Some of my books reflect my research into picture book and graphic/mixed graphic novel writing.Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee is an adventure-filled SF MG novel mixing Korean mythology with space travel. I really appreciated how this story took me on an exciting and twisty journey with the main character, Min. She's a young woman from a long line of fox spirits, but she has to keep her nature hidden because out of all the supernatural beings in her universe, foxes are the least trusted. Despite this, she decides she's the only one to rescue her brother who has gone missing from the Space Force. 5/5.
Voice of Life by Melanie Cellier - the extremely satisfying conclusion to the Spoken Mage fantasy series. 5/5.
Unwound by Neal Shusterman - a chilling SF adventure about a "deal" between pro-life and pro-choice forces which gives society a choice to "unwind" their troublesome teenagers and the consequences of such a law. 4/5
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Interesting Non-Fiction. 4/5.
Hoosier Dad by Elizabeth Seckman - really fun, entertaining "warring lovers" kind of romance with a sweet family feel with a little bit of steam (or at least for me since I'm a rare romance reader). 5/5.
Masquerade: Oddly Suited Anthology and all of the IWSG Anthologies - all edited by a panel of professional judges, all clean reads, all entertaining. I'm working my way through individual stories on a second read basis. Each anthology contains one genre: clean YA romance, SF, Fantasy, and Mystery.
A is for Apocalypse, a short story speculative fiction anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. 4/5.
C is for Chimera, a short story speculative fiction anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. 5/5.
My Heart written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken - a beautiful picture book. (Corinna was a speaker at the SCBWI conference I attended and I'm a fan!) 5/5.
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse written by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken - a story about the power of inner truth and imagination. Picture book. 5/5.
Graphic Novels for Children and YA
Red Riding Hood Superhero by Otis Framton - a children's graphic novel with a great premise, excellent graphics, and occasionally clunky dialogue. I really love the concept, but it felt like it was trying too hard. 3.5/5.
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Page - a YA graphic novel for DC universe fans. This novel follows the early adventures of Mera (love of Aquaman) and the challenges she faces. Good premise. Excellent graphics. I felt like dialogue was good, but not quite excellent. 4/5.
Brief Movie/Viewing Update
Dark Phoenix - I saw the critic reviews, but I wanted to see it, so we went and I really enjoyed it. I felt like this movie portrayed Phoenix more faithfully than the earlier X-men film from 2006. It was a satisfying film and had a full measure of grace and redemption in it, which I really appreciate. (This doesn't mean that it meets skip-into-the-sunset happiness type requirements, so be warned if that's what you're looking for in a movie.) It was a good finale to a trilogy of movies which haven't flinched from looking at messy relationships and the consequences of both good intentions gone awry and intentionally bad choices made by characters who know they are messing up. 5/5
Toy Story 4 - I loved this movie, too! I don't always want to watch messy gray-to-dark kinds of entertainment. It was good to watch this wonderfully written, excellent addition to the Toy Story series. (Is it the last one? It could be.) I only felt like one character needed more screen time, but otherwise it was great! I loved the way Woody helped Forky understand his new role as a toy and not trash. The small message embedded in there (about negative self-talk) was really well done and not over-done. 5/5
3.5-4.5/5 depending on the season. Definitely not recommended for younger viewers!
Netflix's Always Be My Maybe - I liked it. It's one of their romances; it had some nice twists, and great acting by the whole cast. The bit with Keanu Reeves is hilarious ... he's so, so beautifully terrible (I think you would have to watch it to see what I mean). The story of the two friends who love one another but can't figure out how to show it is sweet and filled with awkward humor. I'm not sure about one part, but ... well, I still liked it. 3.5/5
I also tried Netflix's I Am Mother and it was interesting - not quite what I expected, especially the end. 3.5/5
I've been considering podcasts since I had people tell me I have a voice for it when I emceed part of two kayak and canoe regattas. So, I've been doing research:
And in other areas:
Mid-Year Writing Goal Update
1. Get an agent and a contract with a publisher.
Where I am: 5 rejections for + 3 queries out for my teen superhero project, and 2 rejections for + 1 query out for my Christian picture book project.
2. Get more stories published in paying markets than in non-paying markets for 2019.
Where I am: 2 stories published by a paying market, 5 stories/short works published in non-paying markets in 2019, and an accumulating pile of rejections from paying markets. Only 3 stories out on submission right now.
BTW - if you have an Alexa, tell it to "Open My Box of Chocolates" and listen to the June stories or the May stories (you may hear one of mine.)
Pursuit of Publication Goal for Summer: I need to kick myself in the pants and write more query letters.
3. Finish Bookbound, a MG Fantasy novel and start sending out queries.
4. Finish an Interactive Journal and start sending out queries.
5. Keep other projects (short works, a SF story, a hybrid-graphic novel script idea) moving forward in 1-2 day spurts throughout the summer (when/if I'm stuck in Bookbound).
Pursuit of Writing Goals in Summer: Get Bookbound to the halfway point or beyond, and get the first five chapters set for the IJ. Keep the others moving in short spurts.
How/Why I do more than one project: I rotate projects every 2-8 weeks to keep from hitting a wall. Rotating projects actually helps me reduce stress from the pursuit of perfectionism. It does mean I have to have an organized plan, but that helps me reduce stress, too.