I would have been lost long ago without the aid, guidance, and endless support of certain individuals. I cannot begin to express the depth of my gratitude to these people for their years of unwavering enthusiasm and encouragement, but I hope that by mentioning them here, they'll begin to understand how much I appreciate what they've done for me.
I would be lost without my husband Bobby, who decided some years ago to take on the perilous task of marrying a writer, webmaster, and unapologetic geek. He puts up with a lot from me. He hears a lot of, "What was that again?" when muses or CSS stylesheets are competing with him for brainspace. He has listened to hours of ranting and rambling about Tolkien and literary style and anything else that catches my fancy that day. And his smile never fades; his encouragement never wanes. Besides inspiring me, his support has created a safe space in my life where creativity might flourish, and I count myself very lucky for that.
When I entered fandom and re-entered the writing world a few years ago, I was clueless about the Internet. The only HTML I knew came by chance in my alphabet soup. Certain people have been instrumental in helping me to learn my way around enough to turn myself into a passable web designer. My sister Sharon taught me my first HTML tags and has endured more than one scream of "HELP!" from my direction in the years since. Whenever I have a question, I ask Sharon first. My friend Potter loaned me the books that got me started on my study of web design. By "loaned," I mean that he provided books some years ago that I still have not returned. In my defense, I have offered. In consolation, I assure him that they get used all of the time. Two friends I met through the online Tolkien community have also helped me on way. Rhapsody is one of my co-moderators at the Silmarillion Writers' Guild and, in Spring 2008, took over webmaster responsibilities there as well. Through her, I have learned a lot about the finer points of managing a website. Elleth is a goddess where digital artwork is concerned, and she has offered her talents and supports to my ailing Photoshop skills. While all of the graphics on this site are my own creations, I would not have known where to begin without Elleth's patient explanations over Gmail chat and thoughtful critiques of my work. Finally, my friend Tristan Alexander drew and kindly allowed me to use the beautiful portrait on the About page. Yes, it does look remarkably like me, although my ears are not that pointy in real life.
And I would not be here at all if not for the generosity and kindness of so many in the Tolkien fan community. I started this journey half-terrified and convinced that I was the worst writer in the world. The only problem was that the damned words just wouldn't stop! So many people have since encouraged, supported, and challenged me to where I no longer feel that way and, in my renewed confidence, have finally found my voice. Enismirdal gave me my first comment and such an amazing show of encouragement that I was heartened to keep trying, and I will never forget this first kindness to someone who was, then, an utter stranger to her. JunoMagic, Arandil, Uli/ford_of_bruinen, and Jenni/Digdigil were enormously supportive of my first fumbling steps as I returned to writing and, even as we have taken different roads since, I treasure each of their friendships. In the time since, many others have supported me as an author, both through encouragement and criticism, and I would be not only less of a writer without them but diminished in friendship. You all know who you are; I cannot believe, at times, that I have been given the gift of your support and friendship, and I thank you for it.
The following websites have been essential in helping me to shape my various web projects, culminating with this one. I encourage those of you looking to start or learn more about web design to check them out.
So you want to create WordPress themes huh? This step-by-step tutorial starts you with a blank Wordpad document and a bunch of files you don't know what to do with and ends you with a fully functioning Word Press weble. If you want a weble of your own, here is a great place to start. (Thanks to Sharon for recommending it!)
PHP Include File. The PHP include is, in my humble opinion, the number-one best little line of code to learn to make managing your website that much easier. (Once again, thanks to Sharon for pointing me to this!) It allows you to make changes in one place and have them reflect across the site. This W3 Schools article got me started and was my go-to reference for many months while first using this little gem of code.
Web Monkey. Sometimes, you just don't want to get up to get the book to find that piece of code you've forgotten. Web Monkey starts at the basics and provides references through to advanced techniques for setting up a website.
HTML Goodies. Another site that has kept my lazy bum in my chair rather than rummaging for the book where I know I saw something! From just getting started through to programming and database languages, HTML Goodies is a nice catch-all reference.
Web Designer Forum. This is where I go when I want to be humbled and reminded of how little I know. This is a great resource for discussing, asking questions about, and getting help on all aspects of designing a website.
Advanced Email Link Generator with Anti-Spam Encoder. Don't be scared by the title. This handy little tool lets you encode the email addresses on your site to reduce the amount of spam you get from being crawled by spiders. Again, credit goes to Sharon for finding this one.
Free plugins for Photoshop & Illustrator ... and other software. Here I acquired the plugin necessary to allow me to create favicons in Photoshop. (What's a favicon? See the little colorful star next to the web address in your browser bar? Thank the designers of this open-source code for that!)
1001 Free Fonts. This is a dangerous site if you value your time. I think that there are actually well over 1001 free fonts on this site, and they all beg to be downloaded, and they all whisper, "You know, it'd be cool if you made a site with this theme and used me ..." I could spend hours here, looking at fonts and downloading anything that even looks like I might remotely consider using it in the next hundred years. But, seriously, most of the decorative fonts on my websites come from 1001 Free Fonts.