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Memorial Day

Memorial Day flags at cemetery

While I may be grateful for the three-day weekend, I’m one of the last people you’ll hear say “Happy Memorial Day.”

There’s a reason for that.

It is a time for celebration, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily make it happy.

Today isn’t about barbecues and pool-parties, folks – it’s about sacrifice. It’s a day to honor and remember those who gave all they had for you to have what you hold.

Until next time, friends… raise a glass to freedom and to those that made sure it wouldn’t be taken away.

Heroes

I’ve talked a lot about superheroes recently… between working on Urban Wardens 3 and the constant stream of superheroes in the media, that’s just kind of how it works.

As we look forward to the upcoming three-day weekend (and the unofficial start of summer), though, it’s important to remember that not all heroes are invulnerable.

Until next time, friends…

What Is It About Superheroes?

Modern pop culture is full of superheroes.

The MCU, Sony’s Marvel Studios releases, CW’s Arrowverse, Warnor Bros DCEU, Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy, Amazon Prime’s The Boys… it seems like everywhere you look, you see superheroes.

But what’s the deal?

Why are they so damned popular?

Without getting into the very long, very serious sociology-in-comics lesson the first draft of this post was turning into, let’s get right down to the bottom line…

Supers are the new Epics… the new Sagas… the larger-than-life figures whose fantastic struggles teach us the simple lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn.

Long-time fans are familiar (and often frustrated) with retcon – changing the past of a character/story/team to create a new reason/attitude in current storylines — but there’s a reason for that, too.

The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf… those all took place in a world that – as far as the people in it were concerned – didn’t change a hell of a lot. But the world’s in a very different place than it was 10 years ago… 20 years ago… 80 years ago… hell – we’re in a very different place now than we were 2 years ago!

For these characters to continue teaching life lessons, their lives have to change with ours. However it happens, the hero’s narrative has to align with the world we live in or their lessons are lost.

Sometimes it’s retcon. Sometimes it’s retirement and passing the torch. Sometimes it’s a personal epiphany. Sometimes it’s coming back from the dead.

Whatever the catalyst, the heroes are moved back to a place where we can identify with them. Where their stories can teach us.

Comic books & superhero media give us… something…
Something to strive for… something to emulate… something to fight against… something to believe in…

…and don’t worry if it’s not all falling into place right now – Superman was with us more than 60 years before we found out the “S” meant hope. (You’ve got time.)

  

Until next time, friends… those struggles you’re facing? You’ve got someone in your corner. It might be a superhero or it might just be me… but you’ve got someone 🤗

Jupiter’s Legacy

I normally don’t stop to gush about a TV show… but there are very few that make me actually yell “NO!” at the end of the season knowing I have to wait to find out what comes next.

I took vacation from the Day Job last week.

Took a trip to the zoo. Got quite a bit of writing done. Played some games.

And watched Jupiter’s Legacy.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.!

The acting is good but, honestly, the story is solid enough to carry even the weakest cast members.

I’m not going to go into a lot here because it’s still new and I’m a no spoilers type of gal – but if your a supers fan, give it a watch.

It is dark (not in the DC/WB-can’t-see-the-picture way) and tough to take in some places, but it is phenomenal.

Until next time, friends… embrace your powers.
We’re all heroes to someone 🦸🏽

The Elephant In The Room

Summer’s here. Again. We haven’t been hit with the break-out-the-stillsuits heat (yet) but it will come. It always does. At least, this year, it looks like we might be able to breathe recycled air someplace other than our own homes.

What the world will look like for “summer vacation” and beyond is still anybody’s guess… there are just too many variables.

Regardless of the fact that the Day Job is in the educational sector, I don’t really get a “summer vacation.” It’s okay, though… with so many other folks on summer vacation, I actually tend to get quite a bit done. And it looks like the Day Job will still be remote – at least through the summer – so I have that extra commute time to be home doing not-Day-Job things.

The plan, of course, is to get a decent amount of writing done.

And get in a couple trips to the zoo.

But what about the last year?

I know a lot of folks that participated in NaNoWriMo wrote the pandemic into their novel. I understand the need for catharsis for both writer and reader, and that those stories could offer that.

But my muse doesn’t work that way.

When the RealWorld™ has gone to shit, my muse basically throws it out even more completely than she normally does. You won’t find mention of the pandemic or the shelter-in-place orders in my writing because, frankly, fiction – in general – should be a safe way to escape for both reader and writer.

I know. I can hear it now:
What about Scarred Sun? What about the social issues that creep in around the fantasy? What about that one character?

Think about an escape.

If you’re escaping from a person/place/situation, odds are pretty high that person/place/situation was bad for you. Odds are pretty high that, to some extent, you didn’t want to be there.

And you do escape. You get away. You’re free.

Except for the memories… the residual pain and fear… the trauma… those don’t all go away. Some of it’s not as bad. Some of it you can actually pack up and get rid of. But other stuff stays and the best you can do is learn to cope.

While the pandemic is a staggering thing and is more likely to have a place in the history books than more pressing issues (that’s another rant I don’t feel like ranting right now), it’s not that bad. With just over three million obvious exceptions*, the whole of it can be packed up and stuck on a shelf to be forgotten… but that’s just not true for a lot of other things that defined 2020.

No more grim social commentary today. Maybe tomorrow 😉

Until next time, friends… drink some water, stop and smell the roses, pet the dogs (with permission, of course), and soak up the Vitamin D.

You need it.

We all do. 🌞

~+~

*3,128,962 confirmed deaths according to the World Health Organization at time of writing

Shakin Off The Rust

Actively writing.

Actively editing.

Actively formatting.

It’s almost like I might be getting my groove back.

Again. 😕

I’m trying to push out the irritating voice saying we’ll see how long it lasts, this time and just be content with the fact that it actually is happening.

For as long as it lasts.

2021 is already off to a great start – Urban Wardens: Crash & Burn released the end of February, Blood in the Water drops May 1, and there are two more books (new installments for The Rio Crew and The Heroes of Vadim) making their way to you before this year flips over into the next.

And more projects are in-progress and on track for 2022… but you’ll have to wait a little while to find out more about them.

Until next time, friends… if you can’t dance like no one’s watching, turn on your filter and do it anyway 💐

Summer Kick-Off

I spent last summer stuck in my house: between breaking an ankle in late May and the ever-changing status of the COVID-induced stay-at-home orders, there really wasn’t much else to do.

You’d think I’d have had a lot of time to write… or do anything, really… but it didn’t work out that way. It probably could have… but it didn’t. Like I said in my last post – 2020 was a major glitch.

Even NaNoWriMo felt glitched. The first week of November was full of travel and celebration. It was well worth the trip, mind you… and I knew I’d make up the writing time somehow.

There were days I was confident and days I definitely wasn’t, but I was too wrapped up in this particular story not to finish it.

I couldn’t tell you why when I was writing it and I still can’t… but what I can tell you is that I actually really like the way it turned out.

And, as you know, that’s not always the way of things.

I was so happy with it, in fact, that I moved it up the release time-table.

Blood in the Water will be have its own page here in the next few days and will be available on Amazon May 1.

The Kindle version is available for pre-order now and will be included in the Kindle Unlimited library.

(If this book were a TV show, it would be rated TV-14 DL — strong language & suggestive comments.)

Until next time, friends… Heart get vaccinated so we can hug next time we’re in the same place!

Well, that was pleasant…

2020 is thankfully well in the rearview. While there are always some bright spots in horrific disasters (in 2020’s case, it was officially gaining a second son), it’s hard to argue that the year – in general – was one huge glitch in everyone’s life.

I didn’t forget about you, though, and I didn’t sit idly by while the world turned upside down.

I did, in fact, get some stuff done.

So… without further ado…

The long-awaited (at least by some) sequel to Urban Wardens: Alpha to Oblivion is now available!

Urban Wardens Crash and Burn cover

That’s right!

You can grab Urban Wardens: Crash and Burn on Amazon now!

All the book pages here will be updated soon.

I don’t know what the rest of this year has in store for us but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be alright.

Until next time, friends…

Be kind. You never know the power your smile may have.

Brace Yourselves: November is Coming

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

nanowrimo.org Mission Statement

As NaNoWriMo enters its 20th year (and I prepare for my 12th year of participation), it seemed the perfect time to dig a little deeper into what NaNoWriMo means not only for authors (a topic I’ve addressed fairly regularly), but also what it means for the people around them.

Without further ado:

Here Comes November

A Guide To The Care & Feeding of Your NaNoWriMo Author

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to the NaNoWriMo.org website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Why do authors do it?

Every author who participates has a different reason for becoming a WriMo. For some, it’s an exercise in discipline. For others, an excuse to shut out the real world in favor of creating their own. For some, like me, it’s a matter of proving to yourself that you can finish the draft.

How do authors approach the challenge?

There’s no single way to approach NaNoWriMo and nothing will ever work for everyone: but there are three basic classes of WriMo you should be familiar with:

Planner:

This is the type of author your Language Arts teacher says you’re supposed to be. Planners have detailed outlines, character sketches, and new languages and creatures already fleshed out long before November 1 comes around. They plan. They are prepared.

Pantser:

Pretty much the opposite of the Planner, a Pantser tends to look at a blank page the morning of November 1 and finally get around to deciding what to write. A pantser’s mind if full of half-baked ideas, numerous plot bunnies, and a couple killer one-liners that someone is going to use this year no matter what!

Plantser:

A newly identified class who, for many years, been confused by Planners as Pantsers and Pantsers as Planners. A Plantser typically greets November with an idea, maybe a few character sketches in skeletal format, and a collection of notes that roughly resmeble an outline.

Your Role As The Keeper of a WriMo

Regardless what class your WriMo falls into, there are certain things that you can do to help make November run just a little more smoothly.

Encourage

November can be overwhelming for your WriMo. Let’s face it: November’s not exactly a quiet month anyway. Tons of holidays are closing in, usually followed by family members & social events. Weather tends to be meh – either cold and gloomy, hot and miserable, or some other combination of factors that basically make you want to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a couple months. Adding the average daily wordcount of 1,667 to the mix is crazy-making.

And yet, WriMos do it… year after year.

There are many ways to encourage your WriMo and help them through the insanity that is November.

Take on additional chores so they don’t have to worry about them.

Screen social engagement requests to help maximize writing time.

Listen when they share their ideas. You are important enough for them to not write while they talk to you – make sure they realize they are equally important and that you appreciate the fact that you are THAT high on their list.

Nourish

Many WriMos, particularly when they are in the zone, forget to address their own basic needs. As the keeper of a WriMo, you should always take care to make sure your WriMo has adequate water in addition to any other beverage of choice they may ingest while working.

Make sure to feed your WriMo regularly, too. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to actually feed your WriMo but placing a meal or snack in easy reach will ensure they are able to maintain their strength without the danger of losing their momentum to go find and/or prepare something to eat.

Get Acquainted With Their Muse

Every WriMo has a muse and repeat WriMos tend to be familiar enough with their muse to be able to introduce you. Getting to know your WriMo’s muse may well be your single most important task as the keeper of a WriMo.

Just as every WriMo is different, every muse is different. Learning about your WriMo’s muse will prepare you to help your WriMo seduce the muse back to the story when she wanders.

To Be Continued…

It’s been a crazy couple months:
My mentor & dear friend retired from the DayJob in June and I have been going slightly mad (just very slightly mad) learning all the things I didn’t know about her job now that it’s my job.

New side projects. Plot bunnies running amok. Human sacrifice. Dogs & cats living together… wait. That’s not it.

Bear with me, folks. I’m still here… at least until November 😉

Until next time…

Take a minute to breathe… to remember… to love.
Smell the roses, pet the dogs, and hug the people who have a place in your heart.