Monday, March 29, 2010

A New Look

You may have noticed that A Steampunk Reverie has gotten a makeover. I've often thought that it's very important to have not only a cohesive image to market, but also one that immediately represents what I write.  Though I liked the previous setup, it felt a little plain and ordinary, so I started searching for a new background that would fit into the theme I have going with my website, blog, business cards, etc. 

There really are some great backgrounds and designers out there, though some backgrounds were far more difficult to install than others.  The simplest setup was a small bit of code that was easily copied into an html window within the blog.  Some of the designs out there are amazing.  To find these sites, simply do a search  for BLOG BACKGROUND MINIMA and you should come up with some great sites.  MINIMA is the Blogger template that these backgrounds work with.  I'll admit I don't know if these would work with Wordpress, but code is code, so I'd think it might.  

Though there were some great backgrounds, none really had the feel I was looking for, but I soon realized that the code was more or less the same, with the only difference being a link to an image. That got me thinking that I could make my own background for my blog. It did take some finagling but I finally got it down.

In case anyone else is interested in creating their own unique background to their blog, I figured I'd include the steps here.  Now I will warn you that I know nothing when it comes to code, but I'm a pantster by nature, and not only when it comes to my writing. So I experimented, until things seemed to work.

First you want to alter the size of the image you're going to use to approx. 1600 x 850. Many images can be found on and can be used through Creative Commons, so that you're not overstepping into copyright issues.  Just make sure to check that the image is free to use.

Keep in mind that your text will be running down the middle so you may want to add a solid section in that area through a photo or paint program, like . That section should be around 7.5-8 inches wide. You then need to upload it to a website that allows you to store files that size. will allow it if you pay for the upgrade, however, is free. Once uploaded, just make sure you zoom in to the maximum size, right click, select properties and then copy the URL. From there, you want to copy it into this script with your URL fitting in between the " " as indicated below...

<style type="text/css">
body {background-image: url("YOUR URL GOES HERE"); background-position: center; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-attachment: fixed; }
<div id="tag" style="position:absolute; left:0px; top:30px; z-index:50; width:150px; height:45px;">
<a href="" target="_blank">

Once you have copied in your URL, you then copy the script into a HTML box in the layout section of your blog.  You will also need to make sure that your blog template is set to one of the MINIMA templates.

That should be it!!  I hope you'll find this helpful if you do indeed attempt to give your blog your own personal look.

P.S.  Here are a few of the sites that have some great premade backgrounds that are easy to install.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mythos and the Muse

Does anyone else cringe when they hear a story is about vampires?  I'll admit to doing just that, not because of the story itself (I'm sure they're fantastic), but because I don't understand why someone would choose to go down such a worn path when there are so many more interesting trails one can venture down.

I've heard it said that there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them, and I think this is true.  So why not embrace the old and make it new again?  I've often found myself paging through an encyclopedia of mythology as my imagination races through the posibilities.  There are so many mythological creatures to pick from, and so many amazing stories waiting to be retold in a new and fresh way that's relevant to our time.

Here are a few sites on mythology and mythological creatures to help you guide your muse down that path less traveled.
I hope you find these links useful!  Please let me know of any others.