Dear Author: Rare Women 2014

Greetings and welcome!  This was something of a spur-of-the-moment signup (I was distracted during the nomination window), but no less sincere for all that, and I'm both glad to be aboard and very much looking forward to whatever you choose to write.  Whether matched by assignment or prospecting for treat-writing opportunities, those of you writing on my behalf have my sincerest thanks and appreciation for your efforts.

First, the general notes:

My tastes in fic are wide and eclectic -- I read and enjoy gen, het, and slash (both flavors) at all ratings and have very few outright squicks aside from noncon, incest, and adult-child kink, but I am not typically attracted to stories for erotic content or angst quotient.  Rather, I like good characterization, authentic-sounding dialogue, effectively sneaky plotting, and well-developed wit.  I am equally intrigued by clever use of canon and thoughtfully developed AUs, and I am disturbingly fond of crossovers and well-woven meta threads.  As a rule, I tend to prefer canon-consistent romantic pairings (any exceptions will be noted further along), with the added note that in my book, well-sustained UST (heavy on the T) is often as good as or better than actual sex.  It's definitely true that my own writing also reflects the kinds of things I like to read; my AO3 archive is here, and you're welcome to prowl.

Now, then, to the requests:Read more...Collapse )</p>

Time for a makeover

[blowing dust off furniture]

I've been doing a bit of real-world housecleaning lately (long story involving a water heater older than several of my favorite fandoms), and it seemed like a good moment to do a bit of similar refurbishing of the virtual salon.

That being done, I've also a few other bits of catching up to do; look for a handful of updates over the next week or so.

Yuletide: What I Wrote


My Yuletide match this year was on a particularly esoteric micro-fandom -- and in mystery, rather than SF/fantasy.  This is the story I wrote:

A Matter of Delicacy
Judge Dee mysteries - Robert van Gulik
G •  gen • ~3000 words
Dee Jen-djieh | Di Renjie, Miss Violet Liang, Tao Gan, First Lady, Second Lady, Third Lady, Original Characters

When a memorable figure from Judge Dee's past turns up on the doorstep of the Metropolitan Court, the Lord Chief Justice is confronted with a puzzle whose unraveling may call for a particularly subtle approach -- and whose solution may pose its own challenges for the judge's visitor.

The Judge Dee series takes place in seventh-century China; Robert van Gulik wrote a total of sixteen novels and one set of short stories that are a rather odd mix of historical fact and fiction.  There was a genuine historical "Judge Dee", on whom van Gulik's character is based, and there's a lot of legitimate period detail in the books.  But while the individual mystery scenarios are almost all taken from authentic Chinese sources, van Gulik creates a wholly fictional career for Judge Dee, and the novels' storylines have no basis in specific events.  Also, van Gulik incorporates a degree of deliberate anachronism into the texts, describing cultural elements from the much later Ming dynasty as opposed to those prevalent in seventh-century Tang China.

Yet anachronisms notwithstanding, the series -- originally published in the 1960s and '70s, but still in print today (!) -- makes for fascinating reading.  Van Gulik was a native Dutchman who served as his country's ambassador to China, and published a fair bit of (somewhat esoteric) scholarly writing on Chinese culture in addition to his fiction, but it's the Judge Dee stories for which he remains best known.

My own story, at its recipient's suggestion, picks up on the status of a character featured in one of the series' middle books -- a female wrestler and martial-arts tutor from Mongolia -- and looks in on that character again about a decade later.  In the course of developing the story, I reread the whole canon (some volumes more than once), and consulted a variety of printed and online reference material -- establishing, in the process, that most of what I knew about Chinese history I'd originally learned from reading the Judge Dee books.  (Heh.)

Not surprisingly, the story has picked up a fairly small number of hits and garnered little to no notice in the wider Yuletide gossip mill.  Which is just fine; that's why it's called a micro-fandom.  (I write in a lot of these....)  The important bit is that my recipient is happy -- which she is, judging by the comment in response -- and thus I am well satisfied.

Yuletide: Recs

And now a quick run-through of recs from my early reading, in a variety of fandoms and culling from both the main collection and the Madness archive.

Fandoms are: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Austin & Murry-O'Keefe Family (L'Engle), Batman Beyond, Calvin & Hobbes, Justice League/JLU, Mageworlds (Doyle & Macdonald), The Muppet Show, The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy), The Sherwood Ring (Pope), Star Trek: Rihannsu (Duane), Young Wizards (Duane), Zorro (TV 1990).

Recs themselves are under the cut, for length:Collapse )

Yuletide: Gift Fic


It is, it is a glorious Yuletide, and I am just now coming up for air after a surprisingly busy Christmas-midweek.

So far my contribution to Yuletide has been admired by its recipient and a couple of other readers, with a tiny scattering of hits.  This is perfectly cool, as the fandom is way out on the seriously obscure end of obscurity.

My gift-fic, meanwhile, is a thing of great loveliness in a slightly less obscure fandom:

Stealing the Elf-King's Roses - Diane Duane
G • gen • ~1500 words
Lee Enfield; Gelert

Some of the qualities of matter have changed now, sure, but a lot of investigating remains the same.

Our Heroes are consulting crime-scene investigators in one of the next universes over from ours, who use technical sorcery the way CSIs in our world use traditional science.  Also, Gelert is essentially a very large shaggy dog. 

This is a snapshot of a case that comes up after the events of the novel, but it's sufficiently self-contained that you don't strictly need the novel to understand the world.  And reading this should not spoil you for any of the major twists and turns in the novel proper, which is a definite bonus.  The author nails Duane's narrative voice and shows an excellent understanding of the magical system; I am very, very pleased indeed to have had this written for me, and if the scene you see here draws you in, I highly recommend the book, which is available in an author's preferred e-book edition direct from Diane Duane's Web site.

carmen sandiego
Posted at nearly the last moment for the latest round of A Ficathon Walks Into a Bar (I signed up on LJ, but the challenge is running in parallel on LJ (intoabar) and Dreamwidth ([community profile] intoabar).

Title: Spell and Counterspell
Prompt: David Xanatos walks into a bar and meets...Dairine Callahan
Fandoms: Gargoyles / Young Wizards series - Diane Duane
Word count: 1687
Rating/Contents: G / gen; no warnings needed.

Rirhath B Crossings, just look at the stars,
How do you spell it without any Rs?

Exchange: Fandom Stocking 2013

As if I didn't have enough on my plate (eyes deadlines for [community profile] intoabar and [community profile] yuletide), I've hung a stocking at [community profile] fandom_stocking again this year, and here it is.

Some notes, because I know at least one person will ask:

Although it's been hosted on LiveJournal in the past, this year's event is happening exclusively on Dreamwidth. Here are some useful links:

2013 Announcement Post (deadline for signups: 12/18)
Signup Post

Because of the volume of posts that the stocking signups generate, I've found it useful to create filters (one with all my friends-page/circle groups except [community profile] fandom_stocking, and one for just that community).

Note that unlike most other fanwork exchanges, there are no assignments and there is no matching; one simply trolls through the stockings (the fandom and interest tags are invaluable for this), finds stockings one can fill, and posts. Also unlike most such exchanges, contributions are not limited to fic, and may include non-fannish elements (recs, recipes, icons and art, general good wishes, etc.).

For Relative Values of Pi...

carmen sandiego

As you might expect, I'm not talking about the mathematical constant.  No, I'm increasingly puzzled by developments on Castle, specifically with respect to Alexis' newfound Significant Other.

As far as I can tell, absolutely no one in the viewing audience actually admits to liking "Pi".  At best. there's a camp that contends that yes, Alexis might reasonably fall for someone like Pi -- laid-back, over-the-top countercultural, and all too (supposedly) similar in emotional terms to Castle himself as he might have been at that age.  And over the half dozen episodes of the new season thus far, we've been told repeatedly that Alexis is suddenly much more in tune with Pi than she is with her father.

And that's the trouble -- we've been told this, not shown it, and what we've been shown is greatly at odds with what we've been told.

If we're to believe what Alexis has told her father, she met Pi during her college-sponsored Costa Rica trip, and the two immediately bonded -- to the extent that she brought him back to the Castle loft with her, and has now moved into an apartment with him.  She hasn't said so in so many words, but both Castle and the audience are clearly meant to assume that the two are sleeping together.  And yet onscreen, Alexis and Pi have demonstrated absolutely no romantic chemistry, nor even much in the way of ordinary interaction.  Instead, Pi spends most of every scene in which he appears interacting with Castle, rather than with Alexis -- and driving him up the wall, often with considerable justification. 

This is, in a word, weird.  The same writers who've spent the last five-plus seasons making us believe in the Castle/Beckett relationship seem to be going out of their way to make us disbelieve the Alexis/Pi relationship.  It makes no sense whatever -- and I'm not sure at this point how they can write themselves out of the situation.  There's no drama in breaking up a relationship that we weren't invested in to start with, and it's much too late to retcon chemistry that should have been there from Pi's first appearance.

I have to think that the writers have something in mind for this arc; for all that the Castle creative team has its blind spots, writing romantic relationships hasn't been one of them.  But I can't for the life of me see where they're going with this.

Yuletide: Dear Yulewriter 2013


Here we are, O fellow Yuletides, neither so early as I'd hoped, nor as late as I feared. Also, for any of the handful of folk who may have been reading my letters in years past, this one has been rather more heavily rewritten than usual -- up to and including changes to some of the Requests of Long Standing.

That said, one thing that hasn't changed, and won't, is the heartfelt annual Thank You. When I pick micro-fandoms, I tend to pick really microscopic ones, and even when I request less obscure material, I tend to put odd spins on the requests. Anyone with the knowledge and/or enthusiasm who's willing and able to write in any of these canons -- whether via assignment, treat-spawned Madness, or (dare I hope) NYR -- deserves all the thanks and virtual cookies I can supply. Nor will I rule out the possibility of real cookies in sufficiently extraordinary circumstances.

Seriously: where most of my requests are concerned, I am as Oliver Twist, and "More, please" will always be cheerfully welcomed and gratefully appreciated.

Now, as this will run unconscionably long if I don't, we start using cut tags....

ETA: I give up; the rich text editor wins.  You get one cut, and here it is:

Read on for the good stuff....Collapse )


It will likely be a day or two -- give or take a day, depending on when signups actually open -- but there will, before too long, be a fresh Dear Yulewriter letter forthcoming.  Note that this is not a placeholder for it -- I'll post separately when I get things properly pulled together.  (I am rewriting and rewiring more than usual this year, given recent evolution in the Yuletide substructure.)

Meanwhile, sleep sounds good....
A new challenge/exchange story.

Title: Three Places Kim Merrill Lived, & One Where She Lived Happily Ever After
Fandom: Mairelon the Magician - Patricia Wrede
Characters: Richard Merrill, Kim Merrill, Lady Wendall
Word Count: ca. 1400
Rating: PG
Genre: M/F (Richard/Kim)
Warnings: none
Spoilers: Portions occur following The Magician's Ward; assumes general knowledge of both books, but the only major plot spoiler is that for Kim's and Mairelon's relationship arc.

Summary:  “One doesn’t hold onto a family fortune,” Mairelon explained, “by keeping an enormous household running if no one but the staff is actually living there.”

Author's Notes: For mairelon, as part of the Exchange at Fic Corner.

Dear Scribbler: Fic Corner 2013

New exchange, new terminology -- but the Letter is still ever and always the Letter.

And here it is....As always, the first order of business is the heartfelt Thank You. I am definitely a picker of obscure fandoms (in some of these cases, really obscure), and anyone with the knowledge and/or enthusiasm who's willing and able to write in any of these canons deserves all the thanks and virtual cookies I can supply. (Real cookies may also be negotiable in certain circumstances....)

Now, then. You want to know what I like. So:
Now, then. You want to know what I like. So:Collapse )

On to the fandoms:

Austin & Murry-O'Keefe Families • Madeleine L'Engle
Austin & Murry-O'Keefe Families • Madeleine L'EngleCollapse )

Chronicles of Narnia • C. S. Lewis
Chronicles of Narnia • C. S. LewisCollapse )

The Ice Ghosts Mystery • Jane Louise Curry
The Ice Ghosts Mystery • Jane Louise CurryCollapse )

Planet Builders • Robyn Tallis Planet Builders • Robyn TallisCollapse )

Young Wizards • Diane Duane
Young Wizards • Diane DuaneCollapse )

Fic: Spy Stories (Castle; episode tag)

carmen sandiego
Title: Spy Stories
Characters/Pairings: Castle, Kate, Alexis, Martha
Word Count: 1120
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Spoilers: Episode tag for s5's "Target" & "Hunt", discusses plot details of both.
Summary: “I know that look,” Castle said. “That’s your this isn’t right look. So spill.”

Notes: I can't be the only one who thought certain aspects of the two-parter were a little difficult to swallow...can I?
Purely because it's been awhile (and to see if anyone is actually still reading these posts), let's play another round of the game....

I've made a list of fifteen (15) characters from a variety of fandoms.  Your job is to ask questions about various combinations of these characters (examples: What secret past do #8 and #14 share?  What if #2, #6, and #9 went on a road trip?  If #5 and #10 were having dinner, who invited who?), which I'll do my best to answer.

Once we've accumulated sufficient questions, I'll compile the results and make a new post incorporating all the Qs and As -- this way, the Dreamwidth and LiveJournal readerships both get to see all the collective wackiness.

Different practitioners of this meme make different sorts of lists.  My approach tends to involve recruiting from as many different sources as I can possibly manage (in this instance, 14 unique fandoms are represented).  Thus, queries are extremely likely to produce Improbable Crossover Theater for various -- and sometimes really weird -- values of "improbable".  Management will do its best to respond to all queries posed, but reserves the right to designate some results Just Too Bizarre To Contemplate.

Let the game begin!

Fic: Come (Back) Saturday Morning (Castle)

In the department of "what I've been up to lately"....

Title:  Come (Back) Saturday Morning [@ AO3]
Characters: Martha Rodgers, Alexis Castle, Original Characters
Word Count: ca. 4300
Rating: G
Genre: gen/humor
Warnings: none
Spoilers: None to speak of.  Takes place mid-S5, after "Final Frontier" but before "Target" & "Hunt".   Includes references to a number of '70s animated and live-action Saturday morning TV series, real and invented.
Summary: There were certain roles Martha Rodgers had taken to omitting from her resume, in hopes that eventually the world would forget about the relevant performances. But of course she'd told Alexis a few of the stories -- and who remembers to swear an eight-year-old to secrecy?

Author's Notes: Gift for normativejean; written for the 2013 Rare Women Fanfic Exchange 2013


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 2014


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