The next chapter is in for beta, as well, so I am starting to get some momentum.
I have a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys one-shot posted, based on a prompt by fire_and_a_rose . Not part of the current story, "Double Jeopardy".
The story is called "Decision", and flips a subject we see a lot in the fandom on its head a little.
The problem is that I need to be writing Chapter 8, and this is more like Chapter 14 or so.
There will probably be some changes to timeline and minor details, but the major part of the chapter - the emotions - is laid down. Some of it clarifies what will have to happen in some of the chapters that precede it, so that's helpful, but I'd like to get Chapter 8 written to keep people reading it on ff.net happy. (Speaking of which, there's been no reviews, so I hope people are taking a holiday fic hiatus.)
Also working on a prompt for a friend who needs some distraction. I'd made a good initial start, and then ran into the problem of too much coincidence making the plot stupid. I found a better way to do it, but I need to push ahead on the story.
... AT THE END OF THE STORY.
I mean, I need to work on the part where they nail down where the threat is coming from, and fit in some N/F romance. Instead I'm writing aftermath of catching the bad guy. Not to mention, I'm now realizing that the timing I had in mind when I wrote the original snippet of the end is going to have to be adjusted.
Characters, what are we going to do with them?
Hi, my name is Danielle and I’m a recovering Anita Blake addict.
Like many, I really enjoyed the adventures of Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner. I liked the petite, feminist, ass-kicking, vampire-staking heroine who spoke to us in the first person, so you could more completely grasp how screwed up some of the situations and people were. I liked dark, seductive, intense Jean-Claude. I liked the police procedural aspect, the others on the squad, the setup of a society in which vampires, werewolves (and wererats, weretigers, wereleopards, etc), walked among us, the little hints she dropped of the wider world she imagined.
Up until about The Killing Dance (book 6), things went pretty well – tension was brought up, problems and relationships were introduced, and the Jean-Claude – Anita – Richard tug-of-war was keeping things good and dramatic. Things came to a head, somewhat, in book 6 – Anita couldn’t choose Richard, so she chose Jean-Claude (and the sex was HOT). Then, the sex-and-violence level started going up a bit too much, and at Obsidian Butterfly (book 9), a lot of people called it quits.
Since then, many of us have had ups and downs with the books. Narcissus in Chains and Incubus Dreams were pretty low points, but the books in general suffered from too much sex, and not enough plot. Aside from having too much sex, it wasn’t even well-written sex, and had a touch of “author working out her issues” to it.
However, I’m here in Iraq and the PX bookstore doesn’t have a whole lot to choose from. I can always hit Amazon and B&N.com (and I do, believe me) but I miss the whole part where you browse through books, and find what you want.
The last couple have been iffy, and I’ve heard conflicting reviews about Blood Noir. I decided to give it a chance.
My overall verdict: The book reminded me of when I used to enjoy reading Anita Blake. Not completely back to the beginning, but I did not feel like it was a waste of time or money.
-- Jason says what I think a lot of Anita Blake readers have thought – “The ardeur is the perfect excuse to never have to say you’re sorry.” LKH has used the ardeur exactly like this, to give her the deus ex machina to write Anita into the sex scenes while ignoring the way she had built Anita up in the beginning. Characters can change, but rather than do so in a fashion that would have allowed plot development, LKH slapped the ardeur into the story.
-- I liked the parts where Anita was bitching about always being seen as a girlfriend, or about her sex life always taking center stage – but at the same time, I wanted to tell LKH that it’s all HER fault. She’s the one who’s made it all about the sex. It was like seeing the old Anita peek through, and I think a lot of us would like her back.
-- Am I the only one who misses Edward?
-- I did guess that there was a reason Jason was such a lookalike for the twins before we found out at the end of the book. I was also waiting for there to be something more for the Summerland connection, because it seemed like she was building up to something, and it really didn’t go anywhere. It felt like she was trying to imply that there was more than just a little inbreeding in the Promise gene pool.
-- The drunk fiancée at the door – priceless.
-- The sex in this one was actually hot. No weird multi-partner sex scenes (on screen, at least), and as a bonus in my book, no really descriptive more-detail-than-I-wanted-about-LKH-and-h
-- Could we please stop describing Anita’s fashion sense – or lack thereof? And how she needs the men in her life to dress her properly?
-- Why am I not surprised that there is a vampire strip club in Las Vegas?
-- As a native of Las Vegas, I about died laughing over the fact that there is a white were-tiger clan in Las Vegas. Were-tigers would certainly have been an addition to Siegfried and Roy’s act.
-- White were-tiger strippers in Las Vegas. Cue more laughter. I’m sort of curious to read the next one, which takes place in Vegas, and sort of horrified wondering what she has done to my hometown.
-- Am I the only one who feels like Richard is a self-pitying selfish jerk? He has issues, but they ALL have issues, and he’s the one most likely to get others in the group killed. The whole thing about Anita’s anger being passed to Richard and that’s why he’s been such a jerk didn’t really ring for me. And now he has to get used to the ardeur? Just great.
-- More on Richard. I can’t feel sorry for him anymore. He wants to be miserable – or at least, he doesn’t want to NOT be miserable enough to work at it. He wants to blame Anita for being practical, for not depending on him because she knows there’s a lot of times she can’t. Richard’s not good at making a decision when there isn’t a good choice to pick from, while Anita does well when the situation has just gone to hell. It’s not that things don’t bother her, but she does what has to be done, and then tries to clean things up. Richard wants to call her a coldhearted bitch (and does) because it makes him feel righteous. I thought we would get lucky and she’d shoot him, but no.
-- The Summerland twin marrying the vampire’s wife, I did not see. That Anita was getting used, I did see. I hope something nasty happens to Chuck.
-- Richard does love her, I get that – but it’s an unhealthy love. She can’t be what he wants, can’t fit within the constraints he wants his wife/lover to fit. He wants to take care of her, but she doesn’t need him to do it the way he does it. The bit with Richard and the ardeur – I just don’t know how much of that was Richard, and how much was the ardeur. He wants her to be happy the way he wants her to be happy, not the way Anita wants to be happy. Jean-Claude, on the other hand, accepts Anita the way she is, even when she causes a problem. Hmm, which one should she pick?
-- I do think LKH sums up things pretty well here for Anita: Sometimes it’s not the light in a person that you fall in love with, but the dark. Sometimes it’s not the optimist you need, but another pessimist to walk beside you and know, absolutely know, that the sound in the dark is a monster and it really is as bad as you think. Did that sound hopeless? It didn’t feel hopeless. It felt – real.
So, Anita Blake is back on the reading list, but not on the buying in hardcover list. Maybe the checking out from the library list.
DV (who needs to get a reading icon for DW)
And now you see why I haven't managed to complete a book. :)
So, I'm sending my beta the next chapter. I hate when I get stuck and can't get unstuck. You know how some scenes are just vibrant and alive in your head, but you have to have the whole framework of the story? That's where I get hung up a lot.
As sin_after_sin knows, I'm also one of those obsessive character people who knows her character's backgrounds and all kinds of stuff that doesn't really relate to the story... but might. Not just the canon, but my own personal storyline as well. I usually know what has to happen along the way, although I do get distracted.
And there are those scenes that just come together in your head, even if it's only a moment of the story, that is Just Right... and then you have to fill in the blanks.
Not to mention how you always get the spark right before you SHOULD be going to bed...
But, it's at least partly done, and I can try to work on the next piece.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (by Seth Grahame-Smith)
As spoofs go, this one isn’t bad. I didn’t feel like it was a waste of paper, but I’ll be leaving my copy on a bookshelf here in Iraq – not something I care to keep. It delivered on what it advertised, and I'm pretty sure no one bought this for the serious plot or redeeming literary value.
1. It has zombies, in scores. I had to giggle a little at the idea of calling them “unmentionables”, but wondered if it was a deliberate choice.
2. It has a weird Asian-martial-arts subtheme. (Yes, they could have called it Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and NINJAS.) I could have done without it – I mean, surely the sisters Bennet could have been schooled in some English ways to kill the undead? There are muskets and such, as well.
3. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a zombie slayer. Like, a famous one. I must admit, the idea of a duel to the death between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth does spice things up, but unfortunately Elizabeth lets her live. However, her character is intact enough to be snobby about where she was trained versus how the sisters were trained.
4. The Charlotte Lucas subplot (getting the zombie plague, and SEEMINGLY NO ONE NOTICES. Except Elizabeth, and Lady Catherine, who’s experimenting on her with some anti-zombie serum that only delays Charlotte’s collapse) actually made me sad. I mean, Charlotte’s situation is bad enough – she’s a twenty-seven year old spinster (quite on the shelf) with no prospect for escape from her parents’ house other than marrying Mr. Collins. And then, she doesn’t even get to snack on Mr. Collins’ brains. (I know, probably impossible.) He hangs himself, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. It was rather sad, and didn’t play well for me.
5. Zombies do not get Mr. Collins or Lydia or Mrs. Bennett or Caroline Bingley – clearly, no justice here.
6. There’s an unhealthy fascination with vomiting and soiling oneself. Played for a laugh, didn’t get one from me.
7. The male-reproductive-organ jokes were a little better, probably because they weren’t as overplayed. Several references to Mr. Darcy’s balls (as in MUSKET balls, as well as during the infamous exchange at the ball at Netherfield), as well as describing “that most English part” of the men.
8. The Lydia/Wickham bit was much better in the original.
9. Mary Bennet does better for herself in this book.
The absolute best part for me? The “reading questions” at the end. I have to admit, I think the whole idea of including “critical reading questions” at the end of something that isn’t a textbook annoys me. If you’re going to discuss a book, just discuss it. Talk about what characters you liked, and which scenes made you really FEEL something, rather than what theme you think the author is trying to invoke. Talk about why you can’t put the book down, or why you rushed out and bought everything the author had written.
These ones are funny. They’re as much a part of the spoof as the rest of the book. Like question #7, Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality? (Okay, I think a lot of us have asked ourselves THAT one.)
All in all, not bad – but not worth space in the collection, either.
Normally I review things that I enjoyed (something that I have fallen way behind on), but now and then I read something that makes feel compelled to warn (and, if possible, entertain) my friends who read.
This is one of those times. Allow me to present the review of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy - Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan.
Friday night, I decided to start reading what looked like it would be an interesting book – one I had picked up while at home on leave. I hadn’t read an Austen-inspired book in awhile, and Sourcebooks is the fine company giving us all the Georgette Heyer we can read (in a trade format that looks smashing on our bookshelves).
It turned out to be a train wreck.
Essentially, it’s Darcy and Elizabeth crackfic, that got published. It was such a train wreck that I had to finish it, just to see what would happen, so I could share it with you.
Had I actually read the foreword of the book, I could have saved myself the trouble, because I would have read something that probably would have stopped me cold. The author, you see, had never read Pride and Prejudice, until she saw the 2005 movie. In short, she thinks the 2005 movie adaptation is the best. I must, respectfully, disagree. One actually did a good job of translating the book, using the dialogue, bringing Miss Austen’s work to life – and one just looked pretty. (Also, one has dripping-wet Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and one does not. I leave to you to decide the effect on quality.)
It covers the first six months or so of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage in 306 pages.
Issues listed in general order of appearance:
1. -- Longbourn a working farm? I could be wrong about this one, but I’m pretty sure Elizabeth was not involved in the farm part of Longbourn (despite the pigs in the house in the 2005 movie). Bonus cliché points for using the idea of Longbourn-as-farm to springboard Elizabeth’s general knowledge of the marital act from watching animals mate.
2. -- She uses the proposal scene from the 2005 movie. I prefer the original in the book, and the BBC miniseries. To me, there is more emotion in that scene with the lack of words, and their looks, and very fitting for the two characters.
3. -- Darcy saved himself for marriage.
He saved himself for Elizabeth even before he knew her. I can see how being around George Wickham might turn someone off of casual sex (Darcy is not a rake or libertine), but I’m not buying him as a virgin. I’m picturing him as the discreet mistress type. Plus, I’m pretty sure the idea of men saving themselves for marriage is a relatively new one. Bonus cliché points for having him learn everything he knows about sex from “exotic books”, and being an expert on the subject as a virgin.
4. -- There are way too many technical body terms in the book. (The author is an RN, according to her bio, which may explain some of that.) She uses the term “mid-sternum” when discussing Darcy’s chest hair (more about that later), as well as pectorals, groin (as in, “his groin reacted”), pelvis, and most bizarrely, “birth sac” (referring to a pregnant woman’s water breaking, in a little flash-forward).
5. -- Quote from Darcy during their mutual deflowering – “I am frankly being undone by the bliss I am feeling in your arms…I must slow down.”
6. -- She is definitely a little fixated on Darcy and his chest hair. (I seem to remember Colin Firth as being moderately furry, but not overly much. I’d have to refresh myself, if my discs weren’t in storage.) He has lots.
7. -- “Raw manliness”. Used to describe Darcy’s masculine perfection. (Followed by references to chest hair.)
8. -- Another quote. “Not an inch of her skin was left unfazed by his devotion.” Somewhat later, Elizabeth “discovers the secrets of how to please him” – while she’s kneeling in front of him. Am I the only one thinking “euphemistically phrased oral sex” here?
9. -- The author seems to suffer from a case of using words that don’t exactly mean what she wants to say. She doesn’t really repeat any of them, so I can’t justify the Inigo Montoya line here.
Examples are: Elizabeth’s hair “scattered haphazardly about”, “snap her bones facilely”, and "unfazed by devotion" above. I could be wrong, but none of these seems to really read right, although I do understand what she’s trying to say.
10. -- Cliché alert! Sex on bearskin rug. There is a fireplace. But it’s not a ski lodge.
11. -- Bad dialogue during lovemaking scenes. Lots of ellipses, fragmented thoughts, etc – the effect on me was NOT what she was going for, I think.
12. -- I can’t remember if “teenager” was a word used during the Regency…but I’m thinking not. (It's 1920s or 1930s.) There are definitely places where the language is too modern. I’d also need to check the history on the word “cute”. ("Cute" seems to be not too far off, only about 20 years.)
13. -- Darcy has satiny soft skin. (At least he doesn’t sparkle.)
14. -- Quote: “He loved her ardently and refused to allow her to feel any pain if he could relieve it.”
15. -- The couple is described as being “so devoted and enslaved to each other that the separations would be agony”. They’re talking separations of hours.
16. -- Darcy, oh-so-protective of his wife, deliberately frightens her while she’s learning to drive because he thinks she’s trying too much too fast. How? Not by something simple, like slapping the horses on the rump, but by shooting a gun in the air.
17. -- Am I the only one who doesn’t find “moist kisses” a turn-on? That sounds more like the kiss you got in eighth-grade from your classmate who couldn’t keep his sweaty hands where they belonged. I mean, I get what she’s trying to say, but the word choices just seem off.
18. -- There’s a duel. With swords rather than pistols, making sense as Darcy is described (and shown) as a fencer. However, is the term “short swords” proper for fencing terminology during this period? It just seems off. (I googled and didn’t get a helpful answer.)
19. -- The overall problem with Darcy’s dialogue? It sounds like a woman putting the overly romantic words she wants to hear in a man’s mouth.
The really scary thing is – they’re publishing another one by the author.
I have a shorter-than-I-planned chunk into my beta reader just to keep the forward momentum going on the story, and maybe a comment from her in the beta will spark my brain to turn out something brilliant.
I have some upcoming book review stuff that I'll try to put up today.