ok we are, or I am, back up and ~ well at least I'm not sitting around not able to even listen to music anymore ~ ready to rewatch. Now we are into daylight saving changes now, but I am working on the assumption that it will still be the same start time EST-wise, which means as I type that we are a bit over two hours away from start time.
Live rewatch now and that begins at 8 PM EST (that's 1 AM to me in the UK). Come join us for silliness and discussion!
Please come by and correct me if any of the above info is incorrect. If you come by the rewatch you will get a potted history of m y last two Miles O'Brien-bad weeks.
Published: March 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Genres: Epic fantasy, YA romance
Available: Publisher (print) ~ Abbey’s ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~ Dymocks ~ Kobo
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Strange the Dreamer is another of the gorgeously mythic fantasy romances that Laini Taylor excels at. However, while I enjoyed it thoroughly, it had a few flaws.
Lazlo Strange is a wonderful character likely to appeal to bookworms. He’s not your usual stunningly-attractive hero. Instead, he’s a bit rough around the edges and had his nose broken when a book of fairytales landed on his face–which tells you everything you need to know about Lazlo. He was a highly imaginative boy with a thirst for stories who grew into a librarian with his nose stuck in a book. Before he went adventuring, of course. He works hard and is the sort of person to offer help to his rival simply because it’s needed.
The book takes us all the way from Lazlo’s humble beginnings to his deeds in Weep. This allows readers to get to know Lazlo well, but makes for a slow-paced story. I usually don’t mind this approach, but even I felt it was starting to drag.
It’s a story full of whimsy and the mythic that Taylor does so well. She is brilliant at creating a mood and making the impossibly epic seem plausible. The descriptions were lovely with some gorgeous turns of phrase. However, a little goes a long way–another reason the pace dragged in places.
Despite its sense of whimsy, it is quite a dark story. Readers triggered by rape and forced pregnancy may want to tread cautiously. These incidents never happen onscreen, but their impact resonates throughout the book. It’s a story that deals with cycles of violence and the seeming impossibility of breaking them.
Strange the Dreamer felt like it trod a lot of the same ground as Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Some of it was the structure: the slow set-up, the gradual uncovering of the past and the late explosion into action. There were also some thematic elements that cropped up, such as the preoccupation with angels and demons (here flavoured with some Hindu-inspired elements such as the appearance and titles of the gods). The trajectory of Lazlo’s relationship with Sarai also felt very familiar and may be a bit too insta-love for some readers.
I was somewhat disappointed with the relationship between the female characters of this book. It’s a story that barely passes the Bechdel-Wallis test, with the female characters either isolated, preoccupied with the men in their life or at odds with each other.
It may sound as if I didn’t enjoy Strange the Dreamer when it actually swept me away (once it warmed up). I enjoyed the dark whimsy of it and the later stages of the book do a fantastic job of building tension. I’ll definitely be watching for the next book. However, this is definitely not going to be the book for everyone.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
To my shock there were kids as young as 5th graders in this. Man, we just didn't DO things like this back in my day. What a shame. From here they will move on to state competition. Many won awards and scholarships. I was paired with one of my very best and brightest students (who's been at the college since she was 14. I love her). Right off the bat things went sideways. I put my clip board down in the bathroom and some other judge walked off with it. Finally found it.
My student ally (who has done way more of these than I) went after these kids like a bull dog, a very polite one, but she's way tougher than me! We all had 3 to rate and critique. I had one botany and two eye physiology ones. The second one (who was right next to a 5th grader who made a case study of her own performances using her prosthetic leg) really knew her stuff. She was busy impressing the hell out of us. Suddenly, while my student and I were studying her graphic, she took two steps back and was on the floor. At first we thought she had stumbled over her too high heels. After a second I'm like well fuck, she's fainted. I get on the floor and gather her up. She wakes up fast and I can see my student (plus two male students of mine, all of whom want to go to med school go pale faced but want to help). I send them for water and juice, figuring a) it's hot and the poor nervous girl might have overheated b) she says she ate but it could be hypoglycemia.
I stay with her even though she says she's fine because I see she is not. She goes out of me again and I catch her before she falls. I get one of the other students to bring a chair but at this point she's twitching and the nursing instructor sees us as well. Neither of us can revive her. Her eyes aren't rolling under the lids so in spite of some muscle twitching I don't think she's having a seizure but it is possible. Her pulse is so thin and thready I have my student call for an ambulance. In fact we LOSE her radial pulse and have to find it in her neck. her hands are blue, her lips are grey and we can not get this girl back.
Thankfully someone found her teacher and she wakes up when she hears the familiar voice. By the time her parents are located she's thankfully not looking blue/grey any more and is talking (though her mom of course is so freaked out the girl nearly passes out again from the emotion). I tell their dad they should still take her to the hospital ( by now the cops and one of the athletic trainers are there too) because she did strike her head that first time. Later her dad hunts me down to talk to the hospital because I'm the one who witnessed the full episode. She was more alert when she was there and seems to be okay. I guess if you're going to have a major syncopal event, have it in front of a doctor and a nurse. My student said wow I'm not sure medicine IS right for me. That was too scary. My response was I'm glad you three were here and saw this because this is what it is like and this is mild, really. You need to honestly think about this stuff and make the best choice for you.
Thankfully the rest of the day was less traumatic though one student sat on the table and collapsed it and we were running majorly behind for who knows what reasons. Lunch almost very arrived and I think they made serious errors in it. they had exactly 2 vegetarian dishes instead of the half dozen ordered. There were twice as many chicken and turkey wraps as there were judges. I ended up eating chicken because while I prefer the veggies sandwiches I WILL eat meat. It was horrible full of cartilage.
But over all, it was a successful day.
Then I went to L's play tonight. It was her first time directing and she had a small role and my chemist friend TH had several roles. It was a 1930s detective radio drama and it was funny. I thought they all did a good job. The woman playing Lola, this was her first time on stage and she was really good. The fellow playing the lead is someone I know peripherally thru L. He's in every play mostly because he's one of the few men who try out, not because he's good. He was actually rather bad in this because he could read the script (because it was there as radio dramas would have the script) and he read so monotone. Still, it was probably one of the more fun plays I've seen them put on.
I didn't get what I waned for dinner either. I knew the Italian joint would be busy but it was more than an hour wait. I went to KFC to try that Carolina Gold...even more chicken strips full of cartilage.
And hey ALL my stories are on sale for 30% for at least a few more hours at Dreamspinner. Find it here.
Also for a very limited time Abney Park's e-albums are only 2$ I need to buy some here.
I managed four hours sleep last night. Whee.
In 2014, I missed Suburban Jungle so much that I decided it was time to return to it. But I couldn’t just pick up with Tiffany, Leonard and the crew seven years later. Tiffany’s story was finished, and as she was the star that the rest of the comic orbited around, there was nowhere for it to go except to just sort of string along as a zombie franchise. So I decided instead to for a “next generation” idea, and Rough Housing was born.
I freely admit, I had very little idea what I was doing with it at first, so I just tossed in a bunch of things that I liked and figured it would gel. Possibly not the best way to start a new project, but it was also true of the original Suburban Jungle and that seemed to go fine. My initial vision for Rough House was a lot more pure OTT zaniness and parody. Issue two pretty much exemplifies this, with the S.S. Plot Device and “The _______ of Cangrejo Diablo!” being typical of the kind of jokes I had in mind.
But for whatever reason… I just didn’t love it. Scripting was constantly a chore and instead of wacky hijinks I kept wanting to write shippy or emotional moments. By the end of issue three and well into the scripting for issue four it would be fair to say that Rough Housing was having an existential crisis behind the scenes. This resulted in the scripting for issues four and five taking forever as I wrangled with it.
I knew from the beginning of the “Best Bodies Contest” arc that the big payoff moments were Parker getting up on that stage, and Leonard’s final decision. But I also clung to the idea of wacky hijinks, envisioning lots of sabotage at the contest, Charity doing ridiculous things to stall Leonard and Morrison, and so forth. But while the emotional moments flowed quickly and easily, for the hijinks I ended up with whole pages of script that said things like “FUNNY SCENE HERE.” Fortunately I was able to lean on my wit to come up with gags on a page-by-page basis, but it was a frustrating way to run a railroad.
But as I was working on issue five, two important things happened. First, I began streaming my art sessions, enabling me to get real-time feedback from some of my most engaged readers and see what they responded to and why. Second, I was watching and falling in love with K-On! and examining how I responded to that and why. And when I spotted the overlap, everything clicked.
See, here’s the thing: K-On! hits the sweet spot perfectly. At its core, it’s a remarkably subtle, character-driven story about connections, loss, savoring the moments of life, and so much more– but it sneaks all this past you by being adorable and laugh-out-loud funny. But the humor isn’t the GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK humor of Love Hina or Sgt. Frog. The girls spontaneously forming a cheerleading squad for Ritsu as she tries to eat a receipt they don’t want their teacher to see gets me every time, but it’s also a completely realistic moment.
This was the eye-opener for me. The original Suburban Jungle was very comfortable with the GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK style, with its very tenuous fourth wall, aliens hiding in the sun’s corona, and all that jazz, but when people talk to me about it today, what do they talk about? How Tiffany, Drezzer, or Leona impacted them personally. The connection they felt to Mikey and Wally. How they identified with Dover’s codespeak.
The people in my streams, similarly, talk a lot about how adorable Charity is and wanting to give her a hug, being proud of Parker’s overcoming his fears, or how fun it is to see Rufo wanting to make out with anything that moves.
In other words, the parts that were coming the most easily, are the parts that work the best anyway. XD So! Lesson learned.
The influence of K-On! has already worked its way into rewrites and page layouts. This Langley/Rufo moment, for instance, was not in my original script. It was inspired by the chemistry between Ritsu and Mio and tossed in to spruce up an otherwise dull page, but it’s just as great a moment for these two goofballs.
But the lessons I learned from K-On!, and the realizations I made about Rough Housing along the way, are going to have big repercussions moving forward. Issue six will see a shift away from “this issue’s funny premise”-style writing to focus more on the characters’ goals and fleshing out generally. I also hope to move away from being quite so much focus on Charity to being more of a proper ensemble with stories about the rest of the cast. (Who is Bounce? What does he do all day? What’s the deal between Langley and Rufo?)
This may lead to eventually changing up the cast somewhat, if existing characters aren’t working or new characters might work better. We’ll see. Rough Housing is sure to evolve over the next issues, but I finally feel like I understand it now. Giant monster attacks and wacky hijinks are not and were never going to be the strength of this comic, and really aren’t the strength of my writing generally. It’s the characters and connections, and the humor that naturally arises from them, that will make or break it.
Giant monster attacks may still show up from time to time, who knows? But where before I was saying “A giant monster attacks! What do the Rough Housers do?” I’m instead going to start with “The Rough Housers want X. How does that pan out?”
You’d think after being a writer for thirty-mumble years, I’d have learned that lesson by now. I guess I just need periodic reminders.
And it turns out in the past month and a bit, it's spawned a whole fandom, and I've been skimming through all the accumulating bits and pieces of newly-minted fanon.
And I have Opinions about depictions of libraries and librarians in pop culture. So I wrote a thing.
Weird is a good word for the week.
We had the second interview for the new faculty member. I don't want to say more than that but damn they were both so good.
Last night I went to my friend's production of The Taming of the Shrew (Mom: you like that one, she's like you. Um...thanks Mom?). It was mostly students and they did well. Two of the three English profs that were in were AWFUL. It's like they've never even seen the play. My god. The other, my friend HD was very good.
I've had issues online today. I went to reserve my trips in Utah but the person I was going to use for the tours is suddenly no longer featured on viator so now I have to wonder why. Must investigate that. Then I saw one of my credit cards was overdue. I had a confirmation code for it so I was confused. I ended up with the nicest of customer service people. Somehow i paid one credit card twice and somehow last month it never gave me anything but the remainders of the month before leaving me with a huge bill now. Sigh.
I also learned, after instanteous rejection that Netgalley had an even steeper learning curve than I realized. I never saw the caveat where every unread book you have drags your percentage down until you review and that if you don't read it in a certain time, it locks off and you can't read it. I had to go find some of the graphic novels at the library so I could read it as publishers won't let you read anything unless you're over 80%. Lesson learned. Only ONE book at a time for me as I'm too slow with ebooks. And no more graphic novels because they don't image right.
Speaking of ebooks....Frustrated. Last week I saw a 'save battery' thing flash up on my ereader. I don't remember clicking it (but with the touch screen who knows) and ever since the screen is so dark I can barely read my books. I've looked all over and can't find how to fix it. I did find one place that said it was to 'save battery' but it's off.
Vids are the most painful right now, as there a great many I know are no longer on You Tube; the ones I had transferred to my hard drive just prior to the crash; for safe-keeping *pause for ironic contemplation* are the hardest to take.
It's the stories I was working on and the ones I had saved, which may or may not still be there,; still can't figure out how to use the wayback machine (all I seem to be able to get are page links that don't actually go anywhere; which why bother saving them?), the loss of which hasn't hit me yet.
It's the feeling nothing that bothers me, or should. I'm not feeling anything. It feels as if I don't care, which is obviously a fallacy or I wouldn't be posting about it.
The Get Up-and-over Fan Fund is designed to promote connections between fandoms in Australasia and Europe. This year GUFF will send one delegate from Australiasia to Worldcon in Helsinki in August. Voting is open to all interested fans, regardless of nationality. It closes 17 April.
Deciding how to rank the candidates can be a pretty daunting prospect, so over the next few weeks Earl Grey Editing will be featuring an interview with each candidate. So far I’ve interviewed Belle McQuattie, Donna Maree Hanson and Sam Hawke. Joining me today is Alexandra Pierce.
First and most vital: What’s your favourite beverage?
My favourite hot beverage is black tea; I go in for flavoured ones like Earl Grey or some of the fruity ones from T2. Cold well, I have a weakness for elderflower cordial and New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Of course.
Yum. Elderflower cordial with tonic water is one of my Christmas traditions.
Oh nice! I have Plans to investigate elderflower as an ingredient.
How did you come to be involved in Australian SFF fandom?
Through Alisa Krasnostein! A friend got me reading the Aussie magazine Andromeda Spaceways; Alisa was interviewed and said she was looking for reviewers for her review site at the time (Australian Spec Fic in Focus), I emailed her and then all of sudden I was going to cons and the rest of it.
You host a feminist SFF podcast called Galactic Suburbia with Alisa Krasnostein and Tansy Rayner Roberts. Your seventh anniversary was earlier this month. What has been the most memorable part of the podcast for you?
Whoa seven years. Thats amazing. At the Australian Worldcon in 2010, we were at the Hugos ceremony and someone behind us said “Hey, listening to you two is like being on my commute!” We love feedback and feeling like part of a community. Also, winning a Hugo Award was pretty memorable. Plus, I get a regular date with two awesome women. Weve talked about some amazing stuff.
Winning a Hugo Award is definitely something that’s going to stick in the memory.
I was watching the live stream. It cut out as they said our name and then our acceptor was on the stage. I cried.
In addition to the GS podcast, you also teach, review books, write a column for Tor.com, and run a couple of blogs, as well as another podcast (on cooking). Have I missed anything? How do you manage to juggle it all? Do you have any tips on how to steal a TARDIS?
Uh yeh ok, when you put it like that it sounds like I do a lot! I also cook and occasionally do house work; I try to get away for astronomy occasionally, too. How do I fit it all in? Well, I dont have kids or pets. That certainly helps. I also work part time as a teacher and have done for a while, which gives more time not only during the week but also at night and on weekends when otherwise I would be planning or marking. I dont always manage to juggle everything – sometimes I drop balls all over the place. I guess I keep doing the things Im doing because theyre all things I WANT to be doing, so doing them is (usually) enjoyable. That definitely helps. As for using a TARDIS I think of Hermione and her time-turner and I think that would be a very bad idea. Id just end up confused.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m editing a collection of non-fiction in honour of Octavia Butler, which is tremendously exciting; I’ll also be hosting a Facebook book club, on the first Sunday of the month from March to June, on a few of Butler’s books.
I loved Letters to Tiptree, so I’m really looking forward to this new anthology.
Were excited! Its called Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler.
Wow, what a great title!
What are you most looking forward to about Worldcon 75?
Meeting people! At the 2010 Worldcon I was very new to the scene and very shy. I’m still very shy but at least this time I have had contact with people who will be there, so I’ll feel more like I’m *allowed* to talk to them!
Alexandra Pierce reads, teaches, blogs, podcasts, cooks, knits, runs, eats, sleeps, and observes the stars. Not necessarily in that order of priority. She is a Christian, a feminist, and an Australian. She can be found at her website, and on the Hugo-winning Galactic Suburbia podcast.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
At one point he grabbed my bare foot and improbably my toenails were painted in orange and black checkerboards (as if I'd ever do that on a pedicure). WHen I wouldn't give up what I had hidden he bit off one my toes. I managed to get away and ran screaming to my friend to help me. the room she was in had a door with that thick white paint from decades of repainting and only locked by one of those sad hooks in a metal circle things you see in toilets after the original lock's been busted off. I told her to call 911 but the phone looked like it was encased in styrofoam. She only laughed at me. I'm not sure she was other than my friend. She acted like evil_little_dog but looked more like silvrethorn. That's when I realized she had hired the assassin to torture and kill me for whatever the hell it was I had. I managed to call the cops (but I had to call 1-911 to get a line out).
In the end I was minus a toe, betrayed by my friend and the thing in the bag Aunt S2 gave me was 'the most delicious sandwich in the world.' ALl this over a sandwich which was ancient and rotted. What the fuck brain?
Last night I took a two hour nap from 2to 4 and I've been up and jazzed, ever since. I'm still not really that tired. I'm somewhere beyond that, into lala land and the functional delirium. I did four hours of lab and two hours of class like that.
Not hungry either, just vaguely nauseous. My left eye is killing me as something happened that rarely has ever happened to me in the years of me wearing contacts. It rolled up under my upper lid and it took forever to get out. I'm sure I've scratched my cornea.
Kanda isn't speaking to me. He wanted fed the moment I got home. I didn't feed him (He's on a schedule) so he pestered and pestered me. I picked him up which just pisses him off. He sits on my lap every day but if I pick him up and put him on my lap the world is ENDING.
I won a cozy mystery from Penguin books via Goodreads and the beginning really put me off. I get that most cozies don't have a lot of swearing. I've no issue with that. I have many friends who don't swear (we all know I do but whatever). But in the book instead of just skipping the swears she's inserted nonsense that make the SImpson's Ned Flanders seem like a sailor. I'm really put off by adults calling each other boobyheads and other non-swears that makes it sound like everyone's on the Andy Griffith show. That's fine 50 years ago but now it just seems infantilizing.
Just had to share.
Cobbled together set up died Saturday night with that laptop. Somehow managed to get through the last couple of days without even any music to find solace in. Dreamwdith & livejournal I can change the passwords for without my email account; others? don't know.
Without my cats...
Ohio is celebrating it by raining buckets. Whee.
I've been having tons of dreams that flee the moment I wake so I'm sleeping like hell and my blood sugar is WAY out of control up around 250-350 (I think it's my ovaries).
We interviewed the first of our two job candidates and that went well.
I'm working on fixing (and greatly changing) the first chapter of Blood Red. Now if I only had the energy to type in the changes.
I also ate questionable food and now I don't feel well.
I have nothing interesting to say so have some holiday music.
I found this one oddly empowering.
I feel like I need to schedule resistance things, most days I dip in here and there, sometimes it feels like I'm playing catch up. Maybe if I make calls just before leaving for work.
I joined a local group, from my previous town, my Dad heard about it sent me a link. I haven't met in person, that will happen Wed. The last time they had a meeting I was sick with flu. They got the town to pass a sanctuary city thing, but I'm not sure what else they've been up to. One of them created a google doc to sign up for various things like creating a web page, being a liaison to the council and some other things. I signed up to help with web page and the other woman emailed me to set a meeting. I told her I couldn't meet that Saturday but did have the Mon/Tues evenings available that she did. Never got back to me. I responded to her email again but nothing. So I'm feeling like maybe this group is going nowhere, or will only do things sometimes. So I'm on the lookout for another group of people to join in with.
I feel like there is more I can do, not completely sure what more is but it's there.
Source: K-On! Wiki
So what do you do when your little four-panel comedy manga gets picked up as an anime series and blows away all expectations, becoming a huge hit– even if that success has more to do with the anime studio than with your own talent?
…You cash in, of course! Which is what the creator of K-On! attempted to do with K-On: College and K-On: High School. Spoiler alert: it didn’t really work, but you can’t blame the guy for trying. But what I’m really interested in here is the attempt, because I’ve found a lot of interesting applicability to my work on Suburban Jungle.
I won’t go quite as far as Digibro and say that “the K-On! manga suuuuuuucks” because I don’t think it does. I mean, everything in the manga is also in the anime. It’s just that the anime is also so much more. Reading the K-On! manga feels like an outline, or a very rough draft storyboard of the anime series.
To fault the manga for this is kinda pointless. K-On! the manga never professed to be anything more than what it was: a disposable four-panel comedy strip. Imagine if Zootopia was a licensed version of a Garfield-style comic, and you might see what I’m getting at.
To that end, I don’t envy the position Kakifly (the creator of K-On!) found himself in. The story of K-On! had a definite end, and there were only two real ways you could carry on: either you follow the older four off to college, or you stick with Azusa and do the next year of high school. I don’t know if he was unable to decide which, or he wanted to hedge his bets, or what, but he went with “do both,” running two different series simultaneously with alternating chapters… effectively dooming himself to not doing either one well.
More of the Same, But Differently
Of the two branches, the High School storyline works better, if only because the characterization is stronger. Azusa, Ui, and Jun were already established by the original series, and Nao is an interesting new addition in her own gothy way. Sumire… eh… the less said about Sumire the better. But the storyline, as far as it goes, focusing on Azusa’s quest to create her own Light Music Club rather than living in the shadow of the previous one, does at least have a spark.
The College storyline, by contrast, just falls flat. The only new character who makes an impression at all is Akira, the lead guitarist of “rival band” Only Girlz– but even she was clearly created to merge the roles of Yui’s caretaker and tsundere glomp-target into a single character. It’s as if Kakifly tossed Ui, Nodoka, and Azusa into a blender to create Akira… and then had no more ideas for the rest of the cast. As for storyline, there isn’t any to speak of beyond a vague “battle of the bands” one-sided rivalry on Akira’s part that even the members of Hokagou Tea Time barely even notice.
In short, the follow-up manga series disappoint for two major reasons: the first being that the manga was never as good as the anime in the first place, and the second being that the follow-ups needed to be more removed from the original series and allowed to be their own thing. (The fact that a big Yui/Azusa reunion moment keeps being hinted at, but never appears, doesn’t help either. I’m guessing this was being set up to be the highlight of some future chapter that never materialized.)
When You Come to the End, Stop
As I say, I don’t envy Kakifly’s position… because I was in a similar one myself. When I decided I wanted to return to The Suburban Jungle, there was a lot of pressure from people wanting me to just pick up where it left off and basically do more of the same, with variations. Some people wanted Leona to become the new star, some people wanted Drezzer, many people just wanted it to keep on going the way it had.
And Suburban Jungle was a mid-tier webcomic! I can’t imagine the kind of pressure I would have felt if it had been made into hugely successful TV series.
But at the same time, I have studied enough sequels, spin-offs, and reboots to know that just tacking on more chapters after “the end” just feels anti-climactic. It didn’t work for Babylon 5 (twice!), it didn’t work for M*A*S*H or Are You Being Served? or even The Three Musketeers and it wasn’t going to work for me.
That’s why I took such pains to separate Rough Housing from Starring Tiffany Tiger. There is some of that “combine characters from the previous cast to make a new character” thing going on… Charity, besides being the combination of Dover and Comfort one would expect from their child, also has elements of Tiffany, for instance. But it was important to me from the beginning that there not be any absolute corollaries, and not simply repeating the same story or gags with a different skin.
In the case of K-On!, my armchair advice would have been first to let a few years pass in the real world in order to gain some distance from the work, and then to have made a stronger break. If you absolutely wanted to continue with those five characters, which I think could have worked, then fast forward past college and reunite them as adults. My suggestion: make them the stars of a TV show about a band, a la The Monkees, and having to deal with wanting to be For Realz Serious Musicians in a world that just thinks of them as being a corporate cash-in. That could open whole new avenues of humor and would crank up the recurring theme from the original of serious musicianship vs. fluffling off in new and interesting ways. Just imagine Ritsu trying to manipulate studio execs, or Mio finding a website full of fanfiction about herself, for starters…
Dammit, now I want to develop this show. ¬.¬ Anybody got the phone number for Kyoto Animation?
PS: There’s still more I have to say about K-On! and in particular what effect it’s had on how I think about and approach Suburban Jungle, but that will have to wait for another post. In the meantime, the rest of the series is here: Zen, Music, and So. Much. Tea. (My K-On! Obsession, Part One) and K-On! the Anime v. the Manga, Part One.
What I did want to talk about today is the business related side of writing. For one, do authors read directions or are we just so self centered we believe they belong to other people? I belong to a number of writing groups in various places online. About the only group that seems to actually follow directions is my old writers’ group which started by-mail 20 years ago (yes, I’ve been part of this group that long). Others just seem clueless but maybe willfully so. I have at least three groups that don’t allow promo except on certain days and yet there are people who post constantly in spite of repeated warnings (and I assuming bannings in some cases). I appreciate that we can’t just promo every day. I’ve been in groups I’ve either left or it fell apart because of constant promoing.
I belong to other groups where you’re meant to post snippets, you know like the now defunct seven sentence sundays. I can handle you going over a line or two. We all do. Then we have those who go over by ….well, let’s just say there are three or four paragraphs and I’m like do you not understand what a snippet is?
Apparently a lot of us don’t understand what flash fic is either but that’s a tale for another time. Either way, the above just makes me think you’re unprofessional if you’re constantly doing it.
The other end of the business is writing newsletters and blurbs. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago about those newsletters. I just got another one who said something along the lines ‘the people have spoken. I should have edited this before publishing it.’ (I had one a few weeks ago who said well I couldn’t afford an editor so I didn’t bother). You know, I think I would come up with another reason for why I’ve republished something. I haven’t read the books I’ve downloaded by these people (I got them from insta-freebie which I’ve more or less stopped doing when I downloaded more ebooks than I could read in three years). It just sounds like a stupid thing to share with your readers. As Jana I might talk about depression and how it affects my writing negatively. I’m not about to say I write passive pieces of shit that need chronic saving, even if it’s true (and sometimes it is). And worse, I just saw (literally 3 seconds ago) someone put it in their goodreads blurb, oh yeah btw this is republished to clean up all my typos. OMG.
I know that blurb writing is hard but it is necessary. It should be short. It should tell us what the story is about. I go to Goodreads every night and try to win books so I see a shit ton of blurbs. If I can’t tell what the hell the book is about after reading yours, I’m not even going to try to read the book for free, much less spend money on it (and that happens a lot, the blurbs that make no sense what so ever). If your blurb is 9 paragraphs long, you’ve probably failed. You’ve lost your reader before you’ve even lured them to your book. (Heaven help you if there are misspelled words, crap grammar etc in the blurb. If you can’t take the time to proofread your blurb, I’m going to assume your novel (especially if it’s self-pubbed) is equally bad). And your blurb shouldn’t be misleading. Lately, I’ve read books where the story barely resembles the blurb and I felt cheated because what the book was really about was something I wouldn’t normally read.
steal time to write.
The dreaded synopsis writing.
Things to consider when talking to an agent
Kurt Vonnegut on writing
redundant characters (one of the reason last year's nano is just lying there)
worldbuilding mistakes (I have to admit this one is a tad mean)
7767 / 100000 words. 8% done!
These are the same as they were three weeks ago because seriously my writing has been paralyzed. The less than 1000 words above were all a 300 word flash fic, editing behind blue eyes and pissing into the wind trying to fix Blood Red.
Splinters of Silver - editing nothing
Blood Red - restarted with chapter one. Kill me now. (3 fucking weeks later, I'm still there)
Steampunk Holiday - 2529 / 9000 words. 28% done!
Behind Blue Eyes - edited ch 7
Haunted Hocking - 3003 / 60000 words. 5% done!
Not that there have been a whole lot of job prospects around here either; the election of Lord Dampnut has been a huge blow to most of the major job sectors around here except Murder Incorporated, and I'm not interested in joining that particular industry.
However, I am now opening my long-term job search up to other cities that have some appeal but were previously not under consideration, such as Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Boston. In the shorter term, I am going to spend the upcoming week hunting down and connecting to temp agencies, something which has had mixed results in the past– but mixed results are better than no results at all.
I'm frustrated and disgusted by the whole thing. What started out as feeling like life was taking unwanted turns some years ago, now feels like the wheels have completely come off and I'm just watching the wreck in slow motion. But there's no readily visible course of action to take to fix it, and honestly, there are no decisions made in the past I could point to that could have prevented it, either. The choices we made all along were the best ones with the information available to us at the time. So there aren't even lessons to be learned about it. There's just keeping calm and dragging on.
Drag, drag, drag.
Published: February 2017 by Less Than Three Press
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Contemporary fantasy, LGBTQIA
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Publisher (electronic only) ~Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~Kobo ~ Smashwords
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Gloria did not intend to start a halfway house for lesbian werewolves. It just sort of happened. Between running a small bed-and-breakfast with her friend Nadine, helping one young lycanthrope adjust to life after the bite and soothing ruffled fur when the other brings home an unexpected cat, Gloria has more than enough to keep her busy, but one thing is definite: she is not nor ever will be an alpha, whatever Nadine says. And the ever-expanding circle of misfits in her guesthouse is certainly not a pack. If only Nadine and the rest of the world were as simple and clear cut as she kept wanting them to be.
Humanity for Beginners is a quietly charming novella that subverts some current tropes common in urban fantasy shifter stories.
For a start, it centres a lesbian woman in her 40s–not your typical werewolf protagonist. Gloria denies the others’ insistence she’s their pack alpha. In fact, she denies there’s a pack at all (though never that they’re a family). Self-control is very important to her and she does her best to act as rationally and as human as she can. This doesn’t always work in her favour.
Gloria’s attitude towards pack dynamics stands in strong contrast to the toxic masculinity of the other packs portrayed in this story. Gloria doesn’t dominate through violence and aggression, as the other packs do. Instead, her approach is more maternal; she can’t help but be genuinely concerned for the well-being of her adopted family. This doesn’t mean she’s a pushover or that she wears her heart on her sleeve. Indeed, she sometimes struggles to stay neutral and let her fellow werewolves to make their own decisions, even though it’s really important to her that they do. She also is capable of enforcing boundaries where necessary.
This resistance to toxic masculinity also manifests in the type of story this is. Set in a rural guesthouse, Humanity for Beginners is a domestic tale that centres on relationships. As the characters sort out romantic, pack and family dynamics, they’re also busy preparing food, cleaning rooms and taking bookings. It’s a gentle story without a whole lot of action, though conflict remains present.
While each of the characters was distinct, the characters external to the pack could have used a little more depth. In particular, I would have liked to learn a little more about Damien, who is part of the family even though he’s not a werewolf. However, I feel the author did a reasonable job within the constraints of a novella.
Overall, Humanity for Beginners was a subversive story that was a pleasure to read.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Sun is out and it's warming up which is nice, I want the snow gone.
December 3, 2012
“Okay, so here’s why girls don’t get flattered when guys comment on their bodies.”
A few months ago, you said I looked “objectively really hot, actually, you’re definitely the hot one of us.” I laughed and thanked you because we have the kind of relationship that allows for that kind of banter. Your phrasing amused me. I took a little bow.
You asked me why girls get upset when guys comment on their bodies, and wondered why my reaction to you was different than, say, a girl’s reaction to a random guy on the street. Why I was mildly flattered, instead of scared or angry. You honestly didn’t understand, and wanted to know.
I tried explaining, but I think I left you more confused than I found you.
I have a better explanation now.
The first time I can remember a guy staring at my boobs, I was in eighth grade. I didn’t even notice; I was still a kid and was largely oblivious to such things. My dad, however, did notice, and started glaring at the twentysomething stranger ogling his thirteen-year-old.
I could maybe have passed for fifteen back then. There was no way anyone would have mistaken me for an adult. That wasn’t the issue, though. To that guy, it wasn’t about who I was or how old I was. I was a set of boobs to him, not a person, certainly not a child.
My experience is pretty common. Girls start getting unwanted attention at a young age, and it happens for the rest of our lives. Men yell things at us on the street and invade our personal space on the bus or trolley when there are plenty of other seats. They try to look up our skirts when we sit down. They don’t listen when we try to rebuff them. We see reports of yet another girl raped on her way home last weekend, another woman whose body was found in a ditch. We’re told not to go out alone at night, to take someone with us even if we’re only driving to the store or the library or the gas station. We’re told to carry our keys like weapons, to park in the lot instead of the structure because it’s better to get rained on than raped and murdered. We’re told not to walk alone even during the day. We’re told close friends might rape us if they’ve had a bit to drink because they’re men, that it’s wrong, but it happens sometimes and we should be on our guard.
Imagine hearing that from the age of five. Imagine being told from childhood that men are more likely to hurt you than women are. Imagine knowing that, though you might be smart and well-trained, men will almost always be bigger and stronger than you, and you wouldn’t be able to beat most of them in a full-on fight. I can best my brother at arm-wrestling, yeah, but that doesn’t have many practical applications.
Now imagine that one of the people you’ve been taught to regard as a threat to your body says he wants your body. If he really does, you’ll have a hard time stopping him, and people will treat you as an object lesson for others, like you’d done something wrong for “letting” him hurt you. They’ll ask why you didn’t do more to protect yourself, why you wore that dress, or walked into the parking lot at that time, or talked to that person. Why you went out after dark or flirted with someone at a party.
I’m not saying all men are awful. I’m saying that decent men should be the norm, but there are a lot of men who aren’t, and who make us feel unsafe in our normal lives. We can’t tell the difference between decent people and potential rapists by looking.
What you said to me was meant as a compliment, and I took it as such. That’s because I’ve known you since we were kids, and I know you didn’t mean any harm. We have the kind of relationship where words like yours are appropriate, and you’ve never strayed outside the bounds of what’s okay. I don’t have that kind of relationship with the car full of drunken guys I walked past on the way home from D&D last weekend.
Girls get upset when guys comment on their bodies because we’re being treated like sources of pleasure, not people. We get angry because we can’t go about our business without having to worry about sexual predation. We get scared because, when it comes down to it, if a guy tried to act on his shouts of “Hey baby, nice tits, keep it up” we probably wouldn’t be able to stop him, and some would blame us.
Girls get upset because we’d much rather be seen as people, not just bodies.
All my stories.
All the videos I knew I wanted to keep; including all the Star Trek I had only the previous evening begun transferring to my hard drive, all my photos, and all my stories, and all the files I had saved from my older laptop; which I am on now, with a cobbled together set up.
At this moment I really don't know whether it's worth carrying on.
I was finally feeling as if, despite everything, I was getting somewhere wiht organising my chaotic online life, and now everything I felt was important, and wortyh saving; so far, may now be lost.
It feels like there's no point.
I think I may just quit.
The thought of having to go back to the beginning and doing all that again is just too exhausting.
I can hardly be bothered with doing more than is absolutely necessary to keep myself goimg so I can take care of the cats.
I hate my life; I hate myself, and I look around me and all I can see is miserably hateful; disgusting and evil peopl triumphing everywhere.
I think I may just fucking quit.
I'll keep this short and mostly just share what I like best about the day: Celtic music.
It wasn't a good day anyhow. I felt horrible most of the day, exhausted, dizzy to the point I considered driving up to urgent care to see if I have another inner ear infection. Instead I went outside to find the car looking like someone dumped a Slushee on it. Yay for freezing rain. head desk.
The writer's group meeting in Athens was already canceled (good thing because the weather never improved) and I considered doing laundry but I just didn't have it in me. After I ate lunch and pissed about on the computer I felt better, enough to go out (now that it wasn't raining or otherwise being horrible) and went to the Sixth Sense for a milk stout and then on to Arch and Eddie's for dinner, passing on beer #2 as the rain had restarted.
By the time I made it home we were having thunder-sleet. Mom called me back (she had called earlier in the day) and said she was surprised I sounded so much better (so apparently I was quite ill this morning) and lamented that at 10 pm when nothing new was on TV the Star Trek BBCAmerica was running was Omega Glory. P.U. It was a good night to sit at home and watch the second to last Grimm and watching Sleepy Hollow drive off a cliff again.
Two things. One: some open calls for MLR I'm looking at the Witching Hour (and thought some of you might too). I have a basic haunted house idea but I'd like to build to All Hallow's Eve. I'm also not above cribbing from true hauntings. What are some of the scariest ones you've heard (also by all means, if any of these interest you WRITE!) I might even switch out my intended camp nano for this in part at any rate. I'm going to set it in that 16K pink house. open calls here.
And now the weather:
and this is my BFF from college's cousin's band!
“In The Spotlight” comes out tomorrow! Nice little mention for it at the Romantic Novelists Association blog. And yes, I’ve created a “publisher” name for my self published works – most of you will realise what “The Right Chair Press” alludes to.
As part of the usual release hoo-hah, I’m blog touring (all over the place like a rash, one might say) and most of these appearances give you a chance to win either a copy of “In The Spotlight” or something from the back list. So for starters, there’s:
A week of giveaways at The Diverse Reader - I was one of those on day 3. I’m guest author there tomorrow, too.
There’s a whole month of giveaways at The Romance Reviews anniversary event. My question will show up in a week’s time, on the 24th.
My main writing job at the moment is sorting out some edits for Broke Deep, which is available for pre-order at the Riptide site. Really good offer for the e-book/print combo. Then I need to get my head down over the edits for “Better to Die”, my story for the Manifold Call to Arms anthology. Still a couple of months before submissions closes so if you’re tempted to send something along, get a wiggle on.
And finally, I occasionally turn my hand to a bit of sketching. Yes, it's two guinea pigs driving a motorcycle and sidecar. As they do...
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