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Sunshine Challenge 2021 - Prompt 6 (Amphitrite)

Prompt 6: Amphitrite

Amphitrite is the goddess of the sea, wife of Poseidon, and eldest of the fifty Nereides. She is the female personification of the ocean: the mother of fish, seals and dolphins. Poseidon chose Amphitrite from among her sisters as the Nereids performed a dance on the isle of Naxos. Refusing his offer of marriage, she fled to Atlas. The dolphin-god Delphin eventually tracked her down and persuaded her to return to wed the sea-king. She also bred sea monsters, and her great waves crashed against the rocks, putting sailors at risk.
This picture has turned up twice as the wallpaper when I start my computer. It's called "Beautiful ocean surfing wave at sunset beach, Havelock Island, India"; and I finally found it on the web! It's partly the luscious curve of the wave, but also the extraordinary colours.



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Sunshine Challenge 2021 - Prompt 4 (the Furies)

Prompt 4: the Furies
The Furies, also known as the Erinyes, are a trio of vengeance deities whose immortal task is to hear complaints of insolence from mortals—and to punish those crimes by hounding the culprits relentlessly. They are said to focus on punishment for lying, killing, or sinning against the gods, but any lawbreaking was indeed punishable by them.

“Alecto was the oldest, unceasing in anger. Megaera was next, retaliator of jealousy, and Tisiphone, the last, regarded as the avenger of murder.”
― Elisabeth Naughton, Stolen Fury

Maybe you are inspired by Alecto (“the implacable one”, incites war), or perhaps Megaera (“the envious one”, vengeance) speaks to you, or maybe even Tisiphone (“avenger of murder”, guards the gates to Tartarus) – however you want to interpret the prompt, we’d love to hear from you!

Janette with fangs
On consideration, I decided to do another self-rec for this prompt. (I notice that several other participants are self-reccing this year.)

One would think that, among my various Forever Knight based stories, there'd be plenty that fit this motif. We are, after all, talking not only about vampires but a dysfunctional family where Divia slew her own master Q'ara, LaCroix slew Divia, and Nick did his level best to slay LaCroix. Shades of Greek mythology! However, where these characters are concerned, I tend to try to look beneath the obvious to unpick deeper psychological causes than mere revenge.

So instead I'm going to turn to war.

For those who don't know Forever Knight, there's a bit of backstory to "The Siege of Hastings". The protagonist of the show, Nick Knight, was turned into a vampire in 1228. This every writer ought to know, since the voiceover to the opening credits tells you so each week. Nevertheless, what is obvious to a fan writer is not necessarily so to a scriptwriter, especially in a show that apparently had no proper book—and definitely had a loosey goosey attitude to continuity. At any rate, in the episode "Forward Into the Past", Nick calls in a favour from another vampire whom he saved "at the Battle of Hastings". Which took place in 1066.

Fans have, of course, written fix-its ever since: they range from time-travel to bar fights in a Hastings pub. I was asked for a story with a new approach. If you're curious, you can read the comments on AO3 here.

It is obviously pure coincidence that the story stars three vampires and there are three Furies. Which is who is up to you.

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Sunshine Challenge 2021 - Prompt 3 (Hecate)

Prompt 3: Hecate
Otherworldly and mysterious, Hecate is best known for her association with magic, ghosts, and the night. If you hear the baying of hounds in the dark, she's likely near as they were ever at her side. She is traditionally depicted as bearing two torches to light her way or as a triple goddess of the crossroads. In mythology she is known for helping Demeter search for her daughter Persephone, a theme that ties her even more to the Underworld and spirits she is associated with. Today she is often considered a representative of those liminal places where reality bends and all manner of events may unfold...

Divia
For this prompt, I'm self-reccing a Forever Knight fic I wrote for Yuletide in 2016, "The Father, the Son, and the Unholy Ghost", which was a treat for [personal profile] astolat.

True, the "ghost" of the title is not a real ghost: it's Divia, the evil-seed vampire daughter of Nick's master, LaCroix, who turns her own father into a vampire in the flashback to the episode "A More Permanent Hell" and then returns from the grave in "Ashes to Ashes" to avenge his killing her when she proposed incest. "Ashes to Ashes" ends with Nick saving LaCroix from Divia by beheading her. All that does seems consistent with the Hecate prompt.

I have to admit that Divia was never a favourite of mine. She seemed pretty one-paced in her villainy (though it was intriguing to finally have an origin story for LaCroix). However, when I thought about it, I realized there had to be more to the history between her and her father than could ever have been fitted into a few flashback scenes. After all, a couple of decades separate the two episodes in which Divia appears; and, even in the long life of a vampire, much can happen in twenty years.



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Sunshine Challenge 2021 - Prompt 2 (Eos)

Prompt 2: Eos
The dawn goddess Eos was almost always described with rosy fingers or rosy forearms as she opened the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise. Eos had a team of divine horses to pull her chariot, providing daylight as they climbed the arc of heaven scattering sparks of fire across the sky (she was also sometimes depicted aloft by the power of her own wings). Eos is known for having had many lovers, which has led to Eos being known by some as a goddess of joy and pleasure in addition to being the goddess of the dawn.
I thought, for Eos, I'd offer the webpage design for a story I wrote back in 2014, "A Little Chat over Breakfast".

Once upon a time, there was a LiveJournal community (maryrenaultfics) for fans of Mary Renault's books. It lasted for ten years, all told, though the decline in the last few years was becoming obvious (to everyone else, though possibly not to the moderators). Still, there had been a glorious fifth-anniversary celebration to which many of the members were active contributors. The main event was a series of stories set in a metaverse where the characters from all of Renault's books could meet at a clubhouse. The mods decided to do the same for the tenth anniversary as well.

Well, it wasn't the same. (Couldn't be, really.)

If you're up early, there's a stage when dawn looks a lot like dusk. Except for being in the east, of course.



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Sunshine Challenge 2021 - Prompt 1 (Hades)

Prompt 1: Hades
Hades is the god of the dead and the king of the Underworld with which his name became synonymous. Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology; his role was often maintaining relative balance between the realms. He was often depicted as cold and stern in his judgement, and he held all of his subjects equally accountable to his laws. Above all else, Hades ensured the finality of death and that none of his subjects ever left the Underworld.
This prompt promptly prompted <g> me to think of Forever Knight, particularly the episode "Near Death", whose flashback shows us Nick's experience in 1228 after the vampire LaCroix drains him to the point of death.
Nick confronts his Guide figure at the gateway between life and death
He is offered the option of passing through a gateway to a brilliant light, representing death or some afterlife; but instead he chooses to answer LaCroix's call and wake to an altered immortal body.

It is an essential part of the vampire mythos, at least in this series, that they are not dead: being "undead" is something Other. For LaCroix (and most vampires in their community), actual death is The End; and, as such it is to be avoided at all costs. For Nick, whose quest is to reverse his vampiric condition, it is mortal life that he wants desperately to regain.

That death is the inevitable consequence of mortality is something that Nick accepts. Or, at least, in the strength of his current state and the health of his youth when he was brought over, he accepts death in theory. Whether, in the extremity of illness or age, he might alter his view ... well, that is a topic for fan fiction. Admittedly, few authors have tackled it.

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I was there....



Trying to book my second shot has been incredibly frustrating.

The provincial online booking portal initially seemed to be fairly well managed, barring the curious notion that everyone has a most up-to-date browser. Vaccine delivery was relatively slow; so we were cohorted by age, starting with the frailest of the elderly. As Flo gave me a new computer for my birthday last year, I had no trouble booking my first shot when my age-group came up, i.e. back at the beginning of April. The shortage of vaccines meant, though, that the emphasis was on getting as many people as possible at least one shot; so second shots were vastly delayed. My second appointment was prebooked for the 24th of July,

However, once the vaccines started rolling in regularly, things changed. With the threat of the Delta variant, it became important to move up the timing of second shots; so the Premier kept announcing larger and larger cohorts of people eligible to rebook for an earlier date. As a result, when I went on line, there could be over a hundred thousand people ahead of me in the booking queue, meaning a wait of an hour or so just to input my data. Then, when I'd finally get into the system, there'd be no slots in any of the mass clinics in Toronto. Instead, I'd be told that the nearest clinics I could book at were in Brampton.

Let's just say that Brampton is not near downtown Toronto. Not even remotely. It's nearly thirty miles away. And I don't have a car. I might as well have been told I could book my vaccination for the far side of the moon.

After trying several times, I just gave up for a few days, and decided that I'd have to stick with the prebooked date, even if it did mean waiting for a month. However, early Wednesday morning I decided to try one more time. And lo and behold! up popped the ScotiaBank Arena, with slots available for the coming Sunday, i.e. today. It's a big sports arena down near the lake, not far from the convention centre where I got my first shot. This puzzled me: I had no memory of there ever being a second mass clinic downtown.

Still, I wasn't about to cavil. I quickly booked a slot.

Only when I was reading the paper over breakfast did I learn that this was, in fact, a one-day clinic set up as a special event. "Toronto Vaccine Day" they're calling it. They hope to vaccinate 25,000 people today. When I was there, they announced that they'd just got over 17,000 people jabbed already; and that was only at five p.m.

Edited to add: at the close of the clinic, they'd actually administered 26,771 doses.

What is more, the TTC was offering free rides down to the arena for everyone with a confirmed time slot, and free rides home for everyone with their vaccination certificate!

It was all very well organized. From which I conclude that our much unloved Premier had nothing whatever to do with it.

So I was there. I even have a little souvenir "towel" to prove it. Also (and rather more important) I got my second shot.

:D

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Everywoman Exchange 2021 - Dear Author....

greerwatson on AO3.

First, let me thank you for writing me a story in one of the fandoms we share. I'm excited about all of them. They're listed in alphabetical order, so as not to play favourites.


GENERAL POINTS:

  • I love stories that explore canon more deeply, whether through backstory, or elaborating the setting/history/culture, or exploring people's motivations and personal interactions.

  • I prefer gen. DNW non-canon relationships unless requested. I'm not asking you to ignore canon relationships; but please don't make them the focus of the story. I don't care for anything more than PG-13: explicit sexual detail is definitely a DNW for me.

  • I love casefic; and, more generally, I like stories that are canon-compliant. The general exception to this is ignoring canonical character death if you want. Canon-divergent AUs are also okay. (There may be other specific exceptions.)

  • I'm okay with violence if necessary to the story; but not gore for the sake of gore. On the whole, I prefer not to have characters die in the story; but references to canonical deaths are okay. (I'm fine with having original characters murdered in casefic, and that sort of thing.)

  • I enjoy comedy—being able to recognize the ridiculous when it pops up; also wit and wordplay. Having said that, I totally leave it up to you whether you write a serious or comic story—or a serious story with comic interludes.

  • No second-person fic, please. First person is definitely okay for book canons that were written that way by the author. However, I don't generally care for it with TV fandoms. Epistolary fic is fine.

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Fanlore Featured Article

Every week, Fanlore features one of its articles on its home page: just the intro, but with a link to the full article so people are enticed to check it out. An article must first be suggested (and often tweaked a bit), and won't be featured until at least four of the editors have voted yes.

This week Fanlore features a Forever Knight article!

The Ger Bear Project dates back to 1997, when Brenda Bell decided to stuff and dress a set of teddy bears in costumes worn by Geraint Wyn Davies. Of the six bears she completed, four are in FK outfits. Most were auctioned off for charity; but one was given to GWD and she kept one for herself.

Check it out!

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Sic transit....

At the end of last week, one of my favourite websites went off line.

GRSites.com was a graphics site that I used a lot. In fact, it's credited on pretty well every page of my website. I'm not sure when I first saw it: either 2004 or 2005. I do remember that it was in beta at the time. Sometimes bits of the site disappeared for a while, and then came back in a new form. Eventually, it went commercial with a lot of features offered only to people who paid to join. However, most of the material I was personally interested in remained free for anyone to use.

When I first got on the 'Net back in 2004, sites with collections of free graphics were a dime a dozen. I don't mean "royalty free" graphics: that just means you pay a fee up front, and don't get charged an annual royalty on top of that. I mean genuinely free graphics that anyone can use, at least on personal sites. (At most, the site owner requests that you credit them with a link somewhere.) As I quickly realized that the best way to make my virtual FK season available to other fans was to create my own site, and I didn't want to use some WYSIWYG software but instead wrote it myself, I needed to compile a collection of graphics to pretty it up. So I did a lot of searching out useful sites with background tiles, bullets and dividers, and clipart.

The great advantage of GRSites was the fact that, besides a large collection of these sorts of things, it also had software that you could use to create your own logos and buttons and software that could tweak textures (as the owner called background tiles) in various ways. Not just graphics from GRSites itself, either: one could upload things from one's own computer and apply the software. As a result, I could take tiles from sites like 321Clipart.com or Syruss.com and play with those.

It's fair to say that it was GRSites that enabled me to create my site the way I wanted it to look. Each of my stories appears on its own separately designed webpage; and it was by using GRSites' software that I was able to coordinate or contrast the colours in precisely the way I chose. I found this section of the site so useful, in fact, that I had the "Textures" page on GRSites bookmarked rather than the main page. Nevertheless, I always used a link to the main page of the site in the credits in the footnotes.

Back in January, when I was making pages for my Yuletide stories, I was checking the colour of the links, and happened to do this by hitting the GRSites link. It was thus that I discovered a message on the main page that said that the site would be going down as of May 1st.

So I have spent a lot of time over the past few months ensuring that I collected as many variants as I could of all the backgrounds I thought I was likely to want in the future. Many of them are colour variants of the fairly simple textures that I use in making fancy borders; but there are a handful of multi-coloured backgrounds that I spent a lot of time working with.

The site actually went down sometime on the 30th of April. I'm not sure when, exactly.

I'm going to miss it.

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25 Days of Writing: Day 25

25. What part of writing is the most fun?

And so we come, albeit belatedly, to the end of the meme. Its "25 Days" have spread over more than a month. But all good things....

Fun? Given the "pulling teeth" (occasionally hen's teeth!) aspect of writing, I'd have to say that the most fun is going back afterwards and reading what I've written.

I don't mean editing, which is really part of the writing process. Nor do I mean the repetitious rereading required for polishing, which is a compulsive process that continues for several days—if not weeks—after a story is posted. Call that the necessity of self-beta'ing: time is needed to gain perspective. I can go back weeks later and spot not only typos but places where the story could be tightened up. Even plot holes. If it won't be too obvious, I'll tweak. Posting on line does have advantages over print.

No, I'm talking about going back much later. Years, like as not. And then you look at what you wrote with wonder that the words actually came from your own brain. So coherent! So pertinent! So insightful! So true to character!

Well, sometimes. ;)

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