Tag Archives: Johnlock

Introducing Improbable Press…

20 Jul

There is a new kid on the Sherlock Holmes publishing block, “Improbable Press” which specializes in romantic and erotic Sherlock Holmes fiction.  I got a chance to have an online chat with two of the authors, Atlin Merrick and Narrelle Harris, about the new publisher and the first books.

Q: What can readers expect to see from the new publishing company?  

ATLIN: If you already read Narrelle M. Harris, Verity Burns, and Atlin Merrick…you can expect to see more of the same. Gleefully told mystery stories featuring John Watson and Sherlock Holmes — with the lovely addition that the boys are partners in all senses of the word, in bed and out. All the romance! All the erotica! And mysteries! And adventure! Also I need to cut back on the caffeine!  

Q: Will the books appeal to traditional Sherlock Holmes fans as well as enthusiastic Johnlockers?

NARRELLE: That might depend on how interested they are in the idea of Holmes and Watson as a couple. If they just don’t read the characters that way, probably not, but if they, too, have viewed the Conan Doyle stories has having queer subtext, or are open to the idea, I think so. The mysteries and crime solving are still a huge part of the books we’re each writing, whether they’re set in the modern day or, like mine, in the Victorian era.

ATLIN: Do the books have to appeal to them? It’ll be great if they do — again, these are mystery tales for the most part, adventure stories — they also have romance. If folks like any of those things they should like these stories. Narrelle, Verity, and I already know that many, many traditional Holmesian enthusiasts also read romantic/erotic stories about these men!  

Q: You all started out as fan fiction writers (I’ve read some of each of your Sherlock fiction BTW and enjoyed it) was it difficult to make a style switch from short stories to novels?

NARRELLE: I think it may be a bit more complicated than that. I’ve been writing stories ever since I was little, but I first wrote fanfic about 35 years ago, in Blake’s 7 and Star Trek, mainly, but then I began to work on original stories. I’ve had six books published in the interim, a number of short stories and even a play. I also make a crust doing corporate writing. Atlin comes from a background of corporate writing too. I don’t know about Verity, but I imagine we’ve all come from a really varied background of what and how we write. I came back to fanfic in 2012 because of Sherlock, in part to find fun again, because I was having a debilitating round of writer’s block on a novel I haven’t actually finished yet, though it’s now fully plotted. I have written a LOT of stuff since then though, so it seems to have worked… As for the switch from short to long form – when I first wrote novels, that was a big change from the short works I’d been doing. Then I got into that stride and my attempt to write shorter works for publication was a challenge. But by then, the internet had happened and my husband and I were running an online theatre review site called Stage Left. I learned a lot about concise writing, and that helped with short story technique a lot. Now I switch fairly easily between short and long form, because it’s all about the idea I’m exploring and how much room it needs to unfold. Just recently I submitted a new novel to my usual publisher, Clan Destine Press, but also three short stories to three different anthologies. I’ve had one acceptance so far (though they’re still working through submissions so I’m not allowed to say which one yet) and I really hope at least one of the other two makes it, as I’m really proud of the story. I’m delighted you enjoy the Sherlock fic though. It’s been a fertile ground in which other projects have been growing.

ATLIN: I’ve been writing professionally long before writing fan fiction, which is the case with many of us I think. I know quite a number of fandom writers who make a living with their writing—articles, books, business features, every sort of pen to paper. I think we all of us end up writing the fan fiction for the sheer joy of it. And if you wonder why so much of it is sexual, well there’s not yet enough sexually explicit anything geared toward women. Some of us can fix that!

Q: What came first for you, BBC Sherlock or the original Sherlock Holmes stories?

NARRELLE: Actually, Jeremy Brett’s Granada series came first for me. Until then, I was aware of Holmes – of course I was – but I thought the avuncular detective and a stupid sidekick were uninspiring. Along comes Brett and David Burke (and later Edward Hardwicke) and they were so sharp and fascinating, so textured and amazing. I went to ACD from there. I wasn’t sure I’d like a modern version, but I thought it was a great idea to try – and my husband and I both loved the first and second seasons.

ATLIN: I read the stories when I was a little girl—I appear to be the only one who doesn’t love “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”—then saw the Granada series, but was subsumed under a tidal wave of adoration for all things Sherlock when I saw the BBC’s Sherlock.

Q: What appeals to you about the Sherlock Holmes/John Watson relationship (with or without Johnlock goggles)?

NARRELLE: With or without the romantic aspect, they have a great friendship and huge respect and loyalty towards each other. You sometimes wouldn’t think that Holmes respects Watson all that much, but if you read canon you can see how much stick they give each other. Watson takes opportunities to point out Holmes’s flaws as well as his genius. I like that they can have their deep friendship without having to agree on all things or like the same things. They are two individuals, but they fit together, they complement each other with their skills and qualities. When you go back to the stories, you see how playful and humorous they are in their discussions. They tease each other a lot, and laugh together all the time. It’s right down there in print. They have an easy friendship, and whether or not it’s spoken out loud, a very obvious affection for each other. They argue of course, and Holmes can be quite rude, but Watson rarely takes it very personally – and he lets Holmes know when he’s gone too far. Holmes invariably apologises if he’s caused Watson genuine distress. People tend to think of Watson as the conventional one, and he is more conventional than Holmes, but Watson himself comments on the Bohemian life they live – he was reading La Vie de la Boheme in A Study in Scarlet, and he also often notes that they both have a love of the bizarre. They have such a strong bond, and Watson is never jealous of or offended by Holmes’s intellectual superiority, and I think that’s a great lesson for people in self esteem and confidence. You don’t have to be just like someone else to be their great friend, or to love them. All you have to do is respect each other, and your differences, and see how well you can make those differences as well as the shared things work together.

ATLIN: The canon is 600,000 words about a rare friendship. About two men who have crazy adventures together, sit by the fire, and who, though wildly different fit, fit, fit one another.

Q: Can you give us a hint about the plots of the first few books to be released?

NARRELLE: I can give you the idea of mine, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy. It’s set in 1893, and Watson is in mourning because not only his great friend has died, but Mary has just died in childbirth. He’s shocked to receive a telegram, apparently from Holmes, summoning him to Australia. It’s not a happy reunion. Watson is enraged and hurt beyond measure, but Holmes has his own unhappiness which had prompted him to leave in such a fashion. They’ll have to put their anger aside to solve the case and save lives, as they chase one of Moriarty’s surviving lieutenants through Melbourne and across Victoria. The identity of the ‘Colonial Boy’ is multifaceted, but I’ll leave that for the book.

ATLIN: The Night They Met, like The Day They Met, will be stories of other ways the boys could have met, only these tales will have romantic twists and moody midnight settings. The Six Secret Loves of Sherlock Holmes will be John Watson’s narrative rectification of likening Sherlock Holmes to a machine—which he does in canon as well as in Sherlock. John will do this by sharing the story of six very different loves in Sherlock’s life (and yes, John is at the heart of this) showing not only Sherlock’s humanity, but how love made him the man he is.

Q: Where and when will readers be able to purchase the books?

NARRELLE: Mine is due out in 2016. I’m still writing it, so the exact date isn’t available yet.  

ATLIN: The Night They Met will be available September or October 2015, with The Six Secret Loves of Sherlock Holmes following a few months later and any online purveyor will sell them—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookdepository. You can also buy them from the publisher directly, or the authors directly.

Q: Will they be available in both paper and electronic versions?  NARRELLE and ATLIN: Yes, they will!

Full Moon: Sherlock Werewolf AU Fan Fiction

20 Mar

Having been devoted to all things werewolvish when I was a kid, I decided to take a wander through the wonderful world of Sherlock werewolf AU fan fiction.

One thing I found interesting was that the quality of writing in this particular genre is much more unbalanced than in any other I have read so far. 

The thing that really annoyed me was the number of writers who referred to wolves as canines.  The correct description is lupine.  Wolves are of the genus Canis Lupus.  Dogs are Canis Familiaris.  Yes, they had a common ancestor, but are now two distinctly different species with different behavioral patterns.  Unless Sherlock and John are going to be werepoodles, then please don’t refer to them as canines.

Then there are the writers who turn werewolves into domesticated pets.  My mind palace just isn’t able to cope with the image of werewolf Sherlock chasing balls around Regents Park and being taken for walkies by John! No, just NO!  Sherlock Holmes, consulting German Shepherd just doesn’t cut it in my book.

There is Johnlock werewolf fiction.  Of course there is.  The same problem applies as with the dragon AUs (https://margysmusings.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/here-be-dragons-sherlock-dragon-au-fan-fiction/)  – overtones of bestiality.  Unfortunately, it is much worse with the werewolf genre than the dragon one.  Some writers seem to delight in Sherlock in werewolf form screwing John into the ground.  Cease and desist!  That particular act is illegal in damn near every country in the world.  I can cope with Sherlock and John in human form having sex, I can  cope with the same thing when they are both in wolf form, but one in wolf form and one human has me frantically hunting for a bucket!  I am sorry, but that is just so wrong on so many different levels.

I have managed to find some truly excellent Sherlock werewolf fan fiction.  Fiction where the writers know the werewolf mythos, and/or are familiar with wolf pack behaviour.  Those stories are true gems and I have even downloaded some of them for my kindle.  Well written and interesting.  I draw your attention to two stories on AO3 – “Fighting Instinct” and “Show Me How to Stop Running”.  Both have been well researched and it shows in the attention to detail.  They are both Johnlock stories, so if you don’t like, then don’t read.

Not sure where my Sherlock AU adventures are going to take me next.  If you have any suggestions I am keen to hear them.

Here Be Dragons: Sherlock Dragon AU Fan Fiction

13 Feb

I’m back exploring the world of Sherlock AU (alternate universe) fan fiction.  The last week or so it’s been the wonderful world of dragon AUs.  Yup, you heard me, Sherlock and Dragons.

Whilst I celebrate the imagination involved, so many of the stories require, not just the suspension of disbelief, but suspension of it by the neck until dead!

A lot of the stories I’ve come across are cross overs to many and varied dragon based fantasy worlds.  Although, to my surprise, I never came across the one I thought was the most obvious, Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” world.  I’m sure there must be some out there, I just haven’t come across them yet.

The combinations are many and varied, Sherlock as dragon with John as his rider/handler.  John as dragon and Sherlock as his rider/handler.  Dragons (ie Mycroft) ruling England.  Wars between dragons and humans.

By far the most disturbing ones are the Johnlock ones, which unless handled properly tend to have a rather disturbing patina of bestiality attached to them.  Even if the beast in question is mythical.

Many writers have got around this by having dragons have an interesting ability – the ability to take human form.  And before anyone says anything about that being a useful cop out, I can remember this very same device used in a novel by a very successful fantasy novelist, Mercedes Lackey, in her Serrated Edge series.  Same goes for the interbreeding of human and dragon.  Mercedes got there first.  Though in the book I remember it wasn’t a human/dragon crossbreed, it was dragon/kitsune.  However, it’s the idea that counts.

One big problem with this particular AU genre, is that due to it being basically fantasy, it seems to be too difficult for many writers to keep the characters in character.  Far too many of the stories have characters named “Sherlock”, or “John” or “Mycroft”, but you don’t get a sense of the actual Sherlock characters.  They’re just random characters who happen to have these names.  It does let the stories down somewhat.  You need at that point to stop reading them as Sherlock fan fiction, and switch your mind to thinking of them simply as reasonably good fantasy stories. 

I did come across one major exception to this.  I was browsing on AO3, when I came across a story called “Sacrifices Must Be Made” by a fan writer using the handle Winter_of_our-Discontent.  This story is sheer magic.  Sherlock is the dragon and John is the human sacrifice from his small village.  The story is funny, witty, and warm, but also manages to keep both John and Sherlock in character.  I had absolutely no difficulty in hearing Martin and Benedict delivering the lines.  My favourite:  “Look,” John said, “there’s being a dragon and then there’s being an arsehole…”

If you would like to read it, here’s the link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/904589  Be warned, however, it is Johnlock, so enter at your own risk.

In summary, as much as i enjoyed the one particular story, I have to say that Sherlock dragon stories are just not for me.  Maybe I’ll try werewolves next, or faeries.

A Fan Fiction Writer’s Opinion

16 Dec

I am about to shove in my two cents worth on the debacle at the BFI screening of Sherlock “The Empty Hearse”.

It is my considered opinion that springing explicit Johnlock fan fiction on Benedict and Martin, and expecting them to read it was pretty disgusting behaviour on the part of Caitlin Moran.  This is not the professional behaviour you expect from a journalist of Moran’s calibre.  It’s also a low, nasty trick to play on someone who is a friend.  Not funny.  In fact to pinch the Sherlock fandom’s favourite phrase, it’s a bit not good!

Of course Twitter and Tumblr reacted in their usual manner.  Firstly whining about the fan fic writer’s work being used without permission, then bashing Martin and Benedict for not wanting to read it!

Let’s look at the first one, shall we?  All fan fiction writers break copyright ever single damn time we post a story.  So don’t whine to me about stories being used without permission.  If Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and the BBC really wanted to, they could make life extremely miserable for fan fiction writers.  Oh and those “disclaimers” so beloved of fan fiction writers actually mean diddly squat if BBC seriously decided to sue.

Many fan fiction writers seem to think that they are above the law and that the shows owe them!  Excuse me, has it occurred to you lot that you are actually stealing the character’s created by the hard work of others and then playing holy hell with them?  So many stories are so far removed from the characters that they are barely recognizable.  I try to keep the characters in character – which is why my stories can take a month to write.  Until I can hear every word being delivered in character by the actor in my mind, then to my way of thinking, it’s not proper fan fiction, it’s simply new characters dressed in old clothes.

And Johnlock is about as far removed from the true characters as is possible.  Neither Sherlock or John are gay.  Yes the show has homoerotic overtones, which are mostly used for comic leaven.  Not to be taken seriously.  Yes, I have written a little light Johnlock myself, though nothing explicit.  And this has only happened when the story I’ve been working on works best with that outcome.  I prefer the strong friendship that glows throughout all the episodes of the show.  The friendship that is the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works.

The second complaint about Martin and Benedict not being happy to read Johnlock fan fiction.  How the hell would you like it if you were an actor and you’d invested so much time and effort into bringing a character to life, to find people are happily bastardizing the character for their own amusement?  Think how Martin and Benedict must have felt.  Martin at least has read some Johnlock, I understand, Benedict I don’t think has.  Suddenly, you’re confronted with some pretty explicit writing that you’re expected to read out loud.  I’m actually surprised they didn’t just get up and walk off.  It says much for the grace and kindness of both men that they didn’t take their anger out on the audience.

Remember this when you write fan fiction or draw fan art.  We are privileged.  We are using the images of two REAL men who just happen to play characters, and they are mostly happy to allow us to do so.  Remember that the next time you feel the urge to whine about lack of respect to fans, be it writers or artists, or just the average fan.

Respect is earned not given as a right.  If you don’t respect the actors with your work and your attitude, why the hell do you expect anyone to respect you?

%d bloggers like this: