Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My Review for "Ship It" by Britta Lundin (and all that entails) Part 2

Please refer to Part One Before reading this. And also...spoilers

"Fans feel silenced" You are the audience. As much as you want to think you have a say in the matter. You really don't.  (+10)

Go Forest. 

This was the only redeeming scene in the whole book. Forest has every right to be mad. He was trying to get a role in another movie, and at this point, if he quit the show it would just serve the "fans" right because they don't deserve him. And he is genuinely correct about what the fans think. I have seen so much hate for the writers and certain actors (ahem Jensen) from so-called Supernatural "fans" because they don't agree with their ship. And that is all they care about. (Side rant) like those fans who only start watching SPN at Season 4 and don't watch episodes that Cas isn't in. Like, I love Cas as a character, I love Misha, but these fans ONLY watch the show to prove their ship to the rest of us when they still have no grounds to stand on. And how can you really call yourself a fan if you didn't watch the early seasons with the boys growing up? With Dean's sacrifice for Sam and everything that entailed, the things that shaped who they became? Because they don't care about that, they don't care about the show and they don't really care about the characters, they just want to see their ship come to fruition when it NEVER will.

So, I whole-heartedly agree, Forest: @#%& Claire and the "fans" (-10)

And here is where another PR person literally helps Claire plot to hold Jamie hostage and blackmail him. My poor Jamie needs to get better freaking help and vet these people to make sure they aren't diehard shippers of this crap. (+100)

So she literally asks her mom and other adults to help her find a room to "Lure" the show runner into. And they help her. I wonder what would have happened if she'd asked them to help her kill him too? And you wonder why this book make me want to blow my brains out? (+200)

This is a selection from one of Claire's fanfics. Yep, she's writing RPF now because she's got it into her head to be so delusional that she thinks Forest's hatred for the SmokeHeart ship is because of his personal suppressed feelings for his co-star and she wants to write a story about that. (+100)
Bonus sins added because in this fanfic she steals a prank that Ruth Connell pulled on Mark Sheppard when she covered his trailer in pictures of Misha. This author obviously doesn't use anything original. (+10)

So this is during the discussion that happens when Claire holds Jamie hostage, and once, again, boy do I feel sorry for poor Jamie. Not only did he not get the actor he wanted to play one of the characters but he tells a very true story of what it's like so often writing for a network or publisher and trying to make a show (or book) fit their perimeters. 

This is another truism to how these fans think. This is how villains taunt people. Get a life, Claire. And Jamie's right, it's a joke. I'm sorry you don't think it's funny. (+50)

I think this whole passage speaks for itself. Again, poor Jamie. Bless this man who just wants to write a freaking story in a world where everyone forces you to use agendas to make potentially good fiction crappy. Just this line "I didn't know I was upholding the patriarchy. I thought I was telling monster stories for an hour a week." This almost makes me want to freaking cry at how real this is and how much I feel for Jamie here. This is just the kind of hate people get for writing Just Stories anymore. Oh no, it's not allowed to have Just a Story. It has to have just the right amount of diversity and by the "right amount" I mean, it must overcome the story itself to push agendas and therefor make it a campaign instead of a story. Anyone who writes a Story anymore is instantly penalized and called a racist and a bigot. 

+100 sins for Claire bringing up this subject. 

Okay, so this is after they watched the finale live at the last con and it's revealed that Smoky (Forest's Character) dies at the end. And I think it was also announced that there wasn't going to be a pick up for the next season because, go figure. And I love how she automatically thinks that Rico ships it just because he applies a little more tact to his answers than anyone else. Another thing, fans, just because actors don't actually come out and protest something, doesn't automatically mean that they ship it. And even if they don't necessarily mind that people ship something doesn't mean they play it that way on screen (+20)

Another +10 sins for Discount Misha knitting like real Misha.

+1,000 sins for having the gall to actually reference Supernatural in this book.

And once again, Claire is asked to moderate a panel after the complete crapfest she made of the last one. Again, she's thinking of blackmailing Jamie and putting him on the spot in front of the fans. Shockingly she decides not to do this. (+10)

"Look at the show, how white it is, how male." KILL ME NOW 
THIS WHOLE SCENE just makes me want to bash my head in. +1,000 sins

I don't even want to talk about what ensues at the end of this panel. Number one, this would NEVER happen and if it did it would never be serious. It was so obviously supposed to be to placate the readers' little disgusting fantasies but it made NO FREAKING SENSE to the story and was SO out of character for these guys, especially Forest. He and Rico did not have to freaking kiss on stage in cosplays of their characters for these ungrateful disgusting fans. (+10,000)

CANON cannot be wrong. Canon is always canon. Fanon is what it's called when the fans make it up.  (+1,000) And an extra +10 sins because this forced me to deface a library book.

"Gotta eat your broccoli before you can have dessert."
You have no idea how many times I have seen this sentiment. I agree that fix-it fanfics are great, there's nothing wrong with fixing the trauma, but there are fans who expressly hate everything about a show and only read fan fiction. Why are you even in this fandom anymore????? +1,000 sins for my personal angst.

And that's it for the selections.

Total Sin Count: 15,185

Sentence: Salt and Burn

So, I’m going to leave you to make your own conclusion about this book but here’s a few interesting tidbits you may want to noodle on. And honestly, I’m not coming out and saying anything here, coincidences dohappen on occasion, but there was too much coincidence in the whole situation of this book to pass over completely.

-The author, Britta Lundin is apparently a writer for the show RiverdaleRiverdaleis a show owned by the CW.

-Supernatural is also owned by the CW and also Warner Bros.

-We all know Disney is trying to buy up other film companies. Guess who published this book? Freeform. Which is a publishing company owned by, yep. Disney. It kind of makes you wonder: blatantly obvious bashing of a certain fandom owed by a certain company, who on earth would publish this? Oh, the Fourth Reich—I mean, (you know what I mean)

-We also know that CW with all its DC Comics based shows is heavily in with Warner Bros. While it’s ABC that has affiliations with Disney, which they don’t let anyone forget. ABC also owns the Freeform TV channel which is all part of the same thing.

This also leads to the question as to why this particular author chose to write a book essentially bashing people in the same profession she’s in?

Kind of makes me wonder how this woman still has a job with the CW…

So, do with that what you will, my friends. 

And just to be fair, I picked a couple other reviews off of Goodreads to show you that even people who ship this stuff don’t like this story. When my enemy becomes my ally, you know it’s bad.

Also, for a very in-depth discussion about this book with less ranting, check out this video from Alana King on Youtube 

My Review for "Ship It" by Britta Lundin (and all that entails) PART 1

My Review of Ship It 
Why I’m officially done with Publishing Companies

This is the story of how it’s apparently okay to attack a specific fandom and person (in not a very veiled way) in a published novel in the glorious age we live in.

Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing against books about fans. While I may not like the type of book Rainbow Rowell writes and Fangirljust isn’t my cup of tea, I am happy that there are books out there that portray fans as not insane psychos because 98% of us really aren’t. Even the majority of fans who ship ships I personally don’t agree with aren’t insane, petty stalkers.

In 2017 two amazing books about fans came out. One of which was Geekerellaby Ashley Posten, which was almost a love letter to fans everywhere. It captured the “True Fan” the ones who love their fandoms despite its possible faults, who cosplay and go to conventions and are supportive of other people in their fandom because you’re supposed to be on the same team. Plus the romance between the heroine and the star of the movie adaption of her favorite show was actually really adorable and actually pretty realistic. I mean, it *could* happen within the bounds of reality. Unlike the situations in Ship It. But we’ll get to that later.

There was also Eliza and her Monsterswhich features the introverted creator of a popular web comic meeting a fan “in the wild” who shares with her that he writes fan-fiction of her comic (fan-fiction that is actually good!) and this book kind of shows both the side of the fandom and the side of the creator; something that, as both a fan and a writer myself, I particularly appreciated.

Both of these books were well written, had likable characters who the reader could relate to, and, especially in the case of Geekerella, illustratedthe best, and really, the most normally seen side of Fandom as a whole. I am one of those fans who gets excited to talk about stuff with other people in my fandoms. I chat online with friends, I cosplay and go to cons and do photo ops and autographs with authors and actors I love. I saved extra money for weeks to get photo ops with Jensen, Jared and Misha, I stood in line for three hours to get Elijah Wood’s autograph—I’m a fan, I get it.

But this is not the kind of fans that Ship It is portraying. In fact if anyone read this book and had little to no idea of what fandoms were typically like, they would probably never want to join one at all because this portrays everyone as whiny, petty, a-holes. 

A little crash course in fan-fiction for people who don’t know:

So, fan-fiction can be divided into several basic categories.

First off you have Canon and Gen Canon is based off the book/show/movie directly, either deleted scenes, and such that would be found in the normal universe of the original work. It only has canon ships (or maybe an original character, here and there, if it works). Gen is pretty much the same but essentially has no ships at all or can also cover AUs (alternate universes) or other things that may not happen in canon, but are generally not offensive to anyone.

Then you move into Slash. Slash is fan-fics where characters of the same gender are paired. These are not canon pairings, or at least the term never seems to be used to refer to canon pairings.

Then even further into that you go to RPF or ‘real person fiction’. RPF is essentially fan-fics about actors, singers or other celebrities. Some fan-fiction sites don’t even allow RPF to be posted. Now, I’m not saying all RPF is like this, I’m sure at least some of it is actually Gen, I don’t look for it because it’s not my cup of tea. But the majority of it takes actors who are in real life happily married to their wives and have children and everything, and the writers pretend they are in love, instead, with their co-stars, sometimes even behind their wives backs if their actual wives exist at all in these fics. This to me is just disrespectful. Fictional characters are one thing, but when you make up stuff about real people, it’s just disgusting to me.

And we all thought Mary-Sues were bad. And speaking of Mary-Sues Claire in this book was a serious Mary-Sue alert.

Look, so yes, I don’t like it when shippers pop out of the woodwork and ruin things for me with their fanart of my favorite boys snogging. But as long as they don’t get in my face, they’re not my problem. They can stay on their side of the internet, I’ll stay on mine. I’m willing to ignore them. The problem is they don’t always do that and there are fans who are ADAMANT that ships are canon even though writers, authors, and even actors have denied that they are canon. This is approaching the disrespectful level and what you don’t realize is that you make all of us fans look bad for doing this. Some actors *are* jerks, but the ones who aren’t, like the cast of Supernatural and Merlin and a lot of the cast of Avengers and all that are super nice people and they don’t deserve the heckling some fans resort to. And not only in the shipping quarter (I could bring up a certain panel with Seb Stan, Tom Holland, and Anthony Mackie as an example of this) (Also, as an aside, this is a textbook reason of why you have question moderators at panels, which this book sneers at, and also a textbook example of HOW NOT TO MODERATE A PANEL when the guest actor has to be the one to move it along instead of whoever is modding.)

And then you have the fans like Claire in Ship Itwho take it even farther and literally demand (in this book, while holding the showrunner freaking hostage with promise of blackmail) that the writers and producers/authors change the story to fit theirimage of it. Like literally, I have seen petitions and campaigns to make ships go canon. What the actual heck, people? Ever think that maybe you should turn that passion into actually helping people?

Ladies (and maybe a few gents) do you remember how everyone hated the Star Wars prequels so much they said George Lucas (who legit came up with the story, so I find their arguments invalid—like, don’t like it, don’t watch) did a terrible job with his own movies? And then he sold the rights to Disney and, welp, you guys got your wish, and look at the absolute tripefest that ensued. (Besides Rogue Onethat was beautiful and canon and like a WWII spy story in space—see, we all have our opinions.) This is what happens when you ask people to go off canon. We could have had cool villains, Luke Skywalker with a kick-butt bounty hunter wife and Jacen and Jaina Solo, and would have been spared the emo little boy pain of Kylo Ren, but nooooo. 

But I digress…

So a little backstory on Where This Book Got Its Storyline From:

It’s no secret Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester on Supernatural is no fan of the Dean/Cas ship. So when questions were asked about it, he responded like a normal human, and not even meanly, but he was obviously annoyed and done with the question and no one can blame him for sounding a bit grumpy about it. Well, some people took offence to that, probably tears were shed, and obviously it made it onto the internet.

(I couldn’t find the original video, but here is another one where essentially the same thing happens)

I don’t know why this author decided it was her personal crusade to accuse Jensen, not to his face, but in this really backhanded and frankly disgusting way, but it’s pretty obvious that that’s literally what this book is. I mean, come on “Demon Heart”? A show about a demon hunter and a freaking conflicted demon ally with—get this—a distinctive coat and husky voice? Sure they cut out the brother thing, but just wait until you read the lovely selections I have for you from this book and you’ll see just how many parallels it had with Supernatural. (And on the note of actors hating ships, I’m going to mention in passing Bradley James’ obvious hatred for the Merlin/Arthur ship. You go, Bradley.)

So a little about Claire, the main character is not a good person. She is rude to her mother all the time for no reason, especially since her mom supports her passions and even drives her to the first convention and then proceeds to leave her home and job for weeks to travel with Claire on the con circuit. And she’s also pretty terrible to her friend, and pretty much blackmails her in front of her other friends. So Claire, not a likable person, but what else were we to expect when this was the kind of fan this author was trying to portray.

So, let’s jump into the fray finally. I realized while reading this book that the best way to condemn it was to let it speak for itself, and, frankly, I couldn’t even come up with this crap if I tried.

(Warning: there may be some sensitivities hurt by reading these things, and also some unkind language from me. However, I did you the courtesy of blanking out the cussing in the text so there’s that)

Let’s start off this section with the definition of “Delusional”-- “Characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.” Keep that in mind while you read these selections.

(I'm also going to do a Cinema Sins style rating on this one so every + you see if the counter of sins this book gains)

Also, if it wasn't already obvious...spoiler warning 

So, let's just take a moment to appreciate that we're first introduced to our heroine literally googling gay porn in her school library to "see how it works" for her fanfic. Do I need to say more? If the author was trying to go for something funny here, it missed the mark by approximately a universe (+100)

I'm adding sins here because this is SO BLATANTLY stolen from the SPN family. Fans call Misha Collins 'Dad' on Twitter too (+10)

Again, sins added here for the similarity to Supernatural. Rico, (or Discount Misha, as I like to call him) plays the demon character and has an 'unnaturally gravelly voice' in character. >_> (+10)

Bless Claire's mom here for asking if the characters are actually bisexual. This whole conversation is one I have seen on Tumblr so many times. Let me just say this. If the writers wanted you to know something about a character on a show after 14 seasons, they are going to let you know. If it hasn't been said by then, then it's not true and you're delusional. (+20)

Again, a perfect example of how these types of fans perceive things. Sure, the character might have just been possessed and beaten his best friend into the ground, or maybe this is pre-friendship and they kinda hate each other so they're doing an alpha male thing. Does this make any sense to them? No, all they see is sexual tension. (+50)

Ah yes, the female characters getting killed off--another huge contention in the Supernatural fandom. While I agree some of them were totally killed off too quickly, others (the ones people actually get angry about like Charlie) actually *did* serve a purpose to the storyline by dying. It's not because they were female, it's because they furthered important plot points. (+5)

Girl, just because it wasn't your interpretation of the scene doesn't mean you are the only one who is right. You didn't write or act the bloody thing, you do not have the monopoly on deciding what it meant. (+10)

See comment above, but I'm still adding an additional 10 sins (+10)

Despite all the work this author did to demonize the creator/showrunner Jamie, he's actually one of the few characters I sympathized with in this book. And I seriously hope she didn't think she was basing him off Eric Kripke because I have never seen Kripke act like she tries to portray this poor guy at a panel or in an interview. None of the SPN writers do.

Okay, number one, there's no way the whole audience would be with her. Whenever anyone mentions slash at a con, there is always a collective groan from at least some audience members. And frankly, I refuse to call Forest the jerk here, seeing as the questions should have been vetted and actors are human too. You can't expect them to be happy with every question a fan asks. (+10)

Again with the delusions. Also, this is after Claire oh-so-gracefully runs off to her room crying because no one agreed with her theory. Insert joking truism about millennials and participation trophies (+10)

And here's why I feel sorry for Jamie. He's such a victim of the network that he can't even write his own bloody show without being demonized by not only his fans but his PR woman -- who he totally should have fired for everything she does later. I don't know a lot about that side of the business, but I do know that you shouldn't berate your clients this much and them proceed to essentially blackmail them later by siding with the fans. 

In this scene, even Claire's friend, who is another die hard shipper admits that they don't need it on the show if they have their fanfics. This is one of the many scenes where I actually had to wonder whether we were actually supposed to like Claire or not? (+10)

I love how she demonizes panel moderation and question vetting here. Because seriously, if they *didn't* do this at conventions (well, see the Avengers panel in the link I mentioned earlier) and you'd have so many uncomfortable questions. Some questions still slip through, yeah, but that's on the fans for saying something else to the mods before they actually ask the question. Some actors just don't want to answer questions about certain topics. And if they know it's something that's going to piss them off, then why would the fans want to do that to someone they *supposedly* respect? Oh yeah, because respect goes both ways.

Also, let me take a moment to catch you up on a little of the story here. Because Claire's feelings were kind of upset by Forest, the absolutely brilliant PR lady came up with the plan to invite her as a special guest to the rest of the convention circuit. Traveling WITH THE ACTORS and UNSUPERVISED on, get this, a tour bus, of all things. As if the situation wasn't ridiculous enough already the image of show and movie casts, especially big ones like the cast for Avengers traveling from con to con on a tour bus like some 90s pop band is freaking hilarious. Unfortunately, it also traps the actors with this chick who is obviously off her rocker, and ends up being where she somehow gains Forest's trust enough for him to tell her things he never should have because it's going to come back to bite him later when she blows stuff out of proportion and writes fake truths about him in RPF fanfics. And then PR lady proceeds to let her live tweet or whatever the panel and essentially trash talk everyone and yet this person who is supposed to be making sure the show stays in a good light so they can make another season, is totally okay with this? What the actual heck? As if the blatant attacks this books makes weren't bad enough the story itself has the sense of something written by a wishful tween.

All of this gets +100 sins

Poor, poor Forest. Apparently he's not allowed to say anything to this girl (+10 for toxic feminism)

This is so true here. Forest perceives the scene like a normal actor--he was cold. Which means he was obviously not thinking of any relationship between his character and the other one while shooting the scene, he was probably trying not to shiver. This just goes to show that these fans can't actually pull a scene up and prove anything with it. I love how everything this book does get right is just twisted to make actors and show writers look like idiots and uncaring jerks. And by the way, Claire, who the devil cares if you disagree? (+10)

Wow, Claire, how do YOU think it feels? HMMM????? You bloody hypocrite (+50)

And despite the fact that Claire has already probably completely ruined the chance for this show to get picked up for another season because of the bad press she alone has created, they are letting her actually physically moderate a panel. That means, having free rein to ask the actors anything she wants without being vetted because the mod is only supposed to go off a certain list, and then letting any fans ask any questions they want. (+50)

And then before the panel starts she sends out a message online to everyone there not to ask a question in protest. And EVERYONE somehow goes along with this. I don't care who you are, there is no fandom in this universe that would agree fully on one thing like this. There would be people against this shipping who would just say 'screw you' and stand up to make the actors feel less uncomfortable because they are GOOD DECENT people. And yes, Jamie here has every right to be done with the BS. If I were him, I'd never do another convention again. (+100)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BookShelf Tour 2019!!

So guys, I finally filmed a shelf tour after planning on doing one for the past three years or so. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way anything is set up, but I thought you may enjoy seeing it anyway. Also this video is a good example of why you should not let me use iMovie to edit because there are sounds on it ^_^

Here are the links to all the art and artists:

Rocket Pop Inc: www.rocketpopinc.com
Chelsea Smith: artbychelsea.com & www.etsy.com/shop/ArtByChelseaSmith
Penelope Loves Prints: penelopelovesprints.com & www.etsy.com/shop/penelopelovesprints
Jon Pinto: www.jonpinto.com
Naomi Vandoren: naomivandoren.com
ConQuest Journels: conquestjournal.com

Friday, November 2, 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018 Project Reveal: "Flower of the Underworld"

Hey guys! So, I'm super excited for my NaNo project this year since this is one I've wanted to do for a long time.

This year I'm going to be working on a modern day retelling of the Hades and Persephone story. I can't wait to get into this story and share it with everyone when it's finished. This is one of my favorite mythological stories ever and I have never found a good retelling of it so I decided to write my own. On top of that, it's super fun to get to play around with Greek mythology, since there are a lot of things I've always wanted to do with the characters and I hope everyone enjoys the versions of them in this story as much as I'm sure to enjoy writing them.

Check out my Pintrest board to get a little sneak peek of what this story might be like!

And here's a little teaser excerpt to kick off the month:

Flower of the Underworld

“My lord, have you signed off on the new arrivals yet?”
            I sat at my desk, eyes closed and gripping the bridge of my nose as I attempted to fight off the headache that had been looming since that morning. Even the ambrosia laced coffee hadn’t done a thing. But then, what really worked when it came to ceaseless piles of paperwork? Seriously, I was going to have to consider this a new torment to use on the souls in Tartarus.
            “My lord?”
            I looked up with a glower. “Yes, Askalaphos I heard you the first time, and no I haven’t because I have been working systematically through all the other paperwork I have to see to, and your constant nagging is not helping at all.”
            “The new arrivals are getting restless, my lord. You know how they are.”
            “They’re dead, they can wait a little longer to be sorted out properly, now please…” I glanced up at Askalaphos and he gave a somewhat exasperated look before he bowed and left my office. I took the opportunity to lean back in my chair and groan, running my hands through my hair.
            I heard a whine and looked down at my feet to see Cerberus’ three heads all looking up at me expectantly. I sighed and reached down to pat each head in turn.
            “Sorry boy, I can’t take you out for a walk yet. I’ve still got a ridiculous amount of work to do.”
            So, I didn’t totally hate being Lord of the Underworld, in fact, most of the time, I really liked it. I got to stay out of the way of the other gods and goddesses who could be real pains in the posterior, and for the most part I was just me, my various aides and Cerberus—the only faithful companion I ever needed. Apart from the visits by Hermes every once in a while, I didn’t really get any company. But I didn’t like company either, so that was all well and good for me. But the best perk of all was that I didn’t have to go to Olympus. If paperwork was unbearable, having to sit in my big brother’s throne room was pure torment. I would rather sign off on a million soul placements than have to hob-nob with Zeus any day.
            I finished most of my paperwork by mid morning—at least enough to make Askalaphos get off my back—but by then I’d had enough. There was no way I could sit at my desk another minute. I hadn’t been out for almost two weeks, and even I needed some daylight once in a while.
            I stood up from the desk and Cerberus was instantly on his feet, wagging his tail as three heads grinned and panted in anticipation.
            “Come on boy, you can go out and guard for a while.” He ran ahead of me, and I crossed the room, grabbing my helmet of invisibility on the way out and putting it on. No need to cause any problems by letting people see I was going topside for a while. And I was trying to avoid the harpies—they were always having some sort of tussle or other.
            I headed toward the River Styx where Charon was sitting on the dock, reading a new spy thriller. He glanced up as I took off my helmet, reappearing, and stood up straight and proper. His suit was always impeccable, tie straight. I always wore mine with the waistcoat rumpled, sleeves rolled up, tie loosened. Zeus said it was an offence to Armani, but it worked for me. Even Charon never said anything about it.
            “Lord Hades,” he said in his perpetually polite butler voice. “How may I serve you today?”
            “I’m thinking it’s time for another trip up top,” I told him.
            Charon inclined his head in acknowledgement and gave the smallest of smiles. “Of course, my lord. Will it be the traditional rout?”
            I smiled. “Get the Bugatti.”
            Charon smiled as wide as he ever did and gave a smart nod. “Excellent choice, my lord.”
            There was one spot I liked to go when my duties as Lord of the Dead got too stifling. As I said before, I had nothing against the Underworld, but the dark and the gloom and the wailing—complaining—spirits could get really wearing long term. So when I needed an escape, I went to one place that was the exact opposite of my realm.
            I’d actually found it quite by accident one day waiting for Zeus to show up for a meeting. Zeus was always late, not fashionably, but rudely, like I didn’t make the time he was wasting on me worth enough to bother showing up when he had been the one to call the meeting anyway. But that’s not important now. What I was saying is that while I was waiting around for my elder sibling to show up, I stumbled across this absolutely beautiful garden center. In fact, it had looked so nice that I had thought it was a public garden at first, but only after wandering around it for a few hours, did I find that it belonged to a place called “Olympus Landscaping”. It was beautiful, the gardens were always impossibly lush, and everything was put together perfectly. But then, what would I know? The only plants in the Underworld are in the Elysian Fields and that one pomegranate tree. But I had a feeling the business was run by those of a godly demeanor because no one could make plants look that good.
            Of course, there was more than one reason why I went there too. Let’s just say the plants weren’t the only things worth looking at.
            It was a matter of minutes before we got topside and Charon skillfully wove the overcharged Bugatti between the humans’ cars on the road before we reached our destination.
            “Thanks, Charon,” I told him and tossed him a gold coin as I climbed out.
            “Enjoy yourself, my lord,” Charon told me and I looked further down the street to where the landscaping center was.
            Olympus Landscaping was a huge, multi-million dollar business that did jobs all over the country, especially for celebrities and the Hollywood types. And who wouldn’t want their yards done up in such a fantastic way? I might consider it myself if I lived in a clime that could support grass and green things. There were several branches of it open across the country, but this was the one I liked best…for various reasons.
            I strolled straight out to the garden, hands in my pockets, enjoying the afternoon sun while I could. I did get tired of the sun easily, but when you hadn’t seen it for weeks on end, even I could be really appreciative of stuff like that.
            The garden was so lush and green. Trees gave shade, and flowers spilled out onto the sidewalks in perfectly constructed disarray. The garden culminated into a small courtyard, which was my favorite part, because it had a pond in the middle with a bunch of happy goldfish. I imagined having one of these in the Underworld but figured they would be happier in the sun.
            I sat down on the bench near the pond with a contented sigh, and simply closed my eyes and turned my face up toward the sun. Of course, my whole pale body could use some sunlight, but it would look a little strange coming back to the Underworld with a tan. And it wasn’t like I had time to go to the beach either.
            I was just enjoying soaking up the sun when I heard a voice.
            “Oh, hello. I haven’t seen you around for a while.”
            My eyes flew open and saw the girl standing in front of me. She had honey blond hair and green eyes, and a pleasant smile that told of good nature but also seemed to hold a good sense of humor. She was dressed in a light sundress with green leggings and short fashionable boots with the tops turned down to show her chunky knitted socks. She was also holding a pot of bright pink flowers, completing the breath of fresh air she always was.
            Yeah, so I did say that I had other reasons for coming here than to just enjoy the fishpond.
            I smiled back a bit awkwardly. I know I only ever came just to sit in the garden and never bought anything, but the girl never seemed to mind and she was the only employee I had ever seen. I began to realize I probably looked a little out of place there with my unkempt charcoal grey suit, minus the jacket and my red shirt rolled up to the elbows, but I didn’t really care either.
            “Yeah, I’ve been busy,” I told her. I was not the best conversationalist. One of the main reasons I stayed as far away from Olympus as possible. The good thing about the dead was that they didn’t much care for conversation anyway, and the other denizens of the Underworld weren’t much better. “But the garden here is a nice place to sit and just relax for a while.”
            She put the pot she was carrying down on the edge of the pond. “I like to think it is. Have you ever thought about starting a garden at home? It provides a nice place to relax, and gardening is a good form of stress relief.”
            “Hm,” I replied regrettably. “Don’t know how well that would work out.”
            “Well,” she said and looked me up and down. “I’m going to take a guess at office job?”
            I raised an eyebrow but nodded in confirmation. “How about a plant for your desk?” she asked. “It really does make a room brighter.”
            I smiled but shook my head. “I’d like to, but I really don’t live in a good climate for plants in general.”
            “Where are you from?” she asked.
            “Er…down south.”
            “Florida?” She asked knowingly.
            I shrugged, considering. “Close enough.”
            “In that case,” she said, beckoning me forward toward the garden center portion of Olympus Landscaping. “I think I might have the perfect plant for you.”
            Curious, I followed her inside, again marveling at how beautiful everything looked. There were no half-dead hardware store plants here. They were all as fresh as they could be.
            She went over to a shelf and plucked a tiny pot from it, and handed it to me. “I would say start with an air plant. It’s almost impossible to kill, and they do well in practically any environment.”
            I took the tiny pot and stared down at the little green plant, which kind of looked like grass, but had a sort of velvety feel to it.
            “Thank you,” I told the girl, smiling at her. “I think I will like to keep this on my desk.”
            “He should be a good first plant for you,” she told me. “His name is George.”
            I cocked an eyebrow. “George? Do you name all your plants?”
            “Of course.” She smiled, and I honestly couldn’t tell whether she was teasing or not.
            “Okay then,” I nodded, thoughtfully looking down at my new green friend. “And how much do I owe you for George?”
            “Oh, he’s a gift,” she insisted and stopped me before I could protest. “Just take good care of him.”
            “Well, I shall certainly endeavor to do so,” I promised. “By the way, I never caught your name.”
            “Oh, it’s Persephone,” the girl said with a smile. “What about you?”
            I hesitated. I never went by my actual name when I was among mortals. It kinda got a bad rap. “Oh, well, you can just call me H,” I told her.
            “H,” she said, seeming to consider it as her eyes narrowed. “So, you’re a man of mystery; I suppose I can deal with that.”
            The sparkle in her green eyes made me unable to keep from smiling and Persephone smiled back. “Well, I’m glad to hear that,” I told her. “But I’m afraid I have to go for now. I will take care of George, and, thank you for him, by the way.”
            “You’re welcome,” she replied. “I hope to see you again soon.”
            “Me too,” I replied and with a great reluctance left the landscaping center and headed back toward the spot Charon had parked the Bugatti. I didn’t want to go back to the Underworld but business was business, and I couldn’t very well just slack off because I wanted to sit in a garden and talk to a pretty girl.
            Persephone. I felt a warmth inside at the thought of knowing her name.
            And now I even had something to remember her by. George.
            Charon was ready for me as soon as he saw me coming. I saw him glance with some interest at the tiny pot with George in it as I got into the car, but he didn’t make any mention of it either.
            Not that I would have cared. I had an air plant named George from a pretty girl. That was the best thing that had happened to me for a long time.
            Unfortunately, so few good things tend to last, as I was about to find out very soon.