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The Good, the Bad, and the …

Been a while since the last one of these. I haven’t read or watched as much as usual in that time because I have been busy making stuff and dealing with life detours of one kind or another. Now I’m gonna bore y’all with the making as well as the consuming.  Just fair warning. Skip to the end for reviews and snark.

On the making side:

  • A delayed book project  is back in action! Dawnrigger Publishing (me) will be releasing a friend’s fantasy picture reader for kids ages 6-9. The meeting with my new collaborator (Hi, Deb!) and the author was a smashing success. We have plans and materials collected, and we’re off & running…over three months after I’d hoped to be starting major work, but hey. Started.
  • One of my favorite short works, Roundup, is closer to independent publication. Originally published in an online magazine, it will see daylight as a sale piece. Then I will do a print + ebook collection of all the Rough Passages stories, with introductions, a chronology and other extras. And audio? I hope so.
  •  I made a cover for Roundup, and I kind of love it.
  • On a good day I can look at the progression of my homemade covers (Powerhouse–> Lockdown–> Nightmares–> Roundup) and I can see I have learned a thing or two about graphics.  I’m far from great, but I could be convinced I don’t suck.

Roundup 4 titles

But wait, there’s more making!

  • Two scenes finished in Heartwood (how I wish I could share, but spoilers…) and another begun. It’s at 33k words and still growing, and I can see the path to the end now. Novel-length, here I come!
  • The two Restoration Series novels stalled in beta revision…may be stalled in beta indefinitely. In case they never see print, I want to thank my beta readers somewhere.  I am deeply grateful for your time, effort, insights, and helpful suggestions. The stories are infinitely improved by your input, even if  I never make them good enough. THANK YOU ALL.

The detours…The happy sparkles are many in this latest episode of My Exciting Days, but the dark facets of the life disco ball haven’t disappeared.

  • Spouseman is 2/3 of the way through his”abundance of caution” radiation therapy, and he’s feeling the effects, plus I’m feeling hedgehog-caregiver proxy exhaustion. The cancer prognosis is good for the short term, but the long term is uncertain, and that’s a whole herd of break-dancing elephants living in our emotional space.
  • Lately insurance/ employment fears have grown larger, as have the long-term financial ones. (poor Spouseman worries that I will end up living out of a grocery cart with a dozen stray cats to feed someday. I have no legit counter-argument. It’s a fair point. I mean, he’s wrong, but worry doesn’t always care about realism. )
  •  Friends & family members are struggling in many ways, but I have been too self-absorbed with my troubles  to support them the way a good human would.
  • I’m losing Facebook friends & page follows in a steady drip, but I am nigh-incapable of sending requests to boost my social media reach. Too painful, too much juicy panic. One possible new FB friend isn’t worth losing a day’s creative work.
  • crap book sales lately. I’m not promoting, brand-creating or networking properly.
  • zero book reviews in three months. No sales, no reviews. Basic arithmetic.

…so I stress a lot. But hey. I walk this crooked path with eyes open. There are costs associated with choosing eccentric stubborn egotism over a good, solid professional career-building business model. I accept the potential consequences, up to and including dying homeless and covered in cats. (edit to add: don’t forget to read that last part in a dry, facetious voice. It’s my form of a joke.)

Today there are good things. Tasty food. Words. Spouse cuddles. Cat snores. Fuzzy socks. And lots of distractions. Moving forward. Not sprinting, no, but moving. The road goes ever on and on and all that.

Media consumed, for those keeping track:

Books

  • 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught Eric Flint. All by himself. No collaborators, no traveling off to distant lands with characters originally introduced as minor players or in an associated short story. WOO! Cue the big happy dance.  I love the 1632 shared universe, but there’s a 31 flavors issue. (SO many characters and theaters of action, impossible to keep up with all of them equally, and always a few in there that don’t appeal.)   Flint’s solo book started it all off, and his plotting, descriptive prose, dialogue precision,  and political developments always give me the biggest happies. So. A whole new book of just his material? Gobble, gobble, burp.
  • Mr. Impossible & Don’t Tempt Me. More historical romance fantasy by Loretta Chase.
  • Etched In Bone Anne Bishop. Latest in the series. I could call this series a guilty pleasure. The plots skew to the simplistic end of the plot spectrum, and they have problematic elements that make me pull eye-rolling muscles. And yet I feel no guilt. They please me, they are full of cleverness, creativity and immersive everything, and I adore them.

Movies 

  • Logan. Whoo-ee. Damn. Daaaaaaayum. Too bad it took Fox 17 years to get an X-Men movie right a second time, so sad they had to do it by destroying them (again.)  All the same. Wow. Kudos to whichever producer had the tits to insist on pulling off the PG-13 gloves and giving Wolverine the brutal, bloody, vicious showing he always deserved. Way to go out on a high note.
  • Lilo & Stitch.  I super-needed happy tears & ohana. It’s been that kind of month.
  • Sully. I would’ve liked it lots better with less forced NTSB-as-villains bullshit and more  perspectives of the crash and its classic man-vs-environment conflict. I spent a whole walk rewriting the frame story plot for Spouseman in a way that made it less an anti-gov screed and more the heroic celebration it could have been.
  • Manchester By The Sea. I see why Casey Affleck won an Oscar for it, and I can understand the praise it got. It’s a talent festival for showing off moody, atmospheric writer/actor/director/cinematography skills. Alas, Affleck makes my skin crawl, and the nobody-talks-about-it tension building silences…didn’t move me to care.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Loved its oddness from start to finish. Things to quibble over, yes, but Spouseman sat through it with me, and that says all kinds of good things.
  • The Accountant. Um. It was a good watch for dissection purposes only.  Anyone who gushes, “but it was such an great portrayal of autism!” needs to run a search on “What’s wrong with The Accountant autism” and do some research.The Treasury agents were watchable and fun, but the accounting pretty much sucked too
  • Mechanic Resurrection. Could be subtitled, “Jason Statham Takes Off His Shirt.” So. Much. De-shirting.  Not just “on screen shirtless,” oh, no. I lost count of the number of excuses to disrobe on-camera. Tons of excellent fight action too. Horrible cinema, really, but deliciously satisfying for this viewer.

TV Still enjoying Madame Secretary & Victoria (which is over for the season)  although both left plausibility far behind weeks ago. Supernatural & NCIS stay on the list until the end of their seasons. Supergirl is off the keep-up list, as is Riverdale (too much angst, not enough plot) In contrast,  The Expanse keeps getting better and better, and I have a few series recommendations in my queue to session-watch soon when my brain gets tired.

And that’s a wrap until next time.