Lifestyle, TV & Film, Writing

A Fistful of Nutshells




HI GUYS!  I’VE MISSED YOU!  *gathers up all my blog and internet buddies in a huge hug*



This is my second time combining two months worth of news into one post and, I will admit, it was kind of a relief, because I really needed this semi-break.  ?

Despite getting sick again during October (thanks, Life) and getting lots of nice rest, I had some great successes during the last two months and some exciting things happened!







The Eagle Huntress



I have been meaning to watch this since this came out in theaters, but it was never shown in a theater near me.  It’s just as well, since I don’t like supporting propaganda. Don’t be fooled, this IS a propaganda film but, once you shove all that aside, it’s a beautifully made documentary with an inspiring story and a charming protagonist you can’t help rooting for.

Something I found interesting is that while this is touted as a girl power film, it is the touching relationship between Ashlepan and her father that really stands out. It is actually his kindness and unfailing belief in Aslephan that is the real power behind her success story, and it’s that theme that will leave a lump in your throat at the end of this aesthetically-gorgeous documentary.

Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye (TV show)



*INSERT ENTHUSIASTIC APPLAUSE*  This series is SO GOOD.  It’s rare when six Tebo’s can sit down and enjoy the same show together, but our entire family absolutely loved this.

Just don’t do what we did and binge-watch three seasons.  Yeah, I don’t recommend doing that.


It’s exciting, thoughtful, poignant, funny, and smart.  It’s also unbelievably clean. There’s plenty of action (but without gratuitous violence), There’s even some romance for you romance lovers out there – but without all the junk.  It is also ultra-conservative and was made right after 9/11 – when old-fashioned, flaming patriotism was in full force.  It’s great stuff. 

And the cast, (oh my goodness, the CAST).  The cast is AMAZING.  And, for once, the script does them justice.

The scripting is stellar, and not a single one of the core cast is overlooked when it comes to character development.  I loved every one of them, but my favorite character would probably have to be Myles Leland III, who has rudeness and STYLE coming out of his ears.  I do love me a good jerk.  *cough* #burndee *cough cough*



I honestly don’t have enough superlatives at my disposal to describe how good this show is.  Don’t take my word for it – WATCH IT.


Clone Wars (TV Show)



I had never had an interest in this show because the few glimpses I had had of the animation looked unappealing (plus, I was never really into the Prequel trilogy).

Boy, was I missing out.

The one thing really “bad” about this show is that it makes me like Anakin, and that’s rather painful because we all know how that gent turns out.  (spoiler:  not well)  But other than THAT, it’s fabulous.  You can really tell Lucas was more heavily involved in this.  After suffering and squirming under Disney-ized Star Wars, for the last few years, it was refreshing to feel the magic of the George Lucas touch again.



This series is just generally awesome in every respect.  They are exciting, well-plotted, full of great characters (I LOVE Asoka, and I’m downright gaga over Clone Troopers.  *insert squeal here*), and are just generally more “Star Wars-y” then anything I’ve seen in quite a while.  The Jedi Council approves!



Note: The show can get pretty dark (don’t let the animation fool you, this is not a kid’s show), so I’ve only watched maybe twenty episodes or so, but the one’s I have seen so far have been very good and I’ll watch more.  Right now, my brother (my best Star Wars buddy) is showing them to me a bit at a time.  Star Wars should always be enjoyed with a pal.

The Emperor’s New Groove



Yes, I finally watched it! I had seen this one around for years, but was never interested in seeing it.

After joining social media a few years ago, my encounters with The Emperor’s New Groove references doubled. Still, I didn’t really have any interest.  And then two lovely friends, Sarah Grace and Victoria Lynn made me watch a scene of Yzma as a cat that STARTED to pique my interest.  And then the blog of the incredibly awesome Christine Smith prompted my twin to try out parts of the movie. (twin and me are both big fans of Christine, and her blog.

Anyway, Twin thought it looked funny and started showing me random clips of the movie and I finally said: “Okay, let’s just RENT the thing.” And so we did.

I can kind of see why it has a cult following. It’s so WEIRD. But also preposterously hilarious.  Everything moves so quickly in this sprightly little film that the pace is borderline breathless.  The filmmakers packed an enormous amount of story and character development into 90 minutes, and the result is rather smashing.

Eh, who am I kidding.  It was great.  I watched it three nights in a row and I would watch it again in a twinkling!

In an era of endless remakes and zero originality, it was refreshing to see a film that defies genre and description. This tight cast of characters were bursting with originality and unique relationships (the age gap between Pacha and Kuzco was especially unique and refreshing) that all comes together in a satisfying serving of sweet zaniness.


I have also decided that to elect Yzma as my evil alter ego.  She is the best villain I have seen in ages.



I am now looking for a sidekick who will answer to the name Kronk.  ANY VOLUNTEERS?

By the way, since we’re talking about movies and TV shows – a brief entreaty.

If you have signed up to Disney + then I beg you, for the love of Mickey, CHECK OUT SOME OF MY FAVORITE OLD DISNEY FILMS THAT I TALKED ABOUT ON THIS POST.  Don’t just watch the new stuff!  *wrinkles nose*



– READ –


In the months of October and November, I read 33 books!




As always, this isn’t as impressive as it looks.  Some of these were DNF’s and skim-reads or short novels.

I previously decided that, starting November 1st, I would predominately only reread books and spend two months revisiting old favorites.  It’s been GREAT.

I’ve actually not read as much and am going a lot more slowly through a few old friends instead of binging through stacks of library books, and I’m enjoying the change.




Okay, let’s start with October!  *cracks knuckles*

I stumbled across an anthology seeking pirate story.  So I took a week to write and edit a 7,000 word-ish short story for the anthology and submitted it to the editors a day before the submission window closed.



The bad news is . . . that’s pretty much ALL I wrote in October.



Let’s move onto November!

While I didn’t do NaNoWrimo this month, I did write roughly 20,000 words. Muuuccch better than October.



I was also able to finish two more short stories this November, one apocalypse themed and the other is, er, a weird spin off of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  They’re rough drafts, but they are finished.



Funny anecdote regarding this apocalypse story.  While I was deep in the middle of a writing session, caught up in scribbling down disaster and gloom, our refrigerator suddenly stopped working – JUST LIKE THAT.  I had to abandon the writing sessions to help save our groceries all the while thinking:  WHOA, maybe I should write on something else?  The apocalyptic correlation here is sort of suspicious!



If I didn’t have this kind of mind, I wouldn’t be a writer, people.




I was able to work a little more with my beta readers on Poppy’s Peril and slogged through some more editing. I haven’t been moving as quickly on this project as I would like, but I’m going to make an effort to turn up the gas on this baby in December.

*picks up editing hat and glumly plops it on*




Sooooo . . . you know that pirate-themed short story I submitted?






So this means that I will be published in TWO anthologies in 2020.



I’ve already seen a preview of anthology cover art and AH, I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!!!!!!!!!!

Now, as far as other publishing news (specifically: when is the next Tales of Ambia story going to come out?)

*scuffs the ground* *coughs* *the mood turns somber*



I really, really thought (and hoped) I could publish one measly short story this year (Poppy’s Peril) but now it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY that this is going to happen.  I have about one chance in a hundred of getting that story out before Christmas at the rate I’m going.



BUT – by hook or by crook – it should be published in the first quarter of 2020.  I AM DETERMINED TO FINISH THIS PROJECT.  *waves fist defiantly at the Universe*




What happens when a fairy tale author watches Clone Wars and The Emperor’s New Groove back to back?





I have had plans for a Snow White retelling for a couple of years now but, to be honest, I was never really excited about my ideas for it.  It felt . . . boring.  It felt more like just a standard cheesy romance than a comedic and sappy Ambian caper.



Sappiness yes. Cheese NO.

Anyway, after watching The Emperor’s New Groove, it occurred to me that it had story elements in common with Snow White.  That got me excited and sparked the idea, but it needed some jazzing up, SO NATURALLY JUST ADD STAR WARS AND MIX, RIGHT?


Don’t you see, Kronk? It’s perfect!!!


I can’t tell you much, but I’ve brainstormed for it with my siblings and they came up with some great ideas and I think it’s going to be quite good. At any rate, it’s definitely not boring anymore! *grins*

On that note, I’ll leave you with a not-very-good mood board for your perusing pleasure.



I also got a brainwave on my troublesome Frog Prince retelling that I am really excited about!

Unfortunately, it would involve throwing out all of my previous ideas, not to mention the 50,000 words I have written on the story so far.  *CONUNDRUM ENSUES*

I’m still torn over whether to stick with the original idea or go with the new shiny.  I AM leaning towards the new idea because it’s basically a Wild West / Road Trip story with BIKER GANGS.  In Ambia, guys. What’s not to like about that?



I’m not going to share anything more about it just yet, but I’ll keep you guys updated!




At some point in 2020, two anthologies will release featuring my short stories. Unfortunately, the project leaders for both anthologies are behind on schedule, so I’m not sure about the dates yet. *sulks*

I am using the rest of 2019 to finish writing, editing, and submitting a few short stories and flash fiction, as well as drafting up blog posts and articles for 2020.

Not to mention editing Poppy’s Peril.

I am also tentatively making plans with my sisters about a new writing platform but, for the moment, I’m keeping that under my hat until I’ve figured out all the details.



As far as 2020, I am hoping to spend the first quarter drafting Frog Prince or Red Riding Hood (those blasted headaches!), and publish Poppy’s Peril.


BUT 2020 IS STILL A MONTH AWAY.  Things could change – we’ll see.  Just be assured that I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I’M DOING!


– LIFE –

Played stupid/fun video games with my twin.  That’s always fun.


Did a little baking.  Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, homemade bread . . .  Good and healthy stuff like that.



I celebrated the birthday of both Allison’s Well (this blog you’re on right now) and my novella, A Royal Masquerade!  *throws confetti*



For A Royal Masquerade’s birthday, I ate cheesecake to celebrate. I think Burndee would approve.  For my blog birthday, I didn’t do anything special, just mentally marked the day and reflected on how three years of blogging have positively flown by!  It’s been quite an adventure.


Finally finished playing a Star Wars campaign with my brother!  It took us half a year, but we finished it at last!



The Reluctant Godfather was chosen as the book of the month by a pair of Instagrammers!


BACKSTORY TIME (again):  Back in September, a lovely Instagram account called Sweet Lits announced that October was Indie Author Month at their local library. They asked their followers to nominate their favorite indie book for a chance to see it featured as their October sweet lit pick.

The Reluctant Godfather was  nominated by some of my lovely readers . . . and CHOSEN!



The Reluctant Godfather was featured on Sweet Lit’s account as the book of the month and they even hosted an international giveaway and gave away a signed paperback! 


It made me laugh out loud in delight to see that Sweet Lits had paired The Reluctant Godfather with CRAB APPLE CAKE, saluting Burndee’s tart (but secretly sweet) personality!  Very appropriate.


Wrapped up a giveaway and posted a leather bound book to a very lucky winner.


Learned how to play sabacc with my siblings.


Inspired by Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye, our entire family started learning American Sign Language!  So far, I have memorized the signs for a modest amount of key phrases and words.  Such as pizza!



*grins*  While I do know how to say pizza in ASL, I have also learned other more important phrases and our family has even invented name signs for one another.


I got in contact with four other fairy tale authors and organized a special Thanksgiving Day sale promoting our books.  It was a little more time-consuming than I first anticipated but I managed to more or less work out the snags in the nick of time.



By the way, all three of my books are still on sale for only $0.99 and the sale ends tomorrow at midnight!  YOU CAN FIND ALL OF THEM RIGHT HERE!


I’ve also been enjoying my four day weekend, and I hope you have to!  I had originally planned to get all kinds of projects done but, eh, mostly I’ve just kicked back and NOT BOTHERED.  Which has been nice.  And I cleaned, which was definitely necessary.


I also go some reading done, took some photos for Instagram, played games with my family, and caught up on some of my sister’s stories, which were stupendous, as always!  My siblings and I also carried out our annual tradition by watching the Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving video.  Yes, a VIDEO.  That’s always an event.  ?


I cranked up the Christmas music yesterday!  I really feel like I’m getting my Elf Spirit back!  I am truly excited for Christmas this year, more than I have been in a while, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.



Hurrah! We did it!  You reached the end of the post!  Good job!



UPDATE:  Regarding my new social media schedule.  Cutting back IS helping, but I found myself cheating a few times.  *hangs head in shame*  And every time I cheated, I could definitely feel the negative affect.

I definitely need to keep up this social media fast for a while which means:  Goodreads once a week, MAYBE. No Twitter or Facebook except to update my author page.  Limited time on Instagram and iffy responses to chats / emails.  I’m also not giving out my email address right now.  I am REALLY serious about cutting back.  It’s completely necessary right now.

When will I be back in more volume?  Eh, I don’t know.


Right now, being semi-disconnected from the Madness Matrix feels too good to return any time soon!


ANYWAY.  Enough about that.  Your turn, my friend!  How did October and November treat you?  If you did NaNoWrimo, how did it go?  Did you sign up for Disney + and, if so, what was the first thing you watched?  Did you do anything special for Thanksgiving?  TELL ME EVERYTHING, GUYS, BECAUSE IT’S BEEN A WHILE AND WE NEED TO TALK!  Until then . . .



Tagged , , , , , , , ,

14 thoughts on “A Fistful of Nutshells

  1. Ah, the Kuzco gifs (especially the first) are killer. I remember reading someone say that this movie isn’t as big as other Disney films (I didn’t know it was Disney) because it was marketed to kids, but the humor and wit is really for adults.

    I’m planning on rereading at least in December and January. I met my reading goals earlier this year and then crashed and burned and have lost my reading (well, productivity) impetus, so yeah, treating oneself to re-reads is lovely.

    I’ll definitely have to look into your lists when I get Disney+ in the near future. And while I’m not the biggest tv person, that shows sounds interesting if only to break the tedium from the normal slant of propaganda in regular tv.

    1. Hi Livia Rose! Oh, I know! The Emperor’s New Groove is SO quotable (and awesome material for gifs). And yes! It almost doesn’t feel like a Disney movie – it’s too oddball for that.

      Ahhh, nice!! What are you planning on re-reading? Have I ever recommended Helen MacInnes to you, Livia? I keep thinking I have… *thinks* ANYWAY, if you like Mary Stewart, I think you would love Helen. When you’re in the mood for a new read again, that is!

      YAY! I’d love to hear what you think of the shows and movies that you try!! Ugh, YES – the conservative message was a welcome relief, indeed! ?

      1. I’m going to reread Narnia (the ones with the colored illustrations, most important, no black and white, I was introduced with the colored illustrations) and listen along to the Audible versions (if I happen to like these). That’s my Christmas/December main luxury. Then I was going to reread the Lord Peter Wimsey and see whatever else I’ve given enough space too.

        I’m definitely going to have to look up Helen MacInnes (again if you told me, I either forgot or put on my never-ending TBR list and then forgot). I hope that I can find a new author to love. I tend to be HIGHLY picky and then exhaust all the works of any author I love, and then once again feel that I’ve read all the books I’ll ever like.

        1. Ahh, we have the edition with the color illustrations! I think we have maybe . . . *counts* Five different editions of Narnia in the house? That sounds lovely! I don’t I’ve ever tried reading along with an audio book before, but now I”m interested. That sounds like a luxury, indeed!

          AHHH, YES, PLEASE DO! If you like Mary Stewart, there is a very good chance you will like Helen!

  2. Ah, Allison, you have done so many neat things the past two months!
    Are Sarah Grace and Victoria Lynn really your sisters?? And you have a twin- that is soooo awesome, is it not??
    Congratulations on your short story being published in the near future. So exciting, indeed!?
    I adore that still life photo shoot with your lovely book- (P. S. I hope to buy it tomorrow!)
    God bless you richly, my friend Alli, and give you the rest you so deserve.
    So long!
    ❤ Faith

    1. Hi Faith!

      Oh dear, I didn’t phrase that very clearly. Sarah Grace and Victoria Lynn are both sisters, but not MY sisters. 🙂

      Eeek, thank you so much!!

      Yes, they took such a lovely photo! Ahhh, thank so much – I hope you enjoy it!! ?

      Thank you for your kind wishes! ?

  3. A BIKER GANG??? In Ambia??? And a Star-Wars-inspired Snow White retelling????


    😀 😀 😀

    I am so excited for all your story ideas, Allison! <3

    1. *CAPERING WTIH GLEE* I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS COMMENT. Hahaha – I KNEW your interest would be piqued!! ??? Thank you so much! I can’t wait to start working on them!!

  4. YAY, ALLI FINALLY WATCHED THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE! *HAPPY FLAILING* That was one of my favorites as a kid and I still love it now!

    Congrats on the anthologies!!! 😀

    THAT SNOW WHITE RETELLING IDEA. I want to read it NOW, but will be patient. *tries to sit patiently* *excitedly fidgets instead*

    1. YES, I DID!! *flails with you* It was so funny; I’m glad I finally broke down and tried it!

      AH, thank you!! *HUGS*

      HAHA – you’re the best, Beth!! <3 I'm in a state of fidgets too. What we wouldn't give top be able to write faster, right???

  5. YOU WATCHED THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Okay, but first of all I am TOTALLY honored my blog prompted you and your twin to watch it. I’m doing my job right then, by (not-so) subtly pushing all my followers toward all my favorite fandoms bwahahahaha. But, I mean, I literally cosplayed as Kuzco for Realm Makers. My love for this movie is REAL. So glad you liked it! I’ve seen it some 2348 times and still laugh hysterically at all the jokes. I’m such a dork. XD


    And and and the fact that watching The Emperor’s New Groove and Stars Wars things resulted in new story idea is the best thing I’ve ever heard. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets story ideas from two completely opposite sources. It has happened to me multiple times and it’s hilarious. But it often produces some of my favorite, most original ideas so YES. LOVE IT! And another idea with Biker Gangs in Ambia? *faints from the pure epicness* I’M LOVING ALL OF THIS.

    Allison’s Well had a birthday? AWWWW!!!! Happy blogiversary to one of my most favorites blogs! *throws confetti*

    That is so special your book was chosen for a book of the month thing! THIS IS ALL JUST MAKING ME SO HAPPY.

    I think that’s fantastic you’re all learning sign language! I’ve always wanted to learn it too. I just…haven’t. *hangs head in shame* I do know the alphabet in it, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. XD Someday I should really learn it!

    Thank you for this lovely update! Congrats again on all the exciting things! I do hope you have a most magical December, m’dear! <3

    1. YES I DID!!!! *GRINNING FROM EAR TO EAR* HAHA, YOU ARE INDEED DOING YOUR JOB!! Your blog is inspiring in MANY ways – including spurring people to watching The Emperor’s New Groove! *laughing* Your hardcore fangirling culminating in your epic cosplay was more than any curious person could resist! 🙂

      EEE – thank youuuu!! *hugs* You’re so sweet! ???

      HAHA! Thanks! *grins* Ah, really?? Yes, I do that all the time! The films that I’ve seen back to back or the books that I’m reading simultaneously all mush together into my head into one big weird story idea. 🙂 But, as you said, it often creates the story ideas I love the most! HEHE, THANKS!! I’m glad you like it!! I only hope now that I can pull it off! *wipes brow*

      Awwwck – thank you yet again! *BIG HUG*

      I never really had an inclination to learn until I watched the show! I’ve haven’t even BEGUN to scratch the surface of ASL, but I’m excited to try!

      *HUGE HAPPY SQUEEZE* Thank you, sweet Christine!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and, as always, your comments are the BEST. I hope you have an amazing December too!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *