This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the collective views of Hard Limits Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cerulean Sins Chapter Thirty Four

 Time to open up my copy of Cerulean Sins:

Anita is spying on the dudes that were following her from before. They're at the Circus in the parking lot. These guys have hilariously poor vehicles for people trying to be stealthy, namely a blue Jeep and a gold Impala. That said I am not going to shit on this too much because at least it's some sensory info. These books often have floating head syndrome, where people are yammering at each other but there's not even the barest clue as to their surroundings. Or LKH tries and it turns into the room was green, green, green, curtains, bedding, green.

Basically, Anita finds these people suspicious because they are just sitting in their cars, without reading newspapers or drinking coffee. She feels most people don't sit in their cars doing nothing. I guess Anita has conveniently forgotten all the arguments she gets in, in her car, without drinking coffee or reading the newspaper.

You KNOW this shit is going to get fucky at any moment.

Anita keeps referencing Kasey Krime Stoppers. I assume this is something LKH made up and I have no fucking clue why its never come up before. Anita thinks they might be Renfields, or vampire servants that don't have any vampire marks. She's not sure though because "most Renfields aren't the brightest of people." 

1) Why not?

2) Even someone with a split open watermelon for a head can work out that when following someone, it makes good sense to not, you know, look like you're following someone. Changing your appearance a bit and changing out vehicles is some 101 bullshit.

Bobby Lee drops some truth: "how can you be friends with so many bloodsuckers, and still be so damned disdainful of them?"

THAT IS AN EXCELLENT FUCKING QUESTION. Imagine you have some trait about you that makes you a member of a target group. Now imagine you're friends with someone constantly referring to you with slurs, and acting like you're going to give in to your obviously dangerous nature at any second. Someone who routinely calls you a monster, and only pays attention to you when they want to get some sweet, sweet narcissistic supply from you.

Bobby Lee asks what Anita wants to do about the guys following her. For a split second she thinks he's referring to Asher and J.C. Apparently this is such an egregious lapse that it could get her "killed in a firefight."

Anita has a good sense seizure, where for a moment she realizes that the guys in the car could be dangerous and that she'd better focus so people don't get killed unnecessarily. YOU CAN'T FOOL ME WITH THIS, LKH.

She expresses her concern to Bobby Lee, but before he can say much Claudia turns up. She's wearing makeup. This is weird to Anita. She concludes that perhaps Claudia doesn't need makeup.

Okay. No one needs makeup. Beauty and worth are not determined by whether one uses makeup. I LOVE makeup. I have a huge stash of it. But that doesn't imply that I am so ugly I need to spend an hour on making my face into a beautiful transcendent canvas, or that ergo Claudia is so naturally beautiful she doesn't have to bother with all that feminine nonsense.

Claudia is only wearing a sports bra and jeans. This is apparently because Claudia is such a serious weightlifter that she has trouble finding shirts that fit. But don't worry. Claudia could "never be mistaken for masculine." There are only two genders! I'm not a bigot it's just biology! Women with muscles are disgusting! Make America Great Again!

I am a powerlifter and yes it can be challenging to find shirts and jackets that fit your arms and shoulders, but it is not so impossible that your only recourse is to swan around in your underwear.

Anita asks Claudia how her arm is. Somehow Claudia managed to regenerate it even though she'd been shot with silver bullets.

"One of my favorite things about hanging with the monsters is the healing. Straight humans seemed to get killed on me a lot, monsters survived. Let's hear it for the monsters." 

This is like that obnoxious white uncle who likes to assure you he has tons of black friends and therefore can't possibly be racist, whilst peppering his speech with liberal use of the N-word over Christmas dinner.

Anita babbles on about how the Circus has a hidden loft and an exposed catwalk and some lookouts or some shit I guess.

Bobby Lee references some plan that I am not entirely sure has been mentioned or discussed before now. It involves driving a car and Claudia is going to do it. Anita points out that Claudia doesn't look "normal" and tries to save her own ass by adding "no offense." Protip: no offense always actually means full offense.

Bobby Lee doubles down on the gender bullshit by assuring Anita all will be well with the following line: "she'll throw a shirt over the muscles, take out the ponytail, and look like a girl." 

Okay first off you fuckwagon, she IS a girl. She identifies female. Secondly, so she can get shirts after all? I know that's a minor detail but come on. In what world do people just walk around in the underwear?

Bobby Lee gets the lobotomized walking penis treatment: Anita, trying to point out that Claudia isn't harmless no matter what she wears, says in effect if she had to arm wrestle one of them she'd have better chances against him than against Claudia. Bobby Lee can't comprehend the meaning of this glaringly obvious statement, because his skull is just a bowl of custard slowly turning in the sun.

LKH is trying to do some female solidarity shit here but because she's a homunculus poorly shaped by the hands of a senile wizard holed up in a dank basement somewhere, she can't grasp what sexism actually is. It's not a man being so stupid he can't possibly comprehend female strength. It's not a man being this fucking dumb just because he's "spent most of his life being muscle." 

Finally, Bobby Lee understands when Anita asks if he really thinks Claudia, who is six six and built like a brick shithouse, is less intimidating than some random male wererat they could have drive the car instead. He says that most men are sexist enough that they would always find a woman less intimidating, no matter how big and ripped she is. I think I agree and disagree at the same time. Yes, men are constantly shitting on female strength. Sometimes I feel like every time a woman gets an amazing powerlifting or weightlifting record, the reaction to it goes something like this:

1) Accusations of doping, because the only way a woman could possibly leave men in the dust strengthwise is if they are on gear and,

2) Discussions of whether such a strong woman is still fuckable, as if anyone asked their opinions in the first fucking place

But, I also think a powerfully built, tall woman like Claudia could inspire more intimidation because she's daring to tread on poor fragile male toes by reminding them that they're not the end all and be all of strength.

Anita makes some comment about having breasts. I don't even know. Claudia says,

"give it up Anita...just give it up. They're men. They can't help it." 

They absolutely, completely, and totally CAN help it, and the pervasive notion that they can't is responsible for so many atrocities it makes my guts churn.

"I had to admit even I was less physically afraid of another woman, but it seemed wrong somehow."


Also wtf is this attempt at dissecting internalized misogyny? Anita lives in a world where women can be werewolves, vampires, and so on, all of whom have super strength and senses. Werewolves can literally cannibalize each other if they're pissed off enough.

Claudia takes her hair down and both Anita and Bobby Lee are mesmerized. Anita says some bullshit about how spectacular Claudia could look if she put any effort into looking like "a traditional girl." Even though she is also transfixed by the sight before her the fact that Bobby Lee also is makes her dislike him, thinking that she had assumed he was "better than that." 

Anita natters on internally about how no matter how exceptional a woman is, she's still just a girl to most men. Yes, fair enough. From Anita though? Really?

Some tortured bullshit about different gender friendships blah blah fucking kill me. Claudia will be underestimated because she's a girl. Sigh.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Soultaker Entitlement

this is a write up I did for Onyx Path Publishing. since they passed on it I am going to go ahead and post it in case anyone wants to use it in their game!

The Soultaker Entitlement


Monday, August 8, 2016

Cerulean Sins Chapter Thirty Three

Let's do this thing.

Here comes Nathaniel. I think Nathaniel could be a great character but instead he exists merely to absorb Anita's awfulness. And that's what he's doing here, trying to comfort her even though she is completely and totally in the wrong.

Anita randomly remembers Musette is around. Good lord how long has it been since the plot wormed its way in? Anita is also "head blind" thanks to all the magical woo woo so she can't use her powers.

Anita loves wearing a lot of different hats. One second she's a hardbitten bitch ready to throw down. Sometimes she's a dandy aping ornamental language. Other times she fancies herself an expert on literature, going so far as to randomly quote Shakespeare. In another book this would be a cohesive character. Here? Well let's take a look at Anita's latest hat, one labeled angsty emo teenager:

"Right that second it felt like the world should open up at my feet and swallow me down the great black hole that was eating through my heart." 

Anita, you brought this on yourself. Generally people don't like being accused of sexual assault after you expressly consented. You even said yourself that it wasn't fair, but that insight isn't enough to make you less callous. I find that very disturbing. She knows she's wrong, she knows it's unfair, she knows she's feeding Asher especially a sandwich full of shit. And yet it doesn't inspire her to change because she is a malignant narcissist and thinks everything revolves around her whether or not she's right or morally correct.

Nathaniel tells Anita that the men who were following them have caught up. Anita whines about how guns are her bestest friends you guys, seriously. Guns don't judge you! I mean, she could get a dog but then she might have to clean up its poop (no that's actually in the text). God forbid Anita care for anything, even a pet!

Anita talks about how she has to holster her gun so it doesn't rub against her breasts. She goes on a rant about how Amazons used to cut away their breasts to better draw their bows, but Anita doesn't believe that because girl power. SHUT UP. Oh my god, no. This is like when you tell someone you have abusive parents and then when that person visits your parents are on their best behavior in order to confuse and separate you from your ally. I know you to well to get dragged in to this, Anita. PLUS LET ME JUST SAY you CAN'T turn that bullshit with Asher in to a women's rights issue. You. consented. to. it. You may not enjoy it after the fact but turning on Asher and essentially calling him a rapist is unacceptable. YOU CAN'T FOOL ME, ANITA. As if you care about women in the first place!

Anita doesn't want Nate to get caught in a firefight so she tells him to stay behind. He looks as if he's going to argue so Anita says a bunch of disgusting things like: "I wanted him more independent, but mot stubborn. He was about the only person in my life that did what I asked, when I asked."

People like Nathaniel exist, with all of his attachment issues and everything. But this is not how you handle a relationship with someone like him. They've never once truly discussed this bond and its parameters. Anita isn't honest enough for that. So neither of them know what's going on or what they are, and Nate attaches to her in a supremely unhealthy way. But does Anita notice or care? No, that would require empathy and compassion. Instead she takes advantage of him constantly and feels not a single pang of guilt.

I think Nathaniel would be happiest in a total power exchange relationship. This is essentially a lifestyle wherein Nate would have a very subservient position relative to, in this case, Anita. Anita would make most if not all of his decisions. This type of BDSM dynamic requires immense work, maturity, and emotional intelligence if it's going to work. So Nate is essentially doomed, because Anita doesn't actually invest in anyone she claims to love.

Anita is so shaken up she wonders if she makes Nate unhappy.

She doesn't ask and calls herself a coward for not doing so. Well Anita, you're not wrong.

Wait hold on I'm sorry....but what the fuck is this?

"I went to find Bobby Lee. Him, I trusted to be in the line of fire. But it was more than that; I wasn't sleeping with Bobby Lee. I didn't love him. Sometimes love makes you selfish. Sometimes it makes you stupid. Sometimes it reminds you why you love your gun."

Did you know that a large number of firearms in the U.S. are used to threaten people in domestic violence situations? There's a creepy vibe to this paragraph that makes it seem like if things go wrong in her relationships, she defaults to brandishing a weapon. This is something that has come up in other chapters and I don't think it's an accident. Knowing what I do about how she's a serial rapist, I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. What LKH doesn't seem to understand is that she's made Anita the villain of the story when she's supposed to be the heroine.

A new Dragon Age chapter!

This thing is turning in to a novel! Please take a look here: These Particulars Are Not My Measure

Thank you!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Just in case you guys like fanfiction, here is my Dragon Age fic (that just updated) Go forth and read!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cerulean Sins Chapter Thirty Two

So, Anita has clothes on again. JC is wearing a couple of blue towels, which spawns two rather, um, interesting descriptions:

"Seeing his face free of all hair made him look more like a boy to me."

This is a prime example of a statement I wouldn't bat an eye at from another, much different character, but because it is Anita I have that odd discomfort one gets after eating something unfamiliar. I'm not sick to my stomach, per se, but I am concerned about what's to come.

Secondly, "It was the bones of his cheeks that saved his face from being utterly feminine."

Let me get this out of the way. She means cheekbones, but god forbid we just say that like a normal person! Anita is not normal. She is so special we can't hold her to the same standards as everyone else on the planet, duh. But the real meat of this sentence is that JC is "saved" from femininity, because god forbid he be feminine. He is consistently described as having huge, gorgeous eyes, long, fluttery lashes, and dresses in poet blouses that you KNOW are just stirred by warm breezes redolent of flowers everywhere he chooses to swan about, but he is MALE you guys. Nothing feminine about him! Nope! Let us all take a moment of silence to contemplate JC's giant schlong and how utterly, utterly, utterly masculine that makes him.

Asher is clothed only in the "spill" of his hair. If you've been reading along with these for awhile you know that LKH loves this word to the point where it's unhealthy. If you based a drinking game around the use of the word spill, you would be dead within the hour. Well, maybe fifteen minutes because odds are if you're reading this dreck you're already drinking.

Anita is very mature because she doesn't go for her gun, because normally during an argument she would stroke it for comfort. You all know that statistic about how guns in the home are often used to intimidate and control domestic violence survivors, right? This is not an innocuous trait of hers and it's only somewhat ameliorated by the fact that both JC and Asher are powerful vampires. Its been shown that she has the ability to coerce JC into doing what she wants, and I honestly think that she and Asher keep up this push me pull you shit because Anita isn't sure she can browbeat Asher into being her cowed slave.

"Shutting the fuck up is seldom a bad move on my part."

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FOOL ME WITH THIS SUPPOSED SELF DEPRECATING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Character development never happens in this series. Ever. In fact the last chapter was such a cock block in this regard that I was even more reluctant to do this next chapter than usual.

Apparently the big issue here is that Asher rolled Anita's mind. I am not sure what the problem is. JC seems more upset about it than Anita. Asher goes on about how it seems like when vampires feed from Anita, she's the one in control of them, which is the opposite of what normally occurs when vampires feed. Did I miss something? The last couple books have all at least mentioned that she doesn't let vampires feed from her. This has been a problem between her and JC for like WAY too long.

Anyway, Anita wants the D. Asher's, in particular. Anita is hugging herself but chooses to describe it as "my arms clung to me." They're not a separate entity, Anita. They're not a macramé project imbued with the desire to show love.  This isn't some shitty short story about how Anita loses her arms in an accident so she has to get transplants from a dead criminal, and then when the surgery is over she is now possessed by the dead guy's evil ghost and her arms start committing crimes she doesn't want to commit.

I would still read that over a LKH novel if you made me pick.

Asher tries to talk dirty to Anita, which means I have to read lines like "the pale spill of your back." At least he's enough of a grown up that he can call her ass an ass, though he can't help but refer to it as a "mound." 

Asher points out that Anita consented to being bitten and rolled, which leads in to the most infuriating thing I have ever read:

"You told me you wanted me inside you, as I remember. And when I bared your neck you said, yes, Asher, yes." 

"I remember what I said." 

"Then how can you be angry at me for doing what you asked? ...How can you blame me for this?"

"I don't know, but I do. How that's unfair, or maybe not unfair, I don't know, but I do."

Look. This is very serious and I want to get this across loud and clear: WHAT YOU JUST READ IS ABUSIVE. Constantly changing the goal posts, offering consent and then claiming you didn't, allowing someone to do something to you (explicitly in this case! yes, Asher, yes) and then claiming after the fact that it wasn't consensual when it clearly was...these are abusive, manipulative actions.

I remember in one of my domestic violence trainings courses, we were given the example of a couple who practiced BDSM. The submissive was claiming that the dominant was abusing him. When you dug deeper, though, it became apparent that the submissive agreed to what they were doing, and only after the fact did he twist the situation to make it appear as if his dominant were ignoring his boundaries.

Who batters and who abuses isn't something you can accurately predict based on gender, role during sex, type of sex, etc. Also, as hard as this is, batterers often find systems and subcultures to hide in, places where they can obscure their true, predatory purpose. I have seen more than one situation where the batterer had a target group membership and was saying things like, because I am oppressed by the world, partner, you will now do anything and everything I ask, when I ask for it, without protest. That doesn't mean social justice is inherently wrong nor does it mean that BDSM is inherently abusive. It does mean that cunning abusers often see the power of appropriating parts of these philosophies and communities.

In short, Anita is an abusive, manipulative shell without empathy, fear, or the ability to feel and express remorse.

I mean this. In real life too. It's a struggle to avoid Othering people who have these traits while still being realistic about how they are likely to treat you, but I'll just say that when you encounter people like this you needn't treat them in an inhuman manner. But you should look elsewhere for reciprocity and love.

If I could ask you to remember one thing in this life, it is that some people are simply not capable of love.

JC's voice is like "the sigh of the wind outside a lonely door." 

JC blames Asher for the fact that they aren't at this moment having a freaky three way together. ASHER DID WHAT ANITA WANTED. This is NOT his fault. It is Anita's. She says "I don't know about that" and is happy about sounding angry over something SHE WANTED.

I have read what, three of these now? And just when I think it can't be humanely possible to hate her more than I already do, shit like this happens.

Asher and JC discuss Anita's distaste for having vampire powers used on her, which Asher is ignorant of. And who could blame him, given how the situation played out? Anita straight up is like, lol this conversation makes me uncomfortable so I'm going to ignore it. Seriously. JC at least defends Anita's right to be uncomfortable. (dirty secret, I like JC. I know there are some scenes where he pressures Anita in to sex which I obviously don't condone but mostly he seems like the victim to me).

These relationships are so sick and stunted. I know I've brought this up several times but one of the things I hate most is the way polyamory is portrayed in these novels. Mostly, because it never seems as though any of these people even like each other, let alone love.

Anita explains that because of Asher's vampire powers she will  never know if her feelings for him are genuine. Well one, she seemed to have plenty of feelings about him before now, and two....who the fuck cares? I mean sure that's a worry I can see having, especially right after being rolled, but if time goes by and she's still in to him I almost don't think it matters. It reminds me of being trans in a weird way (don't be offended, I have a tendency to rapidly and loosely connect ideas. just go with me on this for a minute) in that myself and many other trans people have gone through a phase where we're like, my god! How can I possibly know if I am truly trans? What if these feelings are just mental illness, or because I was abused, or because I am gay or a pervert or whatever? And eventually I had to let that go and ask myself, does it matter? It doesn't. Whether I am trans because of an insult to my body or because I was born too early or because I drank too much fucking diet Coke as a child, it does. not. matter. I am  a trans person and a legitimate one no matter the means of my creation. So if Anita is more positively inclined towards Asher because of She already felt positive towards him and cared for him, or so I have been told by the narrative.

Asher is obviously very hurt since Anita basically lied to him about wanting to be with him. She blames the ardeur and he points out that he expressed this fear to her to begin with, that she would find a way to reject what happened once the ardeur dissipated. Basically, she has done the exact kind of manipulative abusive nonsense Asher predicted she would. She also tries to claim Asher changed the rules somehow, even though clearly if anyone changed the rules, she did. Asher tries to leave and Anita digs at him for "just walking out." 

He tells her he will petition another Master of the City once Musette is gone and Anita is all, I need time to think about all the bad dirty wrong you did! Even though I said yes to it! It's still wrong! And bad! And you're bad! So you should stay here where neither I nor JC treat you as more than a stunt cock and hang your head in shame!

Asher flips out and I am 100% here for it. He points out how cruel it is to be offered a shot at a relationship with Anita and JC, only to have Anita withdraw the offer over something they consensually did. You know, when those meninist assholes imagine so called buyer's remorse, they're fantasizing about a woman that doesn't exist, a woman like Anita Blake that embodies every evil woman stereotype at such an intense, distorted level that she no longer resembles a human. She's a straw man given form, stuffed full of misogyny and sex negativity. Her button eyes are dead and glossy, one glittering with the potential for abuse, the other reflecting every buzz word MRA fucks have ever uttered. It disgusts me that LKH apparently believes that these traits, when hastily stitched together, form a heroine worth emulating.

ALSO let me just point out AGAIN that JC and Asher had a relationship that spanned CENTURIES and Anita feels she has the right to get in the way of that. Obviously her stupid homophobia and constantly shifting elaborate rules for being with her take precedence.

The way JC and Asher are talking make it sound as if sharing blood is usually an essential part of a relationship with a vampire. That doesn't mean Anita is obligated in any way to give her blood even so, but JC has every right to walk away from the relationship. That is how things work when both parties are being validated. Also if I were JC and I had spent so long respecting Anita's negative reaction to the thought of being bled and then she allows Asher to do so willingly, I would be hurt and confused. JC and Anita are supposed to have such a deep and loving connection that their relationship should be the cornerstone of the series, yet when she does consent to be bled, it's not with him.

Asher continues to be a vehicle for truth by calling Anita out for being with JC while still believing him to be a monster. She is so uncomfortable with the fact that he is a vampire that she rings him around with rules to keep that side of him separate. It's basically not possible or tenable over time, and Asher correctly tells her so.

"No, you will always find something in your men that is not good enough, not pure enough. You come to us out of need, even out of love, but it is never enough. You will not allow us to even be enough for ourselves." 

Asher goes on to point out that Micah only manages to be with her by agreeing to absolutely everything Anita asks, and JC denies a huge part of himself so Anita will find him acceptable.

..."I understand now that your love will always come with conditions."

Asher leaves. JC KICKS ANITA OUT. Anita whines internally about how "vamps only get my body" and how it had seemed a good rule until now. Anita has been living by this rule all this time? So basically, lying to JC and Asher about her capacity to love them, while treating them like objects (dildos in particular?) Anita is somehow even more worthless and disgusting than I first imagined.

Tune in for the next chapter where Anita will learn from this not at all.