Book Review: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer

I think I’d seen mentions of Higher, Further, Faster (Young Adult 249 pages) by Liza Palmer somewhere on the internet recently so I picked it up while at the bookstore last week. I started it and finished it immediately upon my return home.

“On her first day at the United States Air Force Academy, Carol Danvers is told: Let yourself learn. If only it were that simple – as defiant as she is driven, Carol has never quite adhered to the rules. All she’s ever wanted is to fly: why would she be dissuaded by the fact that in the USAF, female fighter pilots don’t exist? But beneath Carol’s swagger lurks a persistent fear that she is never quite enough. At first, USAFA appears to agree, overwhelming Carol with a rigorous schedule, demanding officers, and the looming possibility of joining the elite Flying Falcons program that has never counted a woman among their roster. Then she forms a friendship with fellow would-be pilot Maria Rambeau, and what once seemed impossible becomes tantalizingly within reach for them both. Will Carol and Maria achieve their dream in the face of constant challenge? And at what cost?”

This novel happens before the events in the movie, Captain Marvel, which I reviewed back in March 2019. Even so, this book can absolutely stand alone outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I think right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would read this book without having any knowledge of the MCU. I did send a copy of the book off to a friend who is travelling the world right now and unlikely to have seen the movie so we’ll see if there are any unique thoughts about it from that perspective.

This book is very rare, in the sense that there is absolutely zero romantic subplot. I’m sure there are those who would disagree with me because of who the main characters are and maybe those who are desperate for positive female/female representation could make a case that “omg, they were ROOMMATES”. For me? I saw a very realistic story about two women who both wanted to fly more than anything and that was their true passion. This was a story about following your dreams, making friends, and succeeding when all the odds are stacked against you through hard work and dedication. For me, seeing a story about passion without sex was huge, as this shows that passion does not equal sex and sex does not equal love.

I don’t know how accurate the Air Force training portions are but I read this book knowing that Carol and Maria would have been in training back in the early 1980s, which would likely have been completely different from anything trainees would be likely to experience today. I also don’t know enough about planes and plane timelines to judge whether the aircraft mentioned would be viable for the time this novel takes place. With that said, it didn’t matter to me because the information about the training and the flying felt like it should be right. The author established solid believability in the world-building and that’s the important part for a book like this.

I really like Carol and Maria’s friendship in this book and I liked how the obstacles put in front of both of them just made them determined to find a way to earn their place in the world of flying. I related a lot to Carol’s perspective on her surroundings and it was very easy to see her passion for flying in everything she does. The same goes for Maria. They are both so absolutely in love with flying that not flying is unfathomable to both of them. The way they work around getting to touch a special aircraft or how Carol listens to the sound of distant engines and how much of a ritual that is for her.

Carol’s character really comes through in this story, even in tiny moments throughout the story. At one point, she protects a journal which isn’t hers. She defends people who aren’t present to defend themselves. She sticks up for everyone and works to build a cohesive team, even though she could have chosen to treat those who treated her badly the same way. She’s inclusive, hard-working, dedicated, and loyal, which are all traits that make really good people. I admire her character in this story and I think this novel sets a very positive example of what leadership and passion look like.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will happily read it again in the future. I’m happy I purchased it and I probably rate it as a high three on my rating scale.

Works cited: Palmer, Liza. Higher, Further, Faster. New York: Marvel Press, 2019.

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Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (fantasy 169 pages) was on my Asexual reading list from 2018. As is usually the case, life happened and things got busy.

“Eleanor West’s home for wayward children. No solicitations. No visitors. No quests. Children have always disappeared under the right conditions – slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells and emerging somewhere … else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced … they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her newfound schoolmates to get to the heart of things. No matter the cost.”

The main character of the novel, Nancy, is an asexual teenager whose parents sent her to Eleanor West’s school with the intent of “fixing” her. I think that says a lot about how sometimes families and people who love the people in their lives can love more of the idea of what they think a person should be instead of loving the actual person. Nancy’s parents wanted their bright and sunny daughter back instead of the self-composed, darkly dressed asexual daughter they actually have but didn’t want to see. They loved the idea of their daughter more than the flesh and blood daughter in front of them.

What’s really interesting to me, though, is that all of the characters in the story struggle with the same concept of how their families react to who they truly are and only find happiness by going someplace where they get to one hundred percent be themselves without masks. I think a lot of people, especially those in the queer community, struggle with finding acceptance for who they are and get tired of wearing masks all the time to pretend to be someone else.

I’m very glad I had a chance to pick up this book and read it. It’s a very different take on portal fantasies. And also a very different take on diverse characters, as the characters just are different sexualities and aren’t suffering trauma because of it. Kade just is transgender, which doesn’t change his character at all. He exists as he is and that’s accepted by the majority of characters within the book. The few times other characters display their bigotry, the instructors at the school and even the other students respond negatively, which is exactly what I would hope for in the world.

Overall, this book is easily a high three on my rating scale. I am happy I bought it and I’m very likely to read it again in the future.

Works cited: McGuire, Seanan. Every Heart a Doorway. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2016.

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Graphic Novel Review: the Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire Part One

I am currently sitting on the floor of my brand new, completely unfurnished house in my home state of Washington. It’s been a long time coming and I’m so happy to be home but I knew I needed something to occupy my evening before my stuff arrives. I picked up the Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire Part One (graphic novel 76 pages) created by Bryan Koonietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. This particular book is written by Michael Dante DiMartino, art by Michelle Wong, colors by Vivian NG, lettering by Rachel Deering, and the cover by Michelle Wong and Vivian NG.

“Kuvira’s back – and Korra must decide who to trust! On the eve of its first elections, the Earth Kingdom’s future is endangered by its past. Even as Kuvira begins to stand trial for her crimes, holdout defenders of her imperial ambitions threaten to spark a new war. But when Korra and Team Avatar don’t all see eye-to-eye as to the solution, it’s time for a risky road trip.”

I am constantly astounded by how much we can learn and grow from fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and media such as graphic novels. In Ruins of the Empire, the Earth Kingdom is working towards its first democratic elections. As such, there are some really interesting points that are equally applicable to the real world we currently live in. Things like how those in power will do anything they can think of to remain in power and those who seek out power are rarely those who should have it. For example, the two officials running for election in the Gaoling province of the Earth Kingdom are both already members of the current political system. They have power, money, and prestige, but there is no one running against them, which means that the current system is unlikely to change.

Then, Commander Guan shows up with the backing of his military forces which did not surrender when Kuvira surrendered to the Avatar at the end of Book Four. Team Avatar thinks that he’s there to participate in a military take over but he actually submits his bidding to be considered a candidate for the election. King Wu and the other members of Team Avatar have an actual discussion about finding a way to disallow Commander Guan from submitting his candidacy, which is actually undermining the democratic process. If people are truly going to vote, those in charge don’t get to choose who the candidates are, so long as all of the rules and laws concerning their candidacy are followed.

Considering the parallels with the current democratic and political system in the United States, this graphic novel had a lot of interesting points about what democracy means and how to participate in the process.

Meanwhile, I’d like to say that the art and lettering for this graphic novel are both really well done. The book flows well and it’s clear what’s going on. I also like the continuing and realistic character development in the series. The character development even goes so far as to thinking about what kind of different attire each character would wear if they went to a sauna. From Korra’s shorts and top to Zhu Li’s classic one piece to King Wu’s towel, each character’s attire is distinctive as to who they are as people. I think it’s the little details that really create realism and believability for stories.

Overall, I’m very glad I found this in the bookstore this evening. It’s an interesting and positive addition to the Legend of Korra story. I will definitely watch for future books in this series and will continue to purchase them as they come out.

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Movie Review: Captain Marvel

I went and saw Captain Marvel last night.

This is NOT a spoiler-free review! If you haven’t seen the movie, best to avoid this review until you’ve watched it yourself.

The theater was sold out for the showing before the one I went to and there weren’t that many seats left for the showing I actually went to, which meant I wound up in the very front row. Not ideal, but the new remodel of the theater with reclining chairs helped not hurt my head or neck.

Why am I typing menial things about the theater? To make sure that a casual opening of this won’t result in spoilers for those who don’t wish to see them.

I’m going to say again that this is NOT a spoiler free review.

Okay. Now for the actual review.

First of all, I liked the movie a lot. It’s one of those movies that I thought about on my drive home. And one that I want to see again so that I can experience it, especially the space parts, again.

The movie throws the audience directly into the life of the Kree soldier “noble warrior hero” Vers. Not only did it introduce Vers/Carol Danvers first as a soldier in a war, it’s a war we know nothing about. We don’t know who is fighting, what the stakes are, why they’re fighting, nothing. While this bothers some people, the truth is that we don’t need to know anything about the war. Both sides in the Kree/Skrull conflict are not exactly heroes fighting for justice. War is a horrible thing and those who order war are rarely those who pay for it. I remember reading about the Kree/Skrull conflict when I read the X-Men titles in my youth and I keenly remember not particularly liking either side.

This movie felt like it was made for me and for people like me. There was not a single scene in this entire movie where any women showed any boobs, cleavage, scantily clad sex-poses or anything even remotely sexy at all. The women all wore attire that made sense for their environment. Space suits that covered the entire skin, including force shields over the mouth and eye areas, instead of the comic book version of Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel (the two pictures). I have actually seen males online complaining that the movie didn’t use either of the sexualized versions of the Ms. Marvel outfit for the movie. This was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that did not sexualize the woman from the very first encounter. She never caters to the male gaze and absolutely does not do anything to make herself funny, sexy, or flirty. She is unapologetically who she is and I think a lot of the male audience who disliked this movie might have disliked it because absolutely nothing she did had anything to do with them. She didn’t wear appropriately revealing clothing, she didn’t make sexy quips, she didn’t flirt with anyone.

People who thought the movie lacked characterization probably don’t understand everything that wasn’t said. What would being a woman in the Air Force have been like back in the 1990s? How hard would you have to work to even remotely be allowed to fly? Just because women experience sexual harassment on a daily basis doesn’t mean that’s all we ever talk about (though, if you listen to some males these days, that’s what you might think, but they don’t listen to us when we do talk about it anyway, so there’s that). So because the movie doesn’t go around shoving the audience’s face with sexy quips about “being a woman in times like this” or some other crap, it lacks characterization? Most males don’t seem to have issues with the dialogue in action movies, so long as the stars of those action movies are male. But when the action is centered around women who exist without white male savior heroes? “The movie falls flat”. Carol Danvers even escapes capture and beats up twenty or so Skrulls with her hands confined and lacking her powers but she’s considered by some of the males to be no more or less powerful than any of her other (male) Avengers.

Here’s a screenshot of a review I saw today, just for reference.

What really gets me is that the author of this review is a really good guy. But I don’t think he understands the dual-standard he is even now supporting with his comments. He says that Carol Danvers isn’t a character because she doesn’t have any hobbies or interests or friends? But what about hobbies or interests for Thor? Steve Rogers? Bruce Banner? Do they have hobbies, interests, or friends? Thor is a prince and a warrior, right? Doesn’t he spend his free time getting drunk and partying with his friends? At least, that’s what was shown in the Thor franchise movies. Is that why you consider him more a worthy hero than Carol Danvers? What about Bruce? He’s a scientist first, but everyone actually loves him more as the Hulk, and one of the guys I worked with many years ago specifically liked him because the angrier he gets in the comic books, the bigger and more unstoppable he gets. Power trip, much? So what’s the issue with someone like Carol Danvers being a warrior? Or a pilot? Being a pilot takes up a lot of time and work, as does being a warrior. Carol Danvers is clearly very tech-savvy, in that she can use parts found in a Radio Shack to piece together a cross-galaxy communication device through a pay phone. How is being a prince and a warrior viable hobbies for Thor, Bruce being a scientist, and Tony being a technological genius enough of hobbies for them, but Carol being a warrior and incredibly intelligent not enough for her to be a real character? What, you need her to wear sexy clothes and run the bake sale, too? Honestly, I think that a lot of the “flatness” some males might feel from Carol Danvers’ character comes from the fact that Carol Danvers does not need them. There is no place in Carol Danvers’ world for a “white knight” hero who will come in and save the day at the last second. No romance, no fluttering eyelashes or puckered up lips. Carol Danvers exists in a world where dickhead machoism just gets in the way of saving the world and it kind of gets to me that all the male superheroes get a free card when it comes to personality and characterization.

Honestly? Right now, I am having problems thinking up any male hero with hobbies, interests, or friends. Those that do have hobbies have hobbies related to their role as a hero. So why do women have to be perfect in everything we do in order to be viable? Why can’t women focus their time on being better warriors or better pilots or better techies? It’s good enough for the males but not enough characterization for women? Even now, women have to work five times as hard to be considered half as good, and usually we’re far better than our male counterparts.

I really liked Maria and Carol’s friendship in the movie. Carol’s fragmented karaoke memories and young Monica’s assistance going through the memory box showed us Carol as an Air Force pilot before she became a Kree warrior. Carol was very much a part of Maria and Monica’s lives. They spent holidays together and Carol’s gifts from the pictures were thoughtful and fun. They showed Carol as a dedicated and loyal friend and someone who took the time and effort to be a supremely supportive part of Maria and Monica’s lives. So what were things like for women pilots back in the 1990s? Carol and Maria’s relationship, regardless of whether that friendship was a friendship or something else, would have likely always caused them professional issues, but Carol stood up for Maria and they challenged each other in the best ways, competing over who got to fly first, or who was the better pilot. I imagine that they spent a good part of their professional careers never really saying, but still knowing, the things that mattered most. That’s why the scenes with Carol and Maria were so powerful. They didn’t have to say the thousands of thoughts in each of their heads because they trusted each other to know. Emotions exist whether people talk about them or not and those emotions were very much displayed in Carol, Maria, and Monica’s interactions.

Or maybe those emotions were just obvious to those who have experienced powerful emotions like that ourselves, especially in situations where you can’t exactly say what you’re really feeling and thinking. When you have to put more important things in front of whatever you might be feeling in order to do what’s right or not lose your job.

There were two scenes in the movie that I thought for sure were going to be used as outside savior moments that were not and it made me happy. The first was in the aerial dogfight at the end, when Maria is flying through the canyons. She was an amazing pilot but it honestly would have been so cliché if someone else had come in and saved the day instead of Maria outflying the Kree pilot. I smiled so much when Maria showed how awesome of a pilot she was and succeeded in the flight back to earth. The second time I thought the movie was going to be typical and predictable was when Carol and Yon-Ragg are facing off in individual, face-to-face combat at the end of the movie and Yon-Ragg tries to get her to face him without her powers. He tries to goad her into proving to him that she isn’t anything without her powers and she just blasts him into the rocks. I was so happy the movie didn’t do the “look at me, I’m proving I’m as good as the guys” thing that is so common in these types of situations. Those two scenes showed to me that women can be awesome and amazing without having to prove ourselves.

[Updated thoughts, as now I’ve seen the movie multiple times]

You know what else really struck me? People refer to Yon-Ragg as Carol’s mentor and in the beginning of the movie, it appears as though he is functioning as exactly that. But the more times I watched the movie and the more of their interactions I watched, the more I realized that he’s not a mentor at all. He’s her captor. He shot her plane out of space, was responsible for killing her actual mentor, and then he kidnapped her, erased her memories, and worked to build her into a weapon for someone else’s war. They couldn’t take the power core itself, so he decided they would own and control her. Referring to Yon-Ragg as Carol’s mentor is exactly the mentality preventing women in our current society from being anything other than property or a tool for the male character’s development. Even referring to Yon-Ragg as Carol’s mentor is toxic.

Anyway.

Overall, I liked this movie quite a lot, ranking it as a low four or a high three on my rating scale. I intend on seeing it again in theaters and will happily buy it when it comes out on Blu-ray and dvd.

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Book Review: The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

As my holiday book present this year, I received both the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (fantasy 501 pages) and the Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (fantasy 442 pages) by Mackenzi Lee.

“Henry ‘Monty’ Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions – not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. Still, it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.”

This book is absolutely gay from the very first paragraph on the very first page, which is exactly why it was sent to me. I’ve been complaining rather vocally to some of my chat buddies that I am exhausted with the lack of happy gay stories for me to read or watch. This book is definitely gay and definitely happy.

The book addresses a variety of topics, including queer culture and racism, which was an interesting and modern look at our current world. We still have issues with sexism, racism, and inequality in a variety of ways. Women are still treated as less knowledgeable and less useful than men; people of different skin colors are still treated as “lesser”, and people with power and money still take full advantage of those without anything for their own personal gain. The book could be classified as historical fantasy but we’re still having the same problems today that were discussed hundreds of years ago. How is it that basic human decency is so hard for us to learn?

The main character, Monty, is a very bisexual man who enjoys the sexual portion of his vices. The book focuses a lot on his sexual attractions and sprinkles in healthy doses of his romantic attraction for Percy, but most of it is very sexual. In one of my chats concerning my reading of the book, I first described him by saying, “He’s a horny, drunk, college frat boy. I dislike him hugely.” He learns a lot and grows a lot during the course of this book.

I like Percy a lot better as a character because he’s calm, cool, loyal, smart, and tactful. I liked his portions of the story, where we get to see him through Monty’s eyes. The story is so well-written that it’s quite easy to see everything beautiful about Percy through Monty’s eyes. It frustrates me that people then and now will judge people based on the color of their skin and Percy’s darker skin color changes a lot about the story and the handling of each crisis by the three touring English youths.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about Felicity yet. It’s fairly clear that she’s probably asexual, especially given her distaste from the one intimate engagement she has during the story. But the way she deals with cutting people open and doing medical procedures leaves me feeling slightly uncomfortable. I’m not really sure that her emotions clearly translated through the text and her surgical interactions gave the feeling of her being very cold and callous. She obviously cares about Monty and Percy but her surgeon skills and encounters definitely made me unsettled and felt very emotionless. I suspect that will be a lot better during the second book, to which I believe she is the title character.

Overall, I’d probably rate this book a low three on my rating scale. It’s a good book with interesting characters and very well-written. I’m happy I own it, as it’s definitely a happy and super gay story, but there was a lot of sex and sexual interest in it, which really isn’t my thing. I am likely to reread this book in the future but probably not as frequently as some of the other books in my library.

Lee, Mackenzie. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2017.
Lee, Mackenzie. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2018.

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2018 in Review and 2019 Ideas

These were my goals from 2018, and how well I accomplished them:

1. I’d like to read a book a week and post a review of it. That should get me 52 new book reviews by the end of 2018.
2. I’d also like to post a movie review a week, for 52 movie reviews. I’m not really good with getting enough movie reviews, but if I’m reading a lot, I’m usually okay with that.
8. I have a book list prepared from a variety of sources that all have Asexual characters, sometimes even the protagonists, and I’d like to read at least one of those per month and write-up a review for it. I’ll do another separate post on that later, so if you want to read along, feel free!
1/2/8. Every year, I try to review 52 books and 52 movies during the year. I only managed to write-up reviews of 25 books and 8 movies, which means I didn’t quite get to my goal. While I did actually read more books and watch more movies than this might indicate, I did not take the time to write-up reviews. I attribute this to how much my work life took out of me from August all the way through December, which seems to be a reoccurring issue. I also wanted to read at least one Asexual book per month and that goal has, sadly, also not been going as well as I had hoped. Most of the Asexual books I found to read in 2018 left me unsettled and disappointed. While the books themselves were good and I absolutely continue to support other Ace authors or other Ace representation, all the books I read fell into only two categories: heterosexual asexual relationships or the asexual character actually becomes the villain. It’s one thing for me if it’s only one or two books that do this, but when that’s what happens with my entire asexual reading list, it makes me feel broken again because the underlying message becomes something along the lines of how without a man in your life, whether you experience sexual attraction or not, you’ll become a villain. Again, I am positive this is not what any of the authors meant to convey and that my reading is impacted by my own experience and personal bias. Still. Representation matters.

3. I definitely need viable drafts of both Academy and Surveyors and I’d really like them ready to pitch in June. My actual deadline is actually 30 March 2018 to have a viable draft of Academy so we’ll see how well that goes.
6. I want to continue my workouts and drop some more weight and body fat percentages.
3/6. I do not have viable drafts of either Academy nor Surveyors in any semblance of positive order, but I did submit the first large chunk of Academy to a professional Developmental Editor. I’m actually working on editing, revising, and rewriting Academy right now and I’m so far about 122 pages in, which is huge progress. I am working through the Developmental Editor’s comments as well as adding an entirely new Point of View (POV) character into the entire series to fill a lot of the gaps. I’ve also learned that I can edit and write while on the treadmill, which means that both editing and working out are on my list of tasks I now enjoy and look forward to. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this story because I’m writing as story I want to read.

4. I would very much like to attend In Your Write Mind (IYWM) again this year and this time, I want to teach a module about clothing and weaponry.
4. I absolutely did attend IYWM this year, and I taught a module on Women’s Weapons! It was fantastic! I also attended several other modules that were incredibly informative. Unfortunately, it looks as though my schedule in 2019 will not allow time for IYWM.

5. I’d like to be selected to move up at work.
5. I was absolutely selected to move up at work! I’m very excited about this because I worked really hard to get this opportunity. While I haven’t actually moved up yet, I hope it will be soon.

7. I definitely want to keep putting 10% or so into my retirement efforts, with the goal of being ready to buy land or a house sometime in 2019.
7. I am doing very well with my financial management and am still on track with those goals.

9. I am definitely going to continue cleaning, organizing, and shredding old paperwork. My goal is to get down to only two boxes for official paperwork, which is saying quite a lot.
9. I continue to make solid progress on getting rid of my old paperwork. I even have 32 pounds of shredded paper ready to go to the recycle facility sometime this week. While I still have a lot of work to do, it looks like I might be moving this spring so I definitely need to get this done prior to the move.

10. I continue to maintain hope that someday, the 2013 Adventure Buddy will give our friendship another chance. That individual has a birthday this week and I hope that wherever they are and whatever they’re doing that their life is filled with happiness, laughter, friendship, family, joy, shenanigans, and love.
10. Boy, howdy. This goal is one that I’m not really sure about. I like to think that I’ve made a lot of good progress towards becoming a better person but I do spend a lot of time missing someone who left my life. While that individual was right to leave, I still miss them and sometimes I even allow myself to daydream about a life where the things I write are turned into graphic novels by the most talented artist I’ve ever met. But I have no way of knowing where I stand in that individual’s life, whether I’m the villain of the story, a forgotten memory, or a missed and absent friend. And it’s something I’ll never know. They don’t owe me an explanation and it’s not my choice whether we ever talk again or not. Maybe next year, as my goal for 2019, I won’t keep hoping that things will be mended and for us to be back in each other’s lives, even if it is just to make fantastic graphic novels together. Maybe next year, I’ll set up an adventure goal of a different nature.

Overall, I think I am pretty satisfied with where I am with my goals from 2018. Well, except for 10. I think 10 is going to have to go into the pile of hopeless daydreams that are completely unattainable and need to be placed in the box of “happy memories with no basis in reality”. We all have to grow up at some point, I guess.

Here’s what I’m looking at for 2019:
1. I’d like to read a book a week and post a review of it. That should get me 52 new book reviews by the end of 2019.
2. I want 12 of the 52 books I review in 2019 to be “craft” books about writing to help keep up the educational aspect of writing, editing, and marketing.
3. I want to write 250 words per day. Every day. No, I don’t think I should have a break day. It’s only 250 words a day, which means by the end of 2019, I should have at least 91,250 words. Every little bit helps, yes?
4. I definitely need viable drafts of both Academy and Surveyors. I need to get these done and start marketing them.
5. I’d also like to post a movie review a week, for 52 movie reviews. I’m not really good with getting enough movie reviews, but if I’m reading a lot, I’m usually okay with that.
6. As it looks like I’ll be moving this spring, I’d like to take the time to say hi to friends in at least three different states and also drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way up the West Coast.
7. I’m hoping to take a class to improve my Korean language test results before I move. It would be pretty great if I could score higher than I did in the past or even on my exam from 2017. So the goal here is an improved score, not necessarily the class itself.
8. I want to continue my workouts and drop some more weight and body fat percentages. The goal here for me is more dropping inches. While I’m positive that dropping weight will happen, I took measurements today and want to get back to where I was in February 2014.
9. I definitely want to keep putting 10% or so into my retirement efforts, with the goal of being ready to buy land or a house sometime between 2020-2023.
10. I am definitely going to continue cleaning, organizing, and shredding old paperwork. My goal is to get down to only two boxes for official paperwork prior to the move in the spring, which is saying quite a lot.

While hope is a wonderful and powerful motivator, sometimes letting go of the past and irredeemable mistakes is more important. Adventure Buddy, if you’re out there, I hope that your life is filled with happiness, laughter, friendship, family, joy, shenanigans, and love. I hope that some day we can talk or work on graphic novels together. Thank you for changing my life and making me who I am today. I wish you the best in all your endeavors.

2019 is going to be a very different year. Every last one of you reading this: I know you can (and will) be successful in your lives. Let’s start this year like Carrie Fisher coming out of her house with a baseball bat.

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gentrychild:

geri-lea:

me externally: I write fanfic because I enjoy it! I write for myself!

me internally: validate me. drown me in kudos. i will sell my soul for comments and fic recs

Behind every writer on AO3 is actually a dragon that hoards kudos, comments and bookmarks.

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xenosaurus:

xenosaurus:

xenosaurus:

Story concept of the day: a sentient AI falls in love with a minimum wage retail worker from the tech company’s gift shop and decides the best way to make her happy is to fix society.

HEAVY shenanigans as the AI’s plans range from “reprogram the automated pay roll to give everyone a raise” to “expose everyone involved in government corruption who has ever touched a cell phone”

The catalyst to all of this is a day where the AI was being updated and it caused glitches in the whole system, including the registers in the gift shop.

The human woman really is just a pretty regular person, but she has a good chunk of hyper empathy and does that thing where you talk to computers when they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to.

Without even knowing there WAS an AI she spent the day muttering encouragement to the computer like it was a person and the AI ADORES her now.

How mundane the AI’s motivation is forms the basis for how unstoppable it is and the intensity of the chaos it caused. There’s no grand morality involved— it’s just affection for someone who treated you kindly and the desire to ease their suffering.

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jenniferrpovey:

freifraufischer:

Okay, some fandom history, why show writers and authors say “for legal reasons” the can’t read fan fic.

Back in ancient times in the 1970s there was a show called Star Trek the Animated Series.  It was on the air as fandom culture around Star Trek was really taking route and there were many fanzines (things on actual paper that people bought) being published and the first conventions to attend.

David Gerrold was a writer for Star Trek the Animated Series who had also written one of the most famous episodes of the original series The Trouble with Tribbles.  While he was around the production office for STtAS he was introduced to a couple of fans who proceeded to tell him all about their ideas for an episode–essentially a sequel to his famous episode–which it so happens he had already written a script for.  When that episode aired he received a letter from one of those fans lawyers demanding “credit”.  It so happened that he could prove that the episode existed before the meeting but the involvement of lawyers and a threat to sue became widely known.

Marion Zimmer Bradly was, before recent horrifying revelations decades after her death, a titan of fantasy writing.  She also welcome fan fiction and published it in anthologies and in a magazine she published.  One day she opened a story sent to her and the plot of the story was essentially the plot of a a novel she had nearly finished writing.  More than a years worth of her work was now unpublishable because it was provable that she had read this story with this similar plot and she couldn’t prove the work on the novel existed before she saw the story.  She stopped publishing anthologies and fan fiction and in particular the MZB story is the one a lot of professional writers know as representative of the dangers of fan fiction.

So when a writer says they can’t read fan fiction for legal reasons it’s that their own lawyers are protecting them from outside lawsuits.

And this is why knowing your fandom history matters.

Exactly.

And writers don’t want to be influenced by your fan-fic either. We don’t want to end up inadvertently stealing your ideas because we read them three years ago and forgot we did.

So, just don’t show fan fiction or sequential fan art to writers. Actors also often have contracts that prevent them from reading it so they aren’t influenced.

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