Saturday, April 22, 2017

Montgomery's Diary: Available Now

Available at:

CreateSpace 
Amazon 
Kindle

Repost: Ned Finally Died

Today I attended an Author Shout Out at the library and was asked about my short story I submitted for the flash fiction contest.  

Should anyone happen across my blog today I figured I'd re-post it and make some updates :)

Flash Fiction Story:  

Ned Finally Died



It was a cold day in December when Ned decided to die. 

It was also the same day I decided to die too. 
I found him at the withered cemetery by the forgotten park with its desolate pond.  It seemed to be the perfect place for two careless souls.
“I just died again,” Ned said as I sat beside him.  The first thing I noted, aside from the fact that he could see me, was how much dead-er he seemed.  I was newly cemented in comparison.  I’d only wandered around for an hour before I found Ned.
The other thing was that Ned smiled.  A toothless, purple gum smile and I wondered if it was the act of dying and bad dental hygiene that his mouth was so out of shape or did death rapidly decay the spirit?  I looked down at my own pale flesh, my brown skin more ashen than usual.  My nails still ragged from constant nervous energy. 
“It isn’t fair, really,” Ned started.  He was looking hard at me.  I stared at the pond, stuffing my hands beneath my thighs.  Ned looked away and said, “I always seem to go back.  They bring me back each time.  I never stay gone long.”
I nod as if I understood, “Do you have people waiting for you?”
Ned smiled and quietly said, “I sure hope so.”
“But you know,” said Ned loudly, “this is the first time I’ve arrived here first.  Always there’s a soul here before me. “
“How many times have you been here before?”
Ned shook his head, “No telling, at least five times that I can recall.”
“Learned anything from those times?  Maybe there’s a reason you keep coming back?”
Ned's eyes found me again.  I can tell by now he had observed the buzzed cut, the crisscross scars stitched onto my wrist, and made his own assumptions about the light blue hospital gown.  Everyone had their ideas.  They all jumped and no one really knew.  Not even me sometimes. 
Ned's head bobbed as if he had answered some large universe question.  The wrinkles near his eyes folded swallowing an age spot.   With his head pivoted toward me and his eyes staring just above my forehead he leaned toward me and shared his answer.   
“You can never have too many second chances.”
I spoke with Ned for hours, sometimes silence found us drifting on the impossible when Ned announced, “it’s time.”  He patted me on the shoulder and got up from the bench.  His body creaked and he had troubling steering it against gravity.  I helped as much as I could but Ned smiled and waved me back to the bench.  The sky was overcast as a light mist came down. 

When I turned back around Ned was gone. 

Hours later I awoke from my hospital bed, skin clammy, and her hand clinging to mine.  I thought about Ned.  It really wasn’t fair.  But it was good enough.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Movie Review: Hidden Figures


Movie:  Hidden Figures
Date:  Jan 7, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5
Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wfrDhgUMGI

The second film movie of 2017 was a definite hit for me.

This is a late review however so a lot of details I might have included before or somewhere in the ethos of my mind. 

However I do remember enough of the 'feels' I got from this movie to know that I would definitely recommend it.  So first off what's the story?

Hidden Figures is based on the untold true story of three African American women.  These women worked during the time of Jim Crow and were ef'n brilliant.  Imagine to be as intelligent as they were in a time when it was accepted you were second class citizens and not afforded the same opportunities, furthermore to be women.  It's painful to think that even today that statement is applicable.  

I believe it's important to note that the film is based on the book of the same name.  I haven't read the book but I'm curious about the differences so at some point I may take a gander to see where Hollywood might of glossed over or condensed the story for the sake of entertainment and time such as grouping all three together, making them friends seeing as each went on to do something very note worthy by being the first "...  ..." 

In going to see this movie we made it a 'girl's night' so I had mi madres, sister, and niece.  I really wanted my niece to walk away empowered from it but I think the adults were reeling as well.  What I loved most about this film was seeing these three women working together, balancing their aspirations with the challenges of being a working colored woman with a family in a white male dominated climate.  And it wasn't just flack they got from the white men and white women but also from their own families.

That level of defying the impossibility of it all was moving.  It was motivating.  And I was happy for it.  I kept worrying that something was going to steal my joy when it came to this film but I think regardless the message was there.  As art is meant to inspire.  I feel like the movies I seen so far this year have managed that. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Day 4 - They Arrived

First it was the kids. Loud and disruptive. Moody and energetic. Bouncing then still for one collective moment. They all just stopped.

Adults thought it was kids just being kids. But there were some that knew it was odd. At the time, and what I know now of those that knew, they were the brave ones.

The brave ones were killed yesterday.

And today they descended.

I am not a brave one.

But I may be the last one.

#TheLastStop

Monday, January 2, 2017

"LA LA LAND" - Movie Review

Movie:  La La Land
Date:  Jan 1, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5
Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pdqf4P9MB8

The first movie of 2017 that will hopefully set the tone for the rest of year for me was "La La Land".

Both written and directed by Damien Chazelle.  After seeing "La La Land" I'm definitely interested in checking out his previous film "Whiplash". 

In a nutshell "La La Land" tells the story of struggling actress / playwright Mia and traditionalist jazz musician Sebastian both trying to make it in LA.  Mia dreams of being on the big screen and Sebastian dreams of owning his own jazz club.  And from the very beginning, with the opening dance number, you get a feel for both the collision of dreaming and reality. 

Without getting so heavy into the plot what I liked about the film was the old Hollywood feel in a modern setting.  The pull and understanding of these two dreamers, passionate about their crafts, and the struggles they face in trying to make it.  I loved the signature song that belongs to both Mia and Sebastian.  The whimsical nature of the cinematography.  If I were to sum this movie up in one word I'd say 'magical'.  It's present all the way up until the very end when the audience is treated to a special montage and a shared smile. 

I was struck by two thoughts - one was that whenever there was something that pulled me out of the movie (because it did happen) I was just as quickly sucked back in.  Also I think I might have realized I am a fan of music in movies, prior to watching this I was a bit skeptical noticing I typically accept my music in an animated film but when I think of my history with music in non animated films it seems pretty non existent.  However I could a good thing if you can walk away from a movie with it still on your mind, melodies still drifting in your head, and the desire to relive the experience again. 

If I were to pluck a couple songs worth listening to from this film I'd recommend the following at the very least:
1. Mia's Audition - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlunjmpaRVU
2. Epilogue - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSg3tBzAVFk

But there are definitely others I'd like, to the point I'm sure I'll pick up the soundtrack.  Also the film met my expectation in that I hoped to walk away inspired.  Watching the film constantly reminded me of my current WIP and it also provided me with an additional with wanting to pick up piano lessons again.  And maybe even see about finally learning to tap dance.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Official 2017 Resolution/Goal/Intention Post


This year my resolutions/goal feels more robust.  And in some ways they are.  This morning at service was the intention ceremony, this was my first time participating in one since I've only been coming to SEC since last summer.  Before I left this morning I had rattled out some things mentally I wanted to be on my list and by the time I wrote them down it had grown.  And even those that I wrote down and submitted into the prayer box has since grown to a few more things that I forgot. 

There are some non specific/non measurable intentions such as:  asking for guidance in reaching the final version of Montgomery's Diary (which to me includes allowing others to read it and being open to the ideas that come to me), loving more, laughing more, and in my head (since I forgot to write it down) - forgiving more.  I also wrote down an intent to be at peace more in all matters.  I'd say that was more of the important ones I've been striving with for the last two years. 

In regards to my goals/resolutions, the things which are measurable, here is how that shaped out:

1.  Completion of the third draft of "Montgomery's Diary"
2.  Completion of the fourth draft of "Montgomery's Diary" (since I'm sure there will be one)
* I should note that in between 1-2 there's the task of BETA and revisions
3.  Write the first draft of "Redemption"
4.  Write 500 words per day
5.  Blog once a week (going for an over 80% success rate)
6.  Write 10 short stories
7.  Complete read through of "The Three Year War"
8.  Complete read through of "The Magician's Order"
9.  Publish Montgomery's Diary [and provide/give copies to friends & coworkers]
10.  Participate in retreat (preferably a writing one)
11.  Swim in Thailand (here's to making a trip back to Thailand this year)
12.  Travel to two new places
13.  Read 45 books
14.  Learn something new
15.  Watch 20 films (of which 5 should be documentaries)
16.  Complete a weekend writing challenge (15k)
17.  Add 10k to an open project (i.e. Year Two, Justice, The Last Stop, Forever Young, etc...)
18.  Save (pay yourself first) a minimum of $10 or 5% per pay period
19.  Reduce debt - pay off 3 of the 8 store/credit cards (preferably Cap1 and WM)
20.  Complete a house project (i.e. flooring for one room, garden for spring, organize office, etc)

So lastly one thing I had thought to put on here but decided not to make it one was "Daily deep breaths / find a moment of gratitude and be thankful for ..." I like to think that in my effort to blog more and write daily, especially with using my LJ that I will do this there.  And typically whenever I stop to pause I try to remember to take a deep breath, relax, be still, and be present.  Which is hard to do when you have so many things flying around in your head. 

However that said I do believe I need to fold the last load of laundry, finish a scarf, and working on my daily 500.  I'm hoping to use tomorrow to work on my "Dear 2016" letter.

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Resolution Year End Update

It's been a while since I've updated.  Per usual I'm going to try to start off on a good track next year and see it through by hopefully updating this more often.

However I think I did pretty darn good at accomplishing many of my goals this year and before I do my year end letter to 2016 and post my 2017 resolutions here's exactly how I did: 

1. Complete the revision for another novel (TYW or OTTM/TMO) - Nope :(
2. Complete the first draft for an open project (i.e. the revenge deity story, faux immortality story, porch story, or mistress for hire)
3. Aim for 10 - 15k / per month (daily goal will be 500) - Not sure I succeeded here either -_-
4. Pay off 2 additional debts (most likely two credit cards) - - COMPLETE - Chase & PricelineRV
5. Self publish a work  - Nope... but I do have a cover now
6. Write 15 short stories - Nope but did write 3
- My Dedicated Valentine
- Dark Lies
- I1 - The Feeding
7. Visit/travel to a new place - Yep, visited Syracuse/Clinton, NY
8. Learn something new (tap class, 10 Mandarin character/per mth, or ...) - Well I technically learned how to skate until I took a bad fall -_- ... so sort of on this one
9. Read 40 books - In Progress... 41 read so far
10. Watch 10 new movies (half while still in theaters) -So done it's overcooked ^_^ - This year I watched "The Peanuts Movie", "The Fifth Wave"', "How to be Single", "Deadpool", "London Has Fallen", "10 Cloverfield Lane", "Miracles From Heaven", "and "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (twice), "The Jungle Book", "The Boss", "The Barbershop", "Captain American: The Civil War", "The Darkness", "X-Men Apocalypse", "Me Before You", "TMNT: Out of the Shadows", "Finding Dori", "Independence Day", and some others... "Ghostbusters", "Now You See Me 2", "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates", "Ben Hur", "Pete's Dragon", "Suicide Squad", "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", "A Madea Halloween","This Christmas", "Dr. Strange", "Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them", "Rogue One", "Collateral Beauty", "Passengers",  and"Moana",  and I think that's it....