Right now, my stress should be limited to planning for Easter and finishing Hero De Facto.
Instead, I have the PDF of the print version of Sacrificed on my laptop, that needs to be reviewed. The print proof of A Modicum of Truth is sitting on my desk, awaiting its own review. Hero De Facto is not finished yet, as I had hoped. For some reason, the Sacrificed e-book is still not showing up on Google Play, though they claim it's live. And that just the business related stuff.
There are the personal things that stress me out like a visit to the dentist this week, any time I release a new book, or planning a trip (Genius Kid and I are heading to his godmother's for part of Spring Break). I can usually manage those with exercise, eating right, and nibbling a bit of chocolate.
It's the bigger things that are throwing me out of whack.
There was a gun threat at our high school, which in turn triggered an anxiety attack in Genius Kid. No matter what DH or I say, poor GK thinks it's a personal failing, even though he's been working hard to stay on track with his meds and counseling. Personally, I want to wring the neck of the little bastard who made the threat. I don't care if it was a prank or not.
In addition to his high school classes, GK has been taking adult welding classes at the local tech school. He's been enjoying those, even if he's totally exhausted by the end of the week. So, to top off my stress this week, the transmission on his car croaked.
Between paying for GK's welding class and the changes to our insurance plan (instead of paying $100 a month for all my maintenance drugs, it's now $800 a month), we don't have the money get the transmission fixed this month. And we'd pay the same for a decent used car as we would to fix the damn transmission.
Tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day, and I really wish I could find the proverbial pot of leprechaun gold.
Maybe if I go whack some balls, I'd feel better...
I've been anticipating this movie since Prince T'Challa made his appearance in Captain America: Civil War. And the next person who says this is the first black superhero movie will get slapped. Wesley Snipes showed way back in 1998's Blade that a black/Marvel/superhero (take your pick of labels) movie could make money if it was done right.
And frankly, Black Panther was done so fucking right!
Since we already saw T'Challa's origin story back in Civil War, no screen time was wasted for that bullshit. Co-writer/Director Ryan Coogler and Co-writer Joe Robert Cole jump right into the action, setting Black Panther against his archnemesis Killmonger.
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1) Coogler and Cole integrated the original story with Shakespearean overtones, specifically Hamlet. In this version, T'Challa and N'Jadaka/Killmonger are cousins, so as members of the royal bloodline, they both can consume the heart-shaped herb.
2) Coogler didn't water down the Dora Milaje or turn them into a fucking harem. They were the elite Wakandan special forces they were supposed to be.
3) Have I said how much I love Danai Gurira? She outdoes herself in her performance of General Okoye.
4) The incredible comparisons of revenge/redemption. The fathers of T'Challa, Killmonger, and W'Kabi are murdered, and the plot develops out of how each man deals with their grief and anger.
5) The equally incredible comparisons of loyalty to their kings and to their own beliefs. Nakia, Okoye, and Zuri each face that question during the course of the story, and each are faced with a price for their decisions.
6) Special kudos have to go to Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. This is the first Marvel antagonist who wasn't a one-dimensional cardboard villain. If you don't have any sympathy for him in the end as he and T'Challa watch the sunset together, you are dead inside.
1) The only issue is we don't have a release date for Black Panther 2.
Coogler gave this tightly plotted story some unexpected, and much welcome, depth. Overall, I give Black Panther 10 stars out of 10.
Jaye W. Manus of QA Productions has been a goddess-send as a formatter while I've re-issued older books, launched new ones, and finally gotten around to putting all books in print.
Right now, I'm try to pull together all the disparate pieces of Hero De Facto to form a cohesive story. The majority of it was written on three different machines in two different operating systems. While Microsoft's WORD was used on all the documents, the result is a hodgepodge of crap that will never be readable on any device.
This is where Jaye's book WORD for the Wise comes in. Her tips for setting up styles alone are worth the price. And I'll have a WORD file that all the devices will love.
WORD for the Wise is also available through the Kindle Unlimited borrowing program. However, if you're a writer who can't give up Microsoft and with an eye towards indie publishing, I strongly recommend buying a copy for yourself!
I'm in Month Two of my eight book releases in eight months marathon.
The e-book of A Modicum of Truth is out. I'm in the process of reviewing the e-book version of Sacrificed. Last night, I uploaded the files for the paperback copy of A Modicum of Truth. I just need to review the proof copy when it arrives. And I'm trying to finish the first draft of Hero De Facto.
On that last one, I had to search for the original outline and comparing it to what chapters have been completed. I experimented a little on this one. When I got stuck in the middle, I started writing backwards.
Not literally. I wrote the last chapter, which is something I've done before so I know where the hell I need to go in the story. But then, I wrote the next-to-last chapter. Then the second to last chapter. Yadda, yadda, yadda, lobster bisque.
The plan is to release Sacrificed on March 14 and Hero De Facto on April 13. I'm hoping the stars stay aligned and the health remains good this year. And I hope I give my readers a whole lot of fun along the way.
The publishing world is a crazy place. We're always chasing after the latest and greatest trend. And by "we", I mean indies are just as guilty as trad pubs. By chasing trends and tropes and the latest fashionable thing, we're not truly creating something new.
In fact, my friend Jo asked me a (primarily rhetorical) question yesterday, "What was the last BIG book that wasn't a sequel or part of a series?"
The Girl on the Train, but even then, I had to look up when it was published. 2015.
Yep, the last big new thing in books was in 2015. Even then, The Girl on the Train didn't start the domestic thriller trend. That honor(?) goes to Gillian Flynn's Gone, Girl (2012).
So now, everyone's jumping into the domestic thriller with unreliable narrator subgenre, even though that ship has sailed. It's no different than the people still pumping out adult coloring books (that's SO 2016) or urban fantasy which has been run into the freaking ground since Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air.
So if we're not retreading the tires in the search for the almighty dollar (light-hearted witch stories a la Charmed, anyone?), what the hell are we doing, fellow writers?
Do we continue to chase our past success? (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from 2016)
Do we chase the latest new trend? (The market saturation of BDSM after E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Gray went into orbit pretty much ruined the income for folks already there when all the newbs jumped in the pool. With some really bad stories and bad writing, by the way.)
Or do you try to find a quiet niche and carve your own path?
Being yourself is hard, whether it's in real life or as an author. But I'm watching too many people who find some initial success in one subgenre flit from genre to genre, chasing the short-term dollar. They won't take time to build their brand or build the trust of their readers. They write maybe one or two books in a promised series, then give up when they don't become instant millionaires.
In the meantime, the readers are losing faith in us. We promise them entertainment. A refuge from a tough world with characters they fall in love with, then we stab our readers in the back by not finishing the story. We don't give the readers any resolution. They get enough of that shit in real life. So why read us if our books, or lack thereof, are as disappointing as whatever hardship they may be going through right now?
Ironically, I got my first WTF! e-mail from a reader this morning over the ending of A Modicum of Truth, which yes, ends on a cliffhanger. But I also made a promise when I added the first chapter of A Matter of Death to the end. A promise the story WILL be finished. Maybe not right this second, but it will be finished.
And the good guys will win.
Because we all need the good guys to win once in a while even if it's only between the covers of a book.
We went to see Black Panther last week. I started to write a review, but I want to go see it again. I think in my fangirl *SQUEE* I may have missed some pertinent things. Things that probably won't change my overall score of the movie, but I want to see how two different audiences react to it.
To be frank, I know my perspective of Black Panther is skewed by my whiteness, just as I know my perspective of Wonder Woman was skewed by my femaleness. I know my review of Wonder Woman would have been slightly different if I'd waited until I'd seen it for a second time in the theater.
And not for the worse either.
Both movies have made me more conscious of my own biases, especially how I went along with certain behaviors to get along. That's not good for any of us in the long run. There's something half-formed in my mind. Something that I think I'm trying to flesh out in the themes of the Justice series. But the thought needs to simmer a little more before I present it to the world.
As I think I've mentioned here, DH and I have started house hunting. Since we're having trouble finding something that meets our needs, we're leaning toward building.
The one house that would have worked for us, we were overbid on back in December. So I tracked down who owns the plans for that design. We met with their agent on Friday.
The builder's plans for that same subdivision have been delayed until August over getting the water and sewer lines laid in a timely manner. I think that will work out for us in the long run. It gives my time to get out my books (or at least set them up on pre-order) on the aggressive schedule I've set for myself for 2018. It also gives us time to save up money for the essentials you don't think about, like the washer and dryer, window treatments, shower curtains, etc.
For the most part, I'm on track with my schedule. I lost this weekend over prepping tax paperwork, but that's a necessary evil. I think I can make up the lost writing time next weekend.
In the meantime, A Modicum of Truth had the best opening week of any of my books. I think I'm on the right track through the raspberry bushes.
Now, if I can get the Muse to stop throwing new shinys in my path for a bit, everything would be hunky-dory.
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