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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Fifty One

Look what I got. So this next part? It's a rant. You can skip it if you like and get right to the Anita chapter.

The book pictured above is supposedly fiction, written by LKH's first personal assistant Darla after the two parted ways. The book just so happens to be about a personal assistant to a spec fic author. The author gets more and more famous and more and more crazy as times goes on.

Right. If this isn't about LKH I will pound my computer in to shrapnel and eat the pieces.

And you know what? I believe every word. It fits with everything I have always suspected about LKH from reading between the lines in the ABverse. She is a whiny, petty, emotional vampire who wants loads of praise for even the most basic of tasks completed (the assistant 'character' mentions LKH attempting to bake a boxed cake). The author 'character' is basically a container for personality disorder symptoms. It is so textbook and so fucking familiar (not to mention vomit inducing) that I had to set it down at times.

On the other hand there were points where I truly empathized with LKH. There's one scene in particular where no one buys her favorite oatmeal packets, so there are none available for breakfast the next morning. This makes LKH burst in to tears like a child. Full disclosure: I have done exactly this thing. I've done it more than once. Because if you're beset by anxiety and god knows whatever else all the time, even the tiniest break in your routine or the slightest disruption of things that bring you comfort can feel like major crises. And admittedly, I took can be very child-like. I think it comes with the territory, somehow. I never grew out of the need to be taken care of, exactly, not the way a normal person would. So lest you think I feel absolutely nothing for LKH's situation, well, I do.

I also find myself disgusted with LKH, but even more so with everyone around her. It's not always easy to recognize that a person you're close to cares absolutely nothing for you as more than an emotional food source, but good fucking lord people at some point we have to stop absorbing so much abuse and start setting boundaries. People like LKH are more or less incapable of change. The only thing we can change, or that Darla can change, is herself. The fact that it took her ten years to get away from LKH is baffling to me. Their situation could be called abusive, but Darla has plenty of options. She left a reasonable job to be LKH's assistant in the first place. (She also loves to go on about how she is superior to LKH because she shops at the discount store, whereas LKH spends soooo much money on clothes. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. You are not an earthy generous soul just because you shop at Goodwill).

So basically, they're both assholes. Also, everyone around LKH is a shitty enabler. This does LKH herself no favors, and of course means that no one else gets their needs met. I mean, really. We are seriously lacking some basic education on self respect and self validation if this is the kind of shit a whole gaggle of grown, supposedly capable humans will endure day in and day out. It bothers the hell out of me that everyone is glued to the news worried they're going to get robbed, when really? This is the kind of damage that leaves ever lasting marks. Being robbed is horrible but it's also not very likely and doesn't happen to the same person every single day for years, whereas someone who wants to in essence drain your soul of all goodness for as long as you'll let them feed off of you could be living in your fucking house right now. Sleeping in your bed. Eating at your dinner table and smiling at you when you get home from work.

Let me just put it this way. If someone is constantly accusing you of flirting with people you have no interest in, constantly changing their expectations without telling you and then getting mad at you for not meeting them, constantly bitching and moaning and throwing melodramatic fits..that shit is not normal. If a person is expecting you to read their mind, if you constantly have to walk on eggshells around them, if at any minute there could be a tantrum over the smallest things, if they imitate your successes and try to make you feel as if you failed, not normal. There are billions of people in this world, and life is short. You don't have the time to waste on people who don;t reciprocate, people who don't validate, people who don't care.

And I want to say one more thing: yes, even if they are related to you. Even if you think they're your best friend in the world. Even if they're your mother or father. No one has the right to treat you in a way that violates your boundaries. If you've clearly set your limits (you do owe people clear limits) and even after warnings and corrections (some missteps are honest ones. We all have baggage and we don't always understand other people's right away), the person in question keeps violating them? They're done. You cut them out. If you can manage it, you tell them exactly why and then you stop talking to them or seeing them. Sometimes maybe they'll learn from it and come around, but a lot of times they won't. It happens and you're better off without them.

Right. Back to Anita.

J.C. and Micah are bleeding still. Anita screams for Asher because that is sure to help in some way that is not at all clear to me at the moment. Micah shapeshifts because finally a shapeshifter is handling their problems in a reasonable fashion, you know, instead of letting themselves get carted off to the hospital so their arm will be mangled for life instead of just shifting right then and there. ANYWAY.

Anita touches J.C. and the marks "flare." This is fucking irritating. Anita basically has to power up like a Dragonball Z character for five fucking episodes before anything happens. Not only must we have the ardeur, but the marks have to make an appearance, and probably Anita's beasts will be next. It's inelegant as hell and frankly obscures the already flat characters even more. They're not even people, again, just containers for kewl powahs. Fitting considering the tell all 'novel' as "Miriam" (LKH) is just a container for symptoms and hate.

"I blinked and found Jean-Claude's face glowing like carved alabaster with white light inside of it."

So J.C.'s fingers are "like stone" and we've also had some nonsense about alabaster, and then she hits me with this rotting roadkill carcass:

"His skin glowed behind the coating of blood, like rubies spread across diamonds."

WHAP. Right across the face. Entrails everywhere.

"His eyes were pools of molten sapphire flame..."

Holy descriptions, Batman! And once more with the roadkill, meaning I will never get the smell of beaten horse out of my clothes.

"A wind sprang from his body, from our bodies..."

So a great whistling nor'easter is coming out of their no no places. Because that's what body means in this book. Or maybe it's like this:

Okay so literally? There is a breeze around them. I am not making this up. Ooh, but it's grave wind because that's so coo--no wait, I mean what the fuck is that really?

Reading this book turns you in to Anita, insofar as it will make you cry BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEEEEAN at the heavens every ten minutes.

Jason is here and he's healed now. From what? I don't even remember at this point. J.C. and Anita reach out for Richard because maaaarks. Micah touches J.C. and Anita, but then literally starts screaming "Nooo!" a second later for no reason I can discern.

This is the point in the book, more or less, where the reader should be getting the pay off for everything that has gone before. Action! Adventure! Possible death and destruction! Mysteries solved and babies kissed! Or...whatever. You get my drift. But as things come to a close for NiC the writing gets even more nonsensical--and trust me, I didn't think that was possible--purple, and fucking boring. Usually I am pretty good at translating LKH speak but I have no clue what is going on here beyond some awkward power up bullshit that I don't care about.

"We knelt, bound by flesh, magic, and blood."

This is a perfect example of an author indulgence. I bet it sounds epic and amazing to LKH but unfortunately the reader is left wondering what in the blue fuck she is dithering on about. Flesh? Blood? How is it binding them? Have they melted together like body parts from The Thing?

This chapter is terrible. So terrible. I need to invent whole new words to describe its awfulness. And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, heeeere comes Belle Morte! Because why not? When you already have a confused pastiche of powers and hokey imagery, that's the perfect time to add honey and roses.

Anita THEN involves her necromancy because why not? This power pizza needs another topping! Belle Morte is teh evuls and has been influencing J.C. Anita casts her out, Satan.

Bobby Lee (wererat bodyguard) comes back in and tells Anita she's a dumbass for making them wait outside. Good job Bobby Lee.

So J.C. and Asher figure out that long ago Belle compelled another vampire in to killing his human servant, thereby killing himself. If I may this human servant bullshit is totally backwards. A human servant should empower the vampire primarily, not the other way around. Hence the word servant. Of course the servant ought to get something out of it too because willing servants are in some ways a lot easier to care for than unwilling ones, but ultimately I don't understand why having servants seems to weaken a vampire. Making a vampire more vulnerable because he has servants is backwards. By definition a servant is supposed to make things easier on their employer/master/whatever, not harder.

At the time they thought Belle couldn't have done it because it just wasn't possible. Anita says "I think it's like real possible..." because this is YA now and Anita is a spunky teenage girl who can see ghosts.

Oh god, here it is. I knew it was coming. Anita doesn't understand why Micah and J.C. aren't mad at each other, considering they just tried to kill each other. It's like, totally a guy thing, and now that they've had their little bullshit power display they respect each other and Anita like totally can't get it because she has a vagina.

You know what? Here's a thought I had the other day: part of a privileged person's refusal to accept that privilege exists is a lack of empathy. When you see a man get angry over male privilege he is probably feeling invalidated and offended on a certain level, yes, and in a lot of ways he doesn't want to share his power, but mostly it's a lack of empathy. Not that a man defending himself over whether male privilege exists necessarily can't feel empathy, it's that he can't or doesn't want to express empathy or learn a new kind of empathy. And while adults need to take personal responsibility for themselves, some of this issue starts in childhood. It starts, in part, when we teach little cis boys that the only acceptable emotions for them are anger and its permutations (jealousy, envy). It starts when we blunt and twist their ability to cry, or express gratitude, or hug. It starts when we take away the words "I love you." This isn't an excuse or a reason to start protecting those with privilege from the need to dismantle it, but the fact is we're taught our roles from day one. Men are taught (I am speaking very generally here) to be closed systems. To never admit they're wrong, because that would be to show weakness. Because ultimately, acknowledging that the world is inherently unfair for arbitrary reasons requires openness. It requires kindness, and humility, and compassion.

In short, LKH is perpetuating some very fucking dangerous and sick gender role bullshit here with this. While it's certainly true that for all the reasons I listed men may be inclined to settle their problems in an aggressive manner, there's no examination of the phenomenon in an LKH book. We're just meant to take it as gospel that by nature, men are inherently violent animals who can't settle disputes without resorting to violence despite the fact that Anita herself employs violence in almost every situation she finds herself in.


Look, look at this shitty book.

Anita makes a crack about how only men could make friends by throwing punches. J.C. points out that it's the same reason Anita and Edward are friends, because even J.C. knows Anita is a total hypocrite.
Just to put the rotten cherry on the shit sundae, Anita also says that Micah's ruthlessness bothers her even though she is herself ruthless.

Anita mentions Damian. Oh right him. I think it's obvious that I don't give half a fuck. J.C. needs blood and Micah offers again. Anita makes a crack about how there's just oh so much testosterone in the room, because she has to be a pissy ass and make rude gendered comments even though she's as big a swinging dick as anyone in here.

Micah shifts in to human form so J.C. can feed. We have to hear about his hair again, which is magically straight now. Kill meeeee.

J.C. wants to wash off the blood before feeding off of Micah. I think Asher is jealous, oh boo hoo. They tease J.C. about how he can't take a short bath, prompting Bobby Lee to say "I thought that was the man's line."

Gender roles are so much fun!

I hate you too Bobby Lee.


  1. I have wanted a copy of The Diva Ate Her for forever. I am apparently self-destructive in all ways.

  2. Hey sorry I haven't commented in a long while, been busy. Huh, so her former personal assistant wrote a book about a personal assistant who works for a famous author who has some serious issues. What. A. Coincidence.