Monday, April 26, 2010

Review; How to Train Your Dragon, by Kristin Manter



Review by: Kristin Manter

A Dreamworks Animated Film

In Theaters Now (both 3D and 2D)

Rated: PG

Rating: Ten (out of ten)

Summary of movie:

From the studio that brought you “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” comes “How to Train Your Dragon.” Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges he and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view

Review:

How to Train Your Dragon was an animated film that will capture the hearts and imaginations of movie watchers of all ages. The underlying lessons of being confident in yourself and your abilities, being true to the desires of your heart, and standing up for what you believe in come across clearly without being preachy. From the opening scene to the ending, it is easy imagine yourself a viking living in Hiccup's village. There is enough action to keep the attention of even the most distractable audiences. Each character has distinctive personality traits that make them relateable and loveable. The stunning 3D graphics further enable the viewer to completely become enveloped in the film. This film had a great balance of comedy, adventure, and warmth and is most definitely a must see. Not only did this reviewer (as well as each member of my family) thoroughly enjoy the movie at the theater, but looks forward to adding it to my home collection once it is available on DVD.


Friday, April 23, 2010

The Siren Story; Ayperi's Destiny, Chapter One, by Kristin Manter

When seeking great treasure, great risk is to be expected. When acquiring great treasure, great responsibility is at hand. He who chooses to think of only himself, will live a life prosperous only in despair.

***

I closed the book and stared at the austere leather binding holding the worn pages together. I had yet to discover why she had chosen me to give this book to. Why it would only open to this page. I was simply afraid to find out. My hands trembled as I drew the book closer to my chest and began walking toward the palace. The sun was only beginning to rise, and the warmth of the sun’s orange and pink hues kissed my face and shoulders with welcome contrast to the cool ocean breeze. My racing thoughts drowned out the sound of the incoming waves, the squawking of the sea gulls. It was I was the only living being on the face of the earth for this moment in time.

Awakened from a dream, a voice called to me. It beckoned me from the warmth of my blankets and comfort of my pillows.


Down empty hallways and through unfamiliar corridors the voice sang, enchanting me into its grasp. I could think of nothing more than finding its source. Not even the cold stone beneath my bare feet jolted me from the spell this thing had cast.

I had called the castle home since my birth and yet, somehow, found myself wandering halls completely foreign to me. My pace quickened as the song became louder, my pulse following suit. The candles in the sconces lining the wall remained unlit, yet I could see through the darkness as if the sun were shining directly above me.

The voice became as loud as steeple bells, consuming my soul. I knew I was getting closer . I had passed many doors somehow knowing that the siren calling out to me was not behind any of them.

The gauzy white linen of my night gown began to cling to my skin, while sweat beaded over my chest and the small of my back. Nearly running now, I wanted nothing more than to be free from its constraints and presence altogether.

Before having the opportunity to rid myself of the damp gown, the song abruptly ended. I stood frozen in place, the haze making me unsure of my location. I turned and looked back in the direction from which I’d come, and saw nothing but a crude stone wall.

When had that appeared? Perhaps in my haste, I had become disoriented. I turned and examined the space to my left, again a stone wall. To my right, was the very same. The walls were covered in ivy as if they had been left unattended for many years. Had I not just come through a hall?

The sudden silence left an excruciating void in my ears, and my belly tightened as fear crept in to fill the emptiness. I had come as far as the song had led me, only to find myself alone and frightened in a room with no passageways leading out. There wasn’t any natural light coming in to lead my way, and only a thick wooden door, and no helpful knob to aid me.

My siren was behind that door. Conflict and confusion ravaged me. My mind, belly and legs wanted nothing more than to run as fast as I could. Yet I couldn’t…

Surely my eyes were tricking me. I had just come down a hallway, yet there was none. Almost against my will if I’d had any, I reached for the door. Desire to meet the songstress behind it consumed me.

My fingers caressed the deep wood-grains of the door, gently following each line as if it held the secret of getting through to the other side. I found nothing.

The voice began singing again, and I felt her begging me to pass through. Tears filled my eyes, and trickled coldly down my flush cheeks. I pressed myself against the door, somehow wishing I could melt through it. Willing my body to become vapor and much like a ghost, pass through it.

As I wept from sheer helplessness, the Siren cried with me. She and I were connected, matching my desire note for note as my knees buckled beneath me. I slid along the door to a trembling mass on the floor. Frail powerlessness overcame me as the realization of my entrapment set in.

The hallway hadn’t reappeared, and I surely didn’t know how to make it.

She continued maddeningly to sing, although there were no words to the song, but I felt her call my name. I felt the urgency, but didn’t understand the cause.

Tears continued to escape through closed, defeated eyes as my sobs slowly turned to soft singing, along with the beautiful voice I heard emanating so closely, yet unattainably. Taking the Siren's lead, our collective tone changed from that of defeat, to one of hope.

I rose to my feet, wiping the tears from my face with the back of my hand. My eyes focused on an ethereal light seeping from underneath the door, the scarce source in the pitch darkness. At first I backed away from it, not so much afraid as unsure from where it came.

Its radiant heat and beauty solidified my suspicions, for it came from no lamp.

It could only come from my seductive siren. My song, our song was the key to her impassable door. Putting a tremulous foot forward, I dipped a toe in the warm fluorescence that escaped from its confines. As if it had the power to dissolve my body, I felt myself melting. Flowing liquid into the light's joy and rapture.

I murmured soft prayers that I could stay lost in this brilliant glow forever, but my feet landed on solid ground, legs felt sturdy beneath me. I turned my head to find the massive, oaken door now behind me, an obstacle no more. And when I swiveled around again, I saw in place of the light the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes upon.

We continued to sing together as I floated toward her, emerald eyes memorizing me. She sat upon a large stone of quartz where the sand of the beach and the waves of the ocean became one. Dawn was close, and the brilliant stone sparkled in the moonlight, illuminating the mistress, making her seem angelic.

The waves brought with them a soft breeze that lifted her full length of gleaming silver hair away from the porcelain white skin of her face to reveal beneath the veil, she wore nothing. She was unnaturally flawless, long and slender. Her bust and hips perfectly proportionate, tiny waist accentuated the beauty of her feminine curves.

When I was finally within touching distance from her, she raised her arms toward me, beckoning me to her embrace. I had never felt such an attraction to another female but as she wrapped her arms around me, electricity tingled through my body, awaking all of my senses and as our bodies pressed against each other, I lingered in her clean, salty, oceanic scent and rested my cheek upon her bare shoulder as time stopped.

My Siren’s arms released their hold on me and I took a step back, knowing there was a reason I’d been summoned. I watched her intently as she brought her hands together, as if saying a prayer, her lips moved silently.

I looked down to see that she now held an open book, with a plain leather binding and worn pages, looking to be centuries old. I was drawn to the book, much like I had been the Siren.
I knew then, it was the gods who had summoned me to this place and time, to be with this woman.


She extended the book to me, and our eyes locked when she finally spoke, “Princess Ayperi, you have been called to greatness. The weight of the kingdom will rest upon your shoulders. This book holds the secrets to bringing all of your dreams and desires, into this reality. It has been gifted to you by our master, the God Nalag, to be used to ensure the prosperous future of your kingdom. Please, take great care with the power this book yields.” Each word held a note that came together like a melody in my heart. I took the tome from her, focusing on the page open before me.

When seeking great treasure; great risk is to be expected. When acquiring great treasure, great responsibility is at hand. He who chooses to think of only himself, will live a prosperous life only in despair.

When I looked up again to ask the Siren what this meant, and why I had been chosen, and not my father or brother; she was gone.

I closed the gift, and stared at the austere leather binding holding the worn pages together. Why she had chosen me to give this book to, I had yet to discover. Why it would only open to this page, I was afraid to find out.

My hands trembled as I drew the book close to my chest, and began walking toward the palace in the far distance. The sun was only beginning to rise and the warmth that the orange and pink hues from the sun's rays kissed my face and shoulders with was a welcome contrast to the cool ocean breeze. My racing thoughts drowned out the sound of the incoming waves, and the squawking of the seagulls.

At that moment in time I was the only living being on the face of the earth.

The Real Price Of Wanting To Be Different…


Dear Readers,

I know I have been rather quiet on the blog-front as of late, hehe. My most recent obsession of the past few months is getting “the next book out”. I have become rather selective about so many things, and because of this, in a way, I have found the price of striving to be different. And in doing so, it has come back to bit me in the butt.

I am rather determined to write my way; yet still as close to commonly-accepted confines of writing a manuscript intended for publication, as I possibly can.

I remember some years ago, reading strictly third-person-POV paranormal romances and the like…until a friend handed me Laurell K Hamilton, right before I decided to take my very first book (which was first-POV from the get-go), and actually write on an on-going basis, instead of just once or twice a year while I wasn’t painting, drawing or whatever other artistic endeavour that caught my fancy.

This woman inspired me with her prose and vivid details in a way few very authors had. But then again, this was back when I had no idea just how hard it was to market and sell a first-POV novel, let alone the multitude of WIP’s I have collected in the past years. In the time between when I picked up serious-writing, and the publication of my first books Jezebel’s Article and thenDeadly Fetishes, I had written two-separate series and various single titles, all in first-POV, with the exception of Deep Water Legends.

Perhaps if I had researched a bit more, I wouldn’t have been so stubborn on this matter, as publishers generally prefer third, and not first. But then again, I will always remember Laurell K Hamilton; an excellent writer, one who is wonderfully successful. Several times now, when I was unsure about my writing, I think of her, and a surge of renewed determination fills me.

But determination in finding a publisher who both does print as well as e-book, and is willing to review first and the rest of my oddities (like choosing the hero for POV, and not heroine, too much passive voice as the series progresses, etc) has been difficult.

I have two books right now in the submission-process at a few places at a time, but my focus has changed as the rejections for these reasons come in. Some have asked me to rewrite, and I did…to a point. I am incredibly stubborn about some of it, but that is my fault and no one else’s, lol.

So, I have decided to take a sort-of-break. While continuing my search, I feel it has been too long since I have something concrete to show for my efforts. Now I know Sara’s Story, Book Three, Breaching Loyalty was supposed to be out earlier this year, but the former has consumed all of my attention.

What I loved most about writing Sara, besides the fact that she is a favourite of mine, was I could write it how I wanted it. There are no rules, and I can go wherever my muse and imagination take me. While the series is ménage/erotica, it is still paranormal. I have mixed so many different genres in this, more than any other (which is why it will always stay a free-series). I actually consider it my “writing-outlet”. I love that I can touch on various parts of my world my to-date-publications haven’t, but the WIP’s sitting on the backburner do. Book Three allowed me to step away, and just write.

I know this sounds simple, but it means the world to me to create, something that nags me if I spend too much time not creating.

I am heading into draft-two, after changing the storyline I stalled in late last year, and just picked it up again last few weeks ago. The ideas for this series just keep springing up all over the place, and I am amazed at the way this story took off on me. I am genuinely excited and eager to share this next instalment with you.

I am having the covers redone, except the cover for this particular book. Dawné Dominique has begun overhauling them, and Trent Kinsey will be handling the layout/production of the new e-book upon competition, which will have Books One through Three; redone, reedited and complied!

I’d love to give you a proper release-date for this, but as I am obsessive, and this will not go through the rigorous and professional-editing process, so I cannot say how many drafts it is about to go through before I can put it into distribution with a clear conscious, that it is the very best I could do!

Cheers, and Happy Friday

Kayden

NEW SERIES COVERS




Sara’s Story, Book Three; Breaching Loyalty

Excerpt (not-edited)

“Sara, what do you want to do?” Max inserted, earning a glare from his mate. He didn’t even flinch, even though energy buzzed, suggesting he had gained a “metaphorical” earful.

“If it will put Loren’s mind to rest in his absence, then I will go.” I replied, but finished in my head regardless of futility. And I don’t need anyone to protect me.

You mean too much to us not to have it otherwise, Adoniia promised.

“Yea, yea.” I muttered under my breath.

He caught my free hand and drew it down to his level. His crystallized-blue eyes, bored into mine.

“You will stay safe for us.” He said quietly, but there was a very real threat there.

“Of course.” How could I possibly argue with him when there was already so much on his mind?

I wouldn’t let anything happen to him, my love. Loren promised. You will go to our house in the interior.

My head turned to see Keoni looking coldly determined. “I don’t know how to fight either.” He whispered.

“It’s easy.” I stuttered. “Close your fist and throw it. No rules, everything goes.”

“I do know how to fight. Holly and Marcus made sure of it a long time ago. Ryder takes me to classes all of the time.” Carl drawled.

“That’s true.” Marcus concurred from the corner.

Loren’s throat rumbled quietly. Things were still…tense between Carl and him, though nothing had happened in the past month since Carl’s conversion.

I didn’t know how long that would last.

“Is that satisfactory?” Gregory asked.

“It will have to be.” Loren grunted back.

“You have fifteen minutes.” Canya sighed. “They will come for you…”

“I know.” He said from between clenched teeth. “This isn’t the first time.”

History really did repeat itself.

He turned to me with a mixture of unbridled fury and hatred in his eyes. Suddenly, he yanked me to my feet and pulled me out of the study and into the solitude of the hallway.

“So help me…” He stopped, leaning against the wall with the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Don’t get hurt. No matter what, I want you in one piece and perfectly healthy when I return.”

“Baby, you know I won’t do a thing until you get home.” I tried to smile, but what I ended up with didn’t feel happy and content.

Not that faking it would ever do any good.

“I know your intentions are good,” He pulled me closer to him and I let him. His hands rested on my back, but I knew they were clenched tightly, “but you’ll never hesitate to get into trouble.”

“Yea, you know me.” I sighed.

“Almost as well as you know yourself.” His lips pressed on mine, and it only took seconds for the desperate passion to explode.

My body melted into his, pressing him back against the wall. He arms lifted me and clutched me to his chest.

I wasn’t startled when a hand ran up my back, even though I hadn’t been consciously aware of him. Loren placed me on my feet, and I was immediately swept into Adoniia’s arms.

His head buried into my hair, and tears sprung in my eyes. My heart clenched painfully and it felt like my stomach had dropped out of me.

“I’ll miss you.” He mumbled. “I don’t want to go.”

“I don’t want you to either.” I breathed.

Loren watched us with concealing bland interest. He wouldn’t dare show me what he was actually feeling, even now.

“We have to leave now.” Loren’s voice broke. “I suggest you take your convert and Keoni to the house now. The spells are thick, and there shouldn’t be anything able to penetrate it.”

“When did you do that?” Keoni asked, rounding the corner.

“A few hours ago while you were being prepped by Corrine and Max.” Loren replied.

Adoniia shuddered when I stepped away from him.

What would happen to us?

***