Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Warcraft - A Film Review

I love a good film. I love even more a film in the fantasy genre done with brilliant CGI. Now, combine this with a game franchise that has spanned 12 years, with its release back in November 2004, and you have the potential for a fantastic film and some very orgasmically happy World of Warcraft fans drooling and grinning from ear-to-ear.

Unless of course they screwed it up.

Before I go any further this will not contain any spoilers - so chill. I have been a WoW player on the Darkmoon Faire world server for over several years, but have since ceased playing, but the fond memories are still fresh and the screen shots great keep sakes.
With this in mind I was both reluctant and curious about this film. I wanted to see how one of the most influential grandparents of MMORPGs (the other being that of 'Guild Wars' - the original game released in tandem with WoW and not that pile of garbage, GWs2) has been transferred to the big screen.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Vox the Bag Maker

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.
Vox was a highly skilled, yet humble crafter, who believed in the ancient traditions and ways. And it was this that caused many to seek him out and keep his workshop ticking over with producing bespoke pieces of personal attire in the form of belts, containers and bags and satchels, all guaranteed for off-world use.

Then a very rare material arrived at his workshop via his supplier, Gryb. Initially Vox had protested about the high sum of crystal Gryb was demanding, and then he had looked into the box.

His slitted eyes grew wide with wonder. Reaching out gingerly with one of his six appendages, Vox stroked the contents. His gelatinous form visibly rippled with unknown delight. The materials were so soft, warm, and the patterns and colours - such variety!

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Music Feature - 65daysofstatic

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.

People who know me and know me fairly well are familiar with my love of pc games and eclectic musical tastes. Here I combine both.

First I shall introduce a British band by the name of 65daysofstatic, and by clicking on the name you will be taken to their website.
Formed in Sheffield, UK back in 2001, described as ' heavy, progressive, guitar-driven instrumental post-rock, interspersed with live drums ' - the rest you can read on the wiki entry HERE.

Approached by Hello Games, 65dos were asked if they would like to get involved with the project otherwise known as ' No Man's Sky ', and have produced a procedurally generated soundtrack for the game - which, I believe, could be the first of its kind? Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

The music fits in beautifully with the game visual and adds to the atmosphere wonderfully. I, for one, am looking forward to exploring this vast, procedurally generated universe, whilst listening to the fantastic music along the way. The video below is so clever in using Rutger Hauer for the voice over as an homage to Blade Runner and that classic end-of-film dialogue that begins with, "I've seen things..." Brilliant.

So, will you join me in No Man's Sky?

Sunday, 15 May 2016


Laying languid, limbs slowly moving, mesmerizing in their sinuous contortions, her body a riverbed of unexplored shadows and contours, she beckoned for him to approach.
The night covered them in an ocean of darkness, depths of unexplored shadow pressing in on the silvered orb of light between them, pushing and testing, seeking entry, a chance to swallow them whole. Creatures of the beyond swam in silent hunger around them, seeing but unseen.

  "I am here at your behest." The words he spoke tumbled like sands of an hourglass.
She sighed in the thrill of his seduction, a rippling of pleasure spreading out as his fingers touched her flesh.
  "Yet to be born I hear their crying, and my heart weeps." Her soulful orbs of midnight blue shot through with stardust from a million stars tenderly touched his heart.
  "Together our love will bring them life and our spirits will soar back to the firmament and beyond, to the place where we will be reborn."

As two became one, the silvered orb encased them, its light protecting and warm, slowly lifting and rising through the depths of darkness, chasing away the creatures of the beyond, who cursed and snarled helplessly as they watched the orb pause in its rising, shrinking in size as if squeezed by an invisible force, then with a thudding, concussive shock wave of sound, burst skyward faster than any of the hungry eyes could follow.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A-Z Thoughts/Reflection

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.
Two weeks post A-Z Challenge and I have this rumbling I need to get off my mind/chest regarding the Challenge.

To begin with, I love the A-Z Challenge. I have missed one, and failed in another, but taken part in, and completed years '12, '15 and this year. On the positive, I feel it brings out the best in me in thought, word and creativity, and I have found this year's A-Z to have been the easiest yet in terms of energy and productivity, plus there was no post-challenge 'slump' I recall experiencing after my very first A-Z.
Then there are the wonderful bloggers and blogs you get to meet and visit. BIG bonus there. A veritable smorgasbord of topics, images, art and creativity on offer. More than you can shake a stick at, which makes me very happy.

On the downside there is the quietness of the comments section. For me, this year has been the quietest. And if I am honest, as a blogger, it is nice to have visitors come and read/view your hard worked post and leave a comment and sometimes even add your blog to their list of followed blogs.

It makes me question the time and effort put in during the A-Z Challenge: Is it worth it?

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Book

Copyright ©2015 CO.AG Music - YouTube Channel under CO.AG Music.

  "If you want it reach out and take it," he ripped open his shirt, glistening sweat caught in shafts of half-light cutting through the smoky gloom. His hands trembled, breath wavering as a scream, desperate for freedom, clawed at the back of his throat.

The dark mass hovered over the bodies of his family, tiny wet tearing sounds punctuating the bloated silence. Two fiery orbs eased through the shapeless mass of darkness and stared at him.

  "Is it this you fear?" the vicar ripped off his dog collar letting it fall to the floor.
The fiery orbs briefly followed the falling collar, then snapped up, ensnaring him it their burning, hungry stare.
  "No? Then it must be this," his trembling hand went to the gold crucifix. "You want me to take this off? Is that it?"

The fiery orbs pulsed white hot in response.

This was all his fault. His tear-filled eyes looked to the fallen shapes of his beloved family. He had insisted on reading from the book, but his wife knew it was evil. Repeatedly she had told him not to. Little Daniel had begun crying as his father began reciting the Latin within it.
His wife had tried to take the book from him, but a wild fever had taken hold and he lashed out and she fell.

  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." his trembling hand gripped the crucifix.

The orbs flared and moved closer.

  "... I will fear no evil..." He ripped the chain from his neck. The foul blackness pounced upon him.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Artist vs Designer

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.
What to say?

Is a Massage Therapist the same as a Physiotherapist, or vice versa? Yet in the past I have been called both. Is a Designer the same as an Artist, or vice versa? And once again, I am being called both.

I note of late I am being referred to as an 'artist'. Strange, but true. Oddly enough I consider myself to be a Graphic Designer over an Artist. Why? Well, for one, my BA (Hons) is in Graphic Design, and my Diploma is in Art & Design, and I love fonts and letters and words. I also love colours and painting and drawing with pens, pencils and markers. But to my mind this does not make me an artist. I love taking pictures but I am not a photographer.

I love words and the power and emotion they can evoke if combined correctly - something akin to alchemy with words - and I have been known to write the odd poem, the snippet of a story, or the winding paragraphs of something broader and deeper. But I am not a writer. A dabbler, yes. And the same would apply to my 'art'.

I am a creative designer who 'dabbles'. But thank you for the compliment of 'artist', it has made me smile.

Sunday, 8 May 2016



  She eased out from under the cool cotton sheet like a ghost and padded across the bare floor boards with feline grace, her movements a ballet of pleasure, moonlight casting her naked form in a pale silver-grey.
  He watched in breathless silence, drinking in her beauty, tears rolling down his cheeks, his heart filled with love, his soul at peace with time stood still.
A gentle honeysuckle breeze teased gently across his skin, his senses heady and drunk. 
  "You look like a beautiful angel," he sighed.
  "I'm no angel." Her eyes regarded him with feral interest.
  "I know," smiled his voice. "I love you so much."
  A veil of midnight black fell across her face, only the twinkling of her eyes remained, "I must leave."
  "So soon?" He moved to stand in front of her, head bowed like a child scorned.
  She gently lifted his chin with her fingers and kissed his lips tenderly, "Summon me on the morrow of dusk, my love."
Her moonlit form faded to nothing as tear drops flowered upon the floor at his feet.

Saturday, 7 May 2016


  "Truth is a gift that will set you free," he said, as he lowered himself slowly and gently on top of her.
  "No," she breathed softly, feeling his warmth touching hers. "If I told you my truth it would drown you..."
  As two became one, she climbed the waves of his passion and murmured, "... and we would die."

Friday, 6 May 2016

A-Z Story Now Closed

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.

Apologies to anyone who was reading through the story in installments, but due to copyright protection reasons I have deleted all my A-Z Challenge story sections. I have however, saved them all to my hard drive for further development.

I feel that I want to explore the characters further and see what develops between them. I need to flesh out the story in greater detail. As I said, when I wrote those sections they were unplanned and done 'on the spur of the moment' after getting in from work and sitting down in front of the pc. This usually meant no time for anything else, just eat, type, bath, bed and sleep, then up at 0530 am the following day for work - then repeat the whole process over again.

What didn't help was the last three days my internet decided it didn't want to co-operate and dropped for no discernible reason whatsoever other than 'it could'. The joys of switching over to a new internet supplier.

Oddly enough, when I began writing the story, I assumed it would be all about Abigail and Burt. The stranger on the bridge wasn't Connor to begin with until the moment he called out "Eve! EVE! You're in danger!", then the whole concept took on a new direction.

I wasn't sure who Connor was, what he looked like, his personality or his connection to Abigail/Eve? But as I said, this was totally unplanned and only fleshed out on the day/night of writing. And so it continued. A thoroughly enjoyable (and rewarding) process.

The way I perceived this challenge was to make it a challenge, which it was on several levels:
First of all was the story itself and having to dream it up on the spot.
Secondly was the size of each section - it couldn't be overly big due to time constraints (midnight was always the deadline), plus I didn't want readers to lose heart when faced with a wall of text.
Thirdly, the A-Z letters themselves. I had created a set just before April started, but felt they had to look different, so I played around with them again during the A-Z in Photoshop until satisfied I had something I could use for each posting.
Last of all was selecting music that fitted in with the theme/feel/vibe of the section of story. Sometimes this was almost impossible to do, otherwise I would have had music attached to each entry.  So that chewed into my posting time as well. But by and large I think it worked reasonably well.

I will say this to new folks starting the A-Z Challenge this year for the first time: it gets easier. It does depend on your mindset and willpower. I didn't participate in 2013, and 2014 saw me crash out due to a brain funk and external forces at work. Shit happens. If this does to you, don't beat yourself up over it. Just mark it off as experience gained and look forward to the next A-Z to follow.

Finally, a big 'WELL DONE' to everyone who took part, even those of you who might not have completed it - at least you tried and, hopefully, learned something from it.

I look forward to reading you all next year  :)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

I Survived... Just

© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.

As the title says, I only just survived the A-Z Challenge. Why? Well, we recently switched internet providers to Plusnet, and the night of letter 'X' the router began flashing amber - no broadband!

By the time it had reconnected itself I had to retire to bed as it was just after midnight and I had to be up at 0530hrs for work. The story was written, but not uploaded.

The following day the broadband still hadn't corrected itself, so 'Y' was written, but not uploaded. Everything came together on the night of 'Z'. Thank God.

For those who did follow and read, I thank you. I just hope it wasn't too mundane, but I did enjoy writing it. In fact, I'm thinking of carrying it on further but off blog. I have the urge to expand each section and try turning each into a proper chapter, fleshing out the characters, backgrounds, plot and sharpen up the writing generally.

Congratulations to all who managed to complete this year's A-Z, and if for some reason it didn't work for you, there is always next year :)

As usual, below is the A-Z collage of all the letters I created and used. Once again, thank you for reading.