Thursday, June 26, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 32

Everybody figures Merry's dead because she vanished from the back of her limo after the assassination attempt. As LKH's fae don't disappear when they die this makes very little sense, but it means we get to have a "rumors of my death" moment.

Merry waits outside the throne room for her melodramatic entrance. We spend a few paragraphs describing the flowers. The bloodthirsty flowers Merry brought back to life with her own blood. Yeah, the whole Merry-as-Messiah thing is getting old.

 Her group has goblins in it. Most of them get described in minute detail, including the two Merry promised to "bring over".

So they wait until somebody goes to the Queen to confirm that Merry's dead, and then Merry walks into the court, covered head to toe in blood. People scream. I think we're supposed to think it's screams of horror that the girl's still alive, but I'm thinking it's got more to do with the blood.

The Sluagh is behind the Queen. This happens:

Nightflyers like a cross among giant bats, tentacled horrors, and airborne manta rays clung to the stones at her back, going up and up like a living curtain of dark flesh.
I think that sentence had a point in there, but it got lost in the discription. Also: Someone needs to take the word "flesh" away from Laurel because it stopped looking like a word six chapters ago.

Sholto gets described. Sholto has one major flaw: His chest is made of tenticles. Which is freaky and apparently LKH's attempt to include every fetish known to man in this series. Also:

Modern clothing was nearly unwearable without his magic to make everything lie smoothly. does Glamour work in this universe? A lot of times during Sage's little adventure Merry repeated that his size was just an illusion, but there's a matter of physics here. If you can't get a shirt on over the things, how does the Glamour make them disappear? And why do they come back when the glamour is gone? Making something disappear is a hell of a lot harder than making something appear. You can, say, make a force-feild (I know, sci-fi in a fantasy) shaped like a man, that feels roughly like a man, and encapsulate a smaller thing--ie Sage--within that feild. But if you make a feild and you have bits outside of it, those bits get cut off. Is Sholto regenerating his tenticles every time he drops his glamour? Are they getting moved somewhere else? When you go out of your way to explain something like this, these questions come up.

There's a fae named Afagdu. Afagdu. I hope he's a deity because otherwise LKH mashed her fist into the keyboard a few times.

Merry's official title is now Princess of Flesh and Blood.

Kitto took his place at my feet, and all we needed was a jeweled collar to mimic Tyler at the queen’s.
Yes, we're comparing the person who looks and acts like a twelve year old to Andais's sex toy.

We get a couple middling-good paragraphs about Red Caps--which are truely terrifying critters straight from Ireland--and a whole lot of really awful ones on the same subject. One of 'em greets Merry with this:

“I am Jonty, and Kurag, Goblin King, has ordered me to protect your white flesh.

Yes. Let's fully establish this: the most desired skin tone in either court is white. And in this court it's like, fishbelly, cave-thing white. So basically we've got a second class citizen specifying that one of the things that makes Merry valuable is the color of her skin.


Jonty licks the blood off her skin, because blood is important to goblins. And then Holly and Ash lick the blood off. And then the Demi Fey lick the blood off, and it just keeps going.

Finally one of the other Sidhe begin cat-calling Merry. Nice. Apparently he's king of shapeshifters, or something, so Doyle shows off for him. Hence that scene way back in the beginning of this book where he spontaneously shapeshifted.

Doyle says that Nerys smells like the spell that made the Queen try to kill everybody. Then he explains to everyone that Jesus Merry brought back his powers. Someone named Miniver says that he's lying. Merry's mortal and no mortal thing could bring back the magic the Sidhe have lost.

And then they really throw down the gauntlet:

“If this mortal becomes queen , then we are honor-bound to take blood oath from her, to bind us to her. To take blood oath, very much as we take on the dueling ground.” Miniver looked up at Andais, and there was something close to pleading on her face. “Don’t you see, my queen, if we take her blood into us and bind ourselves to her mortal peril, then we could lose our own immortality? We would cease to be sidhe.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. So we have a far-reaching conspiracy to incapacitate the queen and assassinate Merry to avoid the very real chance that Merry will be the next Fairy queen, because there's a strong fear that Merry's mortality will infect all of the Unseelie court. That looks like plot. That looks like GOOD plot. Why the fuck did this not show up earlier in the book?

 Miniver shook her head. “Your answer to everything is death and violence , Andais. It has led us to be childless and near powerless, but our immortality, you cannot have that.”

GODDAMN, girl. Miniver, I like you. Where have you been all this novel? Seriously, that lays out exactly what issues the court has with Merry becoming queen. These people have lost everything. Power, prestige, their status as deities, and their ability to have children. It's very much a decaying old order trying to cling to whatever privelage they have left, and the only thing they've got is immortality. It makes perfect sense that they'd try to kill Merry over this.

So Miniver challenges Merry to a duel. And this creates a catch 22 for Merry. See, the Fae have to exchange blood before a duel, and in the past, that's made Merry's opponents mortal. Which is why they believe that she is mortal. So if she wins and kills Miniver, she's proved that the mortality holds and that Miniver has a damn good point. If she loses, she's dead. Oops.

Seriously. WHY WAS THIS NOT THE BOOK. THIS is what I would have paid money to read. WHY IS THIS RELEGATED TO THE VERY FUCKING END?

Andais tries to refuse to let it go, and Nerys brings up that Andais never got in the way when Cel was trying to kill Merry. So Merry has to go and fight Miniver.

They choose magic, and Merry plans on using the cuts from the blood oath before the duel to kill Miniver, or at least incapacitate her .The chapter ends with Merry thinking "I've got her now."

And this, children, is why Laurel K. Hamilton is the most frustrating author I've ever read. WHY WAS THIS NOT THE ENTIRE NOVEL? WHY?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 31

So now we go into LKH's hastily planned ending, in which she finally begins, you know, actually writing story.

Sort of.

Andais, Merry and the assorted men (that sounds like it should be a candy box) go into the hallway and find the pool of water that Merry restarted through symbolic sex. And she pouts because this means she wasn't powerful enough, or good enough, or whatever, to bring the magic back to life. Because it's not good enough to be magic, you have to be the ultimate magic.

Andais reveals that one of Merry's new guards got between Merry and Andais in the last chapter...which I thought was a guard's job, but we're in the lair of bloody psycopaths, so we can't expect much.

I would like for Andais to pout without the slut shaming, though:

The gentle look left her face as she turned to me. “You must truly be a wondrous piece of ass. One quick fuck and he risks his life for yours.”

She didn’t look pleased. “As I said, you must fuck like a courtesan. Bloody fertility goddesses, always think they’re so wonderful.”
One: Merry is not a fertility goddess. Two: WHO CARES?!?

Merry works out that, because Andais promised anyone Merry slept with was hers, Andais is now forsworn for hacking on them all and Merry can do some very major shit to her if she wants to. Merry doesn't want to because Merry doesn't really want anything, so she promises Andais there won't be any reprisals for the forswearing part if she doesn't slaughter her own guards for not protecting her from Merry. The fact that Merry isn't gonna be punished for attacking her own queen is rather flabbergasting to me. It isn't even brought up. 

 Instead, Andais and the guards play dressup for a few pages. Then she pulls out her big heavy sword, lets Merry know that she knows her son did this, and then does absolutely nothing about it. Instead, they're going to kill the (female) guard who drugged her wine. Men are precious. Women are disposable.

I hate this book.

She looked at me, and something passed through her tri-grey eyes with their rings of black that left each grey darker and richer because of it, as if she had used eyeliner on her own irises.
Probably that eye-burning mascara from Chronicles of Riddick. Which...would fit these people pretty damn well.

Merry talks the Queen into killing whomever her assassin might be--sworn under oath, actually--and then suggests the Queen call the Sluagh to protect her from her own court. Which is a really good move. Almost like LKH suddenly remembered she promised political intrigue and is yet to deliver.

She then tells the Queen to bring the Goblins in, and explains her deal. Every goblin-sidhe cross she brings into power, she gets another month out of the Goblins. Andais's response is...predictable.

“Will you fuck them all?” It was said with no offense, as if it was the only way she knew how to ask the question.

Now we go over--and over, and over--who Merry's champions are. Doyle and Frost. There's an almost-interesting moment between Merry, the Queen and Kitto.

The Queen asks how she can be so sure of Kurag's cooperation, and Merry points out that she's covered in blood and the Goblin King will probably lick her clean.

And that is the end of the chapter.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 29-30

Aaaaaand we are still doing the crazy blood-letting thing.

There's a lot of shit that's wrong with this, so much so that I have no idea where to start. First there's the whole crazy=homicidal and bad aspect. Then there's the fact that all of this violence is happening because LKH couldn't think of a plot. But I think what drives me nuts the most is the reaction everyone is having.

They're distracting Andais. Not stopping her. Nope. Why should we stop the person in power from abusing it and badly hurting all the people in her care? Let's just keep her from doing permanent damage.

Seriously. You can see bones. You can see internal organs.

Even if you are mentally ill, you can have a highly developed sense of right and wrong. Having a disability does not make you defective, or homicidal, or hurtful. And, this is important kids, not having a sense of empathy or right and wrong does not mean you are insane. It means you have an utter disreguard for the lives of others. Andais is unsuitable to rule, not because she has mental instability, but because she does not value other lives. It wouldn't matter how sane she was. Without a sense of other's value she'll do...well, basically what she's doing right now.

And the book is handling this like it's something you have to do because Andais is so very very sick and needs to get better, instead of going "WOW is this wrong".

If this were, say, the climatic fight between Merry and the antagonist (WHAT ANTAGONIST) this MIGHT be tollerable. But it's not. It's violent, nasty, horrible, degrading filler and it 's VERY disturbing. Gore for the sake of gore doesn't swing it for me. If there had been any single good thing in this novel, anything at all, I probably wouldn't be as bothered as I am right now. But this has seriously put me off this book. Two whole chapters of unrelenting awfulness being justified as a coping skill is just...yeah.

Merry resolves it by draining all the blood out of Andais's body, and Andais responds by knocking Merry out before she goes unconsious.

End of chapter.

Next chapter: Merry is welcomed into heaven by God.

Okay, The God, and it's the summerland, but...seriously. Merry might be a slightly smaller monster than Anita, but neither woman are exactly sun and roses.

So the God--who looks like all of her men combined--pulls her into a loving embrace and Merry realizes she can just stay in Faerie Heaven forever...

...until she remembers how much all her men need her.

So the God gives her a gift of healing and she reappears in a pool of probably the Queen's blood. Though at this point I think you'd need an entire crime lab to sort out who bled where.

The God's kiss is still on her lips. It tastes like apples dipped in honey. Time to spread it around!

And when she kisses them, we get to find out what they taste like.

Galen tasted like the scent of aromatic herbs. I could taste dew, and feel the soft edge of a basil leaf. He tasted of basil, rich and thick and warm. Basil still growing in the earth, leaves flung wide to the sun, and dew upon the leaves.
Please don't do it for all of them please don't do it for every single guy please OH GODDAMN IT

He kissed me , delicate as a snowflake, melting on my tongue. It was as if winter had a taste. Not just the crispness of the air with snow on the ground, but as if my tongue licked along some smooth, cold icicle, and snow filled my mouth, and melted down my throat like the sweetest of snow cones. He melted down my throat, and when his mouth moved back from mine, our breaths fogged in the air between us. I realized I could breathe and the sharpest of the pain was gone.
Kitto declares that she has come back from the Summerlands with "the kiss of birds" within her, which makes NO FUCKING SENSE but it's all we've got to work with.

It continues with utterly gruesome descriptions of what Andais did to the men, and pretty pony princess descriptions of what they all taste like. And once again it's that whole "I'm the only good woman around" thing that LKH does so much, turned all the way up to eleven.

And then the Queen wakes up and demands that Merry heal Eamon and Tyler, the two guys she was tuning up at the start of this section. Because she feels oh, so guilty. So she demands Merry--who has many broken bones from...something---get up, walk over to her, and kiss Andais's boyfriends.

And then before any more kissing the Queen says that she was poisoned by one of Cel's guards. Basically, they gave her magic PCP. Everybody whistles.Andais touches Merry. The God talks to Merry and tells her, basically, that Andais is infertile, which we knew all the way back in book one.

And then Merry and Andais make out.

The press of her lips was like touching the skin of some delectable fruit, where the skin lies thin and ripe against your mouth. The scent of ripe plums filled my senses as if I could drink it out of the very air, or sip it from her lips. My mouth was pressed to hers , and I opened to it as if I would take a bite from the ripeness of her mouth.
And this would be awesome...if Merry didn't make it very clear that it's the God riding her, and the God making her make out with Andais.

Several pages later, everybody is healed from the magical make-out session, and Andais threatens to rape Merry.
She cocked her head to one side like a hawk that’s spied a mouse. “Reminding me that you are my niece will not keep you out of my bed, Meredith. We are like most deities, we often intermarry, or interfuck.”

Annnnnd then we get the single most disturbing part of this entire clusterfuck, at least for me:

I’d have been a lot happier to accompany her to the throne room if she hadn’t kept touching me. It wasn’t so much a lover’s touch, but almost like you’d pet a dog. Something you stroke for comfort, and because it can’t say no.
That's not cool, but that's the end of the chapter and I don't have to deal with it any more.

GOD I do not like this book.

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 28

So in this chapter we get to meet Andais.

The problem LKH faces with this chapter, one she understands damn well on some level, is that Merry is a monster. Like Anita, Merry does not give two dicks for other people. Also like Anita, she FREQUENTLY abuses her sex partners, and has created a situation EVEN MORE ABUSIVE than Anita's stable. Those guys can run to the cops. Also: Merry is overflowing with goddess juice. So whoever Merry's main antagonist is, it'll have to be someone more powerful, bigger, badder, and more abusive than Merry.

This is where we realize just how badly LKH shot herself in the foot in this series by tying up Prince Cel for most of it. Theoretically he's the primary antagonist, but he hasn't been a player since book one. If Cel were still around this would be interesting. Because it isn't, LKH has to make Andais scary.

She goes way. way. way. way. way overboard.

When they get into a room, Andais is beating a man to death. A mortal. Now, it's been established that she only torments other people to hide the pain that is inside her. Which makes about as much sense as going to the moon to pick up a pound of chedder. There is no justification for abusing someone else. 

Her consort (AKA the guy she got a kid with) blocks her blows from the guy she's almost killed. Apparently killing humans they've invited into their fun zone is against the rules. And I gotta ask, how the fuck has this not gotten out to the public? Andais is batshit insane. This should not be a secret anymore.

And oh fuck if the Queen didn't find herself a Nathanial to play with. Are we going to treat this kid respectfully this time?

Once I realized she had a human against the wall, I was almost certain who it was. Tyler was her current human lover. Last time I’d seen him, he’d been a blond with a skater’s cut and a real tan. He was barely old enough to be legal. He was also, according to current rumor, a pain slut.

That would be a no. There's also a long, rambly paragraph about how you have a "sacred trust" between faerie and the humans they kidnap and I'm just like

Because no. Most of these people can't even leave the mounds anymore (Speaking of which, I'd really like to know what they did with the Cahokia Indian artifacts when the Fae moved in.) because they'll wither and die. So you have a group of people confined to a small-ish space with a bunch of homicidal magic people with no grip on reality whatsoever. And we are somehow supposed to find it okay because of a "Sacred trust".

This is supposed to show how far gone Andais is, but it just highlights how nothing in this universe is functional. There is NO WAY IN HELL the Faerie should be allowed to keep pet humans. They have no boundaries, no limitations, and no respect for anything other than themselves. Basically they're just repackaged vampires with even fewer limitations and less government oversight. Which is scary as fuck.

And if anybody argues that LKH is respecting the BDSM community with her shitty books, lemme just point straight up.

So the queen turns her attention to her guards and tries to smother the one protecting her human with magic. Then she starts literally cutting off pieces of him. And then the other guards intervene, and she starts cutting up them. And I cannot describe how awful it is, mostly because I don't want to.

Thing is? Merry does nothing during all of this. Her role is to sit and watch. As it's been throughout the rest of this book, the actors are all the men, and they're being abused by a woman. Look at how horrible this woman is. Look at how wonderful and martyr-like these men are. Won't it be wonderful when Merry finally steps in and saves them from all the other horrible women.

That's the book. That's the entire book, right there.

And of course one of the guards cowering in fear of their queen is Mistral, who will become one of Merry's major lovers. so nice set up there.

“Welcome to the world of the guards, Princess,” Adair said. “Welcome to how we keep each other alive. None but the queen and her Ravens have ever witnessed this. You are most privileged.” That last held an irony, a bitterness that seemed to cut the very air, as if there were power in it.

NO. The answer to dealing with an abuser is not to enable them, treat their symptoms and calm them down. You remove yourself from the situation, or else remove them. Andais should not be in authority anymore. NO ONE worth being with would tolerate this. EVER.

Andais is literally flaying her guards down to the bone, and the only thing they're doing is letting her cut on someone new when the old one is too hurt.

I’d once knelt on this same floor until I passed out. I was after all only mortal, and could not kneel for a day and a night . They could. And if she willed it, they would.

...being forced to stay up for 24 hours is horrible, but doable. It's not beyond the limits of human endurance. Hopefully Merry wasn't tortured for passing out in front of her aunt.

The chapter ends with Merry demanding Galen get out of her way so she can see who is hurt the worst.

And I'm going to stop now because that's pretty much all the LKH I can take for right now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--Chapter 27

Merry is greeted at her aunt's overly described doors by a pair of guards. Who are naked, save for weapons. Merry's getting yet more boy toys to play with. One of the guards had his hair hacked all the way off for not wanting to sleep with Merry. He's not an enemy, he just doesn't want to participate. So Andais hacked off his hair.

I'd say "so what" but even if you ignore the long hair=beauty motif in the Fairy, this is actually a pretty effective threat. Hair cutting is humiliating and irritating, but it also means she can cut off something else. Cooperate now, or you lose your nose.

But of course, it's not played like that in the book. Nope. Hair cutting is the most horrible of horrible things you can do to the Fae.

Adair’s body was as empty of reaction to my approach as his eyes. He was lucky I was not my aunt, for she sometimes took lack of response on an involuntary level as a personal insult.

Translation: he didn't get a boner, like the other guy did.

Also: This is officially the lair of the bloody psychopaths.

And every single time we go back to Adair, we are reminded that he's limp. He does not have an erection. He's "limpbodied" to quote the book. This is the most important thing about this character: He doesn't have an erection when he looks at Merry.

So the guards bar their way and insist...something. It isn't very clear. People named Hawthorne and Ivy are going to test themselves against the ring--and screw her rather promptly--and if the ring doesn't know them, then one of these two are supposed to take the other guy's place. Only Hawthorne and Ivy aren't here and the guards aren't letting them through the door. So I have no idea what the fuck is going on.

So Merry pushes her way forward--it takes for. fucking. ever--and she and Adair start making out because now he wants to? I think? And they do? And then they magically teleport to somewhere with lots of dead plants, even though the Queen's doors and the rest of the guards are still there?


 And then...

I held the dirty cup in my two hands, for it had no handle, and my hands were too small to hold it comfortably one-handed. I held it toward the place in the rock where the water had once bubbled forth. I knew exactly where the water should have flowed from. I knew it even though I had never seen it. I touched the cup to the rock, just below the opening.

Nothing annoys me more than when LKH drags out the biblical imagry. It's so. fucking. obvious when she does it. And I know there are motifs common to all religions, but as I've said about nine times this review, she keeps on bringing up the attitudes and gender issues of fundamentalist Christians, so it's pretty obvious that she may have jettisoned public Christianity, she's still got the soul of Fred Phelps (or Doug Phillips. Google it.)

But this particular image has kind of pointed out why I HATE the goddess-moves-through-Merry shit LKH is pulling here. See, the water-from-the-rock story in the Bible is when Moses is about to lead the Hebrews into the Promised Land. He prays, hits the rock, and water comes out. Cool, right? Except he was just supposed to talk to it, not hit it. Hitting it made it look like the water came from his effort, not God's...and God does not like it when you take His credit (or, for that matter, screw with his stuff). Moses did not get to go to the Promised Land because he took God's credit for the water episode.

Which brings me to my point: Why would a Goddess only act through Merry? Why would ANY true Deity choose just one vessel/mouthpiece? They're not in awe of the Goddess in these episodes. They're in awe of Merry. Why would the Goddess set things up so that Merry gets most of the credit here?

...because LKH doesn't know how to write something that DOESN'T glorify her main characters. Gotcha.

 I sent the power on my fingers into that small dark opening, spread it on the crack like invisible jam, so thick, so rich.

 I knew in that instant that it had been meant for another more real liquid to be spread upon it. But this would do; this, too, was part of Adair’s essence. Part of his power, his maleness. Male energy to touch the opening in the rock, like the opening of a woman. Male and female to bring forth life.

One: Yep. Straight sex, folks. It's magic.

Two: You honestly expect me to believe that the Lair of Bloody Psychopaths never bothered with blood sacrifice on one of their magic fountains? That they saw their realm dying and went "Oh, well. We ought to sacrifice the white stag during the next solstice but I really can't be bothered"? You want me to believe that THESE PEOPLE wouldn't have tried this already? That MERRY is the only person to try waking these things up?

And of course the water comes out (While Adair is wailing about how she tricked him) and the old nasty cup Merry was holding becomes a beautiful chalice made of wood and all I can think at this point is

Merry then realizes that the cup is meant for the Queen, and the chapter ends with them all wondering if they could get Andais to drink it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--Chapter 25

Merry's bitching continues.

It was a long, cold walk from the parking area to the faerie mounds. The snow was knee-deep on me, and there was no way for my mortal body to wade through it in four-inch spike heels and a miniskirt. Not without breaking an ankle or getting frostbite. So I was carried, and the only one who wasn’t wet through was Barinthus. Everyone else’s clothes began to freeze in the icy wind, and those who had no magical protection against the elements shivered as we waded through the snow.
Alternatively: CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES. Obviously you still have the clothes the publicist changed you out of. Put them back on. You will no longer have a problem.

Barinthus is keeping her warm. He has enough power to do this, because being a human/fae space heater is, apparently, hard. It takes several paragraphs to establish this.



 It is established that people used to call Barinthus "Kingmaker", and then the chapter ends.



A random faerie guard gets an entire kindle page to describe his hair. Merry then bitches about how the pleats in the back of her skirt will never be perfect again.

I am fucking dying here.



“If the ring knows us”— and he finished the rest in an imitation of the queen’s voice good enough to raise the hair at the back of my neck—“ then fuck Meredith, fuck her as soon as you see her. If she gets picky then you may go to her room, or yours. I don’t care , just get the job done.”

I am now of the opinion that consent did something to LKH as a child.

 It goes on to make it clear: If Merry won't willingly bed anybody the ring identifies as a fertile match, the men are to rape her. 

 “Persuade her, or take her, or tell her what I have said, and let that be your persuasion. If Meredith will not take the pleasure I offer her, then perhaps she will take pain instead. For there is both to be had here among the Unseelie. Remind her of that if her sensibilities are too delicate for fucking.”
So let's make it clear: Merry has no option to consent to sex at this point. She does not get the right to say no. Consent no longer exists.

I hate. This book. And this chapter isn't over yet.

“I am soaking wet, freezing, and sober. I don’t want to be any of those three things.

This would be such an awesome book if LKH were any less of a prude.

Finally somebody explains about the flooding bit, and that--not the rape, mind you, just the flooding--is enough to get everybody into the Queen's presence and end the goddamed chapter.

Something had better happen soon, otherwise my liver will never survive.

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 23-24

I'm just gonna go until something plot related.

The first several pages are yet more bitching about what the publicist wants Merry and Co. to do. We apparently needed to know every single article of clothing this woman makes the men change out. We get yet more reminders that Kitto is the same size as a twelve year old. Also, Merry needs to wear a pleated skirt so short the top of her thigh-high hose show.

Because of course a professional publicist wants to have her client flash the collective tabloid press every time she bends over.

And then she provides Merry with four inch spike heels. Patent leather.

And Merry is forced to wear all these things. Because her publicist says she has to. You know, if you want your main character to dress in teeny tiny clothes have them want to wear the damn clothes. If you want your character to not be ridiculed for, say, wearing said mini-skirt and heels to a crime scene, have them dress appropriately when they're on the job and how they want to when they're off. But making your character be forced to wear dental floss and boob tape sends the message "I'm dressed like a tramp, but I'm being forced to." It implies that there is something wrong with what the character is wearing. Either have your characters own the way they dress or let them dress the way they want. 


There is, however, a very good bit where Merry flashes back to the press conferences over her father's death. This is completely reasonable. The trauma of the questions and flashing lights and intrusion of privacy on top of the trauma of having your dad be killed horribly would likely make most conferences an ordeal even if you have delt with your trauma, and Merry has VERY clearly never come close to processing this in a reasonable fashion. And yes, it happened years ago. But people process greif and trauma differently...and if the ENTIRE FAIRY COURT doesn't have PTSD I will eat my monitor screen.

The press conference is an utterly boring rehash of everything that has already happened in this book. EVERYTHING here has either already been rehashed or it happened a few pages ago. And of course all the sexist and stupid questions come from the female reporters because GOD FORBID we allow for female competence other than the main character.

One of the reporters in the back of the room is an old enemy of Merry's named Barry. He calls her an outright slut and starts flinging insults.This segues into a long soloquy about a character who hasn't appeared for two books being sentenced to death for selling nude pics of Merry to the tabloids.

Merry decides that she doesn't want her dad's death to be the lead in to the story, so they stage a motherfucking assassination attempt WHAT THE HELL.

A cop is bespelled to shoot Merry, and Frost steps in and gets shot. Merry is dragged out of the room and in the process Barinthus touches the magic ring of matchmaking, so we go from boring as fuck press conference to mind raping cops into distracing the press to making out with yet another man.

He gets his godhead back. It involves lots of water, so everybody in the press conference gets wet.

I am not kidding.

End of chapter

Next chapter, after descriptions of how everybody got to a limo, we rehash the shooting of Frost. It hasn't been established that the guys staged the shooting, but it is established that Doyle let him get off a shot so the other humans would believe the cop had really been about to shoot Merry. So the cop's dead now. Nice, guys. They quickly make it clear that none of them staged the shooting, but I really want to call bullshit on it because it's way too damn pat. Merry doesn't want her dad to be the lead-in on the press conference, and BAM, assassination attempt. She looks culpable at best.

It also turns out the chalice teleported itself into the press conference, which explains some of the fireworks. Everyone oggles it for several pages. Then we find out that the Queen's new plan is to force Merry to have sex with multiple partners at once.

You know, it goes without saying that Andais's tactics are basically rape, rape, rape with a topping of rape-sauce, but at some point SOMEBODY ought to have the spine to say "Fuck you". They've certainly got the power right now to make it stick. The reason they don't is because LKH wants to have the characters have sex without any of the responsability, because in her mind sex is something that ought to have consequences. If you don't choose to have sex, you don't need to keep any of the consequences. In this mindset consent is an actively dangerous act that needs to be repressed at all costs. Ones purity and appearance of goodness is far, far more important than one's health and well-being.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: A pagan author SHOULD NOT BE echoing the sentiments of fundamentalist Christian nutcases. 

 That sex and torture were my aunt’s hobbies had always made her difficult to deal with, or so I’d thought. Barinthus was saying the opposite.
Yes. We're referring to sadism with non-consenting partners as a hobby.

It turns out that Andais has been torturing people because it distracts her from her own mental illness.

I do not understand how anyone could ever think this anything less than reprehensible.

They then talk more about how bringing Barinthius back to his Godhead could have drowned all of St. Louis and the chapter ends.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Here we go my lovelies:

Barnes and Noble Apple Smashwords

As soon as Kobo has its share posted, it'll be announced too.

Amazon-readers: Sorry. Amazon doesn't play nice with Smashwords (or...anybody, really) so you guys get to wait a little bit longer.

Also: The first piece of Silver Bullet, Black Hounds, AKA the first lil book I ever published, is FREE on Smashwords and all of its affiliate retailers (Ie Barnes and Noble) so if you haven't read it yet, go do so.

Let's get excited, my dears. This is gonna be a fun ride.

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 21

We're introduced to a brand new guard. He's a hunter-deity. Also obsessed with biology, which I find actually kind of cool--hunter wants to understand the hunted and all. However, it's just an excuse to kiss Merry's ass:

 He was also the only sidhe to ask me what I’d do with my degree if I hadn’t been Princess Meredith.
Probably the same thing you would have done if you were Princess Meredith: exactly jack shit. See, when people want something badly enough, they do the thing. Merry wasn't valuable to the royal family until very, very recently, and Andais would probably have liked nothing quite so much as Merry working very, very far away in someplace like Africa or Antarctica cataloging tiny bugs or cold water clams. But Merry didn't pursue her generic biology degree into something more significant, choose a specialty, or elect to work in a biology-related field once she got out. She got a biology degree the way people get a degree in business. It's not that you actually want to study something as a career, it's that you want to get to say you have a degree so you can get hired.

So there's no tragety here. Sorry.

By the way, have I mentioned that LKH has a biology degree?

Ah, but she had to hide from Andais. That's why she became a detective, rather than a zoologist. Andais would check up on her degree.


So we get yet another guard and--

When he was close enough for me to see his eyes, I had that moment of dizziness that his eyes always gave me. His pupils were petaled layers of red, blue, yellow, and green, like a multicolored flower.
Also: his irises might be multicolored pony princess flower petals, but if his pupils are that opaque, the dude is blind.

Nice use of your biology degree, Laurell.

This dude is Amatheon, and he's Cel's friend. He refused to come to Merry at first, so the Queen did something horrible to him: she cut his hair.He has to touch the ring and see if he and Merry are a fertile match...or else.

It takes four pages for him to get to Merry. Six pages later, he still hasn't touched the damn ring. Instead, we've introduced two more guards, one of whom gets a solid two-kindle-page paragraph about how pretty he is. They all ask to touch the ring and finally, as the chapter ends, Merry holds out her hand.

Next chapter: Usna, pretty boy of the long-ass paragraph, reacts to the ring. Merry gets another man. It's kind of approprete that this one came from a magical cat, seeing as how Merry's collecting them. The drunk dude from a chapter or so ago also reacts to the ring. It reacts to the next guy, but when the nice guard that Merry's known from childhood touches it, it stays cold. Because God Forbid we get one actual nice, congenial person in this mess.

And of course, it reacts to Amatheon, who makes it clear that he'd rather sleep with an actual dog than Merry, because she's part human.

Yes. It's so horrible being mixed magical races.

Guys, I'm sorry for the sarcasm, but the fact that there are no real world races in this book kind of makes the "fairy mixed race" thing kind of hollow. You get to pretend real hard about saying something worth the paper it's printed on, while simultaneously continuing the exclusion you're claiming to fight against. It's not enough to use pretend races. You have to find a way to get the real ones in there too.

They bring cloaks for Sage and Nicca, even though I could swear Sage and Nicca had cloaks two chapters ago. They roll the drunk over into a corner and throw a blanket over him--I'm serious--and head out for the press converence. End of chapter.

We spent one whole chapter touching rings and describing the resulting orgasms.

This book will never have a plot. Ever.

There isn't enough booze in the world.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 20

Nothing. Is happening. In. This. Book.

I just wrote a book in which a woman travels from one city to another. It took me one fucking chapter to get her from South Texas to Boston. ONE CHAPTER. ONE. YOU CANNOT EVEN GET FROM SOUTH TEXAS TO BOSTON ON ONE FUCKING PLANE. So why in the name of all things good and holy and pure has it taken this fucking long for Merry to get to St. Louis?

I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY THEY'RE DOING THIS. There's a party that they have to do, and there are balls, but...but why are they going here. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY IS THIS HERE.

We entered the lounge that is just for private planes and there met the rest of my guards.

Merry and Frost have a tiff over Frost's fox fur coat. Because it's floor length and it's far more interesting to argue about how many foxes died to make it than it is to discuss how fucking silly Frost looks in a floor length fur coat. 

 Coming from Los Angeles to St. Louis in the middle of winter was almost a physical wrenching.
Is there a reason why Merry has to bitch about everything? Also: It probably felt colder in Los Angeles. Mostly because Los Angeles is a coastline city, and humidity makes 40F fucking miserable. When it freezes, the humidity drops out of the air and suddenly all those lovely winter clothes actually work. When it's just that little bit above freezing, the humidity seeps straight through however many layers you're wearing and makes you cold. I go up north during the winter, I wear a long sleeved shirt, a sweater, and a coat. I stay down here, there are not enough sweaters in the universe.

Also: Merry made Nicca wander around a St. Louis January in a blanket and pants and nothing else. Because his wings can't be accommodated. Nevermind that one chapter ago, Nicca had a decent cloak. Nevermind that there are many, many kinds of blanket he could be wearing. Nevermind that you love this person and you really want to take care of him. Nope. Just give him a cotton blanket.

Barinthus is here. We get a long, long, LOOOOOOOOONG paragraph about his hair....AFTER we discuss everyone's winter gear in detail. EVERYONE'S. GEAR.

 The Unseelie Court's publicist talks to the cops.

Okay, that's awesome. Why can't we have her story? She'd actually have to do things. Lots of things. It'd be interesting.

But of course she's another female, so she has to be dumb as a post. A cop asks her if there's a problem, Publicist says there's no problem, Cop makes the duck quote (looks like, talks like, ect) and Merry has to explain it to Publicist chick thusly:

I’d never had much patience with women who hid their intelligence. I thought it set a bad precedent for the rest of us. “He means if it looks like a problem, sounds like a problem, and acts like a problem, then it’s a problem,” I said.
And then we get the Obligatory Pissing Contest between the Faerie guards and the cops, because it wouldn't be an LKH book if we didn't stop whatever passes for a plot dead so we can measure somebody's dick.

It turns out that one of the Guards the Queen sent--as opposed to the ones that Barinthus picked--is a chronic drunk, and the head cop doesn't like it. Neither does Barinthus. So we're going to TALK ABOUT IT for a while.

So then Publicist and Merry fight over making the men and Merry look pretty enough for photographs.


Merry resorts to threats to get out of being primped up and the chapter ends.

Trees died for this. Forests of trees. We have accomplished absolutely nothing and we are almost halfway done with this book. L. Ron Hubbard wrote a book about a man deliberately sabotaging his own mission (And someone else sabotaging the sabotage, and someone else sabotaging the sabotaging of the sabotage, and so on) and that book accomplished more than this. For fuck's sake, MICAH did more in less space than we've done here.


Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 19

Merry looks at the ring of magical heterosexual matchmaking.

The ring was a heavy silver octagonal, not perfectly round, as if it molded to all the fingers it had encircled. It was actually a very plain, almost mannish-looking ring. Inside there were words carved, in an ancient form of Gaelic, too old for me to read, but I knew translated to read, “Insert.”
I think LKH thinks in phallic objects.

It takes three kindle pages and much cajoling from the men to get Merry to put the damn thing on. See, this is why it's bad to start a book without a plot. You have to waste time on this shit.

So the ring will spark with whomever is Merry's True Soul Mate, and the men start fighting over who gets to be the first. And of course Frost pulls rank. Because that's what poly is all about--positioning and power plays and wait a minute nope, that's what abusive relationships are about. I was under the impression that a good poly relationship makes everybody happy--guys and gals.

So Frost and Merry touch each other and have orgasms. And while that's basically what happens whenever Merry touches anybody, this time it's special because the ring did it as opposed to something else.

So Rhys goes next, and then we stop this process cold to recap that Prince Cel is being tortured with a magical potion of sex for six months, four of which are already gone. And we have to establish that the tabloids are going nuts over everything having to do with Merry, which I actually buy (to a point) because the sex contest thing is pretty much common knowledge.

Galen next. And it's electric. Literally. As a bonus, it produces the first legitimately funny line in the whole novel:

I made a mental note. Even if I didn’t like electricity as foreplay, if some of the men did, then things could be worked out.
God this could have been such a good book. If, you know, there were an actual plot. 

 They dwell on the electricity thing for a while, thus draining it of all possible amusement. Kind of amazing how LKH manages to steal every bit of value from her legitimately good writing moments.

The chapter closes with everyone giggling over a Frankenstine joke, save for Frost, who doesn't get it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 18

So yesterday I wound up with chickens. Four of them. They are about a month old, have a great deal of feathers, and make the most adorable little peeping noises. This is an adventure that I have very little knowledge about. I have already learned that you can feed chickens everything. If it goes in a compost pile, it goes in a chicken coop. I kind of like this, as we've been avoiding buying a lot of fruits and veggies as they eventually go bad. Having something to do with leftover veggies that isn't "Throw them away" is really, really cool. Also: fuzzy idiots are adorable.

Also: The book giveaway I started over on Goodreads? It's in the home stretch now. So if you haven't entered and you'd like to? Go do that.

So. How's Merry?

It wasn’t that Maeve Reed’s personal jet wasn’t comfortable , because it was.
Any complaining after this sentence is invalid.

Oh, and it's the fact that Doyle has a flying phobia. You know who else has a flying phobia? The author of this book! What a coincidence.

Frost continues to pout that Merry is thinking about Doyle.

This continues to be pointless and annoying. This guy should not be in this relationship if it effects him this badly.

Rhys knelt in front of me. He was wearing his white eye patch with the tiny seed pearls on it. know, there comes a point where even Jareth would go "That's just too damn much for me". His eye patch. Has seed pearls. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. That's what you get if you put Tarintino in charge of directing a fantasy movie.

Rhys gives Merry back the Queen's ring in a very melodramatic fashion. Seeing as how it hasn't come up since the first book, you may have forgotten that it's the magical version of a fertility test. It finds people their One True Wub while also indicating wheither or not they'd make a fertile match. Because we have to remember, the Fae are infertile right now and fertility is all that matters.

 Rhys owned a house outside the faerie mounds. A house with electricity, a television, and everything. He was probably one of the only sidhe who knew who Humphrey Bogart had been, or who Madonna was.
So Rhys is a sociopathic asshole too. Okay, gotcha.

Seriously. If he lives outside of the fairy mounds he should understand social systems well enough to know that the Mound is not healthy, has never been healthy, and that trying to follow its rules OUTSIDE of its juristiction is probably the dumbest thing you can do short of sticking a fork in a light socket. He should be helping people get out, not playing hide-the-beefsteak with Merry. He should be capable of recognizing that Merry is just as fucked up as the rest of the Fae royals.

But then again, this is an LKH book where an eight-foot wingspan (and, for that matter, bedroom) is considered large for a human sized bird. 

  Sage tromped up the aisle to us. He was wearing a pair of Kitto’s dress slacks and a T-shirt that had had to be ripped up the back to accommodate his wings.


(Galen's) hair spilled over his naked upper body, because his wings were even larger than Sage’s, and though we’d tried to get a silk-and-spandex tee over them, in the end we’d been defeated.
At this point I'm assuming that LKH got a lot of the damned things from a wholesaler.

And then the ring info-dump, which is still going on, takes a turn for the stupid. And homophobic.

Rhys nodded. “The ring had begun to fade in power— we knew that because the great matchmaking ball had failed some decades before. A sidhe would come to the door of the ballroom, and no one would step forward. But we didn’t understand that the ring had kept us safe, not just happy and fertile.”
See, in their fertile true-love matches, the Fae were perfectly safe. The ring guaranteed a happy ending, so if you were in a ring approved true love match no one would die. But if you're gay, or your true love isn't fertile for whatever reason, you're SOL.

“Until the battle of Rhodan,” Frost said, “where we lost two hundred sidhe warriors. Most of them had been wed to their love matches.”

This infuriates me beyond all reason. Imagining that society--the pressure to marry your ring-match, the shame of having an unapproved lover die. You'd even be denied the right to properly grieve because that wasn't your "one true love" or whatever. In fact, you know what that straight up reminds me of? The assigned marriges of the FLDS. Doesn't matter if it's a prophet getting messages from God or a fucking fairy ring, having your partner assigned for you without your imput is FUCKING WRONG.

Thank god that goddamn ring's been broken for thousands of years. That's probably one of the VERY few things that has kept the Faerie Courts anything close to sane. You throw that level of control on top of the rest of it, you got a pressure cooker waiting to explode.

And of course LKH is taking a hot-button human right's issue that everyone has issues with (FLDS mormons aren't the only ones marrying off their CHILDREN, for example. And I'm deliberately using US only examples because most people believe this doesn't happen in the states. That it's just something that happens in "third world" countries. Yes. Yes it does.) and is turning it into an uber-romantic fairy-tale ending because WHY NOT. Yes. Let's push the stupidity Disney started when they sanitized the rape out of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Pushing the idea that you can know somebody is perfect for you within seconds of meeting them, that love is an instant connection felt across a crowded room, how could ANYTHING BAD HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THAT.

And of course Merry is terrified at putting on the ring because it will make her choose just one of all her lovely lovely men.

...I now want to rewrite this entire story and make it be all about Merry bucking all these fancy rules and just doing what's good and healthy because this current shit is making me sick.

What if the ring didn’t find my perfect match here and now? What if my perfect match wasn’t any of them? What if that was why I hadn’t become pregnant?

For the TEN THOUSANDTH TIME, IVF. Go get a petri dish, go get knocked up, sort the rest of this shit out later. And you can't even argue that the man-made shit would be bad for the fairy baby because I believe all the stuff used for IVF is glass.

I stared back down at the box. If the ring chose someone else, Galen would have to find a new dream, a new love, a new everything.
 And people do that all the time. It's sad, but it's part of life. If you don't want to give people up, don't give people up. Don't hang with the restrictions. As long as you mantain your own health and the health of however many lovers you get, you do what you need to. Following arbitrary rules erected by a magic ring and a psychotic queen isn't healthy. Even the Christian God is more flexible than this shit.

The chapter ends with Merry opening the ring box.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

IVORY SCARS IRON BARS is up for Presale!

Here it is on Smashwords.

As soon as the preorder links are up on the other venues, I'll link to 'em here, special.

It's gonna be a fun ride, my lovelies. :D

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cover Arts!

This guy. This guy.

This is Josiah Court, and he is a scene-stealing (Fuck, BOOK stealing) smooth-talking, take no prisoners son of a bitch that I absolutely did not intend to write. I was like "oh, hey, character needs to go here!" and this guy came out. And he screws so much shit over I would hate him if he weren't my favorite exiles character so far. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO COOL JOE WHY DO I HAVE TO LIKE YOU SO GODDAMNED MUCH.

Also: The next time I try to paint a knapped blade, just shoot me.

Anyhoo, here's our finished cover.

Seduced by Moonlight--Chapter 17

Well, lots of awful, nasty, depressing shit went down this week, none of which I am allowed to talk about. But the good news is that, for now, it is OVER, and I won't have to deal with any of it again until sometime in July...if ever.

So. How's our terrible book?

In the morning the golden goddess of hollywood was crying at our kitchen table. It might have been baby hormones, but then again, it might not.
And it goes on to wonder if Maeve isn't crying to manipulate Merry with her goddess powers. Her husband of twenty years died less than a month ago. The mortal being she defied an immortal, power-mad king to have a baby with. A baby she concieved specifically to have something of that mortal with her after he died (Which ain't the best reason to have a baby, but it's better than "I'm saving my own ass" AKA Merry's motivation). I mean for fuck's sake, remember when you were seven and you lost a tooth? And no matter what you did you could not stop exploring that absense? Maeve's got that. Only with a person, and a lot of pain because she won't ever get that person back.

Look, why are tears such a challenge to Merry? Maeve is crying because Maeve's husband died. It's not an attempt to manipulate her. It's only something that has nothing to do with Merry at all. Why can't we allow another woman to have deep, world-shattering greif?

Merry bitches that Maeve doesn't get blotchy when crying. Or, more specifically, that Maeve doesn't have the decency to get splotchy. It's a personal affront, her not getting red faced from the tears.

Maeve then gives Merry the most deadly insult one Fae can give to another: She doesn't compliment Merry on her clothing properly.

Yep. Clothing insults. We're in High School.

We then get a full description of Merry's clothes, including this abomination:

A green silk-and-spandex T-shirt


Galen had had to search Los Angeles over to find an honest-to-goddess tea cozy to keep our tea warm.
Oh that is so much bullshit. First of all, you can buy one off the goddamn internet, which exists in this universe. Second, there are tea rooms all over fucking Los Angeles. And you can get them there. So no. I don't buy that having a tea cozy is all that uber freaking special.

 A sound very close to a sob broke from her lips. “I had sex with that . . . that false sidhe.”
On the one hand, Maeve's choices are Maeve's choices, Merry's choices are Merrys. On the other hand, rape by deception is a thing. I know, because it's part of what happened to me. Using a lie, or concealing a fact, to obtain sexual consent that would otherwise be withheld is rape. In my opinion there aren't any exceptions. Someone who would hurt you if you are honest with them is not someone you should be having sex with. Damage is still done and other considerations--ie in this case Maeve is a gigantic racist--do not negate the violation. Anti-social or bad behavior/thoughts on the part of the victim does not justify the crime committed against them.

So either Maeve made a bad call and regrets it, or Sage didn't explain that he wasn't really Sidhe and Maeve was raped last night.

I set my tea down and went to her. I couldn’t stand to hear that broken sound. I’d heard it often enough over the last few weeks since her husband had died, but lately, less.
Oh wow, she's been having baby hormones for weeks, then. You insensitive twit HER HUSBAND HAS JUST DIED.

I touched her shoulder, and she cried harder. “Did Sage hurt you?” I asked, and thought it was stupid even as I said it.

Not being hurt doesn't make rape not be rape. The question here is "Did Sage let you know he wasn't Sidhe before you had sex?" That's a very important question. On one side we have some pretty ugly regret, but there's something even uglier on the other side.

This will never be properly addressed. Instead, we move on to Maeve's seduction of Sage.

“You seduced him. It was wonderful. And now you’re having morning-after regrets?” I said. “Silly, isn’t it.” “The fey don’t regret sex, Maeve.”
This is coming off more and more as "things like that don't happen in our family." Obviously the Fae do regret sex because MAEVE IS REGRETTING IT.

Frost comes in and calls Maeve on her racism--acceptable, but there's still a really big question here that needs to be answered before you can go "Oh, this is racist behavior". When you don't understand exactly what happened to you, it's a lot easier to fall back on -ist ish patterns of thought. This neither excuses the -ism or the act against the person with the -ism. It's a pattern of behavior that further clouds the issue: Maeve's consent in this act is iffy at best.

In fact, if you want to delve in deeper, Sage's judgement is compromised by his greif over his wings, and Maeve's is further compromised by her greif over her husband. Neither person is in a place where either could make a sane judgement call re: sex. So instead of acknowledging that everything about this is fucked up we're just going to make it into an issue of racism between imaginary creatures because that's much easier than addressing the violation of questionable consent.

And then it's time to show how Merry is a perfect paragon of egalitarinism and harbors no racism in her shining fairy heart and how Maeve is evil mcevilness because she doesn't see how Merry can love non-Sidhe Sidhe even though they are totally Sidhe when they have sex.

Then they argue over the Seelie/Unseelie courts and Merry is all "Come to the dark side, we have SEX" and Maeve is unsure. Frost lords the fact that he's The Jack Frost over Maeve, and points out people remember him when they don't remember Conchenn.

Powers are swapped between Maeve and Frost. I have no idea.

I watched them , and understood why my human ancestors had thought they were gods. Now they’d probably be mistaken for angels, or big men from Mars.

No. No they would not be mistaken for angels. I'm sorry, but biblical angels are bad ass and OH MY FUCKING GOD type scary. I have seen/read exactly two depections of angels that fit the biblical accounts and they are the WTF death scary angel thing from Hellboy 2 and Progo from The Wind in the Door. Lovecraft's accounts are closer to biblical angels. One of them is described as a wheel within a wheel covered in eyes. To badly quote Mercedes Lackley, they introduce themselves with "Fear Not" for a good reason. Your first reaction is where the fuck is the shotgun and will it even work on this thing.

The physicality of the kiss was chaste, but his power thrust into her like a spear of silver light.

Then it's not chaste.

So Frost again offers to accept Maeve into the Unseelie court. Maeve wants to go back to the Seelie, and they won't take her back if she's sullied her genes with lower fae. Somehow this segues into how Merry has to face and probably kill Taranis.

Mistral is mentioned. He becomes a lover in a later book. Nice to introduce him now. He's Andais's new boy toy.

“See, Taranis even lets his court adopt the words of a faith that tormented and tortured our followers,” Frost said. “He has allowed his court to become an ape of the humans.”

Get fucked Laurel. Please. Yes, the Catholic church did incredibly shitty things to Ireland, but the faith itself is a body of beliefs that absolutely does not condone that kind of shit. I've recently come to the realization that Jesus was a pretty progressive radical who would look around at the churches today and go "You mean I have to fix it again?". What's being expressed here is not the fault of Christianity. It's the behavior of the group in power expressed against the group out of power. The same people who hung Christ on the Cross are the people who manned the Inquisition a thousand years later. They just step in, delete whatever they don't like, and continue on with the status quo. Blaming any one trait for this behavior simply allows it to perpetuate over and over and over and over again.

Also: I'm pretty certain that Christianity did, indeed, borrow the concept of Hell from Roman paganism. So yeah, you get to keep that one, Frost.

And now we finally get to know why Merry and company are living in Maeve's house:

They're her bodyguards. Just wow.

Maeve runs out of the room crying because Frost won't accept her "No, thank you" to his invitation. Frost turns the conversation to the goblin ball mentioned at the beginning of this novel, and the Seelie court ball mentioned near the ass end of the last one.

The chapter ends with everyone acknowledging that this is all very dangerous and Merry shouldn't go. But that she will, anyway.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seduced by Moonlight--chapter 16

Alright, gang. Pre-sales for the next Exiles book Ivory Scars, Iron Bars (Or, rather, for part one of the next exiles book) should go live on Smashwords tomorrow, and eventually on other websites. It'll be released on the fourth of July. If you plan on getting a copy, please buy it during the pre-sale period.

If you're new to either Exiles or the blog, or both, I've made the first part of the first book (the Silver Bullet part of Silver Bullet, Black Hounds) free on Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble, and basically everywhere except Amazon, because Amazon is uncooperative and behaving badly ATM.

So yeah. Get caught up, kids. It's gonna be a great ride.

Meanwhile, back at the (bunny) ranch....

Doyle is writhing on the ground screaming, and covered in blood. He's randomly shape-shifting into a dog. Because LKH needed something to happen and actual plot is too damn hard.

It amazes me how utterly plotless LKH's writing is. I mean, I get not having the entire thing written out. One of the issues I had with ISIB was realizing I needed to put about 15K more words into the middle to get the ending to work, and that it didn't matter what plot elements needed to go there (I mean, it did, but there wasn't any one thing sticking out) as long as the energy at the end didn't get diluted. I spent two days brainstorming, came up with a couple things that fit the theme (one of which was REALLY cool) and filled it in. But there is nothing in this book. There's no theme. There's no plot. There's no consequences. Right when we start really considering one of the new plot elements--the boys' "godhead", the magic cup, Sage's transformation, Merry's possession by goddess--something new comes up. There's a hissy fit, or a sex scene, or yet another new power is introduced, and everything else is forgotten.

LKH describes the pool of blood around Doyle--because shape-shifting is violent and scary--as "spreading wetness"

For a woman guilty of continual thesaurus abuse, she sure uses the same damn words a lot.

Doyle then randomly shape-shifts into a horse. Because fuck if I know.

Then we take a break so that we can let Merry rub against Frost's penis. Because that's more important than actually stringing events into a logical and interesting narrative.

Doyle then turns into a random eagle, which is new because he's never been an eagle before. Apparently the horse and dog are two forms he locked away in the Nameless, but the eagle came straight out of the Magic Vag.

Oh, and he's a man-sized eagle with an eight foot wingspan. This bedroom is really fucking small because he can't open his wings. Guys, my bedroom is bigger than eight feet wide and my bedroom is a tiny fucking shoebox. Also, you know what else has an eight foot wingspan? The first few birds on this list. Most of them have longer wingspans. One of the notable ones is the Golden Eagle. Which is not man-sized. The biggest wing-span is an albatross's eleven footer, and that isn't man-sized either.So Eagle!Doyle had better never fly, ever, or LKH's prized biology degree should be returned for a refund.

Doyle changes back into a man, completely naked. But his hair is still ankle length and is still braided.

He turned himself inside out shape-shifting, but LKH wants us to know his braid remains undisturbed.

It is so nice to focus on these meaningless fucking details when we're halfway through the book AND WE STILL HAVE NO PLOT.

Doyle collapses. Frost picks this moment to physically restrain Merry from going to him because he's jealous.

WHY CAN'T THESE PEOPLE BE HAPPY? Why do they have to CONSTANTLY bicker and fight and bitch and whatever about who gets to sleep with whom? The only person in this group who shows any capacity whatsoever for polyamoury is Merry, and that's iffy. The rest of these guys are ripping each other to shreds every time she turns around. And while it's nice to be fought over, and that's probably the fantasy driving Frost's transformation into an Asher clone, it makes NO SENSE in the context of this series, these characters, and this competition.

And then this gets really, really disgusting.

See, it's not good to have jealousy issues, but it is normal. Lots of people have them. When you have them, you communicate them to your partner and come to some kind of agreement in which you deal with your issues, they deal with theirs, and the relationship continues apace.One way to manage jealousy issues is open, honest communication in a closed relationship. You're not comfortable sharing, but as long as your partner is cool with sticking to you and only you, that's not an issue. The flip side of that is respecting your partner enough to just end the fucking relationship when it's obvious neither of you can make it work.

Merry does not do this.

First she calls Frost on his jealousy. That's not the wrong part. The wrong part is that instead of saying "Let's talk about it" she blames Frost for creating the circumstances that have lead to his jealousy.

I shook my head. “Frost, it is not Doyle being in my bed that’s made me pull back from you. It’s you who’s made me pull back.”

Look, up until this point the Merry/Frost situation is just two people in a relationship that neither party can accommodate. Frost can't share, Merry can't be monogamous, and the stress of it is tearing the relationship apart. But when you're talking about something irrational, like jealousy, it's nobody's fault. It becomes an issue when the person with issues uses said issues to justify something cruel--picking fights, getting violent--but an honest expression, a sort of "Hey, I've got this big issue and I'd like your help working on it" which is more or less what Frost is doing here, is good. It's in the open. Now they can work on it.

But then Merry turns it around so that it is ALL Frost's fault. If he had been more perfect, Merry wouldn't have gone to other men and he'd be fine. Which is patient bullshit because Merry is sleeping with all her men and will have to continue to do so.

Frost shuts down on her. So she hits him. In the chest, because she can't reach his face, but it's physical violence in a relationship where she holds all the power. He cannot respond to her or defend himself because the other men will kill him. He can't leave because he will never have another relationship--Queen Anadais's celebacy rule--and he can't express himself honestly because he gets victim-blamed and bitch-slapped.

Merry tells Frost he needs to stop pouting. SHE JUST HIT HIM. She then drags the other men into the arguement and gets them to agree with her. This is basically the cultervention all over again and it's ugly. It's being played as a woman standing up for herself and her body, but the dynamic is utterly wrong. Merry is not standing up for herself. She's abusing Frost verbally and physically because he just told her something she doesn't want to hear.

“That’s not true. I love you when you are yourself, but you have to stop letting everything hurt your feelings. You have to stop pouting.” I stepped back enough so I could look up into his face without straining my neck. “I spend so much energy worrying how you’re going to take something. I don’t have the energy to spare to tiptoe around your feelings, Frost.”

These are the lines an abuser would use. These are lines that my abusers have used on me. Stop being so sensative is abuse-speak. It's like punching a victim in the groin and asking them why they can't handle pain.

The only way Merry could say this and not be full of shit is if Frost had the right to leave. She doesn't want to tiptoe around his feelings, he doesn't want to share, he should get to end the relationship and find someone else. But he can't. If he leaves the relationship, he goes back to Anadais. He goes from a moderate abuser to a horrible one who will probably punish him for sleeping with Merry, for failing to protect Merry, and for kicks because she feels like it. Frost has no support system outside of Merry and the fairy mound. He has no recourse, he has nowhere he can go. Merry could kill him if she wanted to and there'd be no consequence for her. He cannot leave.

And the thing is, he starts to. Maybe he's just leaving the room, but a withdrawal right now, with Merry belittling his feelings, creates the kind of void that can end abusive relationships. An abusive relationship is an excercise in mind-control, and the best moments to break out are when the abuser takes things just a little too far.

So having hit him with the stick, it's time for the carrot.

“She doesn’t want you to leave,” Rhys said. “She loves you. She loves you more than she loves me.” He didn’t sound hurt; it was more a statement of fact. Since it was the truth, I didn’t try to argue. “But every time you pull the cold, arrogant act, Merry pulls away . When you pout, she pulls away.”

“I am not the queen, Frost,” I said. “I don’t want a toy in my bed. I want a king at my side. I need you to be a grownup.” It should have been silly to tell someone hundreds of years my senior to grow up, but it was necessary. Sadly.

Doyle spoke from against the pillows, and his voice held the effort that speech cost him. “If you could curb your emotions , she would love you and no other. If you could but understand, there would be no contest.”
I'll love you if you change for me. I'll love you if you do everything right. I'll love you if you quit having feelings, if you'll ignore it when I hurt you, if you'll play my games right. This is the classic ploy. And again: there is nowhere for Frost to go. Unlike Anita during her wake-up moment, Frost does not have gym buddies who will beat the everloving shit out of Merry and company, he does not have an in with the cops, he does not even understand human society. These people have trouble understanding television sets. The ins and outs of the social safety net are well, well beyond them. So what Merry is doing right now is saying "This will not change. This will never change. But if you try to change--nevermind that it's to a standard that I will never explain--I'll love you."

Stop feeling and I'll love you.

Frost asks Merry what they can do. She says the most awful thing anybody has ever said in any of these books:

“Let’s do this,” I said. “Every time you start to pout, I just tell you to stop. You try to stop when it’s brought to your attention.”
It sounds nice and light and fluffy, and it sounds like a good compromise IF You ignore all the shit that just happened. Frost can't leave this relationship. Frost's emotional stability is highly challenged by the polyamourous lifestyle dictated by Anadais's challenge. Merry has absolutely no interests whatsoever in trying to help Frost adapt. Instead of actually dealing with his feelings, Merry is telling him that she'll gladly patrol his emotions for him and help him stuff them back in the box when she doesn't like that look on his face.

LKH might as well write "Keep sweet" in there. This is a concept that has damaged many many many lives and it's being presented here as a good compromise. But there's no compromise here. Frost's feelings are not being addressed. Instead, they're being hidden so Merry won't ever have to deal with them and so Frost can never fully express them. No one should ever be shamed for crying, or for expressing dissatisfaction, or even for anger. These emotions exist. Getting them out and into the open means you can start dealing with them and working on healing them. Saying I feel this way without blame is an important step. You cannot deal with your emotions if you do not admit you have them. Of fucking course an abuser is going to make you bottle it up and do everything they can to stifle that expression. They don't want you to deal with your emotions.

Everything ends with Merry and Frost sharing a hug.

And speaking of the cultervention from Danse Macabre, I got curious and checked the copyright pages for both DM and Seduced by Moonlight. The emotional context of this scene is so similar to what happened to Anita that I wanted to know. Aaaaaand it turns out that the Danse Macabre scene is Cultervention 2.0. DM was published in 2006. So for some reason LKH really, really likes writing about abuse victims being manipulated into staying in their abusive relationships.

I really, really, REALLY dislike this book.