Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom and Frankenstein

Wow, I guess those are two topics people don’t really think are similar. It’s no secret that the latest Jurassic World film has gotten a lot of flak from reviewers. Rotten Tomatoes lists it as rotten with just over a 50% rating. But the film just hit the billion dollar mark in theaters – apparently the first non-Disney film to do that this year. So what’s so great about the film that draws people back again and again?

As someone who fell in love with the first Jurassic Park film back in the 90s and first learned about DNA sequencing when I read the book in 5th grade, I absolutely loved the latest film. In my opinion it was the best dinosaur film I’ve seen since the first, and that’s saying a lot. Here’s why.

Just a heads up that there will be SPOILERS below, so please be aware you’ve been warned!

Jurassic Park is about more than just dinosaurs. I know that’s hard to believe considering how epic Blue and the T-Rex are, but hear me out. The whole idea about Michael Crichton’s first book was going about the creation of life without considering the responsibilities involved with it. He wanted to do something bigger than the flea circus he describes, he wanted it to be something real that people could touch. The problem is that Hammond cuts a lot of corners to get there. He sees himself as a shrewd businessman and he’s loving being able to imprint on the dinosaurs being born, but he doesn’t understand that these are new living beings that are introduced to our world.

Hammond wants to create life, but then when it doesn’t work out, he never realizes that destroying them isn’t the answer. You can’t create a living, breathing being and then decide it’s too difficult to deal with and then just get rid of it. We call that parental neglect and child abuse when applied to children.

Victor Frankenstein faces a similar problem. He rushes to create life but then when it isn’t what he imagined, he flees from it and tries to move on with his life. Only it doesn’t work like that. He struggled to understand the responsibility on his shoulders until the end of the book. The two out in the Arctic, the monster forever chasing Victor in the frozen desert wasteland is a metaphor for Victor trying to outrun his mistakes. Hammond also is unable to escape his dangerous children.

So what does all this have to do with Fallen Kingdom? The weight of responsibility is no longer just on Hammond’s shoulders, or on the park owners. It falls on the government. Hearings are held to see if action will be taken to determine if the dinosaurs should be saved or not. Malcolm is a key component here, having always stated that the creatures shouldn’t be allowed to live, they finally listen to him. Only is he right?

There’s a truly powerful scene in the movie where the boat of dinos takes off and the volcano is spewing lava all over the island. You see a brachiosaurus walking down the dock, giving a long, lonely plea. Is it searching for it’s mate? It’s child? It’s parent? You don’t know. As flames and smoke engulf it, he lifts up onto his back legs – a heart-breaking homage to the wonder of the first film – and disappears into the smoke. That ripped me apart in the theater and has easily been one of the most memorable moments of the film. It’s the child of human arrogance wondering why he wasn’t allowed into the boat, wondering why he was considered not worth rescuing, and begging to be saved. That was Frankenstein’s monster in the movies being torched by angry villagers for his mere existence. We saw in that brachiosaurus any living being that is forgotten or neglected by its parent.

Fallen Kingdom gets the message of the original book. It understands the weight and responsibility of Hammond’s dream. It’s perhaps the first Jurassic Park film that does, and when I hear people criticize it in such simple terms, I wonder if they’re seeing the big picture. I wonder if they’re picking up on the nuances that have been sprinkled throughout the film, or if maybe we’re just not watching the same movie.

Now that’s only a touch of what makes Fallen Kingdom so powerful and memorable. Perhaps I’ll talk another time about the Indoraptor and why he was such an incredible homage to slasher horror movies. Or about Blue and how she represents feminist ideologies. It all depends on how interested you all are!

Let me know what you would like me to tackle next in the comments below.

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Traveling as an Author

As an author, it’s tough going on a vacation. You get to go to a new place and have new experiences, but you only get to enjoy them for a limited time. It’s like your senses are all splayed out in order to soak up as many sensations as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter how long your vacation is, it always feels too short, especially if you hope or plan to use it for writing inspiration. You’re always afraid you’ll miss some kind of detail.

Soon I’ll be going on a trip down to the Bahamas, and I plan to write it off on my taxes for book research. This is the first time I’ve attempted it, and I’ve done some research on what all needs to be done. Basically you need to keep track of your individual expenses, and then make sure you work on your research a little bit every day.

I’m going to be bringing a travel journal to take down all the notes of places, to describe interiors, to map out locations, to really bring more than just a picture with me, but to bring a whole location home. Later when I’m working on this new book (we’re talking probably a year or more out right now), I want to be able to pull out my notes and see that entire scene again like it’s already been placed into my novel.

I’m going to try to define the feel that it gives off too. Now that’s something that doesn’t come across in any picture or journal. If you were ever in band and trying to tune the whole room at once, do you remember the upper note that would be heard dimly above the noise? It wouldn’t waver if everyone was in tune, it would ring, even though no one was hitting it. That’s kind of what I’m trying to capture in writing, that imperceptible note.

I’m really looking forward to it! I’m hoping it’ll give me some insight into things I didn’t notice before, or give me a few plot ideas.

I don’t really want to say too much on this future project because it is so far out and right now it’s just a hazy idea, but I’m planning on it to be another YA Horror novel in the vein of The Seeking – another book that’s in the pipeline. That one is at least out of the drafting phase.

Do you keep a travel journal with you or some way to document your experiences when you travel? What works best for you?

The She-Wolf of Kanta, Now on Audible!

I’m so excited to be able to announce that The She-Wolf of Kanta is now available on audiobook through Audible! It’s read by the amazing actress, Kyra McFarland, who really knows how to bring these characters to life. The sample I listened to just blew me away and I can’t wait to hear how she brought the rest of these characters to life.

I love audiobooks. Ever since I bit the bullet and got into Audible last year, I’ve been tearing through my To-Read list. I’m well on my way to reaching my Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year. I listen to books on my daily work commute, while I’m at the gym, and sometimes when I’m doing the dishes. Being able to do things while I listen to books has expanded my genre interests so much. Since I do the subscription every few months and get a free credit which is essentially a free book, I’ve tried books I never thought I would. So you can imagine how thrilled I was that a book that I wrote is now available there!

It’s one of those things you think would be fantastic to happen, but figure it’ll never happen to you – and yet here I am. I worked closely with Kyra and Olivia (my publisher over at Radiant Crown Publishing) throughout the process. Both were very supportive of the piece and worked hard to make sure it was the best it could be. I’m so grateful to both of their help!

If you don’t have an Audible subscription, no worries, you can download it for less than $5 on the site. It’s almost as cheap as the eBook version!

Mercy has always dreamed of becoming a werewolf trapper like her father. In Kanta, one must learn how to survive one way or another. A dark-skinned, blue-eyed young beauty, Mercy understands that she brings out the beast in monsters and men. When a routine werewolf delivery turns into a vicious assault from a pair of human traffickers, Mercy’s life changes forever. Somehow she must endure in a dangerous city where women and werewolves are hunted.

Bullet Journaling as an Author

I’ve only been using my bullet journal since February, but now it’s become a staple in my writing career. It’s helped me remember important things to do, kept me on track with my goals, given me a creative outlet, and even made me healthier. Let me explain.

I scoffed at the idea of keeping a bullet journal at first. I thought I didn’t have the time to keep one and I certainly wasn’t as talented as some of the Youtubers I watched. Slowly though I got on the band wagon and began my own. It was an ugly start. I didn’t know how to organize it and I was using markers that were too fat for the pages, but that was okay. Soon I looked forward to my bullet journal time.

Then a few months later I was diving back into my unfinished YA Horror novel, The Seeking. By that point, I was starting to catch on to how useful this little journal was and figured it could help me in my writing. As you can see, my little word count tracker motivated me so much that I had to put in half steps just to have an excuse to fill it in.

Later on, I was dealing with the release of The She-Wolf of Kanta and had to figure out what to do with the Facebook event I would be leading. You know what was by my side the entire time? My bullet journal of course, with a list of times and events to keep me on schedule.

Now months later, I’m doing the first pass of edits for Stolen. You know by this point that I had to put a tracker in.

My poor bullet journal has been through a lot this year. It’s already almost full and it’s only July. I’m going to have to pick up another one soon to replace it. Do you know what I’m looking forward to though? On New Year’s Day of 2019 I’ll have so many trackers that I’ve completed in my journal. It’ll be concrete proof of all the work I’ve done this year. I’ll be able to flip through years from now and reflect on my first year as an author working on books instead of short stories, finally seeing major traction doing what I’ve loved for so many years. ❤️

Then I’ll setup my new bullet journal and start all over again!

If you’re an author or working to become an author, I would highly recommend starting a bullet journal. It was amazing how much more relaxed I felt getting all the things I was trying to remember out of my head and onto the page.

If you keep a bullet journal, what do you love about it the most?

If not, what holds you back from doing it?

A Quick Breather

I am currently waist-deep in edits for my upcoming novel, Stolen, which is due out in January 2019. On top of that, we have the 4th of July Family Fest on Wednesday that we’re preparing for. It’s a local festival and the owners invited us to attend, so of course we said yes.

Needless to say, I feel like I’m busy constantly at the moment. It’s a good busy, but still busy. That said, I wanted to give some updates!

  • Stolen is going to have 2 other books in its series. Book 2 is tentatively titled Broken.
  • I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo this month (you know, whenever I have the time to write…) to get that word count going on Broken
  • I’m taking a trip this month that I’ll be considering my first one for book research. I’ll be studying a cruise ship layout, and yes, I’m planning it to be another YA Horror novel. 😈
  • I’m still working on my Leafeon cosplay for DragonCon. If you want to see updates, hop on over to my Instagram and check out my stories. I try to post short updates there.
  • Finally, you may notice some changes on this blog! I’ve finally taken the plunge for the first time in 8 years (omg have y’all been listening to my rambling rants that long??) and have upgraded my blog. I plan on getting a custom domain name and maybe even sell some original stories on here as well. I’m not entirely sure yet, but once I have the time, I’m going to iron out some details.

Anyway – that’s all I have for now! If you’re an American, please try to enjoy the 4th and keep your head high. I’m hoping to have a lot more fiction announcements down the road! Thank you for reading my work and supporting me – every kind review or appreciative note inspires me to keep going. 🙂