July 30th, 2014
Seriously, this is why you need to be tuning into the weekly manga podcast: we have diaper bombs, devil forks, and a frank and serious discussion of who wore the mullet hottest in Bleach....
Why would you not what to listen to that??http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/20-shipping-shippy-ships/
Also, we distracted by shipping wars. Because: fandom. And, it turns out I have a secret IchiRuki shipper in my household (who knew?)
July 29th, 2014
Nana Spider speaks in riddles and rhymes, but Alex finally gets some vital information about her true nature: http://www.wattpad.com/62506189-unjust-cause-part-18-said-the-spider-to-the-dragon
That's right, folks, the newest installment is up on WattPad for your enjoyment. It's a little shorter than usual. My apologies. But this morning was eaten up by Mason's "celebration" (read: faux graduation) from Elementary School. Certificates were handed out, applause were applauded, and there was cake. I had to laugh though, because martial arts has kind of ruined my child. We haven't been to Kuk Sool in well over a year, but after all the belt ceremonies and whatnot, it's still very ingrained in Mason that you shake hands and then you bow.
So, there goes my child to shake the principal's hand and then he her offers her a bow.
Afterward, he kind of realizes he's done something a bit off, looks vaguely awkward, and yet, when his teacher hands him the certificate and shakes his hand, he does it again.
It was kind of cute, especially given that none of the kids of Asian descent did anything remotely like that.
July 28th, 2014
*throws up in mouth*
This comment was left on one of my fics the other day. Because I'm that kind of person, I re-read the fic in question and tried to determine what on earth I wrote that would have caused that reaction. The fic that elicited this remark wasn't terribly explicit, which is to say there was no actual sex scene a person might have gotten squicked over. There was a conversation between two adults about sex, and I suppose someone could have been upset since one of the characters is discussing these things with her childhood friend who is currently sleeping with her adoptive brother. But, the scene was intended to be all the awkward you might imagine something like that would be. Also the fic is clearly tagged for the male pairing, so if this person preferred the stories where the childhood friends get together, you'd think the tags alone would have been a clue NOT TO GO THERE.
What is strange to me is that someone felt the need to leave this cryptic insult/comment in the middle of a long-running series without further explanation.
It is all of four words, with two asterisks, absolutely no other context, and of course, it's been nagging me for DAYS.
This is why the idea of sporking
makes me violently ill.
I'm a professional writer. I've had to suffer the slings and arrows of Amazon.com reviews and fellow professional writers snarkily saying "less of Morehouse is better" in print. And, yet, four little words, surrounded by two asterisks, KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT.
Truth is, I remember all the bad things anyone ever said about my professionally published novels. A hundred people can tell me a story or novel or a fic is awesome, but even the slightest remark that implies there's something seriously wrong with my writing (or myself) and it will haunt me forever... or at least several days.
Despite the fact that I'm going to probably turn this moment around and around in my mind for days, I know I'm going to survive it. If I kept writing after the "Less of Morehouse" comment (which always makes me think of a playground taunt), this is not going to end me.
But it's really not hard to see how it could.
I mean, writers (and artists in general, I imagine) have very fragile egos (even if successful artists are also usually resilient), none of which is helped by the mercurial nature of our business. There's this sense that good books survive and sucky books die on the shelf. Nothing could be less true. Many an amazing author has withered; and many books (do I have to remind you all of 50 Shades of Gray or Bridges Over Madison County???) become best sellers for reasons that baffle many of the rest of us. Yet, when a career does stall or a book fails, the writer almost always blames themselves. Every bad word ever written about any of their books loom large. Every cliche they ever used is examined and found embarrassing and wanting and oh-god-how-could-I-have-ever-thought-I-w
When you're professionally published, however, that's kind of the deal, the dues you pay.
When you're writing for fun/pleasure.... what's the joy in poking someone? I guess like any bullying, it makes the bully feel bigger. I don't understand it. It's far easier to ignore the fic writers whose stuff I find subpar than to drag myself through it and then go to the added trouble of hitting comment and writing out some vague insult. I don't know, it's like walking up to a random person you don't know and whispering, "You're ugly." That thing we all fear is true.
What can I say? Random fic bullying: *throws up in mouth*
July 25th, 2014
Marvel is giving Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #1
(Duggan & Posehn/Brown) away for free, along with #2
I'll be perfectly honest, my Deadpool fandom goes like this: Vague memory of Deadpool from X-men.... [scrolling through Tumblr] Ha! Funny Cosplayer in Deadpool outfit! [more scrolling] HA! Someone reprinted one of his more outrageous lines from a comic book. [/close Tumblr].
Given that in-depth (not!) experience with the character, I can't say that I'm any kind of expert on whether or not "The Gauntlet Infinite" stands up to the usual Deadpool fare. But, it seems patently obvious that Deadpool is meant to be funny and scampy and more than a little off color, and these two comics totally fit that bill. Plus, there are... vampires. How can you go wrong?
Similarly, I really like Reilly Brown's art. It's old school in a style that appeals to me and the way that the Marvel Comics Reader app-thingy works means you get almost an animated-but-still-flat experience. It's really nifty the way that the art shifts through the action and the dialogue. Despite being a comics fan forever, I'd never before tried digital comics and if this is the usual experience, I'm all in. It was really cool. The opening part of The Gauntlet Infinite had a kind of James Bond film opening vibe to it that was both really beautiful, while being still very Deadpool (which is to say sort of silly).
As part of this free package, they're also giving away an Iron Man: Fatal Frontier Infinite #1
(and #2) as well as Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted Infinite #1
I will read them all, because: why not? They're free.
July 23rd, 2014
Yep, Mason and I are still at this... if you're interested in hearing the two of us talk about our favorite manga's current weekly chapters, check us out: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/you-are-my-sunshine-eighteen/
Also, I drew more Renji fan art: http://junko222.deviantart.com/art/Relaxing-in-the-Human-World-470045243
And now I have to run as I have many birthday presents to wrap for a certain manga podcast co-host who is turning 11 tomorrow.
July 22nd, 2014
So, the newest installment of my work-in-progress is up on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/61180773-unjust-cause-part-17-the-cleverness-of-birds in which tool-welding corvids stage a jail break.
I've veered off outline for these last couple of installments, but I think I'm pushing my way back toward the outline. Wish me luck.
Also, I need to make time tonight to keep working on the e-book version of this. Of course, being me, things are changing fairly significantly as I do revision. This was bound to happen. Ask anyone in my writers' group.
July 21st, 2014
I missed a lot of the excitement this weekend over WisCON's harassment subcommittee's decision
because we were in a small, resort town in Wisconsin enjoying our friends' cabin at Crooked Lake. I took some awesome photos, but the uploading thingie here on LJ is still being stubborn so I may have to point interested parties to another site. The lake was ice cold, but Mason, being Mason, braved it anyway. I ended up in the water, too, though initially under much duress.
But, because we were away from Twitterverse and the rest over the weekend, a lot of what needs saying abut WisCON's decision has already been said. I have to admit that I'm far less invested in this, despite knowing Jim personally (he was my agent), because I haven't been a regular attendee at WisCON for nearly a decade. It used to be one of my favorite cons. The ratio of writer-to-fan was skewed heavily toward the writer end of the scale and, at a certain point in my career, WisCON was the
place for me to meet colleagues, agents, and editors in a relaxed setting. I suspect that's probably still true, but when I switched to being a romance writer I felt less welcome, though never explicitly so.
So, everything I have to say about this is as a complete outsider. My only point is one of comparison. This year at CONvergence, I had a programming issue come up. I felt it was handled so professionally and swiftly that I don't even feel the need to rehash the details here, except to say that I wish that WisCON could learn and take notes. The programming head responded to my complaint within hours of my issuing it (even though it was the day after the con and everyone had every right to be off-the-clock, as it were.) Not only that, but they had a very clear and firm policy that was expressed in unambiguous language to all parties involved. There was a clear electronic "paper trail." When it seemed we'd reached an understanding, the programming person basically said to me, "I feel from your previous communication that you consider this resolved, but please let me know if there is any part of this issue that you feel is not resolved. If you feel it is resolved, we will consider this matter closed."
It was amazing. It was so professionally handled that I almost wondered if the folks at CONvergence were all required to take conflict management courses.
Having a clear, unambiguous policy was paramount to my feeling satisfied by the concom's response to my issue. The programming head was able to say, "CONvergence expects x of this kind of panel" and there was no, "but we will review this if y or z is involved." The hammer came down hard. In fact, it was so intense I was like, "Uh, I'm not sure..." to which I was given a polite, but firm, "Understood, but these are the rules and we're clear about them, full stop."
Granted, this is an entirely different issue than harassment. But, the fact that this was how a relatively minor programming issue was dealt with, it gives me the sense there are even more clear and firm policies in place for other infractions. They have a well-thoughtout harassment policy written in their souvenir program, for instance, though I'm not sure how well it would work for WisCON's clientele. That aside, JUST the way this was dealt with could be a lesson for the WisCON folks, you know?
CONvergence is much, much larger than WisCON. Not only is it on a significantly larger scale, but CONvergence's mission is very different from that of WisCON. However, I think that WisCON could take note. If they survive this particular misstep (and I do have to wonder if they will), I think it could behoove them to talk to bigger, more professionally run cons. I'm sure a con like CONvergence has to deal with police calls and all sorts of things that a small con might never have to, but I would think that, if anything, this whole sexual harassment issue should show WisCON that maybe being prepared for all future contingencies might be a plan, so that there are clear rules and consequences from the start... for the next problem that comes up, because there will be one.
So, that's my two cents. There are a myriad of other issues involved that I'm not going to comment on because I'm very much removed from the WisCON community.
With luck, I can get some photos of our trip up somewhere.
July 17th, 2014
If you've been awake these last few days (and hang out in fannish circles on the Internet), you probably heard that Marvel is introducing a new Thor, a female Thor
. She looks pretty awesome to me, so I'm not quite sure what has certain fans in an uproar. As a long time Thor reader, there is one single qualification in my mind to be Thor. You must be worthy of Mjolnir.
For those of you just tuning in, comic book fans will happily explain that Thor not being Thor is so yesterday. We've had a horse-faced space alien (a fan favorite, in fact,) Beta Ray Bill. We've had, I kid you not, a frog. All of those who welded Mjolnir before were WORTHY. So long as this person is, I could care less.
Different people take on iconic hero titles all the time. Do you even know how many Captain Americas we've had? At least one of them was insane, another had been a recently brainwashed super-assassin for the Russians. So, you know, in the average life of a Marvel fan, this kind of thing is very ho-hum.
I was particularly struck by what it means (to me, at least,) to be a Marvel fan as I was finally reading through the Entertainment Weekly article about the new Avengers movie, Age of Ultron. The article laid out the reason why the movie writers of the script decided not to make Henry Pym the inventor of Ultron. I read that and thought, like a Marvel fan does, "Huh. Okay, why not?"
"Huh. Okay, why not?" could be a Marvel fan's mantra.
How about we reboot the entire mutant franchise when a villain goes back in time to kill Professor X? Huh. Okay, why not? (The Age of Apocalypse is still one of my favorite canon AUs.)
How about we replace a ton of your favorite superheroes with Skrull? Huh. Okay, why not? (Secret Invasion. I was less sold, but you know what, this is Marvel.)
How about the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a super-villain? Huh. Okay, why not? (Dark Reign. Didn't read it, but am planning to try to collect it.)
The list goes on and on and on, and two thirds of my above examples are actually fairly recent developments, and don't even get me started on the whole Ultimates concept. (For those of you who aren't comic book fans, Ultimates is like Marvel said, I wish we could re-write some stuff, and the PtB said, you can! We'll just make it an AU fic, but because we're the bosses, it'll be canon because we can just make up a whole new set of titles for you!)
You know, it's like I tell new Attack on Titan fans--don't get too attached and roll with the punches. Most of the time, the story carries you through all your fears. Sure, sometimes it's stupid. But, Marvel has, what now? At LEAST 60 years of canon, some titles running weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly without interruption in all that times. There's got to be some stupid given the sheer vastness of canon. And, writers and artists can change mid-storyline, so Marvel fans have learned to cope in MULTIPLE ways. I mean, I'll be honest, for me, I've been known not to finish a story because there's been a major writer shake up (still don't know how everything worked out after Straczynski left Amazing Spider-Man).
My friend empty_mirrors
asked me how does Marvel deal with people getting older, and I said, "They don't." Given the mess of the above, there's really no reason to. Readers have learned to say, "Huh. Okay, why not?" when confronted by the fact that Reed Richards is stated in canon to have fought in WWII. Writers tend not to bring that up. Or, when they do, they get points for coming up with clever work arounds. Honestly, a lot of us long-time fans appreciate when writers like Bendis slide in a line for Peter Parker like, "Look, how weird can it be? I once had four arms!"
Because, yes, yes he did.
And that's the other thing Marvel comics are made for readers to come and go from it. New readers can pick up a title at any point and go from there. I've done it when I've come back to story lines. But fans drop out, new fans come in, old fans return, etc., etc.
And sometimes Thor is a woman.
July 16th, 2014
As I said, our MangaKast came out early because most of the weeklies did, too. http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/seventeen-came-early/
In it, there is a lot of silliness, accidental poetry, singing, and many, many spoilers (for Bleach 589
, Toriko 285
, and Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist 58
, which I keep saying was 54. There are also random Yowadepa
references.) Mason cries some real tears of feels.
So, check it out, if you wish. Mason and I continue to have far too much fun with this.
July 15th, 2014
Yep, it's that time again. There's another short adventure for you to enjoy up on Wattpad:http://www.wattpad.com/59880996-unjust-cause-part-16-a-dragon%27s-prison
There's a lot of magic happening in this bit, as Alex finds herself arrested for assault and tossed into a holding cell that seems to have been built to hold a very specific thing....
Sorry I've been absent from here. There's been a lot going on, and, for some reason, I was having a lot of trouble uploading pictures lately. I really wanted to show off some more cool con photos I took as well as me in my fancy new Renji shirt. Plus, this morning I was thrown for a loop as Bleach came out early and so I've been rolling around in the aftermath of that... like you do.
(Yeah, I just tried uploading again and got the same problem. It seems to say its uploaded 100%, but then never finishes the process so I can actually put the image in. Very weird and irritating. I had this problem previously, fixed it by moving things to dropbox and going from there, but then it fixed itself. I'm kind of being lazy about Dropbox because, honestly, I think I may have filled my free capacity and, I never remember my password....)
ANYWAY, enjoy the Tate thing. I'll be back with more tomorrow. Mason and I are going to record our podcast tonight, so I might put that up immediately after its done or first thing in the morning tomorrow. Thing is, when you're doing this kind of immediate commentary, it can get stale if you don't post ASAP. And there's a LOT to talk about with this week's Bleach as well as the new Ao no Exorcist (which you should be reading, if you're not.)