dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
2017-01-10 09:01 pm

Fandom Snowflake, Day 9: A Shout-Out to My SWG Comods

I am still working on my rec list (Day 5) and my fanwork (thanks to Himring's thorny prompts from the Silmfic prompt generator!), but so as not to fall too far behind, I'm going to work a bit out of order for the Fandom Snowflake. I had intentions of doing three days in one post, but Day 9 got away from me a bit. It's no wonder. As I started to write, I realized how much I rely on my comoderators and how little recognition they get for what they do, most of which occurs behind the scenes. So I wanted to give this small gesture of recognition to the people without whom the SWG would not exist.

Day 9 asked us to leave feedback.

Send feedback to two fannish people — they can be anyone you want: a writer who’s made you happy, a moderator of your favorite exchange (not us!), a fanartist you avidly follow… There are so many possibilities. Just let someone know you appreciate their work.

I've left two comments on stories between yesterday and today; I'm trying to read more (and therefore comment more, since I try to say something about everything I read). But I also want to shout out to the admins and moderators who keep the Tolkien fanfic community so lively and vibrant.

We are one of the few fandoms that has created its own websites, archives, and institutions over the years. Some of these groups, sites, and events have been around for a decade or more. None of this happens without a lot of dedication and effort, often from a tiny fraction of the people who participate in fandom.

I work a lot behind the scenes and know how much goes into it. And because I'm the owner of the Silmarillion Writers' Guild and usually its public face, I get a lot of recognition for my work. But my comoderators do not because most of what they do is never seen outside of our circle of moderators.

Uli (ford_of_bruinen) has been on hiatus for a few years now. But without her the SWG would not exist. She was one of the first people to join, and she pushed me to promote and grow the group rather than sitting in huddled terror, wondering what I'd done and half-hoping no one noticed. In the SWG's early years, she was a friend and a mentor, when I was young and very new to fandom, and she kept me from doing a lot of stupid things and helped us as a group achieve a lot of great things.

Jenni (just_jenni) was our second moderator. She stepped down as a moderator to care for her son many years ago. She did a lot for the SWG in the years she was with us, and she was one of my best fandom friends, always able to make me laugh when I needed it the most and always there when I needed her.

Rhapsody. Oh, Rhapsody. Where do I begin?? She is probably the person who does the most for Tolkien fandom with the least recognition. I don't think most people know half of what she does. Rhapsody has had a hand in so many things: not just the SWG but Many Paths to Tread, working to keep Naice a Nilme alive, helping to run Quills and Ink for years, a major player on Open Scrolls Archive, a volunteer for the MEFAs for years, and a moderator for many years on Back to Middle-earth Month. She has been my right hand on the SWG. She fixed the site the time I accidentally deleted all of the challenges. She takes on the boring, monotonous jobs (like mucking the spam from our moderator email!) without being asked. She responded to emails with diplomacy and kindness when my patience was frayed to a thread. She is one of the kindest people I know, always urging me and our comods to give the benefit of the doubt. She is one of the people I turn to when I need to rant or cry, and she always has a wise word and a virtual hug for me. She's probably going to throw tomatoes at me for writing all of this! But I want people to know how much of our fandom is built on the efforts of this one extraordinary woman. If anyone wants to say thanks to her? Here are her stories; she manages to be a gifted writer in addition to a cornerstone of our fandom. Go review one or ten of them.

Tarion Anarore has also been on hiatus for a while. She helped us tag our LJ community back in the early years of the SWG, and we asked her to be a mod, and she stuck with us for years. Tarion was instrumental in shaping the group in its early years. There are few people whose opinions and judgment I trusted more, and she is one of those people who seems able to do everything: graphic design, HTML coding, proofreading reams of documents and policies.

Angelica has also been with us a long time and has done so many diverse things for us that it's hard to list them all. I admire Angelica for her willingness to always step forward and learn. So many times, I've said that something needs to be done, and Angelica will say, "Teach me to do it, and I will." She's also really good at catching my typos and mistakes (one English teacher to another!) and always pushing me to do better in what I write for the group.

Russandol has been a lifesaver so many times. She's the only one of us that codes well, so when we need something done, guess who we turn to? And she steps to the challenge every time, without complaint. She puts the newsletter together every month, which is a task that takes a lot longer than anyone probably realizes it does and that frees me up to do other things. I also trust her judgment so much.

Elleth is our newest mod. Even when she was our Tumblr mod, she still gave us great ideas and feedback about all aspects of running the SWG. She was a full mod a long time before she had the title. Elleth is one of the most talented people I know--a gifted writer and artist and a thoughtful scholar--and I am so grateful always that she has chosen to share those talents with us.

Oshun is not a moderator on the SWG. I have asked her multiple times, and she always says no. But I want to recognize her nonetheless. She has, to date, written eighty biographies about Silmarillion characters for the SWG. I think sometimes about how the newsletter always seems to arrive at the worst possible time, and how it is hard to carve out the hours needed to put together, and I wonder how Oshun comes up with such thoughtful and thorough biographies month in and month out. I know it is not any more convenient for her, yet she works through just about everything to meet a deadline. Her biographies are one of the favorite part of the SWG site and not without reason. They're an amazing resource, and when I get to copyedit them monthly, I often come away with the itch to write about that character, which is the epitome of skill and inspiration, in my mind. I also learn so much from them.

For a long time, I believed that collaboration didn't--couldn't--work for me. I thought I was too willful and opinionated to work with others. I thought that collaboration tended to end up with me doing most of the work while having to share the credit--that was what "groupwork" in school taught me collaboration was. My SWG comods restored my belief in the synergy of a good team. Because of every person I just shouted out, we have accomplished something on the SWG or done something better than we would have otherwise. They are the people who hustle to fix bugs or delete spam in the small hours of the morning. They are the ones who respond when I say, "OMG I don't know what to do." They are there whenever it is not convenient, but needed. They have to listen to me chatter at them, often every day, for years at a time! They put aside their lives and things they'd rather do to serve this group we've built together.

I am so grateful to all of you.
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
2017-01-07 10:02 pm

Snowflake Challenge, Day 6: A Fannish Wish List

Today's Fandom Snowflake challenge is to make a fandom wish list. I have skipped Day 5, not because I'm not doing it but because I'm reading a lot of stuff that has been posted recently in an attempt to create a rec list that includes both friends and writers new to me.

Here is today's challenge:

In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish. If any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.

Wish lists are hard for me because I'm very well treated in fandom in terms of feedback on my work, in the form of comments, recs, and people wanting to do stuff with my stories like draw or translate them. So to ask for more of those things when I already feel like I'm treated so well seems greedy and wrong.

So once again I have to think outside the box a little.

I'd like people who write Silmfic to post it on the SWG and to comment on stories there. Here are the twenty-five most recent stories posted on the SWG. Go comment on one of them! I haven't read them all, but some are superb! There are a dozen different authors represented there and stories about all aspects of the canon.

If you don't write Silmfic? Post to another Tolkien-specific archive and comment there every now and then. Here's a list. I don't know why I have such a sense of urgency about this now, but I do. Perhaps it was the demise of the MEFAs and HASA, one right after the other: those inviolable giants from my early fandom days.

Be brave once this year (it doesn't have to be right now) and say hi to someone new or tell someone whose work you've admired from afar how much you appreciate what they do.

And finally--a little more fun, perhaps--roll a prompt with at least four elements on the Random Silmfic Prompt Generator and either write that prompt or post it here and I will write it (or both).
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
2017-01-01 09:07 pm

Fandom Snowflake Challenge: Day 1

I am going to try to do the Fandom Snowflake challenge this year. Like all of it. I usually do a day here or there, but I've liked journaling daily as part of the photo-of-the-day (although if my performance on that is any indication, then I'll miss a few days of Snowflake as well).

Day One's challenge is:

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

So *rubs hands together* ... let's dive in!

I've self-recced stories for Fandom Snowflake and other challenges before, and my stories are the first place my brain tends to go when asked for self-recs. But I'm going to mix things up a little bit and also, in the spirit of the Snowflake Challenge, break the rules a little by only reccing two things. But they are two big things! So maybe that counts for something.

I am reccing the two sites that I built and that I currently help moderate: the Silmarillion Writers' Guild (which I also founded and own) and Many Paths to Tread.

Really, as far as fanworks that define me as a creator, here you have it. Yes yes, I've spent many hundreds of hours writing stories, and I'm not going to play coy and pretend that some of those stories haven't been important to the Silmarillion fandom, but deciding to turn my energies to learning web design now more than ten years ago was life-changing and--I like to hope--something that shaped the Tolkien fandom in positive directions.

For anyone who doesn't know the story, I decided to found the SWG after a night of insomnia in which I decided that the Internet needed a Silmarillion-only group and I should be the one to build it. I chickened out immediately upon setting up the SWG on Yahoo! Groups (remember that?!) and LiveJournal, but thankfully I was found by Uli/ford_of_bruinen, who would become my first comod, and pushed me to follow through on my dream. When SWG members wanted an archive, I set about learning to do what I'd need to do to build one. I taught myself HTML and CSS from books and started working with eFiction. This led the LotRGen moderators to approach me about building a site for them. I was impressed with the fact that, as a genfic group in an anti-slash point in fandom history, they were open to allowing any stories at an R-rating on below on the site, regardless of the orientation of the couple(s) in the story. So I agreed to help them build their site, and that brought me to MPTT.

I say all this because I've been in the Tolkien fandom for a long time now, and I'm seeing things start to change in ways that I don't like, namely that Tolkien fandom is becoming increasingly comfortable with centralization, and many fans are losing their self-sufficiency in the process. Back in the day, there were dozens of homegrown groups owned by people in the Tolkien fandom, and it wasn't particularly extraordinary to do what I did and learn specialized skills in order to run fandom projects. Plenty of people who couldn't do much more than switch on the computer when they started in fandom learned to write HTML, design graphics, and manage online communities.

There are disadvantages to local control, whether in government or fandom and I won't pretend this was always utopian, but one thing was certain: We did not depend on the blessing or existence of anyone but ourselves and our own minds and hands to have our communities. I will be blunt: I dislike how centralized Tolkien fandom has become. I dislike the snide way people look down their noses at websites like mine because we're not as advanced as AO3. I dislike how everything is on AO3 or Tumblr now. And let me be perfectly clear: I am on AO3 and Tumblr both myself. I have no problem with either site. I like both sites. I was an extremely early adopter and supporter of AO3 and continue to think that they are very much a needed part of the fan community. Notice I said "part." Because AO3 and Tumblr are not the Tolkien fandom, y'all. WE are the Tolkien fandom. These sites will not represent and defend our interests when they are different from Fandom as a whole. If you need proof, just look at the AO3 piped tag debacle, in which AO3 told Tolkien fandom to go fuck itself rather than listen to feedback about a usable system for tagging characters and pairings. And our fandom is weird. Tolkien-based fanfic is more than fifty years old; we have a history and a complex canon that is unlike any other fan community. Our needs are and will continue to differ from Fandom as a whole, and we deserve sites run by people from our own communities that listen to our needs and interests.

For my part, I plan to continue to fight to keep my sites alive and relevant. They are my proudest achievement in this fandom, and I continue to believe strongly that they are needed and important. I hope Tolkien fans reading here will make more of an effort in 2017 to support a Tolkien fandom site or project. Post your stories to a Tolkien archive; comment on something that isn't on AO3 or Tumblr; volunteer to help with an event or challenge. It doesn't have to be the SWG or MPTT, but do something to keep our Tolkien fandom institutions alive.
dawn_felagund: (morgoth)
2015-11-22 10:26 am

There Are Plagiarists Afoot! Information Sharing on the SWG's Recent Plagiarism Incident

Important ETA: Over the past few days, I have been in correspondence with other Tolkien archive admins and the abuse team on AO3. It seems that my initial fears that this incident was "bigger than us" were well-founded. This person has been found on several Tolkien archives (although they don't seem to have posted as widely anyplace but the SWG) and may be linked with a chronic plagiarist on AO3 and ff.net. That makes vigilance more important than ever for all of us. Readers, if you see a story on an archive that looks familiar but isn't by the author you recall writing it, please say something to an admin. It is worth pointing out that we were able to catch and quash this person on the SWG as quickly as we did because we had several members who saw something that didn't look right and reported it. Finally, many, many thanks to everyone who has spread the word. I know it's been a lot of you. (This post was in the LJ Top 25 for a while!) /ETA

As some of you already know, we recently had a major incident of plagiarized work being posted to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild. Given what my comoderators and I discovered during our investigation, I have reason to believe that this is not an isolated incident on our site alone, nor is this person confining their activities to the Tolkien fandom. I have contacted the authors whose work was stolen, and my comods and I have also reached out to the admins of other Tolkien archives (MPTT, Faerie, SoA, OSA, and NaN*) and the abuse team on AO3 to share our findings.

*I couldn't find a contact address for LOTRfanfiction.com, if there is even an active admin on that site anymore. If anyone has one, I'll forward my findings there as well. ETA that Keith has been brought into the loop ...

I am sharing this information publicly here with the intention that it be shared with other admins and authors. Please feel free to link, share, and repost any of the information here. You don't have to ask. I don't care if you credit me (although doing so is probably practical so that anyone with questions about our findings can contact me directly). The important thing in my mind is making sure that this person is shut down before they can do more harm and empowering both admins and authors to do so. If your actions are done with that goal in mind, trust I am going to be cool with it.

A brief summary of what is going on:
  • Multiple accounts were used on the SWG to post plagiarized stories. These stories were stolen from multiple authors.

  • The person or persons behind this was/were responsive to feedback from our moderation team concerning what was allowable on our archive and actually exchanged emails with me on a couple of occasions. They were clearly not part of the Silmarillion fandom (I'm fairly certain they don't even know what The Silmarillion is) and may not be familiar with fandom and fanfic at all. But they were good enough at impersonation that it took us two weeks to catch on to them.

  • They appear to be stealing stories mostly from AO3 and Fanfiction.net. However, there is evidence that they are stealing from other sites as well, and we know for a fact that they have started their shenanigans on OSA. (We've contacted the OSA admin.)

  • They appear to be stealing primarily stories that are recently posted or updated. Again, however, this is not 100% the case.

  • They were insistent of their innocence, even after we found overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I don't know the motivation behind that; it doesn't appear that they were invested particularly in the works they had posted but seem to have selected them somewhat at random.

A version of this post has also been posted to the Stop Plagiarism community on LJ and is in the queue to be reviewed by a moderator.

ETA ... it is now also posted on Tumblr.

What Happened )

Screencaps and Links )

Summary of Usernames, Emails, and IPs )
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
2015-08-07 09:52 pm
Entry tags:

SWG Birthday Cards! Thank You! :)

I want to thank everyone who sent me a birthday card for the SWG's 10th birthday. I was very generously treated and am grateful for each and every one. Quite a few had heartfelt messages that made me wubble hard and that I will cherish for a long, long time.

As a result of putting this together*, I am hella behind on pretty much everything else fannish, so if you are waiting on me for an email reply, a beta, archive stuff ... I'm huffing and puffing but slowly catching up! In addition to Alex (who is doing extremely well, though we are still waiting on biopsy results), things have been pretty heavy at work recently. I feel like my time has been crunched down to fit into a jack-in-the-box and springs out at random to bop me in the nose; I am back to waking up in a panic periodically, convinced that I've left something undone. (I have! Many things!) This weekend is pretty empty except for a hafla on Sunday, so I should have everything set to rights very soon.

*And, yes, a few people have asked: I did do my own birthday card album! :D That was my modly job, to upload the cards to Photobucket as they came in. Trust me, it did not diminish the joy I felt to receive such lovely cards and messages, and I pretended yesterday like I hadn't seen them all already and went through and looked at them again. My comods even set up an email for me, so I even got an email with a password like everyone else. ;) And Russa did use her mod access to sneak one past the form, so I did get a bit of a surprise!

It's hard to express how much the SWG and the people in this community mean to me. Starting this group was life-changing, and I don't mean that I spend a lot more time than I would have otherwise using Notepad to write code or debating the finer points of copyright law with my obliging comods. I mean that, before fandom and before the SWG, I did not take my writing or my love of language seriously. I forced myself onto any path but the one I secretly longed for, where books and writing and words were the chief delight.

I mean that I would not be a teacher, would not be working with at-risk kids, would not be a grad student in humanities, would not be starting to publish my scholarly work (would not have scholarly work) without the people in this community. I have been so generously treated over the years by people who have pushed me to see myself differently. To recognize my value in this world, which I was honestly struggling to do when, bored at an unrewarding job that I took only because I didn't know what I truly wanted to do with myself, I began to write Another Man's Cage and not long after set up the SWG. I sometimes worry that I can never repay the kindness and generosity with which I have been treated. The SWG is an attempt to do so, to create a version of the way I was myself treated, in hopes that others might continue to find their voices through the humble mode of fanfic. I am sometimes terrified when I imagine what life would have been like if I'd never discovered fandom, never started writing AMC, never founded the SWG because, for all my grumbling and complaining--some of it petty, some of it very legit--I am so happy in my life and am doing what I love and want to do for as long as I can do it, fighting the good fight to change the fact that "everyone speaks but few are heard."

So I am grateful to you all for what you've done for me over the years. And I am saying that to those of you who sent me a card and those of you who didn't but have been a part of the fandom, the SWG, and my life for these last ten years.

Thank you.
dawn_felagund: (feanorians)
2012-11-04 02:17 pm
Entry tags:

My First Podfic! "Paper" from 2005

As I announced yesterday, the SWG archive now accepts podfics, which is something my comods and I have been working on off-and-on for a few months now. I'm excited about this possibility, even though I have no idea how popular it will be. It's a technology that has intrigued me for a while now, so I hope others will be interested in learning and working with it. I started working with Audacity a few months ago when I was initially talking with Erurainon about setting up a Silmarillion podcast, which I assume has fallen by the wayside due to his school obligations. (I haven't heard from him in a while.) But I learned Audacity at the time and even recorded a few podfics for him, for use in the eventual podcast.

I wanted to work on recording some of my own but, of course, other things took precedence, as is the story of my life, but introducing podfics on the SWG gave me the nudge I needed to finally record one of my stories. And so, I present the MP3 podfic of Paper, written and read by yours truly. "Paper" is summarized on the SWG as, "Curufin escapes to the realms of fantasy to escape the pressures of his family and discovers the thrill of first love." It's one of my earliest stories but the right length, content, and tone for my first stab at putting my voice out on the Interwebz. It can be listened to or downloaded on the SWG archive.

It ended up taking up me about three hours all together to record--spread over yesterday and today--which isn't too bad, since I also had to re-learn Audacity.

So there. Anyone who wanted to see the new section of the site in action, there you have it! I hope, at the least, that we'll get some recommendations for our monthly podfic and maybe even a few brave readers? :)
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
2012-03-16 01:27 pm
Entry tags:

Happy [Belated] Begetting Day, SWG

In the hubbub of B2MeM, I forgot to wish the SWG a happy seventh (whoa) begetting day. (I've talked about why--just like an Elf!--the SWG has a begetting and a birthday before.) I remember when I founded the SWG, HASA was turning four, I think. That seemed incredible to me, to have a website with such longevity. Now the SWG has been in existence for seven years, which seems at once too long and too short: Too long because I cannot believe so much time has passed and too short because I also cannot remember a time when the SWG wasn't a huge part of my life.

Hark! Here be sentimental musings ... )
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2010-08-04 10:40 pm
Entry tags:

Anyone Want to Adopt a Theme or Token?

As part of SWG's birthday celebration, we've asked people to come up with ideas for themes and tokens (small awards). It is limited to one per person, but I've had some brilliant multiple suggestions and so have been trying to get those "adopted" by people who didn't plan on entering a theme or token themselves.

So ... is anyone interested in adopting a theme or token? (Provided you haven't sponsored one of your own yet and don't plan to, of course.) It requires no special effort from you. Just a comment saying that you're willing is enough.

Just think of all the amazing themes and deserving tokens you will allow to see the light of day with a few seconds of your time and a dozen quick keystrokes. And just look at the little guys with those big, soulful eyes ... How they want to fulfill their destinies and have people write stories for them and hand them out to stories and authors ...

/shameless pandering ;)
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2010-01-06 08:35 pm
Entry tags:

Back to Middle-earth Month

Believe it or not, we are coming up on March and so Back to Middle-earth Month again! As usual, SWG is planning to run an event. Normally, I don't blather too much about SWG on my journal since I figure that, if you wanted to hear about blathering about SWG, you could sign up for [livejournal.com profile] silwritersguild, but B2MeM is a bit different. Like last year, it will not be a Silmarillion-only event, so I am hoping for some help and input from folks from beyond Silm fandom.

Okay, so I will try to organize coherent thoughts.

Last year's B2MeM was a daily challenge event (prompts are here). This year's event will be a "quest game" built around challenges a lot like last year's. The number one response I get to the whole "quest game" bit is "WTF is a quest game??" In a nutshell (albeit, a rather large one, more like a walnut than an almond, maybe a filbert), players will navigate across a map, and each location will correspond to a particular challenge that must be completed to move on to the next location. The first to reach the destination wins. Obviously, there will be more to it than that to spice it up, but my explanation runneth over the confines of my nutshell. Nonetheless, if you want to know more, ask and ye shall receive.

So why am I talking about this now? Two reasons. One, I need help. Yes, we all knew that, right? We would love some input as we plan the event, and we will need volunteers to help with some of the administrative stuff during March. We are looking for game mods and regular volunteers. Game mods won't be able to play since they will know super-secret stuff that will give them an unfair advantage, so if you don't think you'd be interested in playing but still want to be involved, please do consider becoming a game mod. Regular volunteers won't be in on the super-secret stuff and so can play as well and will most likely help us to keep track of the progress of the game, send emails to participants, and so on.

Secondly, we need players. We will probably start sign ups during February, so I will have more on that forthcoming. Please do pass the word along to other Tolkien authors, artists, and groups that might be interested. As noted, this is not a Silmarillion-only event and will be open to anything and everything Tolkien-related--all are welcome!

If you're interested in helping out or have any questions, please email me at DawnFelagund@gmail.com or leave a comment here.
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2008-10-02 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

There We Stood, on the Brink of Annihilation ...

... the SWG poised to tumble into the Great Internet Rubbish Bin and disappear without a sound.

Seriously, this afternoon delivered the biggest SWG-related fright I've had since the site went live some years ago. Even more than the time that I deleted all of the challenges by accident (and Rhapsody--may the muses smile upon her!--had to restore them for me). Murphy likes to mess with my life, which is neither unique to me nor news to anyone here. I came home from work this afternoon, sat with Bobby for a few minutes, and then checked my email for the first time because of my rather odd day at work (the subject of another post). The first subject heading to grab my attention:


Eek, much?? :^S

Back in September, I got an email that the SWG account would expire in one month. I had the option to renew it then or wait for it to auto-renew in October. Bobby and I talked about it, and we decided that since we were getting ready to travel overseas, it would be wiser to wait until October.

So in the flurry of trip preparations and schoolwork and keeping caught up at work, I gladly forgot about it and trusted it to "auto-renew."

What I had forgotten was that the domain was registered two years ago, and the credit card that was used has since expired, so when the auto-renew was attempted, it failed, and the site was shut down.

I was sent an email informing me that the host had done me the favor of keeping our data ... for 24 hours. Then it would be gone.

Normally, this would not be so much of a problem. I was sent the email at 5 am; I usually sneak a look at the website by 10 am at the latest and could have taken care of it before most of our American members, at least, would even know the site was down. Of course, Murphy being what he is, yesterday was the day that I had been asked to help with scenarios at work, so while I normally could have been renewing the site, I was waving an assault rifle at my coworker and calling him obscenities. The scenarios ran all day, so by the time I got the email (as well as numerous emails from SWG members and one email from a manager at our host, who had apparently been trying to frantically call me all day to find out what was wrong) the SWG had only twelve hours left before annihilation!

Perhaps it seems melodramatic to look back on that with a touch of terror, but this is a site that I and countless others have put hours of work into over the course of the last three years, so even the thought of the site going into the Great Internet Rubbish Bin sends my heart racing.

The good news is that I renewed the site immediately upon getting the message, and we were up and running again in minutes. A close call ... too close!

The other good news is that, even if the site had gone kaput, I keep all of the files carefully backed up and Rhapsody, who has been acting as webmaster on the archive for some months now, does wonderfully for backing up the database, so we could have restored the site to its original splendor ... but neither of us really has the time right now for that kind of effort.

In all, it was a lesson learned in not trusting auto-renew when the fate of my biggest web project is at stake!
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2007-06-14 10:46 pm
Entry tags:

Another Fannish Note!

For those of you who haven't seen already, we're doing a special project on SWG for July called Seven in '07. It seems that this year holds a special day--07/07/07--which got me thinking that all those sevens make it necessary to honor the House of Feanor.

So we've decided to do a compilation of creative work that will accompany a history of each member of the House of Feanor. The Feanorians have certainly inspired their share of creativity among fans of The Silmarillion, and we hope to acknowledge this. Generally, I steer away from Feanorians on SWG because they tend to overshadow the other characters ... and the authors who write about other characters. But in July, we're embracing everything Feanorian!

As part of the Seven in '07 project, though, we are collecting creative work related to the Feanorians. We are looking for short fiction, poetry, artwork, and excerpts of longer works. The full details are available on the Seven in '07 page on the website. The due date is Sunday, 24 June, and yes, that is very close. Unfortunately, I have to have it that way because I don't know how much Internet/computer access I will have around the time we are scheduled to move, so I'd like to have the whole project completed and ready to upload by the time moving day arrives.

But Feanorian fans on Ye Flist, I am begging, pleading, and cajoling for Feanorian-related writing and artwork to include in this project. Even one or two things would be wonderful ... though I'm not going to say no to one hundred either! We're going to make our best effort to put something up from everyone who sends something into us, so no fears about your efforts being in vain. But since part of the purpose of the project is to show the diverse creativity inspired by this group of Elves, the more authors and artists represented, the better!

As usual, you all are welcome to email me (DawnFelagund@comcast.net) or comment here if you have any questions or want to suggest something to be included.
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2007-06-08 10:50 pm
Entry tags:

Two Fannish Notes

For the Silmarillion junkies on my flist ...

*watches as 90% of flist looks up*

As many of you probably know by now, I have finished the Silmarillion Writers' Guild archive. It's still kind of unbelievable that it's finished. [livejournal.com profile] nelyo and I started kicking around the idea of a website almost two years ago, back when I thought it would never be possible to have an archive where people could upload their own stories and I figured I'd have to code and upload them all by hand. Research and guidance by some of the amazing people who are members of SWG have allowed us to realize our greatest hopes, though, and now we have an archive to call our own!

So I'd like to invite other Tolkien fans to check out our site and consider putting their stories there. Or just to squee one more time that this project is finally finished!

The SWG Archive!

Secondly, the very talented [livejournal.com profile] hrymfaxe has done a drawing for my novel Another Man's Cage!

Here's the scene, for those of you who have read AMC:

From Chapter Twenty-Seven )

Though even if you haven't read AMC, go look at the drawing! It's beautiful!
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2007-05-23 10:50 pm
Entry tags:

We Have a House. And an Archive. Oh My.

I've wanted to write for days, but this is the first chance that I could grab. We got the house. Sunday evening, we were over my parents' house and Pat (my cousin's fiance and our real estate agent) called to say that the owners had made a counter-offer; it took Bobby and me about thirty seconds to decide that we could live with it. All of the final contract paperwork was finished today. So, pending inspection, it's ours!

This is all very exciting. We settle on 29 June (my sister's birthday!) and will move in that weekend.

Now that the place is definitely ours (pending inspection), every little detail about the apartment that annoyed me but I could live with suddenly seems one hundred times worse. Interesting psychology going on here. Coping mechanisms. ;) Today, I came off of Route-29 onto Route-40 and traffic was backed up at the light. I had to cross three lanes through this mess to turn onto my street, like I do every day. I deal with it; become proud of how good I've gotten at this task when it used to be ulcer-inducing to a bumpkin like me. Today, I thought a string of profanities and realized that I just didn't want to deal with this anymore. That I'm just not suited to this area. It's gorgeous and I adore the historic district to an unhealthy degree, but the rude, pretentious, self-absorbed people who live here; the constant press and hustle and endless congestion; the cost of Howard County just to boast, "I live in Howard County," with my nose in the air ... I'm sick of it. And every time that f***ing dog next door starts yapping or something falls from a bookshelf or the refrigerator or the washing machine and clunks me on the head because we have no room and have taken to storing dishes in the oven ... I think, Only a few weeks left, and am so relieved and happy just to be gone from here.

Because I don't want to feel this way. This was Bobby's and my first home together, and I want to remember it fondly.

In less important (but still big) news, the beta-test for the SWG archive is well underway. I had in mind all these very efficient plans. May, I was going to do the grunt work on the archive and start testing. June was going to be the first month of public use, which will likely be rocky. Inevitably. July, we were going to start looking for a house. But the two should not overlap. Riiiight.

As it was, we did the bulk of the house-acquisition at the same time as I finished building and started beta-testing the archive. Not the best setup, but I can't put off the first and don't want to put off the second. As it is, we're over the worst of both hurdles. We have inspection and settlement looming for the house, and that's it. All the financial stuff is done, and the contract is signed. And I've worked out the worst of the bugs in the archive; what is left is mostly aesthetic and could really be accomplished beyond the testing period as well. I'm looking forward to writing and watching movies and sleeping. All good things. :)

In less pleasing news, we've canceled all travel plans for the year, which include our trips to Toronto, Bermuda, and England. Bobby and I can travel on a shoestring, but the shoestring's been a bit frayed as of late and almost coming apart.

Alex decided to act like an asshat at the end of his walk tonight. We're changing headcollars because the one he has now pops into his mouth whenever he pulls back suddenly, at which time he happily gnaws through it. He's almost through this one, and it's his second in a month. While removing it from his mouth, as he happily jawed away, he punctured my hands in two places. Ouchie. Both ache relentlessly. He barely broke the skin, but they're swollen and sore. I can't wait to move. He'll have a yard; I'll have a place to train him again. A tiny apartment and 80-pound dog just don't work for training purposes anymore.

Did I mention that I can't wait to move?

(And I'll answer my comments very soon. Right now, it's off to bed to enjoy a bit of reading before dying for the night.)
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
2006-02-07 11:20 am
Entry tags:

It Worked!!!

One of the biggies on my to-do list has been getting at least a basic homepage for [livejournal.com profile] silwritersguild written. Since beginning this rollercoaster of a project back in September (and having a page complete at one point), I came to work today with absolutely nothing to show for my agonies. So I cleared my desk, hunkered down with a pile of nerdy books on XHTML and CSS, and got to work.


It worked!!!

My web experience can be summed up by doing neat little HTML designs in LJ and a "webpage" for my D&D group. I once tried to make a homepage for my unit with an external CSS stylesheet and it totally failed...although, in retrospect, I think it was more my out-of-date browser than anything else. Not that I looked into it much. I decided that I wasn't going to design webpages for the crappy salary that I receive.

But today it worked! Style sheet and all! Now I just have to add some text beyond "test" and "This is a test of the SWG stylesheet."

How nerdy is it that I literally feel like doing a happy dance?