Friday, August 30, 2013

Why I love Joss Whedon

I'm pretty slow about my EW reading as I am just about everything else, but when I got the issue with the Joss Whedon, I tore through it, or tried to. And because it won't leave me alone, I'm rereading it again mostly because I've been trying to articulate why I'm Joss Whedon's bitch and why I'd follow him to the ends of the earth, so I thought, but reposting some of his words, I'd better understand that, and myself.

"But there's a lot of inarticulate emotion that I articulate pretty well when I'm under the guise of a teenage girl."

Was it just me, or did everybody's brains explode with that statement? There's something so perfect about this sentiment. I've reached a better understanding of myself by just writing through some of my characters in much the same way. I'm so appreciative of this idea and how it was expressed.

The one thing a creator can bring to the table when everybody else has all the money and power is a centeredness and the ability to walk away. Never sit at a table you can't walk away from.
God, that takes some balls.

And when he's asked to give a response for how he feels about Twilight and other shows like it, he gives the most brilliant answer:

And that's incredibly frustrating to because a lot of what's taken on the oeuvre of Bully is actually a reaction against it. Everything is there except for the Buffy. A lot of things aimed at the younger kids is just Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie.
Listen, I liked the Twilight series, both the books and the movie, but it did feel pandering in a lot of ways. What do teenage girls want? Love triangles in which they are the center. And sure Buffy and most shows Joss has done had their share of triangles and messy love situations, but they mostly felt grounded and not navel gazing at all. It all felt earned, where a lot of the stuff that's out there now, trying to replace it, does not.

And then:

I was a different version of them. we're almost like a support group.

This is in regards to the fan response to his work and how they've said he's helped them through a dark time and how he's realized, that through his own writing, he's actually helped himself out of a dark time. Again, I think this comes out of the same place as the teenage girl statement, that any good writer worth his grain in salt is using his characters not only to get somewhere in a story, but to get somewhere emotionally themselves. I have a book written that I felt I had to write just be somewhere with what I was dealing with emotionally. Writing that book, putting all those emotions somewhere, probably saved my life. I hope one day I'm able to publish it and all those emotions help someone else. I'm so glad Joss can see that in himself, that he understands it on that level and that he realizes the power of his own writing in his own life.

We use stories to connect, to care about people, to care about a situation. To turn the mundane heroic, to make people really think about who they are. They're useful. And they're useful to me because if I wrote what I really think, I'd be sad all the time. 

Can somebody arrange it so that I can hug Joss Whedon. Because I think we both need a hug after that. It's so easy to be bleak, to think in bleak terms about society, the environment, all of it. The harder thing is to think optimistically, to write optimistically and to provide a source of optimism even if we don't feel it ourselves. This was brilliant interview about a  brilliant man and I love the heck out of the both of them.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Turkey

New Week, a new Trifecta Challenge, this time It's for the word Turkey:

1: a large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world
2: failure, flop; especially : a theatrical production that has failed
3: three successive strikes in bowling
4: a stupid, foolish, or inept person


When it would thunder and lightning, momma said that that it was God bowling.

Momma said that lighting never struck the same place twice.

Well it just struck the same place three times, so momma was wrong about that second one. And if Lightning is God bowling, well he just got a turkey. And that turkey was me.

Look, I know I shouldn’t have been out in that storm. But I felt the need to be deep in my bones. I also knew standing out on that hill was the stupidest place to be but once I was out there, my feet stayed rooted to the spot. My body felt compelled so much that my brain was overthrown.

Even as I saw the first bolt come down and felt the urge to duck and run, I stayed. The jolt of electricity coursing through my veins scared me but made me feel alive, more alive than I’d ever been. The second bolt hit me and I could feel my flesh tearing and burning as a pattern wound down the left side of my body, distinct and purposeful. The third strike hit me before I had the chance to even scream, and it carried with it something more than electricity.

The message hit me loud and clear. I had been forged in lightning, a warrior of the bolt and cry. I was given a distinct purpose and the means to carry it out. My body was now a shield and my weapon was now the same bolts of energy that struck me so violently. I don’t know why I was selected, why I was made to stand up on that hill. I don’t know if I even have it in me to carry out my duty, but the lightning compels me, the thunder is now the voice that leads me, although it leads me into certain danger, I shall follow.


The above is 318 words for the Trifecta challenge. It was actually inspired by actual lightning scares and the idea that your body could be forever transformed by a lightning strike. 

Movie Review: Greetings from Tim Buckley

So yesterday was my birthday (thanks for all the birthday wishes ya'll) and because I'd already celebrated it with my husband over the weekend by going to an actual theater for once to see real live performance (Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, for those of you curious, and instead of creating another review of that performance, I'll just say it was an entertaining piece of cotton candy, fluffy and fun and forgettable once it was over) we decided not to go out on my actual birthday and instead stayed in and just for funsies, he let me pick the movie. I usually get the privilege revoked on account of some of my more horrible movie choices I've made in the past but since it was my birthday, he relented and let me pick.

So I picked Greetings from Tim Buckley. Now before I get started, let me just say I know only the sparsest bits of information on both singer songwriters featured in the movie. I never followed either of them musically and I only knew that Tim had a son named Jeff and they were both into music and their lives were both cut way too short.

After watching Greetings from Tim Buckley, I knew about the same as I did when I started. The movie gave me no insights into either of them and told only the thinnest of stories in the most meandering ways. It still had its own beauty (that beautiful scene of Imogen Poots singing) and was a perfect platform for the music in which it lovingly featured, but it didn't do much else but leave me with a lot of questions that only a scouring of Jeff Buckley's Wikipedia page actually helped answer.

I was worried that maybe not being a Jeff Buckley enthusiast, I didn't get or understand the movie, but then I remembered the review from My New Plaid Pants (a beautiful, well written review, as @JAMNPP reviews often are and one of the reasons he's pop culture co-pilot) and I realized that it also left Jeff Buckley fans as out in the cold as it left me, which at least left me validated but confused in regards to what the film maker was trying to accomplish. The way the two stories of father and son were inter-weaved was distracting and pointless. And really, I think the story should have been about Jeff and how he made a peace with his father or revisited his father's work and life and less about his father's douche-baggery. I get that there's probably a lot more to his father's story as well and I am interested, but separately not together, especially if it accomplishes nothing.

Overall, a beautiful movie going nowhere. B-

Monday, August 26, 2013

Breaking Bad Episode review: Confessions

Dear Breaking Bad:

I love you and you gave me a Walt Jr. scene this episode, but uhm, come on here! Keep him under the veil this episode and getting him to go along with whatever game Walt is playing is not the way to do it. Please make some forward momentum on this relationship and on his character. That's all I'm asking.


The Bloody Munchkin

But that's my  only (continuing) complaint on what was otherwise a very strong episode. I mean, how can I can complain when they gave Aaron Paul so much to do? The forward momentum in Pinkman was a long time coming and is part of a fitting story arc for the character. It's more than I could've hoped or wanted from the character and I can't wait to see this play out. Hitting Walt's home was an interesting choice for him and will have deep ramifications for the rest of the season. Will Walt be able to find his money stash with the lottery ticket burned up in the fire? Will it also be the thing that drives the Hiesenburg unveiling? And the thing that led to this was the simplest freaking scene. It was so deceptively simple that I kept looking at my husband and asking 'what just happened there?' It was freaking genius.

The other thing that was so surprising and awesome and has been this entire series, is Hank's complete ineffectiveness at  pinning anything on Walt. How more effectively to you emotionally castrate a character than by making him completely incapable of overtaking the one person he's wanted from the beginning? They put Hank in the most elaborate rat cage filled with blackmail and faked confessions they could possibly design and when he gets let out, there will be hell to pay. And the interesting part is that Marie is backed into a corner with him and she'll probably be the most hellbent, especially after she realizes she'd accepted meth money to pay for Hank's medical bills. Holy crap.

But the best part of all was the intense Gardenio's face off which allowed my husband to complete his Breaking Bad Bingo card of Albuquerque locations not just because he was able to cross it off his list, but because it was the most tension-filled restaurant meeting I've ever seen just shy of the Diner scene from last week. Many do the Whites and Schraders know how to make all meals awkward!

There were a couple of parts I could've done without in this episode. Todd and his skinhead family's small talk in the diner (poor waitress, having to handle all that awkward gawking) was in my view unnecessary, although this show has a way of making unnecessary moments very freaking important, so we'll see.

All in all, this is adding up to be one of the best swan songs of a show in recent memory. Keep up the good work show. A-.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Brand

 It’s so much different from up here, beautiful, serene, peaceful. I could never grasp the enormity of it from ground level. Sure I’d seen the aerial shots a thousand times, knew its shape and what it meant. But this place had always been more a relic of my childhood than a monument to human ingenuity.

I’d watched many a fisherman pluck a battered row boat from the J’s boat launch. I’d run back and forth over the little bridge connecting the tiny island in the middle of the lake to rest of the park on the bottom of the A. I’d plucked cattails off the backside of the L. It was just a tiny lake in a tiny park in the middle of nowhere that was my childhood home.

Now the lake is more of funny story to tell at cocktail parties. Why yes, I did grow up in a town that has the only man-made lake in the shape of its name, I’d say off-handedly. A little known fact is that the lake derives its shape from a cattle brand from a ranch family who formed the town, I’d quip.

But flying over it, it’s something completely different. I wish I’d gotten to see it from this high up in my youth. It’s a spectacle in a sea of brown where the only other landmarks are obtrusive pump jacks every few miles or so. This little lake is a visual oasis of blues and greens and seeing the name writ large on the ground filled me with a pride for the town I’d never really felt.

They’d called me to help them save it, to preserve it somehow. I had no idea if I had the wherewithal, but now, seeing its beauty the way I did, I’d damn sure try. 


This week's Trifecta challenge brought up a lot of hometown nostalgia and pride for whatever reason. This week's word, brand, brought up a wealth of memories, so much to chose from that I didn't know where to start. I tried writing a piece about the Western Heritage Museum, but that didn't work out, thought about some of the cattle brands I'd seen in my youth, but that didn't really connect, so what I came up with is a little love letter of sorts to the town lake that was such a part of my youth. 

Also, FYI, my birthday's coming up. It you want to wish me a happy birthday, I've got just the way you can do it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Breaking Bad Episode Review: Buried

I think my mind is still reeling after last night's episode, mostly because it was so starkly different from Blood Money that I still don't know how to process it. What was a game of miles last episode suddenly turned into a game of inches within this episode. And man, were those some hard fought/won/lost inches. Hanks game for yardage with Skyler ended up netting pretty much a loss and when Hank makes a Hail Mary pass in the form of Marie talking Skyler off the ledge, ball gets fumbled and so does the baby, almost. God those scenes!

And I know a lot of stuff happened this episode, a lot of rooks got moved around by big fat body guards who Scrooge McDuck it in a storage facility  and then hidden the desert by a chemo-riddled meth kingpin running on adrenaline and pure survival mode, and a bunch of pawns got slaughtered above an underground meth lab in the Arizona desert, and Pinkman moves his knight/car into either a strategic position or sacrifices it in an act of stupidity, I'm not sure which at this point.(Which, okay, I'm going to take an aside here. Please for the love of Christ, somebody tell me Pinkman's car is okay and will be seen in later episodes. I don't think I can't take much more collateral damage in the form of houses/cars/inanimate objects at this point. Just let her be in an impound lot somewhere and safe and in running condition. Please.)

And there's some pieces on the board that haven't played at all. Which, here I go on another aside. But where the hell is Walt Jr? And somebody better not tell me camp, because no. Why hasn't he played his game piece and how the hell is he going to find this crap out? This is driving me nuts and what bugged me about an otherwise strong episode. Hank knows, Marie was told. When's Jr. going to find out? For the love of little blue bags of meth, when? And it better not be some throw away scene either. There better be fireworks and he better get a move on the board other than getting shipped around to family members and being resentful.  There better be some sort of payoff in his relationships to people on this show is all I'm saying.

But Walt Jr's nonexistent game piece this episode aside, this was an incredibly great episode for Marie, Hank, and Skyler, and how they played off each other. That diner scene was a piece of art. Literally have I never been so tense about watching nothing get accomplished in my entire life. All that did was clear the air of lies which was huge and did nothing at the same time. And to watch all the conflicting emotions wash over Skyler, and then over Hank was just so beautiful. Give them all the awards. Anna Gunn just taught ya'll a master class in making a scene that saves your bacon. I hope you all were paying attention.

Another master class Anna Gunn teaches: how to give it all away with out saying a fucking word. That scene where Marie probes Skyler and Skyler answers with tear upon chin quivering tear and doesn't say a word right until Marie slaps the bajesus out of her was brilliant. But not as brilliant as the showdown in the living room with Skyler's daughter. Talk about another scene in which I've I tensed watching nothing really get accomplished. Just incredible. And the whole episode establishes that very thing. In the end, Skyler tell's Walt that the best move is not move and not give anybody anything. After all, Not playing her hand gained her the information that Hank has very little on Walt but conjecture and a bunch of connections and that Walt was sick again. What else can not moving garner her? This might be the smartest move the writers have ever made in regards to Skyler, I can not even tell you. I know a lot of people hate Skyler, which frankly I've never understood, but this proves that she's more of a mastermind than we think she is, that her whole end game might upstage everyone and I for one can't wait to see what happens next.

So, to wrap up, this was a great episode that sets up a lot of moving pieces but I'm only going to give it a B+, because a) two episodes in and still no Walt Jr.? Travesty. and b) while I love me the ginger and the fat body guard and the pile of money, they are no Badger and Skinny Pete. Not that that scene didn't find hit some pleasure centers with me, but laying on a big pile of money is no Star Trek fan fiction. Sorry guys.

Reblog: Rob Pruneda's 4 silly questions interview

[Ed. Note: My good twitter friend Rob Pruneda participated in my birthday challenge by posting a link on twitter, so he gets a free post on my blog. He asked me to repost the interview he did with me a few months back. So here you go. Thanks Rob for participating in my Birthday Challenge. ]

After reading Rob Pruneda's Pursuit of a Dream, I asked the author nicely if he'd allow me to briefly interview him. He was more than willing to answer my questions and had some insightful and wonderful answers, about his book, the state of publishing in general, and,  most importantly, who his favorite Goonie is. These are important questions people! Take a second to read  his interview and then take a couple more to check out his blog, or buy his books! Thanks for doing this Rob!

Question 1: Settle an internal debate for me. As an author who is trying to get published, or self-publish, I'm currently in a battle with myself about what to do. Weigh in on the debate: Try to get published or self-publish, which side do you come down on? (Oooooh, I just got all controversial!)

This is a debate that will likely go on for light years to come. When you make the decision to write your first novel it’s inevitable to hit that fork in the road with one sign reading “Traditional Publishing” and the other reading “Self-Publishing”. I think making the decision as to which road to take is dependent on the writer’s goals and personal preferences. For me, I decided to self-publish both novels that are currently available. I published my first novel Pursuit of a Dream as more of a challenge to myself to complete a personal goal of publishing a novel. It’s a novel that I have given royalties away to charity and now give away for free on a few platforms for readers to get a glimpse of my style of writing, particularly the dialogue, which many readers have stated as my strong point.

There are a few reasons why I decided to stick with self-publishing when I wrote my second novel (and first horror) Devil’s Nightmare. First of all, I like being able to have complete control of the publishing process. I like the idea of being able to set my own prices, write from my heart, and be involved in every stage of the publishing process. Now, one misconception about self-publishing is that you are all alone in the process. The smart thing to do is get as many other people involved in the process as you can. So, self-publishing is still a team effort. You, the author, are responsible for telling the story, but you have many options out there to assist you in fine-tuning your work of art. You have alpha and beta readers, proofreaders, editors, formatting specialists, cover artists, and marketing assistance if you choose to go that route. You have the choice to put as little or as much money into publishing your novel as you choose. You also don’t need to spend a fortune on any of it. Many of it can be done at little or no cost to you.

There are pros and cons of both self-publishing and traditional publishing, but those battles have been fought all over the web, so I won’t try to weigh them out here. I can only provide my personal preference and my reasons for choosing to go the indie route. It is a lot of work. That’s the most important thing I must point out if you decide to self-publish your work. I actually enjoy the lengthy and challenging process of getting my novels published independently. When I hold that physical copy of the novel I wrote in my hand it is a very rewarding experience because of all of the hard work I put into it, even more so than royalties; although, royalties are definitely a nice perk that comes along with publishing when I manage to sell a few copies.

At this point I have no reason to seek traditional publishing, but if the right opportunity surfaced, then I would be open to traveling down that road. 

Question 2: Did you have a favorite character to write/read when you’re rereading/reviewing Pursuit of a Dream? I haven't read Devil's Nightmare yet, but did you have a favorite character you liked writing/reading more than others? And if so why? In terms of Pursuit of a Dream, I especially enjoyed reading about Brian, and was wondering if you had the same reaction, or if you were drawn to other characters instead.

I think Caleb Lockhardt was my favorite character to write. He resonates with me because his dream of becoming a professional stock car driver against all odds is something that I believe many people can relate to, myself included. As an author, my ultimate dream is to be able to write full-time for a living, so writing about Caleb’s pursuit of his own dream is almost like writing about me in a sense. Caleb is a fictional character, of course, and he has his own unique traits and story, but there is definitely a bit of me in him, which is why I enjoy writing Caleb’s character the most.

Brian Pirelli is a character that originally wasn’t going to have much of a role in the story, but as the story evolved, Caleb’s childhood friend began to grow on me and I felt he also had a story to tell. It’s one reason that by the end of Pursuit of a Dream he has a more significant role in Caleb’s story. I’m glad you enjoyed Brian’s character as he will have more “screen time” in Book 2 of Victory Lane: The Chronicles. Oh, and by the way, Brian’s stepfather Tony makes a cameo appearance in Devil’s Nightmare, which I think you may appreciate.

Question 3: This is important! You will be graded! What is your favorite character in the movie The Goonies and why? What that character choice says alot about you as a person and I WILL judge you accordingly. (For example, if Mouth is your favorite character, I'm not sure we can be friends.)

That’s a no brainer for me. Sloth! Hey you guys!!! Why? As a kid, I just thought he was cool. I also loved how he finally stood up for himself at the end of the movie and became a hero. For some reason I feel like eating a Baby Ruth candy bar now.

Oh, and I think Data is a very close second favorite, only because I’m a natural geek.

Question 4: Let's talk about charities for a second. I know we're both very intent on giving back to charities and organizations that make a difference. My favorite is George Mark House. If you'd like, take a second to talk about a charity or organization that you support or you'd like to mention and why its important to you.

There are two charities that are most important to me. First is the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the other is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The ASPCA has done so much for abused and neglected animals throughout the United States and also steps in during natural disasters to help reunite pets with their owners. Super Storm Sandy is a prime example of how integral the ASPCA was to rescuing so many animals. Every time I see a video of a family reunited with their pet, it literally puts tears in my eyes because I know I played a small part in that with my Guardian ASPCA membership. Two of my dogs are rescues and have been the absolute best pets I have ever owned. No disrespect to my other pets, of course. J

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is another one of my favorite charities because of what they do for kids who have been diagnosed with cancer. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital doesn’t turn families away because of their inability to pay for treatment and I believe one day that this hospital will find a cure for cancer. Cancer is something that many of us have had to deal with in one way or another and it’s a very difficult thing to go through. So, every little bit of dollars that we can contribute to organizations like St. Jude and George Mark House makes a big difference for the kids in need of treatment.

Closing statement:

Tylia thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you on your site. I had a great time answering your interview question and hope I didn’t scare away too many readers with my Goonies answer.

[Ed. Note: You certainly didn't turn me away with your Goonies answer. In fact, I think I like you more now. My favorite is Chunk partly because of the Truffle Shuffle but mostly because of the friendship he forges with Sloth at the end makes him so endearing. You can be the Sloth to my Chunk anytime. Ok, that came out weird, but you know what I mean.]

About the author:

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a horror fiction and contemporary author of Devil’s Nightmare and Pursuit of a Dream. He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. He has worked in a myriad of industries ranging from banking to the travel industry, and most recently as an obituaries coordinator for his local newspaper. He now operates a small business administrative support service from home and continues to focus on his love of writing fiction full-time. Pruneda is very active in social media, especially Twitter, and is also an avid gamer and can often be found hanging out with his friends on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Subscribe to Robert Pruneda’s author website and blog at

Find his books:  
Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles):
Devil's Nightmare: 

Social media links:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Trifecta Weekend Challenge: My forest muse

Trifecta asked us to be inspired by this image:

And what an incredible image to be inspired by. Thanks Trifecta. As instructed, I let it fill me up and let the light inspire me. Here are my 33 words:


I soar. The days, months, years fall away. I watch the light and dark play their games in the forest, through the trees, into the leaves. I am silent but I am content.


Hey Trifectans, if you want to make me happy and content  IRL, please check this out and tell my favorite charity how awesome they are for my birthday coming up or donate. You could win prizes! Mostly, you'd just get my unwavering love and devotion.  That would be incredible.