Red Ajah Newsletter April 2015
- 1 Red Ajah Newsletter
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Red Sister Interview - Sabriane Diamodred
- 1.3 Red Anni Round-Up by Ealandrelle Melyma
- 1.4 Red Recipes! by Emory Sheldon and Theolyn Maryash
- 1.5 Creative Corner - Writing by Ahmyra al'Ruley
- 1.6 Crafty Reds - Painting with Valadilene Aldieb
- 1.7 Book Review - "Clariel" by Garth Nix - Review by Sabriane Diamodred
- 1.8 Red Ramblings
- 1.9 Farewell!
Red Ajah Newsletter
A newsletter of the Red Ajah Community of TarValon.Net, put together by Ealandrelle Melyma Sedai.
Volume 2, Issue 1- April 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen of Tar Valon, the Red Ajah are very proud to present the first Red Reader Newsletter in... well... years Anyway, we hope you enjoy the tidbits we have put together for you!
In this First Red Reader, we will meet one of our newer Red Sisters, Sabriane, through a fairly intensive interview! We offer up some Red Recipes to tickle your tastebuds! We show that we read more than smut, with a book review of a recent fantasy release. I give you a brief round-up of Anni 2015, from a Red perspective. We share some of the talent our members and Guests have to offer! Plus, we offer a few little snippets of things seen and heard in Red over the past few months.
Red Sister Interview - Sabriane Diamodred
- Was there a definitive moment for you when you knew you were going to aspire Red? Ooh. I'm not sure if there was an 'aha!' moment as such. I had a really open mind about Red. I think it's probably quite easy not to do that (Disclaimer: personal opinion) because in the books for the most part a really negative connotation is built up, and also because the 'red purpose' is the only one that can't directly translate to the real world. Causes, knowledge, logic, healing, fighting etc, there are all obvious analogues. I always had sympathy/empathy with book-Reds though which helped me come to Red more open-minded. I see their secondary purpose as more 'protecting/enforcing', a kind of loyalty to their own and making things safe for their own, and spend any time in Red, you'll see how close the Reds are - we might spat from time to time, but push come to shove we will stand behind one another and rain hell on anyone who threatens their own. That's not all that defines Red.... it's hard to pin down. You can use words like 'strong' and 'passionate' but most Ajahs will say that and be right about it in different ways. It's Red's own brand of strength and passion I love. I can't pin it down but it's a definite feeling, a vibe that flows through Red that you can sense after a while and I love it. Once I began to sense that current, I found it was really easy for me to be drawn along by it and merge with it. It was just right. So not a definitive moment, but I think that happening, and realizing that it was happening was the definitive factor for me. I liked the other Ajahs, but I was always a little bit separate. With Red I felt that I was Red and that Red was me, soppy as that sounds!
- How evil will you go in a game of Cards Against Humanity? Muahahahahaha. For me, CaH is a TOTAL moral-free zone. I'll go right into the gutter, bring some power tools and start digging even further down. The Earth's core isn't low enough for how low I'm willing to go!
- What's your favourite recipe? Recipe....ooh, that's a tough one. My mother makes a mean mushroom risotto, I guess that's probably my favourite.
- Tell us about your writing, what you are working on, what you hope to do in the future, like publish novels, short stories, etc. ^_^ I've been writing since about August (6-ish months) and it's an outlet really, a way to do something creative. I work in finance and it can be quite soul-crushing, and whilst I read a lot I had an urge to do something new. I had a vague idea/concept (a belief-based magic system) and a character that I'd been playing with in my mind, and after LonCon and meeting some great writers I thought, 'hell, I'll give it a shot'. At the moment it's very much a hobby, although an involved one. I did NaNoWriMo, I have an online forum that does monthly writing contests which I fairly regularly take part in, and I work on my longer piece, Tenets of blood. As you've probably seen from my utter SQUEE posts, I won a competition with Tenets so as of 11 Feb the first few chapters will be being reviewed by Momentum (Pan Macmillan's digital-only imprint). I'm not expecting to get a publishing offer but any input from them - what is working, what isn't, will be really valuable and it's been a really great inducement, to think, 'maybe in a few years, with a lot more practice, I can make something of this'. I would like that. I'd Love to get published, but for now I'm just trying to write stories and improve my technique and just enjoy the process of creating something from scratch. As for what the longer story is about, the blurb I put out was:The old faith is alive in Landale-Cree. With the discovery of the ancient texts and the coming of the prophet, the old Gods will soon rise again. And the villagers of Landale-Cree will be at the centre of it all. It's a lie, of course. The old Gods don’t exist, the prophet is a fraud, and she's out to steal the villagers' souls. The main gist is a belief-and-blood magic system, an utter bitch protagonist (slash anti-hero) and a really character-driven story. It's fantasy, secondary world and so on, but we're not talking empires, we're talking one destructive person in this world wreaking havoc around her to achieve her own ends and dragging in the people surrounding her. No Empires are going to be toppled, no huge-scale wars fought, there's no prophesied hero or evil-overlord to topple. Here but it's looking at the actions of one person from an (in-world) ordinary background, certainly not at the top (nor the bottom) of the social scale and how the actions of one person can have huge ramifications.
- What are your top five most influential books in your life? Ohhhhh, that's a really difficult one. I read a *lot* and have so many favourites. Also, at any given time, whatever I've just read will be influencing me more... but here are some that have stuck with me always:
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Wheel of Time
- The Old Kingdom Series (Garth Nix)
- Catch 22
- The Mists of Avalon
- Past, present, or future, and why? PAST! I love history. i'd like to go to Ancient Greece or Rome or Egypt, or Marie-Antoinette-era France (as nobility, naturellement) but before all the beheadings and other unpleasantness, have me some fancy dresses and gilded EVERYTHING and cakes and wigs and elaborate formality. Sploosh.
- How do you write? Do you have a time of the day when you write, do you try to write daily, do you have a favourite beverage for writing... In short - your writing process In fact, a more important part of the question: What makes you write?
A mix of discovery and planning writing. I tend to Plan overall arcs and discovery write scenes and characters. A few major characters started off as one-liners here and there that became compelling when I wrote them into a scene. I tend to just word-vomit first drafts, get everything down on the page even if it’s terribly written, slow, all ‘tell’ and not ‘show’ and then repeatedly edit. I did a lot of Latin when I was younger (about 8 years) so I’m quite finicky about the flow and beat of sentences. Even if a sentence is correct and doing everything it should be doing, if it sounds even a little wrong to me, a little too long or short, too many syllables, too few, I’ll end up going over it again and again and again until I’ve got it sounding the way I want. Once the sentences work I look at paragraphs, once they work I look at chapters. As for time of day, where, etc…. Honestly, I tend to just pick it up when I’m in the mood. Sometimes the evening or weekend, sometimes during my lunch break at work. It’s not a very defined process. I try to write *something* most days but it might just be a few words here and there, and then another day I’ll write a few thousand.
- Where would you like to travel if you could go on a trip tomorrow? And would you ever live in another country
J’adore la France. Also Italy, but France has an elegance and an arrogance that I adore. Not to mention amazing patisseries!
I would live in either of those countries, but not to work, the reason being that learning a work-language would be a real turn-off for me. I probably won’t though, I adore London and my family and closest friends are all here.
- What kind of furniture would you be? (ex. I would be a fluffy armchair next to a window)
A massive, ornate, carved and gilded desk in the middle of an elegantly decorated room. Practical, but also imposing, and unnecessarily detailed!
- What is your dream house?
I visited this place a few years back. Basically this, but bigger (proper house-sized) and decorated like the palace of Versailles. Lace and gilt everywhere.
- Do you own any pets?
Kaths, I love you for this question. You knew I would want to go on about my babies! I have (currently) one cat, an F4 Savannah called Astarael (Starry). I had another cat, an F6 Savannah called Yrael, but sadly, after a 6-month battle with wet FIP he passed away in October. I expect I will get another companion for Starry in a few months’ time. I’m thinking perhaps an Abyssinian or a Toyger or another low-filial (F7+) Savannah.
And just because - [url=http://www.pawpixels.com/yrael/]PICTURES When we found out Yrael was ill, my partner paid to have some professional photos taken so I would have lovely memories. Starry is the green-eyed cat, Yri is the blue-eyed one.[/i]
- Worst book you ever read?
Gosh, it’s hard to recall because I tend to focus on the books I really like and let the bad ones sift out of my memory. I went and looked on my Goodreads, and my decision (for now) is thus: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (the Life of Pi author) was pretty awful, and very disappointing – I enjoyed Life of Pi so much. Some half jumbled Nazi subplot, another intertwined animal-story (but this time so badly done)… the whole thing felt heavyhanded, like it was mean to be a wink to the reader but instead of a wink he build a giant mechanical face and it took a thousand people pulling levels for a hour to make the eye slowly open and close once.
- Favorite meal to make after a long day?
Carbonara! So tasty yet so quick to make!
- Describe your favorite pair of shoes!
They’re a pair of Melissa/Vivienne Westwood shoes, they’re SO comfortable and they have a bit of a hidden-heel that just gives me a little bit of lift!
- What’s your favourite thread in Red?
Dear Reds – I love hearing about each person’s day and what’s going on in their lives. It’s such a great way to get to know the other Reds.
- What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day and a sunny day?
Rainy – cuppa tea, kitty, books and bed! Sunny – walks around London, especially Portobello Road and Holland Park (I like to go and feed the peacocks!)
- Where would you most like to travel and why?
Honestly I’m not a huge travel person. I prefer to stay at home and enjoy my quiet down-time. If I was to go anywhere I like to visit historical places. I’ve never seen the ancient Greek ruins, so Greece perhaps, but sometime when it’s not boiling hot!
- What do you like most about London?
It changes over the years, but I always find new things to love. I love the history and character of it, how within a 10 minute walk you can find yourself in such different places with an utterly different feel. Everything’s here: great food, company, entertainment, beautiful parks, culture, etc etc. I love that I don’t have my choices restricted.
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
I spent most of my childhood with my mother’s parents – my parents worked long hours – so some of my fondest memories are of Nonna and Nonno. They were such vibrant characters, true passionate Italians who loved good food and family. They always supported and believed in me, even at a young age, and they just had such great mannerisms and turns of phrase. I don’t have one specific memory I can hold above the rest but all my memories of them are pretty great
- Do you still remember your childhood home address and phone number?
I do! I was just about to type them out before I realised what a bad idea that would be! I lived in the same house from birth until I moved out for Uni , and my parents still live there, so I suppose I have it a bit easier in remembering that one!
- What is your favorite shade of red?
A mix between a burgundy and a deep blood red. Rich but also a bit dark.
Red Anni Round-Up by Ealandrelle Melyma
So, in case you missed it, Tar Valon.net had its 14th Anniversary Party recently, from March 13th-16th in Red Top Mountain State Park, Georgia. While this wasn’t my first Tower Event, it was my first Anni and first US-based party. And wow, when I say party… I mean par-TAY
Now, this is a Red Round-Up. There was a heck of a lot going on at Anni, far too much for one person to be privy to it all. So here’s what the Reds got up to - from the point of view of one Scot .
You say goodbye, and I say hello…
There was this thing which happened at Anni… y’know, we Raised an Amyrlin and all that. Which is cool. But for the Reds it was a little bit more, as it meant releasing our Sister, Rhed al’Tere, to become of all Ajahs and none. Obviously, Rhed has been Red for a long time - it’s in the name - and it was something of a bittersweet moment. I know the Reds wish Rhed all the very best in her new role.
At the same time, we welcomed a new Sister to the rank of Aes Sedai - Keelinea Isyne was Raised to the Shawl and became our new Baby Red. And when someone becomes Baby Red, they are Baby Red. We were nice enough to not present her with her soother, bib and baby bottle in front of everyone. But she wasn’t allowed to leave them behind for the rest of the weekend. Bless her little cotton socks!
I said tequila, it makes me happy…
Several of us joined the Tequila Brotherhood at this Anni. Thanks to Sean, Locus and Valadilene for providing some different tequilas - I hadn’t known that “sipping tequila” was even a thing! It is a thing, and quite a nice thing too. Not sure it’ll become a regular drink for myself - I can’t really cope with staying up until 4am anymore
So, whilst slightly inebriated (thanks to that tequila), we were doing a bit of smut reading. Because, well, why not? *points to Red Mistress Title* And a weird, slightly sci-fi story led to me remembering some absolutely wonderfully awful smut which I’d stumbled across during my younger years. The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway provided much hilarity, as they were just as bad (good!) as I recalled. (Google these at your peril. The Red Ajah take no liability for injuries sustained as a result of laughing too hard at the aforementioned “fan fiction”. Seriously, NSFW or kids! You have been warned!)
And with all the smut, were-smut and so on going around… an idea was struck that we should write our own. Watch this space, as “Wild Stallions” will be coming to a PDF file near you… probably in about 5 years or so, given the amount of time it takes us to do anything
Baking and Confectionery
The Red (and White) Cabin was a great place to be if you liked to eat. Emory, our resident Baking Goddess made some delicious goodies for us all. Despite being from the UK, I thought I’d tried proper “American muffins” before. Well I hadn’t. I’m now pestering Emory relentlessly for her recipe, because those things are to die for! I’d never heard of Pumpkin Bread before, but having discovered I can buy canned pumpkin here, it’s one I’ll be trying in the future!
I also managed a bit of time in the kitchen, making Scottish tablet as my contribution to the da’covale auction. Many thanks to Eli for bidding so generously To my relief the tablet turned out OK, and I think was enjoyed by all. I could quote Ty’s description of the taste, but perhaps that’s one you really had to have been there for
A round-up of this Anni wouldn’t be complete without a huge shout-out to our resident Needle Mistress, Kaths. Wow. The dress she made for Valadilene was exquisite; the shawl for Keelinea perfect both in design and in fabrication. I know who I’ll be going to when I need anything made in the future!
So, here's to Anni 2016?
Red Recipes! by Emory Sheldon and Theolyn Maryash
In light of Spring, we Reds wanted to give you a planned pic-nick to take to year favorite outdoor spot to celebrate the coming nice weather. Even if some of you don’t exactly have the weather you want yet, here are a set of recipes that will go great for when you do. Don’t forget to take a cool bottle of sparkling white wine with you
To start you off and to prepare your pallet for a fresh taste of spring we have a Strawberry Spinach Salad. It is simple and easy to pack on the go. It is good to note that the key to this recipe is the Strawberry Vinaigrette. I have always used Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing but you can pick your own recipe if you wish.
Make it! 2 cups of Spinach and 1 cup of chopped strawberries, toss, divide into two containers, and go. Don’t add the vinaigrette until you are ready to eat as it will make the spinach soggy fast.
Our second dish is a side to the main dish. Greek Couscous Salad. This one does need to be made ahead of time.
What You Need! 1 cup whole wheat couscous, uncooked 1 cup halved cucumber slices 1 large tomato, chopped 1 pkg. (4 oz.) ATHENOS Crumbled Reduced Fat Feta Cheese 1 tsp. dill weed 1/2 cup KRAFT Light House Italian Dressing
Make It! COOK couscous as directed on package, omitting the salt and butter. Fluff with fork. Place in large bowl; cool 10 min. ADD remaining ingredients; toss lightly. REFRIGERATE 1 hour.
For our main course we chose a simple sandwich: Sesame Chicken Strips sandwich to be exact. As this also needs to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour it might as well be in there with the side dish!
Make it! Slice 1 chicken breast into strips. Mix 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of ground ginger, a bit of salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of honey. Soak the strips in the sauce and leave it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Roll the strips in sesame seeds (make sure that you press them firmly) and fry them in hot oil until they become darker then drain on a paper towel. Layer onto the bread of your choosing and top with any toppings.
For dessert and our final dish we have Le Danish Butter Cookies. We have been using a lot of very bold flavors and this is the perfect way to cleans the palate and give our taste buds a rest.
What you need 200g of flour 100g of powdered sugar 125g of butter 1 egg 10g of vanilla sugar ½ teaspoon of baking powder a bit of lemon zest
Make it! Cut the butter in cubes and put it in a double boiler; heat until it becomes liquid. Mix flour, baking powder and powdered sugar in a bowl. Add one egg and melted butter. Add lemon zest. Mix everything up (the dough will pretty quickly become really dense, so you may as well do the whole process with your hands).
When the dough is soft and smooth, put it in a decorating bag and squeeze it out on a baking tray covered with baking paper. You can make rings, strips… anything. But make sure that you leave some room between cookies. Bake on 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, until the edges and the bottom of the cookies are brown.
Tip: Unless you’re really confident in your strength, don’t put all the dough at once in the decorating bag. Put smaller bits, about the size that you can cover with your hands – the warmth will make the dough softer and easier to squeeze out. And your hands will thank you.
We hope you enjoy your springtime meal!
Creative Corner - Writing by Ahmyra al'Ruley
When we were planning this Newsletter, we opened contributions up to people who were Guesting with us at the time. So I’m very pleased to offer, for your pleasure, a piece of writing by Ahmyra al’Ruley, who is now a White Aspirant.
I awoke to blinding nothing. Darkest ebony filtered and clouded the room. I fumbled hysterically for the blind. The blackness weighed crushingly upon my already down-trodden spirits. Abruptly my seeking fingers encountered the cursed thing. I violently yanked the covering off the window. A blessed moonbeam raced into the room and rudely shoved the darkness away. The twinkling lights dancing merrily outside the encasement of the glass begged me to fling my weariness to the proverbial wind and join them in the teardrop littered hosts of green.
Padding silently on slumber-weighted feet, I passed along the hallways devoid of light. At long last those joyful, winking stars were no longer hidden from my searching gaze. The gentle caress of springtime air floats across my sleepy skin while the staccato chirp of night time bugs lull me into peace. Faint traces of rose and lilac touch the eastern sky and far off to my left a mourning dove coos to her young. As the world returns to busy life I’m content to stay wrapped in the quiet arms of the pre-dawn meadow that is my front yard.
Ahmyra al’Ruley White Aspirant
Crafty Reds - Painting with Valadilene Aldieb
It may come as no surprise to our readers that Reds can be a crafty bunch. However, some of us are also pretty creative! Each issue we’ll highlight some of the work which our members have produced. This month, it’s our very own Head of Ajah, Valadilene, who has taken up a painting class!
Painting one: The Red Barn
[HOLD FOR IMAGE]
Vala’s comment: “The Red Barn was my first attempt at painting a building into a landscape. I pleased with how the sky looks as if there might be a storm building. I am not so happy about the perspective in relation to the cow and the barn....that's either a really giant barn or a miniature cow. So, something to work on in the future!”
Painting two: Winter Aspens
[HOLD FOR IMAGE]
Vala’s comment: Here in Colorado we have Aspen trees all over the high-country. In the summer the leaves quake in the breeze, then turn brilliant gold in the fall....come winter though, they trees are very stark, almost eerie the way the knots look like eyes. So, the aspens in winter under a full moon tend to glow and are rather awe-inspiring, it's one of my favorite paintings I've done.
Book Review - "Clariel" by Garth Nix - Review by Sabriane Diamodred
I should say this up-front; I was always going to love this book.
Like many of you I found the Old Kingdom many moons ago, a beautiful young adult series that immersed me in fantasy in those early years when reading was a hit-and-miss experience at best between the droves of young-chick-lit and ‘edgy’ books for the young. SO when I found Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen and came to the Old Kingdom, found myself in the world of Charter magic and Necromancy it was a revelation. A series as profound as it was simple, elegant and awe-inspiring. It stayed with me – and continues to stay with me- and like all such sweet and glorious experiences I found myself wanting one thing: more.
So when Garth Nix announced the fourth Old Kingdom book (fifth if you count the anthology ‘Across the Wall’; alright, more if you count the short stories ‘To Hold the Bridge’ and ‘An Extract of the Journal of Idrach the Lesser Necromancer’), a full-length book that would give me another hit of this intoxicating world I was overjoyed; I loved it even then when it was just a rumour with no story or background, before it was even written. So if you’re expecting an objective review I can say only this: go read the Old Kingdom series from the beginning - I defy you not to be besotted also.
I won’t go into too much detail for the sake of those poor souls who aren’t familiar with the series, but this book is well in keeping with the rest of the stories. Garth Nix manages – as he has don’t in the other books also - to weave in adult themes into a book for teens in a way that is empathetic and relatable without crossing the line, while crafting a story that lets us see more of the Old Kingdom and its history in this prequel to the main trilogy. We see more aspects of the magic we have come to love and whilst this book is comparatively Charter-magic light, we see a lot of world broadening and a sense of some of the other magics in play, particularly Free Magic, a concept that popped up in the main trilogy but had the opportunity to be really expanded here.
Did I like Clariel as a person? No. There have been a lot of reviews that lambasted the book on this basis – if a likable main character is a must to you, go read the main trilogy and steer clear here, she is a difficult character to love. My view is that the story, premise, and further insight into the Old Kingdom is strong enough to warrant perseverance, and the pace of the book picks up dramatically in the last third, especially as we get to see our (very) old friend Mogget and his unique brand of spectacular sarcasm.
Would I love it as much if I had never read the main trilogy? Probably not; the scale of the undertakings isn’t as grand here – this is a purely personal story, not the epic-all-encompassing tale that concluded in Abhorsen, and we don’t see much of the Bells which are one of my favourite aspects, but there is beauty here, a worthy tale being told and a fresh insight into a secondary world that sometimes feels more real than our own.
My recommendation? If you love this series, give this book a chance, it will broaden your views of the Old Kingdom and maintain the magic of Garth Nix's world and it's hold on your heart.
And if you don't love this series?
Go read it -or read it again- because I refuse to believe that can be true.
Just a few snippets from chat, Anni, and some of the Red Threads around the site
“Do we have enough money for Ivanor’s meat?!”
“Emory, you can’t just ask someone why they’re White!”
“Some people just don’t understand the compliment it is to be called a dwarf!”
“I want bacon all the time. In coconut oil.”
“Dear Insomniac, Would you like a lullaby or a hammer? “
“If you must break in, please tidy up while you’re there.”
“I’ve been walking around all day saying ‘cha-ching!’ in my head!”
“...we are eating Ivanor's meat today.”
Red 1: “You should be mourning our abscences!” Red 2: “So I might have read this as our abcesses ”
“I heard about Kaths having to go UPHILL BOTH WAYS IN THE SNOW to use a bathroom.”
Red Sister: “I want to kill someone” Two separate Reds at the same moment: “I’ll be your alibi.”
We hope you have enjoyed this Reader. Stay tuned for our next exciting issue, planned for roughly 3 months time. Roughly