First of all, thank you so, so much for signing up to write for one of these awesome fandoms! I'm going to be incredibly happy whatever you do, so please don't stress out too much about any optional-details-are-optional below. If you have fun writing, that will make it the best present for me. :D
General stuff that I like includes women having relationships with each other -- romantic, friendship, mentorship, really intense and personal enemies, it's all good! -- plus in general ensemble stories, sibling dynamics, found families and friendships, and people growing as people. I SUPER LOVE flawed people being flawed, and ridiculous people being ridiculous. (This definitely doesn't mean I only want comedy stories -- I am pretty much up for anything, tonally -- but I do think that humans are always a little bit ridiculous, and ... most of my requests are for canons that are full of ridiculous people, so.) I am also, for the record, SO DOWN for crossovers, always and forever, if you happen to be inspired to write one.
I would prefer not to see any characters bashed, especially female characters, and although I'm happy to run with creepy or dark explorations of fictional universes if that's what you want to do, I'm generally not a fan of the gratuitously graphic.
( And now for the specific requests! )
Thank you so much, mystery author! And again, whatever you write, I will be SO EXCITED BY IT. I'm super excited already! You can tell by the fact that I can't put down my allcaps!
My favorite -- which I've just reread -- is called Three Lives to Live. This book has actually been a huge influence on the way I write, and also the way I edit. It's written as protagonist Garet's 'autobiography' for a 7th-grade school project, which means about a third of the book is complaints about her English teacher criticizing her for not doing what "The Professional Writer" would do. At one point the teacher complains that Garet needs to use more active speech verbs than 'said'.
Garet's response is to rewrite the offending passage, like so:
"I wouldn't want to risk it. I bet you wouldn't either," I chirp.
"I would so," she blubbers.
"You would not," I yelp.
"How much do you want to bet?" she queries.
"I'll bet a million dollars," I coo.
"You don't have a million dollars," she yawns.
"Then I'll bet anything you like," I yap.
"You don't have anything I like," she bellows, "so I guess I won't bet after all."
"Chicken!" I grin.
I THINK OF THIS EVERY TIME I'm about to recommend to someone that they vary their word choice in a dialogue section. There's a lot to be said for the invisible said!
(The seventh-grader whose autobiography involves a lot of bodice-ripping from a love-crazed duke suggests that Garet add 'breathed throatily' to her collection of speaking verbs. I love that seventh-grader.)
...meanwhile, the actual plot involves Garet's relationship with the rest of her family: her grandmother, whom she lives with, and her twin sister, Daisy, who isn't actually not her twin sister, she just came down the laundry chute one day a few months ago. Their grandmother refused to provide any information and insisted that Garet just had to adapt to having a sister in the house. Garet is not adapting to having a sister in the house. Daisy is prettier and smarter and weirder and gets EVERYTHING, including a canopy bed and a laptop computer, ugh! (Sidenote: the book was written in 1993, and I'd forgotten laptop computers were already invented then!)
Then about midway through there's the reveal that ( spoilers get hilariously weird below below! )
I had not forgotten how much I loved this book, but it's nice to be confirmed in how much I love this book! I'm kind of sad now that it's much too late to nominate it for Yuletide. MAYBE NEXT YEAR.
2. Speaking of Flight Rising, just as I was finally getting used to the last new genes, they came out with a new one.
3. I've now checked out Akatsuki no Yona, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Your Lie in April, and Shirobako for this season's new anime, and only have the second season of Psycho-Pass and In Search of the Lost Future left to check out. Though I probably shouldn't be starting new series when I haven't finished any of the four from last season that I'm still catching up on (Ao Haru Ride, Glasslip, Barakamon, and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. At least I ran out of Fairy Tail to binge on, at least until Hulu adds more.
4. John Grisham apologized for his comments about child pornography that were made earlier in the week, but I'm about as convinced by it as his disgruntled fans appear to be. I ranted about it a fair bitthe other day on twitter, but dude, you can't really take some of that stuff back, no matter how much crow you eat.
5. I don't have a link for it, but apparently Adam Baldwin is working on something or other for Dark horse. Oh, to live in a world where you lost jobs when you attack a woman and sic 200k followers on her and act like the death threats she receives for it were all in her head because her ex-boyfriend decided to air her dirty laundry (real or fake) and you decided she was corrupt. (I assume everyone is familiar with GamerGate. If not, just go search any combination of "GamerGate" Adam Baldwin" and "Zoe Quinn." Warning for ending up with awful anti-women/female gamers treatises, including gifs and photo edits that appear to want to portray Baldwin as a heroic hunter of women. First example google gave me. I've seen much worse, that one is mild and missable if you don't get the context.
This book is not James Bond, or even John Le Carre. The intelligence work is not the point -- though when it does show up, it's clear that it's the much quieter, long-term sort of spying that I wish I saw more of in fiction, in which aggregated information means significantly more than THE KEY PIECE OF PAPER!! at THE KEY MOMENT!!
Anyway, Ki-yong's spy story is only about a third of the book. He also has a wife and daughter, who are just kind of bopping through their days having adventures in COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GENRES while he's running around trying to get in touch with his old contacts and coming to terms with his feelings about North Korea and South Korea and the things he misses and the things he's gained and the things he's given up, and of course also wondering if he's going to be executed the minute he returns, minor detail.
Meanwhile, his wife is having adventures in torrid affairs with twenty-something hipster assholes, which ... leads some depressing places and was not my favorite part of the book.
And meanwhile meanwhile, their daughter is having a cheerful school story! Hanging out with friends! Having a crush on a boy! No real problems here!
For about 90% of the book all of these stories are almost completely separated, which is part of the point -- if there's a theme to the novel, it's the disguises people wear, and how that keeps them apart. The story's real climax comes when Ki-yong finally has to tell his wife the truth (after three hundred pages of everyone living completely separate lives), and face for the first time how the deception that he's been living has affected, not just him, but her; that scene's probably worth signing on for. I didn't love the book, but I thought it was worth reading.
Today another SSL vulnerability was announced. This one is named POODLE and is, while serious, much less serious than the Heartbleed event from some months ago.
Unfortunately, the only real way to fix the problem is to disable something called "SSLv3" entirely. Basically, this means that we instruct our servers that they are no longer allowed to speak version 3 of the SSL protocol (you can think of it as a language -- we ban this language from our servers). It turns out this is generally OK since most browsers don't actually speak using SSLv3 these days -- you actually use what's called TLS, which is a more modern, better way of protecting the stuff you send across the Internet.
The SSLv3 protocol is actually around 15 years old at this point, and TLS has been out so long that nearly every browser out there supports it. However, shutting off SSLv3 does mean that very old browsers -- IE6, for one -- can no longer talk to Dreamwidth using encryption. In this case, since the encryption wouldn't actually mean anything, we think it's better to not even pretend that it works.
I will be making this change sometime in the next hour or three. This really should impact almost none of you, but there might be one or two and, in that case, I'm sorry. We think it's better to do this so you know you're not actually secure than to let Dreamwidth pretend to be secure.
Edit: This has been deployed. SSLv3 is disabled on Dreamwidth.
Comments and questions welcome, as always!
( spoilers )
Side note: I'm pretty sure OP is has the record for the most volumes I've ever read of a single manga series. I think both Bleach and Naruto lost me somewhere in the 30s, and Samurai Deeper Kyo would be the lonest series I've finished, but it wasn't quite 40 volumes total.
I don't think 'cozy themed series' is a thing for fantasy novels, because it's kind of been subsumed by urban fantasy which is a whole separate thing, but maybe it should be a thing? Actually I would kind of love if that was a thing. (ACCOUNTING-THEMED COZY FANTASY NOVELS BY THE DOZENS.) And if it was a thing, then Barbara Ashford's Spellcast and its sequel Spellcrossed would fall squarely into that subgenre.
So the basic premise is that Our Heroine Maggie goes on a road trip and accidentally gets sucked into a tiny community theater in a charming small town in Vermont, which is full of charmingly eccentric theatrical types and wacky theatrical hijinks, and also it turns out powered by the charming and angsty fairy director who uses his MAGICAL FAIRY POWERS to help all these charmingly eccentric characters put on successful musicals while coming to terms with their personal hangups and growing as people. The first book is about Maggie getting over her low self-esteem by performing as the clambake lady in "Carousel," and the second book is about Maggie getting over her parent issues by directing "Into the Woods." While falling in love with/sorting out relationship status with the charming and angsty fairy director, of course. They are basically the coziest damn things I've ever read.
And, like, OK:
- it's wish fulfillment up the wazoo
- there are all kinds of ethical problems with fairy magic cheerfully being used to futz with people's emotional states and ability to perform high-quality theater that are really very BARELY glancingly addressed
- don't go in looking for numinous because there's really very little numinous to be found
- also many of the charmingly eccentric theatrical types verge on stereotype (I cringed, for example, at the subplot about the gay actor playing Neville Craven who kept accidentally giving off incest vibes during his scenes with Archibald in "The Secret Garden") (although actually the loud and intimidating but good-hearted Chinese choreographer who SPEAKS IN ALLCAPS was my favorite and I would very happily read all about her romance with her mild-mannered Swiss-German stage manager husband)
So if you're likely to be irritated by those things, stay away, but I had massive amounts of fun. The books just kind of exude comfort -- at least if you are a person who loves musicals and loves cheesy fantasy novels, which, I mean, there's no denying I am the target audience. There is an X painted on my chest. HERE I AM.
But also I think I'm a bit cozy comfort fantasy-starved? Seriously, cozy theme fantasy can become a thing any time now.
Note: Descriptions of her behavior (e.g. vitriolic and graphic personal attacks-- verbal, for clarification-- on other writers and even strangers for crimes ranging from using -ist tropes oneself to mentioning liking works of fiction that included said tropes; bringing down a books-by-people-of-color review comm and some others through force of sheer toxicity; using her ethnicity/race/gender as an umbrella rationale for vitriolic personal attacks on... members of her ethnicity/race/gender; professionally courting people under one persona while slicing their reputations and emotionally sabotaging them under another) and instances of other people shading into abuse apologism, and IMO showing little enough reading comprehension to disqualify them from writing as a career, in the comments.
ETA 10/13: I did not link and did not intend for this post to be linked as a primer.
If you are not right now on your way to a conference or other major conflict, however, you should read Spirits Abroad immediately. Normally when I read a short story anthology I will talk about favorite stories and stories that didn't work for me, but in this case you can pretty much assume that I loved all of them? BASICALLY ALL OF THEM. Often by the time I've finished a single-author collection I'm kind of like, 'OK, I got the patterns here now, I'm ready to be out' by the time it's over, but by the time I hit the end of this collection I was like 'OK, I got the patterns here and I would please like even more of them.' (I've read some of these stories before, but now I get to enthuse about them collectively, so that's also nice!)
( Enthusing, story-by-story )
( here ) :
There's also these nests which will produce cute babies over the next few days. You can also look at any of my pairs on the first 5 1/2 pages of my lair if you see a pair that you think would make a baby dragon you want in the future. Most of my pairs are named after Disney and animanga pairs, with plenty of Ghibli mixed in, along with a few wuxia and childhood nostalgia pairings, so they're pretty easy to spot.
Also, if you're planning on joining, I recommend checking out this list of helpful links.
( spoilers )
Madam Secretary 1/3: The things i like about this series, I like more each episode, and the political Problem of the Week was more interesting than the ones in the first two episodes. But I really just want more scenes of Tea Leoni and Bebe Neuwirth discussing White House office politics.
Sleepy Hollow 2.3:
( spoilers )
Star Wars: Rebels 1.1-1.2: I probably would have passed this by, except that I liked Clone Wars. Set 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and 5 years before A New Hope, SWR is about a ragtag group of rebels. The leader is Kanan, a Jedi who survived Order 66 and went into hiding (I question how he managed to stay under the radar for 15 years, given these episodes, but moving on...) and the captain is his apparent lover, Hera, who appears to be the only member whose head is completely screwed up straight. The rest of the crew are Sabine (next in line for "head screwed on striaghtest") a teenaged girl who appears to be the group's explosive expert, and likes to graffiti things before blowing them up, and Zeb, whose characterization so far is largely 'grouchy muscleguy who is secretly soft." They also acquire Ezra, a teenaged thief and conartist, and probable future Jedi. Ezra's character seems to be directly lifted form Disney's Aladdin, and a couple scenes, based on my memories, almost look like the same storyboards from the "Street Rat" song, but altered for SciFi. (I'm not complaining, just observing.) They also have a droid, "Chopper," who seems to find them all very annoying.
I'm not sure what the target audience is-some of it seems skewed to younger audiences, and some of it less so, and the Storm Troopers are incompetent even for Storm Troopers, but I liked it. Would recommend if you like space rebels, found families, explosions, competent women (who may or may not get sidelined...we'll see), and Star Wars in general.
( more of a clone Wars spoiler than a Rebels spoiler )
Strange Empire 1.1: New Canadian western series about a group of women on a wagon train who have to survive after all their men are killed.The first episode was good, but also very focused on being dark and gritty. The main characters are a markswoman who was probably an outlaw pre-series, a female doctor who appears to be high functioning autistic, and the wife of the man who killed them groups men, and who doesn't appear to like or approve of her husband at all. Warning for the death of an infant in the opening scene, and the rather gruesome murder of a young child later. (The murder is offscreen, but we see the corpse.)
PS-Unrelated to TV, I am giving a free dragon to any of my friends who join Flight Rising on Monday.