Thursday, April 22, 2021

New Blog Announcement, & Farewell Tug & Tram Blogging

 Hello everyone, welcome back one last time to Tug & Tram Blogging. 

Now before anyone panics, NO. I'm not quitting blogging. I have decided, based on feedback from a friend, that I needed to change my name. Tug & Tram Blogging implies that the blog is about trains, when it isn't necessarily.

I was planning to rename Tug & Tram to my new blog, however, there was a problem with the url's of previous posts no longer working.

I don't want to make my old posts unreadable, so to keep this up as an archive, I decided it would be easier to make a new blog.

Allow me to introduce you to.... Conductor Pat's Perspective. 

You can continue to follow me on my writing journey over there, and my social media will be the same. I hope that you all will continue with me. If not, thank you for following me over the past few years, it has been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed my time on here. Thanks again everyone, and I'll see you on the Tramway. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

My Thoughts on Zack Snyder's "Justice League: Snyder Cut"

 Welcome back to the Tramway,

Happy April everyone. I hope that spring is arriving in your area and that you're also able to enjoy the warm weather. 

Today I wish to do a different post where I simply share my thoughts on a movie. This isn't a review per se. As a writer (and not a film major) I don't think I have the knowledge to fairly review a movie. I'll leave that to others. I will try and look at it from a story point, though this won't be a deep analysis.

So over the weekend I watched Justice League: Snyder Cut.

In case you are not familiar, Zack Snyder was removed from the movie Justice League in 2017, due to a personal tragedy and executives being unpleased with his vision. After a multi-year online fan campaign, HBO Max gave him additional resources to finish the film. The legendary Snyder Cut is now real and available to stream.

I never thought the Snyder Cut would happen. I was skeptical that the studio would give Snyder the resources, and thought that the fans were acting entitled. While there certainly was some of the latter, there was a genuine passion to see Snyder's vision finished.

Now that I've seen the film, I understand a bit more why. Compared to Joss Whedon's version of the film that came out in theaters, the Snyder Cut is an improvement. There's less awkward jokes, and characters introduced in the film, The Flash and Cyborg, feel more developed. And Steppenwolf's redesign looks much better than the gray villain who looked like he accidentally fell into the DC universe from a Skyrim game. 

The Snyder Cut's improvements weren't enough to turn me around on Snyder's vision for DC, unfortunately. I went in with low expectations (I was not a fan of Man of Steel, the first film Snyder directed in the current DC universe, and the end of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice infuriated me) and some bias. 

I grew up with the DC animated Justice League show, and the Cartoon Network Teen Titans show, so I had expectations of how the characters should act. The Snyder Cut wasn't as bad as I feared, though it was still too much like the 2017 theatrical cut for it to win me over.

It was great to see Henry Cavill have some fun with the role of Superman (and a few smiles, which were greatly appreciated. Superman is a boy scout, a frown doesn't really suit him for me). 

My criticism of the theatrical cut (another gray villain, Snyder's saturated color pallet that makes the superheroes outfits not pop) are still here. Granted, I expected the color pallet, since it is part of Snyder's style, and that comes down to my personal preference. 

I was also not a fan of the epilogue, which felt like a set up for films we will not see. Snyder planned to have two more films in his trilogy, including an evil Superman (which was set up in Batman vs Superman), and time travel. Though now that Warner Bros and Snyder have parted ways, we're likely never going to see that sequel. Granted, I said the same thing about the Snyder Cut, but there's a difference between $30 million and a budget for a blockbuster.

Perhaps we'll see a comic adaptation, or an animated movie. While both have their expenses (animation in particular) it may be more plausible than pushing for another live action movie.

In general, I feel somewhat indifferent towards the Snyder Cut. I feel more excited to see DC films directed by other directors like James Wan (director of Aquaman) and David S. Sandberg (director of Shazam!). I don't regret seeing the Snyder Cut, but I also don't feel blown away or have a "Endgame moment" as I'm sure fans of Snyder's previous work did. 

Which is all right. Art speaks to people differently, and we're allowed to have different reactions. While mine was less passionate, for some, this was their equivalent of Avengers Endgame. I'm glad that fans were able to get closure for Snyder's trilogy of DC films. If you are a "Snyder Fan," I hope that the Snyder Cut lived up to your expectations.

And additional credit where credit is due, Snyder included several characters of color that were cut (due to time) from the original cut. I hope that characters such as Cyborg are able to get additional films. While I may not be the biggest fan of their set up, I enjoyed Aquaman's film, and he was introduced in Justice League. Though given DC recently cancelled two films, the future for these characters is uncertain. 

That's all of my thoughts on the Snyder Cut. Have you seen the Snyder Cut? What did you think of it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading, and I'll see you on the Tramway. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Tramway Reviews #4: Color Me In

 Welcome back to the Tramway, and welcome to another Tramway Review. 

Today, I will be sharing my thoughts on "Color Me In" by Natasha Díaz. 

Image ⓒ Penguin Random House, Used under fair use.


"Color Me In" is a first person story following Neveah, a biracial teenager as her parents divorce, and she struggles with the tension of her two cultures: Black and Jewish. Things get more complicated when her father decides she needs to have a late bat mitzvah, and she runs into conflict with her cousin who perceives her as privileged. 

All the while Neveah tries to survive at a predominantly white private school. Neveah does have some privilege, because she can pass as white, which comes up in the story in a few occasions, and we follow Neveah reckoning with that. 

General Thoughts

I loved "Color Me In," and found it to be a very fast read. Ms. Díaz's writing is sharp, and vivid. I could easily imagine the scenarios Neveah and the other characters found themselves in. I also found Neveah to be a well rounded character, along with supporting characters such as Stevie, her best friend (who's also biracial) and Jordan, her cousin. 

While I found myself getting frustrated with Jordan's treatment of Neveah throughout the piece, she never came off as 100% a jerk. That's another testament to Ms. Díaz's storytelling: she makes complicated characters. We see this as Neveah is forced to confront the privilege that her skin tone gives her, while she tries to forge her new identity. And by the end, the conflict between her and her cousin resolves in a satisfying way. (Though I won't be saying how because spoilers).

"Color Me In" made me pause and think. (Minor spoiler ahead for the next two paragraphs). In one of the chapters a police officer approaches Neveah (whose grocery shopping with her Uncle) and makes a horrific racist assumption because he thinks she's white. 

As a white male, I've never experienced being with someone in public and people thinking that I was potentially forcing that person to be there. The inclusion of the scene (which Ms. Díaz shares in the back of her book was based on a real life experience) forces you to think about the problems with policing in our country. Other serious themes that come up that demand reflection are gentrification and beauty standards.

Content Warnings

There are a few trigger/content warnings for "Color Me In." Part of the plot revolves around racial issues, such as the ones mentioned in the previous paragraphs, including a life threatening scenario, along with microaggressions. Other content warnings are abusive spouse and sexual assault.

Ms. Díaz handles these themes with respect and care. I'm sure that she spent a lot of time doing her research and pulling from her personal experiences to craft the story.

Final Thoughts

Throughout we see the negative and positive sides to both the Baptist and Jewish communities that Neveah interacts with. I haven't had much experience with either culture, and appreciated getting to learn more about them as Neveah does. By the end, Neveah finds a way to unite her shared heritages and find self acceptance and love, along with some romantic love.

I loved following Neveah's arc through the story. By the end she feels like a very different character, who has grown a great deal. She ensures agency for herself and the people around her, which makes her an extremely likeable protagonist.

I highly recommend reading "Color Me In." Its story and characters will pull you in, and you will not want to put down this book. 

Rating: 5/5 Stars

If you wish to buy "Color Me In," please consider supporting your local bookstore. You can also find "Color Me In" on

Have you read "Color Me In?" What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments here on Blogger, or any of my social media. Links are on the right side of the blog. Thank you for reading this review, and I'll see you on the Tramway. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Mid-March Update: New Author Website?, Lady Luck & What Else I've Been Up To

 Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Tug & Tram blogging. Apologies for the lack of content recently. As I believe I've mentioned before, I'm currently working on wrapping up my senior year. School has to take priority, and while I miss writing on here, I have to keep my grades up. I'm sure you all understand.

While I have a bit of free time, I wanted to give you all a quick update.

New Website?

For one of my classes I had to work on a website to act as a portfolio, and I decided to try a new website designer program. I've previously used wordpress, which has it's pros and cons (I like the professional looking url, but found it hard to modify my website). 

I tried wix, which I used for my presentation. Again, pros and cons (I found wix easier to use, but the url isn't that professional looking). I've received mixed feedback on what to use: wordpress or wix. I'm not sure which I will end up picking, though I do know I need to improve my website building skills. If anyone has recommendations, whether they be articles or videos, feel free to share them.

While I'm on this topic, I am toying with the idea of moving the blog onto my website. I've seen several writers have their blogs on their websites to drive interest to their longer form writing, and build a devoted following. If I do move it to my website, I hope that fans on here will follow there as well. 

Lady Luck

My senior project Lady Luck is coming along nicely. I'm currently working on talking with my book designer and book cover artist for final touches. I hope to reveal my cover to you all in the near future. I'm very excited with how the project is turning out. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and scheduling, my department decided to cancel our book release party. Instead, we're going to do a reading at the academic symposium, and sell our books at the art sale that will happen in April. While I am sad to not have the book release, I'm still glad we can share our works. 

Plus, I may be able to share a link so that you can see me read my book. There is unfortunately no options to buy the book online, which we are slightly looking into, so I'll let you know if that becomes an option.

Everything Else

I'm currently reading "Discerning Grace" by Emma Lombard (who had a guest post, go and look for that in case you missed it) and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not a romance enthusiast, but I do like history, and I can appreciate a good love story. Emma's writing is superb, and I can't wait to read more of it.

I'm also reading "Color Me In" by Natasha Díaz. It's a young adult story about a biracial teen and the struggles she faces when her parents split up. It's written in first person, and is one of the best YA books I've read recently. Make sure you grab a copy of both of these books if you're interested. 

That's about it for where I'm at currently. I hope that things are going well in your lives. Have you had a time where real life got in the way of your creativity? Let me know in the comments. And be sure to follow me on my social media links on the right hand of the blogger page. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on the Tramway. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Guest Blog: Help Readers Discover New Books—Leave a Helpful Book Review

Guest blog by Emma Lombard

How Do You Decide to Read a Book? 

Is it the cover? The blurb? Or do you dive straight into the reviews? Perhaps you use a combination of all three.

Now imagine if one of those options was missing. Would you still be as enthusiastic if there was no cover or blurb to hint at the deliciousness inside? Would you trust forking out your hard-earned cash on a debut book by a new author if you couldn’t see what other readers thought about it first?

If you’re a bit of a rebel, you might; but this study shows that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.

This trust is something you as a reader helps build for other readers when you leave a book review.

You Have the Power!

That sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Because it’s true! 

Your honest reviews of the books you read empowers other readers to make informed decisions about whether those books are right for them. Even comments that may be perceived as a negative comment by some—“The antagonist was more like a pantomime villain” or “I would categorize this story as being in the ‘coffee break’ style of historical fiction rather than the heavier end of the genre such as Phillipa Gregory and Hilary Mantel”—might appeal to some readers who are looking for a light-hearted read. Your honesty helps paint clearer expectations for others.

But What Do You Say?

Your review only needs to be a few sentences.

Fine! But I’ve never written a book review before, so how do I do it?

Email me, and I’ll send you a FREE Book Review Form—no strings attached.

This form will prompt you to jot down a couple of thoughts. Then you simply copy and paste those sentences together, and voila, you have a helpful book review in just a few minutes.

Where Do You Leave Reviews?

Nearly everyone knows about leaving book reviews on Amazon, but sometimes the Big Zon doesn’t always play nicely, and your well-penned review can vaporise without warning. Also, the Big Zon doesn’t let you leave a review on a book you received as a gift, or received as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), or borrowed from the library—if you haven’t met the minimum $50 spend limit. Phooey!

Luckily, you can leave reviews on several other sites that don’t have any spend-limit restrictions: Barnes & Noble — Kobo — Apple — Google Play. Heck, if you’re feeling generous, you could throw your review on all those sites.

Why Bother Writing Reviews?

Besides helping other readers make good choices, reviews also keep books coming from your favourite authors. If an author doesn’t have reviews (which lead to sales), then that author might not have the opportunity to write another book—what a loss for the readers who love that author’s work!

Want a New Book to Practise Your Review Writing on?

As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, Discerning Grace captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens. Grab yourself a copy here

Sign up to my newsletter (By the Book) and be the first to find out about future book releases in The White Sails Series.

Remember to email me for your FREE Book Review Form that will make the review process simple, quick, and painless.

You’ll be making a significant contribution to the entire reader, author, and publishing community! Thank you!

Image ⓒ Emma Lombard


Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick. Discerning Grace, is the first book in The White Sails Series.

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