groan. Behold! Mummy laid an egg!

I was just like...what? really? an egg? Oh my god. I had a peek inside the book and it has cutesy kid drawn images of naked men and women and explains how babies are made by saying women have "eggs" inside them and men have "seeds" in a "seed pod"

Just...kill me now. I know this book is supposed to be tongue in cheek but dear GOD would it confuse kids. You can't just say "Mummy laid an egg" and that women have eggs inside them and then just leave it at that because kids are immediately going to think " a chicken egg?" and don't even get me started on the seed pods...ugh.

Why do we continue to have such a weird attitude when it comes to being honest to children about how our bodies work? Penis. Vagina. Testicles. It's not that hard to use the proper terms, people. Women do not lay eggs. We have babies. And our eggs are smaller than the head of a pin. Lets stop confusing children with dancing round the bush and just tell it to them straight for the love of God.

A Beautifully Flawed Character

Star Trek Voyager has been one of my favourite TV shows since I was in high school. I like the show so much I even named my daughter after one of the characters! One of the things I have always liked about the show is how realistic some of the characters are. In particular B'elanna Torres.

Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine both had a lot of strong female characters. Captain Janeway, Seven of Nine, Kira, Jadzia and Ezri were all wonderfully written. But there has always been something special about B'elanna. B'elanna reminds me a bit of myself. I''m not as smart as her but she is terribly insecure of herself and because of her low confidence can sometimes lash out at others in anger. B'elanna is wonderfully flawed but she also grows as the series progresses and becomes more mature and a more loyal officer.

There's a lot about her that I don't like. She's racist towards Cardassians which I do understand considering that she was fighting against them before she joined the ship. What bugs me is how she thinks every single one of them are cold blooded killers. You can't judge an entire race over the actions of the military and government. That is something that Kira learns in Deep Space Nine.

And then there's how she treats Seven of Nine. When Seven first joins the ship B'elanna asks her if she feels guilty for the millions of lives that she helped to destroy. She acts like Seven went up to the Borg recruitment office and decided to become a drone. Seven is a victim of the Borg who was horribly assimilated by them in front of her parents and then was raised by the Borg and forced to do all of those things because she was a mindless drone. And yet B'elanna thinks she should feel guilty over what she did. Seven has nothing to feel guilty about. B'elanna is a horrible person for suggesting otherwise.

B'elanna has many different sides to her. She can be a bitch and a racist but that makes her realistic because none of us are perfect. She is still likeable despite her bad attitude and temper. She is a good example of how to write a beautifully flawed character. No one is perfect. We are all like B'elanna sometimes. A little bit bitchy and a little bit rude.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The differences between Outlander and Game of Thrones

I haven't read Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" books yet but my Mum has been a fan of them for years so I've known about them for a while. Years ago when my Mum first got into them she would tell me how talented Diana was and how detailed all of the description and research was in her books. I would've read them years ago but I hate hauling around giant books but I recently bought the first one on e-book so I have no excuse not to read it now. Outlander was made into a TV show this year and it's now one of my most favourite TV shows alongside Nurse Jackie, Adventure Time, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

One thing that sets Outlander apart from several of those other shows is that you get the impression that this show was made for women. I love Game of Thrones (both the books and the show) but one of the things that bugs me about the show is how most of the women are just sexy props who walk around and show off their tits, the sex scenes are over the top, most of the women on screen are whores, and the few who are not just on screen to have sex with a man are usually scheming, horrible people (but so are most of the men...)

Game of Thrones is terrific but the number of bouncing tits in each episode gets on my nerves. Women are prizes to be won, objects to be traded, and sex is both something that can be bought, gifted, and used as a weapon. Game of Thrones has a lot of both male and female fans but sometimes the show feels like it is made for men and that is why there are so many butts and boobs in it.

Outlander has a lot of sex in it as well but it is softer, gentler, and more intimate. Claire is a strong willed intelligent woman who enjoys having sex with her husband Frank and later on with her second husband Jamie. Claire is unafraid to ask for sex and it is sexy without being silly, no one bounces up and down comically, and there isn't close ups of her butt and boobs.

Outlander feels like it was made for women and it is really refreshing to have a show that treats women as human beings and not just as pretty toys to be passed around and squeezed and pinched.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I really like Tuxedo Mask in the new Sailor Moon anime

Tuxedo Mask was a bit of a joke in the old Sailor Moon anime. He would throw a rose, say some stupid line that would make you cringe, and then either stand back and do nothing or sweep in and rescue Sailor Moon who spent four out of five seasons being hopeless. In the new anime he's a lot more mature and closer to his manga counterpart. He's in highschool so he's closer in age to Usagi for a start. He knows he is Tuxedo Mask and he figures out who Usagi is ages before she discovers who he is. I just watched the latest episode and the writers are really continuing to write him very good. He tells Sailor Moon in the episode that he is not powerful like them and does not have special abilities. She tells him that she is not powerful either and cannot summon fire, mist, or lightning. She feels inferior next to her comrades. He tells her she has the ability to make them smile and to encourage them to strive to achieve their best which makes her a good leader. He encourages Sailor Moon to transform and rescue her friends while he stands back and watches. I like how he did not attempt to take control or save them from Beryl. He let Sailor Moon do it herself. I also really like how Sailor Moon seems a lot more confident, intelligent, and braver in this version of the anime. Her antics got annoying in the old anime sometimes. After a while you just wanted to slap her and tell her to grow up. Another thing I am loving about this anime is how much more realistic the relationship between her and Tuxedo Mask feels. In the old anime their relationship sometimes felt a little...strained. Usagi was super into him but sometimes he acted like he wasn't so much into her which left you wondering if he was only with her because he felt considering their history that he had no choice? I mean think about it. You meet your unborn daughter from the future. Would YOU break up with your girlfriend and erase the future that your unborn child lives in? They have no choice but to stay together. In the latest episode of Crystal Usagi wakes up in Tuxedo Mask's bed and she sees him in his tuxedo and realizes who he is. It is Waking up in his bed. This Sailor Moon really is more mature than the original anime was and I am loving it. I will always have a soft spot for the old anime but it is just so awesome to see Usagi and Tuxedo Mask falling for each other before they find out about their past. It makes it more believable. I can't wait until the next episode!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sex objects are okay...just tone them down a bit

Some people think that when people complain about sex objects in fiction that they don't want women or men to be shown as sex objects at all. No, not at all. Sex sells. It would just be nice if when people put sex into fiction that the characters are not made so...unrealistic. It's not just women in comics and video games that have to put up with being made into hyper-sex goddesses. Male characters also go through the same treatment. Look at this picture of a Batman figurine....

How silly does he look? Does he have to look that muscled? Yeah, I know, he wears a rubber suit that bulks him up at bit, but still. He looks unrealistic and dumb. When I say men and women should be shown with realistic bodies I don't mean they should all be a bit chubby round the middle. No. You could start with giving big breasted women clothing that fits and actually looks like it might be wearable in real life and actually covers their body and gives their breasts support. A woman shouldn't have to have her tits out on display to be "sexy" I'm not saying women should all wear pants suits or something. No. Just something that doesn't look so tight if she bent over it would split open.

As for men...lets tone back the muscles a bit to something a bit more realistic that a regular bloke can achieve in a gym. There's a reason why female characters are mostly big breasted and beautiful and that's because at the heart of every story you will most likely find a beautiful woman who is being sought after by a couple of men because we still treat women like property or prizes. With men we put a lot of importance on them being manly, strong, and brave so you have characters like Batman who looks like he could probably knock a tree over with a single punch. Both cliches are annoying and sexist and it's time companies and writers began to think outside of the box and stopped lowering themselves to these tired old stereotypes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why is it when women are made into sex objects they look so...stupid?

I've been playing Hyrule Warriors on Wii U for about a week now and I've been enjoying it. I was a bit hesitant to buy it at first because I was unsure if I would enjoy it but it's been a pleasant surprise. It's enjoyable (but slightly repetitive) and difficult enough without being too hard I want to give up on it. One thing that annoys about it is this person....

This is the baddie of the game. Her name is Cia. Just...look at her. Look at those breasts. You can tell she was probably designed by a man. Her poor back. And just think of the trouble she has shopping for bras. Just look at the poor woman. She can't even find a sexy evil witch outfit that fits properly. I like to have my ladies supported not hanging out like that. One of the things I've always liked about Nintendo games is that the women in them (and they're aren't many) have never looked like her. The female characters in Nintendo games have always been very children friendly. Peach is a terrible character. She's more of a plot device than a well fleshed out character. She exists to be kidnapped. She's a terrible cliche, unoriginal, and boring. Rosalina, the princess from the Galaxy games, is cooler. She doesn't get kidnapped and controls the little Star creatures. She helps Mario and is not just a victim. Rosalina and Peach may be boring and background decoration but at least they don't prance around in their underwear and have breasts bigger than their heads.

Now look at the character of Samus...

This is one of her outfits in the upcoming Smash Brothers Wii U game. Why is she fighting in her underwear? SIGH. What's stupid about her fighting in her underwear is Samus usually wears a suit of high tech armor. If you had a robot suit that fired weapons why would you ditch that and fight in your knickers? I don't have a problem with women being sex objects from time to time. But why oh why do they have to be so unrealistic looking? I mean look at Cia. What's with the breasts? The female characters in the Legend of Zelda universe are some of the better female Nintendo characters. Unlike Peach Zelda has magic powers, can fire a bow and fight with a sword, and ride a horse. She still gets kidnapped a lot but most games usually end with her joining Link and helping him to defend the villain. Without Zelda Link would not be able to win.

And then there are characters like Impa. Look at her.

This is her in Hyrule warriors. How cool does she look? The thing I like about her appearance is she isn't unrealistic looking (although the size of her sword is). She hasn't got super thin high legs, an impossible waist, giant breasts and a huge butt. Oh and her outfit doesn't highlight her boobs and butt and actually covers her body. Why is it so hard to portray realistic women as sex objects? Why does Cia's breasts have to be so stupidly big? And why does so much attention have to be on her breasts? I think it's laziness. It's just the opposite end of the spectrum from Peach and Rosalina. One of the things I like about the Legend of Zelda is how the women in it are powerful, strong, but not defined by their looks. With Zelda it's her strength and power and with Impa it's with her skills as a warrior and loyalty to the princess.