Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp - Awesome Team

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven't seen Ant-Man and The Wasp yet, you may not want to read the post below until you have. And I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to see it, especially if you like to laugh. So, go on, watch the movie, then come back and read my thoughts.***

Ant-Man and The Wasp -- I'd been looking forward to this movie ever since the first installment of Ant-Man, which was a hilarious movie, and one of my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe titles. They definitely tried to keep up the humor in this sequel, so I'll give a thumbs up for consistency. Though, I have to admit, while I enjoyed the movie, it still wasn't quite as good as the first where they hit things more on the head with the humor.

Luis's tangents were funny, per usual, and I loved it that Scott's ex-wife's current husband who hated Scott in the first movie now loved him and was hugging him all the time. That reversal was fun.

In Ant-Man and The Wasp we see the repercussions of Scott's actions from Captain America: Civil War. And because Scott is under house arrest, it makes this movie more centralized, taking place in one city. Now I know some people didn't like that it wasn't integrated as much into the rest of the MCU as some of the other movies, but I think it worked. This movie was happening during all the events of Avengers: Infinity War, so it makes sense that Scott doesn't get mixed up in all of that. The nice thing about most of the MCU titles is that even if there's not a ton of weaving with the other movies or characters, it feels like it still fits in the whole universe, and that's what Ant-Man and The Wasp felt like to me -- I knew it was part of the MCU, and there were just enough references in the movie to make it feel that way. Any more and it would have been too much for me, I think.

One of the best things about this movie was that both Ant-Man and Wasp pretty much got equal screen time. If anything, Wasp might have had more kick ass scenes than Ant-Man. I was thrilled to see that she wasn't relegated to a sidekick and that she had a central role in the movie. Quite frankly, since the movie focused on finding Hope's mother, it should have been titled The Wasp and Ant-Man instead!

The whole family theme throughout the movie was great. This wasn't a story of huge, global repercussions, but more personal journeys. And I think it was well-placed after Infinity War since it brought us all back down to Earth (literally and figuratively).

And the villains even reflected this focus. I know, I know, some of you didn't think the villains were big and bad enough. But they weren't the point of the movie, really. They were simply obstacles in the way of saving Janet from the quantum realm. Sonny Burch was your typical money-hungry criminal, and there was just enough of him, in my opinion. Ghost, on the other hand, was a woman striving to stay alive -- quite a different motivation. And in the end, her story was connected to the family theme as well. She'd lost her family in the accident that changed her, but at the end we see that Bill had become her family, since he refused to abandon her.

The one thing with Ghost I would have liked to see was a better fleshing out of her backstory. We pretty much got a big, old info dump. I know they tried to make fun of the fact that they were info dumping, but it wasn't enough to actually forgive the huge info dump that it was. I also figured Janet was going to be able to help her from being in the quantum realm for so long -- saw that not-so-much twist miles away.

And then we had the mid-credits scene. I knew that was coming, too, I just didn't know who was going to be effected. Scott didn't turn to ash, but Hope, Hank, and Janet did! Poor Ant-Man, stuck in the quantum realm. I was hoping for a Captain Marvel reference, but there wasn't anything blatant. I read an article though that mentions she may actually be stuck in the quantum realm? Which would make it connected, however not something neither I nor my husband caught when we first saw the scene.

Overall, I think Ant-Man and The Wasp was well-balanced and it gave me lots of laughs. I'd love to go see it again soon, but I'm also really looking forward to Captain Marvel and how she'll be integrated into the MCU.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Writing Update - June 2018

It's been a rough year. Clearly I've expressed this in some of my past posts, but it was about time that I took a closer look at what was going on and what I should do about it. Unfortunately, the answer turned out to be cutting back on my writing goals.

Everything kind of went to hell last November. I'd had a huge schedule shift in mid-September, and I was able to kind of keep my head above water and give NaNoWriMo a go until I got bronchitis around Thanksgiving. It's been a bumpy road since then, even though I was optimistic that I'd still be able to average the same weekly word count as 2017. The schedule shift didn't work for my writing productivity at all, though, and other life obstacles made it so I crashed and burned at the beginning of this year.

The thing is, the schedule has shifted again (no more naps for my youngest -- yay?). And then it's going to shift yet again in fall (4K four times per week in the afternoons... of course, over the time when I usually eat lunch). My brain is most productive with writing mid-morning, and it's not looking like I'll get my mid-mornings back to write until Fall 2019.

I'm trying "Quiet Time" with my youngest a couple days a week, but she still interrupts and once fall hits, there won't be time for that since I'll need to feed her lunch super early. Again, this all doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing. Afternoons aren't completely out of the question once fall rolls around, it's just harder going for me, so I'm slower.

Also, I've really lacked focus on my health and organizing the house (1001 Reasons Not to Clean -- yes?), as well as spending some quality time with my family. All of this is why I've decided to reduce my writing goals. Then when Fall 2019 finally arrives, I can ramp them back up. It sucks to start going even more slowly, but it does suit most of my mantras I have for the year:

❦ Slow Down.

❦ Just Write.

❦ Live.

❦ One Word At A Time.

❦ Any Progress Is Good Progress.

❦ All In Time.

If ever I needed to start repeating all of those in my head several times a day, it's now.

What does this mean for my plans for the rest of 2018?

I won't have any publications this year.

Yes, Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) won't be published until 2019, and the next Fortunes of Fate story is also getting pushed off. The run down of my plans are below. I'm shifting from hourly goals to simple word counts as well.

2018 Writing Goals -- Redo

❦ Summer: Revise 1.5k words per week (1 week off) --- Fall/Winter: Revise 2k words per week (2 weeks off and 3 weeks of planning and other writing tasks). This should put me at 37k words revised by the end of the year. All of this will be on Thorns Entwine the Blade. Before this week, I was 40k into revisions (I know, the word meters are broken), so I will likely have 14k-23k left to revise in 2019 (along with then sending to my editor, applying edits, and formatting before it's published).

❦ Pause critiquing efforts (unless one of my close writer friends needs extra eyes -- I will squeeze in time for them) until I'm ready to do them on a consistent basis again. This doesn't include beta reading and developmental editing for Haunted Unicorn Publishing. That's my side income right now (that mostly covers my writing expenses, since my hubbie is the main breadwinner), and that still takes precedence whenever I have a client.

❦ 1 newsletter per month (this isn't changing, and I'm still sending out chapters of Chains of Nect).

❦ 1 blog post every 2 weeks (another staying the same, at least).

Hopefully simplifying all of this will help me get into a routine for health, house, and family. And once all of that is more solid, I can increase my writing quotas. Also, by lowering my weekly word count goals, I'll actually get to feel the satisfaction of hitting my goals, which always makes me feel better. I've already hit 1.5k for this week -- yay!

Oh, and clearly the 5-Year Plan isn't viable anymore. I'll work on a new one in December to reflect my reduced writing time through 2019. I'm sure I'll be editing that damned thing every year, but it's still nice to have to give me a bit of perspective.

Happy writing and reading, all! Just remember, if Life takes a hammer to the asphalt and the road becomes too rough, sometimes you just need to slow down.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Still A Trio Of Terror

Time for more kitty pictures! Has it really been over a year since I posted any? Well, the Trio of Terror are as naughty as ever. Also, now all three are happy to jump up on the counters without aid of a chair (Sylph also likes being a pillar cat), though Nightshade is the only one who jumped onto the radiator and then a high windowsill right on top of our TV sound bar. Obviously, this didn't end well (sound bar crash, boom, banged). He's lucky he didn't break anything. =/

If you want to pop over to past posts with Trio of Terror pics, you can find them on Kitten, Kitten, Kitten, Kitten Intermission, and Kittens to Cats! Onward with new pictures...

First of all, they still love their cat tree, though it's kind of hard to fit all three on it nowadays - lol.

I am also not allowed to make the bed.

Look at the little heart kitties. I think it's great that we got siblings because they love each other and snuggle instead of hating each other. Though for a while earlier this year Sylph hated Rikku after Rikku came home smelling like the vet (she had her teeth cleaned). Thankfully, Sylph wised up because I love it when the girl kitties snuggle like this to form a heart. ♥

Here's the goofy Sylph, "Ice, Ice Kitty" (yes, sing it to the song that just popped into your head, but say meow instead of those silly beats). She comes running when we're getting ice from our fridge and licks up any little shards that escape. Also, I've gotten a couple pictures of her sitting on my lap. She looks pissed I took a picture, though. There isn't supposed to be any proof she likes to snuggle occasionally. Nope. She's still the most aloof one of the three, and she especially hates strangers -- she'll hide for hours after someone leaves until she deems it safe to emerge.

Nightshade is still our derpy Boo Kitty. No, cat, you're not a stuffed animal, and I don't appreciate you knocking down a bunch of stuffed animals just so you can lay there. Though derpy, he's still the most laid back cat in the house, and he puts up with a lot from my youngest (no matter how much we tell her to be nice and not pick him up).

Rikku is still my snuggle buddy, especially when I'm sitting up in bed. She makes it really hard to get up in the morning when she plops on my chest. She's the, "I'm the Kitty, gotta love me." Yes, must pet her, or she'll chew on your Fitbit. And she's taken the crown for naughtiest in the house. Crazy, too -- Rikku Cuckoo Kitty. Also, she loves to hang off the bed like you see in the picture. Reminds me of those "Hang In There, Baby" posters. So we always say, "Hang in there, Cuckoo."

One more picture. Hey, wait, that's not one of the Trio of Terror, that's Cathulhu!