graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
Written for me in the just-concluded summer round of Holmestice: an elegant and wholly convincing coda to (IMHO) one of the best 20th-century Sherlock Holmes films we have (starring Christopher Plummer and James Mason as Holmes and Watson).  Viewers may recall that Mycroft doesn't actually show up in Murder By Decree at all -- so it's entirely appropriate that this Mycroft is extrapolated as much from the Conan Doyle canon as from the events of the film...and that in this story, we see a Mycroft who's both utterly true to what we see of him in Doyle, and very different in some ways from many of the character's more modern renderings.

Art in the Blood
Author: rachelindeed
Characters/Pairings: Gen; Mycroft Holmes, John Watson, Sherlock Holmes
Fandom: Murder By Decree (1979 film)
Rating: G
Warnings: Major spoilers for the movie (the fic gives away the film’s ending)
Length: ~4,700 words

After the events of Murder By Decree, Mycroft Holmes leaves the British government and tries to decide what to do with the rest of his life.
graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
Yes, You Can Do That In Fanfiction, and here's the Dear Scripter letter to prove it.

First, and always most important: thank you -- for taking the plunge into a new fic exchange, for offering to write at least one fandom that's in both our wheelhouses, and for the care and effort that I know always goes into these challenge/exchange stories. I never cease to be delighted at the superb quality of the stories I receive, and I appreciate the thought that goes into producing a story arising out of my often-rambling prompt-letters.

So: first, you want to know what I like.

Pluses for me include strong characterization, well-written dialogue, wit/banter/snark, clever use of canon, well-developed AUs, UST (heavy on both the U and the T), and more. I'm neutral when it comes to matters of gen, slash, and the like -- if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind. I'm not into noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks, but have few other outright squicks as long as the relationship is age- and canon-appropriate; OTOH, I mostly don't read fanfic for sexual content (though in a couple of these fandoms, I do enjoy romance plots; see the specific prompts for details).

I will note in particular that I am a sucker for the clever and well-executed crossover -- not because I expect one (Optional Details Being Optional, and such things being well beyond the call of either duty or necessity), but because in more than one of these cases, the potential amusement and/or entertainment value would be particularly high if your writerly imagination should happen to wander in that direction.

Fandom-specific notes below the cut:

Read more... )

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
News comes tonight that co-star Stana Katic "hasn't been asked back" for the prospective 9th season of Castle, though the current showrunners seem hopeful that said 9th season is still a possibility.  A secondary character, Tamala Jones' Lanie Parish, is also being written out.

I've been mostly pretty forgiving of the writing choices on Castle for the last couple of seasons, and have kept watching despite the current showrunners' insistence on pursuing plotlines that highlight the weakest aspects of the series' writing.  But this just boggles the mind; from day one, Castle has been built around the character partnership of Rick Castle and Kate Beckett, and I really don't see how the series can be realistically continued without both characters on board.  One can only hope that ABC will put the fans out of their misery and choose not to renew the show.

For my own part, though, I actually don't think the mythology kerfuffles are as much of a disaster as the huge disservice the writing has done to both Alexis and Martha in the past couple of seasons.  Martha has entirely lost her engaging con-artist's edge, and Alexis' original maturity and independence has been wholly forgotten in favor of turning her into "Alexis Castle, PI" (a role that exploits none of the academic, artistic, or personal interests she was shown to have while in high school and college).  Indeed, the two characters have pretty much stepped into each other's original narrative functions -- Martha is now the mature, wise mentor, while Alexis is Castle's wish-fulfillment enabler and comic sidekick.  It's pure good fortune that Susan Sullivan and Molly Quinn are sufficiently capable performers to sell their new roles, but it's a particular shame that we've not seen the truly brilliant young woman that Alexis should have become.


Ah, well.  I foresee a hell of a lot of fixit fic emerging over the summer.  And if anyone is still actually writing canon-compliant fic at this point, I rather suspect most of it will go AU after this season's finale.

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, smiling (Alexis (smiling))
What it says on the headline. Here's the link:

Facing the Music (podfic) -- podfic by blackglass (aka [personal profile] xdiorix) story by Gray Cardinal

"No, worlds music, with an S."

This was originally a crossover-intensive Buffyverse drabble-sequence written for [ profile] tthdrabbles; the podfic adds the actual songs referenced in the chapter-titles and thereby creates a really nifty short radio adventure in a way that I totally failed to anticipate when I wrote the initial work. I am utterly delighted and charmed.

So thanks to [ profile] jedibuttercup all over again for hosting the [profile] tthdrabbles comm, and to blackglass for a fantastic translation-to-audio of a story I had a lot of fun writing.

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
This is probably not the post you were looking for from me after the last couple of months (it's been an Adventure on this end, but things are in fact more or less under control at present, if likely to involve a fair amount of metaphorical tap dancing for the foreseeable future).

However, I find myself a trifle confuzzled, and I know I have a fellow theater geek or two in the gallery.  So here goes:

By more or less random happenstance, this past Thursday evening found me at a local high school musical -- specifically, a production of Legally Blonde.  It was an enjoyable evening -- packed house (for opening night, no less), lots of enthusiasm, and pretty good production values.  I need to note here that I am spoiled when it comes to both high school and college theater, having had the unusual good fortune to land in schools which had -- at the time -- both academically excellent drama departments and seriously talented student performers.

The result: I have to work a bit to avoid being hyper-critical of what I'm watching when I see a student production these days (this being the first in much, much too long).  Some issues are easy for me to set aside; there were a significant number of glitches with miking and sound tech all through the performance, but I have a feeling a good bit of that may have been hardware-related and thus not really anyone's fault as such.  And I can't expect the casts I watch to have the same astonishing polish and presence of certain of my classmates of old (some of whom now list Broadway credits on their resumes).   On one hand, I don't know that I saw any incipient Broadway stars onstage this time out -- but the young lady playing Elle Wood and the young man playing Mike-the-UPS-Guy were both particularly good, and all the performances were entirely respectable.  In point of fact, I think the student performers were uniformly better than the material they were given.  Speaking as one who hasn't seen the Reese Witherspoon films or read the original book, I found the music lively but not memorable (not even up to, say, the Galavant standard) and the script lacking both in focus and consistency. 

And then there was the exercise-video number.

Perhaps it's just me (speaking now as a middle-aged bachelor), but if I were a high school drama teacher, I am not sure I would costume six or eight of my most well-endowed female students in sports bras and sweatpants, give them jump ropes, and arrange them in the front rows of a troupe performing directly facing the audience.  The bouncing effect was, inevitable, enthusiastically vigorous, and struck me as entirely gratuitous in the Not-In-A-Good-Way sense.  And have I mentioned that this was happening at a Catholic high school?

Understand, I emphatically do not object to high school theater programs tackling mature subject matter, or even musicals with mature content (I have see three or four different high school productions of Pippin over the years, some pretty much unedited and some significantly massaged, all very good).  But Legally Blonde?  Just doesn't strike me as a strong enough show to merit wading into that briar patch in the first place.

Now if I could just nudge one of the local high schools into reviving Finian's Rainbow....

graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
Here's what I wrote for the current round of Holmestice.  I am amused and gratified at the pleased responses it's gotten -- I was initially nervous as to whether I'd done right by the characters here, but the consensus seems to be that of course the story's central assumption must be accurate.

Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
Written for: [ profile] mundungus42 
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mycroft Holmes
Type/Rating: G • gen
Additional Tags: Australian Aboriginal Mythology, Case Fic, Minor Original Characters, Stealth Crossover
Warnings: none
Words: ~7900

The case of the vanishing boomerang appeared at first to be a trivial matter. But it revealed an aspect of Sherlock Holmes’ past that shed new light on his character – and only many years later did its true impact begin to come to light.

graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
Next, written for me in the current round of Holmestice:

to cradle the world in his hands
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
Written by: language_escapes
Characters: Tennyson, Wiggins, Deidre, Sherlock Holmes
Type/Rating: G • gen
Additional Tags: Ableism, British Sign Language, Canon Disabled Character, Character Study, Disability, Languages, Origin Story
Warnings: none
Words: ~7900

He does not feel limited.
A Tennyson origin story.

This story, like its protagonist, is enormously intelligent and immensely likeable, even as it tackles a complicated and prickly set of issues with deft and sensitive wisdom -- and reveals that even Sherlock Holmes is occasionally challenged.  Clearly I've won the story lottery this holiday season....
graycardinal: snowy gateway: Yuletide, Enter Here (Yuletide)
I am behind by several acknowledgment posts (and indeed, one whole exchange), so don't be surprised if the order of the next few posts is a little odd as I attempt to catch up.

First up is the Yuletide story written for me:

This Soft World

Fandom: Tomorrowland (2015)
Written by: ???
Characters: Athena, Frank Walker, David Nix
Relationships: Athena & Frank Walker, Athena & David Nix
Rating: T / gen
Additional Tags: Friendship, Loyalty, Androids, Developing Autonomy
Warnings: none
Words: ~22,000 (!)

Athena has always been clear about her purpose in life and no amount of reprogramming will change that. It's what Frank likes most about her.

I am pretty much gobsmacked.  This is brilliantly-worked-out AI spec-fic, beautifully executed relationship fic, and a deep and intricate extrapolation of both movie canon and material from the prequel novel Before Tomorrowland (though you do not have to read the latter book to appreciate what's here).  I count Tomorrowland as the most underappreciated movie of the past year, and I think my mystery author must agree with me; this story is flat-out amazing.
graycardinal: snowy gateway: Yuletide, Enter Here (Yuletide)

Note: A good deal of this text has been ported straight from last year’s letter, including two out of the current six requests.  Things have been kind of hectic around here in recent weeks – and also, I find I actually rather like last year’s introductory paragraph.

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:

Birds of Prey (TV) (Alfred, Barbara, Helena)
Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham
(Arilyn, Danilo, Khelben)
Jacqueline Kirby - Elizabeth Peters
(Jacqueline Kirby)
Young Wizards - Diane Duane
(Carmela, Dairine)




graycardinal: Yuletide warning flag (Yuletide Crossing)
Somehow we have arrived at the runup to Yuletide nominations -- and rather than the grand isolation in which I usually operate, I've found myself drawn into nomination horse-trading this year.  Which I might not ordinarily mention in this space, except that one of the fandoms that's popped up for consideration -- mentioned, I note, by someone other than me -- is one that might be familiar to certain of my eleven regular readers, namely the Circle of Magic series (no, not the one by Tamora Pierce, that other one by some folks named Doyle and Macdonald). 

Which is in equal parts a happy thing and a an eyebrow-raising thing, because a modicum of Googling establishes that Wikipedia remains under the delusion that that series is eight books long, and Goodreads seems to think that the entire series (including the notorious rogue books #7 and #8) have been translated into Japanese.

OTOH, the legitimate books are still readily findable online, and, there's clearly a good chance that the series will find its way into the tag set this year....

graycardinal: NW Coast Orca (Orca)
And this was my Fic Corner story.  This one surprised me a little, not so much in terms of where it went but of how it got there.  As it turned out, the story I wrote more or less answered one of my own requests as well as my recipient's.

Ten Grinches Plus Two
Fandom: Austin / Murry-O'Keefe Families - Madeleine L'Engle
Written For: katayla
Characters: Zachary Gray, Kali Cutter, Canon Tallis
Words: ~4000
Warnings: none
Rating: Teen (for intimacy, albeit non-sexual)

Notes: This story takes place during the summer following the events of An Acceptable Time, which I *think* should put both these characters in their early twenties. Like L’Engle herself, I have avoided tying the world in which these characters live to any specific date, although – also like L’Engle – I have silently adapted the level of background technology to align with slightly better-than-current versions of what’s commonly in use today.

“Not much use, is it? I mean, what kind of a lighthouse doesn’t have somewhere to leap dramatically off of and end it all?”

The young woman – probably, Zachary thought, about his own age – looked at him sharply. “That wasn’t--"

He wagged a finger at her. “It isn’t now, maybe. But you were thinking about it before you got here. I’ve been there.”
graycardinal: Alexis Castle, smiling (Alexis (smiling))
Out of a good many possible combinations, my story for Crossovering this year ended up being an MCU-meets-NCIS yarn -- more specifically, a hypothetical out-take from Ant-Man, which I think I'll count my second-favorite of this summer's movies after Tomorrowland.  I will observe in my own defense that this is, in fact, a case where the words popped out of the character's mouth before either he or I realized what he was about to say.

Say It With Me
Fandoms: Ant-Man, MCU, NCIS
Written For: sian1359
Characters: Hank Pym, Ducky Mallard
Words: ~1750
Warnings: none (but presumes you've seen Ant-Man)
Rating: G
Notes: This story constitutes a “missing scene” from Ant-Man, taking place following the implosion of PymTech headquarters but before Scott and Hope turn up in Hank’s hospital room. (I am assuming that at least a day passes between those two events.)
Hank Pym's visitor shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry. After what happened in Sokovia, no one – well, almost no one – is likely to make much of your little kerfuffle. There are perhaps a dozen people on the planet who could look at that film and see what I did.”

“True, but at least three of them hate my guts.”
graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
And for Fic Corner, I have a really remarkable crossover piece featuring my favorite Tom Swift universe very neatly integrated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (including a lot of highly entertaining cameos) and featuring an answer to the question Madeleine L'Engle fans have been asking about Charles Wallace for simply ages.

Sandra Swift, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
by hhertzof

Fandoms: Tom Swift IV, MCU, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Austin/Murry-O'Keefe families - Madeleine L'Engle
Characters/Pairings: (F/M) Sandra Swift, Charles Wallace Murry, Tom Swift, Rick Cantwell
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Words: ~ 1500


Sandra's path after high school isn't one she expected.

graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (anya)
First in a quick flurry of posts catching up on the current exchanges:

For Crossovering, I received a highly entertaining ST:TOS/Narnia yarn, complete with wardrobe and faun:

...To Coldly Go...
by foxtwin
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS / Chronicles of Narnia
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Tumnus, Digory Kirke
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Words: ~ 2600

....this is pretty clearly exactly what would have happened if Our Heroes had beamed down to planet!Narnia. The early-gen tricorder would indeed have gone slowly out of its tiny duotronic mind, Spock would have been mistaken for an Elf...and then, of course, there's the backwards journey into the wardrobe....
graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (anya)
It's no secret that I'm a theater buff, and that there are at least two or three other theater buffs in my immediate circle-slash-friends-list.  But there's a regional division between the East Coast theater crowd and those of us out here on the other coast, and for that reason I'm going to point the whole gallery at one particular post from my reading page, namely a review (sort of) of something called Head Over Heels, presently in mid-run down at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Between that post, the official Web page for the show, and what I've been picking up in person now that my field reporter is back from his trip, I have to conclude that this production must be unusual even by OSF standards....

I am told that, my title for this post notwithstanding, that there was no streaking.  There was, however, evidently cross-dressing, emergence from chamberpots closets, onstage not-exactly-adultery, same-sex marriage, lion-wrestling, blatant disregard for the the existence of fourth walls, and a whole lot of Go-Gos music.

It sounds...exuberant.

graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (title)
And now that the reveal has gone live, here's what I wrote for Not Prime Time this year:

The Other Scottish Play

Fandom: Agent Carter
Written For: sandyk
Characters: Peggy Carter, Angie Martinelli, Dottie Underwood, Edwin Jarvis
Words: ~4700
Rating: T (for threats of violent death)
After their last encounter, Dottie had every confidence that Peggy Carter would shoot first – probably with an elephant gun – and ask questions later. Even Red Room training and enhancement wasn’t proof against sufficiently heavy artillery, and Dottie had no desire to find herself on the wrong end of that sort of firefight. Subtler measures were therefore called for.

This was more than usually entertaining to write, as I got to indulge both my inner theater junkie and my fiendish-deathtrap design skills.

graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (title)
Not Prime Time is open, and I have been officially wowed.  My gift story is a truly excellent, canon-wise deconstruction of a character who may never actually have been a supervillain after all.  There is much other good work in the collection as well, some of which I hope to rec later, but here's what was written for me:

Wreck My Mind While the Planet Turns
Fandom: Sky High
Character: Gwen Grayson
Rating: none
Warnings: none
Words: ~ 1600
She’s still not exactly sure what she’s actually going to make of her life, but she knows that whatever she does, she won’t be wasting her potential.
graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (title)
Time for a quick burst of updatery, as I dig out from a very busy couple of weeks.  Finished NPT story, spent a week visiting with visiting family (scarily, The Niece goes into her senior year in high school this fall), signed up for Fic Corner and Crossovering (but you knew that), and survived the Great Portland Heat Wave.

Now I can tell you what I wrote for Holmestice, based on Laurie R. King's "Mary Russell" series:

A Matter of Memoirs

Written for: amindamazed (hophophop)
Mary Russell - Laurie R. King
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, Mary Russell, Holmes/Russell
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Words: ~ 1200
Among all the possible reasons for writing one's memoirs, the best may be that one gets to tell the tale oneself.

As I said in comments for this, it certainly won't be my last Holmestice.  This was a fun and challenging exchange, and I definitely want to play again.

graycardinal: Rufus (from Kim Possible) (Rufus)
First, and always most important: thank you. This exchange, more than most, is about fandoms long-loved and of long standing, and I really appreciate the chance to see a story in whichever of them the two of us happen to share.  I know one of my favorite parts of this process is the chance to make someone's day with a new story in a really rare fandom, and I suspect I'm not alone in this. So thank you (as Linus Van Pelt said once) from the bottom of my socks, because the bottom of my heart isn't deep enough.

Now, then: first, you want to know what I like.

Pluses for me include strong characterization, well-written dialogue, wit/banter/snark, clever use of canon, well-developed AUs, UST (heavy on both the U and the T), and more. I'm neutral when it comes to matters of gen, slash, and the like -- if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind. I'm not into noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks, but have few other outright squicks as long as the relationship is age- and canon-appropriate; OTOH, I mostly don't read fanfic for sexual content -- and especially in the context of the present set of requests, romance is not necessarily a primary element in my love for the fandom. (Exceptions will be noted below.)

I will note in particular that I am a sucker for the clever and well-executed crossover -- not because I expect one (Optional Details Being Optional, and such things being well beyond the call of either duty or necessity), but because in one or two of these cases, the potential amusement and/or entertainment value would be particularly high if your writerly imagination should happen to wander in that direction.

Austin/Murry-O'Keefe Families - Madeleine L'Engle • Kali Cutter

This one is my narrow-beam character focus prompt.  I'd welcome either background/back-story (predating The Arm of the Starfish) or a post-AotS story in which Kali comes to terms with the outcome of that book. In the case of a post-canon piece, I'd be especially glad to see her interact with other relevant canon characters -- any or all of Adam, Polly, Meg, even Vicky could be appropriate depending on the specific plot or scenario. Or what might happen if post-AotS Kali somehow connected with Zachary Gray?  Now there's a complicated thought, with potentially interesting consequences.

Diana Winthrop series - Kate Chambers
• (any character)

This is my nano-fandom; as far as I can tell, maybe eleven people besides me read these books back in the day.  If you were one of these very few, I hope you remember these teen sleuth adventures as fondly as I do, for the genre-aware plots and the lively and interesting extended cast.  What I'm hoping for here is simply "more" -- give me casefic or a character moment for Diana and Brad, give me back story for Lydian or build forward on what canon gives us of the relationship between Lydian, Diana's father, and Diana...any of these, with or without romantic elements, will find me a very happy camper.

Oz - L. Frank Baum • (any character)

I deliberately picked my favorite second-tier characters when I nominated the Oz books, and I would be delighted with a story about any or all of this group. There's a lot of room for storytelling with all of these -- back story, solo adventures, character vignettes -- and I don't want to unduly restrict you, save perhaps to note that I find Ruggedo markedly more interesting once he's been kicked out of the Nome Kingdom. One other note: as you may already be aware, I wrote a Trot-and-Glinda tale of my own for Yuletide some years back. If you're drawn to these characters, you should feel absolutely free either to build on that material or to ignore it entirely and go in your own direction.

I am mostly not looking for romance here, but wouldn't be opposed to a pairing for any of Polychrome, Glinda or Trot (not necessarily with each other -- maybe Wizard/Glinda or Button-Bright/Trot) -- but preferably not Glinda/Trot, as that pushes my age-appropriateness buttons.

Tom Swift Series IV - Victor Appleton • (any character)

I've been reading  teen-sleuth books since I was six or so (and we won't mention how long ago that was), including a few of the classic Tom Swift (Jr.) adventures (Tom Swift and his Flying Lab, or ....Spectromarine Selector, or ....Paracyclic Phase Inverter -- okay, I made that last one up, but you know what I'm talking about).  Fun, but they haven't aged very well.  And I pretty much ignored the short-lived third series of Tom Swift stories, set mostly in outer space.  But when the fourth series came along (starting with The Black Dragon), I noticed, because it so happened that at the time I was reading SF novels by the likes of Diane Duane and Debra Doyle/James Macdonald -- and Doyle & Macdonald, it turned out, had been recruited to write a couple of the new generation of Tom Swift novels.  I was instantly hooked.  The books had the spirit of the earlier series (and did a good job of nodding toward prior continuity), but the setting was very much up to date, the SF elements were handled well, and above all, the characters came across as smart without being square.

While I will squee at pretty much any new adventure focusing on any of Tom, Sandra, and/or Rick, I will be especially pleased if Sandra gets a chance to take the spotlight.  Also -- though this is way out into Optional Details Are Optional territory -- I'd love to see Tom Swift crossed with nearly anything; I think this incarnation would blend nicely into a whole lot of the modern-era fandoms I follow.
graycardinal: NW Coast Thunderbird (thunderbird)
As I said last year -- this one is complicated.  Which means I am even more than usually grateful and impressed with whatever crossover you happen to devise in fulfillment of this exchange.  (I am in some awe of the folk running this particular venture, because I suspect the matching -- even with AO3's automated engine in play -- is more than usually interesting.)  Still -- this exchange is very much made for me, as I am nothing if not a serious crossover geek.  Thank you very much for volunteering for this madness, and specifically for your willingness to indulge my particular cross-fannish sensibilities.

Anyhow.  Per the usual form of these things, here's a cut, because this is going to be even longer than usual.
First the general notes.... )


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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