Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Past Week via Twitter: 2012-03-25

  • @sammiguidera I just watched "Totoro" the other night because I wanted to read that article you talked about a while back… #anime #
  • @sammiguidera I still haven't gotten up the nerve to read the article, though. haha ^_^;; #anime #
  • RT @mintychip .@postsecret morning. A weekly reminder that even on our worst days, we are not alone. #
  • RT @TweetsofOld There are five churches here, and if a little Christianity could be found to go with them, we would be nicely fixed. IL1892 #
  • haha whaaaat. RT @Jonathan_Rocks Captain Jack Sparrow. Buying a beer. http://t.co/RcVw90O3 #
  • Haha I Laughed RT @editorialiste: Let's Stop Capitalizing Chatty Blog Headlines Because It Looks Weird And Oddly Formal #
  • nachooooooos #
  • seriously, though: the Prometheus trailer reminds me way too much of Event Horizon. nooo, thank you. #
  • @justicewrites that was basically the problem with the book, too. wasn't super well written, but is it still worth seeing? #HungerGames #
  • @KaylieJones I really REALLY hope that passes. Because, seriously. #
  • RT @KaylieJones: http://t.co/o3lrfRDq HAHAHAHAH! Senator introduces bill to make men see sex therapist B4 getting Viagra prescription. #
  • Damn it, Hemingway, I don't even like you RT @AdviceToWriters: Anyone who says he wants to be a writer & isn’t writing, doesn’t. HEMINGWAY #
  • @FCKH8 seriously? I like him more and more, teeny bopper or no. #
  • Actually, defining myself as "gay" is still too narrow. RT @FCKH8: Radio Host Bigot Says GAYS DON'T EXIST?! LOL! http://t.co/ocaXivyU #

The Past Week via Twitter: 2012-03-18

  • guess what?! I've got @yaoipress story "Maelstrom" on tap over here: http://t.co/4ENuTulq anyone else read it? did you like? (I did!) #yaoi #
  • @yaoipress I have 5-7 but not 8 haha. #Maelstrom #yaoi #
  • @yaoipress yes! I've got it saved in my inbox. see if I cant get to it sooner than later. want to know what happens! *_* #
  • @Dredgly "I wanna drink goat's blood." — "But son; it's only Tuesday." #
  • @TweetsofOld the same could be said today … sadly about both the woman and the bicycle. #
  • @Dredgly lol, I know, right? hahaha #
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" RT @DovesandSerpent: Hallelujah Chorus – …just get the Shrek connection out of the way. http://t.co/X6DCFHHe #

Sixty Acres and a Bride

Sixty Acres and a Bride coverSixty Acres and a Bride
By Regina Jennings
Bethany House Publishers
01 February 2012

Rosa is transplanted from Mexico to Texas with her white mother-in-law, Louise, after her husband and her mother-in-law’s husband are killed in an accident. She cares for her new relatives (and her own family in Mexico had shunned her since her conversion to Christianity), but the town is sharply divided down color lines—whites on one side and brown people on the other.

Rosa and Louise also have to come up with four years worth of taxes before August—in just three months!—or they’ll lose their homestead, a beautiful sixty-acre ranch. They’re willing to work (if there’s something Rosa knows she can do, it’s an honest day’s work), and offers of help come from multiple sectors—some protective and others manipulative, and it’s difficult for Rosa to tell which is which. She’s not used to Texas propriety, “respectable” clothing for women, or the idea that when something bad happens between a man and a woman, the woman is always in the wrong, no matter the situation or how she got there.

I had high hopes for Sixty Acres and a Bride, set in post-Civil War Texas. Rosa is an interesting character, but I really worry when a non-white character is written by a white author. The other characters are appropriately Victorian, but Rosa is virtually out her element, and I’m not sure the author really made her convincing to me. The character tries (mostly in vain) to fit in, but she’s thwarted at every turn by propriety, respectability, even her skin color. Perhaps especially her skin color. Aunt Mary, Louise’s late husband’s cousin’s wife, is inspiring (and not all that tied up in “proper manners for ladies” as Louise is, to my relief), but I have a hard time believing she’d actually give someone like Rosa—someone so different from her—a fighting chance with so much prejudice in the town against her. (I mean, I’m glad she did, but still…)

And the men. Wow. Weston is a gruff-yet-honorable cowboy hiding past pain—he’s a decently-written but completely stereotypical character, even if that stereotype isn’t a poor one. Tillerton is basically (realistically, I’ve found, however unfortunately) a complete opportunistic douchecanoe… er, pardon the language. He’s utterly two-dimensional.

What can I say? It’s a standard Christian romance with a dash of historical fiction for flavor. It’s not bad, and it’s not bad writing, but I wasn’t surprised by or even particularly pleased with the ending. It’s… safe, I guess, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then great. This is the book for you. It won’t make you think about race relations or even really the disparity between what women are “allowed” to do and what men are. It’s great beach reading. I mean, even the good guy, Weston, sits at a kitchen table watching Rosa work and thinks, (italics mine)

… but that wasn’t all that captured his attention. The broad neck on her blouse exposed more skin than he was used to seeing before evening—and then only if the ladies were dressed for a social. As [Rosa] scrubbed against the stubborn drip of beans, he noticed her delicate collarbone, which was exposed to the very point it met her curved shoulder. And the hollow at the base of her neck… really! How did Mexican men get anything done during the day if all their womenfolk flitted around the kitchen dressed like that?

Yes, how indeed? -_- If the good guy is thinking things so, well… so not good, what hope is there for the rest of the characters to treat women fairly? Someone might point out that it’s historical fiction, but the author—as was her prerogative—already tossed out a lot of the history in favor of a good romance. In that case, why not make things more fair for women?… unless the author actually believes that women and men are truly the gender roles society prescribes for them upon their births?

DISCLAIMER: I received Sixty Acres and a Bride free from LitFuse Publicity in return for a review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Read other reviews and learn more about the book on the blog tour’s main page.

Ascent from Darkness

Ascent from Darkness coverAscent from Darkness:
How Satan’s Soldier Became God’s Warrior

By Michael Leehan
Thomas Nelson Publishers
04 October 2011

This book has been sitting in my room for months after receiving it, waiting for me to do something with it. I chose it because I’ve been learning about the god Lucifer recently, and was interested to learn if a story with a Christian end could have a non-hateful view of other things non-Christian. Well… not so much, it turns out.

I finally sat down and read it and… well, sorry, Mr. Leehan, but I’m kind of not impressed. Ascent from Darkness is a kind of personal testimony to how far a person can “fall” and still experience the saving power of Christ’s grace. While it’s clear that the author needed saving, I don’t think a lot of the things he considered to be “Satan’s soldiering” actually are. As someone who’s not a Christian, it’s easy for me to have this view because (1) I actually think Lucifer might be a decent guy, and (2) I don’t have any investment in any god saving me from anything, even myself.

The story follows Michael Leehan’s struggle with depression, addiction, and poor behavior (generally speaking). I wouldn’t go so far as to say it involved spiritual warfare, but he certainly thought that after the fact, and I can’t argue with his feelings, so I’ll say this: a lot of shitty things were done to him as a child. He didn’t feel loved. He was abused. I sympathize. Truly, that really sucks.

But then he grew up and instead of asking for help or trying to prove all those horrible adults wrong or even taking revenge on them (all reasonable reactions, I’d say, though they all come from different human needs), he instead made a lot of shitty decisions on his own (who hasn’t? I mean, really)—some because he was depressed, some because he was arrogant, some because he was scared—and now he’s blaming those decisions on Satan? And his subsequent decision to stop making poor decisions on his conversion to Christianity? Wow. Way to take responsibility for your own actions, man. Good job.

I mean, Leehan’s life was in a downward spiral toward complete self-destruction, so anything that saved him from that is a good thing. I just think that he didn’t give himself enough credit for the positive changes he made in his own life. Then again, he didn’t really take credit for all the crappy things either, so I guess that’s par for the course.

DISCLAIMER: I received Ascent from Darkness free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for a review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Past Week via Twitter: 2012-03-11

  • This. RT @AdviceToWriters: Write the book you want to read. CHUCK PALAHNIUK #writing #writetip #
  • smart guy. RT @fishmark: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ~ Henry Ford #
  • Whaaat. RT @TweetsofOld: One of the strangest freaks in human nature is that of a young man in Almond, N.Y., who married a hay press. NY1885 #
  • RT @boudledidge: Revealed: The best and worst places to be a woman – World Politics – World – The Independent http://t.co/eqPH5aox #
  • @TheYaoiReview BLU was part of TokyoPOP, soo…?? If TP died, it follows BLU did too, right? I mean, that's not a GIANT leap to make, is it? #
  • @FirstWorldPains if you can't afford an abortion, good luck with a baby. #unfollowed #
  • I have 4 items on the to-do list today, not including a doctor's appointment & a class. 3 of the 4 involve #writing no surprise there. #
  • Trip to doctor is way more high-tech than I remember. #
  • @Zekor who else? #
  • RT @postsecret 2 things I'd tell my younger self: Cracking your knuckles wont lead to arthritis & be kinder to your back; sit less walk more #
  • RT @AdviceToWriters: Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public. PAULO COELHO #writing #
  • @WitchSchool My thinking is so quick that it jumbles up coming out of my mouth and I have to repeat myself anyway. #
  • @Zekor @everyoneinthefreakinworld the world won't end if you hold off tying the knot for three or four years. or, you know, forever… >_> #
  • Having no power @ night has a bonus of forcing me to sleep when I should, except the stuff that's being worked on is right under my window. #
  • I wish I remembered this more RT @TWLOHA: “Truth is like heat or light; its vibrations are endless, & are endlessly felt.” – Margaret Deland #
  • Without tea, there is nothing. #
  • "Apple Juice Cocktail with Splenda" is no where near as good as apple juice. Why in seven hells do people drink this stuff? #
  • something is wrong. #
  • Truth. RT @TWLOHA: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau #
  • Whaaaaaaat. As of I didn't have enough to do already. RT @poetrynews: 425 Free Online Courses http://t.co/QCfhkmmP #
  • I've lived on both coasts; this is reasonably accurate. RT @Oatmeal: Wearing a suit to work on east VS west coasts http://t.co/5S2jCFds #
  • I even have this problem in languages other than English. RT @AdviceToWriters: I can't stand a sentence until it sounds right. JOHN McPHEE #
  • omg i<3u RT @estherium i'm sacrificing "me" time to stay at work and clear off my desk… by flipping my desk over and setting it on fire. #
  • @xxxchurch not impressed by the guy who freaked out over accidentally lusting over another guy. OH NOES. -_- #
  • @Mousapelli you are quite welcome! don't know if you even like it haha but if not, just pass it along ^_^ #
  • @Mousapelli Had directions for a baby blanket (even tho I have no baby) & I was going to work up to an adult-size. That worked out, obvs. #
  • @Zekor I doubt I would use the elevator for only one floor even in heels unless I could tell my feet were bleeding & then fuck all if I care #
  • tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tock #
  • I think I remember that, actually. >_> RT @mental_floss: The first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired 15 years ago today. #
  • Have you seen this, @Zekor? RT @tokyohive: Poster for “Rurouni Kenshin” live-action movie revealed http://t.co/zZGX6ZAM #
  • brb crying RT @TWLOHA: "Protecting people from the truth is another way of shutting them out. —Blaize Clement #
  • RT @maymaym: Being closeted puts your partners in closet under threat of losing the #relationship NOT a safe space.SA http://t.co/CwnIT4p6 #
  • @maymaym I agree, but I've never had to balance my safety and security. how to go about the back and forth? #
  • This exactly. RT @maymaym: RT @wanderingpirate Audience talks of the #illegibility of #polyamory it gets read as swinging/cheating/etc. #
  • pretty sure I hate people. #
  • Just the single GIRL? >_> RT @xxxchurch: Question of the Week: What Would You Tell a Single Girl About Married Sex? http://t.co/PNGw7d3U #
  • @maymaym well, yeah. I suppose I have, but I guess I meant in drastic/traumatic (life or death type) situations. #
  • @xxxchurch you sound like Mao, except that doing what one likes isn't necessarily or even ordinarily a false freedom. #

Maelstrom 1-4

So I found out last week two weeks ago (sheesh; where did the time go?) that Yaoi Press is returning to printed graphic novels and

I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

Seriously. I am so excited about this. I thought it called for a review of a great Yaoi Prose story, Maelstrom by Yamila Abraham with illustrations by Himitsu Studio. I’ve got the first four (out of eight) chapters sitting here waiting to be written up, so here we go!

First things first, as usual: Maelstrom is explicit yaoi. If you don’t know what that means, find out before you continue. (Who knows, you might like it!) It’s generally not-safe-for-work adult material… but that’s never stopped me from reading the like at work, so if you have an awesome workplace and/or an office to yourself, it might not matter. ^_^

Maelstrom 1-4 coversAll right, so: a quick summary of the first four chapters. Demerti steps off the ship onto Secren—a Wild West-esque mining planet devoid of women—and immediately experiences a disconcerting-yet-heated attraction to a man standing on the platform. Demetri’s straight, but—as his computer translator, Brainbox, tells him—Earthlings on Secren are struck with Lightning just as often as natives are. Determined to remain a Celibate, Demetri ignores the man, Malstrum, and heads deeper into the planet to set up his own mining operation. Complications arise (of course), and Demetri finds himself fighting for his own life (mostly unsuccessfully) until Malstrum, once (but no longer) the most successful mine boss on the planet, shows up to save him. Their attraction deepens until Demetri can no longer deny his feelings and he submits to Malstrum. All this while holding down a mining operation, finding miners to work with them, divvying up scarce rations, and warning off roadside bandits.

A few lines from the fourth chapter are my favorite so far. After Demetri submits to Malstrum, he expresses his disgust at other men who can “stick with a fucking rapist” and Malstrum points out that Secren isn’t as nice as Earth. Demetri says that if rape is what works on Secren, then fine, but when someone rapes an Earthling, it can destroy him (or her). Malstrum gently corrects him by saying,

Everyone wants to be the alpha. It’s a joke in the beginning. Eventually they want to mate and fight each other to decide. It’s kind of agreed on, you know? If I beat you, you’re getting fucked and I’m the alpha. If you beat me, I’m going to have to take it…

No one wants to beat their lover half to death. Lightning ends up being a curse. You know that’s what you’re headed for, and it kills you. When you see those few guys who say, ‘I’ll take your brand. I’ll be the beta,’ it’s so beautiful it makes you cry. Everyone celebrates. The beta becomes the hero. Everyone’s jealous of the alpha. And they have the best marriages. No strife between them. No resentment.

I read that and thought to myself, “Yes! Thank you! Exactly!” and I was so angry that chapter 4 ended shortly thereafter because it meant writing up this review before I could continue reading the story. Gah. (Haha; is it bad that even when I’m reading porn, I still want a good plot? Is it obvious by now?) And yes, there is some heated loving going on between Malstrum and Demetri, so explicit yaoi lovers have no fear: the hot guy/guy sex is definitely there. (Woo, I made a rhyme!)

In any case, I highly recommend this story. It’s one of Abraham’s better ones, in my opinion, and completely worth the (inexpensive) cost. You can even read free previews of chapters 1, 3, and 4 before you buy so you know you’re getting quality.

Maelstrom is available on Amazon Kindle; you can get a Kindle application/program free for your computer even if you don’t own any ereader or iPad-type device. The first chapter is roughly 25 pages for just $1.49; chapter 2 is 29 pages for $2.99; chapter 3 is also 29 pages for $2.99; and the fourth chapter is 28 pages for $2.99.

Hopefully I’ll be able to review the second half of Maelstrom soon. I haven’t actually read chapters 5-8 yet, so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens with Demetri and Malstrum. (Also, more sex!)