Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


What’s On My Mind on 8-18-16

So in the past few weeks, I talked about the technicals of this year’s Comic Con and tips from workshops and experienced writers. Well, this is where my excitement really lies: talking about all the new books, shows, movies, games… in short, all the hype. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t get overly excited about this because these future products could be utter garbage, but seriously, new ideas excite me and I love discovering more of the world through popular culture. So without further ado, here’s some of the stuff I saw or new things I got. This is my quickfire Comic Con review catalogue that I give to you.

Warhammer 40,000 comic (preview)

Yes, despite loving shows about pastel-colored horses, superheroes that bring hope, and rock people exploring what it means to love, I’m also really into the grimdark of the 41st millenium. So imagine my excitement when I discovered that Games Workshop was taking its flagship brand into the comic medium. The story follows an up and coming Space Marine recruit in the chapter known as the Dark Angels, which has a terrible secret in danger of being unearthed. That’s really all I can explain because the backstory of this universe is so complex and intricate that it would take me a whole article to bring you up to speed. Regardless, I got some great insight into the company and their mindset. Issue 0 comes out in the October edition of White Dwarf (Games Workshop’s magazine) and the first issue hits shelves in November, so if you’re a fan or an interested party, be on the lookout.

The Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt Series (bought)

This series has apparently been going on six years and is already thirteen books deep, but I hadn’t heard of it until now. That changed when I bumped into the writer, Gini Koch, who totally sold me. The saga follows an average everyday woman named Katherine who gets caught up in an alien organization to hunt vicious aliens secretly invading Earth. The story then spirals through loads of action, danger, and romance. I have the first two books and I’m… kind of enjoying the first. Some of the dialogue is offputting, but there’s thirteen books, so she has to be doing something right. At the moment, I put it down to read Star Wars: Bloodlines, but I’ll return to it eventually.

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate (bought)

Another book written by Mrs. Koch, which she described as Han Solo meets Pirates of the Caribbean. I haven’t gotten to read it yet, but with a description like that, I’m sold. This lady seems to crank out a lot of books. Why has nobody mentioned her to me before?

The Gravity Falls books (bought)

When I heard that there were three books based on one of the best animated series in recent years, my mind went into spasms. I’ve finally gotten all of them and they do not disappoint. They are Journal #3 (a book that the show centered around), Dipper and Mabel’s Guide of Fun (a fun activity book with codes and games, probably aiming a little younger than I am), and Dipper and Mabel and the Curse of the Time Pirates’ Treasure! A “Select Your Own Choose-venture!” (a great send-up to the old Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was young) The journal and the choose-venture are must haves for any fan, while the other is harmless fun.

Emerald City (preview)

This was getting hyped all over the place at Comic Con, spinning itself as a gritty reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz. I saw the trailer and I waaaaaaaaaaaaaas not impressed. It feels like they’re trying to capture some of the Game of Thrones lightning by focusing on political intrigue, but took out a lot of the teeth that made Thrones engaging to make it more palatable for primetime. On another note, can we stop with giving timeless classics the “dark and gritty deconstruction” treatment? It’s getting really old. So yeah, I’m giving this one a skip.

Midnight, TX (preview)

This show, on the other hand, gave me a good jolt of excitement. Based on books written by Charlaine Harris, who wrote The Southern Vampire Mysteries that were adapted into True Blood, the preview tells of a guy who can see and battle ghosts and spirits…


…there, I got that out of the way. Anyway, his dead grandmother tells him to take a break from the world and go to a town in Texas called Midnight… where every citizen is a supernatural being. I saw a vampire, some kind of ancient spirit, and what was either an angel or a birdman in the trailer and I’m sure there’s a lot more I missed. I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

Injustice 2 (preview)

This is cheating a bit, since the sequel to the DC Comics fighting game was announced way before Comic Con. But there was a Comic Con announcement of two new fighters: Wonder Woman, who is kind of a given… and one of my favorite superheroes, Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle! Seeing his preview flipped the party switch because I believe more people need to know about this guy. From the looks of things, he will be done justice in Injustice. Also, if you haven’t already, read his solo series from before the New 52. It’s pure gold.

The Good Place (preview)

Kristen Bell stars in a quirky comedy series where she dies and goes to… well, “the good place” where she is to live out the rest of eternity. The only problem is that she wasn’t supposed to be there; she got into paradise through a clerical error because someone sharing her name was a practical saint, while Bell’s character was a scumbag in life. From the one preview I saw, it looks pretty fun and plays around with the idea that not all who do good things are good at heart. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot. Lord knows Kristen Bell needs a break, so fingers crossed.

Casefile: Arkham (bought)

Add this to the list of things I bought but haven’t read yet. But I did give the first few pages a look and I’d just like to say I’m interested. This black and white comic based in the world created by H.P. Lovecraft has a real sense of atmosphere to it and has a style that fits right in with the feel of Cthulhu. So yeah, on the backburner for now, but I’m itching to read.

The Life After (bought)

This comic, however, I finished in two nights. Well, the first volume, anyway. The story about an amnesiac traipsing around the afterlife with the spirit of Ernest Hemingway is brought to us by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, who has quite a few titles under his belt. I’d be interested in checking out the rest of the series, even though it’s not the most lighthearted book. There’s also a few jabs at organized religion, which may turn some people off. Still, I think it’s well-written and worth a read. And while we’re on the subject of Mr. Fialkov…

Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth (bought)

From what I’ve skimmed, this one is a lot more lighthearted and comedic, carrying a Scott Pilgrim vibe. In this story, aliens come to Earth and choose a champion through an arbitrary process, the spinner landing on the loser that is the titular Jeff. This isn’t a collection of issues, but rather one larger comic issue separated into chapters. This is another one I can’t wait to read and it looks like it’ll be a breeze.

The Wonderbolts Academy Handbook (bought)

From the same author as The Elements of Harmony and The Journal of the Two Sisters, we have this look into the ranks of the elite flying force from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t know that this one delves into too much lore, or at least not much that fans already know. It does, however, act as a guidebook for discipline and morality, teaching etiquette and social graces like a tutor would, even coming with one of those graphs that shows what facial expression connects to what mood. I can see this being really useful for a lot of kids, especially those on the autism spectrum, so I say it was worth the purchase.

Also, I got the new pony book Lyra and Bon Bon and the Mares from S.M.I.L.E., but as I haven’t read it or most of the other pony books yet, it wouldn’t be fair to judge.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (preview)

Oh man, do I love the Ace Attorney games and this one is shaping up to be a good one. The demo I played was only part of the first trial, but it showcased the new features this game brings to the table and some great animation. The new mode this time around is seeing the last moments of the murder victim through their eyes, reading what their other four senses picked up, and trying to see where the contradiction is. These games really do just keep getting better and finding new ways to challenge the players. This game comes out in less than a month for digital download on the 3DS and I could not be more impatient.

Here’s hoping that all of these things live up to the hype and for another great Comic Con next year!


Posted under On My Mind

What’s On My Mind on 8-12-16

I still can’t believe that Comic Con’s come and gone, even though my body sure can. Wow, that was a lot of walking… I got to see a lot of great panels and people there, but one of the standouts was the final workshop I went to: Writing Full-Time on a Part-Time Schedule. The notes I took at the workshop were essential to anyone trying to balance their creative and work life, but there are 28 different tips and I don’t want this to be the length of a dissertation. So without further ado, here are some tips on balancing creativity with life itself.

There is sacrifice involved

It’s a sad truth that creativity takes time, which means less free time for all the fun stuff in your life. If you’re balancing your artistic pursuits with a full time job, you’re going to have to decide between your craft and friends/hobbies/video games/etc. It’s good to carve out some time for these things, but you’ll also need to sacrifice some of the fun times to continue your great work.

And that’s okay. Another bullet on the list is, “It’s good to say no,” which is true. Apart from asserting control over your own life, it also builds discipline, which is a great skill for a creator to have. Build more discipline and you can get more stuff out the door before you go senile. But before you think that you’ll have to give up on fun completely…

Avoid burnout by doing things that have nothing to do with your passion

Let’s get one fact straight: your mind is a muscle and working it for so long causes strain. So sometimes, whether in the middle of the workday or on a day off, it’s a great idea to do an activity that has absolutely nothing to do with your creative passion. This can be exercise (which should be done anyway), building a LEGO set, playing cards or board games with your friends, roughhousing with your dog… anything whatsoever as long as it’s not building on your work. That way, your brain gets a chance to stop flexing and recharge. Never underestimate the benefits of distractions.

Get out of the house to work

Libraries. Parks. Coffee shops. These are all your friends if you’re a creative type. Get out and give your brain to extra stimuli to prevent it from stagnating in one closed room. I don’t know the science behind it, but I know through doing it that it works. But if you’re a painter… some venues might not be the best place.

Money is important/Creativity can suck you dry

These are two different points, but they go hand in hand. Being creative is expensive, whether it’s the artist buying supplies, the videographer getting the latest editing software, or the writer subscribing to a Dropbox plan to coordinate with other writers. So yeah, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. That should never be underestimated when taking a creative pursuit, so learn to budget. On top of that, be sure to take gigs that pay. It’s great to talk about doing it for the art, but at the end of the day, everything your body needs costs money. You’ve got talent, so make sure you’re rewarded for it.

Stop quitting, the self-doubt, and the lack of confidence – believe in your work

When everything is said and done, you are the ultimate driving force behind your projects. The saying goes that you’re your own harshest critic, so you need to free yourself from all of the chains that hold you back. If you have anxiety or depression, find resources that can help you with that and learn some self-soothing techniques to mitigate some of the problems. If something always comes up for you to do instead, plan your day out to the letter to make sure that you don’t have an excuse. If you think that your work isn’t good enough or that you’re a failure… do it anyway. Jake the Dog from Adventure Time put it best: “Sucking is the first step to being sorta good at something.” The best path to success is the one where you learn how to fall and get back up again. And remember: you’re the one pitching your work. If you don’t believe in it, why should anyone else?

Hopefully, you’ve found some of these tips useful and your creative life has gotten easier. Join me next week when I talk about my favorite part of Comic Con: all the things they hyped.


Posted under On My Mind

What’s On My Mind on 7-27-16

Ahh, Comic Con. The place I truly feel at home. I can’t even remember my first Comic Con, but I know that it’s made every July that I can remember something to look forward too. Of course, being the long-running con that it is, it’s had to change the way it’s worked to keep up with the times and the ever-growing popularity. Some changes are good, others are… yeah. With all that’s said, let’s take a look at the good and the bad from San Diego Comic Con 2016.

The Good

Badge authenticity has always been a concern for the Comic Con staff, but they have finally come up with a solution. Each of the badges now has an RFID code on it that gets scanned on entry. This was something that was implemented at Silicon Valley Comic Con and it makes the transition here without any traffic congestion. The scanners are even themed around The Walking Dead, so that’s pretty neat. On top of that, it’s structured in a way that doesn’t require a photo ID, so those who share their passes can breathe easy. But that’s illegal by Comic Con standards… and I would never tell you to break the law… noooooooooo, not me…

Then there’s the improvements to getting into the infamous Hall H, which is so popular that congoers have had to camp out overnight to get in. Well, now that have a wristband system. From what I’ve been told, if people camp out overnight, they get an electronic wristband that will let them know when their time to get into the hall is, leaving them free to explore the con until then. It certainly beats waiting in that line for 28 hours to get into the Marvel panel. Speaking of, apparently it’s so easy now that my godniece-in-law stood in line for only a half-hour before she got in and saw loads of stuff, including the Game of Thrones panel. And it was her second Comic Con ever. I still haven’t forgiven her for this.

The Bad

I’ve always had questions about how management at Comic Con worked in the past, but this year the right hand really didn’t know what the left was doing. Weapons Check was a total mess this year because of some new edict that came down that nobody, and I mean nobody else knew about. When I met to check my claws for my Wolverine cosplay, they said that I couldn’t take them into the hall, as there was a ban on Wolverine and Freddy Krueger claws and the like. That would have been nice to let people know beforehand in an email or something! Apparently they went as far as to ziptie people’s weapons to their costumes themselves, but this seemed completely arbitrary. In fact, walking the halls, I saw plenty of Wolverines and Freddy Kruegers that had their costumes intact and other weapons like that ones that got ziptied waving free. So either Weapons Check was asleep at their job or none of the other staff was aware of this edict.

Also, let’s talk about the big complaint for this year: the new design for the bags. I was initially on board with them, but as time went on I joined the masses in disliking them. The addition of a flap makes the whole thing cumbersome and if you really pack the bag full, the velcro on the flap comes loose and it just hangs there like a limp tongue. A lot of people I talked to complained that it was harder to just reach back and slip stuff into your bag, though I’ve never been able to do that in my own personal experience. Another complaint a lot of people had was that they got rid of the poster holder, which I didn’t know they had, but enough people mentioned it that I have to lament with them. Suffice to say, the bags were not a hit.


Well, that’s all about the ups and downs of the experience. Come back next week for some previews of things to come in the world of geekdom.


Posted under Announcements, On My Mind

What’s On My Mind on 7-20-16

With San Diego Comic Con only a day away, I thought I’d give something to all the aspiring creatives that follow me. Aside from all the costumes, celebrities, and previews, Comic Con is a place where people looking to break into the creative world can learn about the trade from professionals. In honor of all of the ones who taught me, I want to pass something down that I’ve put together.

So you want to be a writer. That’s good, admirable even. The creative bug should spread as far as possible. However, there are a few big obstacles in your way, namely that being self-regulated is one of the hardest things to do. It’s easy to work for someone else, but working for yourself is a-whole-nother beast to conquer. Now, I may not be an expert on the subject, but after a few years of working for myself as a writer, I feel like I’ve obtained some wisdom when it comes to being self-regulated. Here’s three tips on how to be your own good boss when writing creatively.

#1: Beware of JOM

JOM is a nasty fellow who hangs over the shoulder of every aspiring writer. Nobody knows him by name, but everyone’s met JOM. Perhaps even you non-writers have met JOM too. To be sure, let me call JOM by his/her true name:


Just one more webpage of random facts before I get back to work. Just one more level or quest in this really engrossing video game. Just one more chapter of the book or comic I just bought. But that’s the thing about JOM: he/she keeps coming back. That webpage may link to another, more intriguing one or the next chapter could be a resolution to a great cliffhanger. Suddenly, just one more has become several more and that deadline is looking tighter and tighter.

So to stave off JOM, you should take heed of the next piece of advice…

#2: Time Your Breaks (And Be Sure To Take Breaks)

The reason our minds wander to other things while we write is that, like any muscle, it gets tired after prolonged use. Imagine if you lifted 100 pounds for eight hours straight. The muscles in your arms would be completely destroyed! It is omni-important that your mind be allowed to rest, even if this is your future magnum opus.

That said, you should be mindful of how long your breaks are. Newton’s first law of motion says that a body at rest tends to stay at rest; the brain is no different. This isn’t helped by JOM constantly butting in to distract you. The best way to get around this is to set alarms for when your break is supposed to end, letting you know when to get back to work. Nothing quite jolts the senses like an alarm bell.

#3: Don’t Force It — It’s Okay To Take a Day

Sometimes the writing just doesn’t come. Maybe the muse isn’t talking to you or you’re dealing with some problems weighing on your mind. Whatever the reason, you just can’t seem to write.

And that’s perfectly fine.

If the stories aren’t coming, even after some exercises and walks, there’s nothing to be done. Creativity can’t be forced any more than water can be squeezed out of a rock. Sometimes the river’s just dry. There’s nothing wrong with that, though; sometimes ideas need to percolate in the back of your mind before inspiration strikes you for the next part of the project. Now deadlines can make this step complicated, but necessity is the mother of invention and there’s no bigger motivator for that than last minute panic.

There is most assuredly more to this than just these three steps, but the the very least they’ll be a great foundation to build your path to the literary world. Take your first steps. Learn your own valuable lessons to keep you on track. But most importantly of all, never stop imagining and creating.

That’s all for now. For all those going to Comic Con this weekend, have a great time and I hope to see you there.


Posted under Announcements

Ronin Reads Comic Con Triple Feature

We announced it. We teased it. We delayed it a day. But finally, our triple feature of off-the-beaten-track comics and graphic novels are here! Here are the people trying to promote themselves from the ground up and we’re going to help them do it. Journey into worlds of magic, mystery, heartbreak, and more as we give you the last remnants of this year’s Comic Con!

Gates of Midnight (issues 1-4)
Legend of the Mantamaji (book 1)

Posted under Ronin Reads

Comic Con Aftermath

Yeah, I know I said I’d post this yesterday, but travel and sickness were rougher than I thought.

San Diego Comic Con ’15 may be over and done with, but we at Fish and Cherries are celebrating it until the end of the month. Find out how in the full post.

Posted under Announcements

Reel Snippets of 7-13-15


There were a lot of new releases this week, but Comic Con ate up a lot of my weekend and unfortunately I’ve come down with a bit of sickness. Instead, I’m leaving you guys with a recent classic that I just saw for the first time. Come next Monday, I can imagine that I’ll come out with a lot of Snippets at once given all the current and upcoming releases (Ant-Man, anyone?). In the meantime, enjoy:

Horrible Bosses

Stay tuned tomorrow for some Comic Con related announcements.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Terminator and Comic Con Announcement

Hello, everyone! I want to take a bit of your time for some quick announcements. I’ll start with the work based one first because, after all, it’s business before pleasure.

I’m sure a lot of you were surprised that I didn’t do a Reel Snippet on Terminator: Genisys this past Monday. Believe me, I would love to throw my opinions into ring on this movie, especially concerning the buzz I keep hearing about it. But you see, I actually haven’t seen any of the Terminator movies and after a few talks with my beloved staff, I’ve decided that I want to do this right. So rather than spending my money on what many are saying is a dog, I’m going to bide my time until its release on DVD by reviewing all the previous Terminator movies. Let’s call it the Road to Genisys. So sporadically until its release on video, I’ll be coming out with Terminator reviews the first week of every month until the latest one’s release on DVD. They may be films you’ve seen, but maybe my thoughts on them will provide some entertainment.

Second, I will be attending San Diego Comic Con for all four days and preview night. I’ll be dressed up as Ash from Pokèmon for Thursday and Saturday, but I’ll always be carrying a Fish and Cherries tote bag filled with promotional material. If you’re a fan and see me, come say hi. If I’m not rushing to a panel, I’ll be glad to hear from you and listen to what you like and where you think I could improve, or just your own thought in general. Hope to see you there!

Posted under Announcements

V-log: Comic Con Part 2 – Batman Year One

Comic Con gave us a sneak peak at the new DC Animated film based off of a Frank Miller classic. The big question: Will it fly?

Posted under V-logs

V-log: Comic Con Part 4 – Captain America: The First Avenger

Really? This movie opened the week of Comic Con and they didn’t organize an event for it? Talk about a missed opportunity.

P.S.: Apologies for the rambling and stumbling in this episode. I was actually pretty tired when I did this and forgot my own notes. What can I say, it was just too good to snark on.

Posted under V-logs

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