Sunday, 30 October 2011

For once cooking when Beloved MAY have had a point

So today I cooked a Sunday dinner for Beloved and I – a nice chicken dinner. Yes, feel those good old traditions.

Except Beloved thought there was a problem. Now, I was ready to ritually disembowel him for presuming to comment on anything that happens in my kitchen given his past record in this area – but he was smarty enough to get a head start and yell that he thought I had cooked too much (though it all looked wonderful and amazing and please don't kill him. Hah, the wimp, threaten him with repeated stabbing and he loses all backbone).

Being the infinitely patient and understanding soul that I am, I paused to consider his words and the food that was happily bubbling, steaming and roasting away

So we had the bacon latticed, butter covered whole chicken and the garlic and tarragon stuffing and the sausage meat stuffing balls (you always need 2 kinds of stuffing, it is known). And the sprouts with chestnuts and the herb mashed potatoes (with sweet potatoes, onions and more butter, of course) and peas with onions and mint and butter. And the roasted carrots, parsnips and leeks (with garlic, of course), the mashed turnip and the mashed butternut squash (naturally both with butter), and the crispy roast potatoes, the sesame broccoli and the platter of immense Yorkshire puddings (which rose like champions, of course), the ocean of gravy, the cranberry sauce and the bread sauce.... Ok... maybe. Just maybe... Yeah he kinda had a point. Wow... I kind of got carried away there

What? Don't look at me like that, sometimes I gte in the cooking zone. I blame my grandmother, she never cooked for less than 6 people. It's in the genes damn it!

So Beloved at last got to invite someone round after consulting me! Admittedly it was like 40 minutes before dinner was served so he was on the phone “hey, have you eaten yet? Sparky just cooked enough for a regiment! Come, eat, take away leftovers! Save me from 6 days of bubble and squeak”

In my defence, I quite like bubble and squeak.

Fangs for the Fantasy Updates

Our weekly podcast is here. Our full archives can be found here.

Our Next podcast will be on Tuesday 1st November at the usual time

Interview with Clay & Susan Griffith, authors of the Vampire Empire Series

This week, we're lucky to have a written interview with Clay and Susan Griffith, authors of the Vampire Empire series, The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker. Both books we enjoyed immensely and we're happy to fanpoodle shamelessly.

While we wait eagerly for the third instalment in this series we have these 10 questions and their detailed answers to whet our appetites

Read More

Mixed Raced Characters in Urban Fantasy don't Necessarily Constitute Inclusion

One of the recurring tropes we’ve found in Urban Fantasy is the use of token inclusion for people of colour. Unfortunately for many authors, the addition of one person of color in an all White cast, even in cities in which the population demographics would suggest a larger representation is necessary, qualifies for a claim of equal representation. This is beyond irritating in and of itself. But there’s a related trope that doesn’t even go so far as that to use the oft normalized tokens - mixed race protagonists. One of the major issues is that even though these people are technically bi-racial, they are often so light skinned that they exist with passing privilege, thereby never having to negotiate the racism faced by everyday people of colour. Urban fantasy gives new meaning to the phrase light bright and damn near White.

In and of themselves, mixed race protagonists are by any means a bad thing - not by any stretch. We’d welcome, hail and do happy dances about more mixed-race protagonists, or more protagonists of colour in general, if it constituted good equal representation but alas that is not the case. It would be good to see if these mixed raced people read like mixed raced people, instead of White people with a touch of exotic thrown in for extra flavour.

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Traumatised Youth in Urban Fantasy

What shocked us most about this trope, as we went through our Book Review Master list, was how common this trope was. Literally, we went down our master list and struggled to find series where this trope didn’t apply. No, seriously - nearly every last series we’ve read included this trope. It has become less of a trope and more of a requirement in the genre.

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The Vampire Diaries Season Three, Episode Seven: Ghost World

Once again, Mystic Falls had another founders celebration. This week they were celebrating Illumination Night. Apparently, they lit lanterns to tell the town that it was safe to come out at night again, after they had entombed all of the vampires. I am really sick and tired of the weekly celebrations of the former slave owners. Of course, The Vampire Diaries creators don't see it that way, but this is the truth of the matter.

It seems that when Bonnie sent Vicky back to the other side she opened up a door that allowed all of the ghosts that had unfinished business to walk the town. Because Elena was thinking of Lexy, Stefan's friend he came back and because the tomb vampires had unfinished business with the founders they came back with the aim of killing the descendants. Mason came back to find a weapon to kill Klaus in order to save Tyler.

Read More 3 Fangs

Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 6: Wake

And within 5 minutes of the Secret Circle starting we learn that Nick had an older brother called Jake. See, see? I totally called it. No way were we going to go down to 5 witches. Someone call the advertising people and replace Nick with Jake (or, y'know, we could give Melissa some space... nahhhhh) and yes, the Circle is bound by bloodline! So Jake is a member of it as Nick's brother – replacement Nick!

And Jake is troubled... very troubled – and a thief and selfish and and and he jaywalks! EVIL, evil I say! And he used to date Faye (Mean Girl) and treat her terribly and he stole from Adam and Adam now haaaates him. And he's baaaaad. And they don't want him in the circle, no no no! Bad Jake! No cookie.

Read More 2 Fangs

The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 2: Bloodletting
The episode begins with Lori talking about her marital problems with Rick. Right after that she admits that she loves him Shane -- who is not dead -- pulls up and tells her that Rick has been shot. Even then you can see Shane looking at them with a weird sort of desire.

The seen flashes back to Rick running with Carl after he has been shot. We learn that Otis shot a buck and it went straight through to Carl. Lori stops to look behind her when she hears the gunshot.  It worries her that Rick and Shane have not caught up. Darryl keeps them moving by telling them to stop worrying about Sophia and that she will be just fine, and that Shane and Lori are probably on the way. What I don't like about this is that they have set Darryl up to lead in the absence of Rick and Shane. Why couldn't Andrea take the lead considering that she is such a strong character in the comics. Oh I get, Darryl a character made up for the show is a nature guy and therefore the natural leader.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

American Horror Story
While it may stretch the definition of Urban Fantasy a tad, we've had many requests to review this series – and we were curious anyway – so we have decided to do so :)

American Horror Story: Season 1, Episode 4: Hallowe'en Part 1 4 Fangs
American Horror Story: Season 1, Episode 3: Murder House 4 Fangs
American Horror Story: Season 1, Episode 2: Home Invasion 4 Fangs
American Horror Story: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot 4 Fangs

So we return again to ghost central! And within 5 minutes of the episode starting I am given my reason for watching this programme – Theo James in a towel. What? I need something to encourage me to keep watching. Alas, Kate wants him to put some clothes on to do some handyman work... hmm... maybe a toolbelt.

Anyway, I digress. Molly's friend Zoe is still missing and Molly is going on blind dates, Kate is still sleep walking and hallucinating and being a not-very-pleasant person and Ryan's upset about his brother's killer coming up for parole. I dunno, not doing much but this episode follows the much distracted Leah (I don't blame it the 4 main characters of this programme don't exactly lead fascinating lives), another resident of Bedlam heights and Molly's new friend – who keeps seeing spooky tire tracks, ghosts in her car and spectral car trouble. Her car keeps breaking down but she daren't take it to a garage because it belongs to an abusive ex who has probably reported it stolen – if it goes into a garage, he can probably find Leah.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Once Upon a Time
Okay, I know that this is a bit of a stretch but fairy tales are fantasy after all. Sunday night was the ABC premier of Once Upon A Time staring, Ginnifer Godwin, Jennifer Morrison, and Robert Carlyle. The story is based on the idea that fairy tale creatures are now living in the modern world but are unaware that they are fairy tale characters thanks to a spell by the wicked witch.

The story begins with Snow White and the handsome Prince Charming. As we all know, Snow White was presumed dead and the seven dwarfs were mourning her when Prince Charming rode in and saved the say by giving her a true love's kiss. At their wedding, the evil queen shows up to make them a promise, "everything you love will be taken from you forever. Out of your suffering will rise my victory. I shall destroy you happiness if it's the last thing that I do".

Read More 3 Fangs

Lover Enshrined, by JR Ward, Book 6 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
The plot for this book is actually surprisingly involved for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. While we do have a relationship between His Whineyness Phury and Cormia front and centre but it's relatively easy to ignore and you can see the true action beneath.

The Omega has decided to combat the Dhestroyer prophecy with both a new fore-lesser and to tap his son – the son of a powerful vampire aristocrat. Bringing him back into the fold not only brings a powerful warrior with terrifying abilities but also bringing with him powerful intelligence that allows the lessers to hit a lot of extremely high profile targets which in turn leads to the looming shadow of politics in the glymeria

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews, Book 5 of the Kate Daniels Series
Kate Daniels is back in action in post shift Atlanta. After killing her aunt in Magic Bleeds her secret is rapidly becoming unfrayed as more and more people notice her powerful magic and powerful blood – and more and more people know exactly who she is and who her father is.

Kate now runs her own agency, joined by Andrea whose attempts to make the Order accept her humanity failed in the face of their prejudice. And the Red Guard has come to her with a job – they were guarding a weapon. A weapon of incredible power. And it has gone missing, along with its inventor. Under the cloak of necessary secrecy and discretion, the Guard need Kate to find the weapon and the inventor, preferably before its power is unleashed

Read More 5 Fangs

Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep, Book 5 of the Elemental Assassin's Series
The plot was simple yet epic. It wasn't complicated with nuances and twists and there's not a lot to summarise of it without going outright into spoilers. Gin has reached the final showdown. Her or Mab. Mab has been targetting her sister too often and while Gin can hide her identity and be the ghost biting at Mab's flanks, Bria cannot. And the longer this fight continues, the longer Gin keeps to the shadows and plays the long game against Mab, the more and more danger Bria is in.

Especially now. Mab has put her vast resources on the table and sent out a call to every bounty hunter in the country. The Spider – dead or alive. Or Bria, Gin's baby sister, alive only. Except, with some of these bounty hunters, “alive” covers a great deal – and Mab herself certainly never hesitates at torture.

Read More 4.5 Fangs

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine, Book 4 of the Morganville Vampire Series
In the last book we were left with a cliffhanger. The Bishop, Amelie's father has come to town – and so has Claire's parents. The Bishop is dangerous, threatening and powerful...

And we open the book basically in the same situation. Big threatening bad guy and Claire's parents hanging round. And then we enter a holding pattern. I said the same thing about Midnight Alley and, sadly, I have to say it again, there's very little plot to review.

Read more

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep, Book 4 of the Elemental Assassin's Series

Gin's war against Mab is now declared and Mab is feeling the Spider's bite. First killing her lieutenant, Elliot Slater in Venom she has now started hitting Mab's operations around the cities. Her minions and dealers are all under threat, smoothly assassinated and the Spider rune left by their corpses.

Mab can't tolerate this any more and calls in LaFleur, her own assassin. An expert assassin of the Spider's calibre and an Electricity Elemental. She's in town to run Mab's operations – and take out the Spider. As a bonus prize, she's also to take out Bria, Gin's sister, to finally remove that thorn out of Mab's side as well. To complicate things, Mab has not missed Gin's friendship with Roslyn and is looking to spy on her and undermine her as much as possible

Read More 3.5 Fangs

John Carpenter's Vampires
This movie could easily go down as one of the worst films, I have ever had the misfortune to see. For the purposes of full disclosure, I am going to admit right off the hop that James Woods is one of my least favorite actors of all time. From the beginning, I could see why he was attracted to this role. He got to play an ass kicking vampire slayer with a gun and a cross bow.

Read More 0.5 Fangs

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Dear World of Warcraft - I'm done.

So I've quit WoW.

Partly because I wanted the time, partly because even with 6/7 hc bosses progress before nerf still didn't seem fun and partly, with our guild going from transition with our server dying, it was looking like I'd have to go to other places with other guilds aaaand... that sounded as much fun as putting my foot in a blender.

I've been lucky in my guild. S & I have been GM of it since raiding Gruuls lair back in the day. We were insular, kept to our own and had a very strict policy – your fuckery will not be tolerated here. No boss will be “raped”, nothing was “gay” unless they were actually homosexual and no racial abuse was remotely tolerated. If you didn't like it we weren't going to argue or debate with you – we'd kick you. Get out. It didn't make us popular and we didn't mix outside of spaces we controlled (I think our guild was loathed by the server due to the people we kicked losing their shit and our unwillingness to do anything outside the guild), but it created a little island in which we could enjoy WoW without the incessant slurs.

Because, ultimately, I'm quitting WoW because I don't want a hobby that involves so much homophobia dodging. I don't want to turn an already not-very-fun experience into a “I want a to drill out my eyeballs” experience, especially not when I'm paying good money for it. And I don't think it's going to get better. In fact, after the homophobic fuckery at Blizzcon, it's pretty obvious that Blizzard doesn't give a shit. Especially given the reaction of most of the WoW community.

oh and all you straight cis people “you're offended because they insulted the alliance” really? Really you privileged arseholes? Someone sings a rant full of anti-gay slurs and you think we give a shit about the freaking FACTION insults?! Get a clue, get some perspective and wake up. No, really it's still going on – people are still stomping their feet because they think we're angry about the insults to the Alliance NOT that Blizzard decided to endorse a song that yelled “f@ggot” “Queer looking”, “homo” and “cocksucker” around. Have we not had enough media coverage of gay suicides for you to think that MAYBE just MAYBE a song that encourages people to kill themselves while using anti-gay slurs is not ok? What, in the name of all that is holy, is wrong with you people?!

So, yeah, I'm done. I'm not paying money for this, to a company that has this little respect for me. The game already completely erased me and had a bad reputation with homophobic fuckery to begin with – and this? No-one with even a shred of PR knowledge should have done this. I refuse to pay more money to homophobic arseholes so I can try and rebuild another tiny corner on this game where I can play without dealing with constant homophobic fuckery.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

I call overreaction!

Dear dear Beloved, allow me to announce yet again how he is wrong (because he always is, right?)

See, you can tell me, at length, that there is a pen near the phone for writing phone messages, a pen in my desk, a pen in your desk, a pen on the fridge for writing shopping lists, a pen on the coffee table just because, a pend on both our bedside cabinest, a pen clipped to the calendar for writing down dates and things that we never read and then forget unless someone's buzzy phone or computer thingy starts screaming at us but we never but them in the buzzy thingies because we wrote it down, and a huge drawer full of oodles of pens (and oodles of spent pens. Why? Because when you find a pen is out of ink, you replace it and put the EMPTY PEN BACK IN THE DRAWER! Why? Why do you do this? Do you think the ink fairy's going to come and refill them? And same with batteries. If batteries are flat we do not need to keep them!)

Anyway, you can tell me where all these many many pens are. This means you always know where to find a pen. In fact, you can very easily find DOZENS of pens, dozens of pens for every day of the week - even moooore pens than we could ever write with (and many empty pens that you cannot write with but for some arcane reason we are keeping).

So. When I moooove one of those pens, it doesn't really matter, right? I mean, it's not like we aren't pen equipped. It's not like my deciding to go walking with, say, the phone pen is going to leave you bereft of writing implements, right?

Right. So I think it is MOOOOOST unfair to threaten disembowelling for there being no pens by the phone or fridge again. Clearly you are overracting iona  terrible and unjust manner

And yes, all the pens do show up at my desk. So what are you complainiung about? It's not like you can't find them! If the inifite drawer of pens is empty (or you can't be bothered to find a working pen among the shoals of empties, AND batteries, I might add) then you know exactly where to find a pen - my desk.

Yes he is Being Silly. I am Right and he is Overreacting. And yes, I do need 8 pens on my desk. Deal with it

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Rest in Peace Stuart Walker

Ine one of the most devastating hate crimes we've seen in the UK for a long time, Stewart Walker was sexually assaulted, beaten, tied to the side of the road and burned to death

And in his death, people found something to laugh at

Again, we're reminded that there's so little safety out there - and how powerful the hatred still is

October the 28th, this Friday, is International Hate Crime day. There are going to be several vigils against hate crime


If you know of more, please let me know

Monday, 24 October 2011

On reporting statistics and monitoring

There has been a series of kafuffles here and there about councils and other government agencies collecting information on whether someone is GBLT or not – you know, the standard forms, tick various boxes etc. Councils and other government bodies have been scrapping them because they're considered “intrusive”

Such forms are not new – they regularly collect information on race, ethnicity, gender and religion to name but a few. So do many employers for that matter.

And there is a point. I don't particularly like being faced with the prospect of having to lie or having to Out myself. It's never fun to be put in that position (though many of us are put in that position repeatedly). Nor do I particularly trust the powers that be to have that information, keep that information safe and use it wisely – or understand just how important that information is

And, of course, any statistics about us are always suspect because of the problem of the closet and the dangers of outing ourselves. By definition, it is difficult, if not impossible, to collect accurate data about a hidden population and there's always going to be a level of suspect on the data produced.

But, in some ways, I think that the existence of the closet also makes it even more necessary to collect this data. Because we're easily ignored and forgotten, we're easily overlooked and when we're not around or invisible it is considered normal, acceptable or even ideal – because of the closet and the prejudice that built it and made it so necessary to so many of us.

By not collecting this data, however fraught and leery we have to be about it because of the closet (though, that in itself can be an interesting data point. If a particular region/profession/age group/etc is showing a complete absence of us then that implies there is something wrong that is either a) driving us away or b) forcing us to hide. Because we're evvvvvverywhere) we're not going to be able to identify homophobia and transphobia if we don't look for it and aren't aware of it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

I'm not looking to "win"

There are a large number of people on the internet who believe they have won lots of social justice arguments against me – especially when it comes to homophobia.

And this surprises Beloved, it does, for he has yet to outmanoeuvre me when I blame him for, well, absolutely everything I can :) (because that's loooove). He will even lament about how I will even replay past arguments in case I feel he hasn't been hailed my rightness sufficiently.

This is because tormenting Beloved is a fun sport of which I am an international gold medal holder.

So why on the net are there all these victorious arguers? Well, because I don't really argue on the net. Most of the times when someone drops prejudiced bigot shit on my screen I wince, make a note to treat that space accordingly and tread carefully should I ever go back there. Occasionally I'm invested enough in a space or person – or it's my space – to engage the fail and resist it. Sometimes it's just vile and I feel I have to comment because if I don't I feel I've endorsed or accepted what has been said. So I comment.

And there's a response, usually as bad or worse. In naïve hope I respond and try again. Usually it's pretty clear that I'm just repeating myself, giving myself a massive headache and generally achieving nothing so...

I just leave.

I have a limited amount of time, energy and mental strength. If a conversation isn't going anywhere, if I can see nothing productive coming of it then I stop trying and leave. If I'm just swimming around in the cesspit with no real hope of cleaning it then I get out. There's no benefit at all in my continuing to swim in shit. There's no advantage to my bashing my head against a brick wall. If I want to do that I have relatives and work colleagues who would be more than happy to oblige – and with them I have a much stronger reason to dive into THAT cesspit since I have to deal with these people on a regular basis.

I have to deal with them – so why would I seek out extra online? Or prolong a “conversation” past the time it has reached that point? I can do that with my nearest and not-so-dearest, I don't have to seek extra headaches, really, I have enough.

And of course, they think they've won – because they've got the last word and driven me off. Which says a lot about why they were arguing in the first place – because it was a game, it was about winning, not about whether someone is hurt or not, or whether something

But I do wonder why these people do argue, sometimes. Because I am amazed, truly amazed, at the time and effort people will put in to defend prejudice and bigotry or to be able to perpetuate it. Even simple things like the use of a slur, or insisting that it's ok to call me something I've expressly asked them not to – such little things, such simple things – but you still have to fight for them, still have to argue them.

And I wonder sometimes, when these people crow about their victories, or decide they need to spend a solid 10 minutes in RL or hours online to justify any bigotry – ANYTHING, no matter how simple or severe – do they realise how much it costs? How much it hurts? The effort and energy this causes? But they expect us to argue? And they're smug because we finally refuse to throw more energy and pain down the pit? We owe them this and for what? Their entertainment? Their amusement?

Nope, I'm not going to stay and fight – because while they may crow about winning, there is no victory here for me. My 'victory' is greater awareness of prejudice and a lessening of bigotry – and there's such a lot of it out there I rarely see it – and I'm certainly not seeing that in a long, painful argument where someone claims “victory” because I “run away” or block them.

This piece originally appeared at at Womanist Musings where Rene posts my drabbles every Tuesday

Friday, 21 October 2011


Sparky: *sneak**sneak**sneak*

Beloved: What are you doing?

Sparky Aaargh! *surprised shocked leap for the ceiling**flail flail flail**panic**gasp**panic* Nothing.

Beloved: Uh-huh... doesn't look like nothing.

Sparky: Just putting some shopping away. Absolutely nothing happening. Go away.

Beloved: Reaaaaalllly?

Sparky: Yes, nothing to see here. Go away.

Beloved: Nope, as your loving and insecure husband, I have decided to stay next to you in random neediness

Sparky: I thought I was the insecure, needy one?

Beloved: I can be insecure and needy to. There's no rule says there can only be one. It's not like we're Highlanders or something

Sparky: Well go be insecure upstairs

Beloved: Nooo I think I will... what is this?

Sparky: Shopping

Beloved: A turkey! A giant turkey! You just bought a giant turkey!!!!

Sparky: And?

Beloved: And? And? You've been holding that bloody turkey over my head for 2 years - and now you bought one.

Sparky: I'm going to joint it now, freeze it separately and use it for several different meals

Beloved: So buying a big turkey is a goooood idea, right? And you've been unfair and mean and WRONG all this time?

Sparky: Noooo, buying a turkey when you have PLANS for it is good. When you know what you're doing and when you've already had to do it before with short notice because of someone's clueless shopping choices. That is right. You were wrong.

Beloved: Uh-huh, not buying it. I inspired you. I inspired you to buy great big turkeys. I was right, you were wrong.

Sparky: No, y'see

Beloved: *la la la* not listening, not listening, not letting you lawyer this. I was right you were wrong I was right you were wrong

Sparky: listen..

Beloved: nope, nope nope, you will twist it round, you always do. No more talking, just a victory dance *proceeds to do so*

Sparky: Are you done?

Beloved: Nope, this needs repeating in every room *singing* I was right, you were wrong, I was right, you were wrong, I was right, you were wrong

Sparky: That is going to get really irritating...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Fetishising is support now?

Looking at various articles about a couple of famous guys who have recently come out as gay, I have noticed a trend in the comments.

"Oh I would totally slash him!"

"brb writing that slash"

"Yaaay I have a new OTP!"

"I'm shipping him with X now"

"A new ship is born"

.... and so on so on.

Seriously - a life changing extremely powerful and personal moment, a moemnt that requires support and congratulations - and this is what is presented as support? Yay, a new fuckpuppet! Bring on the fetishisation! What does it even say about these people that the minute a gay man comes out that slashing them is their reaction?

Coming Out is a major, important, empowering and incredible moment in our lives; it means a lot. It changes lives, it can bring freedom. It's often emotional and painful and ultimately is about the person. That's person, not poseable fucktoy. A person with a life who has done something brave that could face incredible consequences - not a new toy for you to play with, not a new character for you to write. Being an out gay man means being more than being characters in your fantasies.

Thinking gay guys are hot is not the same as support. Wanting to watch and write about the mansex does not make you an ally or a supporter to gay men. And, frankly, if a major announcement in a gay man's life instantly leads you to jump on the fetishisation train, then not only doesn't this look like support, but it looks a whole lot like homophobia

It's this kind of thinking that fetishisation is equal to support that caused this vile "you know you're addicted to slash if" meme to go viral
1. You start mentally pairing up random guys on the street.
2. You wish you had gay friends just so you could perve on them kissing their boyfriends.
3. You don’t remember the last time you read a heterosexual fiction.
4. You have developed a sexual fetish for handcuffs, leather and BDSM.
5. If you are a heterosexual girl, you keep trying to 'seme' or top your boyfriend, despite the fact that you don’t have the necessary parts.
6. You suddenly become interested in gay rights, thinking this will increase your opportunities for voyeuristic activities.
7. You try to get your friends into it, simply so you can talk to them about it without them getting that bored look on their face.
8. You keep lying about the number of hours you spend each day on the computer reading slash fiction, watching gay anime etc.
9. The most exciting moment of your life so far was when you discovered hentai manga(slash).
10. You celebrate turning 18 not because you can watch R movies, but because you’re old enough to watch movies with explicit gay sex scenes.
11. It’s the only aphrodisiac you need.
12. When your boyfriend tells you he’s gay and has been dating another man, you immediately ask if you can join in.
13. Your gay son wishes he had a normal, homophobic mother who didn’t ask him questions about his latest sexual exploits.
14. You have weird dreams of being a boy an kissing the same gender.
15. You're reading this and thinking of what you are also doing that has a connection to this!
16. You start pairing up people you saw in your television.
17. You tend to mentally accuse 'sexy' and 'hot' guys of being secretly lovers.
18. You start asking some of your friends if they have gay friends.
19. You suddenly had the urge to draw something perverted. Or try to.
20. You have this awesome idea of trying to pair up your 'submissive' male friend to a 'dominant' male.

And if you want to be depressed? Copy and paste No.6 on that list into google and see how many hits you get back - how far this has spread.

Ugh, humanity, yet again I despair

Bad News Round up

Another bad news round up - as ever, very upsetting and triggering.

They're hard to read and ye gods they're hard to right - but they're important. Always to remember that it never stops, it hasn't stopped it isn't changing - and remember to make sure the blood is dripping from the right hands - no matter how much they play the victim or pretend they are not part of this hatred.

This is the cost of hate speech and discrimination.

Hate Speech
In London, a gay youth support worker has received hate mail and had homophobic graffiti painted across his front door

Florida Councilwoman and founder of Spoken Word Ministries has a bigot explosion

In Ontario, the battle to be elected Premier has invoked some vile homophobia

Maggie Gallahger continues to be a truly awful bigot, claiming gays hate marriage because we suffered as kids. Not only does that not make the slightest sense – but it's through bigotry like hers that causes so much of our youth's suffering

In North Carolina the state university GBLT centre was vandalised with anti-gay slurs

There was something called the Value Voters summit over in the US and, frankly, I looked at that name and knew I could predict everything that was going to be said – all the bigotry and hate speech. I am impressed by the fact we're a threat to western civilisation. All this power we're supposed to have – and yet these people at this summit are still among the breathing

In West Virginia homophobic student bullies are even spewing hate speech at a gay professor

In the US, Jared Polis has become the first gay member of congress to be a father. NOM, being bigots, decided to mark this with their usual poor taste

Diddy has joined the ridiculous numbe rof celebrities spouting of anti-gay slurs. Queue false apology, lots of defence and, as ever, zero consequences. After all, we can't be treating homophobia as a real problem, can we?

Speaking of which, Tracy Morgan is busy shredding his fauxpology yes, it was all a misunderstanding

A Tory Councillor for Buckinghamshire has compared being gay with bestiality. Ye gods man, get with the programme, that's last year's hate rhetoric! You didn't even mention the children!

In Scotland, former SNP leader, Gordon Wilson joined Bill Walker and John Mason in their homophobia. He apparently believes that marriage equality will be DANGEROUS for Scotland. Dangerous? Seriously? The SNP has been having no small amount of.. dubious behaviour over marriage equality. But then, the SNP's record on homophobia is very patchy.

A study has shown that that gay men are 40% less likely to be offered a job interview compared to straight men. Frankly, I'm not only pissed about this – but severely annoyed by the number of social justice and progressive spaces that are so very SHOCKED by this news – again I'm confronted with the fact that so much of the social justice sphere doesn't consider homophobia to be a prejudice on par with other isms.

In St. Louis a lesbian couple were kicked out of a hotel for kissing

During the Occupy Wall Street protests, the police have committed many inexcusable acts, and that includes some grossly transphobic treatment of one trans protester

In Canada's National post there has been a grossly transphobic advert along the standard "think of the children" lines

In Oklahoma, the Tulsa Beacon is outraged that the dreaded gays can be employed by the government - "perverts" are just unsuitable it seems. It boggles me that shit like this is even legal

In Sri Lanka a bigoted and deeply reprehensible newspaper article have details of a HIV charity that helped some gay men – it linked it to paedophilia in a grossly insulting way and has threatened their work – not helped by Sri Lanka's bigoted laws

GQ Australia asked Taylor Lautner if Dustin Lance Black hit on him when they had a business dinner together. Black is very not amused and I don't blame him. Seriously, enough with the idea of gay men as predators. We can sit down with another guy and not creep all over him, seriously

In Aberdeen, the possibility of gay clergy is leading to resignations by bigots And the numbers keep on coming – even if the clerics were celibate, these bigots wouldn't tolerate them

Also in Scotland Catholic Archbishop Mario Conti is in full, standard Catholic bigot mode over proposed marriage equality In fact, marriage equality is again uniting the Christian sects in hatred against us

Religious leaders in Honduras are demanding that the government bars Ricky Martin entry into the country. Can you guess why? Isn't it sweet to see Evangelicals and Catholics coming together – in hatred. While government did not agree with them they did ban children under 15 from attending the concert yeah – more of that damn gay men = predator trope that so sickens me.

Anti-gay preacher and lawyer, Pastor Himes has been a naughty boy with all that fraud. Of course, it's really the fault of gays an abortionists! I'm sure it makes sense in his little world.

In El Paso, Texas 2 pastors are fighting to recall the mayor and council for daring to grant equal health benefits to domestic partners see that Christian love.

While New York has finally granted marriage equality there are still some clerks who feel their religious bigotry should overrule the law

Also in New York, as Hassidic group is passing out grossly homophobic signs to Mikvehs and shuls, have also said that Jewish parents should prevent their kids going to libraries and has claimed that paedophilia has spiked since marriage equality passed That doesn't even make sense... even setting aside how grossly offensive the whole “gay men = sex predator” slur is, but why would us being able to get married increase paedophilia?!

In North Carolina a gay man has committed suicide when the Mormon church not only excommunicated him, but severed him from his children as well

In Nigeria would not only make marriage equality illegal (it already is in Nigeria), but imposes further criminal sanctions on people who witness or help same-sex marriages

Arkhangelsk in Russiahas joined several other regions in banning “promoting homosexuality” a law that makes gay activism illegal

In Serbia the parliament banned all public events for a weekend in an act that, yet again, effectively cancelled pride Apparently the police can't protect gay people from the sheer numbers of violent homophobes (so the solution is to punish the GBLT people). Bravely, the GBLT people had a picnic instead

At the UN, Uganda reports on its human rights condition – saying GBLT people recruit children. More hatred from the highest level and, no doubt, with zero consequences.

In Antigua, Attorney General Justin Simon is proud of his homophobia and insists that the genocidal law making our existence illegal will not change

Zimbabwe refuses to give condoms to prisoners because of their genocidal law that makes being gay illegal. Never mind the AIDS rates, hatred is more important

In North Cyrpus there have been more arrests of men for being gay. I've said it before but it needs screaming – these laws are genocide

Unsurprisingly, Belorus has banned pride again – in addition to banning the rainbow flag

A professor at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania is giving an education in homophobia – and abusing GBLT students

In Tennessee a high school head master assaulted a pupil because of his pro-gsa t-shirt. Gods forbid our youth ever have support – the bigots can't be having that!

And if there were any doubt that the gay panic defence was the reason Larry King's murderer wasn't convicted, the jury from that case have called Larry King the bully – yes, gay panic defence worked like a charm

A study has shown that anti-gay bullying is rife in northern Ireland's schools. Pretty much like everywhere else then, sadly

In New Jersey a teacher called being gay a perversion – that “breeds like cancer” isn't that a wonderful place for gay kids to learn? And of course her hatred is religious based

In Delaware a Christian school is removing all mentions of alumni from their website when they come out as gay

In Texas, a student was suspended for kissing another guy

In Ottawa, another gay teen commits suicide

In Manchester, a man who launched a homophobic attacked against a lesbian by setting his dog on her has been sentenced to 6 months in prison

In Sevenoakes 2 women attacked a lesbian couple while using homophobic slurs

In Vancouver a gay couple were attacked by a group of men shouting slurs as they walked down the street holding hands

In Sao Paolo a a gay couple were attacked and beaten by 2 men using anti-gay slurs It's just one of a series of attacks in the area.

In DC, a gay man as battered to death on his way home

In Minnesota, a gay couple were attacked by a mob for holding hands

In a 19 year old transman was attacked for being trans

In Florida 2 gay men were attacked by a gang

A gay Mexican man is seeking Asylum in the US after being detained for wearing a red dress – and then being raped 40 times one of the lesser acknowledged facts about male-on-male rape is that, while most of the perpetrators are straight, most of the victims are not. It's a depressingly not uncommon hate crime – yet we are cast as the sex predators.

In Moscow one of the few pride parades that was actually allowed by the authorities was attacked by a large number of thugs. There have been several arrests but given the givens I doubt that all or even most of them are of the attackers.

In Tennesee, 2 gay men were attacked by church officials to prevent them attending the service – and as a bonus? The pastor who ordered the beating was one of the gay men's father They engage in this vileness yet the Christian bigots claim to have the highground?

In Johannesburg, South Africa there have been a spree of murdered gay men

In Gaziantep, Turkey a trans woman has been murdered by her own brother

There's not a lot of information on this one, we're unsure of the source or location but the video shows a gay man being beaten and burned alive by an anrgy mob (obviously graphic) We believe it's Nigerian - but, sadly, we know this happens in several nations.

In Serbia, a woman was beaten and stabbed for wearing a GBLT shirt

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

Our give away – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, volume 1. Follow the instructions and remember to leave your contact details! Keep an eye on our Give away section to keep abreast of our latest give aways

Our weekly podcast is here. Our full archives can be found here.

Vampires and Impossible, Timeless Beauty standards
When vampires first entered folklore they were physically described to look like bloated leeches. When you think about this, it makes perfect sense because their entire diet is based on drinking the blood of others and the creature most associated with that in nature is of course a leech. Overtime, vampire folklore began to change. The modern vampire looks nothing like its predecessor. Today, vampires all have hard lean bodies, twinkling eyes (that is when they are not glowering and trying to look dangerous) ridiculous hair (think R. Pratz in Twilight) and are disarmingly gorgeous. This is true of both male and female vampires. With few exceptions, like vampire Eddie in True Blood and Tony, in Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, no matter how long they have been alive they are gorgeous. And those vampires that aren’t thin are clearly not intended to be beautiful.

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Vampire Diaries: Season 3, Episode 5: The Reckoning
The writers really should have titled this episode, "It's All About Elena Again." It galls me that this irritating character is the centre of this show. At any rate, for the first time this season, the kids all show up at school. Nope, they didn't actually attend a class -- school after all is only about having a centre for some sort of event. The kids are there to prank the school as part of a high school senior tradition. This involved gluing toilet seat lids and leaving mouse traps all over the school gym. Matt is the only one not into this, and all he think about is his dear departed sister. I think that this just smacks of attempting to make Matt's character relevant.

After much ridiculous high school pranks, Klaus shows up and sure enough silly Elena tries to run away. Hello, if you cannot outrun a vampire, you cannot possibly outrun a hybrid. Klaus is absolutely determined to find out why he does not have the ability to make more hybrids.

Read More 2 Fangs

Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 5: Slither
Cassie's grandmother starts asking suspicious questions of Cassie, suggesting she's finally got a clue But Chief Scooby Diana tells Cassie that Parent Circle had its powers stripped by Grandparent Circle as punishment for the whole burning people to death thing, so it's best to keep it all a secret (yeah I know there's some logic missing there)

Speaking of the Parent Circle, Dawn and Charles (Diana, and Faye's parents), the Bad Guys, are calling on the Blood Moon to find 5 other crystals linked to the one they have, with the help of the bound circle, to get their powers back, it fails though, the crystal is out of batteries.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

The Walking Dead
With the return of the Walking Dead season 2 we are doing a recap of every episode of the first season:

Season 2, Episode 1: What Lies Ahead 5 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 6: TS 19 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 5: Wildfire 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 4: Vatos 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 3: Tell it to the Frogs 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 2: Guts 4 Fangs

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, Book 4 of the Kate Daniels Series
We have another new epic here. Oh yes we do. There's a new evil in town, a powerful ancient evil that spreads plague and destruction and death – that can make warriors run in terror, that can fight the greatest fighters in the city with ease and leaves a trail of magically sentient plague behind. Not even the best experts in the city knows who this threat is, not Saiman, not the People, not the Order – and it's already moved through several cities leaving a swath of destruction and death. And if that weren't enough – for Kate, this may be a family matter.

With a new epic bad guy in town Kate has to literally save Atlanta – and the pack. But she's also coming to more and more attention of the servants of Roland – the ancient and enormously powerful leader of the People of the Dead seeking to re-establish a new empire. He's looking for her and with every battle it becomes harder for her to hide.

Read More 5 Fangs

One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost. Book 2 of the Night Huntress Series
Cat is back. Now at the head of her own government established force to police and hunt down vampires. 4 years have passed since the last book and she's grown to a powerful, confident leader and a lethal warrior.

But 4 years have also passed without Bones who she can't stop thinking about. As is almost inevitable, he finds her. But he's not the only blast from the past that shows up on her doorstep – her old boyfriend is leaking information about her too assassins and her father, the vampire who raped her mother, has finally raised his head on the scene and it doesn't look like a happy reunion

Read More 3.5 Fangs

‘Soulless’ by Gail Carriger, Book one of the Parasol Protectorate series.
Miss Tarabotti is a proper Victorian lady. The daughter of upper class, proper British society with all the refinement, expectations and proprieties that entails.

She’s also a spinster at the grand old age of 25, cursed by her Italian father to be too dark, have too bold a nose and far too bold a tongue to ever fit in proper, elegant, high society. Miss Tarabotti is also Soulless. Soullessness is a trait that she inherited from her Italian father and like everything derived from him is considered without doubt to be a negative.

Read More 4 Fangs

Jabril by D. B Reynolds
Having read Raphael, I went into Jabril with extremely low expectations. I must admit that I was mildly surprised with Jabril; however, Cyn, the protagonist, once again found herself mixed up in vampire intrigue, but this time it was at the behest of the master vampire Jabril. Cyn was initially hired to search for a missing girl, not because Jabril believed in her prowess as an investigator, but to irritate his rival Raphael.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Venom by Jennifer Estep, Book 3 of the Elemental Assassin's series
Gin's retirement doesn't seem to be sticking. This time Roslyn comes to her with nowhere else to turn, the vampire is being stalked by one of Mab's minions. The giant Elliot Slater. Her chief enforcer, he is a dangerous opponent with all the power of Mab behind him, the most powerful figure in the Ashland crime world. The authorities can't help her, justice and safety can only come from the Spider's knives.

And there's a new cop in town – honest, true, trying to do as much good as she can in a system that is corrupt and compromised to the hilt. Detective Bria Coolridge – Gin's long lost sister. Gin has to decide what to tell her sister, how to help her, how to protect her from Mab and her minions – while at the same time risking her profession as an assassin driving her away just as it drove away Caine.

Read More 4 Fangs

Lover Revealed, by JR Ward, Book 4 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
Our latest adventure with the Black Dagger Dudebros follows Butch, the human ex-policeman who lives with the Brotherhood and his long distant love affair with Marissa, King Wrath's ex-shellan who he first met in Dark Lover

After months with no contact during which they mistakenly think they both hated each other, Butch is forced to share a long quarantine with Marissa after a painful encounter with the lessers and the Omega himself. They rekindle their old love, but Butch is permanently infected by the darkness of the Omega and fears endangering her and the Brotherhood.

Read More 2 Fangs

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher, Short Story collection from the Dresden Files
I approached Side Jobs with a degree of caution and a firm determination not to let my own biases sway me. See, I don't like short stories. I don't. I don't even like stand alone novels all that much. I like great big epic series with huge great meta plots and development and drama and on the edge of your seat excitement.

And while all those are possible within the confines of a short story, they're usually not there. I was especially leery of reading a Harry Dresden short story simply because the best thing about these books is the epic within. I don't think I've read an author that can match Butcher for the epic – but nor do I think you can build up to good epic in a short story.

Read More 4 Fangs

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance of the Cassandra Palmer series
Though Karen Chance is quite prolific, I had not heard about her until I came across a post on Tumblr raving about her Cassandra Palmer series. I can't say what exactly spurred me to read one of her books, but I didn't go into it with great expectations, and so I suppose that there was nothing to let down by.

Touch the Dark, is the first book in the Cassandra Palmer series. Cassandra is a time travelling, clairvoyant, and as you might imagine, time travel lends itself to various timelines. When a writer chooses to go down this road, the plot must be clear and easy to follow. At times I had to go back and re read because I lost the thread of the story entirely. To give you an idea of the potential to be confused, take a look at the time line created by Chance, to help the reader follow her story.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Poor cat - shaaaame on her

*relaxing in living room with patio doors wide open*

*cat runs in as fast as she can and rockets upstairs*

*blackbird flies in behind her, buzzes round the room then flies out again*

Beloved: Uh... I think our cat just got chased by a bird.

Sparky: Ye gods, I'm embarrassed on her behalf. Do you hear me, Socks?! Shame on you, fail cat!

Beloved: Call yourself a predator?

*Cat is hiding under the covers on our bed*

*Bird hops around on patio just outside the doors*

Beloved: It's just mocking her now.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Curiosity is not an excuse

Ok, so I'm going to chew off another of the excuses that seems to be increasingly used when privileged people are confronted with various issues they've perpetrated - this one is Curiosity.

Now, this was recently raised as an excuse in Renee's recent post about people pawing black hair (and believe me, those unabridged comment threads would have been comic if they didn't destroy your faith in humanity).

I've also seen it invoked when I've complained about personal, sexual and otherwise invasive questions being asked of GBLT people that are none of the questioner's damn business and I can't imagine in what possible universe they thought it'd be an appropriate question to ask.

So, let's poke this curiosity thing and see why, as excuses go, I find it several steps behind "I didn't intend it that way!" as being reasonable and acceptable. I don't promise this to be an exclusive list of all that annoys about this excuse, but here are some that get on my grey hairs.

Ok, problem the first - curiosity about 'what' someone is really does other, exoticise and otherwise scream "strange" and "freaky" at someone. Let's face it, lots of curiosity about someone's marginalisation, about their bodies, about their lives, about their private lives really does yell out "oh my god so weird and different and straaaaange!" Shall we get David Attenborough in to make a documentary? It feels very dehumanising and very much like marginalised people are cast as weird weird weird. We're not creatures from the planet Zog, we're not an entirely different species we're not so different that we're alien to you - acting like we are is extremely othering especially in a society where you are both a minority and marginalised. We have enough reminders that this isn't our world, without more

Which brings us to "but I don't know any X people!" and "I've never met any of them before!" yeah, because being reminded that you're a minority is funsies! But even aside from that - much of this lack of experience comes from marginalised people either hiding and/or living in highly separated communities - which in itself is often a symptom of prejudice in society. The symptoms of prejudice don't really justify annoying its victims even more.

And from there, I have to say that this curiosity excuse is really really arrogant and disrespectful. Seriously, the whole argument that privileged curiosity gives them the right to touch another person, the right to access to their bodies is incredibly arrogant. The idea that curiosity is sufficient justification for a privileged question to ask for the most intimate details about someone, about their bodies, about their love life, about their lives is so amazingly arrogant. And I don't see how it cannot be disrespectful - their curiosity (which, as my grandmother would have said, when it applies to people it should be called "nosiness") is somehow more important than someone's privacy, personal space and the right not to have hands on them? Let's have a "no" there, shall we?

So, can we add "I'm just curious" to the big pit of excuses that really aren't? Y'know, slot it in between "I have X friends" and "but I didn't meaaan it that way"

This piece Originally Appeared on Womanist Musings where Renee allows to post my drabbles every Tuesday

Sunday, 16 October 2011

New Giveaway over at Fangs for the Fantasy! - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Walking Dead Graphic Novels have been won, which means it's time for a new giveaway at Fangs for the Fantasy

And this time we've gone for Buffy. Definitely one of the icons of Urban Fantasy, we could hardly ignore her and the Scooby Gang. So this month we're giving away Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume 1.

To enter, and for full details of the prize, click on this link and follow the instructions. Please remember to include your contact details either in the post or by email (we can't give a prize if we can't contact you)


Friday, 14 October 2011

Beloved cooks again.

So, I made pizza dough and froze it. Perfect basil, garlic and herb pizza dough. It's yummy.

I made, using Beloved's vast tomato harvest, jars and jars of tomato sauce for pizzas, bolognaise, mexican, chillis – you name it.

Right, these I made.

Now Beloved comes, takes the dough I made and the sauce I made and makes pizza. This, apparently, counts as “him cooking”. Hmmm, ok I'm a generous and wonderful person and will let him have the credit for that.

However, the pizza he made has just had to be thrown away. Thrown away! I never throw food away! My world war 2 living, rationing grandmothers are spinning in their graves! I can feel the ghosts of angry grandmas haunting me.

It was utterly inedible. Not only was it inedible but the taste stayed with me all night and made me not want to eat anything. Even drinking coffee was horrible – even the Tim Horton's stuff which is fairly decent.

I'd mock him for his failure but he looks so saaad. Awwww, he wants to cook, bless his eternal poisoning attempts. Well, maybe he'll learn his lesson. Anchovies and pancetta do not need to be on the same pizza – and the pizza sauce does not need extra salt and the last thing that creation needs is feta cheese.

Soooo much salt *tries to clean tongue* I have never eaten something so salty. (Stop it. Yes you were thinking it. Yes you were, don't claim innocence you know you were).

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

National Coming Out Day

It is National Coming Out day (today in the US and tomorrow here). A day to commemorate and encourage that arduous and liberating process of kicking down the door of that damn closet.

I've spoken about how damaging the closet is. And I've spoken about how tiring filtering everything we say and do is, the effort of constantly being on guard lest you reveal the big dark secret. Being in the closet is hard work, it's painful and it's soul destroying. Being in the closet is often a terrible way to exist

Coming Out is to be released form that and I don't think you can understand the power of that until you've been closeted or the relief and freedom until you've come out. This is why I get extremely irritated when straight folk appropriate the idea. Coming Out was and is the best thing I ever did and very little has felt as good. When I came out, after various dramas ended, there was and is a sense of freedom. There was a weight lifted and just being able to talk, just being able to be is so immensely beyond relief that I can't describe it. Just not having to lie, just not having to act

But being out is not simple. It's not, as we often think, a one time deal. Not only do you have to come out separately to everyone around you, but staying out can be fraught. Being out is, in many ways, a process. There are a lot of forces which will push you back in, a lot of times when you feel the urge to just let something pass, let the assumption go unchallenged. I've always had mixed success in being closeted anyway, but even then there are always chances to duck back into the closet. There's a sense that that door is always open if I want to run in and pull it closed behind me. There's always the pressure to go back into the closet by straight society that doesn't tolerate us. There's always the idea that you better police your behaviour in case you're too gay, always the accusation of flaunting and, of course, the belief that we're too obscene for some circumstances or in front of children.

Coming Out and STAYING Out takes work and takes courage. And part of this day, to me, is not just celebrating the glorious freedom of Coming Out, but also praising the courage of those who have Come Out and who remain Out despite the pressures out there.

What it is not, I feel, is a call or demand for people to Come Out

Yes, I've covered it before, there is never ever a demand to come out. Do not now or ever feel you are obliged to come out. Do not feel you have a duty to come out. No matter what people say about role models or whether we need more out {insert profession here} or whatever, never feel an obligation to come out. Do not ever feel guilty for not coming out, do not bow to pressure and do not feel you owe anyone to come out. It is your life, you do not owe it to anyone else.

Coming Out is a risk. There is nowhere in this world where it is perfectly safe to be GBLT. There is always a risk, always – and that's before we consider high risk location and the devastating effect that prejudice among friends, family and community can bring. I would love if we were all out – but I won't discount that risk or the lives lost.

And if anyone starts going off about “deception” then do us all a favour and give them a slap upside the head with a large wet fish, because that bullshit is ignorant, it's prejudiced and it's frankly vile. None of us owe full and complete disclosure in this bigoted world, and no few of us have to go down a very rocky path of realisation because of internalising of all the fuckery that is out there. If the straighties want us to stop “deceiving” them then they need to change their world to stop punishing us for being “open” and “honest.”

Similarly, any straight, cis folks out there with advice on whether or not we should be out or disclose? Don't. We don't need it, we know the issues way better than you do and it's hellaciously patronising.

Coming out can be freeing and yes, more visibility can help (though, personally, I don't buy into the idea that being more visible will make prejudice suddenly vanish. Maybe it'll reduce it, but no other prejudice has magically disappeared because of visibility so I doubt we will be so lucky) but no-one has a duty to be a martyr.

But if you feel safe and if you feel ready – it can be a wonderful, powerful experience to finally, finally be open. Taking a sledgehammer to those closet walls can be one of the best things that ever happened to you

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

Our give away –Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Walking Dead Graphic Novels!. Follow the instructions and remember to leave your contact details! Keep an eye on our Give away section to keep abreast of our latest give aways

Our weekly podcast is here. Our full archives can be found here.

Abuse as True Love in Paranormal Romance

We discuss the various common and destructive tropes in Paranormal Romance

There are a lot of tropes in paranormal romance that consistently raise their ugly heads - many of which we explain in our Lexicon

Many of these destructive tropes are often “justified” by being “explained by the woo-woo”. In other words, the fact that it is magic or some kind of preternatural creature doing these things makes it okay, not problematic or otherwise acceptable. So a possessive or stalking boyfriend is explained by being a werewolf or a vampire - therefore territorial. This has the additional problematic element of justifying or excusing the problematic behaviour - very reminiscent of the old excuse of “he can’t help it” and “it’s just his way.” or it’s the nature of whatever supernatural being that the author is discussing. Just as “I could smell your desire” sounds very much like “you want it really.”

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Vampire Diaries: Season 3, Episode 4: Disturbing Behaviour

I really liked this episode, faults and all. It's been awhile since I could honestly say that about an episode of The Vampire Diaries. After spending an entire summer chasing Stefan, Elena finally decided that it was time to move on with her life. Of course she didn't make the decision because she realized that is a cold blooded killer but because she finally believed him when he said that their relationship was over. Her next project it seems is to remake Damon in Stefan's image. It was clear as they were making chili for the founders day gathering that the chemistry between them was strong. I think it's worth pointing out that none of these so-called kids have attended school yet; however, they all found time to show up and once again worship the founders.

Liz took Damon to see Caroline's father Bill Forbes. Damon wants to kill him but Liz tells him that he cannot, because Bill is Caroline's father. After testing to ensure that Bill is indeed vervain free, Damon compels him to believe that he came to Mystic Falls, to take Caroline back to school shopping, which btw cracked me up cause they don't attend school, and then to leave town.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Lost Girl: Season Two, Episode Five: Brotherfae of the Wolves

Dyson has been visited by an old friend and packmate – Kaden. Y'know, I saw this and instantly thought “evil evil! he's so evil”. Because when you get an old blast from the past they're always dodgy and evil. It is known.

In the past Dyson and Kaden were mercenary warriors for the king Aelic – and were feared and lethal warriors. Dyson severed his ties with the king long ago, but now the king is dead after centuries of being involved in warfare and running his own extremely wealthy mercenary company.

We see a lot of flashbacks in this episode to Dyson's time as a warrior, including the last time he dealt with a norn and refused to give his wolf to save a friend's life. His friend ends up being betrayed by the king so the king could make his wife, Kiara, his queen which is why Dyson left the band.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 4: Heather

Well we open to see that Melissa (Doormat) and Nick (Hot Guy) seem to be having a much healthier relationship. I bet it can't last – more angst is needed. Meanwhile, Cassie is looking up Heather Barnes (her mother's old school friend) after Zachary mentioned she wasn't dead and that Cassie's mother did far worse than that to her. Cassie is looking her up because... because... actually I don't have a clue, maybe she's chronically bored or needs to top up her angst levels or something. Anyway she's googling. She does her best to find her, but her cyberstalking skills are sadly lacking as she tries to trace where she lives, what family she has and their contact details (she turns up a brother). Not perturbed, she goes to school and enlists the aid of Diana (Chief Scooby) to go on a happy stalking field trip! Yay!

Read More 2.5 Fangs

The Walking Dead: Days Gone By

With the return of the Walking Dead season 2 we are doing a recap of every episode of the first season:

The opening scene of this pilot is one of the best I've seen. We see the protag in an obvious disaster zone, surrounded by wreckage and scraps of people's lives – including children's toys. He is carrying a petrol can, looking for a resource most of us today take for granted. It is eerily silent except for the buzzing of insects clinging to the corpses of the dead. And then we see the Walker – a child, a little girl (evocative of all what we're supposed to protect) even carrying a teddy bear. And he shoots her.

A perfect introduction to the world of the Walking Dead..

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The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine, Book 2 of the Morganville Vampire Series

At the end of the last book, Glass House, Shane called in his father in a desperate attempt to save them from the wrath of Morganville's vampires. Of course, they managed to escape that wrath by earning the support and protection of Analee, the Founder of Morganville who had enough clout to keep them safe.

The problem is, Shane's father and his vampire slaying biker gang still arrived. And they're still looking for blood and they don't intend to leave without slaughtering as many vampires as possible, preferably all of them. In fact, it seems this was Shane's reason to return to Morganville anyway – to gather as much intelligence as possible in the eventual attack.

Read More 2 Fangs

Lover Awakened, by JR Ward, Book 3 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

And we have another adventure of the Black Dagger Dudebros in their continued quest to have lots of bar fights, have lots of sex and occasionally killing a lesser if one waves at them. Oh wait, I mean nobly and valourously defending the vampire species from the depredations of the soulless Lessers of the Lessening Society

This time it's Zsadist's turn to find his one true love. After escaping the clutch of the Lessers, Bella seeks refuge with the Brotherhood, especially with Zsadist who she feels safe with and feels compelled to seek his presence.

Zsadist must face these entirely new feelings he has. After years of abuse as a blood and sex slave, he must learn that a woman's touch does not bring pain – and find something within him that isn't hard and cruel and tortured. Bella restores his hope, hope that both he and his twin Phury had forgotten long ago.

Read More 1.5 Fangs

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge, Book 1 of the Black London series

When Pete Caldecot was 16 she saw something magical. With her sister's boyfriend, Jack Winter, they conjured something, a man of shadows and smoke, a creature Jack couldn't stop or hold within his circle. And Pete saw it kill him.

She's 28 now and a police inspector with the MET – and investigating a string of child abductions. The children go missing and the return, damaged and blinded, their energies drained. And there to help her is Jack, back from the dead, but driven to the edge by drug addiction and the pressures of his magic.

Read More 3 Fangs

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey: Book 2 of the Sandman Slim Novels

Kill the Dead is the second book in the Sandman Slim novels. You can find the review for the first book, Sandman Slim here. As with the first book, Kill the Dead involves Angels and Demons but this time the threat the walking dead, otherwise known as various types of zombies. The problem however is that the reader is not really made aware the the zombies are indeed the "big bad" in this book until Stark suddenly had to deal with them.

Unlike Sandman Slim, Kill the dead, is really quite disorganized. The plot just seems to float around while Stark has interactions with various supernatural beings. Elements are introduced that really go nowhere and at times the story is really hard to follow. The cast of characters is actually very large, making it difficult to remember the significance of each person.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Fallen by Lauren Kate. Book 1 of the Fallen series

Lucinda Price is a troubled teenager. In her last boarding school there was a fire and the boy she liked died – in very mysterious circumstances. Circumstances for which she was blamed, the shadow of which has hung over her since. Almost as literally as the shadows that follow her wherever she goes, shapes only she can see and hear.

Her past has lead her to Swords and reformatory school where she has to navigate a new place, a new system and friends who aren't what they seem. Right until the moment she finds herself ground zero in a heavenly war and at the heart of a tragic love story that has been repeated every 17 years for centuries on end

Read More 1 Fang

Monday, 10 October 2011

Slurs and hate speech


It's that simple.

No, I don't care what the “context” is. The context of these words is that they're dehumanising, lessening, othering terms that serve to reduce people, express contempt and plug into a history of hatred, violence and oppression. That is the context of these words. They bring their own context.

When you use them you don't divorce them from that context. You just spread the context – and the more you use them the more you make that context ok and acceptable. The more you present the idea that it's ok to refer to us by demeaning and dehumanising terms – which means it's ok to demean and dehumanise us – ok to present us as lesser, as other, as beneath. Whatever your reason is for talking about the f@gs doesn't change that you have put that word out there, with its context and its meaning, doesn't change that you, by your repetition, have added to making that word and the sentiment behind it acceptable.

And it's not ok.

And your context and your excuses don't help those who have had these used against us, whose flight or fight instinct kicks in the minute we see them, who have memories with teeth that are always waiting to ambush us. Your excuses don't prevent the panic, the fear, the worry, the constant looking over our shoulders

I don't care what a wonderful sterling record you have. I don't care how many pride parades you've been to, how many times you've spoken for gay rights, how many pretty speeches you've made

I don't care how funny you think you are.

And I don't care how little you didn't intend to offend people – because, frankly, that's not just bullshit, that's elephant turds. If you really had put any intent into not offending or hurting people, you wouldn't use hate speech, simple as.

And don't tell me not to be offended, don't tell me it doesn't matter, don't tell me it doesn't hurt me and don't tell me I'm wrong to think you're a homophobe. With every word you just dig deeper into the pit of privileged cluelessness. If you don't want me to think you're a homophobe, you shouldn't use their language.

And don't think your empty non-pology erases what you said. It's hate speech, it's simple and really obvious how not ok that is, it's not a "mistake" or an "accident" to use it. Don't think your "apology" means I should pretend it never happened

And let's hit the whole great mess of reclaiming. Personally I don't do it but many people do – the art of taking the attacks of the bigots, claiming them, making them ours and defying their ability to hurt and demean. So, yes, you will hear many marginalised people using slurs that are used against them. That doesn't mean you can.

You cannot reclaim a slur that can't be used against you. This is basic and so simple it's unreal how many people ignore it. If that word cannot be used to insult you, then you cannot “reclaim” it. You already own it. It's already your possession by right of you not being victimised by it. You can't turn it back on the oppressor because it has never been turned against you.

And, yes, this includes if you are marginalised yourself. Just because there are slurs that can be used against you doesn't mean you using slurs against other marginalised people. If it can't be used against you, then you can't reclaim it – even if you are marginalised, even if you have a similar marginalisation – the fact it can't be used as a weapon against you means you cannot disarm it. They're still weapons in your mouth, still attacks and still out of line. Simple simple simple.

And on the note of reclaiming, which I say again I don't like anyway, I side-eye reclaiming attempts that still use the words as weapons. If a gay man calls me a f@g to insult and attack me then how is that reclaimed? To me it sounds less like disarming a weapon and more like you're grabbing it and using it – and this is a weapon that's going to have a whole lot of friendly fire when the straighties hear you using it.

Which also brings me to add – if you've reclaimed something, it doesn't mean everyone else has to, has to tolerate you calling them that.

Y'know, the sad thing about all this is it's so simple my cat could understand it. But the same conversations keep happening and keep being ignored. This is not a difficult concept, nor is it exactly hard to manage. The languages of the world profide you with more than enough words to express yourselves without resorting to said arseholery

Sunday, 9 October 2011

If they were your friends, you'd treat them better

Ok some things hang around far too long. They're not only wearing out their welcome, but they're lurching around, rotting, smelling like an extra on The Walking Dead.

And most certainly one of them is that old, stinking excuse “I have X friends” (or cousins, or co-workers or employees or someone who once passed you in the street) and it's related zombies “My friend said X”.

Apart from anything else, it's useless. I'm always amazed when one marginalised person says “hell no” and then some privileged person turns round and says “but my friend says...”. Why? Why does your reported friend overrule the marginalised person in front of you saying it's not ok? Sometimes even multiple marginalised people are supposed to bow to this. Does your friend have the grand imperial veto or something? Supreme Godfather of the Gay Agenda? International President of all Black People? Supreme Dictator of Translandia?

Shockingly enough, even if your friend did say that (and more on that later), marginalised people do not have the same experiences, the same triggers, the same hurts, the same tolerances, the same minds. Your friend's lack of triggers, lack of offence, lack of hurt do not invalidate the hurt in front of you. This is especially true when I see such wonderfully ridiculous things as quoting a Lesbian friend over a Trans person's offence, or a South Asian friend over a Black person's hurt.

It's also highly disrespectful. I cannot imagine how using your friends like that – as a tool? As a pass? As a get out of prejudice free card? That's so dehumanising – you're using your absent friend as a weapon, a rhetorical flourish... yeah, that wouldn't impress me.

And I'm not even sure how reliable such testimony is. Firstly because, yeah, I'm going to be honest, the minute someone invokes their minority friends I tend to doubt the existence of said friends. Especially since some of these people must have a whole stable of minorities to invoke in times of privileged screw up. I swear, Dora, the black, trans, poor, disabled, jewish lesbian must have sooo many friends, she must be invited to all the best parties (to hang around in the corner until the conversation piece is needed anyway).

But secondly, I doubt it because without context knowledge or full disclosure there's no way if the (often conveniently edited and slanted) reports of what other people say actually reflect their opinion on the issue at hand. Hey, I'm a lawyer, I have no love for hearsay because it's so unreliable and so dubiously abused.

And y'know what? If my friend turns to me and says “was I homophobic?” then I'll probably lie. Or sugar coat. Or avoid. Or change the subject. Because, amazingly enough, those conversations are awkward, triggering, painful, no fun and generally something to avoid like door to door salesmen. Does anyone like arguing with their friends? Does anyone enjoy calling their friends out or slapping them upside the head? Even with the closetest and most trustworthy of friends you feel comfortable with are still not going to make for an easy and fun conversation – and, let's face it, a lot of us have a circle of people who call us friends that we're not alll that friendly with (especially with the thrice becursed GBF trope that has caused women who don't even know my name to decide I'm their bestest friends evaaaah!)

I'm the last person my friends should invoke as an expert on how much they're not a homophobe because if they were I probably wouldn't have given them an honest answer at least not entirely. Frankly, my most usual response to when they've given me grey hairs is to leave the room.

So when people say “but my gay friend says” (or any marginalised friend for that matter) I tend to think that there's some poor fool who spends a lot of time biting their tongue, cringing inside and trying to find a way to change the subject or head for the hills. And the more they invoke their friends to cover up some privilege the more I feel sorry for this hypothetical (and possibly mythical) friend.

Can we just stop this? It's disrespectful, unhelpful and ugly. And, frankly, I think we've all reached a point where the minute someone invokes a “friend” we think the whole “discussion” is over. It's like the new Godwin.

This post originally appeared at Womanist Musings where Renee has very generously allowed my random musings to appear on her excellent blog