We like Kickstarters!

Yeah, this isn’t writing or fandom related but it’s important!

Over the past couple of years, Hubby and I have backed a number of different Kickstarters. We backed two collected volumes of a favorite webcomic, Girl Genius, ending up with hardcover versions and a number of cool rewards for our support. Hubby has backed several games, most by his favorite game designer, James Earnest. He tries to choose games we’ll play as a family, like Pairs, a new card game. With our shipment on that one, we got three different sets of cards (one with artwork from the Girl Genius artists, Phil and Kaja Foglio) and the extra game, Falling. We’re still waiting on our copies of three different games from the Pack O’ Games line published by Perplext, but otherwise, we have pretty much everything we backed last year.

Even though Hubby swore he wouldn’t back any games this year, two have come up that we both felt we had to have!

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Busy building

Yep. I am busy building a new website. My old archive is falling to bits, mostly because I have only a passing acquaintance with HTML and none whatsoever with CSS. It pains me, in a way, to do this.  I felt my original site had some rather interesting features; for example, quite a few people commented favorably on my Library page with its shelves and books. However, the guestbook script I downloaded to act as a reviews board was no longer supported (indeed, no longer exists!) and was buggier than an ant hill. It filled with spam–though the spam catcher was really good a quarantining it and deleting it. The whole site is built on tables within tables within tables. It’s just too unwieldy. So, I’m going for a WordPress build on my own domain. I need something that looks sleek and will function as my author’s site as well as my fan fiction archive.

So far, so good. There is some tweaking still to be done but I’m learning as I go. My daughter, at least, has more than a passing acquaintance with CSS. (She’ll tell you she’s no expert but she’s better than I am!) I have already exported this blog and imported it there; eventually I’ll be posting there exclusively, I think.

I also like the fact that WordPress.org had the WP Copy Protect plug in, as well as JetPack, which is used here. There is entirely too much plagiarism on the Web these days. I’ve seen people copypasting stories they don’t own from Fictionpress and selling them on Amazon.com. There’s the whole issue with the food bloggers who are having their recipes and photos snagged and used in like-farming sites all over Facebook. The issue is part of the reason I’ve been leery of posting my novel online anywhere. But with the Copy Protect, I can do that safely. (Plus, I can put it behind a password for extra security while it’s being betaread.)

I’ll put up a link when I’m ready.

Some revamping of characters and worlds

When NaNoWriMo 2012 came around, I asked what story I should focus on, the alternate history X-Men meets Harry Potter meets Girl Genius (most of which was finished) or the fantasy world with everything from mages to werewolves to dragons to vampires and everything but the kitchen sink. Both of the stories contained a cast of characters I had worked with in more than one venue, starting with a modern day tale that just didn’t work. However, I took the advice of my friends, ThatGirlSix and Lillehafrue, and started work on a prequel to the fantasy world, using a different cast entirely. I didn’t feel it went well; I was creating new characters on the fly and didn’t feel any too invested in them at first. By the end, though, I was invested in a couple of them enough to possibly continue the story at a later datel. I also had a chance to set some of my fantasy world in thick pudding, if not quick-drying cement.

Right now, though, I’ve got my eye on both of my other stories. I figured most of the characters had enough differences between them that I could feasibly do both and make them separate casts entirely. So, I’ve spent most of today (with my feet up to help battle both a swollen right foot and a diabetic ulcer on the left) doing just that.

Main characters got new names in some cases. Others got new names, backgrounds, and backstories entirely. One set of characters married; another will remain as lovers and still another will remain as siblings. Some nobility got demoted. One more minor character was elevated to familial status, and I’m working on creating an entirely new character to replace a deleted one. A handicapped character in one story is regaining the use of his legs, and is splitting his powers with this new character (who will be handicapped – as was his now-deleted counterpart). Following so far? Good!

My eyes are crossing from an extended period on both my favorite baby name site and on the fantasy name generator at ninefrenchboys. Hopefully I’ll be able to read the notes I’ve been scribbling on a pad of yellow paper. I brainstormed some of the names with the Girl, who gave me some definite ideas of what names sounded more “martyr” and which didn’t. I’ve been reimagining the looks of a few characters so they’re not quite so much like their counterparts.

All of this will mean some rewriting, along with more than one global find/replace (a reason I transferred both stories over to yWriter). Maybe, just maybe, by the time Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April, I’ll be able to flesh out some more of what I started and get one of these beasts done.

Now, back to setting up my character pages!

A little fangasm!

Within just a day, I’ve had the pleasure of hauling out my Thunderbirds knowledge (with all the attendant books and other paraphernalia) to help a couple of fellow fanfic writers and personal friends. It was certainly fun, especially all the stuff about Alan Tracy’s educational background. Add to this my posting the first chapter of one of my short stories (Burning Muses) at AO3 and uploading a new post to my RP, and I’m full of Thunderbirds at the moment. It’s given me quite a hunger for fic and for writing or editing what I already have up. I edited the first chapter of Burning Muses, making it tighter. In many respects it was like my edit of the little scene I wrote a few days ago. The changes I made brought forth Brains’s voice and made him less … poetic. (Because if Brains is anything, it is NOT poetic.)

Then, there was the chatter at the dinner table. We went from Gosford Park to Downton Abbey (which we have not seen) to Acorn (which streams Downton Abbey), and then to Netflix – where movies are more plenteous in DVD than in streaming. This led to BBC America (and how we could get it on cable), to other premium cable services, to Game of Thrones and whether or not the TV series matched the novels. That particular thought brought out movies that didn’t match their source material – Boy #2 brought up the Percy Jackson movie (The Lightning Thief). This brought the whole shebang back to … Thunderbirds! The Girl’s comment: “I knew there was another kids movie like that! ” Hubby brought up that Frakes had said in an post-film interview that he directed the movie that the producers wanted, even though he knew the fans would be “annoyed by it” (Hubby’s words, not Frakes’s.) I promptly chimed in. “Annoyed? Annoyed?” Which, of course, is far too mild a term to describe the old guard’s intense hatred of the film.

Maybe if he’d stayed closer to the source material, we’d have had another Thunderbirds movie. After all,  there will be another Percy Jackson film, coming out this year.

Some fandoms get all the luck…

I’m finding that coding my stories is very… therapeutic.

Been working on coding things for my personal fiction site. I’ve finished and posted Mosaic – though that will be updated when the muse strikes – and I’m working on The White Winds. There’s still lots to do, but I’m almost halfway through the chapter formatting. I’ve managed to get it down to a routine. Open the .txt files, put in the chapter coding snippet for each chapter. Scroll down and add the back and forward buttons snippet. Tweak them to the proper chapter numbers. Remove the “next time, next chapter” stuff and paste it in a .txt file. Scroll up; add new title and cut the teasers and disclaimer. Then save as a .shtml file. Leave them all open, find a scene divider and change it with the short horizontal line snippet. Copy that, and do a global replace on all open files. Do a preview skim to make sure things look right, then save and close all. Really, I just did about 15 chapters and it only took an hour or so.

Seriously, the biggest time eater is finding images for the splash pages and writing the foreword. On Mosaic, it took me beyond forever to figure out which screencaps to use (and I found I’d duplicated some from earlier stories), and then the free photos that spoke to the drabbles. For The White Winds, I’ve asked my daughter to update a piece of cast art that she’d done for me earlier. Her artwork has progressed soooo very far that she was embarrassed by the old stuff. Since I’m working so quickly on coding this, I should poke her about that piece.

I’m also trying to decide if I should add my two non-Thunderbirds one-shots to the One Shots book. I’ve done one for The Incredibles, and one for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. My fanfiction is so heavily Thunderbirds-oriented, but these deserve a home, too. (They are posted on ff.net and on FanNation.) Tell me what you think about that.

In other writing news, I’ve pulled most of my work from Lunaescence Archives. I have several reasons for this. Things that were broken aren’t being fixed is one of them (thinking of forum registration here), but an increasing dissatisfaction with the way the archive is being run, and the ever-stronger skew toward anime and manga (and reader-insert) stories are probably stronger reasons. I’m sad about this, really; so many archives tend to go downhill once their owners are no longer involved in running and upgrading them. And now this has happened (IMHO) to Luna. (Yes, this puts me in mind of Thunderbirds Central, and parts of IR:TNP that need updating, too.)

As far as my personal “cyberstalker” (Lillehafrue’s term) is concerned, I haven’t heard from her again. Hopefully, I never will.

Back to the HTML editor, Batman!

A quiet little milestone

The Girl got her beginner’s permit today. She needed it by tomorrow for Driver’s Ed, so when she got home from school, we boogied on up to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles so she could take the "Knowledge Test". I’d already printed out the necessary forms and had filled in (with typing where possible) the information. Before we left, we double-checked all the identification she had to bring with her: Social Security card, birth certificate, and proof of residency (in this case, her school ID card).

She had 22 minutes to take the test; she did it in 16. Missed 5 questions, which was good enough to pass. So now she has another picture ID (which looks pretty good) in her wallet. It’s good for a year.

And, oddly enough, everybody at the DMV pronounced her name properly. The lady at the counter that we dealt with did mention she had to be careful to get the "unusual spellings" right, but that was all. (Her name was Ianthe.)

In other spheres, the RP is going great guns for a change. People are excited about it again, and we’ve even got a new player. We zipped through five days or so of game in the corresponding amount of real time, and are now working on the long-awaited Halloween party. Rain has done some art for various people (including a wonderful scene of my character dancing with her SO!) and I think is working on more. She also put up a really heartwrenching series of posts with her character visiting his mother’s grave. Wonderful stuff!

The White Winds is calling me, and I worked on Overtures a little as well. Need to keep it up and get these stories finished!

Second test down…

And a happy Father’s day for all the dads I know… including my own, my FIL, and my beloved Hubby!

As the title states, the Girl took the second of her College Board tests – the ACT – yesterday. She said it wasn’t quite as hard as the SAT and she was glad she didn’t have to write an essay. Hubby had Friday and Saturday off as his regular days off, and spent much of yesterday digging post holes for the fence, then repairing the spigot at the side of the house. Friday he went grocery shopping with me, which was nice.

Today we gave him cards and a gift: another Dr. Pepper t-shirt! It’s getting to be a household joke – don’t know what to get Dad? Get him a Dr. Pepper shirt! I think he has four or five of them now, including the long sleeved thermal one, and not including his sweatshirt style jacket. At least the one we got him today was different; it’s two shades of gray instead of the sort of murky red that the others ones are. Next up: Dr. Pepper sleep pants…

Dinner was great! Boy #1 gets into cooking, and did the 5-cup salad for me yesterday, then heated the green beans (his choice of veggie). He also set up the skewers for our first try at grilled seafood: shrimp and scallop kabobs. Hubby did the actual grilling, but Boy #1 set everything up for him. Man, that was good! We used this seafood seasoning shaker stuff on the kabobs. Marvelous flavor addition. And since we thawed out ALL of the seafood, we get to do it again either today or tomorrow! Yum!

Now it’s time for me to call my dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. I don’t know why, but both Mother’s and Father’s Days have just sort of crept up on me and caught me unawares. At least this time it was close enough to payday that I could get cards and gifts – and I put a little something in the packages for the moms, too. They probably should arrive by Tuesday.