About CrissyMoss

I've been writing as long as I can remember.

Texas Today… things are weird.

A few weeks ago I stocked up on some basics. A bigger bag of rice, a large bag of dry beans, a few boxes of pasta. Nothing dramatic, but enough that I felt we we would be okay if a hurricane blew through, or an earthquake, or maybe even a few weeks of quarantine. The only thing missing from the shelves that day were ramen noodles, and a toilet paper was getting low (so I grabbed one of those just in case too.)

Today I went in for a couple of potatoes and soda. Normal weekly stuff. I was a little shocked by just how many shelves were bare.

Now, some of this is a good thing. Everyone should have at least a weeks worth of food in their pantry (non-perishables) just in case. I’ve made it a point to do so ever since living in North Dakota twenty years ago. We had a blizzard that knocked out the power for the entire state and no water. My baby was on formula at the time and we had no water to make her formula. No food that didn’t need to be cooked, and no way to heat the apartment since everything was electric. I learned very quickly that it’s just good practice to have a few gallons of water, and some non-perishables on hand in case something happened.

But this is something that’s supposed to be done over time, not everyone rushing on the stores at once, so I’m not surprised that the stores are being stripped. It’s as if everyone was told there’s going to be a really bad hurricane next week so be prepared, and they did. The trouble is they all did it at once, and a few opportunistic people exacerbated the issue buy buying ALL of a few key things…so it’s looking a little barren at the moment.

This will pass. In a week or two supply chains will catch up, and people will already have their two week pantry, so we can all get back to a….normal…existence. As normal as you can get with social distancing, at least.

I’ve been venturing out a little here and there to pick up something at the drive through, or just grab something at the store, but seeing the shelves bare like that was a bit surreal. I’m one of those people with compromised immune systems. I have asthma, and a few bad allergies, and have had complication in the last few years that landed me in the hospital on a neutralizer because I couldn’t breath. I’m susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis already, so this thing… ya, I’m a little worried if I get it. Gregg, my SO, is worried about me, too. He has steadfastly refused to leave the house for the last week because he absolutely does not want to risk me getting sick.

So we stay home. It isn’t much different from normal, we all work from home, but it feels different somehow. I admit part of me had a morbid curiosity to see if the news about stores was right, but also I sometimes just like to go have a meal at a restaurant, or window shop, and I really can’t right now.

I’m not the only one. There are millions of people across the world right now just waiting to see what happens. I saw a picture of a woman telling her granddad about her engagement through a window because she didn’t want to make him sick. I’m sure most of us saw the balcony concerts going on in Italy. People all over the world, in every country, are hunkering down until doctors can find a solution, or the virus burns itself out.

This could be a moment for us all to come together over a common foe, like in the movie where aliens attack and we all band together to fight for humanity. Sometimes I wish life was as neat and orderly as a movie with a definitive beginning, middle and happy ending.

On the plus side, they were stocking the shelves with toilet paper as I was leaving the store today. I’m certain the shelves will be restocked in a week or two as well with most items. This isn’t the end of the world, just a really big bump in the road. We’ll make it through, it’s just going to be rough for a little while.

Till then, hang in there.

A few changes…

This year I’ve been trying a few things to get more organized. I didn’t have to do spring cleaning (after moving twice in three months I already purged everything I could) but I am in desperate need of organization of my time.

On that note I am starting a bullet journal. This is just a fancy calendar that has a few extras, like mood and habit trackers so that you can see a bit more in depth how your month went. It also has spaces for keeping track of daily tasks, and for mine I added a tracker to see how much time each day I was spending on writing, art, marketing, and other things I need to do.

A few years ago I started tracking how much I wrote daily, and that helped a lot. I still track that, but now I need to branch out and look at how much time I am spending on it as well. Word counts can’t go up if I’m spending more time playing games than writing.

The second thing I did last month was separate my writing from my art… for the most part. I created a new Instagram specifically for art projects, and set aside a little time each day to do a new sketch or finish an old one. This has been a lot of fun, and a boost to my accomplishments since I am completing a project every day, even if it’s a small one. Finishing these small projects makes me want to go out and finish bigger projects. It’s also encouraging me to learn new techniques, and just get better.

You can find my art Instagram HERE.

I’ve been working on making prints, or other items with the art. I’ve added a few things to my Etsy store, and I’ve been working on prints. I really do want to do a little more with my art then just show it online. For right now I’m going through and redoing a LOT of my old art to make it up to date. Crisper, sharper, better colors. I also need to figure out a printer soon so I can do even more.

Okay, now I need to get back to the writing portion of the day.

Love and marriage…

Sometimes a question on reddit really makes me dive deep and find a meaningful answer. Here is one.

[what does it mean] about marriage having a foundation when the love goes away? my partner believes that once we fall out of love and we no longer love each other, that the relationship is then dead and shouldn’t continue.

But what is love? The love I feel for my mother is not the same that I feel for my children, or my SO. Hell, the love I feel for my SO isn’t the same today as when we first got together 8 years ago. It shifts, and grows with you. Or it dies.

From experience, I was married for 15 years to a man who I passionately loved in my young adulthood. We had kids, we moved, we went through life and death experiences together… But we did not have that foundation of a steadfast relationship that grew even as our feelings shifted. We were not on the same page for finances, child rearing, and the basics of how a marriage should work. We tried to fix it, but after years I realized it just couldn’t be fixed and I no longer cared about this man at all. In short, the man I thought I married was not the man I actually married, and seeing him for who he really was killed the relationship.

Passion does that to you. It puts blinders on you and you overlook a lot of the little things, and sometimes the big things, because you want so desperately to keep that passion. But passion isn’t a foundation to build a house on, it’s more like sand, and it shifts with time.

Now, after 8 years with my current (and I think last) SO we have gone through a lot of the same things I did with my ex. Life and death situations. The raising of my children. Financial hardships. But we are on the same page. We come at the problems as a team and work together. Some days I might not like him, some days I get on his nerves, but the underlying foundation is there and we come out the other side stronger for it.

My relationship with him isn’t based on passion (though we have plenty of that, too) it’s based on mutual respect and a deep love that only comes from truly seeing someone else as who they are, and not what you want to see, and loving what you see flaws and all.

Review: Sonic the Hedgehog

Just came out of Sonic and… I loved it!

I’m actually not the target market for this movie. I’ve never played a Sonic game, though I did watch the cartoon with my kids when they were young. But all of my kids are grown up so I didn’t go to the theater with a gaggle of children, either. It was just me, my boyfriend, and our room mate. Everyone well over 30. And we all enjoyed it.

This was just a fun film. The action was great, the jokes hit home, the heartwarming parts made me feel for Sonic. I became invested in what happened to this little blue hedgehog, and even if certain parts were a bit predictable it still made me want to see it through to the end.

The Sonic movie first came into the lime light by producing a trailer with a hedgehog that stepped too close to the uncanny valley. Fans were upset. YouTubers made videos, tweets rang out, and everyone agreed that this abomination needed to be stopped. The studio listened, and the new hedgehog looks much closer to the video game models.

Bigger eyes, smaller body, the customary red shoes, and, most important, no human teeth. It was an incredible improvement. Let’s hope listening to the fans pays off, because I know I am a happy movie goer.

Jim Carrey gave a fantastic performance as Dr. Eggman. It felt a lot more like his original films, Mask, and Liar Liar, if a bit toned down. Some slapstick comedy, and some funny lines to really drive home the character.

The only odd thing about the movie is the awkward product placements. Zillow was a little less awkward, but Olive Garden really took the show. I don’t know if their line about never ending pasta was written by Olive Garden or the writers of the movie, but it was really over the top. At least the two main characters played it off as if they were in on the joke to help offset it. I do wonder if they had all the sponsored products because they were counting on the movie not pulling in many viewers. It is geared more to a younger crowd, and it may have been the fan uprising about the terrible CGI critter that finally clued them in that adults might like it as well. And it appears they may have lost a shoe sponsor by switching out the fancy foot wear.

Overall this was just a lot of fun. Sometimes that’s all you want from a movie, and Sonic paid off in spades. Plus! The ending hints at a possible sequel. I’d watch it.

 

Star Trek Picard – Four Episodes in and what is this?

I just watched episode four of Star Trek Picard and…If it wasn’t for the fact that my boyfriend and our room mate were watching this I probably wouldn’t watch another episode.

To be fair, I don’t think it’s awful, just not interesting enough to keep watching. There have been a number of scenes that make me uncomfortable (like the brother and sister that get way too physical) or annoyed (why is she calling him JP?), or just plain angry (ya, let’s reinvent the timeline again.) But while those scenes detracted from my enjoyment they were just a few scenes of the whole. The vast majority of it has been…. meh.

I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was little, right there with Captain Kirk flying off to various planets and defeating the problem of the week. There are so many of them that I love, from Spoke and the flowers that made him feel, to the disease that attacks anyone hitting puberty. Then there was The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9,  Enterprise, and every single movie (even the new ones). I’ve watched them all. I enjoyed them all. From the convoluted plots of the Cardassians, to the tribbles, and the invisible monsters only Data could see.

(I do admit I skipped Discovery, I didn’t want to pay extra to watch it on yet another streaming service. I’m only watching Picard because I’m not paying for it, or room mate is.)

So when I come to Picard I am there as a fan of the franchise. Sure, there have been episodes of the old series that I didn’t like, or I felt could be better, but on the whole I loved them and I kept coming back for more.

I think the biggest problem I have with Picard isn’t even the story, or the pieces in the plot that take me out of the world. It’s the way they are choosing to film it.

Every season before (minus Discovery, since I didn’t watch it and I don’t know) was in an episodic mode. That is: each episode was a self contained story. There was a beginning, a middle and an end revolving around a specific monster or problem. Sometimes the episode would be cut into two or three pieces, and often there was a larger story that connected all of the episodes together, but on the whole when you got to the end of an episode you felt like it had a satisfying conclusion.

Now Picard is here, and it does not have a structure to it. The first episode may be the only one that had a whole story, but even that felt incomplete and unfinished. It was the opening dragging you into the series, but it wasn’t satisfying. There was no conclusions, just questions.

Then the second episode happened, and there were even more questions, and only a few small answers. It gave them a direction to head in, but again it wasn’t a self contained episode, just a piece of the whole.

Episode three happened and I hated the new character introduced the first time she called the admiral “JP”. Who does that? Even in the flash back while he is still an admiral she is calling him JP instead of Admiral, or Jean-Luc. It felt entirely disrespectful. And again…. no satisfying conclusion, just more questions (like how did the scientist get the disrupter from the trained secret assassins? Is she a double agent, or is it just bad writing? And how did an old man and two older Romulans take out a group of highly trained assassins? But lets just wave the wand and forget about that.)

Episode four attempted to have a base plot. They went to a planet to get help from an assassin nun, and go on their way. But again it wasn’t very satisfying. It didn’t feel fleshed out, and every persons motive on that planet just feels…off. Picard is a shadow of the man he used to be, unable to command a room. Unable to use words to fight for him like he once did. Instead he stumbles over himself, and his past, and ignores the pain that he caused others. A man who used to be good at reading a room, and figuring out what to say, who respected the customs of other species, now walks right over theirs. It isn’t until someone else takes charge and kills the “bad guy” that Picard finally admits he screwed up…sort of. It was such a half assed apology.

Next episode looks like a casino planet episode. All I can think of is the casino planet from Last Jedi, and how absolute trash that section was. I hope it isn’t as bad. Mostly I hope there is a satisfying episode with a beginning, middle and end. I don’t have hope.

I expect all episodes to be pieces of a the whole instead of self contained episodes. That makes me wonder why they bothered to release it as a weekly episodic series instead of just releasing it all at once. If they did release it all at once then at least we could watch it all and evaluate it as a whole. Instead we are getting episodes that feel disjointed and separated, that don’t really feel satisfying. (The answer is money, they wanted subscribers, and that’s why they released it this way, but I digress.)

If I were the only one watching this I would just wait until the full thing was out and watch it then if I got really bored and couldn’t find anything else to watch. Because I live with two guys who want to watch it… I’ll watch it with them. Also of note is they didn’t grow up on Star Trek like I did. I know our room mate saw Discovery (and liked it) but he hasn’t watched all of the other series. My boyfriend has only watched part of TNG. Neither of them knew who Seven of Nine was, and most of the lore is going right over their head. I find it interesting that they are enjoying it more than I am, but not surprised really.

It doesn’t feel like Star Trek. It almost feels more like Roswell, actually. Teen drama that just happens to happen in a star ship. But….we’ll see how next week goes.

Unpublishing….

So I’ve done something I didn’t think I’d do….I unpublished a series. I just went into KDP and took them all down, so if you already own them you’ll still get to keep them, but they won’t be showing up on amazon after tomorrow.

The series I took down was my litRPG series, The Hub World. I had three of them out, and I think I made the right choice.

I didn’t take them down because they were bad, but they weren’t amazing either. They were just okay. I can say this after a year of reflection, and writing five books. That’s right, I have two more books in the series that I have almost finished and they are just sitting here. Waiting.

The problem is the books I started writing aren’t the same as what I’m writing now. Or I should say my knowledge of that world isn’t the same. I know more about the mechanics, the people, the creatures, and the gods of this world. So much more of the lore. Even just knowing WHY the two main characters are there, and what they hope to accomplish, is enough to change everything about the first few books.

When I first started the series I just set out to have a little fun. I’m a gamer, so it wasn’t hard to write a story about people playing a game, and inserting some of the history of gaming into the setting. But I’m also a world builder, and I didn’t do a lot of that in the first two books. I added more in the third book but who wants to wait till the third book before they start to get invested in a world?

So…it was okay. I told a complete story, the characters had some good banter, and there was a conclusion. But the world wasn’t deep enough, and that means the books just aren’t good enough to make them worth continuing.

So here’s the plan. I know this world better, so I’m going to rewrite the first three books, finish books 4 and 5, and release them all once I’m done. If I do this right I’m hoping I can get them all done and start releasing one a month for a while.

I am finishing up The Half Blood Sorceress, book 2, right now. I want to have that out by the beginning of April. Then I start on a much needed overhaul of The Hub World Series.

I’m going to do this right. I love litRPG. I want something to be proud of.

So, look forward to Dragon’s Blood by April, and a new, better, litRPG series coming soon.

2019 Writing in Review

It’s the new year, and it’s time to look back at what happened in 2019, and see where things will go in the future.

2019 was a year of change. First, I quite my job and we moved from Seattle to Houston. That was a huge change for Bjorn and I, but so far it was definitely been worth it. It was also the first year I have been writing full time. That’s taken some getting used to, and I am finally starting to get into the swing of making writing/editing/etc a priority, but I have a ways to go.

In 2019 I wrote 209k words. (Red line on graph is story writing, blue line includes newsletters, blog posts, and other projects.) This was double what I wrote in 2017 and 18, and a lot closer to what I was writing before that dip happened.

 

With all that writing I published three books. Steel Heart, and Steel Line which are the second and third books in my  litRPG series, and an anthology of scifi short stories, Stars End. I also started working on Vertigo, which I have uploaded six chapters of for free. It’s available on RoyalRoadWattpad, and WebNovel.

I am disappointed that I didn’t keep up with the chapter a week on Vertigo. To be fair, the reason I stopped was because of NaNoWriMo, and getting the 50k done on my Half Blood Sorceress, and book four in the litRPG took up a large part of my time. Then December I spent most of my time hand making all of my Christmas gifts. I forgot how time consuming crocheting hats could be. And a final trip back home to Seattle rounded out the end of the year, so I didn’t get much writing done in December, but I did spend some quality time with family and friends.

Going forward for 2020 I told my family I would be looking to complete, and publish, four novels. That will include book two in my Half Blood Sorceress series, book four in my litRPG series, finishing up Vertigo and publishing that on amazon, and …. I’m not sure what the final book will be yet, but I have a few ideas.

I have been scheduling time to write, read, and edit for this year. Three things I need to do more of in order to get my goals. I’ve also been making some plans to do something more with my art because it makes me happy, and is a nice break from writing when I need it. It also gives me something to do while listening to podcasts.

We’ve also committed to taking better care of ourselves, Bjorn and I. We’ve been eating more salads, going on walks, and getting to the gym more. It’s making him feel better, I’m still struggling with the exercise part, but I can be pretty stubborn, so I haven’t given up yet. I would just like to get to the point where it doesn’t feel awful every time I go… Don’t treat your body badly for years on end, folks, fixing it sucks.

Overall I have high hoped for 2020 going forward. More writing, more art, and more creativity in general. Lets see how far I can go with this.

Top Reads of 2019

I read a lot in 2019, and I enjoyed…almost everything I read. I stuck to a lot of series, with a few random books thrown in, and almost entirely novels this year. Unusual for me since I like short stories, and comics, but that’s where my time reading went this year.

I also read quite a bit of litRPG. Fitting since I was writing more of it. This may be one reason I haven’t been reading short stories… there aren’t any in litRPG. I managed to find two, and that was difficult, though there are a few novellas, but even they are rare.

Some of my tops!

books1

The Dark Herbalist series. I only read the first two so far, but the next two are on my list. I love the swash buckling nature of it all. I started the third book, but got annoyed with the first few chapters. I’m still going to push through and see what happens with it though.

The Noobtown Series started with a man’s character creation being lead by a demon. After he gets control he rushes into the game world, and finds a starter village that is overrun by monsters. Loving this series, and can’t wait for more to come out.

The Divine Seed series is a different take on the dungeon core idea. A soul seed from the world tree of Norse mythology is sent to a distant realm to set down roots, and immediately things start going wrong. It’s a really good series that keeps upping the stakes, and this dungeon cares more about testing the metal of those inside than simply feasting. Book three is on my short list to read in 2020.

books2

Life Reset needs more books. I love this series! Human stuck as a goblin in a game? Yes please. The fact that he needs to keep upping his levels to get out of the game, and the humans who trapped him there in the first place keep trying to kill him, is really

The Crafer’s Dungeon is another one of those dungeon cores that do something different. This core just wants to craft and uses all her traps to try and make a crafting location. She only fights if those around her won’t let her craft in peace. Can’t wait for book three.

Alpha Company is another series I read. I’ve only got one cover up there but that’s because there were eight books, and I read them all. Now a complete series, I’m sad it’s over, but it was a fantastic world to visit. Also, this involves a harem so if you’re not into it maybe it’s not for you. (Though I really wish the author would go back and update his old covers so they all match. Come on Daniel!)

books3

Some of the stand along books that I loved this year include:

Bone Dungeon. The second book will be out this year. It is more in the traditional dungeon core style with a dungeon creating creature to fight adventurers, but it adds a dose of comedy to the mix and I really enjoyed it.

CivCEO is a civilization style game, and unlike anything else I have read in the litRPG area. Definitely portal fiction where the main character is transported to a magical land by a wayward goddess and dropped off as a mistake. But he quickly owns the situation, and makes the best of it in this new game of civ.

The Legacy Builder is actually a series, but I only read the first book. I will probably make my way through the rest of the series in 2020. This starts with the main character being robbed, and scammed, and he is absolutely thrilled about it! And doesn’t take long to get his own back. A really fun city builder litRPG.

And lastly, The Tower of Babel which is only on the bottom of my list because it is an abandoned series. The last book came out in 2017, and the author has said he doesn’t know when he’ll get back to it. A pity because the first two books were really good. They can, however, stand on their own. There just isn’t the satisfaction of the main character making it to the top of the tower.

I did read a lot of other books this year, but these were the top picks. You can find the rest of my reads, and the reviews, here.

The Mandalorian – AWESOME!

Cowboys in space, that’s exactly what we wanted and what we got. It’s an awesome show, and I am so glad I got free Disney+ from Verizon to watch it.

Will I renew my subscription after the year is over? Probably not. I’ll do exactly what I’ve been doing with other services. I’ll reup for a month once the thing I want to see is completely out, binge, then cancel. The only one we’ve been keeping an account with is Crunchy Roll and that’s just because there are so many anime’s to watch that it makes it worth it. Sort of like when Netflix had everything there. Now it doesn’t, and I’d just rather not watch most of what’s out there.

But as for Mandalorian, specifically, I loved it. Anyone who reads my blog might know that I wasn’t a big fan of the new trilogy movies, but Mandalorian feels like a return to classic Star Wars. They don’t make it complicated, or add in lots of social commentary, they just make it fun. And that’s what I wanted.

I liked it so much I did some fan art.

boda

Regardless, Baby Yoda is adorable. It’s fun to watch the father son dynamic of the series as Mando takes more responsibility for the youngling. I love seeing a good fatherly role model on tv for a change, and the bounty of the week sort of structure they have going is pretty good. Plus… BABY YODA!

And the season finally just opened up a whole bunch of possibilities for the future!

So if you, or a friend, have access to Disney+ I’d suggest watching it. It’s worth your time.