April 10th, 2011 § 13 comments § permalink

I’ve been playing around lately with something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first finished Ithaca is Gorges. Because I feel this ever-compelling urge to make my fics as keepable as possible, I decided to go ahead and format the ebooks, in case people want to put my fics on their readers.

So you will now find ePub (for Sony Reader and B&N nook) and mobi (for Kindle) files for Ithaca is Gorges and Da Capo on their respective pages. Please feel free to download and share!

Monday Musings: The Gift of Auctions

June 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s June 7.

The sign-ups for FGB technically end in 8 days.

I haven’t signed up so far. I keep thinking about it. I even know what my auction would look like—two 5K pieces, to the high bidder and second high bidders. But lately, I’ve been bothered. Not because I don’t want to do it, far from it. But because I wonder if much of fandom has lost sight of why auctions are fun in the first place.

Let’s back up a little. One of the main things that protects our creation of fan works is the overt decision not to accept pay for what we do. There are people fighting for fan works to be granted full legal status, and at a minimum, popular acceptance of their legitimacy (cf. The Organization of Transformative Works), but we’re not there yet.

There have always been a few people who skirted this; back in the day when fanzines were popular, it wasn’t unheard of for one to turn a profit. And it’s hard to miss that lately one of our own main FF archives seems to no longer need outside advertising support. But for the most part, money exchanging hands for fan fic in a way that someone profits is a big no-no.

Enter the charity auction.

I’m not sure how this got started (I confess, I need to spend some time with my fandom history wikis) but along the road, some people got some ideas that it we could band fan ficcers together to raise money for a charity. One of the big multi-fandom charities has been the Support Stacie Author Auction, and this was my first exposure to such an endeavor, as the spring auction happened shortly after I joined the fandom in early 2009. Recently the SSAA has come under fire for a lack of transparency, an issue which I’m not sure has been completely resolved.

However. One of the core principles on which the SSAA was built was that the bidders were making a donation to commission the author’s time. They were not paying for the end result, but rather for the right to tell the author what to do.

In September 2009, I signed up for SSAA, offering a 3,000 word fic, because I thought it was unlikely that anyone would make the $25 bid necessary for me to offer a 9,000-worder. I was delightfully, and unexpectedly wrong and I spent the whole weekend bouncing with glee that people cared about my writing so much as to offer such generous donations. In the end, AnjieNet made a lovely contribution in my honor.

Now, here’s where the fun really begins. The only hard lines I’d set were AH, rape, pedophilia, and bestiality, and that if an outtake was requested from IiG, that I get veto power if it were something that would be written into the story later. I thought for sure that anyone who requested me would ask for an IiG outtake or a piece about Carlisle—he is, after all, the one for whom I’m known.

But she didn’t. She asked for Edward. Edward, the boy I feel I don’t understand. The kid who makes me want to throw my monitor when I write him. The character I swore at for 2400 pages in the canon and then for another 250 or so in my own book.

Edward was requested. And Edward it was to be. I sketched out an idea about his rebellious period, per Anjie’s request, and decided on this winding story that would show Edward in three different time periods but all around his departure and return. The name for it came almost immediately: “Da Capo,” Italian for ‘to the head,’ the instruction in a piece of music to repeat back to the beginning.

And when I sat down at the keys, something wonderful started pouring out. I found myself grappling with Edward like I’d never known him. Gone was the cocksure man driven by his own stubbornness that I wrote in Ithaca, and out came this scared child who feared nothing more than the loss of the love of the man who had been his companion. One chapter in I revised the whole outline, two chapters in, I revised it again, and by the end the story seemed to be hanging on Edward himself, not on what I thought I’d understood of him.

I got a completely different look at Edward because someone asked me to take a second a look at him. And that to me, is the real gift of an auction—that a writer might be asked to do something she otherwise might not do, and in doing so, will produce a piece that is phenomenally her own and grow to know the characters differently in the process.

So the current iteration of FGB concerns me. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to see such wild support for the cause right off the bat. And I love the utter transparency of FGB and the fact that it’s our fandom coming together. At the same time, however, when I see an author making a choice about what she will post, and then having a “team” assemble to “buy” access to that piece, two things pop up. One, we put ourselves at risk by making the auctioned item actually the fic itself, instead of the right to tell the author what to write. SM has been gracious to her fic writers, and I think we can continue to rely on her support. But other authors (Diana Gabaldon, anyone?) have not been so gracious. And without even having the pretense of auctioning the author’s time, the money-story link is much stronger. Another, newer author, might be bothered, and not permit fic of her stories (as is her right). We protect not only ourselves, but future fan fiction writers, by being careful about the way we treat the fic-money issue.

Two, the authors themselves are missing out. Yes, perhaps a giant team of people paying $5 a pop to read something produces more money in the long run than people auctioning for the right to tell an author what to pen. It certainly does seem that there are far more authors whose fics will be fetching thousands of dollars than there ever have been before, and that’s wonderful. I’m excited for the financial potential of this round of FGB. But to me, the gift of an auction is having someone think through what they wish you would write, and learning about yourself and your work through that process.

AnjieNet, I thank you for Da Capo. It wouldn’t have gone down if it weren’t for your request, and it’s one of the best, if not the best, pieces I’ve ever written. I learned so much from it and grew even more deeply in love with the characters I write. You donated money to help a woman with cancer, but I was the one who got the gift, and it’s one I will treasure forever.

Da Capo Teaser: “D.C. al Fine”

March 17th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Edward looked askance at the tiny pile of shriveling greenery that lay at the side of his knee. He could almost see them wilting, it happened so quickly once their roots were severed from the ground. They were like the bodies of the men he’d killed, one after another, lying in the dirt, slowly withering away to nothing. He ran his hand over the pile absently.

“There were so many,” he whispered.

Oh, Edward. She moved at full speed now, and her arms came around him protectively. He stilled himself, letting her hold him. Her arms were more slender than Carlisle’s, her wrists more delicate where they crossed over his shoulder. In the moonlight, her bare arms shone faintly. She laid her head on his shoulder a moment, and her hair tickled his ear. They sat for several minutes. Edward could hear the thrum of the summer locusts around them, and the gentle whooshing of the stream in the distance.

Esme’s chest expanded and contracted against his own ribcage as she heaved a sigh, and Edward felt a strange emotion from her.


His lip curled in disgust. “How can you be proud of me?”

Da Capo Teaser: 3rd movement

March 10th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

His thoughts of Carlisle vanished at once, however, when his feet made purchase on the soft soil of Eleanor’s expansive lawn. She and her husband were moderately wealthy, although it surprised Edward that they had no household help. A second woman in the house might be of comfort and help to Eleanor while Thomas was away. But instead there was no one, save the man whose scent seemed to surround Edward as he slunk his way around the house.

The indignant anger was instantaneous, a fire licking at his insides as he sprang into position at the windows. He cast his own mind wide, trying to pick up on anything. The man’s scent was everywhere—had he been haunting this woman all afternoon?

Edward moved swiftly, looking in first the kitchen, then the living room, then the back window. Nothing, nothing, and nothing—nothing, that was, except the greasy fingers, the strong scent of eau de cologne and bootlegged whiskey. He gagged, but kept going, following the trail the greasy pervert had left behind. It circled the entire first floor of the house—the voyeur had peered in every window, it seemed. But when he reached the front door, he stopped cold.

The noisome odor was stronger on the other side.

“Da Capo” Teaser: 2nd Movement

March 3rd, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

His reply was sharper than he intended, and Carlisle’s face clouded with hurt once again. Edward drew a deep breath and made eye contact. It was just after sundown, and Carlisle’s eyes shone in the waning daylight. They had been blue, Carlisle had once told him, and for a moment Edward busied himself trying to imagine them that way, instead of the saffron or obsidian that he was used to. He tried to imagine his father’s gaze looking on him with eyes looking like heaven itself—because that made sense for Carlisle—and he instantly felt ashamed.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered, looking downward again. “It’s not you. I just—I’m not ready.”

Carlisle stared at him again, his expression softening. You will heal, Edward. I know you will. Give it time. His hand floated unconsciously to his own left shoulder, and Edward winced.  Carlisle didn’t miss his expression.

This healed, too. He patted his shoulder. Quickly, in fact. But the heart takes longer. As does the soul.

The soul. Edward let out a frustrated growl. They weren’t supposed to have them. Vampires were damned creatures, or so the legends said. Not that very much was true about the legends, but Edward clung to this. And even if he hadn’t been damned when he’d set out running from the little house in Barre, wasn’t he undoubtedly damned now? How could one take nearly four hundred lives and still expect eternal forgiveness?

He had no soul.

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