Welcome to Dead Winter's Night, the personal domain of Emimar, Zoology Graduate, Bookworm and Star Wars fan.
I run a couple of Star Wars fan fiction sites, the first being Star Wars Character Cafe, which is my first site that I've been running since 2004 and the purpose of which is for fans to submit their fan works to. The second is Darkside of the Moon, which in addition to my own fan fiction, also holds background information on my characters, etc.
I also have a few blogs, Little Hobbit Crafts, which at the moment, is about making minitures, but I also have an interest in Cross Stitch and other counted stitches needlecraft (e.g. needlepoint and long stitch) which I will probably showcase there, Exponential Growth, which is my book blog, and Ancient Wisdom a blog about Paganism, which has a focus on Norse and Celtic mythology.
Dead Winter's Night also has it's own forum where fans can discuss their favourite Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy fandoms, post fan works and in the future, play original and canon RPGs.
The holiday is now over and I am contemplating a new layout for my personal website. I've got tired of the current one, but I don't know what I want yet, so I am keeping it up for now. I would like to do an old school type layout as I don't like the modern look on sites. What I mean by that is something like this as opposed to this, but I don't want it to look too similar. I don't like the corporate look of sites I guess and a lot of modern design on the web is very corporate looking. It would be great if I was a decent artist, but I'm not, because if I was then I'd have something unique but which didn't look like it was designed for a capitalist organisation. I have been doing some work on the pixel site and this is now almost completed - just need the credits and links page to do now and sorting out the links on all the pages. I tend to leave that until last so that I can just copy and paste the links in.
Posted by Emimar on 6th October, 2013
News and updates.....
It has been a while since I posted an update on here, but here goes. I have moved hosts and will be restructuring the site after we go on holiday at the end of September. Why did I decide to do it? Well, Bravenet have got rid of the starter package. I was happy with the Starter Package as it wasn't too expensive even if there were somethings about it (e.g. I couldn't use php, for instance) which were restrictive. My main objection to it though was the fact that they didn't bother sending e-mails out to people and in all honesty, it made me wonder if the hosting company was going to be around this time next year. So, with only about a month to go before it was due for renewal, I decided to move hosts. It has been quite stressful because I made the mistake of trying to move to 1 & 1 Hosting and I will say this about them - avoid them if you can. Do a search for reviews of that company and you will see what I mean....
So I am with dream-hosting.co.uk now and so far I am happy with them, even if it did take a while to figure out how to use the C-Panel, etc. They aren't that expensive either in comparison to other hosts - £19.99 for hosting, and depending on the domain extension you have, around £9.99 a year for domain name registration. I am able to have a wordpress blog hosted, a pwingo gallery and a forum hosted with my package.
I will be making some new sites, including a fan site for The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, a pixel art site, and an icon site. The reason I chose to do that is because the personal site was starting to get clogged with lots of extra material which could really have been separated on to different sites.
I have also made the decision to leave the Quilting Bee. I have nothing personal against anyone on there, but I have found that I just don't seem to be fitting in, or rather, it doesn't seem to fit in with me. I thought that it would be more social than it is and that people would be willing to discuss fandoms, etc, but all I seem to get are people wanting my pixel art on their site. I wouldn't have minded if people were more social, but I found it got tiresome. Also, some people seemed to take some of the activities a bit too seriously (probably something I'm guilty of, to some extent) and I got tired of people taking webdesign too seriously and ignoring you when you ask for a little help. It also has too many women who are stay at home mothers and I don't get on with those kinds of people. I've been stay at home, most of my life, but I hate it - it is something which has been imposed on me because of poverty, ill-health (my own and others) and rejections for job applications - it is not something to be proud of! So bye-bye Q-Bee.
Posted by Emimar on 13th August, 2013
The Hobbit Pixel Fan Art
I was inspired to do some hobbit dolls when I was reading a movie guide to the Hobbit last October, but it's taken me ages to get around to it. I liked a picture of some hobbit girls which were in the book but I couldn't really find a suitable base, and I have also taken quite a liking to Kili from the film. I guess, a lot of female fans do - in a film where there aren't many female characters, I suppose it is only natural that we latch on to one of the good looking dwarves! I am not entirely happy how it has come out, but then I never am - there always seems to be some pixel which is slightly out of place, or an outline which doesn't look quite right, or some shading that is not good. I think I have improved since I started, but I am not as good as some who are more naturally an artist than I am. I will probably do some of the other dwarves when I get the time, and of course, Bilbo. I wasn't inspired much by LOTR to do pixel art, and I think that is because people rarely do the male characters and do such a fantastic job on characters like Arwen, Eowyn and Galadriel that I don't want to come up with something that is clumsy. I've never done Padme or her handmaidens from Star Wars for the same reason (and the fact that I thought if everyone does those characters it would get kind of boring, so I've never done them.)
The bases for both of these dolls are from Bondchicks.
Posted by Emimar on 26th May, 2013
The Hobbit Icons and some news
I've really been inspired to do some Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fan "works" this week - I can blame the LOTR fansites which I found over the weekend, and so I have made some icons, and I am working on a new project which I hope to be able to implement in the autumn.
On another note, I will be scaling back over the summer and maybe even go on a hiatus because I have signed up to do a couple of online university courses - Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World and Computational Molecular Evolution.
I am doing the first one more out of interest than anything else - I like reading, but I have never been much of a fan of being told what to read, especially if the books aren't my cup of tea in terms of genre and I wanted to see if I could study English Literature if the books to be studied were ones which I am interested in, or ones which I would choose to read for "fun."
The Molecular Biology one is more for preparation of the project I want to do when I do my Masters. Having to delay doing it because of my partner being ill was really frustrating for me and I am glad that I've now found some uni courses which are free and will help me in some way while I'm having to wait to do my Master's. As you can see, when everyone else is likely to be slowing down for the summer so that they can have a break, I'm just starting.
Posted by Emimar on 21st May, 2013
I've been working on links over the weekend. I've decided to make a fan sites links page for DWN. I've never done this before, but I enjoy visiting fan sites and it has been lonely online since many of the Star Wars fan sites went down a few years back. Now, TFL seems to have disappeared as well, which is something I'd never thought I'd see happen. I won't speculate on my theories as to why it's gone - I do have them, but it will probably just upset people if I voice them. I've probably mentioned on numerous occasions about missing the Star Wars fan site community and I think the only way to remedy it is to link to each other, which is what I am going to do. But rather than go through the anxiety of waiting for people to get back to me, I'm just going to link to sites and that's it. I welcome suggestions, obviously, so don't be shy, but I will only link to sites on subjects which I love - it is my personal site, after all.
Posted by Emimar on 19th May, 2013
Entry to this month's QBee Activity
Posted by Emimar on 15th May, 2013
I've been busy....
I have done a bit of work on SWCC and now the story pages have proper intros on them, but I still need to put up the stories. I've also started a top sites listing for Beyond the Stars to give it a bit more of a promotion as there are no sites listed yet, other than the FLs on the plugboard, and here it is! I really should list SWCC and Darkside of the Moon on there so that it doesn't look so bare...
Posted by Emimar on 29th April, 2013
I made some pixel animals to go onto a quilting bee banner and I decided to make individual pixel art files for them as well. They are NOT PROPS, and cannot be used in doll makers and similar scripts. I haven't decided if I want to allow them to be adoptable. I don't think I will because they weren't made to be used with dolls, etc, so please don't use them.
Posted by Emimar on 12th April, 2013
Finally Free to do Other Website Stuff
After a rather trying month last month, I have finally got both of the Star Wars fan listings that I was working on out of the way. Yay. Though I love the subjects of my fanlistings, my enthusiasm for working on them has waned a lot recently, especially because of recent stresses. I think if I wasn't such a big fan of Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron, I think I would have just let them go. One of the problems I seem to have with fanlistings is that when I start working on them, even if I feel like working on them, I soon get tired, which is something I don't get when I'm working on my other websites. I do find them quite easy to run, especially since I don't get that many people joining them.
But what I am getting fed up of is when there is a problem which really isn't a problem which gets me, even when you get e-mails for problems which aren't even mentioned in the rules section on TFL.Org...I mean, I design sites which are for PCs, Laptops and Netbooks. I can't take into account designs for mobile phones, computer tablets like iPads or e-readers like Kindle, when I don't even have such devices and I don't control the contrast settings that you have on your device, etc, so use common sense if you find things difficult to see! I have come across designs which are far more distracting than the colour schemes I use, so it's not really a problem. I mean, I don't dictate to other people how they should design their site (even if I think it's damn awful) so please don't do the same to me and although it may seem arrogant, I am not really interested in opinions of my designs unless I ask for it.
I rambled on there a bit more than I should have done - because this WAS meant to be a positive post when I started out! Now that the FLs are out of the way, I can catch up on the Quilting Bee stuff and I will be taking a break from the fanlistings now, apart from when it comes to updating them when someone joins. I mean there are other sites that I run which really do need work on and which I have yet to finish, and which I have far more enthusiasm for....
Posted by Emimar on 14th March, 2013
A Welcome Find....
While looking for images for my Rogue Squadron FL, I came across an old site which I started back in 2008, though my initial idea for the site was a number of years earlier, which due to various reasons, never got off the ground. It is a fan site for Rogue and Wraith Squadron (mainly from the novels and comics by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston. It is a pleasent surprise that I still had the files and I've decided to go ahead with it. In 2008, the site was abandoned because of bravenet's storage cut for free sites when they did free sites and because of uni and other commitments, I never got back to it. So hopefully, this time round, I will be able to get it up and running! I am also going to use a section of the site as a collective for the Star Wars fanlistings that I own, espeaically since I now have Rogue Squadron, Wraith Squadron and Wedge Antilles, as well as Michael Stackpole himself and other SW related FLs. The site itself though was made using the old netscape composer software, so it is a bit primitive in comparison to more recent designs, but still looks OK.
Posted by Emimar on 13th March, 2013
Auoura Cross Stitch Pattern
Last month was kind of a difficult month for me due to health reasons (both my own, and my partner's) so I didn't get as much done on the website which I'd have liked. So I am a bit behind on things and still haven't finished the Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron fanlistings. I hope to do that as soon as I can and aim to get them done by this time next week.
I did come across a free cross stitch pattern software which I downloaded. I have wanted to create my own patterns for ages, but somehow this has never happened because I wanted a computer program to assist me in making them. They can be quite expensive and as I am not a professional designer in such things, I don't want to spend loads of money on something for a hobby. I decided to see how easy the software would be to use and chose a pixel doll (of my character Auoura) to make a pattern from, and here it is. The image file is big because I wanted to make image for it as clear as I could and anyone is welcome to stitch it and show me the results if they wish! (You could submit it to the gallery section of SWCC or DOTM if you wanted to. Of course, it goes without saying that I don't want people using it to make things to sell it on sites like etsy - I didn't design the base of it so I can't fully claim it as MY art and as it is based on Star Wars, even if it wasn't, I couldn't really make money of it either. If I make any fully original designs, then the etsy sale rule might change. I have found Star Wars cross stitch items for sale on there and I do have to question the legality of it - it should be treated as fan art and should remain that.
Posted by Emimar on 2nd March, 2013
Being Ill and Dolls (real ones, not pixel!)
This week has been so far, crap because I've been ill. I seem to have this problem with pain in my right side at the back just above my hip, so I've not really been able to keep up with things recently. Just a quick note for the folks who have requested a trade at the Quilting Bee - I have seen them and I am not ignoring them - I've just had a lot of things on my plate with my partner being ill this month, and then myself, and I'm also behind on the fanlistings I've been approved for which I need to finish. If you've not heard anything back from me by the end of this month, then please send them again in March. Thanks.
I don't really like dolls, of any kind really, in spite of the fact that I do dolls house miniatures. I like houses and buildings, I like miniature furniture and animals, and of course, miniature accessories, but I am not into dolls. I never have been. As a young child, I preferred playing with stuffed animals like dogs, foxes, tigers, lions, etc, than I did playing with dolls, though I dislike teddy bears as much as I dislike dolls. If I got things that were meant to be used with dolls, I used them with stuffed animals instead. The only kind of dolls I like (and I'm talking about miniatures here) are those resin figures so if I don't respond, it is because we don't have much interests in common, and I am not a fan of manga/anime style art either. I don't see the point in pretending to be interested in something, when I am not - nothing personal.
Posted by Emimar on 13th February, 2013
The Quilting Bee and FL News
I joined a new site last weekend, The Quilting Bee, which is a forum based community where people take part in monthly activities and exchange pixel patches to create a digital quilt. I have finished making the mini website for it and it can be found following this link. My first impressions of the site? Well, it seems to be a nice, friendly forum and reminds me a little bit of the old Jedi Girl forum which I used to be a part of (which sadly, is inactive now), but without the focus on sci-fi and fantasy. I am looking forward to taking part in the community over the next few weeks and months and I am glad to finally find (at least from my first impressions) an active forum which I feel at home in. I'll be making a link button to go on to the sites page.
On another note, I was approved finally, for the Wedge Antilles fanlisting and the Rogue Squadron one, two FLs which I have been wanting to run for ages. I have now basically got all the Star Wars FLs that I want to run (or at least, planned on running, anyway) which is good. Of course, it could be tempting to apply for more, but I want other people to be able to run them and would feel a bit greedy if I had more than I'm running now. I think once I've got these FLs running, I'll stop making new FLs because I think I've been lucky getting the ones I've got, unless unless there's an FL which I really want to run comes free. I know what they are!
Posted by Emimar on 31st January, 2013
New site and other news...
I've opened up a new site, one which I had the idea for ages ago, but never seemed to get around to doing anything about it until now. It is a website directory for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Supernatural websites of all types, as long as they are mainly fan generated in nature, or is the site of an author or artist. I wanted to set it up because when I was moving DWN to freewebs while at uni (a huge mistake, which I've been trying to fix ever since...) I found that when it came to affiliating SWCC and Darkside of the Moon that many of the fan sites which existed had either been shut down or not updated any more. I didn't get one e-mail back from any site that I tried to affiliate with. Although I don't mind having DWN or Kob Maru listed at a general listing site, that didn't seem to be right for the fan fic ones, so I came up with this idea. The Directory is called Beyond the Stars and it's main aim is to allow fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Supernatural to find each other.
The other bit of news I've got is the addition of a twitter widget to the sites. (As I plan on redesigning Darkside of the Moon soon, I've not added it there yet) because I thought it would be a quick and easy way to allow people to see what's going on at the domain, and the forum. It was a bit of a pain to get it to work on the main site, I can tell you, mainly because I had it on the .home instead of the .index page and it seemed to be causing problems. So I've spent this morning fixing the links to .index. I may not have got them all, so if you find that there's a 404 page or something popping up, please let me know on which page it was so that I can go in and fix it. The problem with a large site like this is that links can easily be missed.
I've also given the icons a good bashing this past week and there should now be about 250 of them on the main site. There is still more to come, though and I've left placeholders for ones in the future because it is easier to keep html table coding than to delete it and later make more of it so those pages might look a bit strange. As at the moment, my hosting account doesn't support php and all that jazz, it's just the easiest way of doing it for now. There may come a time when I upgrade it and can do that stuff, but it is something I've never used before, hence why I use forms in the FLs, etc.
I'm now going to get down to reading the rest of the Kelley Armstrong book - just the thing when it is snowy and icy outside!
Posted by Emimar on 20th January, 2013
There is still quite a bit to do on the new layout before the site is up to date (I sometimes wonder if it ever will be....). I have been working on the icon section of the site today and it may look quite strange over the next few days or couple of weeks while I sort it out. There is some snow and although it is not bad at the moment, if it gets any worse and the internet connection remains OK, I think that there will be more work done on the site. I mean, lets face it, there's not really much to go outside for when the weather is bad! So far, I've put up around 50 icons, but there's a lot more on the way....
Posted by Emimar on 15th January, 2013
A new layout for the new year! I started working on this layout a while back (in the summer) because I wanted a change then, but because of the hellish summer we had, I never got around to completing the change. I am hoping that 2013 will be much better and that I am able to get through all those long awaited updates that my sites need. I will be adding a few new pages to the site and some new sections, including a gallery for my miniatures and a section for my icon graphics. One of the problems I find is that I have great ideas for blogs, etc, but then never get around to keeping them updated or even finishing a site properly before moving on to the next project or in some cases, Darth Real Life gets in the way, like it did in 2012. So I am scaling back projects so that I can concentrate my time, if that makes sense.
I finally got around to deleting the old live journal site that I had because I got sick of spam. I wanted to keep it around, but you can't even seem to be able to report it anymore and I got fed up of everytime I went on there that it was to do something negative, like ban people, delete spam, see that another community or old friend on there had stopped using it. (and there is a community on there that is pushed a lot which I find annoying) - so I'm finally saying good bye to livejournal. It is a long time in coming but it is vastly changed from the place I knew when I first signed up to it.
I am hoping to concentrate more on DWN's forum, as well. It could do with a new lease of life and I've been neglecting it quite a lot. The trouble I have with it though is that I find a forum difficult to run on my own because by the time I have done the themes for it, created the boards, etc, I then find it is time to advertise and sort of run out of steam when it comes to attracting members (and it does get a bit old when all you do is find that you are talking to yourself!). It may come back, it may not. I suppose it depends on my energy levels. One of the reasons why I am scaling back on blogs is so that I can spend some more time on the forum, so we'll have to see how it goes.
Posted by Emimar on 31st December 2012