Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Compare and Contrast: War of the HALLOWEENS

(Looking for the "Don't be a Halloweenie" contest? Scroll down to the previous post.)

All righty, class. Today's lesson is on the relative merits of remakes of classic horror movies. Would anyone like to address this topic?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

WatcherDon! Go for it, dude.

"About two and a half years ago, Halloween began to frighten me again. The very word was enough to fill me with dread, but it wasn’t a spooky type of fear. It was one borne of a certain amount of dismay and tinged with despair. Rob Zombie was going to remake…no, wait…reIMAGINE the original John Carpenter classic “Halloween.”

Carpenter’s film was one of the only movies that ever really scared me when I was growing up. It remains, in fact, the only film that has ever given me nightmares, and it gave me quite a few of them over the years, especially as a teenager. It was one of the only movies that touched on my own fears and awakened my own sense of mortality. After all, if you didn’t want Jason Voorhees to hack you up, you could just stay out of the campsite with the awful reputation. If you were concerned about getting attacked in the shower, don’t stay in the creepy off-highway motel with the lonely manager. Stay away from the big house on top of the hill, the creepy castle, the graveyard at midnight. All of these seemed fairly logical ways to avoid sudden and terrifying death, right?

But “Halloween” brought it right into a suburban/small town neighborhood. Right into the home. Carpenter’s Michael Myers…or The Shape, as he was called in the shooting script, was Evil on two legs and he was hunting in living rooms and bedrooms that looked a lot like your own, on sidewalks and streets that could be right outside your door.

The other thing that terrified me about Carpenter’s little low-budget movie was the fact that it wasn’t as simple a matter as it’s so often described. Veteran producer Moustapha Akkad, who financed the first film and kept the series going through the years often repeated the initial pitch for the movie – “The babysitter to be killed by the bogeyman.” True, but there was another whole side to it.

Unlike Jason or Freddy, who typically had only their teen victims to contend with, Michael Myers had the machinery of authority out to stop him. The police were looking for him. His psychiatrist, arguably the single man who knew him best, was out to stop him. To me, this added a weight of realism that the other slasher films just didn’t generally have. After all, if a mad killer was stalking my neighborhood, I would take some comfort in the fact that the local police were on the lookout for him. But…they were looking for Michael…and it didn’t help.

As I grew older, of course, the sequels came along, some of which did their very best to undermine the effectiveness of the original. More kills, more blood, more “inventiveness” served largely to put Halloween adrift in the same sea of gore where all the other slashers lurked.

And now they had turned it over to Rob Zombie. The thought alone was enough to make my blood run cold. What would he do to my cherished childhood nightmare?

For those of you who avoid such things, Zombie has built himself an interesting reputation as a filmmaker. Like Tarantino, his interest is firmly embedded in the schlock of the grindhouse cinema, and his previous films House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were monuments to B-movie excess. Profane, guttural, gory, but handled with a to-hell-with-it attitude that forces the viewer to play along for the ride. Subtle, he’s not – and the subtlety of Carpenter’s version was always one of the things that made it work.

Recently I was able to acquire a workprint copy of Zombie’s “Halloween.” Please do not contact me to ask where I got it, because I am not at liberty to say. The workprint is substantially different from the theatrical release, and there is some hope that it will be released on DVD with the theatrical cut in a bonus package, but the details are still under negotiation. That being said, the workprint appears to have been Zombie’s original intention for the film, and the changes made to the theatrical version seem to reflect studio involvement afterward.

Carpenter’s original and now classic opening takes us from the point of view of the killer as he stalks and murders a teenage girl. The reveal at the end of the sequence shows that the killer is a six year old boy with a perfectly normal, almost angelic appearance.

Zombie sets out to take on all comers with his own opening. Michael is now about 10 years old, a misfit in a heavy metal tee shirt with a predilection for harming small animals and a simmering rage that threatens to boil over at any moment. His mother (played by Zombie’s wife, the beautiful but earthy Sheri Moon) is called into the school to meet with child psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell.)

McDowell’s portrayal of Loomis is markedly different from Donald Pleasance’s obsessive and almost campy take on the role. McDowell’s Loomis is pompous and phony, a Rasputin-like character who spends the opening third of the film attempting touchy-feely methods of reaching young Michael before giving up on the young man entirely and embarking on a speaking tour to promote his book on the “evil” that lives behind Michael Myers’ eyes.

Like almost every male character in the picture, the younger Dr. Loomis sports scraggly, shoulder-length hair that appears to be a Zombie trademark. Everyone has it – Michael’s abusive stepfather, Michael himself, his sister’s boyfriend, male victims, even the sheriff. Loomis, however, appears to be making a statement with his locks, perhaps because he wears a short cut later in the film. With Loomis, it feels inauthentic, as if it’s part of his schtick, another piece of fakery, this one designed to show how hip and non-conformist he is even as he dribbles pop-psych pablum from his lips.

Young Michael’s simmering rage boils over on Halloween, 1978 (a nod, no doubt, to the year of the original film’s release) with a rampage that sends him to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and destroys his entire family. Zombie once again diverges from Carpenter by putting so much emphasis on the backstory. For Carpenter, Michael is terrifying because he is so mysterious. Zombie makes an earnest effort to illustrate the care and feeding of a serial killer, including the known circumstances and warning signs that appear to be linked with real-life cases. Michael is an outcast at school, preyed on by bullies. He has conflicted and disturbing feelings of sexuality brought on by his mother and her career as a stripper. He is abused by an alcoholic stepfather, robbing him of a positive male role model. He abuses animals. He is filled with violent rages. He feels the need to conceal himself behind masks and locked doors. He is a ticking time bomb, and young Daeg Faerch delivers a powerful performance in the role.

Michael is then locked away in the sanitarium, but while Carpenter picks up the story immediately with Myers’ escape, Zombie takes his time. We see Loomis attempting to reach Michael. We see the effect his incarceration and madness have on his mother.

The escape sequence in the workprint is different from the theatrical release, and both are more violent and gruesome than the original. From here on, most of the film mirrors the original release, but it’s not unlike Frank Miller’s take on Batman in “The Dark Knight Returns” – everything is exactly the same, but it’s all completely different. Dr. Loomis trails Michael to Haddonfield. There is a sheriff, this time played by a woefully underused but still brilliant Brad Dourif. And there is a night of terror on Halloween. Along the way, Zombie takes time to offer alternatives to some of the plot gaps in the original – the iconic mask has an origin, for example, and this Michael does not somehow learn to drive during his incarceration.

The original trio of girls – Laurie, Annie, and Linda – are back, but they are rougher around the edges. While Annie and Linda were prone to drink some beer or smoke some weed and fool around with boyfriends, there was a teenaged innocence to them. Not so with their newer, more profane and outrageous counterparts. Linda is actually unlikable in this new version, and Annie is saved from being detestable only by the charisma of Danielle Harris (who returns to the series after two outings as young Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and 5.) Scout Taylor Compton is at first shrill and irritating as Laurie, but she eventually settles down into a somewhat dorky but endearing character who is miles away from Jamie Lee Curtis’s quiet, repressed take on the part.

In the end, however, the hairdos and the Tarantino-like profanity are merely window dressing to cover the real difference between Zombie’s and Carpenter’s treatments of the story. It all boils down to Michael, and Zombie’s conviction that making Myers more “realistic” in terms of what we understand about the psychology of the serial murderer can serve to make him even more terrifying.

I have to say that it doesn’t, although I give Zombie top marks for his effort. It is interesting and fresh to look harder at the psychology of such an iconic character, but in the end, Michael is less frightening when he’s easier to understand. Zombie’s Michael Myers is evil, yes, and brutal – but he is also somewhat tragic and human. There are reasons, however twisted, for his actions, and those reasons strip him of the essential randomness that made a 12 year old boy wake up in a cold sweat. This Michael never made me wonder if somehow I might be next, and while that makes him more complex in the long run, it makes him that much less scary.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween workprint gets three and a half pumpkins out of the original’s five. "

Thank you, WatcherDon. Very impressive. You get the extra cookie.

Give yourself a Halloween gift and check out Don's fiction here.

And don't be a Halloweenie! Enter the contest. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Don't be a Halloweenie. Enter the contest.

My clever and adorable crit partner, Eva Gale, and I have decided to run a little contest in celebration of the holiday. Winners will receive that best treat of all - FREE BOOKS.

Da Rulez:

1. Use the links in my blogroll (to the right) to collect the following:

* The title of Laura Bacchi’s AmberAllure release, listed on the right sidebar of her blog.

*The title of Eden Bradley’s latest release, the cover of which can be found near the top of her blog page.

*The title of Caridad Ferrer’s latest release, featured prominently on her blog.

*The title of Annie Dean/Ann Aguirre’s upcoming release, available for pre-order at Amazon.

*The title of Meljean Brook’s upcoming release, coming in February 2008.

*The exact number of children Eva Gale has spawned in her short but busy lifetime.

2. Comment at each of these 6 blogs. Tell the author Selah sent you, and wish her a happy Halloween.

3. Send the answers to me at

4. Go to Eva's blog and check out HER contest. More free books, more chances to win.

The first five folks who provide a correct list AND comment at the authors' blogs will receive their choice of two (2) ebooks from my back-list.

Here is said back-list for your perusal.

"Moondance"– erotic horror
"To Have and Have Not"erotic urban fantasy/romance
Fortune’s Fool (including my novella “Flesh and Bone”) – erotic paranormal romance
Phaze Fantasies III (including my novella “Hardcore”) – erotic M/M paranormal suspense/romance
“Her Black Little Heart” – erotic Regency romance
“Lie To Me” – erotic romantic suspense
“Dirty Shame” – erotic romantic suspense
“Skin Deep” – erotic romantic suspense

For those of you who already own my entire back-list (and you know who you are) I’ll be thrilled to my black-lacquered toes to provide you with a voucher to receive 2 free ebooks of your choice at a later date.

Finally, one GRAND PRIZE WINNER out of the five initial winners, whose name will be chosen at random from the depths of my Witchypoo hat by one of my spawn, will also receive a copy of my print release, SIN STREET.

Contest begins now. Contest ends midnight Thursday morning, November 1 (EDT). Prizes will be sent shortly thereafter. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

The perils of fan-girling editors.

Once upon a time, a long time ago (we're talking "publishing" years here, which are like dog years but with fewer hopes) I got myself a girl-crush on the senior editor of a smallish NY house. I heard her speak good common sense at a conference, followed that up with an appointment during which she was kind, inspiring and hilariously funny, and came to believe she and I were a creative match made in heaven. So I submitted a novella to a contest with which she was associated and lo and behold! She liked my work. She liked it so much that she called me at home on Halloween afternoon in 2003. At the time, I was elbow-deep in a pumpkin and trying to keep the six-year-old from gutting herself with a carving knife, but I put it all on hold to talk to her. She was her usual charming self when she requested my novella, and I tricked-or-treated with stars in my eyes that year.

Sadly, that project was never meant to be for a number of reasons that don't matter much anymore. But I never lost my admiration and respect for this particular editor, and I still hope to work with her someday. I've never met another industry professional who's entertained or encouraged me as much...until recently when Paula Guran signed on as editor for Juno. I don't always agree with everything Paula has to say -- we will probably forever be at odds over the proper spelling of the word "wracked" -- but I find her blog posts and essays fascinating, and I appreciate her passion for books.

Paula's got an interview up at Reading in the Dark. It's chewy and juicy and controversial in the best way. My attention was caught by this quote in particular:

"There is the idea that "romance", which is read primarily by women, is of a lesser literary quality. And it is true. Not *all* romance, of course, but a lot of it. Plus a sizable number of romance readers want the same formula over and over; they don't want a higher quality. Before someone gets ticked off about me saying those things, let me point out that the same could be said of horror during its brief boom in the 80s. Most of it, but not all, was poor quality and, at the time, the public didn't seem to mind."

It interests me how, when discussing the lack of respect so many folks have for the romance genre, the finger is almost always pointed at an unfair bias or prejudice against women's fiction in general. Not very many people seem to be willing to say what Paula says above -- that a lot of the romance genre is, in fact, formulaic and not particularly well-written.

Look, I LOVE Twinkies, but I don't confuse them with fine French pastry. And from my point of view, an awful lot of our beloved genre leans toward the Twinkie side. Which is not to say Twinkies -- or formulaic romance written specifically for an audience that wants just that -- shouldn't exist. All hail the Twinkie, people. It's a junk food staple, and like the classic "girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy-through-Big-Misunderstanding, girl-gets-boy" romance trope, the Twinkie has a shelf-life of about a billion years. But nobody is going to give it any awards for either nutrition or gastronomic excellence, and you don't hear Hostess bitching about that, either. They don't need to bitch. They sell TWINKIES, and they get rich doing it. Respect and awards are for those who spend a lifetime creating the perfect Amaretto Torte.

And so long as Kinsale and Crusie and Viehl and a small host of others continue to craft the fine French pastry of the genre, I think we'll be fine.

So. I had a larger point, but now I'm hungry.

Oh, editors. The biggest drawback? I'm terrified to submit my work to my personal heroes of the publishing world. A disappointing outcome would be like receiving a form-letter rejection from St. Peter at the pearly gates. ("Dear Recently Deceased...Thank you for trying to get your pathetic self into Heaven. Unfortunately, your soul is not quite what we're looking for at this time. Thank you for considering us. Sincerely...") - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Monday, October 15, 2007

My first memory of being scared out of my tiny wits was delivered to me by none other than Mr. Walt Disney. I was four years old and sitting in the big chair in our living room. It was an early winter's evening. Only one lamp was lit in the far corner of the room. My mother, thinking to entertain me, hauled out the brand new SNOW WHITE long-playing record she'd just bought me -- the kind that has the story on one side and the music on the other? I'd loved BAMBI and CINDERELLA, so she figured (I'm sure)...dwarfs? Diamond mines? A prince on a pretty pony? What's not to like?

And everything was going swimmingly until the story got to the part where, after the wicked queen changes herself into the hag and poisons the Too-Stupid-To-Live heroine, a big storm comes and knocks her off a cliff, kicking and screaming her way down to her death on the jagged rocks below.

Just to be clear -- it wasn't the change from beauteous, if slightly psychopathic, queen to ugly witchy-poo that scared me, nor was it Snow White falling down dead from a chunk of rotten apple. No, it was the villain's death that gave me nightmares for months. When I close my eyes, I can still hear her shrieking. I think I honestly believed they killed some poor old woman to make the record, and it horrified me. It also put me squarely on the side of misunderstood and abused villains pretty much for life.

And me and the Mouse? We haven't been what you'd call "close" ever since.

So when I tell you that I've spent the past five days fighting the crowds at DisneyWorld in an epic battle that will go down in history as "Me vs. The Happiest Place on Earth," you'll feel my pain. In case anyone's interested, the Mouse won, and I am forever vanquished. Picture that wicked queen in full hag-mode tumbling backwards off the mountain, howling like she's being gutted, and you'll get the general idea.

But on the plus side, I returned to find this beauty in my mailbox. SEVEN YEAR ACHE, part of the "You Make Me Live" Allure AmberPax collection, is due out November 11.

For your entertainment -- and minus the grisly death of a poor, misunderstood old lady who was only looking to protect her retirement fund -- I give you a little taste of my angsty bisexual cowboys, otherwise known as its working title, BROKEBACK ON CRACK.

Take one bitter, unforgiving Montana rancher. Add a washed-up one-hit country music wonder afflicted with low self-esteem. Mix in a ranch cook with a painful secret in her past. Bake in the hot August sun until steamy. Will serve three.

From Chapter 6 of SEVEN YEAR ACHE:

"Sit," Jamie said and took a seat himself on the sofa across from the doors. Bo and Patch settled on their bed in the far corner of the room, next to the dark, cold fireplace.

Rafe chose the armchair on the other side of the big maple coffee table and concentrated all his attention on the condensation forming on the bottle in his hand.

"Rafe, look at me."

He glanced up and straight into that bright stare. "Jamie--"

"No. You listen now. You shut up and listen." His words were short, his voice low and urgent. "I spent the past seven years tryin' to figure out what the hell I did wrong. How I managed to fuck it all up and drive you away."


"I'm talkin' now, God damn it." Louder, sharper. Like he didn't care who heard. "At first I reckoned I'd get over it. Figured guys missed their best friends when they grew up and moved away."

"Look, Jamie, I'm--"

"I swear to fuck, Rafe, if you don't shut the hell up..."

Rafe nodded. "All right. Finish. But then it's my turn."

Jamie's eyes narrowed, but he returned Rafe's nod. "Here's the thing...about Roseanna? She was sweet, and we might've made a go of it, but she wasn't you. Seein' her mouth wrapped 'round my dick -- no matter how good it felt -- didn't make me miss watchin' yours suckin' on a sourball any less." He paused to clear his throat, like the next part was somehow even harder to spit out. "Seven years, Rafe. Wishin' you were here to see what I made of the ranch. Wishin' you were here to ask 'What should I do?' about this or that. And jerkin' off in the shower thinkin' about you."

Any sound Rafe might've made died on its way up out of his throat. All of a sudden the room felt small and close and stuffy, like it hadn't ten seconds before. And Jamie, sitting there, looking at him. Waiting on him. Waiting on his answer.

After a good thirty seconds, he set his beer on the floor next to the chair and said, "That's fine, Jamie, but that's just sex. And I'm not willing to trade it for..." Rafe sighed, ran a damp hand over his face and started again. "I've had a lot of sex, Jamie. It's good, but not worth losing a friend over."

He watched Jamie lean forward and rest his elbows on his knees. He remembered Pop sitting just the same way when he had a point to make. "That's why you walked out on me after what happened behind the Hotspot? Christ, Rafe, you're an idiot."

"Yeah, maybe. But I figured you were gonna hate me either way, and it was better you hated me for leaving than for staying." There it was, laying him bare. All his fear, and how certain he'd been that once Jamie realized what they'd done --what Rafe had let them do -- he'd turn away from him, disgusted.

"I don't hate you, and I never would."

"You say that now."

"I'd have said it then, but you didn't gimme a goddamn chance." Loud again, and frustrated, and if he didn't shut up they'd have Cindy down here asking what was wrong. He took a raspy breath Rafe could hear from ten feet away and said, "What about now?"

Rafe shrugged. "What about it? Things are pretty good. Like I said, I don't toss away what I've got, unless I hear a better offer."

Jamie slammed his bottle down on the coffee table and got up on his feet. "I've been offering. In the barn this afternoon--"

"That's your dick. I can get that elsewhere."

"Yeah. I noticed." Four long strides and he ended up right in front of Rafe, glaring down at him with hot eyes.

"What the fuck does that even mean, Jamie?"

"You and Kris Killborn. Saw you two talkin' between sets. Saw how he looked at you. You gonna tell me you didn't see?"

Sweet baby Jesus, the man was crazy. "What difference does it make? I'm not in town with him. I came home." Rafe pulled himself to his feet and met Jamie's hard stare face-to-face.

"It makes a difference, Rafe. A big, fucking difference."

Shit. He's jealous. JT Crosby -- well-liked, successful owner of the Lazy C and all-around respected member of their little corner of heaven -- was jealous over Rafe McCaffrey, the charity case his Pop had taken on as cheap labor. It shouldn't have brought back that tight, full feeling in his chest, or made him want to smile so big his face was likely to break off and drop on the floor. But it did.

"You think that's funny? You son-of-a-" Jamie grabbed his shoulder in one huge hand and wrapped the other around the back of Rafe's neck. When he spoke again, he used sharp, hard little kisses on Rafe's mouth as periods between sharp, hard little words. "You. Belong. To me."


"Shut up and let me fuck you, Rafe, before I lose my ever-lovin' mind." - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dean, you ignorant slut: SUPERNATURAL Season 3 Premiere Recap, Part II

Oh, don't look at me like that. You know it's true.

Back at Ye Olde Homestead of Tamara and the late, much-lamented Isaac, Possessed!Geek Walter is tied to a chair beneath a Devil’s Trap, effectively imprisoning him, and Tamara is shrieking at Sam. She wants to go back and slaughter the demons that killed her husband. Dean wants to go with her. Sam says it’s suicide -- Dean doesn’t care. He’s “already dead,” or so he says. Jeez, dude, you’ve got a whole freakin’ year. More double cheeseburgers to scarf, more twins to fuck. Hell, with your face, you could probably score triplets. Just please be sure to film it for posterity, yes?

Sam wants to know how the two fucktards...excuse me, the two intrepid warriors...plan to kill the six demons they’ve left behind. “Can’t shoot ‘em,” says Sam. “Can’t stab ‘em, and they’re not just gonna wait in line to get exorcised, inconsiderate asswipes that they are.” Oh, wait. That last part is mine.

Tamara is still shrieking. Okay, look. If I’d just watched my husband drink drain cleaner? I’d probably be unconscious on the floor. So...yeah. Lots and lots of sympathy for Tamara. But the shrieking? I’ll say the same thing I said to Ava in episode 21 of Season 2 -- unless there are vermin CRAWLING ON YOUR BODY, there is simply no reason to be that shrill. Ever.

Luckily, Bobby shuts down the argument by announcing that he knows what and/or who the seven demons are. He’s as freaked as we’ve ever seen him -- which is saying something, because Jim Beaver has played Bobby pretty damned cool and confident up until now. To see him rolling his eyes and gesticulating and speaking in an urgent stage-whisper like this is...sort of discomfiting, actually. Dude, cut it out.

Dean mugs for the camera, plainly making light of Bobby’s distress, and THAT’s fun. And then comes what’s arguably the funniest moment of the night. Bobby describes the Seven Deadly Sins as personified by demons, and Jensen Ackles rips off an okay, not-great, but certainly passable impression of Brad Pitt’s famous line from the movie SEVEN: “What’s in the boooooxxxxx???”

This isn’t what’s funny, though. As I said, the impression is only okay. It’s the reaction of those around him that gets me. They stare at him, completely stone-faced. Either they don’t get the reference -- which, not very likely -- or they’re appalled by his poor taste in light of Isaac’s death. And you can HEAR Sam thinking, “Dean, you ignorant slut.”

Tamara goes off on a rant again, and it takes Bobby to talk her down -- the cold, steely-eyed Bobby we’ve all come to love. (I’m going to assume the little over-acted freak-out of his was a momentary aberration and forgive it, ‘k?)

Cut to the exorcism scene. They ask Possessed!Geek Walter questions he refuses to answer until Dean splashes him with holy water, and can I just say ‘thank you’ to whomever lit this scene and chose to give Ackles all those lovely close-ups? Walter natters on about how happy the demon population is to be freed from hell, piling more guilt on poor Sammy and Bobby, who seem to take it all to heart in a way Dean doesn’t.

This is the thing -- I should want to SMACK this guy. I should want to watch this demon suffer and die. And I don’t...not like I wanted Meg to suffer and die. Not like I wanted the Yellow Eyed Demon to hurt. He’s just not doing it for me as a villain. And that’s too bad.

Even when he launches into his sermon about how humankind is no better than demonkind, I’m not impressed. When he calls Dean a “walking billboard for gluttony and lust,” all I can think is, “You say that like it’s a bad thing.” From Dean’s smirk, one can surmise his thoughts run in much the same direction.

This is clearly supposed to be the set-piece scene in terms of “message” for the episode, and the only thing that resonated for me in the demon’s entire monologue was his comment that humans are no more than animals -- horny, greedy, hungry, violent beasts -- and only because of the slight frown Ackles pulls at the words that makes me wonder what Dean’s thinking and when he’ll let the rest of us know. ~fangirly sigh~

Bobby posits that the rest of Envy’s posse will be coming soon. Dean offers to stay behind and slow them down while Bobby, Tamara and Sam “head for the hills.” Not surprisingly, Sam has ISSUES with this plan. He says, “If we’re goin’ down, we’re goin’ down together, all right?” -- which is one of those lines you just KNOW the writers put in there to get the Wincest-loving fangirls all riled up. Heh.

They let Tamara do the exorcism honors, which turns out to be a mistake because when Envy has left the building, Walter the FormerlyPossessed!Geek is dead. Ouch. Clearly, Tamara missed the first half of the “saving people, hunting things” seminar.

Cut to a shot of our boys prepping for battle by the golden glow of candlelight. (And again...did Ackles spend his ENTIRE hiatus bathing in the juice of the rare and delicious Pretty Fruit? Because GUH. Emphasis on the GUH.) Dean and Sam go several seconds without speaking as they ready their weapons, and then there’s this...THING...where they stare at each other across the room for a long, silent moment, and there’s TENSION, people. Some will say it’s just the boys being hyper-aware of how they’re all about to die. Some will say it’s the acknowledgment of normal sibling affection. But come on -- they’ve been about to die countless times before, and as much as I love my sister, I NEVER look at her like THAT.

Just sayin’.

This yummy moment is broken by the radio kicking on in a creepy old hymn that sounds half “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” and half “Skeleton Key.” Dean cocks his sawed-off in that way he has -- you know what I mean? -- and says, wearily, “Here we go.” ~le sigh~

Close-up of a salt-line, and that’s pretty cool. Then Isaac -- or the demon possessing his corpse -- starts yelling for Tamara, first begging her to help him and then accusing her of abandoning him, just like she did their child, who was apparently killed by something that went bump in the night. She’s instantly hysterical -- oh, will you STOP with the SHRIEKING already -- and Bobby has to hold her back, blah blah blah. Eventually, she gets her shit together and takes down the demon in her husband’s body by skewering him with this special, demon-killing stake made from magical Peruvian wood. Gee, I can think of at least three other episodes where THAT shit would’ve come in handy. But let’s not pick nits, shall we? Although I’m betting this particular brand of stake will come in handy again before the season is out.

The other five Deadly Sins demons invade the house. Bobby lures one beneath the Devil’s Trap by pretending to be all terrified and shit, and...PSYCH! proceeds to exorcise him. (“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Heh.)

A slender, attractive blonde follows Dean down a hallway, knocks the flask of holy water out of his hand, and smiles at him. “I suppose you’re lust,” he says, looking a little freaked.

“Baby, I’m whatever you want me to be,” says Blondie. Dean’s not impressed, but Blondie swears she won’t hurt him. Not right away, anyway. Not unless he wants her to. (See: every Dean pain!kink fic ever written.) She places a hand on his shoulder. His eyes get big -- along with, one can only assume, other parts of his anatomy -- and he grabs her and kisses her.

Cut to Sam confronting three others demons led by Pride and hey...why didn’t they get THIS actor to play Envy? He’s WAY scarier.

Pride knows Sam, who was supposed to be the Boy King or some shit, but Pride is all...prideful and doesn’t give a crap about Sam’s speshulness.

Back to Dean, making out like a madman with Lust. If her gasps and breathy moans are any indication, she’s enjoying it. So much, in fact, that she doesn’t notice as he guides her to a bathtub full of a holy water. what they’re saying is...the hotness that is Dean Winchester can overpower even Lust. Dean out-lusts LUST.

Yeah. Okay, I can get behind that.

He grabs her and dunks her into the bathtub repeatedly, and one must assume that this incapacitates her because...

…back to Sammy and the trio in the next room. Pride’s got Sam by the neck and is choking him. It looks like lights-out for our favorite Sasquatch. Yep, Gigantor has breathed his last (again), no doubt about it...but wait! It’s Daphne to the rescue, with her improbable hair and her Knife of Demon-Slaying Goodness!

She dispatches two demons -- let’s see, one assumes Tamara did in Gluttony out on the front steps, we know Dean’s got Lust covered (heh), Envy is gone and Pride is accounted for...that leaves Wrath, Greed and Sloth. I suppose Fat, Drunk and Stupid downstairs with Bobby is Sloth, huh? So Wrath and Greed go down to Daphne’s prowess with a magical blade.

Pride lets Sam go and makes a grab for Daphne. Sam spins around, recovering AMAZINGLY quickly from being choked nearly to death, and clocks Pride a good one, sending him back toward Daph, who finishes him off with a final slice that’s kinda nifty, as you can see the blade protruding inside Pride’s open mouth. Sucks for the guy whose body is possessed though, huh? As well as the other two Daph took down. Not coming back from THAT noise. Oh well.

Sam: (gasp, choke, cough) “Who the hell are you?”
Daphne: “I’m the girl that just saved your ass.”
Sam: “Well I just saved yours too.”

You tell her, Sammy. Pardon me while I go collect my eyeballs from where they rolled out of my head and down the street.

Daphne: “See ya around, Sam.” And...she’s gone. He tries to follow her, but she’s pulled a Houdini. Because...say it with me, folks...she’s just. that. good.

Crap, there go the eyeballs again.

Cut to three demons in a grave. Dean and Sam are making with the salt and the gasoline. Tamara watches as Isaac burns on a pyre many yards away. Sam asks if Dean thinks she’ll be all right, and Dean answers in the negative. Here comes Bobby, who says the “pretty girl” and the “heavy guy” will survive their possessions and exorcisms with a lifetime of therapy bills ahead. So...wait...what about Walter, the original Bearded!Geek? Where’s HIS body? Maybe it’s in the grave and you just can’t see it?

Sam wants to know about Daphne’s magical demon-dispatching knife. Dean wants to know “who was that masked chick?” and how come a girl can fight better than Sam? (Oh, Dean. Good thing you’ve got the market cornered on Pretty, because you’re SUCH an asshole sometimes.) Sam wants to know what other nifty shit they’ve let out of hell. Dean lights the grave.

Tamara takes her traumatized leave. Bobby reminds the boys to keep their “eyes peeled for omens” and “he’ll do the same.” Sam asks him if he thinks they can win this war. Bobby doesn’t answer.

Sam wants to go to Louisiana to visit a hoodoo priestess who can maybe help get Dean out of his deal with the Crossroads Demon. Dean says no way, no how, ain’t happenin’, and suggests Reno instead.

Sam’s had enough. Pissy bitch-face in full force, he confronts Dean about his cavalier attitude toward his own upcoming demise and damnation. Dean explains that if they try to get out of the deal he’s made, Sam drops dead.

Sam wants to know why his brother would ever make that deal. Dean has no qualms in stating, right up front, that he can’t live without Sammy. Awwww.

But now Sam calls him selfish for making him live without Dean in a year. Dean agrees -- he’s totally selfish, but thinks he’s entitled after everything he’s done for his family, and if Sam doesn’t like it, he can SUCK IT. Okay, not really.

Dean says he’s tired. He considers his deadly deadline a “light at the end of the tunnel.” Sam reminds him that the light he sees is hellfire. Dean’s all “what-the-fuck-ever, dude.” He’s got a year to live and wants to make the most of it by killing “evil sons-of-bitches” and raising “a little hell.”

Sam: “You’re unbelievable.”
Dean: “Very true.” ~smirksmirksmirkitysmirk~
Me: “Crap. Catch those before they make it to the next block, will you?”

Next week: See Dean confront his own mortality in the form of a kid you know damn well isn’t his, because primetime TV doesn’t play that way. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Supernatural Premiere Ep Recap: TWoP can SUCK IT.

WARNING: If you are one of the handful of SUPERNATURAL fans in the known universe and do not wish to be SPOILED for the Season 3 premiere, read no further.

Seriously. Scoot. Get outta here. It’s on TONIGHT, for God’s sake -- surely you can wait that long?

No? Pathetic. But no more pathetic than I, who couldn’t wait and therefore downloaded the episode from iTunes last night, within milliseconds of it becoming available.

I thought I’d try my hand at a recap, since I’ve been banned from TWoP (Television Without Pity, self-purported inventors of snark) for smarting off to a moderator -- he SO had it coming, the pedantic twit -- and am boycotting the site in protest. Yeah. That’ll teach ’em. :p

Thus, the first half of my SUPERNATURAL Season 3 Premiere recap. Because somebody clearly has way too much time on her hands.

“The Magnificent Seven”

(also known as “Previously, on Supernatural...”)

BONG! BONG! BONG! (Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, Dean-baby. Seriously. Don’t.)

Ooh, new title cards. No more “chick-in-a-white-nightie-being-charred-on-the-ceiling" type it’s pitted silver lettering with rising...steam? Smoke? Ghostly essence? Whatever. It’s white and misty, and it doesn’t matter because...

...look! Dean’s ass! In flimsy blue hospital scrubs! And the reaper from the Season 2 premiere in her original, phantomy, not-pretty-brunette form. In voiceover, Dean intones much blah blah blah about how Dad’s gone, and it’s just them, and they need to carry out his legacy, which means killing as many “evil sons-of-bitches” as they can. In the meantime, we see Sammy have his come-to-Jesus moment from “Houses of the Holy,” and then…

...Metallicar! Cresting a hill in the sunshine to strains of mullet rock guitar, and can I get an amen?

Next come quick shots of:

...Dean shooting a ghost in the face...Sammy fucking a pretty brunette werewolf...Dean kissing a blonde in a bar...a creeptastic full moon...the boys running through a dark cemetery...the walking, talking, rotting corpse of another pretty brunette...another cemetery shot, this one from the Season 2 finale...Sammy shooting a -- yeah -- pretty brunette zombie (different one this time) in the face...pretty brunette Crossroads Demon giving up the ghost (sense a pattern?)...a window explodes...Dean bursts through a door, gun drawn...Sammy fucks the werewolf some more...Dean smirks into the camera...Sammy grins...a room explodes, showering a tied-to-a-chair Dean with debris...Dean stakes a vampire with what looks like a flagpole...Sam sets a corpse on fire...Dean crawls out of a manhole, looking displeased...a blue, tattooed genie threatens Sam with his fiery-hand-of-badness, and Sammy reacts by swinging a knife...a shirtless Dean sits up in bed, looking confused...Sammy practices Flashlight!Fu...Dean smirks some more...imaginary hookers crawl across a bed...DEMON!...Sammy nails demon with iron poker ~snerk~...METALLICAR!...Dean checks out a grave...Dean gets the crap kicked out of him by aforementioned imaginary hookers...Dean shoots a werewolf...stuff explodes...Dean grapples with a shapeshifter and gets a handful of EWWW...METALLICAR!...Sammy engages in a little hand-to-hand...Dean loads a clip into his favorite automatic...a doorway glows with otherworldly light...Sammy beats the hell out of a SWAT team stormtrooper...Dean and Bobby (yay, Bobby!) grab weapons from the trunk of Metallicar...a disembodied hand grabs a knife...Dean warns Sam...Sam takes the knife in the back...Dean yells...Sam falls...Dean runs...Sam dies...*sob*

Sorry, needed a minute.

...Dean approaches the crossroads, in the mood to make a deal...Sammy lies dead, blue and mottled on a stained mattress...Dean makes that deal with -- wait for it -- a pretty brunette demon...Dean seals deal with kiss as Sammy chokes back to life...Sammy shoots guy who stabbed him, looking disturbingly drunk and surly while he does it...the Yellow Eyed Demon hints that Sammy came back WRONG...Dean bleeds prettily...Dean shoots Yellow Eyed Demon...door to Hell opens, unleashing more demons than you can shake a stick at...Bobby says “the war’s just begun”...Sam looks concerned...Dean looks like he’s going to Disneyland...and...

Cut to black. Sweet fancy Moses, that fucker was almost a full two minutes long.


Oak Park, Illinois. A suburb of Chicago, if I rightly recognize the fake skyline in the distance.

A darkened street. Bearded guy exits house with trash. His high-waisted, polyester trousers and short-sleeved, button-down shirt scream “GEEEEEEEEEEEK!” He looks longingly at the shiny new car in the driveway next to his, comparing it to his own rustbucket.

Then! The trashcans bang and thump for no apparent reason. The streetlights blink on and off. Anyone who’s ever seen even a single ep of SPN waits for the inevitable...

...DEMON! Or, in this case, demons. Puffy plumes of black smoke fill the sky, knocking Bearded Geek down. One of them pries open his jaws and shoots into his mouth, and it’s not nearly as erotic as it sounds. Bearded!Geek opens his eyes and...’s the Shiny Black Contacts of Demon Possession! Bearded-and-Newly-Possessed!Geek stands up and watches as the other demons rain down on Chicago, a
smug smile on his fuzzy, possessed face. We’re in for it now.

Cut to title card! In place of flame-y explosions, we have bruised-looking, smoky clouds with SUPERNATURAL in the pitted silver superimposed over top. Which makes sense, if you think about it. The Yellow Eyed Demon is dead, no more mommies or girlfriends will be flambed on the ceiling, time to move it along, thematically speaking. Then!


A close-up of Sam, and Christ on a cracker, I can count his pores. Who thought THAT was a good idea? He’s reading Faustus by flashlight in the front seat of the Impala. He glances up and...guh.

Dean. In a wifebeater. I think I need another minute.

Okay, so, yes. Dean, in a white wifebeater, giving Sammy the double thumbs-up through what appears to be a motel window, and then shutting the curtains. Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” plays in the background. The silhouette of a nubile young woman appears against the curtains, and Dean removes her shirt without so much as a “come here often?” Sammy is somewhat amused. Me? I’m a teensy bit squicked. I mean, I totally understand that he’s a dead man walking and needs to get it where he can, and I fully support five-minute-long montages featuring Jensen Ackles’ naked ass ANYTIME they wanna go there. But something about this scenario just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s the cheese-factor. Maybe I prefer my cheap, meaningless sex a little darker, a little more gritty. Maybe I’m just jealous.

ANYWAY...Sam’s cell rings, and we cut to Bobby speeding down the highway. They discuss how Sam plans to get Dean out of his deal with the Crossroads Demon.

Cut to Dean’s silhouette against the sheer curtains. He’s...dancing? And laughing. Pure. Stinky. Gorgonzola. (And, in my humble opinion, fairly out of character. Dean Winchester does not DANCE. Not even when he’s about to get laid.)

Bobby asks where Dean is. Sam answers, “Polling the electorate.” ~snort~ Nice one.

Bobby and Sam move on to discussing the demon war at hand. Cut to Sammy knocking on the motel door, and a shot of a lingerie-strewn floor. Sam’s head peeks around the corner and we hear, in this order: a manly huffing that instantly brings to mind Dean...ahem...exerting himself, and then the ecstatic moans and whimpers of not one but two women. Sam is distressed by whatever it is he sees and WE DON’T GET TO SEE, GODDAMMIT.

Cut to Metallicar cresting a hill to the tune of Dean’s joyous whoop. He’s pretty pleased with himself, is Dean. Sam wants to gouge his own eyes out with Dean’s knife. Dean refers to his “beautiful, natural act” with his recent bed partners, “the Doublemint twins.” Classy. The scent of Limburger is strong with this one, master.

Sam does his best not to lose his dinner all over the dash...and really? I’d like to say I see his point, but the last thing HE fucked sprouted fur and fangs. Not a lot of room to talk, there, baby bro.

Onto more important matters. Sam relates that Bobby thinks he’s found something...and we’re suddenly drowning in a lukewarm puddle of poorly-written exposition. Blah blah blad-diddy-blah, DemonCakes. Dean uses the word “bupkis.” Sam looks bemused. MOVE IT ALONG, already.

Cut to farmhouse just outside Lincoln, Nebraska. Bobby’s waiting as the Impala pulls up. Dean’s eating something greasy for breakfast. He justifies this with yet more exposition about how he’s only got a year to live, and he’s not sweating the cholesterol. In his defense, Ackles tosses off this info-dump with all the disgusted apathy it deserves.

They enter the house. It reeks of death. You can tell by the way all three men pull the “God, this house reeks of death” expression.

After much flashing of weaponry in search of the source of the stench -- during which Ackles as Dean looks especially fine...something about the lighting maybe? Can you tell I have a brotherly preference? -- they find a family in the TV room, very much dead. More stench, a few flies...okay, I believe it. They’ve convinced me. Seriously. Ew.

But Dean still looks good. He hears a noise, goes outside to investigate, and gets sucker-punched for his trouble by a large, African-American man with a big ol’ rifle who, it turns out, is a friend of Bobby’s, along with his wife. Isaac and Tamara are their names.

Cut to evening in a new location -- a three-story house surrounded by lots of leafy vegetation. No title card to explain. Okey dokey.

Dean is on the phone, schmoozing the coroner’s assistant. Her name is Jenny. He says that’s a beautiful name. I laugh out loud because, as every reader of SPN-based RPF (real person fiction) knows, “Jenny” is the go-to nickname for Jensen Ackles. I assume the writers know this as well. If not...well, cute coincidence. Unless you’re appalled by RPF, of course. Then forget I said anything.

While Dean does his thing, Tamara and Isaac show what an adorable duo they are by bickering amiably about where they keep various demon-hunting supplies. (Okay, so it's THEIR house. Got it.) Dean gets off the phone after promising, with an eloquent grimace, to share an Appletini with Jenny, and tells the gang that the family from back at the farmhouse died of dehydration and starvation, in spite of the fully-stocked kitchen mere yards away. Apparently, to quote Dean, “They just sat down and never got up.” This makes no sense to anyone in the room, but I get it...only because I’ve been spoiled for this episode and know that it features the Seven Deadly Sins as demons.

And me and Sloth? We go way back.

ANYWAY. Dean wants to know their next move. Isaac says there is no “we,” ’cause “this ain’t Scooby-doo." Glad to hear it, buddy, but tell that to Daphne, wouldja? She’s about to make her first appearance and frankly, I’d rather have the Great Dane, slobber and all.

Isaac has no intention of banding with the morons who opened the hell’s gate and got them into this mess in the first place. Sam and Bobby look shamefaced. Dean looks pissed. They all part ways, and...

There she is. Daphne, otherwise known as the new, regular addition to the cast. (No, her name isn’t REALLY Daphne. We don’t learn her real name in this ep. But I? Will ever after call her Daphne, because it pleases me to do so. Nyah.)

She’s lurking in the shadows, doing her best impression of a broody, pissed-off prom queen. Because every effective hunter of demons wears long, hot-rollered bleached-yellow hair hanging loose over her shoulders and FALSE EYELASHES. SPN hair and makeup can suck it too.

Cut to daylight scene in clothing store. Possessed!Geek walks in, checks things out. Approaches pretty blonde, suggests that the bright green shoes currently being fondled by another woman are exceptionally attractive, and touches her shoulder, thereby infecting her with...lemme see...envy? Green shoes, get it? Yeah.

Blonde ends up beating other woman to death on the windshield of her own car to get the shoes. There may or may not have been eyeball poppage involved. I refuse to rewind and check.

Cut to Sam watching CSI types take samples from the murder scene. Dean is inside the shop, hitting on a sales assistant, which he calls, “Comforting the bereaved.” Sam pulls the kind of bitch-face that only Jared Padalecki can get away with and tries to make Dean feel guilty. Dean turns it around on him by reminding him of his imminent death and how he just wants to have some fun. Sam, ever the sucker, buys it. Sort of.

Bobby shows up dressed in a suit, having just impersonated an Assistant DA. He tells the boys what he’s learned about the murder, which is basically nothing. They notice a security camera in the corner and view the tape. Yahtzee! Possessed!Geek is now on their radar.

And oh, look. Daphne’s back, trailing Sam down the street and disappearing when he turns to look. Because she’s just. that. good. ~insert eyeroll~

Cut to night scene, parking lot outside bar. Bobby and Dean in front seat of Bobby’s car. (NOT the Metallicar, it’s important to note). It’s after midnight and they’ve got bupkis. Again. But the rain-splattered windshield makes pretty shadows on Ackles’ pretty face, so it’s all good.

Sam pounds on the window, startling Dean, who’s not amused. Then he shoves his Gigantor self into the back seat, mashing Dean against the dashboard, and I AM amused. Sam has discovered Possessed!Geek’s real name, which is Walter Rosen, and that he’s been missing from his home for a week. The boys decide he’s possessed. (And Jared Padalecki sounds like he hails straight from West Texas...which...true, that. But SAM is from Kansas, dammit. Get a grip on that accent, boy.)

That’s about the time ol’ Walter makes his appearance. While Bobby counsels caution, Dean’s all “he kills someone and we just sit here with our junk in our hands?” (You so know Ackles wanted to replace “junk” with “dick.”, I’ll hold that for you, Dean. You the interest of supporting the fight of good against evil and stuff. Ahem.)

But it’s a moot point, because Isaac and Tamara show up, and we cut to the inside of the bar where they’re planning on taking Walter down. Things go bad fast, and suddenly the couple is surrounded by seven demons of obviously evil intent. The boys are pounding the front door, but it’s locked and barred. A demon -- well, a demon-possessed human -- puts his hand on Isaac’s shoulder and tells him to drink a bottle of drain cleaner, which he promptly does to the tune of Tamara shrieking in the background. Yick. He falls down, presumably dead. Helllooooo, Gluttony.

Then it’s Tamara’s turn, except...yes! Here comes the cavalry in the form of Bobby’s car crashing through the front doors. The boys jump out, spraying holy water in an EXTREMELY cool and well-choreographed fight scene. Dean wrestles Walter into the trunk of the car, which has a Devil’s Trap symbol on the inside of the hood, and then jumps into the car himself. They take off with Tamara screaming in grief, leaving six pissed off Deadly Sins demons behind them.

Cut for commercial, and because even I have only so much spare time to waste on this. Back tomorrow with the second half. Or the next day. We’ll see. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What if they held a blog-war and nobody came?

First -- because it deserves to be first, and not buried beneath the rubble of rant I'm planning -- Eva Gale gets 4 Stars from The Romance Studio for 101 Degrees Fahrenheit!

A quote:

"This is one erotic connection that creates a hot, dynamite, sensual read, packed inside this page-turner."

That's my girl. :)

On to things less important in the larger scheme.

See Jenny Crusie discuss readers who turn their dissatisfaction with a book into a personal attack.

See Jenny further defend the rights of authors to respond to personal attacks.

This, in particular, resonates for me:

"So you handle it by looking at the whatever the attack was and telling yourself, 'Deep breath, she’s her and obviously miserable or she wouldn’t be wasting her time spreading bile, and you’re you and you’re happy. Let it go. You win.' And then one day, you don’t let it go. Because it’s not okay. You cannot insult me (or in this case, my friend) and feel betrayed when I respond; you can not take the low road and then be outraged when I come down to join you, you cannot call me names and then say, 'Not fair!' when I tell people that you called me names."

See many readers and authors support Jenny in her cry of "Foul!"

"...'mean girls' … i.e. women who specialize in relational aggression count on the silence of those they attack. They need it to thrive, like e.coli on an agar gel (lab nerds will get that). So if the Y’s who attack others (and her letter was an attack, not a criticism) don’t like getting ‘outed’ they shouldn't write letters that won’t humiliate them if they are published. No complicit silence for mean girls (and mean boys although male social aggression is usually in a different form). You don’t get a carte blanche to attack people just because you aren’t famous and they are. They are allowed to fight back."

From the same commenter:

"In addition, I don’t think Y 'messed up.' I think she attacked … why should you expect privacy in an attack? If you are that certain you are right you shouldn’t care if your letter was printed. Unless you know you were being a flaming twit and don’t want ‘others’ to know you feel free to express your opinion as a personal attack on someone. If she had wrote 'I think your book did a disservice to quilters and did not represent us fairly. Since others will read your books please consider the fact you may be damaging the reputation of our community.' That would make it an opinion and a criticism. There is a big difference between 'I disagree with you' and 'you suck, Yankee.'

(The above is a point I've tried to make a few times with a few different folks and failed, miserably. I chalk it up to my own inability to communicate effectively, because it SURELY couldn't be that although the concept is simple and straightforward -- it's okay to tell me you don't like my shoes, it's not okay to say 'you're an ugly ho-bag with no taste' -- these folks choose not to comprehend it because it runs contrary to their personal agendas.)

See some -- including a few of The Usual Suspects -- turn out to say, yet again, that authors have no business voicing opinions about others' opinions of their work.

"I see Crusie’s post as a warning. Beware all readers who attempt to make criticisms of an author. If you aren’t as clever as us, it will go badly for you."

(And yet again, the apparently conscious decision to conflate "criticism" with "personal attack." It boggles the mind, doesn't it?)

See Jenny be Jenny, much to the amusement and delight of her fans.

"I think trying to explain my position again or clarify some of the things you misinterpreted would be fruitless since our disagreement is based on that fundamental difference and that is not misinterpreted. I understand that you feel the post reveals a lot of unflattering things about me; they’re all true."

And then see the crazies crawl out of the woodwork in full force. Jenny says:

"In other news, this discussion is now being discussed elsewhere as an anti-Christian rant:

'Supporters of the Famous Author whose blog it is, took gleeful flight into really vicious anti-Christian 'comments.' Just, boom – let’s trash Christians. Let’s do it in an unlimited and really ugly way . . . . I do wonder how great the distance is between the virulent anti-Christian ranting on blogs such as the one I mention, and the rounding up of Christians for labor camps? Just wondering when the hate gets its legs under it and starts killing people. I mean, it looks to me as if some of the readers/commenters on that blog wouldn’t mind at all setting fire to a church full of Christians – well, white Christians. Wouldn’t want to be racist.'

Jenny again: "I did a search for 'Christian' of both Argh posts and the comments. Nothing. Then I did one for 'God,' and after adjusting for swearing, there were a couple of references to 'god-fearing,' playing off my comment. So I thought you all should know I’ve brought you down with me.

For the record, I’m Lutheran.

Isn’t it fun being a published writer?"

Go here to see some folks be appalled by a reader/reviewer calling an author a few truly vicious names in a review (and in later comments on the author's blog).

See said reviewer strongly suggest that the author shut up and write. Because THAT's new and original.

See some wonder how things have degenerated to this point in a community supposedly built upon that most positive and uplifting of genres: Romance.

See me roll my eyes. (But not at you, Jordan. You ask the right questions.)

It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, right? And it's all downhill from here, because too many people -- readers AND authors -- are quick to jump on the bandwagon of "online readers/bloggers/reviewers are entitled to air their opinions, no matter how vile and intentionally hurtful those opinions might be, without repercussion or the kind of public confrontation that would, in the real world, tend to make them think twice about tone and intent." In other words? The normal rules of civilized social discourse no longer apply, ladies. That thing flapping against your back? It's not a cape, it's a target.

So here we are.

Lie down with dogs? Get up with fleas. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dorito crumbs, queer romance on the side: ORDER UP!

My brilliant and always fabulously stylish crit partner, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, has a column up at Romancing the Blog about how it's the little things that keep us sane.

Mostly, it's the little things that drive me batty -- and if one more person leaves Dorito crumbs on my pillow, he or she will find themselves in a UNIVERSE of hurt -- but I appreciate the sentiment, and the fan letter she quotes is a thing of beauty.

In other news, Romantic Times has reviewed Suz Brockmann's latest (ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT) which features an M/M relationship, thereby breaking their policy of not reviewing queer romance. Instead of going with my knee-jerk reaction -- Hey, Hypocrites 'R' Us! What happened to "M/M romance is to romantic fiction as Yoga is to NASCAR"??? -- I've decided to take it as a sign of good things to come. MAYBE if they don't get a thousand angry letters, and MAYBE if not too many people cancel their subscriptions, and MAYBE if they get a bunch of messages saying "Hey, that was cool, why don't you review more M/M romance?" (that's a hint, btw) they will change their general policy in the near future.

It's not like I don't understand how the publisher is under pressure to cave to the belligerent homophobes -- I do. And I sympathize to the degree that RT will continue to get my business in the form of a subscription, ad revenue, and convention fees. But bravery in the face of ignorant bigotry would earn them my undying love and respect, as well.

For anyone interested, I'll be at PhazeChatters tomorrow for an all-day fiesta with several other authors. Contests, prizes, filthy excerpts, much giggly banter filled with double-entendre and innuendo. You know -- the usual drill. - Romance of Dubious Virtue