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NPT 2015: The Other Scottish Play

And now that the reveal has gone live, here's what I wrote for Not Prime Time this year:

The Other Scottish Play

Fandom: Agent Carter
Written For: sandyk
Characters: Peggy Carter, Angie Martinelli, Dottie Underwood, Edwin Jarvis
Words: ~4700
Rating: T (for threats of violent death)
After their last encounter, Dottie had every confidence that Peggy Carter would shoot first – probably with an elephant gun – and ask questions later. Even Red Room training and enhancement wasn’t proof against sufficiently heavy artillery, and Dottie had no desire to find herself on the wrong end of that sort of firefight. Subtler measures were therefore called for.

This was more than usually entertaining to write, as I got to indulge both my inner theater junkie and my fiendish-deathtrap design skills.

Not Prime Time is open, and I have been officially wowed.  My gift story is a truly excellent, canon-wise deconstruction of a character who may never actually have been a supervillain after all.  There is much other good work in the collection as well, some of which I hope to rec later, but here's what was written for me:

Wreck My Mind While the Planet Turns
Fandom: Sky High
Character: Gwen Grayson
Rating: none
Warnings: none
Words: ~ 1600
She’s still not exactly sure what she’s actually going to make of her life, but she knows that whatever she does, she won’t be wasting her potential.

Holmestice Fic: A Matter of Memoirs

Time for a quick burst of updatery, as I dig out from a very busy couple of weeks.  Finished NPT story, spent a week visiting with visiting family (scarily, The Niece goes into her senior year in high school this fall), signed up for Fic Corner and Crossovering (but you knew that), and survived the Great Portland Heat Wave.

Now I can tell you what I wrote for Holmestice, based on Laurie R. King's "Mary Russell" series:

A Matter of Memoirs

Written for: amindamazed (hophophop)
Mary Russell - Laurie R. King
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, Mary Russell, Holmes/Russell
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~ 1200
Among all the possible reasons for writing one's memoirs, the best may be that one gets to tell the tale oneself.

As I said in comments for this, it certainly won't be my last Holmestice.  This was a fun and challenging exchange, and I definitely want to play again.

Dear Scribbler: Fic Corner 2015

First, and always most important: thank you. This exchange, more than most, is about fandoms long-loved and of long standing, and I really appreciate the chance to see a story in whichever of them the two of us happen to share.  I know one of my favorite parts of this process is the chance to make someone's day with a new story in a really rare fandom, and I suspect I'm not alone in this. So thank you (as Linus Van Pelt said once) from the bottom of my socks, because the bottom of my heart isn't deep enough.

Now, then: first, you want to know what I like.

Pluses for me include strong characterization, well-written dialogue, wit/banter/snark, clever use of canon, well-developed AUs, UST (heavy on both the U and the T), and more. I'm neutral when it comes to matters of gen, slash, and the like -- if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind. I'm not into noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks, but have few other outright squicks as long as the relationship is age- and canon-appropriate; OTOH, I mostly don't read fanfic for sexual content -- and especially in the context of the present set of requests, romance is not necessarily a primary element in my love for the fandom. (Exceptions will be noted below.)

I will note in particular that I am a sucker for the clever and well-executed crossover -- not because I expect one (Optional Details Being Optional, and such things being well beyond the call of either duty or necessity), but because in one or two of these cases, the potential amusement and/or entertainment value would be particularly high if your writerly imagination should happen to wander in that direction.

Austin/Murry-O'Keefe Families - Madeleine L'Engle • Kali Cutter

This one is my narrow-beam character focus prompt.  I'd welcome either background/back-story (predating The Arm of the Starfish) or a post-AotS story in which Kali comes to terms with the outcome of that book. In the case of a post-canon piece, I'd be especially glad to see her interact with other relevant canon characters -- any or all of Adam, Polly, Meg, even Vicky could be appropriate depending on the specific plot or scenario. Or what might happen if post-AotS Kali somehow connected with Zachary Gray?  Now there's a complicated thought, with potentially interesting consequences.

Diana Winthrop series - Kate Chambers
• (any character)

This is my nano-fandom; as far as I can tell, maybe eleven people besides me read these books back in the day.  If you were one of these very few, I hope you remember these teen sleuth adventures as fondly as I do, for the genre-aware plots and the lively and interesting extended cast.  What I'm hoping for here is simply "more" -- give me casefic or a character moment for Diana and Brad, give me back story for Lydian or build forward on what canon gives us of the relationship between Lydian, Diana's father, and Diana...any of these, with or without romantic elements, will find me a very happy camper.

Oz - L. Frank Baum • (any character)

I deliberately picked my favorite second-tier characters when I nominated the Oz books, and I would be delighted with a story about any or all of this group. There's a lot of room for storytelling with all of these -- back story, solo adventures, character vignettes -- and I don't want to unduly restrict you, save perhaps to note that I find Ruggedo markedly more interesting once he's been kicked out of the Nome Kingdom. One other note: as you may already be aware, I wrote a Trot-and-Glinda tale of my own for Yuletide some years back. If you're drawn to these characters, you should feel absolutely free either to build on that material or to ignore it entirely and go in your own direction.

I am mostly not looking for romance here, but wouldn't be opposed to a pairing for any of Polychrome, Glinda or Trot (not necessarily with each other -- maybe Wizard/Glinda or Button-Bright/Trot) -- but preferably not Glinda/Trot, as that pushes my age-appropriateness buttons.

Tom Swift Series IV - Victor Appleton • (any character)

I've been reading  teen-sleuth books since I was six or so (and we won't mention how long ago that was), including a few of the classic Tom Swift (Jr.) adventures (Tom Swift and his Flying Lab, or ....Spectromarine Selector, or ....Paracyclic Phase Inverter -- okay, I made that last one up, but you know what I'm talking about).  Fun, but they haven't aged very well.  And I pretty much ignored the short-lived third series of Tom Swift stories, set mostly in outer space.  But when the fourth series came along (starting with The Black Dragon), I noticed, because it so happened that at the time I was reading SF novels by the likes of Diane Duane and Debra Doyle/James Macdonald -- and Doyle & Macdonald, it turned out, had been recruited to write a couple of the new generation of Tom Swift novels.  I was instantly hooked.  The books had the spirit of the earlier series (and did a good job of nodding toward prior continuity), but the setting was very much up to date, the SF elements were handled well, and above all, the characters came across as smart without being square.

While I will squee at pretty much any new adventure focusing on any of Tom, Sandra, and/or Rick, I will be especially pleased if Sandra gets a chance to take the spotlight.  Also -- though this is way out into Optional Details Are Optional territory -- I'd love to see Tom Swift crossed with nearly anything; I think this incarnation would blend nicely into a whole lot of the modern-era fandoms I follow.

Dear Crosser-Over(er?): Crossovering 2015

As I said last year -- this one is complicated.  Which means I am even more than usually grateful and impressed with whatever crossover you happen to devise in fulfillment of this exchange.  (I am in some awe of the folk running this particular venture, because I suspect the matching -- even with AO3's automated engine in play -- is more than usually interesting.)  Still -- this exchange is very much made for me, as I am nothing if not a serious crossover geek.  Thank you very much for volunteering for this madness, and specifically for your willingness to indulge my particular cross-fannish sensibilities.

Anyhow.  Per the usual form of these things, here's a cut, because this is going to be even longer than usual.
First the general notes....Collapse )

Holmestice 2015: Written for Me (and a rec)

I got not one but two absolutely amazing stories in this summer's Holmestice exchange (as the title suggests, focusing on the infinite variety of Sherlock Holmes).

Echoes of the Past

Fandom: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade
Word Count: ~3100
Rating: G
Warning: None
Summary: There’s more than one way to connect with a previous century.


On Verity and Verisimilitude
Characters/Pairings: James Moriarty (hologram)
Word Count: ~1200
Warnings: None
Summary: Moriarty gazed on the stars, and trembled at the possibilities.
Author Notes: Alternatively, the one in which you know Moriarty is evil because he thinks Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem is funny. Severe spoilers for Star Trek: The Next Generation 6x12 "Ship in a Bottle."

I also direct the reader's attention to the following story, which was written for gardnerhill but which I certainly could have asked for.  (Note that the Author Notes are from the currently-anonymous writer, not from me.)

A Handsome and Generous People
Characters/Pairings: Holmes & Wt'sn, Holmes/Watson
Rating: Teen
Warnings: None
Tags: Hurt/comfort, angst, humor, copious ACD canon references, happy ending. 7.5K words
“Watson,” Holmes said, reaching up to clasp my wrist.
“I’m sorry, old chap,” I said, giving him my hand. “It’s only Wt’sn.”

Author Notes:
Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century was a never-produced Filmation series; the pilot became a stand-alone two-parter within their space-western Bravestarr. (It's available on Hulu, although mislabeled there; skip to 1:10 to get past the obnoxious credits. There are also a few copies floating around YouTube.) Most of the backstory you'll need is in the first ten-to-twelve minutes; by the time Marshall Bravestarr shows up to ask for help you're pretty much set, although I do refer to the case once or twice.

Or, if you prefer a quick textual recap: During the fight with Moriarty at Reichenbach, with Watson too far away to give aid, Holmes is the one who falls. On the way down, he passes through a timewarp and into an 1890s-meets-the-1980s 23rd-century London. Holmes immediately meets Dr. Wt'sn, a green-skinned alien physician from a planet in the Rigel system, and the two get on well enough to solve cases together. Also, Holmes can shoot lightning from his fingers. (I dunno, it's a falling-through-a-timewarp thing.)

However, time warps, lightning bolts, and digital clocks aside: this is simply a canon-heavy story about being the wrong Watson.

Meme: Crack Crossover Theater (Part II)

Once again via jedibuttercup  -- Same ten characters plus two, re-randomized, more zany questions.

1. Kate Beckett - Castle
2. Abby Sciuto - NCIS
3. Pepper Potts - MCU
4. Daniel Jackson - SG-1
5. Balthazar Blake - Sorcerer's Apprentice
6. Sarah Jane Smith - Doctor Who
7. Nick Fury - MCU
8. Martha Rodgers - Castle
9. David Xanatos - Gargoyles
10. Henrietta "Hetty" Lange - NCIS:LA
11. Dick Grayson - DCU (animated)
12. Xander Harris - BtVS

Questions and Answers:Collapse )

Meme: Crack Crossover Theater (Part I)

By way of jedibuttercup: This is a clearly a cousin to the "15 characters" meme, the difference being that the questions have been pre-written (and not by me; they evidently travel with the meme). That being the case, I've run my list of characters through a randomizer before attempting to write the answers.
  1. Balthazar Blake - Sorcerer's Apprentice
  2. Nick Fury - MCU
  3. Xander Harris - BtVS
  4. Pepper Potts - MCU
  5. Daniel Jackson - SG-1
  6. Martha Rodgers - Castle
  7. David Xanatos - Gargoyles
  8. Abby Sciuto - NCIS
  9. Sarah Jane Smith - Doctor Who
  10. Henrietta "Hetty" Lange - NCIS:LA
Questions & Answers:Collapse )

Fic/Podfic: Chance Meetings (MCU/Castle)

My "Into A Bar" story is live -- in this case, together with bonus podfic, courtesy of the estimable and gracious [personal profile] malnpudl 

Title: Chance Meetings  •  (podfic version by [personal profile] malnpudl)
MCU, Castle
Word count: ~2300
Rating/Contents: G / no warnings needed
Summary: One of the five men in Manhattan most likely to be working for HYDRA has just left a brewpub in Morningside Heights.  Now that he's gone, it's time for the story to start....

Rarely Written 2015: Given & Received

Amusingly -- and for the first time, I think, since I began playing in Yuletide umpty-mumble years back -- the story I gave and the one I received are both in the same fandom. And since the Rarely Written mods don't do an anon phase, I can show you both of them now....

Here's what I received:

You Make Your Own Destiny by Sumi
G • gen • ~1100 words
Isabella, Madalena

Madalena wanted it for reasons that are more practical. She wanted to rule the kingdom and make sure no one opposed her. It was a much more realistic wish than wanting to be like your childhood hero, Super Knight.

And here's what I wrote:

A Woman Is Entitled....
for Missy
G • gen • ~3500 words
Madalena (and Richard, Gwynne, Jester, Chef)

The opening number seems clear enough: Madalena and Galavant were madly, hopelessly, genuinely in love. Yet the Madalena we meet at her wedding to Richard -- to say nothing of the woman she proves to be as the series progresses -- doesn't seem to have been in love with Galavant at all. Surely both these stories can't be true...

...but then again, this is a musical. And a fantasy, since there's an actual wizard in it. And that being the case, there just might be an explanation.

Dear Scribe: Not Prime Time 2015

Aaaaand here we go again!

I signed up at the tail end of the window for this, but I am as enthusiastic as I've ever been, and will be as grateful for New Stuff To Read as these exchanges invariably make me.  So much wonderful material comes out of all of these, and having a bit of it be particularly for me is an ongoing source of delight.  So thank you for taking part, and let's get to the good stuff....

My requested fandoms are these:

Gargoyles • any
Kim Possible • any
Sky High • Gwen Grayson
Young Wizards (Diane Duane) • Harry Callahan

And here"s the obligatory cut:Collapse )

Saw Cinderella this week....

If you are looking for modern revisionism, large doses of female empowerment, or musical comedy, this is not your version of Cinderella.

OTOH, if you are looking for a mostly-traditional retelling of the fairy tale, neither as grim as Grimm nor as sprightly as Rodgers & Hammerstein, I may have a movie for you.

This is possibly not surprising given Kenneth Branagh in the director's chair.  We've seen Branagh do Shakespeare (Much Ado).  We've seen Branagh do Thor as, essentially, Asgardian Shakespeare (it didn't hurt that my regional Shakespeare festival was wrapping up a run-through of the Henry plays when that movie came out).  This is Branagh doing Cinderella as, essentially, late-period Shakespearean romance.  Which may explain both the many things that go right and the two or three things that I thought went slightly wrong.  Just as Shakespeare's Winter's Tale is schizophrenic in certain respects, so is this version of Cinderella.  (There's probably a full-scale essay in that idea, but this is not that post.)

Things that go right: almost all the roles are beautifully cast and extremely well acted.  The scenery, costuming, and staging is likewise gorgeous.  And the bits taken explicitly from Disney (in particular the mice) are generally handled very well indeed.  And the script is thoughtful without being heavy-handed.  It isn't a script that will win over those who find the Cinderella story problematic going in, but it's a script that (mostly) works hard to supply a context in which its characters make sense given the story that they occupy.  In this sense, it's definitely an actors' version of the tale.

Things that go wrong (IMO, anyway): Helena Bonham Carter's performance as the godmother seems off kilter from the rest of the movie -- she's  going for laugh lines a little too broadly.  By contrast, the CGI mice are handled much better: Cinderella understands their chittering, but they're played much straighter and the humor they do provide serves the story in a way the godmother's self-aware asides don't.  [That said, stay to the end of the credits; Bonham Carter's rendition of "Bibbity Bobbity Boo" is delightful, right down to her very last line (yes, it's on YouTube; no, DO NOT cheat and listen before you go see the movie. Trust me on this.]

Second: there's a late-blooming subplot involving Lady Tremaine (the stepmother, one of the direct Disney imports) and the King's chief adviser that never quite pays itself off.  The script esssentially tosses the relevant slipper, er, shoe into the air...and neither that shoe nor its mate are ever heard from again.  It's a puzzling distraction, but not much more than that.

Third: A much larger plot strand involves the Prince never knowing our heroine's name until very late in the movie.  But when he finally gets it out of her, after she's been re-united with her slipper, she introduces herself as "Cinderella"...and in this film, that feels totally wrong.  The script makes a point of the cruelty with which Ella's stepsisters and stepmother bestow that name on her.  It makes a point of the pain Ella experiences as they do so.  And it also makes a point, once Ella and her prince are firmly in each other's corners, of Ella's refusal to grant the Tremaines any further power over her.  Which was why I cringed when she told the Prince she was "Cinderella"...because the only association the viewer is given with that name is the nastiness with which it's first applied.  The moment doesn't quite break the movie for me -- the chemistry between the leads is good enough for me to get past it -- but it struck a really discordant note.

In the end: glitches notwithstanding, this is something of a rarity in modern Hollywood: a traditionally staged production of a traditional fairy tale that actually relies more on character than on special effects (though the SFX are first-rate nonetheless).  It doesn't quite sparkle, but my specific complaints aside, the all-around quality of craft is first-tier Disney -- and that's pretty darned good.

Meme: Take a Letter

Via [personal profile] sharpest_asp , who assigned me D:

Something I hate: Deviled eggs.  Actually, this is cheating slightly; what I have is an aversion (not an actual allergy, thank goodness) to eggs-as-eggs that manifested when I was very, very small, but deviled eggs are a particularly vivid squick-memory.  This did not prevent me from eating well-done French toast, pumpkin pie, or any number of other things into which eggs are beaten/mixed/what have you (quiche would set it off, though), but it made it a Very Bad Idea for anyone to attempt to feed me scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, fried eggs, deviled eggs, et cetera.   My parents learned very quickly not to push the issue; it took my Scoutmaster two separate incidents before he granted the point and found me other things to have for breakfast.  I am not sure of the degree to which the physical aversion reflex may persist nowadays, as it's been decades since I myself consciously pushed the issue, but it's not something I feel inclined to test, and I don't feel as if I'm missing much -- except occasionally when having breakfast in restaurants, where many menus completely fail to accommodate my eccentricity. :-/

Something I love: Diane Duane books ... all of them. 

Somewhere I've been: the Deschutes River in central/eastern Oregon.  This was one of the Scouting trips from my youth (taking place after the Scoutmaster had learned to accommodate my dietary issues); we went rafting/inner-tubing down the river, which I enjoyed a lot...until I got back to camp and realized that I had totally failed to consider the concept of sunscreen, and had -- per the old Cheetos commercial -- quick-fried to a crackly crunch.  Ow.  Just, ow.  Still a fun trip, however.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Disneyland (any of them); I am among the benighted souls who've never been -- we were never the right kind of tourist travelers when I was growing up.  (OTOH, we did do the Universal Studios tour once....)  Amusingly, my mother eventually got to the original Disneyland by virtue of a professional conference, but I don't think my father has ever been either.  My younger brother's family, who live in greater LA, have of course all gone...although lately I think it's mostly to see my nephew play in his school's marching band, which gets invited to play there from time to time.

Someone I know: D--, the above-mentioned younger brother, who is one of those unflappably multi-competent people you want around in an emergency.  He also has two minor superpowers, at least one of which my nephew may have inherited.  He can get from Point A to Point B without appearing to traverse the space in between (this is essentially ninja skill rather than teleportation -- we think), and he has the uncanny ability to find a parking place right near the front entrance of anywhere he goes.

A film I like: Dr. Syn, the Disney adaptation of the literary character (not the Bat-villain) the Scarecrow.

A book I like: Dark Angel by L. J. Smith; possibly the funniest of her "Night World" series, and the least constrained by the overall series continuity.  (In particular: best execution of a Jedi-mind-trick joke I think I've ever seen....)

Comment if you want a letter to answer, OR, comment here with a letter you want me to answer.


Dear Scribe: Rarely Written 2015

Thanks to a timely reminder from [personal profile] sharpest_asp, I am now signed up for [community profile] rarelywritten (successor to the RareWomen exchange of prior years, now relocated to DW and renamed). A proper Dear Writer letter will follow shortly; in the meantime, my "dear santa" tag collects my letters from various past exchanges, and may be of general help.

[much later]
Okay, so "shortly" morphed into "a week later" when I wasn't looking. Aii. Anyhow....

Greetings, and welcome, and also thank you; I continue to be astonished and delighted by the stories folk write for me in the various exchanges I inhabit. I suppose, realistically, the astonishment ought to be wearing off by now, since I've been writing gift-stories all along too; I know we get as much glee out of the writing process as we do the reading when the stories go live. OTOH, that just makes me appreciate the work you're putting in on my behalf all the more. But I'm burbling, and these letters aren't getting any shorter.

So here are the fandoms I've requested:

Austin & Murry/O'Keefe families - Madeleine L'Engle
(Kali Cutter, Polly O'Keefe)
Galavant (Isabella, Madalena)
Valdemar series - Mercedes Lackey (Tarma, Kethry, Kerowyn)

And here"s a cut-tag to keep this manageable:Collapse )


Whoof.  The Christmas tree has been hauled off to recycling, the holiday leftovers have all been eaten or otherwise dispatched, a key football game has been listened to (since both of the relevant family households source their TV over the air, and are therefore cut off from the higher-end bowl games nowadays), and the opening hour of Galavant has been watched.

Which means I can finally take a moment to post my Yuletide contribution for this year, which has generated a very satisfying round of comments:

And I Do Mean Yours [for serenityabrin]
Length: ~2000 words
Fandom: Gargoyles (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Owen Burnett & David Xanatos
Characters: Puck | Owen Burnett, David Xanatos
Additional Tags: References to Shakespeare

"Use your best judgment – and I do mean yours, Mister Burnett,” Xanatos added pointedly. “If I’d wanted a clone as my right-hand man, I’d have commissioned one.”

This was an assignment that shifted ground on me several times in the course of the writing -- and in a somewhat different way than my Yuletide stories often do.  This one started out very compact, then looked as if it was going to expand dramatically, and then condensed again but in a different way than I'd expected.   (Most of the time, the shift stops at the "expand dramatically" phase.)  Surprises along the way notwithstanding, I am very pleased with the way it turned out, and chuckled to myself a good deal as I was researching and slipping in Easter eggs.  [Most of the Easter eggs have been tagged by various alert commenters, but there are one or two as yet unremarked.  Which is all right, because I did indulge in one bit of whimsy that possibly a dozen people in the world might possibly catch, and AFAIK at most one of them is even remotely likely to ever see the story.  Or possibly two.]

All in all, a very satisfying Yuletide indeed, in both the writing and the reading.


This is a fanfic journal. I'm interested in a wide variety of fandoms as well as in meta- and theoretical discussions; see my interests list for specific fandom categories. Comments, critiques, recs, reviews, and the like are always welcome.


July 2015



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