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Pros Beta Readers List - looking for a beta reader for your Pros fic? Need Brit-checking, a quick edit, or just reassurance? Try one of these volunteers...

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Recommedations and Reviews - see the sidebar to navigate and find recs and reviews for online, zine and ProsLib CD fic

Discussions, Requests, Announcements, News, Challenges - also linked via the sidebar below!

ETA - this would have been a much more brilliant idea if lj comms were allowed to have post-dated entries at the top of their pages! Anyone got any ideas for a nice clear, obvious place to put a post like this?!

Super Teenagers

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:18 pm
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[personal profile] alobear
I took part in a fanfiction event last month, and volunteered to do the art for a Raven Cycle story, which inevitably plunged me into fan obsession with the series. So, I decided to re-read them, but this time in text version, rather than audiobook. I was a bit apprehensive at first, because the narrator of the audiobooks is so good, and I wondered if reading the books themselves would be a lesser experience. I needn't have worried - reading the actual books turns out to have an intensity all its own.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is difficult to describe. It tells the story of four seventeen-year-old boys, who all go to a fancy private school in Virginia, and are on a quest to find the burial place of Owain Glyndwr, an ancient Welsh king who is supposed to grant a favour to whoever wakes him. The female member of the group is Blue, who comes from a family of psychics, but is not psychic herself. There are prophecies, mysteries and adventures galore, interspersed with the more mundane (but no less important) issues of teenage romance, schoolwork, disparate financial situations, grief and abuse. It's a pretty weird mixture, but it all hangs together quite well overall. And the Raven Boys themselves are all drawn so beautifully that it's impossible not to fall in love with them. This time through, the Harry Potter parallels were more obvious to me (Gansey is James, Ronan is Sirius, Adam is Remus, and Noah is Peter, with Blue an obvious Lily), but it's a group dynamic that works very effectively, and I've started the second book in the series immediately.

Yesterday, we went to see Spiderman: Homecoming, which turned out to be extremely enjoyable. I didn't have much in the way of expectations going in, but the film was consistently both fun and funny. I loved the portrayal of Peter, and also really liked his best friend, Ned. Michael Keaton make an excellent bad guy, and there were tons of little moments that were really entertaining. Plus, it had the best absolute-end-of-credits sequence I have seen to date. This is how I always want Marvel films to be, but many of the more recent ones have been disappointing in various ways. Spiderman: Homecoming got the tone just right, and there's something about Tom Holland that is immensely appealing, which certainly helped. We've got to wait a long time for another stand-alone Spidey film, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing him in Infinity War next year.

Jul. 14th, 2017 04:21 pm
leesa_perrie: icon of an owl with 'oh hai' written on it (Oh Hai Owl)
[personal profile] leesa_perrie
Someone told me awhile back how to alter your browser so that you can copy/paste fics into Word, but I've forgotten! If anyone knows, could you remind me please? I don't often go to for fic these days, but have found one I'd like to read offline (it's big so I can't read in one go, the person hasn't split it into chapters, and it's much easier to mark a Word document with 'start here' to remind you where you're up to if you need to read it over a period of days).

I use Firefox if that helps. Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Thanks to [personal profile] starwatcher for the answer!! :D

Wintry winter

Jul. 12th, 2017 06:10 pm
mab_browne: Alpine scene and flowers from a painting by Rebecca Osbourne (Default)
[personal profile] mab_browne
By dint of feeding the woodburner full bore for the last twelve hours, we have convinced the temperature at the top end of the house to rise to 16c/60F. Given that it's currently 4C/39F outside I guess it could be worse.

Bro-in-the-South sent me a nice pic on his cellphone of the white stuff on his street this morning.

News pics of the cold

Tonight is a good night for a roast meal - lamb, roasted spuds, assorted green veges, mint sauce. Also, I am sending son out for the firewood because what else are strong young men for? Or even weedy young men?

Baby Groot icons!

Jul. 10th, 2017 10:39 pm
leesa_perrie: icon of a happy looking Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Baby Groot Happy)
[personal profile] leesa_perrie
6 icons of Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2!!

As usual please credit if you take and use, a comment here would be lovely, and no hotlinking, thanks!

01. 02. 03.

04. 05. 06.

If anyone knows any suitable comms I can share these on, please let me know, thanks!

White Bear transformation

Jul. 8th, 2017 07:47 am
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[personal profile] alobear
Last night, Dave and I went to see the play, James Bonney MP, at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington. The most surprising thing about the trip was the total transformation of the pub, to the extent that we thought we were in the wrong place when we walked in. It used to be tiny, with a couple of booths down one wall, and a small stretch of bar, cramped and dim, with the theatre at the back in one corner. Now, they've opened up the whole back section into a spacious, airy dining area, with an open kitchen on one side, a huge skylight, and a lovely beer garden at the far end. The theatre is now upstairs (it still seats about 50) and, most importantly, has air conditioning. The whole place is gorgeous, and we'll definitely be eating there next time we go to see a play.

Speaking of the play - it was okay. It told the very familiar story of an MP trying to juggle the stresses of a vote of no confidence from within his own party, and an affair with a demanding secretary. There were only six characters - the MP, his wife, his daughter, his secretary, his agent, and his main rival (who was also the daughter's boyfriend). Overall, I would have to describe it as feeling inexperienced - the writing, the direction, and the acting. The dialogue was very clunky in places, the actors sometimes seemed uncomfortable in the tight space, with the audience split across two sides of the stage, and there were a few fluffed lines. Bits of it were funny, though, and bits of it were clever, and the cast mainly did a decent job with the material. I didn't find myself wishing it was over, but I also wouldn't say it will stick in my mind at all.

We will certainly go back to the White Bear, especially now its been so miraculously refurbished, but this wasn't a great entry into our visits there, which have previously included several excellent Restoration comedies.
alobear: (Default)
[personal profile] alobear
I recently listened to No Middle Name, a collection of Jack Reacher stories by Lee Child. I was initially a bit apprehensive about it, because it has a different narrator to the one I'm used to, and Jeff Harding is so synonymous with Reacher in my head, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to listen to a different voice reading it. I needn't have worried because the new narrator provided additional entertainment by giving Reacher a really deep, gravelly voice that made him sound like Batman!

The stories were classic Reacher adventures in short form, and highly enjoyable. Two or three gave some entertaining insight into Reacher's youth, and most of the others ran along similar lines to the novels. The one in which Reacher has his first sexual encounter with a girl, on the night of the blackout in New York, while the Son of Sam stares at him through the car windscreen was rather too ridiculous for words. And it was a shame that there were two stories involving a female War Plans officer selling military secrets, and another two stories where Reacher encountered a heavily pregnant woman on Christmas Eve. However, the novels themselves are fairly repetitive and usually involve Reacher getting into highly unlikely situations, so I suppose this volume of short stories was generally in keeping. Great fun, overall.

I very much enjoyed Felixstowe Book Festival over the weekend, and almost escaped without buying any books. However, the last panel on Sunday had two authors that caught my attention, so I came away with two books after all. And I finished both of them in the five days since the festival.

Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall tells the story of Ben, a young man convicted at the age of ten of murdering another ten-year-old, who is released from prison at the age of eighteen and given a new identity. The book has two timelines - Ben's struggles with finding a place in the outside world, and also the day of the murder itself. The story is compelling, the characters well drawn and the gradual reveal of what really happened that day is intriguing. I liked the structure, and there was an interesting range of POV - including Ben's probation officer, the victim's mother, various other characters involved in the case, and Ben himself. I thought it was a bold choice to have his point of view, particularly since he is portrayed quite sympathetically, and I enjoyed his narrated sections the most. I also found the ending unexpected and quite chilling - another bold choice after all the build-up of the preceding story.

However, there were a couple of aspects of the writing that really infuriated me. The narrative tenses were very muddled - so much so that it occasionally switched from past to present tense for a couple of sentences and then back again. If this was deliberate, I can't see what it was meant to achieve - and if it wasn't, it baffles me that the editor didn't catch it. But then, the narrative was also riddled with occasions where a comma was used when it should have been a semi-colon or, more suitably, a full stop. So, my conclusion has to be that neither author nor editor know how to use tense or punctuation properly. In an otherwise excellent book, I always find surface issues like this intensely annoying, and I do feel they should have been picked up and sorted out well before the book hit the shelves.

I had a similar experience with A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone. The premise is excellent, and the execution generally also good. It tells the story of Andy, a widower with a young child, who meets and marries Anna in a whirlwind romance. Over time, though, she is revealed as unstable and violent, and Andy is subjected to brutal physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his wife. I found the situation and developing story very interesting, and the portrayal of the difficulties faced by a man in this predicament were extremely well laid out.

However, the foreshadowing was very heavy-handed, some of the plot points seemed very contrived, and the central dilemma/message of the book was frequently stated outright with very little subtext. What annoyed me more, though, were the glaring inconsistencies in the back story. At one point, it said Andy was widowed when his son was a toddler, but then it said the child's mother died in childbirth. It also said his son was "planned for, prayed for", despite earlier stating the pregnancy was a total accident as the wife had a heart condition and had been told she should never get pregnant because the strain would be too much for her. And then there were several instances where the narrative had "it's" instead of "its", which is pretty unforgivable in my view. So, again, very sloppy editing. I also found the ending very disappointing. After a very detailed description of how difficult it would be for Andy to successfully win a custody battle for his children (unlikelihood of people believing his story, and mothers generally getting custody), I was really looking forward to seeing how the case would proceed. But the author chose to go for an over-the-top melodramatic ending which, in my view, undermined the importance of the book's message, and failed to show how people in this situation might realistically find a solution.

Hey ho. Both books had a lot to recommend them, and they certainly kept me reading to find out what would happen in the end. But I found the issues with the writing very frustrating, as these authors are acclaimed but are apparently missing some of the basics of punctuation and grammar.


NSFW Jul. 7th, 2017 01:04 pm
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[personal profile] solosundance
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