Mid-Summer Update

Wow! This summer has been busy! I haven’t had a chance to write on the blog in a while, so I wanted to give you all a quick update on everything that’s been going on lately. 

New Job

I’ve been hired at another school district in another city over the summer. I’ll miss my teaching team a lot, a lot, a lot, but a shorter drive to work and home will be nice. Big change is always stressful, but it can also be good and I hope this change will be good.

Not looking forward to moving all my teaching material to a new school though…

Mistconceptions

If you haven’t read it already, I’m producing an actual-play podcast titled “Mistconceptions” featuring my wife and a few friends. Episodes come out biweekly on Monday. We are currently at 13 episodes and gaining new subscribers every day. I love to create and Mistconceptions gives me an opportunity to consistently create a great, fun story with my friends and share it with people. It’s encouraging to hear from our listeners and see our ratings improve nearly every week.

If you are interested in listening to our podcast, you can find it on iTunes, Soundcloud, or go to the Tab above titled “Mistconceptions.”

Book Queries: Sent!

I’ve wanted to be a published author for as long as I can remember, ever since I took some paper out of my school’s printer, stapled it together, and made an extremely childish book looking at the “facts” of whether life exists on other planets. I wrote the first draft for my first novel The Return of Infernus back in 2009. Since then, it has undergone major editing and went from being little more than a fan fiction to a full-length novel that I would actually want people to read.

The Return of Infernus is the first full-length novel I’ve ever completed and two years ago, I sent out my first book queries to agents for representation. All four agents I sent my query to declined to represent my book. I told myself I wouldn’t get discouraged and even wrote a blog post about it. But despite telling myself this, I still lost steam. School started up and I began my career in teaching. Writing took a back door and I would spend a rare free Saturday writing and editing my novel, but the four rejections weighed heavy on me. I only mustered enough courage to send one query last summer and received another rejection. I set the novel aside and forgot about it.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had given up on my dream.

This summer, however, I realized how stupid it was of me to give up on my oldest dream. I don’t doubt my bolstering of courage came from “Mistconceptions” and from the reviews and opinions I got back from my listeners. Even if five agents didn’t like my work, there were people out there who did and probably agents I hadn’t queried who would!

Another book from around the same time as my “Do Aliens Exist?” book.

As of yesterday, I sent five new queries to five new agents and every week I’m going to solicit my book out to agents. It hurt being rejected, but I’m reminded of some of the best authors that received so many rejections before their work was picked up by agents and publishers and became some of the most influential modern literature. I can’t give up on my dream of being a published author. I owe too much to that innocent little kid who snuck paper from his school office, piece by piece, to ponder the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Getting Back to Writing

Along with sending queries to agents, I realized I need to get back to writing. When I became a teacher, I told myself summer would be dedicated to pursuing my career as a writer, but it took a back seat. While I shop The Return of Infernus around to agents, I’m spending my mornings writing another novel. I had originally intended to write the sequel to Infernus, but I figured that until the first novel is picked up, I should focus my creative energy towards another story and series that I could then shop around separately.

Summer has been pretty busy with numerous camps, projects, and vacations taking place last month along. I finally had a free morning to write at the beginning of this month and revisited a novel idea I had titled The Search for Pretty Richie. It is the first book in a series titled Terra Aura.

In the novel, a 6th Grade girl lives in a podunk, boring Texas town. She dreams of escaping her droll and dreary life like her punk-rock-inspired father did years ago. One day, she finds her dad’s old journal and is transported to the strange land of Terra Aura, a place of floating islands, steampunk airships, and where her father is Pretty Richie, a notorious sky pirate. Allying herself with a skeleton mariachi man, a goblin sky captain, a tigress ninja, and a walking mute mushroom monster, the young girl embarks on a journey to find her dad.

It’s been fun revisiting this creative story and I’ve written/rewritten the first four chapters so far. I’d very much like to see this one on shelves in bookstores, and even more so in the hands of younger readers.

Rapid Fire Movie Review

I really enjoy writing my reviews and opinions on different topics, especially movies. Because my movie review posts are the most time-consuming of all my posts, I don’t have time to write up long reviews for all the movies I see. So, instead, I’ll give you my thoughts on some movies I’ve seen recently in a very brief format.

First up, Wonder Woman (2017). Finally, a good movie  for the DC Cinematic Universe. And not only was it good, it was great! Gal Gadot completely encapsulates the character of Wonder Woman in a way that I didn’t see in Batman v. Superman (although by the time she appeared in the movie, I was so disillusioned that I may have just missed it). The script is intelligent and the story moving. Wonder Woman‘s tale of bravery, justice, and love is just what the world needs right now. I hope against hope that Wonder Woman foretells of quality movies from DC in the future, but I won’t hold my breath.

I gave Wonder Woman a grade of A.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) is a fun return to Marvel’s most insincere super-hero installment, but it didn’t quite do the same for me as its predecessor. Yondu’s journey of redemption is certainly a highlight of the film and his Mary Poppins line was an instant classic, but I feel Yondu’s story and many other subplots and threads (Rocket’s internal conflic, Gamora vs. Nebula, etc.) eclipsed the movie’s main story of Star Lord and his father (which was admittedly weak, but if that is the film’s focus, then it needs to be the film’s focus). I felt the audience’s attention was pulled in too many directions at once, akin to the climax of The Phantom Menace. “Baby” Groot steals the show in every scene he appears and Drax keeps us laughing, but this movie just wasn’t as funny as the first. The movie relied too heavily on the same punchline and that punchline was a rapid succession of penis or (otherwise sex) jokes. It was funny the first time, but then it was brought up again and again and again, and by the time the joke was made for the umpteenth time, it was dragging on my patience and I couldn’t force myself to laugh at it any longer.

I give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a grade of C.

I was finally able to see Hidden Figures (2016) a few weeks ago. The story certainly revolves around the U.S.’s effort to best Russia in the race to space, but the film’s strongest theme is that of a different kind of race. For an audience in the 21st Century, watching the main trio of characters constantly being denied the rewards for their brilliance just because of the color of their skin is frustrating, but the story of their perseverance and success is exhilarating. Even the “best” white man played by Kevin Costner who eventually helps in desegregating his part of the space program is still frustrating at times in his lack of understanding. Taraji P. Henson’s emotional rant about bathroom and coffee pots is poignant and stuck with me days after seeing it. Also, ever since Luke Cage, I really just like seeing Mahershala Ali in anything.

I gave Hidden Figures a grade of A.

There you go. An update on what’s up with me. If you haven’t already, please consider checking out my podcast and leaving a review on iTunes. Keep checking back for updates on my quest to be published. Also, who’s excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming?!? I bet you are not as excited as I am.

Keep it nerdy, y’all!

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