Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Mini Mind Splat #9: Invisibility

MINI MIND SPLAT WARNING: Nothing I comment on is meant to offend. It's simply my opinion and how I feel about certain things (mostly inconsequential things). I'd love to see thoughts from others in the comments. Just remember, have fun with it. This isn't meant to be super serious.

You can't see me!
I know, I said no more Mini Mind Splats for a while, but since I said that I've gone down to blogging whenever I feel like it, and right now I feel like venting/splatting a bit. ;) So let's get on with it!

Hello, my name is Alexa Grave, and my superpower is invisibility. No, not like Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. Hell, if I had a power like that, I'd actually be more visible, if you know what I mean.

Here, I'll use an example. A ton of books are published each day, which of course makes it insanely hard to get enough people to notice your book when you publish it. So you have to jump through hoops - do promos and post ads (this can be akin to flushing money down the toilet, and in my opinion a form of gambling, but that's probably a whole different Mini Mind Splat post). You also hit the social media and try to encourage your friends and family to help a little (it kind of sucks when you have a family that doesn't give a rat's patoot about your writing... again, a topic for another post).

You do all of that, and then... crickets. Yes, you do it the right way like how all the successful writers are recommending, and still crickets. It's like you completely just shouted into the void and wasted your time and money for zero results.

Now I know this isn't the best example because trying to get your books noticed is so damned hard, and many many writers are stuck in this situation. It was just the easiest one for me to talk about.

The thing is, this happens to me all the time. With writing, yes, but other things in life as well. I have good ideas that I want to execute, that I know are good ideas and others have done such things, and then I propose the idea and get maybe one person saying it's a great idea, but said person doesn't then participate in it nor does anyone else (friends and acquaintances alike). Half the time I feel like I've just being paid minimal lip-service, and then I'm instantly forgotten in the next breath.

Speaking of forgotten, that's also happened to me in certain instances. Or people constantly spelling things associated with me wrong, like my name and book titles.

It's like I have an aura of foregetability surrounding me, if not invisibility. Do I smell? Do I scare people? Does everyone secretly hate me but aren't willing to tell me to my face? (Honestly, I'm also usually the one that has to initiate plans with my friends.) All these thoughts fly through my brain when it just seems like I can't get myself to be heard, let alone seen.

OK, now I'm getting a little whiny. Sorry about that - not my intention.

I often hear the advice that you should take a close look at your talents and use those talents to help you in life. What do I do with this invisibility talent? I mean, it would be great if I were a spy, but I'm a writer. How do I leverage invisibility when it comes to writing? The whole point of publication is to get noticed so people read your books! Maybe I just should have been a spy. :p

Honestly, though, if anyone has any suggestions on how to utilize this superpower of mine, I'm all ears.

Though I'm guessing maybe one person will read this blog post the whole way through because even though I've been blogging for years, I've never been able to gain a decent following.

And I'm starting to get whiny again. Time to wrap it up!

What's your superpower?

Thursday, February 06, 2020

The Mandalorian, Season 1 - Baby Yoda!

***WARNING: There might be spoilers ahead! So, if you still haven't watched Season 1 of The Mandalorian in its entirety, you may want to wait to read this post. Unless of course you like spoilers (my husband comes to mind - lol). In which case, just keep reading.***

Yes, yes, I know it's The Child and not Baby Yoda, but I'm still going to call that cute, adorable bundle of joy Baby Yoda, so just accept it and move on.

I also know at this point The Mandalorian has been out for a while, but hopefully that means those with Disney+ have already had the chance to watch it. If you've been intending to watch it and haven't, I highly recommend you stop waiting and just do it already!

The opinion I'm about to state may cause some opposition. Keep in mind, though I enjoy Star Wars, I'm by and far more heavily a Star Trek fan. So, I'm not an all Star Wars, all the time, fan girl. The original trilogy is fun, even if a bit dated, and I did go see all the re-releases of those in the theaters when I was in high school (great, now I feel horribly old - lol). But I've never seen all of Episode III, only bits and pieces (Episodes I and II kind of soured me on that trilogy arc). Plus I didn't run out to theaters to see Episode IX, either, though we had done so for Episodes VII and VIII. I'll see it eventually. I mean, we do have Disney+.

I know, blasphemous. I'm not a diehard Star Wars fan. Though I am looking forward to exploring Galaxy's Edge at Disney World later this year. It seems wonderfully immersive!

And that's honestly how I felt about The Mandalorian. It immersed me in the Star Wars world. Here's the opinion that some may not agree with: I feel The Mandalorian is currently the best Star Wars that has appeared on the screen (not bringing books into this - never read any). I also haven't watched any of the animated series, so I'll keep that statement to live action for now.

Yes, better than the original trilogy. And now all those super Star Wars fans are going to throw rotten tomatoes at me... or whatever rotten fruit is part of the Star Wars universe.

At least hear me out, for a bit, whether you happen to agree, but especially if you disagree.

Now, I know a lot of people complained that The Mandalorian started out too slowly. I honestly disagree with that opinion. Since this is a TV series, there was ample time to build Mando's character and to show us the state of the universe when the series takes place. This has led to a very well-rounded main character. That first episode was the beginning. Movies have to move a lot quicker with their beginnings because they have less time to squeeze everything in.

In that first episode, we see his life as a bounty hunter, we see how what's left of Mandalorian society works. And then right at the end, we get the big hook. And what a hook it was! I applaud Disney for successfully keeping that one under wraps. Amazing.

I don't want this post getting too long, so I'll briefly list a few other things I enjoyed about the series.

Touching on Mando's character again, I loved seeing the other side of the hardened bounty hunter. The Child was a foundling, just like he was, and that connection drove him to save the poor, innocent thing. I'm just amazed at how well his character was built in this first season, and most of it without seeing his facial expressions - that can be a tall order!

Using animatronics was also a great decision. That Baby Yoda puppet still has so much expression and reveals so much with its actions. It reminds me of Gizmo from Gremlins, who was also darn adorable. I think it would have lost something if Baby Yoda was simply all CGI.

Cara Dune rocks! I need more of her. Casting was spot on, too.

The Armorer = the bomb. My husband was like, oh she's going to die now, when the stormtroopers attacked her. I was nervous she would because that's the typical expected outcome of such a scene (many movies and TV shows can be horribly predictable with lots of cliches and stereotypes). Instead, she kicked their asses! Which not only shows that even female Mandalorians are super fierce, but it left things open to have her show up in future episodes. I'm super stoked about that possibility.

Finally, I loved the humor that was peppered throughout the season. Though we have a serious and dramatic story going on, there were moments that weren't afraid to lighten that heavy load. And moments that weren't afraid to poke fun at some of the ongoing Star Wars jokes, like how stormtroopers can't aim or the Jar Jar Binks callback.

I offer the heartiest round of applause to Jon Favreau for creating this series (who, by the way, plays one of the Mandalorians, too) - his vision was clearly strong and was executed well. I can't wait for Season 2 of this amazing and well-crafted story.

OK, now all those who disagree with me are welcome to tear me to shreds. I can take it. I mean, I know my opinion is only one, and you know what they say about opinions...

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

2020 - Keep On Rollin'

Are we really over a week into 2020 already? This whole time flying thing needs to stop.

Well, Happy New Year!

As always, I've written up a yearly plan for myself. I don't always expect to hit all the goals I plan out, but I've gotten much better at being more realistic with them depending on the time I have available.

So shall we see how much I get through on my list for this year? I've already written 4800 words - that's a good start!

2020 Mantras

❦ Just Write.

❦ Finish Them!

❦ Focus.

❦ Embrace My Process.

Yes, a little repetition in there from last year, and I'm putting determination under the umbrella of focus for now.

2020 Upcoming Publications

Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) - Spring 2020

❦ Fortunes of Fate Collection #1 (to include titles 1-6) - Fall 2020

2020 Writing Goals

❦ Draft 22k of Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Yes, I'm continuing this, so there will be some new chapters available soon. If you want to see the chapters earlier, please subscribe to my Author Newsletter. Otherwise, starting in May or June, I'll post one chapter every other month on Born to Write and Wattpad.

❦ Revise and Edit Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) - Mind you, this will be novella length. Solis's and Resz's stories needed a bit more room to unfold than expected.

❦ Revise Dead As Dreams - This is a novel I hope to publish in 2021, currently not tied to any series (though I do have thoughts for sequels, but I won't be exploring those ideas at this time).

❦ Draft Fortunes of Fate, 8 - Right now, the Tarot card and title are unknown. I'm sure I'll think of something soon enough, though, and then the characters will keep bugging me until it's their turn - lol.

❦ Draft Downward Spiral (Urban Unicorn, 1) - After wrapping up all that's listed above, I'm finally going to focus on this series. I just feel like I need to complete a few other tasks before I can devote most of my time to the Urban Unicorn novels.

❦ 1 Author Newsletter per month.

❦ Sporadic blog posts, but at least one per month unless life explodes on me.

❦ Keep writing consistently when the kids are in school.

I do have extra projects in mind if I happen to hit these goals out of the park, plus I have some notes to myself about social media and marketing. This year I won't bore everyone with the boring things like making sure my beta reading and developmental editing work for Haunted Unicorn Publishing doesn't take over my writing time. Hm, I guess I did just mention it now. Oops.

The 5-Year Plan is still too scary to think about. Actually, I may never want to consider drawing one up ever again. Plans work much better in smaller bites for me. Even a year is pushing it at times. Life changes too much, no matter if both kids are in school full-time or not.

What are your goals for the year? Or are you best at only planning weekly or monthly? Feel free to share any of your goals below, and if they're writing goals, please join us over at Writing Quest!