Demons, Dresden, and… Sea Legs? (Reading Wrap-Up March ’16)

The first book I read this month is one that I got for Christmas, but forgot to mention in my December book haul: Demons of the Hellmouth – a Buffy the Vampire Slayer companion book. Now, I love this book for many reasons – not least of which is the fact that I’m a massive fan of the show.
With its hardback cover and good quality binding, it’s a nice novelty item, written from the perspective of Rupert Giles and including amusing annotations from the rest of the main gang. But there were also bits that irritated my inner pedant, that left me wanting to annotate the thing myself.
At many points, Giles gives details about events that he wasn’t there for, and couldn’t possibly know about, including goings on in an alternative universe. That’s bad enough, but sometimes he even goes further, including direct quotes for some reason. Even if there was a small chance that someone somehow could have passed him details about goings on he missed, I highly doubt they’d tell him what people said, word for word.
These things probably wouldn’t bother most readers but, for me, it kind of broke the spell and detracted from the experience. I gave it three stars.

Carrying on the vague Buffy-related theme, I’m still working through audiobooks including voice work by James Marsters (the actor who played Spike on the show). As such, I listened to She Stoops to Conquer and Hound of the Baskervilles, and am now onto the Dresden Files audiobook series, finishing books one and two (Storm Front and Fool Moon by Jim Butcher) – Loved all of them!

Finally this month, I read Sea Legs and Other Stories, a poetry book by Candice J O’Reilly, leaving my Goodreads reading challenge at fourteen books off my forty-five book target for the year (thirty-one percent complete, three books ahead of schedule).

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27 Life Milestones

Having just turned twenty-seven a couple of days ago, I thought it might be nice to mark the occasion by listing twenty-seven things I’ve done or achieved, so far. The list is (mostly) in chronological order, starting with the earliest things first. One thing I learnt about myself from compiling this list, is that I tend to do the same things multiple times.

birthday cupcakes

  1. Appeared as a main character in a school play (got an award for it, too)
  2. Moved out of my parent’s house
  3. Went to university (hence the above)
  4. Lived in a different country (again, see above)
  5. Got a pet (okay, several pets)
  6. Gave blood
  7. Got a tattoo (I have three, so far)
  8. Became a Sunday School teacher (briefly)
  9. Travelled outside the UK
  10. Volunteered for charity (1000 voluntary hours and counting)
  11. Went on holiday on my own (countless times)
  12. Moved out of my parent’s house and lived in a different country (a second time)
  13. Published a book
  14. Published a second book
  15. Completed a ‘Photo-A-Day’ project
  16. Had a normal job
  17. Had a breakdown
  18. Jacked in the normal job and started my own business
  19. Published a third book
  20. Went to a music festival (one of those holidays I had on my own)
  21. Saw my favorite band live (at said music festival)
  22. Became an aunty
  23. Fell in love
  24. Got engaged
  25. Published a fourth bo- you get the idea. It’s a lot of books.
  26. Moved out of my parent’s house (again!)
  27. Became a god-mother 🙂

Women Aloud Lists

Women Aloud LogoInternational Women’s Day may be over for this year, but that doesn’t mean we should stop promoting awesome ladies until March 8th 2017 rolls around.

Women Aloud NI have been continuing their work of supporting and encouraging writers in Northern Ireland wonderfully, mostly by keeping their social media feeds hopping with all kinds of great news and links – if you don’t already follow them on Facebook and Twitter, you really should!

I’m pleased to announce that the movement now has a YouTube Channel, run by yours truly. But that’s not all!

Let’s Talk about Spike

William PrattMy favorite character of all time from anything ever is Spike, from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As a reader, and a writer, and as a person, I find his character so rich, and layered, and engaging that I can’t help be sucked in (pun not intended).

Yes, he’s a vampire from Victorian times, but he comes across realistically, and that’s impressive. That’s why I want to talk about him. It’s why I love him.

So, what’s the sitch on this Spike guy? First thing you should know is that he’s a killer. There’s no sugar coating it, and no escaping it. He’s also a lover, a warrior, a poet, and a punk.

Throughout his long existence, he’s been human, a soulless vampire, a soulless vampire with a chip, a souled vampire, and a souled vampire-ghost-hybrid. He’s been brilliant, and he’s been idiotic. Clever and ridiculous. Merciless, protective, and loyal to a fault.

Despite the fact that he’s hyper sexual and masculine, he’s never shy about his feelings, and never apologetic about his tears.

I once posed the question to my Facebook friends, about whether Spike is a misogynist or not, and the conclusion is that yes, he is, and no he’s not. He loves women. He loves strong women. And he’s also used and discarded various women at various times.

His moral compass often completely lost in a sea of desires, he’s been both selfish and selfless.

He questions himself, his actions, and his motives, but never tries to justify the many wrong moves he makes. He tries to be better – going completely against his demonic nature – and he succeeds.

Most of the fan fiction I write is either about Spike or from Spike’s perspective and, as divisive as he is, I often find myself torn over the little details concerning him. Sometimes, in my stories, he has calluses on his hands from all the fighting he does, whereas sometimes I depict his hands as smooth, and soft – exemplifying the huge, intrinsic part of him that is a lover. William the Bloody

He can be both gentle and firm, I know this without doubt, but what would his handwriting be like? Like everything else, I can imagine it two ways – as an immaculate, almost calligraphic, cursive script he no doubt learnt in his days as an upper class London gentleman; and as a grungy scrawl portraying his adopted working class persona.

I’m sure he can and does use both, depending on the occasion, but that’s not to imply that he’s anything less than genuine. More than anything else, he’s just himself. Crazy and compelling as that is.

To quote one Tumblr user on the topic: “I love how Spike is both super cool and also a HUGE FUCKING LOSER!!” Or to put it into the words a different user used to caption the two photos included in this post: “…if that isn’t an awesome character development I don’t know what that is.”

The Run-Up to Reading

Before I take part in an event – big or small – my nerves are on edge. I feel sick, and flighty, and weepy.

…so, that’s me, pretty much now-ish. My reading at Women Aloud NI is happening TOMORROW!

Situation clearly dire, I just had to run out for a stack of emergency chocolate (don’t eat your feelings, kids!). And I made myself so flustered that I almost said thank you to the cashier, completely forgetting that I’d just used a self-serve till :-/

Now, seeing as it took me six attempts and three Google searches to spell the word dire correctly, I’m gonna go eat said chocolate and have a little cry to myself.

How are you this evening?

Experiments in Mixed Media

Today, I’m feeling inspired.

I love photography, and poetry, and art; and what I want to create is a pamphlet that not only includes all three, but mixes together all three, right there on the same page.

In the same space.

I want it to be art in and of itself. A collaboration of words and ideas, but not focusing on the words, too much.

Can someone tell me: Do such things already exist? Is there a name for what I’m after? Please, let me know.

A Book for Black History Month (Reading Wrap-Up Feb. ’16)

The Lonely Londoners BookFebruary being Black History Month (in the US), I decided to read a book that had been on my shelf for quite a while: The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon – a novel set in the 1950’s about West Indians in the English capital. Because it’s always good to educate yourself about other cultures and perspectives.

Also, I finished reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, finished listening to the audiobook of The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, listed to an audiobook performance of Macbeth, and re-read a novel length fanfic, leaving myself ready to start its sequel.

Those last two (Macbeth and the fanfic) don’t count towards my Goodreads goal, seeing as I’d read them before, so my stats stand at eight books read off my forty-five book goal for the year, meaning I’m currently one book ahead of target.

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