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Review of “Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1 and #2” – Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin

When a disgruntled professional wrestler declares himself “galactic champion of the universe” an alien planet of wrestlers sees it as an act of war!

A hilarious THIRTY-TWO PAGE megaextravaganza kicks off this limited comic book series with art by Dan Schkade, colors by Marissa Louise and lettering by A Larger World Studios. Created & Written by award-winning writers Matt Entin & Ed Kuehnel.

 

(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique) 

 

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia: Date With Destiny (Volume 1) contained cheesy lines, extraordinary costumes, and a wrestling bear. Yeah, you read that right… A WRESTLING BEAR.

Besides the bear, it reminded me of why I loved watching televised wrestling programs decades ago. Fans know things are scripted but they still tuned in or attended the matches in person. They are thrilling.

In real life, we’ve seen many wrestling crash and burn for various reason. In volume one, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rory Landell’s drinking and going off script was the kiss of death for him and the American Wrestling Federation. He trash talked his fellow wrestlers and even Martians. One Martian, Manifest Destiny, wasn’t too keen by Rory’s smack talk. They didn’t meet in the ring in this comic but I got the impression they would be meeting up very soon.

On a final note, I have to give props to everyone who contributed to the artwork. You all did a masterful job. I also loved the wrestler names you all had assigned to your real names. I’m not sure who thought of it but the additions to your names was brilliant.

Great job, everyone!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤ 

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While “Rock n’ Roll” Rory Landell drowns his sorrows off the grid, Earth is on the receiving end of a nasty surprise.

 

(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique) 

I was hoping in Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2: Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves! I would see Rory and Manifest Destiny lock horns but it didn’t happen. We did see wrestling action all across the globe including on the White House’s lawn. Yeah, I could actually see a wrestling event happening there since we all know Trump, the McMahon family and their WWE organization are super tight.

For the rest of the comic, I again thought the artwork was top-notch.

But…

How does volume 2 (Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves!) rate against volume 1 (Date With Destiny)? Well, I think volume 1 had more humor and more wrestling content. Both ended fantastically but, in my opinion, Date With Destiny reins supreme as the comic champion.

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤ 

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Edward Kuehnel

Ed Kuehnel is an award-winning story consultant, narrative designer and writer with sixteen years of experience across a wide range of games, film and video. His list of clients includes publishers such as Ubisoft, Paramount Digital, Vivendi/Universal and Disney Interactive, as well as some of the most highly regarded studios in the world, including Twisted Pixel Games, Uber Entertainment and Telltale Games. His game writing debut, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, earned a Game Developer’s Choice nomination for Best Writing in 2005. More recently, his work on Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts helped the game win the award for Best Narrative at the 2014 Game Awards.

2014 also marked Ed’s film debut as a co-writer for the soon-to-be released Lumberjack Man, starring Michael Madsen. He is a former contributor to The Onion.

Ed is an expert at solidifying narratives and polishing stories for games, screenplays and other creative projects at all stages of production. For a confidential and complimentary assessment of your needs please email him at ed at edwritesgames dot com

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Matt Entin: I’m a writer with over 15 years of professional experience. I’ve written for film, comics, advertising, and video games. 

My career in games began in 2003. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of titles, from indie to casual to AAA—including “Valiant Hearts: The Great War,” winner of Best Narrative at The Game Awards.

I’ve also done ad work in Europe and the US for a diverse collection of clients, such as Nintendo, Lexus, Duracell, Sprite, and McDonalds.

I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities. Email me at matt.entin@gmail.com to discuss my misplaced nostalgia for “3-D WorldRunner.”

Specialties: narrative development, dialogue writing, copywriting, ideation, mission design, VO direction, motion-capture direction, cinematography, casting

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Author Showcase / Interview – Rexx Deane (Synthesis:Weave)

Welcome, Rexx!

 

  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Rexx) Nobody is ‘born to write’. I am no exception. I’d never been particularly good with grammar, and had no idea about the more complex rules (I probably still don’t, truth be told). How to write dialogue was beyond me, and I had no idea where to start with plot.

The closest I’d ever come to ‘proper’ writing was when I entered an Interactive Fiction competition in 2004 (IFComp) and wrote a text adventure based on the legend of the origin of Tai Chi. I really enjoyed describing locations and creating puzzles, and I was happy with that, so it never occurred to me to write a novel.

In 2011, I met my partner, Kris. He wasn’t a particular fan of many of the TV programs I enjoyed, but I convinced him to watch a boxset of that 90’s classic, Babylon 5, and he fell in love with it. Around this time, I convinced him to start using a wheelchair because of his disability and, after some strong initial resistance, he took it up and found the wheelchair liberating. In 2012, I started a new job at a software development company that focused on behaviourism, and while working there I realised that I could *learn* to write. It was just a skill other people learn, after all.

By 2013, Prompted by my love of Babylon 5 and games like Mass Effect, I had started making notes. Kris provided the inspiration for several character notes and plot points; I was desperate to write something scifi that involved a wheelchair, but didn’t ‘fix’ disability. Once I’d convinced myself I’d got enough notes to start forming a plot of sorts, I started reading books about the various components of writing and finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard. At this point, Kris started training to be a fitness instructor, so I used the time while he did his courses to begin writing.

Come the end of 2013, I’d completed the first draft of Synthesis:Weave. It was another year of editing (and seven more drafts) before I handed it over to my editor and subsequently rushed to publish it. Now, years later, and after having written the sequel, I regretted that decision and went back to tear it down in a rewrite, which has now been published as a second edition in August 2018.

 

 

(Kam) I’ve read many backstories and I find yours to be one of the most intriguing ones I’ve read. As for Babylon 5: I’m more of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” kind of gal. I love Picard! BTW: Kris, in the photo above, is an inspiration to all who think that something is impossible. There’s no shame in trying. If you fail, that’s ok, at least you tried. 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Rexx) For me, writer’s block seems to come about because of two things that actually have the same cause: lack of information.

I’ll get stuck because I’ve not thought of some way for characters to get out of/into a situation, or not enough backstory. I’ll also find myself paralysed when I don’t know where the plot should go next – usually because it could go in far too many directions. Both of these are down to not having a vital piece of information – be that something I need to think of in backstory, or some way of limiting what can happen next.

I’m a plotter, although I don’t go to such depth as planning chapters and scenes. Instead, I plan ‘waypoints’ – information I want to relay to the reader, significant events I want to happen, problems that can occur, and occasionally fully-written scenes I want to insert. I don’t necessarily know the order of these when I write them, so once I’ve got enough I’ll go through and group them into themes which often end up representing the start, early middle, late middle and ending of the book’s plot.

I start writing and then see where each of these points leads, so getting stuck is a consequence of not having the right piece of the puzzle to put in next to continue the flow. It can sometimes be remedied by writing on paper instead of using a keyboard; the medium forces me to go forwards without being able to stop and edit what I’ve put down. Other times, prompting myself about the problem before driving to work or doing some other menial task will mean I suddenly have an idea when I’m not expecting it.

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Rexx) I currently write science fiction, although I like to veer slightly off-genre to mix things up a little. Only recently, I discovered that my work falls into ‘solarpunk’. While I will read dystopian, I wouldn’t want to write it and prefer upbeat/optimistic scifi.

When I’m not writing or doing my day job (as a systems developer), I like to play computer games. I don’t spend as much time reading as I probably should, but I do read to my partner before bed, so I guess that counts.

I’ve been in a group of RPG players for just over 10 years now, and we play 3rd edition D&D – although it took them nine years to convince me to have a go at running the game myself. They enjoyed it, and I recently convinced them to give Traveller (scifi rpg) a go. I think playing D&D has fed back into my writing and given me a way to understand the characters I write and get into their heads. Similarly, writing has furnished me with the tools to make up my own adventures and encounters with greater ease.

(Kam) I’ve played D&D once in my life.  My husband introduced me to it because he spent so much time playing it in his youth. He hoped I would love it too but I didn’t. Guess I’ll stick with Yahtzee, Uno, and Scrabble. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Rexx) If I think people might be interested in scifi, I’ll mention my novel(s). I’m actually more proud of the fact that I write than of the work I do every day, simply because it’s easier to talk to people about writing than it is to explain the technicalities of my day job.

My relatives and friends are proud of my writing (or so they say), but at times it’s a delicate balance to keep from getting obsessed with writing and have it getting in the way of my relationship with my partner.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Rexx) I’ve read mostly ‘classic’ scifi and fantasy authors, and very few contemporaries, hence my skewed favourites.

Ursula Le Guin

Isaac Asimov

Arthur C Clarke

Carl Sagan

Gregory Benford

Julian May

Anne McCaffrey

Andre Norton

Michael Cobley

Alan Dean Foster

(Kam) Some of these names are not familiar to me. For that, I say thank you. I love being introduced to new authors/reading material. 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Rexx) I’m going to be self-indulgent. I want to see Synthesis:Weave on screen. I wrote it to feel like a movie.

Bill Nighy (the British actor, not the science guy) as a particular enigmatic figure.

Rachel Weisz as Monica Stephens

Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as Sebastian

Bryce Dallas Howard as Sebastian’s sister, Janyce.

Emily Blunt as Karan

Ben Cross as Agent Gladrin (I had him in mind when writing the character)

A genuine amputee (double or otherwise) to play Aryx. Favouring Kurt Yaeger, although there are several paralympians who would suit, if they could act!

 

The laws of physics are about to change …

A tsunami on a space station.
An explosion with no trace of the bomber.

Cyber-security expert Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and his colleague Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation.

Can they unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Rexx) I’ve finished the sequel to Synthesis:Weave, and at this time I’m working on the cover for that, along with plotting the final book in the trilogy. I’ve also got ideas for an unrelated mild scifi set on present-day Earth, which I want to centre on a female character – it’s going to have a completely different feel to anything I’ve written so far.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Rexx) Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Google play and Nook (all DRM free, so you can read it on any of the devices you own, regardless of which platform you purchase it from). Paperback and hardback formats are also available.

The preferred reading order is the order in which they were written. Synthesis:Weave was written first, followed by the short story prequel, Synthesis:Pioneer, which, when read after S:W, gives the ‘oh, so that’s what they meant!’ factor.

Synthesis:Weave 2, Afterglow is due out in March 2019, and follows immediately on from Synthesis:Weave.

 

When Calendula accepted the post of linguist aboard the Fluorescent Lightingale, she felt as though she’d been accepted as a token crew member. Little did she know what pivotal role she would play in Earth’s future.

Please note, Synthesis:Pioneer is a prequel short story to the Synthesis novel series only, and not a full-length novel.

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Rexx) By contact form on rexxdeane.com, or on Twitter @RexxDeane – I don’t tend to use Facebook much now and have been distancing myself from that platform, although I do have a page there.

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Rexx) I would like readers (and perhaps writers) to remember that just because a book has a character with a disability, it’s important not to make the disability the focus of the book. Disabled people just want to get on with their lives, and quite often get sick of being lectured or constantly presented with books that say they should behave a certain way. To be presented realistically, disabled characters should be the same. Just have them “get on with it,” and readers will love your book for it.

 

 

Your final comments (Q10) are absolutely true. People don’t want to be seen for what they can’t do but praised for the things they’ve accomplished. Disabled or not, we are all capable of truly amazing feats.  

I want to thank Rexx for sitting down with me today. I also want to thank everyone who’s reading this and decides to share, comment, or purchase Synthesis: Weave and/or Synthesis: Pioneer. Remember, reviews are helpful to authors. They love them. I’m sure Rexx especially loved the ones posted to Goodreads. (See below)

 

Chris B. (Synthesis:Weave), 5⭐: A Scifi story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end, with many twists & turns, a must read for all Scifi fans, it’s an excellent read, looking forward to a second book in the future 🙂

 

Alastair (Synthesis: Weave), 5⭐: I read this, and I liked it. Full of inventive ideas, spaceships, aliens and mystery. What’s not to like?

 

Rose E. (Synthesis: Pioneer), 5⭐: This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’. 

This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name ofCalendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship. 

I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.

 

(Kam) Yes, I know the last review had a typing error but I didn’t think it was appropriate to change it. It’s their review, not mine. Plus, I don’t think the error undermines the love Rose had for the story.  😛 

 

 

 

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Review of “Eat the Rich” – Renee Miller

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

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“Jahd and Dahl did well,” Senz said. He laid beside Ren, naked and filthy from head to toe. “This place is bountiful. Almost like home, but without the screaming and the imminent death.” He chuckled. “Yet.”

“We told you to put clothes on, Senz. It is how things are done here.”

“If a man cannot be naked in his own home, then what has the world come to?”

“Man?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Seriously, you have to wear clothes. We do not want to draw attention. So far, they have accepted us here. If someone starts complaining to the authorities about us, perhaps saying we are exhibitionists or perverts, they will force us to move on, or worse, they will notice you have a couple of noticeably inhuman parts and we will have to escalate the plan. Dahl would be displeased should that happen. We may even have to return home.”

“So? It would be nice to go home once in a century; do you not think so?”

“We cannot move on until we have done what we came here to do. It would be selfish of us to leave them to their misguided ways when we know how much better their lives could be.”

Senz sighed. He picked up the pants he’d discarded with his shirt on the ground beside him and sat up. As he put his legs into the coarse material of the pants, he nodded at the cooler tucked into Ren’s tent. “Did you eat it all, or will you share?”

“Sure. Help yourself.”

“I only received the entrails last night. Not very filling and they taste terrible.” “A meal is a meal.”

“Meh,” Senz zipped his pants and then reached for the cooler. “Little too rich for me.”

He laughed at his own joke.

Ren shook his head. “There is no such thing as too rich.”

“Unless you are one of them.”

“We will be heading out again tonight, so do not eat too much. Dahl has put you on the list.”

“Praise the human lord.” Senz removed a long, tubular package wrapped in brown butcher’s paper. He opened it. “I gave up hope on getting the first taste.”

“We said we would rotate so everyone gets to enjoy a fresh kill. Dahl has prepared a schedule. It should be smooth sailing from here.”

“There are lots of them here, eh? It will take a while to do them all.”

“It will,” Ren said. “But we have time. The second wave arrives soon. Dahl says the General’s unit is docking in a place called California. I heard there are even more of them there. Must be nice to have rank so you can pluck the juiciest fruit.”

“You will get there. Dahl likes you.” Senz winked.

“Do not be a… dick.”

“Is that a new insult?”

“Yes. It means you are being mean and annoying.”

“Huh.” Senz bit off a piece of meat, chewed, and then swallowed. “I like it. I hope I have the opportunity to use it soon.”

“Just do not call Dahl or Jahd a dick. They are not in the mood for humor these days.”

“Always like that in the early stages of a renovation.”

“Renovation?”

“Yes, it means restoring or repairing something. Making it new or upgrading.

Is that not what we are doing?”

“It is. Renovation… so many words in this language that mean the same thing.”

“Gopher is teaching me the ins and outs of it. They also like words that are not words.”

“Slang. I know.” Ren scowled. “Do not become fond of Gopher.”

“I find that impossible. He is thoroughly entertaining.”

Ren sometimes wished he’d been put on the General’s fleet, where they weren’t allowed fraternizing and all that mattered was the mission. “By the way,” he said. “A disturbingly hairy man at the church said California has wealthy morsels on every corner. He said they bleed money out there. Tehn thinks he knows something. I did not allow him to kill the man, though. As he is not wealthy, I figured Dahl should approve it first.”

“He was not being literal,” Senz said. “Another ‘figure of speech’ in this language. Makes my head hurt, which is why I am grateful for the education

Gopher is providing.”

“I suppose he is useful.”

“And I, too, heard the General’s city is wealthier than this one. This is a good start, though.” He bit into the meat nestled in the brown paper again. “Look who is back.”

Ren looked to where he pointed. A short man with a hook in place of his right hand, and a good year’s growth of facial hair matted around his chin walked toward them, cup in hand: Gopher. “You must remember he is not one of us. Put some distance between yourself and him. If the mission goes wrong, he will not survive.”

“Jahd says we will need liaisons. They will trust what other humans say or something.”

“The fact that we did not eat them should be enough to make them grateful.”

Senz shrugged. “These creatures are strange. They do not behave in a way that is logical.”

“True. Still, I think Dahl’s original plan was better. Tell them how it will be and kill anyone who does not fall in line. Seems a faster way to get things done.”

“I disagree. We must cultivate relationships. Make them see we mean to help them, instead of bullying them into doing things our way. If they like and respect us, then they will work with us. The renovation will be successful, and we can go home sooner.” Senz put the last of the meat in his mouth and swallowed it without chewing. “What do I know, though? I am only a soldier who is fond of a human that smokes plants and scratches his genitals with unseemly regularity. I am not a great and powerful leader who knows all because of my rank.”

Ren picked a speck of dust from his pants. “Are you speaking of Dahl?”

“Never,” Senz said. “I was merely voicing an opinion. I would not mind keeping one, though. Perhaps I will be permitted to bring Gopher back. It has been done before. The bums at the shelter are hilarious as well, and they do not judge.”

“All humans judge.”

“You are wrong. I told them I eat the rich when times are tough, and they asked for recipes.” Senz laughed. “If they knew the truth, I imagine they would… what is the phrase? Shit in their pants, I think.”

Ren didn’t bother telling Senz they weren’t supposed to reveal themselves or how they survived. He’d been told enough times. Dahl would have to know about the security breach. Senz might not get a chance at fresh meat after all.

“Hey,” Gopher waved at Ren. “Your buddy Judd said to tell you soup’s on.” He shook the can.

Ren smiled. He waited until Gopher knelt and then pulled a dollar bill from the can. Senz did the same and they both inhaled the scent of the money. Ren saw the donor clearly in his mind. He looked at Senz. “Care to do some reconnaissance with me?”

“Do we get to eat this reconnaissance?”

“Eventually.”

“All right. Let’s go.”

“You guys are fucking odd,” Gopher said.

Ren smiled. “I found you a new dog.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes,” Ren said. “You were so upset about the old one that got crushed by the bus, I thought you might like a new one.”

“Well thanks. I do miss ol’ Goober, so I ain’t gonna say no to a new friend.

Where is he?”

“Dahl has him. We did not know if you wanted him skinned or not, so we have left him alive for now.”

“Skinned? For fuck’s sake, don’t skin the poor thing. What good is a dead dog?”

“He is alive…” Ren was confused. He’d seen animals in the homes of others and wondered at the way they treated them like family. “I thought your kind ate animals.”

“Christ, not dogs.”

“Do you not breed cattle and pigs and other animals for the purpose of eating?”

“Yeah.”

“Why not dogs? They too have meat that is edible.”

“Because we’re not savages.”

“And you think we are odd?”

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(review request submitted by the publisher for an honest critique) 

Renee prayed on the fear some people have (alien invasion) but also gave us something new to consider. It’s not what we see coming that we should worry about… it’s what we don’t see, what could be lurking out there, we should fear.

Many folks believe in aliens. They also believe one day aliens will invade us. However, I don’t imagine most individuals envision the otherworldly beings integrating themselves so seamlessly into our society. Unfortunately, a vast number of people turn a blind eye to the homeless so posing as of them was one helluva, brilliant disguise.

I liked many points in this story. No, I don’t mean I like aliens eating us Earth dwellers. What I mean is… I enjoyed how Renee wrote the scenes were the aliens learned about our society, the inventiveness on how to blend in, and the reason why the aliens felt the need to bring us Earthlings back to basics.

Yes, they were disgusting beings doing horrific things but this story was more than just a planet take-over.

Of course, some humans revolted and this is where my score dropped a point. The ending…. I didn’t quite grasp it.

What will become of Ed? What’s the ‘visitors’ next course of action? The end didn’t feel like an end but a set-up for another installment.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Renee Miller has published stories in the crime/suspense, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy/horror/comedy, and erotic horror genres. You can find her on TwitterFacebook, or on her blog.

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