Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-man! Spider-man! Does whatever a....MCU Movie Can? #NoSpoilers

Do you remember a few years back when they made the exciting announcement that Spiderman would be appearing in Captain America: Civil War? It was kind of bittersweet, first, Spidey was coming home to the MCU. Yet at the same time, they were recasting Andrew Garfield. I was kinda of bummed, mostly because while I liked the first two Tobey Maguire movies, I had really liked Andrew Garfield in the role.

That said, the second Garfield movie was fantastic to me until the very last five minutes and those left me cringing. The last minutes with the Rhino face-off just neutered the film for me. Still, I was willing to trust the MCU because with only one exception for me, they hadn't let me down.

After Civil War? I was sold on their portrayal of Spidey, but did we seriously need another Spider-man movie? Spidey and Batman are like the Marvel and DC movie universe staples. They remake them over and over and over again. Like the Batman origin story, Spidey's is part of our zeitgeist.

Did we really need to do it all over again?

I got to see Spider-Man: Homecoming last night, and I have to say, yep, we needed this Spiderman movie. It was hands down, the best Spider-man movie I've seen in the last twenty years.

Here's my quick spoiler-free rundown on why. (As always these are just my opinion.)

1. Not an origin story. I repeat: Not. An. Origin. Story.
2. Not the same set of villains on wash, rinse, repeat. Look, Green Goblin is a signature Spidey villain, just like Joker is a signature Batman guy. If you do Batman v. Joker all the time or Spidey v. Green Goblin, half the time you just compare it to the one that came before.
3. When the story is about the hero with and without his mask.
4. When you laugh, you cry, and you brace yourself because the film hits the rights beats and you burst into spontaneous applause with the rest of the audience.
5. The MCU created a multi-nuanced villain in Vulture which goes above and beyond anything they've done before.
6. Cameos that fit and are not shoe-horned in.
7. A supporting cast that hits the right notes.
8. Aunt May. Aunt May is to Spiderman what Alfred is to Batman. Nailed it.
9. Michael Giacchino is becoming on of my favorite film composers! From the opening song to the closing notes...sooo good.
10. When you have that fist pump moment not once, but three times and you leave the theater laughing and giddy...yeah...exactly.

Spider-Man: Homecoming--welcome home, Spidey. We're so damn glad you're here!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy #4thofJuly Everyone!

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest." - The American President

"Mankind -- that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution -- but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist. And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!" - Independence Day

"I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves - something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know... that only love can truly save the world. So I stay. I fight, and I give... for the world I know can be. This is my mission now. Forever." - Wonder Woman

Monday, July 3, 2017

Are you ready for this? #MotivationMonday

When you work from home, Mondays don't always mean the same thing to us they mean to folks who work in an office or a school or—pretty much any reason that means you have to leave the house. 

So what does Monday mean for me?
  • All the two-legged distractions toddle off to their own tasks whether it's a job at an office, volunteer work, or education.
  • All the emails I've been waiting on answers to, will come in. 
  • All the blogs I keep meaning to write, will get written. 
  • Bills I waited to pay over the weekend need to be paid.
  • Oh...and all the words need to be written.
Working at home means I never really leave my office, and I never leave home. There's always something to do whether it's chores, current projects or family needs, I am never away either. The stress is always there and as a writer, you can't switch inspiration on and off like a switch. You're not entering data into a spreadsheet or responding to a questionnaire. You have to be able to take that step aside from LIFE to delve int the world within you're creating within the pages.

I rely on routine to help me access that part, and when all else fails, I grab a coffee, crank up the music, and remember always that:
The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. - Richard Bach

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hey Partner, Let's Talk About Cowboys #WesternWednesdays #PaperbackHeroes

The cowboy is one of my all time favorite heroes.  From the ranges of the old west to the deepest, darkest parts of space, the cowboy is a hero for the ages.   My love of cowboys was one of the reasons I started writing my Fevered Hearts, Space Cowboy, and now my Lone Star Leathernecks series.

Grab your copy today!

Cowboys have mystique that pervades the American culture. Their legendary status of the cowboy riding off into the sunset is as iconic as the days gone by of the old west where they rode.  Real cowboys did exist, their reputations were only enhanced by the tales and penny novels written about them.

Hell, some of my favorite cowboys are fictional cowboys. In Marshal of Hel Dorado, we met the lawgiver cowboy,  Sam Kane.  The Marshal's extended family provides a wide array of cowboys to choose from including the noble and loner cowboys.

The Noble Cowboy

You know the type? He's the Adam Cartwright (Bonanza), the Heath Barclay (The Big Valley), the Rowdy Yates (Rawhide).  He actually works with cattle, he sleeps under the stars and he works with his hands.  He's the prototypical cowboy who relies on his wits, his strength and his skill to survive against the odds and to bring his herds in.   In my new Lone Star Leathernecks series, Tanner Wilks is the noble cowboy.  He served his country with distinction as a Marine, and even though he doesn't want to leave his career he returns home to the family ranch to protect it and his father when his father falls ill. Tanner will stand up for his people, his family, and his friends.

Have you lasso'd your copy?

The Loner Cowboy

A second prototype, the loner is a drifter who wanders around the periphery of others.  He avoids the company of other men or limits his contact to just a few.  He's often viewed with suspicion or mistrust, no one is ever quite certain of his motives, but that is because he comes from a troubled past.  But the loner keeps his secrets close to his heart, fiercely protective of that small handful he lets into his life and when the time is right, he is ready to step up as the hero he was meant to be. Clint Eastwood excelled as the loner cowboy.  In Space Cowboy Survival Guide, Shaw is very much the loner. He's traveling through the cosmos to save his family ranch. Can you be a cowboy with a ship instead of a horse? I think so. Of course it helps that Shaw has his own horses as well. Shaw's adventure continues in Showdown at the Omega Kilo Space Station.

Pre-order today!

Want to win an e-copy of Space Cowboy Survival Guide?  Tell me who your favorite cowboy is...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#TeaserTuesday : #SaddleUp and Go Behind the Scenes with #SemperFiCowboy

One of the best parts of working on Semper Fi Cowboy for me were all the horse scenes. I have loved horses for years.

In fact, one of the first time I rode I was all of ten years old and I escaped from my uncle's house in Stafford and went over to this beautiful field nearby with horses in it. There was grey gelding there with a loose halter on. If you got on his back, he'd take you for a trot along the sandy river, then back again. Most of the time he only let you have one ride and that was it.

Also, where I grew up in Dallas, we lived in an apartment, but there were riding stables about a mile away. I used to hike over there at every opportunity. The folks who owned the stables let me groom or pet the horses as long as I followed the rules, and more than once they'd take me into the arena to ride one of the more bombproof mares while they controlled the horse at the end of a lunge line.

When I was in fifth grade, my parents saved up to send me to a summer camp in Texas where I got to ride every day. I experienced two of my worst accidents there, but also learned so much about horses and not once was I ever afraid. The wrangler and stable master were excellent at helping me see what I'd done which contributed, how to improve, and  what I needed to do to avoid them in the future. Their love for horses matched my own and emphasized to me that I was where I wanted to be.

Flash forward several years to when I made my own dream come true. I owned horses. Rode regularly, trained, and rescued them. I'd done everything from delivering a foal to gentling a mustang, to putting a young horse's first halter on and being the first rider on a horse's back. I'd done jumping shows, and hunter rides, and long, lazy trail rides as we explored the country side.

It was heaven.

It was horses. Writing Semper Fi Cowboy brought up every single one of those memories.

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