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Iluciyan Musings

I wanted a place to brainstorm ideas. A lot of the concepts I touch on here are partially developed and will be part of a site I plan on opening. This is just barely scratching the surface, but hopefully it's an ok introduction with commentary! Iluciya I call it surreal, but mostly because the world functions very, very differently from our own.   Iluciya is a world concealed by The Barrier, locked away and ignorant of the forces beyond it. It is about half the size of earth, and due to the barrier holds some scientific concepts that wouldn't translate perfectly into the real world. A celestial ring made of aether that's bisected by the Barrier surrounds the globe. There is a thin layer of stardust in the atmosphere, causing a glittering appearance in the sky no matter the time of day or location.  The planet is climate-controlled by the barrier, with sections of large clusters of aether acting as the "sunlight" and "moonlight" of the world. Because of the large concentration of aether in these areas, they appear similarly as our sun and moon on earth do. The actual satellites orbiting on either side of the aether ring are Anetia and Lusria, rumored to be moons from the days before the barrier's existence. Due to the unreliable nature of written history, and how most books and media relating to the world before the barrier were lost, there's many beliefs spread throughout the continents regarding the origin of the barrier. I'll tell you OOC, that it was probably a Supernova of some sort, and that a witch (or 10) created the barrier to protect their home. In doing this, they were still only able to save a small section of the population. It's believed that all of the races come from one of the three most common races, and that everyone originates from an island referred to as Home.   This world was made to encourage users to work together to develop new and old concepts. We're currently also making an STG-Game, which was the primary reason for bringing the RP back to life. People started wanting to develop their own characters within the world I built for the game, but I also want to encourage long-time members to contribute their own lore and OCs.    I think I'll start the board with the bare-bones of information on the races and locations and encourage users to build up the world together during the soft-opening. I have about 23 locations plotted out among the continents, but I'm going to publish them as if I were a member as well, to kind of set an example and encourage open dialogue.  My only issue is... My member base is almost all entirely only interested in either 1. drawing their characters and developing them outside of RP or 2. developing the world outside of RP! This isn't too much of a roadblock, since we'll have an active OOC community actively contributing to the world, but I'll probably need to gather a few role-players outside of my current member base! 😄 (I think I know just the place~)   With IPS, I want to use the Clubs feature as a way for users to create storylines and characters are accepted/rejected on a per-member basis. This is kind of how I ran a Touhou forum back in the day, and I think with these extra features it'll be a lot more streamlined! I hesitate to step away from the normal location-board formula, but it might be nice to try something new!   Magic
Magic is the name given to any set of skills or processes that utilize or consume aether in order to change or advance the usual laws of physics. Most believe that magic is tied to the state of being, while others believe that it is a gift from divine entities. Magic is such an integral part of life that it's hard to believe that the world even functioned without it as a whole before World's End happened and the barrier was created.  Aether is the medium in which magic seems to materialize.  It is generally believed that aether comes from the ring surrounding the planet and that the barrier is made from a grid of elemental aether, converging at one brightest and darkest point meant to emulate sunshine and moonlight. It's believed that a person utilizes their life force to interact with aether, commonly referred to as soul or aura. Aether can crystallize and become Stars, a material believed to come from the clouds. Stars are used in just about every piece of technology and weaponry- From light bulbs to magic staves.   Races
I debate on Races vs Species. In the Adoptables community, even humanoid races are considered "species". Since everyone that's sentient in this world is essentially humanoid, I started out calling them "races". Not sure how to go about that but I'll probably figure something out! Iluciya is affectionately called Cantankerous Elf Club, due to the fact that most of the races have pointed ears. (Evolutionary reasons) The races are...
Mundane - Must use an outside source of Aether, because they cannot store it in their body. Fiaca: The most human of races, their unique healing factor makes up for the lack of magical ability. 'Yin: A race with animalistic features. They are noted to have physical traits aligning with their animal features, such as frail bones for birds and night vision in cats. Nikino: Evolutionary mutation in an environment drenched in magic gave birth to a new type of Tabe'yin, named Nikino. They are normally born without vocal cords and communicate via bell-like chimes from their tail appendages. Fluffy antennae jut from their ears, allowing them to evaluate intangible aspects of items just by sensing them. This established the trading Nikino town of Gelisia. Keyitmi: Enigmatic creatures that feed on the blood of Magicals, they cannot use spell items but are categorized as "mundane" due to their inability to use any magic without first feeding on a magical being. They adapt to whatever magical talent and abilities of the blood in their system. When they absorb enough, they can materialize a set of wings made of aether and even fly. They are very rare. Magical - Absorbs aether from their environment passively. Can store aether in their body. Commonly have markings on their skin called aether circuits. They're infamous for dying of shock after breaking bones, likely due to the presence of aether circuits. Siiday: They hold a unique trait in their magic circuits that adapts to the type of aether surrounding them for long periods of time, making them the only race that can switch out their elemental affinity. However, this change takes about 1/4 of their lifespan in a consistent environment. Siiday are not commonly nomadic, as the change in their magic circuits can be painful and hinder their casting ability. Lanmei: It's said that even their blood acts as magical circuits, holding a high aether content no matter how long it has been separated from the body. A favorite snack for Keyitmi, but the most magically talented of mortal races, most powerful magicians are of Lanmei descent. They have small antennae on their head, usually in pairs on each side, that allow them more absorption of aether from the air. Luxa: Said to be evolutionary decendants of both Siiday and 'Yin, Luxa tend to have digitrigrade legs and absorb aether from the ground through the tough pads on their feet. Luxa tend to focus on magic that enhances their bodies or physical weapons, making them effective spellswords.  Celestial - Passively expels aether from the body in small amounts, usually has a huge supply of aether to begin with, or are made of aether. Eilura: Elemental beings said to originate from the Barrier. They are usually found in large, crystalline structures buried deep beneath Iluciya's crust. Some retain memories of the area surrounding them, so Eilura are valuable for the progress of history-keeping. However, eilura tend to have a low morality standard and are known to trick mortals, magical or mundane. To recharge their aether supply, Eilura must eat the same type of Star that they are made from. Melnir: Doll-like androids originally made by Nikino and can be found in Companion, Combat, and Work models. They are usually powered by an item with a high concentration of aether. Their sentience is debated, but some Melnir report having memories they didn't experience and shifts in personality if the item at their Core is changed out. Anyway, I have some doodles of the races up here on the Initiative! The album should be connected to this Blog Entry. 🙂 I'll probably do more down the line.

Sae

Sae

 

2: I like this going right, but it scares me too

I finally broke the two-week or so streak of every piece of code I was writing during that time-frame working immediately, and caused a few errors today. Rofl. Mostly I've been bouncing back and forth between working on the Character Manager, and working on the theme orders I've got sitting in queue staring me down, but I keep taking minor breaks to go do RP posts. It seems kind of Wild that I'd be doing all this work for RP boards and then not RP? Like, I guess some people do, but it just seems weird to me, so I try not to get caught up doing something and forget what the heck-all I'm even doing it for. (This is why I can't quit RP, you guys - okay no there's another reason but, spoilers.)   I've gotten pretty far along in the next release of the character manager, though! I'm SUPER excited for this, y'all, it's gonna ROCK. CM 1.0.1 may actually be released specifically for 2.1, 2.0 functionality not promised, I'm not sure. Mostly I'm focusing on doing it before I figure out how I'm handling releases. Just thinking about what's easiest here, because tbfh I have no idea. Lol. But there are some things it does on SMF 2.1 that it just cannot do on 2.0 (I'll show you in a second!), and the default templates would need to be tweaked to work with Curve (Curve is SO DUMB, Curve2 is much better, much more intuitive to work with). I'm probably a little over halfway done with 1.0.1, so that's exciting. (Honestly, I can't wait til I'm done, seriously, I can't, I'm so sick of coding right now.)   if($arceus == 'sick of code' && $time_spent_coding >= $too_long) { $arceus_speaks_in_php = true; return $help; } (Fun fact, that's valid PHP.)   The breaking the everything-working pattern is actually really nice, like you'd think I'd be happy about not breaking anything? But it's like, when things go smoothly and nothing errors out on me, I just kind of sit here, and stare at my screen. And wonder what unholy hell is going to go wrong eventually, because things only go so right when chaos is ahead. Does this make me jaded, or just really anxious a person? I have no idea which it is. Listen, though, I've gotten to the point where I'm good enough with PHP that, when I do break it, finally, I break it really good and solidly thorough. It's a thing. You think ignorant people can break things, hoowee, no, the real breaker-masters, are the PHP whiz-kids that take a thousand years to finally break something. It's like breakage karma sort of builds up like honey and it attracts THE BIGGEST MOST VICIOUS STINGING EVIL SUGAR ANTS KNOWN TO EARTHKIN. LIKE THE KIND OF VICIOUS STINGING EVIL SUGAR ANTS THAT MAKE YOU WONDER IF THEY'RE ACTUALLY ANTS AND PROBABLY HAVE HORNS.   Is earthkin not a word? It is now, screw off, spell-check.   So I did want to show this: It's big, but this is the full character creation page. As mentioned last post, it's tabbed, and all of the image fields are in the images tab, instead of wherever, so they can be placed wherever. They do still sort by position, if I remember rightly, but this makes a little more sense, as far as interfacing logic goes. You'll notice that SMF 2.1's fancy new WYSIWYG editor loads both in all the text-areas in standard, as well as in the custom fields marked as textareas. This way, BBCode is a breeze for users, and on the list at some point, probably, is figuring out how to make it periodically save the character form. Because that'd be boss. Anyway, the WYSIWYG is one of the things that needs to change to be compatible with 2.0, because 2.0's WYSIWYG loads a different way. Being frank, I'd probably just take out the WYSIWYG triggers entirely.   This here is the main character management page. Now with more cool! They're colour coded by default, but you can change this per theme. Approved characters are green, pending ones are pink, and characters that are in-progress are a pale steel blue. Character blurb parses for BBC by default, it's actually built into the back-end.   Now, I wanted to show you guys... this! Yeeeees!! It sends alerts for pended characters to the staff team!!!!1111 These are also links, so it links to the character's profile, and also to the ACP approval queue. It sends to users in any member group that has the 'cmod_manage' permission; by default, though, users in root admin group #1 always get approval queue alerts. This is, of course, another thing that won't work on 2.0, and that's a damn crying shame. (Again, as in 1.0.0, new characters from anyone with 'cmod_app_bypass' permission skips the approval queue outright - since root admins always have all permissions, admin group #1 never has to wait for approval even if it's on). The entire system here for approval is actually rather quite bloody slick. If I do say so myself. (Am I allowed to say that? Is that gloating?)   So when characters are accepted or rejected, it'll send an alert to their player, that tells them char name was accepted/rejected, so they know when their character(s) can be played. Aaaahm. Beyond that, pretty standard stuff. Oh, this time, I remembered to put the stupid page indexes in, so if you have 200 characters, they won't all show on one page (it'd be 10 pages lol).   There's one other thing I have to share, that I just got done. This wasn't in 1.0.0, so this is super exciting. This is the new auto-list page in the ACP. Variable will strip out any wacky characters and leave just lowercase Latin letters, numbers, and underscores, because variable is the page URL that it uses for this auto-list. So we want it to be as clean as we can make it. If you try entering two of the same variable, by the way, it'll fatal_error on you. Haha. Then, name the page anything you like, select a bio field from the set of fields you created for your site to use as the auto-list base, type up a header description and...   Ba-BING!   It generates and displays an automatic, alphabetised list, no coding required, right on the list page, of all the active characters' values for that field, and it looks nice, too. This is for automatic face claims and the like. If you want to do job listings, you can use it for that, grade listings, dorm numbers, HP-style wand stuff, anything you want to keep track of, set that shit and forget it, because it will automatically update the list when a new character is activated and has that field filled in. You never have to touch a list again, and neither do you need to know how to code to make one of these anymore! (Yep, you're welcome.)   [Insert Fuck Yeah! reaction here tbh.]   This was a feature/function that I wanted in the Char Manager from day one, it just, I wanted the mod itself done and FAST so I could start using it at my own places, so tbh I kinda rushed through 1.0.0. I should theoretically be rushing through 1.0.1, but here we are. Lol So far, though, so good. Nothing's broken hopelessly yet (1.0.0 doesn't support PHP 7+, of course, so I'm building this version on PHP 7.1). There is also a giant welcome message when you first get into the ACP for the Char Manager, in 1.0.1, this will explain what everything is, what it does, what it's for, how to control it, etc, etc, and once you've seen it, it doesn't show again.   I think my next tackle will be the NPC controls. Which basically run off the general character controls, just with an extra field that marks it as an NPC. Cheehoo. Yanno, after I eat. (Have I mentioned I'm bad at food?)

Arceus

Arceus

 

1: Once a Coder, Always a Coder

Like I always do, I decided to take a serious break this weekend and not code anything, and of course, like four hours into my break, I'm coding again. Rofl.   One time, I actually managed to code for about six months straight, pretty much. I'd wake up, eat something (maybe, if I was feeling kind to myself), and then get on the computer and start typing code, day in and day out. For months. I forgot Christmas existed because of that time-span, it was crazy. But apparently brain does and doesn't want to do it again, because on the one hand, I really want to go code shit, but on the other hand, I would much rather go back to sleep. You know how much sleep I got today? Like, 11 hours. That's ridiculous. I'm still exhausted, you guys.   So anyway, time to ramble about code! I helped someone install the character mod for SMF 2.0, and discovered something in it is not compatible with PHP 7+, and I don't know what. Mahahaha. That's so grand! Now, of course, with Character Manager version 1.0.1, I'm rewriting it from scratch (a-friggin-gain), on PHP 7.1, to make it compatible with PHP 7+, and also this version is first being written on SMF 2.1, and then when it's done, being back-ported. Several new features are shipping with 1.0.1, there'll be a built-in journal system, character status streams, and the shipper handler I promised is happening in 1.0.1 too. This will be the last fully free version of the char manager. Beyond 1.0.1, it will be missing certain functions, bundled with the Battle Suite, because I have to bridge the char manager and the Battle Suite anyway, so I'm just putting them together as the SMF RPG Suite. I will be packaging the last functioning version of the Battle Suite (4.0) and public-releasing it, but that version and char manager 1.0.1 will not be updated further.   ABS 4 and ACM 1.0.1 will also be the last versions of both that guaranteed support SMF 2.0 -- but they cannot be used together, as Battle Suite 4 does not have the functionality to bridge with the Char Manager. So you either use the Char Manager, or the Battle Suite + SubAccounts.   For ACM 1.0.1, I'm redoing how character profiles/creation is handled. The character creation and edit screen is now set up to be tabbed. Where you place image upload custom fields also won't matter, because all image uploads will go into the Images tab. Biography fields are set up to be separated into tabs and sections, very similar to how Nova handles it, same with the character grouping system -- ACM 1.0.1 brings back departments and ranks, though departments are child-alliances and ranks are standalone, again, use one, two, or all three, only alliance is required, and even that's technically optional. I'm actually super stoked about how the character biographies and the character list are handled.  
(This is the main character list.)  
(Character management screen.)   Names are also separated into three, one field per name (first, middle, last). All three can technically be left blank, but they won't display right. Haha. Admins can decide if they want names ordered First Last, Last First, or Last, First, anywhere the name is shown, thanks to this separation.   (Add/Edit a character screen.)   Basically everything in ACM 1.0.1 is built differently than how it is in 1.0.0, so there should be an upgrader script that I can write, which will convert the database information from 1.0.0 to 1.0.1. No promises on that, but the structure is very different in 1.0.1, so it should be able to run alongside 1.0.0's database tables (you'll have to uninstall 1.0.0 anyway, just leave the database information in-tact, install 1.0.1, and then run the upgrader). The converter from SubAccounts to ACM will still be packaged in 1.0.1, and also still be hidden. Honestly, if you still haven't made the switch from SubAccounts to the Char Manager, I'd wait for 1.0.1. It is much better, just, trust me. Rofl.   What's the Battle Suite? Borne of a flat-file series of random number generators, that were designed to "spawn" random Pokemon, the Battle Suite became the answer to table-top style systems on play-by-post games. Everything in the Battle Suite can be renamed and customised to one's liking, and it can be adjusted to suit everything from Pokemon to Bleach to Dungeons and Dragons to modern fantasy and beyond. Listen, this shit is off the hook kinda cool. It handles skills, skill levels (use a skill, it will decide whether it succeeded or failed, roll for secondary effect if there is any, calculate points awarded and award them accordingly, AND it has a controller that can be turned on or off for child skills, which can be set to sporadically award some of their points to their parent on a % chance), STAB and STHB (same-type attack/healing bonus, when using a skill of the same type the user is, it will multiply the damage or healing amount by a set number, yes this is customisable too), abilities, creatures and creature skills and abilities (it will restrict users to adding creatures that are in the spawner/bestiary, so you don't get people randomly taming unicorns when there are no unicorns in your universe), a random encounter spawner (spawns skills and abilities, too, and gives you a copy-pasta BBCode to pop into threads, majijijijik), bestiary (full listing of all creatures in the spawner; you can add information to the entry table and set the table and main content area up however you like, it'S ACTUALLY REALLY FRIGGIN BOSS). It also has drop-down selectors that will load a selected user's skills and or abilities in a thread and allow easy finding of which skill a player wants to use, no fancy coding required, you can roll a skill as an NPC's skill and also roll its damage/healing output lower than it actually is.   ABS 3.5 also had a quest system, the quest system, faction system, shop/item system (use items in threads easy peasy lemon squeezy, also features user selling, trading, and you can sell and trade creatures, shop system also sends out alerts for: someone bought your thing, someone accepted your purchase offer, someone is now selling an item that matches an item you want, etc), and reputation system (reputation alters rolls based on IC actions and how they fall on the morality scale, or which faction becomes happiest with them because of these actions), will come in ABS 5 which will ship with the RPG Suite.   (If I seem really proud of the Battle Suite, I am; blame the Battle Suite for making me the coder I am today, and consider it my magnum opus. The char manager is nothing compared to the Battle Suite. Nothing. It took me several years and five major versions to get the Suite as good as it is now.)   Following the releases of ACM 1.0.1 and ABS 4.0, that will conclude my work on SMF 2.0. I may later release the mature content mod, and perhaps the topic description mod (thread dating will be packaged with ACM 1.0.1 by the way, goes hand-in-hand with the journal system), but I will not be making any new mods on SMF 2.0. From there on out, I'll be working exclusively with SMF 2.1. (Yes, I'll still make 2.0 themes, I guess, if I must P=) I'm just done with SMF 2.0, and tbh, with 2.1 around the corner (I'm fairly sure they're seriously considering releasing SMF 2.1 Beta 4 as RC1, so it may be another year, before they do, but this may well be it guys, finally), 2.0 is getting a hair done-to-death, and it's time to move on.   After I get my queue of things-to-do pared down, I'll be working on releasing some free and not-so-free themes for use on SMF 2.0 and 2.1 Beta 3. The free ones will not be very fancy; just putting that out there now. They will, however, come in a range of colour schemes, and probably have jQuery and bootstrap support by default, and also be mobile-responsive out of the box. The not-so-free ones will have templates altered according to their pricing tier (ergo, the $10 ones will have a custom board index). Some of my older themes have really cool elements that no one is using and it's a damn travesty, so a few of the premium themes will be super cool.   In the interim, though, idk what the frick my sleep schedule is doing (okay, no, I have an idea of what it's doing), but I'm tired all the time. Scuse me while I die for the rest of the weekend. (I AM SO SORRY EVERYONE WAITING ON THEMES, I LOVE YOU, SORRY.)

Arceus

Arceus

 

I don't care anymore

I DO care about my site. I love it, and I am glad that our interactive swashbuckling story is already eight years old, and counting, and that I can also count on a few people since six- eight years ago. This is an important achievement.    BUT I DON'T CARE ANYMORE if some people think it's not active enough (it is, just way slower than it used to be). I don't care if those newer members decide suddenly a long time investment isn't worth and they leave. I had to accept the idea that these are who we are, this is our current rhythm and that we won't get new staying members unless our members bring their friends, to stay for writing with them. (Which they don't, because most of our members don't have friends interested in our setting, or writing - at all or in English). And when I see on the resource sites all ask for "active sites, not dying ones"... and that slow = dying for most people, I get angry. We aren't dying, even if our story is progressing way slower than a few years ago. Just that we have other commitments or health problems which don't allow us be as prompt as we used to be. Our main quality is of being reliable. We finish most threads we start (no matter when, but we do). Our story is coherent and consistent, and progressing.    I let it lower with the advertising, knowing that I have to resign with the few members we have and with some of them quitting due to lack of interest, to the site being slower and slower and being able to do nothing to change it. All the advice on the resource sites are things I have tried in vain, one or another time. This is who we are, and I don't care if someone thinks it's a dead site, when we know we aren't. Just posting once at 2-3 weeks on average. We are welcoming. There is always a possibility to interact with a character or another, given that we are writing in liquid time. As for events... it's normal that some plots are for certain factions (nobility only, commoners only, seafarers only). On most sites it is the same. We are also flexible and willing to integrate anyone. The problem is that most people want replies at least every week, if not sooner, and only 2-3 people might be able to post as quickly.   We aren't playing pretend with our characters, and this is also one reason to find less new members interested. Historical  fiction is a niche, and there aren't many people who like doing research.  In my opinion, the coherence of the plot is a bonus, it is something good, but others might not like that they have to... pay attention (even if it is required for any writer! ). Also I am shocked how little creative are most people. When I ask them, upon joining, "What stories do you feel more inspired to write? What stories have you created this character for?" the reply is usually a variant of "I don't know, anything". (which means "you think it for me, and I am just riding along... or not even).   I used to believe that I, as administrator, have to be an example, to promote the activity I want to see. Now I don't care anymore about it. There had been too many years when I did it, without any result. I mean, I can control only my activity, and "activity begets activity" is not always true. People will post when they have time. And no matter how many replies are piling up into the OWED section, they would reply only when they are available. I learnt it the hard way.   Lately I am in the same situation, having lowered my activity significantly, just because I can't do it as I used to, anymore. I am not flaky, and I still am going to finish everything I started, but it will take more time. I just have difficulty writing lately. Having half a day taken out and returning home unusually tired and mentally exhausted doesn't help. Having to spend some of the other part of the day cooking, shopping for our household or attending literary events adds to the lack of time for writing. And I have to split my writing between novels (and short fiction too, especially for certain contests) and the two RPG sites I am on. So... I do what I can. There are days when I can't write at all, and days when I can do only one writing thing (usually correcting/ editing what was already written). I don't care anymore if I don't meet self-imposed deadlines, because I simply can't.   Sometimes I think (I might be wrong or I might be right) that if I was somewhere in the countryside, so that I could write outside, and have no other daily worry, I would succeed to do it. But as I can't go anywhere, that's only an excuse . Or a dream.

Elena

Elena

 

Putting the site on hiatus

Unfortnately, due to Icyboards closing, I do not know if I will be continuing with Legends of Arda. What is certain is that it will take longer than anticipated if I continue with it at all. On top of this, I have unexpected RL issues to deal with and as such this site is not my priorty right now. The RL issues are more problematic than Icyboards closing, so if it was just that, it would only be an inconvenience. However, I do play LOTRO ON Evernight, and if you want to play in a fellowship or join a kin, you can find me there. (Message me at RPG-Initiative, or @DeadWintersNigh on twitter if you want to arrange something.) Thanks for understanding!

Icewolf

Icewolf

writing The world is functioning upside down

It is nothing new that the world is functioning upside down in various aspects of life. Why not in the writing realm too? 😢   As you know already, and as you can see from the blog image, I have published three novels up to now. Two others and a short stories anthology will follow soon, almost certainly all three to appear this year. I published with small indie presses, because this is what I have the possibility in the current book market conditions. Many writers more seasoned than me published with the same two indie presses, so I am in good company. (And they aren't vanity presses, printing and dumping the books in your arms. No, they assure launching events, participation at fairs, the collaboration of literary critics, etc.)   I am glad that I have started to become a little known among the contemporary writers in Bucharest. If one googles my pen name (despite being quite common internationally) one can find something about one of my novels too. If googling the titles, there are few information about them, but they are, reviews and photos. I had good reviews from the literary critics at the book presentation events, I had my novels displayed at the bi-annual Bucharest International Book Fairs... all these are successes for a junior writer, with only 3 novels published up to now.    What's more important as a success, is the fact that I have a senior writer's support to get in the National Writers' Union (union as in professional association, not what you understand generally by trade Union and we call Syndicates, which is work regulation-related.) It will happen, most likely, in 2019, after I get the required number of publications. My publishers also support this endeavour, and they will rally enough literary critics to get the required recommendations portfolio until then. (It has started building already).   It sounds lovely, but... let's vent my frustrations too, here, not on my public blog, where those who have generated them in a way or another can see them... And this comes with the warning that the Romanian book market, unfortunately, doesn't ressemble the English speaking books market, so most of the book marketing ideas I find online, in English speaking blogs, unfortunately do not apply. While the English speaking market is catering to nearly one billion people (there were, in Internet statistics, 400 million native speakers of English, to which to add 400 million speakers of English as a second language, in 2006, and I assume the population has increased in 12 years), the overall population of Romania was of 19.5 million people, out of which about 4 million are abroad, about 3 million too young to read my novels (below 14)... and from the remaining 12.5 million, about 40% or more are poor, too busy to survive and not reading anything else than an occasional newspaper or religious book. Sad, but true.  Of course, from the remaining people who would read in principle (some regularly, some occasionally) not all are fans of historical adventures fiction/ YA, what I am writing. This is a realistic analysis.    As far as I heard the publishers say (not only personally to me, but also in interviews on the internet) - and we have our "big fives" here too, plus a whole constellation of small indie presses (the equivalent of self publishing would be here dealing directly with the printing house without a publisher, which is recommended only for professional books which have already the distribution ensured or for people who print one memoir book in their lives to give to 50-100 people, not needing ISBN or anything), in my country a book (written by a contemporary national writer, not translations of international bestsellers and not books required for school reading like our classics) printed in 1,000 copies is already considered a best seller.  My novels were, 2 of them published in 200 copies, the first one in 300. It is the level generally the writers around me use.    Now, my sincere frustrations?   - I haven't recovered the costs on any of them. Yes, I have sold some, but the greatest amount was given freely. Now, to be honest, I knew from the start that I wouldn't get rich from writing. I did it from my heart, and I loved when I received compliments about the books (not only from the critics, I appreciate more the readers' compliments and questions, even if I know the critics' are of importance for the accession to the Writers' Union). This is when I felt they got their mission, to brighten someone's day and to transport them to another time and place, offering them an insight on that way of living. But I would have appreciated if I succeeded to recover my costs. Some writers know business owners and get sponsors. (I had sponsors too, back in 1999, for my professional handbook in project management). I don't know influent people who would be able to sponsor me, every cost is supported from my meager savings (given that I am retired now).  Yes, I sold books at various events... but the money received covered the expenses of the event, with very little margin (if any).   - I can't reach exactly my target group, the high-school and Uni youngsters. Until now, my novels were bought mostly by grown-up or older people who were nostalgic about the style of novels they use to read, because these were the ones coming to the literary events.    - I had also two interviews in English about my novels (1, 2, I remember one more but I can't find any link, just the file where I replied to the questions) and one other would come soon, but I can't reach the Romanian book review bloggers, despite having seen some other writers getting several reviews. It's not about the novels' quality, it's about whom you know in the field... and I don't. Or, at least, not yet - I am still working on it. And praying for a bit of good luck.   ...And everything needs more money. Half, I understand this as in the fact that if I try to expand my marketing network, this doesn't come for free because this is what those people gain their living from - organising things. I understand that some reviews/ forewords/ have a price too, because those critics are famous and listened to, on one side, and on the other side, this is what they are gaining their living from. In the rare cases when I made reviews (I hate making reviews, but I consider that if some people spoke in favour of my books at my launchings, I have to give it back to the writers' community and do it whenever needed from me), I made them from the moral spirit expressed above, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to ask for any benefit. (Well, I received the book free from the publisher in exchange of the review).  I am lucky that I don't have to pay my beta-reader/ first editor, because many people have to do it too. She does it from friendship, for free, and I am grateful to her.   But in a world which wouldn't function as upside down as it does, the writer should be allowed to write - like it was before the ascension of social media - and the others should do the marketing part. I am sure that Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas weren't the ones to do much more than writing. Yes, they received their money after the books were sold, but nobody asked them money for publishing, for book launching events organisation and other things. Or, if now shedding money is a must because there are too many books published and no publisher assumes the economic risks anymore in this crisis economy, at least they should want the money from the sales! Not before recovering the costs...   One would say fame has a price. But I still have the feeling that things aren't how they should be.  

Elena

Elena

 

Character Profile: Agostina Scordato

Character Name: Agostina Vaide Vitalia Scordato     Nicknames: Stina, Double V, V Age: 32 Date of Birth: May 31, 1985 Sex: Female Orientation: Pansexual Occupation: Heist Coordinator, Security, Enforcer Height: 5'3 Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Brown   Playby: Dana DeLorenzo Places For This Character: Modern Fantasy, Cyberpunk   Likes: 1. Sex (With Friends) 2. Violence 3. Getting High   Dislikes: 1. Nightmares 2. Being Vulnerable 3. Failing   Physical Appearance: Agostina got the short gene on her mother's side of the family. She has roughly an hour glass shaped body. While her breasts and bottom might not be considered large, they aren’t small either.   She has dark brown hair, often with the lower half dyed a lighter brown, that goes a bit past her shoulders and usually stops at her upper chest. She an oval or heart shaped face, almond shaped brown eyes, a long straight nose, and prominent plump lips. Her skin is a tanned olive complexion.   Often times she wears light makeup; black eyeliner, bright red lipstick, and blush are what she usually sticks to.   She usually wears t-shirts, leather jackets, gloves, and pants. When she wears dresses and skirts, they are usually of a leather or leather like material. Often times, her clothes are dark in color, usually black.   Her voice is low and smoky.   Personality: Agostina is opinionated and often boisterous. You’ll always know what she thinks of you. She straddles the line between feminine and tomboy, with a fondness for light make up and leather jackets. She’s always had a temper, but has become moodier since becoming a Meister.   She’s not afraid to getting dirty. In her line of work dirty can mean bloody, usually not her own. She’s always been a fighter and doesn’t fight fair. She’s never been happy about showing vulnerability to others, especially since the events of two years ago.   Despite her fondness of sex, violence, and getting high, she takes her job seriously. She doesn’t like it when heists don’t go according to plan, having planned out various scenarios. She has a fear of failing, not just her job but of various aspects of her life. She wants to rebuild her life, but doesn’t know how.   Abilities and Weaknesses: Agostina is a techno-mancer. Her abilities and talents revolve around electronics and machines, her construct being a machine she made herself. She is able to absorb energy from bodies to power it and her hammer. She also has the ability to cast spells and make potions.     Nevio, a masculine Italian name meaning ‘mole (on the body)’, is a flea like machine with two ‘legs’ that work like typical jointed arms or legs and two ‘arms,’ which are vacuum like tubes. He floats in the air, answering every mental command of Agostina, and has no personality. He has different interchangeable attachments she uses depending on the mission. He also has a large single eye. She has a mental connection to Nevio, always knowing where he is. He depends on occasional charges of her energy power to operate.   Powers: Nevio has the ability to create a small electrical shield either around himself or around Agostina. He can only do this for both of them if she is a few feet from him. He cannot create a shield around anyone else and can only have one.   His eye is also a camera capable of taking pictures or video. The eye also has night and heat vision that can be activated at Agostina’s command.   He also has a hidden compartment for items, stolen goods, or other small machines of Agostina’s making.   Common Attachments: A laser for soldering, cutting, and attacking A grab hand Lockpick Acid gun (to liquefy dead victims’ bones) Taser (for when she doesn’t want to kill someone)   Weaknesses: Agostina feels pain when Nevio is attacked. If he is destroyed or heavily damaged, she may be knocked unconscious or faint from the pain.   He is vulnerable to lightning.   He cannot repair himself.   If the connection between Nevio and Agostina is broken at any time, he has the tendency to become confused and can attack her or someone else. Connection breaks happen usually because of pain.   If not charged with energy provided by Agostina, he shuts off.   Powers - Energy Absorption: She is able to absorb energy from the electrons from humans and animals. This has the side effect of often killing the target as well as altering the structure the body. If she takes all the energy from someone, all that’s left are bones, goo, hair, and clothing. She is able to absorb someone as well as take someone’s soul.   With her energy, she’s able to not only supply someone with energy to use like a human battery, but is also able to turn on, energize, and short circuit electronic items.   If she takes energy from someone, her recuperating time before she can use her energy absorption power ten hours, but if she doesn’t or isn’t able to, it is twelve. It takes the energy of two people for her to get to eight hours. While she can take three or more, the recuperating rate does not improve.   Weaknesses: When it passes roughly forty five minutes, she gets nausea, anxiety, and lethargy. She cannot use her power once this happens.   Her ability can sometimes backfire on her causing a light electrical shock. In addition to pain, this can cause a break in connection with her construct, Nevio, or stop any spell or ability active.   Powers - Electronic Manipulation:   Sometimes called technopathy, technokineses, or cyberpathy, in this case is the ability to manipulate software, computer data, electronics, and computerized hardware. She is able to override, trick, decode, or unencrypt electronic items. This includes systems protected by finger print, retina, or facial scan. Agostina developed this power back when she was fifteen.   She can’t do anything the electronic isn’t already meant to do. This means she cannot turn a cellphone into a bomb, but she can access different applications. She can however use her energy power to short circuit the device.   She can mentally type a message, but to send it, it must be already be connected to the internet. She must concentrate to do with, leaving her prone to attack.   She cannot access the internet mentally, cannot control items that are not electrical, and must touch the piece of technology. Surprisingly she can use gloves without it negatively affecting her power.   Viruses, malware, and Trojan horses affect her. This can leave her severely confused, unable to control her limbs, to being sick with severely flu like symptoms. To be healed, she must either use a healing potion inhaler dedicated to this, or be healed by someone.   If she fails to override a secure system or fails in other ways, she receives an electric shock, causing her pain, disconnection to her construct, and/or cause her spells to fail.   Abilities and Weaknesses - Spells, Potions, and Items:   She is able to salvage, repair, and create technological items. Newer cars with more electronic devices are easier for her to work on than older models. Using this ability, drains her, and infusing the item with magic, drains it a double the rate.   Curiously drinking potions have no effect on her. She must use an inhaler similar to the one she uses for her asthma. The drawback of her abilities is that sometimes the simplest or easiest solution doesn’t work for her and she often has to create technology to do things other spellcasters can do with ease.   Her spells, curses, and hexes are rather lackluster without having an object to channel though or infuse. She often uses a weapon for this purpose.   General Abilities: Agostina is into guns. Having been taught to shoot and how to properly handle guns since she was a little girl, she’s a talented sharpshooter. She has a preference for rifles and machine guns, but can also handle handguns with ease.   She is skilled in street fighting. While she has learned some different styles such as kung fu and kickboxing, she doesn’t subscribe to any particular style. She will simply use whatever she thinks will be most advantageous for the job. She is mostly into close quarter battles, using guns or her construct for anything else. If one could classify her as a level, she would be intermediate.   She's fluent in Italian, Spanish, and knows conversational level Basque.   Lastly, she has a falconry license, having had one for a few years. She has trained a turkey vulture back in early 2016, which she still happily owns.   Inventory:   Chamberlain: A regular turkey vulture with an injury to his wing and one leg from an injury caused by a car accident. He was likely eating fresh roadkill at the time. He is not able to fly for long distances and would have problems surviving out on his own. He is rather tame, and enjoys shredding paper and playing with balls. He’s rather affectionate, occasionally waking Agostina up by nibbling her hair or otherwise wanting attention. A room of her house has been converted into a cage for him. His name comes from Lord Chamberlain the skeksis from the Dark Crystal. Like all turkey vultures, he only eats carrion (flesh from dead animals).   Guns: A machine gun named Betty, sniper rifle named Phyllis, and a handgun named Judith are her favorites.   A shotgun transformed into a pipe she’s named Mary Jane.   A motorcycle she’s named Richard, often nicknamed Dick.   Meldunjaz: Meldunjaz, proto-German for ‘the grinder’ or ‘crusher,’ is a meat tenderizer that operates similar to the mythical hammer Mjolnir or Ukonvasara.   During her time living in Spain she heard rumors of a wealthy powerful Talented wielding an electrically charged hammer. Eventually tracking him down in Austria, she murdered him, took his money, and found out something shocking. The reason why he was able to go under the radar with such a powerful item it is a kitchen meat tenderizer.   This small hammer if thrown, will never fail to hit, fly back to her hand, hits with twice the amount of pressure she applies to it, and adds electrical damage to attacks.   It must be charged with her energy power to work. This item is weak against those with protection against electrical energy.   Past: Agostina was conceived backstage at a Motley Crue concert to a roadie Liborio Scordato and traveling groupie, Gloria Capello. The couple only knew each other for a few months, leading a life full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They were highly encouraged to get married, settle down, and have the child.   They settled in Gloria’s hometown. Liborio’s side of the family hailed from New York City from a mafia family with ties to Sicily. Liborio continued the tradition of crime, being in charge of heist coordination. As per Italian tradition, Agostina was named after her paternal grandmother. While the transition to family life was tricky, they managed, with Agostina’s younger brother being born approximately five years later.   Being the first Capello grandchild and the first female grandchild for the Scordato side, she was spoiled more than the many of the subsequent ones. She enjoyed wearing lacy pink dresses while alternating between dolls and Legos. Her father taught her how to shoot guns, while her uncle  taught her to build things; she became an enthusiast of both. She was also fond of her mom’s pet birds.   Her power manifested at age eleven while at Sunday school. She almost killed one of the nuns. Her schooling changed to home schooling as she trained in her father’s footsteps. She was mostly disappointed with her power, Energy Absorption.   At fifteen she gained the unique power of Electronic Manipulation that increased the utility of her Energy Absorption. The teen began to craft small electrical items and toys. She would also often baby sit for her younger brother and cousins, allowing them to sweets until they puked, watch horror movies, and engage in pillow fights with her.   By her early twenties, she was following in another family tradition, that of sex and the consumption of drugs. Her family was concerned, and she was sent to family on the Scordato side in Catania, Sicily.   Once she established herself as a successful heist coordinator and enforcer in Sicily and slowed down a little, she moved back home. Her life was relatively quiet as she got more involved in the creation of experimental electronic devices, sharpshooting, and just received her falconry license just before her thirtieth birthday.   That changed in early June of 2015 when an organization took interest in her. She was kidnapped, tortured, and given a handler, Philip Desborough. She was essentially his slave to be broken to their will. He participated in an attack and was killed. Agostina was now free, feeling completely lost, and fearful this organization would come after her.   She fled to Bilbao, Spain working for the crime syndicated there. Once she heard the news it was safe, she decided to come home. She’s looking forward to reconnecting with her family and  friends. She still gets nightmares from her past. She’s still trying to cope and is resorting to her old standbys sex and marijuana.
 

The Queen of the Domain

Gather round my friends for a tail of woe! A tail that will frighten the very fur from your hides for it reminds us all of the sacred, nay, profane! road that carries cats between life and death.   Imagine if you will a young kitten. She is a brave thing, with her white fur divided like continents by masses of brown and tan. She is a kitten with eyes that sit quite close to her nose, giving her a decidedly cross eyed appearance. This kitten, she knows that the drive yard, the trees, the up right and fallen down clothes lines are all part of her domain. She knows that the large cars that drive upon the hard path may be monstrous things that roar and snore; but they will wait for her to make her way off of the hard path and onto the place of grass. For she is indeed, the queen of this domain.   Until one fateful morning! The monster did not stop! It slew her in one fateful acceleration! And though the driver did get out and cuss, she could not be saved.   You would think this tale could get no darker. You would be wrong.   That very night I did witness the signs of dark magicks. I walked down that hard path and saw that the exterior light globe did shine directly upon the fallen queen’s bed. I saw that numerous outdoor chairs were gathered ‘round the bed, hinting of the ritual that surely took place.   For the very next day, I met the God Cat. He is a cat of stout legs and nose and ears battered from many wars. He too, is confident in his domain, merely waving his behind at me as I left the now unholy domain. He rubbed his head upon the monster wheel, as if to spit upon it.   Mere days later, another cat, very much like the queen. An adolescent, less confident but he walked with the wide eyes and up-pricked ears of a scout mapping his surrounds. He vanished a day later, I did hear one of the driver’s call his name, Joe! Joe! Joe! Perhaps, he had gone to get his sister….   For today! I saw three cats gathered upon the hard path! The God Cat! Joe! And another, perhaps the queen. I fear to get too close….  

Kit the Human

Kit the Human

 

The Lizard List

Since I talk about them so much...   Allow me to present: My lizards!   Bearded Dragon: Norbert, Male Nicknames: Testicle, Ballsack, Carrot Citrus Silkie. He is a grump. Norbert knows only hate. All he does is glare and occasionally hisses when you pick him up. He is the most dominant of the lizards and head bobs at everything, including anyone with a beard. But he loves me. And apparently no one else. He's perfectly content to sit on my lap and be comfortable. He's had a pretty rough life. He only has like 5 toes total. Plus a bunch of scars and missing the tip of his tail.   Jacksons Chameleon Khadgar - Male Brand new. Very active!   Gargoyle Geckos: Ramoth, Female Reticulated Ramoth is a lump. She seriously never moves. She's one of my breeders and is easily the most relaxed lizard I have.    Orlith, Female Reticulated This poor lady has had a rough life. The top of her head is mostly scar tissue because she was cohabbed in a 20g with two others and one of the three was a jerk. She's a very friendly lady and doesn't move much more than Ramoth.   Mnementh, Male Blotch He was my steal. Snagged him at a show after a friend screamed across the floor to me to let me know he existed. I proceeded to have people stop me to ask me where I got him the rest of the show. He lives life upside down, dangling from the top of his cage. He's jumpy and I'm still working on socializing him.   Crested Geckos: This'll be a big list! Kalecgos - Brindle, fat, lazy, frogbutt female Malygos - Halloween, friendly, greedy, hopefully a future breeder! Never fires down.  Female! Nozdormu - Jumpy, brindle, unsexed. Ysera - Brindle? Hider, glutton, literally never fires up. Female Lilly - Rescued with Ysera and Kalecgos. Brown, frogbutt, originally owned by @Aerona Female. Sabellian - Brown/Dalmation, fraidy cat, I frequently think he's dead, unsexed Fred - Pinstripe. Super small. Very orange. George - Imperfect Pinsripe. Super small. Very orange.  Tries very hard to die. Karynaku - Brindle/Dalmation.  Pretty relaxed. Jumps everywhere. Lives in a pool noodle and stares. Female Vaelastrasz - White/black. Not sure on pattern yet. SUPER fat.   Leopard Geckos These guys started the obsession.   Iskierka, Female Albino The first one! Iskierka hates all. She spontaneously screams. She doesn't want you around, doesn't want you to look at her, doesn't want anything touching her. I love her.   Lien, Normal, Female The fatass. She will eat nonstop. I have to cut her off. She is a princess and very friendly. She's easily the most curious of everyone.   Messoria, Tremper Albino, Female Not the brightest bulb in the box, Messoria makes up for it with personality. She's nearly blind, dumb as a box of rocks, but likes being held, exploring and bathing in her calcium.   Perscitia/Calliope, Normal, Female Adopted this one from my friend because she loves me and weirdly hates said friend. We have no idea why.    Whites Tree Frog Pap AKA Tubs, Tubba-jubb, The Blob Pap was an accident. She came with Ysera and Kalecgos when I picked them up. She doesn't move much. I'm trying to find her a buddy.   Roger AKA Roger-Roger! Roger was obtained solely because I felt bad that Pap was alone. He is tiny and I am slowly working on fattening him up. He croaks!   Salvatore  Salvatore was obtained because I felt bad that ROGER was alone. He jumps at faces.   Karen AKA Damnit, Karen! Karen was accidentally "sold" with Salvatore. Meaning they didn't charge me for her. She is sneaky.        

Rune

Rune

 

Time and random bits

Since returning from my break from RP and now back in full admin role. It has made me aware of how important some things are to the survival of a site, and how going on a hiatus may change how people treat you. I used to help many people get their sites going, offering help, advice, and time to help. When I have asked for the same things now I have received radio silence? It hurts to think that the help I gave was so easily forgotten. That being said, there have been many people who have been supportive, and completely believed in me. Even during the more difficult times.    I'm determined to remain active. I'm currently caught up on all my threads, and working on revising the Canon list, along with other information on the site to clarify or encourage members. I'm beginning to slowly feel like my old self again. My mental health has improved. I've worked hard on improving every aspect of my life, and I feel my writing is better for it. I don't dread things or procrastinate. I take my time yet get them done. I set goals and I meet them now. I expect to be treated with respect and treat others with respect.    I learnt some lessons, especially recently about how your vision for your site can be changed, and if you let it, people will use a lapse in an owner being around to mold a site to being what they want it to be.   

Gothic

Gothic

 

On Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

The night before last I had a dream.   I had a dream that it was my birthday.   And on my birthday, I was going to go to a restaurant to celebrate with my family. I was going to drive there alone.   And while driving there, I realized there was a festival in town. A festival where some of my friends would be, and where some of my favorite performers would be. I decided to swing by just to say hi, but didn't call my family to let them know I might be a little bit late.   When I got there, I met up with my friends and said hi and such.   Then the zombie apocalypse happened. I survived it mostly by hiding under a blanket, because my dream logic was that the fabric of the blanket would prevent their scrabbling hands from opening up my belly and eating my insides. These were not very strong zombies, I suppose, so if they couldn't get purchase on me then they couldn't eat me.    Somewhere along the way, I found a "Japanese" house I could take shelter in. When I say "Japanese," I don't mean that is what my brain told me it was and not that it was actually based on the actual structure of stereotypical Japanese buildings. Someone was already living there, but they agreed to let me hang out until things blew over.   But there was a problem.    Because a gnome lived in their house, too. It was not a nice gnome. The gnome stole my shoes, and kept trying to attack me, so I ran away and went back to hiding from zombies underneath a blanket.   But then Adam Driver and some of his friends found me, and Adam Driver helped me look for my shoes and acted like it was totally normal that a gnome stole them. He was more concerned that they were not good shoes to wear during a zombie apocalypse, because they were nude-colored (?). After we found my shoes, I told him I was very late for my birthday dinner party with my family and that I needed to go see them. And then, even though I didn't park my car in a parking garage, Adam walked me to one and asked Oscar Isaac to help me find my car and my keys.   The end.

Josie

Josie

 

Rune's Guide to Advertising

Advertising should be the easiest and probably most ignored part of your site. That makes it no less important, but there are a wide variety of ways you can make it both easier on you and more tolerable to handle. I'll try to sum up how to effectively advertise, how to handle your own advertising boards and some common issues people run into. All while simplifying things as much as possible in order to make it a relatively untouched part of your site in terms of the work you have to do.   The purpose of this is to simplify your advertising and make it so you have to dedicate only the time you want to it. It should not take up the majority of your time on board and should be easily delegated if you so decide.   This is going to be horribly unorganized because I've been doing this so long I have it down to a machine-like routine and am trying to remember things as I go. I am, of course, not saying this is the right way to do things. I'm just saying that I've been advertising for years and this is what I've noticed to be the easiest way to do things while simultaneously dedicating very little time to it.   The Unspoken Rules: Advertise on each board only once a month. Do not use doHTML, most sites don't allow it. Make sure your code works before you post it. (align=center vs center, urls link back where they should, etc) Keep your ad PG13, even if your site is not. Don't advertise in Cboxes or outside the advertising section. This is a dick move. Do not criticize someone else's site. Keep your images under 500x500. Most things over will be resized and will direct to the full sized image instead of your board.    Your ad should contain: The Site Name (This should also be the name of the advertisement thread) Any age limits The genre A link to your board's index.   I've seen so many ads that are just SITE NAME! With no description and a vague image. This does nothing to indicate what your board is about, and who should be interested in it. You don't need to cram a ton of information into the ad, but you have the thread title and description to work with. Utilize them. The entire point of advertising is for other people to see your ad and go "Oh man, that looks nifty!" And click it to explore your board. If your ad is a stock image of a pie and your board is about horses, no one is going to bother because they don't want to RP on a board about pie.   I recommend having the title be your site's name. The description being your genre and any age limitations. I also recommend having your ad contain several links, to things like availability, rules, index and plot. Many also include a link back link, which while super helpful, isn't the sole purpose in advertising. If you want to, you could just link to the advertising board in general.   Things you should worry about with advertising: Linking back/New ads. That's it. Don't worry about organizing them, don't worry about making your advertising board pretty or fancy. Advertise, provide a place for people to link back and be done. Anything else is more work than it's worth and takes up time that is better spent RPing. Don't worry about sorting them or deleting them. Don't worry about locking them or posting fancy 'THANK YOU FOR ADVERTISING' nonsense. No one goes back to look at their own ads unless its to bump them.    Your Own Boards:   Have a first link and linked back section. You don't need anything else. Anything else means you dedicate more time to it. You can split them up based on hosts, but I find that's more trouble than it's worth. You generally won't get many ads outside of your host if you don't advertise off your host. Splitting them up isn't worth the multiple clicks it takes to get to the ad to link back. Having these two available makes it much, much easier for you to keep track of what you need to link back to as opposed to trying to rely on your own memory.   Have rules.  No one will read them. I assure you of that. But have them and keep them simple. They're there so you can delete ads as you feel and if anyone decides to bitch you can point them in that direction. (This has happened and I find it utterly ridiculous but covering your ass is always good.) Because no one will read your rules, don't bother making a big deal of them. Don't go and hunt down the rule breakers to yell at them for breaking the rules. Just delete the ad. They won't come back and look and if they do, you can point them at your rules. Your rules should be simplistic. Ie: No boards from X host. No DoHTML, no porn, every ad you post, we'll post back, etc. You do not want to limit who posts to your board because that, in turn, limits whom you can post to. If I see a board that advertises on mine but then makes me jump through hoops to advertise on theirs, I'm just deleting their ad.   Don't make a rule about posting multiple ads. It will get broken. You will spend more time than anyone needs deleting them. Either link back or delete it, whichever you prefer. Most sites will post once a month, maybe once every two weeks. Your board will get hit multiple times. It's part of life. No one can memorize every board's rules and no one should bother trying, for that matter. Remember: You want to keep things simple and easy for you to manage. That means letting go of some control.   Don't Lock Boards.  This takes up more time than you need to dedicate to it. Plus, some boards prefer to bump their post as opposed to posting multiple ads.   Don't hesitate to delete ads. Not comfortable with a site? Their ad is broken? Can't get back to the site or figure out how to advertise on it? Delete the ad. Done and done. It isn't your job to police them or to make sure they receive exposure. It's their job to make sure their ad works. You do not have to justify why you delete an ad. (The rules are just so you can, if you so decide.)   When sites advertise in your First Link section: Link back. That's it. You can always reply to that thread with "Linked back" so you can, personally, keep track of things. Or, if you have multiple people handling advertising, this makes it so there's no confusion and no one winds up spamming another board.   When sites advertise in your Link Back section: Do nothing. You are done here.   Don't bother sorting ads once they are posted. Don't bother going to other sites to tell them how they broke your rules. Just let them drop the ad, delete it if you don't like it and go on. You should barely ever touch the linked back section and only hit the first links to link back.   I just opened a new board! How do I get started advertising? Well, presumably you have all of the above set up and have an ad made. Fantastic! Go to a directory or to really, any other forum. Go to their advertising section. Drop an ad. Go back. Find another site. Rinse repeat. Do this until you're tired of doing it. I recommend knocking out 5-10 ads a day when you first start a board. You do not have to maintain this, nor do you have to do it every day. Just make sure you're getting out there and advertising. List your site on directories, get affiliates with other new boards and established ones alike. Then go back to dropping first links.    Link back within a week. This is so you don't get too bogged down. I generally hit up my advertising before I start writing for the night. Knock out a couple link backs, then go enjoy myself. I'll also frequently hit other sites that have posted on the one I just linked back to and first link them. There, look at that! You got your 5 ads done and it took, maybe, 10 minutes.    I can easily dedicate several hours to advertising and legitimately enjoy it, but I know many people hate it. I think one of the reasons I can enjoy it is because it isn't the focus of my day and I have it set up so its incredibly simple and requires very little time or attention outside of actually dropping ads.   Questions? Concerns? Want to tell me why I'm wrong? Feel free to do so!

Rune

Rune

 

Hiatus

Hello my fellow RPers! This blog will be on hiatus for an indefinite amount of time while I am away on vacation and sorting out my life situation.

Josie

Josie

 

Why I believe Discord is a passing trend

Sites feel pressured into Discord because it is popular, leaving bad experiences to build resentment   I once heard a person say that they dislike stats so much that they will never join a site that has them; they went on to say that stats affected nothing in roleplay, were a waste of time, and were meaningless math. In a different time, stats were none of these things, but efforts to cater to -lovers and -haters combined created a common system where numbers exist, are work,  but have no value and affect nothing. No doubt, this person had a bad experience because they tried something even the site's admin's likely didn't understand.   This is the exact same trend as Discord. The first thing every site admin hears about discord is "Do you have a Discord?", and then they feel pressured to get one because everyone has one, usually not realizing that Discord has its pros and cons.   I firmly believe this fad will continue the way of stats and people will eventually begin to dislike it because they don't understand. Unless Discord can fix the cons...     Guests don't see activity   Discord is a separate app that has to be launched and there really isn't any integration for a real-time chat on a webpage. There is a brand new widget for websites where you can see who's online, but that doesn't say much as they may be bots or people AFK. So, whenever people do things on Discord, a guest doesn't see that. All they see is what's on the website. In fact, in order to see, they have to launch a whole new app, figure out what the discord join URL is, choose a handle, and log on. It's not very guest visible, leaving a guest with more "Is this site active?" than before.       Guest questions don't get responded to as quickly   I don't know any staff who monitor both the Discord and whatever cbox/chatango/etc there is at the same time, especially while idle. Discord has a way of sucking up your attention, meaning that responses to guests take longer than usual. This also plays into how welcome a guest feels at the site, and their interest usually hinges on whatever the question was.     Most roleplayers have very little in common   Perhaps the most important point about Discord is that it creates a community for like-minded people. While in Discord, chat turns to personal lives, media, music, and video games pretty often. Roleplays have encouraged players to be a community for a very long time, but the truth is that most roleplayers just don't have that much in common, which can mean that even the most valued roleplay members are suddenly the least valued in Discord, falling through the cracks.     Activity tapers off on the forum because it encourages players to plot but not play   This is the one most important reason that Discord can be bad for a roleplay. It sucks up your attention and people go off to chat about other things. This is nothing new about chat, but now that the roleplay is no longer even on your screen and that you're surrounded by your buddies from other places inside the app, the temptation to wander is much stronger. Personally I feel that plotting has gone up due to players being more accessible, but actually playing the game is much less for forum-based roleplays.  

xexes

xexes

 

Ups And Downs

I don't really know why I'm writing this, maybe to get it out somehow. It's late and I'll regret this tomorrow.    Sometimes I don't handle things well, I get tired so easily. I love studying biology, but I don't always have the energy to be a student. It goes up and down. Sometimes I have days where I have so much energy, I get so much done, then I hit rock bottom and I lie in bed for an entire day. And then I just skip classes, and curl up with a book or some of my hobbies, trying to feel better. And I'm lonely, which is silly. I have several friends, family who lives nearby, and I know that my parents would come to pick me up for a visit home if I just asked.   I guess that is my problem, asking for help. "I'm fine." My most frequent lie. Those acting classes did pay off I guess.    Most of those who know me know I struggle with migraines, a lot. They leave me so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I can deal with the pain from the migraines, it's the exhaustion that tears me down.    Today started good, I had plans to work on my ethics paper, then I had a migraine attack. I took a painkiller and slept for three hours. I woke up, so tired, so exhausted, I'm crying and shaking.    I'm going to post this before I regret it and just delete it before even posting, as a reminder to myself. I have a bad habit of thinking I'm fine after I come up again from one of these downs, it's a cycle. Maybe if I see this tomorrow I'll actually gather up the courage to make an appointment with a psychologist, or just another appointment with the school councilor. Someone.   I'm sorry, this is a letter to myself on my public blog.... I hate it, but I think, I think if I don't post it somewhere I see it again I'll just keep going like I've done now for the last three years. Ignoring it. 

Freya

Freya

 

Pollen Season

Ah, spring is here. The birds are singing, the snow has melted away and I can finally go outside without at least three layers.    The perfect season.    Except for one problem, pollen. Now fortunately I am not asthmatic, or extremely allergic to pollen, but still allergic enough that my eyes itch like crazy and I sneeze. A lot. And my sneezes aren't quiet or cute, they're those sudden loud sneezes that startle people out of their seats. You think I'm exaggerating? I've seen it literally happen, sitting in class we were all working in complete silence and I sneeze so hard my friend startles so badly she falls off her chair. That was hilarious. I love startling people, in he fun kind of way of course.   Anyway back to my point, so because of pollen season I sneeze a lot which means I also sneeze during lectures. Now a lot of people are using these small handheld recorders to record the lecture so they can listen to it later, and I never really thought about that until today.    I was talking to another bio student I know in passing, and as we were talking I sneezed loudly and her eyes widen.    "You!" She exclaims pointing an accusing finger at me. "You're the one who keeps sneezing when I listen to the recordings."    ....    So apparently I've got easily recognizable sneezes. Yay me...   The worst part is the worst has yet to come, the birch trees hasn't yet dropped their load and I am not looking forward to seeing everything I love covered in yellow pollen. Why does there have to be so many birch trees in Norway???    (translation: We're exterminating several species a day - can't we just saw those ----- birch-trees down?!)

Freya

Freya

 

Satan is a Black Jello Blob

More strange dreams!   So I have this thing where I can dream in one setting and then not dream again in it for years and years, but when I do, I instantly remember everything that happened before. I'm not sure if it's been a long time since I dreamt in the setting I was in last night, but either way- that same sort of thing happened. I can't control my dreams, so going back to a setting isn't anything I have any power over and it's not a choice I make.   Anyway, in this setting I'm a boy (I'm actually a female if anyone is wondering, I know there tends to be great confusion circulating around this) living with his mom and sister, only in a previous dream my sister had been stolen by Satan. For whatever reason, I was convinced that I could find her if I investigated the sewers that were beneath my house, and in a previous dream I had done this as well. It was a maze, and it was very confusing, and I always had a camera with me so I could retrace my steps if necessary. Although I got lost sometimes, I also always found my way out.   My mom knew about this, and in the dream I had last night we had a conversation about it. She had a tracker on me, apparently, and was concerned because I would be down there so long that my camera battery was ready to die, or I got so far away that even if I really did make it out of the sewers I might wind up lost on the surface somewhere, out in the wilderness or in a town I didn't know or something.   I don't really have anything to say to her about this, because I'm determined to find my little sister and plan on continuing to investigate in the sewers.   And then I'm in the sewers again! Only I have no camera this time. It's very alarming as a result, since I don't have any light to work by. I start exploring through some of the places I have already been through, but then begin taking paths within those areas that I hadn't looked into before. I notice that things are starting to become strange, like I'd find little quivering clumps of blood and bones on the floor, which would then explode like some creature from the deep once taken to the surface. It wasn't a violent explosion, they just kind of went pop and bleeeehhhh all over. It was gross, but I kept going.   Eventually there were structures in the sewers that shouldn't be in the sewers, like wooden walls and things of that nature. I eventually came upon a series of bathroom stalls, and in them I found one of my classmates from school. Not like, a fake classmate made up for this dream setting, but an actual classmate from a school I have gone to. This person wasn't anyone I particularly liked because he was an asshole, but none the less he was like "WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!" and my reaction was "k." We try to make it out of the sewers, and then after a series of even more ridiculous events and more exploding blobs, I suddenly realize that I'm dreaming. I don't have my camera with me, and there was no way I'd be in the sewers without it. My classmate is someone who lives clear on the other side of the country and there's no way he'd be here either, and also I found him in a bathroom. In the sewers. Har har har. So, upon realizing this is a dream, I wake up.   Cue a strange interlude where I'm in the kitchen with my grandma and grandpa, and we're watching a family of bigfoot play with goats outside our window. We lived in a fucking cul-de-sac and don't have any farm animals, so I'm not sure where either the bigfoot or the goats came from. I'm looking at them with my grandpa while my grandma is fiddling about with something, and just as we call her over she misses seeing them.   Anyway, something about this interaction or the dream or maybe both makes me understand what I have to do in order to get my sister back, or perhaps I understand that I'm never going to get her back. Either way, I know what I'm going to do next. I take my camera and head into the sewers, where my mom follows me. I take the original path that I had taken in my dream, but instead of things getting weird I just am lead to a hallway with a few rooms in them. The doorways are all pitch black, but some of them have strange textures to the blackness. I didn't know which one to go in, but picked the blackest of the black and went in there. I fell into a room with a bed, a window, and a black gelatinous blob on the floor.   I immediately understood that this black blob was Satan, and that I had weakened him somehow???- perhaps by understanding earlier that I had been caught in a dream, and woke up from it. Anyway, I took out a knife and chopped up jello-Satan into a bunch of tiny pieces, and then smooshed him into the carpet so he couldn't go anywhere. And then my mom showed up with a carpet washer, and she sucked him up out of the carpet.   We were going to make further efforts to take care of Satan, but then I heard voices in reality which made me wake up.   I'm very tired from all this and don't feel like I got much sleep. >(

Josie

Josie

 

Burned at the edges

I'm feeling a little like burnout's creeping up on me, but I'm not sure it's entirely that since I haven't exactly been doing a whole lot of work or anything lately. I think I'm mostly putting nonsensical and invisible pressure on myself, because I have such high expectations for myself and always expect myself to be working towards them. I don't really know how to relax, and "relaxing" makes me feel kind of panicky because oh my god I'm not getting anything done.   I also have the last bits of school coming up, and I suppose I might be kind of anxious about that.   I'm drowning myself in House of Cards to try and cool off a bit. I started rewatching it some time ago and I think I'll feel better if I "complete" it again. Leaving things unfinished drives me batty.

Josie

Josie

 

I don't like this person, but they've done nothing wrong.

An anonymous user asked me:   I've written a guide about this (This person is obnoxious but isn't breaking any rules- what do?), but if you don't want this person on your site, then I can see why it might not seem as though it applies. However, my advice on the matter remains the same: just ask the person to leave.   If something about someone sits wrong with you as an admin, then you're not required to put up with it. You deserve to feel comfortable on and enjoy your own site, which you cannot do if someone else is souring the experience for you. It doesn't matter if you can't put your finger on what bothers you about the person, and it doesn't matter if they've done nothing "wrong." The best thing to do is always to just ask the person to leave, because then you can go back to enjoying yourself and they can move on to a place where they're not rubbing the admin the wrong way- which will inevitably impact their experience on the forum whether you mean it to or not. It's not only the best thing for you, it's the best thing for them also.   Telling someone to leave without a tangible reason behind it can be tough, though. You need to be open and honest with the person without putting blame on them. It needs to be clear in the message that nothing is up for debate and that they need to leave no matter what.   An example of what you can say:   If you think that the person is going to cause problems, then you can always create a separate usergroup with posting and PMing permissions removed from them, so that there's no "damage" they can do. If you're concerned that this person is going to trash talk your forum afterwards, then this: (1) proves that they're someone who shouldn't be on your site to begin with; (2) is publicity. Even bad publicity is good publicity; (3) is nothing that anyone can hold against you. A message like the one above is calm. It might make someone hurt, but the aim is not to hurt and there is nothing inflammatory about it. If someone wants to tout your being honest and reasonable as anything but that, then it'll only convince similarly-minded individuals who you probably also don't want on your forum to stay away, and will draw level-headed folks your way. It's okay to be afraid of backlash, but in the RP community, backlash only has power if you give it power.   Hope this helps, anon! - GR     If you would like to ask me for advice, you can comment on an article or send me a private message! Be sure to include if you would like to remain anonymous.

Josie

Josie

 

Encounters At 3 am

So this happened to me a few weeks ago, and it still amuses me.    So for context I live in a student dorm, and I share a kitchen/common area and bathroom with three other people. It's in the middle of the night and I'm thirsty, so I put on my bathrobe and pad out to the kitchen to get a glass of water. And I get into the kitchen and a complete stranger is sitting by the table eating McDonalds, at 3 am. I swear I jumped a foot when I rounded the corner and saw him sitting there, and he was all alone none of my flatmates was sitting there with him, so just this lone stranger eating McDonalds burgers.    I probably just stared at him in disbelief for a few seconds, trying to figure out if this was real or a strange dream.    Thankfully it turns out he was visiting one of the guys I live with, and wasn't some strange burglar. We chatted for a bit, or well he chatted and I answered with one syllable words and then I got my glass of water and went to bed. The whole thing felt really surreal.    I met him again the next morning as I was preparing breakfast, thankfully actually wearing clothes instead of just my bathrobe. He on the other hand was just clad in a small towel... the life in a student dorm is an interesting one. 

Freya

Freya

 

Another Nightmare

You guys might not think that the dream where someone peed on my bed was a nightmare, but it totally was okay. Anyway, since so many people seemed to enjoy my ridiculous dream, I thought I would share another one. It wasn't one that happened recently, but it still sticks out in my mind as being very memorable.   A player from one of my forums invented a new kind of pet lizard. And hey, I like lizards, so I wanted to have one. But because I am me, before I could purchase one, I had to do all the possible research on this lizard possible. Unfortunately, the internet did not have much that was helpful. However, the owner of Icyboards, Spork, had written a book about caring for the lizard. The book, unfortunately, cost something ridiculous, like 3000 USD. And even though I'm a moderator at Icyboards, apparently I couldn't just ask Spork for a copy of the book because I hate nepotism. However, I wasn't going to pay that much money for a damn book about lizards, so I resolved to drive to the factory that printed them to see if I might be able to buy a copy for a reduced price (for no reason other than I'm awesome and should receive a discount, apparently).   So I have no idea where I was living at the time, but whatever, I drove to the factory in Missouri. It was in a slow and sleepy little town that looked like it was struggling. I find a place to park outside the factory. The parking lot is shaped like an L, and I park at the short end of the L, which is attached to the road. At the long end of the L is the entrance to the factory, which also has a little store front. Parked in the long part of the L is another car, and leaning against the car's back bumper is just a dude staring at the store. I don't really pay much mind to him as I walk up to the store front, which, to my dismay, I see is closed for business and appears to be abandoned.   The exact book I want is right there in the window, and although I consider breaking the glass and stealing the book, I don't. I make a sad remark to the other guy in the parking lot that that was the book I wanted and that it's only for sale at a very high price on the internet. The guy nods and agrees that this sucks.   I turn to walk away, and as I do this he says to me: "I'll pay you forty dollars for all your baby teeth."   I'm mildly freaked out about this and try to think of something to say. Because I'm smart, I say: "No thank you, I don't have any left." THAT'LL SHOW HIM.   And I hurry to my car, very scared now. I'm fumbling with my keys as I try to unlock the door, and in the metal of the lock I see the guy show up behind me just like I knew he was going to. He didn't say anything, but stabbed me with a really long needle in the kidney or something, and I said, very loudly: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.   The pain was so acute that I actually said "ow" in real life, and it was the sound of me very blandly going "ow" which woke me up.    So there you have it. Another silly GR dream.

Josie

Josie

 

DON'T PEE ON MY BED

Whenever I don't get to share a bed with my SO, for whatever reason, I tend to have pretty strange and wacky dreams. For the last two nights this has been the case.   I rage quit on my dream last night because in my dream, we had a guest over. There's no other way to say it- our guest was morbidly obese, but was still capable of walking herself around. She announces to everyone: "I've got to pee." So she gets up. Walks into my room. Lies down on my bed... AND PEES ON IT.   RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF. ME.   I'm quite upset about this for obvious reasons and am like "YO. Why the fuck you peein' on my bed?" Actually, that's the nice version of what I said. I made her feel very bad, but instead of just being sad, she tried to argue back with me. ABOUT WHY IT'S OKAY TO PEE ON MY BED. It's fine to pee on my bed, she says, because it's hard for her to sit on a toilet. This made me go quiet for a second, because okay, honestly, a big part of my line of work is helping people sit on a damn toilet LOL, and then I remembered, BITCH I SAW YOU WALK IN HERE AND CLIMB ONTO MY BED which seriously in all honesty cannot be any easier than sitting on the shitter, and so instead of arguing with her further I just legit rage quit on my own dream and woke up.   OMG. I'm still worked up about it. Guys, I love sleeping literally more than anything else I'm not even kidding so PEEING ON MY BED IS JUST ABOUT THE BIGGEST SIN YOU CAN COMMIT AGAINST ME, DON'T DO IT.

Josie

Josie

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    • I'm so happy to hear that you have come to a place of peace.    There are a lot of situations in life where people will tell you certain things, but sometimes, you really do know what is best, what is better. You know your body, you know your life, and you know your board. Coming to grips with realizing that you aren't in the same race/environment as everyone else takes a long time and some mental effort in soul searching. Once you've realized that, you next realize that the same paths don't apply to you - because your board isn't like the others that get 10 replies a day, it's not going to die if you don't get any replies in 3 days - after all, for heaven's sakes, your board is how many years old, now? And then, after that, I think comes peace.   I hope that you are in good health, that your family is well, and that you feel loved. I hope that your board will continue to bring you happiness and joy in your hobby, and sharing it with others.    Hugs!
    • Hang in there! There are those of us who will be okay with having a slower pace - heck, I know of writers (myself included) who actively look for those slower paces because they can't offer anything else. I know it sucks for now, but keep your spirits up! As long as the people who are there are still loving the site, things will improve! 
    • Updated with Vaelastrasz, Khadgar, Salvatore and Karen!
    • Updated with Karynaku, Malygos' gender reveal (hopefully) and Roger!
    • Lizards get complicated. xD   Whats EXTRA fun is that some species you can't sex. You can GUESS based on structure, but there's no guarantee. The fact that the hobby is, compared to breeding other animals, new makes it all the more exciting! They thought crested geckos were extinct until the late 80s!
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