by Camela Thompson
No spoilers. Go see it - preferably in IMAX.
I appreciate my coworkers. They are thoughtful people who made an effort not to spoil The Force Awakens. In a sea of die hard fans who scrambled for the early ticket purchases, I was the jaded individual who decided to wait until a consensus was reached. Would the newest film do justice to the original trilogy? Or were we fated to relive the horror of the three that shall not be named?
I was a little nervous about J.J. Abrams' involvement. I enjoyed the newest Star Trek movies, but they weren't canon. The alternate timeline is a convenient device best left alone. On the other hand, Disney's involvement didn't bother me (can you say "budget"??) and the lack of George Lucas was an encouragement. He had proven a menace if left to his own devices. The remaking of the originals (4-6) were unnecessary. The grandiose but lackluster build in 1-3 plus the addition of some exceedingly annoying secondary characters made for a disaster. People looked for the magic from the original movies to carry over into the prequels. It didn't happen and generated speculation that Lucas was lacking the counterbalance to reign in his creative vision.
Perhaps we needed 1-3 to lower expectations. It was okay that The Force Awakens wasn't epic. I had no problem with it following the same formula as Star Wars. I'm a big fan of the saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The behavior of the original characters was consistent with the previous movies. There was enough overlap to bring back the old nostalgia that was missing from the prequels. I appreciated the updates and a female protagonist who wasn't helpless. The best part? The deaths (minus the red shirts) had purpose even if the one on my mind was really, really sad.
Was it perfect? No. But it was close enough.
Did you love The Force Awakens? Were you disappointed? What do you hope to see in the next?
by Camela Thompson
Some people really get into the holidays. They get up on their ladders and staple blinking lights to their houses and wrap bright strings with bulbs to their banisters. Posts fly down my Facebook timeline with pictures of gorgeous trees, gatherings with happy faces, and the symbols of Chanukah. Usually we're out of town for the holiday and I can get out of getting a tree. I fought it as long as I could, using photographs of pets destroying decorations. On Saturday I caved and bought a rosemary bush clipped to look like a Christmas tree because 1. I love cooking and it would come in handy and 2. It was more robust than the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
I'm not sure where the apathy stems from. I love giving gifts, particularly to my nieces and nephews. Sometimes these gifts are more devious than others, but there is an undeniable joy from seeing a happy expression on their faces. I joke that it's the darkness. There's probably more truth to that than not, but even my Bah Humbug heart is warmed by some of the scenes I've seen.
Two men rushing to catch their buses stopped when an elderly man fell. Both took the time to help the man up and make sure he didn't need further assistance. It would have been so easy for them to look away and scurry past as so many others had. Even though they didn't spend more than a few minutes of their day, it gave me hope.
Tired and sore, I limped through the grocery store pushing my cart and nearly ran into a man. Twice. Instead of being irritated, he shot me a wide smile and gestured for me to continue on my way.
My husband made me a ridiculous amount of soup when I didn't feel well. It was delicious and appreciated.
Acts of kindness are so much more important than what gets checked off the to-do list for the day or even getting home on time.
'Tis the cold season. I've been using my sluggish energy level as an excuse to binge read. It has been wonderful. It also has me questioning what all I can take on next year. Full time work, writing, marketing, and podcasting is taking a toll and it may be time to cut back. I struggle each time I sit down to blog, and find myself stressed out over finding something interesting to say. I have stories on shelves waiting to be edited because I've read all of the advice out there that extolls the wisdom of blogging, vlogging, and podcasting in an effort to increase my footprint. I'm not putting the effort into shouting (honestly, that's what most "marketing" efforts feel like to me--shouting) about the podcast, vlog, or blog.
Perhaps that was the energy level talking.
Or maybe I'm ready to work on new ideas. I sat with a friend talking about horrible writer revelations (and then spun that off into some really disturbing story ideas, but that's just how my brain works). One of those revelations comes about because someone has written something very similar to your own project. Is it better? Is it too late? Is there enough room in this world for both books? The other comes about because you had a brilliant idea, didn't act on it, and now something similar is rolling out to the theaters. That bad feeling isn't because someone else had success. It's because it really was an excellent idea but that's all it ever was.
I don't want to miss out on the next book. I don't want miss out on things I enjoy, either. I work, go home, work more, and then get up early on the weekend to podcast and work some more. Maybe it's time to make some different resolutions and stop scrambling to cram as much productivity in this lifetime as I can.
Enjoy your holidays. Tell your loved ones how you feel about them. Read some wonderful books and laze in front of the television. Do something that doesn't involve checking a to-do off your list.
by Camela Thompson
I had an exceptionally ranty post about the prevalence of ultra-alpha males and related lack of exceptional heroines in paranormal writing (yes, I realize it's not universal, but it's common), but chickened out when it came to hitting the "Post" button. I've given myself the week to walk away and think about things.
Instead, I thought I would talk about some of the great things I've seen and read lately.
I am confused by del Toro. The Strain frustrated me and struck me as inherently misogynistic (a few interviews I stumbled across didn't help that perception), but that flies in the face of much of his other work. I loved Crimson Peak, and I finally watched Pan's Labyrinth. I adored it. It's just as depressing and dark as it is beautiful, but it's worth every minute. We'll be discussing the movie this week on Shadows on the Sound with Elise Stephens.
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires (book 1 of Half Moon Hollow)
After reading several books fueling my aforementioned rant, this book was a breath of fresh air. The main character may not have been extraordinary, but she was smart, very sassy, and kicked major butt. I laughed out loud many times, and that just doesn't happen.
I enjoy Marvel despite growing frustrated with flouncy illustrations and fridged women. So far, this series has been a very pleasant surprise. I am enjoying the reign of Netflix awesomeness.
My other favorite things at the moment involve food and puppies, most definitely enjoyed very separately. On that note, I'll leave you with a dose of adorable evil mastermind:
What have you seen or read recently that you loved? Are there paranormal books with strong female protagonists you would recommend?
by Camela Thompson
There are few rules around NANOWRIMO (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth): Start a novel from scratch and write at least 50,000 words throughout the month of November. If you hit your word count, you win.
When it's broken down to a daily target, 1,667 words doesn't seem so hard. It's less than the average chapter length for a novel marketed to adults. The problem is that most of us write in our spare time, forcing our brains to cooperate with a scene after a long day at work. Life gets in the way. Migraines happen. Sometimes the words won't form. Forced on a consistent basis, 50k words a month will lead to burn out and a severe lack of editing.
If forced word count leads to burn out, why would anyone participate?
The main reason I participate is to force myself into finishing a piece of work I've already started. This goes against one of the rules of NANOWRIMO, but since most of my work ends up around 80,000 word mark, I can easily add another 50k to a novel I've already started. The starts are always the most tedious part as I tend to rewrite them over and over, getting sucked into an editing loop that wouldn't end if I didn't force myself into a different work pattern. NANOWRIMO helps me achieve that new pattern.
I've written in the past about my tendency towards perfectionism. This doesn't mean I feel my writing is perfect. Far from it. It means I will never view my writing as good enough. On the up side, this means I will always strive to improve. On the downside, I'm neurotic.
During NANOWRIMO, I give myself permission to blaze forward without editing. I make rough notes where I feel there is a deficiency and force myself to move on. I surround the notes by characters I wouldn't normally use in my writing to I can easily pick them out. When I go back through my work, I see notes like <<describe emotion instead of stating>>, <<make prettier>>, and <<Would she do this?>>
If you want to participate in NANOWRIMO, I have a few recommendations based on what has helped me out:
I'm lucky I have a spouse who will pick up the slack during November. I don't cook, clean, or participate in many social functions. When I'm not at work, I'm writing. Fortunately, football is in full swing and Lance doesn't seem to mind that I'm furiously typing beside him rather than watching the game. While NANOWRIMO is a great tool to help me hit a deadline, it's not the normal pace I can work because I grow tired and miss my friends. And that's okay.
Have you tried NANOWRIMO? What did you think? Is there something you would suggest to help others?
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.