NaNoWriMo 2020, Here I Come!

National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, starts on the first of November. I have had a few ideas knocking around in my brain, but I have finally settled on one.

“The Church of the Chrysanthemum God” is going to be the novel that I bang out next month!

I made the above image, my cover, on the website Canva.

It’s a sort of steampunk/dark fantasy/action/horror/body horror/Victorian/Jack the Ripper/science fiction stew of an idea, but I really hope it works out.

Also very excited that two of my Dungeons and Dragons buddies are going to be participating as well! They are both my friends/writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo site.

(If anyone reading this entry would like to friend me, head on over to my profile! Here’s a link!)

I created a new profile this year. That’s because I feel like I can leave the old me behind, especially in this–which is something that I love doing. I don’t want to be ‘her’ anymore, or associated with anything that ‘she’ has done. For this reason, I may start a new Goodreads profile as well. No. I am definitely. Right after I get done with this post, I am going to scoot over to Goodreads and start fresh.

This is what I need to do. I am no longer ‘her.’ I am Devyn Lynn Cullipher, and dammit, I deserve to be myself and not the person everyone wanted me to be. This hunger is my own. No one else is allowed to come to my feast.

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Fan Fiction Review: “Fantober 2020” by redeemer62385, pt. 4

Another chunk of redeemer62385’s fan fiction collection has been written, and as such, I am here to review. For those of you who are only now reading these reviews, the fan fiction can be found here. For the month of October, redeemer62385 is writing a chapter a day, each chapter being inspired by a list of prompts. The author has based these chapters off of the Teen Titans, specifically Beast Boy and Raven–though there are some other pairings included. Every sixth chapter is a steamy, romantic, very X-rated chapter, so be warned if you are under the age of eighteen.

I will discuss chapters nineteen and twenty together, as they are a pair. The first chapter in this duology, “Howl,” focuses on Beast Boy dealing with Raven’s untimely death. Because he loves her so much, he raids her personally library of magical tomes in the hopes of finding a way to bring her back–or to die trying. This leads into the next chapter, “Teeth,” where Beast Boy has successfully traveled into the afterlife in his search for Raven’s soul. Battle after battle, he collects the teeth of his enemies to trade for his beloved. Years have passed, but he never once loses track of his goal.

The next chapter was inspired by the idea of “Choice.” It is a very short chapter, but it was a nice reprieve after the length of the dark duology prior to it. This chapter explores some of Raven’s inner thoughts.

“Road” is an interesting chapter to be certain! redeemer62385 promises in his Notes section of this entry that this is merely the prologue to a longer piece–and I very much hope he decides to continue on it the idea. It is a post-apocalyptic Alternate Universe, focusing mainly on Raven, known here as Ra’ven. Exciting stuff! I look forward to more.

The twenty-third chapter is adorable! The prompt is “Ice Cream,” and this entry deals with pregnancy cravings. It turns out that Raven has some…uh…interesting needs while gravid–and poor Beast Boy has to deal with making some of the foulest sundaes in the universe.

Next up, and the last chapter for this review entry, is chapter twenty-four, “Sleeping.” Despite the title, it doesn’t really seem like a lot of sleeping actually happened in this entry! Steamy, sexual, and needy–yep. This is a ‘sixth chapter’ entry.

I look forward, as always, to the next entries.

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Fan Fiction Corner: “The Crimson Collection, Ch. 4”

The mirror never lied. 

Grelle peered into the reflective glass and sighed. “Just two more days,” she breathed to herself. There should have been happiness there. Instead, there was terror. Fear. Horror. A dread that curled up in her stomach like a black cat and screamed as it clawed her apart from inside. It made her want to vomit. 

Instead, she squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her forehead against the cold glass. 

The new millennium was truly a sight to behold. She had survived, somehow, the Victorian era right up until America decided to elect an idiot in an oversized suit to presidency. Though some of her friends had left the London Dispatch, she had stayed. Toughed it out.

And fought.

Originally, she and Othello were the only ones that really petitioned for changes in and around the office. Grelle was certain that Othello only aided her because he felt sorry for her. Surprisingly, William joined in next, giving them a bit more headway. Others quickly followed suit until, eventually, the Dispatch Society recognized transgender employees. 

It was a wave. Trans Reapers were allowed to wear whatever uniform fit them best–male, female, or something between–and were allowed to use their preferred names. Their genders were no longer questioned. In a way, it was a kind of heaven Grelle never thought she would live to see. 

But there it was. 

Flash forward years into the future. Now the Society allowed for gender confirmation surgeries, performed by those who had been doctors in life. They covered hormone replacement therapy. They allowed for Reapers to live their unlives as best they could. The higher ups loved it, in the end–with morale skyrocketing, even though most of the branches were still understaffed, the Reapers seemed to be doing a much better job than they had been before this little light of understanding was cast upon them. 

At first, Grelle was surprised to find that there were others like her. She had always been ‘out’ about it, not caring if others made fun of her for it. Well. She cared, of course, but there was not much she thought she could do. Now, though, things were different. Things were more beautiful than ever, and she felt like she was right. 

So why was the idea of her scheduled vaginoplasty surgery so terrifying? 

Top surgery had been wonderful, and she loved gently caressing her small breasts. Estrogen injections had aided in their growth, along with an overall softening of her features. She glowed, and most of the London branch loved it. William certainly did. 

There were a few other surgeries as well–minor ones, just to erase the ‘male’ of her face. Ones to make her look how she wanted to look, how she knew she should look. Ones that made her feel more beautiful than ever before, more delicate and dangerous and everything she needed. 

But.

“Get it together, Sutcliff,” she hissed at the mirror. Even her voice had changed, after about two years of vocal training. “You need this. You need this.” 

“Do I?” her reflection whispered back. “Aren’t I whole, as myself, without some surgeon slicing me apart? Am I not female enough? Even back then, I was. Even back then, when everyone misgendered me…was I not a woman then, too?” 

“Yes, of course.” Grelle pulled back from the mirror, sighing through her teeth. “But this will make me happy. This will confirm it–and tell the world.” 

Her reflection snorted as she crossed her arms over her chest. “R-e-a-l-l-y? Are you going to bare your vagina to the world, love? Let everyone take a peek, hm? Have a test, a try?” 

“Of course not!” Grelle raged, turning in a huff to face herself once more. She growled lowly, teeth bared and sharp. “I can finally rid myself of that disgusting part of me! I can finally be a woman–truly–I can finally–” 

“You. Already. Are. You always have been! Getting a surgery just to prove to the world that you are a female isn’t going to change the way the world sees you. There will always be prigs out there that will see you as male, no matter how hard you try. What is important is to be you. To love yourself. Haven’t you learned anything, pet? All of these years.” 

“I do love myself!” Grelle nearly screamed. “I do! I do…I…I don’t.” She put her face in her hands. As the tears came, she did not care that her make-up was running. “I put on a show for everyone. Even still, I am acting on a stage that is burning around me. I hate it. I hate it! Why can’t I just be myself?” 

The reflection softened. “What do you want yourself to be?” 

When Grelle looked up into the glass, it was her looking back once more–not the reflection with a mind of her own, but herself. Her own, firm image staring back at her with nothing to say. She studied herself for a moment. Slowly, slowly, she reached out to touch the cold glass. 

And she smiled. 

“I am me,” she said. “I know what will make me happy. I know who I am, who I have been–and I know what my future holds.” 

Because she loved herself. 

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Fan Fiction Corner: “The Crimson Collection, Chapter 3”

“Friendship”

    I watched her. A splash of red against the dull grey of England’s dreary landscape. She was beautiful and so full of fiery rage. In a way, she was like me–she had been robbed, by fate, of the one thing that would make her happy in life. So much like me. 

    A reflection of crimson.

    Angelina Dalles, known better by the title Madame Red. 

    What a beautiful cluster of Lycoris radiata, surrounded by weeds. In that moment, watching her murder, watching her spill carmine remorse across the cobblestones of Whitechapel, watching her gut the nameless whore like the slimy fish she was–ah. I fell in love, deeply and irreparably, with another woman. 

    I made myself known to her. How could I not? To see her so skillfully remove the wasted uterus, to watch her soak herself in the deep red blood…It was akin to seeing an angel made real. Not that a stuffy Angel would ever sully themselves with the matters of mortality, of course. But for the sake of my personal romanticism, Angelina was a seraphim of the most gorgeous scarlet. 

    She was afraid at first. Then, slowly, she grew to enjoy my company. Perhaps, in her own little way, she loved me back. It was an odd sort of emotion between us. An understanding, a kinship, a friendship. There was love and hate there, in equal measures. 

    “Why didn’t you come to me sooner? You are a being of Death; why couldn’t you find me before my life was ripped away from me?” 

    There was always that question. Sometimes spoken, sometimes only shot at me via a glance. I had no choice, I told her. I was a creature bound by my duties. Even being with her then, now, it would reflect poorly on me. For all I knew, should I ever return to the realm of the Grim Reapers, I would be cast aside and out. I could be killed for doing this with her. 

    Yet…

    In the back of my mind, I knew that William would never allow that. He hated me and loved me in a way different than my relationship with Madame Red. He would strike me, hurt me, harm me, spill my blood and damage my face–yet he would never kill me.

    I hoped. 

    It was a whirlwind, really. A proper cyclone. Angelina and I murdered and ripped, tore and destroyed. We were the Hands of Justice; we were the darkness in the corner of the room and the monsters under one’s bed. It was delightful, delicious, delirious. 

    One night, just before the end of our little game, she took my hand. I was surprised, and it must have shown on my face. Though we were close, we rarely touched one another. I did not mind the closeness, but Angelina preferred to keep our little ploy of master-and-servant in play, even when no one else was in the room. So, as she took my hand to remove the white gloves I wore as part of my role, I studied her. 

    “Hush, Grelle,” she said gently. “I have sent the help home. It is just you and me tonight. As, perhaps, it should be.” I started to speak, though now I do not remember what I wished to say. She pressed her fingers against my lips. “Drop your disguise. I want to see you for you tonight.” 

    I smiled with razor teeth. 

    “There is something so dangerously delicate about you,” Angelina continued as I pulled my hair from the velvet bow I kept it tucked back with. The brown melted away, allowing the crimson to spill back into my locks. “I see you as a toxic flower; to view you, one would think you were easily killed, easily plucked. Yet…should one be tempted to bring you to their lips…”

    “You are waxing poetic, Madame,” I purred through a giggle. I let the ribbon drop to the floor. “What is in that pretty little head of yours tonight, hm?” 

    She pulled away then. Her arms folded across her chest. “Ciel is close to us–to finding us. That damned butler of his–” I couldn’t help but laugh– “knows too much. But how? How can a man–” 

    “He. Is. No. Man,” I purred. I stepped forward to her, wrapping my arms around her shoulders. She had lost weight since we began this endeavour; I could feel the bones beneath the pale cream of her skin. “He is not human, love.” 

    She bulked at that, turning in my arms and looking up into my eyes. There was confusion on her face. It was like she had sucked on a lemon. Sour, yet sweet. I wanted to kiss her little bud of a mouth. “Sebastian is like you?” 

    “No,” I giggled, enjoying the taste of the secret on my tongue. “Oh, should I tell you? Let it slip, let that cat out of the bag? Hm-hm-hm. Your beloved little nephew’s butler is no human, yet no Grim Reaper. No. He is something far more dangerous, something so twisted and black that I would fear him if I knew I could not best him.” 

    Angelina furrowed her brow. “Grelle–” 

    “A devil, dear. A demon from the pits of Hell itself, ready to sup upon poor little Ciel’s soul the moment his duty is done.” 

    Her eyes widened. “How long have you known?” 

    I released her. “Oh, for some time. A whiff of him was enough for me to know. I could see it in his eyes and taste it upon his words. He is a demon, through and through, and a monster in the flesh. I would just L-O-V-E to tear him apart, to spill his blood, to feel his warm body against mine as the life flees from him!” I giggled and twirled, all caught up in my fantasy. “It is the duty of my kind, after all. Like Romeo and Juliet–we were never meant to be together. What a dreadfully beautiful romance we could have!” 

    “You might have that opportunity,” Madame Red sighed. She sat down, pouring a glass of wine for herself before drawing another for me. “We shall see.” Silence for a moment as she motioned for me to sit with her. Finally, she looked to me. Something unreadable played in her eyes. I noticed for the first time that even her eyes were red, though a touch of brown in them muddied them. I quietly wondered how a human managed such a hue. Perhaps it was just the light from the fire in the hearth before us. 

    “Grelle,” she said at length. “You have told me that it was suicide that brought you to where you are now–to what you are now.” 

    “Oh, I don’t really like talking about that, love,” I mumbled around my glass of wine. 

    She settled back into her seat. “Had I taken my own life that night, instead of that woman’s–” 

    “Mm-hm-hm, I see where you are going with this. Believe me, Angelina.” I looked at her over the rim of my eye glasses. “When I threw myself off of that cliff and into the icy tendrils of the ocean, had I known that I would still be trapped in a male body–if I had known then what I know now–I would have not done it. I would have found a way to die without it being counted as suicide. Surely, a true D-E-A-T-H is better than this.” I frowned sharply. “What is going on in that head of yours?” 

    Madame Red did not speak for a moment. Her eyes stared into the fire, burying themselves in the orange and red of the flames. “If I wanted to die–” 

    I reached out, clasping her hand in my own. “I can promise you, Angelina. Should it come to that, I will do the deed myself. I love you that much.” 

    She looked at my hand, clutching her own. Then, slowly, she looked to me. Into my eyes, into the depths of who I was. I imagine her gaze then was what having one’s Cinematic Record watched as one perished was like. I wanted to look away, but found that I could not. This woman, this mortal woman who had had everything ripped from her held me then, with those eyes, as though I was nothing more than a fly in a spider’s web. 

    “You must promise me, Grelle. Promise me that, should I slip, should I fall away from who I am now, you will kill me. You will know. I trust you the most, out of everything and everyone in this world and beyond. I love you in a way I cannot explain. I…I think you might be the first true friend I have ever had. I do not wish to lose myself, to become someone I am not.” Her thumb rubbed gently over my knuckles. “You will know. Do not let me become just another woman.” 

    “I will not,” I promised gently. I drew her hand to my lips, kissing the pad of her forefinger. “I p-r-o-m-i-s-e.” 

    Her face fell easily into a smile then. “Thank you, Grelle.” 

***

    I watched her as they lowered her casket into the ground. That brat was there, and Sebastian. Everyone she had ever known, those that loved her and yet did not know her. They were all there to weep. To speak kindly of her before they turned their backs upon her and cursed her out of their lives. Little ants, running around, whispering sweet lies to one another before scurrying out of their nest to devour the next delicious gossip. 

    It had taken a lot to convince William to allow me to watch. I could not appear to the mortals, of course. I did not have my Death Scythe for protection, should the demon or the brat notice me. Perhaps worst of all, he gave me a time limit. 

    There was little time left. I listened to the Phantomhive child and Sebastian speak at Angelina’s headstone. I watched them passively; I was still injured from my fight with the demon. As attractive as he was, I honestly did not wish to face him again so quickly. He would tear me apart, and not in a way that would feel nice. 

    With the clock ticking, I watched them disappear from the cemetery. I dropped down from the tree I had been hiding in. My heels dug into the soft Earth, making it a touch hard to walk. Ah, the pains of being a fashionable lady. 

    “I promised you,” I said gently as I knelt by her headstone. I touched the letters there, spelling out her name. “Angelina Dulles…my lovely Madame Red.” I pressed my forehead against the cold stone. Hot tears slipped down my face and fell to the ground. Joining them, I placed a bouquet of red spider lilies on her grave and forced a wide smile. 

    “My friend,” I breathed. “Ah. I loved you so.” I pulled her coat, pulled from her body just a few days ago, tightly around me. “I promised you, yet I was so angry. I felt as though you had betrayed me. That brat…was he really worth this? We could have had the world. Now, you have a plot in the Earth. Sleep well, my sweet. I will try to live for the both of us.” 

    I squeezed my eyes shut, watching her in my memories. A splash of crimson. 

    Oh, my pet. I will be red enough for both of us.

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Fan Fiction Review: “Fantober 2020” by redeemer62385, pt. 3

As November draws near, I have continued to read redeemer62385’s collection of shorts based on prompts for the month of October. This batch of stories is just as good, if not better, than the last two chunks. I feel that, by this point, redeemer62385 has a better flow and feel for the characters, and probably feels more comfortable writing them.

Just as with before, these stories are centered around the Teen Titans, specifically Beast Boy and Raven as a pairing, though other couples do make their presences known throughout the collection.

For example, the thirteenth chapter, “Unlucky,” centers around Jinx, the villain-to-hero that eventually falls for Cyborg of the Titans. I have always found her to be an interesting character, and that her powers are genuinely intriguing. In this entry, redeemer62385 explores the life of Jinx before becoming Cyborg’s main squeeze, and later, lover.

The next chapter, “Danger,” is one that was a treat to read. For those who are not familiar with the DC universe, the guest-star might come as a bit of a surprise. However, those who have played a very specific cross-over video game will better understand this character’s inclusion, and his appearance might stir a bit of a chuckle. I do not wish to ruin the fun of this entry, so I’ll just tell you to “Get Over Here” and read it.

Chapter fifteen was very interesting! It is a shorter entry, focusing on the leader of the Teen Titans, Robin. It centers on the idea of hiding a part of one’s self, specifically the eyes. They are the window to the soul, after all–and who really wishes to bare their soul to the world?

Fair warning, chapter sixteen, “Moon,” is a bit of a song fiction, using the piece “Amaranthine” by the band Amaranth. It’s a slightly depressing but lovely entry into this collection, ending a little fluffy and sweet. It explores the feels of someone left behind, of waiting on love, on the emotion of falling into oneself when one is alone. A good, solid piece.

The next entry is “Tea Time,” taking up the seventeenth chapter. This is a quick, simple chapter focused on parenting. It’s cute, and my teeth hurt from it.

Finally, for this chunk of chapters that I reviewed, we have the hot, steamy, and very X-rated “Birthday Party.” This is another Jinx and Cyborg based entry. Let’s just say that Jinx’s birthday party would not be complete without a few new toys–and her lover is more than happy to assist her in using them. A very dirty, drippy entry, and one that might have the reader drooling over every second of it.

This concludes this chunk of the redeemer62385’s “Fantober 2020.” The next review might be of the last collection of chapters, unless I can find a better way to break them up. We will see. Thank you again to redeemer for writing such interesting and fun shorts for this month.

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Fan Fiction Corner: “The Crimson Collection, Ch. 2: Seductive”

“Seductive”

    It was late. Almost too late for him; he knew he had to return to that blasted office job the next morning, and early at that. He was up for a promotion, at last–after spending more than ten years at the job, slowly working his way up from the mail-room when he was in college. Now he was so close to the top, to a more cushy position, to one that was more powerful in the overall scheme of the company. 

    So, why on Earth was he following behind his three co-workers toward a nightclub?

    “You’ve gotta relax,” one of them said, laughing. Ronald. He was kind enough, and a good worker when he wasn’t hitting on all of the females that worked within the company. Even the CEO’s wife wasn’t safe from the blonde’s shenanigans; everyone, save for her husband, knew of their torrid love affair. 

    “When was the last time you had a drink, anyway?” one of the other men asked. Eric. He peered over his glasses at his technical boss, a smirk on his face. One of his arms was around the shoulders of his secretary and long time boyfriend, Alan. “C’mon, William. Lighten up. You’re gonna burn yourself out before you’re thirty-five.” 

    A frown passed over his face as he narrowed his eyes at the other man. William finally released a breath. “One drink.” He paused when the other men cheered happily. Then, as one, they grabbed his arms and pulled him toward the loud, thumping music of the nightclub. In that moment, he knew it would be a folly to try to resist. Whether he wanted to or not, he was going to enter that damned place, with the loud music and the booze-scented air. 

    It brought up his anxiety, and he felt a bead of sweat roll down his forehead. 

    Alan reached the door first. He smiled gently as he ushered the other men inside. The bouncer at the door nodded to the smaller man. “Yer normal table’s empty, Humphries,” he rumbled. 

    “Oh, thanks!” Alan smiled warmly at the bouncer before motioning toward a round table in the corner of the place. It sat away from the dancefloor, closer to the bar portion of the club, and looked much cozier than the tables that sat in the middle of the humming lights nearer to the bar. As the group walked over to it, William found himself relieved to see that it offered a touch of privacy as well. 

    Still, he could see the people undulating and rocking their bodies on the dancefloor, should he cast his gaze in that direction. The thought of the sweat, the touching, the stench of beer-laden breath…It made him ill. He quickly turned away, facing toward Ronald as the blonde spoke. 

    “So, gentlemen…what do you wanna drink tonight?” He waved his hand at William. “I think you should pick first, Boss-man. You’ll be runnin’ the company pretty soon! I can drink to that. You’re a slave driver, but you’ve got a heart, somewhere.” 

    “Does he?” Eric chuckled. “I dunno. I haven’t even seen him smile before.” 

    Alan slowly shook his head. “Don’t listen to them, William. I’m pretty sure Ron already had a few nips of something before coming out.” He glanced at the other men. “…Eric, you too, hm?” 

    “Just a sip or two.” 

    William’s frown grew. “You drove, Slingby. Honestly…” He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I want your keys.” 

    “Ah, c’mon, Spears. No way. We’ll get a cab, okay? Need to, anyway. I’m gonna spend the night at Alan’s. Tomorrow’s our anniversary, remember?” Eric pulled his boyfriend close. He sneaked a kiss onto the other man’s forehead before grinning. “Four years. I can’t believe it. We entered the company on the same day, saw each other, and blam!” 

    Blushing, the shorter man leaned into Eric’s shoulder. “Oh, come on. You’ll embarrass me in front of our friends. Besides, the way I remember it, you met me in the employee’s bathroom and wouldn’t let me leave until I gave you my number. You nearly set my heart off. I thought you were going to kill me.” 

    At this point, William zoned out. His mind swam away, away from the lights, the thumping bass, the smell of alcohol and bodies. Outside of his thoughts of work, of getting home, of just making it through the evening, he was looking at his hand as it rested on the table. Then, suddenly, something slammed down next to his wrist.

    William jumped, blinking up stupidly at Ronald. The blonde grinned, motioning to a rather large looking drink he had just haphazardly put down in front of his boss. “Earth to Spears, come in Spears…got you something nice.”

    “What…is it?” Will found himself asking. His mouth and throat felt like sandpaper. How long had he allowed his mind to drift? When he looked up, he noted that both Eric and Alan were gone, though their jackets were still hanging off of the back of their chairs. The small knapsack that Alan kept with him, containing the medicine for his heart, lay on the corner of the table. 

    “You spaced out again, big time,” Ronald said. The joking was gone from his face as he scooted his seat closer to the other man. “You ‘mm-hmm’ed a rum and Coke. So that’s what I got you. And lime, since you seem to like drinks with lime, if I remember right from Eric’s party last year.” 

    “Mm.” William touched the glass. Cold, frosted, slightly moist from condensation. 

    Ronald looked over his boss’ shoulder to the dancefloor. “Oof. There’s a redhead making eyes at you, Spears.” He made a motion.

    “Don’t you dare–” 

    “When was the last time you got laid, Will?” Ronald chuckled into the other man’s ear. “She’s cute. At least have a drink with her.” He glanced up again as the click click of painfully high heels echoed through the seating area. “Hello, mi’lady,” the blonde chuckled. “My friend here, William, well. He spotted you and he’s far too shy–” 

    “A-dor-able,” the voice came. It sent a shiver, despite himself, up William’s spine. The woman’s voice was deeper than he was used to for a woman, husky and sensual, with just a touch of…danger? Perhaps. If some sort of venomous snake could speak, he imagined it would sound like this woman. 

    Then he turned to look at her. 

    The color drained from his face for a moment before the blood rushed straight to his cheeks. William found himself standing, body working on autopilot. He carefully pulled out a chair for the woman as she giggled, mentioning something about the world not having enough gentlemen. 

    Ronald was right. She was cute–but in that, he was wrong as well. This red-headed creature was beyond cute. She was beautiful. Gorgeous. From the way her all-too high heels pushed her shapely calves into a delightful position, to the way her long hair swayed as she moved. 

    “I’ll leave the two of you alone,” Ronald grinned. He patted William’s shoulder, giving him a thumb’s up, before disappearing into the thrall of dancing bodies. 

    Before he could respond with a “Don’t you dare–,” the other man was gone. William felt his heart flutter in his chest as he returned his eyes to the beauty beside him. 

    She offered her his hand. “My name is Grelle,” she purred. Her eyes were half lidded and seductive; it looked very much like she was used to men falling at her feet–and perhaps into her bed. When she spoke, she pouted just a touch, just enough to accentuate the plumpness of her lips. The lipstick she wore was a deeper shade of crimson than her hair; almost the color of blood. “Your friend said your name is William?” 

    Then she said his name. William felt weak. He could listen to that voice for the rest of his life and never be sated. He wanted to drink her down. There were thoughts in his mind that he had never felt before in his life. Ideas, day dreams, wants–they pooled in his head until he couldn’t breathe. 

    He was drowning in her.

    Worse yet, he realized that was okay.

    Grelle giggled lightly. She put her hand on top of his. “What are you drinking?” she asked. She tossed her hair over one shoulder, showing off her svelte arms and the slender muscle beneath her perfectly pale skin. The dusting of freckles across her arms, chest, and cheeks were like stars in the sky. 

    His breathing hitched slightly, realizing that he wanted to lay tender kisses along those freckles, along the pale, creamy skin of her shoulders and throat.  When she laughed again, he found that he was leaning in toward her. Even the musky, sweet, rose-scent of her was amazing. 

    “Um,” she tittered. “Are you already drunk, hm?” 

    “No,” William said as he crashed back into Earth. He sat a bit straighter in his chair. The drink was right at his hand; he pulled the glass to his lips to take a sip. It was heady, sweetened by the sugar of the soda in it. The lime was a good choice, serving to cut the worst of the alcoholic taste with a splash of sour. Ronald had been right. “Not yet.” Liquid courage; he would  need it tonight. 

    With her.

    He nearly spilled his drink when she placed her hand on his wrist. They looked at each other, eyes locking for a moment. A moment that lasted forever as he lost himself in the depths of the green of her irises. They were beautiful, but beyond that…

    They were predatory. 

    She was dangerous. She was beautiful. She was perfect. 

    William swallowed hard as he realized their lips were painfully close together. Then they were touching, gently at first, then with more. More. More. More. 

    He needed her more than he needed air. He needed everything about her, every inch of her. She slipped her hand around his shoulders, pulling herself closer to him. Closer. She was sitting on his lap then. His hands grasped for her, supporting her as he pulled her tighter to himself. 

    When they broke for air, his glasses were fogged up. Hers had already been placed on the table, and she was grinning at him. “Are…are you trying to seduce me?” he found himself asking.

    Grelle giggled. “I think I am doing a rather decent job of it, hm?” she purred before diving down for another kiss. 

    Across the floor, Alan, Eric, and Ronald watched. The three men were grinning from ear to ear. “Operation: Get Spears Laid–Well. I think it’s a pretty decent success.” They tapped their glasses together in a toast before draining them. The music around them thumped and crashed as the night wore on into the daylight hours. 

    ***

    When William awoke, there was a woman in bed with him, her arm over his chest and some of her hair caressing his side. He put his hand to his head. “Honestly,” he mumbled to himself. 

    But he was smiling. 

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Fan Fiction Corner: “The Crimson Collection, Ch. 1: Despair”

For the full fiction, follow this link.

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Grelle pressed her hand against the mirror. Her green eyes stared back at her, biting into her, drinking her down. Why was her reflection so distasteful? Yes–she was gorgeous. She was beautiful, and she loved herself–yet…

There would always be something there, staring back at her. Something wrong. It hurt her, down deep in the crevices of her heart. Everyone she knew saw it, too. All of her co-workers, all of the people she came in contact with. Save for Othello, the gentleman that he was, everyone referred to her as a male. 

Anger flooded her being. Without thinking, she slammed the palm of her gloved hand into the shimmering surface of the mirror. The glass broke into spider web cracks, a few shards slicing through the leather of her glove and into the flesh of her palm. Crimson blood gushed forth, sticky and hot, smearing against the now shattered mirror. 

“Bugger,” she snarled as she pulled her hand back. Cradling it to her chest, she sighed deeply, dramatically. It took a bit of time for her to remove her torn glove. Beneath the wet leather, her hand lay in shreds. “Tsk.” 

There was nothing for it. She sighed again, using her other hand to toss her hair out behind her shoulders. A trip to Othello, then. He often bandaged her up when she found herself bloodied. She was not sure if any of the other Reapers knew about that; it didn’t really matter. He was kind to her, if a little nerdy. 

She found Othello pouring over a book, frowning as he chewed on his bottom lip. He paused in his reading, sniffing the air slightly as she entered his work area. “Blood?” he asked, then looked to her. “Oh, Grelle, again?” 

The blood was sticky on her palm as she offered it out to the forensics Reaper. “Just a little run-in with a mirror.” 

As he took her hand into his own, he sighed. “This is the second time this week.” 

She forced a smile, but it did not reach her eyes. She waited, patiently, as he patched her up. “You’ve not told Will, I take it?” 

“Hm?” Othello raised his head to look at her over his round glasses. “Do you really think I would snitch on you?” He sighed again and shook his head. His mass of dark hair swayed slightly. It reminded Grelle of a dandelion when it had gone to seed. “No need to get you in trouble, I guess. It wouldn’t help anything. Besides. You’re supposed to protect me. I’m weak, remember?” 

The smile faded from her face. She looked down at his warm hand cradling her own, now bandaged. Some of her blood was on his fingers, on his wrist. He was good at bandaging her up, but he was messy about it. Without thinking, she said quietly, “I wish…I wish I could die, again.” 

Othello looked up at her, his head jerking so quick and hard that it looked as though it would snap off of his neck. “Uh…?”

Grelle peered into his eyes for a moment before turning away. “Forget it. It isn’t important, is it? It isn’t like I can commit suicide for a second time.” She twirled a lock of red hair around her finger. “It wouldn’t help, anyway~. Would I just be reborn a Reaper again? Again and again, a twisted cycle?” 

The shorter Reaper stood. He frowned, watching her for a time. “I don’t know if anyone’s tried it before. This is our punishment for taking our own lives.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Grelle–”

“No one sees me as a woman,” she huffed. “Life as a Grim Reaper isn’t exactly better than the life I had before. No. Back then, they laughed at me. They called me a man there, then, too. They ridiculed me. Do you know what it was like? Do you understand looking into the glass of a mirror and hating the way your body looks? Every. Single. Time.” She bit her knuckle to keep from screaming. With her sharp teeth digging into her skin, there was blood again. 

He let her rage. He let her despair before gently taking her hand again. “You weren’t the only one that killed themselves, remember,” he said quietly. “All of us here did it. We all…we all didn’t want that life, and now we’re stuck with this one. And, I dunno if it would help but…I see you as a woman.” He said it offhandedly, using what was left of his medical tape and gauze to tend to her knuckle. 

That silenced her for a moment. “Thank you,” she mumbled after a time, her eyes glued to his fingers as they worked against her skin. 

“Come on. Sadness doesn’t suit you,” Othello chuckled as he finished. “Do you want to get a drink?” He was grinning when he looked up at her, his eyes a bit devilish. “There’s a new pub I wanted to take you to.” 

Grelle smiled sweetly. “That would be nice~. You’re paying, though.” She giggled. “I have to buy a new mirror.” 

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Fan Fiction Review: “Fantober 2020” by redeemer62385, pt. 2

Another set of chapters has been written by redeemer62385 on Fanfiction.net.

Thus, it is my duty and my pleasure to continue my on-going review of this collection of Beast Boy and Raven-based fan fiction drabbles/short stories. As a reminder, each of these stories are written around a prompt for the month.

Chapter nine was triggered by the prompt, “Nightmare.” Though I thought this chapter would have been a darker entry, considering the prompt, redeemer62385 created an adorable alternate universe fiction in which Raven and Beast Boy have grown to adults, and have had a child together. There is a cute little addition toward the end that I do not wish to ruin, but it makes the story all the more fluffy and sweet.

The next chapter, based on the idea “radioactive,” is a bit of a dark entry. I will admit, I had completely forgotten about the character Red Star, and had to do a very quick Google search to remind myself of who he is. After that, the entry made more sense, and I found it to be an enjoyable read.

Prompt number eleven was “gross,” and for it, redeemer62385 wrote another alternative universe involving the children of the Titans. I had decided that, at this point, redeemer62385 is very good at writing dark and spicy as well as sugary sweet fictions. I love both sides of this collection so far.

Finally, “black lipstick” finishes up this section of the review, and this chunk of stories. This chapter is dark, dirty, steamy, spicy, and all together, hot. As I mentioned previously, redeemer62385 is very good at the adorable things, but he is also wonderful at writing primal, sexual instances of prose. This chapter is not for those faint of heart, nor for those under the age of eighteen. Still, it’s a good, base, dirty short smut scene, and I loved it.

I do hope that redeemer62385 will continue this collection. There is a lot of good fiction here, and a lot of interesting ideas. I do like that, though it is basically a Beast Boy and Raven-based collection, there are moments from the other Titans, as well as original characters, such as possible children.

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Fan Fiction Review: “Fantober 2020” by redeemer62385

The fan fiction in question can be read here.

Beast Boy and Raven have long been one of the pairings that I approve of and rather enjoy. These characters are from Teen Titans, of course, specifically the animated series that ran when I was a teenager myself, though the author, redeemer62385, does include some things from the comic series as well (I believe. I’m afraid I haven’t read any of the DC comics yet).

“Fantober 2020” is a series of shorts based around the pairing–as well as the other members of the Teen Titans team. Each chapter is a little world into itself, all based upon the prompt for that day. There will be thirty-one entries into the overall collection by the end of the month. At the time of writing this review, eight have been posted. I swallowed down each of them last night while I readied myself for bed.

I was not disappointed.

The first chapter, “Bloody,” was a good opener. One could tell that redeemer62385 was getting used to the characters, and the feel of the pairing that he wished to portray.

Chapter two, based on the prompt “Wedding Dress,” was an adorable chunk of fluff that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was a good entry into the collection, very soft and gentle when compared to some of the later chapters.

The next entry, based upon the prompt “Roses,” was one of my favorites so far. I liked the imagery used in this chapter, especially the gardens of Raven/Crow’s mind. It was also interesting to view the characters with different genders in this swap-based entry. Female Beast Boy, here Wildchild, sounds beautiful.

The fourth chapter follows the prompt “Monster.” This is where it gets a touch darker, a bit spicy. This chapter deals with possession, with primal need, want, and a bit of lust; the ideals of protecting the one you love while feeling the urge to mark them as your own. It is an interesting chapter to say the least, and reminded me of many of the drabbles I, myself, used to write.

Next is chapter five, which was created around the prompt of Despair. This one hit a little close to home for me. There was a warning of suicidal thoughts, and indeed, those come into play. This chapter focused on Cyborg and Jinx instead of Beast Boy and Raven. It was a good little look into what it means to be human, and what it means to look otherwise.

Chapter six, “Seductive,” includes a fabulous sex scene that I will not spoil. Everything leading up to that point is wonderful as well, with an exploration into Raven’s emotions and how they might work together in achieving an overarching goal. It was a cute, steamy, and very nice entry into the collection.

The next chapter is seven, which used the prompt “Friendship.” This chapter focused on the character Starfire, and honestly, redeemer62385 nailed her inner voice perfectly. I was able to read this chapter in her voice from the animated show. It was an exploration of how Star felt about each of the Titans, and about her frustrations with being unable to break Robin out of his shell–and her need to be intimate with him.

Finally, chapter eight is the last one that has been posted as of writing this review. This chapter focuses on the prompt “Terrifying.” In this entry, Raven had to face something that frightened her–a sleep over with other female members of Teen Titans. This included Terra, the geomancer who played with Beast Boy’s emotions. I really enjoyed this quick and dirty chapter, as it showed how loving and possessive Raven can feel concerning Beast Boy.

There are still many prompts, many days to go. I sincerely hope that redeemer62385 continues writing in this collection. I am highly enjoying it, and as I mentioned earlier, I gobbled up the first eight chapters last night before bed. “Fantober 2020” comes recommended from me to you. Please support this wonderful fan fiction author!

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New Laptop & Phone; Who Dis?

My wife accidentally destroyed my old laptop. She was walking by my desk, and her knee gave out. Floundering, she grabbed for what she could find to steady herself. Instead of something solid, her hand fell upon my poor laptop. It crashed with her. The entire thing is ruined. Coventry, however, is safe and fine, which is the most important part!

Thankfully, we had some money set aside for me to get a new cell phone. I used that to get a slightly used Asus computer. All that I care is that it works, that I can type on it, use my drawing program and tablet, and do some gentle video editing. The fact that it can run some video games is totally a plus, though! I can finally dual log on SecondLife!

As I am typing this, I am letting the dye in my hair set. I will be able to wash it out in about ten minutes. This is the second go around, since there were a few root touch-ups that were needed to complete the look. I’m going to look like a sea witch! I ended up going with Luna Tide’s Juniper Green and Cerulean Sea. When I rinsed the first time, it looked fantastic.

I feel like a villain from a dark fairy tale. Devyn, the merman, the sea witch. Swamp witch, maybe? Some kind of witch that has to do with water. When I come out of the sea to track down the protagonist, I will dawn goth clothes and have a raven as a companion.

Before I forget, I did do the first day of my Let Your Muse Out prompt list. The others I have to catch up on, considering I just got a computer today.

The prompt for the first day of this list was ‘bloody,’ so my little dark, emo heart when to torturing everyone’s favorite red-headed grim reaper, Grelle Sutcliff. I have no idea why I did this; it just came to me and my little brain was ‘okay.’

The next few pieces are going to combine prompts. Because I am cheating, apparently.

Time to rinse my hair!

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