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 Hey! I know I haven't posted in ages, but I have a thing you might be interested in. Uncovering my saved items in the basement, I discovered a binder in which I saved all the original art for my comic of "Interrogation" by Speranza (Due South), alongside a printout of the story, so you can compare page-by-page. It also contains sketches and notes. It seems a shame to disassemble it, but I'm going minimalist, doncha know. Would anyone like this? I would be happy to pay shipping. 

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I've decided to let my website, merples.com, lapse at the end of this billing period, in June. I'm just not in fandom enough these days to justify paying for a fannish domain. (Also, my fannish and real identities have become pretty completely merged by this point.) I do want to keep all my stuff freely available and easy to find.

My stories in all fandoms can be found Archive of Our Own. I'm also working on posting my recaps there.

In the meantime, my Sentinel recaps (without images) are at Artifact Storage Room 3.

My Baby-sitters Club book recaps are at Goodreads.

Stuff about my original novels and comics can be found on my main website, Laura Hughes Dot Com.

I could be forgetting something, so if there's something of mine you like and you want to see it posted, please let me know.
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 MBTI in Fiction classifies fictional characters by MBTI personality type and Hogwarts house. This is objectively awesome. It's made me think once again about how woefully inadequate the Hogwarts house system is as a classification system. 

I'll go on record anytime as saying that I love, love, love the MBTI. I don't care that it has no scientific support. It's an elegant system. Its categories mix and match and interlock in organized, revealing, interesting ways. Each letter describes something important and bedrock about a person; each option describes a choice that makes sense and isn't judgmental (it's not good to be an extrovert or bad to be an introvert, or vice versa; it is what it is). Four letters are never going to be enough to describe every aspect of a person's personality, but the MBTI categories describe some of the most important things, and describe them well.
J.K. Rowling may have intended the Hogwarts Houses to be another amusing if unscientific way to describe personality, and people like to treat it that way. The Sorting Hat ideas begs to be turned into a web test, "Which Hogwarts House Are YOU?" ANd I know it's been done. But the categories are just so useless. It's not even fun to think about, and I love to think about how to categorize people in various ways. 

When you get down to it, the categories boil down to Brave (Gryffindor), Nice but Stupid also Plump with a Love of Plants (Hufflepuff), Smart but Untrustworthy (Ravenclaw), and Pure Evil (Slytherin). 

These "categories" are not exclusive enough (you could have more than one of the qualities at the same time), not inclusive enough (lots of people don't fall into any of the categories), judgmental (some are clearly better than others), and on top of that, just completely bizarre.

If I were going to design a fictional magical boarding school personality test, I would probably end up making it a loose map of the MBTI in some way, but there are plenty of simple ways to sort people that are way, way, way better. Just off the top of my head:

What drives you? In this hypothetical scenario, students would be sorted by their main motivation for learning magic (and their general internal win conditions for life). 

Gryffindor: Changing the world. Gryffindors want to have an effect on the world. It doesn't matter if they are recognized for it (see Slytherin), but they want to do something meaningful. Often, this translates into humanitarian work, but remember: the Unabomber was also a Gryffindor. 

Hufflepuff: Love. Nurturing others. Hufflepuffs tend to see it as their happy duty to raise children. They are also the sons and daughters who will care for their parents as they age. Hufflepuffs prefer a simple life and tend to stay out of the limelight, but they are the ones who do most of the quiet, hard work of keeping wizard society going. 

Ravenclaw: Creation. Ravenclaws want to leave something tangible behind when they die, such as a great work of art or scholarship. Famous Ravenclaws include Shakespeare and Euclid. 

Slytherin: Fame and recognition. Slytherins want to make it into history books, by name. Slytherins make good politicians, actors, and pop stars. Famous Slytherins include most famous people, including Lady Gaga and Thomas Jefferson (though Benjamin Franklin was actually a Ravenclaw). 
What is your primary virtue? One of the main problems with the Hogwarts houses is that some are good and some are evil. People tend to think of themselves as good, even if they aren't. By aligning each house to a virtue, we can eliminate the judgment, while allowing students to end up doing good or evil work in practice (because their devotion to their house's virtues still leaves room for a lack of development in other virtues). With help from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_virtues: 

Gryffindor: Virtues of self-efficacy: Courage, perseverance, patience, grit. Motto: "Do the right thing." Opposing vices (Gryffindors don't have this, but other houses might): Spinelessness, apathy. Gryffindors are not deterred by years or decades of failure and opposition. Gryffindors make excellent scientists, social workers, and pioneers.

Hufflepuff: Virtues of kindness: Generosity, compassion, forgiveness. Motto: "Be excellent to each other and party on." Opposing vice (Hufflepuffs don't have this, but other houses might): Cruelty, insensitivity, grudge-holding. Hufflepuffs are acutely aware of suffering and do their best to ease it. Hufflepuffs make excellent nurses, parents, and zookeepers.

Ravenclaw:  Virtues of regard: Honesty, fair-mindedness, tolerance. Motto: "Keep an open mind." Opposing vices (Ravenclaws don't have this, but other houses might): Bigotry, duplicity. Ravenclaws are driven to find truth and are willing to consider radical new ideas. Ravenclaws make excellent philosophers, revolutionaries, and cult leaders.

Virtues of self-control: Temperance, ambition, frugality, industry. Motto: "Work before reward." Opposing vices (Slytherins don't have this, but other houses might): Anger, sluttiness, wastefulness, procrastination. Slytherins are driven, organized, and generally immune to temptation. Slytherins make excellent stockbrokers, farmers, and fascists. 

What's your Hippocratic humor? 

Gryffindor: Sanguine, an excess of blood

Hufflepuff: Phelgmatic, an excess of phlegm

Ravenclaw: Melancholic, an excess of black bile

Slytherin: Choleric, an excess of yellow bile

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Kindle worlds: don't even sweat it, y'all. It's not replacing fanfic and it never will, because it is necessarily build on two concepts that run completely counter to fandom culture: rules and money.

Meanwhile, I have 28 works on AO3. Comment with a number between 1 and 28 and I will tell you what I currently like about that work!
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BTW I have an amazon kindle link for my book now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CEIFARE

You may go about your day!
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I promised you two things for today: that I'd finish my Baby-sitters Club: The Next Generation sequel today (check!), and that I'd reveal a SPECIAL COOL THING. It is time for the coolness!

Today, my first original!fic--I mean, NOVEL was released!! I'm super excited. It's young adult gay/lesbian, it's called Don't Ask by Laura Hughes (that's me!) and it's available in the ebook format of your choice on the Prizm Books website or Torquere website, Amazon Kindle Store, and Smashwords.

Cover showing a girl with a rainbow flag and a boy in fatigues

I think you might like this book because, if you're here, you presumably like other stuff I've written, but here are some other reasons!

If you're a Baby-sitters Club fan, you might enjoy a timid boy protagonist; a bombastic girl protagonist; lovingly detailed descriptions of club organization and hierarchy; and tons of girly stuff including, but not limited to, a makeover and the big dance.

If you're a Stargate: Atlantis fan, you might enjoy the action, joyriding, military virtue and prominence of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

If you're a Due South fan, you might enjoy serious consideration of old-fashioned virtues such as honor and valor, as well as a central troubled friendship at the breaking point.

If you're a The Sentinel fan, you'll probably dig the love of of a repressed, macho, pseudo-military yet deeply sensitive main male for his gentle, longhaired, non-traditionally-masculine male love interest. Unfortunately, there are no wilderness quests... in THIS volume.

This story will be right up your alley if you, like me, enjoy LGBT YA, melodramatic serialized tween/teen fiction, high school TV shows, Boy Meets World, Degrassi (original and/or Next Generation), and basically any show that would reasonably have an egg episode.
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It is... finished. (collapses)

Baby-sitters Club: The Next Generation Super Special #1: What Happens in Sea City... (61054 words) by zelempa
Chapters: 24/24
Fandom: Baby-Sitters Club - Ann M. Martin
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Underage
Relationships: Byron Pike/Jeff Schafer
Characters: Byron Pike, Jeff Schafer, Shea Rodowsky, Jordan Pike, Becca Ramsey, Adam Pike, Mallory Pike, Jessi Ramsey, Nicky Pike, Cecelia Parker
Series: Part 2 of Baby-sitters Club: The Next Generation

Just over a day at the beach, and already his hair was even lighter than usual—practically white—and his skin was darkening to its usual California tan. His eyes were just slits of sea blue, and he was smiling at me. I could feel myself smiling back, broad and goofy. This is what it would be like every morning. Someday.

I edged my hand out into the sand between us, and his came to meet mine. I am the luckiest guy in the history of the universe.

“Ah-ah-ahhh!” Vanessa called out.

I squeezed Jeff’s hand, dropped it, and raised my hand to flip Vanessa the bird.

“Forget it,” said Jeff, sitting up and brushing the sand off his shoulders. “We’re under a microscope.”

Oh wait, I promised you something else today! Hold tight for my next post.
zelempa: Blair Sandburg looking hopeful (blair hopeful)
Since the database crashed on my site, I've been kind of nervous about keeping stuff on there. I figure it's high time to back up my recaps to Archive of Our Own. So as not to inundate my 'works' page, I've decided to do one work per fandom, with episode recaps as individual chapters.

You have to start somewhere, so I've done the first two episodes of TS. If you want to re-read, or you've never read them but will now that they are on AO3, the info is below! I have no idea how long this will take me--probably awhile--but subscribe to me or check back periodically for updates. I'll post here when I've completed the work.

[Meta] The Sentinel: A Gratuitously Detailed Episode Guide (8611 words) by zelempa
Chapters: 2/65
Fandom: The Sentinel
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg
Additional Tags: Meta

I'm also backing up the screencaps on my reference photo tumblr, tagging them in the process for easy finding later.
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I'm in Boston, but I don't know more than anyone at this point. All my loved ones are accounted for, fortunately. Right now, parts of the city are still crime scene, but we're supposed to "go about our lives and remain vigilant." My partner was supposed to start a new job today, but the building and subway stop are closed. I work from home for an out-of-state company, so it's business as usual for me.

And if I don't post more Baby-sitters Club fic, the terrorists win!

Chapters 19-21 are up. Things are getting resolved, but! There is still one more day of posting! AND don't forget tomorrow's Special Wednesday Reveal.
zelempa: zelempa classic (zelempa)
I'm being good and updating early! Chapters 16-18 are up, but I don't think I thought this through; they're not exactly "10 A.M. Monday morning" material. They are probably the weirdest, wrongest chapters in the whole story. Enjoy!

Remember, on Wednesday, the final day of posting, there will be something cool!
zelempa: RayK: "What else...?" (rayk perplexed)
Oh, man. I haven't watched or thought much about Due South in months, but this morning I woke up at the tail end of a dreamed alternate first RayK episode in which Fraser meets Kowalski in a hardware store in Yellowknife. It's an electric connection at first sight, although the show just-barely dresses it in terms of friendship. The symbolism is obvious, though. For reasons that I don't remember or perhaps the dream never made clear, when he first see him, Ray is holding a Valentine.

Fraser has what is in many ways a dream post in remote Yukon town, low crime and lots of good earnest people who honestly disagree about worthwhile goals (such as the issue of whether to integrate the mer-people into mainstream society or keep them segregated from land people in the name of helping them preserve their unique culture; Fraser acts chiefly as a translator in this conflict, having spent some time among the mer-people in his youth). But Fraser is frustrated by the machinations of local politics and has felt for some time that he could do more good elsewhere. Meeting Ray also makes him realize with a jolt how lonely he's been here. He's on good terms with everyone in town, but except for Dief, he has no special friendship, no partner. Ray and his stories of Chicago seem like fate, and during their epic day-long conversation (including a stop at a craft fair where Ray complains the insufficient punk rock value of a Valentine with a picture of Robert Smith that is there for some reason), Fraser all but promises to go back with him. He agrees to meet Ray the next morning at his hotel.

Overnight, he's reminded of his local obligations and realizes how crazy it is to run away with some guy he just met. The next morning, he's practicing what he'll say to Ray, a scrupulously polite and gushingly complimentary speech that ultimately offers his regrets. He gets in his truck to find Ray freezing there; he ran out of money and decided to camp out, but it was more than he bargained for. Fraser climbs into Ray's sleeping bag with him and as Ray warms up, he launches into the middle of a conversation, arguing with Fraser's anticipated "no." (Again, Ray's monologue focuses on Friendship, Companionship, Partnership, etc., in ways that don't really make sense if you're not mentally translating them to "love.") Fraser interrupts him to make plans to leave on the next plane.

Confusing and derivative, maybe, but not bad for a dream!
zelempa: RayK: "What else...?" (rayk perplexed)
Here are the first lines from my 21 most recent stories. Since I'm on the slow side, this amounts to over 75% of my entire body of work, covering a period of over five years. It's interesting to look at your stories this way; I usually end up cutting so much "prewriting" and tinkering with the beginning point until so late in the game that I don't end up spending a lot of time crafting the perfect first line, so I didn't remember most of them. I was pleasantly surprised with some of them, while others work better in context.

First Lines Meme )
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I posted chapters 10-12 of my new Baby-sitters Club fic, What Happens In Sea City... We've reached the halfway mark and it's up to 35,000 words, already more than its predecessor, Byron and the God of California!
zelempa: RayK: "What else...?" (rayk perplexed)
Chapters 7-9 are up: the first and only chapter narrated by Aunt Cecelia; an actual Byron chapter; and you can finally find out how I'm going to handle that whole "Mallory has a system for roulette" business.

Remember, on Wednesday (the final day of posting) there will be a SPECIAL SURPRISE!
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Continuing my plan to post 3 chapters a day of my new BSC fic, I've just posted chapters 4-6. We're up to a total of 17,000 words. I'm actually not sure how long it will end up (still doing some tweaks as I post), but at this rate we're looking at about 68,000 words, which I think will make it the longest thing I have ever written.
zelempa: Blair Sandburg looking hopeful (blair hopeful)
Baby-sitters Club: The Next Generation Super Special #1: What Happens in Sea City... (9975 words) by zelempa
Chapters: 3/24
Fandom: Baby-Sitters Club - Ann M. Martin
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Underage
Relationships: Byron Pike/Jeff Schafer
Characters: Byron Pike, Jeff Schafer, Shea Rodowsky, Jordan Pike, Becca Ramsey, Adam Pike, Mallory Pike, Jessi Ramsey, Nicky Pike, Cecelia Parker
Series: Part 2 of Baby-sitters Club: The Next Generation

This is a very exciting week for me!

Today, I began posting the long-awaited (well, by me: I've been working on it forever) sequel to my most popular fic of all time, the Baby-sitters Club fic Byron and the God of California.

I want to thank Mizz Marvel for beta and encouraging excitement! I also want to thank all of the 200+ (!) people who left kudos or comments on the original fic.

It's a long fic, so I'll post three chapters a day for the next eight days.

One week from today, when I post the last three chapters, I will also reveal a SPECIAL SURPRISE!

So stay tuned!
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It appears the Baby-sitters Club book reviews on my site are broken. I'm working on backing them up to goodreads.
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I know I've been gone for, like, a year, and I know I have said this before, BUT I promise I am still plugging away at something for y'all which should be ready in a month or so. In the meantime, I would like to hold another


If you want anything in this list, leave a comment to claim it! PM or email me (zelempa at gmail) your mailing address. I will mail your item(s). I will then discard your address. I'll pay for shipping. All I ask in return is that you donate a small amount - say $5 per item - to one of my charities:

Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)
Organization for Transformative Works

Please donate a bit more if you are outside the U.S. as shipping will cost more.

Feel free to claim as many items as you want, and feel free to send your friends this link! Act soon, because I will start donating things to Goodwill around the end of February.

DVDs )

Books )

Action Figures )
zelempa: RayK: "I could draw you a picture." (rayk draw you)
I haven't been active much in fandom lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing creative stuff. Just in time for the realization that it's December, I have started an Etsy shop with my usual cohort Yolsaffbridge and made FANTASY THEMED HOLIDAY CARDS! Perfect for the Lord of the Rings or Dungeons & Dragons fan in your life, or somebody you'd like to make into one.

I feel a little strange plugging this project here, since fandom is essentially a money-free zone, but I want to note that all the profits from the shop (after supply & listing costs) will go to charity projects on globalgiving.org. We will decide on a worthy project as soon as we make at least $10.


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