Dogs And Goddesses: Chapter 14

Content note: Rape is discussed herein.

Urgh. Still not feeling well, but I’m beginning to think I won’t anytime soon, so, another chapter we go.

So, chapter fourteen! It is now Thursday. Abby is obsessive baking to get over her recent heartbreak; she’s barely slept and done nothing other than bake and sleep for two days. Apparently Vera’s funeral should be today, but it’s cancelled due to excessive bees — Kammani’s plague.

I would normally post a video here, but bees freak me out. So have acapella singing instead:

Meanwhile, Gen, who came over to tell Abby the news, is afraid of Mina.

“She has this thing she does with her hand. She reaches out and makes a fist..” Gen made a fist and held it out, her arm shaking. “… and things … die. She killed Baby that way, but Kammani brought her back.”

“Kammani couldn’t bring Vera back,” Abby said, but it was a hollow argument. She knew Gen was probably right.

“Mina didn’t let go of her fist,” Gen said. “I saw her. She didn’t straighten out her hand. I didn’t get it at the time, but I’ve been thinking about it, and I think Kammani couldn’t raise her because Vera’s heart couldn’t beat. Mina was squeezing it. “

Friggan gruesome shit right there. Anyway, so Gen thinks Mina’s a serial killer who will pick them all off one by one, and by the way, Christopher’s freaked out that Abby might be in danger, meaning it’s True Love after all and whatever. After all, nobody cares that someone they know might be in danger without being in love and junk.

Abby lets Gen move in with her for protection (because…. I don’t know… Abby’s safe somehow? Or something?) in exchange for helping her bake. The tonic recipe thus far consists of Hawaiian Punch, Earl Grey tea, rosewater, and Grand Mariner. I’m thinking this is more “party punch” than “magical tonic”.

Each bite [of cookie] was like taking a bite of Christopher, and if she had any sense she’d be on bread and water.

This is officially getting kind of creepy actually… wtf.

I’m reading the next few sentences over and over, trying to picture it in my head, but all I can conclude is that Christopher is a master of the secret Flash Step technique:

Christopher was standing in the doorway to the courtyard.

[Abby's] reaction was instant. She didn’t stop to think; she was halfway up the stairs, moving so fast, Bowser sat up and barked “What’s up?” She tried to keep going, but Christopher was too fast for her, and his arm clamped around her waist as she tried to scramble out of the way, so that she had no choice but to give up or they’d both fall down the stairs.

Abby was standing in the kitchen, at a counter. By any rights, she’d be between Christopher, who was in the doorway to the exterior, and the stairs, thus giving her a head start. She moved suddenly, which should give her Christopher’s reaction time as a further head start. But he beat her to the stairs and grabbed her around the waist? Sounds like some ninja bullshit:

Abby insists she doesn’t want to talk to him. Christopher totally overrides her wishes, like most romance novel protagonists. What a great start. He accuses her of “playing games”, and says she “pulled a Cinderella”. This is healthy.

They move to the coffeehouse, and he continues to interrogate her, while she continues to try to tell him to buzz off. He declares that he and Sam will help move Gen’s stuff in, despite Abby’s obvious discomfort with that idea.

“You’re just going to have to get used to seeing me. Talking to me. And besides, I’ve developed a taste for your sugar cookies.”

How a stuffy math professor could make such a simple sentence sound sexual was beyond Abby’s comprehension, but she’d about reached her limit.

Ew ew ew, rapetastic. He stomps all over her feelings, disregards her stated wishes repeatedly, then insists he’s going to keep doing it and hits on her?

[Abby] stood alone in the deserted coffeehouse, watching them go, telling herself that the odd feeling in the pit of her stomach was dread and not joy.

Ick. Moving on.

Friday morning, Vera’s funeral happens. In a rather sweet moment, Daisy gives Squash a sachet of herbs, vitamin powers, and a pawprint to bury as a way to say goodbye to Vera. Then she takes charge of Squash, declaring that she belongs to the dog, as that’s the way Squash phrased her relationship with Vera. So basically, Daisy/Squash is a million times more considerate and honest and caring than Christopher/Abby.

After the funeral, the girls interrogate Sam as to what happened to Vera. Daisy at first is a bit covert about it because of Noah, but when that gets awkward she rapidly fesses up to the whole thing — so Daisy/Noah is already more honest and open and communicative than Chris/Abby.

Except then Daisy freaks out that Noah already is familiar with this whole idea because of Mina. She realizes that he helped give her tonic and then had sex with her.

He went deathly still. “So, working for Kammani makes me a rapist, then?”

“No.” Daisy put her hand ot her head. “No. I mean… I wanted what happened between us; you know that.”

“Yeah, but only because I drugged you, right?” He stared at her, his eyes hard. “That’s your working theory, isn’t it?”

I’m not sure what to make of this bit. On the one hand, good on the book for pointing out the problematic consent issues here. On the other hand, Noah doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, and he’s using this as a way to accuse Daisy of trying to trap him, to accuse her of making up a rape narrative because she’s upset. Which, she’s not even accusing him of doing anything wrong! He’s the one bringing it up! But somehow that makes her a false-accuser because women are always falsely accusing men of rape, right?

I just don’t know. Two paragraphs later they’re laughing about her having a clicky pen, as if the author wanted to acknowledge the problems with a token scene then ignore them in favor of light-hearted romance. I feel like you can’t just open that door then slam it shut again, you know?

Daisy worries that Kammani might have done something to Noah to make him fall for Daisy, because this is happening awfully fast. She doesn’t say anything, though, just tries to chase away the dark thoughts with warm happy lovey feelings. Again, opening the door, then slamming it shut again. It’s very strange.

Meanwhile, Kammani is on Mina’s pills, so she can’t feel real emotions anymore. I’m not going to talk about that right now, but I’ve had a similar experience and it’s awful, so I’m hoping this doesn’t get played for laughs. The bees didn’t work because, ever since Colony Collapse happened, we’ve been desperate for bees. So she decides to have a plague.

Meanwhile, Shar’s decided to finish her book! Without any mention of Kammani, because seriously, this kind of sucks. Apparently, Sam got his throne kind of by accident; one king stopped paying attention to Kammani, so she replaced him with Sam’s dad, until he got bored and handed it all down to his son. Shar wrestles with her tendency to be jealous of Sam’s other/past lovers, but handles it fairly well.

Sam points out the fact that there’s absolutely no mention of Kammani anywhere bodes ill for how her last stint in the mortal plane ended. He was dead at the time, so he’s not sure what happened, but it had to be bad.

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Dogs and Goddesses: Chapter 13

This one’s a video review! Requested by Kaelas. Featuring Chaos as a Special Guest Star.

So there you have it: the mystery of the Glittery Hooha solved, and some lurid sex scenes. Plus, the truth behind Kammani’s awakening. Good stuff.

The link I was reading from in the middle of the video turns out to be not just one but two of the authors discussing the book: it’s at Jennifer Crusie’s blog. I still think the validity of that term is suspect given that’s the number one link about it on google :)

Here’s the other site I was reading from: Smart Bitches Trashy Books

The book I mentioned by name: Midnight Blue-light Special by Seanan McGuire, the sequel to Discount Armagedden

Ishtar from Yugioh

Analogue: A Hate Story

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Dogs and Goddesses: Chapter 12

Hold onto your hats, kids, because it’s about to get strange up in here.

Recap: Last time, Abby had run out on her math professor sweetie after having sex for the first time ever when he insisted that everything was wrong and stormed out of the room. All the awkwards were happening.

It is now 5:30pm; the girls are finished at the coffeehouse, now preparing for the evening’s “dog training course”, which they now know to be the hotbed of a cult forming around the goddess Kammani Gula. Abby was “subdued” but did not tell anyone what was wrong and generally doesn’t seem to be severely upset, so they’re letting her keep her secret for now.

Shar votes that they just not attend the 6pm meeting. Daisy, who if you recall is infatuated with Noah, insists that Kammani can’t be all bad if Noah works for her. Because all women get silly over boys and blatantly ignore reality if it shines a poor light on their new flame’s judgement skills.

Shar, being infatuated with Sam, focuses her objection on Sam’s information: he doesn’t know what Kammani wants or what the tonic does, therefore, the situation must be dire indeed, because her crush mistrusts it.

A movement in the doorway caught her eye, and she saw a man in a ski mask, a gun in his hand.

Wait, what?

Sorry, I’m sitting here thinking about the nature of relationships and whether the book is trying to imply that it’s good or right to immediately base your assessment of a situation around the few times your new crush has mentioned it, and whether that’s too close to Debi Perl’s ideas about letting the man make every decision, and then bam. Masked gunman. Bravo, book, I did not expect that!

The dogs to the rescue! Bowser, Wolfie, Bailey, and Milton attack the gunman. Surprisingly, none of them get shot! Instead, Abby melts the gun with her mind, causing the gunman to throw it; Daisy spins it into a Frisbee and Shar shatters it.

Because… I don’t know. Where is this book going?! Into X-men territory apparently. They just somehow know how to use their powers now, after a couple days of weird experiences. Okay then! Moving on!

Bowser sits on the guy’s chest to pin him and Milton unmasks him. The gunman turns out to be Doug, who is acting on Mina’s orders because he’s on the outs with Kammani because he smacked her ass on the way out the door. Mina’s learning how to use her powers as well; she killed his car battery, and his credit score, and his penis, and now is trying to get him to make it up to them by killing Abby’s coffeehouse. Despite Shar’s continued doubts, the girls let him go and head to the meeting, bringing along some of Abby’s cookies and Daisy’s pen.

Vera made it to this meeting! She drinks some tonic rapidly, bringing her up to speed with the rest of the cast. Mina nibbles one of the Desire Cookies and her True Colors start shining through:

“You! Move!” [...]

“I’m sorry?” Vera said, sounding surprised.

“I need to be seated at my goddess’s left hand,” Mina said.

[...]“Oh, well,” Vera said. “Squash is so comfortable, do you think you could …?” and she motioned genially to the empty seat between her and Shar.

“No,” Mina said, her voice laced with a deep contempt that went surprisingly well with her business suit. “You are weak.” She shot a look directly at Daisy. “Those who are weak do not deserve to be at my goddess’s hand.”

(Contempt is in style this season, ladies and gents! It’s the new accessory craze that’s sweeping the nation; it goes well with heels or loafers, and matches the black briefcase and pink pocket square perfectly.)

Vera moves to sit with our heroines instead, letting Mina have the place she desires, and insists that Abby is incredibly lovely, which for some reason sets off my creepy vibe a little. She learns that Squash can talk, and takes it in stride. Meanwhile, the girls decide to down more tonic to increase their powers.

Daisy tasted it and the impact hit her hard. It was at least twice as potent as it had been on Thursday, and where it had been delicious before, now it was irresistible. Power, Daisy thought, and drank it down.

(That’s not the end of that sentence; the sentence goes on to talk about Kammani arriving in what I feel is an awkward transition. It reads better if you cut the sentence where I’ve stopped quoting, let the impact of the words sink in a little before changing topics.)

Now that they’ve had more tonic, Sam seems to glow slightly; Shar glows slightly blue, and Abby amber. Gen and Bun have a “wispy haze” instead of a glow, Gen in yellow and Bun in orange; Vera is green, Mina purple, and since Daisy is our viewpoint at the moment we don’t get to know her color yet.

Kammani calls Gen up to the stage and puts a beaded dog collar on her. Shar calls it an “investiture” without explaining; Google tells me that’s the ceremony in which honors or rank are invested into someone. Daisy notices that when collared, there’s a glow that matches the aura of the person being collared, seeming to come from the subordinate and going into Kammani; presumably, she’s drawing power from them in exchange for the rank she’s conferring on them. When it’s Abby’s turn, all three girls lean back, clearly refusing to go. Vera is next:

Kammani gave Vera her collar and put her hands over Vera’s head. The light flashed, green this time, and Vera cried out and stumbled down the steps, staggering into the middle of the circle, her hand over her heart, struggling for breath.

“Oh… oh…” She blinked twice, and then the faint greenish glow around her flickered and died and she collapsed.

Wait, what?! What is this book doing? This is fatal now?! Did she just have a heart attack?! Apparently so; Shar calls 911, Kammani commands her to get back up, but Sam pronounces her dead. Well. Her glow should probably have been red, or at least her shirt.

The investiture breaks up; the girls go back to comfort each other, and adopt Squash into their group of dogs. Noah offers to fetch Squash’s things, and while he’s gone, the girls find a bunch of those miniature bottles of booze and some ordinary beverages to use as mixers and settle in to get drunk.

All three mothers seem to know what’s going on; Daisy points out that her mom abandoned her dog so she’d not end up caught up in this mess, and Abby’s mom calls herself “The Real Estate Goddess”. I guess their grandmothers were the original priestesses? They seem to be implying that their grandmothers knew the most, then their mothers, and now the three of them are clueless. Except only Shar’s grandmother was dug up from a tomb. So maybe I’m misunderstanding here.

They end the chapter by coming up with the best of drunken plans: Shar should coax info out of Sam by sleeping with him.

Stay tuned next time! Until then, the secret catchphrase is “Glittery HooHa”.

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Introducing: Jane Bailey Books

I’ve finally done it! I’ve stepped back and decided that the website is now “good enough” rather than waiting for it to be “perfect” :) From now on, you’ll find my writing news and excerpts and so on on their own dedicated site:

http://www.janebaileybooks.com/

There’s also an email newsletter to keep up to date with all the happenings. Hope to seeyou there!

 

(Don’t worry, the deconstructions are staying put :) )

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The spirit is willing…

I have so many ideas bursting out of my head on my daily commute that I end up feeling restless, excited, eager to work on things. There’s the secret project, soon to be debuted on my author website which is soon to be debuted; there’s the endless stream of costumes for Radiant Vanguard (I think I’ll make my own wig for Laika!), and parties to plan, and I need to update WordPress for both RV and my author site, and conventions to plan for, and a novel to write (I have a much better idea what I’m doing with this book now)….

But no sooner do I get out of the car than the wave of exhaustion hits me. I find myself with downtime or lunchtime at work and would rather hide under my desk waiting for the next emergency to break over me like a wave, the next frantic spurt of dam-building. I find myself preferring to sit on the couch and watch reality TV than even think about setting up my sewing machine (thankfully, we cancelled our cable, so instead I poke at the internet idly until bedtime). I find that rather than spring eagerly from bed in the morning, I’d rather go back to sleep and work be damned.

Friends, I am suffering from a terrible blight: burnout.

The past two weeks at work have been chaos, last-minute fixes and lulls in between where I can do nothing but wait to see if the latest fix is the last one. There’s a code freeze in place next week so if we don’t get things fixed now they won’t be for a good month. I don’t do so well with last-minute fixes, and this is wearing on me like nothing else :( I’ll be fine eventually, I know, but in the meantime, I want to do so many things I just don’t have the energy for.

It’s looking up though! Next week can’t possibly be as bad, what with the code freeze and all.

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RSS Quickies: Fashion sense

Need a go-to style that will have you looking polished and out the door in seconds?

Yes! Absolutely!

Try pairing a silky top in an eye-catching jewel tone with a statement necklace in complementary colors. It’s an easy outfit that’s stylish and impactful with little effort–plus this combo works just as well with skirts, denim, or shorts.

…What’s a jewel tone? What complements jewel tones? Wait, is that boiling down to “solid top, jeans, necklace”? That’s ‘impactful’?

Maybe I’m missing something. I bet the full article has images.

… $68 dollars for a shirt?

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Updates!

I feel like I haven’t seen you guys in ages! What’s been happening? >.>

I guess I should probably ramble at this blank page until I reach enough paragraphs that it feels like a good sized update. I haven’t done that in a while, have I? Yikes. It’s been all business all the time around here. Bo-ring.

The Wedding

The wedding happened. Yay! Basically every single aspect went wrong, up to and including there being a yellowjacket on my face (I’m super afraid of bees, wasps, hornets, and other stinging buzzing insects) while I was saying my vows, but we got through it. And the nightmares afterward have more or less trailed off — it seems my brain has decided that that was a nightmare so we need to undergo nightly boot camp training sessions preparing us for the next time that happens. Efforts to convince it that it won’t happen again, ever, really, I promise are slowly showing fruition, however. I expect to be able to sleep soundly by next week.

Let’s talk about something else.

Youtube confidence lessons

I’ve been watching Emma Caulfield’s video blog, Essnemma, a lot lately. I love how confident and quirky and at home with herself she is. I think what I need a lot of the time is more confidence. It’s difficult for me with the anxiety to really feel sure of myself, but if I can project the idea that I’m sure of myself, I think things will work out better. It’s awful having to fight off both anxiety and someone else doubting your plan at the same time.

During the week leading up to the wedding I managed to avoid any major meltdowns :) But I kept having this detached feeling, like nothing going on around me was real. So maybe it was the cumulative stress pushing me past anxiety to the other side? I’m not sure. It did help tremendously to have people around me that I knew could handle most of the logistics while I focused on keeping myself relatively calm.

Adventures in authordom

So I put together a website. I keep trying to think of some way to have an official launch party but anything I can do locally would see 0 attendance and anything I can think of via the interwebs seems kind of sub-par. Any thoughts out there? Otherwise I might just make an official announcement across my various blogs and Facebook and be done with it.

Also not official yet, I’m looking into making a physical appearance and possibly book signing at Pandoracon this October. This of course means there will be a physical copy of Wolfbound available at that time and, probably, from the website after that. Maybe I should do some kind of contest and give away signed copies? I’m not sure what I’m doing yet, and I’m not announcing anything on the other site until it’s finalized, which makes sense because the site itself isn’t officially launched yet, so there’s nobody listening, so to speak. But if you want to meet me in person, go to Pandoracon, basically. I will, at the very least, be attending as part of Radiant Vanguard.

Radiant Vanguard

The website for RV is blocked at work, so I can’t write updates like this on my lunch break, which is frustrating. But this week I plan to debut a new feature (not weekly! I’m not that much of a masochist!) on the RV main blog, and in the near future there will be activity on the RV Gaming blog, as we’ve put together a new gaming group and are just hashing out when to play and getting character sheets together. So stay tuned. I’m also trying to get some graphic design elements together to make the brand a little more clearly defined :)

As for the costuming, well… in a recent update I mentioned my sewing machine kind of exploded, and I’ve yet to get back on the horse of stitching. I have one more outfit I want to make for Pandora, and then a couple more outfits I want to make by next year’s Empire Symposium in April, so I’ll be back at it soon, but there’s a few weeks of non-sewing updates queued up for the Sunday column there to tide me over.

Yeah that looks pretty long. Sorry I mostly have been talking about other sites. I’ll get some decons written up this weekend so we’ll be back on our more regular schedule :) I have some RSS Quickies fodder saved up, too.

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