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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 15 (part 2) The Tower or “This is the part where adapting the screenplay into a book got hard”

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Every time I think, “You know, I’m going to run out of Handbook For Mortals shenanigans before we get to the end of the recaps,” I am proved wrong. So, this installment brings us…

REBRANDING!

Awesome tweeter Aron alerted me to this press release, tweeted by an account called ADA IT Solutions. Since Handbook For Mortals has nothing at all to do with either the Americans with Disabilities Act or improved access to technology as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s pretty clear that Cision PR Newswire’s strategy seems to be “throw something at the wall and see if it sticks.” Which falls right in line with Handbook and Lani Sarem, who both receive a generous re-branding as we steam toward the release of the movie.

Really.

Author Lani Sarem, whose initial offering Handbook for Mortalsdebuted at No. 34 on the USA Today Bestseller list, continues promotion on the national Comic Con circuit alongside American PieRookie of the Year star Thomas Ian Nicholas. The film is scheduled to shoot later this year, based on the book.  In a year of empowering females within the industry, it’s important to note that the film is not only very female-driven, but also includes a strong female protagonist, female director, female line producer and Sarem herself as the author.

No longer billed as a New York Times bestseller, this bulletin is content to celebrate the (also scammed) success of the book as a USA Today bestseller. I mean, who needs a big flashy label when you’re suddenly, out of absofuckinglutely nowhere, a juggernaut of feminist power? I mean, a female director (probably Lani Sarem), a female line producer (also probably Lani Sarem), and a strong female protagonist who never has to work to get anything she wants because her daddy gives it to her? Hold onto your pussy hats, ladies, we’re going to the theater!

Handbook for Mortals is about a young woman with supernatural powers who joins a Las Vegas magic show only to find that love is more dangerous than magick.

It certainly is for the girl at Hot Dog On A Stick who’s covered in broken glass and lemonade.

Sarem and Nicholas took an interesting approach to find an early audience for the franchise. Nicholas was booked as a celebrity guest at many conventions including Motor City, Alamo City and all the Wizard World Comic Cons starting early in 2017. They promoted the story and pre-sold Handbook for Mortals all across the country before the book even had a cover. In fact, it was at Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia where they met comic book artist Ryan M. Kincaid, who ultimately drew the cover art.

If I’m ever accused of a crime, I’m going to use that line. I didn’t burn that house down. I “took an interesting approach” to building redesign. I didn’t murder that guy. I “took an interesting approach” to interpersonal conflict resolution. I didn’t steal that loaf of bread. I “took an interesting approach” to capitalism.

You know. Just the same exact way Ryan M. Kincaid “took an interesting approach” to drawing the cover art by literally tracing another author’s work.

On creating a story centered around a female lead, Sarem notes, “That was always the idea. Even at a young age I noticed what was going on.”

According to the feature on her on Vulture, the thing she noticed that was going on was that she couldn’t get parts as an actress, so she wrote this one specifically for herself. This isn’t empowering to women. It’s empowering to one woman.

About the comic conventions where she allegedly sold one book every forty-six seconds, per the math done by commenter Maths GCSE Graduate on the last recap, Sarem says:

“It’s a great place to meet fans looking for the next source of entertainment,” Sarem explains. “They’re excited to find something new and there’s nothing like watching them walk away clutching the book like it’s the most valuable thing they own.”

Nobody has ever felt that way about this book. And most people don’t go to conventions looking for “the next source of entertainment.” They go to see the people who are already making the entertainment they like. They want to meet the artists and illustrators and celebrities they already know.

You might be thinking to yourself, “How did Lani Sarem get this far into the press release without namedropping?” Well, don’t worry. Thomas Ian Nicholas is there to do it for her:

Nicholas also says, “It’s fun getting this project off the ground by connecting directly with people in the right environment. Plus, spending the weekend with other guests like Gregg SulkinJason MomoaHolly Marie CombsBonnie WrightSebastian StanIan Somerhalder– it’s starting to feel like one big supportive family.”

Okay, but they’re no Carrot Tops, are they?

The press release goes on in an attempt to tie Sarem and Handbook to Disney via Thomas Ian Nicholas and John Heder’s Disney trivia panel that Sarem moderates and that a Disney artist showed up to hand out prizes for. One thing you can say for Lani (who absolutely wrote this press release herself, as no one who does this as their job would write a press release that included so much information completely unrelated to the main point), she sure knows how to starfuck in public.

Lest you think the entire thing is about the famous people Sarem and Nicholas sometimes stand next to, oh no, dear reader. We haven’t forgotten that this is a work of fearful and staggering feminism:

 For several years, she was one of the youngest female band managers with two platinum selling, Grammy award-winning acts nestled in her roster of bands. Music is another area of the entertainment business that is typically a boys club. Sarem is no stranger to breaking down those walls and says, “It’s always an interesting challenge to find your place as a woman in a male-centric business. I hope I’m one of the many people that bring about positive change to the film industry. I want to inspire young girls to know they can dream big and achieve whatever their heart desires.”

Yes, young girls, you can dream big and achieve…wait, what the fuck has Lani Sarem ever achieved, aside from being fired from the bands she managed because they apparently grew tired of her schemes and going on to expose herself as a clumsy fraud in the literary world? Watch out, film industry. Lani is on her way to fix you the way she fixed publishing. Sit down, women in Holywood who have been fighting for equality! Lani Sarem has it handled.

Obviously, now that Handbook For Mortals is burning its bra, everyone is going to stop mocking it, right?

Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls saying, "That's just like, the rules of feminism."

Nope! Sorry, Lani Sarem, but your scam has never been about “empowering women.” It’s been 100% about you getting famous by any means necessary. It’s been about empowering you. Now you’ve been slightly sort-of kind of notable in a fully non-important way for almost a year. That’s all people are willing to give you in all of this, which is honestly more than you deserve.

Anyway onto the blistering female empowerment of Handbook For Mortals

When last we saw Lani, she was dying on stage. So the rest of the chapter is obviously going to be in someone else’s POV, right? The italics with the little triple goddess picture, right?

That’s the last thing I personally remembered from that day. Later, after I’d had some time to rest, I pulled out the memories of waht everyone else saw and what happened.

In one sentence, any sense of suspense over Zip’s fate is obliterated. She’s just collapsed backstage doing this chaos majik thing that’s so super dangerous, but don’t worry, reader! Everything suspenseful that happened from that point on turned out totally okay and the book will be narrated by the heroine after everything inevitably works out.

But what does she mean by “pulling out” memories?

When you “pull out” memories using magick, they pretty much feel like they are your memories––but you’re also seeing yourself from that other point of view. This means that you’re only seeing what the other person saw, though––so you might not get a full picture of the information you’re looking for.

Yes, but where are you pulling these memories from? Just right out of the heads of people around you? Did you ask their permission? Is there a reason you needed to do this or were you just curious to see if everyone was appropriately devastated when you collapsed? Right now seems like the point in the author’s rewrite of her screenplay where she got bored turning it into an actual novel and now she’s just setting up camera angles. It’s okay that this entire sequence makes absolutely no sense, that we’ve been given no indication previously that this is a kind of maghikk that Zart can do, and that the POV shift is inconsistent with the third person omniscient we’ve seen POV changes handled with so far. I’m perfectly fine with being trapped in a first-person omniscient hellscape.

The "This Is Fine" dog cartoon, in which a dog is depicted sitting at a table with a cup of coffee as fire and smoke rage around him. A second panel is a closeup of his smiling face as he says, "This is fine."

Now that Labia has done her illusion and it’s all gone terribly, Mac returns.

After completely leaving the theater during the show, he had finally come back into the venue just as the commotion was at its peak, and heard that someone had gotten hurt. His own intuition must have kicked in, because he instantly knew it was me. Hoping he was wrong, he pushed his way through the crowd, panicking.

Imagine if this scene were written not in first-person omniscient past-perfect tense. Also, imagine it was in a better book. What if we’d seen this as it was happening? What if the author had trusted readers enough to let them into a deep-POV third person when they were with other characters? The only reason we haven’t had any deep third-person POV and always stay in omniscient third and now first person is because Lani Sarem can’t stand that her reader, who should be paying attention to her, is sparing even a single brain cell on someone who isn’t her. I mean, who isn’t her direct avatar.

Mac pushes everyone aside and finds Tad and Zeb holding onto Zuckerberg, who is throwing up her own blood.

Mac instantly grabbed me and pulled me towards himself. Zeb let Mac take over holding me, but stayed in the same spot, protective and close.

Hey, remember when that evil bitch Sofia fell sixty feet into water and her heart stopped and none of these people treated that with any urgency?

Tad tells Mac what happened to Zazu:

“I don’t know. I looked over. She just collapsed and started bleeding,” Tad said, at a complete loss. He was distraught, shattered.

Distraught and shattered. This same character consoled Riley after Sofia’s fall by saying basically, hey, it wasn’t your fault, she should have known better, while Sofia was still not breathing.

Zeb weighs in, too:

“I turned around, and she…she…uh…she just collapsed in my ams,” Zeb offered, still stunned, with glazed eyes.

How many times are we going to have to hear about her collapsing? What new information is this imparting? The reader knows she’s collapsed. Let’s move on.

Poor Riley couldn’t talk as tears began to well in his eyes and he began to hyperventilate. He didn’t have anything to add as far as information went. Zeb grabbed him and let him lean on him as he started to collapse on the floor.

Now Riley is collapsing, too? None of these people are up to code.

The paramedics arrive and start working on her:

Little did they know that what was happening to me wasn’t anything they had ever seen before.

They’re paramedics in Las Vegas. I guarantee that they’ve seen someone spontaneously collapse and vomit blood before.

“No signs of external trauma. Must be something internal,” […]

No shit?

Mac asks what hospital they’ll take her to, and Charles says––hey, that’s right, Charles has been in this scene the whole time, standing by without being mentioned! Anyway, he says he’s going to the hospital, too, and of course, it leads to a steely moment of eye contact between the two men, one of whom believes the other is a romantic rival when in reality the other is really her father and possibly, okay, also a romantic rival.

Before they leave, Tad tells Mac that the last thing Lint said was to call her mother, and Mac, who has been dating Zwieback for like, what, half a year now? Has no idea how to contact her. Now, I’m not suggesting that Mac should have met Dela or Delilah or whatever the fuck she’s called, but I am suggesting that in the amount of time we can estimate that he’s known her, wouldn’t he at least know if she had a cellphone he could find the number in?

Zeb and Tad both had blood all over their clothes and there was even blood pooled on the floor. Riley stood there just staring at the floor, pretty shaken and distraught. As everyone started to disperse, Riley couldn’t take his eyes away from the red pool of blood.

Thanks for clearing up that blood is red and that it’s not a red pool of some other liquid. At this point, I’m going to just imagine Lugnut’s dramatic collapse as a Capri Sun being squeezed too hard. My favorite part of this is that we started out in Mac’s memory, but now Mac is gone. So, Zam Chowder has taken over someone else’s memory not to advance the story at all, but to show us how affected her coworkers are by her incident.

Zeb finally looked down, noticing he was covered in blood, and in an almost daze, followed after the others.

And then she does it again! It’s not enough that everyone immediately worried about her and screamed for 911 while they were previously content to just see how Sofia’s whole falling-sixty-feet-and-not-breathing thing played out. We have to see everyone’s PTSD developing in real time. No forgetting how beloved Lilly Zane is in this story, no sir!

There’s a paragraph break and Zunder Lunt explains that it’s hard to sift through everyone’s memories because of how sad they were about her:

Feeling the pain they felt as I combed through their deepest thoughts was incredibly hard for me, but I needed to know what happened during the time I was “gone.” So I kept sifting.

Does anyone have some god damn wood so we can fashion a cross for this true martyr? I mean ’tis the season, right?

I want to know how this memory sifting thing works. There’s no indication anywhere that she’s been given consent by any of these people to look into their minds. She’s never been able to read people’s thoughts before. If she could do this all along and had no qualms about doing it to people without their knowledge in order to gain information for herself, why didn’t she do it to clear up her dating conflicts? I’m not saying she should have, but the reader needs to know why she hasn’t been using this power if she had it all along? At the very least, it would have explained the hideous POV skews.

Because no one close to her was in the ambulance, she can’t get memories from that time.

I had to assume that not much happened that was important (to me, at least), so I skipped trying to pull those moments, which seemed to be more work than they were worth.

The thing that would have been happening in the ambulance would have been like, people saving her life, but that isn’t important to her. I wish the paramedics would have decided that saving her was more work than they were worth. I’m not saying I want to know every tiny detail from the ambulance ride and that no author should ever skip shit like that, but all this does is open up more questions about the “pulling memories” ability that we’ve never heard of until this chapter. Where is Zoloft while she’s “pulling memories”? Is she in a coma doing this? Is she at home? Does she have to be near the person physically when she does this? Can she grab anybody’s memories, even if she’s not involved? It’s “more work” to try to get a total stranger’s memories, but she doesn’t say it’s impossible. Is this heroine walking around just reading other people’s minds? Are there majhikal controls in place to stop her from doing so? Does she have ethical standards that prevent her from doing it? Are we going to get any sort of explanation for these powers, or what?

Anyway, she focuses on Charles and Mac driving the hospital not talking, then going to the ICU waiting room.

As I compared their memories, two things were consistent: you could cut the tension with a knife; and the pain they both felt for me was so strong it was pretty unbearable.

Two things were consistent: the author’s total lack of understanding regarding simple punctuation and the reassurance that her avatar is still the center of the universe.

A doctor comes in to talk to Mac and Charles:

By his white coat you could tell he was a doctor and obviously well experienced––most likely the head doctor of the hospital.

The head doctor…of the hospital. This is the way a child would write a story. THE VERY MOST SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT DOCTOR WHO WAS THE BOSS OF THE WHOLE HOSPITAL.

“Are either of you family?” Dr. Schmidt asked, cutting into Mac’s panic.

“I’m her friend…um…I’m her boy. I’m her…boy…friend,” Mac stammered.

Are you, though?

The doctor informs him that he has to talk to someone in her family because she can’t consent to the release of her medical information. Charles is standing right there, of course, but he can’t say anything because it’s not time for The Big Reveal™.

“Her mother lives in Tennessee,” Mac answered realizing he wasn’t even sure exactly where in Tennessee; the best he knew it was near Nashville, but he knew Nashville wasn’t it. Acutally he vaguely remembered Zade saying something about the fact that Nashville was at least an hour away from her mom.

Since we’re in Zumple Liltskin’s brain, wouldn’t it be “at least an hour away from my mom,” and “he vaguely remembered me saying?” And does the internet not exist in this world? Couldn’t he just search for her mom’s phone number online? Or even try to look up Zully’s name, since she used to live with her mom? Is anyone making an attempt to find her next of kin at all?

Charles asks if he can speak with the doctor privately but Mac makes it some big deal about “whatever you can say, you can say in front of me” kind of male posturing. So you know what it’s time for.

Legendary animated gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn

“I’m also her…” he paused, glancing at Mac. “I’m her father.”

And I’m fucking her.

He does not say, because it’s not that kind of book. Or so we’re supposed to believe.

Mac is like, what? So Charles has to break it down Barney-style:

Charles looked directly into Mac’s eyes while spoke slowly and purposely: “Zade is my daughter.”

First of all, he did it purposefully, not purposely. And yet again, we’ve got someone looking “directly into” another character’s eyes. This gets used more than I use “look to” in my books and that is really saying something considering how much I use “look to”.

Wherein Mac becomes all of us:

“I saw you kiss her!” Mac protested.

“What are you trying to imply?” Charles said, flabbergasted.

Charles asked.

Mac began to breathe heavily […]

Again, no one is this chapter “did” anything. They all “began” or “started to”.

He pressed his lips together and looked directly at the floor. Mac pulled his gaze off of Charles and turned to the doctor, who seemed to be more confused than ever.

As am I, considering Charles is apparently on the floor or has become a part of the floor himself, as per the order in which Mac’s eyes do their thing.

I’m sorry, “began” to do their thing.

Mac asks the doctor to give them a moment, because Zunk bleeding out isn’t nearly as important as clearing up this conflict with his boss. The doctor goes away, and Mac asks if Charles just said he was her father so the doctor would talk to them.

“It’s 100% completely true.”

“Does she know?” Mac queried

“Yes,” Charles said, nodding slowly and in a flat tone.

A note on queried (and yes, the period is actually missing, it’s not my clumsy fingers doing that): people, especially first-time authors, get hung up on word repetition, but over the wrong words. “Asked” would have been an invisible word here, but chances are that Sarem thought she was doing the right thing by avoiding it. Those lists that make their way around the internet with all those alternatives for “ask” and “said” usually don’t point out that some of their substitutes are used less often than others and as a result might stick out as stiff and archaic, interrupting the flow of dialogue. “Avoid ‘said’ and ‘asked’!” is such bad advice because it makes new writers feel like they have to consult a thesaurus. Here’s a writing tip: If you’re writing a fast-paced conversation like this, don’t be afraid of ‘asked’ and ‘said.’ This one isn’t Sarem’s fault. She just fell victim to some bad writing advice.

What is her fault is not realizing that nods don’t have tones.

“I am not aware of anyone else knowing. Besides her mother, of course.”

“Why?” Mac asked, still very confused, his stomach in knots.

Because she gave birth to her, Mac.

“I cannot explain most of it to you, but I can say that…well, it was her mother’s wish, and I had no choice but to respect it. ‘Wish’ is a polite way of putting it, honestly. It was only recently that Zade found out that I was her father; and that’s when she came to work with us,” Charles responded in a very matter-of-fact tone.

In other words, the motivation we were given for why Lazi went to Vegas is missing a big chunk out of it. We were told that she was going to Las Vegas to try to become a magician because her mother had trapped her in their small town, possibly with a spell of some kind, and now she was going off to live her dream. In reality, she was “trapped” with her mother because she didn’t know there was a better option. Was it ever really Zandy’s dream to be an illusionist? Or was this just a way to get out of her small town? We’d speculated that Hey There Delilah had put her daughter under a spell, but in reality it was just that she never told her daughter that she had a father?

None of these questions are answered right now, of course.

Mac tells Charles that it’s funny that Zalaska Lunderfuck grew up to become a magician, too, and Charles makes a comment about how her mother does “something similar.” Then Mac explains that he thought she and Charles were having an affair, based on the amount of time they spent together.

He was thinking over all the things that in the past few days hadn’t sat well with him but now made total sense.

Does it? Because that’s not the experience the reader is having. This entire story would have made a lot more sense if we had known Charles was her father from the very beginning. It still wouldn’t have been a good story, but it would have at least made more sense than a story where the main character decides she’s going to be a big Vegas star and then it just happens without any conflict.

Ways this story would have been improved if we’d known Charles was her father all along:

  • There would have been clear motivation (“call to adventure”) for her to leave her hometown at the point in time when the story begins.
  • Her ability to easily get an audition with a top Vegas act would have been more believable.
  • Wanting to impress her father and not disappoint him would have given her motivation, which has been wholly missing from her characterization.
  • If it remained a secret to the rest of the cast and crew, the conflict could have arisen from trying to keep the secret safe.
  • If it hadn’t been kept a secret from the rest of the cast and crew, the conflict could have arisen from trying to prove her worth.
  • Wanting to walk in her father’s footsteps or make him proud or take her place in some magical dynasty would have given her a goal, which she lacks.

You read that right. Zade lacks a goal. And motivation. And conflict. Those are three crucial intersections between characterization and plot. Without those three, neither the character nor the plot can be sustained. Letting the reader in on the secret of Zade’s parentage wouldn’t have just saved the plot. It would have created one in the first place.

Mac tells Charles that he saw them kissing and Charles is like, are you sure?

“Well…” Mac thought through what he had actually seen, sort of thinking out loud. “Well, no. I saw you lean in to…what I thought was to make-out with her, then I couldn’t bear to watch, so I turned away. It was when you were in the office earlier, and you both were saying how you loved each other.”

Charles nodded and smiled; he knew exactly the time frame Mac was speaking about.

“If you would have spied on us just a moment longer you would have seen her kiss me on the cheek. I am sorry you misunderstood, and that it caused you pain.”

These characters talk about “making out” so much that this might as well be a high school AU of itself written by a thirteen-year-old who can’t go spicier because her mom might read her notebooks. On top of that…is Charles suggesting that his employees should spy on him more thoroughly?

“That conversation you had with me that one day makes much more sense now, too,” Mac said thoughtfully, then his whole attitude sank. “I yelled at her tonight. We got into a big fight right before the illusion. Now everything she said makes sense.

Whoa, slow down. Let’s not make wild claims here.

She wasn’t lying and I wouldn’t listen. I just walked away. I was so upset, I couldn’t even run main during the show––I had Cam do it.”

“You weren’t on the board when we did the creation illusion?” A panicked look crept across Charles’s face when he echoed what Mac had said.

“But you were supposed to capture the homunculus! Where is it now? Did it escape?!”

“No. Why?” Mac asked, wondering what not being on the board had to do with anything.

True love. I’m making my bet right now. True love grounds her or some shit.

Charles swallowed and paused for a moment before responding, “I think I may have had an idea of what’s causing Zade’s health issues.”

Oh my god, it’s really going to be true love, isn’t it?

So, keep at mind that at this point, neither Mac nor Charles actually know what Lumbar’s health issue is, because rather than find out whether or not she’s alive or dead or dying or doomed or just fine, they have to hash out the romantic drama and the Big Reveal™. And they don’t get to find out if she’s okay just yet, because something else really important is happening:

Something else really important and alarming happened at that exact moment.

Sorry, really important and alarming.

The girl who had stopped me that day in the parking garage of the mall, the one who pinned me to the wall using magick, arrived at the hospital. Not only did I find out that she was there but she seemed to make a point of being seen when she didn’t have to––which led me to believe she knew I would look later (or at least someone would) and would see her. I still have no idea why she was there––or why she purposely wanted to be seen.

Okay, so the Lambo girl did show up again in the story. I mean, she just shows up in a random memory and the main character is like, shrug emoji, IDK, but she does show up again. Load sees that in the moment that Dr. Schmidt returns, the girl pushes between Mac and Charles, who’ve previously been described as standing very close and having this super intense conversation. So, there’s no way they couldn’t have noticed her there.

She had made sure to burn a spot in Mac’s memories, and that was only because she actually pushed him out of her way. As I looked through Mac’s thoughts and tried to process them, her presence sent a shiver down my back. It was really bizarre and had me very worried but there obviously wasn’t anything I could do after the fact.

But…Charles was there. And he knows about majihck. Was there a hole burned into his brain, too? Why isn’t he suspicious about the girl?

Oh, right, because he desperately wants to find out how Laura is doing. I mean, he and Mac sent the doctor away so they could have a long conversation about their feelings, but now they’re finally getting around to wanting to know what’s happened to Zint. Like, is she alive, or…

“She’s stable for the moment, but I can’t guarantee that to be a permanent situation unless I can figure out what’s causing this––and right now I really haven’t a clue. There is internal trauma and bleeding that I can’t even figure out––we can’t seem to place where it’s coming from, or why. I just have no idea. There is nothing broken and––frankly––it doesn’t look like she even bumped into anything hard. It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen.”

I’m not a doctor, but I feel like a patient isn’t stable if they’re still bleeding uncontrollably and seemingly without any reason. I’m also really skeptical of any doctor wandering into a waiting room and saying, basically, “I have no idea what’s going on.” Are malpractice suits not a thing in this universe? Because I feel like, “He admitted he couldn’t figure it out had no idea what was going on,” is probably not a sentence the hospital’s legal team is going to want to hear in court, especially coming from the doctor who is the boss of the whole hospital. That’s why they keep shit vague and say stuff like, “we’re still waiting on a few tests,” and “we’re doing what we can to get her stabilized.”

Mac asks what their options are.

Dr. Schmidt swallowed hard and flattened his lips in frustration “I never thought I would say this, but I am currently wishing Dr. House was a real person. It’s definitely the kind of case he would solve.”

“The defendant made irreverent remarks to the distressed family, indicating that only a fictional doctor would be able to cure the patient.”

Daviles Copperman doesn’t know about House, M.D., and it’s somehow important to note that in this scene.

Charles never watches TV and lives in in his own world to a certain extent in that regard.

“He’s a fictional doctor on a TV show,” Mac explained. He knew that Charles was pretty out of the loop on subjects of htis nature no matter how popular or well know they were to most people. When Charles goes to big events with famous people he frequently must be told by his assistant who someone is––and why they are considered famous. He’s good at pretending he knows in those cases.

THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THIS BOOK IS DYING RIGHT NOW. IS THIS INFORMATION NECESSARY IN LIGHT OF WHAT IS GOING ON?

The doctor reiterates once again that he has no clue what he’s doing, and they ask if they can see Zort. Which means, of course, it’s time for another self-indulgent look at how emotional and sad everyone important would be if the author was tragically ill.

Oh please, you know that’s exactly what this is.

The image of me lying on the bed unconcious, with IV lines and tubes sticking out of me was hard enough for me to bear, but the scene was far worse for Mac and Charles. Mac stopped in the middle of the room and for a few moments couldn’t move; he had never seen anyone he cared about like that––and it was pretty shocking for him.

What about all the blood that’s going to be everywhere because she’s still hemorrhaging all over the place because they can’t find the cause for it?

While they’re in the room, Charles gets a phone call from Dela, which causes him to look “directly at Mac.” I didn’t feel like I needed to include the entire excerpt, but it’s important to me to point out how often someone looks directly at someone else. It happens thirty-four times in the book overall, and that’s excluding the times when people get “directly” in someone’s face or point “directly” at someone or direct their attention directly in the direction of someone else. It may not seem like a lot, but this isn’t a very long book and when coupled with all the times those same actions are repeated with “right at” subbing in for “directly,” it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Dela and Charles have a tense conversation about how the doctors aren’t going to know how to cure Zingardium Leviosa, and Charles suggests that Dela come to them in Las Vegas.

No. You need to bring her here as fast as you can. Tell them whatever you want. Just get her down here, and bring that boy, Mac, with you. I may need him, too.” Dela’s voice had shifted to sounding sure and strong, drawing on a talent she had to always sound confident, no matter the situation.

“Why can’t you come to us? That would be safer for her,” Charles pleaded.

Charlie, I need my tools and my altar––all that is here. Do you understand? I can’t do what I need to in a hospital room with people everywhere. The best thing for her––and her best chance––is for you to bring her to me as soon as possible.”

There’s a lot going on here. Right off the bat, I’m wondering why all of Dela’s dialogue is written in italics just because she’s on the phone. This isn’t a screenplay convention, as far as I’ve ever heard. But let’s talk about “I need you to move my critically ill, still-bleeding daughter out of the hospital and bring her to my house across the country because that’s where my altar and tools are. Let me put on my witchy pants and explain some shit:

  • Tools are helpful, but not critical
  • Tools travel
  • Hospitals tend to be accommodating (within reason) of patients’ and their families’ spiritual practices
  • Many witches have travel altars, like this:

A photo of my purse-sized altar, a converted Sucrets tin with a tealight candle, a smoky quartz sphere, a small stone skull, a brass pentacle, a very, very tiny deck of tarot cards, a seashell, and a cone of incense. The inside of the lid of the tin has a water color scene of the ocean

In fact, if you go on YouTube, you’ll see lots of videos where witches discuss their travel altars. Mine is made out of a Sucrets tin (and yes, those are incredibly small tarot cards) and includes only the stuff I think I would need out of my purse in a pinch to do like, a reading or some scrying or a very limited ritual, but there are so many people making bigger, suitcase-sized ones that are far more complicated. Traveling altars are 100% a common thing, and even if they weren’t, it’s still easier to transport magical tools and herbs and shit across the country than it is to transport a person who’s bleeding all over the place.

But whatever. I didn’t write this book. Thank god.

It’s okay, though, because Dela has had a vision or some shit and she knows exactly how this is all supposed to shake out.

What Charles couldn’t see was that Dela was sitting at a table with her cards out. I had to assume that she had a lit candle on the tabel as well, and some cards already laid out.

Screeching brakes. Why does Zug keep referring to her mother by her first name, when in the past she’s called her mom? Pulled memories or not, we’re still in Laparoscopy’s POV. Second, if she’s pulling memories and she can see that her mother is sitting at a table with her cards out, why can’t she see the candle or if her mother has laid out cards?

Dela closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, shuffling the remainder of the cards in her hands. She aid out three cards and placed them on top of another card that’s already lying on the table. She examined the cards carefully as if she were deciphering a code. That’s kind of how reading cards goes.

I’m sorry, I’m really confused as to what object, exactly, Dela is dealing with at the moment. Is she reading runes? Tea leaves? I feel like it could be cards, but I’m not sure because it hasn’t been mentioned enough.

You know what hasn’t been mentioned often enough in this book, either? Exactly what reading cards is like. I’m glad we have a page-long block paragraph to guide us:

For everyone it’s different, but there is a mixture of reading the cards and what they mean indiviudally––but also how they relate to each other. How they come up and in what order and what situation––and even how the question was asked––all make a difference in what they mean and say. Your guides are sending messages and it even depends on what all they want to tell you versus the lessons you may need to learn on your own. Beyond that when you are someone like my mom, and to a lesser extend me, who can actually see the future––or at least what is mixed in with what you can see and hear. Sometimes you can get very clear and direct answers and other times they can be much more vague. We all have Destiny to deal with. We all have some of that, some things we are just born to do. It’s not all Destiny, though––some things are open and subject to freewill. Only sometimes can you change your destiny but that is hard and is a subject for another time and a later book.

So, wait, is Lumbar Zuncture actually aware that she’s a character in a novel? I mean, I guess I can see that, but I don’t feel like it’s been consistently written that way. There I go again. Expecting consistency.

It is possible to change it for the better or mess it up. When you learn your lessons you move to new ones, kind of like levels in a video game. There are simply so many variables, which is why sometimes readings are crystal clear, and others are almost like educated guesses.

This is all information that a) has been repeated at least twice before in this book and b) is being inserted into what should be a tense and suspenseful scene as our HEROINE IS LITERALLY DYING.

Dela tells Charles that the cards won’t give her a clear answer and that Charles has to get Larvae to her as soon as possible, because of the moon phase:

With some kinds of spells and the whatnot, if the moon is waing then it will affect what you are doing in certain ways and when it is waning things will be effected in the opposite way. Waxing means it’s “getting bigger” on its way to becoming a full moon, and waning means it was already a full moon and it’s “going away.” If you are trying to start something with a love interest for instance, waxing moons are best. Though, for getting rid of, say, a broken heart that’s “taking away,” a waning moon is good.

Okay, but how about like, healing? Since that’s what the spell is going to be for? Or…wait. Dela said Mac should come, too, because she might need him. Please, please tell me that Zagat’s internal bleeding isn’t from a literal broken heart. I don’t have a hardcover copy of the book to throw in frustration.

Also, thanks, Lani, for explaining to your readers what “waxing” and “waning” mean because they couldn’t have figured it out on their own. Those are super mystical terms only really witchy people would understand and definitely not common terminology that’s been used to describe the moon for centuries, even in a non-magjikahl sense.

Also, side note, while the moon phases do have magical correspondences, if you need emergency healing magic, you can do that spell whenever. It helps if it lines up with the appropriate phase, but you don’t have to wait for weeks to try to help.

So, Charles tells Dela he’ll bring Zunk on his private jet, then tells the doctor that they’re going to take Lazi to a specialist in Tennessee.

“Your daughter is dying and you want me to discharge her so you can take her to a private practice in Tennessee?” Dr. Schmidt was obviously appalled that Charles was even suggesting such a thing.

Considering how Dr. Schmidt was just like, “I don’t know anything, gosh, I wish I was Hugh Laurie,” why would it surprise him that they want to take her to another hospital? Plus, why hasn’t he suggested a specialist in the first place if he doesn’t know what’s wrong with her? Charles even points that out during the argument.

[…] the words “Get her here as soon as you can or she can die” kept echoing in his head. Even though my mother never said those exact words Charles knew that was what she meant.

I guarantee this line sprung from an editorial note. “You have him thinking about Dela’s words here, but she didn’t say them.” Rather than scroll up a page and insert them, Sarem chose to just write that she never said them. It’s moments like these that I’m torn between not believing that there were any editors, let alone three, or if there were three different editors because the author didn’t like what they had to say and their changes were just too hard when writing the book was the smallest part of the overall scam she was planning.

We POV skew here:

He also thought about the idea of losing his daughter so soon after she had come back into his life and that thought crippled him.

No, he also thought about losing “me” so soon after “I” had come back into his life. Because you, Ziple Lutz, are the one narrating this part.

Dr. Schmidt looked at Charles dubiously. He didn’t think this was a smart idea in any regard. He stared directly at Charles and deeply into his eyes and, after a long, hard look, responded: “You have to sign a release that you understand this may very well kill your daughter.”

He looked at Charles, but then looked at him again, directly, and in an oddly romantic fashion.

He muttered something about how he didn’t need a lawsuit from the whole situation.

Which, as a doctor, he should know that signing the form declaring that you’re knowingly going against medical advice would remove pretty much any chance he’s going to get sued.

This whole thing, by the way, probably wouldn’t go down this fast. Despite the fact that Charles is Zani’s father, she’s an adult. The hospital is going to do whatever they can to dissuade Charles from making this decision, and they might even go so far as involving adult protective services. Getting all this done within a few hours is pretty unrealistic unless Zani was conscious and able to sign the papers herself.

Of course, maybe Nevada law is different. Maybe they let people just check their adult children with uncontrollable internal bleeding out of the hospital like it’s no big deal. There’s clearly a lot of painstaking research done in the rest of the book, so I’m sure that’s the case.

Mac argues with Charles about this, too.

“Zade’s mother can do quite a bit, son. Far beyond chicken soup. You have much to learn about this family. For starters, as you will soon see, I am actually the one with the least amount of ability.”

Alternately, Charles, you could just lie and stick with the specialist thing. But cryptic dialogue convinces Mac that Charles is right, and he says he’s going to go with them.

“Of course. You definitely should come. You’re needed, anyway.” Charles nodded and was thrilled that Mac had come to this conclusion on his own. Charles realized that convincing Mac to tag along was far easier than he thought it would be. Charles was about as pleased with himself as he could be considering the circumstances.

Then Sarem states again that Dela told Charles to bring Mac, because we forgot from a few pages ago.

Needed?” Mac asked. He was beginning to feel like he had walked into something bigger than he expected.

Charles nodded confidently. “Needed.”

And that’s where the chapter ends. Join us next time for yet another chapter where the heroine is unconscious but somehow still narrating this boring as fuck story.

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193 Comments

  1. Nanani
    Nanani

    Trying to rebrand as feminist, failing by using MRA-fave tell “FEMALES”

    That misogyny, it reeks.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • In her defense, I think that using the word ‘female’ as an adjective is fine. It’s when it’s used as a noun that I think it starts to sound potentially misogynist.

      I do have a problem with co-opting social justice movements for personal gain. And she’s not even subtle about it at all.

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      But think of all the important messages it sends to women, young women, and girls:

      1) Remain completely passive in your life and your man will be there to ‘save’ you.
      2) Don’t communicate with the important people in your life when you do something that will risk your life, especially if they’re needed to prevent danger to your aforementioned life! (You know, like even mention to Mac that he needed to stay at the control board to ‘ground’ her mag-eccch?)
      3) Hints of incestuous impropriety with your Dad is just A-OK!
      4) Being mean and vindictive to the point of serious injury to two complete strangers is A-OK!
      5) It’s perfectly fine for your man to be physically abusive to you when they get jilted when you appear to ‘make out’ with your Dad.
      6)Nepotism rules! Instead of, you know, learning how to do something that you have talent for on your own, go suck all the fame and fortune off of your famous Dad because it’s way easier to audition and get a gig than if you did it yourself! (And as an extension, if your own Dad isn’t wealthy with his own biz-jet, go find someone who is!!!)

      Did I miss any other valuable lessons?

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Did I miss any other valuable lessons?

        Chemistry is over-rated.

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
      • 7) Being hated by other women is the price you must pay for being worshiped by men, but it’s totally worth it!

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        8) It’s okay to categorize men into two boxes: fuckable and not fuckable. Gosh darnit, I hope a man isn’t prettier than I am otherwise I won’t date him!

        9) Don’t have any female friends, and only hang out with the guys because “you’re not like other girls!”

        10) Having an adult conversation about sex is a no-no!

        11) Racism against women of color is totally acceptable!! Hooray!

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          12. Complain if the other girls freeze you out of conversations. But if they try to draw you into a conversation, complain that’s it’s about frivolous things like shopping (which you describe in gruesome detail when it’s YOUR outfit) and ignore any indication that they might be trying to distract you and help you relax after a bar confrontation turned violent, in case you’re traumatized, rather than secretly gloating about guys fighting over you. Also ignored any cool stories goth chicks try to tell you, in case they’re more interesting than you are.

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • Mydog'sPA
            Mydog'sPA

            14) If a guy is hot but shows no respect for you, your lifestyle, or religion (or even ignores a severely injured bicyclist who crashes in front of you and he’s a ‘safety’ guy) go ahead and date him anyway because that will never be a problem for you in the future!!!!

            April 2, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            16) It’s okay to kiss a teenager who looks like your dad. It’s totally not weird, incestuous, or creepy!

            April 2, 2018
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            17) The world will always revolve around you.

            April 3, 2018
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          13) If you’re interested in a guy, don’t even tell him you’re interested or want to start a relationship so you can string it out for months and months while you find another relationship and get into a triangle. They won’t get mad!!! Or if they do, see #5. Men never get horny or would want an answer if you’re dating or not!!

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          15) Never learn this lesson: In real life the skills needed to start a relationship are the exact opposite of those needed to maintain one. Corollary: Life will always be like high school where no one ever acts like an adult or has adult (read: respectful) conversations!!!

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • You ladies seem like you’d be entertained by the likes of Sailor J. She’s on Twitter and YouTube. After trying to follow the boring, nonsensical plot of Handbook for Assholes, you might check out “Getting a Man 101” and “Contouring 101”.

            April 17, 2018
          • Evil!Blonde Bitch
            Evil!Blonde Bitch

            Sailor J is pure gold. Her humor kind of reminds me of Jenny’s.

            April 17, 2018
          • Evil!Blonde Bitch
            Evil!Blonde Bitch

            Rule 16: *Be* a pick me ass hoe. Shit on other females one hundred percent of the time, because you’re Not Like Other Girls (TM) and you MUST get a man to mate with you and your Technicolor dream hair.

            Hey look. Guess we’re writing a Handbook for Mortals! And it definitely stars Zippity Loppity Soo!

            April 17, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            Thank you, Kayenjee! I’d never heard of Sailor J before and now I know what true love is. She’s goddamn hilarious! XD

            April 18, 2018
          • Evil!Blondebitch, I believe they follow each other on Twitter. Definitely two peas in a pod.

            Dove, you’re welcome! I’ve seen you commenting around these parts many times, and I’m glad I could be of assistance 🙂

            April 19, 2018
      • Typoos mak U famus. Grammer iznt impotent.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
  2. “Nicholas also says, “It’s fun getting this project off the ground by connecting directly with people in the right environment. Plus, spending the weekend with other guests like Gregg Sulkin, Jason Momoa, Holly Marie Combs, Bonnie Wright, Sebastian Stan, Ian Somerhalder– it’s starting to feel like one big supportive family.”
    Based on the “getting the project off the ground” comment and then listing a bunch of actors, I get the feeling that Nicholas wants us to believe that the actors listed will be involved in the project. Like, right now, Nicholas and Sarem are angling to get Bonnie Wright to be Zade, or something. And they totally want Holly Marie Combs to be Dela. And while we’re at it, Sebastian Stan and Ian Somerhalder fit Mac and Jackson respectively. I don’t know who Jason Momoa would be. Riley, maybe? And who the fuck is Gregg Sulkin?

    Also, is anyone else really curious about what made Thomas Ian Nicholas sign onto this? Even if the screenplay was marginally better than the novel (as I suspect it was before modifying it for YA Franchiseability and also trying to adapt it into a novel), wouldn’t he really want to ensure that people’s first impressions of the project are, you know, positive? I’m really impressed that he’s not jumping ship. He seems just as invested in this as Sarem.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Nah. Jason Momoa plays Carrot Top. Gregg Sulkin does double-duty and plays Wayne Newton and the apparition on stage with a makeup change.

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’m really impressed that he’s not jumping ship. He seems just as invested in this as Sarem.

      Well, she is his mistress. 8D

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • For that to be the case, though, he would have to be ridiculously head-over-heels for her, because at this point anything less that that wouldn’t justify the time and money he’s sunken into this obviously ill-fated project.

        Even if TIN *weren’t* married, and he and LS were openly in a relationship/fucking, that’s a pretty high bar to meet.

        And when you consider that he *is* married with a kid, that just raises the bar of how into her he’d have to be to make such bad financial/time-management decisions.

        So really, whether they’re having an affair or not is irrelevant, because even if they hypothetically were, it’s almost certainly not enough to explain his ride-or-die devotion to this project.

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I was joking, but if we take it seriously, is there any proof that he spent money on this? As for time, Mr. American Pie isn’t doing anything different. Wasn’t he already on the convention circuit? Unless there’s something that I’ve forgotten about, I think he’s expecting this to put him back into the spotlight, or somewhere nearby. So, loving Lani Sarem as a friend or a lover (with or without his wife’s consent, though they apparently had another kid in 2016, so I’m gonna assume he’s pretty committed to her in some form), and getting some fame and fortune in compensation sounds reasonable enough. Plus, Sarem might not be beyond a little gaslighting IRL. :p

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • I don’t know if he was already doing convention stuff, but he’s definitely selling it as a Thomas Ian Nicholas project. He’s pretty invested.

            April 2, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            If only we could pull TIN’s wife’s memories about what he really says about Sorghum and her project when she’s not around.

            April 2, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            I don’t know if he was already doing convention stuff, but he’s definitely selling it as a Thomas Ian Nicholas project. He’s pretty invested.

            I agree that TIN is very invested, and he probably is caught in the grips of sunk-cost fallacy, but I don’t think it involves a significant chunk of his money or any divergent use of his time. I could be wrong, it’s pure conjecture on my part, but I think you’re making a lot of assumptions as well. That’s all I’m saying. 😛 😉

            April 2, 2018
        • Amy
          Amy

          He’s not even playing the main character, so he’s spending a good deal of his time/money/effort into a project where he’ll only be on screen for about ten minutes of the whole movie.

          I wonder if he’s even read the book. I know that Lani likes to trout FSG has bad reviews too but still made a buttload of money. So maybe this is what Ian believes too, that the fanbase is there regardless what the “fake reviews” say.

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            I wonder if he’s even read the book. I know that Lani likes to trout FSG has bad reviews too but still made a buttload of money. So maybe this is what Ian believes too, that the fanbase is there regardless what the “fake reviews” say.

            Yeah, I highly doubt most of her pals have actually read it, including good old Tad. Maybe he also expects to be hired on as part of the development team or something? Like a producer. 😛

            April 2, 2018
      • Sigyn Wisch
        Sigyn Wisch

        Maybe she’s blackmailing him. SHE HAS HIS WIFE

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d never read the book, only the screenplay, or even just Lani telling him what it would be about. He heard YA, female lead, magic, and probably saw dollar signs. And, considering he’s not an a-lister, or even a b-lister nowadays, there’s a good chance he’s sunk way too much money into this to back out now. Even if they actually did sell say 3,000 copies of the 18,000 reported to actual other people, the remaining copies would cost $375,000 not counting taxes. Add in anything they had to pay up front to get the books published, and he took a large hit even if he only paid half of that.

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I’m pretty sure most of the phone orders were canceled or never picked up since I’m betting a small publisher is mostly publish on demand. There is definitely some sunk-cost fallacy going on, but I expect they got some investors involved and aren’t paying as much out of pocket.

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
      • I know people make shit investments all the time, but this isn’t just some random gamble. He’s putting serious time/money into it; in a way, he’s probably even more interested in the project’s success than Sarem because it doesn’t seem likely he’s doing this because of a misguided artistic impulse.

        Like, OK, maybe he is just that stupid. Maybe he’s sunk-cost fallacy-ing it up. But this is sunk-cost of a whole ‘nother magnitude. Compare taking a $375,000 hit to a (1) $375,000 hit *plus* however much he’s contributing to the film’s presumably multi-million dollar budget and (2) the hit his professional reputation could take for being associated with this Razzie-bait vanity project. It’s a no-brainer.

        The novel, which is essentially just an elaborate marketing tactic, doesn’t make anyone want to watch this movie except for those of us who enjoy subjecting ourselves to perplexingly awful art. As LS astutely observed, many movies are based on books. But the only books that get made into movies are outrageously popular to begin with. And even then, they’re pretty big financial gambles: there have been plenty of movies based on popular YA franchises that have totally bombed. So if you’re going to release a book as a stealth-ad, it has to be *at least* readable. If you then go onto manipulate bestseller lists and buy positive reviews, shouldn’t it at least seem plausible that it got those on its own merit? It’s just a nonsensical scheme.

        If this were all fiction, TIN would be intentionally making a so-bad-it’s-good movie, and intentionally cultivating Lani as the sort of narcissistic creator-with-a-dream (eg, Ed Wood, Tommy Wiseau) that’s necessary to create something so un-self-consciously sincere and terrible.

        But this is real life, so he’s probably just stupid.

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Like, OK, maybe he is just that stupid. Maybe he’s sunk-cost fallacy-ing it up. But this is sunk-cost of a whole ‘nother magnitude. Compare taking a $375,000 hit to a (1) $375,000 hit *plus* however much he’s contributing to the film’s presumably multi-million dollar budget and (2) the hit his professional reputation could take for being associated with this Razzie-bait vanity project. It’s a no-brainer.

          I sincerely doubt TIN is dumb enough to pay for anything out of pocket unless his wife is also dumb enough to give him complete control of their bank account. They had a daughter in 2016. But regarding his reputation, maybe it’s more like he has very little rep right now, almost no one thinks about him, so he’s hoping that being apart of this project will get him more attention?

          If this were all fiction, TIN would be intentionally making a so-bad-it’s-good movie, and intentionally cultivating Lani as the sort of narcissistic creator-with-a-dream (eg, Ed Wood, Tommy Wiseau) that’s necessary to create something so un-self-consciously sincere and terrible.

          Well, Rifftracks does make money… Maybe he was hoping to sell the rights to them if it stank? XD

          But this is real life, so he’s probably just stupid.

          He is probably that stupid, but I still doubt he paid as much money as everyone is expecting. If he wasn’t married, sure, bachelors are a lot less responsible on average, but I don’t think his wife would let him. Even if he’s banging LS, with a blessing from the wife, I think she’d put her foot down at losing personal funds when he barely appears in movies or TV these days and seems to be getting most of his money from conventions. I don’t think even LS could convince her unless the wife is gullible and/or LS is way better at lying than I give her credit for. XD

          But hey, they could all be incredibly stupid together, or just really good at making terrible life decisions regardless of their intelligence. Doing something dumb is incredibly easy.

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • You’ve convinced me that I’m probably over-estimating his financial investment, but I still think it’s baffling that he’s actively associating himself so closely with something so obviously inept.

            I don’t know. I just figure that if he’s still involved, he believes on some level that it can succeed. And to me, it’s pretty clear that this is a trainwreck and has been for months, and if it does turn into a movie, it won’t be a good one. We can’t both be right, and he’s definitely privy to more information about the project than I am, so you’d guess that his assessment ought to be better-informed and thus more likely to be accurate. So of course that would indicate that there’s this paradigm-shifting information out there, and I want to know what it is, dammit!!

            But then we also live in a world where Donald Trump is president and Brexit happened and Nazis are making a comeback, so there’s no reason to expect that this bit of idiocy is anything more than just that.

            Which is why Capitalism will never work, QED.

            April 2, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            You’ve convinced me that I’m probably over-estimating his financial investment, but I still think it’s baffling that he’s actively associating himself so closely with something so obviously inept.

            Yeah, although in retrospect, he could’ve topped off the funds a little. As for ineptitude, well, maybe he’s hoping that bad press is better than no press? I sure as hell hadn’t thought about him at all until this novel came into my life. Also, LS might have convinced him of some scheme like The Producers, where a failure is more lucrative than a success?

            We can’t both be right, and he’s definitely privy to more information about the project than I am, so you’d guess that his assessment ought to be better-informed and thus more likely to be accurate. So of course that would indicate that there’s this paradigm-shifting information out there, and I want to know what it is, dammit!!

            Maybe he’s assuming it’ll be like Ready Player One? I’ve heard bad things, on the level of Sword Art Online, and yet it has Spielberg attached so it’ll probably make some money (especially from curious people.) Or more likely, he thinks it’ll be akin to The Emoji Movie? Tons of criticism, but it turned a profit at the box office apparently.

            If she can just sell the rights to this turd, she’d probably turn a buck. Maybe he’s hoping for that? LS may be pushing hard with outright lies (maybe she has no interest in self-producing and self-directing.) Maybe she’s just trying to garner interest and desperately hoping for someone to take it off her hands. There are lots of people following her actions and these blogs. Maybe LS is over-estimating the negative interest in her novel and hoping that also means there are a lot of hidden fans who are just too afraid to speak out? In general, she’s managed to get far more sympathizers than I would’ve expected. She could’ve convinced TIN and maybe he’s just not desperate for results yet. He might have better prospects than she does, so it’s not as big of a deal for him as it is for her? It’s also possible TIN isn’t closely monitoring what she’s up to and he’s mostly going on her erroneous reports, so his perspective is skewed. He might see some of it up close but only at conventions and book signings.

            These are my guesses.

            April 2, 2018
          • Athena
            Athena

            Why does everyone have to hate on SAO? ;.; I know it’s got its problems, but it’s nowhere near as bad as some things I’ve read/seen. Ready Player One though… oh boy. I can enjoy it if I don’t think too hard, but the second I do, I’m yelling at my car stereo, (audiobook while commuting), and that happens a lot.

            And to be clear, I doubt he shelled out nearly $200,000 on this (I didn’t think about the fact they could cancel the orders and them still count on the List), but he has to be either feeling a severe financial pinch from whatever he put into this, or he’s a massively better friend to Sarem than we’re giving him credit for. He might be pushing it so hard so, as someone else mentioned, they can sell the rights to this cowpie and wash their hands of it.

            April 3, 2018
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          I wonder if it was her plan to get on MST3K all along. I mean, *I* would feel totally honored.

          April 2, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Same, though I don’t know if LS can understand that kind of appreciation. XD

            April 2, 2018
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Wiseau is–and Wood was–passionate about making movies. That’s what sets their work apart from all the people who churned out crap for quick bucks. Cult classic crap is made with LOVE.

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
          • I don’t know enough about Ed Wood to speak with any authority about him, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say Wiseau was passionate about film-making. He knew literally nothing about film-making (or screenwriting, or acting). Sure, he loved watching movies, and acting was a lifelong dream, but The Room was blatantly meant to stroke his own ego. He may be pretentious af, and not have been as interested in his project’s financial success, but that doesn’t mean that The Room has (intentional) artistic merit.

            While Sarem is obviously not at all passionate about literature, I don’t doubt that she is passionate about movies in the same way Wiseau is. Even though her thing may be chick flicks (as opposed to capital-F Film), she, like Wiseau, has always aspired to act, and, when she was unable to succeed as an actress through conventional means, decided that she would move heaven and earth to get her vanity project made.

            There is zero doubt in my mind that HfM is a passion project for her. I think she wants (wanted?) it to help her become a movie star, but even just as a character in a story, Zade is a vehicle for wish-fulfillment.

            April 3, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Lani-Not Sarem:
            Both Wiseau and Wood may have suffered from Dunning–Kruger effect, where they had no idea how much they DIDN’T know about film-making (or screenwriting, or acting). If they’d been slightly less clueless, they would have seen the need to take workshops in any or all of the above.

            With Sarong, I think it’s more that she did know, but figured other people were too stupid to notice. That’s pretty much been her M.O. on all the sales shenanigans: just hope nobody spots it, and then make excuses in ten different (and mutually exclusive) directions if anyone does.

            April 3, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            With Sarong, I think it’s more that she did know, but figured other people were too stupid to notice. That’s pretty much been her M.O. on all the sales shenanigans: just hope nobody spots it, and then make excuses in ten different (and mutually exclusive) directions if anyone does.

            God, I hate to say this, but… I’m starting to think it was the Dunning–Kruger effect when she first wrote the novel. I mean, she definitely made some faulty decisions based on laziness, casual narcissism, and sloppiness, but some of her judgement was made out of naivete, without fully understanding the ramifications and frustrations this would create. Beyond that, I doubt she had any idea how skilled she was since this is presumably her first ever novel. Maybe she thought writing scripts would give her an edge. Would it? I have no idea, but I doubt it. She may have been able to assess her own scripts and maybe that’s where a lot of the more self-aware decisions come from.

            If she’s read every criticism of her novel since then, including the various things her three editors pointed out, she probably has wised up and she’s definitely trying to gild the turd after the fact, but she’s too reckless to slow down and improve herself. I think she miscalculated how much of a trainwreck she had, based on her interaction with her editors, and she didn’t know enough to think that all of their criticisms were valid. She clearly did get persuaded in some smaller instances, but she definitely shouted down the bigger mistakes, so I don’t think that was enough to educate her entirely.

            She’s probably learning more from the recaps people have done but only if she’s willing to open her mind to the possibility at all, which is really hard to discern when she’s doubling down on her original plan. That doesn’t excuse her decision to tout a product that she now knows isn’t as good as she initially thought. LS would be much better off ditching this novel and trying to start fresh but she absolutely has sunk cost fallacy at this point and excessive pride. She thinks that she could sell snow to the Inuit, which is annoying as all hell. God, is it remotely possible she hasn’t learned jack shit? That’s a little horrifying, if so.

            As far as Wiseau goes, I get the feeling he just didn’t give a fuck about other people and may have had internal pressures that inclined him to behave worse (possibly some closeted homosexual or bisexual inclinations, for one, and being a wealthy jerk effectively abandoned/foisted off by his family, as another.) That’s not an excuse by any means, but with some hindsight, I’ve perhaps given him a little too much credit. From what I know, he wasn’t a great person to work with and even though he took some acting classes, he obviously didn’t take a lot to heart. Maybe he had some personality disorders to compound things, but he could live on his own and he didn’t feel the need to seek any help, as far as I’m aware. He surely had no idea how good his writing was at the time, but he may have ignored how terrible his acting was in much the same way that LS does. He hasn’t made anything since the Room, and I haven’t exactly done a ton of research, so I have no idea if he knows or cares that his writing is shit.

            April 3, 2018
    • Lucy
      Lucy

      Nooo, I don’t want Jason Momoa or Bonnie Wright anywhere near this shit.

      I don’t know what TIN is getting out of this but it’s really strange. Maybe they are hoping it will be the next Twilight or 50 Shades. I just wish they would go away already. The facebook page for the Handbook for Mortals movie is a little pathetic.

      Does anyone know if any of the celebrities name dropped, or that had characters based on them have commented? If I were Jackson Rathbone or the Plain White T’s and linked to this shitfest I’d be pissed. I know a band LS managed made a comment on how they fired her for pulling weird stunts (as a comment on her NY times list fraud).

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • SofiaThatB*tch
        SofiaThatB*tch

        Jackson Rathbone isn’t touching that shit either. He agrees with the band you mentioned actually.

        April 6, 2018
        |Reply
  3. RedHanded Jill
    RedHanded Jill

    “Plus, spending the weekend with other guests like Gregg Sulkin, Jason Momoa, Holly Marie Combs, Bonnie Wright, Sebastian Stan, Ian Somerhalder– it’s starting to feel like one big supportive family.”

    And I’m sure they loved being name-dropped as if associated with this garbage.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • (Different) Rebecca
      (Different) Rebecca

      I’m certain, if approached and asked about the project/Lazy Summer, they’d all respond with a resounding “who?”

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • shel
        shel

        I would hope so… granted I don’t know much about the names dropped aside from some of their work… but I like to think they aren’t garbage people and they’d find this whole situation major bullshit.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • SofiaThatB*tch
          SofiaThatB*tch

          They’re just people they met in cons. I doubt they’re actually even in talks on joining the project.

          April 6, 2018
          |Reply
      • RedHanded Jill
        RedHanded Jill

        Oh, absolutely. It’s just such a try-hard PR move.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
  4. Elyssa
    Elyssa

    It’s baffling how she can make an entire chapter that’s supposed to be exciting and action-packed so fucking boring.

    Just one note on the concept of being “stable.” From what I understand, stable is a state of being, not the actual condition. Conditions would be something like critical condition, good condition, etc. Stable is like the condition of the condition. Someone can be in critical condition (what apparently Zoboomafo is in) AND stable – it just means they’re not getting any better or worse.

    BUT I could be super wrong.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It’s baffling how she can make an entire chapter that’s supposed to be exciting and action-packed so fucking boring.

      Dramatic, maybe. I doubt it’d ever be exciting or action-packed. On the one hand, part of the problem is the two different mediums (a movie versus a book and the former might be able to pull off what you anticipated) but on the other hand, this is all irrelevant and extremely convoluted. You could drop this entire chapter (the lead-up, the act, and the hospital) and jump to the next one without losing anything. While some clues would be necessary, it’d make everything tenser if we were gently fed tidbits of info instead of seeing it happen like this. Of course, that’s kind of the answer to everything. When she does explain things, she rarely focuses on anything important, and on a rare blue moon when that doesn’t hold true, she infodumps and she’s terrible at making it sound natural: either it’s filtered through her narrative voice but without much personality, or it’s just bland and pat (possibly even plagiarized or otherwise only vaguely altered from its inspirational origin.)

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      Stable refers to your vital signs. If they are within acceptable limits and don’t seem to be in danger of getting worse, they are stable. Yes, you can be in critical condition but your vitals be stable for the moment. That being said, I don’t think unstoppable internal bleeding with an unknown, unfindable cause would be given the stable label. ZuuZuu’s pulse and blood pressure should be all over the place. Even if they are constantly infusing her with blood to keep her alive, her vitals would probably be in a constant state of flux.

      The unknown internal bleeding is the problem. If Sarem had just written that Zinger had had a massive heart attack from the overuse of her magic, and now is in a coma, then she could be stable all the live long day and the most anyone could do, outside of magic intervention, is wait for her to wake up. Then it would be ill-advised, but much less insane to move her to a private practice (though all the way in TN is a stretch).

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        The irony is that every attempt she makes to include drama just raises further questions. If she had used any natural source of conflict available, we wouldn’t be in this position! But she insists on almost parodying herself because she has to be the best there ever was. It would be comical if she had any awareness whatsoever and the ability to chastise herself. XD

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
      • Elyssa
        Elyssa

        AH! Thank you so much for clarifying, Athena!

        I knew I was in the ballpark, but not actually totally correct.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
  5. In my last blog post I discussed how much I love hating this book and also noted that it would have died down “except Lani Sarem is the goddamn gift that keeps on giving” in that she’s throwing everything from fake reviews to stupid publicity stunts at this wretched piece of literature in an effort to get her fame.

    IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK. Nobody wants to read this dreck and female empowerment only works when the book isn’t a misogynistic mess. I don’t think the drama will ever be through, which is probably good for me since I’m sipping tea and laughing at the craziness.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      It’s funny how she seems to think “girl power” is going to work in her favor when the majority of the book reviews are going, “this book is sexist as hell.”

      Part of being a feminist is also acknowleging that women too can be sadistic, gross, sexist, racist, homophobic, mean spirited, ect, as well. Lani, I can’t support your work when it depicts women as jealous sluts. Just because you’re a female author does not give you an automatic pass for you to write sexist things. Just because I’m a WOC does not mean I shouldn’t try harder avoid racism in my work.

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Amen! XD

        April 2, 2018
        |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        Also her main character is a Evil Stepmother/Witch/Queen of every fairytale or movie especially aimed at girls. Like let’s check it
        -She gets the job because of daddy(hello the rich spoiled bully from the school dramas of all ages)
        -She hurts people because they bumped into her or spoke out of place(every evil ruler who punishes her servants and subjects/school bully)
        -She uses magic to do so(every evil queen or fairy that the actual heroes have to put down)
        -Has contempt for other people(see above)
        -Thinks she deserves everything handed to her and thinks she earned it or is justified because at some point someone or some people were mean or whatever which seems to be the case in her town(again, this is something a lot of villains do)
        Yeah…so much female empowerment. :P/

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
    • Sam
      Sam

      She read The Disaster Artist and got the wrong message. “Keep advertising, it’ll pay off eventually!!”

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
  6. 1. I adore your travel altar. It’s so cute.
    2. That book is godsawful, damn.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Leigh
      Leigh

      I like the travel altar too 8-).

      a word about alters. It is possible to have your altar set up at home (in bum-fuck-me, Tennessee) with at the “tools” that are not travel-ready, take a piece off the main altar, and use it, with the travel alt all laid out, to draw on the energy from the main altar. That’s a thing my old coven used to do when we would have outside rituals.

      I just don’t understand leaving a blood trail across the US considering (and I may be wrong) I think air travel makes internal bleeding worse because of the pressure.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        Yeah but that would require some sort of effort from Sarem. Like research or even going around asking covens about the things, and we know she is incapable of doing five seconds of simple google search on geography and weather which are like…wikipedia stuff

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
      • Sigyn Wisch
        Sigyn Wisch

        COME TO THINK OF IT, putting a grossly hemorrhaging person on a plane or jet or whatever the fuck creates a health risk for everyone else in this vehicle. Even if she’s clean, blood is unsanitary.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Now that you mention the logistics of this, I’d be more worried about drowning in the blood if she has a continuous flow the entire plane trip. I don’t know if she’s gushing but considering she lost enough to leave a pool for Riley to stare morbidly into, it’s reasonably substantial. I’m not sure how the change in altitude would affect that either. At the very least, their socks might get soaked, which is just gross on so many levels.

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          putting a grossly hemorrhaging person on a plane or jet or whatever the fuck creates a health risk for everyone else in this vehicle.

          Well, if you know the person is going to be bleeding the whole time before you put them in the plane, you can always slip them into a body bag and just not zip it up all the way as you load them into the plane. With the flick of a wrist you’re all set to zip it up completely if she doesn’t survive the trip. Saves the upholstery, which would cost anywhere around $50k to replace.

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            I like the way you stink.
            😀

            April 4, 2018
  7. Dove
    Dove

    Those lists that make their way around the internet with all those alternatives for “ask” and “said” usually don’t point out that some of their substitutes are used less often than others and as a result might stick out as stiff and archaic, interrupting the flow of dialogue. “Avoid ‘said’ and ‘asked’!” is such bad advice because it makes new writers feel like they have to consult a thesaurus. Here’s a writing tip: If you’re writing a fast-paced conversation like this, don’t be afraid of ‘asked’ and ‘said.’ This one isn’t Sarem’s fault. She just fell victim to some bad writing advice.

    I sort of didn’t know that advice existed. I mean, I try not to have too many dialog tags, especially if it’s a rapid conversation, but I usually stick with asked and said when I do. If I don’t feel that I need them, I drop them. If I need them, but don’t want a million ask and said, I drop in a line of short reaction that makes sense. My only regular variance would be replied if it’s a direct response and that feels relevant, yelled, shouted, or snapped if things get loud and/or aren’t going well, and whispered or murmured if it’s quiet, shy, or snide, where applicable. That for the tags. Without using any, I’d use a separate sentence to describe the tone, actions, or reactions that are part of the response to, or otherwise ignoring, the conversation.

    Shitty Off-the-Top-of-my-Head Example:

    “I hate men,” Zade said.

    “You don’t mean that?” Mac looked stunned.

    “I do!”

    “Wow. That’s crazy,” Mac said. “You’re such a great feminist, baby!”

    “Thank you! Do you want me to teach you how to be one too?” she asked.

    “Sure.” Mac nodded. “I’d love to hate men.”

    Is that good? I took creative writing in high school but I’m mostly self-taught, so I actually have no idea and I’m sure there are a lot of potholes I’ve sunk into. I’ve read a lot of random writing advice but more so on handling topics and ideas rather than the crunch of mechanics. :p

    What is her fault is not realizing that nods don’t have tones.

    I sometimes have dyslexic hiccups like this but editing tends to catch that. What confuses me is why he was nodding at all? Unless it was a short, sharp nod, since it’s only one word, but a slow nod sounds a lot longer. Did he finish up a nod he began earlier? XD

    You read that right. Zade lacks a goal. And motivation. And conflict. Those are three crucial intersections between characterization and plot. Without those three, neither the character nor the plot can be sustained. Letting the reader in on the secret of Zade’s parentage wouldn’t have just saved the plot. It would have created one in the first place.

    I think Lani Sarem wrote this novel, assuming these goals and motivations were there, but never actually allowing them to happen because she didn’t want to deal with that kind of conflict. So instead, while there couldn’t be any doubt about how pure and perfect the heroine was, at the same time the author was trying to do something stupidly sleazy in the name of romantic tension (that doesn’t actually exist) because she was trying to slap two different plots together: the bildungsroman of Zade and the love life of Dela and Charles. It’s frustrating as hell.

    I think it’d be possible to do both, although as I discussed in the prior comments section, getting the parents back together is a lot more awkward than the Parent Trap might lead one to believe. It’d make more sense to keep them apart but amicable or make that the main focus of the story and have Zade’s relationship with her dad be the subplot.

    Either way, it’s absolutely not a romance story, even though it’s masquerading as one. Having a wedding at the end doesn’t resolve this nonexistance.

    “But you were supposed to capture the homunculus! Where is it now? Did it escape?!”

    I cackled out-loud at this. XD

    Traveling altars are 100% a common thing, and even if they weren’t, it’s still easier to transport magical tools and herbs and shit across the country than it is to transport a person who’s bleeding all over the place.

    I didn’t even address this excuse the one time I started discussing how it’d be way more interesting if Delicious went to the hospital, instead of having them burn some gas to bring Zord home, mostly because I forgot what it was and I assumed it was BS. Thank you for this confirmation; especially the part about personal beliefs. I considered subterfuge because that’s what Charles and Dela seem to run on (and it adds a little more excitement), but I forgot all about religious rituals, and frankly, both could be combined in this case since I doubt the doctors would be happy about a random unsterilized epi-pen from outside the hospital.

    Also, I love that your altar has a picture of the beach and is small enough to fit into a pocket if necessary, though I certainly understand how some people might prefer to be as thoroughly prepared as possible by kitting out a suitcase.

    “Zade’s mother can do quite a bit, son. Far beyond chicken soup. You have much to learn about this family. For starters, as you will soon see, I am actually the one with the least amount of ability.”
    Alternately, Charles, you could just lie and stick with the specialist thing.

    I’m kind of dumbfounded he didn’t lie. It’s like… WTF? Does that mean Charles can glamour himself? “Least” doesn’t mean without any. And I realize he’s trying to conflate illusions with rail magicks by using the word “ability” but it just doesn’t work for me, especially since I don’t expect him to be a humble man, even if he knows he has Dela, and probably Zeb, to thank for his overall success.

    It’s a major nitpick when the dialog is consistently garbage, but I couldn’t help stumbling after I read that. Especially since he says “this family” which implies he considers himself among them already… Which is foreshadowing, I guess, but it’s just… Ugh. I hate this book so much.

    I’m just gonna go back to the theory that Jackson=Charles.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh, I forgot. I guess I use growled and snarled too… I mean, my point was trying to remember the most common. I guess yelled and shouted aren’t that common either. Eh. My point is, I don’t change the tags unless it makes sense for the connotation and I think that’s the golden rule, but don’t overdo it.

      I know people focus on dialog and kind of skim description (the former generally has more punch, unless it’s an info-dump, while the latter can be more divisive overall), but I feel indicators go best in the description, where you can explain more as necessary. The dialog itself and any necessary tags or short description should get the most relevant info across. Then again, I also try to keep tags with description to a minimum because it feels wrong to have a huge paragraph that melds the two together, except on rare occasions, which might not be true even if that’s what I think. :U

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        I remember being told the asked/said thing years ago and it’s always stuck with me. As an author, those words feel repetitive because of how often you use them, but as Jenny said, they’re practically invisible to the reader. On skipping dialog tags though, I’ve heard a rough rule of three. If the conversation is between two characters, you shouldn’t go much over three paragraphs of dialog without a tag just so the reader doesn’t get confused on who’s talking. I don’t remember where I got this rule, but I’ve been told it’s a good rule of thumb.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Ahh, thank you! Well, the rule of three crops up in writing repeatedly, so that sounds pretty reasonable. And you don’t want them to have to backtrack to remember who started talking first, so I think that works. 🙂

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          It is. There’s a long conversation between Brent and Stuart Tarleton in Gone With the Wind where even the author screwed up.

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
          • Athena
            Athena

            Doesn’t Scarlett always get them confused? I want to say that’s a thing, and if it is it’s almost a funny gag that they’re that interchangeable.

            April 4, 2018
    • Dove
      Dove

      Also, my sort of dyslexia (I don’t know a better term) crops up again. The reversal flows better.

      Mac looked stunned. “You don’t mean that?”

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        I like it that way round mainly because the stunned look would tend to come before the speech.

        April 5, 2018
        |Reply
    • Heather
      Heather

      I teach KS2 primary school children (7-11 year olds) and I tend to encourage them to get out of the ‘said’ and ‘asked’ repetition hole because I’m trying to teach them an expanded lexicon. I remember being taught to avoid said and asked as a kid too, for the same reason.

      When I went to university to study creative writing, the amount of adults still trying to fit every single dialogue tag they know into their work was ridiculous – it didn’t make their writing bad, of course, but it did make it stilted and almost comical imagining their characters performing these big, dramatic lines. It’s because they hadn’t been told anything different from the ‘said and asked are boring!’ thing we learnt as kids. I feel like Lani might be in the same boat with that.

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        That’s a good point. It’s not that the alternative words are bad, just that you have to make sure they work with the flow of the story instead of sounding like you shoved it in so everyone can see how smart you are for knowing it. I don’t mind having to look a word up, but if it’s clunkily used it’s annoying.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
      • Yes! I was taught the same thing when I was that age. It’s astounding how many people as adults only remember the “Ask and said are overused!” part and completely forget the “We’re expanding our vocabulary!” part.

        What usually ends up happening is they find a new word to abuse anyway, and it sounds clunky as hell. I don’t know how many times I’ve read “So and so stated” or “So and so spoke” in indie books that probably didn’t have an editor. It makes me cringe every time, because it sounds so awful. Not because the words are necessarily bad, but because the authors are using them as a replacement for a simple said, instead of, you know, properly.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          So and so opened his Word Hoard.

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Can I be a Word Hoard Dragon? XD

            April 4, 2018
      • Dove
        Dove

        That makes more sense. After thinking it over for awhile, I probably was introduced to that idea, but I always loved learning new vocabulary words so I guess the memory got fuzzy. I’ve probably heard both sets of advice and been waffling around for a while on my own, so I’m sure if I look at some of my old stuff, it’s in there.

        I think not a lot of writing classes explain the characteristics of good dialog? The big issue isn’t even about said and ask, but that they’re using extended talking head scenes and trying to figure out how to keep it interesting. I’d guess that’s why LS keeps using “directly” and all that when looking (other than maybe for stage direction purposes.) She knows just looking constantly lacks impact after a while (but then the abuse of “right at” does the same) and it’s easy to overuse simple expressions too. But she doesn’t treat the other characters like real people, so she can’t draw on personality or human concerns to figure out a unique response.

        I mean, this affects the descriptions too. Mac cuddling a woman vomiting blood without reacting to it, Tad commenting without trying to do something, Zeb being stunned but so on the ball, he just grabs anyone immediately trying to fall near him, and Riley going into Blue Screen of Death because he’s the “kid” character is a huge example, but most importantly none of what was said during those moments mattered at all. Like, even less than when Sofia almost died, and they didn’t give a shit about her. Without a crisis, it’s still the same BS puppetry.

        Eh, I dunno. I agree with the general assessments in this thread though.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
  8. Melz
    Melz

    I don’t laugh out loud at many things but your recaps have me snorting <3 Thank you for doing this

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  9. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    “the blistering female empowerment of Handbook For Mortals”–you mean like slut-shaming Sophia while Zaccheus is “the kind of girl you’d want to marry”?

    That ought to be Empowering for teens. Cause they don’t torture each other enough about that:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8aL_nZoJI

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  10. Amy
    Amy

    Considering how much blood Zade was spewing out, would those scenes make it into the movie? I’m imagining people covered in blood, their faces struck in horror, and I’m going, “Hmmm…. that seems too much of a tone-shift.”

    Man, I hate the Charles-is-Zade’s-dad reveal so much. Not only is it very obvious from day one they’re related, but it has one of my worst hated tropes of all time: if the characters would only sit and talk, then so much drama would be avoided.

    Just talk, dammit! If you wanted to keep it a secret from the rest of the crew, then ask Mac to keep it a secret! He’s freakin’ Superman, he understands the need for a secret identity!

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mydog'sPA
      Mydog'sPA

      Man, I hate the Charles-is-Zade’s-dad reveal so much.

      I still think Lani really wanted Charles to say to her: I am your father, Zuke! Search your feelings, you know this to be true.”

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Zucchini, you can destroy Sophia. She has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can put clumsy cyclists in traction and explode beverages on every pathetic food court serf in the entire mall!

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      Ok, now I seriously want to read an alien and a witch hooking up and keeping their secrets from each other. Someone make this happen!

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  11. Spacegeek
    Spacegeek

    “Now Riley is collapsing, too? None of these people are up to code.”

    Quality snark. A++, would guffaw again. 🙂

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      That one made me laugh like a hyena.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  12. Thank you for mentioning the whole ask/said thing. I get so frustrated when I read indie books that are littered with stated/spoke/inquire as replacements, and poorly used ones at that. My rant about said/asked is starting to become a recurring thing in my reviews of self-published novels.

    My co-author likes to use stated instead of said and I have to constantly remind him that it’s not a bad word before I change it. Not sure that it’s stuck yet. 😉

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  13. Queen of the harpies
    Queen of the harpies

    “The film is scheduled to shoot later this year, based on the book.”

    This reads to me like, “According to text in the book, the movie will begin filming later this year. ” instead of what I think it means which is, “The film based on the book is scheduled to shoot later this year.”

    This single, incoherent sentence convinced me that Lazy Seraphim wrote this review. Though I would not be surprised at all if a later chapter derailed a moment of dramatic tension by discussing how a movie about the last year of great life was set to start shooting in late 2018.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Tangled, her sentences are.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  14. Mydog'sPA
    Mydog'sPA

    Seeing as how the title “BlandBook For Chortles” is already taken, can we call today’s blog session: Snarknado: The Sarem years?

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  15. Anna T.
    Anna T.

    I have to ask – is the “waht” in the first excerpt an actual misspelling from the book, or a transcription error?
    . . .
    Regarding the book, I just have to say I prefer my surprise relative reveals to be a bit more, you know, surprising. Along the lines of: “No. I am your father.” With appropriate foreshadowing, it can be done fantastically.

    Of course, this book is both the opposite of fantastic, and included hints of incest, which is consistently gross no matter which way the author tries to slice it.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      I’m going to say that one’s on Jenny simply because she usually takes the time to point out when there are glaring typos like that in the text. If I’m wrong, I’m so sorry Jenny-sempai!

      Sorry, I’ve been anime binging.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  16. Blep
    Blep

    If she’s bleeding from everywhere and they can’t tell where or why, they won’t let her be moved, she’d be in quarantine in case she has some new hemorrhagic fever. Or because she’s an adultnin her twenties and this dude saying he’s her dad hasn’t proved it. I hate “mystery illnesses” that are vague and handwavey…make up something interesting! Put some effort in, geez. Like, it’s chaos magic, you can make up anything and then make it feel real by saying what would realistically happen. “Her body is rejecting her own heart and attacking itself,” “we can’t give her a transfusion she is having a reaction to all blood types even o-“, “did you know your daughter has eleven spleen and they are all bleeding?”

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      A very good point, with lots of amusing options, especially since I keep thinking of that episode of South Park where they assumed the Virgin Mary statue was bleeding from her ass and then they stopped calling it a miracle when they realized it was coming from her vagina ’cause menstruation is perfectly natural. XD

      April 2, 2018
      |Reply
  17. BloodyRose
    BloodyRose

    I work at a planetarium, and my job is to teach astronomy to kids. If I ask a group of sixth-graders “Does anybody know what this moon phase is called?”, it’s very rare that I won’t get at least one kid who supplies “waxing” or “waning” as part of their description.

    So, yeah, even completely stripped of any /mə ‘gɪk/, “waxing: and “waning” are used in ASTRONOMY to describe whether you’re seeing more or less of the lighted half of the moon each night.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  18. Cris
    Cris

    “Please, please tell me that Zagat’s internal bleeding isn’t from a literal broken heart.”

    Unfortunately we all know this is exactly what it’s going to be. Or at least something equally stupid. Far it be from Lonnie to put any effort whatsoever in this garbage book.

    And honestly, if she was so reluctant to write from POVs that don’t belong to her self-insert, why did she make Sade fall into a comma instead of being concious of what’s happening to her? She could still be in mortal danger and be awake, those states aren’t mutually exclusive. That would avoid the absolute tension killer of having the commatose character relate all the events that happened while she was out in past tense therefore implying she survived, because of course there is no space for stakes here. Consequences and agency are myths perpetuated by jealous bitter excuses for writers and readers who want take a shot at Leeniehh’s all time classic, super feminist masterpiece.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  19. Rin
    Rin

    “females”

    ugh.

    April 2, 2018
    |Reply
  20. shel
    shel

    Ugh… this is such a slog…

    And I know not everyone has lots of experience with hospitals and doctors and stuff, and I even know not all writers make an effort to research everything for small scenes in their books… but come on. There is no such thing as the “head doctor of the hospital” unless you are talking the chairman or something… and even then, they don’t do a lot of hospital work anymore, especially in a large hospital and in the middle of the night. They would either be dealing with an ER doctor to get her stabilized for transport to the ICU or an ICU attending. A hospital has lots of departments and the “head doctor” may not be an ICU doc

    They also wouldn’t wish House was around, because he’s a shitty doctor on TV. (I even liked the show, but man, he sucked!) They would be doing tests and giving her transfusions and platelets and shit to stop her bleeding while asking a million history questions- especially finding out Charle’s is her dad- they’d be asking family history questions, and questions about WTF happened before the blood spewing began. I mean, sure Labetalol could have skipped all of that in her mind reading, but it sounds like the doc walked in and got kicked right back out.

    It’s just so dumb!! And clearly, wrong medical stuff is a huge pet peeve of mine. She could sign herself out AMA, but they’d have a bit of a fight to get her out of the hospital if she’s still bleeding everywhere… and unless this is magical fake blood she’s bleeding, it sounds like the amount of blood she’s lost would be enough to kill her… so get going on those chest compressions, folks!

    This memory POV is ridiculous.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      “She could sign herself out AMA, but they’d have a bit of a fight to get her out of the hospital if she’s still bleeding everywhere… and unless this is magical fake blood she’s bleeding, it sounds like the amount of blood she’s lost would be enough to kill her… so get going on those chest compressions, folks! ”

      None of them could sign her out because she’d still be in surgery until they found the source of the bleed and cauterized it. Surgeries can go on for nearly 24 hours in severe cases, they don’t just put you back in your bed to keep bleeding to death while they sit around and just think ‘well gosh golly gee, I don’t know where all this blood could be coming from!’ They’d have her in surgery with multiple forms of imaging, probably being kept at a low temperature to decrease her heart rate to decrease the speed of the bleed out.

      After every imaging test came back with no sign of where the blood was coming from and no sign of her dying from blood loss, they’d eventually stop the surgery, but they’d start running labs on the blood to see if it’s even blood, and they’d not let her out of the hospital until those labs came back. And given that there was no sign of trauma and no one saw any trauma, they’d start to think it was a disease, and have to take preventative measures to make sure it’s not contagious before she could be released. Anyone that touched the blood would have to come in until the lab results came back… It would be a HUGE deal. But in Lani Sarem’s world the doctors are just so gosh darn stumped! I guess as long as you sign a form you can take her in your private jet instead of us having to medi-copter her to her specialist after we talk to them and get their credentials and information about the disease the specialist would have some knowledge of before hand! Unconscious people who need a constant supply of fresh blood can toooootally go on a private jet, her daddy said it was okay!

      I tried to not talk about the doctor shit ‘cuz it pisses me off so much but I failed…

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • shel
        shel

        Right? If she were somehow conscious and wanted to sign herself out, she could try.. but I’d find it hard to believe she was bleeding that much if that’s how the story played out… They could have easily had her just in a coma or something, without the bleeding everywhere… meaning she’s in a condition more stable for being movied… but uncontrolled bleeding is not stable in anyway. I still think she’s lost so much blood she should be dead by now… is there any mention that she’s hooked up to blood transfusions? There is a critical level of blood loss that the body cannot recover from… It’s just so ridiculous, like all of this story.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Just looked it up, House ended back in 2012.

      Seven years isn’t that long and I wonder if the show is still relevent enough for kids to get the reference. Even if the show was still running, the fact Lani had to pause the narrative so she can Ready-Player-One us is cringy as hell.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      and unless this is magical fake blood she’s bleeding, it sounds like the amount of blood she’s lost would be enough to kill her…

      OMG. Well, she DID just come from an illusion act. My new headcanon is that Zadon is spewing fake illusion blood but they can’t find the source and they’re worried that some kind of contraption backfired, then got lodged somewhere bad, so random surgery is probably necessary but awkward? And Charles won’t tell them anything because he’s a dick and proprietary concerns. The chaos magicks thought it would be funny. XD

      Also, I don’t know much, far less than you must, and I didn’t care enough to do proper research, but even I could tell the doc was garbage. Fun fact: he’s named after one of the three editors! The only one who made it to the acknowledgements section, or so I’ve been told. Lani-Not Sarem pointed that out on her blog. 😉

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Chuck Tingle’s next title: Alien Malfunctioning Butt-Plug Spews Illusion Blood Out of My Ass.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          *is dead* XD

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
  21. Tez Miller
    Tez Miller

    Ach, the name-dropping in the press release! Don’t drag these people into your shit! All they did was attend and event – that doesn’t mean they had anything to do with you! *insert Mariah Carey “I don’t know her” gif*

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
  22. Mike
    Mike

    …Wait… Mac thinks about how much things in ‘the last few days’ make more sense now, but they’ve been working on this new illusion for at least over a month at this point and he’s been suspicious since they started working on it. Is he still suspicious about everything else or is she bad at keeping track of her own time jumps?

    The doctor stuff is all so painful I just can’t even begin to think about it without my brain shutting down.

    She goes on and on in this about how painful it is to go through all this because it’s hard for her to see herself like that and she’s feeling their emotions too (though I did notice she doesn’t seem to say she feels bad that they went through that only that it’s painful for HER to have to deal with their emotions, but maybe I just skimmed and missed that) but that she MUST get the information of what happened while she was unconscious. Why? What information is she gleaning from their memories that she couldn’t have gotten from them just saying things? Other than Lambo girl which she wouldn’t have known about before going into their memories and thus that can’t be the motivation. As far as I can tell (with full spoilers of the remaining chapters) there’s nothing. She is putting herself through pain and reliving their pain, just because something happened while she was unconscious and just hearing other people telling what happened isn’t good enough. How DARE something happen without her presence! How dare any information not be available to her! She must invade the privacy of her loved ones to ensure they can’t leave out a single detail and make sure that they are suffering sufficiently!

    Honest to god Riley would have been fired so many times in real life… He is part of the safety team yet he can’t handle the people he’s keeping safe, he can’t stay calm when things go wrong, and he freaks out to the extent that other people need to deal with him instead of the actual injury. I understand being upset in these situations, I understand that, particularly for someone fairly new and young, seeing severe injuries can be horrifying and SHOULD be upsetting. But when you’re a member of the safety team you have to be able to hold that shit in until the situation is dealt with. It’s literally your job. You deal with that shit, THEN you freak out LATER. If you can’t do that, you’re not suitable for the damn job. What if she’d actually needed help from him?! What if he’d been the one she collapsed onto instead of Zeb and he freaked out and collapsed and they both ended up useless on the ground? Under non-magical circumstances he could have killed her! But I mean, it IS Zade. She’s the most amazing person on the planet and he wouldn’t be able to function if something were to happen to her, so it’s totally justifiable in this instance <_< So sayeth the Real Vegas Performer who declares that deaths and serious injury happen all the time and people just shrug it off and go about their day uninterrupted.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Nocturnal Queen
      Nocturnal Queen

      That people who works at the show are terrible but somehow still gets to stay is one of my main complaints on almost all the chapters so far! Charles apparently fired some guy before because he for some reason didn’t like him even though he was a good worker but all these terrible people gets to keep jobs they’re not even good at! As I’ve said before, I have seen businesses owned by criminals being taken more seriously and treating their employees better. That Charles and this show has achieved any form of success is a miracle considering a lot of them can’t do their jobs! At this point I’m wondering if they even have a serious show at all or if it’s just some sort of front for money laundering.

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        If this were a real show that actually had to be held up to code and got inspected they’d have been shut down so fast… The safety director doesn’t know how the primary acts are being done and thus can’t prepare to ensure safety, employees are going up onto the catwalks BEFORE getting into their harnesses which should be worn before even climbing up, safety techs are LETTING them get up onto the catwalks before getting into their harnesses, the staff are being asked to assist with acts they don’t even know about and haven’t been allowed to rehearse, the safety director doesn’t seem to be paying attention at all, far as we can tell no new procedures were put into place after the severe workplace accident that sent someone to the hospital, the safety director is for some reason manning some kind of switch board during a show? It seemed like she was suggesting he needed to be doing something technical during the performance? When what his job should have been would be simply watching and making sure his team was prepared to respond with the appropriate measures if something went wrong, measures they couldn’t have been prepared for if they didn’t know the act? And if he was supposed to be manning something during the act then he couldn’t have been doing his job as safety director because he would be distracted making his response to safety issues slower and thus leaving him unable to direct the safety crew as would be suggested by his job title of safety director?

        Not to mention how the owners girlfriend was injured on the job that she does for him, after a serious shakeup to the show got her knocked down a peg. Were I the police I would be investigating that place to see if it maybe wasn’t that he and her were fighting and he decided that maybe an ‘accident’ could happen during rehearsals. Plus you know, just the litany of potential workplace sexual harassment violations that opens up.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          They’d have better safety measures in a community theatre production of “Peter Pan.”

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
  23. Rachel O'Riley
    Rachel O'Riley

    “(who absolutely wrote this press release herself, as no one who does this as their job would write a press release that included so much information completely unrelated to the main point)”

    This is the only thing I’ve ever read on this blog that I disagree with! I’ve worked a LOT of magazine/newspaper/publicity jobs where I depended (or was SUPPOSED to be able to depend) on press releases for some of our content, and girl, you would be AMAZED how much fluff some people would send us that meandered all OVER the damn point without getting to it. You want my travel magazine to promote your Bavarian Chocolate Festival? Great! I have (maximum) four column inches I can devote to that and my boss would like me to have it done in 15-20 minutes. But, alas, you sent e FOUR PAGES of crap I have to wade through, showcasing your sparkling prose…..but, darn, you neglected to give me the festival dates, cost if any, examples of what I’d see/do if I go and, oh yeah, some CONTACT information for people who are interested.

    *Sigh*. Sometimes, PR writer wanna-bees, less is more.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      So much this. Used to be an assistant editor at a small paper and press releases were awful. I always re-wrote them.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Stormy
      Stormy

      My company switched from a PR distribution company that had a 600-word limit to one that had no limit and we all nearly cried, because we knew my boss would take that as tacit permission to draft 1,200-word press releases. And lo, it did come to pass.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Rachel O'Riley
        Rachel O'Riley

        (Weeps)

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
  24. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    “It certainly is for the girl at Hot Dog On A Stick who’s covered in broken glass and lemonade.”

    Don’t forget the cyclist who may never walk again. or Sofia who’s near death by drowning was completely ignored.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
  25. “Of course. You definitely should come. You’re needed, anyway.” Charles nodded and was thrilled that Mac had come to this conclusion on his own.

    But Mac didn’t come to the conclusion on his own. Charles literally just told him to come. In that paragraph.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Nah, right above the quote, Jenny says that Mac says he’ll come along, then Charles reacts and more unnecessary dialog happens.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  26. I’m screaming at all of this but especially that doctor.

    I actually practiced med mal defense, back in the day, and if we’d been handed this case there’s a very good chance I would have called that doctor’s med mal insurer and said, “Yeah, we can’t win this, let’s just pay a settlement and see if we can get an NDA to preserve what’s left of Dr. HeadDoctor’s reputation as a former physician, which is all he’ll have once the state board gets through with him.”

    I did not practice in Nevada, though, so maybe doctors there really are just talking shrug emojis, idk.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, doctors are more or less reassuring for a reason. People expect them to sound like they have answers or will have them soon, just so they don’t panic. If anything, you’re more likely to stumble across a doctor who’s too stubborn about their diagnosis being right when they’re actually wrong. But if he has no idea, he’s going to make it sound like he might soon or mention some theories, as Blep noted. ;P

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        Like Jenny or someone else said “we’re still running tests” would be more likely answer or “the surgery is still on, we’re still fighting. I will update you as soon we I have new information”

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Exactly. :p

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
      • small jar of fireflies
        small jar of fireflies

        And modern medicine works in teams. The doctors would have said “well, we don’t have a diagnosis yet, so let’s cover all the bases” to the techs. The techs would be trying to review for everything from bacterial infection to poisoning. There’s all kinds of bases to cover: networking with other hospitals to be sure no matching cases were coming in, reaching out to specialists to see if they recognized the highly unusual presenting symptoms… it’s not one person saying “well, I dunno, medicine is hard and bodies are very confusing, all kinds of mysterious things happen to them.”

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          it’s not one person saying “well, I dunno, medicine is hard and bodies are very confusing, all kinds of mysterious things happen to them.”

          It would’ve been better if that was what he said. It’s a much better joke than “I miss House.” XD

          But point well made overall. Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to miss that teamwork from the patient’s POV, but the scene from the novel still felt like improv in a hallway, especially with Lambo Girl inserted into the scene.

          “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!” Mac said.

          “No, you’re not,” she said. “I am.”

          Then the strange girl smirked and continued onward, to parts unknown.

          “Oh.” Mac was stumped. He’d been expecting an apology. “Carry on then!”

          “I don’t need your approval for that,” she called over her shoulder.

          Zade couldn’t see it, because Mac couldn’t, but judging from her tone, she imagined Lambhorgini had rolled her eyes.

          Charles was so busy staring at the woman’s ass, even after she disappeared up the stairs, that both the doctor and Mac had to snap their fingers several times to get his attention. He liked his women sarcastic. It was something Zade would have to remember well.

          (I wonder if Doctor Editor got such an ignoble honor because he pointed out how one appearance from Lambo Girl wasn’t enough, and Lani agreed and asked if he wanted his name in the novel? Then the poor haggard bastard gave up and said yes, knowing full well who the only unnamed asshole was and that she was finally taking that suggestion to heart too.) XD

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Ugh, really wish we had an edit feature. In my defense, I just took the first sip of my morning coffee, but I know sarcastic wasn’t the right word… maybe Zade doesn’t though? *shrugs like the good doctor*

            April 4, 2018
  27. Anon
    Anon

    “The head doctor…of the hospital. This is the way a child would write a story. THE VERY MOST SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT DOCTOR WHO WAS THE BOSS OF THE WHOLE HOSPITAL.”

    Because only the head doctor would be wearing a white coat …

    I’m reading this at work and trying to swallow all my laughs. If I get fired, I blame you!

    Why does Dela say “down here”? Since when is Tennessee “down” from Vegas? Makes it sound like she’s downstairs in the actual hospital.

    I hate this book and I have only read your posts about it.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Don’t you usually get whoever’s on call anyway? They might call in a specialist after you’ve been triaged and given whatever initial measures they think will help, but the attending would make that decision.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        That’s what I was thinking, but due to Charles being a huge deal, I wonder if this head doctor was like, “if i save Spellman’s kid, he’ll donate lots of money to the hospital!”

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          This was after a night performance, wasn’t it? Head Cheese or whatever he is wouldn’t be there after normal business hours, when he dealt with the fundraising and the grants and the schmoozing with the media. He wouldn’t appreciate being called away from a charity dinner, and if he didn’t have one scheduled, would they really make Bleeding Betty wait untreated while they page him away from home where he is in a bathrobe, sitting with his feet up, binge-watching Harlots or something with his latest trophy wife?

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            Good point. Unless the person in question is like, the mayor or president, head doc is not going come out for anything less.

            April 4, 2018
    • Dove
      Dove

      Why does Dela say “down here”? Since when is Tennessee “down” from Vegas? Makes it sound like she’s downstairs in the actual hospital.

      Everything is down when you’re in the South? She probably has no idea exactly how big Nevada is or that it’s roughly along the same lateral line as Tennessee. I mean, I had to check a map because I don’t think about those two states together and they’re so far apart that it’s pretty irrelevant. It would’ve made more sense if she’d said: “over here.”

      I find the idea of Dela already being in the hospital when she called him infinitely more amusing though. What if she just teleported into one of the empty rooms, knowing it wouldn’t be in use while she needed it? Then she set up all of her stuff there and she didn’t want to move it again because time was ACTUALLY of the essence and she was trying to be discreet. Now that would’ve been pretty cool. XD

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        What if she just teleported into one of the empty rooms, knowing it wouldn’t be in use while she needed it? Then she set up all of her stuff there and she didn’t want to move it again because time was ACTUALLY of the essence and she was trying to be discreet.

        Piffle! You silly! Didn’t you know you can’t do that because of the rules of mag-ecch?

        Oh, wait, the rules were never defined?

        Oops . . . . .

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeah, I mean, it’s not as exciting as a dimly lit tarot card spread, or waving your hands like an orchestra conductor to the sound of whimsical music, or being in an existential void while you puppet various clay animations across the stage in a manner that would make Wes Anderson weep with shame, but I think it just might work! If only we didn’t have to contend with all of that intricate world-building! DAMN her intensely creative and meticulously proficient genius! Yet I can’t stop loving this web of sultry lies she weaves so expertly… *shakes a fist at the heavens and cries a single tear*

          Oh, right, right. Where were we? *gets out another red pen because the previous one is already long dead*

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            Wait. I thought all mag-ecch could only be performed when a Theremin was playing?

            There men. There castle.
            (Sorry. Old joke. You’d have to be my age to get it.)

            April 3, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            There men. There castle.

            I’ve seen that movie, but I had to google it because I didn’t get the joke at first. Igor in Young Frankenstein is fantastic but of course, the writing overall is lovely. Then again, Blazing Saddles is my favorite Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks team up, though Wilder apparently had nothing to do with the script on that one. XD

            April 3, 2018
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            Excuse me while I whip this out
            . . .
            Oh, Oh he’p me! He’p me! He’p me! Somebody He’p me! He’p me! He’p me! He’p me! [gruffly] Shut up!

            [covers his own mouth, pushes himself into the office]

            Oh, baby, you are so talented–and they are so dumb!

            * * * *

            But of course I’ll have to leave it with:
            Blücher !

            wiehiehiehiehiehiehie!

            April 3, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            “No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.”

            And those poor horses. XD

            April 3, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            I went as Frau Blucher this last Halloween. I carried a little toy horse from the dollar store and every time someone identified my character, it reared up and I neighed.

            I think we had a discussion on another thread about just what she had done to the horses to provoke that reaction.

            April 3, 2018
  28. Stormy
    Stormy

    Plenty of novels have taken dramatic POV shifts when the narrative calls for it. It ups the tension because suddenly, there’s no guarantee that our former POV character will make it out alive! There was no reason for her to try and tack Zade into every paragraph, especially when she did it so badly. These ill-defined powers are just an excuse to keep making up shit as the plot demands. It also highlights the re-occurring question: is Zade in control of her powers, or isn’t she?

    I keep saying this over and over (mostly to myself as I read through this), but it’s just so amateur. Everything: the writing, Sarem’s response after the fact, her attempts at “damage control” through review wars and sock puppets…I literally got this all out of my system when I was in my teens writing fanfiction and publishing it online, and Sarem is not that much older than me. That this all sounds like something I would have written/done at 13 isn’t me being some kind of advance genius; it’s her being way, way behind.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      Also, with the modern love of shocking plot twists, the reader can never be sure that there won’t be a dramatic “the narrator was dead all along” reveal. See Legend, the film about the Kray Twins *spoiler* narrated by the dead wife.
      Well, I say never, but there is one way to avoid that sort of plot twist, and that’s if the narrator goes out of her way to inform us that she survived and thought back on those memories later. That’ll suck the tension out of the situation very efficiently indeed.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      Also, with the modern love of shocking plot twists, the reader can never be sure that there won’t be a dramatic “the narrator was dead all along” reveal. See Legend, the film about the Kray Twins *spoiler* narrated by the dead wife.
      Well, I say never, but there is one way to avoid that sort of plot twist, and that’s if the narrator goes out of her way to inform us that she survived and thought back on those memories later. That’ll suck the tension out of the situation very efficiently indeed.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Also, with the modern love of shocking plot twists, the reader can never be sure that there won’t be a dramatic “the narrator was dead all along” reveal

        Yeah, ‘modern’ plot twists and all, see Sunset Boulevard circa 1950.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
        • HerImperialMaj
          HerImperialMaj

          To clarify, plot twists have always been a thing and people have always been excited by them, but in a post-modernist, narrative-defying, genre-deconstructing culture, we pretty much expect them at this point.

          April 3, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            Actually, I’d rather a story have a viable PLOT first before actually attempting a plot twist. In this thing the main character lacks a goal, motivation, and has no conflict throughout the book, she puts herself into jeopardy with the ‘new’ act by NOT telling Mac she needs him on the control board, and remains passive IN A COMA throughout the ENTIRE ACT III.

            Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

            April 3, 2018
  29. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    So we’ve already established how ridiculous it is to try to move a hemmoraging patient with an unknown illness. But on top of that, moving her by private jet?! This is careening into E.L. James “you can do literally anything you want if you have money” logic. Medevac helicopters and planes are specially outfitted. You can’t toss a gurney into a civilian private jet, duct tape the IV to the window, and hope for the best.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      This is careening into E.L. James “you can do literally anything you want if you have money” logic.

      That sort of idea can work: most of the problems in the world will go away if you throw enough money and therefore other resources at them, but if realism is involved, it’s not always expedient, it requires knowing what is necessary, and you’d want experts involved or to train some future experts who can make actual progress. Like anything, it’s only a bad excuse if you use it to cut corners. XD

      You can’t toss a gurney into a civilian private jet, duct tape the IV to the window, and hope for the best.

      Picture this: Mac and Charles sat in stony silence the whole ride there, staring straight ahead at whatever movie was on at the time, earbuds in and headphones on, with the only noise being the gurney and its patient jostling around loudly as they hit turbulence over the mountains. No one bats an eyelash when the drip tears off, the gurney goes rolling, and the whole thing slams into the back of the cabin with a horrible thud and falls over sideways, ramming Zade’s mysteriously bleeding head into one of the passenger seats before she hits the floor cause the straps are shit. Both men keep watching and only Charles looks over his shoulder after a few seconds. Then he jumps up, cuffs Mac to get his attention, and they hustle to jury-rig her up again, saying nothing about the incident to Dela when they get to the airport. But Zade looks pretty mussed and even paler than before and Dela just GLARES at Charles.

      “I specifically instructed you to hire a proper medic plane!”

      “But this was so much cheaper. C’mon! Why ELSE do I have this jet?”

      Dela facepalms. “This is why I left you, Charlie.”

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        If only the ambulance had “Willoughby” on the rear window.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
      • HerImperialMaj
        HerImperialMaj

        You’re right, money opens a lot of doors. But what people with money or any measure of common sense realise is that money opens those doors by allowing you either to be able to afford to purchase what you need for a situation or pay off enough people to turn a blind eye to the plan. It does not mean that the expensive stuff you own will magically be appropriate for the situation. So yes, Charles could probably have afforded to get his hands on a medical evacuation aircraft, albeit illicitly. Given enough forewarning, he could also have had his own plane retrofitted with the proper equipment. He cannot instantaneously turn a private passenger plane into a medical vehicle, no matter how much Letting Zoo screams, “But mooooooooooney!”

        Your scenario, however? Flawless.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
      • The Inconstant Gardener
        The Inconstant Gardener

        And now I am remembering that bit from the first Airplane movie, with the girl on a drip and the nun with a guitar.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
  30. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    “These characters talk about “making out” so much that this might as well be a high school AU of itself written by a thirteen-year-old who can’t go spicier because her mom might read her notebooks.”

    I was shaking out like a dirty animal at thirteen, and my notebooks we’re a HELL of a lot more graphic than this. Of course, I’d been hiding them for years.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Urgh! MAKING out. WERE a hell.

      I HATE you, Spellcheck!

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      It’s such an awkward word to use. What was wrong with just saying, “I turned away before she kissed you.”

      People are naturally lazy and will use the shortest, easiest words to describe something. I’m trying to saying to say that sentence out loud and I keep tripping over it. Than again, I do have a mild speech disorder, but still.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  31. whimbrel
    whimbrel

    That press release went to 75 different outlets. It looks like they’re going with the ‘propaganda leaflets’ method of coverage…

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
  32. Gretel
    Gretel

    That fucking bitch broke the fourth wall.
    That made me so angry because it’s not only Ziterella breaking the fourth wall and basically saying “Yeah, I’m awesome and my book is fucking amazing” it’s the author talking to the readers and saying: “Yep, there’s gonna be more books because I know for a fact how fantastic my writing is! In fact, I’m so in love with myself that I’m absolutely 100% certain that the books are going to be a raging success and you’ll want to have more! So I’m teasing future installments because I know you’re thirsty for my prosaic haemorrhage.”

    The audacity she has, the sheer arrogance in claiming to know that people will want more of this, is making me bleed from my eyes.
    Fuck that cunt.

    Also, the third-person-first-person-POV shtick is the most self-centered garbage this book has given us and that’s saying a lot.
    This woman. This fucking woman.

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      The audacity she has, the sheer arrogance in claiming to know that people will want more of this, is making me bleed from my eyes.
      Fuck that cunt.

      Wait until we hit the last chapter. You’ll scoop your eyes out with a spoon to ease the pain… OR WILL YOU?!

      The End

      I’d like to thank my mother for nothing, my father for something, my second mother for rating H4M as 1 star, Jenny Trout for being the surviving editor (shhh, just go with it), and like fifty other people who are all from the comments section. You’ve been great!

      Immediately after that, you’ll want to get a friend to put your eyes on some ice and call a doctor who doesn’t tell you how useless he is. We’re not done yet. You have to keep reading to see the original ending… er I mean, the teaser chapter for book 2. That’s right… OR AM I?!

      Shit, I’m stuck in an infinite loop now! *runs screaming*

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        HfM-ception! GAAAAAAAHHH!!!

        Has somebody already started calling this Handjob for Morons? I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere, probably here.

        April 3, 2018
        |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Whoa, let’s not start throwing out ugly words like “cunt”. Lani is a lot of things… liar, cheater, thief, but reducing her to a slur primarily for women is going a bit too far.

      April 3, 2018
      |Reply
  33. Dove
    Dove

    Why does everyone have to hate on SAO? ;.;

    The Fairy Dance Arc? XD

    To be fair, it’s an easy target and apparently, a ton of people have seen it because of Adult Swim. I will say, it probably is better than Ready Player One on multiple levels but it’s really that the anime pulls the source material, the light novels, up a bit because the animation and the music aren’t as bad as the writing. So it’s like how the movie of Ready Player One could turn out better than the book (not great, just better.)

    It’s also another one of those things were the concept is good, it’s clearly popular because it could be gripping, but the execution is so-so to crap. Not as bad as H4M, but we all know the movie could be good if they just slapped the script around, ignored the novel, and forced Lani Sarem to stay out of the lead role.

    I know it’s got its problems, but it’s nowhere near as bad as some things I’ve read/seen.

    Haha, I confess I haven’t watched it but I loved the Abridged Series by Something Witty Entertainment. If you enjoyed SAO, I think you’d like that too. It’s not really sarcastic so much as it tries to fix most of the actual problems while gently mocking the original source (I think so, anyway.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6kJKxvbgZ0&list=PLuAOJfsMefuej06Q3n4QrSSC7qYjQ-FlU

    There’s also a video by Mother’s Basement that I like, which tries to take all or most of the elements in the original Fairy Arc and rearrange them so they work, without really adding anything new. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz-BjFoVa9o

    I mean, SAO is definitely a guilty pleasure kind of thing and even people who hate the series might have liked it at some point. It has merits. 🙂

    That said, I highly recommend Log Horizon if you want “Trapped in an MMO” anime with some serious world-building. It’s kind of front-loaded, but if you can get past the first episode, I think it’s worthwhile. I loved the characters and the world, plus the MC didn’t annoy me. I prefer it subbed, personally.

    Overlord is another one but… a bit problematic. I enjoyed it to an extent but got super frustrated at various points, most notably the last two or three episodes which don’t really push the story along (and in general the writing leans towards glorifying the MC, which the author clearly knows could go over like a lead balloon, so he tries to tone it down at a few points by “embarrassing” the MC without actually doing anything relevant in that regard.) I personally wish it dropped the MMO angle entirely for a pure fantasy setting. I haven’t seen the second season yet, which might raise it up a notch. YMMV though.

    Oh! And not MMO, but absolutely Isekai… I need to watch more of KonoSuba. It’s a parody of the genre. XD

    Which reminds me, another reason SAO is hated on so much may be less to do with it and more of a general backlash against Isekai overall. It’s a fanfiction trope that’s been around forever and I suspect its sudden, prolific induction into the mainstream is giving a lot of people with standards a kneejerk reaction. It was always popular, even in fanfic, but no one wants to admit that so this unexpected enjoyment by a young audience, who probably isn’t as cultured as long-time fanfic writers would have you believe, may seem like a low blow to writing and fandom in general. 😉

    He might be pushing it so hard so, as someone else mentioned, they can sell the rights to this cowpie and wash their hands of it.

    Yeah, that was my guess. He might try talking LS down if they get an offer where she won’t play the lead and I frankly hope that happens, but who knows? Either way, I suspect he knows it’s better with other people in charge or he’s completely inexperienced and doesn’t have any idea how hard that could be. I mean, yes, he’s an actor, but if he is really stupid, maybe he doesn’t understand everything that goes into the development process of a movie beyond his own role and that of the director. Or he might know and not care, thinking it’s all good as long as it’s on someone else’s dollar. For all I know, he’s eager to try his hand at producing and thinks this would be a great way to cut his teeth. 😛

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “We must save my family!”

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Who’s Rosalia?!

        Also, I forgot to note that I realize the idea of traveling to another world has been around forever, long before the internet existed, but the sort of fiction that falls into recent Isekai follows the patterns of fanfiction where the OC MC lands in a fandom world. That’s what I was referring to. (And since it’s such a common idea, the first one most newbie writers come up with regardless of fandom, it’s hard to imagine it isn’t prevalent in Japan too.) It also explains why a lot of them, but not all, lean towards gaming as a framework or inspiration, and why some of them have such shitty worldbuilding. *cough*Picking Up Girls in a Dungeon*cough*

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
  34. Alyssa
    Alyssa

    Why is this so bad? HOW is this SO bad?!

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
  35. I’m just praying she hasn’t actually got Sebastian Stan involved. Not even for the Seb would I shell out money to see this garbage fire.

    Hell, I wouldn’t even bother illegally downloading it!

    April 3, 2018
    |Reply
  36. Since all readers (okay, and those of us following some HFM blogs/podcasts for the lulz) could tell from the moment we
    “met” Sparles Chellman that he was Lani’s father, the author created an adversarial relationship with her audience. And that’s even without the whole NYT debacle. The narrator gives us no reason to root for her. Also, didn’t David Copperfield act like he was TRYING to trick Jackson into thinking that he and Lani were having an affair? Kind of acting all cutesy and coy about it? So gross.

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
  37. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    “I really haven’t a clue” makes me think this doctor was a sociopath on his way out the door after his retirement party. He’s about to fly to Spain, okay? Who cares that a woman just collapsed from a massive hemorrhage with no clear origin? Could it be relevant that she was just in the middle of a massive performance surrounded by people from all sides? Who could have Nu Ebola right now? Nobody knows! Especially not Doctor Retirement! This’ll show the hospital for dropping one last case on him, and now the plane’s leaving! “Well, we don’t know how to saved your loved one, so we’re just doing stuff.”

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Nah, Dr. Retirement’s last professional decision would be assigning this case to that resident he’s always hated, knowing perfectly well he’s likely to fail. “I have full confidence in you, Dr. Resident: now excuse me, gotta play a round of golf with Mr. Hospital Wing Named After Me.”

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
  38. Cat
    Cat

    Lani is a terrible writer to her readers. I get suspension of disbelief but that only takes one so far.

    I almost googled “how long does it take for a person to bleed out” but I’m at work and don’t need that in my search history. But seriously, Zoom-Zoom has been bleeding heavily for quite some time now and is evidently going to continue to do so as she is transported to TN. She’d be dead by now, right?

    The boss of the whole hospital not being able to find where the bleeding is coming from is just laughable. What is his reference here, the guy from Operation?

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      It’s MAH-DGJICK blood.

      She has an endless supply.

      This chick single-handedly keeps Kotex in the black.

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        Surely our incredibly special Zoot Suit Riot doesn’t do something as common as menstruate! I’m sure her mahjdickness allows her emit one, dainty, ladylike queef that expels a a tiny little rainbow that floats off into the ether and all that business is taken care of.

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I giggled, especially since I imagine her hot queef made a beautiful little jingle or a chiming sound as it spurted out.

          But seriously, if I had real magic? First thing I’d do is to totally find a spell that would allow me to temporarily wreck my toilet at home (’cause I suspect it’d also cleanse your colon something fierce… possibly your nasal passages and ear canals too.) I’d gladly feel unbelievably disgusting, and take a shower right after that, just to get it all over and done within an hour instead of a slow and annoying discharge over several days. Not sure if that’d mean the cramps would be utter hell the entire time I’m on the seat, but at least they’d be gone right after that! Plus it’d save money. 😛

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Oh, then again, hell, just magic birth control. Everything is covered. Done and done. Not sure what the cost would be, but you might be able to do it once and then after that, it’s an on-off switch to control your ability to get preggers.

          I think even if Zade was all pure and virginal, she’d probably do that for the sake of convenience too. Who wouldn’t? Unless a witch could tamper with your settings, but I suspect that’d take some effort on their part, and some kind of sympathetic magicks, so just hide all your discarded DNA and you’re okay? *shrugs*

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Cat: The tiny little rainbow does not float off into the ether. It turns into a tiny little unicorn and THAT floats of into the ether.

          But I agree with Dove about the Chime notification.

          April 4, 2018
          |Reply
  39. Monolithic
    Monolithic

    I wonder what if her new “Girl Power” angle worked but, not in a good way? Like they just pick it up with the only knowledge that its some feminist powerhouse, and then they read it and a cascade of not so great reviews come in. But maybe Sarem is from the school of any publicity is good publicity and would welcome that.

    Also, 4th wall breaking Zade is odd. It’d be more interesting if we knew she was aware she was a book character ahead of time. But I think it’s supposed to mean that Zade has been writing this book…er Handbook? So if she’s writing the story then all these events are questionable retellings at best.

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      It’s a double Inception. Lani is writing about Zade who is writing about Mac who is remembering certain events.

      My brain hurts.

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Knowing that your brain hurts is hurting my brain. Because I’m so compassionate.

        Stop it, Amy, you selfish thing!

        April 4, 2018
        |Reply
  40. Alicia
    Alicia

    Late to comment, but I swear this “novel” plays out with what I would call “dream logic,” or a progression of events that could only make sense in a dream.

    “So I had this dream last night that I was in a magic show because I suddenly found out a famous illusionist was my father, and then we did this complicated performance together that caused me to become severely injured and hospitalized. For some reason, at this point the dream I was able to switch between anyone else’s point of view as much as I wanted, and through their eyes I saw myself in the hospital bed with tubes everywhere. The doctor said he had no idea what was happening, and that he wished Dr. House would come save me. Somehow my father and this other guy realized that only more magic would heal me, so they had to transport me out of the hospital, and the doctor was like ‘okay bye’ or whatever.”

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, if it was actually set-up to be a dream, it’d work so much better and probably be more interesting. Even though dreams are generally boring when related to someone else, they don’t tend to spend 400 pages describing everything because most of it gets forgotten by the time they’ve woken up. Also, there IS a chance to wake up…

      Wake me up inside, Lani Sarem. Wake me up inside. Call my name, Scherezade, and save me from the dark. Bid my blood to run, before I come undone, I just need to be inside my dad’s private jet. Save me from the nothing I’ve become, without that sweet, sweet nepotic fame and fortune. Now that I know what I’m without, you can’t just leave me in this horrible novel. Breathe into me and make me real. Bring me to life, put me on the silver screen. Wait, I still have no soul.

      April 4, 2018
      |Reply
  41. Masha
    Masha

    Italics for unseen interlocutor (especially on the phone) is a subtitling convention. That’s all I got.

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
  42. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    “female” no longer looks like a word. Also, I hate the term “females” regarding women, because it’s dehumanizing. Yes I’m sure my cat and my sister’s chinchilla feel very empowered by woman authors and directors.

    ‘you’re suddenly, out of absofuckinglutely nowhere, a juggernaut of feminist power?’
    ^ LOL SAME. I write, produce, direct, cast, and (due to dearth of steady actors at the start) play several roles in my own show; does that make me a powerful feminist just because I happen to be a woman about 50% of the time? Because I prefer to think it makes me a self-indulgent, pompous, determined little shit who wanted to put her life story into the public eye, and I can say 90% of the same for Licky Sorghum.

    “On creating a story centered around a female lead”
    ^ most YA stories I’ve read do that.

    ‘and says, “It’s always an interesting challenge to find your place as a woman in a male-centric business.’
    ^ the women in my auto body class didn’t seem to give it this much thought.

    ‘It’s okay that this entire sequence makes absolutely no sense’
    ^ because it’s nonsense.

    ‘Lugnut’s dramatic collapse as a Capri Sun being squeezed too hard.’
    Ok but remember in Hercules when Meg squeezed the toy Phil and his eyes popped out? I’m imagining that, but with blood.

    Oh nooooooo, poor Rumpelstiltskin.

    ‘What about all the blood that’s going to be everywhere because she’s still hemorrhaging all over the place because they can’t find the cause for it?’
    ^ hemorrhaging isn’t glamorous so Zebra forgot about it.

    I feel like everything being Lansplained to us is why this book is called Handbook for Mortals? Like, she’s this witchy moon goddess and the rest of us nonmagiheck folks are mere plebian mortals, and therefore idiots.

    “and deeply into his eyes and, after a long, hard look, ”
    ^ say deeply, long, and hard again, L’Anny.

    ‘“Needed?” Mac asked. He was beginning to feel like he had walked into something bigger than he expected.’
    ^ a human sacrifice.

    April 4, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      I would (almost) forgive the crime that is this book if Mac gets sacrificed at the end. This would be the best worst remake of The Wicker Man ever.

      April 9, 2018
      |Reply
  43. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    Little did they know that what was happening to me wasn’t anything they had ever seen before.

    “No signs of external trauma. Must be something internal,” […]

    No, honey, just no.

    If a stage performer… in Las Vegas… collapses and starts vomiting blood, the first thing the paramedics would think is not “must be something internal”, the first thing they would do is turn to the stage manager and ask “What drugs did she take?” And I’m afraid the detox protocols are rather less than ’empowering’ and probably wouldn’t fit in a YA book…

    Charles looked directly into Mac’s eyes while spoke slowly and purposely: “Zade is my daughter.”

    You know how lots of romance books have a section where one of the characters punches the other as a way to show both their mainly manfulness, but also the intensity of their emotions expressed in a appropriately non-feminine way? Yeah, having Mac punch Charles would be perfect here.

    “What was that for?”

    “Where should I start? Oh, right, you spending entire weekends alone with her, kissing her in her dressing room, shoving Sophie out of the way and having her next to you all the time! Half the cast thinks you two are either screwing or about to, and because I’ve been trying to keep my dating her quiet, I couldn’t say anything. But Jesus, if they thought you were giving her special treatment for sex, they’re going to be out for blood when they find out it was nepotism. And I can’t say it won’t completely wash the sex-stink off you; a lot of people are going to wonder if you’re Trumping on her Ivanka…”

    “And that’s not even the worst of it. You promoted this kid as a star, built a main act around her, tied the show’s success to her, with no understudy, no safety filing, and everyone that knows anything about this is tied to a damn NDA, which means the insurance company is probably not going to pay if your star can’t perform her act, which means the show loses money, and everyone in the cast loses their jobs! All so you can try to make up for missing birthdays and graduations, all so you can play ‘good daddy’ to your ‘little girl’. I’d punch you again if I thought it would somehow pay my next six months rent…”

    Buuuuut of course we can’t have that, because it’s a scene that’s not about Poochie Zade/Lani, and the characters aren’t all talking about how much they miss Poochie Zade, so I guess it’s off for a last-scene change of… um… scenery. Yay.

    April 5, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Wow! I feel ashamed to admit that I got so caught up in the insanity of this dream world Zani made that I forgot about drugs. You’re absolutely right. They’d think she’d gotten a bad batch and/or had a terrible reaction or maybe someone slipped something poisonous in there (intentionally or not, depending on what it was and who got it for her.)

      It really is stupid how superfluous and overcomplicated the blood is. I mean, they still might think drugs with a normal coma, but something they understand would certainly seem more innocent. I wonder if the blood was only included because the novel supposedly started out as Twilight fanfiction and Zani started off as a vampire? I can’t imagine why else she’d add blood. It’s dramatic, sure, but it’s also super messy and generally gross. Most people wouldn’t drop pools of it everywhere in something that’s meant to make the heroine pure and delicate, even if she’s supposed to be so sexy that she’s one of the boys. That’s what I assume, anyway. I figure bleeding once a month is enough to make it unappetizing for a lot of women. It certainly does for me anyway. 😛

      The punch and “Why You Suck” speech is definitely better than what we got. It’s bizarre that Mac is so calm about the reveal when he got so pissed off about the “affair” earlier. Either she lied about him manhandling her and he never came up onto the catwalk before the performance, or Mac just doesn’t give a shit about being lied to, but that wouldn’t make much sense. Maybe he’s been asking to fuck for ages, but she always refused, which he took graciously enough, giving her some space, but now he’s found out that she’s been fucking some other guy behind his back and that definitely stings. There’s no way in hell all that turmoil disappeared when he saw her drop… I imagine he’d actually be reluctant to take her from Zeb, expecting Charles to swoop in first!

      I mean, it’d make more sense if Mac seeing Zani with Charles made him assume that he had his answer finally, she wasn’t actually dating him or Jackson, but Charles instead, which is why she wanted him to keep it from the crew, since she ostensibly didn’t want Charles to find out (maybe some stupid covert ploy to make “Sugar Daddy” jealous, except he was too dumb to notice?) So Mac went straight to good ol Chuck after the performance, saying that he was quitting, effective immediately, because he knew for a fact Zani wasn’t gonna leave this production and he couldn’t bear to be around her anymore. And he thought Zade was faking to make him feel bad ’cause he caught her eye through the crack in the door, they looked RIGHT AT EACH OTHER after she finished wrestling Sugar Daddy’s tongue, and that’s when Mac hauled ass out of there, tagging in his backup replacement quick as lightning, then went outside to chain smoke furiously before going back to the breakroom to scrawl his severance letter. He thought Sofia was faking… this has to be WORSE acting than that! Look at all that fake blood everywhere!

      Haha! Poochie the Psychic Wonderdog could be Zade’s stage name in an alternate universe? ;D

      April 6, 2018
      |Reply
  44. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    “Zade’s mother can do quite a bit, son. Far beyond chicken soup. You have much to learn about this family. For starters, as you will soon see, I am actually the one with the least amount of ability.”

    Far beyond chicken soup? So, gourmet roast chicken?

    This is where the pace of the reveal really hinders the work. Now, where we didn’t before, we know that Spellman is an Immortal, or at least a Non-Mortal. (Whatever that means.) But it was also possible he was just a mortal who had a thing with Zade’s mom. So… this helps us understand where he fits in, and hints that he’s been using small amounts of magic on-stage.

    Of course, since every hint of real magic has been kept under wraps, this is all coming completely out of left field, and the person he’s talking to thinks he’s a regular stage magician. We just toured through “the person lying there unconscious is my daughter. You misunderstood our relationship. Also, I’m not as much a wizard as Harry Potter, really just somewhere between 0.31 and 0.66 as much.” Mac should be hitting the call button, just in case the first symptoms of what hit Zade were disorganized speech and unrealistic thinking.

    April 5, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh, thank god someone else caught that! I knew it wasn’t unreasonable to read it this way. Least isn’t the same as none.

      I’m almost 100% certain that Spellman is supposed to be completely mortal, that’s why Zani hinted earlier that a union with a mortal is frowned upon (it actually had nothing to do with Mac, because nothing in this novel truly does, even when he’s actively doing shit.) I’m too lazy to look at Blandbook for Chortles to confirm, but they explain how they met and got together in the next chapter anyway. Spellman didn’t know Dela has real madge-ick, he was skeptical like Mac, and he had to come to terms with this at first. And Dela’s family was worried that Zade would be mortal but of course, she turned out to be super-wizard-witch-strong-master of all worlds. If Chuck learned anything, it was from Dela and it was kept tightly under wraps but I suspect Zeb was the one using small amounts of madge-ick on-stage to enhance their performances, if that was happening, and it probably was.

      Of course, since every hint of real magic has been kept under wraps, this is all coming completely out of left field, and the person he’s talking to thinks he’s a regular stage magician… Mac should be hitting the call button, just in case the first symptoms of what hit Zade were disorganized speech and unrealistic thinking.

      Yeah, that’s another reason why Zade keeping her witchiness a complete secret from Mac just doesn’t work. The Tarot deck drop wasn’t a good enough reveal (beyond every part of its execution being shit) because she tried to keep her answers coy and extremely tame. Mac doesn’t have a goddamn clue what’s going on until he talks to Dela (she gives him an info-dump once they’re in her house) so he should seriously be questioning Dela’s ability to help her daughter right now, which is a violation of medical ethics anyway, I think? At the very least, he should be wondering WTF is going on that his boss has someone on speed-dial for this shit (since Mac would assume Charles called when he wasn’t paying attention and left a really short message or that he texted Dela that it was an emergency and to call him back and she immediately knew what had happened.)

      Of course, he also shouldn’t take her upcoming info-dump at face value, when he just met her, but fuck logic, they don’t need that in Donkey Juice Town. He trusted Zade so he’ll trust this woman who looks just like her and claims to be a witch and her mother, right? I don’t even know if Zade said anything about her before then, so I’m not sure Mac has any confirmation clues beyond the boss nodding and deferring to Zani’s doppleganger.

      April 6, 2018
      |Reply
  45. SofiaThatB*tch
    SofiaThatB*tch

    You know what’s sad? That Zani Larem is ridiculously proud of this and the subsequent chapters, saying she had found a “creative solution” to the problem of Zandar being unconscious.

    Like she’s never gone third person before.

    Like Zambo has to be the center of the universe, even while literally doing nothing.

    April 6, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Like Zambo has to be the center of the universe, even while literally doing nothing.

      Zamboni is secretly a sentient personification of the Axis Mundi. 😛

      April 6, 2018
      |Reply
  46. Jamoche
    Jamoche

    How it works in the real world:

    “I’m also her…” he paused, glancing at Mac. “I’m her father.”

    “Mm-hmm” said the doctor. That pause had sounded suspicious. “I’ll need some proof of that.”

    April 8, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I’m glad someone pointed that out! This is also fueled by Mac’s startled response.

      “I need to see Zade’s emergency point of contact,” said the head doctor.

      “Oh, I don’t have that,” said Mac. “Because I’m a shitty safety director.”

      “I’m her father,” Charles repeated.

      The head doctor raised an eyebrow. “Got an I.D?”

      “Yes! And please don’t be suspicious by the fact I have a different last name, physical resemblance, or my name missing on Zade’s emergency contact because we want to keep up this charade of us fucking.”

      “Oh for the love of-! Get out of my hospital!”

      April 8, 2018
      |Reply
      • VegasDoctor
        VegasDoctor

        Actually, I work in a Vegas hospital and yes this kind of stuff does happen. Actually helping your patients is a fairly new thing (last 15 years) and doesn’t work properly all the time.

        Also, performers in Cirque and Cirque type shows get injured all the time. If you think the HEAD doctor would care every time there was a serious injury well we would be doing that every day. That is why they get paid well. Most of them are athletes, a lot of them Olympic athletes and they know what they signed up for. Injuries happen during the shows all the time. They are doing crazy stuff and it’s dangerous that’s why people pay a lot of money to see it. People get injured during the show and you don’t even know.

        I don’t even know because I can’t figure out how to treat them.

        I have also let a critically injured patient be packed into a jet and flown off to Tennessee. I find it odd that you tear apart something that you don’t know. You have never worked as HEAD doctor, yet you INSIST that’s not how this works.

        If I remember reading somewhere, Lani lives in Vegas and works as a brain surgeon. They say write what you know. Maybe the things she wrote are more rooted in reality than you know.

        I have also run into Carrot Top (not with Wayne Newton though) in that very hospital.

        I bet most of you who are commenting and putting her and the book down have never even worked in a hospital! I wonder what we could all say about your own medical skills.

        Some of what Jenny says is funny but if you were actually being objective here you would point out the good stuff too. There is lots of it, but your whole point is to bring someone and their art down as much as possible. And you are criticizing her for being some kind of bad person?
        You should really try checking your own moral compass here.

        April 9, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          Oh, Lani, you wily rascal! Whatever will you do next? 😉

          *freeze frame, roll end credit theme song*

          April 9, 2018
          |Reply
        • Jamoche
          Jamoche

          “This kind of stuff” – violating HIPAA regulations by just taking the word of a random stranger that they’re next of kin?

          Nope, I’m no doctor. But I’ve been in tech since before the WWW existed and I know a sock puppet when I see one.

          April 10, 2018
          |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          Oh! And don’t forget to add that Lani is not only a bizjet and supersonic fighter pilot, she’s a FAA Designate Pilot Examiner (DPE) who can perform checkrides and pass judgement to issue pilot ratings on other mere mortals wishing to fly bizjets! So when she says she can fly a profusely bleeding patient cross country without an issue, you’d better believe it!!!!

          April 11, 2018
          |Reply
  47. Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

    I love your travel alter. That’s adorable. I’m sure it’s not supposed to be adorable, but it is. I have a small travel kit in a makeup bag and now I want a mini one like this. I don’t understand why the location wasn’t the issue instead of the supplies. If Della can’t fit enough essential stuff in a carry on rolling suitcase, then she has too many things!

    This book. This fucking book. If morons attempt to move a critical patient who’s bleeding for no apparent reason, the staff should call security and have them escort the idiots out. Unless you’re a doctor who says only a fictional curmudgeon could figure out what’s wrong. This book makes me so mad.

    So it’s time for arts and crafts. I scoped out Pinterest and when I get home from work, I’m making a travel kit.

    April 10, 2018
    |Reply
  48. Kiki
    Kiki

    Came for the hilarity of this terrible story, stayed for the humor, am pleasantly surprised at the amount of witchy things im learning along the way!

    August 18, 2018
    |Reply

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