talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Hatters’ Collectives are very secretive and magical things, indeed – they keep the best and brightest in hats, throw top-notch tea parties in Wonderland, and keep witches safe. Oh, yes – Miss Tick’s automatic pointed hat, the disguised wonder of the Discworld lowlands all covered in fake flowers? Hutmacherin von Hexen No. 13’s work. They provide fantastic millinery, safe routes, and correspondence services for nasty women everywhere.

This is actually November’s design, in honor of a nasty woman near you. Maybe even inside you. I’d apologize for it being so late, but I’m not nice. (I’m just right.) I can’t be bothered. It was created with the font “Stampede” by St Rachan, and a rubber stamp effect from Diego Sánchez.

My Redbubble and Zazzle shops have a range of wonderful items with this design on it – if you fancy picking one up:

Two-tone mug, or mason jar with handle (and without, for storing flowers or herbs).
Silver-plated locket.
Cream-colored stationery.
Single-sided acrylic keychain.
Purple round fridge magnet.
Hardcover journal for recipes, spells, and agendaing.
Spiral notebook for same.

That’s it, for now. If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Now it can be told! My reverse selkie story, “Watercolors” will be published in the upcoming Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Anthology, edited by Matthew McFarland. I can’t wait for you all to check it out; I’ll let you know as soon as I know the release date.

Things that I wrote: 

A Pinning Guide to Cat Safe Thanksgiving Centerpieces” over at Front Page Meews.
Our Favorite Fall Eyeshadow Trends” over at ISA Professional’s blog.
Winter Hair is Coming” over at ISA Professional’s blog, as well.

Things that I read:

Dr. Seuss was not even in the general vicinity of fucking around,” being an Imgur set of Seuss’s political cartoons.
#justfairythings: Fairy behavior is truly appalling,” being a set of fairy trufax.
The Photographer Representing her Non-Binary Friends as They’d Like to be Seen,” what it says on the tin.

Things that I made:

Catherynne M. Valente released a brand new Fairyland story this week, processing her response to the American 2016 election. “The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still” is free for everyone, and will be always. I formatted the ebooks for her, so you can download the story as PDF, EPUB, or MOBI as well.


A couple of weeks ago, I doodled up a quick Snorlax for the Thanksgiving-era fridge. After all, my #ThanksgivingGoals were to be fat and sleepy, which is pretty much Snorlax to a T. (I succeeded at this!)


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness heralds the coming of cookie season in my household! I drew one of Pusheen‘s adorable cartoons for the occasion.

Things that I’m excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.


Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

I’d like to preface this week’s round-up post with this: GET OUT THE VOTE, PEOPLE! Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!

Things that I wrote:

Cat Can’t Breathe? Feline Asthma: What You Need to Know, at Front Page Meews.
Fall Into Lush, Colorful Lips: Best Fall Lip Colors and Care, at ISA Professional’s blog.

Things that I read:

The Rain Will Make a Door I: Introducing British Fairy Traditions” by Dr. Alexander  Cummins.
Meet Eight New Afrofuturism Artists Creating a Future of Color” by Shaenon K. Garrity at i09.
The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret” by Bethy Squires at Broadly.

Thing that I made:


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness features Black Phillip preparing for Thanksgiving with lots of butter. So much butter in the creepy cornucopia of evil. Black Phillip based on Stuart Marcelo‘s wonderful character design that you can find on Behance.

Things that I am excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Yep, it was another week of writing behind the scenes on projects yet to be published! This happens often to the working writer. However, I should have some publications to share soon, and I’m putting together a special Halloween freebie to drop in the last weekend of October. You can make sure you don’t miss it by signing up for my biweekly newsletter: look to your right. The sign-up form is in my sidebar.

Things that I read: 

A Tale of Two Rulers, being a web comic by my friend Lorraine Schleter. It is by turns funny, dark, and touching – and altogether a great read for any fans of The Legend of Zelda.
You Really Have No Idea Who the Villain of Frozen Is,” being a hilariously convoluted theory by Steve Wetherell at Cracked.
This Storify of “Seanan McGuire on #NationalComingOutDay,” being full of important words.

Thing that I made: 


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness features a pune, or play on words! The adorably macabre reference illustration is “Headless Cat” by Siamés Escalante, who is doing #30scarycats on Instagram.

Things that I’m excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

So many things to share this week, and I’m excited about all of them! Let’s jump right in.

Things that I wrote:

A review of Roses and Rot by Kat Howard, featured over at the SurLaLune Fairy Tales blog.
A review of the Stranger Things soundtrack, over at Nerdspan.
Great Cats of History, Part 2, over at Front Page Meews.

Things that I read:

Salvador Dali and Walt Disney: A Forgotten Collaboration That Will Leave You Breathless,” being exactly what it says on the tin.
Delightful Ways We Refer to Groups of Animals in English,” being full of great collective nouns.
In Defense of Villainesses” by Sarah Gailey at will make you cackle with understanding.

Things that I made:

This be a preview of the banner.

This deliciously creepy wallpaper can be YOURS when you back the Kickstarter for Wine, which I told you about yesterday! Let me know when you’re a backer, and I’ll send you a download link for this wallpaper in a variety of sizes (including those perfect for Twitter and Facebook banners).


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness is in honor of Seanan McGuire‘s October Daye urban fantasy series! The 10th book just came out last week, so a rose goblin seemed appropriate. This drawing is inspired by kadharonon’s cute illustration on DeviantArt.

Things that I’m excited about:







Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

And, of course, I’m terribly excited about the Wine Kickstarter! Back it here: 


Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Most people are agreed that Disney deserves a whole lot of criticism, and that there is a danger to young girls, particularly, in wholly embracing the Disney brands being marketed toward them today. I’m down with these thoughts myself, and generally live with the principle that nothing should be consumed passively and without poking at it really firmly with a stick to see if anything gross falls out.

As most often happens with any Issue, though, you get people really far away on either side who would rather yell at each other than think critically. “Disney princesses are awesome and there’s not a single ounce of questionable ideals being hocked!” vs. “Disney princess are THE DEVIL and leading our young girls into passive lives of twinkling laughs hiding blackened innards of self-hate!” “KILL THE WITCH!” one side cries, while the other shouts “KILL THE BITCH!” and who knows which said which.

Eventually, articles like “Why Drag Queens are Better Role Models Than Disney Princesses” pop up in the Huffington Post and then I read the following:

“When it comes down to it, I respect drag queens. They are artists. They are able to conceptualize an idea and transform themselves — without the help of magic, I might add. They are risk takers. They are punk. But Disney princesses? They are a man-made franchise created to sell cheaply made shit to our daughters. They are a perpetuation of the stereotype of the weak, dumb woman who obediently waits for a man to come along and make her valuable.”

Many drag queens are fabulous, and some of them maybe aren’t, because that’s how people work. This post is not about them, but about what Disney princesses perpetuate. Let’s look at the evidence:

Snow White was cast out by the person meant to care for her and taken out into the woods to be straight-up murdered. She was shown mercy at the hands of the Huntsman, but still abandoned in a dark wood. Did she lay down and die? No. She found a family, found a way to fit in, and kept a welcoming heart regardless of her terrible experiences. She survived and thrived. Yes, she was poisoned, and yes, someone had to save her after that – but that wasn’t a conscious passive act.

Sleeping Beauty was hidden away in the woods with a trio of sweet Old Granny Fairies because Evil Fairy McAwesome put a hit on Aurora for her parents failing to invite EFM to the birthday party. (Maleficent represent!) Aurora didn’t know she was royalty, was kept far away from civilization, and lacked access to useful things like needles. But she still greeted each day with enthusiasm for life. Yeah, she spent most of the story comatose, but again, not passive through her own acts. (Aurora’s not the best example. Still, just gonna leave this here: “Once Upon a Dream” doesn’t have a single gendered word in it.)

Cinderella was abused and downtrodden, but she still managed to find hope in her heart, friends in unexpected places, and the ability to endure. She may not have had the means to conjure a beautiful dress for herself, but there’s nothing wrong with accepting a beautiful dress from a magical granny benefactor and going to a fancy party if you want to. There’s not even anything wrong with happening to fall in love with someone at that party. Cinderella was the one with the power to reveal herself and choose her fate at the end, even if the prince did come looking for her.


Ariel went after what she wanted, found a way to do the impossible, made foolish decisions along the way… and paid for them, and learned from them, and then actually saved her Prince before the tale was done. She also saves herself by having enough dexterity to dodge bolts of lightning when she’s a fish-woman out of water at the bottom of a whirlpool. And, yeah, Eric kills Ursula– through his previously established skills as a sailor, not because he’s a man, baby.

Belle grows worried for her father, goes to find him when their horse comes home riderless, and sacrifices her future to save his life. She makes the best of a bad situation, and yes, there’s a whole conversation about Stockholm syndrome to be had here. However, let’s focus on whether Belle is passive, given to gasps and twinkles: when she’s locked up while the townsfolk go to kill the Beast, she finds a way out with the help of her friends and then goes after the angry mob. She climbs out on a rain-washed balustrade to try and defuse a fight to the death, and show the Beast she’s supporting him. Yeah, he happens to turn into a human prince and they get married. Presumably she spends the rest of her life in fabulous clothes reading a never-ending library, and what the hell is wrong with that? (The fabulous clothes and reading a never-ending library bit, clearly there’s a problem with marrying one’s former captor. Discuss Stockholm syndrome with your kids, folks!)

Pocahontas? Bad-ass tracker and protector of the people she cares about. Mulan? Hides her sex and goes to war, then saves the entire Empire through cleverness even while wearing a, gasp, dress. (Also promotes cross-dressing both ways!) Jasmine defies separation of the classes, refuses to marry a suitor not of her choice, and rescues both herself and Aladdin at least once. Rapunzel defends herself successfully against an intruder, and then hijacks him as a tour guide. Tiana maintains an amazing level of hope and industriousness in the face of a whole lot of bullshit, and builds the restaurant of her dreams through hard work AND the connections she forges through her willingness to take a gamble. Merida, the latest addition to the princess line-up, literally lives for archery and breaks a generations-old marriage requirement because it’s ridiculous– all while learning how to empathize with other people and knit her family back together.

In their actual stories, where’s the bit about them all just simpering in amazing dresses with big hair and doing nothing but gasping in the face of danger?

The actual princesses themselves have many traits worth emulating. Like all heroes, they are not above criticism. No one should ever be – you should always think critically about who you admire, and understand everyone has faults. It doesn’t mean the good things aren’t worth aspiring to.

It’s the Disney Princess Marketing Machine that tries to reduce them to fancier dresses than they originally wore, to generic looks reaching for some homogenized and disturbing ideal, to couture so they can sell make-up to adults and inspire fashion designers to advertise them in up-scale shop windows. It’s the DPMM selling them as Princesses (TM) who have their personalities sanded off and are meant only to be seen decorously standing about with awesome hair and fancy accessories.

That’s not Snow White with a broom in her hands, singing with a blue bird. That’s not Belle, climbing a ladder in a library, or finding a sunny field to read in. That’s not Tiana, with her sleeves rolled up and rolling out some dough or balancing her business’s accounts. That’s not Mulan helping her fellow soldiers learn to fight, or Ariel powerfully swimming through strong currents and ultimately deciding to be part of another world.

Check your hate for the Disney princesses themselves, and redirect your censure to the Disney Princess marketing machine. It needs dismantling far more than we need to destroy the stories it’s feeding on.

(Also, talk to your kids, and give them an Ada Lovelace doll for every Ariel mermaid toy, and a Marie Curie science kit with stern warnings about radiation alongside every fancy Merida dress. A dress which can and will go fabulously well with any bow of your choice. Our kids are bombarded with messages every day, but we can still be their strongest filter.)

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Once Upon a Time! Why do you keep hitting yourself? More importantly, why do you keep hitting your AUDIENCE?

Look. I really like you, okay. Like, REALLY like you. I don’t want to break up. You fill an important place in my life, and you’re making fairy tales more seriously mainstream even with all your missteps. You’re doing valuable work.

We could be so much more together.

I mean, you do some stuff right. You employ Robert Carlyle. Brilliant decision on your part. You also sometimes manage to demonstrate just how thorny and nuanced fairy tales truly are! It’s not all Prince Charmings and True Love’s Kiss, but also hard work and blood and pain and betrayal and hard decisions. You prize cleverness and goodness, and show where wickedness can have genuinely good intentions or innocent beginnings. Props where props are due.

But you’ve gotta stop abusing my trust. Full stop. “The Outsider” and– more importantly– the character of Belle screams this in big sparkly letters:

(I will cut you with my literalness.)

Here are 5 things I’m gonna need you to cut the hell out, right now:

1. Your OTP of Belle/Captivity. 

Sassy Belle is not impressed by your shenanigans.

One of Belle’s key quotes from this series is “No one decides my fate but me.” This is terribly ironic, since she can’t seem to stay out of captivity. Her story begins in captivity, though her first captor has the decency to fall in love with her and set her free. Then she’s locked up by the Evil Queen in two different worlds, and freed only thanks to the intervention of a certain Mad Hatter. (Jefferson! You sexy bitch!)  Next, her own father organized her kidnapping and imprisonment in a runaway mine car, since he thought mindwiping her was such a better fate than being in love with Rumpelstiltskin. (Wow. That’s quality parenting.) Then there was that time that Ruby shackled her in the library for her own good. ‘The Outsider” had her briefly trapped in an elevator, briefly cornered on a ship, and finally showed her capture by the Evil Queen back in FTL. And I missing any? Probably.

I would just really like an entire episode about Belle where she is not consigning herself into captivity, being threatened because of who she loves, being kidnapped, being locked up for her own good, or being aggressively told to stay out of things for her own good.

2. Your Allergy to Montages.

We're going to need a montage! ...even Rocky had a montage.

You know what can help a story that’s small due to time and budget constraints seem longer than it is? A montage. Trey Parker wrote a song about it and everything. In Once Upon a Time, we’re asked to believe that Belle and Rumpelstiltskin developed an entire relationship based on one fall from the curtains and incredibly brief repartee as Belle – well, there’s just no other way to say this. As Belle prunes a rose that used to be her former suitor to better fit him into a vase.

That’s just one example of the brief, slipshod storytelling OUAT has periodically asked us to swallow. Another? How about Belle tracking down the Yaoguai in a few brief hours, and then doing it all again with Mulan before the day was out? (Sorry, guys, last time I checked, actual people experienced with the actual woods beat book-learnin’ every time. Books are a great place to start, but nothing trumps experience in tracking. Which Mulan has tons of. This should have been adjusted to involve them having to work together rather than Belle just being more capable because of her book.)

Montage! Why the hell did neither of these situations call for a montage? For fucks’ sake, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast does the romance better! WITH A MONTAGE! And I would have liked Belle’s adventure to have lasted a few weeks, which tracking down a ravening fiery beast that is tricksy enough to hide for weeks from a skilled (former) member of the Chinese army seems to call for.

3. Your Supernatural Inconsistency.

Sorry. My nose just doesn't work this week.

So, Ruby. Werewolf, right? Very tragic back-story. Killed her boyfriend Peter. (Wow, that Russian story did NOT turn out like we thought.) Has to wear a red cloak to prevent herself from changing, which is okay, since it’s pretty bitchin’. (Red Riding Hood-lover here, trufax.) Learned control, lives with grandma (who doesn’t need no huntsman, no how), almost got killed by a mob a few episodes ago.

You know what she also did just a few episodes ago? She smelled a piece of clothing that Belle had been wearing, and successfully followed her fading scent across a number of streets before losing it.

She tracked Belle. A person relatively new in her life. By scent. In the middle of a small town.

So… why the fuck did she not realize the corpse in “The Cricket Game” (and, considering the funeral, in “The Outsider”) wasn’t Archie? I suppose you could argue that Cora disguised the corpse so thoroughly that she also replicated Archie’s scent, but. She didn’t even thoroughly disguise herself as Regina well enough to fool PONGO. Ruby was ACROSS THE STREET when Cora-as-Regina walked into Archie’s office. Intentionally letting Ruby see her. If she knows a werewolf is in town, paraded her disguise right in front of said werewolf, and yet couldn’t even entirely fool Pongo? I don’t feel comfortable buying she replicated all-things-Archie in the corpse.

This isn’t the only bit of supernatural inconsistency on the show, of course. Just the one that annoyed me here in “The Outsider.” Let’s not get lost in the finer points of heart-removal or the mind-boggling logistics of a child growing up in a cursed town where time didn’t move for anyone else.

 4. Your Obsession With Snowing. 

That's right, Charmings! Cover yourselves!

Okay, fine, your love story between Snow White and Prince Charming was the central focus of S1. You know what, though? You’ve beaten it to death. TO DEATH. I was sick and tired of Mary Margaret and David by the middle of the first season, and I’m not the only one. I actually snicker now when they invoke their “I will always find you” shtick  Yes. You will. We know this. There’s no narrative tension there anymore. The series has grown so far beyond them, that it’d be nice for other interpersonal relationships to get more screen time. Like Belle and Rumpelstiltskin. Considering that relationship involves a man’s bitter struggle to redeem himself, I assure you that it’s infinitely more interesting than your two goody-goodies who are firmly entrenched as a couple.

Here, I’ll give you a list of relationships that need more screen time: Emma/August, Emma/Neal, Emma/Jefferson, Emma/Regina, Emma/Anyone, Regina/Anyone, Grumpy/Nova, Ruby/Archie, Ruby/Woods, Belle/Freedom, Belle/Rumpelstiltskin, Hook/Getting-Beaten-by-Things, Cora/Regret, etc. ad nauseam. (I am aware some of these relationships don’t exist. But they COULD.)

Hell, we don’t even have to spend the screen time on romantic relationships. There are plenty of parent-child relationships that desperately need the time. Here’s another list: Emma/Henry, Regina/Henry, Regina/Standing-Up-to-Cora, Jefferson/Grace, Geppetto/August, Belle/Moe, Snow White/Emma, Charming/Emma, and yeah.

Less time on Snowing, please, more time on anything else.

5. Your Habit of Fridging/Compromising Promising Heroines.

What the fuck are the writers THINKING?!


This is the most egregious fault, OUAT. Just. Look. You do know that Mulan joined the Chinese army and distinguished herself there, right? She had training? As a warrior? Also, she’s really remarkably clever. Yet so far, in OUAT, you’ve had her aver that she was Phillip’s best chance against the wraith and then do nothing once she found him but cling to Aurora and scream? Flat-out run away from ogres? At least she fought some undead. But then, in a flashback story with her fresh out of the army, you made her an abominable tracker and had her send a bookish adventurer on her own to deal with a rampaging demon. I don’t care if she was wounded! Mulan would have wrapped that fucking leg, and hobbled down there on a damn crutch if she had to. She was the one with martial training, and she would have been invaluable in directing Belle.

I know that’s not really fridging, so let’s move on to Belle. Belle was so promising. As arguably my favorite Disney “princess,” I’ve always valued her bookishness, compassion, and thirst for adventure. I had hopes that the show would develop her as more than Rumpelstiltskin’s chance at redemption, but a full-fledged character in her own right. Instead, we get flashes and hints that she is, but no meat. We don’t even get a good look at how the Rumbelle romance is actually developing. Instead, with the most screen time since she was last kidnapped, “The Outsider” gives us a taste of Belle’s glorious potential — only to rip it all away in a horribly literal way thanks to Hook and the accursed town line.

I’m sure it’s going to be reversed, and there’s the potential that we’ll see what Belle is really made of as she struggles back to herself. It’s equally likely that it’ll be broken with magic and very little effort on her part. But none of that matters here, because the character was compromised just to cause Rumpelstiltskin pain.

Oh well. At least Hook got hit by a car.

Once Upon a Time Are You Kidding Me? out.


Note: I made the glittery banner using The amazing Hook/Car GIF was done by wondertwinc over on Tumblr.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Welcome to “Once Upon A Are You Kidding Me?”, a new tradition I just started that will bring you the best worst parts of Once Upon a Time and maybe stop me from wanting to punch various members of the Charming family in the face. (But probably not.)

Hiatus is over, and this show is back with a ship-load of mommy issues. That ain’t even a metaphor. There’s a literal ship. Cora’s on it, so you know Storybrooke’s fucked for the foreseeable future.

The original Evil Mother Archetype. Also Rumpelstiltskin's fault.

Just before the winter break, we found out that Cora was the Queen of Hearts (seriously, did anyone NOT see that coming?), that Regina sent Hook to kill her mommy dearest (because she has a soft side, but not THAT soft), and that her mom still outmatches her at Evil Queening and meant to leap out of the coffin Regina put her in and put Regina in it instead (or something involving removable hearts, I don’t know).

Of course, then Regina told her mom’s corpse that she still loved her and Cora decided to go back to the emotional manipulation and torture rather than skipping straight to death. She only wants what’s best for her daughter, you’ll see!

This brings us right up to the point of my post: How do you solve a problem like Regina?

What did you expect with a mother like mine? Also: Rumpelstiltskin again.

I am a sucker for redemption storylines, which means that Regina has my undivided attention this season. Okay, that’s a lie. Robert Carlyle still owns me on this show, and continues to be my main reason for watching it. He has a fever… and the only solution… is more scenery-chewing!

Once upon a time, Rumpelstiltskin did everything. The end.

Okay, that’s another post entirely. Back to Regina. Redemption storylines and lost children and broken people just trying to make families work are pretty much my narrative bread and butter. Emma’s relationship with Henry is what drew me into this show, but it’s turning into Regina’s relationship with Henry that’s keeping me coming back (apart from the RC).

I appreciate that Regina was essentially the Devil in Fabulous Couture (look, she wore a lot more than the occasional blue dress) in FTL, but I’m thinking that Storybrooke needs to take a page out of the Fabletown Charter here and get to making a General Amnesty. I mean, Regina’s not the only baddie running around. Why the hell did no one immediately worry about King George when the curse broke? If I was David, even with all the other shit going down, I sure as hell would have spared a thought for my estranged, murderous quasi-adoptive dad. I’m also sure there’s a variety of witches, trolls, evil dukes, murderous husbands, and the like likewise lurking about the place. We need organization, trials, and amnesty-granting-if-applicable. Stat.

But going beyond that, Storybrooke has been treated as the land of Second Chances for so many of these characters. In a way, it’s their afterlife, complete with personally tailored trials leading to enlightenment . The alleged ultimate Good Guys should be standing firm and making sure Regina gets as much of a fair shake as everyone else, assuming she’s willing to put the work in.

Wait, I didn’t even tell you what I was bitching about. See, Archie supposedly got murdered this episode. Here’s what’s ridiculous about “The Cricket Game”:

1. Police procedure? Fuck police procedure. If you think that Emma set up a police cordon, documented evidence, or engaged in any forensic procedures at all, you’d be sadly mistaken. She just ran in and looked at a corpse. She did not even order an autopsy of said corpse, even though there was no apparent physical evidence of how death occurred. Instead, she immediately listened to circumstantial evidence from a biased third party.

2. Dog memories! Fuck sense impressions and the fact Pongo knew it wasn’t actually Regina. Instead of utilizing any forensic procedures, Emma decided to embrace MAGIC. She doesn’t understand magic, nor does she understand how magic might be manipulated to tell a different story. She doesn’t even wonder if maybe a human trying to interpret a dog’s memories – something based on smell as much as sight – might not give them a perfect picture of events. (This was maddening, especially since we-the-audience know that Pongo knew Regina wasn’t Regina in the murder scene. There may have been yelling at the television.) But, hey, Emma didn’t think forensic science was useful at all! So why should she be logical enough to realize maybe she’s not precisely equipped to translate a dog’s memories?

Also, guys: their star witness is a dog, and not even a dog that can talk. No special intelligence there. Just a dog.

3. Magic! Fuck the fact we know we have it and it can do shit like make disguises. There’s magic loose in Storybrooke now. Everyone seems to be assuming that only Rumpelstiltskin and Regina have it (since there’s no reliable reserve of fairy dust), which definitely blows my mind. See aforementioned comment about how there are probably all kinds of witches and sea-witches and the like running around. There are a lot of fairy tales, guys, and plenty of naughty magic-users in them. Emma knows nothing about magic or how it works, so she should be assuming that magic can do ANYTHING. Her supposed super-power told her Regina didn’t know Archie was dead. You’d think she would have theorized magic was used to frame Regina – the most hated woman in town – before they went straight to dog memories.

4. Redemption! Fuck your redemption, Emma’s the only one who gets to redeem herself for her son. It pisses me off to no end that Regina’s positive actions are completely ignored by the so-called Good Guys on the show. Snow White is supposed to be this incredibly compassionate woman who has wanted nothing more than to see Regina trying to fix things.  Somehow, however, she completely misses that Regina risked her own life to open the well for her and Emma. And I guess Charming never bothered to fill her in on what Regina did to stop Daniel, aka her One True Love, aka the source of her conflict with Snow. All to save Henry! (Okay, so Charming doesn’t know what precisely happened. He does know Daniel disappeared.) The characterization of Snow, Emma, and Charming is horribly inconsistent when it comes to Regina.

Then there’s this, from “The Price of Gold”:

Followed by this in “The Cricket Game”:

Way to not be a hypocrite, Emma.

5. Mothering! Fuck the fact that I should support what you want, I’m gonna isolate you and abuse the hell out of you. Horowitz and Kitsis are on record as saying that the motivation for every single character in this show comes down to love. In the case of Cora, this makes me horribly sick. She is the consummate abuser, and, yes, it’s true that love and abuse can be so very tangled that you can’t separate one from the other. It’s also true that the abusive parent or spouse is a very basic premise in a number of fairy tales, a way of teaching people that those who love you (or should love you) can still hurt you in terrible ways and that it’s okay to fight back. It’s still awfully uncomfortable to watch, and makes me root for Regina even more and even despite the awful things she’s done that still require atonement.

Look, it’s okay if the show wants to break Regina down to her most basic parts, so that all that’s left is her and she can choose to stand back up as a decent person. I don’t mind that all. Very Inanna of them. Yes, please, let this glorious goddess be broken so she can remake herself. What I do hate is stupid writing, and stupid writing is what’s driving this plot. Characters are making bad decisions. That are out of character.

At least the show’s not falling down too terribly on the dialogue front, and let me tell you: the Evil Queens continue to have the best damn dialogue on this show. To wit, two awesome barbs thrown by Regina and Cora this episode:

Dr. Hopper: I said nothing specific. I would never betray the doctor-patient confidentiality.
Regina: Doctor? Doctor?! Need I remind you, you got your PhD from a curse!

* * *

Hook: If that’s him, then who did you kill?
Cora: How do I know? It’s my first day in town.

Once Upon A Are You Kidding Me? out. We’ll meet here again the next time OUAT is the worst.


Once Upon a Time GIFs courtesy of athomewithlana and vollha, both on Tumblr. If I’ve mis-attributed any gifsets, please let me know and I’ll correct my mistake.

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Happy news! The March issue of EMG-Zine, all about dance, is now live: within its pages, you will find my very short story "When Death Dances." Please, do give the magazine a read-through! And, if you've a mind, tell me what you think of my sort-of fairy tale about dance and La Muerta.

I've recently begun blogging for Cabinet des Fées, although both of my early blogs have been reviews of one kind or another. I'm incredibly grateful to Erzebet for the opportunity to do so, and hope all of you will check Cabinet des Fées often (or join [profile] cabinetdesfees , where the notifications come to you) to see what new content has gone up between official issues. I'm not the only contributor: besides my two reviews linked below, Donna Quattrone has reviewed Impossible by Nancy Werlin.

My first blog went up on February 17th, and contains a rather personal look at the fairy tale "Brother and Sister" through the lens of Terri Windling's poetry and Lisa Stock's short film:

I remember, perhaps ten years ago, first reading Terri Windling’s "Brother and Sister." I was in college, on my own for the first time and, in several private ways, learning what it was to survive. It was the afternoon, golden light sliding through autumn trees and filtering through an unclothed window. I was thumbing through one of my favorite sites, The Endicott Studio, and there it was.

"do you remember, brother / those days in the wood…"

I read, rapt. I read again. And then I abandoned that cold dorm room of linoleum and concrete for the college green with its fringe of wood. I ached to leap and run, but I settled for hugging my goosebumped-arms and walking down to the white gazebo near the pond with its overgrown banks. Perhaps I wrote some; perhaps I only dreamed. Windling’s words rattled inside me, sowing fierce joy and nettling discontent.

[Read the rest of the article at this link.]

My second blog post, which went up just yesterday, covers Syfy's announcement that their new brand of Saturday Night Original Movies will be re-imagined fairy tales and the rather awful Beauty and the Beast that served as their launch piece:

Most of you are probably already aware of Syfy’s new Saturday night original movie plans: seeking fertile ground after endless iterations of disaster movies and mega-monsters, Syfy has turned their sights on fairy tales, legendary figures, and classic children’s literature.

It’s not completely surprising: Syfy’s airing of Tin Man in 2007 and Alice last year suggested a quiet testing of the waters, feeling for viewer response to dark re-imaginings of familiar childhood tales. I haven’t seen Tin Man, the bleak and fantastical riff on The Wizard of Oz starring Zooey Daschanel, but I’ve heard it wasn’t a waste. Its ratings were phenomenal (for Syfy) and it was nominated for several Emmys, one of which it won. This past December, I was fully immersed in the fan response to the grungy and noirish Alice starring Caterina Scorsone and Andrew Lee Potts — Alice in Wonderland post-legendary age, basically — and there is a relatively small, yet dedicated and thriving fanbase. Critical reception, on the other hand, has been much more tepid. (For my part, I thought Alice had great potential, but that’s a topic for a future review.)

[Read the rest of the article at this link.]

Discussion is keen! Share any thoughts you might have over in the comments sections at Cabinet des Fées!

This entry was originally posted at Livejournal on March 3rd, 2010. You can comment here or there.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
Dude, the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta is putting on The Little Pirate Mermaid tomorrow. I have no idea what the story is but, c'mon-- how can it not be cool?*

I wish I could go! But at $14 a pop, it's not happening, even if that does include a puppet workshop after. However, if anyone in Atlanta is reading this -- it's tomorrow, at 12:45 PM, located on Spring Street. More detailed information is available at the Center for Puppetry Arts website.

* Upon reading, I discover that it's Andersen's classic tale, except with a pirate instead of a prince. Oh, that pirate mania!


Mar. 8th, 2009 11:39 pm
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
Sometimes, you need to be silly. Sometimes you need to do silly things to relax. Some people read trashy novels. Some people shout and dance about. Other people make LOLCats.

[ profile] seanan_mcguire spontaneously improvises a skit of Little Red Riding Hood in LOLCat with her friend Amy.

And what can I say for myself? The power of LOLRed compels me. Go read the original post, then come back here for a little... visual aid.

LOLRed, in three panels, featuring the artwork of Gustave Doré. )
talkstowolves: We love stories that subvert the expected. Icon inspired by In the Night Garden, Valente. (not that kind of story)
March 4th, 2009, sees a new edition of Cabinet des Fées online. I haven't had time to fully appreciate the new offerings up at Scheherezade's Bequest, but I can tell you that I've read [ profile] shadesong's poem "Twelve" and it is marvelous. Bloodthirsty and marvelous!

My debut review with Cabinet des Fées is online with this update as well, a look into the intriguing fairy tales of Oscar Wilde:

Oscar Wilde is well known for his wit, his plays, his poetry, his scary aging portrait, and the trials regarding his homosexuality — famous perhaps for everything he's ever done except his fairy tales. Well, here's a tidbit for you: those fairy tales represented one of his first major works to see print in the form of The Happy Prince and Other Stories published in 1888. Jack Zipes even suggests, in his excellent afterword to the Signet Classic edition, that it was in the deceptively simple, evocatively rich, and satire-ready language of fairy tales that Wilde first began developing his unique voice. [Read the rest of the review at this link.]
talkstowolves: We love stories that subvert the expected. Icon inspired by In the Night Garden, Valente. (not that kind of story)
Have you ever thought of Cinderella as a translucent, clockwork princess? Or as a girl misshapen, not physically beautiful under layers of ash, but used and spent and broken as only the least cared-for objects can be? Have you imagined the moon to be a scientific and exacting goddess, the only truth in a sky full of ghost-fires and hope-inspiring lies?

I can't say I had either. And, when I heard that Catherynne M. Valente was writing a steampunk version of Cinderella for the inaugural installment of her Omikuji Project, I was somewhat skeptical. Intrigued, too, and I wanted to see if would work.

Inarguably, it did.

Before I could even finish reading the short story, I found myself reaching out to the author:

"You write true fairy tales."

It was all I could say. A simple statement, unadorned, yet reflective as a deep-bottomed pool. True fairy tales, in my experience, are those tales that pierce me deep, stir something hungry inside me, and (at times) prick tears to my eyes. They get under my skin, turn a key in my heart, and unlock something both beautiful and monstrous: the Wood.

I was not able to afford the paper edition of this gorgeous short, "The Glass Gear." I received the e-mail PDF, complete with a digital collage Catherynne made to accompany her writing. I have heard, via the Omikuji Project community (at [ profile] omikuji_project), how beautiful the physical manifestation of this story was: printed on fine paper, a folded secret, sealed with a waxen seal, a soft kiss direct from author to reader.

One lucky person even received a necklace entitled "Not the Stars, But the Moon," beaded by Catherynne and inspired by "The Glass Gear" (or, rather, pulled from the same well), as the winner of the "sacred lottery." Since that's what omikuji actually are, a sacred scroll secured from a Shinto shrine in hopes of good fortune, Catherynne has promised to send one random subscriber a small and unique gift each month.

In short, Catherynne here created a beautiful and unique experience.

She is doing this again. And again. Each month, for the forseeable future, she will be sending out these small stories to her not-so-modest collection of subscribers. She's using the funds to supplement her household income between novels, but she's also using the project as a way to say thank you to all those readers who've supported her throughout her still-young career.

Unless given permission by the community, Catherynne won't be allowing these stories to be published elsewhere. Luckily for you, you can still read "The Glass Gear" if you want to: just subscribe to her project, and elect to download it as a $2 PDF. (This is her set price for back-issues.)

You'll be glad you did. And, if your heart is pierced as mine was, consider tipping your writer. She'll be here for a lifetime if we treat her well.

The Omikuji Project.

Review archived at my website here.
talkstowolves: We love stories that subvert the expected. Icon inspired by In the Night Garden, Valente. (not that kind of story)
I saw Pan's Labyrinth today at the Rave. Ten minutes after the movie was due to have started, I had to get up and tell the staff that we wanted the movie and were tired of listening to Judy Garland and Olivia Newton John. The staff were indifferent at best and desultory at worst. The pimply-faced mouth breather who apparently went to fix the problem didn't even acknowledge my complaint before turning from me. I really need to write a letter to the company as I have literally had to complain about some careless mistake every time I've gone to the theatre since I've been back in the country.

But! That is not the subject of this post, oh no. We wish to speak of Guillermo del Toro and the magic he has wrought in El Laberinto del Fauno.

"Long ago in the Underground Realm, where there are no lies or pain..."

This movie was the best example of a fairy tale that I've seen in a long time. This was a tale of the Wood, and a house in the Wood. There was blood and terror and being true to yourself no matter the cost (and there were grave costs). There were unlikely friends, both fair of face and foul, who offered what help they could when those who should care were either dead or monstrous. There was a labyrinth inside a labyrinth and golden keys brought forth from filth only took you so far before actual blood was required.

The score was brilliant as well: darkly melodic and haunting, just like the movie. The orchestral arrangements engrossed me, completing the spellbinding effect of the visuals and the storyline. I may well have to purchase the soundtrack with some of this birthday money...

The fantastic elements really only take up a small amount of the movie, however. The rest of the narrative depicts the Spanish Civil War, a struggle that took place concurrent with World War II. The story of Ofelia and her labyrinth unfold against the struggle between the Fascist government and the Communist rebels.

Even though this struggle is shown in a most real and brutal fashion, replete with guerilla warfare, prisoner torture, and rebel intrigue (not to mention machismo machinations and military politicking), I feel that I must point out the fairy tale elements interwoven with this real world story. The profession of Ofelia's father, the way in which the Captain married her mother, and other such elements of the narrative were riddled with fairy tale tropes.

I'll definitely be seeing this movie again at the Capri come the end of the month. I actually won't have to complain to the staff and can just focus on once more enjoying the richness of this film.

Oh, also, Andy complained about the English translation of the film's title, pointing out that it should be The Labyrinth of the Faun rather than Pan's Labyrinth. I agree, but also realize that Pan's Labyrinth gives the movie a certain edge in attracting public attention: it sounds dark, fascinating, and haunting. Besides, Pan is one of the few named fauns around. His name gets a lot of mileage. Mr. Tumnus' Labyrinth just wouldn't have flown, y'know? (And I'll just end this post here, refraining from entering a discussion how fauns are a Roman-derived belief, but Pan was originally Greek and possibly more related to satyrs-- themselves originally different to fauns. Er, yes, done.)

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