An Ask from the Past

So I’m scrolling my current blog post document, looking for inspiration re: what to write here next, when I come across this list of questions, pasted in from who-knows-where, who-knows-when. Best guess, a fellow blogger of the book-loving variety shared them in a post of their own, once upon a time, and Long Ago Me thought it might someday be fun to post my answers.

Well, someday may as well have come, so let’s see what Much Later Me has to say for myself!

<<<>>>

How old are you? – About an age of Middle Earth older than I was when I first saved these questions. So, almost 30.

What book are you reading? – As of this post’s drafting, I’m a few chapters into “Boy, Snow, Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi, because I was feeling spontaneous at the library and wanted a random something to supplement my mostly YA reading diet.

What are you wearing? – My work shirt (faded denim blue), work pants (khaki), work shoes (black, non-slip), padded teal vest gifted by a fellow Majestic Hotel employee (for purposes of insulation against the arctic expedition that is the storeroom freezer). Also my red headphones, cuz music.

OTP? (One True Pairing; or the people you most want to see in a [usually romantic] relationship whether they are paired together in the book or not) – I’m more of a BROTP kinda gal; best friendship’s where it’s at for me. Sherlock Homes and John Watson. Robin Hood and Little John. More specific to my own spin on that legend, Will Scarlet and Allyn-a-Dale. But if it must be romance… it would probably be that one as-yet-unpublished character of mine and that other as-yet-unpublished character of my writer bestie’s, because non-canonical relationships between our respective creative properties is just how we roll.

Going outside being active or staying in and reading a book? – You are actually trying to get me to choose between walking the wonder-paths of Yosemite and engaging in a good story? Rude and wrong.

What is the last book you read?“Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves”, edited by Anna Angel. ‘Twas an anthology, so naturally I found some short stories better/more engaging than others. *shrug* I’d overall call it okay.

What is the book you’re going to read next? – Either “Violet and Claire” by Francesca Lia Block or “The Near Witch” by Victoria Schwab, since those are the other two library books I brought up with me from Fresno this week. Here’s hoping they’re both good!

Ebooks – yes or no? – 15 times out of 10, I’d rather have a paper book.

Where do you prefer to read? – Just about anywhere NOT COLD will do; the less background humanity noise, the better.

Who is the last person you tweeted? – Direct message? Tirzah Duncan. Otherwise, I think it was a reply to one of the folks behind Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids.

Whose blog did you look at last? – I have no memory of this. I’m so behind on all the blog posts stacked up in my inbox, I can’t even laugh. Odds are, though, that it’s between Paper Fury, The Pixie Chronicles, The Story Sponge, and Nothing By The Book.

Dark Pirate Lord
My look for dark throne occupation = decided, thanks to an afternoon at the Fresno Pirate Festival.

What do you do when someone tells you reading is boring? – Add them to the execution list for once I am become your Dark Lord.

Who is the last author you spoke to? – I actually talk to myself a lot… though not as much as it looks like! (The voices are frequently characters’.)

Who is your all-time favorite book character? – Um… *spins roulette wheel* … Cabeswater.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading? – Tea is my preferred drink, full stop.

If you hated reading, what would you be doing instead? – Living a completely different life. Perhaps under a different name, since actors are often known to change theirs. Catch me on the big screen, how ‘bout dat.

How many bookshelves / bookcases do you have? – Back at my parents’ house? My room had four. Fortunately (and not), that’s also where most of my books still remain. But once I’ve got my own place (as opposed to a Yosemite tent-cabin), book space will be a definite priority!

Insta-love: yes or no? – In the words Denebdeor’s young royals in “The Sun’s Rival”:

Sun's Rival Cover, front

“But what about you, Lar?” asked Ionquin. “You’re just the age for swooning in corridors and losing your eyesight to a fellow’s face over dinner. Have either of them caught your fancy yet?”

“Well…” Laraspur hedged. “It’s rather too early to say, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve only first heard of them a few hours ago.”

“What does that matter?” asked Liliavaine. “Do the words ‘love at first sight’ mean nothing to you?”

“It’s a very pretty phrase, but I don’t know how much it has to do with reality. I’m not saying one need take the Gladiolyn approach and dawdle over falling in love for a year or more. Still, I should think it would take more than just a day.”

“Well, what about a fortnight?” said Ionquin, for thus was the length of time agreed upon between the resident and visiting monarchs that the Welkens might stay on at Denebdeor’s castle before all parties involved reassessed the courtship’s progress.

“A fortnight seems a more reasonable amount of time,” said Laraspur, nodding.

Favorite author? – Maggie Stiefvater, yo.

What is the number-one book on your wishlist?“Vengeful” by V.E. Schwab. Its predecessor was so good. I want the sequel two years ago.

Do you prefer books with female or male protagonists? – I’m good reading either or both. It’s not who the story’s about, it’s how it’s told.

Which is your favorite book-to-film adaption? – The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. …Although, “Aladdin” first rose to prominence in “1001 Nights”, so now I don’t even know what to say.

What is the last song you listened to? – The finale from the musical “Waitress”. Just finished listening to the whole cast recording for the first time, actually, since it occurred to me that I’d only ever heard the abbreviated Sara Bareilles version. It all makes a gal wish she could just watch the full show onstage.

Which do you enjoy reading more – negative reviews or positive reviews? – Reviews with good use of punctuation.

Who are you going to tag? – Ohhh, this was a tagging game? I might have known. Well, I could play by those rules. Or I could cast my vote for anarchy (spoiler: We’re going with that) and decree that YOU can consider yourself tagged, and YOU can consider yourself tagged… EVERYONE can consider themselves tagged!

Answer all the questions on your own blog, or pick and choose a few to answer in this post’s comments.

Or intend to get around to answering someday, only to look up and realize it’s 2023. It’s all valid. X)

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Camp Q&A, Part 2: Because I’m So Super Nosy

Previously on Ever On Word, I began peppering the main characters from my next novel (“So Super Dead”) with a series of questions found via the NaNoWriMo blog. Because the questions were so numerous, we broke off about midway – meaning that there’s plenty more questionnaire fun to be had in today’s blog post!

“Ahem.”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray, co-protag and character questionnaire enthusiast from the “Inspired” novels?

“May one of my characters join in, this time?”

Well…

“Come on! You said!”

I said ‘possibly next time.’ This isn’t even next time; it’s the second half of last time. But sure, go ahead and pick a character of yours.

“HOORAY! And oh no. I don’t know which one to pick.”

How about Avelaine? These are my “So Super Dead” MCs, after all, and if any of your characters can be said to fit the morbid theme, ‘tis he.

“Valid. All right, let’s do this!”

Moving forward, then, let us welcome once again: the ghost of small-town teen Brenna Walsh; reality TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter; and Nicky “Xtra-Medium” Ellenbogen-Jones, moon mutant/up-and-coming superhero. Also, ‘the boy who dances with death’, Annabelle’s Avelaine.

  1. What’s the 140-character version of your character’s life?

Nicky: “Lol, no. There’s a reason I’m not on Twitter (besides, y’know, my planet having already moved passed it). Nothing I say has a short version.”

(Annabelle: “Fun fact: Counting spaces but not quotation marks, that response totaled 140 characters exactly.”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: #GetOnMyLevel)

  1. What important statistic would they want displayed above them?

Thackeray: “It would really put a crimp in my hunting style, but think of all the lives it would save were I too carry overhead a tally of all the lives I’ve taken.”

Nicky: “You’d want that?”

Thackeray: “…Yes and no.”

  1. What’s the first thing they would buy if they won the lottery?

Brenna: “A house in a better neighborhood. Some big city where vampires are too chicken to prey. Even if it’s too late for me, at least my uncle could get out of the sticks.”

  1. What profession do they most respect?

Avelaine: “Professional muse.”

Annabelle: “What, just because it’s the family business?”

Avelaine: “And an overall underappreciated one, at that.”

  1. What childhood injustice did they never get over?

Brenna: “Does 17 still count as my childhood? Because MURDERED.”

  1. How would they handle having a panic attack?

Thackeray: “Oh, I have mild panic attacks with some frequency. People generally don’t notice, because my conscious coping mechanism is go very inconspicuously still and quiet, lest I tear somebody’s head off their shoulders.”

Nicky: “…Yeah, head-tearing would be a worse coping mechanism.”

  1. Your character is burdened with an inconvenient superpower. What is it?

Nicky: “After waiting 16 years for my power to manifest, I might think even an inconvenient power was worth celebrating. Or I’d feel like the universe was mocking me further. Dunno, it depends how much glass-half-full energy I have to spare that day.”

  1. If they died and could come back as any person, animal, or object, what would they be?

Brenna: “Come back as something other than a ghost, huh? That has consolation prize potential… Could I be a werecat? Either one with total control over my shifting, or one that never shifts – that’s just in huge monster cat form, all the time. That would be mildly epic.”

  1. What’s the best meal they’ve ever had?

Thackeray: “It actually didn’t come out that great, but I nonetheless quite fondly recall the first Passover dinner my stepmom ever put together for us, as a revised family unit. She’d tried really hard to make it special, and for that reason, it was. Though subsequent culinary efforts on her part may have been more technically successful, that’s the one I get nostalgic about.”

  1. Where would they stand at a dinner party?

Avelaine: “Is it a murder mystery invite-only casual dinner party/gala for friends potluck? Because, apart from the social aspect, that could easily be my scene.”

  1. Who would they invite to the dinner party?

Thackeray: “My kid sister.”

Nicky: “My best friend, Boomerang. And any ghosts who wanna hang out.”

Brenna: “Those ghosts do not include me.”

  1. What makes a perfect day for your character?

Nicky: “The more perfect I can make someone else’s day, the closer to perfect mine is.”

  1. If given the opportunity, would they want to know how and when they died?

Avelaine: “ ‘There are worse things than not remembering one’s story. Like knowing how it ends.’ ”

  1. What’s the one thing they’ve always wanted to do? Why haven’t they done it yet?

Thackeray: “I wanted to go to a prestigious college and have the accreditations to back up my know-it-all side. But I guess becoming a reality TV star was the path of least resistance.”

  1. What do they tend to joke about?

Nicky: “Oh, all sorts of corny stuff. Humor tends to lean that way, on the moon.”

  1. What’s off limits?

Thackeray: “It didn’t take long for me to get really, really tired of vampire jokes.”

  1. Whose wedding would they cross the world to attend? Whose funeral?

Brenna: “I hope Thackeray Kyle tries to get married, so I can rain all kinds of poltergeist wrath down on his marital parade.”

Nicky: “First of all, that’s not great, Brenna. Second, I should really start making a point of going to funerals. Who knows how many recently deceased could use someone to talk to?”

Thackeray: “Third things third: The odds of me getting married are immeasurably low.”

  1. What impossible choice did they make that turned out to be the right one? The wrong one?

Thackeray: “My choices have been neither impossible nor right. Only drastic.”

  1. Your character now has a hype man (or woman). What would they say to get everyone excited about your character?

Thackeray: “This very much sounds like Nicky’s job.”

Brenna: “Yeah, moon freak. What would you say?”

Nicky: “Dudes. I talked about you guys for an entire novel. What more am I supposed to do?”

Avelaine: “Nothing. Factually, hype is the author’s job.”

Danielle: *looks out at the audience* How am I doing?

And oh, would you look at the word count. Methinks it’s time to call this post a wrap.

“But there’s still 11 questions to go!”

Which is exactly what next time is for. Don’t worry, Annabelle, you’re welcome to join us once again – as I certainly hope this blog post’s readers will. ‘Til then, let’s end on a word from our sponsor…

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, galleryThe ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The end of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!

The Continuing Adventures of Yosemite Dan

Yosemite Dan

“So, how’s life in Yosemite National Park?”

I’m glad you asked, unspecified italicized voi— Wait. Didn’t you already ask that question, back in January?

“Danielle. It’s practically June. Things may have changed.”

You’ve got me there, voice. Heck, has anything at all stayed the same?? Let’s run down the list and see…

The Job:

For one thing, I’m no long a steward in the dish pit of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. (Not officially, anyway…) As of the end of March, I’ve been promoted to Storeroom Clerk. Same hotel, different end of the dining service spectrum: Instead of cleaning the dishes post-meal, I help stock the ingredients that make the meal possible. The job description includes helping the lead storeroom guy put in regular resupply orders, LOTS of heavy lifting when the deliveries come in (hey, Carpentry-Fail Danielle! Chin up, babe – you get stronger!), and helping cooks and servers locate where we put everything.

“How do you like the new job?”

I’m so tempted to add that question to my blog’s FAQ page… People are constantly asking me that, and I have to search an answer other than, “I’m constantly terrified I’m going to screw up and let everybody down and get yelled at and wanna die and—” I don’t know whether to blame the new job for this weeks-long anxiety attack, or if my brain just decided I’d been too chill for too long, but here we are.

Still, the new job comes with a higher hourly wage. So there’s that.

The Cast:

Unofficially? You’ll still find me in the dish pit, from time to time. Because the cast of Joes has undergone a drastic overhaul. Several Joes, both mentioned and omitted, have left the pit for other positions, with too few yet arriving to take their places as the busy summer season approaches*. Although, one very special Joe has lately joined the force.

Call her BFF Joe. Better known, Tirzah Duncan.

Yosemite - Work Besties

That’s right – my bestie came to live with me in Yosemite! And, y’know, to work with me, which we got to do for about two weeks before I moved to the storeroom. But that’s 90% of the reason I still don the latex gloves and vinyl apron in the never-ending battle against dirty dishes: No way am I leaving a skeleton crew that includes my girl Tirzah to struggle alone!

So between my official position, the dish pit overtime, and, oh yeah, the whole self-publishing author thing, I’m working something like 2-and-a-half jobs, and I have the total lack of energy to prove it.

Yosemite - New Job

The Perks:

Did I mention the part where my best friend and I are in Yosemite together??

Yosemite - Together Forever

I mean, given that we’re working two different full-time gigs, we don’t get to see each other as constantly as we’d like. But as of her second week here, at least we’re roomies! In a tent-cabin, right outside the dorms that used to house me. Though a bare third bed warns that the Powers That Be may eventually try to saddle us with a third roommate, the current situation is perfectly livable (and, with our dual paychecks, because #YaySteadyMoney, more than affordable). Moreover, the manager in charge of our schedules has been gamely working to accommodate our need for matching days off, meaning that we’re generally able to visit our loved ones in Fresno every week.

Which is extra good, because Tirzah would probably snap and drown Muttering Joe in a tub of pre-soak solution, otherwise.

The Takeaway:

It’s not a perfect paradise, but it time and again appears that I’m becoming adult enough to handle it. One helpful coping strategy is remembering that all things are temporary. I’ve only got to deal with all the stressful parts until I don’t. And until then, I have only to lift my eyes to the mountains to recall the parts I’ll miss when this chapter is behind me.

Yosemite_Mountain View

*Speaking of a surplus of job openings: Want a gig in one of the most gorgeous locations in the world? The dishwashers of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel want YOU!

…Assuming that you’re a reliable worker, game to be a(n often unsung) heroic part of a fast-paced kitchen environment.

Serious applicants, grab your resume and check out this link!

Coming Soon: A Second Helping of Shorts

Once upon a time, a certain author received notice that – because publishing is a weird, uncertain animal – all of her short stories released through various Xchyler Publishing anthologies were on the verge of going out of print, and all the rights reverted to her.

As it happened, only half of the prophecy came true. A few days of negotiations among the anthology contributors prevented the removal of the endangered titles from Amazon. Even so (because, like I said: Weird, uncertain animal), her stories’ rights were our author heroine’s, to do with as she wished.

Xchyler Antho Lineup 3

And that author – *solemn nods* – was me.

And what I wish is to reprint all four of my short stories first published with Xcyhler – urban legend-esque “Two Spoons” (“Legends and Lore”), fantastically bromantic “Reality As We Know It”  (“The Toll of Another Bell”), eccentric fairy tale “A Mind Prone to Wander” (“Steel & Bone”), and deadly “Date Due” (“Beyond the Wail”) – in a brand new, exclusively Danielle E. Shipley-authored collection.

So that’s what’s gonna happen!

As I type, I have an artist working on the cover I’ve envisioned – no other than the talent behind the faces of “Outlaws of Avalon” 1.5 and 2.5, the charming Hannah Vale. I dug my stories’ files out of the crowded archive that is my authorial past, and have begun organizing them for their new format. And wow, actually looking back at the stuff I wrote up to 4 years ago is weird.

Specifically, it’s weird when the old work’s a short story. With novels and novellas, I have clear memories of writing them. I’ll come to a passage and recall, oh yeah, I was sitting in that spot when I typed it … or I’d been working that job when I scribbled down that plot idea … or that character put up a fuss when I almost said [blah-blah-blah] instead of [yadda-yadda]… The fact that those works were longer made them, by necessity, more of a journey; a struggle; an author-and-muses collaboration. Whereas my Xchyler short stories all pretty much happened like this:

Xchyler anthology contest: “Here, have a general writing prompt.”

Me: “I don’t know if I—”

Me a few minutes/hours/days later: “Never mind, I know. From first line to end, I know.”

Me, over the course of 3 to 10 days: *copies down the fully formed tale onto the laptop*

It’s all over so surreally quick, I barely feel like I’m part of the process. So maybe putting these stories out a second time, all by myself, will be a good bonding experience. Maybe by the end of the project, my heart will better know these four fun-size word babies as my own.

If nothing else, it’ll be something to help tide us all over while we wait for the debut of “So Super Dead” in the fall!

So, stay tuned for the reveal of the collection’s title, cover, and blurb. In the meantime, if YOUR brains have managed better than my defective model to hold onto any interesting memories of short stories, written and/or read by you, feel free to chat about ‘em in the comments!

Camp Q&A, Part 1: We Are So Super Doing This

This past month – *waves back at April* – was the year’s first Camp NaNoWriMo. (There’s another camp session happening in July, in case anyone’s interested in signing up. ^o^) And somewhere in there, I came across a character questionnaire—

“Did someone say ‘character questionnaire’?!”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray of the “Inspired” novels, I did indeed say that.

“Fun and a half! Where’d you find the questions?”

Fittingly enough, on the NaNoWriMo blog.

“Can I be the one to A the Qs? Ooh, or one of my characters?”

Actually, I was thinking I’d bring in the main trio from my camp project.

“Which was…?”

The refining of my Fall 2018 novel.

“Ah. Okay. I guess that’s… allowed. Just keep us in mind for next time, will ya?”

I shall strive so to do. Now, let’s see what kind of answers we can pry out of Brenna Walsh, Thackeray Kyle, and Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones – the big three of “So Super Dead”!

  1. What does your character do when they think no one’s looking?

Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter: “Kill people.”

(Annabelle, in the background: *spit take*)

  1. What’s the one thing your character would save in a fire (beyond the necessities)?

The ghost of Brenna Walsh: “Would’ve been nice if I could’ve saved my parents.”

(Annabelle: “Well, dang.”)

  1. Who’s on speed dial?

Nicky, aka superhero Xtra-Medium: “Dead people, mostly.”

(Annabelle: “Okay. I’m getting it. This book’s got a theme.”

Brenna: “<_< Did you not read the title?”)

  1. Your character gets turned down for their dream job. What’s their second choice?

Nicky: “If I can’t make a career out of talking to ghosts, there’s always… um… real estate agency? I dunno why that’s the first thing that came to mind, but I mean, I could do worse.”

  1. What would they tell their ten-year-old self?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby. Just… trust me on this.’ ”

  1. Where would they want to go on a first date?

Brenna: “First, ew. Second, 24-Hour Pancakes. Third, no.”

  1. What’s the best advice they’ve ever received?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby.’ Sorry, Dad. Maybe if you’d been me from the future, I’d have listened.”

  1. What’s the worst advice they’ve ever received?

Brenna: “I’ve lost track. Grownups are always giving crap advice. It’s like they think I care.”

  1. What’s one physical detail they’d change about themselves?

Nicky: “I, ah, well… if I could maybe have, um, one or another kind of standard reproduction system, that would be… special.”

  1. When was the last time they were held? By who?

Nicky: “Oh, my best friend hugs me all the time. He’s demonstrative, like that.”

  1. What’s their favorite thing about their favorite season?

Thackeray: “Winter is quiet. Muted colors. Muffled sound. Nature half in hibernation. I find it restful in a way the rest of the year can’t match. Figures the novel takes place in summer.”

  1. Their wallet gets stolen. What do they do?

Brenna: “Before or after my life got stolen from me?”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: …Before?

Brenna: “In that case, I hate humanity.”

(Annabelle: “My money says that’s her ‘after’ answer, too.”)

  1. Prioritize: Love, money, power, knowledge?

Thackeray: “Knowledge.”

Nicky: “The power of love!”

Brenna: “Waffles.”

  1. What’s something nobody knows about them?

Nicky: “Who my birth parents are, and why they abandoned me and my phone as an infant. Like, the book doesn’t look into it, but low key, you know I’ve got questions.”

  1. What’s in their fridge?

Thackeray: “Whatever my camera crew wants. They’re the ones with opinions on the matter.”

  1. What (creature, object, substance) are they most disgusted by?

Brenna: “Thackeray Kyle.”

(Thackeray: “Way to steal my answer.”)

  1. What’s their second worst habit?

Nicky:Second worst? Um, well, if the first is my tendency to chatter too much, I guess the second would be negative self-talk.”

Brenna: “So… both of your worst habits are talking.”

Nicky: “I’m consistent?”

  1. What are the victory conditions for their life?

Brenna: “There is no winning at life. We’ll see how the rules change once you’re dead.”

  1. In the end, your character fails to save the day. Assuming they survive, what do they do?

Nicky: “See Worst Habit #2. I’ll also probably get ice cream.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they didn’t commit. What do they do?

Brenna: “Canonically? Get murdered.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they did commit. What was the crime?

Thackeray: “Well, shoot. Sounds like someone found out what I do when no one’s looking.”

And on that full circular note, we’ll pause so as to prevent this post from going on for twice as long. Thanks for what cooperation you had to give, “So Super Dead” peeps! We’ll continue with the questionnaire another day. ‘Til then, let’s remind our audience (of however many plus Annabelle) of the novel’s summary:

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The rest of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!

How Far I’ll Go to Be a Part of a Whole New World of Disney Music Mania (You’re Welcome)

Once upon a time, I came across the following image on Twitter, in which some of the biggest titles (and a handful of the lesser-sung ones) in the Disney animated feature songbook go to head-to-head in a showdown of March-mad proportions.

Disney Songs, Head to Head

My immediate response:

Disney Songs, Head to Head 2

My follow-up response: This post, in which I will pit these famed and, in many cases, personally beloved songs against each other, pair by pair, until the last one standing reigns musically supreme! Because why even have a blog if I can’t occasionally detour deep into opinion pieces centered ‘round my childhood cartoons? (See “10 Lessons We Can Learn from “The Magic School Bus”)

So seat belts, everyone, for down memory lane we drive…

Round 1A

“Be Prepared” vs. “Hellfire”

Hmm… The former is more fun; the latter, more disturbing. It takes both to make a great villain song, and neither of these is my fave. But I’ll give this one to “Hellfire”, if for no other reason than it contains chants in Latin.

“Beauty and the Beast” vs. “A Whole New World”

NO FAIR! Both of these beautiful ballads fill me with joy! Bu-u-ut one is Aladdin’s duet, and I am nothing if not a sucker for Aladdin, so “A Whole New World” it is.

“Friends on the Other Side” vs. “What’s This?”

No contest for me. “Friends on the Other Side” is a bop of the fun and mildly disturbing variety. Plus it reminds me of the man. (What man?) The man with the power…

“Part of Your Word” vs. “Let It Go”

Though I can more strongly identify with the character of Elsa (and, quite frankly, should really learn to let some things go), Ariel’s ‘I want’ number plays my heart strings like only a true siren song can. (Gant-o’-the-Lute seconds the motion, and until the day I know how to out-vote him, that’s the end of that.)

“Bare Necessities” vs. “Hakuna Matata”

I have a longstanding mini-crush on the voice of Phil Harris, so Baloo’s philosophy-set-to-music takes the win.

“You’ll Be in My Heart” vs. “Baby Mine”

I mean, if it were just about making me cry, “Baby Mine” might have it in the bag. But based on which of the songs I bothered to load into my old off-off-off-brand mp3 player, it’s clear my preference lies with the Phil Collins original. (What is it with me and singing Phils?…)

“Kiss the Girl” vs. “I See the Light”

Sorry, Sebastian, but not only was your song not particularly romantic, it didn’t even produce the desired result (i.e., the girl getting kissed). Whereas Rapunzel and Flynn’s duet had romance in spades, and if you’re looking to “create da mood”, a world alight in floating lanterns is tough to beat.

“Go the Distance” vs. “How Far I’ll Go”

Toughie! I nurture some nostalgia for the Hercules number, after listening to it on replay during many a babysitting night. On the other hand… Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho. *dither, waffle, shillyshally*… Nostalgia tips the balance. I’m voting “Go the Distance”.

Disney Songs, Head to Head 1A
The winners so far…

 

Round 1B

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” vs. “Remember Me”

*guiltily searches “Remember Me” on YouTube, because has yet to see “Coco”, because fail* Hmm. I’m not especially in love with either song, just now, but only one of them comes without memories of having to sit through 3-to-4-hour dance recitals. (Baby Sister, were you in that particular dance? …I ask like you have ever once read my blog. <_<) So I guess I’ll hand this one to the latest Oscar ® winner.

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” vs. “Gaston”

No villain song (as in none; zero; not a one) embodies fun and disturbing like “Poor Unfortunate Souls”. I bow to Queen Ursula and her show-stopping solo. #Goals for days.

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” vs. “Dig a Little Deeper”

Let’s get down to business!

Need I say who’s won?

Only one song’s swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, and all the strength of a raging fire; mysterious as the dark side of the moo-oo-oon! It’s practically an anthem of my generation. (Plus, vocals by Donny Osmond!)

“Friend Like Me” vs. “You’re Welcome”

D’arrgh, I wanna give this one to Genie so bad (because ALADDIN! And Robin Williams, RIP). But Maui’s song is so fun and catchy, it hasn’t left my head since the first time I heard it. So what can I say, except…

“Heffalumps and Woozles” vs. “Pink Elephants on Parade”

Okay, first of all, what weird, pachyderm-hallucinating glue was Classic Disney sniffing? “Pink Elephants” was a bigger part of my childhood, so I’ll go with that, but ye gads all around.

“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” vs. “Bella Notte”

Another toughie. Not to call out Sebastian again, but each of these is a better love song than “Kiss the Girl”. And “Bella Notte” is bella indeed, but methinks the “Lion King” number has more going for it – comedy… angst… that dual POV setup it seems I tend to favor… *awards victory to the lions*

“Why Should I Worry?” vs. “Eye to Eye”

*has also never seen “A Goofy Movie”, so back to YouTube* Oh, heck yes, groovy. Can’t get into anything “Oliver & Company” at all, including this sluggish, weirdly messy (albeit worry-free) song. “Eye to Eye” it is.

“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” vs. “When You Wish Upon a Star”

Sing it, Cinderelly. I salute your lovely voice and resilient optimism in the face of cruelty.

Disney Songs, Head to Head 1B
The second batch of songs still standing…

Round 2A

“Hellfire” vs. “A Whole New World”

Aladdin takes it in a landslide!

“Friends on the Other Side” vs. “Part of Your World”

Aw, mannn… I don’t wanna choose… But “Part of Your World” is just better music, so it gets the win.

“Bare Necessites” vs. “You’ll Be in My Heart”

Oh no! Phil vs. Phil! One song so pretty, the other so… completely opposed to my more Bagheera-esque personality. Even so, I’m going with Mowgli’s jungle jam over Tarzan’s.

“I See the Light” vs. “Go the Distance”

Giving it up for the love duet.

Disney Songs, Head to Head 2Ab
Only the strongest survive…

Round 2B

“Remember Me” vs. “Poor Unfortun—”

—ATE SOULS, YES, IT WINS.

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” vs. “You’re Welcome”

Do I need to start singing about the dark side of the moon again? We have our winner.

“Pink Elephants” vs. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”

I’m certainly feeling little enough love for elephant nightmares. *more leonine victory*

“Eye to Eye” vs. “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”

While I enjoyed my just-now-first-time listen to “Eye to Eye”, I’m too much of a dreamer not to go with Cinderella’s song.

Disney Songs, Head to Head 2Bb
Another few bite the dust…

 

Round 3A

“A Whole New World” vs. “Part of Your World”

…Rude. The Aladdin love duet wins, of course, but how dare you.

“Bare Necessities” vs. “I See the Light”

Each makes a different part of my heart smile, so it’s a little bit apples vs. oranges for me, but… Another win for a love duet.

Round 3B

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” vs. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”

…R.U.D.E. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” forever, but HOW DARE YOU.

“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” vs. “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”

…Shoot. Okay, gotta remember, it’s not “CYFtLT” vs. this particular “ADiaWYHM” Disney channel stars remake, just song vs. song… Looks like the lions take it again.

Disney Songs, Head to Head 3
The final four…

 

Semifinals A

“A Whole New World” vs. “I See the Light”

No hesitation. No prisoners. My ultimate love duet* flies on a magic carpet of triumph.

*(I say “ultimate love duet” like I wouldn’t have to think twice were this song up against Odette and Derek’s in “The Swan [Non-Disney] Princess”.)

Semifinals B

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” vs.—

It don’t matter. Nothing left on that side of the chart can compete.

FINAL ROUND

Disney Songs, Head to Head Finals

And now for the cruelest Disney-song-related question I’ve ever typed.

Which is better:

“A Whole New World” … or “Poor Unfortunate Souls”?

I … *sobs* … have to award … *wails* … the win to … *sucks it up and belts it out*

POOR! UN! FOOORTUNATE SOOOOUUUULLLSSS!

Poor Unfortunate Souls

Not even the most beautiful, nostalgia-filled, crush-saturated love duet can overcome my tentacled inner sea diva witch. More than simply the best villain song of all time, this might just be the most satisfying song Disney ever gave me. For that, it wins it all.

Mic’s on you, fellow Disney fans! Where do you think I got it right, and which of my picks make you want to pound me over the head with your competing fave? Perhaps more importantly, which Disney song is your all-time number one? Holler it all in the comments!

Edit, Apr. 25/18: You guys, I finally saw “Coco”, and it was FANTASTIC. Brilliant. Stunning. It blew my mind and feelings all over the ceiling. 10/10 – strongly co-recommended by Will Scarlet (cuz humor and story) and Allyn-a-Dale (cuz the power of music and dead family). My pick for Best Song Ever still stands, but Best Pixar Movie Ever may have a new winner!

Lightbulb Moments: Our Story Drew Its Own Lines

Item One (A Quick Reminder) = Still super excited about my upcoming author appearance at the Independent Bookstore Day meet-‘n’-greet/signing at Petunia’s Place in Fresno! Tell your friends! Like and share! And if you can make it out, I look forward to seeing you there!

Petunia's Place FB Cover

Item Two (Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post) = As you may by now have heard (since, y’know, it’s all I’ve been blogging about for the last few weeks), I’ve crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three lately released to the world!

Covers 1, 2, and Journal

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” most definitely is – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“I’m magic!” Mach howls happily. “And that’s what had Luc in a bother. The man’s allergic to wonder and whimsy. He wants art kept neat and tidy between the lines.”

The dog’s furry brows wiggle at me. “Our story drew its own lines.

S6_Drew Its Own Lines, metal mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Drew Its Own Lines

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, today I’m giving one lucky somebody a free copy – my way of saying an extra-big ‘THANK YOU’ for reading and reviewing my work. And that lucky somebody is…

…Actually two lucky somebodies.

Congrats to Miranda McNeff AND Chelsea de la Cruz!

(Will Scarlet: “I.e. the only two people who managed to get their ‘Out of My Head’ reviews up on Amazon before the giveaway deadline?”

Yup, that’s them.

Will: “They’re so loyal.”

Aren’t they just?

Will: “LOVE YOU, ladies!!!”)

A big round of applause for our winners (be sure to confirm the address to which you’d like your prize shipped!), and kudos to everyone who stuck around the blog during these last several weeks of nonstop “Inspired” promo. I’ll be back next time with something entirely unrelated – you have my word as a wordsmith. ;D ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing