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07 February 2013 @ 01:55 am
On my website - Yuletide (and other) stories  
Well, it has been a while since I last posted, hasn't it? In the interim, I've written several stories for Yuletide, enjoyed a family Christmas (my sister having come over from England to join us for the holiday), and played in the latest Forever Knight War on FKFIC-L.

Yes, indeed. I have been busy. I'm not sure that counts as an excuse; but it is an explanation.

First off, let me say that Yuletide was as satisfying this year as last. I received a delightful story by Tolakasa, "Rondeau", in which Captain Cohen reluctantly attends the office Christmas party. Reluctantly, because her husband is there—and he has a wicked sense of humour. We never met him in canon (and only know that his initial is "D" because it's on the Missing poster in "Black Buddha" under Next of Kin). Tolakasa has invented him from scratch; and he's quite delightful. Strongly recommended!

My own assignment was to write a story for Juliandarling based on Mary Renault's The Charioteer. This proved to be such a very plump plot bunny that I started to wonder if I'd get it finished by the deadline. Indeed, since my beta (my sister, fawatson) declared that, if I was going to introduce packages then readers would definitely want to see them opened, I wound up adding another 2K between the upload deadline and the reveal, for a total of 12K. (Agggh!!!) As the title, "Exit Stage Left, a Wounded Warrior: The Lost Chapters of The Charioteer" suggests, the story represents itself as the next two chapters of the novel, bringing Laurie's story up to Christmas 1940.

I managed to squeeze out enough time, between duties on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to write a few treats, as well as ficlets for fkcommentfic and maryrenaultfics. All but the last have now been HTMLed and added to my website. (The latest of my appleficlets is only No. 4, with two more parts to go; so I'm waiting until I finish the entire series.)

I figure the best thing to do is just try to get caught up. So I'm going to comment here on all these stories.

How to Pick up a Bargain at this Time of Year:

"How to Pick up a Bargain at this Time of Year" is the story that I did on Christmas Eve for [personal profile] brightknightie's challenge on fkcommentfic. In Toronto this year (the real Toronto, I mean), the local BIA decided to put Christmas decorations along a stretch of Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst—rather odd ones that, almost concealed in a bush of tinsel, had small bunches of fake mistletoe dangling down. The challenge was to incorporate these decorations into a Forever Knight ficlet. I decided to write a story about Myra and Don Schanke.

For the webpage, I followed the Christmas theme with a background design taken from wrapping paper (I think). It's all red and gold, with a broad border around the story itself, and narrower matching borders around the photographs that I used to illustrate it.

Tainted Draught:

Two of my Yuletide treats were also Forever Knight stories. The first of these, "Tainted Draught" was written for Astolat. However, it was equally inspired by a ficlet that I wrote for PJ in the Dead Dog Party after FK Fic Fest last year. So, since "Trilemma" immediately precedes it, I decided to use the same colour scheme on the webpage for "Tainted Draught", as well.

Anyone who is curious about the comments people left on the story should have a look at the original Yuletide version on AO3.

Those who Love Life:

My other Forever Knight Yuletide Treat was "Those who Love Life". This was written for Tolakasa. (Yes, the same person who, as it turned out, wrote me my Yuletide present!) She was interested in a gen story about Vachon.

Because Vachon himself is quite familiar to readers, I decided to head the page with a picture of the woman who brought him over. The story, you see, begins just afterwards, though it primarily follows the curious antagonistic relationship between Vachon and the Inca. I had trouble deciding what to use as the background, and decided in the end to go for a wispy, green-toned abstract pattern.

Again, if you want to read the comments people left, you'll need to look at the original Yuletide version.

Solitaire and Soldiers, and Marbles to Boot:

I also wrote two Treats for very minor fandoms, simply because I was attracted by their prompts. One of them, "Solitaire and Soldiers, and Marbles to Boot", is based on Penelope Farmer's time-travel story, Charlotte Sometimes. If I'd had more time, I might have tried the bigger bunny that jumped into my lap, and told part of the story from Clare's perspective (Clare being the girl from World War I who swaps places with Charlotte). However, this was very much a last-minute Treat. So, instead, I played with the little bunny: events from the point of view of Sarah, an older girl at the boarding school, who turns out in the end to be the daughter of Clare's younger sister, Emily. The story was written for Calliette.

Because Charlotte and Emily share toys in the past which play a small role at the very end of the book, I decided to use a background graphic that depicted old-style children's toys. It was surprisingly hard to find one that didn't only have teddies!

This is obviously one of those tiny book fandoms; so there weren't a lot of comments. If you're curious, though, you can find them here.

Flower Fairies of the Orchard:

The final Yuletide Treat that I wrote was "Flower Fairies of the Orchard", which is, of course, based on Cicely Barker's Flower Fairies series. It is obvious from the number of people who were intrigued by the nomination that Flower Fairies are a bit of a guilty childhood pleasure for a lot of people who feel that they should really have long-since outgrown them. The fairies roused a very insistent plot bunny; and I was fortunate that Starlady's prompt was general enough that I could write it for her. Unlike my other treats, this was merely ficlet length. However, that was how long it wanted to be. (It was quite definite about that.)

I debated trying to use a background graphic related to apples. In the end, though, I decided that the story covers too many seasons for any one such picture to be appropriate. I therefore used an abstract swirly pattern that I got from GRSites, altering the colours until they suited. Several pictures decorate the story; and these are all derived from photographs that I got from Wikimedia Commons.

Again, such a tiny fandom means that comments are few; but, if you are interested, you can find them here.

Exit Stage Left, A Wounded Warrior:

I've only just uploaded my big Yuletide assignment to my website. I had intended, of course, to complete the pages before the War began. However, there was some family stuff (which I won't go into). Anyway, I couldn't finish HTMLing the pages until after the War. Indeed, I've been working on wiki articles about it; so I've sort of stolen the time to finish doing "Exit Stage Left, A Wounded Warrior". However, I really did want to get it up!

Because nominally it comprises two chapters, I decided to make them a title page, which I decorated with graphics derived from the cover of the Longman's edition of The Charioteer. This is obviously familiar to anyone who is a Renault fan; but other friends will recognize the source of my userpic. The two chapters themselves were given a rather simpler design, but one that follows the same navy & white colour scheme.

Anyone who would like to check out the comments people left (of which there are quite a few) can do so here.

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