A Good Yule to You!

  • Posted on: 21 December 2017
  • By: MeiLin

On this Yule, 2017, I think of the many blessings that have been rained down upon my family and me in the last year, not least being the now-excellent health of my husband. You may recall that he had a triple bypass December 23, 2016; he was only 45. His heart was in terrific shape, but the blood vessels leading to it were 85%, 90% and 95% blocked--only 30% of his blood went through his heart.

He is now generally carrying on, a year later. I have never been more grateful. May 2017 be as fruitful (and less eventful) for me and mine, and you and yours!

First of May, First of May

  • Posted on: 1 May 2017
  • By: MeiLin

Yep yep, it's that day again. Grab your favorite lady, or at least your favorite lay. ❤️

How am I, you ask? I'm okay. I'm more myself than I've been--about 90-95%, by the husband's gauge. I walked across the street without my cane-verrry slowly--for the first time yesterday; I don't think I'm ready for caneless living yet, though. I'm pretty tired right now, after spending the morning at jury duty. Exhausted, really.

I still can't write. In fact, the memoir I've been working on hasn't been touched in a couple of months. I'm still struggling, folks.

I may take up blogging again at another site; if I do, I'll let you know. Right now, I'm working on getting stronger.

Where I'm At

  • Posted on: 30 October 2016
  • By: MeiLin

I was cleaning up the little bit of spam on the site and figured I'd better talk with the few of you left who come visit here.

I'm writing again, if slowly. What I am writing may or may not be of use to you. I'm writing under my given name (Lynn Siprelle), for one--more on that in a minute--and more importantly, I'm writing nonfiction.

It's the story of what happened to me, which turns out to be as fantastic as what I usually write, except it's true. Friend, you would not believe. All strokes are weird; mine was unbelievably weird. It is a tale to inspire the gods, I tell you. I expect to be done some time in the new year. After this, I'll be back at short stories under my given name, and then the main series under this name.

I'm told my speech and writing are more like me. That's a relief; I'd hate to think I'd become someone else. Even so, anyone who took over my life right now would find themselves in a pickle--a comfortable pickle, but one heavy on the dill.

About the name change: it feels more accurate to use my given name for my writing these days. Work with sexual content, like the History, will remain under MeiLin, but everything else (like The Machine God-type story and the short stories-level sex, namely, not much) will be under Lynn.

So that's where I'm at right now: writing about me. Writing about what happened to me. Writing about a massive, massive stroke that I was not expected to survive. Writing about recovering approximately 85% of my self, and remembering, hoping for, working my ass off for, that last 15% to come in.

That's where I'm at.

A fresh start, by golly

  • Posted on: 3 January 2016
  • By: MeiLin

Here I am, bloody but unbowed, dang it! I made it through, unarguably, the toughest year of my life. And you've stayed with me, through it all. Bless! Why go through it all again, except to add that I'm now calling it a major stroke; few people survive it, and most are far, far reduced. I am something of a miracle.

Now we've been through all that, the question is: what next? I'm looking at the book I was writing--History 3, for lack of a better term--and I'm rethinking everything. It'll be SO LONG between book 2 and 3 by then! I may as well make them match, or so I'm thinking. I'm thinking of a short interlude featuring Sedra and Brinnid not long after book 2, and then the longer book featuring Temmin set at least a year after, probably more. Maybe a few years. I've been thinking on what to do with Temmin in any event.

Like most writers, I'm going over what I've done and reworking it in my head. So far, I haven't written it down--I haven't written anything down, really--but I can feel my fingers getting itchy.

Yes. Itchy fingers. At last. It's been a year. Time to get writin'.

Happy birthday, Josie!! Also update!

  • Posted on: 9 September 2015
  • By: MeiLin

IT'S MY OLDEST CHILD JOSIE'S **18TH BIRTHDAY**!!! confetti! massive carrying on! Until recently, I did not look old enough to have an 18-year-old--oh, who am I kidding! Biggrin Happy birthday, sweetheart! You are more than I imagined a daughter could be. I love you!!

An update: I am walking without a cane inside my home. Yes, we are home! Freedonia is filled with boxes, heaps of belongings we're getting rid of, and love. We've been home nearly a month.

The changes John and the builders made--all without the stroke-affected me--are wonderful. They've opened up the kitchen beautifully, and placed the freezer, washer and dryer all on the main floor. I don't have to venture down the steep (now-dangerous) basement stairs to reach either. I can use the laundry whenever I feel like it, which is daily--no more waiting. I can use the big freezer as my actual freezer.

There are drawbacks. We have no personal storage. Our old bedroom on the top floor now belongs to one of our daughters, and we live on the main floor in a girl's room. Our clothing is a fraction of what it once was, and a good thing, too. I lost about a third of it in the fire, and a third more to smoke damage and general wear-and-tear. Out of what's left, I've gotten rid of most of it. I have three or four drawers and fewer than twenty hangers in the closet, including stuff I only wear a few times a year. As I discovered in nine months of living with far, far less, that is far, far more than I really need.

Now, here is the hardest part: I am finding as I write this report--and this is the most I've written in some time--that I don't like the sound of my language. Words no longer come easily to me, and words have always come easily to me. I have had to labor over this. It is new, troubling territory.

The next book is going to take some time, and I don't expect to start until after the year is up. I'm not happy with what I've done to date--not surprising since it was a first draft, but I'm truly unhappy. I'm not going to make any decisions right now for obvious reasons, but you can guess my mind: troubled.

That said, I am determined--determined, I say!--to remain cheerful.

Stress, No Stress

  • Posted on: 17 August 2015
  • By: MeiLin

We are back in our home! This is Monday; we've been here since Friday night. My parents are here, working on various things, while John is at the rental with the men from the rental company. Me, I'm working with my parents and resting. The girls are sound asleep, and if they're not up in ten minutes, I'm gonna get medieval on their asses. Smile That is all!

Being denied

  • Posted on: 27 July 2015
  • By: MeiLin

So many people commented on Social Security turning me down for disability that I need to say something.

I've been trying to get Social Security for 13 years, the length of time since I had my first heart attack(s). In the time since, I've had multiple heart attacks, a cardiac arrest and death, and now, a stroke. It's a rare condition called Prinzmetal's angina, or variant angina; I don't have blockages, or any of the normal signs of heart disease. In fact, literally nothing is wrong with me, except this strange angina (and the stroke). Few understand it, and I have no illusions anyone at the SSA is any different.

I've applied at least three times for SSDI, and I've been denied, every time. Only once have I turned to a lawyer for help, and I knew immediately that no help was forthcoming; he was useless, and as expected, the "appeal" failed.

It's been disheartening to be repeatedly denied. My friends and medical acquaintances alike are shocked. It makes me feel like I'm faking, when I know I am not. Neither John nor I knew how to get a lawyer who could really help me, but now, we do. We know someone who...well, s/he knows what to do, and who to talk with.

We have an appointment, and should know soon exactly what our chances are. I'll let you know.

The Latest from MeiLin

  • Posted on: 20 July 2015
  • By: MeiLin

In case you missed it on Facebook. I don't really like it there, but my friends insist on hanging out there.

It's been nearly nine months since the stroke that nearly killed me. And so, a status report, in response to my husband's questions. Those who only do good news, scroll down.

How are you doing?

I am stronger than before, with limits.

The limits:

I went for my final examinations for Social Security Disability, and the 99% chance I'd be approved went poof. We Are the 1%! Oh well, that's why they made an appeals process. It's been thirteen years I've been trying to win approval now; at some point, they'll have to give in. I cannot work, even before I had the stroke. In the past, I have had either no one [legal] on my side, or [legal] hacks.* This time, I have someone on my side who truly understands the process, and I'm optimistic. I won't give up.

I'm still stroke-affected. My right hand is much, much better, which is only saying so much. My right leg works now; I couldn't move it at all--not a fraction of an inch. That said, they remain difficult.

My balance is still bad. I have a hard time standing in one place for any long period (over five minutes). The balance issues extend even into sitting; with no opportunity to rest, the room just swims. If I sit quietly, the issue goes away. The problem is with my right eye; it doesn't move as my left eye does, and the result is double vision/diplopia. The neuro-opthamologist says it's definitely neurological, not physical. Not great news, since there's only so much that can be done.

The strengths:

The balance issues may resolve given time. It has definitely gotten better since the stroke. I am now walking with a cane, sometimes unassisted (though usually I rely on help). In environments which are familiar, like the house we're in, I walk without either assistance or a cane. Most of the time, it's fine. Sometimes, it's not, but my "you will NOT fall" record is intact--at least since leaving the hospital. I credit my physical therapist, Jordan at Therapeutic Associates. He's AMAZING, as is Debra from Connected and the crew at Care Center East, especially Karen. Blessings on them.

My speech is very nearly intact. As long as I'm not over-tired, I'm fine (part of the finding of the SSA people, a part I agree with). My wits are what they were. I'm able to concentrate past the balance issues to communicate. For the most part, that's enough. Missing is the ability to write fiction. It's just not there. I haven't the heart yet.

What could you use going forward?

VISITS. I know most of you don't have time, but for those who do, I'm lonely. Any time: evenings, weekends, daytime. It's hard but not impossible for me to get places. I am fairly normal, not at all difficult to visit. I wear an eyepatch over one eye, I walk funny, and my hair is quite short, but otherwise I am the same. Please call or write first.

We still accept dinners. John tires of cooking, and I'm still not much in the kitchen apart from super-simple main courses. T'ain't critical, but it helps.

What has been an amazing surprise for you?

THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. From the fire through the stroke, I have been continuously astonished--FLOORED--by the outpouring of love, caring, and materials our friends and coworkers have given us. Blessings, BLESSINGS, on all of you!!


* Note: I (JJ) added the legal note to clarify after discussing with Lynn. This was directed at the legal profession, NOT our friends.

Progress, Not Perfection

  • Posted on: 17 April 2015
  • By: MeiLin

I'm home, or what passes for home right now. I've been here a month--more than a month, really. I am having more fun working at home than I ever had at the care center. I am home, y'all!

Fun aside, I am not whole. I still can't stand for any long length of time. I'm unable to walk steadily--but news flash! I'm able to walk! Yay!! I was unable to walk unassisted, and then only for short steps. And that was after six weeks of rehab. (I started unable to lift my right leg. At all. Like, not even a little.)

So actually, I'm doing extremely well, fantastically well. I stand to fix breakfast and lunch for myself, I walk to my room and the bathroom, I'm... Normal. I'm normal at home. I stagger a little, my gait is uneven, but I'm normal. Especially at the beginning of the day.

Today, I met with the physical therapist and the occupational therapist separately. The PT said I've got six more visits--three weeks. The OT and I will continue to see one another for a while yet; I still have work to do there. I don't have the ability to hold what we've done in my mind very long, though it's longer than it's ever been.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to the speech therapist, for good. I'm done. Smile

I'm moving fast, but don't expect to see me back to normal for several months. Thank you, everyone, for remaining my friends.

I had a stroke

  • Posted on: 24 February 2015
  • By: MeiLin

Those of you waiting to hear from me, or waiting to hear news: it may be some time. I had a stroke December 5th. It is a difficult recovery. You would not believe how long it took me to type this note. I am still myself, though. No weird facial tics, or anything like. The damage was primarily mental; it left my sense of self alone, but stole some thought functions. Those are--slowly--coming back. It takes time. I am in a rehab facility in Portland. It looks like I am going home some time this week. Wish me luck.

I've been burned out of my home

  • Posted on: 25 November 2014
  • By: MeiLin

A version of this appeared on my nonfiction site.

On November 12th, at 2:30 in the morning, we ran for our lives from my home of 27 years. A tiny spark from our pellet stove caught the bark dust alongside our house on fire; it smoldered until high winds blew the burning bark dust against our basement window casing. From there, it burnt through the casing, and spread into the basement.

Our oldest daughter discovered the fire when smoke began pouring out of the heat vent in her room, where she was staying up late finishing her homework. The alarms went off, but if she hadn't run out of the house and begun slamming the front door and screaming her head off, we might not have woken up in time.

As it was, by the time the three of us made it downstairs the house was within minutes of total involvement. The fire department came in the nick of time to save the building, but not before the entire basement was charred, including the floor joists. John tells me the floor boards for the main floor are also burned. We escaped with our pajamas, our dog, one cat and no shoes. Our second cat was discovered dead in the basement last Friday. We were hoping she'd just run away.

It turns out we have good insurance. They have put us up in an extended stay hotel and have found us a rental house not far from our home. They will be gutting our house, to the studs; it is balloon frame construction, and smoke damaged the entire house severely, including much of our belongings. When all is said and done, we will have a new house inside a 130-year-old frame. It will take six months to rebuild, months we will spend in the rental house.

Needless to say, this is cutting into my writing time.

I don't mourn the loss of most of the things I lost. What gets me are little things: all our Christmas ornaments, including the stocking my mother made me when I was a baby; a favorite thermal knit Henley I'd embroidered; fiber, yarn and fabric I'd collected over 35 years, including handspun; a huge chunk of my craft and art reference books; and my comics collection--it's the second one I've lost in my life. I lost looms, my sewing machine, copies of my books. My piano. My drafting table I've had since I was 15.

And my cat, Inky.

The things we miss the most are those attached to memories. Furniture, dishes, TVs--those things can be replaced. Nothing can ever replace my stocking, my handspun, the ornaments my daughters made, or my cat.

It's been less than two weeks. I'm still in shock, I think, though gradually coming out of it. We're all exhausted. But we have discovered we are rich in friends. They've come out of the woodwork, offering help, supplies, and money. Twelve years ago, when we first discovered my weird heart condition, we also discovered we had no friends but my parents and our intentional brother. Four years later, when I nearly died, we had them, and my two best friends. This time, we literally cannot count the people who have come forward to support us.

We are so grateful, so, so grateful.

And yet, we mourn.

No guru, no method, no teacher

  • Posted on: 2 November 2014
  • By: MeiLin

That's a Van Morrison album, titled for his revelation after he left Scientology. I kinda feel like I just left some kind of cult, the cult of not trusting myself. I am never again going to use someone else's work method as my own.

I'm a slow writer. I hate that. I've been trying to speed my output up, and several people extolled the method of breaking a novel down: three sections (acts one, two and three), so many chapters per section, so many scenes per chapter, so many words per scene. That way you know just what you're going to write every day and can go faster. It's logical, right? It should work. Just outline your work into that handy structure, write a scene a day, and boom, novel.

I've been struggling for nearly a year trying to work this way, believing it would speed my writing up. All the trouble I've been having, I've been chalking up to other things--things that were contributing, for sure, but in the end weren't the problem. I found the choke points (mostly stuff from the original draft that doesn't work any more), worked them out, and still couldn't get this book into a coherent shape.

Today I said fuck it. I jettisoned everything but the scenes themselves. Got rid of the three part structure, the x number of chapters per part and x number of scenes per chapter. Which I knew I didn't have to follow slavishly, but even having it like that in Scrivener was fucking with my head. I dumped all the scenes into one folder...

...and it straightened itself right out. In an evening. I rejiggered the timeline, adjusted the wordcount targets, and went over the outline obsessively. I moved parts around, discovered what happens in the missing transitions (which will now have deep resonance), and I'm finally ready to finish this goddamned book. For the first time in weeks, I'm excited about writing. I got excited a little while ago, but it foundered on the structure I was trying to use to "speed my writing up."

Never. Again.

This is the umpteenth time this has happened to me. It's no one's fault; no one's ever led me astray or forced me, I just haven't trusted my own process. Last year, I lost an entire Drifting Isle novel because I followed advice that I learned doesn't work for me: finish what you're supposed to be working on, not what you want to work on ("otherwise, you're procrastinating"--remember, I'm trying to speed up). I was supposed to be working on book three. By the time I realized I'm the kind of writer who has to follow the energy, it was too late: the Drifting Isle novel energy was completely gone, and I didn't have the book three energy, either.

After two years of working on book three--almost a year of which was spent having and recovering from various health calamities, granted--I'm finally on a serious track to finishing this goddamned book. As things already stand, I'm 90% done by wordcount, and 100% done in outline.

And I'm finally ready to trust my own process. After six years. No guru, no method, no teacher. Just me.

MeiLin's OryCon 36 Schedule

  • Posted on: 31 October 2014
  • By: MeiLin

If you're going to OryCon (November 7-9, 2014, Portland, OR), I will be paneling and reading. Here's my schedule.

I'll be part of the following panels:
Woman in the Fridge: Violence toward women as trope and plot device
Writing Believable Sex Scenes
Social Media and the Modern Writer
Synopses, Summaries, Book Descriptions and Other Horrors
Crowdfund Your Project
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
MeiLin Miranda reading from my work
Stitch n Share (formerly Stitch n Bitch)

Fragments of a Poem from Book Three

  • Posted on: 16 October 2014
  • By: MeiLin

Sedra's favorite poet is Lassinia Heinigen, a Littan woman largely regarded as one of the greatest poets of her time, though considered controversial and somewhat frowned upon by the Scholars and other conservatives. A fragment of her poem, "She Walks Along the Strand," published in the 993 KY chapbook "The Passionate Life," is interspersed in an intimate moment of book 3:

That early evening when we paced the strand
The moon abroad late day, to peep through cloud
Soft-tinted gold by sunset’s soft command
And with my dreams for love and fame endowed …

For you, I let my verses wash away
Or so I told you, to allay your pride
The barren sand no marking did betray
But oh, my love, I’ve always fought the tide…

I love writing fake Victorianesque poetry, especially when it goes in a sex scene.

Tiny, pretty books

  • Posted on: 12 September 2014
  • By: MeiLin

Why look, it's an unboxing!

Twenty copies of my event-exclusive (meaning I don't sell them here and it'll never be in ebook form--you can find them at Amazon but Imma make you look for 'em) little chapbook, About Time. It has two short stories in it, "Reset" and "Dalston Junction," which both happen to be about time travel. Jason Gurley did the cover. He's not just an amazing cover artist, he is a phenomenal writer. Check him out.

If you come see me at StoryCon! in Vancouver, WA or at OryCon in November, you can get one of these autographed--and free. The only other way to get one is to join my mailing list. I'm going to be holding a drawing soon for two copies.

A quick note on Facebook

  • Posted on: 2 September 2014
  • By: MeiLin

If you are a "fan" of my Facebook page, be aware that I'm moving most of what I do there over to the Facebook group, Fans of MeiLin Miranda.

Why? Because if you've paid attention to FB lately, you know that you almost never see stuff from pages you've "liked" unless the page pays for you to see it. I can't afford to do that. So if you want to see me on FB, join the group. I know some people prefer FB to other venues, so that's why I offer myself there as well as here as well as twitter as well as *thud*

Welcome to the new site!

  • Posted on: 27 August 2014
  • By: MeiLin

Hey, what do you think? I worked like crazy on this. The old site was broken, cluttered and just plain outdated. I hope this one works better for you guys. It still has issues--the user badges aren't displaying, for instance, but they weren't displaying on the old site.

Please let me know if you find any issues, or what you think.

I'm a temporary big deal

  • Posted on: 15 August 2014
  • By: MeiLin

So here's a kind of cool thing that happened:

Yesterday and today editor David Gatewood is holding a 99-cent sale at Amazon for an anthology I'm in, Synchronic. It's a solid anthology; I guarantee you'll find at least three stories you like in it, and many of you will enjoy all of them. I don't get paid any more than I've already been paid, but it's the only way David gets paid for all his work so I wholeheartedly encourage you to get it. If the book does well, we get to make more anthologies and I get to work with David some more; he is just a terrific editor.

The side effect of our promo efforts for the sale is that as it catapulted the book up the Amazon charts--we topped out at #16 in the entire store, not just in SFF (where we made it to #1 in a bunch of categories)--it also catapulted its authors way up the author rankings. That's what the screenshot is of.

For a little, tiny while, I am ranked higher than Neil Gaiman. It's extremely temporary and reflects nothing but a successful promo push, but you can be damn well sure I took screen shots.

The Bundle of Extraordinary Steampunk: The Machine God and 6 More Books!

  • Posted on: 6 August 2014
  • By: MeiLin

I am tickled to death to announce that today The Machine God is part of the Bundle of Extraordinary Steampunk, at Storybundle. The collection was curated by my friend Susan Kaye Quinn, and if you've never heard of Storybundle, this is how it works:

The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $3 to purchase) are:
Black Mercury by Charlotte E. English (one of the other Drifting Isle books)
Zelda Pryce by Joseph Robert Lewis
The Machine God by MeiLin Miranda (that's me)
A Midsummer Night's Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $10, you'll get another three books:
Lumière by Jacqueline E. Garlick
Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
Fall of Sky City by S.M. Blooding

You're going to want to sign up for my newsletter because I'll be giving away THREE of these bundles to subscribers later this week!

The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, and .mobi) for all books, but after the three weeks are over, the bundle is gone forever! You can also buy a gift card for this StoryBundle if you have a friend you think would enjoy this.

Why StoryBundle? Here's what they say for themselves.

-- Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.

-- Pay what you want (minimum $3): You decide how much four fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to four thrilling titles.

-- Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.

-- Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. We're currently featuring Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.

-- Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you're not just getting four books, you're getting seven!

You've got three weeks to get this bundle, but get it now while you're thinking of it. Smile

A new short story: Reset

  • Posted on: 2 August 2014
  • By: MeiLin

"Reset," the short story I wrote for the anthology Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel is now available for purchase by itself, since I know some of you didn't want to buy a whole anthology. (You really should; it's quite good.) You can purchase it directly from me in mobi/Kindle, ePub and PDF, from
Amazon US and all the international Amazons (just search for ASIN B00MC8UXLE), from Barnes & Noble and from Google Play. It's still in the process of publishing at Kobo, but it'll get there eventually. Smile

Reinhabiting the world

  • Posted on: 20 May 2014
  • By: MeiLin

This is long.

I haven't gotten much writing done these past few days. Some, but not much.

For years after I got sick, our yard went to hell, and I tell you: In Oregon, hell is covered in blackberries. The blackberry vines were up to my neck. The dog couldn't go down the back steps. It was that bad.

We finally scraped enough money together to hire a landscaper, who wasn't able to do much more with the little we had but clear out the blackberries and other weeds, and lay down the bones of our future garden. Gravel paths. Beds where future shrubs will go. A gravel patio next to the concrete patio, with two raised beds for vegetables, and a fire pit.

For eight years I haven't been able to use our yard. Now, in fine weather and foul, I find myself walking through the yard, patrolling for those damn blackberries and thistles. Even after their ruthless extermination, they're determined to come back, and I am determined to stop them. The only way to do so is to wait until they stick their tender, tentative heads up through the mulch or gravel, and cut them to the ground. Over and over and over. Eventually, they give up and die, or go somewhere less hostile.

When that is done, I find myself sitting on the back deck under my new patio umbrella, drinking coffee. Sometimes I read. I am so very behind on my reading. I haven't read--really read--in years. I haven't let myself. Reading fiction was frivolous. I felt guilty for doing it. I had things to do, like kids, and staying alive.

I have a lot of young writers in my orbit, not unusual in homeschool circles and not unusual when both my daughters are writers of one kind or another. "For every word you write, you must read ten," I'd opine, parroting better writers than I am--Steven Barnes just for starters.

But was I reading ten-for-one? No. I had spent my youth walking into walls with my nose in a book. Wasn't that enough? Hadn't I stored up nearly forty years' worth of words before I stopped letting myself read?


Reading is my job. It's a huge part of my job. It's a part I was confusing with laziness. Reading, for fiction writers, is not laziness. It's essential.

Consequently, I am gorging on words like a starving woman. I am sitting on my deck in soft Oregon sunlight, sometimes filtered by the patio umbrella, sometimes by clouds, and I am reading. I spent this afternoon reading a Roger Zelazny novella. I spent the days before that reading Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover (wonderful, and very close to my own work), Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind (the longest prologue I've ever read, not that I minded too much), several anthologies including the next one I'm in (Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which you can pre-order now--it's coming out Thursday!).

I read N.K. Jemisen's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I finally finished Anansi Boys. I have a bunch of books by friends on my Kindle to go through. I renewed my subscription to Fiction River and Clarkesworld, and I'm going to subscribe to Lightspeed. I'm reading Trollope, who I adore, along with a group of other Trollopians; right now we're reading He Knew He Was Right. I may even take YET ANOTHER run at that goddamned Cryptonomicon; I have been trying to read that book for years now.

Today, as I sat in the perfect warmth on the deck, I had the Zelazny novella ("Eye of Cat") in my hands. I'd spent my therapy appointment yesterday talking about why the hell I wasn't writing more than a couple hundred words a day (yesterday I actually deleted words); I didn't know, except I currently have a strange, dreamlike sense of the present that I'm loathe to leave.

Last week was my eighth "rebirthday," the anniversary of my death and revival. Usually flashbacks and PTSD accompany the day, but not this year; this year I didn't even realize it was the day until it had passed. For the last few years, struggling with the PTSD, a supplement it turned out was slowly poisoning me, several illnesses and a surgery, the world of the body was out of my reach. I didn't go outside--couldn't. I didn't do much of anything but write, and suffer, until there was nothing left but illness. I am better now, but I am also empty.

It dawned on me that in spending my days reading outside, soaking in warmth and peace in my new garden, I am not just filling myself back up. I am learning how to be in a body. I've never been good at being in a body. When I was a girl, struggling with my weight and all the soul-crushing judgment that comes of being a prone-to-fatness woman in a misogynistic culture, I used to fantasize about being disembodied--just a floating consciousness.

What a sad wish, don't you think? I have had and will have again literal eons to be part of the disembodied whole. Though droplets of my soul may go on to be a part of many other things, this is the only time I'll be me. Being me, means being in this body.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm back to learning to be in this body. I'm back to learning my craft through the work of others who are better at it than I am. And that will have me back at the keyboard, sooner than we all think, because I am letting myself do these things.

I have to.

"Lovers and Beloveds": Free Just About Everywhere!

  • Posted on: 21 April 2014
  • By: MeiLin

I'm celebrating being at the halfway mark on book three in An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom!

Lovers and Beloveds is FREE for a while at Amazon, Kobo and Google Play. If you've ever wanted to read it without clicking through all the chapters here, or if you've ever wanted a friend to read it, now's the time.


LaB is now free at even more bookstores! Here's the full list:

Direct: four most popular formats in one purchase
Amazon: US ~ UK ~ CA ~ AU
Kobo Books
Google Play
iTunes: UK ~ US ~ all regional iTune stores (search for ISBN 9780981307190)

Two it is

  • Posted on: 22 February 2014
  • By: MeiLin

The response here, on FB and from the newsletter has been overwhelming. It's motivating, that's for sure! The consensus is 100% for two books.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've been able to make room for Mattie in book three--a little in book four, but mostly book three. Considering the theme of three is Queens, it's fitting. We'll see the

Spoiler: Highlight to view
Traveler Queen, Macca Queen Regent, Sedra as future Queen of Sairland, Mattie as Queen to Ruvin the self-styled King of Tremont, and Queen Ansella's absence
, which hangs heavy over the book; it begins on the anniversary of that life-changing event for all four of her children. I am excited about this.

Book four is centered on the responsibility of leadership. Tem will learn some hard lessons.

Book three news: It may be twins!

  • Posted on: 20 February 2014
  • By: MeiLin

I'm back at work on An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom after a difficult 2013. Hard at work, actually--the writing is coming much more easily, to the point that I now face something of a dilemma. I think I know what I'm going to do, but I'd like to talk with you about it.

Part of what tripped me up so badly last year (besides being sick or recovering from surgery a lot of the time) was structuring book three. I have two major story arcs that had to continue right away: Sedra's impending marriage and Temmin's continuing education and growth toward kingship. And then there's poor Mattie. I couldn't figure out how to shoehorn it all into one book with a unifying story-in-story from the History. I puzzled until my puzzler was sore. I knew I was going to have to split it into two parts, but where was the logical split? I even dragged poor Netta into a whinging, epic Skype chat, which helped a little but left me with no clear answer and Netta with a headache.

And then it came to me a few weeks ago. I was given a particular template to aid in outlining. I sat down with it and boom, in two days I had an outline for the whole shebang. It works chronologically, it gives shape to the book and it allows me to tell the story I want to tell. I went to town and put down/organized more usable words on it in the last two weeks than in the previous six months. Here's the thing, though. As I work on it, I realize I don't have one book with two parts. I have two complete books, each with their own beginnings, middles and endings.

Which brings me to you.

I am leaning very hard toward splitting this into two smaller books. In IHGK terms, "small" is relative. Normally the books weigh in between 145,000-150,000 words. If I release these as one book, it'd be in the 145,000 word range. If I release it as two, each would be in the 90,000 word range--smaller than usual, but keep in mind if I did them as one volume it would not be one 180,000+ word book. That's just too long, sorry; it makes the paperback way too expensive, and I like being able to give people the paper option. I'd have to make cuts and leave stuff out. Here are the pros and cons.


  • I have what would become book three well under way. If I maintain even a modest pace, I'll be finished with this first draft in mid-April or so barring disaster. I'd need two weeks off then time for revisions, so let's say it would be ready for the editor in...we'll call it June to be safe. I could have it out the door and in your hands by August. If I do the two books together it would take me until close to the fall to finish the draft at this pace.
  • Sedra would get her own book, something a lot of you have asked for. (Yay, Sedra!)
  • We'd get twice as much awesome cover art from Alice Fox--if she's available--I haven't had a timeframe for her, so I haven't booked her yet. If she isn't, we can in all likelihood turn to Bea Gonzalez again and know we'll get great art either way. And if neither of them are available...well, I have backups for my backups, all artists I like and know you will, too.
  • If I do the two storylines separately both Temmin and Sedra will have room for stories-in-story; only Sedra would get one otherwise. There'd be room for more story, period, as two separate books, at least 40,000 words' worth between them.
  • I'd have room for Mattie's continuing story as sub-plots in both books.


  • You'd have to buy two books, not one. If they stay in the 90,000-word ballpark, they'd be $3.95--$7.90 total for both books (paperbacks would be in the $12.95 range, I think). Were it one book, it'd be $4.95/$16.95 (but you'd be getting less story).
  • For the first time, Temmin would be a supporting character in an entire IHGK book and not the lead. It puts his story arc off a while; you won't find out exactly what happens to him after the explosive end of Son in Sorrow for another book.
  • It will cost me more in editing, artwork, production and distribution. (Those are costs I'm willing to bear, though, and I'm bringing some production in-house.)
  • I might be able to finish the one book faster than the two together, though with the two-book plan you'd have Sedra's book on the shelf and in your hands way, way sooner. Instead of book three in August-ish and book four in spring 2015 (maybe sooner--I've got some of it laid down but not much and I don't want to over-promise), I could possibly have a mega-book-three to you in winter 2014/2015. Temmin's book is brand-new material, all of it. There's nothing I can use from the original serial draft for him; we're into terra incognito as far as he's concerned. Either way, that particular section (or separate book) is going to take longer to write since I have at least a little of Sedra's story from the original serial to draw upon--but not much. Her story is a lot different than it was, as is the story-in-story of Macca Princess Royal of Sairland.

I will be frank with you: I'm heavily leaning toward the two-book approach. I want you to have some IHGK sooner than later. The stories truly are separate; this would not be an artistic compromise to split the one book in two. I'm coming to you because I want to gauge how you'd feel about a largely Temmin-less book in the series and how you'd feel about paying for two smaller books instead of one normal-sized book. Even though I give you what you need, not necessarily what you want (see: Son in Sorrow), I don't want to alienate you guys too much!

Let me know in the comments what you think.

(PS: The newsletter version of this has teasers for the two books/parts; subscribe for access!)

Radio Silence

  • Posted on: 25 January 2014
  • By: MeiLin

I figured out recently why book three has fought me so hard, and why I've kept radio silence on some critical issues: I'm depressed, a lot more than I thought, and for some time now. If I haven't answered something you've asked me, that's why. Not an excuse but an explanation. I'm trying to clear things up and get straight.

I can tell this mood is starting to break up because in the last few days book three finally sorted its structure out in a logical way. Today, for the first time in months, I feel as if I can work. Until recently, sitting down in front of the IHGK and/or DIC Scrivener files has resulted in actual panic attacks.

You're supposed to write through times of no inspiration, but I think this has been bigger than "no inspiration." Those of you who've been with me since the "old days" remember when I was diagnosed with bipolar two a few years ago. I'm on meds and am generally a WHOLE lot better than I was, but sometimes the brain chemistry goes awry. I think this is one of those times; it's just taken a while to see it because it's not the spectacular crash-and-burn of pre-diagnosis days--NASCAR had nothin' on me.

And also last year there were some definite situational depression triggers; I was sick or recovering from surgery for three months of the twelve. A confluence of suck, in other words.

Anyway, it's getting better. Thanks for your patience with me.


  • Posted on: 8 December 2013
  • By: MeiLin

We are having what is for Portland bitterly cold weather! It got down to 12F last night. This is a problem for me; my heart condition is such that breathing cold air can bring on angina. Happened on Friday.

So I broke out the bunny hat! This is me (on the left)and my fellow bunny-wearing friend Ima. We are the Bunny Hat Gang. Hand over the chai and no one gets hurt!

Wherever you are, I hope you're warm!

When in Doubt, Read

  • Posted on: 28 November 2013
  • By: MeiLin

I've been having a lot of trouble writing this year--a lot, especially the third History book. I've cranked out some short stories and edited The Machine God, but otherwise it's been dismal. I had some reason; of the last eleven months, I spent three flat on my back, sick abed. It took the wind out of my sails, and my self-confidence with it.

When in doubt, read.

I was at the Goodwill yesterday and went through the books. This particular Goodwill is well-stocked. I got a bagful of books for less than the cost of two mainstream publishers' ebooks. Used does not support the authors, which makes me sad, but right now it's the best I can do.

This is what I came home with, all things I've never read:

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1), Patrick Rothfuss (I know, how could I not have read this)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy), N.K. Jemisin
The Kingdom of Gods (The Inheritance Trilogy), N.K. Jemisin
The Wee Free Men (Discworld), Terry Pratchett (another run at Pratchett)
Hell and Earth, Elizabeth Bear
Ysabel, Guy Gavriel Kay

Re-reads and books for the girls:
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmerman Bradley
The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury

I lied, really. I have written, a little. In book three, a frustrated Sedra "gorge[s] on words." Sometimes, it's the only sane option, and so I shall do the same.

Get inside my mind :)

  • Posted on: 22 November 2013
  • By: MeiLin

I'm in the hot seat at Eden Baylee's blog in her regular "Get Inside the Mind of" series:

What quality do you most admire in men and women?
In both it’s the same: empathy. So many people have trouble recognizing the struggles and suffering of others.

What is your greatest regret?
That I wasn’t brave enough to write fiction until my late forties. I chose a journalistic path because I was afraid of writing fiction but still wanted to write. It was for me a poor second.

Eden does this periodically with the same set of questions for authors and her own responses to their replies. She's an awesome lady, and one of the authors featured with me in Allegories of the Tarot.

Today's BPAL: A World Where There Are Octobers

  • Posted on: 18 November 2013
  • By: MeiLin

Continuing my quickie reviews of the latest BPAL series, here's A World Where There Are Octobers, which I didn't receive until November, but oh well. It's based on a quotation from Anne of Green Gables:

"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several thrills? I'm going to decorate my room with them."

I didn't read that book till I was an adult, and it still claims a spot in my heart. The scent description:

An armload of maple boughs and a swirl of autumn leaves.

In the decant: a woody, slightly sweet cologne

Wet: much sweeter, but still quite woody. It's not a foodie sweet, more of a slightly too literal "maple bough," if you get my drift. Despite the sweetness, it reads masculine to me.

Dry: the sweetness vanishes. It goes through a masculine cologne phase, then fades to soft woods and wet leaves. I put it on around 2 pm and now it's 6:30 pm; it's almost entirely gone.

Verdict: a certain kind of man could pull this off easily. It's not for me.


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