Time for our fifth check point! This isn't mandatory, but highly encouraged for both authors and artists. We're just seeing how everybody's doing, if there are any concerns we need to be worried about, etc. Comments on this post are screened, so nobody else can see your comment, so feel free to vent as much as you need to. But please let us know how you're doing with that WIP/art. Any closer to done? Even if it's only a couple of words to assure us you're alive, please check in! :)
- Posting date claims will go up on Wednesday, June 28th. Posting dates will run from July 8th to around mid-August. Be sure to talk with your author/artist about what date is best! If you or your proxy has not claimed a date by July 2nd, one will be chosen for you at random.
- Posting begins on July 8th! We're so close to the end, guys!!
Sage receptionists and break-room philosophers have long taught that every day has its own emotion. Your week progresses from a case of the Mondays through Wednesday Hump Days to Thank God It’s Fridays, looping around to the Sunday Blues, also known as the Sunday Scaries or the Sunday Sads. You survive that weekend…
Conversation between me and Krissy yesterday:
Me: With all this bullshit around health care, and the possibility of pre-existing conditions and insurance caps coming back, we should probably look into supplemental insurance.
Krissy: I got us supplemental insurance years ago.
Me: You did?
Krissy: Yes. I even have policies for very specific things.
Me: Like what?
Krissy: I have an insurance policy on your hands.
Me: My hands?
Krissy: You’re a writer. You use your hands. If something happens to your hands, it’s a problem. We’ll need to pay for someone for you to dictate to.
Me: You’ve insured my hands.
Me: I’m not going to lie. That’s literally the sexiest thing you’ve said to me this whole damn month.
Fandom: Wonder Woman (2017)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Isabel Maru/Diana Prince
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Community: fic_promptly, Manipulation, Devotion, Dubious Morality, Kissing
During the war, Isabel was devoted to creating breathtaking poisons and to General Ludendorff. After she was saved by a goddess, Isabel knew her new purpose in life was to serve Diana. She just had to maneuver her way to Diana's side, no matter what it took.
"You don't wear your strongest influences like a shirt, something you take on and off as you like. You wear those influences like your skin. For me, Ray Bradbury is that way. From the time I was twelve to the time I was twenty-two, I read every Bradbury novel and hundreds of Bradbury short stories, many of them two and three times. Teachers came and went; friends ran hot and cold; Bradbury, though, was always there, like Arthur Conan Doyle, like my bedroom, like my parents. When I ruminate about October, or ghosts, or masks, or faithful dogs, or children and their childish frightening games, every thought I have is colored by what I learned about these things from reading Ray Bradbury. One of Bradbury's most famous collections is The Illustrated Man, which features a man tattooed with a countless number of Ray's stories, a man who walks through life carrying all those stories on his back. I relate." -- Joe Hill
( Story under the cut... )
( ANIMALS!!! :D )
( Social stuff here. )
So that was my day, and it was a great one. :3 I really wish it was easier to get up to Healsville, but of course if it was it'd be way more crowded etc., which would make it not as good. :/ Compromises! Me and Ni-chan have tentative plans to a) try and meet up more, and b) maybe go to the Zoo - where she's living right now she's in walking distance to it (why does she not have a membership already I mean??? If I could WALK to the ANIMALS I would actually leave the house a lot more. Also I just looked up the prices and you only have to go four times a year to make it cheaper, whaaat). (Seriously, can you imagine going to the zoo to play pokego every day??? I just. That would be SO AWESOME.)
...anyway I am way off on a tangent, this is a clear sign I need to GO TO BED, so yes. I will do that thing. <3
A friend asked me for this blog post, and I really haven’t been feeling the blogging lately, so here we go, a way into it by talking to a specific person.
A lot of people do pacing instinctively, sometimes synaesthetically. This is why you’ll hear metaphors like an unbalanced washing machine, a car with a flat tire–things where the rhythm is off, things where the story is going THUMPa THUMPa THUMPa. If you have that feeling for it, if you have that instinct, hurrah! Lucky you. If not, here are some other ways to spot broken pacing.
Ask an external reader. If they are bored in some sections, the pacing is probably breaking down. (Also boredom, who wants it.) Also, if they can spot the scenes that are the most important to the writer, that’s no good–obviously there will be things like the climax of the piece that are important scenes, but you don’t want to have a lot of scenes that are obviously un-important. If the reader feels like a scene doesn’t matter to you and they’re right, take it out and find another way to do the thing it’s doing. If they’re wrong and it really is important to you? Probably a pacing problem.
Track things! Track all the things. Okay, not all. But any of the things. Figure out what elements are showing up in each scene, what each scene is doing. You can do this with characters. You can do it with things like description/action/dialog balance. You can do it with objects that are touchstones to your plot. You can do it with locations. Anything you are wanting to pull through the book and balance, you can track, sometimes with color. Put it on notecards, print it out in tiny font and highlight it, just do a chapter list in a different file: who is in Chapter 1 with the protag(s). Who is in Chapter 2. Or: where does the Axe of Awesomeness show up first, where does it show up again, how long is it between spottings of the Major Macguffin. Has the reader had time to forget about it or think it is no longer important or get distracted by the Minor Macguffin. Has the Shiny Red Herring come up often enough? Track it in red to see where it is swimming. Is there a love story? If there is supposed to be a love story but you are not seeing Captain Swoonypants between Chapter 2 and Chapter 13, the pants: they will not be swooning. That is what we call a major sag in the pacing. (And/or in the pants.) Negative relationship stuff, too: that distance between a fight and the next appearance of the person fought with will mean that that relationship is not carrying a lot of tension. The pacing on it will sag. The reader will forget that they are supposed to care.
A thing that I said in the previous paragraph: figure out what each scene is doing. Not just one thing. If it’s just one thing, the pacing will sag and fall over. Do more. But also: when you revise, sometimes one of the things a scene used to be doing will change. If you rip out a subplot, remember to look at the scenes around the stuff you removed. It’s not just that you have to check to get the information redistributed. It’s that the beats also have to be redistributed. If that subplot contained the moments to breathe, your new pacing will be too frenetic. If that subplot contained mostly action and excitement, a hint of that needs to creep back into the new pacing. Pacing, sadly, is not just something you can do once and be done.
Stylistic and length changes. Word length, sentence length, paragraph length, chapter length. You can change these deliberately if you want to, but if you find you have subconsciously changed them without meaning to, you may be rushing a section or meandering through a section that will not feel integrated with the rest of the book and will nag at the reader–sometimes without them being able to spot why.
Note that you do not have to do length analysis on every element of every book every time. This is more a diagnostic for when something seems to not be working or if you consistently have problems than something every writer should do at every moment. In fact, all of this is in that category. If you’re finding that people are saying things you don’t really get about pacing, that something is not working and you don’t understand why, you can poke at these things (or at ideas people will offer in the comments, maybe!). But no writing tool is universal, this is not universal, and you should feel utterly free to not do any of this if you don’t need to and don’t feel like it.
I feel like I can’t stress enough in process posts that everybody works differently, because I hear enough conversation about “I heard one piece of advice and I thought I had to,” and seriously, no, you do not have to, you never have to. Do what works for you. Discard things that sound horrifying until/unless nothing else is working and you feel like it’s worth a shot. Try things that are exciting or weird, try things that feel like they’re fixing the problems you actually have, and don’t listen to me when you don’t feel like it. Okay? Okay.
Prudence by Gail Carriger is $2.99! This is part of 3 pages of Kindle Daily Deals, which also includes books like Bossypants and Misty Copeland’s memoir. This book is the first book in her Custard Protocol series and Carrie gave it a B-:
The best and worst thing I could say about this series is that it’s very much like Carriger’s other series. It’s the worst thing in that there’s not a lot new in here except that it seems to be a series that gets us out of alternate universe England and into the rest of Empire. It’s the best thing because honestly Carriger’s world and style are just pure yummy candy. If you give me a five pound bag of M&M’s, it’s not like I’m going to get to the bottom and say, “Gosh darn it, this is still M&M’s!”
ON BEHALF OF QUEEN, COUNTRY…AND THE PERFECT POT OF TEA.
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances — names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
The Duke and the Domina
The Duke and the Domina by Jenn LeBlanc is 99c at Amazon! It’s possible this deal is on its way out, so snag it while you can. It’s also filled with lots of catnip: time travel, a Dominatrix heroine, a marriage of convenience, and for those playing Ripped Bodice Bingo, it has a broke hero! This is the third book in the Lords of Time series, and I think it can be read as a standalone, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong.
He’s poor. She’s rich.
He’s a sub. She’s a switch.
It’s not love.
It’s a marriage of Kink-venience.
Grayson Danforth, Duke of Warrick, was banished from England by his father when his propensity for pain was discovered. The only reason he returned was because his father and two older brothers were killed, requiring him to take up the title. His honor has him bound to the contracts meant for his brother—including a marriage—but first he has to meet his bride.
Lulu—a professional dominatrix—was in a scene with a client when she tripped and fell, waking up in a strange house in a strange world with no idea what to think. She’s either part of an elaborate scene for another client or it’s all just a dream. But the man she woke up to…he makes her want to live in the dream forever. When she’s given the choice to run and hide or complete the contract for marriage to Warrick, she chooses the latter. She can’t help the way she’s drawn to this beautiful, powerful, man and the secrets she can see he’s hiding beneath his cross façade.
Warrick knows Lulu’s secret—even if she doesn’t believe it—and he knows that marrying her will be the best way to keep her safe. But Lulu stirs something deep inside that he’s worked for years to hide. When Lulu realizes his masochistic tendencies it’s up to her to force him to let down his domineering guard and submit. He needs to learn that what he wants, what he yearns for is not only beautiful but something she can give him but getting him to submit is a task that won’t come easily to either of them.
As they begin their dance of husband and wife can two people who’ve never known trust or love learn to submit to each other?
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is $1.99! This book has been recommended by a couple readers in the comments around the site. It’s about a couple who breaks up before the planet is destroyed. The entire book is told, epistolary-style, through texts, emails, and other documents. Some people found the epistolary format rather annoying, while others highly recommend it on audiobook. Have you read it?
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Shadow Magic by Patricia C. Wrede is $1.99! This is a fantasy novel first published in the early 80s and is the first book in the Lyra series. Some found the first installment a littler boring, but say that the series gets better with each book. For those who have read it, what do you think?
Alethia listens as her father Braca questions heir Har and friend Maurin, back from Lyra borders where other caravans have disappeared. Her mother Isme has a bad feeling. The night of her twentieth birthday party, Alethia is kidnapped by enemy Lithmern, led by a man with no face, and a body of black smoke.
But the woods are protected by Wyrd, small furry archers, and Ward-Keeper mage Jordet, of the tall silver-haired Shee. Soon the Noble House of Brenn must decide whether to ally with mythical races, including the sea-dwelling Neira. While the other eight Noble Houses squabble, the evil Shadow Men rise, and seek the five lost treasures of Alkyra that used to unite the four races.
Today is an exciting day as my oldest is headed off for a month in Europe and Israel. I am so excited for her as I am sure it will be the trip of a lifetime, but also sad to see her go. I have one more week and then my younger one is out of the country as well. Sadly, I don’t get to go to Europe, lol. But I am excited for the kids.
Other than that, we are settling into summer. I hope things are going great for all of you! Here is what we have planned this week.
- Review: Oversight by Santino Hassell (Jay)
- Review: Chasing His Cottontail by A.R. Barley (Kris)
- Guest Post and Giveaway: A Kind of Home by Lane Hayes
- Review: Slim Chance by Jeff Erno (Veronica)
- Review: Back to You by Chris Scully (Kenna)
- Review: Skin After Skin by Jordan Castillo Price (Jay)
- Guest Post and Giveaway: Oversight by Santino Hassell
- Review: Run Away With Me by Lily Harlem (Michelle)
- Review: Cultivating Love by Addison Albright (Camille)
- Review: Love and Protect by Kay Simone and Jason Collins (Kirsty)
- Guest Post: A Destiny of Dragons by T.J. Klune
- Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis (Kris)
- Review: Texting, Autocorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church (Kenna)
- Review: Moro’s Pride by M. Crane Hana (Elizabeth)
- Audiobook Review: Thick & Thin by Charlie Cochet (Kris)
- Guest Post: Coach’s Challenge by Avon Gale
- Review: Arrows Through Archer by Nash Summers (Michelle)
- Review: Barloc by E.L. Esch (Camille)
- Review: Breathless by J.M. Lamp (Sue)
- Review: Something’s Brewing at Joe’s by SJD Peterson (Jay)
- Buddy Review: Model Investigator by Lissa Kasey (Jay and Sammy)
- Guest Post and Giveaway: Cultivating Love by Addison Albright
- Review: Fallen For You by Jules Dee (Sue)
And that should do it for this week!
I finished two fics yesterday. Well, one is certainly done, barring a thorough proofread. It's gen, so that's not nearly as hard to arrange as it might otherwise be. The other needs a second opinion if I can find someone willing given the moderately obscure fandom and the explicit and potentially squicky content. I've got a couple of people I can ask, but I was a little too fried last night to do it.
We went out for frozen lemonade at Sweetwaters last night. Sweetwaters gives coupons to the middle schools to hand out to every child who gets at least three A's on their final report card, and the school put the coupons in the envelopes with the report cards. Cordelia got hers and got a cinnamon roll. I got a frozen lemonade and a chocolate croissant. Scott got a ginger tea.
We finished that up a little after 8:00, and as we were just across the street from Plum Market, we went over there for the half price bakery goods.
It's been very cool, in the low 70s, so Scott opened a lot of our windows early yesterday afternoon. They stayed open all night and are still open. I don't think this relates to my sneezing because that didn't start until the windows had been open for about twenty hours.
Cordelia has been doing movie marathons. She's currently got about a dozen DVDs from the library. Of course, mostly what she's been doing is listening to her Hamilton CDs over and over (those were a gift from Scott's brother and his family). We listened to a little of that in the car last night, on the way to and from Sweetwaters. I still can't say that it does anything for me, but I'm glad Cordelia has something she's really passionate about.
Both of our Time Capsule storage drives are insisting that they're too full to allow backups. The program is supposed to delete old backups as needed in order to keep making current backups, and we have backups going back at least two years. At this point, anything from 2015 can absolutely go. One of the drives has a terabyte of storage, and the other has three. We have no idea what's going on to make them say they only have a few megabytes of space left. Scott thinks that wiping them is probably going to be necessary. We'll start with just one in case we need the backups on the other before we have clean backups on the first. Scott keeps saying that he needs a lot of time to do this and then getting cranky with me when I mention that it needs to be done (and later today he will be more cranky because I didn't make him do it while he had time).
Maybe he can figure out how to get Cordelia's laptop to backup via Time Machine, too. We've never managed that, and at this point, she's actually got stuff she'd be devastated to lose. It wasn't so important when she was seven.
Thank you for writing me a story! My childhood favorites are not sacred and I'm interested in seeing however you see fit to explore them.
Here were my prompts:
Cyber.kdz - Bruce Balan
Fandom tl;dr: Teenage adventures with dial-up modems!
I love this fandom so much. The idea of the Net as this unregulated frontier where kids could make a difference because only their actions, not their appearances, mattered. And the found family, who bickered with each other endlessly but ultimately stood up for each other when someone needed it.
The Grounding of Group Six - Julian F. Thompson
Fandom tl;dr: Just an ordinary story about ordinary kids at an alternative school involving lots of camping
My usual request for this fandom is pure trollfic: Write a fluffy school story with none of the darkness of the original canon and act like that's all that's there. To see if you can lure unsuspecting people into the ridiculousness that is this book. Basically write a fic as if the cover story from the end of the book, where Group Six was just overlooked and nobody remembered to recall them, were true.
I realize this is a deeply specific request and I am fine if you disregard it and write something that actually engages with the story as it actually exists.
Westing Game - Ellen Raskin
Fandom tl;dr: Chess and mystery and money and wordplay and family, complicated family
I love everything about the Westing Game and its twisty, emotionally complicated payoff, and would love to see more about any character.
I also have this theory... let me dig it up.
Sam Westing is involved in a car accident leading up to his disappearance which is an extremely mysterious event. It is apparently real- Sykes's limp is real, not faked, per Chris, and the only limp in the book not the result of a Turtle kick. And it results in facial disfiguration for Sam, but of a sort that is dramatic enough to render him unrecognizable to his ex-wife when he is Sandy, but not enough that he cannot mask it (presumably with makeup?) when he is in his Northrup or Eastman guise. I do not understand the import of the accident. If the accident is what changed his outlook on life, why wait 20 years after for his revenge/game/reparations?
...For Turtle to be Sam's rightful heir, she has to ultimately 'win' the game, which most straightforwardly means either a)finding the fourth or b)beating Sam at chess, which JJ and Theo never managed and nobody else in the game ever attempted. But Sam is not the kind of person who happily loses games. Sam's game is set up so that neither Turtle nor JJ nor anyone else has to win, but... what happens to Eastman's money in that scenario, if Turtle loses? Does he have to set up another Westing game with new heirs to manipulate? Is there the possiblity that this is not the first Westing game he has run? Is the quest for heirs the thing which has occupied the twenty years since Westing's disappearance?
So basically I would love to see a take on a different Westing Game, a different grasping and overly manipulative attempt for redemption from Sam Westing.
Sizzle & Splat Series - Ronald Kidder
Fandom tl;dr: Youth orchestra members, clarinetist and tubist, team up to fight crime.
Hans Kleiman is my favorite character in the series but I'll take anything with Sizzle and/or Splat. I love Kleiman's fusion of games and music, as a passionate enthusiast of both myself. I wish there were more of him, I wish he didn't have to die to impel the story's action, because his chemistry with Sizzle is wonderful.
Star Voyager Academy - William Forstchen
Fandom tl;dr: Book 1: Harry Potter at Starfleet Academy. Book 2: Harry Potter on his first mission for Starfleet. Book 3: Harry Potter is an alcoholic former Starfleet officer enlisted to make first contact with aliens
I think I'd like to actually see the war, you know? The part bizarrely skipped between books 2 and 3, where everything went to shit in utterly predictable but no less tragic ways.
i ship Matt/Justin, I ship Tanya/Justin, I ship Thor/Jason, I ship Tanya/Madison... Not so interested in Justin/Brian or Matt/Brian, I think. And I'd also love gen. Falcon fighting gen! Complicated morally ambiguous battle gen! Academy hijinks gen!
Quitting my PhD was the second best decision of my life (the best was marrying such_heights) and has brought me so much joy, happiness, and personal fulfilment.
I think a lot, on and off, about whether there’s anything that could have helped me quit it sooner. I suspect probably not, to be honest — all anyone could do was what they did do, which was love me, support me, and welcome me back with open arms when I did finally come home.
But for my past self, the one who got on that plane weighed down with ambivalence, here are a few things I’m glad you’ll learn:
( Thoughts for a quitter )
All The Queen’s Men – Victoria Racklyft
Bed and Bored (multifandom – inc. 5 Pros stories)
Cross My Heart 2
Cross My Heart 5
Deck the Halls (multifandom – inc. 4 Pros stories)
Full Circle 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and Flareup from Full Circle 4
Leather and Blue Jeans
No Holds Barred 2
No Holds Barred 6
No Holds Barred 10
No Holds Barred 16
No Holds Barred 20
Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 1
Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 3
Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 4
Other Times and Places
Other Times and Places II
Other Times and Places III
Other Times and Places IV
Other Times and Places V
Other Times and Places VI
Out of This World – Jane
Professionals 2000: Gambit – Jane
Scotch Doubles – Ty and Paige
The Pros Theme Zine Vol. 2
Cohorts 4 (multifandom – no Pros)
The Seduction of Sam Boyd (Company Business) – Bast and Sekhmet
This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Dominika. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Paranormal Romance category.
HOT, SULTRY, DEADLY… THESE ARE THE SECRETS THAT LURK IN THE BAYOU.
Bent on revenge, Native American Shadow Hunter Tombi Silver could turn to only one woman, the “witch” Annie Matthews, for help. Her ability to hear auras had allowed her to discover Tombi’s friend mystically trapped by forces that could destroy them all. The accompanying message of a traitor in their midst meant Tombi could trust no one. Dare he bring Annie along on his quest to fight shadow spirits? Putting his faith in someone outside his tribe, especially one who pulled at his tightly controlled desires, could prove just as dangerous as his mission…
Here is Dominika's review:
I was really hoping to like this book. I wanted to write a review that was filled with lots of squee and happy rainbow unicorn gifs because that would have been fun to write. In retrospect, I was being overly optimistic since I am not typically a paranormal romance reader and rarely feel such adoration for the subgenre. This book did not leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings after the HEA. I found the entire journey to the HEA underwhelming. This lackluster reading experience is partly due to my extreme pickiness as a reader. There are specific tropes and character dynamics that I find satisfying in my romance novels, and this book featured none of those. In fact, it was full of a lot of my personal turn-offs.
Our heroine is Annie, a young woman with the special ability to hear other people’s auras. I think she has some kind of super hearing in general since it’s mentioned at some point that she can hear the ocean’s tides from far away. She is visiting her Grandma Tia in the South Alabama town of Bayou LaSiryna. Annie is desperate to be rid of her extrasensory ability, and she hopes her grandmother’s hoodoo powers might help her with that. I sympathize with Annie’s frustration. It’s annoying enough to get a random song stuck in your head; I can’t imagine how I’d deal with the din of every single person’s unique musical aura along with the magnified sound of every cricket and gust of wind. The hero is Tombi, a local Choctaw Indian and a supernaturally gifted hunter of evil spirits. He enlists Annie’s help to fight the local shadow spirits of the bayou in exchange for helping her learn how to control her magically magnified hearing. It’s an ok enough premise and I went into the book ready to suspend a certain amount of disbelief. The execution of this premise, however, did not work for me.
I knew I was in trouble on page one of chapter one after reading this sentence: “The forest beckoned with its thick canopy of trees draped in long tendrils of Spanish moss that fluttered in the sea breeze with a silver shimmer like a living veil of secrecy.” When I eventually get to the sex scenes, genitals are referred to as “his manhood,” stirring “loins,” and her “womanly core.” Perhaps these phrases make you want to pick up this book. Maybe that is a writing style that works for you as a reader. If you enjoy phrases like “weeping whistles of warring hope and despair,” this might be the paranormal romance for you. This writing style fell flat with me. I tend to prefer brisk action and sharp, witty dialogue. I’m not as big a fan of borderline florid descriptions of nature.
I won’t bother going into too much detail about the plot surrounding the supernatural big bad because I found that predictable and tame. The key to defeating the main villain (a shape shifting, misery loving snake beast named Nalusa) involves some kind of magical flute and Annie’s newfound hoodoo powers and the power of love or something and I just couldn’t bring myself to care because what the hell was I thinking when I picked a paranormal romance to review. When reading about the shadow hunters chasing down wicked wisps in the bayou, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the descriptions of people creeping through the woods at night with slingshots. I imagined the hunters throwing rocks at swamp gas and communicating with hand signals in the dark and felt more amused than enchanted by some of the supernatural elements.
Another thing that did not work for me was the reliance on inner monologue as exposition (more telling than showing). I got through the book with a combination of reading and listening to a chunk of it on audio book. The inner monologue felt particularly awkward when listening to the supernatural action scenes. When our main couple first runs into Nalusa, I was listening to Tombi’s inner monologue about Annie’s trustworthiness/Nalusa’s rise to power after Hurricane Katrina and thinking “just attack the stupid snake beast already.”
I never really enjoyed this book because I kept finding things to be persnickety about. Heroine overreacts to the hero telling her to sit down and claims that she doesn’t get ordered around like a dog. Native American music and history is referred to as “primitive” or a “simpler, more natural past existence.” Hero is terse, stoic, temperamental, and emotionally unavailable. Heroine is sweet and nurturing and has to convince the closed off hero that he wants more with her than just sex. Her ex-boyfriend was selfish and terrible in bed and sex with the hero is the best the heroine has ever had. The hero “probes” the “opening of [the heroine’s] womanhood” and I wonder if anyone has ever considered “probe” to be a sexy word. It’s just a long list of moments or tropes that do not appeal to me and add up to a mediocre reading experience.
In conclusion, this was not a book written for me. The things I was picky about might be the very reasons that someone else picks up this book and enjoys it. I considered backing out of the RITA review challenge altogether, but I figured that someone else might read my litany of turn offs and think, “That’s my catnip,” thereby making this review somewhat useful. As for a letter grade, how do you assign a letter grade to something so subjective as reading for pleasure? For the purposes of this review I’m going to go with a C grade since it wasn’t the worst written book I’ve ever read. It also wasn’t an amazing reading experience for me by any means. Bayou Shadow Hunter left me feeling “meh” and I probably won’t be reading tons of paranormal romance in the future.
In less yay news: don't be left in charge of ushering your cranky mother and equally cranky four-year-old niece through IKEA. It will all end in tears and reasonably priced bedding.
( Orphan Black, 5.03, Beneath Her Heart )
I'm in the mood to take requests. What would you like to see me write a blog post about? All suggestions will be entertained (writing, politics, mental/physical health, true crime, Shakespeare, etc.), but may or may not be acted upon.
I'm screening comments, in case you want to ask privately for a public response.
Shaped and themed cakes are awesome, of course, but I still drool and dream over more traditional wedding cakes, too. After all, they've come a long way from just simple tiers with flowers - even the simple tiers with flowers!
Love this SO MUCH.
And take a look at this amazing "fabric" pleating:
(By Delectable by Su)
Hard to believe those tufted pinwheels and embroidered borders are all sugar. It's so perfect!
And check out the string work on this engagement beauty:
(By Hana of A Piece of Cake)
I love the curls on the top tier, and the piping on the bottom lace collar and upper level strings is simply awe-inspiring. Skill like this always renews my faith in cake artistry. :)
Here's a sweet dress-inspired design:
Look at the design at the bottom of the skirt ruffles!
And how's this for a modern twist on a classic?
(By Elizabeth's Cakes)
If you've never stacked or tried to support cakes in the shape of a ball before, let me assure you: it's hard. And all that detail! Totally swoon-worthy.
Another rounded design:
See that lace border on top? Someone piped that. Yeah. Respect!
And speaking of mad piping skills:
(By The Cake Gallery)
Whoah. This reminds me of the Victorian-themed Grand Floridian resort here in Orlando. Frills and bows and hand-piped lace, oh my!
Or, for a more modern touch:
This has been one of my favorite designs since before I even started CW. I love the swirls and the bold flowers.
Or, how about John's favorite?
(By Sugarbelle Cakes)
And finally, the cake that had me scooping my jaw off the desk:
(By Susan Trianos aka Peecheekeeno)
That's all *cake*, guys. Look at that tufted tier in the middle. LOOK AT IT. Now, tell me: how the heck do they DO that? Not to mention the perfect corset lacing, the bows, the ruffles, the porcelain-perfect gumpaste roses...seriously, I think I could stare at this all day. Just. Gorgeous.
And from my other blog, Epbot:
I'd never visited Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire before and t'interwebz assured me there was a "Heritage Trail" around the town so I came, I saw, and I flanned. Indeed, I committed June challenge flan II(c) "local council walk" twice over because the same Historic Tewkesbury leaflet also included an Alleyways Trail and as I've never done an official alley tour before I managed to fit that in too. I walked the Heritage Trail first but out of order and breaking off in the middle to extend my walk to a memorable sculpture on the outskirts of town. I then completed the Alleyways Trail backwards but failed to find one alley so I did some of the zig-zags by zagging when I should've zigged and zigging when I should've zagged. The order of the day was 1, 2, 10, 12, 13, 14, 11, 9, 8, 7, 8, [diversion to Margaret's Camp (medieval moated site named for Margaret of Anjou), The Arrivall (sculpture), Bloody Meadow (1471 War of the Roses battlefield)], 5, 6, M, L, 4, 3, K, [couldn't find J], I, H, G, F, 16, 15, E, D, C, A, and lastly B. A less casual navigator than myself could combine both trails in a single walk. The leaflet is unusually well written, with a brief paragraph for various points of interest, and made the walk much more enjoyable. My favourite discoveries were the many odd signs, some historic, some artistic, and some comedic, although it's occasionally difficult for an outsider to determine which signs belong to which categories. I was clueless about whether the several cat themed plaques in the alleys were history or art or both, and which of the Shakespeare family signs were truth or fiction, and whether a railway heritage plaque was in the correct place, but even I recognised that parts of the "history" celebrated on a Victorian obelisk varied between unlikely and impossible, lol. In conclusion: I found Tewkesbury charming, quirky, and not quite what it might seem.
Ye Olde Black Bear Inn was reputedly Gloucestershire's oldest pub... until it closed recently, although Tewkesbury has many other historic pubs in the town centre including a Wetherspoons which combines full disabled access, through the old coaching doors, with ceilings inside so low that tall men have to duck their heads.
( 10 more small images. )
The Arrivall is a monumental sculpture created to commemorate the Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471, one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses, which took place nearby including on the aptly named Bloody Meadow. This half is called Vanquished.
I had no idea what I was doing, but it was super calming and fun and the kids had a blast. I got to bring the painting home, so now it's on the wall on my stairs. Yay!
In the afternoon I went for a walk around the local lake with another friend. It was a gorgeous day - 74F and breezy, which made walking an absolute joy. We had lemonade afterwards at the coffeeshop, then we picked up her husband from the train station and I dropped them both back at home. I joined my yard-sale friend and her kids for dinner, and then finished out the day with some Tiny House Nation (the best!) and an early night.
As I lay in bed I found myself trying to do an accounting of where I hadn't been at my best that day - where I was thoughtless or short-tempered or . . . you get the idea. And I realized - this is a hold over from the merciless church I was raised within, which taught us that we had to mentally list our sins every night and pray for forgiveness or we'd go to hell if we died in our sleep. (And you couldn't review what you had done that was good, because that would lead to the sin of pride, ergo . . . )
What a soul-sucking habit! I've been doing this review of the day in my head for years, but only just realized where it's rooted. So I set my mind on a different course with love, and marveled again that I am as functional as I am given the particular circumstances of my childhood. Yikes.
I don't know what today brings, save a hope to go outside a bunch since it's again a beautiful day. Have lovely Sundays, everyone (or Monday if you're already there!)
19.A song that makes you think about life
Rizzo's story is sadly overlooked in many productions of Grease, perhaps because this song is the only time that any of it is directly expressed (although it's very much there in the film, if one looks for it in her expressions and tones of voice) - but she's perhaps the only character who understands the whole game that everybody is playing, and conciously chooses how much to engage.