Monday, April 3, 2017

A Nerd Poser Reviews FFXV

Consistency is key, right? 

Second blog in a week, woo! 

I haven't posted much about my geek side on this blog, but I am --indeed-- a geek. Started with my Sega Genesis and was fed during high school by a steady diet of Square Enix and anime. 

That being said, I'm most definitely a poser when it comes to Final Fantasy. I've tried to get into some FF games, really I have, but RPG just ain't my thang unless it's a button masher like Kingdom Hearts. The starting, stopping, and god forbid strategy needed to complete the average FF game are too much for my brutish, impatient nature. 

I couldn't even get past FFX, for Pete's Sake! And that one has a story...A STORY! 

So, I was very skeptical when the long-awaited FFXV came out for PS4. I'd just gotten my console (because I didn't bother getting one in Japan...sounds foolish until you're packing a year into two suitcases) and I was looking for stuff to play. Actually, I'd given a birthday/Christmas list that included Uncharted 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and FFXV. 

Now, I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan, and I have been since that little TR2 demo for the Playstation, but somehow that one didn't make the birthday present pile. Since I'm not an ungrateful little shit, I was happy with my Uncharted bundle and my FFXV deluxe edition game. 

And after playing Uncharted 4 (excellent ending to a really good franchise) I dicked around on some of my older titles before tackling FFXV. I'd been hearing a mixture of responses from friends and on social media, so I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that the bromance was strong and that it had a Crisis Core vibe to it 

Since Crisis Core is, now was, the only Final Fantasy game I truly loved, I figured it was time to jump on the FFXV bandwagon. 

Still my boyz~ 

So, without further ado, here's my SPOILER FREE~* review of the FFXV experience! 

Starting the game...

I opted to not watch the film included in the deluxe package before playing. Not because I wanted to save it or anything, but because I'm wildly impatient when it comes to video games and the last FF film I watched (here's looking at you Advent Children ) was pretty disappointing. 

The game starts off strong. You're the prince to a small kingdom setting off to go marry your beau. You got your boys, a sweet ass car, and your father's blessing. The little beginning where the car doesn't start and Florence sings an underwhelming version of "Stand by Me" is a cute way to start 4 friends' adventure.

Side Quests Schmide Schmests

The early chunk of the game moves rather slowly. It starts off well enough with a canceled ferry and political unrest, but that tension dies down to a sluggish pace for the rest of this bit. 

Most of the time, you're hopping from town to town, getting weapons from Notcis's ancestors' graves. In between, there are tons and tons of side quests and photo-ops for Prompto to get all the sick shots. 

Now, I love dicking around games where the characters are cool, and FFXV definitely has its share of cool characters, but these side quests get to the point where the game becomes pretty mundane. Having a car means filling it up with petrol often enough to be a problem with small funds of gil. You also need money for items, food ingredients, and caravans/hotels to hide away when the demons come out. 

And in order to make money, you have to slay monsters which requires leveling up. Remember how I said I didn't like RPGs? Leveling up is about 3/4 of that hatred. 

That's not to say it's all side-quests and boring boss fights, though. You do get to travel to pretty interesting places and learn a bit more about each of your buddies, who are infinitely cooler than you. 

Ends in a rush!

Once you get enough experience and materials to fix a boat, you finally get to Altissia, which is where Noctis and grown-up Namine are meant to be married. 
Courtesy of Reddit. Glad I ain't the only one who sees it. 

That's where shit goes down and the story gets real. The villain is revealed, you have your first major boss fight, and you're probably longing for the simpler times where riding a chocobo was the least of your concerns. 

The plot moves about ten times quicker during the second part of the game. With the world literally ending, you have to move quickly. This is also where most of the backstory and character revealing happens. One of you is wounded, while the others are trying to keep it together. All while you, the prince who's supposed to be the leader, throws a hissy fit and becomes the worst character in the game. There's a little side-story that happens around this time where teamwork triumphs over pettiness, but it barely scratches the surface after all the shit that takes place beforehand. 

The final bit leaves you alone and weaponless. This is where Noct really has to dig deep and be a decent human being in order to save the day. 
This is hard for someone who looks and acts like Sasuke, so it's probably the most challenging part of the game. 

You get to play the hero, reunite with your buds, and fight the big bad guy. 

The End...was dumb. 

Honestly, I'm no stranger to weird and anti-climactic endings from Square Enix. Being a Kingdom Hearts fan, I kind of expect the endings to be pretty foolish. FFXV does not disappoint with this, but to save anyone stuck in the side-quest vortex from being spoiled, I'll keep my mouth shut on that one. 

Still, the bromance saved this game and puts it up there on my "Final Fantasy Games I Enjoyed" shelf. The gameplay and elemancy were also fun to use and kick butt with. It was like mixing my button mashing love with a little bit of strategy, which played a role without overpowering the story. Relationships between the characters and the backstories of each were conspicuously missing, so I hope that's due to the upcoming solo titles for each of the boys. I'm looking forward to playing all of the characters' story versions coming out, and I hope this one releases more games like FFXIII and FFVII have. 

Crisis Core is still my favorite, though. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Writing Whilst Growing Up

It's been far too long since I've blogged.

I can go on about how life got in the way, how I'm stuck in a job that sucks the energy from me, how I'm distancing myself from my publisher because I don't agree with their philosophy, or how I'm deciding the best route to take to finally push into adulthood. 

But, truth be told, I've been kind of lazy.

I haven't written anything since NaNoWriMo. If it wasn't for that month of peer pressure to get words down, I wouldn't even have a direction in which to channel my slowly rekindling creativity. The BarCon at Bad Wolf was great, but it only reminded me of how publishing early with a small e-publisher has put a bad taste in my mouth. It's great for some, and I'm happy to have made the connections I did while working with them, but I don't agree with anyone who chooses to limit the ways in which fiction should be expressed. Religious crusader or not, stories shouldn't be shamed. 

(...well, maybe except Twilight

Anyway, I've finally come to terms with life sucking a little as one grows older, and I'm forcing myself to get back into some form of writing habit. I took to re-reading my first ever story that I started in high school, and rewrote only a few years ago, and I found out something. 

All of the characters are insanely naiive. 

It's the same in Lucid. Devon is the only one who should be so fresh-faced and willing to do anything to be the hero. Characters should have a bit more of a raw anguish to them. Things shouldn't happen so methodically and almost too well-timed. And the funny thing is that I honestly tried to avoid all of that every time I write a story.

That's the whole thing about growing up, I guess.

Reverie is a little better. The plot doesn't move as slowly as the first book did. The characters have more relationships and sacrifices to make. And I realized that was the book written while I was on my own in Japan. 

I'm back in my little incubator in my parents' home now. And it makes me want to claw out of my skin if I sit too long and dwell on it. But until I get a decent job where I won't have to work nearly 24 hrs for a livable wage, I'm stuck here. 

That's not  to say I haven't grown up a little. Last year was hard, and I witnessed for the first time how one person can latch on to you and tear you down to a mere husk of what you recognize. Even though you should know better, you let it happen until the nuclear explosion that terminates the relationship and removes all traces of it ever happening. With that feeling, I've started to re-write the beginning of my first story and edit the novella I cranked out during NaNoWriMo last year. 

But I'm beginning to see why most authors are older. Age truly does open your eyes to better alleys and directions in which to begin stories. There's more to a story than its concept, and like a fine wine, it takes time to mature into something truly brilliant. 

So, I just want to let all of you know that I'm not being lazy. Not entirely. I'm maturing.

And you'll see it in later blog posts. 


here's a picture of my dog as thanks for reading this mess~ 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fred's going to a bar!

Ahoy lovely readers!

November was a crazy month for writers all over the globe. NaNoWriMo ends today, and I'm happy to say that I've another win under my belt!

here's the proof! 

Usually, this is the time to rest on the NaNo laurels and take it easy for the holidays. But that won't be happening for lil ol' Fred. 

I'm honored to be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar's BarCon 2.0! 

"What's BarCon?" You ask? Well, my dear friends, it's a a bar! 

Look at me as the first speaker of the day! 

The event is in the New Orleans area, so any of you SE LA dreamers should come out! It'll be a day filled with nerdy fun, games, presentations, panels, and awesome performances. 

Oh, and it's in a bar, so drinking will be happening ;) 

I'll also be giving away some great new Lucid bookmarks and posters! 

You know you want one...of each! 

So come on out for the first ever meet and greet with Fred! I'll be doing a reading from Lucid and I'll be answering any questions about the Dream World as well! You can even get your e-books signed by downloading an Authorgraph app on your e-reader! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day? No, just the 8th day of NaNoWriMo!

Ahoy lovely readers.

Been quite a few minutes since I've blogged about anything other than Fiction Features. To say I'm in a rut would be a gross understatement. Lots going on to keep writers down nowadays.

One of the biggest and scariest months is upon us. The face of many worlds rests on the actions of millions.

You think I'm talking about election day? Hell no!

This. Is. NaNoWriMo!

For you non-writers (aka smart people) this is National Novel Writing Month. Foolish people, such as myself, try to write 50,000 words in four short weeks. If you reach the goal, you've "won" NaNo, which unlocks a lot of cool swag and promos for self-publishing your manuscript.

It's one of the most fast-paced, stressful, and downright awesome things I've participated in. My first Nano was in 2012, when I was fresh out of college and hopeful about my budding writing career. Though the term "writing career" still makes me laugh, I did meet a lot of cool writers in my area and started a winning streak that I'm proud to boast about today.

But, alas, I must confess I found myself vastly unmotivated to do ol' NaNo this year. I guess it's kind of like participating in the holidays when your heart's just not in it. Sure, you'll go through the motions, pretend to enjoy some festivities (or stress your brains out over getting 50k written down...such good fun, I promise!) but it won't be the same.

Oh, how wrong I was.

See, this is also the first year where I had no plans of what I'd be writing. Usually, I'll continue my Lucid series (which, the final book is in progress...though on the backburner for the time being) but I was so wrapped up in life's distractions I hadn't mapped out a plan.

Now I have this little short story that's turning into a novella. It's exciting and scary to have an unplanned world spring into your mind, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

One of the characters is quite charming. 

Here's what I've learned about writing an unplanned story.

Start off small: 

My premise started with a little girl in a creepy house. I didn't know if the house was going to be haunted, deserted, or even a figment of her imagination. All I knew was that I needed to get her to that house. So, I pictured myself as an 8 year-old little girl. A bit of my early childhood sparked the beginning, and that's all I needed to get the ball rolling. Those tiny details in the first chapter of your novel are important, because they're the first things your reader will encounter. Make them intriguing as well as sensible. It's always great to start with a compelling first bit, but you'll have to fill in enough blanks to keep the reader informed of how your characters got into that mess.

Set a word count goal: 

This is mostly important for NaNoWriMo, as we gotta get 50,000 in before November 30th. I treat writing sort of like a workout. Sometimes I feel too tired to do anything, but I remind myself that it's important to me. If I want to be a better writer, I have to actually, you know, write. Same with working out. I won't look like Lara Croft by thinking about her, will I? Gotta put those thoughts into actions --or words in this writing case. The word count goal will be especially helpful for an unplanned story. Going in without an outline, or really any idea at all if you're like me, will lead to some dead ends. Setting a word count will not only ensure you stay on your Nano track, but it'll also help you navigate through the murkier parts of your story.

Make the goal attainable, as well. Don't shoot for 10k a day. That's crazy talk. A good 2,000 goal is just fine and will ensure a Nano victory!

Be open minded: 

Remember, this is an unplanned story. It chose you! Sure, you're thinking up the characters, but something bigger than your consciousness conjured up this idea. Listen to that other part of your brain as your fingers fly through the words. Maybe you didn't want your character to fall in love with an older woman, but here he is mooning over the widow down the street. Have him take her out on a date and see how it goes! GILFs need love too, yo!

Now there's a tagline that'll get you some attention! 

But really, we writers know that our stories already have minds of their own. Be more open-minded with your unplanned novel. You didn't really have expectations for it, because you didn't think it'd exist! The world is its oyster; be sure to explore all avenues! 

And that's my little NaNo rant to distract me from doomsday. For all you writers, keep on writing! And for everyone else, keep readin' and dreamin'! 



I'll be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar & Grill's Barcon on December 3rd! I'll have bookmarks, posters, and other Lucid goodies to hand out! Be sure to dress as your favorite comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, or anime character and I'll see you there! 

I'll be posting a blog about it soon, but for more info check out the Facebook event: (copy and paste into your browser)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not A Book Review

This is a first for my blog. And hopefully a last, as well.

2016 hasn’t dealt me a very nice hand, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The icing on this shit cake was ending a year-long relationship via text with someone I truly cared about. Honestly, I saw it coming, and I was going to suggest we split or at least take a lengthy break, but I wasn’t even given the chance to reply to what was a childish and hurtful way to end it. He’s not worth another letter (when will I ever learn my lesson about writing letters to guys?) and I sure as hell don’t want to face him right now.

But I have things to say, and I am a writer, so this is more cathartic than anything else I could do right now. If it brings someone else solace, then I’ll have done my good deed for this hideous year.

To the focus of my year,

You didn’t deserve me. From the minute you thought disappearing without a trace and popping back into my life was ok, I sensed something deeply unsettled within your core. But I also saw the greatness and the sweet person inside. Everyone needs a champion from time to time, especially when we’re in a dark part of our lives. I wanted to be that person for you. I would have gladly been your light in the dark, and I kept reaching out even when I was bluntly pushed aside.

I am an idiot, but this I’ve known since a young age. The depths of my idiocy were maxed out by you. Shortly before meeting you, I’d just returned from the biggest adventure of my life. I lived, thrived, and traveled around another country all while attaining great self-discovery and learning about myself and how I can interact with this great world we live in. I returned a much more confident and self-efficient person.

As I slowly devoted myself to you, I saw myself slipping away. Why I didn’t stop it before I turned into a husk of myself is an easy question to answer. I thought you needed me, because I saw you slipping as well. I thought giving to you would not only help you but create a mutual support system from which we could both benefit.

And for a while, it did. Even in my darkest despair, even after being humiliated and discarded like a used tissue, I remember the good times we had. It had been a long time since someone had treated me so tenderly and opened my heart up like you did. But I guess I didn’t have enough value for you to continue to treat me as such. I wasn’t making you money or advancing you toward your goals, and even though I tried giving to you in other ways, I wasn’t important enough to hang on to.

This was a long time coming, and I knew it would eventually end, but I deserve more closure than you gave me. You said I was the emotional burden, but who was the one reaching for comfort and support for the better half of this year? Who enjoyed playing the emotional hostage situation game to keep me coming back? There was a lot of work put in on my side, and I get little to no closure myself? For all the time I spent worrying over you and trying to reach out when one of your sulky moods struck, I get a text message and a prompt cut off? I wasn’t even worth a phone conversation, much less a face-to-face discussion like sensible adults do. This act of childish cowardice threw me more off course than your disappearing acts throughout our relationship. With all of your relationship experience, you still function on a grade school level. You’d mentioned how crazy your exes were, and it’s not hard to imagine someone reacting very negatively to something like this.

But this also showed me a new, nastier side of you. I didn’t realize how cold you could be for you were always so warm to me. But I guess that warmth was an act of “pity” as you said in your impersonal, final text. I don’t need anyone’s pity, and I won’t apologize for proactively trying to reach out to you while attempting to predict your bouts of closeness and distance.

Nothing was conventional about this relationship, one that was almost forced into long-distance though we don’t live so far apart. I find it hard to believe you entertained nearly a year of someone out of pity. You sure were cozy and comfortable with someone you didn’t really care about. I think back to a month ago when things were good and we were growing closer. If that was an act of pity, then it must be the most grandiose act on record. None of this adds up, but I’m done trying to analyze your dark and unsettling mind.

I hope you remain too self-absorbed in your own world and goals to reach out to another person for a long time. You will be hard pressed to find someone who’d give you as many chances as I did. Someone who gave so much of herself and sacrificed so much time for a guy who can’t even return a phone call. And no one deserves a year of anxiety attacks, self-doubt, and diminishing self-worth just to be tossed aside and completely cut out of your life. May you find whatever it is you’re searching for, but may you also be aware that I want no part in it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fiction feature with a serious Intent to please!

Ahoy lovely readers!

Hope last week was a good one for all of you. I’m back with another great fiction feature to get this week started off right!

This one’s for my older readers, as the kiddos had their fun last week with Emily’s book. Today, I’m happy to introduce Intent by Krista Wagner!

Thriller Intent Is a Terrifying Tale of Small Town Life Gone Wrong

“A thrilling ride of desire, doubt, hope, and uncertainty, where faith is tested and the truth isn't what it seems.”

In her debut novel, author Krista Wagner introduces us somewhat introverted, twenty-two year old Raylee Johnson, a girl who is bored with her small town life and feels that it is going nowhere in particular. When her high school crush, Billy, returns to town, she finds a small measure of confidence, but when her parents—the local pastor and his wife—are killed in a car accident, Raylee turns bitter.

Finding comfort in her relationship with Billy, Raylee unexpectedly faces a world shrouded by disconcerting events when her high school nemesis, Crystal, shows up. Soon, Raylee finds herself surrounded by lies and more death and her attempts to uncover the truth all point to one fact…the truth is never what it seems.

Though the novel is new adult, its focus on tragedy, loss, and faith will strike a chord with thriller readers of all ages and places, for Intent shows us that no matter the size of the town or the boring life of its inhabitants, no one is safe from deception, and even murder.

When a bored fast food worker loses her parents she finds comfort in an old high school crush, but when people start to die and her former nemesis shows up, she starts to question who she can trust.

And here are a few great reviews that talk the novel up even more!

"This is a well-written story that captivated my interest from the first paragraph. So much happens throughout the book... each event shaping and transforming Raylee Johnson (the main character) in both expected and unexpected ways. I read this book in less than 24 hours, not wanting to put it down."

"I read this book the day I got it! I was unable to put it down. It's captivating! Raylee, the main character, is somebody who everyone can relate to in one way or another. Just when you think you have the characters figured out you realize that you don't! I recommend this book 100%."

"Intent by Krista Wagner is a great read. The element of surprise and intrigue are utilized throughout this entire book. As the protagonist, Raylee Johnson, pushes through a seemingly monotonous dead end job and begins to reach the conclusion that her life is without meaning, she is catapulted into a maze of events that leave her reeling. The courage and strength that Raylee finds during this tumultuous and precarious period of her life unfold with dramatic flare. The reader is led astray several times as the plot unravels down narrow paths of apprehensive action. Clues are scattered like finely sifted granules of sand across the grand canyon. As with any good mystery novel, the reader is never quite sure who's behind it all until the very end.
Wagner's ability to infuse the reader with hope and encouragement through a relationship with Christ is worked into the story in a clear manner without being intrusively overboard. There is not a "preachy" feel to this read, as the author takes advantage of her talent for subtlety and cohesively delivers sound Christian doctrine through some of the lives of the minor characters. This book is sure to help the reader effortlessly transfer some healthy prospective into their life.
If you enjoy reading a good mystery that has an element of reality without creating nightmares, I highly recommend that you read, Intent by Krista Wagner!"

You can find Intent on the e-shelves today!

Let’s go ahead and meet our author while we’re at it:

Mother of three and Adjunct English Instructor Krista Wagner has been writing short stories of dramatic events like murder and kidnapping since she was in high school, and has been writing in general since she was seven years old. Wagner received her B.A. in English from UMBC, her M.A. in English Composition with a Literature Concentration from CSUSB, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University. Outside of her professional life, Wagner enjoys watching suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family. She is currently at work on a children's fantasy screenplay.

You can reach out to Krista at the links below:

And that’s it for this feature! Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back To School Special!

Ahoy lovely readers!

Yes, I know it's been a good while since you've heard from your old pal Fred. August was an...interesting month to say the least. I've fallen, been torn, fixed up and on the mend again. It's a gripping tale, but I choose to reserve it for bonfire story time this Autumn.
Still recovering, but I'm happy to be back at my laptop, with use of both hands, to get back to writing. And showing you lovely new reads, of course!

I'm especially thrilled to bring you a brand new read today that's good for those youngins looking for a literary escape from their schoolwork. It's with great pleasure that I introduce Emily A. Steward's Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure!

When 13 year-old Penelope Gilbert accidentally transforms into a stapler during math class, she’s sure she’s going crazy. But she’s not imagining the men in black suits now patrolling the halls at school, nor is she imagining the new substitute teacher who orders the class to take a special new test. A test that requires blood. Hunted for her powers, and torn from the life she knows, Penny is swept up into a world in the clouds where magic meets machine and pirates rule the sky.

Sounds like the perfect read for a post-homework evening! Filled with magic, perils, and schoolyard jokes, this is a gripping tale for people of any age!

You can purchase Penelope Gilbert as an e-book soon!

But to satiate your craving until then, here's a little excerpt!


A six-foot-tall arachnid hovered over them. One of the creature’s razor-sharp metal legs was raised to attack. The scream seemed to confuse it. It wasn’t much of a window, but it was long enough. She rolled to the side just as the beast’s leg smashed into the ground, leaving a deep hole behind. Crane turned to see what was happening. He let out a cry and fell back into Haldor.

“Guard your necks!” Penny shouted. A web shot out from another spider just behind the first, catching Crane around the ankle. It pulled him in faster than he could react. Another web shot toward Penny. She managed to deflect it with her sword. She could hear Chip hooting wildly from somewhere above, as if cheering them on.

“Haldor, these guys are metal, can’t you do something?” she cried.

“I’m trying, but I have to get closer.”

“Help!” Crane yelled from where he hung upside down from the spider’s back. Haldor jumped to his feet and ran at them, swinging his spear around. He let out a gasp as a spindly leg knocked him to the ground. Another rose up to make the kill. Penny leapt forward and chopped the leg in two with her sword before it could connect.

The metal shrapnel scattered onto the ground. Haldor took that moment to drive his spear into the soft underbelly of the animal. It let out a horrible shriek but only seemed to be angered more. It came at him again, foam dripping from his fangs, his glass eyes gleaming red like a hundred tiny traffic lights. Haldor fell back, losing his grip on the spear. The spider lunged just as Penny attacked it from behind, stabbing her blade deep within his thorax. She then swung around, looking for the spider who held Crane. She could see it skittering toward the forest.

“Come on!” she yelled to Haldor who was wriggling out from under the spider corpse. She ran to the spot where she saw the creature enter as Haldor hurried to catch up. She scrambled through the brush until she came to a stream. There she saw the spider. He was across the water under a large tree. Above him were several objects swinging in the breeze. It took her a moment to realize that they were rotting bodies strung up by their necks. Their unseeing eyes stared eerily into the darkness. Upon closer inspection, she saw that there were at least thirty of them. She wretched silently as she tried to think of a way for Crane to not become one of them. The spider was already trying to wrap a strand of webbing around his neck. A thought occurred to her. An outrageous, outlandish thought. I can do this, she assured herself. She tried to picture every last detail of her slain foe—every creepy crawling, hairy, shiny detail. Penny could feel the energy pulsing through her. Her hands were no longer her own. Her teeth had become fangs, and her eyes were the eyes of a killer.


Now here's a little about our author. I don't usually include author photos, as the books should speak for themselves, but this picture is too cool to not share!

Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.

You can reach out to Emily at the links below:





And that's it for now! Hope you're all enjoying the fall into a new season ;)

Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!