swan_tower: (Default)

I’ve been seeing concerns about the future of LiveJournal now that its servers are apparently in Russia (and therefore subject to Russian, rather than U.S., law concerning privacy etc). I don’t intend to pre-emptively abandon the LJ iteration of this blog, which is where it began and where the majority of the comments are, but in case I either change my mind or LJ itself goes poof without warning, you may want to bookmark one of these links:

WordPress (now the source for all mirrored versions, and integrated with the rest of my website; can be followed via WP or Feedly/some other RSS reader)

DreamWidth (mirrored from WP)

Goodreads (I can’t remember whether this feeds from LJ or from WP; I may need to change settings around)

If you read this blog on LJ and that stops being an option, you will still be able to find me at one of those sites — and I hope you will! I think the only risk I really face on the LJ front, aside from possible incompetence that causes too many unresolved bugs, is that mine is a paid account and therefore there’s a credit card number involved. So I’ll stick it out until the bitter end, most likely.

Edited to add this from mme_hardy on DW:

Your readers should know about another catch:

LJ no longer allows access to its https site when browsing/posting, which means that any information you send to that site is readable by every other site that cares to eavesdrop. This means that anything you post under friendslock is still being read by any site that chooses to spy on Livejournal communications; you can safely assume that at least one Russian-government entity is.

I just double-checked, and the payment page *is* protected by https, so that at least should be secure.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

At long last, I’ve finished going through my photos from our European trip last year. There are new galleries up: Adriatic Coast, Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, Montserrat, Florence, and Venice, plus my pictures from Rome separated out, and additions to the Italy and Other galleries.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Ladies! Gentlemen! Polite and helpful people of all types!

I need your assistance. Specifically, I need you to hunt bugs and errors on my shiny new website. I will bait you into doing this by offering your pick from my collection of author copies, and I’ll run it sort of like a raffle: for every bug or error you notify me of, you get one “ticket” to win a book. Send in seventeen corrections, get seventeen chances to win. If at least ten different people submit corrections, I’ll pick two winners; if at least twenty people, three winners; and so on. (It doesn’t matter whether you report an error somebody else already sent in; if it was there when you looked at the site, that’s good enough for me. Otherwise I have to do a lot of really annoying bookkeeping.)

Here’s the kinds of corrections I’m looking for:

1) Text errors. Misspellings, grammatical errors, wrong punctuation, etc. I proofread carefully, but there are a lot of pages on my site; odds are quite good that I’ve screwed up here and there.

2) Broken links. I scrubbed out a lot of dead links when I ported stuff over, but I probably missed some. Also, we’ve set up redirects for the old URLs, so when you click on a website-internal link in the middle of text, it should go to the correct new location — but if it doesn’t, I need to know about it.

3) Bad code. This could be anything from images displaying in the wrong place (like over text) to me forgetting to close a tag to munged escape character sequences. If the site displays badly on any particular platform, also let me know that, and I’ll pass it along to my site designer.

You can send these to me by email, via my contact form or in the comments. Please include a link to the page in question, and enough context for me to know where the error is — don’t just say “missing comma” or “broken link,” let me know where in the page that is. It will also help me if you separate the errors in your reply, just so I give you enough raffle tickets!

You have until the end of the month to send in your feedback; I’ll pick winners once I’m home again in early June. Thank you all in advance for your help!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

If you’ve visited my website in the last twenty-four hours, you may have noticed . . . a few changes.

screenshot of the Swan Tower front page

For the last month or so I’ve been deeply in the throes of a major, major redesign. As in, the entire thing now runs on WordPress — because I finally got convinced that it’s way more powerful and effective than I thought, provided you get somebody to tailor it to your needs (rather than just running with an off-the-shelf install). This beauty is the work of Jeremiah Tolbert of Clockpunk Studios, who has done a number of author sites; I recommend him wholeheartedly. It’s thanks to him that I not only have the usual stuff of blogs and pages and so forth, but a lovely setup that allows me to easily manage all kinds of material for books — buy buttons for different formats, auto-generated links to the rest of the series, cover galleries, “DVD extra”-type pages, and so forth. And photos! A whole gallery setup for photos!

Seriously, this thing is amazing. You guys get to see the pretty front end; me, I’m over here marveling at the dashboard, at how much easier maintenance is going to be in this iteration. So please, go admire it. Say nice things about Jeremiah’s work. There’s a lot to explore. 🙂

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Actual number of html pages on my site: 351.

Assuming I didn’t miss any.

The good news is, I intend to remove some of the cruft, and doing that will reduce the number to 267. That’s more than 20% less! . . . but it’s still a lot. Doing the transfer is going to take bloody forever. I am sorely tempted to pay somebody to do it for me (this is a service my site designer offers), except that I know this is also my big chance to tidy everything up: change the organization, fix broken code, add information I left out before, remove stuff that’s out of date. So I plan on doing it myself, though I reserve the right to change my mind partway through.

I can do ten pages a day, right? At which point this will only take me . . . a month.

Yeah.

So yes, there is a new site on the way. Just don’t expect to see it any time soon.

(And for the record, the closest guesser was weareadevilcow on Twitter, with 341.)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

I’m preparing to do a major overhaul of my site, and part of that process includes taking an inventory of the current site.

Which is rather large.

So let’s play a game! You guess how many pages there are on the site — individual .html files, not counting images and offsite links. Whoever comes closest to the real number will get a prize: their pick of my current inventory of author copies. (In the event of a tie, I’ll flip a coin or roll a die or whatever.)

Get yer guesses in!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

The recent brouhahah over Stephen Fry saying asinine things about trigger warnings has given me an idea.

I’m going to add something to my website. I don’t know yet how I’ll arrange it in terms of code and presentation, but I’m going to provide content warnings for my fiction. Because I’ve had parents email me asking whether my book would be suitable for their kid (my inevitable answer: depends on the kid, and I don’t know yours, but the book contains XYZ), and readers asking whether my book contains a particular type of thing because they just don’t feel able to deal with that right now. So why not make that information publicly available? Yes, spoilers — but nobody will force you to read the content warnings. They’re there for the people who want them, and everybody else can go their merry way, exactly as they’re doing right now.

It will take me a while to write all this up (because I want to include my short fiction, not just my novels), and like I said, I need to figure out where I’ll put it on my site and how to code it (if you’re there to check the warnings for Work A, you won’t necessarily see all the warnings for Works B-Z). But apart from the labor involved, I see no reason not to provide this information. Also, I figure it would be good to ask: what kinds of things do you think it would help to see warnings for? I’m thinking major common ones, rather than trying to pin down every little thing — triggers can be very idiosyncratic. I’m also thinking of the kinds of things parents worry about, which aren’t so much triggering as inappropriate for kids at certain ages. So far I have:

  • Violence
    • Non-graphic violence
    • Graphic violence
    • Sexual violence
    • Murder
    • Major character death
  • Profanity
    • Mild profanity (i.e. “damn,” “hell,” etc)
    • Strong profanity (i.e. “fuck”)
  • Mild sexual content (i.e. reference to sex, but no direct depiction)
  • Drug use (not including tobacco, but including alcoholism)
  • Mental illness (PTSD, depression, etc)
  • Psychological abuse
  • Harm to children
  • Harm to animals

I’m not including things that haven’t actually shown up in my fiction, e.g. graphic sexual content [edit: also domestic abuse, torture, parental death], and obviously people’s boundaries for things like “non-graphic violence” vs. “graphic violence” differ. But if you can think of anything major I’ve left out, do let me know. (I’m also probably going to include special notes where necessary, e.g. “In Ashes Lie covers a period of plague in London, and gets quite grim and detailed about that event.” Because I don’t generally think I need to warn for illness, but I feel that’s one of the most horrific things I’ve ever written, and people might want to know it’s coming.)

Basically, I can go on providing this on a one-at-a-time basis — which requires people to do things like ask me “is there sexual violence in this book?,” thus possibly disclosing their own history in a way they would rather not do — or I can just put the info out there. I think the latter is the better way to go.

EDIT: good lord, self, have you written anything that doesn’t have non-graphic violence? (Answer: yes. But not at any length above novelette.)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Just a heads-up to say that I am aware of the difficulties with the WP installation of this journal, and am working on fixing them. If you want to comment on or link to any of my posts, then for the time being the Livejournal mirror is the way to go.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)
(One thing that isn't going well: my WP installation. I don't know if I'll be able to get it back up before this evening, but for now it's kaput, which means among other things that today's picture post is broken. If you click on the missing image or the link, though, you should be able to see the full-size version on Flickr. In the meanwhile, this is only posting to DW and LJ.)

I'm not sure I have adequate words to express how pleased I am at the progress Chains and Memory has made in its first day. We're coming up on exactly 24 hours since I launched the project, and in that time, it has achieved over 75% of its funding. I think the technical term for that is freaking awesome, yo. Chickens, unhatched, yadda yadda, and we're not actually there yet -- but I think we can agree that's it a rather good start, can't we? </understatement>

It's a good thing that I'm going to Wiscon this year. Tomorrow I will be on planes for many hours, and then I will be surrounded by friends and colleagues and new people to meet, and all together that means I will not be able to haunt my email like a cat at a mousehole for the next few days. (I said on Twitter that I take 2d6 points of SAN loss from Kickstarter emailing me every time somebody backs the project. But hey, if you're going to lose sanity, this is a good way to do it!) If you're going to be at Wiscon yourself, a) do come by and say hello!, and b) my plan is to read from Lies and Prophecy at 2:30 on Saturday.

I promise not to check my email under the table while the rest of my friends read. :-P
swan_tower: (Default)
Today's picture didn't post because my Wordpress site is down. I'm in the process of trying to fix it.
swan_tower: (Puss in Boots)
I need some technical assistance from a person familiar with Wordpress (specifically, WP themes and how they work), and also CSS. Anybody willing and able to volunteer? Comment here or e-mail me at marie{dot}brennan[at]gmail{dot}com.
swan_tower: (wikicliki)
I've had friends in town for the past several days, and sightseeing with them almost made me forget what today was. Thankfully, several posts on my friends-list reminded me: it's International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

I've been celebrating this holiday since it started in 2007. (You can see the relevant posts, including some history, under the tag.) A little earlier this year, a reader informed me that the changes over at Abyss & Apex meant my story "Letter Found in a Chest Belonging to the Marquis de Montseraille Following the Death of That Worthy Individual" was no longer available for free in the archive; I have therefore chosen that as this year's contribution. And if you want more, you can always browse the free fiction on my site!

And now, I go collapse. Who knew sightseeing was so tiring?

Also!

Aug. 10th, 2011 08:44 am
swan_tower: (With Fate Conspire)
Almost forgot this. (Technically it's now the 11th where I am, but I'm pretty sure it's still the 10th for most of you, so it isn't exactly late.)

The last excerpt from With Fate Conspire is up; one last scene apiece for our protagonists. You can read those, or start at the beginning and read the whole thing.

(But be warned: the excerpt skips over some intervening bits, so as to focus on Eliza and Dead Rick; when you pick up the book, don't overlook those!)

Twenty days and counting . . . .
swan_tower: (web)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] deathpixie at Signal Boost: Return of the DDoS
For those wanting to know more about the recent DDoS attacks, yes, it looks like it was the Russian government trying to shut down the dissidents again.

As I said last time, while it's frustrating not to have access, LJ is a lot more than a social network platform. From the article:

"LiveJournal isn’t just a social network. It’s also a platform for organizing civic action. Dozens of network projects and groups mobilize people to solve specific problems — from defending the rights of political prisoners to saving endangered historic architecture in Moscow."

So while I know many are considering the move over to Dreamwidth and other such sites, supporting LJ is a way we can help support those who use it for more than a writing/roleplaying/social venue.


Also, as a FYI, LJ is giving paid users effected by the outage two weeks of paid time as compensation.




(I don't know if my addendum is going to get carried over with that "Boost the Signal" button -- which, btw, is a beautiful little device -- but yeah. While I am likely to be fiddling around with my blog setup in the near future, I am not abandoning LJ, and one of my reasons is what's described above. This isn't a situation of "LJ sucks," it's "LJ is used heavily used in Russia for political activism, and those who don't like it keep attacking their platform." Perversely, therefore, every time they attack it, I get more determined to stay. I will likely set up something on my own domain, because I really ought to have my own blog directly under my own control, but right now, I have no intention of leaving LJ.)
swan_tower: (With Fate Conspire)
Following on the heels of yesterday's review: more excerpt! An additional scene apiece from Eliza and Dead Rick; you can pick up there, or go back and start at the beginning.

There will be one more set of scenes posted here before the book hits the shelves, plus a couple of other tidbits. Enjoy!

Sixty days!

Jul. 1st, 2011 04:05 pm
swan_tower: (With Fate Conspire)
I will send everyone off into the weekend, and the month of July, with a nice big chunk of With Fate Conspire, in which we meet Eliza and Dead Rick both.

New material begins here, or you can start back at the prologue if you prefer. Be sure to keep clicking through; I've posted several scenes!

Now also seems a suitable time to mention that Marissa Lingen has beaten Harriet Klausner to the punch, posting the first review of With Fate Conspire. No spoilers, so you can read it without fear!

Results of the icon contest for A Natural History of Dragons will go in a separate post, because you'll be getting a little treat there, too . . . .
swan_tower: (web)
At this point, Swan Tower should be navigable again. This is not the same thing as pretty; there are various bits of formatting that need to be adjusted for the new layout, plus bad decisions of mine that were invisible in the old look but become glaringly, appallingly obvious (not to mention ugly) now that the background color has changed. It will take me some time to deal with those. But at least you can get at stuff again.
swan_tower: (web)
I could use a spot of help from somebody who knows their way around Perl. The task at hand is to write a reliable script that can do a multi-line replacement across multiple files in multiple subdirectories -- to take X (longish) chunk of text and swap Y chunk into its place.

If you've got the skills to do that, and the free time to do it in the next day or so, please drop me an email at marie -dot- brennan -at- gmail -dot- com.
swan_tower: (web)
Since this blog is hosted separately from my website, the number of people this will directly affect is probably small, but:

Swan Tower (the website, not the journal) is about to get a major face-lift. As in, probably today. Please disregard the dust, hammering noises, and falling support beams that may occur during the process. I'll post again here when it's safe to venture back inside.
swan_tower: (A Star Shall Fall)
Twenty days and counting; the last piece of the excerpt has gone up. (Beginning is here.)

Over on the [livejournal.com profile] sirenscon LJ, the discussion of Midnight and Ashes continues with a new question, regarding time and point of view in the novels. The first question, about the connection between the mortal and faerie worlds, is still open; you don't need to be a con attendee or even an LJ user to jump in.

And speaking of things you don't have to be a con attendee to do, there are four days left to submit a recipe for the drink contest. There's been some by e-mail already, and I'm looking forward to trying these things out!

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