Sunday, February 2, 2020

Anna Karenina Short and Sweet


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Anna Karenina [Leo Tolstoy]  was first #published serially(1875-77) in a Russian #journal before being published in #book format in 1878.

The first sentence of A.K. is: “All happy #families resemble each other; each unhappy #family is unhappy in its own way". This sentence is often quoted, but just as often, misunderstood. It means that each unhappy family is missing one or more of the elements that make a truly happy family, i.e., love, good health, family...

Anna Karenina is unhappy in her marriage to Count Alexei Karenin, as he does not / can not satisfy her emotionally, driving the once #virtuous matriarch into the arms of Count Aleksey Vronsky, where Anna finally finds emotional comfort and solace.

Ultimately, however, this consolation is short-lived, as Anna's passions are far too profound and great even for Vronsky, who is frivolous with his care, despite truly loving Anna.

Both characters are doomed, as they must pay for their sins against morality. Vronsky charges into a suicide mission by book's end upon learning of Anna's death.

Anna kills herself upon the understanding that she will always feel trapped and unhappy, unable to live the unbridled life she wants due to the society of her time. Divorcing Count Karenin seems a viable solution, releasing her to the passionate embrace of her lover, Count Vronsky, but this happiness is marred by the fact that Anna's contemporary society has cast her out due to her impetuous behavior. She will never be allowed true happiness.

Adding to Anna's doom was Tolstoy's own administered punishment of his female protagonist for the sin of abandoning her son.

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#books #literature #tolstoy  #russianliterature #greatliterature #writingcommunity #writers #writing #amwriting #authors #authorshelpingauthors #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #poetrycommunity #poets #poems #readers #reading #readers #amreading #readersofinstagram #readersareleaders #readerswanted 📖 đŸ“šđŸ”–đŸ“•đŸ•¯✒✏🖋📚📙📒

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Sister Blandina and (Her Almost) Run-In with the Famous Billy the Kid

You may have heard the tale of Sister Blandina and her famous run-in with Billy the Kid.

The Billy in question was not actually the notorious Wm. H. Bonney, but a man named Wm. LeRoy (nÊe, Arthur Pond).

Sister Blandina met LeRoy (believing he was Bonney), while LeRoy was hell bent on the hunt in Colorado for the doctors who refused to treat a friend and fellow outlaw for a gun shot wound while he lay dying. Instead, Sister Blandina nursed the outlaw back to health.

LeRoy swore to scalp the deliberately negligent doctors, but Sister Blandina talked him out of his intended, bloody deed, and LeRoy thanked the Sister for her kindness in helping his ailing comrade.

There are still many people who confuse this story, believing Blandina met with Wm. H Bonney., which of course is not so. Sister Blandina, herself, boasted (albeit humbly) of this encounter, as well. After all, Wm. H. Bonney had a treacherous reputation, though it preceded him somewhat falsely and unfairly. Who wouldn't want to believe they stayed the famous "beast"? But in all fairness to Sister Blandina, this is *exactly* what she did, even though it was the wrong Billy the Kid, so she still gets props!

One of the defining attributes of Bonney is his (Irish) temper, but a telltale sign that this was not the famous Kid is Billy Bonney was not an inherently violent individual, and would more than most likely not have made an attempt to exact vengeance in the way LeRoy had, making the trek to carry it out.

Billy Bonney was a gentleman by all accounts, and would not harm innocent citizens.

In fact, during the 5-Day-Battle at Lincoln, the Regs refused to hole up in Tunstall's store, despite the lead-lined doorway (which would have helped tremendously) for fear of having innocent bystanders hurt or killed; so they made their way to McSween's while some of the other Regulators took up strategic positions elsewhere (of course, the 5-Day-Battle is a Benny Hill sketch of its own 🙄).

Billy Bonney knew the dangers of a violent life and was more than prepared while living it, having lost more than a few friends to it. The most devastating to him was Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre, who were shot and killed within days of one another.

An interesting anecdote referring to the bleak awareness that proved Billy Bonney knew how the game was played goes as follows: 

When Bowdre was shot, falling back into the Adobe the small, tattered remaining Regulator's were hiding out in, Billy pushed him forward, telling Bowdre he was done for and killed, and that he should go back and get his revenge, taking out as many men as he could.

This was simply a reality for the Kid and his compadres. 

Wicked Scribbler (@banditaexpress) 

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http://nicolemaddalodixon.blogspot.com/2019/12/sister-blandina-and-her-almost-run-in.html?m=1




Wicked Scribbler (@banditaexpress)
Visit my website for purchasing information thru Amazon and Barnes and Noble



Thursday, May 9, 2019

About "Days Gone" (PS4): Tips, Trouble, and Why Boozer is a Certifiable D-ck

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Image result for days gone images


If you want to skip to Boozer, please scroll.

I’m going to give you the bottom line, first: The game is worth playing. As far as skill-based games go, Days Gone has some valuable gameplay.

Additionally, the game’s protagonist, Deacon St. John, is worth getting to know as you take him around the in-game world of Oregon, which provides some beautiful views and landscapes. Weather-wise, sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, making for some awkward trekking if you don’t upgrade, or haven’t fully upgraded, your bike. It’s worth noting that the snowy panoramas, as the flakes flutter into bushes and along dirt roads, is pretty and serene, making for an interesting contrast to the game’s otherwise blood-soaked content and body count.

But aside from the obvious work that was put into making Days Gone look vast and vivid, the controls are sloppy. For instance, while Deacon is running from cover-to-cover, hiding from marauder’s or Rippers, or any group of the in-game villainous antagonists, if you’re not careful, he’ll hop right over a wall or obstacle instead of crouching beside it, which immediately gives away his position as he tries to silently take the baddies down one-by-one. Even when your enemies are aware of you as you battle your way through a task in order to earn trust and credits at any one of the game’s camps, Deacon will expose himself (so-to-speak), and quickly get sniped, taking a large portion of his health, or otherwise be shot. It's bad enough that he just stands around in front of an enemy about to take a shot at him while he slowly reloads his firearm, but for the game to sabotage you while you're the one in control, it can be maddening.

Sometimes, the commands don't even work because Deacon is a might too far, causing you to have to press the button again. No harm really comes from this, it's just irritating.

And, if the enemies are closing in while your health is low, your only options are fight or flight, which is fair enough. So, if you need to choose “flight” to try and catch a quick breather in order regain some health via a bandage, which is totally an acceptable and given pointer, even suggested by bloggers and vloggers as a necessary choice, prepare for Deacon take his sweet old time trying to escape a depraved cadre of outlaws as they begin to surround him. It’s about all you can do to hang on to your sanity while you yell at the screen for him to “RUN!”, only to be slaughtered due to faulty gameplay mechanics. In fact, one of Deacon’s abilities comes in the form of amping up his Stamina Core (in addition to Health Core, and Focus), but a lot of good stamina does you if he’s not gonna dart off when you really need him to.

And yet another issue are the Freaker (zombie) hoards. You have the option of battling them throughout the game (and in a small number of cases, the requirement), or keeping quiet and out-of-sight as they pass. If you decide to do so, be prepared to die repeatedly until getting lucky, either dumbly so, or after repeating a series of events so often that you can't help but get good at performing them fluidly, because it's as if the game actually wants you to fail at this particular task.

I managed to take out a hoard strategically, and I was literally struck dumb that I managed to pull it off. I climbed to the top of a gas station roof (and those SOB's can climb, too!), and was able to keep them distracted by throwing an audio bomb immediately followed by a series of pipe bombs and Molotov's until I whittled the hoard down to a handful that I could take out with my trusty spiked bat. I only bothered to try because I really wanted that cache of bounties that I could cash in and upgrade my bike, storage, ammo, and firearms. 

Another slight point of contention is collecting crafting objects that are scattered throughout the world. It’s not so much the objective of having to track them down or happen across them, as that makes sense in a post-apocalyptic world (adding to the game’s immersion as you need to learn how to be resourceful), but it’s the time it takes Deacon to pry open a lock to get to some of the crafty materials. It wouldn’t be so bad if, say, Freakers weren’t able to approach, because while Deek’s in the middle of gaining a new part, it can leave him vulnerable. But I suppose that’s fair enough, as in reality, things of this nature do take some time and finesse. It’s just something to consider during your gameplay; make sure the coast is clear before opening the hood or trunk of a car for stored goodies.

Another irritating, wonky, or flat-out defective mechanic is the dialogue; it doesn’t always match the characters mouths while they’re speaking, and it can take you out of the game during a cinematic.
Days Gone doesn’t seem to have a clear arc for its story-line or that of its characters, and some of the tasks are a bit odd as they seem rather pointless (though no less fun to play). But while these things may make you wonder what the point is, the in-game world is about chaos, after all, even while you try to gain some cohesion in the form of camps while people work to restore some semblance of society.

Cope's ridiculous, conspiracy-mad Radio Show: Radio-Free Oregon... Are you kidding me? This is self-explanatory. Fortunately, you can skip this smug know-it-all by pressing and holding the pad until the icon on-screen notifies you the horror is over.

Also, speaking of contacting Deacon through his earpiece; he receives constant requests. These are necessary as often he's send on a job that will earn him some much needed points and camp cash, but they chime in while you're trying to concentrate on a mission and can't use, or want, the distraction.

I once received no less than four transmissions from people whose communications were just bullshitting while I tried scoping out another hoard, surveying the lay of the land to see if I could successfully wipe them out again and load up on those sweet, sweet bounties.

It's bad enough that Deacon talks to himself, which is understandable where both he and the player is concerned; one would go mad without society to make us feel "safe" and established, so you talk to yourself to keep from going mad. But he talks to himself when you're actually trying to listen to something game-worthy, like eavesdropping on authority transmission that have to do with the story. So when the requests and other minutia come in on the line while you're working, you get rightfully pissy.

Boozer:

Possible spoiler: A personal complaint I have with the game, which I feel is worth noting, is Deacon's best friend and biker buddy, William "Boozer" Gray, who is, at times, a complete pain in the ass. It's not that he's unlikable, but he causes trouble, if only by accident, which, arguably, is the worst kind of trouble because you get the impression that the character is clueless and unaware of either himself, or the dangers of the world they now live in. If you had a friend like this in real life you'd hesitate to take them anywhere, maybe even quit hanging out with them. People like this are selfish and exhausting, even when their pixelated, apparently.

Fair enough, Boozer suffers a bit of bad luck early in the game, and the winds up getting stuck doing menial jobs at camp after convalescing, but this, in turn, brings him down. At one point he drunkenly wanders off, slurring and whining over Deek's earpiece that he's going home, wtf that is.

This causes Deek to have to now track (a drunken) Boozer down. What a pain.

At the end of Boozer's frustrating charade, he sees a swarm of Freakers and decides he's going to bad-ass his way around them and bring as many of them down as he can before they seal his fate. He gets a revolutionist, renegade-y, snarling look on his face, which is always an eye-roller, and tells Deacon to F off, as if. Deacon, always rational and logical, talks his idiot friend out of this bad decision, explaining that he'll have to take Deacon down with him. And while Deek's talking him off the ledge, this angry hoard of monsters, who are only held-up by a collapsed road on the mountain side, has been worked up into a vicious frenzy trying desperately to get at them. It's only once they're perilously close to figuring out they can walk along the hill to the other side, Boozer comes to his senses (so-to-speak, because we know he has very little of these) and they trek home, Boozer riding Bitch where he belongs.

At another point, Deacon feels sorry for Boozer as the latter mournfully wanders off to gardening duty, a task his best suited for. Noticeably envious of Deacon and his understandable acceptance by others as an alpha-dog, Deacon offers to bring Boozer along on a very important mission; why he would do this, I honestly don't know. Obviously, he feels sorry for his friend, but Deacon was there when Boozer drunkenly wandered out of camp, self-involved, so he ought to know better. This is the one truly warranted "fail" Deacon earns. Other than his Boozer involvement, Deacon uses caution and calculation when completing a sensitive or dangerous assignment.

While on this stealthy mission to listen and record a NERO (an in-game federal agency, so you know they're dicks) scientist, having to sneak his way past guards instructed to shoot on sight, Deacon gets back to his bike only to discover that, ta-da, Boozer is nowhere to be found.

Once again, Deacon has to track Boozer down. He eventually finds him in a building holding a dying dog. It's clear that the game wants us to utilize this moment as teachable, showing us an empathetic Boozer and stoic Deacon, who have to (warning) put the dog out of its misery. This moment is supposed to be an example of the buoyancy of humanity in people.

What we actually see is a, yet again, bumbling Boozer needlessly wandering off to do a little "shopping" without using his trusty earpiece and telling his best buddy what he's up to, and rendering himself vulnerable hanging out with a dying animal after he's used to being surrounded by death and dying and undead people. We simply don't have time for this.

Surely, they have run into this scenario many times before, realizing they were unable to stop and do anything because in this version of the world, dying pets are now a staple of everyday life. I know, I know... Once we are in the situation, I agree with helping the dog, and some of you are crying as you read this. But you all know, deep down, that I'm right when I explain we should never have been put in this position in the first place, if only Deacon had left Boozer to his worker-bee duty.

And so what happens, as expected? They wind up having to fight a Boss-load of Rippers, all thanks to Boozer's ineptitude.

There is even a scene in which Boozer is given a very sharp blade, which he immediately starts swinging around, desperately close to his friends and their faces. This man is an irresponsible detriment. I knew giving him that blade was a bad idea the moment Deek and his fail-induced stroke where Boozer is concerned, suggested gifting him with it.

During one of Deek's error-in-judgement episodes, unwisely toting Boozer on these missions, Boozer gratefully chirps that he doesn't know where he'd be if Deacon hadn't [given him the blade]. I know where he'd be, exactly where he belongs... Back at the farm, hoeing and planting, keeping the post-apocalyptic world safe from his gross incompetence.

At this point it's necessary to say that we don't know what Boozer was like before the...unfortunate incident... I like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he made better choices before feeling sorry for himself.

Now, I'm not heartless; I do have a care for the guy. He's not a bad person, and he's simply down on his luck. I mean, really down on his luck, when you factor in the post-apocal-ism together with his... unfortunate incident... And by the game's end, he does redeem himself of his poor choices earlier in the game.



So, some helpful pointers? Your aim here, other than shrewdly locking in skill points, is to acquire as much storage as possible by way of saddlebags for your bike, in addition to upgrading the bike itself. Everything else is just strategics and personal preference. The way to earn credits for upgrading is to do jobs, turn in bounties, and provide meat to the camps. You can also help survivors you come across in need of your help, and earn credits by sending them to the camp of your choice, and each option will provide you with what you'll be rewarded with per camp.

**Always keep gas in your bike! Fuel locations show up on your map, and at each location you will be able to find a gas can. Even if you haven't traveled far, and even if you've upgraded your tank to the fullest extent, sill fill it up and keep in the habit because forgetting will more than most likely be completely inconvenient, whether it's because you have to find gas on foot, or because you'll need to combat enemies (and win) before first setting off on foot to find gas.

You can't fast-travel without enough of it, either.
.

The best camp, imo, is Iron Mike's. Copeland, as mentioned, is a conspiracy nut (even if he is on-mark), Tucker at Hot Springs is basically a taskmaster running an "acceptable" human slave camp. I use the word "acceptable" because it depends on your take of a post-apocalyptic world, and to be fair, everyone should have to pitch in. But driving them hard and making them totally miserable? Not where I send people to, and not where I prefer to do any business unless it's to get gas and take jobs for the sake of the game. Iron Mike's camp is the most logical, democratically republic camp. Also, they have brakes. Hot Springs only seems to have gas and repairs for the bike, with some ammo available. Copeland's camp does have bike upgrades, but he has less than Iron Mike's.

Overall, while the shoddy gaming mechanics may make you want to pull your hair out, and while the premise is, as has been said, “generic”, Deacon St. John is well-constructed protagonist, fleshed out with all kinds of character development. He’s a redeeming facet of the game, and the supporting characters are likable as well. Investing in the character of Deacon St. John and company bumps the game up to a solid B+ in my book, as the game offers hours of play, in addition to challenging aspects that require you to become a master of stealth and skill.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hunting Advice for Clean-Kill Pelts in Red Dead Redemption II

*** Buy the 1st and 2nd Books in the Bandita Series!


Personal Experience Advice for Hunting in Red Dead Redemption II

I’m going to do this blog post as quickly as possible, because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s when I need information and someone (usually a nice, helpful sort) who takes the time to post that information also seems to take the time to preface forever and ever before getting to the point.

Okay, so you’ve probably read advice from IGN Wiki Guide, like me, in addition to helpful posts from aforementioned nice, helpful people. You will probably also find that sometimes, despite the image of the animal on the Red Dead II map, or given from IGN, etc., the information is wrong, and you have to do further hunting (via blog posts / pages), and then hope you wind up in the right place. At the end of the day, if you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself running from one end of the map to the other before hitting on the one correct spot thanks to a post from a player who got it right.

Here are my findings:

(ALWAYS stay on your horse when hunting predators; the horse will startle, usually giving you a chance to not only spot the predator on your HUD, but to then allow you to ready yourself as the predator will typically be put off for a second, giving you an opportunity to rebound and go in for a clean kill.)


Cougars / Improved Arrows

Outside of Strawberry, where the Trapper is located, there is a road located to the East that runs North and South. To locate a 3-star cougar, guaranteed, place a way-point directly over the Trapper icon, and head a bit North. Camp until morning, then get back on the road and head South. Almost immediately after you pass the way-point, start looking for the red dot (cougar) to appear. It should come from the left.

This cougar can usually be counted on to show up in the AM, 3 out of 4 times, although on one play-through, it showed up 1 out of 4. Meh... If it doesn't show up, reload the game and remember to head out in the A.M.!!!

DO NOT use poison arrows as IGN suggests!! I have wasted so much time on that! Use, all the time, an improved arrow. Shoot the cougar right in the face using Dead-Eye as it’s heading straight for you.



Bears / Grizzlies & Black Bears / Springfield Rifle / High Velocity Bullets:

Again, head toward the Trapper outside of Strawberry. Grizzlies, as well as Black Bears, roam this area. You'll often hear the booming roar of a Grizzly, so always be on alert. As for the Black Bear, you'll generally find one running around sporadically, but current enough.

Badgers / Varmint Rifle:

This little asshole... It's like there's 2 badgers in the whole game; one lousy 1-star badger outside of the Braithwaite Manor, and a 3-star located between the N & E in New Hanover.

Between the N&E, near the tree with the dream catchers, and west of the train tracks, the 3-star badger should show up; many people seem to have had luck finding him here, as did I. At first, I didn't think he'd show. Generally, badgers are around in the evening to night. I believe I found mine early evening. 


Whitetail Deer / Whitetail Bucks / Springfield Rifle / High Velocity Bullets:

Whitetails are everywhere. If you have trouble finding these on your own, you're terrible at the game.

BISON / Improved Arrows:

The Bison is another pain in the ass. Ran all over the place until alighting, finally, at Heartland Overflow.

Beavers / Varmint Rifle:

Located at Kamassa River in Roanoke. They'll be around, but one 3-star seems to spawn, constantly, swimming by the dams. DO NOT kill this thing while it's swimming. Wait until it's on land!

Also located (you probably guessed) near the Trapper outside of Strawberry to the south at the stream heading into Lake Owanjila.

Elks / Sniper Rifle (long range like Rolling Block):

Located around the banks and water inlets/outlets of Coattail Pond

Gray Wolf / Springfield Rifle / High Velocity Bullets:

Again, if you can't find this, you're bad at the game. But you can be sure you will have no trouble finding a pack of them repeatedly at night around the Trapper outside of Strawberry. Shoot them all in the face/head; you'll have a great chance of taking down at least 1 3-star gray wolf in the pack.

Coyote / Bow with Improved Arrows or Repeater:

Located around the Trapper outside of Strawberry or Braithwaite Manor, in a addition to many other places. Hunts at night.

Raccoons / Varmint Rifle:

Found near Radley's Pasture near Rhodes. Hunts at night. 



**Most other animals, such as birds, squirrels, rabbits, are generally found all over. My advice, if planning to hunt for specially made clothes at the trapper, or for satchel expansion, or if you're doing the challenges: Make it easy on yourself and try and get a clean kill on almost every animal you come across, using small game arrows when killing small game like birds, squirrels, skunks, etc., etc. 

The reason I suggest this is because sometimes, if you're out hunting specifically, you'll find yourself having to be patient for hours to find a 3-star animal, or get a clean kill if you can't manage to hit the proper location (head). Never try and hunt from your horse; bigger kills like bears or animals that surround you like wolves or cougars,  using Dead -Eye, are typically easy (until your horse throws you and you need to rebound and get straight quickly), but smaller, quicker animals are difficult and you'll probably frustrate yourself when you find a perfect, 3-star only to mess it up into a 2 or 1-star.




 www.nicolemdixonauthor.com




Monday, February 11, 2019

Looking for A New Take on The Billy the Kid Tale?


Buy the 1st and 2nd Books!


I want to take this opportunity to ask those of who have not purchased books I & 2 of the Bandita Trilogy to go out and get your copies!

Written like no other Billy the Kid saga before its time, it's edgy and humorous (and at times, dark and gritty), and is not your average historian's Billy the Kid!

Told from the perspective of Lucy "Lucky Lu" Howard, our reluctant heroine, all events are accurate and worthy of a read in this, the modern age. I wrote these books with you, dear modern reader, in mind!

So worry not that you'll miss out on eventful facts, but instead appreciate how actively they're brought to life with the advent of supporting characters alongside their historical counterparts!

Visit my webpage: www.nicolemdixonauthor.com for info. and direction, or be aware that books 1&2 are available via @Amazon and @barnesandnoble in both print and electronic formats.

#amazon #BarnesandNoble #kindle #nook
www.nicolemdixonauthor.com **Also available at independent #bookstores

#historicalfiction #historicalromance #LincolnCountyWar #BillytheKid