Keiara Reads- Sam Spallucci: Ghosts from the Past

“Anything is possible.” Sam Spallucci is back and this time he is approached by his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Adamson, to investigate the mysterious self-help cult Credete which has clawed her son into its seductive grasp. At first Sam dismisses Caroline’s claims as fanciful but when he encounters an old face from his past and people start to die he realises that there might be more to the group and its powerful leader than he had first thought. This, combined with his best friend’s obsession to blag his way onto a popular antiques show and supernatural visitations regarding a forthcoming apocalyptic event, means that once again the peaceful life of the whiskey drinking, chain-smoking investigator of the paranormal will be turned upside down. In this, the sequel to The Casebook Of Sam Spallucci, A.S.Chambers continues to combine horror and wit in a film noir style to bring you the second outing of his most popular creation.

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Sam Spallucci: Ghost from the Past is the second instalment in A.S. Chambers novel series, during which I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Chambers is on form again in this novel. In a universe where vampires, wizards and a host of other powerful supernatural entities walk the streets of Lancaster, only one man seems equipped to keep the natural and supernatural worlds from crashing into each other. The appearance of a toxic ex is the last thing anyone would want and for Sam it comes at the worst possible time, after his first week on the job where a series of gruelling cases were his welcome to his new career.

There are so many powerfully emotional scenes in this story that I would love to pour onto the page and share my passion and excitement about but really, just go and pick up a copy of the book. It has been a long time since I have been so invested in a series and the Sam Spallucci novels are currently my favourite thing to read, they just leave me feeling so much. Yes, sometimes there is heart-break but it is so delicately balanced with the wonder and mystery of this wonderful world that has been created that every emotion flows from the pages and becomes real.

Chambers creates unpredictable twists and turns that always keep you guessing and often come with a gut-punch of emotion. I’ve found myself needing to pause to collect myself nearly as often as not being able to tear myself away from the magnetism of Chamber’s story-telling. I have also finished reading The Shadows of Lancaster so stay tuned for a review of that beauty coming soon! I’m very excited to crack open Dark Justice and am keeping a close watch for a date on Tortured Souls, due for publication later this year.

If you missed my review of The Case Book of Sam Spallucci you can find it here and if you don’t have any of these books I really recommend getting yourself a copy of these first two (just one little click). I’m pretty confident you will want to get the rest.

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Keiara Reads: The Day of the Triffids

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In 1951, John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having “all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare.”

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

However, to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.  — Goodreads

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The Day of the Triffids is a classic staple in the Sci-Fi genre originally published in the 1950’s. Despite its prevalence in the sci-fi genre, I went into this book with very few preconceptions. Other than the name and knowing that there was some sort of calamity involving plants called Triffids that were dangerous to humans, I knew nothing about this story. There is the tickle of a memory in the back of my mind of the ‘iconic’ sound made by the Triffids in the BBC film of the 1960’s but I again know nothing of the adaptations (hope to remedy this soon).

Even without preconceptions, I went into this story with some anticipation about what might happen. I made a point of not doing any research into this tale before I read it. However I somehow got it into my head that this book was going to be reminiscent of a modern day zombie tale (just replace the zombies with some killer plants), with a focus on the killing of people by the title-carded Triffids. To draw a parallel from my original zombie expectations, this story is more of a Walking Dead rather than Dawn of the Dead, with the focus on the struggles to survive an apocalyptic event rather than the chaos of a dangerous entity (zombies or Triffids).

The apocalyptic event that sweeps the globe, a plague of sightlessness caused by lights from a meteorite shower is a terrifyingly plausible event. We humans are very visual creatures. Even in our modern age where we have improved our understanding of a disability such as sightlessness the thought of the majority of the population of the world blinded so suddenly is problematic to say the least. London is devastated within one day of the epidemic and this story spans a significant amount of time.

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The mystery maintained about the Triffids, coupled with the focus on human survival in extreme situations is what made me fall in love with this book. The Triffids have been present for years before the incident, but in spite of them being purposely grown, for decorative, commercial and scientific purposes, very little is known about these things. Two of the only facts confirmed about these plants is that a direct sting from one can kill a full-grown man, and that they seem to ‘eat’ those that they kill. They are actively predatory, able to ‘walk’ quite freely if not staked to the ground and when humans are blind, they stand little chance against these deadly plants. Wyndham never reveals where the Triffids come from or how they spread so quickly. There are theories proposed by various characters but we never find out for sure. I think this serves to make them all the more terrifying and worse, plausible.

I found that the more detailed focus on the human element of the story posed some very interesting moral dilemmas for the cast. With only a handful of people now able to see, questions arise about how, and even if it is possible or desirable (morally and personally) to help those who are blinded. A few survivor groups form throughout the novel with various philosophies, tactics and outcomes and each one’s story is gripping. I still find myself questioning how different the depictions of the various groups would be if the novel was re-written for modern times. Would we be more or less likely to cope if we were to wake up tomorrow on the Day of the Triffids?

 

 

Keiara Visits: Typewronger Bookshop

How many bookstores do you think are in the world right now? (don’t bother to google it, there is no definitive total there). I’m comfortable saying that the number is in the thousands, so what is so special about another bookstore, recently opened in Edinburgh? Well settle in people because this excited little book nerd is about to tell you!

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Recently I paid a visit to Typewronger Books, an awesome little indie bookshop here in Edinburgh and was bought an early birthday present by my fiancé. Look at this beautiful Barnes and Noble leather bound beauty.

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Bookstore, typewriter seller/repairs, publisher and event venue; Typewronger has also recently set up a cosy little reading library in a local coffee nook, OQO coffee shop (more on that to follow in the future).

This tucked-away gem was opened in June 2018 (it took until December before someone pointed it out to me) in the gallery half of McNaughton’s Bookshop & Gallery, Scotland’s oldest antiquarian and second-hand bookstore. I love that Edinburgh is basically a city built on top of a city in some places and these little basement shops, cafes etc. can lead to some pretty unique finds. It makes exploring the city that little bit more interesting.

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This picture doesn’t belong to me. found here

Typewronger’s wonderful friendly owner was a typewriter engineer by trade before opening the store, and repairs and renovations are offered in the store. In amongst the books is a variety of beautiful typewriters, some for sale and some for show. There is also a really cool modernised typewriter that is linked to twitter! Give it a go, tweet @tweetwronger with #typethis, your tweet will print out in the store (let me know if you do it).

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I personally have never really wanted a typewriter before. Being born into a digital age word processing via PC is how I learnt to type. However the more I visit, and look at the practises of my favourite merchants of the macabre, King and Stine, the more I think I should start saving.

I love visiting this place and even if you don’t intend to buy books (I’m trying to cut down purchases because of the quantity I own) it is a great place to just go and hang out. There are some really comfortable armchairs set up for people to read, write, anything. My personal favourite part of this set up is the little nook where the poetry books are displayed, it is so comfy and cosy and I would happily live here the whole time the store is open. For me one of the biggest selling points is the offer of tea or coffee whenever I visit. This is a very easy way to guarantee my return to pretty much anywhere and especially in these cold winter months, it is a perfect accompaniment to some book browsing. The owner is so friendly and helpful so if you get the chance, GO!

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I got TEA!
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Bailey certainly loved being able to curl up on a chair while I browsed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also offer a great little subscription service. It’s like a blind date with a book but with added goodies. Full details and prices are on the website (here) but the basics are as follows. There are four types of subscription: Classic UK (one book per month), Bi-monthly UK (one book every two months), European and International (both offering three books per quarter). The prices vary quite a bit and you pay for a full year subscription at a time.

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I am super keen to get myself a subscription, but need to wait a while before I’ll have the funding (then you’ll start seeing dedicated monthly posts). I was in the store earlier this week while an international customer was discussing what kind of books they would like to have sent. It is like a mini-interview (face-to-face, over Skype or through the phone) where you answer questions about preferred genre, interests and favourite authors, so each package is carefully tailored to the designated reader.

If you don’t feel ready so sign up for a full years subscription, there is also the offer of a Luck E-Dip on the store website. With this you get a totally surprise book with some lovely little extras, wrapped n brown paper and sent to your door. Personally I really love the little extras, bookmarks, a choice of one of four origami critters (in store) and the shop stamp is a really nice touch.

As well as being a store, Typewronger is a venue for open mic nights as well as other book and author related events. I’ve not been able to make any of the events but the reviews I have seen have all been positive and hope I can make some this year. There aren’t any upcoming events on the website at the moment, however you can check out some of the past events to get an idea of what may come up in the future here.

Last, but by no means least, Typewronger is a publisher. I currently own the three works that are available in store at the moment: Josephine Sillars and the Manic Pixie Dream (zine), 10 Ways to Commit Murder with a Royal 10 Typewriter (Zine) and The Misadventures of John Nicholson by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated print of a classic). For Edinburgh Locals, the two zines are available now in store and although I got the last copy of this run for Misadventures of John Nicholson that was in stock there is a second edition in the works and should be available soon. For those further afield, 10 Ways to Commit Murder… and … John Nicholson are available through the Typewronger website. I’m hoping to get a review of the works I have up later in the week. Some more good news for those looking to get a hold of some unique pieces there are two more publications set for release later this month! I for one will be keeping a firm look out for Flora Hibberd’s Lyrics and The Times Wronger, a poetry and short story zine.

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So after writing all of this I really want to head back up to Typewronger for another visit and I am so excited to see what other publications, events, services and products they will continue to offer. I have also seen on their website that they are open to enquiries about potential collaborations with authors on future projects, so especially if you are a poet or short story writer give them an email (it is specified however that they are not open to unsolicited manuscripts, enquiries only). I hope this post has inspired at least a few of you to go and check out what this business has to offer. Seriously, I could rave about them all day and night and they definitely deserve a few moments of your time. I’m sorry for your wallet, but your mind and soul are more than welcome!

Keiara Reads: The Omen (1976)

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The Omen is a great horror franchise, which I first became aware of in 2006 when the remake was due for release. My mum had been a fan of the original and so when I asked to get a copy of the remake when it released on DVD she agreed, mostly so she could see it too. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the original film from 1976 was aired on TV that I saw it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The novelization of The Omen was the first book that I read this year and I found it to be one of the best horror books I have read in a while. I did go into the reading with high hopes as the story and premise of The Omen franchise was my favourite part of the film experience. Maybe it is just because of the age of the piece but I found nothing overly impressive in the cinematography or acting of the film. The story however is one that I thoroughly expect to stand the test of time, as evidenced by the fact we are talking about it 43 years after its creation.

Once I had read the novelization of the movie, I decided to watch the original movie. I was struck by the lack of emotional investment I felt in the fate of the characters compared with the novel. Until I did some research, I had thought the movie had been adapted from the novel, thus explaining why some scenes differed slightly between the two. The novel was released before the movie premiered, but only by two weeks. Both the novel and the screenplay were written by David Seltzer, and the novel was released as a marketing ploy. I find it strange that the marketing material released before the movie would contain more detail and to my mind convey a much fuller story than the film itself. However, the movie was one of the highest grossing horror movies released, and I guess that the fact a blogger writing in 2019 is writing about it shows that it has left its mark. I have the second and third movies in the franchise on DVD and hope to watch them during February. Although I do wish to read the novelizations of the other movies and to watch the fourth and fifth movie instalments, this will depend on whether I can get a hold of them; with the books especially this will need to wait until there is some space on my shelves.

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While watching the movie I found that the performance by child actor Harvey Stephens was particularly compelling. There was limited dialogue for his character, which I feel is due to the age and personality of the character but the presence of Damien conveyed by a combination of the acting, cinematics and score was chilling. The subtle expressions of the child shown during key scenes of suspense and horror added an unnerving undertone. Whether these were due to careful editing in post-production or a deliberate action of Stephens you can’t argue with the effect they give. I love the little trivia piece I read recently (not sure of the source) saying he got the role after punching the director in the testicles. Guess that is one way to get cast as the devil’s child.

Keiara’s day with Pilrig Paws Puppy Pose

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Monday was a Puppy Play-day with Pilrig Paws Pup’ Pose. An extra special hangout today as it was one pup’s birthday! Little Miss Mabel (a beautiful blue faun Frenchie) turned one today so Alana (the Master of Puppers) brought the afternoon gang around for a little party. I baked a special batch of dog-friendly cupcakes (aka, pupcakes) and everyone had a great time cavorting about the living room with all the toys.

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Baby Mabel! They grow up so fast.

Pilrig paws is a local dog walking business run and owned by Euan with the help of his partner Alana, and room mate Mike. “Nae vans, Nae cages, we’ll walk your dog for ages.” Having taken my little pom Bailey out on days with Alana and her pack I can attest that not a truer slogan has ever been written. Each dog gets an average of three hours walking with park plays and lots of social time with dogs and people alike. Each pup is treated like a member of the Pilrig paws family. A five star service that I would recommend to everyone. All the doggos have a wonderful time and have formed a strong bond with the team and all their little buddies.

Today Alana took the opportunity to stop at mine for a lunch break and the pups got some rest/ play time. The pup’ pose rarely stop to ‘rest’ but when treats are on offer they all sit nice like today’s nubbins (Ford, Archie, Mabel all with tail nubs, and long tail Bailey).

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Pupcakes were a big hit with all involved especially Archie, whom we affectionately call Wee Beef and everyone had fun in the little play area I had create (see videos Bailey’s Instagram). Well maybe not everyone, Bailey likes to pretend that he is a dignified older gentleman.

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At least until we headed to Pilrig Paw HQ and he romps around with Benji boy. Unfortunately, Bailey doesn’t fully understand how to play with other dogs. He was a stud dog in his youth and so usually tries to hump other dogs. We think he believes this is how to play. Slowly we are trying to teach him otherwise, but doing so without discouraging him from interacting with other dogs at all is a slow process. Love watching him having a fun time with Blue the Husky though, neither used to have much patience for the other. you’d never know it to watch the videos (here).

 

Keiara Loves: Word of Mouth Cafe

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Image saved from Trip Advisor (here)

Word of Mouth café is a local business in Leith where I have been a grateful customer for about five years or so. I first walked into this cosy little café on the corner of Albert Street and Leith Walk when I needed a quiet place to study that wasn’t my flat. Ever since that first day, I have been in love with their Chai Latte and have stopped by on a very regular basis. Seating is a little limited so there have been occasions where I have been craving some of their breakfast menu and couldn’t be seated but hey. I never get mad when this happens, it’s just proof that the place is amazing! Everyone wants to get their breakfast there.

The menu has a very continental vibe (The List magazine described it as an “eclectic menu”), owing to the French inspiration for a few breakfast and lunch items but varying Mediterranean influences across the rest of the menu. Often when I visit I get the same dish, a Croque Madame. An awesome French toasted sandwich with ham and cheese served with a side salad and topped with a fried egg. The creamy, cheesy goodness with fresh bread and succulent ham always leaves me satisfied no matter how many times I have them. There is also a range of pastries and cakes on offer which I often fail to leave room for but when I do, they are divine.

The coffee on offer is also great. If I remember correctly, the owner Roshi roasts the beans himself, selling bags of the whole beans as well as menu items. The aroma of the coffees being brewed is what usually pulls me in… Well, Bailey really ‘pulls’ me in, but the coffee is a great incentive to concede. There are a few different roasts on offer and although I have not tried them all personally, a quick Google of the café’s name will churn up glowing reviews for the coffee, the menu and the wonderful team. I now really wish that I wasn’t sitting at 9:30 pm writing this because I have such a craving for a Word of Mouth mocha!

Keiara Tries: Local Flavour

Local flavour. Another new section that I will be trying to add to on a regular basis. Living in Edinburgh, a city full of café, coffee shops, restaurants and locally/independently own stores, we are really spoilt for choice when it comes to where to spend money and time. In 2017, a good friend and I decided that we were going to try to visit as many cafes as we could before her move to Canada in 2018. During this time, we found some very nice little places. Some had great coffee or tea ranges, some scrumptious sweeties either bought in or made on premises and lovely lunches. On occasion, this venture could get a bit pricy; since we were buying lunches and drinks sometimes as much as three times a week. However, we were pleasantly surprise by how infrequently we were spending lots of money. Affordability is definitely something you can find if you need it.

Leith is a particularly good area for finding a lovely local ‘anything’ really. I will admit I am likely very biased as I have lived in Leith for about seven years now and feel very at home here. I also interact with a lot of passionate Leithers. This means many reviews that you’ll see in this area will be for the Leith area. For a while I am likely to work through a backlog of reviews for places I go to on a regular basis or that made a strong impression on me at some point. My opinion is often swayed by whether or not a café is dog friendly, and I have to stress the word ‘friendly’ here. Although I have not encountered too many there are some places where the moniker of ‘Dog Tolerant’ would be more suitable. I have heard of one such place in my hometown, but generally, if I have heard a review like that I won’t go to a place. It’s great to try new things and I love to give places a chance even if I have seen some negative feedback in the interests of time and money I will pay attention to some of these reviews.

Variety is the spice of life and although I have a few cafes I go to on a semi-regular basis I try and branch out as much as possible. There is a cosy feeling that comes with being able to go into a café multiple times, building a rapport with staff, having them know what you want, and caring about how your time since your last visit has been. However for that rapport to start you need to visit somewhere new, so join me on my journey as I try new cafés and other little businesses or return to habitual haunts. Hey, when Bailey jumps on the door and wants to go back to Word of Mouth or Artisan Coffee, who am I to argue?

How I started Knitting.

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Knitting is a crafting hobby that I come back to again and again. Although in the last five years or so I have tended more toward crochet if I break out my yarn box, sometimes I like the nostalgia of coming back to knitting. I first picked up a set of knitting needles at the age of seven, and asked my Granny to teach me. Almost 20 years later it is tricky to remember what prompted me to ask my Granny to share her knowledge with me. I remember as a child receiving lots of hand-knitted sweaters and toys from my Granny & her sister-in-law and when I realised this was something I could learn, I wanted it bad. So I was taught the basic knit stitch and my Granny cast on some stitches for me. For weeks, I would knit weird super narrow and long scarf type pieces, adding a random colour of yarn whenever the ball I had was running out.

Like many a seven year-old I got tired of this new hobby I had been so excited about within a year and moved on to something else. Probably Pokémon and Digimon if I am honest, but this was not to be the end. Almost ten years later, I was hanging out with some friends when everyone was home for the holidays and one takes out some knitting. She had picked up the hobby while at Art College in Glasgow and was working on a scarf. Again, I was struck with the overwhelming desire to learn a skill that would allow me to make something, anything. I visualised knitting hats, scarfs, gloves and importantly cuddly toys.

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These are what I have kept over the years. I give away most of my creations

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My friend taught me how to cast on and a basic knit and purl stitch, from this I made a basic scarf. I went out to buy some knitting supplies, some basic colours of yarn, needles of various size and a pattern book. This pattern book in fact .

After I’d been shown the basics I went to my Granny to try to learn more, specifically how to increase and decrease the number of stitches in a row. Unfortunately, my Granny was not confident enough to try to teach me.

At this stage, she hadn’t been knitting herself for many years and there was no one else in the family who knew how to knit. I however lived in an age of quick information and good old YouTube tutorials. It turned out I have a fairly good knack for picking up new skills through video tutorials. Within about six videos I had what I needed to make my first basic teddy.

Fast forward ten years and I am now pretty confident in my knitting ability. There is still a wealth of stitches for me to learn and I have yet to embark on any larger clothing projects but for me this just means I have exciting new projects I can try my hand at. I have recently picked up a little collection of patterns that I am keen to try and get through this year. This year’s crafting will hopefully revolve a lot around yarn-based projects both knitting and crochet but I have no cemented goals at this stage. One of those areas where I am just going to take my moods as they come and working on stuff as I feel like it rather than forcing myself towards specific projects. For now, I’m trying to knit a small cluster of dinosaurs because dinosaurs are awesome and I am a little obsessed with them.

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New Year Intentions

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Well hello 2019. I know that we are already into double digits in this bright and shiny New Year but I have been a bit slow in finding my feet these last few days so Happy New Year, people. This year I am setting some fairly ambitious goals for my reading and this blog in general. Making some lists as a starting point today, as the fires of inspiration and motivation have been stoked thanks to an appointment I had today with an employment advisor. One thing I am really hoping to do is branch out on this blog. When I experimented with writing about other hobbies and interests back in November I had a lot of fun with this but – as it often does – life threw some curveballs at me, so my writing tapered off a bit. Now I am determined to keep the flow going. My aim will be for a minimum of two posts a week with more added on particularly exciting/busy weeks.

I have made a list of about twenty areas/subjects that I would love to start writing about. Each one will take a lot of extra work on my part but this is an exciting concept. My appointment today has also given me some really cool ideas for special edition posts that I could potentially make but I’ll keep quiet about these for now, as I need to do some research and planning to determine their viability.

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To start this year I have some distinct reading goals. I am hoping to read more Stephen King books as I know a lot of his work through movie adaptations, and own most of his books (of which I think I have read about a dozen). This is something I need to change, especially since my fiancé refuses to let me get the newest novel until I read some. After taking a count of the books I have on shelf waiting to be read I also HAVE to read more than I buy this year. So far, I have bought one book this year (Spiral by Koji Suzuki) and I am trying to avoid hot releases of the year, with the exception of A.S Chambers’ work and Graphic novels from ‘Cons. If I read particularly fast this year I will ease up on myself, but with my current tally for unread owned books surpassing 800 I’d better read like 10 books a week for that to be reasonable.

As well as good old novels, comics and non-fiction books I’m hoping to make a real step towards re-entering the RPG community. Over the last, six years or so I have dipped my head in and out of the great hobby. I have loved every chance I have had to play but many campaigns have to stop because of member commitments and I have had so much going on I have only run one short campaign in university. I hope that this is the year that all changes. I am determined that by March I will have a campaign I can run for an indie RPG known as Gemini, I have owned the book for about four years, and have yet to make it past the awesome prologue. On top of this, I have recently bought the player handbooks and a starter pack for Dungeons and Dragons (The RPG that started it all) all I need to do is find or make a game.

Over the holidays I was also gifted a lot of cool supplies for making up this year’s Bullet Journal. This is a form of planning that I have taken to quite well during 2018 and in 2019 I feel only improvement is on the horizon. My kid sister has also started to take an interest in Bullet Journaling so my motivation is pretty high after spending the second half of my holiday working on some spreads with her. She is also keen for me to share what I add to my journal with her over Instagram and if that isn’t the kind of motivation I need to keep on top of it I don’t know what is.

So for today, let’s get started! I’m going to spend a half-day making my plans for the next few weeks and getting some stuff down on paper. There are some great volunteering positions that have been brought to my attention to help me on my first steps back into a day job for me to look into; I have my indie RPG book (Gemini: A Dark Fantasy Adventure) sitting for me to go over some rules; and there are a few books I read last year that I can draft reviews for as well as the two I am currently working on. I have my big coffee mug beside me and nostalgic cartoons for company. Let’s get to it.

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Keiara Plays: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

 

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Today I want to talk a little bit about pen and paper RPGs (Role Playing Games), I never wrote up a post yesterday because it was game night. A good friend of my fiancé and me came around to run a session of the Marvel RPG a game that we have had to put on hold for a while because none of our schedules matched up. Yesterday saw us play our third or fourth scene.

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In the game, you get to play as characters from the Marvel universe and react to situations and events created by the game master. For us, our characters live in the Marvel universe, but seven years ago all those with powers vanished and no one knows why. No more X-men, Avengers, aliens, gods or super villains, yet somehow we still have powers and someone wants to capture and lock us up for that. We woke up on a transport, locked in specialist cells, mine designed to stop me using my powers of flight and shapeshifting, and my fiancé unable to use his power to create and control microwave energy. We broke out and our adventures begin. Here’s the thing though, we are not heroes, and we’re bad guys. Not up there with Dr Doom or Kingpin, but my character for example is a globally renowned assassin, who has been using her powers for a few years to make her job easier. My fiancé has a little trouble with remembering that we are the bad guys and not good guys, so to my knowledge there is no criminal backstory element to his character (there was, but I’ve forgotten it… -Ed.).

I like RPGs for the total escapism that they offer in a controlled environment. Since I can block time in my planner/schedule and designate it for gaming, I never feel guilty about trying to escape my everyday responsibilities. I am deliberately making time in my week to play a game with friends and can totally focus on that for a given time. It helps that RPGs are a particularly involved hobby. You have to create your character and become them for the session, role-playing their mannerisms and personality type. For a while, I played a game called Wild Talents with another group of friends. Another super hero game but with more freedom for players and game masters during sessions. In this game I played two different characters at different times, a spy who could control shadows and focused on stealth, and a body guard who was effectively a Saiyan without the God-like strength element (she was still stronger than average, but main powers were flight and energy blast). I like to try and make my characters fairly different from each other and from myself. The point for me is to spend a little time being someone other than myself to totally leave behind worries, stresses etc.

The mechanics of this particular game are different, from D&D or 10 d10 systems that I have played in the past and it is taking a lot of trial and error during gameplay for us to get to grips with it. I’m very much a ‘learn by playing’ kind of girl. Although I read rulebooks shared with me by GMs sometime it just takes a few rounds to understand your own character in terms of the dice. After a long break, it was very nice to get back to the gameplay and hopefully we are going to have more chances to meet for sessions, but life sometimes happens and RPGs need a lot of concentration from all sides.