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Still absurdly behind...

 ...but wow, is there a wealth of wonder in the current round of [community profile] holmestice !  Mind, I can't be too specific in my praise just yet (so that when it comes time to guess who wrote what, people will credit me with various things I dearly wish I actually did write). But if Sherlockian pastiche is your jam, I highly recommend checking out the current run of stories.

Also, I have *two* stories waiting for me--so someone has written me a treat this round!  

Rowr.

A note to CBS All Access:

Do not advertise the ability to livestream the Tony Awards if you are not, in fact, going to allow your West Coast viewers to livestream the Tony Awards.  (On the other hand, judging by the clip of the opening number, Josh's and Sarah's hearts are in the right place, but neither their writers nor their execution are a match NPH's and/or Corden's energy.)
Herewith a quick signal-boost for an annual project from one of my favorite broad-spectrum fanfic writers:

[personal profile] jedibuttercup runs a "Wishlist" prompt fest every year at this time in which she accepts 24 prompts for stories (av. 500 - 3000 words) in the top tier of the broad range of fandoms with which she's conversant.  This includes the MCU [movies only; not the various TV shows], the Buffyverse, Leverage, Star Wars, and several other medium-to-large movie and TV series fandoms; for a fuller list, check out the link I'm about to give you.  In past years, this list has filled up in a day or so; for some reason, this year there are slots to spare, and it's always been a completely open exercise -- there are no pre-requisites to offering a prompt except reading and abiding by the overall rules, which are straightforward and not at all complex.  It should be noted here that[personal profile] jedibuttercup is even more of a crossover hound than I am (and extremely good at pulling off unlikely crossover premises, although that's not -- or at least not entirely -- what drives the Wishlist fest). 

Here's the post announcing and collecting prompts for the current round, which as I type this has seven slots left.  (I am writing and linking this on the DW side; there are, however, corresponding LJ posts if that's where you live online.)

Yes, I'm signed up for Holmestice and Yuletide, so of course it's a good time to dust off the 15-characters meme again....

Rules:
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 or posts incorporating all the Qs and As -- this way, the Dreamwidth and LiveJournal readerships both get to see all the collective wackiness. (And there's still enough variance between the two lists that this is likely to be worth the crosspost.)

Notes:
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!

Yuletide 2017: Dear YuleScrivener

Note: A good deal of this text has been largely ported from prior letters, including a couple of recurring requests – although I have done a bit of editing, polishing, and reorganizing in some places, and there are new and expanded prompts throughout.

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.

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:

* Diana Winthrop series – “Kate Chambers”
* Gargoyles (TV) (Demona, Elisa, Macbeth, Titania | Anastasia)
* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)
* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

General likes and dislikes

Feel free to wander backward through this journal and my fic on AO3 (linked to your left) to get an idea of my interests; what I write is very much also what I like to read – and has, over time, added up to rather a variety of fandoms. My past Yuletide letters (and those for other exchanges) are tagged "dear santa" herein; see the "Yuletide" tag too, if you like.

To summarize, though: text-driven pluses for me include effective use of wit (aka banter aka snark, etc.), as well as strong characterization & dialogue. I value both respect for and clever use of canon (including well-developed AUs -- the plot-driven kind, not the baristas/highschoolers/alt-species kind). I thrive on UST (heavy on both U and T), and am neutral where gen/het/slash is concerned; if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind.

I am also a sucker for the well-executed crossover, whether via oblique allusion or head-on fandom collision. Yuletide being Yuletide and Optional Details Being Optional, I have absolutely no expectations along this line...but I have included an EXTREMELY OPTIONAL BONUS POINTS section in each of my requests, because I live in hope, and because I can’t resist this sort of opportunity.  Take these in the spirit in which they’re given, or set them aside as you prefer.

None of my requests call specifically for mature/explicit content.  This doesn't mean I don't appreciate sizzling erotica/smut/porn; it's just that my fanfic-reading interests and my e/s/p-reading interests mostly don't tend to intersect.  That said, if your muse happens to take you into explicit territory in the context of one of these requests, I'm generally willing to follow along for the ride.  I have few outright personal squicks save for noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks so long as a given relationship is age- and canon-appropriate.  

Character matching and prompts

Where I request single characters is not because I'm opposed to relationship-fic or multi-character stories – far from it. My goal is to give you greater flexibility in introducing additional characters, whether from those nominated or from wider canon. Even where I supply relatively specific prompts in a request, I want you to be able to shape the story; my suggestions are meant as springboards, not outlines.

I have typically requested single characters most often in past years; this year is an exception (two “any” requests, one list of four, one list of two).  Where I've requested specific characters, I've given a note in each request indicating what I’m looking for in terms of meeting the prompt.  Either way, you're absolutely encouraged to bring in any additional canon characters (or OCs) you feel should be involved given the demands of your plot.

#### SPECIFIC REQUESTS ####Collapse )

And in other non-news....

[eyes rec post]

[eyes shopping post]

[shakes head bemusedly]

At least now we know what people are reading the journal for....

.
.
.
.

Oh, I know, it's not a valid comparison -- with story posts, such response as there is shows up on the story page (or is supposed to, at any rate).  Nonetheless, I am amused to observe that the Thinkgeek post represents the most comment traffic on a single entry that this journal has had in years.  Clearly I need to re-think my posting strategy.
Remix Revival is live!  I can't tell you what I wrote yet (anonymity, you know), but I can tell you that I was remixed by a Super Genius (probably not the actual Wile E. Coyote, but one can't be too sure nowadays).  The work below takes a bit of whimsy I put together for "Into A Bar" a couple of rounds back, and cranks both the crack-o-meter and the hey-this-is-good-o-meter up to C-11. 

[puzzled reader voice] "C-11"?
[Foghorn Leghorn voice] "That's a joke, son!" 
Which you will totally get if you read the story.

Needless to say, I am delighted.  And have been chuckling all day.

The Super Genius Caper (The "Left Turn at Albuquerque Caper" Remix) (7650 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Castle, Gargoyles (TV), Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Looney Tunes | Merrie Melodies
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Words: ~7650
Relationships: Kate Beckett/Richard Castle
Characters: Victoria Gates, Richard Castle, Carmen Sandiego, Kate Beckett, Wile E. Coyote, Zack (Carmen Sandiego), Goliath (Gargoyles), Elisa Maza, The Chief (Carmen Sandiego)
Additional Tags: Crossover

As he hung suspended from an ACME branded rope, Castle's first thought was to hope it was something Carmen had stolen from the detective agency... and not one of the coyote's oft ill-fated purchases. (Seriously, did ole Wiley never read Consumer Reports? Or Amazon reviews? Or the Darwin Awards?) His second thought, as the Gargoyle's stone skin began to crack in the fading light, was to wonder how he'd ever explain this to Beckett.

Root beer, A&W, cold....

Being a properly qualified member of geekdom, I have on a handful of occasions ordered things from ThinkGeek.  Most notably, I ordered one of the "con edition" Bags of Holding almost instantly after their initial release, and it's still in my regular rotation of messenger-like bags.

And then, early last week, I got email from ThinkGeek announcing their first Oregon store.  On one hand, it's in a shopping center all the way over on the opposite side of the metro area from my abode (which is somewhat less centrally located than it was at this time last year).  On the other hand, the grand opening was on one of my days off, and this was after all ThinkGeek....

By bus and light rail, this turned out to be a trip of a bit under two hours.  And there was an actual line to get in (the crowd being good-sized, and the store's square footage relatively modest).  But there were also Imperial stormtroopers, and some other cosplayers, and small bits of swag, and interesting geeky things to look at.  And I may now have a set of coasters that look like Star Trek transporter pads, complete with blinky lights and sound effects.  (Fortunately, there's a mode for "blinky lights only"; otherwise, your glass makes transporter noises every time you pick it up and put it down.)  Now if the next release will just include a working replicator function, so it will actually refill the glass of root beer on demand....

The trip was also justified by the discovery that the B&N at the other end of the mall had significant markdowns on a large selection of their genre DVDs...and I have a B&N membership/discount card.  Thus, among other things, I now have the first season complete-series set for Class, the Doctor Who spinoff, in my stack of things to get around to watching eventually.

Meme: 15 Movies

Borrowed from

[personal profile] sharpest_asp, because of course I ought to be working up a couple of exchange signups:

Here are 15 quotes; your job is to guess the movies from which they come.  (For extra style points, identify the actor or character who's speaking.)  A couple of notes on this list, which may or may not be of help: purely for amusement value, I sorted the list alphabetically by film title.  The films date from 1965 to 2015; five are musicals, two are Westerns, and three are Disney movies (by which I mean originated by Disney proper, not from franchises acquired by Disney over time).  All were theatrical releases, although one in particular was an indie project with a narrow distribution window in its initial run.  OTOH, that one also had a couple of other lives on cable and DVD (I bought my disc at a local supermarket/dept. store chain), so it's not hopelessly obscure, only partially so (and worth looking up, IMO).

#1: “I guess a curse just ain’t what it used to be, huh, sir?”

 

#2: “Throwing insults into the mix will not do anyone any good.”

#4: “There goes the 12:20.”
      “At 12:20.  What a terrible time to break a perfect record.”

#5: “He’s altogether a marvelous man.  And he understands the Irish.”

#6 “...there’s a big ostrich-looking dragon chewing on the Chrysler Building, and every tree in Central Park is eating people!”

#7: “You can’t be a leprechaun; you’re too tall!”

#9: “This entire band is under arrest.  You’re confined to quarters until further notice.”

#11: “...there had been abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.  My father used to lock me away in a room with nothing but the Percy Faith recording of Bim Bam Boom, and then send me to bed with nothing but dessert.”

#13: “Four. The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, the marches of John Philip Sousa or The Star-Spangled Banner.”

#14 “Dave, you should run.”

#15: “How do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom? They gobbled it up like a chocolate eclair! They didn't fear their demise, they repackaged it!”

## Solved ##

 

XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp (Batman) • #3: “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

XX - [personal profile] malkingrey  (The Great Muppet Caper) • #8: “It’s exposition, dear; it has to go somewhere.”

XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp  (Maverick)  • #10: “Now I’ll bet I can change your mind.  I promise that I will lose for at least an hour.”

 

XX - [personal profile] sanguinity   (Murder By Decree) • #12: “You squashed my pea.”

 

LiveJournal side: new ToS

A degree of fuss shows up, not surprisingly, as LJ updates its terms of service with new language [specifically, Russian(!)].  As I observed last time around, I am not inclined to panic unduly about that in itself, although I admit to a degree of startlement at having to agree to be bound by an agreement in a language I don't understand and can't read.

However, one observer points out a clause that makes my writer-persona's eyebrows go up:

If User participates in any rankings or if User’s Content is used in any editorial projects of the Service, User provides to the Administration an additional authorisation to modify, shorten and amend his/her Content, to add images, a preamble, comments or any clarifications to his/her Content while using it, and in certain cases based on the Service functions, an authorisation to use User’s Content anonymously.

Essentially, their observation (which I think is valid) is that this amounts to a license  not just to re-use anything one has posted to one's LJ account,  but to rewrite and alter it as they see fit without permission or credit to the original writer -- including fanfic, for instance.  Now, ToS agreements often include a non-exclusive license to republish content, but the rewrite-and-modify aspects of the language are rather more sweeping than I've seen in most ToS language...and also, this is written under Russian law, and I wouldn't want to bet on Russian copyright protection being as robust as it is in the US and UK, for instance.

I would very much like to see the OTW legal team comment on this provision. In the interval -- on one hand, I'm not leaving LJ *yet*, and I don't intend to delete anything I've posted to LJ as yet (I don't think it's likely that the Russian Overlords will reach backward into LJ's archives for drabbles).  But I do not think that, under the new ToS, I'm going to be willing to post or crosspost new fanfic on the LiveJournal side, and I would encourage others to think carefully before doing so.  (Holmestice participants, I am definitely looking at you!)

By popular demand, this is that post....

Well, for relative values of "popular", anyway.  At any rate, some observations on the new live-action iteration of Disney's Beauty & the Beast:

First and foremost, this is very much its own movie -- although it's spun from the same root, the fabric of this narrative is distinct from what you've seen in the animated version and/or stage production.  (I have seen the stage version -- specifically, the first national touring production, which inherited some of its cast from the original Broadway run.  I also own the Broadway cast album for the show, as well as a set of CDs including not just the animated soundtrack, but additional developmental material by Ashman and Menken.)

Think of it this way: the animated feature is essentially Belle's story -- she is the primary focus around whom everyone else orbits.  It's the closest of the three to a pure romance, and the one of the three that really acknowledges the passage of time as the central relationship develops (compare "Something There" in each version, and you'll see what I mean).  By contrast, in the stage version, it's Lumiere who's at the center of things -- it's his musical presence and status as nominal host that focuses the action, particularly in the second half of the show, driven in part by the expanded attention given to the Beast's houseful of transformed servants (notably in the long number surrounding "Human Again").

This shifts again in the live-action movie: this time, it's Gaston who's chief catalyst and motivator.  It's Gaston, much more of a direct threat much earlier on than we've previously seen, who propels Belle and Maurice into the events that lead them to the Beast's castle.  In this version, what happens to Maurice and to Belle is in significant part driven by Gaston's active antagonism, and likewise the Beast's actions are driven in part -- if less overtly -- by Gaston's influence.  This is an altogether nastier, darker, more knowingly Evil Gaston than he's been before, and the whole movie is colored by that difference.

Which is not to say that all is dark and grim and moody, because it's not.   "Be Our Guest" and the post-climax grand ball are still spectacular, the banter between Lumiere and Cogsworth is still delicious, and Kevin Kline injects some wonderfully dry wit into Maurice's character.  Indeed, this is a more character-driven film than either of its prior counterparts -- we get more back story for all of the principals, including additional songs for Maurice and the Beast (in fact, very little music is borrowed from the stage musical).  There is also some further context for the spell and its effects, with ramifications that are likely to generate a good deal of fanfic.

All in all, I liked the movie a great deal.  Ironically, the one area where it doesn't quite sparkle is the singing, which just can't quite compete with the iconic performances from the animated original (although the live version of "Gaston" comes close).  Don't get me wrong -- it's mostly very good, just not really at the level of either of its predecessors.
 

There has to be a story here....

 I  had originally planned to see Skull Island today, but matinee showtimes worked out to make Beauty & the Beast a better fit. (I definitely recommend the new version, but this is not that post.)

No, this is the post about the trip home again on the bus, and the trio of teenagers who occupied  the seats across from  mine. There were two girls, one with dark hair and washed-to-almost-white denim jeans, the other not quite blonde with a black skirt  and top plus white sweater.  Their companion was a young man with neatly waved wheaten hair and pale grey jeans. All in all, not quite clean-cut enough to be Mormons on mission, but considerably more tame of dress than one tends to see in the weekend bus-riding teen population out here in the burbs....

...except that one of them was carrying  a small rectangular shopping bag clearly labeled and striped as coming from...

...wait for  it...

Victoria's Secret.

And it wasn't either of the girls.

And what I realized only just now: there is no Victoria's Secret  in the shopping center where we all boarded that bus.

Clearly there's a story here, but I am not at all sure what it is.

Fic (Yuletide 2016): The Secrets of Isis

And now the reveal has gone live, and it's time to talk about what I wrote for Yuletide this year:

The Secrets of Isis
Fandom: Amelia Peabody - Elizabeth Peters
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: None for triggers.  Spoilers for Peters' novel Guardians of the Horizon (the second Lost Oasis adventure).
Words: ~1400
Characters: Nefret Forth Emerson, Daria (Amelia Peabody)
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, Isis is a perfectly respectable goddess, Lost Oasis, Footnotes

As the Emersons prepare to leave the Holy Mountain for the second time, one Priestess of Isis passes her mantle to another.

This was an interesting project. The prompt specifically asked for a focus on Nefret, and although I initially considered looking at her time in Switzerland and/or medical school (and thus essentially on her own) I found I couldn't resist the call of the Lost Oasis.  That immediately made me think of Daria, who really doesn't get enough of the right kind of screen time in Guardians of the Horizon, and of using Daria's perspective to supply a different angle on Nefret's character.  In the end, the story is really pretty much evenly balanced between the two young women, which is not precisely what the prompt had called for, but the recipient seems to like the story and I'm reasonably satisfied with it.

I should mention that the bit of whimsy underlying the second footnote was a fortuitous happenstance.  I had typed in the title for the piece late in one writing session, and only realized what I'd done when I looked at it again on reopening the document the following day.  At which point I asked myself "Do I really want to go there?", to which the obvious answer was "Whyever not?"  (Mostly we should all be grateful that Sethos never got hold of the item in question.)

I hear the Russians are coming....

A quick note relative to current developments on the LiveJournal side (specifically, concerns about LJ's servers being migrated to Darkest Russia):

This journal has for some time been mirrored on both DW (where I write most/all of the posts) and LJ (where I started), and I read my friends-lists/circles regularly on both sides of that mirror.  I expect to continue to do just that for as long as the lights are on.  Any content I post will be available on the DW side if the lights go off on LJ, and given that this is almost purely a fannish journal, I see little likelihood that Koschei the Deathless et al will choose to come after me.

Having said that: I do encourage anyone on the LJ side who is concerned to create a DW presence (there are tools whereby one can import an existing LJ over to DW essentially intact, thereby preserving the content), to add me to your DW reading page, and/or to let me know if you have a non-mirrored DW account to which I ought to connect.  The DW visual interface is as highly customizable as LJ's is (being built from the same base code), and though the vocabulary is a little different, the underlying structure is much the same.  At the moment, one need not have an invite code to create a DW account; if that changes (which it might if there's a mass exodus), any spare invite codes I happen to acquire will be mentioned here and available by request.

An especially joyful Yuletide this year for me: I had been morally certain that the count showing two Yuletide stories for me was a system bug (the second showed up right after the restore of all those accidentally purged assignments), but lo and behold I discovered two stories under my virtual tree when the archive opened. And both of them are seriously nifty....

First we have Oz (well, technically, mostly Philadelphia with an eventual excursion ending up in Mo), featuring a really thoughtful and engaging look at two of my favorite characters, a very neat interpolation between several relatively obscure parts of Baum canon, and just exactly the right amount of emotional subtext between our protagonists.  I have certain suspicions about the authorship of this one....

Twin Properties
Written by: ??
Fandom: Oz - L. Frank Baum
Characters: Button-Bright, Polychrome
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4900
Warnings: none
Additional Tags: Reunions, Pre-ship, (if you want to read it like that)

When Polly gets lost in the US, she seeks out her only mortal (actually, only in general) friend.

AKA How Button-Bright ended up in that popcorn snowdrift.

 

 
 ////

And then we have an equally entertaining tale of my very favorite Forgotten Realms characters -- this one mostly sorcery rather than swordsmanship, with deviously complicated magic and a cleverly executed meeting between arch-wizard and arch-rogue that catches both characters very well indeed.  I have absolutely no idea who may have written this one, but I'm extremely happy to have gotten it.


The Amethyst Gate
Written by: ??
Fandom: Forgotten Realms, Songs & Swords - Elaine Cunningham
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4500
Warnings: none
Characters: Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann, Elaith Craulnober, Khelben Arunsun

It's an ordinary-looking magical portal - but when Danilo steps through, it collapses in on itself, leaving Arilyn with a mystery that even the Archmage of Waterdeep and a guardian of Evermeet may not be able to fully unravel.

Charter

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.

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