syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
This was my first year participating in Yuletide, and I received not one but TWO marvelous stories -- both Enchanted Forest Chronicles! Please go read them both at once, because they are fabulous! I will be re-reading and enjoying these for a long time to come.

Before Happily Ever After by Laurea (3088 words): Alianora learns that facing down dragons and wizards is nowhere near as hard as standing up to an overbearing aunt.

This is a wonderful story that picks up the arc of Alianora and her Stone Prince, who finally receives a name of his own! I have always loved these two, and it was an absolute delight to see their story brought to a fitting continuation -- not conclusion, because this is just the next step in their journey, and fittingly so! Alianora returns home to confront her family with the stalwart support that only someone who was once stone could provide. Alianora really shines here, bolstering her own courage with her recent experiences. The characterization and all the little worldbuilding touches are just spot on, start to finish.

In the Air by Wolfraven80 (9996 words): Cimorene and Mendanbar are making preparations for their fast-approaching wedding, but when a love potion goes awry Cimorene finds herself with an unwanted suitor. Set during the last chapter of book 2. Cimorene/Mendanbar with hints of Morwen/Telemain.

A multi-chapter fic of multifacted fabulousness, this is Cimorene at her finest -- competent, snarky, driving off unsuitable and unwanted suitors, and rescuing would-be rescuers. Dastardly wizard plots, mistaken identities, miscast spells and practical quests take place against the backdrop of the Enchanted Forest. Starring Cimorene, Mendabar, Morewen, Telemain (and some truly awful poetry written by the latter), cats, the wooden gargoyle, and a nereid who momentarily steals the show. Hilarity and intrigue abound, and again everything is pitch-perfect!

--

In other news, I wrote one story (sadly, I had no time for Madness this year). The story is my first fandom love: Star Wars. It is a mix of Original Trilogy and characters from the X-Wing novels, which are near and dear to my heart. I had a lot of fun with it, and am even contemplating future fics with the same cast of characters... it is just so fun to write Star Wars for the first time since I was a kid, really. And I still have all the reference books, so I may as well put them to use, right?

Howlrunner (7912 words) for shihadchick: 4 months after the victory at Yavin, the Rebel Alliance desperately needs a new base of operations. The fledgling Rogue Squadron is on the job, but someone else is on their trail.

Features Wedge Antilles, Wes Janson and Hobbie Klivian, with cameos by Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, along with an OC female Shistavanen who I'm rather fond of.

I did figure out, much belatedly, that I had my Howlrunners mixed up with my Headhunters, and the I-7 Howlrunner might not have actually been in production at the time this story is set, but I was kind of locked into it by that point anyway, so... oops and oh well!
syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
I am shamefully behind on reviewing all the wonderful stories from this year's Narnia Fic Exchange. I've been out of town and away from the computer a lot, and have barely made a dent. Which means I have lots of fabulous reading material built up!

I wrote 2 stories this year:

Much Ado about Mutiny (14866 words) for nasimwrites

Summary: In which Lucy and Susan go sailing and negotiations go south. "Lucy," said Susan, valiantly striving to keep her face stern, "I don't think anyone will believe we are men no matter how loose the breeches are. We have breasts." With irrepressible cheer, Lucy strapped on her sword and adjusted her hat to a rakish angle."Bind them!" she said cheerfully. "I've already done mine. Not that I've much to bind, of course. But as you always say, it's best to be thorough."

Oddly enough, I'd had the idea for this story lurking in mind for a while. When I saw that nasimwrites ships Susan/Jack Sparrow, I knew I had to do it. And it was so much fun! I am indebted to Transposable_Element for a wonderfully thorough and helpful beta job, without which I would still be confused about who was on which ship.

I now want to write more in this odd little corner of the universe. Especially about the seagulls!

--

In Word and Deed (5510 words) for edenfalling

Summary: In a world lit by a blood-red sun, where two sisters battle for the throne and where a single word has the power to destroy life itself, the only thing worse than a summons from the Queen is a conflicting summons from the other Queen. It was no wonder that Nethyr had ill dreams.

I wanted to write a Madness story for Liz in much-belated thanks for her herculean beta-read of my mammoth NFE fic last year. I've never thought much about Charn backstory before, but Liz prompted something about the Deplorable Word and drew me in! I've always been fascinated by the idea of words imbued with power, and it seems that something is different about magic in Charn compared with Narnia, Earth or anywhere else... and things sort of took off from there.

--

En fin, I had a lot of fun again this year, and will continue to dive into and enjoy the rest of the Exchange! And if you haven't read the story I received yet, please go and do so!

revisionist history by underscored
This is a beautiful and exciting and immensely fulfilling re-imagining of The Last Battle, and I love it so much.
syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
Please go with all haste to read this beautiful story, which I call The Last Battle that my heart always wanted! Susan truly shines, and this AU is my new head-canon for TLB.

revisionist history (11753 words) by underscored

Characters: Susan Pevensie, Peter Pevensie, Edmund Pevensie, Lucy Pevensie, Tirian, Jill Pole, Eustace Scrubb
Additional Tags: The Last Battle, Family, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, The Problem of Susan, Alternate Universe - Everyone Lives/Nobody Dies, Crisis of Faith

Summary: "What I you need to understand, Jill Pole, is that Narnia is and always has been a small land, surrounded by greater neighbors, and that when we first came here, the world was wilder. And now,” she adds, squeezing Jill’s hands gently, “all these ages later, the memories have faded and the stories have changed, but we have not." The lions come home.
syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
So, I have been woefully lax on posting since NFE reveals! I've been traveling a lot and away from my computer even more, so this is probably old news. Nevertheless, here is my NFE recap:

I wrote 3 stories, and I have been stunned and overwhelmed at the incredibly positive response - especially to my main story (a crossover with a little-known fandom, no less). I am thrilled to have participated in such a wonderful exchange, and so thankful for all the support!

Overdue but without further ado, here they are! "Behind the scenes" stuff is behind the cuts.

What I wrote

My main story: The Rule of Threes Raid for Rthstewart: the Rat Patrol's mission is "to attack, harass and wreak havoc on Field Marshal Rommel's vaunted Afrika Korps." Susan's mission is a bit more complicated, as is her relationship with the desert. A story of daring and deception and of loyalties built on shifting sands.

"Raid" is a war story and a tale of espionage, and takes place following Rthstewart's "The Queen Susan in Tashbaan" but before "Rat and Sword Go to War." It is also a crossover with Rat Patrol, a 1960s show I discovered a year or so ago about a group of American and British soldiers operating behind enemy lines in North Africa. Every new episode I see, I find more little details that just fit with Susan-as-spy. The rule of threes itself pops up in an episode, as do bows and arrows (which I saw for the first time just this morning). For months I had been idly pondering a Narnia/Rat Patrol crossover starring Susan; when I drew Rth for NFE, I decided to go for it. I didn't quite know what I was getting myself into, as it turns out, but it all came together in the end! Truth be told, I'm quite proud of the result - but more than anything, I'm so happy that so many people have enjoyed it even without knowing the crossover fandom.

My labyrinthine writing process - for those who want to know how the sausage is made. )

Madness #1: Fit to be tied for Rthstewart: Susan does not like surprises. Tebbitt does not like spiders. Anansi does not care.

This was sheer fun. It was idea I'd had poking around since the 3-Sentence Ficathon, and frankly it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. I admit there was a moment when I thought I couldn't pull off Raid and would wind up expanding this into my main fic - but it all worked out. And in the end, Fit to be Tied is a bit of madness, so that fits! The biggest problem I had was not wanting to stop. There are so many more adventures that could be told! If anyone wants to write Susan and Tebbitt gallivanting around with a trickster spider, please be my guest - I'd love to read more!

Madness #2: Starboard for Starbrow: A storm, a star, and another page in Coriakin's Book of Incantations.

I fell in love with Starbrow's prompt for Voyage of the Dawn Treader fic reflecting "Lewis's love of the sea and the longing for adventure it inspires". I too love the strange adventures, the wild and magical islands, and the wondrous seas of VDT just as I have always loved the sea and atmospheric sea-faring tales, so this was a treat to write for me as well. Before writing this story, I revisited the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Seafarer" as well as "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

What I received

I received a beautiful, light-filled NFE fic and a rollicking, swashbuckling Madness fic - I wrote about them in a previous post, but if you haven't read them yet, please go do so immediately! They are both awesome, in different senses of the word, and I love them each so much.

chain of pearls (anklets of light) by tungsten_illusionist

The Blue Door Cottage by Rthstewart

What's next

I am working on several projects right now: a much-belated crossover treat, a longer Narnia fic with original characters tentatively called "Song of the Stone Wolf and the Bumble Bear", a Forever/HP crossover for another ficathon, and an original historical fiction novel I've been working on for years. And, of course, the next chapter in my mad, mad Thin Man/Narnia/Jeeves & Wooster crossover "A Good Stiff Drink." It's not dead - just hungover.

So that's what's been keeping me busy! Hope all is well in your worlds.
syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
I still haven't finished all the lovely, rollicking and thoughtful stories - but I have a few favorites that I encourage everyone to read!


I'll Take the High Road
Summary: Pattertwig's journey to the Lantern Waste.

Squirrel derring-do, dashed with detailed and realistic slice-of-life under Telmarine rule, the small animal viewpoint a la Watership Down, and a race to find the Four who surely must have been called when the Horn was blown... An exciting journey very well told!


The Mystery of Mount Pire
For Heliopause
Summary: Aravis joins Lucy and Susan on a winter exploration of Archenland.

And wheresoever two Queens of Narnia travel together, things strange and wondrous do befall them... So Aravis may as well go along, even if it is cold. The very wintery-ness of this tale is enchanting, like Lucy's first foray into the wardrobe before we knew there was any Witch. Not really a cliffhanger, but this story definitely leavese wanting more!


Flee from Memory
For Seldon
Summary: When the Queen takes a Knight (well, actually more like falling in love with a foot soldier), Ambassador Tumnus has to readjust his thinking. For Tumnus, being a diplomatic liar and a survivor does have its advantages.

Between dealing with the political ramifications of Rabadash's defeat and finding out that little Lucy has a suitor, Tumnus's horns are aching. Add to that a night of storytelling that stirs memories better left unstirred (or are they?), and the Faun is bound to need a cup of tea (no milk, no honey) before the night is through. This is a thoughtful, Narnia-as-real-country-with-real-problems story with touching moments, brilliant charactetization, and a heart-tugging finish.


Psmith Giantslayer
Summary: Or, how the glorious Affair of the Motor Car on the Senate House Roof became the rather more alarming Affair of the Enormous Giants.

P.G. Wodehouse meets the Pevensies. All of them, even though only four are actually Pevensies. In which Edmund is recruited for a madcap prank and recruits his siblings in turn, and then some. Magic, mechanics and mayhem, underscored with absolutely delicious, wickedly funny language - what more could one want?


to pluck up that which is planted
One word: ENTWIVES. A beautiful story about what it means to take root. Jill and Eustace stay in Narnia for a while longer, and this is the Silver Chair ending I never realized I wanted, but now I love it so much I'm adopting it as headcanon!!


A Butterfly with Its Wings
Calormen worldbuilding, a girl stretching her wings, a sly soldier, and a wonderful story about small actions with larger ramifications. Southern Calormen comes to life in this story!


How the Bet Was Won
Bickering gods and goddesses take sides in the aftermath of the Humiliation of Rabadash. Part chess, part Mount-Olympus-in-Greek-epic, part hilarity. Go read!


Windmills and Walls
The four Pevensies each deal with the Return to England in their own way, but are always thinking of the others. Spot-on characterization, very moving and very well done.
syrena_of_the_lake: (Default)
What a way to start my participation in NFE - I received two wonderful, amazing gifts from talented mystery authors!! And all the stories I have read so far have been very, very good. Some laugh-out-loud funny, others eerie, thought-provoking or solemn. Some so beautiful they nearly bring tears to your eyes.

I whole-heartedly recommend you drop everything and read the two excellent stories I received:

Fic Exchange
chain of pearls (anklets of light)
Jill Pole/Eustace Scrubb (IMPLIED), Everybody Lives/Nobody Dies AU
Summary: Eustace had forgotten what it'd been like to be alone. The Pevensies are spread out through the continent on various...well he's not quite sure, they don't always explain what they're up to, and Jill was on a ship to Caribbean. When Professor Kirke mentions a friend who requires an assistant in India, he's more than happy to offer his services.

Eustace is one of my favorite characters, and this story is a gem. Eustace explores what it means to know Aslan in our world, with a respectful and beautiful look at the Hindi faith and Indian culture (and food!). It inspires equal parts thoughtfulness and wanderlust. And Jill's presence is felt everywhere, even when she's far away. Absolutely exquisite!

Madness
The Blue Door Cottage
Jill Pole/Eustace Scrubb, Alberta Scrubb, Harold Scrubb, Everyone Lives/Nobody Dies AU
Summary: Jill and Eustace take a holiday. It does not go as planned.

This is a brilliant, swashbuckling, hilarious romp that makes me giggle helplessly every time I read it. Some children find adventure hidden in a mysterious house; that may sound familiar, but it's never happened like this before! Not with Alberta checking the floorboards and Harold chasing a cat out of the garden. And Aslan's sense of humor is... different.


More recs to come! I haven't had nearly enough time to devote to all 39 wonderful stories in this year's collection, but I'm working on it - and it's an absolute pleasure to read so much quality fic by so many talented authors.

In the meantime, I have 3 stories hiding somewhere in the NFE and Madness collections. If you care to guess, I'll write you a ficlet of your choice for each right answer. Deleted scene, outtake, completely unrelated prompt - it's all up to you! Just drop me a note here on DW or at syrenaofthelake at gmail dot com.

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