sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
The Yuletide reveals are out! I wrote:

And Still of a Winter's Night (Benjamin January Mysteries, 10K, gen; When a young woman turns up dead during Carnival, Shaw needs Ben's help with the investigation -- or, rather, Dominique's.)

I read six or so of the books back at the beginning of December in preparation for writing the story (this series has a very distinctive narrative voice) and I really wanted to talk about them, but I didn't want to tip my hand! Working on this story was a lot of fun. ([livejournal.com profile] sheron is probably laughing now because she got to be the recipient of all my wailing and gnashing of teeth about it, but it actually WAS fun, and I made her read the first book in case I needed to discuss plot woes with her, which as it turned out I didn't; it all went together nicely. Also, belated thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wordsofastory for doing a canon beta on it for me!)

I had already picked out this person's letter for possible treating, so I was halfway to planning to write a story based off my favorite of their prompts anyway, and opening up my email to find THIS as my assignment was probably the first time that I've gone "EEEEHEEEE" rather than "nooooo, why did I offer that canon /o\".

The other two things I wrote were treats for a book series it so happens I had JUST finished rereading when Yuletide prompts were revealed, and I discovered that more than one person wanted fic in this fandom with exactly the characters I like best, so I decided to try writing some. The stories are both fairly similar: gen 1960s-era cozy spy fic.

The Spy Who Came to Christmas (Mrs. Pollifax series, Emily + Farrell + supporting characters, 8200 wds; Mrs. Pollifax anticipates a quiet holiday with her daughter Jane's family, but instead there's spy trouble afoot.)

Playing the Odds (Mrs. Pollifax series, Emily + Farrell, 3100 wds; Tag scene after the main action in The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. She promised to visit him in the hospital, and Emily Pollifax always keeps her promises.)

The books, by the way, are adorable. The quality is uneven, as you might expect for a long-running series that was written over about 40 years, but the first one in particular is really good (if you are willing to swallow the basic premise of an elderly widow who semi-accidentally becomes a CIA operative due to an identity mix-up); it's one of my go-to books for feel-good friendship h/c. Also, having just spent most of the summer writing Agent Carter fic, this was not much of a departure. Actually, while I never got a Peggy-and-Jack vibe from these particular characters in the books, I noticed when I was writing them that it really felt like writing Peggy and Jack. Except with very different backstories for the characters, of course, and a 20-year age difference.
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
Sneaking in with some Yuletide fic recs before reveals ...

I already recced the story written for me - Troublesome to Others, But A Torment To Themselves (Vorkosigan series, Mark/Kareen + Miles) - but really, it's great and I just had to say again how delighted I was with it. :D

I have definitely read more than this, but these are the ones I bookmarked and therefore the only ones I can remember to rec. See, this is why I should have done this a week ago.

Recs - Dark Tower, Rivers of London, Dalemark Quartet, Red Dwarf, Cadfael Chronicles, Quantum Leap )
sholio: Christmas ornaments with holly (Christmas ornament 2)
The 2016 Yuletide archive is open for reading! This is the first year in awhile that I've signed up (though I eased back into it by writing some treats last year) and OMG MY GIFT IS AMAZING. <33333

Troublesome to Others, But A Torment To Themselves (9800 wds; Mark/Kareen + Miles; Miles Vorkosigan is the world's biggest cockblock.)

I COULDN'T STOP LAUGHING. It's farcical and adorable and very reminiscent of Bujold's madcap comedy scenes in her books, but with a dark undertone because, well, Mark. Poor Mark. But it's lovely and if you enjoy these characters, you should read it!

I haven't read anything else yet, because I got a 10K fic! However, I wrote 3 fics this year, my assignment and two treats, so have fun figuring those out. :D
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
Thank you so much for writing for me! I am generally very easy to please, and I am equally excited about all of these fandoms, so I'm sure I will love whatever you make for me!

General likes: hurt/comfort, plotty fic, fluffy fic, angst with a happy ending, action, quiet moments of domesticity, gen, banter, competence, cuddling, presumed dead but really alive, characters saving each other.

General dislikes: Crossovers, character death, unhappy endings.

Individual requests under the cut. Fandoms: The Cinder Spires (Jim Butcher), Never Trust a Dead Man (Vivian Vande Velde), Vorkosigan Saga (Lois McMaster Bujold), Benjamin January Mysteries (Barbara Hambly).

Requests )

In conclusion, please don't worry about sticking too close to any of my requests if you have a different idea. I'm requesting these fandoms and these characters because I love them, and my reading tastes are fairly broad as long as it's not just "rocks fall, everyone dies", so if you write a story that speaks to you, I'll probably love it too!
sholio: (Avatar-upbeat attitude)
The Aeronaut's Windlass is the first book in this series and the only one out so far. It's self-contained, or reasonably so -- that is, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger -- but is also obviously setting up the dominos for a longer series.

This is by the same author as Dresden Files. I know some people were turned off by sexism in the early books of that series, but it might still be worth giving this one a try; it has several excellent female protagonists, and no sexism in sight (nothing discernible to me, anyway) aside from the societal kind, due to their society being kinda-sorta Napoleonic-Wars-era in nature.

The cultural worldbuilding is somewhat flat, which is one of my two issues with the book (the other concerned a character I couldn't stand, but that's just a matter of personal taste). It's pseudo-19th-century-fantasy-Europe with airships. It does get somewhat more interesting once we start to get into the political landscape -- people on this world live in tower cities above an inhospitable wilderness, and while the protagonists' tower is pseudo-England, the others aren't. Also, while the series is fairly standard steampunk with airships, ether-based energy weapons, etc., there is a cool twist to the tech, which is kind of a spoiler (more of a premise spoiler than a plot spoiler, and might be an enticement to some), so I'm going to put it under a cut: Mild spoiler )

Anyway, there are two main sets of protagonists: a group of 20-something aspiring soldiers/sky Marines, and an older generation of 40-somethings sharing a tangled and mysterious past, which includes most of my favorite characters, such as a kickass female sky pirate and a swashbuckling swordfighter guy who is in a happy long-term relationship with a woman who is for all intents and purposes his common-law wife. There's a huge ensemble cast with a character for every taste (a young woman struggling to prove herself as a soldier, a fighter-type who belongs to a race of people who are part cat, a ~moody and brooding~ airship captain, likable antagonists, and so forth). This is probably not a good series for people whose tastes run towards deep and complex worldbuilding, but it has tons of swash and buckle, action and adventure and h/c. It's also 600 pages long, so even though there's just one book in the series so far, there is a lot to sink into, and I'm really looking forward to finding out how the various plot and character threads develop in future books.
sholio: Autumn leaves (Autumn-leaves 1)
... okay, seriously, I gotta get on this Yuletide thing, if I'm going to do it this year. Signups close tonight!

One of the things I wanted to do before I get my letter up was post recs for the more obscure books I'm requesting, since it looks like most (all?) of my requests this year are for book fandoms, and hey, if I liked them, maybe you will like them too! And maybe I'll have more people to talk to them about!

Let's start with Never Trust a Dead Man by Vivian Vande Velde. It's recently back in print ... with an absolutely terrible cover. The cover on the older edition was a bit young for the book itself, but at least it was cute and generally fairly accurate to what happens in the book, even if they aged the protagonist down by about 5 years. (The writing style is middle-grade-ish, but the characters are in their late teens.) The new one looks like it should be the cover for a self-published YA vampire romance. Not that there's anything wrong with YA vampire romance, but that's really not what this book is.

This book has been one of my comfort reads for at least a decade or more. It's fast, funny, sweet, has a surprisingly well-crafted mystery given the simplicity of the style, and it never fails to make me happy, despite the book's somewhat dark premise. It's about a young man in a rural, medieval-ish village who is accused of murder, and because they don't know what to do with him -- murder isn't something they have to deal with very often -- the villagers wall him up in an ossuary cave with the dead man's corpse. Luckily for him, he's not the only person in the cave; there's also a witch (sarcastic, hyper-competent, and AWESOME; she's great) who sneaks in every so often to steal bits of corpses for spells.

She agrees to help him, and so the accused murderer and the dead man's ghost team up to solve the murder. Complication #1: they can't stand each other (which is why he was accused of killing the other guy in the first place -- they had a longstanding and very public feud). Complication #2: due to a necromantic spell gone wrong, the (sarcastic, annoyed) ghost came back trapped in the body of a bat. Meanwhile the witch just wants to know what she did to deserve being saddled with these two idiots. Things pretty much go (hilariously) downhill for everyone from there.

I love this book; it's been one of my perennial Yuletide recs for ages. Parts of it still make me laugh, no matter how many times I've read it, and it's a lovely riff on the general theme of misjudging people based on first impressions -- everyone from the dead guy to the witch to the main character's love interest turns out to be more than they appear at first. It's also a short book and a fast read, so it's not that much of a time investment, unlike the fantasy doorstopper I'm about to rec in the next post.
sholio: Christmas ornaments (Christmas ornament)
I didn't participate officially, but I wrote three treats, and here they are.

Imperial Radch

Dark Watch - Something broke in her a thousand years ago, or maybe it broke when she came out of stasis. Maybe it was always broken and she just didn't know. [2270 wds, Seivarden & Mercy of Kalr]

Fragments - It was, Seivarden told herself later, the kind of stupid accident that could have happened to anyone. Not a terminal fuckup. Just wrong-place-at-wrong-time, that was all. The omens had been unlucky that day. She should've been more careful. [1800 wds; Seivarden, Breq, Mercy of Kalr, Medic]

I suppose neither of these are a big surprise given that I'd just read the books and there were quite a few people requesting it for Yuletide. The latter in particular is a very "me" kind of fic -- hurt/comfort floof, basically.


Nimona

a song for the new world order - Nimona comes home. [1700 wds, gen, post-canon]

This was a last-minute treat for one of the pinch hitters. I was looking through the pinch hitter request letters for something I was even vaguely familiar with, and decided to give this one a try.
sholio: Cocoa in red cup with cinnamon stick (Christmas cocoa)
Some of my yuletide stories got recced! \o/ That's very flattering; I'm not sure if it's happened before. And after not doing it for a couple of years, it's nice to participate again. I didn't sign up officially, but I did write three treats. Two are in the same fandom; one is in a different fandom. None are fandoms I've written before. And while two of the stories are not, I think, particularly recognizable as mine, one is SO OBVIOUSLY a trope I'm into that I think it will surprise no one at reveals. There are your clues. :D

I also wrote a longish White Collar fic during the couple of weeks around Christmas, that I was posting in installments to AO3, which is done now.

Watcher in the Storm (15211 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 4/4
Fandom: White Collar
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peter Burke & Neal Caffrey
Characters: Peter Burke, Neal Caffrey, Mozzie (White Collar), June Ellington, Elizabeth Burke
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Post-Canon, Reunions
Summary: Six months post-finale, Peter and Neal still haven't seen each other. But that changes when Neal becomes ill. Written for this prompt on [livejournal.com profile] collarcorner.

Also over at [livejournal.com profile] collarcorner, there is a poll and discussion on what to do with the comm in 2016.
sholio: Christmas ornaments (Christmas ornament)
Okay, so first of all, another of my Lauren Esker books is published FINALLY. This is the "werewolf puppies + evil scientists" book: Guard Wolf. It is also the sequel to the very classily named Handcuffed to the Bear, and various characters from that book appear in this one as well.

Guard Wolf is only 99 cents, but for you guys, if anybody wants to read it, I'd be happy to email it to you. :)

(And it doesn't hurt my feelings AT ALL if you aren't interested, trust me.)

Thank you to everyone who provided suggestions on how to fix my "getting my characters caught without having them be stupid" conundrum, by the way. Your suggestions were incredibly helpful, and the final scene is vastly improved!

Meanwhile, the full list of Yuletide requests has been released for people writing treats. Now that I've got the book cleared off my to-do list (\o/) I plan to write a couple of treats ... actually, I have already written one, though I'm waiting 'til after the regular Yuletide deadline to upload anything. Now I just need to find another prompt that catches my fancy ...
sholio: Cocoa in red cup with cinnamon stick (Christmas cocoa)
The old Yuletide archive was imported to AO3 today, which meant that I got "do you want to keep these fics" notifications on the fics from my very first Yuletide in 2007 - two fics which I had completely forgotten I wrote, incidentally. But hey, if you want to read them ...

And All the World Made New is for the Aubrey-Maturin books and is Baby's First Femslash. This was my assignment, and it was not the fandom that we matched on. However, the recipient had requested these books (which I love) and a particular pairing (Sophie/Clarissa) which had honestly never occurred to me -- at this point in time, I was strictly a gen + canon pairings girl -- but I was intrigued by the challenge, both of doing that particular pairing and of writing a pastiche of O'Brian's style. Since I had zero experience writing romance, I now realize I could've done a much better job of setting up the pairing (it's really the gennest romance ever), but eh, it's okay. There's bonus fake-historical documentation for extra fun.

And then there's Norway, set in CJ Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe with the Hellburner crew, which was a pinch hit that I picked up. I still think this is a good little domestic slice-of-life story; I'm pretty happy with my pastiche of Cherryh's style, as well as the way that the story generally nails down my usual combination of team + chosen family + prickly people being prickly. (I did have an awfully hard time figuring out how to tag it on AO3 -- when the archive imports stories, you need to edit the story and select tags beyond the basic fandom tags -- because it's not quite gen, it's not quite F/M, it's not quite slash; that particular canon is not explicitly poly but it's four people being VERY WEIRD about each other, with the vague implication that they've probably slept together/will sleep together in every possible combination at some point, and how do you even tag that?) I think the only thing that I messed up, canon-wise, is that the whole reason I set it in actual Earth Norway is because I'd remembered Oslo being where Ben almost got assigned on Earth before Dekker happened to him, except when I re-read the books after writing the story, it turned out to be Stockholm. Woops. :P
sholio: Berries in the sun (Autumn-berries in sunlight)
I am hereby freshly resolved to write 1000 words a day from now 'til the end of the year, SO HELP ME.

(You may be able to guess it hasn't gone all that well the last few weeks ...)

In not-entirely-unrelated news, Yuletide signups are open, and I'm on the fence once again! I also noticed that Dresden Files is listed in the approved fandoms. I thought it had been too big for Yuletide for a couple of years now. Anyone know if that's a mistake or if it's actually in?
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
Stories read and adored so far:

Civilized Indecency (Fly by Night, by Frances Hardinge) - OMG, I love these books SO MUCH, and there are TWO STORIES for them this year! The first review for this story says "it's like you wrote a whole Frances Hardinge book in two thousand words!" and this is SO VERY TRUE! It's spot-on perfect Mosca and Clent, and the books' particular blend of very serious moral dilemmas and absurd con-artist hijinks is captured perfectly here.

Forging Ethics - It's a Fly By Night/Inception fusion, which is such an utterly incongruous blend of fandoms that I can't believe it works, yet it does! And there is pitch-perfect Mosca & Clent doing that banter/bicker/talking-past-each-other thing they do, plus really neat glimpses of AU worldbuilding (the Dreamcatchers!).

Dream of Drowning, and Wake in Snow (Rusalka/Russian Stories by CJ Cherryh) - *squeaks* It's h/c with Sasha and Eveshka and Pyetr! MY HEART! ♥ The author has got the book's voice down perfectly, and the characters are portrayed in a sort of not-quite-threesome group-family kind of thing that really works WONDERFULLY for me. (Also, maybe it's just this story, but I never noticed how similar the dynamics in those books - dearly beloved of my childhood - are to White Collar, at least to the fandom dynamic more than the actual show dynamic. It's not specific characters so much as the overall way they relate to each other, but this story really made me think of the way some authors *cough*frith-in-thorns*cough* write Neal & Peter & El.) Beautiful Eveshka POV, and if you like h/c and puppy piles (which I do!), this is so very much the story for you.

Celebration for Three Mages and a Wise Man (Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch) - eeeeeeeee, Rivers of London fic! I adore these books (they have totally tied Dresden Files for my "favorite urban fantasy ever" blue ribbon) and this is glorious - New Year's Eve at the Folly! I just can't even say how perfect it is: Peter and Lesley and Nightingale and Walid and Molly all being so them. (Most of the very limited fic in this fandom focuses on Peter and Nightingale, and it's not that I can't see why - I really do fangirl them hugely, and Nightingale pretty much had me at "hello" - but because I also adore Lesley to pieces, especially in Whispers Under Ground, I was really delighted to see her getting a good part in this story!)

Ghosts of Ettersberg (Rivers of London) - In contrast to the sweet and lighthearted above story, this one is a very serious, painful look at Nightingale's experiences during WWII (please check the warnings at the end if you're concerned it might be triggery for you!), as related to Peter during a sleepless night in the Folly.

There is another, LONG Rivers of London fic which I haven't read yet - I am reading the short ones, and saving the long one for a treat - but I have no doubt that I'm going to adore it when I do. eeeeeee, it's Ficmas! ♥ ♥ ♥

Rondeau (Forever Knight) - This is an absolutely wonderful Amanda Cohen POV that really brings her to life, along with her husband (who is an OC, but is so vivid and wonderful that I desperately wish he was a real character on the show!). It's set at the station Christmas party, so we get very nice glimpses of the other characters too.

Passage (Death Gate Cycle) - DEATH GATE FIC! This is a series of snapshots of Haplo and Alfred at different points in their lives, including post-series. (The fic is labeled Haplo/Alfred, which really isn't my pairing, but as with the Rusalka fic above, it's written in such a way that Haplo's relationship with both Alfred and Marit, post-series, reads in a really interesting group-marriage, gen-or-not-gen sort of way that is very "them" and works really, really well for me.)

Honey Trap (Trixie Belden) - I really enjoyed this look at the kids all grown up. There's a sense of melancholy optimism to this fic that rings very true - the way that none of them have managed to become quite what they wanted to be in the flush of their youthful idealism, but they're all still trying.

That's my first reading frenzy. :D I'm sure there will be more when I have a chance to read more stories!

Yuletide!

Dec. 24th, 2012 10:59 pm
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
The Yuletide archive is open! \o/ (Listed here by fandom.) And in the spirit of Christmas miracles, it isn't slow at all. It may slow down later, once everyone in the US and Europe is up (it's at times like this that I appreciate being in one of the farthest-west time zones on the planet), but I remember in years past that it was so dog-slow in the first few hours that I usually couldn't even get it to load, and this year it's smooth as glass. THANK YOU, AO3 PEOPLE!

I didn't participate in Yuletide this year, and actually wasn't sure how much reading I'd do -- there aren't really any small fandoms I'm into right now, or at least I didn't think so, but after browsing the fandoms list I have eleventybillion tabs open and have already found a couple of fics I adore and a bunch more that I'm really looking forward to reading, so ... perhaps I'm more enthusiastic than I thought. :D I will definitely be making a recs list! But now I really must go to bed.*

*As soon as I read one more story. Or three.
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
... if you have to be signed up for Yuletide to write treats or to pick up pinch hits?

I seem to recall that the first year I did it, you couldn't do either of those things if you weren't an official participant, but I also have the vague recollection that this may have changed, so I'm curious if anyone knows. I guess I could ask over there, but I don't really want to bother the mods if my flist knows!

ETA: Answered! It appears that you don't have to be officially signed up to do either of these. \o/
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
I got Dresden Files, and while I would have been happy with any of my various prompts, of all of them, the one I got is the one I was most hoping my writer would choose: Justine's POV on Harry.

Files - There's a question she needs Harry to answer. In the meantime, she's learning other things, and filing them all away.. I loved this: perfect Justine voice, and a fascinating glimpse of her world, and of Harry from the outside. Thank you so much, Yuletide writer!

*opens about a million tabs*

This entry is also posted at http://friendshipper.dreamwidth.org/305233.html with comment count unavailable comments.
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
I got Dresden Files, and while I would have been happy with any of my various prompts, of all of them, the one I got is the one I was most hoping my writer would choose: Justine's POV on Harry.

Files - There's a question she needs Harry to answer. In the meantime, she's learning other things, and filing them all away.. I loved this: perfect Justine voice, and a fascinating glimpse of her world, and of Harry from the outside. Thank you so much, Yuletide writer!

*opens about a million tabs*
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
[livejournal.com profile] sga_santa is posting again! I've been really apathetic about SGA the last few months, but maybe having a slew of shiny new stories will help with that. And somewhere in there is one for me, and one by me. (Personally I think my story is blindingly obvious this year -- obvious fic is obvious! -- but I'm still curious if anyone guesses which one is mine.)

My story Another Day at the Office (Jeannie, Vala) has been podficced by [personal profile] juniperphoenix, available here. Thank you! <3

I am almost done with my holiday stories (just need to edit the [livejournal.com profile] sheppard_hc one). This has been a rather unusual year for me in that I've had a lot of time to write gift exchange fic, so I'm taking full advantage of it; now I'm turning my attention to doing a handful of Yuletide treats and stocking stuffers for [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking. (I'm kind of torn on writing Yuletide treats early? On the one hand, I don't want to steal anybody's glory from their "official" story. But on the other hand, most of what I want to write is in tiny fandoms that have little-to-no fic, and I'm sure that getting two stories ina little bitty fandom would be nice for the recipient. But I certainly don't want to make anyone feel bad.)

This entry is also posted at http://friendshipper.dreamwidth.org/303166.html with comment count unavailable comments.
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
[livejournal.com profile] sga_santa is posting again! I've been really apathetic about SGA the last few months, but maybe having a slew of shiny new stories will help with that. And somewhere in there is one for me, and one by me. (Personally I think my story is blindingly obvious this year -- obvious fic is obvious! -- but I'm still curious if anyone guesses which one is mine.)

My story Another Day at the Office (Jeannie, Vala) has been podficced by [personal profile] juniperphoenix, available here. Thank you! <3

I am almost done with my holiday stories (just need to edit the [livejournal.com profile] sheppard_hc one). This has been a rather unusual year for me in that I've had a lot of time to write gift exchange fic, so I'm taking full advantage of it; now I'm turning my attention to doing a handful of Yuletide treats and stocking stuffers for [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking. (I'm kind of torn on writing Yuletide treats early? On the one hand, I don't want to steal anybody's glory from their "official" story. But on the other hand, most of what I want to write is in tiny fandoms that have little-to-no fic, and I'm sure that getting two stories ina little bitty fandom would be nice for the recipient. But I certainly don't want to make anyone feel bad.)
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
[Poll #1647490]

This is my third year doing Yuletide, and the first time I've gotten my assignment and gone "OMG! I CAN TOTALLY WRITE THIS!" rather than "AAAAAAAA! I'M DOOOOMED!" What about you guys? :) (No fandom-identifying specifics, obviously; unlocked post is unlocked.)

My Yuletart assignment, on the other hand ... aaaaaaaa. And it was going so well earlier in the week, too. /o\
sholio: tree-shaped cookie (Christmas cookies)
[Poll #1647490]

This is my third year doing Yuletide, and the first time I've gotten my assignment and gone "OMG! I CAN TOTALLY WRITE THIS!" rather than "AAAAAAAA! I'M DOOOOMED!" What about you guys? :) (No fandom-identifying specifics, obviously; unlocked post is unlocked.)

My Yuletart assignment, on the other hand ... aaaaaaaa. And it was going so well earlier in the week, too. /o\

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