April 1st, 2012

andrew potter

I have been overshadowed by my own creature...

... but that is what usually happens with your children, right? you need to let them grow, and there are even some breed of spiders who lets the babies eat the mommy to grow. Wow, what horrific parallelism, but that is not really wrong in my case ;-)

Why this late night (late night for me) thoughts? I realize browsing the net tonight that at least two big kerfuffles happened in the last few weeks and I was totally unaware of them, even if I'm in contact with many of the people involved. And it's not that I don't care for my online friends, or that I wouldn't have supported some of them, it's only that I really didn't know.

This livejournal is 5 years old going for 6. I'm still stubbornly using it, and maintaining it as a LiveJournal even if many of the reason why I picked this platform years ago are no more there. Most of my contacts are now on Facebook or Twitter, but I still love LJ and I think that, if not forced, I will never chance. Is that the reason why some of the hurricanes didn't reach this peaceful oasis? or is that since, the few time they tried to bring it here, the tsunami waves died like if they found on ocean of water? (water against water = no destroying effects)

When I was "social network" virgin, 6 years ago more or less, I was always trying to check what happened to my friends online life, and I always partecipated and shared their suffering. It was a second job, mostly done by night. To me having 40 or 50 comments was like heaven, it meant recognition, it meant you were important. But it meant also that you were an easy target, it was impossible that, of 50 comments, all of them were supportive, and strange as it is, I cared more for that 1 negative comment than the 49 positive ones. Another thing that always perplexed me was how people moved in flock, from one kerfuffle to another, and more or less they were always the same. After 1 year or 2 I was able to predict the migrations before they happened, I would have made money if it was possible to bet who would be the next to post and what was the argument. Truth be told, after 1 year or 2 I started to not care too much, and I started to "retire".

I have strict rules on this Livejournal, but since I tend to not manifest them, people tend to not contest them. Who reads me and my "reviews/ramblings" knows about them, the most commons are: I don't rate books, I don't review books I didn't like, I don't review heterosexual romances, I tend to prefer Gay Novels, but it happened I read and reviewed some Bisexual, Transgender and Lesbian novels (but I think the proportion is 95 against 5 if not less). But that is me, what I read and like, that is not the space I give to authors if they ask, or the event I promote or the child of above, the one that "ate" me, the Rainbow Awards. Rainbow Awards are all inclusive, and BTW I would love for Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender submissions to be at the same level of the Gay ones; year after year the spread is always less, but we are not yet to the same level (especially for the Bisexual and Transgender categories, and I really suffer when I have to merge them together due to the minimum submissions requirement).

I love the Rainbow Awards, but it's also true they take a lot of time, and so now I have little time to spare; I still read, less than before, I still review, with the same rules of above, but me, Elisa, is less on the center stage. Do I miss the spotlight I gave to the Rainbow Awards? Absolutely not. I'm now more free to do as I want, and sincerely no one in a long time have questioned what I'm doing... always talking as me as reviewer, many have questioned the Rainbow Awards, but since I'm very careful in managing them, they are acquiring an independence and a strong foundation that is difficult to shake.

There are still few comments on this Livejournal, but maybe this is due to the fact I decided to spread the effect on various venues, like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads. Just the other day I posted about Gordon Merrick, with a collection of his original Avon covers I spent a lot of time searching online... it was a "reshuffle" of a previous post, so I was not surprise to seeing no one commented. And then, by chance, I found out one of my facebook contacts had reposted the link and he received more than 20 comments, with people gushing over the old covers, commenting on the influence Merrick had on them, some comments even from a very, very popular author of Gay Romance, one of the untouchables. My first thought? well, they could have commented on the post NOT on the shared link... my second thought? well, I did good, people spent time reading and thinking about my post, does it matter I didn't know?

I post many bios on the people who influenced or are influencing the LGBT community. Most of them receive no comments, but I know people like them, since the few comments I received are from people telling me those are the posts they read each day, and they are opening my Livejournal to see what I posted today. There are even people thanking me since I'm not letting those people be forgotten, many of them died so young it's easy they could have been in a few years.

So no, I don't want to barter my freedom for a spotlight; maybe someone will think I'm weak, since I'm not stating my rights and fighting for them, but guys, I'm doing exactly what I want, like I want, and I have no need to fight for it... I think I made the right choice.
andrew potter

Dream (Aisling 2) by Carole Cummings

It’s a slow placed travel that we are doing with this series by Carole Cummings. And not really since the main characters are actually doing a real and self-discovering travel, but also since, book after book, Carole Cummings is also building their relationship, but she is doing that by little steps, not rushing it, taking and giving time to the readers to adapt to this evolution. In this points you really realize this is a Young Adult novel, it’s like the author is telling to this young mind, guys, you have time, don’t rush into anything you are not ready for.

Said that, where, if I remember well, in the first book there was really no romantic relationship between Wil and Dallin, or at least nothing that was open and fully acknowledge, in book two they shared some intimate moments that make it clear they are heading towards a love story.

As always, I’m concentrating on the “romance” more than on other aspects of the story, but truth be told, this is really a Coming of Age story, with Wil doing his own travel, from being a boy to being a man, but also from being barely aware of his power and destiny to little by little taking his own destiny in hand (and right in the last sentence I think there is a good metaphor on this point). Also Dallin is doing his own travel, but it’s more a self-discovery travel, all inside himself: Will is moving from one step to another, Dallin is more trying to understand the step in which he is already on.

The Aisling series is a quite complex world building, but it’s not heavy setting; the author is playing more with the characters and their evolution than the world around them. It’s not a big bum bang plot, and that is probably why, even if mainly aimed to a YA target, also an adult reader will appreciate it, actually I think they will find something that a teenager will probably not focus on. This novel is like some of those eye trick paintings that, according to who is looking at them, will communicate different perceptions.

http://www.prizmbooks.com/zen/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=12&products_id=72

Amazon: Aisling, Book Two: Dream
Amazon Kindle: Aisling, Book Two: Dream
Paperback: 410 pages
Publisher: Prizm (June 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610402413
ISBN-13: 978-1610402415

Series: The Aisling
1) Guardian: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1329302.html
2) Dream

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Rose Lenoir
andrew potter

Blacker than Black by Rhi Etzweiler

I have to admit, this was not an easy book for me to read, mostly since the writing style is very rich and I often had the feeling I was losing myself in that, but you have to weight this feeling with me being Italian. If you add to this the fact the story is told in first point of view by Black, and first POV is always more difficult to understand, you have a good idea on how challenging it was for me this novel.

The plot revolves around Black, a whore, and Leonard, the john who buys him for one night; Black and his sister Jhez are not selling sex but chi, something you can try to match with vital energy. The Lyche community are the one in power, and they survive feeding from human on their chi; what they don’t know is that Black and Jhez are not ordinary whores and while they are selling chi, they are also stealing it from the lyche. Only this time Black falls for his same trap and Leonard, the Master of York, is pretending to be paid back, something that Black couldn’t do if not borrowing his services, and those of his sister, to Leonard.

To better describe this novel I really need to go into details that many will consider SPOILERS, so please, if you don’t want to read further stop here. Said that I’m not unveiling anything that is not also on the publisher website, albeit under the same spoiler warning.

This is a transgender story, or better, as the publisher lists it, genderqueer. I wondered about Black, he was my main suspect, but indeed I was totally unprepared on Leonard. Truth be told, transgender is the wrong word, they are actually hermaphrodites, that this the word used by Leonard and the one I prefer. In any case, being hermaphrodites or not doesn’t really matter from a sexual point of view, since sex is not the main element of this story, and for example, during their first sex scene, I hadn’t actually realized about that if not for an “easiness” in their movement that, after I went back and re-read it, it would have been not possible in any other way. I had the feeling the author chose to not tag the characters with a specific female or male label to level them, to be able to start from scratch in building their relationship without any preconception, or expectation. The author gave an empty blackboard to the main characters and they were free to fill it with their story, not with what the reader was expecting them to do.

Black and Leonard will be unusual also on their reaction to dramatic events, like the death of a parent; the reaction will not what you would expect, in that highlighting that Black and Leonard dictate their own story. Black and Leonard are difficult characters to like, they are not linear, they are not pretty; Black is mistrusting of everything and of Leonard almost until the end, Leonard is a manipulative man who has very few qualms to use other people, even people he cares for, to reach his own target.

I think that one of the main concept of urban fantasy is that you need to recreate an original world building in a familiar contest, and Rhi Etzweiler did that, this story is not the copy of anything I have ever read, and until the end the characters surprised me, really giving me the feeling they were real, and having their own free will.

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/blacker-black

Amazon: Blacker than Black
Amazon Kindle: Blacker than Black
Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (February 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937551253
ISBN-13: 978-1937551254

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Del Melchionda