Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
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Sunday, 30 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - Z is for Zenobia, Zygon & Richard Zeeman #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 26 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter Z. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

Z is for 

Zenobia

Z is usually a harder letter to fill, but with my theme it was so easy I have two shapechangers for you today. My first is Zenobia, played by Margaret Whiting, from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

She is a sorceress and the evil stepmother of Prince Kassim of Charak and wishes her own son Rafi to take the thrown instead of Kassim. To do this she transforms Kassim into a baboon. Luckily for him Sinbad is docked so he can ask for permission to marry Kassim's sister, Princess Farah, and so he comes to the rescue.

It is not just Prince Kassim's shape Zenobia can change, but her own as well. She uses a potion which allows her to shift into any form she wishes. At one point she changes into a bird to get to their ship and then makes herself small, but is captured. She is later left with a bird foot after she uses the bird form a second time, but most of her potion is spilled.

The film is one of Ray Harryhausen's and has many of his wonderful special effects.

Zygon

Zygons are aliens from the wonderful Doctor Who. They use technology as part of their shape changing.

A Zygon can use what they call a body-print of an individual to mimic voice and appearance. They create this print by placing the captive in a special receptical, keeping the person alive but unconscious. In this version of the technology, a new print was required every two hours.

Over time this ability became more advanced, leading to not necessarily needing the specemin in the special receptical and then also being able to maintain the shape of a deceased person, with the proviso of not needing anymore information from the individual.

This makes them a formidable enemy for the Doctor and his friends.

Werewolf of the Day

Richard Zeeman (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter)

Richard is the Ulfric (leader) of the Thronnos Rokke Clan from St Louis. He was originally the Geri (second in command) to Marcus, but killed him to take the position after having spared him once.

He was engaged to Anita for a while, but broke it off after she slept with Jean-Claude. He is the third member of their triumvirate, which gives them all a great deal of power.

Anita calls him a "boy scout", in that he is polite and kind, but his wolf has a thing for violence and pain, which keeps him from accepting his other nature fully. He is a very powerful werewolf, able to control members of his pack and to protect them.

He is a junior high school teacher and, as such, keeps his status as a werewolf a secret. He did not choose to become one, but was turned by a bad batch of anti-lycanthrope vaccine. He is honey coloured, heading towards red as a wolf.

Richard is basically a bit of a bad ass when it comes to werewolf business and likes to think the best of people in all other situations.

And we're there - thank you so much for sticking with me over the AtoZ. See you for the reflections post.
  • So would you rather be up against Zenobia or a Zygon?
  • If you were a werewolf and found that your wolf form had urges completely at odds with your normal self, how do you think you would deal with it?

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - Y is for Yesenia & Yani #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 25 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter Y. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

Y is for 

Yesenia

So I have to admit, my shapeshifter today is blowing my own trumpet again. Yesenia is a character from my The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman. She is one of the other six Questors and she is the Questor of the Spider Spirit. This means she had the power to change into the shape of a giant spider.

Charlie takes a while to get used to her in her animal form because he has an unfortunate case of arachnaphobia.

Yesenia is from the planet Hanean, which is a world covered mostly by rain forest and similar habitats. Her people live in harmony with their planet, going so far as to grow their homes and such things as furniture etc. The only place not covered in plan life is the space port.

She is althetic, with a Hispanic apearance. Her nature is to be very direct, which can come off as argumentative. At first she was not very impressed with Charlie, but he has slowly won her over.



Werewolf of the Day

I could not find a werewolf for Y, so I have written some flashfic for you instead.

Y is for Yani
part 4 of Curses
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
(each part can be read seperately, but if you read them in order they build on each other - there will be 4 part [Nicky, Paul, Xerxes & Yani])

Yani Blaid, werewolf, mate to Paul.

The note was short and it looked like Paul's handwriting, but Yani knew it wasn't real. Paul never would have left, not when they could both feel the mate bond humming at the back of their minds.

Mate bonds were something the elders of the pack told stories about to the children and what adolescents dreamed about, but the adults scoffed at as being silly legend. That hadn't stopped it from surging through Yani when he had accepted Paul's proposal to become Alpha-elect mate, but it was the reason they hadn't told anyone about it.

Now Paul had disappeared and everyone thought he had run away from his responsibilities, but Yani knew better. He also knew his father had to be behind it. He had seen the remains of the burned mistletoe in the kitchen bin. Attacking Paul outright would have damaged his father's pack bond, given Paul's position, but using magic could circumvent that.

His father had forbidden him from even mentioning Paul's name, but he was not paying any attention to what his father wanted. The ridiculous notion of a proper alpha his father had was utterly stupid and archaic. Which was why Yani had taken his father's car and was speeding down the M1.

He really didn't know what he was doing, but the mate bond was calling to him and he was following it.

"Sorry," he said, even though the Peugeot he cut up to make it to the Nottingham junction at the last second couldn't hear him.

It wasn't exactly like Sat nav, so he was having to be quick.

The feeling that was lancing from the base of his brain all through his body led him to the outskirts of the city and into a car park outside a wide low building. He was so focused on where he was going that it wasn't until he was out of the car he realised he was at a vet's.

"This can't be good," he muttered to himself.

The first thing that hit him as he walked in was the smell. Sickness and disinfectant and other even less pleasant scents assaulted his nose, but luckily he wasn't using it to find Paul. There was no one in reception when he walked in and he followed his instincts with no one to get in his way. The solitary woman and her dog in the waiting area both looked at him, but said nothing.

"Oh my god, Paul," he said as he barged into one of the rooms off the main corridor and saw his mate lying on the examination table with a strange woman standing over him.

Paul immediately sat up and the woman stepped back. Yani was so focused that it was only as he all but ran past her that he realised the woman wasn't a human at all.

"Hi," she said as he stared at her and the clippers and phone she was holding in her hands, "you must be Yani. Paul has just been telling me about you. I'm Nicky."

He looked to Paul then back at the newly introduced Nicky and he was totally confused. There was something about her that felt familiar, but he had no idea why. Then he saw what Nicky had been doing. A patch of fur the size of a postcard was missing from Paul's side and where it had been was a black sigil. Without knowing much about magic, Yani still recognised a curse mark when he saw it.

"Not right," he whispered, because it was the only thing the mate bond would let him think.

His mate was not in pain, but this was wrong, so very wrong and he had to do something about it. He reached out without thinking, placing his hand over the sigil, and just pushed. Heat rushed from his heart across his chest and down his arm like rivulets of fire. Paul yelped, but did not pull away as magic shifted in the room.

When Yani pulled his hand back the sigil was gone, not even a trace of it remained under the black palm print he had left behind. He felt faint and elated at the same time.

"Well I suppose that fixes that," Nicky commented, even as she steadied him.

Paul shuddered from head to toe and let out a low growl as the first sound of popping muscle and shifting bone erupted from his body. Hair retreated into skin, muscles rearranged themselves, his skeleton melted and reformed as Paul returned from wolf to man. Finally, as Yani watched, the leg that was missing boiled back into being, like wax being poured into a mould, until Paul was whole. There were small pink patches on his pale skin where wounds had healed and the leg had reformed, but that would fade in a few hours.

He couldn't help himself, he leapt forward and dragged Paul into his arms.

"I knew you hadn't abandoned me."

"Never," Paul promised.

Then the guilt hit Yani, because this was his fault.

"My father," he said pulling back.

"Nothing to do with you," Paul assured him. "Are you okay, that was a lot of magic?"

It was only then that his brain caught up with what he had just done.

"But I don't know magic," he said.

Paul was the one with the magical talent, that was why Paul was Alpha-elect.

"But magic knows you," Paul told him still looking him over carefully.

He would have complained at the fussing, but he was doing exactly the same thing to Paul.

"Okay ... wow, you're a big boy," Nicky said as she handed Paul what looked like a lab coat, "I think now would be a good time to take this elsewhere, before the rest of my staff get here and start asking awkward questions."

Yani might have taken offense at someone ogling his mate, especially an alpha potential female, but he was only getting friendly vibes from her. He'd met werewolves from other packs before and it had never felt so easy. Something was going on he didn't understand.

"Here are the keys to my Land Rover," Nicky said, handing a bunch to Paul. "It's out back so no one will see you. I just have to go and arrange cover and make up a fictitious emergency."

Paul nodded so Yani went along with it. Only once they had dashed down the hallway to a back door Nicky had pointed at and were safely in the back of her Discovery 3 did he ask his question: "What's going on?"

"They dumped me in the forest," Paul explained, "and the curse and the mate bond were fighting each other, it kept me a little bit sane, but not much. I wasn't thinking straight and I ran in front of a lorry. Someone brought me here and Nicky patched me up, but I bit her while she was doing it. She became a werewolf last night."

"She's yours?"

Yani couldn't believe it.

"But ... but you're not supposed to be able to do that."

"I know."

"Wow, I think the elders really knew what they were doing when they picked you as Alpha-elect," was all he could think to say.

"Says the man who just channelled magic without ever having being taught," Paul replied with a smile.

He couldn't really argue with that. He had never shown any magical potential before, so he had never been one of the rare few who were taught the craft.

"You'll have to give me lessons," he said.

"It would be my pleasure," Paul said and kissed him ever so gently before pulling back. "But first we have to deal with Nicky and then your father. I'm going to have to call him out."

"Will you kill him?"

Xerxes was an archaic idiot, but he was still his father and it caused a pang as he thought of losing him.

"Not unless I have to," Paul told him, stroking the side of his face. "I won't be able to do anything about what Kurt decides though. He might have named me his successor, but he's still the Alpha."

Yani nodded, he knew that. Werewolves rarely killed each other these days, their society had evolved in the same way human society had, but Xerxes had committed a terrible crime. As head beta it was usually Xerxes job to see to pack law, that he had violated that trust so completely would go against him badly. It would be up to Kurt to decide his fate.

"Kurt is fair," he said, "my father will deserve whatever he gets."

Family was very important to werewolves, but it was not just the trust of the pack Xerxes has broken. Yani could only side with his mate in this.

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Friday, 28 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - X is for Xavin & Xerxes #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 24 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter X. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

X is for 

Xavin

Xavin is from the Marvel comic Runaways. They are a Super-Skrull in training and hence are a shapeshifter. They are also genderfluid and are seen as both male and female at different times.

Xavin is the child of the Skrull Prince De'zean and found it very hard to fit in with the Runaways when they first came to Earth because they were unfamiliar with Earth norms and the gender switching confused people. They are somewhat obtuse and have a warlike personality thanks to their Skrull nature. However, they often overcome this to help their team.

Xavin, when talking about their race, once state: "for us, just changing our gender is no different than changing our hair color". So it is believed that all Skrulls are genderfluid.

Werewolf of the Day

I could not find a werewolf for X, so I have written some flashfic for you instead.

X is for Xerxes
part 3 of Curses
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
(each part can be read seperately, but if you read them in order they build on each other - there will be 4 part [Nicky, Paul, Xerxes & Yani])

Xerxes Blaid - beta werewolf, father to Yani.

Xerces followed the alpha-elect from the farce of a gathering. He has stood there and smiled, pretending like he was supposed to all through it. Kurt knew he did not approve of the alpha's choice of successor, but, being a beta enforcer, it was not this place to disagree with the alpha in public. Before he had been willing to bide his time and convince Kurt slowly that Paul Ulvis was the wrong person, but now this involved his child.

Yani had stood there all through the announcements next to Ulvis, hand in hand, smiling brightly. Just the thought of it made Xerxes blood boil. How dare that pitiful excuse for an alpha-elect court his child as a mate.

When he was young, an alpha was always the strongest, the one who fought off all his rivals to prove himself worthy. Kurt said that that was no method to choose a successor, that their society had evolved since those harder days, but Xerxes thought it was time for a resurgence of the old ways. Ulvis was a powerful magic user Kurt insisted, he would make a strong and wise alpha when the time came. Xerxes was sure the man should have been bound as a child to be used as the tool he was. A sorcerer was useful to an alpha, they should not be one.

The time for talking was over. Xerxes had to protect the pack from Kurt's lack of judgement. He had to protect Yani.

The small bundle in his hand from the witch felt hot, even through the leather glove he had put on before he had touched it. He had had to look far from the pack for a witch willing to cast the spell he had asked for. All the locals would have gone straight to Kurt. Casting such magic in a territory with a powerful wolf pack would have been asking for trouble.

The witch he had found had been willing to do anything for money. The man had clearly been addicted to something. Xerxes had no qualms about using such wastes of oxygen. When this was all settled and Ulvis was dead in a ditch somewhere, he would go back and put the human out of his misery, just to be sure.

"Ulvis," he called, once he was sure they were far enough away from the party still going on.

The man turned, clearly unaware he had been being followed. Just another sign he was not worthy to be alpha-elect.

"Oh, Xerxes," Ulvis said, "I'm sorry, I was in a world of my own."

Xerxes walked forward, hand by his side.

"Actually, this is perfect. I know you probably think I did this to spite you, but I promise, that's not it and there's something I need to tell you..."

Xerxes did not want to know what the pathetic excuse for a wolf wanted to say and he lashed out. With one hand he grabbed Ulvis by the throat, pushing him back into the wall behind him, and with the other ripped open Ulvis' shirt and jammed the curse bundle into the alpha-elect's side. He felt the vial in the bundle break on impact and he pushed hard, speaking the one word to activate the spell as the liquid hit his victim's skin.

Then he released his hold and stepped back, just watching.

Ulvis' features were twisted in confusion and pain. He tried to speak, but all that came out was a tiny gurgle. Every reaction just cemented Xerxes opinion of him. Staring down at the bare skin, Xerxes watched the horror grow on Ulvis' face as the curse mark began to appear.

The look that came Xerxes' way clearly begged why.

"Your weakling strain will no longer infect this pack," he said as the transformation from man to wolf began in his victim, "and you will no longer claim my son."

Ranar, his most trusted lieutenant was waiting outside in the van. Once Ulvis was fully transformed the alpha-elect would be helpless for hours, barely able to move as the forced transformation weakened him. Xerxes had planned very carefully where Ranar would release the cursed wolf, just as Ulvis' strength started to return, but while their alpha-elect was still confused and vulnerable.

Ulvis would die in traffic, an unregistered pet, apparently set free in Nottingham Forest, only to wind up on the motorway in a tragic accident.

The letter he had forged would convince the pack that Ulvis just couldn't take the pressure of being alpha-elect and had run away. They would never know where he had gone or what had happened to him and it would be an end to the matter.


Next time Xerxes was going to make sure Kurt made a better decision.

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - W is for Werewolf & Wayne & Wanda #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 23 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter W. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

W is for 

Werewolf

Werewolves are in folklore. fiction and some people believe they are werewolves in read life as well. For being people who turn into wolves they are amazingly diverse in powers and forms too.

For example, as illustrated by the image to the left there are the half man half wolf, wolfman type werewolves. In cinema and TV these range from everything from a person with a hairy face, to CGI'd montrosities to terrorise any town.

My personal favourite is modern special effects makeup with a little bit fo CGI thrown in to iron out the wrinkles.

Examples of these wolfmen are the Lycan's from Underworld series, the werewolves from Teen Wolf the TV show and the totally unrealted Teen Wolf movies, the werewolves from Van Helsing, to name but three.

Then there are werewolves that completely become wolves. They are able to shift completely from human to wolf and hence are indistinguishable from the real thing. Examples of these are Talia Hale in Teen Wolf, Red from One Upon a Time and the lycanthropes from the Anita Blake series of books.

Some have both forms and can choose which they wish to become.

There are those werewolves who are ruled by the moon, turning into a slathering monster only under the influence of our sattelite. Some only become more agitated under the sway of the moon. Some can change at will, others are cursed to change in other ways.

Likewise some retain their human minds when changed, others lose some humanity, but maintain a modicom of intelligence and then there are the ones who become nothing more than monsters.

Werewolves can pass on their curse by a bite, or in some cases a scratch. With others it requires deliberate intent or an alpha werewolf to create more of their kind. Some are even born as wolves. A few are cursed to become a wolf because of the timing or manner of their birth into this world.

Part of what makes werewolves so interesting it the wealth of folklore and legend there is to work from. Werewolves are almost as diverse as vampires.

Werewolves of the Day

Wanda & Wayne

So I had to think hard for my werewolves today and then it hit me, of course, it has to be the wolfman and his wife from Hotel Transylvania. I love these two and their tribe of children, they are brilliant.

Close friends of Dracula, Wayne and Wanda regularly visit Hotel Transylvania where they can enjoy themselves and forget that humans are out to kill them.

Wayne is voice by the incomparable Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon is Wanda. Since they're wolves they have a litter of children who are in equal parts adorable and a nightmare.

If you haven't seen Hotel Transylvania I highly recommend it as a great family watch, and I love #2 as well.
  • Do you find werewolves that are wolfmen or full wolves a scarier idea?
  • If you were one of the monsters from Hotel Transylvania, which one would you be?

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - V is for Vampire & Arthur & Samson Vines #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 22 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter V. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

V is for 

Vampire

Vampires are often shapeshifters and I love vampires, so of course V is for vampire. I couldn't pick just one and so V gives me an excuse to tell you about a few of my favourites.

Dracula

In the Hammer series of Dracula films he often summons bats rather than becoming one, but in Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, he shapeshifts into  Kah and takes his place as the high priest of the vampires.

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola we see Dracula's true shape shifting abilities. No only can he turn into a multitude of rats, but also a wolf and he had demonic half human shapes as well. He also changes from an old man to a young man on his journey to England.

Jerry Dandridge (Fright Night)

Jer as Billy, his minion calls him, played by Chris Sarandon, is sexy, incredibly powerful and a skillful shapeshifter. Moving in next door to Charley Brewster he probably never imagined he would have trouble with a bunch of teenagers. When Charley see's Jerry kill one of his victims he calls in the cavalry, including Peter Vincent Vampire Killer, or rather TV host.

Jerry can shift parts of his body at will, just extending his fingers or growing fangs or turning into everything from a demoic creature to a monstrous bat.

Regine (Fright Night II)

Three years after his encounter with Jerry Dandrige, Charley has convinced himself it was all in his head and none of it happened. Unfortunately for him, Regine, sister to Jerry wants revenge. She starts to seduce and turn Charley so that so she can torture him forever.

One ability we see in her that we do not see in Jerry is the ability to become smoke, which she uses to enter Charley's dorm room after she has been invited in the first time. Regine also shows the ability to distort her face and other parts of her body at will as she prentends to be simply a performance artist. In the end we also see her true monstrous form, part woman, part bat.

Buffy Vampires

There are probably very few who have not seen a vampire from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mascaradings as humans they appear perfectly normal, but when they are hunting or hungry the demon inside rises to the surface twisting their hands and faces into more monstrous forms.

The Lost Boys

As with Buffy vamps, the Lost Boys spent most of their nights looking like perfectly ordinary human beings. However, when hunting their montrous sides are revealed, with more prominant brows, fangs, extended cheekbones and glowing eyes.

Most vampires can also grow fangs and cause their eyes to change colour at will. In some this is shown to be a physical thing, in others it is definitely a metaphysical shapeshifting ability.

I could rave about vamppires all day, but I will stop there :).

Werewolf of the Day

Arthur & Samson Vines (The Blood Maker and the Witch's Curse)

I have to admit that these two werewolves came from a quick search on the internet because I couldn't think of any beginning with V, but they sounded so interesting I had to put them in.

They are from the book The Blood Maker and the Witch's Curse by Jaromy Henry and they're not mentioned at all in the blurb on the book at Goodreads, but the description of them on Wikipedia makes me want to check them out.

Arthur is a descendent of the first werewolf, who became such by being cursed by the witch Griselda. He carried the Werewolf Crux, a powerful talisman that allows him to changed between human and wolf forms at will,

Samson is Arthur's son, born with the ability to change form at will. An ancient prophecy talks of someone called the Moon Taker and most think he is him. He dethroned his father as king of the tribe of werewolves and is seeing the cruxes, including the one his father has, for their power.

Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find the book anywhere at the moment.

Thank you for letting me rave about one of my favourite subjects :)

  • Do you prefer your vampires to be consumate shapeshifters, or for them to remain very much human?
  • Have you heard of The Blood Maker... ? Have you read it?

 Wow, we're almost at the end now, only 4 days to go.

Click here and here to find other AtoZ posts.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

How to Make the Fluffiest, Tastiest Omlette Ever! #TipsTuesdays


Today's AtoZChallenge post can be found here: U is for Ursula, Usurian & Uberwald.

So I have never really liked omlettes because I find them rubbery and don't really like the way they often taste. However, then I went on hols to Canada and was served omlettes I loved on more than one occasion, so I investigated. This is what I have found and this technique makes the fluffiest, tastiest omlettes, so I had to share. I've made this recipe for my sister, who has the same objections to omlettes as I do and she approved :). It's like a souffle without the flour!

This recipe is for a cheese omlette, but you could add anything else you liked as well. Just make sure your toppings are pre-cooked and just need heating through.

This is an awesome way to  have a really filling gluten free breakfast - no need for toast to fill a hole with this omlette. The recipe is also suitable for vegetarians as long as you use veggie friendly cheese.

 How to Make the Fluffiest, Tastiest Omlette Ever!

Makes 1 omlette, Time 10-15mins
(If you want to make enough for two really quickly without having to faff and wait while making a second omlette, double the number of eggs, up the time in the oven slightly, and then cut the resulting omlette in half).

Equipment:

  • 1 bowl
  • 1 omlette pan that can go in the oven (if you only have one with a handle that will melt, you can use the grill (broiler) and keep the handle sticking out)
  • 1 electric whisk (you could use a hand whisk, but it will take a lot of elbow grease)
  • 1 spatula

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs (because of the method two eggs makes a generous omlette)
  • a sprinkling of grated cheese (you can add as much or as little as you like, but it really doesn't need much - I used a mixture of cheedar for favour and mozzarella for stringy bits)
  • pinch of salt (I use smoked salt because I like the flavour)
  • pinch of white pepper (you could use black pepper if you like, but I'm not fond of the bits)
  • butter/oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F or turn on your grill (broiler) to high.
  2. Put the eggs in the bowl with the salt and pepper. DO NOT be tempted to add any of the toppings at this stage or anything that will impede whisking, however, if you want other spices like a bit of cayene or tumeric, now is the time to put them in.
  3. Whisk the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes with the electric whisk until they are a light yellow, very frothy and you can see trails in the mixture. Don't give up too soon - you want the eggs as light and fluffy as you can get them.
  4. Melt the butter in the pan (if you are feeling decedant) or heat the drizzle of oil (if you are feeling healthier).
  5. Add the frothy egg mixture and gently move it away from the sides of the pan with the spatula.
  6. Keep moving the egg gently, allowing the still molten froth to fill gaps that you leave until the omlette is about 50% cooked. It should still look like froth on the top.
  7. Sprinkle over the cheese (or any other toppings). Don't go too made or you will deflate the uncooked part of the omlette.
  8. Put in the oven for 3-4 mins. Check to see if it cooked after 3 and if not, pop it in for 1 more. Remember your pan handle will be HOT - so use an oven mitt or cloth - I forgot at least twice! If using a grill/broiler, pop the main part of the pan under and keep an eye on it to see when it's cooked through.
  9. Fold the omlette in half and serve. (It's really good with avocado).
This is the perfect way to do an omlette for someone who doesn't like any chance of runny egg in the middle, without turning the egg mixture into leather. It also works for those people who like their omlette slightly gooey, because just don't cook it quite so long in the oven and the residual foam in the middle goes lovely and moist.

This is the first technique I have ever used where I actually ended up with a neat, round omlette, as well as a delicious one. The whipping seems to lighten the taste somehow as well. Of course it does mean that my breakfast now takes me 3/4 of an hour - it takes me 30-40 mins to eat the omlette :). Yes I am a slow eater, but it sets me up all morning.

AtoZ2017 - U is for Ursula, Usurian & Uberwald #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 21 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter U. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

U is for 

Ursula

Ursula is a sea witch in Disney's The Little Mermaid and she is downright nasty. She wants to defeat Areile's father, King Triton, and take over Atlantica.

When Ariel comes to her for help to earn the love of Prince Eric, she takes the opportunity to try and sabotage Ariel's chances and hence, bring down the king. She grants Ariel's wish to live as a human for three days, but then changes herself into a beautiful young woman called Vanessa and hypnotises Eric.

Ariel must now not only contend with having no voice and being human, but with Ursula's magic as well.

Usurian

We meet an Usurian in the Doctor Who episode The Sun Makers. Their natural form looks something like seaweed, although they are infact a fungus. With the use of partical radiation they can morph into the shape of a dwarvish humanoid.

They are thoroughly unpleasant in either form.

The Collector works for the Company which has subjugated the earth colony on pluto via economic subversion. As a species Usurians are obsessed with business and profit, caring for it above all else.

Werewolf of the Day

Delphine Angua von Uberwald (Disc World)

Angua is from the wonderful world of Terry Prachett's Discworld and is the first werewolf to be hired into the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Angua uses her very sensitive nose to track any miscreant that causes problems in her city. For Angua her sense of smell is like coloured lights would be to a normal human.

She can also descern gender and strong emotions, which is very useful when she goes undercover in plainclothes at a crime scene.

When in wolf form she is often mistaken for a dog because most people don't know about werewolves.

Angua is from a nobel house, her father being a baron and her mother a lady. She had three siblings, two brothers and a sister, but her sister is dead, one of her brothers probably did it and the other is stuck in his wolf shape and ran away from home. Angua also ran away from home and eventually came to settle in Ankh-Morpork, taking up her job in the Night Watch.

  • Who is your favourite Disney villain?
  • Are you a Discworld fan? What is your favourite book?

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Monday, 24 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - T is for The Thing & Tony #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 20 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter T. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

T is for 

The Thing

My shapeshifter today gave me the heebeejeebees for years. For T I have chosen The Thing. It is an alien which has been frozen in the permafrost of Antartica for an age, but which was discovered and dug up by a Norwegian research team.

It is a parasitic lifeform, absorbing other lifeforms and then using their characteristics to continue the hunt. It retains all their memories and abilites and if able to perfectly reproduce anyone or any lifeform it desires. All parts of it are as alive as the rest, just in a different form. The only thing is seems to fear is fire.

When we first meet it, it is in the form of a dog, which the Norwegians are trying to destroy. However, it then proves it is quite capable of becoming any human it chooses as well.

The part that really freaked me out was when it is discovered in the body of one man, so divides. His  head drops off, sprouts legs and runs away.

Werewolf of the Day

Tony (Waxwork)

My werewolf today is from one of my favourite 80s horror films, Waxwork. Played by Dana Ashbrook. Tony, is a smart mouthed, cigaret smoking player, who goes to school with the hero of the piece, Mark Loftmore.

China and Sarah meet a strange man when walking to school, who invited them to a private showing at his Waxworks. When their group have nothing to do that evening, they decide to attend the event.

The 18 waxworks are incredibly detailed and all horror based, and, unbeknowst to the group, they also eat people.

The creator of the waxworks is David Lincoln, a madman who has used items belonging to the 18 most evil beings to have ever existed to create them in wax, and parts of their environments to create the scenes around them. This makes each display a trap for the unwary who step into it. Once each trap has a victim all the waxworks will live again, along with their possessed victims, contaminating the world with evil.

Tony has the unfortunate luck to step into the werewolf display. He thinks he's tripping, so goes with the story, which is his mistake. He meets a man, just as the man begins to transform into the werewolf as the full moon rises. He is attacked and begins to turn himself, only to be shot by a werewolf hunter, thus killing him and completing the display.

No one has much luck in my choices today, do they? :)

  • What would you do if faced with a perfectly camoflagued alien, panic or reach for the flame thrower?
  • What would be your worst nightmare waxwork to end up in?


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Saturday, 22 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - S is for Shadow, She-Ra & George Sands #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 18 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter S. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

S is for 

Shadow

The Shadow is the alter ego of Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin), a playboy from New York. He doesn't shapeshift much, but when he is the Shadow his face changes to a much more sinister form. His eyes have also been know to change.

After the first world war Cranston reinvented himself as Yin-Ko, a warlord and opium dealer in the far east. However, he was kidnapped and then trained by the Tulku, a holy man with extraordinary powers, to harness his inner darkness and use it for good.

Back in New York he run a network of informants, people he has saved, as he takes on crime and the underworld. These criminals he defeats easily, but his true test comes when Shiwan Khan comes to New York, intent on taking over the world where his anscestor Genghis Khan failed. Khan was also a student of the Talku, but rejected the teachings and killed his master.

She-Ra

She-Ra, the Princess of Power is from the Masters of the Universe franchise. Adora, her alter ego, is the twin sister of Adam and she was kidnapped as a baby by Hordak.

She was brought up to become a force captain in the Horde on the world of Etheria, however, when her true origins are revealed and the spell on her is broken, she joins the Great Rebellion instead.

Given a sword of power by Prince Adam and told how to use it by the Sorceress, Adora becomes She-Ra and like her brother uses her powers to fight the forces of evil.

Of course She-Ra is an obvious attempt to sell toys to girls as well as boys, but I always liked her. She was as powerful and clever as He-Man and it was good to see a girl in charge.

Werewolf of the Day

George Sands (Being Human)

George (Russell Tovey) is a werewolf from the Being Human tv show. He's highly intelligent, but not as socially adept as some and is best friends with Mitchell, who happens to be a vampire.

He became a werewolf while on holiday in Scotland with his fiancee. He went for a walk with a tag along American tourist and they were attacked by a werewolf. The American was killed, but George was only injured, thus infecting him. When he realised what he was he left everything behind.

He works as a porter in St Jude's hospital, the only job he can hold down due to his monthly condition. He is in denial about his condition for a long time only eventually trying to take control of it after events get out of hand.


And there we have S, I hope you enjoyed my choices today.
  • Do you like your heroes/heroines on the darker side, like The Shadow, or fluffy like She-Ra?
  • If you suddenly found out you were a werewolf, would you leave your family behind to keep them safe or ask for their help?

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Friday, 21 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - R is for Rutan & Red Riding Hood #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 18 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter R. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

R is for 

Rutan

Rutan are a warlike alien from the Doctor Who universe. In their original form they look like green balls, similar to jelly fish, with long glowing tentecales. They are amphibious and able to live in and out of water.

They can also produce a deadly electric shock.

They have the ability to shapeshift into the shape of other lifeforms, however, they do not seem to gain any information from the form they assume. They also find the process taxing.

They are a hive lifeform and the needs of the individual are not important. They are also at war with the Sontarens.

Werewolf of the Day

Red Riding Hood/Ruby (Once Upon a Time)

Red Riding Hood is from the television series Once Upon a Time, and to begin with she doesn't know she's a werewolf.

In the Enchanted forest a wolf is killing sheep  and some of the townsfolk want to hunt it. Red wants to go with them, but Granny will not let her. The day after she finds the bodies of the men in the well.

Red wants to track the wolf, but in doing so finds that the footprints go from wolf to human, giving her the idea that they are not dealing with a real wolf at all. The tracks lead to her window and the only person she knows who was there was Peter, so she thinks Peter is the wolf.

Unfortunately Granny has been keeping secrets. There is a curse on her family, they are werewolves and it is only the red cloak that keeps Red from transforming.

I can't believe we're on R now. Time flies.

  • Do you remember the wonderful effects of the original doctor who? Lots of bubble wrap and cling film :)
  • If you knew your family was cursed, would you keep it a secret from your descendents?


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Thursday, 20 April 2017

AtoZ2017 - Q is for Evil Queen & Quentin Collins #AtoZChallenge


Welcome to Day 17 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter Q. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be making a post about shapeshifters of all kinds. Check back to see my choices and, from time to time some flash fiction too.

Q is for 

Evil Queen

Everyone knows the story of Snow White and my shapeshifter today is her evil stepmother, the Queen from Disney's film adaptation. Obsessed with being the fairest in the land, the queen uses a magic mirror to make sure of her position. However, she watched her lovely growing more beautiful day by day, until eventually the mirror gives the verdict that Snow White is the fairest in the land.

The Queen cannot stand this and plots to have Snow White killed.

We see her shapeshifting abilities when she uses magic to turn herself into an old woman (in the Brother's Grimm version she just uses a disguise) to trick Snow White into eating the poisoned apple.

In this incarnation her end comes when she is chased by the seven dwarves and lightning destroys the pinacle on which she is standing, sending her crashing to her death. Perversely this is merciful compared to other versions where she is tricked into coming to Snow White's wedding and forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she dies.

Werewolf of the Day

Quentin Collins (Dark Shadows)

Quentin is the grandson of Edith and Gabriel Collins and so many things happened to him it's hard to keep up. One of these was Magda's curse.

Quentin was married to Jenny, who told him she was from New York, but she was in face a Romany. When Quentin was unfaithful and ran off with another woman, Jenny went mad and was locked in her room. When Quentin returned he was not told and believed she had simply left.

However, she escaped and managed to kill him, but he was restored to life. He then planned to kill her before she could get him again. However, Magda, Jenny's sister, threatened to curse him should any harm befall her sister, so peace reigned for while. However, Jenny escaped again and saw Quentin kissing another woman and tried to kill them both, so he strangled her.

Magda made good on her promise and curse him and the first born of every generation to be a werewolf. Quentin was uncontrollable in his werewolf form and killed many people. He tried a cure, but made everything worse and became even more dangerous. Eventually he had a magical portrait made that turned into the werewolf instead of him, and also aged instead of him, so he became functionally immortal.

Phew, Quentin was a busy boy wasn't he :).
  • Which fairy tale do you remember the most clearly from your childhood?
  • If as much happened to you as happened to Quentin, would you have given up and become a hermit?
See you tomorrow :)

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