Monday, March 18, 2019

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Theme Reveal

Is it already almost April? This year is zooming by!

April, among other things, is the A to Z blogging challenge, which asks bloggers to post 26 entries in April (one for each day, minus Sundays) corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. This is the most fun, in my opinion, when people choose a theme to explore.

In past years, I've done:

2018: Poetry! posts about some of my favorite poets.
2017: Places in my Heart
2016: Superheroes
2015: My Publishing Journey
2014: Evocative Words

All of these have been a lot of fun to write, and participating has built my circle of friends, readers, and colleagues. So, of course I'm back to play along again, here in year 10.

So, what are we up to this year? I'm writing letters to dead writers. There are a lot of writers who have been important to me across my life and it's too late to meet some of them in person, but it's not too late to express my love and appreciation.

My planned list of writers (subject to change due to inspiration) includes:

A: LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
B: CHARLOTTE BRONTE
C: PATRICIA CLAPP
D: DAPHNE DU MAURIER
E: EMILY DICKINSON
F: ANNE FRANK
G: GWENDOLYN BROOKS
H: LORAINE HAINSBURY
I: LAURA INGALLS WILDER
J: JANE AUSTEN
K: HELEN KELLER
L: MADELEINE L’ENGLE
M: MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY
N: ANAIS NIN
O: OCTAVIA BUTLER
P: DOROTHY PARKER
Q: QUEEN OF CRIME FICTION, AGATHA CHRISTIE
R: JEAN RHYS
S: SHIRLEY JACKSON
T: SOJOURNER TRUTH
U: URSULA LE GUIN
V: VIRGINIA WOOLF
W: EDITH WHARTON
X: ANNE SEXTON
Y: EMPRESS YAMATO
Z: ZORA NEALE HURSTON

See any favorites in that list? Did you think of some you're surprised I didn't choose? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thoughts on Captain Marvel


I was really nervous about Captain Marvel.

I'm a pretty hardcore MCU fan, but female power moments are few and far between across all the movies. They waste their women characters over and over again. Waiting for a powerful woman hero scene is like trying to survive on breadcrumbs when you really want a sammich. What we get tastes good, but we're still hungry!

I was nervous about Wonder Woman, too, when it came out. After all, the DC cinematic universe had piled up a lot of near misses already. But Wonder Woman showed it could be done. A female led superhero movie that made bank and had fans standing up and cheering (and not all the fans were female).

Then came Black Panther.

 
Black Panther may have a man as the title character, but it was Okoye, Shuri, Nakia, and Ramonda who lit up the screen and had me cheering. Okoye even got to break trope and be a warrior woman with a love in her life who didn't get killed! It was amazing.

My hope built, despite the fact that I still haven't forgiven the franchise for taking Black Widow and giving her an out-of-left-field romance story line that includes self-hatred over infertility. Had they never even watched their own movies? Had they not met this woman? You've got ONE significant female hero and you saddle her with a weak romance story line when she's practically a ninja? Gah!

When I saw the first trailer for Captain Marvel, my heart sank. The voiceover was 90% Nick Fury, and while the lines were strong, they weren't spoken by the title character. That had me concerned. When we did hear Brie Larson's voice, it sound small, and little girlish. Uncertain. Not how Carol Danvers sounds inside my head. I was chanting under my breath, hoping they wouldn't blow it, and worried they would.

So, even though I'd heard some positive things before walking into the theater, I was still half-holding my breath as the film started.

So, I'm here to say, "Whew!"

They didn't screw it up! In fact, it was a very solid superhero flick. I had cause to pump my fist in the air in solidarity and joy. It didn't light me on fire as much as I'd hoped, but it also didn't leave me groaning. I might wish it had been braver, taken a few more risks, but it doesn't set us back, and there's plenty of room to make more of this character in Endgame and future franchise entries.

Best moments (non spoilery) for me:
  • The Carol-stands-up montage
  • "I don't have anything to prove to you." 
  • Washing dishes with Nick Fury
  • Whoops of joy when enjoying using her powers
  • Goose the "cat"
I'd love to hear what you though, if you've seen it. I think we're posed for some fabulous super-women moments in Endgame. I hope the MCU has the balls to see it through. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

White Hat, Black Hat, or Something in Gray?


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard! Be sure to check out their blogs after mine! The question this month is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?
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Playing in different perspectives is one of the fun parts of writing for me. I've often said that writing is like reading, but on steroids. What I love about reading is the chance to experience someone else's life from the inside, to get a sense of what it might be like to be them and do the things they have done. When I'm doing that as a writer, it's even more powerful because I'm even more fully immersed in someone's psyche.

Even though I write superhero fiction, I'm not a good guys and bad guys dichotomy believer. The most interesting characters are heroes and villains. They're complex and contradictory. They do good things for selfish reasons and bad things for good reasons.

You've heard the old saw that everyone is the hero of their own story? I believe that wholeheartedly. The hero isn't a role, it's a perspective, and a different character may seem like the hero, depending on where you're standing to watch this fight. It's why Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog is one of my favorite superhero stories. The good guy isn't that good and the bad guy isn't all bad.


Those shades of gray moments are where the tension lies for me.

So, in my Menopausal Superhero series, Cindy Liu is the villain. After all, it's her fault that all the other women were transformed. She worked toward her own ends, without regard for the effect on others. Patricia O'Neill is one of the heroes. After all, she uses her powers to help others (eventually, after Suzie convinces her to). Simple, right?


But it doesn't take long for lines to blur. Maybe Cindy had more altruism in her motivations than is obvious on the surface. Maybe Patricia is more self-serving than she seems at first glance.

Maybe they are both just women, making their way with what they've got, trying to figure out what they want to do.

So, I like writing it all! Heroes, villains, princes and thieves. The magic is in all the in-betweens.