The CW’s Nancy Drew: Queer Ladies and Considerate Ghosts

So, full disclosure about me: I have been a Nancy Drew fan for a very, very long time. It was a big part of my formative years, and I’ve reread the books multiple times in my adult life and continue to enjoy them very much. So, naturally, when I heard that the network that brought us the insanity that is Riverdale was coming out with a dark Nancy Drew reboot, I was pretty sure it was going to be… Well. “Hot garbage” was the first term that came to mind, quite honestly.

This past Friday, however, I actually checked out said series, and I discovered to my great surprise that it is not garbage of any temperature. It is, in fact, a rather awesome and compelling show that I am now low-key obsessed with, because I binge-watched the entire series over on the CW site and endured endless prescription drug commercials in order to see how it all panned out.

And hoo boy, did it not disappoint. It’s a CW show, so you do of course have a few standards that had to be included: (a) characters making out while sexy and/or angsty pop songs play loudly in the background, (b) everyone in the cast being excessively and illogically attractive, and (c) teen heartthrobs from the ’90s now being cast as parents to these excessively and illogically attractive young folk.

But those things aside, the CW’s Nancy Drew is a freaking delight. The mystery is fascinating and multifaceted and actually turned out in a way I did not at all suspect (always a good thing), and what’s more, it actually made sense. The show does have its more Riverdale-esque bananas moments, but for the most part, it’s pretty grounded in the world it inhabits. What happens might be weird, but it fits the weirdness they’ve established for this world, and I’m down with that.

I also have to say that there is a queer element to the show that I was not expecting and was very much delighted by.

Anyway, I took some notes while watching the show, and I would now like to share those notes on the off chance that someone aside from myself may find them entertaining. I also must say that these notes of course include spoilers, so proceed with caution if you don’t wish to be spoiled.

Continue reading

In which I return for a brief moment to share news of my continued survival

Greetings, friends and tumbleweeds. As it seems my last post was in the bygone days of September 2016 (a simpler time), I thought it might be a fine plan to make another post just to assert the fact that I am still among the living (just not among the living who have time for frequent blog updates).

So, yes. I LIVE!

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Not much else can be said of the last year or so, except that I’ve been working hard imparting knowledge and sarcasm to the two-year-olds in my class, making my way bit by bit through an MFA program so I might one day aspire to my dream job of Cool College Professor With Old-Timey Blazer (or Roger Radcliffe-style vest), and fighting off various bouts of bronchitis and other ailments granted to me by my lovable but germy students.

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I’ve also, it must be said, been making incremental progress on my gay fantasy epic, Chosen, restructuring and rewriting and cramming as much glorious gay into the story as I possibly can. Lucas in Book Two, for example, now has two moms (both of the awesome variety), and his major love interest is a gangly, awkward guy from school instead of Random Pretty Girl #5. Lucas has always been bisexual in the land of subtext, but it’s nice to bring it firmly into the realm of the textual via a dorky/awkward school romance that simultaneously enriches his life and puts it in horrible danger. (That’s the way we do things in Chosen-land.)

And, of course, the main character in Book One is trans, which has been fascinating to explore from the perspective of a society where (a) being LGBTQ+ is no big deal due to the existence of queer gods and goddesses in their primary religion, and (b) magic exists, so it’s technically possible (though highly difficult/expensive) to alter one’s body to better align with gender identity.

So, yes. Life at present consists of work, school, and sporadic bursts of writing, hopefully culminating in eventual financial security + a finished and not-awful manuscript. And until then, I’ll try to check in here from time to time, hopefully with something interesting to say (though no guarantees on that front).

Until next time~~~~~!

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On summer, Andy Griffith, and my emphatic availability

arthur-fingerdrummingGreetings, friends. As I have by now run out of ways to describe how very long it’s been since I last updated, I’ll just say that seasons have passed, babies have been born, aged, and turned into cranky old wrinkled people, and still this blog has been left to gather dust in its sad little corner of the interwebs. But never fear, for I am here now to update you on all the many, many fascinating things that have occurred since my last post.

Fascinating Things That Have Occurred Since My Last Post:

  1. I started watching The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix, then almost immediately stopped watching it as the sheer amount of quaint ole southern charm threatened to drown me in a syrupy, Yankee-eating river. Boredom led me back to Mayberry shortly thereafter, however, and I ended up watching five seasons in about as many days. No regrets, though I now find myself with the strangest urge to sit out on the porch I don’t have and sip sweet tea while strumming a gee-tar and sangin’.
  2. Work on Book I of Chosen (AKA, my frequently mentioned and inexplicably still unfinished gay fantasy epic) has been coming along decently well. I had a particularly impressive spurt of writing a little while back and was finally able to finish up a section I’ve been struggling with for months, which was nice. Of course, I’m now struggling with the next section, but at least the story’s moved forward a bit. I’ve also added another LGBTQ character of color, and my quest to diversify and gay-ify the Chosen world is progressing most satisfactorily. I hope to actually finish the bloody thing at some point in the nearish future, though it would probably be easier to do that if I’d stop binge-watching Andy Griffith and get down to work.
  3. Summer has come~~~~! And with it, unfortunately, has come the realization that my little shoebox apartment heats up to approximately 9,000 degrees when the sun hits it in the morning. Benny’s taken to napping in the bathtub to keep cool, and I myself have been doing a lot of lying on the floor with the fan trained on me and my pant legs rolled up high enough to scandalize all of Mayberry.

I’ve also, as it happens, resigned from my job and returned to the glamorous life of a poverty-stricken ESL Teacher and freelance editor. Nine months of a 4:30 AM wake-up time and four hour daily commute turned out to be too much for my fragile human frame, and I decided to choose life and health over the allure of sitting at a desk all day earning just barely enough to scrape by.  It’s been exactly one week since my last day at my previous job, and I’m pleased to say that I no longer feel like death warmed over, and I’ve actually even experienced some positive emotions here and there instead of being in a constant state of exhaustion and misery.

Of course, I’m also shopping at The Dollar Store and washing clothes in the bathtub instead of going to the laundromat, but that seems a small price to pay for feeling vaguely human again. And allow me to mention, also, that if anyone needs any editing or proofreading work done, I am extremely available.

Extremely.

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Here I come, ready to edit the crap out of anything you might have.

Anyway, my brain’s turned to early evening mush, so I think I’ll get back to the business of lying on the floor and watching the people of Mayberry chuckle good-naturedly as Barney Fife miraculously neglects to murder anyone in his immediate vicinity.

Laterz~<3

Which concerns my LGBT fantasy epic

I thought I’d mosey on over to the blogosphere with some updates, as I find myself with a startling surplus of both time and brain cells this morning. I’m sure this is a condition too beautiful to last, so let’s get right to the updates before I return to my usual state of Morning Pudding-Brain.

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First off, my thrilling revamp of Book I of Chosen continues, and is actually going surprisingly well. There’s still a vast gap of nothingness where three or four vital middle chapters should go, but I’m very much enjoying adding in setting and culture details and doing everything I can to diversify and gay-ify the Chosen world. Continue reading

I feel pretty and witty and…

Because “gay” really should go back to meaning “happy,” some smile-inducing LGBTQ tidbits from around the web:

1. Gandalf and Dumbledore got married across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, and it was – wait for it – magical.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/06/10/that-magical-moment-dumbledore-and-gandalf-got-married-across-from-westboro-baptist-church/

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Mazel tov, gentlemen. <3 Continue reading

Coming Out Day and the Disney Princess of “Chosen”

First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Coming Out Day! May it be filled with rainbows and unicorns and glorious, glittering gayness. <3

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Coming Out Tip: If you dress up like Batman and Robin and proceed to do a jaunty dance together, your friends and loved ones may get the message without your even having to say, “Hey, we’re gay.” Just something to keep in mind.

In other news, I’ve been rather busy as of late with various non-internet-related endeavors, hence my lack of updates. Last weekend was spent having a writers’ weekend with my bestest of best pals, during which time we workshopped each other’s stories, made homemade chicken soup, and further cemented our general dorky awesomeness by wearing matching “WRITER” T-shirts.

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Fear the selfie. But don’t look too long into the dark circles under my eyes, as they may devour your soul~~~

headshot-elisabethThroughout the course of our writing weekend, I was able to get some feedback on two of the newer chapters of Chosen, and received some very useful commentary re: the character of Elisabeth (a.k.a., Mr. Defrin’s wife and Nicholas’ mother, portrayed by Amanda Abbington in my Dream Movie Cast).

In the previous version of Chosen, Elisabeth was very much a non-entity, more of a plot point than a character, and about as likable as a sofa cushion. Thus, in this version, I’ve taken great pains to make her more vibrant and personable, though it seems I carried things too far in the opposite direction, as the current criticism towards her character is that she’s “too Donna Reed.” Which…okay, is fair. She’s a few birds and a song away from being a Disney princess, and given that the rest of the book is a dark-ish commentary re: how awful it is to hate a group of people based on the word of an oft-translated holy book, her twirly cheerful Disney-ness does, perhaps, stick out a bit.giselle-twirl

A bit. Perhaps.

As such, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the editing of Chosen this week, and am pretty happy with how things are going. Plot holes are being mercilessly eradicated, Elisabeth is being de-Disney-fied, and the book is well on its way to actually being ready for the next step in this whole crazy writing-and-publishing process – namely, trying to find an agent who will carry my humble little story to the biggest of big publishers and thus secure its future as the inevitable Most Wondrous and Popular Book In the History of the World. (This is sure to happen, or my Magic 8-Ball is a filthy, filthy liar.)

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(Or possibly I don’t have a Magic 8-Ball at all and just wanted an excuse to use this gif.)

Anyway. Feeling a bit under the weather today, so I may be forced to spend much of my time lying in bed watching episodes of The Weekenders and eating leftover Chinese food. I’d love to be productive, I really would, but what choice do I have?

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None. None at all.

Talking About Fungus: Book Trailer 2014

Presenting, a shoddily made and amateurishly drawn book trailer for my novel, Talking About Fungus! Watch, like, share, and just generally pimp it out to everyone you have ever met or will ever meet, and everyone they’ve ever met, as well as their children, parents, dogs, and hamsters! Let it spread, like fungus, which we can then talk about!

Direct link: http://youtu.be/2lNRai9ttPg
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L6FFOCW

…I may need to calm down. In my defense, I’ve been fiddling with Windows Movie Maker all morning and that’s enough to destroy anyone’s sanity.

 

Chosen: Stuff and More Stuff

I’ve been working hard on my fantasy novel lately, but given my minuscule attention span and attraction to All Things Internet, it was inevitable that I waste at least a little bit of time online when I should’ve been writing.

But rather than watching an endless parade of cat videos or reading YouTube comments and despairing of humanity, I instead used my precious time to create…a newer, more complete Fake Cast Poster for Chosen~~~!

Behold:

Chosen cast 6-08-2014 (Alex Kingston version)

A brief explanation of the premise of Chosen, for those who haven’t been feverishly reading every word posted on this blog:

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C H O S E N

colinmorgan-kaine-YESAfter the mysterious disappearance of his father, 16-year-old Kaine Ikarra moves with his mother to the small town of Aurora. Unable to cope with his feelings of guilt and abandonment, Kaine begins to close in on himself, spending the majority of his time shut up in his room studying magic. In this conservative, gods-fearing town, however, interest in magic is a dangerous thing.

The Book of the Gods warns against the Marked Ones, a group of people who, for their crime of stealing power from the gods, were cursed to an endless cycle of reincarnation, being kept forever out of the gods’ glorious realm. The people of Aurora fear the Marked Ones like nothing else, and are more than willing to kill anyone they discover to be Marked.

With his sarcastic, secretive nature and talent for magic, Kaine is a natural target for his neighbors’ suspicions, and must hide his powers or risk the people of Aurora discovering his secret – that he is one of the Marked. According to the Book of the Gods, he is an abomination who must be put to death, and he knows that his new neighbors won’t hesitate to do just that if they find out what he is. But Mr. Defrin, his teacher and mentor, assures him that the Book of the Gods is wrong, that the Marked are not enemies of the gods at all – they are the Chosen.

_________________________________________________________

Dun-dun-DUNNNN.

And for the record, writing that teeny little summary took me a good hour and a half.

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Summaries are hard, yo.

Anyway, regarding the cast picture above: Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Morgan, and Hunter Parrish have been “cast” for quite some time, and I actually wrote the character of Mr. Defrin’s wife, Elisabeth, with Amanda Abbington in mind.

Alex Kingston, however, was a mad stroke of genius that hit me yesterday, because damn, she’s perfect for the role of Kaine’s tough, loving, frequently swearing healer mother.

Gemma Arterton, I confess to having never seen in anything except an interview on the Graham Norton Show, which probably doesn’t count. I chose her mainly because she just looks like my mental image of Silas. Silas is a diminutive, sweet-faced bully who beats the hell out of Kaine because she catches him practicing a spell in the woods, and her uber-religious dad has brainwashed her with anti-magic and anti-Marked propaganda for her entire life. So yeah, she has some Issues. But she’s a lovely girl, really, if your definition of “lovely” is “terrorizes half the school with her gang of muscly thug friends and makes Kaine’s life a living hell.”

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I do actually really like her, though. >_>

Anyway, Nicholas hasn’t been in the story much yet, but he’s actually the second main-main character after Kaine. He and Kaine start out with a sort of rivalry relationship, both vying for Mr. Defrin’s attention – Nicholas as his son, Kaine as his student – but come together later after Bad Things Happen. Their beautiful Man Love is really the heart of the story, and has been both one of the most wonderful and one of the most challenging things I’ve ever tried to write. *_*;

Buuuuut, anyway. Now that I’ve geeked out appropriately re: my own story and characters, I shall return to actually writing said story, as that’s probably a slightly better use of my time.

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Laterz~~

Chosen, Pride Month, and a girl named Silas

Hello, friends. I’m back with an update, because it’s Sunday again and there are no lengths to which I won’t go to put off doing housework.

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Over the last few days, I’ve been writingwritingwriting, working hard on Chosen, A.K.A. my Gay Fantasy Epic (TM).

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It’s been going surprisingly well, to the extent that I’m now at the midpoint of the book, and A Very Dramatic Occurrence has just Occurred. I’m now actually reaching the point where I have to try to connect the beginning chapters of the story (which I wrote within the last few months) with the latter half of the story (which I wrote quite a long time ago) and see if they actually fit together, or if I’ll have to redo the whole bloody rest of the book.

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Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to rewrite the whole thing.

But hey, if it ends with me having written an awesome book of awesomeness, it’ll all have been worth it.

In other Chosen news, I’ve gender-switched one of the characters from a vicious boy bully named Silas…to a vicious girl bully named Silas. And I have to confess that I kind of like the idea of a girl named Silas, so the name may end up staying through to the final draft.

In non-Chosen news, June is Pride Month (insert explosion of rainbows here), so I shall offer up some pride in the girl-loving side of my bisexual self and say that Gwen from Merlin is pretty smokin’ in this gif:

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Do you deny it? CAN you deny it?

Didn’t think so.

So, on that note, I’ll be on my way, back to writing and listening to music and wishing fervently that my laundry would head on down to the laundry room and wash itself. I’m sure if I stare at it for long enough and continue to make shooing motions, it’ll get the idea.

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Yeah, I may be a tiny bit sleep-deprived.

Red Lobster > Gay People?

Forgive me, WordPress, for I have sinned. It’s been three weeks since my last blog post. In my defense, I’ve been using my time away from you to write! 

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(And to watch videos on Hulu and add to my gif collection. But mostly to write.)

For the past few weeks, I’ve been hard at work on Chosen, which some may remember as my Gay Fantasy Epic (TM). It’s up to around 52,000 words at the moment, though it’s very much Under Construction, with lots of gaps and missing scenes and various places where I’ve inserted [put more here]  or a [make this not awful later].

Additionally, because I have the attention span of a 3-year-old, I’ve also spent some time in which I should’ve been writing doing things like…

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Making a poster for the imaginary movie of my unfinished book!

Yes. An excellent use of my time.

Seen above is Benedict Cumberbatch as Mr. Defrin, Colin Morgan as Kaine, and Hunter Parrish as Mr. Defrin’s son, Nicholas. And together, their cheekbones could RULE THE WORLD.

But yes, Chosen is clipping along nicely, and I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration for it in recent events. Not only is there the general awful homophobic mess of Russia, but there’s also a nasty bit of legislation that’s just been passed in Arizona that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers in the name of “religious freedom.”

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(Just pretend “religious freedom” is one word, which it kinda is if you say it fast. Religiousfreedom. See? Perfect.)

So, yes, I’m very much inspired to work on Chosen, as its primary purpose has always been to point out the ridiculousness of discriminating against and hating a group of people based on a few lines in an ancient book. An ancient book which has, by the way, been translated and rewritten six gajillion times (citation needed), and also warns of the evils of divorce, shellfish, and mixed fabrics.

Red Lobster = fine.
Cotton/Polyester blend = fine.
Gay people = EEEEEEEVVVVVVIIILLLLL!

But I digress.

The point is: Writing is going well, and while my forehead may be a bit raw from all the face-palming I’ve been doing re: this new legislation, I at least feel confident that said legislation will be thrown out soon enough.

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Any minute now.