suedeuxnim submitted:
I wanted to thank you for bringing seananmcguire’s fairy tale retellings to my attention because it’s absolutely everything I didn’t know I wanted! I ended up starting to draw something to go along with it and I thought I should send this to you because yknow. Rei.

image

Oh wow, this is just beautiful. I love how you’ve depicted her here. This style feels so perfect for Seanan’s stories. Princess Rei’s cracked skin showing the fire below is especially such a wonderful touch. Thank you so much for doing this and sharing it!

For those of you who SOMEHOW have not yet read seananmcguire's Senshi Princess Fairy Tales, allow me to take yet another opportunity to shove them under your nose while commanding you to read them.

Seriously, READ THEM.

The Princess Who Called Lightning

The Ice King’s Daughter

Gold as Sun, Blue as Sky

Ash, Soot, and Flame

The Prince Who Loved Roses

Four Princesses Who Sought the Moon

Sea and Shore and In-Between

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If you don’t have tickets to November’s Shipwreck yet, there are a very small number of seats still available. If you don’t know about November’s Shipwreck, let us tell you. 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

This November the 6th, in a blatant and cowardly attempt to coax Lemony Snicket out of his San Francisco hiding spot, ShipwreckSF will ask six of Mr. Snicket’s known acquaintances to write licentious and depraved fan-fiction about six of Count Olaf’s finest alter-egos.

The horrors that Count Olaf will encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn’t even want us to describe the worst of it, which includes alliteration, non-sequitur, self-conscious post-modern asides, accordion music, vocabulary building, and lascivious parody, a phrase which here means that there will be dick jokes.

Given all this, it seems unlikely that our ambuscade will succeed in flushing out the elusive Mr. Snicket. As such, it is our solemn duty to tell you: Do not, under any circumstances, buy tickets to this show at this link, and especially not in advance, in which case we would reserve you a seat.

If for some reason you do not heed our advice and find yourself compelled to attend this travesty (of which we are deeply ashamed), you will at least have the opportunity to avail yourself of our open bar, and the chance, barely existent, to catch a glimpse of Mr. Snicket in propria persona.  

Sincerely, 

shipwrecksf

Joining us in lampooning Mr. Snicket’s life’s work will be: 

Andrew Sean Greer // Michelle Richmond // Seanan McGuire (seananmcguire) // Ken Grobe // Alexis Coe (lexcoe) // 5-Time Champ Maggie Tokuda-Hall (booksellerhaiku)

Once again: tickets here.

In Appreciation of Seanan McGuire

I have a lot to thank seananmcguire for. Of course, there is the usual: her art moves me, delights me, entertains me; from her novels and stories, to her blogging, to her music. And if I’m telling the truth, there are numerous other writers whom I appreciate for their art as well in equal measure (though, ah, less so in the music department for some of them ;-)).

But Seanan McGuire has done something else for me. I don’t know what to call it; there must be some word in some language that means, “returns to me the fun that was had in previous activities that I had allowed myself to be shamed away from.”

A long time ago, I used to write fanfiction. This was back in the age before the internet had really taken off, and one of my works was deemed good enough to be put into a print zine. I still don’t want to tell you what fandom that was, because it was another country, and I was another person (I mean that literally). But after the divide of old me from previous me, and after I got my first industry job, I stopped doing it because supposedly engaging in the act was damaging my ability to write. That fanfiction was nothing more than playing with Barbies: crass and uneducated.

Speaking of playing with Barbies, that was another activity I was shamed out of. Not only because fashion dolls were a girly thing, and being a girl was so derogatory, but because supposedly fashion dolls warped the minds of women into believing they should be thin. I had never thought of the fact that no one points at action figures and say that they’re encouraging boys to engage in reckless behavior. Because boys can separate reality from play, and apparently girls can’t. (Similar arguments for Twilight exist.) And anyways, aren’t we supposed to put toys away when we are older and adults?

And speaking of girly things, because I worked in digital hackery, girly things (fanfiction, dolls, explicitly saying that you engage in stereotypically girly behavior like shopping) were looked down upon by the largely (almost completely) male population. So I stopped.

There were a lot of things that happened later in my life that encouraged me to pick up the mantle of being female and not as ashamed again (though if I’m telling the truth, and I am, I’m still a little ashamed, and that part of me burns because I know it shouldn’t be true). But nothing really attracted me back to dolls or fanfiction. Oh, I started having friends who were stars in the fanfiction world, but I had been one, too, once upon a time, before fanfiction.net was a glimmer in someone’s eye.

I started reading Seanan McGuire’s works out of curiosity. What was all this fuss about? I can’t stand horror, so her Mira Grant works are not within my safety boundaries, but her works as Seanan McGuire intrigued me. I started with Indexing from recommendations at Mark Spoils, and found that I really enjoyed it. And… I didn’t pick up another one of her works for months afterwards.

Life, as it does, changes. I found myself in a tough spot, in an organization that had lost its way, that turned out to have problems with women (and when the Company deems that an org has problems with women, you know that org has deep, deep problems with women that go beyond the usual problems with women that most of the orgs of the Company have). And then I ended up under a manager who did not have my best interests at heart, shall we say (to be fair, he doesn’t have anybody’s best interests but his own, and that eats away at the heart of someone like me, who of all things needs to be able to trust the authority figures in her life, because otherwise everything starts to trigger her about the things her father did to her).

So I did what I always do in situations like this: find an author and read the fuck out of their works. I’m still doing so with McGuire’s corpus, as she is hella prolific, which can only mean good things for me and my needs for distraction from the daily terrors of life, from the hell that work has become to the general gauntlets I run during summer and winter when my PTSD is triggered for weeks or months on end.

What’s more is that I respected her. I found myself respecting her far, in fact, more than various male authors, members of a gender which I had always been taught, implicitly and explicitly from my literature courses, to respect above the “weaker sex” (and implicitly all other genders). And while this unfortunately recent past of mine says terrible things about me, and while it shouldn’t take this kind of epiphany to move me towards actual fairness in my mind’s consideration of these kinds of things, and while she wasn’t the only factor in my gradual enlightenment… I must say, I am still grateful, even if the enlightenment tends to be painful for my ego.

But let’s get back to lighter subjects.

Fanfiction: I started reading it again when I learned that McGuire got her start there (please correct me if I’m wrong, as I have been severely scolded in the past for assuming this about an author, another factor in demeaning fanfiction in my eyes). And… I enjoyed it again. I enjoyed it as something beyond a guilty pleasure, as something that was a legit gratification. And I began to learn that fanfiction can fix things about a canon, exploring crannies the canon never bothered with defining, or had defined in an unfortunate way. (Before I had assumed, and it had been enforced in my old fandom, that the only fanfiction that should be respected were ones that stayed within canon.)

And… if Seanan McGuire wrote fanfiction, and it didn’t damage her ability to weave a story in the slightest, then I could, too. I didn’t have to condemn myself to a life writing invalid things, because fanfiction is a valid art. And as I dig into my own Harry Potter AU, I’m finding the challenges there to be as engaging as the ones I had faced in original writing. Yes, people claim that having your own characters elevates non-fanfiction, but do you know how hard characterization is even when you supposedly know your originating work’s character? You can’t see entirely what the original author had in mind. You are, in effect, creating a character anyways, even if you’re basing it on another (and many, many original characters have their origins in other characters and/or real life people). And of course there is plot to consider.

Later on I learned that McGuire had dolls. (Later, later on I found out how many dolls she had, and I’m pretty sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg.) Fashion dolls as well as other kinds. And I thought. Hey. If she can have dolls, I can have dolls. If she isn’t ashamed of them, I don’t have to be, either. And through now owning my own set of dolls (Monster High dolls), I’m discovering things. I didn’t, before recently, even know the comfort that brushing a doll’s hair could bring, or the get-up-and-go that dressing and even creating clothing for dolls inspires. And, somehow, the idea that an author I respect likes dolls has untangled some of the triggers that crafting has for me.

I’m telling the truth here. When I tell you that bringing back the pleasures of both of these subjects is making me cry, there are tears crawling down my cheeks.

Through my life, I think the only other author who has affected me as much was Terry Pratchett. Sorry, folks.

I don’t know all of what the future will bring. Maybe I’ll get out of work hell into another org, or into another company entirely, one that might not be so exploitive of its workers. Maybe, eventually, the PTSD will ease its way out of my life after so many years of torment. Maybe I’ll even find someone I want to share my life with. But I’m heading into it with my heart better healed and my eyes clearer and my soul just all around better.

And I owe a lot of that to Seanan McGuire.

So, I’ve had a pretty awesome day thus far. Crystal premiering. You guys being generally amazing as always. seananmcguire spitting out A BRAND NEW SENSHI PRINCESS FAIRY TALE AT ME ON IM.

I’ve spent the past hour or so like a little kid in feetie pajamas hearing yet another glorious tale, AND YOU NEED TO READ IT.

Sea and Shore and In-Between

And if you’ve not yet, you need — NEED, THIS IS A THING YOU MUST DO WITHOUT QUESTION — to read Seanan’s other Senshi Princess Fairy Tales. They are here:

The Princess Who Called Lightning

The Ice King’s Daughter

Gold as Sun, Blue as Sky

Ash, Soot, and Flame

The Prince Who Loved Roses

Four Princesses Who Sought the Moon

I sincerely cannot emphasize enough how you need to read these. If you only heed me on two things, let those things be:

a) I love Rei Hino

b) READ THE SENSHI PRINCESS FAIRY TALES.

Thank you. (contains spoilers)

So, I post about seananmcguire's work embarrassingly often, but I just finished Midnight Blue-Light Special. 

I felt this strange discomfort growing in my chest as Verity was tortured. It was anxiety, making my breathing quick and my hands sweat. I knew what was coming. There were male captors, and a female detainee. They were going to-

Wait. No. They weren’t. I calmed down. The post had been one I had thanked her for in the past, but I am so used to that hackneyed bullshit shock value torture violation that I started to gird myself against it anyway. Until now, it’s never been something that I faced as clearly in seananmcguire's books, but it was beautiful to get through a scene without gendered violence being piled on an already shitty situation. 

One of the things that upsets me most about seeing it so often (and why I was so glad not to) is that inevitably, it is either The Reason That Character Is Fucked Up Forever, or it is hand-waved and they recover. On very, very rare occasions, a book can explore the recovery from rape well, but I feel like if that’s anything less than a major deal for a character, it’s bullshit.

So thank you. I didn’t want to witness a rape. I didn’t want to suffer through another recovery. That’s the thing people don’t get, when I talk about not wanting to read rape. It’s not the flashbacks or the smell or the way my hands tingle that bothers me the most. It’s going through recovery all over again, or watching someone butcher the topic by ignoring it entirely. The suffering through is better; at least then they’re not making a work for others to cite when they have told me to be “over it” already.

Thank you. 

I miss getting good grades. They always made me feel awesome. (Good reviews are not the same thing, any more than bad reviews are cognate to bad grades. Good grades didn’t get announced in public; they were handed to me privately, to hold close and use to armor myself against the world. I only shared them if I wanted to, and scored myself only against the standing in my own heart.)
—  Seanan Maguire

So here is the part where I show off how unspeakably amazing are my friends.

At this year’s ECCC, my girl Seanan was on a panel with Chris Claremont.

Chris Fucking Claremont.

For those of you who don’t know Chris Fucking Claremont, here are the important things you must know as they pertain to me.

He wrote the single greatest comic book run with twenty years on X-Men. You do not know how much I love X-Men. YOU DO NOT. What’s more, he created nearly every X-Men character worth being created, including Rogue who is only one of my all-time favourite characters ever.

So Seanan’s going to be on this panel and when she tells me we both squee for like three hours. Then she has this brilliant idea. Since my other girl Amy Mebberson is also at ECCC, why not get her to do us pictures of our respective X-Girls and have Chris Fucking Claremont sign them?

FUCKING YES PLEASE

Oh but then it gets better.

Because as you see, not only did Chris Fucking Claremont sign it, he wrote dialogue for Rogue. With his own hand.

INCLUDING MY NAME

Rogue is speaking dialogue written by Chris Fucking Claremont, just for me, INCLUDING MY NAME.

ROGUE IS SAYING MY NAME

And I just love Seanan and I love Amy and I love Rogue and I love this SO SO MUCH I barely know how to articulate anything.

ROGUE IS SAYING MY NAME YOU GUYS

Thanks to everyone who reminded me to write about this, hehe.  I’m still hyped up about it, so I want to do it now.

To start: http://roomescapeadventures.com/ If you are in or near Chicago, go there.  Buy a ticket.  I’ll wait.

Okay, need some convincing?  Here it goes:

This is a real-life escape the room puzzle.  With a ZOMBIE.  IT IS AMAZING AND SUPER WELL PUT TOGETHER AND AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD DO IT.

The story is this: a brilliant brain surgeon and researcher was working hard on a cure for some disease when she became infected.  She locked down the lab and chained herself to a wall, but she left clues for you to get out… if you’re clever enough to solve the puzzles.

You and eleven other lab assistants are trapped in this room, and there are tons of brain teasers to solve.  Solve enough, get the last code, and you’ll be able to find the key to get out.

And while you’re solving puzzles, there’s a real zombie doctor (okay, okay, an actress), chained to the wall.  Every five minutes, her chain gets one foot longer.

At the end of the hour, your brains are all devoured… if you haven’t already been caught in the mean time.

This WHOLE EXPERIENCE was absolutely brilliant.  The puzzles were just the right amount of hard — a combination of word games, spacial reasoning, math, rebuses and a little trivia. 

The woman who played the zombie was PERFECT.  Dangerous and scary, but not enough that we had to RUN run, although we had a couple of close calls.  We could use loud noises and lights to trick her a bit, and the room was just the right size that it was possible to dodge her until the very, very end if you were fast enough.

I had a super scary moment where I had to trust the rest of the team to distract the zombie while I went on the floor on my back to… do a thing I won’t spoil for you,  and seriously I almost got devoured.  One of my teammates literally hopped away on one leg when he almost got caught with a lucky swipe.

Most of the puzzles are movable well out of the zombies way, so if folks are willing to bring stuff to you you could totally do this with a physical disability or injury, or ask for a chair in the back if you’ve got a fatigue-related illness.  

It’s scary, but fun-scary, so I say this’d be great for kids middle-school age and up — there’s color and counting puzzles that even younger kids could handle, if they were mature enough to deal with being chased by a zombie — and once you’re caught you only have to stand in one place, you can still talk and help solve, so you don’t get tagged and have to leave or anything.

One negative: some of the physical props weren’t the easiest to work with, so hopefully as they get more established they’ll be able to improve what they have.

Oh, and I should add: the woman at the front door comes in with you, and makes sure you don’t break anything and gives you gentle hints if you get stuck.  She was fun, encouraging, and totally helpful a few times.  A+, omnipotent lady.

They take a picture of you, win or lose, and hang you on the survivors/devoured board as appropriate, and they have signs you can hold with things like ‘Zombie bait’ and ‘ARGH ZOMBIES’ if you lose, and ‘not bitten’ and ‘smarter than a zombie’ if you win.

We sadly were devoured… but really, if we’d had thirty more seconds we totally would have gotten out!  We had the whole code, just not enough time to work the lock.  C’est la vie.  Or c’est le zombie*.

DO THE THING.  CHALLENGE THE ZOMBIE

http://roomescapeadventures.com/

*special thanks to goodbyeomelas for fixing my French

Thanks to a panel led by Seanan McGuire I attended over the weekend, I dusted off the novel I set aside in late 2011 and added ~1000 words to it.  Tomorrow, another 1000.  And so on, and so forth.

Why that specifically?

Because queer stories that are not “the-story-is-that-the-main-character-is-queer” and are “the-main-character-is-queer-and-that’s-just-who-they-are” need to be told.

Especially when it’s hard SF, and the main queer character is a trans* and non-white.

And especially when it’s my story.

Kicking off this week’s Fanwork Friday, I wanted to draw attention to a series of stories you may have somehow missed. And you should not miss them. Trust me on this.

Once upon a time (that time being roughly eight months ago) Seanan and I were talking about fairy tales (which is a thing about which Seanan knows much) and Sailor Senshi (with which we both have some knowledge).

And then it began to happen.

Seanan was writing Senshi Princess Fairy Tales.

Over the the next few months, these stories unfolded. Six in all, and each absolutely stunning. You want feels, you guys? Oh Seanan’s got some feels for you.

I have so much love for these. The language, the style, the imagination, the CHARACTER. They’re a gorgeous blend of the Sailor Moon universe mythology and fairy tale conventions. You need to read these.

You NEED to.

I’m shutting up now.

Go read.

The Princess Who Called Lightning

The Ice King’s Daughter

Gold as Sun, Blue as Sky

Ash, Soot, and Flame

The Prince Who Loved Roses

Four Princesses Who Sought the Moon

10

For all those who like to complain about costumes for women only being “sexy,” and thinking you don’t have a choice blah blah blah. A quick online search at the party city website easily disproves it. So please, for the love of God, check first before you pick up your pitchforks and hop on the bandwagon. Good grief. And I even added two pirates, Minnie Mouse and cheetahs, in case you thought the first was “too sexy.” konoto seananmcguire castielsteenwolf and pr1nceshawn it’s not “sexy or nothing” there are options.

Seanan is my hero

Upon seeing the post I made earlier about my life crumbling, Seanan baked me cookies, drove to my work, gave them to me and hugged me so tightly.

She is the most wonderful person I know. Thank you for absolutely everything, Seanan. You made my night more than a million times better. I love and appreciate you more than you realize.

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