-What I Got-
Last year, I got Closeted, by Milkshake Butterfly, aka milkshake_b. (And until I got this story, I thought the M was for Madame. The things you learn at Yuletide.) The fandom is Nero Wolfe, and Milkshake Butterfly bravely and ably tackled the pairing that is a legend pretty much just in my mind, Archie Goodwin/Saul Panzer. You should all go tell her what a wonderful writer she is. (Yuletide authors generally do not mind getting comments well after the fact.)
This year, I got The Case of the Detective Who Might Not Have Been Dying But Was in Serious, Life-Threatening Danger, Believe Me, by Carolyn, aka 3pipeproblem, who apparently noticed my fondness for outsize, amusing titles. The fandom is the little-known but very funny 1998 movie Zero Effect. You can't read the story until you've seen the movie, but this should present no hardship for anyone; just see the damn movie already. Seriously, if you've got a Netflix queue, put this movie in it or I will know the reason why. There will be pop quizzes, people. And once you've seen the movie you can a) tell me how wonderful it was and b) read this story and tell Carolyn how wonderful it is. Everyone wins!
-What I Wrote-
See, now, sometimes I wonder why I do Yuletide. (Usually the wondering is most intense around about December 15th, when I'm staring at a story that is a hopeless mess and a deadline that is close enough to me to be my blood brother. Panic is the magic ingredient in the Yuletide process. Somehow, the story gets written. It's the annual Yuletide Miracle.) But then I consider what I've written in my two years of participation, and I think it's safe to say that a) I would never have considered writing either of these stories without Yuletide and b) they, um. Really demonstrate the diversity of the challenge. I think I should be nominated for the coveted "Most Disparate Yuletide Stories Written in Two Successive Years" prize.
Last year, I wrote A Traditional Yorkshire Christmas for Artemesia, aka artyartie. All Creatures Great and Small, gen. Artemesia asked for "mischief and animals," and I wrote - well, that. My Labrador Cassie was the primary inspiration for the story (The things that happen in this? Cassie has done every damn one of them.), and this was beta-read by the indomitable laurashapiro. Take home lesson for Yuletide year one: I am not a natural for the heart-warming first-person voice, but love of dogs conquers all.
This year, I wrote Mr. and Mrs. Smith Go to New Hampshire for Sammy, aka littlesammy. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, John Smith/Jane Smith. Sammy asked for "hot het porn." When I saw that, I made a little helpless squeaking noise, because I can't write porn. But I did it anyway, with the help of Best Beloved (alpha reading), maygra (catering), qe2 and norah (beta reading), and the Emergency Moral Support Crew (Best Beloved, fanofall, norah, maygra, qe2, and umbo), and you know? It was fun. Although I still have serious problems keeping track of everyone's pants. (MMWD and Q went above and beyond by tracking down every last pair, let me tell you; they are now pants experts to the point that they could probably find anyone's pants. Lost your pants? Give 'em a call!) Take home lesson of Yuletide year two: it takes a village to write porn. It's all very heart-warming, like a Christmas special. Only, you know, pornier.