Novel Progress and the State of My Blog

Introduction

I have been very busy as of late. Between raising two children, working a full-time job, and working on my book, I have had little time to work on my blog. Things are really picking up as I head for the finish line with my book and get my publishing company, Infinite Worlds LLC, up and running. That said, I thought I would take some time out to give another update on the status of my novel (that’s right; I said “novel” … I’m upgrading it from a novella. More on that in a moment) and the status of my website and business. Plus, I am putting out a call for volunteers. There is a lot to get to… so let’s get started.

Novel Progress    

Editing Stage

As I mentioned, I upgraded my book from a novella to a novel. The feedback I received from my editor was quite insightful and spurred me to add some chapters to the book. Along with the additional chapters, I have been going through and rewriting all the chapters one by one, sometimes changing them quite a bit. Some reasons for the changes are because of the new chapters; information and characters that are now introduced earlier, updates, expansions, and changes to the world building, etc.

Where my initial manuscript came to about 29,000 words, the rewrite is on par to break 50,000. Light for the genre of science fiction, but still beefy. Because of that, I likely not include the short story that I intended to but save it for an anthology down the road. I haven’t decided yet whether that anthology would be just my own works or whether I would accept submissions by other authors to include. That is something that I want to do, so if you are interested in publishing a short story, please contact me. Pu the subject line “Writing” or “Short Story.”

So far, I like the changes that I have been making and feel that it is fleshing the story out nicely. I look forward to how it is received when all is said and done.

Release Target

I have planned my target release to be by the end of summer. That is looking less likely, as I have a lot left to do. I now think that I could get it out by mid-October. Since the book has horror elements, I figure that would be a suitable target thematically. I would like to have at least a couple months during this year where my book is on the shelf. Of course, I will update as soon as I firm that up.

Road to Release

That said, I have some tentative plans going forward regarding the preparations for release. I am in the middle of the first edit phase. With the expansion of the story, I am currently working in the middle of the story. I hope to complete this current draft by sometime next week. I was targeting the end of this week, but that is not likely anymore.

Once that is done, I will go back and do some touch up before resubmitting to the editors. By the way, I am using bluepenbooks.com for my editing needs, and they have been very helpful. Anyway, if all goes well, the editing process should be completed by the end of August as I estimate.

The cover art is still pending. I have an artist picked out, but I know she has been very busy lately with other matters. I will be checking in with her soon. Hopefully, I can release the cover art by August.

I also plan for August to be the month where I start ramping up my premarketing. A sample chapter or two should be released around that time and I will likely start taking preorders.

Future Plans

New Directions

So, last month, I ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise some money. Unfortunately, it was a bust. Things as they are, it is understandable. I mean, I am no Brandon Sanderson. So, I have been thinking of ways that I can increase my brand.

I realize that I am behind in the times. I started this blog a little over a year ago. I know… blogs are so 2003. I must get with the times. I am brainstorming ideas for a YouTube channel… several, actually. They won’t completely replace my blog. I’ll still post from time to time. Not to mention I will use my blog to promote my channels. But they will be a way to increase my brand.

One channel will be geared toward a younger audience. That is because it will feature my daughter. She has long been wanting to do YouTube. When she is playing I always here her saying “Please remember to like and subscribe.” Before the naysayers interject, I understand what that will mean. That is why I will be with her. It will be a daddy/daughter channel. I’m still working on what we will actually do on that channel. Maybe some educational activities, general discussions, and other fun stuff.

She has developed an interest in countries and geography recently, so I thought… maybe I can introduce her to Civilization over summer break. I will record game sessions and post them. It would be interesting to see how she takes to the game and a great educational moment.

Another channel would be my main channel. That would me more of a “PG-13” (maybe up to lower “R” audience level). Not that it would be a lot of cussing or explicit or anything. But it may deal with more mature content and discussions geared for older audiences. It is where I will promote my books and the like which can have some themes geared to older readers. Anyway, I haven’t worked it all out, it is still in the preplanning stages.

As I said, it will not replace my blog. I am a writer, after all. But it will supplement it and is a way for growing my audience.

Website Redesign

That said, with my debut novel on its way to publication, I will have to focus on the business side of being an author. Not just my publishing business, but also my author brand itself. That would include a redesign of this website. I will have to prep for my novel info site and there is just a lot to do.

New Fundraiser

Of course, with all of this going on, that requires money. As I mentioned, my Kickstarter failed. I’m still new to all of this, so while I am disappointed, I am not surprised. Still, I realized that a big part of it is that I don’t have as much of a base. I am not giving up, however. Part of the above changes are geared to generating incentives for people to donate. Since my novel is still in production, I am unable to share too much regarding it currently. I need other means to generate revenue. So, I will be starting a Patreon and rerunning my Kickstarter Campaign. More details will be coming. If anybody has any suggestions as to what I can offer as rewards and other incentives, please reach out to me (or comment below). If you email me, for the subject line, put “Incentives.”

Calls for Volunteer

Help Wanted!

So, that leads me to the big ask! I am placing the call out for volunteers. If anybody is willing to lend a hand in any way, I would be more than grateful. Email me with the subject line “Volunteer.” If you are interested in investing and/or “partnering up”, that is even better. (Subject line: Invest). I am currently wearing so many hats between the business and my writing, not to mention my personal life, that it is becoming overwhelming. But I am committed to seeing this through.

If you have any of the following skills, I will certainly want to hear from you. (For the subject line, put “Volunteer: ‘Relevant Skill’”):

  • Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Manager
  • Website design and maintenance
  • Art
  • Fundraising
  • Graphic Design
  • Creative Assistant (basically, somebody to help me with parsing information from my books, alpha and beta reading, and general administrative tasks related to the book)

There are likely other areas that I could use help on, but those are the major areas. There are perks to volunteering. If you are a beginner in any of these areas, it will be a bullet that you can add to your resume. But more than that, it could be the chance to start in a business from the ground up. If you are starting out or changing things up, this could be a chance to start your path for success.

Potential Future

When I can start hiring for my business (and maybe author brand) I will look at any volunteers first. Those first roles will eventually take on executive positions as the company grows.

Authors who offer their help might also get the invitation to write in any world that I create, especially if you contribute to them. My goal for my publishing company, Infinite Worlds, is to create an independent publisher that is a hub for creativity. To connect authors and artists, and other creative types so that the process of publishing your work is much easier.

In either case, if you are willing to play the long game, roads will open to allow great things for all involved.

Conclusion

Exciting things are on the horizon. I can’t wait to get my book into the hands of the public. I hope to hear from some of you soon, especially if you are hoping to join my team. This is a pivotal time in the writing and publishing industry. Doors are opening, but we have to have the courage to go through. Let’s go through together.

Links

Home | Infinite Worlds (infiniteworldspub.com)

Blue Pen – Editing & Book Design (bluepenbooks.com)

Premiere Novella from S.J. Serio by Salvatore Serio — Kickstarter

Civilization® VI – The Official Site

Contact and Social Media

Email – serious77@sjserio.com

Facebook – Salvatore Serio | Facebook

Twitter – S. J. Serio (You can call me Sal) (@GetSerious77) / Twitter

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/serious1977

LinkedIn – Sal Serio | LinkedIn

TikTok – Salvatore Serio (@sjserio) TikTok | Watch Salvatore Serio’s Newest TikTok Videos

My Kickstarter is Launching

Finally, after a small delay, my Kickstarter is ready to launch.

This is a quick announcement that I am launching my Kickstarter for my book, The Monsters Within. Check it out and if you can, any support would be appreciated.

BACKGROUND

Set about 150 years in the future, it is a world that has been taken over by a global government. A plague sent people into urban areas and as a result, society has transformed. The United Global Coalition (UGC) now works to protect its citizens and keep any threats outside of the city boundaries. As cells of resistance to the UGC grow, a new threat emerges that could spell trouble for all sides.

Through the book, we follow Brett Hardin, a citizen in Capital City Metro, who performs his job loyally and does his best for his family. When those two interests come into conflict, Brett begins to question his place in society and does what he can to protect his family.  

Links

Premiere Novella from S.J. Serio by Salvatore Serio — Kickstarter

Book and Business Update

A quick update on the status of my book and some other things…

Introduction

 The past month has definitely been busy. I have had a lot on my plate. Personal and family life aside (that has been quite active as well), many wheels have been turning as things move forward. With that said, let’s get into it.

Infinite Worlds, LLC (a book publisher)

First, if you missed my last post, I have founded my own publishing company. Infinite Worlds is in the beginning stages of life. For now, it will be a vehicle for publishing my own works. However, I plan on opening it up to others as an option as well. Basically, if you are going the route of self-publishing, but don’t want to deal with all the hassles of the actual publishing part, I want Infinite Worlds to be that option. The protection, “prestige,” and help of having a publisher, without the foot-dragging and control of a traditional publisher or the scamming and thievery of a vanity publisher.

I would also like to expand it beyond just novels. Graphic novels, children’s books, and even supplements like role-playing games would be ideal. Also, I wouldn’t mind delving into other media, such as independent video games. I have a few ideas for some.

My Book Status

Of course, it all starts with my debut book. Currently, it is in the hands of editors. I just got the development feedback, so I will probably be busy in the coming weeks completing the edits. If all goes well, I hope to have it launched by the end of summer. I will update on the progress as regularly as I can. With that in mind, I do plan on setting up a newsletter. I also hope to have a sample chapter or two posted online within the next couple of months. Things are really moving and I am getting excited. Still, there is a long road ahead.

I am also in the planning stages of my next works. The outline for the sequel for my debut novel has begun to take form. I have also been working on some worldbuilding for future projects and series I intend to release.

Fundraising

With that in mind, I am working on a fundraiser to help get things done. I am finding out that it is costing a lot of money. From editing, to cover art, to formatting, there are a lot of factors that go into it and much of it requires money. Therefore, I am starting a Kickstarter to help get it in gear. It should go live within about a week or so. The tier rewards are being worked out. I have little to offer at this time, but I am only targeting about $4,000. I mean, I don’t expect anywhere near Brandon Sanderson numbers. Basic expenses are what I’m looking to cover. Anything extra will probably go towards marketing and my business, which will give me some capital to expedite publishing the works of others who are interested.

Lastly, if anybody would like to volunteer, contact me at serious77@sjserio.com. I have a lot on my plate and could use some help in certain areas so that I can focus on certain things. This mostly applies to friends and family who may want to lend a hand.

Conclusion

In the end, it looks like I will be very busy in the coming months as well. I am excited… and nervous. Regardless, big things are coming.

Links

Infinite Worlds – Home | Infinite Worlds (infiniteworldspub.com)

Kickstarter Campaign – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005671473/premiere-novella-from-sj-serio

Brandon Sanderson – Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson by Dragonsteel Entertainment — Kickstarter

New Book Publisher has Entered the Arena

My new publishing company is launching…

My book is officially with an editor, and I am making preparations for release (hopefully) later this year. One of those preparations is the founding of my new business, Infinite Worlds.

I am proud of this endeavor and thankful for the support that I have received from my friends and family. I would like everyone to check it out. The website and social media pages are works in progress. As my company (and catalogue) grows, more will be added. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

Initially, Infinite Worlds is where I will publish my own books. But I have ambitions beyond that. I want to be the premiere publisher for independent speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, etc.). I want to grow the catalogue well beyond my own and have books, stories, and other media that appeal to a variety of readers.

Contact me at serious77@sjserio.com if you are working on a book (anywhere in the realm of speculative fiction for any age market) of your own and don’t want to go through traditional publishers or to publish under your own name.

I will not ask money… we are NOT a vanity publisher. As we are starting out, a lot of hurdles will be crossed together. But this is the start. We are a publishing company for self-publishers with the goal of streamlining the process of self-publishing and providing protection and assistance for new and veteran authors alike.

Follow Infinite Worlds at the links below. Great things are coming…

LINKS

Home | Infinite Worlds (infiniteworldspub.com)

Infinite Worlds LLC | Facebook

https://www.linkedin.com/company/infinite-worlds-publishing

More social media and links coming soon!

COBRA KAI SEASON IV Review, Recap, and Reaction

My reaction and review of Cobra Kai season 4… SPOILERS AHEAD!

In 2021, there were three things that I was looking forward to. My second daughter was the first. The second was the premiere of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. The third was the 4th season of Cobra Kai, now completely in the hands of Netflix. My daughter’s birth went well, though there were some minor hiccups. I’ve been enjoying watching her grow over the course of the past few months. The Wheel of Time was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed seeing the characters and settings come to life on screen, but I am a little worried about going forward with the changes and directions they went with. Cobra Kai, which edged into 2021 with a premier on December 31st, blew me away.

Jay, from a reaction video channel that I like to watch, Jay and Adam’s pReviewed, had the perfect summary: That the show has no business being as good as it is. It’s true! It should have been a campy nostalgia-fest that was quickly forgotten. But instead, what we got was a show that not only had the nostalgia, but heart, action, and humor. I suppose that could have been foreseen, given the showrunners… the same guys that brought us Hot Tub Time Machine. A movie that should have been totally cheese, but actually worked.

Students from Miyago-do and Eagle Fang are lined up as Daniel and Johnny are preparing to give their joint instruction.
Miyago-do and Eagle Fang lined up and ready to BEGIN

What we got with Cobra Kai is a show that carries the story forward and through different perspectives. It gives more dimensions to some of the lesser defined characters in the original trilogy. The first season paralleled the first movie, but still gave us something new. The second season brought us new characters and changed the game. The long wait for the 3rd season while the show changed platforms turned out to be well worth it. That had some epic moments and ended with the makings of the alliance we have all been waiting for. The 4th season did not drop the ball.

There were many story arcs throughout the season. As I dive into it, I am going to look at various plotlines and how they developed through the season. Then I will look at the final two episodes and the outcome of the long-awaited tournament. If you have not watched the season, stop reading now, watch it, then come back for the analysis. After this point, “Thar be Spoilers!”

DANNY and JOHNNY

The final scene of season 3 was exciting, with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) standing side-by-side, having combined their students. As exciting as that was, inevitably, they would clash in their training. It was cringeworthy watching the two senseis clash as they attempted to train their students. The second episode where they train each other in their prospective styles was a delight. I was awash with delight when Johnny responded to Daniel with, “No be there!” following Daniel’s hockey fight.

While sparring, Johnny assumes the crane kick pose to Daniel's dismay.
“Back at ya!” Johnny performing the Crane Kick pose.

It made sense that they would switch students to train in the other styles. However, it was disheartening, and also not too surprising, when the two eventually split up. I couldn’t help to be a bit frustrated with Daniel’s stubbornness. I also felt sorry for Johnny and understood his fears watching Miguel taking to LaRusso’s guidance. As the season went on, it was great to see that they did happen to influence each other as bits of their opposing training came out.

KREESE and SILVER

When I originally saw Karate Kid part 3, I hated Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). He was annoying and an over-the-top villain. In recent years, I came to like that about his character, and I liked how Cobra Kai explained this by referencing him being high on cocaine throughout the 80s. Having “cleaned up,” he was reluctant to get back in it with John Kreese (Martin Kove). However, Kreese, master manipulator that he is, was able to get under his skin and pull him back into the game.

Still, it became clear that their alliance was shakier than expected. Often, Kreese would give Silver that glare as if he knew that his former partner was up to something. Throughout the season, there were signs that he may have regretted bringing Silver back into the fold. This culminated when Terry took Kreese to the old dojo and ambushed Johnny.

MIGUEL and SAM

Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and Samantha (Mary Mouser) were pivotal characters of this season. While they were not as active in the first couple of episodes, their purpose at that point was to keep their respective sensei on the path of unity. As the season progressed, their focus came to their relationships with their sensei and how the other one was affecting them. For Miguel, his ease in adapting the Miyagi-Do style was vital in showing Johnny’s jealousy. He already lost Robby, now he felt like he was losing Miguel.

Daniel and Miguel performing kata
Cobra Kai. (L to R) Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz in Cobra Kai. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

Of course, Johnny’s efforts to be a father figure to Miguel causes the latter pain as seen in episode 7. Miguel returns from the prom to find Johnny drunk after being beaten by a crazed Terry Silver. They begin to connect and in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes, Miguel goes from pure joy to utter heartbreak after Johnny begins to confess that he wants to be a father to him, but then calls him Robby. This was one of the best acted scenes and you could feel Miguel’s pain as his face shifted so quickly.

For Sam, her relationship with her father became strained as she began to adopt Johnny’s philosophies. This was somewhat to her detriment as she honestly became a little too harsh, especially when it came to instigating Tory. However, it did allow her to bring a new strength that she was lacking with Miyagi-Do alone. Of course, this caused riffs with her father whose stubbornness led him to believe that HIS way was the ONLY way.

ROBBY and TORY (and AMANDA)

Robby (Tanner Buchanan) and Tory (Peyton List) had interesting arcs, both together and separate, throughout the season. It was interesting to see them going from distrustful of each other to close and romantically involved as the season progressed. I felt that their relationship was fitting, and they seemed like a good match. For Robby himself, he was disciplined and a powerhouse. The first episode where he challenges the class to hit him, then proceeds to take the group out before finally taking that hit from Tory, he goes from a disrespected delinquent to a leader and example for Cobra Kai. He even takes a student under his wing, though he later learns that he was not ready for that task.

Tory comes out in costume at a children's party.
Tory’s side gig… children’s party entertainer

Tory’s personal arc truly shined throughout the season. More of her homelife is divulged, especially after a visit from her aunt. This opens the door for more sympathy toward her, especially for Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) who is learning the truth about her and is seeing reflections of herself when she was a teenager. Had that background been kept under wraps, then perhaps it would have felt deserving the treatment that Sam was giving her at the kids’ party and later on. However, having that knowledge really made Sam out to be a bit of a jerk in the process.

DEMETRI and HAWK (ELI)

That brings us to the Binary Brothers. Having reconciled at the end of season 3, Eli (Jacob Bertrand) and Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo) went through a lot over the course of the show. They started out as best friends. However, when Eli joined Cobra Kai and took on the moniker of Hawk, they soon became thorns in each other’s side. Season 3 saw some of the worst of Hawk’s personality. However, also saw him waver in his actions. This brought the two back together in the season finale.

Demetri is tied up in punishment as a human punching bag for his fellow students.
Demetri’s punishment… as a human punching bag.

Going into season 4, despite having reconnected with Demetri, who has become quite formidable himself, Eli was struggling to fit in with both Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang. He quickly corrected that by building the bridge that helped to unite the two dojos. I loved when he went in with the plans to build the sparring deck. This put him back on even footing with his peers until he was ambushed by Cobra Kai and “lost” his Hawk identity. Like Samson, he felt that his strength had gone once his mohawk was gone. Enter Demetri and Moon (Hannah Kepple) to build his confidence back up in time for his character to reach his pinnacle.

ANTHONY and KENNY

Breaking out this season were the characters of Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro) and newcomer Kenny Payne (Dallas Young). I have to say; I enjoyed watching Anthony take a larger role this season and become more involved in the storyline. He was annoying in the earlier seasons (with his best moment being his “confrontation” with Johnny in season 1). In this season, we got to see a dark side where he was the aggressor in bullying the new kid. It soon becomes obvious that his “friends” encouraged his antics and that he seems to regret his actions.

Kenny walks through the halls of his new school in humiliation after being bullied by his classmates.
The new guy… Kenny

Of course, peer pressure being what it is, he continues to let his classmates push him into tormenting Kenny, who he sees as a rival. This leads Kenny, brother of Shawn (Okea Eme-Akwari), who spent time in Juvey with Robby, to seek out Cobra Kai. Over time, we see the pendulum shift as Kenny and Anthony switch roles by the end of the season. Even when Anthony tries to make amends, the damage is already done now that Kreese and Silver have their fangs in Kenny. Something that would not have happened if not for Anthony antagonizing the kid.

On a side note, this storyline led to a surprise cameo by Julia Macchio, Ralph’s daughter. She played the role of Vanessa, Cousin Louie’s (Bret Ernst) younger sister. She is a therapist who helps Daniel and Amanda get an understanding of Anthony’s bullying behavior. Amanda also refers to her as “Marisa Tomei Jr.” given her mannerisms, which were very close to Mona Lisa Vito, the character portrayed by Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny (another film featuring Ralph Macchio).

Julia Macchio makes a guest appearance as Cousin Louie's sister and a licensed therapist to help the LaRusso's deal with Anthony
In the Family

CAMEOS (UNDERWOOD, AISHA, and STINGRAY)

Speaking of cameos… I must mention the appearance of Carrie Underwood at the tournament. I am not a fan (though I have no animosity towards her) but it was nice to see some celebrities (outside of the franchise) making appearances. And I liked the fact that she was singing a Survivor song.

More importantly to the show was the appearance of two alums from previous seasons. First, Aisha (Nichole Brown) was a nice callback. It was a good moment for Sam to reconnect with her and for the audience to get a glimpse of where she ended up.

Then there was Raymond, aka Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser). While his character could get quite annoying, he still provided some comic relief, especially at some tense moments. Still, his appearance this season proved to be intense. I felt sorry for him when Kreese outright rejected him. But I must admit seeing his ultimate fate in episode 8 when he ran into Terry Silver was heartbreaking.

THE TOURNAMENT

Then it all came down to episodes 9 & 10 in the tournament. The showrunners really upped the game with the tournament, compared to season 1 and the original movies. The events of the tournament spanned over an episode and a half and featured many great moments. Episode 9 started out with the introductions of the main dojos competing. I am assuming that other dojos were announced in similar fashion – in universe – but they just highlighted the main three that we are concerned about.

The students of both dojos peek out at as Daniel and Johnny are confronted by Kreese and Silver.
The students at “Miyagi-Fang” take in the situation.

After the introductions, we get started with the skills competition which included kata, board-breaking, and weapon demonstrations. The students put on an amazing display. My heart sank a bit when Eli failed to break the final board in his skills entry. Then you had Mitch (Aedin Mincks) who dropped the ball (or, more specifically, bo staff) during his demonstration, followed by embarrassingly running off the stage. The competition ended with Cobra Kai taking the lead. This led into the appearance by Carrie Underwood which was interlaced with the first rounds of main male and female division fights. On a note, it feels like the skills and women’s division additions to the tournament is something that should have happened 20 years ago (at least).

The last part of the episode took us to the quarterfinals. Cobra Kai had Robby, Tory, Kenny, and Kyler (Joe Seo) reach the finals. Miyagi-do made a showing with Hawk, Sam, and Demetri. Lastly, Miguel and newcomer Devon (Oona O’Brien) held on for Eagle Fang. It was great seeing Eli get his confidence back (with assistance from Moon) and shut down Kyler. It really brought his character around full circle. His Binary Brother, Demetri, really made a showing. He certainly came far since this show started.

The tournament went on and ended with a match between Miguel and Eli. Both were apprehensive about facing their friend, and both were encouraged by their respective sensei to leave that behind for the moment and win. It starts out well as Eli and Miguel shake as they get set to start their match. Then as they were fighting, Miguel launched himself up to do a special move and his back cracked.

Episode 10 opened with the sounds of a heart-monitor in the background as the camera pans across a plethora of CT scans in a hospital room. This is a testament to the writers as I believed (and so did pretty much every reaction video I have watched since) that it was Miguel. Then it is revealed that the person in the hospital bed is Stingray. He is unresponsive and listed as a John Doe, giving the impression that he was dumped somewhere without ID and unconscious after his beating.

Then cut to Miguel back at the tournament being looked over by the event medic. It turned out that his injury is just a sprain and not as bad as it looked, still, his return was questionable. A pep-talk by Johnny fails and leads to Miguel NOT returning in his allotted time, thus forfeiting the match, and advancing Eli to the finals.

While we wait for Miguel, we are treated to the match between Robby and Demetri. While the outcome of this match was expected, I liked a moment when Demetri waves Robby toward him in a “bring it” fashion. Unfortunately for “Meat,” he loses the match. However, I must give kudos to the character for his progression from his whiny origins.

Then we have a confrontation between Anthony and Kenny. Anthony attempts to apologize to Kenny for the way that he has treated him, but the damage is already done. Kenny is unforgiving and begins to attack Anthony in the locker room. Robby walks in and intervenes but is taken aback by how Kenny has morphed from a scared kid to a vengeful brute.

This leads to the first finals match between Robby and Eli. The match is quite well, with each scoring a point and otherwise blocking each other’s attack. The time limit is reached, and they go into Sudden Death overtime. Robby, who’s Gi was opened during the match, strips it off. This prompts Eli to do the same, exposing his hawk tattoo. To this, I have to say that I love the hawk sound effect that is inserted.

They continue their battle. Just as it looks like Robby is going to win, he is distracted when he sees Kenny yelling to “Finish him.” This throws him off balance and allows Eli to escape and turn the tables. Finally, Eli scores the winning blow, crowning him the new champion. I loved this and felt that it was the perfect cap to Eli’s redemption story.

In the intermission between the final matches, we have a moment that resolves one of the major plot points of this whole season. Daniel asks Johnny for his help and to stand in the corner with him for Sam’s match. They apologize to each other, finding value in each other’s teachings, and agree to team up. Daniel even (begrudgingly) refers to their union as “Miyagi Fang.” This is a clear nod to the fans who came up with this term immediately after the third season concluded.

The girl’s final begins with Tory and Sam, each getting motivated by their respective senseis. As they begin, Sam quickly scores the first point using a technique that Johnny taught her. The match goes on and Tory soon gets an edge, eventually bringing the score to a 2-2 tie. When she stepped out of bound after being hit and the ref called “no point,” I started getting suspicious. That suspicion was furthered when he told her to elbow Sam again after her first elbow got her a warning. The final blow was bittersweet as Tory landed the hit and won the match.

ENDING SCENES

Tory showed remorse for her actions during the tournament, with apologizing for the elbow to the face as a reactionary accident. It was also a turning point in her character to see her ask Sam if she was alright after her victory, before being dragged off by her teammates. The ultimate blow to her character was when she walked in and overheard Terry Silver talking to the ref and thanking him for his “service” while ensuring that his bank account will be bigger the next day.

Anthony LaRusso faking it for his friends as he squares up against Kenny.
Cobra Kai. Griffin Santopietro as Anthony LaRusso in Cobra Kai. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

With Tory’s victory, Cobra Kai secured the overall championship of the tournament. Considering the deal struck between Kreese and Johnny and Daniel, this does not bode well for their future. However, that seems to be the least on Johnny’s mind as a trip to the Cobra Kai dojo that he opened, now shut down and, for lease, leads to a touching moment between him and Robby. They finally embrace and appear to be on the mends in their relationship. However, Johnny is also hit by the news that Miguel has skipped town and is heading to Mexico to find his own father.

Meanwhile, Terry and Kreese are celebrating the victory at the tournament when Terry pulls the carpet out from under his partner. With Stingray in the hospital, it is revealed that Terry struck a deal with Stingray where he will allow him to be a part of Cobra Kai if he fingers Kreese as the person who assaulted him. It is an interesting web that is weaved.

The final scene is with Daniel. Having returned home with his family in defeat, he is seen as Miyagi’s grave. He is going over the events and his feelings as he stares at the gravestone. It appears that he is NOT going to shut down Miyagi-do when he states that he cannot honor an agreement made with men who have no honor. As he finishes his speech, the camera pans around to show Chozen standing in the background listening to Daniel’s plee. When Danny asks Chozen for help, he responds with a simple “Yosh!” (After a quick internet search, the word is actually “Yoshi,” but the “i” is silent in this case).

FUTURE SPECULATION AND PREDICTIONS

            There is a lot to unwrap in the final moments of the season. From Miguel heading off to Mexico City in search of his father to Tory’s championship and later revelation that she may not have wholly earned it to Chozen showing up to help Daniel. For the former, that will make for an exciting arch. It is clear that Johnny is going after him and very likely that Robbie will join his father. What could come out of it is anybody’s guess. It could go any way for each person involved.

The LaRusso's, the Diaz' and Johnny gather together for a prom night photo.
Prom Night Photo

When it comes to Tory, it comes to wonder what she is going to do with her knowledge. As her hard shell has been beginning to crack this season, it would not surprise me if she goes to the Larusso’s over what she heard. She wanted a legitimate win and even if there is a chance that it was unearned, that will ruin her whole glory over the victory. With that, there is hope that the rivalry between her and Sam will begin to fizzle.

As far as Daniel’s storyline, I don’t see him giving up Miyagi-do. It was even hinted that he could not honor an agreement with dishonorable people during his talk with Chozen. And with Eli becoming the new Champion, Miyago-do won’t just collapse. It will be interesting to see how that develops.

That leaves Eagle Fang. If Miyagi-do does not close, it would seem possible for Eagle Fang to stick around too. However, with the absence of both the star pupil and the sensei, who will lead them? The remnants could filter into Miyagi-do until Johnny returns. How will the “Most Badass Girl in the Valley” fit in with this change? I think she would certainly utilize what training she could get out of it. But her spirit is more in line with Johnny.

Captain Hook with Terry Silver's face and Mr. Smee with Stingray's face. A prediction of their future?
Captain Silver and Mr. Stingray

Finally, we have Cobra Kai itself. Now with one head gone, Terry is the King. Kreese is now a wildcard with it being hard to predict how he will respond. He certainly will not forgive his former partner. Will he be willing to side with his former rivals in order to payback his betrayers? Stingray is set up to be the Smee to Terry Silver’s Captain Hook. Being the bumbling, loyal sidekick to the arch-villain will fit Stingrays role and allow him to continue to be a bit of a comic relief. However, how long will it last? Will he have a change of heart and be the linchpin that brings down Cobra Kai once and for all?

Conclusion

One thing is for sure, as exciting as this season was, I am looking forward to season 5 more than ever. Still, I feel that this was the best season yet. It just seems that each season just gets better and better. For a show that was set up to be a cool throwback to an 80s classic, it really has taken on a life of its own. And I am enjoying every minute of it. Perhaps there are some things to nitpick about it, but they are rather minor to the full narrative and the little details scattered throughout. I’m ready for more!

Links

EXCITING NEWS: New Arrivals and Progress Update – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Cobra Kai – Season 4 Eps 1 Reaction – YouTube

Current Status and Moving Forward

Blog update and pending announcements on the horizon.

Well, the past couple of months have been a roller coaster. It has been a roller coaster with some highs and lows. Now, however, things are coming into alignment. There are some speed bumps along the way, but, if all goes well, the next month or two should reveal some major updates and events.

In the meantime, I will try to resume my regular blogs (to some capacity) in the following weeks. First of which should be my review of Cobra Kai Season 4. I know it has been over two months since the show released. I started working on the review a while ago. Just different factors prevented me from completing it in a timely manner and led me to hold it on a slow burner for a time. I should have it out within a week (and maybe within a day or two). Unlike my Wheel of Time episode reviews, this is going to encompass the entire season with predictions regarding season 5.

Over the past couple of months, I have had a lot of reflection on The Wheel of Time TV show. Some of them have been good… some not so good. To be honest, it has been a struggle for me, being a big fan of the series. I knew there were going to be changes from the source material. However, while some I was fine with, other aspects I was not too keen on. But I will get into that when it comes. Expect that review in the next few weeks.

Along with those big posts, I may have some others coming. There have been a couple games that I have gotten into recently (including the Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy VI and Dragon Quest Builders 2). There are some movies that I am looking forward to or interested in seeing. Not to mention the whole The Legend of Vox Machina. I may even do a blog on Dungeons and Dragons and other Role-Playing Games. Those should come over the next couple months in between the big stuff.

So, what is the big stuff? Well, to start, I finally pulled the trigger on starting my publishing company. If all goes well, I should have the official announcement by the end of the month. The paperwork is being filed. Although, I have hit a couple snags (that just came to my attention) that have to be worked out. Still, I hope the snags will be resolved quickly and I can begin to move forward and share the news soon.

Along with that, I am beginning the final stages of my novella. I am working out the tentative schedule, but as of right now, I should be looking to release it by the end of June. Details such as cover art, preorders, and a free chapter or two should be coming over the next month or two (not necessarily in that order). I can’t wait to get it out and into the hands of hungry readers.

And that brings us to the follow ups. I have several projects in the works. They are still in the early stages. I’m not quite Brandon Sanderson and I don’t have 5 books ready to drop all at once. Hopefully I will get there soon. Nonetheless, as the weeks go on, I will beging the process of outlining, detailing, and writing the first one. With luck, I think I can get another novella ready by the end of the year. With a lot of luck, I might be able to release maybe two or three more next year and give BrandoSando a run for his money. I guess I’ll have to check out Kickstarter to help fund me along.

So, to sum up, the next few months should be really busy for me. That is not including the personal matters like health and family. Still, I look forward to the road ahead, no matter how bumpy and scary it looks. I know that the end will be worth the ride. I hope that you are all willing to share it with me.

Links

Home | Brandon Sanderson

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Summary Post

The Links to my posts regarding Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time

This is just a quick post including all of the links to my coverage of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time Season 1. I’ll update this page with any other posts about The Wheel of Time TV Series that I intend to post over the next month. That will include a Season 1 Overview, a Look Ahead, and My Adaptation Hopes and Expectations.

Preshow

Thoughts on the Upcoming Amazon Prime show The Wheel of Time. – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time Premieres and Reactions – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 7 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 5 Blood Calls Blood – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 8 The Eye of the World – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

After show

The Wheel of Time Midseason Impressions – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 8 The Eye of the World

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 8 of The Wheel of Time.

These are my deep look into each episode of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. I will investigate each episode in depth and give my reactions, thoughts, and takeaways. These dives are for book readers as they contain heavy spoilers throughout while I weigh each episode against my knowledge of the books and story and will touch upon things throughout the books. I will focus on the episode itself and will not delve into future episodes.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

I must be completely honest about this episode. While I was enjoying the ride through most of it, the last 15 minutes or so just derailed me. Quite a few things happened that really threw me for a loop and nearly killed my enjoyment. I couldn’t even really feel anything during the final scene… I was just numb.

If you read my reaction, you know that I was not happy. Now that some time has passed, I have watched some YouTubers (book fans and non-book fans alike), read some articles and interviews, and I can say that I have eased up a little, but I still did not like how things played out. Many fans have had similar feelings as I did. I have not been viewed any reactions from the typically negative reviewers yet. Still, I am hoping that season 2 will renew my excitement and enjoyment.

FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and my reference any point in any of the books. If you have not read the books or seen the episode and want to avoid spoilers, DO NOT READ ON until you have done so. You HAVE been WARNED!

EPISODE DISECTION

The Good

The opening scene has been a bit mixed with the reactions from what I have seen. Personally, I did enjoy it. While it wasn’t the prologue from the books that us readers are familiar with (I feel that will come, just maybe not for a while… once a certain reveal happens with the “Dark One). Still, it was good to see a glimpse of Lews Therin (Alexander Karim) and the crisis he was dealing with that eventually led to the downfall of male channelers.

A View of the Eye of the World

Honestly, this scene is a mixed bag. From what I remember, I don’t even think his female counterpart was ever named in the books (I could be wrong) and I never heard the fear that the One Power would be tainted. The issue in the books was that the female channelers were reluctant and Lews Therin went ahead with his companions and executed his plan without them, which led to the taint. The other problem that I had with this scene was the fact that he is referenced as The Dragon Reborn. His title was The Dragon… period. He is the one that is to be reborn later. Still, the final shot showing the jo-cars and sho-wings was a nice nod.

As the episode opened, I was actually enjoying it. Although I was not a fan of the blight’s look, I did like seeing Moiraine and Rand traveling through to their destination. I was indifferent with the dream fake-out, but it was finally good to see the mysterious figure (listed as Ishamael played by Fares Fares) finally interact with Rand. When they finally reached the Eye, I enjoyed Rand’s “trip” into the vision of Egwene and their daughter.

Lan and Nynaeve share a Moment

Probably the best part, although it seemed a little awkward… like it was just crammed in… I loved the part when Lan and Nynaeve are talking, and Lan tells her that he will hate the man she chooses and love him too. That being a line from the books made the scene even more enjoyable. Most of the rest of the first half (maybe three quarters) of the episode was ok to good.

The Bad

While there were a few moments in the earlier episode that fell flat on me, they were few and minor. The last fifteen minutes or so really had me befuddled, shocked (not in a good way), and on the verge of steaming. First, lets address Nynaeve and Egwene’s storyline. They joined the female channelers in defending the city against the trolloc invasion. It made little sense that the least powerful person would lead a linked circle. I understand that Egwene and Nynaeve are untrained, but having Amalisa, who failed to become a full Aes Sedai lead the circle would be like having a medical school flunky perform brain surgery.

While their attack was affective and wiped out the invaders (a feat that SHOULD have gone to Rand), the fact that she killed nearly everybody linked to her, and the only ones that survived were the ones with plot armor. I didn’t like the fake-out of Nynaeve being burnt out (which in the books just meant that they stilled themselves and was just an expression, not physical). This really irked me.

Lord Agelmar and Lady Amalisa

The parts with Lord Agelmar going to defend the pass and (seemingly) dying was not on the good side either, but I was mostly indifferent about that.

What happened to Moiraine was kind of off-putting as well. The fact that she was apparently severed (while the episode leaves it up to debate and it could be said that she was just shielded, Rafe Judkins is stated to have confirmed that she was stilled). I am not happy about that turn of events, but I am willing to see how they play out that plot thread.

Finally, we get to Perrin’s arch. He has been most underutilized this season and it appears that his scenes this episode were meant for Mat. He helps Uno and the other Shienarans dig out the Horn of Valere from the throne room. Though Padan Fain gets it without much description of why it is important. But what killed me was seeing Uno and Loial stabbed by the Padan Fain. That really made me angry as it seems that they both die. If that is not the case, and they both live (it seems to be suggested by Rafe that they DO live) then fine, but I am not happy about that fake-out either.

A New Threat Arrives… The Seanchan

Because of the last fifteen minutes or so, I was numb by the time the final scene came on. And while it was good to see the Seanchan arriving, I had mix feelings about it, even after giving it some time. It was exciting seeing them arrive (at least, it would have been if I was not already numb by that scene). I like their design for the most part. I am not crazy about the “ball-gags” used for the Damane. The final scene with the tidal wave heading for the little girl on the beach was clearly for cinematic purposes. Otherwise, there was no logic to the Seanchan doing that to “announce” their arrival.

OVERALL FEELING

The episode really started out strong for me but left me feeling empty. It is becoming clearer that they are trying to make this show the next Game of Thrones instead of making it The Wheel of Time. And the other point of dissention for me is that they are really pushing “show don’t tell” when they really need a little more tell. I think this show could benefit from a couple extra episodes per season to allow them to give the plot and character development room to breathe.

“You have no power over me!”

GOING FORWARD

In the coming weeks and months, I will be cutting back. I would like to do a full season review as well as a feature detailing what the show needs to do going forward. Namely, what moments from the book absolutely must be in the show. Other features may include a review of Cobra Kai season 4 (if not this weekend, maybe the next). I also will be ramping up the finishing touches on my novella. I may do some reveals including final name, cover-art, and maybe a preview chapter or two. My goal is to have it published by early spring (late March to early April) so I have a lot of work to do. My updates here may be infrequent because of that, and it may be a while before I get to some of the things mentioned above.

I understand that this episode (along with episode 7) had the added crisis of losing one of its lead actors, but there are better ways that they could have fixed it. The last few minutes really drained my pool of excitement leaving just a little puddle. I only hope that next season will refill it.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 7 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 5 Blood Calls Blood – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (Spoiler Free)

My general thoughts and reaction to Episode 8 of The Wheel of Time tv series on Amazon Prime

The Wheel of Time series has arrived on Amazon Prime. These are my general (spoiler-free) reactions to the latest episode:

EPISODE 8: THE EYE OF THE WORLD

The episode started out strong. The cold open was enlightening and where the story picked up was riveting. I was quite emotional when an iconic line from the books was uttered. I was past many of the changes. Then, the climax happened.

I am not happy!

There were so many things that happened that threw me for a loop. I just don’t see how they can bring it back to the main story. It is hard to talk about without going into spoilers. Just know that these are my raw emotions, reactions, and thoughts. I did not like how the season ended. There was a scene at the end that was good, but I just couldn’t muster the joy from seeing that scene because of the events that happened during the climax that just left me empty.

To be honest, I don’t know where to go from here. Whether to stick with the show or not. Maybe after some time and I watch the episode again, hear some explanations from the showrunners, get a grip on what I just witnessed. So far, the faith that was restored last episode has nearly been wiped away.

I am a bit shaken from this episode. I will have to return with my deep dive, after the dust has settled and I fully take in the events that unfolded, to see where I go from here.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 7 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 5 Blood Calls Blood – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)