Saturday Night at the Movies, Writing

A Handful of Nutshells

 

 

*gasp*  What could this be?  A nutshell?

YES, FINALLY.

So some of you might have noticed that I missed August’s Nutshell post.

NO?  YOU DIDN’T NOTICE?  WHAT KIND OF HARDCORE ALLISON FAN ARE YOU?

 

Kidding!!! 

 

Ahem, anyway.  There’s a good reason why I missed a nutshell.

My health has been pretty crummy for the last few months and not only has it made me fall behind in everything, not much happened in August.

When I considered pushing myself to post an August nutshell anyway, there was so little to share that I felt too demoralized to go through with it.

Sooo, I decided to wait and combine August’s nutshell with September’s nutshell.  It was something I could tackle without killing myself and it made meatier post.

But, as it turns out, September ended up being a pretty quiet month that involved lots of rest too – so, this might not be the most exciting nutshell, but hey, YOU GOTTA TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET.  😂

 

– WATCHED –

Magnum P.I (TV show)

 

That new monstrosity masquerading as Magnum P.I is a travesty.

There is only ONE Magnum P.I – the original.

It’s fun, breezy hilarity juxtaposed alongside grit, drama, and tension.  Fun fact:  It was also immensely popular with Vietnam War vets who appreciated finally getting honestly portrayed as normal people free of drugs or trauma.

Well, as normal as these four crazies are ever going to be.  Magnum, Rick, T.C, and Higgins (Three Vietnam War vets and a WW2 vet, respectively) are all pretty eccentric.  This show seamlessly blends humor (everything from wit to slapstick) as our four bozos stumble through life to intense action sequences as our four heroes snap back into military mode.

Higgins and Magnum are one of my favorite go-to “friends at each other’s throats” pairings and their ceaseless warfare never fails to entertain.

Alpha

Yes, I’ve done a mini review of this before, but it deserves another commendation.

I have a slight obsession with the Ice Age, plus a love for unique film-making, plus a great interest in foreign films.  This movie seamlessly blended together all three of those elements.  It was wonderful.

 

Star Wars Lego: The Freemaker Adventures

Raise your hand if you grew up playing Legos!   *hand shoots up*

MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Legos hold a lot of happy memories for me.  I played with Legos for countless hours with my siblings.  Acting our narratives with our Legos were some of our earliest story-telling attempts.  And Allison, the girl who struggles putting fresh batteries into devices, could actually figure out the Lego instructions and put a set together.  That was a big deal.

So yeah, obviously, Legos are a big deal for us and come on, who DOESN’T like a good Star Wars spoof?

This is kind of the Star Wars I’ve always wanted to see, to be honest.  It still has snappy dialogue, great characters, and a strong plot but has a heavy dose of zany.

 

It’s also about siblings who run their own business (YAY).  And, for once, the siblings actually LOVE AND LIKE one another (what is this madness?).  Yes, once in a while they get mad at one another, but it’s always quickly resolved an they constantly build one another up and support each other.

 

 

Yes, I know what some of you might be thinking.  Wait, is this just for little kids?  NO, it’s not.  Aside from a few Lego jokes such as the characters being able to remove their hairpieces to shake the dust out of their coiffures, you could literally pick up this series and drop it into a live-action movie without having to change anything else – it’s ageless and high quality.

It’s adventurous, exciting, and hilarious and yet, surprisingly, has a great deal of drama and poignancy as our characters go through quite a bit of loss and stress but, ultimately, emerge victorious.

My favorites, though, would have to the Emperor (a squealing and hilarious megalomaniac) and Griballa the Hutt, a slug-like creature with a New York Jewish accent who is determined to start up his own “quasi-legitimate business ventures.”

My siblings and I had a wonderful time binge watching this series.  I only wish there had been MORE.

 

The Hobbit Trilogy

 

*aggressively and obsessively watches this trilogy on repeat*

 

 

I don’t care WHAT ANYBODY SAYS.  THIS SERIES IS BETTER THAN THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY AND I REALLY, REALLY LIKE IT AND NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING IT.

 

If you don’t like this trilogy, you don’t know what’s good for you, so there!  😂

 

 

 

– READ –

 

In the months of August and September, I read 32 books!

 

 

 

Again, as always, a few of them were skim-reads or DNF’s (and, due to not feeling well, I had a LOT of time to listen to audio books).

– WRITING –

 

I wrote somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 words from August 1st to September 31st.

 

 

What was I writing on?  Well, I stumbled across an anthology asking for submissions and went kind of crazy and picked up the gauntlet in the eleventh hour.  I wrote a 9,000 word short story in a little under a week, took two days to edit it, and then submitted it on the last day of the submission window.

 

 

I worked on two pieces of flash fiction (one was a rewrite, one was from scratch) – to be submitted to various places at some point in the future.

BUT – aside from those little side ventures, I’ve mostly been working and writing on my Little Red Riding Hood retelling.  I’M GOING TO FINISH THIS THING IF IT KILLS ME.

 

 

I had originally thought that Red would be a novella.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

HA.

It’s already a whopping 40,000 words and I only MIGHT be half-way through the draft.

 

In other writing news, I connected with one of my favorite authors (Ashley Stangl from the Rooglewood Press anthology Five Magic Spindles) and we have been each other’s accountability partners for the last few months.  Once a week or so, we check in with one another to ask how the writing is going and update each other on our progress.  Ashley is so nice (as well as being one of my favorite authors), and it’s such an honor and a thrill to be able to cheer her on in her amazing writing efforts!

 

 

Aside from drafting, I decided to take up another writing baton.

After taking some time off, I jumped back into the ol’ death or glory game of submitting my fiction to magazines.

 

 

I submitted . . . and submitted and submitted.

I can’t remember exact figures off the top of my head, but I have about five or six stories and pieces of flash fiction that are ready to submit – and I started submitting them like gangbusters.  Sometimes, I would be soliciting up to seven magazines at a time (a new record).

And, I got rejected.

 

 

Which just fueled my crazed head-long charge.  The very day I got rejections, I would reformat my submission and send it to another magazine (usually within the same hour of the rejection) – just to shake my fist at the void.

Still, one does begin to wonder, just a bit, about their writing skills when they keep getting rejected.  Though, a few of the editors have been nice enough to say that they liked my writing, my story just didn’t suit their needs.

Still studying those comments with a magnifying glass….

 

 

Ah well.  All we can do is keep learning, keep trying, and explore every possible avenue.  And, most importantly, get over the rejection quickly.  Fortunately, my day job in sales and cold-calling helps me work those self-esteem muscles on an hourly basis.

 

 

I’ve still have two stories outstanding and I’m anxiously waiting for a responsem but I’m not getting my hopes up.

 

 

HOWEEEEVEEEEER.

You know that 9,000 word short story I mentioned a few paragraphs ago?  The one I submitted to an anthology?

IT WAS ACCEPTED AND IT’S GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!!!!

 

Now for the behind-the-scenes tour.

The last time I was published in a magazine was in May of last year and, since then, I’ve been trying off and on to get published again with no success.

EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME  I am about ready to throw in the towel on getting “traditionally” published something gets accepted.  A sign?  An encouragement?  Maybe both?  All I’m really sure of is that I’m thankful!

This acceptance came on the heels of approximately 20 rejections that I received through August and September, so it’s yet another reminder to us all to persevere!

There’s only one bad thing about all this.  Every time I get accepted into a publication, it upsets all my writing plans.  I was just about to settle down on Little Red Riding Hood and set flash fiction and short stories aside for a little while when this story was accepted, and now “flushed with victory” I am abandoning all the long projects I’m supposed to be working on to write more short stories and flash . . . again.

 

 

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, BUT WHATEVER.

– LIFE –

My morning glories bloomed, guys!

 

 

After talking to them, fertilizing them, watering them, helping them climb, cheering them on, I was starting to get a little worried.  But my efforts paid off and I got some glorious blooms – I’m so proud of my babies!

 

Got to go swimming twice. *cue elation and euphoria*  This will doubtless be the last swims of the summer, and it was glorious.

 

 

I baked a smidge.  The item of particular note was HOMEMADE TWIX COOKIES.  Layers of sugar cookie, pretzel, melted caramel, and dark chocolate. My goodness, guys, they were INCREDIBLE.

 

 

Played more games with my brother.  It’s called Star Wars – Imperial Assault (the Hoth campaign).  It’s cool, look it up.  Eh, and bring a dictionary and an interpreter when you do.

 

 

Actually, it’s the same game that we’ve been playing for months now (yes, we’re hardcore). We’re slowly working our way through a battle campaign by tackling one mission at a time (a mission takes several days to complete).  *smirks a bit*   I don’t mind saying that THE EMPIRE (moi) IS IN THE LEAD. MAHAHAHA.

 

 

Man, I love being the Empire.  😇

 

 

 

Annnnd . . . that’s all.

Literally, nothing else worth noting has happened during these past two months.

If you rattle these shells, you can hear virtually the nuts rattling around inside them.  I told you it’s been quiet.

 

Your turn, my friend.  Did you watch any good movies in August and September? Read any good books?  Do anything special for Labor Day?  Tell me everything!

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “A Handful of Nutshells

  1. ALLISON WHERE WAS AUGUST IN A NUTSHELL I NEED THAT
    Anywho, it sounds like you had a good few months movie/TV/ book wise. Although I am so sorry about your health. :'( I’ll be praying!
    You always have great recs (and GIFs. I can’t stop talking about the GIFs.)
    And ah yes, the last blast of summer. I will definitely miss it. Will you miss summer too?
    Glorious post, as usual! Can’t wait for your next!

    1. Haha, SORRY, PENNY! It worked out to combine the nutshells, but thanks for being such a fan. *hugs*

      Yes, indeedy! We keep stumbling across new good shows and movies! Thank you very much for your prayers.

      HAHA – glad you enjoy the gifs! I know I have fun finding them!

      I am in a bit of denial that summer is over, for sure. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. I AM enjoying the cooler weather, but I’m quivering over how we’re LOSING THE LIGHT. *clings to sunlight and snivels*

      *BIG SMILE* Thank you so much, Penny! You’re the best!

      GIF

  2. I am SO sorry your health has been giving you fits lately! D’: NUUUUU!!! I’ll be praying! GET BETTER, DEAREST! But, just so you know, ALL your posts are always entertaining and delightful! <3

    OH MY GRACIOUS GOODNESS YOU GOT ACCEPTED INTO AN ANTHOLOGY!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH! CONGRATULATIONS! *THROWS CONFETTI AND GLITTER EVERYWHERE* THIS IS A GLORIOUS DAY. Also, I need more details! BUT EEP. ALLISON. I'M SO PROUD!!!!

    And, girl. GIRL. Never ever ever everrrr give up! NO NO NO NO NO! D: God has put this passion of writing inside you for a reason and He has great plans for it! Everything I've ever read by you has just been a complete and utter DELIGHT. You have sooo much talent and the world NEEDS your stories! Also, you inspire me SO MUCH how you are constantly sending things in and just writing all the time. I need your tenacity! YOU ARE JUST AN AMAZING, INSANELY TALENTED PERSON! Keep going, girl. Beautiful things are in the horizon. <3

    Oh my goodness, your morning glories are so lovely! *heart-eyes* I do hope your October is as lovely as they are! 😀

    1. *squeezes* Thank you so much, sweet friend!! You are such a gift! And that makes me very happy. *smiles*

      *dances with you in confetti and glitter* THANK YOUUUUU! AWWWW! That means so much to me! 💖 💖 💖

      I am DEFINITELY going to release more information about the anthology story soon – hopefully in my author newsletter and such!

      Ahhhhh, CHRISTINE. You’re going to make me cry. 😂 😭 I can’t tell you how much your comment touched me and brightened my day and cheered me up. *HUGE HUG* You are the sweetest, an absolute gem and SAME BACK TO YOU AND YOUR AMAZING WRITING AND HEART!

      *beams* I’m so proud of my blue babies!

      Thank you, AGAIN, Christine! Every one of your comments is like getting a piece of sunshine dropped in my lap. *HUGE SQUISHY HUG* You are such a blessing!! I hope you have an amazing, October too!!!

      GIF

  3. We may have uncannily similar opinions on some books, but Tolkien is not one of them. XD Tolkien’s books are my greatest fictional love. But your opinions are opposite of mine, haha! I don’t like the Hobbit movies because I love Tolkien’s books. (Though there are loyal book fans who also love the Hobbit movies.)

    I’M SO PROUD OF YOU FOR WRITING!!! And submitting, and for the rejections (rejection can be an accomplishment!), AND FOR THE ACCEPTANCE!!! Congrats!!

    You are a good writer!! You are one of the few best writers I know. You have so much talent and dedication to writing and making good stories! The ones who reject you and don’t recognize that don’t deserve you. 😉 You’re an inspiration with your quality writing and the way you persevere and continue writing no matter what’s trying to stop you.

    I am soooooooooooooooooooooo excited for MORE of your Red Riding Hood retelling!! I’m glad you’re making it the length that’s appropriate for the story. Longer makes me happy, cause MORE AWESOMENESS. But I also feel bad, cause that’s harder to write. And it means more pain for you (though I’ll probably enjoy the pain as much as I hate it). Annnnnnnnnnd it means that when you finally finish drafting and editing…….it might take me eons to read it. :'( Though hopefully that will change before then. I haven’t touched Poppy’s Peril in ANOTHER month. Ackkkkkkkkk. (The fault of my life, not the lovely book. And it’s a short story!!!)

    You will finish Red, and it will not kill you! Except perhaps figuratively for the characters’ sake. XD Take your time, though. Slow and steady wins. As I alwayyys say.

    I can so relate to any shorter work of mine ballooning into something long. I’ve finally become wise enough not to call anything a novella. XD Because my novellas always become novels, and calling them a novella is just kidding myself. 😀 And short stories become novellas. And so on. (There is only one idea of mine that seems to be an actual short story. But if there ends up being more to the story, it isn’t gonna stay that way.)

    Okay, PLEASE tell me your personal verdict on Crown Duel! However much you read, cause I suspect it was a DNF. I’ve been waffling back and forth for YEARS AND YEARS on whether I should read it someday. Actually, I tried as a teenager and DNFed when I wasn’t engaged or enjoying or understanding it. But I keep thinking I should try again, while also suspecting it isn’t that great of a book…………….. But it miiiight be the type of fantasy I like best, which is precious rare.

    1. HAHA! Well, we can’t share the same tastes in everything. That’s part of what keeps things interesting. *grins*

      *BIG HUG* THANK YOU, MARY!!!!!!!! 😄 😄 😄 That means so much to me!!
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      GIF
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      BAHAHAHA! Yep, the people that rejected me will be sorry once I’m rich and famous! 😁 😁 You’re the best! *winks*

      Ahhh, THANK YOU, DEAR FRIEND! 💖 💖 💖

      *GRINS* It’s kind of a Catch-22, because I want more and I’m excited but it’s also VERY HARD and makes the process of writing it and editing it a VERY LONG PROCESS.
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      GIF
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      Thank you for cheering me on! You are right, of course. Same to you!!
      .
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      GIF
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      It seems to be a common blight amongst writers to have our stories take a mind of their own and turn into monsters! *glares at stories*

      Crown Duel was really just kind of boring and dully written. I felt that there was a teensy little bit of originality in the worldbuilding that didn’t really connect to the rest of the “same old same old” story. BUT, you know how critical I am and I was also listening to an audio book version with a TERRIBLE narrator, so that probably partially formed my opinion. There wasn’t anything bad in it (a bit of magic) I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Though, I actually do think it might be worth you trying it! Probably actually reading it would be better.

  4. Congrats on the story acceptance (and morning glories!), commiserations on the rejections, and best wishes on any stories you send out! I know exactly how you feel re: getting rejected until you almost give up only to suddenly get an acceptance. Admittedly I’ve had more experience with this in my Etsy shop than in writing at this point, (she says as she preps a short story for submission) but it produces a similar frustration and wondering if it’s the product, the SEO, or the market itself causing the problem, without being able to find an easy answer. Traditional publishing is just as much a waiting and endurance game as anything else. And the story market is just as saturated as the knits, crochet, and jewelry markets. But just like the necklace I nearly delisted may suddenly sell after two years, so may a story suddenly sell, and then you hear the cha-ching (literally for Etsy and figuratively for story sales :p) and you do a happy dance and go into that mode where you MUST MAKE/WRITE MORE THINGS BECAUSE THIS IS AWESOME!!! XD Oh, the torture we put ourselves through for those high moments. 😛 😉

    1. HAHAHA – you have summed up writing and entrepreneurship in a NUTSHELL, Beth! 😂 Goodness, it’s SO TRUE. (and thank you!)

      I am thrilled, though, to hear that you are still hanging in there on the submitting game AND that you had success on Etsy! *cheers and hugs* You got this, my friend!!

      I think part of it MIGHT be the fact that magazines are usually very, very edgy and liberal and my stuff is probably not weird or liberal enough to suit them. Perhaps?

      GIF

      *joins you in ecstatic high of minor victories* BUT I GUESS IT’S WORTH THE TORTURE WE PUT OURSELVES THROUGH, RIGHT? *grins and hugs*

  5. OH, ALLISON! I am so sorry about your health. I will pray for the Lord to strengthen you and help you to do all you need and want to, sweet friend.
    Congratulations on the story acceptance! I know you can get your stories out there.

    MORNING GLORIES.. . …… …….. …. LOVELY FLOWERS! I have been wanting to plant some in my garden, but I am a little afraid they may not like the hot Tucson summers…. 🙁
    God bless you richly, Alli. I am so blessed to know you.

    1. Oh, Faith. Thank you so much!! I truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, more than I can say!

      Aww, thanks!!! *smiles* It gave me incentive to keep trying!

      TUSCON, you live in Tucson?? I was IN Tucson last Christmas!! 😲

      Eh, true. They actually bloom at an odd in between time of seasons, so I’m not sure that would be in AZ. That is fabulous that you have a garden! I am only brave enough (and dedicated enough) to try a couple of pots of flowers. What are you growing?

      Thank you, Faith!! May God bless you mightily too! I am so grateful that we were brought across each other’s path! 💖

  6. I am growing watermelons at the present, and they are doing splendidly!
    Soon I will plant cauliflower and broccoli seeds and some fall growing flowers. I adore gardening, but it isn’t much fun when it is too hot out.😓
    But I love Tucson. I was born here, and i love my friends here, too.
    Have a lovely day, Alli!!! <3

    1. WATERMELONS – YUM!!!

      That’s fabulous! But, eh, I can imagine! *melts*

      That’s so cool!! Thank you, Faith – you too!

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