This year’s advent story is a little different. Rather than just one, single, photographer – I pooled a great many.

Here’s where I say thank you to them.

Dec 1:

Stephanie sent this in, and the story instantly formed around the photo. It was, in fact, one of the easiest photos to write for  I have ever had.

It was also going to set up the theme to this year’s story. Until I saw the rest of the photos.

Not only is Stephanie a great photographer, she blogs and codes.

Dec 2.

Kristian sent this in. It couldn’t have fitted where I wanted to go better. It was almost as if Stephanie and he had got together and sent these in the form the story.

As others turned up, that focus was shifted but it allowed me to write about somewhere I’ve wanted to write about for a while.

Kristian has very much been a partner in crime since I met him. He’s pushed games on that I’ve been running, he’s been present as sounding board to some crazy ideas. And I’ve not hung out with him nearly enough.

Dec 3:

Kostika, my very, very good friend Donna, gave me free reign in her Flikr account.  There’s going to be a number of photos of hers during this story. Interestingly – I picked the photos before I got the idea for the story. And once the idea did form, it was lucky that the photos still fit. Kostika is prolific. She can be found on twitter, blogging about games, and taking photos.

Dec 4:

I grew up with Lisa. She lived 2 doors down. Or up, depending which way you look at it.

Everyone moves around and we re-found each other on facebook. As one does. In the years in between, Lisa became a painter. Also a mum. Lisa is the redest of Red Wine friends – people with whom you could set the world to rights with enough night-time hours, and enough red wine. She gave me 2 photos, one of which – the other – gave me an end point. She really should have a website where her paintings are but, until then, you can find her here

Dec 5:

Amy O’Connor provided today’s photo. I can’t say how long I’ve known Amy for, as it will show both our ages. Suffice to say, she is my longest, never met, friend. Not only is she lovely and talented in her own right, she is also now an assistant to photographer, Dave Brosha. She is also a girl. And she likes stuff. She can be found everywhere – but mainly in the unbelievably cold Yellowknife. You can find her on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. OH – and on Flickr, here

Dec 6

The thing about Litranaut Advent, and photo drives is that it wakens old friendships.

When I joined the game’s industry some *cough* years ago, I met Chris Wild.

What Chris didn’t know about one of my favourite games – Lords of Midnight – wasn’t worth knowing. He was one of those rare breeds – a personable programmer. Which is unfair. A lot of my mates are programmers.

Anyway. I left the company we were working at, and that was that. Enter Facebook. And the adding and accepting and so we were Facebook friends. The type that reads what the other’s doing and that’s about it.

Chris submitted for amazing photos. 2 of which are absolutely going on, and 2 of which I’ll try and get in. And, in the conversation that followed, he let me read one of his stories – an achingly sad story that was beautifully written.

If I can find the right arm bender, I’ll see  if he’ll do a story for the site. In the meantime – say thanks to him here and have a look at his other images here

Dec 7

H.P. Lovebox, as portrayed by my great friend Tom Baker.

Tom is a minstrel, a bard, a performer. Accordion player, lyricist, International Man of Misery. Wry Rhymer. Applause whore…

Our meeting is worthy of a couple of stories over a few beers, so I’m not going into it here. Tom gave me: A chance to write a play, a chance to dress up in as a horse, Bob Dobbs, Tarot Reading, Chaos Magik, Ken Campbell, and more things than I can thank him for. If you’re in London, and you can see him perform – do. He posts about it here.

And now he’s the villain of the piece.

Dec 8:

Lee Briggs provided this photo. I only recently met Lee. A coder, a mac enthusiast, an amazing wit. The back and forths we have on Twitter make me wish I was back in an office with him. Lee submitted two photos. The one used today, and the one I was going to use yesterday. But that one carried a quandary. It wasn’t his. So – rather than use it now, and run the risk of having to had pulled it before Christmas it will now be a Bonus Story for Boxing Day.

Cos it’s a cracking photo.