Supporting Stitch’s Media Mix

Stitch's Media Mix

WHO I AM AND WHAT I DO:

I’m Zina and I’ve been running Stitch’s Media Mix since March 2015. I created my site as a site for fandom and media criticism after being frustrated by my inability to find a safe, welcoming place where I could be a part of these conversations in the fandoms that I already belonged to. I love being in fandom and I love the act of being a fan, but I feel as though there’s room for improvement that is always being overlooked. I’d love to be able to change certain things about the overarching institution of fandom, but for now, I’ll settle for educating and snarking my way to change in my main fandoms.

Using my academic background (I have a BA in History and am getting my MA in Literature) and my experiences as a queer Black member of fandom, I try to tackle the media I consume and the fandom spaces I inhabit from a critical and faintly snarky angle. I use my website to host my writing: media critique, analysis of fandom tropes and trends, book reviews, and the occasional bit of original fiction.

My goal is to talk critically about the media we create and consume in order to urge fandom to become a more welcoming place for marginalized and underrepresented groups of people. I want everyone to be able to have a seat at the proverbial table without it being pulled from underneath them.

Continue reading

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[Review] Brooklyn Ray’s Darkling

Note: I won an ebook copy of this novella from the author themselves in a giveaway last week. That has no influence on my enjoyment of the book and all opinions herein are my own.

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Darkling CoverDarkling, the first novella in Brooklyn Ray’s Port Lewis Witches series is a dark and delicious deep dive into a magical world unlike many I’ve seen before.

In Port Lewis, a small town in the state of Washington, magic practitioners of all types are kind of commonplace in everyday life, with different families bringing their specialties to the table.

Darkling primarily focuses on Ryder Lewellyn, a late-blooming trans dude who happens to be a necromancer with an affinity for fire, and his close friend (and future lover) Liam Montgomery, a witch with an affinity for water. Continue reading

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Who the heck is Ben Solo?

who the heck is ben solo

In the past couple of months, there have been several tweets from twitter users with the hashtag “SaveBenSolo” because Ben Solo, should be protected and should survive Episode IX and if you don’t want that, then you’ve got no empathy to speak of.

Many of these posts are also tagged with “Reylo” (because saving this “Ben Solo” character seems contingent on Rey doing the saving despite him shutting her down in the last movie) while others claim that Ben Solo needs to survive because he is, as far as we know, the last surviving Skywalker. They use Leia’s distraught internal monologue over her “lost” son in Jason Fry’s novelization of The Last Jedi to paint a portrait of this Ben Solo as a mythical and magical boy, caught helplessly between destiny and other people’s desire for power.

Ben Solo, fandom argues, needs to be saved because he is the last, the best, the least responsible for his actions, and the most sympathetic…

But who the heck is Ben Solo? Continue reading

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#IKnowWhatIReadLastSummer

#IKnowWhatIReadLastSummer

Howdy folks and friends!

For the next couple of weeks, expect to see a lot more reviews of urban fantasy novels or series (with the occasional paranormal romance thrown in because that’s how I roll). Following my graduation, I had the chance to read a lot of urban fantasy that I’d missed over the hellish thesis semester and I want to give back to the brilliant authors who made my day by doing reviews of their wonderful work!

You’ll be able to tell by the tag (“I Know What I Read Last Summer”) when a review is part of this little attempt at getting my reviewing game back on track and there’ll be an accompanying hashtag on twitter so that I can stay organized! This is also tied into my Urban Fantasy 101 work because I get so critical about the genre that sometimes, i forget to hype up the books and authors I love!

I hope that I can help y’all find some fun and fantastic new reads in my favorite genre!

Stitch

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Too White Bread for This Shit: Race and Racism in Laurell K Hamilton’s Urban Fantasy Series

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“I’m so white-bread, if you cut me I’d bleed bleached flour! I have no ethnicity to me, and I’ve always wanted some.”

– Laurell K. Hamilton in an interview excerpted from Locus Magazine.

I’ve been reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s urban fantasy series – the necromancer-focused Anita Blake series and her sidhe political drama Merry Gentry series – since I was in high school and I picked up a copy of Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake #12) back in 2004.

In the fourteen years since I began reading the two series, I’ve noticed one constant in both of her series. Hamilton constantly attempts to talk about race in her work through a focus on (predominantly white) supernatural characters while characters of color in the series are reduced to stereotypes and tropes that have long-since went out of style. Simply put, Laurell K. Hamilton is awful at writing about race and racism. Continue reading

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Stitch Does Stuff In August

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July was hecking busy and I didn’t get a ton of work done.

What sucks is that August is going to be intense and busy because I’m increasing the intensity of my job hunt and the moment I get hired, my writing output will shrink drastically. So, I’m going to try to make a manageable schedule with two main pieces for Patreon and two for my website that I will aim to get done and posted by the end of August with a couple smaller things for both platforms.

My goal from here on in is to make more of an active effort doing freelance and working on sending pitches to outlets that pay. I also have some fiction and non-fiction I’d like to work on and sell, but I’m pacing myself so that I can see if I can get some serious work done by the end of the year – work that folks would be interested in paying me directly for. (Which is another thing I need to figure out: how to use gumroad or some other storefront service to sell digital content directly to interested consumers!)

I’ll keep y’all posted on that front, but in the meanwhile, let’s look at what’s coming up in August:

 

Patreon

  • “Dear Comic Fans, It’s Been Four Years And Y’all Are Still So Darn Angry About Not Just Racebending But Brown Folks In Your Nerdy Media In General” – Snippets at the $1 Tier and the finished draft at the $3 and $5 tiers
  • “Urban Fantasy 101: Vampire Supremacy” – snippets at the $1 Tier and the finished draft at the $3 and 5 tiers.
  • A currently untitled piece on heroic deaths, characters of color, and who fandom never fights to bring back – definitely snippets at the $1 Tier, possibly the draft at the upper tiers if I don’t sell the article based on the pitch I’m planning to send
  • Slavefic Thoughts Revisited, a sort of coda to the “What Fandom Racism Looks Like” piece on slavefic that covers some things I think I needed to get into a bit more/that I glossed over – $5 Tier
  • “Talking Tropes – Episode 2: Secret Royalty – $5 Tier
  • Snippets for uh… basically everything – $1 Tier
  • Image posts + longform captions/mini-essays for a handful of previous posts – $1 Tier

 

Website

  • “Too White Bread for This Shit: Race and Racism in Laurell K Hamilton’s Urban Fantasy Series”
  • “Urban Fantasy 101: What I Read Last Summer”
  • “Who the heck is Ben Solo?”
  • “What Fandom Racism Looks Like: White Prioritization”
  • A currently untitled Urban Fantasy 101 Piece
  • Some short book reviews!

Thank you for supporting me for another month!

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Lucky – Black Panther Drabble

Note: Obvious spoilers for Infinity War.


Nakia receives word of T’challa’s death.

At first, Nakia thinks that she is one of the lucky ones. Continue reading

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A to Z Bookish Tag

I was in the mood to do something fun and this book tag seemed like just the thing! You can find the original over at The Perpetual Page-Turner!


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Author you’ve read the most books from:

Nalini Singh, hands down. I’ve read and reread the entirety of both her Psy-Changeling series and her Guild Hunter series. So that’s about… Twenty-eight books if I include the anthologies? (If I’m wrong, don’t correct me. Let me be bad at counting.)

Seriously, she could probably write a grocery list and I’d lunge to read it.
Best Sequel Ever: 

Matt Wallace’s second Sin du Jour book, Lustlocked. I’m still in mad love with how he just… turned goblins on their heads and managed a tribute to David Bowie (who’d passed away right before the book came out). Also, there were giant horny lizards everywhere.

Currently Reading:

For some reason, despite the fact that I have other stuff I’m literally obligated to be reading and reviewing, I just restarted Anne Bishop’s Lake Silence. Continue reading

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The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Bloody Bones

For this installment of my reread series, I’ll be changing up the format in order to look at “The Good”, “The Bad”, and “The Just Plain Borked” parts of the novel. If this all goes well, this will be what these reread recaps look like for the rest of the series!

Content Warnings: brief descriptions of sexual assault and harassment, descriptions of violence, non-specific mention of child sexual assault and turning (both done by a vampire pedophile) in the plot, as well as a reference to the snuff film described in the previous book


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This is one of the UK covers for Bloody Bones That Hamilton has up on her website.

Bloody Bones, the fifth book in Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series is another busy book in the series where a ton of stuff happens but also… nothing happens. It’s not one of the worst books in the series thus far, but it’s not a novel I enjoyed rereading.

As one of the earlier books in the series, the novel focuses more on the supernatural detective aspects that were significant in the first ten or eleven books in the series. It also introduces interesting new aspects to the worldbuilding by being the first (and so far, only) novel in the series to have fairies onscreen – a disservice I think because they’re some of the most interesting non-human characters that she’s created and their portrayal in Bloody Bones is nothing like the way they’re treated in her Merry Gentry series.

That being said, let’s talk about what Bloody Bones did well, what it did that could’ve used work, and all the things that made me want to chuck my kindle halfway across the room while I was rereading. Continue reading

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[Stitch Likes Stuff] Justice League (2017)

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I know, I know.

It’s absolutely unexpected.

However, I just watched Justice League on HBO and I think it’s my favorite DCEU movie. Sure, Wonder Woman is still pretty great and it’s definitely my current second favorite, but Justice League blew me out of the park by being way better than I expected. Continue reading

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not-So) Sexy Slavefic

Note: before we get into this piece, note that I am coming from this position as a queer Black person who has, in the past, purposefully read and written stories of the kind I am talking about in this piece. I’ve also got experience in researching and writing about Blackness in history, media, and fandom.

Predominantly, the form of slavery I’m going to be talking about in this piece relates to the enslavement of Africans and their descendants because that’s the form of slavery that many of these stories build off of (and I’m Black), but I’m going to mention slavery in ancient cultures. Additionally, any links to my blog stitchmediamix on tumblr won’t work because I have the blog locked while I’m on hiatus.

Content Warning: This piece will talk in depth about slavery in romance work, fanfic, and in history in a way that highlights the violence of slavery. Many of the website links embedded in this piece will link to pages that contain images and/or descriptions of brutality related to slavery including lynching, rape, and whipping.


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Right now, on the Archive of Our Own, there are currently 12,236 stories tagged with “Slavery”.

Almost half of the stories with that tag are rated “Explicit” – most likely for sexual content and/or violence – with “Rape/Non-Con” making up a third of the stories’ warnings. While the stories are too varied to stand out with one or more particular pairing having the lion’s share of stories, in the relationship tab for that tag, the top pairings (with under 400 stories each) are primarily M/M stories focusing on white characters.

This is just a small snapshot of what slavefic[1] in fandom and how slavery is portrayed in fandom looks like. Continue reading

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