Monday, June 25, 2018

The Ultimate Team-Up: Luke Cage and Zatoichi!

Teaming up for my entertainment, any way. = P

Had a bit of creative blockage lately, so I filled my downtime watching something new (Luke Cage Season 2) and something old and familiar (the Zatoichi film series) to maybe shake myself out of it.

Briefly, I very much enjoyed LUKE CAGE SEASON 2.  It had its flaws here and there--mostly it being too long by about 3 episodes and some bits and storylines being obvious filler.  But there was a lot to like.

Marvel to its credit has seemed to take the criticism to heart, and has been stepping up it's villain game in both the movies and its netflix shows.  Not all of them hit the mark (like Jessica's mom) but Luke Cage made Season 2 all about its villains and did a mostly outstanding job.  Alfre Woodard hit it out of the park with her portrayal of twisted crime boss Mariah, and we got some surprising and entertaining depth to other villains like Shades and Bushmaster, the latter of whom was a great new addition.

Mike Colter again did a great job as the title character.  Though he does have an arc, its not as well developed as the various villains' stories, but was still great in places.  Plus the episode with the Iron Fist team up was great fun, and I appreciated some of the nods to the old comics (particularly "Where's my money, honey?" which made me lol for real.)

ZATOICHI is a classic Japanese film series from the 60s and early 70s, about a wandering blind swordmaster in the late Edo period (early 1800s) in japan.  There were 20 odd films and a TV series.  There were a few sporadic modern remakes, but my heart for this series will always lie with the original.

Although this series is usually lumped together with the samurai flicks of the same period, Ichi ('Zato' refers to his titular profession, a masseur) is yakuza in his origins, and is forever on the lowest rung of japanese society of that era.  He often keeps the fact that he is a terrifyingly skillful swordsman under wraps, usually until some idiot mobsters run afoul of him and he ends up having to cut a fool or fifty.

ichi is played by the great Shintaro Katsu, who usually does a great job in balancing both the character's tragic, human side as well as his goofiness.  Ichi is noble in intention but often flawed in his actions, but is also not afraid to have a laugh at his own expense.

The series does have some flaws, but as a whole it has a lot of great action, good humor, and even some occasional compelling drama.  My favorites are the first two movies ("The Tale of Zatoichi" and "The Tale of Zatoichi Continues"), the seventh ("Zatoichi and the Chest Of Gold," which basically ends in a horror movie massacre in a dark mansion with Ichi as the 'monster'), and number seventeen ("Zatoichi Challenged") which probably has the very best fight of the series, a clip of which is below:

Most of the movies can be found on youtube, plus they're also on dvd and blue ray.  Well worth looking up and watching.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Exiles, Transformations, and Sexy Monster Girls coming up!


First up is the dark fantasy novel HIPPOCAMPUS with co-author Phillip Velasquez.  Two SCUBA divers run afoul of a mysterious sea sorceress and face decades of slavery transformed into something decidedly non human.  The prose for this is finished, and we're just waiting on getting the cover together for it.

Also in the works is RIVER OF DREAMS, the seventh novel in the epic FANTASY ENVOY EROTICA series.  Tobias is joined in his voyage along the continent-spanning river by Drazat, a demented sot of a wizard, and Ezmi, a cynical halfling courtesan hired by Drazat as their traveling sex toy.  Only things take a dire turn as old adversaries rear their ugly reptilian heads...

I've been putting together collections/bundles of books lately, with one more coming: the MONSTER GIRL EROTICA SAMPLER PACK.  It will be a collection of four erotica novels to let a reader get a sampling from different such stories of mine.  It will include the first HOT GOBLIN GIRLS, the first HOT DINO GIRLS, HOT MARTIAN GIRLS, and 100 POTIONS, plus a new short story, "Unicorn Glade."  I published 'Unicorn Glade' online before, but the last time it was posted was over a decade ago, and this will be its first time officially 'published' in an actual book.

And I do plan on eventually collecting together all the 'exclusive' short stories from each collection in their own anthology, once enough of them accumulate to make that worthwhile.

Also coming up will be the anthologies WORLDS OF TRANSFORMATION, which will probably be two volumes.  All my collaborations with Phil Velasquez started off with me doing story commissions for him, and these will collect all those shorter works.

Before the end of the year, I also want to get to HOT GOBLIN GIRLS 5 and HOT DINO GIRLS 5, but I also want to do one or two original erotica works before I dive back into those series.  As things stand right now, that will either be HOT PIRATE GIRLS or PALOMA'S HOUSE, or both.

In between all that I want to finally put out paperback editions of THE SHATTERED SKY as well as all the collected books I've put out lately.

Down the line, I plan on eventually doing two sequels to ICE AGE HEAT.  I had wanted to continue things with that story, but was kind of stuck past a certain point.  But I worked through that now and am pretty confident I have enough for at least two more books.  I plan on being a WRITING BEAST for as long as I can sustain it, so hopefully I can get to that early next year.  But given reality, and especially how the real world has been fucking with me the past half year, I can't make any guarantees when any of this is going to get done, really.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Battling Bursitis This Week

 Blearg.  Over the weekend, I developed some tendonitis in my right knee, which swelled up the joint.  That would have been bad enough, but then I banged my swollen knee on the cane I've been using to hobble around, and bam, got hit by a bit of bursitis too.  I'll recover, obviously.  This isn't the first time I've been through something like this. But holey moley is this painful at times.  Even worse than the chest pains I had back in December, and that was from a 'minor' heart blockage.
Obviously, this means there are going to be more delays on things, at least until the pain quiets down enough so I can properly concentrate on things again.  But hopefully this clears up soon. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Updates 3/18

I am currently working heavily on a bunch of book- and writing-related projects. As such, I likely won't be able to update on Patreon, DA, or other sites for the next month or so as much as I have been doing, especially artwork. However, my Patreon patrons will still be able to get a bunch of sneak peaks at ongoing manuscripts and cover art in progress, plus I will still be doing sketches for fun just to unwind.

But on the plus side, it should mean more books more quickly from me, which I assume most people are contributing to my Patreon for in the first place. First up is AQUARIUM BLUES, then THE COLLECTED HOT DRAGON GIRLS Volume 2 with an exclusive short story, then the paperback of THE COLLECTED HOT DRAGON GIRLS Volume 1, all hopefully by the end of the month.

After that will be the first WORLDS OF TRANSFORMATION anthology, THE COLLECTED HOT GOBLIN GIRLS and the HOT ORC GIRLS collection. The latter will collect my Orc-themed erotica novels, including The Virgin Orc's First Kiss, Deep Delve, and Moonfire's Busty Curse. Both volumes will also feature an exclusive original short story.

Those short stories for the collected volumes will be available only to those books AND to my patrons on Patreon!

Later in the year, expect to see paperback versions of the collected volumes, plus brand new works like WORLD OF TRANSFORMATION VOLUME 2, HOT PIRATE GIRLS, PALOMA'S HOUSE, HOT GOBLIN GIRLS 5, and RIVER OF EXILES (Fantasy Envoy Volume 7.) So stay tuned!

Plus, follow me on Twitter! Just got back into it and am trying to build up my audience there.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

On Twitter Again

My Twitter handle:  @plucas1000

I somewhat reluctantly reactivated my old Twitter account and want to give it a go again.  The account is mostly there to promote my books and artwork, though I imagine I'll tweet fun stuff I may find or do as well, like I do with my journals/blog posts.  I did try out Twitter back in 2013, and was less impressed with it as both a platform and as a promotional tool, so I stopped using it after a month or two.  But much to my surprise and chagrin, it's stuck around and is more popular than ever.  So I might as well use it if I can.

So follow me and I'll follow you, and all that stuff, as long as you aren't using your account to promote something really objectionable.  Twitter handle above.

I also plan on starting a bunch of various promotional efforts this month.  I'm sure some, or even most, probably won't work out, but I do want to do more raw promotional stuff in the future to reach more fans and readers.  If anyone has any suggestions along those lines, especially if it doesn't cost a whole lot of money, I'll certainly be willing to listen.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sweetness And Lightning Anime

A great little anime series I just recently wrapped up watching, and thought I'd share.

This 12-episode slice-of-life series came out in 2016.  It's about this young high school teaching assistant Kohei who lost his wife six months before, and has to raise their 5-year-old daughter Tsumugi on his own.  He does his best, but their busy schedule and his cooking lack of skill means the pair often relies on instant foods and take out to get by.  Kohei worries his daughter isn't eating right.

Then one day they meet Kotori, a high school senior in Kohei's class, and through various circumstances she invites them back to her family's small cafe-restaurant.  Kotori's mom is always busy with work, and the family restaurant is mostly closed, which saddens her.  So the three of them strike a deal; Kohei and Tsumugi will come over once in a while to eat with Kotori.  This way, Kohei learns to cook, Tsumugi gets some decent meals, and Kotori can breath some life back into the restaurant that was a big part of her childhood.

That's pretty much what constitutes the 'plot' for the show.  There are some minor dramas, like Tsumugi dealing with a mean girl in kindergarden or the dad struggling with a homemade recipe.  They always end up at the restaurant, where the show shows detailed instructions for cooking a particular dish, and then they have a delicious meal together.  That's it.   And holy crap is it an addictive, feel good kind of show.

I am not a fan of slice of life show, usually.   But this one has such great characters and a deceptively simple but appealing premise that it sucked me right in. The big strength is in the two main characters, the father and daughter, and their relationship.  Kohei is a befuddled, hard working, slightly nerdy dad, but his devotion to his daughter is never in doubt, even when he may have to yell at her and scold her.  Tusmugi, for her part, is a sweet but believable child character.  She's mostly well behaved, but there are time she throws tantrum or misbehaves or does stupid things because hey, she's 5 years old.

Kotori, the high school student, is a bit introverted but very well-meaning and warms up once she gets to know the Kohei and Tsumugi.  In most other shows, they'd play up the potential romance between her and Kohei, and though there are very broad subtle hints that may be where things go eventually, the show isn't concerned with that.  For the anime, she's still very much a student and he a teacher; they never go beyond being friends and if they bond over anything it's in cooking for Tsumugi.  It was a nice change of pace, actually.

The only real downside is that there are only 12 episodes.  The manga it's based on is still ongoing, but it needs to get some more chapters under its belt before it has enough material to adopt into a season 2.  But even if we don't get new episodes, I'm still very satisfied with the show.  It's a great optimistic and warm pick me up kind of series thats eems to be a real hidden treasure.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New WORLDS OF TRANSFORMATION Anthologies In The Works!

A project long on the backburner is finally moving forward.

Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, I did a bunch of story commissions for Phillip Velasquez, who was also my co-author for books such as DRYAD and SELKIE.  After I began doing ebooks, we talked about publishing those stories in the form of one or more anthologies.  However, Phil ran into some medical problems and contact between us was rather infrequent over the next few years.

However, recently things seemed to have cleared up for Phil, at least to the point that we're in regular communication again.  And we've been working steadily in clearing the way for the anthologies once again.  We are going to put up one stand alone book, AQUARIUM BLUES, then launch into the anthologies.

The stories almost exclusively focus on on of Phil's favorite themes, that of human transformation.  Some are science fiction, some are fantasy, some are horror, but I think they all turned out pretty good and should be interesting for people to read.  And I know some people are wonder:  No, these won't be erotica books, though a few of the stories are definitely 'R'-rated because of adult themes, violence, or explicit imagery.

The good news for me is that the stories are already written, though they will have to be reworked to make them presentable for publication (writing for a single client and writing for a general audience tends to have different demands.)  Also, the cover art is also mostly done, thanks to commission Phil had done, so I also don't have to worry about completing a cover from scratch for each one.  This should speed the process along for each of the books, so you'll likely see these sooner rather than later.   There will be some delays in some other projects, such as THE BUSTY ORC's CURSE, but hopefully not by too much.

Stay tuned!