Friday, December 29, 2017

Trying Something New

New writers constantly want the magic bullet, the secret handshake, whatever you want to call it.

What they're really afraid to do is experiment. There's so many ways to write. So many different methodologies. All of them have pluses and minuses. What works for one writer may not work for another, and vice-versa.

There's an old saying BICFOK. It stands for "Butt In Chair Fingers On Keyboard."

It's that simple. And that difficult.

I'm one of those writers who likes to carve out a straight hour or two to write. Preferably in the afternoon or night. Because I am SO not a morning person.

But with a husband and a kid, that's not always realistic, either from the amount of time standpoint or the time of day standpoint. It's also not healthy sitting in one position for so long as I age.

This morning I tried a couple of different things. One, I started writing a half hour after I crawled out of bed. Two, I tried writing is short bursts, aka sprints.

Sprints have been advocated by several writers I've known over the years. I've only ever tried them with other people, and the experience wasn't the best because there's always that one person who needs to talk.

(Yeah, sometimes I was the guilty party.)

This morning though, I tried three solitary 25-minute sprints. On the plus side, I came in on my normal speed of 600 words per minute hour. (Dang! Talk about a Freudian slip! I WISH I could type 600 words per minute.) On the negative side, I had a problem getting back into the story after my breaks. Though in all fairness, I took more than the 5-minute bathroom/drink break that I was supposed to do.

The reason I'm doing this? We're looking for a house, and I need to make the most of my writing time if I'm going to maintain my business schedule in the middle of a move.

So, I'm going to try sprints again, and see if I can't refine my technique.

Anything y'all are trying new to improve your writing for 2018?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 in Review

Despite my best-laid plans and my efforts, things didn't go exactly as expected this year. Including not writing a blog post for Christmas Day. I started, but got distracted by other things, like Peter Capaldi's last portrayal of The Doctor.

Only one novel and one short story of mine were released, even though I did finish two other novels. I'm not sure if I'd call 2017 a failure though.

I did complete three novels, though the latter two won't officially be released until 2018.

I spent a good part of the year catching up on paperback releases, a task leftover from 2015. I actually managed to sell five of them. Okay, two were bought by DH's aunt, but hey, I'll take whatever tidbits I can get at this point.

This was my second lowest income year, but it was still $800 more than what I made in 2011, my first year of publishing.

Where did I slip? I let a great many real-world things distract me. Some needed my attention, like the death of DH's mother and GK's illnesses. Some things not so much, like the political climate in the U.S. and BBC America's recent Doctor Who takeover.

Where did I do good? I have several books close to completion for 2018. I hope to have nine releases. If there's any leftover time, I want to restart Alter Ego's career.

Angry Sheep Publishing was accepted as a vendor by Google Play. I'm still in the process of uploading books onto that retail platform.

I bought a bunch of covers ahead of time because Goddess only knows how tax stuff will shake out in the end. (Though our CPA is already on top of it, and has sent us several informative e-mails on what to expect for 2018 and what we need to take care of NOW!)

And hopefully, I might have my own office next year. It was our compromise if DH wanted to stay in town and buy a house.

It will be interesting to see what 2018 brings.

What about the rest of you? Any goals met? Anything getting in the way of your writing?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Favorite TV Theme Songs

Weekdays when I got to walk to Grandma's house after school--Speed Racer and peanut butter chocolate chip no-bake cookies!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Status Report - December 2017

A Modicum of Truth has turned into the book that just won't stop.

Just joking. I'm at the point in writing where the second, bigger climatic battle is about to start, and I'm already over my original estimate of 80K. These scenes will be my focus over the holiday. Needless to say, if you read Wednesday's screed, I definitely need to be alone for the next three days so I don't wind up in jail for assault. LOL

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that Darling Husband, Genius Kid, and I stay healthy for the next few weeks. DH's employer was bought, and we waiting to see how benefits shake out.

I was rather sad I couldn't buy DH his computer this year. We'd been saving and planning since it was his turn for an upgrade. But the car GK's been using went kaflooey and the new tax law means we need to pay as much of my 2018 business expenses in 2017 as possible. So there went the money I set aside.

On the plus side, I've got covers lined up for the next several releases under both pseudonyms!

Anyway, here's the plan for the next few weeks:

- Proof the Ravaged paperback today and tomorrow. Send notes to Jaye, my formatter.
- Finish writing AMoT over the weekend.
- Edit AMoT Dec. 26-29. Send file to Jaye on Friday.
- Edit Sacrificed Dec. 30-Jan. 2.
- Finish writing Reality Bites Jan. 3-20th.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for Elaina, my cover artist, to re-do the spine for Blood Sacrifice. For some reason, CreateSpace got super-picky about the title on the spine, even though it's a 280-page paperback with plenty of room. Once I get that back and through Createspace's approval process, Blood Sacrifice will be available as a paperback, and I'll upload the e-book on Barnes & Noble.

Everything else will depend on when my contractors are back to work between vacations, families, holidays, etc. I don't begrudge them the time off because I'm sure their families are a lot more gracious and fun than mine.

(And even as I typed this missive, DH came in to tell me his smartphone just died. *facepalm* We don't have landlines, and I really don't want his family calling me!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Merry Effing Christmas

Or maybe this post should be subtitled, "When People Go Out of Their Way to Make Each Other Miserable During the Holidays."

I erased what I'd originally wrote for today's post. I was angry. I was super tired since I'd been up hours early the last two mornings. And the post sounded pretty ugly.

And nearly twenty hours later, I still feel just as mean and ugly.

Christmas for me has become an extended period of emotional blackmail and manipulation. There's no kindness, no thoughtfulness, no thinking of the needs of others.

This is the first Christmas without DH's mother. And like Thanksgiving, it's become a huge fuckfest of hurt feelings because no one is getting their way. And no one is getting their way because none of them can admit to hurt feelings.

DH's father is already upset and hurt because only one out of five children even bothered to extend him an invitation for Thanksgiving. (You can guess who.)  Originally, Sister #4, her husband and daughter were going out of town for Thanksgiving. Her husband broke his leg the week before Thanksgiving and had to have surgery. She extended a half-assed invitation to FIL the day before Thanksgiving only to rescind it the very next day.

So, December rolls around, and since nothing had been said to DH, he asked his dad if he had plans. No, none of the sisters have said anything to FIL. DH offered to bring dinner over to FIL's place on Christmas Day like we did at Thanksgiving. FIL said no.

Yeah, you can see what's coming.

First of all, FIL refuses to tell any of the daughters how much they hurt him over Thanksgiving. Then, he's waiting on them to tell him what to do about Christmas. And he's pissed off because we live on the second floor of our building, but he can't get up and down the stairs anymore. (For Thanksgiving, I cooked at our place, then took the dinner and dessert to his.)

So, FIL calls Sister #4 and tells her to put something together (no, he didn't ask nicely). Her hubby's in a walking boot by now, but she whines because her house isn't showcase perfect because of (yet, more) remodeling being done.

(Sister #4's hubby makes serious bank compared to the rest of the family. I'm not jealous, really I'm not because he's a sweetheart, but their house is on its third makeover in ten years. She has a real problem with letting money sit in the bank. Actually, DH is kind of the same way. I chalk it up to the fact that FIL was pretty effing frugal when they were growing up, but then, he was raising five kids on one salary. So, all the kids go overboard on extraneous spending in one area or another.)

Anyway, back to the current drama. Sister #4 tries to bully Sister #1 into hosting Christmas. Mind you, Sister #1 hosted last year. And they are the only two in town with homes big enough to handle the extended family. Add on Sister #1's kids and spouses won't be in town (eldest works in the medical profession and is on duty, youngest is spending her first Christmas with brand new MIL who is widowed), so Sister #1 wants to delay the celebration to the following weekend when her kids can be there.

Then both Sister #1 and Sister #4 get into a snit fit about Sister #3's kids coming at all. (One of which was the niece who stayed with us two years ago, and got busted for dealing pot last year.)

Sister #3 can't host because of issues between her family, her second husband, and the pot-dealing daughter.

Sister #2 lives three hours away in another state, and given FIL's anxiety issues, it would be a nightmare for everyone to go there.

(A side note: DH and I offered to buy his parents' house four years ago while they looked for a condo. Sister #4 threw a major hissy fit to the effect that we were taking advantage of the parents. Parents told DH we could still buy it as long as Sister #4 essentially became our landlady. We said no, thanks, okay, my answer was more colorful, which is why we're currently in the apartment. We decided to stay here until Genius Kid graduates before we made our next move. Needless to say, what is now FIL's house, that he still owns but no longer lives in, would be big enough to host Christmas, too.)

By now, FIL is pissed at both Sister #4 for not hosting at all and Sister #1 for not stepping up. Add in that he made a nasty comment to DH that Sister #1 was the oldest and she should step up. When DH relayed that to me, I commented by that standard, I have to host because I'm the oldest in my family. *eyeroll*

So, we're at the point where everyone's doing their own thing on Christmas Day, and Sister #2 is driving to Ohio and taking FIL out to dinner in order to spend some quality time alone with her dad.


Sister #4 got pissed that she wouldn't see Sister #2 and wanted to join #2 and FIL for dinner on Christmas Day. Sister #2 suggested they pick up food and have the dinner at Sister #4's house. Nope, can't do that because house is torn up.

Then, FIL complains nothing is open on Christmas Day (not true) and if Sister #4 is that adamant about being with him and Sister #2, then they were going to Sister #4's house anyway. Oh, and if they're there already, then the rest of the family should be there, too.

I went to the grocery store yesterday (aka Tuesday morning) and bought stuff to make our dinner before most of this went down.

Now, everyone's meeting at Sister #4's house on Christmas Eve.

Except...wait for it...FIL called two hours ago wanting to know if we're coming to his apartment Christmas Day, which was our original fucking plan. I told DH I wasn't going and he could do whatever he wanted.

I'm so, SO tired of manufactured drama. Especially manufactured drama over lack of honesty and communication.

You know what? I've given up on everyone else's bullshit.

I'm watching It's a Wonderful Life like I have for the last ten Christmas Eves with a good stiff drink. I'm having my cinnamon buns and cinnamon coffee for Christmas breakfast. I'm going to see The Last Jedi. I'm making my chicken phyllo and pumpkin pie. I'll watch the Steelers and Texans game on TV. (I'd actually looked into making the trip to Houston to see the game in person, but it was a little out of my price range.) And I'm damn well going to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special INSTEAD OF TAPING IT LIKE I HAVE THE LAST THREE FUCKING CHRISTMASES BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY, AND YOU ALL DECIDED TO BE FUCKING MISERABLE ANYWAY.

So there.

And believe or not, but this a way more polite post than the original, so DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE GET ON MY CASE ABOUT MY LACK OF CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

I didn't start this, but I'm damn well going to finish it.

Assuming DH and I find a house before next Christmas, the holiday will be there on the 25th. Dinner will be served at 1:00 PM. And if you don't want to come, that's perfectly fine.

But any other arrangements are totally on you.

[Edit to Add: I'm at the point where I can laugh about this again. Literally five minute after I posted my rant, Sister #4 texted DH to say the family is meeting on Christmas Eve at a restaurant.]

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Sully

HBO and Showtime must be getting desperate for subscribers. They had their third(?) free weekend this year over the extended Thanksgiving holiday, so I tried to catch up with movies that I missed in theaters (and watch Deadpool a couple of more times despite having it on Blu-Ray, DVD, and a digital copy on my laptop).

First up is Sully, the movie based on Captain Chesley Sullenberger's water landing of a US Airways Airbus A320 in the Hudson River where all passengers and crew survived.

I'm not a big fan of Clint Eastwood's directorial efforts. His tastes tend to be depressing, but I am a huge fan of Tom Hanks (going all the way back to his Bosom Buddies days), and I knew this story had a happy ending in real life so I gave it a go.

It's been over year since the movie's release and nearly nine years since the incident on which this account was based, so I'm not giving my typical SPOILERS alert. I mean, seriously! The only way you could NOT have heard about the Miracle on the Hudson is if you were in the deepest, darkest part of the Amazon jungle...

And you were still there.

The framing event of the movie is not the incident itself, nor the rescue of the passengers and crew, but the subsequent National Transportation and Safety Board's investigation of the incident. I was a little bothered by the way the NTSB investigators were portrayed. It's their job to look at all the aspects of any such an incident or accident in order to protect the public by preventing that situation from happening again.

And yes, I'm calling this landing an "incident", not an "accident". Just like getting a flat tire and pulling safely off the road is not an "accident".

The movie shifts in time, as if flowing the free association of Captain Sullenberger's thoughts. It begins with him calling his wife just after he made it to shore. (It's not a funny scene, but both DH and I started laughing because the conversation was very similar to one we had in 1998. DH was in Nigeria and supposed to fly to Kenya the day the U.S. embassy in Nairobi was bombed.) Subsequent events are shown out of sequence, but the movie wasn't hard to follow.

Tom Hanks gave an honest, understated performance as Captain Sullenberger. He emphasized the humanity of the pilot: his fear for the safety of his passengers, his shakes after the incident, and his reticence at becoming a public figure.

Aaron Eckhart rarely gets any praise in his supporting roles, but he did a fabulous job as Sullenberger's copilot, Jeff Skiles. The two men's respect for each other shone through the actors' portrayal.

This is one of those movies that actually makes you feel good about the human race when so much horror contaminates our lives. Overall, I give it 9 stars out of 10.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

My Favorite TV Theme Songs

Um, what exactly were you expecting after my review of the Justice League? *grin*

Friday, December 15, 2017

40 Books and Counting...

Last week, Angry Sheep Publishing got the okay to sell books on Google Play. As part of the application process, I had to let them know how many books I'd be uploading. And so I counted them up because I couldn't remember.

Then this week, the question came up again when we were going over family income with a bank mortgage officer. (Yeah, we've decided to look for a house in West Bumfuck, Ohio. My condition for staying here is that I get an actual office that's a separate room in the new house.)

Long-term writers have said again and again that after so many years they forgot how many stories they had written. Part of me didn't believe them. I couldn't imagine forgetting any of the worlds I'd created.

But it's starting to happen.

Part of it can be attributed to age. Part of it is due to stress. Part of it is just my head getting full of new ideas, so the old ones that have been completed get tossed into a long-term storage unit. Literally. LOL

But you know something? It's all okay. Because it means I have the career I wanted. And that's a pretty damn good thing.

Oh, and the number? A Modicum of Truth and Sacrificed will be my thirty-ninth and fortieth releases respectively. And that's only what Angry Sheep has released. It doesn't count the stories I've licensed to a third party for publishing.

I love this job!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Too Much Pressure on Ourselves

Perfectionism. It's such an insidious little parasite, especially this time of year.

I'm not sure what's worse, watching my sisters-in-law get irate over not having their version of the perfect Christmas or my colleagues fret over not having the perfect book. And to top it off, there was a letter in one of my favorite advice columns this morning from a mother tied in knots and burning out because she thinks she's not providing the perfect childhood for her preschool-aged children.

The perfect Christmas. It's an unobtainable goal. Someone's feelings always get hurt over some trivial matter. Whatever happened to taking turns and sharing and kindness? People should have learned those things in kindergarten.

The best Christmas ever for our household? When we stopped playing our mothers' games of proving who loved who more. Seriously, it was a major battle between my mother and DH's every frickin' year! It included stopwatches timing how many minutes we spent at one parent's house or the other. Instead, we stayed home for our fourth Christmas. I made chicken phyllo and apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. We played DH's new games on his Nintendo 64. We watched movies. It was quiet and peaceful and we had fun for the first time since either of us were elementary students.

This Christmas, the perfectionism has spilled into the indie realm. No, let me amend that. A certain level of perfectionism has always existed, but it seems to have intensified lately. Writers are lamenting that sales are down, but as Kris Rusch pointed out in her blog over the last couple of weeks, indie publishing is finally hitting a level of maturity, instead of its initial gold rush days. Now, we  need to work on sustainability.

However, I see a lot of indies still searching for that perfect genre, perfect plot, or perfect cover that will send them back into the stratosphere. It doesn't exist, and these folks are driving themselves just as crazy as my sisters-in-law drive themselves in their search for a perfect Christmas.

As for your kids, I take the Roseanne approach. If they make it to eighteen alive, then I'm a successful parent. Yeah, I know there's a little more to it than that. But you know what? At a time when my teenage son and I agree on so very little, we can both sit back with our pie and laugh at the sisters-in-law (his aunts) insanity.

Because there's nothing better than cozying up on the couch with our Christmas blankies, a good snack, and It's a Wonderful Life. Now, that's perfection.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Justice League

Once again, we have a DCEU film that's not as bad as everyone says it is. However, it definitely showed signs of too many chefs in the kitchen.

This is one of those odd moments where I have to point out Kevin Feige kept a consistency through the MCU (at least, until Thor: Ragnarok). I think Warner Brothers should let Patty Jenkins take over the DCEU as THE executive producer of the franchise. She has a much better grip on the characters than any of the WB execs or their poster boy Zack Snyder.

Don't get me started about how WB thinks throwing a shit-ton of money at a problem with solve their essential story-telling problem. Don't get me started on how their animation and TV divisions can tell a much better story. And definitely, don't get me started about how adapting the storyline from the New 52 comic for the first live-action Justice League was a big fucking mistake. But these are peripheral to my thoughts on the movie itself.

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1) Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman has been the best thing in the DCEU so far, and she doesn't disappoint. Her Diana has turned the corner after grieving for her loss of Trevor and her home for the last century and is ready to rejoin the world.

2) My biggest worry was comparing Ezra Miller's Barry with Grant Gustin's from the TV Arrowverse, which I know isn't fair to either gentleman. It was the same worry of all the kids (18-35 year olds) I spoke with who are heavily invested in the Arrowverse. Ezra definitely pulled off a much younger, geekier version of Barry Allen that meshed with Grant's portrayal. We won't touch on the difference in age and accidents of how they each got their powers.

3) I swear to Gaia that Jason Momoa was created by the gods to give Arthur Curry some badass street cred!

4) This is the first DCEU flick where Henry Caville seemed comfortable in his Superman suit, and the first time the character showed a hint of the Big Blue Boy Scout that my generation expected from Superman.

5) I was a little surprised Junkie XL was released from scoring JL. I thought his Deadpool score was perfect, and I was glad they left in his and Gary Clark Jr.'s rendition of "Come Together" that was used in the trailers. But Whedon's decision to use Danny Elfman to score the movie made sense. Elfman captured the nostalgia for these characters by reprising John Williams' Superman theme from 1979 and Elfman's own theme from Batman (1989).

6) Bruce getting the Kent farm back by buying the bank. This was closest to the relationship Clark and Bruce had in the '70's comics I grew up with, and I was happy to see the movie end on that note.

7) The end credits cameos had me squealing in my seat--because as I've said before (and again below), major Titans fan!!

1) As a long-time Titans fan, I wasn't happy when the comics shoved Cyborg into the JL, and Victor Stone was totally wasted  here. In fact, the way his character was set up made it seem like he was the bad guy, and I half-feared that's what Snyder/Whedon would do, just like Fox did with one of my favorite X-men Psyclocke.

2) The writers' way of bringing back Superman from the alleged dead was fucking creepy as hell, and only Ezra's Barry made any kind of moral objection to what the others were doing.

3) Too much fucking CGI was used where costuming, makeup and practical effects should have been used instead to give the film more weight/reality. If I wanted all CGI, I would have watched Avatar (which I haven't seen and no one can make me either).

4) Going back to CON #3, Steppenwolf should have been the opener for when Darkseid takes center stage in the second JL movie (which has been delayed thanks to WB's disappointment in the box office take for this movie). But it was like Jack Benny being the opening act of Bon Jovi; Steppenwolf just didn't seem like much of a threat.

5) The mish-mash of directorial and writing styles could be jarring at times. Zack was still going for his full-on tragedy and Joss tried to lighten things up a bit.

Darling Husband and I watched JL and Thor back-to-back one day during DH's week off after Thanksgiving. I found it ironic that the majority of nits that critics picked about JL was equally applicable (or more so in some cases) to Thor.

Overall though, Justice League was closer to the movie it wanted to be, and I award it 8 stars out of 10.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Panic at the Keyboard

No, not me. But I am seeing it with a lot of writers. The cause of the panic varies.

For some, they aren't making the money they think they should, and I've spoken before about unrealistic expectations. Some writers haven't received the accolades they think they should, but let's face it--the deck was stacked against indies from the beginning. Things are starting to shift (Romance Writers of America are accepting indie nominations for its Rita award), but the pace is glacial. Other writers are facing burn-out trying to keep up an unrealistic writing pace. Putting a book out a month is a common citation. Kris Rusch has an excellent series, and her advice once again goes back to unrealistic expectations and setting a reasonable pace for yourself.

I hate to say it, but most people aren't cut out to be business owners. I also hate to say it, but most people aren't cut out to be artists either.

Does that mean I'm going to tell you to stop doing what you're doing?

No, I'm not. You're all adults (presumably). So why do something you absolutely despise? Do you even understand why you despise a thing? How'd you get from living a thing to despising it?

Sometimes, finding your path requires a high level of introspective honesty. That's something our surface-obsessed culture couldn't care less about, and most of us aren't taught. We're taught about what we should be based on everyone else's criteria, but not what is best for our core selves.

This is why a lot of writers are setting unobtainable goals for themselves. They've been told that X is the measure of success, which is what trad publishing has been doing to us for decades.

And that's total bullshit.

The indie path is about the freedom. Freedom to set your own pace. Freedom to set your own goals. Freedom to decide your own successes.

So if you're unhappy with your writing life, take a step back from your desk. Go for walk, watch the twinkling lights, or close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It doesn't matter what you do, just be. Listen to your inner voice.

She'll never steer you wrong.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I'm Officially Old

It doesn't matter if my hair is currently purple and blue. According to this quote, I'm officially old.

You see DH and I have been house shopping. We have some very specific requirements since we both work from home. Saturday, we attended an open house at a lovely home that met a majority of our requirements.

However, there was a step down from one section of the outdoor deck to the next. I was distracted by a point DH and I were discussing, and my heel hit the edge of the step.

You know that slow-motion feeling when something bad is about to happen? Realizing I was about to land on my face and having a tiny bit of proper training on how to fall without killing myself, I started to roll.

Needless to say, a fifty-two-year-old body is not as fast as a thirty-four-year-old. My right knee and wrist hit the wooden deck hard before I completed the roll. I'm thankful for that little bit of training because my head was quite all right.

And that the deck was wood and not concrete.

I apparently am officially old because both my husband and the very young realtor did panic. Yes, I had to calm them down while I was testing my wrist and knee to make sure nothing was really wrong. (I broke my radius right above the same wrist during a disastrous snow-tubing incident my freshman year in college. And I tore ligaments in my foot during a non-contact tae kwon do session. I'm well acquainted with the pain of serious injury.)

My wrist was fine, though sore for a couple of days. It made typing uncomfortable so I only did a few hundred words over the weekend out of the four thousand I'd planned on A Modicum of Truth.

I added some new scratches to go with the multitude of scars on my right knee, and it's still a bit swollen. But nothing that propping it up with an ice pack won't take care of.

I'm just trying to figure how I missed my "just right" phase. You see, when I was in my forties, I'd have older authors (by older, I mean 0-5 years older) tell my that I needed to live some more before my writing would mature.

Really? WTF?!

On the other hand, Genius Kid will be the first one to tell you I'm a twelve-year-old boy living in a fifty-two-year-old woman's body.

All in all, I was more embarrassed than hurt. But I've always been a bit of a klutz. It's just that thirty years from now my clumsiness could be deadly.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Thor: Ragnarok

I know I'm going against the grain of reviews and opinions on Thor: Ragnarok. Hell, I went into the theater fully expecting to love this movie. However, as each second and frame ticked by, I found myself getting more irritated until the emotion blew into full on anger. I felt gypped by Marvel.

Quite frankly, this wasn't a Thor movie. This is what happens when a studio tries to twist things in mid-stream and fails miserably.

I don't expect you, I mean generic you the average reader, to have a deep insight into Marvel's version of Thor, much less read and absorb the Elder (Poetic) and Younger (Prose) Eddas which are the modern world's main source of information regarding the Norse myths.

There were a few things that delighted me in this movie, but overall Thor: Ragnarok SUCKED!!

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1) I swear to Odin, Cate Blanchett can do no wrong. I loved her since I first saw her in Elizabeth. She totally rocks as a goth-emo version of Hela, Goddess of Death.

2) The twist in Hela origin as being Thor's older sister brought a certain symmetry to the story, in that Odin banished both of his natural born children, but cut his adopted son a hell of a lot of slack.

3) The chemistry between Hemsworth and Hiddleston was the only other redeeming feature. (Honestly, I so want to do a Mary Sue menage based on those two under Alter Ego's brand. LOL)

1) Kenneth Branagh set up the story of Thor as an epic cross between Shakespeare and grand opera in scale. Alan Taylor continued that feeling. Taika Waititi took that scale, tossed it in the dumpster, and set fire to it.

2) Thor: Ragnarok didn't start filming until the box office returns from Guardians of the Galaxy came in, and it's obvious the original outline was tossed in the dumpster fire in favor of an action-comedy space adventure just like GotG.

3) Oh my fucking god! Disco music?! The reason '70's pop worked GotG is because it was a major fucking plot point! It has no fucking relevance here!

4) Jeff Goldblum's Grand Master acting like a middle-aged dad trying to hard to be a liberal hipster was painful to watch. (And that's from someone who's been a huge fan of his since his Tenspeed and Brown Shoe days. It's on Wikipedia if you don't know the reference.)

5) Total waste of both Doctor Stephen Strange and the Hulk. You could have cut both parts and ended up with the same fucking movie.

6) The total nonsensical death of Odin. ("Hey kids, clean up the mess I made which led to the total betrayal of my people.")

7) The shitty demise of the Warriors Three.

8) Total lack of Sif. (Seriously, what the fuck?!)

9) Heimdall being the only one who seems to give a shit about the citizens of Asgard.

10) The Battlestar: Galactica ending. I mean, really?! The survivors are searching for a home on Earth?! Which seemed to be the reason for the stupid '70' disco music. On the other hand, DH referred to Buck Rogers roller disco music. Take your pick.

Okay, I made myself stop at ten issues I had with this movie. Sad to say, I have many, MANY more. Overall, I give Thor : Ragnarok 1 star out of 10.

(Seriously, if you have to see it, don't waste good money at the theater. Wait for a free HBO weekend.)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

Writer Twitches

I'm closing to the finish of A Modicum of Truth, and the twitches have started.

I'm not sure how to explain the twitches. I haven't met another writer who admits to having them. It's this weird feeling in my brain, like an itch I cannot scratch. It happens when I'm having a ton of fun as the story starts its slide to home base.

I don't want the fun to end.

I need to find out what happens next.

The story took two detours away from my outline I wasn't expecting, and I let Subconscious take the driver's seat. She usually has some good instincts. And letting her have her way means I don't have to spend as much time layering the story. She pulled two subplots from A Matter of Death forward, and pushed one back. So either she did her job right, or readers are going to hate me.

Subconscious doesn't get the bullshit from readers, nor does she give a flying rat's ass what their opinion is.

(The readers don't realize I have three primary personalities and a host of sub-personalities. If they did, they'd be giving me the contact info for every shrink they know.)

And for the first time ever, I'm ending the book on a cliffhanger for one set of my heroes.

So I'm a little nervous about that. I think I've done it in a good way, more a The Empire Strikes Back type of ending than the second season finale of Preacher. (Seriously, dudes! Tulip?!)

But nerves over reader reaction and the twitches are two different things. Or maybe they are the same because the twitches are my reaction as first reader.

'Cause guess what? The me that writes this blog isn't the same me that writes the books. I'm the janitor, and I'm cleaning out the extra words the writer doesn't need for her art.

But you know what? It sure beats shoveling pig shit.

You know what else? I'm often as surprised as the other readers of the things that come out Subconscious. And if I can't predict what's going to happen, maybe it'll surprise and delight the readers as well.

I think.

I hope.

Aw, fuck it. Maybe I should go back to shoveling pig shit.

(Hello, everyone! This is Subconscious speaking. Trust me, you're going to love this book! Suzan fell asleep at her keyboard, so a lot of you will see this message on the blog before she finds it and erases it when she wakes up tomorrow. But A Modicum of Truth is fabulous and exciting and brilliant! I promise!

And really, Suzan's alleged twitches and itchy brain have more to do with her caffeine consumption. She should cut back. Toodles!)