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Camela Thompson
105 followers -
I write about strong women who shine brighter because of difficult circumstances.
I write about strong women who shine brighter because of difficult circumstances.

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I read a broad range of fiction, but Sci Fi is one of my favorite genres. When Michael G. Munz offered to give me an advanced copy of the latest in his New Aeneid Cycle trilogy, I said, "Hell, yes." I loved the first two, so of course I wanted to get my grubby little hands on the third. The concept is interesting, I love the characters, and he does a great job writing well rounded female characters in leadership positions. A Dragon at the Gate has officially launched. Go get your copies here. Added bonus: He has a great sale running.

Here's the blurb:

Artificial intelligence, aliens, and nanotech collide in this cyberpunk adventure...
Michael Flynn has lost time. An operative in the worldwide conspiracy known as the Agents of Aeneas, the last thing he remembers is the struggle to retake Paragon—the derelict alien spacecraft found crashed on the Moon. Yet that was three months ago. Now, as he wakes in a hospital back in the high-tech, urban strife of Northgate, his struggle begins anew.

The Agents of Aeneas have vanished.

His friends are either missing, in danger, or altered. Hired killers shadow his every move. And Jade, the mysterious, cyber-enhanced woman watching over him, will give no answers. Thrust into a blind search for the truth, Michael needs allies. Yet whom can he trust when once loyal friends may have turned against him?

Meanwhile, an intelligence thought trapped within Paragon has escaped to Northgate. Driven to fulfill the goals of the mysterious “Planners,” it, too, seeks allies. When it finds them, it will transform the face of Northgate, the world, and the entire human race.

The year 2051 draws to a close, and nothing will be the same.

Camela Thompson's Review (4 of 5 Stars):
The third book in The New Aeneid Cycle did not disappoint! Book two ended on a bit of a cliff hanger, and I was looking forward to seeing how the author navigated book three. I really enjoyed the newest featured character--Jade--muscle for hire with a bit of a conscience. Munz does a very good job of not only writing women but putting them in leadership roles and allowing them to shine on their own (which seems like an odd thing to say, but there are so many books out there that fail in this regard). Munz is a very talented writer and I appreciated so many points where the description offered was beautifully done. I would recommend reading the books in order. And I seriously want to visit that plant themed nightclub (it sounds odd but trust me, it works).

About Michael G. Munz:

An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State at the age of three. Unable to escape the state’s gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.

Michael developed his creative bug in college, writing and filming four exceedingly amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
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The Shadows on the Sound podcast has a new home on Facebook! We're trying to make one place to interact with listeners and guests past and present.
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Podcast Episode 19: Resident Evil Debate

Z.D. Gladstone and Camela Thompson are joined by video game reviewer and enthusiast, Brandon Erickson, to look at the Resident Evil franchise. They did their best to look at each of the mediums and analyze them based on their own merit. It wasn't much of a contest.
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Adapting the Paranormal for Young Adults

Camela Thompson and Z.D. Gladstone discuss their own childhood favorites from early readers to YA. Paranormal has been a part of our culture since the beginning of time, and it is interesting to see the lengths that writers (for the big screen or books) go to make their interpretations kid friendly. The cohosts also take a look at what modern authors do to differentiate their material for their intended audiences.

As always, we would love to hear from you. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please leave us a comment.
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The Resident Evil Debate

My podcast co-host, Z.D. Gladstone, had a brilliant idea: Ask our listeners whether they preferred the Resident Evil movies or video games (we're recording the episode soon and there's still time to contribute). I cringed when she read off her call to action. It wasn't because I thought we'd have a hard time sorting through the responses. It wasn't because I thought we'd have a close argument. It was because I anticipated shouty, all caps rants.

Nailed it. Pro Tip: I can tell how rational a fellow geek's argument will be by how loud the yelling gets. The more passionate and spittle fueled the rage, the fewer facts and science.

As expected, I've heard and read the following variations:
There were movies?
There were video games?
YOU ARE AN IDIOT IF YOU LIKE THE MOVIES!!!!!!

I haven't heard much of an argument from those who prefer the movies. Personally, I didn't have a problem with the movies, but I hadn't played the video games when I watched them. I know, I know. You may now revoke my geek card. We'll just ignore that I grew up in the 80s heyday of linear game playing and loved it. I'll burn my Star Wars fan fiction and pretend I don't know things.

Now that we've gotten that dirty piece of business out of the way, I can tell you I was glad I hadn't played the games first. It allowed me to view the two things as separate and unrelated. I realize that I can't tell people who did play the video games first to pretend they hadn't happened or to take the two things as separate products. The problem is: They bear the same name. If they had been branded separately with no attempt at crossover, there would have been less rage. 

The other reason I understand why I can't ask people to separate the two? The book vs. movie phenomenon. I've lived it. So much disappointment. 

Those of us who cherish something built up in our minds have a really hard time coping with different interpretations (and heaven forbid they diverge from the original plot). When someone gets stabby about Resident Evil, I take a deep breath and remember how I feel about The Shining. Taken as a separate thing, the movie is a classic. Compared to the book, it's a heap of trash. Jack Torrance's character arc flat-lined before his first appearance on the big screen. The thing I loved about the book was absent.

Here's what has been missing from the arguments I've heard about the Resident Evil debate: WHY. Was it the plot line? The directing? The acting? The story? The casting? If you do not like the movies, I would love to hear why. I would also love to hear from those of you who appreciated both or even preferred the movie. If you're in that last group, I would suggest emailing me or posting anonymously to avoid caps lock tirades in your direction. You have been warned...
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Reader Pet Peeve: Character Perfection

Be warned. I'm feeling a little bit ranty today. I just finished a book I really enjoyed. In fact, I couldn't put it down. I read until my Kindle ran out of battery charge. I even looked forward to my commute to and from work on public transit because it's a chance to read. That is really saying something considering it was in the 90s which only intensified the various smells imprinted into the vinyl seats. So, what's the issue? There was one thing that nearly ruined the book for me, and it's my biggest pet peeve as a reader: The protagonist was perfect. She could do everything well. Her perfection was explained by lessons gleaned throughout her life, but the list of awesomeness was never ending. 

I get the impulse, and one of my beta readers pointed out that I've been called on it during first draft reviews. As a writer with feminist overtones, I want my female protagonist to thrive on her own. I don't like having her ask for help. But. Sometimes it makes sense. A character new to surviving in a harsh environment may not know everything about fighting, weapons, or even legal representation. Let's not forget there are many forms of strength, including knowing when to ask for help. A character can appear weak, but their strength may be in what they sacrifice for another to thrive.

I've read historical fiction novels with characters who excel at everything. It's very prevalent in spy thrillers. Just look at James Bond--his only flaw was misogyny. In the particular book that fueled this tirade, a young woman had perfected everything from learning new languages to spying to throwing dice. It made sense for her to excel at some things, but there was no need to call out others. When she excelled at something as mundane as efficiently moving through crowds, it grew frustrating.

Other readers have expressed similar frustration when the main character is a stunning beauty or a gorgeous man who also happens to be an expert in all things. It's easier for me to relate to characters who have physical flaws (or at least is self-conscious) and have uncertainties. It makes the hero's journey more interesting and the character arc has more room to grow.

What are your feelings? Are you bothered by perfect protagonists, or do you enjoy a shining hero?
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Amy Rakowczyk joined Z.D. Gladstone and Camela Thompson to discuss the impact of music in film. They look at classic horror themes and what makes an enjoyable movie experience.

Note: Camela Thompson mentioned a movie score in The Mirror. While she stands by her feelings about the movie, she acknowledges there isn't a music score. She had watched a lot of bad horror in a short amount of time and will update this post when she figures out which movie she was recalling (she has it narrowed down to Alien Uprising or Extraterrestrial).
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Come vote for your favorite covers!!! A new round is announced every 10 minutes. Help pick a favorite!
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Back to the Day Job

Today marks my first day back in the office since I started my long break. I remember when I took time off work, several people were excited and asked if I was going to write full time. Perhaps one day in the future I'll be able to retire from corporate life, but not now. Not yet. And maybe not for many, many years. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with it initially.

When I started this break, I thought I would use the time to write a couple books. Maybe even three. Instead, I sat at my computer writing chapters, only to delete them. I focused on marketing in the second half of April and all of May. By all accounts, the launch was solid--a definite improvement over the first. It gave me hope that this author platform thing will continue to get easier as time goes on. I jumped into an ongoing marketing strategy. I started a podcast. I spent a ton of time with my dog and husband. I had time to write and interact with my family. I even had energy to do things on the evenings and weekends. I did write a book. It wasn't the book I expected to write, but I was thrilled it happened.

I may have struggled with writing, but I learned some things about myself. I accepted that I can't continue to work full time and be an author without help. I'm lucky that my career by day is lucrative. My career by night--writing--is not. Yet. Having a dual income means we are lucky enough to have someone come in and help clean so I don't have to spend time on it on the weekends. We have a dog walker come every day so I don't worry about our pup. I need to look for help marketing. I made the choice to take a challenging job (that I fortunately enjoy) rather than work part time and attempt to live with a little extra from writing jobs. That would have meant learning how to churn out articles, spending more time cleaning, fixing stuff around the house, and finding ways to save money and live in a really expensive city. It's doable. It just wasn't the route I decided to take.

I enjoy the challenge of my day job, and spend most of that time analyzing trends and pulling together numbers. I listen to business issues and work hard to find solutions. It keeps my brain whirring. For some reason, I do a better job of writing when I'm working. My husband's theory is that I need to use the analytical side of my brain for the creative side to flourish. I think it has more to do with having incentive to spend precious spare time wisely on a hobby I enjoy. Less time is dedicated to the wormhole that is the Internet and more time is spent typing. I'm more willing to push through writing walls and persist rather than wait for a muse to strike.

My weeks just got busier, but it doesn't mean I'll stop writing. The book output may be lower than it would have been otherwise, but I'm not so sure about that anymore. I've accepted that I may only be able to kick one book out a year, but I'm going to take the time to make that book as good as I can get it. Both working and writing means sacrifices. In the coming months, I know to look at the things that get put aside and make sure the right sacrifices are made.

Have you had to make sacrifices for your passion?
Back to the Day Job
Back to the Day Job
camelathompson.com
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Episode 11: The Challenges of Writing Paranormal

Z.D. Gladstone and Camela Thompson cover a topic at the forefront of their minds: Writing! Both have several projects they are working on and were happy to have the chance to talk about their passion. Pet peeves as a reader, things to avoid as a writer, and successful examples of exceptions were all discussed.

As always, we would love to hear what you thought of this topic. If you have any feedback, suggestions, or would like to be a featured guest on our podcast, please use the Contact tab, comments, or little mail icon at the top right of this page to reach out to us. We love featuring artists, musicians, and writers who share our love for all things mythological and paranormal.
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