lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
What better day to schedule an appointment with the Tax Guy, than a Monday, eh? Yeah, well, it shouldn't be too painful. I made some money writing this year thanks to and trickling royalties, but I was also having the government pre-take-out taxes on all the work I did for the Library. Between that and the money Shawn paid quarterly, I suspect we overpaid and will be getting a refund, as usual.

The only reason we go to a Tax Guy (this should be a title, like Captain, so I am capitalizing it A. A. Milne style) is because I don't want the headache of figuring out all the things. We have a child, we have a house, I have, like, at least three jobs (if you include my teaching) so it just makes sense to pay a little money to avoid tears and possible arguments. I think of the money we pay Tax Guy as money that we DIDN'T have to spend on couples' therapy.

The other trauma in my life is that our blinker on our car has become utterly RANDOM. It's not just blinking fast or suddenly quitting in the way that would make me think "Ah, I must replace a fuse" but RANDOM. Like, works some times/doesn't work at all/blinks twice and then quits. As Mason points out that makes our car one giant moving violation, so I'll be taking it into our friend Dave's Auto in Roseville tomorrow morning. Honestly, I suspect they'll find a whole bundle of wires that have been damaged by water or squirrels or something because I also have a very RANDOM (which I think should just be all-caps because it's deeply frustrating and random seems like a thing one should respect by shouting) engine light that pops on and off, as well as other dashboard Gremlins.

Otherwise, life continues apace. Shawn is fully recovered. She says she still gets weird twinges just after eating, as though the phantom gallbladder is trying to do its thing, but otherwise she's as good as new. I'm especially happy to report that she's taken back over laundry duty which is a huge relief to me personally.

Mason and I also recorded our MangaKast podcast: The Ywach Puppet Show

Having given up 200+ pages into THREE BODY PROBLEM, I'm currently reading a book that's up for a Lambda called AFTERPARTY which I absolutely adore.... except for one weird problem. The main character's name is... Lyda. For real, Lyda. Lyda Rose, no less. And, I know that most people have to deal with this all the time, but I NEVER come across a book with my name in it. NEVER. Add on top of this that the Lyda of AFTERPARTY is also a lesbian and is hallucinating angels. It's like someone wrote an alternate universe, real-person fic about me.

Honestly, in my head, I've just been switching to Lydia. That makes it all better.

I will say that I ended up having to reach out to the author, Daryl Gregory to tell him just how eerie it was to be reading about a Lyda who has so many similarities to myself and I got a Tweet back from him:

tweet from Daryl Gregory

Which was just perfect. I am now rooting for him to win the Lammy (sorry Alyx!)
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Because I forgot to come back and post our podcast link, "30: Still No Aizen" and my link to the Gangsta manga review: Gangsta by Kosuke, A Review, you are now inundated with the linky-links.

Also, today is a new Tate chapter. I'm rather proud of the opening line this time. It goes like this: "After being told I was off the case, I did what any well-adjusted grown-up would do: I sat at my desk and sulked." You can find this gem (and others) in Part 27: With a Little Help from Friends.

Later today, there will also be a new School for Wayward Demons chapter for you, but I think that Rachel has those set to go up around 1 pm. If you go there, be sure to check out all the little improvements we've been making around the site. We have a lovely new Table of Contents page, which you can go to to check out any chapters you may have missed (or want to re-read!) We also have link to our Patreon page, so you know, if you feel like supporting our work, you should go for it.

I support you supporting us.

In other news, I'm starting to get excited about Yuletide. I checked out the Sign-Up Summary and I found out that someone actually requested that funky little food manga I adored called, "Kinou Nani Tabeta?/What Did You Eat Yesterday?" and I'm super-duper hoping that I get assigned to write that one.  But, seriously, OMG, if I don't get this one, I'm SO writing someone a treat in that universe.  Because: food!  Because: gay men! Because: ridiculously boring slice-of-life.  IT IS ALL THE THINGS I LOVE.

Yesterday, as Mason and I were headed to school about a zillion police cars raced past us on Rice Street.  An ambulance raced up and then back down the street, faster than I have ever imagined an ambulance would go.  Police had blocked the road off near school, and a cop directed traffic.  It was crazy.  We speculated about what might have happened as we made our way to school.  Only once I was home an scouring the new sites did I find out that a boy, 11 years old, was hit by a car while walking to Mason's school.  I spent much of the day yesterday worrying that it was Mason's friend Donte, who I've written about on my LJ, because he's a frequent guest for sleepovers.  He walks to school every day, along that exact same route.  I was briefly relieved to find out it was not, but then I spent the rest of the day feeling sad about this recent Napali immigrant who has yet to regain consciousness and who wants to be a policeman when he grows up. (Please, goddess, let him grow up.  Because there but for the grace of fate... go we all.)

So, yeah, Monday kind of sucked.

Here's hoping today will be better for everyone.
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First, because I know you've all been waiting.... the new podcast is up: Ni-ju kyu, Oetsu.  The title is my attempt at combining the number of our podcast 29 (ni-ju kyū, in Japanese) with the character Oetsu who CONSTANTLY does this kind of number rhyming thing with his name in the current chapter of Bleach.  We also review Fairy Tail, Toriko, and Ao no Exorcist (even though I wrote that one up as well.)

I have to say, for us, this podcast is pretty darned articulate, and since we forget to sing the spoiler song, there's 50% less annoying singing!

All wins, in my opinion.

I also wanted to report on my fan fic class at the Loft, which was part of the Youth/Teen Writers' Conference.  The nicest thing about the conference is that it's free, which means that attendance is huge.  There were probably about 25 teens in my class, which means there was a TON of energy.  It helped that I started class with a "what's your fandom?" question that elicited some squee when people heard their own favorites mentioned.  I also said before we started that this was a no shaming class, so you know, if you wanted to confess to still reading some One Direction bandom fic, no one was allowed to laugh TOO loudly at you.

The thing that I decided to do since everyone seemed keyed up to share was to ask them what THEIR list of fan fic pet peeves were.  I got some interesting results.

NUMBER #1: grammar/spelling errors.

So, for all you grown-ups who think that the next generation doesn't give a toss about language because they're texting all the time, you would be so very, VERY wrong. 

NUMBER #2 (and actually some other ones later could fall under this one): Tagging, Get it Right

The complaints for this one including being surprised by a fic that started out moderately dark that then took an unexpected left-turn, "Mature" rating that wasn't hot enough, and similar things.  

We did discuss how hard "tagging the dark" can be when you're posting as you write... since you might not notice how dark something is getting.  But, a lot of the answers boiled down to: get a beta reader and listen to them.  I learned that there's apparently a beta reader/writer connection place on Tumblr called "Writer's Halfway House", which among its many tips, will connect writers to beta readers.  

NUMBER #3: Self-insertion/Mary Sue.

No surprise there.  Mary Sue has been disliked since the very first fic of its kind was penned.  HOWEVER, I did point out that there's nothing wrong with Mary Sue especially when you're young and first trying things out.  My very first piece of fan fiction (which happened to be my very first piece of fiction, period) involved Han Solo rescuing me from my dreary life.  Nothing wrong with that... IF YOU TAG IT.

Which, by the way, was pretty much a solution to a lot of problems: tag, tag, TAG.

NUMBER #4: Weak endings/Didn't stick the landing.

Far more problematic, especially given the way a lot of fic gets written--which is to say, on the fly.  We talked about general strategies, especially the idea of outlining or starting with an actual point.  (Not required, of course, particularly for drabbles and such, but if you want to have a strong ending, you need a strong start.  A strong start is far more certain when you have a THING you want to say, a point, a theme, a thesis, if you will.)

NUMBER #5: OOC for no reason

If you're a fan and you're writing to other fans about beloved characters, for goodness sake try to keep the characters IN CHARACTER. This lead to a side discussion about the point of AUs.  Some people suggested that Alternate Universes were good for focusing on character, because you're taking them away from the world and it's about the core of what makes them who they are.  I suggested that this can also be the pitfall of Alternate Universes, which I tend not to like, because more often than not they feel, to me, like original fiction with the names stuck in just to trick people into reading it--but that may be harsh.  I have been burned.  But, I've also been pleasantly surprised.  One of my favorite fics is an AU involving Renji and Byakuya were it all starts as a sleazy hook-up in a bookstore's back closet and they're entirely human, living in the modern world.

NUMBER #6: Spearbearers made of cardboard/OC (original characters) who are flat

I felt particularly capable to talk about how to do original characters right because more than once I've gotten complimented on my original characters in my fan fic.  (I suppose this skill comes from inventing characters for, well, novels, but still.) The answer, in it's simplest form is: treat all your characters as human beings. No human being has only one characteristic.  We are all interesting, even the vile ones have something about them that is redeeming and charming, etc.  

NUMBER #7: Evasion of plot

I was very surprised and pleased to hear this one come up.  What is meant by "evasion of plot" is two things, 1) a tendency of fan fic writers not to go for the gold.  They'll get to what should be a very painful moment and they back away out of a desire not to hurt their babies.  But, what ends up happening is that the reader feels cheated of a bigger moment, a bigger payoff.  And, 2) the similar, if different, problem of the author being coy with information that really just needs to be said.  It's the whole 'why didn't they just say that earlier' problem.  Or it's something that the reader should have been told, but is instead held back in the wrong-headed assumption that this makes the story more dramatic.  The solution to that was: yeah, don't do that.

NUMBER #8: Fucking up the fucking

Yeah, we went there.  There were a number of very interesting complaints about sex in fan fic.  Firstly, the teens in my class do NOT want you to use inappropriate lubes. Please, people, do your research. A quote from class: "Peanut butter?  JUST NO.  So much NO." Similarly, do not break the laws of physical possibilities, which we labeled "parts doing the NO."  I recommended the classic fan fic resource: Minotaur's Sex Tips for Slash Writers.

My students also really craved sex scenes that skipped all the purple prose of "his alabaster skin" (guilty as charged!) but to the excision of actual feelings.  We discussed, actually, the similarity between writing a good fight scene and writing a good sex scene.  I told them that in a fight, what you want to concentrate on is a singular point of view and remember that a fight isn't just about  the dimensions of the instrument, what part goes where, and for how long (like sex) and that it's actually a highly emotionally charged event (like sex.)  So parts are important (like sex), but ultimately it's about feelings (like sex.)  So make sure your fight scenes aren't gratuitous either.  Make sure there's a reason for the fight and for the sex.  

Similarly, we discussed romance and how they want it to be so much more than love at first sight (which this generation firmly believes is crap.)  They also absolutely hated when a write had a gay man who spent any time wondering "when they turned into a girl."  They found this offensive on so many levels it wasn't funny.  

Foreplay was discussed as both something that could go on too long and that there sometimes wasn't nearly enough of.  So we ended up spending a lot of time discussing ways in which we could work to make the romance and sex feel REAL.  I said that, even though part of the appeal of fan fic is its fantasy element, there is some value in considering real life situations while writing about sex.  It can make sex cute, funny and resonate more deeply when you take some time to try to add the people parts of sex that make it awesome--an example I used is consider breaking up the hot and heavy action with the classic... and now the cat has wandered in and is sitting on someone's butt or staring at you from the dresser.  This makes the moment (potentially if you can pull it off) funny and real feeling.

NUMBER #9: The art of the Summary

We didn't get to this one because sex and romance ate up the majority of our class period, but people want better summaries from you, oh fan fic writers everywhere.  Please take some time to figure out how to best summarize your fic.  (This may be something that Rachel and I can spend some class time teaching because I believe it's an art that can translate to original fiction skills, as it's the same one that you use when you write synopses for agents and editors.)

Those were the major ones.  We got kind of specific, like "wanton" versus "wonton" but obviously that falls under grammar and spelling. Likewise, there were a lot of specific questions about sex, which I fielded like a pro, that ended up as part of the list which I combined into a giant #8 above.

Yeah... we had to shut the door.  No only were we screaming about lube, there was just a lot of general excitement to get to talk to someone about this sort of thing--not just the sex parts but the whole "oh and this drives me insane" thing.

So I would say the class went well.  It'll be interesting to see what the various evaluations say.
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Because you've all been waiting with baited breath... MangaKast 28 has been posted:

It's called "We're Late" because Bleach and many of the others came out yesterday afternoon. However, because we waited (I had to work last night) the fan translations of Shingeki no Kyojin (SnK/Attack on Titan) came out so I reviewed those as well. In this podcast, Mason and I discuss Bleach, Toriko, Fairy Tail, and Shingeki no Kyojin. There is silliness with interjections of the occasional thinly-thought (what if Grimmjow is actually under the hood of “C” compulsion, has Eren been eaten before, etc.)

So, you know, if it's your thing... it's there for you.

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 No doubt you're tired from reading all the stories and such that I've been putting out there, well, here's ONE MORE THING: our podcast --

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Dang it.

Sorry that I haven't kept up with my blogging. Here is another MangaKast, though, if you're interested in Mason and my thoughts about the latest Bleach, Toriko, and Fairy Tail:

I think the problem has been work. Something happened at Roseville (someone quit unexpectedly? Got ill?) and they needed a reliable sub for two weeks running. I worked last Monday through Thursday, and this Tuesday through Thursday. PLUS, I had a pre-scheduled gig on Saturday for EIGHT hours at a different library (North Saint Paul.) So, I've been working a lot.

And then, today, John, the big circulation boss, says there's been a lot of mis-shelved books so he wants to quiz me. Would I please do a cart of fiction and non-fiction and set the books on their sides so he can check my work? No problem I say. I get nearly all the fiction right (one policy one I blew because I wasn't sure if all articles were skipped or just "the" so I mis-shelved a book that started "a".) Then came non-fiction... yeah, to be fair, out of fifty some books I only got five wrong, but that's kind of a lot for a library. What can I say? In my defense I normally don't try to shelve nearly as fast as I did today. I was feeling the pressure because I knew another person was covering my time on the desk and I felt responsible to get back as quickly as possible. So, you know... but *sigh* I'm not in any real trouble, but I still feel like a dope. I got a reminder of how things worked and I'm going to have to put little bookmarks in my work for a while so they can make sure I'm not messing up.

On the other hand, I work exactly once at a totally different library (Maplewood) in the entire month of October.

So, you know, not a lot of opportunity to screw up! Bonus!

But, you know, while I have to admit I messed up, I kind of doubt that the mis-shelving was down to me. I didn't actually do a whole lot of shelving the whole two weeks I worked there. Most of my time was on the desk or the phones. The first week I was there I did some new things like interlibrary loans and new book shelving, so...

Thing is, I like this job. I don't want to lose it.

But, so that's one major thing that's been happening: a whole lot of work. I nearly worked 40 hours this week, and I have to tell you, failed quizzes aside, I'm not terribly fond of the whole daily grind thing any more. Nothing I do at the library is terribly hard (with the exception of non-fiction, apparently), but you know, the ever day thing... yeah, I don't know how you people do it. It's... tiring. Also, I really, really need to paint our fence (which I "fixed" the other day), so I'd much rather be doing that. The fixed bit is in quotes because I very much did a "There I Fixed It" kind of solution. I just didn't want to have to go to Menards, so I made do with stuff we had around home. This meant making a "butt joint" with two shorter pieces for the spacer. I guess butt joints are a thing, but mine is... interesting. Still that whole fence is going to need to be replaced at some point so, really, this works for now.

Tonight is Wyrdsmiths, so I'm headed out in a bit. I also had a bunch of evening gigs this week, starting Monday--when I did the "Hobbit: Book v. Movie" panel at Common Good books. That was a small, intimate gathering, as we like to say, but lively none-the-less. I met another author who does a podcast with his kid, only his is a dad/daughter show called Generations Geek.

Then, on Tuesday night I had my first of many Japanese language classes through the Community Education program. It's going to be... interesting.  I'm feeling a bit old to be learning a new language, though I am motivated by... otaku.  I told Shawn that since my teacher said that I need to study for an hour a day that CLEARLY means I need to watch at least an hour of anime daily, right?  I'm pretty sure that's what it means.... 

Anyway, okay, I'm off to my writers' group.  I feel like a  loser writer, though, too, because thanks to work and my Japanese class i managed to miss a week of writing my Tate project.  


Today is a day of *sigh* apparently. 

But the podcast is fun.  Go listen to that.
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Mason and I just can't seem to figure this timing thing out. Because we podcasted on Wednesday afternoon, I swear all my monthly manga decided to up-date at once. I wrote up Blue Exorcist yesterday, and this morning I have a review for you of Chapter #61 of Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan.

In other news, I tried to sign both Mason and I up for Japanese, but the class through Community Ed. had an age restriction--you had to be 16 or older.  I considered faking Mason's age, but then decided that while he might pass for 13, no way he looked 16.  I'm very bummed about this as you can imagine, because Mason is my big otaku colleague.  He's also WAY better at languages than I am--at least he is quick to remember names and pronunciations of our favorite characters.  However, I told him that I was still counting on him to be my study buddy, so hopefully he can learn along with me.  

That starts up in October.

Speaking of things coming-up, you can now register your teen for the "Teen Writing Conference" at the Loft, where I will be teaching "Capturing Kudos: Pro Tips for Improving Your Fan Fic."  I should note that the conference is actually FREE.  So, if you have someone who is 13 - 17 years old in your life, who normally doesn't have the money or the time for a Loft class, this is a spectacular opportunity.  I won't even be offended if they're not interested in my class!  

If you're a local adult looking to learn more about fan fic writing from some grizzled pros, Rachel and I will be teaching a class for adults in the winter season.  As soon as you can register for that, I'll post info here.  (The problem there, of course, is that those classes are NOT free, though it should be noted that he Loft does provide scholarships for reduced class fees.)

I will also, should enough students sign-up, be teaching science fiction to adults at the Loft again in the winter.  

Also, if you just miss seeing me about town, remember I'm going to be at Common Good Books doing this discussion of the Hobbit Book v. Movie:“‘-wasn’t-book’-discussion-hobbit-page-and-screen” here in September, on the 22nd!  

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Okay so the publishing schedule is messing with our podcast YET AGAIN. However, Mason read everything when he came home from school (and me, after fighting the traffic back and forth to the vet's office to pick up my kitty), and we produced #24: Otaku in the Basement.
In this episode, our 24th podcast, we reviewed Bleach 596One Piece 760, Toriko 292 and Hitogatana.

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We actually got the podcast recorded and posted early this morning, but I had to run off to work at the Maplewood Library, so I forgot to do all the social media-ing to let people know it was out and up. If you want to listen to it, you can find ihere:

Figuring out the new manga publishing schedule as well as Mason's o'heck o'clock school start time is kind of doing a number on us.  We may end up shifting our 'broadcasting' schedule again... to be timely, we may have to post on Thursday nights.  That might work out all around, since I'll be more caffeinated and we won't have to have Shawn breathing down our necks that it's time to get going.  (Though that added a certain otaku flavor that I really liked.)

At the library today my manga find was volumes 1 &2 of : (known in Japanese as Kingyoya Koshoten).  I've been trying to find an on-line source for it with no luck.  It's a combination of two genres I like in manga--slice-of-life and manga about manga.  The "main character" (there's kind of couple at the center) is the woman pictured on the cover below, who has taken over general management of her grandfather's legendary used manga store.  Stuff happens around them, manga changes people's lives, and a lot of manga are discussed and quoted.


I haven't decided how I feel about it, but it's a lot of fun.  
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As I'm sure many of you have heard, Weekly Shounen Jump has changed its publication date. The translations were scheduled to come out Friday, but we managed (like many people who were crashing the various translation sites) to read them on Thursday afternoon. We decided to stick with a Friday AM publication, anyway, because, honestly, I suspect it will settle into that soon enough. Anyway, you can get the link to our podcast here:

In this podcast, I actually spend some time trying to figure out why this last chapter left me feeling unsettled.  Ultimately, I think I decided it was the questions that a certain scene opened... but go listen.  I'm actually fairly articulate for once, which is fairly amazing considering how little coffee I had before we started this.

At Wyrdsmiths last night I was overwhelmed by a desire to doodle and drew this on my paper cup:


I call her "meep" and she seems to be at least partly inspired by Digger (by Ursula Vernon), which Mason has been re-reading.  She also has a very long, dinosaur like tail on the other side of the cup and has probably been recycled by now.... but she made me think that I should try to draw a graphic novel type thing with these kinds of fantasy characters.  Because, you know, if I don't get the bodies just right, WHO WOULD EVEN KNOW??  :-)

Anyway, that's all the news I have that's fit to print today.  We're mostly busy trying to get ready to drive down to LaCrosse for our annual Labor Day hanging out time with my folks.
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Mason and I giggled our way through this week's MangaKast, 21: Zombies Lose Their Sh*t.  In this one, we discussed our usuals (Bleach, One Piece, and Toriko) and talked about how far Mason has gotten in Fairy Tale, the new anime I start watching (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), how Hourou Musuko inspired a cross-dressing dream, a shout out to our love of Bleach List Girl, and random silliness.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, if you listen.  Mason and I had a tremendous time recording this morning even though our day started out in the crapper.  My car (alternator?) died.  Shawn was pretty mad, but honestly, it could have been so much worse.  I was able to pull the car over at the end of our block and, because we were leaving so early (practicing for Mason's school's new starting time), the tow truck came quickly and Shawn was able to hop a bus that took her directly to MHS's front door.  I can't say we were lucky, since the best luck would be for none of it have happened at all, but in the great scheme of things--well, I guess I can't complain.

We'll see if my feelings change when the bill comes.
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Because our podcast will be on hiatus next week, I've written up my reviews of Shingeki no Kyojin (aka Attack on Titan) #60 and Ao no Exorcist (aka Blue Exorcist) #59 for you and posted them on our MangaKast blog site:
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First, since it's Wedsneday, you should check out Mason and I doing our manga thing:

In this one we actually almost touch on something deep... well, to some extent, given that I'm talking about all this without a lot of coffee and very off the cuff.  I've been on a not-so-very-serious quest to uncover more information about intersexed and transgender representations in manga after the appearance of Giselle in Bleach. I found an interesting manga at the library called Wandering Son (which is alternately translated as Transient Son) about  boy who wants to dress as/be a girl and After School Nightmare about an intersexed character who is forced to chose a gender identity as part of 'graduation' from a very weird (and dreamscape) high school (I did not, for reasons, read much of that one.)  At any rate, I can't say that I've anything terribly insightful to say in the podcast, but I may end up doing a manga review of Wandering Son once I read a bit more of it, because... well, it rather combines all my interests: manga and GLBT issues.

I also apparently forgot to tell you all that I posted a new installment of Unjust Cause on Wattpad called The Stepmonster yesterday, in which Alex calls home after being prompted to do so by Nana Spider and ends up talking to the last person she wants to hear from....

You know, if you've been reading along, please do. If not, well, it'll all be there (better edited) when it's done and I've made it into an e-book.

The other fun thing that's happened in my life is that I got tapped to write a story for GISHWHES, which I'd never heard of before, but which is, apparently, a world-wide scavenger hunt organized by the actor Misha Collins (of Supernatural and, in my universe, Tumblr ships.) The request was not hard. The requirement was "a previously published science fiction author" writes a story LESS THAN 140 words involving Misha Collins (see above), the Queen of England, and the mascot of this year's scavenger hunt: an eliopus (a half-elephant/half-octopus.)  I felt kind of honored to be asked because, well, truthfully, sometimes I don't feel very much like an author of the sort that gets asked to do these kinds of things (when I asked about this on my super-secret pro e-mail list I found out that people of the caliber like Charlie Stross and Garth Nix were getting inundated with requests.)  So, you know, that made me feel like one of big league, which I almost never do.

And anyway, once I read the funny little job interview for "El Eliopus," the story sort of wrote itself.  Plus, the scavenger hunt itself is kind of amusing and cool-sounding if you read about it, so I was happy to help.  It took me ten minutes, if that.  So, you know, and easy job that made me feel part of something.

Otherwise, I've been working like mad on a project that will be launching in September.  I'll have more news about that soon, but Garnet Lacey fans may have something to look forward to....
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Seriously, this is why you need to be tuning into the weekly manga podcast: we have diaper bombs, devil forks, and a frank and serious discussion of who wore the mullet hottest in Bleach....

Why would you not what to listen to that??

Also, we distracted by shipping wars. Because: fandom.  And, it turns out I have a secret IchiRuki shipper in my household (who knew?)
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Yep, Mason and I are still at this... if you're interested in hearing the two of us talk about our favorite manga's current weekly chapters, check us out:

Also, I drew more Renji fan art:

And now I have to run as I have many birthday presents to wrap for a certain manga podcast co-host who is turning 11 tomorrow.
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As I said, our MangaKast came out early because most of the weeklies did, too.

In it, there is a lot of silliness, accidental poetry, singing, and many, many spoilers (for Bleach 589, Toriko 285, and Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist 58, which I keep saying was 54.  There are also random Yowadepa references.)  Mason cries some real tears of feels.

So, check it out, if you wish.  Mason and I continue to have far too much fun with this.  
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Hah! I knew I'd figure out an alliteration! Speaking of silly language tricks, Mason and I have named our 15th MangaKast "15 - Ichi Go" because the hero of Bleach, Ichigo, is constantly seen wearing the number 15. It took me years of reading (and finally learning a bit of Japanese) to realize that it's a giant pun on his name because Ichi is the word for "one" and Go is "five" together his name makes 15.

So, of course I put up a picture of Renji who has nothing at all to do with the number 15. But, I really couldn't resist the fact that he's talking about chickens. Chickens is a funny thing at our house. One time, as we were snuggling before bed, Mason asked: "What do you want to talk about?" I said, "Chickens!" just to be a weirdo.

So now, every night before bed, we discuss something about chickens.

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Mason and I have posted our fourteenth MangaKast. If you're interested in hearing what I sound like wound up on manga and a distinct lack of coffee (actually I had some, but felt like I was in some kind of sitcom this morning because, not finding my good stuff, I simply ran water through yesterdays' grounds. Yeah... that was about as gross as you'd think it might be.)

Anyway, here's the link:


As you might expect, he and I had much squee. SPOILERS abound, so be sure you read all the manga we talk about first (there are links right there on our main page. Currently, they all go to, so if you prefer another place for your translations, by all means, go there.)

I think three people listen to our podcast, but I kind of don't care. It's so much fun to be talking manga with my son and to have a place to showcase my reviews....

I wish I could feel this way about my other projects. Because: fun is fun. And so much less stressful.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason and I have produced our 12th MangaKast for your... well, I hesitate to say enjoyment, but, well, there it is:

In this podcast, I also discuss a new anime that I'm watching called Yowapeda. In the podcast, I mostly talk about how it relates to Bleach (there are voice actors in common). But, here, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about how strange Japanese storytelling often is/feels for a Western viewer (or maybe just me).

For instance, here I am, about to start episode 4, and the premise of the show--an "otaku" (Japanese nerd/geek) joins a bicycle racing club--hasn't really even happened yet. We've met our hero, had many discussions about the dorkiness of his mamachari, "Mommy bike," and met a few other characters. People have mentioned the biking club in passing, BUT NO ONE HAS JOINED YET.

I think, by now, this show would have been cancelled in the U.S.

To be fair, there was an exciting race at one point, up a very steep hill, and there were many IMPLICATIONS that our otaku hero might actually be even stronger/faster than he knows. But, it kind of amazes me the extent to which speculation has fueled the "action" of this story.

I always tell my writing students that you have to start strong, lay it all out, get to the point, so that people will know what the story is about, what's at stake... basically, show why a reader should invest their time and keep reading. We spend a lot of time as writers talking about 'the hook' and how important it is to get our 'hooks' into readers so that they will be dragged deep into the story from the get-go.

There's something about this that is utterly and truly DEFIED by animes like Yowapeda. By rights, I should CARE LESS. I mean, really, all that I know that's at stake is that our anime-loving hero would really, really rather join the anime club, but it cancelled due to lack of interest. THIS SHOW SHOULD BE CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST, but it's in its second season (or at least 34 episodes and counting) and, frankly, I'm fairly captivated.

I wonder if it has something to do with character. Because character can be its own hook, and, honestly, our little nerd hero represents a lot of things a lot of people are and WOULD LIKE TO BE. I'm a nerd. I'm scared of sports clubs (or was, when I was in high school), and I would really, really love to be recognized for my specialness (wouldn't we all?) So, right away there's a kind of guilty pleasure watching people looking at our dork/geek hero and saying things like, "Oh, even on his Mommy bike, he does x and y like a pro!" The implication is: this guy is special. Without even having joined the biking club yet, you start to get the feeling that this little doofus is going to be critical in elevating everyone to a higher level.... and there will be cheering and trophies and heartbreak along the way.

I'm in.

Totally. Just on the IMPLIED promise alone.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
And now it is Wednesday, which is the day in which Mason and I record our MangaKast. It's up and available at: in which there is a lot of giggling, spoilerage, and squee.

As usual, this is us, in the raw. I had to edit a huge section of "d'urrrr" because neither of us were at our best... (tbf, there was no coffee in the house and I was operating on one cup.)

I can't believe we've been doing this for 9 whole episodes, but it's been a blast.

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