Marny Finally Gets A Feyguard Book

If you’ve been following my reviews of indie YA author Anthea Sharp’s Feyland and Feyguard books, you might remember this aside from my review of Royal:

Marny continues to be everything. I really hope she gets her own Feyguard book complete with a worthy love interest, because she’s one of my favorite things about this series. Although one of the best things about her is that she’s happy and confident without a boyfriend, I want to see someone love Marny as much as she loves herself.

Well, dreams do come true! Now that the holiday madness has died down, I am happy to bring you a review of the third Feyguard book, Marny. (Disclosure: Anthea sent me a free advance review copy, which I was not able to follow up on nearly as soon as I’d hoped.)

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

boston1940_snow

It was 1944. Against all odds, Frank had made it home for Christmas. Lord knew how many strings he’d had to pull for that one. We spent every spare moment of those few days together, not that we had many to spare since work wouldn’t let me off.  It wouldn’t have been practical to take the time off, anyway. We were saving money to get married, move out of the city, and have a real home. We’d talked about getting married four years ago, but the War got in the way. I didn’t want to be a wartime bride like so many of my friends – a courthouse wedding followed by months or years without my new husband at best, or an early widowhood at worst. Not to mention the war babies I was watching on the weekends for my girlfriends. I was nowhere near ready for one of my own.

The last night before Frank shipped out, we were together on the only chair in his tiny hotel room. I felt so warm, safe, and protected in his arms. We’d been sitting that way for hours, talking about everything and talking about nothing at all. I glanced at the clock. Was it after eleven already? I had to get up early for work. Besides that, if anyone saw me coming home from a man’s hotel room past midnight and word got back to my boss, I might not have a job to get up for. No one wanted a woman of ill repute on their staff. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want a single thing to change. I didn’t want to be so gosh darn stinking practical.

But I was. So I lifted my head from Frank’s neck and said, “I really can’t stay.”

Frank knew me well enough to recognize my reluctance. He glanced toward the window, his gaze inviting mine to follow. “Baby,” he said in his good-natured manner, “it’s cold outside.”

He was right. While we’d been distracted, the evening’s gentle flurry had turned into a white wall. But would my boss take that as an excuse? Would my parents take that as an excuse? I couldn’t risk it. “I’ve got to go away,” I shook my head in resignation.

“Baby, it’s cold outside,” Frank persisted, though he relaxed his embrace.

I stood up and clasped his hands, knowing I had to leave, feeling I wanted to stay forever. “This evening has been so very nice.”

Frank rubbed my cold hands between his warm ones. “I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice.”

I laughed and leaned back toward the door, pulling Frank out of the chair with me. “My mother will start to worry,” I chided.

“Hey, beautiful, what’s your hurry?” said Frank, putting an arm around my waist.

“And father will be pacing the floor,” I laughed, putting mine on his shoulder. “Really, I’d better scurry.”

“Beautiful, please don’t hurry,” Frank said, spinning me away from the door. I willingly followed.

“Well, maybe just a half a drink more,” I conceded. Could one more really hurt? It wasn’t even midnight yet. I could still get home in plenty of time.

“Put some music on while I pour,” Frank agreed.

I turned on the radio, then slipped into my coat as Frank got the eggnog and bourbon out of the ice box. I knew if I sat down again, I’d never get up this time. “The neighbors might think…” I worried aloud.

“Baby, it’s bad out there,” Frank reminded me as he handed me the tumbler.

I took a sip. That was definitely an extra shot of bourbon. Just the way I liked it. Just the way only Frank knew I liked it. I didn’t want to risk a reputation as a hard-drinking dame. Not until the war was over and I didn’t need a job, anyway. “Say, what’s in this drink?” I raised an eyebrow.

“No cabs to be had out there,” Frank reported from the window. He turned back to me and stared. I shot him a questioning look. “Your eyes are like starlight now,” he said. It was such a cornball line. So ridiculous, but so perfect. So Frank.

“I wish I knew how to break this spell,” I said with a sigh of contentment. But the spell had to be broken. I set down my empty glass and reached for my hat.

Frank intercepted me. “I’ll take your hat; your hair looks swell,” he said. He knew I loved it when he ran his fingers through my hair like that. He knew it would always lead to a kiss.

I took my face out of his neck for a moment. “I ought to say no, no, no, sir,” I laughed, thinking how scandalized my parents would be.

“You mind if I move in closer?” Frank grinned. It wouldn’t be the first time. I tugged on his shirt collar as he slipped his hands under my coat.

“At least I’m going to say that I tried,” I said with mock indignation. Why did women have to say that they tried? Why did my reputation – my viability in the job market, my standing in the community, my relationship with my family – rest on whether or not I adequately pretended I didn’t want to do something everyone wanted to do? I wanted that drink, extra shot of bourbon and all. I wanted Frank’s hands exactly where they were. I wanted to stay with my fiance until morning, and not just because it was cold outside, dammit. Why would it be the end of the world if I just said so?

“What’s the sense of hurting my pride?” Frank replied, matching my mocking tone.

I caught another look at the clock. Darn. How was it midnight already?

“I simply must go,” I said, pulling away. Frank let go easily. I didn’t.

“It’s cold outside,” he reminded me, searching for my hat.

“The answer is no,” I mourned with my eye on the clock.

“Baby, it’s cold outside,” Frank said as he put my hat on for me. He took my arm with great formality and escorted me the five steps to the door. “So lucky that you dropped in,” he said with a put-on accent.

“This welcome has been so nice and warm,” I curtsied. Frank opened the door for me. We both jumped back a little as we were hit with a blast of icy air.

I shut the door and leaned back against it. “Look out the window at that storm,” said Frank. He was maintaining a light-hearted manner, but I could tell he was getting genuinely concerned. So was I. If ever there was a legitimate excuse not to go back to my own house for the night, this was it.

But would my family accept it?

“My sister will be suspicious,” I said. Betty was only sixteen. I was supposed to be an example for her. If I didn’t go home tonight, would she think it was just fine and dandy to do whatever she wanted with that boy she’d been going steady with? Would she end up in a girls’ home because her twenty-five-year-old, engaged sister stayed out of a blizzard one night?

Frank gently fingered my lips, trying to take my mind off my worries. “Your lips look delicious,” he said.

“My brother will be there at the door,” I laughed. Johnny was only seventeen, but he still thought of himself as my protector. He’d already given Frank the “What are your intentions?” talk.

“I ain’t worried about your brother,” Frank laughed with me.

“My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious,” I said, a little more seriously. Now, Aunt Minerva was someone to worry about. Sometimes I truly wondered if she had any idea what it was like to have feelings for a man. As far as I could remember, she never kept company with one. Come to think of it, neither did her housemate. They seemed determined to be old maids together forever.

Frank distracted me with a kiss. I happily let myself be distracted. “Gosh, your lips are delicious,” he said.

“Well, maybe just a cigarette more,” I conceded, teenagers and old maids be damned.

It was well after midnight when our empty cigarettes sat in the ashtray with their burned-out tips touching. Frank and I were wrapped around each other in the chair again, just as when this whole song and dance had started. “I’ve got to get home,” I murmured, making no effort to act on my resolute words.

“Baby, you’ll freeze out there,” Frank murmured back.

“Say, lend me a comb,” I said, leaning into his chest. My hair didn’t exactly speak of a sedate, ladylike, respectable evening.

“It’s up to your knees out there.” He did have a point. But I couldn’t shake the fear of dealing with my family in the morning if I stayed over. Once again I forced myself to stand up and took Frank’s hands.

“You’ve really been grand,” I said.

“I thrill when you touch my hand,” he said, standing with me.

“Oh, but don’t you see?” I said.

“How can you do this thing to me?”

I couldn’t resist anymore. Not in the name of practicality, anyway. Sure, my family would be furious in the morning, and I might be facing an unpleasant conversation with my boss. But if they couldn’t see that it was better to stay overnight with a kind, caring, gentleman I trusted with my life than to walk home in a blizzard, then there was just no pleasing them. I gave up. I was a practical woman. That would never change. And the most practical thing was to stay in for the night.

“There’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” I said as I took off my coat. “At least there will be plenty implied.”

“Think of my lifelong sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died,” said Frank. He still kept up his teasing façade, but I could tell he was truly relieved.

“I really can’t stay,” I said with a dramatic flourish, mocking the protest I’d have to tell everyone I’d given tomorrow.

Frank took my hand and spun me into his arms. “Get over that holdout,” he laughed. Together, we declared, “Oh, but, baby, it’s cold…out…side!”


Lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Frank Loesser. Headcanon by Amethyst Marie.

#PMJSearch and #ThaliasMusings

You know Postmodern Jukebox, the band that makes all those awesome 1920s – 1960s covers of top 40 pop hits? They’ve been running a promotion for their new karaoke album So, You Think You Can Sing? in the form of a month-long online talent search. I do think I can sing, so I covered their 1940s torch singer arrangement of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have been uploading these covers all month. Check out the #PMJSearch tag on YouTube and Facebook to see some of them! And, hey, there are still a couple days for you to add your own B-)

In other news, I continue to have limited time for writing, and I’ve still mostly been picking manuscripts over blog posts. The good news is, Thalia’s Musings 4 is coming along! I’m really excited about how it’s been going lately, and I can’t wait to start rolling out release timelines, teasers, and title reveals.

The Unauthorized Review of The Unauthorized Full House Story

I totally didn’t mean to take the summer off from blogging. Life got busy, and when I did have time to write, I picked novel-drafting over blogging. But, the comedy gods have summoned me back to my blog with a cheesy TV movie about a cheesy TV show from my childhood.

Pictured: Not my old familiar friends.

I’ll be doing a “first impressions” style post like the one I did on Jem and the Holograms. Unlike with Jem, I am quite familiar with Full House. I watched it regularly back when the TGIF lineup was a new thing. I was young enough then (the same age as Stephanie Tanner) to find it legitimately entertaining. Nearly twenty years later, I binge-watched the whole series on TV Land while I was sick in bed. It brought back happy memories and gave me a lot of good laughs (at what my grade-school self had found legitimately entertaining). Today, I find myself looking forward to the Netflix release of Fuller House, half because I hope it’ll have as much unintentional comedy as its predecessor, and half because I’m sincerely looking forward to the nostalgia of predictability, the milkman, the paperboy, and evening TV.

In the meantime, my thoughts on this unauthorized portrayal of my old familiar friends is waiting just around the bend.  Continue reading

Misselthwaite Archives

The Misselthwaite Archives: A Secret Glade in Portland

We had a trio of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books on the shelf from as early as I can remember – A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Secret Garden. I read all three when I was pretty young, and saw at least two movie adaptations of each one. All three books feature child protagonists who’ve lost at least one parent. In A Little Princess, Sara Crewe is known for her brave forbearance and her devotion to princessly virtues throughout her riches-to-rags story. In Little Lord Fauntleroy, Cedric Erroll remains the sweet-natured, charismatic apple of his mother’s eye as he goes from being a street urchin in Brooklyn to an English aristocrat.

The Secret Garden stands out among Burnett’s works (and classic children’s literature in general) in that ten-year-old Mary Lennox, orphaned while overseas with her parents, is a total bitch. She’s unlikeable, and I love her for it. Mary has the kind of behavioral issues you’d expect from a kid raised by neglectful narcissists whose idea of “parenting” is giving the kid whatever it takes to shut her up. Not to mention this child has gone through the trauma of finding her parents’ disease-ravaged bodies and being the only one left alive in her home.

So, when I was asked to review The Misselthwaite Archives, I was pleased to see that #MisselArch’s Mary is traumatized, depressed, and a total bitch. Though, as you can see, she’s not ten.

Sophie Giberson as Mary Lennox. Image via The Misselthwaite Archives.

In this adaptation, 17-year-old Mary is sent to live at her widowed uncle’s home in Misselthwaite, a small, preppy town somewhere in Oregon. Teen angst and Portlandia snark suit this character beautifully.

As does the series’ framing device. Most of Mary’s talking-to-the-camera videos are letters to Dr. F.H. Burnett, the therapist she left behind when she moved to Misselthwaite. Others are study exercises with her perpetually cheerful tutor, Phoebe Sower (Martha Sowerby’s counterpart). Phoebe is the one who first introduces Mary to the legend of The Glade. She also introduces Mary to her little brother, Declan.

Dickon Sowerby was one of my biggest “How is a modern webseries going to handle this character?” characters. With his entourage of enchanted woodland creatures, Book Dickon is pretty much a boy Disney Princess. It’s easy and predictable to take him in a Manic Pixie Dream Guy direction. The 1987 film went full Purity Sue/Too Good For This Sinful Earth, telling us in an epilogue that Dickon died in the first World War. (I like to imagine that version of Dickon actually ran away with Walter Blythe and they lived feyly ever after, but I digress.)

#MisselArch goes the opposite way with Declan Sower. He’s a wildlife sanctuary intern who’s brilliant at ecology and animal care, but shy and awkward with humans. He’s as good-natured as his perky sister, but quiet and thoughtful in a way that connects better with Mary’s withdrawn snarkitude. In fact, Declan connects so well with Mary that every video he appears in is inevitably followed by “I ship it!!!!” comments. I have to agree. I’ve always loved Mary for feeling like a real kid, and for once, Dickon feels as real as she does.

Bryce Earhart as Declan Sower. Image via The Misselthwaite Archives.

My biggest question, though, was how #MisselArch would handle Colin Craven. I can’t tell you the answer without a ton of SPOILERS. You’ve been warned. Continue reading

#AmethystForPrez – All About My Base

Last month, I formally declared that I am running for president in 2020. (I won’t be old enough to run in 2016, but hey, everyone else is announcing that they’re running in a year that is not this year.) In that announcement post, I said that my platform would be “platform shoes.” Now, obviously, I can’t run an entire campaign on platform shoes alone. I can’t run very far at all in platform shoes.

So, what is the full platform of the TROLL party, alias Thalia’s Representatives Of Liberty & Lulz? Like any politically savvy presidential candidate, I’ll tell you once I find out what our voter base wants.

What srs bsns do YOU want to see on my platform? Let me know here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in a YouTube comment!

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About the Black Widow thing in Age of Ultron

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Proceed at your own risk.

“Widow,” by deviantART user alicexz

So, there’s been some controversy about Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff’s backstory, specifically that her Brainwashed Soviet-Ish Killing Machine training was concluded with a routine sterilization and she feels un-good about this. As for the scene itself, I don’t see how it’s being framed as a gendered issue. Bruce Banner has already told Natasha about his own infertility, and they’re having the discussion in the first place because they’re seeing the family life that their male friend has deliberately created and likely gone through an insane amount of effort to keep.

However, other bloggers have already done a great job analyzing the scene and the overall movie, so I’m not going to spend much time on that. Instead, I’m going to talk about my experience as a medically sterilized woman. Continue reading