Daily Happiness

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:12 pm
torachan: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Busy day at work. My first day taking over the snack department from my coworker who quit (his last day was yesterday), so there's some extra work involved there. With my old departments I was familiar with the products and could make a good guess of what I needed to order for sales and stuff, but this department has a lot of sale items, a lot of sale displays, plus I don't have any idea of how much I need to order, so I have to look at past sales and that can be time consuming. A lot of the same items go on sale all the time, though, so once I get it down it will be easier.

2. We took a little bike ride this morning. Irene hasn't been out on her bike much in a few months, so it was nice to get out again. (I ride mine every day of course, but it was nice to take a ride together!)

3. She got a call from work today asking if she would rather be a cashier than work in the deli, and she said yes. She does like working with food, so that aspect of the deli would be good, but she was worried about dropping hot food or something because she has dizzy spells and sometimes her knee or ankle suddenly gives out and she loses her balance. Standing at a register will be better in that regard. (Of couse a job where she wasn't on her feet all day would be best, but maybe someday!) The only downside is that the reason they asked her is because it's for an opening shift and they want someone older and more responsible and all the people they've had applying recently have been kids. The store used to open like at six or six-thirty, but now they open at five. D: So that will be kind of a lifestyle adjustment. On the other hand, my manager has asked me if I would be willing to open some days and while our store doesn't open to customers until nine, someone needs to be there at six-thirty to let the janitor in, so if Irene is going to be regularly going to work at five, I might as well go in early, too.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] thebonesofferalletters has written "Safe Within These Walls" based on my prompt.  You know that motif I love where somebody swoops in and rescues an abused person?  In this story, the victim is a living house.  Aww!  I am filled with squee.  Also now imagining abuse victims as houses that are thought to be haunted but really just in need of not having rocks thrown through their windows anymore.  This story can be extended if people donate.

Call for Prompts

Oct. 26th, 2014 12:53 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] perfectworry is hosting a call for prompts in preparation for NaNoWriMo.  Leave some ideas and character names, get worldbuilding fiction.  If you boost the signal and anyone mentions coming from your link, then you get a character name of yours used in the story.  So go leave prompts, and say that I sent you!  There are some other perks and options available too.

#NaNoPrep Prompt Call

Oct. 26th, 2014 02:19 pm
crowdfunding: Ship with butterflies for sails, captioned "Crowdfunding" (Default)
[personal profile] perfectworry posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
This week, I will be hosting my first ever prompt call. 11,000+ words of fiction (or, 1,667 words a day) will be posted for free. 

If you boost the signal, I'll use a character name in my NaNoWriMo novel. Further details at the prompt call main post.

the best caramel I have ever made

Oct. 26th, 2014 01:08 am
rushthatspeaks: (signless: be that awesome)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Sometime last year [personal profile] jinian gave me a little box of caramels from a company in Seattle who are primarily chocolatiers and do caramels on special occasions. The theme of the box was 'mirepoix', and it had a caramelized onion caramel, a fennel caramel, a celery caramel, and a carrot caramel. I must admit to eying it rather dubiously.

I had to give away the onion one because I am allergic to onions. The fennel one tasted of licorice. I like licorice, so that was fine. The celery one was exactly the sort of thing you put in a box of gimmicky caramels to carry out the mirepoix theme.

The carrot one filled my eyes with a wild surmise as I started muttering things about why isn't this object in every store in the country how did they do this how can I recreate this I cannot have this only once in my life it is neither humanly tolerable nor fair.

It does not taste a thing like carrot. I took my version to a party tonight and asked people to guess the mystery ingredient. The guesses I got ranged from 'booze of some kind?' to 'nuts of some kind?' to, by far the most common, 'I have no idea but this stuff is amazing'. Carrot-haters will like this. You can't tell what it is even if you already know. The best way I can describe the taste is that it is caramel, but better somehow. I can't even really describe the direction in which it is better. It's just better. If this had been genuinely my idea, I would be seriously considering starting a small candy company right about now.

Carrot Coriander Caramel (makes about fifty bite-sized caramels)

4 medium carrots
2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil, not an oil that has taste
1 heaped tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 tbsp. butter
about 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup, or other corn syrup, molasses, malt syrup, whatever of this sort you have lying about

a baking sheet
two large sturdy pots
a bowl
a potato masher
a ladle
a strainer
a candy thermometer if you roll that way
a dish to pour the caramel into-- I have had good results with either a square Pyrex casserole, heavily buttered, or a square silicon cake dish, lightly oiled
wax paper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Peel and end the carrots and cut them in 1-inch rounds. Halve the rounds lengthwise. Oil the baking sheet.

Put the carrot pieces on the baking sheet and sprinkle the coriander over them. Muddle the whole thing with your hands until the carrot pieces are evenly coated in both coriander and oil and are in a single layer. Roast for 22 minutes or until a fork goes in, but not very easily.

When the carrots are cool enough to touch, put them in the bowl and pour over the cream. Make sure all carrots are submerged. Cover the bowl, but do not refrigerate.

I left mine two hours and I think it was enough, though longer couldn't hurt. Anyway, you can go do something else in the interim. Oh and oil or butter your dish.

Pour the carrots and cream into a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Simmer it about seven minutes, and then go after the carrots with a potato masher, not too vigorously (you don't want splashes). They will not entirely deliquesce.

Ladle the liquid through a strainer and back into the pot, pressing firmly but not fiercely. Set aside the solids-- they are creamed carrots, and can be eaten, with added salt and pepper, as a side dish at your next several meals. Melt the butter and the salt into the simmering liquid, and stir. Note: salt is really to taste, just try not to burn your tongue. Once everything's stirred together, take this pot off the heat and set it aside.

In the other pot, put the corn syrup, sugar, and water over high heat, and boil it stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then stop stirring and wait until it goes light golden, swirling the pan gently every so often. This will only be about 2-3 minutes.

Then add the cream mixture. It will froth up at you wildly; that's normal. Cook, stirring frequently, until-- well, if you have a candy thermometer it should say 248 F. But I do this by eye, which means a jelly jar of very cold water at my elbow, in which a drop of caramel should instantly form a soft ball. Honestly, though, if you want to learn candy stages by eye I suggest learning on jam, as the failure modes remain entirely edible.

Pour the hot caramel into the dish, cover the top, and refrigerate for at least two hours but this is the phase where I wandered off for the night and that works too.

The next day, or when you get back to them, butter the blade of a sharp knife. Score the lines you intend to cut along before going back over them to cut squares of caramel. Wrap each one in a much bigger piece of wax paper than you think you need, pile the wrapped ones in a bowl and refrigerate again until serving. You will wind up sticky to the elbows but that is, I'm afraid, just one of those things. Store in the fridge; they keep for weeks and they like to try to melt.

Call for Prompts

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:19 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] thebonesofferalletters is holding a prompt call on the theme of "Language and writing, BDSM and erotica."  Leave prompts, get ficlet.  Donations and signal boosts get perks -- in particular, 5 signal boosts and a whole free story will get posted.  Go prompt and link!
crowdfunding: Ship with butterflies for sails, captioned "Crowdfunding" (Default)
[personal profile] thebonesofferalletters posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
I'm doing my monthly prompt call, rather late this go around but still here

Themes are BDSM, erotica, writing and language

Poem: "Inside the Lines"

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:01 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by a remark from [personal profile] gingicat. It also fills the "primary colors" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo  fest.  It has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  This poem belongs to the Dr. Infanta thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Oct. 25th, 2014 08:49 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I am weary today. I went out and about doing errands and trying to keep one step ahead of a viciously black mood--the kind I've handled as much as I can, and the rest is living through it. My brain will go HOMG WHAT IF YOU ARE IMPERFECT??? DOOOOOOM!!! but I try to pay it no mind.

I invited all... three... people I know socially to pumpkin carving tomorrow afternoon, and then my roomies proposed more pumpkin carving tomorrow night. This is good because if no one shows up (no one having gotten back to me about it) I will still get to be social and carve pumpkins instead of being a tragical sad panda.

Also today I found a gorgeous cat scratcher for sale for $20, and it came in such a lovely thick double-walled cardboard box that I carved doors and windows out of the box and made it into a cat castle. It needs to be painted and outfitted with cushions, but the cat is already intrigued.

Yuletide!

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:27 pm
holli: (Default)
[personal profile] holli
This will be my tenth year of participating in Yuletide. I am probably disproportionately proud of never having defaulted so far.

Dear Santa: You are a rock star and I am wildly unlikely to be unhappy with your story. Things I like: adventures, inventive use of tropes, female characters getting cool stuff to do, pining (especially pining that is resolved happily), outsider perspectives, fish-out-of-water hijinks, found families, mistaken identities, secret identities, interesting worldbuilding. I am not fond of power imbalances, significant age differences, or noncon.

requests! )

Past Yuletide letters: 2013, 2012, 2011


yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent reading
Ben Bova. The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells. ©1994 but reads somewhat older in philosophy, probably due to its apparently being based on an older book ©1975 and 1981.

I read this book years ago and remembered liking it, but not details; happily, it has not been visited by the Suck Fairy, even though I have some points of disagreement with Bova. Bova is specifically concerned with hard science fiction of the type you would find in Analog, which he once edited, and in the more-or-less Campbellian tradition [1], which he sums up thus:
...at the core of every good [hard] science fiction story is the very fundamental faith that we can use our own intelligence to understand the universe and solve our problems. (8)

Now obviously this doesn't describe all the kinds of sf there are, but this is in fact a strand of sf. I like that Bova is up front about this, and throughout the book it's generally clear what his stance is. To take another example, he doesn't think highly of people who write tie-ins because he feels that not making up your own characters is a cheat, a stance I disagree with violently (I like fanfic, okay?), but he states his opinion clearly so you can navigate it as you will.

[1] I'm being approximate; I have some vague familiarity with the history of sf as a genre, but for anything specific I'd have to look stuff up.

The other thing about Bova is that he is most concerned with conveying craft, which is the teachable part of writing, as opposed to art. The areas he covers are character, background (setting/worldbuilding), conflict, plot, the specific problems posed by the novel, marketing (quite dated), and a catch-all chapter for ideas, style, and inspiration. He includes the complete text of four of his own stories and dissects them for the reader's benefit. I admit I couldn't stay awake for the first one, but I liked the other three as Analog-style stories of an older type, and found the analyses illuminating. The checklists at the end of each chapter are also helpful.

A note: Bova favors clear, plain style, which works well for this type of fiction and, apparently, this type of how-to book. I found his prose enjoyable.

Finally, my favorite anecdote from the book, on work habits:
In the late 1970s I helped arrange a science fiction cruise sponsored by the Cunard Line. Cunard asked me to invite half a dozen science fiction writers to give lectures during one of their cruises to the West Indies. We received free passage on the cruise liner in return for a few hours of lecturing.

We were quartered in six adjacent cabins. There we were, six of us with our spouses or significant others, with nothing to do for a whole week except give an occasional lecture and enjoy the cruise.

Not quite. If you had tiptoed down the passageway outside our cabins any morning, you would have heard the tap-tap-tap of portable typewriters pecking away. Except for Isaac Asimov's cabin; Isaac was writing in longhand. (164)

I know now that Isaac Asimov treated women badly, which I hadn't for years and years; but the anecdote's punchline is worth something nevertheless.

[personal profile] daidoji_gisei, I think you'd like the craft-orientation of this book, and I suspect it would be very easy to interpolate past all the stuff that is specifically oriented toward hard sf. (I mean, when you get right down to it, fantasy requires research too, even if you're not specifically researching science that way Bova exhorts the would-be hard sf writer to.) I got this out of my public library.

- recent viewing
Hellsing Ultimate (complete) spoilers )

- Sword Art Online II "King of the Giants." spoilers )


I keep changing my Yuletide offers (my requests haven't changed). I'm watching to see if one last fandom turns up, and I might offer that depending on if a letter turns up, otherwise I'm not going to chance getting assigned something with difficult-for-me requests. I'm currently at six offers. /o\ I can't wait until assignments go out so I can start reviewing source! I know, I know, matching takes time. But still! ♥
[personal profile] wneleh posting in [community profile] as_others_see_us
Another week of Anna Todd references! Rolling Stone featured One Direction Fan Fiction Writer Gets Six-Figure Book Deal by Cady Drell, and Emily Thomas wrote Harry Styles fan fiction could be turned into a film for BBC Newsbeat. For Washington Post, Jessica Contrera got meta in From ‘Fifty Shades’ to ‘After’: Why publishers want fan fiction to go mainstream, and, in “Fantasizing on the Famous” for New York Times, Alexandra Alter observed commercializing fan fiction can be a minefield, particularly when it involves a beloved boy band. And, for New York Magazine, Jessica Roy wrote Hollywood, fresh out of ideas since the Great Idea Drought of 1980, has been forced to systematically turn to online outlets for fresh content. Tumblrs become movies, Harry Styles fan fiction becomes a best-selling novel, and now? A single Quora thread may become a television show.

Geophysicists can be into fanfic (who knew?), Labyrinth, Gen Urobuchi Anime, Wattpad, Paul Horner, Bob Odenkirk )

Boston Globe’s Patti Hartigan wrote While technology and social media have certainly changed the book world, they have also created a burgeoning interest in writing and reading among the young-adult audience. “Reading is social,’’ Westerfeld says. “You can go online and share your fan art and fan fiction and predictions about the next book. Once you make it social, teenagers become exponentially more interested in it.”

In India: Legality Of Fan Fictions for Mondaq, AFAICT Zoya Nafis made sh*t up. Or India’s copyright laws are very different from the U.S.’s. Or both.

For Russia Beyond the Headlines, Alena Tveritina wrote Little Soviet girls dreamed of dressing as the puppet Malvina for New Year parties – in Collodi’s version [Pinocchio], she is a fairy with blue hair. Buratino himself became a brand and lent his name to a popular mineral water. This successful story has also spawned film adaptations, fan fiction and Golden Key candies to name just a few examples.

Finally, for News.com.au, Angela Mollard wrote the death of the book was greatly exaggerated. Yes, we may be changing what we read and how we read, but the book is the denim jacket of culture: timeless, relaxed, comfortable in any context. It’s adapted brilliantly to electronic devices, serialisation, fan fiction and social media in a way that its cultural counterparts can only hope to ape.

Lunch recipes for work

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:32 pm
omnomnom: (Default)
[personal profile] franzi1981 posting in [community profile] omnomnom
Hi!

I'm interested in what you guys cook for work lunch? I'm in the US for the time being and there's no canteena or healthy food option near my work place. We do have a microwave at work, but that's it. Eating out every day is super unhealthy, but I also am very unimaginative when it comes to preparing food...

I'm trying to see if Paleo is doing anything for me, but I'm not religiously following the rules. Trying to cut down the unhealthy carbs (no pasta :(), though.

ANY suggestions are welcome though, so I can move beyond salad ;)
[syndicated profile] yuletide_feed

Posted by morbane

The mods have said that the New Year's Resolution Collection of 2014 will close around the same time as sign-ups. That means that if you're polishing any final fics... you have less than a day to get them in, or it's next year's NYR collection. You can still make it!

Since my last update, seven stories have been added to the collection, in Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Baby-Sitters Club - Ann M. Martin, Dredd (2012), The Borgias (2011), Batman Beyond, Almost Human, and Mythbusters RPF.


continue_ (1190 words) by prosodiical
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Super Dangan Ronpa 2
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Hinata Hajime/Nanami Chiaki
Characters: Hinata Hajime, Nanami Chiaki
Summary: > RUN SYSTEM RESTART
> LOADING...
> _</p>

"...huh?"

Chiaki reboots. Not everything's the same, but it'll get better.

Girls' Night In (1710 words) by DesertVixen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Baby-Sitters Club - Ann M. Martin
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Mary Anne Spier/Charlie Thomas
Characters: Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Stacey McGill, Claudia Kishi
Additional Tags: hint of Sam/Stacey, Wedding Planning, Friendship, Claudia cleaned her room, New Year's Resolutions
Summary: Even Mary Anne Spier needs a bachelorette party...



Pieces of Work among the Rubble (1771 words) by wishfulclicking
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dredd (2012)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Madeline Madrigal
Additional Tags: Graphic Violence, Dubious Consent, Implied/Referenced Underage Prostitution, Backstory, Pre-Canon
Summary: Madeline lives a lifetime in the fall.

From the Embers (2249 words) by paperiuni
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Borgias (2011)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cesare Borgia/Micheletto
Characters: Micheletto (Borgias), Cesare Borgia
Additional Tags: Interlude, Side Story, Porn With Drama, yuleporn
Series: Part 2 of Slow Match
Summary: In the dead of night, Cesare and Micheletto puzzle out scars, survival and a measure of comfort.

Insomnia (1277 words) by tooth_and_claw
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Batman Beyond
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Bruce Wayne
Summary: A short meditation by Bruce on Terry, his Robins, and the events after Return of the Joker.

What Dreams Are Like (1623 words) by hoktauri
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Almost Human
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Dorian/John Kennex
Characters: John Kennex, Dorian (Almost Human)
Additional Tags: Pre-Slash, Thunderstorms, Sharing a Bed
Summary: John finally cleared out his trophies and Dorian moved in. Their first night is a little odd.

Why We Can Never Have Anything Nice (2456 words) by Andraste
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: MythBusters RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Mecha
Summary: Grant Imahara saves the world just like his friends. It's just that his saving mostly involves a socket wrench.


Writers are especially encouraged to write stories for prompts that were not filled during the main Yuletide run.

2013 prompts on AO3
2013 prompts as a text file
2013 prompts in a table
2013 prompts from pinch hitters who weren't signed up
Prompts and description for the Some Day My Fic Will Come mini-challenge

she acts as if it's understood

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:06 pm
musesfool: tasty cosmopolitans (we'll laugh and we'll toast to nothing)
[personal profile] musesfool
So I had planned to write today. Ha. Hahahahaha. Well there's still time I guess. I can do it now.

But instead I read some and I figured out what I'm giving as Christmas gifts, which is infused vodka, or properly, berry cordials, but I think my family will be more amenable if I call it fruit-infused vodka. *hands* I did the cranberry and since strawberries(!!) were on sale and they smelled really good, I did strawberry. I figure I will also do raspberry - I have bags of frozen raspberries in the freezer - and maybe blueberry pomegranate, though I am just going to buy pomegranate juice, because I am not brave enough to tackle doing it with the seeds. And then I'll just get cute glass bottles and that is that - everybody gets two kinds (well, if I get the 16 oz. bottles; if I do the 8 oz. bottles, then everyone gets one of each. I think I will decide that in a few weeks, after I've tasted the results.) and hopefully they can use them or they can dump them and use the bottles. It basically costs me ~$18 for each bottle of vodka and whatever the glass bottles cost, because I'd be buying the fruit anyway in some form or another (and I already used the one bottle of vodka I had hanging around that I never drank).

For the cranberry, I used this recipe, though in addition to orange zest, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves. I was tempted to try making simple syrup with honey and using that instead of sugar, but I figured I should test the things out the way they're meant to be before I start fiddling too much.

I did this one with the strawberries, and it's probably what I'll do with the raspberries too, though I added a splash of vanilla and a splash of lemon juice to the strawberries (and probably will to the raspberries too). For the blueberry-pom, I will probably experiment with 8 oz of pomegranate juice (or maybe 12 oz?) and a pint of blueberries, plus a splash of lemon. Maybe this is where to try out honey instead of white sugar? If I were going to attempt apple brandy, I might try maple syrup in place of white sugar, or maybe brown sugar. But brandy is more expensive than vodka so that is not going to happen.

Anyway, hopefully this all works out and tastes good enough to give away, or I will have to figure something else out, because ice cream is not feasible in my kitchen. In the past couple of years, I did it all at my parents' house, and they had an extra freezer in the garage. I barely have room in my freezer for my normal stuff as it is. Sigh.

***
muccamukk: Nala smiling. (Sinbad: Smile)
[personal profile] muccamukk
So [community profile] femslashexopened yesterday, and all y'all should go check it out, because there's 190 entries this year, or something unreal. Archive is here.

I got two amazing stories for micro fandoms, ones that I've been trying to get people into for years, which just blows me away. I love both of them to bits, and everyone should go read them OMG right now!

Title: Ties That Bind
Author: [personal profile] garrideb
Fandom: Dor | String (2006)
Characters: Meera/Zeenat, Zeenat/Amir, Saba, Ila
Rating: G
Word Count: 3,300
Summary: Three outside-POV glimpses of Meera and Zeenat as they settle into their new life.
Notes: Gorgeous look at what happens to these two after the film, how they grow into each other's lives, and how their relationship affects the people near them. I love the different points of view, and there's some really sweet poly bits.

Title: lose something every day
Author: [archiveofourown.org profile] Damkianna
Fandom: Sinbad (2012)
Characters: Nala/Rina, ensemble
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 8,300
Summary: Five things Rina stole from Nala, and one thing Nala gave her. Episode tags for 1.01-1.06, kind of accidentally.
Notes: The writing here is gorgeous. It captures the personality of the characters perfectly, and is one of the best enemies into friends into lovers fic I've ever read. Plus it's got great scenes from the rest of the gang. Love it.


I also wrote two stories, which are no where near as good as the above, but here they are in any case.

Title: A Touch of Warmth
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow (TV) (Jenny/Katrina)
Rating/contents: Explicit (contains a failed suicide attempt, depression, canon-typical violence, neglect of minors, and references to under-age masturbation)
Word Count: 3,700
Notes: Jossed by now, but good up to 2x04. Thank you to [personal profile] healingmirth for the beta.
Summary: Or, five times Katrina helped Jenny out, even when she didn't have a clue what the hell was going on.

Title: Stitches in Red Thread and in Black
Fandom: Les Misérables (2012) (Cosette/Éponine)
Rating/contents: Teen (contains major character death [Marius; plus Les Amis and Javert as in canon, almost entirely off page], injuries, and angst.)
Word Count: 700
Notes: Drabble sequence. Mostly follows the chronology of the 2012 film version, but has a few nods to the book. Thank you to Nenya for beta reading.
Summary: Glimpses of a life Éponine and Cosette might have shared.

"Seder Masochism" GIFs

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:35 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Nina Paley has posted two GIFs of Hebrew slaves in Egypt, one of men and one of women.  And look!  They're brown, with curly black hair, not whitewashed.  I love the stylized geometric body parts too.

Today's Yardening: Daffodils

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:24 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (tired)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
DONE.  Finally planted the last bag of daffodils today.  

*goflopnow* 
fox: yuletide:  gorey man with a tiny present. (yuletide (by Livia))
[personal profile] fox
Dear lovely new Yuletide author friend:

I always say it is marvelous that we've matched on one or more small fandoms, and if you write a story you like in that fandom that will be a fabulous gift for me. And that is always true! But here are some more details if they'll be helpful.

Things I really don't especially like in my fiction
  • RPF
  • character bashing

See so I think I'm fairly easy to please.

Further thoughts and things I like in particular about the fandoms I requested )

Happy Yuletide!
love,
Fox

(no subject)

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:18 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I have successfully yuletide-sign-upped! Well, assuming I didn't screw up my bucket offer again this year. I decided to be conservative and only offered 60 fandoms this time (...though it would have been 96 if I'd included my six requests and the 30 nominated fandoms that I'd already written or been gifted in exchanges.)

Anyway I'm not doing a yuletide letter this year out of a sad and ineffective protest against the increasing amounts of pressure put on both writers and requesters re: optional letters which are optional, but here is a repost of my requests this year, just for posterity:

Young Wizards )

Munchers )

Ashers )

Lucky Starr )

Lovelace and Babbage )

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot )

If there's anything else my writer needs to know, they have ten years' worth of YT under this tag to comb through, but really, it's all in the signup, don't worry.
cedara: (Trees)
[personal profile] cedara
This was actually quite good.

spoilers )

Vid: Salute (DCU)

Oct. 25th, 2014 09:16 pm
vidding: filmstrip + vidding with hearts over i (Default)
[personal profile] shinyjenni posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Salute
Fandom: DC animated (full source list here)
Characters: Many! See here for complete list in order of appearance
Music: Little Mix
Content notes: some fast cuts and bright flashes
Summary: "Athena knows the League could use more female members."
Spoilers: Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Dreamwidth | Livejournal

Polychrome Heroics sale is SOLD OUT!

Oct. 25th, 2014 02:57 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The Polychrome Heroics sale has SOLD OUT!  Thank you for your generous support.  I do not have all the poems posted yet, so I have marked them as sold with notes about the respective sponsors.  Watch for new poems to appear; you have a ton of goodies in progress.  It is likely to take quite a while for me to finish uploading all this stuff and updating appropriate listings, etc.

Special thanks to my partner Doug for the wildly popular and successful quarter-price sale.  It seems to be the runaway innovation of this year.  :D


Personal Service Announcement:

Due to some household factors, I am overloaded and falling further behind.  It's nothing bad; some of it is great, like having houseguests for Samhain.  But it means I have a drawerful of time-sensitive obligations and a handful of spoons to meet them with.  Things are starting to get dropped that really should not be dropped.

How you can help:

1) If you email or private-message me about something and I don't get back to you in my usual 2-3 days, it has probably fallen out of my attention.  If it is trivial, I probably won't get back to it and I hope that's okay.  If it is important, please check back with me so I do not forget about it indefinitely.  (This includes the work I'm supposed to be doing reorganizing my website for Polychrome Heroics.)  You're not nagging, you're tracking.  It just may take me a while, and more than one reminder, to get the most important stuff actually done.

2) Be patient with the fact that I'm falling behind, losing stuff, and making mistakes because I am busy-cubed and my brain is kind of fried.  If you point out mistakes, I will fix them as best I can.  Thank you!

Poem: "The Sounds You Can't Unhear"

Oct. 25th, 2014 02:51 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the October 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "lost in translation" square in my 9-29-14 card for the Origfic_bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, and is a direct sequel to "A Voice from Beyond."

Read more... )

24 Hours Left to Sign-Ups!

Oct. 25th, 2014 05:58 pm
[syndicated profile] yuletide_admin_feed

Posted by jenn_calaelen

Sign-ups are open until Sunday 26 October 6pm UTC. (Remember this is not EDT - check the links if you are not clear on what time it is for you! What time is that for me? And here is a countdown).
If you are in most of Europe, remember the clocks go back tonight and so the time will be an hour earlier than if was for noms closing.

The link to sign up is here. If you have already signed up, you can use the same link to view and edit your details.
Here is the tag set of all fandoms and characters nominated for Yuletide.

Finally home, all four of us

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:47 pm
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
Arrived yesterday evening, picked up the cats this morning. After 9 hours,
Newton has finally stopped demanding cuddles.

the cats appear jet lagged as well )

Oh, cats.

Oct. 25th, 2014 01:26 pm
settiai: (Kitties -- settiai)
[personal profile] settiai
Raise your hand if you were woken up around dawn by the sound of a loud crash coming from your kitchen? Followed by a just-as-loud THUMP, THUMP, THUMP?

... just me, huh?

So, yeah, I took the trash out last night before I went to bed. Garrus and Tali apparently decided that meant the empty trash can was fair play, and they someone managed to turn it over on top of Garrus. Who then started running in the wall, repeatedly, in an attempt to knock it off of him.

Tali? Perfectly named. Every now and then, though, I seriously wonder if I should have gone with "Grunt" instead of "Garrus".

2014 Dear Yuletide Author

Oct. 25th, 2014 12:12 pm
celli: fingers on a keyboard, captioned "writing is the act of discovering what you believe" (writing)
[personal profile] celli
placeholder! Check back soon!

Community

Oct. 25th, 2014 03:47 pm
[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Kiri Van Santen

English

Banner with seven circles and a set of speech bubbles in the seventh one, reading 'Seven Years, Seven Wonders, Organization for Transformative Works, October 19-26 2014 Membership Drive'

The other day you saw the kind of awesome things our volunteers do. Today, we focus on YOU, the community, who make our projects wonderful.

When using an OTW project, you might not know that everything we do is so interconnected. All of our projects do unique things, but they are part of one big organization.

Below you’ll find an infographic with interesting stats about Fanlore and the Archive of Our Own. All the stats are based on activities you, our community members, do. You may have seen some basic stats from AO3 — such as 1,329,304 fanworks and 417,711 users — but have you ever looked deeper? Ever wondered how many works per day are posted, or how many series there are? Wonder no further!

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How Well Do You Know The OTW? Fanlore - 31,277 articles, 545,208 total edits, 39,501 edits in 2014. - Fanhackers - 1,879 articles in fan studies bibliography, 155 added this year. Archive of Our Own - 1,650 works on average posted and 4,075 works updated with new chapters every day. This year we set a record: 10 million page views in one day! That's about 7,000 page views per minute! 56,013,426 total kudos given,28,226,508 kudos given in 2014 alone.  Legal Advocacy -<br />Submitted 70,684 words of legal and policy arguments this year in 7 public documents to 5 governmental entities in 2014. Transformative Works and Cultures - 2014: 51 essays in 3 issues. Since 2007: 294 essays in 17 issues. What does all this cost? In 2014 our annual budget is US$ 221,863.44. It costs US$ 155,551,19 to run AO3 for one year. US$ 17.76 pays for one hour of reading on AO3. That's 120 drabbles at 200 words/minute!<br />US$ 75,000 will be needed to replace old servers and expand capacity in 2015. Of the total budget, 3% funds our Legal Advocacy, Open Doors, Fanlore, and Transformative Works and Cultures Projects; 4% covers administrative costs; 7% allows for outreach, membership development, and fundraising activities; 16% provides opportunities for professional development and training for all other personnel; 70% goes directly to servers, colocation, and staff development for AO3. Help support our work!

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Message: 
selenak: (Young Elizabeth by Misbegotten)
[personal profile] selenak
The latest entry in the Shardlake series, and one which could very well as a finale, were it not for the fact the ending makes me conclude Sansom will continue the series, which started with Dissolution.

Back then, the series hero, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, had been an eager Protestant and agent for Thomas Cromwell, and the time the novel was set were the months after Anne Boleyn's execution. The novel also was a pretty straightforward whodunit. By the time Lamentation comes along, we're in the last year of Henry VIII.'s life, Matthew Shardlake has been thoroughly disillusioned with both sides of the religious divide, the series gathered a vivid supporting part, and though there are two murders in Lamentation, their solution in both cases is just a minor subplot, while the main plot is more or less following the rules of the spy thriller. I.e. a McGuffin has been stolen, Shardlake must find out how, why, by whom, and who has it (and then either get it back of destroy it). Since the McGuffin in question is Catherine Parr's book Lamentation of a Sinner, the danger it poses is for the Queen to be seen as disloyal and heretic by her husband, Henry (who decides what's heretic and what's not in the new faith on a how-I-feel-at-the-moment basis), one of the not inconsiderable feats Sansom pulls off is to make this suspenseful even though readers with a cursory knowledge of the Tudor period know this is not how Catherine Parr will meet her maker, that on the contrary, she'll survive Henry.

Partly, he does it through the fact while Catherine is protected by history, Matthew Shardlake and his friends are not. The danger being involved with politics poses has been a constant theme through all the Shardlake novels, and he's had some close calls, but always was saved, as were his friends. This time, however, there really is a price paid for the fact Shardlake agrees to help the Queen, whom he's nursed a crush on for two novels now. Partly, it's because Sansom is a good writer, especially great in bringing home the paranoia rampant in Henry's England, where with the ever switching dominance between Traditionalists and Reformers you can find yourself denounced as a Papist or Heretic at any given moment. He also highlights aspects overlooked in much historical fiction set in the Tudor era - how Henry's French wars literally bankrupted the country, and the contrast between the increasing number of beggars in London and the growing palace of Whitehall is glaring. And he makes the catastrophes more than set pieces; living through the sinking of the Mary Rose in the last novel left Shardlake with an ongoing trauma. The burning of Anne Askew, which opens the novel, is reflected upon and remembered throughout.

But if you don't care about the characters, this doesn't matter, and Sansom has become good in making this reader care. (I say "has become" because in Dissolution, he wasn't quite there yet with part of them, and to me the first novel where he really hit his stride was Sovereign.) They also aren't subjected to unrelenting misery. The bullied servant girl Josephine is now happy and doing well, so are Jack Barak and Tamasin, and MYSTERY CHARACTER WHOSE EXISTENCE WOULD BE A SPOILER FOR THE NOVEL HEARTSTONE, whose further fate I was very curious about after that novel, is off stage due to being on the continent but still present in Shardlake's life and corresponding with him regularly. Shardlake's friend Guy (ex monk, doctor and apothocary), whom I missed in the last novel, is very present again in this book. Long time antagonists/villains from the entire series start to have fate catch up with them: Knealnap the sellout, Richard Rich (Shardlake's eternal arch nemesis), but most of all: the King himself.

Sansom kept Henry, as far as personal appearances go, off stage for most of the books, with the memorable exception of Sovereign where Matthew Shardlake meets him in person for the first time (and an awful experience it is, too). But every one of Shardlake's temporary patrons (Cromwell, Crammer, Catherine Parr) and foes (the Duke of Norfolk, Richard Rich) depends on Henry for power and survival. And Henry, of course, is the origin of all that paranoia, of the poverty. (And he's the one who also enabled reforms when it served his aims, the novels don't forget that, either.) So it's inevitable that in this novel, where things come full circle, Henry is an important factor. Still more often than not offstage. But much talked about. He's also an example of what I'd call the deep humanity of the Shardlake novels. The first time Matthew Shardlake spots him in this novel, a grotesque mass of fat and ulcers barely able to move without help, he's not only aware of Henry's physical decay but also of the fact the man must be in constant physical pain. Now Shardlake fears and at times hates the King (for both general and personal reasons), and the narrative agrees with him on Henry's culpability and monstrosity. But he also is able to see, and acknowledge, what that life in constant physical torment must mean for Henry (for any man, but especially one who once prided himself on his athleticism), and the courage those few public appearances must take where he's walking. Just as he sees what cancer does to a fictional minor foe of his, or how a very dislikable client has her own tragedy instead of being an inexplicable harridan. What I'm getting at: even the boo-hiss villains aren't caricatures. They're responsible for their crimes, and the narrative doesn't excuse them, but it also acknowledges their humanity.

(Well, other than Thomas Seymour, who so far is simply a boo-hiss idiot with good looks and cruel "jests", but hey, Shardlake is aware that the Queen loves him, and both he and his author think she could do so much better.)

There are a great many new characters introduced in this novel, both fictional and historical: most importantly a fellow lawyer whom Shardlake takes a liking to, Philip Coswelyn, another up and coming lawyer named William Cecil (the fact young Cecil plays a fairly prominent part in this book is one of the reasons why I don't think Sansom will end the series here), Mary Tudor (Shardlake met Elizabeth already in Heartstone and briefly meets her here again at her stepmother's) and her fool Jane, Shardlake's new pupil Nicholas (who gets a crash course in the art of detecting and surviving during the novel), William Paget, currently Henry's go to minister. But I never had the impression Sansom is overdoing it, I felt it was possible to keep a good overview.

Nitpicks: most of the novels have Shardlake simultanously solving a political case dumped on him by a powerful person and one that's due to a client he chooses to represent. Lamentation varies this in that he takes on the political case (which is the main one) due to his feelings for the Queen and tries to get rid of the client who ends up firing him first and then proceeding his life more miserable, but whose backstory mystery he eventually solves. The problem here is that her backstory mystery is glaringly obvious and consequently those passages drag a bit, though they do serve to introduce and then let Shardlake befriend the very likeable Philip Coswelyn.

Otoh: there is a great twist/ZOMG moment when Shardlake finds out who actually has the manuscript. Which I wouldn't want to spoil. It's a revelation in two steps - the first one makes you think, oh, that's lame, and then it turns out it isn't really SPOILER but SPOILER, which results in a fantastic scene. So what I'd call the spy novel plot does pay off.

Trivia: Sansom makes great use of some actually existing portraits from the era. Must reexamine the "Henry VIII. and his family" one with this in mind.

In conclusion: a good novel, but not one for readers unfamiliar with the (fictional) characters. As I said, it brings a lot of things full circle, and you need to have followed Shardlake & Co. until then.

Dear Yuletide Writer (2014 edition)

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:39 am
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
[personal profile] ladyvyola
Dear Yuletide Writer,

As always, good luck! I am truly delighted and grateful that I've got a match. (Or a pinch hitter! I've gotten pinch hitters before and I love you, too! You chose me! You brave, weird souls, you.)

I'm mostly on tumblr these days so if you want to know what I find pretty/funny/sexy/baffling, feel free to check me out at ladyvyola

So, first the big picture then a little more specificity on what I like about each request.

My Yuletide Philosophy )

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) )

Now You See Me (2013) )

Lord Darcy Series - Randall Garrett )

Go forth and may the Spirit of the Yuletide Hippo be with you!

yuletide letter!

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:58 am
feverbeats: (Default)
[personal profile] feverbeats
Hello, yuletide writer! THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS. Here is some STUFF I LIKE: I like BIG EMOTIONS. Happy stories are great, but especially if everybody is really upset first. I like porn, but I don't think most of my requests lend themselves to that this year. I like introspective character bullshit. *___* I like queerness and world-building and AUs. Here are some ideas, which you can follow if you want. If you already have an idea, though, just do that!

Contact

So pretty much I am into ELLIE ARROWAY. I am also way into her being friends with other scientists. If you want to write something set after the book, about the further adventures of the four scientists as they work on the bigger message, that would be super cool. I'd also love a story about them just hanging out/talking/arguing/interacting before their mission.

I don't care one way or another about pairings in this one, but I would be down with background Ellie/Devi.

Monstrous Regiment

I would be way into a story about young Jackrum, or a post-book story about Jackrum, Polly, and Maladict teaming up to do shit.

I know everyone kind of has their own gender-opinions about this book. I personally read Sergeant Jackrum as (the equivalent of) a trans man, not a woman in disguise. As for Maladict(a), do what you will. (Pairing-wise, I am fine with gen or Polly/Mal.)

RocknRolla

I would read literally anything about Johnny and Archy. Stories about when Johnny was a kid and Archy was long-sufferingly trying to get between him and Lenny? SURE. Stories during Johnny's rockstar phase where Archy was sure he was dead (it's happened a couple of times). YES. Stories set after the film where Johnny is cleaning himself up (kind of, mostly) and Archy is dealing with a weird new power dynamic? YOU BET.

This is the only request where I would be 100% DOWN WITH 1000000% PORN. Or just violent emotions.

Gotham

My favorite part of this show is tiny, horrifying Bruce Wayne and how upset Alfred is by him. I mean, it is very clear, in this show, how Batman managed to happen without someone intervening! I would read 1000+ words just about that. But that's not a very good prompt! Here are some specific stories I would love to read:

-Story about Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya having to work a case together and gaining bro-request for each other
-Story about Fish Mooney as a nightclub singer in the past (where Gotham clearly half wants to be set) who murders the rich dudes of the city
-Story about what happens when Bruce becomes an unnerving teenager
-Uhhhh ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE RIDDLER. Would not say no to Edward/Oswald fucked-up crime adventures as Edward leaves the police.
-Straight-up Harvey/Jim porn OKAY AT LEAST I LEFT THIS REQUEST FOR LAST

Anyway, because Gotham is currently running, any of these requests may stop making sense (although let's face it, the nightclub singer one is never going to make a different amount of sense) by the time you're writing your story, so feel free to do whatever works for you!

Dear yuletide author:

Oct. 25th, 2014 02:46 pm
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
[personal profile] raven
A quiet moment for this, finally! Dear [community profile] yuletide author, thank you very much for writing for me. I'm delighted that you like one or more of these small fandoms as much as I do. My AO3 name is [archiveofourown.org profile] singlecrow, just for reference.

Generally, about me: I like found families, competence, people showing their love for each other in small and unconventional ways; I like angst and woe, but not hopelessness; I also like stories that are people in the worlds they inhabit, living their lives. I like gen and queer gen a lot, though honestly you should feel free to pair whoever with whoever, that's all fine with me.

I have no triggers or squicks in particular, though I don't tend to like PWPs very much.

Here are my requests:

Imperial Radch - Ann Leckie )

Frasier )

The Best of All Possible Worlds - Karen Lord )

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell )

In conclusion! Thank you again for writing for me, dear author; if you enjoy writing it, I will enjoy reading it, I guarantee you.

Raven
twistedchick: watercolor painting of coffee cup on wood table (coffee)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Oatmeal, with freshly ground-up toasted flaxseed, walnuts and pecans, with cinnamon and good B-grade maple syrup.

Amazing. Luscious. Tasty.

(I so need to make new icons...)

(no subject)

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:29 am
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
YOU GUYS. I GET A COUCH TODAY. I'M VERY EXCITED.

The "I don't own a couch" issue became more of an issue and less of a running joke in the past few weeks, as we drew closer to my surgery date in November, since Mum will be here and while I have an air mattress for her to sleep on (seriously, it's the best air mattress ever), I don't have many places for either of us to sit during the day.

The Fauxfa, made of a futon nailed to a wall and a bedroll on top of it, wasn't going to cut it.

So mum went and tested out sofas at Ikea, and when it was a toss up between a cheap one I liked and an expensive one she liked, she said she'd make up the difference.

COUCH COMING TODAAAAAY.

In the meantime, have some threesome fic! No couches are involved, just a large bed.

Title: Devils and Heathens
Rating: R
Summary: Peggy Carter didn't go looking for trouble, or Bucky Barnes, or a threesome. Sometimes these things just find you.

Here on Dreamwidth | Here on AO3
sam_storyteller: (Default)
[personal profile] sam_storyteller
Title: Devils and Heathens
Rating: R
Summary: Peggy Carter didn't go looking for trouble, or Bucky Barnes, or a threesome. Sometimes these things just find you.
Notes: Inspired by this art post, and abetted by the Stream Team. Thanks in particular to superqueerpasta on tumblr for encouragement and chocolate-alchemy on tumblr for commentary.

Also available at AO3.

He's not here. )

(no subject)

Oct. 25th, 2014 05:48 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
It's 5:48 a.m., and I'm absolutely awake.

I've watched the sun come up for two weeks. My body seems to be trying to move back to the medieval version of sleep that is divided into two sleep periods with a waking one in between -- except that the second one is anywhere throughout the day.

The SU made a wonderful coffeecake for dessert last night, something with chocolate and cinnamon and just enough crunch. He doesn't bake anywhere near enough (though his baking is so good that it's probably a good thing for my waistline that he doesn't.)

Book Nook

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:40 am
[syndicated profile] viridian5_feed
Peacemaker by C.J. Cherryh

I still enjoy the Foreigner series and finished this book in two sittings, but the recapping and rehashing here is out of control, just too much. I usually like the politics in this series, but the explanation of the politics plus the rehashing took time away from personal interactions, one of the things I read Cherryh for. (Though Bren's in-case-of notes to the people he cares about hit the heartstrings.) At least Jase gets more facetime here than he did in Protector, and as Cajeiri matures he's become much less annoying to me.

Can we get to the Reunion and kyo stuff soon?

More shallowly, the current cover artist is really making me miss Michael Whelan.

+++

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

I actually just gave Twilight a try so I can snark at it from personal experience but can't continue on past page 168. I didn't even get to any of the well-known icky or really emotionally abusive stuff from Edward, it's just that Bella is such a negative, hateful person that I refuse to spend any more time with her. I'm stunned at how horrible she is.

People at her new school are nice to her? Well, they suck anyway. She frequently uses the word "babbling" about them. She gets three boys inviting her to the dance and finds that mortifying. Just about the whole school comes to the ER when she's nearly seriously injured? Wtf is wrong with them? What a drag. Dad buying her a used truck so she doesn't have to spend her own money has her complaining even though she kind of likes the truck. She sneers at the non-Edward boy most interested in her, calling him a golden retriever and talking in disgust about him wagging his tail around her. She pretends to Jacob that she's interested in him only to grill him for information about Edward. (Run, Jacob, since so far you're too good for her.) She hates the town, she hates rain, she hates people who don't even know her yet daring to use her full first name instead of her preferred "Bella," she doesn't respect her dad or her mom....

Are readers supposed to relate to her and find her endearing and aspirational?

Meanwhile Edward plays the "I'm interested in you" one day/"I can't stand being near you" the next day mindgames. Our hero.

These two kind of deserve each other but not in the true romance way the genre would usually go for.
selenak: (Berowne by Cheesygirl)
[personal profile] selenak
While preparing another book review, I got sidetracked by musings which have nothing whatsoever to do with the novel in question or its plot, so they get their own entries. To wit: the differences in pop cuture memory/reputation/novelistic and tv use of two guys who were, at different times, Henry VIII.s brothers-in-law. In one corner we have Charles Brandon, later first Duke of Suffolk. Best remembered for marrying Henry's sister Mary (and getting away with it) after her brief stint as Queen of France, and for being the closest thing Henry had to a life long best buddy. Charles as far as I could see usually ends up as a romantic hero in Tudor era fiction.

In the other corner we have Thomas Seymour, brother of Jane (aka wife No.3 to Henry), married to Catherine Parr (Henry's widow, wife No.6 ), and probably best remembered for how he ended (messing with teenage Elizabeth, losing his head). While there have been attempts to turn Thomas Seymour into a romantic hero as well (Young Bess comes to mind, the film version of which starred Jean Simmons as Elizabeth, Deborah Kerr as Katherine Parr and Stewart Granger as Tom Seymour) by interpreting him as a man who can't help loving two women,these are rare, especially in recent years. His image both in biographies and pop culture these days is rather dark. At best, he's a a none too bright playboy who's just too sexy for his and everyone else's good (Susannah Dunn in both The Sixth Wife and The May Bride); at worst, he's an ambitious ruthless sexual abuser (with Elizabeth) and faithfless ambitious cad (with Katherine) who ruined Katherine Parr's well deserved happy ending against the odds, broke her heart and sent her to an early grave (Patricia Finney comes to mind).

Now here's what interests me: if you look at Charles Brandon's marital history, he comes across as easily one of the most ruthless go getters at Henry's court. There was:

1.) Anne Browne; Charles was engaged to her, which was binding, and it wasn't a platonic engagement, either, as it produced a daughter. However, she also had a very rich aunt. So.

2.) Margaret Neville. The aunt. Yes, one of those Nevilles, niece to the Kingmaker. Charles temporarily ditched Anne and married her. This did not make the Browne family happy, who went to court. Ultimately they won, the Neville marriage was dissolved, and Charles married Anne officially. They had another daughter, and then Anne died. Then there almost was:

3.) Elizabeth Grey, eight years old orphan and heiress of Lord Lisle. Also Charles' ward. (Buying wardships was immensely profitable in Tudor times and beyond.) (Keep the ward thing in mind, this isn't the last time this will happen.) Charles became engaged to her, at which point his good friend Henry VIII. transferred the title of Viscount Lisle to him. However, Elizabeth upon reaching the age where she could become legally married (which if I recall correctly in this era was 13) refused to marry Charles (good for her). (She later married Henry Courtenay.) Charles kept the title, though.

4.) And then there was Mary Tudor. Who got married by her brother to old Louis XII of France which she agreed to under the condition that she could pick her next husband by herself. At this point, she was already in love with Charles, who duly showed up as soon as Louis bit the dust. They had to pay fines to Henry (and Mary's entire dowery that she'd been given when marrying Louis), but otherwise, as mentioned, they got away with it. There were four children, two sons - who died young, more about one in a moment - and two daughters. Then Mary died. Which brings us to:

5.) Catherine Willoughby. This young girl would turn out to be one of the most colourful women of the Tudor era. Her mother had been Spanish, Maria de Salinas, Katherine of Aragon's best friend, but Catherine her daughter would turn into a fierce reformer who'd even go into exile when "Bloody" Mary Tudor came on the throne. But back to her youth. Catherine, a very rich heiress, was Charles' ward, grew up in his household with him and Mary as parent figures, and it was planned that she should marry his son Henry. Then, as soon as Charles was a widower again, either because young Henry was already sickly or simply because he wanted more direct access to the cash, Charles married Catherine himself. She was 13 or 14 (I've found both ages given), he was 49. The marriage seems to have been harmonious; at least, no scandal is known, and it resulted in two sons. (Catherine's previous intended having died in the first year of her marriage to his father, her oldest son was also called Henry.) Catherine survived Charles and would go on as the formidable Duchess of Suffolk.

Meanwhile, Thomas Seymour, despite his image as Tudor playboy extraordinaire (he's usually written as the Don Juan in contrast to his brother Edward who gets written as a prig), actually seems to have had no scandals with women attached to his name until he hit the big time. He wasn't married until then, either, which is interesting, because as the late Queen Jane's brother, he certainly should have had plenty of opportunities for profitable matches. Mind you, not that he wasn't also a go getter. No matter how much or little in love with Katherine Parr he was, when Henry showed interest he was prudent (and survival-oriented) enough to step back. And when Henry died, he first tried to marry either of Henry's daughters, Mary or Elizabeth, before proposing to Katherine. (This princess marrying idea was immediately rejected by his brother Edward the Lord Protector, not surprisingly.) He even indulged in the lucrative ward trade, getting young Lady Jane Grey (Charles Brandon's granddaughter, btw) as his ward, with an eye of arranging a marriage to her cousin, his nephw Edward the boy king later on. And whatever went down between him and Elizabeth, he certainly, at the very least, risked her reputation by overly familiar horseplay (waking her up in bed by tickling her, cutting her dress to bits while his wife the queen was holding her) before his wife died when as her stepfather he should have guarded it, and his scheme to marry her when he was a widower behind the council's back could have easily resulted into her dying with him if Elizabeth hadn't shown her survival skills for the first time.

But my point is: anything Thomas Seymour did, Charles Brandon did as well. Charles simply did it more efficiently, and hence died in bed in full possession of all he gained, in an age where most people close to Henry VIII didn't, with Henry even insisting Charles should be buried at Windsor in St. George's chapel (so they'd be together after death). Meanwhile, the nicest thing anything could find to say about Thomas Seymour was Sir Nicholas Throckmorton who described him as "hardy, wise and liberal, fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent, but somewhat empty of matter", though young Elizabeth's "today died a man of much wit and very little judgment" comment is better remembered. In other words, the guy lacked smarts, which certainly could be lethal in the Tudor age. But as to morals, I see no difference.

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