“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
~~A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin

Hi all,

So... this newsletter very nearly didn't happen cause things are pretty nutty for me right now.  Since the last newsletter, three members of my immediate family got COVID.  They're all doing fine now but that does a number on one's ability to concentrate and be creative.  The only thing I managed to write was part of a story that was basically just Andrew and JenniAnn being unbearably cozy and clingy because apparently that's the writing equivalent of macaroni and cheese for me these days.  I have also been eating a lot of macaroni and cheese...

I've also been dealing with a resurgence of a mouse invasion which... I mean I like mice.  I think they're cute.  I really do NOT like them loose in my house.  So that's been stressful.  There's one in here with me right now who has yet to surrender to the humane live trap...

But I'm healthy and staying safe and have a lot to be thankful for... I'd just prefer to feel thankful in a house free of non-pet mice.  ;-)

Anyway...  I hope everyone's doing okay.  Please reach out if you need to talk or anything.

God bless,

Completely Random Tropes Because of COVID and Mice and Stress and This is All I Had Ready to Send

Younger Than They Look- By and large, the angels are older than they look.  But Violeta may be an exception.  On TBAA, Gloria and Celeste certainly were... leading to a couple squicky occasions, IMO, when it came to the former.  Violeta was created to look to be in her twenties but was only a teenager when she first started appearing in the stories.  That being said, hair, make-up, and clothing choices could make her look like the teenager she was. 

My Secret Pregnancy- Cora keeps her pregnancy a secret from her mother because the woman is, frankly, awful.  Avi's birth mother, Siobhan, keeps her pregnancy a secret from everyone except one friend.  Likely there's some shame but she was also concerned because there were rumors about the father's family having a strange deformity in their bloodline.  Belle's birth mother, Adila, also hid her pregnancy from her adoptive parents prompting her to abandon the baby.

Censor Suds- In "Cupid and Psyche," JenniAnn only lets Andrew stay with her while she takes a bath because he dumped half a bottle of bubble bath solution into it to ensure there were enough suds to keep her covered.  Once the suds start to decrease, she tells him he can leave and she gets out.  There could actually be an example of subtext here.  Shortly before that scene, JenniAnn has both a seizure and a panic attack.  If you've seen the TBAA episode "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," you might have a greater understanding of why Andrew wouldn't be too keen to let an epileptic bathe alone even though JenniAnn has a different type of epilepsy than Jean does. 

Of course, since then Andrew has seen JenniAnn topless so... they may or may not have moved past this...  Not saying I was writing anything like that while eating macaroni and cheese...

Afterlife Express- The bus that Yehuda rides in "The Carpenter" is this.  Although it seems to only go from Sheol to Earth and back.  When Yehuda eventually goes to Heaven, the bus doesn't appear. 

Thinking Up Portals- In the older Dyeland stories, Cliff could and did create portals.  In the more recent stories, only Joshua has this ability.  I decided that, for the sake of drama, the Friends couldn't just easily be popping up all over the world.  Granted, even with Cliff they couldn't exactly do that.  If they'd wanted a portal to Bermuda, they would have first had to send Cliff to Bermuda and that's, obviously, an expense.  I assume Cliff is still out there, hanging out with the other native Asterians, just retired from portal creation.

Complete Immortality- The angels are this.  They simply can't be killed in anyway nor can they die from old age.  Back when the vampires were vampires, they were NOT this because they could be beheaded or burned to death.  The closest an angel could come to death is if something so traumatic happened, it's possible they would be called Home for a period of time to recuperate.  Given human life is only the blink of an eye compared to eternity, that could, in effect, mean an angel would be away for the rest of a human's life.  I imagine that would feel like a death to the surviving humans who cared about them.

Of course... we don't know exactly what would happen if their human form experienced extreme trauma.  TBAA did suggest they could change human forms and in "The Altar," JenniAnn did seem to think Andrew's human form could fail... something Eli doesn't entirely deny.  So who knows.  But I still don't think that equates to death.

Immortality Hurts- The angels and Joshua can feel physical pain.  This could range from getting a headache because of stress to getting shot.  Unless helped along by Joshua, any aches or pains take the same time to resolve that they would for a human. 

Convulsive Seizures- Contrary to popular belief, a seizure doesn't always involve convulsions.  In my little bid to educate, I gave both JenniAnn and Belle my form of epilepsy which involves, basically, staring into space.  This is preceded by a feeling of deja vu and followed by dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and what I'll call mental slowness... sometimes but not always.  I'm declining to say the specific form 1. because it seems like they give it a new name every time I finally memorize the old one and 2. two people can have the same form but not the same symptoms so I don't want to name it and give the impression that what I depict is how it always is.  JenniAnn has had or mentioned having seizures in a number of stories but has only ever had one convulsive seizure and that was after she was shot by Rex and in a coma... so it quite likely had little to nothing to do with her epilepsy and everything to do with the trauma her body experienced.  

Victorian Novel Disease- Marco was dying of tuberculosis before Isolde turned him into a vampire at his request.  To be more accurate, he gave her a choice between turning him or draining his blood so she would be healthy enough to flee their increasingly dangerous home.  She chose to turn him and they fled together.  All that being said, I didn't cover Marco's decline at any length but it definitely wasn't romantic.  It was emotionally scarring enough that Isolde puts the family on total lockdown when the COVID pandemic begins because she doesn't want to see Marco go through anything like that again. 

Virginity Makes You Stupid
- Generally averted in the Dyeland stories.  Vincent is one of the more intelligent characters and while there aren't too many flashbacks to the time before he and Catherine consummated their relationship, they do exist.  Both in those and the TV show, he was pretty brilliant while also a virgin.  Ivy and Sy are both virgins at the time of this writing but can have very intelligent, matter-of-fact conversations about a variety of topics, sex included.  But then there are JenniAnn and Max...  I by no means think either character is stupid.  I'd wager they're both quite smart.  But they did both manage to get well into adulthood without knowing much about sex.  Andrew ends up answering questions for them both despite the fact that he has no personal experience.  Thankfully, books and knowledgeable friends exist.  I think it's worth noting that, the whole time, JenniAnn could speak quite confidently about sexual ethics.  She just wasn't really clear on the mechanics.  Completely contradicting this trope is Joshua who literally knows everything.

Vow of Celibacy- Arthur and JenniAnn have unofficially taken one by virtue of being Monica's and Andrew's anam caras.  That's not necessary in all cases... see Adam with Clay and Kylie.  But Adam never had a romantic relationship with either Clay or Kylie.  When they got married, he lost nothing.  It may have been a little bittersweet for him at first but I think that was relatively quickly replaced with joy over being able to help care for their kids.  Since Arthur and JenniAnn have romantic relationships with Monica and Andrew, it would be cheating if they married anyone else.  So they wouldn't.  (Historically, there were probably cases of a human anam cara being forced into an arranged marriage.  That would just be terribly sad but given they didn't consent, it wouldn't be cheating.)  Fr. Mike and Archbishop Tony also took vows of celibacy when they became Catholic priests.  Since Fr. Mike is now in the El-Chananite Church which allows for married priests, he's technically under no obligation to remain celibate but likely will.  Kyle, on the other hand, never took the vow because he was still in seminary when he converted to the El-Chananite Church. 

Organization with Unlimited Funding- Joshua and Josef tend to be responsible for most major financial projects in the Dyeland stories.  There's never been a case where either said "Wow.  That's just too expensive...  We can't swing that."  In Joshua's case, he's God so... that makes sense.  But I also don't think God is up in Heaven manufacturing currency.  Instead, I think what's happened is there have been eons of angels and some spirits working jobs on Earth and potentially other realms as part of their assignments.  Where does that money go after the assignment is finished, assuming it wasn't all used for any necessary living expenses?  I think it's probably collected and saved somewhere to be used for future assignments in the mortal realms.  It might be morally invested with any income also going towards assignments so Joshua can then do something like buy a massive building in New York to make a shelter for trafficking survivors.  With Josef, he's just so old and savvy with money that anything he managed to save early on in his time as a vampire could be worth loads of money now.  Thus, he's able to run a far-flung charitable organization and provide for his family AND help his friends out without any financial strife.

Traumatic C-Section- Based on something from the TV show that was most assuredly not invented by yours truly, Vincent was made to consider that he may have been born this way... by doing his own C-section.  The villain on Beauty and the Beast told Vincent that he ripped his way out of his mother's womb.  In actuality, Cora had a vaginal birth.  She had some excess bleeding which likely had nothing to do with Vincent's condition and the pregnancy and birth were otherwise unremarkable from a medical standpoint. 

Born From Plants- Well, not just plants.  But cherry blossoms were used in Gloria's creation on TBAA.  Violeta was partly formed from, shocker, violets.  And Andrew is said to have been created from some of the same substance that went into the creation of the Fields of Gold... so definitely some plants in there.

Ascended Extra- In the first few stories featuring Joshua, he's not the main character.  Sometimes he'd just show up for a scene or two to give guidance or lend support.  But as "The Carpenter" neared, he became the second-most prominent male character.  And in some stories, he appears even more frequently than Andrew.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring the Dyeland tree I put up in my basement.  I just finished with it shortly before writing this.  It helped take my mind off all the insanity for a bit. 

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(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)