February 27, 2024

Keeping Up With Netflix: '1670' (2023)

You know, I'm only halfway through the series, and I just HAVE to get on here and pimp the shit out of this show. If you have Netflix, check it out. It's absolutely hilarious and bizarre. Now I love Derry Girls and their frenetic, insane humor, but what I'm getting from 1670 is more MY preferred brand of humor. Deadpan, dry, and just absurd -- think Cunk on Earth but Polish and set in the 17th century with a narrative. 

I've seen viewers compare it to The Office in tone and approach (mockumentary), and so many things about this series tick all the right boxes for me. With humor, especially historical settings, anything that's modern and anachronistic adds a certain layer of ridiculousness that works perfectly within the show's context. 

For instance, there's a horse that's being back parked in its space (with a second person guiding the rider with commands, etc.). There's a 17th century version of the iPhone. The Erasmus Peasant Exchange Program between Poland and Lithuania. There's climate change. And several smaller, less obvious details that are better off being experienced as part of the whole than isolated and picked apart. It's glorious. 

I laughed watching Derry Girls, but it wasn't as hard and consistent as when I'm watching 1670. I'm talking loud, stomachache-inducing laughter. I honest to God hope there's a second season, but I'm not putting my money on it. The series itself looks pretty expensive to produce with the costumes and props and all that, and I'm grateful to have all eight episodes to come back to over and over again when the mood hits. 

I also tried to find a Netflix trailer in the original Polish language with English subtitles (which is how I'm watching the series), but I can only find the English dub version. This trailer, though, is from the Netflix Polish channel, so you'll have to click the CC button to see the subtitles in English. 

The series in a nutshell: "In this satirical comedy, a zany nobleman navigates through family feuds and clashes with peasants in his quest to become Poland's most famous figure." The spirit of dry, witty humor lives on with absurdity levels cranked to maximum, and I'm here for it. FOR ALL OF IT.

February 25, 2024

Simply Gorgeous: 'Cage' (2022)

Every now and then I trawl Youtube for animated shorts, and I've liked quite a few already. It's been a while since my last foray, and this was serendipity more than anything, most likely recommended to me because I've been checking out videos on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (which I absolutely adore, btw, and can't wait for the final installment of the trilogy to come out).

There's a lot to be said about animated shorts in that so much can be conveyed with nothing more than images and music in a handful of minutes. No dialogue needed. And this one caught my eye and my heart, and I can't say enough good things about it.

The cleanness and simplicity of the art style works perfectly with the complexity of the subject: obsessive, selfish love and the literal and metaphorical cages resulting from it. Compare the angel's cage with the demon's and how the demon's final scene shows the cage completely cut off versus the angel's cage, where a platform is still there to offer freedom. And sad though this might be, some of the most compelling stories are the most tragic, and this is one example. I'm so in love with this short, I'll put this up here for everyone to watch, enjoy, study, or even ponder -- and there's a surprising amount to ponder in my case. 

In other news, I'm roughly a third through The Dubious Commode, and as I've got tomorrow and Tuesday off (a long-delayed and desperately needed break from the day job), I'll be able to carve an even bigger chunk by the time I go back to work. I've been considering starting work on Voices in the Briars in conjunction with this one though it'll be more like chipping slowly away as I go since my attention should be on The Dubious Commode. Maybe a chapter per weekend while my current WiP will stay at a two-chapter-per-weekend schedule. 

I don't know yet. I'm still playing a wait-and-see game in this case as I'm constantly reminded about my purpose for scaling back on my publishing calendar to begin with. Clearly I'm still going against my resolution, but that scaled back thing is still a goal I have. 

I also managed to track down the original image I wanted to use for Compline, which makes me so abnormally happy, and I was able to play with it using different filters and stuff. I love the alternate cover I recently shared here, but the original image came the closest to the book's plot. Anyhoo... I'll post it soon as I'm still wibbling over the final version of it.

February 20, 2024

'Nimona' For Everyone (Limited Time, Methinks)

Okay, so Netflix decided to drop Nimona on their Youtube channel so more folks can see it for free -- and without ads. Here you go:

One might speculate as to why Netflix decided to do this, and I'm guessing it's because they wanted to generate more buzz with the Oscars coming up. The movie's nominated for Best Animated Feature. Plus I just learned it also won a couple of Annie Awards (Best Voice Acting for Chloe Grace Moretz and Best Writing) in addition to making the shortlist for a slew of different categories for the Annies. So kudos to everyone behind the film.

I watched it when it came out on Netflix last year, and I loved it. Still do. I also watched it again on Youtube, and none of my initial reactions have changed. That movie went there. And it needed it to go there, I think, and I'm so glad the filmmakers didn't shy away from such a heavy theme.

From what I know, this freebie is only for a limited time, but don't quote me on it. I think it'll be up for another six days? That's the rumor I heard, anyway. So for anyone who doesn't have a Netflix account and is interested, have at it!

EDIT: The video's now unavailable (updating this post on 2/27), so there you go. 

February 19, 2024

What Follows Next: 'The Perfect Rochester'

The book's main premise was already established in Nightshade's Emporium, so taking that thread and making something out of it isn't as though I'm starting over. Out of all the books I have planned coming up, this is the one I'm most confident in. It's not a sequel. It's going to be Narcisse's turn to tell his story, but in his case, the point behind his finding his HEA will involve issues of self-confidence and developing trust in other people, and references to his dilemma in finding his beloved are worked into the other book's plot.  

Anyway, here's the cover art:

I tried to stick to the lighter, cheerier color scheme that Nightshade's Emporium has but at the same time give it its own character (naturally). The title is part of a line that Viktor says to his twin toward the end of the book, and I thought it suits Narcisse's journey. The tone will be the same as Nightshade's Emporium, and some of the events in this book will be taking place simultaneously with Viktor's troublesome efforts at understanding his purpose and the role Myles plays in everything. But as I've said before, this book as well as Nightshade's Emporium are standalone novellas and don't require anyone to read both to understand what's happening.

Now as for the release date, it's going to come after Compline as noted previously, but as always, the calendar is fluid.

February 18, 2024

Looking Ahead Because I Work Like a Machine

Maybe it's the INTJ in me (that's my MBTI type), but I'm methodical and borderline clinical when it comes to planning out my publishing calendar. For better or for worse. I might be rigid in my approach to a lot of things, but I'm still human enough to allow myself some wiggle room for unfinished projects and hopeless efforts. I just dump them and forge ahead with replacements. 

So! This post is all about upcoming stuff but no calendar dates. I know the rest of 2024 is still pretty fluid as it should be, so there's still a chance I'll succumb to the pull of high energy and excitement should I end up finishing The Dubious Commode early (which I think I will, by the looks of things). And if that's the case, there'll be more adjusting coming your way with Voices in the Briars possibly getting published at the end of this year. 

Before anything else, though, I changed the cover for The Dubious Commode, and here's the updated version:

I actually found a really great image that I desperately wanted to use, but it didn't tie in as well as I'd like with the rest of the book covers in the collection. However, I may be using it down the line. The final effect is pretty hilarious, but again, it didn't work with the collection's aesthetic.

In addition to that update, I have cover art for three upcoming books, one of which is for Madrigal's replacement, Compline. The other two books are in varying stages of planning. 

The Twilight Lover is a full-on expansion of a gothic horror short story I wrote ages and ages ago, and The Bells of St. Mark's Eve is a story idea that's been in seed-planting mode for the longest time. I've gone back and forth with that book over the years, but now that I'm finishing up the last of a series, I'll be free to play with standalones again in long novella format. I can't wait. 

So none of those books have calendar dates attached to them for now. And that's because the follow-up (not a sequel) to Nightshade's Emporium still needs to be outlined and be given a slot. I'm guessing it'll come out after Compline, and then The Twilight Lover and The Bells of St. Mark's Eve will follow. That said, the books in the banner above will be coming out no earlier than maybe March of 2025, but as to how far apart they'll be spaced out will depend entirely on the same factors I've been going on and on about here. 

I'll definitely post the cover art and title for the follow-up to Nightshade's Emporium soon. I'm pretty confident with that book since a foundation's already established the story's universe, and I'll just be picking up some of the threads and weaving a new story with them. It'll be fun, and I really look forward to going back to the world of the Nightshades again.