Hello Ello: Why The Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend Needs to End

Hello Ello: Why The Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend Needs to End.

This, so much this.  I’ve been seeing other people talking about this issue of YA shelves filled with covers of only young, white, modelesque girls in….not enough places.  So, I’m adding it here, too.

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She Breathes Fire

In honor of the Maleficent film being made, I bring out an old Maleficent fanfic that I wrote several years ago.  This is the kind of thing my brain likes to do when I’m really supposed to be planning out something else.

 

Maleficent’s scales gleam darker in the firelight, appearing black rather than purple. The lighter hue of her underbelly never alters, leaves her feeling exposed. The veins around her heart pounded hard enough to be seen through even a dragon’s thick skin. Maleficent hated it. Hated anything that reminded her of her weaknesses. She spent years attempting to thicken her skin, to toughen her delicate veins till no movement would be perceptible. Eventually, she simply stopped her heart.

The dracal seldom chose to take on human form anymore. Their females felt uncomfortable, as the pointed chins and unusual stature characteristic of them outside their dragon form made them the mockery of regular humans. As there were strict laws prohibiting the mating of dracals in separate forms, the males became accustomed to remaining dragons, as well. Over time the majority of dracals lost even the knowlege of human mating rituals.

It was for this reason that Maleficent’s father encouraged her to retain her human form as often as possible. The females in their clan had grown scarce, and he felt this was the best protection he could offer her. So she grew up apart from other members of her race. She thought through another language, spoke spells rather than fire, admired the bodies of men rather than dragons. At night she slept as a dragon, but she dreamed of men. Dreamed, and desired them.

One day she got her desire. A nephew of the king became enamored of Maleficent’s mystery, of her full-bodied laugh. He taught her the hard way how human joining was conducted. He left her before dawn. For months, Maleficent retreated into dragon form. She breathed fire, hunted mercilessly, and stayed in the shadows. She began to hate the sight of her heartbeat. It was the source of her misery, of the blood he’d spilt from her.

Her parents watched as her scales darkened, and worried.

Finally, she’d managed it. She’d stopped her heart. Stopped thinking about him. The day Maleficent resumed her human form was the last her parents ever saw her. The last time she flew before the day of her death. The day her scales were completely black.

But she still lusted after them. Her heart was stopped, but her blood ran hotter than ever. She took lovers by hypnotizing, by seducing, by coercing. But sometimes she dreams of her first, of her only love. His son had inherited the crown. But it was his grandson, Prince Phillip, who would grow to resemble him. Prince Phillip’s fiance Maleficent is determined to kill. She waits for her invitation to the girl’s christening and plots.

As she had been denied her prince, a kingdom would lose its princess. Without knowing it, she begins breathing fire when she sleeps. A dragon’s revenge is never served cold.

A Maleficent Update ! « FILM LINGO

A Maleficent Update ! « FILM LINGO.

They are making a new film all about Maleficent!?  I am overwhelmed with approval!  Plus, it fits right into the current trend of bringing back fairy tales and especially Snow White, hard.  (I classify it with Snow White because it involves deadly sleeping damsels.)  In all these newer versions I see the pattern of our current society recognizing that now we’re more like the overlord or queen than the oppressed Snow White.  But we’re America!  We’re good!  We’re right!  We can’t admit we’re really like anyone bad….So these new movies have twists to make it seem like okay, we make mistakes, but dammit we’re still the good guy underdog!  Even if Snow White, or our other heroines have to get a little dirty!

This Maleficent movie sounds like its raison d’etre is along the same lines…we’re not perfect, but we’re still great.  Only this one sounds better because, after all, if you’re going to recognize you’re closer to the villain in power and station, you want to go with Maleficent.  She rocks.

Fired For Using Birth Control? It Could Be Possible In Arizona | Addicting Info

Fired For Using Birth Control? It Could Be Possible In Arizona | Addicting Info.

 

This is a new and incredibly disturbing addition to the political story currently being played out.  It’s about so many things: it’s about how people see sexual women, about how the right to privacy is becoming increasingly tenuous, it’s about people being fucking idiots.  This is the point when I become very, very glad that I can claim dual citizenship with Canada.

Behold, Here’s Poison

Behold, Here’s Poison

By: Georgette Heyer

Bantam Books 1973

http://www.georgette-heyer.com/

A historical mystery review

 Behold, Here’s Poison takes readers right to the heart of every murder investigation: family tension.  The Matthews family has lost its tyrannical head.  Heyer lightly leads the way from the bereaved relatives’ realization that they are really all right with Gregory Matthews’ absence to their dawning comprehension that death makes everyone else far more annoying.  It also tends to make neighbors and outside relations both hideously present and far more loathsome.

However painful it clearly is for the family, however, Heyer’s readers are clear to watch the sparring matches, the questionable actions, and the police investigation.  Two bereaved sisters, a theatrical sister-in-law, the artistic nephew, the modern niece, and the “amiable snake” comprise the Matthews’ family.  The local doctor, family friends, and an extra relation or two also appear to pay respects and add to the emotional broth.  Heyer allows the reader to feel a step ahead through most of the book.  The subtle hints and varied remarks-from acid to asinine-guide readers through the twisting plot without being carried along by a cryptic detective.  The detective’s there largely to do the grunt work and draw out clues.  If high suspense or violent actions are your taste in murder mysteries, this is not the book for you.  For keeping investigation skills in practice or enjoying a leisurely look into others’ foibles and trouble, Behold, Here’s Poison is excellent.

Is it possible to see the plot ends before they come together?  Basically yes, but there is certainly enough to discover and piece together to make the journey interesting.  Is it the most satisfying of endings for a mystery novel?  The divulged facts themselves aren’t the most gratifying, but the way Heyer handles her reveal makes up for it.  For a comfortable, rainy day read, or when you want a mystery but know you’ll need to live through breaks, Behold, Here’s Poison offers a good read.

The Turnip Princess

Breezes from Wonderland » Blog Archive » Treasure Trove?.

I have been trying to figure out an overall theme for the recounted lost story of “The Turnip Princess”:

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog. The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.

One day, the bear was alone with him and spoke to the prince: “Pull the rusty nail from the wall, so that I shall be delivered, and place it beneath a turnip in the field, and in this way you shall have a beautiful wife.” The prince seized the nail so strongly that the cave shook and the nail cracked loudly like a clap of thunder. Behind him a bear stood up from the ground like a man, bearded and with a crown on his head.

“Now I shall find a beautiful maiden,” cried the prince and went forth nimbly. He came to a field of turnips and was about to place the nail beneath one of them when there appeared above him a monster, so that he dropped the nail, pricked his finger on a hedge and bled until he fell down senseless. When he awoke he saw that he was elsewhere and that he had long slumbered, for his smooth chin was now frizzy with a blond beard.

He arose and set off across field and forest and searched through every turnip field but nowhere found what he was looking for. Day passed and night, too, and one evening, he sat down on a ridge beneath a bush, a flowering blackthorn with red blossoms on one branch. He broke off the branch, and because there was before him, amongst the other things on the ground, a large, white turnip, he stuck the blackthorn branch into the turnip and fell asleep.

When he awoke on the morrow, the turnip beside him looked like a large, open shell in which lay the nail, and the wall of the turnip resembled a nut-shell, whose kernel seemed to shape his picture. He saw there the little foot, the thin hand, the whole body, even the fine hair so delicately imprinted, just as the most beautiful girl would have.

The prince stood up and began his search, and came at last to the old cave in the forest, but no one was there. He took out the nail and struck it into the wall of the cave, and at once the old woman and the bear were also there. “Tell me, for you know for certain,” snarled the prince fiercely at the old woman, “where have you put the beautiful girl from the parlour?” The old woman giggled to hear this: “You have me, so why do you scorn me?”

The bear nodded, too, and looked for the nail in the wall. “You are honest, to be sure,” said the prince, “but I shall not be the old woman’s fool again.” “Just pull out the nail,” growled the bear. The prince reached for it and pulled it half out, looked about him and saw the bear as already half man, and the odious old woman almost as a beautiful and kind girl. Thereupon he drew out the nail entirely and flew into her arms for she had been delivered from the spell laid upon her and the nail burnt up like fire, and the young bridal pair travelled with his father, the king, to his kingdom.

And now I think I finally have it!  This sounds like the story of a boy becoming a man by coming to terms with his own sexuality!  This is amazing, as usually it is girls who are only accorded adulthood in conjunction with sexual matters.  The boy becomes unable to endure his mother as the female companion in his life.  He becomes aware of his bodily lusts (see: grabbing the nail and the cave shakes like a clap of thunder).  He leaves home, thinking he’s ready to be a man himself, but is frightened by “a monster”, or his own immaturity and fears.  He’s out of the story til he awakes bearded, like the bear he respects and listens to (who obviously represents the manliness he desires to see in himself).  Now  he is grown up to really begin.  Then he goes on a journey, finds his lust again in the blossoming blackthorn, and “pricks” a turnip.  Now when he awakes he’s ready to return to the parent figures he left as an active player and exchange them for a family of his own.  This time the nail “burns up like fire” with the joining of the prince with his princess as a “bridal pair.”  I am pleased with this; now the story shan’t puzzle me anymore.

Mysterious Heyer

I haven’t read a great deal of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries.  To be frank, the couple I read before were not encouraging.  Nevertheless, Behold, Here’s Poison sounded like a good time.  I’m taking time out at about the two thirds mark to say: IT IS.  Thus far my favorite sentence is: “He was dressed with the most finicking care, and nothing could have been more symphonic than the blend of his shirt with his silk socks and his expensive tie.”  Note the use of the word “finicking,” which wordpress is currently claiming is not a word (they also have a problem with “wordpress”).  I have for a long time now believed that “finick” should be able to expand and be used in more ways than “finicky.”  This, right here, is evidence my instinct is correct.  For this alone, this book would be delightful.

However, it also has more to recommend it.  There was a fairly meager start where we meet the staff first (not to figure prominently again, it seems), and the victim is already dead.  Then it picks up, and Georgette Heyer is running with it.  There’s less manners and social conventions than normal, but the twists and turns of the detective’s struggle to find answers are actually unexpected.  Even though there’s a lot less urgency than I’ve found in most murder mysteries, Heyer still contrives to make her insinuations and subtle hints pop up in your head with explanation marks:  Well, it wouldn’t have been her!  SUSPICIOUS!!  So, he’s shady!  And so on.  Unlike an Agatha Christie novel where you feel you’re just trying to keep up with Poirot, or making sure to latch onto everything important, Behold, Here’s Poison is a languid read.  You make more of the connections and predictions yourself without feeling you’re constantly behind.  The detective’s there to do the grunt work and draw out clues-the real stuff thus far remains the reader’s.  (I have my money on X turning out to be innocent in order to become romantically involved with Y.)  When I finish I may draw up an official review, but as I’m enjoying it right now, I wanted a finicking ramble about the experience of it.  After all, a good mystery story really is mostly about the middle, as that is where the suspense, and the draw lies.  The ending is obviously essential, but it doesn’t last as long, and so even a disappointing reveal can’t keep something from being a good read once (providing it’s merely disappointing, not awful).

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