The writer is out

There’s no good/easy/clever way to say this, mostly because I’m terrified of how it’s going to be received, so I’ll just blurt it out like a teenage girl in the AV Club shouting her crush at the quarterback from a moving car. (Not that I’ve ever done that…)

Here it is:

My dearest darlings, I’m hanging up my writer’s hat.

No more novels, flash fiction, self-publishing, or Patreon.

Not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

It’s not that I don’t love writing (I do), and it’s not that I don’t love Cora and Jack (I do), and it’s definitely not that I don’t love you (I do, so much).

It’s that I’m no longer the person I was when I started this endeavor.

It’s that I’ve tried to keep my writing life separate from the rest of it, and the fruit of that has been less and less joy and more and more angst.

It’s that I’m burned out and frustrated, exhausted and chafing.

I need to rest.

I need to refresh the well with God and friends and family and time with my husband and sex and art and reading and movies and sleep.

I need to see where this writing thing is meant to go rather than where I keep trying to force it.

And, in order to do that, I need to put it down and walk away, at least for a little while.

But please don’t worry about me or my sanity or my happiness. I want you to know that I’m fine—great, even!

This conviction has been on my heart for months, but it was too scary to acknowledge (much less accept). I resisted, rebelled, refused. But eventually the pain of ignoring what I knew in my knower was right outweighed the fear of change and the shame of failing. And here we are.

What’s wonderful is that having decided to Do The Thing, I feel released. Free. I’m lighter, even as I grieve the loss and nurse my wounded pride.

I’m ready. It’s time for a new season.

In practical terms, I don’t know much about the future. The fate of the Forgotten Relics series, when/if I’ll come back to writing, who I’ll become in this new season—they’re each a giant question mark. Perhaps an interrobang.

What I do know is I’m not disappearing. I’ll still be lurking/oversharing on Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest for pictures of food and Dean Winchester. Also keep a weather eye on this space for random blog posting.

I also know that I love you.

I may not know what happens next, but whatever it is, I’m convinced it’ll be amazing because you are amazing. You’ve been my cheer-readers, my co-adventurers, my friends. You’ve trusted me when I felt untrustworthy, loved me when I felt unlovable, and continue to do so even now, when I’m saying I need an indefinite break.

Words aren’t enough to thank you for your love, support, and generosity, but the internet doesn’t support transmedia hugging yet, so words will have to do.

Thank you, my lovelies—for everything. See you ’round the ‘verse.

Garnet Dagger haircut FFIX
“Sometimes, you can’t think everything out. You have to listen to your heart.” — Zidane Tribal, FFIX

MIRROR OF ASHES has arrived!

It’s here, it’s here! The third book of the Forgotten Relics series has officially arrived!

Thanks to everyone who helped me get this baby off the ground. Between Team Patreon, the generous crowdfunders, and miscellaneous folk who patted me on the head when I got squirrelly, the acknowledgements section is two pages long. SO MUCH LOVE.

Okay, enough mush from me. It’s launch day! You want information! Here are all the ways you can get the book….

kindle :: print :: epub :: goodreads

And don’t forget to share with your friends!

The Mirror of Ashes (Forgotten Relics #3) - Ellie Di JulioGlittering snow, twinkling lights, carols in the air—Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

Or it would be if Cora Riley wasn’t neck-deep in magical crime and double shifts at the Supernatural Cases Division.

Two weeks after losing the Sword of Souls, her friends deployed across the nation on top-level missions, Cora finds herself walking the beat alone in DC, wondering if she’s the hero of this story after all. Loneliness, exhaustion, and a perplexing romance threaten to drive her back into the darkness she fought so hard to escape.

But the pity-party comes to an abrupt end when Cora makes a horrific discovery at headquarters that sends her racing to New York City. There, Jack Alexander’s assignment to the Japanese ambassador clicks with Manny Boxer’s spontaneous combustion case to reveal a new facet of Eris’ plot: an ancient artifact the local vampires are literally dying to get their hands on.

The hunt is on to find the Mirror of Ashes. But who is hunting whom?

kindle :: print :: epub :: goodreads

Avengers, dissemble! AGE OF ULTRON swaps character for ‘splosions

avengers age of ultron costumes

You guys, I finally saw Avengers: Age of Ultron last night! I am now counted among the true believers once again (read: I can go back to Tumblr).

But despite my uber-excitement after how much I loved the first Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, I have to admit, I left the theater disappointed.

It’s been suggested that my disappointment is a result of too-high expectations, misunderstanding the filmmakers’ intentions, not being able to keep up with the breakneck pace of the story, and/or simple failed hype. Maybe. Those are all entirely plausible explanations.

But I don’t think I’m expecting too much for this Avengers to be as well-written, well-directed, and well-played as the first. I do understand the filmmakers had boatloads of story and characterization and Phase 3 setup to cram into 2h 20m. I was breathless with the pace, but I was never lost for long. And I didn’t watch Finding Nemo for five years because I didn’t want hype to influence me, so pbbbbhhhttt to that.

After mulling it over, feeling like a super Bad Geek, I quickly realized the root of my disappointment lies in the most obvious of places: the storytelling.

Ultron feels like it’s two movies crammed into one. Or two different treatments of the same story by two different writers/directors, then spliced together by a third guy. There’s a disjointed quality between being a Very Serious Civil War Buildup Movie and a Fun Superhero Movie with Big Ideas. Like it can’t decide what to be. I agree this could be intentional–broken framing is a great way to enhance the point that the movie’s about dysfunction–but it’s heavyhanded and overused, destroying the sense of flow that connects us to the characters who, by the way, are why we give a shit about watching eleven movies (so far) in the first place.

The dissonance between these two styles is so strong that I entirely forgot I was watching a Joss Whedon flick and not a Michael Bay actionporn except for blips of perfectly-timed humor and heartwrenching moments. Worse, those gems of Jossness that made Avengers so fantastic are trite, jarring or downright huh? when presented against the megaserious backdrop. Entire scenes are out of place (Why did we spend so much time at Rancho Barton and go to Thor’s cave (that sounds bad)?) and characters’ attempts at humor or three dimensions fall flat without space to breathe. The final film is a battleground between leashed Joss and the studio, resulting in a clunky story that doesn’t measure up to the tight, witty, emotionally-invested bar set by Avengers.


captain america tears log in half avengers age of ultron

There are tons of supercool ideas presented in Ultron that I wanted to explore more deeply, but given the frantic pace, we don’t get that chance. I wanted to understand Ultron and his evolution; at the beginning, he parrots Tony and perverts the idea of peace through a computer’s lens, then 20 minutes before the end says he’s “gone beyond” that. How?! Further, we’re thrown Vision and he’s accepted immediately, his comment about being neither Ultron nor Jarvis buried under “get ‘im, Ray!” talk. The power of fear is touched on, but we never know what Bruce saw or how Steve managed to not go batshit broken like the rest of the team. And what about the fascinating relationship between Banner and Romanov–where did that come from?! Because of the film’s leaping  between action sequences, we miss out on goldmines of ideas and the precious storylines and entanglements that come with exploring them.

There are a bunch of other nitpicky things I could harp on (too-convenient twists, for example), but the basic gist of my disappointment is that Age of Ultron is filled with conflicted, disjointed storytelling with too much focus on OMG THE WORLD WILL END and not enough on character and ideas.

All that being said, I promise I didn’t hate Ultron. I’d see it again! (Besides, I’m reserving my “least favorite Marvel movie” spot for Ant-Man.)  I’m just sad it was so lackluster. Somewhere between Iron Man 3: Tony is Has Feels (slow, one idea, overwrought) and Ultron: Do All The Things (overstuffed, unfocused, flat) is the right balance of plot, character, ideas, and franchise. They nailed it with Iron Man, Avengers, and Guardians; as a decent fangirl, I believe they’ll find it again.

On the upside, there’s this:

Black Widow motorcycle dropping from Quinjet Age of Ultron