MeiLin's blog

Today from the Padded Envelope of Squee: Two Chaos Theories and the Candy Butcher

  • Posted on: 13 September 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I picked up two Chaos Theories as a result of selling a few bottles at BPAL and boy am I glad I did! Sadly, neither has much stay. But they're so delicious I don't care.

CT IV: DCCCXXXI (831) is LEMON!!!! with the capitals and exclamation points in the bottle. Not sweet, either but tart, whole lemons--peel, pulp, juice, flower. I LOVE IT. My mouth waters when I sniff it. I am a fool for lemon and I so, so wish this had more stay.

CT IV: MLVII (1,057) was described to me as wine, but if it's wine, it's very young wine. In fact, I'd say it's more like grape SweeTarts, which is fine by me. It's tart, fruit-and-hibiscus--akin to Boo Bam, which I adore. Again, hardly any stay.

So: CT mostly FTW!

The nice thing about little stay is that I could review all three bottles in one day. The last is Candy Butcher, one of the CD scents:

An exquisite, enigmatic woman sidles up to you, bearing a tray of strange, dusty curios, chocolate creatures, serpentine taffy, and candied skulls. Her skin is dusky, her eyes are heavy-lidded and sensual, her hair is the fine, soft white of spun sugar, and her skin is softly scented with cocoa. She holds a shrunken head aloft, and beckons.

Dark chocolate with a heavy cream undertone.

In the bottle: Nutella! or--what is that hazelnut liqueur the monks make? That one!

Wet: The cocoa and cream start to come out, but I still smell the Nutella. Very sweet.

Dry: Cream, and not as sweet, but that's not saying much. The cocoa and hazelnut are still there. I think No1 and No2 are going to argue over the right to wear this one.

The next morning: Still faintly there, mostly cream with a little cocoa.

Today from the Box of Squee: Lilium Inter Spinas

  • Posted on: 7 September 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I decided to get into the General Catalog box today and let the Fickle Finger have its way. It picked out Lilium Inter Spinas, which lives in the Ars Amatoria section (which features an NSFW image, btw). It's based on the Song of Solomon:

Hibiscus syriacus, white sandalwood, lily of the valley, apple blossom, and green fig.

In the imp: Fig at first, then sandalwood and hibiscus.

Wet: Lily soap.

Dry: Better, but not better enough to keep. It's gone to trade.

Today from the Box of Squee: Pickled Imp

  • Posted on: 6 September 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Sometimes, the name of a scent will just put me off trying it until the very end. Such is Pickled Imp. I mean, Pickled Imp. Seriously? They seriously named a perfume Pickled Imp. It didn't sound appetizing, so I left it till very near the end of this set of decants.

And yet, the description, with the unfortunate scholar's notes, is intriguing for a vanilla lover like me:

By God, what floats in this ghastly jar?
Cinnamon, clove, vanilla, and pine sap.

In the unpickled imp, as it were: Cinnamon with an odd twist to it--I think the pine.

Wet: Oooh, vanilla, cinnamon and clove, light on the cinnamon!

Dry: The pine is coming out more, but on the whole this is a spiced vanilla. As it sits, the cinnamon is pushier and the pine makes things very odd indeed--I keep getting leathery notes now and again as it meshes with the spices and vanilla.

This could be unisex and I may slather it on Sir just to see what happens. He's been happy with his little decant of Blockhead (MUST.HAVE.BOTTLE.) and the bottle of Hellhound on My Trail.

Speaking of which, I'm rather unhappy with my recent bottle purchases. I have two bottles of Chaos Theory which I'm not loving and bottles of both Lune Noir and Schwarzer Mond that I'm not mad about, either. They're not bad, I just don't think they're me. And Sir actively dislikes Schwarzer Mond. I think I'm going to be going through my big bottles and putting them up for swap/sale. Does anyone here care to know when I do?

Paid gig update

  • Posted on: 3 September 2008
  • By: MeiLin

One more week, guys. One more week. I'm going to do one more week of once-a-week updates and then I'll be back to the usual. I am trying to put this thing to bed. It's crunch week.

To tide you over, Alice is really close to finishing the portrait of the twins. I am being ultra-picky with Allis, and Alice is being very patient with me. Smile They're in Temple garb, though at some point I want a picture of them in formal attire, perhaps the outfits they're wearing when they first meet Temmin.

But next, after the twins, is Sedra. I'm compiling the description for Alice now. Any requests for her outfit?

Allis and Issak, updated with a li'l preview

  • Posted on: 31 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Alice has been sending me progressively better black-and-white sketches of the twins today. Her timing could not have been better. I'm feeling so down. Sir is cranky, the dog is misbehaving, my body aches from the sudden cool, damp weather, and I'm headachey and tense from working on this paid project. I'm supposed to have this thing done as close to tomorrow as I can and my brain is SO FOGGY. aagh.

If we didn't need the money so badly I wouldn't have taken it, and I'll be extra careful about accepting anything ever again. I just don't know if I can take the pressure. It's so different from the pressure of working for myself. I mean, I put myself under intense pressure with the websites etc, but I'm responsible primarily to myself. I can make the decision that something is good enough as it is. Not so with work for someone else.

Ah well. I'm grateful to have it.

And I forgot to add: Alice's timing is perfect because it makes me squee to see the twins almost exactly as I imagined them.

Update: Why not share the good thang, eh?

Allis and Issak

Just a little taste of Allis and Issak. It's not quite right but really, really close. Does this inspire you? Kick a little extra for the art!

Review: Spanked

  • Posted on: 31 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I think I'm getting old. I don't respond to erotica the way I used to. Oh sure, I like a good stroke story as much as the next person, but lately they don't do much for me. It all reads a bit too much like "Dear Penthouse, I never thought it could happen to me..."

And indeed, there are parts of Rachel Kramer Bussel's new anthology that do exactly that for me--nothing. They're well-written and creative, drawing pretty pictures, but I sat here unmoved.

Then I got to Laura Bacchi's "Page by Page." "Moved" isn't the word. "Shaken" is better, shaken in a good way.

The stories that followed, with one exception, hit that same mark, too, over and over like a particularly thorough spanking, and I finally realized what had changed in me: I don't like anonymous scenarios any more. I look for the emotional connection. I don't want to read who did what to whom, especially when the "whos" could be anyone. I want to read about people who connect, even if they've just met, and I want to feel that connection.

Several stories in this collection do just that; in fact, the opening story, "Spanking You," sets a promising tone. But soon, we're back to "Dear Penthouse, I never thought..." and I lost interest, frankly, until I realized I hadda finish this thing and get a review up for Rachel's blog tour.

So it was with a sense of joy and relief that I read "Page by Page," and found myself both moved and turned on, profoundly. It's the story of a professional submissive who finally falls for a client; we are privy to the scene where she realizes it too late, and it reminded me so much of falling in love with Sir--that intense inevitability--that I squirmed in my chair. Seven more stories follow and four of them touch that same place, including Bussel's own "The Depths of Despair," and the melancholy, evocative "Still Life with Infidels #56" by M. David Hornbuckle.

Of the 20 stories in the collection, six of them did it for me. That may sound like a bad ratio, but this is a wide-ranging anthology; there are stories for just about anyone in here--m/m, m/f, f/f, and all kinds of scenarios--and that six of them happened to hit me where I live is pretty amazing. Hit me how hard? Well, let's just say that Sir was pleasantly surprised last night with a request for something we haven't done in a good long while...*whistling*...

Check out the whole virtual book tour!

Today from the Box of Squee: Clemence

  • Posted on: 29 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I've been putting off trying Clemence. Her first note, after all, is patchouli, and that has not worked out well for me among the Grindhouse ladies. All of her notes:

Patchouli, Kashmiri tea, cardamom, black pepper, carnation, and clove.

And now that I've gone to write the review, the imp has gone missing! I'll have to rely on memory and the scent remaining on my wrist.

In the imp: A bright, not unpleasant patchouli, reminiscent of my days in Eugene when patchouli was fresh and new.

Wet: Peppery carnation! Clove and cardamom and patchouli, but peppery carnation foremost.

Dry: The peppery edge has subsided, but is still present. I smell more of the cardamom, clove and tea over the top of the patchouli, softening it and making it more sophisticated. I like it, a lot.

Someone remind me that I want to buy this when the time comes. Dang, I hope I find that imp before the dog eats it...

And in related squee news! I got an envelope today from a decant circle, and one of the frimps she gave me broke open in shipping. Perfoom all over everything. Worst part? It was ALMOND!!! aaaaagh!

Tomorrow: MeiLin Gets Spanked!

  • Posted on: 29 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I promised myself I wouldn't cry

  • Posted on: 28 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I watched Barak Obama's speech tonight. It was a good speech. My friend sitting with me teared up several times, but my eyes stayed dry--until just after the speech was over. The viewpoint moved among the crowds, cutting from one camera to another, and finally settled for a moment on two women. One was black and one was white. The black woman was supporting the white woman on her shoulder, both looking toward the stage with quiet tears streaming down their faces.

That's when I teared up.

The story behind the story: Chapter 26

  • Posted on: 28 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Chapter 26, you nearly ended me. I had about half a page written. I didn't like it, but I had so little time left. I showed it to A and she essentially said, yeah, pretty much sucks. In conversation with her I found where I wanted to go with it, and it took me four more attempts to get my feet under me and find the path through the chapter. So here's to A, without whom the chapter wouldn't have gotten written. Smile The thing I find so amusing is that Sir and a couple of the commenters have said this is the best chapter yet, and I ripped this puppy out in record time with no room to spare for rewrites or reconsiderations, at ALL (total writing time including screwing-around and dinner time: About 4 hours). What you see in that chapter is very close to the way it originally came through my fingers into the laptop, more so than any other chapter in the series so far.

Today from the Box of Squee: Cytherea, and Mailbox Squee as well!

  • Posted on: 27 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Four bottles of squee in the box, four bottles of squeeee...

Yes, I'm down to the last four imps of this batch of CD limited editions. So let's get down to it with Cytherea, shall we? This morceau from the boite de bonbon is:

White sandalwood, patchouli, white amber, orris, bourbon vanilla, champaca flower, and kush.

Sandalwood, amber, vanilla. All promising. Patchouli, champaca and kush foretell of the headshop effect, so we'll see.

In the imp: Hm. Smells like a men's perfume I used to wear in the '80s. I can see the flask-like, frosted bottle with the brass-colored cap, but can't remember the name. Not very floral at all.

Wet: Patchouli. sigh.

Dry: Ah, here comes the sandalwood, very very dry and dusty. Oh! here we go! Bourbon vanilla! The orris root is coming out, too. Wow, this is interesting. I get an elegant gypsy librarian--there's something sophisticated, bohemian and bookish about it all at the same time. Especially if the elegant gypsy librarian was very androgynous.

This is light, not a lot of throw. Sir says it's rather masculine, and that was my first impression as well; on the right guy it would be awesome sauce, and I have put this in Sir's box just to see what it smells like on him. I wish I could remember what that '80s cologne was.

Adding: Got my package from BPAL today with Hellhound on My Trail for Sir--the Robert Johnson commemorative--as well as Lune Noir, the resurrected Schwarzer Mond, and Sugar Skull '08. I thought I'd have to fight No1 Daughter over Sugar Skull, but wonder of wonders she doesn't like it! I will, however, have to fight No2 Daughter over it. She now has my imp of Sugar Skull '07 (because I'm a bad collector but a nice mama) and it smells very natural on her. Oh--and they frimped the living daylights out of me. Eight imps, none of which I had already. My GC squee box (the untrieds) is nearly full again.

Quick impressions from the 5ml bottle caps: Hellhound--root workings on a cold night; Schwarzer Mond--the stark, overwhelming smell of pennyroyal tea and my roommate sprawled pale and sweaty on the couch many years ago; Lune Noir--evil black cherry Kool-Aid (my favorite kind! craved it horribly during pregnancy with No1 Daughter); Sugar Skull '08--burnt sugar and artificial raspberry flavor, not that that's a bad thing. Once I'm through with the three remaining CDs I'll get into these more seriously.

Today from the Box of Squee: Marcilla

  • Posted on: 25 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Rapture! I have but five left, and my next batch of decants (all Halloweenies) won't be here for a while. I can then whittle down the goods into the outstandings. Today we have Marcilla, another Grindhouse lady who doesn't contain patchouli thank ghu:

Blue lilac, lily of the valley, golden musk, beeswax, white ginger, bergamot, green tea, and nectarine.

In the imp: Bright. Ginger, nectarine and green tea.

Wet: Lilac and muguet (lily of the valley), with a sparkle of ginger and bergamot.

Dry: Fuller, rounder. There is the spring in the lilac and muguet, and the breath of summer in the wisp of nectarine (I could wish for more nectarine). The ginger, bergamot and green tea are bright. As it dries I just catch the beeswax and musk.

This is not going to have good staying power, I can already tell. It's lovely, but I'm not sure I need a bottle.

Click n Ship! eee!

  • Posted on: 25 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Since I'm honoring my promise to stay away from the forums for a while, I have to squee here. EEE! CnS for Hellhound on My Trail, Lune Noir, Schwartzer Mond and Sugar Skull '08. Taking a risk on all but the last; I have a decant of last year's Sugar Skull and if this one is even half as delicious I'm good. Hellhound is for Sir, and I'll have to wrestle No1 Daughter for Sugar Skull, I'm sure.

Ibbit

  • Posted on: 24 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I'm reading the comments on chapter 25 and I'm really amused by the animosity built up against poor old Ibbit, who's had parts of letters and one bonus story set nearly 20 years ago and no other way to defend herself. Okay, fine, in the letters she's manipulative and whiny and in the bonus story she beats the crap out of someone for the sin of being male, but hey! I'm hoping to bring her more fully onstage soon, along with the return of Macca, Ilhovin and Henrik. Remember those guys? Yeah. You need a scorecard around here, I'm tellin' ya!

Today from the Box of Squee: Parthenope

  • Posted on: 24 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I'm beginning to suspect jasmine doesn't like me, at least at the levels some of the Grindhouse ladies contain it. Don't get me wrong--I love jasmine, especially jasmine tea. In fact, why isn't there a jasmine tea scent! It's a different jasmine than perfoom jasmine, it's so...I dunno, so completely yummy.

Today is Parthenope, which I put on a few days ago and re-tried today. She is:

Honeysuckle, orris, moss, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, and star jasmine.

In the imp: At first, honeysuckle, but then the jasmine mugs it with a blackjack.

Wet: Moss, benzoin, honeysuckle, it's nice and then...nothing but jasmine.

Dry: Did I mention jasmine? Where's the musk? The orris? sigh.

I think this is a trade.

Today from the Box of Squee: Gwyneth

  • Posted on: 23 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Yes, even though I am in self-imposed exile from BPAL.org, I'll keep posting reviews here. Why not. I still love perfoom, and it'd take more than a well-deserved lecture to take that away from me. Today we're smelling Gwyneth, a Grindhouse lady who thankfully has no patchouli in her twisted little soul or lack thereof:

Rose otto, tonka, orchid, Calla lily, skin musk, coconut, and Spanish sage.

Rose, tonka, skin musk, coconut =

In the imp: Rose and sage, strangely.

Wet: Sophisticated rose and coconut?! This is how Lovey Howell must smell! Biggrin I can see the Professor now, mixing up perfooms in between escape attempts.

Dry: Really pleasant and well-blended. The orchid and lily are peeping out more and more, but the rose and musk are keeping them in balance. The sage is at the very top, a little floaty. I'm not catching much tonka.

Sir likes it, but not enough to get it. So into the "to keep" box. (Which is also the "trade for similarly good things" box, as opposed to the DO NOT WANT box. Which is where The Grand Inquisitor's Heretic's Fork just got thrown by Sir with a "holy crap, I don't have THAT reaction very often!")

Friday night shtuff

  • Posted on: 22 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

Wow, what a really hard week. Really draining writing, achey from the weather, intense but necessary discussions with Sir, etc. etc. Today I had a (good and productive) meeting with my paid client and the upshot is, I've got till 9/1 to finish, and I mean finish, this project.

I'm not AE, who can sit down and pound out multiple serials in a single day. I just don't work like that; the story doesn't come like that. I'm spending approximately two days on each chapter right now, which means that six out of seven I'm working on this. I can't do that and work on this paid gig. At the same time, I just left you guys for a two-week hiatus, and I don't want to do that again so soon.

So I think that what's going to happen is that I'm going to have to drop back to once a week until after the first. Yeah, I know. I'm not happy about it, and the client really should have had everything to me so I could have done it during the time I had set aside. But the thing is, I still really have to do this gig; we can't afford for me not to do it. So I'm going to finish chapter 25 and post it tomorrow and then move to once a week until after the first. I'll be canceling the donation target until at least mid-September, because you guys will have met two of the marketing targets (reviews and memberships) by then.

Check the latest poll for which day the once-a-week update should fall on. I'm sorry, guys, I really am.

Today from the Box of Squee: Daiyu

  • Posted on: 21 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

The Grindhouse ladies and me, we don't get along so well. They just seem to dislike my skin chemistry on contact, for some reason. Which is weird, considering how many sex scenes I write. You'd think professionals would have respect for that. But no. So far of all of them, only Eisheth Zenunim has graduated to potential bottle status.

And yet I perservere. I have six more Ladies and four more Wunderkammers (also not friendly to my chemistry) to test, and so today I turn with apprehension and a strange sense of hope to Daiyu:

Moroccan jasmine, chrysanthemum, tea leaf, white musk, and acai berry.

Perhaps my hope springs from the tea and musk, or the acai berry, all of which do well on me. Perhaps it's because I hope Daiyu will overlook my very obvious Eurotrash origins, look kindly on my nom de plume and work with me.

In the imp: Acai berry, then something a little like fennel--I'm thinking this is the chrysanthemum.

Wet: Acai and chrysanthemum. Where's the jasmine?

Dry: The musk comes up, and there's the jasmine, but the acai keeps things bright. Ooh, and there's the tea at the very back, adding a softer green. This is really nice, and the more time goes by the more everything blends. Sophisticated but not stuck up, and altogether happy.

I don't know whether I'm happy or not! That makes nine potential bottles!

Today from the Box of Squee: The Maltese Cross of Sanctus Germanus

  • Posted on: 21 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

So far, thank ghu, the Wunderkammers and the Grindhouse ladies have struck out, the former because the notes on the ones I've tried have been more masculine, and the latter because apparently whores smell like patchouli, the kind that does not work on me. I am obviously not meant to smell like a paranormal prostitute (except Eisheth Zenunim, which actually works and smells of cocoa and nectarines--possibly bottle-worthy).

This one is unusual:

Golden amber, blood orange, ambergris, lilac, frankincense, and agarwood.

In the imp: No1 Daughter says it smells like marmalade. Smile She's right; I smell the orange and then the amber right off the top.

Wet: Lilac to the fore. Lilac doesn't always work on me, which is sad because they are one of my favorite flowers and I wait every spring for the neighborhood to burst out in them. This is a tricky stage for this scent.

Dry: Amber, ambergris, orange and frankincense with a teeny whiff off the lilac, but so well-blended. The longer it sits on my skin the better it gets.

Maybe I can find partials of all these. I'd like more than imps, but I can't afford whole bottles. Wail!

If you liked Chapter 23, review the History, please (updated with thanks)

  • Posted on: 20 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I really need more reviews at Web Fiction Guide. A lot of you really seemed to like the last chapter. With the closure of Pages Unbound, the action is going to move to WFG, and I need more reviews there. Make them fair, but make them, please, and don't forget to tell your friends about the History. Smile

Update: Thanks, guys! Two new reviews have now moved me to #1 in "Best Regarded by Our Members," ie, the non-editorial reviews. As always, I ask--nay beg--you not to spam WFG and write/rate what you honestly think of the story. All reviews count, even negative ones.

Relief

  • Posted on: 20 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I cannot tell you how glad I am that chapter's over. Usually writing is a joy for me, and this was in its way, but man. That was some of the hardest writing I've ever done. I had to work for every damn word. I'd write about five words, and then have to put it down for a while. Five more words, go away. It's the best I could do, and it's why it took me so long: I could only write in five or so word snippets. Very frustrating for me, and I was very worried that the resulting chapter would feel as if it were written in five word snippets.

But the Big Night is over (mostly--the Big part of it, anyway), and that's a relief. I've been dreading writing this chapter since I first came up with it. I mean, personally? I've never had sex with a Goddess. Plus also I was worried that I'd overbuilt your expectations.

But it's done now, and I'm hoping the Muses will let me get back to the usual flow of my writing. I'm expecting 24 midday tomorrow but we'll see. The paid project I'm working on, and that I took two weeks off for to no avail, is on the hob and I need to pay it some mind.

A distraction: Dr Horrible Limerick

  • Posted on: 19 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

...or "haiku," as we say over in Poetry Corner. Last night @drhorrible and his pals on twitter were bored and drunk and asked for Dr Horrible-themed limericks. Here was mine, that I somehow shoehorned onto twitter:

Poor Billy found Penny adorable
Her affection for Hammer deplorable
He got carried away
With a faulty death ray
And is now trapped inside Doctor Horrible

Not my best, but hey. I'm still working on 23. Who knew ecstatic sex with divinities was so hard to write. feh. Almost done, though.

Overage for Alice

  • Posted on: 19 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

OK, policy change for a bit. The first $50 over the target is going for Alice. If you've given this week and DON'T want your $$ used this way--you want it going ONLY to the chapter target--write me and let me know. There's also a message field at Paypal when you make a donation, and you can indicate there if you want it going SOLELY to the chapter target. Otherwise, the Overage Is for Alice until we have the major characters done.

The lineup:
Teacher (done)
Temmin (under way)
Allis and Issak (commissioned)
Sedra
Ellika
Jenks
Harsin
Ansella
Brinnid
Maeb
Connin
Anda and Bessa
Arta and Fen
Senik
Twenna and Elbig
Macca and Ilhovin
Henrik
Emmae and Warin
Hildin and Gill
BookOne!Teacher
Bern Wallek
BookTwo!Teacher

Chapter length

  • Posted on: 17 August 2008
  • By: MeiLin

A conversation over at Web Fiction Guide got me thinking. An average chapter here is right around 2000 words, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but usually right between 1700-2200 words. Some people over there think that's too long for a serial, that people don't want to spend 10 minutes reading a chapter. I find that odd, myself, but then, I'm a lot older than most of you guys and probably have different reading habits.

So I'm polling: Short chapters and more updates, longer chapters and fewer updates, or things the way they are? And by "short," I'm talking about 500-700 words, essentially a brief scene. It'd essentially mean that the average installment here would be split up over three or so update days rather than one day, so I could update five times a week--but you'd be getting the same amount of story, and it'd feel disjointed to me. At this point, I'm really just more curious about what people like, perhaps for the next serial ("50" or "Laney"), because I don't see the History changing.

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