Universal Studios: Screaming and Laughing


by Lillian Csernica on July 2, 2017

stock-vector-couple-have-date-in-roller-coaster-girl-and-boy-204087895

Next up: Shrek 4-D. This adventure was so amazing and funny we saw it both days.

1496762

rs.locationshub.com

You start out in Lord Farquad’s Dungeon, where the Three Little Pigs and Pinocchio are being held prisoner. The Magic Mirror and the Ghost of Lord Farquad get the story started as a prelude to what happens during the 4D movie in Ogre-Vision!

shrek-4d

themeparkinsider.com

No spoilers here, but I will say this is more than just a visual experience. Four out of the five senses get some stimulation. One of them hit me right where I live, bringing a whole new dimension to this thrill ride!

despicable20me20minion20mayhem-preview

zimbio.com

Minion Mayhem — Another wild ride! When the Minions all get thrown into prison, Gru starts a recruiting campaign. This is the basis of the ride’s storyline. Gru’s henchman Dr. Nefario has created another evil death ray gizmo that will turns even humans into Minions. (I got to be a purple Minion!) John and I can’t wait to see Despicable Me 3.  What we saw during the ride convinced us we had to see the whole movie. John bought a Minion key ring with his name on it. I bought a charm that shows Kevin and Bob back to back, both of them holding serious ray guns! The perfect keepsake to remind me of the time John and I joined the ranks of the Minions!

The Simpsons Experience — Ever wanted to be inside an episode of The Simpsons? This will do it for you. It’s an insane 3D ride through Itchy & Scratchy Land, facing the homicidal robot cats and mice. There’s an ominous undercurrent to the ride’s lead-in, which explodes into some genuine terror (at least for me) when you experience the very realistic sense of being trapped on a shattered roller coaster.

Yes, that’s right. If you weren’t already in enough of a panic, the ride starts going backwards!

universal-studio-tour_20110328002008

Back when I was ten years old, just the prospect of going behind the scenes at a real working movie studio was a huge thrill. In today’s modern digital world, visitors expect a whole lot more given the endless competition for their attention spans. Now the Studio Tour includes a 3D adventure between King Kong and some vicious dinosaurs. The grand finale is the hyper-realistic, HD adventure Fast and Furious: Supercharged.

I confess a certain nostalgia for the Jaws portion of the tour. There I was, sitting in the tour shuttle with John just as my mother had sat with me. John has a pretty good grip on what’s real and what isn’t, but that didn’t stop him from yelping when the shark reared up out of the water. Another fine family tradition, watching the next generation get freaked out by Bruce the animatronic shark.

clip-art-rollercoaster-896034

julyneurofeedback.com

2 Comments

Filed under artists, autism, bad movies, classics, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, history, Horror, Humor, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, nature, parenting, perspective, research, science fiction, travel, veterinarian, Writing

Universal Studios: Hogwarts in Hollywood!


by Lillian Csernica on June 29, 2017

We stayed in a lovely hotel, the BLVD, on Ventura Blvd. Excellent suite, two queen-sized beds, refrigerator, microwave, big bathroom. The small snack bar downstairs had many of John’s favorite items at quite reasonable prices, which made life easier and more economical.

The Universal Studios shuttle stop was a mere five minute walk from the hotel. The main parking lot is up a long steep hill, so that was a considerable mercy.

unist0292

lifeinusa.com

The City Walk leads to main entrance. Lots of shops, restaurants, and more neon than Las Vegas!

We went through the usual security clearance, then entry turnstiles which require ticket, photo ID, and a scan of your right index fingerprint. This was the first time I’d encountered the fingerprint scan. I found that somewhat disturbing.

WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

playbuzz.com

John made straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

img_0774-580x435

stevejobko.com

The Hogwarts Express with its delightful conductor.

hogsmeade-smaller

blogs.gazetaonline.com.br

Hogsmeade is a combination of the village and the highlights of Diagon Alley, featuring Ollivander’s and Honeydukes.

 

John chose the wand of Narcissa Malfoy. This is one bad ass wand! The interactive model comes with a map that shows where you can work spells on items in the shop windows.

interactive-wand-map-harry-potter

everydaysavvy.com

We rode the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. A rather brief ride, but quite entertaining and a great way to start the adventure.

Stumbled into Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, the gift shop for all things HP. There are a lot of archways coming and going in there. We took a wrong turn and found ourselves in the First in Line lane for Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey. The ride attendants must have thought we’d been cleared by the people at the entrance. They put us into a car and away we went! The posted wait time was eighty minutes, so this was an amazing turn of luck.

31a63d2300000578-3468107-image-a-16_1456673280989

dailymail.com

Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey was a nonstop 3D freak-out for me. BIG spiders spitting venom in our faces. Really big dragons breathing smoke and fire. Dementors getting up close and personal so they could suck out our souls. It was a good thing I had not yet sampled the Butterbeer. Just ten seconds into the ride I had serious worries about throwing up. The 360 degree spin over the Quidditch field just about did me in. John was shouting and laughing and having a glorious time. Once we were released unharmed, I wobbled over to lean against the nearest wall. That is one hell of a ride.

butterbeer

huffingtonpost.com

John and I both enjoyed the frozen variation of Butterbeer. Cold, sweet, and refreshing indeed! Never have I consumed something that gave me such a nasty case of brain freeze so suddenly! Given the heat and relative humidity, that wasn’t entirely unwelcome. I applied the cure for brain freeze I learned while watching Popular Mechanics for Kids with John many moons ago. I pressed my tongue against the roof of my mouth, which warms up the nerves there and makes the brain freeze melt.

 

The Hogwarts light show — Better than anything I’ve seen at Disneyland.

Watching this fabulous display was the perfect way to end the evening. We did a whole lot more in the other areas of park during the twelve hours we roamed through the various wonders available to us. More to come in my next post!

k4735860

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under artists, bad movies, classics, creativity, dreams, Family, family tradition, fantasy, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, parenting, research, romance, science fiction, travel, Writing

Universal Fun!


by Lillian Csernica on June 24, 2017

ushlogo

Tomorrow John and I will fly down to Los Angeles and spend a few days enjoying the wonders of Universal Studios Hollywood.

John has been talking about seeing Universal Studios ever since he first heard about it many years ago. Chris and I decided that a trip to this previously unexplored land of movie magic makes the perfect graduation gift for our boy.

univholly

bunnellband.org

John and I have studied the map. We’ve discussed what we each want to see the most. Today we’ve been packing our bags. Tomorrow we take our first plane trip together. I’m pretty sure what John is looking forward to the most is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

harrypotteruniversalhollywood-768x768

fun-squared.com

Me, I’m looking forward to the air conditioning on the plane, at the hotel, and on many of the rides. I’m not a big fan of heat, preferring autumn and winter to summer. I suppose this is an indicator of my advancing years. Insane roller coasters are great, but they lost their appeal for me after I reached my late twenties.

img_1520

Even so, I can’t wait to watch the Special Effects Show with John, to get silly in the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem area, and probably scream at least once on the Jurassic Park ride. Best of all, I finally get to drink butter beer and hang out at Ollivander’s where Harry Potter’s wand chose him!

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Grand OpeningPublicity

virgula.uol.com.br

 

My grandfather worked in the movies. My mother has appeared as an extra in several. I did some writing for the movies, once upon a time. And now my son loves movies just as much as the previous generations in our family have.

Watch for my trip report once we’re home again!

universal-studios-hollywood

thevalley.net

4 Comments

Filed under autism, bad movies, classics, cosplay, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, Food, history, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, science fiction, Special needs, steampunk, sword and sorcery, travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Getting Too Close to Nature


by Lillian Csernica on June 18th, 2017

cougar_cp_0

www,vancouverobserver.com

See this? This is a mountain lion. A cougar. A puma.

They can be 5 to 9 feet long and weigh 100 to 150 lb. They can run 40 to 50 miles per hour and jump up to 20 feet high. They’re also excellent at climbing.

This was in my back yard yesterday, in broad daylight.

As soon as I saw the big cat crossing our creek, I yelled up the stairs to my husband. We have three housecats, and I wanted all of them accounted for right then.

My husband came down. I told him what I’d seen. He asked me if I was sure. Hell yes I was sure! Back when I was 19, I spent a summer in Larkspur, Colorado working the local Renaissance Faire. Many of us lived on site during the week, including the tiger tamer and his menagerie. “Tiger tamer” isn’t really fair, because Bhaghavan treated his cats with the utmost respect and care.

That included the mountain lion. One day he took the mountain lion out for a walk and passed by where I was sitting. Bhaghavan brought the mountain lion over. The big cat promptly flopped down across my feet and started to purr.

Believe me when I tell you there was NO WAY I was going to rub that tummy!

ffc0f7340df62a88e2d9f7a8594ad54b

pinterest.com

So yes, I do know a mountain lion when I see one.

Mountain lions are normally reclusive and avoid human habitation. To see one walking past my house in full view was both a marvel and a huge surprise. I believe the mountain lion was following a deer trail. It disappeared into the tree line on the other side of the creek.

We found our gray and white cat Hunter under the car. Rayas, the torby, was curled up on a lawn chair, apparently asleep. And Coco, the fluffy black longhair, was up a tree. Smart cat, Coco.

Yes, it’s wonderful to live in the mountains among the California coastal redwoods. Getting close to Nature is important. It’s also important to remember that Nature is perfectly capable of sneaking up on us!

cougar-02-0

huntalberta.ca

 

3 Comments

Filed under cats, Family, home town, Lillian Csernica, nature, veterinarian

Scientology: The Eating Disorder of Religion?


I’ve never seen this angle on Scientology explored before. The parallels are disturbing, to say the least.

BeautyBeyondBones

So I’ve recently watched a couple documentaries on Scientology:Going Clear,and Leah Remini’s 8-part series, Scientology and the Aftermath.

image

Wow. If you want your minds blown, give them a watch…I included the links.

MV5BZjYxYTA0MWQtYWViYi00YmRhLWEzNzctMDkwMGQ5ODFmM2FjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

Let me begin by saying, I’m not here to bash anyone’s beliefs. I am all for respect and inclusivity. But I was just astounded at the level of oppression and corruption in that “religious” organization (as depicted in these exposés).

And it stuck with me all weekend. I couldn’t stop thinking about those poor people trapped in that culture of repression.

What made them stay in a dire situation? Why did they put up with the mind games and the systematic oppression?

And the more I thought about it, I realized that scientology is exactly like being trapped in an eating disorder.

Scientologists are fed dogma that they must protect scientology at any cost – including…

View original post 760 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How to Keep Writing When Depression Strikes


by Lillian Csernica on June 6, 2017

babc8475bf97b25b7ad918950c77c69f

Yes, it’s that time again. Life’s daily stressors combined with two or three sudden unwelcome surprises have left me waging guerilla warfare against my own depression. This comes at a particularly bad time. I have writing opportunities to make use of, commitments to fulfill, as well as organizing the celebration of my younger son’s graduation from high school.

These things are very difficult to accomplish when it takes a massive effort of will just to drag myself out of bed every morning.

I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone in suffering the crippling effects of depression, whether temporary or chronic. In keeping with the Buddhist philosophy of “taking positive action for the good,” I offer this list of helpful ideas.

Why Writers Are Prone to Depression

Writing Your Way Out of Depression

Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers and the Mentally Ill.

7 Ways to Help You Write When You’re Depressed.

The Writer and Depression (Chuck Wendig)

The important thing is to keep writing. Make lists. Brainstorm. Letters to your imaginary friends. Anything that keeps the pen moving. Suspend judgment and blow off the Internal Editor. Just write. One day at a time. Just write.

540_293_resize_20130201_b4753a03bc6881e6e425640c2f5ba5ed_jpg

What do you do when depression gets you down? What helps you keep the pen moving? I would love to hear your ideas and coping strategies. Let’s see how many answers come in before Friday, midnight. I will roll the appropriate die, the winner shall be chosen, and that winner will receive a free ebook copy of either The Writer’s Spellbook or The Fright Factory.

3da74cf4e657e8fc5abcab9ba80f04c6

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under creativity, Depression, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, homework, memoirs, neurodiversity, publication, research, romance, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, Writing

Remembering the June Rebellion


A powerful reminder to keep fighting the good fight.

Sharon E. Cathcart

On this day, in 1832, the students of Paris’ Sorbonne University led an uprising. They were protesting against inequality that saw the poor starving to death and the rich getting richer. The June Rebellion lasted only two days; many of the students were killed by the military. In fact, we would probably know nothing about it had author Victor Hugo not been accidentally caught behind one of the students’ barricades.

My tales in Thirty Days Later, “Two Days in June, Parts I and II,” are about this event.

This performance is a reminder that we are all, no matter our country of origin, the people whose voices matter and must be heard.

View original post

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

About that Subtitle….


by Lillian Csernica on June 1, 2017

prefatory-material-of-a-book-writing-10-638

Now that I’m home again after the big holiday weekend, I’ve been practicing some stress management by looking through the Amazon giveaways. I’m seeing a lot of books.

I’m also seeing a lot of subtitles. Long, cumbersome, unnecessary subtitles. Heaven knows we all want to win big in the SEO Sweepstakes. Trying to stuff a bunch of keywords into your title, subtitle, and series name is more likely to turn a reader off.

Here is an example of a rather lengthy subtitle:

book-2

Mr. Duswalt might have chosen to say Surviving X Years Touring with Guns N’ Roses. One can assume he felt the marketability of the book would be enhanced by all those details.

Still, tl;dr can be an important factor.

A subtitle is a lot like a prologue. If your story needs one to help the reader figure out what’s happening, then there’s something wrong with your story. Much like an adverb props up a weak verb, a subtitle is propping up a weak title and/or cover art that really doesn’t sell the story’s genre.

Yes, you can have a subtitle if the book is one installment in an ongoing series or you have the same main character. Even so, keep it simple. Book 12 in the Marybelle O’Shaughnessy Cozy Culinary Criminal Capers with Cats is a little much!

cat-stealing-fish-kitchen-30743468

 

 

 

Save

3 Comments

Filed under cats, creativity, editing, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, romance, science fiction, Writing

Where You Should Be This Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on May 26, 2017

road-trip-13

It’s that time again! Convention season is well underway, and Memorial Day Weekend is a high point. This weekend you can find me at two, count ’em, TWO conventions!

sitebanner470x246

Clockwork Alchemy:

Saturday in particular promises to be a blast.

11:30 to 1 p.m. — Steampunk DIY! This year we’ll be making earrings. Get it it gear (ho ho ho) and join us!

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Steampunk, Satire, and Society

itve-c3s

BayCon:

Sunday is my busy day!

1:40 p.m. (Connect 5)  My reading! Come listen to an exciting excerpt from my newest Kyoto Steampunk story, “The Wheel of Misfortune.”

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Synergy 1) Historical Writing

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Connect 1) The Truth About Stuff!

I’ve come up with some rather unique items in the way of promo swag. Find me and see what heights of creative memorabilia could be yours!

stock-vector-brightly-colorful-firework-isolated-on-white-background-vector-illustration-158057198

2 Comments

Filed under artists, charity, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, dreams, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, pirates, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, travel

My Ship Has Come In!


by Lillian Csernica on May 21, 2017

eimyyra9t

Thanks to the excellent artistic and business skills of Michael Willis, head of Digital Fiction Publishing, a new edition of Ship of Dreams is now available!

51-7r4gioml

amazon.com

*** Introductory Sale Price: 99 cents US for Kindle!***

 

3dbd15351bae8c99be32260ee43425d0_hibiscus-clipart-hibiscus-free-clip-art_298-255

1 Comment

Filed under editing, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, love, marriage, nature, pirates, publication, romance, tall ships, travel, Writing