Sunday, November 15, 2015

In which let's just call this "From The Void"

I do not know how long it was.

For seeming eons I floated, both aware and yet unaware, at once a part of all creation and yet apart from it, seeing all that had been and was and was yet to be...

Yet, I did not see this. 

The cold green fire, the icy burning, the swirling, mocking, silently shrieking horror that tore me from - where I know not - hurling me through endless space and time until I collided, unaware, with a force that rent me from my senses, left me in unknowing blackness...


"Hello, Howard."

A voice, human.

I opened my eyes - dumbly aware that I somehow had eyes again to open. The figure leaning over me, white on white on - pink? 

I should have known who she was, but my senses had been torn from me. I attempted to focus my eyes upon her.

"Remember me? The crinkly-haired, slatternly deformed albino slut you so gleefully shamed in your stupid little tale? How much did they pay you for that one, anyway?"

That one? Which one? Which...which.....Dunwich?

"Lavinia?" I somehow succeeded in sitting up. 

"That's right." Her displeasure was evident. "Of all the idiots that idiot had to bring back, he picked you."

"Bring back?" I still could not fathom where I was nor how I had come be there, but my memory was returning. I was - had been - Howard Philip Lovecraft, failed writer of weird fiction. Where I was now, and in what form, I knew not. I knew I was in a body of some sort, for I could move and speak. But where and how I had come to be in it - as well as the identity of the "idiot" Lavinia spoke of - I knew not. 

"We've been afraid of this happening ever since Dr. West escaped from prison over Halloween. We think he had help." The speaker was - a cloth doll?!

"Who - surely you cannot mean Herbert West?!" This could not be. 

"That's him," Lavinia said. "The first idiot."

"Idiot indeed, but just intelligent enough to be dangerous," her companion agreed. "By the way, I'm John Ashton Smith, Paranormal Investigator, Miskatonic University."

Miskatonic.....surely I was mad. Surely this was a product of my fevered imaginings, not....

And yet, the most abysmal shock awaited. For when I raised my hand...

"It could be worse," John Ashton Smith's pink-clad companion spoke. "At least he stuck you in something that was finished. He tried to stick a bunch of spirits in these half-finished doll bodies he got from this obnoxious woman in Arkham."

"Bishop?" Lavinia said. "Yeah, she's a little off. So much for the "undecayed" side."

"Will someone please tell we where I am and what - what is going on? Why am I a nightghast? And how..."

"Okay, first, technically, you're a gargoyle," Lavinia said. "And secondly, Herbert West tried to bring you back from the dead, but he forgot that anyone with half a brain - which is about all you have, in my opinion - is going to be useless for a few days until they get adjusted, so he just left you in the woods out back. And thirdly, I don't appreciate the way you slandered me and my family at all. Not to mention trying to blame my mother's murder on my father, And I don't care how much you didn't agree with my life choices, as they say, you had no freaking right to shame me or my children. Okay, maybe Wilbur didn't turn out the way I hoped, but a mother can only do so much. At least Edwin is a good son, despite you making him out to be a horror."


"They both had names, you know. And I trusted you to tell my side of the story. Not turn it into some cheap, good-against-evil load of garbage!"

"I would agree that you do owe Miss Lavinia an apology," John Ashton Smith added. "She and her son have proved invaluable advisers to the Paranormal Studies department."

"But why would West have tried to - reanimate me?"

"Because you're the one who wrote all of this down." Lavinia's tone softened somewhat. "If he has you on his side, then guess what? We're screwed. If he finds out you've some to your senses, he's going to go after you. You have a choice to make - him or us. The Old Ones aren't the evil ones. It was Wilbur's human side that doomed him. He fell in love with power." She looked square into my face. "You have a chance to help make all this right. What are you going to do?"

What could I do? I had to trust Lavinia and her most unusual friends, even though she had just cause for despising me - truly, I had wronged her.

"Perhaps start by admitting that I was wrong about you," I confessed. "Then perhaps see about finding a different body."

"One thing at a time, okay?" she replied.


- Maddy's note - I've been searching for a BJD to turn into HP Lovecraft for awhile, with (obviously) no success. So I settled on a Monster High doll for now. Somewhat appropriate, no? Although if anyone had any ideas for a BJD that's not too out of scale for my crew (nothing over MSD size, please) I'd love to hear them.

And yeah, I tried to write this in Lovecraft's voice. I don't think I succeeded. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

In which we are all Parisians.....

Maddy told me that on the day after September 11th, one of the largest French newspapers ran a headline that said: "TODAY, WE ARE ALL AMERICAN."

Ce soir, nous sommes tous les Parisiens.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

In which - Introducing Lavinia Whateley

I'm Lavinia Whateley, unquiet spirit.

Perhaps you've heard of me.

According to HP Lovecraft, I'm the somewhat deformed, ugly, crinkley-haired, slatternly albino freak who got knocked up by Yog-Sothoth and gave birth to the creepiest set of twins to ever walk the planet.

Okay, well - basically, that's true.

But allow me to explain.

I was born in 1878 to Noah Whateley of Dunwich, MA and his wife, Sophia Elizabeth Whateley, formerly Adams. At the time, my father was a self-educated farmer with a deep interest in the occult, which my mother shared. She came from Arkham and longed to attend Miskatonic University, but in those days, women weren't allowed to. When I was born, I was regarded as "deformed" simply because of my albinism. My parents were never rich - obviously - but we did have a comfortable, if modest, home and my childhood was happy.

But when I was twelve, all of that changed.

They - in town - tried to say that my father killed my mother, But that wasn't what happened. She was murdered by one of the so-called "undecayed" Whateleys - the "good" ones - when she rejected his advances. Jefferson Whateley, one of my father's cousins, wanted to sleep with her, but my mother would have none of his advances. So one night, when my father was away, he forced his way into the house and raped her, then cut her throat so she wouldn't tell. I climbed out a window and tried to go for help, but by the time I returned with some of the Frye family, it was too late. We couldn't go after Jefferson - dead women tell no tales and no one would believe the testimony of a twelve-year-old who was already regarded by most of the "respectable" folks as little more than a halfwit.

Is it any wonder my father went a little bit out of his mind?

To this day, I don't know why he didn't leave. Maybe there wasn't any place for him to go. But over the years, he became more and more obsessed with this idea of "opening the gate" between this world and - the other one. I think he believed that it would open the door to bringing my mother back. And I think he somehow reckoned that he'd be able to finally exact revenge on Jefferson and the rest of the "good" Whateleys.

Okay, maybe I'm not too bright myself. I let him talk me into the notion of being "the key to the gate." I thought I was just going to summon Yog-Sothoth, not wind up pregnant by - him? I guess it's "him."

Yeah, I should have asked more questions, A lot more. But he was my father. And I didn't have any reason at the time to think that he didn't know what the heck he was doing.

Which made two of us.

And I'll be honest - I loved the twins. Wilbur was a sweet baby. He never cried or complained. Why wouldn't I have been proud of him? And remember, at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I really believed that we were going to save the world from itself, my father, my children and I. I believed that everything was going to be all right.

But yeah, as time went on, things got weird. Really weird.

It all went bad on Samhain night in 1926. Wilbur was convinced that this was the night, when the veil was thinnest, that he would open the gate at last. Except what he wanted to do had nothing to do with my mother, or my late father, or helping anyone. He intended to unleash the Elder Gods upon Earth, to call up Cthulhu from R'lyeh and the others with him. Except he needed blood to do it.

My blood.

I don't remember what happened, how he did it. But I do remember standing over my own body while he stared at me in horror, realizing that in death, I was far more powerful than he was or ever would be in life. I might have been only human, but I knew far more about the Old Ones than he did. And now that I was incorporeal, I could keep him from opening the gate. As for the whippoorwills heard screaming throughout that night - they and their deva were the ones who came to my aid, who helped me keep the gate closed and the world safe.

Psychopomps don't devour the souls of the dead, but they do eat nightghasts.

I chose to stay on in the realm, at least for now. Yog-Sothoth may be the Gate and the Key. but he's not the only one who knows how to work the lock. And he's not the only one who knows where the Old Ones broke through before, and where they shall again.

Not gonna happen. Not on my watch.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

In which - an update and some thoughts on the "R" word.

It's me, Maddy, Caroline's person.

We're still very much here - things have been busy, but not in a bad way. I took three civil service exams back in the spring and I'm currently being canvassed for a job with the county I live in. So I'm anticipating (and looking forward to!) going back to work full-time soon. No more temping. I have plans for some new photostories soon, and some new characters (one from Lovecraft's pantheon!) who will be joining the family. So, all good stuff.

Now, about the "R" word - Recasts.

First, for the record, I am anti-recast. It's not right. It's disrespectful to the artists who make these beautiful dolls. It's also breeding a lot of distrust in the secondary market. It's just not good for the hobby at all.

And the worst part is that a lot of people are afraid to talk about it.

But it IS something we need to talk about. I understand that it's a subject likely to cause a fair amount of debate within a group (and I loathe drama for the sake of "OMG DUH-RAMAAAAA!!!!!!!11111" as much as most other people do) but it's time for frank, honest, mature discussion. We need to have a way for newbies to get real information - not just "RECASTS ARE BAD!" We need to talk about why. What to look out for. What sellers are suspect. How to create an attitude of people wanting that original doll and only that original, where we're proud to say we waited and saved because we wanted the real deal and only the real deal. Most of us are, but not everyone.

We need to stop shying away from discussing recasts and start talking about what we're going to do about them. For everyone's sake.

Okay, rant over. Caroline and company will be back very soon, I promise.

Monday, June 22, 2015

In which I meet a star....

No, not John Ashton. Yet. But someday......

I'm referring to a name those of you in the Faerie Realm probably know....

Scaramouche's friend, Theda Ophelia Farrah.

Yes, THAT Theda Farrah. You might remember her from the classic A Hunter There Was.  For those of you who don't, she (quite obviously) played The Moose, who led the hapless Hunter first into temptation, then into ruin. You don't mess with The Moose.

Or her award-winning performance as Elan in the musical Les Moosearbles.

So what is she doing here, you ask?

"Faewood really doesn't look beyond that second pair of legs," she said with a sigh. "You would think they, of all elementals, would be a little more open-minded. But no. I don't want to sound conceited, but I'm not ashamed of who I am. I'm not going to have antler or leg removal just to fit in."

"Leg removal? They do that?" That seemed a little extreme to me.

"You wouldn't believe what some of these poor moose girls have done for a shot at the big time," she said. "Instead of being proud of who and what we are, they end up getting suckered into making themselves into something they're totally not. And I know of more than one who ended up not being able to walk on two legs afterwards. I'm not going to risk my health for a movie."

And here I thought humans - and fae - liked a girl with great legs. And you'd think the more. the better.

So anyway, Theda's on the East Coast now, planning on pursuing a career as a singer. She figures the music industry might be more receptive than the movies. And besides, she can sing.

A bonus publicity shot:

(Theda is a Doll Chateau Ada, named for silent film star Theda Bara.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

In which - an update!

Actually, a lot has been happening - which is part of the problem. I haven't had time to write anything down.

For one thing, I have neighbors now.

Jett's partner in crime, Spike, crossed the Rainbow Bridge a little over a month ago with a scent gland tumor that turned out to be one of the rare metastatic ones. We intended to get two babies to introduce to him as new friends - but the introduction didn't go well, to say the least.

Jett is doing well, though - getting lots of extra attention - and I ended up with a gerbil condo next to my house. Oh well. :-) Meet Pagey and Percy. Pagey is the one in the first pic - the sort of Siamese-spotted-whatever one - and Percy is the reddish one, which Maddy said was called "Argente."

This was all just before the last Mercury retrograde. Normally I'm kind of skeptical about astrological things like that - I'm an Aquarius, after all, and we tend to be - but yeah, this last one was rough. Among other things, Maddy ended up with a friend in the hospital (another slipped disc - which happened about the same time last year, too,) the "Check Engine" light on in the Rogue for quite literally no reason ("Other/Unknown Error,") a rather anxiously awaited (and pricey) package going astray for almost three weeks and some weird cold/flu hybrid making the rounds that she's almost recovered from, except for a cough that sounds somewhat like a tuberculin seal (her words, not mine!) On the doll front, Shel tried to change shirts one afternoon and ended up needing emergency limb reattachment surgery when his left hand came off along with it. (Maybe not having separate jointed hands like they do isn't such a bad thing after all....) However, all patients, human and doll, are home and recovering, the "Check Engine" light went off  on its own, the stray package has arrived and all seems to be normal again.

Well, normal for here, anyway....


Devon's fella Rafael arrived just before all of the above started. He's a nice guy - not at all like what I was envisioning. Not I that I thought he wouldn't be nice, but - if I've got this right, he's an Unquiet Spirit like JT, also from New Orleans, who was a Vodou priest (is that the right term? I need to get a book on this.) Not sure about the circumstances that led to him being an Unqiuet Spirit, but I'm sure it's an interesting story - yeah, that kind of "interesting." He is a really nice guy, though, an seems to really know his way around the spirit/elemental realm.

And this is Paisley's friend Kilbey.

There has to be an explanation for him, and I think it has something to do with the same brown acid going around the first Woodstock festival - the stuff that was apparently not so good.

He said the missing antenna will grow back. (Apparently that isn't an eyestalk?) He also said he wished it would hurry up and do so, since it was like having one - well, unlike Kilbey, I am going to keep this G-rated.

As for the fact that he is in fact a "he" - Paisley said he's related to Mystery Snails, which actually do have genders. Most snails don't. Or do - they're both at once. Which explains how one stray pond snail in an aquarium turns into one bazillon about three days later. (I suspect the same is true for coat hangers in the closet.)

And if you need more proof that this last retrograde messed with EVERYTHING, look no further than our trusty thermometer. See that inside temperature? That was also the outside temperature, according to both the Weather Channel and the working thermometer. And no, the sensor wasn't in the sun.

And yes, it was sunny that day, too.

Bonus pic: Tempest and Kilbey.

(Kilbey is a Doll Chateau Larry. He's named for both musician Steve Kilbey of the Church and the snarky but sweet shapeshifter who was best friends with the Lady Madrigal Baker in my Doctor Who fanfic days. Rafael is a Pukifee Pio - the only human-ish male in my BJD crew.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

In which - Swan introduces herself.

Hi, I'm Swan. Scaramouche introduced me briefly a week or so ago. I'm one of her friends from around the place humans call Woodstock, although I was brought into existence in another part of what is now New York, nearer to what is now the Great Lakes.

When I was brought into existence, New York as we know it didn't exist. It was the land of the Great League of Peace, a group of five Native American nations stretching from what is now Canada into the Ohio Valley. The people I knew best were the Haudenosaunee, the People of the Long House, who European settlers later named the Iroquois.

The Haudenosaunee collectively named us - all elementals - the Jogah. We devas were called the Gandayah, the Drum Dancers. We were, of course, the guardians of plants and grains. There were also the Gahongas, the Stone Throwers, who sometimes caused rockfalls and earthquakes while moving things around and the Ohdows, who tended to those creatures who dwell underground.

It still amazes me just how much has changed in not quite two hundred and forty years.

Unlike the devas Zephyr first met, I'm not bitter toward humans. Yes, I watched the humans who came from Europe do great, sometimes irreparable, harm. But I have also seen humans do great good, acting to repair what they can and right the wrongs done by those who came before. Humans are strange. They have far more power than they realize. And the ones who would use that power well are many times the ones who distrust power most, because they've seen what happens when others misuse it. Or they don't realize the power even a small act has. But, to borrow a line from a book that Caroline's human loves, it's not always with the mightiest or most powerful that the fate of the Universe lies.

If you'd like to learn more about the Great League of Peace and the nations that were part of it, here's a good place to start: The Iroquois Nation. 

And this link includes a tale the People of the Long House told of us. (Might I add that it really did happen. I was so glad we were able to do something.): The Jogah.

Friday, April 3, 2015

In which it's just another day around the house....

"This has got to be some kind of April Fool's joke...."

"What does?" I was wondering what the FedEx package John got today was.

"We switched to Apple?" He didn't sound especially pleased.


"Yeah. When they said they were upgrading everyone, I expected something like your person's laptop. Not one of these...."

"I thought MirrorBooks were supposed to be good," I said. Not that I know. I've never used a Mac, much less a Mirror.

"They're just - completely different...." He got it booted up. "Now what?"

"Dunno," Scaramoche said, coming over to look. "I've never used one. Just an iPhone. Some of my human-type friends have those.....

......Hey, short stuff, no popping the bubblewrap, 'k?"

"Do you know anyone who knows anything about these?" John was at a loss.

"Swan does, I think. Where is she, anyway?"

"Upstairs. Something about rehearsing for the Spring Talent Show," I said.

"Oh yeah. The Woodstock devas do that every year. I think she said they're doing Oscar Wilde's Salome."


Meanwhile, upstairs.....

"I would, that they presently bring me in a silver charger..."

"Silver charger?" JT, aka Herod, looked skeptical. "Man, Apple's getting all fancy-schmantzy with this new release. WHich one is this, iPhone ten or something?"

"JT, stick with the script, willya?" Zephyr, aka Herodious, sighed.

"Okay, so - what would you have in a silver charger, whatever the heck that is, oh fair and sweet Salome?"

Swan, in character, took a deep breath. "The head of Jablome."

"It's Jokannan...." Zephyr tried, and failed, to not laugh."What do you think his first name is? Heywood?"

"I told you we should have picked The Glass Menagerie..." Swan said, laughing as well.

"Swan? You got a sec?

"What is it?"

"You know how to set up a MirrorBook, don't you?"

"Yeah. I'll be right down."

"Okay, what do I do here?" John was looking helplessly at the screen.

"Okay, launch System Preferences...."


"Right here. Now, click on Mail, Contacts and Calendars - okay, good, they have your iCloud account all set up already. Looks like your Miskatonic account is set up already along with your Gmail. So click out of that - okay - and click here to open your mail...."

"Is it - oh good, it's syncing up with the server..."

"If they did this right, you shouldn't lose anything. Were these your folders before?"

"Yeah. Looks like everything's here. I just hope I can get to all my stuff. I had a lot of files on the main server,"

"They should have thought of that," she said.

"Okay, here's the new emails...." He opened one and frowned. "Okay, what do you devas know about the Unseelie?"

"They're jerks," Scaramouche said. Well, she actually described them as something else, but I won't repeat it here.

"And they're not supposed to be here now. It's the season of the Light Court," Swan added.

"Okay - but first, how do I hibernate this thing?

"Here. It's called "Safe Sleep."

He hibernated the computer. "So what else about the Unseelie?"

"What's all the interest int he Unseelie?" I said.

"There have been some reports of attempted abductions and a reported attempt at swapping out a newborn in Boston for a changeling," he explained. "It was foiled by an observant nurse in the maternity ward."

"Are they sure it isn't the Seelie?" Scaramouche said. "You can't trust some of them, either."

"The Seelie wouldn't normally swap roadkill for a newborn," he said.

"Um - no. Ew." Swan made a face.

"I haven't heard anything around here," Scaramouche said.

"I haven't, either. I'll ask Tallulah if she has," Swan said.

"Yeah, where is she?"

"Bearsville. Where else? She told me to tell you she ran into one of your New York friends up there last summer."


"Cheetah Chrome. When he was up there putting down the track for "Bad Blood."

"No way. And she didn't tell me?"

Nice. And she didn't tell ME, either? How come the devas get to meet all the cool people?


Swan is a tan Pukifee Mio. Tallulah will probably be here next month.

Bonus pic - Paisley and Swan

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

in which Hurricane Gail Storm (Deva) blows into town.....

"Good thing your person had Magic Erasers...." JT was saying. "Sorry about that."

"It's not the first time something self-destructed in that microwave," I said. "You're sweet to clean it up, though."

"Well, it was my fault," he said.

"Not really. You were just following instructions," Scaramouche pointed out.

"Like everyone involved in every conspiracy ever." He gave her a funny look.

"Ah yes. But smuggling plans for a nuclear bomb in your bra isn't on the same level as microwaving a pizza roll for a minute and a half on high," she pointed out.

"Until it detonates, that is," he said.

We were interrupted by a tiny little lightning bolt and an itty-bitty crack of thunder.

"Another supercell?" I looked around. "Don't let it rain on the floor. I don't think it's waterproofed."

"There's not enough humidity in here for it to rain. I'm just trying to...hey, come back here!"

"Got it!" Devon caught the wayward wannabe supercell.

"You went back to brunette," Scaramouche said.

"Yeah. A fortune teller told Rafael a dark woman would be coming into his life," she said. "He didn't believe her, but I didn't want to take any chances."

"Bad storm! You know better than that! Now sit!" I've heard people yell at storms before - heck, I've heard Maddy call them things I'm not supposed to repeat here - but I've never seen a storm do as it was told before. Leave it to Tempest.

"How do you get them to do that?" I don't think Devon ever entertained the idea of a pet thunderstorm, either.

"Mon amis!"

"Devon, mon soeur! I missed you, cherie!"

"Tempest, mon ami!"

"And you, cherie! Mon courageux petit wind deva. Didn't I tell you that you were more than they are, cherie?"

"I didn't know there were others like you," Zephyr said.

"Everyone, this is Gail, Devon's sister. She and Devon were the two storm devas I met after I left Oklahoma. She's the one who worked with Tempest to turn the tornado away from that little town."

"I couldn't have without Tempest and Hawthorne," Gail said.

"I was still a linden tree deva at the time," Devon said.

"One of their storms had taken the life of the tree I'd warded for almost fifty human years," Gail explained. "I was furious. But I decided I'd learn to work the storms myself, instead of waiting to be a victim of another one. That I wouldn't be like them. I'd learn to bring the rains without bringing destruction along with them."

"Then they sent a tornado right at us again," Devon said.

"Both my sister's tree and a little town called Bon Coeur were in its path," Gail said. "But Tempest and Hawthorne were also following them and trying to turn it. We didn't have a wind deva to help us, so we had to try to turn it. And let me tell you, mon amis, that was not easy. I'd been a storm deva long enough to have come face-to-face with a couple of hurricanes, but this thing - mon Dieu."

"It was what humans would call an EF-5," Tempest added. "We turned it mostly away from the town, but part of the business district, the elementary school and the church were all lost."

"But only buildings, ami. No lives. Only what could be replaced," Gail added.

"When the tree I warded reached its natural end, I decided I'd join my sister," Devon said. "Hey, is Rue coming up here?"

"Soon," Gail said. "Rue is our wind deva."

"I asked them to introduce me to Zephyr," Tempest said. "They had Rue by then. I needed someone to work with. Someone good."

"We look out for one another," Gail said. "Which is why we're here...."

(Gail is a tan Pukifee Vanilla. She's named for musician Gail Ann Dorsey and based on a character from my fanfiction days whose name was Tatiana - Tianna for short. And I totally made up the town of Bon Coeur, LA.)