rachelmanija: (Books: old)
( Jan. 1st, 2014 02:57 pm)
I wrote three stories this year, in Scott Lynch’s “Gentleman Bastards” series, C. L. Moore’s Northwest Smith, and Stephen King’s The Stand.

My assignment was in the fandom I had most hoped to be matched on, Scott Lynch’s “Gentleman Bastards,” which I’d recently re-read. It’s about con men in fantasyland, full of lovely worldbuilding details and dialogue straight out of The Sopranos. The gang consists of Locke Lamora, the brains of the outfit with a penchant for over-complicated melodrama; Jean Tannen, previously a soft merchant’s son, who discovers a gift for fighting; and Calo and Galdo Sanza, sidekick twins.

My recipient, Labellementeuse, requested the time period where they’re all teenagers under the mostly-benevolent mentorship of Father Chains, a real priest masquerading as a fake one. She also requested Jean’s POV, a focus on the Locke-Jean relationship, and to see what Jean sees in Locke. I thought that was a great prompt: not too detailed, not too vague.

I wrote The Goddess of Suffering Scam. No canon knowledge needed beyond what I just told you, and it’s not spoilery for the books. The self-flagellating apparatus was Sherwood Smith’s suggestion, and in my opinion it completely makes the story.

Northwest Smith is lush, vivid space opera from the 1930s, featuring Northwest Smith, a tall Earthman with colorless eyes whose stoic exterior conceals some interesting psychological vulnerabilities, and his partner, Yarol the Venusian, a cheerfully amoral young man who looks like an angel and is constantly rescuing Smith from soul-sucking space vampires.

Last year I requested it, and got an amazing story, Ithaka, or, the Moons of Jupiter from Quillori. This year she requested it herself. Her letter was so charming that it ought to be read in full. (One note here about slash - I know Smith/Yarol is a popular reading, if anything can be said to be popular in such a tiny, almost non-existent fandom. And it's not as though I have any objection in theory - Smith does spend an awful lot of time noticing how gorgeous Venusians are in general and Yarol in particular - but I have a hard time reading Smith as anything other than straight, or perhaps not straight exactly - I can imagine him having friendly, casual sex with Yarol on a regular basis - but we spend enough time in his viewpoint that it really does seem to me his type, or what he genuinely believes is his type, is women (women, or possibly eldritch abominations and dark gods - with whom, frankly, he appears to have more success). )

Quillori wanted a story starring Yarol and focusing on worldbuilding, saying that often her favorite part of the story was when they were wandering around alien worlds and the plot hadn’t actually started yet. I thought that was a wonderful prompt, and wrote Strangler’s Veil. No canon knowledge needed beyond what I just told you.

Finally, [personal profile] kore and I co-wrote West, for Stephen King’s The Stand.

The novel is post-apocalyptic, a huge, sprawling, vivid narrative with a memorable ensemble cast. Toward the end, four of the characters— all men— go on a quest to save the world. Maidenjedi’s prompt was, “What if the women went instead?”

Cut for length and spoilers for both our story and The Stand. If you’re thinking of reading our story, please do so before reading the author notes. If you haven’t read The Stand, I don’t think our story will be comprehensible.

Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 10:30 am)
I wrote three stories this year. Given all the other stuff that was going on, I’m amazed that I could even manage one.

If you want to read the stories before you read my notes, they are Queen of Berries (J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Smith of Wootton Major”), The Derelict (C. L. Moore’s Northwest Smith), and Kushiel’s Fall (Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel novels). They’re all more or less “don’t need to know canon.”

My assignment was Queen of Berries, for Tolkien’s little-known novella, “Smith of Wootton Major.” It’s a perfect little story about an English village on the outskirts of Faery, their unusual tradition of the Twenty-Four Feast, and a boy named Smith who gets the ability to travel into Faery. He marries Nell, who knows about his journeys but cannot accompany him. My challenge here was writing anything that could even begin to live up to the original. Eeek!

My recipient, Amyfortuna, suggested a number of possible paths for my story to take. Of those, the ones I picked up were “more about Smith in Faery,” “more about Nell and Smith’s marriage,” and “something from Nell’s POV.” This suggested to me a story with dual POVs, Nell in Wootton Major and Smith in Faery; that in turn suggested a story about how there are major parts of their lives which they don’t and can’t share, and how they do their best to share them anyway. Since English foods and festivals are such a crucial part of the original, I invented a tradition to play a key role in mine.

You probably don’t need to have read Tolkien’s story to read mine… but you should read Tolkien’s story. FYI, the first comment to my story includes a major spoiler for the original.

This is my second Yuletide story to garner comments about craving pudding after reading.

I also wrote a Treat for one of my own request fandoms. Someone else had also requested Northwest Smith and there was nothing in the archive for it by the 23rd, so I hastily wrote a story. To my surprise and delight, apparently someone else had the same thought, because a Northwest Smith fic appeared on Christmas Eve for me!

C. L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories are classic pulp sf from the 1930s, of the lush, romantic, space opera variety. She was notable for taking emotion, psychology, and sexuality as real forces that drove her stories; the best ones turn on some distinctly bittersweet revelation of character. Smith is a hardbitten space gunslinger who is constantly running into aliens who exploit his psychological vulnerabilities; Yarol the Venusian, his partner, is sweet and charming and amoral, and spends a lot of time dragging a reluctant Smith away from alien succubuses and ineffable visions of beauty that fry men’s minds.

You don’t need to know the originals to read The Derelict, and it’s not spoilery. My recipient really liked the Moore story “Shambleau,” so I gave “The Derelict” a similar emotional arc, though in a quite different setting. I threw in two of my favorite pulp sf tropes, the spooky derelict spaceship (complete with note of DOOM clutched in a dead man’s hand) and the idea that hyperspace is ineffably wonderful/ineffably horrifying/addictive/drives you insane/kills you/all of the above. The end sequence was inspired by Odysseus and the sirens, though Yarol’s solution is slightly more drastic than Odysseus’. The other NW Smith writer was also inspired by the Odyssey, oddly enough. Possibly so was Moore, and that transmitted to both of us.

My third story was Kushiel’s Fall, for Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. Irascible clothing designer meets silver-tongued disabled diplomat; banter, clothing porn, and emotional healing ensues. You don’t need to know the fandom to read my story. (Just so you know: there’s no BDSM. Sorry.)

In canon, beauty and physical perfection are a cultural obsession, and prostitution (the Night Court) is both a business and a sacred calling. Favrielle, an adept of the Night Court, was kicked out when her face was scarred in a mysterious accident which was widely rumored to have been no such thing. She later became a successful clothing designer, but remained understandably bitter.

My recipient said she was rooting for Favrielle to find some kind of emotional healing, she wanted to know what was up with that supposed accident, and she loved reading descriptions of Favrielle’s gorgeous designs. I read that prompt, thought that Favrielle needed to meet someone else with scars of their own, and the idea of the costume she ends up designing for her client popped into my head. The rest of the story practically wrote itself.

It is definitely the creature from Rachel’s id, even without any actual sex. I assume this is how Swan Tower guessed that it was mine – congratulations, you were correct! My original character, Julien de Somerville, was particularly fun to write. I was amused by how many commenters were particularly taken with his costume. Maybe someone will do fan art for it. ;)

Spoiler for “Kushiel’s Fall.”

Read more... )

I didn’t realize this till all three stories were posted, but in a bizarre coincidence, of my three stories, two have a protagonist named Smith and the third involves a smith!
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)
( Jul. 24th, 2012 11:21 am)
1. I am on Goodreads here, and am happily procrastinating by importing reviews originally written here, and writing 2-3 line reviews of books I didn't review here. Also uploaded a more flattering (I hope) photo.

2. Yesterday I made home-made chicharrones (pork rinds) despite not having a deep fryer, and they came out perfect. I cut pork belly into small slices and chunks, salted and peppered it, then laid it on a tin foil-lined baking sheet and roasted it in the oven at 450 until it smelled delicious and the skin got bubbly. If you've never had the real thing, is it so much more delicious than the packaged stuff. If I hadn't been hitting the gym regularly, I might feel vaguely guilty or concerned about eating about a quarter pound of the least healthy food ever, but I have been, so I don't.

3. [personal profile] staranise has created Clinical Documentation, an A03 collection of fanfic in the form of psychological reports on fictional characters. If you have one, put it up!
I'm thinking of putting together a collection of my short stories, plus some poetry and maybe an essay or two, on Kindle.

I was inspired by Mike Allen publishing his SteamPowered, Steampunk Lesbian Stories story Sleepless, Burning Life as a stand-alone Kindle novellette.

I do not expect to become a millionaire (step one: obscure author best known for memoir self-publishes publishes obscure fantasy stories; step two: ???, step three: PROFIT), but I think it might be fun, and there are a handful of people out there who would probably enjoy such a thing.

I have two question:

1. Whether or not you would actually purchase such a thing, is there anything in particular or in general that you'd want to have in it?

Already decided upon: all three of my published short stories, plus all poems nominated for the Rhysling.

Most fanfic is out due to copyright issues, but I do have one story which was inspired by a Carter & Grammar song, and works as original fantasy. I have a couple other stories which I like but couldn't sell, plus poems ditto.

2. O Kindle self-publishers, please advise and tell tales from the trenches! How did you get your cover art? Was it profitable (at all?) What price points worked best for you? Did you advertise?
Some of you have found this already. (Good God! So this is what it's like to write in a currently popular fandom, even if not for the juggernaut pairing. I can only imagine how many people would read this by now if it was about Steve and Tony.) For those of you who haven't, I wrote a short story about Clint and Natasha (Hawkeye and Black Widow.)

Shortly after the end of the end of the movie, Nick Fury sends the two of them on a very easy mission, just to make sure everything's all right between them and Clint is fit for duty. The mission is a cakewalk. Some other things aren't. Rated PG; nothing more disturbing or explicit than is seen or implied in the movie. Cakewalk.

ETA: Oh, and if you've already read it, I have a theory about Natasha's greatest fear which was impossible to get into the story itself due to it being from Clint's POV. Ask if you're curious.
"The Doors Into Otherwheres: Five Women Segnbora Didn’t Sleep With (And Three She Did)"
A multi-fandom femmeslash extravaganza
starring Segnbora of Diane Duane’s “The Door Into…” series
co-starring Kylara of Pern, Karen Kasumi of X/1999, and Storm of the X-Men
and featuring several mystery cameos

Fandoms: Diane Duane’s “Door” books, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, The X-Men (Chris Claremont-era comicverse), and X/1999
Word Count: 6600
Rating: R
Warnings: Consensual sex including mild BDSM; adventure-style mild violence.
Synopsis: Segnbora travels to other universes via the worldgate doors, meeting women, saving lives, having adventures, and getting new perspectives on herself.

This story is for [personal profile] cmattg, who won it in the [profile] helphaiti auction.

If you haven’t read the Door books, Segnbora is a failed wizard who is canonically bisexual and polyamorous. The Fire or Flame is the magic she can’t access, though she does have other magical abilities. The story takes place during the first book, The Door Into Fire, when she and her friends are hanging out in the ruin with the doors into otherworlds.

It’s not significantly spoilery for anything in any canon. But if you want to know what was up with the dragons, you will have to read the second book, The Door Into Shadow.

This story contains several additional bonus surprise crossovers. The person who correctly identifies the highest number of them in comments can make an original or fic prompt request, and I will attempt to fill it.

The trailing ends of Storm’s hair fell across Segnbora’s shoulders, caressing them like a breath of wind. )
Title: A Light in Dark Places
Fandom: Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain
Words: 550
Rated: G
Spoilers: None as such, but it takes place after The Castle of Llyr.
Synopsis: Eilonwy does more than just learn to be a lady while she’s away at Mona.

For [personal profile] rilina, who resembles the title.

“Newts,” explained Eilonwy. )
rachelmanija: (Staring at laptop)
( Jan. 24th, 2010 02:06 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] darius won my offer of an original story or poem in the [livejournal.com profile] care_faith_hope auction, and challenged me to write a sestina or story about the Tines, the pack-mind wolf-creatures from Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought), who share one mind in packs of four to six (they can be bigger, but they lose a lot of intelligence), and can switch out members but alter their personalities and names accordingly.

Behold! A sestina! Damn, that is a tough form. No, I don't know what possessed me to make it even harder by adding on an additional rule.

Better to be one-in-many, to be ever-shifting pack )
My Yuletide assignment, for Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels, was The Ballad of Mirrim and Menolly's Ride, for [livejournal.com profile] calenlily. Rated PG for non-graphic violence; gen.

Menolly, Mirrim, and Mirrim's dragon Path travel through times that were, will be, and might have been to warn Pern of a deadly new threat.

If you're not familiar with Anne McCaffrey's Pern books but want to read this anyway (I'm flattered if that's the case), click on the link below for background information. If you are familiar with the books but haven't re-read them in ages, I incorporated reminders of the necessary background into the story, so you should be good to go. (The story ignores all canon written after Dragondrums.)

This is the first time I've ever written my own request for Yuletide. I don't mean that I ignored my recipient's notes, but that I incorporated them into a story which also fulfills one of my requests. Duels, female friendship, female heroism, dragon companions, alternate universes, the bittersweet knowledge of paths not taken, and having the world recognize your awesomeness exactly as you are, flaws and all: this epic gen adventure is the creature from Rachel's id.

Background info on Pern )

I only offered Mirrim and Menolly, but was matched on "any" with a recipient who had requested Pern twice, once for "any" and once for her OTP, Lessa and F'lar. Luckily, poking through my recipient's LJ revealed that she did like both Mirrim and Menolly, though sadly she requested no non-canonical relationships so there could be no femmeslash. On the other hand, I'm not sure when they would have had time to have sex in my story anyway.

Here's her Yuletide letter. Note how I did manage a variant on her suggestion of "Weyrleaders through the ages."

This story was enormously assisted by [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, by brainstorming, beta, and the invaluable loan of The Atlas of Pern. She also terrorized me by informing me, quite correctly, that my story (then clocking in at 13,000 words) was rushed and too short. After agonizing, I made it longer. At 18,000 words, this is the longest short piece I've ever written in my life.

By the way, Pern has the most inconsistent canon of anything I've ever written. Characters' names are spelled differently in different books. Object names are spelled differently. Dueling between dragonriders is a) absolutely forbidden, b) something dragonriders are specifically trained to do, c) met with general approval, d) causes a summit meeting. The apparent ages of characters are inconsistent with the timeline, which itself is confusing due to time travel.

Incidentally, I ended up writing a Treat story, "The Marvels We Have Seen," for a different recipient which could conceivably work as a prequel. Don't read the Treat unless you're OK with the idea that Mirrim and Menolly's friendship occasionally involves sex.

Here be enormous spoilers for my story, and also dragons. Read the story first. )
The Marvels We Have Seen, from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, was a Treat for [livejournal.com profile] boosette, who wrote the lovely Menolly-centric Lend Song a Sweeter Grace last year.

A fire lizard mating flight brings Mirrim and Menolly closer together in more ways than one. Rated R for moderately explicit sex.

If you want to read this but are unfamiliar with the books, click on the cut tag at the bottom of the post for background info. Note that this is only the info you need for this story, and the notes on my other story have more extensive info that's necessary for the other one.

This is the first time I've ever written two stories in the same fandom for Yuletide. After failing to snag [livejournal.com profile] boosette's appealing pinch hit request, I wrote it anyway as a Treat.

This story got all the sex and politics I didn't think my other recipient would like. It could be a prequel to my other Pern story, assuming that the political changes mentioned at the end would take more than a year to materialize. The title is from one of the songs quoted in Dragonsinger.

Vague spoilers of a sexual nature )

Background info on Pern )
rachelmanija: (Autumn: small leaves)
( Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:22 am)
I wrote a lot this year: four full-length stories (one the single longest short piece I've ever written) and one short Madness story. I will post longer notes on individual stories later. I hope some of you do the same, as I always enjoy reading them.

My Yuletide assignment, for Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels, was The Ballad of Mirrim and Menolly's Ride, for [livejournal.com profile] calenlily. Rated PG for non-graphic violence; gen.

Menolly, Mirrim, and Mirrim's dragon Path travel through times that were, will be, and might have been to warn Pern of a deadly new threat. Long but hopefully worth it. If you vaguely recall the premise of the books (humans ride telepathic dragons to fight caustic Thread) you should be good to go.

The Marvels We Have Seen, from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, was a Treat for [livejournal.com profile] boosette, who wrote the lovely Menolly-centric Lend Song a Sweeter Grace last year.

A fire lizard mating flight brings Mirrim and Menolly closer together in more ways than one. Rated R for moderately explicit sex. It works as a prequel to my gen Mirrim and Menolly story, if you care to take it that way.

Will You Bloom Bright And Fierce was a Yuletide Treat for [livejournal.com profile] teaotter, who wrote the fabulous Steerswoman story Dumb Animals last year.

It's based on the gorgeous Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar song The Disappearing Man. The story itself requires no familiarity with the song or anything else. Rated R for brief but somewhat explicit sex.

Thistledown. From Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, accessible if you've read the first book. For Doire, who requested something about Vetch, one of my favorite characters. Rated G.

It was inspired by my thoughts on Le Guin's thoughts on heroism (traditionally male) and domesticity (traditionally female). She seems to value the latter more highly and also tries to reclaim the designated-feminine spheres as heroic in their own right, which is valid but which can make it seem like men have all the fun. This was my attempt to reconcile the two in a way which fits both her first trilogy and the later books.

The deeds of women are not often written into songs.

Color All Days Blue, But Save One For Many Colors. For Shannon C, who requested a cracky crossover with V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic. I hastily checked her blog and found that she had read Nalini Singh's cracktastic Psy-Changeling series, in which Psys are psychics, Changelings are shapeshifters, and extra-powerful Psys have eyes like the night sky and the stars become fireworks during orgasm. Rated R for underage incest. I know, I know...

Momma explained that we were the forbidden children of an incestuous Psy-Changeling marriage and that she, a powerful Cardinal Psy, had fled PsyNet to marry her half-Changeling, half-Psy, half-uncle.

I blame Oyce for both the "half-uncle" line and the phrase "the dark blot of our existence."
Will You Bloom Bright And Fierce was a Yuletide Treat for [livejournal.com profile] teaotter, who wrote the fabulous Steerswoman story Dumb Animals last year.

It's based on the gorgeous Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar song The Disappearing Man. The story itself requires no familiarity with the song or anything else. Rated R for brief but somewhat explicit sex.

I loved her prompt, which I saw and coveted before assignments went in. In particular, I liked her suggestion that it was a myth about the change of seasons.

Obviously this is not my usual writing style! The song is in second person, and I started the story that way as an experiment, but liked the way it read so I kept it. I wanted a style that wasn't similar to that of the song, but also wasn't ordinary prose, to preserve a somewhat surreal, dreamlike, heightened flavor.

The song has almost no clues in terms of setting. Going by the lyrics alone, the overall feel seems European-mythic, though "canyon" suggests America to me. But I'm a huge fan of Carter and Grammer, and their work overall is very, very American. So I decided to have a mythic story enacted in a real location, small-town USA with burgers and fries and bears in the woods outside of town. Since I prefer, whenever using real locations, to use ones I know, it's set in rural California near Yosemite - maybe Coarsegold, maybe Mariposa, maybe one of the other little towns nearby. The plants I mention all really grow there, and there really are bears and cougars (and meth labs) in the woods.

This post (http://heron61.livejournal.com/654149.html) commented that the story is very feminist, and received this comment, which cracked me up: "What I notice about that fanfiction story is that the author is extremely unusually familiar with Southern California native wildflowers."

I'm not particularly, but am familiar enough (my parents have a house in Mariposa) that I was able to fill in the rest with research.
I have a short story (2200 words) up. Sarah Connor Chronicles, Paradise, contains some non-graphic violence. Spoilery for the entire series, hence I can't synopsize it in more detail than "Five Timelines That Might Have Happened."
I just created a detailed index of all my fanfic ever, with quotes and warnings, post-dated at my fic LJ here, so it will appear at the top.

It took forever, so I hope my slightly OCD self will not be the only one who appreciates the effort.

Some of my warnings, I have to say, are even more hilarious than I intended. Like this, possibly only funny if you know the fandom: Cold. Heero and Quatre consider outer space. Contains mental illness.

Or this, in which a normal summary would spoil the story: All the King's Men. My attempt to write something as cracktastic, hot, and dark yet bizarrely sweet as the canon. Contains all sorts of BDSM, sex while dressed as an altar boy, a zombie priest and his pet zombie dove, the skull of an embryonic shrew, psychoactive poisons, and sexual mind games including possible consent issues. Cain/Crehador and Cain/Riff. Spoilery for Godchild 7.

In the meantime, if anyone would like a DVD commentary for any of my relatively recent stories (within the last year or so), I am bored now.
Tags:
rachelmanija: (Gundam Wing: Face-down Heero)
( Jun. 29th, 2009 11:57 am)
I also have a new Gundam Wing story, written for [livejournal.com profile] poilass for Con Or Bust.

Heero has brief encounters with the other pilots when they’re all children.

Rated PG for violence and trauma; this is a story about Heero, so warning for suicide attempts. Given the fanon regarding the subject matter, perhaps I should mention that this story does not contain any child abuse other than that inherent in being trained as a child soldier.

The canon for this story was taken from the manga Episode Zero. It has backstories for the pilots which had been intended to be part of the anime, but were cut for logistical reasons. You don’t have to have read the manga to read this story, and the only things the story spoils are fairly predictable anyway.
Happy birthday, Sherwood! Knowing you has made my life so much happier. May this coming year be filled with good food, good TV, good writing, good company, and good sales.

Sherwood bid on my writing for Con Or Bust, and requested a story for L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon which gives the final book, Emily's Quest, a different ending.

To Catch A Star.

When attempting to describe this series to [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, she suggested that given that it's borderline fantasy (Second Sight) and contains a significant character named Dean, I could do a cross-over with Supernatural, a show whose first season Sherwood is also familiar with. I thought this was a hilarious idea but didn't do it. I throw it out there in case anyone else is inspired.
...I gratuitously link to an old Yuletide story of mine, City of Angels. It's set in Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat universe but I don't think you need to be familiar with the books to read it.
Tags:
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
( Mar. 24th, 2009 12:30 pm)
I wrote a very fluffy Buffy story on the theme of A sisterhood of slayers, for [livejournal.com profile] springfluff as a gift for [livejournal.com profile] yhlee.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Start as you mean to go on)
( Feb. 4th, 2009 10:46 am)
I have posted a Naruto story focusing on Tsunade. It's rated PG, and isn't spoilery if you know who she is.

Five Things Tsunade Didn't Save (And One She Did.)

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
rachelmanija: (Gundam Wing: Face-down Heero)
( Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:09 am)
I wrote a Gundam Wing story, "Two Business Cards, a Backstage Pass, and a Multi-Purpose Tool," for [livejournal.com profile] poilass for the [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry fundraiser. (Yeah, yeah, it took me a while.)

It's gen, 4000 words, and set post-series. Heero tries to figure out what happens to a soldier after the war is over; the other pilots offer him some possibilities.

Gundam pilots and terrorists live in an eternal present, working toward a future in which they will play no part.
.

Profile

rachelmanija: (Default)
rachelmanija

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags