Lord Sun, who surrenders all to love, teach me how to choose happiness.
Prince Moon, who surrenders to no one, teach me how to choose happiness.
Nameless Mage, who forges her own path, teach me how to choose happiness.
Mother Cat, who knows the path I must take, teach me how to choose happiness.


“Affirmation Prayer”

I am scribe to the Sun and Moon.
I am beloved of Shakespeare’s Sister.
My champion is the nameless Mage.
My patron is the Mother Cat.
I am strong as storm and stone.
I am wanted and worthy.


Suddenly, I wonder. I ask her, “Were you the woman who walked into the sea?”

She smiles. “Now you begin to understand.”

I do not ask why. I’m not ready yet to hear her say, “for you.” It seems she has done much for me of which I have been too unaware. But it makes sense, and I do not know why I did not see it before. Born a daughter of the earth yet cast out from that green growing place, she became a daughter of snow and sea, salt and storm. Ice water in her veins and unknown fathoms in her eyes. How?

Death, and rebirth. A grave in cold, dark depths, a new dawn on a far distant shore.

How did I not see it before?


The problem is, you are gods lacking in breadth of specialties. I can pray to you for the bright, bitter tastes of madness and misery, for a scrap of understanding when my body aches and my heart is too heavy to bear. I can seek you out when I am wounded, betrayed, raging, howling. But when I need a blessing? When I need divine intervention to breathe life and luck into a love I can’t afford to lose? I cannot turn to you. You are not such gentle, generous gods as Hathor or Aphrodite. You do not reign over the areas of love and health, hearth and home. You are gods of death and destruction only; long life and untainted love are beyond your ken. The problem is, I don’t have any other gods but you. Where do I turn when I need help, not harm? To whom do I pray when you are my entire pantheon?

#1522 – 2014 Book List

[ This year has been very busy with new job(s), moving, several illnesses, and other things, so I didn’t read nearly as many books as usual. However, I think most of the books I did read were of good quality so hopefully that makes up for my low number. I read 20 books this year with GRSM (gender, romantic, and sexual orientation minorities) main characters; it probably would have been more but I got distracted near the end of the year by historical fiction. Extreme praises go to The Mercury Waltz, The Tiger Queens, and Conservation of Shadows. ]

  1. ElfQuest: The Quest Begins (novel) – Wendi and Richard Pini
  2. The Mercury Waltz – Kathe Koja
  3. Night Shadows: Queer Horror – Various
  4. Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet – ed. Vince Liaguno and Chad Helder
  5. Project Unicorn, Volume 2 – Sarah Diemer and Jennifer Diemer
  6. Sappho’s Fables, Volume 1 – Jennifer Diemer and Elora Bishop
  7. Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction – various
  8. Roses and Thorns: Beauty and the Beast Retold – Chris Anne Wolfe
  9. Fire Logic – Laurie J Marks
  10. The Queen’s Librarian – Carole Cummings
  11. American Studies – Mark Merlis
  12. ElfQuest: Journey to Sorrow’s End (novel) – Wendi and Richard Pini
  13. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  14. Dawn of Darkness – Lee Brandenburg
  15. Funeral Games – Mary Renault
  16. Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch
  17. The Republic of Thieves – Scott Lynch
  18. Ash – Malinda Lo
  19. Greenwode – J Tullos Hennig
  20. The October Country – Ray Bradbury
  21. Long After Midnight – Ray Bradbury
  22. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
  23. Wilde Stories 2014 – Steve Berman
  24. Half a King – Joe Abercrombie
  25. The Princess Bride – William Golding*
  26. Ebenezer – Joselle Vanderhoof
  27. Ask the Passengers – A.S. King
  28. The Betrayal – R.L. Stein*
  29. The Girls of No Return – Erin Saldin
  30. Conservation of Shadows – Yoon Ha Lee
  31. The Secret – R.L. Stein*
  32. The Girl From the Well – Rin Chupeco
  33. Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis – Alexis Coe
  34. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
  35. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  36. Shadows on the Moon – Zoe Marriott
  37. The Burning – R.L. Stein*
  38. The Bread We Eat in Dreams – Catherynne M. Valente
  39. Carmilla – J. Sheridan LeFanu
  40. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  41. The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan – Stephanie Thornton
  42. The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux*
  43. Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest – Gregg Olsen
  44. Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt – Stephanie Thornton

*Books read out loud by my wonderful girlfriend.


[ I want to develop my story idea about the succubus who falls in love with an asexual girl, but I haven’t had to develop new characters in years (mine are loud enough on their own) so I’m struggling. I thought I’d see if letting my other characters take the reigns might help me learn about these new girls. We’ll see… ]—

[A knock at the apartment door. Tanim opens it to a girl who might have stepped out of The Craft; the plaid skirt of her school uniform is rolled to mid-thigh, her feet encased in black combat boots, her white dress shirt unbuttoned beneath a leather jacket to reveal a generous swell of breast. Her skin is caramel, her hair tumbling over her shoulders in dark chocolate waves, her eyes burnished copper flecked with gold. Someone more appreciative of the female figure than Tanim might say she has “curves in all the right places.”]

Tanim: You must be Remer. Please, come in.

Remer: Nice place. [She eyes the apartment as she walks inside. Her hips sway back and forth with each step.] Kinda stark, though.

Tanim: I prefer it that way. Would you like something to drink?

Remer: You got anything to smoke?

Tanim: Of course. [Tanim leads her into the living room, producing a cigarette pack as she stares out the tall windows. He hands her a lit cigarette, then settles on the couch.] So. Tell me about yourself.

Remer: [She recites the facts as if she memorized them for an oral report.] I’m eighteen, still in school. My father is a diplomat, so my family travels often. I–

[Tanim snorts.]

Remer: [She glares at him.] What?

Tanim: Come on. You don’t need to lie to me. In fact, the whole point of this is for you to be completely honest. How old are you, really?

Remer: [She squares her shoulders haughtily.] Far older than you.

Tanim: I highly doubt it. Try me.

Remer: Three hundred and thirty-six, give or take. We don’t mark time the same way you do.

Tanim: Still just a child… [He politely changes the subject as her glare intensifies.] You say “we.” You’re a demon, yes?

Remer: [She makes a moue of distaste at the term.] A succubus.

Tanim: A succubus, sorry. And your real name?

Remer: Remr’knali’v’sarna’nbat’shi.

Tanim: …”Remer” it is. So you send men to their deaths after a night of pleasure and vice? I could think of worse ways to go.

Remer: Not exactly. My tastes run to the more Sapphic.

Tanim: Ah. Yes, I think you’ll fit in nicely here. [He shrugs when she raises an eyebrow.] None of us exactly toes the heteronormative line. Even Mage is… well… Mage. So, do you have your eyes on anyone right now?

Remer: [She hesitates.] Um.

Tanim: I know that look. Who is she?

Remer: No one. Shut up. [She thumps down on the couch and drags moodily at the cigarette.] I don’t want to talk about it. …it’s complicated.

Tanim: Fine, fine. I’ve been in your shoes. Am often in your shoes, actually. I understand.

Remer: I doubt it. You probably don’t have to worry about accidentally giving in to your instincts and eating the girl you lo– like.

Tanim: That is a rather unique situation. Does she know you like her in a… non-culinary way?

Remer: [She sighs with exasperation.] No. She’s completely dense. I’ve tried everything; innuendo, pheromones, erotic dreams, skin to skin contact, changing my hair, my eyes, my body shape, my clothes… nothing works. I’ve never had this happen before. I’m powerless.

Tanim: Hmm… it’s like that, huh? [He smiles knowingly.] Well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. [He reaches out as if to pat her shoulder, then seems to think better of it and stands.] I have business to attend to. Feel free to stay as long as you like. [He waves languidly and wanders off down the hallway.]

Remer: [She calls after Tanim.] Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? “It’s like that.” Like what? Where are you going? [When it’s clear he won’t be coming back, she glances around the silent apartment.] …this place gives me the creeps. [She exits the apartment, but not before pocketing the packet of cigarettes left behind by Tanim.]