Dear DJ

Apr. 7th, 2017 04:04 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I feel a little sheepish that I didn't get this up earlier, to also serve as an advertisement to anyone who might be interested - but I think anyone in my flist/circle on either LJ or DW probably already knows about Jukebox! Anyway. So this is my letter for the Jukebox 2017 fanworks exchange. Jukebox is my precious pet project, so I am inclined to look on anything I get as a gift through a rosy haze of joy and pride, BUT my gifts tend to be fantastic anyway. Win/win. Dear person who is reading these prompts - thank you for reading, and I hope you find them interesting without being restrictive.

Note: I'm going to come back and add links and tidy up the formatting a bit, but the prompt information will not change.

Dear )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Dear author or passerby, thank you for your interest in my prompts.

General likes: I love retellings that enter into the world of the story and explore the characters' motivations and mindsets, or the machinery of the magic: why did Elisa have to weave shirts out of nettle, or how did Chrysaor feel about his heritage? I'd equally be happy with a very loose retelling of any of these stories: add or subtract characters, or transpose them in space, time, or genre. I'm happy with a multitude of prose styles (or poetry if you wish!) including second person and 'found' media scraps. You're also welcome to mix in elements from more than one story I'm requesting now, or from stories I have requested or written in the past.

Do-Not Wants: Please don't include any harm to hands, any substance abuse / addictions / addiction-related behaviour, or any amnesia.

By story:
The Lute Player, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, The Bear, Kemp Owyne, Jorinde and Joringel, The Fairy of the Dawn, Medusa, The Wild Swans )

I hope there is something in this that inspires you.

Thank you again!
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I have been remiss in posting about recent fanfiction gifts. I received a superlatively generous range, in quantity and quality both, across Crossovering, Coronation Ceremony, and Yuletide.

Fandoms: Pokémon Go, Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison, Beauty and the Beast (Fairy Tale), Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis, Labyrinth (1986).

Yuletide, a large exchange for "rare" fandoms (under a certain threshold of fic quantity), has been a bright point in the last quarter of my last seven years. I received:

Fraxinella (3481 words) by ForsythiaRising
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms, Der Wacholderbaum | The Juniper Tree (Fairy Tale)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jorinde/Joringel
Characters: Jorinde, Joringel, sorceress - Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Retellings, I would not say the violence is graphic but it is definitely there, honestly this is darker than planned, The Juniper Tree is barely referenced for like 20 seconds, really obscure fairy tales for 600, Flowers, Fire, do not read if fire freaks you out
Summary: The sorceress keeps her magic on the hearth, under a big, iron cauldron where its red glow can mix in with the always-dying embers.
Days of a nightingale & dreams of her lover

Jorinde and Joringel is a story that is both tidy and weird, satisfying and confusing. A maiden is captured by a sorceress and her lover must free her. ForsythiaRising chose to blur the lines between maiden, mother, and crone; the initial sorceress is not sympathetic, yet she is relatable. There are utterly gorgeous turns of phrase in this story, especially if you like gardens.

Candy (6344 words) by winter hill
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Spark & Eevee
Characters: Blanche (Pokemon), Candela (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Eievui | Eevee, Eeveelutions
Additional Tags:
Pokemon candy, Journey, Comfort, buddy pokemon, Yuletide Treat
Summary: When Eevee is transferred to the Professor, she is certain that she’s about to be chopped up for candy. Instead, she might just have found her forever home.

Pokémon Go, the mobile platform game launched in July 2016, was everything I dreamed of - except for the game mechanic that implied players traded sentient creatures for parts. Directly. I was really not okay with that. winterhill wrote me a charming story, dense with hope and trust, that made it all okay and, as per my request, focused on the vast scope of the Pokémon world. winterhill was not even signed up to Yuletide, so I feel especially honoured to have been the benefactor of their treating efforts.

Like a House on Fire (4022 words) by Masu_Trout
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Candela & Dr. Willow | Professor Willow
Characters: Candela (Pokemon), Blanche (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Hitokage | Charmander
Additional Tags: Government Experimentation, Pokémon in the Real World
Summary: Apparently, pokémon are real. Candela knows this because one of them just burned her house down.

I also asked for a story about Pokémon Go suddenly colliding with the real world, and Masu_Trout delivered with a great action-adventure story about Candela - student-turned-Pokémon trainer. This is a funny, fast-paced, clever work. Masu_Trout was also not signed up to Yuletide and treated only. Again, I'm honoured.

Crossovering is an exchange I have taken part with great enthusiasm in since it started; this most recent round was its 3rd year. I received:

Beauty and the Incubator (4517 words) by VampirePaladin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Beauty and the Beast - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Incubator Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Original Incubator Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Elements, Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, Alien/Human Relationships, Pre-Canon
Summary: How Beauty and the Beast may have happened in the Madoka Magica world.

I watched Madoka over the last year and it stunned me. Wishes and all their consequences. Hope and heart and courage and darkness. This was a lovely story - it used a fairy tale structure very cleverly to offer up a happy ending that builds slowly and surely. I was a pinch hit in this exchange and my friend VampirePaladin took on my assignment very late - thank you. ♥

the stars move for no one (1066 words) by templemarker
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Labyrinth (1986), Chronicles of Narnia - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jadis | The White Witch, Jareth (Labyrinth)

I also asked for Narnia & the Labyrinth, and this extrapolates from the breathtaking ruin of Charn to create the Labyrinth out of someone who didn't quite die. I am particularly happy that my writer zeroed in on Jadis & Charn because I find that very evocative. And I really like this origin for Jareth that is half-humble, half archetype.

(Nor was this the only story in the collection that crossed over Narnia and Labyrinth.)

Coronation Ceremony was an exchange run by [personal profile] extrapenguin for the fantasy novel The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. ExtraPenguin experimented with matching options and I had a blast with their results. I received:

Appropriation Bills, Compulsory Purchases, and Hope (1663 words) by bigsunglasses
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csethiro Ceredin/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Maia Drazhar, Csethiro Ceredin
Additional Tags: The Wisdom Bridge, Worldbuilding, Post-Canon
Summary: Bridging the Istandaärtha was not merely a marvel of engineering and a feat of politics. It was a financial nightmare.

My author graciously combined two requests I made separately - fic involving the Wisdom Bridge, and fic involving Maia and Csethiro supporting each other. Maia's doubts are so poignant and plausible and I love, love, love seeing the details of bureaucracy in my fantasy. Also, a few weeks later at work I had to proofread an appropriations bill and having this fic in mind made me smile a lot while doing so.

Csoru character design (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan
Additional Tags: Fanart, Digital Art, character design
Summary: Color design sheet--full figure and a couple of faces.

Csoru is not remotely a protagonist in The Goblin Emperor, but she is definitely a character, and the artist captured her emotional range gloriously - including some really wonderful, lush costume designs. Again, a treat from someone who wasn't signed up. Thank you!

Letters and Flight (640 words) by shadow_lover
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan, Csethiro Ceredin (Off-Screen), Varenechibel IV (Off-Screen), Maia Drazhar (Off-Screen)
Additional Tags: Character Study, Letters, Pre-Canon
Summary: She likes to imagine her words flying like birds of prey through the heart of the Untheileneise Court.

And here was another really satisfying angle on Csoru, making her sympathetic if not praiseworthy and showing how she finds satisfactions - sometimes petty, sometimes small, and sometimes all that it is possible for a person in her situation to reach for. My friend shadow_lover was quietly writing this for me at the same time as we were discussing our actual assignments for the exchange. Sneaky and delightful.

morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
So the 7.5 magnitude earthquake prompted me to post (I'm all right; almost everyone's all right), but I'd been vaguely thinking about posting a rundown of the last two weeks anyway. It's a nice mix of fandom and other events, and I should post more.

Mon 31 Oct
-Got home from work, finished one fanfic for TrickorTreat, edited another. I was tapped to co-mod this exchange briefly because of offline problems the real moderator was having. I was very glad that PumpkinKingMod's difficulties allowed them to open the exchange.

Tues 1 Nov
-Yuletide madness reveal, yay! Got to work, mostly worked, set a few Yuletide things up.
-Got tapped by the editing team to help them with their work. Yay.
-Set up Madness (coordinated mods' effort)
-Learned before sleeping that because of rushing a previous task, part of what I'd done to set up Madness was wrong and needed time and effort to fix. First major Yuletide screwup of year or so it felt to me. Damn.
-Slept. Woke. Slept. Etc. Emailed a YT volunteer at 5am about a thing. Slept. Woke.

Wed 2 Nov
-Got up around 6:30am to fix things. Mostly successful. Off to work.
-Did scary banking things at lunch for house purposes.
-Concentrated on the editing job for most of the day... or tried to. We were short-staffed, so I had to take on urgent parts of our ordinary work. Convinced myself I was nearly done at about 4pm. Went home at 8pm, happy, buzzing. I love that kind of work and I love the high of concentrating on a text task.

Thurs 3 Nov
-Pre-settlement inspection on house, at lunchtime. Real estate agent picked Joel and me up and drove us over. She's going to be our neighbour so I guess she had extra incentive to be friendly, plus she just seems like a nice person.
-House was good, but missing one of its chattels - a refrigerator.
-Picked up my conference registration pack, had dinner with Joel, saw Dr. Strange. Impressions: Smooth and desperately concise plot, beautiful visuals, low on stakes & emotional affect. Now want more sentient cloaks everywhere. Loved the final confrontation but wish it hadn't been so compressed.

Fri 4 Nov
-Conference! Conference conference. [Okay, I'm being silly, and actually it was quite interesting! It was "Clarity", a conference that's part of a movement to write law and other important texts in plain language, and while that principle might not seem to support a weekend of talks, the minutiae of implementation sure did. Also, 1/3 of my office attended, because we write law, and it was a surreal experience to attend a conference so genuinely relevant to what I do.]
-My property lawyer: "so your loan hasn't come through though the documentation was sent Tuesday; I've called the banks three times"
-Me: !!!
-Lawyer: "don't panic, this is normal"
-Me: well okay but also !!!
-Settlement (lawyer confirmed at 3:41pm that the mortgage funds had come through. Deadline for settlement would have been 5pm. Ughhhh.)
-The acquisition of NEW HOUSE KEYS; man, that was a weird, stressful anticlimax, BUT KEYS
-Go home and chat with internet services provider agent instead of going to see house

Sat 5 Nov
-Conference! Conference conference.
-accidental dehydration because conference was in aggressively air-conditioned hotel
-reorganization of social plans; me crying again because sudden dehydration and exhaustion and wishing for an actual ceremonial acquisition of house; recovery
-new plan: carry some things to house, look at house, then walk further up the road to the hilltop and the lookout, watch fireworks, this was very nice

Sun 6 Nov
-Secondary job work
-Went and picked out some whiteware
-Packing! (With friend m's help.)

Mon 7 Nov
-Get up early, set up power & gas connections at new house
-More secondary work.

Tues 8 Nov
-Work! (Evening shift)

Wed 9 Nov
-Moving of boxes with Mel's help
-2-hour interview at new house about energy saving measures. This was an initiative set up by Wellington City Council, partnering with a company that sells a lot of related products, but it's free for ratepayers. I found it informative. The representative almost didn't stop talking for the full length of time, and when not talking to me he was muttering to himself. (Calculations. No filler.)
-Fridge was re-delivered.
-Washer and dryer were not successfully delivered, oh well.
-Work (Evening shift)
-Farewell to two colleagues, including a team member
-Watching U.S. election in gradual amazement

Thurs 10 Nov
-Panicking a little about progress. Called and requested annual leave.
-Torrential rain. Moved some more things with Mel's help.
-Washer and dryer delivered.

Fri 11 Nov
-Moving day! Frantic action. Movers arrived approx 11am.
-Most things moved. Our last dregs of packing, including food, left at flat.

Sat 12 Nov

Sun 13 Nov
-Unpacking. Packing at old place, getting last dregs.
-Finished beta-ing a fic at old place, sent it off - as old flat had internet, new house not so much.
-Last boxes and items moved to new place with Paul's help.
-TV night (West World) with m, Paul, Alex. Grazing on the takeout options at Northland shops.

Mon 14 Nov
-7.5 earthquake struck at 12:02am. See here for full information.
-I woke up and went back to sleep. Joel, more sensitive to aftershocks, got up at 2am and checked things.
-Woke up in the morning to damage up and down country, work not yet safe to go in.
-2 deaths. Some injuries. Much damage.
-Spent most of day distracted, watching news reports, feeling aftershocks.
-Caught up with Sam in Kelburn.
-First meals cooked in new house!

Tues 15 Nov
-Still can't go in to work
-Internet set up!
-Truly torrential rain hit, like, 2/3 average Nov month rainfall in one day
-Wellington main roads flooded
-Spent most of day distracted, watching news reports, feeling aftershocks.
-Working on second Yuletide beta. Trying to figure out assignment.
-Also pondering how to anchor myself politically - in both deed and thought.
-Late notice: can apparently go into work tomorrow.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Usually, in the shower, I get writing ideas. Today it clicked that in one week we transfer a LOT of money and sign the deeds of settlement on OUR HOUSE. It, huh, does not feel real. It has, ironically, a 'life for rent' sense, in that if someone told me tomorrow, "oh, there was a problem, you haven't actually bought a house," my first reaction would be closer to, "Oh, okay," than !!!!!??.

I want to send the vendors, a mother and daughter, a densely-written card. We haven't spoken to them; have only communicated very little through agents. I'm stuck on I hope you don't miss this place too much and We will love it so much, I love it already and I wish you well wherever you're going. All very... high level. Gushy. I want to find my way towards something specific enough to be believably personal.

Other things: Work is fine. One of the most knowledgeable members of my team is leaving, moving countries. I really like him and will miss him. As a consequence, my boss sent around the job ad she's about to put up. It was weird to see a very similar ad to the one I answered from the opposite side. Hard to put into words how much I'd had to guess at interpreting it then.

Yuletide is EVERYTHING ELSE. There's a pop-psych text/saying - I forget how it goes - about the large scheduled events in your life, like work hours or picking your kids up from school or doing this thing every week - being like large rocks you put in a jar, and it looks full but - then there's large gravel-ish bits of things that are more or less scheduled and more or less necessary, and you shake them in around the rocks - then there are smaller pebbly things you fit in around all these necessary things - and then you fill your life up with the tinier things, sand - and - you keep filling it up with smaller particles, even though on paper/in your head it's already full. Right now for me Yuletide is water. In and around everything thing else in my life, in and around every other thought.

I'm the kind of person who hits the snooze button a lot when their alarm goes off. When I go to sleep thinking about Yuletide, I don't wake up and hit the snooze button. I just roll over and catch up on my phone on Yuletide things.

Yuletide, water, is also like a strong current. I dip into it and I'm pulled far away from a conversation, to a different place in a day. I love it. I love being swept up in it.

After I post this, I'm going to
-wash some mushrooms and then braise them, as the first step in making marinated mushrooms, as a contribution to a lunch at a friend's home tomorrow
-work on a Yuletide task (making up fake other-fandom questions to send to someone whose author has a question that's specific to the fandom they matched on)
-try to re-book transferring our internet connection from the current house to the next
-work on a fic for a different fanwork exchange, Trick or Treat.

Other things I want to post about: recent exchange gifts & works; mnf-ness.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Thank you for reading, whether you are matched to me or just curious! I'm very sorry this is so late this year. I hope you find useful inspiration below.

I am Morbane on AO3.

General preferences )

Fandoms: Jorinde and Joringel -- Pokémon Go -- The Shadow (1994) -- Simoun -- Soon I Will Be Invincible -- Sucker Punch (2011) )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
1. Yuletide! This yearly writing exchange for small, obscure, or ephemeral fandoms is in full swing. I help run it. If you like writing to other people's prompts, and to deadlines, and finding out that someone else is interested in YOUR cherished fictional universe would make your year, come play in Yuletide.

Here's a post with lots of links.

I have been remiss in promoting this, because nominations are nearly over (8 hours and change remaining.) A lot of people participate in Yuletide without submitting suggestions for the pool of available canons (books, movies, musicals, TV commercials, blog posts, plays, comics, anime, etc) - but if the inclusion or exclusion of your favourite thing will determine whether or not you want to participate, better submit a nomination at the tag set now.

2. As of two days ago, we have secured a house. I like this house. This house has an upstairs and a downstairs, and mature trees, and a gate out to a little city park. It has a room that is perfectly suited to movie nights. It is close to a set of shops, and to the city, and to bus routes. If you ask me, I will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about this house.

3. l am so happy about Pokémon Go. So happy. There is more to say there too, but it has given me immense joy.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
[every time I think of posting I think of something else I need to do, like more of a beta job. And then I dream of writing a really sprawling interconnected post. It gets out of hand. Sorry.]

Just came back from film #3 this year of Film Festival picks - Joel's suggestion: Midnight Special. It was an enjoyable experience: a classic plot, treated deftly and confidently. Strong acting all around. Beautifully shot. Earned its lens flares, I think. ^!^

And I came out of it thinking "[personal profile] cahn and [ profile] scribble_myname would get a lot out of this" - because although I don't talk much about reading Zenna Henderson, because I haven't for years and feel rusty and uncertain, this felt very, very, very much in the vein of her works. There might be some applicable spoilers; ask if you want further details.

A short list of what's going on for me lately: house hunting, an evening class in short story writing, LARP catering, Pokémon ALMOST-Go, beta reading.

Also, for a while I've wanted to talk about this 1998 sci-fi story because I found it really influential and then it was referenced in 'Cat Pictures Please' and I had somewhat indignant feelings about that. But mostly I want to talk about the story, which means a lot to me.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This letter is for the [community profile] crossovering annual fanfiction challenge. Sign-ups are open through the 17th of July.

This letter has three parts. Part I gives general likes and dislikes, Part II gives notes on individual fandoms, and Part III gives possible prompts for the crossovers I've requested.

Part I - General preferences )

Part II - Fandoms )

Part III - Requests and optional prompts )

In conclusion: if there's something in my prompts you can use, fantastic; if not, go your own way and I look forward to reading something that's a complete surprise. I hope you have fun.

The calm

Jun. 26th, 2016 04:21 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I just started typing and a fantail (pīwakawaka) landed on a branch of the tree across the lawn. Gone now, but very pretty. I haven't seen fantails there before, only kereru. It's only the afternoon but feels like evening. Grey seeping in and around the branches as though someone's pushing stuffing through.

We saw two houses today, neither very promising. One was a townhouse up an extremely steep, long driveway that is now expanding itself upwards in my imagination. Another was a townhouse that felt cramped and precious and was on poles. "Four levels is too many," I said, thinking of the recent comments of a friend on what a poor economy of space stairs are. "Also I promised Ria a scamper hallway."

In a few minutes I will get up and start making fancy salads for Person of Interest night. Person of Interest night has been The Thing We Do On Sunday Night for over a year now - me and Joel and P and A & 20thcenturyvole. Previously with musicforwolves & his boyfriend, now with m. We finished season 4 just in time for season 5 to start. It had been years and years and years since I watched a major TV series as it actually came out.

[We alternate weeks at my house and at 20thcenturyvole's house. When it's at 20thcenturyvole's house, I bring salads. When it's at mine, she brings dessert.]

I enjoyed the show at first in a sort of iddy way for the set-up and the character dynamics between Finch & Reese. I'm also very fond of People Saving People stories. And I'd been promised that it would more and more explicitly become science fiction. This delivered!

I know the finale has been out for days, but I am not yet spoiled and I am very excited to find out how it officially ends.

It's well timed for us: the following Friday, A flies to Scotland to be with his girlfriend. I suspect there'll be a lot of Brexit talk at dinner tonight. (20th's sister lives in Scotland. Various others of the people around at dinner tonight have lived in the UK or have family there.) I don't have much to add, apart from questions. In the last few years - maybe since high school, actually - I've encouraged in myself a learned helplessness with regard to world politics. It's not particularly commendable.

In other head-out-of-the-sand impulses, I finally have no open AO3 assignments. First time since February! I kept putting my hand up for thing after thing. I am going to sign up to the Crossovering exchange, but it's in nominations phase and assignments won't be for nearly a month.

After the Night on Fic Mountain exchange* is Revealed, I'll have 99 works visible on my AO3 page. As a treat to myself, I will choose my 100th work very carefully. I'll probably choose a previous exchange prompt, something I fell in love with at the time and then had to put aside.

And also, I have time to read other people's work.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be reading intensely, because I have beta jobs to complete. But I really look forward to actually browsing AO3. Jukebox's works could use a second reading pass...

*Night on Fic Mountain is a midyear exchange for small fandoms, so I encourage having a look at the fandom list - one of your favourite small fandoms might have a new work.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
My Jukebox exchange is live! There are 65 stories and 1 piece of art based on songs and music videos.

You can see the works here! The works are currently anonymous, but the names of the creators will be revealed in a few days.

The collection comes with some reading aids:
Here is a Youtube playlist of all available songs that had works created for them (missing Adele's River Lea and Seanan McGuire's Earthquake Weather)
Here is a Giant Table in which you can look up lyrics

I have two gifts!

Through the Dead Lands (1438 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Whipping Boy - Shearwater (Song)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: dubcon, Age Difference, Minor Character Death, Exile, Co-Dependency, Dystopia, First Kiss
Summary: People said, The desert does things to men. It turns them wild. Aiden had trouble believing Caro had ever been tame.

Gorgeous and dark: a claustrophobic relationship set against the backdrop of a very, very wide (and wild) world. It's excellent.

Gardens of Babylon (1809 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Running Through the Garden - Fleetwood Mac (Song)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Summary: What could be better than seeing the world as it truly is? But the tree of knowledge has bitter seeds.

A richly-illustrated story that builds slowly and then self-deconstructs in an equally understated way.

I'm very pleased.

I still have three open assignments, no houses to see, and a lot of work to do. I think I'm figuring out the balance between my main job and my old job, which isn't so much an old job as a courtesy arrangement. I'd better figure it out fast, because Yuletide will come quicker than I expect. Also, I have large beta jobs to do soon.

Only one person asked me to beta anything for Jukebox, which was a little disappointing, but I was glad of the extra time.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Lately I have been: writing, beta-ing, house-hunting, working, socialising a little. I had a big fancy birthday party. It went how I hoped it would go, but left me even more keenly aware of all the people I need to speak to properly. House hunting is weird: it doesn't take up a lot of obvious time, because the market is terrible and The Housing Crisis is a recurrent national headline, but it takes up a lot of mental space.

I signed up for Rosencrantz's Once Upon a Fic fanfic exchange, which has recently ended. I got an exuberant and funny gift based on a nursery rhyme:

The Cake is a Lie (1726 words) by dreamiflame
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lion and the Unicorn (Nursery Rhymes & Songs)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Unicorn (The Lion and the Unicorn), Lion (The Lion and the Unicorn)
Additional Tags: Drunkenness, Crack Treated Seriously, Heraldic Devices
Summary: And other complaints of mistreated heraldic devices.

The Lion and the Unicorn have a standing appointment... but the Unicorn isn't quite as enthusiastic about it as the Lion is.

The rest of Once Upon a Fic 2016's stories are here. There are some really good stories! They are based on American tall tales, Greek mythology, Grimm, Perrault, urban legends, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and much more.

What I wrote:
Dragon Kisses (4704 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Kemp Owyne (Traditional Ballad), English and Scottish Popular Ballads - Francis James Child
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Dragons, Fairy Tale Curses, some instances of reckless self-disregard, Action/Adventure, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Finding the person who can turn Isobel back, from dragon to girl, is only the beginning.

Sorry about the summary. I should probably refine it. It's accurate but cheesy. But it also sells the story short. It's action/adventure and romance, and the romance is between a brave princess and a fair maiden who is temporarily a dragon.

This story really really REALLY wanted to be a novel. I planned the story, started researching it, realised how big the story was getting, whined to anyone who would listen, and went to my back-up alternative plan. Then I gave up on that in dissatisfaction and decided to write the "short" version of the story that was trying to be the novel.

I would still like to write that novel! It joins the glum pile of story ideas that are exchange remnants - plots that I fell in love with, then had to acknowledge as too ambitious to tackle in the months given for an exchange. I have so, so many.

That was the only exchange I signed up for, but in the meantime I wrote three pinch hits.

Hourglasses and Hubris (5000 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker
Characters: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Snoke (Star Wars), Kylo Ren
Additional Tags: Dark, Alternate Universe - Harry Potter Setting, Murder, Minor Character Death, Magic-Users, Alternate Universe - Hogwarts, Unrequited Love, Unresolved Sexual Tension, Horror, Uncle/Nephew Incest, Manipulative Relationship, Constructive Criticism Welcome, Horcruxes
Summary: Young Ben Solo's feelings - and the magic that they sometimes set off - cause him only problems. Unfortunately, as he learns to control his feelings and harness their power, so do others.

My recipient wanted Kylo/Luke fic and also suggested a Hogwarts AU. It was a lot of fun. As with the story above, it was only at the very last minute that I figured out how to tell the story I wanted to tell in a suitably condensed form. (There are some scrapped bits involving Rey and Finn. BB8 would make the cutest owl. A boobok owl.) It isn't as Kylo/Luke-ish as I wanted it to be, the ending is a bit rushed, and the 'manipulative relationship' tag relates to Kylo and Snoke. Possibly I should look at the tags again to ensure that people know what they're getting when they click on it. I liked my integrations, though.

I also wrote a pinch hit for Smut Swap.

you've almost convinced me I'm real (6335 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Interstella 5555
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Octave/Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Characters: Octave (Interstella 5555), Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Additional Tags: Brainwashing, Xeno, Awkward Sexual Situations, Awkward Sex, Pining, Extremely Dubious Consent, Misunderstandings, Happy Ending, Alien/Human Relationships, sort of For Science!, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Octave doesn't remember his encounter with Tristan - because it wasn't him at the time. And Tristan isn't likely to forget.

I'm not good at porn, but for SmutSwap, participants matched on tags that described specific tropes or sex acts. That helped: brainwashing and awkward sex were specific things the recipient requested. Awkward sex is a lot easier for me to write than most other types. It was a pleasure to revisit this movie/music video.

Then I wrote a pinch hit for Ship Swap.

Invitation (1631 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Shoujo Kakumei Utena | Revolutionary Girl Utena
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kaoru Kozue/Kaoru Miki
Characters: Kaoru Kozue, Kaoru Miki, Himemiya Anthy
Additional Tags: Sibling Incest, double standards, Mistaken Identity, Emotional Manipulation, Denial, Obsession, Pre-Canon, Present Tense, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: When Miki joins the Student Council, the cracks begin to show in his relationship with Kozue.

Despite the word count, this one was probably the hardest. The story is perhaps a little lighter on content than I would prefer for an exchange gift; writing Utena feels like walking on ice. Some part of canon I've forgotten or that I've misinterpreted will crack under me. I was aware of this pinch hit for a very long time before claiming it, because I didn't think I could write Miki/Kozue. Now, of course, I have another story idea in my head for them, more elegant than this one, but we'll see if it gets written.

(Thanks for beta-ing, kurushi! Thanks for cheering me on and humouring me, NightsMistress, Rosencrantz, dhampyresa, Kaesa, thedevilchicken, Isis, especially!)

I currently have open: my Jukebox assignment, and then three other assignments to complete by mid-late June. The next two weekends will be interesting! I took Friday 3 June off. I had better be writing that day - but not writing Jukebox.

ETA: I forgot to mention that the Works in Progress Big Bang challenge is at the stage of artist claims. This challenge has a wide range of fandoms and artists/fanmixers/other media creators will be very, VERY welcome; perhaps there's something that appeals to you.

Dear DJ

Apr. 5th, 2016 04:18 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This letter relates to the [community profile] jukebox_fest fandom exchange. Sign-ups close at the end of Wednesday, EDT. If you're curious about it, please send me a message! Or just go ahead and read the rules and sign up.

Thank you for reading, would-be creator or otherwise curious person.

General comments )

Specific prompts )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Excited reminder that I run a fan work gift exchange every year that is based on songs and music videos. Participants nominate to create a pool of canons from which requests and offers can be drawn. Then participants sign up, listing the things they are willing to create art or fiction or recorded fiction for, and giving prompts. Then we make stuff.

Nominations run for one more day. You don't have to nominate in order to be able to sign up. Do nominate, however, if you think that otherwise there wouldn't be anything in the tag set you cared about.

Useful links:

I love it! I am very fond of it and its participants! If you enjoy creating fiction and art, if you enjoy the gift exchange format for creative endeavours, if you have often wondered about the larger stories behind songs (or made some up for them, even knowing that is unlikely to be what the artists intended) you may come to love Jukebox too.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
It is a lazy-ish Wednesday morning at home, because, this year, I have been added to the people in my team at work who will be occasionally rostered on to mid-week 2pm-10pm shifts. I am enjoying this very much. I am not much of a morning person. These night shifts are also very handy for doing errands in town or scheduling dentist/optometrist/vet check-ups.

Of course, in 15 minutes, Joel and I are off to see another house. By my count, this is house #41, because I can recall 40 other separate addresses we have visited, but I may have missed some. It's getting a bit tiring, and house prices continue to rise. I'm hopeful about this house, which looks beautiful and offers stunning views, but I'm not looking forward to the feelings immediately following, of high-energy hope and effort (study its documentation, order more documentation, research, talk to people) balanced against the need to always be willing to walk away.

On a fandom front, I am behind with Yuletide things, but have a plan for some of them. I have two beta jobs in my queue, one half-done. I have my assignment for Once Upon a Fic, which I am mulling over. Yes, I caved and signed up for that even though I had resolved not to sign up for anything in Feb/March. I had a lot of fun last year and I expect this year will be the same - the trick will be balancing that and Jukebox. And lurking around the edges of Night on Fic Mountain, of course!

Jukebox - I urgently need to revise the FAQ so that I can get the brainstorming post up this weekend. I am so looking forward to this! I love this exchange.

I'm almost current with Agent Carter - just the last episode to watch. I've had mixed feelings about it. Plenty of action, interesting hi-jinks, interesting character arcs - but ugh to the love triangle plots.

What I am in love with is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Described as a "dark feminist comedy musical" show, it lives up to all of these. I am rooting for everyone, despite their goals being incompatible; I love every messy, flawed person on this show. It is full of sharp, yet compassionate wit.

I hate watching things in which the characters frequently embarrass themselves, including in professional situations, and yet I will watch this show, because it keeps earning and keeping my trust. Everyone gets called on their behaviour. There are no scenes where something apparently "funny" happens and I think, yeah, but in real life that would be awful - because the characters all around our heroes react with appropriate wariness, or discomfort, or other signals that this is not okay.

Well, with some leeway for the musical numbers.


I didn't quite finish typing this before we had to go see the house. It is a good house! It is smallish, but I like its use of space (neither relentlessly open plan so that everyone in the house knows what everyone else is doing at every moment, nor a claustrophobic array of unnecessary turns and narrow corridors). It has A++ views, excellent proximity to public transport, and nice, practical, kitchen and bathroom arrangements. Now for all the next steps: asking my lawyer to check the title, commissioning a builder's report, reading through the builder's report commissioned by the agent, giving my financial advisor a heads-up...

Now I am going to send some emails, do the dishes we didn't quite have time to do before leaving the house, and go to the gym.


Feb. 1st, 2016 10:32 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
We are 95% moved. I need to poke my previous landlords about our bond. I showed up to my previous home on Saturday to let professional cleaners in; paint tins & paraphernalia were still everywhere, and I had a moment of absurdity and a glorious sense of Not My Problem. Now we have cleaned, and professional cleaners have cleaned, and nothing there is my problem. Note to self: send landlady a gift basket when this is all sorted. She was a pretty good landlady.

I'm feeling a bit anxious and overcommitted. One of the signs of this, to myself, is that I'm putting my hand up for as many things as I can. Yes. That is counterproductive. It's just, I don't know what it's like to not have commitments, I will always have commitments - and I hate the feeling of having unstructured time, with necessary but non-urgent tasks buzzing around my head like flies. When that happens, I panic. I turn in circles on the carpet. I'd rather have one urgent thing to do than five non-urgent things to do, even if the former claims sleep and social time. So stress means "go find something even more urgent to do, to quiet anxiety while your brain is focused".

So, maybe it was a bit silly to sidle up to J & L at A & H's housewarming party this weekend and say "So, your new campaign LARP, do you need a cook for that?" ...♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ but yesss: once again, I will get to go away for a weekend every six months again and COOK NON-STOP for a day and a half at a time, and hear the stories of LARPers, and be involved in their glorious festival of creativity!

I am so happy to get to do that again.

A & H's housewarming was nice and their house was MAGNIFICENT, and going from the Sunday round of house-hunting to that party was like going to the supermarket when you're really really hungry. H has expended SO much effort on her house. She is a super-talented super-hardworking person with a doctorate in drama and extensive experience in dramatic set design: her house looks phenomenal. Those houses in magazines? At least one of them exists. A & H live in it.

(meanwhile: I did not visit this house, but I am rather struck by the carpet in picture 7. Is it just me, or is it - entirely - decapitated giraffes?? You tell me.)
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Fandom to-do list, now until the end of March:

  • Beta a <2k fic for a person who contacted me during Yuletide

  • Write NYR story #1

  • Write NYR story #2

  • Write NYR story #3

  • Do Yuletide admin thing #1

  • Do Yuletide admin thing #2

  • Do Yuletide admin thing #3

  • Beta a story from R's fairy tale series (I assume)

  • Beta a Big Bang story for NM

  • Comment on fics! Average 2/day in January, 1/day in February and March

  • Comment on my friends' journal entries! Goodness gracious, self

  • DON'T sign up to any fests or exchanges

  • DON'T browse ffa during work (even in coffee breaks! Too soothing and more-ish. Well, on a good day)

  • Publish Jukebox's 2016 schedule and tweaked rules for comment

  • Get Jukebox nominations underway (depending on schedule)

  • Post about something fannish in this journal

  • Write 2 pinch hits or treats for ChocolateBox

  • Write a pinch hit or treat for something else (maybe)

  • Beta something else (probably)

It's been a while since I posted about stuff I've written. Now, the idea of a round-up post, ideally covering everything I wrote between 2014 and 2015, is daunting.

However, every time I think about doing a round-up post, I think of one particular story I want to talk about. So, what the heck, I'll talk about that one.

A Dance in Glass Shoes (4163 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Cinderella (Fairy Tale)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Cinderella (Fairy Tales), Stepmother (Cinderella - Fairy Tale), Stepsister(s) (Cinderella - Fairy Tale)
Additional Tags: Fae & Fairies, Changelings, Emotional neglect, Harm to Children, Parent-Child Relationship, Bad Parenting, treat-fic, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Carlotta's new husband's daughter was not an easy child to love.

I wrote this story as part of Rosencrantz's delightful Once Upon A Fic fanfiction exchange, which had its first run last year and will run again this year - nominations start on the 24th of January. This is a gift exchange based on responses to fairy tales, myths, and lore from around the world. It was one of the nicest exchanges I took part in last year, with a good-sized crowd, unusually low default rates, a wide variety of prompts and works, and enthusiastic commenting.

I wrote this story as a treat, in the very last few days before reveals. I loved the prompt, which went:

I'm extremely interested in an aversion of the typical abusive relationship between Cinderella and her stepfamily -- what if it was actually a good one, or antagonistic with good reason behind it? (What if Cinderella's secretly the terrible one and her stepfamily is protecting themselves?) I'd love to see a retelling of the story that plays with those dynamics, which most adaptations take for granted.

When I first saw the prompt, my eyes lit up and I thought of my earlier Cinderella BDSM idea (Cinderella is a lifestyle sub, the "stepfamily" are not actually related, their dynamic is fully consensual, then she has a messy but adult breakup with her dommes). However, reading the prompter's letter, I saw that BDSM was one of their few DNWs. Still, it's a great prompt... so I finally thought of something else.

I'm really proud of this story. I'm proud of how I remixed the fairy tale elements, I'm proud of the family dynamics, and there are some things that could benefit from a further polish (the narrative style is precious; the pacing isn't great), but I feel I nailed the ending.

Ironically enough for a fairy tale retelling, this is a story about how intent is not magic, and how forgiveness and reconciliation do not always make for the best or most hopeful ending, even when all parties involved have their points of sympathy. I love both my Cinderella and my stepmother figure in this story, though they do not love each other, and the end of the story is not the end of their anger, and that's okay.

Rosencrantz and NightsMistress both helped a lot with this story, by encouraging me through finishing it and by beta suggestions.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)

So: my recent parental visit actually went really well. I had some good chats with my mother. My father and I had an honourable three victories each at chess. The day before Dad's birthday, I bought a small selection of gourmet food items for him for his birthday. Then I stayed up until 3am with my laptop at the kitchen table, beta-ing a Yuletide fic, and left the birthday food out for him, with a note. Then slept until 10am. This was received favourably.

I got back from Auckland, and on Monday 7th, heard from the property manager that we could either renew our lease at this house for a year, or leave. Nothing in between. Damn.

However, we have had an immense stroke of luck (aided by Joel's Google-fu), and have already managed to secure a 1-bedroom apartment. We have the keys.

It's literally over the back fence.

As in, our future landlord called our present landlady, who had agreed to act as our reference, and had a nice chat to her about their mutual fence and whether maybe he should make a gate in it given that his tenants always use OUR driveway to move in and out of his property. (They always, politely, ask. But it's totally reasonable. WE'RE up a vehicle-accessible slope. THEY'RE up 100+ stairs.)

Because it's a 1-bedroom flat, and we've lived in a 3-bedroom flat with a huge living space for the last few years, we may need to call in local Tetris consultants to figure out how to manage our furniture, but we'll make do. Easiest move ever!


Yuletide has been good. I've seen both _coal and f-fa complain about the lack of drama, and I may have punched the air a few times, because that means the mod team is doing our job well, boooooo-yah. (Sorry, seekingferret.) Not that everyone's happy, and there are a few things I need to help follow up on, but in an undertaking this large, there'll always be something to mitigate, mediate, or smooth over.

I only wrote one story this year - my assignment. Never doing that again. Treats or bust. I have a lovely recipient comment now, but the period without it reminded me how much nicer it is to have eggs in different baskets. The reward for good modding is the lack of feedback. The reward for the prolific writing of fic is multiple avenues of feedback. I like feedback. Therefore it is sensible for me to put energy into goals with both long-term and short-term payoff.

Speaking of payoff, though, I got lovely gifts:

The Year of Being Human (8297 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Youkai Ningen Bem (TV 2011)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bela/Koharu Ogata
Characters: Bela (Youkai Ningen Bem), Bem (Youkai Ningen Bem), Belo (Youkai Ningen Bem), Ogata Koharu, Machimura Hidemi, Ogata Hiroyasu
Additional Tags: Post-Canon

Professor Ogata has a plan to turn the yokai human. While he's experimenting, Koharu finds herself spending time with Bela, teaching her how to be human -- and learning herself.

This is beautifully and carefully written. I listed little details among my likes; this fic has them in spades, from the smallest set-up of a scene to causes of bonding between Bela and Koharu. These are two fascinating, fully-fleshed-out women, and the author does both justice. Lovely.

A Viewtiful Waste (1052 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Derkholm Series - Diana Wynne Jones
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Querida (Derkholm), Elda (Derkholm), Mara (Derkholm)
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Geographical abuse

Look, Querida liked the view and didn't need any griffins coming along to mess it up. Unless it was Callette. (It wasn't Callette.)

This is ADORABLE and exactly the canon-gap-filler I asked for. Angry teenage sulks! Distant parental pragmatism! Phlegmatic angry-sorceress perspective! Everyone in this story is sympathetic and funny and larger than life.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Lately I've been noticing stress feedback in myself: those symptoms that I have learned to identify as signs of stress even when I don't feel stressed. I've been repeating to myself the importance of being kind. Today, walking home from work, I stopped in the Rose Gardens to finish the book I'd been reading. The staff at the nearby cafe started blasting some loud music. I got up, flapped my hands at them in irritation (not quite a rude gesture, but not gracious, either), and went to find another spot. Fifteen minutes later, I realised that in changing spots, I'd left my phone behind. That wouldn't have happened, I told myself, if you hadn't chosen to take umbrage at the music. Be kind. Be kind.

Outside my window, the flag above Parliament flies at half mast. Kindness is especially important.

One form of stress feedback, I suspect, is the desire to make emotional journal posts.

Therefore: I just had an epiphany about something I was planning to do, a conversation I was planning to have with someone. The epiphany was that although I'd clothed it in another guise, I was planning to do something that would hurt me, because I thought it was good for them, and because I thought their good was my responsibility.

... Well, let's avoid that trap. For once.

We're house hunting. Many ups and downs - very informative.
This is within our budget. But do I really want a house AND an abandoned shoe factory?
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Thank you for reading, whether out of curiosity or because you're considering writing for me.

I've written a lot below, but if you want more, there are also many previous entries on LJ or DW tagged with "dear writer" or "Yuletide" or similar.

Take what's helpful: ignore the rest.

DNWs: Please don't write any scenes with hand injuries, and please don't make memory loss or substance abuse a focus of the story. If the canon already has some kind of amnesia, or some kind of unsafe/dependent use of addictive or mind-altering substances, you can allude to it or use it in similar ways, but I'd still rather it wasn't a major plot point of your fic.

I love: first person, second person, third person; present tense; past tense; future tense; unusual formats such as epistolary fic or fic written like a series of "scrapbooked" news articles; more ordinary forms of narrative. I love strong platonic relationships such as mentor & student, sibling & sibling, teammate & teammate - friendly or hostile or anything else. I also ship a few things, and enjoy crack!ships.

I love stories about loyalty and competence. I love worldbuilding and welcome original characters. I love stories about identity shenanigans. I love stories that are enriched with little details about a setting and time period. I love dragons, trains, dark fairies, cities, dramatic weather, unexpected meetings. I love functional and respectful romantic or platonic relationships, but I also enjoy really screwed-up relationships, and dubcon and noncon. (And while we're on the porn train, I particularly like touch starvation, xeno, telepathy, and awkward sex.) Any gender combination OK; threesomes+ welcome.

I also frequently adore stories that do not have any of these things. I trust you.

Fandoms and prompts )

This year, I'm particularly open to crossovers, either between my requested fandoms, or between one of them & some other small fandom. My previous letters and fics will give you some idea of what fandoms I know, and I will also shortly put up a list of the fandoms I'm offering to beta this year.

A note about length: my ideal reading length is anywhere between 200 and 20,000 words. If you're my assigned writer and you give me 1k words exactly, great. And really, anything over that is up to you. But: if you have a story for me that balloons to a great length, I'll be daunted as well as impressed when I open it. It will also take me longer to comment than I'd like.

As for the lower limit suggestion: obviously, if you want to write me a drabble, my first thought is "yay, a story, for me, by someone who is interested in one of these small fandoms, AND who was in no way obliged to write me a story." (Thank you, past writers! ♥) But I tend to prefer slightly longer pieces - so some other recipient might appreciate your gesture more. Up to you. Either way, thank you.

And since it's the end of the letter, thank you again. I hope you have fun this Yuletide.


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