Ravelry's had the story for a few days now, and so it's your turn: Vote for the History and the Gulch using the links toward the top of the page, and you'll get access to "Two Pairs of Mitts, Part One" as your reward! The pattern will follow next week.
Part 1B is up at Ravelry, including the pattern for Arta's mitts. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of them once I'm back from breakfast with the Portland WebLit Mafia. Monday all of Part 1, except for Arta's pattern, will go up as the voting incentive. Arta's pattern will go up next week. Now I'm working on Ellika's pattern.
Since I've gone on editing hiatus, my audience has dropped. Everyone said, well, it'll come back when you start posting new stuff. So I started the Gulch, to keep the writing fresh, and in hopes it would draw some readers back.
To the contrary. My readership is now a tenth of what it was at its height, and is dropping further.
I'm not really sure what to do. I have to finish the book; I've made too many commitments not to. But I don't know if there'll be anyone who cares to read it apart from the few of you left, and those who pre-ordered.
I'm writing a story around a knitting pattern--two, actually, one set of mitts knit by Arta, one set knitted for Ellika (what, you think she knits her own things? pfft!). Part one of the story is at Ravelry. It'll pop up here as a voting incentive in the next few days, and then will be up on the site when it's all the way finished. The story parts, because they're about knitting, will appear at Ravelry first. I will, however, post pix of the mitts here as soon as they're done.
I managed to convince myself that decants of the last Lunacy set were enough; I got Season of the Emergence (which I've tested and will review later--thumbnail: weirdest BPAL evar), Beth's Blue Moon and Whirling Wind Moon. So here's the last:
Dreams of joy and fear: swirling dark and airy musks, mogra, plumeria, hyacinth, lily of the valley, dry white sandalwood, gardenia, pale amber, and oakmoss.
In the decant: Very sharp floral, the plumeria, lily of the valley and gardenia predominant, coming out rather aquatic. Oh dear. Aquatic = no.
Wet: Flat 7-Up. No, srsly. Sickly sweet aquatic. Double oh dear.
Dry: Aquatic with a faint gardenia and fainter sandalwood afternote. Fail to the point that I'll wash it off.
I'm knitting again! Yay! And knitting of course means Ravelry! If you're on Ravelry, we now have our own group: Intimate Knitting of the Greater Kingdom. I'll be posting patterns there for things like a pair of mitts Ellika wears (not mentioned in the story). Backstory for the pattern will be included. Once it's released on Ravelry, it'll probably become an incentive here for the non-Ravelers. Come join, and if you are on Ravelry, friend me!
There's a theme for you. It's called "mobile garland," and it's available to choose at the bottom of the near-right column. If you're not logged in, the site won't remember your choice next time you visit--so get an account!
Just a quick update on how the writing's going. I'm now staring at the blank page that will be chapter 12, which is actually a good thing; it means I've caught up with all the bits of chapters that I tore up late last year.
The story now stands at 86k words, or 229 pages trade paperback. This is before I go through and do a "10% edit," dropping it to 77k or so. I'm hoping I can finish the story in 30k words--I'm trying to shoehorn it all in to 100k total, but I'm thinking I might run over before Netta gets it.
I'm glad everyone's remaining somewhat patient. I wish I were. I feel like I did in the 9th month of pregnancy--get it over, already!
Yes, I'm whiny and needy! I'm having a bad day, readership has cratered (as I knew it would but boy, it's hard), and I saw a picture of myself that made me look like a giant green blob. (I am the least photogenic person on the face of the planet. I could look like a supermodel that day and the picture would come out looking like I'd been through a meat grinder.)
But here's a thing you can do to help me with one of these things, and that's readership. Start a page for the History at TV Tropes and add me to the tropes that fit the story. I KNOW I'm troperrific. Other writers have gotten a good number of readers from this, and I can use all the help I can get.
There is now a "Crowdfunded Creativity" award (that's a term that's new to me, but it's apt). It's called the Rose and Bay, and among its categories is one for fiction. Anyone wanna nominate me, either for the Gulch or the History?
ETA: Cap nominated the History. Thank you!
It's New Years Eve and I'm not done with these damn decants! I only have till Saturday if I'm going to pick up Blue Moon and/or Werepuppy! aargh!
This means war. A scent tight with delirious adrenaline. Muddy dirt and frost-covered moss from the trenches rubbed into winter clothes and snow impact overspray. This scent hits like the sting from those dang icy hard snowballs... the ones that have been packed too hard by someone who is not playing nice... nailing you right in the face.
I grew up in SoCal, so I thankfully do not know this feeling.
In the decant: Agh, that cologny "snow" note that does not play nice with my chemistry.
Wet: Moss and the snow note. Do not like.
Dry: Freshly dry-cleaned clothes, and something else--something edible--that I almost get and then slips away from me. Ah, the vagaries of scent memory. Edit: Fried chicken! I swear, KFC. A brief hit of KFC.
Eh. Not really my thing.
In Winter in My Room
Pink, lank, and warm: grapefruit, yuzu, tuberose, peony, violet leaf, pikaki, Indian frankincense, and tonka.
Yikes, the poem that goes with this is creepy enough that I don't like it already!
In the decant: Oh dear. It's a tropical. I like tropicals. Lovely tuberose and pikaki, lightened with grapefruit. Someone else said it was reminiscent of the Tikis, and I agree, until...
Wet: Nope. This is a very sinister smell. Pink, lank and warm indeed. Something about it sets my teeth on edge. It reminds me of Sarah from the Literary Vampire series--just a bit too loyal to its theme. *shudder*
Dry: Tikis + Literary Vampires = this.
Two more to go--Lick It Till It's Sticky and Snow-Flakes. Not very sanguine about either.
I have to get some writing in, so again, quickly:
Glory and Majesty, Kokab, God’s Judgement.
Yep, no individual notes. Every anniversary, Beth "resurrects" a discontinued scent, usually a wildly popular one. This year, it's Hod.
In the decant: Carnation STEMS. Not the flowers, the stems. Weird. We went through a thing my freshman year in high school where a common gift among my set was a small bouquet of carnations. Which we would then EAT. They were actually unexpectedly delicious. Anyway, I know what carnation stems smell like, and this is them.
Wet: The stems are joined by the spicy petals, but it's still very green stemmy.
Dry: The green is fading. This is a "dark" carnation, not the bright, sprightly carnation you may be used to. There's the spice, but then there's a musk, possbly a little sandalwood--something that darkens the usual carnation "sparkle." It's very pretty, and I understand why it's sought after, but I'm not sure I want a bottle.
Lustrous, pliable, delicate, and malleable, silver is as mysterious and radiant as the moon. Silver requires darkness in order to react, and receives light passively.
Opalescent orris shimmering through a blend of mallow, moonflower, wild pear, iris, starwort, juniper, and mugwort.
In the decant: Orris and very sweet pear.
Wet: The juniper comes out but it's still mostly orris and pear. No, make that mostly pear.
Dry: The pear fades. I'm smelling the mugwort, and I don't really care for mugwort. It is shimmery, silvery, luminescent--very good interpretation of the theme--but on me, a little too old.
I still have four more Yules to go through (crikeys!). It's funny, when I saw the Yule list, I thought, "I'm doomed." SO MANY things with my favorite notes. And in fact, I've got a pretty long list of fulls and partials I want to get. But not as many as I'd feared: four fulls (Tin Phoenix, Copper Phoenix, Ded Moroz, and Black Temple Burlesque Troupe) and four partials (Lead Phoenix, Pink Snowballs, Now Winter Nights Enlarge, and Yule Cat). And I want to get Brian's version of this month's Blue Moon and the forum-only Werepuppy. I got the Yule Cat partial and Copper full bottle from a friend here in town already.
I also wanted the two Districts with my daughters' names, but at $25/bottle with everything else? Not gonna happen this order. Hell, this order shouldn't be happening...
Tested Gold Phoenix and Lead Phoenix the other day (from this year's BPAL anniversary set) and forgot to write 'em up. Short version: Gold is lemongrassy and sunny; Lead is rich with tobacco and plum. Partials of both.
So quick dips into two more.
Pale metals, crackling ozone, hyssop, white mint, tonka, and lemongrass.
In the decant: Ooh, nice. Hyssop, tonka and lemongrass, not as Thai-foody as Gold Phoenix.
Wet: Lemongrass tempered with mint, sweetened with hyssop. Really pretty and bright. Oh, this is so pretty. Smells like early summer.
Dry: Oh, so pretty! Smells like lemon candy. At least a partial, possibly a full. I'm going to drench myself in this come June.
Cinnabar and silvery liquid droplets of mastic, white sandalwood, elemi, and lavender.
All good notes, so lessee.
In the decant: Dark lavender. But then, lavender is so overpowering right out of the gate.
Wet: Lavender, cinnabar and sandalwood, the lavender quickly mellowing.
Dry: I think this is what's commonly called a fougere. It's a lavender-y men's cologne, very nice, but I don't think it's for me. Actually, this'd be really really nice on a guy. The drier it gets, the more aquatic it gets.
Verdict: Sir really likes Tin and agrees Quicksilver is not me. Tin is at least a partial and maybe a full.
Edit: Tin has knocked Gold off the list; I'm not going to bother with it at all. Tin is a variation on Love's Fresh Lemon, an all-time fave from my girlhood, and so Must Be Had.
A teeny excerpt of a scene from the edited book one awaits those who vote for the History and/or the Gulch from the links above to TopWebFiction.com. You won't get the reward if you don't use those links.
Merry Christmas, everyone! No1 Daughter is running around the house in her new Totoro beanie and "Spanish Inquisition--Unexpected Since 1478" t-shirt. No2 Daughter is playing with a teeny RC car and driving the dog bananas. I am gloating over what to buy with my $10 iTunes gift certificate (ideas?). Sir is hanging out in his new flannel nightshirt from Yule, and we're all eating slices of No2's chocolate orange. In other words, a merry Christmas!
You will note the site looks different *again*. This is as close to a good site design as I've gotten. It's cleaner and 960-pixel compliant, and has a snazzy Tremontine red background that could also double as the wallpaper at Mamzelle's Palace.
This is the obligatory "bitch about the theme change" thread. Suggestions, bugs, etc. go here.
I've been looking forward to trying both of these. As of today, I still have six of the Anniversary Phoenixes to go through and four more Yules. So essentially five more days at two a day. I've tried Playing with a Loaded Gun ("distinctly scorched ginger musk") and I really like it; starts as fizzy ginger ale and fades to a more ginger-spiced musk. It's not like anything I have, and so is loved. Still have to try Knick-Knack and Spare Change, the two "stocking stuffers" I got with PwaLG.
OK, here's Ded Moroz:
Grandfather Frost! Accompanied by his granddaughter, Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, he bestows gifts to virtuous and hard-working people, rewarding their decency and integrity, and punishes those who are lazy, shiftless, and unkind, killing their fields with frost, cracking the trunks of their trees, and destroying their homes.
The first incarnation of Father Frost was not at all benevolent. He was the personification of the darkest aspects of winter, winter's destruction incarnate. He kidnapped unruly children, and slew people capriciously by freezing them to death.
Light, darkness, kindness, and malice: golden amber, white amber, redwood, teak, bois du rose, sage, tree moss, and snow.
Yes! Evil Santa Claus! So far, the snow note has not worked well on me; this is the first Yule where I've gotten a lot of the snow notes.
In the decant: oooooh. Woods and amber, something green, and cold.
Wet: So far, the best snow note of this year's batch. Moss, a very green sage, the woods (especially teak and rosewood), and over all, the snow. Ambers at the back; I think they are what's making the sage more "green" than Thanksgiving-dinnery.
Dry: Ded Moroz is one suave mofo. The ambers come forward with the woods and everything's gone sweeter; the snow recedes, and now I smell something almost like balsam. Perhaps that's part of the snow note in this?
It's beautiful, and I think it could work equally well on a man or woman, though it's a little sweet perhaps for a man, at least on me. Others are not reporting the sweet and are getting a more masculine blend; I do tend to amp amber, so maybe that's why. This may be a partial. So far I haven't found anything I want a full bottle of.
A radiant blend of solar oils: golden amber, saffron, heliotrope, hibiscus, citron, frangipani, frankincense, tangerine, mock orange, and orange blossom.
The only note in this that causes serious concern is the heliotrope, which goes very soapy on me.
In the decant: Very sunny. The citruses and frangipani. Smells like early summer to me.
Wet: This reminds me of last year's Weenie Huesos de Santo without the cream. Mixed citrus, tart hibiscus, orange blossom and frangipani. I have to get right up on it.
Dry: Hibiscus first, then tangerine, then the flowers.
This reminds me of the Atomic Tikis from 2008, I think from the hibiscus and frangipani. It has a very faint throw; I have to seriously huff. But the scent is indeed the sun triumphant. Its scent says, "never fear, winter always ends." I just wish it were stronger. Not a bottle.
Quickly, I've got writing and last-minute shopping to do:
Old Lady Christmas, the sweet, smiling wife of Finland's Joulupukki. Her scent invokes the comforts of Christmastime and the warmth of love and cheerful companionship: a glowing hearth, luumukiisseli, riisipuuro, and sima.
Boy, I wish I spoke Finnish. No idea what's in this.
In the decant: Very homey! Something foodie, something piney.
Wet: A quick whiff of almond that fades. Smells like Christmas trees and cookies, cold and warm at the same time. huh.
Dry: The drier it gets, the more it reminds me of Cockaigne, but not as overwhelmingly brown sugary, and with balsam. This IS a very comforting scent, soft, cuddly, like a Grandmother Spirit--perhaps not the grandmothers we have, but the grandmothers we wish to have, the collective idea of Grandma. I'm not sure I want a bottle of this, but I might.
Cockaigne is a little overwhelming and I'm thinking of gifting it to foodie extraordinaire No1 Daughter (No2 is all about the sweet florals), so this might be a good substitute. Possible partial, depending on Sir.
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these?
Bone-chilling, heart-stopping cold.
I don't know why I'd want to wear cold scents in winter--I like thick, warm scents in winter--but these are always good to wear in the dead of summer, so hey.
In the decant: My nostrils are freezing! Mint, possibly menthol.
Wet: Sweet peppermint, green and freshly crushed. Smells just like the mint that used to grow in my garden. Hypothermia and Joulumuori share a cold note somewhere--perhaps balsam?
Dry: Wintergreen Lifesavers! Though I imagine you couldn't get sparks if you chewed this in the dark. (Note: Don't drink BPAL. Don't get it anywhere near your mouth. Srsly. ew. I manage to get some on my lips at least once a week by accident and it takes all day to get the taste out.) Sadly, it's turning aquatic on me and aquatics will not do.
I thought I'd give you guys a sense of where I am in the rewrite of book one, if only for my benefit.
I'd gotten up to chapter 11 (of chapters ranging between 4k-10k, so much longer than the originals) when I realized that I'd gone off the rails again. I went back, tore it all apart, added some scenes/twists and took out unnecessary ones. I'm almost back to chapter 11 again. I also consolidated a little, and now all the chapters are right around 8k-10k--more of a size. I'm at about 80k words, which will freak Netta out since she's trying to get my wordcount DOWN, but so much more stuff is happening now than in the original I don't see how I'm going to be able to bring it in much under 100k. That's about 300 pages, trade paperback, so about the same size as the Shitty First Draft. (That's not a fish-for-compliments remark, that's a traditional name for, uh, Shitty First Drafts. )
Anyway, still no ETA but I feel like I'm coming out of the Slough of Despond and back onto dry land. Now if I can just get through this tricky bit...hell, they're all tricky bits.
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I should be writing, so I'll make this quick.
Evening Cicadas and Red Peppers
Frost-limned, ice-bejeweled branches, scattered blood-red maple leaves, a few camellia petals, red peppers, and nacreous, multi-colored musks that shimmer like gently-beating cicada wings.
In the decant: Odd. A cold street, outside a florist, the galvanized tin buckets of flowers all around, and perhaps I've brushed a hanging ristra of chiles--the slightest whiff of them...
Wet: The same, but the chiles are gone. They were barely there to begin with. This is very cold.
Dry: Oh, gosh. What a morpher. The chill is gone. Musks, a little chile returns at the back of the nose, soft floral. I really like this, but I'm betting Sir won't.
The Snow Maiden:
Ylang ylang, osmanthus, spring berries, and daffodil cloaked in hoarfrost.
In the decant: Kinda spring-scented-candle-y, to be truthful.
Wet: That odd, berry-candle scent, daffodils. No ylang ylang, or maybe that's what's giving the berries the candle impression.
So, depending on Sir, perhaps a partial of Evening Cicadas and Red Peppers.
If you vote for the History and/or the Gulch (please vote for both!) at TopWebFiction.com via the links to the top right, you'll get access to the Corrish fairy tale "Little Snowflake," Ellika's favorite! Your votes are only good for 24 hours; if you could put voting into your morning routine, that'd be a great help. I *do* get traffic from this, and it's free traffic. Thanks!
I'm SO EXHAUSTED that these are going to be brief.
The First Soft Snow:
THE FIRST SOFT SNOW
The first soft snow!
Enough to bend the leaves
Of the jonquil low.
Heavy drifts of snow blanketing winter's narcissus.
In the decant: Cool citrus, a teeny bit of menthol or other coldish smell, narcissus.
Wet: Cold narcissus (which I think my nose is confusing with citrus).
Dry: Boy, this reminds me of something and I can't put my finger on what it is. It is a very chilly narcissus, and would be wonderful in the summer.
El Dia de los Reyes:
Hot cocoa with cinnamon, coffee and brown sugar.
I'm a fool for all of these notes, and the last El Dia de los Reyes was a winner. So.
In the decant: Coffee and cocoa.
Wet: Cocoa and hazelnut, which I think might be part of a coffee accord or something.
Dry: Mexican chocolate mocha. The hazelnutty smell has faded, so I think it was part of a coffee accord of some kind.
I have SO many chocolates already that I don't think I need another, though the longer this sits the nicer it is.
My left wrist is Asatruar and my right one is Catholic, go figure.
At Yule, Odin leads a divine hunting party through the heavens. On Yule Eve, children would fill their boots with sugar, carrots, and straw and place them by the chimneys for Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, to eat. To repay the children's kindness, Odin would refill the children's boots with sweets or small gifts.
Confections spun of hazelnuts, honey, elderberries, and bilberries with a dusting of hay and a bit of carrot.
In the decant: Hazelnut and carrot. O noes, it's Gunpowder all over again!
Wet: Hazelnut, which is uncomfortably close to almond.
Dry: A little honey, a little berry, a few haystraws and mostly hazelnut. sigh.
Midnight Mass '09 (she does this one 'most every year):
... This perfume is a traditional Roman Catholic sacramental incense, most often used during a Solemn Mass. Traditionally, five tears of this incense, each encased individually in wax that has been fashioned into the shape of a nail, are inserted into the paschal candle. This is, of course, represents the Five Wounds of Our Risen Savior. Symbolically, the burning of the incense signifies spiritual fervor, the fragrance itself inspires virtue, and the rising smoke carries our prayers to God.
I LOVED last year's. Later on I'll have to compare them against one another.
In the decant: Domini, domini, domini, you're all Catholic now! (10 points if you get the reference.)
Wet: Oh, woody, resiny incense, how I love you. Teeniest, teeniest hit of beeswax way at the back, either to represent the candle or the furniture polish.
Dry: I smell...licorice? Frankincense, sandalwood and licorice. I swear.
Whether I want the '09, I dunno. I'll have to compare to my partial of '08, and I'll probably just stick with that and keep the imp for comparison.
As for Sleipnir, no, I don't think so.
Gotta plow through these!
On the left, The Shivering Boy:
Cold, cold forever more. A winter storm roaring through empty stone halls, bearing echoes of despair, desolation, and death on its winds. The scent of frozen, dormant vineyards, bitter sleet, and piercing ozone, hurled through labdanum, benzoin, and olibanum.
In the decant: Hm. Cold and a little grape-like. Dry, not juicy.
Wet: A whiff of grape juice, then benzoin and frankincense. Dry, cold.
Dry: Benzoin, frankincense and ozone, very dry. High--it smells high up somewhere.
This is different from any other BPALs I have. Hmmm...may be a partial.
On the right, The Peacock Queen:
In dramatic contrast to the soft innocence of Snow White and the dew-kissed freshness of her sister, Rose Red, this is a blood red, voluptuous rose, velvet-petaled, at the height of bloom. Haughty and imperious, vain, yet incomparably lovely to the eye, but thick with thorns of jealousy, pride and hatred.
In the decant: A full, red rose. Velvet is right; this brings up the feel of exactly that sort of deep, red rose with the softest of petals.
Wet: More of same.
Dry: As it dries, the rose petal dries, too. The softness disappears. It's an amazing rose scent, starting out so rich, and drying so thoroughly.
This may also be a partial. Depends on Sir.
Edit: He dislikes both of them!
HUGE packet of decants arrived today, so off we go into the rest of the Yules, probably two at a time, then into the decants of the District scents I got.
On the left: Now Winter Nights Enlarge:
Shorten those tedious nights with a surge of body heat: vanilla-infused red musk, champaca, petitgrain, ylang ylang, patchouli, nutmeg, honey, galbanum, and traces of caramel.
This oil is caramel-colored.
In the decant: Caramel and patchouli.
Wet: Caramel decreases, nutmeg increases, along with the petitgrain and honey. Oh, this is pretty!
Dry: Patchouli, nutmeg, honey, occasional whiffs of caramel. Sometimes this smells like Vasoline. Seriously. No idea why. The drydown doesn't do it for me. It's not bad--I'll keep the imp--I just don't think I need a bottle.
On the right: Pink Snowballs:
A lighthearted winter scent: chilly vanilla rose snowballs! Dainty, soft, and certainly unfit for flinging!
In the decant: Soft, sweet roses, very gentle.
Wet: Very soft rose, not at all soapy. Little whiffs of cool vanilla. This is staying very close to the skin.
Dry: So, so soft. More of the vanilla and the coolness, but still primarily a gentle rose.
Pink Snowballs is lovely. I'll have to run it past Sir; florals are a tricky thing with him. Possible partial.
"Scryer's Gulch" is already up at WFG, a surprise since they usually only list something after three episodes are up. In fact, there's already a four-star editor's review, though understandably marked incomplete; all she had to go by was the first episode. I'm only at three-and-a-half stars for reader ratings. Hey, there was only one episode up!
Anyway, click on the link and rate/review the Gulch, please. Do so honestly. If you don't like it, don't be afraid to tell me, or the world.
Also! You can now vote for the Gulch on TopWebFiction.com, though it's not showing up yet in the listings. Don't stop voting for the History, though!
If you're on Facebook, a good way to help the stories and bring new readers in is to change your status when there's an update: tell your friends you're reading "Scryer's Gulch," and give the URL. Believe it or not, it really works! The more readers, the more financial help I might get. Unsurprisingly, considering the long hiatus (now over, though not with History updates) and the economy, financial support is way, way down right now. If only 2% of the audience is going to fund me, then I need a bigger audience. Thanks!
Eventually I'll have a weekly incentive to vote at TopWebFiction.com for one or both of the stories, but for now I'm asking y'all to vote for me there as often as you can--your vote's only good for 24 hours now. I actually get hits from it, so apparently it's good publicity. And feel free to vote for your other favorite serials there, too! Thanks!
I got this over Orycon weekend and this is my first chance to try it!
Smoke hangs on the stream,
The peach-trees shed bright leaves in the water,
Sound drifts in the evening haze
Dew-covered peach blossom, white tea, moonlit musk, night-blooming jasmine, ho wood, and chrysanthemum.
A little concerned about the jasmine, but the night-blooming note seems to do better for me than the regular one so I took a chance.
In the bottle: Peach, white tea, chrysanthemum. uh-oh, jasmine...
Wet: Oh, no, jasmine! dang it! There is peach and chrysanthemum. We'll see what happens.
Dry: Jasmine, peach blossom (definitely blossom, not fruit), and white tea.
This is VERY sophisticated. I'm not sure how often I'd wear it. We'll see.