Thursday, August 11, 2022

Volume Six Cover Reveal!

Here it is, courtesy of artist extraordinaire Jill Colbert of Manfish Inc.
And here's the back cover copy:

(WARNING - Contains spoilers for Volume Five)

"With the help of an enemy-turned-ally, Joel Suzuki has returned to the magical, musical island of Spectraland. He's ready to learn the licks and riffs he needs in order to stop his nemesis from conquering all of existence.

But after an unexpected betrayal, that plan is no longer practical - if it was ever possible. Joel's only choice is to embark on a hazardous journey through alternate realities, gathering the energy of multiple Songshells through a perilous process that jeopardizes not only his own life, but the integrity of the multiverse itself.

Meanwhile, another threat has emerged as forces from faraway worlds conspire to destroy both Spectraland and Earth. Faced with foes on all sides and racing against time, Joel must find a way to complete his mission while dealing with romantic distractions, fading memories, and - maybe the biggest danger of all - the corrupting influence of his own growing power."

Next step: the proof copy! Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Volume Six Title Announcement!

We are getting very close to finalizing Volume Six of the Joel Suzuki series! And so, here's the official subtitle:
That's right, the official subtitle is "Dance of the Darkeye." Those of you who are familiar with the series might be thinking, "Wait - Darkeye, as in the character Darkeye? That old dude who was mostly a bad guy throughout the first four books but then [SPOILER ALERT] became a good guy in the fifth book?" And the answer is: yes, that Darkeye. And yes, he's the only character (besides Joel, of course) to get his name in a book title (so far).

Coming next: the cover reveal!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

TV Roundup, Episode Six

Previously on TV Roundup, I said "I'm sure it won't take me another fifteen months to post episode six of this roundup series." And I was right! It was only five months. And what an eventful five months it's been, in TV-land at least. So here we go (beware of mild spoilers):

Obi-Wan Kenobi
For me personally, the emotions that this show generated outweighed the logic gaps by a fair margin. I also liked the way it checked off all the continuity boxes shopping list-style (especially the reason why Obi-Wan calls Anakin "Darth" in Episode IV). I mean, that's what I was here for, after all! The only thing I felt they missed was why Vader said "Obi-Wan once thought as you do" in Episode VI. Maybe they could've had Obi-Wan try to convert Anakin back to the light after apologizing but before Anakin said that Vader is all that's left? Oh well. Anyway, I won't get into the whole trench coat-rescue business, or the lack of a tractor beam on Vader's Star Destroyer (maybe it was under repair?), or the constant leaving-people-for-dead (Felicity's pet peeve), or anything like that, because Tala's blaster holster being a perfect carrying case for Lola was just too good.

(on Disney+)

The Time Traveler's Wife
A romantic dramedy involving time travel adapted from a popular novel by former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat*? Sign me up! I really don't understand why this show seems to have bombed with critics. I don't care, I enjoyed it, just as I enjoyed Moffat's run with the Doctor (this has been pointed out elsewhere ad nauseum, but Moffat actually used the book this show is adapted from as inspiration for the Matt Smith-Eleventh Doctor episodes with Amy Pond, because apparently he couldn't get the rights to the book back then). I'm hoping for a season two, but if not, they did a nice job with the ending.

* Moffat did the adaptation, the novel was written by Audrey Niffenegger. In case that wasn't clear.

(on HBO Max)

All the Marvel Shows on Disney+ Since Hawkeye Up to Now
As you probably already know, I am there for all the Marvels. Not just Captain and Ms., but everything the MCU wants to put out. I enjoyed Moon Knight, and of course Ms. Marvel was mind-blowing in multiple ways. I appreciate how Marvel/Disney seems to understand that people like me are their audience, what with all the Easter eggs and fan service moments (no, anime folks, not THAT kind of fan service) and their completely having given up on trying to make their theatrical releases make any kind of sense if you haven't been watching the shows on Disney+.

(on Disney+)

Stranger Things, Season Four
Things I said out loud to my TV as I was watching the latest season of this show:

"An hour and a half went by already??"

"As a writer, I know exactly what they're doing here, but I'm still moved by it."

"Does Metallica really need more money and publicity??"

and

"Oh man, this show is SO GOOD" (about twelve times)

(on Netflix)

The Boys, Season Three
Just when you think this show couldn't get any more over-the-top, well... I mean, no one is spared, everything is fair game, and it's simply glorious - as long as you're not easily disturbed or offended, that is. Among the many chuckles it generated from me was for the name "Payback" for the other superhero team (because, you know, "Avengers"). I missed the commentary after-show that accompanied season two, why did you not do one, Amazon? But anyway, the animated spinoff The Boys Presents: Diabolical made up for it.

(on Amazon Prime)

Killing Eve, Season Four
It had been a while since I'd seen season three, as I had waited until season 4 (the show's final season) was available on a streaming service without having to pay extra charges. Thus, there were times when it veered into "I have no idea what's going on, but I'm enjoying it anyway" territory. And yeah, I guess the ending was a bit unsatisfying, but really, how else was it supposed to end? I do want to know who the sniper is, though.

(on Hulu)

Honorable mentions: Undone season 2 (Rosa Salazar is amazing and hilarious and I really would love to cast her as Lydia opposite Jessica Henwick as April in my baseball rom-com Try Again Tomorrow), The Orville: New Horizons (which gets into some pretty heavy subject matter. There are still moments of juvenile humor, but they are now few and far between), Maggie (a sitcom that features a character that originated in a horror movie - pretty cool premise), Solar Opposites season 3, Letterkenny, Harley Quinn, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, Love on the Spectrum: U.S., Rebel Without a Crew, and others that I've probably just forgotten about. Man, I really do watch a lot of TV.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Joel and Felicity's Birthday Party: An SPS-Verse Skit

INT. BRIAN'S HOUSE - DAY

There is a birthday party going on. Besides BRIAN, 52, there are a number of other people here, all members of the SPS-Verse: two women in their 20s, APRIL and LYDIA; a man in his late 40s, DOUG; two men and one woman in their 20s, OLEN, DIRK, and PATTI; one woman in her 20s, GLORIA; one woman in her 30s (with green skin), FIREFLOWER; and the guests of honor, JOEL and FELICITY (ages unknown, probably late teens to early 20s). Everyone is mingling and having drinks and refreshments.
BRIAN (to Joel and Felicity): Hey, so this was a pretty good turnout, don't you think?
FELICITY (nursing a diet cola): Sure, yeah, whatever.
JOEL: Is Gibson coming?
BRIAN: No, they said something about being stuck in the fourth dimension.
JOEL: Oh.
FELICITY: What about that other woman...Brenda something.
JOEL: The serial killer?
FELICITY: Yeah.
BRIAN: I, uh... I didn't invite her.
FELICITY: Again?
BRIAN: Pretty much, yeah.
FELICITY: Just like when we had that thing back in March.
BRIAN: Well, I didn't want any unnecessary drama.
FELICITY: You don't think continuing to leave her out will end up causing even more drama later on?
BRIAN: I'm sure it'll be all right.
FELICITY: Famous last words.
BRIAN: What?
FELICITY: Nothing.

April and Lydia approach.

APRIL: Happy birthday, cuz!
JOEL: Thank you.
APRIL: And you too, Felicity.
FELICITY: *mumbles*
LYDIA: I didn't know you two had the same birthday.
FELICITY: We don't. They're four days apart. El Cheapo here (points thumb at Brian) just likes to combine them.
APRIL: If I'm not mistaken, you folks didn't even have a party since 2018, right?
BRIAN: Well, you know, Covid.
FELICITY: That doesn't explain 2019.
APRIL: And instead, you had me and Lyd come in for midseason interviews about baseball and the Mariners.
BRIAN: Right, well, I figured that was okay, since it was just the three of us.
FELICITY: Excuses, excuses.
JOEL: Speaking of the Mariners, isn't it amazing that they've now won fourteen games in a --
LYDIA (holding hands over ears): LALALALALALALALA
JOEL (to April): Why is she doing that?
APRIL: She doesn't want to jinx them.
JOEL: Oh.

Elsewhere in the house, three separate conversations are going on: between Olen and Doug, Patti and Fireflower, and Dirk and Gloria.

DOUG: So, uh, I hear you're a superhero.
OLEN: Sort of, yeah.
DOUG: Who got his powers from... the Devil?
OLEN: Yup.
DOUG: Doesn't that make you more of a supervillain?
OLEN: It's a long story. What about you, what do you do?
DOUG: Oh, I'm a brewer. Of, you know, beer.
OLEN: Oh, cool. I love beer.
DOUG: Good beer, right?
OLEN: Of course.
DOUG: Hey, I have an idea. I have this recipe for a dark IRA called "Head of Sin." Maybe we can do some kind of collaboration, since, you know, you're associated with...
OLEN: Well, I'd really prefer not to make a big deal out of that.
DOUG: You can be the taste tester.
OLEN: Okay, I'm in.

PATTI: I love those little leaves on your arm.
FIREFLOWER: Thank you. But why?
PATTI: I dunno, they're just kind of cool. Like Poison Ivy, or something.
FIREFLOWER: Ah, a reference to the comic book character.
PATTI: Exactly.
FIREFLOWER: Are you a devoted reader of the comic books?
PATTI: Kinda, yeah. My boyfriend, Dirk, works at a comic book shop, so he brings home a lot of free samples. Or, at least, he says they're free samples.
FIREFLOWER: What are you implying?
PATTI (lowering her voice): Between me and you, I think he five-finger-discounts them.
FIREFLOWER: Five-finger discount?
PATTI: Yeah, you know...
FIREFLOWER:
PATTI (whispering): He steals them.
FIREFLOWER: Oh, I see. Your boyfriend does not sound like a person of high moral standards.
PATTI (rolling eyes): You're telling me. But he's a good person at heart. Mostly.
FIREFLOWER: Hmm.

DIRK: Hey, Gloria, right?
GLORIA: Correct.
DIRK: Aren't you, like, an assassin from the future?
GLORIA: Not exactly. I'm an Enforcer. Or, at least, I used to be.
DIRK: Oh, right, like a supercop-slash-soldier.
GLORIA: That is a more accurate description. Although, Enforcers do perform assassinations from time to time as part of their regular duties.
DIRK: Well, either way, it's pretty hot.
GLORIA: I beg your pardon?
DIRK: Nothing. Hey, so, while you're hanging out here in the past, maybe you'd like to grab a drink with me sometime?
GLORIA: Grab a drink with you?
DIRK: Yeah, you know, so we can get to know each other a little better.
GLORIA (narrows eyes, looks over in Patti's direction): Isn't that your relationship partner over there?
DIRK (surprised): What? Oh, um, yeah, I guess.
GLORIA: You guess?
DIRK (sheepish): I mean, yeah, she is.
GLORIA: I may have been trained to be an unemotional human weapon, but I could still tell what you were just attempting to do.
DIRK: What? Oh, hey, no, I wasn't attempting anything, I swear.
GLORIA: I think this conversation is over.
DIRK: Okay, okay, whatever you say.

The party continues. Later, everyone sings "Happy Birthday," Joel and Felicity open presents, and cake is served. As people eat cake and resume casual conversation, we pan to a window where we see a SHADOWY FIGURE peering into the house. The camera slowly zooms in on the figure until we see that it is BRENDA, the serial killer that was mentioned earlier. She smiles.

CUT TO BLACK

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Go Go Kikaida!!

If you follow my band Second Player Score on any or all of the social medias, and/or are friends with me personally on Facebook, then you probably already know that our cover version of the opening theme song from Kikaida (off our Beer & Ramen EP) got some recent spots of publicity in Hawaii.
If not, then here are the links where you can check them out:


Much mahalos to Maleko, Stephanie, and Michael Tsai for featuring us! We're really happy that we can inject some fun and levity into people's lives, and for those who were fans of the show back in the day, remind them of some joyous childhood memories. If you haven't already, you can hear the song and the rest of Beer & Ramen here. Go go go!!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Volume Six and Seven Status Update

At the last status update eight weeks ago, I said that Joel Suzuki, Volume Six (exclusive sneak peek in the photo below!) was ready for formatting and cover art, and that Volume Seven was up to 30,000 words (around 120 pages).
I'll admit, progress since then has been on a little bit of the slow side, but that's mainly because I've been busy wrapping up some other projects, including Second Player Score's new EP, Beer & Ramen.

Still, though, steady strides are being made. The formatting for Volume Six is done, and we have a preliminary sketch for the cover art (which looks really great, by the way), so we're still on track for a launch date by late summer or early fall.

And Volume Seven is now up to 42,000 words (around 168 pages) and is coming along nicely. I said in the last status update post that it was shaping up to be around 100,000 words in total, but now I think it might actually clock in at roughly the same length as Volume Six (~90,000 words). Of course, it's still early, and as I'm sure you know, things can (and probably will) change by the time I'm done. Especially since - did I say it was coming along nicely? Well, I kind of lied - I think I may need to make some serious revisions to what I have so far. But we shall see.

More updates to come!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Beer and Ramen Is Here!

Yes, the brand-new EP from my band Second Player Score has been officially released!
You may recall this previous post from February that showed us in the studio, laying down tracks. Since then, the song count has been whittled down from seven to five, as the Japanese-language version of "Gloria" didn't make the cut and the "Collab Song" is being saved for another day, but otherwise everything else is what I said it would be.

So, where you can hear the end result? Well, just go to the Second Player Score website at www.secondplayerscore.com, where you will find links to all the streaming options (courtesy of an exclusive arrangement with TuneCore Japan) as well as a CD purchase option. You'll also find a video we filmed for one of the songs ("Ue wo Muite Arukou") that features us drinking beer and eating ramen out of beer steins (hat tip to Yuu Japanese Tapas in Richmond, B.C.). Special shout-out goes to Visual Reel Entertainment, our representation company in Japan, for helping set up the distribution and promotion efforts.

Kanpai!