FANGIRL FRIDAY: Seeing the Good in the Bad Batch

I’ve quite enjoyed the animated offerings from a galaxy far, far, away. That it expands on the live action universe I’ve grown up with, is a comfort, as the world awaits the upcoming series and movies in and around the Star Wars franchise. Today, I share my non-spoilery love about Star Wars: The Clone Wars spin-off series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

A show about a group of clone rejects, misfits, non-conformists who like to color outside the lines but get things done for the greater good, despite how others see and treat them? I’m in.

Clone Force 99, also known as the Bad Batch. Most of these clones have genetic mutations. Hunter has enhanced senses. Tech, with his heightened intelligence, is the groups IT department. Echo, who joined the squad more recently, doesn’t have genetic mutations but has augmented cybernetics from the result of experimentation while held captive. Crosshair’s sharp eyesight makes him an excellent sniper. Wrecker, and his amped up strength, lives up to his name as a wrecking machine. He loves hand to droid combat.

I was about to start the series, now seven episodes in, when I realized I needed to finish Clone Wars first. Despite the final season taunting me for a while on Disney+, I dragged my feet because I knew it would be the end of a series I’d grown to love. Naturally, by the time I finished the twelve episodes, it was bittersweet. I liked the storylines, but it left me wanting more. Good thing I already had this next series lined up that continued in the same story and timeline as Clone Wars. I still miss the characters from Clone Wars. I hope to see some character crossovers, where applicable, of course. Fans familiar with what happens in the original Star Wars trilogy already know the fate of several of the characters from the series. Still, it’s fun to explore the what-ifs.

Again, non-spoilery, so I’m going to wait at least until the first season has passed before going into more detail, but I already enjoy the character dynamics. It’s easy to laugh and yell along with this rowdy bunch. There are some interesting new characters we get to meet, as well. Interesting, not necessarily ones I’d like to hang out with. I’m sticking with Clone Force 99. The great writing makes you care about these guys.

If you haven’t binge watched these shows yet, I highly recommend them.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: Read All About It

Not to be confused with the show I watched as a kid, “Read All About It,” which, I believe they need to bring back beyond the world of YouTube. I’m not asking for a reboot. I want all the camp and outdated special effects of the original show. I know there are people out there who pine for the shows of yesteryear, fromage, and all.

Apologies for the brief nostalgic detour. Today’s post is about reading for more than just pleasure or edification. I learned of a new reading challenge that is right up my alley in the “two birds, one stone” department.

Over the last few months, I’ve been using the Reedsy blog and their YouTube channel as writing resources. A few days ago, I received an email announcing their inaugural reading challenge and had a look. Clearly, there are many parts of the Reedsy umbrella I have yet to discover.

Speaking of, they host the reading challenge on the aptly named Reedsy Discovery platform. Since I’m already doing a reading challenge, I could have shrugged this one off, but it intrigued me to learn that they’re working together with Room to Read, a non-profit organization aimed at helping children in need develop literary skills through structured reading habits.

I rated the books I’ve read, so far, in the Goodreads challenge, but I’d put off the actual reviews and said I’d get around to them when my schedule let up. With this challenge, however, for every review I post on Discovery during the month of June, Reedsy will donate $5 to the charity, up to $10K USD. The email didn’t specify if that’s for the entire challenge or per person, but since I don’t think I could review close to 2000 books this month (unless I somehow go through every book I’ve ever read in my life!?) it’s probably the overall cap.

Considering how many people are already part of the Reedsy community, somehow, I already know that we can reach the $10K goal. I think it’s a great way to read up a storm for my benefit, while helping other people, too.

If you haven’t started a reading challenge yet, or even if you just read for fun, consider posting your reviews to help this charity. I’ll do more research into the Discovery platform and will share what I’ve learned about it in an upcoming post. Until then, I’m going to continue reading, with the extra motivation being my participation in contributing to a worthy cause.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: Whatcha Readin’?

I love to read. It’s shocking how little I read throughout the first lockdown, but that’s another story altogether. My earliest memories of the joys of reading were how these tomes served as portals to other worlds. Some slightly different from our own, while others were far beyond our expectations. That was the beauty and power of a good book. You could be everywhere at once, learn new things, travel to the farthest reaches of existence. Reading expanded my imagination and immersing myself in these worlds at such a young age set the foundation of my desire to become a writer.

I’d previously mentioned how Goodreads is a wonderful community for book lovers to come together to discuss and recommend a wide variety of books to each other. When I went to update my Goodreads account for that post, I saw I was late to the party for a 2021 Reading Challenge. I braved the storm and entered with a more modest number and challenged myself to read 30 books this year. Some have set one book a week, or more. Kudos to them. I’m just getting back into the groove of reading for pleasure and wanted to set a realistic goal for myself. Turns out, I’d already read five books over the last couple months, so I’m well underway. When I get the chance, I will share those book reviews both here and on my Goodreads account.

I have three books currently on deck. As with the others, they’re all MG or YA books because I’ve been reading in the genres I’m writing. Yes, I write across genres, but these are the stories that my current WIP tackles. I will hopefully expand to other genres this summer.

In the lovely Twitterverse, I stumbled across this awesome author’s thread with a slew of Asian books (author and/or characters) that they’ve read and recommended. You know how they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? Well, these covers were certainly enticing, and I now have a small army of books to add to my endless TBR pile. I’m excited to tuck in.

What is everyone reading these days? Do you have a particular medium of choice? E-reader, tablet, laptop, traditional hardbound or paperback? Because of storage limitations, I’ve been resorting to digital reading, courtesy of my local library. Remember those magical places? However, there’s something to be said about the tactile experience while reading an actual book. My dream home includes a vast library with those rolling ladders to reach the higher shelves–and yes, there will be shelves a-plenty. (I went online to search for an appropriate picture to illustrate my exact specifications and naturally, I went down an architectural and interior design rabbit hole that went on for much longer than intended.)

Where do you like to read? Do you have a particular spot in the house? Outside the house? Garden, park bench, beneath your favorite tree? Now that the weather is letting up, I look forward to getting out more to explore new places where I can sit quietly and, you know, explore new places through the pages of a book.

Happy reading!

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: A Little Not So Light Reading

I’ve amassed plenty of writing resources, be it digital or physical. In preparation forĀ CampĀ NaNoWriMo, I’ve curated an initial selection, keeping in mind some aspects I want to focus on in my writing project.

I’ve been a long time fan of K.M. Weiland. She’s an amazing author who’s active on social media and her website, Helping Writers Become Authors, is a treasure trove of information from story structure to character arcs. I recommend any of her books. I bought Outlining Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel Workbook years ago and last year purchased the software version of the workbook, as well.

I’ve been reading up on Deep Point of View. It’s a technique I’d already been doing, was eager to learn more about, but had no idea there was a name for it, as what I’d been doing is a sub-category of the more widely known Third Person Point of View. I read some articles by other writers on the subject, but still had questions. I decided to google “K.M. Weiland Deep Point of View” and wasn’t surprised that she had written on the topic. Reading through her explanations, examples, as well as the exchanges she has with writers in the comments section, was like I’d been sitting in a writing masterclass. Such a great writer and teacher.

Word choice for maximum impact can be a challenge, at times, especially if you find that you’re starting to sound repetitive as the story rolls on. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi wrote the immensely popular The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. I’m looking forward to adding more of their books to my collection soon. In the meantime, their website, Writers Helping Writers, is another writing resource gold mine.

Sometimes you need answers in real time. If a Google search turns up empty, I’ve discovered a game changer in research and it’s currently the primary reason I’m even on Facebook anymore. I can’t believe I never knew about these groups before, but once I started following along in a few writing groups I’m in, some fellow writers suggested the following groups, all of which I’m now a member of and I’m thoroughly fascinated by each post I read, and the comment threads that follow. I even had some of my own questions answered already in the short time I’ve been a member in these groups, and it’s remarkable and encouraging to know that my people are out there and they get me!

The members are comprised of writers and professionals in their respective fields that volunteer their time to help ensure scenes and situations are accurately depicted in our writing. You have to apply for membership and answer some questions prior to being approved, in order for them to weed out spammers and such. Here are just a few of the groups and the descriptions as written on their respective pages:

Trauma Fiction – Trauma Fiction is your resource for finding medical, trauma and illness information for your characters, plot and scenarios. Hosted by Emergency Medical Technician veteran, author Elizabeth Otto.

Legal Fiction – Legal Fiction is your resource for finding information about attorneys, the law, and the courtroom for your characters, plot, and scenarios. Hosted by attorney/author/editor at Twitching Pen Editing Jennifer Severino.

Cops and Writers – This group is dedicated to answering authors and screenwriters police related questions. Police procedure, equipment, police culture, and investigations are all fair game.

Authors Fire/Rescue – The Group is set up to help those write realistic fire/rescue and arson scenes.

I know there are so many more writing groups out there, especially on different platforms such as tumblr, reddit, and Discord, but with the high rate of activity I’m already getting with these ones, it’s better if I ease into these new communities.

I’ve gained insight into improving my writing, that’s always an ongoing process. There are such impassioned discussions, truly helpful approaches to tackling sensitive topics, and a dynamic group of talented people with common interests. You know how much I love infotainment.

What resources do you turn to when writing? Have you had a chance to immerse yourself in these various group threads? If you haven’t heard of these resources yet, do check them out and join in the conversation.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: For Your MCU Viewing Pleasure

I’d been so busy with everything under the sun the last couple of months that I didn’t give the time and love that WandaVision so richly deserved. It’s okay, though, because it’s still within the spoiler zone, so a more in-depth discussion of how that story unfolded will come in a future Fangirl Friday post.

For now, without going too much into it, I want to share how excited I was to see Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their respective roles in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The long awaited first episode in this 6-episode run is ready to stream at the time of this writing on Disney+.

One thing I can freely discuss and praise is the diverse cast of characters in this premiere episode. I’m not just talking about ethnicity, but also the character traits, quirks, and flaws that each person brings to the story.

For those already anticipating the buddy-cop dynamic between Sam and Bucky, all I can say is that if the trailer was any indicator, we’re in for a real treat. Just the recall to their shared scenes in the movies were some much needed tension release from the heavier storylines.

I wish I could into further detail but I’d rather people watched it first so I don’t give anything away. As for the streaming platform, say what you will about the recent controversies with Disney, they’ve been putting out a lot of outstanding programming, of late, and I can only hope that it’ll keep getting better from here on out.

Be sure to catch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier each Friday, streaming today, March 19 with the final episode streaming on April 23. Before the year’s over (is that enough time to be out of the spoiler zone? lol), more discussions and story element breakdown to follow.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.