Tag Archives: writing

What’s New — July 2017

July is a month I have been long awaiting, for a few reasons:

  • It’s Camp NaNoWriMo, so I can focus on writing my novel again
  • Final Fantasy XII is coming out on PS4, so I can replay it
  • A ton of good movies are coming out

Plus, days off for 4th of July and all that good stuff. =)

Last month, I played some more Injustice 2, started making my way through Wolfenstein: The New Order, spent a lot of time working thanks to E3 madness, and saw the amazing and funny Wonder Woman movie. This month…

Novel Writing

On the writing front, I have been pretty bad about keeping to a schedule lately. I’ve had a lot of ideas, so in general things are going in the right direction — I just need to make time to write. I’d blame a super busy work month, but there’s never an excuse for not writing!

In any case, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has a camp in April and July, which lets you group up with other writers online to encourage each other through the month. You set your own personal goals with this one. Mine will be to write seven hours per week. I’d say one hour per day, but I’m going to give myself the leeway to write a little extra some days and skip a day once in a while, depending on when I have time. Life happens, after all. But by the end of the month, with that much writing, I should feel like I made some good progress!

Final Fantasy XII

final-fantasy-xii-key-artI don’t need another video game in my life right now. I’m wrapping up both Mass Effect Andromeda and Wolfenstein: The New Order, I’m playing some Nex Machina co-op with my partner, and I’ve started a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition that I’ll be chipping away at for the next little while here. I also have Persona 5 on my list of games-to-play. And Night in the Woods.

But… Final Fantasy XII is one of my favorite video games ever, and one of the first I played. The characters and rich settings are so stuck in my mind. I remember battling through tedious dungeons just to get to that next beautiful cutscene and unravel more of the story. I was in love with Balthier. It’s just such a magical game to me, I have to play it again now that it’s coming to the PlayStation 4. It’ll take me some time, but hey, video games are meant to be enjoyed. I can take my time. =)

Movies

Summer is known for blockbuster movies, and the ones I’m most looking forward to are Spider-Man: Homecoming next week, and then Dunkirk and Valerian later in the month.

I’ve started reading Valerian (specifically the comic tied to the movie) to learn about the characters and world. I love that it’s fun, over-the-top science fiction adventure, but with that underlying young romance. Maybe unrequited, which can be even better.

What’s everybody else doing and playing this month?

— Ashley

What’s New — June 2017

Hey everybody! I can’t believe summer is already here, and this month the thing I am most looking forward to is E3. While I’m not attending this year, I am eager to see what new games are announced so I can keep on filling my already way-too-full stack of games I need to play. =)

eos outpostRight now, I’m in the process of finishing my playthrough of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m not sure exactly how far along I am, but I feel like things are starting to crescendo, so the finale must be on the way! While I can’t say I am as hooked on the game as I was on the original Mass Effect trilogy, it’s definitely scratching my itch for sci-fi, and I love the exploration aspect of the game. The characters are great, missions are exciting — the biggest issue I have, I would say, is that it does still rely too much on fetch quests and repetitive side missions, like their other open world game, Dragon Age Inquisition. But I’ll post my thoughts when I’m all done with the game!

DA8KVQHUMAAsJr5I’ve also been really into Injustice 2 lately, although it’s harder for me to get the hang of than Mortal Kombat X was. I tried a bunch of characters until I decided Catwoman was the one for me, but even then, it’s been taking some time to nail her special moves and combos. She doesn’t come as naturally to me as D’Vorah did in Mortal Kombat X. I’ve also enjoyed playing as Poison Ivy, Black Adam, and Robin, and I’m in love with Black Canary’s outfits which makes me want to play as her sometime too. But I have to focus on one character at a time, because getting those combos down is all about muscle memory! I can only learn so much at once. Plus, Catwoman has some pretty kickass moves — she uses a whip, guys — and I love her gear. One of my favorite things about Injustice 2 so far is the ability to play with gear, outfitting your characters the way you want. Different outfits come with different stats, but you can swap gear with something you like the look of more, and use shaders to customize colors. For someone like me who gets way to into character creators, playing dress-up like this is really addicting.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been reading The Witcher books. I just re-read The Last Wish — well, specifically I listened to the audiobook this time — and now I’m moving on to Sword of Destiny (which I totally missed before) and then the first novel in the series, Blood of Elves. You can read my thoughts on The Last Wish here!

uk-orig-the-blade-itselfI also just started reading my first Joe Abercrombie book, The Blade Itself. I know I just started it yesterday, but I’m now five chapters in and falling in love fast. It feels like everything I want in an epic fantasy — amazing world-building, deep characters, hand-to-hand combat action — but with a real sense of humor. It actually reminds me of the tone of The Witcher series, just because it’s both fun and funny, while still tackling some serious fantasy politics and danger. (I mean, one of the main characters is a torturer.)

For other entertainment, I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and American Gods on Starz.

The first is an adaptation of one of my favorite books, and in the latest episodes it’s been taking some very dark turns, some of which deviate a little bit from the novel. I think everyone should read the book, honestly. The show is excellent too, but I think it would probably help to read the book first, as it’s a pretty stark world to dive into on a screen; somehow reading it feels like a more gentle, if still disturbing, introduction to this world where fertile women are forced into servitude to produce children.

american gods tv show.pngThe latter, American Gods, is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, which I read recently and only kind of liked. However, the show is amazing. I like it a lot more than the book so far, in part because it visualizes things with much more color and excitement than the novel did. Where the book plodded along, the show creates a distinct energy as you take in the details of the setting, the characters’ expressions, and the beautiful cinematography. The fact that the show doesn’t shy away from the conquests of Bilquis, who devours those she sleeps with, is impressive too. I appreciate the novel’s concept so much, but in execution, it works better as a show for me.

And then there’s my writing. I am getting back into noveling lately. I miss it. I’ve been pretty busy with work and video games the past couple of months, but National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is also awesome enough to organize a couple of months every year dedicated to making your own writing goals. The next one is in July, so I’m going to come up with a goal for it. In the meantime, I’m prepping by getting back into the habit of writing on a daily (or almost daily) basis, and outlining in greater detail so I don’t get stuck when I sit down to stare at a blank page!

What are you all up to this month? Are there any new games or shows you are excited about, and what are you most excited to see from E3?!

Ashley

What’s New — January 2017

First off, happy New Year! I’m excited to start a new year. Sure, last year had a lot of bad moments, and some big events seem to indicate that things may be shaky for awhile, for some of us. I don’t want to get into all that. On a personal note, I can at least say that I had a great 2016, full of travel and achieving new goals. I can’t wait to continue with that good stuff this year!

In December, I had high hopes to play a lot of video games. And I did — but I spent most of that time replaying Skyrim instead of tackling, say, Watch_Dogs 2. I’ll still play all those games, but I have to admit I had a blast kicking back with Skyrim last month. I would seriously plop down on the couch at 6 or 7 PM and just play until 2 in the morning, when I would force myself to stop because sleep is good too. You can check out some of my Skyrim video posts here — there will definitely be more of them as I continue playing!

dishonored-2_11I’ve also been playing through Dishonored 2. So far, I love playing as Emily as she tries to regain her throne. It’s a good story — much stronger than the first game’s, to me — and Emily’s powers are pretty awesome. I’d say I like them more than Corvo’s in the first game. My favorite (so far) is the ability to link enemies together, thereby chaining attacks so that hitting one of the linked enemies will domino to hit all of them. Very handy for stealth attacks, like when I enter a new room, spot a couple of guards having a chat, and link them before they even notice me. All I need to do then is set fire to one, and they’ll both go up in flames. It’s so much fun.

I also just wrapped up the final episode of Telltale Games’ Batman series. I’ll be publishing a blog post about it soon — but for now, I’ll just say I loved it. One of Telltale’s best series, in my opinion.

Having some time off last month, I’ve also gotten back into working out. My boyfriend and I have made a pact to achieve some fitness and health goals together this month, which will require me not to skip a single day of drinking my water, getting my steps in, and writing for all of January. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for it. I want to start 2017 off on a good footing, and hopefully make some habits I can keep for the rest of the year.

los-alamos-poster-tall-1536x864.jpgAnd I saw Rogue One! Twice, so far. I might try to see it in theaters one more time, but I’ll give it a couple weeks. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just say that the biggest impression I was left with is that Rogue One has an exceptional cast of characters. I am a huge fan of Felicity Jones, so I was excited to see her in an action role for a change. Diego Luna was also amazing in the film. Both of their characters have a lot of depth, as you learn about some of their internal struggles and their pasts. While a character like Rey in The Force Awakens is intriguing, something about Jyn Erso feels more passionate to me — and easier to relate to. I just really, really loved this movie.

The other big sci-fi movie I saw last month was Passengers, which had a lot more going on than I expected from the trailers. You can read my totally spoiler-y post about it here.

Other than that, this month — and really this whole year — I’m going to try not to make too many video game goals for myself and just enjoy whatever I end up playing. I’d rather focus on writing my novel and health goals, and then make gaming my reward or hobby — not something else to achieve, if that makes sense. I have a bad habit of buying too many games and never playing them all, or starting games because I want to try everything but never finishing them. This year, I’d rather go with the flow more.

How was everybody’s holiday season? And what’s everybody doing and playing these days? :)

— Ashley

What’s New – December 2016

I’m so happy the holidays are officially here! The past 11 months have been extremely fun, but I am feeling the exhaustion that goes along with hitting the end of the year. I’m also ready for some time off to catch up on gaming. :)

Last month was full of travel and writing for me. A trip to Mexico, then a trip to my family’s for Thanksgiving, meant that I was on the road for a lot of the month. I’ve had a really fun month because of that. And because I was also participating in National Novel Writing Month, I spent every spare minute at home writing. I haven’t even played a video game in like three weeks. It’s insane.

Now that my 50,000 words are done (my novel isn’t finished, but I made way more progress than I expected!), I’m eager to retrieve a better work/play balance in my life this month. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this December!

Dishonored 2

While I had every intention of playing this game right away, I haven’t had a chance to yet due to the traveling and the writing. But my boyfriend was sweet enough to buy me the game as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo, so I’m starting it now! I may not be the best at stealth — so yes, I will probably kill enemies instead of doing a clean hands playthrough — but I can’t wait to wreak supernatural chaos all over this new city!

Watch_Dogs 2

I have no idea what I’ll think of this game. The first Watch Dogs didn’t interest me, but just the fact that this one is set in San Francisco, where I live, has captured my attention. The main character also seems more intriguing than the last… and I love the idea of hacking my way through missions. This will be my big game to play over the holiday break!

Mobile Gaming

While I’m at my mom’s for Christmas, I’ll be playing on my handhelds a lot. It’s a great way to pass the time while I’m hanging out in the living room and the TV screen is already in use! I just have to remember to pack my Nintendo 3DS and see if my Vita is around somewhere…

Rogue One

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6It took me awhile to come around to Star Wars. I’ve always enjoyed the worldbuilding of it, but not seeing the movies until I was in my teens and/or an adult made it hard for me to fall in insta-love with them like so many people seem to. However, the movies have grown on me the past few years, and I’m very excited for the new releases. I loved The Force Awakens, and I’m hoping that Rogue One has a darker story and tone than the episode films. I’m ready for a little change of pace in that respect! I also credit Felicity Jones as one of my favorite actresses, since seeing her in Like Crazy a few years ago… but I guess I haven’t seen her in an action role before. That should be interesting!

More Writing!

I feel like I’m on a roll with my novel right now, so I’ll continue writing tons throughout the month. It would feel amazing to finish my book by the end of the year! I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I’m going to make every effort to maintain the good writing habits I fostered during NaNoWriMo — just minus the crazy no-time-for-video-games part. :)

Getting Healthy

Obviously it’s hard to stay healthy during the holidays, and I have no regrets about how much I ate and how little I worked out over Thanksgiving. But now that I am going to be home for most of the month, I’m planning a workout routine and some more home-cooked healthy meals that I can incorporate into my daily life here! For some reason, planning these things as part of a schedule — including the meal prep — really helps me stay on track. I’m going to act like this is a treat for myself, because now that my traveling and crazy schedules are over, I have time to work on myself and enjoy the experience!

What are you guys up to for the holidays/New Year’s?

— Ashley