Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Sherlock--This is The End?

Sherlock: This is The End?
(Caution: Spoilers)

I thought I'd write a quick review of Sherlock: The Final Problem since my Doctor Who reviews get quite a few reads. I have enjoyed this mystery series loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories over all, but this last (and it seems to be the very last) episode was quite a let down on many levels.

I realize that the leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, are very busy actors and very much in demand these days, but it's not that fact which was a let down for me. It was the fact that, since this was probably the very last episode for the duo as Holmes and Watson, it should have been of higher quality to match their terrific performances over the years.

What to really say about The Final Problem? It was simply... a problem for me. It didn't come across as a mystery worthy of the great detective, but a gimmicky, cheap shot at trying to hook an audience with gratuitous violence and silliness. Previous episodes were based on the classic Sherlock Holmes short stories or novellas, and they seemed to work fine with their 21st century twists. This time, there was none of the charm of Conan Doyle's original characters coming through in the writing. 

Instead, we were presented with the portrait of an adult female with mental illness that was less than flattering. Somehow she is Sherlock's older sister that he never knew he had, which, of course, is not canon. Misogynistic portrayals of women characters is a problem area for producer/co-writer Steven Moffat.  It has been written about by yours truly (see my Doctor Who reviews from a year or so back) as well several other feminists. 

Why Mr. Moffat comes across as "tone deaf" when it comes to writing female characters is a mystery in itself, but it is a consistent problem he has in most of his scripts. He views women as objects to be used to further plots, but they have few, if any, positive characteristics. Psychopathic and sadistic Euros is the winner of  "The Universe's Worst Woman of All Times Award." She has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (Correction: My husband reminded me Euros is an excellent violin player. She does have one redeeming quality.)

Other female characters aren't depicted much better in this script. Poor Molly, who has had a crush on Sherlock all these years, is shamed by Euros's trickery and made to feel bad about her love for Sherlock. He, in turn, is ashamed of his affection towards her. How "unromantic" and "un-gallant" is that?

Shooting and drowning unarmed and tied-up hostages is Euros's idea of fun. She's supposed to be related by blood to Sherlock, Mycroft and their seemingly very gentle parents? (I guess the violin playing ability demonstrates the shared genetics?)  If we had never met Sherlock's parents before in a Christmas story and seen them as "human," maybe we could have believed they spawned a she-demon in Euros. But we have seen their parents, and they came across as "normal." So, there's no real satisfactory explanation of how Euros's psychosis came about and why Sherlock and Mycroft are not also insane. 

Five year olds don't usually become "The Bad Seed" all on their own. It takes quite a lot to drive any person to those types of behaviors. Children who are physically, mentally and sexually abused over and over again can suffer a mental break down and act out violently. Are Moffat and Gatiss in their co-authored tale implying all three of the Holmes children had a horrific and abusive childhood?

Yes, it's a real let down of a story. To be fair, I'm looking at it as a professional writer and a person with a psychology degree and some knowledge of what abuse can do to the individual. But honestly, there was nothing particularly uplifting, redeeming or even accurate in any of the character portrayals as written. This lack of logic in the story wasn't enjoyable.

I really do enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman's Dr. Watson and Mark Gatiss's Mycroft Holmes. They are superb actors. I was  looking forward to a better send-off for all three characters. Let's hope they have the time and energy to make at least one more positive and hopeful Holmes-like mystery so I can forget this episode as easily as Sherlock can forget his young friend whom Euros chained to the bottom of a well. 

(However did a five year old girl  managed this physical task is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Holmes helped her dispatch and chain up the little boy, and they truly are monsters? Ugh.)


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Very Vampire Christmas is here!

How do you cheer up your vampire lover around the holiday season? Melynda wonders if maybe a few new traditions of their own are in order to bring a smile to Val's bite. Mel's time-traveling cousin Shelby and her horny boyfriend Quentin add to the fun of the season with their own brand of wild and free activities. Mel and Shel find it's time to get on Santa's "naughty girl" list. Ho, ho, ho!

Available now for download at eXtasy Books:

 Featuring Melynda and Val from my novel The Vampire Next Door and Shelby and Quentin from the Time Surfer series.

Monday, November 21, 2016

As we enter the holiday season...

As we enter the holiday season, let me be the first person to wish you all a very happy holiday season--whichever one(s) you celebrate. For Americans, most of us celebrate Thanksgiving in November and a holiday or two in December and New Year's Eve. So, please consider yourself "greeted" by yours truly. (If you like, you can return the holiday greetings in the comments below.)

I wanted to make this holiday greeting announcement fairly early on in the season so that what I'm about to say next wouldn't come as a shock to you: I've decided not to send any Christmas cards this year. Don't worry--I will give gifts to close relatives, and I will decorate my tree and house as usual. I'm not going to be a total "Scrooge." The reason why I'm not sending out holiday cards is to make a statement: Not everyone is going to experience a "Happy Holiday!" this year. I feel that the money I spend on postage and cards could be better put to use helping others have a happier, safer and more just 2017, so I plan on doing just that.

You might not be aware of what is happening at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation  with the Dakota Access Pipeline, but this would not be because I haven't shared this information frequently on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on the weekly blog I edit, Our Revolution Continues and in several pieces I've written for Political Storm.  Since this is Celine's blog I won't go into details here (you can easily click on the links provided for those), but I wanted to share the reason behind the statement I've just given. 

How can I say the words, "Joyous tidings of the season to you," or "Peace on Earth, good will to all mankind," when horrendous injustices are being inflicted on our peaceful water protectors of the Missouri River? I just can't.

Instead of mailing out hollow words of joy to friends and family, I will use those funds to help out the people of Standing Rock and elsewhere who are in need. If you feel inclined to help others in need this season instead of mailing cards and letters to the names on your Christmas list, please feel encouraged to do so. I won't feel slighted in the least if I don't receive a card from you. In fact, I'll feel very happy and proud to call you my friend for putting the needs of those suffering injustices--such as the water protectors of Standing Rock who strive to protect our precious land, sky and water--ahead of my feelings.

I wish you all a happy holiday season, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May it be a better year than we hope, or at least may it be one in which we all re-discover our humanity and humility and truly live out the Golden Rule, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Think: One day you may need your neighbors' help. How can you rely on them in your darkest hour if they can't rely on you during this season of light?

--Cindy/Celine Chatillon 

Here's the first project I'm supporting for the water protectors at Standing Rock in lieu of sending Christmas cards this year. I've always wanted to build a straw bale home, so I'm glad to support Honor the Earth as they build a community hall for the Oceti Sakowin encampments. Check it out, and if you feel motivated, donate a little something toward their goal of $75K (they're about halfway there). They will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner there in a few days.

P.S. On a lighter note, my original holiday short story A Very Vampire Christmas will come out December 13 from eXtasy Books. Check out the very cool cover artwork by Angela Waters:


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Costuming--It's Not Just for Halloween Anymore

Costuming--It's Not Just For Halloween Anymore

It's October, and I know a lot of folks are getting their Halloween costumes together either for themselves (to attend a masquerade) or for their little ones to go trick-or-treating, but did you know there are many folks who consider costuming their hobby, even their calling?

 Some call it "cosplay." (I think of that as acting out a particular anime or fictional character.)  But many others think of themselves as simply "costumers" who enjoy creating their own unique characters and bringing them to life.

One of the best places to witness the wonders of costuming is at a science fiction convention such as Archon, but not all the characters you'll see there come to life are necessarily sci-fi or fantasy related. The one thread that holds all costumers together is their sense of wonder and sense of fun. I mean, what could be more fun than pretending to be a fantastical creature or zany character you've imagined and realized with your own talents at the sewing machine or table saw? 

Enjoy the photos and feel inspired. Have a safe and Happy Halloween, too.

From Star Trek to Doctor Who... It's always great to see the classics of science fiction at Archon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: The Last Woman Standing

The Last Woman Standing Getting close to our Y.A. debut release of Olivia's Escape... But here's the scoop on the last "romantic fiction" I've read/reviewed.

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Young Josephine Marcus runs away from her stifling home life in 1880’s San Francisco to marry Johnny Behan, a charming older man who’s aiming to become the sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona. But once Josephine finds herself in the booming silver mining and cattle baron town she realizes Johnny wants her to act as a governess to his young son and keep his bed warm without benefit of matrimony. After she catches Johnny in bed with another woman, she admits to herself that she can no longer keep up the charade of caring for him and lying to her conservative Jewish family back home that he’s going to make an honest woman out of her one day. She walks out. But how can a disgraced woman make a living in a boom town which doesn’t involve selling her body?

Luckily for Josephine, the handsome sharpshooter Wyatt Earp has taken a shine to her since the day she stepped off the stage coach. A competitor for the same position as Johnny, Wyatt and his brothers have all been discriminated against by the ex-Confederates in the territory. They don’t care for the Earp brothers’ Lincoln Republican leanings and want to exploit Tombstone any way they see fit. As Wyatt’s kept woman, Josephine experiences the aftermath of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the false testimony of the traitorous Johnny Behan, which places the Earp brothers in jail and endangers their lives by vigilante action.

The Last Woman Standing is primarily a historical novel with a little added romance. The in-depth details of life in 1880s Arizona and the larger-than-life characters who dwelled in the infamous town will appeal to readers of Westerns and women’s historical fiction alike, if they can handle the slow pacing and large information dumps given at the expense of the actual story.

View all my reviews

Coming soon from Desert Breeze Publishing... Olivia's Escape, Book one of the BloodDark series. Read more about the series at