might be a good way to get to know some followers

Story 215: Cultural Exchange

The human steps onto the station from her shuttle, and walks into the scanner.  It flashes - no weapons.  I pity her, though there’s nothing I can do for her.  By tomorrow she will be a slave the same as me; the Gaunvans collect ambassadors like trophies.
“Hello there!  Amanda Thorn, ambassador for the Empire of Humanity.  You’re a Ixian, correct?”
Mimicking human body language, I nod my head.  "That’s correct.  Ix Malasan.  It is an honor to meet you.“
She smiles, reminding me again that she has somehow modified herself to breathe atmosphere suited to the Gaunvans rather than wear a respirator like myself.  Other than that she appears to be a standard human, something I am led to believe is less and less common as they pursue the bizarre compulsion humans have to alter their bodies.  Changing hair color, adding pigments to their skins in patterns and pictures, growing long tails or ears that mimic other species from their planet.  No other known species tampers with their bodies like this.
“Not to be undiplomatic, she says, "but the Gaunvans enslaved your people.  Why are you here?”
“We… reached a mutually beneficial agreement.  We would have lost in combat and been eliminated, so we chose to preserve what we could of our culture.  The Gaunvans are not naturally skilled at diplomacy, so they bring me along to assist and to show that peace can be made.”
She nods.  "Understood.  I can respect that choice.  How much freedom do you have, personally?“
Smart of her, to start planning for her future. "A fair amount.  I have free reign on the ship when we are in transit.  At the homeworld I have reasonably comfortable quarters.”
“Have you ever met the Empress, or…?”
“Oh, no.  No, while on the homeworld I am confined to my chambers - but they’re quite spacious.”
“Shame.  Okay, plan ‘A’ then.  Let’s get this over with.”

Despite my attempt at encouraging diplomacy, the Gaunvan commander starts with threats.  I don’t know why I bother.  He looms over the human, chitinous plates almost black in the dim light.  His pod of six is posted around the room, for show more than for actual security since she followed orders and came alone and unarmed.  "Failure to surrender will bring the full wrath of our army upon you.  Humanity will be crushed, and wiped from the universe.“
To her credit, she looks very calm.  "We live in a post-scarcity society.  Bloody conquest just seems silly, doesn’t it?”
“It is for the glory of Gaun!”
“Well, I’m not prepared to get into a religious debate with you,” she says, “since I doubt there’s anything I can do to change your mind.  Since you’re committed to this course of action, what are you willing to offer if we surrender?”
Now he goes back on script.  Maybe I am getting through to him a little?  He talks about the benefits of being enslaved, mainly the protections for up to twelve designated culturally historical sites.  They’ve been mostly good on their word on my homeworld, though they did use the area just outside of the Hahhn Memorial as a waste dump.

She nods as she listens.  There was a part of me that was worried she would argue, because the humans are somewhat childlike.  They don’t understand the horrors of war.  Certainly they fought in the past, but the last time they had to battle was more than two of their generations ago, so these ones have all grown up coddled and soft.  They play games with each other instead, silly competitions.  They make art, and play pretend, and alter their bodies for fun.  They don’t have weapons anymore, and wouldn’t know how to use them if they did.
“Well then,” ambassador Thorn says, “this is about what I expected.  On behalf of humanity, I would like to formally reject this offer.”
Oh no.  Foolish humans.  The galaxy will miss your innocence.  The commander makes an excited clicking noise, looking forward to combat.  He reaches a blade-tipped hand towards ambassador Thorn, but hesitates as every device in the room bleats out an alert - we’ve all lost communications with the outside.

Like one of the dances humans do, she gracefully pivots around while taking his hand.  She ends up close to him and places her other arm against his thorax, then… oh gods. Gods, what… she’s ripped his arm off.  It’s not possible.  The commander is clearly thinking the same thing, staring in mute shock at his dripping limb.
“I’d like to extend a counter-offer,” she says, and flips the arm around before jamming the bladed end into his neck.  The warriors around the room are fidgeting, uncertain.  They haven’t been told to attack, and don’t want to dishonor their commander by intervening in a fight with such a small creature.  She’s still holding the commander’s severed arm in his neck, but she rotates and heaves, lifting him off the ground with it for a moment… and then his head pops off, landing squarely on the conference table.  She allows the corpse to slide to the ground, and straightens her clothes as if they aren’t covered in ichor.

I don’t understand.

The warriors, now with no orders at all, finally act.  She smiles as they come for her, I suppose because she has done her duty to send this powerful message of resistance.  She can die in peace.  Or… no… She’s killing them.  She’s smiling because this is fun for her.  Though they’re partly killing themselves; if there had been two of them, prepared, strategic, they might have prevailed.  Watching six panicked fighters get in each other’s way while trying to stop a smaller, faster, and somehow impossibly stronger foe is almost hypnotic.  At least one is killed by the stab of a friendly lance due to pure confusion.  It’s over faster than I would have thought possible, severed limbs strewn across the room.  I’ve got some fluids splashed across my clothing.  Only one yet lives, and he is retreating.  She seems to be allowing it.

She follows behind, holding a lance.  The wounded and scared warrior scurries down the hallway towards his ship, looking back behind him as he goes.  She’s just… walking.  Calm.  And for some reason I’m following.  The last Gaunvan reaches the airlock and the second he enters his code she throws the lance - throws it! - and spears him.
“Come on, we’re stealing their ship.”  She says it like this is the most normal thing in the world.
“There are thousands more on board!  Thousands!  Almost all warrior caste!”
She smiles again, and keeps walking.  I see errors on the screens that we pass, messages indicating communications have been lost.  They can’t tell anyone what is happening here.  Even the communicators within the ship are on nodes rather than being wired, so the warriors at one end of the vessel won’t be able to coordinate with the other end.  Do they even know they’ve been boarded?
“How?”

We enter the bridge after she kills a handful of other guards with ease.  They’re too shocked by her presence to act in time.  Once the door are sealed and she is working on the control systems she starts talking to me again.
“Well, you know, we do like to be prepared.”
“But you… you ripped his arm off.”
“Yeah, that was super satisfying.”  She looks at me appraisingly.  "Oh, come on.  Is it really that surprising?  You knew we were into changing ourselves, right?  Being strong enough to pop an overgrown bug’s forelimb off isn’t rocket science.“
"Your people are so peaceful…”
“Oh, sure, most of them.  But we did that, too.  Tweaked ourselves over the years to decrease aggression and some of our tribalistic tendencies, increase empathy… all stuff that can be undone if needed.  Though for a good cause even the nicest of us can squish a bug or two.”
“You bond with Ry'ling devourers!”
“Those are the big fuzzy guys that look like cats, yeah?  Those guys are adorable!  But… look, liking some things that could kill us doesn’t mean we’ll sit back and get enslaved.  We didn’t put up with it well when we enslaved each other, and we certainly aren’t going to go for it now that we’re… finally… on the same page about slavery being unacceptable.  It was, uh, a longer time than we like to admit before the last hold-outs were convinced of that one.”

I can feel the ship un-dock.  We’re moving.  "What about all the warriors on board?  They’ll break through the doors eventually!“
"Not according to this control panel here.  Take a look.”
It says there’s no atmosphere in the rest of the ship.  Life signs are negative on all but two of the warriors, presumably the only ones that got to their suits in time.  She disabled all the safety measures, somehow.  She just killed… I check the life signs readout again to confirm the number… three thousand, six hundred, and fourteen soldiers.  Wait, how is it tracking that unless… “Are communications back up?”
“Yeah, I’m calling some friends.  The military is right around the corner, so to speak.”
“But Earth doesn’t have a standing military.”
She laughs.  Not just a little bit.  She’s actually doubled over for a moment, unable to catch her breath.  "Sweet Jeebus, you guys actually fell for that?  No standing military.  Have you read about us at all?“

Three ships appear seemingly out of nowhere, and one docks with the Gaunvan vessel.  Once the atmosphere is restored we head to the airlock to meet them, and I’m surprised by an entire platoon of Gaunvan warriors.  Speaking English.
"Okay boys, send your last goodbyes!  This is in all likelihood a one way mission.  Commander Thorn!  It is an honor to see you again, and might I say you look exquisite drenched in the blood of your enemies!”
She bows to him, blushing, and then salutes the Gaunvans.  Or… humans?  Can they change themselves this drastically?
“You’ve got two holed up in here somewhere.  Bridge is clear, have the techs bring the new brain on board.”
“New brain?”
She looks at me like she’s forgotten that I’m here, and then turns back to the others.  "Men, this is our new friend Ix Malasan who has just been liberated from his captivity.  He’s going to be helping with our intel.  Malasan, yeah, a new brain for the ship.  Once this vessel is cleaned up and back in service with a new crew we’ll be able to take it over whenever we want even if all of our boys get killed.  We cooked up a really sadistic AI for it.“
"But how do you know the protocols?  This was your first contact with the Gaunvans, they’ve never lost a ship anywhere near here!”
“No?  There wasn’t a mining colony disaster two years ago?”
“But that was just an accident… and you weren’t even involved in the war yet… and…”

The faux-Gaunvans have finished boarding.  The one that was talking to them before puts a bladed claw on ambassador - commander - Thorn’s shoulder.  "You coming with?“
"Naw.  Orders said I could only come if they allow ambassadors near extremely high value targets.  Malasan here says they don’t, so I need to wait for my next mission back on Earth.”
“It would have been nice having you with us, Thorn.  Well, maybe we’ll see each other again.  Suicide mission or not, I think I’ve decided to live through it.”
“Bold choice,” she says, and kisses him next to his lower mandibles.
He nods at me, then turns back to his men. “Okay everyone, we are now officially on the job.  And what is that job?”
In unison, they start chanting.

“FUCK! SHIT! UP!  FUCK! SHIT! UP!  FUCK! SHIT! UP!”

For a moment I nearly feel pity for the Gaunvans.  Nearly.  Commander Thorn leads me off of the ship, and I start thinking about what useful information I can provide the ‘harmless’ humans.  Fuck shit up, indeed.

Here is 10 things I tell my students on the first day of class about building yourself up into being a artist. This is starting point, not a all encompassing list. Hope you find it helpful!

1. Never stop experimenting. When you stop trying new things your style will get stagnant. Developing your style never has an stopping point, you’re going to continue learning and changing–that is a good thing.

2. Don’t draw to please a particular person or audience. It is tempting to draw something you think the person viewing it will like. It starts with drawing to please a friend/family member, then a teacher, and then a wider audience online or in person. However, consider drawing to please yourself first, an audience will follow in time and you will face a lot less burn out down the line. You’ll be hired for this, work you made out of something you liked crafting–not something you forced yourself to craft. Don’t make art that makes you miserable.

3. Learn the basics. Get good at anatomy (human and animal), perspective, creating depth, lighting, etc–then break the rules you’ve learned. Work, no matter how abstract, pushed, and pulled is always stronger when informed by a mastery of the basics.

4. Practice working in ways that do not hurt your hand. Learn to draw with a relaxed hand and draw in long strokes. Both of these methods help prevent issues with your hand, wrist, and arm. I’ve never gotten carpal tunnel, and I draw on a daily basis, because I have learned how to treat my hand well. Your hand is your tool, if you wear it out there isn’t a new one you can just pick up. The best treatment for any possible physical issues is prevention.

5. Learn how to draw without erasing. It is scary and it is tough no doubt! However the best way to become more confident is through not erasing. There is a medium for everyone to try this out, whether it is pen or non-erasing colored pencils. If you want to ease yourself into this method try out Pentel red lead, it erases a bit–but overall will always leave a mark with every stroke you make. The importance of this is learning to not be afraid of mistakes.

6. Draw from life, from reference photos, and from imagination. This trio is important, combining all three is usually how you build great drawing skills. Drawing from life gives you the ability to capture small details that you’ll remember to put in when drawing from a reference photo, drawing from refs will give you the practice you’ll need to handle whatever subject so that one day you can draw it from your own imagination–see how that works?

7. You’re art isn’t completely unique and that is okay. I can’t emphasis how many people I know who have gotten so hung up on being something totally unique that they burn out fast and never make work again. Now, considering how much art is in the world there is no way that what you create will be 100% unique to you. That is fine, your personality in your work is more of what makes something yours than a “style”.

8. Figure out your work’s personality. On that note finding the personality of your art is important as you go into trying to build your own place in the art world. The personality of a piece is a combination of style, subject, color, shapes, lines, and maybe most important themes (yes subject and themes are different). This combo is what makes your art special. At a loss for where to start figuring out your own personality? Compile a list of 10 artists you love. Why do you love them? Is it the shapes of one artist that speak to you, the line work of another is beautiful, the themes of a third make you feel inspired? Now take the 10 things you love about those 10 artists and start applying them to your own work. This isn’t about copying these artists, it is about the inspiration. That line work you love in another artist’s piece is gunna look different in yours for example. Those themes from another artist, well when you take them on your life might inform them in a opposite way. In time your inspired work will evolve into something that is your own.

9. Talent is nice, persistence is more important. Someone may be naturally talented in some areas of art, however someone who is persistent in their craft is so much more likely to succeed. Effort, continued growth, and practice will add up to so much more in the long run than just skating by on “talent”.

10. Be a good person. Treat others with respect, learn about social issues, don’t be a creep, and use your art to help people. And this might mean you craft a piece about an important issue that changes thousands of lives, or you might just be creating to help yourself get through the day. Both are important, after all you are a person too and you should always be trying to help and be kind to yourself.

psa for the yoi fandom: russian names & how to use them

Russian guides: masterpost | patronyms | terms of affection | answered asks

I’m going to start by swearing this isn’t me just complaining but a general resource for the Yuri on Ice fandom because I’ve noticed some mistakes in the naming conventions used among the fandom and want to help correct them. Especially in how the fandom treats diminutives. I absolutely love seeing the huge amount of interest in Russian diminutives, etc. in fanart and fics and hopefully this breakdown will help continue that trend and interest and even spur some more ideas in fandom content.

So let’s go through some important details below the cut!

Keep reading

serenity0220  asked:

Any chance you could please find some that Yuuri and Victor are married, but no one knows they are AU. Like, "Victor is a famous skater and he's married, but no one has a clue who his husband" is kind scenario? Thank you!

Hi! Thanks for these requests! This is a really fun AU! (Most of these fics are based off @skygemspeaks post which you can find here!

Originally posted by asparagusoup


Identity Reveal


Who is Coach Yuuri? by glitteryimagay, Teen, 24k
Nix, Fish and Frankie were over the moon when they were told they were chosen by skating legend Victor Nikiforov himself to be taught at his rink in America. But upon arriving, they are informed Victor was asked last minute to be the choreographer for the Olympic US Skating Team and instead, they will be taught by the rink’s head coach, who they know nothing about! This is great!

The Internet Exists For a Reason by tomorrowsdreams, Teen, 2.8k
Katsuki Yuuri amazes people even without them knowing who he really is. Thumbs up!

Comfort Zone by BertholdvonMoosburg, Gen, 8.9k
Yuuri decides to go back to school. He’d really like to experience being normal again for a while, and he wants friends, not more fans.It’s hard to keep two lives separate. Love this!

Yuuri Katsuki, MA by BertholdvonMoosburg, Teen, 10k
Two years. Two years she’d known Yuuri Katsuki, since that welcome reception where he’d looked so uncomfortable and she’d invited him to the pub. He had been a mystery at first, friendly but closed off. When he finally let her into his life, she found a real friendship with this warm, expressive, gentle man. And with his warm, expressive, extra-as-fuck husband. Thumbs up!

My fun fact is: by stillmadaboutpetra, Gen, 6.3k
Yuuri fails to mention to his new non-skater friends who he is or who his husband is. Or that he even has a husband. HAHAH THIS IS GREAT

Ethical Dilemmas in Sport Psychology: When Googling Your Friend Gets Weird by Adrianners, Teen, 1.5k
Grad student Yuuri is late to his study group, but nobody has his phone number or university email. One “Yuuri Katsuki Wayne State” Google search later and… Why does Yuuri have a Wikipedia page? Awesome fic!

Showing Results for ‘Katsuki Yuuri’ by Ferrero13, Gen, 3.9k
Victor makes it his goal to get Katsuki Yuuri, figure skater, to the first page of Google results. There is no way he could let such a brilliant skater be overshadowed by Katsuki Yuuri, winner of some stuffy academic medal, who is probably 50 and balding. I LOVE THIS FIC SO SO SO MUCH

A Real Life Cinnamon Roll by Seito, 2.1k
Yuuri Katsuki’s students knew three things about their new teacher:
1) he was adorable
2) he was extremely passionate about teaching them
3) based off the lovesick expression he often wore, his wife was a lucky woman. I LOOOOVE THIS FIC

How do you not know? by missykristy, Teen, 4.5k
Yuuri Nikiforov-Katsuki, after retiring from competitive skating at 27, decides to go back to school and build on top of his Communications degree. He becomes the Teaching Assistant to a first year Japanese class and is more than happy to stay silent about his career. But honestly, a quick Google search and he’s there. How could you not know? Fun read!

And the answer is… by nessiesaur, Gen, 1.5k
Yuuri Katsuki is adorable, but also one of the most mature people in their class. Yuuri Katsuki is in her study group, which definitely saved her ass on the midterm. Yuuri Katsuki is…wait, who is he!?

A Prince in Disguise by lourthor, Gen, 5.1k
The one thing his classmates know about him for sure is that he loves his husband. Such a good fic!

Long time no see by ddugeun, Gen, 4.8k
“Mum? What’s wrong?” he might be 27 and retired, but his anxiety never gets easier about the smaller things.
“Yuuri! Oh, don’t worry, nothing’s wrong!” Hiroko chirped through the speakers. It’s not quite enough to quell his nervous thoughts just yet. “I got a letter for you in the post; it looked quite important so I opened it incase it was time sensitive, and it turns out it’s a high school reunion invite!” High school reunion AU… you have to read this!

icebreaker by Cesare, Gen, 6.1k
Marianne gets to know Yuuri Katsuki mainly because she never heard the name “Yuuri” before their class together. AWESOME fic!

five theories about victor “my husband” nikiforov (+ one fact) by dadvans, Not Rated, 2.1k
No one knows the truth about the strange, well-paying man who comes into the bar three times a week and only talks about his husband. But everyone has their theories. Rec’d by my followers!

where marinette flirts
  • so alya told her to start flirting with adrien if she liked him so much, and the magazines give her step-by-step guides with 15 ~Chill~ Ways to Flirt With Your Crush Without Totally Embarrassing Yourself, so there’s no way this can go horribly wrong, right?
  • okay but marinette has to be realistic, when has anything ever gone right for her?
  • 1. like their instagram and watch their snapchat: okay but marinette already does this, she follows all of adrien’s social media and collects his takes from photoshoots and knows his schedule, and honestly, there’s really nothing he does that she doesn’t know about it? the whole point of watching his snapchat and liking his instagram would be for him to notice her, but it’s not like she can tell him that she does this, because that would be creepy right? but for the most part she thinks she has this part down pat. 
  • 2. make eye contact: and this one is damn near impossible. every time she looks at adrien, and he looks back, her heart turns into a puddle and she wants to melt. but okay, the magazine said to make eye contact, so that’s maintain eye contact, right? don’t look away as soon as he catches her looking. okay, she tells herself. i can do this.
  • adrien and marinette spend the rest of the week in multiple staring contests. alya and nino are extremely confused, but the game catches on, and soon the whole class spends Madame Bustier’s lectures in staring contests with the rest of their classmates. there’s a running scoreboard, and chloe and alya are surprisingly good at the game, which isn’t that surprisingly at all considering how many glare-showdowns they’ve had throughout the year. 
  • adrien just wants to beat marinette once, and how is it fair she’s so good at this??? marinette just wants to know why it’s not working; she hasn’t gone through dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches for nothing. at this point, she’s read to pour Johnson’s No More Tears shampoo directly in her eyes to get them back to normal. 
  • 3. let your emojis do the talking: 🍆😛:eggplant: :yum:
  • alya sent it from marinette’s phone, and marinette is too busy dying to say anything about it. adrien still buys her eggplants for a month because he thinks they’re her favorite.
  • 4. wave and say “hi” when they walk by: marinette had to quit when her over-aggressive wave nailed nino in the nose and broke it. alya called him “raccoon eyes” for weeks. it didn’t matter though, adrien didn’t even wave back (though it might have been because his best friend was bleeding on the school steps). 
  • 5. invite your crush to hang out as a group: seems easy enough, right? she invites alya, nino, and adrien over for a study group at her house, but alya and nino cancel at the last minute to give her “some alone time with adrien”. only it doesn’t work out that way because she’s forced to actually learn physics when adrien notices she had some troubles with it and tutors her for the rest of the night. 
  • 6. say something simple, then keep the conversation going: marinette had trouble talking to adrien in the first place, so it was a miracle if she even got something simple out. adrien saves her the trouble anyway when he complicates her cat sweater, but it doesn’t go the way she imagined because it devolves into a heated argument over whether chat noir or ladybug was better, and oh my god, how could she be arguing with her crush over how much she sucked?
  • 7. remember what they tell you, and bring it up later: so adrien refuses to speak to her since she said ladybug sucked, and marinette is panicking internally 24/7. she makes him a hat to apologize because it’s summer and it’s blue, and when he asks her how she knew blue was his favorite color, she just smiles and tells him she read it in a magazine article. 
  • adrien looks touched either way while marinette wishes she could sink through the floor because she’d gone nearly a whole year without adrien knowing she read magazine articles about him. 
  • 8. give them a sincere compliment: 
  • adrien: “so what do we know about penguins already for this biology presentation?”
    marinette: “penguins are inefficient walkers…. they’re cute…. but not cuter than you.”
    adrien: “…thanks, marinette.”
  • adrien: “thanks, marinette. you’re so helpful.”
    marinette: “that’s me. i’m always helpful. i’ll always try to help you. you know, like… i’d totally hold a revolving door for you. i know that’s counterproductive, but you’re worth it.”
  • adrien: “god, they never get all the makeup off after a shoot.”
    marinette: “you know, i would really be okay with seeing you without makeup. that’s how much i like you.”
    adrien: “what?”
    marinette: “what?”
  • 9. casually touch their arm when you’re talking: marinette casually strokes adrien’s arm during their next study session.
    adrien: “… why are you touching my arm?”
    marinette: “i’m checking the seam work.”
    adrien: “….that’s my skin though.”
    marinette: “shh, don’t disrupt a designer at work.”
  • 10. offer them a fry: okay, but marinette doesn’t particularly like fries, so she figured she’d find another way to work this in. it happens one morning while she’s about to go to town on her croissant when she overhears adrien mentioning to nino that he’d forgot his breakfast, so she shoves the food in front of him and rushes away. alya can’t stop laughing at agreste’s startled expression when marinette shoved a croissant in his face without prompt. regardless, alya shares her own breakfast when marinette admits she didn’t have anything else to eat.
  • 11. give them something thoughtful: marinette buys adrien a ladybug-spotted scarf because she knows he likes the superhero. he protests when she gives it to him, but she just shrugs and said she owed him one anyway after dissing his favorite superhero before. 
  • the next day he gives her a matching chat noir one.
  • 12. tease them: she can barely keep a straight face when she teases adrien in front of nino and alya about always smelling like camembert. she even buys him three cheese wheels one day, but he only flushes darkly as he shoves them in his bag. she wants to apologize in case she hurt his feelings, but later that day, she notices that the cheese is gone. 
  • man, he must really like his cheese, she thinks in awe, and spends the rest of the day trying to figure out why adrien kept glaring at his bag during class. 
  • 13. steal their hat and put it on your head: adrien doesn’t wear hats, so she stole nino’s instead. adrien spent the rest of the day trying to set her up with his best friend. 
  • 14. ruffle their hair: marinette ruffles adrien’s hair when she walks into the classroom one morning. some strands end up tangled in her bracelet, and the two spend the remainder of class in the nurse’s office as she tries to cut them loose. 
  • 15. sit in their lap: marinette is a little hesitant to try this one, but alya ends up taking matters into her own hands and pushes marinette into adrien’s lap one day while the three of them and nino were visiting a cafe for lunch. marinette is flustered and apologizes profusely, and she finally finds the courage to look into his eyes. but instead of angry!agreste, she seems wide, shocked green eyes as adrien begins to laugh uncontrollably. marinette starts to giggle and shakes her head and it’s not until she looks at him again that she realizes… this whole situation seems really familiar…
  • “…chat noir?” she asks suddenly.
  • “what?” adrien asks. 
  • “what?” alya asks.
  • “what?” nino asks.
  • “oh my god,” marinette says and dies.

Needless to say, flirting was not her forte. But hey, she still got the man in the end, right? …. alright, it’s a work and progress, but still. 

Closet Softie

Or, How Bucky Barnes Nearly Ruined His Tough-Guy Rep

(On AO3)


The trail mix was gone. 

The nice, expensive trail mix, with twelve kinds of nuts and the big sunflower seeds and dried fruits, the kind Tony only rarely left sitting on the common floors for everyone to get at, was gone. 

Clint had been looking forward to that stuff all morning

All the way through a hellish morning “jog” with Steve, all through Nat handing him his ass on the training mats, all through firing the same batch of misweighted arrows over and over so Tony could take scans and fix the design, he’d been thinking, when this is done I get to go upstairs and hang out on the couch and watch Dog Cops and eat the good trail mix, guilt-free. 

And it was gone.

Clint was gonna shoot somebody.

Just as soon as he figured out who’d taken the trail mix.


kingofmemes posted:

yesterday i saw a sad duck in the park who kept getting picked on by the other ducks so today i brought some trail mix and we had a nice lunch together. also i think he might be the duck who pooped on sam last week. if so, he is officially my new best friend. 

Posted at 3:29 PM, 24379 notes

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Truth or Truth

Requested anonymously: A one shot where the reader has never been able to orgasm through masturbation. When Dean finds out, he offers to help.

Warning: smut, masturbation

Word Count: 2300

A/N: Hope you enjoy, anon! XOXO

“Truth or truth?” Dean asks, grinning a little sideways in that way that lets you know he’s just the right amount of drunk.

Truth or truth is the game you play when you’re both feeling a little wound up, needing to blow off some steam. You’re too old for stupid dares and too nervous for dares that might actually make you touch each other, so you settle for sticking to truths. It never amounts to anything, but you both enjoy the sexy words said in the dark as you lie together on one bed, a bottle being passed between you, like you have a life and a personality outside of monsters.

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hannahtheladybug  asked:

Hi! I love your blog soooooooo much! I was wondering if you know any good fluffy slow burns? Thanks!

WOW! Thanks for all these requests! I looove slow burn fics, they give me life! Let me know if you think I missed some!

Originally posted by shiruba-tsuki


Slow Burn


Until My Feet Bleed and My Heart Aches by Reiya, Explicit, 197k
A single event changes the course of Yuuri’s life, throwing him into a bitter rivalry with Viktor Nikiforov that spans across his entire skating career. But as the years go on, rivalry and hatred begin to develop into something very different and Yuuri doesn’t seem to be able to stay away, no matter how hard he tries. Hatred and love are two sides of the same coin and even though everything changes, some things are still meant to be. Oh, man, do these boys not communicate their feelings! Seriously one of the best fics I have ever read in ANY fandom. Love this fic so much.

starstruck by shizuoh, Teen, 58k
(in which yuuri is a simple barista, viktor is a famous movie star, and yuri is an 8 year old kid stuck in the middle of it.) SO good!

What Fades On The Ice by KasumiChou, Gen, 54k
Yuuri Katsuki was a living legend in the skating world. A living legend that depended on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety tablets to survive. Viktor Nikiforov was a young ‘up-and-coming’ skater who was determined to convince his idol to coach him after an extremely bad result at his last competition.How will Yuuri survive the hurricane that is Viktor Nikiforov? Very angsty!

Bear Your Soul on the Ice by SassySalchow (diedraechin), Mature, 118k (WIP)
At age fourteen, Katsuki Yuuri had been determined to be Japan’s next great figure skating hope, but with no coach that would never happen, so his ballet instructor packs him up off to Russia to train with Yakov Feltsman. The Yakov Feltsman, otherwise known as the coach to rising figure skating star – and Yuuri’s idol – Viktor Nikiforov. AMAZING!

You Can’t Plan for Everything by RivDeV, Explicit, 138k (WIP)
Yuuri forgets that he has a scheduled heat coming up until it’s just a couple weeks away. He scrambles to get everything ready in time, including deciding whether he’ll spend it alone or with someone. Victor only wants to help. A/B/O rec’d to me by my followers!

Tantalus, Reaching by chellethewriter, Teen, 
A retelling of the series that chronicles how a five-time Grand Prix champion might attempt to woo a somewhat oblivious Japanese figure skater.

Nerve Endings by Phyona, Explicit, 51k (WIP)
When Yuuri moves in with Victor in St. Petersburg, they have to work through Yuuri’s anxiety and Victor’s secrets to find their balance. LOVE!

rekindling by fan_nerd, Mature, 9.1k
Victor stands on Yuuri’s doorstep in the pouring rain with a bouquet of flowers. It’s the middle of the night. The tall man is out of breath, soaking wet, and his eyes are red. Yuuri sighs, letting his ex-boyfriend in like the sympathetic fool that Victor knows he is. “What are you doing here?” He hurries to catch his breath and reply, but his mouth is dry. Victor doesn’t exactly have an answer to that question. I love this so much??? Amazing fic!

not gold like in your dreams by ebenroot, Teen, 49k (WIP)
In which Victor and Yuuri are roommates and Yuuri has a secret. WOW!

matched by bigspoonnoya, Explicit, 52k
Viktor Nikiforov considers himself an excellent matchmaker, but there’s one love life he can’t seem to get right: his own. AMAZIN

and I feel life (for the very first time) by smudgesofink, Teen, 10k
In which Victor helps Yuuri with his skating, but Yuuri helps Victor find himself again.

cover story by fan_nerd, Explicit, 8.2k
Yuuri stares down at the person standing in the doorway. The stranger hisses, “Who do you think you are, anyways?” Quickly, before he can really think about it, Yuuri responds, “I’m Victor’s boyfriend.” It’s a lie, but the words feel good in his mouth, and for some reason, he doesn’t want to take them back. Such a good one shot!

Dancing Daffodils by grayclouds, Mature, 51k (WIP)
“As Love gently wipes away the tears that trail down his cheeks something within Victor quakes, its tremors resonating throughout his entire being like a deafening echo. He is in the arms of a god.” BIG THUMBS UP!

offer me) that Deathless Death by melonbug, Teen, 19k (WIP) **Major character death
It was the curse he and his family were fated to: Death would come for him the moment he turned eighteen, and he could only hope the flimsy wards passed down through the generations would protect him. But Death always won eventually, Death would snatch him up as he had all of his ancestors.But somehow he wasn’t what Yuuri had expected. He was a constant presence in his life, barely there. A vigilant spectator to his burgeoning skating career, a gray haired man with a soft expression who found him again and again, waiting for him to let his guard down, but becoming something more, over time.

Beside the Dancing Sea by lily_winterwood, MapleTreeway Explicit, 186k
New York Times-bestselling author Viktor Nikiforov arrives in the sleepy seaside town of Torvill Cove to cure his writer’s block. After encountering local wallflower Yuuri Katsuki at a party, he discovers that this mysterious dark-haired man has a couple secrets up his sleeve. And Viktor will be damned if he doesn’t find out just what those secrets are. LOVE this fic!

Until You Return to Me by BatMads, Teen, 113k
Yuuri and Victor are in St. Petersburg together at last, but when Yuuri has difficulty adjusting to the transition and tragedy strikes, it seems as though they may be separated forever. Now they struggle to find their way back to each other when the universe seems to conspire against a happy ending. So angsty omgomg

Everything on Fire by SakanatoAi, Teen, 28k (WIP)
In an alternate universe where the physical closeness between two soulmates is measured by body temperature, Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov have spent their entire lives chasing after fleeting moments of warmth. As they grow older, their actions begin to draw them towards each other in a blind search for their anonymous soulmate, and the eventual release from the relentless cold which will be granted by their union.

The Boyfriend Experience by cryingoverspilledvodka, Explicit, 119k (WIP)
Katsuki Yuuri is an accomplished escort at 23, operating under the pseudonym Eros, in Detroit. When one of his favourite clients sets him up with none other than world-renowned figure skater Victor Nikiforov, the delicate balance between Yuuri’s personal and professional life teeters ever closer towards ruin. Such a great fic!

Like a Fairytale by lucycamui, Teen, 63k (WIP)
In which Prince Victor gets swept off his feet at a royal banquet and will go to any length to find his ‘Cinderella’ Yuuri. VERY cute!

November’s Secret by LanaBerry, Mature, 23k (WIP)
Overwhelmed with anxiety and his fear of failing, Yuuri faces the issue of if he should continue skating. His best friend, Yuko, proposes a solution - if no one knows it’s you, then it’s less embarrassing, right? Yuuri begins to create a completely new disguise and persona.But it works a little too well.Before he knows it, Yuuri has become the biggest mystery of the skating world and everyone wants to know who he is. Especially Viktor Nikiforov, the idol he’s been loosely basing his new persona on for years. Ahh I love this!

how the mighty fall (in love) by braveten, Teen, 28k
Every Victor Nikiforov fan has three things in common.
1. They have unrealistic expectations for romance.
2. They mark their calendars with the dates of his newest book releases and the premieres of his latest movie adaptations.
3. They either passionately hate or love his greatest rival, a mysterious author whose pseudonym is only two letters: “KY.” Lots of mutual pining!

Aria: Stammi Vicino, Non Te Ne Andare by exile_wrath, Teen, 34k (WIP)
The tale of Yuuri Katsuki, who never ages and never dies and has lived frozen in time for centuries, and his attempts to keep his adopted son from killing the new guest. Such an amazing immortal AU!

pas de deux by intertwingular, Gen, 24k (WIP)
in which yuuri, premier dansuer and four time usa international ballet competition gold medalist, ends up teaching yurio ballet, and viktor is just the slightest bit smitten. Very sweet!

fire on ice by indianchai, Teen, 15k (WIP)
Everyone in the world had some sort of affinity with one of the four elements; the proper term was elemental affinity– whether they were best suited with fire, water, earth, or air.All figure skaters were water users. Never in the history of the sport was there professional ice skater that didn’t have water as their elemental affinity. Katsuki Yuri had a well-guarded secret that he can’t have anyone find out about.

The possibility of Otayuri becoming canon

So in this post-Welcome to the Madness daze and with the information that has been released today, I would like to do some speculation about the character dynamic between Yurio and Otabek and the possible implications for this ship to become canon. I have already written a bit about this in a comment to another post here, but I would like to elaborate.

Again, this is just me throwing around ideas, with a good dose of wishful thinking.

-          Otabek enters the story quite late as a character. He is there from the beginning but we only get to see him interact with the others from episode 10 onwards. The focal point becomes what his relation is to Yuri. He whisks him away on his motorcycle, takes him to one of the most beautiful vistas in the city and then casually drops how he has admired him for the past five years. Then he offers Yuri his friendship, which has apparently never occurred in Yuri’s life before, they go for a coffee and Mari is stunned to see Yuri normally interact with another human being for a change. It’s up to you to ignore any fond gazes during this scene. What’s worth mentioning is that Yuri seems kind of perplexed by this whole thing. The “eyes of a soldier” line gets to him, because it is probably the first time someone sees him for who he wants to be.

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Can Conscious K-Pop Cross Over? BTS & BigHit Entertainment CEO ‘Hitman’ Bang on Taking America

On April 2, BTS played the fifth and final date of a sold-out U.S. arena run, performing to the shrieking fans who helped the group’s second full-length album, Wings, become the first K-pop project to crack the top 40 of the Billboard 200 in 2016. Since debuting in 2013, the seven-piece boy band has become a commercial behemoth in its native South Korea while continuing to make inroads within American pop culture. “Change,” an English-language hip-hop collaboration between BTS member Rap Monster and U.S. star Wale, was released three days before the kickoff of the stateside run.

“Change” touches on topics like voting rights and online harassment, while some of BTS’ biggest hits have addressed mental health. “Worldwide, our young generation shares the same issues socially and politically,” says BTS member Suga. Although K-pop music generally steers away from controversy, Rap Monster says that remaining outspoken “is important to us. And the bigger the voice we get, the more powerful our words become.”

A new BTS album is already underway and more U.S. dates might be on the way later this year. Bang Si Hyuk, the CEO and Executive Producer of label/management agency BigHit Entertainment who is better known as “Hitman” Bang, hints at “special features” designed for international listeners but thinks BTS will continue playing to its base.

“I’m not a believer in releasing full English songs to the U.S. market, like many K-pop artists have,” Bang tells Billboard in his first-ever interview with American press. “We must focus on what we do best as K-pop artists and producers and maybe add some special features to which international or U.S. music fans can feel attached. That is the best way for me to put K-pop into the mainstream U.S. music market and, in that regard, BTS will participate and perform in a way that is not much different from what they have been doing in the last three years. We’re adjusting and improving the way we do shows on the tour to meet the international or global level and expectations so that anyone, regardless of their culture and background, can enjoy BTS music and performances.”

Bang is sure to add that the group will be “very active and responsive in releasing new songs that would come out of collaborations with international artists, like 'Change.’” And, looking ahead, both the CEO and band see their most recent accomplishments as inspiration to achieve even more in the future.

“I’m so excited and thrilled at the response to the U.S. tour,” Bang says. “It’s still overwhelming and unbelievable at some point. I even further feel responsible for producing better music and production for fans around the world and I’d definitely think harder on what makes fans enthusiastic and passionate about BTS music and the band.” Meanwhile, the ambition within the group is perhaps best felt when member V winks that the group has “grander goals”; as if arena shows are just the beginning of what he and his band mates plan to accomplish around the world.

Below read on for an extended interview with BTS held before the tour kicked off. All member answers are taken via a translator except for Rap Monster.

With five arena shows, this tour is so huge and I think the main reason for that and why you guys are doing so well in America is because you sing about personal topics. Why is that so important to talk about in your music?

​Suga: Worldwide, our young generation shares the same issues socially and politically. I think that young people feel the same way about similar issues and BTS wants to cheer them up with our songs and talk about our feelings and social issues.

Rap Monster: These topics, like you said, they’re important, right? They should be told by someone. Someone should talk about it. And if someone should talk about it, then it feels like we have to talk about it. It’s very much an honor that we get power and attention from our fans them when we use our voices more. It’s important to us and the bigger the voice that we get, the more powerful that our words become.

These topics – loneliness, mental health, bullying – you don’t hear about in K-pop or even Korean culture much. Or, really, in American pop music either. Have you ever worried it might get a negative or opposite response?

​Suga: There are people who think negatively and there have been people who react negatively towards BTS’ music. But I think it’s way more important to make music with those issues because I think it’s important to encourage people to fight for those issues and, through the music, have a resolution for those issues. But I’m going to continue to talk about those issues through the music anyway. [Laughs]

Do you think K-pop needs to get more personal to gain a wider audience? Would you like to see that more in future?

Rap Monster: We still need some party songs, we still need some light love songs. I love to listen to them and feel the vibe from that. Everyone has their luggage and their shadows, but it’s up to everyone’s own [devices]. But we’re us. I think if we talk about it and if it gets more voice and attention, then maybe there are a lot of people in the world that accept us start to talk about those issues. I think that’s the change.

I thought “Spring Day” was a really big musical moment for you guys. Not only did it do really well on the charts, but this time you were showing a progression in thinking and a message of hope. The idea of recovering and winter moving to spring. Was that a conscious decision?

Rap Monster: It’s just like what you said, that was one step further. We’re always talking about the crises, the sorrows and youth’s feelings of getting lost. In many [television] programs, when we’d introduce our new album, I’d always talk about the word “recovery.” Like you said, it’s all about the recovery. Winter going to spring. The middle of the winter going to the spring. You got that.

​Suga: In addition to being what we are as BTS, we wanted to bring some changes and we actually wanted to evolve as a group. We wanted to show our many colors, but we still want to console others and give hope to others.

Something that was unique was all the solo songs on the Wings album. You’ve done mixtapes, but instead of full-fledged solo or unit releases, you got to show your different sides of yourselves. Why was that necessary?

Jin: The solo tracks were important because it was personal, an individual story and it was represented in the way that we are good at it. We worked a lot on each track and that’s why it was important to each of us.

Rap Monster: When I get questions about why is K-pop is so popular; I always tell them K-pop is like a great mix of music, videos, visuals, choreography, social media and real-life contents. Making the solo tracks on the album was quite a venture, but it’s connected to the concept. Like, when you watch the “I Need U” video, everyone has their own crises and characters. It’s kind of connected to our real personalities and characters, but the solo songs have their own characters and personalities. It’s all connected. It’s a mixture and that’s why people get interested in the concepts.

Speaking of solo songs, “Change” recently came out. Rap Monster, you and Wale are talking about different-but-similar issues when South Korea and America are both having interesting political times. Did you guys have a chance to discuss your different viewpoints?

Rap Monster: We didn’t have the time to get into it deeply, but I’m always watching the news about Trump and America; I always watch. When he first suggested a collaboration, I was like, “What should we do?” We could just do you know, a common hip-hop song, but I wanted to do a little more special. We have our political situation in Korea and the students are very angry. So, I think, if we talked about what’s going on, then we’ll have a real special collaboration. I think my guess was right and it became special.

Do you see or feel your influence among other groups in the industry?

​Jungkook: When we debuted back in 2013, we were influenced by our sunbaenim [Korean word for “senior”]. Over the years, as we watched other younger groups, we know they talk about us, they cover us and they follow us. I think they’re saying in interviews that they learned a lot from us and that makes us feel great. Being a sunbaenim, we want to be a good influence and be a better role model to other groups.

Last question, are you happy?

V: For now, we are very happy as we are, as a group, together. And I think we are happy because we are walking on the same path, walking the same direction. We wanted to get Daesang [Best of the Year award], but we have it already so our goal is to make great music, to share it with our fans.

Rap Monster: And a worldwide, stadium tour. That’s the goal.

V: We have grander goals.

© Jeff Benjamin @ Billboard

The 5 Elements of a LIKABLE Main Character

“I don’t like your main character. He’s kind of obnoxious.” my beta reader laughingly told me, after reading the first chapter of my novel.

On the surface, I looked like this: 

Inside, I looked like this: 

Aloud, I said “Oh, well, he’s kind of hard to understand. He changes by the end.”

Inside, I screamed “How could you not like him?! Do you have a heart?! Is there a void where your soul should be?! Are you actually a Dementor that’s really good at makeup? Well, I guess this is what the Dementors are doing after getting kicked out of Azkaban!”

Outside: “But I really enjoyed it!” *Hugs between broken writer and Dementor in disguise* “Thank you for reading!" 

But you know what? That person that might be a soul-sucking cloaked demon creature? They were right. The character was unlikable, or more accurately, there was no reason to cheer him on. There was nothing to make the reader connect with him, relate to him, transfer themselves into his story, feel affection towards him. 

And if the reader doesn’t connect with the character through empathy? Nothing else in the story can work. Everything relies on this one fictional person. The basic definition of story is "A flawed hero with a goal overcoming obstacles to reach that goal, and how that journey changes them.” So without character, you don’t have story. Without empathy from the reader, you don’t even have character. 

So what is empathy when it comes to characters? 

It’s the process of a reader transferring their own lives onto the character. When this happens, the character’s goal and inner desires, values and weaknesses, everything about them, become proxies for our own. We learn of a shared piece of human nature between us, something we have in common on a significant inner level, and suddenly we want to see this character succeed. Because now, they are us – and we want to see ourselves succeed in real life. We feel what they feel, we experience what they experience.  

The best way to sum up character empathy in my opinion, is this quote from C.S.Lewis: “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another ‘Really? You too? I thought I was the only one!’”

That’s empathy. 

Which doesn’t mean the character has to be an angelic little cherub …

There are characters that operate in a moral gray area, there are characters that are downright awful, there are characters that shouldn’t be lovable …but we love them. So this is NOT saying that a main character has to be a perfect angel that rescues baby squirrels when they’re not busy volunteering at the local soup kitchen, it just means there’s something WORTHWHILE in the character that persuades the reader to stick around. We need a reason to relate with that at-first-glance unlikable character. Just as we have flawed people in our own lives who we can forgive and love.

A good quote for this one would be this, by G.K.Chesterton: “That’s the great lesson of Beauty and the Beast; that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

So how does a writer accomplish a good empathetic connection?

Luckily for us, establishing this only takes a little planning in the beginning of the story. Certain elements foster empathy, elements which you can give to your character and display in the story. Making sure to incorporate a few of these will ensure that first connection between reader and character. A connection which you, the author, will then be able to grow. It’s this tiny first note of shared humanity which deepens into those important links we hold with characters. We’re living people, they’re imagined and comprised of words on a page; yet these people can be friends to us, family, mentors, role models, and become some of the most influential people in our lives. 

And how does that begin? Evoking empathy. 

And how do you evoke empathy? Well here are the characteristics that human beings instinctively identify with and admire … 

– Courage (This is the one EVERY main character should possess. Gumption to pursue what they want separates main from background characters.)

– Humor (Wit charms us without fail.)

– Goal-Obsessed 

– Hard-working  

– Noble motivations

– Loving

– Loved by others

– Kind 

– Treated unfairly

– In imminent danger, physically

– In imminent danger, emotionally

– In a sorrowful situation

– Smart/Expert at something

– Suffering from psychological weakness  

– Haunted by something in their past

– Dissatisfied with current state of their life

– Lacking something like love, friendship, belonging, family, safety, freedom, etc

It’s a good plan to give your main character at least FIVE of these empathetic little “virtues.”

If this sounds like a resume, that’s kind of what it is. “Dear Potential Reader, I’m applying for the job of Main Character of this book series. I aspire to consume your every waking thought and drastically change your life, for better and worse.” It’s a diagram of the worthwhile traits of the hero, the characteristics that win us over, which promise the reader “If you follow my story, knowing me – and experiencing the story through me – will be well worth your time.”

These traits will be displayed in the set-up of the story, the first ten pages or so. But the story CANNOT stop to let the character exhibit these winning behaviors; the story must KEEP PROGRESSING, every empathetic element must be shown with a story reason for existing within a scene. Like exposition, empathy needs to be added in subtly, as the story motors onward, slipping into the reader’s knowledge without them noticing. If it’s a scene created for the express purpose of convincing the reader “This character is lovable! Love them! I said love them!” then it will be glaringly obvious and the reader will feel the exact opposite. (They’ll also feel that way about the author, incidentally.)

Now! How does this work? 

Harry Potter: 

Harry is the poster child for being treated unfairly. Yet in the face of the abusive treatment of his childhood, Harry is courageous. He does not succumb to the Dursley’s relentless campaign to stamp the magic out of him, and become a proper Dursley; though this would’ve won their approval, put him in their good graces, and made his life exponentially easier – but he didn’t do it. He knew they were wrong, knew what was right, and refused to become like them. So heck yes Sorting Hat, there is “plenty of courage, I see”. He was loved by his parents, by the three that dropped him off at his Aunt and Uncle’s, and by the majority of the Wizarding World. He’s also snarky, loving, and in constant danger. 

Judy Hopps: 

Every reason why we care about Judy is established in the first few scenes. She’s courageous. She’s funny. She’s loved by her parents. She’s motivated by noble values. Definitely goal oriented, hard working, and smart. She’s also in imminent danger, and being treated unfairly.

If we took out the pieces of the story meant to evoke our empathy, what would happen? 

Nobody would care. Judy Hopps would have been an annoying, smug, and consumed by ruthless ambition. Harry Potter would have ceased to exist because everything about him is empathetic. 

Establishing these early allows us to begin the process of temporarily transferring our lives into a story. Or in the case of some life-changing stories, not temporarily transferring, but letting them become part of our souls forever. 

Yup, having your story connect with a reader forever starts with just a little empathy. Pretty useful.

Oh, and speaking of souls, give me mine back, Dementor reader. I learned how to make people like my characters. Now you’re out of the Azkaban job and the beta reading job. 

AU where instead of going to Samwell, Jack starts a widely successful Publicly Broadcast show for children.

Jack learns that he is great with kids after coaching them for a little over two years. Moreover, kids are good with Jack. There is no pressure to be anything other than who he is.


It all starts with a local news program doing a fluff piece on Jack Zimmermann’s coaching ability. But then it turned into something completely different when Jack skated onto camera and started to introduce every single one of his kids and what was special about them. He was…really enchanting actually. He didn’t ever really talk down to them. Jack just treated them as a tiny friend. 

They ARE his tiny friends, but that’s not the point. 

The footage they got of “snack time” was really the best. Imagine a good 16 kids piled around this massive man teaching them the best way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

 It should have been obvious that a local channel would contact him. It still surprises Jack. They want him to host a show? Why? Everyone always teased him about how impersonable he was during interviews. Is it because he’s Jack Zimmermann’s son? Or Alicia’s? 

Jack asks all of these questions to his mother and she just laughs. “You made a PB&J interesting to 16 kids just by being you”

Jack figures it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot. 

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Haven Craft’s Tips for Beginner Witches, Part One

Tips for Beginner Witches

Let’s start with this – I am not the witch Pope. I cannot speak for the witchcraft community as a whole; only for my own tradition.

5 Things I Believe Beginner Witches Should Ask Themselves

Note that the answers to these things will change, but that a firm grasp of the answers at any point in your practice may be helpful to you. I recommend actually writing your answers down, and every now and again check back and see if your stance has shifted.

1. Is magick real?

If yes, then what do you mean when you say, “Magick is real”. (Do you mean that you can effect reality with your will, intent, and energy? Do you mean like, Harry Potter real? What will disappoint you to realize might not be probable? What will inspire you to realize you can accomplish?)

2. Where are your lines? (What do you firmly believe is true/false, right/wrong? Violence, doing harm, controlling others, etc. Would you punch someone if they threatened a friend? Would you curse someone if they threatened a friend? What would you do, if your coven head told you it was right but you felt it was wrong?)

3. What are you looking for in a magickal path? (Pro Tip – no one has all the answers and there is no one right way.)

4. What are you prepared to do in order to accomplish your goals? (How many spoons do you have to give this practice? Can you devote one night a week, are you going to randomly pick stuff up on Tumblr, are you going to leave society to pursue your studies under a waterfall, etc.)


I recommend that no one make any oaths or vows in their first year of practice. Get to know yourself, how you feel about magick, and what you actually want to do before you do any big commitments. (Historic anecdote – this is what the original year and a day was for.) More strident, but still personal, recommendation: if someone tries to get you to oath to them within your first week of being a witch, run.


Things People Should Tell Beginner Witches, But Often Don’t

1. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

2. Don’t throw good energy after bad by continuing to do something that isn’t right for you.

3. Don’t be afraid to continue your education, even if that means learning something that was right for you before is no longer right for you.

4. There is no one right way to do this. There is no Witch Pope - there is no dogmatic enforcement of the path to being a witch.

5. There are absolutely as many assholes in Paganism and witchcraft as there are anywhere else. Don’t think that these people are all spiritually enlightened beings who mean you well and who will give good advice.

6. Yahoo Answers is not your friend. You have the internet – which has access to both all of human information and all of human misinformation. Look for credible sources. Anything that seems too easy or too good to be true probably is. Work on critical thinking.

7. Try Scholar.Google.Com over “this article says so on Patheos.com.” Seriously, recently an article on there claimed Friday the 13th was a sacred holiday in goddess centered pre-Christian Paganism before the patriarchy ruined it. There is no historical validation for that, but a bunch of witches reblogged it. (Things you learn from scholarly sources rather than the latest poorly edited Llewellyn mess: the Burning Times didn’t happen, different kinds of Pagans warred amongst themselves long before Christianity came onto the scene, there was no great unified Pagan religion before Christianity, and Gerald Gardner was probably lying about almost everything he said.)


You Should Probably Learn the Difference Between Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft

What is Paganism?

Pagan is an umbrella term for a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community, other than those of the main world religions, so:

Non-Abrahamic – it is not Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon

Non-Eastern – it is not Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Sufism, or Sikhism

Theistic – The belief in some kind of divine power, which is sometimes polytheistic (a belief in more than one god), but not always

Some Pagans practice witchcraft – others do not.

This definition isn’t quite right, though it’s in hugely common usage, because there are Abrahamic and Eastern persons who consider themselves Pagan. Keep in mind that there will be exceptions to this definition and that those exceptions are valid.

There are also secular Pagans, so it isn’t even always Theistic. I know – it’s complicated. Though this is the largely accepted Academic definition, it doesn’t really work when applied to the real world, if you’re considering someone saying, “I’m Pagan” as a self-identifying definition, which I do. 

Wicca

Wicca is a religion. Most people consider Wicca as falling under the Paganism umbrella, although not all Pagans are Wiccan. Not all Wiccans are witches, and not all witches are Wiccan.

Wiccan is generally defined as:

Dualistic – There is a God and a Goddess

Pacifistic – Wicca has a rede that requires Wiccan do no harm to themselves or others, though not all Wiccans (such as those who follow Doreen Valiente’s suggested guidelines) are Pacifistic, so there are definitely exceptions to this

Earth-based – Having a respect for and acknowledgment of the powers of the Earth

Witchcraft

The spiritual or secular art, craft, and/or practice of the witch, defined many ways by many different people.

A witch is a witch who says they are one.

Again, there is no witch Pope and no witchy excommunication because you define yourself as a witch differently than someone else does.

Yes, male identifying and/or presenting persons can be witches.


Pagan and Witch Fallacies

There are certain ideas that most beginners in the witchcraft community will encounter over and over again. I’m going to run down some things – with the reminder, again, that I can only speak for my personal tradition.

1. “You should remove all negative influences from your life! You should purge all negative feelings! Be positive all the time!” Not everything that is negative is bad. Not everything negative can be avoided – we can’t all just quit our jobs and live in a witch shack in the mountains. We have to endure negative things, both because it is healthier to experience the full range of human emotion rather than to ignore a large chunk of it, and because it isn’t possible. What we should do is stop victim blaming witches who are going through hard times and stop telling witches they can’t be angry when they encounter something that should be angering.

2. “But, tradition!” Just because an affluent white guy in the 1400-1600s said something, doesn’t mean you should do it. We don’t follow their medicinal advice anymore; we don’t have to follow their magickal advice either. Seriously, I don’t care if tradition says a trans woman shouldn’t be in a sky clad ritual – that’s bullshit. We don’t put leeches on our bodies anymore – let’s leave the past nonsense where it belongs.

3. “We have to make sure everyone feels included and welcome!” Not if they abuse the welcome of others, we do not. The problem with making some people feel included and welcome is that you make their victims feel excluded and unwelcome because you’ve made them unsafe.

4. “We have to support each other and love each other and be a positive force in people’s lives.” Okay, yes, in small doses, this is a great aim. It doesn’t work for everyone (some witches are spite and malice fueled and they are still witches), but okay, it’s a nice idea. Until it becomes ableist or demands free emotional labor from people, which it often does.

5. “We have to educate them!” Okay, it’s great that there is this effort in the community to educate others. But if you don’t have the spoons or if it seems like they’re using the demand for their own education as a way to still have access to a community they are abusing, then no, you have no obligation to put their education over your well being. None. They have access to Google (even if they have to go to a library to use it.)

6. “You have to earn your right to be a witch.” No, no you don’t. Seriously, though, from whom? Dusty white men in graves? A Llewellyn author who couldn’t fact check themselves out of a paper bag? Again – no witch Pope. I’m just gonna keep pointing out the lack of a witch Pope until people get it.

7. “You have to be ________ rank, degree, etc. to have an opinion on this topic.” Yeah, okay, I’ll be sure to wave my certificate in your face before having an opinion on my own tradition. No. Your opinion may be an uneducated one and you may be corrected for it, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t have the right to it before you completed your O levels at Hogwarts.

8. As a corollary to above, “This is just my opinion and you can’t be mad at me for it!” People absolutely have a right to their opinions. And everyone else the right to decide those opinions make them an asshole.

9. “I’m super special and powerful because xyz, which means I get to tell you what to do.” People only get to tell you what to do if you let them. Sometimes, that’s an exchange we willingly make, but other times, people will feel they have the right to tell you what to do because they are a hereditary witch or because they’ve been practicing longer. Just remember – their position doesn’t trump your humanity and you don’t have to kiss the feet of someone who kicks you.

10. “The person really wants _____ from you, and you should help them on their path. Helping them on their path helps you on yours!” Just because someone wants something from you, doesn’t mean they get it. Being a witch doesn’t take away your right to say no.  


Please remember that you don’t have to earn your right to be here. This one is tricky on some level – to be the respected person in your community, you need to put in your time. However, in order to be part of a group you don’t need to give the High Priest a blow job (seriously, run).

You don’t have to earn admission to witchcraft, but you do have to earn specific positions and other people’s trust. If you teach people not to trust you through your actions, they won’t trust you.

{PART 26} I Won’t Stop You // Jeon Jungkook, Vampire!AU

Originally posted by jengkook

Pairing: Jungkook x Reader

Genre: Vampire!AU, Fantasy, Angst, Smut

Summary; Jungkook attempts to do the impossible; keep Yoongi under control for as long as he can in his own Manor. But, after an unsuspecting escalation - everything ends in tears…and blood.

“How sobering it is, to love something that evil can corrupt”

  • || Warning: This chapter contains violence and some scenes that readers may find upsetting ||

I update this series every Tuesday evening, 9pm-10pm (UK Time) 

{Part 1} // {Part 25} {Part 26} {Part 27}

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Hit Korean boy band BTS is ready to take over Anaheim

Rap Monster, one of the seven guys in the South Korean boy band BTS, says it was only at the end of 2016 that he and the others realized how huge their band had become around the world.

“Somebody in the company sent me a message: ‘You got No. 26 on Billboard OMG congratulations,’” says Mr. Monster, the 22-year-old rapper born Kim Nam-joon, by phone from Chicago where BTS was set to play on Thursday before hitting Honda Center for a pair of sold-out shows on Saturday and Sunday.

“At first I thought, 'Ha ha, your humor isn’t really very good,’” says Rap Monster, the leader of the group and its primary songwriter. “We didn’t believe it.”

But as more messages started to ping onto their phones he says the BTS boys realized it was no joke: Their sophomore album, “Wings,” entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 26 after its October release, making it the highest chart position for any K-pop act – not to mention one that sings primarily in Korean – and offering a bit of foreshadowing for Billboard naming the record the best K-pop album of the year.

Since then things have only gotten sunnier for Rap Monster, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook. In February, “Wings” was re-released in a new edition as “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and the combined editions have since sold nearly 1.5 million copies worldwide. Music videos for “Spring Day” and “Not Today” were released a week apart last month as well and exploded on YouTube where they’ve currently racked up 59.2 million and 60.1 million views respectively.

“When we heard that and really got that, I was saying, 'OK, this is going to be a whole other world,’” Rap Monster says of the significance of the Billboard chart success and all that followed. “And I feel like we should do something more, and dream something more.”

This past week they’ve taken a step toward something more, playing their first headlining and sold-out arena dates in the United States, after previously having mostly played on multi-artist billings at KCON conventions held here.

“So many people just to see BTS was really an honor,” Rap Monster says of the opening pair of shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. “It feels dreamy these days.”

Not, mind you, that it’s been anything like an overnight success or an easy road for him and the other BTS members.

He grew up a top student in his school who loved American rappers such as Eminem and Nas, performing even as he attended high school and eventually catching the attention of BTS future manager Bang Si-hyuk at BigHit Entertainment in South Korea. And though he says he gave up on music when he was 16, lacking confidence in where he was headed, he says Bang encouraged him to stay strong, believe in himself, and sign on as the first to join BTS, even though at the time he wasn’t sure who or what it would end up incorporating.

“I was not aware of the other members,” Rap Monster says. “But I like the company and I respect them. And he promised to me, 'I will make you do your music and get big someday, so please believe me.’

"So I believed him.”

The other six members soon were selected, each of them bringing different talents on the mic or on stage. Songs were developed by Rap Monster and the other members, with a team of producers working to craft the best music from the raw material, the melodies and beats, that they created.

“Our chemistry is different from other groups,” Rap Monster says. “Everyone has their own points and characteristics. If I’m a bad dancer, a good dancer teaches me. If I’m a good songwriter, I help the others with a good melody.”

We ask the obvious question: Are you a bad dancer?

He laughs and answers: “Yes, I’m a bad dancer.”

Their music is different from a lot of K-pop acts that have made ripples on the American airwaves. They’re not popular because of the novelty aspect of their songs – think “Gangnam Style” by Psy from a few years back. And they’re not quite as bubblegum as a group such as Girls Generation or as eclectic as the synthpop of f(x), the first Korean band to play the South By Southwest festival.

Instead, BTS often aims for that sweet spot where R&B and rap get together, the kind of stuff Justin Bieber might be doing if he sang in Korean and there were six Bieber variations with fashionable hair and eclectic yet unified fashion choices.

“BTS music sounds like it’s from America,” Rap Monster says. “We decide to always watch the trends and watch what’s going on over the world. America’s the No. 1 market in the world so that’s why people in America prefer us.”

As for communicating through the language divide, Rap Monster says that’s partly handled by the group’s wildly enthusiastic social media following: “Fans translate our lyrics and interviews,” he says of a following that has landed them at the top of Billboard’s Social 50 list for a total of 17 weeks since “Wings” dropped in October. “They’re able to say, 'OK, BTS is talking about us and our lives.’”

And it’s partly addressed through lyrical subjects that express the common hopes and dreams and fears and worries of any teenager or young adult in any country.

“Our lyrics are mostly Korean but we always talk about the young people’s lives and their minds,” Rap Monster says. “There’s something similar between every young person in the world, in America or in Korea. We share something together even if we use different languages or live so far.”

American fans are also the savviest music lovers in the world, Rap Monster says, which made heading out on this brief headlining tour a little bit intimidating at first.

“We actually were scared of performing in America as a solo act,” he says. “Their playlists are the best in the world. I was really nervous for them.

"But after we were on stage our fear disappeared. They’re like everybody, they’re like friends. Singing along all of the lyrics even through the raps. They know how to play, the rhythms and the dances.”

An aside here to share our favorite piece of Rap Monster trivia. You might be wondering whether he spoke through a translator. He did not. His excellent English skills were polished in the classroom but also at home through what he refers to as “a Korean mothers syndrome.”

“'Friends’ was really famous for the mothers in Korea for English education,” Rap Monster says of the hit American sitcom from the '90s. “It was kind of like a syndrome. Korean mothers make their kids watch 'Friends’ even when they were eating food or playing.

"I think it really helped. It has like 10 seasons, I think, and I watched it like more than five times through the 10 seasons. They use the gestures and expressions, like, Americans use, right? I think that naturally teaches me how to speak or how to make a gesture when you try to express some emotions.

"Thank you, 'Friends,’” he says, laughing. “God bless 'Friends’!”

Rap Monster recently collaborated with the American rapper Wale on the song “Change,” which like some of BTS’ other songs – and unlike most K-pop – touches on politics and societal issues. He says he’d loved Wale’s music for a few years when the opportunity to do the song came along last year “like a miracle, like a dream come true.

"The song has already come out and we shot a music video together, but still sometimes I lie in my bed and think, 'Did I really do something with him?’” Rap Monster says.

He knows that boy groups from Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync to the Jonas Brothers and One Direction tend to have a finite lifespan before members get restless to move on solo projects, acting gigs and other opportunities. But he thinks the variety of interests and musical genres that individual BTS members have can be handled on the side or even within the group, and BTS itself can carry on.

So while Rap Monster says he’d love to collaborate with Drake or Miguel one day, Suga feels the same way about Kanye West and Flume. Jungkook seems more inclined toward pop R&B – his dream musical partners would include Bieber or Charlie Puth. V is a little bit old school, having mentioned Norah Jones and the Fugees as on his wish list. Rap Monster ticks off the rest of the band: Jimin digs Chris Brown, J-Hope is into the similarly initialed J. Cole, and Jin is a fan of old-school showman Bruno Mars.

“I always tell them that every time we have hits under the name of BTS we shine the best when we are a team,” Rap Monster says. “I know all the seven members, they love music, and I know their No. 1 wish is for us to perform and make music and sing and dance.

"Maybe someday someone will want to be on a television show or be an actor,” he says. “I just hope they know all of the popularity and fame and money is from the name of our team. That’s not one person, everybody contributes to the team.

"Nobody knows the future. I just hope it can last as long as possible.”

Peter Larson @ OCRegister

Altean broom closet

((CLAUSTRAPHOBIC LANCE fic under the cut with some Klangst and some cuddling))

He doesn’t remember what the fight is about, but he knows it’s petty. Something stupid that they both blew out of proportion.

“Do you ever just shut up!?” Keith yells, bringing a hand up to the bridge of his nose.

Lance folded his arms, “Do you ever stop saying stupid shit!?” he mocked, getting into Keith’s face with an angry step forward.

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[170406] Can Conscious K-Pop Cross Over? BTS & BigHit Entertainment CEO 'Hitman' Bang on Taking America

On April 2, BTS played the fifth and final date of a sold-out U.S. arena run, performing to the shrieking fans who helped the group’s second full-length album, Wings, become the first K-pop project to crack the top 40 of the Billboard 200 in 2016. Since debuting in 2013, the seven-piece boy band has become a commercial behemoth in its native South Korea while continuing to make inroads within American pop culture. “Change,” an English-language hip-hop collaboration between BTS member Rap Monster and U.S. star Wale, was released three days before the kickoff of the stateside run.

“Change” touches on topics like voting rights and online harassment, while some of BTS’ biggest hits have addressed mental health. “Worldwide, our young generation shares the same issues socially and politically,” says BTS member Suga. Although K-pop music generally steers away from controversy, Rap Monster says that remaining outspoken “is important to us. And the bigger the voice we get, the more powerful our words become.”

A new BTS album is already underway and more U.S. dates might be on the way later this year. Bang Si Hyuk, the CEO and Executive Producer of label/management agency BigHit Entertainment who is better known as “Hitman” Bang, hints at “special features” designed for international listeners but thinks BTS will continue playing to its base.

“I’m not a believer in releasing full English songs to the U.S. market, like many K-pop artists have,” Bang tells Billboard in his first-ever interview with American press. “We must focus on what we do best as K-pop artists and producers and maybe add some special features to which international or U.S. music fans can feel attached. That is the best way for me to put K-pop into the mainstream U.S. music market and, in that regard, BTS will participate and perform in a way that is not much different from what they have been doing in the last three years. We’re adjusting and improving the way we do shows on the tour to meet the international or global level and expectations so that anyone, regardless of their culture and background, can enjoy BTS music and performances.”

Bang is sure to add that the group will be “very active and responsive in releasing new songs that would come out of collaborations with international artists, like ‘Change.’” And, looking ahead, both the CEO and band see their most recent accomplishments as inspiration to achieve even more in the future.

“I’m so excited and thrilled at the response to the U.S. tour,” Bang says. “It’s still overwhelming and unbelievable at some point. I even further feel responsible for producing better music and production for fans around the world and I’d definitely think harder on what makes fans enthusiastic and passionate about BTS music and the band.” Meanwhile, the ambition within the group is perhaps best felt when member V winks that the group has “grander goals”; as if arena shows are just the beginning of what he and his band mates plan to accomplish around the world.

Below read on for an extended interview with BTS held before the tour kicked off. All member answers are taken via a translator except for Rap Monster.

With five arena shows, this tour is so huge and I think the main reason for that and why you guys are doing so well in America is because you sing about personal topics. Why is that so important to talk about in your music?

​Suga: Worldwide, our young generation shares the same issues socially and politically. I think that young people feel the same way about similar issues and BTS wants to cheer them up with our songs and talk about our feelings and social issues.

Rap Monster: These topics, like you said, they’re important, right? They should be told by someone. Someone should talk about it. And if someone should talk about it, then it feels like we have to talk about it. It’s very much an honor that we get power and attention from our fans them when we use our voices more. It’s important to us and the bigger the voice that we get, the more powerful that our words become.

These topics – loneliness, mental health, bullying – you don’t hear about in K-pop or even Korean culture much. Or, really, in American pop music either. Have you ever worried it might get a negative or opposite response?

​Suga: There are people who think negatively and there have been people who react negatively towards BTS’ music. But I think it’s way more important to make music with those issues because I think it’s important to encourage people to fight for those issues and, through the music, have a resolution for those issues. But I’m going to continue to talk about those issues through the music anyway. [Laughs]

Do you think K-pop needs to get more personal to gain a wider audience? Would you like to see that more in future?

Rap Monster: We still need some party songs, we still need some light love songs. I love to listen to them and feel the vibe from that. Everyone has their luggage and their shadows, but it’s up to everyone’s own [devices]. But we’re us. I think if we talk about it and if it gets more voice and attention, then maybe there are a lot of people in the world that accept us start to talk about those issues. I think that’s the change.

I thought “Spring Day” was a really big musical moment for you guys. Not only did it do really well on the charts, but this time you were showing a progression in thinking and a message of hope. The idea of recovering and winter moving to spring. Was that a conscious decision?

Rap Monster: It’s just like what you said, that was one step further. We’re always talking about the crises, the sorrows and youth’s feelings of getting lost. In many [television] programs, when we’d introduce our new album, I’d always talk about the word “recovery.” Like you said, it’s all about the recovery. Winter going to spring. The middle of the winter going to the spring. You got that.

​Suga: In addition to being what we are as BTS, we wanted to bring some changes and we actually wanted to evolve as a group. We wanted to show our many colors, but we still want to console others and give hope to others.

Something that was unique was all the solo songs on the Wings album. You’ve done mixtapes, but instead of full-fledged solo or unit releases, you got to show your different sides of yourselves. Why was that necessary?

Jin: The solo tracks were important because it was personal, an individual story and it was represented in the way that we are good at it. We worked a lot on each track and that’s why it was important to each of us.

Rap Monster: When I get questions about why is K-pop is so popular; I always tell them K-pop is like a great mix of music, videos, visuals, choreography, social media and real-life contents. Making the solo tracks on the album was quite a venture, but it’s connected to the concept. Like, when you watch the “I Need U” video, everyone has their own crises and characters. It’s kind of connected to our real personalities and characters, but the solo songs have their own characters and personalities. It’s all connected. It’s a mixture and that’s why people get interested in the concepts.

Speaking of solo songs, “Change” recently came out. Rap Monster, you and Wale are talking about different-but-similar issues when South Korea and America are both having interesting political times. Did you guys have a chance to discuss your different viewpoints?

Rap Monster: We didn’t have the time to get into it deeply, but I’m always watching the news about Trump and America; I always watch. When he first suggested a collaboration, I was like, “What should we do?” We could just do you know, a common hip-hop song, but I wanted to do a little more special. We have our political situation in Korea and the students are very angry. So, I think, if we talked about what’s going on, then we’ll have a real special collaboration. I think my guess was right and it became special.

Do you see or feel your influence among other groups in the industry?

​Jungkook: When we debuted back in 2013, we were influenced by our sunbaenim [Korean word for “senior”]. Over the years, as we watched other younger groups, we know they talk about us, they cover us and they follow us. I think they’re saying in interviews that they learned a lot from us and that makes us feel great. Being a sunbaenim, we want to be a good influence and be a better role model to other groups.

Last question, are you happy?

V: For now, we are very happy as we are, as a group, together. And I think we are happy because we are walking on the same path, walking the same direction. We wanted to get Daesang [Best of the Year award], but we have it already so our goal is to make great music, to share it with our fans.

Rap Monster: And a worldwide, stadium tour. That’s the goal.

V: We have grander goals.

© billboard

Maggie Stiefvater talks 'All the Crooked Saints,' and here's a first look at the cover

Maggie Stiefvater may have concluded the Raven Cycle just last year, but the author already has a new stand-alone YA novel hitting shelves later this year.

The book, titled All the Crooked Saints, takes place in the 1960s in Bicho Raro, Colorado and follows the lives of three members of the Soria family-each of whom is searching for their own miracle. There’s Beatriz, who appears to lack feelings but wants to study her mind; Daniel, the “Saint” of Bicho Raro, a miracle worker for everyone but himself; and Joaquin (a.k.a. Diablo Diablo), who runs a pirate radio station at night.

Adding to the mystery (and magic) of the book is the book’s intriguing cover-which EW is pleased to reveal exclusively below.

“There are owls in the book because owls are a very scientific creature that gets credited with a lot of magical superstitions,” Stiefvater tells EW. “There are roses in the book because roses are a very magical flower that take a lot of science to truly understand. Put that together and well - as the kids say, that’s it. That’s the book.”

With Stiefvater’s latest novel set to hit stores on Oct. 10, EW caught up with the bestselling author to find out more about what’s in store for readers, her process, and of course, her upcoming Ronan Lynch trilogy.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: All three of your characters are looking for a miracle. What do miracles, or the idea of miracles mean to them?
MAGGIE STIEFVATER: Miracles! Miracles! Miracles! This book is full of them. I was taught by nuns for the first dozen years of my life, and so I was raised with a pantheon of peculiar saints: decapitated saints who carried their own severed head through the streets of cities, saints who exorcised demons from the bottoms of milk pails, saints who flew unexpectedly.

The Soria family are saints as well, and the miracle they perform for pilgrims to Bicho Raro is as strange as most miracles are: They can make the darkness inside you visible. Once the pilgrims see their inner darkness face to face, it’s up to them to perform another miracle on themselves: banishing the darkness for good. It can be a tricky business to vanquish your inner demons, even once you know what they are, but the Sorias are forbidden to help with this part. They’ve all been told that if a Soria interferes with the second miracle, it will bring out their own darkness, and a saint’s darkness, so the story goes, is a most potent and dangerous thing.

The three cousins in the story all have their own relationship with the family miracles: Daniel, the current acting Saint of Bicho Raro, wants to help the pilgrims overcome their darkness through holiness and empathy. Beatriz, on the other hand, would prefer if the Sorias approached the miracle from a more logical and scientific place. And Joaquin is less interested in miracles and more interested in broadcasting rock & roll from a pirate radio station in the back of a battered box truck.

How did you come up with the name “Bicho Raro”?
I’d just finished writing the rather heavy final installment of the Raven Cycle, and I thought it would be nice to switch things up with something playful and - dare I say it? “Feel good”? Does that sound like a Stiefvater novel to you?

So I tried to be as playful in my language as I could. I figured if my words were frolicking, readers might too. “Bicho raro” (“rare bug”) is just a little way to speak fondly about odd people, like “strange bird” or “odd duck.” It’s less about the Soria family themselves and more about the varied pilgrims who come to Bicho Raro.

What inspired the novel’s setting?
Three years ago, I convinced Scholastic that instead of flying to all of my tour events for Sinner, the companion book to the Shiver trilogy, I would instead drive my 1973 Camaro to them. Seven thousand miles, coast to coast, just an American girl in a muscle car, seeing the breadbasket of our fine country while hawking a novel about burned-out werewolves - nothing could go wrong.

Spoiler: Everything went wrong. I spent my time evenly divided between meeting readers and repairing the Camaro by the side of the road.

At one point, the brakes went out (for the second time), and I coasted into an auto repair shop in Del Norte, Colorado. The sun was white, the air was dust, and the mountains were sharp as hell all around. While I waited for the mechanic to take a look at my brake lines, the receptionist told me tall tales and ghost stories about straight-arrow desert roads and demons dancing in the dust and strangers appearing in the night.

I thought to myself: This is where my next novel takes place.

What made you decide to set All the Crooked Saints in the 60s? Is there something in the history of Colorado at that time that speaks to you?
Music! Music! Music! When I was growing up in the 80s, my father always had the radio set to the Golden Oldies - I didn’t realize, in fact, that it wasn’t contemporary music. I thought Del Shannon and Patsy Cline and the Byrds were everyone’s current groove. Even after I discovered differently, it didn’t matter; that music had become the sound of my childhood. There’s something about 60s music and the 60s in general that I think pairs perfectly with a novel about the teen experience - 60s America was going through an adolescence in a lot of ways, and it was a time of mystical joy, innocence lost, increasingly uncomfortable self-awareness of the limitations of tradition, and colorful agitation for change, all of it emotional and urgent. If that’s not a description of being a teen, I don’t know what is.

I’ve been dying to write a novel steeped with the music of that time for about five years now, and for this one, it made sense. I had an incredibly grand and self-indulgent time listening to the music Joaquin and Beatriz spin in their covert broadcasts.

Your work has always been infused with aspects of magical realism. What would you say are some of your influences?
Magic! Magic! Magic! For this book in particular, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garca Mrquez, Erick Setiawan, Ali Shaw, and maybe even John Irving - I have read a lot of wonderful magic realism and wry, intimate family stories over the last decade, and Saints is my affectionate nod to them. It was also informed by movies, though - I really wanted to capture the mood of films like Big Fish, Chocolat, and Amlie. That whimsy and magic and nostalgia. These are strange, hard times that we’re living in, and I wanted to write about magic - I always do - but I also felt like I wanted to leave readers with something that made them happy, hopeful, and excited about all the odd miracles that exist in the world and in themselves.

Of course, I have to ask one question about the upcoming Ronan trilogy. Is there anything you could tease about it?
Insert, Stiefvater said, an enigmatic smile here.

All the Crooked Saints will be available for purchase on Oct. 10.

This article was originally published on ew.com