ughhh it’s not the seasonal depresh but it’s brainfogs galore.
Ever since I was at the farm, I had my wallet in a purse. I put it there the second-last day I was there, because I had no pockets in that outfit. I left it there to drive back across the state, because I had no pockets in the driving outfit either.
I know I had the purse on Sunday; I left the house to go get ice cream. I almost forgot the purse at the ice cream place, remembered it, got it out of the car.
I grabbed the purse on Monday. I had a separate bag with my laptop and my lunch in it. I thought, this is too many bags I’ll forget one, but I’m pretty sure I brought it home on Monday night. I know I had it, because one of my coworkers paid me back $5 and i put it into my wallet, I remember doing that.
Tuesday morning I went out to the car with only my laptop bag. Halfway to work, I remembered: no purse. Means no wallet. Means when anyone asks “going out, want coffee?” I gotta remember to say no, because I can’t pay ‘em back. Spent the day at work wishing I had two dollars for a coffee, because I’m sleepy and foggy as fuck, but oh well.
Got home today, Tuesday, put my laptop bag away, didn’t see my purse. Went out to dinner, looked harder for purse. Not in house, not in car.
I had to literally go to my Google Timeline to see where I’ve been for the last three days. No, I have not so much as stopped for gas in that time (and my Timeline would know, it’s creepy as fuck). So there is literally nowhere else my purse (and wallet!) could be. It has to be that I left it at work. There’s nowhere else it could be. It’s not in my house and it’s not in my car.
I kinda want to TNR the lot of them. Or, rather, I want to T them, have a rescue organization handle the N, and then give them an address to R them back to. (Except the kittens, who'd get rehomed, not returned.) With good timing the whole process wouldn't take much longer than a few weeks. But there's the iffy issue of setting up traps on other people's property....
(Plus the other issues of not having the time or energy to do any of this, let alone the cash. Can't save 'em all.)
Maybe I can put in a call to a cat rescue organization that does TNRs anyway. They might be willing to wade in and handle this. If they're not overwhelmed. (LOL. Of course they're overwhelmed.)
Also, the series ending of Halt and Catch Fire was seriously the best thing ever.
Also, if you don't watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (worst title in existence but great show), google "Let's Generalize About Men" -- seriously.
Slowing down re. Deadwood because I'm almost done with s. 2 and I want it to never end and yet I see it snowballing towards disaster.
So I'm not doing links again until I feel competent. I used all my competence for today in posting my Stage of Fools story.
But I am reading whatever y'all write, and glad of it.
I’m torn between excitement and terror at spending all that money, even though I’ve actually had the money saved up for a while so it’s not like this is an expense that’s going to kill my savings. I’ve specifically been saving for it, outside my regular savings. It’s just more than I usually spend on a computer, but hopefully the investment will pay off.
Thank you for all the buying advice. I’ve learned so many unexpected tips, too, about things to use it with and apps to get for it. It’s made me feel much more comfortable with this choice.
It arrives on Monday. I need to think of a good name for it :-)
Does anyone have a suggestion for a good password manager?
You can put toothbrushes or something in the mug
duck-satellite replied to your post “breaking things”
you gotta smash a plate, or a glass, or something else you don’t care about, real quick. these things do come in threes but you can divert the bad luck to a kitchen plate instead of a treasure
subversivegrrl replied to your post “breaking things”
Also, you can put pens in it?
subversivegrrl replied to your post “breaking things”
Two decades since 1997. I know, it’s impossible, but it’s true.
bedbugsbiting replied to your post “breaking things”
Oh no :(
HOW DID I MISS THAT IT’S TWO DECADES
HOW HAS IT BEEN TWENTY YEARS SINCE I WENT TO NORWAY FOR CHRISTMAS
I mean. I guess. It’s. Yeah. My cousins are dads. That was the 90s. It’s been a while.
I AM SO OLD
I am so hesitant to smash anything on purpose though, what if it doesn’t work? I’m such a hoarder I can’t think of a single breakable thing that I wouldn’t be super upset to break. I don’t think I can bring myself to smash anything. I’ll just have to wait and see what breaks.
I might try to glue it together and put a dried floral arrangement in it. That might work. Since I make those a lot, and all. I never make them for myself though, hmmm.
sometimes it feels really nice to just scroll and look at stupid memes
There’s a particular kind of relaxation that comes from not concentrating on anything in particular. And something like a Livejournal friendspage or a Tumblr dashboard is just perfect, because it’s curated content– people you know have chosen to write or amplify it– but it’s not organized in any fashion. You could make something like it, yourself, on the old RSS readers, I know Dude used to– subscribe to several sites with special interests that captivated you, and then just read whatever they put up every day or two– and it’s not entirely a different animal than newspapers used to be, with their news and features sections, but.
It’s a kind of low-key passive social engagement, and I just feel like it’s really important to the mind to just– take in information like that. I prefer online to the older types of this media; TV is too passive entirely, and you can’t readily skip to more interesting things when something you don’t care about is being harped on over and over. Newspapers are too finite; most of what’s in them is boring or ads. Online lets you simultaneously broaden your horizons and exclude shit you’re bored by.
And it’s really really important sometimes to just– take in new things without focusing on anything, laugh at stupid pictures of cats, skim depressing articles about societal issues just enough to keep tabs on trends and have reasonable background knowledge, and once in a while dig deep into an article on an obscure topic that just takes you away.
It’s hard to do that offline, you know?
This HaBO is from Mai, who’s been searching for this book for months:
I am not quite sure if this is a full-length novel, a novella, or part of an anthology.
It’s a historical book — the male lead is probably an earl or a duke of some sort and he’s married with children, but routine has dampened his and his wife’s relationship quite a bit. The man starts to leave his wife little notes to rekindle their love and I think these notes are about his fantasies or maybe he asks her out; I’m not too sure exactly.
I also remember that the male lead thinks a friend of his wife might be after her and that’s why he is so desperate to have her fall back in love with him.
Does anyone know this one?
oh nothing just venting about my goddamn roommate dude
Buddy. You’re the one who said “oh i can make goulash with that venison”. And then on Sunday while the meat was thawing, said, “I could do it in the crock pot, couldn’t I?” So when I said, then, we should save it for a weekday and let me cook this chicken on Sunday, because I can’t do the recipe I want in the crock pot, you agreed.
Now the meat is thawed and should be cooked. I’ve made chicken plus another leftover casserole, both of which I saw to on my own and had ready at a suitable time for you to enjoy. This morning I asked if you wanted to make the goulash for today, or for tomorrow. You acted put-upon and angry that I would ask you this. You don’t have free time in the mornings to make this. Okay, but you had free time last night. And if I’m the one making a crock pot meal in the morning, I get up early so as to have free time in the morning to make it, I don’t just magically make it out of nothing in no time.
“Fine,” I said, “then we’ll go out tonight, and you can make it tomorrow morning instead,” and this seemed unreasonable to you.
Well, you can make it the non crock pot way when we get home, I suppose, if you want, but it takes an hour and a half not including browning and chopping time, so we won’t be eating until like 8:30. And that’s fine, but if you weren’t willing to get up early to make it in the crock pot, or make it the night before and leave it in the fridge and put it on in the morning, or in some way take some responsibility and plan and make it happen, you should have told me that on Sunday.
I understand that your job is stressful. I also, reluctantly, understand that when i’m not here you only eat takeout. But these are not my problems and I resent that you seem to think that they’re not your problems either. Where do you think the problems that aren’t yours go? They have to become someone’s problems at some point. All I ask is that you think this through. There are only two of us; if you refuse to have it be your problem then it becomes mine, and that’s some bullshit.
((Also don’t give me your pouty passive-aggressive bullshit that the kitchen table is so covered in junk you can’t sit at it and have to sit out on the sunporch which is cold now, poor you, because guess what, last time I was home I spent two of my free hours clearing my shit off the table, and it’s still covered in shit but guess what, that’s your shit. I can barely keep myself together but I can expend a tiny bit of effort to try to get out of your way; don’t be angry at me that you’re unable to match that.))
In other news, I just wrote and deleted a writing rant, but suffice it to say, "start as close to the end as possible" remains one of the best and most useful bits of writing advice I ever heard.
On Thursday I had a big day out with my dyebuddy, J. We rendezvoused on the first off-peak Chiltern line train to London and made our way (not by the most efficient route) to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. A free shuttle bus turned up just as we stepped out of the railway station, which was jolly good of it, and I loved the view we got on the short drive, especially the last, elevated section where you're looking down across London.
The first thing we needed to do when we arrived was to eat. And oh my, the catering at Ally Pally is like taking a step back to the 1970s. We could only find windowless, underground eating places -with black tablecloths adding to the gloom - where the options made little concession to people with allergies and a preference for not eating meat.
The show itself was disappointing. For ages we genuinely thought that we were wandering around the edges and failing to find the main event, but no, that was the main event. It was just vastly smaller than the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, and vastly less imaginative, passionate or cutting edge than the fabulous Fibre East.
The one thing that made show itself worthwhile was a substantial display of work by Diana Harrison. I've seen a little of her work before (at BMAG's Lost in Lace exhibition a few years ago) and found it interesting. Last week, seeing a lot of the work together, and with the benefit of having done rather more printing and stitching myself, it made a huge impact. J loved it too. We enthused at the artist, signed her comments book, and I bought her catalogue from a previous exhibition.
The great thing is, even though the show didn't live up to expectations, we had a lovely day. We don't often get chance to hang out like that, the sun was shining, everyone is friendly and comfortable at these events, and I was on my feet all day (walked about 8km) without trouble from the tendons.
On the way home, looking at the trainline app, I noticed that at Banbury the train behind us was going to overtake the train I was on, so I could switch and arrive 20 minutes earlier than expected. It all happened on adjacent platforms, with no rush, and I was so proud of myself because trains and platforms and timings all tend to induce stress and panic. I love living in the future where I have so many tools to make life easier and minimise the fear.
On Thursday my new gardener worked some more magic in the back garden and it's now looking like a place one might want to spend time, even though his work is very much at the beginning. (This week he has been attacking the front and letting in the light - very exciting.)
On Friday I discovered The Good Place and didn't really stop until Saturday evening when I had run out of episodes to inhale. It's lovely. And smart. And darkly charming. And contains many actors I was delighted to find on my screen. I am more than a little in love with Janet.
I posted a story for weissvsaiyuki today. I still have four WIP that I would love to complete for the challenge, but I don't know if I'll manage any of them.
Title: One More Folded Sunset
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz
Pairing: Crawford/Schuldig, background Crawford/Manx
Tags: Implied/referenced rape/non-con, Implied/referenced torture, Alternate universe - canon divergence, Alternate universe - dark, Ambiguous/open ending, Amnesia
//Brad, where the fuck are we?// Once he was sure he had a connection to Brad’s mind, he opened his eyes. He felt safer that way.
//Schuldig? I wasn’t— No. That’s not true.// Brad sounded uncertain, fragmented even, in a way that scared Schuldig even more than the odd landscape and his inability to stop walking. //The hill doesn’t look that big, but it will probably take you another half an hour to get here. Things… stretch. Sort of. You’re being watched. She can’t hear when we talk like this, but she’s watching, and she’ll hear if you speak out loud. I’d come to meet you, but… I can’t. I’ll explain when you get here.//
Schuldig knew Brad well enough to know when he was lying. You’re not going to explain anything. Well, we’ve been there before. I’ll get it one way or another. He rubbed his face with one hand. Why don’t I remember anything to explain this?
The story at AO3.
( Spoilers are making unwise life choices like usual )
Nothing Like a Duke
Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford is $1.99! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and is currently being price-matched. Redheadedgirl picked this one for a previous Hide Your Wallet since she’s enjoyed the series thus far. Readers said there’s some great banter in the book, but wished the plot and conflict had a bit more oomph.
A Georgette Heyer-esque tale of high society in the glittering Regency
Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about Flora, but his plans are thwarted when she suddenly arrives.
Their attraction flares, but their romance becomes complicated when the sinister Anthony Durand shows up and threatens Flora. Every bone in Robert’s body says to save her…but he’ll have to learn that some damsels in distress can save themselves if he truly wants to win her heart.
If You Dare
If You Dare by Kresley Cole is $2.99! This is the first book in the MacCarrick Brothers series. Readers might be more familiar with Cole’s paranormal romances, but she started with writing historical romances. Cole typically writes Alpha heroes and this book is no exception. It has a 4-star rating on Goodreads.
Kresley Cole introduces a thrilling new romance trilogy featuring fierce Scottish brothers with dangerous lives, dark desires, and a deadly curse.
Can he exact revenge?
High in the Pyrenees, a band of mercenaries led by Courtland MacCarrick wages war for General Reynaldo Pascal. When Court turns on the evil general, Pascal orders him killed, but Court narrowly escapes and exacts revenge by kidnapping Pascal’s exquisite Castilian fiancée.
Can she deny her passions?
Lady Annalía Tristán Llorente despises her towering, barbaric captor almost as much as she does Pascal. Her inexplicable attraction to the Highlander only fuels her fury. But nothing will stop her from returning to Pascal—for if she doesn’t wed him, she signs her brother’s death warrant, as well as her own.
Can there be love between them?
From the moment Court discovers that Anna’s prim façade masks a fiery, brave lass, his heart’s ensnared, and he dares to defy the curse that has shadowed his life—to walk with death or walk alone. But Pascal vows that he’ll hunt the two, never stopping until he’s destroyed them both.
Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft is 99c! This is the first book in The Order series and right now, you can grab all three books for less than $3! There’s definitely an element of suspense, which readers liked, while others felt it had a lot going on in terms of the cast of characters.
Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead.
Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth.
Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down, and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. And the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help.
As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.
Burn for Burn
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is $2.99! This is a YA novel about three young women out for revenge and I immediately added this to my TBR pile when I saw it on sale. Be warned that there’s a quasi-cliffhanger ending, given that this is the first book in a trilogy.
BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…THEY GET EVEN
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes — and three girls secretly plotting revenge.
KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.
LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.
MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.
None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.
With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.
Today Tor Books is releasing Old Man’s War in a spiffy new “mini”-format hardcover edition: All the benefits of a hardcover book, miniaturized for your convenience! It’s available at your favorite bookstores in the US and Canada, and it’s no coincidence that it’s being released just prior to the holiday season. Stocking stuffer, my friends, and/or a nice little gift for, like, day four of Hanukkah. But you don’t need to wait for the holidays to get it. You can get it today. For yourself! And pick up several copies for friends! Distribute them like Pez! It’s the Covandu version of OMW, if you will, and if you get that joke, thank you for being a fan.
I’m delighted at this new mini hardcover of OMW because, among other things, the original hardcover run of the book, almost thirteen(!) years ago now, is actually pretty small: about 3,700 for the first printing, and about 7,700 overall. OMW really took off in the trade paperback edition a year after the initial release. As a result, the hardcovers have always been hard to find — great news for collectors, to be sure. Not so great for anyone else.
So, dear everyone else: This edition is for you. Enjoy!
cap_ironman is accepting prompts for its holiday exchange community prompt pool. Read more here.
"Native-Land.ca: Our home on native land". Searchable map of North America's First Nations territories and pre-colonial histories. "There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada (and many more in the USA) and I am not sure of the right process to map territories, languages, and treaties respectfully - and I'm not even sure if it is possible to do respectfully. I am not at all sure about the right way to go about this project, so I would very much appreciate your input." (From umadoshi)
Death of a Modern Wolf by J.B. MacKinnon for Hakai Magazine
Once feared, vilified, and exterminated, the wolves of Vancouver Island face an entirely different threat: our fascination, our presence, and our selfies.
This wolf essay is really worth a read. I've worked with similar problems here (and know many of the people interviewed for the article), and it really frustrating and sad. Fortunately, our local animal has so far come to a happier ending.
(On a related note, I'll post the quiz answers this afternoon.)
If it helps a minuscule amount, when you can work a project to completion without difficulty, it doesn’t actually result in lasting satisfaction. At least not for me. I still have an unending backlog of projects I feel compelled to complete – I just end up adding more to the queue. If they were useful items, that would be one thing (and occasionally they are), but yesterday I made crochet sushi. Because I HAD to use up that shitty yarn.
I mean. Sometimes I do finish projects too. But I feel like having a few successes in the face of the unrelenting Pile Of Ineffectiveness is really bolstering. Also crochet sushi sounds cool, so. I’m just sick of being paralyzed!
Relatedly, though, I do need to do better at organizing, because I have a number of completed projects that just now live in the bags I carried them in while they were in progress. Mended clothes I need to give back to their owners, painstakingly-embroidered things I worked on for years, components that were intended to be parts of larger projects– all languishing in plastic bags inside other plastic bags in God-knows-where among my belongings, ugh.
heartofoshun reblogged your post and added:
I know tons of people who can do that! And I really hate them at times! Yep! I can work like crazy once I am in the zone–but there are plenty of times when the zone is absolutely unreachable. Someone would have to put a gun to my head.
I HATE THEM ALL TOO <3 Honestly if someone put a gun to my head I think I’d be even less productive?? Sigh.
lieutenantbae replied to your post “Ugh. People think I’m better at sewing than I am. I have the basic…”
Holy shit I googled executive dysfunction after reading this because it was so damn relatable. I didn’t know there was a term for what I feel. I never finish ANYTHING, and I have all sort of crafting mediums, and so many half finished projects sitting around. I wish I had some sort of consolation, but I’m here in solidarity with you!
Well. May you have better luck figuring out what the fuck to do about it than me, at least. Maybe there’s hope for you.
This HaBO request comes from Julia and she’s trying to find a medieval romance:
I read this medieval romance about 12 years ago, back when I was a tween and my local public library still had their romance novels in one spot: the very back of the Adult Fiction section. I do not remember character names or the author, sadly. Here’s what I remember:
– Book was probably set in the 1300s.
– Heroine finds out her older sister has died and their father pulls her out of a convent to marry the hero in her sister’s place. I think the sister’s name was Sibylla, or some form of the name, but it may have been the heroine’s name instead.
– There’s a big spiel about spouses sleeping naked together. Heroine is nervous about this but hero assures her he’s not going to do anything until she’s more comfortable. Though I’m convinced he taught her the proper way to spoon.
– I remember a large battle at the end, where the hero’s helmet flies off during a duel with someone, probably the villain. I also think the heroine was either pregnant at this point or is giving birth while this is going on.
– The author had a “Historical Notes” section at the end. I think she used part of it to explain politics, how the hero’s helmet fell off during his duel, and say that “yes, medieval spouses slept naked”.
– I know there was an inside cover, and I think dark fuchsia was…incredibly prominent. It may have been a giant bed with dark fuchsia sheets. The fuchsia may have been on the cover as well.
Hey, you know how irritated you get when your internet access goes down? Elizabeth Bonesteel gets you. And so does her latest novel, Breach of Containment. She’s here to explain — provided your connection doesn’t suddenly go out…
We live in the woods, and that means, among other things, we have the crappiest internet service in the state*.
(*This almost certainly isn’t true. I’ve heard rumors there are towns in the western part of the state that still rely on dialup. I keep hoping that’s an ugly rumor spread by Verizon to keep us all compliant and grateful.)
People in town rely on a mish-mash of solutions. Ours is a T1 line. It’s slow (1.5 Mb up/down), and when it drops it drops for days. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of seeing Netflix give up the ghost, and then pulling up your web browser to see that progress bar just…stall.
It amazes me how much I’ve come to depend on the net—not just for news and cat videos, but for a sense of connection to the rest of the world. When the line goes down, it’s so easy to imagine there’s nothing out there at all anymore—that the silence will go on forever, and we’ll sit here alone in the woods, never discovering what’s happened to the rest of the world.
Within my lifetime, society has become dependent on instant communication.
Breach Of Containment is set roughly a thousand years in the future, where we’ve colonized a (still pretty damn small) part of the galaxy. Despite the distances, everything is elaborately connected. In addition to a network of government and military communications channels, all monitored and encrypted, there are entirely unregulated data streams over which both reliable and unreliable information fly unfettered. Most of my characters live aboard Galileo, a military starship, and they’re never disconnected from the officers giving orders. Neither are they ever free of consequences when they get creative about interpreting those orders (which happens far more often than it should).
At one point, as I was assembling this book, I thought: what if all that gets cut off? What if I dump them in the soup, and sever their access to intelligence, orders, even news of their families?
Structurally, that idea both simplified and complicated the plot. Breach Of Containment is, in many ways, your traditional are-we-preventing-or-starting-a-war adventure story. Galileo is working in an atmosphere of uncertainty and deceit at this point: some of their orders are legit, some are distractions designed to keep them out of the way of internal government intrigue, and they don’t always know which are which. When the communication channels back to Earth are lost, it suddenly stops mattering which commanding officer is trustworthy and which is a seditious traitor. Losing communications meant my characters didn’t need to waste time figuring out whether or not a bunch of tangential folks we don’t care about are on the right side or not.
But severing communications also let me play with people’s heads, and it’s no secret I love the messy character stuff. I’ve got three principals at this point, and Breach Of Containment begins with all of them stretched thin. Elena, formerly Galileo’s chief of engineering, has been out of the Corps for a year, and is feeling rootless and without purpose. Greg, Galileo’s captain, has been dutifully following orders, but is feeling less and less like his years of service have resulted in making any substantive difference for real people. Jessica, Greg’s now-seasoned second-in-command, sees most clearly the tightrope they’re walking between following potentially erroneous orders and dealing with a massive conspiracy that is almost certainly beyond their ability to stop.
Basically, I made sure everybody was tense and cranky, and then I cut their T1 line.
On top of that, I put them on a timer. There’s an armada headed toward Earth, and the big question is whether they’re intending to help, or to invade the vulnerable planet while nobody can warn them. And the only sources of information my happy crew has got? A retired Admiral who’s a gray-hat at best, a rival government’s starship and her relentlessly cheerful captain, and a nervous emissary who’s delivered a cryptic message that she seems convinced makes perfect sense. (Oh, and a talking box. I always forget the talking box.)
When you have no news and you can’t Google, how do you make your decisions?
Here in the real world, I didn’t have a smartphone until last December. (I’m not a Luddite. I’m just cheap.) Since then, the T1 outages have been far less unnerving. It’s comforting to be able to check Twitter and verify the outage isn’t part of some apocalyptic event. Sometimes I’ll even waste some data on a cat video. But every time, in that few seconds before my Twitter feed comes up, I feel that disorienting sense of being unmoored from the rest of the world. It’s not a great state of mind in which to make important decisions…but it’s not a bad catalyst for a plot.
I also think that can't be as true as it feels, because I also finally finished reading K.B. Spangler's Stoneskin (which was wonderful, and I'm really excited for the [as-yet-unwritten, AFAIK] trilogy it's a prequel to), and scruloose and I finally saw the first two episodes of Star Trek: Disco last night.
OTOH, I read most of what I had left of Stoneskin yesterday morning while doing the aforementioned waiting for an appointment, most of which was my own fault. Last month's appointment used up the last of the injectable B12, so I got a new prescription from Dr. Awesome and dropped it off at the pharmacy to be put on file, but then I forgot about it until I was on my way out the door to yesterday's appointment. Fortunately the pharmacy is right next door to Dr. Awesome's office, and I called in to get the new B12 as I started walking, and they got it ready as fast as they could, but it still meant I was late to my appointment (although at least I was able to pop in and say "I'm here! Sort of...").
--I've got a small heap of ST:D reaction posts from all of you tucked away in Memories and was finally able to start sifting through the early ones late last night. I doubt I'm going to do much (if any) commenting on weeks-old posts, but reading them is fun. ^_^
--I'm blanking on another detail about Yuletide logistics. I feel like in previous year's there's been a page (on AO3?) showing all the names of who requested what fandoms (but I think not connected at all to people's optional Dear Yulegoat letters?). Is that right? Am I simply missing it?
--My third year of "only read books (novels, anyway) from my bookcase of purchased TBR or things I've purchased in ebook" is almost up, and the status of the physical bookcase is...dire. I'm not literally out of room to put any more books on it (especially since the bottom shelf has binders of CDs and stuff on it, so the TBR only ["only"] takes up four shelves), but it's not good.
Between that and my wallet, I truly need to buy fewer books. (And relearn the habit of making purchase suggestions for novels with the library, not just anthologies and graphic novels, without getting back into putting tons of things on hold there. No going back to the days of juggling a 300 or 400-item holds list, self. *stern*) Emphasis on the "and my wallet" part, which means not simply switching to buying a higher percentage of things in ebook. (Even if ebooks are usually enough cheaper that doing that also technically means spending less money.)
As is usually the way, I feel like there were other things I meant to mention, but I now have about an hour before I have to throw on proper clothes and head off to Casual Job, and I need to use that hour to proofread some prose. Yes.
I’m on a run of destroying semi-treasured possessions lately.
Well, that’s misleading. It’s two things, and they’re not ‘treasured’, I’m just particular about objects.
I have this water bottle, and it’s an ugly water bottle and not very nice, it was probably cheap to begin with. But, and this is weird, it was my grandmother’s. When she was in a nursing home, she had this dumb weird pink water bottle, and someone gave her a beer coozie with a B on it (her name was Elizabeth but she went by Betty), and when she died my mother was like, well, your name starts with a B, here you go, and I did use the beer coozie on disposable water bottles which was great until someone threw it out and I was sad. But the water bottle, well. It was weird and ergonomic and hard to wash, but it went into my rotation. The fridge broke at work so I put water bottles in the freezer to make an impromptu cold pack so at least my leftover whatever for lunch isn’t sitting there at complete room temperature, but I’m such a disaster that I don’t even have an insulated lunch box or anything. I’m sure I own one, but I just put everything into a plastic bag because I can find a plastic bag.
Anyway. I put too much water in it and it cracked in the freezer and I didn’t realize until it leaked all over my lunch and desk yesterday, so. Well, bye, I guess, but I feel weird about it.
And then this morning I woke up because the heat came on (!!! well it’s 34 out, so I guess that’s not a surprise), and went into the bathroom and took a drink from the mug I keep in there as a tumbler. And then I set it on the edge of the counter, missed the edge, and it tipped into the sink. A fall of like, four inches? And shattered.
That mug was given to me in Norway by my cousins when I spent Christmas there in 1997, so it’s a decade old and quite lovely. I guess I should try to glue it but what will I do with a smashed-glued ceramic mug? Probably stare mournfully at it a lot. :(
Before I ever read a romance novel, I devoured Gothics by Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. When I was probably around twelve I found them on a bookshelf in our basement, and I think over the course of one summer I read everything both authors had written.
Gothic romances were and are the perfect blend of the creepy and the sexy. Usually set on a crumbling estate, the innocent heroine shows up (sometimes as a governess or poor relation or new wife) to meet the dark and mysterious lord of the manor/castle/whatever. These books were always told only from the heroine’s POV as she tried to piece together spooky happenings (ghosts, curses, diaries left behind by mysteriously dead former wives) while simultaneously fearing the hero and also wanting to bone him.
Sadly, there was no boning in Victoria Holt’s novels, but Eve Silver’s Dark Gothic series is here to rectify that. His Dark Kiss is the second book in the series, but totally works as a stand-alone read.
Emma Parrish arrives at Manorbrier Castle to act as governess to the son of her late cousin, Delia. Rumors abound that Lord Anthony Craven, Delia’s husband, was responsible for her death, but practical Emma dismisses this all as “stuff and nonsense.”
When she gets to Manorbrier, however, she realizes some seriously spooky shit is going on. First of all, the previous two governesses died under mysterious circumstances.
She overhears her student, adorable plot moppet Nicky, discussing her with the cook:
“I haven’t met her yet. But if she is like Miss Strubb or Miss Rust or…” The child shivered and hesitated briefly before saying the woman’s name in a hushed whisper. “…Mrs. Winter, then I think I should not like to meet her at all. And certainly if she is like Mrs. Winter, then she should go away and never come back. Papa could send her off in a pine box. Just like he sent Mrs. Winter.”
A pine box? Emma stood frozen, digesting the implications of all she had overheard. Clearly the child was frightened, and had quite possibly been ill-treated by his previous governesses. That he had suffered was a sad thing to be sure, but his trust could be gained with patience and love. So she worried not overmuch as to Nicky’s opinion of her, but the mention of a pine box for the unknown Mrs. Winter gave her pause. There was only one type of pine box he could mean.
A chill crept across Emma’s skin. It seemed that Mrs. Winter had left Manorbrier in a coffin, and by the child’s account, it was Lord Anthony who had put her there.
One of the things that’s tricky in a Gothic is making the hero a menacing and potentially murderous figure, while simultaneously making him desirable to the heroine and reader. Like a true Gothic hero, Anthony is darkly mysterious and handsome, and has a penchant for wandering around his castle with his shirt unbuttoned but tucked in. The Gothic hero sometimes intersected with (or was a precursor to) the vampire hero, so if you’re confused as to how he could be appealing, think about Spike or Angel or whoever Sarah McLachlan was singing about in “Building a Mystery” (ah, the nineties. Good times).
Emma doesn’t think Anthony is a murderer. He’s a devoted and loving father to Nicky, and he’s also very kind to those in his employ (when a maid gets pregnant out of wedlock, he keeps her on and also pays for the care of her sick mother). But there’s definitely something fucked up going on at Manorbrier. For one, all the other servants seem creepy and tight lipped about everything, like they’re all in on some huge conspiracy. Then there’s the mysterious Round Tower that Emma is explicitly forbidden from entering.
One day Emma is enjoying the fresh air when she sees the coachman, Griggs, carrying a bundle into the Round Tower:
From the bottom of the bundle dangled a human hand, the fingers curled like talons, the skin wrinkled and pale save for a terrible blackened lesion that marred the flesh, the center glistening wetly in the sun. Emma gasped and lurched away. ‘Twas not just any body, but a terrible, frightening thing riddled with disease.
Taking another involuntary step backward, she held up one hand, palm forward. Such a futile gesture aimed at warding off the horror that confronted her. She swallowed against the bile that crawled up her throat as frozen talons of true horror gouged her heart.
Griggs looked down.
“His Lordship likes ’em fresh,” he said. “Says it’s best for the harvest.” With a grunt, he hefted his morbid parcel, turned his back on her, and disappeared into the tower.
Now, any sane person would be like:
Not the Gothic heroine, though. The Gothic heroine is gonna wait until midnight, put on her flimsiest nightgown, grab a candle, and go figure this shit out.
One of the things this novel does really well is keep Anthony a darkly intriguing figure while also making him super bone-able. It’s a tough chord to strike, balancing fear and desire together, and going too far in any direction will ruin the mood so to speak.
Emma is illegitimate and acutely aware of what an affair with the lord of the castle could mean for someone in her position. That said, she and Anthony are drawn to each other with a delicious intensity. And the sex scenes in this book are hella hot.
One of the things that was a little frustrating, but also frankly a convention of the genre, is that much of the conflict could have been solved by Emma and Anthony talking. “Hey, why is Griggs carrying bodies into the Round Tower?” would be a pretty reasonable question to ask. Emma doesn’t often explicitly voice her concerns and when she does Anthony answers her in a vague and roundabout way. It keeps the mystery going, but it’s irksome.
That mystery is resolved nicely though and the clues as to what the hell is really going are peppered throughout the book in a way that the reader can solve it if they want to.
Now I do want to add a trigger warning. There’s a scene where a woman is in labor and in distress, and there is a frank conversation with the physician about performing an abortion (and how it would be performed) in order to save her life. This could be upsetting for anyone who had experienced something similar.
His Dark Kiss is also fairly creepy. It didn’t give me nightmares, but the horror element is sufficiently explicit that it might freak out more sensitive readers. Since I read creepy shit all the time, it didn’t bother me much.
If you’ve never read a Gothic and want to try one, or are just looking for seasonally spooky read, His Dark Kiss would be a good place to start.
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