Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Gate to the Hidden City (The Psychic Wars)

Gate to the Hidden City:

He wasn't a princess, but then- I certainly wasn't a prince. I'm five seven and in the winter you can't tell if I'm a boy or a girl, unless I feel like putting on make-up. But shoveling six feet of snow to go anywhere kind of makes you a little more casual about your appearance and so I wasn't winning any beauty pageants this year. Even though it was past snowmelt and into summer.

My neighbors will tell you I'm a bit odd- believe me, they'll tell you. My momma was a Boom Town Queen whose Daddy was worth a safe full of solid gold bars, and you only hear about that sort of thing in fairy tales, so I'm guessing you'd hear all about me if you came within ten square miles of my apartment complex (I own the whole thing, a little Christian school, with a statue of the Virgin Mary holding down one side and my mixed bag Unitarian beliefs anchoring the other).

And we're into the odd part. I'm barely Irish, although I speak Gaelic- an all American mutt, I'm the product of six bloodlines and it shows. My hair changes color depending on what I'm doing, red one year, almost blonde the last time I saw him. The boy from England. He was a boy when he got lost wandering places I warned him not to go. You don't just walk into and out of Tir na Og.

But he was him, blue hair and all. A dye job of course, even my hair didn't just turn blue. I'd go to the doctor if it did. I might be part gypsy, part Irish, part Brit, part Polish singer, part Czech and even some Rom, but I definitely wasn't a naiad. They exist, or at least I assume they do - I ran into a satyr once at the Noco… I'll spare you some of the details. I had to give him some advice on wearing a seeming… some bits and bobs didn't fit in with the human environment.

By now everyone pretty much "has their eyes" as my great great great etc would say, so they noticed. They've gotten bold, now that they can see myths and fairie tales. Enter little Domhnall. I got an emergency call one day, he'd found some people who knew some people and, being who he is, wandered off with me as his only tether. Right on into a High Court.

I'd explain the difference between the High Courts and the Lower, but it's the difference between explaining the carefully colored shrubberies of the Botanicals and the great Baboa that dominates Animal Kingdom. What he was doing there was beyond me (until this week), all I knew was that he was wandering around and some of the Greater Fae had taken an interest. He hadn't brought salt, or a cross, or his guitar- practical to a T, that was Domhnall.

I'm a truth teller, it's a confusing term, which is fine with us. Usually if something is confusing it's because you're not supposed to know about it. The short version is that it makes me uniquely suited to dealing with elves, who never lie and view all sorts of things as oddly binding.

So off I went, entering through stories rather than Gates, because half of the duo that occasionally makes up Danno and I, is smart enough not to Walk there. Tracking him down that time was easy. He was just getting to know the place, because he was about to die. That would have been nice to know at the time.

He died a couple of months later, in April, and off his spirit went, as though it had wings. Straight back to the fairy courts. I knew he wasn't in love with me, he trended towards people like himself, but we had signed a binding agreement the last time we were together. There are so few of us left in the world, and contracts are an odd sort of fun. I'll run you through some of the highlights.

I shall be as married to another psychic, who shall be merry
I shall use only as protection, those dark of skin
I shall work against myself, while working towards my ends
I shall not use any of my resources to achieve any ends
I shall find the claws and bring them (no clue, to this day what those were)

The I shalls went on at length, but he'd brought me a lovely bouquet of baby's breath which had been arranged so I could see not only how different cultures were affecting my current project (comms systems), but also the problems affecting cultures in general (not all psychics are nice) and a lovely marriage proposal (see above). And after our last meeting I was pregnant.

So off I went, I shalling away when he disappeared into the gate between worlds. Great. I found out about the baby two months later when I had checked off clause one and gotten pregnant again - or more, that is, I now have fraternal twins. Believe it or not, it's possible. If it were anyone but him there would be some explaining to do.

My newest ground was an older version of him, nothing but trouble, and a telepath to top it off. Telepaths are the biggest gossips in the free world, they keep the little spiders in spinning silk for months. We're talking social capital here, interesting things in a dull world. I was never going to New York City again. The subway alone had put me too far into the underworld, and at the airport I wound up trapped in between worlds, due to a double bounce.

That's how these things happen. And they happen to me an awful lot. So there I was, rooting around in my various and sundry oddities for something that would help, because Danno had gone off and my newest ground was old enough to not know what a computer was and was addicted to his blackberry. Which are tools of the Devil.

A worn Fedora was actually a favor from an old friend. Friends actually, and more of an invitation than a favor. They called us all generators or batteries, the movers and the shakers- a throwback to old England when the gaslights got you a bit jolly and they thought that messing with someone's head was a fun part of society. I didn't love the title, but I was an activist. My friends were hardly generators, they were businessmen, and only a little bit of trouble.

The golden tassle necklace was fake gold, but half of the Fae had gotten half of their life stories from the Wegians and their little numbers games (who uses a comma instead of a period in currency? Someone shady, that's who). So it did for fairy gold. I had a House Name, although I didn't use it often. Being the product of six psychic bloodlines does that for you, so I used my marker for that as well, a terrarium that I used as a mini diorama. Safer than grounding it in a real world location, but now I'm getting into a bit of witchcraft.

Thankfully I also had a favor from the Chinese, who excelled at thresholds (I didn't have the heart to tell them they were just Omega bridges) and was in the middle of an argument with the Catholic Church. I don't know if the Church thought the in between was evil because of, or in spite of, all of the Irish Catholics. My guess is because of- they had some fairly real practices back in the day that helped keep the veil closed. They tended to blame the Brits, but they'd never been up the seventh mountain on the northwestern side of Bergen.

I'm trying to decide if I should make a long story short, the fedora I gave to my son. I can't keep shoes on his feet and certainly can't keep him inside the house most days. That's the kind of parents we are, kids fall out of trees, bike around, and have a life. My ground and I ran around with the same Italian psychics from back in the day and they introduced me to the wonders of gelato. Apparently that was a go sign.

I don't know what they did overseas, I can only assume it involved the dream I once had of white flowers drifting from trees like warm snow. It's rare I talk to God, but I had when that happened, and he'd smiled. I'm, obviously a precognitive, which is about the same as being an artist, and we tend to record those things. I hadn't found anything that had matched it so far- not that you cross it off your list when you do- so I'm guessing that was it.

The short version being my son wandered off down South and I had to use a major working to keep us from winding up in two different places entirely and Danno wandered out in LA, brought over by some Pikeys I'd done tarot with- which is exactly where he disappeared. Blue hair disheveled, a list of complaints, and a set of stories brought back from the otherworld.

Ask him for them if you see him… the little bugger owes me one…

For starters we're married, and his daughter is already asking after him (psychics are intrepid little things, even while we're carrying them). For second I could use a hand collecting my son. And for third he owes me the money for two plane tickets, and a set of stories. 

Not much for a romance, huh? You've clearly never watched British TV, it reeks of love.

In all seriousness though, the bits we don't talk about happened in the in between... it's where art comes from...

Need, Crave, Want more? Try the Channel.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Archer

Spycraft is all fiction, right?

Not according to Sterling Archer, in his latest book- How to Archer. As some of my reads are- this is definitely NSFW. I'll repeat that. Don't bring the book to work, because the nosy, cardigan wearing HR pita mentioned on page 134 will definitely thumb through it (violation of personal space? Gasp you should) and you'll be out the fantastic tip on that page- as well as your job.

Archer gives you the basic rundown on all things spycraft, how to make drinks, bilk casinos, pad expense accounts and - most importantly- how to dress. Priorities, people, priorities.

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

(Editor's Note: If you haven't seen the TV Show, don't buy the book first, it's funny partly because you read the entire thing to yourself in his voice... I actually just started narrating this sentence that way... fantastic. *I'm* in the Danger Zone...)

Beyond Excited? Buy it Here.

For more reviews, check Anne's Channel.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Heat Stroke

She's hot, he's hot, the car is ridiculous. I'm seriously, it's a Viper, with a 10 Cylinder engine- turns out that's a thing. But Mona aside (oh yeah, the car has a name, she's the hottest thing since Kitt... Your moment of Zen...) what's really changed with Joanne since the last book is that she's dead. Or well, deadish.

When a team of Weather Wardens chased her across the US, it ended in a misguided deathmatch of epic proportions. Much to the dismay of her old, hot, dead sexy Italian teacher, the team got her. Her Djinn, David, had other things to say. He brought her across to the other side and now she's experiencing the world, and Weather Warding, as a djinn.

Unfortunately, despite being all powerful, she can get claimed by another Warden, so she has to fly under the radar while she tracks down the schism in the Wardens and clears herself. If it weren't for David, and the car, she might call it quits.

The future was looking stormy.

Love it? Buy it Here.

Laugh cry and drive, on Anne's Channel.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

D23 Throws Some Curveballs

Disney has been in video games for a while- I could barely pry Mickey and his magic paintbrush out of my dear sweet child's grubby little hands- but it's throwing in some serious flavor lately.

While it's still child friendly (despite the uber scandalous allegations of sexual images as well as connotations) it seems to be giving a nod to middle America (where satire has officially died) and expanding it's panels.

It used to be that to even sing the Mickey Mouse Club theme you had to be so clean that you squeaked, but one too many starlet faceplants has caused the company to ease off (Editor's Note: I have no insider info, despite having cousins who perform at Disney).

This D23, Kingdom Hearts III was presented by Jack Septic Eye. If you don't know who that is, I personally pictured him taking the stage with the theme "It's my Croc in a Box" playing in the background. I, as a liberal minded American, am extremely amused.

Other parents may be holding their breath- wondering can they really include a more adult audience without turning into Ren and Stimpy (your moment of Zen). I'll just take the last of your innocence and give you the heads up that Nick is run out of Canada. That's right. Canada.

Obviously my guess is yes, they certainly can- and it's about time. Not that racing pegasi won't prepare my kid for college (I had a friend in a sorority- I don't want to talk about it... ittt's a smalll world afffter alll...), and they've been expanding into celebrity appearances for years (love you Tim Gunn), but their safe place theory is starting to get outpaced by real world branding.

Princess there won't be doing herself any favors if she acts like Sophia in real life, something she probably realized really quickly in First Grade. I, personally, love that they added flavor.

Want more reviews that make you laugh, cry and game on? Link through to Anne's Channel. And yes, two full playlists are child friendly, and clearly labelled.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

A little bit fluffy, a little bit rock and roll, Kitty is a step away from normal. A werewolf in Denver, she took a late night gig and turned it into a successful radio show for the paranormal. After years of hiding her identity and using doublespeak to talk to her listeners, she's finally confronted by her other life. An assassin bent on ending her calls in and starts a stalk and chase around the city.

Not all of the paranormal are as cuddly as Kitty, and the vamps want her taken down. For all that she likes the human world, and her very human identity, Kitty's still a werewolf and isn't going to give up everything she built. She takes the case to the cops and, with their help, tracks down the reason for the hit...

Curious? Try it Here.

Want to hear more crave reviews? Try Anne's Channel.