Open Thread: Tree under Tree


I have misplaced my camera.  Hopefully.  The alternative is that I lost it somewhere I'll never find it again.  Anyway, the image is from 2011 when I had no presents at my house (pretty much standard fare) and I therefore put a Christmas tree under my Christmas tree (not usual for me.)

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Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: I Did Not Do Any of These Things for the Sake of Pleasing You

[Narnia Content Note: Rape, Forced Marriage, Non-consensual BDSM, Self-Harm, Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: Shasta and Bree have met up with Aravis and Hwin. Bree has demanded Aravis tell her story.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 3: At the Gates of Tashbaan

Chapter 3 is one of the flashback chapters that Lewis loved so much; we saw a similar one in Prince Caspian, and there will be a lot of parallels that I want to bring up. But let's get started.

First, Aravis notes her lineage: She is a noble woman, the only daughter of her father, with a deceased elder brother and a surviving younger brother.

  “MY NAME,” SAID THE GIRL AT ONCE, “is Aravis Tarkheena and I am the only daughter of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Rishti Tarkaan, the son of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Ilsombreh Tisroc, the son of Ardeeb Tisroc who was descended in a right line from the god Tash. My father is the lord of the province of Calavar and is one who has the right of standing on his feet in his shoes before the face of Tisroc himself (may he live forever). My mother (on whom be the peace of the gods) is dead and my father has married another wife. One of my brothers has fallen in battle against the rebels in the far west and the other is a child. 

She also has an Evil Stepmother because (a) adult women are evil in this series and (b) Lewis was nothing if not willing to rip off other fairy tales for material.

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe


Two things tie for coming to mind first.  One is that, even though the person said, "Lego giraffe," it's actually made out of Duplo blocks.  Of course, Duplo is a Lego product line, so I guess there's wiggle room there.  The second thing is that my brain really, really wanted to call this "Giant Lego Elephant".  No idea why, but it's been really persistent about this.  Swapping out words for vaguely related words (Amsterdam for Istanbul, acorn for pine cone, window for mirror, apostrophe for asterisk) is pretty standard for my brain, but it usually doesn't try quite as hard as it's been trying here.

This area was originally a dirt field.  Just a field of dirt.  Not even grass grew here.  Commerce didn't even try.  Then they plopped down a transit station (is a subway still a subway when it's above ground for the last few stops?) and all sorts of buildings sprouted up, and with them a giant duplo giraffe.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Ball in a Bush


And then chris the cynic remembered that she was supposed to make an open thread.

Pink two weeks in a row.  Saw this walking on the sidewalk today.  I wasn't previously aware that soccer balls grew on, or rather in, whatever that bush is.


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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Repost: Syllogisms that Demand a Verdict

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content. It is interesting to me in retrospect that I first encountered Lewis' trilemma in the apologistic works of Josh McDowell, to the point where for a long time I wrongly assumed that Lewis would not have been associated with the trilemma because he'd been talked up to me as a better thinker than that.]



Narnia Recap: Edmund has eaten and drunk the White Witch's magical food and is now compelled by an unnatural hunger for more magical food -- he will obey her orders unquestioningly in order to procure more Turkish Delight. The Witch has also ordered Edmund not to tell anyone of their meeting together. Now he has met up with Lucy and they return to the wardrobe door and step out of Narnia.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 5: Back on This Side of the Door

   BECAUSE THE GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK was still going on, it took Edmund and Lucy some time to find the others. But when at last they were all together (which happened in the long room, where the suit of armor was), Lucy burst out:
   "Peter! Susan! It's all true. Edmund has seen it too. There is a country you can get to through the wardrobe. Edmund and I both got in. We met one another in there, in the wood. Go on, Edmund; tell them all about it." [...]
   And now we come to one of the nastiest things in this story. Up to that moment Edmund had been feeling sick, and sulky, and annoyed with Lucy for being right, but he hadn't made up his mind what to do. When Peter suddenly asked him the question he decided all at once to do the meanest and most spiteful thing he could think of. He decided to let Lucy down. [...]
   And Edmund gave a very superior look as if he were far older than Lucy (there was really only a year's difference) and then a little snigger and said, "Oh, yes, Lucy and I have been playing -- pretending that all her story about a country in the wardrobe is true. Just for fun, of course. There's nothing there really."

Open Thread: Balloon Light


Pink Balloon in front of a white light.  It's not as easy to photograph as you might think.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: The Horse and Her Girl, a Tale of Princess Aravis and her courtship by King Rilian

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Rape and Rape Culture, Cissexism]

Narnia Recap: Shasta and Bree are being chased by a lion, and have been railroaded into another horse and rider.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 2: A Wayside Adventure

That was a longer pause than I'd intended; I'm sorry. How is everyone? Making it through the winter okay so far? It's already dipped below freezing here in Texas (during November!) and I have lost the ability to can. But otherwise I'm doing well, despite a strange parrot-like need to squawk "BUY MY BOOK!" every two minutes. I'm sure it'll pass.

I said before that Chapter 2 is difficult for me, because it's... not wrong, but it's not right for me. Part of this is because I have so much investment in the series at this point that I read passages a certain "this way" rather than an alternative "thus way". (Incidentally, that was part of the reason why I was committed to going through these in the order I read them as a child and not in the "canonical" order.) So, for instance, today we meet Hwin, the girl-horse of this book.

There is nothing stopping you from viewing Hwin as a socially savvy female horse who is a mistress of manipulation and capable of maneuvering the horse and humans around her into peaceable company. Indeed, I think the book would be much improved by such an interpretation. What is stopping me from that interpretation, however, is the belief that Lewis intends Hwin to be a shining example of good femininity and he would have rather torn out his own eyeballs than agree with me that social manipulation can absolutely be good.

No, no, these are books about manly men blurting out whatever inconvenient truths cross their manly minds while the good ladies hang back and deferentially follow their lead. If you let a woman manipulate men, then the next thing you know she's leading him about on a leash (literally, in the case of Edmund!) and cats are lying down with dogs, et cetera. And I think this is an important point when the very last book, The Silver Chair, was predicated on the horror of a man being manipulated into actually buying the pretense of chivalry and thinking that he should defer to all his lady's wishes when everyone knows--most especially the men practicing the chivalry!--that such devotion to her will and wishes is a romantic game of pretend, not something you actually do.

So, slipping back into this, when we last left our heroes, they were being chased by lions because that is how god railroads you back onto track in life:

   Shasta now gave himself up for lost and began to wonder whether lions killed you quickly or played with you as a cat plays with a mouse and how much it would hurt. At the same time (one sometimes does this at the most frightful moments) he noticed everything. He saw that the other rider was a very small, slender person, mail-clad (the moon shone on the mail) and riding magnificently. He had no beard.

Fundraising: Monthly Donation Reminder and Thank You

For those of you who have requested it, here is a monthly reminder to donate to Ramblings here and/or make sure to renew donation subscriptions that have lapsed. (Subscriptions can be canceled through Paypal at any time.) I want to reiterate that I don't want anyone to donate if that donation would create financial hardship for them! But if you can afford to donate, every little bit helps.

If you enjoy the open threads that Chris the Cynic posts for us, please consider donating to at Stealing Commas here. The open threads take a lot of spoons to write and format, and I am eternally grateful to Chris for donating time and attention in order to help our community grow and thrive. 

This is also my monthly heart-felt thank you to all of you who do donate now or in the past; I cannot strongly enough express my appreciation for those who have the ability to contribute and make the choice to donate to support this space. Thank you, thank you, thank you. When I started blogging in 2011, I never truly believed I would last this long. I love you all.

Cup Of Coffee by Petr Kratochvil

Let's Play: One Way Heroics

Let's Play One Way Heroics by SmokingWOLF!

This is a first-impressions let's play of One Way Heroics and ohmigosh I never imagined I could like this sort of game! More more more? This is highly addictive, much like Slurm. I've just made a whole playlist for these. Warning: I'm having trouble with my sound. I'm fixing it, but.

Game content copyright SmokingWOLF.
SmokingWOLF
One Way Heroics

Music content copyright held by the following artists:
[BGM] soleil-musique
[BGM] WindSphere
[BGM] white music hall

Commentary content copyright Ana Mardoll.

Video under the cut, so as to prevent loading problems on the main page.

Let's Play: Knights of Pen and Paper

Let's Play Knights of Pen and Paper by Behold Studios!

This is a first-impressions "let's play" of Knights of Pen and Paper! I probably won't continue this one; I love the art, I love the concept, it just didn't grab my interest.

Game content copyright Behold Studios.
Behold Studios
Knights of Pen and Paper

Commentary content copyright Ana Mardoll.

Video under the cut, so as to prevent loading problems on the main page.

Self-Promotion: Poison Kiss on Kindle

I already have a pre-announcement up, but this post is to officially announce that my newest book, Poison Kiss, is available on Amazon Kindle (here!) (or, if you prefer, other various Amazon territories: US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, NL, JP, BR, GP, MX, AU, IN) and is soon-to-be available elsewhere. I'm going to use this post to promote it and pin a few places, so here we go!


Rose awakens in a fairytale land, stripped of her memories and any sense of self she might once have possessed. Facing a short life of brutal servitude as one of the May Queen's executioners, she chooses instead a reckless dash for freedom alongside her sister-captive, Lavender. Yet even if the two women manage to flee the otherworld to return earthside, they may never be safe from the reach of cruel faeries who seek to use them as pawns in a deadly game.

When a strange silver man calling himself Clarent unexpectedly dumps out onto the doorstep of their apartment, Rose and Lavender will work together with a diverse community of survivors in order to stay alive and free. Through the magical dangers that assault them on all sides, Rose must navigate the struggles brought on by her painful past while contending with the difficulty of forging an intimate relationship with the two people who love her most when her very body is lethal.


Frequently Asked Questions!

Why does the Kindle preview have garbage formatting?

I am sorry about that. There is a known problem with the rendering of the preview page; the Amazon site-maintenance elves were given socks by Jeff Bezos some years back, left the office, and were never heard from again. Here's a picture of what it will actually look like on your Kindle, and I've tested the formatting extensively across multiple Kindle platforms.


When will your book be available on other electronic platforms?

The plan is to have it up on the other major bookselling sites in three months. Barnes & Noble (Nook) is first because they aren't too terribly hard to upload to, but anything I do through Smashwords (Apple, Kobo, etc.) is a nightmare. Smashwords still prefers its authors to upload a Word document instead of a nice clean epub file and that's a big headache. I may need to get professional help for that part.

When will your book be available in paper format?

Possibly never? A paper version will depend heavily on demand, since the upfront costs are pretty high. (Including special page formatting + more artwork for the back cover.) If enough people show interest, I could maybe hold a Kickstarter. I will definitely keep my mind on the possibility!

Will there be an audio book version?

That's the current plan! I'm vetting voice actresses and keeping my ear open. (I would use my Pulchritude narrator but while her voice is like a golden bell, I am looking for an American actress this time.) If you are a woman of color (preferably black or Jewish or both, but I am open to others) who has experience with voice performance and is interested in working for indie wages, please let me know?

Is this book part of a series?

Yes! I have already started the next one; I hope it will be out in a year.

Is this book related to Pulchritude?

No! This is a brand-new series set in modern-day Texas with paranormal magical elements.

Okay, setting the product page description aside, tell me what you like about your novel, Ana.

I'm so glad you asked, imaginary voice in my head!

Poison Kiss is a paranormal romance story with three main characters I adore, but it's also about a community of survivors banding together to protect each other. I love stories about communities; there's nothing wrong with lone-wolf characters, but I've always been more interested in the dynamics of cooperation and coordination--and especially in situations where everyone brings a wide variety of talents and powers into the mix. That interest is probably why I liked Xanth so much as a kid, and why I'll always hold a soft spot in my heart for X-Men.

I'm also thrilled by how diverse this fictional community is. There are eighteen named community members in this book, and precisely none of them are [white + cis + straight + male]. And I didn't even do that on purpose! There's a lot of women of different ages, ethnicities, and body types. There's genderqueer folks and a trans man. There's gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, many of whom are polyamorous. The protagonist, Rose, is a bisexual polyamorous biracial black Jewish woman who is a rape survivor (as part of her backstory; mentioned but not shown directly on-page) who lives with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Yet this isn't a story which is capital-a About her identities; she just happens to be attracted to girls (just like I am!) while paranormal fantasy shit is going down around her (just like I would be!).

I don't know if I can read a novel that doesn't have a white cis straight man in it, Ana.

There is a white cis dude! He's just not straight. There's also a cis straight man who isn't white. Maybe you can sorta average them out and round up!

You mentioned 'rape survivor'. Is this book going to trigger people?

I hope not! I don't think so? The setting and backdrop of the story is admittedly grim, as this is a story about humans who have been kidnapped by cruel and mercurial faeries to serve as labor, entertainment, and food. At the same time, there's a deliberate fluffiness to the tone that I've worked hard to cultivate and maintain. I've always felt like it should be possible to write about grimdark subjects in a manner that isn't super triggering, and I hope that I've achieved that here. As a rape survivor myself, I want to see protagonists who are like me and deal with the same challenges without the story needing to be A Very Special Episode about sexual assault.

As we are nearing a holiday gift-giving time, I would like to buy this book for my doting silver-haired grandpapa, but I am not sure if he would like it. Is there swears?

There are indeed some swears, I do apologize. There is also a M/F/F sex scene that was hilariously difficult for my shy self to write and edit, but which is probably the most tame M/F/F sex scene anyone has ever created. Though it did spawn a delightfully lively conversation regarding the appropriate words for 'clitoris'. Kristy kept me from using anything egregiously awful, for which I think we can all be grateful.

Does this have a happy ending? You've broken my heart before, Ana.

I know, and I'm sorry. This book does indeed have a better ending than Pulchritude, or I wouldn't call it capital-R Romance.

Is there anything I can do to help promote your work? 

Um, it sounds trite but... buy my book? If you've done that already and want to go above and beyond, I love it when people find time to read my books. (No small task, I know; I, too, have a terrifyingly long To-Be-Read list.) And if you've read it and you liked it and wanted to review my book on Amazon or elsewhere, that would be amazing because it really does make a difference for new readers who haven't heard of me before.

Other than that... be kind to yourself and know that I love ya'll.

Open Thread: Remnants of the Old City


Portland was once a city of cobblestone.  Some areas have been left that way for historical or aesthetic purposes, but mostly you only see it when a road needs to be resurfaced.  Resurfacing a road properly, you see, requires stripping off the old surface to make a level thing from which to start and to prevent the road from growing thicker and thicker each time the surface needs to be redone. Between when the old surface is stripped and the new one laid down, the cobblestone and the trolley tracks come out to play.

Sometimes, though, the old city forces itself in to the present on its own.  Thus Calvinism the above.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Self-Promotion: Pre-Announcement Announcement

So. Okay. Deep breath.

I have published a book! (Okay, yes, another one.)

I wanted to hold off on the announcement until I had a chance to check the Kindle upload, (and I've ALREADY uploaded a minor correction that Amazon has to stew at for 72 hours (lolsob)) so unless you just need it RIGHT NOW, I recommend waiting until Monday (DON'T WORRY I'LL REMIND YOU) to buy. (Though, I mean, it's a minor added sentence and also you probably have updates automatically enabled, so it's OKAY to go ahead.)

BUT if you are in need of a book on Thanksgiving (and I FEEL YOU SO HARD if you do), this MASTERPIECE exists:


Also, I will totally have a BIGGER AND BETTER announcement later, including how to get non-kindle versions. It's just that I have to do everything in tiny little ripple waves (while also making a mac-and-cheese dish to take to Thanksgiving.) :)

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Update: Oh, wow, my final edit is already live (THANKS AMAZON!) and therefore you can buy my awesome book now and read it while eating turkey and pie. 

Open Thread: Impressions of Leaves


And then chris the cynic remembered it was Friday.

I considered various names for this.  "Leafprints" sounded too much like an intentional process ("What are you doing?" "Making prints of leaves") and "Echoes of Leaves" might be mixing the visual and auditory in a way that's a bit over poetical.  Don't remember the other contenders.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Repost: By The Power Of Jell-O!

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content. I do have stronger feelings now (as opposed to then) about the use of food in this series and the way in which Good English Fare is contrasted with foreign fripperies.]



Narnia Recap: Edmund has followed Lucy into the wardrobe and found himself lost and alone in the magical land of Narnia. Edmund calls for Lucy, but thanks to Narnia Time, she has been in the world long enough to leave the immediate area of the portal. A woman riding in an expensive sleigh pulls up and introduces herself to Edmund as the Queen of Narnia; she demands to know what Edmund is.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 4: Turkish Delight

   "My poor child," she said in quite a different voice, "how cold you look! Come and sit with me here on the sledge and I will put my mantle round you and we will talk."
Edmund did not like this arrangement at all but he dared not disobey; he stepped onto the sledge and sat at her feet, and she put a fold of her fur mantle round him and tucked it well in. [...]
   The Queen took from somewhere among her wrappings a very small bottle which looked as if it were made of copper. Then, holding out her arm, she let one drop fall from it onto the snow beside the sledge. Edmund saw the drop for a second in mid-air, shining like a diamond. But the moment it touched the snow there was a hissing sound and there stood a jeweled cup full of something that steamed. [...]
   "It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating," said the Queen presently. "What would you like best to eat?"
   "Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty," said Edmund.
   The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle onto the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.

Open Thread: Iridescent Tiles


Behind the soda machine at a fast food place are wondrous tiles that shimmer in various bright shiny colors as you move.  They never look the same way twice.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Orange


Orange leaves, easy to find at this point in time and space, also some red and yellow.

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Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us , so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: A Fine Race for Their Lives

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, PTSD]

Narnia Recap: Shasta and Bree have escaped into the night.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 2: A Wayside Adventure

Chapter 2 is one of those chapters that isn't precisely wrong but isn't right at all for me. The thing is, we finally get to meet Aravis (yay!), we get a very decent point about human/Animal interactions (yay!), and the narrative keeps up a much faster pace than in previous books (yay!). The problems are that the means by which Lewis and Aslan choose to introduce Aravis is basically the worst most assholish way (boo!), the human/Animal interactions stuff is fraught with sexism (boo!), and the narrative... isn't my cup of tea.

I give this chapter a B- and we move on.

No?

Okay, okay. ;) Let's go through it together.

   IT WAS NEARLY NOON ON THE FOLLOWING day when Shasta was wakened by something warm and soft moving over his face. He opened his eyes and found himself staring into the long face of a horse; its nose and lips were almost touching his. He remembered the exciting events of the previous night and sat up. But as he did so he groaned.
   “Ow, Bree,” he gasped. “I’m so sore. All over. I can hardly move.”
   “Good morning, small one,” said Bree. “I was afraid you might feel a bit stiff. It can’t be the falls. You didn’t have more than a dozen or so, and it was all lovely, soft springy turf that must have been almost a pleasure to fall on. And the only one that might have been nasty was broken by that gorse bush. No: it’s the riding itself that comes hard at first. What about breakfast? I’ve had mine.”

This isn't awful? I've always read it in an Unreliable Narrator voice, where Bree just flat out doesn't understand that falls hurt. So he's being wrong and insensitive here by acting like Shasta's falls must have been "a pleasure", but he's still gentle and trying. It's sorta sweet, and I will straight-up admit that it's a lot better done (imo) than the Puddleglum stuff. I deem this passage: Adequate.

Review: She Walks in Shadows

She Walks in ShadowsShe Walks in Shadows
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She Walks in Shadows / B014NLK4EI

SWiS out of Innsmouth Free Press is an all-woman Lovecraftian anthology of original stories and art, and it is a lovely addition to any library. I read it over Halloween, dragging myself out of a particularly nasty reading slump, and was delightfully terrified by several of the stories. (I never before thought I would be terrified of corn, ya'll. Corn.)

Let's get the warnings and shopper-caveats out of the way first.

1. As with any anthology, some of the stories are great and some of them are not as shiny. I read all of the stories for my review, but would caution most folks to go in with a mentality that if a particular story isn't working for you, skip it. Come back to it later if you must, or not at all if you prefer. It's fine. Don't force yourself to read something you don't enjoy; there's no book report after.

2. If you're coming straight from a Lovecraft "short story" reading binge, these new stories will feel VERY short indeed; it's interesting how the standard length for the genre has changed over time. In some cases, the shorter length seems detrimental to the story; there's not room to indulgently spread out in the same way HPL could and did in order to really build suspense and weave terror into the mundane. In other cases, the story itself doesn't suffer from its brevity but the reader may—"BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!" was regularly shouted at my kindle. Again, this is standard for anthologies, but something to be aware of; I wish and hope that some of these authors can be commissioned again for fuller stories in this genre.

3. Speaking of HPL, these stories aren't just forays into the "weird tales" genre; most of them are straight-up Lovecraftian in that they reference ~actual~ HPL characters. If you aren't familiar with the lore, I believe you can still keep up (I did, even though there are a few HPL stories I've yet to read); if you ARE familiar with the lore, there is always the risk that tie-in mentions may feel a bit... twee? This is going to be super subjective to the reader, but I wanted to mention it. (And I do question the editorial decision to place both of the Asenath stories NEXT to each other; that was weird and jarring and one of those moments where you're reminded that all this is make-believe, which is detrimental to the atmosphere, in my opinion.)

4. On a more delicate topic: Trigger warnings. I don't really know how to warn for a book without treading into spoiler territory, but I don't think it's too far out of line to state that this is a VERY DARK horror anthology. Children (both born and unborn), pets, women, and old ladies fare particularly badly in many of the stories, and sometimes in graphic ways. Several of the stories deal with domestic abuse. As a survivor myself, I found the stories to be vibrantly terrifying and I enjoyed them, but do be aware of your triggers and practice self-care wherever you can. (Also, to fellow survivors: please remember that you are brave and amazing and wonderful. <3) 


Now for good things!

5. I won't review each of the stories individually, but quite a few of them rocked my world and left me wanting to cower under the covers. Violet Is The Color of Your Energy was horrifying in that special queasy-pit-in-your-stomach kind of way. De Deabus Minoribus Exterioris Theomagicae is ~amazing~ and I really need Jilly Dreadful to be commissioned to write all the things. Lavinia's Wood was a great pitch of creepy Lovecraftian evil. Chosen made me weep, as did Bitter Perfume and Eight Seconds, although I really wanted the latter two to be longer. The Eye of Juno was wonderful. And Provenance needs to be a full length novel and a movie and everything, because it was just so so good and wonderfully captures that Lovecraftian feeling of living out a mundane existence under a shadow of inescapable horror.

6. Wow, these stories are incredibly diverse, by the way! There are a lot of stories here about women of color, which is a very welcome addition to the Lovecraftian canon; another story includes a character who is either a gorgeous trans boy or a very dashing butch lesbian—either way, all the love to nu-Asenath in The Thing on The Cheerleading Squad. Older women are included here, as are women with various disabilities (including a woman who uses a wheelchair!). All of these characters are beautifully well-rounded and it's really wonderful to see an anthology which includes a wide variety of men and women, rather than sticking to the cis white men Lovecraft favored.

Caveat to #6: I am a white cis woman and there are going to be things that fly under my radar or which I find questionable yet am not qualified to comment on. One of the early stories uses the N-word in reference to the HPL cat; yes, the cat is a reference that readers will recognize, but I don't know that the actual word needed to be used. One of the stories is set within the framework of a plantation and which I am not qualified to review; another is about a white explorer who marries a much younger native guide. One of the stories talks about blonde hair and blue eyes as markers of a specific type of supernatural ancestry. In short, there are places where the authors are engaging with the world lore that we have courtesy of HPL, his rampant racism included, but I'm not always sure when that engagement is successful or not. I don't think this is a mark against the anthology but (again!) it's something to be aware of going into your purchase and it's something to be aware of regarding my own review.

Bottom-line: Should you buy this anthology? I'm glad I did! I definitely recommend it for the kindle price if you (a) like the weird tales genre, (b) don't mind Lovecraftian characters being name-dropped in your stories, and (c) won't be triggered by the deliciously horrific content herein. Also, supporting lady-authors and artists (especially diverse ones!) and independent press is always a good idea in my book.

~ Ana Mardoll


--- TABLE OF CONTENTS ---

Ammutseba Rising | Ann K. Schwader
Turn On the Light | Penelope Love
Bring the Moon to Me | Amelia Gorman
Violet is the Color of Your Energy | Nadia Bulkin
De Deabus Minoribus Exterioris Theomagicae | Jilly Dreadful
Lavinia's Wood | Angela Slatter
The Adventurer's Wife | Premee Mohamed
Lockbox | E. Catherine Tobler
Hairwork | Gemma Files
The Thing on The Cheerleading Squad | Molly Tanzer
Body to Body to Body | Selena Chambers
Magna Mater | Arinn Dembo
Chosen | Lyndsey Holder
Bitter Perfume | Laura Blackwell
Eight Seconds | Pandora Hope
The Eye of Juno | Eugenie Mora
Cthulhu of the Dead Sea | Inkeri Kontro
Notes Found in a Decommissioned Asylum, December 1961 | Sharon Mock
The Cypress God | Rodopi Sisamis
When She Quickens | Mary Turzillo
Queen of a New America | Wendy N. Wagner
The Opera Singer | Priya Sridhar
Shub-Niggurath's Witnesses | Valerie Valdes
Provenance | Benjanun Sriduangkaew
The Head of T'la-yub | Nelly Geraldine GarcĂ­a-Rosas (translated by Silvia Moreno-Garcia)

Open Thread: This time of year


Did I mention that I found my camera?  Anyway assuming I scheduled this right this will go up on All Souls Day, the last day of Allhallowtide.  The pumpkins are, of course, for the first day: Halloween.  Kind of difficult to talk about that without getting into fraught territory because of religious history, so just focus on the pretty carved gourds that were somewhere in the general vicinity of my neighborhood whenever I took that picture.

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Monday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s behind us because my mind blanked last week, so give us something new to explore as we hop into our time machines and use all that weekendy time this was supposed to come before!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Fundraising: Monthly Donation Reminder and Thank You

For those of you who have requested it, here is a monthly reminder to donate to Ramblings here and/or make sure to renew donation subscriptions that have lapsed. (Subscriptions can be canceled through Paypal at any time.) I want to reiterate that I don't want anyone to donate if that donation would create financial hardship for them! But if you can afford to donate, every little bit helps.

If you enjoy the open threads that Chris the Cynic posts for us, please consider donating to at Stealing Commas here. The open threads take a lot of spoons to write and format, and I am eternally grateful to Chris for donating time and attention in order to help our community grow and thrive. 

This is also my monthly heart-felt thank you to all of you who do donate now or in the past; I cannot strongly enough express my appreciation for those who have the ability to contribute and make the choice to donate to support this space. Thank you, thank you, thank you. When I started blogging in 2011, I never truly believed I would last this long. I love you all.

Cup Of Coffee by Petr Kratochvil

Review: Resume Templates by ItsPrintable

Should you find yourself in need of a new resume, these templates by Its Printable on Etsy are truly lovely. You do have to install your own fonts (which are provided in the purchase), which means you really do need to print the resume--either on paper or in a PDF format--because you can't send the Word document unless you know the recipient will have the fonts on their end, but yeah. Lovely.

Repost: Identifying with the Aggressor

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.


Incidentally, I don't usually pledge-drive, but if you're wanting to donate now is maybe a good time to do it. I am having some major job crisis / medical crisis stuff going on that I don't have the spoons to talk about but that's a background thing I'm dealing with. Okay, that's enough about me, back to the Narnia.


The original post is here. I have not edited the content. I kinda want to give Edmund a big hug and reassure him that everything is going to get better. (Credit to David Lanham for the Riceball images.)] 



Narnia Recap: Lucy has stepped into the Wardrobe and found herself in the magical land of Narnia. She takes tea in the home of a faun before he confesses that he has been employed to kidnap human children. Lucy begs to be let go and the faun accompanies her back to the magical portal so that she might escape.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 3: Edmund and the Wardrobe

   LUCY RAN OUT OF THE EMPTY ROOM into the passage and found the other three.
   "It's all right," she repeated, "I've come back." [...]
   "So you've been hiding, have you?" said Peter. "Poor old Lu, hiding and nobody noticed! You'll have to hide longer than that if you want people to start looking for you."
   "But I've been away for hours and hours," said Lucy.
   The others all stared at one another.
   "Batty!" said Edmund, tapping his head. "Quite batty."

Edmund, the second youngest Pevensie, has already been rather unsubtly telegraphed to us as something of a villain -- his first recorded words in the novel, after all, are a harsh grumble at his sister Susan to stop imitating their mother, and his attitude does not improve materially from there. Now that Lucy has tumbled from the wardrobe back into her own world and is about to receive a harsh lesson in Narnia Time, Edmund will be the first and the most vociferous voice labeling Lucy insane.

Film Corner: The Evolution of Criticizing a Male-Authored Comic as a Female Reviewer

[Ana's Note: Previously posted at Shakesville, with love.  
Content Note: Rape Culture, Misogyny.] 

Step 1. Write a detailed review about a comic tie-in. You don't really need to be angry at this stage, although nothing is stopping you from being angry because anger can be a healthy natural response to oppression. But let's be honest, if you've been reviewing for awhile (or even just consuming media for a few years), this is so much of the same shit on a different day. If you had to describe your feelings at this point, they would probably be "welp, that's a damn shame, better go write up a review to save everyone their five bucks and also from being triggered into a PTSD episode and losing the afternoon".

Fat Acceptance: Let's Continue To Misuse Correlation and Causation In Order To Harm Fat People!

[Ana's Note: Previously published at Shakesville, with love!
Content Note: Fat hatred, Fertility]

Here is a fun headline: "Being overweight may harm men's semen quality". Shockingly (read: not shockingly at all), the actual study under discussion tentatively found a correlation between (a) higher BMIs and lower ejaculate volume and (b) larger waists and lower sperm count. As best as I can tell from the article, no correlation whatsoever was mapped between high BMI and/or larger waists and an actual practical impact on fertility as measured by not being able to conceive when actually trying to conceive*:

About half of the men had already fathered children when the study took place and none of the couples were seeking help with infertility when they were recruited.

The researchers also did not follow up to see whether the men succeeded in having children later.
So there might be some correlation between weight and semen production which might be statistically significant and which might affect male fertility in an as-yet unquantified way. Do you think this is prematurely being peddled as a FAT MEN ARE INFERTILE!!1! and LOSE WEIGHT TO SAVE YOUR SPERM!1!! by fat hating publications? Is water wet?

Because of course NBC headlined their article with a Scary Headless Fattie and the words "A man this heavy could be harming his sperm." He's harming his sperm by being fat, ya'll! But maybe he'll read this study and this will be the final straw to cause him to stop being fat for the sake of his sperm and then his sperm won't be harmed anymore!

NBC is accusing a random citizen on the street of causing harm to his own sperm count based on a cursory glance at his external appearance. That. Is. Bullshit.

#18: You can diagnose fat people's health issues by looking at them. No.

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* Without getting into a whole long thing on fertility, the bottom line is that fertility is not a binary On/Off switch in many (I would even hazard "most") cases. Having a low sperm count might make it more difficult to conceive a child, but many men with low sperm counts are able to father children without medical aid or intervention.

Open Thread: Fabric


I've misplaced my camera.  This was taken over a year ago.  I have no idea what it's a picture of.  Actually, that might be my knee (or some such) covered by the very skirt I'm wearing right now.  Odd coincidence that, assuming it truly is the case.

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Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Leaving the Donkey Behind

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap:When we last left Shasta, he was given a loaf of bread and shoved out of the cottage so that the guest (the Tarkaan) and his "father" (Arsheesh) could speak without children present. The Tarkaan then offered to buy Shasta as a slave. 

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 1: How Shasta Set Out On His Travels

I pointed out in previous posts that I find Shasta uncompelling as a protagonist, and the comments have done a great job of fleshing out what a cipher he is. He actually reminds me of Anastasia Steele from Fifty Shades of Grey; someone (I believe it was Cliff at The Pervocracy) has memorably noted that as a character she seems to have been decanted a maximum of one whole day prior to the start of the novel. Shasta has this exact same problem: He's missing crucial experiences and understandings of the world around him. These can't just be explained by being sheltered; these are things that he would have needed in order to get from Point A (birth) to Point B (here, where the novel starts).

Open Thread: Purple


Been seeing these things around lately.  I think this is the best picture I've gotten.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Repost: World-Building Your Allegory

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content; but be aware that there is an ableist term that I no longer use (apologies!) and I am no longer comfortable with my analogy of Narnia to Russia. I do enjoy teasing apart the world-building of "where does all the food come from?", however.] 



Narnia Recap: The four Pevensie children have moved away from London to escape the bombing out to a country house where Lucy -- the youngest -- has made a strange discovery by looking into an old wardrobe.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 2: What Lucy Found There

When Lucy steps into the wardrobe, she finds a winter wonderland on the other side: an entire forest carpeted in a thick blanket of snow, and an actual honest-to-goodness faun in the middle of the forest, complete with shopping packages and a cheery little umbrella. The faun greets Lucy pleasantly, takes her to his home for tea, provides some essential world-building, and then urges her to flee back to England before danger can befall her in Narnia.

   "GOOD EVENING," SAID LUCY. BUT THE Faun was so busy picking up its parcels that at first it did not reply. When it had finished it made her a little bow.
   "Good evening, good evening," said the Faun. "Excuse me -- I don't want to be inquisitive -- but should I be right in thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?"

Open Thread: The Cracks of Age


When they put up a road sign it's all shiny and uniform and neat and boring.  It doesn't stay that way.  Give it some time and it won't be so tidy anymore, it'll start to take on a unique character as the shiny starts to crackle in a way that is anything but uniform or boring or neat.

Given time, even something as mundane as the route nine east sign can become messy and interesting.  That disorder can be quite pretty.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Repost: The Stifling Role of Child-Mother

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content. In retrospect, I'm astonished to see and recall that I actually counted all the words spoken by each child. I mean, I'm glad I did, but wow, that took forever.] 



Narnia Recap: If you've never heard of The Chronicles of Narnia, you might want to start here with the deconstruction vote, and then follow to here for the discussion of the deconstruction vote.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 1: Lucy Looks Into A Wardrobe

Four is frequently the magic number in children's literature, at least in terms of protagonist children. With four children, you can have two girls, two boys, a wide range of ages (and therefore a broad audience appeal), and the author can do all sorts of cute tricks like perfectly alternating the genders by age (boy, girl, boy, girl) or by introducing pairs of boy-girl twins. The Bobbsey Twins features four children of the twin-pair variety, the Boxcar Children features four children of the alternating variety, and the Chronicles of Narnia starts the first published book in the series, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, with a family of four young children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

Metapost: Re-posting?

Chris the Cynic has pointed out to me that some of the long-term deconstructionists online have started re-posting old material because (a) some folks understandably don't want to comb through the archives, and (b) it lets people have a discussion again (since the comments on those old threads are long-closed).

Would this be something ya'll would enjoy here? It would be a way to have Narnia stuff to talk about while I'm dealing with the never-ending cycle of sickness, lol.

Writings: What Dag Sees

[Ana's Note: I was stuck in bed this evening when the new meds made me dizzy (and possibly sick with vertigo, though we're not 100% sure if that's the right word to call it because it wasn't so much spinning as a heavy leaden head), so I wrote this for no real reason. Minor content notes for Mad Max themes, but I don't think this got too explicit.] 

It wasn't just that the new girl was pretty.

They were all pretty, in their own ways. Splendid was gorgeous, so beautiful that even her scars couldn't mar her. You didn't even notice them half the time, not when she so effortlessly commanded your full attention. It was something in the way she carried herself, that unwavering certainty that drew people in. As if the world itself had been made to bend to her wishes. When she spoke, when her eyes flashed with that deep self-assurance, it was impossible not to believe in her vision. Joe had liked that about her once, before her vision diverged too much from his established order. Yet even after he'd locked her in the vault and ordered her silence, he never forgot the power in those flashing eyes.

The others, too, were beautiful. Capable, with her bright hair and caring gaze. He'd taken her from the medicine-tents the day he first laid eyes on her. Swept her right out of the Hospitality as she was setting a broken leg, saying he needed her tending more than the common rabble did. Had set her to work with ointments and cures, begging her to heal his boils in that sickly-sweet voice he could take. She'd worked on him in her careful kind way, her gentle touch tempered with cautious distance. All for naught, of course; once she'd tended to his back, he required tending of a different nature. She'd gone into the vault with the rest of his treasures, and if the world lost a valuable surgeon that day, Joe hadn't cared.

Then there was Toast. She'd been passing through, a stranger in a traveling caravan. Friends and companions, she'd thought, but once they realized their options were to sell her to Joe or helplessly watch her be taken, they'd taken the offered bullets and milk eagerly enough. Traitors. She hadn't cried; her wise eyes were sad, but tears didn't spill. Perhaps she'd known all along how cruel the world would be to her. She wore her hair short, jagged and straight. A pixie cut, the older women used to call it. Dag would watch her sometimes when she wasn't looking, waiting for gossamer wings to ripple out of her back so that she could fly away to freedom. They never did. Just as well, Dag supposed; she didn't know what gossamer was.

Was Dag pretty? She didn't care. Men, the ones who wanted her, would compare her eyes to stormy skies and her hair to pale cornsilk. Then when she wouldn't touch their schlanger they'd call her an ugly bitch and a worthless whore. Showed what stupid smeg they were; Dag knew good and well how to fuck for money, and she knew precisely how much she was worth. More, so much more, than those smeg could afford. More than Joe was willing to pay. A real god would be generous, Dag remembered musing as he had her dragged away; a real god wouldn't want everything she had for nothing in return. She hadn't been able to cut him that day, but she'd carved a goodly hole into one of his warriors. He'd liked that, liked feeling like she was dangerous. His deadly Dag, overpowered by his might.

She let him call her that, owning the name she'd not chosen. Why not, when it was so appropriate? She'd stick a dag in him one day, and she'd grin in his face as she twisted the knife. Let him call her pretty then.

The newest one was pretty, just as the rest of them. Cheedo, she'd said her name was. Because he was a fool, Joe had called her Fragile. That was what she was to him, fragility in the shape of a woman. He saw her youth, her cringing fear, her delicate purity. Things men valued that had nothing to do with who you were. He didn't see the things that made her herself. Her unshakable determination when she'd sit in silence for hours, weaving those tiny braids through her long dark hair. The naked outrage she couldn't hide from her face each time she was confronted with the ugly unfairness of the world. The deep sincerity that led her to argue with the other wives once she was sure they wouldn't hurt her. Little things, yes, but things she cared about: the minute details in a fairy story she'd been told, or tiny discrepancies in the histories they each half-remembered. She'd argue, her small voice gaining strength from her passion, and Dag would watch and see all the things that Joe didn't.

Cheedo's beauty wasn't simply physical. She was pure--a purity that had nothing to do with with Joe cared about, and everything to do with her spirit. Watching her feel things, seeing the intensity of her emotions, made Dag remember all that she felt once, before Joe had locked her away and she'd grown bitter and cynical to survive. The bright wideness of Cheedo's eyes whenever Splendid told another story; the rippling cringe around her sweet mouth when Capable would tell the others how to sew up a wound; the hard outrage arching her dark eyebrows whenever Toast told how her friends sold her away. Dag would watch her with eyes that missed nothing, and could never be sure whether she wanted to kiss Cheedo or become her.

---
[Normal fan-fiction disclaimers apply: I don't own the copyright to these characters; this is not an official endorsed work; this piece is posted under Fair Use guidelines as non-profit and a tiny portion of the whole work. If you hold the copyright and object to this story being published online, send me an email and I will take it down.]

Metapost: That Thing Where I Talk About My Back (Sorry!)

[Content Note: Medical stuff]

I never know how much ya'll want to know about my medical stuff, and honestly that doesn't parse well with my depression cycles where I'm just genuinely not capable of judging my own relative worth to people. (I'm frequently astonished to find that you don't all hate me, which is a very strange feeling when it hits! It's like a very confusing Christmas morning sprung on me in mid-July.)

So.

Open Thread: Moon Shadow


Ok, actually it's an earth shadow on the moon.

Also, fun fact, none of the "smart modes" on my camera are set up for, "I want you to focus on something 238,900 miles away, which happens to be the brightest light source around, and pick up surface details."  I was left fiddling with manual stuff for the first time ever.  That's the first picture that came out ok.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Recommends: Muppet Dystopia

In case you missed it (or aren't on Twitter), I wrote a Muppet Dystopia movie because I'm sad of the Muppets being misused and mishandled into a bunch of out-of-character abusive MRA fever dreams. (Tell us how you really feel, Ana!)

All thanks to Jack for Storifying for me.  <3

Open Thread: Bird and Reflection


I've mentioned before that I find reflections very interesting and often take pictures of them.  The same is true of birds.

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Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Cruel and Ancient People

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: It's time for a new adventure!

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 1: How Shasta Set Out On His Travels

We went through this in the last post, but I want to hang a couple disclaimers over the blog for this book:

1. This book is racist.

2. Most books are racist.

3. That this book is racist is not an attack that needs arguing against or defending.

4. Whether the racism in this book was entered deliberately (Lewis choosing to be racist), or secondhand (Lewis mimicking someone else's racist style), or accidentally (Lewis just happened to whoops insert racism that he didn't mean to insert but alas here it's there now) is largely irrelevant to the deconstruction of this book. Comments along these lines are not welcome in this space--feel free to post on your own blog and link people over.

5. Whether the racism in this book was specifically directed against Muslim people or Persian people or Babylonian people is largely irrelevant to the deconstruction of this book. Comments along these lines are not welcome in this space--feel free to post on your own blog and link people over.

Okay. Let's get into Chapter 1. *rolls up sleeves*

Deals: Evil Girlfriend Media

Also! For this week (until Friday), all Evil Girlfriend Media books are free on Amazon Kindle, in celebration of their successful Kickstarter for Women in Practical Armor.

Recommends: Beyond Shame

I'm trying to get a Narnia post up today, but in the meantime may I recommend a free erotica/romance novel co-written by a friend of mine? Beyond Shame is consent-friendly and smoking hot and also Bree is the sweetest lady you ever met. (Be warned that this is a full length book, with a dystopia world-building that hooked me and kept me up all night reading under the covers.)

Open Thread: Red and White


Um ... I actually have nothing to say.  It's an open thread, it has a picture.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Metapost: Still Here!

I'm still here. I meant to get a Narnia out today, but I'm not sure that's going to happen and I'm sorry. We've been tweaking my medication at the doctor and it's altering my moods like whoa and making it very difficult to concentrate on things the way I'd like.

In, uh, slightly cheerier news, I wrote another book. So that's going to be a thing. It gets sent off to the editor today and I'm excited/terrified/fluttery about that. Let's all share a fleeting mental image of a squealing dolphin. That's me. The dolphin is me.

Open Thread: Glittering Frost


Sorry this is late; I can't find my camera.  So... remember winter?  It was this thing a while back when it wasn't so damned hot.

This is a picture of a frosty window illuminated by light shining through some trees.  The frost, and the low light conditions, make it so you can't make out any of the detail in the background, but each of those blips of color in the foreground is a spot where the frost is glittering in the light.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Welcome to Calormen

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: It's time for a new adventure!

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 1: How Shasta Set Out On His Travels

I have been approaching The Horse and His Boy with some trepidation. On the one hand, I will freely confess that this is the Narnia novel that finally broke through to me in my childhood and made me think "wait, what??" so we have that to look forward to. On the other hand, this book is astoundingly racist.

We've talked a little bit about this before on the blog. I'm concerned about going through this as a white author with a predominantly white readership. So let's get some things out in the open first: This is a racist book. That's not a rare or unusual thing. A lot of books by white authors have elements of racism in them. Probably even most books by white authors. We live in a racist society where racism is normalized and acceptable and expected.