Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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Ralph Breaks the Internet Movie Review

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Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar Rush.” In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet — the netizens — to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube.

Why did I come to this movie again?

I didn’t expect much from Wreck it Ralph, and like many people, I found myself delighted by the first film. When I heard that Disney was making a sequel I was super excited.

5 of 5


The vast array of characters they shoved into this movie bloated it. Which is sad, because I think I lot of people, including me, wanted more of the characters from the first movie. Instead, the film left them behind.

Ralph learned a lot in the first movie—one of the reasons it was so enjoyable. It seems the creators took some of Ralph’s progress and left us with the old, selfish, not-so-bright Ralph. He made several decisions during the film that felt forced.

Vanellope almost had a more interesting character arc than Ralph, but the fact that she couldn’t talk to her best friend of six years tells me that any relationship they had was deeply flawed.

There wasn’t really a bad guy until the end. Sometimes that works, but I felt it didn’t help this movie.

3 of 5

Did I care what happened?

I did care what happened—for the first half of the movie. Then everyone got stupid and I didn’t care as much.

3 of 5

Plot Holes

It wasn’t so much plot holes, it was more like there was too much plot. Too many characters with too many things going on. I got lost and wasn’t sure who or what I should be cheering for.

3 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

I rolled my eyes a few times, but didn’t yawn.

4 of 5

Cool Factor

The cool factor is off the charts for this movie. Everything about how the internet appeared to Ralph was brilliant. The computer animation is awesome. I laughed at all of the social media references and in general loved the look and feel of the film.

5 of 5

The End

The end left me feeling…empty. The theme of the film got lost a few times, and the resolution wasn’t my favorite. Watch it for yourself, but I probably won’t watch it again.

However, I do have to say that the very last bit after the credits was hilarious. The kids won’t get it, but my husband and I laughed and laughed.

4 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

I went into this expecting  more video game fun with strong bonds of friendship and an expanding circle of characters. What I got was a flood of new characters, a flat ending and more plot points that went nowhere than any four movies should have.

We were in a huge theater on a Saturday afternoon. The entire row in front of us was 10 year old boys from a birthday party. I didn’t hear them laugh much. Our row was mostly adults. I didn’t hear them laugh much. I feel like the writers of this movie tried to please too many audiences and came away with a meh movie.

Although, the Disney princesses were awesome! See it for that at least. And stay for the after-the-credits bonus.

3 of 5


Total: 30

That’s a Green Belt!

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Why yes, I did write this at the nail salon

“How did we end up with this gig again?” Max growled.

I shot him a glare. “We ended up with this gig because you screwed up our last one.”

“Did not.”

“Pretty sure the kids in the bus were all supposed to die, not end up become an internet sensation for the Pope.”

Max glowered. “It’s not my fault that the driver was up for Saint status.”

“I told you to check before we got there.”

“You think you’re so much better than me?”

The three Vietnamese women in the nail shop stopped and looked at the corner where Max and I hovered.

They couldn’t see or hear us, but apparently they could feel Max’s irritation.

“Check it,” I said.

“Shut it.”

One of the women stood, and another put a hand on her chest.
I gave Max a hard stare. For a minute I thought he might push it again, but after a second he shook his head.

“Fine, but let’s get this over with.”

The anger in the air faded, and the women let out uncomfortable chuckles before going back to setting up the salon.

I watched, taking in each small detail: the chemicals, the nail grinders, the hot wax, the warmed rocks… Plenty of ammo for a little accident.

“You sure we aren’t going to draw unwanted attention?” Max asked.

“I checked the odds this morning, and the amount of deadly accidents in nail salons is down. We’ll just be putting it back up to normal.”

“What’s the plan?” Max asked.

I took one last look around the room before I spoke. “You think you’re up to moving a few things?”

Max grimaced. “Nothing big.”

“No, what I have in mind is small, but you’ll have to be precise.” I solidified the plan in my mind. “We wait until it’s crowded. I’ll convince one of the customers they suddenly have to go to the bathroom.”

Max hovered closer. “And?”

“And when they pass, you launch one of those rocks onto the floor and under their foot.”

Max rubbed his hands together, then moved them apart, palms down. “They’ll be in a hurry, and then splat!”

“I’ll make sure their head hits hard.”

Max grinned. “And then we’re back in favor.”

“And then we’re back in favor.”


So the theme is a stretch, so sue me.

And I really did write this while I was getting a pedicure.

Genre – Horror

Character – Not Human

Setting – In a Shop

Random Object – A Rock

Theme – Against the Odds


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The Haunted Groom

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I have a new release today!

And it’s kind of a funny story…

A friend of mine writes sweet, clean romance and she’s been trying to get lure me into writing one for years. I’m not exaggerating…years. Naturally, I’ve been resisting.

A few months ago she called me and asked if I wanted to be a part of a Christmas Romance series.

I’m not going to lie, after more than one Hallmark Christmas movie  a year I get a bit twitchy, but I had a few weeks that I could free up in my schedule, and at the time I wanted an easy project (easier than the 400,000 word space opera trilogy I was planning), so I agreed.

This is what happened.

Notice the author. That’s me. I’m using a pen name for these books.

The Haunted Groom is 0.99 in Kindle today only!

Get it while it’s hot.

My friend came up with the premise-the quarterback of a (fictional) professional football team is looking for love, and he decides he wants to go find his first love and try to win her back. He and a couple of the other players get into a fight with some reporters and end up in jail for a few hours. While there, the quarterback decides that they’re all pathetic and challenges the other players to find their first love and try to rekindle the relationship. If the person is single, of course. Whomever fails has to tell their boss about the fight.

I’m not going to lie, my football players are pretty awesome. Not perfect-because that makes for a dull story-but guys trying to find the best way through their lives. They are charming. they mess up and then they try to fix it.

There are two other books in the series so far, with three more to come after mine.









If you love those cheesy Hallmark Christmas shows, this series is for you!

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I Went to A Writing Conference

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I’ve been to a lot of writing conferences. Like a whole lot of writing conferences. I’ve spent oodles of dollars on them, and feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on what to expect out of an event.

For instance, last year I went to a week-long Master Class on the Oregon coast. They warned us that it would be focused on the business side of publishing and that by the ends our brains would have exploded. Twice.

Just as the promised, I came away from that conference with more than 20 pages of notes which I condensed down into 3 pages of a “To Do” list. Even now, a year later, I’ve hardly made a dent in that list because it’s so dense.

While at the Master Class last year, a few people told me they were going to a writing conference called 20 Books to 50k the very next week. Everyone raved about it afterward, so I jumped online and signed up to be notified when tickets went on sale. I picked them up right after I got the email, reserved my hotel room and waited.

The basic premise of 20 Books is that if you have twenty books, and know how to market them well, you can make 50k a year, which is apparently enough to comfortably retire in Cabo.

Between that description, and all of the people that raved about the conference last year, I was expecting great things.

I didn’t get what I expected.

This has happened to me a few times. For instance, I once read the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Many in my writing community praised it as the best book about writing ever written. So I read it…and was disappointed. Because the book isn’t about writing. Not really. It’s about finding your motivation and how that can help you get through life. It’s one big pat on the head.

I didn’t want a motivational book. I wanted useful information. (And yes, I think a few of my friends now shun me because of my less than glowing review of the book.)

The same thing happened to me last week at 20 Books. I was expecting to walk away with pages and pages of notes and at least another page or two to add to my “To Do” list. Instead I got a series of “This is how I did it (without specifics that I was looking for) and you can do it too!” speeches.

A lot of people left the conference glowing and excited and ready to conquer their mountain.

I’m already on my mountain. I don’t need someone to yell encouraging things down from the top, I need someone to share their experiences about the next couple of steps of my path. And I’m totally willing to share my experiences (however limited they may be) with others.

So if you’re looking for some seriously amazing success stories, and could use a boost to your motivation, I highly suggest you sign up for the conference next year.

If you’re looking more for specific information, be ready to talk to everyone in the room until you find that one person that’s a few steps ahead of you that is willing to chat. And believe me, it’s pretty hard to draw information out of introverts. Even with cookies to offer.

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