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Happy Harry Potter epilogue day! Today is September 1, 2017 – so somewhere out there, if you follow the chronology of canon, Albus Potter is getting on the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Or as one article put it, "Albus Severus Potter has finally left for Hogwarts."  :-)

(Ooh, I only just now saw that fans have gathered at King's Cross today to celebrate at Platform 9 3/4. Awwwwww, that's the best!)

In other news, I'm back in Iceland and as always it feels like a home, each time more and more. It's incredible to me just how much the people I know here feel like family, even though I don't get to be here often. (It's actually hard to focus on writing this, because I'm surrounded right now by all these folks playing music and coming in and out getting ready for a performance tonight.) Beautiful, beautiful days. I also saw SO MANY NORTHERN LIGHTS last night, it was AMAZING. I will never get tired of the northern lights, or the natural beauty here. Home of my heart.
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When I finished posting "If You've Got a Lantern Hold It High" (the small coda/companion story to my big "Be the Light in My Lantern" series), I looked at the series as a whole on AO3 and remembered – oh, right: now I mark it complete. This series I started writing in 2010 is now complete.

It actually feels kind of bittersweet (end of an era?), especially because the people I knew back then when I was writing the early parts of that story and when I first started engaging with fandom on LJ, the Remus/Tonks folks, are no longer active here (not to mention that even LJ itself has imploded in the meanwhile.)

Aah! Don't dwell on sad things!

Here's an awesome one:

Now that I've posted this latest fic to AO3... I've passed the 500,000 word mark on AO3! (Technically, 510,788. Plus there are another 42,000 here on my desktop that haven't been posted yet. And so on.)

But also? Of those half a million (!) words on AO3, a really significant portion of them, nearly half, are the "Be the Light in My Lantern" series. That one massive story, which I started because I was so new to fic that I didn't know better than to take on a massive multi-book-length project as my first thing out of the gate, really has kind of defined a whole arc of my life in the years since I rediscovered writing: who I met, what I learned (so much!), what characters I explored, what I'm ready to do next because I had that foundation first.

Wouldn't trade it for anything. <3 <3 <3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On a less intensely emotional note (though...maybe not really?)  .....happy Deathly Hallows anniversary everyone! It was ten years ago today that Deathly Hallows was published and the Harry Potter series was complete. (I mean, yes, there are expanded-universe things like Pottermore and Cursed Child and now the Fantastic Beasts movies, but surely nothing quite has that same feeling as the book series itself being complete?)

Does it make you feel old? Or just a bit strange? For me, Deathly Hallows came out before I even moved to Berlin (though I already lived in Germany), and now I no longer live in Germany at all – even though I spent the bulk of my adult life so far there. How can all that have happened in the time since the last Harry Potter book came out?
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Holmstice wrapped! What fun that was, especially since I had an almost absurd amount of free time/attention to devote to it, through a lucky confluence of being on break now that the school year's ended + being extra chuffed to finally have time to sign up for Holmestice again + maybe also just really needing a good, happy Sherlock Holmes fandom thing after the trainwreck mess that BBC Sherlock S4 became. Anyway, I can't seem to do things by half measures, so I read ALL the fics and commented on ALL the fics, and put obsessive energy into making massive guessing posts about who wrote what, which is a fun (and daunting) thing I'd admired from afar about Holmestices past, and it was marvelous fun. Recommend!

I wrote a Greek myth fusion AU (which happened in my last Holmestice, too, also because of what my gift recipient requested!) This was also my first ever actual Sherlock/John story (instead of just hinting at the possibility), so I'm pleased about that. Taking out piles of books and reading up on Persephone and the underworld was fun as well. :-)  The gift I received was A Long Game by [personal profile] alafaye – a charming getting-together story about both Mycroft/Lestrade and Molly/Anthea in parallel. Most people in the fest offer m/m pairings, with of course also some genfic and the occasional m/f pairing or threesome thrown in, so as far as I can tell alafaye wrote Molly/Anthea (not at all part of what they'd offered in their original sign-up) only because my request asked so specifically for anything featuring the awesome female characters of Sherlock, and I just think that's the nicest thing. Besides...Anthea. Anthea!

Now I can focus back to wrapping up some other writing – my companion-but-also-stands-alone fic connected to "Raise Your Lantern High" is complete and the marvelous (and marvelously patient with my endless questions!) [personal profile] gilpin25 has beta-read it; then this evening I also finished revising my Snow Queen fusion adventure/romance story, where Tonks is the one who rescues Remus. So all of a sudden I've got these two big stories finished that I've been working on for over a year and over half a year respectively, both of which have not only female protagonists, but almost entirely female casts of characters, and showcase women being strong in a whole variety of ways... Feels like a good balance to the Sherlock/John I've just written, and the Remus/Sirius I'm about to write. (My RS Games fic is going to be (another!) very-fun-to-write fusion, but I probably shouldn't say more since I suppose that gives things away.) ;-)



John Finnemore's new series of Double Acts has been excellent. I thought the first series was quite good, but this second series has been amazing. Stephanie Cole as Queen Victoria? Una Stubbs? A three-in-a-row straight run of awesome roles for older women? (Seriously, I'm not kidding, why are all writers not John Finnemore? He continues to be at the forefront of writing interesting female characters and presenting gay relationships as simply a matter of course, in mainstream media.) And all this is wrapped up in clever, FUNNY writing, mind you!

Anyway, after all the excellence of the series so far, if I can believe what my eyes saw on his Twitter, I'm pretty sure John just announced that the sixth and final episode will be performed by John Finnemore himself, and...Michael Palin.

That Michael Palin.

Michael FREAKING PALIN, of Monty Python.

Excuse me while I fall over from hyperventilating. I'll just be on the floor until two weeks from now, when the episode airs.

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Wotcher, Potter fans!

Oh my goodness, the twentieth anniversary of the first Harry Potter book – published on June 26, 1997 – is almost here. June 26, that's this coming Monday!

I did manage to write a fic in honor of the date (which I'll post on Monday), despite an intense month of deadlines and stuff, plus now being knocked out by some kind of awful respiratory illness. I'd wanted to do more rallying of "who else wants to write twentieth anniversary fics and all post them on that day??" ...but, yeah, see above re: work + illness.

BUT, if anyone else wants to write something anniversary-ish, even a drabble, I can attest to how satisfying and momentous it feels. :-)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, Holmestice is wrapping up and the RS Games are kicking off, so for a moment my two main fandoms are overlapping. Aw. Fandom is nice.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today was my last day of work for this school year. (Sort of... I've been out sick for days, so I wasn't there to catch most of that year-end feeling. I shouldn't really have gone in today, either, but it was the last day and I needed to get my things and tie up some loose ends.)

I took out SO MANY BOOKS from our library for the summer...


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Just want to mention for anyone who likes comedy and/or hearing good writing on the radio performed by excellent actors... There's a new series of John Finnemore's Double Acts now airing! (For anyone who doesn't know, he's the writer behind the insanely good, funny, clever, smart, fast, all-around excellent writing of Cabin Pressure.) It's the usual BBC Radio 4 thing where you can listen to each new episode live, or hear it for about a month afterward (free!) online.

You can find all the episodes so far here: John Finnemore's Double Acts.

They're each standalone, half-hour, two-person radio plays. I have to say, I don't love the Double Acts as much as I love Cabin Pressure... But then again, there are very, very, very, very few things in THE WORLD I love as much as I love Cabin Pressure. So.

Tonight's new episode (number 3 out of 6) got mysteriously postponed... But it was replaced for now with "The Goliath Window," an excellent entry from the previous series of the Double Acts, so that's all right. Of this new series, episode 1 featured the marvelous Stephanie Cole (Carolyn of Cabin Pressure); episode 2 I found especially delightful, with the clever twists and unexpectedly rich character development that are trademark Finnemore. And I see episode 4 is going to star Una Stubbs!

Also, I just want to say: bless John Finnemore with all the good things in the universe for consistently writing complex, interesting roles for middle-aged and older women. I wish everyone in the world were John Finnemore.

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I just had cause to look up the original publication date for the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and discovered that it was June 26, 1997. Yes, Harry Potter – the book, the series, the phenomenon, the life – is going to be twenty years old next month.

Fandom, I hope we're going to celebrate??

(And not only that, but we can do a double anniversary celebration, because also Deathly Hallows will be ten years old this summer, since it was published in July 2007 – which I'll never forget, because [personal profile] rabbitica was traveling with me in Europe that summer, endlessly debating whether she should buy the book in Europe and read it on the plane back or wait until she got back to the US; which meant neither of us had read the book yet while we were traveling, and we were in a hostel in Istanbul and had to run out of the room when anyone started talking about Deathly Hallows spoilers... She did buy the book and read it on the plane all in the one sitting; I waited until I'd moved to Berlin and borrowed it from my roommate's friend and read it in my little room with the sloping attic ceiling. I'm actually surprised that was only ten years ago. It feels like another life. Whereas HP#1 being twenty whopping years ago...that makes me feel old!)

Also, whenever I think of that full title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, I have to go listen to Van Morrison's song "Philosopher's Stone."

Even my best friends, even my best friends they don't know
That my job is turning lead into gold...

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Import is complete (well, comments are still queueing to import, but otherwise all's in place), so this journal now has everything my Livejournal has, but this is the first post I'm making directly on Dreamwidth. I've set it to continue to crosspost to LJ, at least for now.

It bears saying: Dreamwidth, you are amazing. The function to import an entire other journal from elsewhere and have it appear here, fully intact, a perfect mirror? Magic!

I'm sad Livejournal is imploding because Livejournal has been my fandom home for a long time, a place where friendships formed that I never expected, the place where I learned to stop being a silent lurker and be an active part of fandom! But I'm so impressed that Dreamwidth was here all along, being quietly awesome. I hadn't joined Dreamwidth before now only because the communities I interacted with happened to be on LJ, but now I am here, and most of my friends and communities are popping up here too, and Dreamwidth has been so gracious to the flood of panicking LJ-ers arriving on these shores. I'm full of goofy, grateful feelings.

Hello, Dreamwidth!

(Now, back to revising the first draft of 35,000 words about rescuing the person you love from an ancient shape-shifting beast who lives at the frozen north of the world...)
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Hi everyone!

Hoo boy, once again I am really far behind, because of the usual things (headaches every day; moving yet again) but also good things (applying to an it's-a-long-shot-but-would-be-extremely-exciting-if-I-got-it job opportunity that came up very suddenly; also just completed the first draft of the novella-length fic I've been working on since December).

BUT. When I've had very brief chances to glance at LJ and my friends feed, it does look like pretty much everyone is making the shift to Dreamwidth, which makes me very relieved. I know my corner of fandom is a tiny corner, but I have treasured it! It seems like nearly everyone is going to rebuild on Dreamwidth and that's heartening. Not everything will survive, I'm sure (for example, the crowd I interacted with when I first started participating actively in fandom is no longer really active on LJ anyway, so I guess that aspect is gone) but it sounds like even comms are reforming over on Dreamwidth, so, yay! In the spirit of things, I think I should sign up for Holmestice. :-) YAY!

I did make my Dreamwidth journal – same username, HERE – when the LJ TOS first came out, but haven't had a chance to import anything yet or get going over there. I will, though, and I'll come find y'all and friend (or whatever the equivalent terminology is there – new things to learn!). I think it's all going to be okay, and I'm glad.

I'll probably switch to posting at Dreamwidth but have it crosspost to LJ, at least for a while, as we see how things go.

Onward and upward!

(Edited to add: I just realized I probably sound obnoxiously chirpy about this catastrophe that hit us as a fandom, or at the very least bizarrely chirpy about it. I have the dubious benefit of having been too snowed under with other life stuff to do anything more than watch in horrified passivity as it all unfolded, and am now reaping the benefits of showing up later, when other people have already sorted out most of the mess. For this I am very grateful.)
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First: You know that weird new(ish) feature LJ has, where you can "like" a post? Just a heads-up, if any of you like a post of mine...I can't actually see it.

I was baffled about this for a while: I would get a notification saying "Someone likes your entry!" (yes, isn't that annoyingly vague, that it doesn't even tell you who, just "someone"?) but then I would go to the post in question, and there was no sign of any liking there. (Whereas if someone likes a post of mine at a comm, rather than my own journal, that does show up.) Weird!

Eventually, I did some poking around and figured out this is because I don't have the latest LJ upgrade or new interface, or whatever it was... And apparently one side of that is that the new "likes" don't show up for me at all.

So y'all are welcome to like posts if you want, but it's just kind of going out into the ether, unfortunately... I get a mysterious "someone likes your entry" message, but I'll never know who!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This Harry-Potter-verse, even-more-feminist Snow Queen retelling I'm working on is still a total blast! I've now written to just before the big final denouement ...which is set on Svalbard, so I get to look at lots of pictures of far-northern landscapes in the name of research. Ooooh. (Latest new favorite thing: Rossøya, the furthest north little island of the Svalbard archipelago, at 80°N latitude, a thousand kilometers from mainland Norway, where it juts up out of the ocean with stern, quiet dignity. Ohhhh Svalbard. I wonder if I will ever get to Svalbard, someday?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My reading is still kind of out of control (there are so many books I want to I keep this long list of them...and I then get compulsive about tackling the list... and now I've somehow landed myself in THREE book clubs??) I keep catching myself thinking it must be almost time to do my quarterly round-up, because I've already read so much, but it's still only February...

I can definitely tell you that the Mirka graphic novels are indeed awesome ("Just another troll-fighting Orthodox Jewish girl!"), and Nimona is indeed awesome (my colleague's been telling me to read that forever!), and I've been catching up on some of the excellent LGBT+ YA books in our library that I've been meaning to read (including Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before, which I read on the recommendation of one of my students, and Skim, which I read on the recommendation of one of my colleagues.)

I'm dying to get my hands on The Last of August (sequel to the modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson A Study in Charlotte I loved so much last year), so while I'm waiting, I read yet another modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson reboot: The Great Shelby Holmes, which was pretty darn adorable. (They're young kids in this one, so it's Watson's mom who's an army doctor, and 9-year-old Shelby Holmes takes on neighborhood cases like...dognappings.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Right now I'm wrapping up in a café where I was having a hang-out-and-work afternoon with a friend (working on her writing project), her boyfriend (doing his grad school reading) and me (reading-and-feedbacking a friend's play script). The friend who was here today is also the one who's beta reading my Snow Queen story, so she read a chapter I'd asked for feedback on and discussed it right here with me, in real time. In person. Haven't gotten to do that (writing feedback, in person!) in an age. Also, having local friends who want to sit and write together is the besssst. I missed this.
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A little belated, now, because there was so much else going on in January, but I didn't want to let the turn of the year go by entirely without doing this reflection on "what I wrote this past year." (Even though, wow, there's not a whole lot to say about last year in the writing department.)

This is, of course, in addition to my massive reflection on everything I read last year, which you can find here: "Books in 2016!"

And by the way, because I'm a dork (and a librarian in training...) I've added some tags to make everything even more easily searchable: In addition to my general "books" tag, each year's reflection on All The Books I Read is now found under the "year in review – reading" tag, and each quarterly post where I talk about some of my favorites from those three months are under "quarterly books." (My years' reflections on my writing, like this one, will also be findable under "year in review – writing," though I'm not sure why anyone but me would be interested in searching back for that?)

Anyway! What I wrote in 2016...


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Sherlock! I watched the new episode last night with a group of friends, which, wow, was really fun. We made drinks and got cozy in the TV room of the house where I'm currently living, and in honor of the episode, we all did one of the temporary Sherlock Holmes "literary tattoos" that my colleague the Awesome Librarian gave me a couple weeks ago. Totally perfect for the occasion. Shoutout to [ profile] indybaggins, who had the idea of using the temporary tattoos for the Sherlock-episode-watching!

Here's one okay picture of my 221B tattoo, followed by one grainy and terrible picture of several of them together:

You can't tell at all, but here the second one says "to a great mind, nothing is little," the third is a picture and the words "the game is afoot," and the last one just says "elementary." Not pictured: the other two in our group did their tattoos on their necks instead of their arms. :-)

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This was my room number, when I was in California last week for a family wedding...

There, now it's right!  :-)

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Two thoughts, that to my pleased surprise I find I can tie together under one theme:

1. The excellent Elizabeth Minkel (who writes in mainstream journalism about fanfic and fan culture) wrote a great article called "Harry Potter and the Sanctioned Follow-On Work (or, Fanfiction vs. the Patriarchy): How we talk about The Cursed Child—and why it matters." She takes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a starting point, but also talks in general about what we mean when we call something fanfiction, and the gendered divisions of that, and character-driven works vs. plot-driven works, and a whole lot of other things besides.

Minkel is excellent – check out the article!

2. I just re-read Neil Gaiman's short story "A Study in Emerald," a brilliant fusion of the character of Sherlock Holmes with the world of H. P. Lovecraft. I hope the whole world knows it already, but just in case you don't... If you have the least bit of interest in Sherlock Holmes, and the least bit of interest in transformative works, your life will not be quite complete until you have read this story. I promise you, it's that good. You can read it here: "A Study in Emerald."

(I'm always fascinated by what does and doesn't get considered "fanfiction," as Elizabeth Minkel discusses so ably above. This is Neil Gaiman, and was published in a collection of Doyle/Lovecraft-inspired crossovers called "Shadows Over Baker Street," and he presumably got paid to do it, so nobody thinks of it as fanfiction. And yet...Gaiman is writing a Doyle/Lovecraft-inspired crossover, so of course it's fanfiction! Except in some crucial ways it's not, except at its core it really is. Etc.)
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Hey, so, a mention of real-life stuff seems far overdue!

Since I now work in a school, I have the immense benefit of having the entire summer off. This is especially good, because when I moved away from Berlin last year (after living in Germany for almost a decade), I left with the clear understanding that a life in which I would never get to come back to this place that's so much a part of me – well, that would really not be okay.

So for this summer, at least, I get to live the dream! A whole month in Berlin, seeing old friends and being part of daily life here. A bit of traveling around, too – primarily to Belgium, where I got to meet [ profile] indybaggins in person!! If you know her online, then all I can say is that she's just as awesome in person as online! Really, it was so cool to meet and talk to her. Definitely hope to meet again. :-)

Next – just two days from now – to the other part of my dream summer plan: to Iceland for a language course + a music festival, a particular combination I've been dreaming about for two years now... Yes, an Icelandic language course. Yes, I know only a few hundred thousand people speak it. Doesn't matter, I still want to give it my best shot!

Then in September, back to work where I get to hang out with kids and books. Put that way, it's really not a bad life, is it?

Meanwhile, of course I'm always reading and watching and etc. A hodgepodge of books and fandom things under the cut...

books and fandom and TPLOSH oh my )
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Also, who else out there has fallen hard for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries?? I sure have!

This show was recommended to me by enough different friends that I actually kind of put off starting to watch it until I felt I could give it my full attention – like Sherlock and Doctor Who, it was a fascination waiting to happen, something I knew I would get wholly absorbed in, so I wanted to be ready for what I was committing myself to.

Which, in this case, is ALL kinds of fantastic feminist fabulousness, plus excellent acting, plus blah blah yes that whole thing about how they spend a million dollars on each episode which is why the costumes and sets are so sumptuous, plus the guilty pleasure of shipping two gorgeous, strong characters who've got a whole ocean of UST going on. Heh. I recommend it!

On This Day

May. 2nd, 2016 09:20 pm
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Also. Today, May 2, is the "anniversary" (in quotes because it is a fictional event, after all) of the Battle of Hogwarts. In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition for her, J. K. Rowling again apologized for the death of a beloved character: this time, Remus Lupin.

I get a shiver of grief when I think that thought: Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts.

And I can't quite decide what I think about the fact that I can experience actual grief over something that's fictional. Is it a good sign (the ability to feel emotions fully and deeply) or a worrying one (to care that much about people who don't even exist)?

I think on the whole I'm going to go with "good sign" – because on some level reading's all about empathy, right? The ability to experience someone else's emotions as our own? So if we're able to feel that deeply about fictional characters, presumably we're able to do the same when we encounter real people's suffering, too.

That's my thought for the evening, anyway.

And hey, here's a hopeful fictional fact to balance out the sad fictional fact: If it's the anniversary of the final battle, then it's also Victoire's birthday (since she was born on the anniversary of that victory, hence her name.) Happy birthday, Victoire! She would be, what, 16 today? Aw.

(Not gonna lie, I totally discussed the details of JKR tweeting on the day James Sirius "started Hogwarts" last September, with the seven and eight-year-olds I was teaching at the time!)
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OMG yes. I just stumbled across this:

Dalek Relaxation Tape



(One time in my songwriters' group, when we were preparing for a small local performance thingy, each learning harmony and/or instrumental parts to each others' songs, one of the group members said "COLLABORATE!" in a Dalek voice and I think I laughed the whole rest of the day. British TV nerd jokes!)

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Okay, so, I can't remember what I was looking for at the time that brought me across this, but I recently stumbled across the fact that there's fanfiction on AO3 of the musical Hamilton. (Of course there is!)

Specifically, there seem to be a lot of modern day AUs/college AUs/high school AUs featuring the characters from Hamilton. So...fanfiction of Hamilton, which itself is essentially RPF of historical figures...

When I saw that, I thought, okay, I've pretty much seen everything now!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also, my colleague Awesome Librarian is now reading this intriguing book about the secret lives and wildly high intelligence of octopuses, one of the nonfiction books he recently purchased for our library (because he's awesome).

Just beforehand we'd also had a conversation about how Big Foot/Sasquatch porn is a thing, and in fact quite a surprisingly lucrative thing. So then he mused, "I wonder if there's octopus porn out there, too?"

And I said, "Actually..."

(I wanted to clarify to him that what I meant was that tentacle porn is a thing, not necessarily octopuses specifically, but there were students nearby-ish at the time, so we were having to have this conversation rather circumspectly.)

He said, "How do you know this??"

Well, frankly, because FANDOM.

Fandom's so weird, y'all! But I kind of love that it's caused me to know such very strange stuff. Seems to me, once you engage with fandom to any degree, you don't even have to go looking for the fact that, for example, there's an entire LJ devoted solely to porn featuring the Giant Squid from Harry Potter. (Yes, really!) Those facts just come and find you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling a sudden need to find out whether anyone has yet written Harry Potter/Hamilton crossover fic...
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Oh man, oh man. The other day, as I was waiting for a bus downtown:

Two middle-aged-ish women – friends, who'd apparently just run into each other while waiting for a bus – discussing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and what kind of story it might turn out to be, and the related matter of the 19-years-later epilogue at the end of Deathly Hallows, and how a lot of people hated the epilogue but they both actually really liked it. It was a such a sweet conversation, and an unexpected one to randomly hear at a bus stop. I had to turn away, so they wouldn't see my desperately delighted grinning.

Now I'm housesitting for the weekend in The Most Wonderful Little Village, looking after a friend's cats. Alternating my time between leisurely rambles through countryside on the cusp between winter and spring, and lying in front of the woodstove with a book in hand and the three cats taking turns being the one to drape themselves over my stomach and/or head.

As I write this, one of the three, who happens to be one of my favorite cats in the whole world, has taken up position on my chest, cuddled up under my chin, purring like a fiend.

It doesn't get much better than this.
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A bit belatedly, here's that summing-up-the-year-in-fic meme I also did last year... It's fun to look back at a whole year's worth of writing at once!


things I wrote! )

thoughts about the stuff I did! )


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September 2017



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