09 November 2016 @ 05:08 am
Besides my assignment, I wrote three treats. (Well, given the distinction made in this particular gift exchange, they were a mix of "treats" and "tricks".)

"The Children of Closti the Clam" was written for [personal profile] betony, who wanted a story based on Diana Wynne Jones's Dalemark Quartet.

Betony asked for something about the "fascinating internal mythology" of the series; and, among the suggestions, were "whatever becomes of Robin" and "dealing with the consequences of immortality". It is canon that only some of Tanaqui's family turn out to be Undying like their mother; so I wrote futurefic about the next few decades after The Spell-Coats, seen from Tanaqui's perspective as she slowly realizes that some of her siblings are aging while she is not.

I had already written one Dalemark story, though it was not purely in that fandom, being a Time Team fusion. I decided, therefore, to use a variant of that webpage design for "The Children of Closti the Clam". The background is a rather complicated basket weave in a muted tone; and the same graphic was used to make a decorative button. The panel for the story has a border that layers multiple textures in various shades of brown and beige.

"Command the Signs" was written for [personal profile] blueteak, who wanted Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series.

I have always thought that Cooper could have done more with the incongruity of Will Stanton's position as an Old One who is eleven years old and the youngest of a large family, particularly when he is new come to his power. Blueteak's prompt began "I've always loved the way magic creeps into the ordinary in this series, or has lurked in it all along, i.e. the Christmas ornaments." It was, in fact, those Christmas ornaments that sparked the idea—what if Will's family got a good look at the Signs? They did see the first few, albeit only briefly; but, at that time, they were threaded on his belt. Later, though, they were linked together on a gold chain.

I spent quite a long time going through my collection of background tiles trying to find something that would pick up the main motif of the story, i.e. the Six Signs, which are shaped like crosses set in circles. I eventually found one among the graphics I collected from Ambographics Art: it is purple, picked out in gold, and twines these shapes together. The colour scheme is copied in the frame around the story; but, as the fancy background has a rather "flat" look, it was necessary to use graphics with a similar "flat" effect when putting it together.

I did not add any decorative buttons; but, as the story falls naturally into a main section and a coda, I needed some sort of divider. I therefore decided to make one with the Six Signs. Since they have to be capable of fitting on Will's belt, the crosses needed to be fairly slender, affording plenty of space for the leather to slide through. I have to say, the result isn't quite how I'd always envisaged them; but I don't see how else they'd look in practice, given the description in the story. Their order is more or less that described by Cooper in the scene where John Smith links them on the chain.

"Back in the Saddle" was written for [personal profile] serenade, who wanted a story based on Dick Francis's 10lb Penalty. This was distinctly the last story written, since it was not only finished after the collection opened but was uploaded just before author reveals a week later.

Although the prompt mentioned both "tricks" and "treats", Serenade's suggestions were more along spooky lines; so I wrote a sort of ghost story. It picks up both on the fact that Ben's father, once leader of his party (and hence prime minister), would be expected to call a general election to confirm his position; and on the injury that Ben receives at the end of the book, severe enough to prevent him continuing as an amateur jockey. "Back in the Saddle" sees him out of hospital, once again helping with his father's election campaign.

For the webpage, I picked yet another variant of a graphic that I've used several times before, this time in brown tones. For the frame, I also used brown, with touches of grey. I wanted something suggestive of old stables and riding; so the textures in the frame are mostly leather and stone. Then, rather than use a decorative button, I went trolling the net for clip-art of horses to top and tail the story.
08 November 2016 @ 01:54 am
The author reveals for the Trick or Treat Exchange came today, a week after the archive was opened. I thus know officially that it was my sister who wrote my gifts.

Well, I already knew that she'd been assigned to write for me. I could see from the sign-up that there was only one possible match; so, unless I went out immediately as a pinch hit (which didn't happen), then my author had to be Flo. On the other hand, I couldn't be certain that it was she who wrote my treat, though I suspected as much. In fact, she wrote four stories altogether, the others being for two of Rosemary Sutcliff's historical novels.

I was assigned to write for her. This was not so certain: there were other people offering the fandoms she had requested (as, indeed, there were other fandoms that I had offered). At least this absurdity won't happen again: she has suggested, quite sensibly, that in future we make sure that we request and offer different things. Of course, it may still be that we choose to write for one another—as she, for example, has twice written me New Year's Resolutions timed to coincide with my birthday (and doing double duty, of course, as birthday presents) in very rare fandoms that I had asked for more than once in Yuletide without receiving them. As, for that matter, I have written her fan fiction based on Janet Sandison's Jean Robertson series.

At any rate, the first ToT story that I completed was a ficlet for Flo, "Star of the Waning Summer". I based it on The Mask of Apollo, though I did actually have a choice of fandoms, for our interests overlap a lot. Given the theme, I selected a background of stylized masks for the webpage, tweaking the colour to a bronze shade. All the other graphics I used were already on my website, though not in this combination. The ones I selected not only coordinated with one another and the background but made a fine frame around the story, glittering with golden shades.

Once "Star of the Waning Summer" was complete, I went on to write three treats. All of these also have webpages, and have been uploaded.
13 July 2016 @ 06:55 pm
For the [community profile] myoldfandom gift exchange, I wrote my sister "Jean at the Witching Hour", my third story based on Janet Sandison's series about a Scottish girl at the beginning of the twentieth century. It's a great favourite of Flo's, one that she requested more than once at Yuletide before she concluded that no one else would ever offer it.

This time, I thought I'd write about Doris, a tart with a heart of gold who appears prominently in the first book but recurs in later ones as well. However, when I reread the books (yet again!) in preparation, I found that the dates did not add up. Oh, the main portion of what I had planned still held up: i.e. her seduction when she was a fifteen-year-old scullery-maid at the Castle, leading to her father disowning her. However, in the fourth book it is strongly implied that her seducer is "Old Pillans", the villain of the series. As I scribbled down dates and did sums to work out people's ages, I realized that can't be true. I suppose it may be that readers are inferring something that the author didn't intend; but I suspect that it's more likely that Sandison was hit with belated inspiration, added the hint, and never really did her own sums.

So, in the end, I wrote Old Pillans' story.

This presents its own problems. Old Pillans is a pretty one-dimensional villain in the series—a boogey-man to young Jean in the first book, and an off-scene diabolus ex machina in the rest of the series. What little we are told of his past comes from brief snatches of Lochfoot history told to Jean by the elderly; and not only does the reader have to assemble the puzzle but also fill in a lot of missing pieces.

So I worked out how the history of the town seems to have gone during the last half of the nineteenth century, from its evolution as a farming community overlooked by the Duke's Castle to its growth as a commuter suburb of Glasgow with grungy tenements housing underpaid railway workers. In the latter era, Pillans is primarily known as the mysterious, loathsome owner of a secondhand/pawn shop, though he is actually the secret landlord of much of Lochfoot, with additional property in Glasgow. On the other hand, the scraps we know of his early days indicate that he was originally an incomer who worked as ploughman on a local farm, was the local milkman, and had a reputation as a seducer. "Jean at the Witching Hour" is, then, the story of how events turned Pillans-the-ploughman into The Loathsome Villain.

This is a long story: slightly longer than any I've written, in fact, barring the novel that I wrote for my first [community profile] fkficfest. I had Part One written by the upload deadline; and it could have ended there. However, rather than complete the story in sequels, I wrote two more chapters over the next week. Each chapter now has its own webpage, linked off a title page. However, as Flo was staying with me for a fortnight, I didn't manage to finish them until this week.

As with the previous two Jean stories, I selected a background to represent the setting: in this case, a stone wall suggestive of an old farmhouse. On the title page, I also inset a small panel with a grassy background and a picture of dairy cattle. This represents the most important business of Castleside Farm, where Pillans canonically worked when he came to Lochfoot and which he inherited in mysterious circumstances after the suicide of the owner's daughter.
25 March 2016 @ 08:47 pm
It's been a while since I posted a seasonal ficlet to FKFIC-L. However, I had an idea; so "Heat in the Kitchen" was posted in the wee hours, just before I went to bed. A good deal of the day was spent making it a page on my website; and I've just finished posting it to AO3 (so those whose ISP, for some reason, bars access to the webhost can read it there).

I decided to go with a thematic background for the webpage, and worked for a while with the tile I cropped from a screen capture of Natalie's office, doing it in different colours, before selecting a beige version (representing a backsplash). The frame around the story is done in wood tones (cupboards) and a sort of glossy white (formica countertop). I found a suitable wood-coloured divider to use under the title.

The picture after the story was, as usual, cropped from a photo on Wikimedia Commons. It looks delicious; and I'm sure Natalie's own baking was, too.
07 February 2016 @ 09:40 pm
I began Yuletide eagerly last fall, with my usual list of potential treats and (seemingly) time to write several of them. Life decided otherwise. I did get my assignment started; but, as my mother's health worsened, I eventually had to admit that there would never be time to finish it, and defaulted.

However, when my mother died a week before Christmas, there was suddenly time to write. Or perhaps that's more accurately time to distract myself with writing. After the holidays were over, though, Real Life had to take precedence. It is only in the last couple of weeks, therefore, that I have finally found time to make webpages for them.

Trumpet St Peter's Angels

My assignment, "Trumpet St Peter's Angels", is a Last Knight story. (Yes: my third in the same year. Chance is odd that way.) My recipient had only one request, for LK fix-it fic.

The result is a story that I can only recommend to those who are trufen. It depends for its effect on your devoted knowledge of Forever Knight (in general) and the finale (in particular). Essentially, it deconstructs the events that lead to the denouement, and "fixes" them as requested. As such, the story is not an overwritten, underplotted melodrama an action-packed tragedy. Rather, it is a character piece with touches of humour.

Basically, if the last line resonates, you'll probably like the story.

The title, of course, comes from Lacroix's speech in the loft. To match it, I picked a ripply, vaguely feathery, gold variant of a background that I got from GRSites, matched with a bronze and silver border around the story. Those who can't access my website can find the story on AO3 in the Yuletide collection, along with comments.

Long is the way and hard

The first treat I wrote was "Long is the way and hard" (on AO3, with comments). This is actually the third in a series of divergent AU stories based on Mary Renault's novel, The Charioteer.

a bit of background )
As it is part of a series, its webpage has the same design that I used on the earlier two stories.

Hobbiton Farm

The last treat, "Hobbiton Farm" (here on AO3, with comments), was written in a flash. Whereby hangs a tale.

Over the last decade or so, the BBC has made a series of series in which a group of historians and archaeologists re-enact life on a farm in an historical period: Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, and so on. One of [personal profile] halotolerant's requests was for a story based on this "Historical Farm series". What particularly caught my eye was the conclusion of the prompt:
“Feel free, also, to set a story in ‘AU History’ - if you want them to be farm workers in a pre-industrial setting, it doesn't have to be ‘literally historically accurate 1650’ or whatever, some counter-factual history or setting in a fantasy world like Westeros or Middle Earth or Pern could also be cool!”
A crack idea? Undoubtedly: but best done straight.

Because I'd had the idea early in the fall, back when people had been posting links to their Dear Author Letters, it had been germinating on some level for quite a while. So, when I sat down to write it on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the words just poured out with hardly any revision required. I uploaded the story shortly before reveals.

For the webpage, I decided that "Hobbiton Farm" needed something subdued and very respectable looking. The rich tapestry-like background graphic comes from; and the border to the panel with the story combines stone and parchment textures. I also made the story a fancy title in a font that looked suitable, and added (at the end) a clip from a Wikimedia Commons photo of the New Zealand "Hobbiton" set.
24 February 2015 @ 11:42 pm
For some time now, I have been thinking of adding my assorted fan art to my website. Oh, the Forever Knight icons already had a page, if only to make some sense of the huge number of them by sorting out the entire collection into sections by faction. However, I've done quite a few things on [ profile] maryrenaultfics over the past few years, one or two here, a handful more there. Not to mention the icons I just did for the CBC of The Mask of Apollo on [community profile] renaultx.

Then, at the last minute, I remembered the pictures I did for the Church Mice story I wrote for Yuletide a year ago!

Well, those at least are "real" art, i.e. watercolours that I photographed and uploaded. The other things are mostly created by compositing and manipulating screencaps and other pictures that I've taken from here and there, with logos and textures to finish it all off. However, that's art, too, in its own way.

So there's now a section for it all. Assuming I haven't forgotten something....
How to procrastinate profitably: write a ficlet instead of the Yuletide story one is supposed to be working on. (Though, in some faint defence, I have got it started. Nowhere near finished; but at least started.)

"Contemplations on a Portrait of a Lady" came to me over breakfast, loud and clear with the words forming themselves in my mind. I stopped, went straight to the computer, and wrote it down. Oh, I did go through and tweak it a bit before posting; but it came that quickly.

So it's gone to FKFIC-L.

I then got down to the seriously procrastinatory business of making it a webpage. Since Leonardo's portrait of Janette features in the story, I used that to illustrate the top of the page. (I had already clipped it from the screencap; I still needed to trim over her hands. You see how one passes the time?) The background and frame around the story have been done in shades of gold, picking out the tones of the picture frame.

All up and done.

No excuses left: it's nose to the grindstone. Or fingers to keyboard, which right now feels much the same.
12 November 2014 @ 12:57 am
The final section of my Applefic has now been completed. It has been a long time coming.

At this point, it's almost hard to remember the puzzled despair of the summer of 2012, when—for the second year in a row—the moderators of [community profile] maryrenaultfics were mysteriously nowhere, there were sadly few posts to the community, and the usual time for the Summer Prompt came and went. The previous year, a few sharp nudges had brought them back to their duties, and the prompt had been posted, albeit belatedly. In 2012, they were nowhere to be found. As in the previous year, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek ITOWverse ficlet to try to draw them out; but to no avail.

Finally, on the 1st of September, I took it upon myself to post an Autumn prompt, "apple". It was well received by those members still round. (Indeed, it even flushed the mods from cover!) Yet, although I immediately told people that I myself had an idea, it was not until the 8th of October that I actually posted anything.

In the meantime (to prod myself on, as much as anything), I referred more than once to my "applefic"—at the time, no more than a cute shorthand for "the fic I do—honestly!—intend to write for the 'apple' prompt". By the time anything was actually ready to post, though, I had called it that so many times that, when I cast around for a title, I could come up with nothing else. In my mind, it had become "my applefic" so certainly that "Applefic" was the only possible title.
Read more... )
06 June 2014 @ 07:12 pm
In honour of the 70th anniversary of D-Day (6 June 1944), I have written a Forever Knight ficlet, "D is to Dine". I posted it to FKFIC-L early this morning (and then went to bed very late, while everyone else was commuting to work). This afternoon, I made its webpage; and those who aren't on list can find it there.

I fancied topping the page with a picture of the D-Day landings, and found quite an attractive one in Wikimedia Commons. (Attractive, that is, from the artistic perspective of someone wanting to illustrate a story. It is still, after all, a picture of war.)

This, of course, dictated the colour scheme. After much searching, I found a background graphic that seemed not inappropriate. It's actually a "marble" (i.e. stone) tile; but the colours combine khaki green with the blue tones of the photo. After that, I simply looked for suitable textures to make the frame that surrounds the central panel.
05 April 2014 @ 04:43 pm
During the recent Forever Knight War, several moribund factions-of-yore were mentioned by former members who found intriguing the idea of resurrecting them temporarily—reclaiming their old affiliations, so to speak, if only for sentimental reasons. Other players, however, enjoyed the idea of asserting the existence of new factions. To help people keep track, I included in the war site a page showing affiliations both old and new.

So naturally I mysteriously found myself temporarily a Feliksity, and later morphed into a Blue Knightie.

For a while, though, there was some discussion among the Vaqueras as to whether some of them should change faction for the duration. Naia Zifu, for example, turned Urchin, and had her own story arc for a bit. Another player toyed with the idea of becoming a VietVamp—that is to say, a fan of Tran, the Vietnamese vampire from the episode "Can't Run, Can't Hide". In the end, she decided not to; but, in the meantime, I'd made a faction icon just in case (for I was using the icons I'd made back in 2012 to illustrate the website).

The VietVamps were not among the new factions named back in 2012. The idea of a faction for Tran was raised; but no name was suggested. It was put forward last year; but I never got around to making an icon at that time. Still, better late than never. Here it is now:


Naturally the icon is dominated by a picture of Tran himself. On one side, his past is represented by a picture of a burning house. I got this off the net: it was apparently taken during the Vietnam War. The other side of the icon has a black background, representing Tran's state of mind after the destruction of the village.
01 April 2014 @ 07:37 pm
Finally (!) I have put a couple of my recent stories up on my website. Mind you, "recent" is a relative term: one of these is from Yuletide. And I have two more Yuletide stories still without webpages.  sigh

Both of these are based on Mary Renault's The Charioteer, though "The Road to Rio" is actually a crossover with Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. It was written for Yuletide as a present for [personal profile] naraht. The other story, "Ain’t Misbehaving", is a ficlet that I wrote for the [ profile] maryrenaultfics LJ community's Valentine's Day Challenge back in February.

For "The Road to Rio", I decided to use a webpage design that would evoke the setting: the Lake District in the summer. So the main background is water, and the border around the text is comprised of a series of frames in leafy green or beige rock patterns. That part was easy. However, I also wanted to divide the sections with a small sailboat; and this, of course, needed to resemble the simple dinghies used by Ransome's children. More easily said than done; but I got something passable in the end. By tweaking, I even gave it a brown(ish) sail.

"Ain't Misbehaving" could, I suppose, be considered my first songfic, in as much as the challenge involved working a line from a song somewhere into the story. As I chose to write from Hazell's perspective (on the start of his "romance" with Ralph) and I had used him before once or twice, I decided to use another variant on GRSites' "misc236.jpg". This is not the most productive background graphic I've ever played with. (That would be the one that I've used, in one variant form or another, throughout all the ITOWverse stories written by myself or my sister.) I have, however, managed to create quite a wide range of backgrounds from it, nevertheless. This time, given the romantic subject (ahem!) and the fact that the story was written for a Valentine's Day challenge, I picked a deep rosy pink variant, and used similar shades in the frame for the text.
01 March 2014 @ 04:43 am
For me the war is ... sort of over. Certainly, I've made all my posts. As in the previous two wars I've played in, I strove to write a reasonably coherent narrative. Now, I've now done webpages for them all. Since the premise this time (at least the one that I used) had people suddenly believing they belonged to a different faction from the one they signed up for, I've done graphics for each affiliation and crossover. Well, the ones in my stories, at least. (Let us not forget that there are over a hundred affiliations. There's no way I fitted them all in!)

So, for part of the war, I believed myself to be, not a Die-Hard, but a Feliksity; and later I got switched to the Blue Knighties. I've mentioned these factions before, particularly when signing up for FK Fic Fest. The Feliksity background has paisley and a flower, picking up on Feliks Twist's jacket and his penchant for gardening. The Blue Knightie graphics have the Toronto Police patch and badge, as used in the show.

However, I managed to work more factions in, and thus had more graphics to play with.

First, I wrote a small crossover with the Ravenettes, when Ron the Enforcer—Ronnie K's war persona—went off to the Raven for the evening. So that gave me the opportunity to make a Ravenette/Die-Hard background graphic.

Sadly, when I then tried to arrange another crossover using the "faction scramble" concept, I found that people had become even more fascinated with the premise used by Bonnies P. and R. (to time-travel into flashbacks from the series); and, being mid-story, they weren't in a position to liaise with me. However, the owner of the actual Caddy used in filming the show had written it a permission slip. So instead, I wrote a crossover involving it, the Vaqueras, and the one member of the DP/Perks who was playing.

Yes, only one Perk! How are the mighty fallen. (Indeed, even the Cousins were seriously shorted in this war, having only one Head and a Fang.)

Now, by rights, the schedule should have meant that, at that point, I headed off to the final party and goodbye posts. However, McLisa had told us that, this war, rules would be quite easy. In particular, although the dates for the war were set in advance, the actual writing deadline was open.

So I was able to go on to another story arc. I had several unused faction scramble ideas; and I'd noticed that there were two people who had signed up to play as independents yet not written any stories for themselves. I suppose either they got stymied by Real Life, or else were simply hoping that someone else would write them into a story. Now, McLisa had said that, for this war, the rules would permit anyone to be used who had a permission slip on record. So I worked off several of my faction scramble ideas using these two players (and an anonymous A.N. Other)—and, not incidentally, managed to mention quite a few obscure factions along the way.

More fun with graphics!

As I also made the war site, I've been happily busy.
01 September 2013 @ 11:55 pm
"What more icons?" you ask. "Just how many factions are there, anyway?"

I'm sure I don't know! I was browsing through lists of factions and came up with several more names. I mentioned a few of them on FORKNI-L; and it seems there is still some interest in icons. So here we are.

Not surprisingly, these are not factions in the original FK sense of the term. Rather, they are really terms applied to fans with certain tendencies or interests, but not (I suspect) in any organized way nor War-related.

These first two, the "Deniers" and "Nevermores", relate to the way that some fans reacted to new directions in two episodes in particular, "Black Buddah" and "The Human Factor".

The Deniers:

While many disliked it when TPTB decided to eliminate Schanke from the show, the term "Deniers" was applied particularly to those who then proceeded to come up with ways in which he might have survived, especially if they then wrote stories based on such premises. I dare say, if I were to look, I'd find that someone wrote fan fiction in which his death was faked as a cover for witness protection. I've certainly seen stories in which Forever Knight was crossed with Highlander so that Schanke could be resurrected as an immortal.

When I brought these factions up on FORKNI-L, this was the one that immediately sparked discussion in terms of what to include in the icon. In the event, I decided to go for a picture of the tombstone which we saw at the end of the season premiere. I found a suitable picture of a cemetery to use as the background for the icon, and then—to counter the gloom—put in a classic Schanke smirk.


The other Season Three episode to set the cat among the pigeons—before the finale itself, that is—was "The Human Factor". Did Janette die or not? That is the question; and, despite the hints that may have been intended when it was filmed, the truth is that many fans read (and I suspect still read) the final scenes to mean that she died. Someone on FORKNI-L coined the term Nevermores, referencing Poe's poem, "The Raven"; and two fans turned it into a short-lived faction.

As it turned out, the people on list had an advantage over the more typical viewer, for there were those among them who had contact with people on the show. They were therefore fairly quickly told that Janette was supposed to have been brought back across by Nick. I'm sure that, in contrast, people who were not on list at that time simply continued to assume her dead—and probably do so today, as far as that goes. I interpreted the final scenes that way myself: only when I joined FORKNI-L in 2004 did I learn that the on-line fandom had been told otherwise. Indeed, I still appreciate the irony of her returning to mortality only to be killed—especially considering that this nicely demonstrates the danger of Nick himself suffering such a fate were he to become human, especially if he continue as a police officer.

Neverthless, the existence of the Nevermores was not considered at all amusing by some of the other fans on FORNI-L. The Ravenettes were particularly affronted. As a result (and because of the information from people involved in the show), the two fans who had been using the name decided to discontinue the faction, for they had never intended to hurt people's feelings.

That being said, the Nevermores are a part of the history of Forever Knight factions, however briefly they may have existed. I have therefore decided that they, too, should have an icon.

For its background, I used a screen capture of Janette in the burning house after she'd been shot. Over it, I simply laid the name of the faction and a symbol; and I then gave the whole a narrow black border to finish it off. This seems appropriate, given that such borders are traditionally used around death notices.

To create a faction symbol, I rebuilt the raven of the Ravenettes to represent a dead bird, and skewered it with a large arrow. Then, when I assembled the icon, I oriented it to lie on Janette's breast as if the arrow pierces her, as well. It is true that she was shot with a bullet; but then it is also true that she is not a big black bird. We are dealing here with symbolism, after all.

Because of its size, I've put the symbol behind a cut. )

I have a few more icons that I may do for other tiny not-quite-factions; so I'll hold off on posting the enlargements till then.

Please note that I have corrected the description and history of the Nevermores in response to a comment by [personal profile] brightknightie. I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by my original error.
30 August 2013 @ 10:35 pm
I don't know if [personal profile] amilyn is on holiday or what, but I've seen no reminder so far that tomorrow is the final day to post prompts for the Dead Dog Party on [community profile] fkcommentfic. If any of the people who played in [community profile] fkficfest were planning to add their unfilled prompts, they need to do it pronto. Or anyone else, for that matter: I don't think one is required to have written in [community profile] fkficfest this year in order to participate. One just needs to join the comm.

I'm a bit surprised, actually, that no one else seems to have commented on [ profile] waltd's stories. He posted several prompts a few weeks ago, as well as some ficlets. [ profile] gnosticdiva has also posted a prompt.

Has no one else dropped by to take a look? Perhaps when [personal profile] amilyn posted so many gifts at the beginning of August, she accidentally drowned us in drabbles! I'm sure that was never her intention. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you'll find the newer posts.

Anyway, this week I wrote a ficlet relating to a prompt of [ profile] waltd's. A second ficlet was prompted by [ profile] gnosticdiva's suggestion; but it turned out to want to be set in the FK War version of Toronto. This in no way matches the title she gave the prompt; so I posted it to the FKFIC-L mailing list, instead. I then, of course, had the pleasure of designing webpages for both of them.Read more... )
21 February 2013 @ 01:11 am
I've just added two more ficlets to my website, both based on Mary Renault's The Charioteer. The first, "Wings of Bim" is actually a drabble that my sister wrote for Brigit's Flame. However, I tweaked it a bit; and she liked the result so much that she said she considered it to be co-authored (which is rather generous, really). The other, "Faded Valentine", was written for the Valentine's Day Challenge on [ profile] maryrenaultfics.

"Wings of Bim" may be nominally the thoughts of a character from The Charioteer; but, in truth, it could be any airman from the Battle of Britain. At any rate, I decided that I wanted a sky background. Nothing I had in my files suited. (On the whole, sky graphics don't tile well: the repeat is too obvious.) So I decided instead to use a gradient. On it, I positioned two little fighter planes, a Spitfire and a Messerschmidt, derived from photos that I got from Wikimedia Commons.

For "Faded Valentine" I initially thought I'd go with a traditional (if not trite!) red or pink hearts'n'flowers theme. However, most of the hearts I had were far too modern. Instead, therefore, I used a rather pretty white rose background that is clearly bridal—but, as the story is about Laurie's mother's memories of her romance with Michael Odell, whom she married, this isn't inappropriate.

For the fancy border, I decided to modify a gradient that I got ages ago from Given the breadth of modern browsers, it's too narrow to be used as the background for a webpage; but it is still suitable for the sort of border that I put around stories, provided I specify the width of the table. Two variants are actually used, one slightly pinker than the other.

I also modified a clipart rose, which I used to decorate the title of the story. The rose was originally a rather strong (though lightish) pink; but I created a series of variants in softer shades of pink, peach, apricot, cream, and white, and then used the one that seemed most suitable to the colour scheme.
07 February 2013 @ 01:55 am
Well, it has been a while since I last posted, hasn't it? In the interim, I've written several stories for Yuletide, enjoyed a family Christmas (my sister having come over from England to join us for the holiday), and played in the latest Forever Knight War on FKFIC-L.

Yes, indeed. I have been busy. I'm not sure that counts as an excuse; but it is an explanation.

First off, let me say that Yuletide was as satisfying this year as last. I received a delightful story by Tolakasa, "Rondeau", in which Captain Cohen reluctantly attends the office Christmas party. Reluctantly, because her husband is there—and he has a wicked sense of humour. We never met him in canon (and only know that his initial is "D" because it's on the Missing poster in "Black Buddha" under Next of Kin). Tolakasa has invented him from scratch; and he's quite delightful. Strongly recommended!

My own assignment was to write a story for Juliandarling based on Mary Renault's The Charioteer. This proved to be such a very plump plot bunny that I started to wonder if I'd get it finished by the deadline. Indeed, since my beta (my sister, [ profile] fawatson) declared that, if I was going to introduce packages then readers would definitely want to see them opened, I wound up adding another 2K between the upload deadline and the reveal, for a total of 12K. (Agggh!!!) As the title, "Exit Stage Left, a Wounded Warrior: The Lost Chapters of The Charioteer" suggests, the story represents itself as the next two chapters of the novel, bringing Laurie's story up to Christmas 1940.

I managed to squeeze out enough time, between duties on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to write a few treats, as well as ficlets for [ profile] fkcommentfic and [ profile] maryrenaultfics. All but the last have now been HTMLed and added to my website. (The latest of my appleficlets is only No. 4, with two more parts to go; so I'm waiting until I finish the entire series.)

I figure the best thing to do is just try to get caught up. So I'm going to comment here on all these stories.

Read more... )
22 November 2012 @ 02:56 pm
People subscribed to FKFIC-L will probably have read "To Be Thankful" last month, for I posted it for Thanksgiving (and here in Canada, of course, that's the second Monday in October.) However, although I immediately put its webpage on my site, I haven't yet mentioned it here or discussed the graphics.

Which are pretty straightforward, really. I looked through my collection for a nice autumnal background (a sugar bush, from the look of it), and then gave the central panel a border in warm brown tones, finishing the whole thing off with maple leaves.

The story was actually inspired by one of the prompts in this year's [community profile] fkcommentfic, asking what Stonetree would do when he retired. I wrote half a bad ficlet and scrapped it; but it did make me wonder a little about his relations with his family.
22 October 2012 @ 04:39 pm
  So, here we are at the last icon!

Feeling that it would be best to end this project on a high note (by which I mean the icon for one of the larger factions), I've been saving this one for months. The Forever Knight Mercenary Guild is not one of the original six; but it was created a war or three later, and has been a popular faction ever since.

I immediately decided that, as with other early factions, the Mercs' icon would need to incorporate a version of the old symbol that was created for them back in the 1990s:

This appears as a header on the Merc Central site; and, as soon as I brought up the question of icon design with their Grand High Pooh-bah (admittedly very much ex post facto), she immediately said she thought it should be included. So it's just as well that I'd already done so!   A bit of history.... )

Once the basic design of the icon was done, I added the name of the faction, looked upon my handiwork, and—decided that something was missing.

After all, if the Mercs are associated with anything besides gold, it is chocolate. How could I possibly do a proper Mercenary Guild icon without chocolate?

I googled "chocolate".

Well! Most of the images were of truffles. (Strange but true.) And truffles, let me tell you, do not reduce acceptably to icon size. All you get is a little brown blob. Even truffles with squiggles on top turn into unrecognizable blobs.

I did in the end discover, though, that chocolates in paper cups do reduce to a minute size yet remain recognizable.

So here (blare of trumpets) is the icon for the Forever Knight Mercenary Guild.

And here is the big version...! )
22 October 2012 @ 04:39 pm
  So, here we are at the last icon!

Feeling that it would be best to end this project on a high note (by which I mean the icon for one of the larger factions), I've been saving this one for months. The Forever Knight Mercenary Guild is not one of the original six; but it was created a war or three later, and has been a popular faction ever since.

I immediately decided that, as with other early factions, the Mercs' icon would need to incorporate a version of the old symbol that was created for them back in the 1990s:

This appears as a header on the Merc Central site; and, as soon as I brought up the question of icon design with their Grand High Pooh-bah (admittedly very much ex post facto), she immediately said she thought it should be included. So it's just as well that I'd already done so!   A bit of history.... )

Once the basic design of the icon was done, I added the name of the faction, looked upon my handiwork, and—decided that something was missing.

After all, if the Mercs are associated with anything besides gold, it is chocolate. How could I possibly do a proper Mercenary Guild icon without chocolate?

I googled "chocolate".

Well! Most of the images were of truffles. (Strange but true.) And truffles, let me tell you, do not reduce acceptably to icon size. All you get is a little brown blob. Even truffles with squiggles on top turn into unrecognizable blobs.

I did in the end discover, though, that chocolates in paper cups do reduce to a minute size yet remain recognizable.

So here (blare of trumpets) is the icon for the Forever Knight Mercenary Guild.

And here is the big version...! )
17 October 2012 @ 04:27 pm
I specifically started this project to create icons for Forever Knight factions. However, it wasn't long before people started asking me to show versions larger than the basic little 100px square so that they could see more of the detail.

Okay, there are a few cases where this isn't possible; but there are certainly many icons that lose a lot of detail in the final miniaturizing. Over the past months, therefore, I've posted several collections showing the designs at a larger size, usually 350px square. Now, though, the icon project is almost at an end.

Obviously this collection contains the newest icons. However, looking through past posts, I realize that there are some older icons yet unseen. So there are a round dozen here, for factions both old and newly created.

The final collection of enlargements.... )