Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Harlequin chapter 17 + BOOK THINGS

All formatting done, all buttons punched. The only site already live is Smashwords but Barnes and Noble and Amazon should be live in the morning.

I plan to take a little time off from publishing so I can fully plan and do a damn good job editing the next Starbleached book. It's going to be VERY complicated (To give you an idea: I am researching Normandy at the moment. It's going to involve something like that) and I want to make it really, REALLY good. That said, I've a few short stories that have been knocking around on my harddrive for a while (One of which is really...erm...weird) so there will still be writerly goodness, and omnibi shall be forthcoming. Including print books of EVERYTHING. If you want print books. (I am assuming that none of you want print books because nobody's ever bought the damn things but they're something I can send to my grandmother. Literally. That's the only reason I do print books. She asks me to repeatedly.) I do not promise anything until mid spring (March. April) to early summer.

Oh, and Indiegogo contributors who are still waiting for Things: I have not forgotten that I owe you pictures. The pictures are coming very soon.

...right. Shitty book time.

... Literally nothing happens in chapter 18. Like, nothing that contributes to plot, or storytelling, or character squee or anything. (Character squee is what I call things like the "Fuck you with the Cell Phones" rant in Leathal Weapon Four. Butters and Leo already had their character-establishing encounter, there's no reason to have them bond, their relationship doesn't change one iota. The whole point of it is to stick those two characters in a room, wind them up and let them go. It's my favorite part of the whole movie)

Anita has to go out of the bathroom to dress. This is the big delimma that the chapter opens with. All her clothes are out there and she has to leave the bathroom in a towel.

For some reason she absolutely has to have a gun to do this. She's got one taped under the sink.

Anita's life is highly fucked up, and she has every reason in the universe to keep a gun under the sink AND to not want to leave the bathroom unarmed, given that they're currently dealing with people who can sneak in and out of Jean Claude's power base. But we're not reminded of this, and the Harlequin isn't a part of Anita's thought process. No, Anita wants a gun because Richard made her feel weak. Guns are the new stuffed penguins.

You know, one of my big pet peeves with these later books is the absence of the stuffed penguins. Anita collected penguin shit. My mom's got the same thing for owls. Her stuffed owl collection is pretty impressive, though my favorite is the mahogany statue. There's a scene where Anita gets attacked by a zombie and blood, brains and shit go everywhere, including on her favorite comfort penguin. There's something about that scene where she soaks Sigmund in her bathtub in the desperate hope that maybe, just maybe she can get the zombie brains out of the plush (which fails, because you can't) that drives home how violated Anita is over the whole thing. Here's something she cares about, a lot, and she knows its silly but she still loves it, and it's gone because some magical shithead sent a zombie through her apartment door.

And then the ENTIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT discovers that Anita the killer zombie hunter collects stuffed penguins, and by the time she makes it back to HQ every desk has a stuffed penguin plush on it.

Which they give to Anita after the joke's over, because a random shithead destroyed part of her house and it's the only thing they can do.

  It's not about being strong, or a dick measuring contest, or sex, or anything like that. It's people doing stupid shit, and being silly, and giving each other a hard time, and then turning around and being goddamned decent to each other because that's what people do. It's a lot of credit to give LKH, but reading the penguin-washing scene in the comic book is what made me fall off the wagon years ago. I wanted to get to know these people again, because I thought that they were awesome. I didn't read the Anita Blake books because I thought the writing was awesome. I read them because I really liked the people.

In other words, it's COMPLETELY appropriate that LKH replaced Sigmund with a Sig-Sauer.

Clay and Graham are in the room. Clay is there to guard Anita, Graham is there to fuck her if she needs it.

Graham is also having a bad reaction to the ardeur. Anita and he argue for a while about why she won't fuck him, and he helps her dress.

Look, no woman is asking for it, okay? And men should have good self control because we are people and not dogs (and even dogs can be trained not to do shit, you know?) But there is NO EARTHLY REASON for Anita to have someone she has rejected over and over to help her dress. I can think of a thousand reasons for Anita to take her clothes and get dressed in the bathroom, starting with "It's nice to Graham" and ending with "There's every chance he'll say fuck it and rape her, because Graham obviously has the self control and brains of a fornicating rabbit." She could also demand that Graham leave her room for the same damn reasons. Or tell both idiots to get out of her room while she dresses. Nope. She lets the guy pressuring her for sex dress her like a doll.

That's not even shitty characterization. That's just bad fucking writing. This isn't even something I can get angry at. No human being in the world would do this.

Also: Apparently all of the ardeur meat have to wear red shirts.

 “You think I can’t be embarrassed, because I’m a whore.”
There's a scene in That Hideous Strength where the main character, Mark, projects his contentedness with his marital relationship onto his wife, Jane. He thinks she's happy because he's happy. In reality Jane is miserable, she's decided that getting married was a mistake, and she's making regular trips out of town to a convent run by (from her POV) a bunch of dodgy characters and old friends of Mark. My point here is people tend to project their own thoughts and feelings onto somebody else--ie, Anita thinks she herself is a whore--and then call the other on it. In a way, it allows us to address our own negative aspects without ever having to REALLY address our negative aspects. After all, it isn't that ANITA thinks poorly of herself. It's Graham. She has to change Graham's POV.


His mother was Japanese,

Anita throws Graham out of the room after he buttons her blouse for her, and she and other guy (Clay) discuss how Graham got addicted to the ardeur just by an itty bitty taste here and there, and how careful Anita will have to be from now on.

It goes on for pages. It doesn't elaborate on anything at all.

Finally Jean Claude wakes up and Anita sends everybody out of the room. End of chapter.


  1. " ...discuss how Graham got addicted to the ardeur just by an itty bitty taste here and there"

    I hate how LKH treats the ardeur addiction, and addiction in general. She seems to place all the blame of the addiction solely on said addict, as if this person was strong enough they would not be addicted and they should be able to fight it off themselves without any help and it's a huge sign of disgusting weakness.

    This is doubly horrible when you consider that Anita knows how addictive the arduer and yet she does nothing to try and prevent addicting more people to it. It's always an accident, it's always not her fault and though there's some lip service to 'being careful' we know that none of that will pan out. Anita has been taught that she can feed the arduer with real food, or she can feed from a distance on little sips, but since neither of those methods are as awesome as full blown sex/feedings, she purposely chooses to ignore those ways and goes for the more dangerous feedings while hurting/addicting others in the process. She really doesn't care who she damages or hurts, as long as she gets what she wants in the end, and this will become painfully apparent with a situation later on in this book that involves Joseph. I have to warn you...it's really, really awful and it's one of those moments where you see how much of a monster Anita truly is.

    1. Literally every adult in my immediate family, other than me, is involved in either mental health or addiction recovery. I grew up with that. The way LKH portrays addiction dosn't make me angry. It makes me incandescent.

      The biggest ardeur addict in this book is Anita herself. She's just not at the cool humiliate yourself at parties and steal from your parents stage of addiction. She's at the "I can't detox without medical intervention" stage, where the body is so addicted to the substance that an unsupervised cold turkey will KILL you, and even a supervised detox is risky. This is end-stage behavior. It has destroyed her life. She has no relationships outside of a circle of other addicts, she has neglected everything that has nothing to do with her addiction, and she's reliant on a set of very abusive men for both emotional support and her morning and evening fixes. This is never addressed or even considered in the series. Of COURSE Anita is going to be irresponsible with her addictive substance of choice. That's how being an addict works.


      Also thank you so, so much on your response to my last comment re: rape fantasies, you pretty much cleared up a lot of stuff I was unsure of and that helped a lot and made SO much sense I'm kinda wondering why I didn't think of all that stuff myself. I really, really appreciated that.

      Agreed sooo much on everything about the penguins! I loved that she collected them because it's such a relatable quirk (I think everyone knows someone, like your mom, who has A Thing for stuffed somethings) and so un-badass and un-pretencious, and it really was powerful when she was trying to wash zombie brains off Sigmund, and it really was just AWWW when everyone at work gave her a new one. The stuff with the penguins was way more emotionally powerful and human than the crap she currently has with her sweeties and how much their "love" means, ugh.

  2. WTF Graham helps her dress? WHY WHY WHY! Is this the Kindle version then?

    In the paper back version she is piling clothes in Grahams arms when she gets to her bra & panties Graham looks at her & makes her blush. She sends him to Remus & Claudia. On his way out the door Clay takes her clothes from him.

    1. I read that as "Helping her dress." He's injected himself into an activity that most women could do with their eyes closed, on the phone, while doing complex mathmatical equations. And he has to participate because Anita is just so helpless in his presence she can't even decide what jeans she wants. He's also spouting helpful advice like "just pick a damn shirt already" and then fighting with her over how much she doesn't love him. And holding onto her clothes very tightly so she can't just take them and go back to the bathroom like a sane human being.