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Author GillO


Recent entries from Gill's Place - the blog of GillO

NOTE: This blog has been rated FR15 by the author. Blog content is not moderated by TtH

I have actually been posting like crazy over the last week, because I've been participating in the annual Halloween challenge at Illustrationsb_fag_ends, the site for all your short fic Spuffy needs. Right now it is bursting at the seams with fabulous new fics, most of them written at the speed of light, or possibly smashing the space-time continuum altogether. It's on a points system, and when I tell you I have posted 23 fics and am lying only in third place, you'll see what I mean. Go look - there are some awesome things there.

When it calms down (it ends on Friday) I will revise them all, possibly linking some together, and post them here and at AO3, but that will take some time anyway.

In the meantime I have been busy doing other stuff as well. R was home for a few days, either side of a trip to Warrington. She goes to all the glamorous places, my girl. We did stuff together, shopping and going to see the bank and suchlike before she headed back to The Smoke on Monday evening.

On Saturday, though, I joined the tutor of my Shakespeare course from last spring and a bunch of his students for a walking tour of historic bits of Kenilworth with relevance to Shakespeare. Now as I have lived here just over twenty years I didn't really learn a lot that was new to me, but it was fun, and I really enjoyed the intelligent, knowledgeable company. (The first year undergrads were intelligent, the MA students and the tutors were fairly knowledgeable as well.)

We started with the site of the Abbey, once one of the richest in the Midlands, and by dint of bribery one of the last to be dissolved, in 1538. There are a few bits left, but most of it was reused for building local houses and adding areas to the castle.

Posted: 29 Oct 14 21:16 • Comments
I looked into my "other" folder on FB this morning and found a private message sent yesterday

This is from a student, A, whom I taught a very long time ago. I don't usually like to boast, because I am British and it really isn't the done thing, but this was so sweet and unexpected I wanted to save this here.

Dear Mrs. Othen,
As I took a walk down memory lane today, browsing through some old photos I wanted to tell you that I think you are an outstanding English teacher, and you are one of the reasons that I continued to study English into the 6th form and in higher education. When I was studying to become a teacher, your style of teaching, the way you brought Shakespeare to life and cared about students who were different inspired me.
I recognise now (ha!) that my behaviour probably made me one of your more challenging students, but I really appreciate the way you reached out to me and made a connection that has lasted a lifetime.
Thank you very much.

Totally unsolicited!

I have been participating in the Halloween challenge over at Illustrationsb_fag_ends. It's enormous fun and the Spuffy fics and ficlets are coming in thick and fast, and are fabulous. If you haven't seen them, you really should.

I have cut out the first of four fake fur capes for bridesmaids, and there are not enough lint rollers in all the world!
Posted: 27 Oct 14 09:20 • Comments
A good account here on Illustrationladydragon76's journal about the fic thief, who would appear to be Russian and have some sort of advertising deal which means the individual concern earns from people rushing to his/her site to complain. I strongly recommend reading it and boosting the signal. Illustrationladydragon76 has put in some excellent research on this.
Posted: 18 Oct 14 18:43 • Comments
Illustrationlost_spook has come across an unpleasant little site which is reposting more or less anything tagged "fanfic". You may wish to look or to reconsider your tag system.


Yes, I mean you.
Posted: 13 Oct 14 12:29 • Comments
A very long while ago I wrote wedding fic about Spike and Buffy getting married in Scotland. Initially planned to be a short PWP it ran away from me, resolutely PG13 at most, and covering four chapters without getting to the nitty-gritty.

Now I am not writing essays or reading for classes I thought I ought to catch up on a couple of WIPs and bring them to an actual conclusion. Here is one:

Part One is here.
Part Two is here.
Part Three is here.
Part Four is here.

Hotel Suite - Epilogue
Rating: R
1,447 words.
Spike, Buffy and some guests you may recognise.

Times had changed since Spike had last been part of a wedding party, in anything other than a snacking sense, that was. When his cousin Ida had married the happy couple had set off on their wedding trip straight from the ceremony, not even staying to partake of the meal. Just as well, in retrospect, as the discovery of her husband’s unfortunate gastric issues would have been particularly unfortunate in the context of a Victorian wedding breakfast.

He had known that he and Buffy would remain at the hotel after the formalities were over, of course – he had made the arrangements with the hotel. He’d left the frills up to the management, however – as long as his own food was bloody enough, who cared what the guests were fed on? Who really gave a toss about the first dance, for that matter? The dancing he planned to do with Buffy would be later on and very much in private. And fun. Cake design, like the dresses, had been left to Dawn and Willow.

It was his own bloody fault, then, in retrospect, that he found himself standing next to his new wife, Giles and a pack of hangers-on in a straight lin...
Posted: 30 Sep 14 19:41 • More • Comments
The marks and feedback for the Thackeray essay arrived today. 67, which is a good Merit, but lower than the other essays except for the catastrophic theory essay. The fact that the tutor of the course was second marker for this probably didn't help, but the feedback pointed out genuine issues and I'm not going all sour grapes. Really.

So, that's the MA finished. A comfortable average in the high 60s, so they would have to be spectacularly mean not to award me the degree; I'll hear officially in about a month and graduation, if I go, is in January, the week after F's wedding.

The bad news is that apparently there's a rule that says you can't do the same qualification twice, so it looks as if I won't be doing any studying this year apart from signing up for Italian again. This saddens me. I may try applying for an MFA for next year, but I have to come up with a project for that. Possibly finishing my YA novel.

In other news, Dave is now painting the downstairs loo and the fitter has finished most of the tiling in the bathroom, which is looking good. He should be finished in a couple of days, he says - there will be photos. It's so wonderfully not-green, so I love it already.

Feeling very flat this evening, as if I've failed, which I know is very silly and I'll get over it. I feel, once again, second-rate. Better than third-rate or fourth-rate, but still. It's my default brood and I need to snap out of it. I have (pending) an MA from a prestigious university. Durham still means a lot more, though. I think I need to write fic to pull my head out of the mess.
Posted: 29 Sep 14 17:21 • Comments
It's actually because my internet is fluctuating in and out so much that I am writing stuff in Word instead of reading and lurking.

I did get a chance to follow this link from the Illustrationsu_herald, though. It is a very long way beyond marvellous, though one does wonder if the artist concerned may have a wee bit too much time on his/her hands.

Yes, folks, it's an entire range of BtVS figures and playsets in LEGO. It has to be seen to be believed. There are even 'boxes' for comics canon!
Posted: 16 Sep 14 18:40 • Comments
Spike and LMPTM

It’s quite cheering that BtVS is still popular enough to generate new articles online, even if a fair proportion of them are just clickbait. It’s still clickbait with pretty pictures, after all. One such is 10 Depressingly Realistic Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its consideration of Spike and S7 struck me as worth further exploration.

3. Parents Don’t Always Know Best


Mutant Enemy

Episode: Season 7, Episode 17 – “Lies My Parents Told Me”

Let’s be honest: The seventh and final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a let-down. The “Slayer School” storyline was lame. The “real vampires” (or ancient cave-man vampires, or whatever) known as Turok-Hans were corny and inconsistently presented, at first being nearly impossible for Buffy to defeat one-on-one, but by the end of the season being cannon fodder. Willow was just sort of “there” and Giles wasn’t really there at all (having been written off to England the previous season). The season also had far too many “motivational speeches” that seemed like filler.
Really, it was Spike that carried the seventh season, with the only interesting storyline being his (First Evil, we’re sorry, but you would have been better suited to a multi-episode arc, not a series ending storyline).

So it seems fitting that it was a Spike episode that taught us one of the few lessons to be had from the season.
Interspersed with scenes from Spike’s past, the episode is basically a look at Spike then vs. now, with the surviving son of a Slayer he once killed looking to take vengeance on the vampire who left him an orphan. The parent in question is Giles, watch
Posted: 16 Sep 14 16:57 • More • Comments
Friday 12th September

Up in good time to finish collecting stuff together for Illustrationwriterconuk - my last year as chair and, as a local person I tend to accumulate a lot of the stuff – if it’s ordered online it makes sense for it to be sent to me. The evening before had involved Illustrationcuriouswombat doing a lot of ironing to create bags with our logo on and we (including S2C) had put goodies into the goody bags.

Later in the morning our bathroom turned up and was stored in the garage. To clarify – after a mere 20 years in this house we are finally replacing the very dated 70s green suites in the bathroom and downstairs loo with something a little less Thatcher-era in white. So, a man with a van brought a bath, a shower, two loos, two washbasins, a range of taps, outlets and chrome stuff, a vanity unit and a heck of a lot of tiles. These were all stored tidily away and I still managed to get the door closed. Use a garage to put a car in? You have to be joking.

Around lunchtime (which I sort of forgot to have) I gathered together the last of my things and headed to Sainsbury’s for last-minute white wine and fruit juice, then down to Coventry, to meet folks at the Ramada Hotel, the venue for our Event for quite a few years now. Several people had already arrived, and during the afternoon more and more trickled in. The hotel staff were sweet as usual, but more than a bit fussy this year – I had to have private conflabs with Szholt and Jyoti, and was asked to proof-read the menu! (Just as well – since the draft I’d seen on Tue...
Posted: 16 Sep 14 06:35 • More • Comments
Illustrationbrutti_ma_buoni's talk inspired very cracky fic. This in turn inspired Illustrationhobbituk to create an image. I'm ashamed to say I made one too. See my earlier (Saturday) post for the fic and her image. Here's mine:

Crackfic image copy
Posted: 15 Sep 14 11:04 • Comments
Illustrationbrutti_ma_buoni is going to make us work. Bearable fanfics from Mills and Boon summaries. We have to restrain our badfic impulses - she has confidence in us. (Silly, silly lady.)

Prompts don't have to be literal - even the worst prompts may have little bits in even a summary from a Harlequin novel - so you can make your imagination better than the source.

Now we are divided into groups. Each group has a choice of three summaries - printed very surreptitiously at work.

My group chose one about a rancher in Argentina.

We had to dump two things, keep at least two things and create a new synopsis, rating, possibly chapter headings. This is ours:

Honeymoon With the Rancher or, Dragged up on Dartmoor

John Watson runs a lonely, windswept guest-house on Dartmoor. One day detective Sherlock Holmes turns up at his door. He plants his stilettoes firmly in front of John who thinks Sherlock is an ugly woman and rejects his advances until suddenly he reveals himself to be a man going undercover as a drag performer. John points out that he is totally unconvincing as a woman: “You’re not fooling anybody dressed like that, mate.” he says.

“Damn. My informant told me that I had to look like this and tell you the birds were flying south for the summer. I think Mycroft was taking the piss.”

Sherlock is on his honeymoon, alone, having abandoned the wife he married - on his brother’s orders - at the altar when it transpired that his new bride had been sent by Moriarty to kill him on their wedding night when in the throes of passion. He feels the whole thing is a bit of an inconvenience in his mission to identify the breeder of the cross-dressing hounds of Baskerville and p...
Posted: 13 Sep 14 09:10 • More • Comments
Mez is telling us a story. It has a sorceror in it. The sorcerer is the good guy. Virgil's Aeneid is a Homer remix. And now we're on to Rocket Launcher fic.

Yes, we've started.

Fanfic is a conversation - "Yeah, not bad, but this is how I'd do it."

The act of writing is will always impose your own viewpoint on the original story. No two people will have exactly the same understanding of the original story - and every time you write you are reacting not just to the original, but also to all the other interpretations - fic and meta - that you have seen.

Take all the recent reworkings of Sherlock Holmes - viewpoints on the original stories but also their own viewpoints on each others versions.

You often don't figure out what you think/feel about an original story until you settle down to work out what you need to fit in and what to discard.

Fic can be a bad thing if it becomes about telling people off, telling people how they are seeing it 'wrong', writing a hit-for-hit rebuttal of someone else's work. Fic should be about bringing the new rather than criticising the already existing. Not a good idea to attack the writing - there is a danger that you just end up bashing a fic in a remix if you are not in sympathy with the original POV.

Inspiring each other - challenges, especially remix challenges are very much about a conversation. The emphasis is on reacting actively and creatively - the more fanworks there are out there, the more you inspire other people to create too.

From the floor: gentle mocking can be OK. The Whale of the Nazgul is a good example of an inspiring spelling mistake! Sometimes you may have a private conversation involving the offer to beta things. American/British English can also be problematic - 'Dr Who' with US spelling grates, and we assume Brit spelling in US stories has the same effect.

The All-Penguin AU came up - a conversation which took off, s...
Posted: 13 Sep 14 05:36 • More • Comments

For reasons which make little sense to me, my post is getting garbled. We have thrown pterosaurs at each other and played a quiz in which the prize and runner up prizes were all alcoholic. Blanquette De Limoux sparkling wine, to be precise.

We are now dining. Curiouswombat has fishcake in a pond. See photo above.
Posted: 12 Sep 14 16:47 • Comments
I've not posted much of late, mainly because 'busy' has been an understatement. Here's a quick round-up, though.

I think my last post of substance was from Worldcon, on the Saturday, when I was really tired and a bit low. Sunday was quite different. I was hailed as I walked in by Illustrationbrisingamen and we sat and talked for ages. Then I attended a couple of panels and caught up with Illustrationtlanti before I went to the meet-up for Diana Wynne Jones fans.

DWJ Meet

With Kylie Ding and Meredith DWJ meet

I skipped the Hugo awards in favour of sitting drinking with a bunch of people, which was a lot of fun.

On the Monday I also caught a few panels and took a few more pics. I travelled quite a bit using Schindler's Lift.

Schindlers lift

I took a few pics of random people:

Dalek and Jawas
Poisoning pigeons
Posted: 9 Sep 14 18:54 • Comments
This is a wonderful set of maps collated to explain Europe to non-Europeans. It's fascinating - far more Muslims, proportionally, in Sweden, France and Germany than in Britain, for example. And a telling map of parts of the world 'ruled' at some point by Europe. Japan, Korea and Thailand weren't. That's it.

It's just used up over an hour of my time. Go see.
Posted: 9 Sep 14 17:13 • Comments
For all my friends who are interested in British obsessions. This is a wartime public information film about the correct way to make tea. Giles and Wesley grew up with such rules.

Note that a man gives the detailed instructions, because it has to be credible! The accents are something else - you never hear anything like them these days.

I do wonder if the man is Alastair Sim...

And linked to that, one of a set (apparently) of EFL videos from the BBC, this one about idioms connected to tea. Though I would usually say "as much use as a chocolate teapot", not "as good as".

I have an essay to submit on Monday. 8,000 words, +/- 10%. So far, 2,500 and counting. Which explains why I'm all work-avoidy here.
Posted: 27 Aug 14 10:26 • Comments
I'm feeling my age a bit, not to mention my weight - my hotel is cheap, clean and comfortable, but at the "wrong" end of the ExCel conference centre, which is so big it has two DLR stations. This means about a half-mile walk at the start of the day - no problem - and at the end, by which time my knees and feet are killing me and every step feels like six.

OK, whine over, this is a very, very good con. I've been to all sorts of panels on YA, TV, mediaevalism and London, enjoyed really good conversations with total strangers and met lots of folk I know, most of whom are way busier than me. Not only did I meet Illustrationowlfish, I've now met the wonderful Grouting, who is particularly keen on assaulting her father with hula hoops and Illustrationowlfish's mother, who I accused of being her sister. Ooops.

Particularly noteworthy was a fascinating conversation in the Exhibition hall with a lady from Glasgow University's Historical Thesaurus project - like a standard thesaurus, but linking all the words and slang terms ever used in the language since Beowulf spoke it - to call it "awesome" would be to undervalue it. I also spent time with some OTW people, including a delightful lady who is in charge of translations into non-English languages, which is also awesome - a word I'm in danger of overusing this weekend.

Lots of cosplayers around, of course - enough to make a photo spread in The Guardian, and some amazing exhibits. I fell in love with a steampunk Dalek, a Tiki Dalek and a representation of the railway system of "Angst Less-pork".

Posted: 17 Aug 14 07:12 • Comments
My entry for Illustrationmonthlydiaryday.

The Twelfth started badly as I was up late doing some work on an essay, and so I caught the news about Robin Williams, which was distressing.

When I woke up the day started properly. I wished my husband "Happy Anniversary". He didn't quite swear, but he jumped a little. Minutes later a text arrived for him from our daughter F, reminding him it was our wedding anniversary. He did bring me a mug of coffee..

After getting up, showering etc I had breakfast, as usual, at the desktop computer. My FB feed was pretty much all Robin Williams - his death caused instinctive feelings of loss, while the probability of suicide elicited a lot of comments about the deadly nature of severe depression.

I spent most of the rest of the day doing background reading for the paper I'm giving next week, on Lois McMaster Bujold. I wish I was more confident about the pronunciation of "Vorkosigan". I was slightly distracted by a volume of Thackeray's letters, but managed a reasonable level of focus.

When Dave got home we decided to celebrate our anniversary appropriately and went to Leamington to the cinema. I hadn't really eaten much since breakfast, so there was ice cream and a fizzy drink, and we saw Guardians of the Galaxy. It is the most delicious, bonkers fun - if you haven't seen it you really should. Then we detoured via the 24-hour Tesco to buy some easy food - a chicken, chorizo and potato dish which was rather tasty. Some wine may also have been drunk.

And so to bed. 36 years married now - where did the time go?
Posted: 14 Aug 14 19:09 • Comments
Robin Williams has been found dead. It appears to have been suicide.

We all have memories, I'm sure, of laughing at something he was in until we were helpless. How sad that he couldn't find his own inner happiness or peace.
Posted: 11 Aug 14 19:20 • Comments
I think I came out as this once before.

GillO's Personality Type Results

ENFP — The "Advocate"
ENFP Advocates are enthusiastic, expressive and charismatic leaders. They are spontaneous, wild and posses a great zest for life. ENFPs are dreamers. They are driven by their values and strive to champion the causes they believe in. They are resourceful, visionary and creative.
- See more at:

Hmmm. Not wholly convinced by the description.
Posted: 31 Jul 14 19:37 • Comments
Not really beaten up, just feeling that way. I went to the dentist's yesterday for the next segment of restorative work, which is costing me not so much an arm and a leg as all the limbs of every relative I still have extant. I now have two prototype crowns and a prototype tooth on my implant. Six hours in the chair.

I feel as if I've been beaten up. Not only did I fail to do the SU Herald yesterday, I spent most of today asleep too. I know there was anaesthetic involved, and it was a long time, but it really does feel silly that I feel like this.

Still, Guest!Cat is actually being quite friendly, and has fallen in love with a box Dave found for him.


Now I'm going back to bed. I still have 150 pages to read of Pendennis before I can even start my essay.
Posted: 29 Jul 14 18:26 • Comments
A phone call from Sweden this evening. K finally asked F to marry him - down on one knee too, apparently. In a motorway layby, but beside a stunningly beautiful lake.

So, there's a wedding to organise. They are talking about January, which is scarily soon, even though they don't want a really big "do". And I have to get a mother-of-the-bride outfit I won't hate myself in.

Beware, there will probably be a lot of wedding talk over the next few months. Illustrationshapinglight, I may well be picking your brains!

Posted: 25 Jul 14 18:41 • Comments
Time just seems to creep up on me. I'm busy re-reading Pendennis, the Thackeray blockbuster which inspired Virginia Woolf's attack on Victorian mega-novels, as I have to concoct eight thousand words on it by the end of next month. For light relaxation I am also doing some reading for the paper on Bujold, also next month. (What? Georgette Heyer is SRS reading. Honest.) and various academic articles.

Last week was busy. On Wednesday I went down to Bicester to visit Illustrationoxfordia and then onward to London with her to meet her cousin, L, who had major surgery not long ago, so needed a little extra help. All went smoothly apart from my attempt to pay for the car-park via my mobile. I am now appealing the hundred quid fine. :-( (Only £60 if I pay up at once without arguing. So not going to happen.)

Then on Thursday F's boyfriend, K arrived with Guest!Cat. He and she are now in Norway on a Scandi roadtrip without, I hope, too much in the way of Scandinoir murders and knitwear. They thought they had catsitting organised, till the landlord's agents announced that decorators would be in this week and next, with windows left open, painters underfoot and noisy and gloss paint smells everywhere. As Dax is an indoor cat, this was felt to be not a good idea, so he's with us for the fortnight.

He spent the first night and day hiding under F's bed, but he's gradually tolerating us a bit more. He likes windowsills and comes to check on me if I'm reading in/on the bed.

Dax in bedroom

He is also very fond of a big bag which once held clothes.
Posted: 22 Jul 14 15:36 • Comments
This is my post for this month's Illustrationmonthlydiaryday.

Once more I join the chorus of "where did the month go?" This time last month we were in the glorious Midi, and now we're back in slightly soggy England. To be fair, it has been warm and with some lovely days, but this weekend has had its soggy moments.

On Friday I had both dental and hospital appointments, so Saturday morning was definitely for taking it easy, with coffee and the papers in bed, a leisurely shower and The New Quiz repeat on the radio. Once up, I did a bit of pottering round, though I was playing "chicken" with my darling husband over the dishwasher - I was away most of the week, and it remained as I'd left it, with almost every dish in the house waiting to be put in the magic cupboard. (He finally buckled this morning!)

I did a check of my usual internet sites, played a few mindless games, then settled down to some serious work. I have an essay on Thackeray to submit by the end of next month, and his books, like so many of his contemporaries', are the size and weight of bricks. My focus is on Pendennis, a mere 800 pages, and I'm re-reading and putting little sticky post-it style labels whenever relevant material appears, colour-coding as I go. My copy is already looking like a rainbow!

Just for variety I did some intensive searching of academic databases and downloaded a dozen or so articles which may prove useful. Thackeray in his own day was considered to be the equal of Dickens; now only Vanity Fair gets much attention, which means I'm effectively breaking new ground.

A daughter phoned from London and we discussed some of the logistics of looking after her cat while she and her boyfriend go to Scandinavia for two...
Posted: 13 Jul 14 19:00 • More • Comments
Beautiful Aardman film for the Imperial War Museum's reopening. Well worth watching.
Posted: 7 Jul 14 18:21 • Comments