Pose – Series review

I’m going to review this as spoiler free as possible just because I want anyone interested to pick up this series and view it without all the story beats ruined. If you do pick it up you will not be disappointed.

Watch Pose Season 2 | Prime Video
God I am going to miss the good writing on this show

You’re probably wondering why a straight, white, woman would be watching a show about the aids crisis in the 80’s, ball culture and the lives of transsexuals. I’ll tell you why:

  1. Homosexuality, transsexual and LGBT themes don’t bother me.
  2. I had no idea what ball culture was but was interested in it.
  3. The premise really drew me in and those first season trailers promised a lot of good story- and for once delivered.
  4. This was a window into a world I had no idea existed.
  5. I had no expectations.

This series was not made for me, I am not the target audience, but I really enjoyed it. Despite some cheesy story lines or scenes this series had heart. It had strong themes of family, acceptance of self, importance of community and hope even when things were at their darkest. And despite the laughs, this series can touch on some really dark issues. Issues such as the HIV/ AIDS crisis in the 80’s that only saw the turn around in the 90s. Prostitution, homelessness, exploitation of a person who is trans, drug addiction, inter community tensions, racist attitudes, and death.

This series is about the lowest of the low in our society, the downtrodden and rejected. These people only find acceptance at the balls held for people like them (and even there it’s a lion den). Yes they can be petty to each other, Elecktra will drag at any opportunity, but they are there for each other because they have no one else. Houses rise and fall, children become mothers and fathers, but one thing stays the same: family.

Three seasons was the perfect amount of time to tell a good story. The characters were challenged, they grew and changed as the years went by. By the time the series was done with their stories and the audience was on the last scene, I felt like I was losing friends I had known for years. That’s how powerful the story telling was in this series. I didn’t want to say good bye. I wanted one more category, one more ball, one more dinner with Blanca.

But just like in life nothing lasts forever.

So in the words of Pray Tell: Live, Work,

Pose (TV series) - Wikipedia

If you enjoyed Pose as well, drop a comment, but try to steer clear of spoilers, I really want other people to go in blind and be pleasantly surprised as I was.

That Old Feeling

Hhheeellloooo paradise

Visiting my sisters cottage(not staying social distancing). It’s bliss. No, I did not post this to make you jealous of my life choices.

I’m posting because I’ve got it back. That feeling that lead to a 180k fantasy novel, that kept me writing until 1:00 am in the morning.

Now you can be jealous. I’ll wait.

Kidding! This isn’t a brag post. This is a celebration post because I didn’t think I would have this again. I thought I was topped out. I peaked and would never again try to publish.

And I have all this previous expirence to try and get it published. It probably has a snow balls chance in hell but why the hell not? I’ll still try to be published in short stories but this is my goal.

So people struggling to get words to paper you can do it. It will come back in the most unepected ways.

Bad Writing Advice- Write what you know

I give writing advice on this blog, based on personal experiences and opinions. I try to steer clear from telling people what to do with their writing. You want to write passive voice, go for it. You want past tense in a present tense- have at it. I’ll tell you my interpretation of these issues, but it is up to you what you do with it.

That being said, there is one piece of advise I hate and I hope you never take.

Write what you know.

Boo-urns - Mr. Burns point | Meme Generator
Not Boo Burns

After putting my romance on the back burner, my fantasy YA on hold, I’ve settled on a hard sci fi Space Opera. I’m in the planning stages. So this book centers around a main character who is an admiral in a futuristic setting that involves harnessing dark energy, worlds that count in the billions, near immortality and a romance with a hermaphrodite.

None of which I know. I’m making this stuff up from my imagination.

Because it’s science fiction. Not science based on reality.

When it’s balls to the wall sci-fi where anything can happen- why can’t it? Why can’t I have my near immortal pale ghosts from a dying star? Why can’t I have faster then light space travel? Why can’t my character be an admiral? Or have a race of assassins that shoot poison spines with stunning accuracy? Or write people harnessing dark energy?

Also I am a woman, not a male, so I can only write female characters? Ever? I’ve never served in the military so I can’t let him be an admiral? I’ve never lived in a court with a mad emperor, so I can’t write about it?

How boring.

4,064 Boring Meeting Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
God are you serious?

Now it’s an entirely different conversation if I was writing a character who’s culture I’m not familiar with set in the real world. Or if this was an autobiography (again set in the real world) of an admiral. That requires research and beta reading with someone whose of that culture or job title.

But for a blue and grey alien, with four arms and fins that I made up- I think I’m in the clear.

When we limit ourselves to what we know, we limit the stories we are able to tell. If George Lucas wrote what he knew, we would never have Star Wars. If Stan Lee wrote what he knew, we wouldn’t have Marvel. And Bob Kane? No Batman. James Cameron, no Avatar. How about Aliens? I’m sure Xenomorphs don’t exist in real life- god I hope not anyway.

But you get my point. So what do you think? Should we only write what we know? Or is there freedom in creativity? Let me know in the comments.

PitMad!

Hello people online, it is that time of year again. PitMad is happening tomorrow on Twitter. For all those unaware here’s a little background.

  1. PitMad is for unagented authors. If you have a completed work and want to get some free exposure, go for it.
  2. The use of hashtags is important, look them up on the website and make use of the right ones. That agent is looking for it. Give them the best possible chance to find your work.
  3. If you already have rep don’t be a sneak and try to get more. Give others the chance.
  4. You cannot like (or heart) a tweet. That is for AGENTS only. To show support to ideas you like please REBLOG. It will bring attention to the pitch.
  5. IF you have a heart on your tweet follow up after the event is over. And congratulate yourself!
  6. If you don’t have a heart, don’t take it to heart, some years people are in dystopia, some years people are into sparkly vampires. It just wasn’t your year. Save it for the next round.
  7. FINALLY
Good Luck Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Let me know if you are pitching and I will reblog your pitch. Let me know if you get hearts so we can pop digital champagne.

Redemption in Villains

I’ve noticed recently across all media that villains are suddenly being excused or even accepted after doing some truly awful stuff. I don’t know if it’s me but the rise of the villain redemption is leaving this sour taste in my mouth.

Here’s a few examples- The Homeworld Gems from Steven Universe, She-Ra’s Catra, Disney’s Curella, Kylo Ren from Star Wars, Severus Snape from Harry Potter, Doctor Octopus from Spider Man 2 and etc.

Now the severity of their villainous acts vary from murder to wiping out reality, but the fact of the matter is- they did some bad stuff why are we excusing or accepting these villains? I’m so sorry Kylo Ren but rushed “I’m a good guy now” in the last half of a movie isn’t going to do it for me. With Starkiller Base you killed billions of people and you would have killed more. So why are we applauding a sloppy redemption and being like “That poor dark prince. All he needed was love.” No. All he needed was better writers. If you’re going to commit murder on a genocidal scale, commit to being your baddest self while doing it. Who cares if Luke tried to kill you? That was years ago. Who cares if you’re one part of the soulmate with the blandest protagonist in the galaxy? Let the man be bad, clever, and manipulative. Wouldn’t it have been better if he was Rey’s little weakness? If he called to the dark side that was a part of her? God they really had no idea how to handle Ben Solo huh.

Ever since Zuko from Avatar decided to do the right thing, we were suddenly surrounded by villains wanting to cash in on that trend. Unlike Zuko, most of these people did not deserve it. You have to remember for him to go against his nation and the Fire Lord, was going against his best interest. Which was good writing. And it took to the final season for his arc to complete. Not the second half of the last episode.

On the other side of the scale you have Catra from She-Ra who wanted to erase reality, totally kill everyone. And yet by the end we’re supposed to cheer her on as she worked towards her redemption and got herself a girlfriend. This was possibly the most toxic relationship I’ve ever seen. This wasn’t just flirting with disaster, this was a disaster. I don’t care what your excuse is, I do not understand the happy ever after she got. Could someone explain it to me where “true love” doesn’t factor into the response. True love does not erase the past. Hurting the person you love is never a good excuse no matter if you’re abused, it’s all you know, or you’re treated that way.

These hastily constructed, contrived, “I’m a good person now” just reeks of bad writing. I’m not saying a person is completely irredeemable. I’m saying if they’re up there with Hitler maybe there shouldn’t be a redemption.

Anyway, is anyone else getting sick of this? Or are you gobbling it up by the spoon fulls? Let me know in the comments.

When An Ending Sticks the Landing

I watched all the blood soaked, gore, f-bombing animated seasons of Castlevania, and now that we’ve come to the definitive end, the thing that’s resonating with me the most is the reaction to the ending. Vague spoilers about this series ending.

Castlevania: Season 3 Review : The Retro Network

I was going to write a review of the show but you can find that anywhere. What really stuck with me was the wholly satisfying conclusion of 4 seasons of near misery brought about by Dracula. The characters enjoy moments of happiness but then the series would kick them in the teeth and clearly they were miserable for the rest of the time. They had one bad guy after another (and some seemingly good guys) mess with their heads and good God I will never look at a pair of kid’s shoes the same way again.

Anyway I digress.

So what was so special about the ending of this animated series? A series where the personification of death dropped the f-bomb?

It was happy.

That’s all. Even when one death hung over the cast for most of the last episode the rest of the characters had a happy ending. People enjoyed seeing these characters who had the shit kicked out of them on a daily episodic basis finally get the happiness they worked for. Even when one character committed suicide it was in line with her character and most people agreed that if she was going out that way, that was the way to do it.

That’s all it took for the rest of the world to say “well done Castlevania,” no bait and switch at the last second. No looming threat on the horizon. Just happiness. No one is online complaining about this final episode. I’m a little in awe actually because I’ve come to expect backlash in the recent years. No one seems to stick the landing anymore. It was so well done that others are planning on re watching someday. I will probably re watch it now that I know it won’t end terribly.

Have we gotten so used to terrible endings that we are ecstatic for happy ones? I’m not talking about Bridgerton levels of happy, we expect that at the end of that series. But everywhere else in fiction, why is it so hard to find a happy ending? Let me know your thoughts in the comments? Did a favorite tv show disappoint you? Did a book?

Anthology Submission

I finally did it. I submitted to the Dark and Stormy Anthology at Creative James Media.

6+ Woohoo Free Stock Photos - StockFreeImages

Now you might remember I was going for Happily Never After and I was- originally. But what I ended up was not a fluffy romance gone wrong but a dark and stormy murder. So here I was, synopsis written, query letter written and looking at my options. I could take a chance on Happily Never After but the story would be rejected. It didn’t fit the theme. Or I could try for dark and stormy which was a better fit then the other.

Here’s the kicker about submission. It’s a toss up. I will probably be rejected despite fitting the theme. At least I’m submitting. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

My only goal is seeing my name in print. Every short story submission gets me one step closer and the more you write the better you become. So don’t quit if you get rejected. Keep trying. The Anthology submission is still open until June 30th so if you think you have something or you want to get a submission in go for it.

Blinders (Part 1)-Rainy Day Writing

Creative writing. I started this on a rainy day so it counts!

I know my one rule is to leave your writing and then go back to reread before publishing. I am breaking that rule with these stories because they’re just little nonsensical ideas I just write to write. I’m not going to put them into a book or try to publish them. They’re a fun exercise.

Anyhoo on with the show.

Free Stock Photo of Desert and Sun | Download Free Images and Free  Illustrations

“Are you ok?”

Philippa dredged up a smile. “Of course!”

There was a small problem with that statement. Philippa was not fine. She was the furthest thing from fine that she could get. Here she was in a foreign country where she didn’t speak the language, understand the customs or even have access to air conditioning, so no, she wasn’t ok. She wanted to be holed up in her brownstone Manhattan apartment with a margarita! Not trudging around miles of sand, drenched in sweat, make up melting off her face.

When James told her about the desert, he made it seem like an exotic adventure and not the pure torturous hell that was assaulting her at any given opportunity.

“Will we be there soon?” She could park herself under a palm tree and suck back the entire water bottle.

“We should be entering the oasis in forty minutes.” James did that thing, where he smiled and the whole world smiled with him. It enchanted her the second she saw it, now all she wanted to do was slap it off his face. Her prince charming was turning into a real Crocodile Dundee.

Philippa gave a jolt when her phone went off. She ignored the scowl on James’s face when she went ripping through her Birkin bag looking for it.

“Hello!” Philippa greeted as James kicked the sides of his camel and moved ahead.

“Darling, you’re alive,” Francesca purred from the other end, “hows the globe trotting coming along? Have you gotten the ring yet?”

“We miss you Philly!” Voices rose up from the other side of the world, comforting, familiar, and most of all English. It positively choked her up. She could see them, her friends, gathered around the private pool of Francesca’s upper east side loft. Casually taking stock of the next hot item, dishing gossip about who was sleeping with who and on whom. She would be the topic of conversation right now. The globe trotting heiress being whisked away on safari by her globe trotting boyfriend.

“I miss you all desperately.” Philippa whimpered.

“Well has he done it yet?” Francesca needled. “I need to know. You are aware I have to plan my yearly commitments in advance.”

If only there was news to tell. She was tempted to lie and say it happened but they would demand evidence. Her finger was decidedly bare at the moment. She would have to swallow the shame and deal with it. It would make the moment all the more sweeter when she shoved the rock into their faces.

“Not yet. But we are crossing into a beautiful Oasis,” Philippa smiled into the phone, “I’ll contact you tonight with news because this is the most perfect spot for the proposal. Ciao my loves, chat soon.”

She managed to keep the heartbreak and agony out of her voice by sheer damn determination. No one would know the truth.

If only reality lined up with expectation. Unbeknown to Philippa, James was a real slumming it, rugged out doors type. No lavish glamping for her. It was outdoor toilets that stunk to high heaven, her luggage reduced to one backpack, her wardrobe a never ending parade of cargo shorts, sneakers, and- the horror of horrors- t-shirts. All of it covered in sand!

It’s for the ring. He’ll do it at the Oasis. It’s the perfect spot.

A little voice nagged at her. But he hadn’t done it at the pyramids, he hadn’t done it at the museum. Why would this be different? Because this was obviously more romantic, she firmly clutched at the reins. He was her damned prince charming, they would live above 5th avenue where she would host all his important clients and friends. They would raise two children who would get accepted to the best schools and be an accomplished wife. This was her golden dream, her mother was just a moment away from ordering the silk for her wedding dress. Her father had cultivated relationships with prominent men who owned the best wedding venues in the city. She could not fail to secure the ring.

All the stink, sweat and sacrifice could not be for nothing. They would live happily ever after come hell or high water.

The idea of going back as a girlfriend was unthinkable. She might as well die in the sand dunes. It was a kinder fate.

“I thought we agreed no phones for this trip.” James jolted her out of her head with a soft chastising.

“It was just the gang. They were worried about me.” Philippa smiled.

“They were checking in to see if I popped the question.” James returned her smile as her heart positively stilled.

She waited, this was it, this was the moment, the story she would tell their children as she tucked them into bed. I was so miserable but the moment daddy went to one knee I never knew misery again.

“I honestly don’t know how you can call them friends. The whole lot is insufferable for a hour, imagine a lifetime of that. Thank God we are never getting married.” James scoffed as he turned his smile off of her and towards the Oasis.

All the hopes and dreams went out of her world with a scoff of all things.

“Excuse me?” Philippa grabbed the reins of his camel and yanked it to a stop, “what the hell did you just say to me?

James had the sheer audacity to look confused. He frowned, brow furrowed. “Come on Philippa, you’ve been miserable every step of this trip. I wanted to share a vacation with the smart charming woman from college. Not the entitled, pretentious, shallow, person that came along.”

Her mouth dropped. He never spoke to her that bluntly before. How dare he! Entitled? Pretentious? Shallow?

“I am an award winning philanthropist! And my friends would never drag me out to the desert without a tent, staff and my Jimmy Choo shoes! They know me better then that!” Her heart was breaking.

“I thought there was more to you then that!” He shot back.

“Then you don’t know me at all!” She was crying now, fat tears of failure that was making her eyeliner run. Well so be it. It’s not as if appearances mattered now.

“You’re not the person I thought I was dating. I thought I could find the real Philippa underneath the Manhattan elitism. Imagine my shock once I took you away from all that, that is all you were.” James’s voice was soft. The same sort of voice she had heard over and over. Don’t be so jealous of that dress, it wouldn’t suit you. Don’t make a stink about the steak, I’ll switch my plate with yours. How about we go to the east side for dinner for once?

She pulled out her phone.

“God who are calling now?” James groaned.

“Hello Daddy, James just called me entitled and shallow. Can you send someone for me? I’ll turn on my GPS locator. I want to go home.” She sniffed dashing the tears away with the back of her hand. She shut the phone.

James crossed his arms over his chest. “Who the hell is going to find you this deep in the desert-“

“Hello Miss Abernathy!” A man emerged from the bush, dress nicely in survival gear, he was Turkish and a beard covered his lower jaw. “Your father has asked us to escort you back to Cairo.”

Philippa put her phone away sniffing. “Thank God!”

“Good riddance.” James muttered lowly.

“I heard that!” Philippa shouted as she jumped off the camel, yanked her dusty backpack off the saddle and marched up towards the man.

“Don’t call me when I return to New York.” James yelled at her back.

“Trust me, speaking to you is the last thing I ever want to do!” This was humiliating. No ring, and now no boyfriend. She could just see it now. Her mother’s face falling as yet again their hopes for her vanished. Her father telling her the same platitudes, he just wasn’t up to snuff, you’re clearly better then that.

But was she? She managed to hook the biggest bachelor and yet, she hadn’t seen how he really treated her. Perhaps, she didn’t want too.

She left her prince charming on his camel and climbed up in a Hummer jeep to get away from him. The whole ride back was silent save for the music the man put on. Once safely back in the hotel, the plane ticket ordered, Philippa decided to do something about her relationship problems. She decided to date men who liked entitled, pretentious, shallow women. That way, when they disappointed her, she wouldn’t be surprised.

Will you stop being so melodramatic

Today’s topic- melodrama. What is it? Why do people bemoan it? Why does CW television just love it so much?

The definition of melodrama is “a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions”. Simply put melodrama goes for the feels. Oh the FEELS.

This is not to be confused with drama. Drama is the heart of the story. In Good Will Hunting the drama comes to a beautiful climax with Will and Sean hugging it out over his trauma. If you’re not bawling you have no soul. That type of drama is complex and organic. Melodrama on the other hand…isn’t. Let me lay it out for you in one graphic.

kitten on the keys | Vintage pop art, Pop art comic, Pop art
BUT HE’S TAKEN- get over yourself, buy an outfit, eat some ice cream and TRY TO BE HAPPY for him- god damn

Yeah, it’s the nonsensical BS that makes any sane person roll their eyes and want to smack the crap out of certain characters. Want to know the best example of melodrama I’ve come across in modern media?

Carrie Bradshaw.

Carrie Bradshaw's Wildest Outfits on 'Sex and the City'
You were such a good person- what the hell happened?

Oh yeah we are going there. Keep your Pretty Little Liars, and your Gossip Girl, the person who introduced me to melodrama way back in the 90s (other then a slew of YA novels) was none other then the fashionista herself. You can’t mention melodrama to me without this chick popping into my head.

Look I love Sex and the City and I’m not dragging Carrie. That girl was exposed to some messed up crap over the course of 6 seasons. Some of the best episodes handled the drama fine. Like Samantha’s cancer battle, and Miranda and Steve getting back together at their son’s first birthday, Charlotte getting herself together after a devastating miscarriage. When it was good the series had this amazing melancholy tone; however by the end it was all melodrama and feels.

The weakest, most melodramatic, part of Sex and the City was Big. Oh sorry, John. What was once a cute, slightly sweet romance quickly turned into something toxic. They became not be good for each other. In fact it turned into a coyote and road runner situation where Carrie would pursue and Mr. Big would feel the tight clinch of commitment before he would run the other way as quick as possible. Their relationship was this:

Personality Radio Lessons From Wile E. Coyote - Tracy Johnson Media Group
Hey look it’s Big, time to drop everything and give chase. Maybe just maybe you’ll get him!

Now to be fair most of the melodrama was on Carrie for not listening to Mr. Big, or picking up on the signs he was dropping. She knew he was never there when she needed him and his boundaries were pretty solid and definable. This relationship devolved to the point the gals called Carrie out for continuing with this stupidity. Then they put their foots down about not wanting to listen to it anymore. This did not make them horrible friends (it made her horrible for pushing her relationship melodrama on them when clearly they were as fed up as Big)

I liked Carrie, I didn’t like what she did to Aiden, I did not like what happened with Natasha and Big, I just started to see her in a whole new light after season 3. Season 3 Carrie begins the downward spiral into someone no one would like- which was the point I guess. Give her a character arc going forward. But for the sake of this post let’s stick to the melodrama.

So if your characters are dependent on huge coincidence, like someone not picking up the phone, ignoring what another character is saying, reveling in the angst of a situation that could be solved by taking a shower and letting go? That’s melodrama.

So what’s the appeal? Like a train wreck you can’t stop watching, you eagerly wait for the shoe to drop, for someone to come along and shake the ever loving hell out of the person who is stuck in this mess and won’t let go. Sometimes melodrama can branch out into regular drama where the characters come to the end of their emotional journey and make the choice to move forward which is very compelling. Or they hit the reset button and start all over again crushing your hopes and dreams for them.

Melodrama serves a point but it should be touched upon. Not devoted to. Fifty Shades of Grey could have been a cool character study on sex and how one traumatic experience after the another can have a devastating effect on you and your relationships without cave diving into melodrama. Carrie could step back and see Aiden is doing all he can for her and her ungrateful self. She can still break up with him but cut out the melodrama of carrying on the affair or even starting it at all. Let Big screw up his marriage on his own and keep yourself out of that mess. Jane Eyre could do with “my crazy wife is locked in the attic and this is what happened” from Rochester. Now context being what it is, in those days you didn’t discuss such things, but we all knew the novel is over once the melodrama goes away.

So what’s your take? Do you love the Days of our Lives plot lines that keep you guessing or do you want people to get their act together and get on with it? Let me know in the comments.

WandaVision Review

Spoliers ahoy! You’ve been warned.

Now some people are over the superhero genre, some people are just not interested in the ‘back up’ Avengers. Maybe you just don’t like Marvel. All fair arguments for not watching this show. However, that said, if you’re not watching WandaVision then you are missing out. I loved this show.

Now they had the impossible task of dropping the audience into the action (technically the the middle of the story) with a mystery. Just how did Wanda create Westview or was she a victim as well? We follow Wanda and Vision as they go through era after era of TV. Wanda happy enough to have a happy ending after the traumatic events with Thanos. Vision happy enough to go along with it until he starts to notice and question things.

Things like what exactly does he do at his job all day? How far does Westview go? What’s happening to the people in Wanda’s live action role play?

This is compounded by the knowledge we, the viewers have, that Vision was very much DEAD twice over by the end of endgame. And those who died by the stones don’t come back. Black Widow never did. They even make a point of showing off how DEAD he was. So how was he alive?

The answers are provided but their explanations were a little grand, with some things. Let’s start with what I liked. I liked how Agatha’s reveal was startling but it made sense because the writers let us have those delicious breadcrumbs of evidence. I like how Wanda reality bent Westview into what she wanted out of despair and overwhelming need to have a nuclear family with Vision. I liked that the boys could not exist out of Wanda’s bubble and I found them to be well done with the time constraints on the episodes. I love the MAGIC in this show- figuratively and literal. The lead into the Doctor Strange stuff. The fact WANDA can out witch the Sorcerer Supreme!

Now for what I didn’t like. Vision only being alive from the fragment of infinity gem living inside of Wanda. What the hell? The hoops of following that logic is just mind melting. The fact they introduced Pietro before the reveal he was just a bum neighbor. The fact none of the Avengers wanted to be there for her. Anything to do with the outside world. The Captain Marvel stuff. All of this was sort of setting up other stuff that really didn’t have anything to do with Wanda or the core elements of the story. It was interesting but do you know what’s more interesting? How the residents of Westview were taking this and how utterly miserable and terrifying being under Wanda’s spell actually was. It’s frustrating that these horrifying elements are just touched on and then moved on from. Instead of a mother trying desperately to reach her daughter trapped in her bedroom lets spend more time with Monica and her stupid Captain Marvel set up. I liked Captain Marvel but this was WandaVision. Too many subplots crowding my main plot!

All in all I loved this show and I want more Scarlet Witch. The actors were so good! The pacing was slow but by the end we were at full steam. I bawled, I’m a wimp, when Vision said his final goodbye to his beloved Wanda. Her grief not coming to an end but becoming livable. Well done Marvel. I can’t wait to see what happens next. And from the sounds of it we haven’t heard the last from Billy and Tommy.

So what did you think? Was it too damn slow? Did you like the Captain Marvel stuff? Did you skip this entirely because it was Marvel?