Weekly Words: Am Reading Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's Mo Dao Zu Shi (Book 2)


Happy June!

Last week, I said that I was reading the second book of Mo Dao Zu Shi, so I thought I would share some of it, because I read the first book back in September!


Following the trail of a dismembered corpse, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji arrive at the gates of Yi City: an old, abandoned town shrouded in mist and restless spirits. A fiendish foe awaits them in the shadows, heralding a tale of heartbreak and tragedy. When the mysterious corpse’s identity is finally revealed, the hunt for its killer plunges Wei Wuxian back into the depths of the cultivation world's politics, where he must keep his enemies close and Lan Wangji even closer.

The first book ended with Wuxian and Wangji entering a ghost town, which is one of my favorite storylines in the show. They're chasing this mystery, and they have no idea why. Having watched the show twice, I know why, but seeing how the scenes play out in the books is so exciting. The art associated with the scenes are also just breathtaking!

*chefs kiss* The story behind this picture is so heartbreaking. Someone said it's Shakespearean, and oh man, was it. I don't remember all of the details, but I do know he took out his own eyes and later down the road was tricked into killing his best friend, whose tongue had been cut out, so he couldn't warn him. So tragic. I'm still near the beginning of this book, so I can't wait to see where it ends.

Reading anything fun this month?

Weekly W...*delete* Monthly Re...*delete* Quarterly Goals!


The title is literally what just happened, because in my head, I thought, "Well, you can't say Weekly, because you haven't written in a month." So, I deleted it and started to write Monthly Review, and as I went to see which Friday it was for my tag, I noticed it's a FIFTH Friday, so here's an early Quarterly Goals post! Let's see how I did.

Last quarter, I was supposed to have gotten to part three of Divided Princess. Well??? I restarted, I think, twice? So, I'm not even at part two yet, BUT I do have scenes written FOR parts two and three, so there's that. I've actually been back to writing more, and the scenes I kept from the third pass are about to be placed, so I'm excited that it's coming back together.

I also had a goal to record the audiobook in January, but I'd been getting sick so much I didn't have the energy or the voice to, but I've figured out the issue and am periodically (quite literally periodically, ladies) increasing my Vitamin C and Zinc intake to boost my immune system. Since I work from home Thursdays and Fridays now and they're typically slow workdays, I'm going to do my best to record during those days.

I'm a little behind on my reading goal, because I was struggling through a book I've since given up on. I think I can catch up, though. I'm currently reading Mo Dao Zu Shi Book 2, and it's an easy read, especially having watched the Netflix show (The Untamed) twice. I love this franchise so much. I also want to get back into Chinese and Korean series. So little time to watch everything I want to watch, read everything I want to read, write everything I want to write. GAH!

I was supposed to be more engaged last quarter. I did join Threads, but Fractured Princess is no longer on Barnes & Noble's website. :( Maybe they stopped working with Amazon? I'm not sure. I just need to try to keep engagement up and generate interest. I will be participating in an Ace Aro Raid Train which starts tomorrow (click the banner to the right for all of the info and participants), so hopefully there will be some avid fantasy readers in the mix. I may also try to stream recording the audiobook again. We'll see. All that said, check my Linktree for updated links.

That's all for now. More convention news to come next quarter! Hopefully there are a few more down the line. Have a great weekend and see you next month! ;)

TV Show Review: We Are Lady Parts

Happy Friday! 

How are we already in May? I've vowed to do as much writing as possible today, so hopefully by the time this goes live, I've started. (Spoiler alert: I was still writing THIS 20 minutes ago.)

This is a rare review, in that I don't think I've ever reviewed a TV show. It's also a full circle moment in a weird way. The other day I was trying to find a blog post that talked about a webcomic I'm reading because it's about to end, and I stumbled upon this old post about a self-hating POC against Ms. Marvel being Kamala Khan. Since that post, we've not only gotten a Disney Plus show about Kamala Khan but a movie! I loved both. Others not so much, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the lighter sequels in the MCU after being gutted by Chadwick Boseman's real death, forcing Black Panther's death, and Iron Man's death.

But I digress. Kamala Khan was not only relatable and loveable, but seeing how she navigated her Muslim identity as a superhero made it even more authentic. I hope Mr. Ampikaipakan has either seen the error of his ways or still loses sleep seeing the success of Ms. Marvel all these years later.

All of that said, I stumbled upon a great show yesterday on Peacock and proceeded to binge watch it (there are only six 24-minute episodes, so it was easy). We Are Lady Parts created by Nida Manzoor.                          

Poster for Peacock Original show We Are Lady Parts.

Geeky biochemical engineering Ph.D. student Amina Hussein becomes the unlikely lead guitarist of Lady Parts, an all-female Muslim punk band on a mission to get a proper gig. Saira, the band's fierce and enigmatic frontwoman, sees something in Amina the others can't. Saira leverages Amina's desperation to find a husband and offers to set her up with potential matches if she agrees to join. Torn between her straitlaced university friends and members of Lady Parts, Amina tries to find her voice.

The show opens up with an instant clash of Muslim cultures as Amina (center) sits with her parents to meet a potential husband with his parents. Her parents are progressive and for the most part loving and supportive, but in this instance, they're embarrassing. Not that the other family was worthy of Amina, but at one point, her parents mention that she teaches music to under-privileged kids, for instance, and that earned a frown and "music is haram" from the other family. Yikes.

Amina is desperate to find a husband because all of her friends are married or engaged, and she sees a beautiful Muslim man who hands her a flyer for a band looking for a guitarist. She doesn't even pay attention to the band part; she just goes looking for the man and finds herself meeting Lady Parts. Mayhem and music ensue. I don't have a voice right now (been sick for two weeks), but there was one part where I whisper-yelled, "Yes, guitar riff!" Amina can SHRED!

So, we meet the other four girls on the poster: left to right: Momtaz, Saira, Bisma, and Ayesha, and right-off the bat, we have four different Muslim experiences on screen just by looking at them. They each have their own challenges as Muslim women as well as women singing very white-centered punk music. On top of this, Amina is trying very hard to balance these two lives she's in, so we have these five women just trying to live and love the music they create all while living in Muslim skin.

This show is topical, funny, heart-warming, and even as a Black Christian woman, a story that resonated with me because they're women of color trying to be heard in a world that has already labeled them as unworthy. I love each of the five characters, and Amina's parents, ugh, I just love them so much. I'm probably going to watch it again, and I just saw that Season 2 comes out at the end of this month (the first season aired in 2021!), so I can't wait to watch the trailer and see what's next to come for the ladies and their parts! hehe

Writing Update: Why is Writer's Block!?


Happy Friday! The first weeks of April were super busy for me. I was preparing for and attending my cousin's wedding, and I also visited Vermont for the first time (absolutely not the last) to see the eclipse! It was the coolest thing ever, and apparently, we had the clearest view, so winning! I spent most of my paycheck on maple products and books I could've bought at home. *insert upside down smiley face* It was worth it, though! Here are a few pictures!

I can't believe it got so dark! We could see Jupiter!

Anyway, so I brought my laptop with me in the event I had time to write, and ya knooooow....

I know I asked the question in the title, but I know exactly why I'm stuck this time. I fell back into the issue I was having with the first two passes. I'm moving the story way too quickly. FP had 15 chapters in the first part and although a lot happened, it wasn't something major every chapter, and that's what I feel like I'm doing right now. I went back to see how many days had technically passed, and it was literally three in six chapters. I definitely need to slow it back down, so I am going through and inserting more scenes. Not necessarily a whole new pass, but I did start a copy of the third to work on without ruining that pass if I give up (I won't, but just in case). When I say I want to be finished book three shortly after I finish this one, I mean it. I'll be 40 in 3 months, and I don't want to spend another five years writing this series, let alone twenty. There are so many other stories waiting for me, and I can't write simultaneously like I used to, which I hate.

Anyway, I leave you with a tumblr post that sums up my mood to a tee! See you soon. :)


Movie Review: The American Society of Magical Negroes

 I don't remember the last time I did a movie review. DnD, maybe? Either way, I decided to venture out and go see a movie last Friday. My choice was The American Society of Magical Negroes.

At first, like many others, I thought that it was going to be a movie about an actual Potter-esque (wish we had something else to use for a comparison at this point) movie with magical Black people. Then, I saw the trailer, and I remembered what a magical negro is.

For those who don't know, the term "magical negro" means a character in a story that only exists to further along the white main character's narrative. People like Morpheus in The Matrix, John Coffee in The Green Mile, Oda Mae Brown in Ghost, God in Bruce/Evan Almighty. If we're lucky, the characters have backstories and lives of their own. Worst case scenario, they're also the sacrificial negro, like John Coffee, or any Black character who don't make it past the opening credits.

So, I realized, "Oh, it's a satire," and I went in with that expectation.

The main character, Aren, is a tragically apologetic young man who does his best to stay out of the way while also trying to make his yarn art a thing. He ends up following the bartender at the exhibit, where his piece did not get sold, and learns during a situation that would've most certainly ended up with him beaten to death by drunk frat boys, that the bartender has magical powers, which help him to turn the situation around and make the white people docile.

At this point in the movie, I've already resonated with Aren. I say "Sorry" all the time, even when I'm the one getting bumped into, and I'd recently waited at the top of the stairs at work for two white women to come up, and they didn't even stop to offer a smile to acknowledge that I did. The difference is, while I wanted to turn to them and say, "You're welcome!" Aren probably didn't even think about it. He just wanted to be seen as a safe out-of-the-way person. He is also biracial, which comes with its own needs to be accepted.

So, the bartender, Roger, introduces him to this secret society where magical Black people use their gifts to keep white people happy so more Black people don't get killed. Several hilarious references in this first introduction, and if you've seen or read The Green Mile, you'll get one instantly. If you haven't, you'll definitely say, "What the hell?"

Anyway, Aren has this power, and his first case is the classic toxic white man we all know and are forced to tolerate. In many instances, he even says the standard lines: "I was picked because I deserved it," being one of them, when on the back end, we see he was picked because of misogyny. He's not even the most talented person on the team. His coworker, who ends up being Aren's love interest, is.

That's all I'll say about the plot, except for Aren has an amazing speech that I hope helps Justice Smith get a nomination next year.

Now, two takeaways in response to the upset by those who thought we were getting *real* Black magical school people.

1) There weren't enough Black people in the movie. There was an entire society of Black people we saw every two or three scenes. The movie didn't focus on them, but they were there. Bringing me to...

2) Another movie centering white people. Yeah, true, but also, that's quite literally the point of the movie. It put a lens on how Black people have to coddle the white people in this world in order to survive, all while hoping it even works in the first place.

Overall, it was a really good movie. The acting was great, the comedy was spot on, and the message gets received. I highly recommend, especially since it didn't get enough views the first week it came out.

Weekly Words and Playing Catch Up

 I'm writing this early, so I don't take another long break by accident.

February, as always, was dumb short. I blinked, and it was March. But despite what books the (might as well be alt but let's be real) right keep trying to ban, I hope you learned something new in Black History Month. And Happy Women's History Month!

I finished what I thought was a trilogy, but come to find out, there are at least 30 books in that series, and by the end of the third book, I was highly underwhelmed, so not continuing it. I will say that on behalf of Women's History Month, men, please stop trying to write teenage girls. It's painful to read. On that note, the book I started reading after that seems . . . interesting. From the blond/blue-eyed golden child (literally had a golden aura around him, as seen by homeless man he and his friends were harassing) to dogs getting taken up in the rapture but not cats, I'm worried about what the rest of the writing holds, but I'll stick it out.

I've been writing up a mild rain (not a storm but haha), and I'm excited! I was very tempted to just go ahead and start Book 3 in these Shattered Chronicles, but I'm behaving. Of all three books, though, I do have the majority of the third's plot points floating around in my head. I know what the entire first part is going to be, and I know what the resolution is and how we get there. I've almost come full circle with my original idea, because I wanted the series to feel like a Final Fantasy video game, and if you know anything about that "third cd" (if you know, you know), Book 3 is absolutely going to be that. I'm working myself up just thinking about it.

I also had plans to be editing my audiobook recording by now, but I was so sick in January that I was still recovering in February! Hopefully I can pick recording back up this month. I was really enjoying it, and I want to get the audiobook out this year. Let's hope I can!

In other news, I'm in an 8-week course on how to build a game from scratch thanks to Black Girl Gamers and Anything World. Making video games is something I've thought about/toyed very loosely with over the years, so maybe this is the start of something. At least a basic game. I'm also playing with the idea of maybe making a Chapters story? I haven't done dramatic soap-opera type stories since my high school fan fiction days, and it's been even longer since I've written chapter books, but who knows? I might abandon the idea in a few weeks. haha For now, I'm at least enjoying the weird werewolf drama I'm choosing my own adventure in.

I actually don't know how well blogs are still doing. Even I haven't read the ones I follow in years now. I know with Patreon and these new blog subscriptions that are gaining traction, more popular content creators have those avenues. I do not have that luxury. I've even fallen off the social media for the most part, but I do plan on picking that back up. I was certainly supposed to be engaging more on Facebook for sure, so I will do my best! In the meantime, Happy Lent, Mubarak Ramadan, and see you next time!

Weekly Words: Untouched by Robert J. Crane

It's already the end of January, what?!

And it's a Friday. so far, I've finished two books, so I'm proud of myself. One was short, non-fiction, and non-good, so there's that, but the other was the precursor to the book I'm currently reading: Untouched by Robert J. Crane.

Still haunted by her last encounter with Wolfe and searching for her mother, Sienna Nealon must put aside her personal struggles when a new threat emerges – Aleksandr Gavrikov, a metahuman so powerful, he could destroy entire cities – and he's focused on bringing the Directorate to its knees.

The ending of Alone was very interesting, as Sienna's true power finally manifested, and at least one of her mother's weird rules made perfect sense. I also looked up the definition of paranormal, and I understand why this is labeled that way now. With the introduction of this new character and starting with his past, I'm curious to how the rest of the story will play out. We still have no clue where Sienna's mother is, and like Sienna, I still don't know exactly who to trust. I've already seen a little growth in Sienna, but mostly because her stupid decisions have led to trauma, so hopefully there will be other ways her character arc develops, as I'm reading a grown man writing a sheltered teenaged girl. I'll see.

What are you reading?

Weekly Words: Alone by Robert J. Crane


Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2024. When you get older, time seems to move so much faster. I'll be 40 in July! How!?

Anyhow, with the start of the new year, I've started my most lofty reading goal yet, and that is to read 24 books this year. I have friends who have read 100, and I know I can't do that, but I can at least read two books a month if I get off my phone.

On that note, I have decided to chip away at my growing Kindle collection and have started with Robert J. Crane's Alone from his Girl in the Box series.

Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of who to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes...

Having written an objectively annoying teenager trying to take on the world herself, Sienna has made me mad several times in this book. She has spent most of years training to fight, and not being allowed to leave the house, so when she thinks she can take on the aforementioned psychopath who is not only psycho but noted as being a very old mythical-type creature, I knew she was delusional.

I'm curious to see how this pans out, because I want to know where her mom is, why she left, and more importantly, what Sienna actually is. The header on the Kindle also notes this series as being paranormal, but it's so far more supernatural, which is why I labelled this post as both.

The dialogue is great. Sienna is an asshole, and I do love an asshole main character. I just wish she wasn't also naively stupid. Hopefully she learns before the bodies stack up.

What are you reading? What are your reading goals this year?