Planet Q By Peter Quinones – Interview

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?
I like classic advertising copywriters like Shirley Polykoff and David Ogilvie.

2. What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?
That the subconscious mind really runs your life.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
I’m posting a novel online, a few excerpts at a time. www.atheisttwister.com

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
I write the basic tracks, beef it up little by little, then splash intense vocabulary words over it like spaghetti sauce.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I live on 20 acres of unimproved land so there’s not much to do. If I need money I can freelance as a nocturnal penile tumescence monitor.

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
I never really get it.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
Look at art, listen to music, watch dancers, watch films.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
Fighting procrastination.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
No, though I used to be heavily plugged into New York publishing when I was a kid.

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
I have four websites – Planet Q, Comet Fox, Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse, Atheist Twister.

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?
NA

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?
NA

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?
Probably a chess journalist.

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?
Confirming that authors share your experience of the world.

15. How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?
Strike a balance between general comment and illustrative detail.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?
NA

17. What is/are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?
The buzz is mostly positive.

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?
I would hope all different kinds of people.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?
What?

20. If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Ruth Bridge from the Bridge books by Evan S. Connell. I’d love to discuss sunbathing with her.

21. What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?
I’ll give you two, LOGIC by Olympia Vernon and SEVEN LOVES by Valerie Trueblood.

22. What’s a book you own that people would be most surprised to see on your shelf?
The Solitary Vice: Against Reading by Mikita Brottman.

23. Which author, living or dead, would you most like to meet? What would you hope to learn from them?
Gotta be Shakespeare, come on!

Planet Q by Peter Quinones

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?

I like classic advertising copywriters like Shirley Polykoff and David Ogilvie.

2.What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?

That the subconscious mind really runs your life.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?

I’m posting a novel online, a few excerpts at a time.  www.atheisttwister.com

4.Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?

I write the basic tracks, beef it up little by little, then splash intense vocabulary words over it like spaghetti sauce.

5.What do you do when you’re not writing?

I live on 20 acres of unimproved land so there’s not much to do. If I need money I can freelance as a nocturnal penile tumescence monitor.

6.How do you combat/cure writer’s block?

I never really get it.

7.What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?

Look at art, listen to music, watch dancers, watch films.

8.What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?

Fighting procrastination.

9.Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?

No, though I used to be heavily plugged in to New York publishing when I was a kid.

10.Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?

I have four websites – Planet Q, Comet Fox, Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse, Atheist Twister.

11.Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?

NA

12.How does your main character change throughout the story?

NA

13.If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?

Probably a chess journalist.

14.What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?

Confirming that authors share your experience of the world.

15.How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?

Strike a balance between general comment and illustrative detail.

16.What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?

NA

17.What is/are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?

The buzz is mostly positive.

18.What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?

I would hope all different kinds of people.

19.How do you organize your book collection, if at all?

What?

20.If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Ruth Bridge from the Bridge books by Evan S. Connell.  I’d love to discuss sunbathing with her.

21.What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?

I’ll give you two, LOGIC by Olympia Vernon and SEVEN LOVES by Valerie Trueblood.

22.What’s a book you own that people would be most surprised to see on your shelf?

The Solitary Vice: Against Reading by Mikita Brottman.

23.Which author, living or dead, would you most like to meet? What would you hope to learn from them?

Gotta be Shakespeare, come on!

Karen Wasylowski Questions for The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?
The Last Lumenian series had a lot of inspiration, ranging from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, to Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Princess Bride, and Guardians of the Galaxy just to name a few.
As to authors, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Diana Gabaldon, Patricia Briggs, and Ilona Andrews are all great examples.

2. What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?
I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a person; learned to be more patient; learned to celebrate every milestone along the way; and lastly, I’ve learned that writing is a journey not a destination.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
I am currently working on book 3, and book 2 is planned to be released this December.

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
I spend 3 or 4 months on outlining and notes before I jump into writing. The writing itself is about 30 days or so. I don’t edit as I go; I get everything out on the page then do the revision/editing as needed.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I picked up a few new “covid” hobbies like making diamond painting notebooks and bookmarks, and building miniature dollhouses alongside reading and watching movies.

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
I have not encountered writer’s block, mostly because I don’t believe in it. When a scene is not coming to me, I usually step back and do something else for a day or two. Almost always I end up with a solution or an even better scene after a day.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
Reading is very important, not just in the favored genre but outside of it; keeping a journal and doing writing prompts are great ways to develop your author voice. Always write down any ideas that pop in your head and see which one makes you want to read that book or get excited about developing that story. It is also a good idea to develop your craft during this time–read “how to” books, go to writers’ conferences and participate in Read & Critique groups.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
The most challenging part was not relating to writing but to its time aspect. I had no idea how long it would take to write my book (it took 6 years). I had to learn to be patient and appreciate the journey of writing.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
I am a lifetime member of the San Diego Writers Ink; member of the RWA, IAN and IBPA

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
Readers can find me on my website: www.thelastlumenian.com; on Instagram @sgblaiseofficial and on Twitter @SGBlaiseAuthor. There is also a Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/thelastlumenian

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?
Lilla is sassy, intelligent, kind and royal. She was born as a princess but her royal title did not get to her head. She is funny and wants to find her true place in life, amidst overwhelming pressure from her father and an archgoddess. She struggles with claustrophobia but does not let it overtake her.

When I was writing Lilla’s character, I tried to imagine someone who could be my best friend–inspirational and loyal, someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously, and someone who is by no means perfect.

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?
Lilla starts out as a powerless princess who becomes a rebel then an inspiring hero by the end of the story.

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?
I might have ended up as an amatuer stand-up comedian.

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?
The most satisfying part of being an author is getting to live my passion and dream.

15. How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?
I hope that the readers will not only enjoy a few hours of much-needed escape from reality, but they come away with the message that you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?
My book is a fantasy, so I just made up the time and place that suited the story best–futuristic society with highly evolved technology, and with underdeveloped social and moral integrity. This background is not only relevant to today’s world but provided the most challenges for my heroine.

17. What is/are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?
The Last Lumenian has earned Readers’ Favorite 5-star badge; it has 19 wins, placements and honors up to this date; Kirkus Review calls it a “A terrifically entertaining, complex and original fantasy.” It has nearly 4,000 5-star ratings on Goodreads and over 240 reviews on Amazon.

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?
Anyone who loves the mix of sci-fi and fantasy that has humor and a sprinkling of romance would enjoy reading my book.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?
It’s instinctual and not a system per say.

20. If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I’d love to have coffee with Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. I have always admired her confidence and integrity as she handled challenging situations without giving up on her principles.

21. What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?
I love P.G. Wodehouse books that probably previous generations are more familiar with than the younger ones.

22. What’s a book you own that people would be most surprised to see on your shelf?
I have a book or two that discuss mathematical principles.

23. Which author, living or dead, would you most like to meet? What would you hope to learn from them?
The writer I would like to meet the most is Kurt Vonegut. I absolutely admire his writing style and humor.

The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise

 

Story Summary:

She is a rebel. Lilla is fighting for the refugees’s freedom from oppression. The king, her father, lost touch with reality ever since Lilla’s mother died. Now everyone else is paying the price.

The arrival of Callum, a powerful Teryn general, complicates Lilla’s life. His presence leads to conflicted feelings and friction with Arrov, a handsome pilot and fellow rebel.

Her life is not what she imagined it to be. Not by far. Meddling gods, love interests and sudden magical abilities have no room in Lilla’s world, but that has become her new reality. No matter how hard she pushes them away, it’s too late. They all seek to control her anyway.

Now the Era War between two ruling archgods forces Lilla to act: accept who she really is magic and all; find true love; fulfill her destiny by defeating the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction before He finds her. The Last Lumenian.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/3gUBBcA

 

Kirkus Review:

A rebellious princess discovers magical abilities that help her take on a powerful enemy in this debut fantasy. As the king’s daughter, 17-year-old Ma’hana Lilla of the planet Uhna is expected to obey. But Lilla strongly disagrees with her father’s policies, which keep refugees imprisoned in squalid camps even though Uhna is immensely wealthy thanks to mastering technology that’s combined with elemental magic. Lilla joins the rebellion, but events become complicated when Callum a’ruun, a general with the Teryn Praelium, arrives with a delegation. They’re seeking assistance from the 19 worlds of the Pax Septum Coalition, which Uhna leads. Although the Archgoddess of the Eternal Light and Order prevailed last time in the era wars, the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction is again gathering an army of corrupt fiends and servants. Besides politics, Lilla struggles with panic disorder, grief over her mother’s early death, and alarm over the control her new, young stepmother wields over the king. Callum is both irritating and attractive, complicating Lilla’s relationship with Arrov, a pilot who’s joined the rebellion. But all these local and personal difficulties pale beside the undeniable call of Lilla’s true nature, her untapped magical abilities, and her essential role in combating the Archgod. In her novel, Blaise deftly blends Lilla’s approachable, young present-tense voice with sophisticated worldbuilding, seen even in minor details. For example, guards still wear cutlasses because Uhna was founded by pirates, and Lilla’s island home is reflected in her favorite expletive: “Buckets of fishguts!” The plot’s many disparate ingredients—romance, war, politics, magic, technology, family tensions, theology, psychology—meld in a deliciously hearty bouillabaisse, helped by intelligent exposition, surprising revelations, believable conflicts, and strong character development. Everything builds to an exciting, dramatic, and satisfying conclusion. A terrifically entertaining, complex, and original fantasy.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/s-g-blaise/the-last-lumenian/

 

AWARDS:

2020 New York Book Festival
Winner: Romance
Honorable Mention: Science Fiction

2020 San Francisco Book Festival

Winner: Science Fiction

2020 Annual Best Book Awards

Winner: Best Cover for Fiction

2020 New England Book Festival

Winner: Science Fiction

2021 Independent Press Award

Distinguished Favorite: Fantasy

 

Author Info:

S.G. was born in a faraway land of castles, monarchies and fallen dictatorships. Hollywood movies were forbidden under the Soviet oppression during her childhood, but her dad smuggled them in anyway, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and hope inherent in those stories. She watched rebellions unfold in real time. Journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for love. She ended up in sunny California, where she is living her dream – writing stories and annoying family members.

Twitter – @SGBlaiseAuthor

Facebook – https://facebook.com/thelastlumenian

Instagram – @sgblaiseofficial

Interview with Ballet Orphans Author Terez Mertes Rose

Terez Mertes Rose is the author of the Ballet Theatre Chronicles and A Dancer’s Guide to Africa. A former Peace Corps volunteer and ballet dancer, her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Crab Orchard Review, Women Who Eat (Seal Press), A Woman’s Europe (Travelers’ Tales), Literary Mama and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She reviews dance performances for Bachtrack.com and blogs about ballet and classical music at The Classical Girl. She makes her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband and son.

 

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?
Long answer: I own a few hundred books adorning multiple bookshelves in my house, some in my possession since my teens, some published in the past month. Each one has informed and enhanced my writing, either the author’s voice or their storytelling skills, or both. It would be really hard to choose which one had the most influence.

Short answer: Adrienne Sharp’s gorgeous ballet fiction. Stephen Manes’ When Snowflakes Dance and Swear. Anything by Curtis Sittenfeld.

2. What’s one thing that you learned while writing your book?
I learned a lot about the early days of Silicon Valley. It’s crazy fascinating.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
I am working on a Book 4 of the Ballet Theatre Chronicles (Ballet Orphans is a series prequel and Book 3). I’ve gotten the basic story down and have written for months without judgment, so now it’s a big bloated mess with a lot of sloppy writing. This is where the real work begins for me. I couldn’t be happier. I prefer crafting and rewriting over the tricky creation of something out of nothing.

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
I get up at 4:30am and start writing as soon as possible. Mornings are my best time. I try not to focus too much on outline in the beginning of the process because that kills the muse. But as soon as things gel, I do develop a chapter-by-chapter outline, just a sentence or two for each chapter. This gives me both structure and freedom. I edit some as I go, but I try not to “put on the editor’s cap” like I do in the final draft. It kills the muse, for me, to get too nitty-gritty editorial too early.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, read, read. Attend to my household’s and family’s needs. And I’m an exercise junkie, and I love walking out in nature, so that’s a chunk of my day too. It pairs nicely with the isolationist stress and sedentary nature of writing. It also gives me time to daydream. (A fiction writer’s best friend!)

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
I give myself permission to write really bad stuff. We’re talking really bad. But keeping the fingers moving is crucial to me. Occasionally my writing block (which has a lot to do with my mood, my spirits) is so debilitating, even that feels like a challenge. On those occasional days, maybe once a month, I give myself a break, find a book I love escaping into, and make it a “return to the bed and just read” day. Or I journal. I’m a nonfiction writer and blogger as well as a novelist, so, in general, there are plenty of different directions I can steer myself.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
Just write. Stop talking about doing it, and just do it. Journaling. Plucking a subject out of the air and goofing around. Telling a story. A poem. Do it daily. Keep your goals small. Start with 20 minutes a day, every day. Use a timer. The fun thing about becoming a writer is that, provided you write daily, you’re a writer. Every time you write, you’re a writer. If it bores you to write daily, well, reconsider whether you want to be a writer. Writing sounds glamorous from a distance. It’s actually more like shoveling dirt. The pay for your effort, financially, is peanuts. A writer writes because they can’t not write. It’s equal parts a blessing and a curse.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
Making it not sound like the other two books in the series, and yet, not too different. They are all three set in the professional ballet world, which is quite specific. It’s hard to come up with new ways of saying much of the same thing.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
I’ve kept my presence in groups small after the early learning years, because it can become a convenient distraction, to talk/write about writing instead of going into a cave and doing the work. At this time, I’m part of an online writers’ group called Backspace. A group of us have remained connected, via discussion forums, for something like 20 years. It’s been an invaluable support.

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
My blog, The Classical Girl (www.theclassicalgirl.com), is my biggest social media contribution, where I’ve written over 230 essays that have garnered over a million page views. I’m as committed to that as I am my fiction. That’s where readers can find me, and find a variety of articles, essays, and dance reviews. They can also reach me via Facebook (as The Classical Girl) and Twitter (@classicalgrrl).

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?
April is a great character; I like her a lot. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and isn’t as flamboyant as some of my other narrators. She actually showed up in the first two books of the series, years back, so I couldn’t make up something out-of-character when it came her turn to narrate. She loses both parents by the time she turns 26, and left home at age 15 to train for a dance career, so she keenly feels the loss of family, which, in turn, makes her reflective, compassionate, in search of personal closeness. And a damned good dancer.

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?
She becomes less self-centered about her determination to make it to the top as a ballet professional. Still grieving the death of her parents and feeling alone in the world, she opens herself to new possibilities, new friendships, which play an enormous part in how she changes through the story. She grows wiser, tougher in some ways, and softer in others.

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?
I am so enamored with the ballet world, through my writing, and it’s a love that hasn’t died. So, if I were much younger, I’d go nose around and see if I could involve myself in dance administration, or it’s equivalent in the world of classical music. I love being in those worlds, in any capacity. Then again, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer back in the late 1980s and the need to serve in a socially relevant fashion is still there, too. My career could have gone the way of the social services. The nice thing about being a writer is that pondering the path not taken is great fodder for writing fiction.

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?
I love that I can believe wholeheartedly in the product I’m creating. I like working alone, and I like working on deep, involved projects. When I’m in the middle of creating a novel, I’m so content, and the rest of the world just falls away. I’ve never felt that kind of contentment in any other job. At the same time, it challenges me, a lot, in ways I’ve never found in other jobs.

15. How do you think your book can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?

They get to learn about the “behind the curtains” world of ballet. It eternally fascinates me, and I’m always on the lookout for books that do this. There are so few. Readers frequently comment how much they enjoyed this glimpse of something they knew nothing about. The novel I wrote prior, A Dancer’s Guide to Africa, is one I wish everyone would read. It’s set in provincial Africa, the “real” Africa and not the one in the movies, loosely mirroring my two-year experiences as a teacher there, and it educates readers, in a fun, engrossing way, on what it’s like to live in a dramatically different culture.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?
I knew which year it had to be—1989 and 1990—because the chronology of the series was already set, from the other books. Likewise, the story is set in San Francisco, the same as the others, out of necessity.

17. What are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?
I was happy that Kirkus Reviews called Ballet Orphans, “A stimulating and entertaining tale in which passion and art intermingle.” And I liked the endorsement from author Kelly Mustian (The Girls in the Stilt House), who said that I usher readers “behind the scenes of the gritty and glamorous world of ballet and captivates us with a story that is ultimately about universal themes of loss, hope, belonging, and what makes a family.” While I’m grateful that friends and family love the book and the series, it’s endorsements from ballet professionals and administrators that mean the world to me, like Lauren Jonas, artistic director of Diablo Ballet, who said, “I could identify with [April’s] struggles and achievements and I rooted for her along the way. A recommended read for all, dancer and non-dancer alike.”

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?
I’d say females, age 18-60, but I’ve been surprised to find plenty of male readers engaging in the series. Then again, plenty of males are interested in the dance world. So, I’d say, any reader who is curious about the performing arts world and what really goes on behind the scenes. Readers who love ballet will love this book. Book club readers who want a smart, fun, intelligent, warmly romantic read without the cutesy nature of chick lit. Romance readers. Women’s fiction readers.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?
I don’t. The books on my various bookshelves tend to be a disorganized mess. I don’t care. They are all lovely books. I try to limit their presence to bookshelves, but they start to stack up and spill out into their own piles, and to make space on the bookshelf once again, I have to weed out the ones I won’t read again. I hate doing that. It’s like trying to weed out old friends. You’ll miss them if you let them go.

You can buy Ballet Orphans from Amazon here – https://amzn.to/2RknEMd

Cowell ‘crossing fingers’ for Dragon 3 Oscar win

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cowell is the author of the How To Train Your Dragon novel series

One intriguing subplot at this year’s Oscars can be found in the animated feature film category, where the third How To Train Your Dragon film is up against Toy Story 4.

There’s previous here, as it was Toy Story 3 that stopped the first How To Train Your Dragon winning this award in 2011.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 also lost out in 2015 (to Big Hero 6), so this is the final opportunity for DreamWorks’ fire-breathing franchise to take home an Oscar.

Set in and around a Viking land called Berk, the series tells of a young warrior called Hiccup and his adventures with his loyal dragon Toothless.

One person who’ll definitely be rooting for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is Cressida Cowell, the British author (and Children’s Laureate) whose books inspired the series.

“I so want them to get it, I can’t tell you how much,” she told BBC News last month. “I’m crossing my fingers, I’m crossing my toes… I’m crossing absolutely everything.

“I could not be prouder of these movies and I really want them to get the Oscar they so deserve.”

Authors aren’t always pleased by adaptations of their books. Yet Cowell said she had found the process “really enjoyable”.

“I’ve loved the whole thing,” she declared. “It has been really fascinating to have an insight into a world I wasn’t really intending to end up in.”

Another bonus is the number of new young readers the films’ success has brought her way.

“Often people see the films as a sort of rival,” she said. “But I’m passionate about getting books in the hands of all children and the films have been wonderful for doing that.”

Two Netflix titles, Klaus and I Lost My Body, are also nominated this year, as is stop-motion animation Missing Link.

If the latter film doesn’t win, it will be the fifth time that Laika – the studio previously nominated for Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings – goes home empty-handed.

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption Klaus tells an alternative version of the Santa Claus origin story

Missing Link was crowned best animated film at the Golden Globes in January, while Klaus – an alternative version of the Santa Claus origin story – won the equivalent prize at the Bafta Film Awards last weekend.

Those films are generally considered to be the front runners in a category that has only been part of the Academy Awards since 2002.

Director Chris Butler was nominated, alongside fellow Brit Sam Fell, when ParaNorman was shortlisted for the animated film Oscar in 2013.

The Liverpool native describes Missing Link as “a kaleidoscopic travelogue” in which a 19th Century English explorer goes in search of a fabled Sasquatch creature.

“I started writing this 15 or so years ago, and the idea was to have a stop motion version of Indiana Jones,” he told the BBC last year.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionOscar-nominated film writer and director Chris Butler’s top tips

Hugh Jackman provides the voice for the heroic Sir Lionel Frost, while Zach Galifianakis voices the Yeti he discovers in America’s Pacific Northwest.

“Stop motion has a grand tradition of animated ape-men going all the way back to King Kong [1933], so I thought he was the perfect fit for this medium,” Butler continued.

Missing Link was not a box office success when it came out last April, barely recouping a quarter of its reported $100m (£77m) budget.

Toy Story 4, in contrast, made more than $1.07bn (£821m) worldwide, narrowly exceeding the $1.06bn (£813mn) that Toy Story 3 grossed in 2010.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles on 9 February.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected].

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-51358376

Chrissy Stocktons New Journal Is The Only Breakup Guide Youll Ever Need

Over the many years I have been following Chrissy Stockton, her writing has done the rare magic of consistently opening my mind to new ways of thinking and guiding me at times when I couldn’t figure out which way was forward.

Chrissy’s work is where poetry merges with reality.

Whether it’s esoteric or very practical, her words are a light, a safe place, and an awakening all at once. (“100 Reasons Why Losing Him Is Not A Loss” was not only an article that healed me after many a breakup, but a link I have sent to countless friends dealing with their own losses over the years.) Chrissy isn’t just a writer I admire, she’s also one of my best friends. We talk almost every day. Over the years, I’ve seen her practice what she (doesn’t preach) but shares with anyone who wants to listen, and can tell you firsthand she is authentically and so truly connected to what it means to be alive through the questions and answers, the peaks and the pits.

I was elated to find out that she had distilled all of her wisdom and (often hard-earned) knowledge into a compact journal where you could not only learn, but engage, draw out your emotions, reconcile your thoughts, and move forward.

I asked her a few questions about the book, her own experiences, and what she wishes she could have known when she was young.

1. I love this book because it’s a guide that doesn’t yet exist for one of the most common experiences in the world. Before you wrote it, what resources did you use to get over heartbreaks of your own?

An unhealthy way I walked myself through this was by obsessively Googling and reading relationship articles and Ask Reddit threads about relationships and breakups. I definitely wanted to get people out of doing that and into a more safe and introspective space. I grew up with the idea of “daily devotionals” (a religious practice of reading/journaling everyday) so I thought a workbook with an idea about healing and journaling space for every day would be the best. It’s not the one and only way to get through a breakup, but I think it’s an approach that’s fundamentally healthy and if you are doing healthy things that work through your emotions, it’s impossible not to make progress.

I have to say that all the articles I read compulsively didn’t even quench the thirst I had in searching for them. The best advice for moving on I’ve gotten was actually reading a Brené Brown book that isn’t about relationships where she talks about responding to that kind of manic feeling by taking a few breaths and asking myself to “zoom out.” When I think about the grand scheme of my life and my values, it’s a lot easier to see a rejection along the way as a necessary component of a bigger story whereas before I’d been in the headspace that the failed relationship was the whole story — and this was the end of everything.

2. You talk about how there are “two arrows,” the first that hurts us, and then the one we hurt ourselves with. It seems like this is the bulk of getting over a breakup. How do we learn to stop kicking ourselves when we’re down?

I view it all as a process rather than something that is hit or miss. If you make a goal to stop being hard on yourself but you’re still hard on yourself — to me, that’s not a failure, that’s the first phase of learning not to be hard on yourself because at least now you are consciously failing. Knowing you are bad at something is a step up from not knowing you are bad at something. Mastery comes later.

There’s no rush for this type of stuff even though it can feel like an emergency in the moment. You just have to accept that it’s going to take time and that most of the progress is going to be made while you aren’t paying attention. It’s like bulking up — you go to the gym and do the work but the magic happens while you’re resting and recovering. I think learning not to hurt yourself with the second arrow is part of self-mastery, which is a lifelong process of slowly working on yourself over time.

3. It’s interesting that people tend to assume a breakup is an assessment of worthiness when it’s just a matter of being matched or mismatched. The worst people in the world find love. Why do you think we treat it like a competitive sport?

Most people’s biggest fear is feeling unworthy of being in community with others. It’s a very understandable human fear and most people can feel a difference in their bodies just reading about it. We tense up. We don’t want to be picked last. Additionally, our brains are wired so that fear has a huge impact on our thoughts. This was at one point useful for survival. But we don’t have to worry about tigers jumping out of the trees anymore, so fear thoughts interrupting our everyday thoughts is more harmful than helpful. When we’re dealing with rejection, the fear voice keeps making us aware that we are close to danger. We’ve kind of evolved to be neurotic and obsessive even though it’s so ridiculously obvious that rejection is normal, common, and necessary.

When you really consider how fragile we all are and all the land mines and timing issues and misunderstandings we have to navigate in dating it makes perfect sense why it feels so hard.

4. Modern dating culture makes it seem embarrassing to get attached, when it would probably be far more strange to have an intimate relationship and not get attached to it at all. Do you think that this blame game part of what holds people back from healing?

This is something I have really struggled with in the past. I wish everyone knew how much gaslighting there is out there that has conditioned us to associate normal and appropriate human feelings with being “crazy.” Humans aren’t robots. We have emotions and we love and in most other time periods this was considered a beautiful thing. I feel more sane when I compare the way I feel about people to what I read in literature or hear in the lyrics of songs vs. what I read on the internet. These are legacy art objects that different generations have related to and venerated, so when I relate to them, I understand that removed from trends, all the feelings I have are just the same thing that’s happening to everyone else whether we admit to them or not.

5. What are the most life-changing lessons you took away from your worst breakups?

The hardest thing in the world is to learn not to take it personally. We know that people’s behavior towards us is just them projecting their own shit out into the world but it just feels so personal. It could just be the wrong time, or we could just have the wrong color hair. There’s so much luck and circumstance that goes into attraction and getting a relationship off the ground. But it always just feels like if we would have said the right thing or worn the right outfit the story would have ended differently. Learning not to take it personally takes a lot of practice.

6. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would you want her to know?

You are alive just to be you. That’s enough. I struggle with people pleasing, especially with dating. So I have to remind myself that my purpose isn’t to be beautiful or to receive the attraction of a certain person. I’m the protagonist of my life and sometimes I just need to get off my phone and go outside.

7. If someone just split with their ex today, what would you tell them to do tonight?

Physiologically, you are not capable of sustaining an intense feeling of distress for a long period of time. It will ebb and flow. You won’t be able to avoid pain, but you can lean learn to ride the waves.

Related

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2020/01/chrissy-stocktons-new-journal-is-the-only-breakup-guide-youll-ever-need

5 Massive Plot Holes From ‘You’ Season Two | Betches

Some say that the best holiday gift was spending time with family. I, however, forwent family time this holiday season to lock myself in my childhood room and binge the second season of You because Netflix’s impeccable timing is truly the best gift of all. If you didn’t watch, just stop reading now because there will be many a spoiler. Season two is exactly like season one except it takes place in L.A. and is slightly better because more people die in this one, and because the names in this season are even dumber than Guinevere Beck, if you can believe it. 

I’m not going to summarize the second season, nor am I going to review it, but I will offer five of my favorite inconsistencies because even though Joe Goldberg is my favorite Jewish murderer, he f*cked up a lot. Buckle up, because we’re about to take a drive through the biggest plot holes of You season two.

1. Henderson’s “Suicide”

Similar to that of Jeffery Epstein, Henderson’s death was a very obvious murder that the cops stupidly believed was a suicide. If watching 22 seasons of Law & Order: SVU has taught me anything, it’s that suicides are pretty easy to differentiate from homicides, so I’m confused how anyone with working vision could walk into Hendy’s sex dungeon and just be like, “Yep, suicide for sure.” To set the scene, Henderson is laying face down in a pool of his own blood with rope marks on both wrists and a f*ckton of GHB in his system. I’m no detective, but that doesn’t seem like a suicide to me, L.A.P.D.! Of course, he died in a sex dungeon, so the rope marks could have just been some kind of BDSM thing, but the GHB? Generally, if you want to enjoy the sex you’re about to have, you don’t roofie yourself right beforehand. 

Obviously, it is later revealed that, surprise, his death actually wasn’t a suicide, and the police decide that the most obvious target on whom to pin the murder is a 15-year-old girl, because of course. All the cops had to do was visit the scene of the crime to realize that her fingerprints, hair, fibers, etc. are nowhere to be found to conclude that she was never down there. Of course, she could have been wearing gloves, but since she can barely read a book, if she was down there, she’d likely leave some evidence.

And lastly, if every 7/11 has a security camera on its slushy machines, wouldn’t it make sense for a hugely famous comedian in L.A. to have a few cameras on his multi-million dollar home to avoid things like break-ins and murders? All I gotta say is f*ck the police. Case closed, people. 

2. The Whole LSD Incident

I can derail this plot line in one single sentence: LSD does not cause memory loss. Period. There are plenty of drugs that do, though, so I’m confused why the sh*tty writers chose this specific drug for Joe’s epic blackout during which he’s convinced that he murdered hot neighbor Delilah. Also, why was Forty (why???) able to recall every detail of his night and Joe can’t remember a damn thing? They took the same drug, right?

Also, question for Forty: if you’re trying to have a really productive night, drugging your writing partner with a hallucinogen just doesn’t sound like it’d be a good idea. I can barely write a 1,000-word Betches story on iced coffee, so I can’t imagine having to bang out an entire script on f*cking acid. Forty also never really explains why he thought slipping the brains of the partnership a hallucinogen was a good call, so I’m doubly confused. It seems like it would have made more sense for them to rent a WeWork room and bang out a few pages before calling it a day. 

3. The Au Pair’s “Suicide”

Ah, another very obvious murder staged as a suicide. If the police were to believe this was a suicide and not a troubled teen committing her first of many murders, they’d likely want the knife that the au pair supposedly used to confirm. However, had they done that, they would have found baby Love’s fingerprints all over it and filed a cute little manslaughter charge against her. 

The Quinn family, who are supposed to be super loaded yet their only real asset is *checks notes* a health food store (sounds like MLM but okay), covers up the murder like it ain’t no thang. When I was in high school, I could barely manage to cover up skipping track practice to hang out with my boyfriend, let alone killing my babysitter in cold blood (and in broad daylight) and framing my brother for it. If Love wanted to kill the nanny and make it look like a suicide, why not just take a note from Henderson’s book and slip her a little too much GHB? Not that I spend my days thinking about how to kill the people I hate without going to jail for it, but drugs seem like the most obvious route to take.

4. The Cage

I know this is really specific, but how in the actual f*ck did Joe manage to bring the fiberglass soundproof cage with him from New York to L.A.? I once left a West Elm sofa in Atlanta because I couldn’t figure out how to get it from there to New York without spending more than the sofa was worth, but you’re telling me that a bookstore clerk moved a small building across the country? Bitch, please. Also, did he just steal it from the bookstore in New York or have a new one made? I know this seems like a really niche detail, but since most of the scenes take place in the storage unit, I have a lot of questions re: its cross-country journey. 

Another issue I have with the cage is what it’s used for. I feel like this is a little much for old books, no? Like, the Declaration of Independence has a protective case, but not its own freaking house. Why do rare books from what seems like a run-of-the-mill bookstore get their own bulletproof mansion? It honestly seems like this cage was built for people to get murdered in, which is totally fine by me, but let’s stop pretending it’s saving old books from ruin and call a spade a spade, mmkay?

5. Love and Forty

The absurd names aren’t really a plot hole, but they are on this list because I need an explanation. In my opinion, you can’t name two of the main characters Love and Forty without some sort of reasoning behind them. All I know is that they are tennis terms, but since there is only one tennis scene in this show, I’m really f*cking confused—especially because the tennis scene was reminiscent of the one from Bridesmaids in that they all suck ass at tennis. It would be one thing if all of the characters had ridiculous names (they’re in L.A., after all), but I just feel like you can’t have some characters with names like Joe, Ellie and Candice and then have a few more named Love and Forty. WTF, Netflix? Aside from the fact that the twins’ names are weird af, I also don’t understand why one twin is named zero, essentially, and the other is named after the score just before match point. I’m seriously confused. Were Deuce and Fifteen taken by another teen thriller? 

Did I miss any massive plot holes? Let me know in the comments! XOXO Gossip Girl

Images: Netflix Media Center; Giphy (5)

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=75644

Karen Wasylowski Questions for SB Hilarion I AM Manifesto

1. Which books/authors inspired your work?

  • I’m a big fan of 13th century poet and mystic Rumi, and I’m constantly blown away by his quotes and how much they ring true to our lives.

2. What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?

  • The beauty and power of words and how much of an impact internalizing certain words and their meanings can have on one’s view of life and circumstances, and actions. I’m not making a profound statement but I was really pulled in by certain words during the journey, and I actually discovered certain things about myself as well.

3. After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?

  • I’m writing now my third book, Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies. I’m more than half-way through writing it, and I hope to release it later in 2020.

4. Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?

  • During the weekday, I research and write at night. I spend time with my kids, then go down for a nap between 7:30 and 8pm. I wake up between 9:30 and 10 pm and then I proceed to work until about 1:30 am. On the weekend, I would work until 3 / 4 am.
  • I outline, yes, and for my works with illustrations, I initially sketch in black pen before I draw with ebony graphite lead pencil. I edit as I go along, usually midway each chapter.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?

  • I read a lot of articles on science especially on space, the environment, world cultures, and for fun a lot of Nordic noir books. For vacations, my family and I enjoy traveling to countries, visiting as much archeological cultural sites and museums as we can, and eating only local cuisine to complete the experience.

6. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?

  • I first take it as a sign from my body that it needs a mental and physical break. After a few days of not writing, I then start either researching and illustrating something related to my book as both bring out my creativity.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?

  • Meditate (which I’m not good at), and listen to chakra / mantra music.

8. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?

  • Trying to find as many inspirational words that were in A all the way to Z, then trying not to duplicate (too many) words with similar meanings in the same month.

9. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?

  • Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators

10. Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?

  • I have a website: www.sbhilarion.com; and I’m on Facebook @sbhilarion, but unfortunately I’m not a big social media user.

11. Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?

  • Brother-sister young siblings Hao Finley Lee and Sabine Yi Lee. They are avid knowledge seekers with a keen interest in math, science, languages and food. They’re multi-racial characters. My two children are the inspirations.

12. How does your main character change throughout the story?

  • My books are narrative nonfiction. Therefore, it’s not so much that my main characters change, but that as they learn new things, you see how such impact them (or not).

13. If you weren’t an author, where do you think you’d be? What would you be doing?

  • I actually am an attorney (day, night and weekend—sad face).

14. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?

  • Honestly, all the knowledge that I’m learning and I am trying to share with children globally.

15. How do you think your book (F)/story (NF) can help people? What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book?

  • To encourage kids to believe in themselves, to trust their instincts, to be empathetic, not to be entitled or to place high value on narcissistic qualities.

16. What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?

  • I AM Manifesto actually is the second book that I wrote. However, it’s the first that I published in 2018 solely because that was the year of the ten-year anniversary of the passing of my first son.

17. What is/are reviewers/family/friends/other authors saying about your book?

  • I AM Manifesto has received great editorial reviews, ranging from 4 – 5 stars. Two in particular that I really liked were from the Seattle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite, respectively: “I enjoyed this book, and it is one that I believe will help parents build connections with their kids and encourage positive thinking alike.” & “Let me begin by being very frank: I AM Manifesto by SB Hilarion is the most unusual and unique book for children that I have ever reviewed…. I AM Manifesto is a means of getting into the practice of giving yourself encouragement and positive reinforcement daily…a worthwhile habit not just for children but for adults as well.”

18. What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?

  • In no particular order:
    • Parents who want to instill certain values in their children;
    • Parents who just want their kids to know SAT-type vocabulary words (LOL!);
    • Kids and adults who are bullied, physically and emotionally abused, or have low self-esteem; and
    • Kids who are philomaths – love learning and are seeking knowledge.

19. How do you organize your book collection, if at all?

  • I don’t actually.

20. If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?

  • Hermione from Harry Potter: everything about the wizard world!
  • Together, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander: everything going on in today’s world and our individual purpose and journey!

21. What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?

  • I honestly don’t know which to choose.

22. What’s a book you own that people would be most surprised to see on your shelf?

  • I’m an open book. My book collection reflects my personal beliefs and interests, which those who know me would already know.

23. Which author, living or dead, would you most like to meet? What would you hope to learn from them?

  • JK Rowling, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Jo Nesbø; 18th and 19th century mystical writers, and of course Rumi.
  • How to write nonfiction in an engaging and page-turning manner that it reads like a novel.