Archive | December, 2021

2021 Year End Wind Up

31 Dec

Well, so far the 20’s have been… interesting. Yes, I know there’s no year 0.

Fitness: My goal was to do a pull up.

Lame Duck: Shoulder’s a little off so I haven’t been weight training in a few weeks. My parents gave me their bowflex when they moved, and I’m noticing a huge difference in my grip strength. A pull up? Not risking my shoulder right now. I remember a few years ago I recovered from plantar fasciitis and then immediately tried jumping rope and bringing it right back, so not taking the bait. I’d love to restart P90X in January, but I might loan my cousin my DVDs. I got my spin bike fixed so that’s basically what I’ve been doing in addition to stretching. My shoulder feels so good right now compared to how it felt about three weeks ago, and I don’t want to push it. My ankle feels a lot better in general, so across the board YAY.


I only knocked it out of the park because of audiobooks. I was carpooling in 2019/2020; my partner has moved on so I drive by myself so I listen to books on my way to work, as well as when I’m going to the lake or wahtever. I was hoping to read the entire Wheel of Time in a year; but I’m cheap and used the library so that didn’t happen because I’d have to wait between titles. I seem to be at a gap so I might be quick for the final 3.5 books. The only other goal is to finish series and try to get the books on my Goodreads list. I am really not all that fussy; Ron loans me books and I still try to read a lot of small/indie books.


Self Publishing

I self-published The Mermaid and the Unicorns. I wrote it for my oldest niece, who is now 14 (? !!!) same as Garnet and Silver TBH. I developed it because it was relatively short and fun. I really enjoyed the self-publishing process, so I think I’ll do more.

So some of you may know I started developing Garnet and Silver: A Faerie Tale for publication several years ago. I told myself I’d do it after I signed a few contracts with different publishers, either for books or shorts or whatever. Part of it was telling myself I needed to work to get the job I wanted, but let’s be honest I chickened out. The only reason I haven’t really put it out this year is I have a wrap cover and the image is sitting, locked, on an older computer. I have the cover image I love but I like the back shot too.

I have tried my best to unlock it. I am going to try again in January, but I think I’ll call it sometime next week, and just come up with a different back.

I also have a novella that’s pretty much ready to go. Odds are it’ll launch early January.

Other Writing: I had a bunch of very ambitious writing goals for 2021 and basically I’ve been a write off since late August. I have gotten Titan’s Ascent to a manageable size, and while I haven’t gotten it to a place where I want to send it into Champagne Books, I’m supposed to have a tour off in January. I put in for more time off, but work is offering to buy back our vacation – again – and meanwhile what’s the only thing that I told my Con Ed I need to work on, really? Taking down time and doing things I enjoy. Thing is, this part of writing isn’t the as enjoyable part. I enjoy editing, but this is more brain-heavy.

I’m not going to push myself for finishing Titan’s Ascent, as Champagne has been sitting on Magus’ Gambit for like two years, and assuming Cassie turns around with a contract in a month or two we still won’t be in production any time soon.

In the meantime, I have those two novella-length shorts to work on, and assuming I don’t philander and play I can pick something else from the pile to fix and send to Cassie. The way I see it, is she can hum and haw over those two sequels while I work on something different so that way if she says “Yes more please” I have a two book head start before I start working on book 4+, plus maybe something that stands alone for her consideration. Okay, a lie; book 4 has a few scenes written and because I yoinked a bunch out of book 3 several parts of book 5 are written. If she says, “No” I turn around with a completely different product.

On top of that, I started have loosely started on the sequel to The Mermaid and the Unicorns. I had several ideas, my niece wants more of the puppeteers, but so far it’s really focusing on Espy as the MC as opposed to Daphne, but it’s in the percolating stage so there’s no guarantee the end product will resemble this idea stage.

Other goals: Paint. I doubt even if things go back to normal I’ll be traveling any time soon (maybe in country. I want to see Tolfino, at least once) and I have some lovely oil paints, so on top of all those creative writing goals, do some painting. Yes, my inking and map making have gotten better. I didn’t put the map I was goofing around with in the book because ebook/print book issues. The cute one really needed color to pop ebookwise, so I was like ‘meh’ and skipped it.


Thoughts on Wheel of Time Season 1

27 Dec

So I’m just as surprised as you are to have watched the show; I’m currently listening to the Audiobook version of Knife of Dreams, and I’ll be honest this is not my most favorite series, but I see why it has the following it has. If I were to surmise the premise, author Jordan takes the idea of Wheel of Time where these things have all happened, and will happen again, and this interpretation takes us to a vaguely Tolkien-like World, at least superficially, where the chosen one must defeat the dark one.

If only the different factions could stop stabbing each other in the back long enough for them to organize.

As opposed to making the three Ta’alveran the main viewpoint, the show mostly focuses in on Moraine and Lan as they try to determine which of the four Two Rivers residents are the Dragon Reborn. The show streamlines events and introduces characters we wouldn’t have met yet while bypassing others. Moraine’s plan is to take the dragon to the eye of the world, and defeat the dark one once in for all, finishing in this lifetime what Lews Therin, the previous dragon, failed to do 3000 years ago and plunged the world into darkness.

TL;DR: the show is aiming at audiences who want a story like this but isn’t meant for the book readers. Believe me this has been going on for a while. This is around the time I normally watch The Lord of the Rings with my dad, and I remember everyone trying to find a property that could follow up. What was the forerunner? Narnia. What’s the problem? Narnia is meant for kids, and a bunch of my friends who went to watch it were like, “We got suckered into a kid’s movie.”

This adaptation basically wants a Game of Thrones, so it’s using the basic stories and characters as launching points as opposed to being true to the source material. It seems grittier than the prose would immedaitely suggest to me, and it’s trying to make its material ‘more adult’.

In general I thought the show was going for stunning visuals to make up for some lazy writing. I really like the casting for the most part, and I’m not sore that we bypassed Caemlyn to see Tar Valon; I think the main issue was that rather than making a faithful interpretation of the books the directed thought the women needed bigger roles and to be ‘fixed’, so the three Ta’alveran, (they made Egwene one, I don’t care close enough) are incredibly generic.

Fortunately, they left Nyneave alone because there was nothing wrong with her. The bit with the trolloc was a bit much and we could have used that time to develop someone else’s character, but whatever you want some fighting and neat visuals as opposed to characters like Elayne going on about Honey in her Tea, I’ll shaddap. I’ll be honest I wasn’t the hugest fan of Egwene when we started the books but right now, she’s the definition of someone who is constantly trying to be moulded and standing firm; coming into her power but not relying on out magicking everyone else, uniting people which is what is precisely is needed given The End of the World Looming.

Right now she’s amazing and brave and everyone loves her. Moraine and Nyneave are interesting because they’re flawed – Moraine being manipulative and willing to sacrifice people for the good of the world and and Nyneave being fiercely protective of her kinfolk and having issues with Moraine’s plan. Egwene suffers from this new generation’s version of Strong Female Character – I’m awesome and too good for this sinful earth; please stop fighting over me boys. It brings me to the Children of the Light bit, and I had zero problem with them focusing on her as opposed to Perrin, at least initially. My problem, is that they’re supposed to have a grudge on him, Egwene barely has to deal with them moving forward. We barely touched on the Wolfisms, and I think it would have been one thing to think, “Okay, a pathetic little sorceress from the backwater village” but another to see a yellow-eyed Darkfriend.

I suppose I better prove what I mean by Lazy Writing. The easiest is to pick on the Seanchan at the very ending, but it’s actually throughout the series. They went with some really, let’s just say ~interesting~ visuals, and this ending stirs a lot of questions. Who are these people? They don’t look like anyone we’ve seen so far. They immediately look like an invading force, and you’re not sure about their channelers, and they…

…make a giant tidal wave to take out a child on the beach?

It looks stunning. But assuming the child isn’t that far from her village, what are you hoping to accomplish, other than announcing your presence? Sending out a wave towards a port filled with warships, makes some tactical sense. All you’re doing is announcing someone with magic is showing up, and Aes Sedai are bound by oaths to precisely *not* do that.

In defense of the show, I’ll be the first one to admit that it takes a lot of work to make a very convincing fantasy world. I just kind of go with whatever rules the author throws at me, so long as they’re consistent with their lore and logic and it doesn’t sound like they did a last minute saving throw, you can convince me. And if there was an already definitive screen version of the show, I wouldn’t mind so much deviation and reinterpretation, but really what season 2 needs to do, especially since they laid the ground work, so assume that the audience likes intellectual pay offs.

In Game of Thrones, we as the audience despised The Red Wedding but knew it worked because there was a ton of set up. The Starks were winning battles, but lost because they lost the support of key houses (The Karstarks, the Freys, and the Boltons) and it was established that the latter two houses were opportunistic as opposed to the more loyal, more modest houses that exuded Ned Stark Honor. There was plenty of Dany’s history where her going mad and burning King’s Landing could have made a lot of sense. Over the course of the series she was sold, abused, but always rose up and triumphed, and usually on behalf of the weak. Saying, “Guess who’s mad with power now?” didn’t sit with the audience, because it wasn’t a payoff.

Respect your audience. I know some people just want something fun and a romp, but I’ll probably go rewatch The Lord of the Rings – 20 year anniversary – and other movies that are timeless and when I think about them later, I think about the ideas and streamlining that made sense, as opposed to, “Well… at least it looked cool.”

And yes, you can tell some of it was done on a budget. We all got spoiled with Gollum and other fanciful CGI; the poor actor playing Loial has a wonderful voice, but I think we all wanted incredibly non-human proportions.

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

I’m off to work soon, so this is just a quick post. I’ll do a year end update probably on my block of days off or even early January.

I know it’s been a challenging year for just about everyone, and I know many of you can’t get together like we used to. The last two years have put into perspective all the things I used to take for granted. Somehow, personally it’s cultivated more gratitude.

I hope you have a blessed week and are able to celebrate with people you care about. If you celebrated Hannakah a few weeks ago, I hope you had a blessed holiday. As always, if you’re traveling be safe.