Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: Barely Squeaking By

Oh man, I cannot believe I have missed two ROW80 check-ins in a row. It’s definitely not my usual speed, but there’s a lot going on right now. Classes just ended this week, final exams are due next week, and I’m moving 300 miles back to my parents’ house at the very end of the month. So I am a bit distracted, shall we say, but I am here cheering on all my ROWing friends in spirit, if not “in the flesh.”

However, there has been *some* progress along the way. Here’s how things have gone over the last couple of weeks:

Day Job: So. Much. Work. I have been buried under books and journal articles for what feels like weeks, trying to finish a 25 page term paper on 19th century Catholic nuns for the course I’m taking on religion and gender.  However, the absolute best thing to happen to me is that I met with my dissertation advisor on Tuesday, and we decided that the topic  can be merged with my nascent dissertation topic.

This is a really, really, really good thing for a million reasons, not the least of which is that I have a direction at last. Better yet, it’s a direction that I enjoy, one that makes me happy, and kicks my little sociologist brain in gear.

I am going to have my work cut out for me this summer, honing and refining my central research questions, but I feel passionate about this project for the first time in a while. And where there’s passion, I’d like to think that we can do anything.

Writing: Yup, this is where I’m “barely squeaking by.” Work on my main novels has been stalled by the day job, though I have been trying to tweak little things here and there when I have a spare moment. So I don’t let myself get too rusty, I decided to sign up for my first flash fiction challenge in a few months: ‘Timony Souler’s June round of the “Dice Games.” I’ve been a little slow at posting my fills, but I’ve finished 2 out of 3:  “Liberty,” about a lady assassin, her trusty blade, and a final mission; and “Worthless?“, which involves a pair of supernatural hunters, zombies, and a lovers’ quarrel.

Exercise: I’ve been working out on an average of 4 times each week, so I’m not doing *too* terribly here. Listening to audiobooks while walking has definitely made exercising much more enjoyable.

Social Media: Er… what is social media again? *hangs head in shame*

And finally, here are the awesome things that have been on my reading and watching lists:

I had a blast with a little time travel romance by way of Susanna Kearsley’s THE ROSE GARDEN and fellow ROW-er Jennette Marie Powell‘s TIME’S FUGITIVE (the 2nd book in her Saturn Society series). Kearsley’s protagonist, Eva, is grappling with the death of her older sister and finds herself in Cornwall, reconnecting with old family friends. There, she learns that she can “slip through time,” and ends up falling in love with an eighteenth-century smuggler. It reminds me a bit of Diana Gabaldon‘s OUTLANDER — rich description, evocative prose, lots of romance (although nothing as explicit as Gabaldon’s work), and haunting. I wasn’t sure how things would be resolved

While TIME’S FUGITIVE is also involves romance and time-travel, it’s much heavier in the science-fiction elements than THE ROSE GARDEN. Powell does an amazing job exploring the “butterfly effect” conundrums that can accompany time travel. There’s lots of tension, lots of excitement, and lots of twists and turns that I loved. I was so enthralled with the plot that I devoured the book in a single sitting, which says a lot. 😀

Finally, I read Lindsay Buroker‘s ENCRYPTED. Like all of her other books, this one was funny, fast-paced, and hugely enjoyable. There was one question that ran through my mind as I read, and that was, “Why the hell did I wait so long to read it?”

The watching list is a long one, since my friends and I have been hitting the theaters like crazy over the past couple of weeks. Here’s what we’ve seen, in bullet form:

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Blech. I was dragged to this against my will, and I thought it might maybe be terrible-funny, but no, it was just terrible. Pathetic writing, lame jokes, regressive notions of gender, fat-shaming, stupid “let’s-adopt-an-African-baby” subplot… the list goes on. Not even a bare-chested Joe Manganiello doing one-armed pull-ups could save this one for me.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Also known as “that movie with all my favorite old British actors.” Despite the middling reviews, and the fact that my friends and I were the only people in the theater under 60, I loved this. The movie was a good blend of funny and heartfelt, with three-dimensional characters that I cared about (it’s always nice when characters, you know, grow and evolve). The entire cast is wonderful, but Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy really stood out to me.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: I could devote an entire blog post (maybe two or three) to why I was so disappointed with this movie. Instead, I will link to Tor.com’s review, as it pretty much sums up everything that bugged me (Terrible writing! Poor worldbuilding! A protagonist that hardly freaking speaks!).
  • Dark Shadows: Yet another movie that I got dragged to, as my desire to see Battleship for all its terrible glory (and Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Kitsch, despite the horrid haircut) was overruled at the last minute. Even though the movie departs from television show, I mostly enjoyed it. Johnny Depp is, once again, absolutely fantastic, Eva Green is an amazing antagonist, and Michelle Pfieffer pretty much kicks ass. The last third of the movie, however, sorta goes off the rails. Not really sure what the writers were thinking, to be honest (Seth Grahame-Smith, I’m side-eyeing you).
  • Prometheus: Okay, so I’ll admit that my expectations for this movie might have been a tad too high, but I was disappointed. It is visually stunning — I would actually pay $10 just to look at the darn thing — but I’m not too sure what happened with the script. I found myself hating most of the characters, with the exception of Michael Fassbender’s delightfully creepy android, David, and the ship’s captain, played by Idris Elba (aka my new mancrush).

Next on my list: finishing Seth Grahame-Smith’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER before the film comes out, seeing Hysteria in theaters on Tuesday, and wrapping up season 1 of Jason Isaac’s miniseries, Case Histories.

…and that’s me for this week! I will be retreating back into the reading/writing/working cave, but hopefully I’ll be able to manage a check-in for the last week of Round 2. Hope everyone’s doing okay!

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  1. You went to see tons of movies … I hate it when my expectations are high and the movie disappoints me =(
    We understand your day job is taking a LOT of your time, and that’s okay, that’s life. Hopefully you’ll be able to squeeze a few minutes of writing here and there soon 😉
    At least you’ve been exercising, which is awesome!
    Have a great week!
    Juliana Haygert recently posted..#ROW80 and NTS Check-in 06/10My Profile

    • Bah, disappointing movies are the worst. I feel like I need to learn to stop expecting anything, and then maybe I won’t feel so bad at the end. 😛

      And thanks for the vote of support! It’s just hard when there are all these awesome blogging/writing things that I am dying to do, and can’t find the time to get around to it. Sigh. But it will get better soon!

  2. I love time-travel stories…I’ll definitely have to check out the ones you mentioned. I do the same thing every stinking time I pick up one of Lindsay’s books. I buy it the minute it’s available. It sits for a bit before I actually get around to reading. Then I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it, LOL. Every single time. You’d think I’d learn by now, she’s not just a must buy but a must read as soon as it hits the eReader!

    Ha! I think you summed up what I’ve thought about most of these movies just from previews. I love the previews for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel so I’m really glad it sounds like a movie worth a trip to the theater 🙂

    It looks like you have a busy few months ahead Lena. Wishing you all the best with all your different projects and goals! Have a fabulous week.
    Raelyn Barclay recently posted..Sunday Summary & #ROW80My Profile

    • Haha, I TOTALLY know what you mean. I think I need to make sure I just clear the schedule for each of Lindsay’s release dates, because once I start reading, I’m not going to put it down until it’s finished.

      And yes, I reiterate my recommendation of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I left the theater feeling good about life, and happy, which is a lovely thing. 😀

      Have a great week as well!

  3. Aww, thanks so much for the shoutout on Time’s Fugitive – and thanks for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    And wow, you really do have a tong of stuff going on! It’s been many years since I was in school, but I remember it was always crazy for the last couple weeks between final exams, and final projects. And moving on top of that? You’re doing great to get done what you are!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80: Sometimes, there really isn’t enough timeMy Profile

    • You’re so welcome! I seriously had a blast reading the book — it was a huge pick-me-up in a very rough week. 😀

      Have a fab week, Jennette!

  4. Busy, busy girl but well done on gaining the ‘passion’- am sure your work will zing along now – will have to check out those books you mentioned sound good- all the best for work, exams, writng and move- take care of yourself
    alberta ross recently posted..Pink moon, sweet blood:alberta’s check inMy Profile

  5. Both ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ are on my to-be-viewed-list. You are the first person I know who has seen and commented on ‘The Best…’, and I’m glad to hear a positive summary.

    Have a safe move – and enjoy your writing-cave-adventures. :}
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..Researching For Romance Writing: The ClaymoreMy Profile

  6. I hear you 1000% on moving, day job, and life! Don’t be too hard on yourself about disappearing *tapping foot* (just kidding). There are times when life is just too dang hectic and throws us off the rails. The dissertation topic sounds very interesting *as I try to shut up my magpie brain* , so have fun with the research–perhaps you can spin some blog posts out of it 🙂

    Feel good about the reading and movie-viewing, as it id clear your critical brain was on the whole time.
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..Guest Post — Shan Jeniah on KinshipMy Profile

  7. Don’t feel bad about missing check-ins, Lena. I’ve been cranking along a lot offline or quick reads via my tablet and have not checked in for a bit as well. Sweet progress on your day gig work. I’m glad you are finding a direction to drill down in.

    Love all the movie watching you’ve done. I did a bit catching up on the superhero movies so I could go see The Avengers. Too bad about Prometheus. They’ve promoted the death out of that one and I’d also hoped it would be good. Have a great week!
    Barbara McDowell recently posted..Rants from American Idol Addict: Legends and Top Two Finale RecapMy Profile

  8. Wow, how do you manage to watch so many movies! Sorry, that had to be said, since it was my first reaction to your post. 🙂

    Sorry to hear that the writing has stalled out, but I have to admit, the drain on intellectual and creative resources was one of the reasons I got out of academia. Nonetheless, I’m glad to hear that you’re on track with a dissertation topic! Congrats, and have a great week. 🙂
    Ruth Nestvold recently posted..To Deadline or not to Deadline, That is the QuestionMy Profile

  9. Karen McFarland

    June 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    All I can say is wow Lena, you are kicking it girl! You’ve had a lot on you plate with classes and all and you kept up! You received some helpful advice that sounds like a relief is in store. Best wishes with your 300 mile move. Your parents have got to be so excited to have you back home. I know this, because I am a parent. LOL! Hang in there Lena. You’re in the home stretch! 🙂

  10. Sounds like you and I had some of the same thoughts when it came to Snow White and the Huntsman. I went in with such high expectations, and it disappointed on almost every front. It’s a clear sign that something is wrong when halfway through the movie my husband leans forward in his seat and gives a bored sigh.
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Four Tips for Lasting HappinessMy Profile

  11. Great progress – especially all those movies.
    I like that Dice Games challenge sorry I missed it.
    And earphones are my motivator for walking too – either CBC Radio podcasts, or pump out some Deadmau5.
    Mike recently posted..ROW80-2 checkin 6/10 – Pickle JarMy Profile

  12. Can anything ever be as good as Outlander? 🙂
    I loved The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel too! It was so sweet – and yea, having all those wonderful actors in it makes it all the better.
    The 19th Century Catholic nuns sound interesting…

  13. Hi Lena! I’ve tagged you for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Congratulations! I’m bummed to hear you didn’t like Prometheus, or SWaTH. Guess I’ll wait until DVD for those.
    Serena Dracis recently posted..Weird Weekend – Kreativ Blogging In The Zombie ApocalypseMy Profile

  14. Seeing all those movies in such quick succession is likely to give me a major headache. I envy those people who can handle doing that.
    Tyler recently posted..classical and popular christmas sheet musicMy Profile

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