Could it be? Did I just finish another chapter of When the Rest of Heaven Was Blue, the Buffy/Spike fic that I started in 2008? Yes, yes I did. It took me four years, and the chapter is very short, but the penultimate chapter of this albatross of a fic is finally ready. And in need of a beta. Any volunteers?

Hey, maybe I'll manage to actually finish this thing before its tenth anniversary!

Funnily, it's actually thanks to Doctor Who that this fic progressed. One of the reasons why I haven't been writing much Buffy fic in the last few years is because my main writing fandom has been The Mentalist, and my Buffy voice was too much like my Lisbon voice. I couldn't hear Buffy's voice in my head without contantly turning into Lisbon, and I can't really write a character unless I can hear them. But I've been working on a Doctor Who fic for a ficathon for the last few weeks, which seems to have cleared the Lisbon voice from my head, and now I could finally return to this fic and not keep thinking that Buffy sounded too much like Lisbon.

(of course, as I was writing this post, I realised that both this chapter of "When the Rest..." and the Doctor/Clara fic I'm working on are yet another variation of the male sleeps and the female watches... Because apparently there's exactly one romantic plotline I can write for het couples)
13 October 2017 @ 07:26 pm
Am I the only one who, after finishing a book, goes through the Goodreads reviews section and only reads the 1 and 2 star reviews, even for books that I liked? This is sort of exhibit A for "you invite negativity into your own life," but I guess I just find it more interesting and entertaining to read about all the different things people hated about a book than to read effusive praise. If I disliked the book, then I feel validated in my dislike. But it doesn't work the other way; if I liked the book I have no interest in reading the thoughts of other people who liked it.
10 October 2017 @ 02:13 pm

How a Sudden Firestorm Obliterated a City
"These fires happen in the hills, in the rural area, not a neighborhood," said David Kay, 54, clearly stunned as he returned to his home in the Coffey Park neighborhood Monday morning and found nothing but rubble for blocks and blocks. "You think you're safe in a neighborhood."

I'm sitting here, feeling stunned. If neighborhoods in the flats of Santa Rosa could burn to the ground, is anywhere in California safe?
In one of the most surreal scenes, broadcast on KGO TV, a team of Kaiser Permanente nurses and doctors, faces covered by respirators, gently raced critical patients in hospital beds down the street, with bright orange flames in the background. About 130 patients were safely evacuated in three hours, including women in labor and a "very sick" child. Some hospital employees drove patients in their own cars.

Climatologist explains why ‘the conditions are primed for fire’ in California Here's why fires are exploding up and down the state, with answers by Bill Patzert, a climatologist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Disaster Preparedness: Make a Plan! Don't put it off any longer, folks.

Puerto Rico

A Doctor’s Abandoned Journey Into Isolated Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Health Care Is in Dire Condition, Three Weeks After Maria

You're doing a fan-tas-tic job, Mr. President. Thanks a heap for those paper towels, by the way.


Fearsome Plague Epidemic Strikes Madagascar. The outbreak is beginning to resemble the early stages of the West African Ebola crisis in 2014: a lethal disease normally confined to sparsely populated rural areas has reached crowded cities and is spreading in a highly transmissible form. The TV news media is giving this story a wide berth, I noticed--they'd rather talk about Trump's latest tweet storm about the NFL and his feuds with Senator Corker and Secretary Tillerson.

And finally, three good news links. Because we need some good news, dammit.

In a First, Gene Therapy Halts a Fatal Brain Disease. The study involved 17 boys (the disease strikes males almost exclusively), ages 4 to 13. All got gene therapy. Two years later, 15 were functioning normally without obvious symptoms.

How a "Snowman" Lasted an Entire Summer in Chicago. The icy Fischli/Weiss art installation on top of the Art Institute survived the swelter of the Windy City and will go on display next in San Francisco

Incredible Winners of the 2017 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Link to the entire gallery within the article.
08 October 2017 @ 01:04 pm
Hello and welcome!

Thank you for writing a story for me. My prompts are merely suggestions. If they don't suit you, and you have a plot bunny of your own that you've been dying to write, go for it. If you do, I request just two things. First, please don't ignore my "do not want" list. I know, it's an odd thing to say in a dear author letter but this actually happened to me--though not during Yuletide. The other thing I ask is that you be kind to the characters.

Perhaps because I used to take care of trauma patients, I don't enjoy reading hurt/comfort fic, or stories that contain graphic descriptions of rape or torture. Stories that humiliate and embarrass the characters will make me feel unhappy and uncomfortable. I'm not a shipper in the conventional sense of the term, although I'm not exactly a gen person either. However, unless a sex scene is integral to the plot, I'll probably skip over it.

What do I like? I love poetry and prose. I love a well-plotted mystery. I like crossovers, alternative universes, and stories about time travel. I like stories that take a scene or an event from canon and expand on it, revealing more about the characters in the process. I love snappy dialogue and banter. I enjoy humor. I like stories about friendship. I like stories about love.

I'm an optimist. I know life is hard. Bad things do happen to good people. However, I like reading stories about how characters cope with adversity; how they get through hard times and come out on the other side, transformed by their experiences.

#1 Interstellar (2014): Any characters
#2 Deviations: The X-Files: Dana Scully, Samantha Mulder
#3 The X-Files RPF: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
Cut for length, images AND SPOILERS )

The most important thing, dear Author, is for you to relax and have fun with this assignment. I love all of these fandoms and their characters and, miracle of miracles, I'm excited to be participating in Yuletide yet again.
16 October 2017 @ 04:38 pm
Bad News

Three people die as Storm Ophelia batters Ireland and Britain
Irish PM describes ‘national emergency’ as storm brings 100 mph winds, with schools and colleges to remain closed on Tuesday

The Black Death is killing people: Why is Madagascar facing its worst plague outbreak in years?

Seychelles Reports a Case of Plague. Someone brought it home after visiting Madagascar.

Medium Bad News

'All wifi networks' are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers. OF COURSE THEY ARE.

Firefighters make progress as Californians return to charred homes

How to Fight the New Trumpcare

The Neutral Zone

Elon Musk and Puerto Rico’s governor want to rebuild the island’s grid the Tesla way

The 10 best contemporary African books. I'm picking out my next novel for the Travel the World in Books challenge.

The Good Place

‘The Good Place’ Creator Michael Schur Explains The Show’s New Twist.

Someone on staff did the math and they calculated that 802 reboots means that they've been doing this for between 250-300 years. YES, YEARS. AS IN YEARS. I am amazed that Michael's cast and crew demonic minions didn't go out on strike sooner but I guess in the context of eternity, 250 years is a blink of the eye. And that means Mindy is right: Eleanor has known Chidi for a very, very long time.

I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS, MR. SCHUR. Has anyone besides me wondered what these demons were up to during the millennia before humans evolved into, well, humans? At which point in human evolution did the perceived need for Eternal Punishment become a thing anyway? Is there A Bad Place for Neanderthals, too? As Eleanor points out, "What, one in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity?" Who the hell made up those rules? The sitcom writers, of course, but besides them? Michael is just the architect. He's not even immortal, not really. Sean is his boss but Sean didn't make the rules, that much seems obvious. So, who's really in charge of the afterlife?