MeiLin's blog

Scryer's Gulch chapbook #2 news and Intimate History news

  • Posted on: 13 April 2010
  • By: MeiLin

The short version: You'll have to wait another 10 episodes or so for chapbook #2.

The long version: Initially, I'd planned on releasing a chapbook every 10 episodes. The problem is, the first few episodes were a lot longer (2k+) than the standard episode now (1.2 to 1.5k). Scryer's Gulch Episodes 1-10: Annabelle Arrives was about 18,500 words or so; were I to put out episodes 11-20, it'd only be about 14,000 words, but the book would cost the same to produce. I'm not going to make you pay $4.95 for a smaller book.

So I'm going to wait and put out episodes 11-30 as chapbook #2. If I keep to a once-a-week schedule without missing one, that means about three months from now, like sometime around July.

This will enrage No1 Daughter, who doesn't like to read online and waits for the chapbooks. Too bad, No1 Daughter, who doesn't read this blog anyway! You will have to wait!

So. Intimate History news.

I'm so close to finishing book one. All the weak spots in the original are glaring and painful. One at a time, I am strengthening them and moving on (though I'm stuck right now after a good run). But that's not what I want to tell you.

What I want to tell you is that I'm going to be starting a new benefit for subscribers soon. Everyone who subscribes at the $1+ a week or equivalent level will be getting access to a new series here called "Tales of the Lovers' Temple." Guess what kind of stories they'll be. Wink

They will not be necessary to read to understand the main storyline; in fact, they'll be backstory and tangential only. But they will be the juicy bits that everyone likes so much.

I'm hoping it'll be a once a week benefit, though initially it may be less. I have this book to finish, you see. Smile I've got an inaugural story in mind about one of Glaes Beloved's early adventures that I may write down sooner than later.

At this point, don't subscribe in anticipation of this benefit (but hey, feel free to subscribe just because). I don't know when it'll be starting. I know it'll be relatively soon, but I want to wait until I've got a couple stories in the can and some others outlined.

Lightning strike Lupercalia tests

  • Posted on: 31 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Today is the last day to order Lupercalias and the Bards of Ireland, though the Shungas carry through to the end of April. I am so behind on testing that I did four a day yesterday and today.

Nice but not unique enough: Luperci 2010; Dark Chocolate/Key Lime; Thoos; Andreiphontes; Bijou Y'Nathiel; Enchanted Wood Florist; Thoos. I'll be keeping these decants, but I don't need more of 'em.

Partials if I can get them: Milk Chocolate/Matcha (very refreshing and lemony/green tea, hardly any chocolate--will be a great light summer scent); Aatos Polemoio (you wouldn't think cedar and black currant would work together but they do).

So, the partial list: The above plus Olisbos and Zadok Allen Vinyard, and two of the Bards--Harp of C'noc and Little Bird. I was going to gamble on full Bards, but I've changed my mind.

The bottle list: Unveiled and Pink Mood. This is actually good news. These are both Shungas, and so are available longer. I'll be able to test the last four over the next few days and decide what I want without a big rush.

I left many untested, mostly the very masculine Ode to Mars scents. I have a feeling if any of them strike me as must-haves, I'll be able to find them.

And now I also have four of the Great Loves and Tragedies of Ancient Greece to test! Oy!

And! Beth has put out the next series: the April Fools' series Black Helicopters, of which I've ordered six decants and one of Egg Moon. I'm increasingly leaning toward getting decants rather than bottles, though I still love partials. I'm running out of room and things are tight. It's like drinking from a fire hose of perfoom! Speaking of which, I'm updating the database to contain the Black Helicopters and Event Exclusives in the next few days.

Today from the Lupercalias: Womb Furie and Zadok Allen Vinyard

  • Posted on: 28 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Now that we're down to 3/31 to order all the Lupercalias but the Shungas, I've accepted reality and have segregated out the decants into "must try" and "willing to gamble I won't care for them." I also segregated out the remaining Shungas, since they'll be up till the end of April.

I ordered way, way too many. And now Beth just released ANOTHER limited series, the Black Helicopters. I ordered some but not all of them, plus this month's Lunacy (Egg Moon) as decants. I may have to start limiting myself to decants-only. She has become a firehose of perfume!

And so, here are the first two of the ones that must be tested.

Womb Furie

An itch that needs to be scratched: Snake Oil and three types of honey.

Snake Oil is Beth's signature scent and perhaps the most popular BPAL of all time. That plus honey should equal love.

In the decant: Sweet Snake Oil (which is "Indonesian spices and sugared vanilla").

Wet: A lighter Snake Oil. First hit, this is not going to be one to buy, not because it's not nice, but because a) I have Snake Oil, and b) I have many of the Snake Pit series from Carnaval Diabolique, which are all Snake Oil plus various notes.

Dry: Yeah, Snake Oil, sweetened.

Verdict: The honey isn't predominant enough to make me want a bottle, though I may change my mind.

The Zadok Allen Vinyard

A deep velvety Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of plum, black cherry, rose petals, coffee bean, and smoky oak. Barrel and bottle aged, with a smooth and spicy hit mid-palate. Hints of Dagon's tarry black incense and clotted blood complete this well-rounded, robust indulgence.

Wines are often really nice on me; blood, often not so much.

In the decant: Plum, black cherry, a little alcohol.

Wet: Complicated. Incense, coffee, smoke, wine. The fruit scents have retreated. The smoke is increasing.

Dry: If I liked smoky scents, this would be at the top of my list.

Verdict: I'm going to wait for Sir to weigh in, but he's taking a nap.

Today from the Lupercalias: White Chocolate, Black Raspberry and Apricot Cordial Truffle, and Olisbos

  • Posted on: 24 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin


The ancient Greeks sure weren't shy about taking care of business. The port city of Miletus was once famed throughout the Mediterranean as a source of excellent stone, wood, and padded leather dildos. This scent is the celebration of an age-old pastime: polished wood, well-loved leather, and olive oil.

In the decant: At first, newish wood, then brown leather. A sweetness toward the end.

Wet: Clean furniture, like a padded leather chair. The drier it gets, the more leather I smell. Brown, not black.

Dry: Smells like a clean library of leather-bound books, sunlight coming through the window.

Verdict: Unsure. I'll have to see what Sir thinks.

White Chocolate, Black Raspberry and Apricot Cordial Truffle
The name is the scent description. This is one of this year's Chocolate Box sub-series.

In the decant: As advertised on tin. Very, very sweet, as is to be expected, and a tad plastic-y on the fruit side. Doesn't bode well.

Wet: First hit is very sweet, near plastic fruit, settling into a Swedish Raspberry smell. Then the white chocolate comes up, and for once, I actually get white chocolate, not an amorphous sweet tone. Nothing boozy. It's going alternately plastic fruit and a rather pleasant white chocolate.

Dry: feh. plastic.

Verdict: This goes to the little girls.

So, yeah. Late.

  • Posted on: 23 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I'm really sorry, but as I've been hinting on Twitter, it's been hectic to put it mildly. I'm about halfway through Episode 17 of the Gulch, and I'll have it up as soon as I can tomorrow, guys. I'm really sorry.

Today from the Lupercalias: Prosperity of a Country and Ronin

  • Posted on: 22 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin


Prosperity of a Country:

Frankincense, orris root, asuhi, leather, and ginger-infused cream accord.

In the decant: Very faint. Frankincense and ginger.

Wet: Spicy orris root, a little leather. I kinda like it.

Dry: Almost gone.

Verdict: No stay. So no buy.


White sandalwood, rice flower, honey, black pepper, and oakmoss.

In the decant: Ooh. Honey, rice flower, sandalwood.

Wet: A subtle honey. I'm getting a little pepper. Close to the skin.

Dry: Honey with rice flower.

Verdict: I like it, Sir doesn't, that settles it.

Today from the Lupercalias: Pink Mood and Rhinotoros (updated)

  • Posted on: 20 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Today we have Pink Mood and Rhinotoros, the first a Shunga, and the second an Ode to Mars.

Pink Mood:

Vanilla, star anise, cherry blossom, peony, violet leaf, and neroli.

Vanilla of course is love. I kinda like star anise, as long as I don't have to eat it.

In the decant: Vanilla and violet, cherry blossom. A little star anise coming up, and a sort of honey accord.

Wet: Vanilla and star anise, star anise and vanilla, and then pretty much star anise.

Dry: The vanilla comes back. Now I'm getting the violet and cherry blossom a little too, some neroli; I'm betting that as it dries, more of the flowers will emerge.

Verdict: This settled down into a really interesting sweet anise scent. I rather like it; it reminds me of the wild anise that used to grow all over the peninsula where I grew up. Ooh, now I want to write about that place. What a love-hate relationship.

Rhinotoros (Skin-Piercing):

Vetiver, patchouli, white pepper, and grapefruit.

Patchouli is iffy and not one of Sir's faves, and I like vetiver.

In the decant: Hey man, it's the 60s in a bottle!

Wet: Patchouli, lighter and yet aggressive--a psychedelic purple rather than turgid and dark purple (I always think of patchouli as purple, don't ask me why. Then vetiver. Teeny bit of white pepper. I never get much pepper.

Dry: Vetiver to the forefront, still much patchouli. Teeny bits of both the grapefruit and pepper. I'm betting this settles down into a mainly vetiver on a bed of patchouli.

Verdict: Eh. Patchouli. Whatever. Though it does match my outfit; my Inner Stevie is running rampant today.

Today from the Lupercalias: Signor Dildo and Two Loves

  • Posted on: 19 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I swear I don't make these names up.

I'm having a rotten day and I'm hoping these are good ones, because I need some happy.

Signor Dildo

A scent of pearls and ivory: orris, violet leaf, narcissus, and Madagascar vanilla.

Anything vanilla is good with me. Most of the time. Orris sometimes goes too powdery.

In the decant: Orris, violet and narcissus.

Wet: A pleasant, somewhat fruity, green violet. I smell the narcissus, too. This is very close to the skin.

Dry: Still pleasant orris and violet, with a small amount of vanilla. Mild, almost secretive. As per usual, the longer it sits, the more vanilla.

Verdict: I dunno, this is kinda different, but possibly not different enough.

Two Loves

Love beyond reach: sunset tones of amber, red musk, and blood orange with three chains of roses, velvet moss, white lilies, crocuses, violets, poppies, blue musk, neroli, angel's trumpet, frankincense, benzoin, and night-blooming flowers.

I'm not quite sure why I got a decant of this. Possibly the blood orange and amber seduced me. Lilies, poppies and night-blooming flowers are sometimes the worst death of deaths.

In the decant: Perfume. Sad Oh, dear.

Wet: Amber. Neroli. The blood orange. Not as perfumy as the decant, which is a relief. The roses are coming up. Actually, this is rather pleasant. Very well-blended. This is also very close to the skin: private.

Dry: Ack. Got soapy. Those night-blooming flowers and the lilies. The amber, musk and roses are trying to fight their way out of the suds, and may win yet.

Verdict: We'll see what Sir thinks on both of these. I don't think I need another floral; I've got The Girl, and that's a hard one to beat. And as for the good Signor, it may not be different enough to justify more than an imp.

Today from the Lupercalias: Brotoigos and Saint Foutin de Varailles

  • Posted on: 16 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Quickly, because I'm behind.

Brotoloigos (Murderous)

Tobacco, wenge, rose geranium, and myrrh.

Nervous about the rose geranium and myrrh; they can go either way.

In the decant: A bitter wood--the myrrh and wenge, I think--softened, the tobacco underneath. Interesting.

Wet: Myrrh, boosted by the wenge, and rose geranium. Tobacco base. It's an odd scent; I don't quite know how to describe it, or whether I like it. The rose geranium is integrated into it, at least, rather than amping all out of control.

Dry: The drier it gets, the more bitter. It stays close to the skin.

Verdict: Nah. Bitter doesn't work on me. I'm more of a sweet scent person (awwww).

Saint Foutin de Varailles

Beeswax, frankincense, dried rose petals, and a dribble of wine.

In the decant: Sweet wine. Yummy.

Wet: Almost a coconut. Warm. The beeswax and wine predominant, which I think is where I'm getting the coconut accord. A great deal of throw.

Dry: Mostly beeswax with sweet wine. As it dries, the rose petals come up. The frankincense is way at the back, but it's there.

Verdict: Nice. Maybe a partial; maybe the decant is enough. Not sure.

Today from the Lupercalias: The Steeple and Dark Chocolate, Whiskey and Cognac Truffle

  • Posted on: 14 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I'm hoping to shoehorn in two more after this. Too much. I just got way too much.

The Steeple:

Otherworldly fungus, Provençal herbs, and dark, shadowy woods.

I know, weird description. But Death Cap is gorgeous and its description is equally weird.

In the decant: Sharp decay, as opposed to the warm earthiness of Death Cap. Hmmmm.

Wet: The herbs are predominant, then a smell of decayed wood. Lemon balmy, perhaps? It's the sweeter sort of decay, not the earthy kind. It reminds me of that Literary Vampire that smells like flesh, without the horrid sweetness of that rot note.

Dry: Light, a little lemony, undistinguished.

Verdict: If you like Dirty, you'll probably like this. It's not to my taste.

Dark Chocolate, Whiskey and Cognac Truffle:

Dark chocolate, whiskey, and cognac truffle.

Foodies can go either way. I really want to eat this description more than anything, and that often bodes poorly.

In the decant: Yummy dark chocolate, then booze. Really nice chocolate note.

Wet: Chocolate and cognac. Suddenly I want some kind of creme de cacao and cognac cocktail. That actually sounds disgusting when I write it out, but it smells good!

Dry: Slightly boozy chocolate.

Verdict: It's a nice chocolate note, but I've got a bajillion chocolates. It just doesn't stand out enough.

Ergofiction Search Term Challenge: Now It Can Be Revealed

  • Posted on: 13 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

The Ergofiction Search Term Challenge results are in, and I'm not on the podium. The (very well-deserved) winner is Chris "Ruzkin" H-K, whose story "Long Way Home" was my own vote for best. In second came Merilee Faber's story "The Last Brother," and in third, the ubiquitous MCM with "Quota," both of which I liked very much. I'd like to see Merilee do more with those characters.

Only one of you in the other thread voted for my story, Sideshow Fables. and no one guessed it was mine. Apparently it was not my best effort! Biggrin Ironically, I really like the characters in that story and have been playing with them in my head. Ah well.

Two more Lupercalias: Unveiled, and Picture Book and Pleasure Toys

  • Posted on: 13 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

For those new to the Squee Box reviews, these are what I'm talking about: scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, aka BPAL. "Lupercalia" is an annual series of Valentine-ish limited editions; the "Shungas" are a subset of them based on erotic Japanese woodcuts.

OK, on to the embarrassingly large pile, from which I've drawn two more at random, both Shungas.


Red bush tea, vanilla, white peach, golden amber, mandarin, lotus root, and myrrh.

Anything with vanilla or amber is usually a "go" for me, so here's hopin'.

In the imp: Getting a scent memory. There's something ylang-ylang-ish. I think it's the peach, lotus and vanilla making an accord.

Wet: Ylang ylang, which is not a listed note. I think the peach is faking me out, as the longer it sits, the more peach I smell. In fact, all I'm getting is peach with a little amber and vanilla. No mandarin, no redbush (rooibos), no myrrh. Oh wait, here comes some mandarin. Brightens the whole thing up, takes it out of too-sweet territory, where it was hovering.

Dry: OH WOW. The redbush has kicked in and adds a bright clover honey-ish note. Oh, I'm in love! Lively but not busy, sweet but not cloying.

Verdict: First winner. Partial for sure.

Picture Book and Pleasure Toys

Pink rose, red musk, red sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, nectarine, black tea, ambrette, jasmine, and blackcurrant bud.

A little nervous about the jasmine and rose. I can amp them both, especially the jasmine, and jasmine's just death on me however much I love to smell it elsewhere. (Jasmine bushes, jasmine tea--both beloved.)

In the imp: A sweet initial hit, then a strong green moss with some astringency that I think is the tea.

Wet: The moss and vetiver are sharp and immediately at the top, then nectarine and roses. Here comes the jasmine. Uh oh. Yeah, this is not developing well. No 1 Daughter just said it was nice, but I remain unconvinced.

Dry: Nah. The oakmoss and sandalwood are not playing nice with the rose and jasmine. It smells just...weird.

Verdict: Eh, especially with Unveiled on the other wrist. OMG. Unveiled. Om nom nom.

Today from the Lupercalias: Enkhespalos and Kiss Amongst Discarded Tissues

  • Posted on: 13 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I have an EMBARRASSING number of decants to test from this year's BPAL Lupercalia collection, and so am going to go tearing through. Here's a couple of quickies, somehow appropriate for Lupercalias, no? One Ode to Mars, and one Shunga:

Enkhespalos ("Spear-Wielding")

Elder wood, leather, blonde tobacco, and cognac

In the imp: WHOA LIKE MANLY. Manly men! Manly men in raw leather! Just this close to Tom of Finland manly men!

Wet: Oh I want the man this smell belongs to. New leather, wood, tobacco. No cognac has appeared. So far this reminds me of a more butch Brom Bones. And I bet you thought that wasn't possible, you BPAL fans.

Dry: As it dries, the cognac starts to emerge and it mellows. I would say "softens," but this is a MANLY MAN! No softening! There's more tobacco, and something almost bookish--I think it's the tobacco, wood and leather combining to smell like a well-bound book.

Verdict: This might need a little sweet to work well on me, but I'm not sure. I definitely want it on Sir for a sniff test.

Kiss Amongst Discarded Tissues

Blackberry, white gardenia, burnt mandarin rind, Indian musk, khus, and white musk.

In the decant: They used Comet Cleanser in classical Japan?!

Wet: The bleachy smell disappears. Now I'm getting the citrus, a little, the Comet is still there.

Dry: The musks are coming out, but this still has an unpleasant cleaner-ish tinge that I don't think I'm going to get over.

Verdict: I'm going to let it sit for a little while and try later. I did just get this packet and everything needs time to settle, perhaps.

Ergofiction Search Term Challenge: Voting Is Open

  • Posted on: 8 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Ergofiction's Search Term Challenge is open for voting. What is this? Ergofiction is a web magazine devoted to web fiction. You should be reading it. It's good.

For this competition, they gave writers seven search terms, and asked them to write a story of between 1,000 and 2,000 words using at least four of the search terms. To make it more interesting, the stories had to begin and end with one of the search terms.

One of these stories is mine. I can't tell you which one. Go read them all (there are some REALLY good ones) and vote for the one you think is best. I'll be re-publishing the one I wrote here, and I'm really curious to see if you can guess which one is mine. (DO NOT spoil it by guessing either here or there, please. I won't say until the contest is over.)

Good grief

  • Posted on: 2 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Sorry, you guys, I went in to take the new images I'd uploaded out of the RSS feeds, and it threw them all to the top of the tracker. aargh! They'll cycle through. Sad

What your support dollars buy

  • Posted on: 1 March 2010
  • By: MeiLin

Your support dollars keep me writing. That's what YOU get. But I thought you might get a glimpse into what *I* get.

Contrary to popular belief, your support dollars don't all go to BPAL. Biggrin In the last month, your support dollars have gone toward:

  • Our mortgage (not all of it, but a chunk of it)
  • Eggs for the month (we buy from a local farmer on subscription)
  • Our Visa payment
  • Groceries
  • Advertising
  • ...aaand BPAL. Smile

The last couple of weeks, I've gotten more single, non-subscription support than I have in the last 3 months. Thank you, so much. Now back to writing.

What do you know! We have 500 users--and we're two years old! (Updated)

  • Posted on: 22 February 2010
  • By: MeiLin

We just passed the 500 user mark with the addition of patchworkgirl--introduce yourself, dear! And two years ago yesterday, I posted the "Welcome" here on the site. Happy anniversary, everyone!

Update: It occurred to me that now would be a good time to ask you for a contribution: $2, one for each year. I'd like this to be from folks who have never contributed, or who haven't contributed in a while. Thanks in advance. Smile

Still time to vote in the Rose and Bays--and I need you to

  • Posted on: 22 February 2010
  • By: MeiLin

This is the last week to vote in the Rose and Bay Fiction category. Right now, it looks like I'm tied for second with CE Murphy's "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" with 32 votes; in first is Cecilia Tan's "Daron's Guitar Chronicles" with 34 votes.

You do not have to have an LJ account to vote. Just leave your vote in the comments. Thank you!

I have proof!

  • Posted on: 10 February 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I have in my chilly little hands the proof copy of the Gulch chapbook. And it looks pretty good! There are a couple of typos I need to fix (which may require a second proof, dammit) and then if I find more the second time around, well damn the torpedoes. It's not like "regular" books don't have 'em, in abundance these days.

Any Seattlites?

  • Posted on: 8 February 2010
  • By: MeiLin

I'm considering going to Seattle for Norwescon and/or Sakuracon. I really only want to go to the vendors' area of the latter, since both Gina Biggs, of Red String, and BPAL will be there. (EEEE! BPAL!) I would really like to drag No1 Daughter up there to see Gina, who's one of her idols.

I can't afford to go to both. (Actually, I can't afford to go to either.) But if I can combine it with a fan meet and greet, maybe I can deduct it.


Happy Amma's Day!

  • Posted on: 2 February 2010
  • By: MeiLin

It's Amma's Day, the first day of Winter's End, my friends, known in this world by us pagan folks as Candlemas, Lady's Day, Brigid, Imbolc. At some point today I want to make candles with my daughters. (Do I have wicking? I can't remember!)

If you want to celebrate it in the Tremontine fashion, bless your animals with a spot of milk between their eyes, like a bindi dot, and say a little prayer. I'd give you the traditional Tremontine one, but I haven't written it yet. Smile Looms, knitting needles, crochet hooks--any fabric-making materials--are also blessed today. So are ships and sailors. And of course, candles are made.


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