Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flash Fiction: The Avengers (part 3)

The Avengers Headcanons: Submission #211
None of the Avengers sleep very soundly. Natasha has nightmares about her past, Clint dreams of what he did while under Loki’s influence, and Steve suffers through vivid nightmares about his time in the war. Captain America often relives the final moments before he crashed into the arctic.

Dr. Bruce Banner almost always has dreams about losing control and smashing everything in his path, Thor has nightmares about his brother, Loki, and their tattered relationship, and Tony Stark is constantly haunted by the shards of sharpnal creeping towards his heart, as well as the destruction Stark Industries’ weapons wrought on the world….

It’s night. It’s always night when the nightmares come. They’ve been coming now for so long that Natasha isn’t sure anymore she remembers a time without them.

Since she can’t just not sleep, it is her habit to sleep up till the nightmares wake her. So far, since staying at Stark Tower, she has managed to wake up before the screams start.

Half sleepy, she’s not so stealthy as she usually prides herself, or maybe Clint is just more conscious of her than he usually lets on. He shifts then jolts away as soon as Natasha starts to get up from the bed they’re sharing.

"Wha…?" He blinks, then runs a hand across his eyes. Squints, swallows. Manages to say, "What time it is?"

"3am. Go back to sleep."

Clint shakes his head, waking up more as Natasha’s body language indicates she will be moving further away from the bed, not closer. “No, now’s as good a time for breakfast as any.” Clint knows himself well enough to recognise he’s awake enough now that lying back in bed will only lead to him thinking of memories of his time as Loki’s puppet rather than anything resembling rest or sleep.

Natasha shoots an apologetic expression his way, knowing that she will just need to be more stealthy the next time she leaves the bed.

"So what are we going to do for dinner?"

"We’re in Stark Tower," Clint returned. "Pretty much anything we like."

Tony is already standing in the kitchen when Clint and Natasha arrive there. The animosity between Tony and Natasha has faded since they saved the world together. Natasha has spoken to Pepper enough to know that her influence plays a part also.

"What brings you two down here?" Tony asks, as if he doesn’t know perfectly well. His own nightmares of the shrapnel creeping its way to his heart have found a second place spot to nightmares of a scenario where he doesn’t come back through the portal before Natasha sealed it off. He doesn’t wait for an answer really, before extending a drumstick out towards someone appearing behind Natasha and Clint.

Bruce stands there, his brown hair tussled from sleep in a way that’s not too different to the way his hair sits on a daily basis. “I see I wasn’t the first to have this idea.” He shakes his head, then makes his way further into the kitchen. “We really need to stop making a habit of this.”

"Says who?" Tony asks. "No rule saying heroes have to be daytime people. A lot of evidence to suggest otherwise, in fact." He takes a big bit of his drumstick with relish. Frankly, Tony was just glad to be a here on Earth type person. Even his relationship with Pepper had been influenced by this most recent near death experience.

Bruce just offers a small smile and shakes his head. Truthfully, for all his words, he’s glad that the Avengers have created this habit, rather than going their own separate ways as it looked like they were going to do. This has been the closest he has been to not being angry all of the time since his experiment had gone so horribly wrong. He thinks that even the other guy might agree. Or maybe it’s the other guy’s disagreement that sees him through largely sleepless nights, caught between memories and dreams of losing control and smashing everything in his path. Thor he knows can handle it. The others…

At first, Bruce had been happy when it looked like it was just going to be he and Tony—with Pepper, of course—sharing Stark Tower. Then, one day, Clint rocked up at the door with Natasha in tow. Steve had not been many days behind, but he at least had offered an explanation.

"Where else do I have to go?"

It brought a very sad and poignant point to the fore. Where did any of them have to go? The closest they had to acceptance was each other. No, he had anything to do with it, the other guy would never make an appearance again.


Other Avengers flash fiction posts can be found here:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Intolerance, Orson Scott Card and 'Ender's Game'.

I write a lot of things on this blog about tolerance, gay characters, bi characters, and my excitement in the way these things are so often being tackled in the environment of young adult literature.

I've even mentioned Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game as part of a post about the broad spectrum that young adult writing is showing to our teens today.

After what I've read today, I imagine that the last thing that Scott Card would have wanted was to be grouped in with the bunch of writers and titles I listed there.

At, Scott Card has been quoted as wanting to ask that his own long standing and loud intolerances and homophobia not to adversely effect the upcoming sales for his movie based on Ender's Game. This has come after numerous gay and lesbian groups have made the decision to boycott a book-to-movie release by a man who has previously stated that homosexuality is often the product of rape or abuse.


From the article in The A. V. Club: "Card has issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly repudiating the boycott, saying, “Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.” After thus establishing that gay rights did not exist in 1984—gay people not having been invented until that one episode of thirtysomething—Card similarly invoked the way time inevitably gives way to change, and how we must all learn to publicly give the impression of accepting that change with bitter resignation, if we are to continue making money." (read more)

I honestly don't know what to say here.

A lot has already been said. As soon as I reposted it up on Twitter, it caught a couple more retweets and spurted a conversation that had absolutely nothing to say in favour of Scott Card as a human being. Of course. I myself am a bi-sexual woman and a number of my friends are bi or outright gay. Nobody wants to hear their lifestyle being called a "tragic genetic mix-up".

Still, I find myself having a bit of trouble stooping down to his level and waxing lyrical against his chosen lifestyle beliefs. It seems like a great waste of time of my breath and efforts. So I'm going to say that maybe Scott Card might have been able to get away with the statements he's made up to 30 years ago, but it's becoming pretty clear that it won't fly now.

And that's good.

If you can't say anything nice, Scott Card, maybe consider shutting your mouth.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bi-sexuality in fiction and the NY Times Best Sellers List.

Earlier this year, I saw it retweeted on Twitter, but it was also on Tumblr, and everywhere of interest that yes, indeed, a fantasy novel with a bisexual protagonist had made it up onto the prestigious NY Times Best Sellers List.


That book, of course, was none other than Cassandra Clare's What Really Happened in Peru, first part of the 10 story series, co-authored by Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and released in e-book format only.

It's now a couple of months later, of course, and subsequent sections of this story have been released, to just as great an amount of acclaim as its debut.

Obviously to me, both as a bisexual woman and someone who writes stories featuring bisexuality, this is terribly exciting news to me! I've commonly written the things I would like to read, and seeing that this feeling must be felt by a larger number than just me is mildly exciting.

I have also been keeping an eye on Lost Girl over the last several years, watching the ratings as Bo's relationship with Lauren was introduced and maintained. Watching and seeing it really is possible to hit a lot of the same narrative points in a relationship between two women as it is between one woman and a man.

And it's something that's slowly being explored more and more often. Which probably means it's something that's going to show up again in this blog.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Holly Black's upcoming release: 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown'.

I had just finished airing excitement for the release of Love in a Time of Global Warming by favourite author Francesca Lia Block, as well as the upcoming new season of Sherlock. There as well is the ever-continuing promise of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming out in September. I had almost thought that all my potential for squee had been all used up for the time being.

Nope. I was wrong.

At the beginning of the month, I promised I'd be writing more on this upcoming title soon, and here it is:

COLDEST-GIRL-COLDTOWN.jpgHolly Black! That is a name people have no doubt seen on my blog more than a couple of times. (If you haven't, I have personally devised a clever tagging system at the bottom of each post so that clicking on 'Holly Black' will pull all such posts up. :D)

Holly Black's short story anthology The Poison Eaters got a fair amount of publicity in 2010 when it was released, but by far and away the most noise made of any short story in that anthology had to do with "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown".

Now, more than three years later, it's going to be released as a full length story in its own right. Now, first there was the cover reveal, then there was Entertainment Weekly releasing their exclusive trailer for the book slated to come out on September 3rd, here.

I'm not ashamed to say that I am excited. In fact, I'm already re-reading The Poison Eaters just to tide me through! And, as of today, the First 8 Chapters of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown are available for FREE, you saw correctly, FREE on Amazon now:

Only until the date of the release. (September 3rd. Eeeeeee!!) So get in quick!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas.

About a week ago, I entered a contest to win Sarah J. Maas' new book Throne of Glass held on Yolanda Sfetsos' website.

As someone who hardly ever wins any of these contests (largely because Australian addresses are often too far for American giveaways to be sent), I was hugely excited both to have an opportunity to enter this contest, and then also to win!

The book arrived today, courtesy of Bloomsbury Australia, and I couldn't wait to read it. Having gone from knowing nothing about this book about a week ago, has equipped me with a fount of information, reviews, as well as many people I know who are looking to read the book early this month. 

And, it turns out: this book is amazing. From the first chapter, I was comparing it to the Anna Bishop character Lucivar (from The Black Jewels, a stunning yet sadly finished series that I also heartily recommend) were the genders reversed.

Celaena is a young woman who has been made a slave in the mines for a year and earns her reprieve in the opening pages of this book.

Although the sticker on the front cover obviously wants to compare this novel to The Hunger Games (an amazing set of stories and I myself can hardly wait for Catching Fire to screen in cinemas later this year) the fact that Celaena is an assassin makes me draw parallels between this book and other assassin-centric books: Grave Mercy, or the Robin Hobb Assassin trilogy. Thankfully, it's not like the former.

I have found the pacing of this novel is phenomenal. There isn't a slow moment, paragraph or scene so far! About the only thing that I have cause to complain about is the letter 'C'. Celaena. Chaol. Captain of the King's Guard. Crown Prince of Adarlan! (Crown Prince's hunting dogs). The first time a character without a 'C' in their name or title walked past the page, I almost dropped the book.

All in all, this is a first book by an author I've only recently heard of. It's impressed me and I'll definitely consider picking up another book of hers in the future. Indeed, I have it on Yolanda's good authority that the second book is even better than the first! :D

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 2013 reading list

I had four of these titles decided and ready to go from the evening of the 3rd of July. Luckily, I had all of these on hand, rather than having to rely on library availability. I think I would have cried if I had to go into a cue for this line up of novels.

I've also had a friend over from Brisbane last month, who found out what happens if you try to steal my books away from me.

So I'm being a little ambitious this month with my books, but as many of them are YA, I think I should manage to get through them alright.

For this month:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir.

4/5 - really great comedic writing.
I've been to a Reading Party where one of the hosts was reading out chapters from this novel. Don't know if it will stand up to being as hilarious as it sounds when being read out loud, but if things can stand the test of that, mostly they're as good as they seem.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.

DNF - There's one in almost every month.
This Young Adult novel has been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for entirely too long. It may not be a library loan, but my partner is finally going to take it back off me if I don't get around to reading it this month! What can I say, I have a partner who indulges and encourages my love of YA lit. What can I say?


3.5/5 - Not exactly what I expected it would be, but a rewarding read all the same.
There is a lot of dystopian fiction in YA writing at the moment. I've already written a blog post about it here, so I won't go into that again here. Mostly, I'm reading this one because I'm interested in seeing the way Veronica Roth paints her view of our future world.


4/5 - I've read this book before. Loved it then, loved it now. 
I first read this series of novels in late high school. They were a copy that belonged to a friend of mine, and I must have read them through till the spine started cracking. These are my very favourite series of the entire of Tamora Pierce's wide array of teen fiction subverting the idea that young women in fantasy can't play a main part in adventures. I'm reading it this month as a "buddy read" with a friend on

The Poison Eaters.

4/5 - Yes, yes, yes. Only one week story in this and it's definitely a re-read title.
This is a first time read largely because I cannot believe there is something by Holly Black that I haven't read yet! Also, it's a must read for me before her novel of one of the short stories in here, "The Coldest Girl in Cold Town", gets released (more on that soon).

Throne of Glass.

3/5 - Very structured plot in the beginning. Character development let it down. 
This is a giveaway book from Bloomsbury straight to me. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the book very soon. Mostly, things I know about it: there's an assassin, there's a fantasy world she's in, there is a Hunger Games related sticker on the front cover, so I know who they are marketing towards. It should be interesting.


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