Friday, October 26, 2012

Have Cover Art, Will Publish

The cover art for my upcoming book, Sherlock Holmes: Have Yourself a Chaotic Little Christmas... is absolutely fantastic. I love it! It's so festive and fun, and really drives home the nature of the book, which is, after all, an advent calendar!

Plus, I just found this: Permit me a squee, please?

Oh, and one last thing! The release date is set for December 5th! Fingers crossed, everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Going to Press with MX!

Some of you might recall the advent calendar challenge on FF.N last December. You might recall my own contribution, Have Yourself a Chaotic Little Christmas. You might even recall my mentioning that I would have liked to get it published in time for Christmas 2012.

I almost didn't make it in time, though I was very fortunate to garner MadameGiry25's help in a grammar/spell check.

But I've been in touch with MX, and this is definite now.

Sherlock Holmes: Have Yourself a Chaotic Little Christmas is dated for a December 5th release!

It's that time of year again on Baker Street. That time when trees are trimmed, snow is falling, and... Mycroft is helping Watson to play out an old carol? Well, take one obsessive Sherlockian and give her a flood of ideas from wildly-imaginative fellow fans... and you get one wacky advent calendar of Sherlockian short stories. A picnic in a graveyard, a snowball fight, a violinist on the roof, a vampire or two, Jack the Ripper, Professor Moriarty, and the Baker Street Irregulars all combine to make this one unforgettable Christmas collection.

Keep an eye out for updates, please! (Needless to say, I've been bouncing off the walls... we are, after all, talking about my first traditionally-published book!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Mortality to Reichenbach

As you FF.N readers will know, the last chapter of Mortality has been uploaded. Even with the climax past, there was enough room for some treats in the final chapter, particularly one face-off that I just have not seen in fanfiction. (Yes, you will have to go read the chapter to find out who the players are.)

And I’ve actually had the epilogue sitting on my hard drive for a few days now (muchas gracias to Riandra for her encouragement to go ahead with the rather different style!). The title is simply “War,” regarding The War That Never Was between Scotland Yard and Moriarty’s empire (or family, as it would have been called at the time). The whole thing is written looking towards what is inevitable—or, in the terminology of the piece, “Reichenbach.” I’ll be uploading it soon, and I am so excited.

As a side note, the epilogue rounds the current total word count off to 80,000 words. Officially, the longest work of fiction I’ve ever written. And with all the bonus material coming, I think I can look forward to a final total of 90,000, at least.

Now for a shout-out. I started out last week with definite depression, for a variety of reasons and no reason at all. (I am an artist; this, sadly, is my definition of “normal”.) Someone on FF.N helped not only to pull me out of depression but also to pull me back in to Sherlockiana, in general. Azolean. Azolean started off my week by reviewing a couple of my Sherlockian fics and going so far as to buy AMM off of Amazon.


Now, if it had ended right there, it would have been really cool. But this person went further than that, going on to pick up Mortality and review the entire thing chapter-by-chapter.

Yes. Seriously.

In one week.

It was fantastic. It was one of the best things that had happened to me in a long time (alongside finding out that a certain idol of mine was actually reading the book, as well). Let’s rate it up there right below being introduced to Doctor Who (as far as great things this summer go). Yes, really!

I was practically living from review to review, and I truly missed the reviews when Azolean had gotten to the last chapter. But what an uplifting experience! Everyone loves getting praise on their stories, and even something simple, along the lines of “I loved this!” can be encouraging. But Azolean, despite reading the entire thing in a week, took the time to praise details (and sometimes criticize, and even that was very respectful and very welcome).

It was absolutely magnificent.

So borne up on a wave of glorious feedback, I actually went on to type out the prologue for The Road to Reichenbach. In fact, I’ve even started the first chapter! As I told Ria in answer to a question on the prologue, 90% of the dialogue is Canon, most of the body language is Granada or Granada-based, and then all the introspection is me.

Mortality is the book that I’ve been wanting to do since halfway through AMM… and Road is the book that I’ve been wanting to do since halfway through Mortality.

Road has also been, by far, the most difficult book of the three to plan. AMM was so easy—short, character-centric pieces. Quite often, I was churning out two or three in a day. From beginning to end, half a year… and only four months were actually spent in intensive writing and editing. Mortality, on the other hand, has always had a pretty loose outline, with plenty of room for improvisation. I knew the general direction I wanted the story to go, and I kind of gave the characters free rein.

In fact, the one time that I didn’t was the time that the entire thing had ground to a halt smack-dab in the middle. I then backed up and rewrote a few chapters, and moved on. The epiphany, the element that kept the book going from that point on, was Watson. Watson wanted to be the hero, and, seriously, who was I to deny him? The rest you readers know: Watson’s search-and-rescue operations make up Act II of the story.

Anyway, Mortality is a fairly-straightforward story. It needed more plotting than I’ve tried to give a story in a long time, but, even so, it’s not very complex. Its real strength lies less in plot (surprise, surprise) and more in characterization, not merely of Holmes and Watson, but of Lestrade, Mycroft, Wiggins, Moriarty, Moran…

And while I’ve been excited about The Road to Reichenbach, I’ve also been frustrated and worried. Think about it: Holmes has an ostensible plethora of cases that keep him in France from early January to late April. Plus, in FINA, he describes the past few months thus:

“[I]f a detailed account of that silent contest could be written, it would take its place as the most brilliant bit of thrust-and-parry work in the history of detection.”

You do see my problem, right? I still can’t write a mystery to save my life, and Mortality was hard enough for me to figure out, at times. How in the name of all that’s wonderful was I supposed to try to match that kind of genius vs. genius?

Bottom line: I couldn’t. I don’t have the mindset required for that kind of story. Which was what I knew all along, and I was trying to force myself to do something I knew I couldn’t manage. Well, that’s pretty self-destructive, isn’t it? So I stopped. I stopped and remembered my strength.


January to April 1891 needs someone who can really do that “silent contest” justice. That person is not me. However. However, I can do the characters justice. Yes, we’ll still see Holmes in France. We’ll get to see some of what he’s doing. And we will indeed be seeing the build-up to the infamous Monday mass-arrest.

Honestly, I think the Yarders are going to be much stronger characters in Road. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Bradstreet, Hopkins, and MacDonald—and, of course, more of Gregson. Morton, I can’t speak for just yet. But I expect we’ll see him, however large or small his role is.

Thus far, my chapter outline has seven chapters to detail events that Doyle depicted in one short story. It will probably grow as I reach that point. Honestly, the entire thing is really even more open for improvisation than Mortality, and it’s both scary and exciting. I’m not entirely sure where this road will take me, but I can’t wait to find out.

And now that I’ve gotten you all excited for The Road to Reichenbach, let me just remind you… Mortality still isn’t finished. There’s a lot of editing to be done. And that’s my first priority, up until I submit it for publication.

Next up, a review of Daniel Smith’s Sherlock Holmes Companion. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


As I said in my very first post on the aforementioned site, I have fallen to the Dark Side. Oh well. I do consider it something of a sister site to this blog, as they share their name. It will mostly be Sherlockian stuff, but don't be surprised at the random cute or pretty pic, or Tolkien, or Doctor Who. Or Star Wars...

Don't worry, it will still be mostly Sherlockian, I promise.

By the way, just out of curiosity... is anybody still reading this thing? I know I had a terribly long hiatus, and for that, I sincerely apologize. But, seriously, is anybody out there?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Infernal Device: The Professor, the Detective, and the American

First off, just let me apologize for the massive delay in updates. It's shameful, I know. I can attribute some of the causes to stress and preparation for college, but the sad fact is that a good chunk of the delay is sheer procrastination. And I am so sorry. Here's hoping that I can keep up blogging when I start college in September, eh?

Ahem. About two months ago (more delays, yes), my grandma took me, my cousin, and my cousin's friend out to see a stage adaptation of Michael Kurland's The Infernal Device. I can't tell you how excited I was. My first Sherlock Holmes play, and Michael Kurland to boot! I still have not yet read his Moriarty novels, but I'd known about them, and now more than ever I'm eager to get my hands on the series.

Unfortunately, the time given on the website was not when the play actually opened. Fortunately, we were only ten to fifteen minutes late. Unfortunately, the play was only an hour long. Fortunately, we were still able to pick up the story quickly.

And unfortunately - did I mention my tongue is in my cheek right now? - I didn't have the chance to look at the program before we got to our seats. Which was why I didn't realize that there were only five actors, and, no, that goon with the bad guy wasn't actually Holmes in disguise - it was only Holmes's actor. It got pretty obvious, though, that there were only five actors when the same redheaded actress kept popping up: she played several different women in the play.

I really enjoyed the artistic side of the production. The lighting, steam, and sound effects were quite, well, effective, and I could go on a rant about how they handled props and background. Specifically, the background was pure black. No painted scenery. I loved it. Because then the actors brought in the props - a desk, a streetlamp, a bed, the helm of a boat - whatever was necessary for the scene, and removed them at the end of each scene. Except for an attic-style pile of items which remained onstage the pretty much entire time, if I recall correctly, and they typically completed the image. Your imagination was allowed to fill in the blanks, and I love that.

As for the story itself, well... here be spoilers.

Holmes is getting obsessive with Moriarty. Let's get that out of the way right now. And this is not actually a story about Holmes, nor is it entirely a story about Moriarty. Let's get that out of the way right now, too.

In fact, an American journalist and a Russian anarchist really steal the show, the former with his competency and wittiness and the latter with his deliciously over-the-top psychopathy. Benjamin Barnett, the aforementioned American, is not the type of man you'd expect to hook up with Moriarty, but neither is Moriarty exactly the cold, frightening villain of "The Final Problem," either of the Canon or of Granada. (Yes, I'm sorry, I had to say that.)

Moriarty is still the Napoleon of Crime, but he does have a sense of honor and patriotism. And he's really quite long-suffering of Holmes's not-always-justified persecution in this story. So much so that they end up working together to foil an assassination attempt on Victoria. Oops, major spoilers. Oh, well, I didn't tell you how it ended, did I?

I think I'm developing a snarky blogging style here. Fun. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, off on a tangent.

Did I mention that the villain of the story was deliciously over-the-top? Well, it bears repeating. He was delightfully insane. My grandma and I were later, for lack of a better word, gushing over how funny he was and how brilliantly the actor pulled it off.

And I really enjoyed Barnett. He was solid, dependable, honorable, and more than willing to help Moriarty out in working against their Russian antagonist. Wonderful character.

I'm afraid that two months have really blurred my memories and impressions, and I apologize for not blogging about this sooner. Really. But at least I can finally get my thoughts out now. It was fantastic fun, and I really hope The Acting Ensemble will perform this play again. It was a different and wonderful look at the Great Detective and the Napoleon of Crime.

Next time, some updates on Mortality and its sequel, The Road to Reichenbach. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor

Doctor Who. If you get around in the pop-culture part of the Internet at all, you're bound to cross paths with the Doctor sooner or later. I knew a fair bit about Doctor Who before I actually started watching it this summer - and I only started watching it because of insistent family members.

I'm glad they insisted.

So I've been watching the "revival" series, the seasons from 2005 through to the present, and I'm currently getting close to the end of David Tennant's last season. I've been loving it - therefore, I've been throwing myself into it (yes, unfortunately, Doctor Who probably is tied in with the lack of a Mortality chapter for a full month). In fact, when we got to the last episode for the Ninth Doctor, I wrote first a fanfic (also on Whofic now) then a deviantART journal entry to try to cope with my overwhelming sense of loss.

Much as I adore David Tennant's Doctor, Christopher Eccleston's resonated with me in a powerful way. Yes, the Ninth Doctor is indeed my Doctor. I felt for him in a way that I previously only felt for Sherlock Holmes - yes, that's how big it is. And being the hopeless Sherlockian that I am, my mind caught similarities between the two. Not Holmes in general, but Holmes in a specific period of his life - Holmes during the Great Hiatus. If you get strictly canonical with the Great Detective on his Great Hiatus, you get a Holmes who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nine. There are still differences, of course, but the resemblance is there. In fact, watch any of Nine's interactions with the Daleks (especially the Emperor), and then go watch Holmes's interaction with Colonel Moran in Granada's EMPT (Jeremy Brett's performance of an outright angry Holmes is brilliant, but is seldom mentioned, let alone praised). Or recall the scenes in your mind.

...are you a bit chilled yet?

But the similarities between Holmes and the Doctor don't end when Christopher Eccleston regenerates into David Tennant. Whenever you see David Tennant's Doctor being thrilled about a monster, or saying brilliant things that nobody else understands... That's Holmes, right there. It gets particularly blatant in the Mark Gatiss-written episode "The Idiot's Lantern". You have a Detective Inspector (whose name the Doctor got from his shirt collar) from Scotland Yard, for starters. A DI who says he's been on the force for... oh, twenty years and he's never seen anything like this before?

Yes, Mr. Gatiss, I see what you did there.

For the benefit of anyone who's not up on their A Study in Scarlet, Inspector Lestrade greets Holmes and Watson at Lauriston Gardens with: "This case will make a stir, sir. It beats anything I have seen, and I am no chicken." A few chapters later, he also says, "[W]hen I saw something that made me feel sickish, in spite of my twenty years' experience."

Oh yes, the DI's line is very much for the benefit of Gatiss's fellow Sherlockians.

The DI goes on to accept the help of a civilian in this baffling case. Sound familiar? It gets worse. When one of the victims is brought into the DI's office, he tells the Doctor to "deduce" what he can from the victim.

That's where the Sherlock Holmes references finally stop. The boy helping the Doctor might be inspired by the Baker Street Irregulars, but that's a bit of a stretch and purely conjectural.

But there's more that's similar between Doctor Who and an insanely popular adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. David Tennant can rattle off a string of deductions or technobabble for at least half a minute without having to stop for breath. can Benedict Cumberbatch.

The June 10, 2012 edition of the South Bend Tribune had an article entitled "Elementary Acting," and it was about a production of William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes. The actor reading Holmes's lines for that production, Matthew Bell, contrasted Gillette's portrayal of the character with the BBC's modern reboot:
"I think it's always interesting that [Sherlock is] written by people who worked on Doctor Who and they've taken Holmes in the direction of a non-human being to a Time Lord. They have emphasized his sociopathic tendencies, whereas Gillette emphasizes his human tendencies."

Truth be told, that sociopathic emphasis is one of the elements of Sherlock that's always bothered me. Mr. Bell was also right when he said, a bit earlier in that article, that "the fascination in the stories is when a warm, sympathetic human bursts out." The Doctor himself can be more human, sometimes, than the Sherlock Holmes of 21st century London. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a magnificent Sherlock Holmes - he also plays quite a cold one. I was relieved to find Sherlock thawing bit by bit throughout Season 2, particularly The Reichenbach Fall... in that episode, he finally felt to me like the canonical and truly emotive Sherlock Holmes.

And then, of course, there's the Master. The Master who was actually called the "Professor Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes" in one edition of the Doctor Who Magazine. The Master who, in his initial appearance in the '70s, was quite the gentleman villain and treated the Doctor as his (almost) intellectual equal... yes, that does sound familiar. Of course, it gets worse. It gets worse, not because of John Simm's Master, but because of Andrew Scott's Moriarty. The Moriarty of Sherlock is practically Simm's Master in human form, with the name and the occupation thrown in. I can't tell you how disturbed I was to realize that as I watched "The Sound of the Drums" for the first time.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are good writers, don't get me wrong. I'm not disputing that. I'm not disputing the excellence of Sherlock, because I still love it and I always will. I just wish that they'd been a little less Whovian in their approach to a 21st century reboot.

So, all this rambling, and I haven't even talked about Wholock yet. Well, what is there to say, except that it's an incredibly rampant crossover fandom. Lots of Ten and Eleven meeting either canonical!Sherlock Holmes or Cumberbatch!Sherlock. I'll be really happy when I can finally find a good Nine-meets-either-version (preferably the former, though). Until then, I'll have to satisfy myself with my own fledgling crossovers that still need a lot of thought and plotting applied to them.

There is, however, this gem of a Thirteenth Doctor fic... which actually has Martin Freeman's John Watson as the protagonist. I even made a TV Trope article for the story - that's how excellent it is! Be warned: it does heavily involve the Weeping Angels. You might not want to read it late at night...

Now you must excuse me while I return to my poor, neglected Mortality. (Yes, I'm very much aware of how amusing that sentence sounds.) I promise to be back here next Wednesday, with a belated review of a fantastic Sherlock Holmes play! Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mortality, Writer's Block, and Other Ramblings

...Wow, it has been a long time since I last posted. I am so sorry. You have my BFF & beta-reader to thank for a post right now...

The first draft of Mortality is almost finished. I am so glad. It's been over a year, now, since I started writing it, and now I'm so close and yet so far. So close: just one chapter and an epilogue to go. So far: it took me a month to get through the previous chapter, which wasn't even average length. Not to mention the fact that I've got missing scenes to write in and the entire thing to edit.

I'll be really glad when I can move on to The Road to Reichenbach. Mortality has been one long angst/torture-fest for Holmes & Co, and that was initially fun to write... initially. A few months ago, however, I reached the point where I was tired of writing all this angst and depressing stuff, and I was more than ready to move on. Months ago. Last month (or possibly May, I can't recall for sure), I wrote a scene in which Holmes suffered a panic attack. I was assured by my ever-encouraging reviewers that the scene was good, but it was the first time I've ever hated a scene while I was writing it. I didn't want to put Holmes through that panic attack, but I had to. It wouldn't have been a realistic recovery without a few bleak moments like that, and I knew that. But I really didn't like it.

Still... even when I can't write, I do other things to promote Deliver Us from Evil. It now has its own set of TV Tropes pages: the Main Page, a Character Sheet, a Quotes Page, a YMMV page which details some reviewer reactions (that's an entertaining page to work on), and Awesome, Funny, Heartwarming, Nightmare Fuel, and Tear Jerker entries. Please, do check it out!

On my deviantART account, I actually have several Sherlockian gallery folders: one for AMM illustrations, one for general Sherlock Holmes, one for Granada Sherlock Holmes (including a second-place contest entry!), one for A Study in Regret (for which I really enjoy doing fanart), and one for Deliver Us from Evil, which includes cover-art for Mortality, as well as a couple of blurbs. (I really ought to do more fanart for myself.)

On a rather unrelated note, I can't wait for NaNo... I'm going to be writing my "potential novel" Greater Love (see my Sherlockian novel list for details). No matter what else I'm doing at the time - college or editing or Doctor Who/canon!Holmes crossovers or whatever - I am definitely writing that novel.

Did I say Doctor Who? I did, didn't I? Did I mention that my cousin finally pulled me into it? 'Course, if you do keep track of me on FF.N, you probably already knew that. But no Wholock for me, thanks - I crave Wholmes. Hence my very-much-AU planned crossover, Fantastic, My Dear Holmes, starring the Ninth Doctor, Beth Lestrade, Rose Tyler, and Sherlock Holmes. (And probably John Watson and clone!Moriarty, as well.) Be prepared for timey-wimeyness, fluff, unashamed romance, hurt/comfort... and more fluff!

And check back here next week! I've made a resolution to break my writer's block and get myself back onto the blogging scene, so I am going to do a post once a week, every Wednesday. Next time, it'll be about Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock. Stay tuned!