Marvel update: Two Guardians and Ulltron

The teenager and I are working our way through the Marvel Comics Universe, watching the film in what is reportedly the order of events.

It certainly gives me more depth to Tony Stark, as the Avenger movies seem to hinge a lot on him.

The teenager adores Hawkeye.

And we both enjoy Joss Whedon’s and James Gunn’s humor in the scripts.

But these three films, though completely occupying space as Marvel movies do, with crazy action scenes, internal bickering and often violence among the team, tenseness and humor, fell flat for me.


Because these movies are based on comic books— comic books from an age where the science fiction of it was wild and the world still had so much unknown. Many of these characters/heroes predate space travel.

Captain America eludes to that when he says he misses the days when he was the biggest monster science had made, or something like that.

So to believe that Hawkeye has a family hidden on a farm that no one knows about in the 21st century seems unbelievable to me, primarily because I have to ask where those kids go to school.

And the larger the cast, the bigger the threat has to be, and the more the story is less about people and more about danger. The solutions in many of these scripts make no sense and the amount of civilian destruction is insane.

And to me, a Generation Xer, Age of Ulltron recreates September 11 (specifically the scene where Tony Stark asks how quickly he can buy a building and throws the Hulk into it, causing its implosion and a giant plume of dust through a major though fictional city). Also, the very idea that Ulltron infiltrates the Internet and represents artificial intelligence gone rogue, is very pertinent for the time period but has lingering air of the late 1990s panic that the opposite would happen—computers/operating systems weren’t smart enough to survive the Y2K date change.

In the Guardians series, the plot just never develops in proportion to the characters. We have these quirky misfit characters that have flimsy plots, and themes that don’t really go beyond their two dimensional comic book origins.

And this business with the infinity stones better have a satisfying conclusion. The idea that these mysterious power sources may all have some sort of intelligence/life map coded within them is fascinating.

Does each stone have part of the blue print to create the next incarnation of the universe? Or do the stones if reunited serve as a self-destruct mechanism?

Anyway, Ant-Man is next.

And I’m intrigued. Can we really trust Vision merely because he can yield Thor’s hammer? Or can he hold the hammer because he was forged by the hammer?

Previous Marvel post

Iron Man 3

Remaining Marvel posts (start here?)

Cupcakes at Midnight: A discussion of future plans for Parisian Phoenix Publishing

Yesterday was the launch day for my novel. At midnight, the teenager and I were celebrating with cocktails and cupcakes.

I have so much hope for Parisian Phoenix Publishing.

It’s too early for me to know how many copies have sold, I don’t expect large numbers as I haven’t really implemented my marketing plan. Our small boutique publisher is a partnership— myself and graphic designer Gayle Hendricks— so the work that needs to be done, we do as we can or we ask for help.

We have lots of ideas, so this first novel may be mine, but part of that stems from my philosophy that before I publish anyone else’s book, I want to learn and grow from lessons made bringing my manuscript into the limelight.

Our Fiction

This novel— Manipulations, the first volume of the Fashion and Fiends series—means a lot to me. I believe it breeds chick lit to horror fiction (think what might have happened if Stephen King wrote The Devil Wears Prada) and uses contemporary literature (and the mythic supernatural) to examine social issues.

Manipulations, at its core, is a book about building healthy relationships. And the proverbial lesson of “things are not always what they appear.” And I hope my readers will understand that magic, in this context, allows us to explore domestic violence.

To order Manipulations:

The next volume, Courting Apparitions, (due out in late November) uses a ghost story to examine grief and depression.

And the next, Recovery, (slated for first quarter 2022) tackles disability, motherhood and women’s rights. But don’t worry, magic is still afoot.

Meanwhile, the fourth, Road Trip, is a coming of age novel. With werewolves. I’d like to release that one on June 23, 2022. The day my baby turns 18. But first I have to finish writing it.

The fifth volume, Absolution, looks at the intersection of sacrifice and love.

And the sixth volume, at least half written at this point, is Finding Hooyo— a hybrid romance novel, medical drama and war story. Hopefully that should tie up the original story line but certainly not the Fashion and Fiends universe.

Our nonfiction

Currently our team of authors and interesting people have several projects in the works.

Sometime in 2022, I hope to revisit a book I wrote as part of my research at Lafayette College. I looked at the anti-Muslim laws in France and traced their roots to 19th century colonial stereotypes and considered the thesis that these laws perpetuate stereotypes that started in Algeria.

My love, as a critical theorist, of post-colonial Francophone Africa stems from my view that French imperialism during the colonial era serves as an amazing parallel to contemporary American imperialism and attitudes towards Muslims.

And now, with identity politics very en vogue, I feel like these lessons in stereotypes and prejudice are very relevant.

Speaking of critical theorists and identity politics, I have assembled a group of authors to discuss various identity issues in a special anthology, currently called: Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money: Expressions of Alternative Perspectives Influenced by Experiences in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Committed so far is Darrell Parry, poet and writer, and my estranged husband; Eva Parry, otherwise known as “the teenager”; William Prystauk of Crash Palace Productions and the Kink Noir series; Maryann Riker, multimedia artist; Nancy Scott, blind author of essays and poems; Rachel Thompson, science fiction and alternative history writer; Joan Zachary, photographer and writer… and hopefully more.

Racing with them toward the finish line is a cat anthology to use as a fundraising book for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab which will feature cat stories, photos, memoirs of FURR volunteers and academic research on animal welfare, poverty and empowering low-income and diverse neighborhoods to know what resources are available for themselves and their animals.

And with the new “Texas law,” Parisian Phoenix hopes to work with people on the team who have experience in women’s issues and chronicle stories as a fundraiser and historical record for groups in this sector.

Our poetry

Sometime in late fall, Parisian Phoenix hopes to release a full-length poetry manuscript, the poems for which have been assembled and the layout is in process.

I can guarantee this book will be as funny as it is thought provoking.

Our erotica and romance

It’s not quite clear when our erotica and romance will hit the market, but we have authors working to provide stories with real characters facing real life.

In the romance department, we have a manuscript, Trapped, that combines middle-aged love that sparks because of the skunk infestation with the joy of reinventing oneself.

There are hints of a Fashion and Fiends erotic prequel that extends the arousing feel of the horror fiction universe with more sex and no monsters.

And our goal is to offer kink/BDSM erotica, quality stories with empathetic characters who participate in safe, informed and consensual play. We have authors working on those tales, too.

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The quotidienne details of launch day

Today is “book day”— my novel, Manipulations, the first volume of the Fashion and Fiends series went on sale at midnight.

Today, Parisian Phoenix Publishing is a real thing.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Today my estranged husband turns 47.

And it’s the annual Mary Meuser Memorial Library Book Sale.

I intentionally made my book launch on Darrell’s birthday as he always encouraged me to keep writing.

I got up this morning and found the book for sale on Barnes & (click here), Amazon (click here) and Even FNAC in France. Although currently, it’s no longer turning up at Target.

My books have shipped from their distributor, Ingram.