Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife Review

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When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.

Why did I come to this movie again?

I’ve been looking forward to this movie since the first trailer hit last year. Or was it the year before? With Covid I can’t remember. Anyway, I adore the original Ghostbusters and was excited to see what they did with this film.

5 of 5

Characters

I originally thought the story was going to revolve around the boy, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, but quickly figured out that the main character was his nerdy younger sister. She started off a little hard to swallow, but the writers did a good job of making a distant, awkward, super-smart girl likeable.

All of the kids were fun. Paul Rudd is basically gold, and did a great job in this film. The adults were pretty good.

My biggest beef was why the original Ghostbusters broke up. I didn’t think the explanation gave us everything we needed.

4 of 5

Did I care what happened?

Yes. The show started out a little slow, but quickly pulled in lots of hooks and conflicts. Plenty to keep me interested. This show mirrored the plot from the original a little too much, but that’s just my opinion.

4 of 5

Plot Holes

Besides why the original guys broke up not being explained to my satisfaction, there were only small plot holes like how did the kids learn so much about the bad guy so fast, surely someone checks that the kids in summer school are doing something besides watching VHS horror movies, and can someone really get Ecto1going after all this time? Just nit-picky details.

4 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

None that I remember. There were enough Easter Eggs to keep me engaged even when the scenes were a bit slow.

4 of 5

Cool Factor

I hardly noticed the CGI, so that’s good. I loved all of the callbacks to the original film, along with the 80’s references. The film delivered what I was looking for!

5 of 5

The End

Like I said before, I felt like this one followed the original plot a little too closely. While some of it was hilarious (the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper were great), and some of it was downright clever, other parts were a little painful.

Spoiler, the three remaining Ghostbusters show up to help. Their involvement is good, but it felt forced and a bit lame. I wish they would have given them a more active or original role.

However, I LOVED Winston’s post-credit scene.

4 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

I came out of this movie smiling and wanting to see it again. I think it’s a great entry point into the Ghostbusters universe for the younger generation and a nice hit of nostalgia for those of us who saw the original in the theater.

5 of 5

Total: 35

That’s a Brown Belt!

(So close to a Black Belt)

Black Belt: 36-40
Brown Belt: 31-35
Green Belt: 26-30
Purple Belt: 20-25
Yellow Belt: 11-19
White Belt: 1-10


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Eternals Review

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The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.

Why did I come to this movie again?

It’s Marvel, and so many people had differing opinions on it that I decided to check it out for myself.

4 of 5

Characters

There are a LOT of characters in this movie. Probably too many, but they did a decent job fleshing them out enough so I remembered each one. Mostly. One girl got lost for a while.

I found Angelina Jolie’s conflict very interesting.  Some of the others were great, others were flat. The story probably resonated with a lot of people because of the array of characters and their conflicts.

4 of 5

Did I care what happened?

Yes. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, but I did want to know what happened. Unlike most Marvel movies, this isn’t super action-packed. Instead it’s a family drama that boarders on a Greek Tragedy.

4 of 5

Plot Holes

Well…it’s a Marvel movie, so there are plenty of plot holes.

This is probably going to get me yelled at, but here we go…I have to say that having a deaf character was really cool. However, when you get into who/what the Eternals really are, why would she be deaf? It literally makes no sense. Actors did great. I’m happy they cast a deaf actress and I hope this paves the way for even more people in Hollywood. Hopefully the writers can weave it into the story in a more believable way.

I didn’t really like the main love story. The characters didn’t have chemistry, which made some parts of the plot unbelievable.

3 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

None. The time jumps were jarring, but I got the hang of it after a bit. The movie is long, but didn’t feel like it. Maybe if I’d gone in expecting more action I’d have something else to say here, but I’d heard it was slower than other Marvel movies, so I didn’t mind.

I LOVED the array of conflicts in the show, from each character’s introspection to the “big bad” and the question of what they should actually do about it.

4 of 5

Cool Factor

Good visuals. Sweeping cinematography. A little heavy on CGI in a few places and it showed.

4 of 5

The End

I liked how the conflict ended. And kudos to the writers because I didn’t see some of it coming even though the clues were there.

The very end, which is (spoilers) a cliff hanger, is a little annoying.

4 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

In general I liked the movie. I may not watch it again and again like I do most of the other Marvel movies, but I really did enjoy the main conflict and some of the character’s issues with the world and one another. If you’re a fan of action, curb your expectations. If you like family drama, this one is for you.

4 of 5

Total: 32

That’s a Brown Belt!

Black Belt: 36-40
Brown Belt: 31-35
Green Belt: 26-30
Purple Belt: 20-25
Yellow Belt: 11-19
White Belt: 1-10


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Writing Conference Report: 20Booksto50k®

This conference focuses on indie publishing and has great classes on both the business and craft aspects of writing. I thought I’d share some of what I learned.

Keep in mind, I’ve been at this for a while, so what I got out of it isn’t what a newbie would get out of it, and isn’t what a 6-figure a year author would get out of it. To each their own, right?

Quite a few people talked about branding. Not just your author logo, the genre you write in, or even the colors on your covers and the font you put your name in. They went deeper and spoke about what kind of stories your readers can expect from you.

I’m always a bit annoyed with myself because I write so many genres under my YA name (soon to be joined by space opera), but this helped me a bit. If I can focus on what kind of a story I promise to my readers, that’s a brand.

So, what kind of stories do I tell? They usually include a strong group of friends (or at least good friendships), the satisfaction of overcoming or doing hard things, and happy endings where the hero wins. That last one might wait until the final book, but it will happen.

Several presenters described their books with A-Team type of teams in them. There’s never inter-fighting within the team. Instead the conflicts come from outside. I feel like this is my Babes universe, which niggled at my brain a few times too. This could also be part of a brand.

These are just my initial thoughts; I’m going to digest this for a bit and see what else I can come up with.

The social media platform TikTok was mentioned A LOT. I’m not sure I can do anything with this for my Karly Stratford books, but it might be good for Jo Schneider. Most of the authors who have hit it big through their TikTok accounts write very steamy books, so I’m not sure there’s a market for clean romance.

However, at the post-apocalyptic gathering I did talk to a few people that said there is at least a small audience for apocalyptic stories. Not sure about space opera, but it’s a possibility.

I got to thinking about things I could make videos about that are unique to me. Geeky socks came to mind…but would anyone care? Also, I could finally buy a gun and learn to shoot. That will likely attract the post apocalypse peeps.

I’m still not sold on TikTok, but I might give it a whirl.

One class about writing a successful series was pretty good, and I gathered a few gems from it:

  • You don’t get burned out on your favorite foods, because they’re your favorite foods—you’re passionate about them. Write a series that is like your favorite foods. Something you can be passionate about after 3, 6, 12 books.
  • The words you say about yourself are a magic spell. Only use good words, and believe in yourself.
  • Hack your life and learn to love a healthy lifestyle. Eating, exercising, writing, and family.
  • Turn your excuses into your superpowers. Find ways to do what you need to do with what you have.
  • Sit at the winner’s table; the conversations are different.

The conference was on the strip in Vegas. Not my favorite place, but it worked.


Except the lack of Diet Coke in the hotels and casinos. For that, Vegas is dead to me.


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Dune Review

Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Why did I come to this movie again?

My 8th grade English teacher found out I liked science fiction and suggested I read Dune. I remember loving it. I also enjoyed the 1980’s miniseries. Yes, I know it’s awful, but I dug it at the time. The previews to this film made it look epic, so of course I went to see it.

5 of 5

Characters

I think most of the actors nailed the characters. I especially loved the supporting cast. Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and Stellan Skarsgard were amazing!

I remembered Lady Jessica being more sure of herself. I didn’t love how she waffled between crying, looking tragic, and then actually doing something cool.

Timothee Chalamet did a good job as Paul, but I didn’t connect with him as the character. I’m going to have to watch it again.

4 of 5

Did I care what happened?

It’s been ages since I read the book or watched any of the other adaptations, but it was amazing how quickly the plot came back to me. I knew what was going to happen and cared anyway.

5 of 5

Plot Holes

I’m not sure I could call plot hole on anything in this movie. It followed the book pretty well, from what I remember. However, I did think the scenes were a bit whiplashy. More on that in a moment.

4 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

The pacing of this movie is so weird. Every scene has been carefully crafted, set, and acted. I can tell there was a whole lot of TLC poured into each one. However, the movie as a whole felt rushed.

I mentioned whiplash above. Moving from scene to scene felt like looking from one end of a football field all the way to the other, then back. My mind had to scramble to keep up as the story progressed. It felt as if the film lacked easy-to-follow transitions.

It’s hard to explain. As I said, I need to watch it again to figure out what my brain is trying to get at.

4 of 5

Cool Factor

Um, the only way to describe this film is stunning. I’m totally willing to see it in the theater again because it was, well, beautiful.

5 of 5

The End

I knew this was only the first half of the first book and they ended it in a good spot.

5 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

Almost everyone else is raving about this movie. Maybe that’s why for me it was good, but not the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. The pacing turned me off, which left me feeling unsatisfied at the end of the film.

Still, it was cool to watch.

4 of 5

Total: 31

That’s a Brown Belt!

Black Belt: 36-40
Brown Belt: 31-35
Green Belt: 26-30
Purple Belt: 20-25
Yellow Belt: 11-19
White Belt: 1-10


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