The Star Trek Project Video Digest 4 – My Worst Acting Ever

It’s been a while since I’d done a Star Trek Project video, but here is the next one. This time, it features my worst acting yet!

In each of these videos, I try to impersonate one of the characters and do what they did, both in the thumbnail and the intro for the video. For episode 5 of Star Trek, I show a pretty bad impersonation of angry evil Kirk. This is “The Enemy Within.”

So, what did you think of it? It was pretty bad acting, wasn’t it?

Something you may have noticed if you’ve seen previous videos is that I’ve reordered things and put the review first. The nitpicking came after. Let me know if you like it that way in the comments below.

Week in Review – October 23, 2016

The biggest changes are the blog going at only one post a day and a new book. But will it be finished this month?

Reading

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds is finally finished! I’ve started The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin. I’m now at 11%.

Writing

NaNoWriMo is coming up. Will I write?

Videos

Plenty of new videos. My main channel has 6 new videos, including a Star Trek Project video and books from Andorra. On my vlog channel, there were only 3 videos. That should pick up this week, though.

Patreon

Nothing. Major revamp coming!

Languages

Nothing happening here. I didn’t study anything.

The Blog

I went down from posting twice a week to once a week and the stats have fallen accordingly. I’m not so concerned about that, though. I feel like I’m having a bit of a vacation. I may return to blogging twice a day  sometime later this month.

Studying

None.

The Next Week’s Goals

I feel like the past week has been a bit of a mess in terms of blogging and vlogging. I’ll have more time this week to concentrate on it, so I hope to stay up to date on everything, especially social media. Also, we’ll be having the final Authors Answer question of the second year! Expect some surprises.

How was your week?

From Andorra to Space! The Jay Dee Show 3

Another week, another group of video to share with you. In the past week, there were fewer videos, but partly because of my anniversary. Things should return to normal in the next week, though! This week, we looked at another country, Star Trek, and more. In my main channel, there were 6 videos.

First up is the return of the Library Book Hauls with my daughter. She continues to be silly.

Also returning is The Star Trek Project with episode 5.

Moving on to the Read the World Project, we take a look at literature from Andorra.

And then it’s the final video in the From East to West series about our move from Japan to Canada.

Then it’s a Retro Book Review. I take a look at Excelsior by George Sirois.

And finally, we go back to #16 of Authors Answer with a look at some online writing resources.

Then going on to my vlog channel, I posted 4 videos, though two should be coming tomorrow.

Up first, we got to watch some guy riding on the hood of a car in a parking lot. That day, there was some silliness going on.

And then I talked about doing search engine optimization and show you how I make hot chocolate.

Monday was our fifth anniversary, so my wife, daughter, and I went to Plate International Buffet, a great restaurant in Edmonton.

And last, we watched the Presidential Debate on TV, and I considered a drinking game.

And that’s all for this week! If you have any comments, please leave them below. And of course, please subscribe to my channels!

Authors Answer 103 – Top Influencing Books

Authors have many influences, and it’s something we’ve talked about before. However, we never did focus on the books themselves. Authors tend to also be avid readers, and a lot of the books we read will influence us, even if it’s subconsciously. But which ones have the strongest influence on our writing and other areas?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 103 – What do you consider to be the book that has influenced you the most?

H. Anthe Davis

I can’t point to any book that has influenced me sufficiently for this.  If I had to point at anything at all, it would be an anime series — Revolutionary Girl Utena — which fascinated me during my formative teen years and continues to help me get past some of my mental hang-ups.  No books, though; they’re all just part of the big past pile.

Jean Davis

Goodness, there are so many, and the influence factor depends on what genre I happen to be writing at the time. I’d have to say that each of my novels was influenced by a different book I’ve read.  But “The” book? I’m going to stand by Watership Down as it was one of the first books I read growing up that sucked me into a different world and showed me how emotions can hit a reader.

Beth Aman

Probably the Eragon series, simply because reading it gave me the courage and inspiration to get through the rough draft of my first novel.  I was a homeschooled teenager writing my own high-fantasy book, and I felt like I could relate so much to Christopher Paolini.  That series helped me realize that maybe being a writer wasn’t impossible.  Not to mention, I loved the dragons, the characters, and the world.  It’s not a flawless series, but it’s pretty great.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There are tons of books that have influenced my writing and even my life in general, but the one that probably influenced me the most is “Invitation to the Game” by Monica Hughes. I’ve brought up this book before, but it’s a story about some recent school graduates surviving a dreary dystopian future by dedicating their lives to a strange and mysterious underground virtual “Game”. It’s one of the first novels I ever read (that wasn’t a “Babysitter’s Club” book), and I originally bought it because the summary sounded very similar to a set of foolish stories that my best friend and I were writing.

It turned out to be nothing like our stories, but I fell in love with it none-the-less. I loved the variety of the characters, the familiarity of the narrator’s voice, and the whole idea of this future world where mankind has essentially destroyed it’s own capability to move forward. It was strange and different and it opened my eyes to a different kind of storytelling at a young age. I’ve spent my writing career since then trying to create something of my own that I feel is just as powerful and wonderful.

C E Aylett

Depends in what way you mean. I bought a GCSE text book that influenced me to get my head around French grammar!

But seriously, if you mean influenced or inspired me to take up writing – none. That is purely a need to express myself through an art form.

If you mean influenced my life generally, I still don’t think there’s any one book I could pinpoint. I always used to read for fun  –  which I think is a reason often overlooked or frowned upon in some quarters (like education). As I’ve got older I read a little more on the literary end.

You know how you get some people who read Huckleberry Finn or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and something resonated so deeply with them it moulded a part of their identity in some way as they were moving into and through early adulthood? Yeah, well, I’ve never been one of those. He-he.

When it comes to influencing my actual writing, I think I’ve mentioned before that I dip into Girl With a Pearl Earring often for learning technique, though I’m certainly not trying to emulate my stories to be like Tracy Chevalier’s. More like some weird concoction of Irvine Welsh, Jilly Cooper and Chevalier.

Eric Wood

I can’t say there has been one that has influenced me personally. However, a few books have really influenced my writing. The Book Thief and The Messenger (both by Zusak) opened my eyes to using different (unlikely) characters, different points of view. Terry Brook’s writing style helped me change from telling the story to showing the story.

Gregory S. Close

I don’t really know, because the influence isn’t really conscious.  Obviously, for someone my age, Lord of the Rings and Narnia were a huge influence in my childhood.  A Wizard of Earthsea made magic feel real, with real consequences.  Thomas Covenant sort of shattered my expectations of what fantasy could be.  The Saga of Pliocene Exiles showed me a lot about a multi-POV epic and genre-blending (and research, by the Pits, holy freakin’ research).  Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett – how to laugh while still telling a good story.  Harry Potter – it reminded me how important whimsy can be, even in a serious story.  A Song of Ice & Fire – how brutal you can be with your characters, how gritty your reality could be, and how I enjoyed reading it but didn’t want to go quite that far with my own writing.  Riyria for how you can tell a deceptively deep story with engaging characters and keep the plot moving swift and sure.  Brood of Bones and Tears of Rage for how good Indie Fantasy and writing can be, and The Awakening series on the (more) SciFi side of things.

And then, after thinking through all that, it was probably Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (and Beyond) that really first influenced me as a writer.

Paul B. Spence

Dear gods, how do I answer that? I suppose I would go with The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. I really like the gritty realism and the view of how the culture of the Earth changes over time. I read it many times in my youth, and still re-read it every year or so. Really anything by Heinlein, Norton, Lovecraft…

D. T. Nova

I really don’t know. I’ve been influenced by many books, but I’m not sure I can single one out as definitely more of an influence than others. Possibly Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, but there’s also a good chance I could be overlooking something I read at a much younger age.

Elizabeth Rhodes

This is a tough one. I don’t think I honestly have an answer to this one. I’m influenced by various authors (Asimov, Bradbury, Slattery, Martin) and their styles, but there’s no one book that I can pin down as a major influence.

Linda G. Hill

Wow. Um… There are so many. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. The depth of emotion she put into the relationship between Lestat and Nicki is unparalleled.

Cyrus Keith

I know it sounds pat, because I’m sure so many people say this, but I have to be honest. The book that has influenced me the most is the Bible.

In 1985, I came to the end of myself. And when you’re staring at the razor against your wrist, believe me, you’re at the end of something. I was in actuality within minutes of ending my life. But God intervened in such a real way, I had no choice but to believe. Like, He really saved my life. And the debt I owed to the one who saved me made me want to read more about how to be like him. I started to see the Bible as a book of promises, not a book of rules. And it’s been the most profound influence on me since then.

Jay Dee Archer

I think in some way, every book I’ve read has influenced me. However, there are some that have influenced me in a major way. The one that set me on the course of worldbuilding and fantasy was The Hobbit. I absolutely loved the fact that it had a map, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It strongly influenced my desire to write fantasy (even though I’m writing science fiction) and use maps. I have drawn some very detailed maps for Ariadne, and I thank The Hobbit for that.

However, I would also say that Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series has influenced my desire to write about a human colony on another planet, which allows me to shape a new society, but with futuristic technology. I love science fiction as well as fantasy, but I wanted a remote world where I could create a new future for humanity and throw in a twist.

How about you?

Are there any books that have influenced you, whether as a writer or a reader? Let us know in the comments below.

Read the World – Andorra Literature

We return to Europe with the next country in The Read the World Project, but it’s a small one. In Read the World, I am researching literature from each country in the world alphabetically, and will ultimately decide which book to read as part of the Read the World Challenge. I am doing this both on this blog and on YouTube. So, let’s check out the next country!

Andorra

flag_of_andorra-svgAndorra is the tiny country stuck between France and Spain, surrounded by the Pyrenees, and official speaking Catalan. With its population of 85,000, you wouldn’t expect to find many authors, especially those with books translated to English. And that’s exactly the way it is. I found only one author with books in English. Let’s watch the video first.

The Teacher of Cheops, by Albert Salvadó

Goodreads Rating: 3.12

Cover excerpt: This is the history of the time of Pharaoh Snefru and Queen Hetepheres, the parents of Cheops, who built the largest and most impressive pyramid of all. It is also the story of the high priest Ramosi, Sedum, a slave who became Cheops’ teacher, and how the first pyramid came to be built.

Sebekhotep, the great wise man of that time, said, “Everything is written in the stars. Most of us live our lives unaware of it. Some can read the stars and see their destiny. But very few people learn to write in the stars and change their destiny.”

Ramosi and Sedum learned to write in the stars and tried to change their destinies, but fortune treated them very differently. This is a tale of the confrontation between two men’s intelligence: one fighting for power, the other struggling for freedom.

The Shadow of Ali Bey Part One: The Mysterious Balloon Man, by Albert Salvadó

Goodreads Rating: 3.75

Cover excerpt: As the 18th century ends and the 19th century begins, changes abound all over Europe. Absolute monarchy is coming to an end, England and Spain struggle for supremacy in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and France is in conflict with all its neighbours. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, a new power is starting to emerge: the United States of America.
In the midst of all these changes, Alfred Gordon, a civil servant employed by the British secret service, makes a discovery that will totally revolutionise global espionage. He realises that the nobility, the traditional spies, are in decline. He turns to the burgeoning middle class instead.

Gordon suggests to the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, that they should employ Thomas Headking, a young Englishman living in Spain who is on the run after killing Lord Brookshield’s son in a duel. They plan to use his business acumen to spy for them in exchange for a royal pardon.

Tom Headking’s ability is such that he gains access to the office of Godoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, where he finds a mysterious treatise on hot air balloons written by Polindo Remigio. Headking investigates and finds out that there is no such person. It is a pseudonym used by a Catalan man named Domingo Badia, a capable fellow with daring ideas who was to become the most intrepid traveller of the 19th century, a spy who has gone down in history with the name Ali Bey.

The Shadow of Ali Bey Part Two: The Prince of Spies, by Albert Salvadó

Goodreads Rating: 4.00

Cover excerpt: Lord Grenville asks Alfred Gordon to come out of retirement and return to active service because an old acquaintance of the British secret services has turned up in London. He is meeting scientists, geographers and explorers and has even had himself circumcised. And it is all being financed by the Spanish government. Gordon wonders what he could be after.

Domingo Badia leaves London disguised as Ali Bey. He crosses the Strait of Gibraltar and carries out the plan he proposed to Godoy, the Spanish Prime Minister: conquering Morocco for the Kingdom of Spain because Sultan Slimane refuses to sell the country cereal. All of North Africa would come under Spanish control.

In the midst of all the changes taking place, with the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon, the British Crown loses one of its largest colonies and the United States of America comes into existence, looking set to be a great power. Meanwhile war in Europe brings a major defeat for the Spanish Empire by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. An incredible adventure begins and the world witnesses the birth of one of history’s greatest legends: Prince Ali Bey.

The Phaeton Report (Noah’s Secret Diary), by Albert Salvadó

Goodreads Rating: 3.70

Cover excerpt: A famous writer knows in a party a man who tells her about USC (Universal Scientific Community), secret society created in times of Galileo Galilei that is dedicated to preserving the knowledge and the scientific truth against the attacks of the religions and official departments. In the middle of the feast the man mysteriously disappears and the writer discovers that nobody knows or has seen him. Surprised, the writer researches and locates a member of USC that gives him access to true and remote history of humanity and the lies that have come to us to the present. Even he allows him to get into USC and meet other members. The real surprise comes when they reveal him (and show him!) the existence and destruction in times of Pangea, the only continent, and that the Great Flood was not work of the wrath of God, but the result of a human error made by an ancient civilization that almost kills all humanity. However, even he is going to discover the largest of all the surprises… if we do not, we can commit another mistake and again endanger humanity.

That’s about it. Andorra doesn’t have much to offer in the way of books in English. Which one do you think I should read? Or do you know of any others from Andorra that are available in English? Let me know in the comments!

Next is Angola!

A New Trump Drinking Game

Tonight, I watched the debate. During the debate, my family and I became a bit frustrated/amused by Donald Trump and his answers. You see, he has a problem. Any time he’s asked a question, he likes to change the subject and talk about something related or completely different. So, here is my thought:

Every time Donald Trump doesn’t answer a question with the actual answer, take a drink. If he actually directly answers the question, don’t drink anything. See how quickly you become drunk.

It’s too bad there isn’t another debate so this can be done. However, if anyone has recorded the debate, they can try this drinking game. If you haven’t seen the debate, but plan to, why not keep a score? You don’t have to drink, but see how many times you’d have to drink.

Anyone have another drinking game idea for the debates?

Getting Immersed in a Book

There’s something I absolutely love, and that’s getting immersed in a book. It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as my mind is in the book, and everything around me is shut out, I feel like I can get lost in a book. If the book is especially good, I want to stay there a long time.

There have been some books I can’t get enough of, and I don’t want to stop reading. Usually, the ones that I want to keep reading are longer series. I think the two that I feel comfortable in are the Pern series and Shannara series. I love the worlds they’re set in.

But books aren’t the only thing I can get immersed in. There are certain TV series and movies that pull me, as well. In particular, the Star Trek movies and the later Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. Deep Space Nine does it to me, too.

How about you? Which books draw you in so much that you don’t want to leave? Let me know in the comments below.