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Dear Yuletide Author - THE REAL THING!

I hope you enjoy writing my story! Don't force yourself to take on something from my suggestions that really shuts you down: I'm trying to give a range of prompts in the hopes you'll find something that lets you take off.

Preferences

I Don't Like:

  • Characters acting OOC, especially if the purpose is to force them into a relationship (doubly bad if that relationship is romantic or sexual)
  • By-the-numbers, every-action-described explicit sex. Note that actual sex is fine ( I love me some sexy stories) — just don't like it when the descriptions turn into a set of exact stage directions.
  • Mpreg, rape, forced sex (including sex pollen and fuck-or-die)
  • Sickly-sweet, cutesy romantic stuff (most romance-focused fiction/shoujo manga leave me cold: anything in the "tee-hee-hee, is he looking at me?" category counts)
  • Extensive use of epithets, or epithets that don't match the character POV (no one should think of his or her long-time lover as "the green-eyed man," for example): these will throw me right out of a story
  • Humiliation or betrayal (without a damn good plot reason) of a character by a friend or lover

I Like:

  • Friendships - although I am a romantic person, not every relationship must be romantic (I do like the trope of friends becoming lovers, however)
  • Strong characterization (including character-appropriate dialog: no earthy, uneducated characters using $50 words)
  • Wry and even dark humor in the course of a more serious story
  • Positive emotional payoffs that are well-earned
  • Passions that are strong without being mushy/fluffy
  • Moments of realization — satori
  • And I like any of the following "cool bits":
    • hurt-comfort
    • being cozy indoors when it's rainy or snowing
    • senses of smell and touch and memories attached to them
    • impulsive acts of valor (especially on behalf of the weak or an underdog)
    • someone's profile silhouetted against the light
    • opposites attracting
    • water running over pebbles or stones
    • romantic partners or friends who are both competent
    • old-fashioned sections of town with narrow streets and alleyways and odd shops
    • kissing the inside of the elbow or the base of the throat
    • brushing long hair or riffling fingers through short hair
    • finding in a fight that one's ally feels like a protective wall
    • drops of water clinging to hair and/or skin
    • an autumn leaf or item of clothing as the only bit of color in a bleak landscape
    • food descriptions: "food porn"
    • whispered admissions of love or forgiveness

I'm quite content with both straight and gay relationships. I do tend to ship the canon relationships, unless it's a character who has had no clear relationships shown in the story. I'm not comfortable with sexual relationships shown in children under the age of, say, 14 or so, and even then it's better in context (teens with other teens or in a societal setting where girls expect to marry by 16-18 anyway).

The Characters and Their Stories

きのう何食べた? | Kinou Nani Tabeta? | What Did You Eat Yesterday

Kakei Shiro, Yabuki Kenji, Kayoko (Kinou Nani Tabeta)

A lot of the appeal of this series is how the characters' personalities are revealed by their interactions with food. Shiro approaches things methodically and with a lot going on at once, and he worries about it the whole time (having dinner guests puts him into a tizzy). Kayoko uses ordinary ingredients in simple yet unexpected ways to make delicious and satisfying dishes, which she shares generously and without "strings." Ken is enthusiastic but slipshod, and his results are messy but they make *him* happy and can be surprisingly tasty to others.

So: any human situation that puts the characters through their paces. One of the manga volumes has a picture of Shiro and Ken on a picnic, but we don't see them doing this as part of a plotline, so how about it? Or at some festival: Shiro just going along because Ken wants it. (Do they run into Kayoko's family?) We've seen what happens when Shiro gets sick: how about when the roles are reversed? (I'm a sucker for hurt-comfort, and given Shiro's experiences with his father, he might be more affected than he'd anticipated if Ken were seriously ill). Finally, I miss Yoshinaga's personality-filled porn (my favorite is Ichigenme), so if you're into that, give me a hot scene between Shiro and Ken … or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

Alliance-Union - C. J. Cherryh

Signy Mallory, Joshua Talley, Justin Warrick, Grant ALX-972

I'm not asking for all four of these in one story! Unless you've been struck by some inescapable bunny that would somehow involve all four of them without completely breaking canon, the request is either Josh and Signy or Justin and Grant.

I'm looking for that very Cherryh thing of relationships trapped within history and politics: the sweet or poignant moments between the inexorable grind of events. Things I'd love to see: Signy and Josh's first few days as near-equals after he rejoins her at the end of Downbelow Station (including a hot sexual interlude, if you roll that way); Josh and Signy's reaction to some sort of wary negotiations with Union near the end of the war, with azi that may remember Josh (or even a former Supervisor) on the other side; Signy and Josh's side of the events in Merchanter's Luck; Grant and Justin spending some down time after they begin to trust Ari II in the canon timeline; Grant comforting Justin after it becomes obvious, in Regeneration, that Jordan won't ever be anything near the same; Grant and Justin settling into their wonderful new home in Alpha Wing; … or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

Chronicles of Tornor - Elizabeth Lynn

Isak (Chronicles of Tornor), Sorren (Chronicles of Tornor), Arre Med, Paxe (Chronicles of Tornor)

I don't think I've even touched the first two volumes of this series in 20 years, but The Northern Girl is a perennial favorite. I love the city, its nuts-and-bolts operation, the interactions of the factions and districts and families, the depiction of the minority Asech and how both cultures celebrate their festivals and interact. I also love Paxe and Arre (and Marti Hok, but she's not on the official character list): women old enough to have gone past their early mistakes but still passionate about life. I love Paxe's martial arts, easy air of command, intelligence gathering episodes, and sense of family, both by blood and by choice. I love Arre's sense of responsibility; her ability to be both blunt and diplomatic, as needed; her appreciation of the arts (including the culinary arts); her nostalgia for her youth and her youthful relationships.

My appreciation for Sorren is on a slightly different level: she seems such a child to me these days (my own daughter is now several years older!). But I appreciate her growing sense of herself, her history, and her own self-worth. Isak is merely an intriguing villain, a foil for the other characters: a glittering snake, as he was in his dance, an artist without ethics or loyalties.

I'm looking for post-canon fic. What happens to Arre and Paxe after Sorren goes north? Does their relationship ever pick up again (and I'd certainly appreciate some heat between them, if you roll that way)? Does Sorren ever encounter Isak again? What has he been up to? How does Sorren react to him (I'm sure she still feel the old pull toward him as a master artist)? Does Arre ever make her visit to Tarn Ryth? Does she end up supporting her northern kin? How does the political; situation resolve among the great houses of the city, in the aftermath of the upheaval at the end of the book? … Or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

Craft Sequence - Max Gladstone

Cat (Craft Sequence: Catherine Elle), Izza, Kai (Craft Sequence: Kai Pohala), Teo Batan

My God, has Gladstone given us awesome women characters! I love the fact that here we have women who are definitely capable of and interested in emotional and/or sexual relationships but who aren't thinking, constantly, about every male they encounter in terms of how that person is perceiving them with regard to a possible relationship of that kind, and who aren't constantly worried about their own physical appearance.

I'm interested in missing scenes, tying up of loose ends at the finish of the novels, and so on. A big one that I would love is something of the process of bringing Izza's friend Sophie back from being a penitent. Another is something about Cat's journey from Alt Coulomb to Kavekana. Did Captain Raz take her? What did she encounter in the way? How did the island first seem to her? Other possibilities include Teo's remaining time on Kavekana and/or her return to Dresdiel Lex, the further development of Kai and Mara's relationship, … or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie

Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq, Mercy of Kalr, Awn Elming, Justice of Toren

I love the universe that Leckie has build, and the personalities of and relationships between the ships and the ancillaries (and the stations too). Because this series is not close to being finished, I'm looking for pre-canon or missing scenes.

Perhaps a look at the time when Justice of Toren first begins to fall in love (there's really no other term) with Awn Elming; perhaps an early encounter between Justice of Toren and Mercy of Kalr (and moving up the timeline, how that encounter shaped their current relationship). Perhaps Awn Elmings's view of Breq: was Awn there when Breq was first added to Justice of Toren? Perhaps Breq's transition to ancillary: does Breq ever remember anything but music from before? How did Justice of Toren seem to the newly attached Breq? On the current timeline, how does Mercy of Kalr view its current captain? Or perhaps show some of the recent events form the viewpoints of Mercy of Kalr (and if you're up for it, also Athoek Station, and Sword of Atagaris) … or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

Werewolf Marines - Lia Silver

Dale "DJ" Torres, Echo (Werewolf Marines), Charlie (Werewolf Marines), Roy Farrell

Although these books are pitched as paranormal romances, the series seems to be developing into more of a team paranormal adventure series with a romance core … not unlike Liu's "Dirk & Steele" series, actually! I really love nakama - friends/family/team. Although I'd be happy just with the core characters on the sign up, it would be great to see some more of DJ's family and/or the new wolf pack members from the end of Laura's Wolf.

For instance, at the end of Laura's Wolf, we get a whirlwind of the activities that settle the new pack members in Yosemite, just mentioned more or less list-fashion. It would be lovely to have some real scenes from that. Otherwise: perhaps Roy and DJ have some time (maybe a hunt) together after the end of Laura's Wolf? Or a scene between DJ and Laura where they get to know each other beyond their shared concern for Roy. Perhaps a sweet little moment with Echo and DJ training: maybe he makes her really see something outdoors that she'd never bothered to notice. Perhaps a poignant scene from Echo and Charlie's past: with one or more of their sisters. Or anything else that occurs to you after reading all this and/or my likes/don't likes.

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