Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When is a Saint Not Saintly

Brought up in the Catholic religion, we were introduced to sainthood pretty early. Our birth names had to be based on one of the Church’s long list of saints, which meant you couldn’t name your bouncing baby boy, Snoop Dog.
When my siblings and I were growing up, the nuns who taught us in school always used the lives of the Saints to point out how incompetent and wicked we were as students. Sure why not shove that inferiority complex down a child’s throat early in life, right?
I mean really, who could compete with a Saint Francis of Assisi or St. Christopher, or Saint Maria Goretti? Why were they so good? Were they some type of holy superhero? I guess the nuns were trying to give us role models to look up to, but how exactly did one become a Saint? What are the rules? And why was St. Christopher kicked off the Saint List? What could he have possibly done?
It appears that there are five steps to becoming a saint and you can check them out here: http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/how-does-someone-become-a-saint.html
Recently, I was in a discussion with a good friend from Facebook about the recent canonization of Junipero Serra as the evangelizer of the western United States. Many people were happy with the news when Pope Francis announced it last week. Many more were not.
I have a soft spot in my soul for the original people of this land. Native Americans were brutalized by the Europeans coming over to this new land. Europeans treated Native Americans as less than human. So why do the Indians hate this new saint? Serra, the Franciscan Friar, arrived in the American Territories in 1749 and founded the Mission of San Diego in 1769. It was the first of nine missions that changed the lives of the native people and not in a good way.
Indian historians blame Serra for the suppression of their culture and the deaths of many of their people at the missions. Indians were treated as children who were forced to accept a religion by force. That’s like the Taliban coming over here and forcing their radical religion on us, or us forcing Christianity on them. It’s not right to force your beliefs on another person...end of discussion.
The Indians were forced to deny their languages, clothing and even marriage customs. Members of a tribe who were baptized were separated from those who weren’t. Horrible!
Okay, I’m going on a rant right now about Saints in general. The church already has enough bad press to handle as it is with the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the corruption of the Vatican Bank, and the sexual abuse of young children. What they don’t need to do is irritate the Tribal Nations by forcing a Saint (who to them is considered a monster) down their throats. 

I like Pope Francis, but he missed two opportunities to right a wrong while here in this country. He should have made a new rule that women would be allowed to act as deacons, just like they did while Jesus was alive and, he could have apologized to the Tribal Nations for any wrongs that the Roman Catholic Missionaries caused their people. He then could have picked a candidate that was considered worthy by Native Americans standards.
Pope Francis should have looked at all the facts on Serra before appointing him for sainthood. He should have listened to what the Native Americans had to say about the man. He did not. Bad move.
While we’re at it, I think Pope Francis should re-instate Saint Christopher into the Saint Log Book. Want to know why Saint Christopher was kicked out. He wasn’t kicked off the team because he was unpopular. The man was a star. It was because the church didn’t know enough about Christopher’s origins. Then there was that pesky problem of too many feast days. Not enough days in the week to squeeze all those saints on a calendar.
To cut down on the overload, Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council decided to remove or demote a few saints. The congregation, having already invested in all those car medallions, decided to keep him as the unofficial guardian of travelers. Check it out here: http://people.opposingviews.com/st-christopher-thrown-out-catholic-church-6156.html

Saints have to be like super heroes, but without the dark skeletons in the closets. If Rome is going to pick a person for sainthood, then they have to find someone who caused no harm to anyone; intentional or otherwise. If Rome is going to pick a person for sainthood, it should consider people from other faiths, too. The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t own the mold that makes a person a saint. Saints can be found in every race, gender, nationality and, they have to be respected by all.

Who do you think is worthy of sainthood?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Stepping Off That Ledge

Life is not supposed to be perfect, or easy. Life is a series of adventures. Some of life’s adventures are good, some are bad, but on the whole, most adventures for a shy person can be potentially horrifying. Each phase of our lives requires us to take a leap of faith. For some, this leap is easy because the person has enough self-esteem to take risks. For others, this leap is akin to death because they view failure as a reason to give up and never try again.

I was a shy child, rebellious, but shy. It took me a long time to find my voice and, now that I’ve found it, I will not be silenced. My self-esteem grew over time because I forced myself to step off ledges. There were many crashes to the sharp rocks below and many tears, but each failure made me stronger. I find that in the twilight of my years, I have begun leaping more and more out of the comfort of conformity and into the raging rivers of the unknown and, I have never been so happy in my life. Each leap has given me power.

Because I am a psychic and an Empath, I can sometimes pick up on a person’s insecurities and I tell them that it’s okay to be scared. I tell them that they can be terrified, but they can also take that leap of faith. This year, I trusted the advice of a beloved mentor and I started doing spiritual readings.
My first reading happened by accident while I was at an event. I was at the Paraunity Expo to sell my book, Roof Oasis. Two of the scheduled mediums had not shown up for the event. As soon as I entered the hall to set up my table, I was asked to do readings. I could have said no. It would have been easier for me. Reading a person drains your spiritual energy. I could have said no, but I didn’t. My leap from the comfort zone allowed me to help others that day; to emphasize to them that they were loved by the Creator; to remind them that they were worthy of love.

I was at an event this Friday night that was hosted by our South Jersey Writers’ Group. I watched as people took turns standing on the stage to read their latest short story or poem. Some of the readers were comfortable getting up in front of the crowd; they’ve done it before and they’ve gained confidence in their work. But, there were a few new members there as well and I can imagine just how hard it was for them to stand up on that stage and read out loud to a bunch of strangers. They did wonderfully and, I’m guessing that it won’t be so hard the next time they get up on that stage.
So, what about you? Does the very thought of taking a leap into a new adventure, a new job, a new relationship, terrorize you? Don’t be afraid. Trust in yourself. Know that we can only grow and evolve when we conquer our fears and laugh at our failures. When you take that leap, look around...you’ll see others taking their first leap, too.  

Spread your wings and fly.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Locksmith, A Graphic Novel Thriller by Terrance Grace


I meet the nicest people on Twitter and everyone of them is talented. Terrance Grace has created a great thriller. Check out the sites I've included. I think you're going to be quite impressed by his work.

NOIR meets SCI-FI in this graphic novel thriller: A cop becomes guardian of a gateway to the beginning and end of the universe.

                                                         Terrance Grace                                      


The Video:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1621377037/the-locksmith-issue-2/

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Screaming Over Scream Queens

Holy Hell! I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ryan Murphy’s new scream fest which premiered on FOX last night, but least we forget, Ryan Murphy does know a thing or two about horror already. Murphy is the brains behind American Horror Story on FX. The difference between the shows is Scream Queens is less gore (less than AHS) and more tongue in cheek humor.
The show is set on a college campus and, everyone who has a pulse knows college campuses are the incubators for slasher films. Emma Roberts, a regular on American Horror Story, is the queen of the sorority house where everyone there is called Chanel followed by a number to designate their rank.

The series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan stars Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Glen Powell, Oliver Hudson and, last but not least, the original scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis.
Jaime Lee Curtis shines as Dean Cathy Munsch. Her sarcastic conversations with Emma Roberts’ Chanel Oberlin drip venom and humor.
The pilot revolves around a student, who twenty years earlier delivered a baby before dying and, the killer who is stalking the girls of Kappa Kappa Tau Sorority. 
The pilot was kick ass funny with enough scares and twists to make even the most avid horror zombie enjoy the show.  My rating for the show is four stars!

Greed, The Most Dangerous of the Seven


We can all recite the list of deadly sins: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, sloth, and greed, but do we really understand how dangerous these transgressions are to our spiritual growth and our psychic well-being?  Some people think that Pride is the sin from which all other sins stem from, but I beg to differ. I think Greed is the most serious of the seven.
What is sin?
Simple answer: It is the breaking of God’s law. It is a turning away from the light and following the darkness. Not everyone believes in the same God, but the Hebrew God gave Moses the Ten Commandments as a guideline to follow. Humans are not good at following orders, so the Son of God, Jesus, made the rules easier to follow. He shortened the Ten Commandments to two: “You shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Okay that rule is easy, right? No! Did you forget that we have free will? The second rule that Jesus gave us was the deal breaker. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”


“I don’t like my neighbor, so why should I love him?” the cry was raised by the people of HIS time and ours. I truly think that GOD has a great sense of humor. His requests are not hard to bear, but we grumble anyway, which brings me back to Greed.

While Pride is an over excessive belief in yourself to the point that nothing or no one can compare to your awesomeness (my description) Narcissists are definitely the perfect description of a prideful person. Pride is having a high opinion of oneself, which isn’t always bad. The trouble begins when a person refuses to change their ways because of pride. Proud people find it hard to admit when they are wrong and think that they are better than others, but even though they are quite obnoxious, they are not destructors. Greedy people on the other hand, are.

I want it. I need it, now. I want it, all!

“I want to water my lawn even though there is a severe drought in the Californian County that I live in. I want to water my lawn even though the law says not to. I’m rich and I don’t have to do what the poor people do!” That last quote was actually said my one of the wealthy people living close to where the forest fires were raging in Northern California. http://www.citylab.com/weather/2015/06/class-warfare-and-the-california-drought/395855/

Who are these people? They are the new generation of selfish thinking, self-serving, acquisitionist who deem themselves above the laws of GOD and men. They love money and things more than moral or civil responsibilities. The gathering of wealth has made them deaf to the cries of the poor, to the state of our ecological sustainability, to the destruction of our and other species on this planet. They want it all and, because they do, they will: pollute our air, water, and food; they will cause a financial depression that our great, great grandchildren will still feel the effects of; they will take away human rights because of financial gain.

In my opinion, GREED opens the door to wars, human trafficking, the methodical destruction of other species, dishonest banks, corporations hiding their money in order to avoid taxes and, my number one example, Corporations having more voting rights over the citizens of our country by making laws beneficial to their raking in money over the bodies of those who work for them. Citizens United is a fine example of GREED gone crazy. http://www.demos.org/publication/top-5-ways-citizens-united-harms-democracy-top-5-ways-we%E2%80%99re-fighting-take-democracy-back  

We are all sharing this planet, together. In order for us as a species to grow and evolve, we need to turn away from the darkness and back to the CREATOR. Our psychic inner spirits will wither and die if we don’t.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Big News from Biff Bam Pop!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto, Ontario/Marlton, New Jersey - Pop culture website Biff Bam Pop! today announces the launch of the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network, an umbrella to house and promote a host of podcasts featuring various members of the BBP staff. Please meet us after the jump for the details.

“For the past two years here at Biff Bam Pop!, we've featured The GAR! Podcast, the work of myself, and my partner Ray Cornwall,” says Biff Bam Pop! Senior Editor and Writer Glenn Walker. “Recently it occurred to us here onsite that I was not the only one who had a hand in the world of podcasting. We should organize the podcasts of our writers under one umbrella, adding to each show's promotional power for the betterment of everyone. Each time a new episode goes live, it would be featured here onsite. Thus was born the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network.”

The currently running podcasts that will now fall under the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network umbrella include:

The Audacious Eleven Podcast featuring Wendy Sheridan, Mary McGinley, Donna Juzva, and Biff Bam Pop's own Robin Renee. The show is described as a reality podcast that ventures from Pagan spirituality and life empowerment to technology, entrepreneurship, love, sex, and fandom.

The Biff Bam Popcast is our own video roundtable recorded from Google Hangouts that features BBP staffers and occasional guests talking about the pop culture topics of the day in film, television, comics, gaming, books, and music.

The GAR! Podcast is the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world, coming to you from across the vastness of suburban New Jersey via Skype.

Gobbledygeek features hosts Paul Smith and AJ Wiley and focuses on a variety of entertainment subjects, with our hosts and special guests frequently discussing films, comics, and television. BBP staffers K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey are frequent guests.

The Make Mine Magic Podcast features Jenn and Glenn Walker talking about Disney, parks, movies, travel advice, characters, Marvel, Star Wars, Studio Ghibli, etc., if it’s Disney, it’s fair game.

The Official Popshifter Podcast, features Popshifter managing editor Less Lee Moore and featured contributor Jeffery X Martin shifting the tone of pop culture criticism and tackling the fields of film, music, and rest of the genre world.

Along with these shows, beginning on October 15th, we will launch the monthly Biff Bam Podcast. The inaugural edition will feature interviews with Kane Hodder and Brandi Cyrus, the stars of the new horror film Old 37, along with a roundtable discussion on the best movies to watch for Halloween, and contributions from various BBP staff writers.

“We’re very excited to be bringing Biff Bam Pop! to the podcasting world,” says Editor-In-Chief Andy Burns. “After seven years of writing on the web, we’re now going to entice your ears with our brand of pop culture talk.”

For more details on the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network, and the Biff Bam Podcast, contact Andy Burns or Glenn Walker.

Established in 2008 in Toronto, Canada, Biff Bam Pop is a pop culture website that features writers from across North America. Find us online at www.biffbampop.com, facebook.com/bbpcanada and via Twitter @biffbampop.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Grand Opening, Laurel Hill Cemetery and the Blue Bridgade: Volunteers

My friend Rita and I have been visiting the Laurel Hill Cemetery for the last three years, but we’ve been volunteering for the cemetery for almost two years. What can I say? That place is amazing and it doesn’t matter if you are living or dead. Did you know that you could pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at the cemetery? The Cemetery offers some amazing shows done right amongst the tombs.
Rita and I have volunteered for some rather unique events with our favorite being the Mischief Night Event and the Zombie Run. Today was a special day for the cemetery. It was the grand opening celebration of the Kelly Drive Pedestrian Entrance.
Rita and I along with all the volunteers received our blue shirts today. Very snazzy don’t you think? We are the Blue Brigade (I made up the name, but it’s not official...not yet). We helped with the many family fun activities that went on throughout the afternoon.
The event began with a few speeches, then a performance by the Invisible River dancers and aerial performers almost brought the busy traffic on Kelly Drive to a standstill with their outstanding act. Music was provided by The Divine Hand Ensemble.
Rita and I were assigned the table where young and old had a chance to paint flower pots before adding soil and a beautiful plant to take home.
Go on the site for the Cemetery’s Event Page and check out all the activities they have lined up for October. Make sure to come out on Mischief Night. The Blue Brigade will be there is assist you.

This Mischief Night, performers will regale you with true tales from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s historic tombs. From the desecrated grave of a prestigious doctor; to the woman who is buried in two places, True Tales from the Tombs will feature stories of the Cemetery’s most provocative and memorable permanent residents, as they return from the dead to tell their stories.                                                                                                                                                          

Featuring The Not Ready for After-Life Players as storytellers of these otherworldly tales, the candlelit tours will depart every half hour through the stones and mausoleums of Laurel Hill. Afterwards, slow your slow heart rate with hot cider and cookies. Bring your own flashlights.

One evening of True Tales from the Tombs is scheduled at Laurel Hill: Friday, October 30 at 7:00pm. Tours will last approximately one hour and depart every half-hour, with the final tour departing at 9:30pm.

Friday, September 18, 2015

When Religion Oversteps its Boundaries


I saw this clip on Facebook the other day and copied it for this post. I strongly believe in a loving Creator. I feel that I am what I am today because of GOD. I also know that mixing religion and government is a bad idea no matter what religion we belong to.

Religion is a good thing if the purpose of our religion is to love GOD and thank him for his good works by taking care of the gifts he’s given to us. As his creation, we are obligated to care for each other; friend and foe, alike. As stewards, we are obligated to keep the land and sea in the same pristine condition it was given to us. There are ways to be technological advanced and still work with nature. Believe me when I say it is possible. There are electric cars and even an electric hippie Volkswagen van that I’m dying to get.

Religion is a bad thing when it demoralizes a person because of color, sexual identity, origin of birth, or looks. Religion is a bad thing: when used as a weapon to push a political agenda; when it treats women as property; when it’s used to control or isolate a group of people; when it’s used to start wars for personal gain; when it’s used as a cash cow to reap in tithings and not pay taxes.
The Republican Candidates have over the last eight years used the subject of abortion, Planned Parenthood, women’s rights, immigration, and voters rights as a means of controlling people by claiming they are speaking for GOD. They do not. None of us can speak for GOD. And please, don’t try to shove the Bible into my face. I’ve read it many times and I’m positive Jesus never said any of the things people claim he said. The one thing he did say: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” The translation clearly means separation of church and state.                            
Right now, there are men in Congress who are using religion to take a needed medical service away from women. They want to defund Planned Parenthood. They say they are against abortion, but these very men have no qualms about sending our young men and women to die in wars they’ve started because of greed and of course that black gold called oil. If you’re against abortion, then you should also be against the death penalty and war. Retroactive abortion is the sending of our brave young men and women to their deaths to fight a war for  the pleasure of greedy old men.
I’ve discovered that not belonging to a particular church or religion is refreshing. I don’t need to hate people just because they’re sinners. I don’t have to judge people who think differently than I do. I don’t have to ostracize someone because they are poor, or gay, or like purple hair dye. As long as you live by the laws of the state, pay your taxes, don’t pollute my drinking water or kill honey bees with your toxic shit, I go by the principle: Live and Let Live. If you’re a child abuser or pedophile, all bets are off. Hide, because I will hurt you.
I think we need to remind our Congressmen that they work for all of the citizens of these United States. They are our employees. We are a diversified country with many religions, many colors, and many nationalities. Religion should be practiced in the churches or in your home. Do not force your narrow minded religious beliefs down my throat or make laws that affect a specific gender.

You do not own my body. I do not own yours. Don’t force your beliefs down my throat and not pay your fair share of taxes. You want a say in government; put your money where your mouth is.
If we don’t change our ways, we are heading towards a Taliban reality where the powerful few distort the teachings of a loving and forgiving GOD.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Zodiac Signs, How Trustworthy Are They?


My father was a psychic but he refused to admit it. He was well aware of my maternal grandmother’s and my mother’s abilities as well as mine and my sisters. He respected and believed what we saw and heard. His only condition to a house full of sensitive people: Don’t say anything in front of the customers who shopped at our little grocery store in South Philly.
The reason I’ve always thought my father a psychic was because of his ability to profile a person as soon as he laid eyes on them. It was uncanny how many times he was dead on with his evaluation of a person. Fred would often say, “That man must be born in January, because... or that woman acts like a Sagittarius, because...
By the time, I was in high school, I began to understand that Fred was the master of the Zodiac. When a person walked into the store, or if we were out shopping for stock, Fred would point out certain things about a person: how they spoke, laughed, walked, etc. and then he would tell me what sign he thought they were under. Sometimes, he'd start a conversation with the person, then Fred would subtly bring up the question, “When’s your birthday?”

This question would often bring out a puzzled expression on the face of the person my father was scrutinizing. After the unsuspecting specimen walked away, my father would turn to me and say, “I hit his sign on the nose.” He did, always.

My father would have made an excellent F.B.I. agent or Judge. Was Fred correct about people living up to their signs or, was he just spewing a lot of mumbo jumbo with no scientific proof?
I think, after watching people’s actions over time, I’ve begun to see that my father was right on target, but that's because he knew people and knew everything about each Zodiac Sign. My father was an avid reader and studied books on human nature. When you check out your Zodiac Sign, do you only look for the good traits, or do you check out everything: the good, the bad and, the ugly?

I am a Sagittarius and so was Fred. Here are our zodiac good traits: Ninth sign of the zodiac chart; ruling planet is Jupiter; human and half animal; marked with both human and animal instincts; spiritual by nature; incurable optimists; highly active: restless: kind hearted; seekers of truth; leaders. We are the fire sign.

Sagittarius people have just as many faults: Restless; inflexible over-confident; unemotional...That last one, I have a problem with because I take on everyone’s emotions, living or dead. I do think that knowing a person's sign helps immensely when do psychic readings.
What is your sign?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Steampunk Granny Interviews The Talented Zack Viola

On August 9th I was at Mary Campbell’s Jersey Shore Comic Book Show to sell my Roof Oasis Series: Roof Oasis and Saving Solanda. The young man at the table next to me is an artist and I really liked his work. I had an idea from another event I was at and asked Zack if he could do drawings for a few of the characters in books one and two.


I wanted to make baseball cards of six important characters that included their stats. He asked me to e-mail him a description of the characters. I did. What he’s accomplished was nothing short of miraculous. Zack Viola is a wizard and he’s brought my characters to life. It was fun to see how another person would see my characters. I was so happy with his work and, even more so after my husband, Dan Gilbert, made up the baseball cards.

Granny: Welcome Zack! Tell my readers a little bit about yourself and what sparked you to do what you do?
Zack Viola: Hi, first let me introduce myself. I’m Zack Viola and I’m currently nineteen years old and I’m based in New Jersey. I’m not sure exactly what got me started in drawing. I’ve always liked drawings. I loved art and liked to draw during my free time. It just started out as sketches and doodles, but eventually, I figured out that people do make money off of it, which is always a good thing.
Mainly though what got me into commercial art is video games. I’m a huge gamer and an avid gamer.
Granny: What games do you play?
Zack Viola: My favorite right now is Metal Gear Series that has been around since 1987 and the whole thing had everything, not only with just art which look beautiful, but it also had a deep story that got me to realize that games could be a legitimate medium for storytelling. I love storytelling, too. I like games like Borderlands and the Halo series. I love sci-fi, which is something that drew me to this project, which was fantastic.
Granny: That makes me happy that you enjoyed doing this project for me.
Zack Viola: It was a lot of fun.
Granny: Good, because when book three comes out, I’ll have more characters for you to do.

Zack Viola: That’s fantastic. Another thing that I also love is character creation because I would see these game characters and they’d have the armor, clothing and the weapons and that’s what really got me into character design and creation, which was another reason that I really liked this project. I had free run with it. I could do certain things, of course I needed your guidance and approval, but I didn’t have a tight leash. I had a lot of space to run around.
Granny: Well I’m certainly pleased with the pictures and like the direction you took, especially with the weapons and Judgment. You portrayed him perfectly.

Zack Viola: Thank you. I didn’t really have a clear picture on what I was going to do, then I saw this mask and I’m thinking, hmmm. It didn’t really have any distinguishing features, just one of those blank face masks, like in a Halloween store and I thought maybe that can be Judgment’s face. I’ve drawn angels in the past and every single one of them, I made look different. This was something I really hadn’t done before; a floating mask concept. I’ve done fire with angels before. It’s something I usually do, but I’ve never had a floating face, which I thought would be fun to experiment with.
Granny: I liked how it came out and, I was thinking in the third book, you can switch how he looks because of the floating mask.
Zack Viola: Yes, he can have different masks. He can have one that reflects more of the dragon. I think you did say he turns into a dragon at one point.
Granny: Right. He’s cursed into a dragon form.
Zack Viola: Then you can have an angel mask, a demon mask, or he could even have the blank face mask.

Granny: You’re going to school this semester, right?
Zack Viola: This will be my second year at the Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey. The Kubert School is a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work. They have a high dropout rate and a small student body. I think this year, our entire student body totals to about one hundred students.
Granny: With only a hundred students, do you get more one-on-one from the instructors?
Zack Viola: Yes.
Granny: What type of school is Kubert?
Zack Viola: With just a little background, I can tell you. Joe Kubert was a really big name in comics during the ’60’s and ’70’s. He did things like Sgt. Rock and he made Hawk Man and so he wanted to establish this school so that other students would have an easier way of getting into the comic business. Unfortunately, Joe Kubert has since passed, but he left an incredible legacy. One of the original teachers is still teaching. His name is Hy Eisman and he does Popeye Comics.

Granny: Popeye! Oh my goodness.
Zack Viola: Yes and when he’s not doing that, he teaches lettering, which is a dying art, but we’re still trying to keep it strong. He also teaches humor and caricature.
Granny: What are you taking up, right now?
Zack Viola: The entire school has a fixed curriculum and everyone learns the same thing, and they teach on all facets, which means I’m not only learning penciling, but inking and coloring...even painting this year. Each year, the curriculum is different but for each year, everyone follows the same curriculum.
Granny: That’s good, and especially, because you have a small student body. They’re keeping everyone on the same page.
Zack Viola: Yes and not only do you learn this as a class, but you can also get insights from other students and maybe older students that have done the same thing. It’s really helpful.
Granny: When you’re done with the school, where do you see yourself going?
Zack Viola: I’m hoping I can get into the video game industry. Maybe start out with a small time company at first, but eventually, I would like to be an Art Director and create and direct my own games.
Granny: Your heart is still with the gaming industry.
Zack Viola: Yes, but that won’t stop me from being another commercial artist, which allows me to do whatever I want, like work with you or with billboards and advertising. They teach you all that stuff there.

Granny: Do you ever work with Anime drawings?
Zack Viola: I haven’t done much Anime or Manga drawing. It hasn’t been a huge feature of mine, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t influence me in any way.
Granny: The reason I asked was because of the comic books. Is Anime still holding leverage over comic books?
Zack Viola: Oh yes, in Japan, Anime and Manga is this huge part of their culture, and actually, a lot of the techniques that are dead here in America are still very active in Japan. I definitely respect them.
Granny: My eldest granddaughter went to Japan for Manga classes to help with her fashion designs, which was Japanese Lolita and, it’s so interesting how the two forms of art complemented each other. Zack, do you have any ideas on who you want to work for after you graduate? How do you get your foot into the door? I know it’s not easy.
Zach Viola: Breaking in can be one of the hardest things you will do for your art career. Right now, I’m not going to be too picky with who I work for. I don’t have that kind of power yet, but definitely when I get older, I would love to work with Ubisoft and other great companies, and maybe, even movie directors who get into video gaming, which makes for a pretty interesting concept.
Granny: You could even work for independent movie directors and I happen to know one, so I’ll keep your name in front of him if he’s looking for someone with your talents. I have one more question, Zack. Which one of my characters was the hardest to draw?

Zack Viola: I think the hardest might have been Lucy. Female characters are always a little bit harder for me to draw than males. Putting Lucy in profile definitely helped.
Granny: She’s a soldier who was part of The Leader’s military and, like I mentioned to you, Lucy reminded me of Sigourney Weaver. I really like how you drew her. You made her image that of a strong woman. In the series, she is not weak.
Zack Viola: I always liked the strong female character. It’s definitely an interesting character that is unfortunately few and far between.
Granny: We can change that with these books. Who was the easiest to draw?

Zack Viola: Razhep because I’d already had the concept before I’d given you the sample card. I just had to refine it and make it larger, and so that might have been the easiest. Michael was also pretty easy. I actually did Michael before I did Lucy, which is where I got the jacket from
Granny: I want to thank you, Zack, for doing such a wonderful job on my character baseball cards and, for all my readers who would love to use your services, they can find you, here.