desertvixen: (optional details are optional)
Sorry this wasn't up earlier, but I'm preparing to move and having a bad reaction to dust and dead bugs in my garage.

This is Yuletide Number Nine!  I'm really excited and I know we're both going to have fun with it.

General writing stuff can be found here.

I'll love whatever you write for me, so don't feel bad if we didn't match on one of my repeat requests.  All of my requests excite me!

I'm totally down for crossovers between fandoms requested, or with Poirot, Marple, etc.  On the Scoop one, I wouldn't be averse to working in the Queens of Crime deal.

Onto the specifics:

 

My letter, let me show you.... )

 

Good luck and good writing!

DV

desertvixen: (YT optional details are optional)
Time flies when we're having fun.  This will be my EIGHTH Yuletide, and I look forward to it every year.

 I want to apologize for being a little late getting the letter open, but I've been busy getting married, so catching up now.

 Optional details are, of course, optional - but I'm one of the people who always wants MOAR INFO on what you want, so I provide plenty.

General wants/DNWs:

 Stories don’t need to be super sappy and sugary/fluffy, but please don’t get all grim and dark.  Bittersweet can work if there are hopeful tinges.

I like humor, and I don't think I do a good job of writing it - sparkling snappy dialogue always works!  (Especially if you are here to fulfill my Heyer request!)

Holiday-themed is always enjoyed if that’s where the story takes you, but not required.

I generally prefer het or gen.  I'd rather not have too-explicit sex for Yuletide, but romance is always in - ESPECIALLY if you're going a holiday route because I love Christmas and mistletoe. The "fade to black" or implied sex is fine, or making out.

I'm a fan of AU, but prefer canon-divergence or "what-if" scenarios, rather than "all the characters are at boarding school together" types (Unless they ARE all at boarding school together...)

Stories where problems are solved by feminine insight/intuition rock!  I think pretty much all of my prompts are good for the Misses Clause challenge if you're into that.

I participate in the Yuletide Madness Drabble Initiative, and I love to recieve drabbles as well!

If you know more than one of the requested fandoms, or some of my other fandoms (particularly Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, or And Then There Were None, which I nominated and then forgot to request), I love crossovers.  But only if you like to write them!

Please no explicit violence/gore (nothing higher than what already exists in a canon) and no sexual violence.  I'd also prefer you avoid major (i.e. nominated) character death.

On to the specific stuff.  Prompts are in no particular order.

Eleanor and Park, The Nonesuch, Murder on the Orient Express, The Scoop, Vorkosigan Saga )



I hope all this helps.  And just remember, whatever you write, I am going to enjoy - because it's going to be good and it's going to be a gift just for me.

Good writing!

DV

desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
Day 28 – Favorite title
2010 Answer: A Civil Campaign by LMB

Trying to come up with a title has never been my strong suit.  There's just so many ways to go wrong, and I'm really not a fan of the cutesy theme romance titles.

This time, I'll go with a classic Heyer title - These Old Shades.  It makes more sense if you know that the characters are "shades" of the characters in her earlier work, The Black Moth, as well as the "shades" or ghosts of the past between Saint-Vire and Avon.

DV

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desertvixen: (behold here is poison)
I missed a day due to transit.  We are in Kuwait, but don't spread it around until you see a post on FB that I am home, please!

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

2010 Answer: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

As I've said, I don't usually keep track of which plot twist is the most shocking ever.

This year, I'll go with Georgette Heyer's mystery The Unfinished Clue, since I picked up a copy of it someone sent over here to keep me company while in an area I couldn't have my Kindle in, then read it on the Kindle because I realized I had never highlighted it.  It has some memorable lines, but it gets today's answer because Heyer cleverly feeds you a red herring, and then totally redirects onto another character.

The Unfinished Clue features the classic person with too many enemies, so no one is really all that surprised that someone finally did the honors.  The murder victim (unusual for a period mystery that there is ONLY one murder victim) has a wife who abandoned him and their son years before the book opens - maybe 15?  There's a female character who Heyer leads us (well, me) to believe she could be the victim's wife.  The wife is indeed, in the area, but it's definitely not the woman you think it will be.

Much enjoyed.

DV

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desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
2010 Answer: Death on the Nile or And Then There Were None (Christie), The Perfect Poison (Quick), and Q-Squared (David)

So, picking a favorite Christie is hard.  There's SO many good ones.  Out of the 76 titles in my "desert island" file, 14 of them are Christie titles.

For Hercule Poirot, I'll still go with Death on the Nile.  It has a classic "how DID they do it?" plot, a pair of victims who you don't really feel too badly about, and a good film adaptation featuring Peter Ustinov, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, Mia Farrow and others.

For Miss Marple, I have to give the point to A Pocketful of Rye, where she isn't really invited in, but comes to solve the crime anyway.  I love how she does the plot, and there's a lot of room for stories to fit in, including some of the alternate ideas in her notebooks.  Point for dysfunctional families, a favorite of mine.

For standalones, it's a tossup between The Sittaford Mystery (snowbound murder, Ouija board, crossword puzzles, an intrepid reporter, a girl out to defend her man) and Murder is Easy (no one listens to little old ladies - what happens when a bored police type DOES).  And Then There Were None belongs in its own category, I think.

Out of the 76 "desert island" titles, 15 of them are Heyer novels.  For her mysteries, I have to go with Envious Casca, which has all the elements I love - dysfunctional family, character who (surprise! not) ends up dead, plenty of people with motives and no alibis, and an Inspector who's always paying attention.  For her romances, since I've already talked about The Nonesuch, I'll go with another dysfunctional family of hers, the Darracotts who star in The Unknown Ajax, which is just fun all by itself.  There's a good romance and good characters, and you will have a few good laughs while you read it.

DV
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desertvixen: (behold here is poison)
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
2010 Answer: Agatha Christie, Amanda Quick, Peter David

I still can't pick just one.

So, there are two authors who could probably mostly fill one of my bookshelves by themselves.  Their books were among the first to be downloaded onto Kindle.

Agatha Christie is still my favorite, although this time she is joined by Georgette Heyer.  The two of them have given me many, many happy hours of reading.

Christie is all about the plots.  How will it get pulled off this time?  I enjoy the characters, but many of them are sketched rather than drawn and finely detailed, despite the fact that Christie's plots hinge on people and how they act.  I love the novels.  I love the short stories.  I love the plays.  I've always been a Poirot fangirl - Murder on the Orient Express was my first Christie - but I've come to appreciate "Aunt Jane" and all the other detectives who populate the books, even if they don't intend to be detectives. (Emily Trefusis of The Sittaford Mystery comes to mind.)  The romantic elements often seem quick and spare, but fit the sentiments of the times.  She also does a good job of sketching in social details.

Heyer is all about the characters.  The characters make the story, whether you love them or hate them. The stories live and breathe.  Heyer made the Regency what it is, and everything else is an imitation - many of them enjoyable, but they lack what makes a Heyer story live and breathe.  Her mysteries are good as well, and her other historicals.  She inspired a lot of writers (including a close second place Lois McMaster Bujold, who acknowledges her in the intro to A Civil Campaign, and who has at least one Heyer-inspired moment - Miles' ride in the end of Barrayar marks him very clearly as a possible Darracott descendant) as well she should have.

Both are well worth reading.  In fact, both could probably have their own 30 day meme.

DV

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desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
2010 Answer: Saved By Scandal by Barbara Metzger

Now I feel like reading last year's answer on my Kindle, as it is part of my Desert Island file.  These are the books that I feel I can't live without, and several of them already have ended up as answers to this meme.  There will be more.  It's hard to top Saved By Scandal because it just makes you feel better.  Metzger is funny as all get out, and not stupid - her characters are a delight, even the people who are cardboard foils for the real characters.  The mishaps are over the top in this one, the villains are deliciously bad, and it puts a smile on my face.

This year, I'll go with another Georgette Heyer title (get used to seeing her name, because her books are something else), The Nonesuch.  This Heyer Regency has several elements that make me happy - a spoiled character who gets her comeuppance (not enough, sadly), the spinsterish governess Ancilla Trent falls in love with a handsome, smart, wealthy guy (Sir Waldo Hawkridge) who falls in love with her right back.  The dialogue sparkles, the characters are well-drawn on both sides, and Heyer's deft touch with the Regency is all over the place.  I'm fond of several of the supporting cast, including Mrs. Underwood, who is slightly mushroomy but a good soul at heart (despite her total inability to deal with Tiffany).

But he don’t look at her the way he looks at you – no, and he don’t talk to you as he does to her either! What’s more, if she ain’t in the room he don’t look up every time the door opens, hoping she’s going to come in!’ Her cool composure seriously disturbed, Ancilla said involuntarily: ‘Oh, Mrs Underhill, d-does he do so when – Oh, no! Surely not?’ ‘Lord bless you, my dear, of course he does!’ replied Mrs Underhill, with an indulgent laugh. ‘And if it is you – well, often and often I’ve thought to myself that if he was to smile at me the way he does at you I should be cast into a regular flutter, as old as I am!’

Yes, that makes me happy, in part because that's a very apt part of being in love.  This bit makes me happy as well, but for different reasons:

‘I said, Quiet !’ Tiffany was so much startled by this peremptory reminder that she gasped, and stood staring up at the Nonesuch as though she could not believe that he was speaking not to his cousin, but actually to her. She drew in her breath audibly, and clenched her hands. Miss Trent cast a look of entreaty at Sir Waldo, but he ignored it. He strolled up to the infuriated beauty, and pushed up her chin. ‘Now, you may listen to me, my child!’ he said sternly. ‘You are becoming a dead bore, and I don’t tolerate bores. Neither do I tolerate noisy tantrums. Unless you want to be soundly smacked, enact me no ill-bred scenes!’ There was a moment’s astonished silence. Laurence broke it, seizing his cousin’s hand, and fervently shaking it. ‘I knew you was a right one!’ he declared. ‘A great gun, Waldo! Damme, a Trojan !’


DV
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desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
Day 1 )

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
2010 answer: Murder on the Orient Express, Cards on the Table, and After The Funeral

Still wondering who this meme is geared to, because "books I have read more than 3 times" is a pretty broad category.  I reread a fair amount

A triple feature answer (since today's question is brought to us by the number three):

1. A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer - One of her best, although not what many would consider a romantic novel today.  It's more pragmatic, the heiress isn't beautiful, and she's more concerned with making her husband comfortable than having him make a passionate declaration of undying love.  (Of course, she wants him to be comfortable, because she does love him.)  It's also got one of Heyer's top 5 most annoying characters, Julia Oversley, the girl who the hero had an attachment to before everything got out of whack, and she's a melodramatic pampered drama queen.  The hero's mother is a bit of an homage to Mrs. Bennett, but not as annoying - maybe because A Civil Contract hasn't been made into a miniseries.  Too bad - I would watch.

2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Yes, a repeat from last time.  There's just something soothing about reading the mystery, having everyone trapped on the train, and watching Poirot do what he does.  Especially since he serves justice, rather than strict legality.  It's also got an excellent movie version.

3. Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon - I picked this one because I found a paperback copy of it here, and it was like finding an old friend to open it up and get lost in the pages.  It's the first book of the Serrano series, and sort of throws you into the middle of everything.  I love how the characters just suck me in, between Heris and Cecelia and the rest of the cast.  It's pretty light, until we get thrown right into The Most Dangerous Game.  Also, as you go through the series, I love how she ties things up in the final book, despite some of the plot twists that fall into the "sudden and inevitable betrayal" category.

DV


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desertvixen: (jerrica star power)
 So [livejournal.com profile] desert_sdwndr has arrived.  Yes, I am typing this with a big smile on my face.  It throws my schedule off some, but it was nice to have about four hours today to spend together.

 I got my assignment for [livejournal.com profile] intoabar, not sure I'm super happy with it because I barely recall the character, so I foresee some research and possible Kindle downloading.

 Finished up No Wind of Blame, and it will not be staying on the Kindle - into a reread of Behold, Here's Poison, which IMO has a much more entertaining cast.  They're a thoroughly dislikable group.  I may have to go on and reread Envious Casca next...  I am also having an idea which would be better addressed in a longer post, which I am working on.

 I'm also (slowly) downloading the whole 13 episode run of Visionaries to the computer.  The best solution here seems to be to start a download before I go to sleep.  I'm also going to try my hand at screencaps for some icons.  There's definitely some tropes in it I enjoy.

 Unfortunately I also have to polish off a piece of homework and try to finish reading the stupid book for class.

 DV
desertvixen: (Default)


Day 06 – A book on your Kindle that makes you happy

So, my Kindle includes a collection called "Desert Island".  In other words, if I could never have any more books than what is in this collection, these are the titles I absolutely must have.   I like the idea that I could just them out and read them, whenever, wherever. 

They are the books I adore.

As for making me happy, I think I would have to split between two of the Heyer titles that live in this collection. 

Cotillion is just happy and fluffy and the right amount of zany.  Plus I love that Kitty realizes just how lucky she is to avoid Jack.  Freddy, the guy in the book, is delightful.  It's a romp, with well-drawn characters and one of those families that just draws you in...because they are crazy.

The Nonesuch features Ancilla Trent, a blue-stocking governess to a spoiled brat with tons of money and feminine charms.  The brat ever-so-gently gets her comeuppance.  The gentle, well-bred girl gets the guy worth having.  And Ancilla, the governess, gets to marry one of Heyer's best heroes, Sir Waldo Hawkridge.  People get what they deserve, in general, and the small world the characters inhabit is exquisitely drawn.

Both of them are romances, obviously, but their endings are just perfect.  They're both books that I could pick up when in a blue mood, and smile by the end.

DV


The Rest of the Meme )
desertvixen: (cotillion)
Amazon has a whole bunch of Heyers (mysteries and romances) for $1.99. 

The Toll-Gate
Beauvallet
Royal Escape
Charity Girl
Bath Tangle
Arabella
Powder and Patch
Regency Buck
Cotillion
Sylvester
Venetia
The Grand Sophy
The Nonesuch
The Quiet Gentleman

Detection Unlimited
Blunt Instrument
Footsteps in the Dark
Unfinished Clue
Penhallow
Duplicate Death
Envious Casca

I'm mildly annoyed because a full-price Kindle version of Nonesuch was one of my first purchases (goes in the Desert Island section of my Kindle).  I snagged several of these.

DV


desertvixen: (behold here is poison)

So I stayed up late to finish it and... yes.  That was something different.

Under a spoiler because I know I can't be the only one reading these for the first time with the new editions:

Penhallow Spoilers )

DV
desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)

Days 1-24 )

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most - Yet another one where it's hard to just pick one.  I have to go with Delia Peabody (from the "In Death" series), with Ancilla Trent from The Nonesuch following closely behind.  Peabody is the sidekick, the smoother-over, the accomplisher of administration, although she manages to get enough smart-ass remarks in that she holds her own.  Especially as the only female in my job (where I am), I feel like I'm in this role a lot.  Eve also sticks her with a lot of the touchy-feely-girly stuff, and I end up doing a lot of it myself.  Ancilla is a bluestocking - smart, independent, and good with dealing with difficult people, which I hear a lot myself.

Days 26-30 )

desertvixen: (you must allow me to tell you)
Days 1-19 )
 

Day 20 – Favorite romance book - After some thought, I'm going with Cotillion by Georgette Heyer.  It's a light-hearted romp, with a heroine who does stuff for herself to improve her situation, even if she doesn't quite think everything through.  The hero isn't exactly dashing and daring, but he comes through in the end because he does think.  She starts out in love with a guy she thinks is much better than he actually is, and ends up with quite a catch.  It's also another one of Heyer's dysfunctional families, which I love.
 

Days 21-30 )
desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
I'm sorting books, and since I have the spiffy new trades of These Old Shades and Devil's Cub, the mass market paperbacks I have of those titles are up for grabs. Yours for shipping!

DV
desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)

The Destruction of Lord Raglan by Christopher Hibbert was a pretty good look at the Crimean War. There were a lot of small details to let you really feel what the war was like, and to give you a feel of the English soldiers. The Charge of the Light Brigade is covered, of course, as are the negative relationships between some of the British senior officers. It’s a relatively short read, although somewhat depressing.
 
The Madcap Heiress by Emily Hendrickson was a good Regency, part of her latest series about a set of siblings. Nothing major to write home about, except for the totally creepy suitor. My only real complaint about the book is that it wraps up and ends far too abruptly, when I would have liked to see a little more. 
 
Seduced By A Spy by Andrea Pickens was also a Regency, although Pickens has graduated to the ‘big Regency’ (a standard size paperback, as opposed to the smaller Zebra/Signet Regencies). It’s pretty entertaining, although none of the plot turns are too unexpected, with the exception of who the culprit is. The series idea (Regency-era James Bond female types) is pretty entertaining, and well-executed in this one.
 
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts – I usually am not too interested in the modern romances, but despite the fact that they’re like popcorn, Nora Roberts is hard to turn down. One of the things I really enjoy about the books is how she handles characterizations, even for fairly minor characters. It’s very evident in the Eve Dallas series, with the rather large revolving cast, but well-done in this book as well. If you like her stuff, you’ll probably like this, and the heroine does kick some ass. My only real quibble is that the bad guy is VERY obvious. I was expecting some sort of weird twist, but did end up being who I thought it was all along. Still definitely worth the read.
 
An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley is the first book in the Company of Rogues series. I already knew what had to happen as far as the larger story, but it was worth the read.
 
Big Green Purse by Diane MacEachern is a pretty informative book about how women can shop smartly to have an impact on the environment. It’s well worth reading to see how you can make a difference with what you have to buy, by choosing to spend your money on products that aren’t too harmful – for the environment or your pocketbook. I’m trying some of the suggestions out.
 
Vienna 1814 by David King was a fascinating read, full of personal and historical details about the Congress of Vienna. Dishy, but gives the historical details you need to make sense of things. The quotes that open each chapter are a nice choice as well. I particularly liked Napoleon’s quote concerning his mistakes with Talleyrand – not listening to him, and not having him hanged. He also weaves in the events around Napoleon’s escape from Elba. This should be on the to-read list for Regency fans, since the Congress of Vienna and the Napoleonic Wars provide major backdrops for that genre. Definitely worth buying in hardcover.
 
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts is the first book of a trilogy, and I think it rocked, despite not really being into the moderns. Her modern books are about the only ones I really enjoy. It’s a little unusual for a romance trilogy in that the trilogy’s couples are all 3 paired off in this book, although the bulk of the book is devoted to Couple #1. Usually romance series don’t introduce all the couples in one book. It seems to be her attempt to benefit from the rise of the paranormal romances, but it’s better than a lot of the stuff out there. The next one is out now, I think, but I’m saving it for my deployment. I trust her not to disappoint me.
 
Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America by Charlotte Waismann and Jill Tietjen is informative and gorgeous. It’s a chronology with a decent amount of information, but the pictures that accompany the text are wonderful for giving the reader a sense of connection to the facts. I would say it’s a great idea for a Mother’s Day gift, especially if the mom in question likes history. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to share these kind of things with her.
 
Great American Hypocrites by Glenn Greenwald was very good. It points out hypocrisy on the right, the sort of IOKIYAR attitude that irritates me (It’s OK If You’re A Republican), the idea that the men who represent “family values” have had more than one spouse, several of them have had nasty divorces, very few of them have served in the military – yet they blather on about defending the sanctity of marriage from same-sex marriage and get us involved in more wars. If you’re of a liberal bent, you’ll probably enjoy it – if you think Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are great guys, you probably won’t.
 
I read a couple of YA books this weekend to clear out both the to-read pile and my brain.
 
Lastly, I read two delightful Georgette Heyer romances: Black Sheep and Lady of Quality. Both were very, very good, but Lady of Quality edged out Black Sheep slightly. Both books take place in Bath, rather than London, and show that smaller society. Both also deal with women of independent means who have their own establishments, and both have young female side characters who provide a lot of entertainment. Black Sheep’s only flaw is that it seems as if it ends very abruptly. Lady of Quality’s hero, Oliver Carleton, was fantastic.  He doesn't get all tripped up in flummery, but is plain-spoken to the point of rudeness.  Of course, he has tons of money, which lets him be this way.  He's honest, and a good match for the heroine.
 
I loved the words that Heyer put in his mouth about marriage, declaring that he could not promise they would always have a happy marriage, but that he could promise he wanted to marry no one but the heroine. Maybe not flowery and romantic, but true. Every time I see someone bash romance novels (and yes, there are a lot that do deserve bashing and mocking), I want to hand them a Heyer novel and change their mind. 
 
DV
desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)

 The good people who brought us An Infamous Army and Cotillion in trade paperback have brought out the next one, A Lady of Quality.  I snapped it up for my birthday but haven't started it yet.

 DV

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