Monthly Archives: July 2015

Vathara Has an Original Novel for Sale!

It’s an original urban fantasy/high fantasy. Haven’t read it yet, just found out about its existence. I’m buying it as a thank you for much good reading over the years.

A Net of Dawn and Bones by C. Chancy.

Welcome to Intrepid, North Carolina. Where autumn brings leaf season, tourists, and bloody sacrifice.

Twenty years have passed since the Dark Day brought creatures of horror onto the evening news. Now vampires run nightclubs, alchemists deal potions on the street corners, and werewolf gangs lay claim to shady alleys. The honest cops of Intrepid enforce human laws on supernatural evil, and pray. Because the turn of the leaves brings Halloween, tourists… and the return of a serial killer who’s plagued Intrepid for over two decades.
Yet the night holds darker secrets than even the best detectives have unearthed. Somewhere in Intrepid, a demonic sorcerer plans to bring Hell on earth. And the Demongate is almost complete.

In the midst of a stakeout gone wrong, two mysterious wanderers drop into Detective Church’s life. Aidan, who moves like flames and holds secrets in his shadows… and Myrrh, a holy warrior born of ancient Alexandria. Enchantress. Heretic. Hell-raider.

Welcome to Intrepid.

Evil’s in for a hell of a night….

Now on Kindle and in print.

Vathara is best known as the author of massive crossover fics, as diverse as Airwolf, Stargate SG-1, Rurouni Kenshin, Star Wars, Sword Art Online, and Godzilla, and of the massive Avatar: The Last Airbender rewrite, “Embers.”

Apparently the starting point is theorizing that, if damned souls weren’t frozen in an unrepentant state if demons and evil magic-users could drag people down to Hell without them getting there by God’s judgment, then it might would be possible to get souls out of Hell. So basically, it’s as if the Harrowing of Hell weren’t a one-time thing that rescued the patriarchs in the Bosom of Abraham and the righteous pagans; and that folks of goodwill were still stuck down in the better parts of Sheol, instead of going directly to Purgatory/Heaven. And then the book goes on from there.

Vathara says in her blurb that she wanted to write an urban fantasy where the heroine fought evil, and did not choose to go after the Sexier of Two Evils.

It seems to be somewhat inspired by some of the Buffy fic that Vathara was doing, but with the serial numbers totally transformed into completely different characters and storylines. Vathara says her 2013 NaNoWriMo book was the first draft.


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Prayers for Katrina Fernandez!

The Crescat is sick in the hospital with bad chest pains. She is getting a stent. Please pray for her!

Also pray for her son and her family, as this is probably pretty worrying for all of them.

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What I’ve Been Doing

Working at my part-time job at Sam’s Club.

Yeah, pretty much that’s it. I go to work, I work, I come home, I take a shower and then take pain relievers for my aching feet and legs and back. Eventually I sleep. Then I get up and go to work.

On my days off, I try to get things done, but generally I just recover.

The major difficulty is that one has to stay hydrated while working in the fairly warmish kitchen area. However, I have now gotten used to it and have stopped sweating like a pig all the time.

It is also awesome for my sinuses. Yup, all those steaming concessions machines are a healing thing. I haven’t had a sinus headache for almost half a month. Sometimes I feel a bit of sinus pressure at home, but that’s it. Obviously I need a hot dog machine in my house, running all the time.

I’ve also gotten a bit more energetic, so instead of dragging my butt home and immediately going to bed (sometimes without even having the appetite to eat), I’m able to sit here and make a blog posting.

I’m still editing Part 2 of Commentary on the Apocalypse.

I’m still working on my Secret Novel Project.

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Jamie Lee Curtis, Cosplayer

Jamie Lee Curtis goes incognito to a convention for fight videogames, along with her whole family. Praises the gaming community as fun company.

Of course, she had spent time with the horror fandom community as a young actress, so I think she’s comfortable with the whole concept of attending conventions.

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In Which the Banshee Realizes the Blindingly Obvious.

Much as I love my rice cooker, it tends to overflow if I’m cooking anything sticky. Rice pudding is particularly prone to this.

Now I have learned the blindingly obvious – one can make puddings and cheesecakes and sticky rice porridges in the crockpot, which has much higher walls. Apparently tapioca pudding is a particularly good crockpot food, because that way you don’t have to stir your arm off.

Sigh. Yeah, I should have thought of that before.

This crockpot cobbler looks good, but you’d have to eat it with ice cream. Not a big fan of hot food in the summer.


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Fr. Z Puts Up a Nice Mass Proper for the Feast of St. Elijah


“….on this solemn feast of blessed Elijah, your Prophet and our father: who, at your word, arose like fire, closed the sky, raised the dead, smote the tyrants, killed the impious, and laid the foundations of the monastic life….”

All the Carmelite orders take inspiration from St. Elijah (the order of friars was first founded by a guy living on Mount Carmel in imitation of Elijah), so this is a big feast for them.

Carmelite readings and prayers for the Feast of St. Elijah. In English. 🙂

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More Anime I’m Watching

Charlotte: In a world where some adolescent kids get superpowers that fade away when they become adults, kids with powers are hunted down and tested to destruction by evil science organizations. The only sanctuary in Japan is Star Sea Academy (Hoshino Umi Gakuen), where teenagers with powers and pre-teens who might develop them live in heavily guarded dorm apartments. And it’s the Student Council’s job to use their powers to punish evil mutants and convince good ones to come live with Professor Xavier and join the X-Men … er… transfer to Hoshino Umi on scholarships. Yeah.

The powers are pretty interesting and have considerable disads as well as advantages. For some strange reason, the speedster (or the translator) calls his power “teleportation.” There’s a mysterious benefactor whom we don’t know, and the reason for the title of the anime is also unrevealed.

(Yeah, it’s an almost exact reversal of the Marian title and common Catholic school name “Star of the Sea,” which in Japanese is “Umi no Hoshi.” The “star sea” in question would presumably be space. So yeah, no bizarre anime superpowered novice nuns, or anything like that.)

Symphogear: The third season of anime set in a world where one controls battlesuits and their powers by singing J-Pop songs. What can I say? It’s charming and amusing, and it needs no explanation.

School-Live! aka Gakkou Gurashi!: A dark but cheerful satire on school shows. In a town infested with zombies, three girls, one woman teacher, and a puppy have turned their school into a fortress. But one of the girls has retreated from reality by deciding it’s all just a nifty club for “school living,” so the others keep up a facade of normality to help keep her safe (and also helps them keep up their own spirits). But there’s real danger and mayhem, so don’t relax too far.

This is one of those weird shows that is mostly slice of life, but punctuated by moments of terror and pity. I have no idea where it’s going, but it’s worth watching. Wonderduck will be blogging it.

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Peppermint for Getting Rid of Kidney Stones

Strong doses of peppermint tea (like steeping two or three teabags for a while) can help get rid of kidney stones. I read this, and now I can tell you that it works, and does it within a day or two. (I bought Twining’s. It’s quality stuff.)

The important safety warning for women — peppermint tea and peppermint oil can also trigger your hormones to bring on menstruation faster by making your uterus relax and let go when it’s not time yet. I can also tell you this is true, and it was very startling. (Other mint plants don’t do this, as far as I know.)

So if you are pregnant, be very careful about using peppermint oil or peppermint tea. Normal amounts of normal-strength peppermint tea or peppermint foods are okay for people not prone to miscarriage.

We don’t think of it as a drug-level natural substance, but it is.


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Blessed Oveco of Valcavado

Oveco or Obeco was a monk of the monastery of Valcavado, in Palencia, Spain. He lived several generations after St. Beatus of Liébana. As a scribe and limner, he was assigned to make a copy of Beatus’ Commentary on the Apocalypse, along with a text on the Visions in the Book of Daniel.

A note on the manuscript says that Oveco started work on June 8, 970, and finished by Sept. 8, 970 (the feast of the Virgin Mary’s birthday). That is a truly incredible pace, and yet it’s very clear that the entire manuscript was copied in a single hand.

We know the names of the people involved in the project because Oveco told us: “Hoc opus ut fieret praedicatus abba Sempronius instantia egit, cui ego Oveco indignus mente obediens devoto depinxi.”

After his death, Oveco began to be revered as a saint because of his holy life. His monastery duly transferred some of his relics to the shrine of the Virgen del Valle in Saldaña, (one of Palencia, Spain’s important cities), and the relics are still there. Fittingly, it’s a reliquary for his right hand and forearm. The goldsmith seems to have put a fair amount of effort into sculpting an individual-looking hand, so it seems safe to say that he was working from Oveco’s actual hand.

I have to say that Bl. Oveco sounds like a good patron for those of us wanting to get projects finished!

The Beatus of Valcavado is at the Biblioteca de la University of Valladolid. It contains various marginal notes both by Oveco and by later users of the book. One reader even scribbled an entire cantiga (medieval Spanish song) in the margins!

The Virgen del Valle (Our Lady of the Valley) is actually a title used for Mary in many places in Spain and South America, as well as being the patron saint of Eastern Venezuela. Here’s a page about Saldaña’s shrine. The shrine was established by King Alfonso I in 754, in thanks for capturing the castle from Muslim forces. Her feast day is September the 8th, which may explain why Blessed Oveco’s arm was felt to belong there. There’s also a big feast day celebration on Sept. 9 for St. Isidore the Farmworker‘s wife, St. Maria “de la Cabeza” (“of the Head”) (her maiden name was Maria Torribia). She’s another pre-conciliar saint, just like her husband San Isidro Labrador, so it’s pretty silly that the Wikipedia page is going on about her not being canonized yet. However, the picture was clouded by the fact that after being venerated for centuries in Spain, Pope Paul V and Pope Gregory XV decided to beatify and canonize San Isidro. (Whereas it would have been more logical just to put him in the saint list of the Martyrologium Romanum, since he was already on the Spanish bishops’ calendars.) But the actual rule is that preconciliar saints are also saints. Period. If you’re listed on a preconciliar calendar or in a preconciliar martyrology as a saint, you’re a saint.

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Okay, Why Isn’t Baen Publishing This Guy?

Along with his Gate series, Takumi Yanai put out another novel. It’s called Hyoufuu no Kolkkaa: Yuki no Yousei to Shiroi Shinigami. [Icewind Kolkkaa: The Snowfairy and the White Deathbringer-god]. It’s set in Finland during the Winter War, and brings Kolkkaa (a fictional girl sniper) together with Simo Hayha, the real-life guy whom they called “The White Death.” Basically it’s the story of Kolkkaa growing up and becoming a better sniper, and then having to face two Soviet female snipers.

I don’t know if there’s any sf/f content in this one, or if it’s just historical fiction. But other than that, it sounds very Baen-ish.

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Early Christian Cicadas!

Roger Pearse has been looking into various early Christian writers called Asterius. Asterius of Amasea is the famous bishop. Asterius the Sophist was some kind of Arian, but apparently there was another Asterius who was more orthodox in his writings.

He wrote a sermon talking about cicadas!

Here in Ohio and in most parts of Japan, cicadas come out in the summer, when things really start getting hot. But the trigger for cicadas coming out of their holes is ground temperature, so more southerly areas have cicadas in April or May.

And wherever orthodox-guy Asterius was from, the cicadas came out at Eastertime. Israel and Asia Minor’s early grape harvest was also in late May or early June:

“O Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Christ, Who is the divine Vine, the Vine before all ages, has sprouted in the tomb and born fruit in the newly baptised, like clusters of grapes in this church… the vine has been harvested, and, like a wine-press, the church is full of grapes. Operators of the wine-press, pickers at the harvest, cicadas perched on the trees: by their songs we are again shown today the paradise of the Church, shining with grace…

Who are the cicadas? The newly baptised who, soaked with dew as they arise from the font, sit on the Cross like a tree, warmed by the Sun of Justice, bathed in the light of the Spirit, echoing the words of the Spirit: “O Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!”

They are beautiful with their white wings, the eloquent cicadas, surrounding the font. Yes, their wings are white because they are endowed with speech. The cicadas feed on dew; the newly baptised are strengthened by the Word; what the dew is to the former, the celestial Word is to the latter.

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Happy Independence Day, Everybody!

…. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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The Italian Assassin/Terrorist Who Survived Little Big Horn

Some people go to the French Foreign Legion to live down a criminal past, but Italian aristocrat “Charles DeRudio” went to the US Cavalry to fight in the Civil War.

This was after he fought for Italian independence in 1848 as a teenager, fled to the UK, tried to blow up Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, got caught and convicted, and escaped Devil’s Island.

He stayed in the Army after the Civil War and ended up serving in Custer’s 7th Cavalry. He survived Little Big Horn because Custer didn’t like “Count No-Account,” thought he had too big of an ego, and didn’t want him around. But he didn’t miss all the excitement; he fought under Reno, got unhorsed, and had to sneak back to the US forces with another unhorsed man. He didn’t retire from the army until 1896.

Seriously, go read the details. It’s quite a life story.

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