Gilmore Girls: What the F*ck Happened to Rory Gilmore?

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Just finished watching the four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and I feel the need to rant.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Okay, first of all…there is a lot to love in the revival. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are in top form as Lorelai and Rory, and the supporting cast seems to have slipped back into their old roles quite comfortably. (Particularly Liza Weil as Paris Gellar, who steals every single scene she’s in. I wish she had been featured more prominently in the series.) And Kelly Bishop was, as always, pitch-perfect as Emily Gilmore. Because of the real-life death of Edward Herrmann (who played patriarch Richard Gilmore), Bishop was given a meatier and more complex storyline than she ever had in the original series. The scenes between Graham and Bishop were the best in the revival–and yes, I’d even say, better than the original series. They had me both laughing and crying multiple times. If either Graham or Bishop don’t pick up an Emmy nod for their roles, I will be very disappointed.

But then there was Rory. What the hell happened to Rory Gilmore?

Before I go on, let me caveat this with some of my own personal biases. I am around the same age as Rory. I, too, was the nerdy, ambitious girl with awkward social skills. I also loathe the stereotype that millennials just can’t get their shit together because they were awarded too many participation trophies growing up. Every time I hear it, I grind my teeth–and then remind myself that Paul Lynde was singing that he didn’t know what was wrong with these “kids today” back in 1963, so obviously this suspicion of “youngsters” isn’t a new phenomenon.

Anyway…

In 2000, Rory Gilmore was introduced to us as a hard-working, intelligent, driven 16-year-old beginning her time at a competitive private school. She later becomes valedictorian of her class. She gets accepted to both Harvard and Yale, but chooses Yale because it’s closer to home. Then after graduation, she gets offered a job as a reporter embedded with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Fast forward to 2016. Rory is adrift. She’s doing freelance work in the journalism industry, but she cannot find a more stable position in the industry–or even manage to find regular freelance work, for that matter. She tries several things, including writing a biography of an erratic British feminist and taking over as editor for the Stars Hollow Gazette (for NO salary!) before deciding that her calling in life is to write a memoir of her and Lorelai’s life.

Sadly, her personal life is in even worse shape. She’s dating a guy named Paul, who is so unmemorable that she literally cannot remember to break up with him. She’s also having an affair with her ex-boyfriend, Logan, who is engaged to a French socialite.

Seriously?

Now, it’s not like Rory hasn’t stumbled in both her personal and professional life before. Once upon a time, she cheated on her first love, Dean, with bad boy, Jess. Then Jess left town, and she lost her virginity to Dean–who was married to someone else by that time. On the professional front, a bad performance review during an internship causes her to steal a boat, get arrested, and drop out of Yale. Talk about an overreaction!

That said, while she was losing her virginity to married guys and stealing boats, she was in her late teens and early 20s. I think most of us did some stupid things when we were that age.

But young Rory was, for the most part, exceptionally mature and driven. Thirtysomething Rory seems to be anything but.

And this is my main complaint: I think Amy Sherman-Palladino got it wrong. The trajectory Rory took just doesn’t seem to make sense, given everything we know about her.

Rory has spent almost a decade working in the ultra-competitive, ever-changing journalism industry. She’s been published in several prestigious publications, but she can’t manage to get freelance work? She goes to an interview with a Buzzfeed-esque website, but she doesn’t even have one pitch ready? I was never convinced that journalism was the right path for Rory. But after nine years, she wouldn’t have stopped and said, “Maybe this isn’t working out for me. Is there something else I can try instead?” Rory was intelligent and driven and, oh, by the way, pretty much the epitome of class privilege. But she hasn’t been able to figure out something better than groveling to write articles on spec about waiting in line?

I can be a little more sympathetic to her ongoing affair with Logan. Who wouldn’t want someone who makes them feel good and still treats them like they’re at their best, when Rory feels anything but. What I don’t understand is how the child of a single mother who got impregnated as a teenager would, apparently, forget to be on birth control. (Could she not afford her Obamacare premium?) Not to mention the fact that she and Logan are both sleeping with other people,* so wouldn’t you be worried about STDs? Honestly, Logan always seemed like he’d be a petri dish of venereal bacteria to me.

*I am assuming Logan is the father of Rory’s baby because, both timing-wise and story-wise, he makes a hell of a lot more sense than Paul the forgettable boyfriend or the unnamed Wookie.

As any good Gilmore fan knows, the last four words are the four words, the very ones Amy Sherman-Palladino planned from the very beginning of the series. And I get what Sherman-Palladino was trying to do. Everything comes full circle. When the series started, Lorelai was a single mom without the involvement of the baby’s father, and now Rory’s facing the same fate. Lorelai and Rory have parallel stories.

Except Lorelai and Rory, for all their closeness, were never the same. Lorelai was the flighty wild child, while Rory was more grounded and serious. Lorelai was endlessly talkative, while Rory was quieter. Lorelai blew off school, while Rory was always studying. Lorelai got pregnant at 16, while Rory didn’t get pregnant until 32–not a teen pregnancy by any stretch.

But by 32, Lorelai was raising a teenage daughter entirely on her own. She was the manager of a successful bed and breakfast, and on her way to owning her own business. Meanwhile, at 32, Rory can’t even manage to find her own underwear.

I just don’t buy it.

 

 

Five Reasons You Should Read Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Books

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The latest book in Seanan McGuire’s long-running October Daye urban fantasy series, Once Broken Faith, came out a little over a month ago. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a McGuire fangirl. I love her writing, and I recommend this series every chance I get.

But now we’re 10 books in…and frankly, it can be a little intimidating to start a long-running series. I’ve seen many series lose steam and direction after a few books are out.

That’s not the case here.

I thought I’d break it down, point by point–the five reasons you should pick up the October Daye books if you haven’t already:

1) The long-term payoff. One of the big problem with long-running series is that they often lose focus as they go on. Not true with the October Daye books. You can tell that McGuire has a firm hand on her world and characters. Information will be revealed in one book that may not pay off until several books later. Even 10 books in, we are still waiting for answers to a lot of important questions. A lot of the tension in the story builds from the fact that other people know things that Toby herself does not. McGuire uses this tension skillfully, and it’s very much to the story’s benefit.

2) Fantastic worldbuilding. One of the things I’ve always admired about McGuire’s writing is her amazing ability to build worlds. Whether it’s the ghostly Midwest of yesteryear in Sparrow Hill Road or the mythological creature-rich world of her InCryptid series or a boarding school for kids who have been sucked into parallel universes in Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has an incredible ability to create a world out of the fantastic that feels real in its vividness and complexity. In this series, fae live among humans, hiding in plain sight. There are rules, social norms, dress codes, territories, and conflicts, and they are all drawn out so vividly that you feel like you’re there.

3) Slow-burn romance. These books definitely sticks more to the urban fantasy side of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance spectrum, but that doesn’t mean Toby is completely romance-free. But it takes a long time to get there, and it may not be with the person you initially expect. But by the time you do get some payoff from the romance, you really feel like they’ve earned it. In addition, it’s not—shall we say—graphically depicted, so those who prefer less explicitness in their fiction are in the clear.

4) Real consequences. Some writers seem to believe that “fantasy” is essentially a “get out of jail free” card. Killed off a beloved character? Just bring them back to life! Burned down a major city during your epic battle? That’s okay, you can just use the magic restoration potion to fix everything. But in the October Daye universe, things stick. Bad things happen, and there are sometimes long-term consequences. McGuire is also—be warned—willing and able to kill beloved characters…permanently. But the bad things in Toby’s world make the good things seem all that much more special.

5) Great side characters. Sometimes in urban fantasy, the side characters don’t feel as complex or developed as the protagonist. Not so here. Everyone from the King of Cats to the ancient sea witch to Toby’s teenage squire to Toby’s death omen (long story, don’t ask) have rich, compelling inner lives. As a bonus, McGuire has written several short stories and novellas set in Toby’s world featuring many of these characters as protagonists. (Many of these stories are free on McGuire’s website.)

And as a bonus…

6) LGBT representation. McGuire is a very outspoken advocate for inclusion in fiction, and she practices what she preaches. Bisexuality is the norm in fae culture, particularly among pureblooded fae, so you get to see many of the characters engage in same-sex relationships. One of the secondary characters is also transgender, but we don’t find out until well after the character has been introduced, and it’s dropped into the story so casually you might forget about it. But the coolest part about the inclusion is that it’s not a big deal within the story. Nobody makes an issue of it, and it’s not the defining characteristic for any of these characters. They are not included in the story as the “token” queer characters; they each play roles in the story that have nothing to do with their sexuality or gender identification.

So there you go. If you haven’t done so already, pick up Rosemary and Rue. It’s a great book, and the books get stronger as you go along. And if you have, let me know what you think!

 

DemonWithin CoverOn another note…

My Goodreads giveaway is still running through November 11. I’m giving away 15 signed, personalized copies of my urban fantasy novel, The Demon Within, about a young woman who finds out that she’s half demon–just in time for the entire angelic population of Manhattan to start hunting her down. If you’re interested, you can enter here.

 

Cat Life

The Wake-Up Call

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Annabel in all her adorableness.

ANNABEL: (Jumps on my bladder. Purrs. Hopes for the best.)

 

ME: Blergh. Five more minutes…zzzzz. (I roll over.)

SHAY: (Jumps on my chest. Purrs. When he sees that’s not working, he begins to meow. When he sees that’s not working, he starts making a loud, chewing noise in my ear, kind of like a cow chewing cud. Then he meows some more. Loudly.)

ME: Zzzzzzzzz… (I pull a pillow over my head.)

JUPITER: (Jumps on my head. Gets pushed off the bed. Runs back and forth across the house several times. Jumps back on the bed again. Bites me.)

ME: Ow! What the fu–

JUPITER: Oh, you’re up.

Feeding Time

ME: Okay, it’s time to get food!

(All three cats run into the kitchen.)

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Shay, our scaredy-cat and our chatterbox.

SHAY: I’m so hungry! So hungry! I’m probably dying! I haven’t been fed in five hours! If you ever loved me at all, please feed me!!!

 

JUPITER: I will eat your food, and your food and your food, and ALL THE FOOD!

ANNABEL: (Waits patiently.)

ME: (Gives Annabel her medicine.)

SHAY: What is taking so long??? Can’t you see that I’m DYING over here? Literally dying! I’m dead. I’m dead.

JUPITER: I want chicken, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix, please deliver!

ANNABEL: (Takes meds. Strolls to water fountain. Drinks.)

ME: (Opens cans of food.)

SHAY: I’m almost dead! Seriously! I mean it this time!

JUPITER: Whee! (Jumps on counter. Eats all the food from the can in one bite.)

ME: Jupiter, dammit! (Carries Jupiter to office–where his food bowl is located, by the way–and shuts door behind him.)

JUPITER: (Crying from behind door.) Torture! Murder! What hast I done to deservest this cruel fate?

SHAY: You? I haven’t eaten in five hours and FIVE minutes!

JUPITER: Whose fault is that? There’s a whole smorgasbord right in front of you.

SHAY: We’re not all heathens who eat Styrofoam take-out boxes from garbage cans! You know how that messes with my digestion!

ANNABEL: (Grooms self.)

ME: (Puts bowl in front of Shay.) Here you go.

SHAY: Finally! (Takes one bite. Throws up.)

ME: Dammit! (Cleans up puke. Turns to Annabel.) All right, Annabel, your turn.

ANNABEL: (Strolls up to bedroom. Waits patiently.)

ME: Here you go. (Sets food down.)

ANNABEL: You know, I was really in the mood for chicken tonight…

Bug Invasion

(A bug crawls up the living room wall.)

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Jupiter makes a friend.

ANNABEL: (Glances up from her perch on the side of the couch. Sees bug.) So there’s a spot on the wall that’s moving. Is someone going to get that? Or something? Whatever. (Goes back to sleep.)

 

SHAY: Oh my God! It’s an insect! It’s so big! It’s got to be about an inch long! It’s going to eat me! I know it’s going to eat me! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (Runs away.)

ME: (Walks into living room upon hearing commotion.) What’s wrong, Shay? (Sees bug.) OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, there’s a bug, it’s got to be at least two inches long, I’m going to die!!!!! (Runs away.)

JUPITER: (Walks into living room.) What’s going on? Where’s everyone going? (Sees bug.) Ohhhh, protein! (Eats bug.)

ME: (Dragging husband downstairs) There’s this HUGE bug on the wall, I mean, it’s got to be about four inches long, with these gigantic tentacles…

HUSBAND: Where? I don’t see any bugs.

JUPITER: (Licks lips.) Could use more salt.

Demon Within Giveaway!!!

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I am so excited!!! I am giving away 15 free copies of The Demon Within on Goodreads. The giveaway runs from now until November 11, and I will sign and personalize each copy for the winner.

The Demon Within is what I’d consider “dark urban fantasy”–it has paranormal elements, and it’s set in a contemporary, realistic world. But it’s darker and grittier than some other urban fantasies you may have heard of, like the Sookie Stackhouse books (on which the “True Blood” TV series was based). It’s not YA; I’d say the appropriate age group is probably 16+.

Here’s the book description:

Heaven is hunting Dale Highland…

For 10 years, she’s been on the run, plagued by violent blackouts and increasingly baffled by a growing array of superpowers–mind control, super strength, enhanced healing abilities.

What Dale doesn’t know is that Heaven’s greatest bounty hunter, John Goodwin, has been on her trail the whole time. When John finally corners her in New York City, he reveals the source of her powers: her mother was a demon.

The forge an unlikely connection and go on the run. In pursuit are his fellow bounty hunters, a deadly guild of angels known as the Thrones. Their goal: eradicate all demons–which includes Dale. As they flee across New England, Dale delves into the mystery of her own heritage and discovers that she’s a key figure in the ancient war between angels and demons.

Only this time, the angels are the bad guys.

Fine print: the giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada. Winners are selected at random by Goodreads, and I won’t get the winner list until after the drawing.

I’m very excited about this, and I hope to have more giveaways coming up in the near future.

 

 

Stranger Things: Eight Burning Questions Season 2 Needs to Answer

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I loved “Stranger Things,” this summer’s sleeper Netflix hit. I loved the 80s nostalgia, loved the mystery and horror, loved the endearingly realistic pre-teen and teen characters. I especially loved Eleven. The bald, fragile-looking 12 year old who is actually the most badass character on the show. How can I not love Eleven?

(Also Barb. Poor Barb.)

And now, we know there will be a season 2! (Yay!) But season 1 left me with a lot of questions. I’ve seen some of these questions discussed in great depth in various online forums, but others…not so much. So for this blog entry, I’m ignoring the obvious questions (Is Eleven Alive? Is Hopper in league with the Department of Energy folks?) and focusing on the ones I haven’t heard too many people talking about.

1) If Eleven is the 11th super-powered child, where are One through Ten?

Are they dead or alive? Are they still at the DOE facility? Are they off fighting the Russians? Are their powers as strong as Eleven’s? Could they be even stronger? Seriously, how is no one talking about this?

2) Is it weird to ‘ship a romance between two 12 year olds when you’re a grown-ass adult?

Because I do. I completely do. The budding, innocent romance between Mike and Eleven was one of my favorite things about the show. (The moment where Mike assures Eleven that she’s still pretty even after she’s lost her wig melts my heart.) I just want Mike and Eleven to go to the Snow Ball together. If Eleven can go through the night without snapping the arms of all the mouth-breathers, it will be a success.

3) Why doesn’t anyone ever offer Eleven a tissue?

I could attribute this to the fact that her best friends are 12-year-old boys, and they probably wipe their noses on their sleeves/pants/the dirt/whatever happens to be convenient, but c’mon! There must have been a little old lady in Hawkins somewhere who would have taught Eleven to stuff a few into the sleeve of Nancy’s dress.

4) Does Eleven have a connection to Chief Hopper’s deceased daughter?

We see flashbacks of Chief Hopper’s daughter in the final episode when she’s dying of cancer. She’s bald from chemo. Eleven has a shaved head. Could be a coincidence. Or maybe not. Also, Hopper seems to be leaving “presents” for Eleven in the woods–Eggo Waffles, mostly. Could this have something to do with whatever deal he made with the Department of Energy folks to get him and Joyce released from custody? Or is it more personal?

 5) Were 80s parents really this negligent?

In 2016, our helicopter-parent inclinations get a lot of shit, but if this show’s parents are actually representative of what parenting was like in the 1980s, I can see why we went in the other direction.

 

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Sadly, I think I had that shirt in high school. Hell, I think I might still have that shirt now.

When Barb disappears, Nancy has the following conversation with Barb’s mom:

 

NANCY: Have you seen Barb today?
BARB’S MOM [sounding worried]: No, I thought she was with you!
NANCY: Uh, oh yeah. I think she’s, uh…at the library.
BARB’S MOM: Oh, okay! [Blithely goes about her day.]

Then when the Hawkins PD (more on them later) conclude that Barb’s run away from home, we hear not word one from Barb’s family. I guess it was no big deal for your teenager to disappear without a trace in the pre-Amber Alert era. I mean, she can take care of herself, right? She’s almost graduated from high school. Never mind that she’s busy being eaten by a monster slug from the inside out.

But maybe Barb’s family was just crappy, right? Except Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, the picture of nuclear family perfection, are so oblivious that they fail to notice that their teenage daughter has snuck two different boys into her bedroom in one week, and that their pre-teen son has a girl living in their basement. (And it’s not like Mike tries very hard to hide her. At least Elliot made the effort to keep E.T. in the closet!)

Joyce Byers is obviously a devoted mom, clinging to her sureness that her younger son is alive when everyone else thinks she’s crazy. But she’s so busy chopping holes into her walls and talking to Christmas lights that she fails to notice her older son has been stockpiling ammo and bear traps.

With parents like that, it’s a wonder any of us survived to adulthood.

6) How the hell are the Hawkins PD’s deputies still employed?

Because they must be the most moronic, incompetent—not to mention insensitive—police officers of all time. Seriously.

First, a 12-year-old kid disappears, and they act like it’s no big deal. Whatever. He’s probably around here somewhere. Maybe he ran away? Could he be hiding somewhere? Is he with his deadbeat dad? Anyway, he’ll turn up eventually. Probably.

But even after Chief Hopper realizes that this isn’t just a case of childish mischief, his deputies continue to act like the douchiest of all the douches. (Describing a frantic mother with a missing child as “crazy” is just not cool, and also kind of sexist.)

And then, there was their reaction to Barb’s disappearance. After literally no investigation at all, they conclude that she’s run away. Yes, because socially awkward teenagers with big glasses and mom jeans run away all the time. As a former socially awkward teenager with big glasses and mom jeans, I can tell you that we were way more likely to be doing extra homework or hanging out at the library on a Saturday night than running away to parts unknown. I mean, c’mon…this is a girl who almost cut her hand off while trying to shotgun a beer. (Sidenote: That is also totally something that would happen to me.) Do you really think she just decided to ditch her car at the bus station and take off? Fifteen years after my high school graduation, I have yet to do anything that badass.

strangerthingssteve7) Did the cool, popular boys back in 1983 really have Steve’s hair?

Because seriously, it looks like a Flock of Seagulls reject had a baby with an Elvis impersonator. Just how much mousse does it take to get it looking like that every morning, Steve? How many hours do you spend with your hair dryer? Makes me kind of glad I was still in diapers in 83.

8) Why did the monster kill Barb, but spare Will Byers?

Because seriously, it’s not like hiding in his clubhouse amounted to some mad survival skills on Will’s part. Of course, given that bloody slug Will puked up into the sink during Thanksgiving dinner, maybe he didn’t survive after all…

Appearing at Love Our Local Authors Festival on September 10

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I’ll be appearing at the Love Our Local Authors (LOLA) Festival this Saturday, September 10, at Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, Virginia. The event takes place from 1-5pm, and my author panel will be from 3:30-4:00. I’ll also have copies of The Demon Within for sale.

Hooray for Books! is a recent discovery of mine, and it’s one of the coolest bookstores I’ve ever been in. The staff is incredibly friendly, and they’ve got a great selection. I don’t know what other authors will be at the festival, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the other authors. I have a feeling that my TBR pile is going to grow exponentially this weekend.

So if you’re in the DC Metro area, I would love it if you could come out. The address is:

Hooray for Books
1555 King Street
Alexandria, VA  22314

Looking forward to seeing you there!

What I did on my summer vacation

A.K.A. the “Where the hell has Beth been?” blog.

I’m sorry for not posting in a very long time. (Seriously, I’m afraid to look at the date of my last entry!) But it’s been a very busy summer for me.

What have I been up to?

Well…I made friends with a sea lion.

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Her name is Cassie. She put her head on my shoulder like that totally spontaneously. I think we’re going to run away together.

I also swam with dolphins…

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This is WAY scarier than it looks on TV or in the movies. At least for me. J’s reaction to this was pretty much, “Yay! Whee!” Whereas mine was, “Oh my God, I’m going to die!!!” Also, I was worried that my contact lenses would fall out. (They didn’t.)

I also fed stingrays.

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All this was part of the Ultimate Trainer for a Day experience at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The experience was pretty expensive–around $400 per person, I think–and that’s on top of your resort costs, which are also pricey. But if you have the money, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Atlantis has got something for everyone. The Trainer for a Day experience combines several of their other experiences into a full-day event. (So by the time you add up what the costs of the other experiences would be, plus the things you get to do on this one that you don’t get to do during any of the others, you come out ahead.)

J and I also went to Disney World, where we simultaneously became the cutest couple in the world and the dorkiest couple in the world by buying these shirts:

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But seriously, how could we resist?

I also became America’s Most Wanted Wizard.

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(Who says Sytherins have all the fun? Ravenclaws can be bad, too!)

This photo was taken at a bookstore called Horray for Books! in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, during a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I hadn’t known the store was there before, but it was fantastic! They had the whole placed decked out with recommendations for Harry Potter fans, as well as tables with recommendations for readers from each of the houses (“Ravenclaw Reads,” “Gryffindor Reads,” etc.)  It’s a big storefront, particularly for that area, and has extensive sections for both children and adults. I’m definitely heading back there as soon as I can.

J and I may have also painted one of our walls TARDIS blue.

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It’s bigger on the inside?

 

In my defense, I didn’t pick the color because it happens to match the time travel device of my favorite Gallifrayian. I picked it because my ideal home is one in which it looks like a Crayola box has thrown up. I like color. Lots of color. BRIGHT colors!

But, unfortunately, our living room is not that big, and we don’t get a whole lot of light. (We’re in a middle-unit townhouse-style condo, so the sliding glass door is the only natural light we get in the living room. We also live in an area with a lot of trees and shade.) So I figured painting the whole room blue might be overwhelming–much to my disappointment. Plus, painting the whole living room/dining room/upstairs hallway (since it’s an open floor plan) would have been an ordeal. So we started with an accent wall.

I love the blue color, but I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it in relation to the rest of the room. The rest of the room is a beigey-brown color, so I’m wondering if it should be a cooler tone? Or should I just be brave and paint the whole room blue? I’m just not sure. But maybe I’m just still adjusting to the change.

But I guess it’s fitting that our wall became TARDIS blue, because we also did this:

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Yes, J and I got our photos taken with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Colman at Awesome Con in June. We also sat through the (very crowded, very late, and unfortunately shortened) Q&A session with them. My impressions: Capaldi seems much more gregarious than his “Doctor Who” character, and Coleman much more reserved. But what really struck me was the chemistry and the easy rapport between them. It’s easy to see why the relationship between the 12th Doctor and Clara seemed much more real than the relationship between Clara and the 11th Doctor. The 11th Doctor was Amy’s Doctor. I believe the 12th, for better or worse, will remain Clara’s.

So that was my summer. But I feel like I’m missing something. What was it? Give me a minute…oh yeah…

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Reader, I married him. Yes, J and I got married back in July. (Our travels were, in fact, our honeymoon.) It was an amazing day. I am so lucky to have the coolest husband on Earth.

“Gilmore Girls”: Why Rory Gilmore Needs to Remain Single

GilmoreGirlsLike many of you, I am psyched about the “Gilmore Girls” revival. “Gilmore Girls” was staple TV viewing for me during the early aughts, and one of the few shows I managed to keep up with during college. (Do you know how difficult it is to keep up with a weekly TV show when you should be studying and/or drinking?) I always felt a kinship with Rory. I was a little bit older than Rory, but a little bit younger than her portrayer, Alexis Bledel. Like Rory, I was bookish, ambitious, and kind of nerdy. Also like Rory, I was a serial monogamist during my high school/college years.

Much speculation has been made of the fact that all of Rory’s beaux—”Nice Guy” Dean, bad boy with a brain Jess, and WASPy Logan—will return for the miniseries. Who will Rory end up with?

Which brings me to the crux of this blog entry: I am very much hoping that, at the end of this miniseries, Rory Gilmore is single. I don’t mean that adult Rory should join a convent or anything like that. But when the final credits roll, I’m hoping that Rory is not married, not in a relationship, and doesn’t have any serious romantic prospects on the horizon—and she’s just fine with that.

There’s a lot of arguments I could make to this. But the main thing it comes down to is this: it seems like every movie I see, every book I read, every TV show I watch, featuring a protagonist that is a Woman of a Certain Age revolves around said woman’s quest to find herself a man, and how she’ll be a pathetic, lonely cat-lady if she doesn’t. For the record, the median “certain age” seems to be about 27. We don’t even get to make it to our 30th birthdays without hearing about biological clocks and how all the “good ones” are either married or gay.

Rory was 16 when the show debuted in 2000, which means she’ll be about 32—the same age Lorelai was when the show premiered—during the revival (God, I feel old now!), putting her squarely into Woman of a Certain Age category.

Young Rory was no stranger to dating and relationships. But that was never what drove her character. Instead, she worked her ass off to get into Harvard (even though she ultimately chose Yale) and to become a journalist like Christine Amanpour. She rejected a marriage proposal from Logan after her college graduation and instead accepted a job offer as a reporter covering Barack Obama’s campaign.

(Sidenote: I remember that, at the time of “Gilmore Girls” finale, Obama still seemed like a longshot. I wondered what would happen to Rory after the campaign inevitably ended. Guess we all know how that turned out!)

I’d like to think that adult Rory will be very much the same way. That’s not to say that she won’t date or that she’s taken a vow of celibacy, but that it isn’t at the top of her list of priorities. And if her former boyfriends waltz back into her life and turn her head again, I want her to have a Kelly Taylor/“90210” moment and say, “I choose me.” (Of course, unlike Kelly, Rory isn’t going to end up with a cokehead three weeks later.)

Millennials are getting married later and later, and some are choosing not to get married at all. And yet, women are still bombarded with media—not to mention well-meaning family and friends—who seem to think that the Hallmark Channel Original Movie way of life is the ideal. But it’s just not for everyone. And we’ve got to stop teaching young women that being with someone—anyone—is better than being alone, because it’s not.

So that’s what I want Rory to be: a role model for young women who haven’t met their special someones yet or maybe don’t want to get married at all or maybe just don’t care one way or another. At the end of the “Gilmore Girls” revival, I want Rory to ride off into the sunset alone and be just fine with that.

Tuesday Book Rec: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

EveryHeartDoorway

I’ve been focusing a lot on promotional stuff as of late, but I wanted to take today to return to my Tuesday Book Recommendations.

I get these “author crushes.” Basically, it’s when I look at another author with a combination of envy and awe. And yes, I know—we all have our own voices and styles, etc. Still, it doesn’t stop me from looking at the work of other authors and thinking, “I wish I could do that!”

Seanan McGuire is one of those authors for me. Every book I’ve read of hers, whether it’s her fae fantasy October Daye series or her zombie political thriller Newsflesh trilogy (written under her Mira Grant pseudonym), every book I’ve read of hers has been entertaining and engaging, with great characters and story. But what really gets me about McGuire’s work is her worldbuilding. Every sci-fi/fantasy universe that she creates is so complex, well-realized, and they’re each so different than one another.

In Every Heart A Doorway, McGuire’s new novella, she describes multiple, unique worlds, each of them a love child of Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton. At the heart of the story is a question: what would happen when Alice and Dorothy Gale and the Pevensie children came home? They’ve had these big adventures in this fantastical worlds, and then they come home and are expected to act like nothing has changed. Their family and teachers and friends have certain beliefs about who they are and what they’re like—but they no longer fit.

The book takes place at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The families of these children believe they’re attending a school to cure them of their otherworldly fantasies, to turn them back into the people they were before their disappearances. But really, this is a retreat for children who have gone to another world, long desperately to go back, and have to learn to live in the world knowing the doorway back “home” will probably never open for them again.

There a murder mystery, but that was the least interesting part of the book for me. The most interesting were the stories of the students and their respective worlds: Nancy and the Hall of the Dead, where stillness and silence reign; Jack and her Frankenstein-esque scientific pursuits; Jill and her vampire-master; Christopher and the bone princess with whom he fell in love.

But the story that touched me the most was Kade’s, a transgender boy. Kade was kicked out of his world, after years of being a hero there, when they realized that the girl they thought they had taken was really a boy. But Kade’s parents cannot accept that he is transgender, either, so he’s stuck at the school as Miss Eleanor’s ward, not really belonging anywhere.

There are deeper metaphors here, about growing up and finding a place where you belong and not fitting in with the world around you. It was sad and sweet and beautiful, and it touched me in ways I can’t quite articulate. Maybe because I was one of those kids who never quite fit in. I would have loved a school like this one.

I also loved McGuire’s treatment of gender and sexual identities in the story. Nancy, the protagonist, is asexual. Kade, the leading male character in the story, is transgender. This story is not about that, and for the most part those aspects of their characters are treated as no big deal by the other students. For Nancy and Kade, their sexual and gender identities are just one more way they don’t fit with the world around them.

To be honest, I almost didn’t pick this book up. I got sick of YA novels after reading a lot of them several years back, and I’ve mostly avoided them since. I did so because I’m a McGuire fan, and because the premise sounded interesting.

And I’m so glad I did. It touched me in ways I didn’t expect, more deeply than any other story has in a long time.

Two Reviews, and an Interview with Dale Highland

The Demon Within got two really awesome reviews recently:

ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog gave the book 4.5 stars, saying the book had an “excellent, punchy opening” and that he was “deeply entrenched in the story.”

Michael D. Griffiths at SFReader gave the book 5 stars–his first five star of the year!–saying, “If you like Dark Fantasy, I’m not sure if you would find a lot of downsides here.”

Finally, ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil Pixie also interviewed Dale. You get to find out whether she’s Team Batman or Team Superman, what her favorite curse word is, and what her dream demon-power augmented job would be.

I know the blog has been inundated of late with promotional stuff. I will have a non-promotional post up very, very soon, I promise!