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.

Yuletide 2014: Gifts & Recs

It is the Yuletide of dreams, for I got two stories...and one of them is from The Lastborn of Elvinwood! Herewith my gifts and a short cluster of recs:

Written for me:

The Usual Arrangements by Anonymous
Length: ~1800 words
Fandom: The Lastborn of Elvinwood - Linda Haldeman
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Thomas Heaton, Merlin, Ian James

We're told that 'he told a tale well', but how would the Vicar spin Ian's first meeting with the little folk to his master?

I have been waiting for *years* for this story (and it was a pure and utter surprise when I found I'd gotten it). A clever and amusing spin on a key encounter between various principal characters.  Best. Yuletide.  Ever.  (Also, now that I think of it, actually, fairly comprehensible -- and possibly funny -- even if you haven't read the novel.)


No Law Against Looking by Anonymous
Length: 100 words
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (Cartoon)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Beth Lestrade

The rules of relationship can get tangled after two hundred years.

Heh.  Yes, they do, and here Lestrade is looking at Holmes from a doubly unique perspective.  Very well done indeed, and a worthy gift.


And onward, to an assortment of recs.  One note in particular: I have been reading very erratically, such that I often have not read all the stories in any given fandom.  So a rec for one story in a given fandom is just that, and does not say anything one way or the other about other stories in that same fandom.


Heaven's Coins  by Anonymous
Length: ~1550 words
Fandom: A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jacob Marley & Ebenezer Scrooge
Characters: Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley

Marley's haunting was all that saved Scrooge from eternal damnation. Years have passed and it is time to repay the favor.

A very interesting take on Scrooge's arrival in the hereafter.  On the one hand, this plays very straight with its Dickens; on another, though, there's a faint and fascinating resonance here between this piece and The Muppet Christmas Carol's choice to cast Statler and Waldorf as "Marley and Marley".


Anno Domini 1915 by Anonymous
Length: ~500 words
Fandom: Dark Is Rising Sequence - Susan Cooper
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Merriman Lyon, Miss Greythorne (Dark Is Rising)

...I've just passed The Learning chapters in my reread of TDIR and recalled how much I love Miss Greythorne, so have some pre-canon Old Ones. I also hope this isn't too grim for a gift!

Not too grim at all in my book, though it's not perhaps a tale for the squeamish -- a fascinating, unusual pre-canon snapshot of Merriman and Miss Greythorne (one of my favorite characters, too), and the consequences of the choices one makes as an Old One.


And Wings Made of Air by Anonymous
Length: ~1500 words
Fandom: Dobrenica Series - Sherwood Smith
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Marius Alexander Ysvorod and Aurelia Kim Murray
Characters: Marius Alexander Ysvorod, Aurelia Kim Murray

Marius Alexander Ysvorod, crown prince of Dobrenica, the day after his wedding...

Thoughtful and funny and sweet and wondrous (in the old-fashioned sense-of-wonder sense) in all the right places.  For me, the voice here catches precisely the echo I've noted in canon between this series and Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss novels; the relationship between Alec and Kim has much the same texture as that between John and Vicky, though with something of a reversal of roles.


Reasons of the Heart by Anonymous
Length: ~5300 words
Fandom: Jonny Quest
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jonny Quest & Hadji Singh, Benton Quest & Race Bannon
Characters: Jonathan "Jonny" Quest, Hadji Singh, Benton Quest, Race Bannon, Bandit (Jonny Quest)

“The heart has its reasons whereof reason knows nothing.” (Blaise Pascal)

A lovely, leisurely depiction of the evolution of a found family, perceptive and sensitive but not at all saccharine, invoking just the right touch of tension without devolving into angst.  Very canon-aware, and yet I think it holds up independent of canon; this is first-class writing whether or not you know the series.


To Grandmother's Secret Lab We Go by Anonymous
Length: ~7400 words (4 chapters)
Fandom: Narbonic, Skin Horse (Webcomic)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Helen B. "Beta" Narbon, Dave Davenport, Artie | RT-5478, Mell Kelly, Caliban (Narbonic), Rosalind Narbon, Project UNITY, Dr. Helen A. "Alpha" Narbon, Captain's Fancy Valentine Sweetheart, Nick Zerhakker

While playing host to the Narbons, Mell gets tracked down by a relative... of sorts. But hers isn't the only unexpected family reunion in store, and soon the whole crew is on a cross-country Narbon-vs.-Narbon chase. Blood may be thicker than water, but are nanites thicker than blood?

For some reason, I didn't move on to Skin Horse after encountering and falling in love with Narbonic two-thirds or so of the way in.  Now I may have to change that, because this is at once a totally spectacular post-canon Narbonic adventure and a dropped-in-at-the-deep-end Skin Horse caper, and while I haven't read the latter strip at all, the story is hyperactively madcap enough that it holds up regardless.  Also, if I didn't know better, I'd seriously think I'd written this myself, because its style and structure remind me of my own Kim Possible/Narbonic crossover from some years back.  (I emphasize that this is a reminds-me-in-a-good-way note, not a criticism or complaint.)  Mad science has never been more fun than these characters make it, whether in Shaenon Garrity's hands or those of the present fanwriter.


Mrs Pollifax Does Lunch by Anonymous
Length: ~2800 words
Fandom: Mrs. Pollifax - Dorothy Gilman
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: John Farrell & Emily Pollifax
Characters: Grace Hartshorne

A wintry day in New Brunswick, New Jersey is brightened considerably by an unexpected visitor.

Much of the tiny body of Pollifax fanfic takes place in New Jersey, between Mrs. Pollifax's espionage adventures.  This particular story raises the stakes, though, by setting up a face-to-face confrontation between veteran operative John Sebastian Farrell and Emily's notoriously inquisitive neighbor Miss Hartshorne.  Impressively, neither character blinks, and yet the resulting fireworks -- muted but undeniable -- arise from another angle entirely.  The result is a thoughtful treatment of all three characters that catches the authentic Gilman tone. 


From Here to Eternity by Anonymous
Length: 100 words
Fandom: Valdemar Series - Mercedes Lackey
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Vanyel Ashkevron/Bard Stefen

Guarding the border has its moments. And sometimes it doesn't.

A brief, amusing look at afterlife in the Forest of Sorrows.  And possibly an argument for either Vanyel or Stefan being a distant ancestor of Calvin's -- and, as the obvious corollary, Hobbes being a Firecat.  (This story is not that fusion, but it might well lay the groundwork for such....)


The Other Side by Anonymous
Length: ~1150 words
Fandom: Valdemar Series - Mercedes Lackey
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sayvil, Kerowyn

Sayvil experiences Choosing from a new perspective.

Noteworthy both for the direct look at Companion life from backstage and for the neatly executed reverse spin on Kerowyn's moment of Choice from By the Sword.

Fandom Stocking 2014

I have signed up for [community profile] fandom_stocking  again this year; my stocking is over here.  (LiveJournal denizens note that both of the foregoing links point over to Dreamwidth.)

Signups are still open through tomorrow (12/13) if anyone is interested; guidelines and instructions are here, and the signup post itself is here.

A tip for DW subscribers: I have found it useful to set up two reading-page filters for this exchange: one that consists of everything except [community profile] fandom_stocking  posts, and one that's exclusively for [community profile] fandom_stocking.  This has simplified my life greatly during the period that the exchange is active.

Herewith my [community profile] intoabar fic.  Yes, this one is definitely cracktastic...

Title: The Left Turn at Albuquerque Caper
Characters: Captain Victoria Gates* (Castle); Zack (Carmen Sandiego), the Chief (Carmen Sandiego)
Fandoms: Castle, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
Word count: ~2200
Rating/Contents: Rated G.  AU for Castle as of Season 7; mentions events from the Season 6 finale.

Written for A Ficathon Goes Into A Bar....
Two weeks had passed since Richard Castle’s dramatic wedding-day disappearance, and Captain Victoria Gates – in unofficial but carefully arranged rotation with Esposito and Lanie Parish – had taken to “dropping into” the Old Haunt at regular intervals, to make certain Kate Beckett wasn’t sliding entirely off the rails into depression or worse.

And then a pink vortex dropped a demin-jacketed teenager into the bar....

Yuletide 2014: Dear YuleScrivener

Greetings, O YuleScrivener, and welcome!  And also, thank you!  Where Yuletide is concerned, I am nothing if not a Requester Of The Seriously Obscure.  Thus I am always amazed when the technomancy of the matching process succeeds in finding a writer who shares my appreciation for said obscurity, and delighted on Christmas morning when a wonderful and wondrous story from that writer's (metaphorical) pen lands in my AO3 gift-folder.  We may just be setting out on this year's journey, but I know there's a happy ending to come, and I am grateful for it already.  Your work is (and will be) appreciated and valued, and I look forward to seeing its fruits.

This year's fandoms

These letters aren't getting any shorter, so while I've got detailed material farther down, I think it's only fair to give you the list of fandom requests up front.  So, those would be:

Jacqueline Kirby - Elizabeth Peters (Jacqueline Kirby)
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (Sherlock Holmes, Beth Lestrade)
The Lastborn of Elvinwood - Linda Haldeman (Ian James, Thomas Heaton)
Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela Rodriguez, Dairine Callahan)

Likes, dislikes, notes, and specifics below....Collapse )

Fic Corner 2014: What I Wrote

And here's my contribution, a longer story following on from Bruce Coville's A.I. Gang trilogy. I had a lot of fun writing this one; it's an especially nifty canon, and I had a chance to stretch my muse a bit.  Also I got a really happy and extensive comment from my recipient; as I told her in the reply, if it's possible to get a sunburn from basking in reflected squee, I am potentially in serious trouble.

Matters of Death and Life
Fandom: The A. I. Gang (Bruce Coville)
Rating: G
Length: ~7900 words
Characters: Roger Phillips, Rachel Phillips, Dr. Anthony Phillips, Wendy Wendell III, Dr. Stanley Remov, Dr. Bai' Ling, Dr. Leonard Weiskopf

Lately Rachel’s thoughts had begun turning toward her mother. There were things she just couldn’t talk about with her father or Roger, and there wasn’t any adult woman in her life she felt comfortable treating as a confidante. She had, however, been able to articulate the problem to her twin – and had then mentally kicked herself for not seeing the answer he’d offered.

Double pleasure this time around; I have a story and a treat, both from L. J. Smith's Night World  series.

Feel the earth move and then • by [personal profile] flamebyrd 
Fandom: Night World (L. J. Smith)
Rating: G
Length: ~1100 words
Raksha Keller, Galen Drache (Galen/Raksha)
Warnings: none
Tags: AU, first meetings, spies & secret agents

Agent Raksha Keller has been assigned a new partner. She is not impressed.

This is mildly AU, treating the Night World as spy/intrigue fare with a first meeting between Our Heroes that hits all the right notes.  Fun yet nuanced, and quite well executed.

Vacation • by [personal profile] flamebyrd 
Fandom: Night World (L. J. Smith)
Rating: G
Length: ~650 words
Aradia, Maggie Neely, Delos, Raksha Keller
Warnings: none
Tags: team bonding, late night conversations, quiet moments

Aradia is not used to down-time.

And this is a shorter piece, a thoughtful and perceptive character snapshot of Aradia -- a secondary but important character who turns up in the last couple of Night World books.

I'm very happy with both stories, and especially grateful to have both an "official" story and a treat from the same talented writer.  That's beyond the call of duty for sure, and very much appreciated.
And here's what I wrote for Crossovering 2014:

Let's Find Out
Fandoms: Doctor Who / Marvel Cinematic Universe [& Sarah Jane Adventures, Iron Man (Movies)]
Rating: G
Word Count: ~2500
Genre/Type: gen
Characters: Pepper Potts, Sarah Jane Smith, Maria Hill, Kate (Lethbridge-)Stewart
Relationships: Pepper Potts/Tony Stark

Sometimes, the most straightforward approach turns out to be the long way around.

Or, how Pepper and Sarah Jane meet in a fused version of Whovian and MCU continuity, with a couple of bonus Easter Eggs (because I could not resist putting in a certain bit about just who Nick Fury was looking at as a potential Avenger....).

Be it duly noted that there are a couple of stories that I considered but didn't end up writing for this exchange: specifically, the one in which Pepper had been recruited as a companion by Eight (largely because it felt to me rather too similar to the premise of Azar's excellent "Rebel Yell" series about the Doctor and NCIS' Abby Sciuto), and the one in which the Anthony Ainley version of the Master finds his way to Asgard and hooks up with Loki in an effort to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters, which of course one or another Doctor would have had to show up and foil (because while that would have been immensely entertaining, it felt like a much bigger story than I had time to draft for the challenge).

Also offered as a plot bunny, because it occurred to me along the way, this theory: Hugh Lofting's (and by extension Rex Harrison's) character  Doctor John Dolittle is, in fact, a Time Lord (and very possibly a previously unknown regeneration of the Doctor himself).

Crossovering 2014: Written for me!

Written for me in the just-opened collection for Crossovering 2014:

Maps of a Myth by ?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Star Trek: Deep Space 9
~2300 words
Rating: teen
Warnings: graphic violence (i.e. high-end Buffyverse slayage)

no, it was a myth, she was a couldn't be
The one where Kira meets Buffy in a forest on Bajor.

I am well pleased. It's an ambitious and interesting fusion, and a thoughtful extrapolation of the Slayer legend into Bajoran context, with an intriguing pre-series Kira Nerys and a scarily competent Bajoran!Buffy, plus bonus points for impressive fight choreography.

I hope to have more recs posted shortly, but dinner and arm-wrestling with my Fic Corner assignment are also beckoning....

This one's a more introspective meme than I've seen in awhile, picked up from [personal profile] aris_tgd.  I'm going to inject a little more structure in hopes of making it look a little less intimidating (from both sides of the desk).  So:

Below (and I'm putting these under a cut, because it's a long list) is a series of questions about aspects of one's writing process and one's body of work (both existing and prospective).  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do any or all of the following:
  1. Comment on this post, choosing up to five of the lettered questions for me to answer.
  2. Comment on this post, either offering to answer up to five questions of my choice from the list or choosing your own list of up to five questions to answer (in either case, you should post the answers in your own journal and provide a link)
  3. Post the full meme to your own journal, thereby encouraging your own friends-list to play (and to keep on passing the meme around)
Note that many of the questions are specifically fanfic-oriented, though many might also be answerable with non-fanfic examples. Anyone choosing to participate should feel free to answer in whatever context they feel is most appropriate for their own process and body of work.  Also: if you are asked to respond to a question you feel uncomfortable answering, you are not obligated to respond to that question.

Now, the questions:

Now, the questions:Collapse )

TARDIS materializes on Retro TV!

A discovery:

One of my local over-the-air digital sub-channels -- affiliated with the Retro TV syndication/network -- has evidently acquired the rights to first-generation episodes of Doctor Who.  Missed the Monday night premiere, but Tuesday night brought Parts 3 and 4 of "An Unearthly Child", so it appears they are starting way the heck back at the beginning.

As they say, check your local listings for time and channel.


Not Prime Time 2014: the Reveal

What I wrote for Not Prime Time this year:

The Virtue of Redundancy
Doctor Who (1963)
(Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan, Turlough, the Master (Ainley))
G • No Archive Warnings Apply
~ 4000 words

For [personal profile] sirvalkyrie (aka [ profile] VampirePaladin).

The Master smiled silkily. “That’s the virtue of redundancy, my dear. Even if you had, the watch and the Kalisutra parasites would have been enough to carry the day."

In which there are watches, cheese, chocolate, and a twist or two.

And what I received:

Rebuilding, by kalisgirl / [ profile] kalisgirl
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
(Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, Grant Ward)
G • No Archive Warnings Apply
~ 3000 words

Four Times Melinda Didn't Mean to Hurt Phil Coulson (and One Time She Sort of Did)

A delightful backward/forward look at the Coulson/May character bond. Just what I hoped for, and a pleasure to have had written for me.

Dear Scribbler: Fic Corner 2014

deep breath]

Whoof.  All right, out from under prior deadline, caught up on sleep, several weeks out from next deadline.  Time to actually write a Dear Writer letter...

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. 

And here's a cut, because this will run longish....Collapse )


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.


February 2015



RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by chasethestars