Vampire: The Masquerade – Meet Hiroko

Last year I experienced tabletop roleplaying for the first time.  I’d dabbled in it before – a game of Edgewalkers here, a few nights of Pathfinder there – but I’d never really taken it seriously before.  That is, until I was invited to join a game of Vampire: The Masquerade.

Inspired by my recent read of the time, The Trees by Ali Shaw, I created Hiroko, a Gangrel (animalistic shape-shifting vampire) from Japan.  Hiroko was just nine years old when she was murdered by a mysterious stranger in the woods near her home.  Scared and terrified after her transformation, she frenzied (a term for when a vampire’s humanity drops too low and the beast within them takes over) and killed her parents in an attack orchestrated by her twisted Sire.  After years of abuse, traveling with her as a pet and means of entertainment, her Sire abandoned her and she found her way to the moors of England, where she was taken in by an old Gangrel called Morris.  She moved into a beat-up old caravan on his acres of land, where he taught her how to control her bloodlust, and feed off sheep instead of people.

One night Hiroko learns of the terrifying murder of her dear friend Morris, and forms an unlikely alliance with a group of vampires, who are all invested for their own reasons in finding out who has been killing the locals.  As the story unfolds, Hiroko soon learns that someone from her past has returned – her wicked Sire, who lives now in a neighbouring city.  What has led him to the same area as Hiroko, and does it have anything to do with the murders in town…

Sadly, the group was not to be, and we were never able to complete the full storyline, but I loved developing Hiroko! The game involved a lot of acting as we stayed in character through the sessions. Acting isn’t my forte, but usually by the end of the session I was successfully ‘in the zone’, and it was actually quite fun!

Has anyone else ever played Vampire: The Masquerade or similar games? I’d love to hear about the characters you created!

Emma

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June 18, 2017
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5 Reasons Snotgirl Volume 1 Disappointed

Snotgirl

Fashion blogger Lottie doesn’t really lead the perfect life her photos portray – in reality her boyfriend has dumped her, she hates her friends and she is struggling with her allergies.  The premise of Snotgirl is good, right?  I love Bryan O’Malley, but here is five reasons that Snotgirl is just (s)not as good as his other works:

1.) TOO MUCH HATE.  Where’s all the love?  Female relationships are portrayed really poorly, and I couldn’t relate to the friendship dynamics at all.  Lottie had annoying nicknames for her friends that really weren’t necessary, and she says early on they are all “horrible people”…

2.) LOST THE PLOT.  What is going on and why?  The story itself felt very jumbled, and it didn’t seem to know what genre it wanted to be.  Rather than being a successful contemporary mystery, it felt too confused.  There was something interesting in that Lottie’s allergy medication seemed to be having curious side effects, but it didn’t form enough of the plot to really make me want to read on and find out more.  Also… what on earth with John the detective’s creepy obsession with Lottie?  I don’t know, the whole thing is wrong to me.

3.) UNLIKABLE PROTAGONIST.  I didn’t even love to hate her, I just didn’t like her.

4.) ALLERGIES AREN’T SOMETHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.  Allergies suck, but it is important to find ways of living with them.  Lottie is so ashamed of her allergies that she keeps them a secret from those around her.  I can only hope in time part of her character development will be to open up about them.

5.) WEAK DIALOGUE.  Few conversations really drive the plot forward, and I got bored with the subject matter quite quickly.

Social media stars are quite influential these days, and I was hoping this behind-the-scenes look at a fashion blogger’s life would be fascinating.  I did enjoy the outfits and characters, and I did find the pressure on Lottie to be perfect really interesting, but as a whole the story just wasn’t successfully pulled off.  I would be intrigued to learn if things pick up in later volumes, but I’m not convinced I’d be willing to spend money to find out.

Emma

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June 17, 2017
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25 Things Before I Am 25

It was my birthday recently – I turned 24, which pushes me frightfully close to no longer being eligible for a Young Person’s Railcard (I sure have my priorities sorted…).  Time seems more precious as you get older, and I’ve decided I want to mark the next year by celebrating 25 life-affirming things I do in the next 12 months, before I turn 25.

I don’t want to write a bucket list with items to cross off, I want to stay completely open-minded, and allow experiences to happen as and when.  I want them all to be very different – experiences which shape my identity, or are just plain awesome.  Saying that, there’s definitely a few things I hope I’ll be able to achieve, including giving blood and taking part in a charity event – watch this space!

You can find the list below, which I’ll be updating over the year:

1.) Helped to run a Comic Village table at MCM London Comic Con

2.) Saw my favourite band, Madina Lake, in their reunion tour in Cardiff

Doctor Who Experience

3.) Doctor Who Experience

3.) Visited the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff (and volunteered to help in the interactive element!)

4.)

5.)

6.)

7.)

8.)

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10.)

11.)

12.)

13.)

14.)

15.)

16.)

17.)

18.)

19.)

20.)

21.)

22.)

23.)

24.)

25.)

Emma

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June 11, 2017
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First Lines Friday: 9th June

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

She was waiting for him – or someone – though he had not phoned ahead.  ‘Where’s the boy?’ she called from her porch.


Read on to find out which book this extract is from…

Arrow

Arrow

Arrow

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

29758030

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | The Book Depository


Summary:

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don’t they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she’s confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, he doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father Quinn arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed. The boy’s mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again.


 

Oooh, I know this book is going to break my heart.  It’s wonderfully written, with an engaging plot and lots of character development – I can’t wait to finish it!

Check out the First Lines Fridays archive for more posts like this!

Happy reading,

Emma

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June 9, 2017
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Running a Table at MCM London Comic Con

Regular readers will know that I am a bit of a convention nut, and have been to MCM London Comic Con (almost) more times than I can count.  Unfortunately for the past year or two I’ve been unable to attend, so I was thrilled to be invited along by artist Sugar Coated Emi to assist her in running a Comic Village table.

I’d never been on the other side of MCM before.  I’d never considered the logistics of pulling together such a huge event – in May 2016, over 130,000 attended the convention over the weekend (I can’t find stats for May 2017, possibly less due to current events in London).  We were right next to the entrance, and the sheer volume of people moving through was phenomenal.

Here’s a few things I learnt from being behind the table:

  1. Set up on Thursday – we arrived to find that as we were a late booking, our table had been missed.  Cue one hour of chaos and frantic searching, until a very kind member of staff appeared with a table for us!  We were glad to have this happen to us on the Thursday, rather than an hour before doors opened on Friday!
  2. Sweets on the table are a great ice-breaker – they didn’t always result in sales, but it was a good way of initiating conversation, and meeting some awesome people.
  3. Artists are some of the nicest people – there was so, so much kindness shown to us by the other artists.  Sweets were shared and comics exchanged!
  4. It is as much to do with networking as sales – we spoke to a lot of customers who were artists themselves, and so much of the interactions we had were about exchanging details and sharing upcoming projects.
  5. If you can, have an assistant to help at the table – and with MCM, a second exhibitor’s pass is included in the table price!  Assistants are great (even if I do say so myself) for fetching food and drink, and for manning the table during toilet breaks and con-exploration.

Fortunately, I still had lots of time to explore the exhibits, and for much of this could probably be found eating strawberries and cream doriyaki by the Pop Asia stage.

Pop Asia

I also discovered that I love the intensity of live gaming tournaments, particularly Tekken!

MCM

MCM Tron

Bike envy.

Being a retailer at MCM made me appreciate even more how hard artists work, so I didn’t hold back in showing my appreciation and expanding my art collection:

MCM Purchases

Money well spent!

I also did a little bit of doodling of my own.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have my own convention table:

MCM drawing

Did anyone else attend MCM London Comic Con this May?

You can check out MCM’s next convention on their website: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/

Emma

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June 8, 2017
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The Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

Also known as That Time We Unknowingly Booked Tickets for the Saturday of the UEFA Champions League Final.

The first weekend of June was a pretty good weekend.  One of my favourite bands, Madina Lake, announced they were doing a reunion tour, and would be visiting Cardiff.  Knowing it was soon-to-close, we decided to also book tickets for the Doctor Who Experience at Cardiff Bay.  Tickets and hotel booked (why were so many hotels fully booked already, we wondered), we were surprised to learn that our plans clashed with one of the biggest events of the football calendar – the UEFA Champions League Final.

Don’t you hate it when you leave your hotel and there are tens of thousands of football fans between you and your destination.
– Me, all weekend

Trudging through the chanting crowds and bag searches (how quickly you become desensitised to strangers digging around in your dirty laundry), we finally made it safely to the DW Experience.

Doctor Who Experience

To be honest, I’m not the world’s biggest DW fan, but fortunately my traveling companion had far more knowledge than me, and was able to explain all the references and exhibits!

Doctor Who Experience

Before we queued, I may have spent a long, long time looking at this wax model and waiting for it to move or blink…

Three families, two Italian football fans and a pair of nerds walk into the Doctor Who Experience…

The first half of the experience was a roleplay, something that made my friend and I rub our hands together with glee!  Something that made the two Italian football fans glance back longingly towards the exit as the doors closed behind us.

Incredibly, visitors got to actually crash drive the TARDIS, led by an experienced guide and narrated by the real Doctor (Steven Moffat) himself.  With a bit of imagination, it was easy to get into the spirit of the journey, and I was determined to get the most out of every part of the experience!

My favourite section was the The Weeping Angel graveyard, which was like something from the London Dungeons – all it was missing was actors to jump out of the shadows and scare the already whimpering children.  With the children clinging to their mother’s legs, and the Italian tourists exchanging exasperated looks, I knew that I couldn’t let the Doctor down, and volunteered myself to collect the very last crystal, wedged into a rock beside a Weeping Angel’s outstretched hand.

After all that excitement, we were released to enjoy the museum part of the experience at our own pace.

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

Further along the museum there was an incredible display of costumes and monsters from the series, most of them from the last ten years.  Many were very realistic, and it felt almost uncanny being in their presence… I actually saw a little boy crying because he found them so frightening (and I totally sympathised with him!).

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

If you click on the image below you can check out this panoramic of all the Doctors’ costumes (some originals, other replicas):

Doctor Who Experience

Tour over, I bought an amazing poster and tote bag from the gift shop, and left quickly before I could spend anymore money!

Emma

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June 4, 2017
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One of a Kind: The Resurrectionist

I’ve recently returned from MCM London Comic Con, an amazing (and exhausting) weekend that warrants its own post, so I won’t go on about it now. Among the stands, however, I found myself at the Quirk Books shop, the publisher of such books as Geekerella and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

I love books that are just a little bit different, so when I saw The Resurrectionist, I knew I had to buy it!

The Resurrectionist

There are two parts to the book. The first half is the biography of the crazy Dr. Spencer Black, a man who believes that humans have descended from mythical beasts like mermaids and minotaurs.

The Resurrectionist

The second half is essentially the bit that sold me on this book – detailed anatomical illustrations of mythical beasts, which the author apparently illustrated himself.

The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist The Resurrectionist

I’m blown away by the level of detail in Hudspeth’s drawings – such an incredibly talented man!  I’ve never seen mythical creatures like this before, and somehow it makes them feel less fictional.  The drawings of the faun even gave me chills as it had so many similarities to a human.

You can check out the Quirk Books website here: http://www.quirkbooks.com

Happy reading!

Emma

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May 31, 2017
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Papergang April Unboxing

I simply had to share what arrived in April’s Papergang box – they have more than redeemed themselves after mediocre March.

April’s content was a collaboration between Ohh Deer and lifestyle vlogger, Arden Rose.  Admittedly, I’d never heard of her before my Papergang delivery, but a little dig around has revealed that she has also written a book: Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of).  I’ve promptly added it to my TBR, figuring I should probably be reading books like this now I’m an Old Person (though there are some startlingly harsh reviews on Goodreads about it!)

So, so happy to find stickers inside!

Two gorgeous greetings cards – my favourite items!

Even though I unsubscribed after March’s box, I am so addicted to Ohh Deer’s products.  If you liked any of the items in April’s box, then you can usually get hold of them from the Ohh Deer online shop: https://ohhdeer.com/.

Emma

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May 17, 2017
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These Eyes

A while ago, inspired by my discovery of zines, I created a few poetry pieces for a collection, just for my own amusement.  I found one of these today whilst tidying and thought I’d share.

“These eyes
have seen it all,”
he says,
bottle slamming
onto the table.
Drink spilling
in his haste.
Palms over
eyes,
he is still
for just a moment.
Still
but
still remembering.
“These eyes
have seen it
all,”
he says.
“I wish
they hadn’t.”

The poem was called These Eyes and was part of a series of old poems I don’t even remember writing.  I just happened to dig them up in the depths of the ‘Writing’ folders on my computer.  It feels strange to find something I don’t remember writing, like I don’t even know who I was when I created it.  I barely dabble in poetry, which makes it even stranger!  Anyway, I enjoyed cutting letters out of newspapers and bringing the poem to life with some olde typewriter font.  There’s a few other poems I have adapted in the same way that I might share too at some point.

Happy writing,

Emma

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May 9, 2017
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Fairy Loot April Unboxing

I had almost forgotten that I had ordered April’s Fairy Loot box! I’d been really impressed with June’s ‘Classic Twist’ box last year, and when I saw that ‘Dreams & Wishes’ was the theme for April, I knew I had to get my hands on one!  April’s box was much bigger than June’s, and I was really, really impressed with everything inside too.

So, here’s a little look at the items that came in April’s box:

I’ll start with the best!  My favourite item was this gorgeous tote bag – the material and print are of such a good quality.

It can’t be captured easily in a photograph, but the holographic shimmer of this notebook is just beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like it in a notebook design before.

Obviously thrilled to receive A Court of Mist and Fury goodies!

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis was April’s book.  I really am not that clued up on YA releases at the moment, so I’d never actually heard of the book, but I’m happy to give it a read!  I don’t know how long they’ve been sending the books in little Fairy Loot bags for, but it was a really nice touch.

So there we have it: April’s Fairy Loot box!  They’ve really outdone themselves, and I’ve already put my order in for June’s ‘Elementalists’ box.

Happy reading!

Emma

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May 8, 2017
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