blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Hurrah for hd-holidays reveals! I even have new authors to stalk from the small number I've managed to read. And am pleased to see that I recced a few friends! (And embarrassed to notice the fics I meant to rec but forgot about. Will try to get to a few of them over the next week or two along with my full recs for Fearless and Coffee, Cakes … damn rec-eating LJ.)

I wrote A Young Radical's Guide To Love, which whispered gently in my ear that it would be a well-behaved 30K fic, before bursting out into a 66,000 word one that secretly wanted to be about 100,000 words, but that would have involved going without sleep through September and October as well as November and a bit of December. I kept having to remember that [livejournal.com profile] cassie_black12 wanted lightness to the tone whenever I was tempted to make an overt Guantanamo Bay analogy, and [livejournal.com profile] raitala, who was indefatigable in her shouting at me to write 'More! Faster!', was also very good at the 'This requires more kissing. I am certain your recipient requested kissing!' To the point where my inestimable beta [livejournal.com profile] jadzialove said 'There is a lot of kissing in this for you. Have you been drinking?'

Which means that the three fastest winners of Monday's guessing game are [livejournal.com profile] phoenixnoor, [livejournal.com profile] astardanced77 and [livejournal.com profile] snegurochka_lee, with [livejournal.com profile] goddessriss being the most amusing. Not all my stories contain dreadful puns, Riss! A couple have even contained sex! (I think one of those may have had dreadful puns, though …) astardanced77 has already asked for an extra for Little Red Courgette, if the rest of you could leave requests here, I will set about meeting them!

[livejournal.com profile] nenne also guessed rightly, and [livejournal.com profile] oakstone730 wrongly but flatteringly. If you two have an extra you would really like, I will try to get to it, too!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Blessed be the cool change: 20 degrees C cooler today. Madness. Apparently, it might snow down Hobart way. Dear Planet, I know we are a dreadful species, but stop fucking with us!

Anyway, more recs from hd_holidays!

…And With Persons Even Worse, for [livejournal.com profile] novembersnow, 14,560 words. Someone is killing rentboys in Lower Knockturn Alley, you've already guessed the Auror sent in undercover to sort it. I'm not a fan of the rentboy trope, in much the same way I'm not that tall or blonde. In 5.5 years in fandom, this is exactly the second rentboy fic I have read that did not make me want to go 'ARGH!' and 'HOW? WHY?' at the author. Instead, I found myself reading avidly and enjoying it.

Cynics among you will say that could be because it is PG. I have to admit, that did help, because it kept the story focussed on the people and not the sex, and story is ALWAYS better focussed on people (if you don't believe me, I invite you to Google Bad Sex Awards and read up!) But this would under-value the tightness of the mystery and the compelling 'family' working the streets together, some of them unexpected and intriguing! And the ending was hopeful and as right as Baby Bear's porridge.

He closed his eyes. "Fun was it? Seeing how low the mighty Malfoy has fallen? Watching me flaunt my arse every night?"

"Not really."

Draco turned his head. Potter had that horribly earnest expression his face. The one that had always made Draco want to hex it off when they were in school. Not now though. Now he just wanted to believe it was real. That Potter's utter inability to give up, to do what any wizard with half a brain would do and walk away when faced with the impossible, would get Draco what he wanted this time. Would catch this murderer

The Shoemaker and the Elves, for [livejournal.com profile] hdwriter, 14,500 words. Draco makes shoes, usually. Until one morning, it turns out shoes also make themselves. This is a lighter story than the others I've recced, so if you're in the need of just a quick read or a pick-me-up, this is the one. Sweet and charming, though with some darker touches as befit its Grimm fairy tale origins, it's a very neatly wrought twist on the original. Draco feeling obliged to be honest about all the details was a particularly fun piece of characterisation, which fit in very well with the author's sense of where they would all be several years after the war.

Oh FFS, LJ just ate two more recs, which is clearly a sign that I have to go to bed!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
OK, let's see if I can type like the wind! Just a short rec list today because I did my first spin class of the year and Am Knackered. I didn't even take the break off gym! But the first week of the year is always full of instructors assuming you've eaten All The Pie, as they did ;-) Again, the following recs are all from this year's HD Holidays, and I am not reading in order, so they're a bit all over the place.

Hints are for Schoolboys for ME! HURRAH! There is another St Paul's in London, which was built out of one man's vanity and another's genius. It's nestled in one of the busier parts of the city, where tourists mingle and people do strange things, including tightrope walking. Really! So with everyone busy with their own things, it's the perfect place for an unobserved kiss.

The artist is about as anonymous as I am tall. And she fooled me AGAIN. There is a long story there, which I will share after reveals. Suffice to say that this is a perfect slice of London rendered in watercolour and you will LOVE it.

Quietus  for [livejournal.com profile] frayach is a very tightly composed 17,600 words. Straight after the final battle, Draco realises that he wants to do something to make it all seem worthwhile. He asks Harry Potter if there's something he can do to help, and Harry rebuffs him – while he hopes Malfoy is sincere, he's too exhausted to think about it right now. But the Order of the Phoenix still exists, and Draco is perfectly positioned to draw out escaped Death Eaters.

His handler Charlie Weasley disguises him as Malcolm, a distant Weasley cousin (home-schooled) and stows him in a safe house. One shared by another Order member. You will win no prizes for guessing his name. And so each has a chance to get to know the other, and to right past wrongs.

This is another compassionate story, where mistakes are not overlooked, but they can be moved past, and you can learn from them and not make them again. There are some wonderful ideas in here that I cannot tell you about because they would be too spoilery, but let me just say that it is a lovely piece of plot-driven gentle romance, with a genuine intelligence.

And there are lots of lovely passages in this piece, too. A non-spoilery bit from the beginning: 'He grew dimly aware of the noise and activity rising around them as the survivors' shock wore off and the process of recovery began—bodies removed, tables replaced, knots of students (and adults, even) passing a somewhat dazed-looking Potter from hand to hand like a Quaffle. The Hall began to fill with daylight, bright and relentless, as though this were just any ordinary morning—as though the world hadn't upended itself in the light of dawn.'

Like in a Dream  for omi_ohmy, just over 18,000 words. I need to do a load of washing before I can sleep, so I am just going to edit my comment for this one. Harry has been plagued with bad dreams since the War and has used lucid dreaming techniques to manage them. Into one of his dreams blunders Draco Malfoy, lost in the dreamscape and cut off from his body, a body that he can't even direct Harry to. Unless he can be found and made whole, he's doomed.

I loved the many layers of care that make up this story. It's a generous and gentle story out of two people's hurt that uses such richly evocative language that it was easy to get lost in the dream world and start seeing it as the real one. I loved that the writer then snapped us back into the 'reality' of the story with Harry's Aurorly investigation of Draco's, er, Separation full of economical language and appropriately mocking sidekicks. The reality of Harry and Draco's past creeps into their idyll in the dreamworld, bringing laughter and learning, and even understanding.

It's much pornier than most fics I read, there were a few scenes I had to read with my eyes shut, but I really enjoyed the cleverness of this fic, and it's tremendously romantic, a perfect Sunday afternoon fic!

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Before we get to the matter of this post, Vale Tony Greig, and WOO! Sir Wiggo!

Now. The age of miracles is not past: I have NOTHING to write that must be written right now. Admittedly I have loads that I ought to be cracking on with, but in the spirit of the holidays, I am reading fanfic instead. Hurrah! And so, some recs from the current hd_holidays. Where I have so far managed to read about 7% of posts … Oh well. Still, recs!

Take a Chance, Make a Change for [livejournal.com profile] stellamoon is just under 24,000 words of Harry the sore-backed Healer and Draco Malfoy, real estate agent trying to find Potter a house big enough to fit a comfortable bed. That they might both have designs on what goes on in that bed would surely have been easier to notice if Harry wasn't so exhausted and Draco so shy.

The author has a real lightness and surety of touch that made this a swift and enjoyable read. Friends and work situations are deftly drawn and although there is a comfortable familiarity about many of the settings, there are also moments of delicious originality, my favourite being:
"He was, however, a fan of the crisp notes bearing their Queen's head. Draco currently had a handful of them tucked neatly inside his wallet, much lighter than a pouch full of coins. In fact, so strong was his approval that he had been lobbying both Gringotts and the Ministry for quite some time for Galleon notes at the very least. If for no other reason than the fact a pocketful of weighty coins did nothing for the line of a good suit."

Department of Mysteries for [livejournal.com profile] marianna_merlo is a beautiful series of art panels with text. I was lucky enough to beta this piece, and it was a joy! From the opening images of a coolly interested Draco and a wary Harry, it's a compelling ride along with the two of them as they attempt to sort out things that have gone very wrong in the Department of Mysteries. The original material on the Ministry and magic is utterly convincing, and very clever, sketched out with shirt prose pieces that link the images. But it's the images that will stay with you: I am tempted to say boots! and patronuses! but then I would have to say longing! despair! kindness! action! and it would all come down to They're All My Favourites, as it may well for you.

Here's the Pencil, Make it Work for [livejournal.com profile] fireflavored sits at just-under 50,000 words, but the writing is so smooth and assured that it feels like nowhere near this length. To say that this is the most competently written story on my list sounds as though I am damning with faint praise in this age of arch commentary, but I mean that at face value: there is a lilt and flow to every aspect of this story that comes with skill on the part of the author.

The story itself is simple enough: Harry is worn out from the expectations of the media and has taken to prowling Muggle London, er, which is to say, walking around to familiarise himself with Muggle London. When he one day enters a new coffee shop, it comes as a great surprise to find Draco Malfoy behind the counter:
"Malfoy is working. He is wearing a nametag and a smock. He is counting muggle money and making various drinks with practised ease, and chatting to his obviously muggle co-worker like they do it all the time. He is flirting with the customers, most prominently with the old lady who comes in shortly after Harry sits down. He is humming along and even dancing a bit to the muggle music on the radio, swaying and mouthing the words as he pumps flavoured syrup into someone's latte like a normal, chipper fucking person.

What the fuck."

I will confess that I had my old pouf issues with the word smock, which means something very different for me, however, this added to the comedy on several occasions. Let us not speak of flavoured coffee: you people who would defend it know that you secretly want a milkshake. Philistines! And don't tell me it's popular: 50 Shades of Grey!

Back to the story, the central relationship is rounded out by a marvellous cast of canon and OC friends, who enrich our view of events and characters, with real depth and humanity. It's the perfect story for a bitterly cold or oppressively hot December or January day, when you just want to settle in.

Heart Music for [livejournal.com profile] icmezzo is a short piece of animation where Harry the Healer (clearly the new black) can hear music that no-one else can as he wanders around the children's wards of St Mungo's. Lovely soft watercolours that remind me of the colours of [livejournal.com profile] leochi, though with more (yet tasteful!) nudity at the end. It's a very pretty, gentle piece, with the scene of Harry and Luna in the garden and – I know you will be shocked to hear this – the nudes at the end the two standout images for me.

Manticoria for [livejournal.com profile] ashiiblack will probably be the longest fic of the fest at 70,000 words, but it's worth the effort. I know that traditionally one is meant to say only lovely things about fest fics, so you can call me honest, a rebel or a bitch when I say that this is a flawed fic. I have to say that upfront, because you will notice things as soon as you start to read that might make you stop, and that would be a tremendous shame, because its flaws don't matter half as much as its successes, and indeed, some add to them. Set after the war, there is no time to rest because the wards that protect wizarding Britain from Muggle view are falling. With the New Ministry at a loss, the students whose seventh year was interrupted by the war are called back to Hogwarts and divided into teams then set to work on parts of the problem in a bid to see if they can solve the problem that has defeated the older generation. Because it worked last time …

The level of imaginative effort that has gone into this story is immense and sustained. Much of it is anchored in original ideas of wandlore that are complex and compelling. Harry has had dreams ever since he won Draco's wand, and he is not alone. But personal feelings must be pushed aside as they battle against seemingly insurmountable difficulties and an increasingly desperate deadline. There is a broad cast brought in to play here and all move in and out of the action as characters rather than as plot devices – in itself a great achievement – as the impossibility of succeeding in time becomes more apparent and more terrifying.

As to the flaws, most are byproducts of trying to write a big story in a small period of time: literal errors, shifts in the scope of some parts of the story, sections that could do with expansion or added clarity – especially the politics … Some are a matter of taste: having the Celtic pantheon suddenly invoked at every turn irritated me hugely, but that's probably because I spent too much of my childhood on communes listening to women named Storm telling me how you had to wait for the Elder tree to give you its wood for a wand and then being sent off to gather herbs for their 'spells' while they made cow eyes at my father. That I kept reading regardless is a testimony to the main parts of the story being strong and vital.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It's the time of the year when people remove the most embarrassing errors from their hd_holidays fics and repost them at their journals. And who am I to buck tradition?

This was submitted shamefully late, and was hugely difficult to write, not because it is in any way deep and thinky, more because I just wanted to have a long nap or a cool shower. Why I keep staying in Sydney summer after summer is a mystery. I should have stayed in Florence and sold a kidney to have J and the kitties join me. (Of course, come next July and August, I would be whining about the weather in Tuscany ...)

I had thought that I would write witty new authorial notes and so on, especially mentioning how much I like Rose's work and how excited I was when I found out I was writing for her, but have just been out to dinner and have the brain power of a particularly stupid sheep at the moment, so instead I will finish editing the notes I made while I was writing this and post them some time in the next few days. Along with more (possibly even all the rest) of the fic that must not be named. But for now, this.

[livejournal.com profile] wemyss , I promise you that you will like this one even though it features a Labour government. And for those who know nothing about British politics, I am assured that it doesn't really matter. And for those wondering if this was the reason I had a sudden panic as to whether Americans might have a limit of tolerance for Britishness in fics, why yes! Yes it is!


Author: [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton 
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] fourth_rose 
Title: For the Public Good
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, possibly many people/Boris Johnson, but let’s not go there.
Summary: Harry is loaned to the Muggle government to assist relations between the two governments after the London bombings. When his counterpart in the Communications team comes to him with evidence of a plot to expose wizarding Britain, he is all ears. And only in part because the messenger has such a familiar voice.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): The prompt-giver requested Draco dealing with the Muggle world, hence there is an awful lot of it!
Epilogue compliant? What is this epilogue of which you speak?
Word Count: ~23,500, in three parts
Author's Notes: Dear Rose, I am a great fan of your work, and, as such, it pains me to admit failure. But while your prompts of politics, Draco dealing with Muggle culture and professional jobs were easy enough, every time I sat down to write angst, comedy erupted instead. I ask a great favour – that you believe they are using humour to mask their pain. Aside from that, I think I hit most of your requests, and do hope you enjoy this trifle, gifted to you in suitable appreciation of your wonderful opus. Many thanks to those who helped with it, especially jadzialove, who saved it from the most appalling typos, and rickey_a, who assured me Americans would cope, you are all wonderful. And to the mods for their patience and support, which was above and beyond!


Part one, in which the adventure unfolds! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It's the time of the year when people remove the most embarrassing errors from their hd_holidays fics and repost them at their journals. And who am I to buck tradition?

This was submitted shamefully late, and was hugely difficult to write, not because it is in any way deep and thinky, more because I just wanted to have a long nap or a cool shower. Why I keep staying in Sydney summer after summer is a mystery. I should have stayed in Florence and sold a kidney to have J and the kitties join me. (Of course, come next July and August, I would be whining about the weather in Tuscany ...)

I had thought that I would write witty new authorial notes and so on, especially mentioning how much I like Rose's work and how excited I was when I found out I was writing for her, but have just been out to dinner and have the brain power of a particularly stupid sheep at the moment, so instead I will finish editing the notes I made while I was writing this and post them some time in the next few days. Along with more (possibly even all the rest) of the fic that must not be named. But for now, this.

[livejournal.com profile] wemyss , I promise you that you will like this one even though it features a Labour government. And for those who know nothing about British politics, I am assured that it doesn't really matter. And for those wondering if this was the reason I had a sudden panic as to whether Americans might have a limit of tolerance for Britishness in fics, why yes! Yes it is!


Author: [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton 
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] fourth_rose 
Title: For the Public Good
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, possibly many people/Boris Johnson, but let’s not go there.
Summary: Harry is loaned to the Muggle government to assist relations between the two governments after the London bombings. When his counterpart in the Communications team comes to him with evidence of a plot to expose wizarding Britain, he is all ears. And only in part because the messenger has such a familiar voice.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): The prompt-giver requested Draco dealing with the Muggle world, hence there is an awful lot of it!
Epilogue compliant? What is this epilogue of which you speak?
Word Count: ~23,500, in three parts
Author's Notes: Dear Rose, I am a great fan of your work, and, as such, it pains me to admit failure. But while your prompts of politics, Draco dealing with Muggle culture and professional jobs were easy enough, every time I sat down to write angst, comedy erupted instead. I ask a great favour – that you believe they are using humour to mask their pain. Aside from that, I think I hit most of your requests, and do hope you enjoy this trifle, gifted to you in suitable appreciation of your wonderful opus. Many thanks to those who helped with it, especially jadzialove, who saved it from the most appalling typos, and rickey_a, who assured me Americans would cope, you are all wonderful. And to the mods for their patience and support, which was above and beyond!


Part one, in which the adventure unfolds! )

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