speaker_to_customers: (Cierre)
Or should that be "Drow me like one of your French girls"?

WriterConUK is next weekend; I’m looking forward to it enormously. There is – just barely – enough time for people who haven’t yet signed up to do so… see the sign-up post...

I’ve been devoting myself to writing Lord of the Rings crossover fic recently, probably because of the corrupting effect of living with, and beta-ing for, [personal profile] curiouswombat. The story on which I’m concentrating at the moment won’t be appearing on LiveJournal because, for some reason, it’s coming out with enormous chapters. Chapter One (which I wrote in only two nights!) is 13,400 words and Chapters Three and Four are even longer – way, way, over the LiveJournal character limit for posts. I believe that Dreamwidth has a bigger limit, and I might see if I can put it up here one day, but not yet.

The story, ‘The Dark Companion’, is based on the idea that the Quest of the Ring was successful only because of a long chain of coincidences, and lucky chances, and that any change is likely to make things worse in the long term even if it brings a short-term gain. Adding a Tenth Walker is unlikely to work out well no matter what abilities he or she can bring to the Fellowship.

In my tale I added Cierre, the Drow Ranger from the Forgotten Realms, who has featured in a couple of my other stories already. She arrives through a portal at Amon Hen just as the Fellowship breaks up, is just too late to save Boromir’s life, and joins with Aragorn for the pursuit of the Hobbit-abducting Orcs. She’s a lethal fighter, a skilled tracker, and a tireless and extremely fast runner; an ideal addition, in theory, but that isn’t how it works out. Black skin in Middle Earth tends to be the mark of the Enemy and she inspires mistrust in everyone they meet; she has her own enemies pursuing her; and a casual remark by Cierre, made in good faith, sets off a chain of events which could destroy everything.

I’m having more fun writing it than I have had in any other story outside the Tabula Avatar ‘verse. For the moment I’m posting it only at the Pit of Voles and at Faerie, the LotR fic archive that was set up as a refuge for people escaping from the wreckage of Lotrfanfiction.com. However I’ve also been producing banners for it and I’m posting them here (behind a cut, of course) as a preview. [personal profile] ellynn_ithilwen produced a couple of images for me to represent Cierre, using as her base pictures of Chinese actress Bingbing Li in her role as Ni Chang, The Bride With White Hair, in the Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’. I’ve built several of the banners, and my current default icon, around those manips. She also produced for me a manip of Éowyn in a somewhat unusual guise…

Banners for ‘The Dark Companion’ )
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No writing today. I've been revamping my website. [livejournal.com profile] nandibble pointed out that it wasn't easy to navigate, and she's certainly right. I didn't design the site, it just happened. Bits have been added wherever there was a place for them. I am mediocre at writing html, and tend to do things by copying and pasting and then amending. Therefore, the fics were in something of a jumble. One reason for the colossal hit count that my site clocks up compared to the sites of some of my peers is probably the disorder; it would have been easy for a single visitor to register 50 hits just looking round the site checking to see if there were any updates or new stories.

Anyway, that situation should be greatly improved now. I've adopted the radical new idea of having my index pages list the fics in alphabetical order! I've added a new Updates page, and made it easier to get from my Speaker's Corner homepage to the fic pages.

I'd appreciate it if any of you who were familiar with the old layout would take a look and let me know what you think.

Speaker's Corner
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I'm afraid there won't be a new chapter of "Savage Beauty" tonight, I haven't managed to get much writing done, but I have started to post it on fanfic.net to see what reaction it gets. Here's the url:


For some reason only Chapter One shows up, although I've put up chapter two as well and manually changing the url ending to /2/ gets you to Ch 2 - and enables you to see a review that has already appeared! Alas, it's not a genuine one, it's one of us faking it. Naughty girl!

I've posted it under my own name. I couldn't be bothered to create an alternate identity - and it might attract the more literate fans to "And Glory Shone Around", "I am the Walrus", etcetera.
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That's it. The final part of 'The Cloak of Mist' is now up at [livejournal.com profile] watchersdiaries.

It's all done; all that remains now is for those who haven't yet read it, and its little sibling 'Deid Canny', to do so.

I hope you all like them.
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The first instalment of "The Cloak of Mist" is now up at [livejournal.com profile] watchersdiaries. There will be 7 more instalments over the next 24 hours, plus the 3,300 word "Deid Canny".

I'll put them on my site at some time in the future; possibly not until March. For now, [livejournal.com profile] watchersdiaries will be the only place they're available.

Now to get on with the Spike/Tentacle story for [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch's Valentine's Day ficathon - I'm 1,500 words into an estimated 3,000, so I might get that finished tonight - and then on to "Life in Shadow".

But please give "The Cloak of Mist" a look; in my own opinion, at least, it's the best thing I've ever done.

Addition: It is now up in its entirety, and 'Deid Canny' is up too.
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Well, I've finished "The Cloak of Mist". 29,261 words. Definitely a novella. Adventure. Horror. Romance. Tragedy. Celtic folklore and Norse myth. Even a little gratuitous nudity.

It has been a mighty labour. This tale grew in the telling, and all that. The requirements for the Ficathon specified a mininum of 3,000 words and I've gone way, way, past that. Was it worth it? Only time, and the reactions of readers, will tell.

Find out for yourselves at [livejournal.com profile] watchersdiaries on February 11th.

Three people volunteered to read the opening sequence: [livejournal.com profile] evilawyer, [livejournal.com profile] megan_peta, and [livejournal.com profile] zanthinegirl. To those three, and those three alone, I extend an invitation to read it ahead of the posting date. In exchange I'd like them to let me know of any historical or Gaelic terms in the manuscript that are not adequately explained in the course of the story, so that I can add a Glossary if necessary. I'm not looking for beta reading; it's too late now to put right any errors other than simple typos at this stage. Just things that don't make sense without knowledge that the average reader won't possess.

One more job to do; I have to break it into chapters, as it is too long for posting on LJ as a single post. How big a post can be posted reliably? Anyone know? I can't spot that information in the FAQ.

Normally, after completing such a huge project, I'd take a break for a few days. Alas, I can't do that this time. I have to complete the second tale for the Ficathon. This one is going to be much shorter but it's still work I could have done without. Remind me never to sign up for any other Ficathons ever again.
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I've finished my entry for [livejournal.com profile] enigmaticblues Holiday Ficathon and sent it in. It is now available there, but I'm not putting it up on my own site yet, I'll give her a few days of exclusivity. It's called "And Glory Shone Around", and it's an AU in which Glory proposes a Christmas truce. To say that 'whackiness ensues' would be putting it mildly.

Pimp! A drabble from [livejournal.com profile] ffutures that people who like my lunatic little snippets will probably love too.

Mistaken Identity II

My Christmas was nice, but quiet; nothing that would really interest anyone else, and details are on [livejournal.com profile] curiouswombat's LJ anyway, so I won't bore you. Hope you all had a pleasant time.

I'm off to work now.
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Update! Attention all hands, we have an update! This is not a drill!

Chapter Fourteen of It's Got to be Perfect is now up: Back to Life, Back to Reality

Throwing a bit of a curve here for [livejournal.com profile] theohara; who has pretty much worked out where I'm going with this story but I think I still might surprise her a bit in this chapter.

In other news, my daughter got her GCSE results today: 3 x A*, 7 x A, 1 x B. She took French a year early and got an A last year. Yay! Go Katherine. (Does Dance of Proud Dad Superiority).
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The little PWP interlude in "It's Got to be Perfect" that I posted here earlier is now up on the site.  I call it Chapter 13, but it's just a snippet compared to the other chapters.  "Interlude with the Vampire".

When I was putting it up I spotted that Chapter 12 was headed in great big letters "Chapter 11".  And nobody told me!  I thought you were my friends! :-)


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It's been a long time coming, but at last I've updated "It's Got to be Perfect".  Chapter 12, "Back in Black", is up here; or read it from the beginning here.  The "Hell's Bells" chapter.

I know I promised it several days ago, but things didn't quite work out as I expected.  Partly Real Life; there were things my wife wanted me to do while I'm on holiday.  Not that I've done them, it's just that wriggling out of them took up time and energy.

And partly me being distracted by Helga von Nutwimple aka [livejournal.com profile] theohara ; who not only writes such brilliant stuff that I waste far too much time reading it, but also has a habit of using ideas that I was just about to use and therefore forcing me to rethink and rewrite.  I do the same to her, she tells me.

Not sure what I'm going to do next; I know the BuffyBot stories are probably the most popular of my fics, and people keep clamouring for another, but I think I'll probably do another chapter of "It's Got to be Perfect" while I'm in the groove.  Definitely no more "Pandora's Boxer" over the next couple of weeks at least.

Thanks to the people who helped me with my research query, especially [livejournal.com profile] mommanerd  who was first to reply.  You have won - a mention in my LiveJournal!

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Well, I've done it.  Challenge #3 from Vampire Kisses.  Season 5 with the Key as something other than human.

I am the walrus".  16,500 words of raving insanity.  Some knowledge of the works of The Beatles may add to your enjoyment but is not essential.

As far as I know no-one has ever attempted this challenge before.  No-one else has been that crazy.

It's been very hard work, but fun.  Now it's out of the way normal service will be resumed as soon as possible (or at least what passes for normal around here).  Expect to see an update for "It's got to be perfect" within the next three or four days.


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Things aren't going well on the writing front at the moment.  All due to my relentless pursuit of publicity.  I saw a challenge that I don't think anyone else has ever attempted, had an idea for how it could be achieved, and went for it.

From "Vampire Kisses":
Challenge #3-
"Till The End Of The World"
- Make the Key into something other than human. Buffy and Spike still have to defend it with their lives and keep Glory from getting it. Must be a Spuffy story. The ending of Gifts must be intact.

It's proving to be extremely hard work.  Loads of research necessary.  It's meant writing an entire AU S5.  The "Pandora's Boxer" S4 rewrite was 150,000 words, the forthcoming PB S5 will be about the same, and no way do I want to do anything like that for this exercise.  My plan was to do the whole season in under 10,000 words, hardly longer than a single chapter of "Pandora's Boxer", and I'm keeping to that.  However, it has meant working in a very different way to my normal dialogue-driven style and I'm finding it a struggle.  Especially as my illness a few days ago brought me to a grinding halt and killed my momentum.

What really worries me is that it might not turn out to have been worth the effort.

Still, I've started so I'll finish.  I've done 7,500 words now, am up to "Intervention", so not far to go.  Then I'll get back to the mainstream stuff.

In other news - I have made contact with Helga von Nutwimple.  The brilliant newcomer who I was enthusiastically pimping recently turns out to have a LiveJournal presence - [livejournal.com profile] theohara  - and to be as insanely funny when recounting events in her real life as she is when telling stories about Xander cursed to always tell the truth.

And she likes my work too!


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Another update.  Chapter 7 of "I was made for loving you baby" went up half an hour ago.  In which our mechanical marvel has to deal with the aftermath of the Tabula Rasa spell, hence the chapter title: "Everybody Hurts".

If anyone remains who hasn't already been reached by the much appreciated pimping by [livejournal.com profile] nihilistbear and [livejournal.com profile] theantijoss you can read it from the beginning here.


In other news I'm applying for a promotion at work.  I have many skills and talents but Competency-Based interview technique is not one of them so I'm not hopeful.


Story which may not mean much to my Merkin & Canadian & Aussie LJ friends.  Which is 90% of them, but an Englishman or two might read this so I'll go on.

In 49 BC the Romans tired of being ruled by a triumvirate and decided to appoint a single dictator.  They summoned the two leading candidates, Caesar and Pompey, to appear before the senate and do a competency-based interview.

Pompey gave as an example of his suitability his deeds in defending Rome against an invasion of Gauls, during which his legion had slain 60,000 Gauls at the gates of Rome.  Caesar gave as his example his own invasion of Gaul, during which his legion had also slain 60,000 Gauls in what is now France.

So the senate gave the job to Caesar because in Europe away Gauls count double.


I spotted [livejournal.com profile] nihilistbear listening to Big Country yesterday.  (Waves).  In a big country dreams stay with you.  Stay alive.



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Chapter 22 of the "Pandora's Boxer" trilogy, "Shadows of the Night", is now up on my site.  This completes Book One of the trilogy, and brings the story up to the end of BtVS Season 4.

In other words it's the Pandora-verse version of 'Restless'.  Don't expect straightforward narrative here, people.

Read it at "PB22 - Shadows of the Night"

or from the beginning at "Pandora's Boxer Prologue"

Can I just mention again how much I love

[livejournal.com profile] nihilistbear , thanks for all the pimping, and ditto to [livejournal.com profile] theantijoss


I'm going to be taking a break from Pandora's Boxer for a little while now, as it's between volumes.  I'll get on with "It's Got to be Perfect", the BuffyBot stories, make a proper start on "I am the Walrus", maybe do the sequel to "Pyromania".  Or maybe I'll get a life?  Nah, it'll never happen.




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At long last I've finished Chapter 21 of "Pandora's Boxer" and put it up on the site.  Read it here or from the beginning here.

Only one more chapter to go in Book One of the trilogy.  Two weeks holiday coming up during August, during which I hope to get that finished and perhaps "It's Got to be Perfect" finished off totally.  Then I can start on Book Two, which is actually the one I'm most looking forward to writing.  Enter Dawn!  No, that's not a command.  She's jailbait in S5, remember.

It's hard to find time to write at the moment because work is just so ghastly.  Whoever invented the IBAN system deserves to be marooned on a desert island for thirty years with no company except for scorpions.  An international bank account number system which has a different number of digits for each participating country?  And that number of digits being longer than the total lengths of the intestines of the population of Luxembourg?  Hey, dude, have you got a vested interest in causing confusion or what?  And I am just so sick of the other departments not doing what they are damn well supposed to.  They use us as a shield to hide behind.  Like it's okay for them to do crap work and not keep their promises because if the customer phones up to complain it's us who take the flak.  I'm sick of trying to defend them.  Sick of having to put up with all the crap on the phones, but I'm not going to try to move to another department because I think they're all a bunch of useless tossers.

Oh well, what can't be cured must be endured.  At least writing the fanfic gives me some enjoyment.  Other people seem to be enjoying reading it, which is definitely of the good.


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After a hard day's work on Pandora's Boxer chapter 21 I haven't quite finished. Almost at the end. 6,400 words done. Probably only another hour's worth to go. But it's 3.50 am my time and I've got to be up at 9.30. I simply can't keep going any longer. And so to bed.

It will definitely be ready for posting tomorrow, barring complete catastrophe.
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The website has gone quantum. More Unique Visitors so far in July than in the whole of June and accelerating. The proportion of visitors adding it to Favourites is over 10%. And at last "Pandora's Boxer" and "Speaker-to-Customers" have overtaken 'enigmaticblue buffy fanfic'* as the leading sources of referrals to the site via Google.

I'm getting lots of positive feedback. Including from people who I regard as wonderful writers themselves. Yay me!

Which is all good incentive. Yes, I'm being a good boy and getting on industriously with Chapter 21 of "Pandora's Boxer". As soon as I finish that I will jump straight into the next instalment of the Violent Elizabeth BuffyBott stories. Then back to "It's Got to be Perfect" and so on.

Somewhere I've got to fit in a life. Just as well the Wombat is my biggest fan and is also eagerly awaiting the next chapters. Although she also wants me to write Season 2 of the Roxyverse so that we can play over the school holidays, we've got to fit in occasional breaks for shagging, and work is absolutely shit at the moment and is draining my creative energies.

So life is a bit of good and a bit of bad, but virtual reality is abso-bloody-lutely fantastic.

I so rock. Except in those areas in which I suck. Which of course I'm not going to mention. If I don't blow my own trumpet who will? Well, yes, the Wombat will, I know. But we will speak of that no more.

* the reason 'enigmaticblue buffy fanfic' finds
http://www.speaker-to-customers.me.uk/ is because I've got a congrats up to her, for her well-deserved awards, and a link to her site. That search phrase doesn't find her site because she doesn't use the expression 'fanfic' there at all. Only 'fan fiction'.
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Finally got a new chapter posted for "It's Got to be Perfect". Weeks behind schedule. Blah not my fault blah distracted by medical problems blah European Football Championships blah Plot Bunnies forcing me to write "Pyromania" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I've listed my excuses before.

They're Buffy fanfic stories, by the way, in case any Friends of Friends see this and are thinking I'm claiming credit for songs written by or for Fairground Attraction, Def Leppard, and Nirvana.

I'll get on with the next chapter of "Pandora's Boxer" tomorrow. The day after tomorrow my wife gets home and I might not do any writing for the next couple of nights.
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Began work on Chapter 21 of "Pandora's Boxer" today; to my horror I realised that a whole month has passed since I posted Chapter 20. Considering that I did the equivalent of leaving Buffy tied to the railroad tracks with the train approaching at the end of that chapter, I must have my readers frothing at the mouth. Grovel, grovel. I apologise. There were things I wanted to do with my wife, the European Football Championships are on, the attack of the Plot Bunnies who demanded that I write "Pyromania" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" delayed me further, and I just didn't realise how quickly time was passing.

I have had a fairly productive day on it, it should be ready for posting by the weekend. Although, "It's Got to be Perfect" is even further behind schedule and the chapters are shorter. To which should I give priority? Decisions, decisions.

In one there is a big fight scene coming up; in the other a couple of sex scenes. At the moment I'm feeling randier ("hornier" in Merkin) than I am combative, so I'll put in an hour or two of "It's Got to be Perfect" before I go to bed. Alone. Having to book holidays so far in advance that they can be adversely affected by Continental Drift really sucks.

At least I won't be delayed by my planned watching of "Pirates of the Caribbean". The Wombat called home tonight, asked her where the DVD is 'cause I can't find it: they've taken it with them to watch on the laptop. But they've seen it and I haven't! Not Fair!

Oh well, I'm free of that distraction, as I am free of the distraction of the presence of my family. And as EnigmaticBlues goes on holiday today I'll also be free of the distraction of reading the twice-weekly updates of her wonderful stories.

I'd rather have the distractions.
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A great weight off my mind today. The Consultant doesn't think I have Glaucoma. Another test to do in 6 to 8 weeks, but he thinks I'm okay. Yay!

A pretty good day overall.

The eye tests weren't fun; having drops put into my eyes to make my pupils so big that even David Beckham could hit them with a penalty kick, and then having bright lights shone into them, not big on the enjoyment factor; but the results made it worth it.

I posted my fic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in the Bloody Awful Gutter yesterday, and I got some good feedback on it today. Including requests for a sequel. Alas, if I don't get on with "It's Got to be Perfect" and "Pandora's Boxer" I'll get lynched. Especially PB, what with the cliffhanger ending to the last chapter and the length of time that's passed since I posted it.

Tomorrow's my day off work, so I promise I'll buckle down and do some writing.


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