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Music Monday… Avicii “Levels”

1) Avicii “Levels”

This video, so ridiculous, sometimes so fun.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-12
  • Sinuses are so bad right now my face literally hurts to touch. Not okay, sinuses. Not okay. Hopefully this writing will distract me. #
  • http://t.co/pXm7tHpw: Werewolf Wednesday…Werewolves in Sims 3 Supernatural http://t.co/gy5Xgrro #

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Werewolf Wednesday…Werewolves in Sims 3 Supernatural

GameZone article about the details of the werewolves in Sims 3 Supernatural.

Excerpt: In The Sims 3 Supernatural you can live as a werewolf Sim, wielding the ability to morph in between human and beast form, whether by will or by an uncontrollable transformation caused by low mood or a full moon. Sims will undergo a drastic change in appearance that includes a wider nose, sharper bottom canines, and ears that point back. Of course, your hair will grow wilder and fuller, eyebrows bushier, and fur will appear on your hands, feet, and shoulders. Last but not least, large claws will extend from your fingertips.

Dude, that sounds awesome. As does this blurb from EA.com: Enter the mysterious town of Moonlight Falls where strange things happen by the light of the moon. Create supernatural beings from menacing werewolves and cackling witches, to mischievous fairies and more intriguing vampires. Then stalk the night, use your wand to cast spells, claw the furniture and more. You can mix dozens of elixirs that can turn Sims into zombies or transform them into gold. Share your enchanted brews with any friends who have The Sims 3! Spooky surprises are in store for you in the world of The Sims 3 Supernatural!

I love Sims 3, and I can’t wait for this expansion pack! Werewolves. Werewolves! It’s scheduled to come out in September.

Music Monday…Girls and Guitars Kick Ass (The Dollyrots, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, 78Violet, Halestorm, and The Kelley Deal 6000)

1) “Because I’m Awesome” The Dollyrots

Because bassists + vocalists are awesome.

2) “I Love Rock & Roll” Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Because badass lasts forever.

3) “The Good, The Bad, The Boring” 78Violet

Because sisters + guitars are twice as much badass. (I wish they’d put out more official videos. I love them so, and would rather share official videos.)

4) “I Miss the Misery” Halestorm

Because wicked voice and talented guitar skills is badass.

5) “Get the Writing Off My Back” The Kelley Deal 6000

Because rumor has it Kelley Deal didn’t start playing the guitar until she was 30, and that’s badass.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-08-05

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Publications…Full (Moon) Flash Fiction Let It Burn (Part 1) available free online

Full (Moon) Flash Fiction

May Milk (Super) Moon: “Moonlit”
June Strawberry Moon: “Great Wide Open”
July Thunder Moon: “Lone Wolf (Bound)”
August Green Corn Moon: Let It Burn (Part 1)

The corn is dead already, dried husks withered and browned by sun and heat and drought. Sweat drips down the back of her neck; the wind whips against her, driving dirt and bits of dead plants against her skin, but still the air settles in her lungs thick, hot, damp. Despite the wind and debris, she wears her black hair loose, the fall of it covering her back, the ragged ends twisting against her hips.

She sniffs the air; ozone, a storm coming, but there’s little wetness to it. Rains come hard and fast, gone before they do any good. Microbursts that wash away everything in one place while leaving all else dusty and dead.

When she says, the world is burning, the others bark laughs, tongues lolling out, and yip, let it burn.

The wind carries the smell of shit and animal musk and, as they creep closer, a pinch of fear, just enough to make her mouth water. The scents of herd animals, sluggish with thirst and not enough fresh green food. She licks her chops.

Herds of deer are on the move, looking for food and water, even venturing into the suburbs, but they’re rangy, and chasing them down feels like too much work when the farm animals are right there.

She can almost hear Mom growl. Easy hunt meant they’d be discovered, hunted until the pack died out. It’s been such a long year, hot, dry; she’s tired. One easy meal will make them all feel better, stronger. Then they can hunt outside town, find new territory.

Dead grass at her toes, and the others near silent between cornfield and cows.

She drops, lets the change sweep through her, breaking bones, snapping sinew, tearing flesh; grinds down on the howl that threatens to rise from her throat. This close to the house, one noise will bring the humans running.

Four sleek dark gray shadows slip into the pasture. They are downwind and near silent, but something sets off the cows. The soft lowing grows louder, full of fear. The young to the center, bawling. Faster the wolves run, caught in hunt-lust.

She turns so fast she stumbles, only her speed keeping her on her feet. Again that cry, and she can nearly hear the all-too-human mama in it.

It’s just a cow. She’ll break some rules, but that is taboo.

Just a cow, and she leaps, snaps, blood gushing along her tongue.

The rest of the herd moves on, fast and loud; the pack settles in, gulps meat, tender, juicy. They make short work of it, gorging until their bellies hurt. Even so late, it’s hot, and she lounges after, licking her chops.

The same wind they used betrays them, hunter turned prey. Crack, and bright fire nearly takes the tip of her ear. One of the others yelps; she can’t tell which, and she twists, looking for the alpha, for direction. Then it crashes back.

She’s alpha now. There’s a human with a gun.

Run.

To be continued with August’s blue moon.

Werewolf Wednesday…Essays on Werewolves, Gender, Sexuality, and Race at Fangs for the Fantasy

Recently I’ve read some really interesting essays on werewolves, gender, sexuality, and race at Fangs for the Fantasy.

The Problem with Female Werewolves.

Excerpt: In many ways a werewolf is the utter opposite of how we view womanhood, especially white womanhood. In many European traditions (and, we have to remember, the shapeshifter tradition is a broad one) the werewolf is an uncontrolled, hairy, animalistic creature. Something utterly unrestrained, something that is unleashed, something aggressive and violent. In short – everything a woman “should not be”. A woman should be restrained, delicate, gentle, always in control and most certainly not hairy! This unrestrained, unrefined, uncontrolled aggressiveness (and hairiness) is the very antithesis of pedestal womanhood. When we do see female werewolves they usually have difficulties above and beyond what is experienced by other werewolves. They have extra angst, or extra problems or some other issue dealing with their werewolfdom.

Anita Blake: Faux Champion of Sexual Agency at Fangs for the Fantasy.

Excerpt: And in response to the criticism, the straw man was raised that the critics were prudes who were against a sexually pro-active, powerful woman and there’d be no problem if the protagonist was a man. Which is a shame because it misses the actual complaint – that the books were a really well written, fascinating series of books that had all the plot and development cast aside. I don’t actually mind Meredith Gentry – because Meredith Gentry has been squeezing plot in between the endless sex scenes and occasionally humping to a new level of magic since book 1. But let us examine this straw man a little closer – Anita is a sexually pro-active woman. Is she? Because I question this a lot. Now, I very much like a book that includes a woman who is in charge of her own sexuality, has sex as and when she wants to, with whom she wishes, without pressure and without shame. I love that and praise that. But Anita Blake is not that woman, primarily because Anita Blake did not choose her sex life, did not seek it out – and most dramatically, did not consent to it.

Mixed Race Characters in Urban Fantasy don’t Necessarily Constitute Inclusion.

Excerpt: The second reason is, of course, the woo-woo. There is a prevailing believe that magic has to come in a brown skin – and it’s glaring that so many of these characters get their magic from their (absent) parent of colour. Mercy Thomas is a skinwalker, because of her Native American father. Anita Blake is a necromancer, because of her Hispanic, voudoun grandmother. Jeremy of the Patricia Brigs Mercy Thompson series, has abilities above and beyond normal werewolves, because of his Japanese kogitsune mother. For some reason, woo-woo and white skin don’t go together well (which we already see by the the inordinate number of magical mentors, advisers, helpers and servants, who constantly come to the aid of white protagonists) – but by having a mixed race character with some “exotic” features we get the explosion of magical forces. This is very reminiscent of white people being “civilised” – people of science and technology – while people of colour are more “mystical” “close to nature” and primitive. In the current prevalent model, authors are able to operationalize the civilised white character, with just dash of “mystical” person of colour to give them woo-woo. The mixed heritage is used as an excuse to give the protagonists magic, without going to the effort of writing a person of colour who is different than White characters based in specific cultural differences that would be natural in a fully fleshed out character of colour.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-07-29

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Werewolf Wednesday…Catherine Lundoff’s Save the Wolves Giveaway

Bonus Werewolf Wednesday post this week, to get this out before the August 7, 2012 donation of prizes.

Catherine Lundoff (author of the lesbians + werewolves novel Silver Moon I recommended back in May [here is a link to my review]) is currently hosting a giveaway to raise money for the Defenders of Wildlife’s Campaign to Save America’s Wolves and the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota.

Here is a link to more information about the giveaway, including links to three pages worth of prizes. There are some seriously awesome prizes in this great giveaway for a good cause. (I personally plan to use the prize list as a list of wolfy things to check out, as well.)

Werewolf Wednesday…Werewolf Tropes You Love or Loathe

This Werewolf Wednesday post is inspired by two things: the Face Off: What Werewolf Legend Should Not Be Missed? post from Fangs for the Fantasy, and a conversation I’m having with Eliza Reeve about a certain trope, the Only Werewolf Woman in the World trope.

The Fangs for the Fantasy post discusses which werewolf legends they do and do not want to see in stories now. My conversation with Eliza is basically whether having few werewolves who are women is a trope in werewolf fiction. (Though it’s not everywhere, I see it frequently enough I think it is.) I’m combining these two things to talk about some of the tropes I either love or loathe.

Love: Forced Change During the Full Moon

Though I can also get behind the stories in which werewolves can change whenever they want, but I love the stories where no matter if they can control the change the rest of the time, they have to change under the full moon. That can be one night, three nights, five nights, I don’t care. What I love is that inevitable moment where no matter what they want, no matter what they’re doing, they have to give in to the pull of the moon. So much power, and yet it can’t always be fully controlled.

Loathe: Only Werewolf Woman in the World

Though there are stories that include this trope which I love, I hate the trope itself. In part, I hate it because I love stories with many women in a variety of roles, and I love stories about packs of werewolf women being human and animal together, their friendships and their romances, their triumphs and their failures. Mostly I hate this trope because it tends to come with all sorts of anti-women storytelling and misogyny and turning the one woman werewolf who exists into a sexual object for the others. I often find it gross and infuriating.

Love: Pack Bonds

Whether it’s a psychic bond that allows the werewolves to talk to each other in wolf form, or simply the bonds that make them feel like a family, the familiar smells and sounds of the others, I love stories where the pack is one big created family. Not everyone has to get along, but in the end, they fight for each other and support each other and love each other. Created families of werewolves for the win.

Loathe: Abusive Alpha Males

I’d loathe abusive alpha females, too, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one. I love pack structures and alphas in control, but I am not a fan of this trope where the alpha male is abusive and too strong for anyone else to fight and far too often sexually abusive, particularly to the Only Werewolf Woman in the World.

Love: Enhanced Senses in Human Form

I love werewolves in human form being able to smell and taste and see and hear and feel so much more than regular humans. I love the potential available to the story when the werewolves can do that, and as a write I love coming up with new descriptions and thinking about what they can sense that a human could not, particularly smells. It’s a way of building the world from a perspective that is similar to, but not quite, human, and I enjoy that challenge a lot.

What are the tropes you love and loathe?