red_satin_doll: (Buffy Destructive  rocket launcher Innoc)
With a great many apologies for extreme tardiness (and being totally MIA): THANK YOU to whomever nominated my artwork for Round 13 of the [ profile] wicked_awards. I have no idea who did but it's extremely gratifying. And I am THRILLED that one of the nominated works is the poster for [ profile] herself_nyc's "Closure (is a silly word)", for Round 19[ profile] seasonal_spuffy.  That poster is the one thing I made the last year that I would have chosen, if I had decided to self-nominate. I'm really happy with how it turned out and honored that someone liked it enough to nominate.

Thank you also to whomever nominated my Category 2 Buffy icon for Round 17 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 . That took me by surprise as well and I am very grateful.

ETA: Also nominated was my Mr Gordo icon for [ profile] whedon_elite. Thank you [ profile] freecat15 for pointing out my oversight!  *pets Mr Gordo*

                                                                                                                                 Click thumbnail for full-size image
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
1) For [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 60 vote for your favorite icon for the third place position.

BTW, did you vote at [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 15 yet?  Good.  Now have you signed up for Round 16 yet?

2) And by the by, did you know that [ profile] dragonyphoenix posted the artwork she commissioned from me for her excellent Anya/Snap crossover fic, The Letters (84 Charing Cross Road)?  (TTH post here.) But you will have to read the story to find it because  it's intergrated into the text. And FYI, the actual text of the artworks is entirely her concept. I just followed marching orders.

At AO3 she also included a marvelous story banner by Restfield aka [ profile] rbfvid.

3) My friend [ profile] kerkevik_2014 has been writing up a storm - a very quiet storm that snuck up on me and took me entirely by surprise.  His latest is a Buffy/Faith fic, "Casablanca" (not to be confused with [ profile] shapinglight's fic) that is poignant and mournful and like all of his work is a prose-poem unlike anyone else's.

Last year I sort of asked him to write Buffy more often (actually I may have whined about it a little, but never mind that.)  He's come through while remaining true to himself in his own beautiful way.  This story is actually part of the birthday gift for [ profile] elisi, the 22'verse that includes stories of Spike and Illyri, Riley Finn, Xander and Buffy, etc. Also worth a look - a charming, gentle Tara, Dawn fic (post The-Gift): Like Seeing Your Very Own Self Looking Back at You.

See, not every post I put up is longer than the Constitution. Some are only as long as the Gettysburg Address. "Short and sweet" is a relative thing.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
And to celebrate a very special, generous, kind, supportive, incredibly talented person who is a dear friend, a superb beta-Muse and dedicated to her craft, cover art for [ profile] velvetwhip's fic, Civilian (Willow, Riley) plus icons.

She just posted the banner itself here along with links to other fabulous birthday presents she received. (Such as [ profile] angelskuuipo's fabulous Joyce/Angel fic "Hello From the Other Side" which has an absolutely brilliant "Why didn't I think of that? Why didn't anyone think of that?" premise that already has my imagining rewriting the entire canon to accomodate it. But I digress:)

Poster for Civilian v.1 (2016); shown full-size 650x500 pixels. Click image to go to [ profile] velvetwhip's story.
Final version cover art for Civilian by Velvetwhip made for her birthday Jan 14 2016 story link DO NOT TAKE

More banners and icons after the cut.
Icons here are snaggable, the posters are not.

Alt versions 2 & 3 (reduced, click for full-size)
v. 2 cover art for Civilian by Velvetwhip made for her birthday Jan 14 2016 story link DO NOT TAKE     v. 3 cover art for Civilian by Velvetwhip made for her birthday Jan 14 2016 story link DO NOT TAKE

Icons 4 10:
Riley Finn icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Riley Finn icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Riley Finn icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Riley Finn icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Riley Finn and Tara Maclay icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Tara Maclay icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016 Willow Rosenberg icon from cover art for Civilian btvs fanfiction by velvetwhip made Jan 13 2016

I've wanted to make a poster for this story ever since I read it in June 2014; a general concept came to mind but I lacked the know-how to make it come together. I made an icon for the story last spring for Gabrielle using the same photo of Blucas. I really love that picture so surprisingly that was the easy part of the poster. The hard part was - everything else. I always knew I wanted "ghostly" images of Buffy and Tara hovering around Riley and WIllow because Civilian is a metaphorical (not literal in Buffy's case) ghost story; Willow and Riley's lives have been affected and are still shaped by the memories of their past lovers. Riley is a bit more melancholy here than in the story itself but the image means to imply the Riley that's hinted at offscreen more than him in the present moment.

Finding the right photo of Aly was the single element that held this project up the longest.  The story takes place ten years after Chosen so I didn't want to use a photo from the series; I wanted something with gravitas as befitted the story and Willow's frame of mind, but I couldn't find one that had the right look for Aly and was of sufficient quality to work with. For someone with two major long-time tv series and several movies under her belt, she's incredibly hard to find photos for that fit the bill. I still haven't come across a fansite for her with a decent photo gallery. (Excluding sites like popSugar, etc.) She either tends to be photographed smiling or the few photos/screencaps I could find with the right mood were mediocre quality. The shot I ended up using is a cap from season 9 of HIMYM.

Resources: Photo of Marc Blucas via The Chosen Two (can also be found at Marc Blucas Source), photographer unknown. BtVS screencaps from Leave Me The White and Bloodqueen. Optical flares (light textures) on poster #3 by daWIIZ (Bessamer Azemi) on DeviantArt.

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Take what  icons you like for personal use but please credit if used :) Posters 1-3 NOT snaggable.
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
~ All artwork by yours truly except where otherwise indicated.

red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)
Poster and icon to go with.
Click poster for direct link to[ profile] spuffy_luvr's fic Ipseity on EF, or here for the story on A03.  She was kind enough to thank me on her own journal (dig the cool new layout). Also check out the other banner for the story made by [ profile] pfeifferpack, which is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing.

More icons and thinky-thoughts after the cut:

I made the icon first by downsizing the image of Buffy that I'd cropped, ligntened, etc and layered two icon-sized textures by [ profile] lookslikerain from their aptly named "When the Wheels Fall Off" icon texture set over it.

    1 - 3

Then I went back to the 310sq crop of the screencap image in Layer Mode and expanded or "upsized" just the second "ladder" filter to fit over it.  You almost always want to go the opposite direction in sizing, but it worked here with some sharpening and bloom/softening filters to balance the other out. I think in Photoshop you'd use a single "unsharp" mask to achieve the same effect?

More alts of the icon:
      4 - 6

It would be easy to overstuff the image and I originally wanted to add the images of other characters on the right hand side, a la one of Jo Chen's wonderful cover illustrations for the S8 comics. But I don't have the skill (or the patience, frankly) to made the faces of other characters work at the size I needed.  So I subsituted the text, which is the central mystery of the story to most of the other characters around Buffy; and also is a nod to S4's "Who Are You" which, like Ipseity, deals with questions of identity and how the people around Buffy Summers shape their identities in response to her; and how they perceive her according to their needs and in response to the masks she wears.

Sometimes I want a banner to tell a story but with this poster I wanted to imply or impart a flavor of the author's story without giving away the goods. Frankly the story is so complex and twisty I don't think I really could give away anything. Her story has me wondering at every turn what's going to happen next (and so far? I haven't been able to predict a thing.) She twists, deconstructs, and/or slyly smashes any number of tropes which are not exclusive to Spuffy fic; but if you're looking for the same-old, same-old Spuffy schmoop/porn/fluff, don't go here. If you're looking for an actual story, by all means hop on over immediately.

I'm borrowing [ profile] starry_night's succinct rules regarding my own arwork:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments are appreciated :)

red_satin_doll: (The Chain)

I wanted to get these out to y'all earlier in the week but sucky life circumstances drained the life out of me for a few days. I'm very grateful for the love and supportive I've gotten this week from my friends here who have offered virtual arms and shoulders to cry on, and let me rant about things various, be it my personal distress so I don't curl up in a fetal position in the corner, or why I prefer Barney Stinson's honest deceptions to Ted Mosby's self-absorbed, pretentious, pseudo-sensitive crap but could never articulate it before.

The lesson, kids, is that none of us is really, truly alone, that it takes courage to say "I hurt" aloud and trust someone to hear that because it's so hard to do. That I have wonderful friends so even if my life is in pieces, I'm not a "bad" person to be so loved. And - upside! - I'm using some downtime to learn new-to-me digital editing skilz. Because I WILL get good enough to make meta-picspams that don't embarrass me, and pretty prezzies for my friends.


*** Voting for Round 1 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 is open until midnight June 16th, if you haven't had the chance to vote already for Themes, Category (B/W),  and Artist's Choice. Looking at the results so far is proof positive that I'm a pretty poor judge of my own stuff. Or other people's I guess because there are some really fantastic icons by folks who happen to not be me that are NOT getting the love they deserve. So says I. I'm not telling you to vote for my stuff, of course, or what stuff by other people to vote for. Really. That would be wrong. But if you chose to catch my mental wavelength and read my mind, then there's just nothing I can do about that, is there?

*** Challenge 26 at [ profile] slayerstillness is "The Same But Different". [ profile] starry_night kindly responded to suggestions from [ profile] teragramm and myself for a challenge that allows multiple icons of the same image. "For this challenge there will also be a slight change to the rules in that I would like you to submit a full set of five (5) icons. Voting will also be different in that you will be voting for your favourite sets, as well as individual icons...For this challenge only (for now…) you can submit up to TWO (2) sets of five icons."   The deadline is midnight Saturday June 21st at our own time zones.

*** [ profile] otherworldlyric Challenge 175 is set to the song "Stay with Me" by Hoobastank, deadline midnight Friday June 20th. I've never heard of the band or the song but the lyrics are simple and lovely and I started making an icon or two or....about 10 or so at this point, and at least three different crops of the same cap. Hmmm... As Willow says to Kennedy in "Get it Done", it's how I work. Ten years ago I made Moulin Rouge icons just for myself - i didn't know about LJ, about icontests or any such thing, so I was just having fun and making multiple variations of any one icon came naturally to me. It's much harder for me participating in challenges and trying to force myself to make fewer icons. So far? It hasn't worked. 5-9x the number I need is pretty much average. (Yes, I did the math.)

If I could have, my entries in Round 1 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 would have been almost entirely variants of The Chain icon.  Speaking of which... my alts/extras for this round. (Did I mention voting ends June 16th?)

Here be teasers:

I know I've mentioned it before but it doesn't hurt to repeat: all credit to [ profile] kwritten credit for introducing me to ipiccy and to [ profile] clockwork_hart1 for giving me instructions in how to make a collage in that program.  I'm not trying to affect anyone's votes btw, and some folks don't want to be bothered with the blah-de-blah (if I weren't me I'd tell me to STFU) so I've grouped the icons first, directors commentary track afterwards - your choice to read it or not.

Here be Icons:










( 31-35)




And here be Artist's Commentary Track:

#01 -08 This set was such fun and my favorites of all my entries. Making them was like discovering the key to a door I'd never been able to unlock before. #1-3 are basically the same icon, with the addition of the Photo Collage effect from ipiccy. IThe exact arrangement, number/size of the photos, size and color of frames, the color of background and color within the frames all had to be chosen separately. Then I took #2 back to PB and used the Splash function to remove all the color and repaint some of the squares. (#3) Great practice in hand-eye co-ordination, especially redrawing the blood on her cheek while leaving the rest of the square grey.

For  both #4 and my Comics entry I had to go back to the original icon #1, and readjust the arrangement and number of photos within the image each time, chose the color within the frames and the background colors separately. #4 has smaller "photos" and thus less background showing; I also learned something very important - don't bisect key facial features (nose and lips) right down the center.

For my final Comics entry I recolored and reshuffled everything, then added a separate light leak effect, something I see in icons all the time and have wondered how it was done. (Every week now I find myself looking at an icon and saying "I know how that was done!" And every day I look at an icon and say "How the heck was that done?") Photo Collage is a tricky effect; it's easy to overdo, but it doesn't mesh well with very realistic photographs because it has a very cartoon-like "drawn" or fake quality.  With an icon from a comic book illustration, it's a perfect marriage.

#09-11 My first successful attempts at "blending" - really collage; I didn't know how to blend images seamlessly. And by "successful" I mean, "nominally better than a sharp stick in the eye".The effect reminded me those graphic movie magazines I grew up with in the 1970's but really not satisfied with the quality of it. I tried using a light effect from ipiccy to cover up the dividing line. It didn't work, but it looks like a prompt for a nifty "Cave Buffy and newly resurrected Buffy are thrown into an alternative universe together" fic. Anyone want to take that up?

Cave Buffy sort of skirts the edges of my claim (not really-real Buffy) but when I rewatched Beer Bad the second time after watching season 6, the visual parallels with Bargaining were one of those "once you see it you can't unsee it" things. Exhibit A in my "Beer Bad is aweseom and fandom doesn't give it respect" argument.

#12-17 First time with textures.  #12 is the color version of my Cat #4 (black/white) entry and I think it works better with color. Poor Cat #4 - the only one of my entries not to draw any comment when I posted them and no surprise, it's my least favorite too. 14 is a combination of provided texture plus shine (rays of light) effect, which is where the yellow color comes from. These aren't pretty but they remind me of the artwork of William Blake and his friend and contemporary Henry Fuseli. Also, I apparently love to combine textures with the Shine effect because they both show up in three of my entries, separately or together. Should I be worried?

#17 was just sharpen, sharpen, lighten, blend the pixels, push the contrast, sharpen, blend one more time. I didn't realize how soft-focus the original cap is until I started playing with it. (If you are unaware of my feelings regarding Normal Again and Sarah's amazing performance in it, you must be new here. Welcome! Have a cookie!

#18-23 More provided texture plus shine effect, then pushing the color. I don't remember how I got those bands of purple in the Primeval icons (another applied texture maybe? I have no idea) and I couldn't have planned the way it goes directly into her eyeballs and curves around her chin. Happy accidents. These icons have a particular immediacy for me because I have epilepsy and a seizure is essentially an electrical surge in my brain that temporarily shorts everything out; I have no control over my own body. "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" And that's what I wanted to evoke visually - the sense of things gone haywire, the horror of losing control of one's own body.

#24-27 These icons from Amends and The Wish show how well some of the early season caps can be lightened without pixelating. I'm still surprised by how much detail I got - the pores on the skin, the makeup around her eye, the lines on her scar. The sadness on Wishverse!Buffy's face isn't noticeable in the original cap, which is very dark, but comes through when it's lightened ands took me by surprise. It's perfect - the lonely, wounded girl behind the tough exterior. She's not "Buffy as Faith" as some fans have said; Faith is full of piss and fire and would have emptied Giles' decanter and stolen another bottle for good measure. This girl, she's General Buffy, foreshadowed, but still very much Buffy. I really took the guideline "must show detail" to heart for the XCU - I was going to get every pore on her face if it killed me.

The softness and sheen of her hair and skin in the Amends icons is incredibly lovely in these and belies the horror of the moment. I turned the orientation of the cap to show off her expression better. She almost looks as if she is running very fast and shouting in alarm something in the distance, i
nstead of lying in bed being killed/devoured by Angel in his dream. The man clings to her as his salvation, his second chance to be a good man; the demon  would gleefully suck her dry. (Be careful what you wish for...)

#28-30 As with the Amends icon, I love the contrast of the warmth of this imagine and the context of the scene: "That's my guy." All these effects were done in ipiccy. I wanted the look of a drawing for 31-32 but I didn't like the Pencil Drawing effect in ipiccy, so I used the lines of one of the Light effects and removed the color. A lot of icon making for me is about trying to go around the back door to get what I want.

The First wearing Buffy's face is the (non-corporeal) manifestation of Buffy's fear of becoming a demon, inhuman, from "Nightmares" in S1 through S6, as well as soulless Spike's desires that she "try on my world for size". The fantastic, bitter irony of the formerly soulless vampire demon who once wanted her to be his companion, his lover, alone in the dark, needs the real Buffy - needs her humanity - more than ever to help him escape the darkness and evil he'd encouraged her to embrace. (Be careful what you wish for....)

#31-35 "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" series - the title of Keat's ballad is perfect for Faith's dream image of Buffy in TYG; the font is Princess Sophia in PB. I spent more time, and threw away more attempts, on this set than any other for the round. Beautiful images but the caps are so damn dark, and unlike the early season caps they don't emerge nicely when you brighten them, they just pixilate. I finally realized that when I downsize an image in ipiccy I get slightly better results in ipiccy than in PB because ipiccy seems to retain the quality of the image a bit better, but I still had to downsize and adjust in increments.

Tons of blending work - I bow low to the wisdom of [ profile] comlodge's sage advice - especially on Sarah's nose, as well as on the background. Dear god, chasing that last little pixel at the tip of her nostril nearly drove me insane. I am well on my way to becoming the foremost expert on Sarah's nose - second to only her ENT doctor. (And look, Ma, I finally signed one of my icons! *lol*)

#36-42 From Nightmares - another reason you need to watch Season 1 if you haven't already. The seeds for the entire series are planted in S1, and Nightmares might just be the skeleton key to the psychology of Buffy Summers. (And it pays dividends down the line for Willow Rosenberg fans as well.) I hated losing that brick wall. Kicking myself for not paying better attention to the guidelines of that catagory. The NS+mono I entered with the shine effect has been getting almost the most votes of any of my entries but dear goodness me I loved the lines and texture of that brick wall. No special effects needed except brighten, sharpen and contrast. The "flames" of color revealed themselves. I painted in the silhouette with black to cover lighter pixels dotting her face and clothes.

#43-45 What's a brick wall without a little graffiti, even in the Hellmouth? Especially in the Hellmouth? Buffy the Ad Exec Slayer - there has GOT to be a btvs-Mad Men crossover somewhere.  The phrase "She Comes" is the result of me mis-remembering Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty" but for this context I prefer my version - it could be hopeful (Make way for the Queen!) or sinister (Run for your lives!).

red_satin_doll: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
ETA: [ profile] bangel_4e notified me that my original entries for NS+Mono and Artists Choice 1 were not qualified so I've switched them out. Let me know what you think.

My first-ever 20in20 entries for Round 1 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 were inspired by the Jo Chen's Cover art for "The Chain"; so I decided to claim Buffy Summers as my subject (no surprise) but with a twist: the "not really-real" versions that populate the Buffyverse: impersonators, dopplegangers, alt universe versions; Buffy reimagined in her own and in other people's dreams.

All icons made by me in ipiccy and Photobucket. Many thanks to [ profile] bangel_4e and [ profile] spikesredqueen for their patient and tireless hand-holding.


10 Themes
Strong Favorite Moment NS+Monochrome Comics Blending
Earth Tones Provided Texture Ex.Close Crop Smile Focused
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

Alts and extras to be posted separately.

WANT? TAKE, HAVE, ENJOY! - But give proper credit always!
DO NOT alter, claim as your own or repost to other websites without my permission.
If you snag an icon, letting me know is always appreciated. Feedback feeds the savage fan artist.

red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
Last week we finally got the gas stove (burners etc) in the new apartment fixed and approved for use, and I made the first dinner since the house fire that I was proud of: Chicken breasts rubbed with a little balsamic vinagrette dressing from a local restaurant  (to which I'd added a little more oil and maple sysauteed in the cast iron skillet in a slick of olive oil, with chopped leeks, mushrooms, garlic etc; seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, and then just a dash of balsamic vinagrette dressing from a local restaurant (to which I'd added maple syrup) poured in at the last minute or two. Making it felt like coming home on some small level: this is ME, this is who I am. It felt familiar, and "familiar" has suddenly become very precious to me.

And yes, I do know children are starving around the world and women have to walk ten miles to get water and I've never been raped and I'm not mutilated or dead so stop whining and be grateful. No, I'm not joking, this stuff really goes through my head. Although when my landlord pulled out the "at least you have a roof over your head" line I wanted to tell him to stuff it.

So it's been little things, grasping for the familiar comforts and rhythms, while being aware somehow that the "old normal" doesn't exist anymore and never will; that a new sense of "normal" is establishing itself, while the old patterns elbow their way in.  Or perhaps it's the other way around? Whether that "new normal" is comfortable or desirable is too soon to tell. The old normal was comfortable; but was it actually desirable?

So I can still light a fire in the Weber grill with wood I've gathered myself and grill a steak or burn documents without hesitation. The fire and smoke don't bother me because I've mastered this activity and it's "under control", safe and contained.

But I'm hyper-aware of fire truck sirens in the streets, and I startled at unfamiliar noises in this new apartment, the slight ones coming perhaps from outside on the stairwell, beneath the floor or through the walls; in fact I'm not sure where they come from most times. I freeze and wait for a second until they pass. Sounds, not sights or smells, seems to be the main sense in which my recent "trauma" (let's just call it PTSD, shall we?) expresses itself. It wasn't the mattress in flames that terrified me, or the smoke filling my eyes; it was the awful sound of my sweetheart's high-pitched, hysterical scream as she tried to fight the fire. Running up the stairs I thought for an awful moment I'd find her engulfed in flames, burning to death.

No one should have to hear that sound, although many people do, and worse. I know.

But written words can have an effect as well. I had to stop reading [ profile] beer_good_foamy's recent post re: Night Vale when I read this quote from the podcasts: "The world is awful. And on fire. And beautiful." A month ago I would have loved the elegant and evocative language. Now I run away from it because I want to cry. And I am not liking this state of affairs one little bit. Not at all. But there it is. (Note to BGF if you're reading it: don't change the title of your journal on my account, ok? That is NOT what I'm saying at all.)

It is always unpredictable and never within my control. Perhaps that's what is really setting me off lately, and not the triggers themselves. That may explain why I have a hard time lately bearing my partner's moods when she arrives home. She might be exhausted, in pain, angry about work, hyper-focused on some obsession or project that must get done, throw herself into a frenzy of activity or barely be able to move. She's no different in fact than she's ever been but now it feels very heightened to me. The fact that she speaks aloud constantly, says everything she's thinking at every moment she's thinking it, or thinks and obsesses in patterns and circles, is nothing new. The fact that she wants me to "respond" to her, but automatically know when she's talking to me and when she's just thinking aloud isn't new either.  We've been together 17 years, she's always been that way.

It used to be irritating, frustrating; now it feels like nails scraping my skin to be in the same room sometimes. And other times, she leans into me and I stroke her soft hair and forget all that for a moment, until the next disagreement and we're off to the races again.

My primary solace, lately, or methods of trying to hold onto "normal" have included being here with my friends on LJ and chatting for hours while ignoring my must-do list and procrastinating like a champ; and carrying a notebook with me everywhere I go so I can write when inspiration strikes - again, always when I'm supposed to be doing something else "more important".

And lately I'm writing Buffyverse fanfic. After announcing a year ago I would NOT write fanfic because 1) my previous efforts in another fandom sucked which 2) made me decide I'm really a non-fiction writer plus 3) there are so many good writers in this fandom that I could never compete or say something really new and therefore, 4) I was going to write meta in this fandom instead of fic.

I'm writing Buffyverse fanfic. Be very afraid.... )
In other news, my sweetie and I are going to the Cape tomorrow, to Truro, MA just south of Provincetown; she's taking a painting workshop that was planned and paid for back in May. We've been to the Cape just once before on a weekend trip and loved it. ("Off-season" is the way to go on a strip of land that has only one road going in and out.)  I don't know if I'll see the harbor seals this time, but I am taking the laptop along.

And my notebook. Much cheaper than therapy, with none of the nasty side-effects of antidepressants.
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
A couple of weeks ago [ profile] kerkevik surprised me with an early gift - dedicating one of his short stories "Gazalah" to me.  I have no idea what I did to inspire the gift, but on reading it I had to wonder, how the heck does he KNOW me so well?  We'd exchanged a few comments and conversations, but what did we know of each other, beyond the fact that I'm a lesbian and he's an honorary lesbian?  (I deem it so, therefore he is.)

The story borrows a character from the comics (Satsu) but goes entirely AU otherwise, pairing her with a wife, Gazalah; it has a rich, "barbaric" gorgeousness to it, like a fragment of an epic poem found on an ancient scroll, punctuated with modern references here and there. He captures the essence of love and relationships of all kinds - especially between women - so wonderfully well.  This isn't "slash" (oh how I despise that term btw), this is life, fully realized.

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