The Edged Lexicon

57000 words, incomplete @Ao3 by raunchyandpaunchy
Genre/What to expect: Exactly what’s on the label. #Porn with Plot and #The Porn is the Plot. It’s not inaccurate. Watch the tags.
Rating: E for very explicit
Pairings: It’s a sex club. In Skyrim. People bang.

Sharp of blade and sharper of wit, Nadine Rielle has a thirst for adventure and a lust for life – she’s never found a mead or wine she hasn’t loved; never heard a bard’s tale or tune she hasn’t clung to every line or note of. When she crosses paths with a charismatic stranger who offers her a chance at procuring an item of near legendary value, she can’t resist. But when she meets with the man for the first time, she ends up discovering more than she bargained for…

In which Nadine fights for bliss, one denied orgasm at a time.

The Edged Lexicon is a ride. And to be perfectly honest, I would probably not bother reviewing porn, because what are you supposed to say about it? Except then Edged Lexicon is more than that. More than the really well crafted and universe appropriate BDSM dungeon that has taught me more about consensual kinks than I had expected going in.

It’s Nadine who I’m writing this review for, really. She’s the original character that carries the entire thing on her shapely shoulders. The moment she’d been introduced, I adored her, and when she was taking a shower under a waterfall and we got to admire her little paunch from her love for Breton cuisine, I feel heads over heels in love.

She starts out so deceptively innocent and blooms so willingly soon after, and continues to grow from, ah, you know, *gestures* to *gestures*. I’d have honestly not thought that character growth can come so easily between the proverbial sheets.

Return of Cinnabar

Steven Universe: Return of Cinnabar

232000 words, complete @Ao3 by Platon
Genre/What to expect
: Hope around every corner, hearts brimming with love, and a boy struggling with what it entails to grow up and to find himself past what his destiny has in store for him. Also, Amethyst is the f***** best, okay.
Rating: T / General Audience
Pairings: m/f  Stevidot

When a Gem Commander from before the rebellion is found on Earth, Steven Universe and The Crystal Gems have to convince her that Earth is still a loyal Homeworld colony. Yet as Steven learns more about Earth from before the war, he must struggle with the truth of his mother, newfound emotions, and whether or not every enemy can be defeated with love.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Difficult, I’d say.

There’s a bunch of things that can make a piece of Fan Fiction great. The plot. Its style. The editing work. Or something as simple as your favourite pairing because no one else is bothering to write it for you.
Return of Cinnabar has a lot of the above. It stands on well written shoulders, includes tropes that I adore (We can’t let her know!), and it made me watch Steven Universe.


So, yes, there are a bunch of things that’ll make a fic great, but there is one thing that will set it apart by miles: Getting you so invested in the world, the characters, that afterwards you just have to go check out the source material. Because up until I’d finished reading Return of Cinnabar I hadn’t watched a single episode of Steven Universe. It didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and if you’d told me that I’d be one day mourning how I can’t get my hands on anything past Season 1 without having to buy a stack of Blu-rays, I would have laughed right into your face. Probably.

Others agree:

I can’t wait for more please continue

– comment on Ao3

This is an amazing fanfiction I hope you continue

– comment on Ao3

Platon introduced me to Steven, who, as I found out later, does this thing where he steals your heart and makes you want to squish his cute, chubby cheeks for being the most precious and sweet and loving and compassionate creature that can possibly exist.

He also brings an original character to the table, Cinnabar, who I would not have recognized as an OC if I hadn’t known about it already. Cinnabar blends in perfectly, and after watching the show itself, I could easily see her being an established member of the cast. Which shouldn’t come as a big surprise, considering how flawlessly he captured each of the canon cast Gems.

But while the characters are familiar, and Steven’s unfailing love, compassion, and young enthusiasm are tangible, the similarities kind of start to fade once we look at how much more impact the plot has than the short, mostly lighthearted, instalments of the show. Suddenly, there are consequences that cannot be erased with a quick break between episodes.

See exhibit A:


– crimsonherbarium

Return of Cinnabar starts out as I’d expect any other Steven Universe episode to. Light and love and song and omg, the people of Beach City must be used to the weirdest of things. The Gems head off to their missions, Steven grows and grows (literally too), and everyone in generally having a relatively good time. There’s even a first date. I love first dates. Watching Peridot slowly climb out of her shell had me clap my hands together and make very unflattering noises.

The peace does not last though, and we are left clicking NEXT CHAPTER as the characters are faced with their fears, their weaknesses, and, yes, their mortality.

No spoilers though. You should go read it yourself.

Silver for Monsters

108000 words, complete @Ao3 by 
Genre/What to expect: Very Witcher. Much Monster. Wow.
No, for real though, I can’t quite decide what I prefer. Is it the monster hunts? The combat? Or maybe Lambert and Aiden being two horribly stubborn idiots? 
Rating: Explicit
Pairings: m/m  Lambert/Aiden

Lambert has been walking the Path for half a century. Wraiths, drowners, ghouls–another day, another shit contract for shit pay in some shit village for some ungrateful bastard.

That is, until he accepts a lucrative contract in Ellander and gets more than he bargained for. The Continent proves to be a dangerous place as Lambert sets out with Aiden, a witcher from the School of the Cat.

Monsters, war, love, sex, angst, revenge, silver, and steel. Lambert must fight to leave the Path before it destroys him.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes, if you have a general understanding of how fantasy works.

I don’t know much about the Witcher Series, I’ve got to admit that. Played some of the first one, forgot all about finishing the second, and have attempted on multiple occasions to get further in Witcher 3. A never-ending quest, that, since there are just too many ? to explore on that map and I barely ever get anywhere.

But then there was Silver for Monsters, written by Plague (or  on Ao3), and Lambert

Who the fuck’s that? was my initial reaction, so I went over to Google to refresh my memory.

Image result for lambert witcher 3
Ooo- that guy!

Armed with a bit of eye candy, I threw myself right back into Lambert’s life as a Witcher. Which, arguably, isn’t exactly rosy.

Unfortunately, he’d managed to piss off just about every armorer worth his salt in the gods-forsaken cesspit of human shit and drowners that was Velen.

To be fair, neither is Lambert. He’s a bit crass. He’s crude. He has violence in him, and he fights like a man possessed. Speaking of fighting: the combat in Silver for Monsters is wonderful. Not once did I lose track or feel the need to skim. It’s remained engaging throughout. 

Speaking of engaging.

Aiden fought like he was dancing. His feet barely touched the ground as he whirled and spun in a rapid, insistent ballet that only he knew the steps to.

Aiden is, too. While Silver for Monsters is written out of Lambert’s POV, I think Aiden is my favourite of the two. Mostly because he comes with a hint of softness that contrasts Lambert- and challenges him. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a sort of softness that’d indicate weakness, but more of a nuance to his hard edges that make me want to read more about him. Especially since we see him through Lambert’s eyes, and oh boy does he end up having eyes for him.

Which brings us a step away from monster hunting, and to the two Witchers and the bond they form. A bond shaped by a handful of delicious sparks.

I said, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Aiden hissed angrily. His face was mere inches from Lambert’s own. Lambert could feel the heat of Aiden’s breath against his neck, the brush of his curls against his forehead. Even in the dim light of the passage, his golden eyes burned like coals. Lambert slowly began to realize that he might have fucked up. He’d never seen Aiden like this before.


Seeing the tug and pull between them in the first few chapters makes for a great buildup when that smouldering spark finally ignites. Though even then the tension doesn’t break away, and we’re led on a merry chase of WHY THE FUCK, LAMBERT, until they finally catch up with each other again.

It’s great, okay?

Silver for Monsters, if you’d ask me (and you are, you are reading my blog), brings the best of three worlds together. Monster hunting. World building plus character development. And the occasional Rrrrr between Lambert and Aiden that ties it all together perfectly.

Plus, it comes with one of my favourite tropes, so how can I not recommend it? As evident by me losing it while reviewing:

That’s an instant Taff-slay right there, though even without it I would have adored this fic. I do adore Lambert, too, even if I get a little grouchy at his stubborn ass at times. And yeah, so I’m an absolute sucker for Plague’s writing style, and how I get adventure, action, smut, romance, and a fat serving of humour to go with it, all in one delicious dish.

So. Yeah. Read it!


Reviewing Fan Fiction ?


Have you ever wondered how to go about telling your favourite author how amazing their work is?  Or would you like to be able to help a budding fan fiction writer improve their craft?  Preferably without chasing them off the pasture?

If you have, read on.  If you haven’t- well- uh- have a puppy.


I read a decent amount of Fan Fiction.  Maybe not as much as others, but there’s a good reason for that:  While someone else might go and consume everything out there with their particular OTP in it, or dig into the trenches of their fandom’s archive, I read what I’m being given on the /r/FanFiction Discord server.  Sometimes that means I will read a short.   Sometimes a single chapter of a novel length piece.  Or, at occassion, the whole 350k word behemoth.

And I read to review.  Hardly ever will I leave a fic without dropping a comment / review on my way out.  Most often than not multiple ones, since I firmly believe every individual chapter deserves my attention.

Depending on my relationship with the author, or their explict wishes, I may even try to leave constructive critisim.  Though at the end of the day it is not my job to try and edit their work, or mold their writing to fit my taste or standard.  Considering that they are doing this for the joy of it, and not for profit, throwing unwanted advice their way can have a very discouraging effect.

So, what do I do if I am being asked to review / beta / callitwatchawant a piece that doesn’t live up to the quality I am otherwise used to?  Yeah, I might think Oh boy, but-

That. Does. Not. Mean. It. Sucks.

All it really means, is that the author has picked writing fan fiction as a hobby, but isn’t necessarily very good at it. Yet. We’ve all been there, an universal truth that we sometimes forget.


Let us assume that I’ve read a fic by someone who does not have English as their native language, therefore obviously has grammatical errors in them.  They are also rather new to pacing and to character development / introduction, and make mistakes such as using the word orbs for eyes and mentioning everyone by the colour of their hair.

I’m being given ten chapters of all those clumsy little words, and asked to tell them exactly what I think.

What do I do?

Pick my battles. 

Throwing myself in there and lumping it all together would likely feel like I’m absolutely slamming them.  And that would have the opposite effect to what I am trying to accomplish.  It’d drive them off.  Maybe even make them want to stop writing.

We do not want that.

So what I tend to do is, for each chapter, I pick up things that I believe should be addressed. I might mention specific grammatical mistakes in each, a handful at best. Sometimes I correct them in detail two or three times, before only mentioning them in passing.

Then, I mention what I like.  I highlight sentances that were good.  Show them what they are doing right, because not only will that take away the sting from before, but it’ll also provide a comparison to what they did wrong.

In short: This is how you shouldn’t do it, but look, this is right!  Keep doing this.  But stop doing that.

Then I move on to the next chapter, giving them the same treatment there, but focusing on a different set of errors.  If I talked about grammer first, I might now touch on the epithet elephants in the room.  Or hand them a few alternatives for orbs.  Like actual eyeballs.  Squishy, squishy eyeballs.

Before too long, we are back on what they did well, and by the end, I hope to have a tall stack of nicely layered critique sandwiches.


Mmmm… tasty tasty sammiches.  After all, they deserve the good stuff too, more so still than the advice I have to give.  If anything, I prefer encouragement, and to show them that however bad they think their writing might be, it is not a lost cause. No writing ever is.

From there on out, it is up to them.  Do I hope that they’ve learned something?  Sure, why wouldn’t I.  Would I feel dejected if they decide to disregard what I’ve told them?  Yeeaaah- probably, though since we assumed that they’d asked for help, we’re more entering “How to accept advice.” territory here.

What I’ll never do though, and what gets my blood boiling if I see it done, is throw their writing under the bus.  It’s not my place to do so.  It’s no one’s place to do so.  To think a writer (or any artist, really) would abandon a craft they love because someone couldn’t keep civil, breaks my heart.

*The above is written with Fan Fiction in mind, and not meant to represent the job of a paid editor working with an author preparing a book for publishing.  Neither does it cover betaing or editing agreements between Fan Fiction writers who want to get their work torn to pieces.


Star Trek Dicovery: Chin Up. Smile.

Star Trek Discovery

2800 words, complete  @Ao3  by ChronicallyOwlish
Genre/What to expect: A Sylvia Tilly character study.  Warm and full of hope.
Rating: General Audiences
Pairings: None / Gen

Friends are hard to come by when you’re a little too smart, a little too loud, and a little too weird for the people around you. Sylvia Tilly has always had one dream, to join Starfleet, but there are a lot of voices out there telling her she isn’t cut out for it. She’s going to prove them all wrong.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes

I don’t very often find real affinity with characters, even if they might share some of the tropes that I recognize when I look in the mirror.  Tropes which I embrace, by the by.  While I’m not saying whoever writes my life is a good writer, they do at occasion pick good tropes.  But anyway.

Tilly.  Sylvia Tilly.  Let’s talk about her.

Sylvia Tilly

Look at that cinnamon roll with her bright smile and the stubborn joy in her eyes.  Why she didn’t pop out at me after her introduction in Discovery is beyond me-  though I may blame the pretty colours and flashing lights of the rest of the show for distracting me.  What can I say.  I am a simple person.

But then I read ChronicallyOwlish‘s one-shot about Tilly’s life before Starfleet, and I’m never going to be able to look at that character the same way again.  Which was how?  Dismissively.  Much like a great deal of the rest of her world treated her, and- hey- look at that- that sounds familiar- I dismissed her.  I shouldn’t have.  Because under that wild mess of red hair, and behind the happy bubbling noises that string together to form words (lots of words), hides a person.  A genuine and incredible person, something that Owlish has captured beautifully in her short story.

The tone of Chin Up. Smile. is hopeful from the start.  Warm.  It deals with the challenges that Sylvia must have faced growing up, and shows us how intimidating life can be.  But it does so without being on the nose about it, without trying to stab at our own experiences, or trying to make us feel sorry for her just because.  Instead, we see how strong Sylvia is.  And that, I think, is incredibly inspiring and uplifting.

That the writing is smooth and feels a bit like feeding honey to your brain, that’s an added bonus.

So hey.

Read this.  Read it if you like Star Trek Discovery.  Read it if you like Tilly.  Read it if you want to know more about her.  Or read it if you just want see how someone that doesn’t quite fit into all the predefined drawers society likes to keep ready, can navigate life with gentle fire bubbling in their gut.

What other people say:

By athousandpigeons:  This is so good! Tilly is awesome and quirky and so much stronger than people give her credit for, and you captured her voice perfectly. And that last paragraph is *everything*!

By Artemis1000:  Oh my goodness how perfect and on-point this story is, I can’t even! I love it so very much, and I love the depth of emotion and the richness of your atmospheric writing. Just give me all the Tilly fic, I’m in love

Thief: Of Masks and Mirrors

You never forget your first. In 1998, Looking Glass released the original Thief game, and a little after that I got introduced to the world of one Garrett, Master Thief, and the City he roamed at night to fill his coat with shiny things.Capture

And we’ve got history. Garrett and me. The sort of history that shows, even to this day, with my online handle probably being the most obvious influence. It’s more than that though. He’s had lasting impact on my writing, helped define some of my favourite characters, and I don’t think I will ever forget how fond of him I was.

Which, I guess, should mean that I ought to be all over the Thief fandom, but as with all things that I treasure, I tend to stay far away from it. The times I tried I found anyone but Garrett in the fics, and after that I never bothered to return.

Well.   That’s changed now.  At least for the work of StopTalkingAtMe, who’s found her way into the Thief fandom and has given me a closure to Thief II that I didn’t even know I’d needed.


7.8k words, complete @Ao3  by StopTalkingAtMe
Genre/What to expect: Gen.
Rating: Teen and Up
Suitable for fandom blind readers? While it will read well even fandom blind, the lack of context will make it difficult to appreciate it fully.

Six months have passed since the events at Soulforge Cathedral and the City is still recovering. No one’s too sure what counts as heresy these days. Karras has left his mark, not only on the City’s streets and sewers, but on Garrett too, and he’s not the only one.

Of Masks and Mirrors is how the epilogue to Metal Age should have played out. Or, far as I’m concerned, might as well have, because StopTalkingAtMe has done an incredible job at capturing ever facet of the original Thief series that I so unconditionally loved.

Garrett feels like Garrett. He’s the world weary thief that I remember. The jaded and somewhat defective individual that walks a lonely and oftentimes dark path. But he’s got that bit of snark too, and I love how she managed to find just the right amount without turning him into the joker he seems to have become in Thief 4, since apparently a lot of sass is what you need these days if you want to be an anti hero.

I digress though. Sorry.

So. She got Garrett right. But what about the rest?


She got the city right, too. How it changed after Karras fell. How everyone’s still recovering. It’s in the details, in the people that Garrett meets in Of Masks and Mirrors, and it’s just as important as his own struggle to fit himself back into his life after the events at Soulforge Cathedral.

“Can’t blame ’em, to be honest with you,” the landlord says, scratching his balls through his pocket. “Bleeding nightmare, they were. ‘Praise Karras’ this, and ‘the Builder’ that, all the poxy hours of the night until the rain got into them, and then they was worse. Taffing things never bloody shut up.” He shoots a nervous glance at Garrett. “Not that I’m a heretic, mind you,” he adds hastily, in a way that suggests he absolutely is. No one’s quite certain what counts as heresy these days.

And as usual, her writing feels effortless in how it switches between beautiful descriptions and the intricate details needed to move the plot along. She gives Garrett time to reflect. To remember. With that, she builds him a little more still, adds nuances to his already pretty well layered character and reminds me why I adored him to begin with.

Oh, and by the by, she absolutely nails the speech pattern of every single one of the characters introduced. It’s like reading the Thief script, I swear.

I don’t really want to see much about the plot, since anything I might say could end up spoiling the experience. So please- please- if you like Thief, then give it a go. Have a read. Leave her a Kudos. Drop her a comment. She deserves both.