WFTM Podcast Episode 4: A New Hope (For Comic Con)

In episode 4, Fernando and Leslie discuss the San Diego Comic Con schedule, what panels they’re most excited about seeing, the pilots on their showing schedule, the assortment of authors and much, much more. Comic Con is next week and we are so excited! We also talked about how Inside Out made us feel and our thoughts on Killjoys and Humans as well as what made us happy in the last week.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here

So what’s in Episode 4?

News:

Watson the Robot Chef Wants to Help You Make Dinner

Comic Con!!

Um… Backstreet Boys invading Comic Con? NOOOOO - My brain can’t handle it.

Walking Dead, Game of Thrones & Star Wars all at once

Lots of awesome authors at the Con this year

Pilots we really want to see

Our Must Panels

From NYTimes.com: Comic Con, Defending Fantasy Culture and, Now, It’s Brand

What We’re Watching:

Inside Out movie review

The Killjoys on Syfy

Humans on AMC

What Leslie’s Reading:

Nothing discussed this week. Just finished up some things from last week.

What’s Making Us Happy:

Fernando: Comic Con, of course

Leslie: Mr. Robot on USA and eating at Chi’lantro

 

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com

 

Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

Author Blog Tour Guest Post & Review: In Midnight's Silence by T. Frohock

Wecome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on T. Frohock's blog tour for In Midnight's Silence, the first in her Los Nefilim series! If this novella about angels and daimons on the verge of Civil War in early 20th century Spain sounds like your time of book, it's currently available for Kindle and Nook for just 99 cents!! It would make for a great summer beach read!

I asked T. why she choose to set her Los Nefilim series in early 20th century Spain, and she provided this lovely guest post to explain some of the historical background that inspired her story. Take it away T.!

Researching Spain and the Spanish Civil War

I’ve been getting this question a lot, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get all my various thoughts in one spot.

Why Spain?

The answer is really easy. Generally, when I write a novel, the characters come to me before the story. I had an idea for a character named Guillermo, who was Spanish. The novel was set in 1348 in Aragon. I didn’t realize at the time how much research I would have to do in order to familiarize myself with Spain, but it really turned into a wonderful experience.

The reason I chose to set that first novel on the Iberian Peninsula had to do with another storyline that I’d developed for the book. The characters were Nephilim (Nefilim in Spanish, hence the series name), and they reincarnate with the memories of their past lives intact. This particular group was in Jerusalem during their firstborn lives. When the Romans conquered what is today Israel, and instigated the diaspora, some Jews fled to the Iberian Peninsula. Since people migrated in that direction, I wondered if maybe souls would, too.

I had intended for that novel to be the beginning of a series, and I wanted to bring those characters up through the Spanish Civil War. However, other projects took precedence, so for a while I forgot about Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel along with their entwined stories. Meanwhile, the seeds for Los Nefilim were there, germinating while I worked on other projects.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that novel didn’t sell. I went on to write other things, but I never forgot the characters or their stories. Last year, I was asked to write a novella, and since the original story was in limbo, I talked with my agent about resurrecting the characters in a new story for the sake of the novella.

I never considered changing their nationality. By this time, these characters were Spanish in my mind. I also wanted a more modern setting, and changed the protagonist from Guillermo to Diago.

I have a strong background in World War II history, and initially started to place the story in that time period; however, it seemed kind of ridiculous to thrust them into World War II when, being Spanish, they were much more likely to be involved in the Spanish Civil War. Guillermo del Toro's exquisite Pan's Labyrinth really intrigued me, because he managed to capture the brutality of the period without losing the beauty and magic of the Spanish people and the country. After Pan’s Labyrinth, I watched The Devil’s Backbone, which was another film by del Toro, also set during the Spanish Civil War.

I got my hands on several histories of the Spanish Civil War and began to research the period just prior to and during the war. I set the story in Barcelona, because the city is old and has such a spooky history. Ghosts and vampires and poltergeists haunt the city, so I figured what were a few more Nefilim, angels, and daimons? The powerful religious history of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain just fit the world that I’d built for my Nefilim and their magic.

I used several histories in order to reconstruct the time period. If you’re interested in reading more about Spain and the Spanish Civil War, here a few:

The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor

The Franco Years by Jose Yglesias

The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: A Witness to the Spanish Civil War by Henry Buckley

Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (second edition) edited by Olivia Remie Constable

Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance edited by Josiah Blackmore and Gregory S. Hutcheson

The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge by Paul Preston

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain by Paul Preston

About T. Frohock

Web site: http://www.tfrohock.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/T_Frohock

BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight's Silence.

T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

In Midnight’s Silence
T. Frohock

Harper Voyager Impulse
I received a copy of this novella from the publisher in return for being on the blog tour
Released June 23, 2015
128 pages
Fantasy / Novella / Angels

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can't get to him directly, they do the one thing he's always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover's life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world's next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock's In Midnight's Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he'll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.

T. Frohock’s world of In Midnight’s Silence is one hiding a dark underbelly where daimons and angels fight for control and power. At the start it feels familiar and like the real world, so it becomes jarring when suddenly a deep mythology becomes hinted at and characters’ histories are alluded to in passing references. For awhile I honestly believed I’d picked up the series in the middle and had to continue to reassure myself that In Midnight’s Silence was the beginning. There just seemed like so much had happened before that I wasn’t privy to that I should already know.

Diago was born from a daimon and an angel, and refuses to pledge to anyone side of the battle looming over early 20th century Spain. He lives and loves a Nephilim named Miquel, who fights on the side of angels, but mostly they live in a small apartment in Barcelona and work their jobs as a music teacher and a guitar player. That is until an angel kidnaps Miquel in order to blackmail Diago to do a deadly errand for him.

Diago’s world is one where supernatural beings have magical powers, primarily through music. This was a unique take on magic with characters humming, whistling and singing to fight their enemies. It produces an interesting imagery and allows for those on the same side to create harmonious music as their fight battles. I really enjoyed the idea of music and tones as magic, though there isn’t really much explanation on how things work. It just creates a mysterious, often dark undertone to what could have otherwise been unexplained and basic magic.

Diago is a conflicted figure, happy in his life though caught in the middle of a bigger picture. When he discovers a son he never knew he had, he becomes more conflicted, but also becomes a more heroic figure. Miquel is less formed, seen only as the lover to fight for and not so much as a character of his own, but in a 128 page novella, it’s difficult to truly fill out the secondary characters.

In Midnight’s Silence gives a glimpse to a much larger world that deserves a much larger book. This felt like a promotional prequel to something bigger coming out. The world is dark and intriguing with shadows of darkness everywhere ready to pounce on our heroes. The magic system provides an atmospheric nature to a short story that made me want more. This is an interesting introduction to a new take on angels and demons fighting for the fate of the world.

I received a copy of this novella from the publisher for being on the tour. All opinions are my own.

Why I Couldn't Care Less About Marvel's New Spider-Man

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

Late Tuesday Marvel Studios announced that they had finally found their new Peter Parker in Tom Holland. I don’t know if many people are familiar with the name Tom Holland, but he’s an 19-year-old British actor who has been in things like The Impossible, Wolf Hall and something coming out soon called In the Heart of the Sea. I know I couldn’t have told you who this kid was, though he has a passing resemblance to Billy Elliott (also known as Jamie Bell).

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. This gif just makes me smile.

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. This gif just makes me smile.

What I can tell you is that I could care less about another version of Peter Parker. I am so bored with Peter Parker, and that’s coming from someone who loved Andrew Garfield’s fluffy haired version of the character. I didn’t love the movies he was put into, but his version of the character was great and his chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was possibly the most perfect version I could image on film.

But with five movies in 13 years, I just do not care about another Peter Parker Spider-Man film. I get that the Civil War comic book story line really relies on having a Peter Parker, but Marvel Studios has made massive changes to well-known plot lines before. They could easily have replaced Peter with the never-before-seen-on-screen Miles Morales and had a new Spider-Man that not only added diversity, but didn’t require rebooting a character for the third time in less than 15 years.

I can’t bring myself to care about another Peter Parker, even with Marvel (mostly) controlling the reigns. The Amazing Spider-Man movies relied too heavily on special effects, forgetting to put much heart or plotting into the story, and leaving their far superior cast to do more heavy lifting to give the films any sort of charisma. And I don’t even want to talk about Spider-Man 3. None of the films have fully gelled since Spider-Man 2 and even that one had the problem of Tobey Maguire being a milquetoast–verging-on-whiney Peter Parker.

Perhaps having a truly younger version of Peter will give this new version of the franchise more life than the last three movies, but I have a fear that we’re just going to get a rehash of a Peter Parker origin story that we’ve already seen twice. It’s been done. Let’s move on to something new and interesting. Even Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone couldn’t make the second retelling seem new, interesting or intriguing. We knew all the plot beats before we ever entered the theatre because pretty much the same movie had been made a decade before.

Maybe Marvel will skip the origin story this time, but I honestly can’t see that happening. Origin stories are just so easy to do, and knowing that pretty much everyone and their mom knows Peter Parker’s story at this point probably won’t be enough to persuade Marvel to try something more creative.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

I wish Tom Holland best of luck and I hope he and the Marvel team surprise me. I can’t imagine he’ll get much screen time with the already over bloated cast of Captain America: Civil War, but maybe they’ll figure out a way to make him stand out. It’s just going to take something special to cause me to have any interest in seeing Spider-Man The Redux Again (He’s Really Younger This Time!) in 2017.

I’ll just be over here waiting for Captain Marvel when I can genuinely get excited about Marvel movies again..

Are you excited to get another, younger Spider-Man in 2017? Who would you have cast if given the chance? Do you know who Tom Holland is? Hit up the comments to discuss.

Macmillan and #SixofCrows Is Doing Marketing to Bloggers Right!

One of the best things about being a blogger who does this as a hobby and not a paying gig is when surprise packages show up on my doorstep from publishers. I love finding new books on my doorstep, but every now and again something shows up at might door that truly stands out from the crowd. Normally that package comes from Macmillan because they are awesome.

Today a package in black bubble wrap showed up at my door. It was pretty unassuming. "Awesome! A new book!" I thought to myself.

And then I opened it to find this.

SixofCrowsPackage.jpg

It is indeed a book. A book, in fact, that I've wanted very much, and it's in some pretty impressive packaging.

First there's the pencil/makeup bag with an intriguing quote I assume is from the book.

Inside is a postcard sized one sheet about the book, but even it has been creatively designed to reflect something of the story. I like when marketing doesn't feel like just marketing and this playing card does that.

SixofCrowsPlayingCard.jpg

And then there is the actual box the book is in. It has wings. Really big wings (please ignore the state of my desk, Fernando keeps getting on me about cleaning it up).

And finally the shiny galley. This book is hefty, both in size and weight. I can't wait to read it!

Thank you so much, Macmillan! You guys made my day!

 

For those of you who haven't heard of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, here's the blurb. Get excited! It comes out September 29th.

Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-new book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

WFTM Podcast Episode 3: Clone Club, Star Wars Rebels & A Lot of Gods!

Three episodes! It’s officially a trend! In this episode we discuss the third season of Orphan Black, the one hour episode of Star Wars: Rebels, some Comic Con news, what Leslie is reading and much more.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

 

So what’s in Episode 3?

News:

If you live in Austin, come to Austin Books & Comics monthly comic book club next Tuesday, June 30th at 6:30PM! We’ll be discussing Batman: The Long Halloween with an awesome group of nice comic book geeks, both experienced and noobs. It’s a great group where everyone is welcome and all opinions are treated with respect. Learn more here.

American Gods might finally make it onto Starz!

That rumor about a Hawkgirl show is really just a rumor, guys. (But we still want it to happen)

Sony & Paramount pull out of Comic Con because they’re lame.

What We’re Watching:

Orphan Black is done for season 3, but was are we still in the Clone Club? (Spoilers end at 26:00)

Star Wars: Rebels returns with some familiar faces

What Leslie’s Reading:

The Wicked + the Divine volume 1 by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (for the Sword & Laser Book Club on Goodreads)

What’s Making Us Happy:

Fernando: The Women’s World Cup – USA USA USA USA!

Leslie: Slate’s Stranger Than Fiction Podcast

 

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com

 

Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

 

WFTM Podcast, Episode 2: Dinos, Thrones, iZombie, Oh My! Thoughts on iZombie, Jurassic World, Game of Thrones Season Finale, Dark Matter, Harley Quinn & More

WFTMPodcast2.png

Hey, look! We made another podcast! In this episode, Fernando and I talk about the season finale of Game of Thrones, our lack of enthusiasm for Jurassic World, how The Novice: Summoner Book 1 sounds a bit like Harry Potter, Harley Quinn's bad relationships, and much more.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

You can listen to the Soundcloud stream below:

So what's in Episode 2?

News:

Jon Bernthal will play the Punisher in Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix

HBO Created a Game of Thrones Monopoly Set

Terrible Justice League: Gods & Monsters animated prequel

Harley & Ivy Are a Thing in Canon!!

What We’re Watching:

Jurassic World

New Syfy Series Dark Matter Pilot Review

Game of Thrones Season Finale – SPOILERS!! (ends 1:01:23)

iZombie the Show versus the Comics

What Leslie’s Reading:

The Novice: Summoner Book 1 by Taran Matharu

Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr – Full Review Here!

What We’re Happy About This Week:

Fernando: Star Wars: Rebels Returns This Saturday!

Leslie: A Website of Awesome Ladies in History - TheLeagueofExtraordinaryLadies.com

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com

Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

Review: Skandal by Lindsay Smith

Skandal
Lindsay Smith

Roaring Brook Press
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.
Released April 7, 2015
336 pages
YA / Alt History / SciFi

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

The dramatic sequel to Sekret, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind.

My mind is mine alone.

Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal.

Skandal suffered from “I really need a heavy recap of everything that happened in the previous book” syndrome because even though it wasn’t that long ago that I read Sekret, the first book in the series, I honestly couldn’t remember who was who or what was going on. I remembered Yulia and her talent in reading the memories off of inanimate objects, but the names, skills and history of events of the other characters left me grasping at fragments of memories. Because of this it took me awhile to fully get immersed in Skandal.

Despite that hiccup, this second book is still an interesting and engaging look at an alternate universe where psychic spies were a reality during the Cold War.

SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES, SEKRET, AHEAD

Read More