In Elin's comfy chair

Oct. 21st, 2017 12:28 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
That's where I am today, and lovely it is. She asks a good question, does our Elin. Like what commemorative event has most encapsulated the tragedy of WWI for me. Pop across to find out the answer to that.

CountTheShells_400x600

if it wasn't for bad luck

Oct. 20th, 2017 12:29 pm
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
I'd have no luck at all.

WHY? HOW? Last night I stepped on an earring while going to bed. Now I keep my earrings on a tree. So the back would have had to come off and this earring fell somehow missing the tray AND the dresser (where the tree sits in the middle). And it was a cheap earring (because if it had been an expensive one the post would have bent/snapped) so the post went into my heel right where the arch begins, embedding a full inch into me. I had to prise it out, it bled, my foot hurts (same foot with the broken toe) and now I need a tetanus shot.

I had a series of bizarre interlated dreams. My BFF, SRA’s hubby MPA was trying to help me with my new house. I seemed to have bought a house in an older (think 60s) subdivision which would be about what I can afford. However, instead of being in my house he was at my parents’ tearing up their brand new game room floor in a pattern not unlike a Christmas tree. I was so upset. I kept saying that all I wanted was a killer computer/internet system but he was hell bent on decorating everything (though I have no idea why).

From there I went to the mall with SRA and Mom. But the mall was terribly run down and I’m not sure why we were there. I went to look at smoething else at the other end of the mall and used what I thought was a shuttle for the mall but it was a bus that cruised around the several blocks. It got back to where I could easily get back to Mom and SRA but I couldn’t get out the door. The one in the rear wouldn’t open and I couldn’t get to the front in time and there was no stop here button for the thing. The old people on the bus laughed at me. I was getting more and more anxious. The city blocks around the mall were the worst slum inner city housing I’ve ever seen (and I used to work in places like Harlem and the South Bronx). I was beginning to think that my new house was in a demilitarized zone.

I woke up at this point but fell back asleep into the stupid basement dream again.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
My main feature spot on the blogtour today is at Book Reviews and More - the post is inspired by a question from Elin Gregory. What research didn't make it into Count the Shells? Nip over there to find out.
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Today I'm at Dog Eared Daydreams, discussing the way that authors have to get their minds around being edited.

Then at Two Chicks Obsessed I'm considering how best (IMO) to research the Great War.

You know the form; comment at any (or all) stops to be in the virtual hat to win the goodie bag prize.
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Have you ever considered the way the writer's sub-conscious can influence their stories? Am talking about that at Love Byte Reviews.

Over at Open Skye, I'm telling again the story of how a set of timbers at a mill inspired me to write,

And you know the drill - comment here, there or everywhere to be in with a chance of winning.
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Such a busy week all round - especially for reviews. (Like buses, they all come at once.)

The Novel Approach reviewed Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour: I highly recommend this book for all lovers of good English mysteries. Simply delightful.

Humpday interview and chance to win

Oct. 18th, 2017 10:56 am
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane


Am at Rj Scott 's blog, answering her excellent interview questions and offering the chance to win an e-book from my backlist. You can find out what book first made me cry and my views on writing about real historical characters.






charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Am at the Diverse Reader, thinking about connections between Porthkennack books, and at EroticaforAll being interviewed on - among other things - the best resources for researching historicals.

Comment at any (or all) stops for a chance to win a goodie bag.

The Newsletter Cometh

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:55 am
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[personal profile] hrj

Having listened to the promotional strategy advice of a wide variety of people, I'm planning to accomplish two things this weekend. One will be to set up Hootsuite (or some equivalent social media manager, but that's the one people seem to prefer) to handle automated promotional reminders that I rarely have the emotional energy to do manually. The other will be to set up an opt-in (of course!) newsletter for fans and readers to provide both a direct way to communicate announcements and other information, and to provide special content in exchange for access to attention. I figure to aim for absolutely not more often than once a month except for things like unexpected special sales (which I never know about in advance). Maybe less often than once a month, we'll see. I have a hard time planning these things because I'm not a newsletter reader myself, so I have to figure out what works for people who are.

So what sort of content will the newsletter provide? A lot of it will be just basic information:

  • Upcoming/New publication information

  • Upcoming appearances

  • Current projects

But I'll also be offering some special content not available to people who don't subscribe to the newsletter. And that's where you come in. Here are some ideas of my own, plus suggestions people have made online. Which of these would entice you to sign up for and read a newsletter? What other content would entice you?

  • Worldbuilding information (Alpennian language, geography, history, etc.)

  • Snippets of work in progress (no spoilers!)

  • Exclusive previews of Alpennian short fiction (stories that will eventually be released either free or as a collection, but that I'm not trying to sell individually)

  • Discussions of my writing process (for example, I kept a diary of how the plot of Daughter of Mystery developed as I was drafting it)

  • Alpennia fan art (with the artists' permissions, of course!)

  • Access to Alpennia swag (there is none yet, but I have some ideas percolating -- what would you be interested in?)

Let me know what you think. I'm still trying to get my mind around the psychological aspects of doing a newsletter and how it would differ from my blog, other than providing me with a list of people who have expressed a particular level of commitment and interest to following my writing.


 


Reviews for books old and new

Oct. 17th, 2017 12:27 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
 

A lovely one for Count the Shells over at The Novel Approach, in which I get a passing comparison to Merchant Ivory (cor!).

Cochrane’s voice lends itself so beautifully to a story such as Count the Shells, as she consistently captures and conveys the time in which her novels are set through little more than the genteel language and gentrified air of her characters.

And a smasher for Lessons for Suspicious Minds at Bookboners & Bibliophily.

how many historical fiction novels can you think of that actually employ the correct form of speech from the time they play in?

Um, I guess the answer is "mine?"

 
duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Milord


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
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[personal profile] duskpeterson
[Note: This post includes not-safe-for-work links.]


I cleared out my leather life this fall. Technically, all I was doing was donating my leather library – hundreds of vintage leather/BDSM magazines and a few books to the Carter/Johnson Leather Library, a travelling historical library that I had volunteered for in the 00s. But this was also a way for me to say goodbye to the period – 2004 to 2007 – when I'd belonged to the leather community. I proved to be a square peg there in a pentagonal hole, but I'd never had the opportunity to formally leave the community. This would be my opportunity.

At a certain point, I passed on some books by david stein (his name is lowercased) to my apprentice, who is a member of the leather club La Garou. It occurred to me then that I ought to drop a line to david. I'd fallen out of touch with all my friends this year, but I knew that david was ill with cancer, which made it especially important that I stay in touch with him.

Then the urgency of my current task – I was cutting back on my belongings because I faced an imminent inspection by my landlord – caused that thought to slip out of my mind.

I donated the magazines and books. On Twitter, I thanked the Leather Library, as well as the Leather Archives & Museum, which had originally sold me most of the magazines. Then I tweeted, "(*Quietly closes a door on that chapter of my life.*)"

Seventeen days later, I emerged from the bathroom to find my apprentice standing with his smartphone in hand, looking grave. "I think you should sit down," he said.

Thus I learned of the death of david stein.




david stein


Safe, sane, and consensual )
Community )
Publishing )
Romance )
Friendship )
david's writings )
Other tributes to david stein )

It was a crazy weekend

Oct. 16th, 2017 02:58 pm
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[personal profile] cornerofmadness
It’s been a long fun, weird weekend. Friday saw me cleaning like a fiend and hiding things in closest and the back rooms. I heard them weedwhacking outside. Then my internet went down (and still it as I type this to post from work). Who wants to bet that they weedwhacked thru the wiring to the internet AGAIN?

My brother, SiL and Mom arrived Saturday at noon and we were smart. We went out to lunch in Jackson (as lunch at Bob Evans Farm Fest is a nightmare) and I will say LaRosa’s decorated fantastically for Halloween. We loved it. Someone loves Halloween as much as I do and one of my students (a better one) waited on us. I got an appetizer in the hopes of eating it all but I couldn’t and so we swung by my place to pop the leftovers in my fridge and put mom’s stuff in here (Brother and SiL were staying in the Red Roof as I don’t have enough room) Mistake! Called it, didn’t I? And Brother wasn’t content with just looking at my living room/kitchen, he opened the shut up back rooms, the closets and my fridge. WHY the closets? Dude I don’t roam your house peeking everywhere, not even when I stay there. Kanda, who always greets them at Mom’s house, ran and hid.

I’d love to say we had a great time at Bob’s but...it was too fucking hot. It was at least 85 and humid. Even my Brother & SiL who love the heat (they’re off to Mexico again in two weeks) were miserable. Mom and I were dying. It was very crowded and to my surprise the new owners of Bob’s put in rides and funnel cake type food trucks (which honestly was good because the previous owners, the actual Evans family, didn’t allow competing food which made the lines unmanageable.) Brother wanted to go on the stupid Ferris wheel and that was at the very beginning of the time there and it was also the end. As he went off in search of tickets (which he ended up not buying for good reason, they wouldn’t sell individual tickets, just the 10$ day passes).

As Mom and I waited, the heat got us, especially her. She spent 90% of the time in the music tent just sitting. My SiL and I barely got to see ANY of the damn crafters which is the whole point of this thing. I got to visit Laurel Valley farm and cheese maker’s animal tent. I bought my favorite of their cheeses and pet the cow who provided the milk but she looked like she had a respiratory infection so that was not encouraging. My brother got an elephant ear for the first time (I stole some) and then pretty much Mom wanted to go. We were barely there two hours. She could hardly walk back. As my SiL and Brother said, she keeps talking about going to Mexico with them (she’s pretty upset that they only invite my SiL’s parents and never her and Dad), but there’s no way in hell she could possibly do it. I did manage to divert her into the tent with the glass maker I usually buy from for her. Talked my SiL into buying something for Mom for her birthday/Christmas ( as I’ve already bought a bunch and why not? It’s not like mom needs surprised for the holiday). I counted myself lucky to get that cheese, my maple sugar cotton candy and my honey.

I bought nothing else. We left, sat around the house and then went to Arch and Eddie’s for dinner (my treat for Brother and SiL’s birthdays in a couple weeks) and some beer tasting boards. They all got dinners and I got two little sliders (could only eat one and a half, gah my meds are really screwing with me). The beers were good but for the one made in-house. It was a Halloween brew, in theory a double IPA (I don’t like IPAs but I thought most of their beer is good…) This tasted like grapefruit shandy and piss. None of us could drink it. Back home Kanda hid from Mom the whole night. Now she’s taken care of him for FOUR weeks this year without me even being there and he was fine with her. But it might have been ME he was hiding from. He came out to see her when she was alone (and vice versa with me). Cats be crazy.

So the festival didn’t go so hot but the good news is my brother woke me up at 630 so he could get on the road (well fooled him, I was already up haha but was planning on going back to sleep. Who gets on the road before the sun comes up? We all went to the Bob Evans in Jackson. They headed back home. I came back to my place and slipped into Shion Karanamori’s skin and headed down to the last day of Tsubasacon.

Hillbilly Hot Dog was sadly closed until noon so I had to make due with con food (as everyone else was also following the Sunday blue laws of a late opening) but rather than eat the shitty fast food there, I got some of the Japanese buns and steamed cheese cake. The cake was yummy but I forgot how stale and blah those buns were from that vendor (I tried to spread the money around, I should have bought them all from the Japanese fellow. He obviously knew what to actually bring that didn’t taste like stale bear claws). At least the mochi is yummy.

I know Tsubasacon is a very small anime con but the vendors hall was really anemic this year. Granted most vendor halls are in decline because of unfettered access most of us have to online stores of anime merchandise. This was about 80% artists and I need more wall art like I need shot and literally nothing seemed all that good. There were exceptions of course but mostly not in my fandoms. The one piece of FMA art I saw (mostly looking for ELD) was Ed’s head floating in space above his beheaded shoulders with a blue array between head and shoulder. That was SO WTF. The lady I buy steampunk stuff from had a beautiful pencil of Levi (AoT) but again, no need for more art but she did have it as a pin. I rarely wear buttons but I did buy it. There was a vendor with beautiful stuffed betta fish and one with stuffed bats and another with stuffed sloths/otters/platypuses that I, ELD and Silvrethorn would have loved but yeah NONE of us need another damned stuffed anything. In cleaning this place, realizing there is NO MORE ROOM and hiding storage boxes behind closed doors, I realize I need to toss things out and not buy more crap I don’t really need.

I was already SO tired by the time I got there, I wasn’t thinking straight. Otherwise I would have a) looked at the con handout to see who the guests were. I would have caught the entire panel with Austin Tindle (Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul), Accelerator (A certin Magical Index), Leah Clark (Mari from Yuri on Ice) & Kristen McGuire (Loop from Yuri on Ice and artist) but I did see the last half (not well attended. In fact most of the con wasn’t well attended but it was the last day after all). I’m not a big one for autographs but I might have since there was barely a line had I known who any of them were and honestly Tindle annoyed me a bit by looking like he wanted to be elsewhere and telling us ‘he doesn’t care about the shows, only the characters he plays. He didn’t even seem knowledgeable that much about anime).

An old fellow followed but I didn’t stay. Turns out he was Robert Axelrod from Cowboy Bebop and many others. Ah well. I missed the musical act too because they wouldn’t let me in as it was full. Opps. Mostly what I did was go to the traveling manga library and just chilled out reading. I read #4 of Seraph of the End. It was one I was collecting but was unsure I wanted to continue. It was good but as a series reminded me too much of Bleach and other manga concentrating on fight, train, fight. That bores me after a while. #4 was interesting but yeah, I wish the library would get this so I could read it (I don’t like going to online manga pirate sites for many reasons, a main one being they’re often virus-ridden.) The other I read was #1 of Tokyo Ghoul which I’ve enjoyed the anime for. I found Kanakei to be a fascinating and tragic character right up to the episodes after he was tortured into near-insanity and then it started into one of the fight train fight story lines. Sigh. It still remains mostly interesting though. I have to say in a way the manga reminds me of Attack on Titan in the respect that the art is SOOOOOOOOO much better in the anime. It’s not quite as ugly as AoT’s art was in the early days but it is a bit rough or at least not to my taste.

I went back for a final round in the dealer’s room (because the Panchinko machines were all full. I’d love to try my hand at that. Maybe next year). I wanted to buy something since I’d spent 20$ to get in and all I had was some overpriced crappy buns and mochi. (and I didn’t get to buy anything at Bob’s fest). The Japanese fellow with the steamed cheese breads also had a crap ton of wall scrolls. In fact there were several FMA ones but I didn’t end up getting any for ELD for a variety of reasons (she needs more wall hangings like she needs shot as well, and shipping it would suck) but the main one was almost ALL of them were oddly enough, original anime and given that’s nearly 15 years ago I was surprised (also shocked that FMA is THAT old holy shit). There were a couple from Brotherhood but the only one with Winry had to have been drawn by the third stringers. The proportions were so off I could barely tell it was Winry (There was an AoT one like that. I couldn’t figure out who the woman was on it with Eren and Mikasa only to realize the skeletal chick with the womanly hips in a standard swimsuit pose, was Levi. Head desk). The other two were weird. Only one had Ed in it and he was miniscule up front fighting Envy & Greed!Ling while a huge Father and Bradley loomed over them. Yeah pretty sure ELD wouldn’t have liked that. Not one had Al in them btw.

I did end up buying another wall scroll (I KNOW!) for the office of Tokyo Ghoul. I wasn’t planning to buy anything for that fandom but I liked the art in it and the arrangement. I picked up a plastic folder with Kaneki on it too and finally found a little something for ELD. And one of my former students was there.

I headed out and found the Mexican restaurant I liked for dinner. I wanted to go to Micheal’s and Macy’s but I was just too tired. I went to Booksamillion, realized I forgot my coupons (ditto the ones for Macy’s and Micheal’s). You’d think if you give them your BaM card, they’d just scan in the current coupon but no. I ended up with the most manga/anime related stuff from them which is just a little bit sad. Two new ones Queen’s Quality which is the sequel to QQ Sweeper which is an interesting paranormal where they clean people’s psyche and InSpectre which has a handicapped girl as the main character so that sounded interesting (and I got the next Noragami: Stray God. Love this one). Picked up a caramel chip frappe from their Joe Muggs coffee shop. Meh. The taste was good but the caramel chips were crushed up in it like waxy sand.

Made it home, almost all the way before the downpour that threatened all day finally let go. It went from 85 to 58 in under and hour. Naturally now that I won’t be outside summer finally fucks off.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Am interrupting the Count the Shells related posts to share this little beauty. It's the artwork for Lessons in Love which will be coming out from Endeavour very soon.

Lessons in Love

Marvel Black Panther

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:47 am
grey853: Cat with a teacup (Catwithteacup_casey28)
[personal profile] grey853
It's not due until February 2018, but I'm looking forward to it.

charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Count the Shells is out today, and the blog tour starts. Comment at any stop to be in with a chance of a goodie bag, which I will mail to anywhere in the known universe.

First stop is at The Novel Approach, where I discuss how much I love the seaside.

I'm pleased with All About Romance's review of Count the Shells, because they 'got' the hero's nephew Richard, who is integral to the story.

Richard is a precocious boy, but never crosses the line into ‘plot-device moppet’; he’s a charming, inquisitive lad, and it’s clear he adores his uncle and that the feeling is mutual.

Another Sunday at the ER vet

Oct. 15th, 2017 03:59 pm
codyne: Kitty Jerry under a blanket (jerry)
[personal profile] codyne
Took Miss Jerry to the ER vet in Bakersfield this morning, because she'd suddenly started flopping around and her eyeballs were twitching back and forth and I thought she was having a stroke or something. By the time we got to the vet, though, she was doing better, no longer twitching and flopping, although she was still unsteady on her feet. I described what happened and the vet said it was most likely vertigo. She (the vet) checked Jerry out and couldn't find anything wrong with her -- no fever, no signs of ear infection, no high blood pressure, nothing obvious. But she recommended I take Jerry to see her regular vet tomorrow.

It could be an isolated incident that won't require any more treatment, or there could be something underlying that will need further diagnosis, but in any case, she's home and seems okay for now. She was steadier on her feet by the time we got home and seemed pretty normal, walked around a bit and then lay on the bed and purred up a storm. So, whew!

Why do these things always seem to happen after hours when the regular vet is closed?

Rainbow snippet - Count the Shells

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:26 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Count the Shells is out tomorrow, although you can download it already from Riptide. Here's an excerpt I haven't shared yet.

Michael shook his fist in the direction of the helmeted and begoggled figure, who was now setting his machine upright. “Why the hell can’t you watch where you’re going? Idiots like you shouldn’t be allowed on the roads.”
“I’m sorry.” The motorcyclist took off his gloves and pointed along the lane. “There’s a patch of oil or something over there. Sent me sideways.”
“Couldn’t you swerve to avoid it?”
“I thought I had. The blo—” the man caught sight of Richard, “The wretched thing spread further than I’d anticipated. Sorry I scared the boy.”
“I wasn’t scared,” Richard insisted. “Only surprised.”
“Then I apologise for surprising you.” The motorcyclist took off his helmet before removing his goggles. His face was ashen, but he held his hand tentatively out to Richard, although before the boy could shake it, Michael’s stifled shout of, “No!” made them both spin round to face him.
Michael raised his hand to his temple. “Forgive me. I thought I’d seen a ghost. You remind me so much of an old friend.”
The motorcyclist opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Richard exclaimed, “Thomas! Is that who he reminds you of, Uncle?”
“Yes.” Michael could barely get the word out.

Plenty more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippets group.

CountTheShells_400x600

DWP: Asking for Trouble

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:50 pm
marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] marygriggs

Title: Asking for Trouble

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: PG

Word Count: 3300

Summary: Andy comes home to find Miranda in the closet with Donna Karan.

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.

This piece is in response to the fashion designer, Donna Karan’s interview in defense of serial assaulter Harvey Weinstein. She is quoted as saying, “How do we present ourselves as women? … Are we asking for it, by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? … I don't think it's only Harvey Weinstein ... We have to look at our world ... And how women are dressing and what they're asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/10/09/donna-karan-defends-harvey-weinstein-suggesting-women-ask-trouble/748596001/

Oh, and Bottomless Closet is a real thing – http://www.bottomlessclosetnyc.org

I want to thank Laura aka Brithna for challenging me to write this.



****

Andy tossed her keys into the bowl on the table by the closet that had once nearly gotten her fired. She winced, even after seven years the foyer still sometimes had the power to trigger bad memories. While she could look back on her days as the premier fashion editor’s second assistant with nostalgia, no rose colored glasses could hide the true terror she felt after she interrupted Miranda and Stephen arguing that fateful evening.



But she was also thankful for it. Everything started to change then. By rising to Miranda’s challenge, instead of sinking, Andy began to come into her own power. She knew she’d never have managed to walk away in Paris if not for the spark lit by the acquisition of the Harry Potter manuscript.



A spark that remained banked for more than two years before she re-entered Miranda’s orbit again. And, it was that spark’s ignition, which led directly to the carefully tended flames of their current relationship.



Smiling now at her memories, she stirred the contents of the bowl and saw Miranda’s keys in there, too. Andy rubbed the ring between her fingers and giggled as she thought of the things the two of them might be able to do tonight.



She walked into the kitchen and pulled out the meat that had been marinating in the refrigerator. Andy washed her hands before preheating the oven. She put a little olive oil into Dutch oven and placed it over medium heat. She was humming as she used one of Miranda’s super sharp chef knives to dice an onion.



Scrapping the onion in the pot, she reduced the heat and stirred before tossing in some minced garlic and salt. Once the onions were translucent, she then poured in a portion of Arborio rice. She stirred it while it toasted and then poured in a quart of chicken stock. After another stir, she covered the pot and slid it into the oven.



Washing her hands again, she decided to go change and check in with Miranda before doing any more dinner prep. After glancing into the study and seeing it empty, Andy practically skipped up the stairs to their bedroom. The room was empty. The door to the bathroom was open and the room was likewise unoccupied.



Her brow furrowed and she called out, “Miranda?”



She heard a faint noise. Walking over to the closet she called again, “Miranda?”



“I’m back here.”



“Where?”



There was a beat or two of silence.



“In Narnia,” Miranda replied.



Andy beamed. When she had learned that Miranda had the bedroom next to hers converted into a climate-controlled room reachable through her closet, she had immediately christened it with the name of the magical world of CS Lewis that the children entered through a wardrobe.



Miranda hadn’t seemed amused but Andy knew if she was willing to call it that herself, they must have reached a new plateau in their relationship. After the first kiss, first fight, first make up sex, and first joint purchase, Andy was sure making cute names for things and having inside jokes surely showed that she and Miranda were united in all things that mattered.



She took Miranda’s answer as an invitation and walked through the first closet and into the next room. It was artfully designed with beautifully lit display cabinets and shelving units with glass doors holding brightly colored hanging items. In the center of the room was a vintage round couch of crushed cream velvet, where Miranda could sit facing any direction she wanted.



Many nights, Andy had woken from a deep sleep to an empty space beside her and a faint light glowing from the room. She would find Miranda deep in thought, staring at some of the beautiful items she had collected over the years.



Miranda might be facing the black dress designed by Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Princess Diana’s sea green sequined evening gown that was designed by Catherine Walker. Or maybe she would be looking at an Armani Prive gunmetal grey dress, encrusted with Swarovski crystals, which had been worn by Cate Blanchet. Over in one corner was the letterbox red Valentino dress worn by Anne Hathaway when she hosted the Academy Awards that Miranda seemed to like best.



She had explained that she was both soothed and inspired by the art of fashion.



Tonight she wasn’t mediating. Miranda was standing in front of a display cabinet along the back wall. There was a rolling metal rack with several items on it and small pile of fabric on the floor by the fashion maven’s feet.



Andy walked over and embraced Miranda from behind. “What’s this?” she asked.



“This is the Seven Easy Pieces collection from 1985.” Miranda opened the front of the case and ran her fingers over one of the black bodysuits.



“I’m sorry, love, but I need more than that.”



Miranda heaved a great sigh. “Donna Karan, you plebian.”



“I know DKNY.”



“That’s the affordable line, she’d been distant from that for years.” She pulled one of the black pieces off the mannequin and held up to Andy. “This is what started it all for working women.”



“Is that a unitard?”



“It is a body suit that mixes and matches with the other pieces.”



“Interesting.”



“She freed women from the power suit.” Miranda sighed. “It is most unfortunate she has likewise failed to free herself from outmoded ideas about why women are assaulted.”



“Yeah, I heard her interview. So insane. I can’t believe a woman fashion designer of all people would blame what women wear for getting them into trouble.”



“Especially when the trouble was caused by an incredibly powerful man abusing women whose very careers were dependent on him,” Miranda replied.



“Their stories are so painful. I can’t hardly believe he was able to keep doing it for as long he did. Why did so many wait so long before coming forward?”



“It isn’t an easy thing to do. Many rightfully fear their reputations will be ruined, that they’ll lose their job or be blacklisted. They know they will be blamed for putting themselves in the position of being alone with him, even when he used honeypots to lure them in.”



“Honeypots?”



“He had other women attend the meetings to begin with, so his victims would feel safe. He’d dismiss his assistants and then start the pressure, many times using force to get them to comply with his demands.”



“I can’t believe other women were helping him.”



“I would guess that while some didn’t know they were being used, many others were complicit because they, too, needed their jobs and his goodwill.” Miranda glanced at her. “Frankly, though, you’re making my point.”



“What?”



“Even now, you’re blaming the other women instead of holding him responsible for his actions.”



“Wow,” Andy said, sinking down onto the couch. “I hadn’t realized I was doing that.”



“It is our default to blame the victim. She was alone, she had been drinking, she was wearing provocative clothes, she should have said no, she could have fought harder...” After ticking off the statements on her fingers, Miranda made a tossing gesture with her hands. “Why do you think so many maintain relationships with these men after the harassment?”



“I have no idea.”



“It is one way to rewrite the narrative. If they can make something of it consensual, then maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe you can get something out of it.”



“Gross.”



“Worse is that most victims continue think it was their fault.”



“How so?”



Miranda started putting the items from the display case into a bag. “If they were too friendly, maybe he got the wrong idea. If they had been affectionate, they had been asking for it. If they allowed one thing to happen, then the rest was their fault, too. Maybe you were too ambitious and he could see you wanted it.”



Andy lifted her head and stared when Miranda changed to second person point of view again. “You?”



“Hmmm?”



“You said you. Twice.”



There was silence before Miranda turned to look at her. “Yes, me.”



“You’ve never said before.”



“It was early in my career, when I was still young and vulnerable.”



“Really? You?”



“Everyone is young once. Not everyone has to pay for it, though.”



“If it’s a bad memory, you don’t have to tell me. It may help to talk about, though.”



“I’ve talked about it before but, clearly not enough.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Not enough if this whole Weinstein issue can rattle me so.”



“I don’t remember but you didn’t seem so angry when Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly scandals imploded.”



“Maybe because I never expected better from men who created and made careers in a system built on harassment, belittling and bullying. FOX was a known entity. There might even a part of me that thought maybe all those women deserve what they got.”



“Nobody deserves it.”



Miranda rolled her eyes. “I know that. And I know that I’m more disappointed than angry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m furious at Harvey and all the pain he has caused. But, Donna, she was…” Miranda flung out her arms. “Do you know she was championing a woman president back in 1992? Her advertising campaign was called ‘In Women We Trust’ and had a model wearing one of her double-breasted blazers being sworn in as president.” She sighed. “It was transcendent.”



“I didn’t know that.”



“She designed for real women’s bodies and made even those who weren’t five foot, ten inches and skinny feel beautiful. It was powerful. And, it didn’t end there. After she left her label, she started a foundation which empowers and educates children in Haiti.” Miranda shook her head.



“That’s bizarre,” Andy said. “How could she do one thing and say the other?”



“Her interview knocked me back. I felt like she pulled the rug from under my feet. And it makes me question if anything I believed about her was ever true.”



“That sucks.” Andy stepped up to Miranda and touched her shoulder. “Could you tell me more?”



“Mmm. I think part of it is that it makes me feel lot like I did after my harassment. He was a mentor. A man I looked to for advice.” She reached up and squeezed Andy’s hand. “I thought my boss was invested in my career and instead he was targeting me for my body.”



“What happened?”



“I met with him after work. I brought out my portfolio and he brought out his penis.”



“Ew! Why do men think that’s what women want?”



“He didn’t care about what I wanted.” Her lip curled in a snarl. “He wanted his dick sucked and didn’t care what it took from me to get it.”



“What do the men get out of that? Surely there are plenty of women who would willingly have sex with them?”



“It is about power, not sex.” Miranda brushed off her hands. “They are predators who prey on women they can penalize if they say no and implicate if they give in.”



“Thinking about it makes me feel so helpless. I hate it,” Andy said.



“Unfortunately, far too many men are erotically excited by their ability to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on women. Their…” Miranda looked down. “I mean, our fear turns them on.”



Andy reached out and took hold of her hand. “I’m sorry. I know this must bring up bad things for you.”



“Sometimes it seems you can’t be a women in business without having to endure it. I was lucky to have other women and an HR department to support me when I was harassed.” She bit her lip. “I wasn’t demoted but it did slow my trajectory for a bit. I’m afraid it only stayed quiet because my boss had already been looking for work elsewhere.”



“They allowed him to leave?”



“With my blessing at the time. I wanted it over so I could move on.”



“But when they let them get away with it, the same thing could happen to someone else. How do you know he didn’t do it to someone else at the next job?” Andy asked.



“Sweetheart, sometimes there are no good options. Stay silent and you’re complicit. Tell a friend and nothing gets done. Go to someone in authority and you’ll face unfair consequences – men will be uncomfortable around you, thinking you’ll accuse them next; women won’t be any better, thinking that they’ll be tarnished by standing by you.” Miranda tossed her head. “I learned who my friends are.”



“I’m sorry you had to learn that way.” Andy stomped her feet, “Why can’t we support one another?”



“Because it is still a man’s world. They are in positions of power. They are the ones making the decisions and they’re the ones who refuse to believe us.”



“That’s terrible.”



“While not being believed is bad, the potential for retribution is worse.” Miranda glowered, “And, there will always be retribution, the power dynamics make it inevitable.”



“But you’re a success.”



“I am now. But I remember how my personnel evaluations, which had called me assertive, now warned that I was being aggressive. My decisions were questioned in a way they hadn’t been before and a promotion I had been expecting never materialized. They said it was because of restructuring after he left but it forced me to take a lateral move to a different office before I was able to really start moving forward again.”



“I’m glad they didn’t make you quit.”



“What choice did I have?” Her hands were shaking slightly as she transferred pieces from the display case to the rack. “I didn’t have any money outside of my paycheck and this was my career.”



“You’re a fighter.”



“Yes, but the cost was high. My long term relationship ended as I didn’t feel sexual any more and he was upset I was lumping him together with my harasser.”



“I’m sorry he wasn’t more sympathetic.”



“Me, too. But it was for the best. I wasn’t in a good place.”



“Of course, you weren’t. What happened was horrible.”



“And it wasn’t so much the trauma as the gas lighting.”



“What do you mean?”



“It seemed like everyone around me made me question myself. The male coworkers who told me it was good to be hit on, that I should take it as a compliment to have men want me. Female coworkers who told me it wasn’t so bad, that what they survived was worse and, if they could move on, so should I. I even had someone from human resources tell me he didn’t do or say or mean what we all damn well know he did.”



“Like mansplaining on steroids.”



“Indeed.”



“What can be done?”



“What makes you think anything can be done?” Miranda picked up the dress fabric from the floor and gently hung it on a hanger before setting it beside the others on the rack. “Think back on all the other times we’ve seen a mass of women finally come forth with their stories and what is the result? A hung jury or a mistrial, or even a quiet settlement is the norm. Most often, though, there is a new TV program or movie or a contract for a new sports team.” She brushed her hair from her eyes and glared. “Sometimes they get to take the oath of office as President of the United States of America.” She took a deep breath. “Three women made allegations about Bill Clinton. Ten women accused Roger Ailes. Trump has had fifteen women plus an ex-wife. Twenty-nine women have already come forward about Harvey. Fifty came forth about Bill Cosby. How many will be enough to effect change?”



“We can’t just give up all hope.” Andy scowled at Miranda’s smirk. “I know you think I’m a naïve mid-westerner but can’t we do something?”



“I’m not sure it can be solved with any single thing. It is all tied up in how we raise boys into men and the expectations they have about the women in their lives being available for their sexual pleasure.”



“You’re talking about rape culture.”



“Exactly. When sexual harassment and abuse is ignored, trivialized and normalized, even talking about assault becomes impossible.”



“I want to find a way to do more than just talk.”



“That would involve getting more men to discourage each other from harming women or thinking that dominating women enhances their status.”



Andy recited, ““In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.””



“Dr. Martin Luther King was so very right.” Miranda locked the now empty case. “But the fear about retaliation isn’t just a womans fear. Men face it, too, when they come forward. If they aren’t complicit, they know they will be mocked by their peers, even ostracized.”



“They are victims of toxic masculinity, too.”



“And their privilege will not protect them.” Miranda shrugged. “Maybe I’m being too harsh. Perhaps the young men of today will learn from the public falls of guys like Harvey Weinstein.”



“But those are the same young men who made Trump president, even after he bragged about grabbing her by the pussy.”



“True.” Miranda rolled the cart out of the room and reset the keypad after Andy closed the door behind her. “I’m afraid this administration has given many angry men carte blanche to abuse women.”



“But what about the resistance movement? Aren’t there women being empowered to speak up and demand justice?”



“Possibly in the same way the feminists of the 1970’s did so.” She nodded. “And they did get laws written to protect women. Corporate culture has changed. Maybe now we can go further.”



Andy grabbed her yoga pants and a sweatshirt and started to change. Her voice came out muffled as she pulled off her shirt. “If only there was a way to change their desire to do these things.”



“That’s easier said than done. Desire is such an amorphous thing,” Miranda drawled, her eyes on her younger lover.



Blushing, Andy fought to keep from turning away from Miranda’s knowing gaze. “So what do you suggest?”



“Honestly? I don’t care to change what’s in their hearts. I’m good with them being afraid of the consequences once they get caught.”



“I wish I could fix it, though. For you and all the others.”



Miranda said, “You can’t fix everything, darling.” At Andy’s mulish look, she added. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix some things.”



Pointing at the things Miranda had taken from the closet, Andy asked, “What about this stuff? What are you fixing with these?”



“I’m going to donate my Donna Karan collection to Bottomless Closet. They can auction the items to fund their work. They won’t get as much as they would have before she damaged her brand with her remarks but anything helps.”



Smiling brilliantly, Andy said, “You know, Miranda, I think the real champion of stylish working women is you.”



“Honestly, Andrea,” she said as her cheeks pinked. Straightening her back, she asked, “I’m starving. Are we ever having dinner?”



“Yeah, the risotto is baking and the steak is ready to go.” Andy ignored the look from Miranda as she slid her feet into a pair of cerulean Crocs. “You promised not to mock my style choices.”



Arching her eyebrow, Miranda sniffed then asked, “Did I say anything?”



“No but you were thinking awfully loud.”



“God forbid someone in this relationship think.”



Putting her fists on her hips, Andy glared.



Miranda shook her head. “Forgive me, darling. Reflex.”



“I know it has been difficult,” Andy replied. “I do appreciate the effort it must take to bite your tongue sometimes.”



“Sometimes? Only sometimes?”



Andy rolled her eyes. “I’ve gotten better.”



“And we know how high that bar was to begin with.” She leaned over and kissed Andy before she could do more than squawk.



As the kiss deepened, Andy could feel her mood shifting. Her hands moved from her hips to holding Miranda’s, tugging her even closer. Andy moaned and then groaned as her empty stomach grumbled.



Miranda pulled away and used her thumb to wipe away a smudge of her lipstick from Andy’s lips. “Why are you moving at such a glacial pace instead of feeding me?”



“Because I know how much it thrills you.” Andy laughed and stole another kiss before leading the way back downstairs.



They might not have solved the world’s problems but, when they came together, they showed that change was possible. And they proved, in many ways, that change could also be quite pleasurable.


House for Sale

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:24 pm
la_samtyr: (Grey Havens)
[personal profile] la_samtyr
Snagged from fb:

not haunted house for sale

Now why would they post a disclaimer, hmmmm?

Peak Ultimate Classic Rock

Oct. 13th, 2017 12:52 pm
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
I was driving home from Bakersfield yesterday, listening to their classic rock station, when they played "Free Bird," "Living on a Prayer," and "Don't Stop Believing" all in a row. It felt as if they had opened a portal of some kind.

Newsletter 185

Oct. 13th, 2017 08:56 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Hoping that Friday the thirteenth is treating you well. It’s a grey day here, but very mild (probably the start of “St. Luke’s little summer”) and I’ve been attacking my grape vine. Alas, none of them made their way into my tummy, having been devoured by the blackbirds – it was fun to see them flying in and out of the vine to feed.

News

Count the Shells is out on Monday – cue the happy dance. It’ll be a busy week with an extensive blog tour and, of course, a bag full of goodies to be won. You can comment at any (or all!) blog stops for a chance to win, and every new comment you make increases your chances of winning. Think of it like raffle tickets…
The first review of the story popped up in Publishers’ Weekly, about which I’m grinning from ear to ear.
Cochrane’s ear for historical idioms and sensitivity to the secrecy of gay life in early-20th-century Britain create a powerful impression of accuracy. This deeply felt work is sure to please fans of historical romance.

It’s been a busy week for me with a local writers’ meet up, and RNA lunch and an ITW interview to start. Can I put in a word for the two latter organisations? Any of you based in the UK who are aspiring writers might consider contacting your local Romantic Novelists Association branch to see if they allow visitors at their events. Ours does, and several of are regulars don’t even write romance! It’s a great networking opportunity. And for those of you who like crime and thrillers, the ITW e-zine, The Big Thrill, has some great articles in it. Well worth a look through.

Also coming out soon (November 1st) is the charity anthology Call to Arms which will support refugee aid. All the stories are set in or heavily influenced by World War Two.

My offering is Better to Die, which is inspired by old soldiers, the war grave I tend in the local churchyard and the Gurkha kukri I inherited from my dad.

Here’s an excerpt:

By a coincidence, my great-uncle had served in World War Two, out in Burma, with the Chindits, though it would have been stretching things to hope Great Uncle Frank had known my captain.
Frank was the black sheep of the family. He'd lived in our village until I was five and my fondest memories of the man were the stories he regaled us with. Snakes in the jungle so thin they'd slip through the eyelets of your boots, Gurkha soldiers as hard as adamant that you thanked God were on your side and not the other. Never anything about the fighting, though; he kept that close to his chest.
I'll never forget the dirty great Gurkha kukri Frank kept on his wall. Mum had kittens when he got it down and let me hold it, but I treated it with respect. Didn't so much as nick my fingers.
"Jamie," Frank used to say, "when you take a kukri out of its scabbard, it has to taste blood before it can go back again. That's why I took this out and keep it out, so it doesn't need satisfying again. My fighting days are long gone. You can have it when I'm gone."
"You'll never go," I'd said, secretly delighted that I'd get the thing one day.
"Better to die than to be a coward," he'd replied, enigmatically. Later I found that had been the motto of the Gurkha Rifles, but I was sure there was more to what he was saying than just that.
Frank moved away not long after, and our side of the family lost touch with him. I suspected Dad knew where he'd gone but he wouldn't even let anyone send Frank so much as a Christmas card. When I was twelve Dad sat me down and told me I was old enough to know the truth: war was hard, and Frank had suffered the worst of it. He'd seen some dreadful things, done some dreadful things, and he found it difficult to live with himself. Dad reckoned Frank had come home with something like shell shock so he acted loopy at times. It was safer for all of us not to be near him when things turned bad.
That changed my mind about being a squaddie – I was going to save lives, not take them. Going off to Bart's meant I stopped grave visiting, although I tried to keep up an interest in browsing war books, although that stopped when I discovered sex. No healthy, testosterone-laden medical student was going to stay at home with 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' when he could be out getting his leg over. Notice I didn't say "when I discovered girls" and you'll get the picture.

And finally, at the RNA lunch we were discussing my 'non-bucket bucket list' which made me remember getting on that Lancaster Bomber. Appropriate with Call to Arms in mind!



Charlie

I'm sure I ate SO MUCH spit today

Oct. 12th, 2017 09:53 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
Today was another not very good day where everything out of my mouth was embarassing, stupid or wrong usually all three. But today was L's birthday so we took her out to her favorite restaurants and she was amazingly rude to the waiter ALL night. First two of us got there earlier than L and I and the waiter asked what can I get you to drink. I say water which seemed to be a shock to L (as if I don't always get water) and he asked if she'd like some to and she snarled, No, I DO NOT WANT THAT.

Me and the other two friends who came with us had to look a bit stunned. Instead of just saying I need time to look over the drinks menu she snarled that out too. And he doesn't come back for a while (why would he when she was being so nasty?) When he does he asks, 'are you ready to order?' L. glares and says 'I was ready ten minutes ago!'

TH's mouth dropped and BB couldn't believe it either. I was instantly reminded of that episode of TBBT where Penny tells SHeldon 'For a smart guy, you don't understand you don't piss off the people that bring you your food.' I tried to be super nice to the poor guy but damn I'm sure he spit in our order. I would have.

She was doing that earlier in the day too about the insurance/surgery thing. 'is this usually how long it takes you people to schedule surgery?' And I could tell she didn't like the answer because she went off on a rant. If I'd been that scheduler, I'd have scheduler her 8 weeks from now...

In spite of the weather men saying repeatedly last night that there'd be no cool down, today was much cooler and the prediction for Saturday is 10 degrees less than the mid-80s they were projecting. I hope so or Bob Fest is gonna suck.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!

Fixing My Broken Give-A-Damn

Oct. 12th, 2017 10:21 am
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Sorry, My Give-A-Damn is Broken
So the thing with the rebel tendency, at least for me, is that I am motivated by desire. That is to say, I have to want something in order to make it happen– which is why grief and depression are my kryptonite. Depression makes it hard to take pleasure in anything, and grief makes it hard to be willing to engage in things you like because you don't want to risk facing the pain of loss again.

But I can't just spend my life wandering an emotional wasteland like Hipster Percival. Besides the fact that we live in a pay-to-play society, there's a more primal factor in that I need to be creating in order to be happy. But attempting to create when my heart isn't in it, true to rebel nature, is just an exercise in frustration and resistance.

This creates a kind of feedback loop– I have to be happy enough to get excited about what I want to create, in order to do the creating that will make me happy.

It's kinda like a fusion reaction: once the cycle is up and running, it's nicely self-sustaining, but if something comes along and stops it (or it runs out of fuel), it takes a vast amount of external energy to get it started back up again.

Which is roughly where I am emotionally at the moment. I need to restart my emotional pilot light– what I refer to as my Give-A-Damn. When you hear about artists wailing to the muses for inspiration, same deal. Some writers sneer at this notion, saying that "real writers write whether they feel like it or not." I would argue that those writers have probably never had to really deal with a broken Give-A-Damn, and have no idea how debilitating it actually is.

(They may also be hacks; but that varies wildly from writer to writer.)

There is some truth to the adage that once you start moving, the energy and enthusiasm will come, but it isn't an absolute. Sometimes "shut up and write" works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, a mental vacation is what's needed. Other times, you need to actually get inspiration from a new experience or from some great piece of work that's new to you.

So far, my Give-A-Damn has been very stubborn about not letting itself be fixed– but I am more stubborn than it is.

-The Gneech

It's been a long long LONG week

Oct. 11th, 2017 11:56 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
It's mid terms and I've been deeply cleaning things. So I've had little enough to blog about. Mom doesn't want to come now because she'll be back here in a few weeks because plans to get my new futon etc were put on hold because she and dad were doing the basement remodel. So now if she doesn't come my brother doesn't want to come. She's annoyed with him. I'm annoyed with all of them. And I told her if she DOES come, the house isn't cleaned and the only possible responses are 1. good cleaning job or 2. silence. I don't care if clothing is hanging from the ceiling fan. Naturally that won't matter. In the past i've had this place spotless and they all start bitching about the mess before they are literally IN the door.

Work has been exceedingly pissy and nothing but fighting among the faculty. Today was bad. But there is good news. the bankers who gave us 25K last year gave us another 25K this year. I got to do the video thank you. I'm very happy to have this money. I might not like teaching much but this will help us do cool things.

I just finished writng my grant for this year. Fingers crossed.

In the deep cleaning I opened boxes unopened for forever. Found all my medical licenses. Wept terribly.

Found my yearbooks. How was this 30 years ago? How was I ever that young and hopeful?

Found books chewed on by rats. Oops.

L is becoming rather unbearable due to an injury which yes hurts but to think the way insurance and hospitals work just to suit her? At least I'm gone EVERY weekend so I don't have to be the one carting her to and from the hospital. Selfish yes but she's never once offered to help me so I don't feel bad.

Gender and Me

Oct. 11th, 2017 01:17 pm
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
I’ve been thinking about posting about this for a while now, and since today is National Coming Out Day, I figured it would be a good day for it.

Gender and Me )

Back in the Bay Area Again

Oct. 11th, 2017 11:18 am
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
[personal profile] liralen
And going to BigBadCon at the end of this week.

I'm a little sad that I had to miss the last of Isabel's visit to our home to get here, but I think I really needed some time away to evaluate and think about things.

My art show had gone quite well, at Mimi's studio. There are photos of my show space on Flickr, and John and I helped Mimi and Paul clean out a beautiful little breezeway that had amazing light for the display space. It was small, and the paintings were pretty crowded in there, but people got to see them, which was the whole point of it all.

There was even a very nice little table/desk where I could put all my painting materials so that I could demonstrate how it worked or allow others to try out the ink, brushes, and paper. I had an outlet so I could bring a water boiler and make herbal teas and it was amazingly nice because the weather during the show was really rainy for Colorado, days of rain, which is really unusual. But it meant that a lot of people came to the show.

I sold three paintings, and nearly all the art cards I had made. They were just blank greeting cards with pictures of my art on the front, but it was like everyone could bring a small, portable bit of my art home with them. Several of the ladies said that they were framing their little masterpiece to enjoy it in their homes. That bemused me, but it was cool to know that they enjoyed them so much.

I also got leads for three art shows. One I hung the Friday before I left for here, at the Salud Clinic here in Longmont, it's a free clinic for low-income people, and they really needed some art and beauty for their waiting rooms and some of the staff's offices. Nine paintings went there that would otherwise just gather dust, so people are enjoying them.

Another show will be for the Denver Taiko group when they come to the Longmont Museum. I get to hang half a dozen paintings, bring my art cards, and demonstrate before and after the performance. It'll be exposure to people, and some small sales, perhaps. The third show will be at our church, which should be fun, as always. There is a registry at ARTS Longmont that should allow for more such endeavors, and I now have the paintings for them, what with getting ready for this show.

The Saturday before leaving I was at a Women's Retreat with the women of our church, and it was really good, but I, and two of my carpool mates, had to leave a little early so that I could get to the 4:30 performance of Jet's marching band. They'd decided not to do a competition in order to practice the whole show all the way through. So they did that, and I got to see it and eat at the taco bar after. *laughs* That was worth doing.

On Sunday, I met up with Simon Bisson and Mary Brascombe for breakfast with my family, here in Longmont, at Lucille's. It was so amazing to get to see them and talk with them! And even better Mary pointed me at a Cloud of FPGAs that can be rented, accessed, and reconfigured on the fly. That will be interesting to explore. The rest of the day and Monday was mostly taken up with packing things, playing with the gamer boys as I was able, and dealing with a surprise snowstorm, which shouldn't have surprised us 'cause whenever Isabel visits it snows. But I had to close up the bee hive, to keep the drafts down, and so that the girls could keep themselves warm. I also found that the hive was so heavy with honey that I couldn't even think of shifting it into a sunnier spot, which was probably for the best.

So I'm kind of tired, still, and trying to catch up in hotel rooms, which isn't terrible, but isn't that easy, either.

Carl, as always, has been an amazing host and we've planned things down to a T using a wiki page that we've changed and edited as plans have formed up. Yesterday I got in, which no problem on the flight, and we went to eat at Chef Chu's with the usual suspects, in this case Earl, Cat, Trip, Chrisber, Christy, and Theo. The food was, as always, amazing, and the company was fun and lucid on many subjects.

From there Carl and I headed to Santa Cruz, and we stayed there last night in anticipation of meeting up with Gretchen and perhaps Brad today.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Keeping up the recent theme of lesser known poets of the Great War, here's The Sinai Desert: A Curse by Captain John More.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
Folks, my profuse apologies for my delay in replying to your comments on my asexuality post. It was a case of:

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! We passed the apartment inspection!"

And then, roughly five seconds later:

"We have bedbugs. Shoot."

So matters remain in crisis at my home; I'm not sure I've gotten a full night's sleep for the past month. (And the bedbugs ain't helping.)

A bright spot in all this was the outpouring of warmth that you gave me. It was especially nice to hear from folks whom I knew were out there (I can see your names on the People portion of my profile) but who I either hadn't heard from for a while or with whom I'd never had the chance to speak before.

Just one clarification I need to make, because I fear I misled some of you through the phrasing of my previous post of this: My previous post was the first time I'd actually said, "I'm coming out as asexual." The asexual folk I've interacted with previously either didn't know I was ace or didn't realize I was new to the community.

On to my replies!


Firecat wrote:

"I'm bi and nonbinary and maybe gray-a (haven't made up my mind about that)"

Me, I'm still trying to decide how to label the romance part of my asexuality. I mean, yes, I'm still capable of falling in love; it just doesn't mean much to me, in the grand scheme of things.

I fully understand that, for some people, being in love is a long-term, highly meaningful experience. And I find romantic love so fascinating that I wrote a fifty-page bachelor's thesis about romantic love. Also, I've written a few stories on the topic. :)

But falling in love is something that happens at the beginning of my relationships; my romantic feelings for the new person last roughly six months, and then the romantic feelings disappear. It's been this way all my life. Took me a while to figure out the pattern and to stop panicking when I reached the six-month mark. For me, love doesn't equal romantic love.

(This is why I always felt a bit awkward talking about my long-term "romantic friendship." Romantic feelings didn't enter into it, after the initial period.)


Ambitiousace wrote:

"I'm nonbinary and ace myself ((I'm not alone"

Oh, how cool! I seem to be racking up letters on the queer spectrum; what is surprising is how many other queer folk out there are doing the same. :)


Kjata wrote:

"I'm bi and have never felt a part of the LGBT parts of the internet because of how many times I've been told to either A) choose, or B) that I'm faking it for e-points"

As a formerly bisexual-identifying person, I can't decide whether they're just clueless that B isn't actually an insult of bisexuality. I mean, they think being bi is something trendy that you'd want to fake? (*Whips on sunshades and looks cool.*)

The rest - yeah, it's tedious that this sort of stereotyping of bisexuality is still taking place, nearly fifty years after Stonewall.


Schneefink wrote:

"*sends cookies*"

Gluten-free chocolate chip, please?


Rose Red wrote:

"(I hope) my web-pal."

One of my best. :)


Fawatson wrote:

"I say all this from the 'lofty position' of having realised many many moons ago (long before the internet got up and running) that I am better off as a singleton than trying to be part of a duo.... They didn't have internet communities for it back then"

Oh, you too? I'm pretty sure the asexual community was around by the time I started to label myself celibate (my initial label), but the nonbinary community was nowhere to be seen in 1997 when I realized that was what I was. I put off coming out as bigender/androgynous/queergender/nonbinary (the terminology kept changing) for quite a few years as a result. I wanted a support system, darn it.


Anonymous wrote:

"I am also aromantic, and demi-girl/agender."

(*Looks up definition of "demi-girl" and is enchanted.*) I mean, you even have your own flag! Do you mind if I ask what being a demi-girl is like for you?


Musicman wrote:

"You are a free range human being, Dusk."

Love that phrase. :)


Anais_pf wrote:

"BE YOU!"

:)


Maureen Lycaon wrote:

"And I accept you totally as that."

Always nice to hear from you! This showed up on my Twitter feed, and I thought of you quizzing me on why I'd made wolves the villains in one of my stories.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Men and Lads


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




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Oct. 10th, 2017 09:20 pm
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[personal profile] sinisterporpoise
 Not that I think anyone's that interested on this channel, but I'll be doing a Lara stream Lara stream at twitch.tv/sinisterporpoise77

Writing Woes 101

Oct. 10th, 2017 07:28 pm
la_samtyr: books (books)
[personal profile] la_samtyr
writing 101 -- your story

This is so me. Gah.

Random Blugh

Oct. 10th, 2017 01:18 pm
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Feel like crap for no good reason today. Trying to grind through because there's a lot of stuff I want to get done and there will always be things trying to prevent me from doing them, so when those things are my own internal bad wiring I can at least say "no" to that.

Through a roundabout path I recently happened upon Gretchen Rubin's concept of "four tendencies" and discovered that, true to form, I have the rarest and most problematic tendency, that of "rebel." The tendencies are based on how you respond to expectations, whether internal or external.

  • Upholders respond strongly to both internal and external expectations. They tend to be sticklers for the rules, but also self-motivated and with a moral code that can override the outer laws and traditions of the world around them. Hermione Granger is listed as an archetypal upholder; I'm not sure if I actually know any personally.


  • Questioners respond strongly to internal expectations, but not so much to external ones. They always want a satisfactory explanation for anything– if they don't think there's a valid reason to follow a rule or complete a project, they won't. [personal profile] laurierobey falls into this category. I suspect Sirfox is as well, but it's harder to tell.


  • Obligers respond strongly to external expectations, but not so much to internal ones. These are people who can stick to an exercise regimen if they've got a buddy or a class, but will immediately stop as soon as nobody's "checking up" on them. Sandy Rathbun was in this group, and I suspect so was Mammallamadevil.


  • Rebels do not respond well to external or internal expectations. They can be summarized as "You can't tell me what to do– and I can't tell me what to do either." Once they decide they want to do something, there's no stopping them, but until they want to do something, you can expect them to resist with all they've got. That includes things they decided a month ago that they wanted to do, but that they don't want to do right now, which can lead them to be just as frustrating to themselves as they are to the people around them. Like I say, I am a rebel. So is Hantamouse, which is simultaneously why the two of us get along and why the two of us fight.


There's a lot more to the framework than just this, and it's also just a tool, not some magical solution to figuring out personality quirks and interactions and things. But within the framework, I think there's some interesting insights.

I was at a presentation by Ms. Rubin, and I tried to ask (but didn't get called on), "If a rebel instinctively says 'no' to any expectation, even their own, how are they supposed to keep from eventually sliding into a Bartleby-esque catatonic state of just never wanting to do anything?" I hoped that her book might have an answer for that question, but I have since discovered that... no, not really. The book had very simplistic reverse-psychology suggestions along the lines of "I bet you can't lose 20 pounds in ten weeks!" Seriously? What am I, seven?

But this is a problem that I have found myself facing over the past few years since being effectively self-employed. I used to hate my day job fiercely, and come home to work on my writing/art/etc. with the zeal of a workaholic because it was what I wanted to do. Now, the writing/art/etc. is my day job, but instead of being energized and excited and kicking ass, I am now fighting with the constant desire to sleep all day or play video games or whatever else instead.

A devotee of the four tendencies would say that's my rebel nature, and it may very well be. But that just puts a label on it, it doesn't actually give me any tools to combat the problem.

I have contemplated going back to a day job just to give me something to channel my resentment back into other than my own work. But as I get older, I don't have the endurance I used to. That Starbucks job I had in late 2015 was only part time and still left me feeling dead most of the time. I can only imagine how wrecked I would be trying to go back to 40 hours of writing code or something similar at 6 am in the friggin' morning. I can't deny the pay would be better, but if it left me too tired to do my real work, it would be literally selling my soul.

I know that I am motivated by desire. Everything I've accomplished was because there was something I wanted to happen. I created Suburban Jungle because I wanted there to be a comic like Suburban Jungle for me to read. I wrote Sky Pirates of Calypsitania because I wanted to read a book like Sky Pirates of Calypsitania. But right now I'm in a mental and emotional spot where desire is hard to come by. Grief has damaged my ability to feel enthusiasm. Frustration has damaged my ability to feel hope.

So right now, I am operating on almost 100% pure stubbornness. Which is frankly exhausting. So I guess on reflection it's not quite so random a blugh, nor quite a case of feeling like crap for no good reason. I'm fatigued.

-The Gneech

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