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On 44th Street, between 7th and 8th, Harry Potter: The Exhibition is now open at Discovery Center. On 45th Street between 8th and 9th, Daniel Radcliffe is starring in How to Succeed In Business. On 46th and Broadway, the massive set of screens features an ad and clips from Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 plays every seven to ten minutes.

I got to experience it all this past weekend, thanks to Warner Brothers, the Harry Potter Exhibition and the team behind How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

The activities started on Sunday afternoon with a visit to the Apple Store on Prince Street, where producers David Heyman and David Barron were joined by Warwick Davis, Robbie Coltrane, Helen McCrory, David Thewlis, Natalia Tena, Oliver and James Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch and Freddie Stroma; the entire recording will be up in the iTunes Store later this week. You can also catch up on some of the quotes here, and please feel free to discuss the actors thoughts on their characters in FictionAlley Park.

Click here to read more, and see our photos from the grand opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition.

New Rule on FictionAlley

We're only allowing crossover fics - no plain vanilla Harry Potter fics - through the rest of 2011!

(Click reload to see more! There's a few new ones this year - see if you catch them!)

We're Back! (Mostly.)

The forums and review boards have been restored. Visit us in the Park at http://forums.fictionalley.org

The fic management page isn't working yet. Once this error is resolved, we expect to be able to begin processing new content. Also, when we went down, we lost a small amount of Park posts, and a few dozen new pieces of art in ArtisticAlley. We are going to try and recover them, but we're at least a week - possibly three - away from that happening. If you have art that you uploaded before the crash that you can't find on AA now, you can re-upload it.

In better news, over the next month, we're going to have some new projects, contests, challenges, group re-reads and more, in the lead-up to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part Two. Stay tuned as we start to launch those this weekend...

We've set up a thread in Suggestions & Questions for bug reports. You can also email the help desk at help [at] fictionalley.org (without the spaces and with an @ instead of the word "[at]").

Thank you so much for your patience and support through this frustrating and transitional time. We could not have done it without all of you - authors, readers, artists, Parkies, donors and anonymous visitors. We're looking forward to a wonderful 2011 on FictionAlley with you!
But we're having a DNS issue stemming from moving to new servers. We hope to get everything solved by tomorrow, but as it's a national holiday in the US, we may not be able to.

We've been moving to new servers over the last few weeks, and this one issue is the spanner in the Floo Network right now. We're looking forward to coming back strong, busy and magical as soon as possible.

Over $1000 has been donated to FictionAlley via Razoo in December, so Razoo has pledged $1000 in matching funds! In other words, our expected server fees for 2011 are now fully funded! Thanks to all of you who helped by donating and spreading the word.

The fundraiser is technically still going on through the end of the month, and any additional donations will be used to fund large-scale fan-driven works of fannish creativity. In 2011, we'll be launching a new fundraiser focused on writing tools, workshops and other educational projects; look for more information once we've moved to our new servers in the new year.

Thanks to all of you who've supported FictionAlley; it won't be long before we're back at 100% capacity.

We apologize for the downtime

We've been working with our site host to get the park up but there may be a hardware issue. Luckily, we have a backup from last week, but it may take another week or two to get everything at the Forums working again.

It looks like we may be switching servers in the near future. Any help you can give with our server fundraiser would be greatly appreciated - visit http://www.fictionalley.org for links and more info.


New Year, New Server December Fundraiser

Back in September, we rolled out a fundraiser to fund FictionAlley's $200-per-month server hosting fees, and we are thrilled that so many of you stepped up to help out. We raised almost nine hundred dollars, which has kept FictionAlley online throughout 2010, and we can't tell you how much we appreciate it!

As of December 10, we've also brought in almost two hundred dollars from the Google ads, purchases you made at Amazon and the 800+ stores affiliated with iGive via our links, and orders from WBShop.com and HotTopic.

So for the month of December, we're trying to raise enough money to cover the $2400 we expect to pay for site hosting fees for 2011, so we can stay ahead of the curve.

From now until December 31, fundraising site Razoo will match every dollar we raise, up to $1000* - since  FA's servers cost almost $200 per month, if we raise $1000 via Razoo by the end of the year, thanks to their matching funds, we'll have ALL of 2011 covered!  Please help us by funding a day, a week or a month for FictionAlley's fics, forums, art and more!  And don't forget... if you are a U.S. taxpayer, your donation of any amount is tax-deductible.

Plus, we recently found a stash of vintage "Creativity Is Magic" wristbands in the cupboard under my stairs, so the next 45 non-anonymous donors via any of our Razoo pages will get a nifty multicoloured wristband (hopefully) in time for the holidays! 

Donate to FictionAlley's New Year, New Server Fundraiser via the widget to the right, or at one of these pages:
Plu's Page
Zorb's Page
Heidi's Page
Bel's Page
One more to come...

* The way their pledge pages are set up, Razoo will match up to $200 donated via our five fundraising pages; just follow the links above, choose one and make your donation!

Update re the Refresh Project

We are pulling out of the challenge.

On Wednesday, we contacted the organizational side of the Pepsi Refresh Project and asked to be removed from the site and the voting process. We don't know how long this will take, but we hope it will happen sometime on Thursday.

We took this step for two reasons:

1. When we applied, we felt that FictionAlley would be suited to the Pepsi Refresh Project because of our focus on literacy and improving writing skills through fan-fiction and because we support the artistic value of fanfiction; projects in contention through the summer and fall that had literary/creative writing focuses were our inspirations.

FictionAlley remains committed to the educational mission that has been an integral part of the site since 2001, and we intend to continue that mission through our writing resources within the forums, our fic intake system, and through other projects both old and new. We are working to more clearly explain our educational mission, and pledge to post a detailed study of how we would use funding to further our education goals.

2. While we still need money to cover our hosting fees and update the site -- as well as fund new and ongoing educational opportunities for readers, artists and writers -- our financial situation improved this week thanks to a number of current and former FictionAlley authors. Our immediate financial needs being lessened, and the spot-on criticism of our current Pepsi Refresh Project application being too vague both in terms of spending and legitimate need, made withdrawing the right decision.

We have received enough donations this week to keep FictionAlley running though the Spring of 2011, and we thank those kind donors for their help. We will continue to engage our site's users in the ongoing fundraiser that we began in September via posts at the Park and Review Boards, and emails to registered users who had logged into the site in the last two years.

We are committed to keeping FictionAlley, with its nearly ten years of archived reviews, conversations, resources, art and fics, online. Any thoughts, advice, suggestions, recommendations, donations of VPS or dedicated servers, or time with vBulletin experts would be appreciated.

In short, we have heard both praise and protest over our participation in the Pepsi Refresh Project and have decided to withdraw from the program at this time. FictionAlley still needs financial support, so we hope you will join us as we move forward in our efforts to renew the site through a sorely needed code-overhaul and both continued and new educational goals.

We would also like to thank Pepsi for the opportunity to apply, and we encourage you to visit the Pepsi Refresh Project to vote for the many fine proposals still in contention this month.

On a final note, FA staffer Gwen (gwendolyngrace) is on sabbatical. Her post about the Pepsi Refresh Project and subsequent replies were not made on behalf of FictionAlley.

Vote early, vote often!

If you don't want to read the tl;dr below, here's the summary: FictionAlley is in contention for a $25,000 grant from Pepsi, which we'll use to "refresh" the site, improve our resources and workshops for writers, and fund large-scale projects involving fan creativity. You can vote for us by:
* Visiting http://www.refresheverything.com/fa - register and vote on the website
* Using the Facebook app: http://tinyurl.com/refafb
* Text 103643 to Pepsi (73774) (standard text messaging rates apply)
You can do all three of these things every day in November - and you can vote for up to ten projects each day - that's FA and nine more really cool things.

Please, do this and plug it to friends and family! We have some very nifty plans in mind!

If you want to read more about it all, click here.Collapse )

Help with a video this weekend!

As some of you may know, FictionAlley has been struggling for a few months with a sudden change in our financial circumstances. We're working on ways to help defray the costs to keep the site running, and we're always on the lookout for new opportunities.

Well, this morning, iGive sent out an email about a video contest:

Create a short, fun video (2 minutes or less) about FictionAlley/FAWC, and how iGive helps support it. Get the kids and pets involved! Think Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday themes. The top 18 videos (by votes) win cash prizes for their causes!

The prize for the winning video is $1000 - that's five months of our website hosting fees! There are smaller cash prizes, too, and our video is one of the first 100 uploaded, and we get ten votes (easy peasy!) we get $50 for FictionAlley automatically.

We'd love to do this, but we need your help! Have someone film you (solo, or with family and friends, outside or at your computer or anywhere magical) wearing a Potter-inspired costume, or your favorite FictionAlley or self-created t-shirt and say, shout, spell or sing "Creativity is Magic!", then send it to VidChallenge@FictionAlley.org. If you'd rather draw something, or use puppets or animation, that's fantastic, too!

We'll include as many as we can in our two-minute video. We have 120 seconds, and it takes about three to four seconds to say it (maybe five if you're singing) so we can include somewhere between 25 and 35 at a minimum - but we can also put two or four on the screen at once if we get enough submissions.

The thing is, to upload it at midnight (CDT) on November 1, we need your video in hand by 9 PM Eastern time on Sunday, October 31, so we can get it edited and uploaded. And really, the sooner you can film it and send it, the better. Keep it short and clever (and nonviolent and nonpr0n0graphic per the contest rules) and let us know if we can put your name on the screen - it's totally up to you.

Thanks in advance for your help with this! Together, we can make magic!

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