This story is really set after The Servants Ball and I worry that it doesn't make a lot of sense without having read it, but I really loved the idea of Mary and Mrs Wilson as family. I wanted it to be a bit prickly and awkward, but I also wanted to examine what it would have been like for Mary once Robert went off to war. Per usual, I got seriously caught up in the research.
Brown-Eyed Girl (The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett) for kitsuneasika
This was my first pinch hit and I had THE BEST TIME OMG. I not only re-read The Maltese Falcon but I hunted up the other Sam Spade short stories, and read Joe Gores' prequel (written with the blessing of the Hammett family) Spade & Archer.
I was deeply amused that we never actually get a physical description of Effie beyond her brown eyes and "boyish" face. And also that she is only ever referred to by her full name--Effie Perine. So I possibly wanted to tweak that just a bit.
Two lines in the story were stolen. The first was the last line of "A Man Called Spade" where Sam basically asks Effie out on a date. "Want to catch a movie or have you got something else to do?" and in the story, we never get Effie's answer. The second was Hammett's own quote about Spade, "Samuel Spade was a hard and shifty fellow, able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent by-stander or client." because I loved the idea of using it in the story itself. In my head, the secret is that Effie loves Sam, but she'll never act on it cos as she says "You're no good, Sam". Sam is gonna have to work for it.
I love writing banter like whoa, and actually wrote big chunks of the dialogue first, and then tried to get it story-shaped. I hope it feels story-shaped to the readers. It's set in 1934/1935 and I wanted to get a sense of time passing and how Sam an Effie's relationship changed after Brigid and the black bird not so much because of Brigid, but because of Iva Archer.
The Dust of the World (Borderland - Terri Windling) for robling_t
This is the story that freaked me right out. Elyn sent it to me because she knew of my deep and abiding love of Windling's shared universe, and I had been wanting to write a B'town story FOREVER. But after three abortive tries, I finally ended up writing it on Dec 24, into the wee hours of the night. I can't remember the last time I wrote 6000 words in 36 hours before. I really want to go back and polish it. I think it's a good idea, but it's about three drafts away from really being the story I wanted to tell. When I started, I thought it was jenny's story. But once I got into it, it turned out to be just as much Scaggs' story. I really want to write more with these two--particularly Scaggs' mother, who is a BAMF. I wanted the Biker Chick to sorta be the opposite of a La Llorona figure. Instead of a water elemental who drowns children and is the stuff of nightmares, I wanted to create an earth elemental who protects children... and is the stuff of nightmares :) Something tells me someday I'm going to write her story as well. I am also possibly a complete basketcase about this story because I really want it to be something Terri and Ellen and Holly would approve of.
The Swan Princess (Once Upon A Time) for flipflop_diva
Once I FINALLY got "Dust" uploaded, it was gone 2am, and Elyn was still awake, so I poked her and asked who still had no pressie. She gave me a list and I went through them, and picked the Once Upon a Time prompt cos I really am tickled that they named Emma "Swan" and I genuinely do think that given a choice between Disney Princesses and Pirates, Emma would so go for Pirates. I apologise to the recipient--I know she was probably hoping for a meaty plotty story instead of a character vignette written four hours before the archive opened. I may try and write a proper story as a NYR.