Marching back into town gets us some looks.

The artillery going first is just odd; five tonnes of sheep with blood drying in its underwool and eel-tree ichor splattered all over the rest of it is unexpected.

Rust has found a couple of horse-favouring town kids happy to earn some money by making much of the horse-ghost’s feeding and grooming. It’s essential to the ghost to have contact with some technical variety of innocence Rust is unable to provide. A delegation of matrons resulted; Blossom was able to reassure them with impeccable tact that the definition of innocence was on the order of “never summoned a demon”. Since good Creeks don’t do any such thing, and even more do not mark themselves as suitable for consumption should a demon arrive, all was well.

Halt’s comprehensive definition — never consumed a human soul, never slaked wrath by wide killing, and, oh yes, never coerced a bound demon into a shape empty of all but pain — was not provided to the matrons. Even more fortunately, Halt’s oddly wistful expression was not observed by any townsfolk at all.

That's the beginning of chapter five of The March North, the first Commonweal novel by Graydon Saunders, and I'm sharing it with y'all for two reasons.

The first reason is that I'm privileged to know some damned good writers. One of them is [personal profile] graydon, who'll soon be releasing a third Commonweal novel by the title of Safely You Deliver (find links for obtaining the first two here). The consensus opinion expressed by reviews of the books, if you're curious, is "definitely worth the effort"; this is original, subversive fantasy-with-hard-SF-underpinnings that doesn't "see spot run" readers through the details of the (amazing, richly crafted) world, a world I think is well-captured in a line from chapter two, describing the five-tonne sheep upon which possibly the most powerful living sorcerer on the planet, who happens to look like somebody's grandma, has just ridden into town: "It breathes slow, which you'd expect, and fire, which you would not." Even the reviews themselves make for interesting reading (at least to me, admittedly biased with squee and vicarious pride that something somebody close to me made is attracting such an enthusiastic following); many of these are collected unsurprisingly on goodreads (that's book two, A Succession of Bad Days, and topmost review is v. spoilery; The March North is over here) but there's also this (which is basically the first chapter of The March North as free sample glued together with my sales pitch when it came out in 2014), this (spoilery), and this.

G's not alone in my dwircle; I'd run out of original things to say if I tried to list all the writers I follow here whose work I adore but I want to pick on my other two regular interlocutors/best friends currently active on this platform, who are also extremely talented (if you're not comfortable with me hyping you here I'll take it out; I just want y'all to know I think you're great). [personal profile] kore posts fic as [ profile] actonbell, fic that's not only beautifully written and often heartrendingly poignant but assiduously researched and supported with cross-references and links to visual and audio garnishes tucked in like easter eggs. [personal profile] thatyourefuse writes like sinfully rich dark chocolate cake with bee stingers inside, and I mean that glowingly; current/simmering projects include in their ranks a Crimson Peak epic from the POV of an omniscient atemporal haunted house and a novel adaptation of King Lear, and it is all devastatingly good. ([personal profile] recessional/[ profile] Feather gets an honourable mention because we don't converse as much and I still haven't come close to catching up on YBEB and its outgrowths, but what I have read is exquisite and I'm very happy to have her on my reading page.)

The second reason is that I am apparently a bound demon. I've spent the last week and a half (more?) in fucking agony. Not consistent agony, it varies in both intensity and flavour (sometimes achy tension, others like a full-body migraine), but agony as the soundtrack for daily life sucks. It's not only unpleasant but boring and extremely frustrating. I hope very much that the acupuncture appointment I have to run off to ten minutes ago will help; either the one I had on Sunday didn't do much or I'd have been howling without it. ETA: and I'm a fucking idiot because the bloody appointment was for 4:15, not 4:45, so I'm SOL and forfeit the free appointment credit (this was already rescheduled from yesterday afternoon when I was going to be too late to get there in the miserable pouring rain because I couldn't drag my ass out of the shower).
My main sources for discovering new music are 1. folk festivals, 2. fandom (mostly vids and mixes/playlists but also other fannish interaction), 3. film & tv soundtracks, and 4. other. Other is usually conversations outside of fandom or being near a radio, but the otherest other happened yesterday when I went to Value Village to drop off three bags of clothes I don't wear and shop for one bag of clothes I will. I found a me-sized black t-shirt with some feathers and the words "The Balconies" on it and deduced, correctly, that this was a band I'd never heard of (also there were actually two of the same shirt in the same size, apparently unworn, so plausibly leftover merch). I decided I'd look them up when I got home and I did and they're great. Remind me some of Die Mannequin (who I know because of Hard Core Logo 2/the Bruce McDonald creative cluster) and Halestorm (who I know because of--I had to wrack my brain to remember this--author notes on an unfortunately apparently deleted Game of Thrones rock band AU that cited a Halestorm song as basis for one played by Brienne and Sansa and Arya and Margaery's band), insofar as all are woman-fronted alternative/hard rock bands with punk and metal influences.

As part of Operation: Be Less Anaemic, I've been looking for more ways to get iron-rich foods into my face. Tahini, in particular, has already yielded two successful experiments: toasted raisin bagel with tahini and honey (delicious but sooooo messy) and vegan macaroni thing (cooked macaroni, miso paste, tahini, mustard powder, some non-dairy milk if it's not cheese-saucey enough, splash of lemon juice, nutritional yeast, lentils; green peas optional).
This week has been a week of agony. Going through painkillers and tiger balm at alarming rates. Stupid connective tissue.

I've watched a bunch of this year's Festivids and enjoyed them but the two that have made me go "SHUT UP THIS VID IS IMPORTANT" are "White Telephone" (Halloween series, non-remakes), because it highlights why, despite its truly ridiculous title, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a really fascinating and I think important contribution to the horror genre because [insert dissertation-length ramble about slasher/stalker/serial killer movies as a site of entanglement of violence and sex and Georges Bataille and final girls and the madonna-whore problem and non-fictional trauma survivors and what happens after the credits roll and Jamie Lee Curtis' career and the epistemological and ontological differences between the Halloween films of the 1970s-90s and Rob Zombie's 00s reboots and the phenomenon of horror remakes and franchise reboots more generally and the place and influence of Halloween in the phylogeny of horror cinema and and and], and "I'll Be There for You" (Pit Bulls and Parolees), because PUPPIES.
One of my dear local friends just published a novel called The March North. I haven't read the published version yet but I read the rough draft (and the draft of the book that comes after it) and feel I can safely say that it is an excellent story.
front cover of The March North

Author's description reads "Egalitarian heroic fantasy. Presumptive female agency, battle-sheep, and bad, bad odds." If that's not enough to pique your interest, I will expand: The March North and the Commonweal series it launches take epic fantasy tropes, set them on fire, and juggle them, all while walking on a tightrope slung between whimsy and a solidly material and pragmatic sort of realism, and whistling. This first book in particular is designed as a trap to lure fans of more traditional military SFF into caring about the characters and the world, but those aspects (character- and world-building) are present and engaging enough that readers who don't care much for or about military anything have just as much to latch onto (the second book will have even more of this, plus experiments in magical pedagogy).

Rather than your too-typical medieval Europe-but-with-dragons high fantasy setting, the Commonweal series posits the emergence of a radically egalitarian society in a world where powerful sorcerers have been fighting and screwing around with their environments for hundreds of thousands of years, destroying and enslaving and weaponizing and reshaping landscapes and lifeforms with all the creativity you'd expect from millenia of batshit/lonely/paranoid wizards; a culture that values consent and agency above all else and has discovered that magic worked cooperatively is stronger than the sum of its parts, and needs every tool at its disposal to scratch out a habitable territory between all the "weeds" (weaponized organisms) and expansionist totalitarian regimes and nameless horrors from beyond your worst nightmare. The March North chronicles the efforts of a regional battalion of the Line (the Commonweal's version of an army) to deal with one such threat, and the beginnings of what happens after.

IMHO the series has all the makings of an excellent Yuletide fandom. The writing is memorable, witty, and detail-rich, and the cast of characters is exceptionally diverse, with folks of vastly different histories, gender expressions, ages, species, sexualities, and magical aptitudes all treated with fondness and respect (my favourite character is obviously Halt--the extremely powerful and incredibly ancient sorcerer who has reigned as dark lord over a substantial territory for a thousand years at least once and who gives demons the justified heebiejeebies, but who looks to most eyes like somebody's sweet little grandmother, riding around on the back of a giant sheep named Eustace with knitting bag and tea service perpetually at the ready--but pretty much everybody with a name is delightful). It's a bit like Welcome to Night Vale, actually, insofar as it is concerned with a diverse community working together to survive a weird and horrific milieu that from their perspective is entirely normal. The librarians are less likely to slaughter you.

Plus the e-book is staggeringly cheap so, y'know. The odds of you regretting buying it are slimmer than those for the success of the West Wetcreek Wapentake.
Apparently it's time for the "ten most popular fanworks by hitcount" thing again? I didn't do it last year, probably because I was in Texas at the time, so I have no data for comparison. Also limiting this to fic because I don't post other stuff to AO3 (yet) but AO3 is the easiest gauge I have, and because I'm fairly certain that none of my non-fic fanworks are even near as viewed as these ten.
stuff wot I wrote, for the curious )

And while I'm linking to stuff on the AO3, here is an unbelievably precious and delightful, not to mention laugh-out-loud hilarious, story (by someone other than me) about living with people, domesticity, found family, disobedient brain-mouth circuits, and robots: Some Things Shouldn't Be a Chore. And while you're there, check out sabinelagrande because sabinelagrande is a synonym for awesome.
YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT! Somebody ([personal profile] jessalae) made me a preeeesent! Well, I suppose it's not technically a present because I commissioned it in a fandom fundraiser (I'm a patron of the arts!), but IT IS AWESOME NONETHELESS. It's called Multiverse Criminology and it is a Community/Fringe crossover in which Evil!Abed and Troy create a Fringe event crossing into the Redverse, and are promptly rounded up by Altlivia & crew (including Altstrid, wonderful Altstrid), and it is pretty much perfect. The first sentence made me laugh out loud and it rolls along from there.

With that important bit of squee out of the way, I shall move on to the double crux (crotch?) of this post, to whit: falling into Avengers Movieverse fandom and my big shiny crush on Jeremy Renner, with many helpful videos and links, mostly about The Unusuals I LOVE THE UNUSUALS )

I think it's time for more icons. There, icon'd.
First things first: It's here it's here it's here it's here! [community profile] festivids! For the restavids! The masterlist of this year's vids is here, and you can use the tag sidebar to navigate this and previous years. I've got lots more I want to say about this year's vids (patterns in source and song choices, recs, etc.), but for now I'm going to stick to squeeing about MY TWO GIFT VIDS! I had no idea what to expect, after my requests went up for pinch-hitters twice before deadline, but I ended up receiving two lovely shiny vids all for my very own. They are, alphabetically by source and title, Fearless (Red), a gorgeously dreamy Ivan/Victoria vid (hearts, glowing hearts forever), and New In Town (Whip It), which is just, EEEEE, ear-to-ear grins, everything I love about that wonderful film boosted by a deliciously zippy song. Basically they are both MADE OF WIN. Go, watch, and leave glowing feedback!

You can also have a go at guessing which one I made (only one, after all; the treat I was working on did not happen in time though it will get posted eventually), if you want, though please play along and keep things anonymous on the Festivids community until reveal (February 4th). The music's a dead giveaway, I think, and I basically announced the fandom in a locked post not long ago so it's probably not much of a challenge for those who've been following for a while, but whatevs.

Snowflake challenge is officially over, but I still have a few days incomplete that I'd like to wrap up. Meant to do this last weekend (when Day 13, rec some canon, so conveniently nearly coincided with More Joy Day) but got distracted with stuff like cleaning and STRESS and finishing my [community profile] ante_up_losers fic (and asking it how the hell it's managed to be longer than the one I wrote last year when this was supposed to be simple PWP) and WATCHING ALL THE GREEN WING (so awesome), which brings me to . . .

Day 12 do-over! Not because I regret reccing Miranda, it's still a great series, but as I said last post the available fanworks are not really that effective as propaganda (although there is now a new best vid, thanks to Festivids, that provides a much more compelling WATCH THIS SHOW! intro/pitch--it's clearly Gary/Miranda but not in a schmaltzy way and it's got lots of Miranda+Stevie BFFs and some key Clive, Penelope, and Tilly moments too, and a great happy chosen-family-of-weirdos vibe overall, and I highly recommend it). Green Wing, for all that it too really must be experienced to be believed because it is revolutionary comedy awesome, is easier to appreciate in small, out-of-context portions. A stratigraphically rich (in Julian Rhind-Tutt's word, "levular") masterpiece of television created by Victoria Pile and other veterans of Smack the Pony (awesome sketch comedy made mostly by women) a genre hybrid that's as much hospital drama, but with as little medicine as possible while still making full use of the setting (filmed in two actual, operating hospitals, btw, shot almost guerilla-style around actual staff and patients going about their business) and sketch show full of sudden surreal digressions and random events as it is VERY after-the-watershed sitcom (ruder and less kind than Miranda, in every regard), shot mostly in long steadycam takes that speed up and slow down to emphasize body language, mask corpsing, and cover cuts between takes, with lots of improv and a fearless cast (especially Mark Heap, wow, and Pippa Haywood and Michelle Gomez and really everybody, but especially Mark Heap). The plots, if you try to describe them, are pure soap opera, but the ways the (mostly immature well beyond the poor communication skills regular hospital dramas seem to demand and in one way or another severely dysfunctional) characters get themselves into and out of and respond to the situations are ridiculously original and sometimes just ridiculous (Sue White WTFBBQ), such that it can produce both a slew of intensely 'shippy vids (mostly involving Caroline, Guy, and/or Mac; my favourite so far for editing and preserving the energy of the show is Mr. Brightside) as well as, well, this (the [ profile] futuresoon vid of much kinetic hilarity that [personal profile] petra recced for Day 12 that first piqued my interest). As for fic, the talent pool is so far both broader and deeper than for Miranda in terms of AO3 entries; I looked at all 44 stories (yet ruled out reading all 22 Twitch City entries as being too many last week, no I don't know what is wrong with me but I'll correct that later) and my favourites are probably Medical Research (despite squicky "seduction using teen mag advice" premise; surprisingly sweet Boyce/Statham with some very clever touches), Are You Coming? (among the funniest of the many Guy/Mac entries), Two Guys in a Bar (among the most eloquently and sweetly poignant Guy/Mac entries), and Misty Watercolor Memories (among the tenderest post-finale Guy/Caroline\Mac stories--spoilers, obviously).

Other things that may be of interest:
The Multi-Fandom Cuddling Meme 2: Cuddle Harder
The Bechdel Test Comment Ficathon Episode II
Image of unwrapped, multicolored condoms, in rows, facing up. Text on image: Fandom Supports Scarleteen. Sex Ed for the real world.
Fandom Supports Scarleteen!
[dw community profile] scarleteenfans has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998. Countless members of various fandoms have used information from Scarleteen when making fanworks, as well as in our own lives. They were there when we needed them. Now they need us.
Offer or bid on fanworks to support the best sex ed site on the web!

Auction closes January 23rd! Get your bids in now!

And now my asshole neighbours are attempting to hotbox the house again and my closed vents are doing fuck-all to stop it and I have to try to knock myself out with valerian root because I don't have the spoons to go anywhere else.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2012 02:56 pm)
Snowflake Day 11
In your own space, ask for recs. Something as simple as "I like XYZ (where XYZ is a kink, a pairing, a trope, etc) - please rec me some." Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I'd like recs for vids and fanmixes with no stipulations except that they not be all about how getting wasted and/or staying in manipulative/abusive relationships is unironically OSSUM (it's not)--critical satire vids are okay--and I'd like recs for fic and other things that are about negotiating kinky or poly or ace or actually really any kind of relationships. My love for negotiation is really big right now. Or about knitting or board/card games or yoga and stuff like that, that'd be good too. Fandoms: whatever. You can see the list of fandoms I've written in at the AO3 but the numbers don't really reflect dabbling vs. abiding loves, and I read outside 'my' fandoms anyway, so. If you say it's good I'll try it out.

I also completed Day 9 (create a fanwork) properly with a little Flashpoint werewolf story for [personal profile] omens' wishlist, here.
Remember the other day when I was a-squeeing over White Collar and how I ship it six ways from Sunday and wanted to write Neal drawing Peter and Elizabeth into polyamory? Wouldn'tcha know it, I just read my first WC (unfortunate acronym is unfortunate. . .) fic and it is not exactly that (same principals, different instigation). It is, however, FANBLOODYTASTIC: [ profile] shaenie's Contractual Obligations: A Love Story in Three Traffic Lights, and you should read it immediately. If you haven't been watching White Collar you should read the story anyway and then catch up.
Also, while looking for icons I happy-accidentally found some pictures of Bomer wearing glasses which, yeah. Works for me.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2009 09:12 pm)

Leave prompts, reply to prompts, leave feedback. It'd be nice to see more fandoms represented here, though I'm as guilty as anyone of prompting/writing narrowly these days.
My reaction to the big scary commotion-causing Heroes spoilers: "Meh."

cut cuz I'm polite like that (also, because I promised, more better-than-canon fic recs, mostly/sorta Elle/Sylar) )

And then there's my new heroinfandom, Leverage!

If you haven't seen Leverage yet, I recommend it. I've heard it called a reverse procedural (because it is about committing crimes, not solving them) and likened to Robin Hood and the A Team (because it is about robbing the rich and corrupt and giving to the poor and suffering; it's also quite like Hustle in this and other ways). The first series has concluded and the next will start this summer; I've really enjoyed what they've done so far and look forward to what may come next. It stretches plausibility as badly as a CSI franchise and there've been some painful-to-watch moments (how is Nate's massive inoperable manpain not fatal?), but also some really gleeful gags and character touches. The show's awesome is mostly localized in the three lil' darlings sneaking around in my icon: (from left) Hardison, Eliot and Parker, whom I find myself shipping as an OT3 simply because, while I can imagine pairing them in any combination, I don't want any of them to be left out.*

a few Leverage recs )

Still a few hours left to sign up for [ profile] apocalyptothon, if you haven't already.

*I'm the same way with Annie, George and Mitchell on BBC's Being Human, which I also highly, highly recommend. It is about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire sharing a house in Bristol, but a million times better than it sounds from that description.
Head's up: [ profile] apocalyptothon is currently accepting fandom nominations in anticipation of the next round. Scuttlebutt says a new round of [ profile] kink_bingo is in the works as well.

talk about NBC's Heroes + recs (mostly dark!fic, mostly Sylar/Elle) )

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I posted, but I didn't realize it was quite that long. I've got some little ficlets for you, which I'll post in a moment (pardon the spam); first here are some things I've lately read and enjoyed. Possible upside of my university being on strike as of today--depending how long it lasts I might have time to write?

Respite - series of vignettes over-crossing Firefly with Supernatural, QAF UK, Iron Man, House, Doctor Who, West Wing, X-Files, and BSG--the second and third on that list I don't know at all and the sixth and seventh I only dimly remember, but it's an interesting read nonetheless. Each piece makes a kind of sense and the character combinations aren't always the ones you'd predict.

The works of [ profile] johnnypurple - I've not yet read the complete oeuvres, but every piece I have read I've thoroughly adored. There really is something for every taste: from bittersweet drama (Forty Miles of Bad Road, Here Is Where I First Realized, Falling Backwards Off the Edge) to lolarious WTFcrack (For the Love of Red Braces, Sherlock Holmes Investigates the Diabolical Curse of Gary Oldman’s Moustache), often with lashings of sexy times (further examples: Transient, A Shift in the Air), excellent characterization and inspired premises--just check it out.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (beach boys)
( Sep. 21st, 2008 04:06 pm)
Blanket Made of Stars: First of all, let me be honest: I am not really "into" bandom. The music I can take or leave and I'm still a little uneasy about the whole "real people" thing (this from possibly the only person in the world who writes Zoë Bell fanfic other than Tarantino himself). But, a great enough percentage of my friends are deeply into it and I have been exposed to enough picspams, music videos and fics that I have a rough familiarity with the key players (at least MCR and Panic and I know what a Pete Wentz is). I think this much or more awareness of the genre would help with appreciating this story, but I don't think it's necessarily vital either. I'm not sure what I can add to the praise [ profile] liketheroad has been showering on it since before it was even posted, so I'll just say she's right. It's awesome--a direct recasting of a harlequin/Western novel, down to the book-jacket summary: A man of honor, Bob Bryar returned to No Name intending to avenge his stepfather's murder. But when his calculated anger damages the good name of his dead enemy's son, Bryar vows to make amends by marrying Ryan Ross. If that sounds a little off, take my word for it, it totally works. (I also know that this is not what I was supposed to be reading today, but I cannot resist cowboys, and while Emile Durkheim may have been many things I'm fairly sure a cowboy was not one of them.)

In other news (actually pretty much the same news), I do not want to be studying today. I want to be writing stories. Mostly pr0n. I want to finish more squares on my [ profile] kink_bingo card, and since amnesty's been called I don't need to really worry about following lines. I want to write the Regenesis necrophilia roleplay I promised [ profile] wilde_stallyn (for sleepy/unconscious prompt), CSI:NY Danny/Don/Lindsay predicament bondage (inspired by [ profile] eboniorchid's notes on the Midori workshop, for bondage (immobility)) or the continuation of This is Expiation (not for a prompt, since it won't quite stand alone, but I need to deal with the aftermath of that one and get them to snogsville), or I have three strong ideas for the wildcard square--either SPN possessed!Sam/Dean (consent play, very dark), CSI:NY Flack/Stella (foot fetish), or DP Zoë/Kim (vehicular). And I have all sorts of old, mostly-not-smutty stories to finish too. But no, for the next several months I have to spend all my time reading and channel my writing energy into papers, presentations and proposals. Bleh. (Bitch, bitch, bitch--I love school and I love my program, department and research area; I just don't want to do it right now).


theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
roses, bruises, 'bout your shoulders


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