December 1, 2016

allbingo | December 2016 | iPod Shuffle Music Fest

Found here. Based upon my own Christmas Spotify playlist.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) Christmas Time is Here Blue Christmas Silver Bells My Only Wish (This Year)
Christmasland Cold December Night Christmas Is Just Around the Corner Sleigh Ride Merry Christmas Darling
Christmas With You White Christmas Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Silver and Gold 12 Days of Christmas
Christmas Time Again Silent Night We Need a Little Christmas Winter Wonderland Joy to the World
We Wish You a Merry Christmas Jingle Bells I'll Be Home for Christmas Underneath the Tree Caroling, Caroling

November 18, 2016

Picture Books 2016 #6: Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

I'm Not. by Pam Smallcomb

In I'm Not., we have a couple of caricatured "child" dinosaurs. In the first half of the story, the unnamed main character bemoans the fact that her friend Evelyn is wonderful at so many things, while the main character herself isn't good at any of them.

The second half, however, switches it up. Evelyn takes the stage to talk about what she isn't good at, and all of the things she mentions happen to be things the main character does well.

It's a nice little story about envy and individuality that adults will likely find it as cute as their kids find funny.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

An imaginative little boy makes up (or does he?) a cowboy story to share with his class when it's his turn to tell everyone what he did during summer vacation.

I have to say, any "what'd you do this summer" assignment is automatically better if you can pretend you actually did something fun. It'd certainly be better than my old "I stayed at home and did nothing because my family was poor". There was never much worth sharing about that one, believe me.

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

This is the first book in a picture series known as Dog Loves, and it's a brief story about an anthropomorphic dog who loves books so much that he opens up a book store.

Unfortunately, none of his potential patrons seem to share his interest in books, and his store is empty a lot of the time... But that's okay, because he'll just pass his time reading!

This is a good choice for a young bibliophile and/or library lover.

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

We're back with the same book-loving dog from the previous book, and this time, he's having some insomnia troubles. Counting sheep isn't helping him get to sleep, so he tries counting other animals while using his books as inspiration.

This is definitely another book for book lovers, even though the focus is on teaching a child to count.


A Dog Is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan

This one's a pattern book teaching kids various animals by telling them that "a dog is a dog unless it's an X"  (and an X is an X unless it's a Y,  and a Y is a Y unless it's a Z, and so on).

The illustrations are quite silly and cute, and the book is actually more baby-appropriately amusing than informational; it's also quite short (only getting through four animals, including the dog, before it's over), so it's definitely baby/toddler fare. It's pretty adorable, though.

Want to buy one of these books? Refused by the Call is an Amazon Affiliate; support the blog by buying from one of the links below!

November 17, 2016

Picture Books 2016 #5: This One's For Boo

The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram and Susan Bloom 
In The Best Place to Read, an unnamed little boy is excited to read a new book, but he can't find a good place to read it. Eventually, he decides reading in his mother's lap is the way to go. It's a bit Goldie Locks-esque, without the being chased by bears at the end.

It's a good read for a young child in whom you're trying to foster a love of reading, but definitely not a good for one who you're trying to encourage to read independently.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko
This cute little picture book the story of the holiday season a child experiences in a mixed-religion Christian/Jewish household, in which the father is a Christian and the mother is a Jew. It's another good seasonal diversity story to go along with the other Hanukkah and Kwanzaa picture books I've read and reviewed in the past.

I am still, however, looking for one that introduces the idea of Christmas as a secular, cultural holiday instead of a religious one; there are plenty of secular Christmas stories, but all of the ones that I've come across simply neglect to mention that the holiday is actually religious for some people; I'd love to find one that handles that issue with some respect and maturity.

I will say, however, that the backlash to this book that's present on the Goodreads page is truly sickening. Wait until the separatists over there find out that it's not just the Jews besmirching their beloved "CHRISTmas". We sinful atheist heathens are merrily violating their traditions, too!

All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle
So I'm going to be honest here: this art is fucking hideous. That's totally a personal thing, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who think it's quite nice, so I'm not trying to claim some objective criticism here. But, yeah, I hate the way this book is illustrated. It's horrible.

The story itself, though, is a short little tale goes through all the things you need for a beach, from trillions of grains of sand to an ocean blue--but most importantly, you. There's not much to it, but it might be a fun beach read for a toddler.

Beach Day by Karen Roosa
And here we have another rhyming book and another beach book. Personally, I think it's far superior to All You Need for a Beach, and its illustrations are much easier on the eyes. The story essentially just runs through all the various features of a beach and activities that go on at one, but there's nothing objectionable to its simplicity, and it would be another reasonable book to give your young child during a trip to the beach.

Honestly, reading this was almost a little nostalgic, considering I haven't had an enjoyable family trip to the beach since I was very young.


The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
I knew this would make me cry, and I totally did. The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye is a very pretty picture book about an old cat saying goodbye before she goes off to die in private, as cats are often inclined to do, and as I recently lost my own kitty, there was never any chance of me getting out of this one without tears.


Want to buy one of these books? Refused by the Call is an Amazon Affiliate; support the blog by buying from one of the links below!


November 15, 2016

[Top Ten Tuesday] Ten Movies I Plan to Write Fic For


Trigger Warning: This post references (and does not condemn) certain problematic and/or potentially triggering tropes.

Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost

This is easily one of my oldest favorite movies. Sure, sure, I know most people prefer Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island to this one, but Witch's Ghost always had my heart. (And, also, I didn't have a copy of Zombie Island as a child.) I've always had a soft spot for pre-Reveal Ben Ravencroft and a huge love of the Hex Girls, and I'm lowkey shipping Velma/Ben and even Daphne/Thorn these days.

Seriously, you can probably expect to see something Daphne/Thorn from me eventually, even if it's just a drabble, and don't be shocked if I write something (possibly AU) about Velma and Ben, too!


The Road to El Dorado

I didn't discover this movie until my early teens, but I've adored it since the first time I saw it. (If I recall correctly, we watched it in sixth or seventh grade Spanish class.) Tulio/Chel/Miguel OT3, and I'm dying to write something for them at some point.

This movie is just so perfect, guys, and I cannot fucking believe it flopped when it came out. (Turns out you actually have to promote your movies, Dreamworks! You have gold in your hands, and you let it flop!)

If you haven't seen this, you need to. It's an animated film marketed for kids, but it's 100% more enjoyable when watched as a teenager or adult.


Jupiter Ascending

So, let's be clear: this was not a good movie. I have no idea what in the fuck the Wachowski sisters were thinking, but this film flopped for a reason. It was a hot mess.

But... well, see, there's this thing in the fandom that I can't get enough of. There's this pairing, and it's gross, and I kind of sort of love it in all its squicky, power-imbalanced, Oedipal glory.

Yeah. I kind of ship Jupiter/Balem. I kind of ship creepy, dubiously consensual, pseudo-incestuous femdom Jupiter/Balem.

Don't see it? That's okay; I'm sure most people don't. But for those of you whom I might be able to sway, allow me to drop a few recs:
  1. When Memories Live Again (series) by rei_c
  2. Power Play by aunt_zelda
  3. The Price of Youth: An Abrasax Eternity (series) by auri_mynonys
Just make sure you read the tags on these, guys; they're mostly NSFW, and there's smut scattered about.

Labyrinth

I'm not going to lie; I watched this as a teen specifically because I was assured David Bowie would be sexy. I was not disappointed.

I mean, let's be real here: it's not the best film. The acting is fucking weird and nonsensical at times (I'm looking at you, Jennifer Connelly), and the whole thing's pretty fucking creepy if you take a few seconds to really think about it.

But you know what? I like creepy, and I love this shit. I love the magic that Henson brings to it, I love the weird as fuck and obviously predatory dynamic between Jareth and Sarah, and I love how it's just begging to have Fair Folk mythology injected into it to make the whole thing that much more disturbing.

So yeah, I'm totally down for writing some Jareth/Sarah at some point. The creepier the better.

(And here, have an AU rec.)

Beauty and the Beast

So, um, you didn't hear it from me, but I may or may not have spotted something in the Yuletide requests that I kind of want to write. I won't tell you what it is, and I kind of doubt I'm going to have time to write anything for it before the deadline, but I'm definitely going to keep that prompt in mind.


The Princess and the Frog & Pocahontas

So, I've been getting into writing femslash lately, but since I don't really read much of it and don't really approach media with a femslash mindset most of the time, I don't have a ton of femslash ships. I've got your obvious Willow/Tara (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and a few original pairings of my own creation, but until I started stretching my creative muscles at places like femslash100 and [community profile] femslashficlets, that was about it.

Now, though, I'm actively searching for ships to add to my femslash ship list. And two that caught my eye recently were both Disney Princess ships: Charlotte/Tiana (The Princess and the Frog) and Pocahontas/Nakoma (Pocahontas).

I haven't done anything for those gals yet, but I will sooner or later! (Though I might need to refresh my knowledge of their canons first.)

Crimson Peak

This movie wasn't quite what I wanted it to be, considering how big a fan I am of del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. But it was still an enjoyable film, and, me being me, my immediate thought upon watching it was a What If?

What if Edith hadn't fled the room when she caught Thomas and Lucille together? (i.e., what if Edith had been a bit more DTF with the creepy-ass incest/murder siblings?)

I have a problem.


Oliver and Company & The Aristocats



So, I did a thing recently. I was trying to come up with a premise for a drabble based on a femslash couple from my original fiction (Bobby White/Kim Queen, Queen Academy) and the prompt "Movie Fusion", and because I am apparently a moron, I got it in my head that I should not only fuse my original universe with a movie universe, but that I should fuse two original universes together and then fuse them with the original 'verse.

And, amazingly, it actually worked out. I ended up fusing Oliver and Company and The Aristocats with a futurefic Domestic AU of Queen Academy in which Bobby and Kim were married, Jenny (Oliver and Company) was their daughter, and the various cats were their inherited/rescued pets.

You can read the drabble here. It's tiny (a drabble's only a hundred words!), but I'm actually thinking that maybe I want to write something more substantial in that 'verse? I dunno. I'm definitely considering it!


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Picture Books 2016 #4: A Blast from the Past

This review contains spoilers for various picture books.

Full disclosure: I actually read these in the final days of 2015. But they're being reviewed in 2016, so I think it's perfectly reasonable to put them under the umbrella of 2016 regardless.


Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming

Imogene Tripp is a little girl who loves history. So when she turns her attention to her town's neglected Historical Society, an old building that the major plans to have gotten down, this determined junior historian is determined to fight. There are historical quotes and references throughout the book (all of which are explained with brief biographies at the end, which is awesome), and there are several moments of genuine amusement. But more importantly, Imogen is an appealing female character with ambition and determination, and I would love to read more about her.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall

Across four centuries, four different families make the same recipe, using different techniques and technology but sharing the same great and the same familial love. I am, however, deeply uncomfortable with the inclusion of a slave family. On principle, I approve of the inclusion, but in execution, I really don't; the fact that the family are slaves is so glossed over that a child might not even pick up on it, and there's no sense of the oppression and even potential inherent in the slave family's experience with the desert. Instead, a child would be forgiven for failing to realize that anything is off at all, since the book definitely doesn't bother pointing anything "uncomfortable" out. It's all rose-colored glasses here, folks, and it kind of destroyed any chance I had of genuinely enjoying what might have otherwise been a fun, diverse story.

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker

I don't have much to say about this one other than to gush about how cute it is. It's a child-appropriate dramatization of the true story behind Milne's Winnie the Pooh, and it's utterly adorable. Read it.

Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall
I can't not read this as a gender story (and I'm 100% sure I'm not supposed to not read it as a gender story), and in the context of it being a social justice book... I can't pretend I agree with its message. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the most "progressive" gender book for young kids that I've ever seen (as of November 2015, when I read this book; see above for a brief explanation of this discrepancy) is still clinging to the idea of labels even as its entire point revolves around questioning their legitimacy. And there's a point to be made there, of course (if your label makes you feel better, who am I to stop you from claiming it), but it's far from the only point to be made and, in my opinion, far from the best. In my ideal world, the Red crayon who didn't fit the expectations of a red creation would've shed the concept of labels entirely (along with its literal crayon label), not announced a new one for itself. And as a metaphor for transgenderism, crayons are far from the best way to go; crayons really do have color, while gender is an imaginary and often oppressive social construct. It's not equal at all. The story, then, would work much better as a metaphor for something more concrete.

So, yeah, I'm disappointed by this one. Wish I would've enjoyed it, but the author and I clearly have very different ideas about gender and the legitimacy of such social labels. Oh well.

Note: For a vaguely similar opinion of this that comes down on the positive side of the stars instead of my own less-than-impressed side, I recommend checking out Carmen's review over on Goodreads.


If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
The illustrations here are utterly gorgeous! The story itself is devoted to what happens when you plant seeds--both literal seeds in a garden and figurative seeds of thought and emotion--but I'll be honest; I'm interested in reading the author's other books on the sheer beauty of his illustrations alone!
Want to buy one of these books? Refused by the Call is an Amazon Affiliate; support the blog by buying from one of the links below!

November 11, 2016

femslashficlets | prompt table challenge - shakespeare quotes | Skyrim

Find it here.
1. Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold - As You Like It
2. They had not skill enough your worth to sing - Sonnet 106
3. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs - Romeo and Juliet
4. Hell is empty and all the devils are here - The Tempest
5. To die upon a kiss - Othello
6. Let not light see my black and deep desires - Macbeth
7. That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot - Sonnet 71
8. For where thou art, there is the world itself, and where thou art not, desolation - Henry IV
9. Now is the winter of our discontent - Richard III
10. You have witchcraft in your lips - Henry V
11. Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps - Much Ado About Nothing
12. A dream itself is but a shadow - Hamlet
13. I had no judgment when to her I swore - A Midsummer Night's Dream
14. With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire - Twelfth Night
15. The field's chief flower, sweet above compare - Venus and Adonis
16. Nothing can be made out of nothing - King Lear
17. Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love - Antony and Cleopatra
18. I am not bound to please thee with my answers - The Merchant of Venice
19. The fault… is not in our stars, but in ourselves - Julius Caesar
20. She's beautiful and therefore to be wooed - Henry VI

November 7, 2016

femslash100 Prompts

Note: The Remainder "prompt" is to denote remainder weeks at the comm, during which participants can write for any previous challenge prompts. You can find femslash100 here at livejournal.

Prompts #1 - 100

#1 - Awakening
#2 - Heartbreak
#3 - Surprise
#4 - Secrets
#5 - Goals
#6 - Mirror
#7 - Lessons
#8 - Regret
#9 - Discovery
#10 - Selfish

#11 - Forgotten
#12 - Boys
#13 - The End
#14 - Misunderstanding
#15 - Christmas
#16 - Shoes
#17 - Cars
#18 - Excuses
#19 - Cold
#20 - Conflict

#21 - Night
#22 - Kisses
#23 - Apologies
#24 - Wet
#25 - Brown Sugar
#26 - Careless
#27 - Homesickness
#28 - Socks
#29 - Summer
#30 - Remainder

#31 - August
#32 - Covers
#33 - Punishment
#34 - Second-Person
#35 - Double
#36 - Work
#37 - Play
#38 - Scars
#39 - Smut
#40 - Remainder

#41 - Supernatural
#42 - Three
#43 - More
#44 - Gluttony
#45 - Pride
#46 - Wrath
#47 - Envy
#48 - Sloth
#49 - Greed
#50 - Remainder

#51 - Lust
#52 - Old
#53 - New
#54 - Borrowed
#55 - Blue
#56 - Toy
#57 - Crack
#58 - Blood
#59 - Water
#60 - Remainder

#61 - Night
#62 - Day
#63 - Sight
#64 - Hearing
#65 - Smell
#66 - Taste
#67 - Tough
#68 - Dust
#69 - Texture
#70 - Remainder

#71 - Caffeine
#72 - Sugar
#73 - Salt
#74 - Alcohol
#75 - Cigarettes
#76 - Force
#77 - Control
#78 - Surrender
#79 - Mirror
#80 - Remainder

#81 - School
#82 - Strength
#83 - Weakness
#84 - Ring
#85 - Truth
#86 - Lies
#87 - Understanding
#88 - Hips
#89 - Costume
#90 - Remainder

#91 - Prudence
#92 - Hope
#93 - Faith
#94 - Charity
#95 - Temperance
#96 - Gift
#97 - Justice
#98 - Fortitude
#99 - Kindness
#100 - REmainderMIX

Prompts #101 - 200

#101 - Competition
#102 - Love
#103 - Hate
#104 - Class
#105 - Accent
#106 - Air
#107 - Fire
#108 - Earth
#109 - Spirit
#110 - Remainder

#111 - Zombie
#112 - Pirate
#113 - Vampire
#114 - Robot
#115 - Alien
#116 - Shark
#117 - Ghost
#118 - Ninja
#119 - Demon
#120 - Remainder

#121 - Seduce
#122 - Therapy
#123 - Lies
#124 - Music
#125 - Start
#126 - Fairy Tale
#127 - Cage
#128 - Adventure
#129 - Promise
#130 - Remainder

#131 - Red
#132 - Yellow
#133 - Green
#134 - Purple
#135 - Orange
#136 - Pink
#137 - Gold
#138 - Gray
#139 - Bronze
#140 - Remainder

#141 - Zodiac
#142 - Security
#143 - Technology
#144 - Drink
#145 - Military
#146 - Party
#147 - Bond
#148 - Reflection
#149 - Law
#150 - Remainder

#151 - Letters
#152 - Sun
#153 - Garden
#154 - Nostalgia
#155 - Expectations
#156 - Enchantment
#157 - Top
#158 - Apology
#159 - Voice
#160 - Remainder

#161 - Camera
#162 - Color
#163 - Home
#164 - Crime
#165 - Point of View
#166 - Queen
#167 - Hero(ine)
#168 - Guardian
#169 - Lover
#170 - Remainder

#171 - Atonement
#172 - Reverence
#173 - Derision
#174 - Anticipation
#175 - Action
#176 - Lemonade
#177 - Vision
#178 - Trigger
#179 - Question
#180 - Remainder

#181 - Costume
#182 - Optimism
#183 - Lost
#184 - Stone
#185 - Sea
#186 - Reason
#187 - Falling
#188 - Escape
#189 - Watch
#190 - Remainder

#191 - Chain
#192 - Crazy
#193 - Yesterday
#194 - Game
#195 - Hypnotic
#196 - Music
#197 - Mystery
#198 - Pretend
#199 - celebration
#200 - drabblethon!

Prompts #201 - 300

#201 - Smile
#202 - Time
#203 - Fear
#204 - Fortune
#205 - Disaster
#206 - Occult
#207 - Imagine
#208 - Vacation
#209 - Perspective
#210 - Remainder

#211 - Doll
#212 - Horror
#213 - Intoxication
#214 - Sky
#215 - Light
#216 - History
#217 - Future
#218 - Fantasy
#219 - Memories
#220 - Remainder

#221 - Rain
#222 - Sunshine
#223 - Snow
#224 - Clouds
#225 - Hurricane
#226 - Heart
#227 - Dance
#228 - Spring
#229 - Fall
#230 - Remainder

#231 - Message
#232 - Song
#233 - Book
#234 - Picture
#235 - Movie
#236 - Flower
#237 - Damage
#238 - Comfort
#239 - Grace
#240 - Remainder

#241 - Exchange
#242 - Maps
#243 - Bright
#244 - Dark
#245 - Push
#246 - Simple
#247 - Complicated
#248 - Loyalty
#249 - Attack
#250 - Remainder

#251 - Ancient
#252 - Restless
#253 - Transparent
#254 - Conclusion
#255 - Outsider
#256 - Middle
#257 - Before
#258 - After
#259 - Test
#260 - Remainder

#261 - Slow
#262 - Fast
#263 - Radio
#264 - Structure
#265 - Print
#266 - Rise
#267 - Up
#268 - Save
#269 - Inevitable
#270 - Remainder

#271 - Trust
#272 - Fade
#273 - Shadow
#274 - Spark
#275 - Pretty
#276 - Ocean
#277 - Easy
#278 - Transformation
#279 - Invisible
#280 - Remainder

#281 - Window
#282 - Poison
#283 - Blush
#284 - Rush
#285 - Hush
#286 - Key
#287 - Story
#288 - Wish
#289 - Electric
#290 - Remainder

#291 - Confession
#292 - Gravity
#293 - Sharp
#294 - Free
#295 - Drive
#296 - Romance
#297 - Luck
#298 - Mouth
#299 - Connection
#300 - Remainder

Prompts #301 - 400

#301 – Fragment
#302 - Burn
#303 – Sweet
#304 – Curve
#305 – Strange
#306 – Dream
#307 – Late
#308 – Detour
#309 – Crush
#310 – Remainder

#311 – Smooth
#312 – Midnight
#313 – Wait
#314 – Smoke
#315 – Dress
#316 – Beginning
#317 – Enigma
#318 – City
#319 – Mask
#320 – Remainder

#321 – Balance
#322 – Fix
#323 – Temptation
#324 – Journey
#325 – Glass
#326 – Choose
#327 – Star
#328 – Tomorrow
#329 – Desire
#330 – Remainder

#331 – Quiet
#332 – Trap
#333 – Vanity
#334 – Delight
#335 – Chance
#336 – Call
#337 - Move
#338 – Please
#339 – Date
#340 – Remainder

#341 – Never
#342 – Always
#343 – Mistake
#344 – Gossip
#345 – Reveal
#346 – Ache
#347 – Safe
#348 – Wonder
#349 – Ardent
#350 - Remainder

#351 – Ready
#352 – Sign
#353 – Disguise
#354 – Peace
#355 – Impossible
#356 – Bloom
#357 – Stop
#358 – Whisper
#359 – Want
#360 – Remainder

#361 – Need
#362 – Torn
#363 – Clock
#364 – Navigate
#365 – Curse
#366 – Bless
#367 – Fly
#368 – Shiver
#369 – Boom
#370 – Remainder

#371 – Magic
#372 – Plan
#373 – Twist
#374 – Interior
#375 – Exterior
#376 – Bite
#377 – Elusive
#378 – Lock
#379 – Snapshot
#380 – Remainder

#381 - Orbit
#382 - Courage
#383 - Tear
#384 - Gather
#385 - Rally
#386 - Jealousy
#387 - Cry
#388 - Clandestine
#389 - Decision
#390 - Remainder

#391 - Amaze
#392 - Last
#393 - Ours
#394 - First
#395 - Fragile
#396 - Unbreakable
#397 - Maybe
#398 - Beyond
#399 - Stay
#400 - Remainder

Prompts #401 - 500

#401 - Close
#402 - Popular
#403 - Glow
#404 - Open
#405 - Performance
#406 - Transport
#407 - Portrait
#408 - Between
#409 - Guilt
#410 - Remainder

#411 - Destiny
#412 - Tense
#413 - Entice
#414 - Power
#415 - Naked
#416 - Experiment
#417 - Bruise
#418 - Beauty
#419 - Flirt
#420 - Remainder

#421 - Bang
#422 - Shelter
#423 - Stranger
#424 - Proposal
#425 - Bed
#426 - Skirt
#427 - Hands
#428 - Risk
#429 - Better
#430 - Remainder

#431 - Trouble
#432 - Cherry
#433 - Chemistry
#434 - Phone
#435 - Hair
#436 - Dare
#437 - Jewelry
#438 - Language
#439 - Season
#440 - Remainder

#441 - Bath
#442 - Cupcake
#443 - Moment
#444 - Tangle
#445 - Debt
#446 - Face
#447 - Hour
#448 - Road
#449 - Change
#450 - Remainder

#451 - Boundary
#452 - Warm
#453 - Pull
#454 - Click
#455 - Rose
#456 - Gentle
#457 - Glasses
#458 - Holiday
#459 - Match
#460 - Remainder

#461 - Squirm
#462 - Hello
#463 - Street
#464 - Hunger
#465 - Rhythm
#466 - Dead
#467 - Candy
#468 - Elation
#469 - Running
#470 - Remainder

#471 - Sticky
#472 - Critical
#473 - Apple
#474 - Reunite
#475 - Code
#476 - Consume
#477 - Autumn
#478 - Mend
#479 - Letter
#480 - Remainder

#481 - Bird
#482 - Alien
#483 - Split
#484 - Fireworks
#485 - Holiday
#486 - Unconditional
#487 - Tattoo
#488 - Satisfy
#489 - Doubt
#490 - Remainder

#491 - Atmosphere
#492 - Hotel
#493 - Chase
#494 - Forever
#495 - Expose
#496 - Name
#497 - Weekend
#498 - Conundrum
#499 - Obscure
#500 - Remainder

Prompts #501 - 520

#501 - Perfume
#502 - Pool
#503 - Spin
#504 - Spy
#505 - Legs
#506 - Tongue
#507 - Eyes
#508 - Teeth
#509 - Wrists
#510 - Remainder

#511 - Overwhelm
#512 - Chocolate
#513 - Epiphany
#514 - Venom
#515 - Caress
#516 - Switch
#517 - Treasure
#518 - Fearless
#519 - Puzzle
#520 - Remainder

November 5, 2016

Picture Books 2016 #3: It's All About Animals

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
What we have here is a social justice book, and while there are a lot of subtly interesting details here, I don't think this one is going to make my favorites list.

The story introduces us to two non-gender-specific worms, which I think is by far the book's biggest strength (but I'll get back to that in a minute). As the title tells you, our two worm characters are in love, and they decide to get married. Their buggy little friends proceed to parade a barrage of wedding paraphernalia past them--things they must think outside the box to use, considering they're, you know, worms instead of people--until finally they get to the sticky issue the book actually intends to tackle: which of these worms is the bride and which of is the groom.

The verdict, of course (it being a social justice book), is that they each can be both; one worm takes the dress and the top hat, while the other takes the veil and the tux, and that's that--except for one more interesting little exchange.
"Wait!" says the Cricket. "This isn't how it's always been done."
"Then we'll just change how it's done," says the worm.
So yeah, that's our message here. It's a story about changing the way marriage works so that marriage can work for everyone (except for the polyamorous among us, as I'll constantly remind everyone until that particular prejudice starts to go away). And that's certainly something that's been done before, and not just in the immediate lead-up to or fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court's recent verdict to permit same-sex marriage.

But as I suggested before, there's something this book has going for it that the others don't. This book has non-gender-specific worms.
You wouldn't think that was a big deal, but it is. Removing gender from the equation does two extremely important things:

  1. It allows the book to apply to all kinds of (monogamous) marriage equally. Male/male couples can share the gender roles, female/female couples can share the gender roles, and our "traditional" male/female couples can share the gender roles.
  2. It removes gender from the equation in a way that few books dare. We know nothing about the gender of these worms. Are they both men? Are they both women? Insofar as a worm can be, is one or both of them transgender? Agender? Or do they have some other kind of gender expression entirely? For the purposes of this book, it doesn't remotely matter.

Now, I'll readily admit that I see what I personally consider to be a flaw in the story--something that makes it not quite as progressive as it would like to be. And that's the use of the bride's veil and dress as a counterpoint to the groom's top hat and tuxedo. While this is a story about gender not mattering anymore when it comes to marriage, this is also a story in which traditional gender roles are visibly given to the characters.

Sure, it's nice that they agree to share the clothes, but those clothes can't be divorced from traditional marriage, not in a story that specifically points out that, "This isn't how it's always been done." By acknowledging the difference between the new way and the old way, you are forced to acknowledge what the old way entails--and, extrapolating from that, what those clothes must mean.

If it's a compromise for one worm to take the hat and dress and the other to take the tux and the veil, all they're really doing is splitting up the division of the gender roles. And that's not what I want from a social justice book. What I want from a social justice book is the rejection of those roles entirely; this book is so close to that with its genderless worms, but the reminder of "the man in the relationship" and "the woman in the relationship" reinforces that those things exist, and the story doesn't so much as reject them as redistribute them. And in doing so, it endorses them.

What I wanted to see was for the worms to say no. I wanted to see them say that "those things aren't for us". I wanted them to include those predescribed roles under the umbrella of "changing how it's done". Throw those gendered notions in the trash where they belong.

So, yeah, I didn't quite get what I wanted from this book. What it offers is good, definitely, but it's not quite what I wanted. But more to the point, perhaps, is that I also wonder if children will understand what the metaphor here is. By the time a child is old enough to read this, they're also old enough to have caught on to the notion of gender. So I fear children will only be able to interpret this as just another "gay marriage acceptance" book and completely miss the gender nuance involved.

But I don't know for sure. I'm not a kid. (Feel free to let me know in the comments if yours caught on, though!)

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
This book is a lot lighter in subject matter than the previous, but I enjoyed it just as well. The theme of this one is perspective. As the interior blurb states,
In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see.
Now, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a "glorious celebration" of anything, but it's quite an interesting little book nonetheless. The illustrations are very cute, and the point is obvious right from the onset; the minute you and/or your child see what the cat looks like to the dog (especially as compared to what the cat looked like to the child, as portrayed on the previous page), you'll both know what's going on. I love the illustrations here, especially in how varied they are from page to page (or perspective to perspective, as it were), and the note that the story ends on is actually fascinating if your kid picks up on it, transforming the story from a tale about perspective to one about self-perception, as well, and how that can be so vastly different from the way we really are--and the way everyone else sees us, too.

Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso
As the author's note on the final page explains,
Ida, Always is a fictional story inspired by the real pair of polar bears, Ida and Gus, who lived together in New York City's Central Park Zoo.
Spoiler alert: both of the bears that served as inspiration for the story have died within the past five or so years. And further spoiler alert: that's what the book is about. Ida died in 2011, leaving Gus to live two years further without her companionship.

Obviously, the book anthropomorphizes the relationship between the two bears and turns it into a very touching story of living one's final days to the fullest and mourning the loss of one's friend. It's very sweet and a total tearjerker, and while I don't entirely get on board with the message (which implicitly endorses the idea of an afterlife and explicitly endorses the idea of the dead "still being there"), it's a sweet story for people who do.

It's not my kind of coping with death book, and I personally wouldn't give it to a child purely because of the "living on" message, but most people have no such qualms, and for those individuals, I say: definitely consider this one if you're looking for a book on dealing with loss. This one goes above and beyond most others I've read, as it specifically involves the process of not just mourning but dying. If you've got a kid dealing with a loved one who's received a terminal diagnosis, this is probably just what you need.

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
See, I kind of love this book. I really want to love this book. But there's this one little detail I just can't get behind.

But let's start from the beginning, shall we? We've got all the things I love here. We've got a fantasy world. We've got adventurers. We've got great illustrations. We've even got an adorable and misunderstood goblin protagonist. It's funny, it's cute, and it takes the fantasy tropes (especially RPG tropes) we all know and love, and it turns them on their heads.

But... there's this thing. There's this thing I noticed on the last couple of pages that I somehow managed to overlook when it showed up earlier as a minor detail.

Because on the last two pages, there's this girl. There's this buxom blonde maiden stereotype hanging out with a room full of goblins, monsters, and skeletons (and, yes of course she's the only traditionally attractive one of the bunch), and when I spotted her, all I could think was , "where'd this chick come from"? So I went back. Obviously, I'd missed her somehow. Obviously, she wasn't just your traditional hero's reward arm candy in this book about the adventurers being the bad guys.

Except, no, it's actually quite a bit worse than that. Because, yeah, she did show up on a previous page.

She was tied up in the adventurers' loot. And I just don't know what in the fuck I'm supposed to get out of that.

See, here's the thing. My immediate assumption is that this is supposed to be an attempt at taking down the "love interest as hero's reward" notion. Except, you know, no? That's not what this story is doing at all; instead of taking down that exceptionally misogynistic trope, this story actually uses it.

The roles are reversed, sure, but it's still there. Instead of Mario rescuing Princess Peach from whoever kidnapped her this week, or Link rescuing Zelda, we have a creature that would normally be cast as the "villain" rescuing the fair maiden from the nominal heroes. On the one hand, it's partially a clever condemnation of trope; it seems to at least try to point out the heroine's role as one of the "spoils" by literally tying her up in the adventurers pile of victory spoils, but it goes horribly wrong after that. The only indication we have of her willingness to be with the goblins in the end is that she's no longer bound and is smiling instead of scowling.

But if it's supposed to be calling out the objectifying trope of "to the hero goes the heroine/spoils," it's failing miserably. It can't condemn the very same thing that it's doing. It doesn't matter if the woman was bound and clearly miserable in the company of the adventurers and later subservient and smiling in the presence of the goblins; that's the way it always plays out, and swapping the traditional identities of the heroes and villains doesn't do anything to change that.

Seriously, I would have adored this story if I didn't notice it. It's so good in every other way. It's an adorable exploration of the cliches of one of my two favorite genres, and I thought right up until the end that it was going to be something of a new favorite for me.

But there's this objectified stereotype played 100% straight right at the end, and I cannot get on board.

A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
This picture book is delightfully defiant of its readers' expectations. You've got two elements here: a hungry lion and an assortment of animals already stated to be dwindling. So what's happening in the story? Is the hungry lion really eating the other animals? I'm honestly not going to spoil it for you; the surprise is what matters here.

A Hungry Lion is the best of this bunch by far, and even as an adult, I think the book's a lot of fun. I definitely recommend it!
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October 31, 2016

October 2016 Fiction Roundup











Want to buy one of these canons? Refused by the Call is an Amazon Affiliate; support the blog by buying from one of the links below!

[Writing Challenge] femslash100 Drabble Cycle Round 12 | Queen Academy - Bobby White/Kim Queen

Check out femslash100 here at livejournal. Drabble Cycle Round 12 can be found here.

I'm going to be writing drabbles based on the aforementioned pairing (Bobby/Kim from an original fiction project) that fulfill the prompts listed in the table below.

1. Acting/Film Stars 2. Apocalypse/Dystopian 3. BDSM 4. Coffee Shop 5. College/University
6. Fairy Tales 7. Fantasy 8. Ghosts 9. High School 10. Historical
11. Magic/Witchcraft 12. Married/Domestic 13. Movie Fusion 14. Musicians/Bands 15. Mythology
16. Neighbors 17. Noir 18. Prison 19. Royalty 20. Sex Workers
21. Space 22. Sports 23. Spy/Espionage 24. Steampunk 25. Superheroes
26. TV Show Fusion 27. Vampires 28. Werewolves 29. Western 30. Author's Choice

[Writing Challenge] OT3_100 | Parabellum - Sparrow/Frost/Galen

See the challenge here at livejournal.

001.Kiss. 002.Hug. 003.Touch. 004.Love. 005.Share.
006.Fight. 007.Hide. 008.Left out. 009.Moments. 010.Dreams.
011.Hope. 012.Memories. 013.Future. 014.Daring. 015.Panic.
016.Loss. 017.Petnames. 018.Letters. 019.Calling. 020.Compromise.
021.Moving. 022.Rhythm. 023.Dance. 024.Holding. 025.Silence.
026.Absence. 027.Expressions. 028.Games. 029.Kids. 030.Light.
031.Sun. 032.Night. 033.Bed. 034.Pictures. 035.Sex.
036.Senses. 037.Ice. 038.Travel. 039.Awkward. 040.Comfortable.
041.Growing. 042.Drive. 043.Dress up. 044.Bare. 045.Occasional.
046.Electricity. 047.Shiver. 048.Hard. 049.Laughter. 050.Ache.
051.Stupid. 052.Stretch. 053.Empty. 054.Bold. 055.Fairytale.
056.Mirror. 057.Dates. 058.Questions. 059.Save. 060.Release.
061.Burning. 062.Fast. 063.Ghost. 064.Breath. 065.Whisper.
066.Colour. 067.Snow. 068.Rain. 069.Dry. 070.Small.
071.Time. 072.Security. 073.Connect. 074.Explore. 075.Fix.
076.Give. 077.Take. 078.Taste. 079.Immature. 080.Play
081.Home. 082.Trigger. 083.Weakness. 084.Agreement. 085.Sweet.
086.Only. 087.Endless. 088.Voice. 089.Opportunity. 090.Final.
091.Writer's Choice. 092.Writer's Choice. 093.Writer's Choice. 094.Writer's Choice. 095.Writer's Choice.
096.Writer's Choice. 097.Writer's Choice. 098.Writer's Choice. 099.Writer's Choice. 100.Writer's Choice.

October 28, 2016

[Writing Challenge] 1fandom | Parabellum

The challenge can be found here at livejournal. Claims should be a fandom, prompt responses should be a single sentence.
Table One

Number.PromptSentence
001.MortalSentence
002.BrokenSentence
003.VanishSentence
004.RainSentence
005.OceanSentence
006.TenseSentence
007.SoonSentence
008.WhySentence
009.WinterSentence
010.FallenSentence
011.StormSentence
012.DoorSentence
013.FlashSentence
014.WaitSentence
015.ShrineSentence
016.BlackSentence
017.LostSentence
018.CellSentence
019.VillianSentence
020.RoadSentence
021.WeepSentence
022.BlindSentence
023.PactSentence
024.FlightSentence
025.HardSentence
026.WarSentence
027.DeedSentence
028.UnknownSentence
029.DeepSentence
030.SuddenSentence
031.DreadSentence
032.BurnSentence
033.ClockSentence
034.WordsSentence
035.FastSentence
036.ThreeSentence
037.PlaceSentence
038.IronySentence
039.SkySentence
040.ClosetSentence
041.RealSentence
042.FairSentence
043.KnotSentence
044.LowSentence
045.WellSentence
046.TokenSentence
047.UglySentence
048.LureSentence
049.DrinkSentence
050.Dust

Table Two

Number.PromptSentence
001.HeavySentence
002.SlipSentence
003.UpholdSentence
004.MagicSentence
005.HurrySentence
006.HoleSentence
007.MusicSentence
008.InsideSentence
009.LaterSentence
010.OneSentence
011.WorldSentence
012.CheatSentence
013.PinkSentence
014.LoveSentence
015.EatSentence
016.StoneSentence
017.BossSentence
018.FeatherSentence
019.HereSentence
020.NowSentence
021.ParentSentence
022.FreeSentence
023.WhimsySentence
024.WorrySentence
025.StarSentence
026.WaySentence
027.DishSentence
028.PrideSentence
029.BuildSentence
030.ExpelledSentence
031.PerfectSentence
032.NightSentence
033.LostSentence
034.TimeSentence
035.EvilSentence
036.TodaySentence
037.CrackSentence
038.QuitSentence
039.PlaySentence
040.NutSentence
041.DownSentence
042.ReadySentence
043.SlowSentence
044.AnimalSentence
045.TeenSentence
046.BurnSentence
047.TieSentence
048.BlastSentence
049.TheySentence
050.Rot

Table Three

Number.PromptSentence
001.WalkSentence
002.BeautySentence
003.CatchSentence
004.SpeakSentence
005.LackSentence
006.MineSentence
007.LaughSentence
008.WhileSentence
009.YouthSentence
010.StaySentence
011.FillSentence
012.DistractionSentence
013.FearSentence
014.CrashSentence
015.LookSentence
016.BeginSentence
017.SecondSentence
018.VioletSentence
019.CandySentence
020.NothingSentence
021.FamiliarSentence
022.ShowSentence
023.DaySentence
024.AskSentence
025.ThinkSentence
026.HairSentence
027.HomeSentence
028.LoudSentence
029.TravelSentence
030.DamageSentence
031.StrengthSentence
032.TogetherSentence
033.PushSentence
034.SafeSentence
035.PrivateSentence
036.LightSentence
037.BigSentence
038.WantSentence
039.LawSentence
040.CanineSentence
041.TruthSentence
042.SmokeSentence
043.OrderSentence
044.FeelSentence
045.FinishSentence
046.ThroughSentence
047.RaceSentence
048.NeedSentence
049.SplashSentence
050.Thrill

Table Four

Number.PromptSentence
001.StepSentence
002.SqueezeSentence
003.DirtSentence
004.LateSentence
005.MoneySentence
006.AidSentence
007.MythSentence
008.PeaceSentence
009.ChildSentence
010.ConfessSentence
011.TrickSentence
012.OutSentence
013.BestSentence
014.MotherSentence
015.BookSentence
016.VictimSentence
017.PowerSentence
018.RedeemSentence
019.BleakSentence
020.ShrapnelSentence
021.HumaneSentence
022.AngerSentence
023.TeamSentence
024.TerrorSentence
025.NaturalSentence
026.NeverSentence
027.FidelitySentence
028.NeglectSentence
029.FaceSentence
030.LurkSentence
031.GrowSentence
032.SkinSentence
033.SickSentence
034.DareSentence
035.WorthSentence
036.LastSentence
037.YearSentence
038.PrimeSentence
039.TasteSentence
040.BeyondSentence
041.FinalSentence
042.EventSentence
043.SecureSentence
044.RingSentence
045.SettleSentence
046.EnergySentence
047.CenterSentence
048.OrdinarySentence
049.VoiceSentence
050.Hang

Table Five

Number.PromptSentence
001.RaiseSentence
002.LessSentence
003.LayerSentence
004.SignSentence
005.TrySentence
006.GiveSentence
007.GreatSentence
008.CompareSentence
009.ListenSentence
010.ChoiceSentence
011.PaleSentence
012.ToughSentence
013.RiskSentence
014.NameSentence
015.TallSentence
016.PriceSentence
017.HighSentence
018.HelloSentence
019.OwnSentence
020.NewSentence
021.KeepSentence
022.UnderSentence
023.ComplimentSentence
024.SummerSentence
025.RedSentence
026.DanceSentence
027.ReflectSentence
028.NailSentence
029.RemoveSentence
030.HandsSentence
031.StopSentence
032.NoiseSentence
033.JobSentence
034.OpenSentence
035.TouchSentence
036.WaterSentence
037.SaveSentence
038.SellSentence
039.NextSentence
040.PleaseSentence
041.PetSentence
042.ShadowSentence
043.AlwaysSentence
044.ContentSentence
045.CertainSentence
046.ScorchSentence
047.BoreSentence
048.StudySentence
049.MinuteSentence
050.Limit

Table Six

Number.PromptSentence
001.MoveSentence
002.SleepSentence
003.InspireSentence
004.SweatSentence
005.LovelySentence
006.BreatheSentence
007.RoughSentence
008.StrikeSentence
009.HelpSentence
010.ResistSentence
011.MeetSentence
012.TautSentence
013.ThirstSentence
014.AllSentence
015.FogSentence
016.BeforeSentence
017.HurtSentence
018.KindSentence
019.WarmSentence
020.PatternSentence
021.CycleSentence
022.GlowSentence
023.ZeroSentence
024.WonderSentence
025.ScoldSentence
026.FigureSentence
027.ThenSentence
028.LieSentence
029.HuntSentence
030.MistakeSentence
031.BirthSentence
032.CutSentence
033.DoubleSentence
034.CoverSentence
035.LickSentence
036.WheelSentence
037.SlightSentence
038.FlingSentence
039.SorrySentence
040.CallSentence
041.JewelSentence
042.FruitSentence
043.HouseSentence
044.SwimSentence
045.FamilySentence
046.InterestSentence
047.RecordSentence
048.GlassSentence
049.ShapeSentence
050.Live

Table Seven

Number.PromptSentence
001.FocusSentence
002.CivilizationSentence
003.SinkSentence
004.BulletSentence
005.CountSentence
006.MentalSentence
007.CoastSentence
008.FenceSentence
009.CircleSentence
010.ThinSentence
011.RoomSentence
012.BlazeSentence
013.ThoughtSentence
014.JealousSentence
015.SandSentence
016.DollSentence
017.CurlSentence
018.FarewellSentence
019.StorySentence
020.SoftSentence
021.PoolSentence
022.SerpentSentence
023.PreySentence
024.FriendSentence
025.StillSentence
026.ExhaustedSentence
027.BoldSentence
028.HookSentence
029.AttractionSentence
030.WillSentence
031.BedSentence
032.BellSentence
033.JoySentence
034.DecadeSentence
035.TestSentence
036.GentleSentence
037.HungerSentence
038.MuteSentence
039.QuickenSentence
040.AbsenceSentence
041.MazeSentence
042.CloseSentence
043.ReignSentence
044.CrushSentence
045.RunSentence
046.ArtSentence
047.PressureSentence
048.EchoSentence
049.HealSentence
050.Clear

Table Eight

Number.PromptSentence
001.DozenSentence
002.FlatterSentence
003.AngleSentence
004.TakeSentence
005.NeedSentence
006.BlushSentence
007.WordSentence
008.ApathySentence
009.WhistSentence
010.LongingSentence
011.RivalSentence
012.StyleSentence
013.FitSentence
014.EvenSentence
015.SerenitySentence
016.LeadSentence
017.StressSentence
018.WhiteSentence
019.EndSentence
020.SnowSentence
021.BizarreSentence
022.WindowSentence
023.BufferSentence
024.FullSentence
025.AverageSentence
026.PassionSentence
027.RestSentence
028.CultureSentence
029.MysticSentence
030.StrandedSentence
031.GraveSentence
032.BlueSentence
033.RepentSentence
034.WingSentence
035.DripSentence
036.LuminousSentence
037.SpoonSentence
038.PastSentence
039.DeceiveSentence
040.DirtySentence
041.PrestigeSentence
042.FrontSentence
043.LanguageSentence
044.GearSentence
045.SparkleSentence
046.AnswerSentence
047.SpiritSentence
048.ReturnSentence
049.FlashSentence
050.Clasp

Table Nine

Number.PromptSentence
001.CraveSentence
002.NoneSentence
003.GlueSentence
004.WetSentence
005.FameSentence
006.InstantSentence
007.HoldSentence
008.FishSentence
009.Don'tSentence
010.EgoSentence
011.FlowSentence
012.DreamSentence
013.ActionSentence
014.EnoughSentence
015.GreenSentence
016.MetaphorSentence
017.TeachSentence
018.DemandSentence
019.InspireSentence
020.UnrequitedSentence
021.ClassicSentence
022.FarSentence
023.MaySentence
024.BreadthSentence
025.WrenchSentence
026.HopeSentence
027.ScentSentence
028.PastelSentence
029.ArtistSentence
030.SorrowSentence
031.PathSentence
032.WoodSentence
033.AcceptanceSentence
034.YetSentence
035.ShiverSentence
036.HeroSentence
037.BodySentence
038.ManSentence
039.PretendSentence
040.CuriousSentence
041.DifferentSentence
042.SmoothSentence
043.RightSentence
044.DamnSentence
045.DesireSentence
046.RitualSentence
047.ColorSentence
048.VisitSentence
049.BelongSentence
050.Bully

Table Ten

Number.PromptSentence
001.NoSentence
002.AthleteSentence
003.JourneySentence
004.HateSentence
005.RendSentence
006.CarnivalSentence
007.WouldSentence
008.FightSentence
009.CharacterSentence
010.WomanSentence
011.MomentSentence
012.UpsetSentence
013.SweetSentence
014.SightSentence
015.NumbSentence
016.ShellSentence
017.WizardSentence
018.MoreSentence
019.UniverseSentence
020.AcheSentence
021.WindSentence
022.EscapeSentence
023.LikeSentence
024.DevilSentence
025.SongSentence
026.EuphemismSentence
027.DealtSentence
028.RomanceSentence
029.HeedSentence
030.LetSentence
031.ComposeSentence
032.SwitchSentence
033.RuleSentence
034.CalmSentence
035.BeastSentence
036.MissingSentence
037.PulseSentence
038.BrushSentence
039.WarningSentence
040.FieldSentence
041.BronzeSentence
042.CoreSentence
043.MaskSentence
044.JusticeSentence
045.WeightSentence
046.ReplaceSentence
047.IfSentence
048.CodeSentence
049.WhenSentence
050.Sigh