Wednesday Check-In: At least there’s Jensen Ackles

I never have enough time. Ever since my grandmother patiently explained to a very young little me that there is never a good reason for an imaginative person to allow themselves to be bored I’ve been keeping myself all sorts of busy. Sometimes, back in my pre-parent days, even busy doing nothing. But as of late I feel like themay17 race begins when I wake up five minutes before my alarm and ends when I lay down having only accomplished three quarters of my to-do list. On my good days! My small, super dependent roommates have been sick on and off this week and making me beautiful art.

 

I’ve been reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I’m only about a quarter in, but it is mesmerizing, terrifying, shocking, and revelatory so far. I highly may17brecommend educating yourself with this fine book. I don’t read that much non-fiction for fun, so an interesting experience to say the least. We started watching American Gods, of course, and it is amazing (my review). I would take any job Bryan Fuller wanted to give me. How does one apply to be an apprentice to a TV God? Hubs and I watched American Honey a few weeks ago and scenes and moments from it are still replaying in my head. It was engaging while we watched but I did not expect to still be thinking back on the film. Beautifully shot too. Also reading Bared To You, by Sylvia Day. That’s going about how you’d expect 😛

Maximus remains a doggie challenge, though I did get him to come to me for a treat when he got out of the yard a few days ago. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

I almost forgot! With all the stress and uncertainty in our world right now I wanted to recommend watching all the back seasons of Supernatural. For some reason, I find watching Sam and Dean Winchester driving around together and stabbing bad guys oddly therapeutic. Maybe you will too. All previous 1 million seasons are on Netflix for your tuning-out-your-brain needs.

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WIP is still Tinseltown Temptress #3 – Screwed Over. I’m loving this one the most of any of the books. So much touching back on various characters it’s like old home week every day on my keyboard. Cassie is … changing. Evolving, I guess, but it sounds pretentious. She is learning to prioritize.

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope you’re on a warm, sunny beach right now. What are you reading?

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Still unsure about watching Bryan Fuller’s American Gods? These three giant spoilers from episode one will help you decide.

 

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click embedded links to see (NSFW) gifs of that scene on the gif creator’s sites

I’ve heard a few people say they’re on the fence about watching Bryan Fuller’s new tv adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, brought to us lucky mortals by Starz. The aim of my words here are to push you one way or the other. Warning: there will be blood (not actual blood, only really, really bloody SPOILERS, but still).

Many fans of the book are afraid to watch, worried that the adaptation can’t possibly live up to the source. ‘They’ll cut the wrong stuff and they won’t get the characters right, not the way they are in my head.’ Episode one down, and I’m here to tell you; it’s going to satisfy you. Obviously not every word and deed can be included but it seems a pretty solid match so far. Toward the end there’s an epic bar brawl between our hero Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Mad Sweeny (Pablo Schreiber) where they decimate each other and destroy part of a gator-mouth-dominated bar. Look no further than Mr. Wednesday (expertly played by Ian McShane) casually enjoying their violence to perfectly exemplify the role in which he was cast. The performances throughout were nuanced, deep, and thoughtful. Whittle’s physical performance gives the audience incredible glimpses of Shadow’s inner struggle often without words, or even concrete action.

Another cause for hesitation is the fear that this show, like many other MA rated, high-end cable productions, will use rape to convey horror, character motivation, or heighten the suspense of the male protagonist’s storyline. Fuller don’t play that. He is against using rape scenes just to add drama, saying, “My role, as a showrunner, is to want to watch the show we’re creating. And if something feels exploitative or unnecessary, I’ll try to avoid it.” That being said, smack dab in episode one, a man just re-entering the dating scene (Joel Murray) agrees to have sex with Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) and does gets sucked into her vag, happily consumed whole. I think most of us would qualify that as a violent sex act, so perhaps Fuller intends to stick with the story as written on this subject.

Then there’s the old, ‘it looks too violent. Isn’t it going to be gory?’ dilemma. It is. One of the Gods’ coming to America origin tale is told here in the first episode. Vikings land on a shoreline and must plead with the Allfather to make wind for them to sail home. They end up fighting each other to please him (war God, don’t you know) and the resulting battle is absolutely horrific. A man’s arm is severed while holding a sword and flies through the air to land stabbed directly through his pal’s exposed throat. Truly fantastic pacing, cinematography, and effects during this scene, but if action/horror is not your thing, you might need a blanket to shield your eyes as needed.

More obstacles: ‘But I don’t have/can’t afford Starz.’ The app is just $9 a month. Wait a few weeks and it’ll only be a bit over $1 per episode. Well worth it. ‘I haven’t read the book yet!’ Go to the library. The novel by Neil Gaiman is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

With no other issues to address, I think it’s clear that American Gods should be your new favorite show. Now let the wait for next week’s episode begin.

Wednesday Check In – Does It Get Easier??

Taxes, child management, and job hunting have robbed me of all my time as of late. I have also been querying my paranormal romance novella. That process is not unlike the online application for the copywriting and video production jobs I’ve been looking at in the Detroit Metro area. Cover letters are getting easier to write quickly.

Haven’t been doing much reading beyond fanfic and children’s books (mythology and gross stuff are heavy favorites in my house). Being a filmmaker and horror fan from Michigan, MaximusI’ve always loved the Evil Dead film series. Hubs and I have been catching up on the tv series the last few weeks. Bruce Campbell is a revelation. We also very much enjoy how the overall tone of the films has followed through into the series. Pretty groovy. With mid-season starting up this month, the show I’m most looking forward to getting back to is Flash. But as far as I’m concerned they can just focus 85% of each episode on Iris/Barry. So adorable and hot.

We’re looking into training classes for Max. His strong doggie personality is a bit too much for me to handle on my own.

My ‘work at your own pace’ contracting class has turned into a ‘neglect cause your life is too full’ problem. I need to make a plan on how to finish the damn thing!

WIP is still TT #3 – Screwed Over. But I have to get a couple of series related short stories out of the way first. I love doing the serious work on Cassie’s story. Can’t wait to wrap up the series with an amazing book. Revisions are going well, though rewrite is really the proper term for most of the book : It is going to be so great! I’m also doing more plotting and character work on my scifi series. Here’s a shot from its spot on my workboard:

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All that empty space under the light year stuff is where the scene cards go 😛

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope your day is beautiful wherever you are. Happy Women’s Day! What are you reading?

Wednesday Check In – Clearly Not a Dairy Artist

Busy with holiday errands and commitments this week, especially since the children will be ‘on break’ soon. My office is still bare and unfinished but I’ve been fighting a cold and it’s winning so I’m not beating myself up about it. Check out the cheese for the first grade party tomorrow.

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Finished Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Enjoyable enough story but all the bird imagery got to be a bit much for me. Could just be my general distaste for birds. It had spectacular characters. Daisy Day is my favorite for obvious reasons, though Rosie’s mother comes in a close second. Started on Abigail Barnett’s The Boss. It’s super hot. We are caught up with Flash (though I feel like all the storyline stuff really gets in the way of important Barry and Iris make out time) and I can safely say I have no idea where they’re going with all this Cisco hates Barry shiz. The Bill Murray Christmas movie on Netflix is directed by Sofia Copolla, bleak af, and oddly charming.

Maximus the Destructor continues to drive us all nuts and my contracting book has dust on it.

My Eden revision (that’s my new paranormal vampire romance) is taking much longer than I’d hoped for a myriad of reasons, most of which are all excuses for not giving it enough time. Of course break for the kids means no rest for the mom so not much more progress is likely to happen until January.

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents through the holiday season 😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season. Stay warm and enjoy your time with your family. What are you reading?

Wednesday Check In – Moving Sux!

Getting settled into my new home office and still trying to determine where everything’s gonna go. The whole process is so time consuming. Should have my books unpacked soon which will be a novelty for me as most of them have been boxed up for months. I’ll try to get a pic at night soonhomeoffice so you can see the great paint color of my new office but this oddly white balanced one will have to do for now. The kids really like my homemade valance but I’m contemplating a redesign. It looks very college dorm room atm. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just I’m 41.

Still reading Anasazi Boys and I will be reading The Boss next, since the ten-year-old managed to find my kindle. Hubs and I are almost caught up with The Flash. Iris and Barry are the cutest. We have also been watching some stand up on Netflix lately, trying to stave off winter madness. Michael Che’s was much funnier than I expected to be based solely off the SNL appearances I’ve seen. We watched John Mulaney’s Comeback Kid last night and it was really well paced. His timing is excellent and the Clinton bit was hysterical.

Maximus continues to be an extremely challenging dog. Hubs has taken to barricading our trash and recycling down with cinder blocks to keep him from tearing it all apart. Fingers crossed he doesn’t figure out some way around them. He’s only killed one yard animal this week (that we know of).

The six-year-old’d new favorite phrase is “don’t even ask”. Well, don’t even ask about my contracting class. The book is getting dusty!

Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

My rough draft of Eden is done and I’ll be beginning revisions this afternoon. I’ve decided not to post an excerpt today, but I will be posting the whole story chapter by chapter here on the blog very soon! It is a vamp paranormal romance. The two MCs, Ardor and Ivan, are both so sexy and funny. It’s turning into quite the steamy read 😀

Hope you’re all staying warm. What are you reading?

Book Review: More Than Exist

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Today we are celebrating the release of MORE THAN EXIST by Bethany Lopez. This book is a Women’s Fiction title. Check out the excerpt and teasers below. Buy your copy now while it’s on sale for just $2.99!

my review:

More Than Exist is a compelling story of one woman’s journey through grief and alcohol addiction after the loss of her husband. Mirabelle thought of Ricky as her soulmate and author Bethany Lopez vividly portrays how losing him pushed Belle into a self-destructive, alcoholic, downward spiral. The widow drinks away the better part of a year before taking an ill fated road trip cross country to her parent’s house which only highlights her problem. She soon finds herself needing to make some tough choices if she wants to get her life right. Since some of those choices involve her new employer Luke, the handsome owner of Hope Heals Ranch, Belle has a hard time sorting the past from her present day feelings. Her struggle with her guilt over moving on from her husband romantically is especially poignant. This novel is a glimpse into a difficult recovery process and the persistence and support it often takes to change a life. It’s an interesting read with complex side characters and Mirabelle’s meal plans might make your stomach growl.

More Than Exist by Bethany Lopez
Contemporary Women’s Fiction Continue reading

Film Review | How to Love Straight Outta Compton and Women

set pic straight outta compton actors for MC Ren, DJ Yella, Easy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre

Straight Outta Compton promo pic

The representation of women in F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton can be viewed two ways. The first, most obvious assessment is that in a film that barely passes the Bechdel test (One woman tells another in the film’s opening scene, “Nah, I’m good,” in response to a non-verbal question of whether she would like to drink Easy-E’s unwanted forty.) the multitudes of silent, mostly naked, women strewn liberally throughout the nearly three hour run time are sexualized objects, and nothing more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this biopic features more boobs than Boogie Nights and a lot more booty. A deeper message can be observed however, when examining the protagonist’s arcs for change and its impetuous. The lives of NWA’s members are profoundly shaped by the women in them, and though at times their influence wasn’t emphasized, they are the backbone of the story; providing the support the men need to excel and even triumph.

Treated as a side character, DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) is depicted as the biggest womanizer, hitting on every woman he interacts with and watching explicit porn in the tour bus’ main room as if it were completely innocuous programming. Just before an early showcase performance he jokes, “Can this motherfuckin Jerry Heller bring in more pussy? Cause that’s worth twenty percent.” The manager does just that for the guys of NWA, from which the conclusion could be drawn that DJ Yella, at least, felt his contractual arrangement with Heller (Paul Giamatti) was satisfactory.

Ice Cube, played convincingly with depth and finesse by his own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., is driven by his need to provide for himself and his growing family. Though in the early tour scenes he is seen entertaining groupies, even dropping the line “Bye, Felicia” on a topless, hotel-room-ejected, exotic dancer years before penning Friday, he is the first NWA member to settle down into presumed blissful monogamy. His wife Kim (Alexandra Shipp) doesn’t have a big role, but is shown time and again nodding her full support and backing up her man’s plays with her unyieldingly protective body language. The filmmakers did a wonderful job here of showing without telling in just a few scenes what a motivating force this important woman was in his life.

As portrayed cleanly by Corey Hawkins, Dr. Dre’s experiences with women in the film are a contrast to Cube’s committed one, but tell the same story. At first, both his own mother (Lisa Renee Pitts) and his daughter’s mother, Lavetta (Aeriel Miranda) are critical of his choice to pursue a career in music without any significant financial gain or control over his own path. When he discovers that the mature relationship he desires with future wife Nicole (Elena Goode) is out of reach due to his violent associates and partying lifestyle, he changes his outlook and abandons that life in favor of fiscal independence and total creative control.

Lastly, the film’s presentation of the late Easy-E, played with heart-rending tenderness by Jason Mitchell, downplays the man’s misogynistic attitudes as a product of his surroundings and the folly of youth. His disgusted demeanor while spitting “You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain’t a sucker,” while laying down Straight Outta Compton’s title track is one of utter sincerity even though he is usually shown with a woman close by his side. Though in real life he fathered children with several women, they are barely mentioned and the audience only meets one, the woman who became his wife, Tomika (Carra Patterson). Most tellingly, this woman radically alters the course of Easy-E’s life by presenting him with an accounting of his manager’s career long betrayal. When E confronts Heller, the man dismisses Tomika’s importance to E, calling her a groupie executive assistant, but Easy-E doesn’t take the woman-blaming-bait. Instead, he trusts the woman he loves and fires the man responsible for duping him for so long.

Watching the fictionalized account unfold, I couldn’t shake the idea that if Kim, Tomika and Nicole had just hashed out the group’s Jerry Heller problem over lunch NWA never would have split up. Only this movie isn’t about NWA’s wives, but the men themselves. So even though most of the film’s women weren’t rounded characters, at least Gray didn’t let them all become mere titillating backdrop. Some served as important personal confidants and support systems for the movie’s central characters, which highlights their importance to the group’s ever shifting dynamic. If, as their song Gangsta says, “life ain’t nothin but bitches and money,” then the men of NWA did well for themselves, finding both satisfaction with their bottom lines and love from the bottom of their hearts.