Coming in March 2015 from IF? Commix and Under-Belly Comics: The Bullet Girl TPB Complete Collection!

BULLET GAL_Its Not You Its Me_Collection_COVER

I’ve known Andrez Bergen for a while through my connection to Fanboy Comics although I read his novel, Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? while still just a fan. The honest truth is that I’m not a huge fan of noir, but Capes is one of those interesting blends of genres that managed to draw me in to the complex world. I heard about the Bullet Gal comics via Steven Alloway’s amazing FBC reviews, and it piqued my interest since it’s a sort of prequel to the events in Capes.

I was gifted a digital copy of the upcoming twelve issue trade paperback as a thank you for my support and enthusiasm for the series (aside from my FBC ties I helped spread the word about the Kickstarter for the series since I wasn’t in a position to financially contribute) plus Andrez and I share another bond, a love of Japan (although I have not considered moving there permanently or starting a family!) even if we are from different English speaking countries. You don’t need to know anything about Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? to enjoy Bullet Gal, but it’s even more fun to pair the two together. The story combines unique artwork with the quirky storytelling from the novel that makes the weird and wonderful world of Heropa really blossom.

I haven’t read the individual Bullet Gal issues, but allegedly the beautiful guest artwork is an extra for picking up the full TPB. It also includes a few extra stories and an interview with Bergen himself, so it’s definitely worth the cost of admission! If that’s not enough the single issues will not be released fully until June, so picking up the TPB gets you the full story sooner!

The exact publication date is not yet available, but the collection is expected to be released via Under-Belly Comics in the US in March 2015. If you love noir, quirky stories, interesting art styles, or just want to try something a little new with a pair of intriguing women (yes, two female characters who are distinctive although fit into the noir tropes a bit) I recommend giving The Bullet Gal Collection a try. There are much worse ways to spend an evening of your time.

 

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Suddenly Three: Perdita Scaife January 21, 2002 (approximate) to February 24/25, 2015

Perdy

Exactly a month after Akane’s death I received the unwelcome news that something was seriously wrong with Perdy, my dobie/greyhound girl who had been Akane’s archnemesis in life (I had to keep them separated their entire lives because of how deeply they loathed each other). Initial bloodwork during a routine exam had shown anemia, and the second blood draw showed that Perdy was getting worse and needed an ultrasound to identify the problem. Due to the kindness and generosity of some of my dog loving friends the procedure was completed the following week, and the news was not good: my big, cuddly, child hating dog had masses in her liver, spleen, and right kidney and probably only had two to eight weeks left (life expectancy for a dog with hemangiosarcoma). I got about five, and I spent those last weeks coaxing Perdy to eat increasingly human foods, letting her sleep in my bed three nights a week (still have one dog Perdy didn’t get along with), and trying to make sure she knew how much I loved her. When I tucked her into bed on February 24 I could tell that Perdy didn’t feel well, but I was hoping that it was just another bad spell, although they had been becoming more frequent, and that she’d feel herself in the morning. I put a blanket over her, forced some peanut butter and gabapentin into her mouth (not wanting to eat peanut butter concerned me a lot), and gave her a kiss and a gentle cuddle. Some time during the night her body just gave out, and she was cold when I found her in the morning. I just hope she slipped off peacefully dreaming of sunny days and lying outside in the warm grass.

I have to laugh when I see the “no memory like that of a good dog” memes on social media because neither of my late girls precisely fit the definition of “a good dog.” Perdita developed child aggression and had severe overarousal issues, but her love for me and mine for her was strong enough to make up for it all.

January 21, 2003 my friend, Bernita, and I saw a pair of scared dogs slinking around the houses on my street. I’d seen the small brindle one before, but now there was a bigger red one as well. We unsuccessfully tried to lure the dogs to us with treats; they were just too scared to approach us, but Bernita had an idea. We’d gotten a roasted chicken from the grocery store for dinner, and we could do a treat trail from the sidewalk near the dogs into my backyard. Due to luck, fate, or circumstances the chicken trail worked, and after carefully allowing the dogs to come closer for chicken pieces I was able to get them inside and into my spare room. They destroyed the mattress that night, which was just the start to the various things Perdy ripped up/ate over the years, but they were happy to be safe, warm, and fed. I tried to track down their owners, but no one in the neighborhood recognized them (I walked them around my entire neighborhood and the adjacent ones as well). After a week of no luck I opted to just get them vetted and try to find homes for them through Charlyne’s Pound Puppies. The big red male became Kou, and Perdita got her name for being a found dog (Perdita means lost).

Kou moved into another foster home and eventually got adopted out, but Perdy had a hard time making adoptions stick. Her first adoption fell through because of her destructive tendencies, and she developed aggression issues with one of the small females in her second home (the other dog was a lot like Akane I gather). The third and fourth adoptions lasted even shorter amounts of time due to Perdy’s overarousal and increasingly concerning behaviour around children. After the fourth return I enlisted the help of a behaviourist while I continued to try to adopt Perdy out (she and Akane had had one serious fight at this point, which left Aka badly injured). The spare room worked as a space for Perdy while Aka was out, but I hoped that she could find someone without children who could give her 100%. However, I finally realized that I couldn’t put that liability on the group or someone else, and Perdy became a permanent part of the family when she was about four.

For a while she had a good buddy, Niko, who was a GSD belonging to a friend, so she got regular outings to play and hang out in a child free environment. After Niko moved to Colorado Perdy’s life narrowed to regular walks in the early morning hours when no children were out and quality time in our house and yard. I felt guilty, but looking back she was never unhappy with the arrangement (even if she did break the window in her room three times and chew through the door); Perdy really just wanted to get time with me, which I made sure she received.

I know I’m much harsher on potential aggressive behaviours in adoptable dogs because of what Perdy taught me, but I don’t regret sharing a large part of my life with her. She gave the best cuddles and sloppy full tongue kisses and rocked fuzzy sweatshirts like no one else. Hopefully, she’s sunbathing at the Rainbow Bridge, seeing Niko again (he also died of cancer a few years ago), and able to deal with Akane without acrimony.

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Bound by Bliss by Lavinia Kent Book Review

Bound by Bliss Cover

Bound by Bliss is the third installment and second full novel in Lavinia Kent’s intensely erotic historical BSDM series that started with Mastering the Marquess. Lady Bliss Danser would prefer to never marry and avoid the pain caused by love. When her brother Swanston (the Marquess from the first novel) demands she find a husband by summer’s end or marry his friend, Lord Duldon, Bliss goes into a tailspin. Duldon sparks dangerous sensations and feelings in her, and she can’t let go of a misunderstanding in their past. Stephan, Lord Duldon, on the other hand, has longed for Bliss for years, but fears his darker sexual urges could destroy any connection between them. However, when the innocent but headstrong Danser asks for his help in finding a safe fiance, Duldon is happy to oblige; if he stays close, there’s a chance to turn Bliss’ heart towards him…and her reaction to his orders hints at a darker side to her own sexual desires.

Bliss is a much more conventional historical heroine than either Louisa from Mastering the Marquess or Ruby from Revealing Ruby in that she is young, never married, and inexperienced. However, as a member of the Danser clan, she definitely not a traditional young lady (her father has an obssession with breeding llamas…). In the previous novel she gets drawn into the predatory Countess Ormande’s circle, and while Bliss was not ruined, this precipitates Swanston’s sudden insistence on marrying his headstrong younger sister off before the younger Danser girls follow in her path. As a result of Bliss’inexperience the story is more about a young woman’s sexual awakening than a tale of consent, but the heat and passion of Kent’s previous works continues, creating an erotic tale that is more The Story of O than The Awakening.

I initially struggled with Stephan, Lord Duldon as a hero because his attitude of knowing Bliss better than she knew herself felt like straight up alpha male jerk territory. As the plot unwound I realized that Stephan has watched Bliss grow from childhood, so he wasn’t just assuming that he understood aspects of her personality. His presumed ownership of Bliss rankled a little, but the young lady did ask him to marry her at the tender age of twelve! Also, I believe that if Stephan truly thought that Bliss loved someone else he would stop his pursuit of her and allow her to simply be happy. His single minded behaviour stems from the hope that pushing the matter will force Bliss to examine her feelings instead of constantly running from them.

Now to the bits everyone is reading this review to learn about: the erotica! Because Stephan and Bliss are dancing around a relationship initially the sex scenes are a slow burn, rather than leading the the novel as in Mastering the Marquess. Bliss has no concept of how exactly sex works or that it can be pleasurable because, as an upper class woman, she has been protected from any hint of sexuality (she wasn’t even allowed to see horses mating because it was unseemly). Stephan analyzes her reactions, touches her, allows her to watch at Madame Rouge’s, and calculates what arouses her, finally bringing Bliss to orgasm with measured skill. For readers unfamiliar with various kink practices Bliss may be an easy heroine to identify with as she learns about the spectrum of sexual acts through Duldon’s tutelage which culminates in an intense, passionate, and soul bearing night. As in the previous works the women have agency in their sexual encounters, and Stephan carefully lays out the rules and safe guards, only asking that she think about whether a certain practice is merely uncomfortable or truly repellent before asking him to stop. The true power is in her hands, which is part of why I love Kent’s work: she understands that kinky sex should not be abusive, coercive, or frightening but rather safe, sane, and consensual.

Ultimately, I didn’t love Bound by Bliss as much as Mastering the Marquess, but it’s still a wonderful addition to the world of kinky erotica. If you enjoyed Kent’s other works, would love to read BDSM stories that don’t make your skin crawl, or just like really sensual historical sex Bound by Bliss should be on your reading list.

4.5 Teasing Feather Touches out of 5

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So You’ve Tried To Cripple Yourself Through Exercise…

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Yesterday morning I got some of the worst news a runner can get; I had developed plantar fasciitis, probably because I increased my running after the start of the year (I was up to about 18-20 miles a week).  Unfortunately, the best remedy for PF is rest, which means no running until my feet are 150% healed. I tried running on Tuesday when I had mild aches, and I could barely walk after I finished the run and walking my dogs.  I am not a happy camper…I like running plus it’s a wonderful energy burn for my youngest dog, Patience, who has no play buddy at the moment (Suzu and Miki never played a lot because of size differential, and Perdy is too tired from the cancer most of the time).  What’s an insane endorphin junky to do?

I pondered my options Tuesday night before my Wednesday morning doctor’s appointment.  Patience and I needed more exercise than walking, but running made me feel like I walked on broken glass or sharp knives.  Fortunately, I remembered my bike living abandoned in the garage since Akane blew out her right rear ACL about 3 1/2 or 4 years ago.  I have a special attachment on the bike that hooks to a dog’s collar or harness, so Patience could run behind me, and I wouldn’t have as much pressure on my feet.

The CareSpot doctor okayed cycling during my recovery, so all I needed to do was convince Patience this was a good idea.  When I first tried introducing her to my bike she freaked out so much that she pulled the bike over; obviously this would not work to exercise anyone.  However, this morning I tried a new method: I put Patience’s running harness on and took her outside on leash to hook her to the bike.  Our months of running together paid off; after an initial attempt to bite the leash part of the bike attachment Patience settled in to run.  She’s not crazy about the arrangement so far since she can’t investigate the grass (I don’t bike on the sidewalk), but we put in a 4.14 mile ride in the dark, trying to avoid getting hit by the few cars we saw (I wore a reflective vest and rigged my head lamp to shine behind me on my bike helmet, but we could have been more visible).  The bike definitely needs some serious service after sitting idle for so long, but it felt good to be moving more quickly again.  For the time being it’ll do, and maybe we’ll switch off running and biking when my foot finishes healing.  The difference is good for both of us!

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Flamingos of Love?

The holiday displays have come down for the season at most of the houses along my dog walking route (I no longer count the illuminated metal cactus as a holiday display since the owners turn the lights on year round), so I was a little shocked to find:

Flamingos Part 2

when I left my house for walks in the wee hours of the morning (the flock of flamingos definitely wasn’t there last night when I was mowing the lawn). Initially I shuddered in horror at the idea of Valentine’s flamingos and racked my brain as to why the neighbors had lost their minds. However, as I peered through the dark I spied a sign at the back of the tacky display (cropped from the photo to try to provide a little privacy for my neighbors) declaring it something related to the local high school’s Project Graduation. These particular parents are Spanish speaking immigrants, and they’re intensely proud of their oldest daughter preparing to graduate. I don’t know the family very well, but I think she’s expected to go to college as well.

So I’m torn. The flamingos sporting red and white leis are incredibly tacky, and I want to smack my forehead in disgust and dismay when I see them, but the love and pride behind paying for the PTA or Student Council or whatever committee put these monstrosities in the yard makes me smile. I know that despite both parents working long hours they are very involved in their children’s lives, and they want their children to be educated and not have to work as hard. If every child had parents who cared this much the world would be a better place.

Hopefully, the flamingos will fade away after Valentine’s Day, but I’ll try to avoid shooting them too much side eye until they come down. They’re ugly as sin, but they represent something beautiful that the world could use more of on a regular basis.

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It’s been another one of those weeks…

While I’ve spoken openly about dealing with Perdy’s probable cancer (she has three masses in her liver, one in her spleen, and one taking up half of her right kidney) on Facebook I hadn’t put anything here as if keeping it just to people who know me fairly well it would become less real.  It is almost certainly hemangiosarcoma, which means I’ll be losing another canine companion before summer most likely, and the realization hurts a lot.  I’ve adjusted my life to give Perdy as much as I can without risking Suzu’s happiness (they have to be kept separated, but at least it’s not as intense as the hatred between Akane and Perdy), and she gets to sleep with me three nights a week while Suzu is crated with a special treat.  Unfortunately, as Perdy has gotten more comfortable hogging the bed my sleep quality is diminishing, but she’s blissfully happy even if I and Miki, who ends up in weird little spots on the bed, are exhausted the next morning. On the plus side my big old girl seems pretty peppy right now, and she’s eating well and enjoying the “if you’ll eat it, and it won’t kill you immediately you can have it” diet (Patience, who is still on her elimination diet, is intensely jealous).

There was also the weirdness with my wire transfer to pay off my second mortgage that just got resolved today. I’m ashamed to admit I was not terribly nice to a customer service representative although I did refrain from yelling, and I never use curse words with them. I just don’t handle money screw ups well, and something was clearly weird on the payee end (I checked my paperwork from my bank, and the info was all correct, so who knows what I failed to sacrifice to the gods of mortgage payments to cause the first mistake).

To add to my stresses I managed to badly bruise my left heel at some point over the weekend, so I can’t even run to burn the negative energy.

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I’ve researched online, and the best thing I can do is lightly massage my foot and rest. I’ve been having weird foot pains for a while, but I thought it was just because I needed to get a new pair of running shoes. Apparently, I was trying to see if I could seriously fracture something in my foot. I’m doing my best on the resting although the dogs are still getting walks, which does help some, but I miss the muscle burn from a really good distance run. I know I have to let my foot heal to avoid serious problems in the near future, so I’ll force myself to pace myself. I just hope that my weekly yoga can provide a little of the burn I need to lift the stress of hospice care and general fussiness over the wacky weather.

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Come for the 10th Doctor, Stay for the Small Town Police Procedural!

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The small community of Broadchurch in Dorset is shattered when the body of an eleven year old resident shows up on on the beach. The police investigation, media frenzy, and private suspicions threaten to tear the tightknit community apart while bringing long buried skeletons out of some residents’ closets.

Broadchurch was recommended to me as a show I might like by my boyfriend, who enjoys some British TV shows and knows that I’m always for trying new ones that have the potential to be interesting. Ultimately, I think I enjoyed it more than he did (we watched separately), but it’s a solid police procedural with a heavy dose of personal drama. There’s teenage pregnancies and marriages, potential pedophiles, misunderstandings between friends, anger at the local church, estranged families, and a downright adorable chocolate lab. What more could you ask for?

Okay, let’s get to what everyone is interested about: David Tennant. Yes, the man behind the 10th Doctor takes on a less fantastical role by tackling a Scottish DI Alec Hardy, a police detective with a shadowed past. I haven’t watched any Doctor Who (I know, I know), so I can’t compare Tennant’s performances in the two shows. However, he does an excellent job portraying a character who can be hard to like but whose commitment to his job is unmistakable. His co-star, Olivia Colman, also brings serious acting chops to her role as DS Ellie Miller, the local officer who is passed over for promotion to bring Tennant’s character to Broadchurch. She struggles with suspecting anyone in her community of being capable of killing a child, but she also desperately wants justice for Danny’s family, who are neighbors and friends.

Overall, the story of people’s secrets being revealed and shattering the bonds of trust in a small community works except that it’s darn HARD to hide much of anything in small communities! Maybe it’s different in the UK where boundaries are a lot less fluid (at least less fluid that small town Texas, where it seems like everybody knows everybody’s business!), and unless you’re a nosy busybody you don’t know everything about your neighbors. I did get terribly distracted by Ellie’s husband, Joe, having a passing resemblance to the current director of operations for the animal shelter that I volunteer at:

broadchurch-Miller-family

but I adjusted over the course of the short series (I love how a full season for a British series is often only six or seven episodes, and it’s a complete story).Unfortunately, I ultimately felt like the killer was selected to be the obviously least likely individual, which seemed a little contrived. Thinking back there were little clues given with the various stories introduced, but I still struggled with the ending a little.

I’m eagerly looking forward to a second Broadchurch series though, even if it’s a completely different cast. The small town has caught my imagination, and I want to see how life develops After Danny.

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