Winter Sunlight

(no subject)

I'm working on a vid for Iron Fist, because of course I am, and it's giving me unexpected feels about Davos, who I was more or less indifferent to the first time around.

Spoilers under hereCollapse )

ETA: Of course it's also breaking my heart because of the cancellation. Collecting clips has also been making me think about how the showrunner they got for the second season just seemed to be completely on the same page with me in terms of what I wanted out of this show and these characters, in a way that almost never happens, and a third season would've been so likely to give me a bunch more of what I wanted ... and, just, aargh. I know it'll hurt less, eventually. It's just frustrating that this had to happen right after I discovered the show and right when I wanted to just kind of roll around in happy feelings for it. I have obviously been through this a bunch of times with a bunch of shows, but the timing on this one is just so bad, and it's rubbing salt in the wound that all of the others get to go on but the one I desperately want more of ... doesn't.

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Winter Sunlight

So you wanna watch Iron Fist

Not gonna lie, I have hopes of dragging other people into this fandom hell sweet iddy show with me if I can, especially since this is probably going to be my playground for indulgent h/c for the next little while. (I've already written quite a bit, and there's more on the way ...)

The problem with Iron Fist (well, one of them) is that it's hard to rec because a lot of people bounce off the first season, and bounce hard. The second season is tighter, better written, does a much better job with Chinatown, and fixes basically everything that was an issue in season one. Unfortunately there's a lot in season one that sets up the character relationships in season two. And some people really do love season one! (I did, with some caveats.) So basically I'd recommend trying season one, and if you find yourself bouncing off but still want to try to get to the good stuff (and there is a lot of good stuff!), you can:

- Watch 1x01 and 1x12-1x13, which will establish the major characters and relationships in S2.
- Skip straight to 2x01. You'll miss some setup, but you can always go back and watch later.
- Watch season one while FF'ing through everything to do with ninjas, China, or kung fu. This was pretty much what I did in the early eps, before getting completely hooked by season's end.

The reason why it's worth it, and the reason why this ended up being my favorite of the four main Defendersverse shows (leaving aside Punisher, which I also adore and is kind of its own thing) is because this show is just so goddamn optimistic about people, and this universe (theirs or ours, frankly) could use some optimism. This is a show about family and love and connection and belonging, and characters actively seeking out those things and learning to build healthy supportive relationships with each other even when they come from terribly abusive/lonely/damaged backgrounds and screw up a lot along the way.

I think people who bounced off of, or noped out on, the other Netflix MCU shows because of the violence, grittiness, or darkness might like this one better. It's a lot more escapist, lighter, and more optimistic. The first season is essentially an off-its-rocker soap opera with ninjas; the second season is more tightly plotted, less batshit, and pays off on a lot of the character setup in really satisfying ways.

It also has some darn good canon hurt/comfort.

And yeah, it's cancelled now, which means (leaving aside the possibility of a revival or the characters turning up in other Netflix shows) two seasons is all there is, and unlike a lot of shows I've loved and lost along the way, it doesn't end on a forever cliffhanger. It's got a very solid ending that wraps up the character arcs in a satisfying way and, while clearly designed as a tease for season three, doesn't feel unfinished, but more like a springboard for further adventures. Unlike the other Netflix Marvel shows, it doesn't tear things down in season two; it builds things up and leaves the characters better than they were before.

There's a list of enticements under the cut - these are mildly spoilery, but just in the general sense of where things are headed that may not be apparent from early season one, rather than specifics.

Enticements!Collapse )

Viewing order:

Because this show is part of the Defendersverse shows and the characters pop up all over, here is the order in which the IF-related shows take place:

1. Iron Fist season one
2. Defenders (includes a lot of Danny & Colleen, and sets up Iron Fist season 2)
3. Luke Cage season 2 - not a must-watch for IF purposes, but includes IF crossover characters in 2 episodes, and also provides setup/background for Misty, who is one of the major IF characters in season 2. The Iron Fist crossover eps are 2x03 (Misty & Colleen) and 2x10 (Danny & Luke).
4. Iron Fist season two

I think you can probably get away with just watching IF 1 & 2 without watching the other shows, but I was glad that I watched Defenders and most of Luke Cage in between; it does help a lot with character setup and generally understanding their universe better.

Basically I love this sweet, charming, well-intentioned kung fu soap opera and I want to be able to share it with other people! I'm requesting/offering it for Yuletide, plan to request/offer for Festivids, and will probably have it as one of my perennial exchange fandoms for awhile, which means that if you like this show and you like my writing, the odds of getting fic from me are very high. :D

Note: I know this show may not be for a lot of people. That's totally fine! I don't mind at all if you don't like it, don't want to watch it, or find it severely problematic. I would prefer not getting comments just to tell me that, though.



ETA: I also realized I should add a list of potentially triggery/squee-harshing stuff (contains some spoilers). Set off a bit so it can be skipped if desired.

Potentially triggery/squee-harshing contentCollapse )

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Winter Sunlight

Misc fandom stuff

[community profile] festivids (vidding exchange for rare fandoms) is still taking fandom nominations for another day or so; instructions and definition of "rare" fandoms here. I did it last year and will probably be signing up again this year.

I've been reading fic at Femslash Exchange and there's some really good stuff! A couple I liked in particular:

Our Bodies, Ourselves (Ant-Man & the Wasp, Hope/Ava, 6K words)
This is probably my favorite fic I've read for the Ant-Man movies, hands down, which is all the more impressive because I really love Hope/Scott in canon and never even considered this pairing, but this completely sells it and is also a really gorgeous portrayal of disability/trauma (as Ava struggles with the transition to having a fully corporeal body and emotions she doesn't know how to process) and a really lovely ensemble fic with the same warm everyone-is-family vibe as the movies. I just really loved it.

Citation Flirtation (Black Panther, Shuri/OC, 3K words)
Sweet and funny and well-characterized, with a great OC and strong sense of place.

And though I haven't responded to them all yet, I really appreciate the kind comments and commiseration on my previous post; thank you. ♥ ♥ ♥ (I have been soothing my broken heart by writing fanfic and watching this gif of Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum on repeat. THAT FLIRTY SMILE. GOD.)

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Winter Sunlight

Dear Yuletide author

Yuletide signups are open 'til Oct. 20!

Note: I know several people on my flist are currently watching Iron Fist, so just a warning that my prompts under the cut include spoilers for the end of season 2.


Thank you so much for writing something for me! I am very easy to please and I love all these fandoms equally, so anything for any of them will delight me.

General likes: hurt/comfort of all types (tropey as hell? bring it on! head injuries, drowning, lost/stranded, hypothermia, desperately worried about a critically injured friend, etc ...), friendship, banter, casefic, character studies, short fluffy fics, long plotty fics, presumed dead, characters saving each other's lives, holidays (I celebrate Christmas, so Christmas-related fic is fine with me if appropriate for the canon), estranged friends reconnecting, characters hanging out/drinking together/playing board games/etc.

Do Not Want: permanent character death, jealousy or infidelity/cheating (except as present in canon; it's not that you need to avoid all mentions of it, just that I'd rather not have it introduced in a non-canon context), downer endings.

Robert Carey Mysteries - P.F. ChisholmCollapse )

Alliance-Union (Heavy Time/Hellburner)Collapse )

Iron FistCollapse )

Death Gate CycleCollapse )

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Winter Sunlight

Where did this month go

My computer's in the shop and it's thrown my entire week into disarray. ;___; (Although honestly this month was a disaster from a scheduling perspective even before that happened.)

Okay, let's see. An assortment of things I've been meaning to post about but haven't yet:

• Sweet and lovely [personal profile] leesa_perrie has a new Zazzle shop, Bright Light Originals, with some of her nature/animal photography on T-shirts, phone covers, totes, etc. So check that out. :D

Zero Sum Game by SL Huang is out in a new Tor edition!! I am absolutely THRILLED to be able to link to this, FINALLY. It's the first book in a really excellent SF/suspense series that was originally self-published up to book 4 and then got picked up by Tor. (Disclaimer: I was one of the original betas. I cannot, however, claim any kind of credit for its awesomeness.) I'm sure I've talked about these here before, from time to time, and I am really looking forward to seeing these books discovered by a wider audience as they deserve!

... fuck, I should've nominated it for Yuletide. Oh well, next year. Speaking of which:

Yuletide signups are open 'til October 21! Guess who was going to write promo posts for all the fandoms she plans to request before signups opened. Guess who didn't do that and in fact hasn't even written most of her signup yet.

Things I plan to request:
Alliance-Union (Heavy Time/Hellburner)
Iron Fist
Robert Carey Mysteries - PF Chisholm
The Punisher (maybe?)
Death Gate Cycle (maybe?)

[personal profile] rachelmanija wrote a great Punisher promo post a little while back. (This show was such a nice surprise. I didn't expect it to be as awesome as it was.) And I was working on one for Iron Fist before my computer went toes up on me. *sob*

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Winter Sunlight

Iron Fist season 2

I finished Iron Fist season 2 yesterday, and that was AMAZING. That was easily one of my favorite show finales ever. If they get a season 3 I will be delighted, but if it ends there, it's a perfect, beautiful ending and there is nothing else I want out of life. I LOVE MY RIDICULOUS KUNG FU SOAP OPERA and I plan to write a proper rec post soon.

But first! Under the first cut, there's a really major spoiler that might be an enticement for people who don't want to watch the show because of its problematic premise. This is a twist that is WELL worth being unspoiled for if you already want to watch the show and prefer an unspoiled viewing experience. However, if you've decided you aren't watching the show, this might be a deciding factor that would help change your mind.

That big spoilerCollapse )

Okay, and now ALL THE SPOILERS. I recommend not reading this if you plan to watch the show (and prefer to be unspoiled if you do). I struggled with temptation all throughout the last half of season 2 to look up some spoilers to find out if the show was going to break anything I didn't want them to break, but I am SO GLAD I got to experience that ending unspoiled. I literally screamed - well, okay, squeaked a lot.

Spoilers for season 2 and especially the season 2 finaleCollapse )

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Winter Sunlight

Vid: Black Panther - Say Geronimo

Some of you have already seen this because I posted it on AO3 a few weeks ago, but I just realized that I never posted it here, and I figured everyone could probably use a cheerful pick-me-up right about now.

Title: Say Geronimo
Artist: Sheppard
Fandom: Black Panther
Summary: A happy, bouncy Black Panther ensemble vid.

On Ao3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/15929537
On Tumblr: Here

Streaming: https://youtu.be/NO-D6GnS_qc
Download: Download 50 Mb MP4 here | Download 200 Mb MP4 here
Subtitles: Subtitle download here</p>

Embed and lyrics under the cut.

Black Panther - Say GeronimoCollapse )

This is probably the most pain-in-the-ass vid to subtitle that I've ever tried to do. The lyrics consist largely of lines that are repeated around 5-7 times per chorus, and figuring out whether I was on the 5th or the 6th iteration of "say geronimo!" while constantly switching back and forth between VLC (where I can see the timed subtitles) and the text editor where I actually type in the timestamps was a goddawful hassle. It probably took me three times as long as doing the subtitles for one of my usual vids.

The response to it has been really great, though. Apparently there aren't a lot of BP vids out there. (I sure can't find many.)

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Winter Sunlight

(no subject)

The Netflix Defenders universe continues to be an absolute delight for me. I finished Defenders day before yesterday, which I loved - although I had somehow osmosed that it was 10 episodes, not 8, so as it got into the 8th episode I was thinking "wow, they're wrapping this up awfully fast, are they really going to have 2 episodes of aftermath?" No. The answer was no. XD

But anyway, yeah, I loved that, and then I decided to just watch some light spoilers for the second seasons of Luke Cage and Jessica JonesCollapse )

And now I am moving on to the second season of Iron Fist, and so far it is just as much of a delight as I hoped it'd be, still just as earnest and charming as season one but with a much better plot. You know, I had this feeling in season one but it's even stronger in season two, that alone of all the Netflix Defenders protagonists, Danny is explicitly about reaching out and making connections to people. Luke kinda does this too, but he's also trying hard to hold himself back from really getting attached, whereas Danny is just this little ray of sunshine who helps random strangers on the street and forgives people who have hurt him and tries to get along with people wherever he goes. I love how Iron Fist is at heart about family, messy families who hurt each other and sometimes even try to kill each other but are still a family. It feels, at the moment anyway, like Danny has a stronger, so to speak, emotional support staff on his show than the other Defenders protagonists do, because he doesn't push people away, he gloms onto them instead. You even sort of get that with other Defendersverse characters who wander onto their show too, e.g. Claire or Hogarth, where the IF characters are just like "stay with us and be our new friend! ♥"

... I mean obviously this is not to say there's anything wrong with the other shows, I like them too! It's just that what I want from a show right now is EXACTLY what this sweet dumb kung fu soap opera is giving me, and I really love it a lot, and I hope it doesn't go to hell in the last few episodes of the season.

(No spoilers past 2x03, please; that's as far as I am right now!)

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Winter Sunlight

(no subject)

I think it's interesting what hooks people on a show and what doesn't. I'm watching Luke Cage now (I'd saved that one for last because I knew Orion wanted to see it, but he's never gotten around to it, so you snooze, you lose, Orion XD). But as it turns out, my read on this show was pretty accurate: it's an Orion show, not a [personal profile] sholio type of show.

Objectively it's really well written, I recognize that. And I LOVE Luke, Misty, and Claire. But as of about 6 1/2 episodes into it, I'm just "meh" on everything apart from them.

Part of it is that a serious, gritty show about corrupt cops and mobsters is not precisely what I want right now; I'm more into candy-colored escapism given the current state of the world. But honestly I think the biggest reason why the show isn't really snagging me that hard is because I fall for character relationships, not individual characters. You can hook me hard on a mediocre show or one in which I haven't really learned the characters yet by having them be intense about each other. Iron Fist, despite being objectively a worse show than Luke Cage -- I completely recognize this! -- hooked me from the beginning by having really intense relationships between the characters (Danny + the Meachum siblings, Danny and Colleen, Colleen and Bakudo, Ward and his dad, Danny and Davos ...).

And I basically love that Luke Cage EXISTS. Like, it's a great show, I love that it doesn't have a white character in sight and that's just no big deal, I am really enjoying the music and the aesthetic and the characters individually. But ...

Spoilers for Luke CageCollapse )

And I'm talking about this not to talk down Luke Cage and talk up Iron Fist, but I just think it's interesting because of what makes me fall for a show, or not -- and it's not necessarily anything to do with the writing or even the protagonists (I mean, as a character, I love Luke whereas I merely like Danny, and Luke's actor is amazing), but all other issues aside, emotional intensity of certain types is about as close to a bulletproof narrative kink as I have. And watching these two shows back to back is like a case study in quality writing that pulls back from the really iddy, emotional stuff, vs. a show that is objectively not so great but is a hammerblow to the feels. And feels win. >__>

(And the thing is, I know it'd be the other way around for plenty of people, e.g. Orion. I've watched enough stuff with him by now to know that he would find the emotional OTT-ness of Iron Fist dull and uncomfortable, and prefer the lower intensity/higher plot ratio of Luke Cage. Whereas I'm the other way around.)

Anyway, after I finish LC, Defenders is next up and I'm really looking forward to it. :D

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Winter Sunlight

Love language

So this is an Iron Fist meta post that grew out of a conversation [personal profile] sheron and I were having in chat today about a post on Tumblr that talks about different ways of showing love, which immediately we started applying to different characters in fandom. As you do.

The post is here and it's actually pretty cool, so I'll just summarize if you don't want to read the whole thing. Basically the post uses the lovely phrase "love language" for the different ways that people show love - not romantic necessarily (in fact the post is mainly talking about friendship) -- just love, in general: by touching, talking, doing things for other people, giving gifts, or spending time together. And it talks about how different people's love languages can be incompatible and people have to learn to show/give love across that kind of barrier.

I'm just going to quote the post's descriptions of the five kinds of "love language" under the cut (it's in Tumblr-ese, so translate to normal English XD). There are probably more than this, and most people kind of straddle several, but it is an interesting tool to have in your characterization toolbox, especially for characters who come down really hard in one category or another (e.g. we decided Neal Caffrey is a gifter, and so is Tony Stark), or absolutely suck at certain categories (like how some characters are touch-averse or wouldn't have a conversation about feelings if you tried to force them at gunpoint).

Types of Love LanguageCollapse )

So anyway, yeah, this immediately led to us trying to categorize characters, and I started talking to her about Iron Fist (as you do, when your head is in a brand new show brainspace), and I had an epiphany about late season one, and something spoilery that happens with Ward and Danny in 1x12. Which I'll talk about under the cut.

Iron Fist 1x12 and love languageCollapse )

Even if you're not into the Iron Fist meta-ing above, feel free to jump into the comments and psychoanalyze your favorite characters. What's their love language? Or yours?

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Winter Sunlight

(no subject)

I cannot BELIEVE that Punisher and Iron Fist are currently my favorite parts of the Netflix Marvel universe. HELP. That being said, somebody come flail with me about Frank and David and Ward and Colleen!

I haven't seen the second season of Iron Fist yet, so nobody spoil me, please!! THE FIRST ONE THO'. It started out uneven and sagged somewhat in the middle, but it was dynamite by the end. Or at least, it was delivering exactly the feels I wanted it to deliver. And the plot twists were killer.

And Punisher is just some of the best damn TV I've seen in awhile.

And they're both really freaking hard to recommend to people, because both of them are essentially a laundry list of Stuff Fandom Doesn't Like (in some ways) and yet total fannish catnip in others.

Why does my heart want what it wants??

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Winter Sunlight

Anthologies 'r' us

I have stories in two anthologies (under two different pen names) this month!

My urban fantasy short story "Gilt and Glamour" appears in the newly released anthology It Happened at the Ball, edited by Sherwood Smith. This is a feel-good anthology of stories set in ballrooms, described thusly by Sherwood at Book View Café:

Last summer after yet another wave of bad news, I found myself longing for escapist feel-good wish-fulfilment, and what is more indicative of escapist wish fulfilment than a ballroom filled with grand costumes, beguiling music, intrigue and romance?

"Gilt and Glamour" is set in the Gatekeeper universe (the same world as Wayward Myths). A pair of freelance monster hunters find magic and intrigue and maybe a little bit of romance as they try to catch a pooka at a New Year's ball in Gilded Age New York. You wouldn't think it would be hard to find a horse in a ballroom. At least, I wouldn't have thought so until half an hour ago ...

The anthology is available at most major online retailers:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | trade paperback

And then (as Lauren Esker) I have a story this month in Two Mates For the Dragon, a benefit anthology for OutRight International, a nonprofit that works to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people across the world. All profits will be donated to them in perpetuity.

Two Mates For the Dragon is M/M/F bisexual poly romance involving humans and (shapeshifting) dragons; I'm one of six participating authors. Here's the teaser blurb for my story, "Heart of Stone": 

Tess's dragonslayer husband David is dying, and her only hope is to seek help from David's ex-boyfriend, a dragon who runs a hot springs resort.

You can read a preview of my story in the "look inside" at the Amazon link.

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Winter Sunlight

AU Exchange creators are revealed!

The de-anonymizing is still propagating slowly through AO3, so these might not show up as mine yet at the time of posting, but I wrote three things!

Ironclad (Agent Carter, 12K words, gen)
Everyone thinks Howard Stark is the armored 1940s superhero called Ironclad. He's not. It's Peggy.

Shockingly the 12,000-word casefic in which Peggy is Iron Man was mine. I know right? So unexpected. I felt a little bad about having to rush this one a bit to get it done; I felt like I could easily have gone on for another 10K of Peggy flying around in rocketpack-deco 1940s Iron Man armor.

And then I wrote both of the "Steve Harrington turns into something weird" fics as pinch hits.

Full Moon Nights (Stranger Things, 7300 words, Steve + Nancy + Jonathan, gen with a slightly OT3-ish vibe)
Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

... aka Steve is a werewolf. This fic uses the same "werewolf rules" as the ones I've previously written in White Collar and Guardians of the Galaxy (in which werewolves lose control and turn into ravening monsters when their pack/chosen-family isn't around, but are basically normal wolves otherwise). I was wondering if that would be kind of a giveaway, but it's only revealing if someone is familiar with the other stories I've written in completely different fandoms.

Fish Out of Water (Stranger Things, 3000 words, Steve + Dustin)
Steve is hiding a fishy secret.

... in which Steve is a merman. Thanks to [personal profile] sheron for suggesting an excellent title after I messaged her plaintively about my inability to come up with punny titles involving fish or mermaids. I was also curious if anyone would guess that both of these were mine, but they have very different styles - the merman one is more cracky and playful, the werewolf one is more emotionally hurt/comforty and serious.

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Winter Sunlight

Trick or Treat exchange letter

Trick or Treat exchange signups are open now! (So are signups for Spook Me, incidentally, which I also plan to sign up for as soon as I figure out what monsters to pick. :D

I'm not really doing a letter as such this year - all my requests are in the signup form - but I'm reproducing them here (now that I've got them finalized and stopped adding stuff) because I think it's fun to read other people's letters and see what other people I follow are asking for (and maybe this will encourage more people writing my fandoms to sign up XD). And this gets them conveniently all in one place for treating purposes too!

Agents of SHIELDCollapse )

Agent CarterCollapse )

MCU (Black Panther)Collapse )

Stranger ThingsCollapse )

Alliance-UnionCollapse )

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Winter Sunlight

Fandom things

Thing one: Alternate Universe Exchange is open! I wrote three stories for it (my assignment and two pinch hits), which are probably not that hard to figure out, all things considered.

And my gifts are AMAZING.

We're going inside (the belly of the beast) (Stranger Things, Steve, gen, 1300 wds)
Time travel and mixed-up timelines and Steve trying desperately to do the right thing. STEVE. ;__;

The Home of the Wolf (Punisher, Frank/David/Sarah, 6300 wds)
Some fantastic person wrote my werewolf!David prompt(!!!) and it is GLORIOUS. Perfect, seamless fusion of werewolf AU and canon, perfect character voices, perfect everything.


Thing two: Agents of SHIELD, which I'm getting caught up on. (People on Tumblr have already gotten an earful of my wailing about this, lol.) I KNOW it's a bad idea to get attached to side characters on this show. It NEVER ends well. And yet. Aaaaugh.

Spoilers for Season 5 through the finaleCollapse )

It also made me realize (I'm going to put this outside the cut; it's not really spoilery) that something I'm really, really into is characters being gentle with their hurt/sick/distressed frenemies. Like, okay, gentle touching is something I'm into in general, but specifically, that thing where a character who is normally abrasive and at odds with the characters around them, or even an outright enemy, is hurt and vulnerable, and the other one is touching them gently and speaking to them softly ... I am really all over that. :D Another example besides the AoS one is Peggy with Jack after the memory device was used on him, the way he's clearly not up to their usual level of snarky antagonism and she's being very careful with him while trying to get information out of him. I'm just. Really into that kind of thing.

Anyone got any other examples of that?

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Winter Sunlight

Adequan

I feel like a late-night infomercial with this, but if you have an older dog who's starting to have hip and joint problems, see what your vet thinks about giving them Adequan injections.

It's a glucosamine-like drug that was developed for racehorses and then approved for dogs. It's not at all cheap, is the problem. You're looking at several hundred $$$ for a few months' supply.

But damn. The effects are amazing. Our dog is 14, and when we first started giving it to him last summer, he was starting to have a lot of trouble with stairs, and fell down a lot, and we were giving him the maximum dose of Rimadyl (doggie painkillers) and he still limped and was starting to have kidney damage from the painkillers besides. I had never heard of Adequan at that point and our vet didn't bring it up on their own, but I asked them if it's possible to give human glucosamine pills to a dog, and they suggested the injections instead.

It took awhile (a month, at least) to really start noticing improvement. But after a few months he was like a whole new dog. He's still clearly old; his hearing and vision are going, and I suspect he might be having some senility issues. But we've cut him back to half the dose of Rimadyl, he hardly limps at all, he doesn't struggle with stairs and loves going for walks with me again. He's not as energetic as he used to be, but he can still zip around when he wants to.

There's an initial series of 7 shots, one every few days, and then a maintenance injection once a month. You can either take them to the vet for the injections or do it yourself at home. We had them teach us how, and it's really easy and doesn't seem to bother the dog much at all.

There are also next to no side effects. It baffles me that they don't have a human version of this, because it's incredibly effective and the worst thing it can do, at least the worst thing I know about, is that it can lower their platelet count so they bleed and bruise more easily. I haven't noticed that with Lucky at all, but apparently stopping the drug is all it takes to resolve it. The internet tells me that it's not uncommon for veterinarians to self-medicate with it if they have arthritis. It just doesn't have FDA approval, and they're also still unsure if it's safe for cats.

But in dogs, it's a freaking miracle drug. At least it's given Lucky probably a good solid extra couple of years of good, active dog life. The vet told me they had another canine patient who was brought in to be euthanized, tried them on Adequan, and they're still around a couple of years later. It not only eases their pain, it literally helps their bodies rebuild damaged cartilage in the joints. I think it's well worth checking out, if you have an old dog with back end problems and can field the cost.

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Winter Sunlight

Read all the Cherryh: Rimrunners

So Cherryh continues to be obviously into the general theme of broken people finding a family and a home. I think Rimrunners might be the first book of hers exploring the theme that didn't quite work for me, because the situation is so profoundly fucked up that by the end I wasn't convinced that things were actually going to be better (much).

This is also an incredibly dark book. Cherryh's books are always somewhat dark, or at least deal with the darker side of human nature (though they're far too optimistic about people to be grimdark, usually) but this one ... I really enjoyed it and it kept me reading all the way through in part because I had no idea what was going to happen next (and Bet is a great protagonist) but good lord it's dark. In the first couple of chapters, the protagonist is homeless and living in a rest room, literally starving to death, and straight-up kills two different guys who try to rape her (one of whom actually does rape her). You'd think there would be nowhere down from there, but then her life gets WORSE. On the other hand, Cherryh has a general tendency to take incredibly fucked-up male characters and pair them with women who totally have their shit together, so it's a refreshing change, in a way, to have a female character who is an absolute mess - paired with a guy who is even more of a mess, but it wouldn't be a Cherryh book without a dude who is ostracized, crazy, and has people trying to kill him. (Also, one of the reasons why I liked Bet is because, despite being a total mess, she is a competent mess -- in general, she's doing the best she can in an incredibly awful situation that she got into through, mostly, no fault of her own.)

Another thing I like about Cherryh is that she tends to write from the principle that there are good and bad people on both sides of every conflict, and this book turns the tables on the rest of Alliance-Union - here we're asked to sympathize with someone on the side that's been, up to this point, set up as the obvious bad guys of the Alliance-Union-Fleet conflict (the space pirates who are going around killing merchanters), while the "good guy" (Alliance) side turn out to have their own share of savage killers and total dicks.

Major book spoilers continue under the cutCollapse )

One other minor thing - it was really fascinating to read another Alliance-Union book written from the viewpoint of a protagonist who uses the same set of slang and a lot of the same verbal quirks as the Hellburner characters do ... which of course is the Fleet/earth-system way of talking. The thing that it took me a few of these books to notice is that, while Cherryh has an incredibly distinctive style, she also modifies her style considerably depending on which culture in Alliance-Union she's writing about. There are parts of Rimrunners in which Bet's narrative voice sounds a lot like Ben in Hellburner -- which makes total sense, they're from basically the same subculture. But the merchanter-focused books don't sound like that.

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Winter Sunlight

FF Friday

Second Chance by HL Logan
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-H-L-Logan-ebook/dp/B07CM2X7Q5/

This book is charming, sweet, well written, and fundamentally not for me, but it might be someone else's delightful comfort read.

Basically this book had everything I would want in a cute small-town romance except for the one missing element that I'll get to in a minute. Second Chance is about two single moms who went to high school together, a shy nerd and a cheerleader queen bee, who meet when their kids become friends and then kindle a romance. The characters are really charming, the kids are cute and believable as kids, and the writing is both technically skilled and funny. The narrative voice is great and in fact is what kept me reading as far into the book as I did.

What's missing is anything at all happening. There is absolutely no plot or tension whatsoever beyond "the two moms meet and talk and visit each other and fall in love." At least in the first third of the book, which is how far I read before my interest flagged, there is no tension, no mystery, no other characters aside from the kids (who are only seen interacting cutely with their moms), no backstory aside from occasional mentions of going to high school together, and generally a complete and total lack of ANYTHING AT ALL beyond repeated scenes of the two women going over to each other's houses and flirting cutely and charmingly with each other. Even their jobs are not interesting and are merely name-checked (one is an IT professional and the other is a fashion journalist). Nothing goes wrong, no one gets upset, and no complications ever intrude.

This is what I mean when I say that this could be someone else's delightful comfort read. There is nothing wrong with this book. It's very well written and sweet, and the narrative voice is great. I don't expect a romance to have a great deal to do with anything outside the romance. However, I'm not sure if I've ever read a romance that had this level of plot vacuum. It started getting to the point where I was turning pages wishing desperately for anything to happen other than repeated scenes of house-visiting and lightly charming flirting. A car crash! A secret from someone's past! Someone's mom showing up for an unexpected visit! A problem at work! A problem with the plumbing! A burnt pot roast!

... which means I am obviously not the audience for this book. However, if you would like to spend a pleasant couple of hours in a charming medium-sized town enjoying a low-drama romance between two likable characters who like each other, this is just the thing. It looks like that's basically the formula for most of this author's other books as well, and the quality of the writing is great (charming, funny, with good descriptions and a nicely developed sense of setting) so I can see why she's doing well -- this was #1 in lesbian romance on Amazon back when I went through and bought a bunch of books in early May. If you enjoy this book, there is lots more to enjoy.

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