darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Two of the people who read Restraint and cheered me on through the long serial posting period have created a wonderful soundtrack for it!

[livejournal.com profile] layne67 and [livejournal.com profile] ala_tariel have put together some lovely Baroque music and selections from the Casanova movie soundtrack (along with two Italian songs sung by Cecilia Bartoli), and a beautiful remix of [livejournal.com profile] owzers's Restraint illustrations for the album cover. They've tied the pieces to specific points in the story, complete with extracts from the text.

It's completely awesome. Check it out!

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] layne67 and [livejournal.com profile] ala_tariel. I'm honored that you enjoyed the story so much.
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki in Regency attire (Restraint Tristan)
[livejournal.com profile] mizzhap visited London recently and took photos of some of the key locations in Restraint.

I was delighted, and I thought others might be, too, so, with [livejournal.com profile] mizzhap's permission, I gleefully point you to Tour de Restraint, where you can see where Tristan and John lived, and where they hung out, and where they had their first date. :D
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Several people have mentioned wanting to download Restraint in its entirety using one of the handy ebook formats at the AO3. I would like to do this myself, actually. The last time I tried, however, I failed in all formats.

I entered a support request and the lovely support people at the Archive quickly responded that yes indeed, 220,000 words is a longer chunk of long than the export function could handle. As far as I know, the problem isn't resolved.*

SO: I'm going to make my own Mobi, ePub, and plain HTML versions**, probably over the weekend, and figure out how to make them available.

UPDATED TO ADD that I've successfully downloaded the ePub version directly to my Android phone. No luck with Mobi, but I'm not sure whether that's a phone configuration problem or a problem with the AO3-created file.


*If you've discovered otherwise, please let me know. I can't check from work.

**While I'm at it, is there another format I should be making?
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
It's gonna be a few days, I think, before I've got my skin back on after posting the last of Restraint. I feel pretty raw and fluttery at the moment. I tossed and turned last night after hitting the go-button on the AO3, not out of any particular fear or anticipation of the reactions the story would get, but because this huge thing that has occupied my creative territory for more than two years has pretty much decamped, and the place looks like Max Yasgur's farm on August 19th.

I overslept this morning--on purpose, really--and rode to work in the freezing wind, which actually felt good. I look like hell, too: puffy, red eyes. I cried a lot. I mean, seriously, if I were an actor? And needed to cry for some scene? I could just think about the last few paragraphs of Restraint and bingo. Insta-tears. I'm such a sap.

So what's next? Podfic, I think. I think I could just about face transforming someone else's creative work. I'm looking forward to digging back in to Blue Skies From Rain, and participating in [community profile] podfic_bingo.

Losing weight continues to be a surprisingly creative endeavor, too.

And also? Paint. I might just paint the whole inside of my house.

Later on, when my skin is back, I hope I'll get another story idea.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Title: Restraint Chapter 42/42 and Epilogue
Author: DarkEmeralds
Artwork post: The inestimable Owzers
Genre: J2 AU - Historical (Regency)
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction peopled with fictional characters. It was written within the gift culture of fandom, where no money changes hands. No infringement, invasion of privacy, or assertion about any real people is intended.
Warnings: Stock up on tissues.
A/N: It is finished. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, listened to the podfic, cheered me on, and stayed with John and Tristan through the long story of their love. It's been a wonderful journey.

Special thanks to Owzers, Vampirefan, Kispexi2, and Pandarus.

Summary: "We have kept our promises."

Posted on the AO3:
Restraint: the complete novel

Chapter 42: In Which The Cord of Fire Endures

Epilogue: The Daguerreotype

Crossposted on my LJ, my DW, and a couple of other J2 comms.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
[personal profile] kis and I agreed that the last little bits of Restraint need to bake for one more day. She made some wonderful comments, and I made all her recommended changes, but I haven't quite found the perfect rhythm for the last few paragraphs, and there's still a question of whether to include certain things--all of which we needed another day to mull over.

So please stay tuned. It's sooooo close.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
On October 27, 2008 at 4:39 p.m., during a brief and evil email conversation with [livejournal.com profile] owzers and [livejournal.com profile] vampirefan, I spitballed the following reply...

...which, not much changed, became the opening paragraphs of Restraint: )

I'll be posting Chapter 42, Chapter 43, and the Epilogue as soon as [personal profile] kis has had time to look them over, and I've had a chance to polish 'em up.

And then I think I'll have a glass of Laphroaig and toast the boys.

And then...
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki in Regency attire (Restraint Tristan)
Chapter 42 of Restraint is almost ready for beta. It took me weeks to find a hand-hold in what seemed like a sheer cliff face of storytelling, but I think I've found it, the segue to the already-written ending. I hope to have the remainder of the novel posted by Sunday night, depending on [personal profile] kis' availability to look it over with her usual eagle eye.

(If you're one of the people still following the story, I've got one word for you: Kleenex.)

I feel so strange contemplating the End of the Story. I don't know when another story will come. Restraint is one of the biggest things I've ever undertaken, and it's going to leave a huge hole in my life when it's done.

At the same time, I'm ready to move on. I'm pretty completely engaged in this weight-losing project, which I think will occupy most of 2011. There's not that much to it--eating less isn't very complicated--but I'm operating at such a different level than I have in any previous attempt, with information that's new to me, and tools that didn't exist even five years ago, that it's taking up a lot of mental real-estate at the moment.

Enjoyable things )
darkemeralds: (Cat)
Despite having had to work for a couple of hours yesterday, I've had a lovely weekend, with lots of checkmarks in my "Time With People" goal-box on Joe's Goals. It's practically a social whirl for me: I had a mojito with my buddy Darrell from work on Friday night, then dinner last night with the ever-gracious [livejournal.com profile] serenity_valley and [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin (conversation compelling, house delightful, food excellent, as always); then coffee with my mother this morning.

I've lost just under 20 lbs--that was a nice Sunday morning treat. It's weird how avid I am to weigh myself each day, after having spent 30 years avoiding knowing that number.

Bike errands today included buying a 2.5 quart Crock-Pot (influenced by the aforementioned excellent food chez [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin), in which a shoulder of pork is currently slow-cooking in a Chinese style char siu sauce--whisky, honey, star anise, fennel, Sichuan pepper, cassia bark, cloves, garlic...The house smells wonderful. I've never had a Crock-Pot before. I think I'll get good use out of it.

Just finished re-recording the first three chapters of [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44's Blue Skies From Rain because Audacity swallowed up some bits and I thought I could improve a lot on others. I've got chapters 1 through 10 done now, and I think I'm pleased with it. Only 19 more to go! :D

And speaking of chapters, I finally broke through the Chapter 42 barrier of Restraint. It's not done yet but it's well underway, and everything after it--the Epilogue and the Afterword--is pretty much complete. I plan to post all three pieces at once, the grand finale of a project that has occupied me for well over two years. It will be both wonderful and sad to be done with it.

And, in conclusion, chart!

Tracker detail
(Detail from my tracking spreadsheet. It all means something--mostly "Yay!"--but I like the look of it as a design.)
darkemeralds: Heart-shaped raindrop on the lens, captioned with "Raining in my heart" (Rain)
Boy am I glad I have a sound roof over my head today. It's pouring and hasn't stopped for close to twelve hours. From what family members tell me, the local TV news people are having a field day with terms like "biblical proportions". I can attest that water pouring off my roof is making a steady pounding noise in the downspout nearest the corner where I record, and preventing me from making any podfic today.

I managed to tap away my enormous food cravings last night after a week of significant work stress (augmented, frankly, by the endless rain), and opted for a long magnesium-rich bath in the BToR instead. Watched Misfits while in there. (Kelly rules, especially now that I'm beginning to understand what she says, and I'm so glad I wasn't a complete perv when I thought that Simon was kind of hot even in his creepy oddness because, yowza.)

Cut for exponential smoothing and other Quantified Self geekery )

In other news, [personal profile] kis just this minute emailed me with a brilliant (I mean, brilliant) suggestion for cracking the impenetrable wall that Restraint Chapter 42 has been presenting to me for more than a week now. I'm so excited that I could almost start writing.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Title: Restraint Chapter 41/42
Author: DarkEmeralds
Artwork post: The inestimable Owzers
Genre: J2 AU - Historical (Regency)
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction peopled with fictional characters. It was written within the gift culture of fandom, where no money changes hands. No infringement, invasion of privacy, or assertion about any real people is intended.
Warnings: Chapter 1 contains references to offstage teacher-pupil sexual abuse and adult-minor sexual contact.
A/N: The journey is nearly over now. *sob* Without the amazing [profile] kispexi2, whose beta skills are surpassed only by her patience with me, this story would not exist.

Summary: The following morning, John wrote a letter to Mr Jennings to request an interview, during which, he begged leave to hope, Mr Jennings might give him permission to address a proposal of marriage to his eldest daughter.

Posted on the AO3:
Restraint: the whole novel so far
Chapter 41: In Which The Map of Life's Journey is Drawn

Crossposted on my LJ, my DW, and a couple of other J2 comms.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I had a real sandwich today for the first time since I went gluten-free back in February. There is such a thing as GF bread but it's not very good, on the whole. The best of the commercially made stuff does not hold up to the real picking-up-and-biting required of a good sandwich.

But I think I may have had a breakthrough. I baked up a loaf of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix today, and it came out fantastic: a high, full-sized loaf, springy and moist and chewy, that slices beautifully and makes a sturdy, delicious sandwich. I am a happy clam.

See? )

I just sent Restraint Chapter 41 off to [personal profile] kis for her usual brilliant beta, and when she can lift her nose from the end-of-NaNoWriMo grindstone, she will surely have some great things to say that will allow me to get it ready for posting very soon. (After that, there really is only one full, long chapter left, then the Ending and the Epilogue. Seriously, I'm frightened of the impending emptiness.)

My Podbang entry is due in just a few days, and I'm happy to say that I finished all the recording several days ago and have been making good progress on the editing. I'm...fairly pleased with it, I think.

I'm also working on another super-long recording, [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44's Blue Skies From Rain, one of my favorite Sam/Dean stories ever. I've made some significant improvements to my recording setup and techniques, and I expect to actually finish this and go on to make more podfic.

Oh, and I exceeded my calorie limit on Thanksgiving by a negligible, margin-of-error 21 calories. I was quite pleased with that, because it wasn't difficult or white-knuckle-y, and I ate ALL the food, including making a mashed potato Crater Lake featuring butter AND gravy. I just measured everything and wrote it down, and kind of skipped the other two meals of the day.

And, apropos of nothing in partic, CAT! )
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Title: Restraint Chapter 40/42
Author: DarkEmeralds
Artwork post: The inestimable Owzers
Genre: J2 AU - Historical (Regency)
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction peopled with fictional characters. It was written within the gift culture of fandom, where no money changes hands. No infringement, invasion of privacy, or assertion about any real people is intended.
Warnings: Suggestion of potential non-con, minor character. Chapter 1 contains references to offstage teacher-pupil sexual abuse and adult-minor sexual contact.
A/N: This chapter has been slow to develop. Thank you to everyone who is sticking with the story! Without the amazing [profile] kispexi2, whose beta skills are surpassed only by her patience with me, this story would not exist.

Summary: “Oh, Mr Acklebury, I knew you would understand!" Mrs Danforth cried. "We shall tease and provoke society once again! When shall we begin? Right away, I hope."

Posted on the AO3:
Restraint: the whole novel so far
Chapter 40: In Which Mr Acklebury Secures His Place

Crossposted on my LJ, my DW, and a couple of other J2 comms.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Almost done with Chapter 40, and it has taken a slight detour that I didn't really foresee.

Well, okay, I glimpsed it and tried to pretend I didn't, but it insisted. It's not a bad thing--far from it. It won't make anybody cry or wish they'd never read the novel (at least, I don't think it will), but it does take John and his painting career in a direction I wasn't planning to examine.

I'm having a blast with it, too.

Oh, story. You are bigger and smarter than I am, so I just basically go where you tell me to. Hee! You are my artistic GPS.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Sigh.

I have been longing to work on Restraint, and have only been able to snatch an hour here or there.

Chapter 40 is finally taking shape, and it's going in quite an unexpected direction. The relationship between John and Tristan has changed, and is demanding some closer examination, so despite my plan of galloping through several years in chapters 40 and 41, and winding the story up, it's insisting on its own pace.

I'm getting a lot of satisfaction from the unexpected details of John's return to London alone while Tristan's duty keeps him in France. We get to know Uncle Martin and his companion Mr Braithwaite a little better, and it seems that John's new servant, Billy Collins, wants to spend some time on stage too.

So for the lovely people who are still with me in this story: progress has come slowly this chapter, but there's progress at last.

I've got a four-day weekend coming up, and nothing planned except to write Chapter 40, and delve into John and Tristan's maturing relationship. I hope to post before too many more days have passed.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Title: Restraint Chapter 39/42
Author: DarkEmeralds
Artwork post: The inestimable Owzers
Genre: J2 AU - Historical (Regency)
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction peopled with fictional characters. It was written within the gift culture of fandom, where no money changes hands. No infringement, invasion of privacy, or assertion about any real people is intended.
Warnings: Suggestion of potential non-con, minor character. Chapter 1 contains references to offstage teacher-pupil sexual abuse and adult-minor sexual contact.
A/N: Without the amazing [profile] kispexi2, whose beta skills are surpassed only by her patience with me, this story would not exist.

Summary: “It is from Lord Castlereagh,” Tristan said, breaking the seal. "It seems that I am looked for at Versailles.”

Posted on the AO3:
Restraint: the whole novel so far
Chapter 39: In Which Lord Penrith is Called to Versailles

Crossposted on my LJ, my DW, and a couple of other J2 comms.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
The barometer is, evidently, skyrocketing and the shower scene music from Psycho is a fairly apt representation of the way my inner ears feel right now.

And speaking of the shower scene music from Psycho, is anyone else loving Scott Caan in Hawaii 5-0? He's just such a banty rooster. I like the show way better than I thought I would, mostly because of him. Which is strange because little stocky blond cock-of-the-walk attitude guys usually aren't at all to my taste.

And speaking of taste, I made a gluten-free lime pound cake yesterday, mostly while listening (again) to [personal profile] pandarus' fabulous The Student Prince. (Really, some of the most stand-up-and-cheer fiction I've ever read, fan- or otherwise! Highly, highly recommended.) The cake came out yum, and now the limey deliciousness reminds me of the terrific payoff scene where Arthur grants the interview, which I was listening to while applying lime glaze.

And speaking of payoffs: I just watched episode 12 of Rubicon. Wow. Just, wow. That show! I've never encountered that kind of slow-building, totally controlled long-arc story on television before, and holy crap, did it ever pay off in this latest ep! It was a brilliant, dark climax to the arc, and will be the starting point for a scary and exciting new arc. Amazing writing and acting.

And speaking of writing, Restraint chapter 39 is almost done at last.
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
I just recorded the first section of my Podbang entry. Can't say too much about it, since it's secret and stuff, but here are some things I've worked to improve on from last time. I've already said a lot of this to [personal profile] pandarus, from whom I learned it, so thank you Fayjay!

Notes to Self:
  • A simpler recording set up means a vastly greater likelihood that you will actually do some recording
  • Slow the heck down
  • Slow down some more
  • Now take your time...
  • ...and relax! Breathe!
  • Use more of your vocal range
  • No, you're not an actor, but what the hey, act a little--go on, you know you want to
  • A nuanced reading is more important than a perfect recording--way more important
  • Practice first

There are probably some more things, too, but it's really cool what a vast difference slowing down makes. There's more room to glance ahead and micro-plan the next line, more room to breathe and relax. I made far fewer mistakes than ever before, just by that one trick, and the mistakes I do make are MUCH easier to edit out because there will tend to be some space around them.

So, the plan for now is to record half an hour per evening, then practice-read the next half hour.

Then work on the next chapter of Restraint. It's just fic all the way down around here!
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
Title: Restraint Chapter 38/42
Author: DarkEmeralds
Artwork post: The inestimable Owzers
Genre: J2 AU - Historical (Regency)
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction peopled with fictional characters. It was written within the gift culture of fandom, where no money changes hands. No infringement, invasion of privacy, or assertion about any real people is intended.
Warnings: None for this chapter. Chapter 1 contains references to offstage teacher-pupil sexual abuse and adult-minor sexual contact.
A/N: Part IV is winding down as the saga surpasses 200,000 words and the relationship matures. Without the amazing [profile] kispexi2, whose beta skills are surpassed only by her patience with me, this story would not exist.

Summary: Tristan watched John come back into himself day by day, noting an increasing warmth in John's eyes, and a growing willingness in his gestures. When, a week or so after their arrival at Les Poiriers, John climbed into Tristan's bed and said, "Do not go back to sleep," Tristan knew that he was well and truly on the mend.

Posted on the AO3:
Restraint: the whole novel so far
Chapter 38: In Which The Pears of Languedoc Ripen

Crossposted on my LJ, my DW, and a couple of other J2 comms.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
For those keeping track, Restraint is almost done. I sent chapter 38 to my wonderful beta a few days ago.

My beta, who is at this moment somewhere over the Atlantic on her way home to Scotland from visiting me (and, okay, Yellowstone and a great deal of the American West in between) will probably not have enough brain cells active to look at it for a few days, but I've learned the hard way not to post without her input. So hang in there: it's coming!

Meanwhile, I'm about halfway done with chapter 39. It has mineral hot springs in it, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

The final chapter--probably 42--and the epilogue are already written, and I've got several scenes completed for the two bridging chapters, so we're almost there.

The seed of Restraint was planted in October 2008, so it will be a massive two year old tree of 200,000+ words when it's done.

I honestly don't know who I'll be without this story.

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