Lifestyle, TV & Film, Writing

A Pocketful Of Nutshells (Dec / Jan Recap)

*FLIES INTO YOUR INBOX IN AN EPIC CRASH LANDING*

 

 

HEY, GUYS.  It’s been ages!  *doles out Internet hugs*

That Wilbur gif pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling and faring for the last two months.

Things have been a tad bumpy, and I am desperately behind on blogging.

 

 

Ahem, kidding.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since you have all gotten an update here on Allison’s Well, and I am doubly sorry that this post is going to be shorter than normal but, ah well!

 

 

And now, without further ado (or excuses) . . . the nutshells.

 

 

– WATCHED –

 

*THE MANDALORIAN*

 

 

*warning: this review could contain minor spoilers for The Mandalorian*

 

Unlike other eager-beavers, I waited until the whole show dropped on Disney + before signing up so I could watch the thing in one week and then cancel my subscription. *pats self on back*

OKAY, so, the review . . .

 

 

I’m kidding!  I liked it.

I don’t think it’s quite as perfect as the Internet is making it out to be, but it’s still a solid show.

I believe some of the enthusiasm for The Mandalorian might merely be a case of contrast. Anything would be considered epic when compared to the abominably awful new trilogy.

 

 

Just saying . . . 😛

Either way, I think this is the Star Wars story that has been needed for a long time!

Not trying to compare to the original series (or rather, ruin it), not even trying to build off of that series, but merely taking advantage of the incredible world of Star Wars.  A wholly different story but set in the same epic universe.

Yes, please – pass me some more.

The story is good, the pacing is average (depending on the director – Deborah Chow was the one really brilliant director).

The scripting is better than average, and the acting is good (the one real exception being the villagers in episode 4 who are as flat as the proverbial pancake).  Pedro Pascal (thanks to some good scripting and our lively imaginations) definitely captures our interest and our affection by turning in a fine performance in both voice and body-language.

Speaking of mime  . . . Baby Yoda is irresistible.  The bond between him and Mando is sweet, I just wish there was more of it.

(side note: while the Child is definitely cute, let’s just be clear . . .  Ewoks will always be cuter and cooler, no question.  #FightMe

 

 

But, surprise, my favorite characters were undoubtedly The Armorer and Kuiil . . . so, obviously, I was crushed when Kuiil was killed (I can see why they did it, it just hurt like the dickens) and I am crossing my fingers in the hope that The Armorer will make a second appearance.

My favorite episode is The Prisoner, no question.  I liked the story line, the gritty urban flavor, and I felt that this was one of the few episodes where the show really stuck to its premise of actually letting Mando be a tough guy (admit it, most of the time he’s nicer than we were promised), as well as FINALLY pairing him with underworld creeps, instead of constantly sticking him with relatively-nice sidekicks which, again, is not what we the viewers were promised.

 

 

Overall, The Mandalorian manages to take a lot of very old scenarios and put a fun Star Wars spin on them.  Even some of the tired old tropes (such as the Tough Girl) have been Slightly Improved.

Mostly, I just had nitpicks about pacing / characterization that I won’t go into right now.  But, nitpicks aside, I think it’s a enjoyable show.  Definitely four out of five stars.  I am looking forward to season two.

THEY’D BETTER NOT RUIN IT.

 

 

 

*ELF*

 

 

I can see why it’s sort of a cult favorite (whether you like it or not, you have to admit it’s memorable), but if I’m in the mood for a zany Christmas film, I still prefer Ernest Saves Christmas.

I think Ernest Saves Christmas is a better made film, in every respect – from casting to plotting to scripting.  And, when attempting to combine insanity with warmth, I think it’s better when heartfelt story-lines are reserved for the more normal leads, instead of letting them be carried by the wacky main character . . . as it was in Elf.  When that happens, the sweetness often becomes downright saccharine.

 

 

Nevertheless, it was amusing and diverting (particularly if you’re dealing with insomnia – which I was at the time).  I would probably watch it again!

Anyone that knows me should be able to guess what my favorite scene was.  🙂

No question, the scene where Buddy is being chased by the crazed Santa with a baseball bat.

It greatly appealed to my irreverent sense of humor and had me laughing out loud.

 

 

 

*FROZEN 2*

 

 

Ah, Frozen 2 . . . the movie allegedly made to answer one question (that didn’t need answering) . . . and by “answering” that question, they left us with an entire plot that makes zero sense.  Well played, Disney.

 

 

But all the confusion and questions are mere seasoning to the main course . . . which is a generous plateful of propaganda.

The nice animation and a few good songs (in particular Lost In The Woods) are not enough to make up for a horrid story and a dangerous message.

Allow me to sum up my feelings.

 

 

End of review.

*ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL*

 

 

My family has watched this show for as long as I can remember, and it feels like home.

Every time I hear that opening music begin, I smile, settle down in my chair, and prepare to be comforted.

These stories had such an impact on my own writing and I still hold them up as a pinnacle of storytelling, particularly of characterization.  This show never fails to warm my heart and make me laugh.  It’s truly wonderful and shall always be special to me.

 

– READ –

 

In the months of December I only read twelve books.

 

 

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t matter HOW many books you read – at all.  I’m just highly competitive with myself . . .  Anywhere, here are the books. Recognize any of them?

 

 

In January I read . . . only twelve books . . . again.

 

I did read more than you see here, they just aren’t listed on Goodreads yet because they haven’t been published.  I have been going over a dozen of my older sister’s short stories (not yet published) so that took up a chunk of my reading time!

 

 

As you can see, I’ve been reading a copious amount of Wodehouse over a very short period of time, and . . . . I don’t really advise it.  I adore them and they are addicting, but consuming so many of them back to back is rather like eating an inordinate amount of sweets in one sitting.

Wodehouse is marvelous, but you are can become satiated very quickly.  All of the stories begin to run together until you’re not quite sure what’s what.

 

 

And you start talking like Bertie. Which isn’t BAD – but you’ll get some weird looks.

 

 

– WRITING –

 

DECEMBER –

 

DRAFTING:

 

In December, I wrote somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 words. Let’s just go with 7,500 (I keep such accurate records, guys. Wow).

Most of those words were me trying to work on various incarnations of a steampunk Snow White retelling (a short story).

 I poked at these various incarnations determinedly but, despite my efforts, they refused to move towards any real progress.

 

 

Ironically, one of the new story ideas that WAS swimming along quite easily, was  . . quite different for me.

True, it is set in a sci fi / steampunk world . . . that’s perfectly normal for Allison Tebo.

But it’s really more of a romance than anything else.

As in . . . a straight-out love story.

 

 

It’s very subtle (thank goodness, my mind hasn’t been taken over by a crazed alien with wicked intentions) but still . . .

. . . it’s a romance.

 

I wrote almost 5,000 words on this story alone in about two days, which is kind of unheard of for me (lately).   The words were gushing forth . . . on this story of ALL stories!

Ah, irony, you do love to sit on my doorstep.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually really finish the thing but . . . it does have a certain . . . novelty.

 

EDITING AND SUBMITTING:

 

I edited the apocalyptic short story I wrote back in November, Out of The Ruins, and submitted it to an anthology right before the deadline closed.

 

 

I heard back from the editors at Inklings Press and went through developmental edits on my short story, The Pirate’s Path.

That was slightly stressful, but they haven’t bounced my edits back in my face so . . . I guess I did okay.  *shrugs*

 

I proof-read Fools Rush In, a short story I wrote in November based on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

 

I sorted through beta-reader notes on Poppy’s Peril and continued chipping away at rewrites.

 

*ACTUAL FOOTAGE OF ME TRYING TO FINISH THIS STORY SO THAT PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY READ IT*

 

 

JANUARY –

 

SUBMITTING:

 

I submitted Fools Rush In to an anthology seeking submissions.

I now have two stories floating around in someone’s inbox while I sit here and refresh my email inbox over and over and over again  . . .

 

 

I also got another rejection on a story I submitted to a magazine several months ago.

The rejections on this particular short story just keep growing and growing and growing . . .

 

 

Most of the rejections I’m getting are on one of the very first short stories I’ve ever written (previously referenced here as The Queen’s Cure) and I’m beginning to think I just need to give that puppy a decent burial.

Most of the rejections included feedback that is all basically the same.  After so many rejections, I’m beginning to believe there might be something to these notes.

More than likely this story either needs to be set aside forever, or drastically rewritten.

 

 

PUBLISHING:

 

I signed my publishing contract with Inklings Press!!!!

 

 

It’s getting real, folks.   I can’t wait until this anthology is finally available and you guys are able to read my wee swashbuckling story!  *rubs hands together and grins*

 

DRAFTING:

 

I wrote about 3,500 words on various wee projects that aren’t going anywhere fast.  Mainly, I worked on Ambia.

I wrote another 10,000 words on my Little Red Riding Hood retelling.

 

 

Right now, those words feel like a plink in the bucket.  This baby is already sitting at over 45,000 words and I’m only halfway through the second draft.

 

 

I know I’ve been talking about this story for years and keep saying I’m going to focus on it and finally finish the confounded thing, BUT THIS TIME I REALLY MEAN IT.

I am hoping and praying that I can finish the first draft by the end of March.  *sickly smile*

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.   😅

I’ve been brainstorming a lot on it recently and I’ve simplified a few things in the story-line that SHOULD help.

On the other hand . . . I’ve also added a ton of new motivations and plot points.  And all of a sudden several new characters came streaming out of the woodwork like rats, even though the cast is already enormous.

 

 

No, that tortured gargling you hear in the background is not your refrigerator malfunctioning, it’s me having a Red Riding Hood breakdown.  Just so you know.

 

EDITING: 

 

I did a massive amount of work on Poppy’s Peril.

Unfortunately, I forgot to keep track of how many words I wrote on this (the story ended up being expanded a great deal) . . . I KNOW I wrote at least hundreds of words on it in December and added THOUSANDS more in January (not kidding).

 

 

I can’t be absolutely certain just how much of this occurred in January . . . but this story originally started out with a word count of roughly 10,000 and is now sitting at 17,000 words.

 

 

Thank goodness, I’m finally getting close to finishing this “short story” and I am still on track to release it in the first quarter of 2020!

 

 

– LIFE –

 

DECEMBER –

 

Celebrated Christmas with my family.  We stayed home in 2019 (instead of traveling across the United States), and having a nice, relaxing holiday made a lovely change.  I EVEN stopped being so Grinch-y and listened to Christmas music and decorated more than usual.

See?  I’m not such a Christmas Crank after all.  Or maybe this was just an off year for me.  Anyway, I enjoyed myself!

 

Drank WAY too much eggnog.

 

 

I read through my older sister’s epic fantasy novel and made copious proof-reading and editing notes.  I can’t WAIT for the day when she publishes this beauty.  It is so magical and thrilling, I almost cry with excitement every time I read it.  *squeaks and rubs hands together*

 

 

I worked with my fabulous designer again and made some adjustments to my author website, but especially to this blog, Allison’s Well.  DID YOU NOTICE?  The new header?  The lovely portals on the sidebar?  The updated profile picture?  The new color scheme?

If you didn’t notice, well, YOU SHOULD HAVE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

 

Ahem, anyway, I’m very happy with it and, as always, working with Mukta is such a pleasure.

AND . . .

. . . while I was working with Mukta . . .

She designed the cover for Poppy’s Peril!!!!

 

 

For a while there, I felt like this “short story” would NEVER be published, but I’m finally edging towards the finish-line!

 

 

If you want to see the cover for Poppy’s Peril, don’t forget to SIGN UP TO MY AUTHOR NEWSLETTER, because my subscribers are going to get a sneak peak of it soon!

 

Read through more of my sister’s stories in January.  This is always a delight and a treat!  *insert fan girl squeals here*

 

I got to do some baking!  Specifically, bacon cheddar fluffins and chocolate chip muffins.

 

Celebrated my book, The Reluctant Godfather, turning three years old!

I did several special posts on Instagram where I attempted to sum up the myriad of feelings this occasion held for me.  ❤️

I also threw a tea party for my family!  There was something special about being able to stop in the middle of a work day to hold an impromptu celebration.  There was macarons, muffins, cucumber sandwiches, strawberries, tea, and laughter and commendations.

I’m so amazed over how I’ve come with my boy Burndee.  I’m grateful for this journey and this little story.

 

 

(by the way, I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram and someone is going to receive a SIGNED PAPERBACK of The Reluctant Godfather.  *capers and cheers*  The giveaway closes on Saturday, so don’t forget to check it out!)

 

I went to a local writing group for the first time.  There were roughly twenty-five of us and it was an . . . interesting cross-section of humanity.

I decided not to go back for a number of reasons.

#1. It was a critique group, not writing classes as I had first hoped.  Members were expected to read and critique a massive amount of work on a monthly basis.  It was an enormous commitment that I simply couldn’t make.

 

 

In addition, this wasn’t a Christian group, so I didn’t have any idea WHAT they’d be expecting me to read.

#2.  The woman leading the group was a  romance author so . . .

. . . clearly, I was in the wrong group.

 

But, at least now I can say I’ve attended my first writing meet-up.  Even if I all I did was just sit there after introducing myself, it was still a novelty.

 

 

 

Congratulations!  You have reached the end of the nutshells!

 

 

Hmm, that was longer than I first thought it would.  No one ever called me a maiden of few words.

 

I have the nagging feeling that I left out some details and pertinent information but, ah well. I gave it my best shot.

 

How was YOUR December and January?  How did you celebrate Christmas?  How are your New Years resolutions holding up, so far? Tell all!  For now, I must leave you, but we will speak again, my friend.

 

16 thoughts on “A Pocketful Of Nutshells (Dec / Jan Recap)

  1. I’m so so glad that you had a good time at Christmas Ali, so did I!

    *hides from inevitable bombardment*

    I actually LOVE Elf. And Frozen 2. You insult me, my dear sir! How could you find them to be…

    *coughs horribly*

    …TRAAAAAASH??!!

    Just kidding. I have very odd tastes in movies so often others do disagree with me, even if it’s…a…a _really_ good one. What were some of your favourite Christmas presents? How has 2020 been for you so far, pal?

    I’m so glad you’ve been getting farther on your books even if it’s slow – I had a ton of writer’s block for a while and I have now been writing my own novel for nearly a year but it’s getting there and I love seeing how my characters develop along the way. Your personifications of Burndee in your books are just EPIC. 😛

    My resolutions have not been doing so well…ahem…I have been *trying* to get up at seven in the morning but…to no avail. I shall just have to soldier on, or whatever.

    Anyways so glad you’re back Ali (one L or two Ls?) and just realized how long this comment is. So long!

    1. ABBIE, HI!!! *hugs* I’m so glad you had a good Christmas!

      HAHA, sooorrrrrry. Though, to clarify, I only called Frozen 2 trash 😛 I thought Elf was more so-so.

      Ooo, let me think. Well, my twin got me an awesome coffee mug that is shaped like Dr. Who’s Tardis and it is cute as can be! How about you??

      Ahh, writers block is the worst and can be so hard to break through! *hugs* Cheering you on, mate! Slow and steady wins the race!

      Aww. thank you! *smiles*

      Ahhh, well as long as you’re getting up earlier than you were, I would call that a win!

      Aw, thank you, Abbie – I’ve missed talking to you! It’s too L’s! Talk to you soon, my friend! ❤️

      1. HEY ALLIIIII! *hugs back so hard your spine cracks* So glad to hear from you bud. It was great to hear all your news.

        Yes, just got to an *exciting* part so that has pulled me thru the writer’s block over here – if you ever want to read where I am so far, feel free to DM me on Goodreads or whatever and I will send it right to your doorstep.

        Haha good to know – had to make sure 😉

        Mmmmmm….probably my box set of old faves, Little Women, Anne of Greengables, Heidi and A Little Princess. Takes me back to about age ten lol. You can see it here..

        https://duckduckgo.com/?q=box+set+puffin+in+bloom&t=ffab&ia=images&iax=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.shopify.com%2Fs%2Ffiles%2F1%2F1000%2F9208%2Fproducts%2FBOX04_large.jpg%3Fv%3D1481072932

        God blessed us so much this Christmas!

  2. Haha! I might have known we would have wildly different opinions about Frozen II 😉

    The new SW trilogy held my interest much more consistently than did The Mandalorian (since I could only bring myself to watch some of the episodes, not all). I do think it’s a very good show overall. I really enjoyed both Mando’s character and Baby Yoda’s character. I was actually VASTLY PLEASED that the show was something different than what was promised in terms of the kind of person Mando would be: I really, really didn’t want to see the kind of tough, morally gray bounty hunter they were advertising in the trailers. I was like “ew, no thank you.” But the Mando we actually got was a lot of fun for me. My favorite episode is either the one with the widow and the villagers, or the one with the young bounty hunter trying to make a name for himself. 4 and 5, I believe?

    1. Haha, yep. 😛

      Oh, I enjoyed The Mandalorian! The show is fun, and he IS quite likable, just the way is. But, being in sales, I’m never a fan of false advertising, haha.

      Yes, you are correct! Those are episodes 4 and 5!

  3. I DID notice the redesign and my first thought was, “THIS IS SO ELEGANT.” It’s just so polished and clean and lovely. I adore it!

    That is HILARIOUS a romance book has been taking you over! XDD I guess that’s proof that inspiration can strike from ANYTHING. And I’d TOTALLY read a romance book from you, even though romance is not my favorite either!

    I cannot waaaait to see the cover for Poppy’s Peril! EEP! 😀

    It looks like you’ve been juggling so much! I am always amazed at all the projects you do. I struggle to work on anything beyond one project at a time, but I NEED to start making some short stories and things to submit to places. You always inspire me to do that more!

    Keep being awesome, girl. I do hope you have the most frabjous of Februaries! <3

    1. EEEEEK, THANK YOU! *BEAMING* 😘

      HAHAHA. I KNOW. It’s ridiculous! *shakes fist at the Muse* But, who am I fooling? The Tales of Ambia does have a dash of romance. But then, they’re romantic COMEDIES (emphasis on the comedy) and this new idea is a serious romance, and I think that’s what has me rattled! 😂 Awww, thank you! What a nice compliment! I’m flattered! 😄 We’ll see where that goes . . .

      AHHH – I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW IT TO EVERYONE! 😍

      Ah, thank you! 🤗 It probably looks like more than it actually is! YOU’RE the smart one – it’s so much more productive to “focus fire” on one or two projects at a time, and I’m hoping to start developing that habit! I loved your post about your 2020 goals – and I am cheering you on and praying for you as you tackle these projects! ❤️

      Thank you, sweet friend. SAME TO YOU!!

  4. “They’d better now ruin it”? Why would you wish such a thing for the Mando? Kidding, kidding, I know what you meant to say—I just had a good snicker at that.
    I’ve only ever read one Rosemary Sutcliff… I intend to remedy that. I believe I’ve seen Compass South recommended before. What did you think of it?
    Bacon cheddar fluffins sound delicious! Everything bacon and cheese related sounds delicious.

    1. BAHAHA – great catch and what at terrible typo on my part. 😂 I had a good snicker out of it, too, once you pointed it out!

      AHHH! I’ve probably asked you this before (forgive me if I have) but which Sutcliff have you read?? As always, I recommend the Silver Branch, my favorite! 🙂 Compass South was fun – not the best or my favorite graphic novel (although, admittedly, I haven’t read many) but it was still clean and adventurous and I enjoyed it.

      Bacon cheddar fluffins are SOOOOO good. It’s a simple recipe, too.

      1. I’ve read The Eagle of the Ninth, and it looks as if the Silver Branch is next in the series. Excellent!
        Thanks– I’m always on the hunt for good (clean) graphic novels.
        I should try them, then. I’ve been of a mind to make muffins lately.

  5. Is there such a thing as too much Jeeves and Wooster? I tend to to binge on favorite books when in a weak frame of mind. I’m currently adoring the BBC radio drama version of the books. I need to listen to things at work or I go crazy. I’m sure my coworkers think I’m crazy giggling to myself, one asked if I’d been listening to a comedy all week, why yes, I have.

    I do think the Mandalorian is over-hyped, I was expecting much better writing and plotting (forgetting, apparently, that this is Star Wars). It also brought back stuff from the older Star Wars that were major turnoffs, the ICK factor, just deliberate icky stuff with all the alien life, the amoral/Wild West stuff, etc. However, baby yoda WAS darling, and I think I may continue watching when Disney deigns to give us another season. But I’ve cancelled my subscription as well, I do better to pop on streaming services for a month or whatever when the moods strikes me to watch something.

    1. HAHA! I adore Jeeves and Wooster. The only thing I regret, though, is when all the plots and characters become muddled in my mind, as that detracts from some my enjoyment – so I, personally, have to pace myself! HAHA. Why, yes, you have. They should try it sometime. 😛

      Mmm, yes, I agree. I feel that modern viewers these days are so accustomed to sub-par film-making (even enjoy it) that they can’t recognize that The Mandalorian really wasn’t anything more than “solid.” Not bad – but not stellar.

      Ah, well, I grew up watching Westerns so I do love some Wild West vibes. 🙂 Yes, same here! *exchanges high fives over our careful suspending habits* You can watch so many things for free now via libraries, that I’m not very much interested in monthly subscriptions!

  6. I don’t think I’d belong in a in-person critique group, either. How are you supposed to read and critique everyone else’s stuff and still have time to work on your own stuff??? And I’d be concerned just like you about what I’d have to read. There’s also the concern over if everyone knows how to properly help you improve *your* idea or if they’ll be the types who wind up doing that thing where they basically tell you to change your idea into what they’d rather read. Yeah, no, I’ll stick to my internet groups, thanks. 🙂 You have such a good attitude about having had a new experience, though! <3

    Also, MY EYES ARE READY TO BEHOLD POPPY'S PERIL!!! Congrats on getting closer to having it out in the world! 😀

    1. Mmm, yes. All of those things were definitely a concern of mine! It was obvious that the group was still figuring out how it was actually going to work (which was fine, I just foresaw potential problems with some of the lack of parameters). And as you said, it required so much commitment, I knew I would be able to do that as well as write. Haha, aw, thanks. It was interesting! Just not for me.

      AHHHHHH, THANK YOU, BETH!! *hugs* I’m excited!

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