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 #smileaday Fresh starts (new covers!)
If you've been following my publishing story, then you already know that I asked for and was granted the rights to my Menopausal Superhero novels from my previous publisher AND that I've signed with a new publisher: Falstaff Books. 
Today was a big day in that I got to see the latest iterations of my new covers. A cover can make or break a book's chances for sales, so this is no small thing. And I'm really really lucky in that this publisher is willing to listen to my opinions and give me a strong say in the final product. 
I did really like my old covers. They were vibrant, eye-catching, and simple (in a good way). They were, however, a little off-tone for the content, perhaps leading readers to expect a mostly comedic book instead of superheroic women's fiction with comedic moments. So, this move to a new publisher was the perfect time for a re-brand. 
We're not quite ready to show them yet, so I'm just going to give a sneak peek here, the bit of each cover that shows the title. I can't wait to unveil these babies to the world! 
new covers
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 #smileaday Good cheesy, pulpy fun. I wasn't sure if I was going to go see Aquaman or not, but Sweetman wanted to see it, so I went with him. And I'm glad I did. Such fun! Definitely not a story to examine too closely in any aspect. Nearly note for note predictable (though still satisfying enough in execution) and the criticisms about bad CGI are warranted, but if you go in expecting a romp through a pulpy ocean floor, you'll have a good time. 
I've got a special place in my heart for crazy mashup mixtures, and where else am I gonna get some kind of fish vampire monster thing, saddled sharks, kaiju, dinosaurs, and sappy romance themes all in one place? 

aquaman toy
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 cover Hero Status#bookeveryweek Hero Status by Kristen Brand. 
As a superhero novelist myself, I'm always looking for fresh takes on the genre. I found one in this story!
I really enjoyed this novel's focus on David del Toro as a person, in particular as a family man in love with his wife and trying to be a good dad. Of course, this particular dad has an alter ego as the super-strong White Knight, retired superhero, and is married to a one-time super-villain with mind control abilities, but all marriages have challenges. :-)
Of course, since it's a superhero story, it doesn't stay a quiet domestic bliss sort of story. There's a wonderfully creepy super-villain in Dr. Sweet and lots of in-fighting based on misunderstandings and judgments about each other's morality. I loved the different takes on heroism and the cooperation and competition among heroes and with the authorities. 
The action sequences are innovative and exciting and the relationships and history from del Toro's past build suspense and intrigue. It's a good balance of plot and character that had me cheering for del Toro throughout. I was engaged from beginning to end and would definitely read more of this series. 

samanthabryant: feeling purple (Default)
 infinity wars posterMy family got Avengers: Infinity War on disk as part of our holiday haul. My eldest daughter never got to see it in cinema, so we watched it together tonight, first time for her, second time for me. The rest of this entry includes spoilers, but I don't feel bad about this as the movie is hardly new anymore. 
I'm still profoundly ambivalent about this film. I'm not sure I've forgiven Marvel for the emotional abuse. 
It was a ballsy move to make a superhero movie where the superheroes lose, even if you have a back-pocket plan to make another movie to let them still win, in a way.  On a second watch, much of the emotional impact is lessened, since you already know its coming, but it still managed to punch me in the feels a few times, and I really appreciated the performances. 
There were lots of small movements and great eye work. Tom Hiddleston's Loki and the "go ahead and kill him" feint falling apart; Chris Pratt's Starlord keeping his word to kill Gamora like he'd promised; Danai Gurira's shocked grief as Okoye when T'Challah disintegrated before her eyes. 
(On the other hand, I was mostly annoyed by the Spidey/Ironman exaggeration. Tom Holland got longer to die so the kid could beg for his life and die in his mentor's arms. Chew that scenery a little harder guys; I think a piece of it was still standing). 
Like a lot of viewers, watching the first time, I felt suckered. On my big-screen viewing, a man seating near me slammed down his popcorn bucket and said, "The f*ck I just watch!" and a lot of audience members sympathized. Even now, months later and with previews of the sequel out there offering reassurance, I still feel wounded. That's probably a kind of compliment to the work-it hurt, lastingly. 
As a writer, I was very impressed by how well it functions, structurally. I have my doubts that it plays well if you haven't watched the whole MCU, but if you have, it does a deft job balancing so many moving pieces! The Guardians were used to great effect for the "worlds collide" moments of heroes meeting heroes. Everyone falling in love with the angel-pirate Thor. And the hero-vs.-hero misunderstanding over who worked for Thanos and who didn't with Strange, Ironman, and Spidey. 
The weakest bit in my mind was the whole not-killing-Vision thing. I wasn't that attached to Vision as a character from previous movies, so we retro-fitted a romance storyline with Scarlet Witch that I don't remember even a whiff of in previous films. It felt even more manufactured than the Hulk/Black Widow romance line and I thought that whole thing was a cheap shot, too. 
But, the movie needed us to feel bad about killing Vision, so we gave him a girlfriend and some scenes with a human face on first. Total cred for the writers though for using Quill and Gamora's "kill the one you love" moment earlier on as a foil for the "Scarlet Witch has to kill her honey-bun" moment. It really did help bolster the emotions for a scene that didn't have enough emotional payoff on its town. 
Whether this one becomes a film I can watch over and over again like some of the others in the MCU will depend on the sequel and if they pull this out without it feeling like a total cheat. Time will tell. 


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Samantha J Bryant

March 2019

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