Tag Archives: books

Here it is… again

Wherein I talk about Wonder Woman… again

It’s short, but I need to be clear on this.

We have 300, a story that takes place in Ancient Greece, about 300 Spartans who stand against the Persian Army.  We have Thor, about a Norse god who joins a team of human super heroes.

But we can’t have Wonder Woman be an Amazon princess, a figure pulled directly from Greek myth, because people won’t get that?  That it’s easier to believe if she’s an alien?

I just need to be clear about that.

Ya know what…

Marvel needs to reboot the Spider franchise in a different way.  Instead of bringing back a third incarnation of Spider-man, they need to say “Screw it! Peter and M.J. are married and they have a girl who lives in the same universe as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner and Black Widow”.  Then they should release Spider-Girl, have Tobey McGuire as the older, father figure, Kirsten Dunst as M.J. and they could be the parents of a young May Parker who inherits her father’s spider abilities.  She dons a costume, calls herself Spider-Girl, and eventually joins the Avengers.

So, why are we still struggling

Why, exactly, is it so difficult to get multiple women into a movie franchise?  I’m side eyeing Star Wars with this one.  Granted, it is J. J. Abrams, and his Star Trek run was pretty sexist.  And to be honest, not in anyway reminiscent of the old Star Trek series.  So does that mean the upcoming Star Wars is gonna be equally in aspect to what Abrams did with the other Star Franchise?

But this is something that’s not just confined to the realm of sci fi.  Lord of the Rings, for example (and the prequel, The Hobbit) had a lot of dudes walking around doing dude things.  Admittedly, Peter Jackson did have more screen time for two of the female characters in the first trilogy.  And he basically had to create one for the Hobbit.

I’m still not sure as to why we need to take baby steps when it comes to representation in movies.  This goes for race, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.  But seriously, we shouldn’t have to take baby steps.  Because the ones who’d complain just need to get over it and move out of the 17th Century.

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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in randomness


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A Question About Writing; from Gail Simone

Gail Simone didn’t reach out to me personally and ask this.  She made a general call on her tumblr, which I answered there, but decided to share it here as well.


Yesterday, I asked a seemingly innocuous question on Twitter and was completely flooded with responses, many from quite famous and successful writers. I was surprised by the wave of responses, and found it all very interesting.

So I thought I’d ask the question here, as well, for writers of fiction only, please.

What part of the writing process is your favorite? I’m talking about the actual writing, not the aftermath or the effects of it. During your writing of a story, what is your favorite part of doing that work?

I sent Gail a comment about this, but it deserves a longer answer.

So far, I’ve written material in three decidedly different worlds: western fantasy with Black Mask & Pale Rider; super heroes with Canyons of Steel (and the work I’m doing on the Heroic League Project); straight up sci fi with Rocket Fox.

While I love the aspect of plotting and getting things down into a cohesive time line, it’s a long process.  Especially for a work like The Heroic League Project.  The story covers more than 40 years with different characters coming in and some leaving.  With each, it’s my hope that I don’t portray characters and interpersonal relationships as stereotypical.  With Rocket Fox, it’s been a bit easier, because the characters are a completely fictional species, though they are based on observations and research on human cultures.

A lot of research is needed to make sure everything is right.  In Black Mask & Pale Rider, the smallest thing I had to do was make sure that the towns and cities mentioned actually existed in 1863.  I also had to ensure that when I mentioned people who were a part of a Native American tribe, that they were the right tribe (Pania helps three Natives in Pennsylvania, it would be lazy to just say they were Mohawk or Dakota or Apache, especially considering that those nations might not have inhabited what is now Pennsylvania).

Historical facts are also necessary.  One might think that in the Heroic League, you wouldn’t have to do much research, but you do.  This story takes place in our world, beginning in the 1970s.  It happens around the October Crisis when the FLQ was terrorizing Quebec.

Getting all of the plot points down is fun, but actually writing the scenes is the best part for me.  All of the grunt work is done, and it’s time to breath life into the story, the scene, and the characters.  It’s especially gratifying when the scene works out well.  Shani’s gunfight with Dorval; Pania’s duel in the caboose of a train; Shani climbing onto the roof of a train to avoid a passenger car of vampires; the reveal of the Nighthawk in Rocket Fox; the rough ball match between House Ocelot and House Fennec.  Stuff like that is the part I love.  It’s the stuff that keeps me going, and even expanding on the character interaction.

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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Writing


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The Wild West

I’ve recently, and in the past, received many questions about Black Mask & Pale Rider, and at some point I’ll do an FAQ about the book and post it up as it’s own page.  But one thing I wanted to focus on was the question of why I decided to change things to African American gunfighters.  The character of Clayton “Slowhand” Johnson (changed in the rewrite to Adams) is a former slave who escaped bondage and became a part of the Underground Railroad in Indiana and Arkansas (in the book, he’s not an actual historical figure).  Many have asked, and even stated, that such a thing is very fictional, that most gunfighters were white.

This is inherently incorrect.  What history lets us see, and what Hollywood promotes, is the fantasy and romance of the white gunfighter.  Billy the Kid, Pat Garret, Jessie James (who, for his own part, was a psychopath who used the Civil War as a way to feed his own addictions).  A vast majority of actual gunfighters that Hollywood doesn’t touch on were in fact African American and even First Nation.

We are fooled by the romance of the kindly white freedom fighter who is trying to help the victimized slave obtain their own freedom.  In truth, many blacks were finding their own freedom through their own agency, and helped along the way through kindness of strangers, many of whom were other escaped slaves or free blacks who lived in free territories in the United States and even Canada.  For many African Americans, they fought for their own freedom through their own agencies and helped others obtain freedom later.  A good example is Harriet Tubman.  Tubman is even further seen as an anomaly because she is a woman, and a female gunfighter is considered even more rare.  Annie Oakley was called a trick shooter, even though she did the same things other male gunfighters did.

African Americans proved they were some of the best cattle ranchers, gun hands, farm hands and land owners.  Many who escaped wanted to own their own land, work land that they owned and they tended.  There was a large urgency for family, because slavery often stripped African Americans of any semblance of family.  They were, after all, treated no better than cattle.

So having Clayton Adams as a gunfighter in the rewrite to Black Mask & Pale Rider (and even making it known that Shani’s ethnicity is First Nation) isn’t that far from the truth of what actually happened in historical events.  The book is fantasy fiction, but the time it’s placed in has some aspect of accuracy.


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Wake up!

I’ve been up for an hour.  I woke at 4:30 this morning, got out of bed, made a pot of coffee, did normal morning things.  I see the sun rising during this last hour.

And part of me can’t help but think “you know you could have spent the last hour asleep”.  I could have, indeed, but I like the quiet of the early morning.  When I get up this early on a weekend, it’s a great feeling.  Lots of the day to do whatever I want.

A new bookshelf

I got a new bookshelf last night.  Well, new to me.  I bought it from the reporter at work who’s going to be leaving the paper.  It now holds all of my graphic novels.  I usually end up acquiring pieces of furniture in this way.  I got my coffee table, end tables and a TV stand (which is still devoid of a TV) in the same manner over ten years ago.

The acquiring of stuff

The bookshelf got me thinking last night that as you grow older, what you acquire and how excited you get changes.  I remember being very excited about a vacuum I bought in the mid 2000s.  Last Christmas I received a casserole dish, a new frying pan, and a microwave.  It was very exciting.

When I was younger, getting a new dual cassette AM FM player was the big thing.  I even remember getting my Commodore 64 in high school.

Breaking up is hard to do

Break ups stuck.  I haven’t had one in years, but I remember the feeling.  They’re horrid, they’re awful and they leave you with a deep sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

But, there comes a time that one has to start to realize that the only person who mattered in the relationship that ended, is you.  Build yourself up, focus on you.  It’ll still be difficult, considering the fact that the comforting aspect of someone around is now gone.

Don’t analyze things.  Don’t blame yourself.  Don’t see yourself as the problem.  The only one important in any break up is you.

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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Life, randomness


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It’s still being written

I haven’t posted anything regarding the rewrite to Black Mask & Pale Rider, because it’s a real slow process and I want to get this one right.  But, I thought I’d go into the way back machine and bring back a couple of things that really helped inspire the first part of the original writing.

Believe it or not, this song (and the video) helped begin The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the saga of two elven women who traveled from the Union to the Confederacy and back again.

The story telling technique of some country and western songs, such as some of the songs of Big & Rich, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Juice Newton and others, helped tell the story of Shani and Pania as they met up just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Between Raisin’ Hell and Amazin’ Grace played such a role that the first series of the stories was called Between Raisin’ Hell and Amazin’ Grace. It helped set the tone of a pair of gunslingers who were also adept at magic (as Pania is a bard and sorceress).  I even wanted to create a character that was a drunk preacher that followed Shani and Pania around (I might still do that).

In an odd mix, Big & Rich and Nightwish help mould the tales of the elven gunfighters. And they still help at that, as I continue the major rewrite, hoping to add some representation and historical fact (most gunslingers in the mid 1800s were black or Native American).

This is the second biggest influence for the Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider. You might ask, how does a symphonic metal song by a Finnish metal band help inspire a western style book that takes place in the United States. Because the main characters are elves, and Wishmaster, if you listen to the lyrics, speak about the great fantasy lore of the 20th Century.

That being the Dragonlance novels:

“I’ll be with you soon, my Shalafi”

Which anyone who read the Dragonlance series would know, means master/teacher in elven.  It also is said to be another name for Raistlin.  It also mentions The Inn of Last Home, as in the lyric:

A maiden elf calling with her cunning song
“Meet me at the Inn of Last Home”
Heartborne will find the way

The Inn of Last Home is known in the Forgotten Realms series and within the handbooks and manuals for D&D.

There’s also hints of Lord of the Rings as in the first few lyrics of the song:

A dreamy-eye child staring into night
On a journey to storyteller’s mind

Elbereth is a Valar, or a god in Middle Earth mythology. And Lorien is a magical forest of the elves of Middle Earth.
So yes, a country western song and a symphonic metal song by a Finnish band can have a great deal of inspiration in a western fantasy novel.

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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing


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Fan Cast: Black Mask & Pale Rider

People do fan casts all the time.  And people with their own original characters (from herein called OCs) do it to.  I’m no different.  Here’s the fan cast (or my cast) for the characters of Tales of Six Gun and Sorcery (previously known as The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider).  These are the actresses and actors that I sometimes envision when I’m writing the adventures of the gunslinging elves.

It’s long, so it’s all under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Character Biographies: Shani Wennemein


Character biography of Shani Wennemein, from The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, by Tim Holtorf (that would be me).

Full Name: Shani Wennemein

Nickname: Black Mask (this she doesn’t like as much, because it was forced upon her by those who glorified the nicknames for gunslingers)

  1. Age: 135
  2. Gender: female
  3. Date of Birth: 628 (Second Age of the Elves), Fifth month of the Moon, Last of the Season of Spring, Fourth day of Juno
  4. Ethnicity: Iroquois/Gaul (First Nation-North American Indian and European French)
  5. Occupation: Protector – one of the elves who keeps the evil creatures at bay, such as the venomous snakes and spiders
  6. Hair colour/style: long and black with two braids that hang from her temples down to her collar bone.
  7. Eye colour: brown
  8. Accent (if any): she has a thick Arkansas accent
  9. Height: 5’6”
  10. Weight: 115 pounds
  11. Tattoos: she wears a modified tattoo of her father’s house (Gaul) and her mother’s house (Iroquois) on her right shoulder.
  12. Piercings: small earring in each ear
  13. Birthmarks: none
  14. Disfigurements: none
  15. Scars: has a scar running from her forehead on the left side streaking down over her nose and ending on her right cheek that she acquired in a fight with a giant spider.

Fashion Sense

  1. How do they usually dress? Leather leggings, cotton or leather tunic with ties at the neck, she wears her father’s leather bracers, and has a pair of soft leather boots
  2. What do they wear to sleep? Just a long night shirt when at home, when camping will wear what she wears during the day.
  3. Do they wear jewelry? Her right earring holds a feather, about three inches long and the left earring is a small hoop with beads that hang at the bottom of the hoop, she has a necklace made of coyote claws and beads.
  4. Is there anything about their appearance they wish they could change? No.
  5. How would they look as the opposite sex? “I like boys fine ‘nough, but I’m better ‘n they are.”
  6. What do they smell like? Why (do they wear the scent or does it occur naturally)? Shani bathes, but she doesn’t use any perfume, she has a very rustic, mossy smell about her.
  7. Do they have an accurate mental picture of their appearance (how they see themselves versus how the world sees them)? How Shani sees herself and compares it to the world view is completely irrelevant to her. She knows that people find her a bit pushy and loud at times, and they feel she drifts away from the feminine (mostly the Scottish Celtic and Germanic and Prussian elves) but any of that “ain’t nobody’s business”.
  8. What are some of your character’s hobbies? What do they do with their time? Shani plays the banjo, guitar and harmonica. She is an avid reader, though not having her own library, she often travels to her best friend Pania’s house to read from her library.
  9. Favorite color: Orange, because it reminds her of autumn.




  1. What are some of their pet peeves? She does not like those who would disparage her friends. Even if a friend would say something crass about another friend (for instance, she does not appreciate those who would say Pania is confused and will find a good husband some day).
  2. What sort of gifts do they like? Weapons, she likes daggers, short swords, and books.
  3. What is their favorite time of day? Early morning, late evening.
  4. Favorite weather? Season? Spring and autumn, calm, not too hot and not too cold.
  5. Where do they like to spend their time? Shani lives in the forest between Brockton (the northern tip of the southern region of the Place With Many Names) and the Drum (an Iroquois/Cree settlement that stretches from the northern coast line to the southern region of the island nation)
  6. Favorite food? Favorite drink? Hot drinks, soft drinks, or alcohol? She likes anything fried, though she’s not one to complain about any food. She appreciates a good salad with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, she likes pan fried potatoes and pan fried onions. She also drinks whiskey but not in excess.
  7. Favorite animal? Dragon
  8. Do they have any pets? Do they want any? She has a small psuedo-dragon that perches on her shoulder named Scales. Scales isn’t so much a pet as he is a companion. He’s intelligent and will communicate things to Shani by way of head motions, small growling or purring, or rubbing his head against Shani’s cheek.
  9. What relaxes them? A good camp fire, and a good song.
  10. Do they have any bad habits? Whiskey, smokes fine rolled cigarellos.

Resources and abilities:

  1. Where did they learn their abilities? Shani learned most everything from her father and mother, though she did go to a school not far from where they lived near Arcanum Bridge on the north eastern coastline of the island nation.
  2. If they have an income, where does it come from? She sells leathers that she tans when out hunting, and she “liberates” funds from brigands that hide on the Merchant Road and Farmer’s Road between Stone Bridge and Brockton and between Brockton and Overbrooke.
  3. Where does your character live? Why did they choose it, and how did they acquire it? How do they handle intruders (graciously? violently?)? Describe the space. Shani lives in the forest just north of Brockton. It’s well protected with really just one way to get to her cabin, which was built by Shani and her brother Sywyn. Her cabin is surrounded by trees, with a small break that lets the sun shine through directly onto her cabin at high noon. There’s one trail that leads to the Farmer’s Road, where she has a sign post that tells travellers where she lives (and a place where she can receive mail).  If there are unwanted intruders, she’ll often give them a warning, then usually pepper them with arrows (before going to Earth) or a hail of bullets (after she got her Colt .45s).
  4. Do they speak more than one language? Shani speaks the common elven tongue, French, Mohawk, Cree, Lakota, English and Irish.

Relationships and history:

  1. What is their family history like? How does it affect them? How do they feel about their family? How does their family feel about them? Shani`s father was killed during a war to defend the island nation against an invasion of orcs. She was raised by her mother, who is headmistress of the Arcanum Bridge Mage Academy. She has an older brother, Sywyn, who became a knight of the court of Arcanum Bridge, and is the head of the Patrollers (a group of knights who keep the peace in the region surrounding Arcanum Bridge). When Sywyn was younger, he was what Shani describes as being a little shit. However, he has grown to be more noble and thoughtful towards others. Shani has a younger sister named Wren. Wren is a Consoler, a knight who tends to the needs of those who have lost a loved one to death. They each love each other deeply, and would walk to the ends of the earth to help each other out. When Shani’s father was killed, she became closed for a time, but thanks to her mother, Shani opened up and began to realize that not all things will live forever.
  2. What were they like as a child? What was their favourite toy? Favourite game? Playmates? Shani was very opposite as a child to what she grew up as. She wore beaded dresses, with a red sash and often kept her hair in braids. While she still has her sash, she’s more comfortable in leather leggings. She often played Lacrosse and also darts (tossing a dart through a moving hoop). She didn’t have many toys, but she cherished the books she was given, which many believe gave way to her more adventurous nature. Her best friends are Pania Alow and Villith Argith. Pania is the youngest daughter of the Heralds Alow from Brockton, and Pania and Shani often read books together. Villith is the youngest daughter of the chief of the Cree settlement, and she and Shani would run wild through the forest together. Shani also often played with her sister Wren, her brother Sywyn, and Pania`s older brother Mandrel, and Villith`s older brother Waien.

Sex and Romance:

  1. What is their sexual orientation? Do they ever question it? Shani is straight, but a lot of people question that. Shani does not appear as the usual cis aspect of a straight woman. She’s never questioned her sexuality, and she’s never really had sex that often. When she does, it’s always under her terms.
  2. When did they lose their virginity? Who to? Where? What was it like? “Thet there is none o’ yer never mind.”
  3. What is their favourite sexual fantasy? “Thet there is none o’ yer never mind.”
  4. Do they have any particular fetishes or kinks? “Thet there is none o’ yer never mind.”
  5. What’s the strangest thing they’ve ever done in bed? “Thet there is none o’ yer never mind.”
  6. Is there anything in particular that they won’t do? “Thet there is none o’ yer never mind.”
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing


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Character Biographies: Pania Alow


Character biography of Pania Alow, from The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, by Tim Holtorf (that would be me).

Full Name: Pania Alow

Nickname:Pale Rider (she`s not fond of this term, due to the fact it has Biblical connotations. Also, it was picked up by dime store novelists who are all “nothin’ but a bunch o’ emptyheaded plikes who wouldna know a good book from the shite they put ta paper. Nothin’ but a latcheeco would try an’ say they were a writer when they produce such lies buncrana lighthouse.”)

  1. Age: 130
  2. Gender: female
  3. Date of Birth: 623 (Second Age of the Elves), Tenth month of the Moon, First of the Season of Autumn, Twelveth day of Octor
  4. Ethnicity: Celtic Irish, European
  5. Occupation: Herald, skald, bard, songstress, story teller
  6. Hair color/style: blond, often held in curls, has the left side of her head shaved.
  7. Eye color: Green
  8. Accent (if any): thick Irish accent (there are many who say that it’s so thick, and so full of slang, that they often have to have her repeat what she said, this is not when she tells stories or sings).
  9. Height: 5’4”
  10. Weight: 105 pounds
  11. Tattoos: a very long and intricate tattoo along her right arm that tells the story of the elves retreating from Earth to their own world at the time of the Crusades.
  12. Piercings: left ear has six piercings which are connected with chains and loops, right ear has a modest heart earring stud.
  13. Birthmarks: none
  14. Disfigurements: none
  15. Scars: none, but if she had one, she’d definitely have a story to tell about it.

Fashion Sense

  1. How do they usually dress? Soft cotton or leather leggings, often dyed a dark red, thigh high leather boots with a small heal, dyed black, a white cotton poet’s shirt, auburn corset with ties in the front, a long, auburn cloak that hangs from her shoulders with gold embroidered trim, black leather gauntlets that cover her forearms and have intricate beadwork and embroidering (these were given to Pania when she was born by Uni Wennemein, Shani’s mother), a wide brimmed hat with a white feather.
  2. What do they wear to sleep? At home, or at an inn, she will sleep in a large, soft bed; when travelling, if she has to sleep at a camp site, she has a bed roll she carries with her that is stowed with other sundries on her horse.  Usually, she sleeps naked.
  3. Do they wear jewelry? Along with the piercings, she has a small necklace which has a silver book and a silver musical note, she also has three modest rings that she wears.
  4. Is there anything about their appearance they wish they could change? “Why when I can just wear somethin’ diff’rent each day?”
  5. How would they look as the opposite sex? “They’re boys, o’ that there is no doubt.”
  6. What do they smell like? Why (do they wear the scent or does it occur naturally)? Pania likes mild perfumes, a hint of a fragrance that isn’t overpowering, but something that will draw attention to her. She has a morning ritual of rising early, bathing with lilac scented soap in bath water she sprinkles rose petals in.
  7. Do they have an accurate mental picture of their appearance (how they see themselves versus how the world sees them)? It’s quite accurate. Most she her as a showman, wanting attention drawn to her, and that suits her fine as she is a herald and a damn good one at that.
  8. Favourites, habits, likes and dislikes: She enjoys writing, singing, and telling stories. She’s also an accomplished swordsman having trained with a rapier since a very young age. She has no time for those who would heckle and bicker.
  9. What are some of your character’s hobbies? What do they do with their time? When not travelling or adventuring, she often is writing down her thoughts in a leather bound journal.
  10. Favourite colour: “There’s so many, it’s hard ta choose. What say, I like them all.”


  1. What are some of their pet peeves? Pania does not like those who would twist history. She often searches out the truth of stories and has been known to argue accurate history for hours on end, often times managing to change the attitude and thoughts of stories that were told.
  2. What sort of gifts do they like? Pania enjoys anything frilly, pretty, and colourful. She treasures jewelry, books, and music sheets.
  3. What is their favorite time of day? Early morning, often she sings when she wakes.
  4. Favorite weather? Season? Summer, with a light breeze just to cool down the air.
  5. Where do they like to spend their time? Pania often will stop at taverns and inns, just to listen to the townsfolk talk about their day, tell stories and jokes, listen to songs, and shares her own if asked to.
  6. Favorite food? Favorite drink? Hot drinks, soft drinks, or alcohol? Pania is vegetarian, so she likes light food, juices, or tea. Her favourite drink that she has once a month is a finely aged scotch whiskey.
  7. Do they have any pets? Do they want any? No pets, but she has a familiar. A wood pixie named Verit who accompanies her as she travels and helps her when she writes. Verit sometimes gets in trouble, and Verit is more than willing to help Pania spring a lock or disable a trap if called upon.
  8. What relaxes them? Warm bed, good book, enjoyable music, good sex.
  9. Do they have any bad habits? Pania has been accused of talking too much. She does not see this as a bad habit.

Resources and abilities:

  1. Where did they learn their abilities? Pania is a graduate of the Academy of the Arts and Magic in Brockton. There, she continued to hone her skills as a singer, a story teller and a writer.
  2. If they have an income, where does it come from? Pania is often paid in tribute for her stories and songs, and many invite her to fancy parties to regale the guests in an interesting tale or two.
  3. Where does your character live? Why did they choose it, and how did they acquire it? How do they handle intruders (graciously? violently?)? Describe the space. Pania lives in a comfortable house with a large library on the main floor, sleeping areas on the second floor, a sitting area in the back yard, and a welcoming front yard that she keeps neat and tidy. She purchased the house from an old skald who was going off to live the remaining years of his life in Turtle Island. All are welcome to her home, as long as they are polite and gracious. If they come with threatening advances, Pania shows first a stern voice and a good warning, and then she displays just how good she is with a rapier.
  4. Do they speak more than one language? Pania is well versed in all the Celtic languages (Irish, Scottish, Welsh), Prussian, Norwegian, common elven language, English, and has recently learned Lakota and Iroquois.

Relationships and history:

  1. What is their family history like? How does it affect them? How do they feel about their family? How does their family feel about them? Pania is the middle child of a small family, all heralds and skalds. Her older brother, Mandrel, competes with Pania a lot when it comes to telling stories. At times, the two would have a story telling dual, where one would start the story, the second would continue, and it would go back and forth until the story’s end, each part becoming more dramatic. Pania always wanted to have a fairy tale relationship, because she says she got to see that very type of relationship with her parents. It seemed as they grew older, Karl and Titianna grew more and more in love, and even doted on their children more and more. Pania’s youngest sister is Pylia, who was born mute. This has not stopped Pylia from learning and watching Pania when she plays her musical instruments or writes in her journals. Sometimes, Pania would sit Pylia in her lap and tell her a story as she wrote in down.
  2. What were they like as a child? What was their favorite toy? Favorite game? Playmates? Pania was very much a young girl who wanted to be a princess. As she grew, she found it was much more interesting to be the prince who saved the princess. Her favourite toy growing up was a small top that she’d spin and it would play a musical tune. She’d often wind up the top and spin it and dance as the top spun. Her playmates were Shani, Wren, and Villith growing up. Along with Mandrel, Sywyn and Waien, whom she often accused of being “ruffians who drew great pleasure from teasin’ an’ pokin’ fun at their younger sisters”.
  3. What did they want to be when they grew up? Pania always wanted to be a herald. Or a prince. Or an adventurer. It changed from day to day, but remained constant in those three things.

Sex and Romance:

  1. What is their sexual orientation? Do they ever question it? Pania is a lesbian. She’s never questioned this. She’s always thought the touch of a woman was always more wonderful to feel.
  2. When did they lose their virginity? Who to? Where? What was it like? “If it were any o’ yer business, then I’d tell ye. But fer now, sod off.”
  3. What is their favourite sexual fantasy? “It has somethin’ ta do with candle light an’ feathers.”
  4. Do they have any particular fetishes or kinks? “Intense tickling.”
  5. What’s the strangest thing they’ve ever done in bed? “That would be tellin’.”
  6. Is there anything in particular that they won’t do? “That would also be tellin’.”
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing


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We aren’t there yet

This is one of those posts that gets shared on both Tumblr and here on wordpress, so here we go.

I just thought of this while doing laundry.  Yes, I think of the oddest things while I’m doing house work.  Or is it odd?  I tend to think it isn’t.

However, here we go.

There are hundreds of contradictory arguments that arise when the race or gender of a person in a film or comic or book is discussed.  The most recent being the casting of a black man as Johnny Storm in a possible Fantastic Four movie and the remake of Annie with a predominantly black cast.  This goes back further, people might remember the backlash that arose when Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Thor.  But these are the same people who cry and moan about that, but at the same time will be the first to announce that when a white person is cast in a role that is clearly described as a black or brown skinned role (I’m talking Hunger Games), those same people will always claim that the casting director was merely looking for the best actor for the part.

It can also be said that these people who make those two previous observations and bemoan about the former, that also the ones who moan whenever someone points out something amazingly racist or sexist or transphobic.  These are also the same people who claim that we all need to just get along and everything will be like a saccharine coke commercial where everyone joins hands and fucking sings “I Want To Teach The World To Sing”.

Here’s the thing.  I do believe that sometime in the future, that when a book or a movie comes out, that no one will care if a character is black, white, red or yellow and is played by an actor who happens to be either black, white, red or yellow.  No one will cry and moan when a role for a film is said to be up for a man but when it’s released it’s a woman in the lead.  No one will care because they’ll be concentrating on acting ability alone, not the race of a person, nor the gender of a person.  And they won’t even care about the sexual orientation of a person.  None of that will matter, because at some point in the future we just won’t care about.  All we’ll want is a good story with good characters we can relate to.

But that’s a future that’s far and away not happening anytime soon.  Therefore, we need to identify when a character is a race other than white.  We need to identify whether or not a character is female, or a trans-woman, or a trans-man.  We need to identify if a female character is a lesbian or a male character is gay (and not written into the side notes of a script during the post production of a major motion picture based on a best selling series of novels).  The reason why we need to know if a character is black, or a trans-man, or a lesbian, is because if it isn’t stated then the current audience will think that the character happens to be a straight, white male (or female).  We are no where near close to the future I described above.  And here’s the reason why.

If we were then we would have equal pay for both men and women, regardless of race.  If we were, then we’d be in a true post racial society (hint, we’re really not, and if you start to argue that we are, then you clearly have your head stuck in the ground or up your ass).  If we were, then there wouldn’t be extremely discriminatory laws being considered which would see LGBT people stripped of rights, even fired, denied basic health care, or denied service in a shop or restaurant.  If we were, then we wouldn’t have news stories about transgender people being attacked, put in prison for defending themselves, or even killed, just because they happen to be transgender.

That future is a lofty goal, and one that we do need to strive for.  And it’s one that MLK dreamed of, where people would be judged based on their character, not by the colour of their skin.  I don’t want to equate the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s to what’s going on now, but that thought can be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identification.  That future would be really great to see.  But we’re not there yet.  And until we are, it’s important to have fictional characters identified as a different race other than white, or a different sexual orientation other than straight, or a different gender identification other than cis.

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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Life, randomness


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Saturday morning quotes

I’m putting this up on Friday, so I might be still asleep this morning (Saturday), but here’s another round of quotes that I particularly liked.

“Despite what you may believe, you can disappoint people and still be good enough. You can make mistakes and still be capable and talented. You can let people down and still be worthwhile and deserving of love. Everyone has disappointed someone they care about. Everyone messes up, lets people down, and makes mistakes. Not because we’re inadequate or fundamentally inept, but because we’re imperfect and fundamentally human. Expecting anything different is setting yourself up for failure.” -Daniell Koepke

“A woman can hide her love for forty years, but she cannot hide her hatred for more than an hour.” -Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib-عليه السلام

“Dreaming is not only an act of communication; it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine – to dream about things that have not happened – is among mankind’s deepest needs.” -Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

“With the upcoming fourth season of A Game of Thrones about to hit TV screens, you will soon see ‘If you like reading GRR Martin, why not try these authors?’ displays going up in bookshops. I will give a book of mine, of their choice, to the first person who can send me a photo of such a display that isn’t entirely composed of male authors. Because I’ve yet to see one. I have challenged staff in bookshops about this, to be told ‘women don’t write epic fantasy’ Ahem, with 15 novels published, I beg to differ. And we read it too.

“But that’s not what the onlooker sees in the media, in reviews, in the supposedly book-trade-professional articles in The Guardian which repeatedly discuss epic fantasy without ever once mentioning a female author. That onlooker who’s working in a bookshop and making key decisions about what’s for sale, sees a male readership for grimdark books about blokes in cloaks written by authors like Macho McHackenslay. So that’s what goes in display, often at discount, at the front of the store. So that’s what people see first and so that’s what sells most copies.” -Juliet E. McKenna being brilliant (so what else is new) on the SFWA shoutback, public perceptions of the field, and equal access to offensiveness, sexism and idiocy.

“My GPA shouldn’t have to suffer for “diversity” in literature.” -White woman in my class, who had difficulty reading literature by people of color because of their “uneducated sounding writing” and “difficult to relate to life experiences”  (via sinidentidades)

“Ellen Page said she’d been scared to reveal her truth, and in response way too many people responded with, ”In other news, the sky is blue.” The fact that so many felt comfortable being that rude to someone who’d just publicly shared a private struggle speaks volumes about how important they consider the issues of gay women to be. We should be wary of these people. People like them are why so many believe this country is post-racial or post-feminist when this country is racist as fuck and hates women.” -From A Tale Of Two Ellens | Autostraddle

“If you point out casual racism on a regular basis, you’re going to get a lot of people whining that you’re too ‘politically correct,’ which is not a phrase that actually means anything anymore, besides saying of its speaker, ‘I am nostalgic for a time when I could be as racist as I wanted and nobody bugged me about it and thus I would like you to just shut up now you dumb person with your stupid thinky brain thoughts trying to infiltrate the hostile and unmovable lump of granite I replaced my mind with.’” -Casual Racism is Not My Spirit Animal

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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Fun, randomness


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