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[sticky post] Dear Yuletide Author

Dear yuletide author,

Thank you so much for writing for me! Luckily, I am remarkably easy to please. Unluckily, I'm still fairly new to this (this is my second yuletide), so I'm still not quite sure I'm doing this right. Hopefully I am! Please feel free to disregard anything but squicks/no thank yous if I'm not. I'm into darkfic, so there aren't too many DNWs.

I'll disclose that I have trouble giving prompts because usually if I have a specific prompt in mind, it tends to be something I want to write. I will try to do so because I know they're often appreciated, but please don't feel locked in to them. Also, you do not have to use every character I've chosen. Feel free to focus on one, add in others not mentioned (by me or in tags at all), even throw in new/OC folks, whatever.


[Spoiler cut for potential trigger content]

  • Rape/noncon (I'm a-okay with dubcon &/or harsh, consensual BDSM scenes)

  • Mpreg

  • Genderswap

  • Abuse (again, I'm a big fan of consensual BDSM, though not degradation/humiliation/medical play)

  • Cannibalism

  • Biological incest ('chosen family'-type relationships exploring/turning into something more are fine)

  • Weddings

  • Coffee shop/high school AUs

  • 2nd person POV (unless it's Choose Your Own Adventure, and omg, I should totally see if that qualifies next year)

  • Cliffhangers

General likes &/or loves

  • I pretty much like most* darker tropes not listed above. Violence, addiction, apocalypse/dystopia (LOVE those), mindfucks, etc. are all fine.
    *I say 'most' only in case I find a surprising squick I'm yet unaware of, which is educational for me and nothing for you to worry about if it's not on my DNW list.

  • BDSM/kink

  • Happy as well as horrible/tragic/OMGWTF endings

  • Gen, het, slash, ethical polyamory

  • Magic/supernatural

  • Porn! I do prefer mine as an addition to plot, but there's always room for porn

  • Crossovers/fusions (it helps if it's a fandom I'm familiar with – my AO3 lists some of them)

  • Crackfic

Thanks for reading, and for considering writing a story for me!

-Fandom info listed under cut-

Kushiel"s Legacy, Being Human (US), GalavantCollapse )

Earliest Memories

When I say I used to have a phenomenal memory, I really mean it. My earliest memory is from infancy, and I remember loads of stuff from the time I was two until about seven. At age seven, the evil stepdad entered the picture and things start getting fuzzier. I know that my early memories are because I used to obsess over how great out lives used to be before we moved to NC, so I thought about & remembered it all day every day.

I've realized that I don't reflect a lot these days, and I think that's contributing to my memory issues. I never sit down and think about everything I'd like to remember from the day/week, and I'm going to start doing that. I'm always seeking input, input, input to keep from being bored. I'm online or I'm reading a book or doing chores or brainstorming my next story. Always doing something or finding something to fill my head with instead of reflecting on what's done. That's going to change.

My earliest memory literally is from infancy. I think we may have even been in Iowa, where I was born, though we didn't stay there very long before heading back to Illinois, where our family's from. Maybe it was IL. Anyway, I remember being in an infant seat, in the middle of a truck, with a friend and my mom. He took her to a grocery store, and she ran in and left me in the car for a few minutes. I'm pretty certain I cried, and I remember him (I think maybe it was our friend John B?) telling me, “It's okay. She'll be right back, I promise.” It may have been the first time she actually separated from me, to be honest. I heard I was a clingy baby.

I recall mom saying that we didn't have stuff like kid seats when we were younger, so I thought maybe it was a false memory. But I looked it up and saw a seat just like I remembered, so I think I must have had an infant seat but sat on my own once I was big enough to. I've always remembered that day clearly, sitting in a truck in the parking lot of some grocery store.

My next memory is from when I was two. Mom was pregnant with my sister, and I put my head to her tummy and tried to hear the heartbeat. I thought I did, and then I also thought I felt a heartbeat in my own stomach. Mom said it was my own, but I knew my heart wasn't in my tummy, so I became convinced that I was pregnant too and she just didn't believe I could feel it there too. She got pretty mad at me, actually, which is why I remember. Eventually I realized she was right.

And, of course, there was that time I rode my tricycle backwards on the porch and broke my elbow. Mom was seven or eight months pregnant, and she picked me up and ran up the hill (maybe two?) to the hospital not too far from our house. They kept her longer than they kept me.

I remember moving to Arizona, and on the way to the new house, we stopped at a drive through. I think it was BK, but it might have been McD's. We went 'home' and had a picnic on the floor of an empty house. I remember my mom was my teacher at Merry Moppet's Preschool, and they tricked me into moving to Ms. April's room when I turned four. They said I could move back to mom's class if I didn't like it, and I didn't like it, but they wouldn't let me move back. Mom tried to rally me by pointing out that I was still with the first boy I was “in love” with: BJ. Or maybe it was CJ. That part I can't remember. But I remember that his sister taught me how to swing, and she was the only one who could after everyone trying for the longest time. She did the 'spider' thing with me sitting backwards across her lap, and I finally got it.

I also remember walking home from Merry Moppet's with mom one day and seeing a giant rat in overalls looming above the red Arizona mountains (maybe they were just rocks and I was small). Mom couldn't see it, and I was terrified. I'm still not sure where that came from, but I remember it clearly. I also later, in IL again, saw a giant bunny in overalls on Easter. I thought maybe my uncle dressed up, but I was clearly followed by giant, overall-wearing rodents throughout my childhood.

I remember the trailer park we lived in in South Carolina, where I first started school, and the neighbors up the road who used to always take me & my sis to Jim Bakker's amusement park. Our trailer park had a pool, and my sister Tina almost drowned in it one day. I remember Mom pulling her limp body from the water. She'd been right there on the steps, and we were all around her, and nobody knew how she'd gone under or for how long she'd been there. But Mom pounded her back, maybe even puffed a few CPR breaths into her, and she spit up a bunch of water, and everything was fine. Tina also almost drowned at a river one time, actually maybe twice, and Mom became convinced that she was going to lose Tina (a pisces, actually) by drowning. It does make me nervous sometimes now that she lives at the beach. I get scared every time there's a hurricane.

I remember when Mom and Dad broke up, and we drove back to Illinois with all of our dishes wrapped in towels below my feet. I cried as we pulled away, half for fear and missing Dad, and half because we couldn't find my Rainbow Blankie and glow worm. Luckily, each was found. I still missed Dad.

It Is Finished.

*kermit flail*

After nine years, six partial-drafts of various backstory generations, copious amounts of research & worldbuilding, roughly 134k words in this draft alone, and, of course, a little help from my friends (which started a fantastic novel tradition), I can say that I have finally ~finished!~ my NaNo WonderSaga.

I have a full & complete first draft!

This is the first full & complete novel draft of my life. I have started a great many since the time I was seven, and now I have finished one.

She still needs revision -- lots of it -- and I still haven't hit 50k on this year's NaNo, but I'm finally done. The rest is just prettying her up.


Here's one I don't want to forget.

"Dad, what age were you when you was a kid?"


Maya Memories

Maya gets the better end of this deal, as she is still young enough that I can write down most of the memories I will want to carry with me. But here are some of my favorites from what I can remember so far.

She was such a water baby! From the very start, she was happiest when floating in a pool, swimming in a river, or just splashing in water. Her nonstop smile and squealing when she first discovered the wading pool is one of the best things I've ever seen. The child's favorite pastime is filling up a pitcher in the sink and playing in it with all of her dolls. She'll stand on a chair and play for hours with all of her little dolls and littlest pet shop creatures floating around in the pitcher.

When she was still an infant, even, like 3 months old, my NaNo project was The Dragon Alliance, and she became obsessed with dragons. I used to set up slideshow screensavers during NaNo where I would choose pictures that reminded me of my novel or that inspired the subject. 2011 and 2012 were all dragons. Maya was positively enthralled. She seriously learned the sign for 'dragon' at three months. She would tell me by signing “Dragon! Dragon!”, and I would have to hook my computer up to the TV and let her watch the slide show again and again.

Dragons were not the only thing she was obsessed with as a baby. Remember Dave Canterbury from the original Dual Survival show? Turns out he's not such a dick as he played on TV. Dave's actually pretty darn cool, and he runs an awesome survival tutorial channel on Youtube. Josh still watches this all the time. That used to be the only thing Maya would sleep to. Not just Dave, but specifically his blacksmithing videos. Something about them and the ting...ting of metals would just put her right to sleep. As an infant! Such a weird but wonderful baby.

We do a 'Naked-butt Dance' every time we find ourselves naked at the same time. She's pretty much always naked, and I spend a fair amount of time (especially in summer) naked myself, so this is pretty often. I hope I never, ever forget our naked-butt dance. It's brings her such pure joy.

I have little songs I've made up for her. The most common is: “Yes, Mom loves her bitty, bitty baby...bitty, bitty baby...bitty, bitty BAAAAAAA---BYYY! Yes, Mom loves her bitty, bitty baby...bitty, bitty baby BUMP-A-ROO!” Then repeat and end on “I LOVE YOU!” Maya will sing this to me when she's in a lovey mood, only she changes it to “bitty, bitty Mommy.”

And stories! Ah, the stories. As you may know about me already, I love a good story. I tell stories to my children often, and they usually star whatever kiddo(s) I'm telling the story to. So Maya does the same thing when she tells stories, only she starts hers with, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Bamanda.” She can't say my name at all, even after all these years. She always says “Bamanda.”

Like my other two (although, sadly, this has stopped for them -sniffle-), we start every day with cuddle time. She ends up in my bed at some point every single night. Can't break her of it. So if I don't wake up with Josh at 4am, Maya wakes me up whenever she gets up...with kisses. She'll smootch me, then pull away and fake snore. If that doesn't rouse me, she repeats until I come to – always pulling away, even sitting straight up, to fake snore and let me “wake” her up.

But my favorite memories from right now are probably watching her run with the dogs. It started with the whole pack, until we lost Gus and finally finished our pen for Shmirtzy. Now it's usually only with Chi-chi, who is our inside dog and who goes outside with me every time I do. Chi-chi adopted me rather than the other way around. Anyway, Maya is totally their puppy-sister. They run as fast as their little legs will carry them, squealing and nipping at each other. Well, Chi-chi 'nips' (gently, as with a puppy), and Maya just drops to all fours with her butt in the air and wiggles before jumping right back at Chi-chi, and then they run circles around the yard, both smiling, neither one sure who is chasing whom.

I'm so lucky to be blessed with such fantastic kids. I'm sorry to have forgotten so much of Eden and Ivy's youth. I hope I can get some of those memories back, and I hope I don't lose anymore.

Ivy Memories

Some of my favorite Ivy memories are about my Reiki Master attunment. I had been eagerly awaiting it when the class was offered during my pregnancy. I'm the type of mom who won't even cut my kids' hair without it being their decision, so I was really torn. But ultimately I figured that the timing was for a reason, and I became a Reiki Master/Teacher.

It was a powerful, heady experience. My RM felt that I had received my attunement and the baby had received three hoops, one for each level. He felt we were both RMs, and after she was born, it was entirely obvious. Ivy is my natural-born Reiki Master, and I could tangibly feel the difference between her energy and that of Josh or Eden's, whom I had later attuned.

I was pregnant when I passed my very first attunement. I wanted reiki during labor, and I hadn't gotten around to Josh's class/attunement yet. As with Eden, my water broke well before labor, so I spent the day filling him in on class-type info while we ran around getting things ready. We were at my mom's house when I did the actual attunement, and THAT may have been the most powerful experience I ever had. I don't know if it was because it was my first attunement, or because I was pregnant with a second little RM, or because it was mine and Josh's energy, but it was astounding. I felt like we practically exploded – or perhaps imploded – with so much energy. I can still feel it when I talk about it, eleven years later.

I realized undoubtedly that she was a RM after she was born. I have a meditation that I like to do with my kids when I'm nursing in bed. I visualize all this love and reiki energy flowing through both of us, through my milk, and I do like a chakra-cleansing/aligning-ours-together thing as we lie and bond together. When I started doing that with Ivy, I felt her responding with powerful energy of her own! It's a legitimate difference, and it's awesome.

I remember the febrile seizure she had that scared me so, but that's not a favorite by far. What is a favorite is her beautiful, crooked smile once she was for sure okay. I say crooked because she looked funny for weeks afterward. I can still look at pictures and tell you if that was around her seizure-time. It lasted almost 15 minutes, which Josh says I exaggerate about, but I don't. I'm used to timing his seizures, I had the flylady-implanted 15 min timer, and she only quit shaking moments before the paramedics arrived.

But that smile the next day...I've never been so happy to see a baby smile.

Her squeal as she held Achaiah, often by the face, with Achaiah just licking her senseless.

The occasional moments she and Eden play nicely together and obviously love each other.

Her baking.

Her unwavering zeal for Halloween.

The fact that she thinks a pinky promise means she can cut your finger off if you break it.

The Walking Dead/My Little Pony crossover she wrote for her first NaNoWriMo.

So many things I hope I'll never forget.

End of Event Survey

Which hour was most daunting for you? Probably 11pm (central). I get up at 4:30, so I finally collapsed for a few hours sleep when I could no longer concentrate on words.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? These might be pretty hard reads, but I enjoyed Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family and Night. Both were short enough to finish.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? No, everything seems pretty fun. Maybe get the start time out to folks sooner. The FAQ mentioned years ago, and I didn't find it until just a few days before (via seeking out the FB event).

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I enjoyed a lot of the mini-challenges, and voting on favorite genres was fun. I was sorry to have missed most of those!

How many books did you read? Four, working on my fifth. They were pretty short though, chosen that way purposefully.

What were the names of the books you read?
Punch Lines: Humerus Art by George Wachob
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
Ariel, by Sylvia Plath
Night, by Elie Wiesel

Which book did you enjoy most? Ariel

Which did you enjoy least? Punch Lines

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? For sure! I'm pretty happy as a reader for right now. I'd like to maybe host mini-challenges in the future, but read-a-thons are a bit difficult for me yet with a wee-ish one.

Night, by Elie Wiesel

Night, by Elie Wiesel, is the 'book in translation' selection for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.


Brilliant & poignant.

Even after sitting here a bit, considering, there's really nothing else I can say.
1. What are you reading right now? I'm between books atm, but I'm about to read Night

2. How many books have you read so far? Three. And we're only half way! Granted, they were mostly pretty small, but I'm still astounded.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, if I can get to it.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Oh, many. I remember that I love them and deal with whatever as swiftly as possible. And I mention "read-a-thon" many times if necessary.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I guess just that I haven't had many chatters/commenters here or on twitter this year. We're all busy reading though. :)

Ariel, by Sylvia Plath

I am totally counting Ariel, by Sylvia Plath, as my 'Main character has mental illness' selection, as well as contemporary poetry collection, for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.


Five stars, though I toyed with the idea of four since Plath has a rather blasé attitude in her use of race/ethnicity as metaphors (or something) that makes me pretty uncomfortable. And some of these are uncomfortable.

Still, Plath has a way with words that just astounds me. She plays with their sound and spelling in such unexpected but perfect ways, and every poem is so raw and personal. This is a spectacular example. I particularly liked 'The Hanging Man' and the closing of the whole book in 'Words' – among a great many others. If you like poetry, or if you just like to play with words, I'd definitely recommend it.


Ahavah Ehyeh

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