{shameless} gallagher girl
Had to title this with one of my favorite Fiona Gallagher quotes, because yuletide is upon us once again! Every year I have the nagging feeling that I'm due a bad experience, and every year I am proven wrong. This year, I got two amazing gifts. First came my assignment fic...

Thursday's Child
Shameless, Fiona Gallaagher, Debbie Gallagher, Lip Gallagher, Frank Gallagher, Monica Gallagher
If you've read my Yuletide letter, you know that Shameless beat out four other fandoms in the battle for the last request. Now I know why: so that I could get this kickass Fiona fic. The characterization and pacing are positively perfect, and it gave me exactly what I asked for in absolutely the best way possible. Fiona is so herself here, which is a tall order when you consider how in-her-head this POV is. I love her sense of resignation-as-determination, I love all her little insights into her reality and the world around her, and I LOVE that she's the same person inside her head as out -- that she's as fiercely honest with herself as she is with everyone else. Plus, my darling author (who is a first-time Yuletider) went to such awesome but organic lengths to include my Chicago love without tweaking any of my tendencies to cringe at tiny wrong details. It is the fic I was meant to have, and I am honored to call it my own.

And, as if that weren't enough, I got an eleventh hour treat. I was convinced it would be Scandal, but lo-and-behold, the archive went live, and I had...

Not knowing when the dawn will come
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Peter Guillam, George Smiley, Ricki Tarr, Connie Sachs, Guillam's Boyfriend
I may just scream and whimper and cry for the next five minutes. If there's nothing else here, please pretend that I gushed profusely. (...) Alright, I'm okay now. Greetings, friends! Allow me to introduce you to the Tinker Tailor fic of my heart. I've made this request two years in a row, the exact same request, and my wise, anonymous author has taken that prompt and said "well, that's a good start. Now here's what you really want." I don't even know that I can boil it down to a synopsis, when it deserves words, all the words, all the fawning, fawning words. So I will simply say this: it's a post-film look at Peter, adjusting (and not). Every voice is spot-on, every nuance is perfection, and it surprised me with every single sentence, but I felt right at home. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

Honestly, I have no idea what I did to deserve a Yuletide like this, but I am positively astounded by the quality and the voices, and I could not have received two more perfect gifts. Please go read them, and give them all the love.

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls.

{scandal} the fixer
Happy days are here again! And by happy, I mean yuletide, that super special time of year when I'm actually productive.

This year marks my seventh Yuletide, third running the Misses Clause Challenge with martinigrl, and numerology dictates that this time around shall be a magical one. And though there have been many changes to the exchange for 2013, the departure of elynross among them, the one that will have the most profound effect upon this year's letter is… (dun dun dun…) the advent of six possible requests. Count them, six.

In short, my fellow Yulefolk, in light of the length of my previous letters (in no particular order: this little letter provided leverage, this little letter wrote a poem, this little letter had my first treat, this little letter had none, and this little letter begged for backstory backstory backstory all the way home)… brace yourselves.

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Welcome! Happy to have you, make yourself comfortable. I'm so glad you've volunteered to spin a story for one of my much-loved fandoms, and I can't wait to read what you come up with. I hope this letter will provide some insight and ideas without being intimidating — when it all boils down, I love each of the things I've requested here, and will embrace every word I can get.

My fandom brain is highly character-centric, and that extends to fic as well. Strong characterization is pretty much porn for me, and I've been extremely lucky in that respect in gifts of Yuletides past. I love symbolism and subtext and stories that live between the lines of canon. I love unique approaches to the narrative — non-linear storytelling, stories that have fun with format and structure, things that play with poetry or re-imagine fairy tales or fuse one universe with another. Tell me a story entirely through dreams, or the sliding doors of misunderstandings, or messages in friggin bottles, and I will love you forever.

I'm a sucker for certain archetypes — the broken boy soldier, the magnificent bastard, the snarky sidekick with a heart of gold, and especially the awesome and oft-overlooked women who save the day or hold everything together and never ever take the credit. I live for interesting interaction unfolding between characters — the dynamic between people is incredibly important to me, that tangible bond that makes people trust in each other and fight for and with and alongside each other, makes them have entire conversations without words and feel like parts of a whole. Particularly if that bond is not romantic. Having that kind of connection between characters you ship is all-important, yes, but give me two people with a completely platonic relationship who would lie down in front of a train for each other and I will be putty in your hands. As far as actual shipping goes… when it comes to Yuletide, I tend to pose prompts that skew toward gen, but if you prefer to write something shippy, I've noted favorite pairings for every request.

On the "do not want" side of things, outside of one particular fandom, I'm not a huge fan of the completely non-canon AU. I'm all for things that diverge, in a butterfly effect, "twist at this turning point and now everything is different" sort of way, but I don't really connect with the coffeeshop/college/captured by pirates scenarios. I'm an angst lover at heart, so unabashed fluff doesn't have the same impact (though I'm totally down with conflict and turbulence that leads to open, hopeful or happy endings!). I hate to see female characters sidelined or characters of color marginalized. Sex is more than welcome when it's rooted in character, but it works best for me in the abstract and as part of a larger story. I have no preference as to present or past tense, but something about second person rarely clicks with me. Infidelity will take me right out of a story, as will porn-by-numbers, rape as a plot device, and any of my pretty boys in pain being overly verbose or emotionally overwrought. Squickly-speaking, steering clear of bodily fluids beyond blood (in a non-"play" sense), saliva, and sexual byproducts is generally a safe bet (so kinks like watersports, scat, vore, etcetera aren't really up my alley), but the most important thing to note is that I have a massive incest squick. If you take nothing else away from this section, please take that.

Specific fandoms-wise, I'm so torn! There are three things fighting it out for the last spot — Jennifer Crusie's "Bet Me" (which would be a request for Liza Tyler), Emily Owens, M.D. (which would be some sort of bottle episode request for Emily Owens, Gina Bandari, and Tyra Dupre), or Orange is the New Black (which I'm almost positive would be a request for Daya backstory). Well. Or Sleepy Hollow (which would be all the Abbie Mills. Duh.).

Never mind, I went with Shameless. :)

Parade's EndCollapse )

ScandalCollapse )

Shameless (US)Collapse )

Spartacus SeriesCollapse )

Third StarCollapse )

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyCollapse )

There you have it. Thanks again, Yuletide writer. I can't wait to read whatever you have in store for me.

By the numbers.

{avengers} the showdown of sexual tensio
Probably should've done this at the turn of the year (but since I didn't do the last one until the end of April, uh... oh well?). Have the AO3 Hit Meme!

2011's recap:

  1. Ashes and Flame (Every You and Every Me), The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins, Katniss/Peeta, 6,291 hits
  2. Creative (Non)Fiction, Community, Ensemble (Abed-centric), 3,073 hits
  3. Deck the Halls with Daddy Issues, The Avengers, Steve/Tony, 2,411 hits
  4. Lost In Translation, The Losers, Jensen/Cougar, 1,503 hits
  5. And To All A Goodnight, Faking It - Jennifer Crusie, Davy/Tilda, 1,053 hits
  6. Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Covert Affairs, Auggie/Jai, 947 hits
  7. Big Girl Pants, New Girl, Jess/Nick, 897 hits
  8. Of All Our Yesterdays (Sunrise, Sunset), Black Dagger Brotherhood - JR Ward, Ensemble (Phury-centric), 495 hits
  9. Dinner and a Show, Dexter, Ensemble (Deb-centric), 404 hits
  10. All The Things She Said, Smallville, Oliver/Chloe, 334 hits

2012 breakdown:

  1. Ashes and Flame (Every You and Every Me), The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins, Katniss/Peeta, 10,431 hits
  2. Deck the Halls with Daddy Issues, The Avengers, Steve/Tony, 8,347 hits
  3. Creative (Non)Fiction, Community, Ensemble (Abed-centric), 3,913 hits
  4. Lost In Translation, The Losers, Jensen/Cougar, 3,084 hits
  5. Big Girl Pants, New Girl, Jess/Nick, 2,068 hits
  6. Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Covert Affairs, Auggie/Jai, 1,221 hits
  7. Shells of a Long-Ago Lifetime (Faces That Once Were Mine Mix), Supernatural, Dean, Sam, OCs, 1,186 hits
  8. And To All A Goodnight, Faking It - Jennifer Crusie, Davy/Tilda, 1,130 hits
  9. Of All Our Yesterdays (Sunrise, Sunset), Black Dagger Brotherhood - JR Ward, Ensemble (Phury-centric), 689 hits
  10. Something to Talk About (The Million Dollar Quartet Cover), The Losers, Jensen/Cougar/Pooch/Jolene, 687 hits

Attention, Hunger Games fandom: I cannot believe there are still new people reading this fic. It's incredibly flattering, but ridiculously unexpected. The Steve/Tony moved up a notch, but that's less unexpected. The New Girl piece, with its plethora of pants, jumped two spots. I remain shocked by its popularity. Both the pieces I wrote for this year's Remix round charted. I'm no stranger to Supernatural gen, but the poly of the Losers piece was very, very new (and so much fun). And, sadly, we said goodbye to Deb. I'm kind of bummed about that one. It's one of my favorites.

2012 wasn't the greatest year for me, productivity-wise - 8 fics (in 7 fandoms, of course, because I'm me), with a combined wordcount of 39,053. But I like what I put out, and 2013 is already shaping up to be a better one.

Oh shit, son.

{new girl} facepalm
So I signed up for Trope Bingo, and my card is terrifying.

See for yourself.

alpha / beta / omega wingfic au: daemons snowed in road trip
fusion au: hooker / porn / stripper handcuffed / bound together animal transformation forced to marry
virginfic / secretly a virgin secret twin / doppelganger FREE

SPACE
kiss to save the day rivals to lovers
poker/strip poker fake relationship accidental baby acquisition sharing a bed soul bonding / soulmates
cross-dressing au: all-human au: cop / detective day at the beach mind control


I thought I could bingo with a single fandom, but um... not likely. Pretty damn unlikely, in fact.

Help me, Jeebus.

Oh so revealing.

{slevin} liu as lindsey
Heretofor anonymous authors have been revealed, so here's the annual yuletide post-mortem extravaganza!

For my assignment fic, I wrote By Any Other for carlyinrome, in Lucky Number Slevin fandom. I adore this awesome, underrated movie, and have offered to write it in every single Yuletide I've participated in. I'd seen (and own) Wicker Park, but this is the film that made me fall in love with Paul McGuigan (a.k.a. my favorite contemporary director, and half the reason I ever gave Sherlock a shot). It's smart and sharp and snappy and so gorgeous, with all the telltale McGuigan camera angles and frame swipes and over-the-top wallpapers that Sherlockians now know so well, and the sheer talent that makes up the ensemble cast (Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, and Stanley Tucci are just the tip of the iceberg) borders on ridiculous. Basically: if you haven't seen this movie, do it. Do it now. (Also, steer clear of this fic until you do, as spoilers abound.) My recip requested Lindsey (Lucy Liu) and Sleven (Josh Hartnett) being happy and banter-y and adorable. I think the word "fluff" may have been used. As most of you know, I am virtually incapable of fluff. But Lindsey is quick and adaptable and awesome, so it was a lot of fun to play with that. I still can't quite believe that there's only a hanful of fic in this fandom (literally, there were five fics before mine), and that absolutely none of it was about Lindsey. For shame, Slevin folk. For shame.

I picked up a pinch hit for kiki_eng, and after some serious soul-searching, I truly believe that I willed it into being. I'd absolutely adored her Yuleletter during the annual period of Trolling for Treats, especially her request for my favorite episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Josh Groban! Martin Freeman! Omid Djalili! Simon Amstell's last episode! And upon reading said request, I had a bunny. A cracktastic bunny. A cracktastic bunny that was unprecedented for me, since I am not an RPF writer. But I bookmarked the letter (because it really is adorable) and went about my business, occassionally complaining to starseverywhere about the bunny that wouldn't leave me alone. And then, two days before deadline, what pops up on the pinch hit list? It was fate, I tell you. So yeah. Never Mind the Bite Marks is NMTB RPF in which Simon, Josh, Martin, and Omid brave the zombie apocalypse. Do with that what you will.

Then there was a glitch in the matrix (or the Madness collection, whatever), and elynross announced that she'd be approving submissions all day on the 26th (even after stories went live!), so I sat down and banged out my first ever treat for a friend. My Strongest Suit is a quick set of vignettes for the four leading women of Revenge. I thought that I could disguise myself from martinigrl well enough to make it a week as her anonymous writer, by using a story structure and format that's completely unlike me and an actual semicolon (and oh yeah, writing multiple women without a man in sight). As it turns out, I utterly fail at stealth, since she figured me out within half an hour of reading, but she enjoyed it, and that's what matters.

Another Yuletide gone. Until next year, peeps.

Tags:

And I will try to fix you.

{avengers} the red white and blue.
yuletide is live! (And has been for a few days now, I just suck at updating.) As usual, I shall return with a reading list of awesome recs from both the main and Madness collections, but in the meantime, let's just heap some love on my giftfic, shall we?

last year in your garden
Scandal, Olivia Pope
No body, no crime.
OMG Y'ALL, SOMEONE WROTE THIS FOR LITTLE OL' ME. It poses the question When did Olivia Pope start fixing things?, and then answers it in the most logical, heartbreaking ways. The leaps back and forth from Olivia's childhood to Olivia's present are perfectly timed, the sketchy slivers of each situation or extenuating circumstances are perfectly shown, and the dialogue, this terse, to-the-point double-speak that Olivia Pope has perfected, is perfectly written. It's a short, tight, hard-hitting piece without a single word out of place, and I absolutely adore it. If you're a Scandal fan, or just a fan of awesome female characters, please go read it and give it all the love.

I've got three fics in the Yuletide archive (two in the main collection, one in Madness). Two are the only fics in their respective fandoms, and miraculously, none of them are in fandoms I've ever written before. I think it's ridiculously easy to guess my main assignment, if you know my writing (and my Yuletide-sized fandom loves) at all, but if anyone actually guessed the pinch hit and the treat, I'd be absolutely shocked. Try as you will - anyone who guesses correctly gets a free ficlet.

A thousand words. Or four.

{trek} partners in crime.
I was raised by a Trekkie. My mother was present for the very first Star Trek convention. She has her Starfleet Academy graduation certificate hanging below her Masters degree. Her first email address was "counselortroi98" (and she still uses it to this day). She imparted a love of genre entertainment, old-school scifi, and Trek in particular in me very early on. I went in to the reboot with ridiculously low expectations, and ended up loving the movie (and the new universe) insanely. So, despite the Cumberbatch stan that I am, much like my longtime Hobbit love existing independently of my love of Martin Freeman, my excitement for the new nu!Trek would stand even without his involvement. And I say all that for every single tweet/Tumblr post I've seen that seems to imply (or emphatically insist) that Star Trek and Sherlock fandoms can't coexist without bloodshed.

That said, my thoughts on the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, in a nutshell...

When Starfleet is Ashes...

stidan2

stidan3

...you have my permission to die.


CUMBERBANE.

(Cannot. Wait.)

And now, a moment of silence for all the lens flares that were lost.

Come in with the tide

{parade's end} packing for death
The yuletide season is upon us once again, so it's that time. Time for me to ramble nonsensically to persons unknown, and hope they don't run screaming in terror.

Dear Yuletide Author,

Welcome! Glad to have you. Help yourself to punch and pie.

First, thank you ever so much for volunteering your time and talents to craft a story for little old me. Yuletide is my favorite (and most productive) writing time of the year, and I've received such glorious giftfic every single time I've participated. I'm certain this year will be no different. Except for my requests, that is! On the heels of a particularly awesome Yuletide 2011, in which I received at least one fic in three of my four fandoms (I know. The mind, it boggles.), I've decided to start from scratch.

For the record, you can find my previous letters thisaway, thataway, over yonder, and around the bend (mind the questionable poetry), but I'm going to regurgitate most of the general information here.

In general, I am all about characters. There are times I would loooove to be in it for the pretty or in it for the porn, but sadly, my brain will not process without some character I find fascinating. Great characterization is pretty, pretty porn for me. Sad, but true. I love symbolism and subtext and little touches tied to canon. I love epic plottiness and slice-of-life stories. I like conflict that comes from within (as opposed to a big bad conspiring to keep people apart). I'm a big fan of UST and found families and things left unsaid, of between-the-lines fic and non-linear storytelling, and I enjoy touches of meta and pop culture references.

I'm a sucker for certain archetypes - the broken boy soldier (Oliver Queen, Charles Gunn, Dean Winchester, Ronon Dex, Kara Thrace), the magnificent bastard (Nolan Ross, James Lester, Lionel Luther, Jim Moriarty), the snarky sidekick with the heart of gold (Kyle Valenti, Cece Myers, Hoban Washburne, every Judy Greer character ever), the strong and oft-overlooked women who save the day and never take the credit (Chloe Sullivan, Miranda Bailey, Astrid Farnsworth, Joan Holloway). I live for interesting interaction unfolding between characters - dynamics are really important to me, that tangible bond that makes two people trust in each other and have entire conversations without words and feel like two halves of a whole, particularly if it's not romantic (think Don Draper and Peggy Olson, or Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang, or Troy Barnes and Abed Nadir, or Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne), and especially if they feign a contentious relationship when they'd really lie down in front of a train for each other (think Dean and Sam Winchester, Hilary Becker and Connor Temple, Eliot Spencer and Alec Hardison, and every Holmes/Watson incarnation in history). I tend to request prompts that skew toward gen for Yuletide, but if you're itching to write something shippy, you can assume I'm fine with canon pairings in anything I've requested here - I'm more prone to "OMG DO NOT WANT" these days, and any particular pairing squicks will be noted.

As dislikes go, I'm not much of a truly AU person. I think all fic is AU to some degree, but I connect more with concepts with some kind of canon point of origin, as opposed to stories in the "and now they're all pirates!" vein. I'm an angst lover at heart, so unabashed fluff is kind of my kryptonite (though I'm totally down with conflict and turbulence that leads to open, hopeful or happy endings!). I hate to see characters of color marginalized – relegated to background action and passing mentions, or serving no purpose but backing up the hero. Sex is more than welcome when it's rooted in character, but it works best for me in the abstract and as part of a larger story – I have to be in a certain headspace (and usually a certain fandom) to crave porn-for-porn's-sake, and Yuletide never seems to apply. I have no preference as to present or past tense, but something about second person rarely clicks with me. And having any of my pretty boys in pain be emotionally overwrought or overly verbose will take me right out of a story. I have a major incest squick (big. huge.), but kinks like non-con, bloodplay, watersports and scat aren’t up my alley, either.

As if that wasn't enough, let's get down to the fandom-specific, shall we?

Parade's EndCollapse )

ScandalCollapse )

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyCollapse )

Troubleshooters, Inc - Suzanne BrockmannCollapse )

And there you have it! A movie, a mini, a show, and a book series. Please don't be put off if I rambled more about one fandom than another - I love each and every one of these sources, and will be over the moon to get fic about any one of them. Remember, optional details are optional - if there's a story you want to tell, by all means, tell it. And have fun! I hope you'll enjoy writing this fic as much as I intend to enjoy reading it.

(Using a Parade's End icon, since, sadly, I do not have one of Cumberbatch and his blond bowl cut.)

And this is the last time I will fall...

{leverage} thumbs up from the geek judge
So. Last Resort.

(That was your spoiler warning.)

I like Scott Speedman. I really do. After spending the entire on-air run of Felicity being indifferent to/annoyed at/incredibly nauseated by Ben, the first time I actually broke out the DVDs, I was shocked at how much of a Ben girl I became. I was always kind of bummed that he never caught on after some of the big budget crap he did (the Underworld movies, XXX: State of the Union). I think he's turned in some incredible performances in little-seen indie fare (The 24th Hour and especially My Life Without Me). So I was excited to hear that he was part of Last Resort, ABC's new high-concept military drama. And he's solid! Compelling. And completely eclipsed by the monumental awesome that is Andre Braugher.

Come on, you had to have seen that coming.

The whole show is like Crimson Tide on TV, except that Denzel's been in charge all along and nothing but the right thing ever gets done on the con and all the big bads are outside the boat. Love the razor-sharp realities of women on board. Love the tenuous threads of hush-hush trust they're already stringing between Bruce Davison's Admiral and Autumn Reeser's ambitious outsider. Love the love and respect between the captain and his XO, and the inherent history they have, and the way Chaplin never questions that he knows exactly what's going on inside Kendal's head, but Kendal questions once, in a crucial moment, and then seems determined never to do it again.

All that said, and as much as I genuinely like Scott Speedman... when they relieved Chaplin of command, I had a split-second of blinding rage at the thought of this whole thing becoming the "Clueless White Guy Saves the Day as Seasoned Black Badass Looks On" show (every Thursday at 8/7 central!). Then I realized, of course, that this is Braugher, and Braugher wouldn't have it.

Was there too much going on? Yep. Is the premise kind of ridiculous? Absolutely. But it's also kind of riveting, and even around all the plot I want to know more about the characters (especially Chaplin and Cortez and the NATO duo, because omg, Omid Abtahi back on my television), and it actually gave me an instaship (Broken Boy Soldier and Defiant Loner Girl with a Past, as played by flaw-free Dichen Lachman and random guy of hotness (who delightfully reminds me of Ben Mansfield's Becker)? Yes, please.), which hasn't happened to me in forever.

In short: sign me up for the season, and let's see where in the world they're going with this.

Also, Queen Kerry, Jeff Perry, Columbus & Co. are back with Scandal, which had a truly fabulous second season premiere. Let's take a moment to appreciate the monumental achievement that is having two shows with black leads on network television in one night.

Worth a thousand words.

{smallville} shine a light
Comment with a pairing – ANY pairing – and I will comment with ONE GIF expressing my feelings about that pairing.

And then I will ask you about a pairing, which you are free to share your opinions about in any format you choose - gifs, words, etc.


(One pairing per comment, please. Multiple comments welcome.)

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